Wednesday, August 31, 2011

100th Post

This is my hundredth post.  Doesn't sound like much but I like to celebrate milestones and so I'm throwing myself a bit of a party today.  Extra coffee, time for training and a bit of trying to pat myself on the back without dislocating my shoulder.

As part of my first post, I wrote:

"I have been looking for a place on-line to connect with triathletes that are like me and have to balance really important commitments with the triathlon hobby.  Since I couldn't find the place, I created this blog."

A couple questions?  Do I feel more connected?  Yes, in a small way I do.  While the number of followers (12) is small and the people that comment are few and the stats are disheartening (1700 page views), I now know there are people out there that struggle with the same things I do. 

They care a lot about their families AND want to be improving triathletes.

Now the harder question, is this blog helping me and others with balancing our priorities?  Not sure, but I do feel much more purposeful and appreciative of my life than when I started 100 posts ago.  I've noticed more, remembered more, and cracked myself up more (yes, I think I'm kind of funny).

So, thanks Google and Blogger for providing an easy way for me to write and occasionally connect with people. 

Thanks to those that read for keeping me writing.

Now for the sap, thanks for my family that puts up with and encourages my training and racing. 

Whats next?  Life is just getting more hectic.  My girls want to race more AND I just signed up for Ironman Canada (August 26, 2012).  Lots of suffering on horizon.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A week of two first

 FIRST of the Firsts
My oldest daughter is starting school this week.  Didn't think that I would write for a few more years but she really wants to learn and go to school. 

I want the best for my girls and can't wait to see how they impact the world.  I want them to be strong, confident and most of all fly-fishing triathletes.  Well that is kind of awkward, but I mean girls who enjoy both activities, not necessarily at the same time. 

Sending her to school wasn't an easy choice because I know childhood only comes once.  She has a lifetime of achievement ahead of her, and I'd like to postpone the years of obligation and keep her care free as long as possible.  Yet this is what she seems to be wired for and I know it will make her happy, so I'll go with her feelings over mine.

SECOND of the Firsts
I'm doing 1/3 of a 1/2 Ironman.  So for all your math people, I will be doing 1/6 of an Ironman this weekend.  I was asked to be on a team with my neighbor and a friend.  My neighbor will swim, friend will bike, and I will suffer on the run. 

It has been a while since I did a stand alone half marathon.  I'm not nervous, just don't know how to pace myself.  I'm used to doing my best given I already swam and biked.  Now I don't have an excuse.

Also, I feel like I have to apologize to anyone that I may happen to pass and explain that I'm only doing 1/6th of an ironman. 

I'd much rather do the whole thing rather than just the run, but now it isn't all about me, I'm now part of a team and even though we don't have a cool name or matching jersey's we are a team to be reckoned with, at least until the run begins. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Perfect Boise Run

All week long I have been looking out my hotel window at the cross on top of Table Rock.  I climbed table rock several years ago and really enjoyed the hike. 

So today, my Beginner Triathlete training plan commanded me to do a 1:20 run with some sustained efforts.  It was the perfect excuse to do the Table Rock trail.

I ran along the Boise River Greenbelt and a trail that took me to the old Idaho State Penitentiary.  From this point, it was about 1.5 miles up.  It is about a 900 ft climb to the top which isn't too bad but it is steep.

I was rewarded with this view when I got to the top.

Here is a picture of the cross - sorry, it really isn't sideways but for some reason I like the ability to make it vertical.

I made it to the top in 35 minutes (3.5 miles) and then finished my run by going along the Boise river.  I feel really lucky to be able to do such a great run on such a perfect morning.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nice Surprise

I travel some and have almost gotten to the point of not bothering to bring a swim suit and goggles.  I went on-line when getting ready for this trip just to see if there would be a decent pool and couldn't even find a picture.  At the last minute, I threw in my swim stuff just in case there was a 24 hour fitness or college pool nearby. 

So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered the hotel had a pool. 

Not only do they have a decent (if a bit short) pool, but apparently, I'm the only one who uses it.  I swam this morning for 30 minutes and all morning have been working with a view of an empty pool.

The pool is about 20 yards long, has an unmarked bottom and becomes choppy pretty quick, but it is a pool and is mine, all mine!

Monday, August 22, 2011

I came back for more suffering

I did Boise 70.3 earlier this summer and suffered on the run.  That phrase could be used for practically any triathlon that I've done.

So today I had a chance to run in Boise again and decided to run that route again just to experience it again.  The run is along the Boise river and it was about 97 degrees when I started the run.  From my hotel it ended up being 6.74 miles and I noticed a couple things.

First, I could have used an aid station today, maybe two. 
Second, I didn't remember too much about the course but I remembered exactly there my girls and wife met me during the race.
Finally, I didn't seem to be having as much fun as the people floating down the river.  It was great to see families and groups of friends on inner tubes and cheap rafts floating down the crystal clear river.

I did have a nice run and started to feel the pull to race Boise 70.3 again.  Hmm...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The sweet smell of summer

For those of you that have followed this blog for long, it is already apparent to you that spelling isn't my strong suit.  I remember a teacher in the 6th grade trying to inspire me through competition.  I really worked hard but sat down on the first word.

I mention this because this blog entry was almost titled the sweat smell of summer which could also have been a great blog subject.  However, I'm just happy today because my run smelled perfect.

The black berries are out and I had miles of that warm sweat smell that you only know about if you live in a place being taken over by black berries.  Every once in a while I just reach out and grab a berry and I have all the race nutrition I need, especially if I eat a buggy one.

As I ran along the river and the small late summer beaches along the Columbia river I smelled sunscreen and then as I finished my run through the neighborhood, I started smelling grills and roasting meat.

What a great run, I love summer! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

How long before I quit blabbing about my knee?

I felt the first pang in my right knee during the run during Pacific Crest Long Course (70.3).  I was about 8 miles in and an hour into my run.  I later learned it was IT band related.

Since that point, nearly every log entry includes how I feel about my knee.  My knee was the focus at Vineman and I should have taken pictures of my knee as it carried me well through that race.

I've now run a bunch without knee problems.  Sure, I've been getting very personal with my foam roller and "The stick".  I also wear my IT band strap on my knee about 1/2 the time so it's not like my knee isn't a focus...but...

I think it's time I stop ending every run entry in my log with, "knee felt great".  I need a new closing line but I'm not sure I can pull it off since my "Knee Jerk, Knee Report" is kind of natural.

However, I will do my best to focus on something else, hopefully more interesting and funny.

On a side note, I just loaded my next 26 week plan which focuses on the Olympic distance.  Not that that is my goal for 2012, but it just kind of felt like a good way to spend the next 1/2 year before ramping back up to IM distance.  

It still is a bunch of exercise but most weeks is about 8-10 hours and will give me a chance to work on some speed. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Back in the saddle (or shoes)

Started training again today.  Not sure exactly what I'm training for but I really missed the routine over the past week.  The 1 week recovery was harder than tapering in certain ways because I depend on training to help me think and process so I feel much better today.

I only ran 4.3 miles and will be looking for some sort of rhythm now that my season goals are pretty much done.  I have an Olympic in a month that I want to be fast at and another duathlon in the fall.  Other than that, just more swim, bike and run. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Vineman Race Report

Fact:  I finished in 12:38:12
Swim:  1:13:19
T1: 4:00
Bike: 6:37:49
T2: 2:57
Run: 4:40:07
Bathroom Stops:  Approx: 7

Going into this race, I was flat lined a bit emotionally.  I know that tapering can bring on a bit of a depression but I wasn't really down in other areas, just kind of not hyped like I expected.  I think part of that had to do with the truth about my fitness being exposed to all, my self, my family and all the people that I've been blabbering about this race to both on-line and in person.  I wasn't sure whether I would need to find someone new to cut my hair because I didn't have a reason for melting down on race day.

I also had set a goal of 12-13 hours with a hope to be closer to 12 and a fear that things could blow up.  So I went into this race partially enthusiastic but also with some impending doom or foreboding. 

Race morning:  Crazy scene at Johnson Beach.  There was a huge line of people squeezing into a very small space and no one seemed to be able to wheel a bike, carry their gear, flex their muscles, while checking out bikes and competitors.  Also, I've never racked by age group and it was a bit weird.  Body marking is kind of hap hazard and a guy happened to be in my isle when I arrived so I was marked.  I set up transition, took a gel, didn't have water, sunscreen, wet suit on, posed for pictures for my dad and then went racing.  Not even time to think about that last little squirt at the potty. 

Swim:  Warm water, chaotic start, a bunch of bumping but nothing major.  I keep hearing about people getting angry about contact when swimming.  It was a weird the first time I touched the river bed.  It is fine pebbly gravel that really isn't painful to hit or even walk on.  As much as possible, I tried to swim but if I couldn't swim without dislocating my shoulder, I would stand and move at an angle to get in water that I could swim in.  I should have pre-swam/waded the river to find the deeper channels because swiming is faster and more fun than wading.  Also, on the Wednesday before the race, I had ripped my right big toenail back about 3 mm and it was tender and could easily get wrecked more. 

So I swam and swam, the back portion seemed deeper, I made the turn and then swam more and it seemed pretty easy.  I was passed some but noticed that I was mostly in a group of orange and silver caps which meant I was swimming with slower people from the early groups. 

I was stunned when I exited the water at 1:13.  My 1000 yard pace is 1:40 and so to pace the 2.4 miles at 1:45 and feel fresh was great.  I just took things steady and didn't let the traffic get to me.  Amazed to read how many triathletes feel angry during the swim.  The swim is what it is and wave starts mean that you will keep meeting people who can't swim straight and occasionally most of us (meaning me) will swim into the bushes.

Transition:  Not much to say except the carpet was small, people should stay of the carpet if they are going to walk slowly and no one should be allowed to stop for pictures.  Also, for those who recommend running up the hill, that is a great idea if you don't have plastic on the bottom of your carbon fiber shoes.  No traction and I almost gave up trying to get up the hill.

Bike:  Awesome ride, love almost all of it except for the constant exploding bladder.  I rode all on RPE although I did have my GPS.  I just wanted to ride fast but not at a pace that would cook my legs.  The ride was beautiful and the roads were interesting.  It was a great mix of winding narrow with some breaks on smother roads which allowed a bit less concentration.  The worst was the Chalk Hill Section on lap 2.  We had a some headwind, and the road is horrible.  Trying to stay on the elbows in the rough stuff to negate the wind was hard, especially after flying into Geyserville.

T2:  Once again, if you don't want a fast transition, get out of the way.

Run:  Not much to say except they had hills, it felt long and it took a long time.  I walked uphill and though aid stations that I used.  I just kept running at my "new" pace which is pathetic but worked.  NO knee pain or IT band issues.  Just fatigue.

Nutrition:  No problems except I stopped at   way too many potties.  My bladder was the most pain causing thing of the day.  I didn't have stomach problems or energy drops and even ate stuff that I shouldn't during a race like peaches.  I saved flat Coke as a prize for lap 3 of the run and it was good!

So, there's the report.  I will be posting another picture and video based report soon thanks to my brother and dad being a big part of my race day.

Mush:  My brother really made this race amazing for me.  It was a gift from him and his wife and he used it as a chance to get my parents out for a visit.  Being with family and having my girls with family really made the trip great and helped divert my focus.  My brother shot some great video (Yes he says the same thing each time he sees me) and their footage via the scooter makes me look really fast.

Finally, thinking about my wife and girls and then seeing them on the bike and run really helped me.  They have sacrificed for me to do this and I'm grateful.

Recovery:  I had an uncomfortable night on Saturday but since then, I feel pretty good.  I have climbed up and down stairs, with luggage and even though I'm tired, I'm not injured and will start swimming soon.  In fact, I've recovered so quickly that I regret not trying to go faster.  Okay, now I' showing off but I'm really more proud of the fact that I can walk stairs than my time. 

Conclusion:  I've worn the finisher t-shirt for a significant part of the last three days.  I feel good about my race and will soon pick a plan for my next.  My fears and doubt are gone, sure I have lots to improve and want to challenge myself more, but I am now and Iron(distance) man.  No one can take that from me, not even that small voice of doubt that I carry with me.