Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Welcome back!

Christmas is over, Hanukkah is... well I have no idea if it's over because it's based on the Gregorian calendar so it changes every year. Ok, actually I just looked it up and tonight is the last day. Anyways, I don't celebrate it so I just brought it up because I like to be inclusive of those who indulge because of other religious holidays.

In all honest, this was the worst Christmas of my life. Rach and I are fine, and are happily looking forward to 2012 with little Stanley, but stuff happening around us on the holiday weekend made it out to be the worst holiday I've ever experienced. I know it's nothing in comparison to being homeless, destitute or hungry on any given day, but in my life being in that kind of situation is something I was certainly not prepared for. Worse, I find myself still angry about not only the situation, but specifically how my wife and I were treated on what was a family occasion. I don't usually get angry, and when I do, I never stay that way. I've done my best to let it go, but I haven't been able to, and don't see it subsiding anytime soon.

What I can do though, is move on. That's what is truly great about life. Every day, every minute, every second is a new opportunity to make a choice. So, while I have found that maybe for the first time in my life I can't forgive and forget so easily, I can choose to not dwell on it, and move forward. And boy, do I have some great things to look forward to!

- I get my first 2 weeks of planned training from my coach on Monday! So excited to start the new year right! We're going to miss doing the Lowell 1st Run now, but now I'll have training that day. We couldn't find a local race to start the year off, and I think that's been the biggest reason December has been such a challenge for me this year. I'm almost always training for a January race, and this year I didn't.

- I got $115 dollars in Performance Bike gift certificates for Christmas, and I have already put them to good use: I signed up for their Service Plan; for $80 I get 2 full bike tune ups, 2 drivetrain cleanings, and 4 flat repairs. I probably won't use the flat repairs, but full service without the cleaning is a minimum of $75 at most shops, and that never includes retension and truing of wheels, both of which are included at this price. I also got some flashy new red grip tape installed while they did the rest of the service.

I can't wait to take this sucker for a ride today!

- Stanley. This dog is a hoot. Every day he's doing new things, and as soon as he stops pooping behind the TV he's going to be a real winner. He seems to be madly in love with the space heater.

He will sit there and stare at it...

...until he gets tired and falls asleep, often belly up!


- Getting fit. I've never been more mentally prepared and well rested coming into a season. After pushing myself harder than I ever have and dealing with the issues of not reaching my goals, having some fun end of season races and a long break were EXACTLY what I needed. Im recharged and focused, and excited to start working hard again. It would have been nice to get to this point without gaining a few pounds, but I'll keep that in mind going forward.

- The new team. I'm still waiting to hear, but I'm really excited for the opportunity. I'm pretty confident this time that I'm a good fit and I'll get chosen. The app deadline was 12/24, so I'm guessing we'll know something in the next couple weeks. Whatever happens, I hope to support a great cause I'll talk more about once I know one way or the other about the team.

- Race schedule. I'll be talking with coach on Monday and one of the topics will be race schedule. I want to race schedule that keeps me busy but also is affordable. I'm racing Rev3 Cedar Point for sure. I'm still waiting to hear on if the XTERRA Tri that's been run in NC the past few years is happening again or not. There will be a few others thrown in, most likely including Rev3 Wisconsin.

- Page redesign - As in years past, I'll be doing the annual page redesign early in the year. Normally it's been December, but a mixture of transition and laziness have gotten in the way of that.

- Goals for 2012 - I have some ideas here that extend beyond race season, but I'll work with my coach on these as well.

- USAT Rankings - My final ranking for my 3rd season is a disappointing 44.3342. As I'm only racing me, it's disappointing only because it was a step back from last years 46.52845. It's still significantly better than 09 (~41.19) so it still shows the work I put in, and I think reflects a lot of the challenges I put on myself this season. Next season, this number will go up, and I'm shooting for a big improvement!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Why am I blogging on Christmas?

It's 7 am Christmas morning, and I'm the only one up. Florida isn't my ideal Christmas vacation spot, but we've had a good bit of fun. And while I've eaten to excess at a couple of family meals so far, I've also been pretty active, including a 20 mile ride yesterday. It wasn't very fast but it sure felt good to be out there, and I can't wait to get back out later today.

I know not everyone reading this celebrates Christmas, or maybe even any holiday this time of year; but it's still a good reminder that on this day we should reflect on the better parts of human nature; the want to give unto others (whether that means emotionally, or physically, as in a lightsaber and a tauntaun as my parents were so kind to ship to me yesterday) and celebrate our family and friendships with unabashed joy and affection (and with a little mistletoe, some kissing!)

Im determined to make this coming new year a special one, and I hope you all find ways to do the same. Not every day will be perfect, and there will be tests, bumps, roadblocks, struggles (ok, we get the picture!) along the way, but the more we can make each day like Christmas day (about receiving presents and excessive eating! Oh wait, I meant, about giving to others and excessive eating... ah you get the idea) the better we'll each be mentally and emotionally, which means we'll have all the fuel for the fire we need to push our bodies to new places (the breakfast buffet... Ok, yes, I'm HUNGRY... when is everyone else going to wake up??).

In closing (before I start raiding the fridge and pounding on bedroom doors to start waking everyone up); I hope you all get everything you asked for this holiday, most especially the warmth of family and friends (and maybe that of a winter riding jacket as well)

Happy Holidays everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2011

I've got a coach

The lack of reading material from this particular source is about to end. You see, I can officially say I now have a triathlon coach. I took a couple weeks and did a LOT of looking. At least 30 different websites, all the local coaches (there's even one only about 15 minutes from our house in Rural NC), 2 different coach finders list (trifind, which is woefully out of date, and Slowtwitch), and in the end I found a coach who has the skill set & experience I want, and fits our budget. During our first phone call, we seemed to be on pretty much the same page in terms of how we view training and what our expectations will be of each other. 

My coaches name is Colleen Kelly PhD (I continue the trend of surrounding myself with intelligent, educated women). She's an associate coach with CoachTroy.com. If you've done a WTC race, ever walked into a Lifetime Fitness gym, or ever picked up a copy of Spinervals, you may recognize the name of Coach Troy. Regardless, Colleen has been coaching triathletes for over 10 years, and also coaches with a Master swim team. I'm mega excited to start working with her on 1/1/2012. I look forward to her kicking my butt. We're going to be working together to expound on my race season as well as helping to dial in the performance goals and finding out exactly what I can. I've never really pushed myself to go that much faster or that much harder, and now I have someone who can help me truly understand how to get where I'm going. I'll get updated training plans every two weeks with some good feedback and dialog along the way.

My next big news is still in the hopper for a bit longer. I won't know if I made the team I applied for until the week after Christmas at the earliest. I really hope I make it. Unlike Team Rev3, I don't think I'll know anyone on the team but there's more going on than just Triathlon with this team, so I'm pretty hopeful.

Rach and I are going to be spending Christmas in Florida, so while I'll be busy the next couple days with work, expect pictures from a very non-White Christmas. Oh, and while I'm sure working hard during the day, and fitting in some workouts as training is slowly heating back up, I've also been enjoying one of my more sedentary passions; video games. In case it wasn't clear from the "Luke Skywalker, Triathlete" post from a few weeks ago, I'm a giant Star Wars nerd. And this week, the Star Wars game I've essentially been waiting my whole life to play finally came out. So I've been devoting some serious time getting my Jedi Knight skills on in a Galaxy Far, Far away. As I write this the official launch is just about to happen, so I better go play...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fingers crossed

You haven't heard a lot from me lately. I've been waiting for news on a few different fronts. And I'm still waiting, so I don't have a lot to report other than I added a new one to wait on; I picked a coaching group and have inquired about a coach within the group. I found an affordable plan with one on one support and training plan updates every 3 weeks. Once we know which coaches are taking on new people, I can make a decision and get started. I hope to make progress on this while I still wait to hear about the team I applied for and a couple other things I've got cooking as well.

Speaking of cooking, I've been doing a lot more of that here at home, preparing more meals at home whenever we're not out at a holiday party or event. Plus, Rach will be leaving for a week with her basketball team on Saturday, and I want to be able to say I didn't eat out once the entire time she was gone. I'll be joining her in Florida for Christmas with her parents the following weekend, and I'm sure I'll have to eat out at least once on the trip down.

My training has been pretty light lately, but I'm ok with that. I'll get a plan from my coach once it's settled and follow it to the letter. 9 months from yesterday until my next 140.6 attempt, and I'm starting to get fired up for it. I've been getting more sleep as the dog can sleep through the night more, and that's helping a lot. Work has been busy enough to make the days seem to fly by, which is great when you're eager for Christmas, but not so great when there's precious little daylight for exercise.  The weather here has been cooler than I thought it might be but it is winter after all. It's still warmer than winters back in Michigan, Ohio or Boston.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

gratuitous puppy pictures!

But first todays update

I went 96 hours straight without a bad food choice before caving into pizza cravings tonight. Back on the wagon in the morning it seems. 4 days isn't too bad, and I'm going for at least 5 next time. We're going out for dinner with Rach's co-workers Thursday night so there will be a little challenge, but I'll find a way to stay within points. I still don't have a training plan in place yet, as I continue to search for a coach and wait to hear back on the team application. I'm going to find an off season plan to follow, and take the first steps while I'm waiting for everything else to form up around me.

What I really wanted to share with you though are these great pictures of Stanley from his first ever trip to the dog boarder for vacation over Thanksgiving.

Here's the star of our show, getting used to his surroundings

I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille

I'm plenty tall, see?

Rollin with my homies

Kings of the schoolyard

Stanley's first chance to be the Big Dog.

 He's going back at Christmas, can't wait to see what fun he has then

Monday, December 5, 2011

I've been busy

Work has been really busy the past couple weeks, with a lot of learning and lot of full days. I've gotten behind on my writing, and pretty much everything doesn't involve work or being with Rach and the puppy.

I think it's fair to say I was burnt out after a long season. I rarely swam training for the last two races and my running; I really didn't train much for either of the Thanksgiving 5ks. Saturday, Rach talked me into a ride and by the time we were done with 10 miles, I was feeling quite a bit better. Sunday, I took the mountain bike over to the closest trail and gave it a go. The trail was intermediate and I'm a beginner. It's fairly  I spent 12 minutes riding, 5 minutes walking hills I couldn't ride up, and 3 minutes yelling "oh shit" when I was riding along some sections that were more than a little nerve wracking. I am definitely going back. If it wasn't 30 minutes away, I'd go more often.

I was a bit disappointed to learn I didn't make Team Rev3, but I had a great discussion with their team leader and I understand a lot more about the choices they make. They've made great picks with everyone they've selected and I'm mega happy to several of my friends are now on the team. They aren't just great brand representatives, they're a lot of really good athletes on that team.

Fear not, though I have found a backup plan that is maybe even better than if I'd made Rev3. I've been told unofficially that it's safe to talk about, but I'm waiting for official word to announce it so as not to jinx it. If it works out, it's going to be the cherry on top of what we're planning as a great season. Now I just hope this 60 degree weather sticks around for as much of the winter as it wants.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I need a triathlon coach... now

I've been lacking motivation. I've been frustrated with my weight loss, or lack thereof. I've been tired. I've been putting off restarting training. I have some great news about my 2012 season, but it doesn't mean much if I don't start getting ready for it. It really won't matter.

I'm ready to start working. I'm ready to finally get rid of the extra weight that's been stopping me from being fast like my friends. I'm ready to stop making excuses for why I can't do things; why it's so easy for me to take the easy way instead of the right way. I'm ready to be the confident, fun, happy person I was the season before last, who pushed his boundaries, raced hard, but never took himself too seriously.

My last few weeks haven't been without progress. The race in Raleigh was a fun challenge, and the 5k in Toledo was my 3rd time doing, and I beat my best previous by 1 second. A small difference, but on only 3 1/2 hours sleep I am very happy with how it went. I'm ready to acknowledge that every 1 second I take off a run is progress, regardless of how long it took to earn or how much suffering went into it.

Speaking of suffering, I'm ready to suffer. I probably shouldn't put it where my new coach can read it, but I am ready. I can't imagine how much suffering it will take to lose 100 pounds, but I'm ready to do it. I'm ready to sacrifice, in terms of time and yes, even food. Whatever it takes to get better, faster, and most importantly, lighter.

Because I'm finally ready (I just hope my coach is).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving

I know it's a cliche but I truly am thankful for the blessings and friends in my life. I had a great day Sunday; Rach and I ran the Wake County PTA 5k, and then had a terrific Thanksgiving dinner.

The race was a cross country trail run, in 80 degree heat (in November no less) and very hilly and challenging, but a lot of fun!! Tons of kids were running, which was a lot of fun to watch, and gave me plenty of slow parents to beat. Rach placed 4th in her age group barely missing the podium. It was great to see all those kids running as part of various schools healthy life initiatives. I realized I rarely compete against my peers (slow tall fat guys) and when I do, it's cool to be seen by some of them as fast.

Dinner was amazing, and Rach took some great pictures but the big moment was when I set the rolls on fire in the oven. The box that brown and serve rolls come in says its safe to go in the oven. Not our oven. Actual fire. Replacement rolls made up for it, but couldn't compare to Rachelle's sweet potato souffle.

Speaking of my sweet potato, Rach is travelling with the women's basketball team to Atlanta, and I arrived yesterday in Michigan for time with my family. Tomorrow morning I've got another 5k and then a full day with the family.

I hope you enjoy the holiday and the weekend with your family

Friday, November 18, 2011

Furry Friday Fun

It's been a pretty good and quiet week. I go home next week for Thanksgiving, and I can't wait to spend time with my family, run the Thanksgiving 5k, and eat some turkey. Before then I'm going to run a 5k and eat some Turkey. Confused? Rach is going to be away with her basketball team on Thanksgiving, so we're celebrating our holiday traditions this Sunday with a 5k followed by traditional Thanksgiving dinner Sunday before I get on a plane Monday morning.

The best part of this week has been the excitement of watching Stanley learn and grow. So much can happen in a week!

First, he got a job as my office manager, as shown in this picture of him keeping a watchful eye on me at my desk.
That disapproving look is because he doesn't think pajamas are office appropriate
Once satisfied I was busy with the tasks at hand for the day, he went about the work of every manager:
At least he has confidence I'll get my work done
Apparently, sleeping and eating and playing and pooing isn't enough for a puppy on the go these days so he decided to take up flying, shown here in high speed because I don't know how to use a video editor properly.

Finally, I lost 1 1/2 pounds this week and ran a three times. Not quite as much as I wanted to, but more than I thought I might be able to being as swamped with work as I was earlier in the week.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Luke Skywalker would have been an awesome triathlete

When I was growing up, all I really wanted to be was this guy:
I even still have the haircut
Somewhere along the way, instead of becoming that guy, I became this one:
I think he's placing a pizza order into the microphone
As I look back at last season I have a lot that I'm really proud of, and some things that I wasn't as pleased with. The focus on training for Rev3 Cedar Point was such a new experience, and looking back, physically I believe I was capable of completing the distance. The problem I had was that when it came to both training and racing is that mentally I couldn't bring myself to truly believe I could do it.


Yoda is always right, and this is no different. I worked hard, but not hard enough. To paraphrase the Master himself, too often my mind wasn't focused on where I was, what I was doing. I let myself be too easily distracted from the bigger picture by things that certainly don't matter as much as my health and my performance goals. It was a tough lesson to learn learn at my A race for the season, but I'd much rather get something out of it than not. 

Plus, it's a lot better than having your hand chopped off
There's a lot to the idea of fake it until you make it, and that's what I'm planning on doing on the days my attitude and willpower aren't where the need to be. I could try doing Jedi Mind tricks on myself, and dipping the fridge in carbonite.Of course, you can't fake the work it takes to train, so that part I'm gonna do for real.

What do you mean I got a 2 minute drafting penalty?
Notes:

- I got my blood test results back from my physical. My blood sugar was very good, my triglycerides were very good, my overall cholesterol was good, and my good cholesterol was dramatically improved. My LDL, or bad cholesterol was just a very tiny bit high, but the doctor said not to worry about it, as I had eaten pretty poorly coming out of Shipwreck leading up the test, which likely causes the small spike. 

- I bought a groupon for a sports shop in Raleigh and it turned out to be the tri shop that runs Beach to Battleship. They were having a huge sale, and we got Rach some new $100 racing shoes for $40. Plus I finally got my hands on some strawberry Honey Stinger Waffles and a new 

- I ran Monday, but had a serious work deadline Tuesday and the Drs appointment Tuesday plus the lack of daylight and no lights on our busy road, I'm back on the road again Wednesday. 

- I sent out a couple emails to potential coaches today. I want to have the coach in place by sometime in December so our planning and training for next season can get into full swing.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Course Correction

I've always been an extrovert. It was my primary defense mechanism  when I was picked on pretty heavily as a kid (today they'd call it bullying). I've more than once been guilty of speaking before I put thought into my words. But I also have an introspective side, and I've been doing a lot of thinking about my season and something a few of my friends have mentioned to me.

When I first got into triathlon, I had just two goals; I wanted to lose some more weight, and have a way to ride my bike competitively because I wasn't fit enough for road bike racing. Somehow during the past two seasons my goals changed away from just the enjoyment of competing and training, to what I can get out of it (Sponsorship, etc). If I'm going to reach those goals I set all the way back when, I need to simply let go of everything else as a goal, and focus on just the enjoyment of being outside, doing a sport that I love.

That's not to say I can't enjoy some perks of my efforts both in terms of activity and blogging. Just last week I was able to redeem 1000 points on earndit for a $100 Bonobos gift card that I turned into 2 awesome pair of shoes. I also redeemed another 300 points for some Bulldog skin care products. If you aren't using this site, especially as a man, and you work out with a GPS or other tracking device, you can rack up some serious free stuff. And now that they've added challenges, there are even more chances for people doing high mileage training to earn some great free stuff.

And I still hope to be a member of Team Rev 3, though admittedly the competition seems to be more fierce than I had anticipated. More than 600 applicants, including a lot of amazing athletes and even the spouses of pro triathletes as we witnessed in today's announcement of Rich Allen's wife as the next member. Only 1 in 30 will make it, but if I do, I'm going to use the support I'm given to focus clearly on those original goals I set way back at the beginning of all this.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Too much stress, not enough training

So I've got some stuff to share, and not all of it is pleasant. It's been a challenging week here, to say the least, but things are looking up!
  • When I was on my way home from Shipwreck Tri, Rachelle called to tell me that she had just spoken to her mom, and after 28 years of marriage her parents are getting a divorce. There's a lot of shock involved as they had generally been seen as a very happy couple, and it hit Rach pretty hard. She's an amazingly strong person, and she hasn't buried her face in a quart of ice cream, so I think she's working her way through it. I'm doing my best to be supportive, and I think there will be some retail therapy in her future this weekend.
  • Yesterday, there was a lock down situation at Rachelles work. A student who lived in a standalone house on campus was being served warrants at his home barricaded himself inside the house with weapons and explosives. Rachelle's primary office was less than 100 yards from the house. She was fortunately slightly further away during the incident. Some buildings were evacuated and roads into the campus were blocked off. When she first texted me, she believed there was a sniper on the loose on campus, and only through contacting the sheriff and calling the TV station was I able to get the true details and get them to her. It was still quite scary though, and probably the most surprising part is that we lived in Boston for two years with only our bikes being stolen but we come to podunk, North Carolina and deal with something like this.
  • Between recovering from Shipwreck, the stress of this weeks events, and lack of sleep from taking the dog out to go to the bathroom every three hours, I've been exhausted all week. Thus I haven't been doing a heck of a lot of training. My eating hasn't been exactly great either, but I've definitely been conscious of that fact, and I've been actively working on it. I'm determined to reduce my soda intake to that of only the very occasional, and to delete diet soda from my diet entirely. It's a big step, but I think an important one. I've got bottled water and a little G2 around, and a small bottle of Diet Mt. Dew for when I really need it, because cold turkey is hard.
  • Rev 3 begins announcing the new team today. They're announcing one new member a day for the next couple of weeks. I'm really hopeful I have been chosen, but if not I'm just glad Mandy AKA Caratunk Girl thought enough of me (and Rach) to recommend me. I've made some amazing friends in my life and I feel like that's only increased since I started doing triathlons. Wish me luck, it's going to be a nervous few days.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Race Report: Shipwreck Triathlon: with pictures and a podium!

Saturday was the last race of a very challenging, but successful triathlon season. With back-to-back DNFs in my big goal races, I learned that I hadn't bitten off more than I can chew, I just didn't do quite enough chewing. Even with "failures" in my "A" races, I had the itch to get back in the saddle. One of my primary goals each year is to improve my USAT ranking, and you need 3 completed Tri's per season to earn a ranking. When I got through Rev 3 Anderson, I just had to go get that last race in, and when friend of the blog Derek mentioned the awesomely named Shipwreck Triathlon on the NC coast, I knew I'd found my race.

My original plan was to bring Rach and Stanley the pup out for our first family trip and spend the rest of the weekend checking out beaches and lighthouses. Unfortunately, Rach had to cover men's basketball practice, so I took a half day Friday to make the drive out more enjoyable and turned it into a one night vacation. On the trip out there, I hit the USS North Carolina, the battleship of Beach to Battleship fame. It was pouring when I got there, so I didn't take the tour, but I did buy an actual piece of the ships decking used during WWII; taken off when it was retrofitted in the 90s.

Big ship, but what does the sign at the bottom say?
You'd think they'd just use the battleship to fix this problem
Then I headed over to check in, and let me just say it's a good thing I knew ahead of time that the GIANT BRIDGE over the intercoastal waterway wasn't part of the bike course, because I might just have peed all over my rental car seat if it was. I scoped out the course, which was every bit as flat as they advertised. The weather on the other hand was pretty dreadful, and not at all looking great for race morning.  

The gorgeous view of the bad weather from my room
Race morning, I woke up to this:

This is what all race mornings should look like
Over at the race, I met Bob and Alan (and Alan's wife whose name I have totally forgotten; because I'm a terrible person) from Beginner Triathlete who were hanging out when I went to see the swim start. It was nice to see friendly faces, and learn more about the area from a local. I had some pretty strong goals, but I also realized standing there on the sand before the race that I hadn't swam in seas this choppy in quite a while. 

Pre-race camaraderie, and the big dude needs a haircut
The Swim: After Cedar Point and Anderson I talked about needing to focus more on the swim in order to be stronger getting on the bike. I sort of did the opposite of that in preparation for this race. I've hardly swam since Anderson, and I think I went in overconfident. 1k swim? I've done almost 4k this year at least twice, but not in 2 foot seas. The water was 68 degrees, but it felt much colder and I had trouble catching my breath from the minute I hit the water. My sighting wasn't great and in general this is one of the toughest swims I've ever done. It wasn't long it was just really hard. I wasn't last out of the water, but I was way slower than normal, and that's before a decently long walk from the water to T1.

This might be the coolest picture of me ever
Swim Time: 35:43

T1: I lost a minute because I forgot to take off my watch before removing my wetsuit, and the hard swim definitely slowed me down. Not my worst T1 of the season even, but definitely need to work on the swim so as to come out of the water strong.

T1 Time: 5:54

The Bike: Almost totally flat. I mean the elevation change was less than 15 feet for the whole race. Being on the bike felt really good for the first 4 1/2 miles... and then you turn around and ride right into the wind. The tailwind wasn't very strong because it wasn't blowing from directly behind, but the headwind felt like it was coming right at you. Of course it was worst during the last 4 1/2 miles, but honestly I felt pretty good for the better part of the ride. I had hoped to average 15 MPH, and I came very close to doing so. A little less wind and I'd have gone a lot faster. I was the slowest bike time among men, but by just over a minute, so I felt like I hung in there pretty well.

Almost back to T2
Bike Time: 1:13:58

T2: This is the best T2 transition I've had in a real long time, maybe ever. I was off the bike and on my way out smoothly and easily, and even with a few second delay to reset my Garmin to run mode. This was a significant improvement, and maybe the area I'm most proud of in this race.

T2 Time: 1:40

The Run: The run was almost entirely a walk again, as the wind took quite a bit out of me. I ran a couple of minutes total, but managed to walk just under 4 MPH, and finish at just about the pace I expected to. I knew I needed to keep working on my run long before this race, but I also learned that my math needs some work too. Somehow I thought 8k was 4 miles, so I guess I need to make sure to convert km to miles before I plan a race.
Bob got some great photos including me crossing the finish
Run Time: 1:10:03

Total Time: 3:07:17

The best part is that with a small field and a flat course I was in competition for a podium the entire day, and as it turned out I came in 3rd place Clydesdale. I know it's not a big deal, but it sure felt like winning a major award. A great way to finish the season for sure. I'm so pumped for next season already.

Me at home recovering with my sweet reward in hand

Thursday, November 3, 2011

drinking and sleeping

Somebody is drinking plenty of liquids and getting lots of sleep in my house...

... sadly it isn't me.
I was reading the other day that it takes 4 days to properly hydrate leading up to a race, and so it's no surprise that someone with my sweat rate (roughly 8 gallons per hour), it's something I need to be concerned about. I know my race is just a long sprint, and the weather is cool, but I've been drinking a 32 oz G2 every day this week to supplement my normal fluid intake.

After the horrendous day Tuesday, I had a very good Wednesday and a pretty good Thursday in terms of both training and food intake. My Tuesday run was a tougher one, I tried a 2/3 run/walk interval set, and I got through 4 intervals before I had to drop back to 1:30/3:30. When I got on the bike Wednesday, my legs were absolutely dead. I pushed through the first 30 minutes at a good tempo, and wound up doing better than usual on one of my Strava climb segments, but after 30 minutes I was good and tired, so I cut the ride short. I'm not concerned about the ride distance, and if anything my improved climbing should help with my endurance on what is said to be a very flat course.

As for goals, I'm not sure what to think. The swim is only 1k, and its supposedly with the current. The weather calls for potentially 20 MPH winds from the north, so I'm guessing we swim south very quickly, and the southbound section of each of the two bike loops will be great, while the northbound sections will be less fun. As for the run, it's 4 miles and again supposedly quite flat. The cutoff is 3 hours, and anything less than that will make me happy, but I would really like to try for a 2:30 or less Its possible, if my transitions are strong. With a short swim, my T1 has a chance to be good. 

Finally, thanks I've gotten some real nice support from folks when I've been down lately and I appreciate that a lot.




Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's just bullshit

Yesterday, I had a really bad day. I mean, really bad. And there are no reasons why I had a bad day, just excuses. Lots of shitty excuses that I made to my wife and to myself to try and justify my actions. Or technically my lack of actions yesterday.

5 days until race day, and I didn't train yesterday. With an open road right outside my door, the ability to somewhat make my own schedule at work, and a pool just 3 miles away, and I didn't do one damn thing to utilize any of that to train or even just be healthy. In fact, to top it off, I ate for total shit too, just to boot. Big Cheeseburger for dinner at 8 PM is not a way to prepare for a triathlon or lose weight. I have friends that ran a marathon on Sunday, and I can't step away from the plate for a few minutes to run a couple miles?

I have an amazing life, is it that much to ask for the willpower to get to having an amazing average less fat body? I can let myself get away with this crap anymore, it's just gone on way too long. It shouldn't be this much of a challenge for me to just keep track of what im eating and when I hit my points total for the day, STOP EATING. seriously.

None of yesterdays excuses hold water today, and I'm going to channel all my negative thoughts from and about yesterday into doing the best I can today to be healthier, stronger, and faster. I'm going to run, and then I'm going to swim, and I'm going to eat, but the right kind of foods and in the right amounts.

Notes

- Another fundraiser to please consider. My teammate Julia had her sweet ride (a Trek Madone) stolen a few weeks ago, and as an athlete who has qualified and is preparing for AG World Championships, she's going to need a new bike, and some money to offset the costs of travel and training. Belmont Wheelworks was kind enough to loan her a great bike for the time being,  but we all know what it's like to ride someone elses bike; no matter how awesome it is you always wish it was yours. Julia is doing a fundraiser with some terrific triathlon prizes. If you're local to the Boston area, you can show up for her spin class tied to the fundraiser or just donate.

- Stanley is ready for the 2012 cycling season, and is clearly trying to convince Jonathan Vaughters to sign him to the Chipotle development squad (he's only 7 weeks old, so he's not quite ready to ride with the big dogs). I wonder if they will make him dogfood burritos?

Short runs, long naps; definitely a sprinter in the making


Monday, October 31, 2011

I have awesome friends (and an awesome weekend)

Sometimes it's easy to take people for granted, especially people in your life you don't see every day. I know I'm guilty of this as much or more than anyone. That's why I was happily reminded this weekend just how great the people in my life are not only to me. but to others and just in general.

First of all, thanks to all of you who read Friday's entry and helped John Young win a free entry into the 2012 NYC Triathlon. John won going away, and deservedly so. You won't find a tougher or more optimistic triathlete out there, and if by clicking "like"a few times we were able to help make next season more affordable for him, so much the better. Triathlon is an expensive sport, I wish I could help more of my friends make their racing less expensive.

Next up is Derek, who I mentioned is doing a fundraiser. As all around good guy and friend of the blog, Derek is working to help Habitat for Humanity raise the $75,000 they need in order to build a house. His personal goal is to make a $5,000 donation through sales of the Habitat Calendar he created with the help of a terrific nature photographer. They're $20 each, and the proceeds go towards making the donation. Plus, everyone who purchases a calendar before 1/1/12 gets entered into a raffle to win their choice of a Kindle Fire, or a $200 Apple Gift card!

Then there's our teammate Jordan, who ran the Marine Corps Marathon yesterday in 3:00:40, which if you're unfamiliar with my personal race experience is about 15 minutes faster than my fastest HALF marathon. He made sure to let me know how much work it was to get there; which serves a reminder that the suffering I do right now when I run is and will be worth it, even if I may never be nearly that fast. He's one of the nicest people we met in Boston, and he just happened to be on our Tri team. So nice, when he has a great race, he gives to other peoples charities, having them guess what his time will be, and the closest folks win. The better he does against his goals, the more people's charities he donates to. Next time, he'll be sub-3 hours, I'm sure of it.

Closer to home, ok actually at home, Rachelle and I raced a local race on Saturday, the Healthy Harvest 5k. It was the centerpiece of a day long town festival in a small town near our house. Rach kicked butt and won her AG, and I did pretty well, especially considering where I am in my running training. I was last in my AG, but not last in the race. I kept to my 1:30/3:30 splits, and I was able to run the last 3:38 continuously. More progress to be made, but I'm getting there. There will be a 30 minute 5k in my future. Not sure if it will be 2011, but definite 2012.

Aside from the race, I got in a nice 10 mile ride yesterday, further improving my Strava KOM on the 2.7 mile climb to our house from Rach's work. As I'm the Strava user riding this segment it's a bit of a false positive, but it lets me track my progress, so I'll take it. If you're on Strava follow me, and I'll follow back. I love looking at other peoples rides. Today I've got a run and a swim, as the Shipwreck Tri gets closer. I've been having problems with the registration process, so hopefully I can get that fixed today.


Finally, on the dog front, he's officially been renamed! His name is Stanley (as in Cup), and he's growing so fast! Thanks to the assists from my twitter friends Stephanie and Lesli, we learned the proper way to get Stanley to sleep at night, and he's been doing much better in his crate, and we've mostly been able to avoid potty accidents with him so far. He's also found his big boy voice barking a couple of times while playing this weekend. To say it's adorable watching our little dog bark loud doesn't do it justice. Tonight is his first bath, and that will be fun to see Rachelle try to do. I will definitely post pictures tomorrow!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Help me help a triathlete friend (it's free and easy!)

My friend John Young, who is a Little Person superhuman triathlete, is in a Facebook contest for a free entry to the 2012 NYC Triathlon. The voting closes today at 5 PM, and he's trailing another entry by about 40 votes for first place. All you have to do is "Like" this photo in the NYC Triathlon photo album.  John has always been extra supportive of my efforts, and I hope to goodness he is able to win this contest. John is a teacher, which as you know is the best paid  profession in America.  Thanks for helping someone out who is truly worthy of it!

I'll have more updates tomorrow as today is really busy (payday plus learning new work project), but as you can see above, my weigh in this morning went a little bit in the wrong direction. I haven't made a good adjustment yet to the changes the puppy has brought. Not enough sleep is the biggest thing, but I've also been cutting corners on diet in order to save time. That is getting corrected this weekend.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

10 miles, a cow, and a dog...

Yesterday was one of those perfect days when everything just goes exactly as it should, and there are even some good surprises along the way that remind you that the bad day the day before is nothing more than a blip on the radar.

My work life has been a little slow lately; the company brought me on right as my group was reorganizing, so they only had one short assignment for me with the rest of my time spent working in training classes, or worse; onboarding. Yesterdays onboarding session was due to last 5 hours, but they gave us a lunch hour I wasn't expecting. On top of that, Rach forgot her run clothes, so she came home for lunch and we got in a 30 minute run together at the same time. We took a different hillier route, and it was at least 15 degrees hotter than when I ran on Tuesday, so I was just a hair slower yesterday, but was pretty happy with it. Not quite 2.1 miles in 30 minutes.

After the onboarding session ended, I got an assignment that will keep me busy most of the rest of the year. I think this is important because I really need work during the day to help me set and keep a schedule. Having something to make me be at my desk and active first thing in the morning will keep me from staying up too late, not getting enough sleep, and being less likely to make healthy choices.

Another plus was getting the new project and talking to my boss had me done for the day at 4 so I could get in the bike ride I hadnt had a chance to do Tuesday. Unfortunately, I realized I had left my bike shoes in the truck so I couldn't ride my road bike. This meant a trip out on the MTB, which would be more fun if I had any place to ride it but the road. To take some of the blase feeling that comes from riding the MTB on the road, I try to take new routes.

Yesterdays new route took me past a field of cows. I'm not sure how it started, but Rachelle and I have some sort of travel related in-joke where we roll down the window and "moo" at the cows we drive by. As I passed the cows on the way back on my ride, I mooed at the cows as I rode by. Evidently, cows are ok with cars mooing at them (probably because they know they can't catch them), but take umbrage with cyclists mooing at them, because the nearest cow to me turned his head looked at me, and then start trotting after me as I continued on by. Being on my MTB, I was only going around 9 MPH uphill and the cow was gaining on me right quick. There was a small fence, which I'm guessing was electrified, but being chased by a cow was enough to get me up that hill quite a bit faster. I wound up doing 7 3/4 mi on the MTB and a decent amount of climbing thrown in.

So, we've covered the 10 miles (2+ running, 7+ biking), the cow, so now we've come to the dog. As I mentioned yesterday (and you may have already seen on my twitter or facebook), Rachelle and I became the owners of a dog last night. He's a 6 week old Chihuahua / Rat Terrier mix that we've named El Papa Grande. In an amusing twist to the day, the dog looks like a very small cow with his white coat and black spots. He's adorable, but also already affecting our lives in a big way; he couldn't handle being in the bathroom alone all night so I slept on the couch. 2 years of marriage, 18 months of dating before that and I've never been made to sleep on the couch. One night of puppy ownership and I'm on the couch. (To be fair, Rach had to be up at 6 this morning for work, so she needed her sleep). Papa Grande work up once at 4 AM, but otherwise snuggled in my robe, which he has now claimed as his own, and slept most of the night. Considering the whining he was doing when we tried putting him in the bathroom, one night on the couch was probably worth it.


This picture was taken less than an hour after we got Papa Grande. I'm pretty sure she didn't have that same look on her face when she was picking up his poos this morning at 6:30 AM.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It wasn't my fault!

Our plumber a nice guy named Steve, who was kind enough to come over last night and install our toilet on short notice, told me the toilet breaking had very little to do with my weight. It was balancing on the rough in, and was not level with the floor, so each time someone got on and off it, the toilet would rock, and eventually was going to shift enough to cause stress on the porcelain where it was bolted in. Of course that did nothing to allay the $80 spent on the toilet, but at least it's comfort that I suddenly didn't become one of those fat people who breaks toilets because of their weight. There are limits to what I can emotionally handle. (And for the reader who suggested the taller toilet, I did pick up the chair height toilet, it was the same price as the regular one, thanks!) I know this was a lot of talk about bathroom time over the past two days, but if you've ever read Steve In a Speedo's twitter, you'll know that I'm not even close to oversharing about bathroom happenings.

Because of the broken toilet and the Dr's visit, my day got thrown into a jumble but I did manage to get a run in, and I was pretty happy with my progress. I ran/walked 1:30/3:30 splits, and managed a 14:14 average, which is faster than I've been lately. The running really is faster than the walking, it's just getting the stamina to be able to run the whole time. I hit an 11:30 average for a couple of the run splits, so that's definitely good progress. But I'm definitely back on the right path. I'm going to get to where I can run a 5k, and do it in 30 minutes. It's going to happen.

I also had a really good day food wise; 3 meals all very good choices, all the correct sized portions even when I had a whole container of leftovers I could have eaten at lunch. Further, I've replaced chips with yogurt, so the calories are about the same, or maybe just slightly lower, but they're a whole lot healthier. Excited to keep that progress going forward. 

Because of the insanity going on yesterday, I only had time for the run, so I'm down a bike and a swim. I can definitely get the swim in today, but the bike will have to be added to the weekend. My work schedule doesn't actually give me a lunch today, but I started early so I can get in my run today after work, but might not have time to bike or swim before the big event of the day: We're getting a puppy tonight! More on that tomorrow.

Oh, and lastly, we switched this weekends race. There's a small local 5k being run for the first time on Saturday. The Benson Healthy Harvest 5k is a new 5k being tied to a walk initiative in a small town nearby that aims to get people walking the downtown area for both the physical and fiscal health of the town. It's a nice area, and a shorter drive so we switched to that race. It is one day closer, and rather than lose a run, I'm just adding a run tomorrow to make up for the change in running days.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Accomplishing new things

We all judge success in different ways. Last night, I judged success based on the fact that I passed not one, but TWO McDonald's on my way home from covering a late night game launch, and I was really hungry. What was even more impressive is that I had coupons for free McDonald's in the car, so it would have been super easy to go on the way home from the late night video game launch I was covering. I know for some people resisting junk food is easy, but for me this was good progress.

On the down side, I missed a workout yesterday waiting on a delivery. If the delivery had been on time or I had known it would be late I would have been able to get my run in. Instead, I'll have to get a run in today after my doctors appointment and I'll be following it up with a bike this afternoon. If time allows I'll get in a swim this evening. 

And the new thing I accomplished? I broke a toilet this morning. Based on the fact that it was a cheap toilet installed extremely poorly (it rocked under Rachs weight even), and it cracked at the base, when I was pushing against it to stand, I'm not taking this to be a huge indictment on my weight, as I don't have issues with other furniture, but I do know Rachelle wouldn't have broken it.  

I also visited the doctor today for the first part of my annual checkup. My blood pressure was excellent, and my resting HR was 66. Next up is my blood work, scheduled for a week after Shipwreck tri so I can flush the protein breakdown out of my system before the test. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Facts

Fridays are going to be a big deal around here from now on. First, it's going to be weigh in day. When I did Weight Watchers back in Columbus, we weighed in before lunch on Fridays, and it worked out great for me. I don't know why specifically, I think it's because you have 5 workdays to stay on plan after you use your weekly bonus points on Friday or Saturday.

So, this morning I weighed in, and I was happy to see that I had maintained the weight loss from last week. With the way my week started out with food (too much) and continued with exercise (too little), I'm very happy with that. What's important is that my food and exercise willpower are on the upswing. I can't claim full credit for the Friday Weigh-in idea, that credit has to go to Derek H. Long time reader and friend of the blog, who I now live close enough to that we need to get together and go for a ride in the near future.

Speaking of Derek, He and some of my other friends have some important stuff going on, and these are just the kinds of things that will go in Friday Facts each week.

- Derek is raising money for something. I know these seems lame, but I don't know what it is yet, because the link he sent me is broken. But be sure if it's Derek doing it, it's important and in need of being done. When I have the info, so will you :D

- Jason, who at Cook Train Eat Race is writing to make people one meal at a time, is now raising funds to support Shape Up America!; an organization with a healthy weight initiative. As someone who struggles with that exact goal, I think it's important to support Jason in this work. His goal is $20,000 so as someone who had to work hard to raise less than 1/10th of that, so I know he's got an uphill fight on his hands.

- I'll be doing fundraising for Team Fight again this year for Rev 3 Cedar Point, but I have a head start, and I'll be paying most of my own way. I'll have an awesome contest sometime in the summer to make up the small amount I might be short. Doing this lets me help support other folks fundraising efforts as well.

- I've started the search for the triathlon coach. We're still in the early stages, but I expect we'll have a coach by late November.

- North Carolina definitely is going to be a lot more enjoyable to train in over the winter. It's in the 70s and sunny again today, which seems like pretty much the regular weather report this month.

- I ran today. Get used to hearing that a lot, because I know that's the only way it's going to get better.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

struggling with self image

It's been a challenge these past two days getting back on the wagon. I have realistic plans, a strong support system, and I know the right things to do to get where I need to go. The hard part is actually doing it.

Monday, I was supposed to run, and I didn't do anything.and while I made mostly healthy food choices, I had entirely too many calories. Tuesday, I finally got off my but and did a 2 mile run/walk, though I still had too many calories. Running doesn't matter much if the calories aren't under control. Progress though I guess because I went from doing nothing right on Monday to getting things half right on Tuesday.

I've also been having some issues with my body image for a while. When I train in my tri top, every time a car or cyclist passes I have the urge to check and make sure it's in place because it rides up a little. And being that very few people work out around here, my concerns about what people are thinking when they see me training, especially running have intensified. I know this is all me, and not other people, but the insecurity sometimes causes me to feel uncomfortable exercising publicly. It's not a good excuse, and it's too hot to wear loose fitting clothes, so I'll have to over come it.

One of the other issues I think that's really been holding me back for quite a while, is the inability to picture myself as a thinner man. When I first lost the weight from my highest point, I could remember what it was to be 325ish. But now I have very little idea of what I looked like at 280 or even less than that. I have very few photos from the early 2000s. 

To fix this problem, I found a website called Weightmirror.com. It lets you upload a picture, enter your current height and weight, and then select how much you want to lose. The site adjusts the picture proportionally to the amount of weight you want to lose. I now have a pretty good idea what I might look like around 75 pounds thinner.


Now I've got something to look whenever I have a doubt about what I'm headed towards.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Offseason is here... and almost over!

In the five days since Rev 3 Anderson ended, A few folks noticed the change in my twitter updates with a sudden focus on food instead of training. This was a result of 3 factors:

1. I haven't done a damn thing since the race in terms of exercise.
2. I've been doing more of the cooking duties working from home and with Rach working a lot more hours
3. From about an hour after Anderson ended, I've been STARVING. I mean like continually hungry!

I took some additional time to think about what I want to work on during the off-season, with a focus on areas where I can just improve my overall health, and where I can get faster for races. Being that I can improve in almost every area of the races, I wanted to focus on the portions that I think will do "double duty" in terms of improving my health and my speed.

After some careful thought on the matter, I reaffirmed some earlier ideas and came up with a couple other areas of focus, whittling the winter focus down to 4 things:

1. Weight loss. As has really been the overarching reason why I got into triathlon in the first place, this is goal #1 over the winter. While I've mostly plateaued over the past 2 years, I've also kept off the 56 pounds I lost in 2007-08, which is something I'm really proud of. My new employers offers discounted Weight Watchers membership which I can take advantage of in just a couple weeks. Between that and making this my heavy focus this winter, I'm going to hit the weight goals I set in the post a few weeks ago. The goals and progress against them will be prominently displayed on the blog starting on Sunday.

2. Running. Every time I've put emphasis on running I've made progress, but I've always given that progress back because I didn't stick with it. Because running is such a challenge for me, and I don't enjoy it, running is the first workout I've been willing was happy to drop when time crunches came up. But the more I've thought about it, the more I realize how closely this is tied to both my overall health improvement and reducing my race time. Just by getting my run time down to what the average healthy person can do (6 MPH) would drop my 10k time by 30 minutes. It's just plain stupid that haven't made this a big focus in my training considering it's both my biggest weakness and the easiest way for me to make major racing gains.

3. Swimming. It hit me after this last race that I've been thinking about my swim all wrong. Here I've been thinking that because I've gotten to the point that I can get through the water without feeling gassed in the middle that I had been in a good place. I hadn't really thought about how much energy I was exerting on the swim until Anderson, when halfway up the steep hill coming out of the park I had to stop. I knew it was a bit steep, but it wasn't that steep. In the end, I was only 10 minutes off my goal time for the bike over 25 miles, but I need to get my swimming to the point where any swim distance up through Ironman feels comfortable. Maybe 2.4 miles won't ever feel "easy" but it can and should feel like I'm not going all out just to make it under the time limit. Having nearly unfettered access to a pool that isn't constantly busy will be a big part of that this winter.

4. Bike climbing. The flattest triathlon I've ever done was Club Nationals in South Carolina. It was pancake flat. I averaged almost 20 MPH, which is at least 4 MPH higher than I've averaged in any other race. Other than that, no race I've ever done is truly flat, and the majority of the time I've lost on the bike is from climbing. Living in Boston, to find hills, I had to basically bike out of town or do repeats on a couple of highway overpasses. Where we are in NC, there isn't a local ride yet longer than 3 miles that I can find that doesn't have at least rollers. I've created some segments in Strava for the local climbs that should help a lot with tracking this progress.

So now that I've talked about what training will be like this "winter" (seriously, what I'm hearing about winter here isn't winter to me. It'll be like spring training all winter long), what are the races that will keep me motivated in doing all that training? I'm still working on the 2012 schedule, but here's what I know about the rest of 2011:

Oct 30th - Monster Dash 5k, Raleigh, NC
Nov 5th - Shipwreck Sprinternational Triathlon (1k swim, 30k bike, 8k run), Holden Beach, NC
Nov 24th - Smoke the Turkey 5k, Toledo, OH
December 3rd - Reindeer Romp 5k, Cary, NC

It's enough of a fall season with easy targets to train towards that it should give me plenty of motivation. Now I've got one last day of off-season, and I get to spend it at the ultimate off-season spot: The North Carolina State Fair. They fry things there that most people don't even know you can eat.

PS. The best news is that I've lost weight during the week, another 2 whole pounds! Don't tell my brain though, it'll think I can eat like this all the time.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Race Report: Rev 3 Anderson Olympic

Standing by the lake at the Rev 3 Anderson swim felt really weird, but at first I couldn't place why. Then I realized; it's because Rachelle wasn't there with me. This is only the second race since we've been married that I've done without her. We may never see each other on the course, but I like knowing she's out there suffering along with me. This time, instead of racing she came to be my support crew and wound up volunteering so that she'd have something to do and give back a little.

Rev 3 Anderson Swim start the day before
The Swim: One of my fellow racers mentioned how odd it was to be starting a race at 9:25. I will say when you're used to getting up at 4 AM (or earlier) to get ready, getting up at 6:45 is welcome change. The swim itself wasn't too bad, other than I didn't sleep great the night before, so I was more tired that I'd have preferred even after drinking a 5 hour energy pre-race. I probably started out a little too fast and paid for it later in the swim. My sighting was better, but I was swimming a bit left as usual so I had to fight to keep my line. I was pretty happy with how I felt finishing up, was able to dig a little deeper than I expected.
The Goal: 40:00
The Result: 44:16
What to work on: I only got about a weeks worth of swims in for this race between Cedar Point recovery and getting signed up for the pool. In general more swimming, and more distance, but I was in the range of an aggressive goal, so I was pretty happy with that.

Transition 1: Why does this always suck? It doesn't take me that long to get my wetsuit off, quickly dry, throw on clothes and get on the bike. Or at least it shouldn't. But it did. I think it's got something to do with the fact that I'm basically going full gas in the water 100% of the race, and I need to get to a point where 90% will get me the times I want. I was tired in transition and it took me time to get myself recovered.
The Goal: 6:00
The Result: 8:16
What to work on: There are some minor equipment changes (like better bike shoes) that would make this faster, but it's mostly a factor of recovering enough from the swim to get ready and get on the bike. More swimming and some transition practice (something I've never down) will help.

The Bike:  Coming out on the bike, I knew I wasn't feeling quite right. The bike starts with a short descent followed by a short but pretty steep climb. About two-thirds of the way up, I had to stop to catch my breath. I was still a little winded from the swim. After that hill I got things back under control for a while. I did stop on hills two more times, and walked a very small section of the hardest hill. I was surprised by the fact that there was no aid station on the bike, as I thought I read there would be. About 10 miles in, my stomach got pretty upset, and I decided even if I wasn't going to have much to drink the rest of the way, I was at least going to try and eat my way through the stomach problems so I might feel better for the run.
Course marshall and photographer; my wife is one talented lady
A couple miles later just as I was starting to feel better, I saw Rachelle, got to talk to her for a few seconds as I cruised by. Seeing her was a real pickup, and started making up time from there on in. The last half of the bike seemed to go surprisingly fast, and I hit 40 MPH on one of the last downhills.

The Goal: 1:40
The Result: 1:50:21
What to improve on: I'm not kidding when I say I'm overall really happy with how this bike went. I missed my goal by 10 minutes, but on a course with 400 more feet of climbing than advertised on the elevation chart, I was pretty happy with my effort, especially considering how weak of a climber I am. Some of this was also the overhang from the swim. More swim to bike bricks next season for sure, but in general I was very happy 

Transition 2: Finally after a whole season of racing, I got a transition right. Off the bike, helmet and gloves off, shoes and race belt on, and head out.
The Goal: 4:00
The Result: 2:58
What to improve on: I should have bought some racing laces for my shoes to save maybe another minute of tying shoes.

The Run: This sucker was hilly. The first 3 miles felt like they were entirely uphill, but there were aid stations about every mile. I made sure to get and stay hydrated on the run after the bike. I was afraid if I ran I was going to make things harder on myself for the finish, so I just walked as fast as I could. The rest stops were well manned and well stocked.

So there I was walking as fast as I could, with about 1 1/2 miles left in the run portion of Rev 3 Anderson. I was finally headed back towards the finish line. I had 2 cups of Gatorade in one hand, and a cup of water and a cup of pretzels in the other hand as I left the last aid station. That's when I saw a Rev 3 golf cart headed up the hill on the path in my direction. I knew I was going to be close to the course cutoff, and for a second I panicked "Oh man, what do I say if they're coming for my chip", I thought. I wanted to start running to show them I was going as fast as I could, but my legs didn't have it in them, and I was doing my best to keep my breathing under control with all the hills. As the cart got closer, another, stronger voice in my head answered "Here's what you'll say: You can take my chip and my number, but you can't make me stop walking. I'm going to finish this race whether I get a shirt and medal or not."

As soon as that thought finished going through my head, the cart turned and headed towards one of the aid stations. I hurried as fast as I could, and while I worried they might pull my chip, they didn't.
The Goal: 1:30
The Result: 1:36:19
What to improve on: This should be obvious.

Total Time: 4:22:12

I can't tell you how much of a joy it was to actually finish this race, and how much I enjoyed competing again in a Rev 3 event. I'm really proud of how I've grown this season, tackling new distances and learning from my failures without getting discouraged (other than a couple hours at Cedar Point). I'm still looking for a local sprint triathlon to get in one more race before the end of the season so I can get my USAT rankings. Plans for next season and the fall road races will be forthcoming. But for now I'm savoring my efforts from yesterday.


Friday, October 7, 2011

This weekend is gonna be AWESOME!

If Rev 3 Anderson were any other October weekend, it would be the entire focal point of the whole weekend. But because it is this specific weekend, it's actually in a battle for the best thing happening this weekend.

First, my beloved Detroit Tigers beat the New York Yankees in the American League Divisional Series in dramatic fashion last night, and now go on to play the Texas Rangers for a chance to play in the World Series. The first game is Saturday night, so I'll get to watch maybe an hour or so before I get some sleep for race day. The time hasn't been set yet, but knowing MLB, it'll be 8 PM. I usually go to bed between 9 and 10 on race night.

Today, I'm working a half day. Legendary actress Ava Gardner is from a small town near where we live and they have an annual festival in her honor. The focus of the festival this year is on the relationship between Ava and Frank Sinatra who she considered the love of her life. At 4 PM they're showing From Here to Eternity to kick off the film festival associated with the event. Ava isn't actually in the film, but it's the role that validated Frank as an actor (he won the Oscar) and won 7 other Oscars that year. As Rach and I are both Sinatra fans, we're looking forward to seeing the film, and wandering around the Smithfield outlet mall beforehand.

I also picked the 4 PM film because it should let us get home before hockey starts tonight! My Blue Jackets start their season at 7 PM against Nashville. Lot's of great positive changes for the team (better players and a more certain future in Columbus) so I'm really stoked for the season. Normally this would be the biggest event of the weekend in any normal year, but this is evidently not a normal year.

Saturday, morning we drive out to Anderson, SC for the race. A couple hours after we get in the car, the Ironman World Championships start. In the past year, I've been fortunate enough to meet Pros and Age Groupers good enough to participate in this race. In fact, Marc Saucier, one of our WWMS teammates is participating, along side Cait Snow, Ange, Mirinda Carfrae and a host of others. We won't get to watch most of it, but Rach can follow along on her phone while we drive, and we can catch the end at the Rev 3 event Expo.

Tomorrow night, after check-in, there's a "Taste of Anderson" food event which we might go to before turning in for the night and if there's time meet up with friend and cycling journalist Neil Brown

Finally, there's that little thing called the race! I start Rev3 Anderson at the unusually late time of 9:25ish AM, so we don't have to be up super early for once. We'll probably get up at 7, eat, get ready, and head down to do final bike prep as transition closes at 8:15. Bike check-in is Saturday, so it should be a pretty simple final setup on Sunday.

As for race prep, I really feel ready for this race. I'm doing a final swim after work today before we head to the outlet mall, but other than that I'm ready. I've gotten in some decent runs and good swims, but most importantly, I've done a good bit of biking this week, up to and including last night when I got in my long ride for race prep:

According to the Rev 3 site, I did more riding and more climbing yesterday than I will in the race, and I missed averaging 3 MPH by just over 3 minutes. I set up some segments (portions of a ride you can compare your performance over multiple rides) and got King of the Mountain for those climbs, which is a bit funny as I'm evidently the only Strava user who rides these roads, and at just 10 MPH average on those climbs it won't take much for someone to claim them from me. Mostly I wanted to be able to isolate on my climbing to try to track my performance as I ride more of the roads in the area multiple times. We're blessed to have quite a bit of good riding without a ton of stop signs.

My goals for the race:
  • I haven't officially finished a race since May. So, my number 1 goal is to finish under 4:15 which is the course cutoff.
  • Swim: .9 miles in 40 minutes. I could potentially do this in the 35-38 minute range if I'm feeling really good.
  • Bike: 24.8 miles in 1 hour, 40 minutes. That puts me at 15 MPH Avg. There climbing looks to be mostly slow extended climbing with one segment that's a little steeper right at the beginning, when my legs should be nice and fresh. 
  • Run: 1 hour, 30 minutes. I'm still going to be mostly walking, but I actually got in some good run/walks this time. Most of the past week it was at Campbell's track because I was walking too late to safely be on the road, but I did some running on the hilly roads around our house as well.
  • Transitions: No more than 10 minutes in transitions combined, but I'm seriously looking to cut down these transition times by quite a bit. Other than the wetsuit take off, I think I'm really ready for some quick transitions!
  • Total Time Goal: 3:59:59 or less
Have a great weekend, I'll be doing some quick posts from the phone over the next couple days to help share in the fun.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cook Train Eat... Clean?

My apologies to my twitter friend Cook Train Eat Race for bludgeoning his twitter handle for my post title.

It's definitely taken some effort to adapt to our new lifestyle. Because they're shorthanded, Rach is putting in a ton of hours at work. This puts me in charge of the house, which if you know me you'd probably guess to be trouble. Truth be told, I'm kind of enjoying carrying some of the extra load in terms of cooking and cleaning. Considering I'm home all day working, it's pretty easy to do some cleaning on lunch, or start dinner right after I finish working.

Training has been going well; 2 mile run on Sunday, 19 good bike miles with a good amount of climbing on Sunday, 2 running miles and .5 swim miles yesterday, 8 miles on the bike today at high tempo (17 MPH Avg), with a .75 mile swim. Tomorrow is the long ride, 26 miles, then I'll back off mileage a little the following two days to ramp up the run and the swim. The climbing on the bike is the only thing I'm worried about for this race, so I've spent as much time as I could on the bike in the time since recovering from the Cedar Point effort.

Finally, It took a little while but I've shaken off the disappointment from Cedar Point. It's pretty hard to be in the dumps very long when you live with this every day!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Mission 140.6: The beginning (and some fun stuff)

Working from home in an area where internet is not reliable has it's advantages; today I spent part of my day not doing a lot because the internet was down in our little town, and it took most of the day to fix it. But because it was during work time, I couldn't just go ride my bike or clean the house. I had to be at my desk listening to conference calls, and working on my 90 day plan.

But when I wasn't doing that, I was finishing off my thought process on Mission 140.6 (yes, I am going to call it that, all formal and stuff) and here's what it looks like:

Step 1: Weight loss. I've started working on this already. The weight loss plan incorporates a healthy diet, weight watchers meetings, and as a reminder, a giant sign on the fridge telling me to stay the F*ck out unless its meal time or a post workout snack.

Step 2: Get a coach. I've talked about this before, but moving down here we can actually afford it now. Well, not technically now, but in the next couple weeks.  I'm not really sure what we're looking for in a coach, but I'm sure we'll figure it out.

Step 3: Get a team. Moving away from Boston meant we're a long way from Wheelworks, and while I considered rejoining because they're such a great group of athletes and friends, it just wouldn't do us a lot of good. So we're going to look for a local team to train with. Oh, and I also applied to Team Rev3. I'm sure most people don't make it public, but I don't keep much from you guys, and this is something important. If I get it, it means we'll save money on races, maybe get some nice equipment, and make some new friends. Rach applied too, but if they pick one of us, they probably won't pick the other, so the one who doesn't get picked will join the local team, and gets to buy a nice bike.

Step 4: Pick a schedule. We've got a few races already picked out (A few Rev 3 with Cedar Point as the obvious one), but we're still looking at the local early season races as well.

Step 5: Train.Train like I never have trained before. Seriously, and with commitment to get the volume I need to go back and get the job done at Cedar Point.

The fun stuff:

- I now know what motivation really is. I was on a 15 mile training ride yesterday when I got chased by a mean looking dog. It came within centimeters from my left ankle barking and snarling. I hit 18 MPH going UPHILL, so next time I really need to dig deep, I'll think of that dog. I was doing great until that dog spiked my heart rate. Wound up doing 15 miles in 1:04:xx on a very hot day, just missed 15 MPH average.

- The blog has been a little bereft of pictures lately, and I apologize for that. Here are some of the things that I've been too lazy to get off my phone until now:

Talk about a support crew: There were like 10 people in pink shirts
with something to the tune of  "Go Dave!" on them.

Bumping this car made the move to NC a bit more expensive

This bench is in front of the local grocery store here in NC

I had to explain to Rachelle that she couldn't dress shop
in the Big & Tall section

I may have completely disregarded this sign

I petted this penguin. Be jealous.

One of each, please, but especially the one with the cannon
If you look real close you can see several deer we spotted
on our first visit to a NC state park