22 October 2008

Rider's block

...now if I could only get the "d" to sound like a "t," which would make the title sound more like the double meaning I intended.

The last weekend in September, my next older brother, Charlie, flew down from Atlanta to Orlando to help me pack up all my belongings and move to Chattanooga, TN. I am now living in with my oldest brother, sister-in-law and two nieces back in Chattanooga. I kind of feel like Uncle Jesse from the TV show "Full House," except I'm not married to super hottie of the 80's and 90's, Lori Loughlin, who also starred in one of my favorite movies all-time, Rad. But, I digress.

I've skipped a few races and updates over the past month, so 'lemme fill you in on a few goings on in my life, athletically speaking:

1.) August 30th - I competed in and was overall winner of the Crystal River Triathlon in Crystal River, FL, which was a great, hot and sweaty sprint triathlon on the west coast of the sunshine state. The swim was roughly 400 meters of gulf water, which helped me feel more buoyant, and I was able to come out of the water first. Onto the bike, where I had just been fitted by fit guru Adam Baskin, I was able to sustain my lead. The run was flat and hot, but I was able to hold a pace a big boy like me should be happy with, which carried me to the tape. At this point in the season, I had experienced some injuries and other issues, so it was extremely motivating and encouraging to be able to win a race.

2.) September 7th - I competed in and was overall winner of the Silver Springs Triathlon, in Silver Springs, FL, which was again, a hot and sweaty sprint triathlon in central Florida. I have never raced consecutive weekends, so it was nice to get the blood pumping again. The swim was in a beautiful spring fed, 75 degree, crystal clear oasis in the middle of a sleepy town. I took the 700 meter swim out conservatively, then progressively picked up the pace until the exit. Onto the bike, where there was nothing fancy to write home about; nonetheless, I kept up the intensity and came into T2 with a good lead. The run was through a theme park, which means there were 180-degree turns and serpentines to contend with, but I was able to run faster than the previous weekend, thanks to mother nature, and my coach who figured out I wear too much clothing; I raced in only tri shorts, and miraculously was able to stay much cooler ;)

3.) September 20th - I competed in the USA Triathlon Amateur National Championships in Portland, OR. The race is contested at the same venue for two consecutive years, with this year being the second, so I was familiar with the course having competed there in 2007. When the gun (air horn) sounded, all us 25-29 year old men took off in a clockwise rectangular swim around Lake Hagg. I layed the hammer down for about 200 meters, then calmed the the 'ol blood pumper down a bit as I approached about 1000 meters, when I picked the pace up again. I was able to come out of the water with a decent swim time, quite eager for the hard bike course which ensued. I wanted to negative split the two loop bike course, while still pedaling at a decent clip for the first loop. I was able to retain my position and, I think, pass a swimmer who came out of the water ahead of me. I began the run in third place, I think, and was able to run quite a bit faster than last year, which landed me a 15th overall finish, and sixth in my age group. I'm happy.

4.) September 27th (move day) - I ran a 15k in Orlando. I'm not sure why I subjected myself to such torture, but my coach and I are onto this whole "racing" idea ;) I like it. I was able to run a 53:52, which, as a self proclaimed amphibian, elated me. Very inspiring for my final races of the season.

5.) October 11 - Hickory Knob International Triahtlon in McCormick, SC. In the middle of the week I accompanied my dad on a business trip to the nether-regions of eastern South Carolina. That about sums it up. On our return, we detoured and found a sleepy golfing community on Strom Thurmond Lake which hosted an impressive amount of athletes in an end of season race. I was first out of the water by a solid 75 seconds, and mounted the bike faster than the Lone Ranger mounted Silver. I hammered the first two miles of the bike and found myself at a major intersection, where I was directed by the local Sheriff's department to turn right. I hammered the next three miles and found myself at an even bigger intersection, except this time, there were no officers, chalk marks, volunteers or any other persons telling me which way to go. The officers at the first intersection sent me the wrong way. By the time I had returned to the point to get me back on the right course, I was already four miles out of the way, and my race was over. The race director from Setup Events was more than accommodating and understanding of my situation. Put this one in the redemption tank for the last race of the season, which is a half ironman in Wilmington, NC, also hosted by Setup Events. I'm ready to go.

Until next time, keep your rubber roadside down and enjoy the ride!

04 September 2008

The Final Countdown

...not only is a tremendous falsetto representation of the finest music 1986 had to offer, but it represents the goings on in the life of yours truly.

My blog posts have been much less frequent than I would have hoped, and I won't make an excuse for the lack in writing which I am sure you all find riveting. That being said, all is quiet on the Orlando front. We have remained relatively unscathed by tropical storms, aside from road closures due to flash flooding. And as fate would dictate, the weather has forced me indoors. I do view this as a blessing. I have been logging some quality running on a treadmill, which isn't as mind-numbing as one would believe. I almost prefer the "hamster wheel" now, as I can have unrestricted access to my nutrition, fans blowing cool air, and passers-by in the gym wondering why there is a crazy man wearing tiny shorts and a John McEnroe headband sweating all over the place like he was in a Turkish bath.

Additionally, I have been cycling on my indoor trainer for a couple weeks now. For those of you unfamiliar with an indoor trainer, it is a contraption that attaches to the rear wheel of your bicycle with a resistance unit applying pressure to the rear tire to simulate the road. Here is what it looks like: Computrainer. Cycling on a trainer forces one to pay attention to cycling technique, as you can actually hear if there are discrepancies between the motion of each leg and force applied; I am always striving for the "even hum" sound. Similar to the treadmill, you can also have your water bottles etc, on a table next to you, allowing for more convenience while you hammer the will out of your legs. I also prefer to watch a movie on my trainer; nothing gets my blood pumping like watching the Von Trapp family stick it to the Nazis! Ok, not really. I do like to watch action/drama movies with some sort of lively soundtrack.

Now, back to the title of my blog. I have our USA Triathlon National Championships on Sept 20, for which I am aiming my cross hairs. Countdown one. The second countdown refers to my duration in Orlando. Following the month of September, I plan on meeting a few prerequisites then applying to a Pathologists Assistant program. For those of you who had no idea, I have been working as a tech in a pathology lab in Orlando.

So that pretty much sums it all up. Until next time, keep your tires rubber side down, and stay away from tropical storms.

07 August 2008

Is it time to race yet?

On the eve of the Olympic Games, I am growing more anxious in my own endeavours. The beauty of the triathlon season is that we are able to compete from March until November, with many events all over the country on a weekly basis. My next race is Sunday, August 17th, in Gilford, NH. Keith Jordan and Endorfun Sports host Timberman, a 70.3 event. For those of you wondering what 70.3 means, it is a half ironman; Ironman is a masochistic event, consisting of 140.6 miles of swimming, cycling and running. The swim is 2.4 miles, the bike is 112 miles and the run is 26.2 miles. Divide each leg by two, and that's what I'll be doing in two Sundays.

I'm excited for a couple of reasons: one, I love New Hampshire. It's beautiful, and there are colder summer temps than the south, and rolling/difficult terrain. Two, I haven't exactly had the perfect season I had been expecting, so it will be nice to hopefully piece together a good effort. I have prepared quite well for this event (and the rest of my season), having hit some good solid training weeks of 20,000+ meters in the pool, 14hrs on the bike, and north of 60 miles of running.

I was also able to recharge my mental batteries this past weekend in Moultrie, GA, as I attended the wedding of two friends. The wedding, reception, and every event surrounding the weekend was spent with close friends, and I couldn't have asked for a better weekend. I had a phenomenal workout of approximately three hours on the best rope swing known to man. It was blast watching former national caliber divers successfully attempt acrobatics off this contraption. I tried, but failed miserably.

So for now, I am going to begin backing off my mileage and throwing in a bit of intensity in preparation for Timberman. I will keep everyone updated along the way, and maybe even write a blog as I relax before the event.

Until next time, keep your tires rubber-side down...

17 July 2008

Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon

Now that I've had some time to reflect, unpack and disinfect, I thought I might write about the race this past weekend:

I was excited to head back to Chattanooga not only to race, but to see my family and friends. My weekend started off better than amazing on Saturday morning as I was walking through the terminal and saw my niece with a huge grin on her face, dressed in purple and toting her suitcase, run to greet me...I could have gone home, never having raced at all, and been a perfectly content man.

After lunch and packet pick-up with my dad and niece, I think all of us were ready for the race.

Race morning. I had a good bike warm-up and was ready to walk the one mile upstream to the swim start with my dad and uncle. It was a nice relief to not have to do the walk by myself, as it helped me keep my mind relaxed. Before I knew it, I was swimming. I had the occasion to be one of the last swimmers to depart, as Team Magic did not have an elite amateur wave, which would come back to haunt me later in the race. Back to the swim, I was happy with the effort. With a quick T1, I was flying out of transition, but about half a mile into the ride, I came up on a beginner triathlete and was passing on the left, but to my surprise, this young lady swerved into me and I had to react by swerving out of her way.

I reacted and almost stayed upright. I hit the dirt (read: asphalt). Upon impact, my brand new water bottles from which I had never taken a single sip, were ejected. After about 30 seconds, I regained my composure and jumped back on my bike, sans nutrition, and hammered. Before I knew it, I was at the bike turnaround. I stopped. I calmly asked the volunteers if they had any fluids, as I had crashed and was depleted.

No luck. "Okay," I said to myself, and put my head down and rode. At about mile 18, I passed a competitor and noticed he had an aerobottle between his aerobars, a bottle on his downtube, seat tube, and a rear hydration rack with two bottles, making roughly 80+ ounces he was carrying on his person. I also notice these bottles were virtually full, as they were made of clear plastic. I slowed down to speak to this man, and gave him a brief recap of my day so far, and begged for a bottle. The man proceeded to tell me he was going to drink the remainder 60+ ounces of fluid with only seven miles remaining, and could spare no juice. Yikes...this man's belly ache might surpass the pain of my crash if he drank all his liquids.

Back to the bike. As I approached the last four miles, I found myself cycling in the hardest rain I have ever encountered on my bike. No big deal. I rode with my mouth open wide to hopefully get enough water in my mouth for a big gulp. I looked dumb.

After the fastest T2 of the day (my dad recorded all my splits) I stopped at the run start to drink as much fluid as I could from the aid station. This would not help. I don't remember running the first mile, and by mile two, the pain in my hip from crashing coupled with zero nutrition in my body from hammering for an hour and a half was enough to cause me to pull the plug. The volunteer said it was a good idea, as he said I looked rather pale. So I'm not "tan." I'm working on it.

As I was given a ride in a cool old jeep back to the staging area, I couldn't help but smile and laugh as I saw my nieces with my race number drawn on their arms and t-shirts by my awesome sister-in-law. This was hands down the best support crew I've ever had at a race, complete with mother, father, grandmother, both brothers, sister-in-law, uncle, nieces and countless friends. I hope I didn't leave anyone out of that count. Moral of the story: thank you so much, it means the world to me.

I was pleased to see my dad compile the race data in an Excel spreadsheet, which indicated that despite my crash, no nutrition, stopping at the bike turnaround, having a conversation with an overly hydrated competitor and cycling through a tropical deluge, I was only a few seconds behind the overall winner as we began the run. "Woulda, shoulda, coulda..." I could whine all day, but it is as useless as a rocking chair; it gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere.

I am motivated, encouraged and ready to race the Timberman 70.3 on August 17. This half ironman is held in Gilford, NH, and I am more than excited to race in cooler temperatures and see how I hold up over this distance.

Until next time, keep your bike tires rubber-side down and share your juice.

22 June 2008

More wildlife spottings

The great convenience about where I live is the fact that I can walk out my apartment door and run for an hour without touching the same road twice. There are, however, a few cautions to be advised: first, armadillos. They may look cute in a prehistoric "I-can-withstand-a-bomb-blast" way, but don't let these armour-cladden rodents fool you. Legend has it these varmints first carried and spread leprosy. I was running through my barrio the other day when I saw one, and I immediately ran from a smooth heart rate to 200+ beats per minute as I wanted to be no where near this miscreant.

Second: alligators. I know the wildlife quite well surrounding all the ponds/lakes in my neighborhood, and I even have a few "friends" I see on a regular basis. This one day last week was an exception; about 60yds away I spot an odd looking little lizard, which in fact was not little nor was it a lizard, but rather a 3ft+ alligator ready to chomp on my leg. Okay, it wasn't going to chomp on my leg, but it could have, but I did not give it the opportunity as I yet again went from my steady pace running to terminal velocity in less than one second. Additionally, I thought to myself, "This must be a baby gator, which means it probably has a mommy and daddy and a big brother somewhere close." Next time I'm jogging through my 'hood, I shall bring my bayou knife (I just have to buy one first).

Third: I can't really think of anything else, but I did see a raccoon running across the entrance to my neighborhood, and let me tell you, these creatures need some serious work on their running technique. If you've never witnessed these masked bandits running, they look like an obese cat with a shaved tail and a pointy face running with their dairy aires stuck up in the "I just got kicked in the butt" position. Graphic, I know.

Moral of the story is: when you go apartment hunting, make it a point to check the creatures indigenous to your area, especially if you are going to be exposed to them on a daily basis with nothing between you and them except skimpy synthetic fibre running shorts and running shoes.

As for me, life is grand. My training is going splendidly (no details given unless requested). Work is going swimmingly, and my short game is improving due to all the putting and chipping I am doing in the grass next to my apartment.

post scriptum - Let me know if you would like for me to include anything in my writing about my life/training down here in Orlando. I am open to suggestions! I'll be here all week. Don't try the meatloaf...

08 June 2008

"Om Namah Shivaya"

In the immortal words of John Lennon and the Beatle's song "Across the Universe", "Jai guru deva om. Nothing's gonna change my world..." I am enjoying my Sunday morning.

I was sitting at my lab station last week at work, having a frustrating evening, when I thought of the first time my yoga instructor played the song which is the title of this blog. For no good reason but my own doing, I was in a not-so-chipper mood. I began to chant an internal (A-U-M). The word "Om" has meanings far too numerous to list, but the purpose of my internal chanting was to remove worldly thoughts. For some reason on that particular day, I was the only one and catalyst in my own negative energy. There was nobody else responsible for my thoughts. That being said, the only things with which we can ever have any certainty are our thoughts, words and actions. I am writing this blog on the eve of a previous blog, which I deleted. My dad made me realize I wrote the blog in a reactive manner, and he is right. I accomplished nothing by writing the negative blog other than making my shoulders tense.

Where am I going with this? I just wanted to get some thoughts on paper, rather, a pixelated computer screen, to recharge my thoughts and reset my physical status. Our mental state can have a great impact on our physical lives, and we need to make sure that both attributes are living comfortably and healthy with the other.

Changing topics, I am quite happy with where my training is at the moment. My coach and I have a great game plan for the rest of the season, and I am eager to show you the fruits of our labor on July 13th at the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon, in Chattanooga, TN. The fire is burnin' baby.

In closing, I want to again mention my friends at Pedro's. They sent me a tool kit (to say the least) and quite a few bottles of Green lubes, cleaners and other fluids which I have used to fuel one of my passions, which is bike maintenance. My coach has picked up a new client, a promising youngster fresh out of high school, and I used Pedro's gear to overhaul his new bike. I am a big fan of supporting your local bike shop, but a company like Pedro's not only enables you to get your hands dirty by learning how to fix your machine, but saves you a few dollars in repairs costs, labor and fuels costs of driving to your LBS. Thanks guys,

post scriptum - Get yours hands dirty and learn how to tune-up and clean your bicycle. Don't let outside forces out of your control affect your mental state. Listen to "Across the Universe."

13 May 2008

This ain't your mommy and daddy's DISCo

I apologize for having taken so long to write an update; the past month and a half have been more than weird and interesting to say the least. "Let me sum up..."

Before my third race of the season, which was an ITU developmental race in Tuscaloosa called 2012, I had to take roughly eight days completely off, as I woke up one morning unable to get out of bed because of something going on with my back. Yes, I did write about this in an earlier post, but I shall elaborate. Following a few words of advice from my network of friends (aka the smartest and most versatile group of MA's, Ph.D.'s, PT's and M.D.'s alive) I was back into the swing of things within a week and was able to race the 2012 event. I had a good swim, was part of the three man lead bike group, and was able to put :50sec on the chase group. Upon dismounting the bike and completing T2, I had to pull up limp because "somethin wudn't right." I still finished the race, but was reduced to a jog...

Following the race I figured I better get some definitive information; I went to get a CT Scan of my lumbar spine, which revealed a herniated disc. "Disc" is not the best word to use to describe this part of your anatomy, but rather image your disc a delicious jelly doughnut or Boston eclair if you choose. And this is no herniated disc as I managed to extrude almost all of my gooey filling out of the dough. What does this mean? Well, basically I will be able to regain most of my range of motion with consistent physical therapy and time. It has caused loss in range of motion, loss of power in my legs and mega pain occasionally. Tolerable, but I can definitely see the light at the end of this tunnel. The aforementioned is issue number one I am dealing with.

Now the fun part. A few weeks ago, I noticed a funny bump in the top of my left ear, just underneath the top of the ear under the fold. I figured with all the cycling, swimming and sweating I do, I managed to get stung by a bee or whack my noggin of something. As days and weeks progressed, this bubble grew to engulf the entire upper fold of my ear so that I started looking like a wrestler or Ultimate Fighter who forgot to wear his headgear. Sans black eye and bloody knuckles, I looked the part of a tough cookie. I decided to finally go see an Otolaryngologist (ENT) to have him take a look at this weirdness. Initially, the general practitioner I saw advised me to "leave it alone and it will go away." I am glad I went to the ENT because he told me that if left alone, the auricular hematoma that formed in my ear would calcify and I would have a bona fide cauliflower ear and look like a wrestler that couldn't keep his face off the mat.

Disclaimer: What you are about to read is graphic in nature. I will try to use big words and sound scientific so it won't sound too gross. Use Google if you want photos of what I am describing ;)

Next thing I know I am having a 1.5cm incision made in my ear and letting the fluid drain. As of now, it looks fine. A compression dressing was made, which was "supposed" to keep constant pressure on my ear as to not let the fluid build up between my cartilage and the skin. I looked a cross between Bjorn Borg and Princess Leia. This head dressing did not work, as the hematoma refilled and I had to go back to the ENT two days later. The doctor re-incised the incision (read: pain) and drained the fluid again. This time, he stuff a gauze strip into a pocket that was made on the south end of the incision as to not let the hematoma form by keeping the wound open. I was instructed by the doctor to remove the gauze strip the next day and swab out the pocket with a Q-tip. He failed to mention to me the pain involved. I had my coach who is a PA in Pathology perform this duty which took the better part of 20 minutes. This was Saturday. The following day the wound had healed and the hematoma formed again. Why wouldn't it? This is rhetorical, don't answer it. Starting to write some sarcasm due to frustration and pain.

Ok, I'm back to normal again. Monday, yesterday, I went back to ENT for a re-incision of the re-incision with no numbing agent. Pain. Hematoma grew back. I went to the ENT this morning for round four, and following the visit I was able to fashion an amazing clamp which will keep any fluid from accumulating. I am going to patent this product and make a million dollars.

Somewhere among this insanely long blog I managed to compete in the St. Anthony's Triathlon on April 27th. I had a good swim and bike which landed me only :45sec behind the leader and a quite confident second pace heading into the run. Disaster struck due to the aforementioned myriad of the weirdest injuries/goings-on with me and I had to walk part of the 10k and ultimately finished the race, but not not in good shape mentally or physically.

Here we are now. I am Humpty Dumpty who is off the wall and in the process of being put back together again. I am biking and running moderately, but cannot swim due to the huge gaping wound on my ear. Thanks for strapping in and reading my epic tale, recapping my past two months or so. I will keep you all updated much better as days progress, but please understand I was not of the mental capacity to write so beautifully as I have just now (cue humor. Cheap way to mask neglecting an overdue update). Oh yeah, and to recover properly, I am taking the months of May and June off from racing.

Til next time, try to keep your DNA inside your body.

09 April 2008

Green Week

There exists an interesting dichotomy in the world of triathlon; most folks work so hard to live fit, nutritious and healthy lifestyles for our bodies, yet we neglect the land that enables us to have chiseled calves and stunning jaw lines (cue humor). We simply throw old products in the garbage, clean our greasy bikes in our yards and driveways, throw innertubes in the dumpster, etc. What can you do to live a more green life? Why should you?

Over the past couple years, I have had the pleasure of working with Pedro's, a bicycle maintenance company, in an effort to use environmentally safe degreasers, chain wax and cleaners. In addition to maintenance products, they provide every tool, kit and saddle bag imaginable with a new line of Eco-friendly fibers and plastics. There are so many bike and gear manufacturers who use toxic products in their fluids, and guess what happens to that cute little garden down the driveway from where you clean your bike with these fluids? That's right, mutant weeds and death galore. And let's not even imagine what will happen to that family of fuzzy, cuddly cute bunny rabbits...

In addition to Pedro's products, their site contains a wealth of knowledge and "green" tips. For example, what do you do with those old tires, innertubes and bike parts? See Pedro's for disposal tips! They are doing an amazing job of changing the cycling and active community's environmental habits and helping folks save a few bucks in the process. They are great people and I wish we could all be a little more like them. Thanks guys.

Go here: PEDRO'S. They have a great online shop with fun accessories such as bottle opener that I exclusively use for every beer in my home.

"Recycle, reduce, re-use, and close the loop..." (We had to watch these recycling videos in middle school and listen to these jingles that are permanently tattooed on my brain. Kudos sir marketing person, or whoever created that song. It worked.)

Also visit Chris Lieto's green website. He is quite the activist and sets a great example for how we can do more. Not only does he recycle like a champ, but he can give most thoroughbred horses a run for their money on his bicycle.

05 April 2008

Wile E. Coyote

The past couple days of recovering from my back injury have been going well. Today I was able to knock out a steady 10 mile run followed up by a nice 5,000m swim. So enough training talk, everyone does it, so I'll chat about something that happened to me yesterday...

I am on a jog, or it might be "yawg." I'm not sure if it's a soft "j" or not, when I look up the trail ahead of me roughly 100yds or so. I thought for a second that I had let out a "Beep beep," as I was staring directly at a coyote (or rather, he was staring at me). No, he wasn't toting an ACME anvil or TNT blasting kit, but he was looking at me like I had no business on his turf. I just so happen to see another one on the side of the trail. They are much bigger in real life. I always thought coyotes were little critters, roughly the size of a fox, but au contraire. I'm actually making a bigger deal of it than it actually was, but it at least was an interesting wildlife experience here in Florida. Now, you must be riveted to your ergonomic chairs as to what happened once we made eye contact!

Absolutely nothing. I wondered what they were doing playing in the heat of the day; they were wondering why I had no hair on my body and was exclusively running on my hind quarters.

This capped off my week of wildlife viewing as I was on my bicycle Thursday and happened to see a bald eagle. I didn't think they were indigenous to Florida, but sure enough, it was legit. They are huge. The white head was finished off by an impressive yellow beak. The tail feathers were also a beautiful stark white, which made this bird's flight impressive and effortless.

Until next time, this is Bear Grylls signing off. If you don't know who that is, google him and watch his show.

02 April 2008

Back in the saddle again

...not only was a great composition by iconic Aerosmith, but it accurately describes where I am in my training as of today.

Prior to today, well, Monday, I had done absolutely no physical activity for about eight days due to a back injury. Through a network of great friends, who consequently happen to be orthopedic surgeons, urologists, pathologists, physical therapists, and just about every "ist" you can imagine, it was determined that I tore some muscle in my lower back with some damage to some sensitive tissue around my L-4/L-5 area. Lots of Ph.D.'s and MD's said a lot of big words that I really didn't understand, but I liked the way they sounded to my ears, so I listened for a while, and determined all of it sounded good. I've been following their advice for therapy, and the pain is slowly but surely subsiding (another word I heard them use...not quite sure what it means, but it looks pretty). I just today am able to bend at the waist forward and achieve a 90 degree angle. I can't properly stretch my hamstrings yet, but I'm gaining more range of motion every day. Today I was able to knock out an 8 mile run followed by about 2100m in the water. Flipturns are still a bit iffy, as I have to modify my ninja stealthy flip by performing what can best be described as something you would see an arthritic, pregnant woman do. No offense, but it is fairly accurate, I think ;)

As Inigo Montoya said to Wesley after awakening from Miracle Max's miracle pill, "Lemme 'splain. No, there is too much. Lemme sum up..." If I am able to recover from this nuisance in a reasonable amount of time, then I will next compete in the 2012 Olympic Development race in Tuscaloosa, AL on 20 April. If not, then I will still go to Tusca-paloosa and spectate, as I've already purchased a non-refundable plane ticket; all the while continuing to prepare for St. Anthony's Triathlon on 27 April in St. Petersburg, FL.

Until next time, watch The Princess Bride, if you haven't already, to understand my humor in the above paragraph.


21 March 2008

Miami International Triathlon

1.5k swim/ 40k bike/ 10k run
Miami, FL
16 March, 2008
2nd Overall amateur

Race Recap,

First “Olympic” distance race of the season! I’ve never raced consecutive weekends, and this was certainly an eye opener for me. Following last week’s performance, I felt capable and fit to red line my internal V8 and compete against the world’s best triathletes. I had never been to Miami before, so culturally I was in a different world. That’s another story altogether. But I was there for business, and that is exactly what I got down to.

The race. Good thing I moved to Florida, because now I am somewhat used to warm mornings, and race morning in Miami was no exception. I broke a sweat pulling on my new race uniform and I knew I was in for a warm day. After a quick 15min jog warm-up, I was officially drenched in sweat and ready to jump in the old Marine Race Stadium Bay and swim a bit before the gun went off. The race was wetsuit legal for us amateurs, but following last week’s “incident,” I opted to compete in my amazing new uniform thanks to Zoot Sports as opposed to a wetsuit. From the start, a competitor took off and set a quick pace in the water. I caught him roughly 900m into the swim and proceeded to jockey position with him until he decided to sprint the last 200m. I simply sat on his hip and quasi-body surfed his wake letting him do all the work. I was surprised to look down at my watch and see 13:30, meaning the swim ended up being a couple hundred meters short unfortunately, because I am a self-proclaimed amphibian. We crossed the timing mat side by side into T1, where I proceeded to have a lightening fast transition and immediately gained a couple minutes on my closest competitor.

Onto the bike, I set a fairly quick pace. I have yet to lay the hammer down for 40k, so it was good to see my training efforts pay off as I was able to distance myself even further from the second place athlete. I’ve never led a race before, so I must say it was cool/intimidating being the race rabbit. I practiced my nutrition perfectly, as I had a sustained energy level throughout the bike, and was getting quite excited to lay down a fast 10k run. I dismounted the bike with an even faster T2, and was excited for a fast 10k run. I looked down at my watch and saw that it took me over an hour to complete the bike, which was unusual considering I’m capable of cycling in the mid to upper 50’s. I later find out from someone who had a computer on his bike that the course was almost 45k as opposed to 40k. Relief. So I was ready to track my miles on the run, only to find out there are no mile markers. No big deal. A race is a race. I simply wanted to see my run splits as I am learning to become a land animal, and numbers on the run course help me do so. The run consisted of two 5.3k loops, so it was actually a little longer than 10k run. Good. It helps me learn to run. However, I had another one of those gazelles chasing me, and he caught me with about a half mile to go. I had the throttle fully opened, plus I had my afterburners engaged, but was unable to catch this native African creature as he sped away and beat me by 9 seconds. Ouch.

To sum up, I am more than happy with my effort. I raced as hard as I could have on that day, I think, and I am excited to get back to the drawing boards with my coach and get ready for the next double header, which takes place on April 20th and 27th, respectively. My training is going exceptionally well and I am eager to keep the ball rolling. Thanks to everyone for reading horrible grammar, syntax and an overall poor English recap of my race.

Until next time, wear Zoot Sports, drink and eat Powerbar products, sport Smith Optics shades and use Pedro's bike products in an effort to be more environmentally friendly (shameless plug, sorry…but not really)


Florida's Great Escape

1k swim/ 25k bike/ 5k run
Clermont, FL
9 March, 2008
5th Overall

Race Recap,

First race of the season! It felt great to get some serious speed with some serious competitors under my belt before the bulk of the season is upon us. The race attracted quite the early season star-studded field with an international and professional turnout. There were a few Canadian Olympic ITU hopefuls, professional Iron distance folks, and a few “in-betweeners” such as yours truly. More to come about the aforementioned in later updates…for now I will try to stick to race details.

The race. I competed in the elite wave, which was first to depart at the crack of dawn following daylight savings time. (USA Triathlon regulations mandate no swimmers may begin the race until the sun has appeared on the horizon.) The state of Florida had the red phone in hand about to dial FEMA as we began our morning in the low 40’s. The water was quite shallow, so the first 150+ meters of the 1k swim was an interesting mix of running/diving/swimming/David Hasselhoff efforts. I quickly learned that I am global positioning-ly challenged, as I started swimming in what can best be described as “not-a-straight-line.” Additionally, I need to learn how to swim in a wetsuit. I had, for me, a sub par effort in the water, as I was gapped by some stud swimmers. I came out of the water roughly 90secs down on the lead guys, and after having tea and strumpets, as my coach affectionately called it, in T1 (swim to bike transition), I began laying the hammer down on the bike. I rode like a man possessed for the first lap of a two lap bike. The bike was 40 minutes of solid cycling for me, as I made my way up to third overall in a quick amount of time. My coach and I have been putting serious effort into my growth as an overall cyclist, so it is nice to see his efforts and my work paying off. After a not-so-bad T2 (bike to run transition), I ran an opening mile of 5:10, and proceeded to run two back-to-back 5:25min/mile to finish in 5th overall. I had two gazelles chasing me, and I fell prey to them.

To add insult to injury, my coach wanted to put a tightly fitting cap on the previous four weeks worth of training, so following the race, a couple of buddies and I went for a leisurely 9 mile run, followed by a quick two hour bike ride in the evening. I slept soundly that evening.

I am extremely pleased with my early season performance, and excited about where my fitness is this Spring. My coach and I had been working hard and long for the previous four weeks leading up to this race, and I am looking forward to letting my muscles heal a wee bit. My next race is the Miami International Triathlon on Sunday, March 16, 2008, and I am almost as eager to begin my preparations for the rest of the season following this race.

Stay tuned!