Friday, June 20, 2008

My First Half-Ironman Cometh...

Let's talk Buffalo Springs Lake Triathlon 70.3. From here on known as BSLT. BSLT is on 29 June in Lubbock, TX.
Looks too nice to be Lubbock, doesn't it? Well, the course for this tri is just east of Lubbock in Buffalo Springs Canyon--thus the change in scenery, and you'll see more what I mean as I work my way through this post. Be warned, there will be many BSLT posts between now and the 4th of July weekend. Why so long? Because there will be as much post race talk as there is pre-race of course! :) So, bear with me. This is the biggest race I've ever done distance wise. I was more on edge for the Austin Marathon because I trained for that for literally over a year (thanks to an extended trip in the Iraqi desert..). But, come race day, and while I'm out there on the course for, I expect nearly 6 hours, I know I will be feeling it and mental, not just physical, toughness will be required. I signed up for this race after some peer pressure from some fellow triathletes and, well, because I wanted to do it. I wanted the challenge, I wanted to see what it felt like to take my body 70.3 miles of swimming, biking, and running. It's the challenge that draws me to it all. But then, once my moment of challenge insanity has passed and I look at what I have signed up to do, I am convinced I am crazy--but I sort of like that, and again, the challenge and adrenaline that comes with racing tells me I've done a good thing.

THE SWIM: It is a 1.2 mile swim, or nearly 2000 meters on a rectangular course counter clockwise, entry at beach area and exit on cement boat dock area, within 20 yards of the transition area. The water is typically between 70-74 degrees, even when it is hot out (which, it will be), so wetsuits will be legal. I will be wearing my Wetzoot.

THE BIKE: The Bike Course is 56 miles, modified out and back, out of town farm to market roads, limited traffic, flat with 8 challenging hills, ranging from 2.9% - 8.9% grade and a quarter of a mile to 1.2 miles in length. The majority of the course is flats, and I personally excel at flats. The rest are some steep uphills and some steep downhills. I've had some friends from out there say it's not as bad as it looks, but here is an elevation chart--and the first hill is right out of T1 (first transition from swim to bike). This will be a challenge for sure, and the downhills, while usually awesome and time gaining may be a little scary to due to HOW steep they are. Remember, this is in and out of the CANYON!

THE RUN: After what I hope is a fast, safe, and enjoyable bike ride I'll role into T2 and trade my bike for my running shoes and my helmet for a running hat and hit the pavement running. The site describes the course as 13.1 miles, asphalt, flat with 3 challenging hills, ranging from 6.4% - 7.6%(not the same hills as found on the bike course) grade. The hills are approximately 300 yards to 880 yards in length. Partially shaded, tough, scenic course. Yep, a 1/2 Marathon to round out the mileage to a healthy 70.3.
There you go! That's the course. That is what I will be headed out to do next weekend. Between now and then there is a little thing called taper that I must go through (and a few hundred miles of driving)...but we'll talk about taper, goals, keys to succes, etc. throughout this next week. Can't put it all out there at once. Besides, this Sunday there is a race TWICE as long (140.6 miles) in a beautiful piece of America in Idaho called

So, I am wishing safe and speedy races to all the soon-to-be Ironmen!! I may have to go to this race next year (not to race it--I have another Ironman I'm eyeing for '09)...but to cheer on some friends that are going to race it!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

PT 1: Davey Psychology PT 2: My calf

Let me introduce you to Davey, my nearly 3 year old minature poodle!
Some of you know Davey, and others of you have heard me talk about him. He's full of fun and energy--sometimes too much energy. He LOVES people (well, not everyone, I have seen him bark at a homeless guy that approached my car at a gas station once, I was so proud--not that he was mean towards the homeless guy, but that all of his 8lbs wanted to protect me)...and he loves to be with his people. So, when I go to work, he is not a happy camper. I used to let him run around the house while I was gone, and he had one of those puppy pads he did his business on. But, then he got he started going on the carpet instead, no good. And he was chewing the molding around the doors. So, I heavily gated him in the kitchen--plenty of room, potty pad, food, kong with peanut butter in it. By heavily, I mean, double gated, and had to make sure it was thick plastic on the bottom cause he chewed right through. Then, he started shredding the puppy pad. Due to the way the cabinets are, I had to put a shoebox between one gate and the cabinets or he would've had a hole to wiggle through. Well, this week, and I knew it was going to happen, he found if he chewed through the cardboard enough he could push the box out of the way, and OUT he was. Yep, he escaped twice this week that way. But, lo and behold, he ISN'T BAD when he escapes...not at all. I think he feels "escaping" is punishment enough to me. I hate leaving him in the kitchen, I'd rather he run around look out the front window, etc. So, I got a light shoe box, put it in the same place, knowing very well that the first thing he'd do after I left was push it to get out. I also put a potty pad next to the backdoor where I used to put it. Sure enough, I come home, he's out. I can tell by the water amount and the lack of shredded potty pad in the kitchen that it didn't take him long to get out. He used the potty pad for his couple of tinkles, and he didn't do anything else bad. I had water and food for him outside of the gate (anticipating his escape), and he wasn't bad. So, let's see how long this "escape" thing works...
A couple of days ago, while running, I had my right calf cramp up pretty bad on a run. Anytime my calf cramps (typically only swimming or sleeping, this was new), it takes a few days to recover. Well, it was about 95% back to normal. It didn't bother me swimming or biking at all. I started my run today, and was feeling GREAT till my second 30" stride...and the faster pace brought some, not all, of that pain back...argh....not a happy camper. With Buffalo Springs only 10 days away, I didn't push it any longer, and I've been massaging it all night. It's feeling tons better--the good thing is, I won't be doing any sprinting (save maybe the last 100m) during Buffalo Springs, so any runs between now and then will just be straight runs, NO SPRINTS because I do NOT WANT TO WALK AT ALL at BSLT (minus maybe an aide station or so)...even if I have to run slow, I want to RUN the entire 1/2 marathon. One week from tomorrow I leave for

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Less than 2 Weeks

I am now less than two weeks out till the my longest race ever--the Buffalo Springs 70.3 Half-Ironman. It doesn’t feel as big as maybe it should for me—maybe because I’m not going out to wreak havoc on the competition (not that I can truly do that anyhow) but more to challenge myself and see what I can do. Sure, I will get out there and do my absolute best, and race day adrenaline will kick in and motivate the competitor in me. Sure, I’ll look for rabbits on the bike and the run, but I truly am looking to do this the best that I can and accurately record it in my mind and analyze it to make my 70.3 race in October (Longhorn Half-Ironman) a race that I go out with the intent to wreak havoc on the competition (as best as I can of course). I also know that the conditions I will race in will be different for both events. For example, while it is possible it may be hot in Austin in October—it was last year for this race—I still don’t think it’ll beat Lubbock in June! The hills in Lubbock are steeper and fewer, while in Austin they are your TX rolling hills. Wetsuits will be legal, most likely, in Lubbock, and it’s probably 80-20 against that for Austin.

My swim coach, a triathlete and friend also, is fairly stressed it seems about the upcoming race as there are three of us she works with/friends with that are in the F25-29 age group. She thinks we're going to going to become crazy competitive with each other. Now, I will admit, I can be a fairly competitive individual (some of you are laughing that I just wrote "fairly")...but I am not malicious competitive at all, just individually competitive. When KA (my coach) asked me what I would do if B passed me on the run or I saw her ahead on the run (cause she's gonna beat me on the bike...of that I'm pretty positive), I was honest and said I'd probably run harder, as my body will allow me, with the concept of I have to finish the race...I can leave it all on the course, but finishing is key. Will it motivate me if I see someone I know a few up from me--sure it will, that's natural...but again, I have to do what my body can let me do. Will my goal be to go out and catch B or T on the bike or run, no, that's not the goal. The goal is for me to race those 70.3 miles as hard as my fitness level allows me. Will I use motivators on the course of "rabbits" in front of me to help me dig a little deeper and find something more that I was holding back, absolutely, that's part of the mental aspect of racing. Will it motivate me more if it's a F25-29 age grouper, whether I know them or not, sure it will--I always want to place as high in my AG as my fitness will allow me. But is my intent to go run down my friends I know and "beat" them. Nope, not this race. There maybe some of those races, but not this one. This is a PR (personal record) for me regardless--because I have never done this distance. I am not going to get an Age Group slot to Kona or Clearwater--but I am going to race and finish a half-ironman, all 70.3 miles and I will leave it with the confidence that, come October, I can go out even harder, faster, and stronger in Austin. And most of all, I want to HAVE FUN!

On a side note--it is also motivating in a fun way to have people you know racing out there with you--and there will be several folks I know out there on the course. We will all be fighting the same heat, the same course, and the same urge to just jump in the lake and cool off! So, to my fellow racers---I appreciate you, race hard!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Good Idea, Bad Idea

I am an Animaniacs fan--it was such a funny cartoon as a kid, and I dare say, it is more funny as an adult. So many things are missed by kids--they did some creative writing in that show. Remember the "Good Idea, Bad Idea" scenarios? I offer you this one:
Good Idea-Sun Bike Club Ride and OWS (outdoor water swim)
Bad Idea-Sun Bike Club Ride and OWS on FATHER'S DAY
Why? Because that means the only other two people who showed for the Sun ride were old guys with beer bellies who went REALLY SLOW and we had to stop A LOT for "breathers." It was a route I didn't know, so therefore I had to hang with them. Oh well, the gamble of the group ride. I then went to lake for an OWS. The swim wasn't bad EXCEPT for the lake was really crowded and there were lots of jet skis and boats making some killer wake--force me to bilaterally breath, that's for sure. Didn't care for sucking the exhaust, water was really warm, and just wasn't the best day for trying to swim out there. Need to do that first thing in the morning when your avg. lake goer is probably sleeping off a hangover--which is not something I have to worry about on Sat or Sun morning.

I have still been church hunting here. I have missed lots of Sundays due to travelling, races, etc. I had been going to one church that had some good preaching, but there really wasn't much for me in the fellowship area. The primary attenders were either not anywhere near my age range, or they were already married with kids. Thus, my dilemma in general in finding a church here. None of the churches have any type of ministry for your career singles (not college kids or young 18/19 year olds) like me. Everything is family focused--which I understand, it's a big family community and that is who goes to church. I guess there aren't enough like me in the area to have the ministries that teach more than "how to be a good parent" "how to strengthen your marriage" etc. It's not that these are bad things, they're great things, and maybe someday I'll have a reason to tap into them. However, I am not in that position right now and I can only learn so much of it from the perspective of "learning it now so I'm prepared for 'when' life brings me those things." So, it's a little frustrating. On the plus side, I'm nearly done with Journey of Desire and have found it to be a really good book. I will finish it in the next couple of days.