Friday, September 28, 2012

OBX Number Two

I finished the OBX half iron distance triathlon on Saturday 9/22 in a blazing time of 6:00:19.  Blazing is sarcastic of course, I was a bit undertrained on the bike and paid for it a bit on the run.  Overall we had a fantastic trip, and there are lots of pictures and stories to share.

I still had to put in my hours at work this week, so Kelley and the kids got to stay down in the OBX for the whole week.  They had a blast, getting out to see some of the lighthouses and beaches.  The outer banks is a really cool part of the state.
Bigun and the Evil Genius at the Cape Hatteras lighthouse

Thursday my mom drove up and met me at our house, then we loaded up the car and headed out to Kill Devil Hills.  We got there about 8 pm to quite a warm reception!  The girls were quite glad to see us.

Friday we got up to Jockey's Ridge, which is a really cool state park and hang gliding school with these huge sand dunes.  We hiked up some of the dunes and ran/jumped/fell down.  So much fun, you wouldn't expect a 100 foot high sand dune to be that cool.
Hanging out on top of the ridge

Climbing.  It was that steep.

Up and down the dunes

Me and Bigun hanging out before we climbed that big one in the background

We also made it out to the Wright Brothers Memorial.  It was only about 10 minutes north of the condo.  They made the first flights right there, and they are marked where the first four flights went with a great memorial and visitors center laid out.
The monument left off "Evil"

The hangar, cabin and marker locations for the first four flights

Kids and Kelley on the memorial

Mom and the kids running where the first four flights were

So that was a blast, but might have been too much walking, climbing, and outdoor fun for the day before a 70.3

Race day was upon us.  I felt mostly prepared, but still kind of nervous about the race itself.  We got there about 10 minutes before transition closed at 6:45 am.  I had just enough time to grab my chip, get body marked, and put some air in the tires before TA closed. 
No numerical order or assigned racks.  Everything was just dumped in there.  insanity.

I look confused.  It was a horrible pre-race time.
Finally I got out of there and down to the water.  I was in the second swim wave, so by the time I got checked in and got to taste that salt water finally I knew I was in for a good day and everything else was going to work out just fine.

Swim: 39:03, goal time under 30, last year 44:xx
This swim wasn't nearly as rough as last years.  No two foot swells but that was still some choppy water.  And it was really shallow.  The start was crowded, most of the swim was crowded.  Swimming has been a real strong point for me this year and this time I'm just glad it was done.
Ready to go

And we're off!

You see those buoys?
I was in the second wave to start.  There were three buoys, turn at the third one then repeat again.  The first wave started three minutes before my wave, they all wore green caps.  It was so shallow that you could walk all the way out to the first bouy.  I passed a green cap before the first bouy.  It may be the first time I ever passed a swimmer while walking.  I ended up passing a fair number of green caps.

Made the first turn amidst lots of traffic.  made it to the second turn with lots of traffic.  Heading back into shore had lots of traffic.  Other people suck.  I was glad to beat last years time but it was a bit of a tougher swim than expected this year.
Glad that's over with!

Where's TA?
T1: 3:18 pitiful
Found my bike, threw on the socks & shoes, grabbed the helmet and get out of there.  It was a long run across a parking lot to get into the TA, but come on.  90 seconds in here max.
Don't make me ride?

Bike: 3:06:56, goal under 3 hours, 2011 race was 2:53
The wind was directional this year, which was nice.  I felt pretty strong getting out of the gate there, and saw 19 mph on the garmin and felt pretty good.  Until I hit the bridge.
You could watch the garmin plummet as soon as the trees opened up and the bridge came into view.  19+ mph?  yea, that went quickly down to 15 mph as soon as that headwind kicked in.  The course was two loops, so we went across the bridge, tooled around some on one road on the mainland (which had quite a stench going), then back across the bridge to the turnaround.  Do it all again and call it a second loop.

The cool part was that on the way to the end of the road the first time, I could count how many people were ahead of me (45).  Two people passed me on the bike, so I knew I was in 47th place coming onto the run.  Last year I finished 22nd overall so this was a bit dissapointing, but I still felt pretty good. 

They ran an olympic race at the same time as the half was going on, but the oly people started 45 minutes after us.  That meant oly racers cheering as I came out of the swim, and by the time I was heading back across the bridge for the first time they were going out.  Cool to see some oly people out there on the road.  And going back across the bridge the wind was at my back, so I just sat upright and took 22 mph while barely pedalling.  Pretty glorious.

I made the turnaround at TA and went back out for lap #2.  When I hit the turnaround the garmin told me I had been pedalling for 1:29, so I knew breaking 3 hours was going to be tough.  I'd have to be just as fast, if not faster, for the second half.  I also knew I was undertrained on the bike, having only gotten in one 50 mile ride this summer.  So sure enough, there was no negative split going back out.  The bridge headwind killed me on lap #2, and the tailwind coming back was the one saving grace.  I was really exhausted by the end of the ride.  So glad to be off of the bike and ready to put it up for the winter.

Finishing the bike was quite a relief.  I knew it was going to be my weakest link and I did exactly what I expected to.  suck.

T2: 1:11, goal under 90 seconds for the win!
Off with the helmet, throw on the running shoes and get the heck out of there.

Run: 2:09:49, goal under 2 hours, 2011 around 2:24
I got off running and tried not to absolutely crush the pace.  Start out slow and hold on for dear life.  I remembered the run went through the airport, onto the roads for a bit, then onto some greenway to a turnaround point and back home to the finish line.  I cruised through the airport stretch and felt pretty good getting onto the roads.  On the bike, the garmin flashed a low battery warning (boy, wasn't that foreshadowing), so I ditched it in T2 and ran naked.  The road stretch seemed to go on forever.

When I finally got on the greenway I was still keeping a steady pace with no walk breaks or anything.  I could feel a few blisters starting to rub on my feet and then I realized that I grabbed the wrong shoes.  My minimalist shoes have the speed laces in them still from this summer, but they shouldn't be used for runs over 10k.  Here I was about 6 miles into the half marathon run, and wishing I had the other shoes.  ouch.

I hit the turnaround point on the run with some enthusiasm, as I had passed the people already who were faster bikers than me but slower runners.  Now typically for me, about 5 miles into the run of a half iron triathlon my legs try to separate themselves forcefully from the rest of my body.  They decide they don't want to participate any more and it brings a kind of pain and suffering that is unmatched outside of that distance.  7 miles in and my legs are feeling ok today.  Feet are starting to hurt but overall, not too bad.

Mile 8 is still ok.

Mile 9 is back on the roads, still no walking, and the pain is starting to get past "comfortable" levels.  This holds through mile 10.

By mile 11 I'm gassed.  the battery is running low.  There is lots of walking.  Suddenly I can't lift my arms over my head anymore (not good for a swimmer).  Kind of barfy feeling too.  Ah, not cool.

The last mile is all inside of the airport.  By this point there are flags out on the field and I'm only running one flag at a time.  The Triathlon Is Stupid Committee has a quorum going in my head and I don't know why I keep doing this to myself.  Don't puke, only 200 yards to free beer.

chugging into the finish

Finish: 6:00:19, goal < 6 hours
I had no idea I was that close to breaking 6 hours.  The goals for all of my half ironmans is to go sub 3 on the bike and sub 6 overall.  So close!
Thank God that's over with

That's what happiness looks like.  Kelley was waiting at the finish line with my mom and the kids.  So great to have them all there cheering me in.  That was mom's first time coming out to a long race!  I was so glad to be done and so grateful to have that much support waiting on me at the finish line.  One cool thing happened with about a hundred yards left to go one of the aide station volunteers called out "Look at Carolina John go"!  So cool, I don't usually get recognized.  Thanks man!

The Beach aftwards
The after-race festivities included a BBQ sandwich and fries, Shock Top beer, water in a can, and pre-bagged pb & j's.  Very strange.  But still a cool environment.

After a shower and some more eats, we took off for the beach.  Check this out:

What an amazing trip!  I got my fourth half-iron in the books

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

That was a magnificent mile!

Last weekend was the Magnificent Mile in Raleigh, we both got to kick a little ass out there.  I pulled a great 6:21, which is a default PR since it's the first one mile race I've done since high school.  Kelley's goal was to break 10 minutes, and she ran an 8:41, absolutely smashing her expectations.

My goal was really to break 6 minutes, since back in high school (20 years and 50 lbs ago) I ran on the track team and logged a mile at every meet between 5:50 and 6:10.  This race started at the Second Empire restaurant, which sponsors the Grand Prix series that we run in.  From the restaurant, the course just goes around the capital building and back.  They had a clock at the halfway point (back side of the capital building), and it read 2:59 when I got there.  So I knew I was on pace to break 6, but it was going to be tough.  It was going to take a negative split.  I put up a nice positive split instead, finishing in 6:21. 

That's still pretty dang fast.  I only ran the mile on the track team my freshman year of high school, which was the 1989-90 school year.  So it's been 23 years and I've only lost 11 seconds off of my time?  Acceptable.

The other thing we discovered is that Bigun has a preference for taking self-portraits.  She loves the camera, and she dropped it and broke it while we were walking back to the car.  So now I have to come up with a new small camera.  But she still got these shots while we were there:

First self-portrait of the day

Me and the girls before the race

Evil Genius has some serious dance moves

another self-portrait

Seriously, she got a bunch of these

In the crowds at the starting line

Kelley and Bigun sharing the love

And we're off!  Mass start on a sloped road

a self shot and trying to give mommy bunny ears?  Seems her reach is longer than her arms.

At the finish line.  That kid right in front of me had the same shirt and I was trying to catch his little tail for the entire second half

Daddy's number one job?  Keep them off of the pole!

Really girls, stay off of the pole.

I'm actually trying to have a conversation with the guy in the white shirt behind me.  He's the team lead for our Tuna Run Relay team.

Self portrait family style.

Then she did take one just the two of us.  Lena also said in the car that she liked how my muscles have lumps in them.  I hope that's not a sign that she's going to marry a construction worker or some kind of redneck.

Kelley's ready to run!

Got an action shot of her!

Girls dancing at the finish line

She finished waaaay faster than expected!  Great job girl!

Right after she finished.  This is what happy looks like.
Happy about the results

And of course, Bigun had to get another self portrait with the finish line in the background.
It was a great race, and we all had a great time downtown.  Right now I'm working really long days while Kelley and the kids are already in the outer banks enjoying our family vacation.  Loving the new job overall but I must admit I would rather be down there with them already.  My mom is coming here, then we are heading down thursday night.  Plenty of time to get acclimated and ready for the OBX half ironman this weekend!  Last triathlon of the year and my fourth half.  Can't wait!