Friday, August 30, 2013

RECIPE BOOK: Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Yup, another soup!!  If I ever do get around to filling up a cook book, I might as well just make it a soup cook book.   Haha.  And of course, I chose a nice humid and hot day to make this.  ...not quite the brightest crayon in the box!

Anyways...  Here is my recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Soup!

INGREDIENTS

1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large red potato, chopped
2 large heads of broccoli, chopped
Nutmeg
6 cups Vegetable Broth
2 bay leaves
Pepper
3.5 cups shredded cheese

DIRECTIONS

Heat a large pot on medium and cook onion and potato until soft, about 7 minutes.  Add nutmeg to taste and broccoli and cook another 5 minutes.  Add vegetable broth and bay leaves and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until broccoli begins to soften; about 15 minutes.  Add pepper to taste.

Once cooked, add cheese (I did 2 cups sharp cheddar for flavor and 1.5 cups swiss for stretchy-ness) and continue mixing until the cheese has melted and blended into the broth.  Let sit to cool and serve while warm.  Once cooled, the cheese will begin to congeal. 

NOTES
  1. Once cooled and stored in the fridge, be aware that the cheese will congeal together at the top.  You will need to break up and remix. 

I will add photos once I think straight enough 
to take them while making the dish.

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Questions
1.  What's your favorite type of soup?

2.  Do you have any suggestions for future recipes?!


DREAM.  BELIEVE.  ACHIEVE. 


Thursday, August 29, 2013

What would you do...

...if in the middle of your run, you spotted this.


Yup!  That's a small black bear.  This was taken at the recent Ironman Canada.  From the looks of it, it's an older cub, which to me automatically throws up a red flag.


Mama might be very close by!

Do you...
A)  Yell at the bear to get out of the way.  You've trained too long for a furry woodland creature to ruin your PR.
B)  Turn around on the spot and high tail it back the way you came.  
C)  Speed up to try and pet the bear.  It must be good luck on race day to see a bear (says the same person who believes rain on your wedding day is lucky.  Give me a break!!)


While I hope that I'd choose A, I know I'd be just about shitting my shorts at that point.  I'd most likely frantically look into the woods and once past the bear path pick up the pace for the next mile trying my best not to look back. 

What a motivational sighting!!

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Questions
1.  What's the craziest thing you've seen on a race course?
I saw a bull in the middle of an Olympic bike course.  Read about it HERE.

2.  What would make you call it quits on race day?  How high does that bar have to be set?
I think a pack of bears might be it, especially if they start following me and the GU packs aren't enough to slow them down.

3.  Who's signing up for Ironman Canada 2014??
Nature lovers!  Survival of the Fittest will prove you right.


DREAM.  BELIEVE.  ACHIEVE. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The First Ever Trainer Olympics!



That wass the crew!  Three trainers and five clients all huddled together post-workout.  And we...  were...  tired! 

So... A little explanation.  Three of us above are trainers.  Our clients had the idea that we should face off and compete in a workout.  The idea was undoubtedly to see us suffer as much as they feel we make them do.  It really didn't take much convincing.  We are all pretty active, so we loved the idea of getting a big group together to work out. 

It all happened two weekends ago; August 18th.  We met at one of the local tracks to do a modified version of a Crossfit workout, Lorado.

6 Rounds
24 Squats 
24 Hand-Release Pushups
24 Walking Lunges
400m run

For those unaware, hand-release pushups require you to come all the way down onto the ground, take your hands off the ground, and then place them back and push back up. 

Holy cow!!!
That workout was no joke!

I finished in 21:18 and felt sore for a good week afterwards.  On Monday, I felt a little sore.  On Tuesday it hit hard and my shoulders/triceps were inflamed.  I spent the rest of the week on anti-inflammatory meds and running to the freezer for ice packs.  It was not a fun week. 

But anyways, after the workout, we all went to the smoothie shop that one of the clients owns, got our protein smoothies, and hung out.  It was quite a fun afternoon.  

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Questions
1.  What is the longest you've been sore after a workout?

2.  Have you ever seen your trainer / coach in competition?
If not, have you ever wished it?


DREAM.  BELIEVE.  ACHIEVE. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Surprise Packages

Don't you just love surprises?!

I get home last night and there's a package for me.  It's about the size of a bread box and all I can determine is that it came from Seattle.  I rattle my brain...

"What did I order?!"

Nothing!  I've thought about new cycling shoes.  I've looked up a lot of hydration packs.  But I never ordered any of them.

"Who do I know in Seattle?"

Could this be from someone I know?  I don't know anyone in Seattle.  Maybe it was just ordered from Seattle, but it's from someone here.  I have no idea.  This is troubling!!  I eventually put my stuff down and just open the box.






It's a pair of Zoot Ultra TT 6.0 shoes.  But why?!  I never ordered a pair.  I tried them on in Placid, but they didn't have my size.  Even if they did order them without my permission, I never gave them my address.  Hmmmm....  I dig into the box and find the packaging sheet.

"Winner."  There's barely anything on the sheet, but the shoe info.  However, "Winner" is in part of the info.  Did I win these shoes?  Shouldn't I have known they were coming?

Oh!  Wait!  Zoot had one of those 'Comment on our Facebook post' contests recently.  Did I get picked for that?!  ...cool.

Now, with no pre-warning, I am now the proud owner of the Zoot Ultra TT 6.0 shoes.  I now have three pairs of running shoes in rotation.  Haha.

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Questions
1.  Do you like surprises?
I love surprises, but I rarely get super excited about them.  

2.  Do you run in Zoots?  If not, is there a Zoot model you'd like to try out?
These are the shoes I had presumed will replace my beloved Pearl Izumi Streak IIs.  However, PI just announced two new models to their EM line.


 DREAM.  BELIEVE.  ACHIEVE.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hydration Pack Trouble

I'm having trouble. Surprise, surprise!

After an extended comparison of various hydration packs, I believe I've narrowed it down to two options.  




On top is the Camelbak Ultra LR Vest.  The Nathan Vapor Wrap is on the bottom.  

NEEDS
  • Space for storing extra layers.
  • Storage for nutrition (gels, pills, bars, and sandwiches [i.e. something larger])
  • A larg-ER bladder (1.5-2L)
  • One water bottle holder; a second if possible.
  • Easily accessible storage while running (no need to remove pack to get at nutrition).
  • Comfort - easily avoidable chafing.


I believe both of the above packs will meet my needs, but I am concerned about A) the Nathan's side-zippered storage pockets rubbing against my swinging arms and B) the weight of the Camelbak being too low. 

I have a couple other reservations about both - questions I could answer easily if I had access to trying them on.  Unfortunately, there's no where in CT that I can find that carry either pack.  I'd either have to make a trip to Boston or just order them and send one back.  But I'm also looking into other packs by Salomon and other makers.  


Does anyone else have experience with or an opinion about hydration packs in general?  I'm all ears.

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Questions
1.  Have you ever had to order a new piece of gear without having seen or tested it?
It annoys me and gets under my OCD skin!  I'm the type of person who wants to try it out and compare before putting money down.  

2.  Do you have any experience with Hydration Packs?  If so, what do you have?

3.  Any thoughts on what to think about for a 50 mile race and training requirements?
Am I missing anything key that you think I should know about?


DREAM.  BELIEVE.  ACHIEVE. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

RACE REPORT: Lake T Sprint Triathlon #5

I know I've skipped a couple Lake T race reports in here.  I started strong with writing up reports from #1 and #2, but then dropped the ball on #3.  I didn't race #4 due to recovery from Lake Placid, but now I'm back with the last sprint of the season. 


August 15th, 2013

This was by far my favorite sprint of the year for multiple reasons.
  1. Relaxed mentally pre-race
  2. New bike course
  3. Competitive run
  4. Use of mental tactics at the finish
Given that my triathlon season is winding to an end, I have no tri to specifically train for, so I had no reservations about whether I should race or not.  When I showed up to the site, I hadn't completely decided.  It depended on how my knee felt.  I did a quick ride and a short run and felt okay, so hence the report!!  But this really helped give me a relaxed mental state.  I wasn't worrying about taking it easy to leave energy for an upcoming race; aka. I could really GO!  I also wasn't worried about overdoing it because I had been feeling recovered for the most part.  It was just a perfect time of the season to let it all on the line if I felt like it.  Plus, a lot of the fast racers were out due to either Timberman or Mont-Tremblant coming up next weekend.  But don't worry, I still had plenty of competition. 

As we lined up for the start, we all lined up behind Ken, The Shark.  Post-race, come to find out The Shark got beat out of the water.  I blame the fact that this was race #4 within a week for him.  He's crazy.  That's why I like him.  =D

Honestly, the swim felt lack-luster.  I didn't feel as strong or as consistent as I usually do, but I fell in line behind the pack and just held on.  Nothing to really highlight.  It was my worst leg of the day actually, which is odd.  It's usually my strongest. 

As we exited the water, I noticed that we had a water exit timing mat.  Cool!  We had a separate swim and T1 time this week.  And of course I liked that because I can kill it in T1!

SWIM - 9:14
18th / 172

I had chose to swim without my wetsuit.  After having walked into the water, I somewhat regretted that decision, but it turned out fine.  I exited the water, dropped my goggles, put on my glasses and helmet, and was off. 

T1 - 0:23
1st / 172

Booyah!!

And now the most enjoyable part of the whole race!  Thanks to the town of Marlborough, we had to remap the bike course.  Instead of the typical two loop course, we've switched to another three loop course on the other side of the lake.  In my opinion, there are more hills, but they're much more broken up.  I love rolling hills because you can use your momentum to climb the next hill.  And with that, there is never a section where you don't feel like you should be pushing.  So for the entire three loops, I pushed the bike to the limit.  It was tough, but it made for such a fun ride!  Go!, Go!, Go!

I would post the elevation chart, but it is totally misleading!  Trust me, this was a BLAST of a course.

BIKE - 33:52
15th / 172

Once dismounted, we set our bikes back and with my Pearls, a hat, and my handheld, I was off to the run.  And I was ready to really race this course!  It might not have been the most enjoyable section of the race, but this run was the most satisfactory part of the race and one of my more proud moments of this year's season.

As I headed out, I had one Yale racer ahead of me, Roberto, and another right behind, Jon.  Once out on the main road, I saw three more racers a quarter mile ahead.  My mind was made up before I could think about it - "Running is my strength; GET THEM!!!!"  This was going to be a very competitive run!

But not yet!  There's a good sized hill in the first half a mile.  While it does slow me down, I always let my body find a comfortable pace through that first hill.  If I push that hill, the rest of the run is torture.  So I passed Roberto before the hill and then he passed me back on the hill as I shuffled.  Once we crested the hill, I passed him back and started picking people off.  =D

One guy down.  Two more down.  Then I passed Ken, The Shark.  His form looked good, but you could tell (as he told me later), he left everything on the bike course.  I told you!  It was too much fun not to!! 

We passed pleasantries and I picked off another guy in front of him.  At the end of my favorite section (a false flat), Roberto caught back up.  He passed me and I never caught him again but I kept him in view.  We both picked off one more racer who I hadn't remembered seeing before; he must have been ahead of me the whole time.  And then I hit a mental block.  My body wanted to slow, but Jon was keeping pace behind me; if I slowed, he would definitely catch up.  Scott taught me that lesson already!  

I kept a comfortable push and pulled in two women, Julia & Shaina.  It helped to have them to pull in; it kept up my motivation.  I also had guessed that I may even be currently in 3rd place.  I've never stepped on the podium at this race and that was a big mental push.  But it didn't keep Jon at bay.  With half a mile left, I began hearing his feet behind me.  Being so close to the finish and having pulled me in, he had enough motivation to keep a faster pace than I was.  I wasn't going to beat him physically, so I needed to break him mentally.  I needed a plan.  As he pulled up to my side on the final small hill, I made my decision. 

Let him pass me.  He'll mentally feel he won the battle.
I'll keep pace just behind him as quietly as I can.
With 0.1 miles to go, I have to put everything I have into a sprint finish he doesn't see coming.
My only hope is to make him THINK he can't beat me.

I was impressed with his pace up the final hill and then down the back side.  I seriously doubted if I had anything else to put into a sprint, but I had no other choice; he was going to beat me if I just clicked it up a notch or two; I HAD to break away quickly to beat him.  We hit the grass, I put my head down, and red lined for the finish.  I went maybe 10 steps and tilted my head to look back.  He was 5 steps back.  He could still make that up, so I pushed harder.  Another 10 steps and I looked back again.  He was 10 steps back.  I closed my eyes for a second and took in the victory.  I couldn't help but smile as I crossed the finish line.


It worked!!

RUN - 19:42
7th / 172

FINISH - 1:03:11
4th / 172

My best at this race has been 5th.  I was happy to have topped that, but I admit that there are a handful of other athletes I can name that would have beat me if they raced.  But despite that, the race was very memorable for both the enjoyment and the finish!! 

Post-race was a 3 minute grass collapse and then I went for a swim.  The water felt great and despite my tired muscles protesting, I felt much better afterwards.  I chatted with the other racers, helped pack up the race director's gear, and headed home. 

What a way to finish the series!!

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Questions
1.  Have you ever had your regular race courses changed?  If so, was it an improvement or no?
We've had three different bike courses this year and while #2 was worse, this course was by far better!

2.  Have you ever mentally broken another competitor?, or been broken by another?

3.  What has been your favorite race of this season so far?
This was my favorite.

4.  What race are you looking forward to most in the remainder of the season?
I'm really looking forward to the Newport marathon (the second part of the back-to-back marys) and the JFK 50.  Both are just adventure, just-want-to-finish type races. 


DREAM.  BELIEVE.  ACHIEVE. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Food

I know that my Friday recipe posts have been lacking recently.  The whole premise worked long enough for me to find a new set of recipes and then I halted.  Sorry. 

So today I bring you a different type of food post.  I've been holding off on this for a bit while I work through some kinks and think through it all.  To give you a hint, I've recently been reading Skinny Bastard, the men's version of Skinny Bitch.  Not that the book is the sole source pushing me towards this new experiment, but it's one of the final straws in a sense.  I've thought about and considered doing this for quite awhile.  I've just finally decided (for a few reasons) to give it a try. 

I am going to attempt going Vegetarian long-term.

There.  I said it.  And now before any of you think that this might be a bad decision, a difficult transition, or maybe just a futile attempt, I have to admit that this is going to be rather easy for me.  Over the past three years, since I became a triathlete, I've been experimenting and altering my diet based on how I felt, what I liked, what I thought might be better, etc. and at this point, I am two (maybe three) individual food items away from a vegetarian diet. 

Ground Turkey Meat
Fish
Chicken Stock

I eat a turkey burger maybe every other day.  I eat a fish fillet maybe twice a month.  And the chicken stock is a base for my Minestrone Soup.  The last one is easy to switch for vegetable stock; done!  The fish I can do without.  The turkey burger I really do enjoy, so that I might have to find an alternative for.  But otherwise, I'm practically already a vegetarian without even attempting to move in that direction.

Now...  (Get your shouts and sighs ready!)  If the vegetarian thing works out, I would like to attempt going Vegan for one month.  I may stipulate no processed foods as well.  I don't eat the highly processed foods, but it'll take away my canned tomatoes, chocolate milk mix, saltine crackers, etc.  The stipulation will make it difficult, which makes me consider more of a transition phase, but we shall see.  That won't be for awhile.

I am planning to do vegetarian in September.  After that, we'll see where the next transition phase takes me to. 

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Questions
1.  How has your diet changed since you became active?

2.  Have you ever challenged yourself with a diet experiment?

3.  Do you think you could go vegetarian or vegan for a month?


DREAM.  BELIEVE.  ACHIEVE. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

#TriathleteProblems

My feet are HUGE!!

No!  Seriously!  I'm like a hobbit.  It may be an attractive quality for big LOTR fans or those with weird foot fetishes (I still don't get those!), but it certainly does not come in handy in a still blossoming sport that requires footwear.

Fine, I may be exaggerating.  It's more of a question of cause and effect.  Do I have big feet which causes all the cycling shoes to seem small or are all the cycling shoes small which causes me to feel I have huge feet?  In either case, finding cycling shoes that fit and feel comfortable has become an issue.

After my attempts HERE with the Bontrager RXL Hilo and the Pearl Izumi Tri Fly IVs, the shop had me try some road shoes on for size in order to see if another brand might just be better.  The SIDIs didn't work, nor did Shimano.  I finally decided that it'd be best if I ordered a pair of the brand I currently have.  You'd think that'd be my first thought, but no one carries them and Northwave has since redeveloped their tri shoes.  In any case, I ordered two different sizes to make sure I got what I needed.

Well, first I paid extra for shipping to get them before Placid.  They arrived three days after Placid.  GREAT!!  And the company only lays blame to the US Customs (the shoes came from the UK).

I tried them on and while the 44s fit well, they're a little narrower than my older Northwaves.  The 45s will work, but you can tell they're longer than they should be for a good fit.  I can't win!

Then this past weekend a friend clued me into the cycling shoes she's been wearing for 3 years not, Bont Cycling.


This was admidst a Facebook vent about how cycling shoes aren't offered in a wide option.  It turns out, they are!  ...just not as universally as I'd like.  Bont is an Australian company.  It makes sense that I would have to again go international to find what I need.  But they offer 4 triathlon shoes, three of which are offered in wide.


Above is the Sub-10.  This is their entry level triathlon cycling shoe offered in a wide.  The Sub-9 switches from a fiberglass base to a carbon composite.  The Sub-8 then goes to a full carbon base.  The sub-8 also allows you to specify your color of choice (great for those with color matching OCD about their race kits!).

I also found that they have dealers in the US.  There are dealers outside of Boston, in Rhode Island, and down in the NYC area.  The problem is, none of them carry the triathlon line and none of them carry any of the other lines in wide.  G-R-E-A-T!!! 

So now I'm trying to figure out what to do.  I still have the Northwaves; at least one pair I have to ship back to the UK (that'll be cheap, right?).  If I decide to try the Bont, I'll need to order them.  If I order them from a US store, they're non-refundable.  If I order them from Bont and decide to return them, I will have to pay for shipping back to Aussie country. 

#TriathleteProblems

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Questions
1.  Have you ever heard of Bont Cycling?
I had never heard of them before Kelly gave me her raving review.  

2.  How easy would it be for you to purchase clothing online?
I hate purchasing things like clothes online.  I much prefer trying them on before making a purchase.  I'm picky and I know it!

3.  What's the furthest you've gone to find a piece of gear that you wanted?
Boston will be the furthest I've traveled for any item.  Hopefully I won't make a habit of it.


DREAM.  BELIEVE.  ACHIEVE. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Big Decisions

I've been thinking about this decision a lot over the past couple weeks and while I admit I'm not 100%, I am close enough to make a public call.

I'm pulling out of the FIRMman 70.3.

Here was the original schedule for the late Summer and Fall

July 28th - Ironman Lake Placid (A-Race)
August 1st - Lake T Sprint
August 10th - Lake T Olympic
August 15th - Lake T Sprint
September 8th - FIRMman 70.3
September 21st - HITS Hunter Mountain 70.3
September 28th - Hogsback Half Marathon
October 12th - Hartford Marathon (A-Race)
October 13th - Newport Marathon
Novermber 23rd - JFK 50-miler (A-Race)

As of mid-way through Ironman Lake Placid, I had decided it might be smarter to not race FIRMman roughly 5 weeks after IMLP.  My plan was to make that a focus race that I really wanted to do well at, but with recovery needed post-Placid, this wasn't going to leave me much time.  Once I was done with Placid, my mind was made up.  My body needed rest and having a looming race wasn't going to let me rest.

Then I had a great track workout and things changed.  All of a sudden I thought I might be able to bounce back quick enough to race.

And then last week, I talked to a friend who put things in perspective for me.  I had already skipped the Lake T Sprint and had confirmed I was going to volunteer for the Lake T Olympic.  It was obvious I was still recovering.  With the HITS race already labeled as a throw away, if I train for and miss my BQ at Hartford, I would always wonder if I ruined it by racing FIRMman.

He was right!

So while I want to do it all, my inner coach has to acknowledge that I need to pick my battles.  Don't be surprised if you see a post to the contrary in the next few weeks, but as of today this is the plan...

August 15th - Lake T Sprint

September 21st - HITS Hunter Mountain 70.3
September 28th - Hogsback Half Marathon October 12th - Hartford Marathon (A-Race)
October 13th - Newport Marathon
Novermber 23rd - JFK 50-miler (A-Race)
I will continue recovering and when I'm ready, switch to marathon training.  I will maintain a smaller portion of swimming and biking in order to leave HITS as a test race, but my focus for now will be the BQ at Hartford and then increasing my long-run mileage for the JFK ultra.

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Questions
1.  Have you ever had to pull out of a race just because you knew it wouldn't be smart?  (ie. It wasn't because you were going to be out of town or had broken a bone)
I've skipped sprint tris in the past, but this will be the first big race I've pulled out of.

2.  How much of the year do you spend training for A-races?  
I started in January this year and will finish in November.  While I admit I feel the burn out at times, I've found that switching from triathlon training to road race training is better than taking time off.  I just need those endorphins and to get out!  I've been looking forward to ultra training for a couple months now.

3.  What's your next A-race?


DREAM.  BELIEVE.  ACHIEVE.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Cure for "Death Before DNF"

This is by far one of the best bumper stickers I've seen out there.  "Did Not Finish" is not an option for many of us.  We'll stumble, crawl, hobble, and bleed all the way to the finish line if need be.  The medical team may come over and tell us "Your day is done" and we respond reflexively with "Why?"

But I've found a local triathlon series that limits the possibility.

The Lake Terramuggus Triathlon series is the local sprint and olympic triathlon series that I participate in each year and until I volunteered at the Olympic race this past Saturday, I hadn't realized how participant friendly the race is.

In most races, if you don't make a cut-off, your day is done.  At Lake T, the only cut off that will cause you a DNF is the swim, but you get a free swim lesson!  After the swim, the bike has multiple loops, so if you don't make the bike cut-off on the first loop, you are forced to enter T2 and start your run.  Sure, you get cut short, but you at least get the chance to have the full tri experience.

It wasn't until Saturday when I had to tell people they didn't make the bike cut-off that it wasn't that bad.  A participant yelled back at me "But I still have one lap left" and I was able to respond "Enjoy the run!" instead of "Your day is done."  And that felt great!!

I've often thought that the cut-offs at the bigger races are somewhat odd.  If you don't make the bike cut-off, what is it going to hurt to allow them to run and just put their results at the bottom of the results page; it provides a better experience for the athlete and still preserves the competitive nature of the race.

So down with "Death Before DNF!"  Just tell your local race director that you would like to see him/her change the rules a bit.

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Questions
1.  Do you know of any races that offer athletes the chance to continue racing when they've missed a cut-off?  
The Lake T Series is the only one I know of, but I assume others would be local races and not the big name venues.

2.  Have you ever not made a cut-off time?  If so, please share the experience!
Did you take it well, or was it a real downer?


DREAM.  BELIEVE.  ACHIEVE.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Speed before Endurance

That's at least the order that I expect my performance to come back after an A-race.  And this past week, it proved itself again.

After a less than stellar run the previous Sunday, I made the questionable decision to head to the Thursday night Fleet Feet track workout.  I've always loved the group; it helps the motivation, gets me to run faster than I normally would, and gives me some other people to socialize with.  I figured it couldn't hurt to go and maybe just run easy.  Haha.  Like that would happen!


Anyways, I got there and warmed up.  I felt sub-par, but better than Sunday.  Here was the workout...

Active Recovery Ladder
200, 400, 600, 800, 1200m
Active Recovery - 400m

While rested, I can usually click off 1:30 400s without much of an issue.  I figured I'd shoot for that pace and just see how I feel, most likely pulling back at the 800 and 1200m.  It turns out I was more recovered than I thought.

As usual, at the start, a number of people shot out from the gate.  I let them go with a slight laugh; there's no way you all are going to be able to hold that pace up to a 1200m!  I figured a couple may.  I held a pace that felt like a VERY comfortable 200 and was surprised.

200 = 0:40 (1:20 400m pace)

Oops!  I felt comfortable and was nowhere near a labored breathe, so I made an easy recovery lap and decided to see if I could hold the 1:20 pace.

400 Recovery = 1:49
400 = 1:20

That felt like a good pace, but definitely more of a push.  Let's see what 600m feels like.

400 Recovery = 1:52
600 = 1:58 (1:19 400m pace)

Ok!  There's little chance I'm going to hold that for an 800 and not feel drained.  Let's pull back to a 1:30 pace.

400 Recovery = 1:55
400 = 1:27
400 = 1:28

That felt quite comfortable!  At this point I was quite impressed with how well I was running.  My legs felt pressed, but were performing well.  Apparently the week had been good to me.  One more push...

400 Recovery = 1:57
400 = 1:33
400 = 1:33
400 = 1:29

I HATE ladder workouts.  Pyramids too!  But while I didn't like this workout, it turned out to be great.  I still went out a little faster than I had planned, but I felt great and did much better than expected.

Speed - CHECK!

Next up, get my endurance back. 

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Questions
1.  What do you find comes first, speed or endurance?
When worked on equally, I always find speed comes first.

2.  When was the last time you were pleasantly surprised by a workout?  Do share!

3.  Do you partake in group workouts? 


DREAM.  BELIEVE.  ACHIEVE. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

A LOOK BACK: July 2013

Total Swum:  19,292 Yards (11.0 Miles)
Total Biked:  348.3 Miles  (This should have been 450+)
Total Run:  75.3 Miles (This should have been around 100+)
Total Strength:  6 Workouts
Total Yoga:  1 Sessions

Greatest weekly swim mileage:  7216 Yards (4.1 Miles)
Greatest weekly bike mileage:  131.5 Miles
Greatest weekly run mileage:   29.35 Miles
Greatest weekly no. of strength training sessions:  3 Workouts

Average bed time:  10:31 pm
Average time to get up:  5:41 am
Average amount of sleep:  7:13 am (I'm up 9 minutes from last month, but that's not enough!)
Average RHR:  50.9 bpm (I'm up 0.8 bpm from last month and this should be around 45)

Monthly Goal - None
No monthly goal this time.  I need to change this pattern.  This is three months in a row without a goal. 

2013 Racing Resolutions

  1. Race 12 races throughout the year - 13 races completed!
  2. Break my 5k PR (currently 19:30 from 2010) - Completed! 17:37 at the Sandy Hook 5k!
  3. Run my 3rd Half Marathon - Completed Colchester Half Marathon
  4. Run my 2nd Marathon (for time) - Completed Hyannis Marathon in 3:18:17
  5. Run back-to-back marathons - Hartford & Newport in October
  6. Race an ultramarathon
    1. Run a 50k - WMAC Fatass 50k in December
    2. Run a 50 miler - JFK 50 in November
  7. Break my Lake T Sprint PR (58:06) - 57:56 on June 20th
  8. Race an Olympic Tri - Litchfield Hills Oly in July
  9. Race Two Half Irons - Raced Rev3 Quassy & HITS North County in June.  HITS Hunter Mountain is in September.
  10. Race an Ironman - IM Lake Placid in July
  11. Race a new event (i.e. Spartan Race)
2013 Training Resolutions
  1. Ride a double century (200 miles) - This will have to be a post-Ironman ride.  
  2. Once started, maintain at least one swim, one bike, and one run each week - I've done well this month!!
  3. Maintain strength training sessions throughout the year - I've slipped on this one! 
  4. Make use of group training sessions - I went on a ride with a buddy this month and to track practice. 
  5. Do not ignore recovery - I'm in the midst of it as I type!
  6. Maintain data log - Success!
2013 Personal Resolutions
  1. Do 12 things that scare me throughout the year - Still only one down!
    1. #1 - went on my first date in three years (don't expect a blog entry about this one)
    • I am taking any suggestions!!
  2. Obtain a 2nd coaching position - I am currently coaching/training 4 clients, running two studio classes / week, and have a fall/winter training program started with 4 people signed up so far!
  3. Make time to visit my sister in PA.  This one's looking harder every month.
  4. Compile and keep a list of recipes / meal ideas - The Recipe Book tab is underway!  I'm trying to post a new recipe on Fridays.  I've slacked this month. 
  5. Continue eating healthy - Success except from this post-Ironman week. 
  6. Continue cooking from home - Success!
  7. Continue personal reading - Currently reading Joe Friel's 'The Triathlete's Bible' and Skinny Bastard.
  8. Put 10% 25% of my income into savings! - I changed my goal from 10 to 25% last month.  July I knew was going to be tough with Placid.  So...  July saw a total of -6.8% savings; ouch!!  That brings me down to 27.7% savings for the year.  With more race registrations to purchase in August, I'll do my best to make some of this up. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Questions
1.  How was your July?



Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

RACE REPORT: Ironman Lake Placid


Here it is!  My unabridged report from the 15th annual Ironman Lake Placid.


PRE-RACE

In July 2012, I drove up and volunteered for Ironman Lake Placid in order to sleep outside the high school and be roughly the 20th person signed up for the 15th reversion of this crazy event.  From there, I'd go ahead and detail my training, but I doubt you want to hear much about that.  Here's the brief run down...

I swam.
I biked.
I ran.

That about covers most of it.  Prior to all the training, I also put in my time off request at work.  This was going to be my 2013 summer vacation which, come to find out, seems crazy for non-triathlete people.  Who makes a vacation out of a race which restricts the food you can eat, dictates the time you go to bed, and will leave you in need of a "normal" vacation when you return home??

Triathletes!

So...  Onto the week of the race.

THURSDAY

I drove up to Lake Placid on Thursday before the race.  It was fun driving up 87N from Albany, NY as I saw cars drive by with bikes strapped to them.  I have to admit that was my first instance of getting excited about the race and my vacation.



Once I got to town, I checked in to the hotel, ate some food (food I packed and brought with of course), went down to athlete check-in, and got my packet and swag.


I dropped my materials off in the room and geared up!  I went out for a brick; a 12 mile ride and a 2 mile run.  I felt GREAT!!  Once cleaned up, I headed out to dinner with Lisa, a fellow HEAT member who had come up the night before.  We went to a more expensive type steak & seafood place and I must admit that it was the most bland chicken parmesan I've ever had.  Haha.  Oh-well.  Back to the hotel and off to sleep!!

FRIDAY

I woke up early having decided to be in the water at the same time we would be on Sunday, 6:30am.  And just LOOK at the fog I was greeted by!



Oh!  And it was 38 degrees.  Ffffuuuuuuuuuckk!!  It was cold enough that I debated wearing my wetsuit just to drive the 1.5 miles to the swim site.  I didn't.  But when I did get there at 6:!5am, the beach was pretty empty.  There were maybe 8 people getting suited up.




Once in the water, though, it was P-E-R-F-E-C-T!!  The water was 72 degrees.  I swam a full loop, hopped out, dried off, and wrapped myself in sweats as quickly as possible.  The masses had started to arrive by the time I got back.



After a second breakfast, I headed out on a mission to find some extra Clif gels and a solution to the possibility of race day rain.  It turns out my preferred gels don't sell well which is why no one carries them.  After searching the expo, bike gear station, and local running store, I finally bought a pair of Zensah arm sleeves and my backup GU Mint Chocolate.  My nerves about the impending weather had started to calm.  Then a last thought stop in EMS caused me to semi-scream "woohoo" in the middle of the store when I found my Clif Vanilla gels.

Then it was time for some food.  I had looked this place up before coming to town; The Good Bite, a vegetarian restaurant with a menu that changes daily.  If you're ever in Lake Placid, check them out!  It's not only great tasting food, but it's healthy!!


And then it was back to the hotel 'cause guess who strolled into town?!  ...my DAD!!  And I have to say, as much as I was excited to be in Lake Placid, to try my hand at my second Ironman, to see so many friends and fellow triathletes out on the course and have some time off of work, it was all trumped by being able to spend time with my dad.  Living 8 hours away doesn't offer us much time to visit; maybe 2 or 3 times a year.  This was his first chance to see me race since my years as a high school swimmer and I wouldn't have traded it for anything!

Love you Dad!!

Not to downplay my mother and step-father who arrived Saturday, but they live a lot closer and they got to see Ironman 70.3 Providence.

Anyways...  back to the race!  Dad showed up, we went and got a quick bite back at The Good Bite (yes, I really love that place), and spent some time walking around the expo and transition area.  Next up was the Athlete Welcome Dinner and Athlete Meeting.


Dinner was okay - Ironman did MUCH better with 70.3 Las Vegas - but the pre-meeting festivities were great!  Then off to bed early again.

SATURDAY

I was up and out by 7:15am.  Having feared the impending cold weather of Sunday, I decided to see how the Zensah sleeves would work.  Thankfully it was not 38 degrees.  It was a heated 42 degrees!  My sherpa (dad) stood by the car with my bike while I headed into the water for a 10 minute swim, hopped on the bike for 15 minutes, and then slipped into my run shoes for 10 minutes.  I was feeling nice and relaxed.  It was time for some pancakes!!

Every year, the North Country Ministries offers a free pancake breakfast.  They were awesome!!


Eight pancakes later, we were on our way to the bike shop.  Breaking the Golden Rule of racing once with the Zensah arm sleeves wasn't enough.  Oh, and I already had a new pair of socks ready for the run.  But onto number three, a new bike computer.

Golden Rule Breakages
1.  Running Socks
2.  Zensah Arm Sleeves 
3.  Bike Computer
4.  HEED on the run course

With the new computer, I went back, packed my bags, headed to transition, dropped off my gear, and then headed back to the hotel.


They even took pictures of the bikes as you entered transition (top left)! 


Finally, it was time to just lay down and relax.  As I said above, my mother and step father arrived later Saturday afternoon and came by to say hi.  We hashed out where to be or not be on race day, when I expected to come by, and then it was time for bed.

SUNDAY

I woke up at 3:45am planning to be down to transition around 5am.  Turns out I got ready quicker than I thought and was at transition by 4:30am, just as they opened.  I did the usual;  body marking, bike set up, sun tan lotion, dropped of my special needs bags, and hung around just waiting while I thought "Why do I get up so early for these things when I always have so much free time?"

Around 6:10, I headed to the water and got into my wetsuit.


At 6:15, I got into the water and did a short warm up.  With five minutes to game time, I got out and seeded myself with the front "60 Minutes And Under" group, standing just behind a couple guys from my tri group.  As much as I had ahead of me, I found myself prepped and at the start line without a single butterfly in my stomach.  I was ready.

SWIM

As you may recall, Ironman started the Swim Smart Initiative this year and instead of the 14 previous full mass starts, the 15th Ironman Lake Placid went off with a rolling start.  While the pros had an in water mass start - one for men and one for women - the age groupers started on the beach.  The cannon went off and we were through the arch and in the water within three seconds.

Unfortunately, I don't have experience with an Ironman mass start, but I can imagine that it is quite hectic.  As we made our way down the rectangular swim course, there was some basic jockeying for position, but all of the swimmers around me seemed quite comfortable with it.  Any non-swimmer would obviously be further back in the mass and out of our way for the first lap.

From talking to athletes, the consensus was that it would be a constant battle if you attempted to follow the under water tow line.  A lot of athletes would be pushing to get to the line, so the suggestion was to swim outside of the line to be clear of the chaos.  However, after swimming wide, I got pushed closer and closer to the buoys.  Finally, I stopped getting pushed, could swim straight and still draft.  Guess where I was!  I was right on top of the tow line and I followed it all the way to the turn around.

Half of Lap No.1 - 14:01

On the way back, I swam wide for 2-3 buoys and then found myself back on top of the tow line.  At this point I had started mentally losing focus and the tow line offered a way to keep from getting bogged down on keeping track of my progress to the next buoy.  This way, I just kept breathing without sighting and the buoys went by a lot faster or so it seemed.  I made my way around the dock, swam to shore, swam around people walking waist deep in the water (WHY DO YOU PEOPLE DO THAT?!?!), popped up, and was in one arch and out the other in a few seconds.

Lap No.1 - 29:40 (15:39)

I do wish I had video of my dive into the water on the second lap.  It would make for a great Funniest Home Triathlete Video.  Some mix of the down, up, down, the rocks in the sand, and such made it more of a flop than a dive.  Haha.  I quickly emptied some water from my goggles and started swimming again.  I found myself on the tow line again and right next to a female in a black/pink wetsuit that I had been right next to for the back half of the first lap.

Half of Lap No. 2 - 45:00 (15:20)

The whole second lap was less congested altogether, but began mixing the slower and faster swimmers.  While the pros were allowed to swim on the inside of the buoys for the second loop, the faster age group swimmers began to swim up to, into, over top of, and around the slowest swimmers who were still on their first lap.

There's a video that a friend of mine made that shows the final age group swimmers entering the water at roughly 22:30 and Andy Potts comes out of lap no.1 at just before 23:00.  The first lap worked beautifully for the faster half of the swim group, but the second lap needs some work.

I started swimming into a lot of slower swimmers on the way back on the second lap.  Mentally, I was happy to be on the final leg of the swim and that helped keep me on pace without getting bored.  I had to swim around at least ten groups of slow swimmers and unfortunately swam partially over a few of them though I tried my best to go around them.  As I sighted the final turn buoy at the dock, I was thrilled to soon be on the bike.  The swim doesn't offer much boost from spectators since all you hear is the water and your own thoughts.

I, again, swam around people walking through the deeper water, started brushing elbows on the sand, popped up, and was through the arch!

Swim - 1:01:25 (16:25)
Currently 145th of 2537
13th of 117 in M25-29 



TRANSITION NO.1

Having made a goal of a comfortable 1:00 swim, I was happy to see I had stuck pretty close to that; I was on track for the day.

I'm always very comfortable with my transitions.  However, as I ran from the water to the wetsuit strippers, I was having trouble getting the top of my wetsuit off; that's never happened.  I had a moment of mental hesitation until the strippers got to work.  I ran through most of the crowd as the first half was packed with swimmers.  I ran through, locked eyes with a guy at the end, he pointed to me, and as I stood there, he took ahold of my top, pulled it off and ripped the bottom off in one strong pull.  He was good!!

I jumped up, grabbed the wetsuit, and ran the 1/8 mile down to the Olympic oval.  As I ran, I took a mental note of how the air felt.  I knew the temp was around 62 at the start (according to the prediction on TWC at 4am that morning) and this was my last chance to make a decision on the arm sleeves.  Should I put them on and risk overheating or go without and risk being cold for maybe the first half a lap?  I cursed at myself and thought "I may regret this, but I'm not cold now."  I decided to forego this break of the Golden Rule.  Once down to the Oval, I grabbed my bag, made my way to the changing tent, and as I sat down, a guy came up and asked if I wanted help.  All I could get out while I dug into the bag was "Sure!"

While I transitioned, I heard "Hey Kurt!"  I looked behind me and it was Jeff, a fellow member of HEAT who had started just ahead of me on the swim.  I had not planned on seeing him until the run, but I was glad to have crossed paths.  Jeff made his 9th return to Ironman Lake Placid this year after taking a year for an ankle injury and was just back to enjoy the day.  He's an awesome athlete and I very much look up to him for advice given his depth of experience (I believe this was Ironman #17 or more for him).  

Back to the action!  I dug into the bag and pulled things out while the volunteer separated the gear; my goggles, cap, suit to one side, and made an orderly line of my bike gear.  I told him to grab my Aquaphor and salt pills.  I put on my helmet and glasses, grabbed the shoes, and then took the gear from him.  I started to pack and he just yelled "Go, go, go!!"  The volunteers were awesome.  They packed all my gear back into the bag and let me go race.  I loved it!

Most athletes took the time to put on their cycling shoes in T1 and then ran through the soggy grass to their bike in those shoes.  I, instead, ran barefoot on the grass, took 10 seconds to clip my shoes into my bike, and was able to flying mount the bike.  I ran with the bike to the mount line and then literally ran into my main pet peeve.

** I will say my apologies now to anyone who finds the following mentality too competitive, rude, short sighted or anything of the kind.  I simply feel that the sport has not come to a conclusion on how to handle this point of the race.  I do not regret what I did, but I apologize for any affect it has/had/will have on your day **

As I approached the mount line, there were a few people standing on the line mounting their bikes.  There were also two people ahead of me running who took up the rest of the narrow mount line.  As I ran, I yelled "Move!  Move!  Move!"  The athletes didn't move and even the volunteers yelled "Careful!  Slow down!" at me as I picked up my bike and ran over the other mounting athletes.  I'm pretty sure I knocked one athlete, but I feel no regret (Knocked, not knocked over.  I'm not THAT mean).  If you can't handle a mount line properly with 2500+ athletes, then something is bound to happen.

They even got a good picture of me at the mount line.

 Yeah, get out of my way!  I have no regrets about running you over if you start your bike with an unpunished blocking violation.  On the road you know to ride right and pass left.  That rule should begin as soon as you touch your bike!!

Transition No.1 - 4:04

BIKE

Ok!  My reign of terror is over, right?  Haha.  Not quite.  I managed to frustrate a few other volunteers even before mile 1 of the bike.

Let me first tell you that the first half mile of the Lake Placid bike course is quite technical.  It's all downhill.  You mount at the very top, go 50 yards and take a nearly 180 degree left turn, ride another 75 yards, make a 90-degree right turn, ride a quarter mile with a steep drop off at the end, make a 60 degree left turn, and finally then make a final 30 degree right turn onto the main road.  If you're going too fast or even semi-fast and the road is wet, this section can get dangerous.

As you read above, I blew through/over the mount line.  After that, I did a flying mount, got my feet on top of my shoes and approached the 180-degree turn.  In the crowd straight ahead was JD, a rather speedy HEAT member cheering us on.  I made the turn slowly and having ridden this part of the course before, pushed a couple hard turns of the pedals down towards the next turn.  I don't know if it's lucky or unlucky, but my dad was at this corner and got a video of me riding through.  Enjoy...

video

As you can see, those turns are not non-cyclist friendly, but despite the two volunteers motioning for me to slow down, my dad yelling (which I hadn't heard at the time), and the post-turn commentary you can hear...

"You saw that guy coming!"
"Yeah.  He was..."

...I and the rest of the athletes made it through the turn without incident and I bombed the straight away.  Once out on the main road, I slipped my shoes on, strapped in, and mentally prepped myself for a rather long day in the saddle.

The bike course - if you aren't aware - is two loops.

8 miles - rolling uphill
7 miles - fast descent
24 miles - flat/rolling
17 miles - rolling uphill
** And Repeat **

My goal was to finish just under 6 hours and that required me to not over do it on the first lap; hopefully just over 3 hours on the first loop and just under on the second.  Not to ruin the suspense, but I didn't quite achieve either goal.  I took the first 8 miles easy, not doing more than I needed to to make steady progress up the hills.  I chatted with a few people to keep my mind occupied and distracted.  I even found a fellow blogger, Marni!  That was definitely one of the coolest parts of the bike.  The other would be at the bottom of the hill.

There was a small amount of rain during the first half hour of the bike which left the roads wet and made the 7 mile downhill a bit treacherous, but I still managed to hit some 44.x mph and cruise well ahead of those who caught me on the uphill.  Then came the flats!

This whole section was a lesson I learned on my second lap that I need some form of a number
(power, watts, etc.) to keep myself in check.  But despite the over zealous push, I got to have some fun.  During the athlete meeting, Mike Reilly told the fast swimmers to be careful of catching up to the pro women on the bike; that they have different rules than we do and just to be aware of that; don't mess with them.  I never figured I'd have to deal with that, but about 10 miles into the flat section, I found myself playing leap frog with two professional women, Kelly Fillnow and Molly Roohi.  That was really cool.  If only that would have fit into my 'not pushing the first lap' plan!

Once we made the turn after the first out-and-back, we started the uphill.  As planned, I took it easy.  I never pushed the uphill.  I only stood up for a total of 15 seconds just to help relax my quads a few times.  This back section of the bike course is hazy in my mind.  Nothing went horribly, but it also wasn't a highlight.  I'm not quite a fan of this section, so I just kept my head down and did my best not to overdo myself.  Before I knew it, Mama, Baby, and Papa Bear (the last three hills of the course) were in front of me and I was excited.  I even got some yells from JD who had ridden his bike over to this section.  I love the HEAT group!!

There are a lot of people lined up at the top of Papa Bear helping athletes make that last climb.  It was pretty cool to see so many faces and hear so much cheering.  I made a steady climb, made my way back into town, and then stopped at special needs.  And guess who comes up with my bag, Patty!!, another HEAT friend.  I admit that I was so into the race that I didn't really say much, but if you're reading this Patty, I was very happy to see you!

I grabbed a few gels, switched my empty bottle of Perpetum for a fresh, and was off!  The guy holding my bag even gave me a push which was really helpful because special needs was on a slight incline.  I pumped a few turns, made my way up to the top of the road where you make the turn down to the Hot Corner.  And again, amidst my focus, the noise, and the distraction of being back in town, I missed my Dad's yells.  But he did get me on video.

video

And just to add to the streak - and not be biased - I completely missed my Mother at the Hot Corner.  Sorry guys!!


But then in complete bias, as I rounded the Hot Corner, I did hear Roger, yet another member of HEAT and a Wattie Ink racer yelling and then running with me up the hill to the high school.  If only that could have happened all over the course, I might have felt enough energy to surge on.  Oh-well, back out for another 56 miles.

Bike Loop No.1 - 2:53:03

Even before looking at my watch, I knew I had out ridden myself.  A 2:53 would have been great if I hadn't felt slightly drained already.  But whatcha' gonna' do?!

SIDE NOTE:
According to MapMyRide, one loop of the IMLP bike course has the same elevation gain as the Rev3 Quassy bike course.  At Quassy (granted it was much hotter), I biked a 2:51, which means I was only a rough 2 minutes slower.  Given that with the weather I might ride better, but that I swam twice as far and should have been backing off the pace, my first lap was well outside of where I should have been, but also quite comparable to my effort at Quassy. 


The second loop was only different in a few ways...

  • I had less energy and could see that my speeds were decreasing at times.
  • There were less people passing me.  I did very little passing at all, but there were just less people in general making it a more mental ride.
  • No professionals anywhere!
  • The rain had stopped long enough to allow the 7 mile decent to dry up.  I upped my max speed to 46.6 mph.
  • The chafing in my...  well, saddle area had continued to worsen.  I must have reapplied cream 10 times throughout the two loops.  I will not be doing another Ironman with this pair of shorts.  =\
  • I started taking Coke with 17 miles to go (a trick I tried at IMLP camp).
  • Somewhere in the hills I started seriously doubting my ability to do a marathon.  I was fighting the idea to just lay down on the grass in transition and rest for awhile before starting the run.


That about sums up the second loop.  I was so happy to make the turn into the Hot Corner, I came up off my handlebars and put my hands on my helmet for 10 seconds taking in the moment of rest before charging up the hill.  I undid my shoes, slipped my feet out, and rode to the dismount line amidst volunteers yelling "Slow Down!  Slow Down!"  I think at this point, I just learned to quietly ignore their caution.  If there was a giant puddle or a wiped out racer, sure!  But there wasn't anyone in front of me.  I dismounted and handed off my bike, happy to be done with that torturous leg.

Bike Loop No.2 - 3:11:14

Yeaaaahhh... Not the ideal split; 18 minutes slower than the first loop.  Live and learn!

Bike - 6:04:17
Currently 357th of 2537
27th of 117 in M25-29

TRANSITION NO.2

After handing off my bag, I ran along the concrete which felt HORRIBLE on my feet; they really should have gotten some more carpets!!  The whole time, volunteers are yelling "Take your helmet off and cool off."  I'm sorry, but that'll just give me one more thing to hang onto.  I'm going to keep it on my head thank you.  And it had only gotten up to maybe 72 as a high.  We had lucked out BIG TIME on weather!

I made it onto some grass - AAAAaaaahhhhh - grab my bag, get into the changing tent and dump all the contents onto the floor in front of a volunteer.  I unclipped my helmet, set it on the ground, toss my glasses into it, wipe my feet on my towel and get my shoes on.  The volunteer unclipped my race belt and laid it out for me while I grabbed my hat and handheld bottle.  With a quick look, I had it all and took off.  Thank you again to the volunteer who packed it all back together!!

Before crossing the Run Out arch, I stopped and filled my handheld with water.  I had strawberry HEED powder in there.  If I had only not stopped to do that, I could boast that I beat Andy Potts in T2, but no one told me how close I was; 8 seconds!  Next time I'll be prepared!

Transition No.2 - 2:38

RUN

The overarching lesson for my run is this...

Your day can turn from good to bad and bad to good at any moment.
You simply have to be determined enough to stick with it no matter what.


I'll remind you that on the second bike loop, I seriously doubted my run.  I honestly day dreamed about lying down on the grass in the T2 tent to rest.  You should know that my competitive nature would never actually allow that, but a part of me wanted to very badly.  But despite all that, I headed into the run with a bad mental attitude based on how I was physically feeling.


At 3 miles, I was average a 7:30 pace.

WHAT?!  Right out of the gate, there is a downhill out of town and it's lined with people!  It felt nothing short of amazing to be on my feet and running.  I had no idea where this all came from but I felt... fresh.  I felt quite free, relaxed, and very much in control.  JD was out in the middle of the street cheering me on and warning me "Slow Down!" to which I did my best to heed as I left town.  JD is a very accomplished and very helpful racer and I would be quite ignorant to not heed his warning (he crushed this course last year when I volunteered).


Things had gone from Bad to Great!

In the first 3 miles, a friend of a friend found me.  Ernesto is a friend of a member at the gym and we had inadvertently raced each other at Quassy; I had won that battle.  He saw my kit and recognized me.  We exchanged "hi"s and chatted briefly before I headed on ahead.  I was happy he found me and secretly happy to pass him.  But don't worry, he kicked my A$$ before the day was through! 

I passed through Aid Station No.1, 2, and 3; I had my HEED in hand and didn't need anything else at the moment.  Coming up on Aid Station No.4, I was trying to balance pulling back on the pace and running comfortably.  As I've mentioned in the past, running much slower than my normal pace begins to feel like it takes extra effort and I didn't want to waste that.

With the knowledge that for some unknown reason gels had not been working well for me recently in triathlon runs, I stopped and to the best of my memory, I grabbed a single Coke. 

Now things turned from Great to Not-so-great.

For the next roughly 16 miles, not a single thing I took in would stay down.  I threw up constantly.  It didn't matter what it was - Coke, water, pretzels, grapes, ice... everything came right back up.  And if you haven’t experienced a salt pill coming back up, that is something I will never wish upon you.  MAN is that horrible!

As I tried to control my stomach, I slowed my pace.  A slow run turned into a walk / run.  A walk / run turned into a walk.  And things just kept looking worse.

On the out-and-back, I started seeing friends.  Ahead of me was Chris, a very speedy swimmer.  My hope was to catch and pass him on the run, but at that point I started questioning the probability of that.  I hit the turn around and headed back towards town.  On my way, I passed Jeff (the guy I passed in T1), David, Eric, and a couple other people I didn’t recognize but were wearing Newington jerseys.  Oh!, and there was a Cyclonaut athlete (they’re from the Springfield, MA area) who yelled "Go Kurt!" at me a few times.  I never did figure out who he was, but it was cool to have fans. 

14:00 pace!! 

Things had officially turned from Bad to Worse.

Despite the drop in time, my stomach never bothered me.  Sure, I was throwing up half a dozen times per mile, but it wasn’t upset.  I also had a few people cheering things like “You’ve got this!” and “You’ll get there!”  I never doubted my ability to GET TO the finish line; if I had to walk the marathon, I would.  I just doubted how soon it would be. 

On my way back into town, Kelly caught me in all my glory!


You should know that I ran that hill on my second lap.  Really!  I did!  And I was excited to surprise Kelly with my comeback, but she was nowhere to be found.  You’ll just have to take my word for it.  Billy & Justin may be able to vouch for me though.  I’ll get to that! 

Well before making it back into town, I had found that I could run from one telephone pole to the next and walk to the following.  If I ran much further than that, I would throw up and I wanted to try and keep something down because I was feeling my energy start to drop off.  I was walking further and further, so I needed a way to limit my walk breaks but keep from pushing myself to the point of puking.

The second loop didn't change for quite awhile.  I was around mile 19 when David caught up to me.  We chatted for a bit and he took off.  After going through an aid station, I started running again and caught him on a walk break.  He took off again and around the next corner was a big hill.  When I got to the bottom of the hill, I saw David walking and decided to try and run to him.  When I made it to him and still felt good, I pushed on a little further.  I walked for a short time and then started running again, leaving him behind me this time.  I realized that my stomach was doing better and I pushed it!
I dropped from a 14:02 mile to an 8:09 and felt great!  Having spent all those miles being passed, it was quite easy now to pass others while running at a 7:30 or less pace and then walking every so often. 

As I said before, I ran up the Main St. hill and when I stopped to walk for 30 seconds, Billy and Justin caught me.  Billy told me "You told me to yell at you, so this is me yelling at you!"  That did the trick!  He started jogging and I sprinted ahead of him.  I was low on energy, but my body felt great.  All I had left was 2 miles.  I breezed through and made the joyful RIGHT turn towards the finish instead of the LEFT for another lap.  

Then my dream got crushed!

Running down Mirror Lake Drive, I could hear the distance voice of Mike Reilly announcing people's names.  But as I entered the oval, I heard a distinctly different voice.  You're kidding me!!  I must admit that it took a few days for me to get over having missed the opportunity to hear (and get a recording of) Mike's voice as I crossed that finish line, but I've resigned myself to doing another Ironman 140.6 to get it. 


video

Run - 4:40:29
(10:42 pace)

Finish - 11:52:53
Currently 581st of 2537
42th of 117 in M25-29


So that's it!  Seven months of training culminating in a great swim, an okay bike, and a run tortured by an unruly stomach.  But despite my highly competitive nature and the millions of ways I will analyze my performance over the next few months, one way or another, I am now a two-time Ironman and you can't take that away from me!

I am a two-time Ironman.
And you can't take that away from me. 



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Questions
1.  How do you deal with race plans that are forced to change mid-race?

2.  Have you ever been both disappointed AND proud about a race finish at the same time?
I am very proud that I finished, that I pushed through the run, that I overcame my lack of energy on the bike, etc., but I am also disappointed that I knew I was going too fast on the first bike loop and didn't alter pace and that I broke down on the run.  I'm still chasing the Iron race that I know I have in me and it's tough knowing that I only get one chance each year at it (my personal restriction).

3.  Have you ever done a race and known as soon as you finish that you won't do it again?
I loved the Lake Placid area, but the course is certainly not my forte.  I did not sign up for next year.  Instead, I'll look at others to find where I'll do my 140.6 for 2014.


Dream.  Believe.  Achieve.