Saturday, September 19, 2009

La Vernia Hammerfest

Well folks, I went down today....took a corner about 200 yards from the end of the 65 mile ride of the La Vernia Hammerfest and hit some gravel...nasty it's time for a new helmet - actually I was wearing a new one (my birthday present next weekend) and now it is Garmin 310 longer waterproof.....and taking inventory of the road rash...knee, calf, hip, forearm, elbow and shoulder.....after 45 minutes in the ambulance they had me cleaned up, my shorts cut off (although I maintained some amount of modesty), checked out my head (the hardest part of my body) and then I was sent on my not have concussion symptons in the past 8 hours so I am feeling pretty good about the head. The shower was !#^*($#ing ridiculous....OMG that hurt....finally got it all numb and was able to wash it out.....then some Neosporin and some crap hurts.... So I am bagging the run tomorrow, I will see how I feel when I wake up and then go for a short run at could have very easily been much, much worse.....

See you at the finish line.

Monday, September 14, 2009

PrairieMan = SoggyMan

My half iron distance tune up race on the way to Ironman Arizona - PrairieMan in Grand Prairie, Texas near Dallas.

Let's just say I am still rained for three days before the race...a four and a half hour drive to Dallas took Debbie and I 7 hours due to the rain. It rained all day Friday and Saturday as we were running errands trying to find some rain gear to use as we didn't really plan for rain on Sunday - the forecast was for a 20-30% chance of rain. The hour by hour forecast showed the rain in the afternoon and evening. Well, they lied. It was raining at 4:30 when I woke up, raining at 5:30 when I arrived at the race site, rained for the WHOLE race - hard enough during parts that reminded me of hurricanes, tropical storms and tsunamis, you could actually feel the rain during the swim. The swim felt LONG - my time was 51 minutes. There were white caps and big waves throughout - really we started in pretty flat water and about three minutes into the swim I thought a power boat was going back and forth in front of me. The waves were that big. I thought they would be a big help after we turned the corner but they were actually quartering you so they were pushing you further out into the lake so you had to swim back in to fight their effect. There was some feel of body surfing which would have been good if it had been in the right direction. Did I mention it was still raining? T1 was pretty slow - about 4:20. The bike was treacherous with flooded streets and HUGE puddles - when someone passed you - you virtually drowned in the spray off their back tires....while it didn't happen much (ha-ha) it was wet....they cut the bike short in the pre-race meeting due to the conditions - they said they didn't want people to try for a PR or for people to take chances on the bike - I saw several people down and almost went down three times myself....once really close - my back tire was sliding right and left and I really don't know how I saved it - I think it was just luck and instinct - there was NO time to think. As I finished the third loop of the bike, I actually was thrilled to be going to the run - I was very tense the entire bike. The bike was 42 miles according to them...just under 44 according to Mr. Garmin. Bike time was 2:26 for a 17.2 avg speed assuming 42 miles. Extrapolating to a 56 miles ride would have been about 3:15. T2 - Did I mention it was still raining??? EVERYTHING WAS WET - my cycle shoes were full of water, my socks were soaked, I looked like a drowned rat - How about this? When you bent your head down on the bike, water had collected in the air vent holes, trapped against your scalp and it just ran out all over you, it was like you dumped a glass of water on your head. I had kept my run shoes in a plastic bag so they went on dry...that lasted about 4 seconds....I had another pair of dry socks in a zip lock bag....again they were dry for about 4 seconds....grabbed the hat and off I went...T2 was 3:07. I wanted to try to run a good half marathon - I usually fry myself on the bike as some of you know, and then just survive the run....well yesterday was a bit different. I ended up running a 2:25 half marathon....just 10 minutes off my half marathon personal best. I felt GREAT....used Galloway's run/walk method as always and was running past people in the last three miles. I didn't know how the run would go as my longest recent run has been went better than I could have thought....I was actually calculating and running scenarios through my head throughout the run trying to get to an eleven minute pace...I ran 11:06 the way, the last two miles were in a monsoon. Yes, it was still raining. By the way, less than a quarter of a mile into the run you ran through a puddle/river that was 4-5 inches deep and about 15 yards wide...splash...splash....splash...and your dry socks and shoes were full of water and weighed a lot more. Then, so you could continue the fun, for the next 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile there were several more unavoidable big puddles, then you came out of the park and on to the dam to run about 3.5 miles additionally out across the dam and back and then you got to do the three miles in the park again....complete with puddles....with new additional puddles and depth as ---- all together now --- it was STILL raining.

As I was walking to the truck dreaming of being dry, a person walking by Debbie and I asked if it was my most miserable day in triathlon - after thinking a bit I told her it was actually a pretty good day...yeah, it was wet, yeah, it was trying, yeah, it was mental, yeah, it would have been easy to quit or not start....but that is not what we do. We deal with what comes - and we adapt and improvise. We realize transition times are not so important that we can't use ziplock bags for a moment of dry sock feeling. We realize that we are fortunate that not EVERYONE in the world thinks we are crazy for wanting to play in the rain. We also realize how important those around us are in a new way.

Debbie was there - all day - she stood soaked to the bone - she was outside from 5:30 until almost 9 for the pre-race stuff, the swim and T1...then she sat in the car, tried to sleep, read a magazine and was back outside as I left the park on the run (she missed me coming in on the bike as we didn't think I would ride that quickly given the circumstances), went back to the car for about 1:45 and then came out to get wet and watch me finish. She was a trooper yesterday and in addition to Sherpa Deb duties had to deal with a lot of wet crap to try to get home.

I would like to say that there were about 100 spectators or so there yesterday (that is a wild guess but there weren't many). Each of those people deserve applause. They did NOT have fun. Also, there were volunteers who stood in the rain to hand out water and Gatorade Endurance - I tried to thank as many as I could but I would like to go on record saying a BIG THANK YOU to each of them. To the race organizers, they did a great job with what they were dealt. It was a well run race and I would do it again, hopefully dry but I would do it again.

Overall time was 5:51 - I was very pleased. Adding in the additional bike time would have been about 6:36 or so....that would have been a PR for me by a long shot. I felt great about the time and also about the recovery so far. I feel pretty good today, will be back in the gym tomorrow.

See you at the finish line.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Labor Day Olympic Distance Triathlon

The Avia Austin Triathlon was held on Labor Day. This is an Olympic distance triathlon run by the folks at Jack and Adam's Bike Shop in Austin, TX. It is a GREAT race to say the least. Very organized, nice expo, cool technical t-shirts, a race hat and a water bottle (but no medal - I guess they think we all have enough and I have found I wear a hat a lot more often than a medal).

Time was 3:09....treating everything now as training and only training....pacing in line with IMAZ pacing....really try not to overcook the bike so I have something left for the run....swim was 35-36, bike was 1:15-1:20, run was 1:00-1:05 with about 6 mins in two transitions...there was quite a bit of distance in and out of transition....there were over 2500 was really cool....Here's the brief report....swim was a cruise...caught a little draft and hung on it for a while - focused on form a bit, counted strokes, etc....really pleased with the "straightness" of my swim. Worked through T1 - it is so dry here that the little bit of water on your feet and the dirt made for nasty mud in the bike shoes....with rocks and all sorts of other stuff. Rolled out on the bike - focused on pacing and nutrition (these were the absolute needs of the day - practice for Arizona). Rode what I thought was a smart race which was actually pretty fast (for me). Rocketed through T2 and out on the run - legs felt really good (well done on the bike power consumption) but I had overdone the calories - I took in about a half a bottle too much which is 150 excess calories - doesn't sound like much but I think with the volume of liquid it filled me pretty full. After a couple of miles the stomach felt better....I was not hungry through the race after about 1/3 of a bottle on the run. Run was good - had a fun finish with another guy in my age group - I passed him with about 1/4 of a mile to go and held him off. I finished ahead by 10 seconds - that was a fun way to end the race. I was also very pleased with the lack of recovery time needed. I felt great Monday afternoon and after a day off Tuesday was ready to train again today.

Now it's on to Prairieman half iron distance this Sunday. For the record, I don't think 70.3 miles under your own power should ever be referred to as HALF of anything.

See you at the finish line.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Lollygagging before a long ride

I was late out the door this morning due to stalling before a long ride.

Big brick today of 4 hour ride - about 63 miles and then a 2.5 mile run....ooooohhhh that run was FUN....this IM plan is pretty cool but also intense. The ride today had 2 x 15 min intervals at a Z4-5 effort. While that doesn't sound like much when you know you have ridden over an hour and will have 2 more hours after the intervals, it really makes you think.

Wildlife today included a deer running across the road about 15 yards in front of me and then jumping a barbed wire fence - this was very very cool. Second wildlife sighting was a snake cruising across the road - I hit his tail and then carefully looked at my wheels to be sure he wasn't up in the spokes....I saw him too late to totally avoid him. Then there was all manner of road kill - deer, possum, skunk and even a stalking buzzard (big sucker too) looking for something to eat. Dr. Seuss had it right - Oh, the places you'll go.

Now the taper is on for the Austin Triathlon on Monday. It should be an interesting day with the fatigue in my legs.....

I also took advantage of the end of summer sale at Performance Bicycle today and got a great deal on a Giro Ionos helmet. I hope it is as cool as I think it will be. There are a lot of vents and I hope the air flow is big to keep my melon cool.

See you at the finish line.