Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Better with time...

     This past weekend I went to Austin with little to no motivation to race.  I ended up having my best one yet.  Only my second one so there's not much science behind that statement.  I took last week off with the exception of track where I ended up having a great workout.  Despite what my coach said I think being well rested mentally and more so physically had the most to do with it.  I needed to give myself a break.  Drove up to Austin Saturday, then stayed with my Sister and her kids.  Saturday was a rough night.  My niece was up sick all night so we were as well.  Sunday was great met up with my teammates, went to the expo to get the packet and drop off my bike.  Decided to lock the bike since we had to leave it overnight.  It was a great piece of mind. 
     Sunday night was great after touring the bike course my coach and her husband and I went and had wine in downtown Austin next to the restaurant we were having dinner at.  Dinner was awesome.  Highly recommend it.http://www.tavernabylombardi.com/.  Salmon was a perfect Med-Rare.  The food was so good that even though I was completely full I had to order dessert.
  After a cuisine induced coma I woke up refreshed and sick.  A mild fever and a sore throat, a possible gift from my niece or nephew, I was dreading the race.  I got my self together enough to make it to transition and set up shop.  A little before the race started I didn't feel up to it.  Confirmed with my coach that there was no fever and went to lay down.  Picked a nice spot on the bank of the lake and watched a few waves go.  I decided that no matter what I was doing the swim.  I could live with a DNF but not with a didn't start.  Found my coach after the pre-wave rain cause a delay reunited with Gena, Greg, Stue, and Michelle.  Was time to go and I was off. 
     The initail shock of the water temp caused me to second guess not using a wet suit, but after a minute of treading water I had warmed back up.  I started in the back of the pack but after a minute I said to myself, "what the hell am I doing back here, these guys are slow.  So I put my face down and went after it.  A minute later I tried to get into my rythim but the water was choppy, my HR was up, and I kept bumping into people.  A few time I needed to clear my head so I would stop for a second then go back after it.  The hardest part of the whole triathlon was getting out of the water.  The ramp was steep bodies were strewn all over the ramp like casualties from a failed beach landing.  I looked over at the guy next to me being drug out of the water as well, and when we made eye contact, he mouthed the words "What the F?"  I answered with, "I know right?"  I looked at my watch after successfully overcoming the course designed troop impairments and saw that I had knocked off several minutes already.  After the 1k run to my bike I got through T1 quickly, but messed up my plan and put the gloves on before getting on the bike.  Ride was great and the new pedals were solid and I lucked out on the positioning of them.  Ride was great, cute girl and I kept passing each other during the ride and I asked her if we should just pull over now and exchange numbers or keep dancing.  She laughed and we continued to pass and drop.  After the second climb on capital before we truned to head towards Caesar Chavez, I finally said you gorgeous but your starting to piss me off and dropped her.  I got into the dismount zone and one off my shoes fell off.  Grabbed it then a bottle fell off and a glove fell out of the bag.  Picked that up and got into T2.  T2 was perfect, except that I had to rinse my feet due to all the gravel at the entrance.  Mats would have been nice. 
  Started the run saying my mantra of "I'm not going to walk." It was a good run after my legs decided to stop fighting the urge of the left thigh and knee wanting to flex for a kick and the right trying to convince me we were still on the bike.  I had plenty of energy to get through it though.  Legs felt good, and was surprised by a little red-headed ball of energy with a huge smile that came up and started talking about a million miles an hour.  Not sure what she said but I answered with' "that's the last time I do anything a week before a race."  I saw Stew a few minutes after and was determined not to get passed by him.  I saw Gena again and remember her saying you only have one small bridge to get over.  The bridge was anything but small and the smell from the millions of bats that live under it was hard to overcome.  I finished strong and had a great time.  Everybody that went had a PR, some just had a great experience at their first time ever, or at a distance.  This one goes on the calendar for next year. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Training for fun?

     Last week I faced every endurance athlete's biggest fear, well second to injury. Burn out. When I first got into Triathlons, it was for fun.  Then my competitive nature took over and I started to train myself into the ground. This caught up to me last week and I had to say "when."  It started Saturday when I got up to run and said I don't feel like running that far.  So I didn't.  Then I went to the open water swim, even though I didn't feel like swimming.  I thought, maybe if I get ready and get out there I'll change my mind.  The closest I got was sitting on the bank with my feet in the water.

     Sunday morning came around and I had a 36 mile ride in Montgomery.  I started out with the group and got in a nice long warm-up.  I got to the first Hill and decided to charge for a few miles.  After a bit I started wondering, when was the last time that I finished a ride and didn't go home and have to take a nap because I had exhausted myself.  So I backed off realizing that I'm racing this week and got out of aero.  I just started to enjoy the clean air and the scenery. It was a great morning, cool and quiet.  The result was that I had one of my better rides in a long time. My heart rate was lower and cadence was higher.  I was able to relax and settle in to the beat coming from my ipod.

     It's been a long time since I've had fun on a ride. Looking forward to more in the future. I started this with the intention of qualifying to race in Kona 2014. I can live with that not happening.  Maybe 2020 or even better, it will happen when it happens.  I was dreading the Austin Tri this weekend, but I think my different outlook has changed that.  Happy Swim, Bike, Run.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rejection - Don't get mad, get traveling...

So here it is once again.  I didn't get into the Chevron Houston Half because I chose to play by the rules and not register for the full with the intention of switching to the half like so many did, but I understand that though the odds were better, it wasn't by much.  C'est le vie!  So what do we do with our new found rejection?  Boycott, as some of my despondent co-runners are suggesting? 

For me the answer is to hit the road.  If Houston doesn't want us (see numbers three and four below,) then there are several others that do.  Austin and Dallas would love to have us and have a if you want to run for a cause there is one in Waco as well.  I think the Houston Race committee has forgotten themselves with the lottery draw.  Here is a couple of questions I would like the directors to ask themselves:
1)  If the participant is not willing to get up and get online at five am to register, how dedicated are they?
2)  Check your ego.  Is Houston doing the lottery because it's a Major, e.g. Chicago, New York, Berlin, London, and Boston. 
3)  Or is it that they are able to do this because there are 5.7 million people in the greater Houston area.  If you take a 10% estimate of active people gets you 570,000 with 10% being endurance athletes you get 57,000 interested in doing the event.  With a race cap of 22,000 you have one entry per 2.59 people.  Not including those from other areas.
4)  Why didn't they raise the participant cap more?  Money, logistics, or are they planning on creating such a demand that they can raise the fee's? 

I wish those that got in the best of PR's but I have a feeling the Club tents are going to be a little empty this year as there are several races within a four hour drive that knowing the bitterness of our rejection  are willing to throw open their cities hotels at discounted prices and the promise of a better race.  Though we would love to run in our own back yard it is not to be.  Houston in a long line of half-assed attempts has made their choice (see professional sports teams.)  Now we must make ours.  So get online and pull out those credit card/ reward cards and find some running love.

Texas Half Marathon Dallas, TX, Saturday 1/28/11 - $50
Miracle Match, Waco, Sunday 1/30/11 - $75
3M Austin Half Marathon, Sunday 1/30/11 - $65

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Rivercities 2010, aka Triathlon number 1

     When I started this crazy thing I had a pretty big misconception.  I thought it would be a lot easier than it is.  Funny how swimming, biking, and running can seem nice and relaxing apart.  Put them together and you have a beast of mythic proportion.  Well the Hydra chewed my ass up today.  I knew the swim would be difficult and there would be contact but I had know idea why so much emphasis is put on the swim.  It's true that no triathlon has ever been won in the swim, but I'm pretty confident that several have been lost.  After being swum over several times I decided to get out of the shipping lanes and breath stroked it until I got my composure back and then when it was time I put my head down and went after it.

     T1 was smooth, except  I ripped the number on my race belt so I had to take it off and stuff it in my shirt.  I was surprised to see people sitting down to put on their shoes, and toweling off.
     Bike was ok except for the idiot that kept passing me then slowing down, I passed him on a climb and burnt off on the down hill.  I only got chick'd once and the girl smoked me so I was ok with it.  I held back to make sure that there was something left in the tank for the run, but was able to do a lot of passing on the climbs.  No flats or dropped chains this time.
     T2 went well except for having to re-pin my bib on my race-belt.   I got in and out pretty quickly, so quickly that I forgot to pull my quick lace's taut.
     The run went well, I kept moving, and never gave up even though my body was asking me to.  I ran through the finish on the beach and strait into the water about shin deep and dropped.  I thought a half mile swim and an 18 mile bike followed by a 5k run wouldn't be that difficult but then again your going flat out the entire time.  All in all I had a great time with good friends and look forward to the next.  Lessons learned and mental notes taken.  Post race conversation with Dave Scott was an added bonus.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

March Playlist - Indie Jams

Chantal Kreviazuk- In this life
The Red Thread- Wax Museum,
Ambulance LTD - Sugar Pill, Ophelia, Anecdote, New English, Heavy Lifting
Remy Zero - Prophecy
Blitzen Trapper - Furr, Black River Killer, Gold for Bread, War on Machines
The Arcade Fire - Rebellion, Neighborhood #1
Ben Kweller - I need you Back
The Beta Band - Human Being, Quiet, Dry the Rain, B+A, Inner Meet Me, Hard to be you, Push it Out, The House Song
The 88 - Hard to be you
Bjork - Isobel
The Black Angels - The First Vietnamese War, Black Grease
Bloc Party - Helicopter, Positive Tension, This Modern Love, Banquet
Blondie Vs. The Doors - Rapture Riders
The Bravery - Believe, This is Not the End, Time Won't Let Me Go
Gomez - Little Pieces, Airstream Driver, Sunset Gates
Broken Social Scene - Stars and Sons, Pacific Theme, Cause = Time
Cary Brothers - Blue Eyes
Coldplay - Don't Panic, Politik, Warning Sign
Cornelius - Drop
Cracker - This is Cracker Soul, I See the Light, Low, Get of This, Sweet Potato, Euro-Trash Girl, Shake Some Action
Damen Rice - Coconut Skin, The Rat Within the Grain,
Death Cab For Cutie - Soul Meets Body, Summer Skin, Crooked Teeth
The Disco Biscuits - M.E.M.P.H.I.S., Jamillia
Muse - Time is Running Out, Supermassive Black Hole, Hysteria
David Gray - Fugitive
Ryan Adams - Hysteria, Hallelujah; New York, New York; Firecracker, Answering Bell
Will be adding Portugal The Man very soon...

Time in the saddle...

Put in spin number 3 of the week today and what a day. Nothing but head winds the entire time. I thought the winds were over so I shaved the beard and got a nice red wind glow going. Only spent a hour on the bike but felt like two when it was all over. But, then again I've never spent two hours so I can only guess. My ass is sore regardless. Nice steady pace with a little speed play in the afternoon traffic. The new fondness of the two wheel variety has replaced my obsession with bipedicular motion after a return visit to my orthopedist last week turned up with a new malady of patellar tendonitis. The prescription is a month long course of physical therapy, Naprelan, no running, ice, and all the swimming and cycling I can handle. I'm okay with it because it's been 4 months since I've logged a double digit run. Once again Bill has come to my rescue. He put together a team of lymphoma survivors to compete in the CB&I Triathlon in May. Bill is going to swim, and will bike, and Barry will serve as the anchor and bring it home with the run. I think it's pretty damn cool. So I have a goal and task to focus on. Austin is still a ways away in September but worse case scenario I take the rest of the year off and get damn good at swimming and cycling by the time the next season starts.

Now if I could only tackle the rest of my problems with this same clarity.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I don't like your kids, why would I want one of my own...

Maybe I am being geocentric and generalizing, but why is so hard for the vast majority of the US population to understand that there is a group of us within the population that doesn't like or want kids? I had a lively debate with Julie and Robin at track tonight about my dislike for children. They gave me the standard response of it's different when they are yours. NO IT'S NOT!!! If I don't like kids at all in the first place, why the hell would I want any of my own? They mistook my toleration of children as a weakness. I don't hate them all but when I see them I see the flu bugs from the Mucinex commercial with dollar signs floating around their heads. I see them as missed oppertunities, such as trips I cannot take, sleepless nights, ruined weekends, jobs I have to pass on. College tuition, late night calls from the police, pregnant daughters, bastard yielding sons, damaged property, tantrums in public. I fail to see the positive of life as a parent vs. the life I have now. I have no permanent commitments. With the exception of my dog Luke and my girlfriend I could if I so desired, pack up and go anywhere I freakin want. Breeders, as I affectionately refer to them have to look at their kids and then turn down their dream job of being a whatever because they can't support their family on the income they would make from it. Am I selfish? Yes, I am I have several wants and desires that I would like to come to fruition but I'm honest enough to say that I can't do both so I choose me and a like-minded female to accompany. But not so much so that I create the ultimate selfish act and deceive myself and say I can bring another child into this world and still have the dream job and go and see all the things I want. Oh and the argument of, "then who will take care of you when your old," is total BS, you think your kid will take care of you, where are your grandparents, parents? The money I save by not having any kids will be enough to pay someone to live in my house and like bathing me after I crap on myself. Not all kids are evil in my eyes, just 99% of them.

Monday, January 18, 2010

WOW, that's all I got....

WOW, what a weekend. My girlfriend set a PR amongst the most talented in the nation at the half.
It started with helping my roommate celebrate his 30th birthday. Adrienne looked amazing and as usual I was proud to have her on my arm. I think she always looks great, even when she's crusted with salt on her face, the mark and taste of hard work. But she was dressed to the nine's straight out of the results of if Express and J. Crew had a baby. She left early after dinner and then the rest of us went to a bar. I stayed for a beer, couldn't handle the smoke. The next morning I went to the marathon expo while she went to the elite runners meeting. At the expo I met and chatted with Bruce Glickin author of several running based fiction novels. I'm going to start "Slinger Sanchez," tonight. I went to the Aero's booth and won four tickets, we invited Bill and Dana Sue to join us. Will be stopping by our favorite sushi joint Crave either before or after.

Saturday night was also the VIP pre race dinner where we sat at a table with one of Adrienne's local teammates. Then it was home for an early night so we put Eddie Izzard on and then headed to bed as reveille was at 03:45. Sunday morning came way to early and I was not to happy to see it. After arriving and setting up the club tent we headed inside. I was nervous as she took her coach up to the elite area. SHe had put so much of her heart into this performance that I wanted things to go great. John my Tri buddy that rode in with us was a great distraction. We snapped a few pictures of her warming up before the race. The gun went off and it was stand a wait. We headed to the finish line after both waves went off. She did awesome and after the race we went for her cool down run and my first run since the stress fracture.

I chatted with Kim (another fantastic runner/ Triathlete after the run and she helped me pick a Tri to sign up for. After our run Adrienne wanted a massage. While she was getting a rub down, I got chatty with Lydia Kurgat. Had no idea she was a top Mizuno runner. She invited Adrienne and I to come visit and run with her in Africa, we exchanged emails and we will be going some day soon. After the race I got friendly with the People at the Parkinson's Society. They fed us beer and I made a small donation in the clubs name. When we started to get tired we went over to the Hyatt to Bill and Dana-Sues' room, and she took a shower while I napped in the chair. Sunday night the Woodlands Running Club had it's post marathon party at the Goose. I was so happy for everyone. I talked to Michael and will be picking up the bike on Friday night for Saturday morning's bike ride. Looking forward to training this week.

A final note, I ran my first run today. IT FELT GOOD! See you on the trail, or on the street.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"What the Hell is a game face anyways?"

Famous quote by Bobby "I'll choke you" Knight. Yet another controversial Tech ex-coach with a penchant for "creative" discipline. So what the hell's a game face anyways? I've been trying to get Adrienne to write about this for a while but she wouldn't bite. The reason I am pondering the game face is that this week I've gotten back to my old self. The two swim workouts have been exquisitely tiresome and riding my bike has been more exhilarating with the prospect of a clean bill of health and switching over to a road bike. Hopefully with some good news from the Doc tomorrow I will be logging my first run in a long, long, long, long, long, long, time. It helps having the girlfriends unwavering support which keeps the momentum going. She even thinks I can pull of the biker geek gear. Then it is marathon weekend. I am looking forward to breaking out the "Fast Chic Shirt." No game face for me just going to yell my head off for my Girl and you other 30,000 nut jobs. Keep running Houston.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tired and Happy...

Tonight I had my first workout in the pool with Bill. I had forgotten how great it feels during and especially after a really hard workout. The last time I broke a sweat was Thanksgiving weekend in the final race of the Montgomery County Triple. It just felt so great to be moving again. About halfway through the workout I felt my arms start to tingle and burn. It was awesome to have a ways to go and not be sure if I could make it. I felt like I was in the middle of doing sixty quarters. My goal is to be able to get two of these a week in. Might just have to start with once a week and build up.
The nice thing about the pool was that I could put it all out there and not have to worry about things like being on the bike clipping in then taking a fall. I was able to focus on the workout. For now the orb has been emptied, the clock reset, and the demons satiated. They'll be back again soon, but for now, here I sit happy and tired.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Revenge of the Knee. Zen edition.

Today was a painful day. Woke up to my alarm and greeted the first alert with a painful knee, the kind that only seems to go away with more sleep. I over did it yesterday and I am paying for it today. Couple that with sending my roommate out on his first run of the year and it's not been an enjoyable experience. I feel like I let him down, because the best I could do was set him up with an interval routine on my Garmin. It served as a reminder of the things this injury has taken away from me. In my ever expanding search for happiness using a zen driven compass, life keeps throwing magnets from not so random corners of my plain.
So as I sit here contemplating the events that led me to this moment in time typing on my computer drinking green tea, I can turn my mantra on its' head. From why me? To, why not me? What is the gift that this moment of clarity brings? I have lost my ability to go and run temporarily. I have been given the opportunity to develop other mechanisms for eliminating the stresses of the day. I have been given time to just sit and be. The greatest blessing that pain can give us is that it forces us to be here and now. If you are in pain and acknowledging it, for a brief second you are zen. You are in the moment. You are not thinking. You are not doing. You are being. So say it with me, "at least I can still feel the pain."

Dedicated to Chris and Andy, two guys who shouldn't be able to run but do, and do it very well.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

What the hell is a game face?

Famous quote by Bobby "I'll choke you" Knight. Yet another controversial Tech ex-coach with a penchant for "creative" discipline. So what the hell's a game face anyways? I've been trying to get Adrienne to write about this for a while but she wouldn't bite. The reason I am pondering the game face is that this week I've gotten back to my old self. The two swim workouts have been exquisitely tiresome and riding my bike has been more exhilarating with the prospect of a clean bill of health and switching over to a road bike. Hopefully with some good news from the Doc tomorrow I will be logging my first run in a long, long, long, long, long, long, time. It helps having the girlfriends unwavering support which keeps the momentum going. She even thinks I can pull of the biker geek gear. Then it is marathon weekend. I am looking forward to breaking out the "Fast Chic Shirt." No game face for me just going to yell my head off for my Girl and you other 30,000 nut jobs. Keep running Houston.

Up and running, well cycling at least...soon to be swimming.

I've come to an understanding and a peace with the fact that I may never run another marathon. That's probably not true because I have unfinished business in Chicago, and a DNF in the upcoming Houston Marathon. I didn't run the race that I wanted in Chicago, and was thinking that it would be my triumphant return. But after discussing things with my coach, he feels I need a little more time to really get where I want to be. After some deep sole searching, I have decided that with the cross training necessary to rebuild and rehab my fractured knee, naysayers be damned, I am going to do a sprint Triathlon.
A few years ago I read a great novel called, "The Alchemist," by Paulo Coelho. The premise being that if one is true to ones own journey he will encounter the right people at the right time to help you on your way. I feel like I'm on the path. Especially after this weekend. I had the opportunity to witness the birth of two future running legends one won her first Marathon in Kingwood, and an eleven year old run her first half as well. While waiting for them to make the turn, I met a compassionate individual that is going to loan me one of his road bikes to train on. A fellow Woodlands Running Club member and Iron Man enthusiast volunteered a bike knowing nothing about me other than my need. It might not seem like much but it has saved me from investing a thousand dollars or more into something I might do once and say to myself, "Self, what the hell where you thinking?"
For the past week I have managed to knock the rust off of my long neglected mountain bike. Starting out slow and building a firm base. Thirty minutes every other day. After church today was my third ride and I clipped in for the first time. Felt good top be one with the bike again. I decided to ride along the pipeline on the dirt road next to it. The where several puddles, and I avoided the first few. Then I said what the heck. I hit every puddle I could and had a blast doing it.