Thursday, June 29, 2006

Philly - Part 3 of 4 (Highlights and Party)

Beyond my own race there were plenty of sights and things happening that should get mentioned. The first and biggest was how great it was to have all those TNT participants and support staff there at the race. I can’t tell you home many times I heard “Go Team” or similar phrases during the race. Having others racers cheer you on and you returning the favor was amazing. The TNT staff members were sprinkled throughout the course which shows their dedication to their athletes. Hearing group of staff members cheer you on as we were grinding it out on some of the hills was a huge boot. For those who have been to a TNT event you know these feelings and it’s pretty special to have all the support during the race.

Given the hilly course there seemed to be more people with flats and bike issues then I’ve seen at other races. As I was coming around on my 2nd bike loop I came around a curve and saw my own teammate Amy working on a flat tire. My heart dropped because it even harder when you see someone you know off their bike changing a flat. (More on the later) Even worse was when I saw a girl walking her bike down one of the hills carrying her chain. I mean having to change a flat is one thing, but having a chain break is like the nail in the coffin. Your race is pretty much over. Yes you can walk your bike in and continue, but that would be such a big blow.

Following the race there was a big TNT victory party at the hotel. This included a great meal, lots of dancing, and of course drinky drink. Now I know that for some they just don’t have the energy to party after a very long day. That’s why they start it at 5:00 PM so that it doesn’t go late if you don’t want it to. Well the MN crew along with a few other chapters really don’t know how to end things early. Things started as soon as we sat down for our meal and it was off to the bar for the first round. This was followed by a lot of dancing led by our coach Ingrid, Kim, and Tito. These three cut it up the most with the rest of us floating in depending on the song. The victory party only goes til 8, again some people thing they’ve had a long day, but this just meant it was time to hit the town. (I should add that through out the whole night we were like its only 7:30, or whatever time it was)

To kick off the bar hoping we started in the hotel bar with a round of shots. I mean what better way to really get things going. This was followed by a stop to an Irish Pub. Little did I know that TNT had basically taken over the whole bar and the one bar tender was a little swamped. I’m sure he was like, what is going on it’s a Sunday night. At one point someone ordered like 25 Kamikazes. Hey at least he made a chuck of change that night. After a few more drinks and mingling with the other chapters it was off to another bar that was a little less crowded. The crew was RI was there as well so we drank and talked with them the remainder of the night. There was talk of more dancing and stuff like that but by that time the energy stores were just about empty. At around 12:30 in the morning we finally made our way back to the hotel to call it a day.

So a little recap:
Wakeup – 4:00 AM, At race 5:00 AM to 1:00 PM, Recovery time 2:00 PM -5:00 PM, Eat, dance, and drink like a fish 5:00 PM to 12:30 AM.

I say that’s a pretty successful day.

Finally a few awards before I end this portion:

Heart/Determination Award goes to Amy. Amy has been having knee issues so the idea of doing two runs was not to her liking. Plus add in the flat tire that she got and the 20-30 minutes she spent dealing with that was amazing. Apparently she couldn’t get her CO2 to work so someone offered a pump, but that broke the valve on the tube. She then had to flag someone down to get another tube to get her tire fixed and riding again. I know the runs were very difficult but she pulled it off and finished and it was amazing to see her come in.

Best I’m going to be sick before the race look and most determined/fierce/this course will not defeat me face goes to Kim. Kim had a great race and her face showed it all.

Silently anxious award goes to Hirmoi. Hirmoi is very quiet to begin with, but I don’t think I heard her say a word before the race.

Best smile and laugh to ward off pre-race jitters award goes to Katie. A video clip, that I wish I could get up here somehow, shows Katie clapping and laughing along with the race announcer before they started. Even though she was smiling and laughing she couldn’t hide all the nervousness, but she tried.

Happiest person/racer award goes to Tito. I don’t think there is a picture of Tito from the entire weekend where he is not smiling. It was so much fun traveling, racing, and partying with this guy. Tito also gets the best dancer award. Ingrid and Kim gave him a run for his money, but on this day Tito was the better.

Too be continued…Part 4 of 4 (The Pictures)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Philly – Part 2 of 4 (The Race)

The time was just after 4:30 in the morning. The team is assembled in the hotel lobby surrounded by the congestion of a dozen other teams making their way down the elevators with bikes and backpacks of gear. Everyone is wearing their biking shoes with the exception of me who favored my flip flops to ride on top of my speedplay pedals (basically a pedal the size and shape of a tootsie pop) to the sure grin of my coach. With my team ready we set out to bike the 3 miles to the race. There is only a hint of light as we bike in the silence of the morning. We move freely along Ben Franklin Parkway passing the statues, parks, and fountains. We only encountered one car as the groups of riders cruise the open road finally arriving near the National Art Museum (Rocky steps) before heading down the river road. This led us to a site that I have replayed in my mind over and over. Along the river are the boat houses all lit up glistening along the river as we continue our silent approach to the race site. This stealth like procession was such an amazing way to start a day that I hope to return to Philly just with the purpose of rising early to relive this epic ride and start to an amazing day.

We finally left the boat houses and arrived at the race site. We all dismounted and proceeded to get our bodies marked before heading into the transition area. I take plenty of time setting up my transition area. Chatting with a few other racers and asking about the water conditions. The first report is that the water is 80 °F so no wetsuits. I’m a little bummed about this, but brush it off. A few minutes later we get the announcement that the swim has been canceled. I glance around to see the disappointed looks on people faces as they hear the news. My thoughts go to my team and the let down they must be feeling at this very moment. I walk over to where all the girls have their transition areas and see the sad looks on their faces. Some take a few minutes to themselves, but all returned with a more focused looks and start preparing for the duathlon that is about to take place. I talk with Eric the other mentor about strategies for the start of the race. We all gather together for a few pictures before its time to get back to business. More time passes as I listen to my pre-race mix and start my warm-up.

After what seems like an eternity I find myself in the starting chute. I make my way towards the front as I had discussed with Eric. With the change to the format the timing mats weren’t available so it was best to be at the front and not take a couple second hit. The race announcer finally gets us ready for the start and we are off in a very fast sprint out of the gates. The idea was to get out in the first group to avoid the crowd and then settle back into my own pace and let the faster racers pull ahead or pass me by. My idea was to race the first 5K pretty fast with the hopes of letting those muscles recover somewhat on the bike. I felt really good during most of the first 5K. I grabbed a couple sips of water at the stop on the fly and pushed on. Towards the end my stomach started mush a bit. This told me that I was pushing things and running fast which was actually a good thing. I buckled down for the last stretch and looked down at my watch as I passed close to T1 19:40. A moment of glee passes through my head as I know I’m running well, but only a moment as I prep for T1. T1 goes by without much of a hitch. I did turn in one row too soon so I ran underneath the poles to get to my area. I drop my shoes and race belt while snapping on my helmet. I grab my bike off the rack and make my way to the bike exit. I hear Eric’s booming cheering voice as I make my way out. Cheering me on for such a great run and encouraging the same on the bike.

I run with my bike to the bike exit of transition and hit the road. I push off and jump on my bike as soon as I’m off the grass. I find my shoes and place my feet on top of my shoes as I start to pedal. Once I’m moving I actually put my feet inside my shoes and strap them in for the next 40K. The course has been described as a very fair course. It is full of both flats and hills to balance the ride out. Within the first couple miles I was going to experience how “fair” the course really was. The first hill caught me by surprise as we hadn’t ridden the course before. It ended up being on the two longer hills. The problem was that I was caught in my big ring. So I ground on the pedals to continue my forward progress for what seemed like forever. Wow that was hard was the thought that rolled through my head after I was up. After the hill I regained my composure and found my cadence. I kept the pace on the high end and taking advantages of the downhill portions only to have to go up another. The slow grinders hurt more then the short technical climbs. Just before the half way point I felt something that started to alarm me. My calves were starting to spasm. What is going on? Soon the spasms turned to cramps. You’ve got to be kidding me. It seems like the fast 5K and the hills were starting to have their affect. I pushed on slowing a bit, but that really didn’t do much good. They never locked completely up, but they were close. I tried to stretch them on the downhill portions, but they were not budging. Then around mile 17 I come across another problem. I’m almost out of fluids. WHAT! I have never run out of fluids in a race before and I’m shocked that this has happened. I slow my consumption, but soon I’m bone dry. I only had a couple more miles to go, but with my legs I wanted to get as much fluid in them as possible. Finally I approach T2 and I’m not sure how things are going to go. I try to focus on each task as I approach. I slip out of my shoes and slow and finally dismount. My legs respond, somewhat, as I run/jog with my bike back to my area. I quickly drop my helmet, slip on my running shoes, grab my race belt and I’m off again.

The start off the final 10K as best I can. My legs feel like crap as I start the figure eight run course. Within a mile my legs are in full rebellion. This time it is not my calves, but in my quads and hamstrings. I push on telling myself “come on legs, you know what to do.” Towards the end of the first mile I hear Eric again and it flushes out the pain for a bit. I make it to the first turnaround and have no idea if I’m actually going to be able to pull this off. Again I pass Eric who continues to urge me on. The first half of the figure eight is the short part and I make my way pass the finish line and out for the 2nd half. The entire time the cramps would move from one quad or hamstring to the other. I did my best to focus on my form and find something to think about besides my ailing body. Positive in positive out was my mindset as I took one painful step after the other. I make it to the 2nd turnaround and want to die. Every step I figured was going to be my last. I was convinced that my muscles would just lock up and I would fall over. Nothing like gummy legs where you just sort of collapse. We are talking full stride seizure. At one point I even found myself saying my key words out loud. This has never happened before and it was kind of funny looking back at things. Finally I start to hear the cheer of the crowd as I start to approach the finish. This spurred every ounce of energy that I could must as I started to pick up my pace for the final push. With every step came a grunt and a very painful expression on my face as I made my way down finish chute. The cheers and yells all flooded over me as I pushed with one last stride over the finish line. I hit the timing mat breathing very hard and one of the medics quickly grabs my arms and said lets walk together. My breathing slows and he lets me go. Somehow, someway I finished the hardest 10K I have every run. I’ve never felt pain like I did during this race which made finishing all that more enjoyable.

I collect myself a bit as I grab fluids and a bit of food and search for my coach and teammates. Only one has finished ahead of me and we spend the remaining time recovering and cheering on everyone until we are all across the finish line.

Final Race Stats
5K Run - 20:48 pace 6:43 min/mil
T1 – 1:44
40K Bike - 1:17:17 pace 19.4 mph
T2 – 1:39
10K Run - 49:34 pace 7:59 min/mil
Finish - 2:31:00

Overall – 340/1344
Age Group – 33/83
Males – 302/960

To be continued…

Philly – Part 1 of 4 (The Why)

As I sit here listening to my pre-pre-race mix my mind tries to grasp all that unfolded over the course of the last several days. My trip to Philly was amazing on so many levels that it will most likely take some time before I truly digest it all. As much as I want to dive into the race and all that I encountered during that 2.5 hours it wouldn’t be right of me to begin with my race because the weekend wasn’t really about me or my race. Racing was just a reward for the work that was accomplished by 250 individuals who came together to celebrate a job well done.

Looking back my weekend really held two purposes. The first and most important is the continuation of the work that is done by the LLS. Their mission is our focus of all that is done with TNT and it’s simply amazing to be apart of a such a great organization and program. I mean does it really get much better then being apart of the world’s largest endurance training program who’s end purpose is to continue to help fund the LLS? For myself I haven’t found anything better yet and I’m not sure I will. By being involved with TNT I can be apart of the endurance community and support on great non-profit all at the same time. For me it’s just a nice fit.

The second purpose that really stands out for me is the growth and performance of the athletes I’ve been working with since February. In February I met a new group of strangers who had signed up for the crazy journey to complete an Olympic distance triathlon while supporting the LLS. This group of strangers was made up on individuals who all had their own strengths and weaknesses. They would encounter numerous obstacles in the following months. This group tested their limits again and again. Reaching beyond what they thought was possible. They turned new leaf after new leaf as they showed up at the various group training sessions as well as working out on their own. They all logged 1000s of laps in the pool and miles on the bike and run. They fought setbacks, injuries, and frustrations to achieve their goals. It didn’t matter whether their goal was to just finish or just to finish well. What mattered was that they came to put it all on the line to see what they were truly made of. What they were all made up is the unwavering courage, strength, and above all heart.

So to the entire TNT Philly Tri team you will always be heroes in my eyes. You took it upon yourselves to challenge who you were and what you were capable of doing. You put yourselves out there to a new experience. Working with and trusting new people who you had no idea how crazy they truly were until it was too late. (I mean enthusiastic not crazy, besides I’ve never been good at hiding my “enthusiasm”) Plus at the same time you helped raise money for a great cause. For all your hard work and dedication to your training and the cause I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Stayed tuned for part 2, The Race…I’ll post it during my lunch break today…

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

So Much To Say

You can call off the search parties and missing person reports, because I’m back. My adventures in Philly came to an end as I arrived home a little before 1:00 AM this morning. It was good to finally be home after the long weekend, but it was one hell of a weekend in Philly. I will post a true race report, but it’s not going to happen this morning. To be fair I’ll divulge a little bit about my weekend and race.

First of all traveling with my team and meeting up with the other TNT chapters was awesome. We had such a good time and everyone was there supporting each other come race day. There were just under 250 TNT participants and the race course was lined with purple and green. Having a ton of people cheer for you and yell “Go Team” was pretty amazing. Ok more about the race.

For those of you who haven’t heard the race format was changed at the last minute. The raining weather on the east coast, in this case north of Philly, caused the water to be unsafe for swimming. They lucked out the day before with the sprint, but only 24 hours later the water was filled with debris and the water color had changed to a very dirty brown sludge color. As much as I wanted to do the full tri my thoughts went first to my teammates. For most of them this was going to be their first big tri and you could see the disappointment on their faces. Lucky they are all incredibly strong and pushed it off and prepared themselves for a dualthon. The du ended up being a 5K run, 40K bike, 10K run. I’ll fill you in more on the details later, but I’ll just say that this was a very challenging course. The bike course had a number of hills and turns to counteract the fast flats. What I can say is that I pushed my limits on Sunday morning and I’m still feeling the effects. (My body in not happy at all)

Here my results from the race. The first run I did in 20:48 for a 6:48 min/mil. I know I said there would be no PRs this weekend, but I guess I lied because I’ve never broken the 7 min/mil mark before in a race. I finished the bike in 1:17:17 for an average of 19.4 mph. Finally I capped off the race with a 49:34 10K at 7:59 min/mil just holding on to my sub 8 pace by the hair on my chiny chin chin. Tacking on my transitions T1- 1:44 and T2- 1:39 we end up with a 2:31 finishing time. I was pretty happy with how things turned out. I’ll give you all the details in the reports, but neededless to say I had one hell of a weekend in Philly.

To be continued…

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Down To Hours

Only a half day of work to get through and then it’s off to the races. The countdown to my departure for Philly is only a matter of hours away. I know that it is more then a couple of hours away, but its less then 24. Hopefully I can stay somewhat on task this afternoon, because the race distractions are already starting to wonder into in my mindset. After work it will be some last minute errands, a TNT coach & mentor event, a load of wash, packing, and finishing off my pre-race mix. So it will be a busy evening but so be it. It just wouldn’t be my style if there wasn’t a little bit of scrambling before I travel.

Last night we had our last group workout before the race. We did a short 3 mile run and then hit the water for an easy swim. I didn’t swim for very long. I just wanted to get in the water to keep the arms loose. Things felt pretty good, but my elbow was a little achy. I guess I can stop mentioning stuff that is just the norm theses days. It was a nice workout and things are feeling pretty good going into this weekend. A couple people have asked what I expect for times on Sunday. The truth is I’m not sure and to race well and to finish strong are my main goals. Plus you never know what to expect for the first race of the year. That said I’ve listed below some splits that would be really nice to hit. Plus this will help anyone who is using the Race Tracker to judge how I’m doing.

Swim – :35, solely depends on how the shoulder and elbow respond to race pace
Bike – 1:15, this would be about 19.5 mph which I’d be really happy with
Run - :50, would love to hold 8 min/miles but that might be pushing it :)
Total: 2:40 – 2:45ish would be sweet

So there are some loose numbers that you can go by if you are tracking my splits on Sunday. Like I said I’m really not sure how things are going to go, but I think a 2:45ish finish would be a great way to start the season.

Ok I’m off to finish this, hopefully fly by, afternoon of work. I’ll try and make one for post before I leave. If by chance I can’t I hope you all have a good weekend and send your non-rain vibes towards Philly. I’ll catch ya on the flip side…

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Last Minute Items

Whenever I travel or some big event is coming up there are always a few last minute things that have to get done or purchased. Last night I crossed another one off the list with a purchase of a digital camera. Just like the cell phone craze I’m a little late in purchasing a digital camera, but the time finally arrived. After looking over some review and checking out the store I ended up with a Canon SD600. Yes I might have splurged a bit with this purchase, but I figured that this camera will last me quite along time. Plus with a digital camera I might actually take pictures and no longer have film that has been in my camera for years. You think I’m kidding. This purchase is perfect timing with the race in Philly this weekend. I should be able to capture all the craziness that will commence starting Friday morning. Now I just need to figure out how it works. Besides just pushing the button :) The last item that I need to get before I leave is another set of lenses for my sunglasses. I need a low-light tinted pair just incase the weather doesn’t end up being bright and sunny. (They’re still calling for rain on Sunday…booooo)
Tonight we have our last group workout with the TNT crew before we head out of town. The workout will consist of a very easy run and then a short swim afterwards to cool down. The water should feel nice with the humid weather we have at the moment. Then it will be home and hopefully to bed at a decent time. I think I’m getting a little antsy because sleep was a struggle last night. Hopefully the workout tonight will calm things down a bit. Sorry folks but that’s about all I got at the moment. Hopefully all is well in your neck of the woods. Have a good one…

Quote of the Day: People must believe in each other, and feel that it can be done and must be done; in that way they are enormously strong. We must keep up each other’s courage. - Vincent van Gogh

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Taper in the House

My taper has started as I get ready for the race this weekend. So let’s go over what’s on the taper checklist.

1. Decrease intensity - check
2. Decrease volume – check
3. Get ample sleep – work in progress
4. Eat well – work in progress
5. Mental prep time – work in progress
6. Finish all the items on my ever growing lists – work in progress

At the moment the taper is getting to me as I have plenty of things to keep me busy in preparation for this weekend. That said by Thursday it might be a different story. Last year there were times where I really enjoyed my taper and others time I hated it. The jury is still out on this go around. With traveling for the race I think it might be a little bit harder this time around. The travel logistics just add more to the list of things that have to be done before this weekend. Lists, lists, and more lists I may have to have a little bonfire before my plane departs on Friday…

Philly Forecast: still 74, 30% chance of scattered t-storms.

Quote of the Day: Exercise is a dirty word. Every time I hear it, I wash my mouth out with chocolate. - Author Unknown

Monday, June 19, 2006

Tick Tock

The countdown to Philly officially started this morning when I dropped off my bike at the LLS office. I cleaned and lubed my bike yesterday in preparation for the race and its trip out to Philly. After a quick stop at the LBS for a pedal wrench and taking the pedals off things were finally ready to go. The pedal wrench purchase came in handy when last night a fellow teammate called saying she was having trouble getting her pedals off. This morning I as arrived at the office there were more people who couldn’t get their pedals off. Actually one lady had one pedal off, but not the other. It was a bit amusing, and we finally got all the pedals off all the bikes. So the bikes are on the road and they will be waiting for use when we arrive in Philly.

I had my last big training workout on Saturday. I did a brick of 27 miles on the bike followed by a 6 mile run. The bike went pretty well with the exception of the wind. I struggled a bit on the run, but I think it was mostly due to the hot temperatures and being a bit tired from the day’s activities. Normally I would have done with workout a lot earlier, I didn’t start til 1:00, but I was working with my TNT team during the first part of the day. I had my team do a double brick during the morning. They rode 10 miles and then ran 3 miles twice. It was a really hard workout, but they all did really well. During the workout I stayed with the gear while they did loops around the lakes. While I watched, waited, and cheered I handed out water, bananas, and Gu as needed. I was really proud of how well they did. It was really muggy out, but they pulled through it very well.

Along with getting all my stuff together for the trip on Friday I’ve also started my weather forecast watching. I know that the forecast are always wrong, because there is only so much ya can really predict when it comes to the weather, but I will be tuning in to what they are saying for the Philly area. Right now they are saying 74° F, with a 30% chance of scatter T-Storms. The temp would be great for racing, but I could do without the rain. Rain on race day = Blah!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Fish Kill

I just received a mass e-mail from the Philly Tri director about a large fish kill that occurred in the river that we will be swimming in next weekend. I had heard that the Schuykill River (pronounced skoo-gull, thanks Nic) isn’t the cleanest, but this isn’t helping the situation. I guess I’m not too worried about it, but it does make you wonder a bit when the state’s EPA is sending out health advisories. The good thing to note is that at least the race is keeping us informed. I don’t exactly live near Philly so I wouldn’t have had any clue that this was going on if the race director hadn’t taken the time to inform all the athletes. Thanks Mr. Beck for the info. The good news is that it sounds like things should be ok next weekend. (or is that just what they want us to believe?) Here a few bullet items that came in the e-mail incase you are interested.

1) This fish kill (which has ceased) was approximately 10 miles from the area in which we swim. And the fish kill (only hundreds of fish by the way) never extended substantially downstream.

2) It is my understanding that test results are being released today that show the River to be safe from the toxins that had caused the fish kill; it is these results which are opening the water back up again for regular use. Additionally, it is my understanding that the EPA’s advisory was made yesterday as a precaution until the results of the tests were known.

3) The “riverflow” of the Schuylkill currently is at roughly 1400 cfs, meaning that water is flowing at a good level. I’ve been told that the movement of water (and toxins) from the location of the fish kill to where we swim happens in periods of hours, not days or weeks.

4) While it’s not directly relevant to this fish kill issue, we have been testing water for bacteria, as we did last year. Our most recent test was Wednesday and the results were very positive in terms of the low counts. That’s great news

Tonight I have a DTM to work out all the toxic build up in my muscles. This should set things right for a couple hard workouts this weekend before easing off a bit next week before the race. This time next week I’ll be in Philly. I can’t wait! woohoo

Good luck to everyone racing to this weekend. Running Shorts is doing her first tri (go wish her luck) and TriSaraTops is racing as well. Sorry but that’s all I can recall off top of my head. My apologies if I missed ya. Have a great weekend everyone…

Quote of the Day: Exercise equipment for sale. Fat guy wants money for sofa. - Classified ad from the Sonora Union-Democrat, October 29, 1990

(A little Friday humor for ya)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

It’s Spreading

Well I’ve very pleased to report that one of our nubie triathletes is really taking the plunge into the sport. Out of nowhere SafteyBob has signed up to do the Pigman ½ Ironman with me in August. This is really exciting news. It’s pretty fun seeing someone new to the sport dive head first like I’ve kind of done. So yes one of my little fishies is making his way out too the deep ocean. Actually he kills me in the swim so I’m actually the little fish when compared to Bob.

Last night we had our travel meeting for the Philly TNT crew. It was exciting to go over all the material and plans. I saw many anxious looks as we went over the stuff and some general race questions. Except for myself and one other person I think this will be the first Olympic distance triathlon for everyone else on the team. It’s been a wonder to see everyone progress over the last several months to prepare for this event. Neighbor Kim said it best when she mentioned that “now we are actually going.” Up til now the race had just been some future event that will happen eventually. Now that future has arrived and I’m stoked. My mind was on a roll after the meeting which left me with about 3.5 hours of sleep. So yeah I’m dragging a bit today.

One item that my mind was churning on last night was the mixes that I’m making. At least I can say I accomplished something during my bit of insomnia. Here is the first draft of my pre-pre-race mix. I’m still taking suggestions if you have some…

Telepopmusic - Breathe
Portishead - Invisible/Insensible
Zero 7 – In the Waiting Line
Moby - Down Slow
Evanescence - Hello
Johnny Cash - Hurt
Jose Gonzalez - Heartbeats
Thievery Corporation - Until the Morning
Sia - Breath Me
U2 - Origin Of The Species

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Track It

Here’s your chance to add a bit of excitement to your Sunday morning on June 25th. I mean how cool would it be to be doing your own thing and then suddenly get a text message or e-mail letting you know how well (hopefully) one of your blog buddies is doing during a race? I mean pretty much that’s right up there with sliced bread if you ask me. Ok, enough of the exaggerations but there is a pretty sweet system that will be available for the Philadelphia Triathlon that I will be competing in on the 25th. So if you are so inclined or just really really bored click on the link below and register. I’ll be wearing number 1982. The only catch is that you have to register before the day of the race. So basically you should all go register immediately. :)

Speaking of tracks I’m putting together my pre-race mixes for Philly. Yes I said mixes because I think I’m going to do two this year. The pre-pre-race mix will be a slower/moody time to focus type mix. The pre-race mix will be upbeat, let’s get amped to do this selection of songs. I have a number of songs that I have in mind but nothing is set in stone yet. So the question that I have for you is what song or songs do you absolutely positively have to listen to before you race? Thanks for the help…

Kick back and enjoy

This was the motto we followed last night out on the lake and it couldn’t have worked out better. After begin in the car for over an hour dealing with traffic I finally made it to Lake Minnetonka to meet up with the crew. I arrived just as the boat was docking up at the lake side restaurant. We moseyed up to the bar to have a drink while we waited for the last two people to arrive. The sun was shining and there was no sight of the rain the weather people had called for. Given the warm island feel of the weather I figured it was best to start things off with a long island. (ahhh, is there a more perfect drink in the world? I think not) Plus being a lightweight these days I new it would set me off right. After the arrival of everyone we headed out on the lake to take in the calm waters and warm air. We toured a couple of the bays and finally dropped anchor for a bit. We had a couple of swimmers but most of us just chilled out enjoying the company, snacks, and libations.

After the swimmers had finished up we headed out to another lake side restaurant for a late dinner. So tack on some more food, booze, and continuous and at time very hysterical conversation. It was getting late by the time we headed back to our starting point, but we all enjoyed the dark ride back just chatting or looking at the stars. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to be out on the lake. The water was calm, the weather was amazing, and everyone just kicked back and enjoyed the evening out on the lake…

Quote of the Day: We are either the masters or the victims of our attitudes. It is a matter of personal choice. Who we are today is the result of choices made yesterday. Tomorrow we will become what we choose today. To change means to choose to change. - John C. Maxwell

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


The summer weather finally returned from the little vacation it took over the weekend. This led to yesterday being a pretty remarkable day weather wise. I was supposed to hit the pool last night after work but that didn’t end up happening. It was too nice to be indoors so I baulked at the idea of a swim and went for a little run instead. My legs were a little weak after the mock tri on Sunday, but they help together well enough. I went for a short 5.5 mile jaunt down by the river. No watch, no music, just me enjoying the simple pleasures of a running without all the training baggage that builds up from time to time. Like many running is my break from the world and last night that’s exactly what I got.

I’m taking a rest day today to extent my little break from the training regiment. Hopefully the rain will hold off tonight because I’m supposed to meet up with some friends to go out on their boat for a little happy hour cruise before going to dinner. To bad I’ll basically circumnavigate the entire metro area to get from work to the lake and then back home. Oh well it’s a small price to pay for what should be a very nice evening with good friends, food, and maybe a drink or two.

Tomorrow it’s nose to the grindstone once again…

Quote of the Day: The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own. - Benjamin Disraeli

Monday, June 12, 2006

Count it down

Two weeks from today I imagine I’ll be waking up and feeling a little wrecked. The post race soreness and stiffness should be all there as well as I slight headache from the over indulgence that will have followed the post-race party. Of course this is all speculation, but a guy can hope can’t he? The remainder of the day might be followed with some sight seeing in Philly before packing things up and catching our flight back to MN. I guess I’m just starting to get amped for my first tri of the year and the traveling and racing with my TNT crew. Less then two weeks to go so everyone should book those last minute flights to Philly because it is going to be a weekend for the books.

Before all the fun and hoopla takes place in Philly there is still plenty going on here in MN. Yesterday we had another mock tri with another good turnout. I was a bit slower yesterday then on Wednesday, but there could have been a number of reasons for that. The chilly weather, having to stop longer for stoplights, or the haze I was in for part of race. No matter the results it still was a good workout and another way to prep for Philly. This week we also have our traveling meeting and all that fun stuff. The one part that I’m not looking forward to is when I have to drop off my bike. Early next week we have to give up our trusty steeds so that they can be shipped out for the race. Now I know that this is just part of racing in a different city, but I still don’t like it. 1) I don’t like the idea of just sending off something of mine that was somewhat expensive. Pretty much bikes should be allowed in the seat next to you. 2) I don’t like that I’m not going to have my bike for over a week. 3) I’m just a little paranoid.

So another busy week of training and race prep for the upcoming Philly tri. Doh, I need to get my pre-race mixes finished. I mean there are a lot of important things to do in the next two weeks. Congrats to everyone who was racing this weekend. I don’t think there were a ton of races, but Trimama and my TNT coach did the Liberty ½ Ironman and Nic had a relay race out at Tahoe. So congrats to IM, Trimama, Nic, and everyone who raced this past weekend.

Quote of the Day: I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but
I am bound to live up to what light I have. - Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Mock Tri

Last night we had our first mock tri with the TNT folks. The distances were close to what a sprint tri would be. The swim was about a ½ mile, 12 on the bike, and then 6 on the run. I guess most sprints don’t end with a 6 miles run, but its all in preparation for the Olympic distance races that the team will be doing. I wasn’t exactly prepared as well as I could have been for this long workout. I just didn’t get quite enough sleep or hydration over the last couple of days. So I wasn’t exactly feeling like a million bucks when I arrived at Lake Nakomis last night. To simulate an actual race our coach even had everyone check in, get body marked, and had race numbers for everyone.

We did a mass start for the swim which is always interesting. I haven’t raced since last year so it took a little getting use to being around that many people and catching the occasional foot, arm, leg or feeling someone on feet. It wasn’t my greatest swim and even had to break stroke after taking in a huge mouth of water, yummy, but just finishing is always my motto when it comes to the swim. My race starts when I hit dry land.

The bike went off without a hitch. There was the occasional stopping for traffic, but other then that I cruised along between 19 and 21 mph. Then it was off the bike and on to the run. By this point I was starting to slow a bit, but felt pretty good during the first lap. I grabbed a water and a Gu to start the 2nd lap. Just for the record I hate runs that are a double loop. It really chaps my ass. Give me an out and back any day of the week. Anyway I kept a pretty good pace for most of the 2nd lap as well, but towards the end I was really starting to struggle. Not too much with my pace, though it slowed a bit, but with my stomach and just started feeling sick. I’ve never been sick during a race or workout, but I came close last night. I think it was a combination of the lack of sleep, water, and just simply pushing myself. After I finished I walked around away from the team for at least ten minutes. I wanted to make sure that if I was going to get sick it wasn’t going to be around my team. After cooling down a bit and getting some more water I felt better, but really tired. My finishing time was like 1:36 something.

Overall it was a great workout and I’m feeling pretty good about where I am endurance wise. I mean you can swim, bike, and run a lot, but it isn’t until you put them together do you really get an idea of where you are at. We have another mock coming up this weekend and we’ll do it all over again. This is kind of the final stage as we prep for our races. We’ll be leaving for Philly two weeks from tomorrow. Two weeks!

Quote of the Day: There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. - Beverly Sills

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Any More?

Pretty much this was the question I was asking myself when I arrived at the pool last night. The place was the busiest I’ve ever seen it. I think at times there were close to 8 people in our lane. When one person would leave there was someone else to take their place. Now I know I shouldn’t whine about stuff like this, but there were a few too many stops or swimming around someone doing the breast stroke for me last night. Now I guess I should have been looking at it from the race perspective and getting use to swimming with a lot of people but I just couldn’t. For one thing there usually isn’t anyone coming head on when you are trying to pass someone in the open water. Plus there isn’t the huge leg kicks from people who are doing the breast stroke or kicking so hard that they is like a 5 foot gap between their feet. Now I shouldn’t go off too much because there are actual sharks out there who would consider it an incontinence to go around my slow ass. It just would have been nice not to have to wait til your number was called to start another lap...

Ok, completely different subject matter. I need a digital camera. Yes, yes I’m one of the few who don’t have one so I need some suggestions. I’m thinking a fair number of functions, but it doesn’t have to have them all and something more on the compact side. Any suggestions folks?

Quote of the Day: You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you. - Walt Disney

Monday, June 05, 2006

Push the Tempo

Friday after work I was off for another beating at the massage therapist. True to history I left feeling like I’d been put through a grinder. The good/bad news part about the massage was that she worked on my left arch and said it felt like plantar fasciitis setting in. Not good peoples, but she was able to work some of it out and had me close to screaming out in pain. Not just a painful sigh, but holy crap what on earth are you doing to me type pain. Needless to say the rest of the evening was pretty easy going. I capped things off with some grilling and a couple of drinks with friends before calling it a night.

Saturday morning brought me back to the lakes for a group brick workout. The idea was to do a hard brick with some of the group. About half of us set off for a faster paced bike that went along part of the Lifetime Fitness Tri course. Besides the lights we help a really good pace. Our average was over 18.5 which was pretty good considering there were a few lights and stop signs we had to stop at. There were stretches that we were barreling down at 22, 23 mph. I felt like part of some hunting pack on the prowl. It was great and everyone kept up fairly well.

We returned after just about the same time that the other bike group did as well and we all stored our bikes and put on our running shoes for the 2nd half of the workout. I went with no socks for the first time this year. I knew that I was going to feel blisters and things like that within a few miles, but its time to get the feet ready for racing. The run went fairly well even though it was starting to get warm. I did stop at the water pumps to grab a couple of quick drinks to make sure I wasn’t dehydrating. As predicted I was starting to feel a couple of blisters about halfway into the run. I did my best to suck it up, but I’m sure they slowed me down a bit. Hopefully after a couple more runs and some liquid second skin I should be good to go.

It felt great when we finished up the brick workout. Everyone was working hard on an amazing Saturday morning. The temps were on the rise as the morning progressed which was good for training. It was definitely one of those workouts were you really feel a sense of accomplishment. Afterwards it was a large Jamba Juice as a few of us finally had a chance to sit down and relax after an intense workout.

Congratulations to everyone who raced this weekend. No matter what your results were just stepping up to the starting line is worth a congrats and a woot woot. We all train and race for a zillion different reasons, but we all show with the same courage as we step to that line and wait for the gun to go off. We are all there nervously waiting for things to get started whether it’s your first or 50th race. Everyone has chosen to make their way to that line and pursue some personal goal and that’s what makes this community so incredible…

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Latest

The last couple of days have provided a couple of good workouts to go with the warm sunny weather. On Wednesday it was a very good 7+ mile run. I legs felt really good considering the pounding they took over the weekend. I also broke out the racing flats as well. I figured it was time to allow my feet to get use to those shoes again. Plus I need to toughen the feet to prepare them for no socks. I mean who can spare the 30 seconds in T2 to put on socks?

Last night we had another open water swim. My night didn’t get off to the greatest start when I pulled my zipper off its track. Major bummer folks. So now I need to find a place to hopefully fix it before Philly. Unlike all you master swimmers out there I need my wetsuit. There were also a few people having goggle issues so maybe it was just a bad equipment night. Like everything else we’ll just blame it on the high temps.

Tomorrow morning we have a group brick workout which should be a good hard workout. At least that’s what I’m hoping it is like. Then on Sunday I’m hoping to get a swim and a long bike it. Basically it’s a weekend for training with maybe a bit of time spent at the great people watching fest known as Grand Ole Days in St. Paul.

Good luck to everyone who is racing this weekend. Nic, A.Maria, Runner Susan (Marathon), Mouse and Neena (1/2 Marathon), ChickFit ,1st triathlon-woohoo, and Trimama. (Tri) Good Luck Everyone…