Thursday, May 29, 2008

In Earnest

While it seemed perfectly logical to me, I do after all NEED a carbon wheel set, the accounting side of mind (a.k.a. Land of Total Chaos) totally crapped on the idea. Dee Dee and I have been making great strides this year in adjusting our finances, and I am not borrowing money (read credit cards) to purchase carbon wheels which may or may not help me on the bike.

What to do... What to do...

Well, since there was a little wiggle room in the checkbook, I signed up for more races :-) After consulting my coach of course. She has PLANS for me, and throwing in more races can make PLANNING difficult. Buuttttt... She said an Olympic in July was fine, and a half iron the first or last week of September was cool. That means that Chattanooga and the South Carolina Half Iron are on my radar!! I'm not registered yet for South Carolina (am for Chattanooga), but it is definitely on my to-do list.

Speaking of coach...

She inquired into my performance at IM Florida 70.3 and as to how my recovery was going. I filled her in and told her I was recovering fine. Lazy, but fine. We both agreed that I could take my LT tests this week. If you guys remember, I took the tests over a three week period starting in February of this year. Now, she has me doing my tests all in the same week in this order, bike, swim, run. She's just smart like that. I did mine in swim, bike, run order cause, quite frankly, that's the way I thought triathletes did things :-)

Anywho, I hit Columns Drive yesterday for my test before work. I did twenty minutes of warm ups, then twenty minutes all out, and twenty minutes cool down. I covered 19 miles in an hour, with 40% of that taking place during my test. My heart rate averaged 158 with a peak of 161, eight points higher than last time. (Liz says that is good!) My speed increased as well. How exciting!! Tomorrow, I get to take the swim test, and Sunday, I'll take the run test in humid Columbus, Georgia.

I am so very grateful to Liz for working with me to knock these tests out before our "official" start date, June 1! That is very sweet and professional of her. I intend to work hard to improve. I am on the Path to Iron, the Path to Pain, The Yellow Brick Road :-) what eva!! I just know that if she says jump, I'm gonna say, "How high?" I got my first repeat tri coming up June 22 at Callaway. I wanna so PR that sucka! I'm already visualizing a 10% improvement over my 53 minute time last year!! Once more into the breach my good fellows!!

Happy training!

Wes

OCN: 19 miles, 60 minutes, 19 mph

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Surreal

A perfect night out!!


Ain't skairt!!


I think Lisa said it best... This picture just about sums it up. I am beyond words with how ecstatic I am that the photographer caught this moment. It is truly an amazing moment at the end of an amazing race.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Here Kitteh, Kitteh

The Wednesday after the race, I finally decided to get back into the pool. I guess that, in and of itself is funny. Taking two days off was really a first for me this year. Now that the streak is broken, it just ain't the same. Dee Dee and I went to the pool and swam for half an hour. I took it easy and helped Dee Dee with her stroke. She continues to make great strides, including, but not limited to, allowing me to help her :-) She has an Oly coming up, dontcha know?

Thursday, I got texted late in the day and was asked to referee a Women's Division 2 soccer match. I was up for it, but I didn't want to have the center. I ended up doing it anyways and developed a real bad cramp in my shin about three quarter of the way through the match. I could barely run. This little scare helped (prompted) me to take the next two days off.

Matthew and Jimmy both had tournaments on opposite sides of the city this weekend. Unfortunately, both of them lost thier Saturday games, which meant no Monday games. I snuck in a short thirty minute bike ride Sunday afternoon, and my quads are still sore. Jeesh! Monday, I got to sleep in until 9 AM. It was heavenly, although tempered a bit by all the beer I've been drinking this weekend. Monday afternoon, before our cookout, I managed to sneak in a thirty minute run. It's starting to come back around.

Over the last couple of years, over the spring and summer, Dee Dee and I would get woken up in the middle of the night by some stupid bird just a singing outside our windows. What kind of jackhole bird sings at night? Aren't they supposed to be sleeping? Well, this year, he's back with a vengeance!! Not once, but twice this week, I've had to drag my sleepy arse outside the front door at 2 AM in the morning and shoo the little b****rd out of the bushes and trees in my yard. I know this neighborhood has outdoor cats. Where are they when you need them? LOL!! I may have to invest in a BB gun or something.

I've prattled enough today. I'll give you guys an update in my next post on coaches, wheel sets, races, and lions and tigers and bears...

Oh.my :-)

Wes

Friday, May 23, 2008

What Love Is (Part Deux, I think)

Dee Dee: You need Zipp wheels for your bike.

Wes: No, I don't.

Dee Dee: You are going to need them for your Ironman.

Wes: Why? They aren't going to help me go faster. I'm shooting for 16-17 mph.

Dee Dee: They will help you finish Ironman.

Wes: I'm not putting tires on my bike that cost more than the bike itself.

Dee Dee: Wes, you need them!

Wes: No.

Sorry fellas, she's taken :-)

Wes

BTW: My last post was meant to be a series of unrelated random thoughts. I did not mean to imply by putting them together that my friends are a burden to me. You never have been and never will be. K?

P.S. I went swimming Wed. and reffed a women's match last night. What fun!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

SOOOoooo Ready!

God? Somebody? Get me off this emotional roller coaster....

Post 70.3 blues are in full swing...

I'm still dealing with the aftermath of the race, dealing with my own emotions, dealing with the successes and a few failures of friends...

Dealing with (multiple) friends who want to switch coaches, and coaches switching coaches, and my new coach...

Must.not.carry.the.weight.of.the.world's.problems.on.my shoulders...

Bah!!!

Good thing I got a race coming up in less than a month :-)

I am ready. I am ready to turn up the intensity level, to get better, faster, stronger. I have no idea what that means. I'm just going to run with it and see what happens. I only hope my heart rate will support me, cause I know coach is going to train me by heart rate, and if there's one thing I've learned from Florida 70.3, I will NEVER, EVER go harder than I'm supposed to during training!

Lisa? I'm taking the torch from you my dear. You have done it and us all justice.

For the next 150 days. It's on like Donkey Kong...

Wes

BTW: Pics are up! Man, I'm lookin good ;-)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mickey 70.3

An Ironman Florida 70.3 Race Report

This had been coming for a long time. I guess all of my big races are like that. There was ING Georgia, followed by West Point Olympic, and Huntsville/Disney, and finally Florida 70.3. I guess having to wait a year to go for Iron will make these pale in comparison.

As per the usual, I started the week off by working 9-10 hour days so I could take Friday off. By the time Thursday evening rolled around, I was so thankful to get the hell out of the office. I love my job and all, but extra long days and an "A" race makes for a very antsy week. Thanks to Dee Dee's stellar support, the boyz were taken care of all week, and I got done what I needed to get done. I thought it would be a good idea to take the kids out for dinner the night before we left. We had a good time. I felt brave and drank a few beers and promptly forgot to do my bike workout. No harm done, except my streak was broken. So sad :-(

Dee Dee and I got up to get the boyz off to school. While Dee Dee drove our youngest, I packed my transition bag and clothes for the trip. When Dee Dee returned, we packed the car and got out the door. It's about a 7 hour drive to Orlando. I figured we'd be in around 4 or 5 PM. About half way to Orlando, Dee Dee and I decided we were hungry. We decided to stop in Valdosta. Dee Dee mentioned that she was hungry for wings. I thought, great! She works in a place that specializes in wings and she wants chicken. Dee Dee mentioned that she would like to eat at Hooters. They have great wings. I laughed and said that there was NO WAY that Valdosta had a Hooters. Well, as soon as we exited the interstate, lo and behold, there was a stinkin Hooters.

Prepare for a rant. I don't know about you other guys, but you have to decide for yourself. I mean, is it worth really good wings to have to look at pretty girls with shorts up their butts and boobs up under their chins? Oh the humanity!! I decided while we were there that I had a new word for Hooter's girls. Tit-chinians :-) In any case, the experience was horrible. Our little waitress, who also happened to be a physicist, failed to put Dee Dee's order in and when she did, she did it wrong. To make a long story short, we ended up spending an hour and a half on lunch, totally unexpected!

The rest of the ride was uneventful. We arrived in Orlando by 5:30 PM. We made it straight to our hotel without too much trouble. We checked in, got sitiated, then called Brian to see what he was doing. Brian had been in Orlando since about 1 PM. He had needed to pick up his friend Eric from the airport at 1 PM. Brian wanted to know if Dee Dee and I were up for Carrabas for dinner, and of course we were! We drove over, only to find about forty people waiting outside. Dee Dee and I thought there was no way would be able to eat there. I called Brian and told him about our problem. While I was on the phone, Dee Dee checked the wait. It was only twenty minutes. We decided that that wasn't too bad. No sooner had we gotten our buzzer and settled down then it went off! We ended up only waiting five minutes. We were seated for a very short time when Brian and Eric showed up. The dinner and service was exceptional. I took advantage of being in Orlando to have some of the best fish I've eaten in a while. This was by far the best experience I have had at a restaurant in a long time. I may be picky now that I am a restaurateur, but who's sayin :-)


After eating, Dee Dee and I returned to the hotel. I remember checking my watch around 9:45 before I passed out. Around 12:30 AM, the hotel fire alarm went off. Dee Dee and I quickly got dressed, descended 7 flights of stairs, and exited the hotel into the parking lot with the rest of the guests. We found out that some jackhole had burned a piece of pie in the microwave on the third floor. LOL! We returned to our room and went back to sleep. I, at least, was grateful that it happened on Friday night instead of Saturday.

We got up fairly early the next day. Katie and I had been conversing via text and cell phone up to that point. We wanted to get together and do our brick. It just so happened that our bricks were exactly the same. How cool was that? We ate a quick breakfast then headed out to find Katie's complex. At first, we went to the wrong place, but eventually, we worked it out and arrived at condos in which she was staying. I was not really supposed to swim, but I couldn't pass up a 10 minute swim with a real studette triathlete like Katie. We hit the lap pool, wrapped up our swim, then headed over to the Disney complex with Katie's husband, Craig, and two of her adorable children.

From the Disney parking lot, Katie and I joined a bunch of other athletes out on the bike for our twenty minute ride. Going out was a blast. I was hitting twenty one, twenty two miles per hour with no effort. When we turned around, the wind hit us slap dab in the face. It made me realize that if I wasn't careful, the race tomorrow wasn't going to be a cake walk, flat or not! Well, it wasn't going to be easy, but when is 56 miles ever easy? We ran into Brian and Eric on the way into Fort Wilderness. After getting registered and tucking our bikes into transition, we spent a little bit of time poking around the expo. I bought a 2Xu white triathlon singlet for the race. I figured it was going to be hot, and I wanted to be as cool as possible. We all had lunch together, then our group split up and everybody went their separate ways.


When Dee Dee and I got back to the hotel, it was 3:30 PM. We debated the propriety of heading to the beach. After a little bit of debate, we decided to go ahead and head out. Cocoa Beach is about 45 miles from where we were staying, even though it took us about 55 minutes to get there due the sheer quantity of toll booths. We went to the public beach and paid our ten bucks to get in. We found out rather quickly that the water was too cold to swim. Damn Atlantic! I was totally bummed. The water is much colder than the Gulf of Mexico. Shortly thereafter, we got dumped on by rain and decided to call our adventure to an end. We drove back to Orlando. During the trip back, we debated dinner. I did not want to do pasta again, and I was a bit tired of hamburgers. We decided to do... Pizza! LOL! Actually, we drove all the way over by Carrabas again and ate at an Italian pizzeria. They had the best stuffed pizza I have ever had.

By 10 PM, we were back at the hotel and in bed. I actually slept pretty good. I woke up at 2:15 AM and got very, very excited, but I managed to calm myself down and went back to sleep. The first alarm went off at 4:15 AM, but I had already been awake for fifteen minutes. Six solid hours of sleep the night before a race is heavenly, and I ain't complainin! Dee Dee and I set a record for getting ready, and we were out the door by 4:35 AM. On our way home the previous night, we had found, of all things, a Krispy Kreme. I had the BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS! Four glazed Krispy Kreme donuts and two pints of milk graced my stomach :-) ROFL!!! Yes, I'm still working on this pre-race nutrition thingee!

I have never seen so many people pouring into a triathlon event at some god awful hour of the morning. The parking lot was crawling. We caught the bus to Fort Wilderness with no problem what so ever. After getting off the bus, I kissed Dee Dee and headed to transition. I spent the next twenty to thirty minutes setting up. I filled up my bottles, laid out my shoes and helmet, hung my race belt, heart rate monitor, and watch from my bike, grabbed my goggles and race cap, and headed for the swim start. Dee Dee and I spent about twenty minutes waiting on the beach. During that time, Brian and Eric came by. I was excited to see them. It's good to be amongst friends before the start of the race.

As race time got closer and closer, we watched the sky turn from black to grey to light blue. It was rather pretty, and the lake was as smooth as glass. At about six minutes before start, the race director sang the national anthem. The pros were already on the beach getting ready to rumble. The RD actually introduced a few of the pros. I was excited to be there amongst them, but that was about as close as I got. With a start, the cannon went off and the pros entered the water. I watched carefully. They were dolphin diving up to about 75 yards into the water. Eventually, they started swimming, following some dude standing on a board with a paddle, leading them out onto the course. After that, the pro women moved onto the beach for their turn. A few of the pro women were introduced, then the cannon went off again, and they too entered the water for the swim. The race now began in earnest for the age groupers. Wave after wave went off to the sound of an air horn, spaced exactly three minutes apart.

Dee Dee and I were watching the swimmers leave the beach. In about the 7th or 8th wave, a life guard left her board and entered the water to help a swimmer. We both wondered what was going on and what had happened. The rest of that swimmers wave had left him/her far behind. I breathed a sigh of relief as the lifeguard headed back to her board and the swimmer took off on the course. All of sudden, I realized I had three minutes until my start time. Dee Dee had been blabbing something about getting into the staging area, but I was hardly paying attention. I quickly kissed her good bye and headed over to the back of the group of folks in my wave.

As the red capped folks moved onto the beach, us silver capped peeps filed onto the beach behind them. I had already scoped out the sitiation, and I had formed my strategy in my mind. Coach had suggested that I count to twenty before entering the water. Pick out a nice quiet spot in the group, she wrote, and enjoy MY swim. I kind of optimized that :-) After the red caps moved off, we stepped down into the water. I reached down and splashed myself on my front and back. The water was 81 degrees. At first it was kind of cold, but I was really glad that I got the chance to get wet before the start. After dousing myself, I headed off to the right through the weeds into thigh deep water. I was practically on the end of my group. There was plenty of room to the right. I had no need to mix it up.

As our time to start approached, our group began clapping. I had never heard such an enthusiastic group before the start of a race. When the horn went off, I patiently walked down into waste deep water, found myself a quiet spot and started my swim.

Let the adventure begin...

When I swim, I basically lose all track of time. All I know is that in the first couple of hundred meters, I went through the usual Wes is going to panic kind of stuff. The water was fine. It was warm, comfortable, dark, and deep. There were plenty, and I mean plenty of support craft out on the water. At the end of that first two to three hundred meters, I went into a coughing fit. I cleared my throat and immediately, the thought "I can't do this" entered my mind. I had allowed the worst possible scenario to cloud my judgment. I decided to flip over on my back and catch my breath. I know I spent no more than twenty to thirty seconds on my back before I realized something. If I stayed like that for long, I would embarrass myself and the folks in the next wave would run me over. I flipped back onto my stomach, and just like that, all was well with the world.

The swim course was a big box with the buoys on the left. We were going counter clockwise. I gradually began to move back to the inside until I was close to the buoys, amongst the throng of swimmers. About the time I neared the first turn, a bunch of peeps from the wave behind me came through, and boy did they ever kick up the water. It was like swimming in a storm. I had water splashed in my face. I sucked in some lake water and had trouble breathing, but I did NOT panic. I swam slower until I regained my composure. I made the turn and began swimming along the top of the box. Swimming to the outside gave me comfort. I was close the boats, yet I never felt the need to stop and rest. I made it to the second turn and kicked it up a notch. About half way to the finish, a throng of dolphins came through. There is no other way to describe them. They wore light blue caps and swam like fishees. I had the sudden urge to keep up with them. I swam harder, but I resisted the urge and let them pass. Somehow, time caught up with me, and I realized that by now, I would be through with an Olympic, but I still had a long way to go. As the beach got nearer and nearer, I was more and more relieved. With a strong sense of satisfaction, I finally reached the beach and climbed from the water, exhilarated and satisfied. You are never really sure until you do the deed. My swim time was 39 minutes and change.


Dee Dee was waiting for me at the swim exit. I could see the excitement and the relief in her face. We ran along a carpet from the swim exit to the transition area. The run was fairly long. Not as long as some of my triathlons, but long enough to make a difference in the transition time. I had no trouble getting ready in T1. I put on my pink "Cancer Sucks" socks, my helmet, shoes, heart rate monitor and such. I decided to keep my glasses off until I mounted my bike. They quickly fog up, and I cannot see! As I exited T1, I was a tad surprised to see my T1 time at 6 minutes and some change, but in truth, I was not even worried about it. I really did not care.


The bike started out in a wonderful kind of way. We were cruising along the Disney property. It was flat and fast. The only hills we experienced was over passes, underpasses, and dips. It was wonderful. I was coasting along at twenty-one to twenty-three miles per hour. I fully realized that I needed to pace myself carefully. My goal was to keep my heart rate below 146. It climbed and stayed at 146 to 147 for the first five to ten miles. Eventually I settled down, just like my coach said I would, and my heart rate drifted in and out of zones two and three. I can't say enough about the bike course. It was a joy. Riding on the Silver Comet Trail is perfect training! Around mile five or so, I heard this scream and here comes Katie. LOL! I guess she was surprised to see me ahead of her. She is such a ROCK-STAR!! She pulled up beside me, told me I was doing great and my swim was awesome. Then, she left me in the dust!! ROFLMAO!! Bye Katie!!!

The bike course is one big blur. I remember Brian telling me there was some rolling hills in the middle part of the course. I thought... Blech! These aren't hills! These are nubs on the triathlon path!!! I mean really. There was like one hill that I got out of breath on. The rest?!?! Blech! I kicked their butts. I played tag with some triathletes, both male and chicas!! I think I got passed by almost every triathlete with disk or 404 Zipp wheels. Near the end of the ride, I realized I wasn't getting passed any more. No more Zipp or disk wheels behind me!!! LOL!! I guess I should mention the weather. On the bike, it was wonderful. The skies were overcast. The temps were cool. We got rained on three times and it was so awesome. A few times, it was just a drizzle to keep us cool. A couple of times, it was hard enough to sting, but it was all good. We had no problems giving our all. The rain was keeping our bodies cool.

Another couple of things of note... Up until this point, we had experienced little to no traffic at all. The race course was headed towards a little town called Winter Garden. The roads got busier, and traffic was starting to stack up. As we wound our way through Winter Garden, we came to an intersection where the traffic was waiting on a single lane highway. The triathletes were crammed over on the right shoulder, trying not to wreck, but trying to keep the pace. There was barely room enough for one cyclist, let alone two. After about six studs came riding through, shouting "On your left!" I finally got tired of it and yelled, "There is no effing left!" You get the idea, and lucky for me, nobody took exception to my frustration. There was one point on the ride where they shunted us off on the side sidewalk because the road was under repair. This was a no passing zone. It was a few hundred meters long, but I thought that was very interesting. At the third aid station, I decided that I needed a bottle of Gatorade. I had taken five gels by this time and drank two bottles of G2. I called out Gatorade as I entered the station. I missed the hand off on the first try, but nailed the second. How exciting!!! I took the top off the bottle and poured the contents into my aero bottle.

I think we finally entered the Disney property on the way back with about three to four miles to go. I was very happy. For some reason, I felt like I was way above my pace. I had forgotten to reset my bike computer, and I was unsure as to my exact pace and time. I had been seeing 20, 21, and 22 mph on my computer a lot. I felt like I was ahead of pace. I did have my race time on my watch, but I failed to put two and two together. We made our way back through the Disney property, back to Fort Wilderness and made our way to transition. I thought I got off the bike with 10 minutes to spare. The truth was, I got off my bike with three minutes to spare.

My transition time for T2 was much, much faster, in theory that is. I was done in about three minutes, but I knew, around mile 2 of the bike, that I needed to hit the port a potty. I patiently waited until it was my turn, got done, and headed out on the run. I stopped before the run exit and asked a volunteer to tie my "Be Strong" bracelet on my wrist. It had become untied on the swim, and I had decided not to fix it until the start of my run. All of these delays added up. I spent another six minutes or so in T2.



Coach was clear, and I'm not sure I knew better. Evidence was against me. I, of course, started the run out too fast. You exited transition, went down the bike path for a short distance, then hit the road. Upon reaching the road, it was quickly apparent that the temperature was terrible. It had rained, then the sun came out. It was hot and humid. My HRM quickly reached 163 and stayed there, no matter what I did. I realized with a start that I did the first mile in 8:35. That was way too fast. We made a little circle then hung a left on grass covered road. There is no better way to describe it. The sun was beating down relentlessly. At about mile 1.5, I reached the first aide station. I decided to walk the aide stations. I was pleased when I reached the second mile in 9:58. At this point, I was confident I would reach my goal of sub-6. I mean, I thought I was ahead on the bike. I was at pace on the run. What was there to worry about? The path out to the turn around, which I here to fore name the Trail from Hell was seriously hot. On the way out, it was like running with a constant over pronation on my left side. Muscles in my ankle I was not even aware of were complaining. I reached the turn around point and crossed over the mat. The third mile came in at 10:15. So far so good. It was hot, but at least I was running on level ground. No shade, but at least level. As I passed through the aide station at mile 3.5, I was excited to see the bike trail in Fort Wilderness. At least there would be some shade!

Ya think! LOL!! There was a little shade, but the sun was not yet at the right angle. There was no breeze. The heat and the humidity in the woods was stifling. I watched my pace drop from 10 minute miles to 11 minute miles, and there was nothing I could do about it. By the time I started my second loop, I realized my sub-6 hour goal was in jeopardy. In the back of mind, I wasn't worried. After all, I thought I had banked ten minutes or so on the bike. I failed to realize my error.

On my second loop, my pace slowed to eleven and a half to twelve minute miles. It was more of the same. Running in the sun was brutal. I stopped at every station. I took two sponges with cold water and wet my head and stuffed the sponges down the back of my shirt. I drank a cup of water and a cup of Gatorade at every aide station. The back part of the run was now covered in shade. It was a God send. A breeze even blew across the course intermittently. It all helped! I finally realized that I was in terrible shape. I fell back to an old stand by. I resorted to a run 3 walk 1 cycle. At the end of the second loop, I was delighted to see Dee Dee there cheering me on and taking pictures. She caught me in the middle of an aide station, taking a Gel. I had not eaten much on the run. I felt cramping begin to develop in my calf and hamstring. I forced myself to eat.

The final lap was miserable. I ran along the road and the heat was intolerable. It hurt to even run for three minutes, but I forced myself to run. If I crossed an aide station station, I walked. My pace dropped to twelve and thirteen minute miles. When I made it to the Trail from Hell, I was taken aback, startled even. There were a couple of hundred athletes going and coming on the trail, but not a single one was running. The sun had done its dirty work. Somewhere, along the back of the Trail from Hell, I came across Brian. He was on his second lap as I was finishing up my third. We talked about how we had done and how things were going to wrap up. I took the opportunity to take a two minute walk break, and then I had to leave. As I took off running, Brian said, "I really wanted to beat you!" I laughed and said, "I really wanted you to beat me too!"

The final two point one miles were tough. I, however, saw the end of the trail, and I knew that I was soon going to be a half Iron finisher. It was becoming very real for me. As I neared the finish, I joined another triathlete and walked along the bicycle trail up to the point where the crowds got thick. One spectator pointed out that we were nearly done, we needed to run. I smiled at my triathlete and responded, "We want to finish strong! That's why we are walking now!"

When I reached the 13 mile sign, I started running. I really wanted to run the last 0.1 miles under my own power, but I was so afraid of cramping. Visions of Huntsville danced in my head. I worked hard to keep correct form and I ran strong through the finisher's chute. The crowds were large. I saw the finisher's sign ahead and I kicked it up a notch. I heard the announcer say my name, and he remarked how strong I was coming to the finish. I crossed the line, raised my arms in triumph, pumped my fists, and bent over exhausted.

I walked up to a volunteer and got my medal. I had to take off my own chip. I worried that I might fall over from the effort. I grabbed the shoulder of another volunteer. I needed her to take my chip from me. I was warbling and having a hard time staying on my feet. I walked out the back of the finish area and stood in the sun, waiting for Dee Dee to find me. After a few minutes, I realized I was getting hot and moved to the shade. I had no idea where she was. I knew she was out there, but we had failed to plan on where to meet after I finished. I finally decided to take the nuclear option and asked for help.

A nice couple was sitting at the fence by the finish. I asked them if they had a cell phone. They said they did. I tried not to cry as I asked them to call Dee Dee and tell her to meet me at the lake by the swim exit. I marginally succeeded. I went down to the beach, stripped to my tri outfit, and went into the lake to cool down. A short time later, I saw Dee Dee standing on the beach. She didn't see me, but I finally caught her attention. She was worried about me. She had no idea why some strange cell phone number had called her and left her a message. All she could think was that I was hurt and in the medical tent :-)

I finally climbed from the cool and comforting water and left in search of food. I decided that the cold hard pizza they were serving the athletes after the race was good enough for me. Dee Dee and I walked down to the run finish while I was eating. We watched some runners come in. I finally got tired and had Dee Dee wait for me while I went to transition and gathered my stuff. Dee Dee was still waiting for Brian to come in when I got back. I had all my gear, and I had changed into my clean clothes. We were fortunate to see Brian come down the finishing chute. That was really special. Brian and I have been training for this through thick and thin. Mostly separate, sometimes together, always with each other in spirit. After Brian crossed the finish line, we were sitting there, watching the triathletes come into the finish, when Katie came riding by on her bike. It was really nice to wrap up our race with Katie. She is such a bubble of enthusiasm. She told me how hard her run was and how good I did to finish my race under such conditions. We took some pics, said our good byes, and began the process of heading home.


The line for the buses was ridiculous. Dee Dee and I decided to walk back to the parking lot. It was a mini torture fest, but we made it. We packed up the car and began the long trip back to Atlanta. For the first couple of hours, I was pumped up enough to drive. Then Dee Dee took over. After dinner, I drove some more, until Dee Dee made me pull over to the side of the road and give up the keys. I don't know how I would have made it home without her.

Here I sit, wondering how best to sum up this race... In reality, I had a fantastic time. I was practically giggling on the bike I enjoyed it so much. The run was indeed a torture fest, but I never doubted my purpose for being there. I knew that the weather was not my choice. The bike was everything the run was not. The swim was another testament to my perseverance. It loomed large!! I will carry this race with me forever. It is far and beyond the toughest thing I have ever done. I am indeed half iron, and I will never, ever forget what it took to get me there...

Wes

Monday, May 19, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Despite a somewhat rocky start, the weekend was amazing. I got to hang out with some really cool peeps, race, then drive my tired, sore, and worthless carcass seven and half hours back to Atlanta.

I managed to meet most of my objectives for the race. On the swim, I came in under 40 minutes. On the bike, I came in under three hours. The run was just down right brutal. Nearly everybody I talked to was twenty to thirty minutes over their goal times, including top age groupers. I was no exception. I needed to do a 2:10 half mary to come in under six hours, but only managed 2:30 and some change in the oppressive Orlando heat.

Total time: 6:21:31

I almost stayed in Orlando a couple of extra hours to shower up and have a beer, and I was SO glad I didn't. A cooling dip in the lake just had to do for me. We didn't get home until almost 11:30 PM, and I was absolutely toast. Without hard core Sherpa Dee Dee to help me out, I don't know how I would've made it.

Overall, it was a fantastic race experience. My friends, both those that were there and those online really helped make it special. I am without words to describe how I feel. OK. Not really ;-)

Full report is on its way...

Wes

Friday, May 16, 2008

One Last Thing

For those of you who asked, my bib number is:

1015

I only hope that I am truly blessed as much as I feel I am :-)

Wes

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nothing Left but the Doing

All my race gear is laid out on the dining room table. As I pack my transition bag, I will go over everything again. Matthew's tournament schedule worked out perfectly. Jimmy will be able to take him to all his games and meet his obligations for the weekend. I like that.

Friends are already in Orlando, and more friends will be arriving tomorrow. Right now, the plan is to shuttle the boyz off to school tomorrow, then get out on the road between 9 AM and 10 AM. That should put me in Orlando by 5. We'll see.

Friday night, I'll probably just take it easy. Saturday, I have a very short brick to do. Then its registration, bike check-in, then the expo. After that, I would really like to put my feet on the beach. We'll see how that works out.

Sunday, the race is scheduled to start at 6:30 AM. My wave goes off at either 6:47 or 6:50, depending on which one I am in. The weather forcast is seventy-one to ninety-one, slightly over cast. That should work out OK.

I'll be thinking of all my homies racing this weekend. As they say, the hard part is over now. Nothing left but the doing...

See ya on the flip side of half-iron,

Wes

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

On Cycles

It's fun, no, I should say, it's imperative that one step outside one's body and/or life and take a look around. It's kinda like putting life on hold, taking two steps back, breathing in a deep breath, and looking around to see what the hell is going on.

As my first A race of the season quickly approaches, I was curious as to how the focus of my mind shifted as the day got closer and closer. Back in my early days (can I say that?), my primary focus was two fold. First, I wanted to stay injury free. The thought of missing out on a race due to injury was painful. I wrote quite a few posts about little aches and pains, only to have hardened and wise veterans come by and tell me to knock it off. Second, as my workouts shifted from max hours and peaking to taper, my posts transitioned more and more to the philosophical side of my endeavors. You do know I like to wax philosophical every once in a while.

Realizing this has given meaning to these last few weeks. I am in truth not a rookie anymore. I know what to expect. Been there, done that so to speak. Yet, I let the thoughts of swimming 1.2 miles in open water, sans wet suit drift back to the forefront of my consciousness this week. This wasn't helped by the fact that I learned there would be no pre-race swim warm up. It's not allowed. Just damn. I've preached and preached about a proper swim warm up to you guys, and now? I can't even warm up on the swim before the biggest race in my life. Somebody shoot me :-)

But, I got to thinking. The distance does not scare me et al. I grasp the cycle of how an open water swim affects my mind. As a matter of fact, I practiced in the pool today. The first hundred meters, I am working strictly on breathing, wondering how the hell I'm going to do this for 1500 meters (or 1.2 miles). Then my arms start to feel fatigued, and I worry that they will give out, and I'll drown. (In the meantime, my nose may or may not be trying to choke me.) Then, at about 500 meters, I feel the strength in my arms, the soreness and achy-ness flee. By one thousand meters, I'm cruising at my race pace.

I know me. I know this cycle. Now, I'm just excited.

True to yet another cycle, I'll be back tomorrow to say fare thee well...

Wes

ORN: 3 miles, 30 minutes, 10 mmp
OSN: 1000 meters, 20 minutes, 2x500

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Inaugural All Female Indian Springs Triathlon

Please welcome guest blogger, Dee Dee "The Bug" McK, Athena Masters Champion!

So you all know what its like to get absolutely zero sleep the night before a race right?

Well consider this, attending your oldest son's State High School Soccer Championship game the night before on top of it! That's right! Emotions are already high, and now you have such an adrenalin rush. Your son just won the State Championship, and you have to leave him to travel an hour and a half away. Thats right! You have your first race of the tri season to do.

This is how it went down. We arrived at the luxurious Best Western Plantation Inn at 11:00 pm. No wait! I forgot. We made a quick stop for some late night snacks and breakfast food at a stupid Walgreens drug store. Yea, we got hot fries, coke, g2, and powdered sugar dough nuts and a muffin. Needless to say, the hotel was, lets just say, a “nonsmoking” room that smelt like chimney. Gross! I could not sleep but finally managed to close my eyes around 1 AM. You know the movie, My Cousin Vinny? Let's just say, you might know what I'm about to say. I woke to the sound of a loud roaring engine around 5:15 AM!! Thats right! Our hotel was right by a railroad track. Toot Toot!!! Screech!! Okay, so much for sleeping till 5:30. I got up, showered and then ate our crap we bought from the drugstore. Lets just say that I did not eat a lot.

We packed up the car and headed to the race . It was only four miles from the hotel. We arrived to see it was going to be small, but I was looking forward to a small race for my first race of the season. I checked in, picked up my timing chip and got body marked. We headed over to the transition area and set up my stuff. I decided to head down and look at the swim start. I found out the water temp was 77 degrees and decided to wear the wet suit. We ran into Lauren, said our hello's and introduced our respective spouses.

It was time to put the wet suit on and warm up. I was very nervous to see how far the swim really was. It was 600 meters. I had never done more than 400 meters. I said damn! At least if I wear my wet suit, I won't drown. Just a few minutes later, we started. I was off with the second wave. I went off too fast and about 3 minutes in I got kicked in the freakin throat. I gasped , choked, and swallowed something from the lake into my mouth. At this point, I was trying not to throw up and drown while trying to make forward progress at the same time. Needless to say, 25 minutes later I was on the beach.


I did not prepare my self properly for this length of a swim, not enough swimming and not doing enough laps to get ready for it, but I did not quit! I was pleased to see that I was in and out of my wet suit and out of transition in 2:30.


I jumped on my bike and was off and out of the park. I knew I could make up time for my sucky swim on my bike. It was up and down hill on the way out, more up hill and then whack! Holy crap! My ankle is on fire. I just got stung by a freakin bee! You gotta be joking! I am only 4 miles out and I have 8 left to go. I am allergic!!! What to do? I just calmly tried to settle down, and I figured I had enough adrenaline in my system that as long as I didn't get to short of breath I could finish. I was at the 6 mile turn around, and I knew that it would be a lot of down hill on my way back. I hit 34 mph on the long down hills. I was flying. I arrived back to the park was in and out of transition and saw Wes. I told him I got stung by a bee and t2 was only 48 seconds!!!


I took off on my woggle in and out of the woods to the road and off the road. The run was up and down hill! “Okay, you guys are cruel”, I thought. I started up my first long hill and over came a Tri Chica. She introduced herself as Carole. I said, “Holy crap!”, said my name to her, and she asked if she could run with me up the hill. I told her sure, but I am going to woggle if you don't mind. She smiled and said if I made it to the finish line, she would buy us a margarita. I told her deal! I would see her at the finish! I ran slower than I thought I would but was encouraged that others around me were trying to catch my fat ass!!! Some girls just laughed, and others decided to catch up. I continued and made the final down hill turn to the wooded path leading to the finish.

This young girl was struggling with her breathing. I said, “Hey! We are almost done! I'll run in with you if you want?” She said, “Really?” I said, “Sure!”. I told her how to slow her breathing down and she thanked me. This was her first triathlon. I told her how awesome that was and that when she crossed that line she would be a triathlete!

SHE JUST SMILED.

Dee Dee running with Carole Sharpless

We turned the corner and there was my new BFF, Carole waiting for every girl. She ran me half way in. I thought, “Man is she ever an inspiration!” Carole Sharpless finished last. That was her goal!


Later, I found out I placed first in my division. I said, “No way!”, but I did. The best part of this was the fact that the girl I ran in with me came over later and thanked me for running in with her.

Our Champion!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Woo hoo!!!

What an incredible couple of days. First off, my numba one son's team won the State Championship last night in the AA/A division of soccer by defeating Dublin 3-1. You can read all about it here!

Second, my darling wife came in first in her division, at the Inaugural Women's Tri the Parks race this weekend, with a time of 2:09 and some change (600 meter swim, 13 mile bike, 3 mile run). Here is a picture of Dee Dee hanging out with her new BFF Carole Sharpless. (I'm trying to get her to write a race report :-)


I'll give y'all the long version of all this stuff later if Dee Dee declines to write a race report.

Numba two son Matthew won his soccer game today! Woot! Way to go Matthew!! He got moved up to the second team for this one and we were excited for him.

What did I do this weekend? Nada :-) Let's see. I bought all my Mother's (My mom, Dee Dee's mom, Dee Dee) flowers for Mother's Day. I bought Dee Dee that HAWT new Zoot tri suit for mama's day. I ran 45 minutes at a 10:26 pace, and I'm thinking about doing a 1:30 hour bike ride at the Silver Comet tomorrow. Oh, and I sherpaed the champion to victory in the Athena Masters division (she's getting old ;-)

Alrighty then... I'd love to stay and chat. But I gots to take the spousal unit out to dinner. I got soccer games to ref tomorrow, so tonights the night!!

Happy Mother's Day all you sweet wonderful Moms out there!!!

Wes

ORN: 4.3 miles, 45 minutes, 10:26 mmp

Thursday, May 08, 2008

These Hands

I know I've reached the bottom of the barrel when I can no longer keep my eyes open in the car on the way home. More than once, I had to jerk myself awake to keep myself from running my car into the jerk in front of me. Hee, hee. I crack myself up... I actually prefer to drive myself home rather than accidentally finding myself riding in the front seat with the person ahead of me.

The entire family is home when I arrive. Dee Dee is home early on Wednesdays. She was taking Jimmy to watch the girl's varsity play their semi final game over by Stone Mountain. I lay down in the bed exhausted, fully clothed, as Dee Dee puts on the finishing touches of her beauty in the bathroom. Somehow, I fail to hear her leave. After about twenty minutes, my internal alarms go off. I'm supposed to be riding, yet here I am, checking my eye lids for cracks. I hurriedly get out bed, gather my things and take Aerowyn out into the neighborhood. Thank God for shorter sessions. I still have time to get my ride in and get Matthew to practice.

My legs feel heavy. In my mind, I know I should be a little more diligent following the plan. Not diligent with time. I am anal about doing my time. Rather, diligent at effort. I tend to train at one pace on the bike. As I pedal up the hills and out of the neighborhood, I can feel the residual pain and stiffness in my thighs, and I hail the call of the plan and take an easy pace. I'm sure I'll get my five minutes of hard effort at SOME POINT in this hill ridden bike route.

As I climb hill after hill, I feel the tiredness, the self imposed slothness, and the pain shed my legs like the shackles that bound the legs of a young Forest Gump. I'm sure you guys have felt it too. The strength returns to your legs and all is well with the world. Now I could of pulled a patented manuever and busted tail for the remainder of my ride, but I did not. I enjoyed the envigorating feeling and stayed within the boundaries of the plan. Taper is taper after all.

I often, these days, find myself staring and pondering the wonder of my hands, and particularly my wrists. I always admired the lean and mean physique of hardened triathletes. I stare in amazement at the paddles at the ends of my arms, at the slimness of my wrists, as if, in my minds eye, I still expect to see the bloated appendages that used to hang there in days gone by. Arms and legs that were fed beer after beer, bottle after bottle of gin and bourbon until my body had no choice but store all the extra fluid in my extremeties.

These hands are mine. They propel me through the water. These arms are mine. They pull me on the swim. These legs are mine. They power me on the bike and take me places on the run. The face I admire in the mirror on the elevator? That's mine too, and it reminds me to never forget.

Wes

OCN: 12.3 miles, accidently reset bike computer
OCN: 13.6 miles, 45 minutes, ~18 mph (trainer)
ORN: 1.5 miles, 16 minutes, ~10:30 mmp

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A Class Act

Almost without exception, unsolicited acts of human kindness recharge my batteries and lower the bar on my bullshit meter. For those of you who have some time and feel the need to be touched deeply in your soul...

Start here.
Then go here.
Finally, here.

My body is tired. Physically. Mentally. Refereeing adult soccer games on Sunday night has taken its toll. Yet, I find that I am enjoying my time on the pitch like never before. I so desperately need some time off to recharge my athletic batteries. I'm hoping that taper has arrived just in time to do the deed.

Along with taper comes my first series of shortened workouts. My swim times have been cut to thirty minutes, my mid week runs to forty. I did 5x300 in the pool yesterday for an even 31 minutes. My son's high school soccer team played in (and won) the semi-finals last night. That gave me the opportunity to run by the river after work. The plan called for forty minutes with 3x2 minutes hard effort with 1 minute recovery. I nailed them and felt better for it.

Happy Hump Day, y'all!

Wes

P.S. Getting five hours of sleep last night did NOT help. I had Chili Verde to cook, people!!

OSN: 1500 meters, 30 minutes, 5x300
ORN: 3.9 miles, 40 minutes, 10:15 mmp

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Rules of Engagement

For (this) The Everyman (Tri)Athlete

#1 Have fun

Not much needs to be said here. If at the end of the day, you aren't having fun running, swimming, cycling, tri-ing, then you need to look at yourself in the mirror and ask, "What the hell am I doing?"

#2 Do your best

A lot of people, myself included, set time goals for races. I am a firm believer in doing your best on that day for that race, and let the chips fall where they may. Doing your best entails so many options. You might try to PR. You might chase down that professional or age grouper in front of you. You might hit the pace goals for a "B" race as defined by you or your coach. What matters is that at the end of the day, you can look in the mirror and smile, because you KNOW you did your best.

#3 Worry about your time

There are thousands and thousands of athletes that never make it this far. Numbers one and two are good enough for them. Quite frankly, if you do your best, time will take care of itself.

#4 Worry about other's time

This one is on the very periphery of my consciousness. I rarely succumb to the need to compare myself to other athletes, but it does happen, for brief moments. Instead, what I find amazing is the support given by all to all. We like nothing better than getting our ass kicked by a friend of ours because it inspires us to great things.

Twelve days and counting. I guess I better haul out the rubber ducky to make sure it still holds air :-D

What 'tude do you bring to race day? Feel free to share...

Wes

Walk: 1.55 miles, 30 minutes

Sunday, May 04, 2008

FIBA Point Five

Today was the first annual Fat B's Tri Club Iron Brick Adventure (half :-) My training partner Brian was dying to try out his new wet suit. He drove all the way over to my neck of the woods sose we could jump in the lake together. I got up at 8:00 AM on a Sunday, Lord help me, and Dee Dee did too, dispite working until midnight last night. We ate breakfast, packed up the car, and headed over to Dallas Landing.

Only to find that the park was closed. Total bummer. I have NO idea why they would close the park for a day, but they did. What to do, what to do? We decided we would head over to Gault's Ferry and swim there. On the way through Acworth, I saw a sign that said "Acworth Beach". We pulled into a parking lot and talked it over. It was worth a try.

We made our way back to the sign and drove down to the lake. We saw the beach and made a left turn into the parking lot. What I saw made my jaw drop! There were racked bikes and all kinds of tri chicas in "transition". I thought there was a tri going on. We had accidently stumbled upon 20 to 30 triathletes practicing for Team in Training. I'm pretty sure the chica wearing the Ford Ironman Championships shirt was none other than Carol Sharpless (not really fo really reals sure). How cool was that?

Brian, Dee Dee and I suited up and went for a twenty minute or so swim. Brian and I swam around the ski buoys out in deep water, while Dee Dee practiced inside the swim area. After the swim, Dee Dee headed back to the house. She wanted to ride in our nice quiet neighborhood. No Highway 41 for her. Brian and I were a bit more adventurous. We did three loops of the Acworth Womens Triathlon route. We only had one idiot honk at Brian on Highway 41 on the first loop and that was it. It was a tad bit scary. People were passing us going 55 miles per hour. I'm not sure what was worse. That, the eighteen wheelers, or the big F-350's pulling huge boats. I'm not sure that will be my first choice of routes in the future ;-)

After the bike ride, Brian and I did a woggle run off. I have two soccer matches tonight. Woggling was perfectly OK with me :-)

Thus ended the first annual FIBA Point Five. If you missed it, don't bother tuning in next year, as more than likely, there won't be another one :-D

Wes

P.S. I ran 10.15 miles Saturday!! Woot!!

OWN: 800 meters, ~20 minutes
OCN: 36.3 miles, 2:01:23, ~18 mph
ORN: 2.15 miles, ~26 minutes

Friday, May 02, 2008

Maintenance Mode

If you treat other people with respect and kindness, you kinda expect to be treated that way in return. Right? It's the whole do unto others as you would have them do unto you thing. Now, I treat Aerowyn very well, take good care of her. She rewarded me yesterday with yet another flat tire. At least she's kind enough to go flat over night. I pulled a patented (Wes') idea of "let's fill her up and see how far she could make it" move :-)

I thought it would be a good idea to try and ride my bike while my son was at soccer practice (a first). I dropped him off, filled up the tire and took off on a poorly planned route. As soon as I left the park, I made a right into a subdivision, only to be greeted by a short steep hill that was going straight up. Awesome! Flat routes are not an option for me... Halfway through the ride, I decided to stop and change my tire. It was flat enough to almost be riding on the rim. That's bad. The good news is I had no problems changing my tire on the road. I even used one of those little fangled canister thingees to fill it up with air, and no flat spots! Woot!! Cross that one off my check list.

Since this is a maintenance week, and I don't really know what I'm doing, I cut my swim back to 2500 meters this morning, and I'm feeling it. No strength training for me today. My poor legs just couldn't stand 60 forwards and backwards lunges. I'll try and slip my last session before the half in on Monday, during my first week of taper.

I am in the process of becoming a Trielfling (pronounced: trwelf-ling). What is a trielfling you ask? It is a student of the awesomest coach Elizabeth Fedofsky. I am excited and scared about this arrangement. Excited to be guided to the finish line of Ironman Florida by a superb coach and triathlete. Scared because of the sacrifices I am asking my family to make so I can have a personal coach. I hope to make them proud.

Dee Dee is all registered for IronGirl. Evidently, a lot of my tri-peeps are doing that one. That is awesome. Bring your hubbies and boyfriends so we can partey while you girls rest up for the race :-) Dee Dee has decided to raise money for cancer at this race. She would like anyone interested in helping her to donate money at her fund raising page, which you can find here. No amount is too small during these trying times. I'll drop further reminders as we go along.

Finally, Brian and I have decided to form our own tri club. It's called The Fat Bastards Tri Club. If any women want to join, we'll call it The Fat B's Tri Club. You get the idea :-)

Have a great weekend y'all!

Wes

P.S. Forgot to mention I did my run off at a 9:10 pace. Maybe that's why my legs are sore?!?

OCN: 16 miles, 53 minutes, ~17.1 mph
ORN: 1.65 miles, 15 minutes, 9:10 mmp
OSN: 2500 meters, 45 minutes

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Sayonara April of 08

It was a good month. Not only did I get to start racing again, I put up some impressive training numbers (for me).

Running: 79.3 miles (includes soccer matches)
Cycling: 317.1 miles
Swimming: 14.9 miles

I don't know about you, but that swimmage is just insane. I can't believe I actually did that :-)

I was a bit worried yesterday before my strength training session that I would be too sore from the race to push myself a bit. Ended up being a false alarm. The session went great, and so did my ride yesterday afternoon. I increased my speed over a familiar route, even though I cut my time short. Funny how that works :-)

In other news... It looks like I may be opting out of the 5K open water swim. Dee Dee really wants to do Iron Girl, and she wants me to be there. Soooooooo... I may be adding another triathlon in July to make up the difference, and she's promised to get a kayak and sherpa me on some long open water swims in the lake.

Wes

OCN: 14.1 miles, 53 minutes, ~16 mph