Saturday, July 31, 2010

Medical Lake Kiwanis (mini) Tri

This is the third time I've done this race and each time it seems to be bring new suprises. The first time was full of suprises as it was my first ever race. Last year I ended up following someone doing a seperate bike race and doing the entire bike leg backwards. That made me a little leary of this year. The biggest unknown for me was whether or not my hamstring and calf would make it through the run.

Pre race- I went into the Dr. on Wednesday to talk about relieving some of the tightness I’ve been having in my left hamstring and calf. I ran 2 seven milers the week before and felt worse after each one than I had before. Those were my first 2 runs since Ironman. The plan the Dr. and I came up with was that I could run up to the time I start to become symptomatic, which seems to be at about 5-5.5 miles. So this race was cleared. Coeur d’ Alene Olympic however has been bagged.

Anyway I arrived at the race to register and ran into a few other tri-fusion folks and chatted with them before the start. I headed down to the water with about 5 minutes to go to see the extremely short swim. For those that don’t know this swim is advertised as a 400 yards swim. It’s actually about 280ish. I swam out to the turn around and came back just in time to hear the countdown.

Swim- 3:30

That’s right it was a 3:30 swim. It felt more like a 1:30. I started towards the front and after about 20 yards it was only Michael Berquist ahead of me (a theme for the rest of the race). He had a wetsuit on so I thought the time he made up on me in the swim would be lost in transition. This was not the case. I’m pretty sure he’s just plain a better swimmer than I am wetsuit of not. The swim was uneventful. I saw him get out of the water about :30-:45 seconds ahead of me and continued at my pace.

T1-By the time I got to my bike Michael was already heading up the hill out of transition. I wasn’t sure how he got out of the wetsuit so fast but he was gone. I later found out that the wetsuit was some crazy “zip all the way to the ankles” thing. That thing would perfect for a short race like this.

Bike- 25:15

The bike is a 10.2 mile loop around clear lake. I wasn’t sure how far ahead of me he was but I could still see him as I tried to get my shoes all strapped up. (I really need to work on my transitions!) I tried to push on the bike, but before the race started I discovered my Garmin had been left on the night before and was completely dead. I had no speedometer, and more importantly no cadence. I really like to use my cadence to gauge my effort.

This course has a lot of turns in the first half so I lost site of Michael, and I had know idea who was behind me. I made sure I made the turn that I missed last year and continued to try and push it. We made the turn around and I could see him again and could also see that someone was behind me. I figured that I was about right in the middle “distance wise” between the two. The headwind and false flat on the way back to Medical Lake were a little discouraging, but I could tell he wasn’t putting much time into me. (Unfortunately I knew that race was pretty much over as he rolled into T2 about 1 minute ahead of me.)

I had decided not to push the run at all. I have a fairly big race coming up in October that I’m trying pretty hard not to derail.

T2- Racked the bike and threw my shoes on. Nathan Duncan informed that I was about 1 minute back. Then on my way out someone else told me I was about :35 seconds back. Someone was wrong. Unfortunately it wasn’t Nathan.

Run- 18:03

The run is advertised as a 3.4 mile run. It’s actually about 2.8. My strategy was go out easy and then taper off. I kept him in site and the guy behind me at bay. The run was actually really easy effort wise. I didn’t want to injure myself further so I settled into a 6:15ish pace and just cruised around the lake until I hit the trail that goes through the trees. At that point I looked back and could see I had pretty good lead on third and I wasn’t going to try and catch Michael. I just kind of shut it down and ran a 7:00ish minute mile back to the finish. The undulating nature of that last mile started to cause some problems with my leg so I’m glad the race ended when it did.

My final time was 48:35, about 1:40 back from Michael and :50 ahead of third. Although this wasn’t the race I wanted to be doing this weekend I still really had fun! It’s a first triathlon for so many people and it’s awesome to see the nervousness at the start and the excitement at the finish. I hope that this will be the start of a long triathlon career for most of them.
Next on the docket for me is the Long Bridge Swim in Sandpoint next weekend. I’ve never been in a swim race. I fully expect to get thumped by the real swimmers, but I plan on swimming without a wetsuit to get used to the kind of distance I will be swimming in Kona. It should be a lot of fun and Rumor has it there are huckleberries and chocolate milk at the finish.
P.S. sorry about the lack of pictures but I was there by myself. I promise to have plenty of pictures at my race from here on out.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's official!

Registration Confirmation for:

Dear Scott,

Congratulations! You are now registered for 2010 Ford Ironman World Championship. Please check the event's official website for updates:

I guess the $575 I paid before meant nothing. They wouldn't let me officially register until today. Well.... Today I officially registered. Kona here I come!

Monday, July 26, 2010

This is my Nightmare!

Talking about dreams isn't something I normally do, but I thought this was appropriate since almost every triathlete out there has had some variation of this same nightmare that I had 2 nights ago. It's actually not the first time I've had this nightmare.

It always starts the same.... I show up the morning of the race and everything falls apart from there. The race changes and the problems change but panic ensues, and it seems extremely real.
Before Ironman Couer d' Alene I had a dream that I was kicking some butt in the race and on pace to qualify for Kona, but somehow I forgot my timing chip at home. I kept going in the race, but realized with a mile to go that I didn't have my chip. So I hopped on my bike and rode back to Spokane to get it. By the time I got back I of course missed my qualifying slot and barely made it in before midnight.

The dream 2 nights ago was a little different and slightly more comical. It was centered around the Couer d' Alene Olympic triathlon. I showed up with plenty of time to spare in the morning, but for some reason I had to have a personal scavenger hunt to find my things. Well, by the time I got my bike, shoes, wetstuit and everything rounded up they were getting ready to start the first wave. I was hastily getting my wetsuit on when I saw everyone start. I finished up putting my wetsuit on and ran down to the lake. I was about 3 minutes behind, and they were getting ready to start the next wave. I dove in and swam after everyone just as they started the next wave.

So there I am swimming as fast I can with the other wave about to swallow me up when I feel something grab onto my leg. I kicked hard and kept swimming. Then the same thing grabbed my leg again. I stopeed swimming and turned around. This being a nightmare you would expect something like a shark or alligator. But that's not what it was. It was an old woman! I'm not talking a little old either. I mean she was old!! She had to have been about 80 years old. I yelled at her to "Let GO!" She would not let go. So what did I do? I started choking her and yelling "THIS IS MY NIGHTMARE!!". Not sure why I yelled that. It may have something to do with the fact that it was quoted (from "I Love You Man") about a million times on my trip to San Diego. Now, I in no way support choking an old woman, so don't think this is the way I normally act. You can't control your dreams though and that's what I did.

I somehow shook the old woman loose and finshed the swim about 4 minutes back on everyone (weird how everyone finishes together in my dreams). I ran to my bike, but somehow got lost. Somehow I ended up a mile away from transition with no bike and no idea where I was. The rest of the dream was filled with me watching the race pass me by and yelling "THIS IS MY NIGHTMARE!!" at everyone that passed me by.

I'm planning on rejoining the triathlon world this weeked with a mini triathlon in Medical Lake. It was one of the first races I did, so I feel like I should continue the streak. The following week (barring any setbacks) I'm planning on racing the very race causing me nightmares. Wish me luck!

Monday, July 19, 2010

On Vacation

As some of you may have noticed the blog entries haven't exactly been coming as fast and furious as they started. Don't worry, I haven't lost interest. I've been in San Diego for a good friends wedding for the last week, and I have done absolutely zero triathlon training.

The trip started off great! My wife Morgan and I had an 11:30 flight so I got up early and swam outside, at Comstock Park in the 50 meter pool. For those that haven't done it, I'm not sure there is a better way to start out your morning. After I that I headed for home and a quick 45 minutes threshold bike ride. I couldn't have been in a better mood. Off to the airport we headed without much incidence all the way to San Diego.

Stepping off the plane I was instantly relaxed and ready get this vacation started. No checked bags meant we could bypass the luggage fiasco.

We made it to the rental shuttle pick up just in time to see our shuttle driving away empty. I thought it was a little weird so we called the rental place and they said they would call him and have him come back. We sat down and proceeded to watch every other rental company send 4 or 5 shuttles to pick people up without seeing ours. After about 30 minutes of this that the relaxed vacation feeling began to dissipate. We called the company again, and they informed us that they were only running one shuttle at that time and he should be back shortly. We waited another 15 minutes and he finally got there. The door flew open and he motioned to us to get on. Now I don't mind carrying my own bags up the stairs, but I do think he could have at least stood up and acted like he would help my wife. Put this guy together with fact that it took 40 minutes to get a shuttle to the rental place and I should have known things would only get worse. The ride to the rental place was a little crazy with guy talking on his cell phone and driving like a mad man (you would think that a man driving like this wouldn't be able to stretch a 15 minute round trip into 40, but he must have figured out a way).

We got off the shuttle, again without much help and headed into the Payless car rental building. I found it a little odd that there were no other car rental companies around, but what can you do? Morgan walked up to the counter and gave the guy our name. He typed away on the computer for about 30 seconds then looked up at us said "Your reservation was for 10:30 and when you didn't show up we gave your car away."

Okay, that's weird, but surely they will figure something out and give us something comparable or upgrade us. Right? No. That's not what happened. He informed us that he gave our car away, but he did have a full size car he could get us for about $150 more. Luckily my wife is a pretty tough chick and she wasn't having any of it. She told him we would take the full size but were weren't going to pay more. He then got an attitude and started telling us that it wasn't his fault that we made the reservation for 10:30 when our flight didn't get in until 4:30. Now, I've always operated under the assumption that if they gave away you're car they would at least try and work something else out with you to keep you happy. Not this guy! He obsviously hated his job and didn't really want to be there anymore. About this time another guy walks in and the guy that was helping us poked his head out the back door and came back in to inform us that we were in luck. He had just found a compact that we could have for the price that we reserved our midsize for. I'm not a math major but, that just didn't add up.
So, I asked the guy "Your telling me that we're getting a smaller car for the same amount?"

To which he responded "You booked your car on the special internet price, and when you didn't show up for your car, your reservation gets cancelled. Besides this is the same type of car you booked."

"Wait a minute. You just said this was a compact and we booked a midsize" I said

His response "Yea it's a compact midsize. It's basically the same thing"

Me- "Is it basically the same thing or is it the same thing?"
Him- "It's the same thing"

So now this guy was flat out lying to us, but we were stuck in the middle of the ghetto in downtown San Diego with no other option, so I just took the Ford Focus, and headed to our condo still seathing from our encounter.

It didn't take long to realize that this car was a pile of crap. It's bad enough that's it tiny, but it was also beat up, and smelled like smoke, with a giant cigarette hole burned into the drivers seat. The ironic thing was that our rental contract had giant red stamp saying that we weren't allowed to smoke in the car.

I decided I would deal with it the next day and get the vacation started without any residual anger. Things started to turn around as soon as we pulled up to our condo in Ocean Beach. It was awesome! The condo was on a section of sea cliffs with a balcony looking all the way down to the pier on Ocean Beach and out towards open ocean. You could hear waves crashing against the rocks and the sunsets were amazing.

We were staying there with 6 other people, including 4 of my single guy friends who were also in the wedding party. This would prove to be another a challenge. You don't realize how different your life style is from a bachelors until you live with them for a week. I gotta give credit to my wife for holding things together for the week. I don't know too many other women who could handle that life for that long. She has been doing it 10 years, but it seems to get harder and harder as we get older.

Now mentally that lifestyle was hard to deal with, but physically it was impossible. I have been living the somewhat "healthy" triathlon lifestyle for the last year, while they enjoy more of an eat and drink whatever you want life (they aren't always like this , but vacation means milking every ounce you can out of it). Needless to say my body could not handle it. I only made it through 3 days of the burrito for every meal and drink every night life before I started to feel like I had the flu and I might die at any minute. I was throwing up and having some other GI problems. I can't really blame it on them though. I blame my competitive nature. Whether it's riding a bike or staying out all night, I want to be able to hang with the best. The problem is I definitely can't hang! I ended up sleeping for 15 hours one day before I started to come back around.

I was able to make a full recovery before the rehersal dinner and wedding. I had an awesome time at the wedding! Actually I probably had a little too much fun at the wedding as you can see from the chip and dales pictures. But, I should be honest.... That's pretty much what I do at every wedding reception I attend. You put me in suspenders and a bow tie and your asking for trouble. I can't help myself. :)

So now it's time to get back to the Ironman training. I never thought I'd be so relieved to be starting back into 5 hour bikes rides, but my body likes that a lot better than the burrito diet.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

You can do it buddy!

My first real race...  Where to begin? It's been a couple of years now so, there are parts that are a little fuzzy. However, the parts I do remember are quite vivid. As I eluded to in last post I'm not exactly Michael Phelps out there. The swim definitely stands out the most.  The race I chose to make my debut at was Titanium Man.

We chose this race for 3 reasons.

1)  The swim was downstream.  I knew that at the very worst I could do my best impression of  a log and ride the current all the way to T1.

2) The race is called Titanium Man. To me, being called a Titanium man is much better than being called a Chlelan man or an Onion man. So the race had a good name.

You wanna be this guy?
Or this guy?

3) This is the reason I still race this race every year. I'm a little hesitant to throw this out there on the Internet, but it's only $35.00. That's about half the cost of any other triathlon out there and the swag is just as good.  I like to procrastinate my race registrations so I hope this doesn't fill these thing up any faster.

Okay back to the race.  John and I arrived at Columbia Park in the Tri-Cities about an hour and a half prior to race start. We thought 1) The swim was downstream in the Columbia River. To be honest...that's the reason I chose it. John is about as easy going as they come, so he let me pick the race schedule. I figured if I completely fell apart, I could just float down the river like a log to the bike transition. The thing that really screwed up out timing was the point to point swim. This meant a swim to bike transition (T1) and a completely different bike to run transition. On top of those two things the swim was about right in the middle of the two. So the morning was filled with us running back and forth to the transition areas, dropping things off. We missed the pre-race meeting. Which is a terrible thing to have happen at your first race. With this being our first race I was already a nervous wreck!

We followed all the rubber people through an opening in the bushes that lead down to the river. I looked out and everyone had wetsuits on (except John and I). This kind of freaked me out. Apparently they knew something that we did not. A wetsuit makes a HUGE difference in how well you float. If you suck at swimming it seems to help even more. This was the first mistake of many throughout the day. As I looked out, I could see all these neon heads fighting to stay in the same spot. The current looked pretty strong. I was thinking at least the current looks strong... I should make this no problem. My confidence began to swell. I would barely have to do anything, and I'd be cruising right along. 

I waded into the shallow area of the water just as the gun went off. It was insane!! Instantly there were people all around me. I started to panic a little, but continued on. About 20 yards into the swim I noticed my goggle wasn't sealing. Great!! That was all I needed. On top of the fact that I can barely swim... now I could barely see. I tried to go another 20 yards, but I just couldn't find a rhythm. At that point I decided it was time to switch strokes.  I went from freestyle to that thing you your mom does when she doesn't want to get her hair wet.  You know what I'm talking about.  It's sort of a breast stroke, but you keep your head above water at all times so you don't mess up your perm.

I slowly watched everyone pass me by.  After about 5 minutes I saw a lady doing the backstroke cruising by me.   I was starting to have pool flashbacks of the of the 60 year old ladies in there aqua dresses cruising by me.  This was a disaster.  I decided to check behind me to see how many people I was beating.  Let’s see, there was one, two?  Nope just one.  This person was about 25 feet farther out and pretty much hot on my heels.  I decided then and there that I would not be the last one out of the water.  I put my head down and started to go hard.  I went for about 10 maybe 11 strokes and decided I better look up to see where I was.  WTF!  I was heading straight to the middle of the river.  You see in the river there is no black line to follow like there is on the bottom of the pool. 

It was then that I resigned myself to bringing it on home mom style.  I just continued to paddle along staying just ahead of the last place person.  The weird thing about being that far back in the race is that you get a personal kayak escort.  Actually I guess they’re less of an escort and more of a “make sure this guy doesn’t drown and we get sued by the widow, because he looks like he’s never swam a day in his life” type of thing.  Oh, and for the record I’ve instructed my wife not to sue if I ever die in a triathlon.  It’s ridiculous!  If 1 person drowns, but 2000 other people finish the same swim, who’s fault is that?  I’d guess it’s the guy who drowned.  Not the race director!  But I digress. 


So I’m about halfway and started to sense to a presence on my left.  Luckily, it wasn’t the other swimmer.  Unfortunately it my “escort” coming to ask me if I was doing okay?  Damn it!  That was a blow to the ego.  For him to feel the need to pull up next to me and ask me if I was doing okay, must have meant that I didn’t look like I was.  “I’m fine, but this is about all I got so I’m sorry”. 


His reply to this really stung.  “Don’t apologize, your doing great BUD”.  Again with the bud!  Bud probably doesn’t seem like an insult to most people, but I’ve had it ingrained in my head since a young age by my friend Mark Ward that this is the highest form of disrespect anyone can dish out.  He once told me he’d rather be slapped in the face.  I don’t quite feel the same way, but it still bothers me.  Well, there was nothing I could do about now so I just continued on.  I decided my energies would be better spent trying to hold off the dude I was battling for second to last place out of the water.  We were in a battle to the finish line, and although it wasn’t actually a battle to the death it was close.  I was not going to finish last!  Drowning seemed more appealing.


The race came down to the last ten yards.  By now it was obvious that this guy was also aware that we were battling for the dubious distinction of coming out of the water last.  He kicked into another gear, but he had no idea that I had a secret weapon.  I broke from my “mom not letting her hair get wet stroke” and unleashed a few strokes of freestyle, and I just edged him out!


I came out the water and started running towards my bike.  It was now time to get a look at my nemesis.  As I turned around I heard her say, “We made it!  This is my first tri and I’m loving it!”  That’s right, that’s not a typo I said her and she was about 50 and probably 20 pounds overweight.  I guess I can’t really expect the only other person out there with a personal kayak escort to be a guy my age. 


The thing about triathlon is it’s a three headed monster.  It would have been really easy to write off the rest of my race and just take it easy for the rest of the race, but that’s just not me.  Just because I wasn’t great at something didn’t mean I would give up.  I decided I would get on my bike and hammer to see if I could catch some people.  At first I was passing mountain bikes and hybrids, then I started passing a couple road bikes and by the end of the bike leg I was passing some guys on tri bikes and I had taken a few age group places back.  I realized this is actually really fun!  To be honest about 1 mile into the bike I came to the realization that I LOVED this sport. 


When the dust settled I had passed 200 people and I finished 50th overall in a time of 2:30.  For the first time I began to think that this might be something I could be good at eventually.  All I needed to do is stick with it and learn how to swim. 


The next year I came back to this race and finished 8th  overall and 2nd in my age group.


The lesson here is don’t give up just because things don’t go the way you want or envisioned, because if you continue to work hard eventually things start to go your way.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Near drowning

Near Drowning

As I've said before, I started this triathlon adventure completely backwards. To recap, I signed up for Ironman, then I bought a bike, then I decided to learn how to swim. The first trip to the pool was more than a little disconcerting, and I have a feeling I wasn't the only one that was afraid for my life come June 27th 2009.

I have a friend named Jeff Harris (aka Jeffy) who at the time was just coming off a year of teaching himself how to swim and had done a mighty fine job of it. The week prior he had completed the Alcatraz Shark Fest swim, where you swim from "The Rock" to San Francisco. He agreed to be my swim coach and teach me the ins and outs of avoiding drowning.
Fortunately Jeffy survived his sharkfest swim. This guy? Not so lucky.

We arrived at the pool, him in a pair of jammers and goggles, me in pair of board shorts, goggles and a swim cap. I know what your thinking. "Why were you board shorts AND a swim cap?" It doesn't make a lot of sense to me now, but at the time I was too embarrassed to be in spandex, however I did want to look the part of a swimmer (hence the swim cap). So into the pool we went with the small audience of my wife and a couple friends of ours who no doubt wanted to witness the emergence of the next Michael Phelps (didn't quite happen). Now I think its important to note that I knew I couldn't swim very well. Actually... "very well" is an understatement. I had been through swimming lessons as a child with my brother. He excelled, but it didn't seem to take with me. After 3 summers and only one level passed I quit decided my time would be better spent reading books in the bleachers with the other moms while my brother did the swimming.

This is a picture from our last trip to Hawaii. Thats pretty much what I looked like minus the snorkel.

My problem was that I thought it only took one arm to swim freestyle, and the other one just sort of got in the way. I knew my left arm somehow needed to get from my hips to the front of my body so I just drug it through the water. As you imagine with only one working arm it's difficult to swim in a straight line. But, I digress..... back to the pool.

So there we are standing in the shallow end and Jeffy says to me "Why don't we start out with you just swimming down to the end of the pool and back and I'll watch your "stroke" and give you some tips." Stroke? What stroke?

I snapped my goggles on, gave a big push off the wall and thought to myself "No one else knows you don't know what to do with your left arm. Just focus on getting that thing out of the water and you can fake your way through this."

As I started swimming I remember thinking "This is pretty easy!! I think I can do this!!"

That's when the momentum from the push off the wall dissipated (partially because of the parachutes around my waist, but also because I had failed to generate any additional forward momentum.) My legs began to sink, but I kept swimming as hard as I could. The good news is I was getting my left arm out the water a little bit. The bad news is I could feel my feet touching the bottom of the pool, and I was completely out of breath about 12 yards into the swim. For those of you that don't know 12 yards is half the length of the pool I was swimming in, and a 1/4 the length of the pools you see on the Olympics. Yeah.... not so good. The worst thing about only making it 12 yards is the decision you have make immediately after you stop. Do I try and keep going all the way to the end or do I turn back only to see the looks of shear disappointment on every ones faces? I chose to turn back. Humiliation is a better alternative than drowning.

My head came up and feet hit the bottom. I could feel there eyes buring into my back. I wasnted to dissapear. Alas, I had no other choice but to turn and see the looks of shock and embarrassment. However, as I turned I noticed that nobody had the look of embarrassment. It was much worse than that. They were looking at me with sympathy!! It was all a blur, but I'm pretty sure I was hearing phrases like "You did good honey! Dont worry about it you have a whole year to practice. You'll get it buddy." Thats right...somebody called me buddy. Everyone out there knows this is about as bad as it gets.

The lesson continued with me watching Jeffy glide effortlessly up and down the pool while I struggled to make it one length at a time, followed by 5- 10 minutes of rest. In total, I probably swam about 200 yards in an hour. Ironman is over 20 times that length, and I had heard that people would be punching and kicking me the entire way.
Yeah. Thats pretty much how it is.

I left the pool that day feeling a little defeated and scared. It was the beginning of July 2008 so I had about a year to figure this thing out. The rest of the the summer was filled with me flailing in the pool while 60 year old obese woman cruised by me. I was doing everything I could to figure this thing out. I bought books, spent hours on the internet researching, but nothing seemed to work for me. The biggest problem was that I I had signed up for an Olympic distance triathlon at the end of August and I wasn't progressing nearly fast enough. The swim would be 1500 meters long and by the time the race came around I was swimming about 300 yards at a time. After those 300 yards I felt like I was going to die. To make matters worse, my training partner John was swimming the full 1500 yards with relative ease.

Well.... I didn't give up. I showed up at that race at the end of August praying I would make it through the swim, but thats another long story that will have to wait until next time.

The point of this story is to show you that everyone has to start somewhere. Some people are great swimmers when they come into this sport while other are not. It's easy to forget how bad you really were when you first jumped into the pool, hopped on the bike or laced up the running shoes. So next time your sharing the pool or road with a beginner, just remember that same person could be challenging you for a podium spot in the next year or two. (so only help them if they aren't in your age group. Thats a joke, but seriously...only help them they aren't in my age group.)
Me after my third place age group finish at Lavaman in Kona last September

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The struggle within

I know I said the next post was going to be about my first trip to the pool, but I went on my first real bike ride since Ironman and I got in an argument with a friend of mine that I thought I would share with you guys.

Imagine this fading to a Saved By The Bell dream sequence, with fuzzy neon outlining the scene.
Thats better.
Brain- "This is the third time we've tried to get some actual training done and you keep quitting on me! What's the deal?"
Body- "I know the viscous cycle we're starting here! You start out slow, and before I know it your making me do things that I don't want to."
Brain- "That may be true, but it's good for us. Besides if I don't make you hurt a little bit now, you're going to regret it in Hawaii. Because in Hawaii..... I wont listen to you at all.
Body- "I know. I remember what you did to me last Sunday"
Brain- "Yea sorry about that... but you were kind of being a baby. We've ran much faster than that before.... And look at yourself! You should be disgusted! You look like Hell. Anyway didn't I keep my promise to you?"
Body- "What promise was that?"
Brain- "You had been begging me for Beer and Coke (cola not blow) for months now. I gave you more than enough over the 4th of July weekend."
Body- "Yeah I guess you did... but next time could you ease up on the beer. I may be asking for more, but you're supposed to be the smart one here. You gotta stop me at some point. I was out of control"
Brain- "I figured I had to let you have some fun so I could get back to punishing you within the next week. Anyway... I don't think I've ever been able to stop you."
Body- "Okay, okay.... I'll let you start punishing me again, but you have to promise you'll back off when I tell you to."
Brain- "Alright it's a deal"
Brain- "Yea right"
Body- "What was that?"
Brain- "Nothing. Just keep pedaling!"

At this point my stomach chimes in.
Stomach- "Hey guys, I'm getting a little hungry"
Brain- "Oh yeah. I guess it is time to eat"
Stomach "Whoa Whoa Whoa. What is that. I am not eating anymore GU!"
Brain- "Well what the hell do you want then?"
Stomach- "How bout some pizza?"
Brain- "Look where we are! There is no pizza! Now take the GU and be happy!"
Stomach - "Nah. I'm not hungry anymore."
Brain- "Thats a lie! I guess we're gonna have to do this the old school way. Open up the Hanger here comes the airplane!"
This is my buddy. He's always a welcome site at the top of the big climb on Valley Chapel Rd.
I learned 2 things from this argument.
1) My body is pretty much like your wife (notice how I said YOUR wife, not MY wife. My wife is perfect and also reads my blog.) It complains a lot, but most the time it's just for the sake of complaining.
2) My stomach is like a little kid.
That's pretty much how it went. The airplane noises work every time. So if you ever see me out on ride making airplane noises, think nothing of it.
I'm pretty sure everyone that participates in any kind of sport has these conversations with there body.
This is one of the reasons my brain wins these arguments. I get to see things on my bike I wouldn't get to see otherwise.
I know what you're all thinking. Did he just post a blog update that included Saved By The Bell, a picture of a Lama and an argument with himself. And YES "That just happened!"

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Getting Started

John and I after Ironman 2009

I've gotten a few questions from my last post about my background in triathlon. So here is the story of how I got started.

This whole adventure into the world of Ironman started back on June of 2008. My wife and I decided we would head down to CDA to watch our friend Kam Murphy compete in his first Ironman. I remember thinking that these people were absolutely CRAZY!! Who is there right mind would want to do this to their body? I had no background in any of the three sports and I barely even knew what it was all about. I didn't even know for sure what order the events were done in. Well.... we watched, and watched , and watched, and to be honest I wasn't really sure what I was watching. I'll admit I was a little surprised to see people of all different shapes and sizes cruising around on there bikes. However, what was even more surprising was how much everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

We stayed for a few more hours, and we didn't even watch anyone finish. I left there still thinking that was something I didn't think I could do. It only took about 3 hours of talking with my wife and thinking to myself "I wonder if I could do that?". By 8:00 pm I was online looking at bikes. I had no idea what I was looking for. All I knew was that these bikes looked more like space ships than bikes and they seemed to cost about as much as a spaceship. I had to work the next day, but somehow my mind was already made up. I signed up at noon the next day with no idea what I was doing. I didn't know how to swim, I didn't have a bike yet. About the only thing I had done in the past was run. I guess you could call it running. I would do Bloomsday every year without really training. "For those that don't know Bloomsday is a huge 12k run here in Spokane." Something inside me told me that this was something that would require a little bit of training.

After I signed up I frantically called my friend John Gavin. "I just signed up for Ironman and now you have to train with me". He gave me some lame excuse like "I don't know how to swim or ride a bike". I knew it would only take about 5 minutes of convincing. You see John is well known as the guy that you can talk into anything. You can call him at 1 am and wake him from a dead sleep, and he'll be at the bar in no time. This was a little different. Having slightly underestimated my ability to talk him into it, I turned him over to my wife (who can talk anybody into anything) called him and about three minutes later she was on signing John up.
This is what John and I were doing for exercise before we found triathlon.
Notice I had a few extra pounds on my frame then.

Two days later I was in Fitness Fanatics buying a bike. I showed up in basketball shorts and a t-shirt and told them I wanted the cheapest triathlon bike I could find. I'm sure they thought I was an Idiot!! They put me on a yellow Cervelo P2-sl :(. I said cheap, I did not say a girls bike. I got on the thing and took it on a 8 mile test ride (longest ride of my life) in my basketball shorts. I made it back with a sore ass and neck. Well since a "girls bike " was pretty much all I could afford anyway I slapped down the Visa and rolled it outside to my car. There was one problem. My car was a Mini Cooper. I guess I hadn't thought that far ahead but, who was I kidding I hadn't been thinking clearly for the past 3 days now. Somehow I managed to pack it in there and off I went with my first real bike $1800 lighter in the wallet.

The yellow machine

The first trip to the pool is a whole other story all together. We'll dive into that next time.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Kona Baby!!

This is my first blog. I’m going to give it a shot to gauge the interest out there. It seems like a great way to get your thoughts out there and share knowledge.

Pre-race routine:

Woke up about 3:30 after not getting much sleep (pretty standard for Ironman mornings). I hopped in the shower to try to wake up, then headed up stairs to eat breakfast. My buddy John Gavin and I chatted at breakfast about the upcoming race. Had a banana, bagel with cream cheese, a boost and I had planned on eating another banana, but I felt so full I was a little nauseated. Made the 40 minute drive over to CDA from Spokane with John and my wife Morgan. We got to the site at about 5:15. Last year I felt overwhelmed and rushed to get everything done. It was much easier the second time around. Dropped some things I had forgotten to put into my bike and run bags off, pumped up my tires, filled my aero bottle and put my water bottle of 4x concentration accelerade on my bike. Found a somewhat hidden bathroom. Only had to wait in a line of about 10 guys to get into a stall and make sure that was last time I had to do that for the day. After that I went to put the wetsuit on. As I was putting it on the pros started and I knew I had about 35 min. Got the wetsuit on in plenty of time this year and headed down with about 25 min to spare.

Event warmup:

John and I walked onto the beach and ran into fellow Matt Anderson (local triathlete/fish who I knew would come out of the water WAY ahead of me. We chatted for a little bit then I swam around and peed in the water for about 5 minutes (5 minutes swimming only about 20 seconds of peeing).



The cannon goes off and a mass of humanity surges into the lake. I started middle about 2 rows back. I let the people run in that wanted to and walked quickly behind them. I started with a good amount of clean water for about 300 yards and then the walls closed in around me. I think I drifted left and ended up right on the buoy line. There were a lot of people and things got incredibly physical. I tried to swim but I was mostly just moving with everyone else in a general direction. About 50 yards from the turn buoy I started to mentally prepare myself for the craziness. I came right up behind the buoy and instead of swinging out way around I basically just swam underwater around the outside edge. I popped back up and started swimming. I couldn't see the next turn buoy because of the sun, so I just started swimming straight. Before I knew it I saw a couple kayaks with bullhorns yelling at everyone to go right. I glanced up and could now see the turn buoy was out farther than the first. I was trying to make my way right, but there was a pro woman who got caught on her second loop that would not budge and kept swimming straight. We kept bumping eachother until She realized where she was started heading to the bouy. I made to the buoy, and did a quick 180 around it and headed back to the beach. I came in at 35 minutes and that was right where I wanted to be. I started the next loop and found more clean water. The second loop was uneventful and I ended up at 1:09:23. Right where I thought I would be.

What would you do differently?:

I put in a good amount of work swimming this winter and I was pretty happy with this time.



Out of the water and running up the beach. It was hard to run on the beach in the sand, but once I got clear of that I was able to get going okay. Couldn't find my bag at first. I thought it was closer to the swim exit. It's amazing how stupid you are coming out of the water.

What would you do differently?:

Know where my bag is.



This is where the race really begins. I came out of the transition and started riding somewhat hard. I was passing a lot of people, but I knew I wasn't going too hard and I would have some time to make up from my swim. I felt like I was taking it easy, but I just continued to pass people for the whole first loop. By the time I made it to the second loop I estimated I was at about 50th amongst amateurs, but I had no idea where I was age group wise and I was starting to go to a bad place. This being my second ironman here I pretty much expected it. I don't think I go out too hard I just need more solid food. At about mile 60 I started feeling tired! My stomach didn't feel great, but I knew from last year that I needed to eat. I forced down a snickers, which is much easier than forcing down a power bar and started drinking a lot more. At the aid stations I started dumping a bottle of water all of over me and drinking as much as I could of another before the end of the aid station. With about 30 miles left I was out of the 4x concentration accelerade, but I wasn't too worried. I started using diluted Gatorade and headed back to town. I think I probably drank too much because I peed about 4 times on the second loop. That partially explains my slower second loop and also the run starts to creep into your mind about that time. Finished up the bike and was very happy with my bike split.

What would you do differently?:

Not much.



This is a point I know I could have made up some time. I knew coming into this that I would have to take a minute or two longer than I would have liked. I had some compression sleeves that I needed to put on. I also had a pain patch for my knee that I was planning on using until it fell off. It's pretty good size so my plan was to used athletic tape and the top of the compression sleeve to hold it on. It took a minute to get everything dumped out and in looking back I made it too complicated. For you new folks out there keep it simple. I had a change of sunglasses a visor, change of socks, Tylenol, gels, compression and the pain patch and tape. I went to put the pain patch on and apply tape. On the first pull of tape the roll was empty. This was worrisome. I was counting on this thing and I needed tape fast. I told the volunteer helping me and he ran to get some. He came back with duct tape which didn't work so well. I tried it anyway, and hurried to get my compression and socks and shoes on. A quick note. I used laces on my shoes. I just prefer to have the shoes tied to my desired tightness and not rely on quick laces for a 3:30 hour run. I was glad I did. Okay back to transition. I got everything on and ran over to the urinal. I started to go and a guy walked up next to me and started about the same time. He finished and headed out the tent. Another guys walked up next to me and started an finished as I was still going. It was starting to get extremely frustrating!! I finally finished after about a minute and ran out of the tent. (the tape was already coming off.

What would you do differently?:

Keep it simple!



I know I said the race began at the bike....but this is actually where it begins. I came out of transition with duct tape hanging off my leg and compression sleeves. I must have been looking like a real contender. I felt okay starting the run but I had 2 things on my mind 1) This tape is driving me crazy and 2) how far can I run before my IT band tightens up and I have to either walk or drop from the race completely. I had been dealing with this IT band problem for 3 weeks prior to the race. I did 2 physical therapy sessions, and about a million foam roller sessions. I ran maybe two time in those three weeks and they were slow easy 3 and 4 miles both of which ended in me stopping due to discomfort. The only thing that seemed to get my legs loose was acupuncture. I'm not a big believer in holistic healing but I saw the acupuncturist twice and both times left feeling 100 percent better. Anyway back to the race. I ran to the first aid station which is maybe 1/2 mile from T2. I went to the med tent and asked for some athletic tape. I was clearly the first person to stop and this tent as they had nothing out. They looked very surprised and scrambled to find the tape. After about 30 seconds of fumbling around they found the tape and started staring at my knee. At that point I decided it would be better to just take the tape myself. I wanted to get out of there!! I grabbed the tape and wrapped two full circles around my knee at the top of the patch. It seemed to work so off I went (only stayed on for about 4 miles). I knew I had passed a guy in my age group at the end of the bike, and he passed me back with my slow transition so I thought I needed to push the pace a little. My first mile was a 7:30 (my goal pace) with the first aid stop. It didn't feel too bad, but it didn't feel great either. I came to the first turn around and saw the guy in my AG was about 2 minutes ahead of me. I had also seen 2 other guys from my age group ahead of me and they all looked like they were running faster than me. I thought I was probably around 15th in my AG and figured my Kona dreams were over. I ran a 7:02, 7:32, 7:45, 7:25, 7:32, 7:43 then I kind of settled into about an 8-8:15 pace. I wanted to go faster but that was all I could do. I noticed in my training runs when I blow up I don't completely bonk. I just slow down quite a bit, but my HR also goes down quite a bit. Usually its a dehydration or overheating problem. At every aide station I dumped ice in my shorts and water all over me in addition to take two sponges for my shoulders. I continued to plug away at that pace and didn't pass too many people or get passed by two many people out to the turn around at the hill. I was able to see some of the guys on their way back into town and noticed most of the guys ahead of me were over 30. This was great!! I estimated I may have been top 10 in my AG at that point. I made my way back through town and fed off all the energy there. At the turn to start the second loop I noticed 2 guys in my AG walking. I knew at least one was ahead of me and the other I was pretty sure was as well. I also saw the same guy in black I had been chasing all day was still about 2 or 3 minutes ahead of me. I just kept running and ended up passing those two guys before we got back into town. At the same point I passed those 2 guys I noticed a woman in all pink running really well and passing me. I thought to myself "that looks like a great opportunity to pace off of someone. I started running next to her and told her about my intention to use her to pace. She was the nicest racer out on the course and was more than happy to help. I found out her name was Jamie from Golden Colorado. If anyone reads this and knows Jamie, tell her she helped me a ton! We ran together through town where I saw my wife and friends and they yelled to me that I was in 7th in AG! Talk about motivation!! I thinks its important to note that there are timing mats on the course and they update live on the internet. And if you remember I had passed 2 guys after that timing mat. So i was was pretty sure that put me in 5th. I knew last year there were 5 slots in the AG so I needed to pick it up. I turned and said to Jamie "I need you to pace me through to Kona" to which she said "Well then, lets go!" and took off. I looked down at my Garmin and we had brought it down to 7 min pace. I felt a little uncomfortable but it wasn't anything I couldn't handle. She reminded to take on calories and drink at the aide stations. We ended running together for about 3 or 4 miles. At some point I lost her and kept plugging away with a new found energy. At about mile 16 or 17 I saw the guy I had been chasing all day walking. I couldn't be sure but I thought it was him. As I came up next to him I had to look at his number to see his name. Sure enough it was him and he was not too happy to have me passing him and looking at his number. He made some comment and tried to go with me but each time I passed someone I felt better and better. I hadn't noticed anyone else within striking distance so I was content with 4th. I have to admit I was running scared here. I didn't know what was coming up behind me and I knew there wasn't much margin for error. At mile 20 I started telling myself "okay 10k of suffering and all your hard work will pay off". Up the hill and back down I went. My tri club that I had recently joined had set up a PA system near the 22 mile mark. They would yell your name as you went by and tell you good job. As I approached I heard them say "here comes Derek Garcia". He's a local guy that I thought was probably ahead of me. I was shocked as I must have been right next to him. When I ran by I asked where Derek was to which they responded "you just passed him". I was ecstatic!! Whoever I had just passed I knew I passed with authority and they weren't coming with. I had just ran myself into third place and sealed the deal on KONA!!! I picked it up again and kept looking over my shoulder. Through the streets and back into town. I was feeling good! I rounded the corner onto Sherman and started to tear up. I had worked my ass off for the last year with this moment in mind. Running down the home stretch with a Kona slot in hand!

Post race

Warm down:

I went to massage and ate some food and talked to all the people I know. Everyone was so amazing congratulating me telling me how good I did. I physically didn't feel good, but I knew no one could take this moment away from me. In the end there were 4 slots in my age group, so its a good thing I passed those people.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not being able to run for 3 weeks before.