Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thats a Wrap!

Here I go again, slacking on the blog.  I just finished my 15th marathon (SOJO) yesterday and my legs are too sore to carry me off to some other excuse not to blog that I figured I should give an update on the last few months.  I've had a really fun year racing.  Not a ton of events, but I've stuck to the longer distances which I enjoy.  Over the past few years I've decided I really hate spending money (don't ask me how I got into triathlon)!  Don't know if it's the fact that I've watched my 401k steadily do a nose dive in this economy or the fact that I'm just a cheapskate.  I'd guess it's probably somewhere in between.  The fact of the matter is triathlon is not cheap!  So instead of shelling out $80 for a sprint distance event that will be over in around an hour I've decided to pay a little bit more upfront for a few more hours on the race course.  I'll be back to the shorter races again sometime soon, even if I have to cash out that 401k...maybe I'll get at least one event in with what's left of it at this point.  That being said, I have three really fun events to report on...The Utah Half (70.3ish), Stansbury Olympic, and SOJO marathon. 

The Utah Half
One of my favorites...probably because it's the closest long distance triathlon to our house.  Nothing like sleeping in your own bed and eating your own food before tackling a monster race.  I went into the race riding the wave of fitness from IMSG and Boise, so I felt like I'd have a pretty good race.  The course is about as flat as can be, so I knew it would be fast.  Before the race I felt pretty calm.  The pre-race nervousness is starting to ease a bit as I continue to get more experience.  Said goodbye to Michelle and Charley (our dog), wished some buddies (Rory, Andy, Spencer, and Cindy) good luck and then we were off. 
Charley getting his swim on

My swim has improved a lot this year, but I'm still have a long ways to go with it.  I try to push myself as much as possible and hope for the best.  My time was decent (31:29), but I think it was a few hundred yards short of the full 1.2 miles.  I felt good coming out of the water and zipped through T1 in 50 seconds.  My goal on the bike was to beat my time from last year (2:32).  I had a new bike and my fitness was much better, so I figured I could beat the time by a few minutes.  I pushed hard and felt great.  I've stopped wearing a watch during races so I can just go by feel, so I had no idea what my bike time was at the time.  Come to find out I crushed last years time with a 2:13:17 split.  I know I've improved, but realistically not that much.  The course was obviously a bit short, but I was still really pleased with my time.  As I hit T2 my body felt great and I was looking forward to a great run.  I've struggled mightily with the run at this race the past 2 years, so I was hoping to exercise some demons.  I've begun wearing compression socks for the longer races, and this really slowed me down in T2.  I just couldn't manage to get the socks on quickly.  I cruised out in 1:23 and hit the run head on, I had no idea what a beast this would turn into.
Utah Lake Swim.  Nice and calm

By the time we hit the run it had really heated up.  My body felt great, but I just didn't have it in me to really push it.  I really had to dig deep into my mental reserves on this run just to not stop and walk.  I battled those demons after only three miles, and it was tough to hang on.  I look back at the long days training for IMSG as building confidence and the ability to push through the tough times.  It's really inspiring to know what power the mind has over the body and how hard you can push if you dig deep.  I ended up having a decent run 1:34:04, and finished the total race in 4:21:00.  To say I was shocked by that time is a major understatement, but of course the race was not the full 70.3.  Regardless, I was really please with the overall finish.  I ended up finishing 8th overall and rolled up to 1st in my age group...I was actually 2nd to Spencer, but since he won the race outright I rolled up to 1st.
You can't see it but I'm holding a glass plaque.
All in all it was a great race and a really fun day.  Congrats to Rory, Andy, Spencer, Cindy, and all others who tackled this beast.  Also, a big thanks to Michelle and Charley for providing support...I needed it.  Another big thanks to the Duckworth's for the "special" attention I got in the aid stations.  My favorite part was the cups of  water to the face...it was AWESOME!

Stansbury Olympic
My last triathlon of the year, and for Michelle it would be her one and only.  What?  Really, for someone as talented as Michelle to only do one triathlon this year?  Man she's taking this "being cheap" thing to a whole new level.  Of course, she's also finishing up her Master's degree, volunteering 20 hrs a week, and working another 10 plus hours at Costco, managing the household and the children's schedules on top of it all.  How would it be to have such a limited set of priorities as she does.  I mean not having to focus 100% of her attention on triathlon, how easy does she have it?  Seriously, get a hobby or something.

Anyway, back to reality!  This is one of the flattest and fastest races around, so we both decided to go zone 5 from the beginning.  I'd be doing the Olympic and Michelle would be doing the Sprint distance.  We carpooled to the race with the Duckworth's again as Courtney would be doing the Sprint along with Michelle.  Might have to re-think that strategy next time since we laughed the whole way to the race and got to the start line already exhausted.

The Olympic racers started about 30 minutes before the Sprint racers. I really tried to settle in and swim comfortably. What I didn't plan for was the longest stretch of the swim being straight into the sun. I couldn't see a thing, and and to "hope" I was going in the right general direction. Fortunately, I slogged my way through the two laps and came out of the water in 27.55. An average time, but still puts me 5 min behind the lead guys. I've got a lot of work still to do on the swim, but at least I continue to improve.



As I headed out on the bike I decided to see how hard I could push.  I was with two other guys and we kept passing each other back and forth.  It was motivating try to keep up with these guys, and I could tell they we're really solid cyclists.  For some reason my body just wouldn't let me push as hard as I wanted.  I was able stay with the guys for most of the time even with a near crash at one of the turnaround points (need to pay a little closer attention to the volunteers I guess).  I came into T2 5th or 6th place with a bike time of 50:08. 

I knew the run would be mentally challenging as it was starting to get really warm, and my body didn't initially feel like pushing too hard.  I set off on and hoped to hang on as much as possible, and pick up the pace on the second lap if I was feeling good.  Thankfully, after about a mile into the run my body started to feel better and I was able to push pretty hard.  I saw Michelle just before the turnaround and set a mental goal to try to catch her before she finished.  She was running fast, so I knew it would be a stretch, but fun to try anyway.  As I made the turnaround I had moved into 4th place, but I saw the 5th place guy pushing hard on my tail.  The beauty of this two lap course is you get to see the immediate competition at the turnarounds and gauge how you're doing in comparison, and that worked to my advantage big time.  As I was nearing the turnaround for the first lap, I noticed the guy in 3rd place.  As I approached he turned and saw me...he immediately picked up his pace, but quickly slowed again.  Just as I was passing him I noticed Michelle was right there...I had just barely caught her before she finished...with a quick slap to her butt I was off to lap #2.  As I made the turnaround I saw the guy who was chasing me down had made up a lot of ground and was gaining quickly.  I decided I needed to push to get this done and put some distance between us.  It hurt a lot, but I was able to do just that and finish the race in 3rd overall.  I was really pleased with the finish.  If I can just get the swim down a bit I'll be right there with the overall top guys.  My run time was 37:18 (6:01/mile).  With an overall time of 1:56:42.

Michelle, of course, had a fantastic race as usual.  She came in cold for her only triathlon of the year and still finished 3rd overall with a time of 1:18:44.  Nice work babes!  You continue to inspire.

Congrats to Courtney Duckworth as well on her nice race you can read about it here http://swimbikerunlife.blogspot.com/2011/09/stansbury-tri-race-report-courtney.html

SOJO Marathon
Last year Michelle won her age group at this race and the prize was free entry to this years race.  How cool is that?  Apparently they award the top 3 racers in each age group free entry to the race the following year.  I decided to give it a go and see what happens.

The race started at 7:15 AM, but for some strange reason we had to catch a bus to the start line at 5:05.  Seemed a bit early, and it turned out to be way too early.  We ended up waiting at the start line for an hour and 40 minutes.  I guess that's what you get as the race directors iron out the bugs on a two year old race.  No worries though, it was fun hanging with Michelle and chatting with the other racers too.  It wasn't too cold either, but we were able to stay warm under the heaters they provided. 

As the race began I pushed hard.  Probably too hard at the start, but the temperature was nice and I felt great.  The first 8 miles of the race is by far the most difficult section of the course.  There are several moderate to steep climbs, and it just happened that they were into the wind as well.  I didn't want to push too hard up and zap all my energy, so I sat back and embraced the hills.  I do a ton of hill running as a part of my training, and I've grown to love it so it wasn't too bad.  The race was going fine up until mile 20 or so when my stomach decided to give me a little trouble.  I took a potty break and then got back to the running.  I was able to push through it mostly, but could definitely tell my pace was probably a minute slower than what I wanted it to be. 

As we hit the Jordan Parkway trail at about mile 24 I was ready for this beast to be done.  I don't care how many marathons you do, miles 20-26 still hurt...BAD!  I really wanted to push through the end, but the body wasn't willing to keep up with the mind so I eased my way into the finish.  One last push for the last quarter mile and I was done with a final time of 3:18 (11th overall).  Not bad, but not great either.  Fortunately I was able to secure 2nd in my age group, so I'll get another chance to conquer this beast next year. 

As for Michelle, she had another really good race.  She ran hard for the first 20 miles, but then her stomach demons showed up again.  She spent the next 6 miles running through some nasty spells of vomiting and dehydration.  She's so freaking tough though that she'll never stop until the task is done.  She finished in 4:26, and gave her "never again" speech after the race.  So we all know what that means...we'll see you next year at the start line babes.

So there you have it...2011 race season is a wrap!  It's been a great year, and here's to 2012 being even better.

As always, Tri Hard!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Not tri-ing!

Summer is disappearing right before my eyes!  The kids head back to school in three weeks, I begin my internship and life resumes as "normal."  I am embarrassed to say that I have not done one triathlon!  We have been on some long and crazy vacations which has put us out of town for most of July.  Needless to say, we have missed some of our favorite tri's; Daybreak, Herriman, Scoffield and Echo.  Shame on us!  Why can't we have our cake (vacation) and eat it too (triathlon)?!   Last year we had a race every weekend and this year we have fallen off the wagon...err racing circuit.

Here is what we have been doing...

Celebrating our freedoms and great nation by visiting Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. over the Fourth of July.
We have some family that moved to Maryland two years ago and we miss them terribly! So we decided to pay them a visit. We spent a week sight-seeing, playing, hiking,eating crab and racing. Did I just say racing? Yeah, I did. Ever heard of an 8k? Me either. Well, it's a 4.97 mile race and we had the opportunity to do one in Leesburg Virginia. It was called the Run for Freedom 8k and it was scenic, humid and a blast to complete. We usually kick off the Fourth weekend by running the Sandy City Independence 10k so this race took its place. One thing we noticed about "east coasters" is that they are VERY patriotic. Before the race began they played the National Anthem and there was not a sound amongst the crowd. It gives me chills remembering this. These people were so close to the 9-11 tragedy and were greatly affected with the aftermath I'm sure. They spent a moment in somber silence as we listened to the anthem.

On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial
Hershey Chocolate factory.  This would may not fit in your tri top!

Kids 200 meter dash in Leesburg

8k completion!  Justin took 2nd age group and Michelle 3rd!

Justin eating crab for the first time.  YUMMY!
Onto the West coast....

After our week at home from Maryland we traveled to Newport Oregon with Justin's family the following week.  We had rented a condo on the beach and planned to spend time visiting light houses, beaches and of course tide pools.  Besides the 15 hour drive it takes to get there, Oregon is a beautiful place.  We stayed in Bend Oregon for a night before heading to Newport.  I LOVE bend!  This place is amazing.  It is small (but big enough), clean and beautiful.  The town is made for the outdoor enthusiast.  Everywhere you look there is a bike, kayak or trail.  Bike lanes, mountain bike trails, paddle boarding, kayaking and hiking is what this town is all about.  The Deshutes river flows through the town and makes it green.  Trees are everywhere yet you can still see landmarks (unlike the East Coast where you have no idea where you are).  You can see Mount Hood, Washington, Jefferson, Three Sisters, Mount Bachelor and Three Fingered Jack from the top of Pilot Butte (an extinct volcano).  Sooooo coool!  I think I will move here ;-)!
On top of Pilot Butte with the amazing views of the surrounding peaks

Overlooking the Deshutes River in Bend
We got into Newport the next day and lost about 20 degrees in heat.  Burrr... put your jacket on.  It was cool and misty yet green and gorgeous.  Now, I'm not a cold-weather person at all and consider myself a desert rat.  The hotter the better!  My expectations for the weather were very low.  I expected  it to rain most of the time.  To my surprise it was sunny most of the days we were there.  We went to the beach,  played in the sand, saw some whales, visited an aquarium, tide pools, flew a kite and Justin and his nephews braved the frigid ocean waves.  We had a great time with our family and took in all the sights.  We explored light houses, small beach towns, Tillamock Cheese Factory, Rogue Brewery and even crabbed for the first time.  Justin and I took our bikes out for a ride on the Pacific Coast Highway with ocean views and cool breezes.  We met a couple who were riding down the coast to the California boarder.  They were from Moab and their son (who rode his bike across country: Virginia to California) was supporting them.  We saw other riders doing the same trek.  Some were taking the PCH to the boarder of Mexico!  They had saddle bags and maps.  Many camped at the beach or bunked in homes with other cyclists.  What an adventure for these folks. 

Overlooking the ocean at Newport Coast
Visiting some tide pools

Nap time in the sand...

Justin and the boys braving the cold ocean water

Kite flying but I think this counts as cross-training

Whale watching and light house viewing
So, even though we've missed out on some fun races we enjoyed our time vacationing.  We are ready to get back at it.  When you go for a week without a hard swim, hilly bike or and interval run you CRAVE to get back out there.  We have a burning desire to crush our next race but need to play catch-up on our training.  Sometimes taking a break is the best thing that you can do for yourself.  You'll come back hungry, ready and grateful for this tri-lifestyle.

Next race report....Utah Half (August 27)!

Michelle

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Boise 70.3

I know it's been a while since my last post, but thankfully Michelle has been kind enough to remind me of that fact on an almost daily basis.  Thanks dear!  Rest assured, I do have a good excuse for my lack of blogging recently.  It's called laziness!  Ever since IMSG I haven't been able to drag myself out of the bed before 7AM.  Don't know why, I haven't lost any motivation, maybe my body is just needing a short break.  That being said, I did manage to compete in a 70.3 event about a month after IMSG, and thankfully I hadn't lost too much of my fitness.

My race season has been pretty successful.  I've been lucky enough to set a PR in every distance I've attempted this year, mostly because of the IRONMAN training I'm sure, but it's not been without a lot of pre-race drama.  That seems to be my theme this year.  Build up to the race week, have some drama, have a good race day.   Guess it's a good distraction!

Boise was not going to come and go without something.  I knew it, just didn't know what it would be.  So as I had mentioned before I was having a hard time getting up and going in my prep for this race.  The week before the race I started to gain some momentum, and then it happened.  I got sick!  I mean really sick!!  Not to over dramatize it, but I almost died!  Now Michelle will be the first to tell you that I'm a huge baby when I get sick.  "Fetch me this, bring me that.  Yes, I do need a back rub!"  I know, it's pretty pathetic.  Anyway, this thing just totally crushed me.  I was in bed for a day and a half and couldn't move.  I was running a fever of 103, sweating like crazy, but also had goose bumps and my teeth were chattering.  The only other symptom was a really sore throat.  As I started to feel a little bit better I called my mom and described the hell I was going through.  She mentioned the dreaded word I hadn't heard in probably 20 years.  Strep!  Nah, couldn't be.  Only kids get strep, right?  I finally decided to go to the Dr. just to rule it out.  Sure enough, that's exactly what it was, and I hated it.  Thankfully, Michelle and the kids did not get it!  After a couple of days on the antibiotics I was back to normal.

Back to normal until I found out I had a business trip to Reno the following Wednesday and Thursday, just before we were to leave for Boise on Friday AM.  Not to worry, I'll get home at 8:00 on Thursday night, get a good nights sleep and we'd be on our way!  Ha!  If only things were that easy.  The business meeting went off without a hitch, got to the airport with plenty of time to spare before my 5:00 flight home.  After boarding the plane and chilling for about 30 min, the Captain finally tells us there is a mechanical issue and we all need to deplane.  Not to worry, it'll be a small fix and we'll be on our way!  Ha again!  After waiting another 45 minutes I start to panic a bit.  Not too many flights leaving Reno heading to SLC after about 6:00, ugh!  After much begging I was able to secure one of the last seats on the last flight into SLC for the day.  By the time I got home it was after 10:00 and I was totally exhausted.  Safe and sound, but my race was not going to be pretty. 

We had the good fortune of carpooling with Rory (Swim Bike Run - The Life of a Triathlete) and Courtney up to Boise.  These kids (they're still in their twenties so I call them kids) are hilarious, and made the drive go by way fast. We got to the hotel (it was straight out of the 70's, but clean and very close to check-in and the finish line) and head to the race checkin.  While wandering around I heard someone mention the water temp was going to 53 degrees.  Whoa, that's not what I was expecting.  Thankfully, it was only a half-IM and not a full.  Got the bikes checked in and had the traditional Cafe Rio prerace meal, and it was time to relax.  The race didn't start until noon the next morning, so we were really relaxed that night.

We woke up the next morning and headed over to the race site.  Michelle and Courtney drove us up to the swim, so it was nice not to have to ride the bus.  The race didn't start until noon, and with 53 degree water temps it was a good thing.  Can't imagine swimming in that cold water and then jumping straight on a bike at 7 AM.  The only disadvantage to the late start was it was HOT setting up transition.  I was sweating like I'd been sitting in the sauna, and then had to put on a wetsuit.  Yikes.

Setting up tranisition

Rory and I chatting with some hot babes before the swim start.

Swim

I actually felt pretty good about the swim for once.  I know I'm not fast and probably never will be, but I'm showing some improvements so I'm happy.  I started in the 3rd age group wave, so it wasn't too congested.  At one point I swam right into a group of what seemed like 10 ladies that were forming a wall.  What in the world?  How do you manage to have social hour in the middle of a swim?  I felt bad, but didn't want to try to go around them, so I waited for just the right moment and went right over the top.  I don't think anybody got too beat up, but it's never fun to do that.  Especially when it's a group of older women...sorry grandma.  Had it been men I wouldn't have thought twice about it, and may have even added a couple of punches and kicks for good measure!  LOL!  Of course I'm kidding. Or am I?  Total time was around 34 minutes.  My goal was to swim close to 30 minutes, so I missed that; however, I did cut two minutes off of my time from last year.  Slowly but surely I'm getting better.
After the swim...heading to T1

Bike

The Boise bike route is pretty challenging, but I think it's really fair.  It's relatively flat; however, does have some good hills that sting the legs.  I wanted to push it hard, but not too hard that I was drained for the run like last year.  We got lucky this year as there was barely any wind unlike the tornado we biked in last year.  I'm not a very competitive person (as you may know by now), so I was really surprised to find myself pushing really hard at the start of the bike.  HAHA!  In all seriousness, I was hammering way too hard and was out of breath after only a few minutes.  Was I just going to hard, or was I out of shape already?  I had no idea, but decided to back it down a notch and save some energy.  After about 20 miles though, I was feeling awesome and decided to pick it up again.  At about that same time I realized I was riding basically alone.  (Since I started in the early wave, there were very few people in front of me and I had managed to pass a bunch of them.  Of course they were all 60 year old men and women, and yes I did feel good about passing them, so just leave me alone about it, okay?)  It wasn't as easy riding at the front of the pack as I thought it would be.  I usually try to pick people in front of me to chase down, but there wasn't anybody at this point, and the people who were in front of me were much faster than I.   I just settled into a solid pace and hope to maintain it through the finish.  I will say, by about mile 50 I was really ready to get off the bike.  I never felt that way in IMSG, but in Boise I couldn't get off the bike soon enough.  Still not sure why, but before I knew it I was rolling into T2.  Total time was right about 2:30.  Right on my goal.
Leaving T2

Run

The run is a two loop course and is completely flat and shaded for many of the miles.  I wanted to run 1:30 or below, but as I trudged through the first few miles I didn't think I had a chance to run that fast.  My stomach was not cooperating at all.  I never felt like I needed to stop, but it just didn't feel right.  I haven't been racing with a watch, so I didn't have any idea what pace I was maintaining, but it didn't feel fast at all.  I was still at the front of the pack, so I didn't have anyone around to try to pace myself with.  I just decided to settle in to a comfortable pace and try to run the whole thing.  On the first loop I had the aid stations virtually to myself.  I had my pick of everything and anything from the volunteers, but the only thing I wanted was some Coke!  I got Coke at every aid station and then tried to alternate between Perform (like Gatorade) and water at every other aid station.  By the time I started the 2nd loop I was feeling much better and my pace picked up considerably.  I still didn't think I was going very fast, but it felt good to let the legs loose for a bit.  I was shocked when I saw my final run time of 1:30 (right at my goal).  I didn't think I'd run anywhere near that fast, so I was really happy.
Out of T2 and then on the course


As I crossed the finish line I felt great, but I was STARVING.  I gave Michelle a gross/sweaty hug and then headed for the food line.   On my way over I saw Spencer Woolston...a total triathlete stud who happened to win the 30-34 age group.  We grabbed a quick picture...still cracking up about this one, and then I got some food.  I think I ate all of the food by the way, so I'm sure I won't be invited back to the race next year, and apologies to anyone who started after me.  If you didn't get a burger or any pizza let me know and I'll hook you up.
Spencer Woolston (who may have eaten more post-race food than I)

It was fun racing with a lot of good people (Rory, Bart, Dave, Gary, Lance, and others) and everyone did great out there.  Boise is just a cool place to race!  Second only to St. George of course!  We had a great time hanging out with Rory and Courtney and we're definitely coming back next year. The only stipulation is next year all four of us (Michelle and Courtney included) will be racing ;).  As Bart Scott would say..."Can't Wait!"
Gary and Bart

Oh yeah, before I forget, the spectators were awesome too.  Although I'm not sure about these dudes...I think Michelle was a little more impressed than I.
If you didn't chuckle as you ran past these spectators you are not human
Must be some sour gum
Celebrating after the race at PF Changs



Until next time, Tri Hard!

Monday, May 23, 2011

NEVER AGAIN!

I always say that.  NEVER AGAIN!  I wonder why Justin always looks at me funny and says "you always say that."  I must forget how difficult marathons are.  It's kind of like labor.  I remember feeling like that when we had our first child.  Then during labor the second time.. I said "hey, the pains not too bad" and Justin said "I don't think you remember how bad it hurts."  Of course (for the record) he was right.  Right about labor and marathons.  So I am leaving those life events to him.  He will look so cute pregnant!

Ogden was my final marathon.  It was my eighth one and boy o' boy it hurt.  Lets start from the beginning...

Our friends-cousins-once removed-from anotha motha, Paul and Cindy, were gracious enough to let us stay at their beautiful condo in Eden.  Eden is absolutely breathtaking.  I guess that's why they named it Eden?  It is situated half-way up the Ogden Canyon next to Pineview Reservoir.  Snow Basin is nearby and their are pine trees everywhere you look.  i know Ogden is known as a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and it always ranks high on "The Best Places to Live" list.  It is also home to the Dew Tour (snowboarding competition) and the Xterra Championship race. 

We made it a Racation and brought the kiddos with us.  Since it was Justin's turn for kid duty (he still owes me 7 hours) we thought it would be fun to all be together.  After picking up my bib number, shirt and goodie bag we of course hit Cafe Rio' for our pre-race meal.  Maybe it is not a good thing to have beans before a race.  We have always done this though and it was Justin's birthday so I just couldn't say no.  After we downed our burritos we drove up the canyon to Eden.  The mile markers were already out along with the portapotties.  The course "looked"  fabulous..fast and easy, right?  I kept thinking...this course is all downhill..BQ for sure!

Once we were settled at the condo the kids and I surprised Justin with a box of cupcakes and sang "Happy Birthday" to their old man.  After Ty licked the frosting off half the cupcakes we decided it was time for bed.  A 4 o' clock alarm was set to go off soon.

I woke up feeling pretty good, fresh and excited to race.  Justin and the pajama laden kids dropped me off at the start (which I felt so guilty about).  We pulled in between two buses and I snuck into the swarm of runners.  We never break any rules in races but we just couldn't make sense of driving to the bottom of the canyon so I could load onto a bus.  Anyways, to my surprise it was not too cold at the race start.  I had layered myself with 3 shirts, snow hat, gloves and space blanket.  I used the space blanket to sit on and invited other fellow runners to join me by the camp fire.  We started singing "Kum buy ya, my Lord...Kum buy ya." and roasting marshmallows.  It was so much fun.  Kidding.  We did have an hour and a half before the gun went off so it was nice to relax, get cozy and share some conversation.  I found my friend Callie in line for the portapotties and slipped in line with her (another rule broken).  After wishing her and another friend Dina luck I headed back to my camp fire to get ready. I ate a Cliff bar, finished off a Powerade, stripped down to my running apparel and headed for the starting line.

There was no wind, rain and the temperature was perfect!  The first 7 miles were downhill so it was easy to "sandbag" some time.  I tried to remain conservative but I was getting passed like I was standing still.  I was averaging an 8 minute per mile pace.  My goal was to stay around 8.30 but going downhill is hard to hold back.  I was feeling great up through mile 8.  The course was so beautiful.  It was like looking at a landscape calender around every turn. 

Miles 8-13 were pretty flat and maybe even a slight bit uphill.  There was definitely a climb at mile 14 as you approached the damn.  I was still making good time even after visiting every bathroom.  I kept alternating powerade and water and even took in half a Cliff shot.  The volunteers were amazing.  This race was so well organized.  I did get passed by the 3.30 pace team and felt a little down about it but that's ok, I'm still in the game.  I was starting to feel a little thirsty...never a good sign.  I also felt like I had to use the bathroom but nothing was happening.  It was like my body decided to shut-down and not process anything I was ingesting.  I've had this same thing happen to me numerous times.  You would think I would know better and have nutrition nailed by now but for some reason I don't! My mind began playing with me and I was beginning to think negative thoughts.  Then the 3.45 pace team passed me.  I
tried to hang with them but my legs would not respond!  I can still make under 4..right?  Please!
With my quads toast, belly sloshing and negative thoughts swarming in my head I decided that once I saw Justin and the kids around mile 20 I would call it quits.  I imagined myself sitting in the car with my feet up drinking a coke.  I saw them at mile 23 (at the bottom of the canyon) and it was like he already knew how I was feeling.  Deja Vu...I guess.  I told him I was hurting and he just said "you're pretty much done, just head it on in. You can do it."  He's so calm and together all the time.  Here I was pretty much dying right in front of him, my insides are going to fall out and he just smiles and gives me a hug and pushes me on.  I guess sometimes we need people to do that for us.  They know us better than we know ourselves and what we are capable of. We need a little push once in a while. So I was off to the finish.  I don't know how I did it but I did.  I was crawling at a 10 minute mile pace and getting passed by tons of runners.  I will be dead last, I'm sure of it. This is not fun. NEVER AGAIN! Then here comes the 4.00 pace team, surely I will be able to hang with them.  Just finish, just finish, please let me finish this race and under 4 hours!

Ahhh....time to quit or time to learn how to wear compression socks.


One last kick down the home stretch.

Brittany and I ALIVE!
 I knew deep down that I could and would finish this race.  That thing on my shoulders is pretty powerful.  Although I kept thinking of all the negative things happening in my life and all the doors that have been closing, rejection, hurt, sorrow... poor me, poor me.  Never again!  Then after I finished in 4.01, I found my healthy, happy family, got my ice cold coke, a massage from Justin and met up with my good friend Brittany (whom runs at least 5 marathons a year). I felt ok again. Yeah, I was hurting during those final miles and I wanted to give up, throw in the towel.  Life is so much easier that way.  Why put yourself out there, take a chance or risk falling on your face.  It hurts too bad.  Why not take the easy road?

One of my favorite quotes:  "You can live a life of discipline or a life of regret."  I knew that I wasn't a quitter and no matter how bad life 'hurts" it is much better to hurt with passion than regret.  So this I say to you 2 days post-marathon; you can do it, get out there!  As much as I like to be on the sidelines cheering on my favorite people, I love being in the game...even if it means I might get hurt or end up disappointed.

R.I.P- "NEVER AGAIN"

Hello life and maybe the SoJo marathon...


Michelle

Friday, May 13, 2011

IRONMAN

Well it finally came…and went. All the buildup gone in what felt like 60 seconds. What a whirlwind! What an experience! What an amazing feeling! What a great day! A huge thanks to my amazing wife and kids for sticking with me through the ups and downs! Couldn’t have done this without the three of you! I love you all more than I can express in words! Thanks to Mom and Dad, Kevin and Lisa, Kourtney, Shaun, Ashton, Keaton, and Carson for making the trip down to St. George and rushing around town all day to try to catch a 15 second glimpse of me as I rushed past. Thanks to Rod, Aubrey, and Alex for watching Charley and for the nice gift when I got home…it was so nice. Thanks to all the rest of my friends and family for the thoughts and well wishes…it meant a lot to me! Thanks to my new training buddies Rory and Andy for pushing me and keeping me motivated through the end. Thanks to all the volunteers…simply amazing what they do for all the racers. They really make the race. Congratulations to all the fellow racers for toeing the line in this crazy race…you all inspire me!


THURSDAY

We decided to camp at Sand Hollow reservoir so the kiddos could play at the lake and the family could watch the swim start, then get cleaned up while all the swimmers were getting out on the bike. Plus Michelle was volunteering to apply sunscreen in T1, so it would make it easier for her as well. (Unfortunately, they wouldn’t accommodate her request to be stationed INSIDE the men’s change tent , but she made the most of her experience anyway. HAHA! ) Thanks for volunteering Love it was awesome to have your support!

In retrospect I’m so glad we made this decision. The kids had a great time and I was able to catch an extra hour of sleep race morning. I also had the advantage of no wait time in the potty line, which I was so happy about.

The only issue I had staying at the lake was by my own stupidity. When I arrived in St. George on Thursday I decided to go straight into town and pick up my packet, get body marked, etc. I wanted to get it done to have peace of mind knowing I had everything in line. Check-in went great. Got my packet, special needs and gear bags, body marked, a few souvenirs, and I was on my way. Late that night I decided to show everybody my numbers…umm where did I put the numbers? Hmm…not in my bag, not in the truck, holy sh&* they’re gone. I’ve lost my race #’s!!?? What am I going to do? How do you lose your race numbers only hours after getting them? This is not getting off to a good start. Oh well, off to bed…nothing I can do about it this late in the day.

FRIDAY

After a horrible night sleep (perfect, the night you’re supposed to get a good night’s rest), I woke up in panic mode. Doing an IRONMAN is stressful enough, then having to pack 4 different bags (bike gear, bike special needs, run gear, and run special needs) without missing a detail it’s almost too much. To add the anxiety of losing your number…c’mon! Completely unnecessary and a waste of energy! I had already planned an early swim and then needed some breakfast. Michelle and her mom decided they needed a break too and headed out on a bike ride…the tension was building. I know I was not pleasant to be around, but inside I was freaking out. I had so much to get ready in a limited amount of time and no number to use to mark my stuff. My phone rang at 10:45…it was someone from IRONMAN. Here’s the quote…”We have your packet. We’re leaving; you need to get down here right now!” Me…”Umm, I’m at the lake.” Them…”We’ll see you at 11:15.” Me…oh crap! For those of you who know, Sand Hollow is a good 30 min drive from St. George. I had the two kids and Michelle was on a bike ride. Thankfully, the kiddos where having fun with their cousins, so I snuck away to the Dixie Center to get the packet. I made it at 11:17 and with packet in hand my blood pressure dropped from 200/120 to normal levels again. Ugh…I hope the rest of the race goes smoother than this!
Michelle made me a M-Dot pancake the morning before the race

I managed to get back to the lake, get all my bags packed, bike to T1, bike gear back to T1, and run bag to T1. A big thanks to Rory for taking my special needs bags for me to drop off race morning since I would already be at the lake! I owe him lunch for sure! Now it was time to enjoy the IronKids race with the family and enjoy my prerace meal tradition of Café Rio. The IronKids race was fun, the kids decided they wanted to do the 200 meter run instead of the mile. It was hot out, so I couldn’t blame them. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a good photo of them because it was so chaotic, but they did great. Michelle volunteered for this race as well, so it was a family affair. Big shout out to Keaton for coming in 5th in the mile race…nice work. And Ashton too for “pacing” Abbi in the 200 meter run! Cool cousins for sure!! Grabbed Café Rio and it was back to the lake for 4-5 hours of sleep.

SATURDAY – RACE DAY

I didn’t sleep great, but that was expected. Surprisingly I woke up with a peaceful feeling about everything. The work had been done, the cabinets were stocked, and it was time to just have fun! I never once felt any nervousness, not as we got into the wetsuits, not as we got into the water, not as we heard the national anthem…nothing. I was ready, and I was calm. I think it helped that I was at the lake already and didn’t have to rush around at all. It just made everything easier that morning. I spotted my mom and dad, sister and brother-in-law and nephews while we were waiting to get into the water. I also spotted Rory and some other friends which was nice. I stood in someone else’s pee, but it didn’t matter. Life was good and the pee was warm.

SWIM

I had a prerace goal of swimming 1:10. I’m not the best swimmer, but I thought that was a reasonable goal. I started on the left side of the line about 5 people from the front. I knew it would be choppy and rough, but that really doesn’t bother me. Two years ago I would have been bawling like a baby, but my swim has come a long way and continues to get better. I geared up for the washing machine, and it wasn’t too bad. As the gun went off I really wanted to find some feet to follow, but it was just to wild. I decided to hug the buoy line and just ride it out. After about 20 minutes I felt a little tickle on my toes. Haha, someone’s tickling my feet…how cute. Whoever it was stuck to me like glue! For the next 50 minutes this person tickled my feet non-stop. I literally started laughing at one point because I couldn’t believe someone would hang that close to the person in front of them for that long. I sped up, slowed down, but I couldn’t shake em. In all honesty, I don’t know if it was really the same person, or if I was delusional but someone or something was playing with my feet the whole swim. I guess it took my mind off of the swim because before I knew it I was done. Came out of the water and looked at my watch…what the…my watch was trashed. Great…no HR monitor on the bike ride. Guess I’m going to have to just ride and run by feel. (I really think this proved to be an advantage, as I’m terrible at checking my watch every two minutes to “see how I’m doing”. With no watch I could just go ahead and race.) I did see the final time as I exited the boat ramp…1:12. Not too bad…I’ll take it.

T1

Not knowing how T1 was going to work I set my goal at 8 minutes. I felt strongly that I wouldn’t need that much time, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t too aggressive considering all the unknowns. It was pretty uneventful really, got my stuff on, said “Hi” to Michelle, and off I went. My total time was around 4 min 30 seconds.

BIKE

My goal on the bike was to ride solid, but not push too hard. I felt by doing that I would ride around 6 hours. Since I didn’t have a watch, and I don’t have a cyclometer on my tri bike so I had no gauge of time at all. I had to ride by feel alone. I rode steady through Hurricane and into St. George. At about mile 20 I spotted Rory and we decided to try to hang close to each other for extra motivation. He’d pass me and ride ahead for a while, and then I’d pass him and ride ahead for a while. We’d shout words of encouragement to each other as we went by. It was great. As I started the second loop I still felt really good! My nutrition was perfect, I was hydrated and in a good state of mind…so I pressed on. As I hit mile 80, something happened…I was getting passed by everybody. I felt okay, but I could tell my power was starting to decrease and my neck was starting to ache. I knew that I needed to do something fast or I’d go downhill really quickly (that’s my style). I quickly pounded a Powerbar, downed some endurolytes and a Tylenol (so glad I packed that in my bento box) and pressed on. By the time I got to the wall I had regained my power, the Tylenol had kicked in and now I was passing everybody. I felt amazing again! I flew up the wall, flew up Veyo and cruised through the false flats to the downhill. Only 12 miles left to go…sweeeet!!! I was so happy because it was getting hot out there, and a bit on the windy side. As I started cruising down from Veyo I felt a nice cool mist in my face. I thought how nice it was until I realized the dude in front of my was peeing himself. YIKES!!! That cool mist was his pee hitting me in the face and arms…disgusting. I always tell everyone how nasty the sport of Triathlon is, and I’ve done my fair share of farmer blows and other nasty things, but this was too much. Should have left him a present myself, but thought better of it as I passed him, while the pee was still flying down his legs! I blew by that dude and was gone. Came down to Snow Canyon Parkway, and through the little one way section on the course. As I turned out of the neighborhood I saw Michelle and her cheering gave me a nice boost up the hill and onto Bluff. I cruised into T2 feeling pretty good about myself and with a ton of energy. I saw the time on the clock as I came into T2 (7:01) and in my mind thought I had hit my goal of 6 hours exactly. Only later did I get my actual time of 5:37. I was really pleased with that and could only hope for a good run.

T2

Everybody’s got to make a few rookie mistakes in their first IRONMAN, right? Mine came in T2. I cruised into the change tent and asked the nice volunteer to help me wash my sunglasses as I put on my compression socks. I started putting on my first sock and what…it’s inside out. Oops…so annoying. Thankfully, the volunteer was awesome. He washed my sunglasses and then helped get my socks turned the right way. I put them on and was on my way. I had set my goal time of 8 minutes for this transition as well, and I was way under that at around 2 min 30 seconds.

RUN (the good, the bad, and the ugly!)

I knew this was going to be a challenge! Not only is the course extremely challenging, but running in 90 degrees only makes it that much more difficult. I thought if I could stay cool everything would be okay. The second I overheated it would be over! I made a concerted effort to drink sport drink and water at every aid station, as well as stuffing sponges and ice down my shirt whenever possible. This worked beautifully for the first 12 or so miles. I ran strong, and I ran hard. A little too hard as it turned out! I was pushing 7:30 miles for the first half, feeling great and passing a ton of people. As I made the turnaround I was on cloud 9…nothing could stop me. I was cheerful, friendly, and chatty. When I got to mile 11 my parents, sister and her family were there. I stopped to chat for a second and then pressed on. I saw Michelle and chatted with her for a while until she told me to “shut-up” and keep running. She told me to keep wet 10 or 15 times in a 2 minute span, and then I was on my own again for the long haul. Wanting the heed her advice I asked one of the guys at the aid station with a hose to give me a squirt. Blasto! Right in the face! So much for washing my sunglasses! I just laughed and kept going. I made the turn around point and still felt pretty good. However, by mile 15 I’d lost energy, and my stomach was on fire. I had been eating and drinking on schedule, but the combination of the fast pace and heat took its toll in a big way. I took in some cola, and hit the potty 3 times between miles 15 and 22. I ended up having to stop and walk on a couple of occasions to stop the onslaught of whatever was brewing in my stomach. The volunteers on the run course were unbelievable and made it bearable to be out there! They are so creative and all had a different theme. I don’t remember them all, but I do remember the Tortoise and the Hare which was at about mile 16. I had just reached the aid station when we got a huge gust of wind. They had a balloon tortoise which broke free and started floating away. It moved slowly at first, but with another gust of wind zoomed up and over the mountain. I looked over at another guy and said look at that…his response cracked me up. “I didn’t know they could fly!” I know it’s cheesy, but at the time I laughed pretty hard! As I made it to mile 22 I started feeling better and was able to pick up the pace again. I ran pretty well through the last few miles and by the time I hit mile 25 was back to normal. Not sure if the adrenaline had kicked in, or if I had conquered the stomach demons that were plaguing me, but I didn’t care. I was done! I had done it! I cruised into the finish, did the airplane down the finish shoot high fiving the crowd, and then stopped before the finish line and gave one last look. I was an IRONMAN! I felt great and had no soreness whatsoever. A small blood blister on my foot from the wet socks, but that’s about it. My goal was to run 3:40 and I came in with a final time of 3:47…not bad all things considered. I’ll take it. My final time was right around 10 hours 45 minutes.
Enjoying the finsh with an ice-cold beverage

My finish line catcher was named Cheryl and she was awesome. She took care of everything and even tracked down my family so I could say “Hi” before settling down to a nice post race massage. I enjoyed some pizza and fries with the family and chatted with a few fellow athletes before settling in to watch the race for a couple of hours. Got to see some friends finish and experience a bit of their joy! What a cool moment.
Post-race massage


The whole experience was amazing. The training was hard, but doable. The time commitment was hard, but doable. The race was hard, but doable! I met a lot of great people along the way and learned a ton about myself and my body. I’m a little lighter in the pocketbook, but much heavier in life experience. There can only be one first IRONMAN! Yes, I am a bit sad that it’s over with, but I don’t see this as the end. I see this as the beginning of a new chapter. Not sure what it holds or when, but I do know I’ll be back to IRONMAN. Sooner rather than later!
Even Ironkids need some relaxing!

To anyone who happens upon this, I just want to say don’t be intimidated to get out there and try! Not just running, biking, or swimming, but in anything! Amazing things can happen when we put our minds towards a goal, and who knows maybe you’ll learn something about yourself in the process. Maybe you’ll meet someone new. Life is short, let’s enjoy what time we have here and not get too wrapped up in the minutiae of it all. Who knows, maybe you’ll have fun!!!

Tri Hard!

P.S.  There will be more photo's added once we get them downloaded.  I just can't give up $130 to get the copyright from Ironman's course photographers...so home footage will be just fine.

Action Sports International - Ford Ironman St. George

Action Sports International - Ford Ironman St. George

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Salt Lake City Marathon – Expect the unexpected

I'm almost done with the Ironman blog and realized that I hadn't posted this one....




After a couple of weeks of solid training it was time for the annual Salt Lake Marathon. This is one of the best weeks of the year. It's usually held in mid-April, so it's a sign that spring is here, it's in my home area, and I've done every Salt Lake Marathon since it started in 2004. It's an 8 year streak that I'm really proud of, and hope to build upon. The course has a pretty good drop in elevation, but I wouldn't call it an easy marathon. There are sections of concrete that beat you up pretty good, and then the final stretch is a subtle yet nasty hill that stings the legs at mile 25. All in all though, it's one of mine and Michelle's favorite weeks of the season. She typically does the half marathon and I do the full.
This year has just been an odd one...the weather as referenced above has been unusually brutal and I've tried to do most of my running outside. So the week before the race I've got a 2 hr 40 min run on the IRONMAN schedule. I generally try to get these in Friday or Sunday, but had scheduled it for Thursday that week to give a couple extra days to get ready for the marathon.

As I woke up on Thursday, I heard the wind howling and said forget it and went back to bed...big mistake. When I finally woke up at 7:00 I looked outside and it was pretty calm. CRAP...I'm a big believer in karma, and I blew this run off thinking Friday would be less windy only to find the weather was just fine. Oops...hopefully that wouldn't come back to bite me. As we headed off to bed that night my worst nightmares were realized...BLIZZARD conditions outside. I couldn't fathom the ideao of doing a 2 hr 40 minute run on the treadmill, so I prepared myself for winter conditions...this was going to suck. Needless to say, I drug myself out of bed the next morning and trudged my way out into the snow. Note to self...have a back-up pair of traditional running shoes that DO NOT have holes in the bottom. All of my running shoes right now are made for triathlon and have drainage holes in them. As you can imagine the second I stepped outside my feet were completely soaked. YUCK! 

I've been training on a 6.5 mile hilly loop this year and I figured I'd do this once and then hit the treadmill for the rest of the run. As I finished the first loop I thought to myself..."don't quit on yourself...you can't be an IRONMAN if you quit when the going gets tough", so I headed out for a second 6.5 mile loop. Then it would be inside to the warmth of the treadmill. After battling headwinds and snow I finished the second loop...the thought of quitting came to my mind again.  I couldn't quit, so it was on to the third loop. By this time my feet were frozen solid, and I was completely drenched.  Yet I was determined to get it done!  I battled through the worst possible elements and some mental weakness, but came through in the end. It was a real confidence builder and I was home!  The problem was I hadn't taken my shoes off yet. Just as soon as I did my feet started to thaw out and I noticed my pinkie toe on my left foot was quite sore. I pulled the sock off, and saw a quarter sized black blood blister on the pinkie toe...CRAP! What good timing this was...and it hurt like a bit*%. I found 3 more blisters on my left foot, and one on my right foot. A marathon in a week and my toes are all wrecked. Not good. I'll spare the gory details, but I strategically popped the blood blisters, and within a day they were feeling totally fine. Thankfully!

When I woke up the following Tuesday morning I felt horrible. My daughter had a minor cold, and it seemed that I was getting it too! Great! I ended up having a couple of days where the head congestion was really bad, but not bad enough to put me out. Although I did sound like Barry White for a couple of days, and for anyone whose heard my voice, that's quite a feat! I didn't let it get me down, and went on with my training and preparation for the marathon and IRONMAN.

As Friday rolled around we took the kiddos up to grandma's house where their cousins from Maryland were staying. Our kids are so close with these kids that we thought it would work out perfectly for them to have a big sleep over while we did our annual marathon. It was also Michelle's grandma's birthday, so we decided to drop the kids off, go grab our race packets, and then come back up for a small dinner celebration. What could go wrong?

 We headed off to the to the expo and the excitement was in the air. I love poking around the expo looking at stuff and taking advantage of the prerace deals on gels and stuff. As we went to get checked in I was informed that all the marathon race shirts were gone! What? That sucks! Apparently they had 400 late registrations and had run out of shirts. I have to admit I was a little peeved. I signed up in April of 2010 for the race, and they're telling me someone that signed up that day got a shirt and I didn't! Oh well, guess they'll mail me a shirt later...riiight!  Believe it when I see it!

We head back to grandmas to enjoy a nice dinner. Kissed the kiddos goodbye and headed home at about 10. I never sleep well before a race, so I wasn't expecting to sleep well that night either.  Not wanting to keep Michelle up, I ended up in Abbi's room as I dealt with my restless legs (which I usually get race night). I finally fall asleep, but was awakened suddenly when the phone rang. Was I dreaming? Yes...thankfully!  Oh wait, I hear Michelle talking to someone...what is going on? A quick glance at the clock and see that it's 12:40. In my sleep deprived state I hear her say “We’ll come get him!” At that point, my heart sank. Ty is sick…race day is over!

Long story short, whenever Ty catches a cold he always ends up having difficulty breathing at night. He’s got a restrictive airway disorder that pops up whenever he is congested. From what we’ve been told it sounds much worse than it actually is, but admittedly, it can be scary at times. Michelle was an amazing mother (as usual) and volunteered to skip her half marathon to take care of Ty and let me run the marathon and keep the streak alive. Needless to say this crushed us both. She missed her favorite race of the year and I ran with a tremendous amount of guilt.

The Race Itself

I’ve always heard the sleep you get the night before a race isn’t that important. Going on about 3 hours myself I was going to put this theory to the test. I left the house later than I wanted and rode up to the start line by myself in a less than happy state of mind. My heart was not into this race…not one bit. With IRONMAN only 3 weeks away I had planned to take it very easy in this race, but now I needed to just get this race over with and get home.


Mile 24....home stretch
 When I arrived at the start line I needed to use the bathroom…I had drank a huge bottle of sports drink on the way there and I was ready to explode. Knowing that the race doesn’t start until you cross the start line I decided to just wait for everybody to leave and then use the potty. I didn’t end up starting my race until 12-15 minutes after the official start time. Knowing that I wanted to get home I just decided to settle in at a 7:00 min mile pace and try to hold it as long as possible. One of my IRONMAN training buddies (Andy) was also doing the race, so I was stoked when I found him at mile 9. He’s a great runner and running with him took my mind off of the crappy night at home.

We maintained the 7 min mile pace for the next 7 miles and then out of nowhere my stomach decided to rebel. In my rush to leave the house that morning I hadn’t even thought about trying to use the bathroom, and my stomach was not happy. I needed to go…NOW! I told Andy I had to stop and that I’d try to catch him, but knew in the back of my mind that would be near impossible. Oh well, it was nice to run with him while it lasted. I caught the potty at the next aid station and it was life changing…I felt great afterward. I pushed my pace and amazingly was able to catch up with Andy after about 2 miles. I’m sure he slowed to wait for me, but it was great to run with him again. We got to Liberty Park and I knew we only had a 5K left. A quick glance at the watch and I was on pace to set a PR…oops. Definitely not intentional, but I felt amazing. At this point Andy needed a potty break, we parted ways and I ran strong through the finish setting a new PR of 3:07. As Ice Cube sings in one of his songs “Messed around and got a triple double…today was a good day.” I felt like I’d messed around and set a marathon PR.

I honestly think I could have gone sub-3 hours had I really wanted to push, but knowing IRONMAN was on the horizon I needed to stay in check. I crossed the finish line and rushed straight to the car and headed home. A huge thanks to Michelle for “taking one for the team,” I’m up next! Also, thanks to Andy for sticking with me as I started to struggle with my tummy in the middle of the race! Ty ended up being fine (as expected), but we do have a nice new nebulizer so this won’t happen again. Guess that’s what you get when you have kids. Expect the unexpected.

IRONMAN race report on the way!

Tri Hard!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Seeing Some Results

Justin here...

It's been a little while since the last blog and there has been a ton of activity on the Anderson home front.  Michelle is still wrapped up in her schooling, the kiddos are busy with school, art classes, and gymnastics.  On top of it all I've been completely immersed in this IRONMAN training for 6 months now, and I think we're all ready to things to slow down a bit.  Michelle has been very supportive, but she's definitely at the end of her rope with my training.  My "honey-do" list is growing as we speak...."fix kids bath tub, clean out basement, replace strip under door....."  shall I read you more? Not sure I could squeeze out any more 40+ hour work weeks and then 8-10 hours of working out on Saturday and Sunday.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel though, as the heavy stuff is done, and it's time to taper - hallelujah!  Of course an Ironman taper consists of 3 hour rides vs. 6 hour.

Although I've missed a few more workouts than I care to admit I do have to say the results of all my training are starting to show.  A couple of weeks ago I participated in my first triathlon of the season.  It was a short sprint down in St. George, and since I was planning on being down there training on the course I decided to sneak this is for fun.  Plus, it gave me the opportunity to practice my transitions with the new babe... I mean bike. One of my training buddies Rory The Rocket also decided to sign up for the race, so it was fun to use each other as motivation to go fast!  Since I guess Salt Lake decided to act like Anchorage, Alaska this winter and spring, it was nice to enjoy two days in St. George with temps in the mid 80's.  I hadn't seen 60 since St. George marathon, so I wasn't sure if my body would know how to handle this "scorching heat".  Race morning was absolutely beautiful, a little chill in the air, but nothing like what I've been training in up here in SLC.  Rory and I decided to start right next to each other so we could keep tabs on each other during the race.  The swim was 400 yards, and it went by really fast.  In my mind I felt like I'd had a decent swim, but as I got into T1 I didn't see Rory or his bike anywhere in sight!  Either he had an amazing swim (which he did), or I'm still slower than I want to be (which I was).  Not knowing how far behind I was I tried to rush through transition and cost myself a few precious seconds.  My bike seat is set really high, and I could not get my bike out from under the rack.  There were a ton of bikes and so much stuff that I just couldn't tilt my bike enough to get it out.  A little pushing and shoving and it finally came free.  Note to self...don't put your back pack right under the back wheel, it makes it impossible to get the bike out!   Finally out onto the bike...


Who can say they've done a race with mom AND dad? Not I.

25 yard pool with deck counter.
Like sardines in a can...packed

The bike course was nice because part of it was on the IRONMAN route.  It was short, but it gave me a good chance to test out the aero helmet and new bike.  As I approached the turnaround I saw Rory.  He had about a minute or so lead on me, so I was glad he was still in range.  I pushed hard through the first loop, and up through the turnaround again.  I had lost a little more time to Rory, but not a ton.  As I climbed the hill right after the turnaround some dude latched on to my back wheel, and wouldn't break free.  Since this was not a USAT sanctioned race drafting was not illegal, so he didn't do anything wrong.  It annoyed the heck out of me, though.  I just think it's classless to draft off of someone else in a non-drafting type of event.  But that's on him, not me.  As I cruised into T2 I really hoped to have a fast transition.  Unfortunately, the race was so large there were still people coming out of the pool when I finished the bike.  The run from the pool and bike merge as you come in to T2 and I got caught up behind a guy who was slowly jogging into the transition area.  I hoped he would go down a different aisle than I did for his bike, but luck wouldn't have it...he shared the same route to his bike as I did.  Oh well, another slow transition.  Off to the run...
Rory with the fastest bike split of the day
Coming into transition

My run has been really strong this year so far.  I've set PR's in every event I've raced, so I felt very confident that I'd have a good run.  The bike wasn't long enough to mess up the legs, so I just decided to let it loose.  I headed out at a pretty fast pace with intentions of trying to catch Rory before the finish.  I had no idea how far ahead he was at this point, but luckily Michelle was not to far from the transition area and said he was about a minute ahead.  He's worked really hard on his running and has gotten fast; couple that with his fast swim and bike splits and watch out! The run course was a two loop out and back, so I'd get a good chance to see where I was as we approached each turnaround.  As we came up on the first turnaround I was still holding a solid pace, and had a lot left in the tank.  I pressed on and was able pass Rory just into the second loop.  I kept pushing all the way to the end not knowing where I'd finished, but feeling good about the race.  Rory finished about 30 seconds after me and we were both really happy to have had each other there to push against. 

After I finished I wanted to get back to the condo and get the kiddos.  We were traveling with some friends and had left the kids with them for the race, so thanks to Kassie and Chris for helping out.  As I was at home Rory called and told me I was in first place overall, and he was in second.  That's cool, I thought, never been there before, but there were a bunch of racers still on the course.  I didn't know if it would hold up, but it was fun anyway!  When it was all said and done I did end up losing first place, but was really pleased to finish second overall.  My best finish ever!

Michelle took this.  Pretty cool but not true.


1, 2 and 3; not bad, not bad

Final Times
Swim (400 yrds) = 7:38 (wow, soooo slow)
T1 = 1.00
Bike (10 miles) = 27.01
T2 = 0.54
Run (3 miles) = 16:46

Total = 53.21

Good times...more to come on the SLC Marathon shortly.