Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Eight Years Old

It was eight years ago that I became a father for the first time.  My oldest daughter, "The Diva" turned 8 years old today.  "The Diva" started the day not feeling all that special, probably very tired from the past few days, a virtual endless Christmas.  She is happy that her birthday is here because she knows that she will be getting presents tonight once my wife gets home from work.  "The Diva" is feeling very entitled today, as though everyone should bow down to her and cater to her every whim.  "The Diva" is in for a rude awakening.  "The Diva" needs to understand that it is her birthday and that she hasn't been named Queen of the household.  It will be a good day once we are all on the same page. 

So, it is just past 11:00AM and I need to get some things started.  I can not just sit around the house all day while the girls watch Scooby Doo cartoons all day.  It would be good to take them ice skating or maybe over to the rock climbing gym, but with my little one (5 years old) not quite "there" yet, neither option is a possibility.  Hmmm, now what?  We need to get out of the house; we have been stuck in here for the past two days and we need to get out and get some fresh air.  Maybe we'll just head into town and walk around for a bit before getting lunch. 

Anyway, back to me and the theme of this blog....triathlon training.  First and foremost, my training has slipped big time now that the holidays are here.  I have been pigging out on chocolate cookies and taking plenty of seconds at the dinner table.  I have packed on a solid 13 - 15 lbs since IM Arizona and I am disgusted with myself.  I haven't really found anytime to get out to run over the past five days and have only made it on to the trainer two or three times.  Swimming hasn't happened since last Thursday.  I had to be one of those New Years Resolution-types, but I think January 1st is going to be the day that I kick my training back into gear. 

I am kind of jumping around here....sorry....but this does tie in with the above.  For Christmas my wife got me two great books:
  1. Strength Training for Triathletes
  2. Training Plans for Multisport Athletes
I am looking to increase my strength this coming year, but no necessarily get bigger.  I also am looking to increase my bike considerably and also be able to run faster off of the bike for the longer events.  Of course, I need to keep swimming and improve there where ever possible.  I really need to take a few minutes and really lay out my race year and put together a solid training program.  I want to capitalize on the successes I had in 2010 and use them to drive me in 2011.

Time to get back to the girls!  Cheers!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays

Two days before Christmas and things are looking up.  My wife has done a great job of preparing for the big day, I have just about everything done on my end and the long awaiting job stuff is close to being resolved (more to report in the next week or so I hope).

This is just a quick post since I'm not sure when I will post again.  My legs are feeling good, having just gotten done running around 6.4 miles.  My swim stroke is finally coming back after a few weeks of losing it.  All else is good with the world.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

On the Mend

My once daily blog, became a four day a week blog and is now a weekly blog.  Amazing how things gain and lose importance so quickly. 

First things first, it has been 32 days since I completed Ironman Arizona and I am feeling good.  I have begun to get back into the swing of things, swimming a couple days a week (albeit only ~1,000m at a time), running three days a week and riding the trainer one or two days a week.  I am definitely taking it easy and you can see it on me (additional 10 lbs of mass added to my already "athletic" figure).  As great as it has been to not have to follow a rigid training schedule, I think it is time to get back on one.  I do miss the structure and need to have a plan.

I had originally hoped to do an Ironman 70.3 race in San Juan, Puerto Rico in March 2011, but I don't think that is in the cards right now.  The expenses would be a bit too high at the present and with job stuff still up in the air, it wouldn't be a smart trip to take.  Damn!  I really wanted to do that race and make a nice vacation out of it.

So it looks like I am going to be focusing on the UNITE Half Marathon at Rutgers University.  I did this race last year and set a PR despite being hit with back spasms the week before and having to go with no training for the better part of a week leading up to it.  I am hoping to get somewhere close to 1:30:00, that is if my legs are capable of running so fast for such a distance.  The training for the race will begin on January 1, 2011!

Now I move onto some specifics about my current injuries.  I did go to my sports doctor on Monday and he didn't seem to all to concerned about my pain.  He attributed it to going from training for triathlons, basically unilateral movements and then going and doing multilateral activity (soccer) without any training.  He worked out my hip flexors pretty well and told me that I can start playing again.  Funny how my right leg feels fine right now, but the night of the injuries, that is the leg that was giving me the most pain.  Now my left leg is the one with the residual discomfort and even numbness on the outside of my thigh.  He said it could take a couple weeks/months before it feels normal.

So that is pretty much it for now.  Christmas is three days away and I am excited to spend it with my wife and kids.  Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Too Soon

Well, let's see, what the heck has happened to me over the past week or so.  I begin with Tuesday evening, feeling super great after a solid four mile run where I had no pain or soreness in my legs, I was asked to play indoor soccer at 10:40PM that night.  Heck yeah, count me in.  Well, it all started out great, I scored on my first touch of the ball, a beautiful left footed shot to the lower right corner of the goal.  About 15 minutes later as I was sprinting back on defense I felt a twinge in my left quadriceps muscle, like a rubber band had snapped.  I literally thought that someone had kicked me or hit me in my leg.  I kept playing thinking nothing of it.  Then with around 15 minutes left in the game, I lined up a shot with my right foot, miss hit it and BAM!, a pain in my right quadriceps.  It felt like I strained a muscle or possibly pulled it.  Ugh, not a good night.

I spend the rest of the week taking it easy, knowing that it was probably too soon to get back into my post-Ironman routine or rather starting to do the things that I put off doing because of Ironman training.  It is a week after that night and I am feeling much better but I am definitely out of soccer action for at least a few weeks as I need to let me hip flexors recover (self diagnosis based on experience and the Internet).  I will be seeing my sports doc later on this week for a confirmation and some treatment.  I guess I was extremely optimistic to think that two weeks after putting my body through the toughest of tests, it would be ready to handle a 4 mile run and then a 50 minute indoor soccer game.  I should be sticking with one session a day with very moderate activity.

As for the rest of the week, I took it easy.  There was no running, biking or swimming at all.  That was the good news.  The bad news is that I am still eating like I am in full on training mode and I think I have packed on 10 lbs since November 21st.  Not a good thing, but then again I guess I have earned the right to pig out and eat bacon cheeseburgers whenever I want to....at least for a little while longer.

Sunday I decided to try getting on the bike.  I was nervous about my hip flexors, but everything went pretty well.  I felt very good, not uncomfortable at all.  As for my fitness, well I have definitely lost a bit; however, I still felt solid riding, keeping a high cadence and decent speed for the trainer.

This week I have been trying to get back into running.  Monday I did around 4 miles at a very easy pace, gauging how my quads were feeling.  Still a bit tight, but they loosened up considerably by the time we were done.  I started out today with a trip to the gym and a very quick 600m in the pool  That was all I wanted to do, so that was all I did.  I hit the weights for a bit before heading to work.  My lunch time was spent putting in an easy 4 mile run, which felt much better than Monday, I definitely felt looser.  I am still a bit concerned about my left thigh as it just doesn't feel right.  As I said above, a visit to my doc is definitely in order for Thursday or Friday.

That is about all for now.  I'm still trying to figure out what to do with myself on the weekends now that I'm not training.  My wife has been great, letting me sleep in a bit and not keeping me too busy with chores that went undone for the past 10 months.  Of course I am finally able to do all of the family things that I missed during the "training".  Life is good...but of course I am anxious to get back to training for something because I do not like this extra weight I have put one...it has arrived too soon!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fat Tuesday

I have a feeling that postings here are going to be less and less frequent.  It isn't that I don't have a lot to say, it is more about the fact that the intention of this blog was to track my journey to my first Ironman.  I have a few things planned for 2011, but nothing of the magnitude of what I did in 2010.  There will be a couple half marathons, a bunch of triathlons and most definitely a half iron distance event at the end of the season.  There just isn't that BIG event that I am used to having.  I guess I will just have to make the half iron distance race my BIG event.

So here I sit typing away and I feel fat.  Yeah, I am about 16 days out from Ironman Arizona and I feel like I have put on a solid 15 pounds.  The reality is that I have definitely put on some weight, probably around 7 lbs, but I feel like a fat slob.  I haven't done anything the past two weekends that resembles exercise.  I have had intentions of doing something but it never materialized.  I have gotten advice from some Ironman veterans (Thor and Scott), basically I should do what I want to do, what I feel like doing, and not what I feel obligated to do.  If I am going to run or bike or swim, it should be because I want to and I should make it fun.  That is a tall order because honestly, I really don't like running all that much and it is too friggin' cold out to get in a outdoor ride these days.  Swimming, well, I want to swim just because I don't want to start at square one again like I do every season.  I want to maintain some swim fitness and build on it come 2011.

So what have I been doing the past few days?  Like I said above, I didn't do anything this weekend aside from spend some quality time with the family.  We got our Christmas tree on Saturday which excited the women of the house to no end.  Sunday was tree decorating which I left to my lovely wife....I watch football all day in the basement, my sanctuary.  I did have ambitions of getting on my bike, but I don't think it got above 35F all day.  I did make the decision to start getting back in the groove on Monday and that is exactly what I did.  Monday I was up at 5:00AM and I hit the gym.  I did an easy 1,000m swim (it was tough), lifted some weights (I am hurting from that) and chatted with some friends about my Ironman (I hadn't been to the gym in a while).  I followed the morning work out up with an evening run when I got home from work with my dog.  Today I bailed on the gym and did a solid 4 mile run at work (31:13, 7:47/mile pace).

I am feeling a lot better and want to maintain the level of fitness that I am at.  I also want to lose my post Ironman fat and get to a better weight for me so that I can be more competitive in my future races.  I really need to put together an off-season list of goals and a 2011 race schedule.  Maybe for my next post.  That is it for now.  Cheers!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ten Days Later

It has been ten days since I finished my Ironman adventure and truth is I really don't feel any different having completed it.  I'm not saying that I expected to turn into some sort of superhero or for the achievement to bring me to some higher level of enlightenment.  I guess I thought that it would have had a bigger impact on me than it has. 

Once I crossed the finish line I was happy, really happy, but I didn't have that moment that I experienced when I've finished marathons.  The one where I get really emotional and within a split second I see everything that got me to that point and a surge of emotion washes over me leaving me sobbing like a fool.  After Ironman Arizona, I was psyched, elated, and excited to spend the time with my family and to talk about it all with them, but I never shed a tear.

Now as I sit here typing I'm still not sure what I should feel.  I am proud of what I achieved, heck everyone tells me that a 12:07:04 for a "first" Ironman is great.  I think it is pretty great too, but the competitor in me isn't content with that time, I know that I can do better and that I should have done better (and that's not because Skip beat me).  Maybe that's what is driving my inability to accept that it is all over, maybe I don't consider the journey complete yet.  I should state here right now, in case my wonderful and amazing wife happens to read this (which she doesn't do all that often), I have absolutely no intentions of doing an Ironman in 2011.  She made so many sacrifices for me over the past year that it would be completely and utterly selfish of me to ask her to do it again so soon after. 

I guess I will just have to keep the fire burning inside and somewhere down the road, when the time is right, get back out there and try to beat that 12:07:04.  It might be in 2012 or it might be in 2020, who knows, but I don't think I am done with this Ironman thing just yet.

I have finally gotten back in to training  this week.  I went out for an easy 4 miles on Tuesday with my friend Bill.  I felt great, like I could have gone faster and farther.  With that said, on my way home from work, my body sternly told me that it wasn't quite ready for such activity just yet.  My lower back was really sore and on the verge of full on spasms.  Yesterday I felt better and did 3.5 miles with Chris, this time at a bit of a slower pace in a nice rain storm.  My back was a little sore, but not debilitating.  I'm not going to run today, but I might try a short swim after work if time permits.  I can't believe that I haven't been in the water in a week and a half (since IMAZ in Tempe Town Lake).


Saturday, November 27, 2010

IMAZ - Post-Race

It’s been six days since I finished Ironman Arizona. It wasn’t until Tuesday afternoon that I finally had my first emotional moment, the moment at which I think I finally understood everything that had occurred on Sunday, November 21st. Three of my friends from work invited me out for lunch. I walked down to Chris’s office and knocked on his door. He slowly turned around, stood up, walked over to me, shook my hand and gave me a hug, not saying a word. It was at that exact moment that it all hit me, like a tsunami. Holy crap, I just completed an Ironman. I was able to keep it together, but it was tough. Through the entire lunch I could have broken down and cried at any moment. I was a mess. On my drive home from work that day I started to cry in my car, overcome with so much emotion that I had suppressed over the previous few days.

I have thought about why this has happened and I keep coming up to the same answer. I was just so focused on the task in front of me that I just blocked everything out. There were times on the bike and run where I was a bit emotional after seeing my family but I refocused and made sure I was concentrating on the task. Even as I crossed the finish line I thought I would have broken down and cried, but I didn’t. I was more happy to be done than anything, actually wishing that I had taken my time and soaked it all in.

So as I sit her a week after, I can say that my Ironman experience was an amazing one, but I kind of wish that I enjoyed it more. Granted I did enjoy the bike, trying to joke and converse briefly with the other competitors as we pounded our way through the wind and rain. When I got to the run, it was much lonelier than I expected. There wasn’t any conversation or joking, everyone (me included) was in survival mode and wanted to just finish. That last 100 meters, I wish I would have taken my time and found my family and truly shared the moment with them.

How I am Physically
  • Monday - Sore but was busy running around getting my bike ready to be shipped, buying too much at the Ironman Store, packing for my flight home and then flying home.
  • Tuesday - Back at work and really sore and tired.  I only had 4.5 hours of sleep and I paid for it.
  • Wednesday - My legs felt a lot better but I still wasn't right
  • Thursday - The first day that I felt no pain.  I played a round of golf, walked the course.  I was sore afterwards.
  • Friday - Felt fine wanted to go running but didn't have time.
  • Saturday - Felt great, went out for an 18 minute run with my dog.  I am excited to start training again, albeit on a lesser scale.

My Performance
I am very happy with my performance, despite not meeting my “B” Goal of under 12 hours. Considering the variable conditions on the bike, I am OK with the 5:55:30. I think if the wind had stayed constant on the last loop of the bike I could have cut about ten minutes off of my bike time and saved a bit of energy in the process. Ideally that would have translated into a bit more strength on the run and a better run time. As for the swim, I would have liked to of been closer to 1:10:00, but I was just in a bad place and the water was really cold. To be honest, I was happy to of survived the swim and gotten out of the water feeling as fresh as I did. I am good with all of my splits and my overall result.

My Next Ironman
If you had asked me a week before the race if I would want to do one again in a year or two, deep down I would have said yes. I didn’t tell anyone this, I kept it to myself. Now a week later, I ask myself the same question and the answer is different and more complicated. Do I want to do another one? Yes, I do. Do I want to do it next year? No, I want to spend time doing the things I sacrificed over the past year. I want to dedicate myself more to my wife and children. I want to dedicate myself to work and to finding a new job. I want to go mountain biking, I want to play soccer, I want to play golf, I want to do all of the things I gave up in order to concentrate on Ironman training. I want to have fun and not be so tied to a training schedule.

So when will I do another Ironman? I think I will; I am a competitor and I really want to better my time. It might be in two years or it might be in ten years. I just don’t know right now. I want to be there for my family right now and for my daughters as they get more involved in sports and other activities, just as my parents were there for me when I was growing up. When I think the time is right I will talk it over with my wife and children and we will make the decision together.

Final Thoughts
My Ironman experience wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t have such amazing support. My wife was more than fantastic, she made it all possible. My daughters were nothing short of spectacular with their hugs and kisses and never making me feel guilty about not being around. My parents were always inquiring about how I was feeling and telling me how proud they were of me. On race day I had a huge contingent of family there that gave me a boost when I needed it most. I will never underestimate the influence that my family and friends had on my Ironman journey. I am very lucky.

Friday, November 26, 2010

IMAZ - T2 & The Run

“Pee2”...err T2
A volunteer immediately grabbed my bike from me and I was handed my run bag (amazing), all without missing a beat. I jogged over to the men’s changing tent and immediately hit my faithful urinal tent to relieve myself. As was the case in T1, I peed for what seemed like an eternity, probably a good two minutes. After I was done I ran out, grabbed a seat and began to change into my running gear. Honestly, it went so fast, I thought I had missed something. Helmet off, running shoes on, visor on, sunglasses back on, fuel belt on and off I went. I declined the sun block this time…I don’t think the girls noticed (shucks!). T2 time: 3:25

The Run
The first mile was a blur, it went very quickly and in hindsight probably too quickly. My first mile was done in 8:36. The next three miles were all done in less than 9:00/mile pace; much faster that I really wanted to go and despite my best efforts I wasn’t able to slow down enough. It was at this point that I thought to myself that a four marathon was a distinct possibility. My legs felt good, my breathing was even, nutrition seemed to be spot on; I was ready. Heck, even as I went past the Ford Motivation sign, I saw my number and name pop up with a message that read, “Good Job Jamie”…my wife told me that it was my brother-in-law Jeff that did that (Thanks Jeff!!!). Through eight miles, there was only had one real bad mile, mile 6 was 9:52, there was a bit of a hill which slowed me down considerably. I just chalked it up to a need to go a bit slower, to take it easy and past myself for the rest of the run. The next mile was a bit downhill and then flat, and I managed to run it in 9:15.

Mile nine is where everything started to drop off considerably. It was run west along the lake and right past the finish line where the crowds were thick and I could hear Mike Reilly announcing Ironmen every so often. It is also where you reach a fork in the road with two signs, the one on the left read, “To the Finish” with an arrow pointing to head left and the one on the right reads, “For Lap 1, Lap2, and Lap 3” with an arrow pointing straight ahead. I had two more laps to go and I was not looking forward to it.

With each mile my splits got slower and slower and my stomach began to feel worse and worse. I could no longer eat Clif Shot Bloks as they were making my teeth hurt and they didn’t feel so good when they reached my stomach. Gatorade was having the same effect on me, just not a good thing. I started to feel bloated and sick, then I would pass some gas and I would feel so much better. This went on for about two or three miles. I struggled to think of a solution. It was then that I recalled an article or a passage in a book that suggested not taking anything “solid”, i.e. Shot Bloks, on the run of an Ironman as they are more difficult to digest. I began to take Powerbar Gel (Vanilla) and switched from Gatorade to Coke. Viola! That fixed me, no more gas or uncomfortability.

So, it was mile 10 and my stomach was good. A four hour marathon was not a possibility anymore, but if I could run a 4:15 marathon I would easily finish in under 12 hours. That was my new goal…if only I could have found a way to convince my legs of this new plan. I think they had decided that they were OK with just taking their time sauntering to the finish line. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t get them to go any faster than they were. What surprised me most was that even thought I felt like I was working so hard my heart rate was right at the top of Zone 1/bottom of Zone 2. I was just running out of fuel I guess.

Lap two was a struggle and I was bummed that I hadn’t seen my family at all during the entire run. As I came over the Mill Rd. Bridge I hear someone yell “Jamie”, but I didn’t think anything of it, I had passed a Jamie on the bike and there had to be other Jamie’s doing the race. The course wraps back around transition at this point and as I was running down the grassy path I saw them, my family was lined up along the fences and they were yelling crazily for me. Even thought I felt like absolute crap, I was happy to see them. I felt like it had been hours since I last saw them on the bike course…actually it had been hours, I guess I was spoiled earlier on during the bike.

After seeing them I hit my run special needs bag and grabbed my arm warmers since it was getting cooler out. This was about midway through the run and it was by far my slowest mile to that point (11:40). The remainder of the lap is a bit of a blur. I know that there was a lot of walking, a lot of shuffling and not a lot of “running”. My quads were killing me and I just couldn’t get them to move as fast as I wanted them to. Despite how much I had slowed I still though a 4:20 marathon was in the cards, until I passed by that dang fork in the road again and I kind of hit the wall.

The last and final lap was tough. It was tough because at this point I knew where every single turn was, where each aid station was, where the uphills were and the downhills. There were no surprises left. I tried to convince myself that I could run the remaining 8.8 or so miles without walking. That didn’t last very long. At the 20 mile mark I told myself that I could run that last 10K, nope, just didn’t happen. That entire last lap I did everything mentally that I could think of to get my ass in gear but it just didn’t work.

With four miles left it started to rain again, SERIOUSLY?! I just laughed and made my way up the last hill. It probably wasn’t until I had about two miles left that I had a great moment and it came in the form a little farting Hispanic male as I crossed over the Rural Rd. Bridge. Every step he took he let one slip and it was like this over the entire length of the bridge. I was hysterical and it was exactly what I needed to finish. I wasn’t able to put the pedal to the metal, but I picked up the pace a bit and was psyched to be running along the lake again. The finish was so close.

I could see the Mill Rd. Bridge in the distance and I knew once I hit that I was there. All I wanted was to be done at that point, I picked up the pace and passed a few people. I reached the bridge and I could hear the crowds, I could see the crowds, and at long last I could see that sign that signaled it was my turn to go to the left and finish. As I made my way along that last 300 – 400 meters a young girl passes me and then a guy passed me…I didn’t care, let them go ahead and have their moment. Then as I got closer and the noise and lights grew, I could feel my feet move faster and faster. I passed the guy, but not because I wanted to, it was because I couldn’t slow down. I had thought over the last ten miles what I was going to do when I finished but any ideas went right out the window once I saw the finish line. I was in the final stretch; I could see the end. I started to clap and then just started punching the air. As I approached the finish line I put both hands into the air as though I had just won the race. I was ecstatic! I had finished my first Ironman and then I heard it, the one thing that every Ironman finisher longs to hear,

“Jamie Watson from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”

Run Stats: 4:32:00

And like that it was over, 12 hours, 7 minutes and 4 seconds.


I thought that I would cry when I finished. I thought that when I saw my family I would be a ball of tears. I thought that I would be an emotional mess having realized what I had accomplished. I was definitely out of it, but more than anything I was happy to be done. There were no tears, but rather a lot of smiles when I saw my wife and kids, my parents, my sister and her family. I was just so happy to see everyone and to be done with the race.

IMAZ - The Bike

1st Loop
I was so happy to be on my bike. I must have had the biggest smile on my face, just elated to pedaling away with 1/3rd of my Ironman done. About 300 yards into the bike, riding out of race central I got a surprise, there to my right side was my brother-in-law Jeff and my niece Georgia. Then I saw my wife and daughters, cheering madly for me, followed by the rest of my support crew: my parents, sister, other niece and nephew, and Aunt’s and Uncle’s. I got teary eyed, I was so overcome by emotion, finally seeing my family and hearing them screaming for me. I ended up riding that emotion for the first ten miles; it just flew by so quickly.

I did encounter one problem early on in the bike. While I was reaching for a sleeve of Shot Bloks I accidentally dropped a full sleeve from my rear pocket. Initially I thought it was the apple pie I had packed but found out later on that it was in fact necessary fuel. DAMN!!!

The first loop on the bike was pretty uneventful; I was going at a pretty good pace, and I felt really good. There was a cross wind for most of the ride out, coming from the southeast, which translated to a very mild push up the Beeline Highway. Before I knew anything I was up to Gilbert Rd. and I was passing people at a regular rate, while being passed by only a few. My father had mentioned that he was going to try and make it up there to see me on my way north, but no family members were there. It didn’t faze me, I just kept going. It was awesome to see the pros go flying by on the other side of the road; I did my best to scream for Jordan Rapp, Chris Lieto, and Chrissie Wellington, although my shouts weren’t all that boisterous.

The “hill” to the turnaround was inconsequential and I quickly looked to fly back down to Tempe. Well, unfortunately that wasn’t going to be since the wind which helped me up the Beeline was now going to restrict my progress back to town. I was able to maintain a solid 20 – 21 MPH on the downhill, into the wind, quite less than the much talked about 27 – 30MPH that was advertised. No worries, I just did my best to keep my heart rate low and my cadence up.

As I approached Gilbert Rd. again I looked to my left and saw a group of people crossing the street….it was my family! By some stroke of luck, they had just arrived at the intersection as I was passing by. I think I saw my Aunt Dot (Super Aunt Dot to my daughters) first and then my wife and daughters. I was so great to see them and it put a perma-grin on my face for the next 30 minutes.

Soon after I passed my family, I reached another iamtri.com friend, Alexis. I chatted with her for a minute or two as we rode and she told me that the wind would probably change on later on. She was really confused about the weather so far that day; it was definitely not typical of Arizona. It was time for me to move on, so I told her good luck and I rode on. The rest of that loop wasn’t too bad, although the wind was increasing a bit and was in my face for most of the last 8 – 10 miles. I concentrated on taking on fluids (Gatorade) and fuel (Clif Shot Bloks). I was constantly drinking and every 30 minutes I was eating three Bloks.

2nd Loop
The start of the second loop was insane, there were people everywhere screaming and cheering everyone on. It was a solid two or three miles of spirit-raising, ego-boosting, adrenaline-pumping, pure energy. I felt like a superstar, AWESOME!!!

Back to normal then a few miles later, still passing lots of people, not much in the way of crowds, but I was feeling great. At one turn I hear someone call out my name, it was my Uncle Michael who had driven in from California. I gave him a shout and a wave…man was I lucky. A few miles up the road I saw my family again, I remember my wife screaming, “You look great!” Again, I was so lucky.

It was around midway through my second lap that I started to feel the need to pee again. I heard about people peeing on their bikes and I thought, “Why not?” Well, easier said than done. I just couldn’t do it; I mean I physically couldn’t do it. I tried and tried but it just wasn’t happening…DANG! After the turn around at the top of the Beeline I was going to stop but didn’t. That meant I would have to wait for the halfway point of the race. It was at this point that the Gods decided to play a cruel joke on all of us racing that day. It started to rain…it rained during Ironman Arizona in the middle of the Sonora Desert. Are you kidding me? It lasted for about 15 minutes and it wasn’t a downpour, but it did add to the craziness of the race.

Finally, I reached Gilbert Rd and a bathroom. I had to wait for someone ahead of me (add 2 minutes which felt like 20), then I went (add 2 minutes which felt like 20), and finally got out of there. Oops, time to stop by “Special Needs” and refill all of my bottles. Another break that felt like forever but probably only took two or three minutes. Finally I was on my way and about halfway done.

I checked my watch and noticed that it said I was in “T2”…that wasn’t right. I must have hit the lap button my mistake while at Special Needs. Ugh, I had to reset the “Multisport” mode, which wasn’t necessarily a big problem because I was able to sync up my heart rate monitor. The one bad thing was that I had to figure out about how much farther I had left on the bike since my watch now read mile zero. I didn’t let it affect me, instead I just kept riding and if anything it gave me something to think about for the remaining 40 miles or so.

I think I saw my family again around this point which was a total shock. I thought they were going to go to some funplex place or something like that. It will probably sound redundant but after seeing them, well it was like getting a shot of adrenaline. I also think it started to rain again after seeing them which was not really comical anymore; it was getting annoying and making the roads a bit slick. The winds were still steady and strong making the end of loop number two tough. The crowds were undeterred though and kept screaming for all of us athletes.

3rd Loop
Alright 38 miles to go and then it would be time for the run. The wind was picking up and I was really flying heading out of Tempe. Things were going well, I was hydrated and my energy was high as I continued to pass people all the way up the Beeline Highway. At the far turnaround I could feel that wind had changed and this time it was coming right at us and it was howling. The last 15 miles or so were going to be tough so I went to an easier gear and raised my cadence. I just plugged along, continuing to drink Gatorade and down Clif Shot Bloks (which at this point were making my teeth hurt….all of the sugar I suppose). About ten miles from the end of the bike I saw my family for the final time and I recall looking right at my wife who was holding my youngest and saying, “What is up with the wind?” Just then I made a right turn, leaving everyone behind, and before me looked like a hurricane. The wind immediately picked up, tumble weeds were blowing across the road and visibility dropped considerably. Then it hit me, the rain, the sand….the wind; I went from ~18 MPH down to 10 MPH in an instant. I had to fight through this for the next three or four miles, just trying to get finished with this damn bike.

Just as I was about to go over Tempe Town Lake and ride the final two miles or so the wind shifted again, this time blowing from the west. This was not a good thing, I would have to ride the last few miles directly into the wind….what a way to wrap up a 112 mile bike ride. The crowds were still pumping and I was able to finish with a smile on my face, mainly because I was happy to get off of that damn bike.

I am certain that if the weather hadn’t been so crazy I could have ridden close to a 5:30:00 leg. I felt like I was just working so hard at the end of the ride and pretty much every time I was close to the lake. I hoped that it wouldn’t affect me on the run. Final Bike time: 5:55:15, 18.92MPH

IMAZ - "Pee1"...err T1

As I write everything down from my race I am realizing that I have a lot to say, so I am going to be braking this down in to much easier to digest segments.  Unfortunately my time in T1 is next and it deserves a post of its own, after all I was there for over 13 minutes.  

First thoughts about T1, I have thought about and rethought about what the heck I was doing during T1 but it doesn’t add up. My time would lead one to believe that I took a nap or maybe had a food massage prior to the run. Hopefully by writing everything down I will be able to figure where the time went.

Finally I am on solid ground and I step on the timing mat, thus starting my T1 experience. The first thing I do is unzip my wetsuit down to my waist and then I seek out a wetsuit stripper. I find one, next thing I know I am on my back and whoosh! my wetsuit is off, then I am standing with wetsuit in my arms and I am running/shuffling to get my T1 bag.

I followed the masses, around the change tent to the piles of white bags. A volunteer yells out my number and there, almost magically in my hand is my T1 bag (amazing how efficient the process is).  I continue toward the change tent and am then my bladder reminds of how badly I have to pee.  I see a port-a-pottie and I head directly for it, despite the moderate line, which I assume I have to wait in. I stood there for about two minutes before I realized directly to my right was a urinal tent for men. SO STUPID!!!  I head in there and proceed to pee for the next two to three minutes, frankly I am still amazed at how long I was standing there going. I think that I wasted a minimum of six minutes either waiting to pee or actually peeing.  On a positive note, I did have a nice brief conversation with a fellow athlete as we both raced to empty our extremely full bladders.

Finally done with "my business", I headed into the change tent and tried to focus on getting my cycling gear on, but it was slow going, I just couldn’t concentrate. I wasn’t able to find an open chair so I was just stood there trying to get my socks and shoes on, sunglasses and helmet, arm warmers, etc.  Also, I had to jam all of my Clif Shot Bloks into my jersey, along with my inhaler (should I need it). I should mention also that I was still freezing from the swim and the temperature in the tent was helping to warm me up, so subconsciously I guess I was in no hurry to exit.  Finally I was geared up and made my way out of the tent…where I was immediately asked if I wanted sun block by some nice young girls. I said yes and was told, with a few giggles, “We’ll put sun block where ever you want it.”  A 39 year old man, husband and father of two interprets this as flirting.  In reality, the 18 year old girls are most likely trying to make the best out of a pretty disgusting job.

I run the bike rack maze to find my bike in row “16”, which I had wrote on my forearm.  Of course a volunteer tells me “this row, row 18”, where I had to correct him and say, “No, I’m in Row 16!”. Ugh, my bike was all the way at the end of the row which added to my time. Finally I grabbed my ride, ran her out of the bike pen, and found the mount line.  The ride was about to begin and my coffee break like transition was finally over.  T1 Time: 13:06

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

IMAZ - Pre-Race & The Swim

Waking Up
It was 3:15 and I was lying in bed looking up at the ceiling, watching the ceiling fan spin around and around. I closed my eyes and the next thing I heard was my alarm going off; it was 4:00AM and my day was about to start. I took a deep breath, climbed out of bed, and headed to the bathroom to get dressed (my pseudo early-AM dressing room). Once dressed, I went into the kitchen and had a bowl of cereal, a banana and a bottle of Gatorade. I sat there not really thinking about anything in particular, just that I needed to make sure I ate breakfast. I did worry that I might eat too little or too much. Around 4:30AM my father came in, he would be driving me to the start, and asked me if I was ready. I didn’t really have an answer, except to say that I better be.

At 4:50AM we were on the way to Tempe and surprisingly I felt very calm and at ease. My father and I talked about what he would be doing after dropping me off and how he and the rest of my family were planning to attack the bike and run course to try and see me. The ride went far too quickly for me, I wish that I could have spend a bit more time talking with my Dad. Before I left him, he gave me a big hug and told me how proud he was of my….it meant the world to me. And with that we said goodbye and I walked into the Ironman Village, ready to begin my journey.

It was 5:15AM and I still had to take care of the last minute things that come with doing a race this size. First thing was to load my bike with all of my liquid fuel and make sure my tires were pumped up. Next was to drop off my “Special Needs” bags in their respective places. I really didn’t have all that much in the bags, just some extra Gatorade, Clif Shot Bloks, arm warmers (i.e. soccer socks with the toes cut off) and emergency gear (extra CO2 cartridges in the bike bag). Once that was all done I had my body marking done which took all of 30 seconds (Note: Earlier in the week body marking was being done in the Village and participants were waiting 15 – 30 minutes to get it done…crazy). Of course there were the multiple bathroom visits that I and the rest of the athletes had to deal with, the result of constant hydrating and nerves I suppose.

Once all of that was done, I was just chilling out next to my bike soaking up the atmosphere.  I then realized that I forgot to tell my father one last thing. I quickly called him up and wished him a Happy Birthday, yes Ironman Arizona just happened to take place on his birthday this year. After the call I decided to get all Body-Glide’d up and put on my wetsuit, it was around 6:30AM and we were a mere 30 minutes away from the start.

The next 30 minutes went by in a flash. I felt like one minute I was zipping up my wetsuit and the next I was standing on the edge of Tempe Town Lake ready to drop into the water like a penguin dropping off of an ice shelf. I did manage to run into an iamtri.com friend, Rich. He probably didn’t know it at the time, but the five minute conversation we had really helped take my mind of everything, alleviating a lot of my nervousness. Then the time came to jump into the water, the frigid 61F water. I took a deep breath and in I went. Surprisingly, it felt a lot better than the day before; maybe it was the fact that I coated my arms, cheeks and face with Body Glide. I made my way to the swim start and waited patiently for the cannon to start us off. There was one slight issue…I forgot to remove my wedding band and I didn’t know what to do with it. It was too late to try and jam it into my tri shorts and I worried if I put it into my swim cap I might forget about it. I kept it on my finger and would just have to make sure I didn’t lose it.

The Swim
BOOM! The cannon sounded and we were off. Initially it was a bit crowded and I feared that I was a bit too far forward as I was getting swum over a bit. After about five minutes everything seemed to settle down a bit and I actually had some clear water to swim in. The next 1,000m or so was smooth sailing aside from the occasional bump or brush with a fellow swimmer. I was feeling confident and strong. I would occasional take my left thumb and make sure my ring was still on my finger…it was a nice reminder of my wife as I pressed forward.

The swim got bad right as we approached the Rural Avenue Bridge. There was a buoy on the other side of it and everyone was making a beeline for it, basically converging to the same spot in the lake. It was hear that the hay makers began to fly and the body slams began (and not by me). Repeatedly I was punched in the right shoulder and in the back of the head, I concentrated on not getting held under the water. Someone swam in front of me and I received a swift kick just to the right of my nose. The Ironman beatings had begun and I was the one receiving the punishment. This would last until the first turn buoy, about 300m in total. Once I made the turn, I stayed right and avoided all contact until the end of the swim. Did I swim a little farther than I should have? Probably. Did I avoid punches and kicks to the face? Oh yeah. Was my time slower than I wanted? Definitely, but I was OK with that.

Once under the Mill Avenue Bridge I could feel the adrenaline surge within me, I could hear the announcer, I could see my way out of the water. I swam for the stairs; I reached up and climbed out of Tempe Town Lake. I was on dry land and happy to be done with the first part of my Ironman.  Last thing about the swim, I opted to use wax ear plugs for the swim.  I had read that it can help you with your balance once you get out of the water....and you know what, they were right, I felt great.  A great tip for any triathlon in the future!

Total Swim Time: 1:23:15 (2:11/100m)
1,405th place overall
227th Age Group

The Recap Begins - Friday & Saturday

It is Wednesday morning and I am still hurting.  Rather than try to cram the past few days into one post I am going to split it up into digestible amounts of information.  In this first post I am going to recap Friday and Saturday and then over the next few days talk about each segment of the race in separate posts.  There is just too much that went on and I am just now starting to remember everything.  I am probably going to write way too much, but in this case I just need to write it all down.


The Elbow – I went to the ART (Active Release Techniques) tent in Ironman Village and had them look over my sore and swollen elbow. The “doc” worked on it for about 15 minutes, threw some “Rock Tape” on it and I was good to go. While I was doing that, my family was in the Ironman Store checking out all of the goodies they had available.  (the picture on the right is of an empty Ironman Village....it would get busier).

After spending way too much time and money at the village, we (me, my wife and daughters, Mom and Dad) headed to Saguaro Lake in the Tonto National Forest to go on a river boat tour. It was really beautiful, floating in an enormous lake in the middle of the desert. The scenery was breathtaking and we even managed to see a bald eagle soaring through the sky, trying to find some lunch. I was hoping to get a better picture but it just didn’t happen.

Friday Dinner – Ironman Welcome Dinner
My wife and kids joined me for the Welcome Dinner (that's mee and my oldest on the right) that was held outside right on the shores of Tempe Town Lake. The food was fair at best (herb crusted chicken, salad and pasta) and neither of my girls was really all that happy with the options (they did like the cookies though). The highlight of the dinner was meeting so many people who I had communicated with on the iamtri.com site. My wife sat next to Skip, awesome guy, so nice and funny. I also had a chance to talk to Rich, Marie, Alexis and Stephanie. We had a really good time and learned a lot from the mandatory athletes meeting….so much that I was convinced to the pre-race swim on Saturday morning.

Oh, here is a picture of Mike Reilly, Mr. Ironman Announcer....I couldn't wait to hear him say my name on Sunday night....hopefully not too late.

Like usual I was up at 5:15AM or so, just laying there in bed. I was trying to figure out how I should attack the day. I wanted to keep off of my feet for the most part, but I still wanted to do “stuff” with my family. First things first though, I needed to get down to Ironman.

After the swim I got dressed (of course I forgot a towel) and headed back to the car to get my bike and transition bags, which I had to turn in at 10:00AM. The whole process went extremely smoothly, they really do have it all nailed down. I think I was done and on my way back to my parents house by 11:00AM. On the way back to their house I decided to drive the Beeline Highway, where the bike portion of the race takes place. It was pretty much what I expected, flat with what I think folks in Arizona call “hills”. I wasn’t worried at all for Sunday.

Once home I ate lunch and waited for my family to get back from the pool. The rest of the afternoon was mellow; basically we went to the park with the kids and just chilled out. I just wanted to stay off my feet for the entire day because I knew Sunday was going to be a very long day.

The last thing on the agenda was to eat dinner and that was at my Aunt’s house, Super Aunt Dot. My Mom cooked up a great pasta dinner and my Aunt hosted the event. Everyone was there, my wife and kids, my Mom & Dad, my sister, her husband, my nephew & two nieces, my Aunt Dot & Uncle Rod, and then eventually my Uncle Mike, Aunt Bonnie and Cousin Cody arrived from California. We had quite the pre-race dinner party; it was awesome to have so many of my closest family there for this occasion. Actually, I don’t think it is all really hitting me until right now as I write this. I guess I was so focused on the job I had to do on Sunday that I really didn’t comprehend the sacrifices everyone had made to be there for me.  I am very lucky!

Around 8:00PM I was feeling exhausted and needed to get home and in bed….of course after I took care of the last minutes things, e.g. Special Needs bags packed, water bottles filled with Gatorade, race clothes laid out, timing chip and watch ready, etc. I think I was finally closed my eyes at 9:30PM….seven hours before I would be up and getting ready for Ironman Arizona.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Day After

At the airport ready to fly home. I finished Ironman Arizona in 12:07:04, the weather was horrible (for Arizona) but all in all I am happy with my race. More to come this week.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fab Friday

It is Friday morning and I am feeling pretty good.  I have been up since around 5:30AM, thanks to my need to pee every two hours due to my constant hydrating.  Also contributing to that is the fact that my family is here (YEA!!!) and of course my girls were up around 4:15AM this morning ready to go....or at least ready to watch some cartoons.

So a little update on my status.  I woke up yesterday morning with my right elbow feeling a bit sore/tender.  I didn't think much of it until I took a look at it in the bathroom and I noticed that there was definitely some swelling on the outside of my elbow.  I checked it out on-line to see if I could self diagnose (of course that is the right way to go about figuring out what is wrong when injured...who needs doctors).  I think what I have is elbow bursitis, which means I have fluid in my bursa sac on my elbow.  I don't have any impeded motion or pain when I move it, only when I press on it.  This is a good thing in the whole scheme of things.  I reached out to my sports doctor in Pennsylvania and he advised me to go to Ironman Village and find the ART docs and have them try to fix me up.  That is what I have to do sometime this morning.

Ironman Check-In & Bike Pick-up
Around 11:00AM yesterday my parents and I drove down to Tempe to complete my check-in.  After wandering around for a while I finally found the long row of tents that makes up the check-in process. 
  • First they confirmed that I was who I am 
  • Then I had to sign my life way and confirm my information
  • On to picking up my race numbers (stickers for bags, bike, helmet and race belt) and timing chip....AND getting my All Access Wrist band
  • After that I got my bag of goodies, which wasn't all that great.  Oh, it did have all of my gear bags, etc.
  • Last stop was to check my timing chip and get the Velcro strap for it.
All in all it wasn't too bad of a process, I can't imagine what it is going to be like today when the mass crowd hits.  After that was done I found my 'rents making posters for me and I helped out a bit (nothing like making a support poster for myself). 

It was then time to grab some lunch prior to picking up my bike from Tri Bike Transport.  Lunch took forever, at least it felt that way since I was anxious to get my bike and head out for ride.  I did eat what I thought was a relatively healthy meal and around 1:30PM we were done and off to get my bike.  Ah there she was, scratch free and ready to go.  After getting her, I drove up to Scottsdale to pick up my race wheels from RaceDayWheels.com which was a pretty painless process.

By this time it was getting late in the day and me and my 'rents headed back to their house.  I opted to just do my planned hour ride from there house and make my way over to the Beeline Highway to ride a portion of the race course.  First I must say that the race wheels that I had on my bike (Zipp 404 front and Zipp 808 back) are awesome!  I can't believe how much lighter my bike is.  Also, I swear I was going 1 - 2 MPH faster when riding...this might have also been psychological as I was just excited to ride my bike after a week away from her.

All in all the ride was uneventful but fun.  The roads are so smooth and virtually no "hills", at least compared to what I am used to.  Here are some more pics of me along the way.

Ride stats:  28.5 miles, 1:18:00, Average speed: ~22 MPH

The Airport Pick-Up
Finally around 7:00PM last night we headed off to pick up my wife and daughters.  I was really excited to see them.  We were lucky, their plane landed early and I was able to see them just a bit earlier than expected.  We were all really excited to see each other...yes, I think I may have shed a tear.

So that leaves me to today.  It is 7:41AM and we are trying to figure out what we should do today.  At some point I have to head down to Ironman Central to have my elbow looked at and also attend the Welcome Dinner where I, and my wife and kids, are going to meet a bunch of folks who I have "met" on iamtri.com.  In between all of this we have to pick up a rental car and find something fun to do with the kids, not always an easy task.

Two days away from IM Arizona.....I nearing peak freak out zone.  Peace out!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm Heeeerrrrreeeeee

Every day it becomes a bit more real.  With every passing hour it gets a little bit closer.  With each passing minute I am that much closer to starting and hopefully finishing. 

I arrived in Arizona yesterday morning.  My trip started at 3:40AM when I hopped in the car with my wife and she dropped me off at Hamilton train station for a 4:44AM train to Newark Airport.  Of course I woke up at 3:15AM and couldn't go back to sleep, so my already early day started a bit earlier than expected.  I will spare you the details of the trip out here, not really much to say, everything went very smoothly and I was at my parents house by 11:15AM MST. 

After taking care of some work related items, I ate lunch and then headed out for a round of golf with my father and Uncle Russ.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day, 75F and sunny, and heck I was playing golf (which I love).  We had a great time, even if none of us played all that great.  Actually I played particularly poorly, but I did manage to score and eagle on a par 4 (almost drove the green and then chipped in from about 30 feet).    It was a great way to start my trip here in AZ.

After golf I had planned to head over to the pool and get in a nice 3,500m swim.  Well, it seems there was swim team practice from 4:30PM - 6:30PM which meant there would be no swimming for me.  DAMN!!!  No worries, I didn't stress over it, instead I headed back to my 'rents, go changed and then went over to my Super Aunt Dot's for an awesome dinner (Filet Mignon).  I started to fade around 8:00PM, the result of my being awake for going on 19 hours straight.  By the time I went to bed I think it was around 9:30AM, way too late for the time I had gotten up that morning.

Today was a mellow day.  After waking at 4:15AM and laying in bed for 45 minutes, I got up chatted with the family for a bit and eventually headed out for a run at 6:20AM.  I put in a solid 5.6 miles in about 45 minutes.  I felt pretty good, not great, but good.  I putzed around for a bit after that, ran some errands with my Dad.  Around 12:00PM I finally got in the swim I wanted to do the day before.  I felt really good in the pool; it was really nice to swim in a nice warm outdoor pool that was virtually empty.  So nice!

After the swim I did nothing except watch "Avatar".  I figured it would be good for me to get in some solid relaxation, basically just veg out for a bit since I know the next two or three days are going to be a bit hectic.  Here is what I have in store for the rest of the week:
Athlete Check-in:  starting at 10:00AM
Lunch in Tempe:  ~11:30AM
Pick up bike at TriBike Transport: 1:00PM
Pick up race wheels:  Immediately after I get my bike
Ride with fellow athletes:  ~2:00PM
Pick up wife and kids at airport:  7:53PM

Last mellow workouts in the AM
Do fun stuff with family
Sisters family arrives:  4:45PM
Athlete Dinner:  5:30PM - 7:30PM

Athlete Meeting:  7:30PM - 8:30PM

Check bike in:  10:00AM - 3:00PM
Try not to freak out:  The rest of the day

That is about it for now, I am actually going to be heading to bed now, I am beat and I need to get my sleep.  I'll write more tomorrow.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Seven Days

I am sitting here in my living room, about an hour and a half removed from finishing my last "long" run.  It is a cold Pennsylvania Fall morning and most of the frost has melted off of the front lawn.  I am can hear my two little girls playing with their princess dolls upstairs in my youngest bedroom.  My wife is out getting some Christmas shopping done (she is so efficient).  Today already feels different to me.  I know what it is, I know why today (and yesterday) feels so different than any other weekend day. 

Over the past nineteen weeks I have spent countless weekend hours biking and running; then trying to recover from these workouts.  Today my "long" run was 7.12 miles (one hour) and I feel like I haven't done anything.  My legs aren't aching, I was able go up the stairs with a hop in my step, I fell fresh.  I am enjoying the taper, I am enjoying the way I feel right now.

There is also something else that makes today a bit different from a "typical" weekend morning.  I am sitting here on Sunday morning with a belly full of pancakes at 9:20AM and I just realized that...IRONMAN ARIZONA IS ONLY SEVEN DAYS AWAY!!!  Holy cow, I can't believe that after months of feeling like the day would never come, it is only a week away.

Here is what has (or hasn't) been going on with my training over the past three days:

Friday - I did my swim in the AM and planned to do my run after work.  Well, my wife got home a bit late before I knew it, I just didn't have it in me to get out and do my 30 - 45 minute run.  I tried not to let it get to me, in fact I used the time that I would have spent running just eating dinner with my family and hanging out with them for a bit.

Saturday - I slept in until around 7:45AM....what?  7:45AM?  Yup, that's right, no need to get up and get in a two ride on my Cervelo because my bike is on it's way to Arizona.  Plus it was around 30F at 7:00AM and I wasn't going riding in that weather.  Instead I offered to take my youngest to dance class while my wife could go and do some errands with my oldest, in preparation for the trip to Arizona.  Around 3:00PM I finally got out for what was an abbreviated "two hour" bike ride.  It ended up only being around an hour on my mountain bike as I tried to find trails around my house to ride on.  I realized that I miss mountain biking a lot, I will definitely have to start doing that again after this race.  I ended up not doing my 30 minute run off of the bike because I had to head into town to get some last minute supplies from our local running shop.

Today - Well, as I said above, I was up at 6:00AM and out running by 6:30AM for a nice leisurely 7+ mile run.  I kept my heart rate in low Zone 2 and my pace right around 8:25/mile, nice and easy, just enjoying the beautiful morning.  I may try to get out on my mountain bike later on today if time permits, but I doubt it is going to happen.

That about sums up the past three days of training for me, not a lot going on, just trying to get my body feeling fresh, but still maintaining the fitness I have built up through out the past 19 weeks.  Anticipate some deep thinking over the next six days as I begin writing down a lot of thing that I am thankful for and some realizations I have come to over the past ten and a half month.  Ciao!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fast Friday

Another quickie as I don't have a lot of time on my hands.  Ironman Arizona is now only nine days away, I can't believe that it is pretty much right around the corner.  I am feeling good, very little post-workout soreness, sleep has been pretty good, and not real aches and pains to speak of.  I am pretty much where I would hope to be at this point, around a week out from what is going to be my greatest athletic challenge ever. 

Here is how the week has gone:

Tuesday - I did get my 45 minute run in at lunch and it went pretty well.  I didn't just go through the motions, I did my intervals and made the run count.

Wednesday - I was up at 5:15AM and in the basement riding on the trainer by 5:25AM.  I put in 45 minutes riding then did a quick change and did a 30 minute run.  I averaged around 8:08/mile pace on the run, not great, but not bad either.  I later found out that I was only scheduled to do 15 minutes...no worries.

Thursday - I was up and on my bike by 5:40AM, getting in my last ride on her until I am out in Arizona.  The reason, well, I had to drop her off at Cadence Performance Cycling in Philadelphia, PA.  I was actually sad when they took her away from me.  I guess the rest of my bike workouts will have to be done on my mountain bike or on my old Cannondale road bike that is way too small for me.  I didn't have time to get my swim in, work and family just didn't allow it to happen.  I didn't fret about it, from what I have been told, anything I do from here on out is not going to make me more fit and if I don't do a workout, it isn't really going to negatively affect me.

Today - I woke up at 4:15AM for the last time (from a training perspective) and made my way to the gym to do my swim workout.  I was in the water by 5:15AM and it was then that I realized that this will be my last swim at the gym for a while, at least that is what I am thinking.  I ended up doing 3,400m and I felt really good doing it.  I saw a couple guys who know I am doing IMAZ and they:  1) wished me luck, 2) told me I would do well, because I worked really hard, and 3) told me that it was going to hurt.  I could have done without hearing that last comment.  As for the rest of the day, I am going to be working through lunch (so no lunchtime run), and then once my wife gets home tonight I will be heading out for a 45 minute run with a 7.5 minute pick-up at the end.

So that is everything in a nutshell.  I really do need to put up a "real" post here in the next few days.  I need to say some things that are a long time coming, but want to make sure I say them right.  Anyhow, have a great day and catch you later.  Adios!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Back in the Game

Super fast post here today, I'll recap the past few days...

Friday - Got in my swim in the morning, I felt pretty good and seem to have rediscovered my swim stroke that I had lost for the better part of the past month.  I think it had something to do with work stress.  I skipped my run, giving my right quad a bit of rest figuring that I would only do more harm than good.

Saturday - I was able to sleep in a bit before bringing my dog to the vet with "The Diva" at 8:30AM.  Once home I was able to strap on my bike gear and head out for a frigid four hour ride.  I rode from my home in Doylestown all the way up along the Delaware River to Lafayette College (my FIL Alma Mater).  I stopped at a local bike shop to pick up some Gu Chomps and had to field a sales pitch.  All in all my ride was 75 miles in right about 4:00:00.  I was really beat, probably erred a bit on the fuel, should have eaten more before my ride.  Immediately after the ride I put in a 30 minute run at about 8:10/mile pace.  I am guessing though because my Garmin kept losing a GPS signal.

Sunday - thank God for turning the clocks back!  I slept until 6:30AM, go up and was out on the road by 7:00AM to get in my two hour run.  I was really hurting for the first three miles or so, running at about 8:40/mile pace.  I turned it around for the last ten miles and brought my average pace down to about 8:33/mile.  I ended up about 5 minutes short of two hours, only because I was going with the family to church.  My right quad was a little sore, but no pain at all.

Monday - Day of Rest!!!  I was a bit more sore than expected, but it went away as the day wore on.

Today - Feeling good!  I put in 3,600m in the pool this morning and felt like I was swimming well.  My main set was 5 x 400m and I was able to post negative splits on each successive 400M with an overall improvement of about 22 seconds from my first to my last.  I have a 45 minute run planned for lunch time today, I am hoping to get out with some of my work friends.

That is it for now.  Have a great day!  Ciao!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Stupid Quadriceps

It is funny how you can miss one or two workouts in a week and feel like the bottom is dropping out from under all of the work you have put in over the past ten months or so.  Well, that is how I feel today.  As I said in my post the other day, I started getting this strange pain in my right quadriceps muscle on Monday and by Tuesday afternoon it was pretty painful.  I didn't do any training on Wednesday, figuring that that I would only do more harm than good if I were to have done any biking or running. 

Then came Thursday, I made it to the pool at 5:00AM and got in a straight 3,500m without incident.  I was slow, but I made the distance without feeling too tired.  Good for me.  As I was walking around the locker room I made the decision that I was going to have to visit my sports doctor to get some treatment on my quad.  It just wasn't feeling right, it wasn't painful when I flex the muscle but rather when I walk, probably something to do with a stabilizing muscle or something. 

Anyhow, I managed to get into see my docThursday afternoon and he worked on it for a solid 30 minutes, rubbing, stretching and just flat out beating the crap out of my leg.  He gave me the OK to bike but to run only it I didn't feel any pain.  I did bike later on that night for about an hour (the battery in my Garmin died before the hour was up so I was guessing) and it was pain free which was a very good thing.  A side note about my doc is that he is a triathlete; qualifying and racing in Kona twice.  I trust what he has to say and how he decides to treat me.  Also, he is always good for some interesting stories and useful advice.

Today I was up bright and early and at the pool swimming by 5:10AM.  I put in a solid 3,400m, with lots of short interval work (12 x 75s, 12 x 50s & 12 x 25s).  I felt really good, much quicker than I have lately.  The fact that my leg didn't hurt all that much was good news as well.  I was supposed to get in an hour run today, but I thought it best to rest it for another day and make sure that I can get in my Saturday BRICK tomorrow (four hour bike FIB 30 - 45 min. run).  I am not worried about the bike, but the run might be tricky.

FYI, my doc said that if it doesn't feel better soon, I need to get back in for some more treatment.  I am hoping that these three days off from running with do the trick and tomorrow it will be back to normal.

That is it for now, time for bed, I have a 75 mile bike ride on tap for tomorrow...funny how that doesn't seem all that far now.  Have a great night!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Uh Oh....Injury?

It has been almost a week since I have posted.  This past weekend was a significant one for me in that I am over the hump, my longest week of training is behind me and the taper began as of Monday morning.  As of today, Ironman Arizona is a mere 18 days away, less than three weeks.  I have to be honest, I still feel like race day is months and months away, but I am sure that will all change very soon. 

So, everything has been going great, aside from the typical morning after soreness and slight exhaustion from tremendous amounts of exercise and less than adequate sleep.  That is until Monday afternoon, when out of no where my right hip began to ache.  It was totally and completely out of the blue, there was no pain or discomfort during work on Monday, it literally happened during my ride home, where I had to keep adjusting the way I was sitting because of the uncomfortability.  I dealt with it and figured it was just my hip flexor acting up a bit.  Even lying in bed I was uncomfortable and it made sleeping difficult, so much so that I had to pop a couple Motrin at 1:00AM (which did help).

Tuesday morning I was up and out of the house by 4:40AM to get my swim workout in, and I was hoping that the swim would help loosen up my hip.  Well, it kind of did, but the pain seemed to move down to the center of my thigh.  I tried using a pull-buoy to roll the muscle a bit and work out the soreness (I think it helped).  I ended up cutting my swim short by about 1,300m because of pain and time.

At lunch I tried to head out for a run, I did a lot of stretching before hand and massaged the area where the pain was.  It had now moved to the inside-center of the quadriceps muscle and it was sore to the touch.  I tried to go running and made it about 15 minutes before I turned around and called it a day (total run 30 minutes). 

That leaves me where I am today, I cancelled my standard Wednesday morning BRICK workout and am going to take the day off from training.  My leg feels much better today, but it still doesn't feel "right".  I am going to try swimming tomorrow and if I still feel the pain I am going to go to my sports doctor tomorrow after work and have him work on it for me.  I think it is a smart move not training today, considering that if there is an issue I will be doing more harm than good, especially with the race only two and a half weeks away.  I guess I'll see what happens tomorrow.

Weekend Recap
Friday - Early morning swim, 3,500m (10,500m total for the week) and I felt really good.  My confidence seems to be on the upswing with regard to my swim.  I left the water feeling good.  Friday night I put in an 11 mile run (1:30:00), with the last three miles at sub-8:00/mile pace.  Again, I felt really good and finished the workout with a smile on my face.

Saturday - Daughters soccer game at 9:00AM, she played great and I was really proud of her not only for how she played but also for being a great teammate.  After the game I went out and did a 105 mile bike ride.  It was supposed to be six hours long, but due to time and a flat tire I had to call it after 5:40:00.  I followed the ride with a 52 minute run (6.2 miles), where I felt really strong, although I faded at the end a bit.

Sunday - I was up at 6:00AM and running along the Delaware Rive by 7:15AM.  I put in a solid 21 miles in three hours.  I was definitely hurting for the first four or five miles (thanks to Saturdays century ride), but I worked out the kinks and finished the run with about an 8:35/mile pace.  The first five miles were around 8:50/mile, so I definitely got stronger as I went along.  After a night of trick-or-treating with my girls I hit the basement for an hour long session on my trainer.  I was really beat, it was supposed to be an hour and a half, but I just couldn't muster it.

That is about it for now.  I am going to pray that my leg gets better and hope I can get back to normal training by tomorrow or Friday.  Peace out!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dark Clouds....then Sunshine

Today was a tough day for me, but not because of training.  It was tough because of my job and my boss.  Every morning when I wake up, I don't think about the lonely hours I will spend staring at the black line at the bottom of the pool or the endless spinning of the wheels of my bike or the cold dark miles that may pass when running.  No, when I wake up I think only about how much I dread going to work.  I get nauseous when I think about the weekly project status meetings I have with my manager.  I have never been in a situation like the one I am currently in.  I truly hate my job.  Today was a confirmation of that I need to move one...and quickly.  The dark clouds were upon me.

I don't want to sound to insane here, I know of too many people that over the past year or so have lost their jobs.  I am luck to have one, lucky to be able to help support my family.  The problem is that I have a manager that is trying her hardest to ensure I do not have a job in the near future. 

On my drive home I was full of emotion, so much anger, sadness and confusion.  The only thing that could take my mind off of my situation was the fact that I was on my way to pick up my two little girls and no matter what I am their "Daddy" and they love me.  When I picked up my oldest, I asked her to hurry up so we could get her sister.  She was dragging her heels.  I asked her to please hurry up, I didn't have a good day and I just wanted to get home.  She asked me why it was a bad day, I simply said, "It just wasn't good."  She had a sad look on her face, so I stopped and knelt down in front of her and asked if she was OK.  She said that she was sad because I had a bad day and she wanted to try and help me.  She didn't know it but she already had.  She is a special little girl.  The clouds began to part a little bit.

When we got home I had to make them a quick dinner because "The Diva" had a Brownie meeting.  While they were eating I got a phone call, it was a good call...a really good call.  It appears that things might be taking a turn for the better.  The sunshine had finally broken through the clouds.  Hopefully I can share more in the upcoming weeks.

Training update:
Tuesday:  A very solid 3,600m swim, I felt pretty good.  My stroke is coming around.  I also had a pretty good 50 minute run that included some speed work.  Unfortunately it was at 9:00PM at night and I was beat from my long day.

Wednesday:  I was up at 5:15AM and in the basement putting in an hour on the trainer and followed that up with a 20 minute run.  A good workout, still a little tired from the run the night before.

Today:  One of my best swims sessions over the past few weeks.  3,400m and I got stronger with each set.  Finally, I felt good and smooth in the water.  Yeah!!!  Tonight I put in and hour and 25 minutes on the trainer in my basement while my little one watched High School Musical 3.  I spent most of the ride just watching her watch the movie....she is so cute and such a good kid.

That is it for now.  It is 10:00PM and I have to get up at 4:20AM to get my swim workout in.  Oh yeah!  Peace out!