"I like you. I'll gladly sit down and have dinner with you after the race. But when the gun goes off, I pretty much hate you, and I want to stomp your guts out. That's racing." -J Rapp

"the best night of my life.....
...in the most beautiful place on earth"

"It's just one, long, tedious conversation with yourself" -Paula Newby Fraser

"Have faith- trust in the plan - the breakthrough will come. I promise. " Woo

"You can keep going and your legs might hurt for a week or you can quit and your mind will hurt for a lifetime.” -Mark Allen

“The only time you can be brave is when you’re afraid.”

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Starting Line...

The end of one journey is definitely the beginning of a new and exciting one for me!  I am a week out from qualifying for Kona at Ironman Arizona, and I am full steam ahead for 2011.  See the "links" tab for my blog that takes me through Ironman Arizona..."Broken Clavicle Chronicles."  It's time to start a new chapter...shoulder issue behind me, Ironman Arizona behind me, and a exciting future in the sport I lived for back in the 90's...I couldn't be more excited!   I'm looking forward to the long hard hours where I doubt myself, my desire, but pull through to get to the finish line....I know I will have those days when I feel like giving up, throwing in the towel, and just going home to a life less challenging.  Nothing comes easy, but the rewards become more overwhelming the more blood, sweat, and tears I pour into something....

Because it's "off season"  (even though there is no such thing....I have convinced myself!), I'm gonna post some random stuff on things that are a part of my training.  First off is my "Pain Cave"...back in SF Chris has a "Pain Cave" of his own that he holds twice a week for his athletes out there..everyone's hooked up to a Computrainer (similar to mine, but a little "old school" in technology compared to mine).  The beauty for me is that I don't have Chris in my face telling me to push harder (I think I push hard enough...but then again, there are those days...;-)

First off, this is a "work room" with air conditioning (won't be used...ever!).  Fridge is stocked with Gatorade (Perform during IM prep!), water, and that's about it (well, Costco orders back up into this fridge too, and right now there's a pizza as well...offseason rules!).  It's a 46" LCD LED TV hooked up to a PC...running the TACX Virtual Reality Trainer Program that uses Google Earth to set up routes virtually anywhere on the planet...it is awesome, but like most technology, I am using it to only about 25% of what it can do. I can ride by Heart Rate, Power, Distance, Cadence, Time...it is amazing for inside workouts during the work week!  I can program in intervals and ride away....then have a movie on, watch tv, and some day soon use Hulu and Netflix to keep me entertained.  And, yes, I do see my family all the time and no I do not live in this room!  You can see the trainer on the floor that is hooked up to the pc, and it also has steering control if I want to actually control the bike (that's pushing it for me though).  The kicker is....the trainer actually returns power to our grid, so I can lower our power bill by riding...crazy!!!
Ironman Arizona Course is on the screen...

TV with riding stats on the bottom of the screen with a movie playing over the top of the screen...perfect!
Blu Ray player, cable box, and...vice grip...don't ask, don't tell!

Fan (needed!), trainer with power control on the back, along with power return unit in the lower right corner.

"Stuff"...all my bike tools, gear, supplies, and some nostalgic pieces...my first bike helmet (the silver one...covered with chiquita banana stickers), first bike frame (Steve Larson's TT bike (he passed away last year :(( that I bought for $300 in college---650 front, 700 rear....thinking of making it into a fixed gear bike), and a poster frame with pics, numbers and a poster from Wildflower...ancient!)
So that's the Pain Cave!  A local bike shop has this same setup, allowing you to pre-ride any course on the planet...I am grateful to have this awesome setup with the help of the guys at Airpark Bikes.  With the recent touch ups I've made in this room, I think I better focus on the work versus play with the gadgets.  Most sessions will be just the trainer and me...no TV, just the data---at least I hope!!  Regardless, the point of this room is so I can have my family time first, then ride after dark, safely, without ever using a light or wearing layer upon layer of winter gear only to ride at sporadic pace and accomplish half of what I can with this setup...lucky me for sure, and if you live here and want to ride a certain course, let me know!

Cheers for now, the pizza is calling my name...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

We made it!

I remember this day a year ago well...the day after Ironman Arizona 2009.  It was the start of a journey that reached it's destination yesterday at Ironman Arizona 2010.  I remember heading down to Tempe to register for yesterdays race...nervous, excited, and really happy to be getting back into a sport I loved and lived for in the 90's.  I also remember glancing over at the tables where the Kona Qualifiers were writing their checks for the Ironman World Championships for the race this past October.   Since that day, IM AZ was marking in red on the calendar, and my plan was simple---pour everything I had into preparing myself as best I could to learn how to race long course.  Chris Hauth, whom I met back in the 90's,  almost instantly became my coach...AIMP Coaching...he lives in my home town, and is well known for his Ironman Coaching in the SF Bay Area---and has a tremendous reputation for training athletes for Ironman Distance Racing.   Simply put, I would have been lost without him, and at every step of the journey, he has been spot on and every workout was genius.  Throw the shoulder mishap including surgery to repair my clavicle (thanks Dr Amit Sahasrabudeh and the crew at Endurance Rehab--especially Brandon!!) that went down in late March, and I had my work cut out for me!  So on to the race!  But first, a reminder of what my clavicle looked like 4/28/2010 after surgery (you can see the anchor in my scapula):

First I have to apologize for this "book" you are about to read...it is meant for friends and family to take in my day of racing, but also includes notes for me to remember how I felt, what I can work on, and mistakes I made (those notes are in { } brackets!).  So I apologize again for the attention to detail that is really meant for selfish old me!

Dan Thomas and I at the Pre-Race Swim Session---awesome wetsuits!!

Talking a little more about Chris, the days going into the race (the taper, or "absorption of training phase"), were lined up down to the "T."  The race is just one day, but the time leading up to race day , as I'm sure you know, can be full of trepidation that you are not doing the right things.  From workouts and intensity, to rest, to diet, to getting my body ready for the early start to the IM day, it all went exactly as Chris said, and being able to trust his expertise was relaxing on the mind knowing that he has prepared 100's of athletes for peak performance successfully time and time again.  I had zero reason to think that the Taper was not going to get me to the starting line in great form...."feeling good any other day but race day is a waste" Chris has told me, and I was feeling it--fresh and loose (a Rink-ism!), not nervous, just ready to rock n roll.

Race morning was fairly uneventful for a race morning.  I was up at 4 after a decent night of sleep, and not really feeling the nerves...I dunno, I just never was nervous about this race, even while trying to tread water waiting for the gun to go off.  I had about 700 calories consisting of Coaches Oats with Ultragen, a bagel with Nut Butter, and a bottle of Perform...the "sponge" was set!!  Jenny, my mom and I headed down to Tempe Town Lake at 5, only to get a camera radar ticket on Shea---great way to start off!   Parking was easy in the garage behind Monti's, and I then was running all over the place getting bags in place, tires pumped, while negotiating the huge crowd in the dark...uneventful at least.  I had "Lose Yourself" by Eminem on my iphone basically on repeat...the most amazing song to listen to pre-race, as the line "you only have one shot" was my mantra for the day and I basically sang it every time things got tough, or I needed to focus more.  The weather was setting up to be a huge factor in the race, as the reports were saying: up to 24 mph winds from the south with rain expected.  I thought 'yeah right," that would set us up to have the worst weather we've had in months (except maybe for a monsoon or two and some walnut sized hail).  My "jedi mind trick" on the weather was: it's the same for everyone.  Wetsuit on, I hooked up with some buds (James, Dan, and Buddy) before the plunge...the water was perfect (61 was called COLD, but for swimming in a wetsuit, I think it was perfect).  After getting some advice from fellow AIMP'er Monica Moreno, I headed to my "ultra-secret" starting position.  The lead up to the start was both amazing and daunting...it was so crowded that treading water was a chore just to find room for you legs to churn, but we survived!  I was with Dan Thomas, a tri-buddy, and happened to be with my brother in law, Scott--it was crazy that we were there together, as there were 2000+ other swimmers with caps, wetsuits, and goggles on---a freak occurrence, but very welcomed with the stress of the start line.  Dan told me to look up, and the scene of the bridge above was inspiring; adding the loaded South bank of TT Lake--we are at an Ironman for sure.   Now imagine being on the line, waiting for the gun to go, then hearing Black Sabbath's "Ironman" (go to itunes and download it, turn your speakers up--you'll understand)...truly a surreal moment to the start of the day---amazing. If there wasn't enough electricity in the water...we were fully charged now.

SWIM:  59:00  1:31 per 100 meters
Overall: 122nd  Division Place: 15th
Garmin Data:  Ironman Arizona Bike
5..4..3..2..1..canon fires, and it's every one for themselves.  Great news right off the bat: it was literally like the crowd I was dealing with at the line had disappeared...some went left, some went right, but very few went straight!  After 200 yards in, I was basically alone, and I wasn't going to try to find someone to draft off of as I felt my line was straight, comfortable, and hassle free.  There were a few bumps here and there, but by the time I was almost to the far bridge, things were spread out to the point that a bump was from just trying to get into better position and catching a draft in my pack of maybe 8 to 10 swimmers.  I swam comfortable but hard, followed another tip from the man, myth, and legend Marc Rubin, and survived the boredom of swimming for an hour---well, 59 minutes on the dot.  {next time...push harder like Chris had told me!  Post race, Chris immediately said we can improve that swim time---as a first timer, this was a learning experience all day long!}.

T1:   4:31
Into T1, I struggled a bit with my wetsuit as I didn't want to sit down, but after seeing video, now I know the drill.  I took my time in transition as Chris said "if you are needing to take seconds off your time this is where you can look, but in an Ironman, make sure you are ready to move on--forgetting something in transition can ruin your day."  So that was my motto..sit down, check and double check, then go!

BIKE: 5:01:20  22.3 MPH
Overall:  60th Division Place: 6th
Through transition, grabbed the bike, jumped on, and away we go!  While the swim is somewhat arbitrary, the bike is the opposite---how would I feel?  I had so many "tough" rides through training...as everyone says, it's those tough workouts that you draw from on race day to get you through it.  I was hoping the ride would not be one of those "tough" days, and thankfully it wasn't.  It probably didn't hurt that the wind was blowing up the Bee Line, as I was flying out of transition.  The plan was as follows:  Lap 1: let my heart rate come down gradually...give it time, and settle into the 127BPM range.  Up the Bee Line I go, passing a bunch of fast swimmers/slower bikers on the way, and pausing before those riding a bit stronger to make the pass permanent.  One young guy (24 y.o.) passed me obviously pushing too hard (the head bobbing side to side gave it away), but otherwise I was getting into a great groove and as the first lap progressed, it was getting rather lonely...lonely is good! (I would see this 24 y.o. again later in the ride, going the way of a burned up rider) Watching the pros wizz by in the opposite direction was surreal, as four of my favorites were here racing:  Chris Lieto, Matty Reid, Rasmus Henning and Chrissie of course.  It is crazy to participate in a sport where you are on the same "field" as the pros.  So I hit the first turnaround half way through the first loop, and was happy to see a good friend and co-worker Kirsten there jumping up and down with excitement (great to see you too Steve!  glad you are well!).  On the turnaround though, we were all presented with the biggest challenge to adapt to on the day...the head wind.  I was thinking I would get my "recovery" in on the way back down, but not on this day.  Because of this, my heart rate was 5 beats higher than I wanted for the first lap, and without previous experiences to draw on, I was hoping that the extra bit of heart rate I was putting into the bike was not going to affect me on the run or even later on the bike.  "EVERY BEAT COUNTS" Chris has said to me.  So I put my head down and push cadence 80-85 back to town.  The end of the laps were awesome...I was alone this first time, and it was very cool to hear my family cheering, friends yelling, and the cowbells going knowing that they were cheering just for me on at that moment...after the turn it was almost like being shot out of a canon back up to the Bee Line because of all the amazing support!

Finishing Lap 1

The plan for lap 2 was to settle in to 133ish BPM, and I was right there, feeling very comfortable.  I knew I was aerobic because the word for this and the final lap was "LEFT!" as I passed people who were now a lap down.  I was flying again back up the Bee LIne....and hit the turnaround in under 2:27 half way through the bike at mile 56!  I was feeling as fresh as when I got on the bike.  This next time back to town was tougher...riding through a 10 minute hail storm in the process. The first odd thing occurred here:  a bald eagle flew right in front of me...where was I?   I stopped and picked up my 2 bottles of EFS and another liquid shot (more on my nutrition later), and headed back out (kudos to the Special Needs Volunteers...I had yelled out on my way up "871" so when I got back down to them, they had my bag in hand and was stopped for less than 15 seconds--THANKS!!).  So I continued my "weave" through the crowd back to town, then back out to the Bee Line for my final lap.  Final lap plan:  maintain 133 BPM...will be harder than lap 2 to maintain, but push hard and keep moving (reason: glycogen storage has been depleted...now it's all on my intake to keep me fueled).  Riding a rear disc and flying again, "I was Chris Lieto!"  That was my imagination at least.  The noise off the disc is exciting in itself--not to mention FAST!! So the final trip to the Shea turnaround was vicious...the wind was now much  more of a factor, and I was 90+ miles into the ride...time to focus, get aero, and push back to transition.   Just then, I ran over a piece of duct tape...it would not come off!  I rode for 5 miles sounding like a little kid with a card in his spokes until I just couldn't take it anymore, so I stopped and removed it in haste. On the final stretch in.  I let 3 guys (2 in my division) pass without a chase as I wanted to conserve a bit, thinking that my slightly higher heart rate during the ride may make me pay for it on the run, so I relaxed a bit (and against the plan) and hung with one of the women pros, Csomor, who obviously knows what she is doing at this point {hindsight: I should have pushed hard like the plan said...I was feeling great and gave up 2 spots in my division as a result of backing off---I was supposed to be hurting, so make it hurt a bit dammit!!} I ended up leaving Csomor as my heart rate was now in the 120's (the dip in my heart rate on the Garmin Data at 4:40).  So into transition, I felt great...I stayed aero 99% of the time, my shoulder was a non-factor, I felt fully fueled and hydrated...
Turning for Lap 3 and doing the "weave"

{Side note: nutrition plan was as follows:  on the :15 and :45 I took in 100 cals of EFS Liquid Shot with Water, and on the :30 and :00 I took in a 1/4 bottle of EFS (50 cals per 1/4 bottle).  This gave me an average of 300 cals/hr.  I didn't stick to that plan for the second half as I didn't need the cals I guess due to my pre-race meals...I finished with a full bottle of EFS and no additional "goodie" calories...so my total calorie intake on the bike ended up being 600 cals of EFS, 1000 cals of Liquid Shot---320 cals/hour..right on!  BUT, next time push harder and take in 350+cals/hour}.

Shoes off, time to run...

T2: 2:52
The moment of truth: jumping off the bike...if you have done an Ironman, I think you would agree this is the most nerve-racking part of the race once the swim has ended.  Back stiff? no...Legs dead? no...Stomach upset? NO!!!   Into the changing tent I go...again, those volunteers are AMAZING!  My bag was ready and waiting at the entrance to the bag area...AMAZING!   Just like T1, I took my time---and I had transition to myself.   A ONE athlete, Neal Gelb, instantly was in front of me helping out along with another volunteer--I was a bit dazed as I had just spent the last 5 hours completely alone, so it took me a bit to start being human again.  He filled my fuelbelt bottles with cold water to mix with my hydration powders...Bike helmet off, Zoot sleeves off, CEP calf compression sleeves on, socks on, shoes on, visor on, double check, and then off I go...no need for sunscreen for me today!  Not a fast transition again, but I wanted to use them as "mini-breaks" to get me ready for the next leg...almost to a fault, but they worked perfectly.

Run:  3:20:49  7:39/mile
Overall Place:  52nd   Division Place:  9th
Garmin Data:  Ironman Arizona Run
Finishing Lap 1
Out of transition, it was great to see the Tri Scottsdale and Endurance Rehab group right away...and I couldn't miss Marc Rubin's yellow jacket (note to anyone spectating:  wear yellow!!).  I was now back on the planet again...and I felt great, but first a pit stop as I had to pee the entire bike but not bad enough to pee my pants....thankfully!  Again I was all alone, passing one guy in the first mile (he was not looking too good...).  As I hit the bridge at the West end of the course, a gust whipped up, throwing a small object of some sort straight down my throat into my lungs---the people at the bridge must have thought I was going to die!  Between the duct tape on the bike and now this on the run...someone was trying to slow me down!  I never did get it back up, and blocked it out by the time I hit the other side of the bridge.  The first Aid Station on the run was AMAZING as well.  They were lined up, and as I came through, one guy ran with me asking me what I needed...sponges, water, and Powergel...all right there with options in flavors..again, AMAZING!  I was now in MACCA mode: Spongebob Squarepants with sponges on my jersey, trying to emulate him in Kona this past October.  A quick glance at my watch, and I was in the 6:40/mile range and feeling great.  I was coming up on a guy walking on the desolate return stretch from the bridge on the north side of the lake...he had a guy on a bike next to him...odd, but I was happy to be the one passing versus the alternative.  I glanced at him, he at me, and then realized who HE was...Chris Lieto!  I was just finished "being him on the bike" (and I am a FAN of Chris Lieto!).  Awestruck, I just kept going without a word,...a surreal experience to say the least.  I had "unlapped" myself from Chris, and would almost catch him at the finish (he had a bad day, and I ended up finishing ahead of him in time).  At this point there was no one on the race course...I felt like I had it to myself...always a good sign!  Hearing the cheers from transition made me want to get back to it for some excitement!   I crossed the bridge back to the transition area, and it was electric as it had been all day.  I headed under the bridge and finally got to see my mom, Jenny, and her sister Sarah...it put the biggest smile on my face to see them and to be where I was...but there was no time to waste.  At this point I had no idea where I was placed...and for the majority of the run I had no idea other than I knew there were more than the 2 guys that passed me on the bike in my division.  I went on to complete the second part of the first loop just waiting for the "free miles" to end.  The run Aid stations continued to amaze me, seeing many friends along the way to keep me smiling, motivated, and not lonely.  Something in my mind must have gone off as I finished lap 1, as, looking at my data, my heart rate dropped...but I was still had that "free miles" feeling---maybe I eased up as I had not seen anyone on the course at all, and wanted to make sure I was avoiding a potential breakdown later in the run??---I was happy with where I was and pushing harder didn't seem like a wise decision as I couldn't see a gain in front of me. {next time, keep the intensity up....I know Chris will tell me anyways!}  On lap 2 I was now with runners who were just starting their first lap as well, so it wasn't as desolate out there (I did like the desolation for what it stood for ;).  Lap 2 was uneventful as I just cruised along waiting for lap 3 and the pain I was expecting to start at some point.  I had a very nice moment at the end of lap 2 as Jenny was taking video out of the crush of transition...she was smiling ear to ear cheering me on...THERE'S MY TEAM!!!  So onto Lap 3 I go, still feeling good, and so happy to be passing that sign that said "finish line" with an arrow for the last time (what a cruel sign to pass at the beginning of every lap!!).  On my way back under the bridge for the second half of the third loop, the place was a zoo...lots of people on the course now, with the sidelines packed with amazing supporters, including my ONE buddies!!!!  It was at this moment that Chris says "push harder, you're just out of the top 5"...it then got VERY REAL at this point.
 I had less than a 10K to go, still felt great, and now knew that I was having a great day.  I reeled in 2 guys on this section (Kenny Steil was one of them, a local triathlete who had the fastest amateur bike split (and the third guy that passed me on that final stretch of the bike).  I was still holding back a bit out of fear of "hitting the wall,"  but I never hit it.  Avid spectators I did not know were saying "you're running to Kona" and I had to focus to keep the tears back..."YOU ONLY HAVE ONE SHOT" (Eminem)...I wanted to pick up the pace, but also wanted to enjoy the experience, so I kept it steady on the way in.  I passed Chris one last time with 1/4 mile to go (I  had no idea of my time at this point), "leave it all out here, push it and you'll be sub 9:30!"  CRAZY!  My goal was sub 10, and I thought THAT was a pipe dream.  I picked it up a bit, then realized there were 2 guys just ahead of me and I was gaining fast (I couldn't pick em out until we entered the final "Finish Line"-with-an-arrow shoot because the run course was loaded at this point.  I thought about a full on sprint, but felt it would have been a bit tacky to do so, so I enjoyed the shoot...giving high fives while Mike Reilly gave me more than I could ask for.... "Erik Svans, number 871, competing in his first Ironman, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!"  He threw in the "tooth doctor from Scottsdale" as well...what a guy!  Mike is the voice of Ironman Friends in the finishing shoot, family waiting nearby, Ironman done...a moment I will never forget. (Mike Reilly's Story) Thank you Steve and Jodi for your help at the finish...my "on" switch went "off" about a minute later, and I was a hurting unit!  My mom came over and gave me a huge hug with the biggest smile on her face, Jenny and  Sophia were next; Sophia had just gotten to the race, and gave both her and Jenny a kiss and a hug---we made it!!!  Those moments right after the race meeting up with family were beyond words...one of the highlights of my life!    I was so happy to share this with my family...it has been a team effort from day one, and I felt like I was racing with a team behind me because of their undying support over the past year.  Papa's coming home!

Warm and cuddly!  Now a happy camper!

 My digestive system was instantly a mess---but it was calm when it counted.  Add the cold weather, and I was a very cold mess!  I grabbed a pizza from the volunteers, but couldn't take a bite (Sophia dug in though!).  It took about 30 minutes and a warm set of dry clothes for me to start feeling better...then I felt great!  It was time to relax for the first time in months and cheer on friends and family, take a very memorable photo with Jenny and Sophia, and just take it all in.  I have teared up many times just thinking about finishing this race, but the excitement overrid (not a word, but who cares) the tears...I think Kona will bring that out...now, time to retire this "broken clavicle chronicles" blog and move on...next up "the road to Kona!!!"

Overall Time:   9:28:20
Overall Place:    51st
Overall Amateur:  16th

Notes for next time:

  • Push the swim a bit more (goal for IM AZ 2011: 55:00 or better)
  • Transitions: speed em up!  (lose 2 minutes there)
  • Bike:  keep pushing over the last third---it should hurt a bit!  (shoot for low 4:50ish)
  • Run:  keep the intensity up--it should hurt a bit too! Also, remember what you put in your Fuelbelt flasks, but maybe go without it---I used the nutrition plan switching off at every aid station:  Gel and water/Perform---amount taken in according to how I felt. Oranges were awesome.  No desire for more EFS Liquid Shot.  Pre-race worked great. Coke over the last 5K also worked very well.  (shoot for 3:10)
  • Goal for IM AZ 2011:  sub 9

Here are some tibdits about the race if you care for more information!

Ironman.com Article about the Race
The amazing Chrissie Wellington's New World Record

Friday, November 19, 2010

2 days...getting into race mode

So I'm up at 4 am by choice..crazy.  Trying to get the body used to race day.  I spent yesterday running around a bit more than I wanted, but the result was I got just about everything done...registered, race wheels in hand, workouts done, ate, muscle "flush", and lots of water ingested.  Still no real nerves to speak of..almost an eery calmness!

It seems like forever since I've been able to come home at the end of a day and just simply relax with Jenny and  Sophia, and I really enjoyed our night of dinner outside with Country music blaring as Sophia played and Jenny and I hung out.  Dinner was spaghetti and a Spinach salad...basic good food!  We then watched Alice in Wonderland---seen it maybe 30 times now, but watching a movie with Sophia is always a great experience to hear her oohs and aaahs no matter how many times we've watched it.  I started putting my gear together, and Sophia joined right in...she loves swim caps and aero helmets!

Then it was bed time, and I still feel unworthy of sleep I guess!  I'm taking half a Tylenol PM to help out, and it seemed to help last night..yay!  I think by todays early wakeup, I should be good to go tonight..I hope!  I have an hour EZ ride today followed by a 15 minute transition EZ run....EZ!  Yesterday was a 2200yd swim followed by an hour run...legs are fully charged and ready to go...I was running 7:30's low in zone 2 with the brakes constantly on in my mind.  I have this delusion that if I get off the bike feeling fresh, I can hold 7:00-7:20 min/miles..we will see about that!  It will all come down to that point where the day is getting long and when it truly becomes a battle to become Iron..."if it was easy, everyone would dod it."   Hopefully that point happens after 16 miles in to the run, but I'm sure it will come more around mile 10, if not earlier.

So I'm heading out for the workouts early, and then off to pick mom up at the airport, otherwise, the legs will be kicked up and relaxing..maybe a few movies in store for us today!  Apple TV here I come!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

4 Days Out....Yeeehaw!

The days are ticking away....slowly!  My Facebook countdown I think is helping, but tomorrow, being my last day of work for the week (well, working 7 to 10 am...tough day!!), I will start to feel the excitement for race day start to pick up.  I am vey excited to share this day with those who have been behind me......From day one in this sport (back to 1993!), my mom has always been there cheering and supporting (Love Ya Mom!)(AND, my sister, who can't make it out for the race too), and now I have Jenny, Sophia, Jenny's family, my brother in law Scott who is also competing, new friends (Dan, James, Buddy, Michael, Darci, Tracy, Nicky...) who are competing, and God knows how many friends that will be out there on Sunday cheering.  You all have a very important role in the day---you are on MY TEAM!  This has been a very selfish thing for me to do, especially when it comes to Jenny and Sophia, and a day does not go by that I don't appreciate their understanding and support...they've gotten used to "papa" not being home, or "papa" gone all day.  I'm sure so many times during the course of the day I'll feel like crap, want to slow down, even stop, heck, even quit, but having you there to support me will help me keep one foot in front of the other, and at the finish we can celebrate in many different ways!  THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!  As the saying goes, "if it was easy, everyone would do it."  The day is about a personal challenge---a challenge I've wanted to take on for close to 15 years.

On to the selfish me and how I am feeling (I'm kidding, kind of), I am going through the psychology of tapering....trying not to eat as much (not fasting, just fueling my body correctly and not gaining extra "baggage"), trying to still feel energized, and trying to rest.  The eating is keeping my weight stable, so I am good there--but man, it is tough.  I feel like I am not eating at all, yet I'm still taking in 3000 calories a day---every calorie has been all about nutrients...I can't waste a taste!  Trying to stay energized has always been a battle going through a taper for me...I feel lazy because I don't have the tough workouts---I guess it's nice when a 3000 yd swim, an hour run, or a 2 hour bike feels like nothing at least.  The rest part of the taper has been the hardest.  Sleeping has been difficult for the same reasons...I am not beating myself to a pulp everyday to wipe me out, so I don't hit the pillow as I close my eyes this week.  My mind isn't going crazy about the race, I'm just not tired!!  I may have to put a half a Benadryl in tonight through friday night just to get a great night of sleep!   So otherwise, my taper is going as planned!  The legs are getting pretty "fresh and loose" as I found tonight on my 2.5 hour trainer session..so all points to good!

After finishing up my workouts, I am feeling pretty decent about where I am at....my swim is strong, efficient and better than it has ever been.  I plan to get out of the water right around 60 minutes after the gun  The bike is what I am most worried about, as my quads have been sore since an ill-advised deep tissue treatment last friday, but they are coming around and should be fine (especially after tonights session...but they still have a little way to go).  I think I will know 10 miles into the bike how my day will go--if I'm struggling to get power into the pedals, then my bike leg will be slower than I am planning.  If things are perfect, the bike will take me a few minutes over 5 hours, if not, 5 1/2 hours is what will happen.  If it's worse than that, I am having a bad day (really bad day!).  So the most varying in time will be the bike.  The run will always be full of stress; gauging pace, nutrition,  and the mental part of starting a marathon after 6 hours of fairly high intensity work!  My overall goal time: I have no idea!  All in all I feel strong at all 3 disciplines, but it is the mental and nutrition side that really determines how well you do at this length...let's hope the First Endurance products and my mental status are right on!

Chris gave me the "race plan" today, so I am feeling very well prepared not only for the race but for everything from today forward (sleeping, when to eat, what to eat, what to drink,...).   I can't prepare for the loneliness of the race...yes, there will be 2500 other people racing and countless people cheering, but  I have no one to talk to, no one to chit chat with...what the heck am I gonna do with my brain?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Where has the time gone! 13 days to Arizona Ironman!

It's been a little bit since I posted last, but not that I haven't thought about posting at least!  There is just not enough time in the day or week sometimes to organize my mind and write something, anything!  Even as  I write this I am wondering what will come out on my blog...I guess it's the story of life sometime!

So on with the show...I am wrapping up my training for the race this week...the day is almost here!  Lately I've had a bit of struggle keeping focused, and I knew this would happen.  I've put my time in on all of the disciplines, I worked on my nutrition plan, finalized my gear, and have the feeling that so many people have told me---that the race is anticlimactic.  When it's over,  IT is over...the heavy training,  the 5000 calories a day diet (hopefully I can cut back to 3000/day??), the anticipation...the list goes on.

While I am going with the flow, I am in what  I call "anti-peak mode" which means trying not to feel to fast, too rested, and too excited about race day.  If I'm fast, rested, and excited today, I won't be as fast, rested, and excited in 2 weeks---I just can't hold that level of "good" for that long.  The good news is Chris has been helping me "stay down"...while I am in "taper" right now (the bike rides are 4 hours instead of 6)---the intensity is up, riding at higher heart rates and bigger gears.

The run on the other hand is getting worked---the past 3 weeks I've had at least two 2 hour runs a week.  The highlight of those has been every one of them actually...my only 2 hour 30 minute run was 20 miles (I'll take that any day), and yesterday I completed 16 miles in under 2 hours; zone 2 heart rate, comfortable pace...averaging 7:26min/mi...the run is ready.

The swim has been uneventful, other than a new wetsuit I put into play this past saturday, and I LOVE it!  Chris is involved with Sailfish wetsuits, so he sent me one.  I decided to jump into Tempe Town Lake (yes it is full, yes the water feels fresh and clean, and yes to everything else good about the lake....it is the perfect Ironman swim venue), the event was part of the DCB Open Water Swim Series (I completed in one back in September just to get a feel for 4000m up at Saguaro Lake).   I approached this 4000 meter race more as a workout than anything else (I had a 3 hour ride after)...my goal was to find my pace (did that), swim straight (I think I did), draft (no drafting today...no one swam straight enough!), and get out of the water feeling good and not winded (did that!).  My time was 1:02, so I was happy, but of course now my goal for the IM swim is sub 1 hour (the IM swim is 3800m)...the thing I can't control is the other 2400+ people on the swim course at the same time trying to not let me swim my race as I plan...I have a secret plan for that, but it's a SECRET!!  This swim was also a 4 lap 1000m course, so I had to weave through traffic for the second 2 laps, so that was good prep for IM AZ!

So that's it for now...I'm just cruising along keeping the excitement low.  I'm feeling good about all of the disciplines!  At this point I'm nervous about a few things, all of which I can't control:  the swim craziness (the first 400-500 meters will be tough!), the wind on the bike (but everyone has to deal with it), bad luck on the bike (mechanicals, flats),  nutrition ( I can control it and will have a plan, but will my stomach agree??  First Endurance says it will!), and how will I feel when I hit the wall on the marathon ( mile 13? mile 20? or worse, mile 10? mile 1??)...I think I will be able to handle the pain--I know it will be present all day long!  For those of you that will be there, if I'm not saying much, it is the pain that I am fighting---pain does not like it when you smile, and a lot of pain makes it impossible to smile, let along high five, but I'll do my best and will give plenty of hugs when it is over ;-}