Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy Anniversary - Number 13

I must say happy 13th anniversary to my lovely wife Aimee. It's been amazing what we have accomplished over the past 13 years on many different levels. Changing of jobs, moving, watching Andrew and Amanda graduate from high school and beyond, vacations, etc.

Then there are all of the athletic accomplishments. When we got married we both would not have imagined that we would both be Ironman finishers. Aimee with six marathons. Myself with multiple half and full distance triathlons.

I came up with this anniversary gift list for the active couple with running, cycling and swimming in mind.

So you know you are a triathlon couple when your anniversary gifts follow the list below:

Year 1: Defeet socks, or some other technical footwear

Year 2: Cotton t-shirt, something that promotes your sport. "I Do Tri's".."Will Run for Beer"

Year 3: Leather bike saddle. Nothing says I love you like something comfy for the butt.

Year 4: Bike Jersey. She would love one with flowers on it, he wants the one with Pink Floyd.

Year 5: Reflective swim goggles. You can stare into your mates goggles & see the one they love.

Year 6: Case of energy gels. Yummy sugary energy in a squeeze pack. Perfect for those marathon love sessions.

Year 7: Running tights. If in the Northern climates you can run together outside in the snow.

Year 8: Heart Rate Monitor. Not only for training you can watch the heart rate increase when your loved one is close by

Year 9: Water bottles. Those old water bottles are getting gross. Time for new ones.

Year 10: New components for the bike. Shiny and smooth shifting a groupo will keep you moving forward for the next ten years.

Year 11: Headsweat Hat. That new groupo cost some cash. A nice headsweat hats makes sure you can still see your lovely mate despite sweating like a pig during a workout.

Year 12: Wetsuit. Nothing says I love you like the safety of a wetsuit in rough water or the warm hug of a full wetsuit during a cold water swim.

Year 13: Bike shorts. Make those long rides together comfortable.

Year 14: Yankz. Admit it, you are getting lazy about the gifts AND tying your shoes.

Year 15: Entry into Ironman event. Believe me, it's actually priceless.

Year 20: Trip to Kona to watch the Ironman Championships, provided you don't qualify.

Year 25: His and Her Computrainers. Those that train together stay together.

Year 30: Ben-Gay, Icy Hot, BioFreeze. Admit it. The joints aren't what they used to be.

Year 40: Compression socks. They are great for post race, provided you are still racing and controlling those varicose veins.

Year 50: Trip to Tour de France. Watch the pros. Drink some wine. Eat good food. Wish you were young again. Look back on your time together.

All kidding aside.......I love you Aimee and I can't wait to spend the next 13+ years with you.

Friday, September 24, 2010

This Girl has Soul

I've been meaning to introduce you to a friend of mine for quite some time now. Her name is Liz....and she has a soul like no other. I first met Liz at a local duathlon in 2006. I started talking with her husband after seeing what a great athlete she is. I recruited her for Snakebite Racing. Even though she doesn't race on the team anymore our paths cross often enough due to common friends and interests....and I am thankful for that.

She shared some pictures with me from her early days of triathlon.....and yes she does have her helmet on backwards.

Liz is high energy and a lot of fun to be around. She has taken her love of life and turned it into a non-profit organization called Girls with Sole. Their mission is to........

"Use fitness and wellness to empower the minds, bodies and souls of girls who have experienced abuse."

She has created partnerships with other organizations to help support her mission and provide girls with the support they need and deserve.

These pictures are from her recent participation at the Rev3 Full Triathlon in Sandusky, OH where she finished the 140.6 distance in 12:08:04 and taking second place in her age group.

She used this event to raise money for her organization with the help of great people like the one pictured with her below. To date the fund raising has brought in over $5,000.

Larry, Sue, Bob and Liz

As you can tell in the pictures above, Liz always has a smile on her face. And it is the most infectious smile I know. How can Liz not have an impact on the lives of the girls she reaches.

Game On Liz. See you soon.

Monday, September 13, 2010

HalfRev Race Report

So much to write about from this race I have to get it done quickly.

Race day started very early. Aimee and I were the home stay for a pro triathlete from Canada. Adam O'Meara is a second year pro and the FullRev was his A race. Adam was up early to get his food in and I woke up a little bit after him. I had a good nights rest but had a long way to go before my race started.

We left the house by 4:45AM so we could be on site by 5:30. The Full race started with the pro men at 6:50, pro women 6:53 and age groupers at 7:05. The HalfRev race wouldn't start until 8:30. I had plenty of time to prepare and talk with the bazillion of friends who were racing. I finally met Steve in a Speedo wearing his "bowl full of tutti-frutti" shorts.

I was able to watch Adam come out of the water and start the bike. I told him how far back he was from the leader and he was not happy, but it was information he asked me to tell him.

Aimee made it back from Dances with Dirt in Michigan in time for us to walk to the beach and get ready. Natalie got a picture of me before we went to the beach.

I jumped in the water real quick to spin the arms around and get used to the water temperature.....I also had to pee. I was surprised how cold the water was but that was fine. I said to some more friends in my swim wave and watched the first wave start. We were in the second wave of 18-24 and 40-44. There were 80 people in my age group (40-44) alone. Big field.

I lined up on the left side of the start line in the second row. The gun went off and we ran into the water. It was quite shallow for a while and once the water was up to my knees I dove in and started swimming. Being on the left side I didn't have any congestion and could see people to my right. A small chop in the water prevented me from breathing to the left. I just kept breathing right. I felt my sighting was doing well. We started catching the back of the previous wave and I had to pay attention during sighting to avoid these people.

At the first buoy we make a right turn and swim parallel to the beach. I was squeezing in between two guys from the first wave when the guy on my left hit my goggles with his hand. My left lense shifted but didn't come off. I swam another 20 yards and rolled over to drain the water and reposition my goggles. In no time I was back at it.

As we swam to the next turn buoy that was send us back to the beach the chop was behind me. I was able to get into a good bi-lateral race stroke. My sighting still seemed to be working well.

At the next turn buoy we headed towards the beach. I had to sight a couple of times to get a good line for the beach exit. All of the spectators were lined up the right with the exit arch on the left. It provided a good frame of reference.

The water temperature fluctuated as I swam towards the beach. The water was colder closer to shore and warmer further out. It was an interesting contrast during the swim and very noticeable.

I got closer to the beach and felt my left hand touch the sand. It was still deep enough to swim so I continued to do so. I could see people standing up too early and I pretty much swam away from them. With about a foot of water left I finally stood up and headed up the beach. I could hear Aimee and a couple of others cheering for me. I ran along the carpet into transition.

Swim time was 33:02 and I was 5th out of the water in my age group.

In transition I stripped off my wetsuit and started getting my gear on. Helmet always. Socks and shoes next. I had arm warmers laid out to take with me but I was feeling good and didn't grab them. I grabbed my bike and headed towards the bike mount line. I had a good jump onto the bike and started my ride.

I was out of transition in 1:33.

I was feeling good and wanted to have a good bike ride. Being my A race I was being rather aggressive. But that didn't keep me ahead of two people from my age group who passed me in the first 6 miles. I still stayed within myself and rode my race.

The wind was from the WNW and a little stiff. Stiff enough to make a noticeable difference in my speed. I was consistently passing people who started the FullRev prior to me. If I recognized someone I would cheer them on.

Around mile 20 I was passed by two police motorcycles. A couple minutes later Bjorn Anderson passed me as he was into his second loop of the bike course at mile 58. After he passed me I never saw him again.

Heading into the town of Milan, short out and back, I saw my former coach Angela and Diane. They cheered loudly as I went by. As I went through the town square I saw my mom and dad waiting for me. Of course they had a hard time recognizing me so I made sure to point to them. Around another corner were several tri club friends cheering wildly as I went by. It was great to see so many people at this point.

Out of Milan there is a nice 6.5 mile stretch heading east. I was hoping for a nice push from the wind but the direction was not very beneficial. The wind was hitting us more from the side. I was still keeping a good pace through the rollers and taking my nutrition every 10 minutes.

At mile 30 the HalfRev course turns left and the FullRev course continues straight. After my turn I looked around and I was alone except for a rider ahead of me. I dug down and pedaled into the wind. Since I was alone on this road I decided to empty my bladder. As I stood to pee I looked behind me and saw a group of people about 1/4 mile behind me. I decided to wait for a pee break and continued on to the next turn.

As I was beginning to start the climb into the town of Berlin Heights I was finally caught by the group. I looked over and the first person I saw was Jody, followed by Frank, followed by about 10 other people. I noticed 3 people from my age group, one female, and guys from the younger age groups that started with my swim wave.

I know Jody and Frank. They race clean. Jody was the one pulling up front. I was pissed by what I saw, especially when I saw some guys from my age group. I soft pedaled for a little bit and even coasted down a hill to get some distance from these guys. This is when I took the time to empty my bladder since I wasn't pedaling anyways.

I pushed the anger of seeing some of my competitors in the pack and tried to stay focused on my own race. I also had to pay special attention to my legs as they were starting to cramp.

After we left Berlin Hts the course turns left into the wind. This was the longest stretch of chip 'n seal on the course. I was watching the group ahead of me when a motorcycle passed me. I looked up and realized it was a USAT official. I said to myself, "Bust their asses!!" I watched as she had the driver pull up behind the group and just sit there watching them. They were climbing a hill and the motorcycle just sat back to see what would happen after the hill.

The official watched the group for a couple minutes before pulling up next to the group. I'm pretty sure numbers were being taken. Unfortunately I have no way of knowing what penalties were assessed. I still felt good watching this unfold and knowing I was not a part of it. I knew I would have a clean race and not resort to drafting.

I'm still plugging away trying to save my legs from severe cramps. I saw my mom and dad again on the course and was surprised. They do know the roads though and knew where to go.

On the rollers I had to spin in the saddle because standing was causing my legs to spasm. They were rebelling from the hard effort I put them through during the first 35 miles. The course changes direction several times. Sometimes we had a favorable wind...sometimes not.

The final 10 miles were pretty much into the wind. At one point a guy came up next to me and commented on how he thinks he missed a turn. He was doing the full and asked if he was supposed to be returning to Cedar Point to start the second loop. I told him he missed it way back. Looking at a map now he rode approximately 10 miles before realizing his mistake. Overall he probably added 20 miles onto his ride.

Mentally I was still in good shape. I was over the drafting I saw. I was keeping myself under control to save my legs. I told myself to wait and see what the run was going to give me. I was ready to get off the bike, but not at the point where I needed to get off the f'in bike....if you know what I mean.

I finally entered the parking lot and headed towards transition. I reached down to pull the velcro straps. Each time my hamstrings yelled at me, "What are you doing?" I just hoped I could have a good dismount and not cramp up completely in front of the everyone watching.

I did swing my leg over and made a perfect dismount and ran into transition.

Bike time was 2:38:24 averaging 21.21 MPH. I was 12th back to T2 in my age group so I was passed by 7 guys, some who were in the drafting pack.

I racked my bike and took my helmet off. I grabbed my shoes and luckily had not problems putting them on despite needing to bend over. I knew I needed some salt, so I reached into my transition bag and grabbed the bottle of Thermotabs. I grabbed my hat which had my number belt inside it. As I ran out of transition people were yelling at me about needing my number. I kept going because I knew I was fine.

I put my hat on as I exited transition in 53 seconds.

I wrapped my belt around my waist and clipped it in place. Time to best I could. My legs were killing me. Both quads and abductors were screaming at me. I had to keep telling myself to slow down and get used to the run. I couldn't completely stop because then the legs would win and stop me dead in my tracks. I guess I pulled a Jens Voigt and said, "Shut Up Legs. You will do what I tell you." I was starting to think that I would be reduced to a walking mess before this race was over.

I made it to the first aid station just past the first mile marker. I grabbed some water from a volunteer and kept walking in circles. I still couldn't stop. I dumped three salt tablets into my hand and shoved them in my mouth. I kept walking and talking with the ladies handing out water. I put down three more salt tablets and start to run again. I thanked them for being there.

At the second mile marker I hit the button and saw my mile split was 9:25. Not bad for taking the amount of time I did at the aid station. I didn't want to see a split like that again. My legs were feeling better by now. Still sore and crampy but not that bad.

Whenever the run course headed west we had the wind smack in the face. A couple of spots were between 5 story buildings that funneled the wind down the street. I felt like I was running in a wind tunnel.

As I try to write down my thoughts about the run I can't seem to put the words down in a way that conveys my feelings appropriately. Reliving the run is proving to be as hard as when I first took the steps.

Miles 3 and 4 are on long straight streets. I tucked behind a guy in my age group for a chance for him to shield me from the wind. I also saw my mom and dad for the 4th time along this stretch. Since I was moving slower, much slower than the bike, they could get some pictures of me. At the end of mile 3 I had a 8:09 split. Much better now with some water and Powergel in me.

I missed mile marker 4 but at mile marker 5 I averaged 7:38 for two miles, 15:16. Maybe my speed was coming back. I just kept going forward and listening to the directions offered by the volunteers. Follow the signs....follow the arrows...I just kept moving my feet in the directions the arrows pointed.

At the aid stations I grabbed the first water I found then grabbed a second water as I left the aid station. I was coherent about what I was doing. Suck down a gel and grab as much water as I could. I was also running alone a majority of the time. Many of my other races there were people all around. Not so much with this race. I had a few people to reel in but there really weren't too many targets to pull me along.

During mile 6 the course goes directly into the wind. This is when I felt the full force of the wind. But somehow my watch is telling me I had my best split with a 7:32 during that stretch.

Mile 7 was another long portion that was horrible to look at. I hadn't driven the course prior to I didn't know landmarks. I just buried my head and pushed on. As I made my way around a right hand turn I saw Rural Girl from the Evotri Team. She looked very focused (or was it drained) and I really couldn't muster the energy to cheer her on. Mile 7 resulted in a 7:52 split.

Now that I was halfway through the run I figured I would have no problem finishing. Keep on keepin' on...right? Well the body had other ideas. Another long straight to start mile 7. I made a left turn towards mile marker 8 and I could start to feel the length of the day catching up to me.

The wall was looming in front of me and my body just wanted to stop for a little bit. But I just couldn't let myself stop. Once I felt the relief of stopping I knew it would be hard to start again. And if I could stop once I would probably stop again. Or start walking. Or cramp up.

NO. I would not stop. I have never dug deeper than I did at that point. I just...wouldn't...let...myself...stop. And my body relented and continued to run for me.

Mile 8 somehow ended with a 8:12 split.

During mile 9 I saw my parents for the last time. They said I was starting to look tired at that point. I don't remember if I said anything but I was less than 4 miles from the finish. I saw Pharmie during a two way section and managed to cheer for her. Mile 9....7:52.....boy it sure did feel slower than that.

I caught up to and passed Cory from the BAFF team. He had started the run quite well and I was surprised to be with him again. As I passed him I encouraged him to stay with me. Unfortunately I didn't see him again until the finish line.

Heading back to the Cedar Point Causeway, 1st Street is about 1.25 miles. I could see the traffic lights down the road where we would turn left towards the finish. but it sure took me a long time to get down there. The intersection just never seemed to get closer. I was definitely focused inward and concentrating on moving forward. Mile 10 was along this part but I never saw the marker.

I made the turn towards Cedar Point and made it to mile 11. My two mile split was 16:31, average of 8:15 per mile. Wow, I was still holding my own. I saw Michelle from my team and cheered for her since it was her first Half IM. I also saw our homestay pro Adam heading out for his second loop.

I cheered for him and we slapped hands as we passed. Mile 12 brought me a 8:29 and I knew I was finally going to be okay.

I kept digging in for more energy to carry me to the finish. During the last mile I wasn't worried about finishing. I started to worry about what would happen once I stopped. Would my legs give out. Cramp up. Drop me to the ground. Oh well. I would just deal with it when I got there.

Back into the parking lot of Cedar Point, the volunteers and park staff were great controlling traffic and cheering for the athletes. I heard many people clapping and cheering me on to the finish. Near transition I heard Angela yelling for me and seeing a couple more people. Once I actually made it into the park I was alone for my finish.

As I hit the finish carpet I could see Aimee to the right and went to her. I wanted to give her a big hug and kiss but I was still afraid of my legs giving out before I made it to the finish line. I grabbed her hand and continued to the finish line. I heard the announcer call out my name as I waved my hands in the air to pump up the crowd.

I crossed the finish line 5:01:41 after starting with my swim.

A volunteer slipped a finishers medal around my neck. I was handed a shirt and water. I tried to keep moving in the finish area by walking in circles so my legs could slowly get used to no longer running.

I finished. I pushed it. I paid for it. I dug deep. Deeper than ever before. I survived.

Triathlon is a crazy ass sport. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. The people I have met, the places I have been, the things I have done are all priceless to me.

I thank Aimee for coming along for the ride with me. She has always been my #1 fan and supporter.

Thanks mom and dad for being on the course so much. Seeing familiar faces are always a treat.

Thanks to my teammates of Snakebite Racing for helping push me along through their own training and journey to the distances at Rev3.

Thanks to sponsors Bike Authority and Great Race Nutrition for supporting me and the team all summer with great service and products.

Congratulations to all who completed their Half and Full Rev races.

Game On.

Friday, September 03, 2010

It's a Flat Feeling

And I have felt it twice this week. But that is what taper time is supposed to feel like. With the Rev3 races at Cedar Point 9 days away I know many people who are tapering....resting....going crazy.

I was traveling for work earlier this week. Out of town away from home it is hard to get in those workouts. I ran one night and swam the next morning at a local YMCA. Tuesday night I was a slug after work. I plopped down on my hotel bed and watch some TV before finally getting out for some dinner.

Wednesday morning I had to force myself out of bed and to the Y for a light spin on an spin bike and a short run. Knowing I wouldn't get home until late that evening I had to get something done.

Taper time is for resting but you can't simply shut it all down.

Back home I was finally able to get out for a real bike ride. I suited up during lunch and headed out into the wind. It was blowing pretty good and I remembered a post I had about Madam Pelee I had written in 2007.

I was riding well despite the wind when all of a sudden I felt that flat feeling again. What the hell. I looked down and saw that it was my rear tire that was flat. I pulled over and changed the tube. I didn't find any obvious damage or punctures in the tube or tire so I'm not sure why I flatted.

I always make it a point to put new rubber on my bike before an A race. I had bought new tires last week but just haven't put them on my wheels. I took the flat as an opportunity to practice my tire changing skills. I took my time but didn't lolly gag while changing the tube. It was a good change.

I finished my ride with the heat and wind with no other problems and felt great the entire time. I think the Rev3 course has some people to be worried about. There will be some very fit and fast triathletes on course come Sept. 12.

Game On.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Vermilion Harbour Race Report

I guess it's just par for the course. A race report about 2 weeks post race.

Better late than never??? Right?

So if I go back and look at my calendar this race was on August 15th. Oooooo....that was last month now.

The Vermilion Harbour race is another great venue for HFP Racing. It's along the shores of Lake Erie between Cleveland and Toledo. The surrounding area is great for bike riding with some nice hills thrown in for some variety and best of all...the community completely supports this race.

I have been at many races where the volunteers are needed on race day. Not with this race. There was a great turnout of volunteers on race day. At one intersection on the bike course there were 5 volunteers AND a deputy sheriff. Yes the race is very well supported.

Despite being the third year for the race, I had never participated in prior years. Aimee has been at the race in the prior two year with me spectating in 2009. But this year I wanted to jump into the race as a final prep for the HalfRev on 9/12. The Olympic distance race would provide me valuable race training and allow for me to recover for the HalfRev.

Sunday morning rolled around and we began our normal pre-race prep. we loaded up the car and waited for our friend Mary to arrive at our house. We had been helping her train for her first sprint tri. To help her along she was going to come out early with us and get settled in for her first triathlon.

We drove to the race site and got all of our gear into the transition area. Body markings and timing chips were also taken care of. Being a local race I saw many friends and Snakebite teammates getting ready. I was able to chat with a majority of them. Tri Diesel also came by and we chatted for a bit before I had to do my warm-up.

After my warm-up run I ran through transition, made sure my gear was all set up and then got in the line for the port-o-potty. The line was long but I knew I would have plenty of time before the start of my wave.

I grabbed my wetsuit from transition and made my way towards the beach. I found a couple of teammates and we chatted while I put on my wetsuit. I tried to hold off as long as I could because it was already feeling hot at 8AM and I didn't want to overheat in my wetsuit.

But I also wanted to make sure I got in a decent warm-up swim. The water was a nice temperature and I managed to stayed cool. I chatted with more friends as we watched the sprint waves start.

Here I am cooling off

Eventually my wave was next up. I lined up at the front and waited for the green light to start. During the final few seconds of the countdown I started my watch and dug my feet into the sand. GO!!!! And we ran into the water.

Everyone with their fingers on the button


The water gets deep rather quickly so I took one dive and started swimming. The first turn buoy was only about 50 yards from shore so it was a mad dash to make the left turn ahead of the pack. Once we made the left turn were heading west against some wind. The swim course is a long rectangle that we had to do twice.

Heading west we were going into the wind and some chop. Heading east we had major sun glare.

On the first lap I was sighting very well and kept a great line along the buoys. The chop seemed pretty bad at times and I wasn't sure if it was being caused by other racers. As I sighted I could tell it was caused by the wake of a powerboat that had gone by. The rolling chop made it difficult to get into a good rhythm. The second time through the chop wasn't as bad.

On the second loop I got lazy and wasn't sighting as well. I looked up one time and saw a life guard pointing for me to swim right....I was starting to go into the middle of the swim course. Oops. I got my sighting under control and pushed for the swim exit.

As I was approaching the last buoy marker I saw someone swimming next to me. This person had not been there before and was actually passing me. As we reached the beach I looked over and commented on how she had a great swim. Yes.....SHE had a great swim. Having started 2 minutes behind me she was exiting the water WITH me.

My overall swim time was 24:09 and placed my 3rd in the age group.....only 7 seconds behind the guy in front of me. I felt I had another great swim, until I realized the girl who exited with me had an awesome swim. She would continue to chick me all the way to the finish line.

I ran up the beach and into transition hearing some friends cheer for me specifically JenC and her adorable son Will. I cruised into T1 and quickly changed to cycling mode. Toss the wetsuit aside and get my helmet, socks and shoes on. I grabbed my bike and headed to the mount line.

This is the second race where I have put my sunglasses on my bike. Once I get rolling I put my sunglasses on. It saves a few seconds in T1 so I go with it. My transition time was 1:14 which was fourth fastest for my AG.

On the bike we had to weave through Vermilion to avoid train tracks and some bad sections of road. The main road out of town is very choppy but you just have to push through it.

Getting started on the bike my legs were just not feeling it. They were sluggish and tight. They didn't want to release their energy. My prep up to this race may not have been optimal. I rode the course with my teammate Matt on Wednesday or Thursday prior to the race. Due to work I couldn't get in a shake down ride on Saturday. So the legs were a little too rested by Sunday.

I pushed on and tried to keep my spin high as well as my speed. In an Oly race you really do need to push more on the course. At times I was thinking to myself, "Man this hurts. My legs are killing me and I'm getting drained." Then I would remind myself that anything shorter than a Half is supposed to hurt.

Hell....even a half is supposed to hurt when you race.

What am I saying? When you race....It'

So I soldiered on and kept pushing myself. After about 10 miles of riding my legs finally woke up. This was nice because I could use the tailwind to my advantage and some hills were coming up that I needed my legs for.

During the out portion of the bike I was passed by my friend Rob R. He's on the "other" team, Spin/Second Sole. I was surprised to see him since he is a much faster swimmer than I and he is usually in front of me for a majority of a race. Looking at the results I was only 25 seconds behind him AND he was in T1 30 seconds longer than I.

So we exchanged a few words and I watched him ride ahead. My legs weren't "awake" yet.

The second half of the bike was much better. I had great speed heading back to transition. Entering the park area there were a lot of spectators and volunteers cheering for everyone. The final straight away to transition was lined with people cheering. I didn't disappoint as I slipped my feet from my shoes and had a perfect running dismount into T2.

My bike time was 1:12:00 which was a 20.7 MPH average. Good enough for 5th fastest in the AG.

In transition I racked my bike, took off my helmet. Slip the shoes on, grab my visor and gels, exit transition. Thirty....five....seconds. Yeah...that was the fastest T2 time in the AG. I don't lolly gag around in transition.

I held back during the start of the run just a little until my legs came around. I didn't want to hold back like I did at the Maumee Race, but I didn't need to blow up either. I grabbed some water at the first aid station out of transition.

It was getting really hot by now and the run was going to be brutal.

I had two gels with me and I started to take the first one after the aid station. There was another aid station not far away and I would chase the gel with some water. I avoided the nice people with hoses because I didn't want to get my shoes all wet.

The 10k run course is an out and back. So you get to see those in front of you and gauge your competition. I wasn't too dialed into my competition just yet. It was early in the run and I didn't know who was in my age group around me. Pushing forward was not a priority.

There was a slight breeze coming from the west providing a slight cooling as we ran into the breeze. I started seeing some of my teammates coming back from the turn around. They had all started in waves ahead of me. Mark was hurting in particular since he had been out of town for work and didn't have any workouts for 3 weeks. But he was still moving forward quite well.

Right before the turn around there was an aid station. I slugged down my second gel and grabbed some water as I passed through the aid station. Now I was ready to finish strong for the return trip to the finish line.

The wind was now at our backs. The breeze wasn't strong enough to provide any additional "push" but it sure did feel hotter without the breeze in our faces. Inside I was feeling strong and together. After the race one friend said she was worried about the run because of what she saw on our faces during our return. I may have felt okay on the inside but apparently my face was showing something different. Suffering? Pain? Agony?

I say yes to all three. It was definitely becoming a suffer fest. No shade. No breeze. High temps.


I was able to keep my mind in the game though. I was watching the guys in front of me and gauging their performance. How strong did they look? Was I gaining on them? How realistic is it for me to catch them?

I was feeling good so I picked up the pace a little. And I began to close the gaps. At one aid station I was very close to the guy in front of me when all of a sudden he stopped to get his drinks. I couldn't believe my eyes. I grabbed my waters and kept motoring along. In fact I picked up the pace a little to pass him with authority. Might as well build the gap when I can.

At the next aid station I caught one of the guys from Spin/Second Sole, Kevin, and encouraged him along since we were very close to the finish line. Through another aid station and up a little hill to the final two straights towards the finish line.

There was some young kid in front of me, 16 years old, and I just couldn't close the gap on him. But I was still finishing strong.

The young punk in front of me

Kevin from Spin/Second Sole behind me

A quick right turn. A quick left turn and I see the finish line. I focus in on the finish line and I hear Aimee, Mary, Jen, Gina and several other voices cheering for me. I cross the finish line 2:25:12 after entering the water. My final run was 47:12 which was the fourth fastest in the AG.

As they take the timing chip off my leg I try to regain myself and begin the cool down process. I grabbed a chair under the event tent and plopped my sweaty ass down. I spotted a large tub filled with drinks, water and ice. I grabbed a large chunk of ice and started rubbing my chest with it. I looked around and saw the same torture on everyone's face. Also relief that the race was over.

We watched more friends finish. Talked about our races. Waited for the race results to be posted. Team Snakebite had a good day. We had 5 people who placed in their age groups. I won my old guys age group by less than a minute. It was very cool to take the win on a hot day.

HalfRev coming soon.

Game On.