Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The first race I have cried afterwords, Saint George Half Ironman 70.3

Over the last 2 year I have really transitioned from being a runner to a triathlete. I just found that I love triathlons more than running races and actually enjoy biking more than running as well. This has led me to focusing a lot of energy on biking and less on running the last couple of years and especially this year. Last year I did this same race and it was my first half ironman and was probably the single toughest race or thing I had ever done until yesterday. It was a train wreck of a race where I cut my foot on the walk to the start and then cramped for 69 miles gutting it out to just finish. I thought there could be nothing tougher that that and I was very wrong. After the race I spent several months melancholy wanting to get back on the horse so to speak but I could never find a race that fit into my training or travel plans (I only had one week of vacation last year and I used that when we had our second baby in October). So this years ironman was to be my redemption race.

I have put more miles in this year than I would have ever thought possible increasing my training volume in the same time frame by almost %75 as last year. Coming into the race I had logged over 2006 total miles doubling my bike miles from last year while keeping the same run miles and also increasing my swim miles. I had done a lot of extra swimming in hopes of making some good strides there on my way to a pr as well as a lot more biking. I figured if I just didn't have any cramping issues a run pr would be easy as I had a train wreck of run last year that resulted in me getting a 3:10 run time. My goal was to redo this race and I had picked a fall half ironman and then this race again next year as prep for my first full ironman Coure D'alene next June.

This year I have 13 days of vacation so I decided to use a whole week before the race as the wife really doesn't want to travel with the baby. I figured I could come in rested and relaxed for the race and just kill it with a great taper as by the end of training cycle I could feel my legs were dead. I didn't get in really big bricks like last year with my best brick being a 40 mile bike followed by a 6 mile run but I had way more of them this year doing a good sized brick about every three weeks. I had also logged three 60 mile rides in prep so I figured with having done the race and my training volume I would be ok.

It was nice having the week off I took a nap everyday and played with my kids and it was just really restful. I went to the expo Thursday as I really wanted to get a cycling jersey for this year races and didn't want them to be out of my size. But they didn't have any gear for this years race as they were behind and all you could do was order them to be shipped in like 4 weeks. They did have some of last years jerseys for half off but alas not in my size. I did go a little spend crazy having saved up some cash for this years expo as I got some 70.3 cycling shorts, 3 water bottles (one STG 70.3 official, and two red ironman ones that match my bike), a new 70.3 finisher name shirt, a ironbaby onesie for Mason, a new car sticker and a STG70.3 ironman glass.

I had been obsessing over the weather the entire 2 weeks leading up to the race. In Saint George we get a windy season and when I mean windy I mean windy. There were rides leading up the race in 35-40 mph headwinds that just brutalized you. Problem was the windy season didn't seem like it was going to end before the ironman. But the wind started to look better the closer it got but then everyday the heat index just kept going up and up with it showing it would be 94 that day so it was guaranteed to be a hot day. I started taking Scaps (sodium tablets) around Wednesday to try and help come race day knowing how hot it was going to be. I took one Thursday morning before one last swim in the lake before the race and it really upset my stomach on the swim (glad I did it Thursday instead of Saturday race day). I felt like I was going to throw up for an hour afterwords. So I decided to not take any Scaps the morning of the race and I think it really psyched me out of the swim.

On my way out I stopped and got a free chiro stretch out that they were offering. As he was working on my shoulders he commented that I had no range of motion in the one arm. This is the shoulder I had tendinitis in for several years and might be contributing to my slower swim times (only one factor though as there are others) he stretched it out and tried to give me some range of motion back in that arm and man did that hurt but I figured that it would be worth it if it helped on my swim. I didn't do much that night as I was going to go to another pro meet and greet but I had already gone to one on Tuesday meeting last years winner as he gave some really good tips that I planned to incorporate like setting up transition.

I woke up Friday more nervous than I had ever been for a race in my life, I felt like I was going to throw up all day Friday and all the way until the swim start on Saturday. I also made the mistake of kind of packing Friday a little to full. Friday morning me and Oliver went to the triathlon club breakfast and played at the park it was held out. We came home and had some lunch and then I took him to see the Amazing Spiderman 2. Once we got home from the movie I ran bike out to the lake to do bike check-in taking most of my biking and swim stuff so I had less to take in the morning. I ran through my initial checklist of what I needed 2 tubes, 2 Co2 cartridges in case of flats, nutrition on the bike (I go with shot blocks), my Scaps, bike helmet, gloves, and bike shoes, wet suit, goggles and my swim cap. Most of my clothing I would do the next day.

I got home grabbed dinner real quick and then we went and did the ironkids race with Oliver again this year. My wife talked me down from the 1 mile race and we just did the 200 meter race so he could finish with other kids as we were DFL last year. We then rode the carousel and my wife dropped me off at home where I put out the rest of my stuff for the morning. I must have gone over in my head a 1000 times a checklist to make sure I had everything I was so nervous, heck even though I knew I had taken goggles out with me to bike check-in I almost packed another pair I was that frantic. I set up everything I needed on the couch for the next morning cycling jersey, cycling shorts, race belt, run gear bag with shoes and extra shirt in case I wanted to change out of my cycling jersey for the run and flip flops I got from wal-mart for $2 that I could lose at the swim start so I didn't have a repeat of cutting my feet again like last year.

I finally forced myself to go to sleep around 9:15 am with an alarm set for 4am. I woke up at 12:30 needing to pee and after that I was awake every 45 minutes to an hour as my nerves still wouldn't settle down. So the only good sleep I got was that 9:15-12:30 they say that Thursday is the more important but alas I didn't get much sleep that night either as Mason is teething and he woke up 4 times in the middle of the night. Not much you can do so I grabbed my stuff and my wife dropped me off at the busses so she would have the car at the end. One of my friends was on the bus so I sat with him and we talked and it was a nice ride out to the lake. My nerves still wouldn't calm down so I could only get half the peanut butter sandwich I had packed down and I couldn't even look at the banana (I had been eating 2 bananas a day since Sunday though as I didn't want a repeat issue of cramping this year). I also had a cliff bar and a shot block so I figured I would be ok nutrition wise prerace.

I walked over to where the triclub was and talked to a few of them (for some odd reason I was the only one in our triclub that got a bib not below the 400 range but had some advantages as I was bib 1308 which means my bike rack was the very first bike rack to the left as you came into transition so I woildn't even need to look for my bike rack it did mean a long run out to the mount line but it would be nice to find my bike so easily. It also meant I had perfect access to the portapoties and I used them twice before the race). At 6:45 they kick you out of transition even if your swim wave is later like mine was being a 7:33am start. So we went down and watched the pro's go off at 6:50. Even they aren't perfect as we saw one pro keep getting outside the buoy line and almost hit a buoy at one point.

We finally made our way down to the swim start and I noticed that they moved the swim start out further this year. You swim to a swim start point and you have 3 minutes to do so, I watched the two waves go in front of us and in both those waves half of them didn't make it to the swim start before there gun went off. Last year I made it and had to tread water for a minute before the gun went off. I knew that wasn't going to happen this year and it was likely several minutes before I actually crossed the swim start point after my gun went off. I was ok with that as I had hoped to shave 10 minutes or more off last years time and figured that wouldn't eat up too much of my time.


Nothing felt wrong on the swim, I just didn't feel very fast. Up to turn 1 the water was pretty calm, we got some chop just minor chop on the way to turn 2 but nothing really bad. I didn't have any problems sighting and just stayed on the outside like I did last year until I had to make the turns. I might have gone a little wider than I should have this year as I did have to correct a few times and swim more into a beeline with the next buoy but it avoids me having to fight waves coming up from behind me me being a slower swimmer. It seemed to take forever to get to the second turn but finally we were on the last stretch and you could see the shoreline. This the part where I about lost my mind. 4 times on the way to the shore I had a kayaker park right in front of me so someone could hold on. They didn't go lengthwise but rather broadside so I had to swim around them and once he did it right in front me so I actually ran into the kayak. I was so frustrated that the last time it happened the swimmer swam right over the top me to get the kayak when he clearly saw me as he was backstroking that I wanted to scream. It also costs time to change direction like that constantly so I had no idea what my swim time would be. I didn't see the clock coming out so I didn't know until the end. I ended up swimming a 1:10:43 five minutes slower than last year and I am not sure where the time was lost if I was just slower or if its because I swam to wide or the longer swim to the start or constantly have to stop and start and change directions on the last stretch of the swim.

Like last year I had to pee on the last stretch but couldn't so I again just stripped off my wetsuit and peed in the portapotty since they were right by my transition. I got in my cycling clothes and shoes and hit the bike I thought I had a better transition but again slowing to use the portapotty made t1 a 8:11. Now after freaking out about the Scap because of Thursdays problem I decided I wouldn't take one until an hour into the bike which ended up being a huge mistake as I completely forgot to take them at all when things started to go wrong,

I felt pretty good on the bike and was doing really well knowing I was going to have a pretty big bike pr. I moved way up in the rankings 211 spots to be exact on the bike which meant I had to pass 211 (It actually averaged out to I was passing someone once a minute on the bike) people. Man that was excruciating at times it seemed I was constantly passing people and I swear some riders acted like it was there first time on a bike with zero bike etiquette like not staying to the right or riding side by side with someone where you were constantly yelling on your left to get past. But the bike was going well I was doing well on my nutrition and riding through the bike stops rather than stopping. It was at aid station 2 I started to feel a little warm and I took two waters one to drink and one to pour on myself. I shrugged it off knowing I was on the portion of the course I was the most familar with and I could really get into a groove here having ridden it hundreds of times.

At aid station 3 at mile 40 I actually got off the bike and filled my water bottle that was gone on my bike (I was using dr pepper in my second bottle for the sugars) and got two more water bottles one to dump and one to drink. I knew something was wrong at this point I was incredibly hot and I couldn't seem to cool down. Mile 44 is where the worst hill of the entire course is Snow Canyon and I was completely overheating just getting up to it miles 41-44 are a steady climb before before that one last climb for a mile at 44 on a %12 grade. I couldn't get into a groove anywhere on 41-44 and I was just overheating I was starting to pour water on myself nonstop I couldn't get it under control. I had to get off the bike for a moment before the last big climb. But still didn't feel right on the decent into town. I was still passing people frequently but I just couldn't see to stop overheating. Just before the last hill my wife and kids were there waiting to cheer me on which was a pickme up and helped me get through the last 2 miles as I was already going into a dark place.

I got to the last hill at mile 54 and had to again off for a second and pour the last of my water on myself and drink what I had left. I cruised into town just wanting something to drink so bad and something to pour on myself. I did end up setting a 5 minute pr on the bike despite the two stops and really slowing down the last 15 miles I was on my way to a huge pr before that my bike split ended up being 3:34:09 much slower than I anticipated and I was going for a 3:15 maybe a 3:10. I drank the last of my dr pepper in t2 and was kind of out of it I forgot everything in t2 didn't take my scaps with me didn't eat my apple I had left for nutrition in my run bag. All I could think about was getting some water. I was slow in t2 because of this I was in a complete and total fog and ended up with a 6:35 t2 slower than last year where I had to work out a cramp just to get off the bike.

They had some water coming out of t2 but it was a small aid station but I grabbed 3 glasses two to dump on myself and one to drink. As I was trying to get going a friend noticed something was wrong and asked me what was wrong. I told her I was overheating and couldn't get my temp down. She told me to drink lots of water and salt and that was when I remembered my scaps for the first time and now it was too late to go get them. I couldn't run much that first mile I couldn't get my temp down and I couldn't seem to breathe the hotter I got. When I came through t2 I saw the clock and subtracked my 38 minutes from the pro start to my wave and knew if I could just manage under 3 on the run I would pr and go sub 8 that became my focus my sole focus the whole run. I finally made it to aid station one which is led by my friends and I knew most of the athletes there they could see I was struggling got me tons of extra water poured tons of water on me got me soda everything I needed and I started to feel a little better.

I started to run a little more and started to focus on hitting my pace. I started to slip near the end though before aid station 2 as I began to overheat again. I was just hanging on at this point to get to the next aid station to get to the next water to get water poured on me. I unzipped my jersey half way down and my wife kids that I have a vneck sunburn as it was one of the few places I burned that and my neck and face. I finally make it to the second aid station get some more water I am taking as much as I can I dumping ice down my jersey so it will slowly melt in any effort to stay cool. After mile 2 is where the first really big hill is a %10 grade up I knew I couldn't run up it the way I was feeling and knew my time would slip but hopefully I could pick it back up on the descents. the walking helped some and when I got to aid station 3 I finally manged to cool down a little and feel a little better.

After mile 4 you start to go downhill for 3 miles and I was starting to get my temp a little manageable. I ran into a friend and he became my running buddy most of the run we would go back and forth when one of us had to walk but I finally started to whittle away at the pace I wanted to hit. And knew if I could just hang on I could hit it the last 3 miles which were all downhill. I did pretty well until the turnaround at 6.55 as not only do you have to go back uphill but the aid stations were further apart as they wound you around the paths up on the red rocks. I could not seem to get to an aid station fast enough and my temp kept rising and rising and rising again. I was suffering just to try and make it to the last downhill stretch. I couldn't get enough water when I hit the aid stations and I would only get a little ways away before I felt really bad again.

But I kept saying you worked too hard to not pr all you got to do is manage a 39 minute final 5k and you got this, you could run that in your sleep (I ended up doing it in 35 actually). It kept being just get to the next aid station get some water keep your times down. When we hit mile 11 on the run my wife was again out there with the kids my friend noticed and waved and had to tell me hey your wife is over there I was so out of it as I didn't even dawn on me who it was. I was completely lost in a fog I did my best to wave and knew I was so close to the finish it was great to see them. It was just finish keep your time down just finish keep your time down. My wife joked with me I checked my watch 10 times while I was passing them.

Finally hit the last aid station and my friends had a ice cold dr pepper for me and lots of water again. One of them ran with me for a half a mile and kept encouraging me. I knew I was close I knew I needed to keep running so I would do so in spurts there was nothing left all I could do was think keep your time down keep your time down. Run walk run somemore try and not think of anything but moving forward. Finally hit the last stretch and my wife was there again it propelled me across the finish. I didn't want a staggering finish photo like I got last year so I tried to keep my head up until I was past the photographer didn't stop my watch or anything as I knew I had hit my times. I knew I had pred and got sub 3 on the run and sub 8 for the race. Run ended up being 2:56:32 and the single hardest thing I have ever done and final time ended up being 7:56:10 a 12:18 second pr.

I had several volunteers try to take me to the med tent as I was staggering pretty bad and in a complete and total fog. But I declined all I wanted to do was find my family and sit down and then go lay in the splash pad (which I did several times). After laying in the splash pad and finally cooling down a little I told my wife I was going to go look for refreshments so I staggered to the refreshment tent. It was a long walk to the tent as it was half way across the town square. I began to fog up pretty good some people asked me if I was ok and I could barely talk. My breath was gone again I was completely and totally emotionally, mentally and physically spent. On the way back I started to cry as it was so far away back to the splash pad and I was never going to get there I was just so gone emotionally by this time. Finally made it back laid down again in the splash pad. And sat with my wife and she gave me the baby. I began to cry again because I had my baby I was just so happy to be done and have my baby it was just one of those moments.


After awhile I walked to get my bike out of T2 when my core temp finally came down a little after some ice cream or as much of it as I could eat and I almost started crying again when I posted on facebook what happened just bringing back the emotions of what I just went through.

I have heat exhaustion even today I still can't get my core temps where they need to be and I overheat even inside the air conditioned house. I took 3 cold showers when I got home and despite drinking over 100 ounce of ice water I am not peeing that much. I am drinking water non stop and can't seem to get enough. I woke up in the middle of night with charlie horses and at 2am my muscles hurt so bad I couldn't get back to sleep. So I was awake from 2:30-6am, I finally felt back asleep at 6am to be woken up with a charlie horse in the balls of my foot at 7:30. I just feel worn out.

I still don't know how I pred or hit my run times I don't think I have ever gutted out a race so much. I am happy for the pr but I worked so hard for so much more it has left me totally bummed at the same time. I am again contemplating when I can do my next race just to get out there well after the first bout of never ever ever ever again.

The final temp for the day ended up being 95 and it was that when I finished at 3:30. I will take the 12:18 pr that was for sure wore my medal the rest of the night because I earned that dang thing.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The sham that is the Biggest Loser

Most days I have no idea why I still watch the Biggest Loser but every season I still tune in. It's probably the OCD side in me that just can't stop watching since I already started watching. Its one of those shows that I put on and only half pay attention as I play with my phone or try and beat the latest level of Candy Crush but yet I still tune in each season. When I first started watching I was over 415 pounds and I could relate with the contestants and try and live vicariously through them as they were getting a chance to do something I would love to do. I even applied to be on the show in June of 2009 after having lost about 40 pounds that year. I find as the years pass I can no longer relate with the contestants or the show and I find myself further and further away from even understanding them anymore. I never even got a call or an email to go with my application to the show most likely because I didn't have the sob story attached to it something they could play up on the big screen something they could sell you. I was fat because I liked food and I didn't move enough it was that simple. There was no emotional tragedy or event for Jillian to sit me in the corner and try and play armchair therapist to try and fix me. I liked food and I lived a sedentary lifestyle oh how simple and probably a greater reason for people being obese then what the show tries to portray.



But I plugged along I never had one of those amazing 15 pound weight loss weeks in fact the most I ever loss in a week was a paltry 4 pounds something the trainers and biggest loser would have shamed a contestant for losing in a week. But what I did have was consistency and the strive to keep moving forward. Between May of 2009 and June of 2010 I lost 2-3 pounds a week every single week and the weight slowly came off. The process ended up taking more than 2 years and when I got to my lowest of 187 right before my first marathon in October of 2011 I had spent nearly 3 years losing that weight. I was what some would probably call to skinny by that point like they have been calling Rachel out since season 15 finale aired and I was no where near as emancipated or skinny as she ended up being. I had lost %55 of my body weight about %5 less than she ended up losing and I didn't get a big cash prize all I got was the ability to be healthy and fit. I was about to run my first marathon and I was very fit, looking at Rachel with zero muscle and zero fat I wonder how fit she is being a former swimmer you would think she would want some muscle in her arms and legs. She looked more like a crash diet calorie deprived person rather than someone who would kick your butt in the pool. She took the game to what was going to eventually be its conclusion someone so interested in winning that they swung the pendulum the other direction to win. From eating too much to eating way too little all for good tv and all for a cash prize.

Weight loss like that is unsustainable because with it comes misery. The misery of always being hungry the misery of the things you once used to enjoy being forever denied to you. The misery of doing something day in and day out that you hate. It's not a happy medium, it's a terrible place to be. That is one of the things that has made me like the show less and less over the years well one of the reasons. They make exercise seem like a medieval torture chamber something to be dreaded and something to be feared. Like being put on the rack and stretched until your arms and legs pop off or having your toenails ripped out one by one. There is crying, there is puking, there is despair. None of it looks fun all of it looks horrible. But working out and exercise doesn't have to be that way heck it actually can be lots of fun. I never knew that until I found my love for running and then eventually triathlons. Oh sure there is days where I'd love to be sitting on the couch watching tv and vegging like the old days but there is many glorious days where the runs seem seamless and fun and I wouldn't trade it for anything. And on those days when all the hard work accumulates to a pr or finishing something you would have never thought possible just a few years ago like a marathon and or a ironman it is totally worth it. It's the reason you see tons of runners signing up for marathons or ironman events not because they are being tortured to do so but because they enjoy it. Sure there are some who hate it and our doing it for that fitness aspect or to tick something off on a bucket list but you won't see them in a few years because that is unsustainable. No one is going to do something they hate for years and years its almost a matter of time before they quit.



And that is where the biggest loser fails, they never show the positive aspect or the joy of training or doing events like the marathon or an ironman. When one contestant wanted to try for a sub 4 marathon and only lost 2 pounds in a month they shamed him for losing so little even though he was at a pretty good and healthy weight. Working out is a torture device and do people who watch the show really want to be tortured or would they actually rather find something that they love and that is actually fun. Running can be fun, biking can be fun, swimming can be fun and working out can be fun and enjoyable. But we have for some reason started trying to make everyone think working our or running is torture. They do this in schools too you did something bad now go run laps. Running is a punishment, working out is torture. And they wonder why America is becoming fatter and fatter. And the Biggest Loser perpetuates this myth. This isn't healthy, this isn't normal, this isn't right. Stop the madness per se.

So now we see a contestant finally take it too far and they feel they need to shame her my worry isn't that she's too skinny my worry is that she has done something she can't keep up. That once the show is over she will just put all the weight back on. Over %50 of the contestants do just that they put the wright right back on because the biggest loser didn't really help them. They put them in a torture bubble had them work out for 6 hours a day and eat nothing to lose the weight as quickly as possible for good television. No one wants to watch somebody lose 2-3 pounds a week for 3 years even though its the best way to lose the weight and to keep it off. They want results now and they want them fast so they can sell you yoghurt and jenny o turkey all in the name of good television. What Rachel accomplished was good but what would be even better and great is if she manages to keep the weight off.

Since I started in 2009 I have managed to keep the weight off for 5 years. No I am no longer at that low weight of 187 as I have but back on about 30 pounds of it but I am still close to 200 pounds down after 5 years and I don't see the weight coming back because I found something I love and I don't mind getting up in the morning to do. I love to run and I love to bike and I love triathlons and it keeps me motivated and it keeps me going. Working out isn't torture, it isn't something to dread, it is something to look forward too.

This is where the trainers and the biggest loser fail. I have run with several Biggest Loser contestants over the years and I always wondered why they weren't faster or better than they were. Hadn't we came from the same background, being former obese people using running to help lose weight. When I did a 5k with them in March of 2011 I managed to beat every former contestant with just a low 26 minute 5k and I was still around 230 pounds. You watch the show and Jillian will turn that treadmill up to a 12mph and have them run on it for 10 seconds and after years of training I always watch that and ask why. It accomplishes nothing, in fact it is probably more adverse than helpful. Jillian herself brags about being able to sprint these amazing times and turning the treadmill up to a 12 or 14mph but when she failed abysmally at a triathlon last September she ran a 11:47 pace for the 4 mile run. Do you really think someone like Usain Bolt would average nearly 12 minute miles if you asked him to run 4 miles. She is a sham, she is a fraud but she makes good tv screaming in someones face until they burst into tears. She made tons of excuses why she had such a poor showing from her wet suit to her bike but never once admitted her abysmal running time something I could easily beat at 250 pounds and just after a year of training. It's all about bad training, they train them poorly, they don't give them the love and eventually they set them up to fail. They turn the treadmill to a 12 and don;t actually teach them how to run only how to be tortured. Once released from the bubble it's now up to them to maintain this weight loss but they weren't giving the sufficient tools to do so. That is the shame of the biggest loser and why I can no longer relate. I am not being tortured, I still eat the food I love hey it may mean I need to run an extra mile or two but I love running so that's not really a punishment. Hopefully Rachel can find that food and working out aren't the enemy and not fall back into old traps but I am doubtful.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

STG Half Ironman 70.3 Pro Championships

Several years ago I kind of got interested in triathlons, I like swimming and I like biking and of course I was coming from a running background being a runner and all. I liked the aspect of them they just seemed a nice challenge and added a little extra to races but at the time I was on a mountain bike and just using it for a short 5 mile roundtrip commute to work. I did my first sprint triathlon in April of 2011 and it just kind of got put on hold. I wanted a nicer bike to race on and wanted to put the proper training in as I did literally no training for that sprint triathlon and just kind of winged it on 2 swims and my bike commuting.

2011 was also the year I decided to do my first marathon. So once done with my lone triathlon I went into full marathon training that consumed me. The race went well but I didn't meet any of the expectations I wanted for the race so I decided to wing another marathon in March of 2012 that was a complete disaster coming off ITBS in my knee it was one of the worst races I have ever done. I was burned out, I was done, I was losing my love for running. So I picked up a fairly cheap road bike in April and started to think about doing triathlons again maybe trying for an Olympic in the fall or next spring and redoing the sprint tri I did the previous year which had a winter version too in November.

In May everything changed though as the local ironman that had been a full became a half as they had trouble selling out the full the previous 2 years (I actually talked to one of the operators of the race on Friday and he let me in on the fact that what happened was that when they signed the 5 year contract they tried to get ironman to try and guarantee that they wouldn't put on any other earlier spring ironman events as most of the country can't train for one in the Winter and it would hurt STG. They wouldn't go for it though and ended up offering another full 3 weeks prior in Dallas which hurt registration for STG plus STG had gotten the rightly deserved reputation of being the hardest ironman in the country and one of the top ten hardest in the world). This altered my plans entirely as I was fairly confident I could be ready for a half in a years time so I decided to sign up.

Luck would have it another coworker also wanted to do it and he actually got our employer to sponsor us for it and my work paid the registration fee (that is huge as the race cost $225). Getting into triathlon training completely reinvigorated me. I found my love again after what had been a pretty low couple of months. I actually can't imagine not triathlon training ever again I love it too much. Now that I was committed and registered I no longer could think about a spring Olympic I needed to do that fall Olympic. I had signed up for STG marathon again in October and luckily Kokopelli Olympic was exactly 3 weeks prior and could lead into a taper for the marathon. I still wanted redemption at the marathon so I decided to train for both at the same time. This led to some very odd training that I love. It was kind of done on a 3:1 basis. Heavy running for 3 weeks (40+ miles a week) with biking of around 40 miles and 1-2 swims a week, and then a 4th heavy bike week with light running (70+ miles biking with just 20-25 running).

Funny enough it actually worked really well for me, I ran a 1:51 half in July as my tune up for the marathon and started to contemplate trying to go for sub 4 for the marathon. Kokopelli went good but with lots of learning lessons having only done a sprint tri and that as a pool tri. Open water was a completely new beast and had lots of issues like sighting and the heat after being out for a couple of hours. Everything went great though and I was still contemplating a sub at STG in October but laid back and ended up with a 4:18 a 40 minute pr.

Then came the winter of misery. After training for both an Olympic and a marathon at the same time I was completely burned out and took it easy in both October and November I still set a half pr in November of a 1:50 and then turned around and set a new sprint tri pr of 1:25 by 20 minutes 2 weeks later. December I started to get back into training for the HiM but started having mechanical issues on my $200 road bike I had bought. I missed several weeks of bike training when I had to get the crank and bottom brackets replaced. Then I got really sick on Christmas and had that lingering cough from the flu that didn't go away for a month. Making January rough again.

I didn't have many races planned and started to just pace so I could keep fresh but not have to race and I got free enteries. I paced the 2 hour group in January for STG half and then the 2:20 group for Zion national park half in March. I signed up for a dualathon (3.1 run, 24 mile bike, 3.1 run) in February that was a perfect brick training leading up to the half ironman. But it was a complete disaster where I got two flats on the bike course and rode 2 miles off course and it just wasn't a good day. Frustrated with the bike I decided I wanted a new bike and I wanted to get a triathlon bike. Originally we had been saving to go see my sister in Canada who had gotten cancer but she moved back locally in February because she had a better support system here. That meant I could save for a bike instead.

The great local bike/triathlon shop I go to allowed me to get on a layaway plan and set me up with a nice Quintanaroo Kilo triathlon bike. I managed to get the bike a month before the HiM and got around 300 miles on it before the big race. But then I discovered something in March as to the reason i probably had a really low year the previous year its because I get really bad spring allergies that makes racing and running extremely difficult I never correlated the two before. I have suffered from spring allergies my whole life never thought on how much it would effect me racing wise and why my winter races are always so much better. But I fought through them and just kept plugging away at the miles.

I did the spring sprint triathlon again and despite being sick and suffering from allergies set a 6 minute pr which was fantastic. Got back on track and 3 weeks prior got a great training day in. I swam a half mile in the lake, went for a 52 mile bike ride all on course then ran 8 miles on course afterwords for a nice 60.5 training day giving me a great boost and confidence that I had my 70.3 in the bag.

I do admit to adjusting to more of a 2 week taper as I wanted to get my running mileage over 100 for the month as I wanted to keep my streak alive of 100+ months running and this was my 30th straight. Taper went good although I was a little manic and a little freaked out.

Not since my first marathon back in 2011 have I been so nervous and out of my mind the week before a race. I manically checked the weather everyday as wind can be brutal on the bike and swim. It looked to be hot upper 80's but I can deal with heat on the run, wind is another matter. Wednesday rolls around and we are seeing winds of 45mph out at the venue. Last year the wind was so bad for the full they pulled tons of people out of the water and I am not that good of a swimmer in chop so it had me freaked out even though the forecast kept showing winds of just 5mph the morning of.

I took Friday off work because there is a lot to do. I went and did the triathlon club breakfast that I am involved in. Then we went to the expo and the mandatory meeting for athletes and did athlete check-in. Man athlete check-in for an ironman event is insane. You gotta sign a waiver first, then they shuttle you from one table after another getting bibs, and stickers and info, and then your swag and then your timing chip. Head off to lunch with the family and then go do bike check-in. You have to check-in your bike the day before to race. Next thing I know its 5pm. Really easy to forget about your nerves when you are so busy.

We came home and laid down for like an hour and half and then headed out to do the ironkids race with my three year old. I signed him up for the one mile event because he was able to do half of a 5k last September and he would have been ok had they started on time. I don't know if anyone has ever tried to corral a rambunctious three year old at a start line while the announcer prattles on for 15 minutes but you end up wanting to punch him in the face. Off we go Oliver is the typical run then get tired then walk then run some more. About 3/4 of the way through he wants me to carry him but I knew we were so close we just kept going. He did fantastic finished the whole mile and even though we were DFL he was so excited to get his medal and of course just like a three year old he completely forgot he just finished a mile and was complaining to be carried and went and ran in the splash pad and screamed when we made him leave.

Went home and prepped all my bags for the race the next day. You have three bags a swim bag, a bike gear bag and a run bag and all your stuff must be in each bag for each portion. I didn't do much in my run gear bag just a running tech tee as I didn't want to run in my bike jersey. Get some dinner and off to bed by 10am. Alarm is for 4am because I want to get to the shuttles at 5am so I can drop off my run gear bag in T2. Of course I wake up before my alarm and just get up. Make some breakfast and am out of the house in perfect time. Even though I set up all my bags the night before I keep having that panic mode like I forgot something because I have forgotten things in my last 2 tris (my swim goggles and my helmet). Almost want to rifle through my bags to make sure I have everything.

Bus ride out is a nervous ride and I don't really talk with anyone. Get out around 5:30 and my swim wave is at 7:33 so I know I got 2 hours before my start. Get marked for the swim and go to my bike to make sure my tires are good and everything is set up. Your not allowed to set up anything in your transition area I find out and everything has to stay in your bike bag. I checked the weather before I left and it said 55 but it was 50 in hurricane and I am little cold because I wore nothing extra just my bike jersey and triathlon shorts. Glad to realize I forgot nothing and use the portapotties real quick and then just stand around and talk and shiver a little. Go use the portapotties again around 6:15 and get back and the guy is announcing we have to be out of T1 by 6:30, I hadn't planned on leaving T1 until 7 with my start being at 7:33. Oh well I bag up my morning gear that is going back and start to line up to head out to the swim start.

This is where my day went completely went downhill. Most people used clips and biking shoes meaning that they had other shoes on for the walk down to the start. I use my running shoes and cages. with the new bike I didn't want to overwhelm myself with too much new stuff race day and will get clips in the next month or two but opted to not and try and get them before the race. This meant I was completely barefoot all the way to the start. The road was filled with gravel and pebbles and my feet were completely torn up, where as the people with shoes got to drop them off at the bag drop and had to walk less than half the distance because of it barefoot. The walk was probably 1/3 of mile and my feet were bleeding by the end from the rocks. (I mentioned it after the race to one of the people who put it on and she agreed they should do something and that they may lay down carpet next year for it).

We watched the pros go off at 6:55 and actually finish before we even got in the water as most of them did it in 23-25 minutes meaning they were out of the water by 7:20. Line up for my swim start and am surprised they actually have you swim out to a start point in the lake. Its not much of a swim maybe 50 meters but still kind of odd. Waves go off every 3 minutes. So you get there and kind of tread water and bump into people and wait until an air horn goes off.

The lake is cold probably like 58 but I had swam it twice in the last month so I was expecting it. I told myself just get your head down and you will be fine, settle in and don't worry about anyone around you as your slow and several waves will likely catch you (which they did). A lot of people went in a tight line to the buoys but I kept a little wider as I am slower and know eventually that some waves will catch me from behind and I am ok with that. It means I won't have to get swam over when they come from behind and it really doesn't add much to the swim except when i got to swim to the turn buoys and make up the little distance I am out.

Unlike Kokopelli sighting goes perfect for this race. We are not swimming into the sun and I bought some new clear goggles instead of my tinted ones on Monday (I know crazy first time using them for a race but I had the same exact brand and model just tinted before and I have 45000 meters on them this year and like them). I did use some anti-fog spray and my goggles stayed clear the whole time. I could spot up to 2-3 buoys at any given time as they had a lot more buoys out then Kokopelli and it just went great. Plus no real way to swim off course as they had kiyakers and boats all along the perimeter for assistance. This was to be my longest open water swim so I just settle in.

The only time it got crazy was during the turns as everyone was tight in on the buoys (we had 2 turns it was kind of like an open ended square) and I swallowed a lot of water during these turns with all the packed bodies in kicking water up. Make my second turn and you can see the shore even if its off at a distance. Man that shore just never seemed to getting any closer drove me crazy. I know I am close and just want to be out of the water and on the bike. The swim was the only portion I was worried about as that would suck so bad to get pulled and that's it your day is over a years worth of training for just a swim. Finally hit the shore and am excited to get out of the water. I got an odd cramp near the end but just shrugged it off.

Had to stop and use the portapotties for all the water I swallowed on the turns, I tried to pee in my wet suit to save time it was just too cold for me to pee. Get to transition and most of my bike rack is empty which I figured it would be with me being a slower swimmer. I was actually very happy with my swim time my best time of the day in my opinion for me. 1:05:01, which is great everyone with the swim watches said the swim was even a little long. I swam the 1500 meters at Kokopelli in a hour so this was great for me though. The swim cutoff is 1:10 but it goes off the last wave which was at 8 so I would have had 1:37 to the swim but I totally made the cutoff without even needing the extra time which made me so happy.

But as I go to put my shoes on all of a sudden I get a cramp. My feet bleeding and then getting salt water in them is making me crap something I have never had happen on a swim before. Ruh roh Shaggy its going to be a long day, no way am I freaking quitting though. Not a lot you can do about it though so I eat my chomp and get some water and get out on the bike. Yea with having to stop to use the bathroom and working out the cramp I ended up with a very slow T1 a 7;46.

I am feeling ok though I would get some minor cramps every now and then on the bike and I would switch positions say to aero or out of aero and just work the cramp out. I know I am not putting in my fastest bike times but I have gotten really strong on the bike in the last year and knew I would be under an hour on the cutoff on the bike. The cramps forced me lay back a little and not take it too aggressive which cost me time. Now this bike course is brutal with almost 3600 feet of elevation gain in 56 miles. STG Half Ironman is still considered one of the toughest in the entire country if not toughest even as a half. But I had ridden 52 miles of the 56 so I knew what to expect. You really have 4 major climbs with tons of little ones in between and a fair share of downs too.

The first portion was more of a nuisance than anything you are kind of packed in with one lane and can't use the shoulder because of the rumble strips and some bikers and racers are just complete jacktards. I had one lady illegally pass me then slow down then drive me crazy by keeping looking back and saying I was drafting off her. Or several riders who would ride right in the middle of the lane and you would have to call out on your left to pass them. I heard there were several accidents on course and I am not surprised. Get through the first major climb and am feeling ok.

Aid stations were at 11, 16 and 40. I am feeling the cramping so I make sure I stop at every aid station and not just ride through, get some Gatorade, some chomps and a banana every time. Volunteers were great helped out greatly at all the aid stations.

Settle in for the long bike. My wife was tracking me and was expecting me at mile 35 on the bike up from the in-laws house. I am coming down the road and I am confused there are bikers coming up it though too and I am like am I lost I thought we weren't doing this hill. Trust me they found every single little extra hill they could find. The whole 4 miles I didn't ride were all uphill SOBs. See my wife and son and scream out Oliver as I am going fast and downhill and that was it they were gone haha. I guess they had just arrived so at least they got to see me on the bike, heard they saw me on the run too but don't know where.

Climb number 4 is the most brutal and happens at mile 43. Pull into aid station 3 and hear you want a batman water, I actually did want a water to fill up my water bottle but I am like batman water huh. Look over and the volunteer was dressed as batman so yea I took a batman water. I get my chomps, get my banana, get my gatorade and take my last s-cap for the bike ride (was taking them every hour or so). Man climb number 4 really beats me up, I had trouble standing up at times because my calves are pretty much locked up into a massive cramp at this point. But I know if I can just get up this climb its all downhill baby to the finish (except for 2 hills one you take fast enough that its easy Ledges on the marathon course). Hit the downhill and am just happy to be nearly done, I pretty much hit the wall at mile 45 on the bike and the rest of the day would be all wall all day.

Find the stupid hill at mile 52, I mean they divert us off the road for half a mile just to climb this stupid hill, I swear they are actively looking for hills at this point. Get to T2 and am glad to be done even though I know several more hours await me. I actually can't even swing my leg off the bike it is so cramped up it takes me two full minutes to actually manage to get off my bike as I massage out the cramp in my calf. Bike time was ok not nearly anywhere as good as I normally am 3:39:35 (keep in mind I did the 52 miles on course just 3 weeks earlier in 3:13 and that was with me having to stop at lights as I wasn't on a managed course). I am ok with it though because it could have gone worse. Saw multiple flats and accidents (talked to a guy on the Snow Canyon climb completely covered in dirt and blood who wrecked on the bike course) and was happy no flats and no mechanical issues.

T2 again is slow with me having to stop and work out the cramp 5:55 (I can do t2 in less than a minute as I don't switch shoes). Hit the run course after stopping for my first soda of many of the day (the sugar really helped me). I realize its going to be tough the bottom of my feet feel like I am running on broken glass from the bleeding in the morning and I am cramped up. Decide to run the downhills and straights and walk the uphills. Problem is the first 4 miles is all uphill its a brutal run course with nearly 1300 feet of elevation gain. Do my best and I stop at every aid station to dump water on myself and get soda I decided I wanted real food to help with the cramping rather than chomps or gus. So I take pretzels, chips, twizzlers, bananas, oranges and these yummy watermelon balls this one aid station had. There is an aid station every mile so I get a little of each of that at each station, Chips at one, oranges at another.

The volunteers were amazing and so accommodating and cheerful. Some even seemed to take sick joy out of it haha like the one volunteer who dumped ice water down my back which made me jump even though I asked for it and was expecting it. They were all so great as were the spectators there was one guy on the run course with a hose that I just let soak me to death with how hot it was and amazingly enough the only place I chafed was on my neck where my helmet strapped rub for some reason (never had that problem before).

I hit mile 4 and seem to get a second wind might have helped that we are finally going downhill. Actually do my best running of the entire day between miles 4-7. I dropped my overall pace by nearly 1:30 minutes per mile. I would give it all back the last 4 miles though. Hit I think aid station 8 and the head volunteer comes up to and congratulates me as that is the aid station I volunteered at the last 2 years for the ironman and she remembered me. I hear my name a lot during the run but I just want to be done. I know I got the cutoff in the bag and will be an official finisher but you just want to be done. Its now hot outside about 90 degrees and you have been out there for more than 7 hours at this time.

Get to about mile 11 and magically they found another hill for us to run up, they divert you off on a detour to run up a stupid quarter mile hill. Someone needs to show em they can do diverts without finding hills SOBs. At mile 12 I am expecting my friend who is going to have a slushee dr pepper waiting for me. I guess he got really sick the night before and dropped it off for me and the bike shop owner has it waiting for me instead (that baby was magical at the end as I sat on the park bench and drank it and watched my son run in the splash pad again) as he was running that aid station.

You round the corner and can see the finish line oh how magical it looks. Oliver is waiting for me to give me a high five as I go through the shoot and they announce your name. What a long day I had hoped to do the run in 2:30 but when the cramping started I hoped to just be under 3 neither happened as I finished in 3:10;11 but I could care less I just finished 70.3 with over 69 miles of it cramping My overall time was 8:08:28 about an hour after what I wanted to finish in but I finished and it was glorious.

I no longer really see myself as a runner anymore and more of triathlete now. I am going to train for STG marathon again and try and get my sub 4 but I am also going to train for Kokopelli again too and do better there too. I think I will be back next year for the HiM and to get a little revenge on the course with some flip flops haha

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Snow Canyon Half Marathon, new 10k and half pr.

Ok the Snow Canyon half marathon is my favorite race of all time, it was my first half marathon, and I have set a pr on it every single time I have run it trimming my time by 40 minutes in 2 years on the course. I love it so much I actually talked Justin out of running the really big free marathon and Katrina as well out of that race to run this race instead. I look forward to this race all year and it is always a race I want to go for a big pr on.
My training has been a little off since the marathon as I pushed myself so hard with marathon training and triathlon training that I have had a little struggle wanting to run anything more than 25-30 miles a week in the last month and a half. I felt a lot more confident going into this race last year but knew that I could get a pr with a good race. Also I made the mistake of doing my last 4 miler on Thursday in shoes with nearly 1000 miles on them which made calves hurt. I commute to work a couple of times a week on my bicycle and I turned a pair of old running shoes with nearly a 1000 miles on them into my biking shoes. I use cages on my pedals and my shoes would keep coming untied and wrapping around my pedals nearly causing me to wreck as I couldn't get my foot out with it wrapped around the pedal. So I bought yankz that you just cinch up and don't tie and put them on a old pair of running shoes. When I got home from work on Thursday I knew I needed to hurry as my wife needed to work at 6pm so I forgot to change out my shoes in my hurry and used my really old shoes. This wore out my legs a little but I figured oh well nothing you can do about it. This week has been a little crazy as it was my little boys third birthday on Monday and then trick or treating on Wednesday just made it a hectic week. Yesterday morning I left for work an hour early so I could get off a little earlier to pick up my packet and it may have ended up saving my life. Since I was leaving earlier I took Bluff and the Blvd roads normally a lot more traffic crazywise when i leave at my normal time. Normally when I leave at my normal time I go down Dixie drive and get on the freeway to avoid the traffic, its a little longer route but takes less time with the less traffic. But leaving earlier I went the shorter route as there is less traffic that early. As I am driving up the BLVD I get a complete blowout (it looked like someone shot my tire with a shot gun). Had I not been leaving early to get my packet after work I would have taken my normal route and been on the freeway when I got the blowout this meant I would have been doing 75 MPH instead of the 35 when the tire blew. Running saves your life in more ways than one I tell you.
So here I am at 7am in a Maverik parking lot trying to put on my donut. I am parked on a slope as I was afraid to drive the car any further and all of a sudden my car falls of the jack. I realize its because I am on the slope and not wanting to drive any further but needing a flat surface I decide to inch up on the sidewalk and change the tire there. The car falls off the jack a second time and I examine the jack and realize I bent the jack when it fell off on the slope. So now I am like crap and call my boss as I know he should be on that end of town on his way to work to see if he can bring me a jack. Some random stranger offers a hydraulic jack and I get my tire changed and drive it up the street to Big-O to get a new tire. Evidently my alignment was off and it wore the inside of the tire to the threads which caused it to blow and my other front tire was really close to blowing as well. So 2 new tires and 3 hours later I finally get to work. This means I was not able to get my packet early and by the time I got it it was nearly 7pm. It also meant as I was so late getting there I also didn't get a race shirt as they run out of both mens L and XL shirts. They did take your name and said they would mail you one. I picked up mine and Katrina's packet (she got a shirt guess it pays to be a skinny minnie) and got home around 7:30. This meant I didn't get to sit around and chill like I had wanted too. I got to bed around 11pm after finalizing my new running playlist for the race. Katrina was picking me up at 6:45 to give me a ride to the buses. I initially was going to just ride my bicycle to the buses as my wife had to work at 11 and needed the car and was going to drop Oliver off at the grandparents on her way to work. But as I had Katrina's packet she just agreed to pick me up as my house is only like a half mile detour and I am only about 3 miles from the finish line. Funny thing is I forgot to set my alarm but since I get up at 5:50am everyday anyways I woke up at 5:55 regardless. I had set out all my stuff the night before including a couple bags of Gu for Justin and Katrine. If you come see me for a race you get a bag of GU LOL i gotta get rid of em somehow (I got an entire diaper box of them for volunteering for the ironman 1000's of them and I rarely use GU (I used 0 today, just ate a bonk breaker and had a gatorade before the race). So come see me for a race and a bag of GU.
Get my morning business done and get a text from Katrina that she was a little early so gather everything up and head out for my ride. I took her some trick or treat candy because I felt bad her house didn't do candy and she funningly had the same idea and brought me some fruit snacks her healthier treat. We get there and meet up with my friend and head to the start. It is a little cold at the start and have to stand around for 40 minutes. I decide to use the restroom but screw those porta potty lines so for the first race ever I go find me a bush to pee so much better. I know its not going to be a great day as I am feeling a little tense and tight usually a bad sign that it is not going to be my day running-wise. I know there is nothing I can do about it so I make a decision most runners would think was a crazy race strategy (I suggested it to Katrina for her race and she laughed at me). I know I am tense and tight but I also know how the course is laid out and know if I wait too long to make my move I will not pr with how I am feeling for the day. All the best downhills happen in the first 7 miles and if I want to pr I will need to take advantage of those hills. So i decide to go out at 1:45 pace and run 8 minute flat miles as long as I can. I know I will likely blow up with how I am feeling that day but also know I should be able to hang on to a pr. I am thinking heck best case scenario is hey I get the 1:45 but I know its unlikely with how I feel that day. I am running pretty good and come in to the 5k point at 24:45. I get passed by batman at this point and the 1:45 pacers which is odd because I was on a 1:45 pace all the way to mile 9. I hit the 10k point at 48:25 a pr by almost 3 minutes for a 10k which also means that second 5k of the race was ran in 23:40. It also means I ran my very first sub 50 10k ever and set a new 10k pr and nearly set a 5k pr as I my 5k pr is 23:05. This is what I knew I needed to do if I was going to pr because I know how hard the second half of the race is having run this race the last 2 years.
My shoelaces drove me crazy the entire race, I had to tie them 3 times and I can't remember the last time I had to retie my shoes in a race. I didn't want to stop or slow down to tie them so I would run a mile before tying them when I hit a aid station so I could get a drink and retie them. I really don't like running with my shoes untied that I found out it made my ankles hurt but I didn't want to stop. When I hit mile 9 aid station I decided to stop and retie my shoe one last time and actually walk the aid station and get a gatorade and water in me and do a little walk. Bad bad bad bad idea when I started back up I could no longer hit the 8 minute miles. I had been right at a 8:00 pace at the mile 9 station and hit it at 1:12xx. But after my little break I found all I could muster anymore was a 9mm. I knew pretty quick a 1:45 was no longer going to happen so i decided to just make sure I pr and hopefully go sub 1:50. The last 4 miles were pure misery but I knew I just needed to hang on. I finally crossed the finish line at 1:50:46 which is a 1:09 pr and I am very happy with it. I hung around at the end with Justin and we went and got our drop bags and loaded up on goodies (he finished in 1:40 he has gotten so fast last year he ran it in 2:07 and his first half marathon a year and half ago in 2:27) while we waited for Katrina to finish (she took my advice she won't admit it though and went for a sub 2 and did awesome and got it). It was then I got to scar Katrina for life and I hope the bag of Gus offset the scarring. At some point my tape came off my left nipple and I was about a mile away from having a full on bloody nipple. Luckily it was only slightly bloody but I am sure her getting to see my bloody nipple ruined her We hung around for prizes and I danced for my dinner. I got up on stage and danced to win me and my wife dinner and cramped up from it LOL advice to others do not funky dance after a pr half marathon it will not end well Katrina laughed that she should have video taped it, I felt bad she didn't get to win a prize but I guess getting to see me dance is prize enough.
She gave me a ride home and I took a quick shower before having to walk up to get my son from the grandparents house. Ok that 3.5 mile walk sucks after a race I will tell you that. My wife had dropped off the stoller off but about a half mile from our house Oliver wanted to get out and run and I can't deny the kid running. So even though hes not a very fast runner I had to run the last half mile home way too early to be running gall darn it. All in all a great race and still my favorite race of all time. A 10k pr, my first sub 50 10k, a half marathon pr and nearly a 5k pr, and free dinner for me and wife at a place I love to eat what more can you ask for. My Splits Mile 1: 8:02 (good start pace, not going out to fast) MIle 2: 8:08 (still doing good not going out to fast) Mile 3: 7:53 (starting to speed up went through the first 5k in 24:45) Mile 4: 7:37 (second fastest mile of the race) Mile 5: 7:41 Mile 6: 7:34 (fastest mile of the day, went through the 10k at 48:25 and the second 5k was a 23:40) Mile 7: 7:48 (still doing good) Mile 8: 9:09 (this was one of my shoe lace related problems as I stopped at the 7.7 aid station to tie it and it came loose less than a half mile later arghhhh) Mile 9: 8:01 (still doing good but this is where I stopped tied my shoe, walked the aid station and couldn't get back up to pace but came in at 1:12xx for the first 9 miles right on pace) Mile 10: 8:54 Mile 11: 9:36 Mile 12: 9:07 (tried to speed up to make the sub 1:50 which I failed at) Mile 13: 9:36 last .15 (course was slightly long everone got 13.15-13.2 depending on how you ran the tangents) 8:57 pace/

Saint George Marathon 2012, getting close to sub 4.

The short of it I ran 4:18:14 today at which is a 40:41 marathon pr from last years Saint George marathon and an an 1:13 minute improvement over Sand Hollow in March plus while I ran a positive split it was a vastly improved positive split. My first marathon positive split was 28 minutes, my second marathon's positive split was an hour and one minute, this marathon I only ran a 12:06 minute positive split. Plus the wall officially moved from mile 20 to mile 24 this time. I still got a lot to learn but I did much better in everything today from pacing and just running a smarter race.
Now the long of it. My training hasn't been what you would call optimal because my main focus has been getting ready for a half ironman coming up next May plus my very first Olympic Triathlon that I did in September. When I signed up for this race back in April I had intended to try and train to run a sub 4 and get my running mileage up to 50 a week average. But when I switched goals to be more focused on triathlons then running I wasn't sure what to go with come race day. My typical weeks were 40 miles running, 40 miles biking and 2 miles swimming for 3 weeks then a cutback in running to focus more on biking the 4th week. I would do just 20-25 miles running that 4th week, 80-90 miles biking and still 2 miles swimming. I did have a really great tune up half in July of 1:51:55 that made me wonder if sub 4 might still be possible. Most of 20 mile long runs were kind of in the realm as well but I knew I would need to run a perfect race if it were to even be possible. I did 19.4 in 3:10, 19.4 in 3:30 (I had a 24 hour flu and this run you can chalk up to dizzy idiocy as I shouldn't have run it) and 20.3 in 3:19. I also ran the first 14.5 miles of marathon course in 2:19 coming into the halfway point at 2:08. So I wasn't sure what I should do. Three weeks before the marathon I did my very first Olympic triathlon which was my A race for the year and had a pretty good race but afterwords I realized how run down I was. All the training for months on end had run me into the ground so I was determined to have a very restful taper. I even took my vacation last week so I could sleep in everyday and get rested for the race. It did seem to help as my energy level was much better this week instead of the state of exhaustion I have been in the last couple of weeks. I literally made myself manic this week not sure what pace to set on. I debated and debated with myself if I should try for sub 4. So much so I actually printed two wrist bands with splits for race day, the left wrist was my sub 4 eff this lets go for it band and my right wrist had a more conservative 4:05 and 4:10 splits on it. I literally had no idea which goal I would go for even up to the moment the starting gun went off this morning.
I picked up my packet and enjoyed myself at the expo for a couple of hours. Last year I bought an extra marathon t-shirt as for some reason they think long sleeve shirts are a good idea in the desert this year I decided I wanted a hoodie instead (I love it, has the STG marathon logo on it and 26.2 right below the pocket). Because as a no longer fat man I get freezing cold all the time now. I played a small game of Marco Pollo with Katrina at the expo but could never find her (and yes I did walk around the expo hollering put Marco). Last night I met with Katrina (redsparkle) and me and her husband Asa had dinner together at Brick Oven Pizza. Justin was going to dinner with another of group of runners so it was an intimate FE just the 3 of us and a crazy little toddler. My wife had a root canal on Thursday so wasn't up to dinner but I think she wanted a couple hours of quiet time so I took Oliver with me. I think I might have cured Asa and Katrina from wanting kids for a couple of years with the little bundle of dizzy craziness I brought along (think of me bundled into a little 3 foot package of crazy haha). I went home and laid out all my marathon stuff and was in bed my 9pm with an alarm set for 4pm. Me and the running group were all meeting at 5am to ride the buses up together so I opted out of the early bird prizes and having to sit for 2 hours at the start this year for just and hour and I am glad with how cold it was at the start (fatman get cold now). I did wake up at 2am and could not go back to sleep so much that I almost got up and said screw it and was tempted to just get on the 4am buses anyways.
I have been so nervous and manic the last 2 days I have constantly felt like I was going to throw up. Debating over paces and splits and strategy was driving me insane. I made my breakfast and got out of the house at 4:40 am and got to the start at 4:50am to meet my people. We rode the buses up together but I promptly lost everyone the moment we got there. So I just kind of walked around and actually went and huddled around a campfire as I was cold (this made me happy if its so warm you don't need the bonfires at the start you are in big trouble in a couple hours). I lined up just in front of the 4:00 pacer still not knowing what I was going run. I finally said I am driving myself crazy why don't I just run what is comfortable and I will look at my time in a mile or two. I turned my music up to ear drum shattering levels to drive all thoughts out so I could just run and not worry about it. the very first time I even looked at my watch was at mile 2 and I was at a 9:13 average pace evidently what felt comfortable was the 4:05-4:10 more conservative approach. I was like ok I am ok with that, that will still be a massive pr lets run the conservative race and have a good race for once. I hit the 10k marker in 56:xx (for some reason it never posted my 10k splits but I did look at my watch). I stayed conservative all the way up to Veyo where I decided to try my running coaches advice. He had advised me my strategy of running 1/4 of Veyo Hill (550 feet gain in a mile) then walking 1/4, then running 1/4 and then walking 1/4 was probably a little too laid back and that I should do 1/4,1/8,1/4,1/8,1/4 and reduce my walks. I was feeling pretty good and it seemed like a good strategy that way I would still conserve energy on Veyo but not lose as much time as I had been losing in training (I trained with the 1/4, 1/4 strategy). I ended up doing 1/2 run, .15 walk, .15 run, then .15 walk so much less walking then I had done in training. It seemed to help as I wasn't too tired at the top and I didn't lose as much time getting over the hill.
The next 4-5 miles are still pretty uphill until you hit the true downhills of the course. So I was staying conservative and it was working, I walked through the aid stations to get small rests but the hills didn't bother me at all like they did last year. I took an s-cap and a GU at mile 5, mile 11, mile 17 and then was taking oranges near the finish. I hit the 13.1 marker at 2:03:04 perfect. I don't think I have the endurance to run a big negative split so I wanted to get as close to an even split as possible and that put me at a 4:06 right smack in the middle of the 4:05-4:10 I was shooting for. i figured I might have a small positive split and end up closer to the 4:10 but I was ok with that. I did pretty good through Snow Canyon and all the way to Ledges. I was feeling good but it was at this point I was like how the heck did I ever finish two marathons at 95+ degrees. It was only 70 and we had a nice 4 MPH tailwind the first 7 miles but I was like I am freaking hot as heck. I started to dump water on my head at this point. I came into the 30k split at 2:55:14. Again perfect as that had a projected finish time of 4:06:27. I did lose a lot of time on Ledges though as I had always planned to walk a portion of it (this was the second hill I was going to do a run walk strategy up). At this point I was way more tired then Veyo and I just wanted to walk the way up that darn hill. I had to force myself to run portions of it. I figure I lost a good 2-3 minutes on that hill (I will check my splits on my garmin later too tired to go downstairs and get it right now). But I was still feeling good and I was like I can still do the 4:10 that lost couple of minutes will be fine. I was still in a good mood and I like to high five all the little kids when I run past them so I am so happy when they have a crowd as it gives me a little boost. We had lots of little kids to give high fives to coming through town. I was starting to feel the exhaustion setting in around mile 21 but I was still doing pretty good.
It wasn't somewhere between mile 23 and 24 that the cramps set in. These are those muscle spasms craps I used to suffer from doing half marathons in the beginning and what I have suffered from my first two marathons. So it became run until the cramps come on then walk until they subside, rinse and repeat the last couple of miles. We come up on aid station 24 and a guy is handing out ice cold coca cola. He wasn't an official volunteer or an aid station some guy out just handing out ice cold coke. That dude deserves a medal and like a billion hugs. I never thought that a coke would taste better then a gatorade in a race and was wondering why the ironman chose the coke over gatorade when I volunteered for it but that thing hit the spot. Was freaking delicious. Just shortly after that Justin catches up with me and I was like what the heck are you doing behind me (he was shooting for a 3:38 a 1:50xx pr from his marathon in July he still set a 1:17 pr in the race though). I guess he started way more in the back then me and while it took me only 5 minutes to get across the start line it took him 12. He said he passed me on Veyo but I had just passed him back probably didn't notice as I was enjoying my yummy ice cold coca cola.
So we decided to run the last 2 miles together. We were both hurting pretty bad and I was cramping up pretty bad (in new places too last year it was just my calves this year it was my calves and thighs). So we would run until I cramped then walk until they subsided. About a half mile before the finish I went to take a walk break and he decided to go on without me. I took a small walk break and then realized I had actually been running slower then I needed to stay with him as I actually was able to speed up and catch him even despite the two walk breaks I took. I probably cost my self 2 minutes there by running slower than I needed to on my run segments but I really don't care it was so nice to run with someone when your just hurting like that. And we ended up finishing together (he did beat my by 7 minutes because he lined up so far in the back) so I was happy with that. I am happy with the race and I am glad I went with the conservative approach I cannot even begin to fathom what my positive split would have been like had I went out aggressive. It would have probably been like last year or even worst like Sand Hollow in March.
At the finish line was my son, that always makes me happy my wife wasn't sure if she was going to make it this year as she hasn't felt good at all the last two days. I love seeing his smiling face at the finish line. My dad brought me a gatorade again at the finish line something other then lemon line he rocks I get so sick of lemon lime by the end of the race. We walked around and I loaded up on ice cream to take home (LOL I took like 6 ice cream bars to put in my fridge) last year I was grumpy and took nothing from the finish line but sweet ice cream for a week. My wife has a finish line video I will post it later. If you read all that you rock too, not as much as that dude at mile 24 or my dad with his fruit punch gatorade but you still rock.

Swiss Days 5k, where I set a personal worst :)

Ok it was slow on purpose because I was running it with a 2 year old and I think I ended up carrying him for over a mile plus I am pretty sure I ran backwards for a 1/4 mile to a 1/2 mile.
So we decided to make the Swiss Days a family 5k every year we probably jumped the gun by a year because Oliver who turns 3 in a month was unable to finish but he did have a blast. I am not sure of their thinking and timing on this race as it is a week before the marathon but if I were running it I think I would have a good chance to AG (Justin took 3rd in our AG with a 22:16 and we are about the same speed and run a lot of race together with similar times) as it seems not a lot of the super fast run it with the marathon next week. I am one of those I didn't want to injure myself with just a week to go so it has just become a family fun run to do (it was my wives first ever 5k today). The race starts at 7am and you have to shuttle in my 6:30am but the race is less than 5 minutes from my house so it sucks but at least you don't have to drive that far to get there. It still meant waking an almost 3 year old up at 6am who gives you that what the frak are you thinking look do you know what time it is (I think he would do better at an 8am or 9am event).
So we get everything together and get out the door for the shuttles. My sister in law was also doing the race for her weight watchers as her first ever 5k and because she also gets a discount on her health insurance by doing a 5k. So we met up there with her at the start where they do this crazy aerobic workout before the race. I thought it was crazy 2 years ago and I still think its crazy now (this was the 3rd race I ever did in 2010). We line up all the way in the back and we take off. My sister in law stayed with us for maybe the first 1/4 mile before she ran on. Oliver was having a ton of fun running with everybody but about mile 1 he began to poop out. So I picked him up and carried him the next half mile or so (you think running is hard try doing it carrying 40 pounds). I was trying to keep us away from the sweep van (well i don't think they swept anybody but it was a cop car at the end of the race following us). My wife got a little grumpy with me when she had to run to catch up but at least I got a good lead on that darn sweep car. It was at this point Oliver got a second wind and I put him down and he took off again, it was funny to see him with a second wind. I was running backwards at this point (do they give awards for the person who runs the biggest portion of the race backwards because they should as I probably ran 1/2 mile backwards) to urge him on and he was chasing me. He tired out again around mile 2 and I ended up carrying him so more.
He did pretty good he probably ran half of the race to maybe 2 miles. What was funny is after the race while we are waiting for the raffle (we won 2 free shirts and a hat with our 3 bibs) he is running around all crazy like. I think a later start and he could have finished the race as he definitely had plenty of energy after he woke up. He didn't get to win youngest racer because I carried him about a mile of the race (a little 2 year old girl did run the whole thing she was back there with us and pretty awesome) but he had a blast and so did I. I think our time was like an hour, my watch kept auto-stopping because I forgot to take off that feature and I kept stopping to help him it said 2.88 in 53:xx but I think we were closer to an hour so yeaaaaaaaa new personal worst. Final time ended up being 1:01:19.

Kokopelli Olympic Triathlon, my first Olympic

I don't think i have ever been this nervous for a race in my life, not my first marathon, not my first half marathon which I was completely unprepared for, not ever. If something goes wrong in the middle of a lake its not like you can just start walking its like ok now we are going to drown.
My training has been good, I have been getting 40 miles a week on the bike for 5 months now with every 4th week doing a super long bike ride of 50 miles. Of course my running is strong I could run a 10k in my sleep and I think I have done so. My swim training has been ok my bike training was definitely better but my swim can still use some work. I have been doing two swims a week (I will increase that to 3 maybe 4 for half ironman training after my marathon cycle is over) with an Open Water Swim on Wednesdays and a pool swim on Fridays. What cost me is it seemed every time I skipped a swim it was my OWS because my wife was working that night or just the logistics of getting out to Sand Hollow Reservoir. This meant I had 5 OWS but none above 1000 meters, where my pool swims would be typically 1650-2000 meters which might have saved me as I could easily swim the 1500 meters and probably swam 2000 today during the race more on that later. The most grueling part of training was also fitting in marathon training at the same time. It has left me completely burned out the last couple weeks and I have smartly taken extra cutback weeks and didn't do much this week with how fried I am. I have never looked forward to a taper more than I did this one, there were weeks when I was completely exhausted with all the extra training. But I have felt fantastic the last 2 weeks and even had a great 20mile run last Saturday (20.3 miles in 3:18xx) and one of my most amazing runs on Tuesday ever which I should share with you sometime. I think this was due to 2 cutback weeks I took that were unplanned one for my birthday at the end of August. So I spent most of Friday in a very nervous state. It was an anxiety that had me on pins and needles and a little scared. I picked up my packet after work and got marked for the race so I didn't have to worry about it in the morning. I even bought these little shoe ties that make it so you can cinch your shoes real quick and save time in transition. My main reason for buying them though was I use cages instead of clipless and my shoelaces tend to get untied and then wrap around my pedal very dangerous as you can't get out of the cages with your shoelace wrapped and this would allow me to not have to worry about that anymore.
So I get home and set up all my race stuff for in the morning so I don't have to worry about it. I make a bag to take with me and holy heck does a triathlon require way more stuff. Wet suit, bike helmet, bike gloves, nutrition for transitions, water and gatorade for first transition and of course the garmin, run shoes, running shorts and tech tee. I set my alarm for 6am as transition opened at 6am but my wave didn't start until 8:15am. No reason to be super early because I was already marked figured that would get me out of the house by 7am and to the race by 7:30 with 45 minutes to spare. I woke up at 5:30am though, its been awhile since I have woke up for a race before my alarm went off. All that morning before the race I felt like I was going to vomit I was so nervous. I got my breakfast in me despite wanting to vomit the whole time and got all my morning stuff done and was out of the house at 6:50. Its about a 30 minute drive to the race start. So I arrived at 7:20 and felt a little foolish here I am with my bike riding in my trunk of my car and all these people have the nice bike racks with the super fancy carbon fiber bikes and I am on my mid-level road bike that I love and that did kick some arse during the race though.
Now they don't let you park in the actual state park (this is at Sand Hollow Reservoir part of a state park) but actually down on the road about a mile away. This is completely fine as I am early enough the hike into the transition area I figured would be a nice little warmup oh but I had another warmup coming a horribly unexpected one. So I get in and set up my stuff in transition and am chatting away with the other racers when at about 7:50 am I realize I left my goggles in the car. I keep a separate swim bag with my goggles in them so I can hit the pool or the lake to train and even reminded myself on the drive to get my goggles out but totally forgot with all the nerves. If it had been anything else I would have said screw it and done the race without but I hate swimming without my goggles. So I take off to run back to the car for a nice 2 mile warmup run to get them. I grab them and head back to the start as everyone is filing down to the water for the first wave. I was in the second wave. In my rush to get my goggles I forgot to put my anti-fog drops on them another thing I reminded myself on during the car ride. Well first wave is off and we are told to get in the water. There weren't too many in our wave a nice big group but not a huge group that I was going to get trampled at the start. I line up or swim up in the back not wanting to interfere with anyone knowing I am not the fastest swimmer. But just before we start the guy starting the race makes everyone back up now your bumping and jostling and its crazy.
We take off and I am doing good, got a good swim going on and staying with the pack for the most part but they are separating a little and with it being a smaller pack I quickly find myself on my own. My goggles are completely fogged up and we are swimming into the sun. I did ask about the logistics of where we go before the race. We were supposed to keep the orange buoys to our left and we would hit a green buoy for the sprint turnaround then another green buoy for the Olympic turnaround. We were then to swim 50 meters to the left and go around an orange buoy and then keep the orange buoys to our left on the way back. Pretty simple huh except with fogged up goggles and swimming alone and into the sun I was soon lost as I could not see the next orange buoy for the life of me. Then all of a sudden I got a kiyaker by me saying you need to go around the orange buoy and I am like what fraking buoy I don't see a buoy. I guess I had swam 25 meters over and was starting to come close to the lane people would be heading back in. She keeps tell me you need to swim around the buoy and I kept informing her I cannot bloody see a buoy what fraking buoy. Eventually I do see the buoy and get back on course. But its not long before I got another kiyaker saying you need to swim around the buoy, what fraking buoy. This kiyaker was a little better at directions with swim right, swim left and found the buoy a little easier this time.
About at the sprint turnaround the wave behind me catches up with me with all my deviations to course. Now I didn't get swam over at the start but dear lord those guys don't even bother to swim around you in the middle of the lake I got swam over many times and actually slowed down so they wouldn't drown me. I don't know if they just couldn't see me because of the sun but I would never swim over the top of somebody 750 meters into a race. I managed to get lost a 3rd time and again swim around the buoy and the what fraking buoy game was played. I am starting to wonder if I will ever see the turnaround at this point. It was at this point I was all alone again in the middle of the lake, no kiyakers around either and I started to yell where the frak do I go, somebody tell me where the frak do I go. I am treading water completely lost and then all of a sudden I see the green buoy. Oh you sweet green buoy, you beautiful gorgeous, wonderful amazing, sexy green buoy. How I want to make sweet passionate love to you right here in the middle of the lake. I am going to hump the crap out of you. Ok I didn't but how sweet that buoy was because it means I get to head away from the sun and not have to swim into it anymore. I make a break for it and this is when the third wave catches me I don't care I have found the green buoy and am swimming again. Because I was so lost and was constantly having to try and sight I ended up swimming most of the first 750 meters with my head above the water. Now I can see the buoys and I am not heading into the sun anymore and can start keeping my head down and under the water. I would just pick the next buoy on the horizon and make a beeline for it. So freaking easy right. Well it was on the way back. My goggles did eventually get so fogged up that i stopped with about 2 buoys to go to unfog them a little and sight the next buoy. And all of a sudden my leg starts to cramp something fierce because I am treading water now and did something weird when I stopped to get my goggles fixed. A kayaker comes over to help me and had he tried to pull me out of the water when I could finally see the shoreline he might have got knocked off his kayak, no way after what I had been through was I getting pulled. I work the cramp out and let him know I am ok and make a beeline for the gorgeous shore ahead of me. All in all the second half of the swim went great. I am glad I was in the habit of doing way more than the 1500 meters in training though as I am sure with all my random wanderings I swam 2000 meters. Swim time 1:00:12, about what it takes me to swim 2000 meters not the 35-40 minutes it takes me to swim 1500 meters and what I was hoping for the race.
Get out of the water and out of my wet suit pretty quick. I am glad I bought those shoe things as it made getting my shoes on a cinch. Grab my gatorade and a little water and a powerbar and start walking out of transition. I then break into a little run for the mounting area and wow what a weird feeling that is after swimming for an hour. Pull on my gloves and get on my bike. I am little slow in T1 as this is completely new for me. T1 4:14 but most people took about 4 minutes for T1 the leaders did it on the other hand in about a minute. Something I can easily work on with more races. Feels great to be out of the water and on my bike. I already start to pass a few people, all that bike training seems to have come in handy as I remember my first and only other triathlon a sprint tri where I was easily one of the worst bikers that day. About mile 4 you hit nemesis mister el diablo. If you remember from some of my race reports like Hurricane half or Sand Hollow marathon nemesis is a 561 foot climb in about a mile and one heck of a brutal hill. And man does it takes it toll on you, I think my average bike pace slipped to 12 MPH by the end of the hill that i would get back above 14 by the end of the race. I was tempted to walk up but that felt like cheating to me we are on the bike leg I need to bike up this hill. So I kept chugging away and biked right up it. Didn't see anyone walking up it on our way up but it seemed everyone I passed on the way down was walking their bike up it.
This is where I found a racer I never ever want to race with again, simply one of the worst racers ever etiquette wise. She would not keep a steady pace at all and I swear I would pass her and on that hill just a little while later she was passing me right back. At one point I am passing another lady and she goes to pass me back and makes the rude comments your supposed to stay to the right and not ride beside someone unless passing. I wanted to knock her off her bike she really irritated the heck out of me (she also p!ssed me off really bad during the run too). Here I am on this huge steep climb trying to pass someone so no I am not going to go shooting by them, she actually passes us in between the other rider and me arghhhhh. I did meet a nice biker on the race though she commented that it looked like we would be race buddies after we switched positions a few times. I saw her on the end of the run as I was coming up on mile 4 and she was heading out to the 3.1 turnaround and she commented I knew you would beat me I couldn't keep up with you on the bike uphills made my whole race. Everything was out and back for the race, swim, bike and run. So it was always nice to hit those turnarounds and know you were halfway through a leg. I only got passed by the super fast sprinters during the bike and passed almost all the other bikers made me feel good about my training. It was a tough course with tons of hills so I was happy with my time. as we are riding back down nemesis I am flying pass people on these carbon fiber bikes and here I am on my aluminum mid range bike. I was like fatman on a downhill let the gravity do work haha. Bike portion 1:28:00 a little slower than wanted as I had hoped for 1:15 but it was a tough course and I was happy with it. Hit T2 not really much to do except rack my bike, and discard my helmet. I do waste a little time because I got to scoot all the bikes down because some jacktard put his bike in my transition spot. T2 1:57. Hit the run and I am feeling it, its starting to get hot and its been a long day already. I am just trying to stay at about a 10:45 pace as I know that is about all I have in me right now. Get to aid station 1 or mile 1 and ignorant horrible race lady is back, she takes 3 waters, 2 to pour on herself and one to drink so I don't even get a water. I really want to trip her. She again continues with the crazy pace, I am running an even pace but since I am walking the water stations and she is running them she keeps getting in front of me, Then it just becomes my goal to catch her before the next aid station so I can get a water or a gatorade before she snags them all. I hear a lot of way to go Patrick from people and I am not sure who any of them are (and no our names aren't on our bibs, somewhere along the line I have become a local race celebrity somehow honoring all former fat people everywhere). The run goes good but again the course is not friendly we are back on the bike course and lots of little hills that just sap you.
So nice to hit that last turnaround and know all you got left is a 5k. My pace did slip a little at the end as I start to run out of energy but I was happy with the run for the most part. take off for the finish at a dead sprint (even had a race official come up to me afterwords and congratulate me on my strong finish). Run time 1:08:45 (about 17 minutes off my 10k pr but hey I was tired LOL). Final time 3:43:07. I learned a ton, first off I need to work on open water sighting and be better prepared prerace. I can easily make the half ironman swim cutoff as its 1:10 for 1941 meters and I did that today I am pretty sure but I won't make it if I am getting lost again in a race. The swim does need to be my focus. Also I think I should work on transition 1 as I can trim some time there, Also I need more bricks my legs gave out on me a little near the end plus I think I need to start doing swim to bike bricks as that would help too. Loved the race, got a cool medal and a first timers pin (not officially my first triathlon but it sure the heck felt like it).