September 27, 2007

Flirting w/ the Ironman cut off time

I felt great on today's 3hr 15min run. I got some stomach cramps at the 2hr 15 min mark that lasted 15 minutes. After that I started running again very well. I feel fresh now that I've finished. I took the time to calculate the times of my training rides/runs for the first time today. I realized I'm barely making the Ironman time minimums on my training days. Although I feel good at the end my long days I'm just plain slow. I'm worried I'll not make the cut off times. I have been averaging 13 miles an hour on my 6 hr long bike days which has around 9,000 feet elevation gained and lost. My long runs are around 3 hrs 15 minutes and I am covering around 15.5 miles. That's a 12:42 ave. I don't know the elevation on those training runs. On one hand I feel better after completing these distances than I ever have before. But it just boils down to me being dang slow.

September 19, 2007


I got this letter from my cousin about my Aunt Leah this morning:

Well, mom had a follow-up appointment with her oncologist today and the prognosis is defiantly Multiple Myeloma. Mom has a bone biopsy scheduled for this Friday with another follow-up on Sept. 27 to develop a game plan for treatment and determine how far along her blood borne cancer is.
There is no treatment for this cancer, you can only treat the symptoms (that may include kidney problems, broken bones, susceptibility to illness, etc.). Hobbs has a wonderful cancer treatment center and all of mom's needs should be met right there! Initially mom will start a round of 3 (or so) medications to slow the progression with chemotherapy to take place sometime in the future.
Aside from the anemia mom isn't experiencing any other symptoms. This can progress very slowly, so keep your fingers crossed and mom, dad and Big Mama in your prayers.

My Aunt Leah is like a mother to me. So this isn't going to be easy for me. I was wondering if you all could pray for my Aunt Leah, my Grandmother Mona, and me. My Grandma has lost her husband and a daughter from cancer already. This is her 2nd daughter who has been diagnosed with a non-curable form of cancer. all prayers would be greatly appreciated.

September 18, 2007

Her first I love you

I was in Co. Sat Sept 15th at around 8pm and it was the day before the Harvest Moon 70.3. I was talking to my daughter on the phone and she told me "I love you daddy" for the first time. She said it very clearly, as if she'd been saying "I love you Daddy" for years. It was a perfect weekend.

September 17, 2007

Harvest Moon post race report

The race this weekend was bitter sweet. There were a couple of bad things, but mostly good.

I'll start with the best thing first. Most of you guys know me and know that Michael and Amanda Lovato are my two biggest idols. They are two VERY dominant triathletes. The way they treat people, the way they persevere through tough times, are rare traits in pro athletes these days. I wrote Michael about three months ago, he responded with a personal and heart felt letter. Here's a portion of the letter I sent:

I watched the 2005 Kona Ironman and saw you were forced to walk the run course. It was explained to me that if a pro triathlete is unable to finish in the top 20 that that they almost always quit. But you didn't. You continued to walk finishing around 395th. I was completely motivated by your determination and refusal to quit! That night I pulled out my indoor trainer, wiped off the dust and started training again. I haven't stopped training since. Every time I become frustrated or want to quit I think of your outstanding performance at the 2005 Ironman world championship race- yes, I feel it was the most outstanding performance of the day! You could of stopped and packed it up once you realized you're race was impacted by severe GI problems. Most pros would have to insure not becoming injured. But you didn't, and I haven't quit either.
I plan on doing the Harvest moon long course half Iron distance triathlon in Col. as a tune up race in Sept. Then the Silverman Iron distance in Nov. If I can persevere and never quit like your example has taught me next year I'll be known as an Ironman not just a former fat guy. Knowing the gratitude I have for you, my cousin called me to tell me he watched Kona in person, he said you came back out after your race and cheered on the last people to finish. He said you were the only pro who before the race was smiling at all the amateurs, you were friendly and approachable. We believe you are an incredible representative of the sport, and I just wanted to take this opportunity to tell you that after what I've done, and plan to do my life will never be the same. I owe allot of that to you due to your example.

Well, Michael and Amanda were at the Harvest Moon half Iron. Amanda was racing the long course. She actually started the race on the same wave as me, but she wasn't on the course nearly as long as I was :) She took 1st place with a blazing 4:34!!!!

From my letter Michael and Amanda knew I'd be at the Harvest Moon. After the race they took the time to find me and introduce themselves. After that we hung out for almost an hour. What great people they are. It really made this weekend a special occasion! On a really cool side note: When I first got introduced to them I went to shake Amanda's hand and instead she gave me a great big hug!! I got to hug Amanda Lovato!!!!!! I can die happy now. That just shows how down to earth and approachable those people are.

Now for my post race report. This was the Clydesdale long course championships. So I was pretty exited. I have always raced half Irons at a high zone 2 heart rate so that I can finish in a good time and not fall apart on the run. At the Harvest Moon I decided to try and push mid zone 3 on the bike and run. I knew I may end up bonking, but I wanted to test my limits. ]

I got out of the water in around a 37 minute time. It would of been a PR but T-1 was around 200 yards from the exit of the water, so my official time was 41:57. On the bike my mid zone 3 is around 135 beats a minute. My race strategy was to keep it around that area. But because of my coach was there, it was the Clyd long course championships, and probably the biggest reason was the Lovato's were there I couldn't help pushing it harder than I should have. I never let my HR below 140. My ave HR for the bike ended up being 142. I also only kept one water bottle holder on my bike. Which meant I was limiting my fluid intake to 26oz every 15 miles. HUGE mistake!!! My sweat rate is immense! On a day where the temp is about 90 degrees I sweat approximately 50 oz an hour. It turned out the temp's were almost at 90. So at the 10 mile mark I was out of fluid. The next aid station wasn't until mile 15. Between every aid station I became more and more dehydrated. At the 40 mile mark I stopped sweating and had a migraine head ache that was so bad I could only keep one eye open. Keeping 2 eyes open seemed to make the migraine feel worse.

By mile 45 I was only keeping up a 10 mile an hour ave. I was crashing hard! I could tell by the way my body felt that I could of kept up the pace I was trying to keep on the bike if I had been able to stay hydrated. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

When I got off the bike I felt HORRIBLE! I've bonked before at races and on long training days. Not sure if it's me or if every one is like this, but when I bonk there is no possibility of recovering. The days race or training is essentially over. I have never once recovered from a glycogen or hydration deficit no matter how much I drink or eat. But let me tell you, I've never given up on a race. In April of this year I got two flats but only had one tube so I walked 7 miles with my bike to T-2 and finished the swim anyways. I was dead last, but I didn't DNF! Did I mention I saw a guy named Michael Lovato do something like that in 2005 at Kona? I wasn't about to start quiting now. I walked to the first aid station which was at the 1 mile mark in 16 minutes. I slammed 2 cups of water. I would of drank more but I felt like I was going to throw up if I did. I did a shuffle to the next aid station at the 2 mile mark in another 15 minutes. At that station I drank 3 cups of HEED and ate a gel. By the 2.5 mile mark I had recovered enough to start a semi-run. Did you hear that people? I was recovering! I ended up able to keep up a 10:30 pace the rest of the race finishing the half marathon in 2:26.

I ended up with a total time of 6:26. 2nd best of four 70.3's for me. If I would of managed my hydration correctly I'm pretty confident that I would of finished around 6:06. Considering how dehydrated I got and that I recovered from a bonk really makes me feel confident of my fitness level. The Silverman is MINE baby!!!!! It also makes me realize I have a great coach! Peter Alfino at Mile High Multisport if anyone out there in blog land is in need of a dang genius! So, I finished 3rd place Clyd 39 and under in the Clydes long course championships which technically ranks me as the 3rd place Clydesdale in the world at the long course this year. Hey, if there's faster and they didn't toe the start line that's their fault. I'm only reiterating what the results are telling me. The Harvest Moon RD is going to mail me my plaque. I'm pretty exited.

September 14, 2007

The end of a crappy day

Today was one of those dreaded crappy days. When I was packing for my race I couldn't find allot of my race gear. I do allot of races every year, usually around 12-18. So I've mastered the art of packing for a race. It usually takes me about 45 minutes. Today I couldn't allot of my gear so it took me 3 hrs. 3 hrs of packing after having to cut my days sleep short in order to get all the things I had scheduled to get done today. So after I finish getting all my things ready to go I take my bike on one last short ride to make sure the race wheels I put on for my race are performing well, and the drive train is shifting well. Well, it wasn't shifting well at all. I couldn't get my rear derailleur to shift into my highest gear. I spent an hour and a half adjusting, riding a few feet to see if it's working, getting off again to adjust, riding long enough to see it's not. Etc, etc. Finally at 5pm I realize something is up, and I wasn't going to be able to fix it. The bike shop is 20 minutes away, and they close at 6. I can't have it fixed tomorrow because I leave for Co. at 6am! On top of that I was supposed to be in to work at 6pm. On the way to the bike shop I had to call in sick to work. So there I am using 12 hrs sick leave that I'll need soon because I just found out my favorite aunt has a rare form of cancer. Aunt Leah has been like a 2nd Mom to me. I used to spend my summers with her & her family. Those summers were especially wonderful for me because I was raised in an abusive household. Those summers were the only times growing up I really ever felt safe. Consequently she has a VERY special place in my heart. To make that an even more sensitive situation my Aunt Jackie died of cancer less than one year ago. My Grandmther is a wreck because her 2nd daughter is gotten cancer in so short of a time frame.

The way the state Penns pay system works is we get time and a half pay for overtime, but if we call in sick, however many hrs sick leave we use, that many hrs OT turns to straight time. So because I called in sick I have lost my family $96. That's allot when I am the sole provider for 2 adults, a toddler, and a new born.

When I get to the bike shop I run in with my bike and tell one of the salesmen that I'm about to have an emotional beak down, I have a race I'm leaving for tomorrow morning and my bikes not working. The salesman says he'll see if one of the bike tech's would be willing to stay late to fix it. The first 3 of the 4 say no. The fourth says ok. He fixes it perfectly. But while doing so he also adjusted the Aero bars and bull horns so my bike is in a better riding style. At first i freak out about this, but when he sets the bike up on an indoor trainer and says try it, I realize it was perfect! I'd never felt so good in my Aero's. But still, I know no one is EVER supposed to make adjustments to their bike before a big race. And the Clydesdale long course championships are 2 days away. Well, I can just be optimistic and hope it actually makes me faster, not hurt me.

Now to the good news. The guy at the bike shop saw how grateful I was, he worked on my bike for an hour, well past closing time. He said he knew what panic feels like when something like this comes up before a big race. He said he was glad to be able to help, and that he doesn't want to charge me anything at all, but his boss would have his tail. So he only charged my $12.50. I tried to give him a tip. But he steadfastly refused.

So then I get home, my wife is there waiting for me. I tell her I had to call in sick at work because of the situation with my bike. I'm ready for a butt chewing because I just lost us almost $100 when we really need it.... It never came. All she cared about was if I got the bike thing worked out. Dang it I have a great wife! The way she handled that situation seemed to lift so much offthe days stress of my shoulders. I don't know why I was expecting her to be upset. I've never really seen her get upset at me. All she ever does is give me her unconditional support. She is TRULY a gift from God!

Once I got home I was still stressed. I felt better because my wife was so understanding and supportive. But I was still stressed. When I get stressed I, like allot of people, turn to something that makes them feel better. For some it's alcohol, or drugs. For me it's food. I find comfort in food, not sure why, but that's what I have always turned to when I'm sad, stressed, overly tired, or even exceedingly happy. The more emotional I get, the more I'll eat, the more I eat the more guilty I feel because I don't like the way I look or feel. The worse I feel about having just over eaten, the more I eat to rid the feelings of guilt of over eating. I'm over weight, and a triathlete. Not 2 things that fit well together. But something great happened recently. A fellow triathlete who has been following my blog saw some of the signs of eating for comfort. Turns out he does too. He reached out to me and offered to be my sponsor. Basically that means he's been giving me some advise on how this food issue affects us, and ways of dealing with this. He also said in times of stress when I want to start binging on food, I could call him, no matter what time it is. So when I got home and went straight for the refrigerator, I stopped and decided I'd try calling him. We never talked about food during that conversation, we simply chatted casually. I brought up some of the crap that had happened with my bike that day and laughed it off like it wasn't a big deal. Never really brought up all the other stress of the day. We mostly talked about our triathlon goals, and how we were going to accomplish them. Again, we never talked about food, but by the time I got off the phone I was ready to eat a reasonable sized, healthy meal. I ate healthy, and in reasonable portions! I know it doesn't seem like that big of a deal. I didn't over eat on one meal. Big deal. But with me, one meal starts me feeling crappy because I realize I'm now one step farther away from my ultimate goal of looking like a triathlete, not just being one. So then I eat to make myself feel better. It's not uncommon for me to start an avalanche, that by the time I am able to stop it I have packed on 20+ lbs in a couple of weeks! No exaggeration at all. Over 20 lbs in less than two weeks... Happens to me all the time. But not this time, because of an outstanding person, my sponsor, who showed up in my life unexpectedly. The only people who read my blog are my triathlon team mates, and strangers. But while surfing this blog world I have seen how supportive everyone always is. So that's why I chose to share my weakness today. This is actually the first time I've let anyone know other than my wife, my sponsor, and couch-potatoe-to-ironman. Felt pretty dang liberating to stop hiding it.

Tonight was a real treat because I have been working nights for 2 months now, so I don't get to sleep at the same time as my wife. When I get home from work she's usually getting up to take care of our little ones. I usually am a very deep sleeper. But tonight I just laid there most of the night unable to sleep because I'm used to working at nights. I tried to be as still as possible so my wife could sleep well. Twice during the night I felt my wife lean over to me and kiss the back of my head. I would never of felt her kiss me on most nights because of how deeply I sleep. And I realized she wasn't doing it because she wanted to show me some attention, she thought I was asleep. She did it simply because we are in love, and she was grateful I was home for the night even if it did mean I was losing my family money.

Life can dang good sometimes you know?

September 12, 2007

The Lovato's and race day strategy.

I decided since I'm going to be in Co this weekend I might as well try to see if I could get in contact with my idols: Michael and Amanda Lovato. I sent them an email asking if I could buy them some coffee. They said they'd be willing to meet me on Sat after Amanda picks up her race packet. Turns out she's doing Harvest Moon also. I'll post the picks. I'm pretty exited.

Speaking of Harvest Moon my coach sent me an email stating I should look at the Harvest Moon as a training day, not a race. Reason being is that this race is the first day of my next big build. Since I'm thinking this race doesn't really matter in the long run, I think I'm going to try and push myself harder, closer to the red line, than I would for an A race that's a 70.3. The positve of trying to push closer to the red line is that I could break my PR at that distance. That would be really something considering my 70.3 PR is at Clearwater. Clearwater is a totally flat course! The danger of pushing myself that hard will be bonking early. That would ruin my race. But again, it's a tune up race for the Silverman. So if it does get ruined I'm ok with that. It's worth the risk in my mind. I get my T-shirt regardless of if I PR or bonk. I am slightly worried about this weekends race though. My throat has been a little sore the last 2 days. And my left knee was hurting really badly earlier in the week. It is much better now, but it still hurts a bit when I run.