Thursday, September 30, 2010

Top of Utah - September 18th, 2010

Gettin "inked up" the night before

I can see the clock....

Boy have we come a long way.  Back in 2003, Michelle and I decided to run a marathon.  A grandiose idea at the time, but one that would change the direction of our lives.  I remember thinking at the time how crazy this idea was, and as we trudged along to a 4:52 finish wanting nothing more than to be done so I could throw my shoes (and cotton tee shirt) away and never run again.   Little did I know at the time, I would come back to this race, 7 years and 10 marathons later to accomplish what I never thought possible.

As the weeks led up to the marathon, I was quite unsure how things would turn out.  My last marathon (Salt Lake) this spring had been extremely disappointing.  With Boston on my mind, I went out way too fast and bonked at about mile 20!  Even with 10 marathons under my belt, I'm still as stubborn as a donkey when it comes to pacing and nutrition.  Michelle's always told me I'm a poor planner...well Salt Lake was validation for her!  That being said, I decided earlier in the week to write up a nutrition plan, and try to follow it the best I could.  Now that Michelle has picked herself up from the floor...I'm happy to say that I finally made a plan and stuck to it!  Yippee!

I also made a unique decision not to wear a watch during the race.  Too often I find myself watching my pace, pushing too hard early in the run, and ultimately losing focus on the prize at the end.  If Triathlon has taught me anything, it is to go all out and worry about the time later!  I also, wanted to run for the fun of pressure, no problem.  Yes, I still ran a bit too hard in the beginning, but the unknown of pace and actual time kept me pushing all the way to the end. 

I really think the combination of nutrition and running with a sense of peace, rather than pace really worked out in the end.  The course was beautiful, the many colors of fall in the canyon made the first 14 miles go by faster than I could have imagined.  I even saw a huge bull moose on the course...seems to be our family theme animal this year!  It was an awesome sight.  Also loved seeing Michelle on her bike and the kids in the bike trailer at mile 20.  It was a huge lift when they pulled over and cheered their little heads off!  Made me so happy!  Thanks for the you guys so much.

When Michelle proposed the idea of starting a blog, the concept was around us qualifying for Boston as a couple, and finishing an Ironman together.  She's the prepared one, and I'm here because of my damn good looks!  Unfortunately, looks aren't everything, or so I've heard.  I'm happy to report that I crossed the finish line in 53rd place with a time of 3:08!  I held up my end of the bargain this time and joined Michelle as a Boston Qualifier!  I knew I had it in me, just had a hard time making it a reality.  Thanks for the patience babes!

So one major goal accomplished, and on to the next.  2011 is the year of the Ironman!  Oh wait, forgot, I still have St. George Marathon this coming Saturday.  Whose idea was it to sign up for two marathons in three weeks?  Oh yeah, that guy who 7 years ago thought he'd never run another marathon as long as he lived! 

The family celebrating after the race

Tri (and run) hard!


Friday, September 24, 2010

How Triathlon Can Save You Money$

This is the cover of the issue my article was in.
 "Please listen to the music while your party is reached...."  this is how I feel about this blog.  As I wait for Justin's recap on his AWESOME performance at the Top of Utah Marathon this past Saturday I am forced to do a quick blog on triathlon.  I wrote an article a while back for  Rocky Mountain Running and Triathlon.   I then wrote another article that I was hoping would make it into their publication but it didn't so I've included it here...

10 Ways triathlon can save you money.

I was sick to my stomach, I couldn’t eat, my head was spinning….what have I done. You probably think this is how you feel before, during or after a race but it was the feeling I had as we left the bike store thousands of dollars later. We could have taken a 3 month trip to Fiji for what we spent that first year in triathlon. I’ve been trying to justify the expense since that dreadful day so I came up with 10 ways that triathlon is actually saving me money!

#1 All the time that we will spend training for races we will have no time to hit the mall, go out for dinner, or grab a movie.

#2 Speaking of movies… there will be no need for cable, direct TV, or Sunday NFL ticket because by the time we actually sit down after your long day of training we would be lucky to stay awake through the first commercial.

#3 Sell the car! We have a bike and two legs. Commute to work, drop the kids off at school in the bike trailer, or stop at the grocery store for more bananas. This saves the cost of gas, auto insurance, and expensive car maintenance.
#4 With all the tech shirts we’ve accumulated there will be no need for a new wardrobe each year! These shirts are original, authentic and the supply is limited. Our friends will all want one and we may even start a trend.
#5 Speaking of trends… ladies I’ve set a new one. I said a tearful goodbye to my hairstylist, manicure and pedicurist. I have no need to cover my roots (I didn’t have any anyways right?), or get my nails done because my hair is always in a swim cap, bike helmet or running cap. As for the nails you will be changing flats and getting greasy putting your chain back on so no need for a weekly fill!

#6 With all the conversations you’ll start by sporting around all of your race shirts you’ll gain new friends and potential sponsors! Nike, Cervelo and Zoot will be at your door in no time.

#7 Vacations?! No more vacations mean more money in your pocket. You’ll become so overzealous before the season starts that you’ll sign up for a race every weekend. No need to take the kids to Disneyland, Hawaii or local amusement park! Don’t worry everyone will understand….you have a race on Saturday!

#8 With all the added health benefits of being a triathlete now you will never get sick. This means fewer trips to the doctor (can you say “no $20 co-pay!), no need for medicines, vaporizers or tissues!

#9 Home Depot and Lowes you are not getting any of my money this summer! We won’t have the time or energy to tackle the house or yard projects. This means money saved! Again!

 and finally….

#10 With all the goodie bags and after race awards that you’ll accumulate consider your holiday shopping complete! Grandma has always wanted a snazzy headband, grandpa a power tri visor and hammer gels make great stalking stuffers.

Are you fooled yet? In all reality triathlon is a luxury sport. Who am I kidding to think that I’m saving money? It would be a whole lot cheaper to buy season passes to Deer Valley and eat at a five-star restaurant (wearing my designer jeans) everyday!

The truth is, I love this sport and can’t imagine my life without it. You just can’t put a price on all of the great experiences you’ll have swimming in a pristine lake, biking through complete gorgeousness and running in total blissful scenery. That’s priceless!

Keep tri-ing.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010


Christina and I at the finish!

I seriously had a bit of doubt that I could ride my bike from sun up to sun down.  I did it...well I should say WE did it.  You cannot go this race alone.  You have to work the draft or you will burn out fast.  Where shall I start?  We got to Logan in just enough time to pick up our packets and get our legs stamped. 

LotoJa stamp

They stamp it with the LotoJa cyclist.  This year it was blue (I heard last year it was black).  We grabbed some dinner at Cafe Rio and headed to the hotel to get our stuff in order.  When I say "stuff" what I should say is food.  Food in the form of granola bars, shot blocks, sports beans, power bars, perpetuum, chicken stock (more on that later) EFS, advil, bananas and agave nectar.  Seriously, I had about 20 pounds of food that I was supposed to ingest over 12 hours?  How was this possible?  I had it meticulously planned.  I would consume 75 grams of carbs per hour and 500 mg of sodium (bawk, bawk).  I had made a list of what I would need at each stage of the race.  Justin was kind enough to be my support for this all day affair.  He had my "nutrition plan" in a little notebook I had prepared for him.  It's crazy how much prep time you have to put into a race of this length.  Earlier in the week while at the store I was shopping for some power bars and I would check for carb content.  You see, most people who count carbs don't like to have too many in their diet and restrict their intake.  Not a weirdo like me!  If it didn't have at least 25 grams of carbs it was NOT coming home with me.

Back to the race... We woke up at 5:20, got ready, tried to eat until we were stuffed and then headed to the starting line.  My wave of CAT 1,2,3 and 4 women went off at 6:58.  It was a chilly start.  We rode 30 miles into Preston Idaho.  It was mostly flat and these girls were setting the pace around 22-23.  I hung on the back and turned on a podcast.  I just love drafting.  Into Preston I took my jacket off, got a refuel (150 carbs and two new bottle of sports drink) and I was off for the first of 3 climbs.  The first climb was very scenic but I was just not ready for it.  I missed my friend who was supposed to ride with me.  I was feeling lonely and discouraged.  When I got to the neutral feed zone at the top I decided to wait for Christina. Even though i lost 15 minutes by waiting it was so worth it.  We were together!  We could now continue on with our plan and life was good again.  We rode into Montpelier Idaho and saw our guys at the third feed zone.  I was feeling great and ready and fueled.  Onto Afton Wyoming baby!  Ohhh wait... another climb!  The second one of the day.  It reminded me of the backside of suncrest and wasn't extremely steep but we were working.  What goes up....must come down.  We cruised down the other side and enjoyed a bit of relief before heading towards our final climb.  Queen of the Mountain!  This climb was like the front side of Suncrest and only 3 miles. Christina and I met up with several groups and continued to work our drafting skills.  While we were not crowned Queen of the mountain I settled for princess.  It was steep and without Eminem singing sweet melodies in my ear I wouldn't have made it.

Afton "picnic" stop.

We flew into Afton and I was feeling great...and hungry!  We pulled into the feed zone #2 and our men were not there.  What the?  Where are they?  Who are those guys under that shaded tree enjoying a picnic?....JUSTIN!  They ran over so fast.  They "claimed" that they had just arrived themselves.  He said they got a hamburger and I said "what?  a burger?"  So my sweetie let me eat half of it.  i was starving!  Usually I rarely eat during races so this was way out of character for me.  I so want to do a long distance race and not bonk, puke, pass out, forget my name,  etc. that my goal was to get it right this time.  I did.  I ate, drank, ate, gel, pretzels, and banana.  I put in my order for a "Cafe latte" (perpetuum flavor) at the next stop in Alpine.  We were off again.  125 miles down and 34 to the next stop.

Check out our drafting skills leaving Afton.....

Once into Alpine I was still feeling surprisingly good.  I was excited that the finish was coming and the next time I saw Justin it would be at the finish.  For this stop I grabbed my latte, 2 advils and chugged down some chicken stock.  I think I made a few spectators gag as they watched me drink straight out of the box.  Kind of gross, I know but a girls gotta have her sodium!

This next part of the race was through a canyon with the beautiful snake river at our side. Stunning!  i saw a few boats full of people who were rafting down the river and having a blast.  it reminded me of our second year anniversary when we stayed in Jackson Hole at a bed and breakfast.  We did the river raft (2 months prego at the time)  and a few hikes (saw a moose of course).  I was lost in my thoughts of gorgeous mother nature and how happy I was with my life.  Its been a fun year.  Busier than ever but so enjoyable.  I could not stop thinking about my kids and how I wanted to bring them up here and do the river raft.  They are still a little small fro it but one day they'll be ready.  i also thought about the three things that I wish for them as they grow.  They are; 1-Be happy. 2- Be kind and 3- Be adventurous!  I want them to get everything they can out of life.  Not material things but experiences, new people and adventures.  This is my wish.

Coming into the finshers shoot

Kiddos at Oktoberfest!  Happy, kind and adventurous.

We had 36 miles to go and I told Christina "remember our ride last Saturday?  That's all we have left.  Lets just pretend we are out for a 36 mile ride with fresh legs."  We came out of the canyon and along the main drag and then we took a side road through the country.  10 miles to go!  We could see the Tetons in the distance and soon the sun would be behind them.  My body was feeling good but my mind was ready to be done.  I got a little weak these final miles but Christina and Karen pulled me in.  We finished 12.10!  It was still light out and I have never been so delighted to finish such a long event.  It was a great day.  So much more enjoyable than I had expected.  We celebrated with a burger the size of my head!  So happy to have done this, happy to be done and ready for a slight break before my next adventure.....

The next day.  Me and my man in downtown Jackson Hole

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Outta my way!

Move over Michelle, it’s my turn to blab…I mean blog for a minute. Admittedly, I haven’t been the best at posting my race experiences, but as my tri season came to a close this past weekend I thought I’d get back into the swing of things. Who has time to blog when they’re out there training 40 hours a week anyway? Seriously people, more training and less blogging! (Michelle’s going to beat me for saying that).

I’ve had a blast this season, and learned a lot! Swimming for one was a good start! You Race Directors can all rest easy now...I can assure you, no animals were harmed in my swimming in these triathlons. I also learned that running on a seriously upset stomach is much less fun than anticipated. I don’t recommend it. I also don’t recommend chaffing, especially in the nether regions, but that’s a different story for a different time.

All in all it was a great second season, and definitely one to build upon.

As for the Utah Half (70.3) this past Saturday…I really didn’t know what to expect. I haven’t really had much interest in putting time in on the bike. Not sure what it is, but it seems to be running in the family these days…go Michelle, I know you will rock LOTOJA. My run has been okay, but not great. My swim…well it is what it is, an area for major improvement this offseason. That being said, I just really didn’t have a feel about how this race would go for me. I wasn’t nervous, or overly anxious either, which is somewhat out of the ordinary. Bottom line I had no clue how Saturday would turnout.

On to the recap…
Looking my coolest...NOT!

The Swim

The water was absolutely perfect. Total glass…I was actually really surprised to see Michelle as I exited the water. I was certain she’d have met some ski bums and been cutting it up out on the slalom, but thankfully she was there cheering myself as well as everybody else on. Ironically, I now know why she was the head cheerleader back in high school! Thanks dear…it’s really great to have you out there leading the cheers! Back to the swim…nothing too eventful, the washing machine feeling is slowly becoming less and less intimidating, and I actually like mixing it up with the boys in the front, even if it is only for a few seconds. I’ve really improved in that area a TON since last year. Anyway, the typical elbow to the face, foot to the face, etc. Nothing too crazy, except maybe the taste of gasoline from the Ranger boat….yikes. No worries, couldn’t be any worse that the water in Utah Lake itself, could it? The course did feel a little long, and it seems like everybody’s time validates that. I came in just after 40 minutes, which is about 4-5 minutes slower than I had hoped. Time to kick it in on the bike…


Not bad…wetsuit came off just fine, I was a little confused by the g-string tri shorts I somehow managed to wear without my knowledge. Oh wait…silly me, my shorts had just decided to impersonate something you’d find in the Victoria Secret catalogue I guess. Nice timing for that…oh well, maybe someone got a good chuckle out of it. I know I did! Not a bad time (1:50ish), considering my transition area was on the far end from the bike out. Really need to consider sacrificing the extra 30 minutes of sleep so I can get a good transition spot. Mental note for next year!


Being a pretty flat course, I really wanted to push it on the bike. My goal was 2:30, which is roughly 22 MPH. It was a stretch, considering I’m not riding a TT bike, and haven’t been putting a ton of miles in, but I really thought I could push it today. The wind cooperated for the most part, a few miles where it was tough, but I managed to push it pretty hard for most of the ride. Other than stopping at three stoplights due to some road construction, I felt pretty good about it. Came in just over my goal, but I’m totally stoked with my 2:32 split. My favorite part of the bike was my nutrition. In the other two 70.3’s, my nutrition on the bike has been terrible…I’ve literally limped into T2 on empty and had to get some calories immediately before I could get moving. This time I had plenty energy and came into T2 strong…or so I thought.


Smokin…nothing else needed here. Third fastest out of the whole field (0.56 sec). To be honest, I don’t even remember T2…it was just so dang fast it must have blown my mind.


I’m really not too sure what to say about the run. Coming off the bike I felt great. By mile 1 though, I felt awful. My stomach was not happy at all and was letting me know it. I managed to get some coke and a little food down just before mile 2, but by mile 4 I just wasn’t feeling it and had to completely stop and walk for a minute. I was having my own little Michelle-Boise moment, and I couldn’t understand why. Nutrition on the bike was great, what happened? I really wish I knew, but I haven’t a clue. Anyway, I told myself enough of this, and I forced myself to jog to the next aid station. A little more walking here and there and finally, at about mile 6 things started to turn. I must have done the first 6 miles in about an hour, because I was getting passed like crazy. It was not going to be a great run split, but at that point I knew I would finish. Michelle was a huge help on the run, and I think the second half of the run was one of the more memorable I’ve had. I went from feeling like garbage, to running pretty hard. Yes, I was sore, and not 100%, but who is 65 miles into a race? I’ve always heard of this strange “negative split” concept, but my egocentric self could never come to grips with what it meant…until now. My first true negative split! I’m kidding of course, but I truly had such an enjoyable second half of the race, and I owe a ton of it to Michelle. She had somehow managed to befriend about 20 people on the course, and somehow over the multiple times I passed them, they remembered my name and cheered really loudly for me. I felt like Tom Brady out there…by the way, GO PATS! Anyway, Thanks Michelle, you really are the best.

Coming into the finishers shoot- 4.56!


I always love to chill after a race and just chat with the other athletes. Loved having my parents there to watch, thanks Mom and Dad for coming! Chatted with some cool people, and hope to stay in touch throughout the winter and next season. Final time was 4 hours 56 minutes. Scary, but 11th place (including overall winners) in my age group…19th place overall. The 30-34 age group is just so competitive, but I love it. Great job to all the racers out there, and major thanks to RaceTri for putting on a spectacular event.
Mom and Dad

Until next time…Tri Hard!