Monday, July 31, 2006

Ironman Race Report - Pre-Race (Wednesday)

I started writing a journal of my Ironman week and found myself getting quite details in my writing. I was trying to figure out what I should or shouldn't write on my blog. I usually like to write short, concise posts but that wouldn't do Ironman USA justice. So I'll try to do something inbetween that won't bore you with my ramblings yet express the shear beauty of the land, excitement of Ironman and struggle to compete. So I present to you my first installment for Ironman USA.

Aimee and I left for Lake Placid on the Wednesday before the race. Aimee's dad would be following us out there since we didn't have room in out car with all of our gear; two bikes, extra set of wheels, helmets, shoes, food, clothes, bike workstand, pump, folding chairs, laptop, camera, etc. The advantage of being able to drive to the race was not worrying about overpacking. We could pack almost anything we wanted.

The drive was mapped out and forecasted to be 9:15 in duration according to GoogleMaps. Of course we had several stops for eating, gas, stretching, etc. We actually made the trip in about 10 hours. The drive was fairly uneventful along the New York Thruway passing such great cities as Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester and Watertown. On the thruway we saw alot of BMW motorcycles. At a service plaza we asked one rider where he was headed. He said there was a rally in Burlington, Vermont. He had be on the road for 48 hours having come from Dallas, TX. Now we understood seeing all of the motorcycles. We even saw a family of four with a side car for the kids and trailer in tow.

Actually Watertown is where we left the main highways and made the final push to Lake Placid. Aimee switched over to her dad's car and drove with him for the rest of the trip. This was actually nice because I liked having the time alone with my thoughts on Ironman, listening to my MP3 player with my Ironman playlist and enjoying the scenery.

The majority of the drive is in the Adirondak National Park. No cellular service, very few buildings, small towns, etc. I managed to get a couple of pictures while driving but of course seeing it first hand is the way to go.

We passed through Tupper Lake, home of the Tinman Half Iron distance tri and also Saranac Lake.

As we got closer to Lake Placid I finally saw the first indication of Ironman.....yup that sign is up there for me.

Pulling into Lake Placid from the west I missed the street we were staying on since the city had renamed their streets and not put up all of the signage. So we wound up driving down main street and circling back around to our street. We finally found the townhouse I rented. I liked the location of the townhouse. Nestled back from the main road in a clearing. After talking with the rental agent I learned that we were in the only unit that they rent and she didn't know if any of the other units were available for rent. It was a nice 8 unit condo association. I never saw another tri bike or any other evidence of Ironman USA. I was close enough to town, but just on the fringe to stay away from too much hype. I could stay calm and focused as I prepared for the big day.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Don't sacrifice your gift

And boy did it ever count this year. When I decided to do Ironman USA I was drawn to the Janus Charity Challenge. I had wanted to do Team in Training but the schedules never worked out. But TriSaraTops did manage to link up with TNT for her Ironman, check her out.

Regardless I had several friends who would inspire me to raise money as part of JCC. I chose the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation as my charity. I initially set a goal of $5,000 to be raised by race day. As my training and fund raising efforts progressed I watched the dollar amount climb closer and closer to my goal.

At the same time I was receiving names of people who were battling cancer, had battled and beaten cancer, or had fought cancer only to succumb at the end. Each name was carried with me in my heart. I especially carried the two names (Tina Hoban and Chris Armstrong) that started my efforts under the brim of my running hat. I placed them so I could read their names whenever I looked up. During the second half of my marathon I needed the strength and energy to continue.

As my fund raising came to a close I had a final total of $6,155. Janus Investments also contributes to the various charities based upon the final totals. I fell in a group of 25 JCC Athletes that would receive an additional $750 for their charity. That would bring my grand total for the Komen Foundation to $6,905. I am so thrilled to have exceeded my original goal.

Two other benefits of being a JCC athlete. My low bib number, 71, was secured thru JCC. Each JCC athlete had a low number that also had a different color background. That was awesome.

I also received a tri top. It's a cool top and I love the saying on it......Men of Iron, Hearts of Gold. I rode this morning with my new top that I'm proud to be wearing.

One of my most favorite quotes is from Steve Prefontaine.....

"To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift."

I gave my best this year to Ironman and Komen. What a wonderful gift it has been to give and receive.

Find your gift and give your best to share it.

Peace and love to all my friends out there.

P.S. I'll start posting my race report tomorrow. Thanks for waiting patiently.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Proof Positive

Here is a teaser photo of my Ironman Swag. Life is interupting my opportunity to post my race report. I don't like leaving you hanging but I'll get there. You can also check out my finishing video on Go to my results, bid number 71, and click on the Watch Me Finish. I'll be in the Orange/Blue jersey, my race number torn and hanging on by one hole.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Yes....I am an Ironman

I just wanted to get a quick post up to say I survived and thanks for all of the well wishes pre-race, good vibes during the race and congratulations post-race.

Needless to say I am very happy with my final results. I've started writing my race journal and will get it typed up and start posting to the blog-o-sphere.

Right now it's time to sit back, relax, and think about what I have done.

Once again, thanks to everyone for all of your support during my IM journey.

More to come soon.

I got my Game On, get yours on too.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Feel the Love

Since the beginning of the month I've seen more of my friends than ever before. Tapering allows you to do things that you have been missing out on. Everyone has been wishing me good luck, accomplished Ironmen have been offering small tidbits of advice, friends and co-workers have been asking about Ironman, and these same people continue to donate to my charity, I'm over $5,000 now.

And my bloggiest friends have been keeping me stoked about my big day.

Cliff figured out that my magic number is my bib number, 71.

TriSaraTops had an awesome day at Musselman Tri.

Aimee and I will be leaving for Lake Placid soon. I will have spotty access to the internet at Placid. For now I leave you with a little bit of love myself...... I Feel Love.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

What's the Magic Number?


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Weapons of Choice

I finally have my arsenal complete for IM USA, these are my Weapons of Choice.

On the swim I will be wearing my trusty QR wetsuit.

Sleeveless for good arm movement and enough bouyancy to help give me that extra little edge. Last night I did an open water swim in Lake Erie without my wetsuit, yes it was that warm, and I felt great. I had a strong swim without wetsuit.

For the bike portion I will be riding my trusty Elite bike. I rented a pair of Zipp 404 wheels from RaceDayWheels to add the finishing touch. I rode on them this morning and they felt great. This is the bike that I have spent over 150 hours on totaling over 1,981 miles. Coach Hodska looked at me on the bike to make sure there were no adjustments to make, he said I was good to go with no changes. I knew it felt right.

For the run I will have on my feet the Mizuno Inspire. I have raced/trained in Mizuno for the past 4 years and these shoes work so well for me. I will also be sporting a FuelBelt to carry Enduralytes and water.

Friday, July 14, 2006

It's gonna be alright.......right?

There are so many things to worry about during an Ironman. Weather, mechanical, nutrition, spectators, physical problems....all sort of things. Some you can control, others you take what you get. Just deal with it, move forward and reach the finish line.

But I've put in the training. Those that know me and have seen my training know I'll be rockin' the course. Aimee says I"m looking good and am fit.

So I guess......It's Gonna Be Alright

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Does anything else matter?

6 months of training.

164000 Yards Swimming

2221 Miles on the Bike

540 Miles Running

This year has been about nothing but Ironman.

Nothing Else Matters

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Will I Stand Alone?

How will I feel come race day? Standing/wading/treading water with 1999 of my newest closest friends, how alone will I really be?
I will have family cheering from the sidelines.

I will have friends tracking me on the internet.

I will have the memories of those that have left us having lost the battle with cancer.

I will not be alone, but I Stand Alone because triathlon is about competing by yourself against the clock.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Pain vs. Suffering

Remember my diatribe about pain and suffering. Well my training for IM has dealt me some pain but not suffering.

So just give me a pain that I'm used to on Ironman day..........

Taper Time

It was Wednesday last week that it was officially taper time. Only with an Ironman does a taper involve 4 hour bike ride, easy pace of course.

My music selections from here on out will be devoted to getting jacked up and steeling myself in preparation for Ironman, I must Galvanize.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Let's Play Tag

I'm It...I have been tagged by Tri-ing Without Limits:

four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Dad
2. Husband
3. Triathlete
4. Student
at times each has felt like a job, but I love each "job", except for student ; )

four movies I watch over and over:
1. Major League
2. Weird Science
3. Ferris Beuller's Day Off
4. Any Jackie Chan movie
if I run across them on TV I'm done for

four places I have lived:
1. Parent's House
2. College Dorm Room
3. Apartment
4. My own house

four TV shows I love to watch:
1. Food Network (almost any show)
2. Weather Channel (have to know the current weather)
3. MXC on Spike
4. Fox 8 News in the Morning

four places I have been on vacation:
1. Aruba (Honeymoon)
2. Antigua
3. Baja Mexico
4. Multi-sport tour of Yellowstone and Grand Tetons

four websites I visit daily:
1. My Yahoo (e-mail account)
2. Blog Lines (keep track of my bloggiest friends)
3. Cleveland Triathlon Club forum (great information)
4. Training Peaks (coach uses this for my workouts)

four of my favorite foods:
1. Pizza (especially grilled)
2. Fish (Salmon, snapper, talapia, etc. on the grill)
3. Wings
4. Race food (Gatorade, Carbo-pro, clif bars, clif blocks, hammer gel)

four places I would rather be right now:
1. Training (Swim/Bike/Run)
2. With my wife
3. Sleeping
4. Laying on the beach

four favorite bands/singers:
1. Fatboy Slim
2. Timo Mass
3. Prodigy
4. Blue Man Group

four bloggers I’ll Tag
1. TriGreyhound
2. Dante - The Journey
3. Buckeye Runner
4. Mark's Triathlon Blog

The Ironman Gorilla

My friend Rob ReddyToTri posted a quote right before his day at IM CdA.....

"Ironman is like wrestling a Gorilla - you don't stop when you are tired - you stop when the Gorilla is tired"

This quote popped into my head this morning during my run. You see I started my taper for IM USA Wednesday so I have time to think about what is ahead of me. This huge race that I have been training for the last 6 months to complete. I've seen the gorilla on some of my training rides. He may have been blowing hot air in my face or riding in the child seat while I climbed hills. There were times I thought I was carrying that gorilla on my back during a run or pulling him along on a float during my swims. But no matter what I wouldn't let the gorilla beat me down. In fact I've enjoyed accomplishing some of the hardest work-outs I've ever endured.

So come Ironman Day, I will be treating this giant beast with the respect and dignity it deserves. I will let him draft off me on the swim. I will pull him up the hills. I will push him in a stroller on the run course if I have to. But I know he won't be happy when I dump him off as I enter the finishing chute.

But I'll come back to him, rub his belly, give him some food and he will take a nap, because you don't mess with an Ironman.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Mountaineer Triathlon Video

Here is a "video" I created for the Mountaineer Triathlon

Mountaineer Race Report - Time to Run

Here is the end of my race report. Thanks for hanging around to read it. Between training and life it's been hard to blog.

I’m running, and feeling pretty good. Wait, what is that. Right there on the back of my leg, right below the butt, above the knee, damn that’s what I thought. The hamstrings started to tighten up. The plan called for me to find my legs in the first 10 minutes of the run. I knew where my legs were all right…...cramping the hell out of my hamstrings. I backed off slightly and grabbed for a water bottle to get a drink. The bottle slips out of my hand and falls to the ground. The guy behind me almost runs into me as I slow down to go back for it. I grabbed the bottle and started to walk a little while I took some water. I walked for about 15 seconds then got going again. The hamstrings felt better. They just needed a little extra rest to loosen up and agree to run with me.

Quick reminder of the run course: two loops, first 5 miles flat and fast along the river, next mile is a hard uphill then rolling ups and downs. The last half mile to the finish area is all downhill. Got it? Good, let’s move forward.

I’m feeling good. Coach’s plan called for my HR to be around 146. Right on the money. The aid stations were manned by some experienced people. They had everything ready and waiting. The turn around at mile two was manned by the West Virginia Hash House Harriers, they didn’t have any beer available but plenty of energy.

So far things are going well. I’ve found a running partner in Luke and we are talking as we run. Conversational pace and having a good time. Miles 3 and 4 brought us back to the transition area and then the finish area. Moving away from the finish line we heard the race announcer on the PA. Turns out the first pro was coming to the finish line. Chris Legh won the Half distance in 4:11:09 besting his competition by 10 minutes, and I had another hour to run. At mile 5 we leave the flat portion of the course and head towards town where we find hills immediately. I’ve managed to reach this point of the run course in about 40 minutes. Here are my splits so far: 7:40, 7:37, 7:56, 8:05, 8:27.

Devil’s Hill greats us as we leave the flat trail. I used GMAP to measure the climb. In .14 mile (740 feet) there is approximately 100 foot gain in elevation. That equates to an average grade of 13.5%. Here is how I saw the breakdown in three sections.

Section 1: 16 foot rise over 264 feet equals 6% grade, definitely runnable
Section 2: 37 foot rise over 264 feet equals 14% grade, slowly runnable
Section 3: 53 foot rise over 264 feet equals 20% grade, power walk time

Going up section 3 I immediately begin to power walk. Luke is trying to run the hill and isn’t even moving ahead of me. Next thing I know he slows, drops behind me and I hear him say something about him hamstring……he’s done. I didn’t see Luke again until the finish. From the top of Devil’s Hill to mile 6 the course is fairly rolling up and down. I still managed to hold an 8:40 for that mile. The rest of the course to the finish area is a great downhill grade that allowed me to pull a 7:38 for mile 7. As I approached the finish area I took a left turn back towards the river trail for loop number two. I found another person to run/talk with during the flats. The “plan” called for me to increase my effort and HR for the last miles of the course. Knowing the hills were waiting for me I began to increase my speed on the flats, sounded like a good strategy to me. Looking at my splits I was maintaining speed instead of increasing it, which is fine. For some reason my mile 9 split was 9:27. The only thing I can figure is that I grabbed some Pepsi from the Hash House Harriers aid station and was walking while I drank it. I grabbed Pepsi at each aid station from here on in. I wanted to try it because I’ve never raced on Coke/Pepsi before and knew this was a good time to test.

The rest of the flat was uneventful. I was passing some people who were on their first loop of the run course or running the international race. At Devil’s Hill I power walked the 3rd section again. I looked ahead of me and saw a female walking the hill as well. At the top of the hill I grabbed more Pepsi from the aid station and set my sights on the two people in front of me. As I approached the female I noticed her leg was marked with a P. She was one of the two pro women in the half distance race. I passed her and another guy (in my age group) at the top of a small uphill. I was golden at this point. One more uphill then a nice half mile downhill to the finish. As I hit the final trail section to the finish line I saw Scott Erdman of HFP, gave him five and told him what a great course. I could hear Aimee cheering for me as I approached the finish chute. The announcer called out my name as I crossed the line.

Run: 1:46:44
Pace: 8:09/mile
7:40 / 7:37 / 7:56 / 8:05 / 8:28 / 8:41 / 7:38 / 8:17 / 9:27 / 7:53 / 8:02 / 8:21 / 7:46 / 00:43
7/32 in age group
44/209 overall

Race time: 5:12:27
6/32 in age group
31/209 overall, including pros and teams.

I was happy with the performance that day. I wasn’t completely spent and was mobile. After we had some food, showered, cleaned out my transition area; Aimee and I headed for home. I actually drove the three hours back home myself. The race plan was executed perfectly with some minor adjustments on course. Coach was happy with my adjustments since I was performing so well. This race was a huge confidence booster for IM USA.

Special props go out to my wife Aimee and the Cleveland Tri Club members that were racing. In the words of Jen Collister, Aimee is a great cheerleader. I could hear Aimee each time I passed her; yelling for me, taking pictures and ringing the cowbell. I also loved seeing the club members on the run course and yelling words of encouragement.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Mountaineer Race Report - Time to Ride

Here is the bike portion of my race report. I didn't realize I was leaving people hanging in the middle of my report until I saw Buckeye Runner and her husband this past weekend. Training and life have pulled me away from writing. Enjoy this installment.

Like I said in my last post, I’m outta here (on the bike). I love running by people who have stopped just outside of transition in order to mount their bikes. I run clear of them and hop on my bike. I then clip in while rolling down the road. Think Lance Armstrong after his rode across that open field and had to dismount and remount his bike after crossing the drainage ditch.

The race plan was for me to be conservative for the first 75% of the bike then hammer the rest home. I was to ignore all other racers and go with my own plan. Heart rate was to be high Zone 2, around 140. Also had my watch timer set for drinking and eating every 10 minutes. Coach said I should feel like I could go harder, but to stay just below that effort. The first loop of the bike was nice with dry pavement and enthusiastic volunteers at the 15 mile aid station. The first hill at mile 7 was nothing that I haven’t ridden before. The fact that it was straight and you could see quite a ways up the road was a mental test. There was a moment of false hope as you approached a slight left turn on the climb. You had the feeling of relief thinking that the top was just around the corner…then…..BAM….you still have another quarter mile to climb. Oh well, you just hunker down and keep climbing. After cresting the climb the section until the aid station was very fun. There were some short ups with some awesome downhill’s that allow you to recover and get the HR down. Somewhere along the course I reached a max of 40 MPH.

So the top part of this bike course takes us into Pennsylvania. This is where we reach the little town of Taylorville hosting the aid station right before mile 15. My first time through I didn’t need anything but thanked the volunteers anyways. After the aid station there were still some hills to climb. These were more like a staircase, steps that got you up to the top of the hill. When we finally crested the last hill it was all downhill from there.

Prior to the race the RD and several other racers made comment about a dip in the road. Aimee and I saw it during our drive of the course the night before. This “dip” came three feet into the road from the right shoulder. There were arrows and paint guiding you around the depression in the road. This first time through this area I was following, at a safe distance, the guy in front of me. Of course a car was coming towards us. He made it through before the car reached the area of the dip. I however reached the dip when the car did. There was still enough room between me and the dip in the road to make it through safely. The one thing I miscalculated was the speed which I was carrying into the turn. Oh did I forget to mention that the dip was at the apex of a right hand turn? Yes, so maximum velocity, hard right turn, centrifugal forces pushing me to the outside, I had to the fight the bike a little to keep it turning to the right.

After that last downhill we were flat and fast. We went through another area of homes with people standing out cheering for us. The Half Distance course required us to do a small 2 mile out and 2 mile back to extend our course. Pretty much all the way back to the transition area was pretty fast. I did have to make a rolling pee break, which is a good sign. I was hydrated enough that I had to pee. I also had to make sure I kept myself in check and not let the HR get to high. I had another loop to do of that bike course.

I came around the transition area and the bike aid station is immediately after a left hand turn. I knew where it was, had my empty bottle ready to toss and the volunteers had a bottle of water waiting for me. Here is where I share an aid station tip that I find works great. I forget where I got this from but I use it every time. As I approach the aid station I yell for what I want. Those that have what I want usually identify themselves with a “here”. I point and make eye contact with the person I will take the aid from. This way the person I am going for is expecting my grab and I rarely miss. I like making the personal connection with the volunteer, it makes for flawless execution.

Aimee is waiting for me as I exit the aid station and got a picture of me about to make the turn back out onto the course for round two. By now the rain has started to come down. Not heavy or windy rain but wet none the less. It doesn’t have an impact on the course because most of the course is fairly straight. I started to see people I know on the small section where we pass. I was heading back out and some people were heading back from their first lap. My teammate Mel was cruising along and it dawned to me that she was the first female I saw on the bike. I also saw Matt, who I started the swim with, and was wondering when he would catch me on the second loop. Matt is a powerhouse on the bike, think Thor Husvold.

So I’m just cruising along and hit the hill again at mile 7. Time to start climbing into the sky. This time I alternated between staying in the saddle and standing a little. I wanted to use different muscles this time. I think it worked because I felt better on this hill the second time. Nothing to exciting on this loop, even with the rain. I exchanged water bottles this time at the aid station and thanked everyone for being there.

Some of the hills were taking their toll on the newer triathletes. I passed a teenage boy pushing his mountain bike up the hill. I tried to encourage him with some words. At the top a woman had just finished walking her bike up the hill and was stretching her quads. I offered her some encouragement as well. As I crested the hill I started my decent towards the “dip”. This time as I approached the right hand turn there was no opposing traffic. Cool, I had the green light to let it rip. Unfortunately I ripped it too hard. Again I miscalculated the angle of the turn, the speed I was entering the turn and the amount of G forces that would push me all the way to the left side of the road. Now don’t get me wrong, these are not major highway roads, but if a car had been coming the other way, I’d be a hood ornament. I literally fought my bike to turn away from the soft shoulder on the side of the road. I actually spoke out load, “Cooommme ooonnnn baby”. This was not easy to do while in the aero position. A combination of leaning and a twist of the arms got me back to the right side of the road. That was close.

At least I was on the flat part of the course and really no more climbing to do. At the intersection of the out and back we had to do there was a mining operation. Coal mining to be exact, we are in West Virginia you know. So on the way out to the turn around I didn’t think about it. On the way back I was worried about it being slick but it was a straight shot through the coal dust on the road. Oh, in case you forgot, IT’S BEEN RAINING. I look down at my legs and they are covered in this wet coal dust sprayed up from my front tire. Lucky for me I had a spare water bottle and hosed off my legs. Hey, everyone had to ride through it as well.

Again, the rest of the bike loop was flat and fast. I was given the green light to increase my speed and HR for the last 15 miles of the bike loop. About 3 miles from the transition area I started to prepare for T2. I had everything I needed waiting for me, but I was going to make a slight modification and I knew exactly how to execute it. Did I mention, that IT’S BEEN RAINING?!?! My feet are soaked. My shoes are soaked. My socks are soaked. Of course peeing two more times on the bike course didn’t help, but IT’S BEEN RAINING.

Okay, I have a pair of socks in my transition bag. I know exactly where they are. As I approach T2 I always un-strap my shoes, take my feet out and ride on top of my shoes into transition. However, this time I also take my socks off. Now what am I supposed to do with wet dirty socks as I approach the entrance to transition? Stuff them in my aero water bottle. Sure did. I wasn’t going to drink out of it anymore. It worked great. Into T2, rack the bike, off with the helmet, unzip the bag, grab the socks (right where I knew they were at), socks and shoes on, grab the hat and fuel belt and I’m out of T2.

Bike: 2:48:05
Average speed: 20 MPH
10/32 in Age group
42/209 Overall

T2 : 1:03
I had the fastest T2 in my AG by .35 seconds.

I still can't get pictures up to blogger, suck donkey balls!