"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.”

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Next Stop....Marquee 70.3!

It's finally time for our first "fit test" of the year with the Marquee half Ironman coming in less than 3 weeks (April 10, 2011).  The coolest thing about this race is that it's basically a short version of Ironman Arizona---same swim venue, same bike course (well, the loop is a bit shorter and we only do 2 loops---the climb towards Shea is omitted, so the bike will be VERY fast ;), and the run is basically the same as well, but even easier without the run through Papago Park (hilly).

Chris (AIMP Coaching) has really been laying it on the past two weeks (a good challenge!  it's making me miss my family time though :(, with 18+ hour training weeks including back to back long rides on Fri-Sat of 3+ hours each with intervals built in (kind of daunting when I think that averages to 3 hours a day for 6 days of the week!).  After suffering a bit with overtraining syndrome, I'm back healthy again....hopefully ready to race!  This is my first full tri season back (last year my broken clavicle and the Tempe Town Lake Dam break wiped out the season except for IM AZ), and I haven't competed in any local races here at all, so I am looking forward to sharing the course with many of my "new" tri friends---hopefully I can stay focused on racing versus "shout outs" to them!  This is also the first race of our "Elite Team" with all 5 of us competing (4 in the Half Ironman, 1 in the Olympic)...it's really a great group of people/athletes!!  

This coming weekend our ONE team (coordinated with Red Rock Co) is having a Triathlon clinic at Bartlett Lake catering to people new to triathlons--this should be a really fun event--we were all new to the sport at one time, and having someone to show newbies the ropes is a great opportunity to learn the "tricks" versus learning by feel.  Sophia's birthday party is on the same day, so I will be out there just for a morning swim, but kudos to the rest of the ONE team for volunteering their day to help!

The only other thing on my mind all the time is my family time---budgeting running/working in the dental practice, helping with ONE, training, and having enough time for home life is a challenge.   I don't know how long I will be able to train this way as the self imposed guilt I have from training versus being home gets to me, and it's not getting better.  Yesterday was a typical day during a build week:  up at 5:30, work till 4, home at 4:30, on the trainer at 5, off the trainer at 8:20, quick shower, quick eat, lay down with Sophia in bed, read her books, watch her fall asleep, then jump into bed at 9:30---Jenny already sound asleep...and repeat that pretty much every work day.  Then, fridays I'm up early, on the bike till 12, then a run (sometimes), finally done at around 2, then family time the rest of the day---repeat that for saturdays (the workouts change, but the time away doesn't).  Luckily, right now Sundays are more of an "off" day with a swim or a run only, but that will change inside of the 16 week build to Kona.  I guess I am writing this part for me...it's on my mind all the time, and when Sophia peaked her head into the "Pain Cave" last night 30+ times, I was feeling like I was depriving her of her father.  Jenny and Sophia have been VERY supportive of me and my selfish hobby...they are amazing!  I have played that game in my head where I think that I wouldn't be who I am without triathlon in my life (I'd be lazy, unmotivated...), but I think I need to change me---I don't HAVE to compete at the level I am trying to compete at.  Just getting that through my head is another thing---those who know me well understand this!

Without knowing what it is like to race in Kona, I am somewhat scared/overwhelmed by that place, and i think that is why I keep pushing for more.  The heat I can handle, but the humidity will be a whole different beast (it doesn't help that I watch the IM WC DVD's every time I ride the trainer).  Last summer the heat won on a few of my workouts, and I am thinking I need to be stronger going INTO the summer so I am better prepared for those really hot months--all of which lead directly to October 8th!

So I guess that's enough "open book diary" for today---thank you Jenny and Sophia for all of your support...you are amazing in every way ;-}

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Nothing good these days!

It seems like I haven't posted on here in a long time, but it's only been 2 weeks!  Well, I guess a lot has happened in that time period...none of it good.  First, we lost an local hero in Sally Meyerhoff..she was tragically killed on a bike ride.  She was an Olympic hopeful in the marathon, the first local womens winner of PF Changs Marathon (beat me by 25 minutes), and was looking to compete in Ironman this coming year---ugh, just a bummer.  On recent solo workouts, I have thought a lot about her, yet I never even knew her.....but I know her.   I know that there's this drive when your training to not slow down, never hit "pause."  You get a workout that says 4 hour ride...it doesn't say 4 hour ride, stop at every stop sign, red light, ride only where there is a "bike lane," where there are alert drivers...it says "ride."  Those rides are supposed to be at the same heart rate all the way through---no stopping, no adjusting for what the road throws in your way.  The tragic part about losing Sally is she was 27, and the other: it could have been any one of us people who ride the roads anywhere on the planet.  I now stop at every stop sign, look both ways twice when crossing any intersection, and every time I do, I think of her, I think of my family, and I think that I am very fortunate yet very fragile when it comes to being out on the road.  I will never take safety for granted, ever.  I have a beautiful wife, a fantastic daughter, and a future baby to think about, be responsible for, and return home safely to for the rest of my life.  This triathlon thing is just a hobby, and as much as I love the challenge, I love living more.  So, to Sally, we all think of you often, and I will say a little prayer for you in Kona when the going gets really tough, drawing from your "Be Relentlessly Positive."  Pink is a new favorite color of mine (Sally wore pink compression socks--it was her trademark).

So, not to change the subject abruptly, we also have the events in Japan---we all know, we've all seen the videos.  As horrific as they are, I am in awe of what has happened over there.  

With both of these events happening inside of the same week, I seem to be feeling a bit edgy, a bit overwhelmed with it all.  I think I took some of the "anger" out in my workouts---to the point that I am suffering a bit of a setback by falling into a bout of overtraining (repressed heart rate, a bit tired, a bit unmotivated).  Looking at the big picture though, I am happy to have my health, my family, and my happiness.  It is what it is...hardly a thing to make into a big deal---like I said, this is a hobby.  Compared to the 2 events above---I find it hard to waste a wink of sleep over it.   I figured out that I have been pushing in my training sessions while doing a "test" this past monday...I was pushing as hard as I could, and my BPM wouldn't go above 131---sluggish!  Chris said not to worry, but is keeping a close eye on my running pace (yes, I've been cheating by running my aerobic workouts a bit too fast).    So I am focused more than ever on my pace---not caring if I am the slow guy in the group.  This all points to building a strong base for the long year to come!

So I think I'll leave this one at this point...and next post we'll move onwards and upwards, and hopefully post a lot more often with some comedy hopefully thrown in!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ragnar Relay: ONE Multisport Ultra takes 2nd!

Wow, what an experience!  I originally got into triathlons and running for one specific reason...I am the master of my own domain, and it is truly that you get out of it what you put into it.  Saying that, Ragnar was a return to my youth---the days of high school soccer and baseball.  Unfortunately, the memory of my last baseball game in high school immediately pops into my mind---it was the playoffs, we were out of pitchers, and the guys we were counting on couldn't find the plate.  In comes me, the lefty out of no where, who hadn't pitched all year (I still don't know why I didn't---different story).  I could do one thing...throw the ball hard and find the strike zone.  So here we are, 7th inning of the Finals in our County League, and I come in, bases loaded, one out.  No room for error---just threw fastballs down the middle.  Infield drawn in, we get one out..so 2 away.  Next guy grounds a ball towards second base, it gets through, they score 2 runs, we lose.  Not my fault, but that burden sticks with me today---so that's why I am not a fan of competing in team sports!  (at least for me!)

So back to Ragnar, back to those days.  Our team was split into 2 cars---first car of 3 runs their first legs, then hands off to us, and we run our legs.  We did this 3 times throughout the 24 hours and 50 minutes---covering 200 miles in a winding course from Wickenburg to Tempe  Map of Ragnar Relay Del Sol.  I was running the 6th (anchor leg), and with me in Car #2 was Chris Bergeron, Bill Jones, and me.  Great group!  They put up with my antics---but probably wanted to kill me by the end of 24 hours in a car with me (I am a piece of work most of the times, but especially during a race--I'm downright annoying).

We new going into this that our competition was the Durapulse Ultra Team--led by their coach, Nick, and a tri friend, Bryan Dunn (read: sub 7 pace EASY).  They were the only other Ultra team to start in the last wave (3 PM...the slower the team, the earlier you started---some teams started at 6 am).  Ben led us off and of course smoked em, then James took over, ruptured Achilles and all and fought the battle against Bryan, handing off to Buddy.  When Car #2 took over, we were 100 seconds behind the Durapulse team--looking good!  So Car #2 was "ON" now---Chris first, holding the competition pretty much even; Bill next---strained hamstring and all, and he had the "grand-daddy"  leg...17.1 miles, all at a gentle incline (wasn't gentle if you ask Bill, or me!  Add the fact that it was now 11 pm, running on a highway with nothing but a headlamp on---I wasn't jealous (read:  crazy work Bill!).  After Bill, I was up.  I took over, and we were behind the Durapulse team by a little under 8 minutes (Bill's hamstring held him back after mile 11--Tough Sucker!).

So now it's midnight, but I wasn't tired one bit (read: too excited to be!).  It's pitch black, I'm out in the middle of nowhere (can't even see the city lights yet, coming into Peoria), and have some time to make up, so I go out pretty fast.  Mind you, I can't see my watch, nor do I want to take a second to turn the light on...I'm just going by feel.  After about 20 minutes in, Chris and Bill give me a split:  4:35 down!  Okay, now I'm fired up...can I catch this guy?  We looked him up before my leg, and he just did PF Changs 1/2 marathon in 1:25 (sub 7 pace)---that's FAST!  I trusted my car buddies and just kept pouring it on.  Then more splits:  3:20,  2:15, 1:15...so do you think I am gonna slow down?  With about a mile to go, I catch him, pass him, and give our team the lead after our first run through our 6 runners.  I knew they were going to be too solid for us to hang with considering James' achilles and Bill's hamstring...but we were having a blast!  Add in Buddy's 911 call from the ladies locker room toilet at Macaroni Grill (4 trips! and couldn't eat!)...our chance at taking down Durapulse was over.

After our Car finished these first legs, we headed to Anthem to try and get some sleep (I slept for 1 hour on the gym floor with nothing other than a foam roller for a pillow---Bill and Chris had pillows and sleeping bags---pansies!)---it was 2 am.  Our second runs took us from Anthem to Cave Creek, where we handed off again to Car #1.  After our second runs we headed to The Village at DC Ranch for a steam sauna, hot shower, and whole wheat pancakes--the perfect break!!!!

We caught up with our team going down Nine Mile, and started to get delirious considering the lack of sleep and what we were doing.  Our third leg started at Fountain Hills High School and ended at the finish line...Tempe Arts Park.  Chris took over after Buddy completely toasted himself on his 3rd leg (see the video on Facebook...classic!), Chris held strong running over the Palisades and into Scottsdale, where he handed off to Bill.  Bill then handed off to me for the final 10.4 mile stretch.  I was feeling a bit tight, but all in all I was feeling ready to run!  I had used Ultragen (read: First Endurance Rocks!) shakes after every run, and I was feeling no ill effects of the previous 2 runs, but I was mentally tired/drained.   I ran the first 5.5 miles well, holding 6:35 pace, knowing that all I needed to do was finish and we take second.  I was keeping entertained by counting 'kills' (passing other teams); I reached kill number 33, then BAM (literally and physically)...right calf feels like I tore it off the bone...my mind goes crazy---what a dum-sh**!  I just ruined your year doing this "fun" event!  I'm now running 8:00 pace (but  I still got 2 more kills ;), and make it to exchange 35, where luckily Chris and Bill are waiting for me.  I give them the "substitution" sign and they looked stunned (I think they thought I was joking)...I had my best game face on and was hiding the limp, but they saw that I was serious.  Without a second breath, Bill was ready to go--he took over for me (read: Bill, you rock!).  Without knowing the route, Bill ended up running 2 extra miles (read: got lost while trusting another racer, who had a map!) while Chris and I tried to locate him, unsuccessfully until we spotted his bright Orange ONE shirt crossing the Tempe Town Lake Mill St Bridge.  Bill takes home the Heroes Trophy, for running 41 miles over the course of the event---NUTS!!

Overall, we ended up 13th overall out of 306 teams, and 2nd to Durapulse Ultra in the Ultra Open Disivion...not bad for a group of guys, half who are injured (James was already scheduled to have his Achilles reconstructed the week after the race)!  While Chris and I were frantically looking for Bill, I announced my retirement from Ragnar, but I am fired up about doing one of these again, and maybe somewhere like Napa, Seattle, or Vegas would be a great adventure!  I'd go to battle again any time with these guys---and now I can have something to replace that high school baseball experience with.  I just hope Bill isn't looking at me like I was looking at my high school teammates who left me for dead on the mound ;-}

My calf is feeling pretty good here, 4 days later, and I look to be able to run well on it tomorrow....say a little prayer for my right calf!  With Marquee 1/2 Ironman 5 weeks away, I hope I can get some solid training in to be competitive!