Sunday, December 28, 2008

Six Cruising Miles With My Daughter

Got one of those rare opportunities this morning to run with my daughter. She is a senior in college and is home for the holidays. Possibly her last extended vacation at our home. At least I hope she gets a job after graduation.... She is going to run her first half marathon in Houston in a few weeks while I am running my first marathon. This was her first long run after having her wisdom teeth out last week, we had run a couple of short runs but this one was her first long one in a while. It was so nice to run together, someone to talk to, someone to laugh with - just a great time. She has her last long run next weekend so we will see how that one was fine. I will run at least some of her long run with her next weekend so that will be some more "dad time".

Thanks for reading...I am going to try to be consistent in posting here so hopefully someone will find it interesting and/or useful.

See you at the finish line.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Loss of Memory Run and IMAZ widget

Merry Christmas....

Had a great Christmas morning with the family and then early afternoon went for a short run....3.0 miles...just to open the Endurance Nation Holiday Challenge which is a run every day between Christmas and New Year's Day. Tip for everyone...don't eat tons of food before a run....I was actually slower than normal. There is no record though as the old Garmin was full from the long run last weekend and I hadn't downloaded it yet so no record of the run today.

Also, check out my way cool IMAZ widget...that is about the extent of my technological know how....but I thought it was cool.

Merry Christmas,

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Last Long Run Before Houston

Yesterday, I hit the road for a long run. The longest of my life - both in miles and in time. I was scheduled to do a 26 mile run but had already reduced it to 23 since I have really not run much (nothing over 6 miles) in just over a month. The Houston Marathon is the third weekend in January so this was my last long run. I know a lot of marathon training plans don't have you run over 20 miles but I am really glad to have run 23. I know I can gut it out for 3 more miles.

I have run progressive long runs of 14, 17, 20 and 23. It is really interesting that somewhere about 80% of the way into the run, give or take a little, the mental side begins to take control. There is no doubt the joints, legs, feet and hips are hurting by then but the old nugget between the ears begins to rule. At that point I have found you just have to get it done. I was really wondering how 23 was going to be as the 20 miler was very difficult for me. I really felt pretty good (relatively speaking) when I got to 20 miles. Don't get me wrong, I was ready to stop, but I felt pretty good.

Ran a couple of mean hills in the last 3.5 miles so they really hurt. More than normal. When I got home, I immediately forced myself into my pool to use it as an ice bath. After about 15-20 minutes of that, I iced my calves and quads and laid on the floor elevating my legs.

Today, I feel pretty good. A little stiff getting out of bed this morning but it passed really quickly. Other than my knees being a little creaky and my hips feeling like they have a little sandpaper in them, I feel good. If you haven't seen the "day after the marathon" videos on YouTube, you should check them out. I didn't look like that - for this I am glad.

The next 3 weeks are taper with 7 mile long runs each weekend.

Houston here we come.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

IMAZ - ing

From watching Julie Moss crawl and lose control of her body all the way to 12 midnight on November 23, 2008 (or the 24th depending on whether midnight is the beginning of the day or the end of the day), Ironman has always intrigued me. However, it has never been more personal that being a Finish Line Catcher from 8pm until midnight. What an experience!

We went to IMAZ this year to see the event and get the feel for an Ironman. I am like many of you I think.... a year or year and a half ago I said, no no no, I would never consider even a 1/2 Ironman...I could MAYBE see an Olympic distance but all that other stuff is for weird crazy people... I think my whole life has been a big old, "never say never" but you all know that was coming. This year on November 24, I was back at the race site, standing in line when registration for volunteers started at 6:30am....crazy....and then I did it...I registered. I am in for IMAZ 09 - oh my gosh.....what am I thinking? Well, it is like this, I can do this. I couldn't even think of something like this 18 months ago and now I feel like I can do it. I couldn't today, don't get me wrong, but building a plan, executing and going for it on race day will be an absolute blast. And really, not very many people can say they have done it and that means something to me. In my work, to be successful you have to do the things that others are just unwilling to do - I feel the same way about triathlon - we are willing to do things others are not willing to do. And we do it - daily.

I have been taking some time off, just running some trying to be ready for the Houston marathon (I think I will continue my streak of never being over-trained...LOL). I don't think it is going to be a good chip time at all but I will have fun...I always have fun and it will be my first marathon. Once that is over, it will be time to really begin to do some training.

Checking out Triscoop and Endurance Nation and BeginnerTriathlete, there are several of us doing IMAZ should be a blast. I look forward to being back in that finisher chute in November 09.

See you at the finish line.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rock n Roll San Antonio

Man, I have been slacking....sorry I haven't been here in a while. There is a lot to report on tonight.

First, let me cover the Rock n Roll San Antonio. It was a very, very well run, huge marathon. My hat's off to the fine folks who put this race on for the first time this year. The San Antonio marathon last year had 5000 participants...give or take a thousand. The Rock n Roll marketing machine was overlaid onto the marathon and about 30,000 folks toed the line on a cold November 16, 2008. It was, as I said, very well organized and so well run (by everyone but I didn't have a great day but I did get to share in my brother's first half marathon and that was a treat.

I encourage all of you to take a look at a Rock n Roll event put on by Elite Racing...those folks know how to do this....they moved a LOT of people through the event very smoothly for the first year.....and the race bling is very cool...especially if you do multiple events.....if you do 6 of the 8 you get a super 6 medal which looks like the Superman S......very cool.

Then the weekend before Thanksgiving, it was off to Arizona....what's in Arizona you say???? Stay tuned, more to come.

See you at the finish line.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

d - o - n - e

OK, here goes....the whole enchilada....

The day dawned after only a few hours sleep....really anxious prior to the race. Woke up about 2am and then really didn't go back to sleep. Ate a peanut butter and bagel, a banana and a bottle of Heed to sip on prior to the race. Got to the site, shuttled to the transition area (about a mile and a half - more on this later), got body marked and went in to set up transition. It seemed I have never done a triathlon before, I had no clue how to set up my area. I didn't bring my own pump as they assured us there would be several there. There were, but they were all different than mine and I thought I messed up my Presta valve on my front tire - there's another worry for the day. I was already stressed about being in wave 14 of 15. The national anthem was sung and the pros were off. I got to see them as they exited the water before I even started. I commented that would be the last time I would see them that day. It was finally my start.

Now, here is where I begin to do everything I had planned not to do. They had figured out a way to make it wetsuit legal so I wore the wetsuit (I think they dropped a block of ice into the lake and put the thermometer on the block of ice). I caught a draft and held it for a large part of the swim. It was a triangle and in no time I made the first left, swam what seemed to be a short time and was turning for home. Swim time - a remarkable 32 minutes and change.....faster than either Olympic swim (I have some reason to think it may have been short but others felt their time was pretty close to right). That means - I went out too hard. Heart rate was a little high but not too bad.

Walked to T1 and took my time - and then it was off to the bike. I had driven the bike course on Saturday so I knew I would need my hill game. Not really any excessively long climbs but some steep ones nonetheless. Did I mention it was also starting to get windy? And they kept coming and coming. There is a final hill on the course at 55.5 miles that is the longest, steepest climb of the course. That was nice. I went out too fast on the bike, kept telling myself I was working too hard but I could not bring down the effort. HR was still below AT but a little higher than I wanted, but I felt really pretty good. At about 35-40 miles, I really started to feel my neck and shoulders.....sit bones begin to talk to me too. At 50 miles or so, I made a deal with my bike that if it got me home, I would not sit on it for 2 weeks -- it brought me home and then....the

T2 - pretty smooth - just took my time, made a pit stop and then off I went. Walked a little and then started to run a bit. I realized very quickly it was going to be a LONG stumble. I entered the world of math and began to do all the miles vs time calculations and knew I would finish unless I just died. I also knew it wasn't going to be pretty. I ran a little and then I would walk. A ton of the run was uphill and I walked virtually every uphill and tried to run some of the downs but I ended up walking somewhere in the neighborhood of 80% of the run. I think the effort on the bike cost me quite a bit of time on run. I really need to hang onto my plan - there's an understatement.

Here are the times:

Distance Long
Clock Time 7:22:19
Chip Time 7:22:19
Overall Place 1694 / 1929
Gender Place 1229 / 1313
Division Place 104 / 119
Swim 1 2Mi Rank 1134
Swim 1 2Mi Time 32:44
Swim 1 2Mi Pace 1:42/M
T1 Time 05:33
Bike 56Mi Rank 1594
Bike 56Mi Time 3:25:33
Bike 56Mi Pace 16.3mph
T2 Time 05:01
Run 13 1Mi Rank 1759
Run 13 1Mi Time 3:13:26
Run 13 1Mi Pace 14:46/M

I felt very good about my times up to the run. I felt I fell apart. Now for the excuses. At about mile 30 of the bike I really started to lose my stomach. I really couldn't get myself to take in calories. It was beginning to heat up (the high for the day was 94). By the stumble, it was just water and a few Endurolytes. My fueling strategy was to use Perpetuem on the bike - about 580 calories of which I probably drank 2/3s, I had also planned on a couple of gels to get me to about 760 calories over 3-3.5 hours. Also, sip on water with about a 18-20 ounce consumption per rest station - there were four and I would say I probably took in about 60 - 70 ounces of water through the whole ride. My plan on the run was a two hour bottle of Heed - about 400 calories with a gel or two if I preferred. Because my stomach was bothering me on the run, I took a gel at the end of the bike with some water. Other than that, I took a couple of swallows of the Heed but didn't feel I could drink more. On the second loop of the run, I tried some Gatorade Endurance and some flat Coke and even tried diluting the Gatorade with water but it still didn't sit really well. I was never really sick but my stomach seemed to be revolting or on the verge of revolt. Part of the run was on a trail that was very dry and dusty including a hill called Quadzilla - draw what inference you want from that was worse in reality. I doubt very seriously I drank nearly enough water on the run now that I look at it but I was afraid I had consumed too much. There were probably 15 aid stations on the run and considering 4 ounces of water per aid station that would be 60 ounces of water in 3.25 hours. Probably somewhat short for me, especially in the heat. What a learning experience.

And then the glorious finish line.....OH MY GOD....what a beautiful site and to hear the announcer proclaim my official finish. A medal around my neck, a Ironman 70.3 finisher towel on my shoulders, a finisher's water bottle full of water and someone to take off my chip. I was DONE.

I had a few bites of burrito, ate some oranges, drank some really sweet water ice - like a slush and drank a Diet Coke. I was beginning to feel okay except for my legs and the bottoms of my feet - Oh, the bottoms of my feet.

The only really physical pain was my feet were on FIRE. The balls of my feet really hurt and my toes had irritated one another in the toe box of my shoes. Got to solve those two issues. Every step was a message of irritation to the brain. There are a lot of steps in a half marathon....although anything 13.1 miles should NOT be called half of anything.

So what did I learn. I have to get my fueling strategy SOLIDIFIED. I don't know if it was the heat, the protein, the lack of consumption, the lack of water or what but I have to get it down, period.

I also must STICK WITH MY PLAN - I went too hard on the swim and bike. I think 5 minutes more on the swim and 15-20 minutes more on the bike may have saved me 30-45 minutes on the run. Not a huge difference but I think I would have appreciated running a little more than I did. That said, there were a ton of uphills on the run and I probably still would have walked most of them.

Those are my big two things learned.

After I finished, I was looking for Ray - my friend from Dallas who also completed the race. He finished 3 minutes ahead of me and was in the medical tent when I finished. He ended up with an IV for fluids. He said it was a big bag and he felt pretty good after he got it.

Since I couldn't find Ray, Debbie and I walked to transition as I was ready to get out of the heat. I sat on the ground to pack up my stuff. I was tired. And I had to get my bike back to the car - a LONG mile and a half away with two uphills....crap. I seriously contemplated just leaving my bike. Hey, I could get another one. Someone else might really need this one. Maybe they would find me. In the end, I wheeled it over, met Debbie and we headed out on the march of death to the car. She thought about crossing the road and catching the bus to the car and I decided if she was going to do that I could ride my bike back to the car. I know I promised my bike that I would not ride it but I lied. Sorry bike. I haven't been on you since. By the way, when I got back to the parking lot, I couldn't find the car. It took about 5 minutes of riding to find felt like another 56 miles. I got the bike loaded and then Ray showed up so we had to discuss the race laying in the back of his pick-up truck (we are in Texas you know so there had to be a truck in the story).

I was wondering if I was as dehydrated as Ray so when I got home I decided to weigh to see what the effect of the day was on weight. I had lost almost 10 pounds...that's too much - even for a big guy. I hit the water again to try to get the hydration in line as I realized I had not had a pit stop since 7:30 that morning other than the couple of ounces prior to the had been twelve hours. I am still down about 5-6 pounds but the hydration level seems right now from everything I have read. This is another reason I know the fueling strategy is critical to on-going successful effort in this crazy sport.

Recovery - drove home - about a hour and a half, stopped an got a cheeseburger, fries and a chocolate shake. They all tasted great. Got home, took a shower, then soaked in a cool tub for a while (not an ice bath just cool water) and then iced my calves for a while and my hammies for a shorter time. I cramped a bit through the night as I changed positions but more like a pinched nerve than anything else. Mostly in my calves and arches of my feet. I kept drinking water through the night. Monday morning I woke up and really felt about 80% of normal. I was at work by 7:30 and had a pretty good day. I wasn't quite spot on but was pretty close I thought given what I had done the day before. Today I would say I was 97-98% and tonight feel I am back at 100%.

Several people have asked if I will do another...first response -- "not today" but I learned so much and in both my first efforts in earlier distances I have felt about the same. The second efforts have been better so I am sure I will do it again. I think it is really beginning to sink in that I just covered 70.3 miles under my own power. Good gosh that is a long way...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

One week from right now....

One week from right now I hope to be finished....or dang close to it. With the minor nagging issues I have had lately, I have abandoned all thoughts of trying to predict a goal time. I plan to cruise Longhorn 70.3 as best I can. I have not been able to ride nearly as much as I would have liked but I think I will be okay. I had a nice short ride on Friday (which happended to also be my 49th birthday), then I swam a mile and rode 90 minutes yesterday. Today was a hour and 15 minute run and that pretty well does it. I have a 3 sport short run through early this week and then it is just spin a little, swim a little, run a loosen up run and then SHOWTIME!!

It sure seemed further away when I signed up at the beginning of the year but it has finally arrived. I am going to do my best to enjoy the day. Goals -- finish with a smile on my face and don't puke....

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Down to 2 weeks...

Did a cool 10.25 mile run this morning since I couldn't do a long ride. Felt really good surprisingly. I will swim and run tomorrow and then the taper begins..... Of course the taper for a HIM is still a pretty tough training week in my book. I hope to be able to be back on the bike sometime this week.

Please start shooting the good karma this way.....70.3 miles is a LONG way......LOL! Two weeks from tomorrow....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No this a new

And now for a little feel sorry for myself.... In addition to a absolutely horrid stock market - I am having a relapse of the infection that I suffered from 2.5 weeks ago. No bike per doctors orders until I go see him again on Monday. I had micro surgery yesterday and am recovering well. I am free to run and swim starting tomorrow. This really sucks. As strange as this might sound, I was really looking forward to this long week. I really like how a long workout makes me feel. So I am a little wigged out...imagine that....I feel I am fine fitness wise but my nugget (brain) is trying to undermine what confidence I have.

I do feel pretty good and honestly, I had no choice - there was no way I could get on a bike seat yesterday. I am also on some nuclear anti-biotics. The thought is I might have picked up some bacteria in an open water swim that is attacking me. The good news is that one of the anti-biotics supposedly makes you VIOLENTLY ill if mixed with I am likely to lose a few ounces over the next two weeks of medication. Also, with these meds, I am guessing that I won't get sick or suffer from another infection.

Pray for me......sTRIve.....17 days, 10 hours and counting

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Austin Triathlon

Today was the second annual Austin Triathlon. There was a sprint and an Olympic. Following is my race report. This was my second Olympic, the first being CapTexTri. The courses are pretty similar as they are both held right in the middle of downtown Austin, TX, definitely a triathlon city.

It is currently about 3:30 Monday afternoon and my day was excellent. I feel great....I feel totally recovered which seems a little odd but I could use a short nap from the early wake up call.

Time is my watch...but I think I am around 3:02....was hoping for under 3 but I will take was a non-wetsuit swim and I think my swim was the same as in May so I was very pleased with that - maybe that was my 1 or 2 minutes lost to no was average 19.5 mph unofficially and the run was about a 1:05, or 1:06. Again, it was a pretty hot day but did not seem to bother me like the one in May. It was almost the same course as the one in May so I think the comparison pleases me. I felt my nutrition was dialed in, which is why I feel very recovered now I am sure. So I got up, had a bagel and peanut butter and then a banana, followed by a little caffeine fix. Walked over to transition as it opened, got body marked and then set up my little was clean, I am trying to cut down the clutter in all areas of my life. I then walked back up to the room to relax for a few minutes. Back down with plenty of time to spare (I HATE to be late anywhere). Shawn Colvin, a country musician from Austin sang the national anthem and the open wave was off. I was in the fifth wave so I got to stand around a little and then it was into the water with no wetsuit - the temp was 78 so it was wetsuit legal however I made the decision to go sans wetsuit in case my 70.3 is non-wetsuit, I wanted to be comfortable with the swim. No real contact, no bumper bodies, no amusement park ride at the beginning so I just swam. I am pleased with the swim, felt good getting out, HR a little high but okay.

The bike was interesting. There were a couple of tight turns and a couple of turnarounds and a few gradual grades and one hill, I hit it pretty hard and am very pleased with what Polar says was my pace - 3:05 per mile - I will look forward to checking it when the official chip times get posted. I passed several people on the 3 loops and got passed some.

And then there was the run --- ah, the run. I came out of T2 at about 1:56 or 57 and thought, hey, let's see what happens. I knew the bike took a little out of me but hey, I like to ride. Heat was building, sun was bright, it was a beautiful day - so it was just left, right, repeat.......I really would like to see the halfway split, I am pretty sure I may have run the second half faster than the first but I guess I will never know for sure as I didn't hit the lap function on my watch.

Great party after with massage, ART Active Release Therapy, pizza, beer, smoothies, ice cream, fruit, Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies, etc. Put the bike on the back of the truck, took a shower, checked out of the hotel and headed for home.

Approaching the highway, I-35, we saw it was blocked and empty. So, slowly moving with everyone else on the service road, I realized it was for President Bush to travel from Austin down to San Antonio to make an appearance. He met with hurricane volunteers and evacuees in Austin and then in San Antonio (I think he also came to watch me participate in The Austin Triathlon - ROFL). Then, here came all the police, ambulance, bomb truck looking vehicle and a bunch of black suburbans, some with the back windows open and some mean dudes looking out backwards, followed by several press vans and then more police. That was cool, then the highway re-opened and we were able to get out of some of the traffic.

I had hoped to break 3 hours today but it was a PR nonetheless and I feel really good about how I feel now. Next up, Longhorn 70.3!!!!

What a great Labor Day!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

End of recovery week

It has been a nice recovery week. Just cruising through some short workouts and really enjoying them. I ran 10k today and felt really good. Next week really ramps up some volume so it should be an interesting week. There is some rain predicted for the area so hopefully it holds off so I can do the long run and long ride outside. I would be very very bored on the treadmill.

Next weekend is the Austin Triathlon. It is on Monday in downtown Austin. Should be a great race. I am really looking forward to it.

Was planning to swim Gatormania on Saturday but it was raining when I rolled out of bed so I bagged it. I am wondering how it went.

See you at the finish line.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Long Brick Today

Due to the Olympics, I have been sacrificing a little sleep to be a good American however I rolled out at 5:30 this morning to do it my workout before it got too hot. I had a great workout. One mile OWS, 1:50 minutes on the bike - about 30 miles with a LOT of hills and then a 20 minute trail run. The legs got to feel good after about 5 minutes and I felt very good after the run. I had a recovery drink and then ate a sandwich on the way home. I was able to do this with a tri shop here who has just started doing these Sat trainings at a local lake. So I have a chance every Sat to OW swim, bike, run or any combination thereof and any distance. They usually do an hour/an hour/and an hour but they are adjustable and met my schedule today without any problems. So here's the reason I share this with you, Debbie (Mrs. L.R.R) has been swimming since May (which incidentally is the first time she put her face in the water) and last night swam 1400 yards in a 200, a bunch of 100s and a few 50s. She went out with me this morning to try an OWS and follow with a short bike around the park and to run with me. The lake is 1/2 mile across - she swam ALL THE WAY across AND back. Her first OWS ever was 1 mile. I am so proud of her that I had to share that with you all. Now here's a funny, there was a lady at the lake promoting Gatormania - an OW race next weekend at the same lake. Debbie was like - I might want to do that. So who knows what we have created here. Thanks for listening and I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the weekend.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Jack's Generic Tri

I raced (if you can call it that) the Jack's Generic Triathlon today. Jack's is the product of Jack and Adam's shop in Austin - a great tri and bike shop. Their place is actually where I bought my QR. This was also the first triathlon I ever saw last year, other than watching Ironman on TV. It was about a week before my first sprint and I wanted to see what the heck people did and how this whole thing worked in reality, not just reading about it on the web. They put on a heck of a party and I said last year that I would be back to race this year. So here's the report...

Alarm at 4am...ouch. Left the house a little before 5 for a 45 minute drive to the race site at the Texas Ski Ranch. I got my packet, race number and chip, got marked and moved into transition about 6. I was set up by about 6:30 with the race start at 8. My wave started at 8:20.

The water smelled horrible and tasted worse...we both know you can't help a little taste here and there. The swim went well for me, it was 500 meters (give or take) and I came out of the water in 10:40 - a pretty good time for me. I got kicked in the head at the beginning and then got kind of caught up in a pack that I couldn't seem to get out of...finally, mud under my feet and out of the water into T1. T1 was 2:35. I really simplified my trasition area today. I went minimalist and I really liked it. Very clean and simple. I should have been fast in transition....that's free speed.

Hit the bike with a bit of a higher heart rate than I wanted but my plan was to push the bike pretty hard and just see what happened on the run. There were quite a few rolling hills on the course and it was pretty windy and exposed in a couple of areas. The final mile or mile and a half are downhill so that was fun...I was up in the 30s realizing that at some point I would need to stop and get off that machine. A good dismount and cruise into T2. Speed on the bike averaged 18.6mph. T2 time was 1:28.

My legs felt really good leaving transition. I hit the road and really wanted to get done. I ran a 29:05 run which for me was a great time for a triathlon run. I am not fast...will never be accused of being fast....but maybe someday someone will say I am half-fast....

A great triathlon, a great party and a great group of people. This one will definitely be on the 2009 calendar.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Still here....going on vacation

Wow, life gets in the way of the things we want to do.

Vacation coming up this week. Much training to do on vacation but it will be fun. We are headed to the beach. After I return, I am going to really work on the nutrition plan daily to try to drop a few more pounds prior to the HIM.

Workouts are going well. I did two bricks this weekend one a 2 hour ride with a 30 minute run and one a one hour run with a thirty minute run. I also had a long run this week of and hour and fifteen minutes and a lot of yards in the pool. Hopefully on vacation I will be able to get in some long OWS. I won't have the bike so it will be stationary bike, weights, pool/ocean and road/beach to run on....this should be a great week and a half. I am planning to get two good rides in before we leave mid-week.

See you at the finish line.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Less than 100 days

Haven't posted much lately. Work has been nuts and I've been trying to train as much as possible. I looked at the counter today and it says I am less than 100 days from I am glad it is not sooner. I still have quite a bit of work to do. The last three days I have really had some good work though so I think I will be okay. I have been having some issues with motivation. I am sure we all go through it but it seems that Friday really seemed different. I did a 30 minute swim followed by a 30 minute run and it really felt good. I had a 2 hour ride on Saturday and followed it up with a one mile tranisition run to shock the legs. Really really felt good after the work. Today was a one hour run. It was a good run and I have felt great today as well. Fortunately I have not felt much tension in the left achilles this weekend. It has bothered me off and on for a couple of weeks and I have really laid off the running as much as I dared.

I am focused for the week. Several good workouts planned. Have a good week.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tri It In Spanish Sprint

Wow... My sprint today was like every race I have done this year....HOT! However the run was a grass trail with some shade....spotty but covered about 30% of the course. It was really nice. The bike was 15 miles of rolling hills...big wind today too - I didn't really notice it until the turnaround when the about four miles it was right on the nose and hard.

The swim was open water in a water ski lake that several people had seen a couple of snakes in this morning.....those people included my wife. I convinced myself they were harmless water snakes and since I was number 33 into the water, 32 people would have chased them away before I got in the water. Near the end of the swim there was some tall grass in the water that kind of grabbed at you. That was interesting.

The half mile ride out to the main road was on a very bumpy patched asphalt surface that was pretty rough. Once out on the road, the ride was very nice. The drive was uphill on the way out which obviously means downhill coming back in....doing 20+ bouncing around was pretty cool....and a bit nerve racking.

I hit T2 very close to a couple of other guys in my age group and I knew I needed to get after the run (my weakest event) to stay ahead of them. They were on my tail the whole way and ended up finishing within about 30 seconds and a minute. I was pretty jazzed that I didn't get run down. I thought I had done pretty well in my AG but there were some added this morning that didn't go in the swim with us. As soon as I have final placing and times I will post them

This was the first race for Tri-sition Area, a new tri shop in San Antonio and they did a marvelous job. The course was great, the race started on time (big deal with me), and they had plenty to eat and drink post race. If you ever are in Texas and have a chance to do one of their races I highly recommend it. For a small event they had great stuff. The t-shirt was a technical, dry fit shirt and the goodie bag included a latex swim cap, a pair of Yankz! and some Hammer gel (apple cinnamon - which IS the greatest gel flavor ever). This was a great first race.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Bike Fit

Went for a pro bike fit yesterday. Wow, what an experience. The fitter and I spent almost three hours working on set up. This angle, that angle, this length, that length, pedal this, pedal that, how does this feel, how does that feel....

It just went on and on but when the position was dialed in, the feeling was really amazing. He told me I would know when we found the right spot - no matter what the angles, measurements, computer, manual, etc. said and he was right. And THEN we did more tweaking to be sure. What an experience. My fit ended with a test ride. After all I had heard about fits, I don't think anyone talked about a test ride. He said it was part of the deal...all that work had to result in a better ride. So a short test was in order. Man, it felt different. Much more powerful and comfortable.

All I can say is if you haven't done this yet, you should. I rode this morning (really couldn't wait to get on the bike to see how it felt) and then bricked into a run. Not real long, a 30 minute ride and 40 minute run but I can say my legs have never felt better coming off the bike. I will be anxious on a longer brick how it feels. I look forward to the next ride.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Big Weekend

What a weekend!

Friday night began with a mile swim...nice and easy in the outdoor pool at the club. IT was very hot last week and swim felt great. Nice and easy and worked right through it.

Saturday morning continued with the Real Ale Ride in Blanco. Blanco is in the HILL COUNTRY of Texas. It really is the HILL COUNTRY. The climbs in a 30 mile ride totalled over 1500 feet and there was one downhill where I clocked at 47.3 mph. The only time my bike has gone that fast is in the rack behind my truck. It was a tough, tough ride. Hot and windy. Why is it that most uphill are always into the wind?

Sunday morning was a new beginning. My daughter, wife and I all completed the Heart of Texas Sprint Triathlon in San Antonio. It was a great day and my daughter finished second in her age group. Everyone is well after the race.

The Heart of Texas Series is a set of 7 races throughout the summer that add distance to one of the three events every two weeks throughout the summer to the championship race. They are all held on the Fort Sam Houston Army Base in San Antonio so the course, while open, is very protected and there are numerous volunteers from the service. There were also at least two Intrepid Heroes as competitors. If you don't know, an Intrepid Hero is one who was injured in service and is re-habbing at Brook Army Medical Center here in San Antonio. Each swam, biked, and ran with a prosthetic leg. I will never be half as tough as those men. I have said before and I will say again, thank you for your service and your sacrifice.

CapTexTri 2008 Slideshow

Sunday, May 25, 2008

CapTexTri 2008

Capitol of Texas Triathlon - one of the biggest Olympic distance events in Texas (according to the propaganda) was held in Austin on May 25, 2008. It was my first Olympic. We arrived in Austin yesterday about 1pm or so and spent about an hour in line to pick up my packet. We then attended the rules seminar and the race course seminar, checked in the bike, cruised the Expo and then decided it was time for dinner.

The alarm went off at 4:15 this morning. Ouch. We were staying about 20 minutes from the course and with 2500 participants, 1500 in the Olympic, 700 in the sprint and 300 in the First Tri, I wanted to get a good parking place so I wouldn't have to hike miles after the race. Yeah, yeah, I know...I am an athlete - walk....but I will have just covered about 30 miles under my own power and to save a few more footsteps would be nice. So we got over to the site and scored a very close spot to leave the vehicle. Got transition set up and then wetsuited up for the swim.

The Swim
When I walked out on the launch dock yesterday, it seemed they had put the turning buoys way to far down the could barely see them. Well, not to worry, they will move them into position by morning. Not really, see, this morning they were still two bridges away. Yes, two bridges -- note to self, watch the pilings when you go under the bridge. The pros went off pretty close to 7 and I was in the third wave (this ultimately turned out very good as it just kept getting hotter). So it was national anthem, pros in the water and before you know it I was bobbing in Lady Bird Lake (Town Lake) getting ready to swim about a mile. It would be my longest open water swim yet. The gun goes off and me and about 150 of my closest friends get after it...bumping, smacking, pushing, grabbing, none of it intentional, just part of the process. I think it is really pretty cool. Soon you are out of the washing machine and just stroking your way up the lake. I am fortunate to swim pretty straight so I don't have to sight all that much and before I knew it, I was looking at the turn buoy - make a right here and another right about 100 yards further up and head back toward the starting area, make the right at that turn buoy and then arms are grabbing you to help you stand up and get out of the water. One interesting tidbit, on the return trip my left hand contacted something really hard about 18-24 inches underwater. Looking down, I was pulling myself over a block of concrete, looked like some kind of footing or piling for an old bridge or dock or something. Let me tell you, it was startling.

I had made the decision to walk the transitions ahead of time. As I moved into transition, they had us racked as far as physically possible from the bike out. No biggie, just more walking in my cycle shoes. I sat down to put on my cycle shoes and immediately got a cramp in my left hammy and calf. So I took some time and walked it out a little and massaged it some to try to make it feel better. Surprisingly, I never felt it again but it did slow down my transition.

The bike was a 4 lap ride. Yeah, 1500 Oly athletes on a 4 loop course....there WILL be drafting - no option. Someone said they had calculated that there was not arithmetic way that all those bikes could be in proper position on the course at one time. Needless to say, my third and fourth laps were really crowded. Less than 5 minutes into the ride, my Aero Bottle's velcro strap that holds it in the bracket came loose and out of the bracket. I almost lost the bottle and held it in with my left hand for a couple of minutes and then realized I was going to have to stop and fix it. Bummer, it cost me some time but I could not have held it the entire ride. That would have been miserable. The ride was really fast for me, over 19 miles per hour average. I also lost my little yellow bottle stopper thingy and also my electrolyte replacement pills so that really sucked as much fluid as I lost today. I paid for the lost of the electrolytes later and learned to have some spares in transition but they were gone today. All in all, even with the stop, this was a great ride for me.

About 2/3 of the way into the ride, I knew I would have to make a pit stop in T2. So I racked the bike, grabbed the hat and race belt, changed shoes, made a pit stop and started on the 10k run in blistering sun.

The Run
At that time, I was at about 2 hours racing and I entertained some thought of a 3 hour Oly debut. Then my body reminded me it was about 1000 degrees with 250% would be a slow run. It was a 2 lap run course with several aid stations. They added one or two yesterday due to the weather to the ones already planned. At one aid station, at Jack and Adam's Bike Shop, they were not only serving water and ice, they had the garden hose out and would hose you down as you ran by...that was great. Part of the run course also got you into downtown so you had a little shade from the buildings. The run was pretty grueling but all in all was uneventful, just hot and long.

So the final times were:
Swim 34:05
T1 5:51
Bike 1:17:50
T2 4:44
Run 1:13:19
Total 3:15:51

My take: I was slow in the transitions but with the cramp and the pit stop I guess I was okay. The run was painfully slow - I have always been slow but I think even with the conditions I could or should have gone faster. On the flip side, I was very pleased with my swim and bike.

I ended up toward the bottom of my age group which is fine, there are some very fast people in Austin and I was glad to be there and to play. I was ranked 833 overall out of approximately 1500 and I am cool with that too. I had originally said anything between 3:30 and 3:45 would have been okay with me. After the bike, I dreamed of 3:00 for about 8 seconds and then came back to reality. Looking at 3:15 seemed a little more reasonable so that became my target. All in all, I was really pleased with my time. There are always going to be those who are faster than me but I can honestly say I don't think there is anyone who enjoys the experience more. It hurts, sure, but I try to take in every moment and I encourage you to do the same. We really are lucky to be able to do this.

The event:
This is a very well run, large triathlon. It was a blast and I will definitely do it again. My compliments to the race director and all of his volunteers. After a rain out last year, they rallied beautifully to run an exceptional race today in spite of the conditions. It would have been nice to have a more spread out bike course, it got really crowded, but the urban nature of this event is really cool.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Time to go

Times Up!
The training deposits are all in the bank and now it is off to showtime. The time is here to enjoy all the sweat. All the "why am I doing this?" questions. All the "I could so be doing something else" comments. The FINISH LINE awaits.

The FINISH LINE! You probably know the feeling - the chute and the banner comes into view and a smile appears inside if not on your face. You know you have done it...let's face it, you knew you could do it, there was no doubt...or was there...just a little...maybe???

There is not much in life that feels like a FINISH LINE. If you haven't felt it - go for it - 5k, 10k, sprint triathlon, whatever. Just go feel what a FINISH LINE means.

See you at the FINISH LINE!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Almost there...

A great short run today but it was HOT! Mid-nineties...ouch. I hope Sunday is a little cooler when I finish. The only workout left is a 400 yard swim tomorrow. Almost not worth getting wet but I will....I really feel ready.

I look back to a year ago and am amazed at my willingness, or even excitement, to cover 32 miles, give or take, under my own power on Sunday. Then - 32 yards would have been a challenge. It is unbelievable what you can do. I have a friend who years ago shared the following quote - maybe it fits here: "The sight of the gallows focuses the mind."

Yesterday I received my XLAB Carbon Wing Hydration System from It is incredibly cool. I won't use it this weekend. I am following the nothing new on race day rule. But I can't wait to mount it on my bike. It looks aero in the cardboard box.

Happy Memorial Day Everyone! Please take a moment this weekend and remember the real meaning of Memorial Day and remember those for whom the day stands as a monument to their memory. My gratitude goes out to everyone who has served and all who have lost someone who has served. If you have lost someone who served, My thoughts are with you and I appreciate their sacrifice. If you served, Thanks for my freedom.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Let's Go!

Last big brick today.


Let's go race.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Did I do enough....

Well, it's time. All those interesting thoughts, "did I do enough?", "why didn't I train more?", "why did I skip those workouts?", "I may die", "I think I should bike 25 miles and run 6 miles each day this week to be sure I can" and all the other things that we begin to doubt as an important event nears.

Don't get me wrong. I can taper - I love to taper - I am a professional taperer, I had 47 years of tapering practice - I can do it to perfection. But DOUBT rears its ugly head trying to interrupt my taper. Get behind me Satan. I have earned my taper. Even if I am hurting in the race (I am going to be okay, right?), I am proud of my taper and am going to exploit it to the max.

Please comment and tell me that you too, have these thoughts. Please reassure me that it is not just me. Please. Now. Thanks.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Taper Begins....

I got my workout plan from Coach Annie last night and was shocked. The email said "welcome to your taper". I really thought I had another tough week before the slave driver let up on me. She's not really a slave driver but she is tough. (I put that last sentence in just in case she reads this...maybe she won't take it out on me.)

So, long brick today - hour bike and 50 minute run...race simulation. The weather was pretty tough - over 80 degrees, 75% humidity and winds 18-20. I hope it is a kinder, gentler climate in 14 days.

Long swim last night. Swam 2000 non-stop for the first time ever. I felt really good at the end and could have gone longer. I am amazed. In June of 2007, my first swim "workout" was 37.5 yards. The shoulders were a little tired last night but I felt great this morning.

See you at the finish line.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bike and Open Water Virgin Swim

We were out of town this past weekend in Southlake, TX, which is where we moved to San Antonio from a few years ago. Two work associates and I had a great 24 mile ride on Saturday in some rolling hills of Tarrant County averaging about 17 miles an hour. Then after about a hour break it was into Lake Grapevine for my first open water swim with another work friend. It was really cool to train with two guys who are virtual training partners all the time and we got to work out together for real. I think, while triathlon is definitely a singular, sometimes lonely sport, training with someone from time to time really is great. Ray and Mark and I ran last year in Chicago on the shore of Lake Michigan, we ran the Austin Half Marathon together (sort and 12000 friends...) and now have ridden and swam together too.

I think the tri community is really cohesive online and I really like the camaraderie. It is even a stronger bind when friends tri together. Urge your friends and/or family to join in. I cannot wait until June when my wife and our daughter complete their first sprint. What a deal!

I was interested in how the OWS would go. I really liked swimming in the lake. No line on the bottom of the pool didn't bother me. Not seeing very far didn't bother me, wondering what was swimming with me didn't bother me...I was pretty surprised. I thought there could be some issues, at least at some level. There really weren't. Now, that said, my next OWS could be freak out city but at least my first one is over. I don't have to ever do another first OWS.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Swim Milestone

This week included a milestone swim for me.

I was to swim a mile non-stop. In June of last year when I started this journey, I couldn't hardly swim 25 yards non-stop and my first swim workout was a total of 37.5 yards. Yes, that said 37 point 5 yards. Halfway up that second length I stood up to avoid a drowning in our club pool. I had "played in the water" for years and loved it, but I had NEVER swam more than one length of a pool and that had been about 30 years ago.

So while I have swam many many laps since and some long swims - 1250 yards or so - I hadn't swam, swum, swimmed (I never know which to use) 1760 yards non-stop. I told myself I was going to swim 36 50s, with a 0 rest interval. That seemed a little more achievable.

I started the workout with a 5 minute warmup - which for me is a 250. Then after a couple of minutes of telling my brain I would be okay, off I went. I did my best to relax and just extend and enjoy the water. Each 50 moved my water bottle or ear plug holder closer to finish. I must explain....I CANNOT keep count of my laps. If I try, I miss laps, forget the number, or convince myself I am really, really tired and must stop so I designed a very high tech, dual purpose, water proof, lap counter and hydration receptacle. I simply place a water bottle on a designated 2x2 tile on the deck and slide it over one tile per lap. Hey, it's not sophisticated but it works for me. Well, 36 tiles looked like a long way to move that bottle so I placed it at tile 18 and then placed the little plastic deal that holds ear plugs on the row of tiles below it...presto, the swim didn't look as long. I glanced at the pace clock and said, ok, swim 10 minutes straight and see how you feel, then it became 15, then 20, then 5 more, at 33 and change I was at 1500 which is the CapTexTri distance and I knew I would be able to roll another 300 with no problem. I finished the 1800 yards at 39:40...not the fastest by far but I made it....with fewer difficulties than I could have imagined.

There is NO way I would have dreamed of swimming a mile one year ago. I say that to reinforce that YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU DECIDE YOU ARE GOING TO DO!

See you at the finish line,

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

2008 Fiesta Wildflower Ride

This ride was held on April 20, 2008 in San Antonio, Texas. An 8am start was planned - temp was in the low 60s and the ride ended at about 80-85 degrees but loads of humidity. Original training plan called for a 2 hour ride today followed by a short run brick. Well, the ride went from 34 miles up to a 43 mile actual distance, so for me, it was about 2:50 on the ride and then 12 minutes on the run. It was a rolling course which included IH 35 access road riding as well as country road riding. The slideshow includes horses, cows, even buffalo. Our terrain is very diverse in a compact area as you can see.

The ride was well supported with Hammer nutrition as well as fruit, water, fig newtons and chips ahoy. The pre-race bag also included additional Hammer stuff.

There was a 25 miler, a 43 mile ride, a 100 km ride and a 100 mile ride. Maybe I will be up for the 100K next year. We will see.

I gotta look at getting a new seat....numb ain't fun.

Slacker...and the Lifetime Fitness Indoor Tri

Well, if anyone is reading this, I have not died. I have been remiss in my duties with my blog. Obviously, my masses have missed me. LOL!

On April 6, I participated in the Lifetime Fitness Indoor Triathlon. This was after an April 5 attendance at the Final Four games, so you can imagine my sleep was not as perfect as I wished but the games were awesome. It was my first time at a Final Four and it was cool.

Now, on with the race report...
My indoor start time was 7:20 central so I finished up really early this morning. A "tough three" this morning after the games last night. It was organized into a 10 minute swim, 10 minute transition, a 30 minute bike (calibration set on a spin bike with a computer attached), 5 minute transition and finally a 20 minute treadmill run. I swam 475, biked 14 and ran 2.31 miles. I am sure bike calibration was not totally realistic but those were my results. My swim was wild. I was in a narrow lane with a younger man who swam at almost the exact same speed so we were bashing into each other, kicking and hitting and forcing water into the other's mouth as we tried to was like a 475 yard open water None of this was intentional it is just how it happened - glad I could breathe bilaterally when it was really rough. The bike was simply a high cadence spin and the run was set it and hang on...I actually added a tenth each minute until I didn't think I could go any faster. The plan worked pretty well. I think I was 8th out of 24 men over 40 and like 25th overall. It was very well run. I think I will do it again next year. It was a fun hour long workout.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A test for tri we need a 12 step program


>You put your swim goggles on, just to turn on the lawn sprinkler.

>You assign wave-starting times for your kids to run through the sprinkler.

>You lay out your pajamas on a towel, transition-style, on the floor next to your bed.

>You eat over the table in the aero-position.

>Even during fine dining, you drink out of a bike bottle.

>Your church shoes are Look and SPD compatible.

>Your idea of candy is Powerbars and Powergels.

>You record nightly splits for getting ready for bed such as bathing, brushing your teeth, and putting on pajamas.

>You bring clip-on aerobars to the grocery for the cart.

>You do a 10K in a Speedo.

>You buy a car to match your bike.

>Your most important accessory on that new car is the bike rack.

>You wear a heart rate monitor to mow the lawn.

>You consider standing in the Communion line at Church as drafting.

>You require your employees to complete a triathlon for their yearly raise.

>You show up at a formal social function in a Quintana Roo Longjohn.

>All of your fine jewelry is made up of triangular shapes.

>You believe that golfers should have to swim, bike, and/or run after their golf balls.

>You believe that a weekly primetime TV drama should have a triathlon basis.

>You thought that Viagra was for keeping up with the race leaders.

>You believe that Disney World should have a Triathlon Kingdom.

>You believe that all motels should be required to have at least a 25-meter lap pool.

>You show up with your goggles and bicycle, at run races.

>You tell everyone that your athletic background is triathlon.

These first appeared to my knowledge on the Univ. of Saskatoon website. You may have more....let me know.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Other Commandments

I am sure most if not all of you have seen these however I just received them for the first time and wanted to put them up here so I would always know where they were.

The 53 Runner's Commandments
by Joe Kelly

1. Don't be a whiner. Nobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.
2. Walking out the door is often the toughest part of a run.
3. Don't make running your life. Make it part of your life.
4. During group training runs, don't let anyone run alone.
5. Keep promises, especially ones made to yourself.
6. When doing group runs, start on time no matter who's missing.
7. The faster you are the less you should talk about your times.
8. Keep a quarter in your pocket. One day you'll need to call for a ride.
9. Don't compare yourself to other runners.
10. All runners are equal, some are just faster than others.
11. Keep in mind that the later in the day it gets, the more likely it is that you won't run.
12. For a change of pace, get driven out and then run back.
13. If it was easy, everybody would be a runner.
14. When standing in starting lines, remind yourself how fortunate you are to be there.
15. Getting out of shape is much easier than getting into shape.
16. A bad day of running still beats a good day at work.
17. Talk like a runner. "Singlets" are worn on warm days. "Tank tops" are worn to the beach.
18. Don't talk about your running injuries. People don't want to hear about your sore knee or black toe.
19. Don't always run alone.
20. Don't always run with people.
21. Approach running as if the quality of your life depended on it.
22. No matter how slow you run it is still faster than someone sitting on a couch.
23. Keep in mind that the harder you run during training, the luckier you'll get during racing.
24. Races aren't just for those who can run fast.
25. There are no shortcuts to running excellence.
26. The best runs sometimes come on days when you didn't feel like running.
27. Be modest after a race, especially if you have reason to brag.
28. If you say, "Let's run this race together," then you must stay with that person no matter how slow.
29. Think twice before agreeing to run with someone during a race.
30. There is nothing boring about running. There are, however, boring people who run.
31. Look at hills as opportunities to pass people.
32. Distance running is like cod liver oil. At first it makes you feel awful, then it makes you feel better.
33. Never throw away the instructions to your running watch.
34. Don't try to outrun dogs.
35. Don't trust runners who show up at races claiming to be tired, out of shape, or not feeling well.
36. Don't wait for perfect weather. If you do, you won't run very often.
37. When tempted to stop being a runner, make a list of the reasons you started.
38. Never run alongside very old or very young racers. They get all of the applause.
39. Without goals, training has no purpose.
40. During training runs, let the slowest runner in the group set the pace.
41. The first year in a new age group offers the best opportunity for trophies.
42. Go for broke, but be prepared to be broken.
43. Spend more time running on the roads than sitting on the couch.
44. Make progress in your training, but progress at your own rate.
45. "Winning" means different things to different people.
46. Unless you make your living as a runner, don't take running too seriously.
47. Runners who never fail are runners who never try anything great.
48. Never tell a runner that he or she doesn't look good in tights.
49. Never confuse the Ben-Gay tube with the toothpaste tube.
50. Never apologize for doing the best you can.
51. Preventing running injuries is easier than curing them.
52. Running is simple. Don't make it complicated.
53. Running is always enjoyable. Sometimes, though, the joy doesn't come until the end of the run.

While some may think there are too many of these, they all speak to us all at different times. I try to read a couple every day....

I am trying to compile another list of commandments so if you would like to leave a comment with one or two of your own, I will harness them into a manageable list and publish for everyone. Come gotta be good for one or two....

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Blue Norther Duathlon - Seguin, TX

The day started early to drive out to Seguin for the Du. My SherpaWifeDebbie and our daughter rolled out early to make the drive. It was the first time my college Junior daughter saw me compete. They dropped me at the race site and went to pick up my sainted Mother who also had never seen me race (race - a term I use lightly) but has wanted to for a while. She wanted to go to the 12 mile run or the half marathon I did earlier but I convinced her a multi-sport event would be more fun as she would see me for longer than 10 seconds as I departed and 10 seconds as I finished. After the fact she agreed, but I think she did doubt me in the interim. She probably thought I was hiding some sort of cult-like behavior that was putting me in danger in some mysterious way.

Okay, so race report. Check-in was smooth and on time. Always a big deal with me. Got a great rack position for the bike and just hung out waiting for the crew to join me. They got back after making a DONUT run. Can you believe, they got DONUTS. The race was a 3.1 mile run followed by an advertised 13 mile ride (it was over 14.5) and another 3.1 mile run. The runs were two laps around the campus so I saw my personal cheering section multiple times. I went out a little hard on the first mile and really paid for it with a high heart rate the entire day - sheesh...when will I learn??? I forgot totally about trying to protect my calf but I went back to the neutral running shoes and while the calf was tight from the start it never cramped - it just kept me aware.

I got into the transistion area and apparently there had been some intergalactic phenomena because almost every bike was gone. Now look folks...I am a SLOW runner but this was crazy...there were some serious runners here. So I jumped on the ride and thought, "I gotta hammer." I was passed at about the 1.5 mile mark and was really ticked. What was wrong with me? I decided to keep the cadence at 90 and gear as I needed. The course had a few climbs but nothing ridiculous. I began to pass a few people (including the guy who passed me) and felt better. There was one hairy sharp turn and I ended up crossing onto the grass on the other side as I skidded around the corner...note to self "in the future, when the sign says "sharp turn - slow" it might pay to slow down a bit."

I roll back into T2 and felt pretty good about the number of bikes still out on the course. A quick transistion and off I went. My legs were really off. I think it had something to do with that first run but whatever. At the first aid station I poured a cup of water over my head and heard one of the spectators saying how cold she was and couldn't believe that guy just poured a full cup of water on his head. There was nothing cold about this body at that time. Temp was in the 50s or maybe 60 degrees but I was certainly warm by then. This run was pretty good - I want to see the splits but I think I did okay. I may have actually been last in my age group but feel pretty good about the effort on this day. I just didn't really feel I "had it". I am always slow, but this seemed like I was pushing a wheelbarrow of stones.

I was really glad to race in Seguin, as it is my hometown. I grew up right outside of town and went to junior high and high school there in the "city". Elementary school was in the country in McQueeney and then we got bussed into the "city". Seguin's claim to fame is that it is the home of the world's largest pecan. It is commemorated with a statue on the town square - back in the day, someone would wrap it up in a box with ribbon around Christmas and hang a huge to/from card that said "to the world's largest squirrel". This is truly small town Texas.

See you at the finish line.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Blue Norther Duathlon - misnamed

I cannot believe it has been like a week since I have been here. I continue to have a nagging calf muscle in my right leg. I hate injuries - acute or nagging. My calf seems to tighten up about 2.5-3 miles into any run. I recently changed from a neutral shoe to a stability shoe on the advice of a running store and I am wondering if that is the major cause. I have also eliminated just about everything else I can think of except dehydration and nutrition. I am going to really hydrate and also run in my neutral shoes and see it that does the trick. Maybe my stability shoes are too stable???

I am doing the Blue Norther Duathlon on Sunday. It is in the town I grew up in and I think it will be fun. It will also be hot....not much Blue was over 90 today and is forecast at 89 tomorrow. Sunday is set up for the mid to upper 80s so not much coolness once the sun comes up. It is run bike run so I hope the calf performs well.

Any other thoughts on the cramp would be appreciated.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

An Epic Swim For The Ages

In my never ending quest for motivation - how about this....

Scientists have tracked a Leatherback Turtle who has made an amazing 12,774 mile swim from Indonesia to Oregon. It took "The Little Turtle That Could" 647! So I did a little math...according to my calculations I think that works out to 1450 yards per hour or about 4 minute hundreds....not all that remarkable until you realize that would require the pace be kept up for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 647 days...miraculous! Assuming our friend the turtle swam 12 hours a day, it would have to swim about a 2:00 hundred pace....not much different than my pace. The turtle just had a lot more stamina that I do .... ( comments about that unless you can outswim the turtle).

So from now a turtle...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Another week

I continue my early training for the CapTexTri in May. It will be my first Olympic distance. I am only concerned about the swim and then, only what my heart rate will be when I get out of the water.

I am also going to go wetsuit shopping soon as I know I will be needing one this year. So far I have gone without one but I think I need one now. Any comments about brands or buying method would be appreciated.

Swim workout today which was really good but I feel like a bottle of Clorox right now. I think the chemicals were a little overdone today.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Four Days After - Smile not diminished

I really thought by now the smile would have dimmed however it hasn't. I just got an email from ASI and had a chance to look at their photos and it brought back some great memories. I have never ordered pics but I think I will for this one.

I had my first run today since the half. It was a short tempo run and it felt a lot different than the long slow distance I have been doing. I still have a swim, bike and a brick this week....which means, no more days off.

Next "A" race is CapTexTri in Austin on May 25 I think. I will probably do a sprint or two between now and then. I also have the LTF Indoor Tri in April.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

It Is Finished - in pictures

It Is Finished -- Race Report - AT&T Austin Marathon

The day dawned very early for this kid when the alarm sounded at 3am. I had two friends here and we were looking at a 1 and a half hour drive to Austin to the start. We rolled out of the driveway at 4am as the race director had recommended arrival at the downtown Austin location prior to 5:30am for a 7am start. There were 12,500 runners trying to get to the same spot at the same time. We found parking very easy and walked about 6 blocks to the starting/finishing area which stretched 6 blocks itself.

Attire for the day: shorts, technical long sleeve shirt, throwaway gloves (I MUST have my hands warm), my Saucony shoes (now retired from a lot of miles), shades (prediction was sunny), dri-fit hat and Nike "shox" sox (I really like these socks). I also had my fuel belt with my nutrition as I don't do anything different on race day if possible - I eat only what I ate in training.

Temperature at arrival was 45F and the expectation was to warm to about 54 degrees by my finish (the hour by hour forecast really helps). I also hung out before the start with a sweatshirt on that I was fully prepared to ditch along the road but I ended up giving it to the greatest Sherpa in the world - my wife - before the start. All three of us loaded Debbie down with some gear and off we went.

The first 3.5 miles were pretty much a continuous uphill climb (there is a youtube video of the course if you want to google it and watch a car drive the course). The full and half ran together for the first 9-10 miles so that was really cool. You were always surrounded by people, sometimes crowded. The course was lined with bands about every 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile and the fans along the route were fun and supportive. Then we had about 1-1.5 miles of down to flat terrain and then we started rolling hills for the balance. There were some incredibly steep hills after mile 8...while they weren't that long by time, they seemed like Everest in grade. Also every time you got to the top of one you could see your next one. There were a couple of hills that I literally ran from light pole to light pole to try to make it to the top before running out of gas. My reasoning was the longer I ran, the sooner the hill would be over.

Running back into downtown was a great feeling - knowing I was going to do it. I still had some gas in the tank so I ran the last mile or two at a faster pace.

My finish time was 2:15:37.

I really wanted to be inside 2:15 and was hoping for less than 2:10 but this was my first half and I went out very conservatively. Considering the course I am very thankful I ran it that way.

Here's a tip - drive the course pre-race if there is any chance - Youtube did not give the hills nearly the credit or attention they deserve.

Finishing was euphoric...especially as I was in the finishing chute - getting my medal and having the chip clipped off my shoe - the first marathon finisher completed the full I beat the first full marathon finisher by like 2 minutes....I was so proud. That dude had just laid down some 26.2 averaging less than 5:15....WOW!

Immediately got some dry clothes on - ate a half bagel, two bananas, a couple bottles of water, a bag of Fritos and then hit the Recoverite for some easy calories. I finished all that off with a well deserved beer - a Michelob Ultra - wow was it good!

We left the site a short time later after reveling in our success and lamenting the growing stiffness in our legs and the rising temperature for those poor folks still out on the course. Came home to a great hot shower, with a couple of minutes of full on cold water on the backs of the legs and then caught about a 90 minute nap.

A great day. A great finish line. Great friends who did it together.

Here's what I want you to remember. One year ago I had not even begun to work out. I was in the recliner. I tell you that for only this reason. I KNOW you can all do it.

If I can, I KNOW you can.

My legs are stiff but feel good. The accomplishment definitely outweighs the pain.

See you at the finish line.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Countdown

In March of 2007, I started to exercise for the first time in many, many years due to the discovery of some medical issues (full story later). In June a guy at the gym was going swimming after spin class - I thought he was nuts. Then he told me he did triathlons and I knew he was nuts. Then he suggested that I try one out. Nuts! I can't do that. intrigued. Then I did one, then another, totally hooked. I knew in 2008 I would do an Olympic distance, then came the crazy idea to do a Half Ironman distance. Well, that has a 50+ bike and a half marathon after a swim of more than a mile. I did a 50 mile bike ride to prove I could do that part. In one day and about 9 hours I will run 13 miles to prove I can do that part. Then in November I will put them both together with a 1.2 mile swim on the same day. Wow!

So the countdown is on -- about 33 hours 5 minutes and 5 seconds from right now. I am predicting a PR....big bet there.

Goal: finish with a smile on my face.

Plan: simple - left-right-repeat

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Last long run...

Today was my last long run before the Austin Half Marathon next Sunday. It was a 5 mile run and I ran in some hills here in San Antonio. A little discomfort from the tendon on top of the first metatarsal. A little ice and it feels much better. I re-laced the shoes as recommended by Dr. Allen and all seemed better. I think some time off the long run after the half will make a lot of difference for the tendon.

I feel ready for the run and am looking forward to finishing my first half.

I should get my training plan from my coach tomorrow. This is the first coach I have had since high school. This should be interesting. I am pretty jazzed about having someone to evaluate my training and discuss. I am looking forward to having even more confidence as race day approaches. I have always felt ready but that has been more along the lines of having simulated the distance. As the distances lengthen, that is more difficult to do.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A new chapter

Today marks the beginning of the Olympic distance chapter of my triathlon/fitness/running/swimming/biking lifestyle. I had my first long conversation with my new coach and am looking forward to a customized training plan. This should be really cool as the plan is specific to me and my goals.

A new pair of shoes was also acquired. They will be put to work after the Austin Half Marathon.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Athletic Supporters

Many of you may not have had the opportunity to explore this wacky triathlon world in which we live and play. My foot issues...chronicled ad nauseum below...have taught me many new things and reinforced others. First, you never quite realize the importance of an event until it may be taken away. Second, you can't believe the amount of support out there in this community.

I sent three emails to people I respected in the triathlon community. Coaches who I have come to respect. It amazed me that within 24 hours all three had replied thoughtfully and with care. Some with additional questions. You just don't find that "out there" today. I am impressed.

One coach also sent the email to another coach/podcaster who not only emailed me but then arranged a personal phone call to answer my questions and encourage me. To say the least I was blown away.

The take away - if you get into this game...get all the way in....jump in with both feet and the rest of your body. This community will support you. Thanks to all of you.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Not fractured

A crazy couple of weeks - I had a fourteen mile training run on Saturday and I was really worried. It goes back to the River Road Run and a sore left foot after the run. After no running for a week, last weekend a 4 mile run caused pain. I decided to keep trying for the week - no running, just cycling and swimming and then go ahead and try the run on Saturday...14 miles...a PR in distance...never been that far. So I took off and I am sure you all know, I questioned every step - does my foot hurt? Well, after adjusting my shoe every mile or two, at about 8 miles I had to admit that my foot hurt. I untied and re-tied the shoe much looser and it was cool again, my foot really didn't hurt...2 miles later, loosen the shoe lace again and once more 2 more miles in...the foot continued to swell, it hurt that afternoon although walking loosened it up. Sunday morning it hurt again. I decided I had to get it checked. So on Tuesday, very worried, I saw a sports medicine foot/ankle specialist. Turns out the problem was an irritated tendon on top of my foot along the first on. Maybe a little discomfort but with some steroids (I hope there is not random drug testing), I can run the Austin half marathon next weekend. I cannot begin to describe what this means. I haven't been this giddy about something in a while. I thought I had trained right, followed a plan diligently, and was going to have it yanked from my grasp. With one learned individual's opinion, I am set free to run again. I have never never NEVER run a half marathon and a year ago didn't realize it was even possible, much less would be looked at eagerly, as fun. I can't wait.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Another week...

Here we are, the last week of January, 2008. Another week gone by. More training done. A couple of swims, spin class and a moderate run. Three weeks from the Austin half. I would have never thought I would run 13 miles. 13 really doesn't sound that stupid is that's 13 miles...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

2008 is off and running

2007 was my first season of triathlon and it was a partial season. A couple of sprints and a lot of training. This year is an adventure into new territory....including a half marathon. Last Saturday was The River Road Run. Along the river valley of the Guadalupe River with a start temp about 34 was cold. It is the first time I have ever run 12 miles, a year ago it was hard to drive 12 miles. Well, I was treating it as a training run for the Austin Half Marathon but couldn't think about that at the time....My season is off and running.