Thursday, August 30, 2007

Help! Calling All Runners

Here's the deal. You guys know how I love coincidences that fit precisely into my current plan. Well, it just so happens that I have fifteen weeks from now until the marathon on December 8th. Believe it or not, that is exactly where the half marathon plan I left off with back in March. How coinkidental is that?

It gets even better. Not really :-) This weekend I am refing the Atlanta Cup. My training kicks off next Tuesday. If I start back on this plan, I have to do a 16 mile run next weekend. Now, that doesn't even phase me in slightest. I can just float along the miles on this high I have after Sunday's race. I am a little nervous about turning in five months of triathlon training for five months of running training. The furthest I've run in the past five months is eight miles.

With that said, my other option is to switch to one of the sixteen week plans and jump in at week 2. Most of these plans use the magic number of twenty miles as the longest run for marathon training. The Galloway plan goes beyond the marathon distance.

My question to you my friends, is what do you think I should do? Bear in mind, my goal for this race is to finish and finish strong and happy :-) It will be a PR after all.

Everyone out there has an anal sphincter muscle, therefore you have an opinion. Don't be shy now, hit me with it...

Wes

BTW: Please see my warning below.
BTWW: Dee Dee and I are signed up for 2 Bridges!

Heads Up - We are under Attack!

Seems some low-life types are using our blogs to take over PCs by infecting them with a virus. The article is here. If you guys have a comment from a stranger with a URL embedded in it, send it on to the digital bit bucket in hell (by hitting the convenient delete icon).

I would be remiss if I did not offer a gentle reminder to NEVER click on a URL of which are not sure before examining it at the bottom of your browser window. If it is not an HTML page, then DO NOT click it. K?

Wes

Monday, August 27, 2007

Free At Last: A West Point Olympic Triathlon Race Report

Life is a tapestry. Upon it, the image of our life is cast. We are players, living out our lives on top of the tapestry. Much like the spider, we feel our way along the myriad different paths with delicate touches and frantic bursts of speed. Sometimes the path is clear. Sometimes the weave is so convoluted, we blindly stumble our way through.

Zappo! Philosophical Wes step aside :-) What brought that on? LOL. The realization that my race stories often start long before the race. Why should this one be any different? It takes hard work, both on my part, my wife's part, and my family's part for me to do these things. Their effort should not go unrecognized. It will never go unappreciated.

Jimmy and Matthew had a soccer tournament this weekend. This was the first tournament in memory that I did not help referee games. I trained five months for this race. There was NO WAY that I was going to let anything keep me from being in top form. You have no idea how many times I had to tell myself NO! One game was not acceptable. I could watch. I could cheer, but I could not referee. I was not happy, but I did what I had to do.

My day started at 6 AM. Jimmy's first game was at 7:45 AM. I wanted to make breakfast for him, but I was too tired. We opted for McDonald's instead. I had a hash brown, sausage biscuit, and a coffee, and that was just the start. Jimmy's team was "elite", but it was their first tournament game together. They played well but made several fundamental mistakes, and it ended up costing them the game. After we got home, I woke up Matthew and made him breakfast. I helped myself to waffles and sausage! LOL. I WAS carbo loading :-)

On the way to Jimmy's second game, we stopped at Quik Trip (gas station), and I had my lunch. Who knew that a hot dog and a bag of Doritoes was so good? Jimmy's team beat the crap out of their opponent in the second game, as did Matthew's. Unfortunately, Matthew's second game didn't start until 6:30 PM. This kind of put a damper on my parade, as I wanted to get to West Point early and hang out with my tri-bud, Murtha. Needless to say, we didn't get the kids situated and out the door until around 8:30 PM. I told the boyz before I left, that this race was very important to me. I wasn't going to be comfortable unless I knew they were safe and taken care of. They promised me to be on their best behavior. Dee Dee and I packed the Silver Streak and headed out the door for West Point. On the way out, we stopped at Arby's so I could eat a roast beef sandwich and some french fries. That about concludes my tail of carbo loading.

We made it down to Lagrange, GA with no problem. We stayed at the same hotel as we did for the Callaway Gardens Sprint Triathlon. On the way down, I called Murtha to see how he was doing. He had gotten down much early than I and was doing all kinds of cool stuff to his bike. I teased him about disassembling his bike before the start of the race, and after a short conversation, I told him I would see him in the morning and hung up. We arrived at the hotel at 10 PM. We got situated really fast. The hotel clerk had made a map to the race site for all the participants. I thought that was the coolest, and I told her so. Dee Dee and I made our way up to the hotel room with Aerowyn and bedded down for the night. I was very tired. Dee Dee put on a comedy show, but it didn't take long for me to pass out. I woke up a couple of times during the night. Once, close to the time I was due to awaken, I got excited, but I wanted that extra 1.5 hours of sleep, so I calmed my nerves and went back to sleep, and I slept good.

At 5:15 AM the various alarms started going off. The first alarm was the clock. The second was my watch, and finally the wake up call from the hotel. I opted to stay in bed while Dee Dee showered. She asked me if I wanted to shower, and I was like, "No!", I'm getting ready to get into the lake. What do I need to be clean for :-) We were dressed and downstairs for breakfast by 5:30 AM. It was really cool that the hotel had breakfast ready for us so early. I probably ate more than I wanted to, but I felt the need to be properly fueled. We repacked the car and left for the lake by 6 AM. Unfortunately, I misjudged the amount of time it would end up taking to get to the race site.

My first problem occurred when I took a wrong turn. The clerk did say bear right at the second light, and she was as sweet as she could be, but she really meant the "third" light. We quickly realized our mistake and found our way to the lake. I had no idea that they would make us park so far from the race site. I ended up having to walk a half mile to the transition area. By the time I got there, it was 6:30 AM. I was really mad at myself for getting there so late, and it showed. The young lady that was marking me asked if I was nervous. I laughed and told her no, I was perturbed that I got there so late. When I took my bike into the transition area, they wouldn't let me in without my race number being on the bike. I unceremoniously dumped all my stuff on the ground and walked my bike over to the nearby racks. I found my race number and put in on my bike. Getting all my stuff back on so I could get into transition was really frustrating me, but I tried real hard to keep it all in stride. I found my position in the racks, got Aerowyn setup and began the process of preparing my transition area.


In case you wondering, this is living proof that Dee Dee is fixated on my butt :-) Doesn't Aerowyn look marvelous in the rack? Purty, purty.... It didn't really take that long to get setup. I laid all my stuff out. Prepared my bottles, then took my first electrolyte tablet. About that time, Murtha made his way over to say "Hi!". He was in a few racks down. He had gotten there a bit earlier than I did, and he was already set up. I had the opportunity to meet Andy's boss, who had also made the trip down. As the sun came up, we decided it was time to make our way down to the beach to warm up for the swim.


This picture more than anything else shows exactly how far out we had to swim in the lake. Murtha had told me they had scoped it out the evening before, and it was daunting. Evidently, the buoys had drifted, and at some point, they put out more buoys and put them in their proper place. If you look to the right of the first boat, you can see the furthest buoy out in the distance. My understanding was they had trouble finding a route out in the lake where you actually had to swim the whole thing. Ummmm. Yea. OK!

As I prepared to warm up, I tried to put my nose plugs on. I had used them on my swim Wednesday of last week, and I really like them. Well, they snapped in two. LOL. Fortunately for me, this was the last bad thing that was going to happen to me this race. I certainly wasn't worried about it. I had raced multiple times without a nose plug. This one didn't need to be any different. I had just enjoyed not having to deal with water through my nose, and I was a little disappointed. C'est la vie!

I swam out to the first buoy and decided that this was as far as I wanted to go. The nerves were kicking in, and I could already feel the dread of the swim coming onto me. I swam some more along the shore and began the process of banishing negative thoughts from my mind. As I was standing along the shore after my warm up, the race director came over the loud speaker and called all triathletes to prepare for the start. For this race, he announced, everyone would be starting in pairs, three seconds a part. The timing chips would record every second of our race.


This picture is of Andy and I waiting for the race to start. LOL. Andy is to the left of me with his arms crossed. If you look closely, you can see the bulge from the SwimSafe belt under my tri suit. Compare that to the bulge in Andy's midsection ;-) We really need to get Dee Dee to center us in the picture. What are we paying her for? ROFL. She really, really, does a good job. You should see all the great pictures she took. There are simply too many to put here!

It really didn't take that long for us to reach the start. Right before we got there, I decided to switch to the left lane. The guys over there had no problem letting me switch. I joked with them that I wanted to take the outside path to avoid the crowds. Triathletes are so cool. As we were standing in front of the starter, I had an "Oh, shit" moment. Pardon my cursing :-) He said "3-2-1, Go!" and we were off.


Can you tell from this picture that I am in a hurry to get started? Andy is to the right of dude in the Yellow Peachtree Tri Club race gear. He started three seconds behind me, but he is diving into the water first :-) I laughed as I ran out into the water about waist deep. It was the last time I would see Andy until I had reached the turn around in the run.

What can I say about the swim? My swimming had been a mixed bag. Some had gone OK. Others had been awful. I was determined, resolute even, that this swim would go well. I hit the water and started the swim. Almost immediately, I began talking to myself. I felt the same foreboding building up. That feeling that ended in my gagging and feeling out of breath. In all the other tris I had done, I had had the option of finding a place to stand. There was no place to stand in this swim. It was all, or nothing.


The time to the first buoy was almost like slow motion. I had a deep down man to man conversation with myself. I was close to panicking. I focused really hard on relaxing. The question I asked myself was how could I ever hope to do a half Ironman if I wasn't comfortable on this swim. I told myself, I could swim forever at this pace. I remembered David's comment about humans drowning in six inches of water. I knew what he was trying to say. The depth of the lake didn't matter. I had the strength to swim the distance. The water was my friend. It supported me, lifted me up, carried me through the course. Before I knew it, I was half way to the second buoy and had found a rhythm that I really hadn't known before.


Did I not mention that Dee Dee is an awesome photographer? This picture is the crowd swimming around the buoys. In the background is the dam that we will run across on our 10K. Awesome!!

The third buoy seemed like an eternity. I had no idea how long this thing was going to take. As I finally reached the third buoy and made my right turn, I knew that I would be OK. I was passing people. Sure, I was swimming on the outside, away from the pack, but I didn't care. If it made my swim longer, so be it. I was safe, comfortable, and on my way to the finish.

As I got further and further along in my swim, I tried to pick up the pace. In retrospect, I never truly got out of breath in my swim. I went from red buoy to red buoy, focusing on the next interval until the landing came within sight. As I passed the final buoy, something reached up from the bottom of the lake and struck me in the neck. I couldn't believe it! It felt like a cable, but I think it was a tree limb. Most of the lakes in Georgia are man made, and this is just one of the hazards we have to deal with. It didn't really hurt. It was more of a surprise. I shook it off and swam the final hundred or meters or so to the landing, kicking my legs to redistribute the blood flow.

As I climbed out of the lake, I saw (and heard) Dee Dee shouting encouragement. It really meant so much for her to be there. I especially liked the way the race organizers had laid out the carpet on the landing area. It was a smooth walk/run up into the transition area.


I'm still having trouble controlling my muscles in T1 :-) The good news is that everything was carefully laid out. The bad news is I forgot to get my towel out of the bag. No biggee! I had no expectation that I could get the towel out of the bag and dry myself off in any respectable time frame. No, not me! I did what any good triathlete would do. I put my socks on wet and stuffed them into my bike shoes. Before I knew it, I was out of transition and on my way.

As I sloshed my way out on the bike, I saw Dee Dee there taking pictures.


Ya know, it's really hard to describe the difference between how I felt now and how I felt when I got on the bike in Hiawassee. On this swim, I only poked my head out of the water like four times. Do you have any idea how much energy it takes to keep your body a float when your head is sticking up out of the water? Let me tell you, it is considerable. Keep yourself flat and swim. You will be rewarded. With that in mind, my legs felt good. I spun past Dee Dee and out of the park, determined to have a good ride.

The elevation chart for this race was about half of what it was for Hiawassee. I was passed quite a few times in the first couple of miles. These guys were burning themselves out though. We leap frogged each other for the first eight miles. Eventually, I passed them and left them behind for good. It was a nice ride. I eventually ended up on a stretch of the road by myself. "Great!", I thought to myself, another solo ride during the race. Around the half way point, I caught up to a group of riders that I had been chasing. The turn around was in another beautiful park by the lake, and I enjoyed it immensely. As I made the turn around, a group of young, fit, riders blew past me. I wasn't discouraged, however! I was grateful, thankful even, that I had held them off for so long!

I did experience cramps on this ride as well. After the turn around, I tried to take my second electrolyte tablet and it got caught in my throat. I guess my body over reacted. My left leg decided to cramp, something that had never happened before. I immediately sent my leg soothingly relaxing thoughts and grabbed my bottle of Accelerade out of the rack. Once I had successfully dislodged the pill, I was able to resume pedaling. The pill kicked in and the cramps disappeared. I would be in remiss if I didn't discuss my nutrition. I had drank half a bottle of Accelerade in T1. I had a Power Gel at mile 4 of the bike, and I took my last Power Gel at mile 22 of the bike. I still don't think I drank enough. I had two full bottles of Accelerade on the bike, but I only drank a half a bottle. I'll do better! I promise.


As I approached the entrance to the park, I saw Dee Dee waiting there for me to take pictures. She had walked the half mile from transition to the park entrance to catch me on the way back in. That was so.very.cool... I was just wondering how she was going to make it back in time to catch me leaving for the run.

Well, it turns out she didn't make it! LOL. My T2 time was very respectable at 1:30. I'm liking this tri outfit! I went ahead and took the the half bottle of Accelerade I had drank after the swim with me on the run. The run route was gorgeous! We left out around the lake and headed for the dam. It was slightly, ever so slightly up hill on the way out, which of course meant downhill on the way back! I found my running legs after about a mile, and I stuck to my run 4 minutes walk 1 minute schedule. I even joked with a young man (30 years old) about my sticking to the plan. When I reached the turn around, I joked with the race official about taking some time off for my age, but he wasn't going for it. About a quarter of a mile pass the turn around, I heard Andy call out my name, "Go Wes!". I laughed and yelled at him that he had better lap me!

The second half of the run proved tough. I was slowing down, but I was determined to keep my pace up. As I ran back across the dam, a flight of Canada geese came in for a landing on the lake, making much noise. It was a spectacular sight to see. I also noticed, near the end of the dam, a school of fish feeding off the minnows. I laughed. I guess you had to be there. They were in the protected area of the dam. They were either real smart or real lucky as no fishermen were allowed to be there.

After passing the dam, we were diverted to the left along the lake. There was one rather steep hill there, and being the intrepid soul that I am, I walked it. Screw the plan! LOL. It was all about ME at that point. When I saw the five mile marker in the distance, I had the biggest sh*t eating grin on my face EVA!!!! It was short lived though. After passing the aide station, both of my quads cramped up at the same time. I had NEVER had this happen before, and it hurt. I had to actually walk for a minute to calm them down. After getting them to relax, I found that running actually helped, so I started to smile again, and I picked up my pace. I could not believe that I was getting ready to finish my first Olympic triathlon in such fine style. The last 1.2 miles seemed to take forever, but I stuck to the R4/W1 plan, and I even took a little extra right before the finish because I wanted to "finish strong".


When I saw the finishing chute about a tenth of the mile away, I took off. I had to be running at like a 7 minute pace. I wasn't trying to show the guy up ahead of me. I wanted to finish strong feeling strong, and thats what I did. I crossed the finish line with a feeling of euphoria, even though it didn't show on my face :-)

I took a minute or two to collect myself. I was tired. I grabbed a bottle of water and hit the water shower to cool off, then I headed down the run route to wait for Andy. Not more than five minutes later, he came running down the course. I was excited for him!! I told him the finish was around the corner and Dee Dee was there to take his picture. He finished strong!! Unfortunately, Dee Dee was distracted by some girl, so she missed Andy's finish. Bummer! So sorry, Andy!!

After the race, we hung out for a bit, then went to collect our stuff and head home. The shirt we got was really cool. I liked it a lot. Dee Dee told me that Jimmy had won his game that morning, and Matthew had tied, so neither was going to to the finals of their tournament.

In sitting here, thinking about this race, I think that I can sum it up in one short phrase...

A dream come true.

Let's evaluate. I wanted to come off my swim feeling good. Check!! I was not happy with my time, but that was not my goal. My goal was to feel good, and I accomplished that magnificently!!! I wanted to feel strong on the bike. My first 10 miles were strong. I did the 25 mile course with an average speed of 19.3 mph. My ride was indeed strong. Finally, I wanted to come in on the run under 1 hour. I came in 59:41, a 9:38 pace after the swim and bike!! What is there to say? If you accomplish all three of your goals in one race, you are either setting the bar too low, or you are having a great race. I had a great race :-)

As is the usual amongst my blogger brethren, the question is what's next? LOL. My beautiful Spousal Unit has convinced me to do the Two Bridges Triathlon at the end of September. I kinda wanted to do a sprint for the end of the season, so it was an easy sell. And, as promised, I will soon determine what my half Iron distance will be. I'll let ya know! Truth be told, my mind has already turned to the little race in Rocket City on December 8th. My friends are meeting me there, and it will be a race to remember. In between, there's a 5K I need to do, a half mary, and oh so many other things...

I think you'll understand!

Feel the love,

Wes

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Like Buttah!

That's how my race went today. It went smooth as butter.

1.5K Swim - 30:41
T1 - 2:58
40K Bike - 01:16:54
T2 - 1:30
10K - 00:59:41

Total: 02:52:02

Never, more than today, have I felt like a triathlete. It's good to be alive...

Wes

Rumor Central: Dee Dee's friend said her GPS recorded the swim as 1.2 miles...

Friday, August 24, 2007

It Comes Down to This

Five Months
23 Weeks
120+ Hours of Training
75 Runs
53 Swims
50 Rides
2 Sprint Triathlons
1 International Triathlon
1 5K
Blood, sweat, mucho fat poundage
The loving sacrifices of my wife and family

Sunday, August 26, 2008. West Point Olympic Triathlon.

Thanks for your support my friends.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I feel like I have made my second. If all goes well, my reward will be Ironman Florida 70.3 in May of 2008.

I'll see ya on the flip side...

Wes

OSN: 2000 meters, 1x300 w/u, 3x500, 1x200 c/d
OCN: 13 miles, 01:03:33, ~12.7 mph
ORN: 2 miles, 23 minutes, 11:30 mmp, all run

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Lake and I

Sunday featured my return to soccer season. My first game was an R3PL game between last years division winner and my club's team. Usually, I like to warm up a bit with a tournament before taking on such a high level game. Unfortunately, my "warm up" center got canceled due to a lack of interest by the opposing teams. Basically, I went into this one cold.

Cold relatively speaking, as I am sure it was 90 degrees at 8 AM in the morning. Well, it was close, but the humidity was awful. The girls had a good game. I didn't make any huge mistakes, but I would characterize my performance as mediocre. Its just really hard to come off the summer and be on the top of your game as a referee. I got in a pretty good ninety minutes of running, and I was pretty pleased with how I held up, including the short bursts of speed I used to keep up with the play.

I told Dee Dee I was going to go do my hour run after the game. I'll spare you the name she called me, but let's just say it was ugly... My primary purpose for this training session was to try out my new kicks and to get in some structured running. That's right! I finally retired the Twin Wonders. I have some new Mizuno Inspire 3(s) to wear now. It would seem that I am not a huge over-pronator after all. The video analysis I had done at the running store shows I am a slight over-pronator, so the Brooks Adrenalines were probably a little too aggressive for me.

It was nice to finally have the definitive answer on my shoes. I tried to go to the Chattahoochee River Trail to run, but it was packed. Instead, I went up the road and ran at the little trail by my office. Plenty of parking and no waiting. Quickly, after getting started, I realized I just didn't have sixty minutes in me, so I determined to do an easy 5K. It was nice out, relatively shady, and after 32+ minutes of running, I was ready to call it a day.

This week is the final taper week before the big dance. I have two bricks and a swim session on the schedule. Yesterday was my swim/bike brick. I decided that I would go to Lake Allatoona and swim at Galt's Ferry. An open water swim seemed appropriate. When I got there, the attendant didn't charge me anything to get into the park. Seems the water is so low, the entire bathing area is now a beach. I was the only one there. I suited up, strapped on the SwimSafe belt, and hit the water. This swim had everything. I swam in water barely two feet deep. I swam in water that was very, very deep, and then I swam in water that was maybe 5-6 foot deep, but you wouldn't know it unless the water suddenly cleared enough to see the bottom. Every once in a while, a boat would come by to provide the choppiness in which I so needed to practice.

On my first lap around the beach area, my goggles fogged up. Everytime I turned my head into the water, the purple haze from the bottom of the lake would reach up and grab for me. Despite being by myself and in deep water, I kept myself cool and relaxed. I told myself that if I could swim alone in deep water for 24 minutes, then swimming with a bunch of tris in a race for 25+ minutes would be a piece of cake! All in all, I ended up doing three laps around the beach area in twenty four minutes, non-stop. It was a good swim.

I hurried home to transition to my bike. This time, instead of having a two hour transition, it was more like twenty minutes. I suited up, fixed Matthew his dinner, and hopped on Aerowyn for my ride around the neighborhood. I probably pushed a little too hard, but that's what happens when I'm tapering and I feel good. I did my usually hilly circuit in 48 minutes at an average of 17 mph, almost 3 mph faster than when I ride Bags.

Well, that about catches us up from last week. Sorry about the excessive wordage :-) Everyone have a great week. I'll be lurking...

Wes

ORN: 3 miles, 32:41, recovery pace, R4/W1, ~11 mmp
OSN: ~1300 meters, 24 minutes, open water
OCN: 14 miles, 47 minutes, 17 mph avg

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Acworth Women's Triathlon

Editors Note: This post is by guest blogger, Dee Dee :-)

I woke up to Wes voice at 4:15am saying, "Hey, its time to get up. You set the alarm for 4:00pm not am!" What!! Did I just hear you say its 4:15?! Get up now! I'm 15 min behind my schedule. Okay! I'll skip the shower and take a quick bath to wake up my muscles. I don't have time to dry my hair now. I headed downstairs and proceeded to check my bag. I packed the night before. I went over the check list again. Okay! I got everything I need! I made some breakfast consisting of scrambled eggs and drank some gatorade and a bottle of water. Wes came downstairs and commented that he told the boys to get up. I said okay. At this point, I was making my Clif Shot drink for my bike. While Wes was putting my bike on on the car, I decided to go get my tri suit on and body glide myself for the day!

It was almost time to go. I asked Wes if he heard the boys yet, and he said I told them to get up! As disappointed as I was, I didn't have time to get them up and wait for them. I wanted to be on time!! 600 women and few parking places at the Dallas Acworth Landing. I wanted to get there soon. Wes said we can leave in 15 minutes. I said we need to go now please! So off we went!

Man we got there just in time. As we pulled up, there must of been a 100 other early birds all with the same idea. It was pitch black. Wes helped me unpack my stuff, and we headed to the transition area. On my way in, the little need I say "Race Official" checked my bike for plugs. Wes followed me into transition with my bike pump. Needless to day that was a no,no! He was asked to leave the transition area. We had to set up all by ourselves. Now that I am unpacked, I just figured out I'm on the wrong bike rack. They assigned us numbers. I told Wes to go and put the bike pump up. I would find my new spot all by myself and not to worry.


I found my rightful place, put my stuff down, and took my bike back with me and headed over to the Roswell bike sponsor. Wes met me there and pumped my tires for me. I went and got bodymarked. I had to stop at the dumb offical again and check my handle bars. Yes! dummy, I have plug ends! Use the johnny on the spot and meet up with Wes again on the beach. It was only 6:45 so I decided to take a little jog around and warm up my legs. Wes said, "Don't you need to warm up with some swimming?" I said no not yet, we don't start till 7:30. I went and got my goggles and cap and headed for the pre warm up swim. I guess I went about 250 meters or so and then I noticed two pretty Tri-Chicas talking to Wes on the beach. I figured they we Nat and Steph. I tried to stay focused and finished my warm up.


Then, I went to the beach. I was introduced to the other Tri-Chicas!! I was right. It was Nat and Steph, both lovely girls eager to get this show on the road. We took a few pics and then we walked to the start.


SWIM!!

Need I say, a complete melee of women. Thank God I was the second wave in the water. The first wave went off. I had 3 minutes to get ready!!! Then the guy said go!!!


We were off like a bat out of hell running through the water towards the first buoy. There were 45 of us in my age group, all at one time! I said crap!! I can't swim yet. The water is too low. I ran towards the front and then plunged in. I was swimming towards the second buoy, trying to remain at one pace, but it was nearly impossible! There were legs and arms flying around everywhere. Had a close call with a foot in the face. I then decided to start going as fast as I could to get away from all the crazyness. All of a sudden, I felt something on my leg!! I said, "What the hell?" I'm trying to swim here. I'm not a flotation device. This chic grabbed my leg and pulled me toward her. I was gonna yell but instinct just took over! I kicked out at who ever was behind me. I wasn't gonna drown and that was that. Whoever it was got the message. I turned towards the left to move away from her.


Made my way towards the last buoy and turned towards home!! I looked down at my watch as I made to shore and said holy crap 6:15 WTH!!! Then I made the short 2 min run from the beach to the bikes. I was out of breath!! But moving! I grabbed my towel. Did a quick dry, grabbed my helmet, put my race belt on, grabbed my socks and put on my tennis shoes. I don't have clips on my bike!!! I ran toward the bike mount line. Jumped on and was off.


Bike

I was still trying to catch my breath, dying of thirst, and was trying to get the hell out of dodge. I was struggling! I heard a voice and saw Wes and his friend Andy and his fiancee. Man, my head was killing me! I got an extreme headache. I kept going. I heard a voice, and it was Steph. She said, "Go Dee Dee, go!" and wizzed past me!! I said later gator!! I proceeded down main street and then heard another voice!!! Go mom Go! I was surprised. It was my 22 year old daughter!!! I smiled and continued and was shocked and very surprised that she would come out that early in the morning to watch her mom with 599 other crazy women swim, bike, and run!!!

Oh well! That was enough motivation for me to keep going. I rounded the corner, and came to the first uphill climb. Granted, there were not many hills. I made it up, grabbed for my drink and took a big swallow. I reached for my Clif Shot Bloks. I ate 2 of those. They were ok, not too bad. Made my next turn on to Hwy 41. They had the right lane blocked off for us gals. I was glad to see that, otherwise it would of been a suicide ride for sure. I'm half way now, but for some reason, this friggin head won't stop pounding. Not good I say! I didn't push it on my bike because of it. I made my final right turn down Army Road back towards the start of the race. This road was good. It was a long down hill and a bit curvy, but I took advantage of it. I felt like I made some time up. Headed towards the last 2 miles and made my final turn towards home! The next thing you know, I had some beyotch girl right next to me cut me off no warning or nothing. I could have put my foot in her spoke. That how close she was to me. She passed me on the right, which is illegal! I said thanks for the warning, and she replied screw you bitch! I said "Oh no you didn't!" I paused for 2 seconds and decided I was gonna make her pay for that crap! I geared up and got close to her back and then cut her off a second later and left her 100 yards behind me. She screamed as I went by. I said, "Oops! Sorry!! On your left!" as I wizzed past her!!


In and out of transition, off to the bike rack. Put it up and took off my helmet. I'm off for the run!! Grabbed a cup of water on the way out and began a small up hill climb. Great time for a walk break, I thought. I continued up and down hill through out the run course. We wound in and out of the neighborhood towards the finish. I was coming down hill and saw Andy and his gal Jackie. They cheered, "Go Dee Dee, go!!" I smiled and charged up the next hill.


It was getting hot, but I kept going. I was passed by a 12 year old girl, and I said, "Good job, sweetie." She smiled and said keep going, we are almost there. I said yes, we are, knowing that she would leave me in the dust and get there at least 20 min before me, But I didn't care. I rounded what I knew to be the last corner, and the volunteer said this the last hill before the finish line. We had about 500 yards to go!! I said, "Hot damn! almost done." I turned the corner and saw the last little hill. Jogged up it, turned left, and attempted to sprint to the finish!!!


Heard my DH and daughter yell go mom go, and then I ran through the line. There was a water fall under the finish line. I ran right through it, and it felt so good. It was over!!! I officially did my first sprint with an open water swim, 13 mile bike, and a 5k run!

I didn't finish first, but I didn't finish last.

Dee Dee

Friday, August 17, 2007

Can I Borrow Your Shovel?

I really, really, need it to scrape my arse up off the pavement :-) Got up bright and early this morning cause I knew it was going to be a long one. The Dee'd got up and made me and number one son breakfast. How sweet was that? Dropped off number one at school forty-five minutes early! What a trooper!! On the way over to the Silver Comet Trail, I decided that I was going to go to a different trail head. School is back in session, and the one I usually go to is a dead end street with a school at the end. I didn't want to mess with that.

I went down the East-West Connector, planning on hitting up the Floyd Road trail head, and promptly got lost. Actually, I knew where I was going, but I got impatient, and that sign did say this way to Silver Comet Trail parking. I turned around and got stuck in commuter traffic. It was sweet going in the other direction, but heading back towards the interstate, uh uh. After moaning and groaning for a few minutes, I made it to the turn off, headed down the road, and drove right past the trail head that the sign was talking about. LOL. The trail looks so different when you are riding over the top of it, and they could at least have had a flashing neon sign.

Ultimately, I ended up at Floyd Road anyways. I did manage to turn onto it in the right direction and find the depot with no problemo. It was 8 AM when I got started, and the temperature was already 80 degrees. The bike ride was brilliant. I had promised myself that I wouldn't fret about getting to work, and I didn't. I did 34 miles in about an hour and fifty-five minutes. All that time, I'm saying, "Save sumthin for the run. Save sumthin for the run" :-)

When I got back to the car, I tossed Aerowyn in the back, locked her up, got my shoes on and hit the trail, going in the other direction. Of course ( slaps forehead ) it was all downhill on the way out and all uphill on the way back. Funny how we don't realize these things from the back of the bike. That would explain why I ran 18 minutes out and it took me 20 to get back! All in all, four miles in sub-40. I'll take that, but I was cooked. I'm sure the inside of Dee Dee's ride is gonna stink for a few days. Shhhhhhh.....

I'm two for three on the sports gels. Hammer cinnamon-apple rocks. The orange is nasty. Power Gels' strawberry-banana is downright good. I think I'm ready to down some nutrition for the next race. Dee Dee got me a Bento Box too! LOL. When are they going to come out with a gel that tastes like chocolate frosting. Now, that would be nice!!

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Wes

OCN: 34 miles, 01:55:47, ~18.2 mph
ORN: 4 miles, 38:12, tempo pace, R4/W1, 9:33 mmp

Thursday, August 16, 2007

One Man's Cure (Bonus Meme)

One man's cure for insomnia:

1. A full day's work
2. 3000 meters in the pool, 5x500 @10:30 main set
3. A cup of chilli
4. 5 hours at the restaurant
5. A massively delicious chicken quesdilla
6. 2 succulent La Rossa beers
7. A short albeit immensely satisfying romantic night cap with the Spousal Unit

My last long swim of the training cycle is gone now. It brings a slight tear to my eyes. K. I'm over it... And for those of you who tagged me, sleep with one eye open:

Jobs I've Held:
Yard boy
Whopper Flopper
New Car Shuttle Service Man
Restaurateur
IT Geek

Movies I Can Watch Over and Over:
Star Wars
Lord of the Rings
Starship Troopers
Titanic
It's a Wonderful Life (Every freakin year, sometimes twice!)

My Guilty Pleasures:
Beer
Gin
Mexican Food
Tobacco Products

Places I Have Lived:
Mobile AL
Fort Sill, OK
Hanau, Germany
Atlanta, GA
Woodstock, GA

Shows I Enjoy:
Hell's Kitchen
Super Nanny
Emeril Live
ER

Vacation Spots:
Panama City Beach, FL
Disney World
The Mountains

Favorite Foods:
Chips and Salsa
Enciladas
Sweet and Sour Pork
Steak
Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
Ribs

Websites I Visit Daily:
Everybody's Blog (That has Posted)
Simply Recipes
Fox News
Webmail
The Dilbert Blog
CNN
IraqSlogger

Body Parts I Have Injured:
Shin (Broke a stick off against the bone)
Foot (Put a big gash in it, again with a stick, different episode)
Both Shoulders (throwing football/baseball)

Awards I've Won:
City Champions 7th Grade Catholic Football League

Nicknames I've Been Called:
Beer Can
Let's not forget the unprintable ones.

If you want to be tagged, consider yourself tagged...

Wes

OSN: 3000 meters, 01:02:04, 1X300 w/u, 5x500@10:30, 1x200 c/d

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tri-Divas



The three blogging tri-chicas get ready to do battle. From left to right: Nat, Steph, and Dee Dee.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sucking Wind

Since Sunday, I've basically been sucking wind. I find it extremely hard to take a nap for very long in the afternoon, and I made myself go out for my long run Sunday night at 9:15 PM. Yea... That late, and it was still hot as Hades. It's been a long time since I've run (almost) seven miles. I don't think I'll ever run that far at Hobgood Park again. Running seven miles in a half mile circle is just exceedingly boring. At least I got it done.

Running Sunday allowed me to stick to the plan, by the way. I was supposed to do a swim bike brick yesterday, but life conspired against me. I went to the pool and did my 37 minute swim, but my transition time was like two hours :-), and it included a meal in between! LOL. But, again, I got my swim done and my bike, and I'm definitely taking my three, count'em three, rest days this week. I'm kinda in the doldrums. Can you tell? I'm taking advantage of it...

You guys are going to have to exercise some patience for Dee Dee's race report. I'm not sure when she will be able to get it done. She has been extremely tired, and to top it off, she is a very busy woman... Who, by the way, has asked me to sign her up for a triathlon at the end of the season. Help? LOL...

Wes

Please be careful out there:

Bike Path Rapist Sentenced

OSN: 1800 meters, 1x300 w/u, 13x100@2:05,1x200 c/d
OCN: 15.2 miles, 01:04:38, ~14.5 mph

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Score Three

Yea, baby! I got three hugs today. I got one from Nat, one from her (and my) friend Stephanie, and then I got a hug from Andy's beautimous soon to be wife, Jackie!! Woo hoo! It's all about me :-)

Wait a minute... Dee Dee ran her race today. That's right! Almost forgot!! She did great. I'll do up a "longish" report later, and yes, yes, yes, I am working on her to do her own race report. I've promised to be the editor for her. We'll see how that works out!

Dee Dee finished the race in 01:48:56. Here is the breakdown:

Swim: 400 yards in 7:53 (very cool!)
T1: 3:56
Bike: 52:51
T2: 5.46 seconds (That is no freakin joke!)
Run: 44:08

Let's just say Dee Dee is a transition goddess amongst other things :-)

More later,

Wes

UPDATE: Dee Dee's official times are out. Her T1 time was like 2:30 and her T2 time was like 1 minute. Still awesome transitions!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Hiawassee Summer Sizzler

This race was added as an afterthought, more than anything else. I had an extra week in my training schedule, and by God I wanted to use it. I was also secretly hoping that Hiawassee would satisfy my craving to do a half iron distance race.

Now, exactly where is Hiawassee? Hiawassee is nestled in the upper right corner of the State of Georgia, and the lake (Chatuge) is shared with the great state of North Carolina. Dee Dee has her upcoming tri next weekend, and as such, we negotiated our schedules at the restaurant over the next couple of weeks.


She was going to work for me Saturday night, and I was going to work for her Saturday night before her tri. Sounded like a good deal to me. The only strange part of the arrangement was that I had agreed to work Friday night before my own tri. Hmmmm. Okay. Seems fair. I just didn't want Dee Dee burning herself out for me so that I could tri. I would take it all in stride.

Thursday night, I took the opportunity to get all my stuff together. I made a checklist from my tri book and put it into a spreadsheet. I printed it out and proceeded to gather everything together for the race. The only things missing were the kinds of things I would have to do the morning of the race. Things like, prepare my bottle, rack my bike, yada, yada...

Friday the restaurant was really busy. Dee Dee had a great lunch, and dinner was steady. I feel guilty about leaving the kids there by themselves, so I ended up staying there until around 9 PM. Unfortunately for me, I spent most of that time on my feet. At the end of the night, I spent a fair amount of time keeping a seat near the bar warm, until finally, I realized that I had better head out before I absolutely wore myself out.

Dee Dee had taken Jimmy to his soccer practice. When I got home to eat dinner, I had a choice. I could either cook myself some noodles and have some left over spaghetti for dinner, or I could eat PB & J sandwiches. I opted for the sandies :-) Once again, I am setting a standard for pre-race nutrition. Sushi and PB & J sandwiches! LOL.

The good news is that I slept well. I don't usually sleep great before a race, but Friday night, I slept pretty good. The alarm went off at 4:30 AM. I got up, got dressed, made myself some coffee, and had my breakfast. Since everything was pretty much packed, all I had to do was rack the bike, throw my bags in the car and head out. For some strange reason, we didn't quite make it out the door until like 5:20 AM (bathroom break!!). I was hoping to make it to Hiawassee by 6:30 AM, but I misjudged the distance and the amount of time it would take to actually get there.

We had a pleasant ride up. It was amazing at how much fog was in the morning air. I knew that we were heading into the Smokey Mountains, but the fog (smoke :-) was actually obscuring most of the views from us. As we drove north, I got to see places that I had heard about but had never seen (dark and foggy as it were!). Jasper, Elijay, Blairsville... All little towns that my customers had often talked about, but places I had never been, despite living in Woodstock for over 13 years. The ride itself was a straight shot. The highway was four lanes almost the entire way. About half way, Dee Dee saw a shadow dart across the road. She asked me if I saw it, and asked that I watch for deer. Sure enough... Another doe ran across the road in front of us. Suddenly, I could see myself having a "deer accident" on the way to the race. I moved into the left lane and prayed that no more deer would try to cross the road to see what was on the other side!

We arrived in Hiawassee just as the sun was starting to come up. We managed to find the entrance to the park with no problem. I was confused at first as the directions I had didn't quite add up, but once I saw a car in front of me carrying a bike on the back, I knew all was good. We scored a parking spot at the far end of the lane, and Dee Dee and I unpacked the car and carried everything to transition.


Since the transition area was so small, I picked out a good spot at the end of the first line. It was close to the entrance to transition and not too far from the exit. While we were setting up, the race director said that, due to the fog, the race might be delayed for a bit. I took that as an opportunity to warm up a bit. I ran around the camping area by transition a couple of times to get the old legs tuned up. I was feeling pretty good. All my muscles seemed to have healed up fine during my lackadaisical taper week. After that, I dug my goggles out of the bag and headed down to the lake for a swim. I only had like fifteen minutes before the 7:45 AM meeting.

Like all lakes in Georgia, Chatuge was well below its normal level. As such, the beach area where the triathlon was supposed to start was covered in rocks. I'm not talking about nice round rocks either, but quarter sized and larger, specifically designed to irritate the feet and cause bruising. I gingerly made my way down into the water and swam around for a bit. The water was definitely comfortable. This made me very happy. For some reason, I still have this thing about cold water :-) I swam out to the island and back, and then along the shore. Before I knew it, my fifteen minutes was up, and it was time to head back for the pre-race meeting. In retrospect, I wish that I had pushed myself harder during the warm up. Much like running, the lungs need to be stressed before the start of the swim. This helps prepare them for optimal oxygen intake, provided of course you aren't sucking water! LOL.

Myself, and the other 100+ athletes gathered outside the race directors trailer for the meeting. He went into great detail about the race route. He apologized for the rocks and said that it was an unexpected thing, but we would just have to deal with it. He also explained that nobody at this race was going to make it to Kona, and nobody was going to win a lot of money, so everybody needed to stay safe and be courteous to the population of Hiawassee who went out of their way to make sure we all were taken care of on race day.


While we were listening to the RD, I got the opportunity to evaluate the competition. This would hardly be noteworthy if not , for this race, things were so different. First of all, there were only 100 or so competitors in this race, a small race for sure. The good news was it was a forty percent increase over last year. The other thing that struck me was that almost everybody doing this race was a seasoned triathlete. There were very, very few comfort and hybrid bikes. Not that these kinds of athletes weren't welcome, mind you. If you know much about triathletes, you know we are an inclusive bunch :-) Every athlete for this race was lean, mean, and ready to get down to bidness!!

After the meeting, we headed down to the beach to get ready. Due to the fog, the race was delayed. The RD couldn't start the race until the Fire/Safety department gave the all clear. They had to see the athletes in order to be able to rescue them. Many of us took this opportunity to get wet again, and get warmed up. I swam around in the water a bit, then stood on shore, waiting for the race to finally get under way.


Check out those rocks! Ouch!! In that particular picture, I'm trying to get a good idea of where Dee Dee left her flip flops for me! LOL. I did NOT want to run across the rocks to the grass. We ended up not having to wait too long. The sun came up and the fog began to lift. The athletes decided that they didn't want to run across the rocks to start the race, so we all waited in the water for the race to begin.


Evidently, the RD didn't want to argue with us :-) He came down to the lake, got in his boat, and began the count down. I prefer things to be a little more organized, but they were ready to go. He gave us a five minute heads up, then counted down from there. As the count down got closer, I made my way down to the inside in neck deep water. With a bang, the gun went off, the throng of people started to swim, and the biggest race of my life was on.

The scene around the lake was serene as the starting gun went off. The safety patrol was on the lake in boats, kayaks, and wave runners. The swim was going to be a two loop affair. A race official was going to be standing on the beach, recording our splits. We had to come out of the water, run around her, then back into the water for the second lap. I put my face down into the water and began to swim for the first buoy on the corner of the island.


The swim started off fairly good. I was in the lead pack of twenty to twenty five swimmers and felt fairly comfortable. I'm not sure if it was adrenaline or the "pack" syndrome, but I started out too fast. As I approached the corner of the island, it hit me.


Some of you may or may not be aware that I have been dealing with what used to be a serious bout of acid reflux for the past three years. Since I've lost all this weight, I no longer take medication to control it, but an after affect seems to be that my nose runs down the back of my throat, excessively. Usually a dip in the pool or the lake will clear it up for me, but every once in a while, it causes me to gag, and that's what began to happen as I reached the corner of the island.

Now, this happens every so often, and I've practiced recovering in the pool, but this was the first time that it had happened in a race. One, two, three gags I can handle, but five in a row, and I just wasn't able to breath. I took a direct route to the shore of the island and found a place where I could stand. You have no idea how embarrassed I was. I took a deep breath (or a hundred), sat there and watched what seemed like nearly everybody pass me by. After what seemed like an eternity (maybe 10-20 seconds), I got going again, but I still couldn't catch my breath. I was forced to freestyle and breast stroke around the back end corner of the island. I intentionally took a tack in closer to shore on the back side. Half way around the back of the island, I put my foot down to feel for the bottom and made contact with an extremely sharp rock. I felt that pain course through my foot. I wondered if it was bleeding. It was that sharp. I didn't really have time to check it out though.


I went and continued on and struggled around the other back corner of the island. I breathed a sigh of relief as the landing came into site, and I tried to find my rhythm so I could look good for the peeps on the beach.


Finally, I lumbered up onto the beach, grateful to have a chance to catch my breath. The endorphins had, by this time, kicked in, and I no longer felt the pain in my foot. Oh yea, I admit it. The thought crossed my mind to just say "screw this" and DNF right then and there. Then, I remembered my friends, and their trials and tribulations on the their long swims, and the thought processes they went through after their own DNFs, and I vowed to continue. Muttering under my breath, I quashed that negative thought, put my goggles back on and entered the lake for my second lap, vowing this time to do better.

I just find it so funny that I can seemingly swim forever in the pool and even in the lake when I am not racing, but come race day, I have such difficulty. I came off my last swim with such a high, and this one was kicking me right in the guts. I quickly found my rhythm on the second lap. When I dealt out a slow measured pace, my breathing was fine. I even started to pass people. Even my slow measured pace was faster then the swimmers around me. That gave me some confidence. I rounded the first bouy and headed for the back of the island without stopping. I breast stroked just a little for sighting, and to take a break, but I could feel the tightness in my legs. Evidently the first lap had taken more out of my legs than I would have liked. The back end of the island passed rather quickly, and before I knew it, I was heading back for the landing. I took that opportunity to breast stroke for a few more meters to catch my breath, then I took off. I really wanted to finish strong.

At last, I arrived back at the landing. I located Dee Dee's flip flops, but my legs weren't working properly, and I couldn't get them on. After trying several times, I got frustrated, threw them at Dee Dee and walked across the rocks to the grass. I handed the race officials my swim cap, noted my time, and headed for the transition area. I came out of the water in under twenty eight minutes. That was well within my goal time. I couldn't help but wonder what my time would have been if I hadn't wasted so much of it in the water.


Pushing all those thoughts behind me, I jogged into T1 and got ready for the bike. I put on my helmet and my sunglasses, followed by my socks and shoes. I strapped on my Road ID, race belt, and Garmin, but I forgot to power it on. As I walked towards the exit, I noticed that the Garmin wasn't turned on and cursed under my breath. It would just have to do.


I wasn't going to wait for it to synch up. (Incidentally, I also forgot to put it in bike mode.) As my area in transition faded behind me, I failed to realize that I had covered all of my nutritional products with my towel. They were sitting there where I left them, untouched.

At the bike mount zone, I once again had trouble clipping in. My legs just weren't cooperating. With a little effort, I managed to get both feet in without falling over and began to spin my way out of the park and onto the 23.5 mile loop around the lake....

As I started out on the bike, I was struggling to recover physically, mentally, and emotionally from the swim. Physically, the blood hadn't quite started flowing back to the legs, despite my best efforts at kicking the last 200 meters or so. Mentally, I was coming around a lot faster. I had done very well on the second half of my swim. I did the first lap in 14 minutes and some change, and I completed the second lap in 13 minutes and change. I'll take a negative split and a good second lap any day. Emotionally? Blech... I was mad at myself for doing such a crappy job on the first lap, and I had a long bike ride ahead to think about it.

As I left the mounting area, I made a right down the entrance into the park. Dee Dee was there waiting for me to snap my picture and cheer me on. I would be remiss not to mention what a great job Dee Dee did of capturing the race.


I wasn't in a big hurry to spin up the hill on the way out. I had used my legs way to much during the first lap of the swim, and they were tired. Dee Dee snapped a picture of me on the way out from the back side. I'm sure she was fixated on my butt, but ignore that for a minute and see if you can pick out the lines running through my left leg. My muscles were clenched and tight. Not a good thing for starting out the ride.


As I exited the park, I made a right turn onto the highway and began a long descent to the road that would take us north. I was on the tail end of a group of about five riders. Within the first mile of the bike, I got passed by a couple of people with some really sweet rides.


Once we reached the intersection with Hwy 515, we made a right turn and headed north into the State of North Carolina. I thought that was very cool. I had never raced in two states in one event. It was on this section of the route that the rolling hills began. Stupid me forgot to set my Garmin on cycle, so I had no idea what my current or average speed was. I was however, setting some records for running pace :-)

For the next eight miles or so, a young thirty-six year old woman and I played tag. She would pass me on the uphills, and I would pass her on the downhills. The route around the lake was beautiful. I remember traveling past the golf course and seeing a group of golfers waiting to tee off. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm not totally confident in the golfing abilities of the residents of Hiawasee, and their fairway was right next to the road upon which I was traveling. I breathed a collective sigh of relief as I rode further up the fairway and saw that they were waiting on a group of golfers to exit the fairway. I was safe for the moment.

As I passed striped tri-shorts girl one final time, I joked with her and said we have to stop meeting like this, and on the next hill, we did. Stop meeting that is. She powered up the hill, and I let her go. I basically admitted that she was more fit than I was, and if I spent the entire bike course trying to keep up with her, I was going to die. For the next 10 miles, I kept her within a quarter of a mile or so, until even then I couldn't keep the pace any more. It was the last time I saw her until I made it back to the entrance of the park.

Around mile 10, I felt the rumble of my stomach demanding food. At that point, I remembered that I left my food in the transition area and silently cursed the triathlon gods. I had remembered to fill my bottle with Accelerade, and I used that to satisfy my hunger a bit. The problem is that whenever I drink on the bike, it gives me gas and upsets my stomach. I managed to down a quarter of the bottle over the entire 23.5 miles.

Around mile 12, I thought to myself I've been going for a while, I have to be getting close to the end. K? You can stop laughing now. I was serious. I had been busting my arse like I was on a sprint and had basically given it everything I had for the first twelve miles. Of course, the problem was that I still had half the distance to go. I got really really mad at myself at that point. What the hell was I doing? This was fun? If I didn't come out of the gate like a bull in a china shop, I wouldn't be already so dang sore and tired and frustrated with half the bike left to complete. Well, I took that opportunity to channel my anger. I knew I had it in me to finish the bike. I had trained hard. Eleven miles was nothing! I focused on pedaling from the core. My legs were nothing more than levers of my core muscles. They did no work what so ever.

For the next four miles this strategy worked beautifully. I tried hard to enjoy the scenery. The lake was beautiful. I remember going past a pasture of beautiful horses that were laying on the backs with their feet up in the air, scratching their backs. That brought out a serious chuckle. At one point, I made a right turn and headed back across the lake for Georgia. I had to cross a single lane bridge. The police officers were kind enough to hold up the traffic for me, and I waved my thanks to the six or seven cars on the other side waiting to cross.

Around mile sixteen the cramps started...

This was a sure sign that I had wasted to much of my legs in the swim and the early part of the bike. I got up out of the saddle and stretched my legs, preventing a serious set of seizures. By carefully sending relaxing thoughts to my muscles, I managed to control the cramps and continue my ride. That Chi Running book sure came through for me there :-)

In looking back over the ride, there was a lot of little hills, and maybe three or four serious hills. The Garmin told me that I was approaching the end of the bike route. The road curved ahead and gently rose into the sky. As I rounded the corner, I prayed to see the entrance to the park. Instead, I got the hill from hell. There really is no feeling quite like wishing to see the end of the race, and instead seeing a big ole stinking steep hill. I coulda cried. LOL. Well, not really... At that point, I did say screw it. There was no way I was going to bust my arse going up that hill. I ratcheted down into my lowest gear and ground my way up the hill, never once stopping, but never really reaching a good pace either. Once I crested the top of the hill, it was a relatively flat couple of miles through the town of Hiawassee back to the entrance of the park.

As I made the right hand turn, low and behold striped tri-shorts girl came riding up from the other direction. She had missed her turn and added a little yardage to her bike route. We road into the park together. Some dude came riding up and passed on my left and then slowed. It was understandable, as there were runners on the course now and we had to be careful. I, however, didn't want to pass on his right and/or take out a runner while I was at it.


Eventually, we got things straightened out. Once around the camp grounds and we came to the dismount point at the end of transition. I dismounted in pretty good shape. I ran into transition, ditched my helmet, gloves, and shoes. I slipped on the twin wonders, tied'em up, switched my race belt around and was out of transition in flash. My T2 transition time was my fastest ever!! 1:26 seconds... With the sun and temperatures rising, the most grueling part of the race was about to begin... and... you guessed it... My food was still sitting under my towel. Doh!! I guess I'm a glutton for punishment.

My legs felt like lead as I exited the gate and onto the street. I wasn't really all that concerned. My legs always feel that way after I get off the bike. As I rounded the tennis courts, I came to the first hill, next to the music hall on the right. I decided not to push it early, and I walked it.

Once I was past the hill it was pretty much level and downhill to the entrance to the park. I was pretty much determined at this point to do my usual run four minutes and walk one minute routine. I felt strong enough to run a sub-9 minute pace here, although I was pretty sure that it wouldn't last for long.


As I came around the baseball fields, a young girl came ambling past me and I smiled. Y'all know how much I love getting blown away by young athletes. Turns out this "girl" was fourteen, on her second lap, and on her way to winning the woman's division of the race. She was representing The Sports Factory, our local coaching center extraordinaire here in Atlanta.

Any who, once I made it to the park entrance, I turned around and started heading back up hill towards the ticket gates. That was when I noticed striped tri shorts girl was in front of me. I laughed. It seems I was following her all over the race. I determined to pace myself off of her, if I could. Once past the gate, we made a right into the raised parking area. Pardon my french, but what a bitch! Or is that bastard :-) Each terrace was up hill, and we had to do three of them before coming back down. Outward, I was smiling and living large. Inside, I was groaning and fighting back the pain and exhaustion.

While trudging across the second terrace, I heard an ambulance come pulling into the park. After the race, Dee Dee told me what happened. A young girl (early twenties) had collapsed in the finishing chute. Her husband was yelling at her to get up and finish. A few of the spectators stepped in to help her up, but she refused. She got back on her feet, stumbled ten feet forward and collapsed before the finish line. Rising up on her hands and knees, she crawled across the finish line, only to collapse for the final time on the other side. Lots of folks stepped in to help her. Fortunately for her, and us, she revived quickly, and a ride in the ambulance proved to be unnecessary.

Once we hit the end of the third terrace, it was pretty much down hill until we got on the other side of the camp site. The run 4/walk 1 thing was working out pretty well for me. I kept striped tri shorts girl in site. I'm pretty sure that it was the little bitty hill by the transition area that finally sucked the rest of the wind out of my sails. I was not looking forward to the second loop, but I soldiered onward.


All right! Whose butt is this guy checking out anyways? Where's David?

For the second loop, I could only maintain a 9:30 pace while I was running. I knew that this was pushing me dangerously close to the ten minute pace I had set as my goal. I got passed by one tri-chica as I came down off the terraces for the second time. She told me to be strong, and I reciprocated with a looking good comment. I tried to pick up the pace to take advantage of the final downhill into the finish line.


As I rounded the back end of the campsite, I passed a very old guy who was obviously on his first lap. I gave him some encouraging words and slowed down to a crawl going back up the wind sucking little hill. As I crested, I broke to the left and into the chute, raised my arms and crossed the finish line in 02:27:31. That is almost exact, as far as I know, cause Dee Dee got it on digital media :-)


I spent the next five to ten minutes walking around the concession area trying not to cramp up. I drank another Accelerade, ate a few things, and listened to Dee Dee yell at me about not eating and drinking while I was on the bike. Thanks, girl :-)

About a quarter of the way through the awards ceremony, my old friend came trudging up the finish chute at about the three hour mark. He was 78 years old and had been doing triathlons for 8 years. Towards the end of the awards ceremony, his 70 year old wife came across the finish line. Talk about inspirational. All of the triathletes paused to celebrate his and her finish. They both were regulars at the Greater Smokey Mountain Tri Club and were used to the awards ceremony starting without them. It was really cool, because I don't think anyone else got that kind of applause when they crossed the line.

Dee Dee had already packed the car before the ceremony. Afterwards, there was nothing left to do but rack the bike and go home. As I drove out of the parking lot, I left a lot of mixed emotions behind me (and carried some home). I will share those things with you in the final chapter of this blog post.

There was nothing left now, but the heavy lidded drive home and dealing with the "self assessment" as we like to say in the world of referees. The nice thing about leaving around noon-ish was that the sun was up and the skies were clear. The scenery on the return route was everything I had hoped for, and I was not disappointed.

Dee Dee fiddled with the controls on the radio so we could listen to some music. Did anyone out there know that there was such a thing as Mountain Country? LOL. Uhhh... yea! I made a quick lefty into the parking lot of a Wendy's in some small town. Evidently it was too small to remember its name. I was starving at that point, fully realizing I needed to replenish my lowered stocks of saturated fats. We didn't stop for long. The boys were at home by themselves, and I didn't want to get too sleepy on the road.

If you ask ten different triathletes what was their "biggest" race and why, you are going to get ten different answers. For some, it will be the number of competitors. For others, it will be the distance or maybe a PR. For me, and in this race is particular, it will always be the sheer number of lessons that I learned.

A. Going out of the gate hell bent for leather will not work all (most of) the time.
B. Not having a nutrition strategy is downright stupid.
C. Not all swims are created equal. Start out slowly and ramp up (Oly and above)
D. Have a pace plan in place for the bike too.
E. Save a lil sumthin for the run.
F. Drink more on the bike.
G. Longer distances is all about equal level of effort in each discipline for the entire race!!
H. One week is not enough time to taper for an Oly.

and tons of little ones like how not to cramp.

Did I have fun at this race? You betcha! Will I do it again? I hope so. Only the future knows. It certainly opened my eyes to what it takes to "go long". I am very happy that I did not sign up for a half iron distance. As a matter of fact, I am even now revamping my race plans for next year. Instead of trying for Iron, I may make a half Iron distance my A race and then go for Ironman in 09. I'm also revamping my expectations for my A race in August. I want to complete the entire swim without stopping, breast stroking, side stroking or back stroking. Screw the time. I want to come off the bike feeling strong. I want to maintain a good pace over the six miles, and maybe come in under an hour.

The official times came out today. Once again, they didn't record T1 and T2 times, so I had to pull them from the bike and run times. It makes a difference! They said that the run was 4 miles. GMaps says it was 4.2. That 0.2 miles means a 9:45 pace for me rather than a 10+ pace for me, and thats important!! OK? Here are the official times:

1290 meter swim: 27:55
T1: 3:18
23.5 mile bike: 01:15:47 (~18.5 mph avg)
T2: 1:26
4.2 mile run: 41:05

As Dee Dee and I made the long journey home, a particular song caught my attention. I don't listen to country music, so I had to look it up on the internet. Here are the lyrics I found particularly appealing:

We need a little more love
To get us through the night
Just a little more love
And we'll be all right
We need a little more love
To get us through the night
Just a little more love
And we'll be all right
Gonna be all right
-- Vince Gill, "Just a Little More Love"

Not only does Dee Dee always need a little more love ( and I'm there to give it to her! ), but this sport of Triathlon needs a little more love, and that's what I intend to do. Love this sport a little more every day as I count down the final 18 to West Point.

Bring it...

For the original articles and comments by some pretty cool people, follow these links...

Prologue
The Swim
The Bike
The Run
Epilogue

Friday, August 10, 2007

Forty before Breakfast

For the first and only time on this monolithic five month base building plan, I actually did my long ride on the day I was supposed to. For the record, I did not like it. It wasn't the ride itself that was so unpleasant. Not at all. I just felt miserable not being at work :-) and then I proceeded to worry about it for forty miles. With that said, I did get my ride in. That's the good news. I did cut it short by twenty minutes, and I'm OK with that. I'm more than ready for this Oly.

I'm also pretty happy with the way this week shaped up. I'm not sure if it was the Accelerade or the swim I did with Dee Dee Sunday, but I have jumped right back into my training schedule with both feet forward. To recap:

Friday - 40.7 miles on the Silver Comet Trail in 02:17:12
Thursday - 3500 meters in the pool. 1x300 w/u, 1500 - 1000 - 500 meter sets, 1x200 c/d
Wednesday - 4.5 miles run. I ran 4 miles straight at a 10 minute pace! Woo hoo! .5 mile cool down
Tuesday - 3.5 miles in the oppressive heat at second son's soccer practice
Monday - 20.5 mile bike ride on Bags, the ole fitness bike
Sunday - 750 meter swim at Acworth with da Boss :-)

and I'm feelin pretty good to boot!!

Tomorrow, I am back at it with the refereeing. Only problem is that it will be in the mid 90s when my games get over. We are on astro turf too. That will be loads of fun.

Dee Dee's tri is Sunday! Can't wait to be on the other end of the camera, cheering on all these Tri-chicas, and especially Dee Dee.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Wes

P.S. I tried my first Hammer Gel on the bike today. All I got to say that was the best sweetest stickiest gooey stuff I've ever eaten. I liked it!!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hiawassee Summer Sizzler - Epilogue

There was nothing left now, but the heavy lidded drive home and dealing with the "self assessment" as we like to say in the world of referees. The nice thing about leaving around noon-ish was that the sun was up and the skies were clear. The scenery on the return route was everything I had hoped for, and I was not disappointed.

Dee Dee fiddled with the controls on the radio so we could listen to some music. Did anyone out there know that there was such a thing as Mountain Country? LOL. Uhhh... yea! I made a quick lefty into the parking lot of a Wendy's in some small town. Evidently it was too small to remember its name. I was starving at that point, fully realizing I needed to replenish my lowered stocks of saturated fats. We didn't stop for long. The boys were at home by themselves, and I didn't want to get too sleepy on the road.

If you ask ten different triathletes what was their "biggest" race and why, you are going to get ten different answers. For some, it will be the number of competitors. For others, it will be the distance or maybe a PR. For me, and in this race is particular, it will always be the sheer number of lessons that I learned.

A. Going out of the gate hell bent for leather will not work all (most of) the time.
B. Not having a nutrition strategy is downright stupid.
C. Not all swims are created equal. Start out slowly and ramp up (Oly and above)
D. Have a pace plan in place for the bike too.
E. Save a lil sumthin for the run.
F. Drink more on the bike.
G. Longer distances is all about equal level of effort in each discipline for the entire race!!
H. One week is not enough time to taper for an Oly.

and tons of little ones like how not to cramp.

Did I have fun at this race? You betcha! Will I do it again? I hope so. Only the future knows. It certainly opened my eyes to what it takes to "go long". I am very happy that I did not sign up for a half iron distance. As a matter of fact, I am even now revamping my race plans for next year. Instead of trying for Iron, I may make a half Iron distance my A race and then go for Ironman in 09. I'm also revamping my expectations for my A race in August. I want to complete the entire swim without stopping, breast stroking, side stroking or back stroking. Screw the time. I want to come off the bike feeling strong. I want to maintain a good pace over the six miles, and maybe come in under an hour.

The official times came out today. Once again, they didn't record T1 and T2 times, so I had to pull them from the bike and run times. It makes a difference! They said that the run was 4 miles. GMaps says it was 4.2. That 0.2 miles means a 9:45 pace for me rather than a 10+ pace for me, and thats important!! OK? Here are the official times:

1290 meter swim: 27:55
T1: 3:18
23.5 mile bike: 01:15:47 (~18.5 mph avg)
T2: 1:26
4.2 mile run: 41:05

As Dee Dee and I made the long journey home, a particular song caught my attention. I don't listen to country music, so I had to look it up on the internet. Here are the lyrics I found particularly appealing:

We need a little more love
To get us through the night
Just a little more love
And we'll be all right
We need a little more love
To get us through the night
Just a little more love
And we'll be all right
Gonna be all right
-- Vince Gill, "Just a Little More Love"

Not only does Dee Dee always need a little more love ( and I'm there to give it to her! ), but this sport of Triathlon needs a little more love, and that's what I intend to do. Love this sport a little more every day as I count down the final 18 to West Point.

Bring it...