Tuesday, May 31, 2011

IMTX Race Report

My long and winding road to toe the line at Ironman ended up in Texas on May 21st. Overall a beautiful day...not as fast or pretty as I had hoped but just as sweet!

It was a great few days leading up to the race...really relaxing. Kristina was an amazing athletic supporter (as I love to say).

Leading up to the swim everything was so peaceful - that was soon to change. With the water temperature at ~79 degrees the race was not wetsuit legal...not really something that concerns me from a qualifying standpoint, but from an overheating/cramping standpoint I made the conscious decision to forgo my neoprene safety blanket.

For 2.4 miles and 93 minutes I pretty much got my ass handed to me...It was the roughest swim I've ever had...<15 slower than my average time. What little I gained in comfortability I surely lost in efficiency. Once we turned the corner from Lake Woodland into the "canal" it was a bit like rush hour traffic in a third world country...a few minutes into the canal my left quad locked up...a bit of panic set in as I tried to work my way to the wall to work things out...Spectators and volunteers were yelling at me that I could "do it" & to "watch out for the re-bar???"... I might have asked them (not so politely) to shut the hell up. Once I collected myself, I hopped back into the traffic jam and finished the swim. The brawl was finally over.

T1 was all about the self-elbow massage to the quad to try and shake it loose. For the most part it worked.

The bike portion of IMTX was about 80% incredible, 20% suck. The Sam Houston National Forest and adjoining countrysides were breathtaking; lush, serene. We were forewarned that the headwinds on the way back were no joke...those claims were 100% accurate. The next day in a local paper it made mention of Kona-like winds...well, I've not been but I can only guess that means sticky, hot & strong. Aside from the winds on the return, the last 15 or so miles were way too trafficy...bumper to bumper as we wove our way back to T2...All those cars made the heat coming off the road and the the air pretty uncomfortable...at that point me feet were swollen and pounding...all I wanted to do was get the hell off the bike and out of my bike shoes. Hopefully something the race organizers will think about next time around.

I saw K and Joel for a fleeting second as I got back to transition...It felt like a long time away, but could have been so much worse had the sun, who was finally making an appearance, been out all day. T2 was a sauna - stinky & hot...but man did it feel nice to sit on something other than a bike seat. By this time it was like 93 degrees out...Time to get it done.

The run was a 3 loop course - which was great because I'd see K a bunch and the streets of Woodlands were lined with thousands of spectators...a welcomed distraction and constant source of motivation. Loop 1 was mostly good, until the end...I came out of T2 a little fast (9:20s) but soon figure out that I'd die if I kept that up and settled into a more reasonable pace for me - shuffling @ high tens. I missed K out of transition and didn't end up seeing her until about mile 8ish. By this point in the race I was hurting, pissed, gassy, bloated, chaffed, dehydrated and about every muscle in my legs was cramping...She tried to encourage me by letting me know that I wasn't suffering alone; that everyone was suffering...I, of course bit her head off and let her know that this was not about everyone...it was about me! Boy did I need to get that out. Thankfully, she knew where I was - in a dark hole and that no matter what I was the only one that could work my way out of it. She said she loved me, that she was proud of me....and that's all I needed to keep moving forward.

Lap 2 was a death march...snail's pace, lucky to be walk/running @ 14 minute miles, until mile 17 when a volunteer gave me a jar of pickle juice (seeds, peppercorns and all). It's hard to say if the salty brine was the highest high point of my day or not, but it was certainly a turning point. Shortly after, my legs came back a bit and I was running again, slowly but solidly. Kristina gave me a kiss and saw me off for my last lap. By now the sun had started going down, I was pretty sure that the world wasn't going to end and my legs were starting to work again.

By the third lap I was familiar with the good parts and bad parts of the run...the shade, the hills, I knew were the girls with the "free hugs & happy endings" signs and the drunk guys in grass skirts were and was happy to see them again. Finally, I had a smile on my face again, knowing that my day was close to being done. Off in the distance I could hear Mike Reilly and knew that soon he'd be calling my name again. My eyes welled up with tears a little In those last few minutes the peacefulness from earlier in the day had returned and with it, it brought a deep sense of thankfulness, bringing my long day full circle.

That finishing stretch of an Iron-distance race is joyous but the journey to get there, triumphant. A bit of redemption...the comback was complete.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What the hell is a Pacu Fish?

First, I am a bit of a hypochondriac. Case in point, Great Floridian Triathlon, a few years ago, I almost worked myself up so much over the brain eating amoeba, that I couldn't race....it was borderline pathetic I realize.

Second, a pacu fish sits right next door to the piranha on the fish family tree. In recent years this funny lookin' fella has become a popular domestic pet. While this omnivore's incisors are not nearly as razor sharp as it's carnivorous cousin, they are still quite concerning. I have also learned that all too often pacu pet owners flush or dump these fish in lakes when they outgrow their tanks; and that the pacu fish can grow to 60 lbs in the wild - frightening!

So where is this going??

Well, third, a fisherman just caught one of these babies in Lake Woodlands, TX on May 5th...and where is the swim for Ironman Texas...you guessed it...Lake Woodlands, TX.

Gulp.

A special thanks to "the friend" who shared this information.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Peak

All downhill from here until raceday...2 weeks of taper here I come.

This week's big workouts...6K swim, 18 mile run, 120 mile bike (+ 6 miles on the run to finish).

Still having trouble mentally understanding that on 5/21 it's on.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Ironman Texas Bike Profile 2011

Combine a little GPS data with Excel and tah-dah...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Psychosomatic Sucker Fool, or am I?

There's a sucker born every minute...at least. We all want to believe in snake-oil elixirs, magic potions, amulets, good luck charms, performance enhancing drugs...OK maybe not the last one...Right?

So I've been the butt of a few jokes, most recently with regard to my shiny new holographic technology, balance, strength, flexibility (not so much), endurance promoting wonder bracelet. Fell for it hook line and sinker...I am a believer...it works, I swear. I haven't taken it off in a month, and even upgraded.

As a result of my belief, I have actually had someone offer to sell me a Scooby-doo sticker that's said to make me a faster runner too...of course I didn't buy it for one second, because I have my bracelet...DUH.

Sucker? Nope. Not sure why or how it works but here's a 10% discount code (LIFE) if you want to stabilize and harmonize. http://www.efxusa.com/

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Are these USAT legal?

What up Speedo???

?????

Eeks!

Friday, April 29, 2011

oh wind...

Apparently, I am not alone…that makes me feel better.

I did a Google search and there are boatloads of haters out there…wind-haters unite.

Girls in skirts may hate wind more than I do, but it’s probably pretty close.

Every long workout leading up to IMTX has been accompanied by a blustery northern wind. Sucks the life out of me…makes me hate my bike too, almost. Ya bitch.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Lessons learned

12 things I learned in Galveston after a bit of reflection...


  1. Springtime in Texas is hot.

  2. Texas is humid.

  3. Texas is windy.

  4. Sunburn hurts, especially behind your knees.

  5. Not sure how one gets sunburned behind their knees.

  6. Galveston , while beautiful, is a wee bit hick.

  7. White is cool in oh so many ways. If I can help it I'll probably never race in black clothing again.

  8. IM Texas is going to be a long day for my wife. I apologize in advance.

  9. I probably better spend some more time working on my swim.

  10. Not really looking forward to a non-wetsuit legal swim in a ditch.

  11. IMTX 70.3 is a race I'd do again but apply more sunscreen.

  12. Sunburn hurts.

Peace out.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Circus comes to Galveston

My own private circus from the get-go; a chain of comedic events leading up to the first race of the year.

It started with Hertz – I am slowly losing my patience with their ineptitude. The plan was to reserve an SUV in order to schlep my bike box and I end up with a Mazda 3…clearly was not going to work; that only took an hour for them to figure it out.

The drive from Houston to Galveston was great, by great I mean uneventful. I stocked up on groceries as my place had a kitchen, albeit a wee bit shady. I unpacked, settled in, started to build the bike and boil water for a nice pasta dinner. After I finished building the bike I notice that after about an hour the water hadn’t boiled yet. The stove was busted, (in came maintenance)…2 hours later he discovered the stove was unplugged and the stickers on the dial were on backwards (hi being low/low being high).

After the plug in, he was on his way…and I could now have my pasta at like 11 pm. As I was cleaning up I noticed that I couldn’t open the cabinet beside the stove anymore because now that the stove was plugged in it couldn’t be pushed back to the wall far enough…who knew?? Good thing I had a screwdriver with me…buh-bye cabinet door and off to bed I went.

I woke up bright and early so I could get to the expo, get my swim on and kick back early to follow the tried and true pre-race day plan of “if you’re standing – sit; sitting – lay down; laying doen – sleep”. No dice! When I went to the car the rear passenger tire was flat. No biggie, I’d just change it….if there were a fucking tire iron in the car. I called Hertz, chewed the poor individual who answered a new one, explained my situation and was assured that it was no problem.

The plan was that I would leave my keys with the front desk and they would send a repair guy over. We both held up our ends to this point, except that when the repair guy got there, the front desk guy that took my keys left - with my keys…so nothing got done.

More ass chewing ensued…The thing that I never understood was how/why Hertz called my wife seven times, instead of me…the guy that actually rented the car; rents cars from them on a about a weekly basis; has a frequent flyer account with them, up to date with all my contact info…how they got her phone number will remain on of those unsolved mysteries I suppose.

By 5 pm, the tire was finally changed. I was thankful that all this shit happened the day before the race rather than manifesting itself somehow on race day.

I was happy to race again. Happy enough with how I did...The swim was a bit choppy, but the added buoyancy of the salt water was pretty awesome. T1 was clumsy and slow. The wind sucked the big one on the way out…crosswinds gusting to 35 mph. At about mile 10, I had I kink in my back from leaning into it, which was unnerving. I was dying and bitching. There was a bit of a tailwind on the way home that couldn’t have come soon enough and helped my average speed a ton.

T2 was much better. The run was hot. I can out of the gate at about 8:00/miles…which I soon realized was WAY TOO FAST unless I wanted to not finish and end up in the ER. 4 loops, with one ne really hot corner, that felt 20 degrees hotter that the rest of the run and a wicked sunburn later the first race of the season a small victory was done.

IMTX 70.3 Galveston
Swim: 38:04; T1: 5:00; Bike: 2:59:59; T2: 2:29; Run: 2:10:33; Total: 5:56:05; 144/347 AG.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

manscape or die...

This morning I went to the pool for a swim...it was empty...for the whole 2,800m, not a soul...So nice. Serene. Relaxing. Lately, I feel like I am really starting to find a little rhythm in the water and maybe actually improving my stroke following the "accident". We'll see what happens when I get the wet suit on in open water.

I know you're thinking where is this going...I am just about there.

After my swim, as usual, I sat in the hot tub to soothe my achy bones and stiff muscles. This morning was no different. While I was winding down in the spa in walks this "guy" in a fur coat...I was trapped somewhere between astonishment and horror. So I just stayed there for a few long minutes thinking it's a human hairball or maybe he's part Sasquatch or yeti or something. Either way he's bound to get pulled from a clogged drain or shot at some point...dude - manscape or die (potentially).

Ick.