Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Uhh yeah...the swim

Well got in the pool for the first time in a couple of months. Wow. Yeah, it has been a while. My arms feel like lead weights. I really felt the burn. Put in about a mile or so and it took some effort. I'll probably head back on Friday.

I was a bit surprised at the number of people there. I walked in and every lane had at least two people in it. Some had three. I then learned that it was a master's swim class that meets every weekday from 5:30am to 7:00am. That would have been nice to know before I showed up. Anyway, it looks like I'm joining that group whether I want to or not. I usually don't like to train with other people, but maybe this'll be good for me.

As an aside, I think I've learned something universal. Every gym has old men who can't keep their junk to themselves. Once again, this place has a group of men who really like prancing around naked. I'm sure I'll keep you up to date on their comings and goings. Ugh.

4 mile run tmw. Then swim again on Friday. Steph and I then race with two of our friends at the Van Metre five miler.


Monday, March 01, 2010

Ironman 101

Today is my first day of Ironman training. Whew!!! I've been waiting for this day for a while. I'm about 10 pounds over race weight thanks to the holidays and general lack of structured exercise. I did this purposefully. I was really burned out after last season and figured I needed to give myself some time off. From everything. Blogging, structured exercising, everything. I was mentally burned out as well. It was a struggle to get out and run.

But, now that's changed. I'm back :)

This week is really a prep week. Well this week and next. I run 4 today. Assuming I can get the gym membership worked out, I'm going to start swimming this week as well.

A slight problem is keeping me from doing any cycling this week. My bike is in WV and I am here in VA. When we moved we didn't pack any of the bikes. And, I still need a trainer for my bike. So probably no cycling this week, unless I get a spinning class in or two.

So, here's to 6 months of hard, intense training.

As always, I am raising money for a cause. This year's cause is the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The link is here. Consider donating. Thanks.


Saturday, October 03, 2009

2009 Ironman 70.3 Augusta Race Report

Have I mentioned before how much I love triathlons?

Yeah, I probably have. But, since you read my blog, guess what? You get to hear it again :)

On Sunday September 27, 2009, I completed the Inaugural Ironman 70.3 Augusta race. According to the Ironman people, this was the largest half-Ironman event ever. There were 3400 registrations and about 3000 athletes competed. I was number 1455 with a finish time of 5:57:11. It was a blast!!!

After arriving in Augusta and spending some time enjoying the city on Friday and Saturday, Steph and I buckled down late Saturday night and planned for my race on Sunday.

We got up around 4:45am on Sunday and began the trek to the transition area, which was about a mile away. We decided to drive to the transition area early, then drive to a parking lot near the finish, and then take a shuttle bus to the swim start. I'm glad we did. The logistics of getting to the swim start were a nightmare for those folks who didn't take a shuttle bus.

After arriving at the transition area, I paused a bit and took in the sight. There were 3000 bikes. I quickly figured the math that if we average each bike at around $3000, that is $9 million dollars in the transition area in bike hardware. Whoah!!! Anyway, I got things set up and we headed to the start.

At the start, I saw something I've never seen. I've been to races before where there were disabled athletes, but I've never seen so many at one race. It was awe-inspiring. I saw multiple athletes missing legs and more than a few blind athletes. It was a humbling experience.

After getting my wetsuit on and kissing my wife, I entered my heat and waited for my turn to hit the water. There were about 150 men in my heat (35-39). There were three heats in my age group, which means there were a lot of 35-39 year olds in this race.

The start was in-water, so I jumped in and grabbed ahold of the dock to await the start horn. About 30 seconds later, it blew. We were off. The swim was wonderful, except for the debris in the water. There was tons of algae and flora. We had a huge thunderstorm the evening before and I think it stirred up the water pretty well. Anyway, 1.2 miles later, I emerged from the water with a swim time of 29:34.

I quickly ran up the boat entry to the transition area. Just prior to entering transition, there were wetsuit strippers waiting to help us out of our wetsuits. I dropped to the ground and in less than 3-4 seconds they had removed my suit and I was up running to my bike.

5:38 minutes later, I was on my bike. My T1 time is slow. I need to work on that. Anyway, I was out on the course and loving it. The weather up to this point was cool and overcast. It was perfect. The bike course had a few rolling hills but nothing compared to WV. The wind was a bit of a bear, but overall I really liked the bike portion. My bike itself did wonderfully. The old girl held her own against some of those fancy, shmancy TT bikes. My nutrition on the bike was perfect. After my experience with the Morgantown half-IM, I backed off a bit and eliminated one Hammer Gel from my intake. It worked great. I pulled into transition in 3:11:32.

T2 was 2:59. Again a bit slow.

Then, the run. The weather had become sunny and clear by this time, but the temp stayed pretty reasonable. I think the high was 82 or 83. Anyway, nothing really eventful happened on the run other than the fact that the course is ideal for spectators. I must have seen Steph like 5-6 times. It was wonderful!!

I was a bit slow on the run, but felt very happy with my time: 2:07:29. I crossed the line, saw Steph, got my medal and headed to the finish festival. I finished 1455 out of 2532 (500 or so people did not finish). 251 out of 370 in my age group and 1136 out of 1815 in my gender. Total finish time was 5:57:11.

Overall, I had a wonderful time and would do this race again. With the exception of the initial logistical problems before the race, this race was managed well. I was impressed. The volunteers were great too and the citizens of Augusta were wonderful. Thy treated us well and cheered us on the entire way.

Of course, Steph was there every step of the way. I cannot overemphasize what it means to have her there with me. It means more than I can describe. She wrote a few messages on my bike to keep me motivated and diligently helped me plan, pack, set up, and document this race. She is wonderful and I fall more in love with her every day.

Random thoughts:
  • The water conditions were fine with the exception of the flora in the water. Yuck. I mean really yuck. I came out of the water with plant life all over me.
  • Sponges are wonderful!! The race volunteers had bunches and bunches of water-soaked sponges we could grab along the run route. They helped tremendously.
  • My comments on drafting: In most triathlons, drafting is illegal. I tend to agree with this. Did that stop anyone from drafting? No. I saw more than a few pelotons which frustrated the hell out of me. I would be cycling along by myself then suddenly be passed by like 10-15 people drafting. It sucked. Look, I follow the rules. You should too.
  • My nutrition was perfect. I had no GI problems and no bloated feelings. I was hungry at the end but that was expected.
  • The finish festival was great...we had free pizza, cookies, bagels, fruit out the ying-yang, just about anything you could want, EXCEPT for Coke. I need Coke people!!!!
  • Again, $9 million dollars in bikes. Wow!!
My next event is the Richmond Half-Marathon on November 14th.


Monday, September 14, 2009

The Secret

I can be a jerk. I know this. There is not a day that goes by, and rarely an hour, where I am not critisizing someone for something. My wife thinks I am a crotchety old man. My extended family even has a nickname for me. I'm known as the "jackass". My sister-in-law went so far as to buy me pajama bottoms that say jackass on them.

The way I see it is either you live in the world truely or you are deceiving yourself. When I was fat and out of shape, I knew I was fat and out of shape. I didn't claim that I liked it (big is beautiful) nor did I blame some other thing for my problem. I knew where the problem began and ended. It was me and my appetite.

So, when I see things in the world that are purposely deceptive, I tend to get angry. And, when I get angry, I can be a jackass.

Over this past weekend, Steph and I spent some time in Ocean City, MD. While we were there, I saw someone walking around with that book called The Secret. I remember when this book came out a few years ago as some of my friends and family read this thing and then claimed to know the secret to success and happiness.

On the road trip back home yesterday, I began to think about that book and what it stands for.

According to Wikipedia, proponents of the Law of Attraction (as described in the book) believe that:

"thoughts have an energy which attracts whatever it is the person is thinking of. Thinking of what one does not have, they say, manifests itself in not having, while if one abides by these principles, and avoids "negative" thoughts, the universe will manifest a person's desire."

Really? Thoughts have energy? Anyone read a physics book? The universe will manifest our desire if we simply have positive thoughts? Give me a freakin' break.

I remember someone close to me actually writing a check to her future self for a million bucks because if she believed that she would have the money to cover the check, the money would magically appear and allow her to cash the check.

No. That doesn't happen. It never has happened. People are successful (however they define that term), because they take action. They don't believe. They do. I'll concede that having a vision or goal of where you want to be is important. Vitally so. But it means nothing if you don't do anything to realize it. The universe gives a rat's ass for you. It doesn't care about what you're thinking and will not manifest your desires. Your thoughts do not attract anything.

I would not be an endurance athlete if I only thought I could be one. If I didn't get out and swim, bike, and run it wouldn't happen. Again, I believe wholly in setting goals. But, just setting them, does nothing. In fact, setting goals and then repeatedly not reaching them is probably more unhealthy for you than not setting them to begin with.

So, how do you become successful?

Like Aristotle said, 'We are what we repeatedly do.'

Want be a runner? Go be one. Walk out your door and run. You will feel like crap and it'll hurt, but you are moving towards your goal. Want to be swimmer? Go swim. Want to make a million bucks. Go make a million bucks.

Each of us has talent. Each of us is blessed to be good at something (I am killer at WoW). Whatever it is that you want to do well, go do it. Stop thinking about it. Stop telling yourself that some externality (like energized thoughts) will enable you to be successful. There is only one thing that can make you a success: You!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Triathlon and family

I never thought that Steph would want to do a triathlon. After completing my first marathon, I desperately tried to convince her to run a full marathon. She has always claimed that she never had time to train for a full. She's probably right. She has a yeoman's career and really doesn't have the time; however, she has run multiple half-marathons.

Equally as impressive, she has supported me. In fact, I would say that I complete every race I enter because Steph has been there for every step I've taken, every mile I've biked. A couple of weeks ago, she cheered me on for 6 hours straight. At the end of September, she'll do the same. People always compliment me on lasting in a race. Going the full length. Surviving. But, I'll let you in on a secret. It has nothing to do with me. It has to do with my wife. I don't want to fail her.

So, when she told me she wanted to do the Sprint, Splash, and Spin Triathlon, I was bowled over. AWESOME!!! Steph wants to be a triathlete. Woohoo!!!

For the last 4-5 months, she has diligently been training: swimming, running, biking. Many times she forces me to go out when I don't want to because she wants to get her workout in. And all her complaints about time? She gets up most days at 5:15am to get out for a run before she heads to work. Then she comes home and either bikes or swims. She's an animal and I love her for it.

This Saturday she will become a triathlete. She will swim, bike, and run. And she will finish. She will once again remind me of why I love her so much and her example will inspire me to keep going.


PS. Video and pics of her race to come shortly after she finishes.

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