April 24, 2009

April 18th 2009 Collegiate Sprint National triathlon championships race report

I went to Lubbock TX over the weekend to visit my cousin who had just came back from the Middle East. My cousin is good friends with the RD who was putting on the 2009 Collegiate National triathlon championships race in Lubbock. The race was a 500 meter swim, a 19.7 mile bike & a 3.2 mile run on the exact same course as the BSLT, the Buffman & sqeakey, & Tri Rader triathlons.

The night before the race my cousin pulled some strings & got me a spot to race. This was sweet because the race sold out a few weeks prior. Since I was going to be visiting for 4 days I had brought my bike, cycling gear, & run shoes for training. Essentially I had everything I needed to race except for a race belt & a wet suit. I even had lounge chairs & blankets for my tri-spectator family packed up in my triathlon machine; ok, it's just a mini-van, but let me have some self respect here & allow me to call it my triathlon machine ok?

I get to the race sight the morning of & realize the event is a REALLY big deal. There were 1200 triathletes- 1201 if you include me, & there was an energy in the air I'd only felt at Iron distance events previously. It was 45 degrees at the start of the race. I dare say it felt much much colder. There was a 7am start so the temperature wouldn't really start to warm up until after I was done racing.

Now as I was saying, since I was visiting family & not expecting to race I didn't have a wet suit. I assumed in West Texas I wouldn't need one anyway. WRONG!

After setting up my race gear & transition area I headed down to the lake start. The lake temp was only 55 degrees!!! Everyone else but me & one other idiot had on full wet suits, neoprene booties, & neoprene swim caps because of how flipping cold it was!!! I only had on swim shorts & goggles. I won't go into much detail about the first leg of this triathlon to save myself at least a bit of dignity. I'll sum it up by saying the 500 meter swim which would normally take me 11 minutes took me almost 20. There was 30 people who were pulled out of the lake for hypothermia, each one of them had on wet suits to fight the cold. I didn't- sissies! When I finally got out of the water I couldn't feel anything below my elbows or knees & I was shaking uncontrollably.

At the mass swim start one spectator came up to my cousin having no idea he was there to watch me & asked "what kind of a retard races in these conditions without a wet suit?". My cousin & I both agree he had a great point.

My swim to bike transition is always less than 1 minute. But have you ever tried to put on cycling socks & shoes when your shaking uncontrollably & unable to feel your hands or feet? Not an easy task I assure you. It took me almost 4 minutes to get out of T-1.

As everyone hopped on their bike to start the cycling leg of the triathlon everyone realized very quickly that legs don't work well after a swim that cold. There were a huge number triathletes simply falling over because their legs simply weren't working quite right. The bike start was like I was trying to pedal through a war zone with flopping bodies laying all over ground. At the time I was annoyed, but looking back I realize it was pretty funny. Next year the collegiate nationals will be held in Lubbock again & at the same time of year. I'm bringing my camcorder & having my wife film these youngsters. It'll be a U-tube hit. Good thing helmets are mandatory.

I had a really poor bike. I never did end up regaining the feeling of my hands or feet. & my legs never started working properly, yet I still passed a whole bunch of these college students who looked to have perfect physiques. Anyone who has seen me knows I don't exactly have a slim physique;)

The bike to swim transition was a little faster for me, but still no where near as fast as what I usually do, yet I still ended up making up a bunch of time in T-2 on a lot of college students. Apparently they study & party to much to practice transitions because I'm telling you they were REALLY slow getting off their bikes & onto the run leg.

My run was no better than my swim or bike. I still couldn't feel anything below my ankles. Running without being able to feel your feet is a very odd feeling. You can't tell when your feet hit the ground or what kind of footing you have. But surprisingly I was only passed twice & I passed 10 of those pups! The majority of these college students I passed were running with race shirts that had no waist or no shirt at all. Most every one of these guys I passed had 6 pack abs & perfect looking bodies, yet here I was a decade older & easily 50 pounds heavier passing them with authority! Invariably when they saw me passing them & they saw how heavy I was their pride would force them to pick up the pace to keep up. I'd pick up the speed too & drop em like a bad habit! Oh how sweet that run was! I should race with college students more often. It's great for my self-esteem! Apparently those bodies which could be on the front page of fitness magazines are just for show.

I ended up finishing 4th place in my division. Not bad for an overweight 33 year old eh?

April 13, 2009

I can always count on family

My wife's Aunt & Uncle bought our kids a rabbit for Easter. The rabbit arrived in very very small bird cage. Definitely not something large enough to be comfortable. So now I get to spend the day buying $80 worth of supplies (which we can't afford right now) & building a rabbit cage (which I don't have time to build). Ah, gotta love family. This is the cage I'm going to try & build.

April 12, 2009

April 10th 2009 Wind triathlon Post race report

Today, April 11th 2009 was the Wind triathlon at White Sands Missile Range. It started off with a loop 5k run.

Since last Dec my run has been absolutely atrocious. I came into this race not expecting to do well on the run leg & was fully expecting to have to make time up on the bike & swim legs. I surprised myself and felt pretty good out of the gate.

The first mile was a slight down hill & I clocked the 1 mile mark at 7:05. Shortly after that there was a very long & gradual (grueling) uphill. Usually hills sap my strength, but after I topped this long uphill I felt great & continued back to an 8 min per mile pace. I finished the 5k (3.2 miles) in 25:30 & had about a 90 second lead on anyone else in my division. Of course, the closest person to me in my division was Jason McClure who is my arch nemesis on the racing circuit- outside of triathlon he's probably the nicest person I've ever met. But let me tell you, he & I have had some insane battles during races.

On mile 5 of the bike Jason McClure caught & passed me. As usual he doesn't just pass me, he screams past me at a pace I could never dream of keeping. Because Jason is such a beast on the bike traditionally the only hope I have of beating him is if I can run a sub 24 minute 5k. That usually puts him deep enough in a whole that I won't see him again. Today's 25:30 wasn't good enough to keep old McClure away. He passed me, & I saw another Clydesdale drafting off him.

Occasionally people will draft for a few seconds. But this guy rode Jason's wheel for 10 straight miles!!! That made me angry, & like Bruce Banner so eloquently proclaims, "you won't like me when I'm angry." I start hammering, & hammering HARD! I was going to catch this cheating Clydesdale & convince him to stop drafting. & if he didn't stop I was going to personally remove him from the course. Finally & surprisingly I caught the 2 of them; surprisingly because I'd never caught Jason once he got ahead of me cycling.

I started yelling at this lecherous triathlete. At first he tried to ignore my protests & continued his illegal escapades; you see, in triathlon drafting is against the rules. He realized pretty quickly I was not finding his antics funny in the slightest. I yelled at the top of my lungs & was gradually pushing him closer & closer to the gutter. His choices was to let go of wheel he was riding, or eat dirt. He chose correctly.

From that point on I realized Jason couldn't drop me like usual. He'd get approximately 75 meters ahead of me, then I'd start reeling him in. He'd see me start to catch him, kick in his after burners, & then again I'd start reeling him in. DING! Eureka! I realized at that point what big Jason McClure had been doing to me all these years. He'd sprint passed me on the bike leg until he'd have nothing left. But once he got a half mile or so ahead of me I'd unconsciously slow down. Essentially he's been beating me on the bike with a mind game. I figured out today that if I stay with him for a few minutes of his hammer fest; as painful as that will be, then he'll ride at a sustainable pace.

Unfortunately just before the turn around point Jason flatted out. This is unfortunate because I believe I could have stayed with him today & passed him in the pool. I really believe that today would have seen me victorious over the great & mighty Jason McClure. But instead I won by default. Yes, I know that for the South West Challenge series a win outright scores the same as a win by default. But I hated to see that happen. I hated it partly because I think I'd have squeaked out a victory in the end. But the biggest reason I hate that he flatted out is because even though I'm his biggest rival he still goes out of his way to be helpful, supportive, & honorable. No one as gracious as him should have such an ill-fated & abrupt ending to the day.

About 2 miles left on the bike a MASSIVE wind picked up out of nowhere! It was blowing directly in my face. My speeds slowed down to a CRAWL, but I hung tough & finished slightly behind Felix Hijnoso. Now Felix isn't in my division, but I've only finished the bike this close to him a couple times before.

Now you may think in a triathlon if there is a run, then a bike, then next would be the swim right? Wrong. The most neglected leg of most triathletes is the transition. Transition #1 is how fast can a person get out of his/her run gear & into their bike gear. Then transition #2 is getting out their bike gear into their swim gear. Thankfully I practice this. Even though Felix had a ten second lead into T-2, I beat him handily out of the transition area & into the pool.

I finished the 400 meter swim some where around 7 minutes 30 seconds to 7:40. Giving me a finishing time of 1 hr 48 minutes & taking first place Clydesdale!

I now have 3 first place finishes & one 2nd place for the 2009 SW series. Which gives me 39 points & a first place standing in my division. 2nd place is Alex Garcia with some where around 32 points & in 3rd is Jason McClure with 29.

Next race is the Atomicman duathlon April 26 in White Rock NM. I'll keep you informed on how I do.

Thanks for tuning in.

A loving daughter & a Racing Pooh bear

My daughter has been helping my wife make my lunches when I go to work. Belle has started putting little things in my lunch that she enjoys to make my night go by better. Every time she does this & I find it at work I pull out the toy or stuffed animal to brag & show off to all my co-workers. This did back fire awhile back. When my went to shake down my lunch box he opened it up & found a partially naked Barbie Doll. Of course he held it up & announced to the entire shift awaiting their shake down what he found. Very embarrassing.

On April 10th I was doing a race in White Sands Missile Range called the Wind triathlon. That morning when I opened my race bag to set up my race/transition area I found my daughters favorite teddy bear. I was so touched I got a little teary eyed right there in front of all my fellow triathletes. I took this picture to remember this forever & to share what a loving & considerate daughter I have.

April 07, 2009

still losing & fatherhood

This has been the longest I've gone without updating my blog. Things have been busy busy. I'm back to being consistent with my triathlon training (hurray), I'm back to working 6 twelve hr shifts a week (not so hurray), my wife is going to school now so I'm on baby duty 2 days a week (a big hurray).

A few weeks ago my weight was up to the 230's. Based off what I read on Couch-potato-to Ironman's blog I decided to try upping my daily calories to see if I could stay more consistent with the ole diet that way. It has worked miracles! I'm a little hungry, but never REALLY hungry or ever feeling like I was starving the way I had felt before. I've lost an average of 2.3 pounds a week the last few weeks. I weighed in at 222.2 this morning. I'm so happy to have diagnosed the reason I was having such horrid up & downs with my eating. If I keep losing 2 pounds a week I'll be down to 200 pounds by July, just a little late for my A race in June. But better late than never. I'm even having dreams of grandor of racing EVERY race next year as an age grouper. Rather than doing like I did in 20008, when I dropped below 200 for only 2 races, but then had to compete the whole year as an AG'er or lose the points of the races I did below 200 pounds.

Like I'd said my training is back on track again. I had been burned out since I'd completed Ironman Arizona in November. I haven't been missing workouts like I had been. I'm hitting most all of them, even the swims!!!! I know, it's amazing. I'm even swimming!

I am training exclusively for sprint distance triathlons this year rather than Ironman distances like the last few years, so my training emphasis is on speed work rather than long & slow. But even so, my long bike rides are up to 62 miles & my long runs are up to 7 miles. I've knocked off 18 seconds on my 400 meter run intervals in the last 3 weeks. I'm still no where as fast of a runner as I usually am, but I'm improving quickly. Hopefully I'll be back to running my usual 6-7:15 minute miles for a 5K. My biking is actually faster now than I ever:)

Right now my diet is great, my training is awesome, & my speeds are improving quickly. Life is looking good my friend!

This weekend I have another triathlon at White Sands Missile Range. It's the Wind Triathlon, a 5K run, 30 K bike & a 400 meter swim. Should be interesting because my biggest competition, Jason McClure will be there. This will be the third time of the 09 season that we'll be racing against each other. The first one I won, the 2nd he slaughtered me by 7 minutes! Even though Jason is much faster than me right now, it just so happens that I'm slightly ahead in the South West Challenge Series. He has 26 points, I have 29. As long as I place in the top 3 in my division at this weekends race I'll be able to keep my lead, even if only by a point or 2. I'll keep you posted on how the race & the results go.

Well, as I've said before my daughter who is 3.5 years old is taking swim lessons. & I'm excited to say she swam for the first time this last week. She swam about 4 or 5 feet, all under water & using a semi-breast stroke. I was so excited I when I saw her do this I interrupted the class by jumping up & down & yelling hysterically "she's swimming! She's doing it! She's swimming, she's swimming!" I must say, that was one of the coolest experiences of my life. She's 2 years younger than the next youngest child in her class of 8 kids, & she is the 2nd one to be able to swim. There's only one kid who can hold her breath longer than my daughter too. I'm telling you peeps, my baby girl is a natural swimmer.

I've been hoping my daughter could do the Jay Benson kids triathlon in May. To be able to do that race she needs to be able to swim 1 lap which is 25 meters by herself. I wasn't sure if she'd be able to learn to swim that far by then, but it looks like she may. How cool would that be. You can bet I'll record the entire triathlon on our camcorder. Oh, how wonderful father hood is!