Tuesday, 22 May 2012 11:44

Ironman Texas - Bike Recap

Ironman Texas swim recap was posted yesterday and so we will pick up the story where that left off. ==================== I got out of the water and up the stairs and saw the clock read 1:34:xx.  I then heard somebody say:  There goes Jason Bahamundi and I turned around and thanked them but had no clue who they were.  I then saw Susan Lacke (whom I met on Thursday night and was everything and more than I thought she would be.  Thank you for spending time with me on Thursday and again on Saturday after the race....see you at IMAZ.) who completely ignored me because I was not wearing a wetsuit but seeing a familiar face helped me tremendously.  Rounding the corner I saw another familiar face in Annie Irvin (Jeff's wife) and that made me smile again.  Shannon was there but I don't recall seeing her or saying anything to her but thank you for the great pic.  I ran up called out my bib# and was directed toward my bike gear bag. Doing some math I though that to get to 11h30minutes that I would have to be 14 minutes faster on the bike and run.  Then I thought about what Coach said and that the race started at the bike not the water. Forget the water and ignore it.  I adjusted my goal time to 11h40m and said to myself that I was going to ride for 6 hours and run for 4 hours.  Not ride for 5h53minutes and run 3h53minutes.  It was over and I needed to stick to my plan. I ran into the tent although I saw many walking and when I got in there I was stunned.  I am not sure what I expected to see but what I saw was not it.  I thought maybe there were chairs spaced out with few athletes in there and volunteers at their feet handing them gear, but I saw tons of athletes and chairs packed like sardines.  I found an open seat immediately and jumped into it.  I sat down and threw on my helmet, then my socks and shoes.  Race belt was next and then sunglasses. I took out the sunscreen spray because I did not want to get lathered in that goopy stuff they put on you, nor did I want to wait in line and lose precious seconds.  I sprayed my legs and then my left arm and the pain was searing.  I looked and noticed that I had a major chafe and what must have been caused by the string from the swimskin.  Holy cow did that burn like mad.  Up and out of the seat and running out the back-end of the tent.  Handed my bag to one of the thousands of volunteers and off to my bike I went. I grabbed my bike off the rack.  Popped the HoneyStinger into my mouth and ran to the mount line.  Went to look at my watch and it had not recorded the swim at all.  I got it set to record before I started pedaling and was off.  As I started down the chute I looked at my right hand and saw 135.  That was my target heart rate for this entire ride.  I knew it would climb a bit with headwinds and or hills but overall I wanted to be right at 135bpm.  As I turned the corner I saw Karen along with a friend of ours and just yelled out:  Hey Honey.....see you in a few hours and off I went. The first 40-45 miles were going to be a tailwind and so I knew that I would be able to go faster with less effort and thought that if I could keep my heart rate around 130 bpm that I would be setup for a good second half of the ride.  As we passed sections there were so many people out there cheering for us and I would thank them for coming out and rooting for us on this journey. After 5 miles the watch beeped and it was time to start the nutrition/hydration plan.  My plan was to drink every 15 minutes and eat a HoneyStinger every two hours.  I had 1500 calories of Herbalife Prolong (1000 calories in my Speedfil and another 500 in a bottle on the back of the saddle) along with 400 calories of EFS Liquid Shot in my torpedo.  There were another 400 calories of EFS in a bottle in my shorts pocket.  Lastly another 480 calories of HoneyStinger in the bento box.  All in all if I drank/ate all the calories I would consume 2780 calories over 6 hours or ~460 calories per hour which is a lot more than I normally would take in but the heat of the day was going to really sap my energy so I wanted to be prepared.  If I didn't eat/drink them all there would not be a problem.  I wound up eating only 320 calories and drinking about 1800 calories for a total of 2120 calories for 350 per hour. Within moments of drinking the first few sips after 15 minutes I felt my stomach grumble.  I knew that being jostled in the wrestling ring known as the Ironman swim was what caused this.  I had drunk (swallowed?) a large amount of water and my stomach was not happy.  I also knew that if I did not take care of this right away that the ride would be horrible and I would be questioning myself all day.  It was at Mile 12 that the first aid station popped up and I got off my bike, handed it to a volunteer and jumped in the porto-potty.  I spent about 2m30s in here but when I got out I felt GREAT.  I was relieved and the best part was the volunteer put a water bottle in my empty cage and that set me up for a perfect ride, even if I did not know it then.  I got on my bike, she yelled out rider in and I was off again. Having read the Endurance Nation article about the ride and where the three troublesome spots were (Miles 45-50, 55-60, 65-80) and having spoken to Neil (Susan's boyfriend) on Thursday I was prepared.  Neil had warned me that the trouble spot was really at Mile 50 where you crossed into Grimes County.  Sure enough Mile 45 was tough but not harder than I expected and at Mile 50 you hit the chip seal and that was exactly what Neil had warned me about.  The thing about it though is that this was not the worst chip seal I have ever encountered and just kept on pushing and checking my heart rate every 15 minutes when the watch beeped. I was staying in my planned heart rate zone very well and was also hydrating right on plan.  I even adopted the method of drinking water immediately after taking in either the Prolong or the EFS Liquid Shot.  I would then also pour water down my back to cool off as well as pour some into the opening of my aero helmet. This helped tremendously as I never felt hot the entire ride.  I was having the time of my life. At one point I came up on a guy named Mack and as I passed him he said I will see you later.  I thought he meant on the run but within 10 minutes he was passing me on my left going down one of the larger downhills.  He yelled:  I told you so and I could not stop from laughing.  I then yelled back well I hope you go down faster here than me since you have at least 60 pounds on me.  We laughed a bit and then when I passed him for good he said:  It gets hard at Mile 55.  Enjoy the day.  I thanked him and told him the same. It was then that a guy named Rico passed me and I thought to myself.  Hold back.  Don't go into a leap-frog mode with him.  Let it go.  Follow the plan, stick to the plan.  I let him go and knew that I would see him again, whether on the bike or the run but I would see him again.  This happened quite a bit and I just kept telling myself that I would catch them all on the run.  I was feeling great and just kept on riding.  My legs never truly hurt, like when you are riding the trainer. I also think I benefited tremendously from training on the trainer with 5-6 shirts and creating an atmosphere of heat and humidity in my garage.  The weather never bothered me, nor entered into my mind about it being too hot or too humid.  Everywhere I have read that people were getting beat up by the heat but it never entered my mind. As I got past the half-way point I came up on a guy who gave me the greatest compliment I received on the course and it absolutely made my day.  I came up on him and as I was passing him he asked me if I was a runner.  I told him that I was and he just said: oh sh*t.  I asked why he asked the question and said what he did he said I am too.  Didn't think twice as I passed him by and then he came up on my left after a few minutes and said:  I said that to you because you look sleek and in great shape ready to run a great marathon.  I thanked him and mentally fist-pumped.  That absolutely made my day. Now I was hooked up with this guy and we conversed for about 30 minutes, even if he was illegally drafting.  He would ride up on me and get right next to me without passing and we would chat and then he would fall back.  Then he would catch up and talk and fall back.  Finally I picked up on what he was doing and I picked up my pace because he was using me to pull him. I then came up on another rider and he asked me where the next aid station was and I said I had no clue but I hoped it was soon because my water ran out and I needed more.  I was worried about grabbing water from the aid stations but the volunteers were well-trained and the riders were respectful of each other out there.  We saw the next aid station tents and we cheered audibly.  As I grabbed the last water bottle, which was at Mile 90, I was ecstatic to know I was only 22 miles from being done.  Then my watch started to really beep. The beeping really threw me off because I knew it wasn't 15 minutes.  I looked down and it said low battery.  I forgot my charger at home so I did not charge my watch the entire weekend.  I was worried that I would not have a watch for the entire ride and really wanted to focus on my heart rate.  If I had no watch on the run, not a big deal but I wanted to have a good bike to set up the run.  Oh well, what could I do at this point.  Just keep on riding and smiling. Finally at Mile 100 I felt the full feeling of all the liquid and food I had consumed.  I burped once and then again and on the second burp all the liquid came flying out.  There were white specs and I had no clue where that came from.  It was all over my arm, but like the getting out of the porto-potty at Mile 12 I felt so much better.  But then at Mile 102 I threw up again.  Now I knew my stomach was settled. At Mile 109 the greatest words to ever hear from a volunteer:  Only 3 more miles to go.  I looked at my watch and knew I was within a decent area of my goal time.  As I got within ear shot of the transition I took my feet out of my shoes and they thanked me profusely.  It felt great to wiggle my toes and to know that within seconds I would be getting off the bike and starting the last part of my journey to Ironman. I came into transition and saw Shannon with her arms up yelling my name and it got me so fired up, that I threw my bike to somebody and yelled.  Jeff then came up to me and told me to slow it down with a laugh but I was so amped up and ready to run that I just kept on going.  Toward the end of the transition area Scott (aka BDD - great surprise that he came down for the weekend) came up to me and asked me how I was feeling and I looked at him and said I feel GREAT. Stats: 6:05:44 (18.37 mph) --> Goal 5:50 -- 6:00 First 56 miles: 2:58:30 (18.82 mph) Second 56 miles: 3:07:14 (17.95 mph) Overall Heart Rate: 134bpm  Max Heart Rate: 154bpm Division Rank: 204 (moved up 80 spots from the swim) Gender Rank: 1025 (moved up 529 spots from the swim) Overall Rank: 847 (moved up 367 spots from the swim) And for those keeping score at home: #1s on the bike:  2x #2s while on the bike course:  1x #3s while on the bike: 2x Thank you for reading.  Come back tomorrow for the run recap.[gallery link="file" columns="4" orderby="rand"]  
Published in Race Reports

Dallas Rock and Roll Marathon was not a race that I had planned at the start of the year.  It wasn't until Amy Perkel of Boundless Nutrition sent me an email asking if I wanted free passes to the race (it is nice to have sponsors) that I added this event to the list.  Of course my first question to myself was how do you recover from a Half-Ironman?  And the obvious answer was to run a half-marathon.  Shortly after accepting this kind offer did Karen ask me if I wanted to run the A2A Half-Marathon on April 1st.  This time I emailed Coach and she said it would be fine because she would just add-on miles to the run or make it a hard run.  One way or the other my recovery from a Half-Ironman was to run not one but two Half-Marathons. When 70.3 Ironman San Juan ended I checked Training Peaks and noticed that the run was NOT going to be a recovery run, but instead a 10 minute warmup followed by a steady tempo pace.  Scratching my head I thought.......really?  Then I looked at the Saturday training and saw that it was to be three hours on the trainer followed by a 30 minute run.  Seriously what were my legs going to do in this race?  I had no clue. After exchanging text messages with my Coach on Saturday night it was determined that the 'tempo' pace was going to be 8:30-8:45/mile.  I wanted to be close to what I figured my pace at Ironman Texas was going to be and this was a compromise with my coach. [caption id="attachment_5604" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Chico Sporting His El Diablos And His Medal"]berry5k_running_race[/caption] On Saturday morning Chico was running a race as well.  He had a 50 yard dash scheduled and it was quite possibly the funniest thing I have ever seen.  The race director was going to count down from 10 and by the time she hit 6 all the kids (about 100) took off running.  They were moving so fast that Chico got run over, but the brave soul popped back up and kept hustling.  As soon as all the kids hit the finish line, they just wrapped around and raced each other to the medals.  I could not stop laughing and did not get one good pic of them. After that I met Robert over at TriShop for a 3 hour CompuTrainer ride on the Ironman Arizona course.  I managed to get in 57 miles for a 19 mph average that made me happy considering I had no recovery or taper for this ride.  After that we bounced off and put up 3.25 miles in 30 minutes for a 9:12/mi pace.  This was a great day of training.  Later that night we hosted Karen's sister who would be running her second half-marathon, and first since the Debacle in the Desert (Yes, the RnR Las Vegas.)  We had ordered vegetable pizza and some salads for dinner.  By around 8:00pm my eyes were fading fast and by 9:00pm I managed to walk to bed.  Within moments I was asleep.  I don't remember saying good night to anybody.  I don't remember turning on or off the TV.  I just remember the alarm going off at 3:30am. Thankfully I put out all of my morning food and clothes.  I was dressed and eating by 4:30am when Karen's sister came out and joined me for some hot coffee.  A little chitter chatter, Karen finally awoke and we were on the road by 6:15am.  It was crazy getting to the race site.  There was so much traffic and at one point we went about 10 feet in 5 minutes.  Boundless Nutrition was kind enough to provide me with VIP parking passes (Thank You Amy -- these were a life saver) and we were able to park right at the finish line.  On the shuttle to the race start and I laughed so hard.  There was the bus driver who had more energy than me and was hilarious.  We laughed the entire time to the race start and I'm sure we annoyed plenty of people but I was relaxed. [caption id="attachment_5602" align="alignright" width="224" caption="Nancy (Karen's Sister) And I Before The Race"]dallas_rockandroll_halfmarathon_race[/caption] We got into Corral 6 which was a 2:00 projected finish time.  Let me just say that all the people in the 1:50 to 2:10 projected finish time have all the right in the world to complain about proper seeding in a race.  Normally I am in Corral 1 or 2, but seeded myself back here because I did not know what my legs would provide on race day.  As we walked up to the start line (approximately 10 minutes) I had planned to take it easy for 10 minutes and figured I would be right with everybody else.  Before I knew it I was passing a ton of people and even walkers......really?  Walking within the first mile?  I was so frustrated but knew I had to maintain my plan as that was far more important than the pace. I hit the first mile at 8:54 and felt strong.  OK, so now I need to hit the paces of 8:30-8:45 per mile and picked it up a bit.  My legs felt very strong, even through the hardest part of the course.  This course sets up like a mountain.  Uphill until Mile 8 and then downhill from there on out.  My goal was to run up the hills at the same rate of perceived exertion and ignore my watch (this is a story for another day and one I am very much perturbed about.)  As I hit one hill after the other and I was passing runners and feeling strong I made up my mind that come Mile 10 I was going to forget the 8:30-8:45 pace and just run. Each mile ticked off and they were all faster than 8:30 and I thought.....where is all this leg drive coming from?  Splits from Mile 2 to Mile 8 were:

  • Mile 2: 8:31
  • Mile 3: 8:06
  • Mile 4: 8:23
  • Mile 5: 8:13
  • Mile 6: 8:15
  • Mile 7: 8:09
  • Mile 8: 8:04

It was at this point that I wound up next to a runner who was looking fluid and for whatever reason made it my mission to not get beat by this guy and to bury him.  Why?  No clue.  I was probably trying to deflect any pain that I was about to endure and push it away from my brain. We started running in lock step.  He would pull slightly ahead and I would catch him.  We would run together for a bit and then I would surge ahead a tad. This went on and on from mile marker 8 to mile marker 10.  It was at Mile marker 10 that I said it is time to set the best 5k of the entire race so far. I pushed any and all ideas out of my brain and just ran.  My leg turnover was solid.  I was landing mid-foot.  I was not breathing too hard and I felt like I was on cruise control.  I was smart enough to hide my heart rate on my watch and only had total time and pace.  Next time I race a half-marathon I am getting rid of pace as well. When I hit Mile 12 I then spoke to myself and said you can do anything for a mile and started running harder.  This race was going to end with the fastest mile yet even if it meant tossing cookies or passing out.  I can say that for the first time in a while I had a little stitch and felt hungry.  Either way this was not going to stop me from running as hard as my legs would carry me.  I also started doing math and knew there was a time I wanted to beat. As you enter into Fair Park I saw another runner wearing an orange singlet and it was like a bull seeing the red cape.  I went hard after him and I passed him, but that must have made him mad because he surged as well.  Except guess what mister orange singlet.....I'm only in 4th gear and BOOM down to 5th gear and blew him away. When I crossed the finish line I was hardly panting and felt so strong that if I had run at this pace the entire race and negative split is as well I would have set a PR this day.  I felt so strong out there and my HR stayed relatively low for the pace I was running.  Mile splits from Mile 9 on:

  • Mile 9: 7:59
  • Mile 10: 7:57
  • Mile 11: 7:50
  • Mile 12: 7:57
  • Mile 13: 7:40
  • Final:  7:08 pace

My final time was 1:47:22.  This cruise control run placed me at 117 out of 782 M35-39 or Top 15%.  Overall I finished 863 out of 11312 or Top 8%.  I am very happy with my result considering where I am in my training and having just raced a Half-Ironman.  Next week brings another challenge because on Saturday I will be riding for 5 hours and then traveling to Oklahoma for another Half-Marathon.  I do know that this upcoming race will be slower with a goal of finishing between 1:50 and 1:55 since the first 5 miles will be in Z1/Z2 and the final 8 miles at my goal race pace of 8:45-9:00 per mile.  Execution, again, will be the name of the game.

Participant Detail
Finished In:    01:47:22 (8:12/mile)
  • Overall: 863 out of 11312 (Top 8%)
  • Division: 117 out of 782 (Top 15%)
  • Gender: 668 out of 4258 (Top 16%)
  • 5 Km: 26:47
  • 10 Km: 52:41
  • 7 Mi: 59:40
  • 10 Mi: 1:23:10

[caption id="attachment_5601" align="aligncenter" width="248" caption="Up Next!!!!!"]arbuckles_armore_halfmarathon_running[/caption]  

THANK YOU FOR READING AND ALL YOUR SUPPORT

 

Published in Race Reports
Wednesday, 21 March 2012 12:14

Ironman San Juan Race Report

Ironman San Juan was an incredible experience (outside of getting home but even that was an experience) and one I cannot wait to repeat again next year.  That is correct......I have plans to compete at Ironman San Juan next year.  The venue was incredible, the people better than that and the food was top-notch.  It did not hurt that this was like going home and one that I will cherish forever. If you had been following my wife Karen through Twitteror Facebook you know that I missed my goal times but a hefty margin but after much contemplation and conversation with my coach the end product proves what a terrific race I had.  I would be remise if I did not say Thank You to all of you for your support.  It has proven to be invaluable and a tremendous source of inspiration and motivation. Now let's break this down Hubie Brown style.......

PRE-RACE: 

ironman_triahtlon_sanjuan_cooktraineatraceGeting ready to Race

Having booked a room at the host hotel I did not have to wake up super early to travel to the race site.  I set my alarm for 4:30am so that I could eat breakfast by 4:45am which was 3 hours prior to my wave start.  Those three hours would provide me with enough time to go to the bathroom and clean out the system before the gun went off.  Typical of race day my breakfast was granola with almond milk, one rice cake with peanut butter and 1/2 sliced banana and a Herbalife24 Carb-Smoothie with the other half of the banana.  One cup of coffee would accompany this breakfast and help to get the system moving and functioning properly. After breakfast I headed downstairs with Karen to make the 2 minute walk to Sixto Escobar Stadium where transition was setup.  Once at my rack I laid out all my clothes and that is when the fireworks started going off.  In the 45 minutes I was in transition I heard no less than 5 wheels blow from being over-inflated.  It is hot in San Juan, hotter than normal this time of year, and thus the air was already expanded in the tires and when the athletes were trying to fit in 140 psi the tubes or clinchers would blow.  The noise was loud and kept happening over and over again.  My buddy Juan popped over to my rack with his bike pump and I filled up my tires, laid out my cycling shoes, running shoes, helmet, race belt, sunglasses, and HoneyStinger Waffles.  Poured the Herbalife24 Prolong into my Speedfil and filled up the A2 with the liquified EFS Liquid Shot Vanilla.  Placed my tiny cooler with my two handhelds of EFS and my recovery food of peanut butter and banana sandwich, an apple and a pear.  All set up and grab Juan to walk out the stadium when we run into Richard.  Photo opportunity taken and time to head back upstairs to relax before walking over to the swim start. After laying down in the bed for about an hour it was time to head over to the swim which was a 10 minute slow walk.  Karen and I took are time getting there and once there I figured I should do some warm-up swimming and tossed myself in the water for a few minutes.  The water was warm but the swim felt good.  I was ready for this day.  As we walked across the street I found my wave and stood in line with the rest of the athletes, when I over heard the dreaded question:  What are you shooting for?  The question was not directed at me but the conversation broke down like this:

  • I am hoping to be around 6 hours.
  • Yeah, I want to do a 40 minute swim then hold 230 watts on the bike....blah, blah, blah
  • Oh you race with watts.  I use my hear rate.
  • Dude, once you go watts you will wonder why you didn't do it sooner.  It is the best.  Best since sliced bread.  You know that sh*t that Samuel Jackson and John Travolta looked at in Pulp Fiction?  Yeah, watts is even better than that.  You thought the invention of the wheel was big......shoot WATTS is where it's at (not exactly this way but it might as well have been.)

ironman_triathlon_sanjuan_swimOut Of The Water And Onto The 500+ Yard Run To T1

 I had made the determination to put myself in the middle of the front row and go for it.  Swim all out for 200-300 meters to breakaway from the fray and then settle into a nice rithym.  I stood on the beach until about 1 minute to go and then waded into the water and when the gun went off so did I.  I swam as hard as I could without sighting because every time I turned to breathe there was a guy there.  In addition to that I tend to swim to my right which in this case was a good thing as the buoys were all lined to the right and we were swimming in a clockwise motion. After some feet slapping and quick kicking I settled in.  I felt like I was cruising and trying to figure out if I wanted to push harder or save myself for the bike and run.  I was never alone and felt that I was doing a good job of swimming at a good race pace.  Before I knew it I was making the right hand turn at the red buoy when a few of the swimmers from the wave behind me started passing me.  Around the second turn buoy and headed for home.  I know I had 9 orange buoys before hitting the bridge and I started counting them off.  The sighting was very good and eventually I was passing swim caps from two waves prior to the M35-39 age group. Once I got to the bridge the sea floor rose quickly and was slightly disorienting.  Through the bridge and we were in an area with a lot of chop.  Being on the small side I was getting tossed around by the 1 foot to 2 foot swells.  At this point I was swallowing so much water and pushed to get to the end.  This is when I turned and saw the Hammer Nutrition race kit.  I thought it might be Richard and as I got out of the water it turns out that it was Richard.  I knew that he was a fast swimmer and thought to myself that getting out with him was a good thing.  I looked down at my watch and saw 41:XX and felt the disappointment immediately. I had to block it out because it was now a long run to the transition area.  By long I mean long.  Well over 500 yards to where my bike was stationed on the opposite end of transition.  Trying to forget the swim and not trip on the way there were the only things on my mind.

  • Goal:  35:00 - 37:00
  • Actual: 41:37 (2:11/100m)
  • Rank: 620 Overall; 129 M35-39
BIKE:
 
ironman_triathlon_sanjuan_bikeCheck Out The Ocean Behind Me
 
After mounting the bike I knew that I would be facing a very flat course and told myself to hold back a bit because I did not want to fry myself before the run.  Having driven the course the day before I knew the way out would be the tailwind and then the way back would be the headwind so it made more sense to enjoy the out but conserve energy.
 
As I started out I went to take a sip and immediately the tip of the straw flew out and down to the ground.  I would be riding this course with no Prolong was my immediate thought.  Of course though the straw worked fine but I would have to keep it pointed up to avoid spilling all over.  Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.  As we get started out we do a few climbs to get out on the highway, which was completely closed down for the triathlon.....just an incredible feeling to be riding a highway devoid of cars.
 
It wasn't until between Miles 5 and 10 that I finally realized that the wind was in my face and that I could stop thinking about the swim.  Nothing could be done now so just enjoy the ride.  I was passing a handful of riders but not really pushing the effort level.  I looked at my watch a couple of times and noticed that my heart rate was fairly constant in the 150-155 range but I also knew I had to bring it down as that is pretty close to lactate threshold for me on the bike.
 
When I hit the turn around I knew I had just gone 20 miles and the legs felt great.  On the way back into town it felt like I was riding for forever and the reason it seemed that way was the wind shifted and was again in my face.  The 8 miles back to the turn around to do the second loop felt forever and when the rider next to me asked 'Where is the turn around?' as I was passing him I knew I wasn't the only one feeling that way.
 
I also may have felt that way because I was not drafting the way the majority of the riders were drafting.  These guys were wheel sucking big time.  At one point I could here disks and aero wheels coming up behind me.  Fully expecting one or two riders the amazement on my face must have been priceless when 10-12 guys passed me as a peleton.  Not even trying to draft I got scooped up in the wind pull.  I was there for about 15 seconds before they dropped me but you could feel the advantage they gave each other.  There was also another rider I was behind who made zero attempts to pass the rider in front of him for a good 3-5 minutes.  It was insane and the officials were out in full force.  I saw two red cards handed out and that made me happy.
 
Around Mile 45 I saw a man jumping up and down and cheering like crazy.  I did a double take and he looked just like my Dad.  It was eerie and I immediately welled up inside.  I could feel the tears build up in my eyes bought fought them back and did what I could to maintain my composure and then it happened.  I ran out of liquids and instead of panicking I pulled back a bit more knowing I only had about 20 more minutes of riding.  Not a bid deal and just needed to get through it.
 
Trying to finish strong was tough as the end of the ride was on and off ramps and bridges so essentially the majority of the climbing was at the end.  Knowing that I was about to get started on my run I pushed through and passed a few more riders along the way.  I got my feet out of my shoes and coasted into the dismount line ready to run.
 
  • Goal: 2:40 - 2:45
  • Actual: 2:46:15 (20.21 mph)
  • Rank: 433 Overall; 105 M35-39
RUN:
ironman_triathlon_sanjuan_runRunning Through El Morro
 
After grabbing a handful of cold water out of my little cooler I slipped on my running shoes and grabbed my two handhelds of EFS and was ready to hit the run course.  My goal was to try to negative split the run which meant going out slow and getting comfortable and then turning it on at the end.
 
I was true to my plan as I saw splits in the 8:30/mile range.  This made me smile as I was actually executing the plan I had set out to do.  The only issues I did not factor into my pacing plan was how hilly the course turned out to be and the heat that we had to deal with.  Karen heard natives of the island even say that the temperature was very hot for Puerto Rico that time of the year.
 
Not one to make excused I pushed through and made it a point to grab water and ice on the way through every aid station.  I poured water over my head, chewed on ice and what I did not chew on I tossed inside my kit.  When the first hill hit I immediately thought of San Francisco and saw so many people walking and knew that if I ran I would be able to gain valuable time on them.  I did not let up and just kept pumping my arms up and down all of the hills through out the course.
 
When I hit the turn around for the second loop I could not believe that I was 7 miles away from completing my third 70.3 Ironman race.  This gave me some extra inspiration and I picked up the pace and that is when I felt the first rub of my toes on my shoes.  With all the water being poured over my head plus the hoses on the course my feet were shifting inside my shoes.  Going up hills was tough but was worse going down the hills.  Every step became tougher and this pushed my splits for the final 2 sets of 15 minutes to 9:09/mi and 9:39/mi.
 
It was at approximately the 11.5 mile mark that I knew I had to just bury my head and run through the pain.  The faster I ran the faster it would be over with and so I did.  I was passed by a guy in my age group with a kit that said Energizer on it and I was not going to let him beat me.  I pushed and right at the Mile 13 marker I passed him and pushed through the end.  My final half-mile was run at an 8:30/mi pace.
 
I crossed the finish line happy that I would finally be able to take my shoes off and let my feet breathe but also caught another lump in my throat thinking about my father.  Karen was right there at the end the way she always is and that made the pain of the day go away.
 
  • Goal: 1:40 - 1:45
  • Actual: 1:57:00 (8:47/mi)
  • Rank: 267 Overall; 67 M35-39
OVERALL:
 
ironman_triathlon_sanjuan_finishAll Done And Ready To KEEP Eating
 
While my goal time was not met I am very proud of my race.  I executed the plan to the T.  I busted out of the gate in the swim, I held back on the bike and still managed 20 mph and did not fly out of T2 into the run and burn out.  After talking with Coach there are a couple of tiny things I would change.  First I would not go all out at the swim start but instead swim my race and find feet to draft off of.  I know I can swim faster but burning that energy and going anaerobic may have cost me more than it saved me in time.  On the bike and run I could have pushed slightly harder.  On the second half of the bike I was at an HR of between 135 and 140bpm.  I could push that to 145bpm for sure and not have wasted energy.  From the run perspective I could have pushed harder on the second half as my HR stayed in the 150-155bpm range.  These hear rates are great for an Ironman but for a Half-Ironman I can probably push just a tad harder.  This is being nit-picky because that is how I am built, but all in all on a very hot day I executed a tremendous race.  My nutrition and hydration were spot on and shows that I have learned how to pace for upcoming Ironman Texas.
  • Goal: 5:03 - 5:13
  • Actual: 5:29:35
  • Top 25% Overall
 
POST-RACE:
[caption id="attachment_5541" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Dinner In Old San Juan"]Ironman_Triathlon_Sanjuan_dinner[/caption] I ate just about everything in sight.  It was a hot day and I know I must have dropped close to 10 pounds out there.  I ate oranges and bananas and pizza, then my recovery sandwich and fruit.  If I could get my hands on it I ate it was pretty much how it went down.  After spending some time gathering my thoughts of the day I went and retrieved my bike and made my way to the hotel room to lay down. This was short-lived as Karen was hungry and we decided to go to eat and early dinner with Juan and his wife at Cafe Berlin.
 
MY THOUGHTS ON IRONMAN SAN JUAN:
Do it if you can.  The swim course is excellent outside of the final 200 meters but in the grand scheme of things that is nothing.  The bike course is gorgeous.  Beaches and ocean views along with nature preserve parks can't be beat.  The run course is very challenging but with a run through parts of Old San Juan and past the castle at El Morro and the history is with you.
 
The volunteers and crowd were tremendous.  The people were cheering for you even if their athlete passed two hours before you even reached them.  There was singing and dancing on both the bike and run course.  Vuvuzuellas were played and there was plenty of water, bananas, oranges and Gatorade on the course.  The only downside was no sponges to hold onto during the run but otherwise zero complaints.
 
THANK YOU FOR READING!
 
[gallery link="file" columns="4" orderby="rand"]

 

Published in Race Reports
[caption id="attachment_5679" align="alignright" width="224" caption="Team Baha Done And Done"]a2amarathon_finishers[/caption] Chrissie Wellington raced last year's Ironman World Championships last year with a torn pectoral muscle and road rash.  She not only raced it but she won it in a record time and put in a blistering run, for which she is not typically known for.  With what happened to me yesterday there were questions, and a few suggestions, that I don't race the A2A Half-Marathon.  There was never any doubt in my mind that I would run the race, and the only question was would I race the race.  The deciding factor would be how my hip felt when I woke up on race day morning. I did all the things that I would normally do before a race.  I ate pizza the night before with Karen, Frances (owner of Virawear) and a few other friends.  I had a bowl of granola, two rice cakes with peanut butter and was in bed by 8:30pm.  When the alarm went off at 4am I checked my body parts for anything that would tell me that I absolutely could not run.  My hip was sore but bearable.  My shoulder did not hurt.  Then I felt my hand and man alive that was killing me.  I quickly put the pain out of my mind by telling myself I don't run with my hands.  I also started channeling my inner Chrissie.  I told myself that if she can race 140.6 miles with those injuries I could run 13.1 miles with what I had.  The question about running versus racing still hung in the air. I consumed my race day breakfast which is exactly the same as my night before meal but with added coffee.  Karen and I always pack our food and when she went to make a shake in the morning and we noticed we left the base back at home we went downstairs for the hotel breakfast.  Karen had a waffle and asked me if I wanted half and against my better judgement I did eat half.  Don't do anything new on race day right?  After breakfast we got in our car and drove to the stadium to be bused out to the starting line. At the stadium I took a few quick steps to see if the hip would cause me pain and there was a throbbing but bearable.  Onto the bus we went and on the way there we hit every bump imaginable and that was causing some pain.  Finally we made it to the start line and I went for a warm-up.  After running about 0.5 miles with no issues I decided to do some dynamic stretches.  Again, no major pain and I made up my mind to run this race. Prior to the start a Bronco came racing up the road and tearing up the grass and looked to be losing control.  Let me rewind and tell you that this race starts in the middle of Route 77 in Arbuckles, Okalahoma.  I mean, literally, in the middle of the road.  There was a white line signifying the start line and that was it.  It was the greatest start to a race I'd ever seen and the road was to be closed for six hours.  It was fairly scary to see this guy tearing up the road.  Another runner confronted him and he pealed out and left.  That certainly got the heart rate going.  After that we lined up about 10 feet behind the start line and listened to the Star-Spangled Banner.  Gave Karen a kiss and wished her luck, then after the countdown and shotgun start the race was on. The legs were feeling fresh and I started running when the Mile 1 marker came up on me.  I thought to myself that was very fast and looking down at my watch it proved it was.  7:35 for the first mile and then we hit mile two and again 7:35.  Now the first two miles are downhill completely and while I tried to hold back I could not and after hitting the 2nd mile marker decided I was going to race this event. As the route leveled off and I got into a rhythm I was being passed by a lot of runners.  I fought the meathead in me knowing that once we hit Mile 9 we were going to be going back uphill.  Stay in the zone, race and keep all your splits steady.  If you recall from San Juan, where I screwed up my watch, I decided to show 3 fields.  Those fields were Current Time, Avg-HR and Avg-Pace.  When I looked down I saw an average pace of 7:49/mi and I made it my mission to keep that under 8:00/mi.  That was my goal as I knew that would put me in at 1:44 and I would be happy with that. As each mile ticked off I noticed that I would feel the throbbing of my hip every other mile.  I think this was due to the fact that I was taking water every other mile from the pain.  I would focus on the water and not recognize the pain that when I passed a water station I would recognize the throbbing.  If you noticed I said taking water off the course, and that is because I forgot the EFS Liquid Shot at the house.  At the expo I asked about a local bicycle shop and there was not one in Ardmore and the closest one was 28 miles away.  I was going to live off the course and that means water and water only as I cannot keep Gatorade down. As we neared Mile 6 I started noticing those that had passed me by 4 miles earlier and they were running considerably slower.  The route had turned into rolling hills and the humidity was picking up.  When I saw the rollers I told myself to run through the hills and keep my perceived level of exertion the same as the flats and pick it up on the downhill.  I also kept telling myself that if Chrissie can do it so can I.  As I passed each racer I gained strength.  I finally caught up to one racer who has passed me back at Mile 2.5.  I remembered him because of his backwards BAA hat as well as Landrunners shirt.  I found that gear and it became a bullseye.  I ran up on him and then passed him going up a hill.  With that as my strength I powered up the hill and did not hear his footsteps after about 0.25 miles. I kept at it and kept picking off one runner after the other.  I was gaining strength and they were losing it.  It was around the 10 mile marker that the wind truly picked up and almost knocked my feet out from under me.  I was out there on the open road with nothing to block the wind.  I got to mile 11 and saw a few other runners that I hunted down when I heard the footsteps and deep breathing.  What was going on here?  I was being caught by somebody?  Who?  You guessed it.....BAA hat man.  He passed me but I kept on his hip and then fell in behind him and let him block the wind and fed off his draft. I felt strong so I passed him and gained ground on him going downhill and kept finding other runners to run behind until their pace was not fast enough for me and I passed them.  At Mile 12 BAA passed me again and I fought to stay with him but his kick was too strong and he started to pull away.  I vowed not to let him have more than 0.10 miles on me and I would push at the turn into the stadium and catch him if I could. With this in my mind I noticed another runner in front of me and thought I was hallucinating.  The woman was wearing a black tank top with Peace, Love, Run on the back and I knew I saw this 4 times before.  I started questioning if I had been passed without me knowing it but when the man pacing her called her name I knew it wasn't the same person.  I also got pissed off with the on-course support and blew past her on the hill and left her behind and kept BAA in sight.  We made the turn toward the stadium and I started running harder but so was he. As we enter into the stadium to do the final 0.25 miles in the track I was putting in every last ounce of strength I had and never caught him.  I finished about 15 seconds behind him and when I crossed the finish line is when my hip decided to tell me that it was still apart of my body.  I slumped over and the volunteers brought me my medal and two bottles of water and asked if I needed to see medical.  I repeated two or three times that I did not need medical but that I had crashed my bike the day before and my hip was throbbing to the high heavens.  I finally gained the strength to walk around a bit and my hip started to feel better. I looked down at my watch and saw a time of 1:44:22 and a distance of 13.13 miles.  I was thrilled because I knew that I had met my goal of a sub-8:00/mi pace for the race and that I ran a very good race in terms of distance.  Of course the majority of the race was straight down a highway but the first two miles required turns in the highway that could have been detrimental to the distance run because we had the entire highway to ourselves. Karen and I left went to the hotel and cleaned up before hitting the road.  After we got home we noticed that I finished 7th in my Age Group of 43 competitors and 30th Overall.  Better than that was that Karen finished in 1:58 and came in 3rd in her Age Group.  This was her 2nd podium finish in four Half-Marathons this year.  I am so proud of her accomplishments and where her running has come from.  Great job Honey! This is the third race in three weeks and I'll be happy that next weekend is a 5.5 hour ride and 30 minute run brick on Saturday and a 2h45m run on Sunday with no racing involved. Mile Splits for the race:
  • Mile 1: 7:35
  • Mile 2: 7:35
  • Mile 3: 8:01
  • Mile 4: 8:16
  • Mile 5: 7:52
  • Mile 6: 7:51
  • Mile 7: 7:32
  • Mile 8: 7:53
  • Mile 9: 8:01
  • Mile 10: 8:22
  • Mile 11: 8:13
  • Mile 12: 8:22
  • Mile 13: 7:46
  • .13mile: 7:42/mi pace (0:43)[gallery link="file" columns="4" orderby="rand"]
Published in Race Reports
Sunday, 19 February 2012 12:44

Stonebridge Half-Marathon Race Report

Yesterday I ran the Stonebridge Half-Marathon for the second year in a row.  The distance works perfect for training purposes and it is a small race so you really get to enjoy it.  Not to mention the post race spread is pretty good.  This year Karen and my buddy Juan decided to join me in the run and we had a great time with great results. My mindset going into this race was to practice pacing for 70.3 San Juan.  My goal in San Juan is to run a 1:44 half-marathon and so that was the goal for this race.  Coach had scheduled a swim session as well so I figured I would do the swim set before the race to mimic being a bit tired before the run. At 5am I jumped into the pool and rattled off 2550 yards of swimming that included 3x (5x100 Very Fast - :30 RI) 50K sets.  Obviously very fast is much faster than race pace and so I was happy to know that I would really be pushing myself and burning some of the glycogen off.  As we left the house and got on the highway Karen asked me if I had my GU (First Endurance Liquid Shot is what I use) and it was then I realized that I forgot it at home in the fridge.  I would be running this half-marathon with no nutrition and only living of the course and that means only water because I cannot drink Powerade.  Thankfully I had eaten a Honey Stinger waffle after the swim. When we got to the race site you could feel the cold and with the rain it was one of those days where people would question you as to why you are up and going for a run.  As we walked to the starting line I told Juan that we should run 8-8:15s for the first two miles and then bring it down from there to the 8:00/mi mark and finish right at that 1:45 mark. Then the gun went off Juan and I immediately settled into a nice stride.  Before I knew it the 1 mile marker was there and our watched went off with a 8:02 mile.  OK great the legs feel good and slightly ahead of the 8:15 but not by much and I am gaining confidence.  We continue to run stride for stride and all I can think of is Iron War.  Trying to imagine what Dave Scott and Mark Allen were thinking as they were running.  They were competitors competing on the biggest triathlon stage and Juan and I are friends and training to pace for 70.3 San Juan. It was around Mile 2 when we heard galoshes boy.  The sound was horrible.  Each step sounded as if the guy dunked his shoes and socks in a bucket of water before the race.  It made that squashing sound and was driving me batty.  I wanted to really pick up the pace to get away from him but I had a plan and I wanted to stick to it and this guy was running right along with us.  I looked at Juan and said to him WTF is with this guys shoes he's making me crazy.  He agreed and said the guy had earbuds in and probably couldn't hear them and so he wasn't annoying himself. By the time Mile 3 came along galoshes boy was no longer with us and we were on our own.  Juan and I were in a nice stride and cruising and I was having a great time.  I never felt like I was pushing it or working and was really just out for a long training run.  That is until we hit the half-way point.  At mile 6 you turn left and are headed down the longest straight away of the run.  The problem was that the wind kicked up and the road is a series of up and down elevations.  Not the type of elevation that you climb for .10 mile but for 0.25 mile then flat then another gradient that lasts 0.25 miles.  Into a headwind this made it work but my legs felt great and I just attacked the hills. It was at this point that I started to catch those that had burned past me earlier in the run and when I started to drop Juan.  My legs felt great and I wanted to negative split the run and so the pace picked up.  Picking off one runner after another was fun.  After getting past one person I would find another.  At Mile 9 I passed a guy fairly easily and he said to me 'go get 'em you look great.'  When he said that I realized that I was still not pushing myself.  I looked at my heart rate and was around 161 bpm.  Normally my heart rate would be in the 170-180 bpm range. I credit this consistent low heart rate to a couple of things.  First this past week has been a slight step back in workload for Ironman training.  Secondly I had taken First Endurance Pre-Race about 45 minutes before the start of the race.  My body has gotten used to Pre-Race and my heart rate felt low and consistent.  After passing the Mile 9 marker I made a decision to step it up and run the last 5k harder than I had any previous miles of the race. At the Mile 10 marker it was time to pick up the pace but not sprinting.  Again I wanted to finish in 1:44 and make sure to execute the race.  I had a lot of juice in my legs and dropped a 7:22 mile at Mile 11 and then a 7:28 at Mile 12.  I hit Mile 12 and again made a decision that Mile 13 was going to be the fastest mile of the entire day.  I was moving but again I never felt over-extended or worn out.  I was in cruise control so to speak. As I came up on the Mile 13 marker I could see the finish line clock and saw 1:40:52 and new that I would be crossing just a tad past 1:41.  As I crossed the final timing mat I hit my watch and looked down and was at 1:41:10.  I walked about 100 feet past the finish line expecting Juan to come across in 4 minutes as he was doing very well with timing his race at that pace.  Before I could get that thought fully through my head I heard the PA announcer say 'Catch him USC' and I knew it was Juan.  He was wearing a USC jacket for the race and I was surprised because he too picked up the pace quite a bit.  He finished in 1:41:40. With the cold clothes and weather being what it was I made a run to the car to get my bag but more importantly Karen's bag that had fresh clothes so that we could change into them.  By the time I got back Karen was just crossing the finish line.  She came across the timing mat in 1:52:05 and set a PR by over 5 minutes. [caption id="attachment_5323" align="alignright" width="224" caption="Team Baha On The Podium"]stonebridge_ranch_half_marathon_podium_bahamundi[/caption] Standing around we waited to see results.  With such a small field you never know where you may finish.  Last year I ran a 1:36 and finished 5th in my age group so I did not expect much but we did not see a lot of women so maybe Karen got herself to the podium.  When the results were posted we walked over and saw that we both were going to be on the podium in our age groups.  We both finished 2nd in our age group and Juan finished 5th in his.  It was a great race for all of us. Takeaways:

  • I can pace myself and hold back.  Need to remember this in a month when San Juan rolls around.
  • I can run a half-marathon on nothing but water, but will not try that again.
  • Create a plan and stick to it even as others are passing you at the beginning as they will either flame out or they are just faster and you will never catch them anyway.
2012 has started gloriously with a 3rd place finish at the Bold In The Cold 15k and a 2nd place finish at the Stonebridge Half-Marathon.  Looking forward to hitting my goal time of 5:10 for San Juan.
 
Thank you for reading.

 

Published in Race Reports
[caption id="attachment_5509" align="alignright" width="256" caption="Those Are Not Pillows"]ironman_sanjuan_triathlon[/caption] Ironman San Juan travel report coming first because I have gotten a number of emails, tweets and Facebook posts requesting a race report and I would love nothing more than to post one for you, but I think this entire trip deserves a handful of posts.  I am going to break this race report down into three sections and not a swim, bike, run post but a before, during and post race report.  Today I will start with the after, tomorrow will be the during and then Thursday will have the before because this has been the most ridiculously awesome and hilarious trip. After completing the race Karen and I went up to the room with me fully exhausted and legs just hurting bad from the race.  Karen was starving and wanted to eat but I just wanted to lay down for an hour.  Karen went downstairs to find something to eat.  As soon as I closed my eyes my buddy Juan sent a text message asking to see what we were doing about eating.  I immediately called Karen and was going to tell her to not eat that we would go to Cafe Berlin for an early dinner with Juan and his wife.  The phone rang in my ear and then another ring across the room.....yup, Karen left her phone in the room.  In an attempt to go get her I jumped out of bed as quickly as I could to race downstairs. I got to the elevator on pure guts and went downstairs.  I looked all over and then finally heard her calling me.  After telling her the plan, we went and got the car and picked up Juan.  We went to Cafe Berlin, which was incredible.  During dinner I looked at our reservations and as it turned out our flight was at 9am with connecting flights in Atlanta and Houston before reaching Dallas.  A veritable triathlon of traveling home you might say. Bummed that we would not have time to spend on the beach we went home and packed up our bags, including my bike.  This time I made the right move and packed the bike properly (more about this story in tomorrow's post.)  As I was packing, our newest friends Richard Kalasky (whom you might remember from the interview with Beth - SUAR) and Carlos.  We decided to meet them in the hotel lobby for a snack and some drinks.  Richard raced and does not drink so he was with me in soreness and sunburness while consuming water.  We laughed the night away with them and it was the best nightcap to a long but rewarding day.  At  around 10am we decided to head upstairs knowing we would have to be up and out of the hotel by 7am. Once the alarm went off at 5am I was out of bed ready to get going to get home as quickly as possible (6:40pm) and get to relax on my own couch.  Got the car from valet and on the San Juan roads only to get lost and driving down a one way road the wrong way.  Should have known something was not going to go our way at this point.  Get to the airport, drop off car and over to the terminal.  We boarded the plan to Atlanta no problems.  The flight was a good and I got to watch Ides of March for free on the plane.  Good movie if you are into the inner working of politics and elections.  With a 2 hour layover we decided to have some lunch.  So far so good except for the texts and messages regarding the weather in Dallas. The flight to Houston from Dallas was nondescript except for the bumpy descent and quick landing.  I think Karen may have broken a finger or two hanging on so tight.  Once on the ground we had time to kill, especially because we noticed that our flight was now taking off when it was supposed to be landing in Dallas.  Hey, make the best of it......we went to eat and eat I did.  I had 4 slices of pizza and declared Tuesday (today) the day that nutrition for Ironman Texas would begin.  No ridiculous snacking and everything I eat from this point forward would have a purpose in regard to the race. After eating we head back to the terminal and find out the plane is not leaving until 7:15, then 8:00, then CANCELLED.  Pure awesome at this point as the entire gate freaks out.  People are mad at the airline as if they airline asked Mother Nature to wreak havoc on all of us.  People are so mad and we just made the best of it.  After failing to secure a rental car we looked up Amtrak.  $168 per person for 13 hours of travel by train.....no thanks!  We did the Priceline thing and landed a decent hotel for the night at cheap cost.  We kept calling for a rental car but not one place had one because not only was our flight cancelled but the previous flight and the flight after were cancelled as well.  Best part was the agent telling us that we were booked on the earliest flight for us which was Wednesday......good times! We took the shuttle to the hotel and started making calls.  I called Budget Rent-A-Car and was told it would cost $250 for the rental car and mind you I was using it from 8am until 2pm.....$250 for 6 hours of usage?  What world does Budget live in when that is not a budget friendly price?  No, thank you.  Over to Kayak.com and found a car from Hertz for $100 for the same amount of time.  Yes, book the car.  So today at 8am I shall be picking up the car and heading north to Dallas. This trip has been bizarre from the beginning (you will have to wait until Thursday) to see how this whole thing started.  Tomorrow will be a recap of the actual race and how it all went down.  Keep your fingers crossed that as you are reading this I am in a car on my way home or am home relaxing.  
Published in Race Reports
Tuesday, 06 December 2011 17:21

Las Vegas Rock N Roll Marathon Race Report

Where do you start when you want to write a race report about a marathon in Vegas?  Vegas is an epic city!  Running a marathon is an epic event!  Hanging out with Beth and Emily is epic!  So much to say so let's just jump right into all of it, but not before this:

THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT THROUGHOUT THE TRAINING AND RACE DAY

Pre-Race Friday/Saturday/Sunday We landed in Vegas on Friday morning after dealing with having to de-board our plane because of an issue with the flight attendant seat.  Not a big deal but when you are up at 4:30am to get to airport early the day gets long very fast.  When we landed in Vegas we went straight to the expo to pick up our packets and walk around and it was very enjoyable.  Dinner at Hash House A G0-Go with Karen, my brother and sister in law and back to the hotel room early because we were exhausted. Saturday Karen and I woke up early and went for a 30 minute run.  On the way out we were with the wind and it felt great, but on the turn around it was straight into the wind and slowed us down by about 1:00/mi but it felt good to shake out the legs.  We headed back to the expo to try and meet other bloggers (which I did when I ran into Beth) and what a disaster this was.  I think all 30,000+ people and their families and their extend families were there.  After about 30 minutes I told Karen that I had to go and sit away from the crowds because I had my fill of human interaction (a nice way of saying bumping and shoving.)  At that point I texted Beth (yes I have her phone number - jealous?) and said I'm ready for lunch would you like to meet.  She was kind enough to say yes and so we had lunch with Beth and her friend Erica at Otto.  Otto is a restaurant owned by Mario Battali that I had the fortune of eating at when I lived in New York and loved it.  This time around was no different as the pizza was excellent as was the salad and eggplant appetizer I ordered.  The cannoli was good but not like old school New York restaurant good. After heading to the hotel room for the remainder of the afternoon we went back down to the strip for the blogger meet up.  We had a great time meeting with Rebecca, Jeff, Matty Beal, Jessica and Coach as well as seeing Beth again (this was a mixer by the way.)  After a few hours it was time to head back to the hotel and rest up. Sunday was race day, but waking up and not heading to a start line was hard to deal with.  Lots of sitting around until around 11am when we headed to IHOP for brunch.  I ordered pancakes and eggs with dry whole wheat toast.  They messed up our order and thus we had an extra serving of pancakes.  I wound up consuming approximately 1000 calories.  I took a nap at 1pm and then after waking up at 2pm I had a smoothie, got dressed and ready to head toward the race. We took the highway to the race site as The Strip was closing at 3pm and we wanted to park as close to the start as possible.  Well as we exited there was tons of traffic and I was getting antsy.  It was around 3:30p that I jumped out of the car and headed toward Mandalay Bay to use the bathroom and then head to Corral #1. Race Standing around in Corral #1 I did my best to kill time and stay warm.  It was at this point that I turned around and lo and behold there was Emily.  A sight for sore eyes if there ever was one.  I wanted to see Emily because I needed to calm my nerves and also because who wouldn't want to meet Emily? As we stood in the Corral we laughed and chatted as if we were cousins.  Just being in her presence I felt a sense of calm come over me and I was ready to run/race.  I had kept repeating to myself:  Stick to the plan!  Stick to the plan! The plan was to run 2 miles at 7:30/mi pace and get comfortable then drop down to 7:10-7:15/mi for 5 miles then back off to 7:20/mile for 5 miles and hit the strip.  Figuring The Strip would give me a shot of adrenaline I would drop down to 7:00-7:10/mi for 10 miles and then really hit the speed button for the final 4 miles.  Stick to the plan!  Stick to the plan! As we heard the gun go off we moved slowly toward the start and then I said good-bye to Emily as started running.  It wasn't as crowded as I expected but immediately we made a left turn and so you had to slow down and navigate that turn.  This would be the first of about 150 turns in the first 13.1 miles of the race.  I had said all weekend that the first 13.1 miles of the course looked like it was designed by a 3 year old with an Etch-A-Sketch.  We made turn after turn along with 180* out and backs mixed in.  Funny thing is that in retrospect this was the better half of the full marathon. After Mile 1 I saw that I was around 7:50/mi pace but now room had cleared out and we were running.  I got down to 7:30/mi pace and held that through Mile 2.  At this point I knew I had to really drop down if I had a chance.  I sped up and after about 2 miles I caught up to the 3:15 pacer.  I mentally took note of the fact that it took me 2 miles to catch him so I should be able to catch the 3:10 pacer after another 3-4 miles.  I was running great tangents and felt strong.  I was in stride and moving very well with nothing hurting too bad.  The top of my left foot acted up again as it has for the past month or so following 70.3 Austin. It was at Mile 8 that I could feel my grip on a Boston Qualifying pace slip away.  We went up a bridge and I'm not sure what happened but I felt so slow.  I felt as if I was running in mud and that I could not get up this hill at all.  Once I crested I could feel the pull of the downhill begin to work and I caught up to the runner I had targeted my pace off of.  It had also become night time at this point as well and I was just chasing this runner. From Mile 8 to Mile 9 or so was the straightest stretch of this run and we got to experience it twice as we made a 180* turn and headed back to where we came from.  At one point you make a left and head to another 180* turn but my legs felt great and I could see the 3:15 pacer just ahead of me again and I kept pushing to stay in eyesight of him.  I thought that if I could be near him with about 7 to 8 miles to go I could make a push for a near 3:10 finish. As you are running toward The Strip the light from the Luxor was a beacon to run to.  We headed up over a bridge and then the sound from the crowd began to rise.  You knew that The Strip was right there.  We headed under a walkway and made a left turn onto the strip and the adrenaline rush took over, but that did not last long. As soon as you made that left you could see the mass of humanity and the chaos of this merging of full and half-marathoners.  A little background on this run is that the marathoners started at 4:00pm and the half-marathoners started at 5:30pm.  I ran a 1:37 half-marathon and knew that when I got to the merge (sounds like Survivor) that I would be combining with those from the first few corrals of the half-marathon or those that would be running 7:15-7:30/mi paces.  I had figured I could feed off of their speed but this was not the case. The race directors and the Rock-N-Roll organization figured that a tiny cone with even smaller areas pointing for marathoners to one side and half-marathoners to another would be a good idea.  Not so much.  As I said I figured I would be running with 7:15-7:30/mi paces but what I found were walkers on the marathon side.  This to me meant that the corrals were not policed and people just jumped in where they wanted. I fortunately got in behind a woman who was directing traffic.  By directing traffic I mean that she was yelling at everybody that the half-marathoners needed to get the (insert explicative) out of the way and run to the right.  Unfortunately they did not all listen.  At this point it was pick up the pace to get through this madhouse but at the same time I was expending energy dodging people. At one point I literally ran right over a runner because he was on the marathon side of the race and came to a complete stop to grab water.  I had no place to go and ran him over but luckily neither of us fell but this did practically stop me dead in my tracks.  Before this sounds pompous of an us (marathoners) versus them (half-marathoners) let me just say that I think this was the fault of the organizers of the race in separating the track and not of the runners.  There should have been more of a barricade between the two.  If you are going to ask how did I know who was a marathoner and not, I can tell you for sure who was because I had just spent the last 1.5 hours with the same people all running at the same pace so you knew who was a marathoner and who was not. Once you got to the first turns on the course the crowd thinned out a bit but it was still crowded.  At about Mile 18 I saw the best sight I could ever have seen.  I saw my wife and just had elation come over me.  I tapped her on the arm and she asked me quickly if I was going to do it and I shook my head that I wasn't going to qualify.  At that point my heart kind of sank as the knowledge that this wasn't happening truly set in.  I started running with Karen and fell in behind her like we do when we run together. I felt my pace slowing down considerably and with the knowledge that I was not going to get to 3:10 I almost threw in the towel and just run to the finish.  This is when the competitor in me took over.  I said to myself that my wife did not sacrifice Saturday evenings for the past month for me to just finish and I picked up my pace.  I passed her and kept on running so that she would chase me. After about 3 miles I could feel the strength in my legs begin to disappear and my pace slow down considerably.  It was at around Mile 22 that I was chicked.  I was chicked by my wife.  She passed me with ease and was looking strong.  Hoping to hang onto her heel and have her pull me I picked up my pace but I had nothing.  My body was just not cooperating anymore and I slowed down for Mile 23.  Again, the competitor took over and I told myself that I was going to negative split the last 5K of this race and I picked up the pace. It was around Mile 24 where I heard cheering for Jason.  I looked around and did not recognize anybody.  I thought how do they know my name?  Was my name on my bib and I did not notice before?  I was a little disoriented and could not figure it out until the guy next to me started to pass me and I looked at his chest and saw Jason on it. As I got closer to Mandalay Bay, which by the way always looks really close since the landscape is so flat.  Truth be told is that Mandalay Bay always looked like it was around the corner but because it was flat it never showed up until you were literally on top of it and that messed with my mind a bit.  I rounded the corner to come down the chute and wanted to kick it in but there was no 5th gear.  There was nothing, but the beauty of seeing my wife after I crossed the finish line. I fell into her arms and held her very tightly because I felt disappointed in being so far off the pace, but because of all the time invested in this attempt from her.  I also could no longer stand the pain of my foot.  I never spoke of my foot because I did not want to have any excuses for not qualifying.  And no excuses is still my mantra.  I gave this race everything I could and left it all on the course, almost more than should be left out there.  At a couple of times I burped and could feel the bile in my throat, and then there was one experience that I thought I would be the poster boy for giving it all I had when I thought I crapped my shorts. Knowing that I left it on the course made me feel like a champion.  Knowing that I crossed the finish line in 3:31 and beat my previous best marathon time by 8 minutes made me feel like a champion. Post -Race It felt like the temperature dropped 15 degrees at the moment I crossed the finish line.  I was freezing and Karen and I headed straight to gear bag pick-up.  I changed clothes and immediately began hearing the complaints of marathoners regarding the merge amongst other issues people had.  After meeting up with my brother and sister in law and sharing war stories it began a family affair of PRs.  Karen set her half-marathon PR with a time of 1:57:00 and both my sister an brother in law set automatic PRs since this was there first half-marathon.  We were all on a high until it took us two hours to get out of Mandalay Bay.  My mood picked right back up when I had a post race meal of pancakes, eggs, granola, yogurt, crepes and fruit.   Here are my mile splits:

Mile 1 7:51
Mile 2 7:36
Mile 3 7:20
Mile 4 7:05
Mile 5 7:23
Mile 6 7:20
Mile 7 7:23
Mile 8 7:43
Mile 9 7:45
Mile 10 7:31
Mile 11 7:32
Mile 12 7:36
Mile 13 7:45
Mile 14 7:22
Mile 15 7:34
Mile 16 7:34
Mile 17 7:46
Mile 18 8:05
Mile 19 8:22
Mile 20 8:37
Mile 21 8:47
Mile 22 8:57
Mile 23 9:20
Mile 24 9:45
Mile 25 9:30
Mile 26 9:24
Mile 26.2 2:08
Total 3:31:32

  Take-Away As a race this is not the place to go to try and qualify for Boston regardless of how flat it is.  I also am not 100% sure this is the race to try to set a PR.  I say that because it was disorganized and there were people all over the course.  This is the 3rd marathon I have run and I have never had the experience I had in Las Vegas.  There were people all over the place and it just felt very chaotic.  I carry my water and nutrition with me so I had no experience with this but I heard from other racers that there were water stops with little to no volunteer support.  I know that they ran out of medals as well.  The craziness of trying to leave the hotel was too much for me especially after running for 3.5 hours. I can say that from a competitive stand point I will never do this race again.  I can also say that if I wanted to go and hang out and then jog a half-marathon with friends for some good laughs that this would be a race to put on the list of maybes. Thank you for reading through this race report and again Thank You so much for your support.  I truly appreciate it and I know that you all helped carry me through the end of this race.

Published in Race Reports
Sunday November 6th was the date of the Dallas Running Club Half-Marathon and just a short two weeks after having raced 70.3 Austin.  In between the Half-Ironman and Half-Marathon I completed the following training:
  1. 18 mile run at a 7:51/mi pace.
  2. 13.1 mile run at 7:36/mi pace.
  3. Cycled for 1.5 hours and covered nearly 37 miles at a 17.5 mph pace with the second half into a dead headwind.
  4. Over 5,000 yards of swimming
That is just the big days of training as I prepare my mind and body for a run at a Boston Qualifying time at Rock N Roll Las Vegas.  Needless to say the legs are tired and Coach and I discussed this not being a true A race so we didn't worry about taper and were using it as a training day for that December 4th marathon.
That being said I had a very good day at the office and following is my race report for my 3rd run at the Dallas Running Club Half-Marathon.
[caption id="attachment_4638" align="alignright" width="224" caption="Flashing the bling after the race"]karen-Jason-DRC-halfmarathon-race-report[/caption]
Pre-Race:
The alarm went off at 2:48 and I was up and ready to go.  Typically I would drink a smoothie and go back to sleep before heading out to train at 5am.  Today was different though as I had a 5 mile run scheduled before the race.  Remember this was not an 'A' race and a training day.  Today's schedule called for 18 miles and I told Coach that I wanted to do them first so that once the race was over I could come home and watch football and not have to go back out for more running.
 
At 4:30am I set out for a 5 mile run that I wanted to run at an 8:30/mi pace.  True warm-up.  When I got home I was dripping in sweat as the humidity was high and reminded me of the summer here in Texas it was that bad.  When I checked my watch I had covered the 5 miles at a pace of 8:31/mi.  Score one for following a plan and pacing properly.
 
Inside the house I made a smoothie and ate a bowl of granola with a banana which is my typical pre-race breakfast.  Made a cup of coffee and we got into the car to head down to White Rock Lake.  This is a course we have run plenty of times so we knew what we were getting ourselves into.  We parked the car, walked to the event, checked our bags and got in the porto-potty line.
 
Longest part of the day as we spent nearly 30 minutes in line.  Fortunately waiting allowed us to see Lesley of Racing It Off fame.  A few quick hellos and I finally get into the stall take care of my business and walk to the starting line.  I gave Karen a kiss good-bye as she was going to run with the 2:10 pacers.
 
I walked up to the 1:40 pacers as my goal was to run a plan that was hatched earlier in the week with Greg.  A lot of people gave me great advice about what I should do to run this race.  There were those that said take it easy, those that said to run the race, others who said pay attention to heart rate and whatever pace that was stick to it.
 
My plan going into this race was to run those first 5 miles at 8:30/mi and I did that.  Now at the race I was going to run the first 5 miles at a pace of 7:45/mi, then the next 5 at 7:20/mi and hammer home the 5k at what I was hoping would be sub 7:00/mi pace.  I have no clue what that would have equaled in terms of overall time but I wanted to run and see what I could do on tired legs and continue to build my confidence for Las Vegas.
 
Race:
When the gun went off I was about 50 yards behind the 1:40 pacers.  I had figured that a 1:40 half-marathon was a 7:38/mi pace and sitting back here I could comfortably run the 7:45/mi pace I had planned.  As we went out it was no more than 1/4 of a mile into the race that a woman across the road from me tripped and went down.  She yelled she was find and hopped back up pretty quickly.  As soon as that happens I think immediately that I need to stop and just run with Karen who has a tendency to fall but I also know that we spoke of her focusing on her stride and getting past this.  We talked so much about it that when I left her I said to her:  Keep The Rubber Side Down.
 
I kept on running and we immediately hit a hill.  I remember this hill from last year and power up it and run past people.  I catch up to a woman who is breathing so hard it's annoying.  I have to kick it in to get past her as I can't stand it.  I push past her and the mile marker shows up and my watch beeps.  I look down and we just ran the first mile in 7:37 and I am still behind the 1:40 pacers.  This guy is running fast I think to myself but I check all my facilities and I feel great.  I'm not breathing hard and my legs are feeling awesome.  This is a process I will do at every mile marker as I don't want to push so hard that I affect my next 4 weeks of training.
 
After a hair-pin turn we get out around the lake and this is my course.  Before I know it we are at Mile 2....check the watch and it reads: 7:33/mi and I am still behind the pacers.  What is this guy doing?  Plan on positive splitting this race?  As I say out loud:  This guy is going way to hard for these runners two guys run up next to me and say:  Thank you for confirming that as I thought it was me.  We converse for a bit and then we go our separate ways.
 
At this point I have forgotten everything about this course from last year and I am just running.  I get to a point where we tackle another hill and I say:  Yup I remember this.  Not a big deal.  We get over that hill and make a right and it hits me like a ton of bricks.....there is a long uphill run before we cross over a bridge and then head down for about 50 feet before we have to start climbing again.  Miles 3 and 4 at a pace of: 7:33 and 7:35.
 
I am getting near Mile 5 and I am ready to execute my plan of dropping down into the 7:20s after Mile 5.  It is at this point that one of the 1:40 pacers says to another runner that if we can get past Mile 6 we are good to go.  Oh yeah, there are more climbs and Mile 6 just feels like an almost vertical climb.  As I get to Mile 5 at a pace of 7:33 and see the climbs I think to myself well you can drop down after Mile 6 is passed.
 
I pump my arms and my knees.  High knees up a hill and pump those arms and you don't lose your stride and can essentially climb with no issues.  It is using this method that I pass a host of runners who are panting.  I can tell that they are practically shuffling their feet up the hill.  I wonder if it is because the 1:40 pacer is going faster than 7:38 but I cannot be concerned.  I am not breathing hard, my legs don't feel sore.  My feet are not generating any hot spots so I pump up the hill and HELLO downhill.  I pass Mile 6 at 7:34.  When I see this I know that I can hold this time throughout but I want to drop and this hill will certainly help.
 
You essentially go straight down hill and this can do a number on your legs with the pounding but I glide down the hill and before I know it I get chicked.  I just smiled and laughed because I can here the pounding of the pavement this woman is doing and I know here quads will be shot as soon as we make the right hand turn to what is known as the Dolly Partons.  A couple of climbs and sure enough we make that right and we begin to climb Parton #1 and I pass her with ease and that would be the last I see of her.  After climbing #1 and going down hill I climb #2 with no issues and notice a woman with a neon yellow shirt that is holding a very solid pace and I want to hang with her.  We make a right and are finally running flat.  Pass Mile 7 in 7:23.  Plan is being executed.
 
After you pass Mile 7 there is 7-11 hill.  I call it this because there is a 7-11 on the corner and I immediately think that going up this hill is going to take 11 minutes and start laughing to myself because I never put two and two together before.  As you make the right turn to go up the 7-11 hill you have to first cross a bridge.  With the number of runners on the bridge it just bounces all over.  Remember when you were a kid in the bounce house and if your legs did not meet the platform perfectly you would almost get a dead leg?  That is what running over this bridge is like.  I am caught up to neon yellow girl and she makes a comment to another girl that this bridge sucks.  I comment to both of them that if we run faster we won't spend much time on the bridge and I pick up the pace and I power through 7-11 hill.  Off the bridge and make a turn toward Mile 8 and as I pass it I see: 7:28/mi.
 
The section between Mile 8 and Mile 9 is mostly flat and where the pictures are taken.  Time to get out my big smile for the camera.  After the pictures are taken it is time to get back to work.  Time to focus on those 7:20s as we are coming up on Mile 9 then Mile 10 and time to drop the hammer on the 5k portion.  Before I know it I'm passing the Mile 9 marker and the watch reads 7:34/mile.  OK, time to re-check my legs, breathing, feelings.  All feels really good.  There is some soreness in my legs and I realize that I've already now run 14 miles but that doesn't not mean that I can stop.
 
I climb the last, I believe, hill as I head toward Mile 10.  I am so ready to drop the hammer and it is a great feeling.  I had decided that I was going to toss my handheld at the last aid station which I assumed was Mile 10.  Wrong assumption a I had just passed the Mile 9 aid station.  I think to myself OK hold on to the bottle until Mile 11 and then toss.  I am ready to get going and Mile 10 shows up and the watch flashes: 7:38.  It is time to go.
 
As I start to drop the hammer the feeling is that this is uncomfortably comfortable.  Perfect I think and before I know it I am at Mile 10.5 and think OK only 2.5 miles and you can hold this.  I am just cruising right now.  I pass a few more people and pick up a few more targets.  It is all about target hunting now to keep me going until the finish line.  Quickly Mile 11 is upon me and my split for Mile 10 read: 7:20.  OK, I am dropping my times from the previous 10 miles.  This is good.
 
I pick-up another female runner and we run past a guy who was looking good and then just stopped.  She yells at him to keep going as it is not a time to stop.  I yell' c'mon baby we got less than 2 miles.  You can do anything for 2 miles.  Let's go.'  I have no idea if that helped him or not as we cruised past him.  It is at this point that last year's race hits me.  It was last year that I hit a wall at Mile 12 and I was promising myself that this was not going to happen this year.  I was going to push until I could not push anymore.  This was going to be REDLINE RACING.  I pass the Mile 12 marker and my watch reads: 7:36.  What just happened?  I'm running harder but going slower?  I then decide to lengthen my stride.
 
Lengthening my stride allows me to control my breathing.  It is at this point that I realize that the woman I passed was literally running on my shoulder.  I could basically feel her breathe on my neck. I turn around and ask her what her goal is.  She says I don't have one but am I bothering you.  I tell her it is not a bother (it really is) but that this is not an 'A' race and I want to pace her the rest of the way to her goal.  She says well I hit the wall back there but hanging onto your heel as helped me tremendously.  OK, then let's go.  We start running hard.  I get to Mile 12.5 and I can feel that I am losing my fuel in my tank.  She is now outpacing me.  I then hear a few more footsteps and sure enough another runner was on my right and I was going to do my best to not let him pass me.
 
We turn the corner and it is the finisher's chute.  I've got nothing left and put it into cruise control to avoid injury and he passes me but by only a few feet.  I hang with him as long as I can.  As we come up on the finish line I see the time and I think to myself.....REALLY!  I cross through the finish line and move quickly to my left and put my hands on my knees.  I want to collapse but I know if I do two things are going to happen.  1- I won't get back up 2- The medical people will be there in a rush and it will take forever ton convince them I don't need help.  I walk a few steps and bend over again.  After a few moments I walk to get my medal and a bottle of water.
 
It is at this point that I look at my watch and see my overall time for the event:  1:38:42 unofficially.  This is just two minutes off of my 1/2 Marathon PR.  I am so fired up because I had just run a half-marathon two short weeks after a half-ironman at a pace of 7:31/mile.  I needed some confidence building and validation that I could run 7:15s in Vegas to qualify for Boston.  Having no taper and lots of wear and tear on my legs from the year and to put up a time like I did I am beyond ecstatic.
 
Post-Race:
[caption id="attachment_4639" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Getting Ready To Load Up At Breakfast"]shannon-karen-jason-drchalfmaratho_race_report[/caption] I waited at the finish line for Karen to come through.  I did something that I almost never do and that is stretch.  It was great to actually loosen up the muscles and need to follow that more often.  Of course it was then that I started to notice that my feet were hurting.  Iran this race in my new Brooks T7 racers which I love but probably not the smartest move to run in them today.  That being said as I'm writing this my feet feel great now.
 
After the race we headed over to Cafe Brazil with Shannon of Iron Texas Mommy along with firends Marcy and Steve.  This was the perfect place to end a great day.
 
My plate consisted of:
  • 2 Egg White Veggie Tacos, Sweet Potato Fries and Guacamole
  • 1 Pumpkin pancake from Karen with honey and maple syrup
  • Copious amounts of water and Decaf Holiday Blend Coffee (which is really a Fall Blend and was great)
I am going to enjoy watching Football and now and then this evening pack up my swim bag as training continues tomorrow and I have my eye on the prize:
 

3:10 (7:15/mile pace) at the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Marathon

Published in Race Reports
Monday, 24 October 2011 14:05

70.3 Austin Race Report

I will start by saying it was a very good day at the office overall, but with any race you have to take the time to analyze and understand where you can get better so that you keep improving. My second statement is a huge Thank You to all of you that sent text messages (I can't believe I gave my number to so many of you.....ha!), Facebook and Twitter mentions.  It was overwhelming and it helped me get through this race, in the good times and the bad. Let's jump right into this and I will try to keep it as short as possible.

PRE-RACE:

Friday and Saturday Karen and I left around 2pm on Friday to head to Austin so that we could just sit and relax.  On the way down there Karen made the decision that we should head right to the Expo to get checked in and not have to worry about it on Saturday.  Great idea.  I walked right in and got all my stuff, then we shopped (spending around $150.....not bad!)  On the way back to the hotel Karen searched for pizza near our hotel and found Little Deli and Pizza (click the link to find out what I thought of it.) Head to the hotel and setup my bike for my trainer ride at 5am so that Karen could get to Town Lake Center and run 13 miles.  Typical 3am wake-up call and I get on the trainer and it is LOUD.  I did not want to wake Karen or the people below me so I got off and sat on the couch and before I know it I passed out.  After Karen woke we headed down to Town Lake and we ran together for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes I peeled off and Karen kept going.  I went to Joe's Coffee and sat on South Congress drinking my coffee enjoying the scenery and relaxation.  Went back down to pick up Karen and up to Magnolia Cafe for breakfast. After eating oatmeal and 2 banana-bluebrerry-pecan pancakes we headed back to the hotel.  We needed to shower and head to the expo to check in El Diablo.  In the middle of my shower the water turns off.  What the F?  I have shampoo in my hair and have not even put the bar of soap to my body.  Karen calls the front desk and we find out that there is a leak in the pipe and no water service for who knows how long.  Out of the shower and get dressed.....not happy! Get to the expo again to check in the bike and find out what all these bags are for.  What do you put in them and where do they go?  Sat through the athletes meeting and find out that I can bring bags in the morning.  Relief just came over me. Check bike in and time to head back for more pizza and rest.  The next day is game time. Sunday 3am wake-up call and into the shower I go.....yeah we have water.  I eat my typical breakfast of a bowl of granola with almond milk and a smoothie.  All bags are packed and I re-check them to make sure.  I also pack up my small coolers with ice and load up my nutrition/hydration.  It is 4:45am and it is time to head to the race. Once at the race I bring my run gear bag in and put it on the floor.  Almost everybody else hung their bag, and I could not understand why.  You will have to untie the bag and pull it down then change and get going.  Wasted time in my opinion so I just left the bag on the floor. Get on the bus to Swim Start and T1.  Bring bag into T1 and load up bike.  This is a clean transition area so nothing can be on floor.  I hang my shoes from the horns, helmet with race belt and sunglasses inside of the helmet.  Speedfil A2 loaded with EFS Liquid Shot and down tube Speedfil with Herbalife Prolong.  Put HoneyStinger waffle pieces on paper towel on saddle and head out to hang out with Karen and Juan. Before I know it is 7:15a and we head down to the swim start.  It was awesome to have Karen with me right up until 7:55a since she usually has to abandon the swim area long before the start of the race.

SWIM:

Our wave gets in the water and I position myself to the right of the group and in the third row.  I feel this is the best spot for me as I can avoid the fray and swim across to the buoys.  This should take me about 5 extra seconds but that is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. At 8am the air horn goes off, I hit start on my watch and it is time to plow forward.  I had a goal of 36-37 minutes for this swim and there was no time like the present to get going.  I hit that first swim stroke and it feels great.  My heart rate did not spike, I was not hyperventilating and just swimming.  I hit a few guys and a few guys hit me but I did not let it bother me. I would sight every 5 right arm strokes.  I would count to 5 and look up and I was swimming STRAIGHT.  What is going on?  I would adjust and am at a ridiculous angle to get to the buoys and when I would look again I would be headed to the right.  I spent so much energy trying to get to the buoys that I just decided to swim straight where I was and eventually would work my way to the right. Before I knew it the red turn buoy was there and I can tell you that I passed a few red caps and a couple of yellow caps from the waves before me.  At the turn there was a bottle neck and a little more contact swimming but I was going to be aggressive on this day and I did not care.  I swam right over one guy because he kept crossing my face. After getting past him I spotted the yellow buoys and swam straight for them and started to lengthen my stroke and my sighting to every 10 strokes.  This was working great as I was right on the buoys and moving through the water like a boat.  I now saw green caps and more red and yellow caps.  I felt like I was on cruise control at this point as the 2nd red buoy showed up. Make the turn and know that I'm heading home.  I look up and I see all these yellow buoys.  What is going on?  Then I realized that those were swim caps and the final stretch buoys are orange.  I had to get that through my head because there were a lot of yellow caps out there.  I decided now was the time to lay it all on the line and I kicked it in as fast as I could.  Before I know it thought one guy hits my legs 3 times.  In order to not slow down I kicked as hard as I could and I was not touched again by that guy. Get to the swim out and I start pulling my wetsuit off of me and get to the strippers and my worst nightmare hit.  First off the transition is a long run and also uphill in the grass.  Not good times.  I get to the strippers and I cannot get my sleeve over my watch.  Finally I pull it off and flop on the ground.  He yells that I need it below my waste so I just slip it down and he yanks it off the rest of the way. Wetsuit in hand and run to T1.  I know my row is where the electric pole is and of course I ran right past it.

T1:

I get my sunglasses on, race belt on, shoes on, helmet on and go to grab the HoneyStingers and they are not there.  I look down and they are on the floor.  I could care less as this is a part of my hydration/nutrition plan.  I see two pieces on the ground and pick them up and start chewing as I de-rack El Diablo.  I start running out of T1 and I see Karen.  What a sight and a memory for me for the next three hours.

BIKE:

Having ridden this course twice this summer I knew it very well and my plan was to go fast from the outset and deal with the wind on Route 969 when it happened.  My goal was to race this course at 20mph and in order for me to do that was to go out in the 21-22mph range and then hit that wind wall and probably ride at 17-18mph.  How well did I execute my plan? We get out on the road and I have my watch set to beep every 15 minutes to remind me to take in hydration/nutrition.  If somebody knows how to work a Timex Ironman GPS watch please contact me because for the 2nd race in a row I hit the multi-sport button one too many times.  I am now having to figure out my nutrition/hydration on my own.  Quick calculation tells me that if I hold 20mph that every 5 mile marker I should drink. I hit the 5 mile marker and take in the Prolong.  I know that in another 15 minutes I'll be taking in EFS Liquid Shot.  I am riding hard and fast and we hit the first climb but its short and I cruise up this hill and am feeling great.  The legs are turning over and no issues at all.  We are all cruising and I can see the officials out there monitoring the riders.  With the horrible cracks in the road you had to essentially ride to the left the entire ride but try to avoid getting a penalty. At one point I pass, quite easily, the asshat triathlete.  You know, from Jeff Irvin's post, what this guy looks like.  Disc wheel, high-flying bike, aero helmet WITH a visor.  This guy has spent so much money on his gear, but forgot that he needs to train for the event and that you cannot buy speed.  About 5 minutes later we go up a climb and over a bridge and head back downhill.  At this point there are two riders that are going slower than I and I am passing them when another asshat triathlete passes me and decides to educate me on the rules.  He yells that I need to only be on the left to pass.  So I yell back at him....oh you mean like the two people that we just went by?  Seriously dude focus on your ride and not me passing somebody. At this point the race is non-descript but every 15 minutes my watch goes off and I can see how fast/slow I'm going.  Every time I look I am at 20-21mph and I know I am hitting my plan dead on.  That is until we come up on the one stretch that you are flying and have to make a 90* right turn.  The day before Juan and I spoke of this turn and how we could see riders just going straight through into the pasture on the other side of the road. Since I know the course I know I have to break well before hand.  I start feathering my rear brakes but I am not slowing down one bit.  I start to feather the front brakes as well.  Uh-Oh! I am not stopping or slowing down AT ALL.  What is going to happen?  I pull the brakes this time and the wheels starts screeching.  OK Jason get your body loose in case you tumble.  A stiff body is going to cause more damage (TWSS) and so I got loose and began to get the bike to slow down but I cannot turn without having my wheels slide out from under me or crashing into other riders coming down. I go right through the turn and into a ditch on the other side of the road, but I kept pedaling and turn the bike toward the course again.  I get back to the road and unclip so that I can gain composure of my heart and make sure that I'm ok.  I see racers coming flying and I am trying to get back on the course and after about 1 minute I get back out there.  Lots of comments come flying like:  Hey Lance, you ok?  Hey this is not an Xterra event?  I laughed at them and it helped me gain my composure. The good thing about this is that I now have goals to catch the group I had been riding with and I start pedaling hard.  This is Route 969 and is a wall of wind and you can feel it the entire stretch but I am passing riders left and right.  I am feeling great and my legs are feeling good.  Twice my watch showed a 15 minute stretch of 17mph but otherwise it was 19mph and I knew I was having a great ride. As I pass mile 50 I calculate that if I am in T2 by 3:30 I have two hours to run a half-marathon and break 5:30 for the race.  I am feeling really good as I turn into the final stretch.  I dismount cleanly and head to my rack.

T2:

Bike racked and helmet off.  Sneakers on, visor on and grab the HoneyStinger waffles and my two flasks that were in the tiny cooler.  One is EFS Liquid Shot and the other is water.  I eat two pieces of HoneyStinger and hit the run.

RUN:

The run is a 3 loop course so I know I am going to see Karen at least 5 times before I get into the final chute and that makes me happy. I hit the run course and I see Karen, Coach and her posse and they are all yelling and I start yelling back and I feel great.  I hit the Mile 2 marker and the watch goes off for 15 minutes....Nice I'm running a 7:30/mi pace.  I take in the liquid shot and some water.  I grab sponges at every aid station and this proved to be the best idea I had all day. After Mile 2 it seems that the run goes down hill fast.  I realized that this run is nothing but ups and downs and I need to do it 3 times.  I can also feel the heat start to turn up. I get to Mile 4 and my pace is now 8:30/mi and I am struggling until you get near the turn around where all the fans are.  They are going nuts and after I do the loop I see Karen again along with some other friends.  I pass one tent and they are jamming and that gets me going again and I feel like dancing (I did!) and keep going. At Mile 6 the idea of drinking liquid shot just about makes me puke.  I just cannot stomach it anymore so I ditch it and change the game plan.  I am going to drink coke at every other aid station, take sponges and water at every aid station.  It was at this point that I decide to walk the aid stations.  As I walk through the first one I look at my watch and start calculating. Mile 8 gives me 5 more miles and at 9:00/mi I will cross at 5:27.  I now have a focus to run at a 9:00/mi pace no matter what.  I come up on a turn and our friend Jeff is there.  Jeff is a bada** triathlete having competed at Kona and just recently ran the Boston Marathon in ~3:30 in a monkey suit.  He high fives me and almost knocks me over because I'm spent. I keep pushing and now know that I only have one more lap to go.  I stick to my plan of coke and water and walking aid stations.  I get to mile 11 and calculate that I am at  a 5:28 pace if I stick to a 9:00/mi pace.  About 0.5 miles past that sign I decide I can run as hard as I can for the next 1.5 miles and that is what I did.  I ran as hard as I could and when I got to the final chute and saw 5:57 I knew I had it.  I knew I was going to cross under 5:30. After crossing the finish line I just about collapsed.  I had my hands on my knees and the enormity of what I had just accomplished hit me.

Moments Post-Race:

As I was just over the line with my hands on my knees I could feel the tears well up in my eyes.  I went from 5:42 in April at California to 5:28 in October.  A 14 minute PR, but more than that I knew that all those hours of training paid off.  All the email exchanges with Jeff, Jon, BDD, Patrick, Kevin, Matt and Greg paid off.  I knew that I just created a donation of $70 to Shape Up America for a 14 minute PR. The volunteer was incredible as she asked repeatedly if I need the medic tent.  I told her no that I was just exhausted.  She asked if I PR'd and I told her yes by 14 minutes.  She then asked again if I wanted to the medic.  I told her as best I could that I just needed to slump.  I didn't need a medic, or water, or coke, or a sandwich but just needed to slump. I finally gathered myself and walked to Karen.  I hugged and kissed her then slumped again and again the tears began to well up.  This was a race that I put everything into and hit my goal time overall.

Performance:

Swim: 40:08. Goal was 36-37 minutes with a PR of 40:37 Bike: 2:49:15. Goal was 2:50-2:55 with a PR of 3:06 Run: 1:53:32.  Goal was 1:44-1:47 with a PR of 1:48 Overall: 5:28:06.  Goal was 5:20-5:30 with a PR of 5:42.   ==================== I have a long way to go to be the triathlete I want to be but I will not stop until I get there.  You should know that my training when it starts for Puerto Rico will be harder and more intense.  I have bigger goals and I have places that I need to improve upon.  I know this and later today my coach will know it as well. Until then I will bask in the glory of hitting my goals for this race.  I will smile knowing that there was nothing else  I could have done on this day to get better.  I know that with what the day gave me I have it all I had and came out on top of the course. Thank you all for your support.  It was a great race and I am thrilled with my accomplishments and I have all of you to thank.  At some point on the course I chanted FAGRESSIVE (Jen), I took in all liquid nutrition/Hydration (Jeff), I left it on the course (Greg, Matt), I pushed my limits (Jon, BDD, Kevin) and so many other times out there that I cannot express it all.  You all rock and thank you [gallery orderby="rand"]    
Published in Race Reports
This race has a bittersweet feeling to it.  I had a great time out there and while I fell short of my goals I loved every minute of the race.  I left everything I had out on the course and finished with a time that was 12 minutes faster than last year at the same race.  That was the sweet part of the race.  The bitter part is that teammate Robert Swan got injured on the run and that may leave hit first half-ironman up in the air since it was an injury to his knee. This race did not result in a PR and I'm ok with that.  After spending all day processing this race and understanding where I sit in my training and that this was not an 'A' race for me I am excited about what I did today.  Coach called me, while preparing to leave for Kona, to give me a pep talk that took this day from good to great.  She pointed out that it was a very difficult bike course with also the fact that the roads were not in the best shape.  She noted the goal for all this training is in 3 weeks at 70.3 Austin and to just take away lessons from the day and not to dwell.  I have a tendency to pick apart my races to the point of ridiculousness and hammer away at my performance.  Today is the exact opposite.  I raced with my friends and teammate, my sponsors and other friends were there to cheer and my wife was as supportive as she has ever been and I love having her there when I cross the finish line. Let's analyze the day shall we?

Pre-Race:

Woke up at 3:33am (sorry EMZ but 4:44am would be too late) and prepared a smoothie, granola and coffee by the light of my cell phone.  As has become customary I ate my breakfast in the bathroom so as not to disturb Karen.  Once I was done with eating I jumped in the shower to relax the mind and separate myself from the race.  The shower felt great and now I was going to take a nap. I got a solid 45 minute nap in when Karen's alarm went off and it was time to pack up and head downstairs to transition.  We decided to stay at the host hotel and this was a blessing for more than one reason.  Out of the room and into transition in a PR time of 1minute 34 seconds.  I setup my transition so fast and had time to hang out with Carla and Eddie Weber (my sponsors) and Karen.  I then got to see Robert, Juan, Eric and Curtis as well.  I waited for Robert to finish his setup before we took off on a 2 mile warm-up run. Remember how close the hotel was?  Well once the run was over I ran upstairs to the room to use the bathroom and not a porto-john.  I sprayed the living daylights out of my ankles and neck with TriSlide and back downstairs.  Time to head to the swim start.

Swim:

The lakes in North Texas are down quite a bit of water and so the start was now an in water start as opposed to a drop off the dock start.  After dropping in and standing up, with the water at my waist, I swam to the start line and positioned myself in the 2nd row to the far right.  My goal was to take and angle straight to the buoy so that I did not have to sit in the white wash of the inside line. The gun went off and the surge of adrenaline was enormous.  I knew I had to get out early because of being in the second row but it was not like anything I have ever felt before.  I was pushing so hard and fast to get to that first buoy and be able to find a rhythm that I spend a lot of energy.  My plan was the right one but that adrenaline surge was unbelievable.  At one point I thought to myself I am never going to finish this swim if I keep going like this and had to do the finger tip drag drill to slow myself and my heart rate down.  This worked like a charm as I finally got into a rhythm and all the sudden the turn buoy was there. I am now thinking to myself this is a great swim and start to speed up a bit when yellow caps start passing me.  The yellow caps represent  the wave behind me that started 3 minutes later.  I kept pushing to keep up with them but sure enough I couldn't but I thought that if they swam a 24 - 25 minute 1500 meters and I kept up with them some what then I would be coming in around my goal time of 28 minutes-30 minutes.  Around the second turn buoy and it was time to hit the X button (PlayStation example for you) and push hard. I started passing purple caps, blue caps, red caps and even more green caps on the way home.  Now here is where the swim turns into a bit of a quasi-joke.  When you get to the final buoy your arms start scraping the lake floor and yet you are still 50-100 meters out from the swim exit.  I saw people dolphin diving but I would gain 3 feet on them every time they had to push themselves up off the floor so it was not worth it.  I ripped off my cap and goggles, unzipped and got my wetsuit halfway off before I was even near the ramp to the swim exit. Time: 32:21 (1500 m course but my watch said I swam 1.04 mi.  Work on sighting.) Goal: 28-30 minutes (PR time at 1500m 31:40.  Finished 46th out of 68 M35-39 --> bet they didn't swim 1.04 miles though!) Grade: B+ (I felt great in the water and never tired and felt faster as the swim went on.  Need to work on form and sighting to improve speed.)

Bike:  

The bike starts on a steep climb out of transition.  I clipped my right foot in but when I tried to put the left foot in I couldn't and wound up running the bike up the hill and mounting up top.  This normally would put a crimp in my day but for some reason it did not bother me.  I just kept on riding and never thought twice about it. The road for this course has been damaged by construction as we all as the drought.  The road had large cracks in it that ran in the same direction as you are riding.  There were other parts where the road drops off so you have to pick a line and stick to it.  In addition to that you have to make sure that somebody else doesn't accidentally flow into your line. When I started out I felt great and the road was cooperating with me.  It was at this point that I do not recall seeing many 7s on people calves (they did not put age but instead put wave assignments on our calves.)  I thought to myself that I must be doing great or so bad that they were all in front of me. At one point your end up on a fairly clean road that you can hammer on and get going.  I looked at my watch to see what my speed was and saw a time of 2:41 and I knew I hit the multi-sport button one to many times as that was a pace I see on my run in that corner of my watch.  Knowing that 3 minutes = 20 mph I knew I was cruising.  I was feeling good and then the sound of a disc wheel climbing up on you.  In an instant I was getting passed by a woman on the same bike as me.  She made a comment that I had a nice bike and I told her it would be nicer if it was going as fast as hers.  She laughed along with me. You reach a turn around and immediately it is a climb.  Once you get to the top of the climb you turn around to do a '2nd lap' of this route by heading to the turn around point.  This 'lap' was added in because of the  problems with the original course being short.  The idea that I had to do that climb again finally dawned on me.  Well, everybody has to do it.  At this point I locked up with #808.  We were playing leap-frog on the way back and then the one thing you never want to see on a bike course.  The race official. As the race official passed me they slowed down and wrote something down on a piece of paper and then took off.  I thought for sure that I had gotten a penalty but I couldn't think of how or why I would get one.  I was getting passed by #808 and had no idea what he was doing behind me plus we were going uphill the majority of the way.  When I caught up to #808 I informed him of this as I passed and thought to myself that wasn't the nicest thing to do as I could have just played a serious mind game on him.  Oh well, keep on pedaling. At this point I started catching up to people from the wave group #7 and passing them.  Was I going to hard and blow up on the run?  Were they slowing down?  I kept on pushing and eventually get to a down hill that leads to another uphill and then finally you are at the end.  I took my feet out of my shoes and coasted to the mount line.  Off the bike and through transition as fast as I could. Time: 1:18:11 (19.0 mph) Goal: 1:08 - 1:10 (PR time at Olympic Distance 1:08:29.  Finished 36th out of 68 M35-39 ) Grade: B+ (My hip flexors started acting up on the ride but it was the wind that hurt the most.  Last year I rode in 1:18:16 and there was no wind)

Run:

  Oh the run.....my friend.  How I longed for you this day.  After starting marathon training about three weeks ago I wanted to truly test my speed.  I had been running for 1.5 hours and then doing a negative split return at a 8:02/mi pace and a 7:42/mi pace.  I also know that I ran the Avia Austin Triathlon at a 7:25/mi pace and had that time as my goal time.  I wanted to maintain a pace that I would need to qualify for Boston in a few months. Out of transition and you begin with what seems to be a Stairway to Heaven.  This start is exactly 0.5 mi uphil the entire time.  No flat portions to let your legs get a rest.  Straight climbing and no joke.  It was immediately that I started seeing more and more 7s.  I knew that I was going to catch a number of people on this run because my legs did not have the wobbly feeling after a ride (maybe I should have pushed more?) Before I hit the 1 mile marker I passed my friend Eric and yelled at him to keep on pushing through.  He has suffered knee and leg injuries and his run always takes a beating.  Last year I did not catch up to Eric until Mile 3.  I immediately knew that this race was going to be much different from last year. I kept right on plugging away and catching racers all along the way.  There were people huffing and puffing up these hills and it game me an adrenaline shot.  I focused on my turnover and keeping my cadence at 90 the entire time.  It was around Mile 2 that I passed the woman who passed me on the bike and thought holy cow I'm at Mile 2 already.  The turn around was at Mile 3 and again it was surprise when I got there as fast as I did. At the turn around there as a runner with a 7 on his leg.  I took an inside line and passed him and heard his footsteps for a bit but then I also heard labored breathing and I smiled to myself and said 'go ahead and try to keep up.  You'll be done in 2 minutes.'  Sure enough 2 minutes later there was no noise.  I decided then it was time to put the hammer down and really run. Going downhill I picked up the pace even more and that is when I saw Juan.  He was going up the hill and yelled that I looked strong and that made me go even faster.  After Mile 4 you turn left and I saw a familiar jersey.  It belonged to our buddy Curtis who started 12 minutes before me as a Clydesdale.  I yelled at him to get his body moving.  We chuckled after I passed him and he told me to go get it and that is what I did. When I reached the Mile 5 marker I saw Robert and he was barely moving.  I yelled at him and asked if it was the knee.  He nodded yes and I told him to walk to the finish and not stop moving but no more running.  As I passed him he yelled for me to go get it.  It was then that I knew it was all over and just started sprinting.  I saw a woman with her name on the back and knew she was on Team USA and was who I wanted to pace off of figuring she had to be fast.  The thing was that as I caught her she was not going that fast and so I do what I do best.....I yelled at her to get going.  As I passed her I said to her in a normal voice that it was time to catch the person in front of us.  We did that and then I said to her let's get the next one.  We caught them and then we passed a group of three then another runner. This whole time I kept yelling 'Come on McCreary. Let's go' 'C'mon McCreary we are almost done.  Not letting up now.' 'We went down that steep climb  with our legs barely touching the ground.  As we got toward the bottom I yelled 'Go Go Go Go' and she went and even passed me.  We got to the smallest incline and I passed her back yelling 'Let's Go McCreary we are going down the finishing chute' I finished and immediately doubled over.  I could not breathe and could barely stand.  I found McCreary doing the same thing and reached over and patter her on the back and then hugged her and thanked her for the pacing.  She immediately said that she would not have finished the race that strong if not for me.  We hugged again and high-fived and parted ways for a moment.(Turns out McCreary finished 2nd in the F40-44 AG with 46 seconds to spare.) Time: 45:54 (7:24/mi) Goal: 45-47 minutes (PR time at Olympic Distance 46:09 <-- no more.  Finished 13th out of 68 M35-39 ) Grade: A+ (I pushed myself from the get go, did not blow up and have the confidence that I can go faster.)

Post-Race:

After I was done I walked toward the back and saw Andy Potts.  Immediately after identifying him I heard Karen yell.  Next thing I know I see her climbing into the finishers area and was so happy to have her there until she blew past me and made a b-line for Andy.  I don't think I asked and I don't think she told me but all the sudden the camera was in my hands and they were arm in arm and I'm taking a picture. Not to be outdone I walked over and shook his hand and we chatted for a bit.  I told him that I had raced on the same course as him three times this season.  He asked if he was smiling after each one and when I told him it was at 70.3 Oceanside and CapTexTri he smiled.  He then said that I must bring him good luck and that he would have to send me his schedule for next year so that I could go and race on the courses with him.  At that point, his wife I believe, asked if we all wanted a photo together.  So she took a pic of Andy Potts, Karen and myself. I was on cloud 9 until Robert came through the finish line and was being helped to a chair to sit down because his knee was causing so much pain.  He looked defeated but I told him he finished regardless of circumstance and that is what CTER athletes are made of.

Final Times:

  Time: 2:41:06 Goal: 2:25:16 - 2:31:16 (PR time at Olympic Distance 2:38:40.) Rankings: 25th out of 68 M35-39; 175 out of 440 Men; 226 out of 617 Overall) Grade: B+ (I enjoyed the race and learned valuable lessons for 70.3 Austin in three weeks.) My final thought on this race are that it was a great time.  I fell short of my 2:25-2:31 goal time but beat last year by 12 minutes and only 3 minutes off of a PR.  I now know that I can go much harder on my bike and still be able to maintain a strong run.  I know that I'm faster in the water than I was last year.  My focus has been 70.3 Austin and with only three weeks to go until race day the training will be kicked up a notch so that I can mimic my run times.  I would be very satisfied with a swim time comparable to today's swim and a pace for my run being in the same ballpark.  Having ridden the course twice before I know I can go faster than the course for Toyota US Open Championships. I will be back next year and will have the determination and drive to pass the 19.0 mph barrier that this course has posed the past two years. Thank you to everybody who sent me messages via Twitter and Facebook.  It was a huge help to have you out on the course with me and push me to be better than I could have been on my own. [gallery orderby="rand"]
Published in Race Reports
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