Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Saturdays Ride

While my ride Saturday was nothing like what my friend Ben aka Becoming Timberman went through in his epic triathlon, it was still a tough ride.

I rode with TOSR(the other Saturday ride) and after I decided that I was going to do a longer ride Saturday i was actually hoping that they would do the Caraway Mountain Ride. I haven't done to much hill work this year and thought it would be a good idea to get some in. I really thought I'd be fine for that ride.

I guess my first mistake was wanting to go ride a 50 mile ride with a mountain in it. My second mistake may have been getting out of bed Saturday. Where did all that wind come from? Its never a promising sign when the five day forecast says WINDY on it, but that didn't stop me from getting up and getting excited to go out for a ride.

I led us out of the church parking lot and then pulled into my place in the pack. That would be the last time I pulled the whole day! Honestly I knew from about mile 5 that I wasn't going to be one of the stronger riders on the day. To start with my legs were a little sore from the new weight lifting routine, I rode the soreness out but I just never felt strong the entire day. I managed to ride mid pack right until we hit the 1.4 mile climb at Caraway. Its not terrible steep it just goes up for a nice long way. I rode up the climb in next to last position and caught another rider right at the summit. Thankfully there was a store stop at the bottom of the mountain.

After fueling up with an oatmeal cream pie and a Gatorade we were off again. I think the next five "rolling" miles were worse than the mountain and actually rode at the back or off the back of the group for a while. We stopped to regroup at some stop signs and at some point after mile 35 I was back about mid pack. One of our riders got a bee in his Jersey and he stopped to get it out so I stopped and helped him ride back to the back 1/2 of the split group(not like I was superman but helping out never hurts, its good to build the good bike karma up).

The group is a B group and our average is usually around 17 for the rides, but with the brutal wind(gusts of 25-30mph) and the hills we ended with a 15.8 average. I really thought that was pretty damn good for the conditions and the way I felt. And the way I felt when I finished that ride is the way I felt for the rest of the day, and most of Sunday too. I can't really remember another ride taking the toll on me the way that one did. I usually take a nap Saturday afternoon after riding and I didn't get that in so that might have something to do with it but last year I rode 3 mountain madness, hurt pain and agony and a century ride and didn't feel that beat down. I thought I did pretty good with eating/drinking so maybe it was just the combination of everything catching up to me and a hard ride that really took its tool. My next scheduled ride is Friday this week and I'm going to get in about 20-25 solo miles. Its going to be a busy weekend, but not with training.

Saturday I'm golfing with my 2 best friends in the morning and making sure I get the nap this time before my bachelor party Saturday night.

Sunday my tri team is having an open water swim clinic, pic nic and 5K. I will be eating and taking photos for everyone else. I don't know how I'd feel about trying to swim or run on Sunday after a late night Saturday.

Until Next Ride...

The Mirror

I am in what I like to call the wedding training phase of my year right now. My wedding is only 45 days away and I'm getting very excited. I'm so lucky to be marrying the most wonderful girl in the world. I can't imagine anyone more loving and caring than Tara. I'm also lucky that her family is amazing too. I've heard horrer stories about the "in-laws", but I love my future in laws. Bring on the wedding (and not to mention 10 days in Hawaii!!)

I would like to drop a bit of weight before the wedding just for peace of mind, but honestly its not a necessity. Although I haven't lost much weight in 2010 I believe that my body has changed for the better. My stomach has is my main problem area and although I don't have firm measurements to back up my thoughts and peoples comments, it seems that my stomach has gotten smaller this year.

I know that I've put in a lot of time working out and I can positively say that I am in the best athletic shape of my life. Its nice to hear my fiancee, my parents and others say that I look like I've lost weight because I have but I've also gained some muscle this year. I saw a quote recently on a friends facebook page and it really resonated with me.

"Define yourself by what you see in the mirror not what you see out your window."

It was kind of funny timing because a few days before I was looking in the mirror and thought to myself, that while I still have work to do, I am actually happy with my body right now.

Happiness shouldn't be measured in perfection, it should be measured on accomplishments and when accomplishments are met new goals can be set. So while I'm far from making it to the cover of Men's Health I am happy with where I'm at and that makes it easier to set new goals and have renewed intensity to working out. I know that with the training I'm doing for cycling, swimming, and running, along with the weight training that I'm on the right track with my workouts. I just need to ensure that my diet stays good 7 days a week not four or five.

I am proud of the fact that I lost nearly over 50 pounds in 2007 and that I've kept all but about 5 pounds of that off. I was really unhappy at over 250 pounds and managing a restaurant and I worked hard to change careers and then my body. I've had that kind of success along with all the athletic achievements so I know its possible to stay dedicated and meet my future goals.

My next post will detail my ride from this past weekend where me and the roubaix rambled at the back of the pack for much of the day. Some days you've got it some days you don't I guess.

Until next ride....dream big & work hard!

Friday, May 7, 2010

How to increase your group ride average in 10 miles or less

If you're like me you have a group or maybe a few groups that you enjoy riding with. I ride with a B group here and we usually average ~17. The group rides on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with super original names.

Tuesday is(was) -The Tuesday Night Grandover Ride(we now start at a park thanks to the resort not wanting cyclist liability in their parking lot)

Thursday - Roaming Ride

Saturday - That Other Saturday Ride (since the Saturday Ride was already taken upon its inception)

These rides have the same core group of people that ride them and we pick up and loose people depending on whats going on. Some move to faster rides, some of us have other training going on at times.

I haven't ridden with any of the groups in about 3 weeks due to work and triathlon training. The tri training really paid off because I turned in a solid performance at the White Lake sprint (see previous blog post) but I was ready to get back in the saddle for a group ride last night.

The group split a few times into 2 groups with 5 or 6 guys putting the hammer down and the rest of us cruising along at around a 16-17 average, but we'd regroup every 3 or 4 miles at a stop sign/light/etc and then take off again. At about mile 20 of the ride there was a bolt of lighting that was closer than you want and the thunder started rumbling. Ian put together a great route for us yesterday so the way back in was gently rolling, no hard climbs and when the lightning started crashing it was like everyone had a fresh set of legs.

Personally I'd struggled a little bit n the first 2/3 of the ride, not a lot of time in the saddle plus a killer weight routine that I overdid on Wednesday left we a little sore and sluggish. By the time it started storming thankfully I was loosened up and went from the back of the group to near the front and helped set the pace the rest of the way in. We must've average 19-20 for the last 10 miles with everyone really putting the hammer down and a nice paceline going back into town. I had a 17.5 aveage when we finished, which was up almost a mph faster than what I had at mile 20.

So there's the secret, all you have to do is add flashes of lightening plus loud thunder to really escalate the group ride pace.

We dogged the storm and all made it back safe and dry. Needless to say I skipped the 10 minute run that I was scheduled for after the bike because after being out so close to a storm I didn't want to play roulette with Mother Nature.

I hope everyone has some nice plans for the weekend. I'll be riding with That other Saturday ride Saturday and maybe sneaking in a run early on mothers day before heading home to celebrate the day with my mom.

Until next ride...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

1st Triathlon Race Report

Well I made it. I am officially a TRIATHLETE!
It really feels great to achieve a 3 year goal.

Disclaimer (added after the following was written) Prepare for a Super Long Race Report. I could have broken it into 3 or more pieces but the writing just wouldn't stop, so, here it is!

Saturday -
Drove down to Clinton, where we(mom, dad & I) were staying and just hung out for a few hours. Watched the Braves win which was great since they'd lost 9 of 10 going into the Houston series.

Left a little after 6 to drive the 25 miles down to White Lake for the packet pickup and pre race meeting. The pre race meeting was not mandatory but I was glad that I attended just to hear some of the items they reviewed. It had a calming effect. I picked up my t-shirt bought a few that were on sale, got my numbers, bright green swim cap and then we headed back to Clinton to eat dinner. Ruby Tuesdays, Chicken Parmesan and a salad bar. Back to the room, get all the numbers on where they should be and pump up the tires for Sunday. I never know how I'm going to sleep before an event, sometimes great, sometimes a little tossing and turning but I always manage to sleep enough to be ready.

Sunday -
5:15 and the alarm sounds. I don't know why I wanted it set quite so early, we didn't have to be on the road until 6:15-6:30 but I did. The snooze feature got used a few times and then it was up and attem! Mom wanted to know when I became such a morning person and thats really a great question, but it just sort of happened in the past year or so. I was joking around about recording the tour de France where you can hear the spectators ringing their cow bells and shouting "allez, allez, allez, allez...." for a new alarm sound so I was quite relaxed for the early morning.

We had an uneventful drive down to White Lake and went ahead and paid $10 to park .1 mile form the site, instead of parking 1 mile away for free. Mom and Dad both have some (different) foot problems right now so a long hike wouldn't be ideal.

We got right into the Transition area where I went about setting everything up. I'd reviewed my transitions in my head about 15 times the day before and even set it up in the room Saturday to make sure everything was in a place that made sense to me.

Next was chip pickup and body marking. Those are some mighty big sharpies they use on you for body marking. After having 663 put on my arms and legs with a big "N" on my calf(for novice) it couldn't have been later than 7:30. Mom and Dad staked out a bench near the water and I went to the porta pottie line a few times, back by transition to make sure everything was still in order and then finally just sat down with them and waited.

The bouy's looked an awful long way away, and after the first wave went off at 8 am they seemed even further. Although the first guy out of the water was out in 10:30, I swear it felt like an hour. I started to get more nervous about the swim. I wasn't nervous about the in water start or my goggles coming off, or getting kicked, it was just the distance and doing something that I've never done before. My Heart Rate went up 25 bpm in the 10 minutes after the race start. I went ahead and finshed putting my wetsuit on around 8:20 and got in the water with about 20 minutes until my start time.

I met a few guys while waiting for the race to start and I wish I could remember their names, I hope their races went great. One guy it was also his first, the other it was his second.

Once the race started it was time to go. Pretty much all the thoughts about starting slow, when to sight, etc left my mind. I think I did okay with the start, I just started. I made it to the first bouy and was relieved, the next one was the turn. After the first bouy I alternated from being on my back (and doing a back/breast stroke) to flipping over and swimming freestyle. I think I started smiling(briefly) once I made it to the half way mark. The next bouy after that was the 2nd and final turn and from there it was just back to the pier and out of the water. I kept alternating from swimming freestyle and swimming on my back, because I was just laboring on the freestyle. The best part is that I knew I was going to make it. I've known all along that if I could get out of the water, baring any major problems that I could finish the race. I got happier as I got closer to the pier and once I got out of the water I was pretty ecstatic. My HR was 164 as I climbed out of the water and started jogging down the pier. As you can see I looked pretty tired just coming out of the water but really started to feel better on the bike. I took my time(aka had a long transition) in TI it was almost 5 minutes but I wanted to calm down and really be prepared for the rest of the race.

As soon as I got started on the bike I was feeling good. My dad and I share a tri bike(that we've only ever used for time trials at Lowes Motor Speedway before now) and thanks to that I've got a really sweet ride for the bike portion. Its a custom Guru that he's put great wheels on. I love cycling so being on a 2 loop, flat, 7 mile bike course was perfect for me. I didn't go all out and redline on the bike because I knew I was going to have to run still but I rode very well on the bike course, finishing 6th out of 26 in the Novice division. I was so happy to be biking it was like having a tail wind the whole time! (note there wasn't a tail wind the whole time but the wind wasn't bad either)

Really, I'm only a 5K from being a triathlete? Thats what went through my mind in T2. I saw my parents as I was heading out for the run(its awesome to have your own photographer out there, thanks dad!) It had been humid from the time we got up at 5:15 but the weather gods were with me for most of the day with overcast skys. The sun came out during the run and it really heated things up. I rememberd the race info saying the first aid station for the run was at the 1/2 mile point and I thought I got there a little fast. After that aid station I swear I didn't think I was ever going to see the 1 mile marker. It is the longest mile I've ever run, I wasn't in any pain I just wanted to see the marker. Turns out the aid station was at 1/4 mile not 1/2 so there was further to go to the maker. The run went pretty well, it was slower than my normal 5K time but I still felt that 32 minutes wasn't bad considering this was the first time that I've done one of these.


I am really overjoyed at finishing this race.

I have an amazing support crew that I want to thank. Mom & Dad for always believing in me. Tara, my beautiful fiancee who couldn't be there due to one of our wedding showers, but she's always stood by me as well. When we first started dating I was taken aback at how supportive she was for the things I wanted to do, weather it was my major at school, or running a marathon, just like my parents she's always believed that I could be successful. The rest of my family are amazing as is my "new" family that I'll officially be a part of on June 26th. My coach, Suzanne Duncan has been a tremendous help this year. She's prepared me for this triathlon and we've got some more work to do to get ready for the Nations Tri (Olympic distance) and then the big one, Beach 2 Battleship Half Ironman, but I know that if I listen she'll have me ready for those as well.

Setup Events also did a great job with executing the race. They were organized and professional as always, doing a Set Up event is truly a pleasure. Thanks to all the volunteers who were at the race and anyone else who had a part in making it happen.

I didn't stick around the finish area to long because I was really hoping to make it back to Greensboro and then to Mt. Airy to surprise Tara at our wedding shower. I'd told her that I wouldn't be there but if it was possibly to make it I was going to.
Traffic wasn't bad and we made pretty good time, ~3 hours back to Greensboro. I took a super fast shower, put on nice clothes and hoped in the car for another hour of driving. I made it to the shower with about 40 minutes left of the time and Tara was happily surprised to see that i made it. Her mom did a great job of organizing a great wedding shower and we are so blessed that we have so many people who wish us well. We received an astounding number of gifts that will make married life get off to a great start.

Sunday May 2nd was just a great day. Thanks for reading.

Swim - 23:42
T1 - 4:29
Bike - 44:47
T2 - 1:48
Run - 32:27
Total - 1:47:11!

Until Next Ride....