Sunday, August 25, 2013

Three years between posts isn't bad, is it?

Based on the date of my previous post, I have been more than a little lax in keeping this updated.  Its only been three years... a lot has happened in those three years related to my fitness and my goals.  I'll give a quick recap and then I'll closeout those years and move forward from this point.  

After the 2010 season, my 2011 didn't quite go as I had expected - not that it was bad, it just wasn't how I had laid it out in the last post.  In January 2011, I started working with an industrial rigging company as their controller.  As 2011 unfolded, my priorities shifted to my obligations related to this position.  10-12 hour days were standard and I would be lying to say that didn't have an impact on my fitness.  I'm not saying I had a total slide backwards, because I didn't.  I was still working out, I even ran 2 Ragnars, the Spudman and the Salt Lake Half Marathon, but I wasn't as prepared as I had hoped or nearly in the conditioned that I should have been.    Both Ragnar's were a great experience and I had a great time with some great friends.  After each Ragnar, I say it's the last, then the next year rolls around and I'm signed up again.  

In 2011 I did attempt my first 90 mile ride - from my house to the Hobble Creek golf course in Springville.  My first ride, Stacy's rescued me outside of Elberta as I had totally cracked and hit the wall.  Only made it 62 miles.  In 2012 I tried again, only to have a mechanical issue about 70 miles in (Stacy once again rescued me).  Later that year I did make it all way, but it damn near killed me.  This year, 2013, I tackled that ride again and was much stronger. In fact, I felt pretty good.  I still haven't participated in an organized cycling event.  I want to, but frankly I'm intimidated riding in packs.  I have only ever ridden solo.

Back to 2012 - it was not a strong year for me, fitness wise that is.  I did run a Ragnar and the Spudman, but that was about it and my heart was never truly in it.  I had fallen into some old habits and the weight was coming back on.  I wasn't putting my best effort in at the gym and frankly I wasn't well prepared for any of the events which I did participate in.

At the start of 2012, I was back up to 300, and not feeling good about it.  I was wearing fat clothes again and I was feeling it in everything I did.  I pretended I was still a success, but it was a front.  Working with my doctor, I set out in January to turn things around.  I started dropping the lbs again, and was refocused on the fitness.  My race calendar for 2013 was the Ogden Half Marathon and Ragnar - Wasatch Back.  No triathlons, no cycling events.

In April I was down to 280 again, and was preparing for the Ogden Half.  Then April 15th happened, the Boston Marathon bombings.  I was deeply affected by the events of that day.  Maybe it was because I know so many runners, I knew the type of person that was running in that race.  In a small way, I was one of those runners.  Maybe because I had friends in the race, and friends of friends.  Whatever it was I was deeply bothered.  Even now as I type I get emotional with the thought of those events.  The following Saturday, after the bombings, was the Salt Lake City Marathon.  The first major organized race after the bombing.  I was in no way even near prepared to run a half marathon.  However, as the week progressed, I felt a stronger and stronger desire, or need, to be a part of that event.  For no other reason than because I could.  I wanted to stand at that starting line with thousands of others and say this is what we are.  We are strong, we are runners, we are American's and nobody can take that from us.  I had Terra sew together two halfway of a blue and a yellow bandana for me to wear during the race.  It was my small tribute.  That bandana now hangs with my other medals, and will always be a reminder to me of that day.  It was an incredible day, not necessary the race itself, but rather the energy of the day.  The race was rough, I wasn't prepared and to make it worse it rained the entire time.  By the last three miles, I could no longer feel my fingers.  Regardless of all that, I crossed that finish line running, because I could.

In May, I ran the Ogden Half with some of my best friends, both old friends and new friends.  Again, it rained the entire race.  I enjoyed it and it felt pretty good, even if I couldn't feel my fingers again.  June, was Ragnar, and it was hands down my favorite race experience to date.  Again, I was with some of my best friends, and it was a perfect weekend.  No stress, no drama, just fun, laughing and good running.  I ran stronger in that event than I ever have in any prior race or training run.  I truly feel I had broken down a wall that had been holding me back, and it was great.  

Since June, I have been running strong and riding long.  My typical weekend involves a 9-10 miles run on Saturday and a 70+ bike ride on Sunday.  Technically, I think I am hurting myself a bit, by going so strong on the weekend, because it takes a couple days to recover.  It feels so good though to hit those goals.

At this moment, I am about 263, which is the lowest I have weighed in nearly 20 years.  The great thing right now is that I know I have more to give and to lose.  I am stronger right now that I have ever been in my life.  It feels good.  Don't get me wrong I still have my struggles, food will always be at the top of that list.  I struggle so much with comfort food cravings.  I don't think that will ever go away, I just need to adapt and recognize the challenges.  

All of this brings me to the last week or so.  I haven't had anything on my race calendar outside a couple charity 5k's and the Halloween Half (I'm not running in a costume).  I am facing a winter with only Ragnar and the possibility of the Ogden Full for next year.  I need something to work for, something to reach for, something to challenge myself with.  

Dan Iorg is one of my heroes, whether he realizes it or not.  He has run multiple Ironman and Half Ironman events, and he volunteered for Ragnar Hill, which pretty much means he's a machine.  He and Danielle are inspirations to their friends.  He has suggested to me in passing the few times we see each other, that I should do an Ironman.  He has always been extremely gracious with his complements and encouragements.  So this past week, his encouragements and my desire to have something to work for have led me to the decision to participate in the Ironman 70.3 St. George on May 3rd of 2014.  Notice I didn't say to finish, lol...  I am under no illusions of the challenge that I am taking up.  While I am confident I can grind out the bike and run, the swim scares the hell out of me.  1.2 miles in open water... I struggle in a kiddie pool.

So for the next 250 days, I will be focusing on the goal of becoming a Half Ironman.  I need to plan my training, figure out where I am going to do my swim training and learn how to swim effectively.  I will continue to train on the bike and on running.  I am hoping to take some Pilates Reform classes this winter to work on my core strength.  And if possible, sneak away a couple weekends and head south to train on the course itself.  I'm excited, a lot scared, but excited.  I have some ideas to continue to motivate myself, and I'll share those as I progress.  

Here's to a GREAT 2014!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

So what is next?

Ok, so my first triathlon season is over and I have survived - what’s next? A few times during the year (actually, during the swim leg of most events) I wondered if there would even be a next year. Well there will be and it will be a great year. I am in full training mode now, working on my conditioning. While I am still waiting for most of the race directors to release their 2011 schedule, I have a few dates that are set that I am training towards. I am expanding beyond just triathlons next year; I am registered for Ragnar, as well as planning on running the Salt Lake City Half Marathon.
My dear friend Terra had the crazy idea to put together a team for the Ragnar Wasatch Back relay race in June. It will be a 12 member relay team running from Logan to Park City. I have been assigned my 3 legs and will be running approximately 18 miles total. It is one of the longer segments, but it doesn’t have the drastic uphill or downhill’s that some of the others will have to run. (My shins can’t handle the extremes.) Considering that this is a “running” event, along with the half marathon, I have been mainly focusing on my running abilities. Up until this fall, the farthest I have ever run without stopping is a 5k (3.2 miles) and never with any real speed. So now I am taking a different approach and following a specific training plan. And of course, there is an app for that! I am using the Runner’s World Smart Coach app and I am amazed at the progress I have made in only a couple months. Last week I put in an 8 mile run without stopping and yesterday I did a 6 mile tempo run with miles 2-5 at a sub-10 minute mile pace. All things considered I am confident that I could complete a half marathon (13.1 miles) right now, not fast, but I would finish. What I like about this training program it is the mix of speed work, tempo pace and long run days. Up until this point I had always just done the long runs and saw only limited improvement, but with this plan I have almost tripled my long run distance in just two months. I have embraced running outdoors and my only concern is the upcoming winter months. I can’t go back to running on a treadmill for extended distances, so I will mostly likely have to use the track over at the Olympic Oval, but that is only slightly better than the treadmill. Regardless, I am committed to continuing my training all winter, so that I can establish a strong base for next year’s triathlon, running, and cycling season.
As for cycling, I took a little time off after Spudman from the bike, partly due to my own clumsiness. I took a face plant into the asphalt at a Daddy/Daughter activity and messed up my hands pretty good (not to mention the side of my face). So I only recently got back on the bike. I am disappointed that I missed some good fall riding weather and that it will be winter and unridable before too long. I usually do my riding on Sunday morning, since I prefer to ride U-111. Sunday is the best time as there are fewer big rigs and cars to deal with. The last two Sunday’s, I have put in 33 miles each day on two different routes. One of the routes I had never even driven before and I was sucking wind about half way through. I rode out to Herriman and then back down U-111 to 54th. The killer was that from 2700 W to U-111 it was 50-60 blocks of false flat and it kicked my trash. Not to mention that as I turned the corner to U‑111, it dropped into a swell and the ride out was a significant climb (at least for me). I was grateful the US Trisports, Daybreak Triathlon fans who had written on the road encouraging the athletes - it helped me know how close I was to the summit or I might have just given up. I would love to do some cycling events next year, namely a century ride. I will have to look at the calendar to see what will work into the schedule. I may do The Fall Tour of St. George as it is later in the season.
My calendar will consist primarily of Sprint and Olympic triathlons, mixed with the running events and hopefully a cycling event or two. As for triathlons, I plan on doing the a couple Sprints to start the season, the Icebreaker and the Kearns Sprint. Last year I committed to doing one event a month from April to July. This year I am planning on at least two a month with a combination of tri’s, running and cycling. Swimming still remains my nemesis, and I just don’t have the motivation to get in the water. I know, however, that if I don’t get in the water soon I will never accomplish the goals that I have set for myself. My sister-in-law, Carey Laney in New Jersey, has signed up for the 70.3 Ironman Poconos Mountains next September and I would like more than anything to do that event with her. I am confident that I can handle the bike and after the progress I have shown in the run, that doesn’t scare me either, but that damn swim. Now granted, the 70.3 swim is only 450 meters or so longer than an Olympic distance swim, which gives me hope. The Pocono’s event is a new event so I image it won’t sell out too quickly, so I am not going to count it out completely. I will see where I am mid-season, both financially and physically. It would be a wonderful experience to participate in that event with Carey, so that is the “in the back of my mind” goal for next year.
I once heard that if you don’t write it down it doesn’t exist, so here are my goals for next year…

So there it is, the framework for my 2011 season! Now if I would start eating properly, and continue the training, including getting in the water, it will be a GREAT year.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Spudman 2010 Recap

I started the race season with a schedule of four races, with the Spudman being my “A” race and my last planned race of the year.  I am proud of myself for what I have accomplished this year, as I have completed three Sprint Triathlon’s (note that I say complete, not compete) up to this point.  The Spudman is a special race because it is the first race that Stacy completed last year, with no previous race experience. It is the first Olympic distance race that I will have competed in, and it is the first race that I will have to travel to.  That last point is important because up to until then, I have always been able to sleep in my own bed the night before the race, and I have always had a familiar environment to prepare for the race in.  This race is in Burley, Idaho, and we needed to camp. Another important note - Stacy and I don’t camp.

After the Rockcliff triathlon I wasn’t overly confident in my ability to complete an Olympic distance, namely regarding the run.  While I am nowhere near comfortable with my swim, and with the Spudman being twice the distance of a Sprint swim (1500 meters vs. 750 meters), the benefit of this swim was that it is current-assisted.  So I wasn’t overly concerned about the swim; I figured worst case, I would just float down to T1.  I felt good about the bike, again this would be twice the distance (26 miles vs. 13 miles), yet the bike is my strongest discipline.  The run however was different -  in all my previous races I had struggled in the swim and pushed as hard as I could on the bike, which didn’t ever leave much for the run. The concern was this was going to be a 10k (6.4 miles) in the heat of southern Idaho farm country.  Overall, I felt good and was looking forward to the race.

Considering this was a destination race for us, it added an element of planning and coordination that I haven’t had to deal with previously.  We had to find a tent, an air mattress (both compliments of good friends), as well as needing to plan our food needs, our pre-race needs; everything I normally have the comfort of home to deal with.  Now all this wasn’t nearly as challenging for us as it was for my sister-in-law, Carey Laney, who travel from south Jersey with her husband, Bob, to compete in her first triathlon.  We did have lots of support: Stacy’s dad and sister, Jeff and Jody, came up to help, not mention how helpful Bob was in setting up our camp -  we don’t ever  want to camp without him.

We camped in the same spot Stacy and the others camped last year, right along the Snake River at the marina. It is right across the street from T1, however it was a decent hike to the start/finish.  It had a flush toilet and sink facility (a major plus in our book) so it was worth the added distance.  One of the big concerns was the weather; thunderstorms were forecasted for Friday afternoon and evening.  Having grown up in southern Idaho, I can appreciate how strong a thunderstorm can be.  We got lucky - we were hit with only one serious storm cell, but it was significant.  We had secured our tents fairly well, but the tent next to us went flying towards the river complete with all of the occupants camping gear.  Thanks to Bob and Doozzie, it was saved.

Most of us went to the carb-load dinner and reserved up our T2 area. Stacy however chose to pass on the meal, considering she lost hers last year at 3am.  It was an interesting meal: spaghetti, baked potato, green beans, and a roll.  I may pass on next year’s.  As for T2, my previous race experience really helped me know how to handle transition and to maximize on T1 and T2.

We had two first timers in camp, Carey and Dannielle Iorg.  It was great to hang out, talk, and laugh with Stacy and her sisters, her dad, with Dannielle and her husband Danny, as well as Doozzie -  good times that made everything worth the trip and effort.  We all called it a night around 10ish when got dark.  Sleeping was difficult, if not non-existent; I was up almost every hour due to the effects of trying to hydrate for the next day. 

I wasn’t prepared for race morning, dealing with breaking down camp, stocking T2 with water and getting to the start line.  It didn’t go well, everyone was up by 5:30ish and the race started at 7, with our waves beginning at 7:30 and 7:40. After two trips to T2, breaking down camp, getting in our wetsuits and heading to the start, we were late.  In fact, we were still in the car trying to get to the start line at 7:10.  It was a mad dash to the start line for everyone. Stacy and the girls had about 5 minutes before their race stated once they got there.  Not fun feeling that kind of pressure, with no time to relax, warm-up or mentally prepare.  But we made it.

The race organizers had said that the current was swiftest towards the far side of the course.  I had planned on taking full advantage of the current and getting out of the water as soon as possible.  The reality was something different. My lack of swim technique and endurance was evident.  I never did find the “fast” current, but I endured.  It wasn’t fast and it wasn’t pretty, but little by little I made it to the end and didn’t require assistance.  I got out in 30:32.  Again, the swim gives me hope for the future in the fact with a little training I have a lot of room for improvement.  Now I just need to put in the time at the pool.  T1 was good, 04:05, other than totally racking myself getting on my bike, I was feeling good.

The bike course was nice: flat, very few false flats and no hills of any significance, just a few rollers.  I love riding the bike, and of the three disciplines I am most confident on the bike.  I look forward to the day when I get a TT bike and can really maximize my strength on the bike.  The organizers had reversed the starting orders and the younger athletes started towards the end, that means I was passed as if I was standing still by some of the other “in it to win it” athletes that started after me.  I was able to hold by own against other road bikes and I passed every mountain bike I could find, but the TT bikes were unbelievable.  I did mention to a fellow rider as we road and passed another mountain bike, that I didn’t care who beat me as long as I wasn’t passed by a mountain bike.  I did have one guy comment on my bike as he passed me, which made me laugh.  Total bike time was 1:17:29, which felt pretty good, but with room for improvement.  My apologize to my cheering section for not being more excited as I came through T2, but all I could focus on was getting to T2 and getting out of the run.  Next time, I will try and be more responsive to those who are there supporting me.  Total T2 was 02:47, which I was pleased with considering someone had taken over my spot at the rack and I had to crawl under the bikes to get to my shoes.

As with every other race, I pretty much left everything out on the bike course and didn’t have a lot left for the run.  Beginning the run out of T2, there is a fairly significant uphill into someone’s backyard.  It was a little disconcerting to see the overall winner along the side of the course cheering people on, which meant that BJ Christiansen had not only ran the entire course in 1:47:10, recovered, refueled and made his way onto the run course as a spectator in the time it had take me to do the swim and bike alone, almost to the second..  I just reminded myself that he had a 40 minute head start.  I did the best I could to get a run pace up, but it was a struggle.  I was happy to find Stacy along the course and I had the pleasure of running most of the course with her.  We did a number of walk-run intervals; we would pick landmarks, run to them, and then walk.  It was a little embarrassing as we headed towards mile 5 and saw Courtney and Carey running the course backwards to find us.  However, it was awesome that we were all together for the last mile or so of the race.  Carey was a champ and was setting a strong pace; she was so impressive in her first event.  As we all came down the hill together towards the finish line, everyone was together and running hard.  After coming out of the trees, we all spread out and ran the finishing shoot shoulder to shoulder - that was great.  Total run time was 1:24:29 for a total race time of 3:19:24, next year’s goal, sub-three hours.

The spectators and volunteers were so supportive to all the racers: we had numerous water stations, sprinklers and fire trucks keeping the racers cool.  All things considered it was a GREAT day.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Rockcliff Recap

I know that I am quite late in posting the report for Rockcliff Triathlon on June 26th, and this write-up will be quite different having been written  now compared to what it would have been if I had written it immediately after the race.  While I am glad I have waited to collect my thoughts and the fully review how everything went, it would have been an interesting read if I had expressed what I was feeling as I crossed the finish line.
To begin, I was not sure I was even going to race until the Thursday prior to race day.  I wasn’t physically or mental prepared to race, and although I am not using that as an excuse, that is the reality.  At that point I was still trying to find the balance between work, my personal life, and training - I was adapting to a new reality, and everything wasn’t going smoothly on any front.  I wasn’t eating properly, and even though I was still going to the gym daily, I wasn’t maximizing my time and effort spent there.  Yet, I have worked very hard to not let others dictate my success or actions, so I registered and figured I would race for myself, regardless of my level of preparation.
The venue was at Jordanelle Reservoir outside of Park City: a lake swim, a country road bike course, and a combination of pavement and trails for the run course.  As usual, I was one of the first athletes into the transition area to setup my bike and gear.  I took a few long walks around the area to relax and to get my head straight and took some beautiful pictures of the area.  I was nervous about the swim; I tried to not look at how far apart those buoys were.  After the Daybreak triathlon, I had bit the bullet and bought my own wetsuit, and this was going to be my first time wearing it.  The officials had to delay the start of the race due to the amount of debris and wood in the way of the swim course, so there was a lot of time spent waiting while wearing my wetsuit.  Once we did get in the water, about 5 seconds after the horn blew to start the race, I took an elbow in the face which knocked off my nose clip -  not a great way to start the race.  Again, I was not prepared! I hadn’t been in the water even once since the Daybreak race and it showed. I just don’t have the form or endurance to swim for distance.  I struggled and struggled, trying only to get to the next buoy. Most of my swim was spent doing a weak breast stroke and back stroke.  I was quickly passed by the field and it was myself and one other guy pulling up the rear.  Honestly, at times I was scared; I didn’t know why the hell I felt the need to even do a triathlon, wondering why I needed to put myself into this situation.  After a while I had every rescue boat around me and following me to find out if I ok, and at times I wasn’t. A few times I started to go down, and I was not sure which way was up.  I am not exaggerating!! I was scared, but I am also stubborn and I wasn’t going to quit - I have quit all my life and I am not that person any more.  About 100 yards from the swim exit I got a severe cramp in my left calf, but I persevered. 
Once I got to the shore line, the EMT was there to monitor my exit from the water.  He kept asking if I was ok, if I wanted to rest or if I needed help.  At that point I was not a very nice person, but I did appreciate his effort and concern. I did ask him to help me off with my wetsuit as I was feeling very confined and wasn’t able to breathe.  I sat on a rock for a couple minutes and then I got up and headed to T1.  Swim time was 34:57.
T1 was ok, however I did enter the wrong side, but it didn’t hurt my timing splits.  I just wanted to get out of the wetsuit and to get on the bike.  The bike is a chance for me to relax; it is something I am comfortable with.  T1 time was 3:02, which is good, all things considered.
I was the last one out of the water and thus the last one onto the bike course.  I had driven the bike course the week before, so I knew what to expect.  I tried to just keep my head down and to push it as best I could.  It felt good on the bike. The race organizers did need to have the bike course marked better. One girl in front of me took a wrong turn, and I have no idea where she ended up.  I passed a number of riders on the course and I was able to make up some time.  Bike time was 52:19, not the fastest, but I was in the top third of all riders.
Coming out of T2, one of the volunteers congratulated me for making up some time after the swim, which was good to hear.  T2 time was 2:25.
As for the run, or what will be considered from this point forward “the walk”, it was hard.  The main challenge on the run was my left calf strain from the swim.  I tried to run, but it just wasn’t happening because it hurt bad.  I shuffle ran for as much as I could, but I just couldn’t develop any kind of a stride.  Leslie Howlett was running the Olympic distance and was leaving T2 as I was coming in.  All I wanted to do was to finish the run before she lapped me.  I knew it was going to be close, as she is an incredible athlete, and sure enough she did catch me about 500 yards from the finish.  I appreciated her encouragement to finish strong and I pushed it as hard as I could and I did finished with a decent pace across the line.  Run time 34:48, with a total race time of 2:07:30, not pretty even by my standards, but I finished and I take a lot of pride in that fact.
Finishing the race I was mad, and I was upset for quite awhile after that weekend.  As I have reflected on the weekend, I feel it was a successful race, not for my finish time or how it felt, but rather for what it taught me.  I am sure this will not be the last time I will learn these lessons, but I do feel I am a better triathlete for having experienced that race.  That being said, I do owe an apology to Jamison King, for giving him a hard time for one of his blog entries where he expressed his frustration from coming in second or third at a race earlier this year.  I now better understand and can appreciate the disappointment for not performing up to expectations, regardless if you are a professional or an entry level age grouper, as myself.  I have expectations to improve and to perform better each race, but circumstances don’t always allow for that success.  The best thing that can be said is that I continue to learn and grow in this and all aspects of my life.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Daybreak Race Recap

It was a great weekend for a race, well maybe a little cold, but it was a great event.  This was my second of four planned triathlons this year.  Now considering that I have not been in the water except for two times since my last triathlon a month ago, I was less than prepared for this one.  As I mentioned in my last post, immediately after the last triathlon I was offered a position as a Controller for a dental company.  Adjusting to a full-time schedule and the stress of a new job had severely affect my ability train properly and to eat properly.  I was going to the gym every morning and I was riding my bike when I could, but I wasn't training with a purpose.

Primarily I was concerned, as usual, about the swim.  This was going to be my first open water swim in a wetsuit.  Last Wednesday I did attend an open-water swim clinic at the Black Ridge Reservoir in Herriman.  I wasn't sure about the wetsuit at first, it was constricting and the water was ice cold, but I adjusted quickly and actually enjoyed the wetsuit.  As for the actual swimming, I still don't have the endurance, which probably goes with the lack of training time in the water.  After I left the clinic I had mixed emotions, but I was glad I went, it gave me an idea of what to expect on Saturday.

Now, my first triathlon, I was 100% focused on preparation, diet, exercise, everything. This one, not so much, I did try and maintain a good race week diet, along with hydration, but I know I came up lacking.  Race morning, I wanted to be at the venue early so that I could have my pick of spots in transition, plus Stacy was a volunteer for the event.  We got to the race at about 6 am, and I got what I feel was the PERFECT transition spot, near the bike in/out, at the end of a rack so that I could use the end as my staging area.  I was amazed at how many people showed up so late, some were still trying to get a spot in transition after the Olympic waves had started.  I can't even image adding self-inflicted stress on to the already existent stress of participating in a triathlon.

Pre-race meeting was at 7:30, which meant at water's edge in my wetsuit, the problem was my wave didn't start till 8:30, so it meant an hour in my wetsuit, barefoot waiting.  Fortunately, Stacy found me at the pre-race meeting and we walked around till it was my time.  We went back to transition and got my shoes and a jacket, which Stacy took back to transition for me.

The tempature for the day wasn't supposed to get over 60°, it was overcast, with a water tempature of around 52°, so it was cold, but I had an idea what it was going to be like considering I had just been the open-water clinic a couple days before.  My wave was the last men's wave, I got in and yes it was cold, but not really that bad to me.  Maybe I was just more concerned about the swim, than I was about the actual water.  I started in the back and when the gun went off, I swam, I tried a freestyle and did the best I could.  My challenge was the sighting combined with the lack of endurance.  I just took my time, did a combination of freestyle, breast, side and back stroke, I didn't tread water much, because I didn't want to waste my energy standing still.  It was rough, I won't lie, I am quite confident I was the last man out of the water, and I was passed by a LOT of women from the wave that started after mine.  I just focused on the next buoy and did what I needed to.  I came out of the water a little wobbly, but moving.  Total swim time, 21:26, now that is just 4 minutes longer than my first triathlon's 400 meter swim time and this swim was 750 meters, so that is good.  But I have SO much room for improvement, which I am taking as a positive.

The water did take its toll on a few racers, in fact they pulled three swimmers out of the water and Stacy helped another racer who had collapsed in T1 from the cold of the swim.  Plus they had brought another in off of the bike course, the EMT's were busy, I just hope in the end everyone was OK.

Coming out of the water, I had a pretty good distance to walk/run to my bike in transition.  My total T1 was 4:06, pretty slow actually.  I need to practice my T1, as well as riding in my tri-shoes without socks, I spend to much time putting them socks on.  I was happy I (Stacy actually) bought some silicone spray from PowerTri for my wetsuit, it made taking it off a snap.  I pays to attend these clinics to learn these little tricks.

The bike was going to be my strong leg of the race, and it felt good, but in comparison to other racer's times, I have a lot of improvement to do there was well, again taking it as a positive.  I had driven the course the week before, and it is very similar to the route I ride almost every Sunday morning.  So I knew what to expect, a false flat (slight uphill) out to U-111, uphill on 111 to the turn around and then downhill fast back to T2.  I was passed more than I had expected, but I felt good.  I had a couple ladies commenting on my calves as they passed me, I told them I inherited them from my dad and they are the only thing defined on my body.  After the turn around, it was all out, I couldn't go fast enough, I never changed my gear until I was almost back to T2.  Total bike time, 41:54, 11 minutes fast than my first triathlon, and I know I can do even better, I just need to prepare better, and maybe change my gearing.

T2 was a little crazy for me, total time was ok at 1:25, but I wasn't thinking clearly.  I had to back to my bike twice, once to put back my bandanna and the second time to put back my riding gloves, I walked out of T2 trying to get my legs back under me. Plus I forgot to put on my race belt with my number.  I just need to plan better, and have a mental checklist.

The run was around the Daybreak lake on the walking/jog path.  What a beautiful area!  I really want to take Stacy and the girls back for a walk around it.  I started out at just a jog pace, primarily because I couldn't feel my feet.  I hadn't really noticed it other than I was struggling to run, until another racer asked if my feet were still numb from the swim as hers were, and they were.  I was feeling a lot of stress in my lower legs and feet.  I actually thought I was going to snap an ankle with the pain I was feeling, but I endured.  I set a goal early in the run, that it didn't matter how fast I ran, but rather that I just didn't stop running.  So I shuffled along at a 5 mph pace, but I didn't stop.  I really wish they had put out some markers along the course to let me know how much was left, I wasn't sure I was ever going to make it around that lake.  As usually, I tried to save a little for the finish, I always want to come across the finish line strong.  Now, I had been looking for Stacy the entire run, as she had said she was going to be working an aid station, well she was, at the finish.  Total run time, 38:26, LOTS of room for improvement.

After seeing my total times, I was a little depressed, I know I can do better.  I came into this season not caring about total time, just to complete, not compete.  But, I do care, and I need to improve if I hope to even come close to my ultimate goals.  So I am refocusing my efforts on training and my diet.  Stacy has been on a new plan for a month or so that she likes and I am going to give it a try.  It is called Live The Life, it is a very structured workout and diet plan.  So I am hoping to drop some lbs and gain some strength.  I am still about 260 lbs, every pound lost will mean that much less weight I am having to schlep around the course.

My next race is in 27 days, at Jordanelle Reservoir.  I am dedicating myself to improve my training and my preparation to ensure that I run the race I know I can run.  I want to push myself, and I just want to make sure my body is ready to be pushed.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Race Pictures - Click to view

I Am A Triathlete!

I know I have been taking my sweet time in updating everyone with my experience at my first triathlon.  For the last three weeks since the Spring Sprint, I have been focusing on the next chapter in my professional career.  I will explain that later, this entry is about my first triathlon.

So as would be expected I had a considerable amount of anxiety as the day approached.  I mentioned in my last entry that I was focusing on my nutrition and just trying to stay positive, and to understand that I was prepared as I was ever going to be.  I really just wanted to enjoy the experience, while at the same time wanting time to pass more quickly so I could put it behind me.  

On Friday I went down to PowerTri for packet pickup and body marking (which I had forgot they were going to do.)  I took Brooklyn with me and it was a neat experience to stand in line as an athlete.  I at no time in my life have every been able to consider myself an "athlete".  Once I got home Friday afternoon, I turned my attention to packing my bag.  I knew I had everything I was going to need, but I was very deliberate to ensure that I didn't forget something.  I remember Stacy's first triathlon and her experience with preparing her transition bag (or lack of preparation).  So I mentally ran the race to determine what I was going to need and in what order.

Once I had the bag pack, I continued my prep work, checked the tire pressure on the bike and loaded it in the truck, and laid out my morning food.  By 8:00pm I was ready, so I tried to distract myself for the rest of the evening talking with my parents who had come in for the weekend.  Finally, about 9ish it was time for bed, or at least some quite time.  I intended on getting to the race site by 6:30, so that I wouldn't be rushed and so I would have the best choice of the bike rack for transition.

I slept sound and was up early.  I got to the venue about 6:30 and found a perfect spot at the end of a bike rack right in the middle.  I had 2 hours till race time, which I spent meditating, listening to music and trying to visualize the race.  I tried to not think too much about the swim, it was more just focusing on the part where I get out of the water.  As the minutes ticked by, I just wandered for the first hour, around 7:30 I went into the Olympic Oval and spent 20 minutes on a spin bike, trying to warm-up.  Around 8:00, I found Stacy and Mikayla waiting poolside, it was good to see them there, after the pre-race meeting, Brooklyn and my parents arrived and I had my cheering section ready to go.

So, it was time to start.  We self-ranked ourselves based our swimming level, from 1-5 (1 expert - 5 novice).  I considered myself a 4 (beginner) and was towards the back of the pack.  Our time didn't start till we entered the water.  It was a little nerve racking just waiting in line to start, and those of us in line just made nervous conversation.  Most of the racers I had talked to hadn't even driven the bike route, so I answered a lot of questions about both the bike and run courses.  As I approached the line I just told myself to go easy and that it would be over soon enough.

For the first lap and a half, I was going OK, that was 75 meters, and at meter 76 I knew I was in trouble.  Stacy and the girls were poolside trying to give me encouragement, which I appreciated, but didn't do much for me.  I settled into a mix of freestyle and floating on my back with a strong leg kick.  At the end of each 50 meters I would rest for a moment and get back at it.  I really wasn't trying to count the laps, as I felt it may discourage me with how much I had left to go.  I found out after that my sweet Mikayla got very emotional because of how much I was struggling and had to go sit with my parents.  When I hit the last 50 meters she walked the side of the pool the whole length trying to help me, and it did.  I did the last 50 meters mostly freestyle.  And then it was over.  Total swim time, 17:26, which is only slightly longer than I had expected.

After getting out of the water, it was about a 200 meter run to T1, I tried to run and finally it turned into a strong shuffle.  All I could think of was to get onto the bike.  Now, they say you should practice your transitions, I didn’t, and I think if I had I still would have not experienced what it was truly like.  My biggest challenge was my socks, my feet were wet, which made it challenging.  I remember thinking this is why most triathletes don't wear socks; I need to work on that.  Total T1 time was 2:25, not bad for a first time.

Onto the bike, this was my strongest of the three disciplines.  I had ridden the course a couple times and I knew what to expect.  The first 1/4 was a steady uphill, nothing super hard.  I was able to pass a number of racers, and was only passed my 1 person.  The 2nd 1/4 was downhill, and I mean downhill.  I barely even peddled, at one point I was going 38 mph, which is a better good clip.  It gave me a chance to rest up for what was about to happen.  The next 1/4 was pretty much flat; I took the Hammer Gel at the beginning of this leg, so that it would kick in for the last leg.  Again, I passed a number of riders and wasn't passed by anyone else.  Final the last 1/4, uphill for 13 straight blocks.  It was hard, and everyone was struggling, especially those riders on mountain bikes.  A couple riders passed me, but I didn't care, I just didn't want to stop.  Thankfully there was no wind, as I passed riders I tried to give them encouragement.  After those thirteen blocks, it was a quick downhill to T2.  Total bike time, 52:12, longer than I had expected, but I am satisfied. 

Into T2, I had a chance to get some encouragement from Leslie Howlett, who was working the transition area.  She wanted to know how the swim was and it was a nice distraction as I was preparing for the 5k run.  Coming out of transition I saw my mom, Stacy, the girls, Carrie and Mackenzie, my cheering section was growing.  Total T2, 1:37, I am very pleased with my transition times.

Finally the run, I came out of T2 with Leslie's last words of advice in my ears, just small strides.  It was about just putting one foot in front of the other, trying to get me running legs under me.  The first part of the run was out of the Oval complex, up a walking path then about 400 meters on grass up to the neighborhood.  I tried to keep running, but it turned into a walk/jog 5k.  I was passed by only a couple of people and pretty much kept the same people around me for the entire run.  I live in the neighborhood, so I knew what to expect.  There were only four uphill sections and the last 1/3 of the course was going to be all downhill running.  As we rounded onto road with the last hill, I knew I was going to make it.  I ran past a friend’s house (Kim) and I appreciated her encouragement.  As I turned on to my houses street I passed my newest neighbor and I am pretty sure he didn't know I was in a race and wanted to chat.  As I rounded the corner there was a course direction sign, and Mikayla had taped on congratulation sign for me, I was the only race to understand what she wrote and it was very special to me.  Coming down the last stretched I walked a little, because I wanted to make sure I had something left in the tank for the final sprint.  As I came into the Oval I saw Jeff and Kristin waiting for me and cheering me on.  I figured out pretty quick why they were there, Jeff was the lookout and whistled as I entered the building.  If you haven't heard his whistle let me just say, EVERYONE heard him.  I gave it a strong push and came across the finish line feeling great.  Total run time 30:06, just six seconds over my 30 minute goal, but I wasn't complaining, because I was a TRIATHLETE!  Total time 1:43:44 205/276th overall, 15/19th in my class.

Coming across the line it just felt great.  I wasn't overcome with emotion or anything like that, I think that was because I of my preparation.  I had raced the race so many times in my head, that it was surreal; don't get me wrong I was loving every second.  It was so great to have so much support and to have my girls be the first ones to hug me as I finished.  By the finish my cheering section had added NeeNee and the Little Lady.  We did the pictures and chatted for a bit and it was over.  A small gathering at the house, a little nap, and it was over.

So it has been three weeks since the race, and just two weeks till my next race, Daybreak.  I took a rest day the day after, and was back at the gym running.  Now I haven't had the swim training that I would like, for a couple reasons, the weather, I prefer the outdoor pool, and I have been focused on my professional career.  The week after the race, I started the interview process with a company that had an open Controller position available.  That process had been my focus for two straight weeks, and this past Monday I was offered the position.  It is with a dental company downtown that has tremendous growth potential, and I feel I can be an asset and we will be able to accomplish some great things professionally.

I have been working out steadily, and again, outside of the swim, I feel I will do OK in this upcoming race.  The swim will be another new experience, as I will need to wear a wetsuit.  I am probably relying too much on the buoyancy it will offer, but I may spend some more time kicking on my back, but I won't have any lane lines or poolside to hold onto for rest.  The next couple weeks, I will again try and hit the pool after work, but I will be as ready as I will be, come race day.

One final note, I want to congratulated Leslie Howlett and Burke Priest for their success at the St. George Ironman on May 1st.  I can only stand in awe at that accomplishment.  I spent that entire day tracking their progress online.  They have said that this was probably the hardest Ironman bike and run course ever, and to complete it is a special things.  Leslie's time 12:09, and Burke's was  14:51:19.  I have so much respect for these athletes, I want to wish them both continued success.