Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lonestar Ironman 70.3

I got enough prodding over Christmas to get back to this thing, so time to catch up with some highlights of the year...

In late April my sister, mom and I went down to Galveston, TX to do the Lonestar Sprint tri (sister Lindsay) and I would do the half Iron race on Saturday.

Lindsay and I drove all the way down to Galveston on Friday to pick up our packets for the next two days of racing. In hindsight it probably would have been good to just get a hotel. It was pretty rough to drive from Oklahoma to Houston, to Galveston and back to Houston and then back to Galveston the next morning. Maybe next time. Saturday morning we woke up really early and mom, Lindsay and I loaded up my truck with both our bikes and all our gear (it takes a lot of stuff to do a race). We get down there and Lindsay gets set up and transition and the weather was great, maybe a little windy but you are on the coast so you expect it. Then about 15-20 minutes before the sprint race was about to start the front moved in, and it moved in hard. Gusting winds were really making the bay start to get choppy. They made an announcement that they were delaying the start for a bit. That turned into another delay and then the cancellation of the swim leg of the triathlon. That was a GREAT choice. There were people warming up in the water and trying to swim the direction of the course and they were making no progress at all. With a swim start and some weak swimmers it was a recipe for disaster. So everyone made it over to the bike area and they set out one at a time every 10 seconds. Well that went downhill real quick since there were people that couldn't get on their bikes before the people behind them started. It was pretty funny.

Before long Lindsay came and went down the chute and was off. Mom and I stuck around to watch the mayhem and not too long after Lindsay made it back and looked really strong and it was on to the run. Last year she had a little trouble on the run but this year, no worries. If there would have been a swim I'm positive that she would have nailed a personal record.

After the race we loaded up and went for a bite to eat down at the pier since we were staying the night in Galveston. Some really good seafood and then we killed a little more time by hitting some shops before we could check in to the hotel. I swore I booked 2 queen beds but we got a room with one king. A little small for 3 people...We got some extra linens and Lindsay set up her spot on the floor, such a trooper. We went out to eat at a really good italian place and I had some very good pizza to tide me over into the race. Then it was more hydrating and off to bed.

Morning came and we loaded up the truck once again and headed back to Moody Gardens. My goal was to improve on my Redman half Iron time from last fall, so anything under 5:50 would be great. I jumped in the water and knew it was going to be a tough swim. The current was coming at us and the bouys seemed so far away. Redman swim time was 34 minutes. This time I was out in about 45. I swallowed some salt water and my wetsuit had rubbed my neck raw. Not a good start at all. I finally pulled out of the water and got on the bike. Not long into the ride an official pulled up next to me and gave me the red card, a drafting penalty. I thought I had plenty of space between the rider in front of me and my bike but I guess not. There went another 4 minutes for the penalty. I felt pretty strong out there for a long time but the day was starting to warm up and I could feel it already. My training in Oklahoma up to that point had been pretty cool so it was a bit of a shock. I was dumping water on me as much as I could to cool off. Last year at Redman I finished the bike in 2 hrs 52 mins. This year it was 3 hrs and 3 minutes with the penalty. At this point I knew beating last years time was shot.

So I got off the bike, onto the run course (after a quick port-a-potty stop) and plodded out on the run. At this point I was just trying to run more than I walked.

The heat was taking its toll and winning. The only highlight of the run was getting lapped by a couple of the women pros, Amanda Stevens and Deseree Ficker. They are crazy fast. I ran/walked my way through the 13.1 mile run in 2:10, about 8 minutes faster than Redman go figure...

Final time was just over 6:04. A disappointing day but good experience in an early season race. I finally recovered and cooled down enough to load up the truck and make the drive back to Houston for some much awaited BBQ.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cruise Time!

This Christmas I surprised Kim with a cruise over her Spring Break and we just got back. We headed down to Ft Lauderdale on Saturday morning so we wouldn't have to rush around and hope for on time flights on Sunday. It was a good thing too, there were some people that had cruises leaving Saturday that didn't check in in time and couldn't get on a plane. Since it was Spring Break there weren't anymore leaving until Monday. Oops.

We got to Florida and got to the hotel, Kim took a nap and I went for a run. We got a call that Kim's brother forgot some clothes so we went to Bass Pro Shop. There was this awesome shark that we had to take a picture of.

Later on my parents and friends got in and we went down to a nice seafood restaurant. A nice dinner and it was time for bed. I woke up early the next morning and went for a nice 5 mile run and then we headed down to the big boat. The Emerald Princess is a huge boat, a lot bigger than the first one we went on. As the sun was setting we headed out to sea.

The first day of the cruise was supposed to be a stop at Princess Cays but the sea was a little too rough to do the tender boats in so we had to skip it and it was just a day at sea. It was a nice day for sitting by the pool and reading a book so that is exactly what we did. The second day we were at sea again so there was more time laying out and reading. It was also formal night in the dining room so we got all dressed up in suits and dresses (well Kim...) and had a nice night.

Day 3 was a stop in St Maarten.

Kim and I went on a kyaking excursion with my mom and her brother. We started on the french side and took a boat over to one of the beaches (I need one of these).

paddled through to the Dutch side and had a little talk about some of the wild life and them came back. It was pretty fun to watch Kim and I weave all over the place. We were not synced up at all but it was a fun time. I could use a couple of these boats too.

After the tour one of the guides was saying they have a triathlon just about every weekend. I think I might have a place to head back to :) The hills would be pretty fun though.

The next day was a stop in St Thomas USVI. This is yet another place I could move to in a heartbeat. We took a ride out on a boat called the Dancing Dolphin out to Turtle Cove. We did a little snorkeling and saw some really cool sea turtles and sting rays.

The water was amazing. It was clear and warm and just wonderful to be in. I wish more pictures came out but the turtles were just right in front of us. The ride back was pretty fun too. I think Kim's favorite part were the drinks that they kept shoving in her hands.

The next day was a stop at Grand Turk.

A quick stop at Margaritaville and Ron Jon for some souvenirs for everyone.

Next up, we were on yet another boat to see some sting days. The day was overcast and a little cold so it was tough to get in the water, but it wasn't bad once you got in. One of the guides corralled one of the female stingrays and had us give kisses. It was pretty fun to see everyone do that.

As soon as we got back to the dock, it started pouring down rain. We made a B-Line to the shops to wait it out. We made it back on the boat not too much later and got ready for another formal night.

The next day was our last day at sea on our way back to reality. It was tough to just sit out in the sun and read all day ;)

Before we knew it we were back in the states in the airport headed back home. It was a ton of fun to get away and be with family like that. I can't wait until the next one.


A few weeks ago Kim and I went up to Keystone with some friends to go skiing. It was the first time we had gone since we were in college so we were pretty excited. We left Friday right after work and drove straight through. Driving through western Kansas in the middle of the night isn't nearly as exciting as it sounds...We got into Keystone at about 3am and caught some sleep in the parking lot of a McDonalds. I was sure glad we took an extra comforter because it was cold. A lot colder than I thought it would be, about 4F. We woke up a few hours later grab some breakfast (and warmed up) and got to the slopes.

We got our skis and I headed up the lift with one of the other people in our group and we started hitting some of the blues right away. I was amazed at how fast it came back to me. It was almost like I had never left CO. The weather was great, no lines and I wasn't falling. Not bad. After lunch I took off on my own and hit some of the peaks out back. Man I wore myself out. We only had two days there and I wasn't going to waste any time. Sooner than I wished it was the end of the day and I headed back to the condo to relax a little and get some dinner.

That night I slept like a rock. I may not have moved at all I was so wiped out from an all night drive and lots of skiing.

The next morning came and we headed up to the slopes again. We got a couple runs in and then met of with the rest of the group and went with the kids and Kim down a nice long blue/green.

That afternoon we went to another park, Arapaho Basin, which is a little higher and off the beaten path. There aren't a lot of runs but they are a little tougher and almost all are above timber line so the air gets sucked out of your lungs a little easier. Then the snow just started coming down. Big fat flakes everywhere. It was awesome. But again the day ended too soon and we had to head back. We turned in our skis in and it was over.

Time for some food at a Mexican place where we saw a Napoleon Dynamite look alike (the voice was on the money) and some games back at the condo. Another great nights sleep and a long drive back home and it was all over.

Some day I'll have a place up in the mountains where we can go skiing all the time. I can't wait to get back.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Houston Marathon 2010

Can't believe that it has taken me this log to put a report together. Here it goes as much as I can remember.

I went down to Houston with Kim on Friday and got in late like we normally do. I was trying to lay of caffeine as much as I could the week before the race so I was exhausted by the time I hit the bed. The next day we went to brunch and then Kim and I went down to the expo and packet pickup. We hit all the usual stores and I picked up a new pair of shoes, Newtons. They are supposed to change the way you run to more of a forefoot striker so you can run faster. We will see how that works...

Anyway the highlight of the day was meeting NYC Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi. He was a super nice guy, taking pictures with everyone and joking around.

That night I had a great spaghetti dinner (the usual) and then headed down to my sisters condo (since it is right near the start) and I crashed out again. The morning came really early. I don't really function well at 4:30am. But I got out of bed and took a shower to wake up. I grabbed a bagel with peanut butter for breakfast and next thing I know my sister was dropping me off at the expo center. I did forget my Gatorade that I was going to drink before for a few extra calories but no big deal.

After a little stretching and bathroom pit stops done I headed to the start line. It was kind of chilly (about 40F I think) but I warm up pretty quickly and I knew my shorts and t shirt would be fine. I went into this marathon a little nervous. My long runs really hadn't gone well at all. In fact my last one was an 18 miler that I was absolutely dead in. My shorter weekday runs all went great but I was nervous about how I would respond after 15 miles or so.

The starting gun finally went off and we were on our way. This year I was in the first wave so I didn't have any problem getting around the groups of walkers that for some reason like to start at the front and get in everyones way. I settled into a pace right in my low heart rate zone and I was surprised that it was about 8:45/mile. I was a little nervous with that pace but my HR was ok so I forged on.

My pace was pretty even the whole time. All I was trying to do was keep it even as long as I could and then not slow down too much at the end. I hit the 10k mark at 56 minutes which was on what I wanted.

I was feeling strong at mile 8.5 when I saw my family the first time.

The half marathon came at
1:56:17 (~20 minutes faster than my first half marathon by it's self). I knew I had a shot at 4hrs right there. I had 4 minutes in the bank so that eased my mind. The 30k (~18 miles) mark came at 2:46:17. Just a little longer and I could do it. I started feeling it around this point and then out of no where there was an older man down and he was stiff as a board. He had a few people around him and the cops were running up calling for the ambulance. It seemed like there was a phone tree type thing going on where people were yelling from behind for the people ahead to get the medics. Not long after that we saw the medics running towards the man with the defibrillator. He turned out to be ok so that was good to hear afterwards.

I hit the 20 mile mark and I just kept telling myself just a 10k more. I wanted to walk really bad but I told myself just run to the next mile marker and then think about it again. Over and over and over. Then you are at mile 24 and seeing downtown get bigger and bigger. So close but forever to go.

Finally the finish line was in sight. It wasn't far but it seemed like the longest stretch of the race. At this point I was pretty sure that I would beat my old personal best time from the NYC Marathon (3:58) as long as I didn't cramp up. Right at that point I saw a guy jump was seemed like 3 feet in the air, clutching his hamstring. It was so close he just kept going with one leg stiff as a board. I attempted once to "sprint" to the finish but my legs said no way. All of a sudden I saw my family and friends for the last time right before the finish and couldn't help but smile again.

I crossed the finish line in 3:55:51 a new PR by a couple minutes. I was estatic, tired, hungry, tired, thirsty, tired and wobbly. I took a finishers picture then headed in to meet my family. It really meant a lot and really helped my spirit every time I saw them, and I couldn't believe how many times I saw them. I grabbed an ice cream, a banana and a water and plopped down. Man that felt great just to sit and not move. When my family got to me we hung around for a little bit before heading back to my sisters place for a shower and then to mexican food and a beer. I think I ate about 2 baskets of chips, 3 enchiladas a taco and I don't know what else. And that is why I run. :)