Monday, October 29, 2007

It' Show Time

The training is done, the lists have been made, the gear has been packed, the coach has given final instructions, the race plan has been studied, the lists have been checked and double and triple checked. All that’s left to do is pack the car, drop the dog off at the kennel and head down to PCB Wednesday afternoon.

What a year it’s been. It’s hard to believe race week is finally here. I could go on and on (and probably will in the future) about some of the challenges and breakthroughs I’ve had this year, but I’ll save those for future posts.

It’s been great having the tri blog community to share this journey with. I look forward to catching up with some of you that will be there during the event. If you happen to see me, flag me down and say hi. I’ll be the short skinny bald guy with the kid-in-a-candy-store look on my face.

Finish time predictions. I’ve thought this one through about a million times. The conclusion that I’ve finally come to is anything under 17 hours equals Iron, and that's what I'm shooting for. Everyone hits the start line wanting to have their best possible day, but we all know that doesn’t always happen. Anything can happen on race day. And I’ve never gone the distance, so I don’t really know how I’ll handle it. As long as I have a finisher’s medal hanging around my neck at the end of the day, I’ll be happy. Let’s just say I’ll be very surprised if the hours portion of my finish time doesn’t end with “teen”.

By the way, my race number is 820.

See yall on the other side,

Saturday, October 27, 2007


It’s a beautiful day here in Georgia. The sun is out and the temperatures are cool. The low was in the 50s and the highs are predicted to be high 70s. Perfect training weather. I started out my day with a 30 minute swim, then an hour on the bike followed by a 40 minute run. I couldn’t help but think the entire time that I’ll be doing the real thing next week. It’s getting close….

The weather predictions for Panama City Beach are looking fairly good for next Saturday. The temperatures are 79/60, which is just about perfect. The winds however are predicted to be at 12mph from the NE. That would be a direct headwind early on the bike heading out highway 79 towards Ebro. Hopefully the wind won’t kick up until midday or afternoon. If all goes well, I should be heading back in by then and the wind SHOULD be at my back.…..
The predictions can change a lot in a week. Either way I’m ready to go whatever conditions unfold on race day.

Happy Training,

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Taper Tantrums

I think the taper is getting to me.
I had another whacked out tri dream last night.
For some reason I'm always on a mountain bike in these dreams.
I was doing my first xterra race. I got to a point during the bike portion and discovered I was lost. The trail just ended, and there weren't any other racers around. I backtracked and started over and ended up in the same place...lost. I decided to drop out of the race. Next thing I remember is DJ and I were heading back to town (which town isn't clear) to our hotel. Thing is, we weren't in the car, we were on the mountain bike...she was on the handle bars. We got lost and ended up at the wrong hotel, but went in anyway. The lobby of the hotel was packed with people dressed in formal attire. I was still in my race kit and they were looking at us like we were from another planet. I woke up at about this point.
Man. Crazy stuff must be going down in my subconscious.

Happy Training,

Sunday, October 21, 2007

2 Weeks To Go

I got things rolling again with training last week after being down for the count for a few days with a nasty head/chest cold. I finished out the week with a swim/bike/run brick (30min/1.5hrs/1hr) Friday and a 5 hour ride (85.5 miles) yesterday. The brick went well…but I can’t say the same for the ride. It was windy. A headwind in every freakin direction. No relief to be found. I averaged 17 and had to work hard for that. I was pretty tired when I got back home. Not the most confidence building session…but I got it done.
The schedule for this week is fairly moderate with nothing over a couple of hours.

I’m starting to get my stuff organized for the race. I’ve got several piles going. Each one has a label… “swim” or “run special needs” or “bike” etc. The hard part is deciding what to put in the special needs bags. I think the main thing will be some warm clothes and dry socks in each, maybe an extra C02 and tube for the bike, and a Mountain Dew for the run. And whatever else I come up with.

Friday I bought new batteries for everything (Watch/HR monitor, chest strap, bike computer, bike computer transmitter, camera). 55 bucks worth. It’ll be worth it though to have it all work on race day. I think I’ve talked myself into new tires for the bike also. They’ve got a couple thousand miles on them and the rear tire is looking a bit worn. I’m going to go by the bike shop in the morning and get the wrench’s opinion. I trust his judgment.

The nerves are starting to kick in a bit also. The race has been this far off thing that I’ve been working towards for so long….and now it’s less than two weeks away! Every now and then reality hits and I think “O Shiznit, I’m going to do an Ironman in a few days”.
Hopefully that pre-race calm I’ve heard everybody talk about will kick in any day now.

RC’s pathology report came back and the news was good. The cancer had not gone into the lining of his bladder. He’ll go in for another surgery on November 17th to have the remaining tumors removed and then receive treatments for a while after the surgery.
Thanks for all your prayers!

Happy Training!!!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

What goes up…must come down

Last week ended on a pretty high note. I had a great 5k race and got my first ever age group win. I was feeling good about my fitness and all things endurance. I had a good day off Sunday (although I was a bit more tired than I should have been) and was looking forward to my long run on Monday. Monday came and I was still very tired. Last week was a recovery week and I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling so drained. I left work Monday afternoon and was still dragging. I headed out for my long run and felt ok for the first 20 minutes, but after that, it was downhill to the end. I ended up with 14 miles at a pace of about 10:30, which was actually better than I expected. I was crazy thirsty afterwards and drank a ton of water and Gatorade. I had dinner soon after getting home and went right off to bed. I woke up about 3:30am Tuesday morning and it felt like my throat was on fire. *&^%!!!!! DJ, and a couple of people at work have had colds lately. I’d been washing my hands like crazy, but apparently it wasn’t enough to keep the germs away.

I made it through my 5 mile run Tuesday afternoon, but felt like crap afterwards…. and haven’t trained since. The sore throat is gone, but congestion has picked up where it left off. My energy has returned a little, so hopefully I’ll be able to get things going again by Monday.

Race day is three weeks away, but I’m actually not panicking. I’ve done the work. I don’t think I could add much more fitness in the next three weeks. And even if I miss an entire week of training to this cold, it may end up doing me some good in the end by letting me rest a bit more. At least that’s what I keep telling myself....

One good thing about not being out training today is I’ll get to watch the Norman/Macca smackdown at Ironman Hawaii later today.

Happy Training,

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Update and Hardware

Recovery week couldn’t have come at a better time for me. This week has been crazy busy. Work has been nuts, and RC’s surgery was this week as well.

The surgery went well. Not exactly as we’d have liked, but better than it could have been. My sister and I made the drive down to Gainesville after I finished my swim Wednesday morning. We made it to the hospital about noon. They’d done all the preliminary stuff earlier in the day and he and Mom were waiting for them to call him back. They called for him about an hour after we got there. The surgery was 2 hours late getting started after they called for him. Finally around 5:30 in the afternoon, the surgeon came to talk to us. They removed 10-12 small tumors, but weren’t able to get them all. They put some chemo in to slow the growth of what was left behind. He made it through the recovery period fine and was able to come home Thursday. The prognosis: the pathology report will tell the tale as far as where they’ll go from here with his treatment. If the report shows the cancer has started to leach through the lining of the bladder, they’ll remove the bladder. If not, they’ll perform another surgery to remove the remaining tumors and then treat him with chemo. The pathology report will be ready sometime next week. Please continue to keep RC in your thoughts and prayers.

Other than the long run Monday, this week has been fairly moderate on the training front.
An hour and a half on the trainer Tuesday, 45 minute swim Wednesday and a 50 minute run Thursday. I had a swim/bike brick on the schedule for Friday (3k/4hour). The forecast called for rain, so I changed things around a bit. I decided I’d go with 1.5 hours of swimming, 2 hours indoors on the trainer, and a 45 minute run. The swim went well and I ended up with just under 4500 yards. My dislike of the trainer has not changed, but I made it through 2 hours of stationery boredom. The skies cleared and I was able to get outside for my 45 minute run. I took it easy the remainder of the day and tried to rest up for the 5k.

My only goal for the 5k this morning was to go as hard as I could without injuring anything. Actually, I did have a time goal way in the back of my mind. I thought maybe if the planets lined up just right, I might be able to break 20 minutes. But, the main goal was to bust out a hard 5k and not blow out my IT band or anything else.

I made it to the race about 30 minutes before the start. I got my race number and warmed up a bit. I finished my warm up, stopped by the bathroom and made it to the start line with about 3 minutes to spare. They seeded everyone this year and I lined up in the 22 minute group. The gun sounded and we were off. I passed a few folks in the beginning, but things cleared out pretty quickly…must have been the seeding. It’s usually pretty crowded at the beginning of this race. I hit mile 1 in 6:26. I did a quick calculation and figured if I could hold that pace or go a little quicker, I’d be able to break 20. I picked up my pace and hit mile 2 in 5:57. It’s a bit hilly from mile 2 to the finish line and I knew I'd be slowing during that section. At about mile 2.5, I passed a guy in my age group who always finishes ahead of me. Then I noticed a guy up in front of me that usually finishes in the 19 minute range. He was about 75 yards or so in front of me, but I couldn’t close the gap. The finish line started coming in to view and I went as hard as I could go. I saw the clock display 20 minutes, but I still had about 50 yards to go. I crossed the line and forgot to hit stop on my watch….as usual. I think my time was about 20:15. I’ll know for sure when the official results come out. They didn’t use timing chips this year and we had to fill out an index card at the end of the race. The card I was given had a 12 on it, so I’m guessing that meant I finished 12th overall. Each age group had a basket and the completed cards go in the appropriate basket. It’s a challenge to fill out a card just after giving a 20 minute max effort. I found the male 35-39 basket and was surprised when no other cards were in the basket. They didn’t post the results, so we had to hang around until the awards to find how we placed. DJ, KJ and one of KJ’s friends had made it to the race and we chilled while we waited for the awards. The overall winner finished in a smokin 15:11! Smokin! 2nd and 3rd weren’t far behind. I can't remember the exact time of the women’s winner, but I do remember that 2nd place finished one second behind….ONE SECOND. They finally made it to my age group and I was very happy when I found out I’d won my age group. I’ve gotten second and third in the past, but have never won. I didn't hit my time goal, but I'll definitely take the AG win. And.....I set a new PR of about 40 seconds.

I’ve got an hour trainer ride on the schedule for this afternoon and then it’s rest day tomorrow.

T minus 27 days…..

Happy Training,

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It's all down hill from here

The long sessions are done….in the bank….in the barn….finished.
Time to start tapering things down and resting up for the big day.
There’s still work to be done, but it’s all down hill from here.

Last Monday I started the week out with a 16 mile run. The heat had returned and the temps were in the low 90s, which made the going a little tougher. I’d taken along Gatorade and gels in my fuel belt and made a quick stop by the truck to reload at mile 8.
I finished up with an average pace of 9:52 at an average heart rate of 157.
I was on the bike for a couple of hours Tuesday afternoon and ended up with around 37 miles. Wednesday morning I was in the pool for an hour and finished up with 3k total yards. Later Wednesday afternoon I ran 6.5 miles. Thursday was a fairly easy day with a 1.5 hour ride in the afternoon. I swam 45 minutes Friday morning and ran for an hour in the afternoon.

A 100 mile ride was on the schedule for Saturday morning. I jumped online Friday night for a quick check of the forecast for Saturday. Low of around 60…great, no problem….highs in the mid 80s….perfect, bring it on….winds 10-20mph gusting to 25mph….oh shiznit…not good….very bad….very…very…bad.
I proceeded to get every thing ready to go for the windfest the next day.
The alarm went off Saturday morning at 5am and I headed into the kitchen for breakfast. After fueling up and taking care of bidness, I dug out my arm warmers since the temps were a little cooler. I figured I’d take them off an hour or so down the road when it warmed up…they stayed on the entire ride.
I headed out about 6:30…in the dark. The first 30 miles went by fairly uneventfully without the wind being too much of a factor. From mile 30 to mile 50, it started picking up a bit and made the going a bit tougher. Then from mile 50 through til the end, it reared its ugly head and blew with full force. Not only were the headwinds brutal, but the sidewinds were tough as well. I’m not the biggest fellow, 140lbs soakin wet. The side winds were blowing me around like crazy. I was praying that a gust wouldn’t hit from the side while a car was passing from behind. Luckily none did and I made it through to the end in one piece. 100.08 miles, 5:46:45, 17.3 mph average speed at an average heart rate of 155. I was very pleased with my ride given the conditions. Most of all I was glad to finish the last 100 miler of this training block.

Sunday was my day off from training and I got in plenty of rest.
A 3 hour run was on the schedule for yesterday. The weather was great for this run, and other than a little foot pain in the beginning, it went well. I finished up with 18 miles at an average heart rate of 154.

September was a big month of training….for me anyway….especially on the bike (642 miles). It’s been a slow building process throughout the year. I never thought I’d be able to train this much and remain consistent, but it happened. I’ve heard folks say, “In Ironman training, you train to be able to train”. I understand what they meant now.

The rest of this week is relatively light and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve only got one longish workout/brick on the schedule, a 3k swim followed by a 4 hour ride Friday morning. Then I’ve got my first 5k of the year coming up Saturday morning. I have absolutely no idea how I’ll do in this race. I’ve definitely not done any speedwork to prepare for it. I’m just gonna go as hard as I can and try not to break anything. Should be fun.

Happy Training,