Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Ironmania Louisville 2009
Warning: This is a little long but it needs to be to really do the experience justice.
The day I had worked so hard for was finally approaching. I had taken off of work early on Wednesday to pack and spend a little time with the family before I left on Thursday for Louisville to get myself ready for the BIG day on Sunday. I was leaving on Thursday at 9 AM and as of Wednesday afternoon hadn't packed a thing yet. My recipe for packing was this: 1 big pile of almost all of my swim gear, 1 big pile of almost all my bike gear, 1 big pile of my run gear, 1 big bag of personal needs (Toothbrush, deodorant, contact stuff, etc.), and 1 big pile of other clothes to wear when I wasn't Ironmaning. Combine all that into 1 big pile, stir gently, and scoop into 1 giant suitcase with wheels. Then pack food and drink needs for the weekend, assemble box of bike tools and parts, and then make a bid pile of all the above mentioned in the garage to pack into mini-van. Sounds fun, huh? I wish I had taken pictures of this process. It was not the model of organization.
Morning arrived and the mini-van packing commenced. I had 2 passengers for the way down to Louisville. Bob, a friend, Ironman participant (1st timer like me), and training partner, and my grandmother, who was going to spend the weekend with her son, my uncle. Pretty uneventful ride to Louisville. We were staying at the host hotel the Gault House right on the river about 3 blocks from the transition area. Checked in the hotel and moved all of our stuff up to the room. My room for some reason was “upgraded” to a club-level room. While I thought this was cool at first it turned out to be a real hassle later on because it was on one of the top floors and you needed to use your room key before you could even access the floor. Bob and I then met up with another Ironmania participant, Jeff, who has done IM Louisville the 2 previous years and has multiple other IM events under his belt. This was nice in that we had someone to show us the ropes. We went to athlete check-in. This is where we went station-to-station to do things like get weighed-in, signed waivers, got our race packets and timing chips, and our goodie bag. And I have to say the only good thing about the goodie bag is the bag itself. Unlike other races I've done in the past where you earn your crappy t-shirt by just registering, the Ironman race actually makes you finish to earn your crappy t-shirt. But then they exit you right into the Ironman shop where they tempt you to by any and all overpriced stuff Ironman before you even show up to start. I resisted. No reason to put bad karma on me. This was already going to be tough enough without declaring myself Ironman before I finished. Then we met up with some more of the Ironmania racers and support crew for a bite to eat and a drink. This is where Ironmania racer Mel gave me the secret weapon for my run special needs bag.
Yes. Those are Hello Kitty Lucky Stars candies! Then it was back to the room for some rest. Oh yeah, the room was a suite with 1 room with 2 queen beds, 1 living room type room with a pull-out sofa sleeper, TV, and refrigerator, a huge bathroom, and a large hallway with doors at both ends. Why is this detail important you ask? Well apparently Bob claims I snore. So I woke up Friday morning and Bob wasn't in the queen bed he was sleeping in, both hallway doors are closed, and I walk in the living room and he is sleeping on the floor on top of the couch cushions since the pull-out was missing the matress. Sorry dude.
Met up with the Ironmania racers already in Louisville, I think at this point 6 of the 8 of us were there, for the practice swim, short run, and a short bike. This is the first time I had gotten to swim in the Ohio River where the swim would take place. The swim practice entered and exited the water at the “official “ swim exit. I got in the water and started to swim upstream. I could not believe how warm the water was. For the last week there was speculation that this could possibly end up being a wetsuit legal swim. Well, right away I knew that would be out of the question. The water was murky, I could not see more than like 6 inches in front of my face. The current was not bad at all. Swam for about 15 minutes then went for a short run. Then we all got on the bikes and started to ride the course out of town. The roads for the first few miles we bad. Potholed and cracked with a set of rough train tracks. Narrow too. I got buzzed by a semi at 45mph so close I may have been able to touch it with my elbow. That is the point where I said enough and turned back in. Showered, went to lunch and back to the hotel to where I got to meet my 3 new friends that I had been talking with for several months via emails. They belong to the same Tri club that I currently belong to and had only met briefly in passing before. But we have had some good laughs and interesting conversations in those couple of months. I then went to meet the rest of the arrivals who were doing athlete check-in. I gotta say I'm glad I did it on Thursday. No lines and I was done in like 5 minutes. Now huge lines and like 45 minutes. We all ended up at the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner and the off to the “mandatory” pre-race talk. This is where it really hit me that I was about to participate in an Ironman. Bright lights, big stage, and people telling you what to do and more importantly what not to do. Then back to the hotel for some relaxing, a couple of beers, and some TV. Same scenario as Thursday night I guess, but this time there was a mattress on the pull-out. Sorry dude.
Let's start off by saying Saturday was way busier than I expected. I expected to stay off my feet, relax, and watch TV most of the day. That didn't happen until almost 6pm that evening.
Met some of the group for an the swim practice for another easy swim. This time, however, the current in the river was stronger. Going upstream I felt like I had forgotten how to swim. Turn around and going downstream, needless to say was fast and easy. Went back to the hotel and showered. Karen was flying in with Craig and I didn't expect them until after noon sometime so I strated to get the gear and special needs bags together. Bike gear bag was almost full, run gear bag not so bad, and special needs bags almost empty. I not much of a special needs guy, my stomach can handle just about any type of food or drink I can reasonably take in during a bike or run. Bike bag basically had a baggie of Perpetuem and a flask of Hammer Gel, run bag had arm warmers and, of course, the Hello Kitty Candies. Karen called and her and Craig were in the Lobby. I had to go get them since I had that private floor need the room key to even get to the floor inconvenience. That got old real fast. Showed them around a bit and then met Jeff and Brabara for lunch at a pretty cool sports bar on 4th Street Live. This is where the race finished, by the way. Went back to the hotel to make the final preparations since we need to check bikes and gear bags into transition on Saturday. Checked the gear in by myself. Everyone else got an escort for some reason but the guy kind of just pointed me in. Not too complicated and I figured it out. The bikes had assigned parking spaces and the gear bags just got piled into number order. Now it was time to get the R&R I needed. Karen went out to the Spaghetti Factory to get me a take out meal, brought it back, then went out with Team Spektate to party, which they did a pretty good job of, or so I hear. I sat there, watching The Gauntlet (how about a little Clint Eastwood to set the tone), at my pasta and loaf of bread and I will admit to having a bottle of Lite while I ate. Then I headed for bed, 7:00 EST or 6:00 our time, so, needless to say, falling asleep was tough even for me (I can usually fall asleep anywhere and anytime). Finally fell asleep in about 30 minutes only to be woken up by the phone. This time I just shut the TV off and managed to fall asleep only to be woken by the phone an hour later. It was Tom Randich wishing me luck. He says “What are you doing up? You should be in bed.”. Fell back asleep until almost 1AM when Karen, Craig, and Chris got back for tearing up the town.
Sunday – RACE DAY
4AM wake up. Not too eventful. Food, drink, met Jeff and Bob in the Lobby of the hotel to head for the transition. The walk was about three blocks and the “support” crew was with us. That would be Bill, Barbara, Karen, Craig, and Chris. Got too transition and turned in special needs bags, pumped up tires, and just did the final bike once over and headed for the swim start. The weather report was calling for a high of 72, 8mph NNW winds, sun, and no rain. That and the 83 degree water was going to combine for perfect race day conditions. Finally, I was going to get a race where I could say the conditions are perfect. It seems like every race I've done in the two years of triathlon have had either, cold, wind, rain, stifling heat and humidity, or take-you-breath-away cold water.
The swim at IMLOU is a point-to-point swim in the Ohio River and a unique start because it is not a mass start but more of a time trial start. I say more of a time trial start because it wasn't necessarily 1 in the water every second or two as I had envisioned. We started walking to the end of the line. It seemed never to end. I bet I was in line at least a half mile away from the start. The line was longer than it really was though because of the spectators in line with the athletes. 6:50AM a gun goes off and the pros are away. This is when the race clock that you see in finisher pictures starts running. 10 minutes later and another gun goes off and this time age groupers get to start. At first the line started moving slowly but as you get closer the line really picked up speed. Almost to a fast run. Two lines into the water. Pick one, cross the mat and find a place to jump in. So instead of 2 people at a time it was more like 8 people at a time. Jumped off the dock into the way warmer than the air water. This was by far the warmest water I have ever swam in for a race. It actually was nice getting into water and not getting the air sucked out of your lungs but rather hitting the water and being able to get into the swim groove almost immediately. By the way, I had never swam this distance, 2 miles was my max and it was in a wetsuit. I had a swim skin for this. Just started swimming, no big deal. Got bumped here and there, but it wasn't that aggressive “you're in my swim space, rubbing is racing“ bumping. Just the water was murky and you really couldn't see 1 foot in front of you. Made the turn and decided to swing a little out into the river channel into the “clean” water so I could “just swim”. It's way too long a day to fight anyone of river space anyways. I tried to kind of take in as much of the experience as possible, the unique perspective of swimming by a docked, empty barge (VERY BIG), or swimming under a huge bridge spanning the river. Hit the swim exit stairs and saw 2:02 on the race clock. I had no idea how long I was in the water. I took a guess – 30 minutes before I hit the water + 10 minutes from the pro start = 1:20ish. I'll take it. Especially without the wetsuit. I had set myself up for a successful day with a solid swim. I exited the water with a huge smile, almost laughing, and said loudly “That was the most fun I ever had”. Ran past Team Spektate that was all over and cheering for me and headed for transition
Headed for the transition from swim to bike, calling out my number to get my bike gear bag. Ran into the changing tent and made a full change into bike gear. Hit the port-a-john, grabbed my bike, and headed off. Very uneventful transition, which is good, but very slow (14 minutes), very bad.
Back in June a group of us rode the course before so I basically knew what to expect. Rolling hills, a couple of tough inclines, some pretty fast downhills, and smooth roads. Challenging but not too terribly difficult. My strategy was to go out slow, spin the uphills in a gear that allowed me to keep my cadence up and effort down no matter the speed, and rip the downhills with little or no effort, and come back in a little faster. At times I felt like I was riding too slow. I was getting passed a lot. I really had to restrain myself from temptation to ride faster. On the beginning of my first loop I heard someone call my name from behind. It was Mel. I obviously was so focused that I failed to even notice that I passed her. This was a couple of miles before the first pass through LaGrange. LaGrange is a small town outside of Louisville that the bike course passes through that has a lot of spectators lining the road. The cool thing is that going through LaGrange is mostly slightly downhill and you can really rip through with some good speed showing off for everyone. I do have to say the bike was thankfully pretty much uneventful. Dennis passed me at about mile 80. And at about mile 90 someone called me a douchebag while they were passing me. It was Bob, one of my training buddies, carpool mate, and hotel room mate for the first 2 days in Louisville. I passed him back up and continued to ride back to town. On the way back in town, at about mile 100, I was passing a woman with a 68 written on her left calf. This means she's 68 years old. She looked to be struggling a bit so I said to her “Come on MaryAnn, where almost there”. She replied “I'm almost out of gas”. And I basically told her not to give up, I'm 41, you're 68, and it just took me 100 miles on the bike to catch her. I hope that gave her enough of a lift to get back in. Because it was the truth. About the last 15 miles of the bike my toes were really hurting and I was starting to get worried because there was no way I'm running with my feet feeling that way. I loosened the ratchet straps on my shoes and loosened the Velcro straps on my shoes to try to help circulation. This was the only point on the bike that I was getting really uncomfortable. Finally pulled into T2 with Bob following me in like 10 seconds later. Looking back on the bike, I made all the right decisions to set me up to run my first marathon. I ate and drank enough and came off the bike not feeling the least bit hungry. Could have rode harder, but didn't. And only came off the bike once to use the bathroom at about mile 65.
Once again, pretty uneventful, but slow (12 minutes). The good news was that almost immediately after getting my feet out of the bike shoes my toes felt 100% better. Changed in run gear and slipped my feet into the nice soft running shoes. That was a good feeling and I was glad to be off the bike and actually looking forward to running. Got sunscreened up by a volunteer and hit the port-a-john and headed out for the run.
Did I mention that this is my first marathon? Me and Bob headed out on the run together. I didn't really know how long we would stay together as Bob is a stronger runner than I am. My plan was to run slowly and walk aid stations but run none the less. It was really important to me to do this the “right” way and not to walk the marathon. I suprisingly felt good when I started running. My numb toes were not numb anymore, it was a comfortable temperature, and the crowd energized me. Plus the fact that I was going to do my first marathon. For some odd reason the fact I was going to run a marathon really excited me. That's really odd because running is the thing I like to do the least. Just started running between aid stations. We started calling them parties because of all the music, food, and drink. So now we were running from party to party, walking the length of the party. This part was cool because it was out and back twice and we got to see a lot of people we knew. Picked up some people to run with, chatting and just generally having a good time. It was really nice running with a friend to keep each other moving forward and having someone to joke with. I got to say I did use the aid stations well. I'm able to eat and drink with a good amount of ease when I do this kind of stuff. I wasn't stuffing myself full, but through each station I was alternating water and Gatorade and managing to eat a small handful of food, whether it be pretzels, banana, orange slices, or Powerbar. In fact, I had only 1 gel the entire run. Well, the turn around at the halfway point came. You can see the finish line like 200 feet away. Finishers go to the left of the cones, 1st loopers go right and do it all over again. In a way it sucked a bit to see the finish and turn away from it but really it energized me even more to see all the excitement and hear all the music and know that I was that close to the end of my journey that had lasted the good part of a year. Same strategy, run slow and steady and walk parties. Looping back out Craig and Chris came up to me and slapped me on the ass so hard that it made me forget about my legs which were starting to get a little sore and fatigued at this point. Mile 18 came and went without incident. This was a lift for me because it seemed like all I heard all weekend is how mile 18 is the break down mile and how bad it sucks from that point on. Well it passed just like the previous 17 miles just did. As a matter of fact, the Coke they were serving at the parties was going to be saved for mile 18. I was holding out as long as I could. Mile 19, 20, 21 passed. And I still stayed away from the Coke. This made me feel that I was winning the metal battle that everyone talks about. By this time it was starting to get dark out and I wanted the Coke. Mile 22 have the coke. Nice change but I really didn't “need” it. I now knew that I was going to be crowned an “Ironman” and it was just a matter of just enjoying the final part of the journey. At about mile 24 Bob picked the pace up and I just held steady. 25 I passed the special needs again and this time dug into the bag to retrieve my armwarmers. I didn't want them to go in the garbage plus even though I only had a mile left I was starting to get really cold. So I slipped them on while I was running. 26 I turned the corner onto 4th street and saw the finish. I also saw Team Spektate so I stopped gave each one of them a high-five or hug and then started back to the finish-line. My finish strategy was to finish slow, take the whole experience in, and be aware enough to hear me called an Ironman.
The Finish and Post Race
Crossed the line (14:16) and was escoted by what I think is referred to as a catcher. I got a medal put around my neck and then escorted over to a table where I got a hat and t-shirt. I felt it to be a little odd that I just did an Ironman and now I'm being asked what size t-shirt I want when in reality it was the last thing I cared about. Got a picture taken and then it was celebration time. My catcher kept asking me how I felt and I kept telling her that I felt great but my legs did hurt. This is when the PocketShot of bourbon came out. You see, Bernie gave me this shot of bourbon in a gel-type pouch, which had traveled many hundreds of bike training miles with me, traveled 112 IM bike miles, and traveled my first marathon with me. Pulled it out of my pocket opened it and drank it.
Went to the medical to sign-up for a massage. Walked into the mass of people and said loudly “Is this where the Cervelo Test Ride is?” which did lighten the mood in there. Over an hour wait for a massage. I'll pass since I want to see Mel finish.
What an experience! I seemed to make all the right decisions during the day. The weather was perfect and I had an incredibly lucky break by having a friend to run with for 24 of the 26.2. My only initial regrets is that I wish I would have gotten through transitions faster.
Monday can be pretty much summarized with one word, “OUCH!” I did manage to fight the crowd and by myself a finisher item. That in itself was an experience. It was like a feeding frenzy of sharks and I wasn't much in the mood. I bought an overpriced jacket, a couple of stickers, and a couple of t-shirts for the kids. I did want the pictures though. Just standing in line for these was another endurance event. Now this is where being on the 15th floor of the hotel was a rel bad thing. Trying to get out of there by 11am checkout was another whole experience. Finally got on the road home. I drove the 1st half of the trip. Then we stopped for lunch. This is when I really felt the pain. I really was incapacitated. Karen and Grandma went into the restaurant and I just stood there by the car trying to will my legs to move. I must have looked ridiculous. Cut-off jean shorts and white knee hi compression socks walking like Frankenstein. Everyone looked at me like I was some kind of freak. Probably felt sorry for me too. I should have just yelled loudly “ WHAT ARE YOUE LOOKING AT? I AM AN IRONMAN BITCHES!”
I have a lot of people that I want to thank so I hope I don't miss anyone. If I do please don't be offended.
First of all to my wife Karen, Thank You for putting up with me for the last 8 months. I know it's been tough. And thank you for being there on race day. I hope you had fun and now maybe understand why I like to do this. Besides you signed me up remember?
To my kids, Shayne and Nicole, who will probably never see this, thank you for letting me miss activities and be an absent parent a lot. I hope someday this will be something you can understand. I wish you would have been there.
To all my parents. Sorry I haven't been around lately.
To all my friends, thanks for giving me shit while you are staying out late, drinking, and having fun while I had to go to bed early so I could go ride a bike for 6 hours. All I have to say is “Look Out!” I have some catching up to do.
To the Ironmania athletes, thanks for all the company and support on the many, many miles of swimming, biking, and running. Without you guys there is absolutely no way I would have been able to do this. It was an incredible experience and I am honored that I can call each and everyone of you my friends. You guys are rock starts!
To the Ironmania Team Spektate that made the trip to Louisville. All I can say I WOW! You guys travel well. Never in my wildest imagination did I expect so many of you to make that trip.
To the Linclon Way Masters Swim coaches, thank you. In the matter of 3 seasons of masters swim you turned me from a guy who barely knew what he was doing and taught me the skills and gave me the confidence to do an Ironman non-wetsuit swim with a performance I'm actually proud of.
To the group of tri-mates and biker friends, thank you. 4 years ago when I met most of you 20 miles was big bike day. Because of you guys dragging me around for several summers you made me believe that I was capable of more.
To my 3 new friends, MaryAnn, Bethann, and Heather, thanks for keeping things fun. We certainly had a few laughs. Especially leading up to the big day.
Vanessa and Laura at Lifetime, thanks for the weekend spin classes that kept me from being lazy on snowy and cold winter weekend mornings.
What an incredible journey it has been. Lots of highs and lots of lows, although the highs were much higher and more common than the lows. Lots of laughs. Lots of aches and pains. Lots of days when I wanted to just be lazy and somehow managed to motivate myself or have someone motivate me. Lots of new things that I learned about myself and what I am capable of. Lots of fun party times with friends that I missed out on. Maybe a Chicago Marathon guest appearance is in my immediate future. I know that during training and the days leading up to Ironman I said I would never do another. Well, the only thing I'm going to say for sure is not next year. (Wisconsin 2011?)
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Panoramic. North Ave beach on left. Ohio Street swimming area on right.
"In the city, in the city
In the city there's a thousand things I want to say to you"
- The Jam, In the City
16 days 'till Ironman. Oh Shit!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Well, since the toast post of last week I continued to just pummel my body. My 2 longest ever open water swims -- each 2 miles in Lake Michigan. My longest run ever -- 15 miles after one of the 2 mile swims. The day after a hilly 7 mile run at Swallow Cliff, might I add. And then 2 loops of the IM Wisconsin course on Sunday. Plus throw in the short runs and short bikes that aren't even worth the time anymore and I've added to the toastiness. I think I might actually be almost IM ready, or at least as much as a person can be. I've also lost over 10 lbs in the last 5 -6 weeks. My goal (not really a goal) was to show up in Louisville on race day around 175. Almost there. All this while eating like a horse. I mean seriously, if it's edible and not attached down chances are that I am going to eat it.
Bang's Lake this weekend. The final thing to cross off the list for this season before Ironman. Haven't decided how I'm going to approach Bang's Lake. I may treat it as a training day or I may let it rip. I'll wait until Sunday to decide how I feel. The last thing I want to do is hurt myself 3 weeks out.
"Look into a picture
A thousand years are told
Now is it any wonder
What our tomorrows hold
Our yesterdays are over
You know they go so fast
If I could rule the winds of change
You know I'd make it all last"
-- Cinderella, Winds of Change
25 days 'till Ironman. Oh Shit!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Less than 5 weeks from Ironman and this is how I feel right now. My legs are heavy. My runs are getting really slow. Motivation for swimming is getting lost. And yes, my true love for this, the bike is sucking right now. I don't even want to ride. Some, check that, most of the fun is disappearing now. I really want the day to come and for this to be over with.
I want to stay out late on Friday/Saturday nights. I want to sleep late on weekend mornings. I want to go to breakfast with my family on Saturday or Sunday mornings. I want to stop planning my week activities by the weather report. I want to be able to have the time to cut the grass on a weekday evening. I want to ride my bike for fun and then stop when I've had enough. I want to play softball again. But I want to be Ironman so I will push on.
On a positive note (I guess), I'm doing a race soon. Bangs Lake Olympic distance triathlon. And looking forward to it. Mostly because I'm looking at it as a break from training. How sick has this become? 10 years ago I attended Mrs T's in Chicago (now Accenture) and thought "How in the world can these people do this?". Now I'm looking at that as a break!? WTF! Yup, a break, I only have to kick my ass and beat my body for less than 3 hours.
I MUST SEEK HELP!
33 days 'till Ironman. OH SHIIIT!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
The Rockman Long Course Triathlon, June 7th 2009. They can't actually call it a "Half-Ironman" because there is some legal mumbo-jumbo stuff on why you can and can't use "Half-Ironman". This is a semi-local race up by Rockford, IL that I signed up to do. For me I use the term "race" very loosely. Race to me means that you are trying to beat other people and finish as high in the standings as possible. For me at Rockman it meant finishing, feeling good about what I ahd done, and taking away some valuable lessons that I can use in the final push towards Ironman. BTW, Ironman = 140.6; which incidentally is 70.3 x 2; which is exactly double what I did yesterday.
Now for the "race" report. I will spare the boring day before details. No one really cares that I had a huge bowl of spaghetti and meatball, a huge pile of garlic bread, and like a gallon of water anyways. See aren't you glad I spared you those details.
4:45 AM wake up. Turned on the Weather Channel. The weather was supposed to be iffy so I was concerned. No reason to be concerned. Just a cell 75 miles or so away supposedly producing quarter-sized hail and heading our way. But anyway it looked calm and dry now. Real calm. Packed up and headed for the race. Got there a little later than I wanted. Long walk from car to transition. No biggie as I dropped my bike off the night before. got my gear ready for the transitions. Usually you organize you stuff in neat little organized piles that you can get on your body fast and make the transition from swim to bike and then bike to run faster and thoughtless. Some people are anal about this. Not me. In fact since it was going to mostly likely rain having dry gear was my main objective. So it was bike shit in this plastic bag, run shit in this plastic bag, and all the other shit I might need/want in this bigger plastic bag. Then a little socializing. BSed with some people from the tri club I belong to, met a few new people (or should I say friends) and joked a bit with some of my other training buddies. I like to joke and not to try to take any of this too seriously. It helps me keep doing stuff like this in perspective. It's a big part of my life but it doesn't define my extistence. Put my wetsuit on next. I love swimming in my wetsuit. It make swimming so easy. However, I hadn't had it on since last August and never really felt like I had it on the right way. It felt like I didn't have it pulled all the way up. It felt like it wass pulling down on my shoulders. Oh, well no time to fix it 1 minute until the start. Was in the water. some people were cold I actually was comfortable. A little chill but that's OK I wasn't swimming yet.
The Swim. The goal: 40 minutes.
I felt really confident going into the swim. I swam 2 - 3 times a week with my masters swim club and feel I really improved. However, that is in a pool, sharing a lane with 1 or 2 other people. This was in a lake. And a mass start at that. Now I've done some open water swimming. But I've never done this mass start thing. The mass start is where everyone is treading water and the race starts and everyone starts swimming. Now this isn't a big race but it still equates to swimming in a washing machine. And this is my first non-pool swim since August. It didn't start off very well either. Thought I was doing OK at first but my arms got tired really fast from trying to swim with my head out of the water too much. Plus it started raining. Not a big deal for the rain but it was dark and for whatever reason the people running the race though that using black/white/red markers would be a good idea. Maybe I'm being a baby about that but between the darkness and my fogged up goggles I could not sight them. This sent me off on anything but a straight line. Usually these things are bright orange and stick out well. To get the 1.2 miles the swim was 2 laps around these three mentioned markers arranged in a triangle shape. May first 3/4 lap was really bad. Then I ended up in cleaner water (no swimmers) and concentrated on just getting a swim groove on. Still got of couse a bit but the last lap was really pretty comfortable. Got to the beach and got out and headed for transition. They didn't have any race clocks set up anywhere (WTF!) so I asked someone on my way to transition what time it was. 7:50. 50 minutes in the water. YIKES! BAD! Oh, well at least I survived to bike which I think is my strongest of the 3 events. Into transition I went. A little disoriented from being in the water swimming for 50 minutes. Got to the bike and put on my dry socks and bike shoes. The plastic worked. Helmet, glasses (yellow lenses) and a bike jersey of my wet tri top. I wanted to make sure I started somewhat warm. out of transition.
The Bike. Goal: 20 mph. Too ambitious. YES.
Mounted the bike started the Garmin bike computer and off I went. I had a Powerbar, a couple of gels, an Aerobottle of water, a water bottle of blue Gatorade, and a 4 scoop MJ cocktail. For those of you wondering this is hammer Perpeteum and a couple of squirts of Hammer Gel. Today 4 scoops and 3 squits of gel in a water bottle fill with water and shake, shake, shake. This concoction is affectionately named in honor of a good friend of mine who gave me the recepie. Incidentally she was doing this race too. The MJ cockatil works real well for me on the bike. Decent taste and easy to digest. Plus it feels like I actually have something in my stomach The fist 10 - 12 miles of the bike it rained. Not hard but enough to get the roads I've never ridden on wet and make me nervous. Started feeling really good aboaut 5 miles in. Concentrated on water, coctail, water, gatorade, in no special order. And concentrated on picking the next person in front of me on the road and passing them. Passed lots. Got passed never. Plus I was able to manage staying in the aerobars probably 50 of the 56 miles. Mostly uneventful. I was, however, towards mile 50 actually looking forward to getting off the bike and doing some running. Got back to the transition. 56 miles without unclipping from the bike except for a short 30 seconds of so to take a much needed wizz. Racked my bike and took off my soaking wet bike shoes and soaking wet socks. Was going to wear my compression socks for the run. Run shit pastic bag -- NO SOCKS! WTF! There is no way I'm running a half Marathon without socks on. Finally after digging around in the miscelleneous shit bag found them. Oh, well only wasted 2 minutes doing that. Garmin Froerunner on and off on the run. Bike 18.9 mph. Happy with that.
The Run. Goal: It is what it is.
First of all I 've been suffering some kind of left calf "injury". I'll call it any injury because it's prevented me from running for 3 weeks. I'll leave it at that. Also I got a brand new pair of running shoes and this is the first run in them. So without know how I was going to fare I headed off. Almost immediately after setting out on the run the pro that won passed me heading in. By my calculations this put him well over 2 hours ahead of me. Cool to see that. This is the only sport where a total hobbiest participant could start the swim in the water with one of the best in the world. Very cool. My goal was to run easy and see how the leg felt. I want to finish first and foremost. Well going up on of the numerous hills my foot stuck the pavement kind of awkway and my calf felt it. I got worried. Real worried. But decided to stick with it. I started feeling better. Still sore but nothing that was going to stop me. The run course was awesome. Bike trails and abandoned fire roads through a state park. Very cool. Not very cool was that the run course was confusing enough and wasn't very well marked that sometimes I got confused. The aid stations had water, Heed (YUCK), oranges, bananas, and gel. The water and oranges were good, gel was starting to get old and it was really starting to get humid. One aid station had Pepsi which really was a pick me up. Ran into one of my training buddies on an out and back leg. I was going out and he was coming in. He told me he wasn't doing well. I was feeling better and just kept chugging along. I finally caught him a few miles later and he was walking. I was getting pretty tired at the time so I encouraged him to start running again. He did and I was glad. About 4 miles left and if we could just keep running together we would make it. Well 4 miles later we made it. Crossed the finish line. I had completed my fist 70.3! Craig was standing there with a cold beer and I said no. That's a first!
Total time: 6:41.
What a learning experience that was.
So what did I learn? Not necessarily in order.
- As strong and confident of a swimmer that I think I am I still really lack the experience of the open water with other swimmers around.
- 70.3 is harder than I expected.
- I'm in pretty good bike shape. Maybe the best I've ever been in.
- Overall I'm pretty happy with where I'm at fitness wise.
- I got a lot more work to do.
- My leg "injury" may be over. I think I'm going to start running again.
- I really think I might be able to do Ironman.
- I am enjoying the journey to get Iron.
- I want it to be over.
- I like beer. (I didn't learn that just thought I would remind y'all).
- I'm really thankful for my supportive family and friends.
- I meet a lot of really cool people doing this.
- Kristy Swanson is hot. Really, she still is check her out.
Overall it was a great day. It was never intended to be my "A" race day but what it turned into was an "A" training day on the "The Road to 140.6". So in my book a success.
"You're the fighter you've got the fire
The spirit of a warrior, the champion's heart
You fight for your life because the fighter never quits
You make the most of the hand you're dealt
Because the quitter never wins
-- Dropkick Murphys, The Warrior's Code
Only 83 day 'till Ironman. Oh, shit! What a ride it's been so far!
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Me: "I took the day off tomorrow. Do you want to ride?"
So we took off from my house around 9. The plan was to ride to to Kanakee River State Park and back. The temp was around 60 when we left. Sun with a little cloud cover and almost non-exent wind. The little wind that there was was coming almost directly from the south. We would be riding directly into it on the way there and have it behind us on the way back. Perfect. Kind of non-eventful. Except for the semi that "buzzed" us on Rt 52. Made the state park took a quick break and headed back. On the same stretch of road with the semi incident my friend decieded she didn't want to spend too much time on that road and totally kicked my ass for like 3 miles. Ended up with almost 74 miles. Good ride. Good weather. Perfect day.
A little post-ride Cinco de Mayo festivities with tacos, beers, and margaritas with another friend in the evening for his birthday.
I may make a habit out of this mid-week day off and ride. I like it.
"It's a beautiful day I heard everybody say
The sun shines down for all of us
Just the same you know I like the rain
That ain't so obvious"
-- Goo Goo Dolls, We Are the Normal
116 days 'till Ironman. Oh shit!
Monday, May 4, 2009
It started with Master swim on Friday night. I did the short workout and then went home and hung out with my son. My wife plays softball and they had a 9:30 PM game. Saturday AM up early as usual. Out on the bike by 7. Rode to Frankfort to meet a few friends there. Then off to the Monee Reservoir and then the long way back home to get in 47 miles by 10 AM. Garmin says 2800 calories burned. That's an entre day's intake for most people! Breakfast a shower and then off to a double-header of Mustang division baseball. The first game went extra innings. That was close to 5 hours of baseball on Saturday. Got home and cut the grass and got the hot tub emptying for a much needed water change. Unfortunately with training these chores don't go away. Ordered a pizza for dinner had a couple of cold ones with it and then was sleeping on the couch by 9 PM. Early pre 6 AM wake-up call on Sunday (what else is new?). Then off to the Palos Half Marathon. This is a race that I didn't sign up for. Last Wednesday I figured I needed to get a 1 1/2 hour run this weekend so I would just do the Palos Half "bandit". At Master swim on Friday one of the swimmers gave me his registration since he was injured and couldn't do it. I really like these local races. Totally hassle-free experience. I left the house at 6:20 for a 7:30 race and had plenty of time to park and get to the start line with plenty of time for the mandatory socializing and goofing around.
The race strategy -- Really didn't have one. I was treating this as a no goal training run. I was just going to se how I felt and run in a comfort zone. So I found a couple of friends that were planning on running a pace to get them under 2 hours. So they would be the people that I would be running with. I started out with them and then after like 2 miles I started feeling really good so I pick up my pace a bit. Started running around 8:40/mile. For me anything under 9:00 I consider good. Was able to hold this pace for a long time and started to think at this pace I might be able to cut 4 to 5 minutes off last year's half marathon. Well mile 10 hit and hit me hard. Mile 9.99, feeling good and still in that 8:40ish groove. Mile 10.01, not feeling that 8:40 groove any more. Instantly pace is 9:15. WTF, this all happens in like the matter of 10 strides. Heartrate is still the same but the legs won't move the way they were before. A freind of mine that I ran with last year picked me up there and ran with me in. It really helped. I finished about 1 minute ahead of last year's time, 1:58. So I still managed under 2 hours. A friend who didn't do the race this year was waiting at the finish line with a cold can of Miller Lite. Oh, did that taste good. A bunch of us hung out for a long while at the after-race festivities. I think we might have bee the last people to leave.
Hung out the rest of Suday afternoon with some of the neighborhood friends.
I think I was in more pain at the end of the race this year than last year. Last year I way under-trained for this half marathon, this year as part of the Ironman plan I have been running my ass off. Religously following the running part of the plan. As a matter of fact in 9 weeks I have only missed/skipped 1 run. And that was a 30 minute zone 2 run. I have been running in wind, rain, snow, cold, indoor and outdoor and all I cut off my time was a lousy minute.
I have to do another half marathon in a month. But with this one I have to do Saturday's bike right before that half marathon. Oh, yeah. And I got to do Friday's swim before the bike. A half-IM distance triathlon in a month! Oh shit.
Now for the good. The guy I ran as is in the 60-65 AG. I finihed 4th. So I guess if I was 20 years older I would be fast. HA!
Now for the bad. Looked at the calendar and my May is totally SCREWED. 1 kid playing baseball, 1 kid playing softball. Often at the same time and in different places. So for the next month it's looking like if I can get 1 swim and 1 long run and 1 long bike in I will be lucky. Hopefully, the weather cooperates with my schedule.
Next up: Quarryman 10 mile. Hills, hills, and more hills.
"Alright partner...keep on rollin' baby
You know what time it is "
- Limp Bizkit, Rollin (Air Raid Vehicle)
118 days 'till Ironman. Oh shit!
Friday, April 17, 2009
"Oh, I think I'll take a walk everyday now
the summer sun has show the way to be happy now
I just cant stay inside all day
I gotta get out get me some of those rays
everybody seems so happy today
it's a sunshine day
Cant you dig the sunshine
Love and sun are the same
Cant you hear him callin your name?"
-- Yup, it's the Brady Bunch people.
125 days ' till Ironman (that's 4 months and 3 days). Ooooooooooooooo shit!
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
So, with the weather getting better the biking has gone outside. I tallied up about 100 miles this week. Add that to the roughly 17 miles of run and 4 miles of swim and I'm about 20 miles short of the distance I'll have to cover on August 30th alone. YIKES!
Thank god that I'm in week 4 and it's a so called "rest" week. My rest week still consists of more working out than most "normal" people do in like, a month. How sick it that?
"Inhale resolve, Exhale ambition
Inhale all I need, Exhale all I want
Inhale love of life, Exhale fear of death
Inhale power, Exhale force"
-- Henry Rollins, Inhale Exhale
Coming soon, a significant bike upgrade.
160 Days 'till Ironman. Oh, shit!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
That's Social Distortion for those that don't know. Mike Ness ROCKS! This guy oozes Rock-n-Roll.
Bad? Yes. Lame? Yes. But it is the old school original of the previous song so it gets some credit.
Now the Ugly.
Yeeeeeeeeeeech! YIKES! and WTF! It takes a great effort to take a bad original and make it suck even more.
So, with a a stack of amps turned up to 11, some tattooage, and a whole lot of attitude you can turn something bad into something great.
Why the post you ask? There is a life lesson here in these videos. Attitude is everything! Attitude can take something bad in life and turn it classic with the right attitude.
BTW. The stitches are coming out at 3 tomorrow and I WILL be in the pool at 7. That is as long as my hand gash doesnt split open in those couple of hours.
192 days until Ironman. Oh shit.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
During interviews with Lance you hear thing like "I'm here to work for Levi and help make sure that he can win TOC again" or some crap like that. When you know he's really thinking "I haven't raced in over 3 years and I could crush that little weasel anytime I feel like it now. He should feel lucky that I haven't put 5 minutes on him ".
On the training front a little break from swimming. This is due to the fact that on Thursday last week I cut my hand pretty bad in the garage. A couple of stitches and some really swollen and sore knuckles. Doc said stay out of pool. I've gotten some run time in and time on the trainer, made easier by watching the TOC. March first is the date or my "official" training road to Ironman.
One last thing about the TOC. Does anyome find it ironic that it's sponsor is Amgen, a manufacturer of the drug EPO?
193 days 'till Ironman. Oh shit.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
213 day 'till Ironman. Oh, shit!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
A couple of observations/issues:
- One thing that bothers me about Obama, the general perception is that this guy is the second coming of Christ and he walks on water.
- The general rock star status he has achieved.
- $160 million dollars spent on the inauguration spectacle. Are you kidding me? Who pays that bill? Aren't we in the middle of a dire financial crisis? Couldn't that money be better spent elsewhere? How many teens who are qualified and want to go to college but can't afford it could be educated? A one day waste of 160,000,000.
- The next time I hear the political/social views of a celebrity or major pro athlete I think I might puke. I mean this group of people are the most of of touch with reality people I can think of.
- Rush Limbaugh saying he hopes that Obama will fail. This guy needs help. Serious help. Love Obama or hate Obama the majority of Americans have voted for him and he is now our president. Wouldn't our energy be better served at this point to support and hope he succeeds? Failure for him means failure for our country and I hope no sane American wishes that.
- Last but not least, and excuse the crudeness of this last statement, but the chances are that if you were a crack-ass m'fer loser on 1/20/09 the chances are that you will still be on 4 years from now. How is it that a lot of people don't realize that the only person that can help yourself is yourself? Get off the drugs, go get an education, get a job, get of the welfare, set a goal, and take some pride in yourself. Yes, you might have to start at the bottom flipping burgers or something like that, and it might take some hard work and responsibility to achieve your goals, but in the end it is worth it.
Sorry for the rant and candor but they are some of my feelings from the last 2 days. (Yes, I do have a serious side.)
On a training note (since this is what this is supposed to be about):
No Sunday workout -- the post-bowling celebration took it's toll.
Monday -- Indoor run at the Sportplex. 45 minutes, felt good and fast. I love running on those rubberized tracks.
Tuesday -- Barbell strength class at Lifetime. Strength conditioning is good, right? Instructor led, low weight, and lots of reps.
Wednesday -- Master swim at Lincoln-Way North H.S. I love swimming in the deep end.
Tonight -- back to the Sportsplex track.
Tomorrow -- Master swim.
Weekend -- I see what the weather looks like. I am afraid to run on the ice/snow. I don't want to slip and end up with a injured knee of ankle.
220 days 'till Ironman. Oh, shit!
Monday, January 19, 2009
I know some people like to take life easy,
That's not my style.
I'm not the type to let this life tease me,
I'm gonna make it wild.
I just wanna ride,
Get on my bike and ride.
Some people think you've got to like your life one way,
I'm not gonna pay attention to them anyway,
It's got nothing, nothing to do with me.
Life is so short, we've got
No time to waste at all.
I just wanna ride,
Get on my bike and ride.
I just wanna ride,
Get on my bike and ride.
I see the road, as it opens up before me,
I feel the heat.
I'm gonna go where I want, when I want to.
I've got to be free.
Feels so right...
Feels so right...
- "Ride" by Joe Satriani
I miss my bike.
223 days 'till Ironman. Oh, shit!
Saturday, January 17, 2009
After careful and lengthy research, I finally found a reliable source for a nickname. So without further adieu I unveil my new official nickname, so according to Shawn Spencer my new nickname is
I will only be responding to that from now on. Thank you.
225 days 'till Ironman. Oh shit!
Friday, January 16, 2009
Yup, that's right, -23 degrees Fahrenheit. 23 degrees below zero. 55 degrees less than the freezing point of water! 100 degrees lower than my favorite temperature. This kind of stuff absolutely amazes me.
Luckily, I was able to convince my boss to let me work at the plant in Stickney so i could avoid the whole Metra and walking downtown thing. Every overpass than spanned water was a complete sheet of ice.
I work for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, so the above mentioned plant is the largest waste water treatment plant in the Americas and one of the largest in the world. When I got there the place looked like it was on fire. It was just steam coming off the final settling tanks.
Now to put this in perspective these pictures are of tanks open on the top, probably 20 feet deep and maybe 100 feet in diameter. There are 92 of these! And that's just these large, round open air tanks. So you could imagine the sight. You can't see it in the first picture but there was an effin' duck swimming. Take my word on that.
On a training note, I had my longest swim ever on Monday. About 3000 yards. I did a spin class on Tuesday. Blew Wednesday's swim off because I was too big of a wuss and didn't want go out in the snow and cold. Rode the trainer for a little over an hour last night. My intentions is to go to master swim tonight and try to "man up" for some run this weekend outside as well as try to find some kind of bike time, whether it's real bike on trainer or spin class.
- Some previously promised bike love, and
- Why 80's Hair Metal may be the best music ever
226 days 'till Ironman. Oh, shit!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
I've been doing okay trying to keep myself in shape since the last post. Some running and biking both on the trainer and the occasional spin class. I finally started going back to master swim last night. I thought it went pretty well since I've probably have swam 3 or 4 times since the end of August. So I guess master swim 2 times a week, run 2 times a week, and find the bike somehow 2 times a week until I have a better training plan.
On a side note:
"Like plum pudding, spotted dick is a baked pudding with primary ingredients of flour, currants, golden sugar, rum, and suet. Suet is traditionally made from raw beef fat, though vegetarians may take heart since suet can also be made from a combination of vegetable fats. Most often, however, suet in spotted dick is of the non-vegetarian variety. Spotted dick often has sweet spices added, like cinnamon and nutmeg. "
It's got RUM!
There is nothing more wonderful than Spotted Dick with lashings of custard and a good cup of strong tea with friends. YUM! I keep it in the cupboard and am ready for friends and tea at a moment's notice. This is a rich sponge cake with currents and savory rich tones of brown sugar. The chocolate and sticky Toffee and Treacle are all good too - when you can get them.
I know the name seems a bit naughty--it just adds to the fun of offering some cultural engagement to our wonderful world. I do slip it into gifts and offer to bring dessert to friends. BUT I also love this line of products for the QUALITY
Or in my case I NEED A CAN JUST TO SIT ON MY DESK AT WORK!
"Some concern about the name of spotted dick has been expressed because of the use of the term as a curse word. In some places one may see spotted dick offered as spotted Richard or spotted dog."
Uh, duh. Let's review the facts: It's called SPOTTED DICK people!
Like I said WTF! What would we do without the British?
Coming soon: Pics of my bike. Why? Because I want to. And it's way prettier than I am and we'll be spending lots of time together.
234 days 'till Ironman. Oh Shit!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Win one that you should have lost and then give it right back for a loss. Can anyone say CHOKE. This was my most disappointing day ever as a Bears fan. But oh well, it's just a stupid game played by overpaid prima-donnas anyways. The real winners that day were the "regular' people out for a 26.2 mile run on a glorious Sunday fall morning. Congrats to all the Chicago Marathoners.
Even with the most disappointing day in fandom (you Cub fans know well what I'm talking about) it turned out to be a great day shared with some of my best friends. I went on a great bike ride to Beecher and back. There were only three of us and we notched it down a bit to enjoy the weather. Light winds in our face on the way out and a little heavier wind on the way back. That worked out well. 25 miles into an easy wind and 25 in with a decent tailwind. The temp was perfect, the traffic was light, and the company was great. Plus I got a good night sleep on Saturday night (the wife was tired and hung over from her Friday afternoon and evening). It reminded me as to whay I got into biking to begin with. Then to my neighbor's house for the game, food, and cold beer. We have this ritual of rotating gmaes at everone's house on each Sunday. Well needless to say, the weather made the post-game festivities lively. The kids played, the adults played, and I got home well past dark. What a day!
Yup! Fat and Lazy.
Friday, October 10, 2008
That's me right now. 1 800 yrd swim, 2 spin classes, a couple of runs, and I will give myself credit for a half dozen decent bike rides since Accenture (Aug 24th!). Maybe I'm not that fat yet but I feel like the mid-section has gained a little roundness. I do have an excuse, even though not a good one. My 9-year old's first organized footbal endeveour (Go Pioneers!). I feel that I need to be there as much as possible to support him. That's 3 night a week I go straight home, pick him up, go to practice, and don't get home untill 8:30PM. Saturday is game day. So I'm getting a little round. So what. I wouldn't miss it for a thing. You don't get this time back, you know. Oh and the cheerleading to go with it. That's 4 days a week footballing and cheerleading. Here's the proof:
So I guess I will just enjoy the lazy and fat life a little while longer and then start back building the momentum for next season. 3 more games and 6 more practices left. It's worth the wait.
Monday, September 29, 2008