Monday, June 30, 2008

A Celebration of Fitness

An Iron Girl Triathlon Sherpa Report

The big decision in titling this post was to include or exclude the word "Women's" before fitness. Dee Dee mentioned to Katie this weekend that I didn't want to wear my Florida 70.3 finisher's hat to the race this weekend. I explained to her that I a) didn't want to brag, and b) felt like the focus for this weekend should be on the women athletes, and rightly so.

Then, the decision becomes easy. Fitness is fitness. The athletes demonstrated that this weekend, and I have NEVER seen so many smiles crossing the finish line. It totally rocked.

Being a good sherpa requires training. Besides the usual packing, taking care of details (to ease the athletes mind and nervousness), running back and forth to the car for forgotten stuff, etc... There is other things like drinking beer, being obnoxious at public gatherings, sleeping with ones mouth open to enhance the snoring and pre-race slumber (I'm not sure who did that, I was asleep!). These are all important things. True. One also has to rearrange one's own training schedule.

This sherpa was up early for his Saturday morning ride. Three hours on the Silver Comet in zones 1 and 2. That got me 58 miles, and I was SO excited about that!! Last time I hit 58 miles was like three weeks before the half IM, and I was working much harder then!! There had been some reports of robberies going on at the trail, but I didn't see anything unusual, and I'm happy to report that Cobb County Police was out on the trail on two motor cycles. Good stuff.

I get back from my ride, and Dee Dee is ready to go!! LOL!! She would have been quite happy to shuffle me off to the car with no shower and no food. I had some things I wanted to do, like a blog post, but I acquiesced to Dee Dee's need for speed and got the heck outta there :-) We dropped Matthew off at his sister's and headed out to Lake Lanier.

We arrived a bit earlier than planned, but it worked out wonderfully! We ran into Kevin in the parking lot at registration. He was off to get some food for himself and the other volunteers. Dee Dee was able to get her race packet and browse the expo a bit. While we were browsing, Dee Dee told me Steph was working the t-shirt table, and I ran over to give her a big hug. She was doing the 5K swim on Sunday but paused long enough to volunteer for Iron Girl. That was SO COOL! I got to meet her uber-cute daughter Anika too. Anika was not shy. She left her mother's side and came over to me few minutes later to show me her pet bug. That was so funny and so cute!!! :-)

We left packet picket to go by and drop Dee Dee's bike off at transition. In the parking lot, we ran into Kelleye and her friend Amy. I don't know how people do it, but Kelleye recognized me with my hat and sunglasses on. I am SO bad at recognizing peeps, but getting better. It was awesome to finally get the chance to meet Kelleye. We are practically neighbors but have never met.

We made it back to registration in time for the three o'clock meeting. This time, we ran into Robin, her husband Scott (who recognized us), and their friend Jackie. Little did I know I was absolutely striking the jack pot on meeting bloggers this weekend. Robin is just as super sweet in person as she is on her blog, and I could see why she is a great ultra runner! Her husband Scott was just super nice and also a beer connoisseur. Yea, he and I hit it off right away :-) Jim, over at Georgia Multisports, put on a great pre-race show. We hurried out of there when it was over and headed over to the hotel to get our room.

Katie, Wes, and Dee Dee "a.k.a. The Bug"

Before, during, and after the pre-race meeting, I had been texting with Katie. She and her friend Marni had driven up from Jacksonville for the race (Katie is actually a home bred Iowan). We met at the pool for a pre-dinner beer and hung out talking for about an hour. I feel very blessed to have gotten the opportunity to know Katie. She just adds another dimension to these races when she's there. What's the word I'm looking for here, Katie? Sassy? :-) Then to top it all off, she knows all of these really cool speedy peeps like Marni, who not only kicks ass in races, has a great personality, and stuff like that, but have really cool occupations like sports nutritionist! Love that!!

I was surrounded by HAWTNESS :-) Marni, Katie, and Dee Dee

After we spent about an hour with Kate Monster and Marni, we said our good byes and made our way over to Cumming for our pre-race blogger dinner. We were fashionably late, but weren't the last (thanks David and Mendy!! :-) Once they arrived, the gang was all here. In attendance for the Iron Girl blogfest was: myself and Dee Dee, Lauren, Robin and Scott, Kevin and Cathy, Denine, Jackie, David, and Mendy!

Stupid Camera!! (inside joke!)

We ended up having a very nice dinner. The food was plentiful. The beer was flowing. The conversation was fun and easy. Good times for all!! We were reluctant to leave, but the party wound down around 8 PM. We had tri-chicas that needed their rest!!

Left to right: Denine, Mendy, Dee Dee, Robin, Lauren, and Jackie

Dee Dee and I stopped off at the bar and grille on the way back to our room. Dee Dee wanted some more carbohydrates (she didn't care for her dinner), and I opted for a night cap, followed by a brownie with some ice cream :-) Hey! I did ride 58 miles that morning. I'm turning Iron ya know ;-) Dee Dee got a little tired of me exercising my sherpa skills and went back to the room without me. I didn't want to stress her, so I hurriedly finished up my brownie and cocktail, then headed up to the room. Dee Dee laid out her stuff and got ready for the morning. I think I passed out watching Shrek or something. This sherpa was one tired dude...

The alarms started going off at quarter to five AM. I laid in bed checking my eye lids for cracks while Dee Dee performed her morning rituals. After she was done, I hauled myself out of bed and got dressed. Once I woke up, I was feeling surprisingly refreshed. It was race day! I had my usual powder sugar donuts and apple juice for breakfast, then I trundled Dee Dee off to car. We made it to transition before daylight and got Dee Dee to setting up her stuff. We ran into Katie and Marni and got to give hugs and high fives all around. I wished them both luck and really hoped they did well.

Katie, Our Speedy Peep!!

While Dee Dee was setting transition, she realized she had left her sunglasses in the car and asked me to go get them. When I got back, she was standing in line to the bicycle mechanics from Roswell Bikes. She almost had tears in her eyes. Evidently, she was trying to fill up her back tire with air when she ripped the stem off.

I could tell she was under stress and immediately tried to calm her nerves. There really wasn't anything to worry about. It was an hour before race start, and we were like fourth in line. I did what any good sherpa would do and started working my way up the line, helping the tri-chicas fill their tires with air. Before you knew it, we were next in line :-)

The guy from Roswell Bikes started changing Dee Dee's tire, while I ran back to the car to get money to pay for a new tube. When I came back, he was trying to put the tire back on Dee Dee's bike and started beating the crap out of the back of the bike. I rolled my eyes in total dis-believement. Anyone could see the freakin tire wasn't sitting right and beating it wasn't going to help. I kept my mouth shut though, and eventually he figured it out and got the back tire on.

Dee Dee is finally getting settled down in transition.

Dee Dee finally got her transition all set up, and we headed down to the bathrooms. They take care of the chicas real well at Iron Girl. There was like no waiting, either for Dee Dee or for me later.

People starting to walk down to the swim start. The Iron Girl gate is the end of the swim.

Then it was off to the beach to wait for the race to start. The crowd on the beach was electric with athletes and spectators. They gave a pre-race speech then sang the national anthem. Then it was time. Dee Dee was going off in the third wave with the purple swim caps.

Dee Dee and Lauren warming up for the swim!

One by one, the leading waves took off on the swim. While I was waiting for Dee Dee to start, Scott came by and kept me company. Robin was in the second wave, and she did awesome!! I admit. I felt the rush of nervous excitement when Dee Dee's wave went off. I was really worried about all the athletes swimming in that open water. They basically started out into deep water, then made a right angle down the beach towards the swim exit. It really was the first hundred meters or so that was testy. Once I saw Dee Dee make it past the first two buoys, I relaxed a bit.

As I was walking down the beach following the swimmers, I saw a few yellow caps begin to make their way through Dee Dee's wave. Katie's wave had a yellow cap. I ran up the beach to the swim exit and tried to get a spot for a pic. I thought Katie might be one of the first ones in her wave to come out of the water, but she wasn't. I think she ended up being like fifth or sixth. I have such a hard time recognizing people from a distance, I didn't realize it was her until she was right on top of me. Just damn! I missed her. Fortunate for me, Dee Dee came out of the water right behind me, and I got some good pics of the spouse :-)

Dee Dee coming out of the water. Lake Lanier tastes bad!!

After Dee Dee ran by, I hurried up the path to the street. The athletes would be coming right by me on their bikes (and returning as well). I watched carefully, hoping to spot some of my peeps coming, but once again, I suck at being a race photog :-) I didn't even realize Katie was by me until I heard her yell, "On your left!" I almost missed Dee Dee too, but managed to get a blurry shot of her leaving and yell some encouragement.

When the last of the women had left transition, I went back to the car for a chair. While waiting for the chicas to return, I formulated my strategy. Katie had a disk wheel. I should be able to spot her at the top of the hill. No way I was gonna miss her this time. Dee Dee had a yellow helmet and a red tri suit. I should be able to spot her at the top of the hill as well. Nothing left to do but wait.

An hour later, the first triathlete came whizzing by. A few minutes later, athletes started to come in dribs and drabs, then this built up to droves. I spotted Katie at the top of the hill and got some good shots in. Unfortunately the closest one was blurry. Damn! Did I mention I stink at this :-)

Super Katie! :-)

Twenty to thirty minutes later, Dee Dee came cruising down the hill at thirty plus mph and I snapped some good picks and yelled.

Dee Dee whizzing down the hill!

Then it was a foot race for the run exit. Dee Dee is supa fast in transition.

Transition goddess on her way out on the run!!

I made it. Found a good spot to sit, and not a minute later Dee Dee comes down the hill. I snapped some good pics of her running through the sunlight, then it was off to the finish line to wait. I found a spot next to the Iron Girl finish and cheered the incoming runners. As I mentioned earlier, I have never seen so many smiling athletes cross the finish line. It was totally awesome to watch and cheer those runners in. Dee Dee came running up the chute a little more than half an hour later. I got some good pics of that, and she too cross the finish line with a smile. The announcer said her name and recognized her for raising over five hundred dollars for the Ulman Cancer Fund!!

One of the many, but certainly the best smile at the finish!

Dee Dee exited the finish line looking tired but happy. We made sure she was taken care of. We waited in line for the print out of her results and then for some food as well. The sun went behind the clouds while we were waiting for food. I ran over to the Iron Girl expo to get Dee Dee a shirt to wear. We forgot to bring one with us. While I was waiting, I noticed that Tri-chica Christian was standing in the line right next to me!! I had thought I had seen Christian cross the finish line, but to recognize and get to meet her at the end of my race day was just awesome!! Christian, we need to meet more often!!! LOL!

During the awards ceremony we hung out with David and Mendy a bit. Our legs started to get tired after a while. Off we went to sit and chat with Katie and Marni. While we were watching the awards, Sarah came by to give us all a hug. She had volunteered for the race that morning. Once the ceremonies were over, we said our good byes and gave hugs all around. We will miss seeing our friends for a time. Some of them, we'll get to see at future races at Acworth, Lake Logan, and South Carolina. Others, it might be months and even years before we get to meet again :-( but you never know!!

Dee Dee and I drove back home, stopping once to grab a quick bite to eat. Matthew was at home by himself, and neither of us like to be that far away from him when he's alone. We made it back in time to take a quick nap before the Euro 2008 finals. Then it was off to do hill repeats for an hour before getting chased back inside by a cracklin thunderstorm, but that is a story for another day.

I had such a good time at Iron Girl, I have inquired as to how to volunteer for the Acworth Women's Triathlon. I think Dee Dee may join me ( as a volunteer). I really want to be in the water to help out the chicas. We'll see how that works out.

Till next time!!

Wes

Sherpa Report is Ready

I'm just waiting to add pics then posting tonight! Thanks for your patience!!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Going Commercial?

I can still vividly remember the day I found out about these blogs. I knew what blogs were, but I had no idea about athletes having blogs. It was a prime motivating factor for me, encouraging me to get off my arse and tri.

My primary purpose in having this blog is two-fold. I wanted a place to share with you my trials, tribulations, victories, and defeats. I want a place where I can connect with and meet new friends, and semi-anonymously share things I probably wouldn't talk (much) about in real life, maybe let a little more of me out into the world.

Since then, I've been blessed many times over, not only in my athletic endeavors, but in getting the opportunity to share common interests with you guys.

Now blogland is taking a new twist and turn for me. I've been contacted over the years by a few companies that wanted me to review their stuff on my blog. That's cool and all. I'm always interested in trying out new products, and I certainly don't mind writing about them. I am truthful to a fault. This is the first time, however, that I have been offered recompense for actually advertising on my blog.

I admit. I'm a little torn. I never dreamed of getting any material satisfaction out of this blog. Personal satisfaction has always been good enough for me, and it will always be enough. Receiving material or monetary compensation for advertising on this blog is taking advantage of you guys, and I'd like to know what you think!!! Pros and Elites have sponsors and affiliations. This is the same kind of thing, but more to my level. I guess my biggest fear is that it is going to cheapen what I am trying to do here.

Let me know what you think...

Wes

Catching up...

OSN (Tuesday): 2000 meters, 40 minutes
ORN (Wednesday): 3.85 miles, 40 minutes
OSN (Wednesday): OWS, 30 minutes, ~1500 meters
OCN (Thursday): 22.85 miles, 1:16:00, 18 mph
ORN (Friday): 4.28 miles, 46 minutes, 10:42 mmp
OSN (Friday): 2400 meters, 50 minutes

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My Review: Sofsole Performance Socks (Cushion)

Sarah was kind enough to recommend me to the marketing department at Sofsole, and they sent me this box of goodies. In the box was one pack of performance cushion socks, one set of Adapt insoles, and one set of Athlete insoles. I actually did a lot of review last year when I was looking to change my insoles before the marathon. Quite frankly, all the insoles looked good, but I went with Superfeet Green because that is what they had at the expo for the Atlanta Marathon :-) With this prior knowledge of Sofsole, I am excited to try out their products.

Unfortunately, my Mizunos are at the end of their life expectancy. I don't want to stick new insoles into a pair of shoes that are about to be retired. The review on the insoles is just going to have to wait a couple of weeks until Daddy can get hisself a new pair of shoes. I did, however, want to begin the process of trying out these products and posting at least some sort of review. I feel obligated like that :-)

This morning, I dragged out my box and opened up the pack of Performance socks. You know as well as I that socks and shoes are THE most important equipment as far as running goes. I've tried out quite a few brands of socks in my day. I will admit. My favs are Starter brand socks from Walmart. They are inexpensive, oh so comfortable, and they seem to retain that comfortableness for very long periods of time. I also use Umbro as well. These are very good high performance socks, but I don't like them as much as my Starter brand.

The first thing I noticed about the Sofsole socks is the engineering. They have really put some thought into this sock. It has a seamless, cushioned toe and a cushioned heel as well. The material in the arch of the foot is lighter and ventilated, allowing the foot to breath. The top of the foot has ventilation windows running behind the toes and all the way around the ankle. The top of the foot is a mix of heavier material and ventilation shafts or lines. All in all, a very well thought out sock design.

As they say, the proof is in the pudding. I took the socks out on my 40 minute run this morning, and I enjoyed them tremendously. It was about 70 degrees this morning. Fairly cool, but still hot enough to work up a sweat. My feet got a little warm, but I didn't feel like they were sweating, and the soft cushioned socks kept my recovering feet nice and comfortable with zero bunching or rubbing. For a first use, I give them a definite "A".

How well these socks do in the future would be the kicker for me. I wanna know how they perform after they have been used and gotten all sweaty and stuff. With that in mind, I'll keep y'all up to date on how they are doing. I just looked up the price on Amazon.com, and they run in the thirty dollar range for two pair. Now, that is a bit pricey for me. It's hard to compete with the brand I am "happy" with if I can get three pair for twelve bucks. However, these ARE performance socks, and if you want something that's going to hang with you when you are giving it your all, then these are the socks for you.

Till next time,

Wes

Monday, June 23, 2008

Testing Boundaries

A Callaway Gardens Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Dee Dee and I managed to make it to Pine Mountain around 1:45 PM. I wanted to hurry a bit, pick up our race packets, and make it to a TV by 2 PM to watch the soccer match. Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be, we got tied up a bit doing a bit of browsing in the expo. For such a not so little race, they had quite a few good things at the expo. We managed to get outta there with out any damage to the pocket book, but it was already after two when we left.

We made our way back to LaGrange, which in and of itself was a ten to fifteen minute ride. I was resigned to missing the first half of the game. We drove through downtown LaGrange, looking for a sports bar when we noticed they had a section of the roads blocked off. Out of curiosity, we circled downtown and discovered they were having Criterium (sp?) race in LaGrange of all places!!! What a coincidence that after we passed the race site, right there on a side street was a bar with TVs. Perfect!! LOL!!!!

For lack of a better term, the place was a dive. They had a tikki bar set up, linoleum flooring, and bunches of dirty tables. When we first went in, it appeared they only had one TV, but we asked the bartender, and he set us up with our own TV. When we tuned it to the game, it had only started two minutes ago. What an awesome coincidence! Dee Dee and I then proceeded to eat the best hamburgers I've ever had and enjoy the game. I am not kidding. I think they ground their own cows in the back. It was THAT good. We finished up right around half time and walked down to the race site to check it out. When we arrived, we got to watch the final 10-12 laps of the over-35 state championship. It was really cool. I'm not sure how big the loop was, but the riders came by every couple of minutes. There were tons of cool bikes and wheels out there. It was awesome watching the sprint to the finish. Very cool.

After the race, Dee Dee and I made it back to the hotel in time to watch the second half of the soccer match. I can't believe how exciting it was. The Netherlands tied the game up in the final three minutes to send it into overtime, only for Russia to put it away in the final minutes of overtime by scoring two goals. After the match, we lounged around trying not to get too tired and watching television. At about 6 PM, we decided to drive into Pine Mountain and try to eat at our fav little Italian restaurant. This was the place last year were I discovered that delish beer :-)

When we got there, we were third in line for a table. The place was busy and didn't even know there was a triathlon in town. The staff was seriously ruffled. They didn't have reservations, a list or nothing. I wasn't really hungry and would have been happy with a table when ever, but boss Dee Dee made sure nobody that showed up afterwards got in front of us for table. LOL!! This is where she compliments me nicely! We had some really good crustini as an appetizer. We both ordered spaghetti with meatballs for dinner. I thought mine was really good, but Dee Dee didn't really seem happy with hers.

We got back to the hotel at a decent hour. I found myself not nearly as nervous about this race as I have been in the past. I guess being on familiar ground has it pluses. I managed to drift off to sleep by 10 PM, and while I woke up many times during the night, I slept pretty good. I guess I was doing nocturnal intervals or something :-) I actually woke up thirty minutes before the alarm, feeling well rested and ready to go.

It didn't take us long to get ready. My goal was to be in transition by about 6:45 AM for an 8 AM start. Breakfast was pretty blah. They didn't have any donuts. I had to settle for a danish and a couple of muffins. I laid off the coffee, hoping that it would help with any GI issues (it did). I was actually surprised by the number of people eating breakfast. The lady at the front desk had mentioned the hotel was full, and I didn't remember this happening last year.

We arrived at the race site right on schedule. We elected to park the car two rows over from transition. Since we didn't arrive extremely early, much of transition had already been claimed. Dee Dee and I picked out a good spot and set up our stuff. Kevin and his wonderful wife, Cathy, stopped by to say "Hi!". They drove down from North Georgia the morning of the race. This was Cathy's first triathlon. She mentioned not being nervous, but you could tell she wanted to enjoy herself. Evidently, a lot of the peeps in transition did not know how to set up their stuff. Many athletes were taking up rack space by putting their gear next to their bikes, under the racks. I laughed about this, but it wasn't funny for a lot of people who had to create a transition area in the raised median areas of the parking lot.

Once we were all set up, Dee Dee and I headed down to the beach for our warm up swim. Last year, I swam the race route backwards to warm up and decided to do the same thing this year. I was surprised when Dee Dee joined me. We swam about three hundred meters easy, and I did a few pick ups to get my arms and lungs ready for the race. We climbed from the water and joined the waiting throng at the race start. I went looking for Kevin and a friend from work amongst the crowd. I didn't find my work friend, but Kevin and Cathy joined us on the beach after their warm up swim. We stood around talking and listening to the pre-race instructions. The RD told us that the race had grown from 700 to over 1000 peeps this year, and over 60% of them were female. I was very impressed with this. Next year, the RD said that they were going to split the race in two, with females and males having different race times.

Shortly before 8 AM, the young bucks in the first wave moved to the starting line. I saw the athletes in my wave get into the water behind them. I decided that I had better get ready to claim my spot. I gave Dee Dee a kiss and moved down into the water. At 8 AM, the first wave went off, right on schedule. I quickly moved to the front of the line as deep as I could get and still stand. I ended up being on the outside of the starting line buoy, sharing a little space with some other guy. About the time the RD announced thirty seconds for our wave, he asked me if I was a fast swimmer and offered to let me in front of him. I laughed and told him I was going to start to the outside, and he could keep his space.

In an almost anti-climactic atmoshpere, the RD yelled "Go!", and my wave started their swim. I had been practicing "over zealous" race starts in my training. I elected to go all out on the swim start. I really wanted to come in close to six minutes on the swim or drown in the attempt, and I just about got my wish!

The race course was along Robin Lake in a clock-wise direction. This year, they had more buoys out. It basically forced you to follow the shore line, unlike in the past. Once you got to the turn buoy, you could make a right angle directly towards the swim exit. This, of course, meant the entire route was shallow, and thus we had walkers the entire way :-) Even though they had been instructed to stay to the shallower water.

By the time I reached the first turn buoy, it was apparent that my expectations were in error!! LOL!! I was out of breath. I flipped over onto my back and looked behind me to see if I was about to get run over. I was not. After sucking a few full lungs of sweet sweet air, I turned back over and tried to swim again. Evidently, once you get extremely out of breath on the swim, its hard to adjust. One would think I would know this by now! The rest of my swim was a mix of gasping for air and trying to get into some kind of rhythm. I'm happy to report I failed miserably! I climbed from the water and hit the lap button on my watch in the same exact spot as last year. I had improved only 8 seconds. Just damn.

Due to the increase in the size of the race, this year they actually had timing chips and mats. It took me more than thirty seconds to cross the mat into T1. My official swim time was thusly 7:33. I guess its a wash, because it shortened my transition time from 2:30 to 2 minutes!! This was much faster than last year. I basically threw on my helmet. Latched on the race belt. Grabbed my bike and left. Most of my transition time consisted of getting to and from my bike.

I exited the transition area and crossed over the timing mats again. When I went to mount my bike, it slipped out of my hands and racked the back of my right calf. The chain created four inch claw marks down the length of my lower leg. I swore but sucked up the pain. I had wisely put my bike into lower gears before the race. Once I got mounted, I managed to spin my way out onto the race route.

Did I mention last year how much I love this bike route? It has some small gradients and some nice downhill stretches, but it is definitely not 9 miles, and certainly not 10. My bike computer said 8.3, and gmaps has confirmed this. Much like last year, I immediately started picking off cyclists. What I enjoyed so much about this years race was the men in my age group were in the second wave instead of the third. This meant fewer cyclists in front of me. I took it pretty easy for the first three to four minutes, but then it was on!! I geared up into the big ring and kept my cadence above 90 RPMs. Every once in a while, I peeked at my heart rate monitor and saw 165 flashing there. I thought to myself, "Coach is going to kill me for this." But, you know... I felt comfortable at that heart rate. I got passed by two to three athletes near the half way point, one in particular played see-saw with me for a while. Most of the time, when I got passed, it was on the uphill, and I quickly returned the favor on the flats and downhill sections. By the end of the bike course, I had passed everyone who had passed me, for the second year in a row. I ended up doing the 8.3 mile bike course in 23:20, almost exactly in line as last year, with an average speed of 21 mph.

At the dismount line, I tried to take my shoes off on the bike and leave them clipped in. I managed to get one foot out before it became time to stop. I quickly unclipped the other foot and used that one to stand on. I ended up taking the shoe off and ran to my transition spot holding it in my hand. I thought my T2 time was quicker, but evidently I used it for a little breather, as my second transition was slightly longer. All I had to do was replace my bike helmet with my hat, put on my Garmin and shoes, and turn my race belt around and head out. I ended up stopping at the water station on the way out, maybe that was the difference.

Heeding my coaches instructions, I tried to take it easy for the first 5 minutes of the run. Since I did so many bricks during my half IM training, my legs quickly adjust to the run. Three minutes in, I found myself hitting an eight minute pace. I tried to hold a little back as my instructions for the run was to negative split the sucker. I felt pretty good the first half of the run. I was pushing 170 on the heart rate monitor, but with my recent lactate threshold test fresh in my memory, I felt like I could take it. I mean, I held an average of 174 for twenty minutes then, and pushed 178. I should be able to take this.

I crossed the one mile marker at 8:06 and stopped to grab a cup of Gatorade. I had been passed by a few peeps on the run, but I had been managing to hold my own. About halfway through the second mile, a group of about six people came blowing past me. One of them was the young girl who ended up being the female over all winner. She passed me on the run and started three minutes behind me. I was very inspired by this. About that time, I started hurting. I remembered the words of coach and decided that today, I was wearing my big boy pants, and this was supposed to hurt. I picked up the pace and dug deep. When I saw the second to the last turn, I picked up the pace again and began my final push. It ended up being a bit early as I had to slow down a tad bit as I crested the final small hill. The finish line was downhill, around the corner and to the right. I sprinted down the hill, desperately suppressing the urge to hurl, and crossed the finish line in 50:32. My run time was 16:07, a 1:08 improvement over last year.

The girls at the finish line wouldn't help me take my chip off. They requested that I do it. Somehow, I managed. Then, I wandered down to the pavilion for some more liquids and food. After grabbing a few things, I headed back up the race route to the far side of the final hill. I spent a good ten to fifteen minutes there, encouraging the other athletes to finish strong and bring it home. Kevin came by looking strong, and I got to see my friend from work. As Dee Dee came down the path, I joined her on her jog to the finish. I split off before the final turn so she could cross the finish line by herself. Dee Dee raised her arms in triumph and crossed the finish line in 1:07 and some change, a two minute PR from last year.

After the race, Dee Dee and I spent some time with my friend from work and his family. It was his first triathlon, and I very much enjoyed sharing his and my experiences. We went back to the finish line to check our results. We found out that neither Dee Dee nor I had placed in our age groups. We took a shower and decided to head out. We had furry critters at home that needed attending to.

Overall, I would like to repeat how much I love this race. The venue is awesome. The race itself is just plain fun. I can see why it has grown so rapidly over the years. Coach has assured me that I will get better at my swimming. Despite my repeat bike performance, she said that my faster run time PROVES that I'm a better cyclist and to give my performance improvements more time. I finished ninth in my age group, up from fifteenth last year. I was forty-ninth overall, up from ninety-eight last year. I have nothing to complain about there. I'll take a fifty percentile improvement in placement any day!

Next year? I'll be back to try and do even better.

Thanks for reading!!!

Wes

BTW: Sorry about the lack of pics :-) We had no race photogs this year!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Battle Orders

Tell me your thoughts for the race this weekend then I'll pass on mine!

This was the innocent request in my inbox on Thursday. After a few minutes, I decided to give it a little thought. I may act flippant at times, ok most of the time, but I take this triathlon stuff serious. My usual race strategy for a sprint of this distance is "Damn the torpedos, heart attack pace until I finish or drop!" Somehow, I don't think coach would appreciate both the humor and the seriousness of that strategy. (OK. Maybe she would, but she is wiser than me and would probably counsel against such a bull headed approach.)

I wrote her back that I would like to do better than last year. I was going to try some stuff to cut my transition time in half (6 minutes last year, in total), and I was hoping my swim/bike/running skills would help me shave another couple of minutes off my time. I realize its not a good idea to focus soley on time. There are far too many conditions over which we have no control that affect the passage of time in a race.

True to form, the response to my race plan came back with a mixed bag of advice. There were a few atta boys. There were a few don't do this, and why don't we try that, but most importantly, I have been told to focus on process goals and let time take care of itself.

Being that this is a fun oriented "B" type race, that fits the bill perfectly. It's really important to properly set expectations. Incorrect expectations is a mistake made before the race even starts. While I may have visions of a podium placing performance, something more reasonable like a 5-10% improvement over last year is much more realistic.

Dee Dee and I are heading out to La Grange, GA. It's about fourteen miles from Callaway. We are staying at the same hotel we did least year, minus the boyz, who are vacationing in Panama City this weekend. Of course, I've been told I have to get there before the Euro 2008 quarter finals game comes on at 2 PM :-)

I hope everyone has a great weekend. To all my peeps racing, especially those doing Ironman, God speed, have fun, and for my sake, stay safe out there, will ya? :-)

Wes

BTW: Dee Dee has reached her goals for raising funds for Iron Girl! Woot! If you still want to help out and donate a buck or two, this is the URL for her donation page. Thanks to ALL who helped her reach her goal. Bless you!!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

For Your Reading Pleasure

I haven't had a tag-asm in months and months. There are small things for which I am extremely grateful :-)

1. How would you describe your running 10 years ago?

Very exciting!! I actually had to sprint from the couch to the refrigerator when my beer ran out during the commercial break so I wouldn't "miss" anything. God help you if you got in the way of my 225 lb. body... Objects in motion tend to stay in motion and all that crap...

2. What is your best and worst run/race experience?

My best run experience was my first 10K. You can read the race report on my side bar. It was raining, and cold, and I wanted to run it in an hour, and I almost did too. 10K seemed like such a long way back then. When I run 10Ks now, I'm reminded. It IS a long way :-)

My worst running experience was the last six miles of the Rocket City Marathon. I had experienced cramping before, but nothing like that. No matter what I did with my left leg, my calf would cramp or my thigh. It was horrid. I feel so blessed to have resolved much of my cramping issues.

3. Why do you run?

If I didn't, I would still be a fat alcoholic couch potato. I had this vision. Somebody is trying to kill me with a knife or a gun. I take off running to escape. I get 200 yards and then collapse exhausted in the middle of the road, waiting to die. I don't want to be that person.

4. What is the best or worst piece of advice you've been given about running?

Running faster than your target pace at the beginning of the race will cost you twice as much time as you save at the end of the race, or something like that!! The worst? Don't run because it's going to damage your knees. Har har...

5. Tell us something surprising about yourself that not many people would know.

The nuns in grade school said I would make a great priest. Fat chance. I {heart} women too much, especially this one :-) They also called me absent minded professor. Ummm. Yea. Thank God for triathlon check lists!!!

If you haven't played yet, consider yo-self tagged!!! That's about as good as I get :-D

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gettin Down to Bidneth

It's amazing how truths are often right there in front of us, yet for reasons that later become obvious, the facts often remain hidden. They say that every race teaches us something new, and I would add to that, on a smaller scale, every training day does as well.

The E.L.F. has me doing all these kick ass workouts in preparation for my race this weekend. When I say kick ass, I don't mean they are kick ass as in fun. I mean, they are kicking my ass. In the comments to my last workout, I was teasing her about trying to kill me. I have never tapered like this before a race. But... You know... I don't really have to think about it too much. It's either trust in her expertise, or not, and I'm of the mind to "just do". As I briefly mentioned, I simply trust her.

Monday, my usual off day, I had a thirty five minute open water swim scheduled. I met The Bug at Dallas Landing. Dallas Landing in Acworth is the purrrfect open water swim site. It has a long enclosed swim area (around 100 meters), and it is surrounded by an even bigger no wake zone. This allows one to swim outside the designated swim area without fear of being run over by a boat. Of course, you still need to be aware of the drunk rednecks on the lake, but I only saw two boats the entire time I was there.

I set out to do my thirty five minute swim in deep water. I went through the usual blah, Wes is going to drown, stuff. About the time I got the "I can swim forever feeling", I realized that my nose, throat, and indirectly, my stomach had cleared up. This revelation spoke volumes about my anxiety issues. Certainly sticky stuff in the nose and throat is tied to breathing, and that's kind of important while you are swimming. The trick is to get to "the happy place" before the swim even starts. I have a few ideas I wanna try at Callaway. I'll let you know how it goes...

On the way home from work last night, I got my hair shaved off. You know what that means, race fans. It's on, like Donkey Kong :-)

Wes

OSN: OWS, 35 minutes, ~1500 meters (est.)
OCN: 13.5 miles, 45 minutes
ORN: 1.85 miles, 15 minutes, 8:11 mmp
OSN: 1700 meters, 40 minutes

Monday, June 16, 2008

Phat B's, Karma, and Tough Love

The First Annual PHAT B's Tri Club Triathlon was this weekend, and boy did we have a blast!! Dee Dee and I got up early on a Saturday (this is becoming a bad habit) and headed out to Grayson, Georgia. Yes, I checked the map! Grayson is indeed in the state of Georgia. It took us about an hour and fifteen minutes to get there, but we made it safe and sound. I think we were one of the last ones there.

Also in attendance was the creme of the Atlanta tri-blogging community ;-)

Brian
Kevin
Mary Ruth
Richard
Sam
Chris
Sarah

Shortly after arriving, we suited up and headed over to Brian's rather convenient 25 meter/yard neighborhood pool.


The race director fired the cannon, and we were off!! Now, I was told emphatically by her mean-ness that under no uncertain terms was I to do a mock tri this weekend. While everybody else swam for 15 minutes, I only swam for ten, and a very leisurely ten at that. My goggles started leaking immediately and bothered me the whole time. They ended up in the lost and found at the pool somehow :-)

After the swim, we all transitioned to the bike and headed out on our thirteen mile loop. Being the of the "all for one and one for all" type group that we were, the first loop was a no drop ride.


The route was wonderful! It was flat with a few challenging hills. Its the kind of route I wish that I could find close by my house. Wishful thinking!!! We had a few adventures on the first loop. We had a chain drop. Then we had a flat, but bike god Brian fixed that up in no time. We finished the first loop in about an hour.


Isn't Dee Dee the cutest with her tongue hanging out and stuff :-)

While everyone else geared up to run, Kevin and I headed out on a second loop. Officially, if I didn't run, then I didn't do the "mock tri" right? Right? Y'all are with me on this :-) I had been instructed to keep this ride leisurely, in Zone 1, Zone 2 tops, but after the leisurely first loop I couldn't help but push myself a little, and Kevin didn't help!!! LOL!! I did most of the second loop in Zone 3, and I paid the price.


After the ride, we all sat outside chatting and strengthening new and old friendships. Brian cooked up some killer grub, and all the peeps brought some really good food to eat as well. We were about done when a convenient rain shower came by and chased us all inside. Dee Dee and I both had a really good time and would like to thank Brian for not only organizing the event, but hosting it as well. His wife, Maria, and the girls, were very gracious to have all of us crazy triathletes over to their place.

Sunday morning I woke up with numb legs... I wanted to get out and do my hour and thirty minute run, but drinking beer all day Saturday has a way of infringing upon that desire. I finally shoo-ed myself out the door by 9:30 and got my run in. The idea was 15 minutes of warm up on flat, then a hilly run to build strength. I felt good for the first five miles, then everything basically fell apart. I got extremely hot, extremely tired, and waddled my way back to the park to finish up my run. I usually run about eight and a half miles in that time frame, but yesterday, I could only manage eight. Next time Liz says take it easy on the bike, I listen :-)

Sunday afternoon, when I was cleaning up all of my gear from the week end, I grabbed my old heart rate monitor and realized that it had died. How's that for karma? I bought that Polar B3 on closeout for like $25.00, and it put in a stellar two years of service. Then to have it go out the week after I got my new one? Somebody up there is definitely watching over me!!

On a final note, I sent Liz an email about my scheduled open water swim for today. I told her that we would not be using wet suits again until Lake Logan in August (it's in the mountains). I also informed her that I would not be using my Swimsafe belt for the rest of the year. She responded in an email with something to the effect of:

So, you are pulling out the big boy pants?

I am still laughing about that one!!! As a matter of fact, I'll probably be giggling about it all week. That's classic!!

Til next time,

Wes

Sunday, June 15, 2008

My Review: Zoot Ultra TT Tempo+

As promised, here is my review of the Zoot Ultra TT Tempo+ running shoes.


One of the nice things about this sport is that we too get to use the same equipment the pros use, if we want to pay the price. Let's face it. There are more expensive options than shoes :-) Zoot shoes cost anywhere from forty to sixty dollars more than my brand of Mizuno. What exactly am I getting for this extra cost:

1. Barefoot technology - socks are not required.
2. Fast drying - the shoes have drainage
3. Quick lace - stick the feet in and go!
4. Optimized for midfoot strike

When the shoes arrived, I was excited to try them on. The instructions were to buy the size for you feet. That is exactly what I did. My shoes came in 10.5, and I normally wear an 11. Some of the reviews I have read said the shoes come in a half size too large. After trying them on, all I can say is that if they are a half size too large, then they are perfect! The shoes fit snug around my heel and ankle, and I have ample room in the toe box. No rubbing to the toes what so ever.

When I took them out to run for the first time, they felt awkward, almost like my heels were raised, and I was running downhill. As I became more and more accustomed to them, this sensation went away. Striking more on the mid-foot is becoming natural (I have always been somewhat of a heel striker).

Another thing that kind of concerned me was the lack of cushion in the insole. Let's face it. Zoots are not really made for the (border-line) Clydesdale. The first thing I do with a new pair of running shoes is replace the insoles. Based on this, I have decided not to run for more than an hour in these shoes until I get used to them. Running barefoot is a new sensation, but so far, my feet have been holding up fine. Having less cushion is taking a little getting used to, but so far my shins and ankles have been holding up fine.

Overall, I can say that I definitely like the shoes. They are very light, very good quality. I don't know that I would bother buying them if I wasn't going to wear them in a triathlon. For long distances, I plan to go back to my trusty Mizunos. Where the shoes will really show their worth is in transition and on wet and sloggy days. These shoes will be my race shoes for all Olympic distance and shorter races.

Hope this was helpful :-)

Wes

OCN: 26 miles, 1:45:00
ORN: 8 miles, 1:30:00, 11:15 mmp

Friday, June 13, 2008

Flying High

I mentioned to Liz the other day that I was experiencing hallucinations. It seemed that on the bike, I was able to maintain my usual speed with a much lower heart rate. With the heat, not so apparent on my running. Swimming? eh!! I don't use my heart rate to judge my swimming. I did a functional strength routine Wednesday, and I was able to do twenty lunges on each leg at one go. During half iron training, it was hard for me to do two sets of twelve on each leg. What is happening?

Maybe Ironman Florida 70.3 was the crucible. Maybe I like having a professional athlete/coach to whom to answer. I dunno.

Yesterday, I had to go to a dentist appointment first thing in the morning. This basically forced me to move my first brick workout since Florida inside. Last night, I did five minute intervals on the bike. Who knew there was other stuff to do besides pedal, pedal, pedal? LOL!! The intervals kicked my butt!! For your own personal information, spinning at a higher cadence in a lower gear is NOT REST :-)

After the bike, I hit the treadmill for a race simulated run. I started out at 5.5 miles per hour and upped the speed 0.5 miles per hour every five minutes. I could not believe I held 6.5, 7, and 7.5 miles per hour for thirteen minutes, and I never got terribly out of breath. I've had that treadmill for eight years, and I've never done anything like it. That, my friends, felt good. I do believe, as well, that this was pretty close to my first ever sub-9 training run. What a brick!!

I hope every one has a fantastic weekend! To all of my peeps who are racing, especially Stef and Karen, give'em hell and have a R-O-C-K-I-N good time!!!! You got this!!

BTW: I'll be back this weekend with my review of the Zoot Ultra TT Tempo+ running shoes.

Wes

OCN: 19.2 miles, 1 hour, 19.2 mph (trainer miles)
ORN: 2.8 miles, 25 minutes, 8:55 mmp
OSN: 2550 meters, 60 minutes

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I got this!

I've been enjoying this minor epiphany of technological wonders. Just in case you were wondering, I'm trying to slip the word "epiphany" into my blog posts at least once a week ;-)

I got an email from the favorite cycling website everyone loves to hate, offering a "pro" heart rate monitor for $19.99. I was kinda in the market for a new HRM. I mean, the one I have, the Polar B3 works fine and all, but its pretty basic. For that price, surely the "pro" would have many more spectacular features I needed.

Well, it came in the mail and it IS a really nice HRM, and I like it, but the five zones it sets up don't match the zones my coach gave me. I'm a little bummed about that, but the other features and the nice big numbers are just too good to pass up. Plus, it picks up my HR almost immediately with no spittle :-)

On my last couple of rides, I 've learned that I can put the HRM on my wrist, face side on the bottom wrist, put my cyclo-computer on cadence, in big numbers, and the time at the bottom in small numbers, and hit all my training intervals precisely, without ever knowing what the speed was. I find I rather like that. Speed on the bike has become a none issue. I never find out how far or how fast I went until I'm done, and that simply works for me!

I'll let you in on a little secret as well... At Florida 70.3, I wore my Swimsafe belt during the swim. Nobody noticed. Nobody said anything, but I knew it was there. Maybe I should have kept it on for the bike and run ;-) LOL!!! Well, if I am going to grow a bit in this sport, now is the time. For the rest of the year, I'm going to race sans belt. You heard it here first...

Wes

OCN: 18.05 miles, 1:02:31, ~17.4 mph

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My Back Hurts

If you don't like stories about poop, move on...

We all have kids, and kids do the damnedest things. I come home from work, and my youngest son tells me that he cleaned up some messes the dogs made in the house. I don't think anything about this. I have four dogs. They are all house trained, but if the kids don't pay attention to them, they get impatient. Matthew told me he flushed the PAPER TOWELS down the toilet. He also informed me that it got clogged up, but HE FIXED IT.

Invariably, as Murphy goes, so goes Wes. I rush into the bathroom while making dinner. Imagine the horror on my face when I flush the toilet, and the waters of the sea begin to rise up between my legs. Geeerooossss! As I explained to my lovely wife in bed that night... My first thoughts were I'm about to get nasty. When the water stopped rising before it overflowed, my second thoughts were, "Hurrah! I get to play in shit today!"

You see, I can never get the plunger to break the blockage. Either my kids have extra fortified excrement, I am a lousy plunger, or the opening is just too small. Could be any combination of the three. I almost always have to snake the sucker out, which means I'm arms deep in waste water. This is where my lack of a sense of smell comes in real handy, not to mention my total disregard for all things normal people would see/smell and throw up over.

So after about thirty minutes of plunging and snaking and ruining my lower back, I finally give up and head upstairs to the shower. That's my reward for being a crappy plumber, pun intended. Not only do I get to take showers in the morning and after I work out, but also after playing in the crap again, oh my!! No sooner had I gotten out of the shower, then She Who Must Be Obeyed yelled upstairs that she "got it". She has this way with toilet bowl brushes and managed to clear the blockage. Le sigh...

Now my back is sore, and while it hasn't impacted my training, I have to be very careful to make sure I sit in my chair with correct posture. My company has given me the OK to work from home 1-2 days a week. That means it will be MUCH easier to get in my training. I went to the pool this morning and swam for an hour, then stopped by the park on the way home to get in my forty minute run. It was still relatively cool and having a clear nose from swimming just rocked. I had a fantastic run!!

I hope none of you guys are having a craptacular day...

Wes

OSN: 2600 meteres, 1 hour, ~1:40/100 meters on main set
ORN: 4.1 miles, 40 minutes, ~9:43 mmp

Monday, June 09, 2008

Get Me Off This Crazy Thing!

Does that not bring back fond memories of "The Jetsons"? That was like one of my favorite all time cartoons when I was growing up as a kid.

Steel yourself. I am joining the bitch-fest about the heat...

Rewind back to last Wednesday. I did my first strength training session since I started taper for the half-ironman. Strength sessions are a big deal. They tax the entire body and make subsequent workouts tougher. This session called for ten exercises, each done twice, 25-35 reps per exercise. Being the industrious soul that I am, I mapped the ten to exercises for the Total Gym and got to work. I was instructed to use light weights and take it easy. I thought I did. I'm still feeling it today.

Note to self: Use LIGHTER weights next time.

Thursday, I thought I would go run while my lasagna was in the oven. I knew it was ninety plus degrees. At least I was smart enough to wear my Fuel Belt. Let's just say my warm up was faster than the intervals I did for my main set. It was entirely humbling to see my heart rate pushing my upper limit while I was running at a twelve minute per mile pace. Gahhhh!

Note to self: No more running in 90 degree temperatures (unless absolutely necessary!).

Friday night, Dee Dee and I took advantage of being kidless to go and watch a friend's band perform at a local tavern. Needless to say, I probably drank too much and I was feeling it when I got up at 9 AM on Saturday morning for my two and a half hour ride. I ate a good breakfast, rehydrated myself and set off on my two and half hour ride on the Silver Comet Trail at 10:30 AM. I was fine on the way out. I drank two bottles of G2 and had one Gu. Five miles from the car I seriously bonked. My rear was hurting from the new saddle. My arms were so tired from the strength session and two 2800 meter swim days. My HR was at the top of my zone, and I couldn't pedal. At all. I was just miserable. I had never ever felt like that on the bike before. All I wanted to do was get off!!! Finally, I got chicked, and that inspired me to get back to it and pedal the remaining miles to the car. Dee Dee was waiting for me and quickly bought me something cold to drink.

Note(s) to self: Wear regular bike shorts, not tri shorts when breaking in a new saddle. Don't drink the night before a 40+ mile bike ride. Take more Gu, even if you don't want it!

While Dee Dee was waiting for me, she was talking to some dude that had done My First Tri that morning. This guy rented a bike for the race, never trained on the bike before, and didn't even know how to change the gears. I thought that was hilarious. He got a quick lesson in training as he had to walk the bike up every hill :-), and he got his butt seriously kicked! ROFL!!!

I felt like a train wreck the rest of the day Saturday. I got a pretty descent night's sleep and got up at 7 AM on Sunday to get my forty-five minute run in. Forgive me, but getting up at 7 AM on a Sunday just seems like the epitome of being nuts!! LOL!! But if that is what I have to do, then that is what I am going to do! All was not lost, as I had a very good run, and it was rewarding to see my pace in the 9:30-ish range at the top of Zone 2 instead of twelve minutes miles!

All right everybody! The HEAT IS ON!! Stay cool and safe out there!!

Wes

ORN: 5.35 miles, 1 hour, 11:30 mmp
OSN: 2800 meters, 57 minutes
OCN: 42.35 miles, 2 hours thirty minutes, 16.8 mph
ORN: 4.45 miles, 45 minutes, 10:04 mmp

Sunday, June 08, 2008

My Review: ISM Adamo Racing Saddle


I don't think it matters whether you are a man or a woman. Riding on a typical saddle hurts. The longer your ride, the tougher your muscles get, but there is no toughing the "soft tissues" expertly massaged by the nose of the saddle. You just plain learn to deal with it. If you are like me, when I go aero on Aerowyn, I end up with the nose of the saddle up my butt crack somewhere. Periodically, we have to send out a search party to find it and bring it home, the nose of the saddle that is :-) If I'm not riding like that, then I'm pushing myself all the way back on the seat to keep my buttocks engaged with the wide part of the saddle. While this is more comfortable, it throws off my pedaling, and I can't hold this elongated position for very much time.

After seeing pictures and reading reviews of the ISM saddles, I thought I would take the plunge and give it at try. After a diligent search on the internet, I was able to score the blue ISM race saddle in the picture above for 25% off the suggested retail price. I bought mine from AEBike.com. They seem to have very good prices on ISM saddles. Their turn around was excellent. Within five days, I had received my saddle in the mail.

Y'all heard about my fun times trying to swap saddles. Yea, boy genius couldn't find the hex socket on the seat post :-) The first thing I did was measure the location of the rear of my saddle. I wanted to move the rear of the ISM saddle up a bit. These saddles are quite a bit shorter than a normal saddle, and when you install it level, the top of the saddle has a very slight downhill slant to it. I took it for a quick ride in my neighborhood and was happy with it, but when I hit the road for my first real ride, it quickly became apparent that I had to move it back to its original position. After much trial and error, I finally settled for moving it up a quarter inch and lowering the seat a quarter inch. This put me in the same approximate seated position as when I got fitted.

I took Aerowyn out for my first 40+ mile ride yesterday since the half ironman, and the first with the new saddle. The first thing you'll notice about the ISM saddle is that it engages your "sit bones" and keeps them engaged. No more riding on the soft tissue betwixt the legs. Another thing is due to the extra width of the separated nose, it tends to rub on the insides of your thighs a bit more. Since I don't stay 100% on these particular spots, its like getting used to riding in the saddle all over again. I can happily say that after my ride, I had no discomfort what so ever between the legs, and the rest of my sore spots seem to have recovered quickly. I think once these new spots build up endurance, everything will be sweet.

ISM makes two saddles, road and race. The road saddle is a bit heavier and has more padding. If you aren't concerned about the extra weight, then I would go with the road saddle and take the extra padding. If you want the lightest saddle then go with the race.

Overall, I give the ISM saddle a definite thumbs up. I think it will work equally as well for women.

Happy training!

Wes

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Revenge of the Earthbound Biped


"Vengeance is mine", sayeth The Man...


The Man was tired. Two nights in a row of too little sleep, interrupted sleep at that, has a way of doing that to you. This night's sleep had gotten off to a rocky start as well. The teen-agers both had friends over to spend the night. Evidently, said kidlets did not realize that 1 AM in the morning is not the time to be making a ruckus. Twice, The Man had to travel down the hall in his boxers and threaten the children with increasing levels of impending doom, until finally, he managed to nod off into a disturbed slumber.

At 2:23 AM sharp, the sounds of singing penetrated the consciousness of The Man. As is often the case, once sleep is disturbed, at best, any little thing will jerk The Man from his slumber back to full consciousness in seconds. The Man immediately recognized the full throated serenade of his arch nemesis, Night Squawker, avian denizen of the dark most fowl.

The Man tried to do what he always does, at first. Ignore it. He even covered his head in pillows, all to no avail. When his frustration finally reached the breaking point, The Man leaped out of bed, stormed down the hallway to his youngest son's room, and flung the door open with a bang. The anger on The Man's face was reflected in the concern of Youngest Son's eyes. The Man asked Youngest Son if he had his Airsoft gun. Youngest son replied in the affirmative and retrieved it from under the bed. Quickly, Youngest Son loaded the gun with plastic bullets. Youngest Son asked The Man if he wanted it on automatic or single shot. With glee in his voice, The Man replied. "Automatic".

Clad only in his underwear, The Man made his way downstairs, through the back door, and out onto the deck. He had heard Night Squawker towards the front of the house. The element of surprise was on his side. The Man moved to the end of deck, quietly attempting to determine the location of his foe. All of a sudden, The Man was illuminated in the brilliant glow of the deck lighting. Angrily, The Man swore under his breath and turned. Youngest Son was peeking out the back door, curious as to what his father was up to.

"Turn it off!", hissed The Man.

As suddenly as the light appeared, it went out. With darkness restored, The Man cocked his ear, listening for the tell tall singing coming from the front of the house. Sure enough. Night Squawker was blissfully unaware of the proceedings.

With all the grace and elegance of a bull in a china shop, The Man descended the deck and made his way to the back gate. As quietly as he could, he opened the gate and emerged on the side of the house. The singing was coming from a Bradford Pear tree in his neighbors front yard. For the first time in his life, post military service, The Man utilized his Army training (sir!!). He dropped onto his stomach, cradling the M-16 like Airsoft gun in his arms and began to worm his way to the front of the yard.

When The Man got within thirty-five feet of the tree, he smiled. Night Squawker was either unconcerned with The Man or hadn't spotted his presence. The goal of The Man was not to kill Night Squawker. Oh no! The Man is much too kind hearted for that. The goal was to encourage Night Squawker to move to a new territory and sing outside some other poor bastard's house. Plastic bullets, while uncomfortable, would do little harm to an arch villain like Night Squawker.

The Man carefully triangulated the approximate source of the singing. Night Squawker was thoroughly hidden in the leafy boughs of the tree. It was impossible to visually detect him. Raising the rifle to a firing position, The Man squeezed off a stream of five to six shots on automatic in a tight pattern, towards the center of where he thought the singing originated.

With a surprised squawk, Night Squawker sprang from the tree and flew off in the night, bitterly complaining the whole way. Just like that, the night was quiet. The sounds of chirping and buzzing, normal night time activities filled the air. Off in the distance, The Man heard several of Night Squawker's brothers and sisters filling the sky with their annoying song.

The Man returned to his bed and reveled in the silence. With his mind at ease, he managed to sleep soundly for the remaining four point five hours allotted to him. The next night, The Man had no knowledge as to whether or not Night Squawker came to visit. He was so exhausted, he slept soundly for seven and a half hours straight, not once being disturbed the whole night through.

What the man does realize, however, is that this is not over. Night Squawker will be back. He's won the battle, but not the war...

Wes

OCN: 18.11 miles, 1:02:31, 17.4 mph

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Tres Goodness

Slowly but surely, I have been upgrading the components on Aerowyn to get her to where I want her to be. See, I have this view of the sexiest bike on the planet ;-) First, it was the time trial handle bars. Now, this:


Except of course that mine is blue. Aerowyn only accepts black or blue :-) When it arrived, I was like totally excited to get it mounted. I pulled Aerowyn in to the den and proceeded to ponder how to take the existing seat off. No matter what I tried, I could not get any tool I had to fit inside the little circle on the seat post. I even IMed David to ask for help. The next day, I had a minor epiphany. The socket was on the OTHER SIDE of the seat post. Doh! {smacks self in head} Well, the good news was I didn't try to change it before my time trial last week. When Dee Dee and I took her out on Saturday, I needed to make a few adjustments. Not only is my butt grateful, but so are my soft tissues, and Dee Dee :-)

Now, all I need is a carbon wheel set and she'd be perfect :-D No, don't think so!!

*****

My Mizunos have reached the end of their expected racing span. They are officially retired. I've been in the market for a new pair of kicks. I decided to go with these, Zoot Ultra Tempo+:

This are my new, official, short course kicks of choice. I wanna get another pair of Mizunos later, when my long runs start to get long, but in the mean time, I'm gonna give these a whirl. This is all part of my strategy diabolical scheme to shave minutes off my time at Callaway and PR ;-) By God, if I can't shave time off my swim, bike, or run, I'm definitely going to shave time off of transition!!

*****

Finally, the tri-fecta picture from Florida 70.3 is in, and it.is.awesome! If you liked the digital version, the detail in the printed picture is just outstanding. I can't wait to get it framed and hung up somewhere. This is the first picture of a race I've actually purchased. A definite keeper.

Training is going well. I started my month off with a 2800 meter swim yesterday. I did two main sets of 1K distance, but mixed it up with ladders of easy and fast paces. It was awesome and totally made the workout fly. I followed this up with an easy peasy 35 minute Zone 1 run in the afternoon.

Hope everyone is having a great week!!

Wes

OSN: 2800 meters, 52 minutes, 1x200,3x150,2x1000,1x150
ORN: 3.15 miles, 35 minutes, ~11 mmp

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Speechless

Read the article here.

This photo is copyright Associated Press. Totally used without permission...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Ironman Augusta 70.3

Kudos to Sarah on coming out with the following info!!



An Ironman 70.3 race in our own state! Woo hoo!! The race is scheduled to be held on September 29, 2009! That sounds like a great goal race for 09! Just sayin :-)

I have not fallen off the map! I am in Columbus, Georgia at State Cup. This the year end soccer tournament for the State of Georgia. This tournament determines who goes to regionals and who gets into the prestigious R3PL league.

I've managed to wrap up my testing, but more on that in the next couple of days. I hope you guys are all having a great weekend!!

Wes