Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 Year in Review

This has been an amazing year. I have to set goals that seem too high to achieve in order for me to really push myself. I did that this year, and there were so many high's and lows.

The whole story actually started:
12/21/07 - signed up for the gym. I had read GO magazine a few times and was thinking about triathlon as something even I could accomplish.
12/28/07 - stopped smoking
1/??/08 - signed up for the Greenville Sprint triathlon with the goal of just being able to finish.
4/5/08 - totalled my car in an accident - sidelined training for 2 months
8/16/08 - Ran the Greenville Sprint triathlon - finished in 2:02:30 dead last in my division

I was hooked

9/9/08 - started the blog. Accountability and logging. Who starts a triathlon blog after only one race? An addict, that's who. A crazy addict.
9/22/08 - Ran the Ache Around the Lake race - First time running longer than a 5k this one was 5 miles.

It makes me sad to think about the example I was setting for my kids when Evil Genius was born. 235 lbs, pack-a-day smoker, worked 16 hours a day with no time for myself or my family, and no concept of what was really important. The mental, emotional, and physical shift that happened over the following 18 months was amazing even to me. I didn't think I could refocus that much. I didn't think I would enjoy it this much. I didn't think I could go from THIS:

In the hospital before EG was born may of 07

Composite from the Greenville Sprint triathlon in 08

And that pretty much brings us to 2009. I started my first marathon training plan in 08, and it carried through the new year. There were high's and lows. But I did set some goals for 09:

Let's start with the firsts from that post:
  • First half marathon 1/3 - Success! And I'm running the same race again this year on Saturday to kick off the 2010 race season!
  • First Full Marathon 2/14 - DNS thanks to the flu. Kelley ran it and rocked it.
  • First International distance tri 4/25 - Fail~ I scheduled it wrong. Ran one in June instead. And it ended up being just 6 days before my first marathon!
  • First Half Ironman 11/7 - Success! i'm still high from that one.
  • First 10k race 4/4 - Fail~ got scheduled out of that one. it was supposed to be the Cooper River Bridge run in Charleston. The 10k in the Oly Tri from June was my only 10k last year. I'm still looking forward to finding one to run in 2010.
Those fail's aren't really bad fails. Just scheduling conflicts from the original goals. I still ran my first marathon, first half ironman, first, half marathon, first 5k (not in a triathlon), and first 10k (in a triathlon). So I filled in the ENTIRE section of PR's in my left nav at the bottom.

Personal Goals:

  • I will turn 34 in july - Success!
  • Wifey will turn 38 in december (i'm not supposed to reveal that) - Success!
  • Bigun will turn 4 in June, and start 4 yr kindergarten in august - Success! She loved the kindergarten
  • EG will turn 2 in may. I might even be able to teach her to be less evil. Success! She's still Evil though.
  • We will move back to North Carolina - I've been saying this since I took this job in August of 2007, the office doesn't care where I live. But this year we really are going to make it happen. By now everything is secure and stable, I have enough work history to qualify for a mortgage, and the pieces are in place for everything to come together for a move. - Partial Success! I am in NC now, waiting on our houses to sell in SC before we can all move up here.
  • I will remain a non-smoker. One year is great, two is better. - Success! Whew, thanks for all of the accountability on that one.
  • I want to make some new friends just for the sake of having friends. no expectations, no "users" (people that only call when they want something), just hang out and enjoy what we have in common. Would you be my friend? - Success! I've reconnected with some fantastic old friends and made plenty of new ones here in NC. People from SC still turned out to be mostly assholes. But the move, new job, facebook and the blog have brought many new fantastic people into my life; I am so grateful.
  • "Iron up" my body. This means losing some weight (about 20 lbs), staying focused on muscle definintion and aerobic endurance and capabilities, and working on my heart. This makes nutrition & fuel just as important as excersice and training. It should get my BMI down to about 25 as a goal, even though I don't think BMI is a very effective health measuring stick. - Partial Success! I am able to work out 14 times a week now and it is awesome. I did not really achieve the weight loss (but there was some waist loss), and I'm still around 200 lbs.
  • Someone will freaking buy this house. OMG I hope this mountain house sells this year. I thought it was going to sell last year, and we still haven't had a single offer even after dropping the asking price by $35,000. that's leaving a ton of cash on the table. Epic Fail! We still have the house, it is rented now so at least it's not costing us much. But still I would love to be rid of it.
So the highs have to be the marathon and half ironman, and getting this awesome new job and moving to Raleigh NC. Oh, and the garden was a blast this year too. Quite fruitful, and lots of good times with the girls. And the PR's, my goodness the PR's. I never thought I could run a 26 minute 5k. I never thought I could finish the Greenville Sprint tri in the middle of the pack with a 1:31 time. wow. The lows were missing the Myrtle Beach marathon that Kelley ran by herself, not being able to find another 10k and still having the family in SC, and when our family dog died.

2009 had a mud run, tons of free gear, a new road bike, and I pushed myself beyond any boundaries I could think of. This year made me a triathlete, with all of the confidence and scars that come with it. The numbers tell the first story:

Swim: 22.16 miles
Bike: 1139.4 miles
Run: 462.63 miles (including a 6 mile run today in 56:33 - last run of the year!)
Strength training: 41.63 hours
Yoga: 32.5 hours (including 30 minutes today - a double workout day)

I am really pleased with all of those. 462 miles isn't really that much for a guy who ran a marathon and a half ironman. I thought that would have been closer to 800. But topping 1000 miles on the bike is really cool.

I'll tell the rest of 2009 in pictures, they really do tell the rest of the story!

Finishing the Assault on the Carolinas 33 mile bike ride in March. It rained the whole time and it was the first time I actually pissed my pants while riding.

Bigun was scared to touch the fish we caught at the tybee island beach trip with my folks in april.

Starting the TOA sprint triathlon - this is a really cool shot. Kelley has some mad photo skills.

Finishing the TOA sprint triathlon in Raleigh. This one was my first tri of the year, and it was awesome.

A 6' wall at the mud run. We had to jump over too many of these.

After the Mud Run, me, Deb, Kelley, and my brother Michael

Bigun with a strawberry picked from the garden. They grow up so fast.

Finishing the Festival of Flowers triathlon, my first international (olympic) distance triathlon

With the Hatfield & McCoy actors at the marathon

Finishing the Marathon

Finishing the Greenville Sprint Triathlon - PR

Bigun finishing her first race with a medal after I PR'd with a 26:00 5k. Same day as tthe Greenville Sprint triathlon where I ran a 28:xx 5k. Kelley also PR'd with a 30:14 5k.

Finishing the Half Ironman Beach 2 Battleship 2009

Christmas 2009. EG in her princess dress up costume. Classic.

A Glaven Classic Graphic. The meat punch craze and his constant threats were one of the highlights of my blog year.

So what does 2010 look like? Wouldn't you like to know!!! For starters, I'm going to set goals based on times and performance, not dates. actually, we're starting off with a formal wedding in Charlotte tomorrow night. Then on Saturday I'm running a half marathon! Get your Rear N Gear again next year! Happy new year to you all. 2010 goals and RNG half marathon race report to come soon.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Meet Roberta

Wow what a Christmas we had. Check this out:

We tried to gather around the fireplace for a family portrait. Setup the timer, but the frame was a little off. At least we're all smiling.

This one we got the picture right, but Evil Genius was crying. Everyone else is all smiles though! We did the family tradition of opening one present on Christmas Eve, and everyone got a new pair of pajamas to sleep comfortably in that night. The girls also made cookies, and left some for Santa along with some milk to drink and carrots for the reindeer.

That is what the kids came down to Christmas morning. Santa really left them quite the loot! They must have been good this year, despite what we told him.

Bigun is very happy with the Jack-In-The-Box that santa brought her. and those slippers are adorable!

We went over to visit with my parents friday as well. Evil Genius got this pricess dress up set with a boa, fairy wand, tutu, and slippers that light up when she runs. She was running around saying that "Pricess Lena was here to save the day!" it. was.

Boy, that's a lot of Flynn's. On the left is Morgan with his girlfriend Natalie in front. Then Summer and Michael standing behind my Dad's Mom (86 yrs old and still kicking ass). I think Bigun has a really funny look on her face, and I kind of got cut out of the shot. The funny thing is that Kelley was next to me, and she got cut out of the shot even when my mom was taking the picture with our camera! too funny. Sometimes it's hard to shoot with the big lens I guess.

Bigun loved a wheelbarrow that she got. She wants to help me in the garden more next year.

EG Loved playing with this spinning LED light toy. I love the depth and focus in the picture too.

Finally, here's Roberta. You'll notice I'm holding her up with only 2 fingers. She's all carbon, Cannondale Synapse 6-c with Shimano 105 components. Weighs under 20 lbs, has a triple chainring with a BB-30 bottom bracket. Lightweight, stable, fast. I still have to find some pedals, and I want to get 2 pairs of the same type so I can put one pair on the mountain bike too and use the same shoes for both.

Roberta comes from When Harry Met Sally, when one of the old couples was describing how they ended up together. It's always been one of Kelley's favorite lines of the movie. And since Roberta was the other woman in their conversation, she will certainly be the other woman here too. I love this bike. it is nice and fast, and I can't wait to get out on the roads some.

You almost never see 3 chainrings on a road bike. But the bottom bracket is completely enclosed by the bottom of the frame, so it frees up enough space down there for the extra chainring. Originally, the bike that I had picked out in the store (on a 2009 model clearance sale) only had 2 chainrings. But it sold already before Kelley could get in there to buy it - after I bought the new car. Luckily, the store was able to call their supplier that still had 2 of the old models in stock. So Gusto Cycles was able to order it, 2 days later it was in the store for the same clearance price, then it was just waiting for me on Christmas morning. yea baby. Bring on those century rides.

I also got in a 10 mile long run on thursday morning. Felt great, went pretty fast (6.3 speed on the treadmill the whole time) and was just really consistent. I also got in a swim over lunch today just under half a mile. but those are the only 2 workouts around this holiday. That is pitiful.

Tonight I am really tired. Between the 4 hour drive back to raleigh yesterday, getting a late start, and nothing unpacked yet I'm just feeling a bit sleepy. And I have to be at work at 6:30 tomorrow morning for a deployment. ouch. today was incredibly long getting ready for the deployment.

On 12/28/07 I put the cigs down for the last time. So today is my 2 year smoke-free-aversary. I smoked a pack a day for over 15 years from age 14 to 32. I put down the cigs maybe 6 times before 12/28/07, with the longest smoke free stretch being about 18 months - when I went crazy with the bodybuilding/weightlifting and blew up from 165 to 225 lbs. The average "quit time" was about 6 weeks. So I'm really proud to have made it 2 years this time.

The cool part is that there's no end in sight. Yes, I still have nicotine cravings on a weekly basis. But they get weaker and weaker. Even when I started the blog in 2008 I had cravings daily. But this blog gives me accountability for my actions. And all of the triathlon training and racing keeps the demons at bay. Even last week I went friday-saturday-sunday with no workouts; and on Sunday I was completely foul to be around. Just in an ill mood. I wasn't looking forward to the drive back to raleigh, the kids and wife seemed to grate on every nerve... When Kelley asked me why I was so unpleasant that day, I realized it was the third day since my last workout and I was having a nicotine craving and headache. Since my swim today? no cravings. So if I've traded one addiction for another I can live with that. I can keep a regular workout schedule much easier than keeping up with the rising cost of smoking ($$, health, and mental costs).

So yay for 2 years! The "2009 year in review" post is up next. I hope your holiday was as good as mine was, I truly feel blessed and priviledged to be able to provide for my family like this.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Run out the cold

So tuesday I was flat on the couch, and wednesday i felt better but still ended up working from home. Thursday I went back into the office but was still struggling with this stupid thing a bit. Then friday I went to the office, and it started snowing right after lunch.

Now when SC gets a little bit of snow the people there freak out pretty bad. I had no expectations of what Raleigh would do with some of the white stuff. We got flurries for about 30 minutes, then later on after dark there was some freezing rain. nothing actually stuck to the ground here. Farther west (greensboro, charlotte) they did get quite an accumulation. And in the mountains, Boone got 18", and Asheville got about a foot. but we got nothing, really.

Still, the schools closed down at 1pm, I left the office early just to avoid having the highway turn into a parking lot; I still worked from home the rest of the afternoon. Some businesses closed, the whole place just started shutting down. This was a problem, but not as much of a problem as I was expecting.

See, thursday night I went to charlotte and back to meet kelley. Concord Mills, actually. She came back to Raleigh with me because Saturday was her birthday and we had plans made for friday night. Those plans ended up being cancelled. But we still went out for a nice dinner and did some shopping, etc. Still, saturday we were supposed to do christmas with my mom's side of the family in Greenville. With our plans being cancelled we can go back to Greenville saturday night? well, not with the snow west of us. Greensboro was shut down.

So saturday morning we could make it back down, right? 143 wrecks reported on I-85 around greensboro. If we go south then west to avoid that crap, it turns the 4 hour drive into 6 hours. then we miss christmas anyway. waiting to get around those conditions was also going to add the time, so we were just screwed. Then kelley's mom said it was ok to keep the kids for another night, so I ended up getting my wife all to myself for her entire birthday weekend! We finished the christmas shopping and just got to spend a lot of quality time together. You just don't get to do that very much after you have kids. It was fantastic!

She made it back to Greenville today and the girls were pissed that I wasn't with her. The holidays are here people!! Wednesday I'm heading home for christmas. you can count on that.

I'm still fighting with the snots. moving quite a lot of mass through the sinusoidal cavities. I feel ok, but not as much energy as I had last weekend. I have been downing massive amounts of POM Wonderful, and it's working very well. Still, I needed to get a run in today just to see how it felt. I did 3.5 miles slow. i mean slow with walking. but it felt sooooooooo goooooooddddd just to be out there again. and I've been eating everything in sight since the cold started going away. What's that "feed a cold, starve a fever" thing all about? I keep stuffing my face I'm going to be too heavy for the first of the year.

December is gone people! Brace yourself for 2010. I hope to get to post again this week, but in case I don't I hope you all have a great Christmas! be well.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


dang germ factories are at it again. Kelley and the girls came to Raleigh on saturday. Wes was also in Raleigh this weekend, so of course the girls got here about 15 minutes before wes calls wanting to hang out. hey, i could have gotten you sick too big guy. count your blessings.

It was so nice not to have to drive back to greenville on friday and come back to raleigh on sunday. on top of that, the girls are still here!! going back to g'town tomorrow. but i got a few more days with them.

my company christmas party was saturday; that's why the girls are in town. Kelley looked absolutly stunning. i had no pants, so i had to wear jeans. and we are just slack enough not to have taken any pictures. we also did not win any door prizes or anything interesting like that. i did however get fairly drunk.

about 8 pm we get a call from Mickey that Evil Genius is vomiting. so all day sunday she had to be curled up in daddy's lap. is there a safer place for a little girl who's under the weather than curled up with a blanket in daddy's lap?

also i had to blow off coffee with wes sunday morning, we took EG to an urgent care place. sorry bro, next time.

so i did my tri power workout monday before work, worked the full day, even got in some speedwork in the pool monday over lunch. afternoon throat started feeling sore, and by 9 pm i was under the table. fever, sinuses, restlessness, full body ache. you name it. so i only slept for a couple of hours last night. called in sick to the office today and spent the whole day curled up on the couch. the kids don't know what "daddy hurts" means, so they were jumping on me and throwing things at me most of the day. ah, it's good to have them in town. kelley was a dream. she got me pomegranate juice and soup and drugs. i usually don't get sick more than once a year, so i hope this is my only winter ick.

i hope you have enjoyed the drogging (drunk blogging) so far; cold meds are yea.

and if that wasn't random enough

friday i got to go swimming with bill. Bill is one of the owners of the company i work for. he had a swimming scholarship to UAB back in teh day, and did Ironman CdA 5 years ago. kelley really enjoyed talking with him at the holiday party. that dude is still fast. he did teach me how to do flip turns, so that was really cool. still, he did a mile in teh same time it took me to do 1000 m. and he fucked up my training log, apparently i've been swimming in a 25yd pool and recording the distances in meters. gaaaa!!! piss on it. gotta find a translator i guess.

Saturday Kyle and I went out for a road ride. he's the main instigator on the company's tu/th mountain bike lunchtime rides, so i didn't feel too bad when he out-climbed me on teh hills. it was supposed tobe a 60 mile ride, but the 38 degree weather cut us down to only 20 miles. fucking cold! geez that was nasty. i'm still trying to talk him into buying a road bike.

I had an addition suggested to the Holiday Gift Guide by a few people. Anyone used the Garmin ForeRunner 310 XT yet? it seems dreamy. a few months ago (too hopped up on cold meds to find the post) i mentioned taking the forerunner 205 into the pool and was quickly told that was a bad idea. this 310 is waterproof for swimming (depth of 50 m), will track your transition times and bike/run splits. oh yea baby. that's the stuff dreams are made of.

kelley called about the new bike i want, but the bike shop told her it was already sold. damn!! I was ready to call them. 58 cm red/white cannondale Synapse 5-c please. load 'er up. guess i will have to keep looking. i need to find a Specialized dealer in Raleigh.

I was finally able to buy the bike because I got a car. finally. it's the exact same car that i had before the wreck. apr 5 2008 i drove 4.5 hours from a friends wedding, made it 2 blocks from my house when a redneck t-boned by car and it was totalled. gone. haven't had a car since. it was a 1997 toyota avalon xl, silver, tan leather interior, 123k miles, sunroof.

monday kelley bought me a 1997 toyota avalon xls, silver, tan leather interior, 123k miles, sunroof. The only difference is the xls model is a little bigger (and more expensive), and it has the gold lettering on the back and the old car had the silver lettering. i preferred the silver. but we paid cash and have enough left over for a bike.

is it wrong that i'm more excited about the bike than i am the car? is it wrong to spend more on a bike than a car? ok i can't do that. but i'm glad that the stupid car thing is done so i can get on with a new bike purchse. where's my pom juice? i think the cold meds are about to put me down. goodnight.fgds hfdfds dsatrd5

Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide

You know there's still time to send me presents. There's always time to send me presents. That's why I thought I would put the wish list out there with plenty of shipping time before Christmas. Either Raleigh or Greenville address will be fine.

What makes a Training Smoker happy this holiday season? not much really. Actually, I have a lot to be thankful for. My fantastic new job, a great family, plenty of people who love and support me and all my crazy racing ambitions. But we're talking about material desires here people!

Cannondale Synapse Carbon 5 Compact

Image stolen from the site that the bike name links to
Oh yea baby. This is the new pimped out ride. It's not quite mine yet. But my local bike shop in Greenville (Gusto Cycles) has a 2009 model with Shimano Ultegra components currently on sale for almost a grand off of regular price. If I didn't have to buy a car first it would be mine now. I already told the guys in the bike shop I would buy it before the end of the year if they still had it. Full carbon frame and fork, a high performance wheelset, and 3 more gears in the cassette than Jenny has. I picked it up in the store with only 1 finger. This is light and fast. I have dreams about riding it. Sometimes I have dreams about it riding me. wait, that might be too much information.

I'll need to put some new pedals on her, and come up with a new name. These pedals would be nice. Jenny's pedals only allow me to clip in from one side, and I've learned my lesson. Get pedals that allow you to clip in from either side, it has to be much easier.

I've already picked up some new Giordana road bike shoes. It's going to be so nice to have shoes that actually fit. The Pearl Izumi shoes I've got now are too wide at the heel. They fit, but the outside of my foot starts hurting after a few minutes. The Giordana's are nice. can't find a pic online though.

There's tons and tons of other bike stuff. Cool jersey's, nice shorts, the list could get very long. There's really no end to the list of bike stuff. Swimming is next.

XTerra Vortex 3 sleeveless wetsuit

Again, pic taken from
This one is already on the way thanks to Coach Katie. Got the shipping notification, but it's still in transit. I'm very excited. After starting to lay out the 2010 tri season I might end up doing a bunch of open water swims. So this is going to come in very handy. Now if only I was a better swimmer....

Sometimes in my race reports, you might notice that I kind of kick ass in the swim. Meaning it's the only event in triathlon that I don't normally finish in last place at, or at least place higher in the age group in the swim than in cycling or running. Still, I would love some help and would like to know your favorite swim book or dvd or training helper/plan.

Image from, follow the link
I think I want to try the Total Immersion plan. It looks really strong, focuses on core strength (which you know I love). And there's also a DVD called Freestyle Made Easy about the TI process. I like the idea of having a video to go with it; form is so important in swimming. I know effective swimming is not about how strong you are, it's about how efficient you are in the water. I think the book & dvd will really help me. And now that I get to swim 3x a week I can actually put the technique into practice.

Other swim stuff would have to include swim suits and goggles, and I've already got a few of those. But really, can you have too many? I have recently found on facebook and fallen in love. However, you should be warned. The side effects of regular swimming include lower bodyfat %, 6 pack abs, increased cardio capacity, and strong shoulders and tricepts. I am willing to accept these risks if you are willing to find me something from SwimOutlet.

For running, I'm going to turn to a list from a web site with Gift Ideas for Runners. Google gift ideas for runners and you will find tons of these. Reflective shirts/jackets, heart rate monitors, running tights, technical shirts, the list goes on. My Garmin doesn't have a heart rate monitor, so the Forerunner 405 is always on the list. But I love the 205 I run with now. I don't use lightweight running gloves, and I'm wondering if you guys use and like them. I do so much on the treadmill I'm not sure if they are a real necessity or not.

Strength training

You know I'm a nerd. I love books and read all the time. But I only read non-fiction books about whatever I am currently obsessing about. Past obsessions have included financial security, real estate, carpentry, weight loss & nutrition, and personal growth. Now Kelley busts my chops "if you buy one more dang triathlon book...." well yes there are more.

Image from Amazon
It is arguably the most popular triathlon book of all time. Dang it, I want to give it a read. The Triathlete's Training Bible is one of the most well known tri training books out there. And when I click on the link for the TI swimming dvd, it has this book bundled with the TI book and dvd for the "Buy All 3" thing. yes please.

Here's another one:

Image from Amazon

I might just be succombing to the marketing on this one. You know I love my Tri Power workouts. But I've been doing the same format for over a year now. And I've been hearing a ton of marketing about this book and the rest of the Core Performance series. Any of you guys tried it yet? I really want to check it out. The Endurance flavor of Core Performance seems particularly useful. I'm still chasing the elusive goal of 6 pack abs, and it takes a combination of nutrition and core excercise. The closest I have come since college came from the Men's Health Abs Diet book, a 6 week workout and diet plan based on powerfoods. I might be willing to trade that one for this one if somebody wants to swap.


Really? Is there something non-fitness on my wish list this year? Not really. Like I said, obsession.

I need a car. I haven't had a car for almost 2 years. Now that I don't work from home anymore I have to drive to an office every day. Bike commuting isn't possible. I don't like that I have to buy a car, but I just have to dang well get one. I have not ever made a car payment, and I hope I never have to. I have been borrowing cars from relatives while saving, and it's almost time to get one. I just hope the bike I want doesn't sell before I can find a stupid car that I can afford.

A new GPS would be nice too. The old one we have has 4 yr old maps and the battery won't hold much of a charge. It's about useless. I have never lived in Raleigh before and really don't know my way around. And the new GPS's have some cool features. So that would be really handy.

Winning a contest. joyRuN took my ass pic to heart and put me in the contest. I am not currently winning this contest, so you can vote for me on this post about the contest. I love free shit so I would highly encourage you to vote for me. After all, none of the other pics really add up. ok, i have to admit I liked the girl with the abs. But you should vote for me anyway.

By far, the biggest thing on my holiday wish list is my wife and kids. It's tough not coming home to them every day. I am ready for the house in Greenville to sell so we can get a house here and finish moving. It's been 2 months of only seeing them on the weekends and it sucks! I hate driving back to SC every friday, and sucking 4 hours out of every sunday to drive back to raleigh. I hate that the kids will wake up from their naps on sunday afternoon and find me gone. Bigun today figured out how to use Kelley's cell phone and called me just to tell me how much she was missing me today and why wasn't I coming back home after work today? But I don't want to wait until friday to see you daddy. ZOMG, it's breaking my heart. To go from working from home where we all are in the house all day every day for the last 2 years.... to only seeing them for a day and a half every week is hard on me, and on them. The holiday miracle would be for someone to buy that house in December. nobody buys houses in december, it's always a dead month.

So feel free to send me anything on the list. it's all up for grabs. Maybe at least I've given you some ideas for your own gift list or what to buy for your special someone. Remember, Eddie Reece (USA Swim team coach) said "burnout only happens when you quit going faster" and he said "the journey is where the fun is". So I hope you enjoy the holidays and the people you buy gifts for. Now get out there and run!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Too good

Today was too good not to post about it. I slept good last night, and woke up refreshed this morning, but stressed. I left work yesterday with mush brain from not being able to figure out how to fix this one error I was getting in my code, and that was bothering me early.

So I did some yoga. I do the 30 minute tv show Namaste Yoga on FitTV, just have a bunch TiVo'd. Still, it left me feeling calm and centered, and ready to attack the day and that software problem. Lurve me some yoga!

Got into the office by 8 and had that error solved by 8:45. I could have spent hours last night not fixing it with the mush brain; sometimes walking away and picking up your troubles another time really is the best way to find the answers. Thanks for the clear head Yoga!

Got 40 laps (1000 meters) in the pool over lunch. The normal company mountain bike ride on thursday's got postponed until tomorrow thanks to a conference call. But the pool was good to me today. I felt strong and slick in the water.

Of course, that will be even better after what I bought last night. Coach Katie is incredible. She is a real superwoman of an ironman. She worked out a deal with XTerra wetsuits to get special pricing for her athletes. As I was telling Kelley about this, she reminded me that I still had some christmas cash left over from last year. What's better than found cash? Turning it into a Vortex 3 Sleeveless wetsuit baby. Yea!!! I'll put some pics up when it comes in. But getting a $300 wetsuit for $99? wow, that's a steal. I've been paying about $50 each time I needed to rent a wetsuit, so this will come in real handy. Big thanks to Malone Coaching for working out that deal. It's good to be one of Katie's athletes.

She has also been handed the reigns to take over as director for the Assault on Mt Mitchell and Assault on Mt Marion bike rides this year!! Like she didn't have enough to do already. I'm telling you, superwoman!

After the lunch swim today I was ready to focus on some code, and it just came pouring out of my fingers. You ever have one of those days where everything just works? The job seems easy and fun? That was today. Very cool.

After work, it was time for the Thursday long run. I guessed 8 miles would be good enough for today, and it was smooth. Did the first 4 miles at 6.5 speed and didn't even get out of breath! I was amazed how easy it felt. Covered those first 4 in 37:20. Refilled the water bottle, and did the next mile @ 6.5, then 2 miles @ 6.6, and the last mile @ 6.7 for a negative split of 36:20 for the last 4 miles. I did finally get the heart rate up a bit towards the end. Still, this time last year I a 6.5 speed would only last about 1 mile before I thought my lungs would explode. and now I was barely sweating? That is amazing to me.

Winter training is all about building a base and forcing the body to adapt to new stimulus. These winter workouts don't have to be hard, but they do have to establish the pattern. I've had 2 runs, 2 swims, and a bike ride in the last 3 days. 8 workouts total since tuesday, plus the tri-power workout monday morning and tomorrow morning, and the mountian bike ride tomorrow too. I think multi-day workouts are a safe way to increase the milage and force adaptation (read: weight loss or at least fat loss) to a more constant schedule. If you are supposed to run 6 miles tomorrow, run 3 before work and 3 after work. You will be able to run those miles faster than if you ran 6 straight, and the goal is to be able to run more miles faster right? Just food for thought.

Then the strangest thing happened. I got a phone call from a guy at the old job in Atlanta. Just to say thanks for something I fixed for them last night. I didn't know if the fix I put in place actually worked, so I was glad it was a success. We've been trying to fix this particular problem for about 9 months now. But actual gratitude? I never got that when I was actually an employee there. Amazing.

And speaking of too good, joyRuN is giving away a popener and some popcorn. I think she has a thing for my ass, she was asking around today to put up ass shots. And since you know I'll do anything for free stuff, I must oblige. Even if the pic below will qualify me for posting on People of Walmart.

Actually, I think I have a decent rear end. It's one of the benefits of all this running! Still, Marcy would be proud.

I hope your tomorrow and weekend is as good as my thursday was! Time for Oregon vs Oregon St. Go Ducks!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

November Totals

So it's December 2nd already. ya know what I've been up to?

Had a fantastic thanksgiving, but got absolutely ZERO pictures. dang. Still, it was great to hang with the big fam for a day. I actually got 4 (yes four) whole days in SC with my wife and kids. I'm still amazed. It was the first time in about 8 years that I haven't been stressed over some work thing, or had to go back into the office friday and/or saturday after thanksgiving.

I also did not accomplish anything at all over the holiday. Just played with the kids, and had a date with Kelley - we had a nice dinner and saw New Moon (and it was awesome, I felt like a teenage girl) while my mom was babysitting. I had some hopes of things to do, like repair the grape trellis's in the backyard. But I chose to play with the kids the whole time instead. It was wonderful.

I also got in a 5 mile run on saturday. Felt good and strong. I'm ready to ramp up the running a bit. I know increased mileage no more than 10% per week. but dang, it's getting good.

Screw Charlotte, NC. Normally the drive between Greenville and Raleigh is less than 4 hours. Wednesday night driving back it took me 6. Sunday headed G to R it took 7! The majority of the extra time was spent crawling through Charlotte. I got to see it at 7 mph on sunday. that's only 14 miles in 2 hours. I can run faster than that (at least @ tybee island in Feb) people! come on. Why does Charlotte have to bite down so bad?

Monday was mostly a recovery day. It's been a long stressful week on the job, we've got deadlines all week. Still, I did my tri power workout before work.

Tuesday was another story. Incredibly long and stressful day. But I did yoga before work so I felt centered and focused all day. Went to the pool for 800 meters of speedwork over lunch. It really gave me a great mental break to power through the long afternoon. Then I hit the bike for 20 miles after work.

Today's been fun too. Did my Tri Power workout before work, and got in speedwork on the treadmill (3 miles worth of 0.3 mile intervals with increasing speeds) over lunch today. The plan was to get in a long swim (1 mile at least) after work, but I saw lightning as I was driving to the gym. So I decided 5 workouts in 2 days was enough. But tomorrow is another day.

So what happened in November?

Well, there was my first half iron distance triathlon, and the ensuing recovery. The numbers:

Swim: 7800 m, 4.875 miles, 7 swims (1 race 1.2 miles)
Bike: 106 miles, 3 rides (1 race 56 rides)
Run: 32.1 miles, 6 runs (1 race 13.1 miles)
Strength: 90 minutes, 6 workouts
Yoga: 2 hr 30 min, 5 sessions

Factor in the race recovery (1.5 weeks), thanksgiving holiday turkey & such, and that batchelor party in Charlotte and that's a lot of time away from the gym. Swimming rocks. I'm so glad to have a gym with a pool now. Getting 7 swims in last month is more than I expected.

The bike is another story. 3 rides? I'm sure there was more than that, and I left it off of the log. My log spreadsheet gets neglected sometimes when things get too busy. 106 miles is still not bad, but over half of that was during the B2B. 32 miles of running is pretty good under the circumstances. It's been actual running too, not elliptical miles while nursing a hip problem. It feels so incredibly good to get back into interval runs, tempo runs, and long runs again.

Strength training on my new plan (still the Tri Power workouts) is supposed to be 3 times a week, and yoga is twice a week all before work. 6 Tri Power's and 5 yoga's is pretty slack. Should be closer to 12 Tri Power's and 8 yoga's. Still, holidays.... race recovery... I'll take it with excuses.

I'm not dead

It feels odd to only post once a week, but between the new job and workout schedule and heading back to Greenville every weekend it's all I've been able to crank out. However, I still have the following posts planned before the end of the year:

New Ride - Car
New Ride - Bike
New Ride - Wetsuit
Holiday Gift Guide - What makes a Training Smoker happy
2009 year in review
2010 preview & next year's mostly full race schedule

Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 23, 2009


So the last week has been grand. So good that I haven't had time to post anything. I got in a bunch of workouts, including some running speedwork. That was surprisingly cool. Last week was a ramp up week, so I only got in about 9 workouts of the planned 14. Sounds like a lot, but really it wasn't.

Since this week is short thanks to the holiday, it's starting out with a bang. 30 miles on the bike tonight after my tri-power workout before work today. I negative split the last 15 miles, done in 41:09 which I think is my fastest time ever - 21.35 mph avg. Very cool, felt awesome. I hadn't been on the bike in a while.


I have to give mad props today to some peeps. Other people are doing things that I like.

Healthy Ashley ran her first marathon! She's training for the Disney marathon in January, and spur of the moment decided to sign up for a trail marathon last sunday. And she ran the dang thing over 10 minutes faster than I ran my first marathon! While that would normally put her on my hate list, she's too dang cute to despise. It even deserved a second race report from her friend Ryan. Give Ashley a big congrats if you don't normally follow her. She's a vegan food blogger, so I went vegetarian today in her honor. I was actually vegan all day, until I had a glass of milk after dinner. Still, Ashley is flexing a little awesomeness!

Big Wes is going back for another Ironman next year in Arizona! Good luck bro. Let the registration anxiety begin. His wife Dee Dee is also doing her first half iron next year. Let the awesomeness abound.

Missy is doing the Triple T in Ohio next year? That's just nuts. Friday a mini sprint tri, then run two (2?) oly's on saturday, then a half ironman on sunday. 4 races in 3 days? You've got to be kidding me.

It seems Glaven has finally admitted his dumbassery and left this bloggy world. I'm sure he will be missed... by someone.

Actually, that's not like him to just dissapear like that. anybody know what happened? I know it's not the first time he's done it, but dang.

JD got in a long local ride to benefit a local biker girl who was injured. Guess who else showed up for the ride? George Hincapie. That was a benefit of living in Greenville, you never knew when you would see Big George out on the roads or in a charity ride.

Amanda has been going through weight watchers and just topped the 100 lbs lost mark! She's got an amazingly positive outlook and also recently ran her first half marathon. Big congrats and hugs her way!

Jen ran IMAZ in 13:41:xx - that's impressive! Good job Jen!

Teta means Booby is heading out for IMCoz - Good luck! Anyone who lives in Boston, puts booby in the name of the blog, and runs Ironmans is alright by me.

I'm still totally jealous of everyone who is signing up for ironmans for next year. I'm working on the race schedule some, but all of the races I'm finding are in the spring. And I want to go lite this spring b/c I don't know when we're going to be moving. Over the year, I would love to get in 2 marathons, 2 century rides, a half iron and a handful of sprint tri's. Plus a 10k - never tried that distance - and a handful of half marathons. But we all have to pick and choose. Got any suggestions? Kelley wants to do another marathon next year too.

I've also decided I'm done with oly's. It's too long to run hard like a sprint, but too short to really train endurance like a half iron. Silly little in-between distance. I know I've got a full iron in me, and taking 2010 to grow into that distance will pay dividends. No need for an oly in there.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Getting Back

First, thank you all so much for the comments on my b2b race report. 40 comments? that's the most for any post so far. Fantastic. Your support and friendliness truly means a lot to me.

It's time to get back into the swing of things. Last week I allowed myself no restrictions, just do what I wanted to do. I only did one swim and one run. I ate anything that would fit in my mouth. I was recovering. By wednesday my legs felt like being shaken again. So I only ran 2 miles. It was good enough to work out some remaining soreness. No sweat there. The swim was pretty good too. I felt efficient and strong in the pool, and came out hungry. I'll take it.

Then this weekend, I had a batchelor party in Charlotte to go to. So many beers. Oh so many beers. I'm too old for that crap now. Still, I got to regale some of the guys with tales of ironman. We were able to properly send that one poor soul into the death of his batchelorhood by way of lap dances and pole work. It was mostly fraternity brothers, but the groom's uncle showed up at a bar for a while. It was fantastic to get to see my old college buddies again. We all get together a couple of times a year. But now we're all old and married, so it's just a matter of time before these weekend long parties turn into 3 beers over golf in the afternoon and a nap before dinner.

Which is really ok with me. I discovered this weekend how much bars hate me. They are so loud, and I don't hear well anymore. So I can smile, and clank my beer against yours, and that's supposed to be entertaining until 2 am? I'm too old and too married for that crap.

I stopped wearing a wedding band when I got fat a few years ago. Yes, it does fit again, but I'm not in the habit of wearing it so I never think to put it on. Since then, I've also stopped being a fan of things that go "around" me. I even quit wearing a watch, or ties, or any other jewelry. I know what you're thinking, and yes it was weird when I finally took off that ankle bracelet - no just kidding. But I did have to admit to the fraternity brothers that I shaved my legs. That's another story. Anyway.... we found a few batchelorette parties at the bar saturday night and I was 1 of only 3 of our group not wearing a wedding band. I did get some of the strangest looks when I admitted that I was married (and full disclosure: I ALWAYS admitted it, even when I was not asked - see the above note about not being able to hear or talk in bars).

Saturday was our 11th wedding anniversary! Yea I know, bad timing, I spent my wedding anniversary at a bar without my wife. Hey, I didn't pick the date for the party or our wedding. Total coincidence. Besides, you may remember last year when for our 10th anniversary, Kelley was shopping and barhopping with her college friends in Williamsburg, VA. So I had justification. We did the celebration thing Monday night after getting back from the race. Just going out for a nice dessert and coffee after putting the kids to bed. Still, 11 years? Happy anniversary honey! I did actually call her from the bar at 6:10, approximately when our ceremony ended 11 years earlier.

When I got back to Raleigh sunday afternoon all I wanted to do was eat vegetables and sleep. I did some yoga just for the cleansing effects mentally. I think my stomach is still off kilter a little bit.

Today I decided it's time to get back on track. I'm going to have to ramp back up to the 14 workouts a week I was doing before. But I started out with a 600 m swim over lunch. I was amazed how much my lungs were feeling the effects of those smoke filled bars. I could barely make it 6 laps without stopping to cough up a lung! wow, it was tough. I still feel dehydrated too. I'm doing my tri power workout tonight too, then going mountain biking with the office crew tomorrow over lunch.

I'm searching for races in 2010, and starting to lay out the calendar a bit. It's tough to go too far in advance without knowing when our houses in Greenville will sell, but I feel safe nailing down a few outlines. I'm leaning towards doing this century ride, it's very near some friends of ours that we want to visit soon. And it looks flat enough to qualify for an easy first century. I don't want to do the same thing I did with my first marathon, picking something incredibly challenging in the wrong time of year.

All I know is, I better be ready to stomp out the snail come February.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

B2B Race Report

I did it! 6:31:06 is the official time. The whole experience exceeded my expectations. I know this is a long post with tons of pics. But it really is the hightlight of my year.

The strangest thing about the whole trip was that nothing strange happened. I mean besides this:

A little gay love with Big Sexy before the race. He is freaking hilarious. I'm going to head down his way sometime over the winter for a long weekend bike ride. He finished 3rd overall male, and the only two guys that beat him took it on the run. He was actually leading the half distance coming off of the bike, but his 1:36 half marathon wasn't good enough to take the overall victory. Dude, since when is a 1:36 half mary not good enough for anything? let alone after you just put in 1.2 miles swimming and 56 miles on the bike. He finished in 4:20:29 and took home hardware. Well done, brother. Well done indeed.

Ok fine. Here's how it all broke down.

Goal #1: Basic Survival. Don't die. - Success!
I did hit up the medical tent trying to get a free IV after crossing the finish line, but they pumped 3 bottles of water into me instead. I had no dehydration issues after that! And I felt so much better after getting checked out by the doctors in there. Very cool.

Goal #2: Break 7 hours. - Actual 6:31:06 Success!
I have to start the day before the race. I left work earlier than expected. Got everything packed up and loaded into the van, and we are ready to hit the road in a reasonable, but already late time frame. Then the girls start screaming "I don't want mommy and daddy to leave again" just tugging on my heartstrings. We finally got on the road, and had a flat tire on the van on I-40 about half an hour into the drive. So I changed the tire with trucks whizzing by me within a few feet and we made the rest of the trip on the doughnut. What was supposed to be a 3 pm or earlier arrival time turned into 4:30 arrival time. Checked into the hotel, got the luggage organized settled in to this view:

Might not look like much here, but this was an incredible place. Behind those trees is the battleship North Carolina and the river. We were able to walk to the packet pickup and expo, and I got all the gear. I picked up some arm warmers and a bottle of Endurolytes while I was at the expo anyway. Got out of there just in time to catch the mandatory 5 pm athlete's meeting.

After that it was back to the hotel to get everything organized for the big race. I packed up the bags, checked everything twice and then went over my game plan again. Then we finally found the Beach transition area (T1) and checked in Jenny and my transition bags. I wanted to go see my friend Charlotte who lives nearby, but didn't get the chance to. It was too late and we were too hungry. You had to have the bikes checked in by 8 pm, and we got there at about 7:15.

The place was huge. So many bikes that are so much nicer than mine. oh well.

I got the bike racked and the bags inline. Then....

Here's Kelley ready to beat me with the tire pump Friday night.

When it was all said and done, we got some dinner at the first restaurant we could find. My friends Chris and Mandy had reservations for us to join them and a group of folks at this italian place, and that happened to be the first restaurant we could find. They were done but not gone by the time we got there, so I got to talk with them some. And my friends Jon and Kim that live in wilmington were also there, so we got to hang with them for a while too! That was unexpected and awesome! Then we went back to the hotel and I fell asleep on the couch. Guess I was expecting to be more nervous than that.

Race day
I don't know why they do this. But they stopped bodymarking at 6:30 am and transition was closed at like 7:45 am. yet my swim wave didn't start until 8:40! We arrived shortly after 6. So I guess it's just a logistics thing to get all of the athletes checked in. But really over 2 hours to wait around? Gimme a break. But I got bodymarked:

And found all of these awesome peeps! Here's me with Chris:

He's a two time brain cancer survivor, and a real inspiration to all of his friends and family. Chris finished in 6:48, his first half iron as well. I'm so proud of my little brother!

That's me with Missy before the race. She is just as sweet and pretty and tall and funny in person as she appears on the blog. We got to talk plenty at the swim start too. She ended up taking 1st place in her age group, finished in 5:27 with a PR and 15th overall female. Wow, that's nuts.

I strapped on the wetsuit and took the trolley out to the swim start. Once I was there, I found Calyx and Donna and got to hang out with them for a long time. I got to the swim start just in time to see the first full iron distance swimmer passing by. They had a mass start at 7 am. It was really cool to see those guys out there. Finally 8:40 rolled around and I got in the water.

You know how they say Rule #1 is not to try anything new on race day? yea.

Goal 2a: Swim 1.2 miles in less than 42:28, my oly swim time. Actual: 33:46 yea baby success!!
It was a wade start, meaning we had to walk across the timing mat, wade into the water until it was too deep to stand up in. The wetsuit was so boyant I didn't have to tread water, just sort of hang there on top. First thing I did was pee in my wetsuit. I had to pee for a long time before we got in the water, and didn't want to take it off. So that was great.

There was a very strong current. It didn't feel like I was quite as on top of my swim game like I wanted to be. But I went the distance, stopping to breaststroke when I needed to, and I stopped once and floated on my back for a while just to catch my breath. The goggles fogged up pretty bad, and I had trouble sighting for a while. But eventually I saw the finish dock and dashed to it. Had to climb a ladder to a dock to get out of the water. The volunteers pulled me off of the ladder, and I was slightly disoriented, but not too bad. The wetsuit strippers were awesome! I was de-suited and running in no time flat. Hit a freshwater shower and got some of the saltwater off, and I was off and running to t1.

And yes, the swim seemed to go by just that fast. the current was awesome. Spectators were not allowed at the swim start (no room for parking) so I have no pics.

What was new?
  • First time swimming in saltwater
  • First time swimming in a wetsuit with sleeves
  • First time at that distance not in a pool.

Goal 2b: Transitions in 20 minutes or less - Success!
They don't have t1 times posted, but T2 was only 4:49.

Here I'm running into T1 carrying the wetsuit. I had the new SUGOi Velocity tri suit on under the wetsuit already. So I had to throw on the bike shoes & socks, and get the skull cap and helmet on, and arm warmers and bike gloves. I did take the time to throw on the Garmin and start it up so I could keep track of my speed on the bike and run.

What was new? Never wore the Garmin in a race before. Or arm warmers, ever.

Goal 2c: Bike 56 miles in 3 hours. Actual: 3:11:57 I'll take it. Success!
That's 17.5 mph average. A little slower than I was hoping for as an overall speed, but I will take it. More on speed later.

Kelley got an awesome spot as the bikers were coming out of the course. Apparently, some of the athletes thought she was one of the pro photogs, so they were making nice for the camera. unfortunately (for you ladies) this was the only eye candy shot she got. It was only about 38 degrees at the start, so there weren't too many half naked hardbodies walking around. I, however, was very grateful for the increased female participation rate when the run course came around. It was the hottest part of the day after all.

Those are all the great pics of me she got on the bike. I know Glaven and Dr Nic will think the arm warmers are sexy. and they are!

Start times and waves get all confused after the swim. So if you're like me, you end up passing a bunch of people at the start of the bike leg, then getting passed by a bunch of other people that are faster than you. One of the bad things about this bike leg was that it started out with a bunch of road turns to get out of transition. I tend to take turns pretty aggressively, usually I won't stop pedalling and I lean in really hard instead of turning the handlebars to steer. Tri's also have severe penalties for drafting, which means you have to stay 3 car lengths behind the person in front of you to avoid drafting and you have 15 seconds to complete your pass without penalty. Three penalties and you're disqualified from the race, so I take that pretty seriously. I was able to pass a few people, but the first 2 miles of the course didn't have 15 seconds of straight roads to pass this slow guy on. Of course, by the time the road straightened out there was nobody in front of him, so I just passed and went up to my speed. Then I got passed by like 3 other folks. But this guy braked thru every turn, and didn't accelerate once he could see the next turn, and there were maybe 15 turns in those first couple of miles.

When it did straighten out we were headed up a bridge. You know I'm not afraid to pass people riding uphill. In the first half of the course, this was not a big deal. By the second half I would pass people going uphill, and they would leapfrog me again when it flattened out.

The bike traffic was a little frustrating. The full and half riders were both out on the course at the same time, and most of the full riders were still able to clog up the streets somehow. The bike traffic was always congested. And tri's are really single file bike rides, you only go next to someone to pass. It's not like a group ride or a stage ride where you ride as a pack. So there were 1500 bikes on the course at the same time. Maybe I've just never done a race that big before, but it seemed very congested.

Overall though, the bike leg was awesome. Have you ever taken a freeway at 20 mph? The organizers said they had to get federal permission to shut down one lane of I-140 for 12 miles so we could bike it. And biking on the interstate is cool. It was a one loop course, the full iron guys had a much longer loop, and us half-ers kicked an out and back leg for a bit. Even at the coast, there are still slight up and downhill variations. Not steep climbs, mind you. but enough to notice. On the "out" portion of the out and back parts, I would regularly look down at the garmin and see 23.4, 21.5, or 22.8 speeds. regularly. My plan was to average about 19 mph to save the legs some for the run. So I was amazed when these speeds seemed effortless. Then I hit the turnaround point. Those regular 21 - 24 mph speeds quickly turned to 18 - 19 mph speeds when I was going back "uphill". I mean, that's still fast, and it's not like it was really steep uphill. But you could definitely notice the extra effort required to keep a decent speed.

I saw Ryan heading back on the bike while I was heading out. He was the first biker I saw coming back in already, leading the whole race at that point. I heard him yelling at the final aide station for water, and I just yelled "GO RYAN" as loud as I could and have no idea if he heard me. I just kept on pedalling.

Calyx told me she saw me coming back on the bike when she was going out. Apparently, it was evident how focused I was on maintaining that nice speed. She said I looked "dialed in" and that seems really cool to me.

So why with all of that focus and speed was my average only 17.5? Well the congestion was a big part of it. Navigating slow people isn't always fun. They said there was going to be aide stations every 15 miles, and the first one was mile 25. On a 56 mile course, 28 miles is the halfway point. I drained both of my water bottles by mile 25, expecting an aide station. It did not appear until mile 31!! I'm not sure what's worse, being mis-told about the distance or having no aide stations on the first half of the course. But I stopped at the first aide station to refill my water bottles with one bottle of water and one bottle of Heed. The other aide stations (there were 2 others) I took a bottle of water and a bottle of Heed while riding and drank it while riding. No stopping there. I also took 5 gu's and 4 Endurlolyte capsules while on the bike. Each time I had to feed, I slowed down some and got passed by a few folks. There were several bridges we had to ride up and back down, so the uphill/downhill had an effect on my overall speed. There was only one bridge with a steel grate, and they had carpet over that. It didn't bother me really, but I'm sure it slowed me down some. Or at least the guy in front of me slowed down some then.

Overall it was really cool to be able to bike that far that fast at the coast. I don't want to leave a negative impression about this bike course, it totally rocked! It was by far my favorite part of the race. Like everything in triathlon, there were challenges. and it's easy to project those frustrations onto something else. But this bike leg was nothing short of fantastic.

What's new?
  • New tires and wheels on the bike. That was the first ride on those new tires.
  • New flavors of GU and Roctane. Vanilla gingerbread is amazing if you can find it.
  • Wearing arm warmers for the first time. Loved it! Kept me toasty on a cold ride.
What else do I need?
  • More TITS - Time In The Saddle. Jenny had been in the shop for 6 weeks waiting on the new wheels to come in after I broke another spoke in the Tour De Peach. Kelley picked her up on the way out of town thursday. I had been missing my saddle time and it showed. Actually, it didn't show as much as it was "felt" by chafing on my ass.
  • More TOTS - Time Out of The Saddle. Spinning classes to be specific. They spend calculated amounts of time in different positions out of the saddle. Plenty of times during the ride I had to stand up and push the pace a bit, and I could have kept that going longer if I had gotten in more spinning classes. Again, see the point above. I had to stand more than I wanted to anyway.
  • A new bike. I might be an idiot putting $300 wheels on a $500 bike. But after getting that little taste of how nice equipment can ride, it just makes me drool.
  • Aerobars. I wanted to get lower lots of times out there, and there was a pretty bad headwind for a big chunk of the ride. Clip on aerobars would be nice. Santa? Grandma?
Goal 2d: Hold on, T2:
T2 went smooth. A volunteer took my bike coming in, and pointed me to the rack spot where my T2 bag was. Bike stuff off (including the arm warmers), and I threw on the small headsweats hat and running shoes and took off.

While I was on the bike, Kelley got to take the car to a tire place to get thursday's flat tire fixed. Stupid hillbilly tire people didn't call her when it was done, so she didn't get any pics of T2 or me on the run. But she did make it back to the finish line on time.

Goal 2d: Run 13.1 miles in 3 hours. Actual: 2:40:35 Big Success!
2:40 is a respectable time for a half marathon at any skill level. When you stick it behind a 1.2 mile swim and a 56 mile bike I absolutly love it. I figured the bike would be a little over 3 hours and the run a little under, but I didn't expect 20 minutes under. And I had to stop about mile 5 to hit the port-a-let, and that one piece tri suit did not want to go back on my upper body after I finally got it off. So if it weren't for a bowel movement I could have shaved 10 more minutes off of there.

This was an out and back run course, so it was 6.55 miles long. The full iron guys had to go out, back, out, back and that must have been boring. The course was very broken up. It started with a few bridges to get into downtown. Then downtown we had to run through the middle of a farmers market. I thought it was a huge aide station at first. Then it went up and turned through a park, running on a path not anywhere near a road. That even had to cross over some wooden bridges. There was actually someone getting married in the park at that time, so I ran past someone's wedding. Hit the turnaround and come back through it all, and I was done.

There were aide stations every mile almost; 5 total on the course that you could hit each way. I took 5 gu's while running, and bananas at each aide station. I also ran with the camelbak, and filled it with Heed and water at the first aide station. I was so glad to finally get some solid food on the day. I had breakfast, sure, but that was at 5:30 am. it was closer to 1 pm when I finally hit the first aide station for some solid food. My packet of Endurolytes fell out of the pocket in t2, so I had no salt capsules. That really came back to bite me in the second half of the run. The final 5k took 34 minutes. I was really sluggish the whole way back.

But the nutrition advice I got from everyone held up great. I took more gu's than I thought I needed, and drank more water than I thought I needed. I never hit the wall. I never ran out of energy until maybe the last few miles of the run. I had to convince my legs they had 2 more miles left in them. But they listened.

What's New?
  • I only had one run in these shoes before the race. I know that's a no-no. But....
  • no running period. Remember my hip pain? I felt no hip pain during the race. But I had purposely not run for a good 8 weeks before the race. I got 2 miles in the new shoes just to see if they would be a problem, and the 5 mile ache around the lake race where the hip pain killed me.
  • I did all of my run training on the elliptical. I do not reccomend this unless you are trying to recover from hip pain.
  • Did I mention that I didn't run at all before the race? who does a half marathon without running before that?
  • New running hat from Headsweats - it was awesome.
  • New flavors of GU & Roctane.

Finished: 6:31:06 280/372 men
When your mind starts to get off of your game, everything else starts to go downhill. I had to remind myself what mile I was in so I could stay on schedule with the GU's. Once I got off schedule that was it. It takes a lot of focus to finish strong. Still.......

When I hit that finish line I had lost it. I was crying, and I shit myself a little. Losing it emotionally and physically. I was instantly overwhelmed with my own sense of accomplishment and the wonderful support of everyone who pushed me to that point. I was grateful for every mile. I knew I had lived that entire course. And it was an experience that nobody could ever take away from me.

I got some ice down my shirt and a bottle of water, they put the finishers medal on me. That is some serious bling! Kelley's dad thinks it's big enough to be made into a belt buckle.

Notice the ice melts creating an oozing pattern from my chest, and you can still see tons of salt showing through too. I don't know if that's saltwater or sweat. But it's all salt stains.

Goal 3: Have fun. Success!
Overall, the whole experience was amazing. I got to see so many people, some of which I live near now, and some I was meeting for the first time. Every triathlon I've ever been to has been filled with the nicest people. It always amazes me to see how many old and new friends I find at these races.

Goal 4: No trip to the ER during recovery. Success!
My nutrition plan during the race held up. I had GU's taped to the top bar of the bike so I could tear and eat. The SUGOi tri suit had pockets in the back to hold all of my GU's for the run. The camelbak gave me plenty of water on the run. I drank more than I thought I needed to. Then I drank 4 bottles of water immediately after finishing.

The worst/scariest part of the whole thing was after the race. I saw my friends Chris and Jon while we were waiting in line. After finishing, I went to the medical tent just to get checked out. Given a clean bill of health we had two choices. take a water taxi accross the river with 300 people in line, or take the trolley back across the bridge and stay on land. We chose trolley b/c of the shorter line. We still had to wait for 3 hours before getting the 10 minute ride back accross to the hotel. And standing outside after running a half ironman while still wearing sweaty tri suit and the temp drops into the 30's because the sun went down while you are still standing in line even when you finished the race at 3:11 pm and now it is fucking cold and you have pains that require sitting down and a hot shower and you need more water and I had to go pee twice while I was standing in line and can you get how absolutely unacceptable this waiting in line was????? That was the one real organizational failure.

This race is not spectator friendly. There are very limited access points for photography. No room for spectators at the start. T1 had parking, T2 and the finish line are the same spot. Kelley had to leave the run course just minutes before I came back through downtown (but she didn't know that) to catch the water taxi back across the river to the finish line. It shouldn't take 30 minutes to cross a river, but it did. It shouldn't take 3 hours to get back across the same river, but it did.

Goal 5: Ruth's Chris. Fail, by choice.
This was a fail by choice. Missy, Ryan and I were all supposed to meet up at Ruth's Chris after the race for a celebratory dinner. I felt great after we finally got back to the hotel. But I didn't want to put anything as heavy as a steak on my stomach. Instead I had a bowl of soup, then a bowl of cheerios. I could have eaten more, but again, given my post-race history of vomiting, didn't want to take the chance. So I could have pushed it with a fat dead cow, but chose not too. Soon though, soon.

This race exceeded every expectation. The city was fantastic, the race was fantastic. 1500 racers and over 1000 volunteers. If you're looking for a destination Iron or half Iron distance race for next year, give this one some serious consideration.

That's the race finish line, etc from our hotel's side of the river.

And a clean shot of the battleship. It really is impressive.

The SUGOi Velocity tri suit left me with some fun tan lines. I didn't put on sunscreen which I am very aware is a big no no. Just because it was cold doesn't mean you can't burn.

It's even more obvious from the back (looks like I was wearing a giant sport bra, huh?). The arm warmers leave me with the reverse farmer's tan on my arms. Funny tan lines are funny no matter what. I got the body marking numbers scrubbed off in the shower today, and the sun didn't burn under where the numbers were on my shoulders. So there's a white outline of an 8 now in all that red on my left shoulder.

In recovery, I was actually talking to Calyx on the phone at that point. Her and Donna both rocked, beating their goal times by almost an hour.

The run course went right by the hotel, and there were plenty of people still running late into the night. I grabbed a cowbell and went out to the balcony to cheer them on.

I actually fell asleep on the couch about 9 pm, moved to bed sometime and woke up about 7 am. The drive back was uneventful until I tried to stand up.

I can't stand up long enough to pee, so I have been sitting down like a girl (or Ryan) all day. At least it only hurts from the neck down. Actually, as the day has progressed my upper body soreness has all worked out. The legs are feeling better, but not great. I still have to think hard before walking up stairs. Still, I did it, and it's done.

What's next?
My secret target was to finish this half and still feel like I could do it again. Ironman Florida was also yesterday. That means the online registrations open up monday for the 2010 race. So I have until then to decide if I want to register. Kelley talked me out of it for 2010. She's thinking about doing another marathon in 2010, and doesn't want both of us to be under heavy training schedules at the same time again. Plus we're going to sell the houses in Greenville and finalizing the move to Raleigh, buying a house here, getting the family re-assembled and settled, and all of the fun that comes along with it.

So this was certainly the last race of 2009. 2010 will be all marathons and century rides for me. Kelley keeps saying that she doesn't understand why anyone would ever want to attempt an Ironman. She doesn't want to have to sherpa my shit for 15 hours; she was worn out after this race. She wanted to call it a night at 7:30 last night. I can't explain why I want to run a full iron distance race. But I do. After completing this 70.3, I know a few things. I want a 70.3 sticker for my car. I want a 70.3 tattoo on my right leg. And then I want to cover them both up with 140.6 stuff. If Ironman Florida has to wait until 2011 that's ok. It leaves me more time to convince her it's a good idea.