Friday, April 30, 2010

T Minus 1 Day!

Its just around the corner. We are at T minus (what does the T stand for) 1 day before the White Lake Sprint Triathlon.

As mentioned numerous times, this will be my first open water swim triathlon and I've been training for it all year. I'm getting really excited. Heck, I am really excited. I've had nervous energy all day. I'm so eager to get started and can't wait to haul myself up the ladder onto the pier at the end of the swim. I know without a doubt that if I can get out of the water that I'll be able to finish. And with all of the swimming I've done since January I am pretty confidant (with the help of my trusty Xterra Vortex 3 wetsuit) that I will be just fine in the water.

Although I ate to much today I will behave tomorrow and get fueled up with proper nutrition for Sundays race. We had our spring intern going away celebration this afternoon and there were some delicious appetizers involved in that.

Tomorrow my parents are meeting me here at 12:30 and we'll hit the road. I am glad that we don't have to leave too early because I don't have everything packed yet. I have had a busy week with school, it was the last week of my classes for my first semester in the Masters program. Although my class was online I did an 11 page paper this week and just finished the final exam a few hours ago. What a way to celebrate the start of summer break, with a Tri! We are staying at a Hotel that's about a 1/2 an hour outside of White Lake. We'll get checked in and lounge around for a bit. I will go ahead and do a practice layout of all my gear for the transition area and then think myself through the 2 transitions.

Packet pick up doesn't start until 6 pm and lasts until 8pm due to the Half Ironman distance race that is Saturday. I want to get there around 6:30, have some time to check everything out and attend the pre race meeting at 7:30.

Once thats all taken care of and I feel comfortable with the site we'll be eating dinner, then back to the hotel to finish inspecting anything that didn't get looked at before.

Sunday: Early alarm 5-5:15. Everyone will have to be up and ready to roll by 6. Arrive 6:30. Check in, get timing chip, body marking, etc. Rack the bike, lay out transition stuff and get in the line for the potties for the 2nd or 3rd time!

I'll get some help with the wetsuit around 7:15-7:30 and do a little swim warm up before waiting for the start. The first wave starts at 8, wave 2 goes off at 8:02 and then at 8:06 I will be in wave 3. Wave 4 doesn't start for 5 more minutes so I think I'll have about 8-9 minutes before there are people trying to swim on top of me. Maybe they will go around b/c I don't really want to get kicked in the face or pushed down in the water but cest la vie. I've had practice with bumping, banging, etc at our Triad Tri Teams open water swim clinic.

One of the blogs I follow Fat Cyclist is doing his first Triathlon and its IronMan St. George this weekend. Good Luck Fatty!

I have 2 goals for this triathlon. #1 and most important to Finish & have fun. #2 is to have fun and race hard. This finish line is 3 years in the making and I can't wait to see it.

.5 Mile Swim
14 mile bike
3.1 mile run
= Triathlete!

Until next ride...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Flying Pirate Half Marathon Weekend & Report

I've been wanting to write this for a week now, but sometimes life just gets in the way. There's been a lot going on and yesterday my final event of the season took place. Walk MS: Triad was held at 4th of July Park in Kernersville and we had great weather, a fantastic turnout and all in all an amazing event. Its great to see so many people rally behind a cause. I hope that everyone has a cause in their lives that they can do something for. Volunteering, Walking, Cycling, donating to a friend, there's so much that can be done and each and every little thing helps in the quest for a cure, for MS in this case or for the so many other worthy causes out there. Thanks to everyone out there who makes a difference in some way or another.

Onto the race report from last weekend. (Warning: it gets kind of wordy)
To give a little background, my dad and I were running this half marathon a month after our last one, the ING GA Half. We set a PR there and after that thought we might be able to shave another few minutes of the finish time at the Outer Banks.

Shortly after the ING dad's Plantar fasciitiss started acting up and he was having some real pain. We weren't able to complete our last long run before this because of the pain. He met with his doctor and got a cortisone shot and we were both hoping that he'd be okay to run when race day rolled around. Although I'd been able to continue training while he hadn't I really enjoy getting to run/ride the events we choose with him. We have a great time seeing new sights, conversing, suffering, etc.
He told me the week before the race that if it was bad and he had to start walking that he wanted me to go on and run to get the training in and have a chance at a PR. I reluctantly agreed.

My beautiful fiancee wasn't able to go on with us due to other obligations but Mom, Dad and I left Greensboro for the Outer Banks friday right around 5pm. After a quick stop for dinner we were making good time and getting close to our destination. Apparently somewhere on the long, straight and very dark stretches of HWY64 we started making too good on our time and my speed had inched up a little to high. We soon got that problem corrected thanks to the super bright neon blue lights of the young highway patrolman. Amazing how quickly they can give you a ticket with the computer and printer in their cars. After that it was just over a half an hour and we were at the beach! (I've certainly used the cruise control much more since that, I don't speed a lot and I was just to engrossed in a good conversation with mom(we can talk for HOURS) while dad was napping in the back, and got busted)

Saturday was a nice day at the beach, highs were around 70 with a little wind. We went to the race expo, picked up everything including an awesome t-shirt and grabbed lunch at a cool restaurant with an outdoor patio with views of the ocean. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and hanging out. Not too much foot pain for dad and I walked around on the beach some, did a little shopping and really enjoyed a great day.

We parked at the start Sunday morning and grabbed a shuttle to the start. The forecast was for cooler weather and the possible showers from earlier in the week were all but non existent in the forecast today. Low of 50 high of 59, perfect day for a run.

There was a huge contrast in this race and ING. Here there were around 1400 of us, as opposed to the 12000 in Georgia. I really like both so its fun just to appreciate the difference. My goals today were to enjoy the race and just have a good time.

Gun goes off and we're off.
Mile 1 - 10:23 - Heart rate seems higher than it should for most of the first mile. Just need to chill and enjoy things. Maybe strated a bit to fast but we weren't flying.
Mile 2 - 10:25 - Pretty consistent.
Mile 3 - 10:59 - Still wasn't feeling great. Thought this might just be a long day. HR was still a bit on the high side for what I'd like to see. Decided that after 3 miles I'd run the rest of the way with my dad, no matter if that meant walking or not.
Mile 4 - 12:14 - Walked the water stop and until dad had time to use the porta john and run back up to me. He encouraged me to run ahead as his foot wasn't feeling great b/c he didn't want me to sacrifice a PR. I told him today wasn't the day for a PR, I didn't feel my best and I just wanted to have fun and hang out w/ him.

Mile 5 - 11:20 - Yep, we're still running. After checking on how his foot felt, he said, well it hurts to run, but it also hurts when I walk so I might as well keep running. Damn. Toughest Guy (and maybe most stubborn too) I know.
Mile 6 - 11:11 - just plugging along. I failed to mention the amazing few started around mile 4. The bay, the huge houses over looking the bay. There are some FANTASTIC running trails in Kitty Hawk/Kill Devil Hills.
Mile 7 - 12:38 - Walked another water stop. I know that we're coming up on the wright brothers memorial soon.
Mile 8 - 12:08 - Just running and enjoying the race. Over halfway done now!
Mile 9 - 13:24 - There's a first for everything when running I suppose. We stopped and snapped a few pictures in front of the Wright Brothers Memorial. Actually stopped twice b/c the first time I wasn't thinking and we did it into the sun, glad dad remembered that we broke a cardinal rule of photo taking and stopped on the other side as well. A big thanks to the nice runner who stopped to take a picture of both of us.

Mile 10 - 12:07 - Still running
Mile 11 - 12:59 - walked through another water stop and quick pit stop. We are in the woods now. Yeah, in the woods, didn't know they had trails at the beach, but we are there. And will be until the end.
Mile 12 - 12:06 - Hills? At the beach, I guess so, and funny enough since we train on the hills we passed several people who were walking there. Kind of makes me like hills.
Mile 13 - 12:20 - shit thats a big hill, short but big. Got to say hi to my max(or pretty darn close to it HR of 177) and started thinking, not so sure I really like hills, but we're still running.

Mile 13.1 - 1:11. FINISH!

(Things get kind of distorted when taken on a Blackberry Storm while running)

Total Time 2:35:30. So it wasn't our fastest half but it was fun. I snapped several pictures with my phone while running and we took some other too. To see all the photos from the weekend go to:

The sights were great, the weather was gerat and it was another fantastic weekend with mom and dad.

I hope everyone has a great week. Thanks for reading.

Until next ride...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Swimming - Am I really starting to enjoy it?

I will be posting the Race Report from the flying pirate half marathon, hopefully tomorrow.

However, today I wanted to take a second and reflect on my weakest of the three disciplines. I started a 2 month long swim clinic about 16 weeks ago. Looking back at the first few entries in my workout log with those biweekly swim workouts it is amazing that I can actually tell you that I am starting to enjoy the swim workouts. Don't call the mental institution just yet, its still not what I love to do, give me my bike any day, but it is much more enjoyable that just a few short months ago.

#1:Swimming is much harder than cycling or running but I picked up a lot of great tips and swam farther tonight that I’ve swam in a day before. I’m pretty incredibly sore in my shoulder blades post workout.

#2:Swam a total of 850m. Felt much less sore after workout than on Sunday. Left shoulder still kind of sore but now know stretch to help that.

I failed to include in the journals how wiped out I felt after leaving the pool, or the fact that I had no idea how you were supposed to get that swim cap on your head. Just ask my parents who I usually called while driving home how tired I sounded.

My previous swimming experience included, swim lessons when I was in elementary school, and since then I've played in the pool on vacations and at my apartments but I don't guess you really call that swimming. So I didn't have to learn to swim in the sense of I will drown if the water is deep, but I did have to learn how to get my body from one end of the pool to the other(and that was a hell of a feat when the clinic's started).

Suzanne asked me how I was doing during the first clinic and all I could say was I missed my bike, but I kept going and have started to enjoy the swimming because its so interesting with improvements, set backs etc. My analytical mind tries to absorb all the information and process how it feels, when I think I'm doing the stroke right, or wrong and just figure out how to improve.

I've improved by leaps and bounds thanks to that swim clinic and then joining a masters swimming group that I swim with during lunch on Mondays & Wednesdays. Thankfully if I go in early or stay late my job allows me to take a little extra lunch time those 2 days so I can drive, swim, shower and get back to work.

There have been workouts when I've swam over 2000 yards now, but mostly its between 1500-2000 during masters and those include all sorts of various drills.

Tonight's swim workout prescribed by my coach( who rocks was:
200 w/u
4/50 side kick drill
3x300 (30 sec rest between)
4x25 slow choice cool down

Even thought I've been swimming more I've only swam 300 non stop once up to this point so being able to complete the workout made me feel great! With my first triathlon coming up on May 2nd this workout (along with the open water swim clinic from April 3rd) made me feel good about being able to complete the swim.

White Lake Sprint Tri I is a 750 lake swim, 14 mile bike and 3.1 mile run. I know that I should be okay to finish as long as I can get out of the water. I'm really hoping to enjoy the swim, and then see what I can do on the bike and with the run.

Completing a Triathlon has been a goal of mine for over 3 years. While I've been fascinated with them longer than that it was when I decided that it was time to change my life and that I didn't want to be the 250+ pound fat guy anymore that I first decided I really really wanted to be able to do a triathlon and call my self a triathlete! I saw an add for Beach 2 Battleship that year and I've wanted to do that ever since, that is why it is the final goal of my 2010 gauntlet.

But before i get there I've got to cross a few other finish lines(White Lake Sprint & Nations Tri Olympic Distance) to build towards the Battleship finish line. When I cross the finish line on Sunday may 2nd I will be so elated that I've achieved another dream and so thankful that I've got my wonderful fiancee, family and friends supporting me to DREAM BIG!

Thanks for reading.
Until Next Ride...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Flying Pirate Half Marathon

Its nearly the weekend and this one's going to be another busy one.
I will be running the inaugural Flying Pirate Half Marathon with my dad on Sunday.
It is pretty much the 1st half of the OBX Marathon course.

I added this race to the schedule this winter for a few reasons. A nice weekend trip to the beach in April sounded great. It was between walks and gosh, I needed something to do, right? And taking part in an inaugural event is something I hadn't done before(not counting Climb MS b/c I created and organized that).

I'm still glad to be going, because it will be a fun race that I don't have any time goals on. I'm just going to enjoy this one. My big goal of the next few weeks is White Lake Sprint Triathlon, its my first out door triathlon and something that I've really wanted to accomplish for over 3 years now. White Lake is also a stepping stone towards my main goal for 2010, the Beach to Battleship Half.

I do think that at this point its safe to say when I sit down and start looking at my 2011 schedule this fall/winter that I won't plan a gauntlet of events to take on, especially 3 that involve at least 3 hours of driving in as many months.

Starting with the third week in March the weekends have been: Half Marathon, Walk MS(work), Easter, Walk MS(work), Half Marathon(this weekend), Walk MS (work), White Lake!!!

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love doing these events, the ones I get to participate in and the ones I am the coordinator for. I just think that next year I'll cut back on the "big" events and use a little weekend non travel time for the training I enjoy so much. Being able to get out for a long ride is great, and running is getting better too. The sense of accomplishment from finish a big goal is incredible and I look forward to it every time.

I've already told you my main goal race for 2010, but its not the biggest event or the biggest personal goal, that is my wedding. I'm getting married to the greatest girl I've ever met on June 26th. And apparently planning weddings take time. Its going to be beautiful and I can't wait, but its kept Tara from being able to go to the beach with me, mom and dad this weekend, so I'll miss her but in just over 70 days we'll be married and lounging on a beach in Hawaii!

Tara & I at Easter. Almost 1 year after we got engaged on Easter 2009

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I Won!!! Easter Weekend 5K PR & Age Group 1st Place

Easter Weekend:

Friday: Running

Saturday: Eggstravaganza 5K (volunteer & run), Belews Lake Open Water Swim Clinic (first time swimming in a lake and trying out my wetsuit)

Sunday: Easter!

What a great Easter weekend. On Saturday I was volunteering for a local 5K that my tri team puts on and also running in it. I had run a little over 8 miles on Friday and I was planning on trying to go out and run pretty good. I’ve done more run training this year with the half marathons than I ever have before, and my coach has had me doing some speed work lately. (Don’t get me wrong, speed work for me is still very slow to good runners, but its helping me out a lot). My previous PR(personal record) for the 5K was 29:01 set in August of 2008 at Terry’s Challenge duathlon, it was a 5K run followed by a 40K bike ride. I was hoping to run something in the 28’s but wasn’t entirely sure if that would be possible so I just thought I’d go out and roll the dice. My plan was to run hard and see what happened. I didn’t look at my watch once the entire run, I just hit the lap button at the mile markers and kept on running.

The course at Bur Mil finishes uphill so as I was running up the last tenth of a mile when I saw the clock my first thought was, is that right? I pushed it all the way to the finish line and after I checked my watch the clock was right. I finished in 25:59! I couldn’t believe it, I had no idea I could run that fast. My mile splits slowed down but I’m still ecstatic with that time. The splits were roughly, 7:45/8:30/9:15. Wow! I’m pretty sure I’ve never gone out and run any mile under 8 minutes even if I was trying to sprint a mile and although my heart rate was pretty maxed out I felt pretty good. After the turn around and getting back close to mile 2 my hammy’s and quads were getting a bit sore but I felt like I was having a decent race and I wasn’t about to slow down to accommodate them.
I actually won my age group at this race. I’ve never done that at a run before! I was 1st out of 2! The awards at the Egg 5K are all chocolate and it was some good, hard earned chocolate.

Thanks to the Triad Tri Team
for putting on another great race, and it benefited a local MS team (Team Erica).

Later Saturday afternoon, the previously mentioned awesome Triad Tri Team in conjunction with Set Up Events, hosted the first of 2 open water swim clinics. It was at Belews lake and I’m so glad that they do events like this. Since this is my first year in triathlon I’ve never done any open water swimming and although I’ve been swimming 2 times a week in the pool since January I was a bit nervous about getting out in the lake. It didn’t help that it was 62 degrees. But I had a good time at the swim clinic as well. John Dewey from Off n Running talked about open water swimming and then it was time to suit up and get in the water. It really wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined with the wetsuit on. I wasn’t freezing cold, I’m telling you the wetsuit made a huge difference. (A big thanks to Pamela Harper for helping me with wetsuit zipping, and doing photos that day, and to Mark Scheerer for coming and hanging out, it made the 30 minutes pre swim fly by, he needed some OWS practice too!) There were 3 stations at the clinic, starting, buoy navigation, and sighting. They were all helpful and getting to swim the entire 150-200 meter course at the end was great. I started off to fast and need to really focus on getting into a good rhythm at the start of White Lake.

Easter Sunday was very nice, but nowhere near as eventful as last year. I became a very lucky guy last Easter when I proposed to Tara and she said yes. Our wedding is something like 80 days away and with it awaits a 10 day Honeymoon in Hawaii. Can’t wait!

We went to church and to lunch with Tara’s Parents & got to visit my parents for dinner. We had to get back at a fairly early time b/c Tara’s spring break was over and she needed to get ready for school. It is always nice to get to spend time with our parents. We are both very blessed to have such wonderful families. It’s hard to put it into words how great they are.

Flying Pirate Half Marathon is next Sunday the 18th and my first outdoor triathlon is coming up soon, May 2nd at Whitelake!

I believe I’ve written about enough.
Until next ride…

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Share the Road - Tuesday Night Brick

I keep meaning to write up about Easter weekend but that'll just have to come at a later date(hopefully not to late b/c it was a great weekend!)

I had a brick workout tonight, which is one discipline followed right after another.
Tonight was biking, then running.

I rode with my usual Tuesday night group, and we'd only been on the road for about 3 miles when a car that had just passed us hurled a can of soda at us. Luckily it landed well in front of the first rider, but it was pretty damn mean. Think about if it had hit Andy, then several of us would have went down right on top of him.

There are a lot of people who just don't like cyclist on the road, and sometimes I understand. Cyclist shouldn't impede a cars passing, they shouldn't ride 2, 3 and 4 wide, thats not safe. But my group was riding single file, on the right had side of the road not bothering anyone and ignorant people have to do dumb crap like that. It just doesn't make sense to me.

Much later in my ride a car about hit me that was trying to make it through an intersection before the light changed to red. I was only a mile from home at that point, and I was just like, seriously? Getting to their destination is worth potentially really hurting someone? We could all be more careful while we're out there, not just for cyclist but for other motorist, pedestrians and even other drivers. Share the Road Please.

Anyway, the bike ride wasn't my best. I just didn't feel like I had a lot of power in my legs. Not sure if I was just tired, if it was some allergies issues, or not enough fuel, whatever the case, I was with the back half of the group tonight. I can't say it was a totally bad ride because we still average 17mph and thats not to shabby, but it was something that really had to be worked for today.

Right after I got in from the bike, I threw on my running shoes and a different shirt and headed out for a run. I ran 2 miles and it was a different feeling. Getting used to running of the bike(like everything else I'm learning) is going to take some practice. I made the 2 miles and the pace was only about a minute slower than my long run pace so I wasn't to disappointed in that.

I'm really glad that I did both, it was a great workout and one that really kicked my ass. I could have easily not done the brick, just calling it a day after the ride, but I want to feel good in my first Triathlon and its less than 4 weeks away. White Lake Sprint I will be here before I know it!

I'll try to get that weekend post up in the next few days.

Until next ride,