Monday, April 26, 2010

The Wind that Shakes The Barley

I was well trained for a metric century (that's 100k or 62 miles) when Kelley and I went to Elizabeth City, NC for the Tarwheel ride this weekend.

Unfortunately, I rode the full century - 102 miles - and was glad to finish alive.

This was by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life. It made the two marathons and the half ironman seem like an easy day at the park. I knew going into it that the century ride was cycling's version of a marathon - "A" type event that takes a serious training plan. I keep a serious training plan. But the long rides weren't long enough. Imagine running a full marathon without ever getting longer than 15 miles in training? that's what this was like.

Before starting. I got there in time, and the damn thing started early!! Who fires the starting gun 10 minutes early? So I didn't get to check in - Kelley got my t-shirt after I was riding. I didn't get any stretching or prep time. I parked on the route, and saw the first wave of cyclists ride by.

This included my buddy Kyle from work. Now Elizabeth City was a full three hours away from Raleigh. I knew Kyle was a badass, he's the main instigator for the mountain biking group that rides every tues/thurs from the office. We've been swapping out lunchtime road rides for mountain bike rides lately to get ready for this one.

So Kyle's on the move, and I flag him down. He tells me it's going, and for me to get in a paceline already! I'm still putting Chamois Butt'r down my shorts. WTF? Get on it and ride.

And I'm off and riding. It starts off going through downtown Elizabeth City. This city is right on Albermarle Sound, which is coastal but mainland. The sound is the water between the outer banks and the mainland. So it was very scenic. It was a cool day to start, and we left at 7:50 (supposed to be 8 am dangit!) so it was overcast and mid-50's. Perfect. Time to bring some miles. The wind was pretty quiet at first.

I always end up meeting the nicest people at these rides. I got to talking with some folks in town, and then once we got out of town the scenery opened up to be all farmland. Wide open spaces as far as you could see. I fell into a paceline with some of the guys I was talking to in town. Later I found out they all knew each other, plus picked up a few other stragglers like me that wanted to keep the same speed. We were cruising along around 21 mph and I was barely having to pedal. The first 5 miles I didn't even break a sweat. By the first aide station at mile 13 I was still not breathing heavy. I did however blow plenty of snot rockets. Officially, it was a 17.2 mph average, 44:01, max speed of 22.9 mph according to the Garmin.

The SAG stops were really great. Well manned with bike repair, good food, this one had deviled eggs. As I was pulling in I noticed something funny with my right shoe. It felt kind of slippery on the pedal. When I went to unclip, the cleat stayed IN the pedal! with the screws and everything. I couldn't believe it. Luckily, the bike mechanic was there at the time and he had the tools to remove the cleat, screw it back into my shoe, tighten down the other shoe and loosen the pedals for me. I've never heard of a cleat becoming unscrewed during a ride like that, how strange? Only to me.

We fell back into the paceline and started hitting it pretty hard again. It started raining too. The rain came down hard, but didn't fall for very long. Unfortunately, during and after the rain I was stuck like this:

Nothing like riding behind a guy (yellow jacket) with a fat tire on a road ride. That's me falling off the paceline, another straggler Carlo in front of me, but he had the sense to ride to the left of the guy in the yellow. I have to give that guy credit, though. He was in tennis shoes and flat pedals on a straight handlebar bike with big tires but not mountain bike fat. And he rode the same 102 miles I did. No idea where he finished. But he sure was annoying for those 5 miles or so that he was spraying water on me.

The front two guys in that pic are in the main group of friends that made up the paceline. I am so thankful to get in with those guys. They were friendly, considerate, funny... and just letting me crash their paceline made the biggest difference than anything else in the ride.

Kelley got a good close up. It's a crop, but still a great pic. She was a trooper out there. She caught us a few times, this one was around mile 20.

There was another SAG stop at mile 25. By this point the rain has let up, and the roads are starting to dry off but they are still pretty wet. The aide station had berry smoothies! This was such a well organized and well supported ride! I hit the lap button on the garmin at the aide stations, and stopped the timer while I was there. I missed a few, and sometimes forgot to restart the timer until we were riding again, but it worked out ok for the most part. So lap 2 was 13.24 miles, 43:13, 18.4 mph average, 22.8 max speed. We ate, drank, and got merry then hit the road again.

Normally 25 miles is about all we will cover during a lunch ride. So I was feeling really good about being 25 miles in and not be more fatigued. I felt really strong, actually. The course was beautiful. Ride past farmland, then past some open water, then more farmland. There were no cars on the roads. The paceline was fast, drafting was awesome (and illegal in tri's so I never do it), and we were all having fun.

Kelley caught us again about 30 miles in:

That's the full paceline with Carlo sticking out to the right. I'm in back drafting again.

OK, that's a bit too far back to call it drafting. Actually there I'm trying to catch up after falling out of the line to wave at Kelley. Still, it was overcast and cool, and no worries yet. We made our way to downtown Edenton for houses like this:

The next SAG stop wasn't for another 20 miles, and I forgot to hit the lap button. So according to the garmin it was 36 miles between SAG's or 58 miles total. This was about the far end of the loop. The aide station was right on the bay, with scenes like this:

Just amazing waterfront houses. The whole thing was beautiful.

Unfortunately, this is also about where we stopped riding away from Elizabeth City and started heading back. The course was a loop, where we stayed mostly south and east near Albermarle Sound. Then it circled back mostly inside the mainland.

About mile 65 is where things really started kicking in. And by "things" I mean the wind. And by kicking "in" I mean kicking my ass. Lap 3 from the garmin was 33 miles, 17.3 mph average speed, 21.9 max speed in 1:55. This was the beginning of the end.

I really felt great at that SAG stop. I ate, drank, refilled the bike bottles. It was getting into the warmer parts of the day now. I was breathing quite hard and sweating a bunch. I knew I had just ridden 65 miles. If I had stopped there I would have been proud of the metric century and almost equaled my longest distance ride to date. But I still had to get back to Elizabeth City.

The wind was brutal. Riding into 20+ mph headwinds is not fun. The only thing that might be worse (but really wasn't) was turning the corner and having that headwind slap you as a cross wind. It's all cotton farms out there. Open dirt with little 1" plants don't provide any wind break. There was no shade. There was only more wind. And behind that, more wind.

I actually thought several times that the wind was going to push me backwards on the bike. I didn't worry about falling over, really. Just going backwards. I really am pretty strong on the pedals, but that wind was pushing back at me really hard.

A few of us fell back off of the main paceline. We would all regroup at the stop signs, but the main line wanted to keep a 17 mph pace and there were a few of us that just couldn't hold it in this wind. So we started just meeting up with them at the SAG stops.

I still felt OK pulling into the SAG stop at mile 77, really. I had no trouble standing, laughing at jokes, talking to the other riders, I was still there mentally. The legs were feeling it for sure. But the brain was still engaged. Garmin says 14 miles, 14.1 mph average, 19.2 top speed. Every time I looked down I told myself "11.9 - that's just fine" so I'm a bit surprised to see 14.1 average. I thought it was going to be more like 12.

I knew it was only 11 more miles to the next stop. I did something in there that I've never had to do before in any training or race event. I had to stop. Yes I've walked during marathons and sat down in transitions during triathlons. But this time I told myself that I was going to pull over at the next driveway I saw. I did, and just had to lay my head on the handlebars for a few. It was some farm, and the old lady walked out to check the mail and was quite surprised to see me there. She started telling me stories about her husband being in the war, and now he was 89 years old and still runs this cotton farm. I actually was hoping she was going to shoot me. Then I wouldn't have to finish the ride. I told her I was really ok, just 85 miles into a 100 mile bike ride and getting a bit winded.

The next and final SAG stop was at mile 88. Here, I was dead. I actually sat down in a chair. The other guys from the paceline took off right after I got there, and after a banana Tim (the only guy from our group who was behind me) came rolling in. I mean I was really gone. I couldn't put full sentences together anymore. Couldn't stand up. I was constantly yawning which is a sign that the muscles are oxygen deprived. Tim and I pulled each other along plenty from miles 70 to 77, so I was glad to see him make it there. Some other friendly folks rolled in as well.

I told myself that when Tim left to head for the finish, I was going to call Kelley to come get me. I was through. The thought of letting my ass touch that saddle again was enough to make me cry. And I cried plenty from miles 77 to 88. All of the long distance emotions crept up. I missed my grandfather. I figured 88 miles is much farther than I had ever ridden before and I should be happy to survive the PDR and be ok with it.

Tim wouldn't leave without me. His dumbass forced me to get back on the bike and put those last 14 miles in. He's a real trooper. There was about 5 of us that left at the same time, so we stayed together until the finish. When I stood up to get back on the bike I kind of stutter stepped a bit and thought I was going to fall right back down. I still can't believe I actually got back on the bike.

I limped in those last few miles. My ass couldn't stay in the seat for very long, and we couldn't go very fast. So I would pedal with 1,2,3 downstrokes and coast for a few. then pedal 3 more times and coast standing. This is incredibly inefficient and takes a huge amount of muscle strength that I absolutely did not have. But my taint was battered to the point where it was the only option I had. When I did sit down, I couldn't reach far forward enough to grab the brakes, much less hold the aerobars. It was then that I realized my body wanted to be curled up in the fetal position, not riding a damn bike anymore.

The aide station volunteers said it was about 3 miles to the next turn (all in a headwind), then only a few more miles of crosswind before the wind died down. When we got back into town the wind was gone. The worst of the wind (time of day) was the same time we were riding straight into it. If we had been faster on the first half of the course it would have been 77 miles in when the hard winds hit, not 65 miles in. I was incredibly glad to see the town of Elizabeth City again. We cruised into the finish line and Kelley took this pic:

I'm surprised to still be alive here. I can't believe I actually made it. Behind me in the pic is Tim loading his bike up in the car with Rickey who had already gotten a shower. He was in the paceline too, and just had open heart surgery 6 months before! He held 17 mph the whole way.

My final block on the garmin was 24 miles, 1:54, 12.6 mph average, 21.8 max speed after we got back into town. They were right, the road turned about 3 miles in, and we had a crosswind. It died down a bit after that, and once we got near town and around some more trees it was pleasant to ride again.

My final ride time was about 6:30, with the total elapsed time being 8:07. Yes, that's 8 hours! It was almost 4 PM when I finished. Give this a try sometime. Start riding your bike at 8 AM and don't give up until 4 pm. See how you feel.

Holy shit, that was certainly harder than the beach 2 battleship. I'll take marathons any day over that. I was ready to push Roberta into the water or go straight to the dumpster. Not even going to hold out for craigslist. I am now scarred physically and emotionally. I was ready to walk away from Ironman. I won't be able to get back on Roberta for at least a month. I really need to clean her good, but it's monday and I'm still scared. That ride messed with my head. I'm still not well.

I'm all in favor of pushing out of my comfort zone. But I had to reach down to a place that I don't want to ever visit again. The pain, the discomfort, the determination. Let it all go.......

The biggest reprieve is that at the finish line plenty of other people were saying that it was by far the hardest and most challenging century they had ever done. It reminded me a lot of the marathon I ran in West Virginia. The people there were saying the same thing. Williamson WV and Elizabeth City NC have very similar populations (read: lots of poverty but everyone was friendly), and they are both places I hope I never have to go back to. Because if that's what century rides are then I'm done with century rides. I know I could have trained better. I know I should have done more long rides.

So the fletcher flyer is certainly out. Maybe I'll consider doing a fall century. I think the OBX half Ironman is still on for september. Ironman florida next year is still in the plan. But this one put some fear into me. I needed a healthy dose of respect, and it got handed to me along with my ass. The truth is I would have been upset if I had called it done at mile 88, and would have really pushed myself to train more so I could finish the next one. I started this ride with optimism and finished it with fear. I am just glad that I finished. Centuries are no joke y'all.

By the way - Kyle? The guy from work that I convinced to come ride this one? He WON the damn thing. Finished in 5:01, 20.1 mph average over the whole 102 miles. It's not a timed event so there's really not a winner. But he got in the lead paceline and held those guys for the whole freaking way. He loved it, can't wait for the next century. He's doing the fletcher flyer. He also went out for 70+ mile rides each of the last 4 saturday's with a 23 mph average speed. And he doesn't run, swim, or triathlon - so I still like to call him girly names. But being the first finisher of a century ride (it was also his first century) is seriously impressive.

Monday, April 19, 2010

TOA Sprint #2

Well I finished the Triangle Orthopaedic Associates Centennial Sprint Triathlon for the second time yesterday. Here's the short breakdown:

750 meter Swim, 10.5 mile bike, 5k run
Last year: Swim 18:55, T1 6:18, Bike 41:49, T2: 2:53, Run: 30:53
Current Goal: Swim 13 min, Bike 35 mins, Run 30 mins, Transition 2 mins, Total 1:15
Current Actual: Swim 17:26, T1: 4:23, Bike 38:07, T2: 1:53, Run: 27:58, Total 1:29:44
PR for Sprint Tri's and this course!

Kelley got a TON of fantastic pics. But the highlight has to be Bigun! She was really loving helping me prep the night before. She even insisted on putting on my wetsuit!

She got up at 6 AM and came out to the whole race with me! Of course that meant Kelley had to watch her the whole race, and didn't just get to relax in the sunshine and boy-watch like she normally does at my tri's. Still, she did see this guy:

and he's not going to disappoint the ladies OR Glaven. So we were all up at 6 am to get ready, get out the door, and go about 6 blocks away to the NC State Centennial Campus for the race.

I got bodymarked by this little girl who seemed scared to touch the athletes. It was really cute. But she marked the back of my hands, I thought that was a bit odd. Still, Bigun loved making faces with me. It was really cold at the start; in the high 40's somewhere. She had to stay wrapped up

And she did stay warm the whole time. It got into the 60's pretty quickly, and the water was warmer than the air still. Time to suit up and get ready for the start!

I got this wetsuit around Christmas thanks to a special deal worked out with Coach Katie and XTerra. It was awesome! The suit is a great fit, and I was very bouyant and flying through the water. This was my first open water swim in the suit.

That's me in the middle with the stupid grin. I get a little excited at the starting line. Adrenaline and all pumped up and ready to go!

Swim: 750 meters, 17:26, 2:19 / 100 m pace, 14/24 AG
This was a timed start, not a mass start. So we hit the water individually and started swimming from a standing position about waist deep in the lake. Again, the water was warmer than the air then so that was a good thing. No diving in like last year.

Check out that form! What I've been working on in the pool lately is Total Immersion methods, and that looks like it's really paying off. I'm the top swimmer there, and I've got the right shoulder angle, and my top arm has the correct entry angle into the water. You can also see the forward thrust and rear wake I'm making, which is exactly how it's supposed to be done.

This, on the other hand, is not exactly how it's supposed to be done. I'm still picking my head up to breathe instead of rotating it and leaving one eye in the water. It's not bad, but it does throw my balance off a bit.

This is also the time when the Triathlon is Stupid Committee came to order for it's annual meeting. Thanks for putting that in my head Snail. Why do I hate open water swims so much? I really hate the mental component of swimming until you are blue in the face and feeling like you've gotten nowhere. In running and cycling we have landmarks. I'm going to run until the end of this block, or to those railroad tracks, etc. In a lake, they put three buoys out. Swim past the first one, turn right at the second one, turn right again at the third one and come back to land. It was almost half a mile. Actually I can't swim straight without the nice lane line, so I'm sure it was well over half a mile. I will breaststroke some to catch my breath since there's no big breath when I'm turning around at the wall, and that always makes my hands hurt.

Do you like OWS more the more you do it? I really want to get into a 50 meter pool instead of the 25 yard pool I use now just so I can try longer stretches. But I'm really starting to hate on OWS.

At least this time I came out of the water without being disoriented. Without swimming ever at all last winter, I turned in a time of 18:55, and this year I did it in 17:26. Really? Only a minute and a half faster? I swim 3 times a week now, and a longer distance than this every time. I was really expecting to see more gains here. My average time in the pool for 100 yrds is 1:40, or 40 seconds faster than in the open water. I like speed.

At this point last year, I thought I was going to puke. This time, I wanted to puke but still didn't. Off with the goggles and swimcap! Top half of the wetsuit is stripped! Loved the XTerra wetsuit. Yes, big positive there.

T1: 4:23, 17/24 AG
After crossing the swim mat, we had to run up a huge hill, down a street for a ways (all barefoot), and I could barely breathe. Friday night, I started feeling a little scratch in my throat, so I started taking Airborne. Saturday I started coughing some. More Airborne. When I came out of the water there was a real tightening in my upper chest and my breathing was very labored, which is expected after a hard swim. But I knew a damn cold was on it's way. In the pic above I was trying to get up the hill, but walked it once I saw Kelley and Bigun sitting there. That's when she grabbed that pic.

Transition times shouldn't be more than a minute or two each, the best tri guys can do it in less than 30 seconds. I'm happy being under 90 seconds. But when you throw in how long we had to run just to get back to the transition area (on pavement, barefoot, while I wanted to puke from cold and swim nausea), then strip off the wetsuit, throw on socks, bike shoes, helmet, and catch your breath enough to get back on the bike, I thought 4:23 was ok.

Bike: 38:07, 10.5 miles, 16.5 mph speed, 19/24 AG
This was an incredibly strange bike route. I knew last year that I had left Jenny in the big chainring the whole time, so that was the plan this time as well. I had forgotten how many hills they had on this course. I should have adjusted my strategy.

This one legged girl kicked my ass. She was fast. I got to talk to her some before the swim, she was really nice too. Still, I got beat down by a girl with one leg. It's almost as bad as the 12 yr old girl that beat me by 20 minutes last year.

Ready, Steady, GO! I'm out of TA and onto the 10.5 mile bike course. It was hilly, and I'm still getting used to the shifters on the new bike. So I saw the first big hill coming, and downshifted appropriately. Then I stood up to really push it up that hill and build up some speed. Remember the goal was to hammer the bike course and keep a 20 mph average speed.

Meanwhile, guess what Kelley found leaving TA? Yep, Man Candy. WTH?

So I looked down at the chain after sprinting up that first tough climb only to discover I had gotten the shifting backwards. Instead of going down to an easy gear to climb in, I went up to a really hard gear only used when going downhill. ARGH!!! Of course I was still dripping wet and out of breath from the swim, and really wanted to puke at that point. I thought for sure I was going to blow chunks. But I knew I had to maintain a pace to make the time/speed goal, and hammering the bike was the main target this race.

That only lasted until I ran out of gas. The sinus cold kicked in, the lungs just didn't have the capacity. I couldn't stop the labored breathing long enough to take in any Gatorade. And since I know what's good for me and what isn't, I backed off. I kept a slow enough speed for the last 2/3 of the bike leg to maintain even breathing. I still wanted to take in about three times as much gatorade as I actually did get to drink. Still, that bike leg could have been much worse. There was lots of coughing and spitting and rockets being blown.

The roads were absolutely horrible. Asphalt was all chopped up, we had to bike around potholes, there was a fair amount of car traffic on most of the course, all of the usual complaints about road rides. But this time the road conditions were really worse than I expected. I knew we had a lot of freeze/thaw cycles over the winter. The city of Raleigh usually takes care of the college area pretty well, but this time they hadn't been touched at all. I really thought I was going to lose a tire out there. I ride the roads around town here some, and I've never seen asphalt in such poor condition. I hope they change the course for next year if that doesn't get fixed.

There was also one fantastic descent. I took it really fast, holding into the aerobars and leaning through the curves. It comes down Avent Ferry Rd right next to a lake, and the scenery is just beautiful. Might have been Lake Johnson, which has a running trail I really want to check out.

With about a mile left on the bike, I started seeing runners. That's when I took a Roctane I had taped to the top bar of the bike and some water from my second bike bottle. Then I pulled in here:

I really thought I was going to puke on the bike.

I hope this pic can be embiggened. It's a great shot, Kelley got a great angle for the light. And my arms & shoulders look really muscular I think. Very cool. I might try to reverse it and use it as a blogger profile pic.

Off of the bike, and it's time to run into TA again. I like how my calf looks in this pic, you can really see a lot of definition.

T2: 1:53, 19/24 AG
That's what I'm talking about. Under 2 minutes baby. In and out.

Roberta comes home.

Off with the bike shoes, throw on the HeadSweats visor, race belt, and running shoes (with Yanx) and it's off for a little 5k. Can you see how cold it was out there?

Run: 27:58, 9:00 min/mile pace, 19/24 AG
The run was awesome. The course starts out running through campus, so you're on sidewalks between buildings, not near a road or anything. It still started out with some hills. Then eventually came over to a more level section and had a nice downhill finish. I love a strong run finish. The hills on the run course were not as steep or as tough as the bike hills, but they were noticeable. I did walk twice out there (side note: remember the marathon where I went 18.7 miles without walking? yea, I didn't expect to walk at all.) but it could have been much worse.

I remembered a lot of the run course from last year, so it was nice to see familiar roads. The only downside? Last year they had a sorority manning the aide stations. This year I think it was all underprivileged youth. They were not nearly as hot as the sorority girls from last year.

This was the one leg where I made my goal time of sub-30 minutes. I really wanted to keep an 8:00 to 8:30 pace, but with my legs being gassed from the bike and the chest cold really sinking in; I took every 9 minute mile I could get. Even steven, I held the exact same pace the whole time. It rocked.

Meanwhile, Bigun decided to beat up the finish line. Kelley said she kept punching it.

At least she seemed to be having a good time!

Finally here comes daddy! That was the biggest smile I could muster when crossing a finish line. Yes folks, that's what happiness looks like. This is a great shot. The light and angles are just right, someone suggested it would make a good magazine cover shot. I don't know about that, but I was very happy to see the finish line and my daughter.

You can see the clock in the background of this one. I started swimming a while after the first guy did, and that's when they started this clock. Total race time: 1:29:44, a PR for the course of almost 11 minutes, and a PR for the sprint distance. My other sprints have had longer bike legs.

I'll take a PR any way I can get it.

Bigun loves rolling down hills. She had a blast playing on campus all morning.

Finally she walked me back to the TA to get my bike & gear, and we all headed home. This was a fantastic way to kick off the Triathlon summer season. I really gave it all I had out there, and even if I didn't have enough to give to meet all of my goals, I'm satisfied with the performance I turned in. I don't think I'll do this one again next year though. Maybe, if they repave the roads. But there's something funny about swimming in that lake I can't put my finger on.

The best part of the day was having Bigun there with me. It was her first time coming to a race and she loved the environment. She was surprised by how much walking she had to do, but overall I think she enjoyed it.

I went home and slept most of the afternoon, and this cold started showing up. Then today at work it really kicked into full force. By 5 pm my head felt like a bowling ball sitting on a golf tee. Time for some pomegranate juice and drugs. I have got to feel better before doing the century ride on saturday.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tri Time Baby!!

Got my race packet, and all is looking ok to kick off the triathlon season with a bang tomorrow. I've actually only got 3 tri's on the schedule this year (which I'm not really happy about so I might add more), and the first one is the TOA sprint tomorrow morning at the Centennial Campus of NC State University. I did this one last year, and it was regarded as one of the funnier race reports if you missed it. The pics really seemed to start something too when I finally got them up. And yes, Kelley is coming tomorrow to take more pics this year.

I can't wait to push some speed up there this time. My overall target time is 1:15, it's a pretty short course. 750 m swim, 10.5 mile bike, 5k run. Itemized:

Swim: 750 m in 13 minutes, last year: 18:55
I have actually been practicing in the pool this year so I'm expecting a faster swim. Really I have no idea how much faster, but it should be a nice improvement. Secondary goal is not to come out of the water disoriented. Last year I came out dizzy and took over 6 minutes in T1 before I could stay on the bike.

Bike: 10.5 miles less than 35 minutes, last year 41:49
The course had a couple of climbs, and one really fast descent. I was just a budding cyclist last year, so I barely hit 15 mph. This year's plan is to hit 20 mph, or as close as I can get. With the new bike Roberta and all of the training I've been doing for next weekend's century ride, the primary main goal #1 is to hammer the bike leg hard. I said hammer........

Run: 5k, less than 30 minutes, last year: 30:53
I've turned in plenty of sub 30 minute 5k's recently in training, and the way speed follows endurance.... after the marathon I'm primed for some fast running. This was a strange and fun course last year with lots of turns and a downhill finish. So here we go, time to finish strong.

Transitions: 2 minutes. Last year: 9:11
I was pretty dizzy when I came out of the water in Lake Raleigh. And I took the time to take gels, tie my shoes, I didn't even have clipless pedals for the bike or yankx for the runners. Totally change clothes.... This year it's get in, get out. Going to wear a SUGOi tri suit, tape the one gel I'm going to need to Roberta, put one bottle of gatorade and one bottle of water on Roberta, and take the gel with a few miles left on the bike leg so I'll be charged for the run. This year I'm much better organized and prepared. Experience is a good thing.

I'm hoping the bike leg will be around 30 minutes maybe a little over, and the run leg will be around 30 minutes, maybe less. So that leaves 15 minutes really to get the swim and transitions in. So if I can beat any of the individual times I'll be able to break 1:15 for a sprint, which is something only fast people normally do.

You may also remember that a 12 year old girl beat me by 20 minutes last year. That's just funny so I thought I would mention it again. I think I might have a chance at beating her last year.

The main goals:
1. 1:15 total time
2. Hammer the bike leg
3. Beat somebody. I'm moving up an age group this year, and maybe the male 35 - 39 will be a bit more sluggish.

In other news:
The closing on the new house got moved up by a week to may 21. Go ahead and mark your calendars to come to NC and help me move. I don't want to lift all that furniture again.

May 22 is supposed to be the Warrior Challenge, so that's off the schedule. I was really looking forward to it too. next year I guess. Also Michael went to register for the Mud Run, and it's sold out!! My two brothers were going to run with a couple of friends, and we were going to run with some of Kelley's family. Now it looks like we are all available, and can't register! dang it. So that's TWO races off the schedule, and I have nothing in May now. I'm sure I'll pick up a local 10k or 5k run to do before we move into the house.

RunnerDude named me his Runner of the Week! It's a fun interview, and he's got a neat blog. Plus he's just a few hours west of where we're living now, so we might run into each other in a race.

Big shouts to Sarah, who's running the Boston Marathon on monday!! Get on it girl.

With the new move-in date, the Fletcher Flyer is back on! Come to Asheville for a century ride in the mountains!

I'll get the race report and pics up asap. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

New Digs

We're under contract! Found and qualified for a new house to buy here in Raleigh, and yesterday the sellers and us worked out a deal and signed all of the contracts. May 31st is the closing date. It's a beautiful house, and has everything that Kelley wanted. It's outside of the beltline (saved us about $100k) and not quite in Cary. Still close to the NC State Campus, about 3 miles from Kelley's dad's house, and less than a mile from the RBC center where the Carolina Hurricanes play and the NC State football stadium is. I'm pushing for some season tickets.

Here's some pics stolen from the listing's web site:

Front yard has great landscaping

Hardwood floors everywhere and plenty of open space

I love these built-ins in the dining room. The kitchen is really small, though.

This is a really cute house. It's got some positives and negatives. The positives are the sheer cuteness, it meets most of the size and room requirements, and is in a cool part of town. The negatives are there's no garage and it's on a busy 4 lane road. But there's kind of a wooded part between the road and the front yard, so I think that's enough separation really.

There is a small storage shed on one side, but I'm going to have to knock that down and build a bigger workshop. There's a few landscaping projects I've already got my eyes on too. But I don't really see a sunny place big enough for a decent garden. Still, that should be enough to keep me occupied for a while.

In training, I hit 11 workouts last week. Tri Power twice (skipped friday, too tired) and 2 yoga's before work. I also got in 2 swims, 4 bike rides, and a nice run. Next Sunday is the TOA sprint triathlon, and I can't WAIT! We've been putting off so many races and race plans because we didn't know when we were going to find or buy a house, it's so nice to know everything is in place now.

Actually, I've got three races in the next three weekends. The TOA Sprint next sunday where I'm hoping to PR the course, and then the Tarwheel Century on the 24th out on the coast. Now that we're not closing until the 31st, Kelley feels good about doing the Mud Run again this year, and that's May 1st back in Greenville. I think the Warrior Challenge is still looking good too, but it may be a game time scratch. What's definitely gone is the Fletcher Flyer in Asheville June 5th, that's the weekend we'll be moving into the new place. That means I'm back to looking for a hilly century ride in the mountains, late june, july, august.

Everything is coming together here. Also this week, I finished the 6 month contract part of this job and became a full time employee! I'm very excited about that. So is the mortgage company.

Big congrats to you if you raced this weekend! I know Stacey did her first half marathon. Have a great week!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

March is over!

March came in like a lion and went out like a lamb. What a wild month!

We sold the house in SC, it closed on monday. So we're homeless now, but not for long. Kelley took the kids out to the coast for a few weeks, I'll be joining them tomorrow for a fun easter weekend. Then it's house hunting time! At least I think we will be able to land a pretty good deal.

Wha ha happened?

March had but one race, the Tobacco Road marathon. I'm already looking forward to running it again next year. Here's how the totals came down:

Swim: 7 swims, 8500 yds = 4.83 miles
Bike: 5 rides, 95 miles
Run: 5 runs, 44.5 miles, 1 full marathon
Strength: 3 Tri Power workouts, 45 minutes
Yoga: 4 session, 2 hours

There was a taper week and a recovery week before and after the marathon. So I feel ok about that. I need to get the bike milage up to around 100 miles per week, not 95 miles a month. We moved out of the SC house the weekend before the marathon, and I really took a good taper. So while the counts may not look that high it was actually a productive month.

This week, I finally hit a slowdown today thanks to work. It's shaken down like this:

Monday: AM TriPower, Lunch 1000 yd swim, 30 mile bike after work
Tuesday: AM yoga, 10 mile bike/3.1 mile run brick after work
Wednesday: AM TriPower, lunch 1500 yd swim, 20 mile bike after work
(that's 9 workouts in 3 days people)
Thursday: AM yoga. I was supposed to hit a 40 mile lunchtime bike ride with the company owners from work but I got swamped. I had to work late, so I missed my after work long run too.
Friday: Plan is AM TriPower and 1000 yd swim over lunch. 12 workouts this week will be fantastic.

This should be the norm going forward for a while. It was 85 degrees and sunny here today. It's time to train!