Saturday, June 27, 2009

Catching up and Year of the Skunk

Obviously life is busy cause I'm not making it onto the blog very much!! Life can be summed up to two things right now: Command (my job) and Ironman training! That's okay though, I'm have a blast with both. I did, however, get a very nice respite and incredible inspiration last weekend when I made my way to Idaho for the first time! I headed up to cheer on some awesome friends (new and multiple Ironman athletes!) as they tackled Ironman Coeur 'de Alene in Coeur 'de Alene, Idaho. The weather was much cooler than Texas, and it was nice...though race day would probably be the coolest and included some chilly rain. My friends (from both the Austin T3 triathlon team and the crew) did excellent!! So let me extend a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to all the Ironman CdA finishers!! Well done! The race had some choppy waves, some big hills, some chilly weather, and misty cold rain! However, at the end of the day they emerged with the title "Ironman." I had a blast hauling around gear and helping out as I could, and then standing the whole day cheering on every athlete out there. It took me 3 or so days post-race to get my voice back to normal! I was hoping that seeing my friends take on 140.6 miles of swim/bike/run would give me some inspiration to keep on with my training and it has worked for this week at least!

Training has been going well. Thus far the month looks like this:
June's totals:
Bike: 22h 36m 36s - 379.69 Mi
Run: 12h 50m 13s - 90.68 Mi
Swim: 11h 02m 51s - 32550 M

The bike mileage for the month will be less than last month because of my trip to Idaho, but my running this month has been the first full month of running since February (due to the stress fracture). It's coming along really well and with no pain, so I'm happy. I had an AWESOME (and cool), scenic 11 mile run in Idaho. Here in Texas, most of my runs are in the dark so I can avoid some heat. My average wake up time is 0440 in order to run or swim before heading in for unit PT (physical training).

I did get my first 100miler in, though, I'm not really counting it. Two weeks ago (13 June) I went to Gatesville for the FireAnt 100k. I knocked out the 62 miles of that ride, and then went back out. I got to 85 miles, but was now by myself (all the other riders gone) and in an unknown area with some not so friendly drivers and some killer heat. So, I quickly packed the bike up, headed home, and finished out the remaining miles on my trainer. The mileage got done, but I look forward to a continuous 100 miles. The week prior to Gatesville, Tanya (<--training for Ironman Arizona in Nov '09) and I participated in the Atlas 4000 Ride. It's a kick off even for several UT students that ride from Austin to Anchorage, Alaska. It was 70 miles and we were flying!! We averaged right at 19mph and we felt phenomenal at the end as we followed it up with a hot, but successful 4 mile run. We were rewarded with Texas BBQ and Blue Bell ice cream! Who can complain about that? Today (27 June), Tanya and I knocked out 70 miles in the Temple/Belton, Texas area. It is definitely getting toasty...but again, both of us felt GREAT following the ride. I never thought 70 miles would feel easy, but it did. That bodes VERY VERY well for future training. Just at 19 weeks left of training before race day, but I'm no longer nervous/scared about the race. I respect the distance, but I now feel like my base is there. I am thrilled to see my running coming back (I had a tempo run this week where I averaged sub 7:30 min/miles for 4 miles!! yay!) and the cycling keeps getting easier and easier. Still not sure where the swim is as far as speed for the open water aspect, but the endurance is growing there as well. I WILL do the training and I WILL BE READY come 7 November!!

If you read this blog, you know that on a ride I did in May I had a close encounter with a skunk. I have had one of my military working dog teams get sprayed. We saw a skunk run across the field at unit PT one morning. The number of dead skunks on the road has been huge this year. It's typical to have them, but the numbers seemed to have been more this year. Well, the skunk encounters continue you this week!! On Thursday morning I went out for a 6 mile run--1 mile warm up, 4 mile tempo run, 1 mile cool down. I think I started around 0445, and I stay in my neighborhood. The streets are wide, there are lamp posts, and it's not very hilly at all. At about 3.25 miles into the run, I'm cruising down a street that doesn't have any houses built on it yet. I see some animal down the street crossing it quickly. I think nothing of it because I have often seen some jack rabbits around (some big enough I've mistaken them for dogs!). I continue down the street, turn in the cul-de-sac, and hear a rustle in the grass to the left. I look over and there, not 5 feet from me is a good size SKUNK! I went from running at about a 7:30 min/mile pace to a 6:00 min/mile pace IMMEDIATELY and for about the next 1/4 of a mile! There was no way in the world I wanted to risk a skunk spray! My heart rate monitor showed an immediate spike of about 7 beats per minute! Thankfully, I didn't see it again, and I got out of the general area, and went several streets over. About 10 minutes later, running down another street I hit what I can only call a "belt" of skunk smell...something or someone got sprayed. Thankfully, I was not that individual! It was still pretty thick and nasty though, so I beat feet out of there! Hopefully that is my last running encounter with a skunk.

BUT, it doesn't end! Today, Tanya and I were riding and heading out on a route we've done many times, and sure enough up in the road at one point is a skunk taking it's little time on a street. There was no way I wanted to ride past it for fear it'd wait just till the right second to release it's foul odor. So, we turned back and went another way. When we came back later the stinker (literally) was thankfully gone. Rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks all run away from people. Not skunks, no they know that you know you're in for a bad day if you get close. I'd rather ride by (not too close mind you) a big, live snake than a skunk. I can avoid the snake...I can't predict that spray! Too many skunks breeding here in Texas!