Friday, October 31, 2008

Reflections of Iron: Day 2

At the end of the longest day, here I sit at the table, in the condo. The bike is racked. The bags are in their places. The food is all prepared. I don't want to go to sleep. It just means tomorrow will get here that much more quickly. Yet I know. I need to sleep. And I will.

For those of you who want to track me tomorrow, my bib number is 1175.

I've missed a lot of my friends here. I honestly had no idea that doing an Ironman required so much logistics. Taking care of myself, my gear, and keeping my family busy and on an even keel. That too, my friends, is part of becoming Iron.

Tomorrow will come. Short of death or being pulled from the course, I will cross the finish line. If things are just rocking, I might come in before 13 hours. If things go well, I will come in before 14 hours. If things go as planned, 15 hours. If none of the above, then I'll be out on the course until someone makes me quit.

I don't mean to be all sappy and stuff, but I have really enjoyed the friendships I have made here. I've been a fairly happy fellow for quite a while, even it was my own little world. You guys have allowed me to broaden my horizons.

Tomorrow, we will blow them wide open.

See you on the other side of Iron.

Wes

Reflections of Iron: Day 1

The family arrived in Panama City Beach around 10:30 PM local time. The arrival was almost anti-climatic. All the worries about finding the place to pick up our keys was worthless. We went right to it, paid our dues, then went right to it. I think we all were a little disappointed that the room was further away from the race site than we wanted, but it was too late to worry about that now. The condo itself is very nice, and the view is spectacular. We have really enjoyed our stay so far.

Since I missed my swim that day, I set the alarm for 8:30 AM Atlanta time (7:30 AM local). When the alarm clock went off, I was already half awake. My body is still tuned to "workout" time. It doesn't realize that race day is upon us. I allowed myself to lounge in bed for twenty minutes before rousting myself and getting ready. Dee Dee wanted to go with me. Together, we headed down to the race site for the Gatorade swim.

We found a place to park our car and walked down to the beach. We ran into a young lad that was walking on his heel on one foot. He had ripped a quarter size piece of skin off his foot. That will ruin your race day. We found the Gatorade swim behind the hotel. I donned my wet suit and made my way down to the water. It was cold. I decided to swim out to the first buoy as a warm up. I had NO intention of swimming of the full 1.2 miles, like others were doing.

Once I got used to it, the water was surprisingly good. Just past the sand bar, the water jumped from cold to warm. It was like swimming through a curtain. Just like that, ten degrees cooler. I made it out to the first buoy and turned around back to shore. That took me about 10 minutes. I checked with Dee Dee to see where Kelly was. She was on her way. I thought I would go ahead and get my swim in and decided to swim out to the second buoy this time. Swimming in the ocean was just so much fun. Visibility was about twenty-five feet. I admit. It got a little spooky when I couldn't see the bottom anymore.

After this second swim, Kelly made it to the race site. I had enough in me to swim to the buoy one more time with her before we had to leave. I was sure my kiddos were eating the condo by the time we made it back (they weren't). We rousted up the young'uns and headed over to the Waffle House for breakfast. Nothing like a fine southern breakfast after a swim.

We made a trip to Walmart to buy supplies for the condo, then it was back there for lunch. We then headed over to Venture Out to grab Kelly and make it to registration. I had the idea in my head that we could register on Friday, but we couldn't! I am so glad we didn't screw that up. Lucky for us, when we got there, there wasn't even a line. We were in and out in a jiffy.

Once we got back to the condo, yet again, I managed to put a call into coach. This is the first time I actually got to talk to her on the phone, and we had a great pre-race chat. She was at the dog park with Boss, and I could hear how windy it was in Illinois. It's always funny how she asks me if I'm ready, and I tell her that I have everything prepared. I laugh because I later realize she wants to know if I'm ready physically and mentally, but not to worry. I am more than ready.

We opted not to go to the athlete's dinner. I figured for forty dollars, what it would cost to feed the family, we could go somplace decent and get the kids what they wanted. We decided on Mello Mushroom and had some nice pizza and calzones for dinner. Later, we dropped the kids off at the condo before heading over to the Boardwalk (race site) for the mandatory athlete meeting.

We got there a bit early, and I was glad they did. They put on a presentation for the athletes, and Dee Dee and I were able to watch and listen to the whole thing in the hall way. By 7 PM, they let us all in for the meeting. Other than cut offs, there really wasn't anything new there.

By nine, nine-thirty, Dee Dee and I finally made it back to the condo. It was time to get the transition bags ready for the race. I had a pretty good idea what I wanted in each bag. I had even packed everything and picked up a few extras at Walmart. However, when you've had a long day, and there are five bags to pack, you kind of freak out a bit. I took my time. Looked at my lists. Reviewed my notes that coach had gave us, and plugged away until everything was in its proper place.

With bags packed and a full tummy, it was time to head to bed. T minus two days and counting.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ironman Cometh

I know it is only Monday, but this will be my last post before I swing over into full Ironman mode. We will be leaving for Panama City Beach Wednesday evening. My next post will most likely be Thursday as I begin to record this amazing event.

I am ready.

and I'm not just saying that.

I went to Columns Drive yesterday to do my final "long" ride of 1.5 hours. Liz wanted me to hit Zone 4 on my intervals, and I actually did so on two of them, but then I figured, what's the point? I don't want my legs to feel trashed at all before or during Ironman. I realize that's a tall order, but a guy can hope!

I got a little carried away on my run off. I did the first mile in 8:10 and the second in 9 something. I could feel the core strength emanating from my body, and I knew at that point. I was ready.

Wednesday we leave. Thursday, I'll be getting acclimated to the race site. The cameras will be rolling, and I hope to blog a bit every day!

Til then, I'll be lurking...

Wes

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My Review: Jaggad Grip Removable Chamois

and the Iron Tri Suit

Yes!! The title of this blog post is entirely fitting. When I ordered the Iron Tri suit, I ordered the GRC to go along with it, yet it is the Iron Tri suit that enhances the GRC and not the other way around!!! LOL!

The Jaggad Iron Tri suit is a work of art. My original singlet is the 2XU Comp Tri top. I thought it was a mighty fine tri top until I bought the Elite tri singlet at Florida 70.3. The difference and comfort in the material was significant. The Jaggad One Tri suit is made out of the same stuff, and mighty fine it is indeed.

The leg grippers around the thighs keep the tri suit in place and support the flow of blood in the legs. There are two pockets right there on the side of the thighs for gels and such. I put a gel in on the right side at South Carolina and forgot it was even there until over half way through the run! The mesh netting up the sides increases air flow, and the 40 cm zipper in front makes the suit easy to get in and out of. I really had zero problems pulling it down during the race, but then again, I gotz no boobs :-)

In the back there are two additional pockets. I personally use those to stuff trash in, especially on the bike! I AM all about not littering (99% of the time!). The rest of the material is very effecient at pulling moisture away from the body. During the race, it kept me very comfortable, and the material was silky smooth!

Some of the items you buy from Jaggad come with the Grip Removable Chamois (GRC). Some do not. Unfortunately for me, the Iron Tri suit did NOT come with the GRC, and I had to spend an extra nineteen dollars to seal the deal. It was WORTH EVERY PENNY. The trick to the GRC, as others will testify, is to get it into the right place at the right time. They suggest you put it into your suit before you swim. I did this at South Carolina, and it ended up in the small of my back. No biggee, but really. It's no trouble at all to pop this sucker in during T1 (unless your a gal). I did this a few times during training, and it worked out great. The GRC is super comfy and has really made a huge difference in my comfort factor on recent long rides.

The velcro grips that keep the GRC in place DO NOT work that well. The key is to get a suit size that fits snuggly to your body, almost a second skin so to speak. This will firmly keep the GRC in place. I'll even let you in on a little secret. If you have other tri shorts/suits that fit like this, the GRC works equally well in those, and is totally worth the extra money.

When you are done with your ride, all you have to do is pluck the GRC out of the suit, and voila! Instant freedom. Off you run, without the bulk of a huge chamois in your suit. The Iron Tri suit will work marvelously for Olympic and Sprint distances without the GRC. It comes with a built in chamois as well.

I've got the feeling that with Jaggad, you pretty much can't go wrong. This suit will meet your expectations. It is it worth the expensive price tag? That, I'll let you decide. You get what you pay for. The GRC, however, is worth its weight in gold...

Wes

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My New Love

I missed my swim on Wednesday. True to form, Liz said DO NOT MAKE IT UP. So I didn't. She suggested I have a beer and get some rest. Not a problem. I had 1 (+3 to make sure they tasted OK). I felt a little awkward in the pool this morning. I've been having these strange aches in strange places, amongst them the ligaments of my elbow. A dip in the pool was just what I needed to work out the kinks.

After my swim, I followed the usual pattern of showering off, then getting dressed in the locker room. I was pleasantly surprised to see the fo really reals doctor's scale was back in its place. It had been missing for months and months and months. I thought I would get on their and see what damage my recent beer binging had done to my weight.

When I stepped on the scale, I got nothing. I smiled. The big weight was on 200, and the little weight was on like eight or something. No worries there. I slid the big weight down to the 180 mark and still. I got nothing. M smile got bigger. Evidently, my body NEEDED those beer carbs. I moved the big weight down to the 160 mark and the balancer sprung to the top. Now that's progress. I fiddled with the smaller weight until it came to rest on 16.

My heart beat with pride for my new found love. I wrapped my arms around it in a big bear hug. I quickly changed my clothes and began to drag the scale down the hall way for the front door. I made it about half way before I was stopped by security.

Sir, please step away from the scale...

Reluctantly, I had to return the scale to its proper place, to avoid imperial entanglements, they said. I had such a mix of emotions as I left. Love. Pride. Sadness. Longing.

I now have a new name for the scale in my bathroom. Big Effin Liar, BEL for short :-)

It's a beautimous day!!

Wes

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Life is Fragile

Every once in a while, Dee Dee invites me to lay with her.  Besides the normal marital goings on, this is entirely a non-sexual thing.  Two lovers, embraced, lying side by side, lost in the closeness of the moment.  I could feel the press of her body, the softness of her breasts, the warmth of her breath on my neck.  Neither of us ready to answer the call of our responsibilities, the inexonerable march of time.  During this intimate moment, the thought crossed my mind.  Life is so fragile.

Quite a few times over the last couple of weeks, the memory of the day I "discovered"  triathlon insists on breaking into the front of the line.  I was amazed that people even did these things.  Even more amazed that people MY AGE did these things.  The thought of doing a marathon or Ironman was beyond my expectations.  I was like, "No way!"  I just didn't want to work that hard.

It's amazing how my thought processes have shifted over the last couple of years.  My mind has gone from, I don't think I can.   To, I think I can.  Then, I know I can.  Finally, I did.  This path to Iron has been an amazing journey.

As is often the case, when I think that life is fragile, another memory is disturbed and released from its cubby hole in my brain.  I remember the story of the children that survived the death camps in Nazi Germany.  These children suffered horrors beyond our understanding, including the loss of the parents and systematic torture.  Yet, they survived and endured, and went on to live happy, productive lives.

This in turn makes me laugh when the first time parents of newborns lament their awkwardness and clumsiness.  Truly, a child is the most fragile resilent thing on this planet.  It would be so easy to steal their life force away from them, yet short of death, a child will adapt and overcome just about anything to live, survive, and thrive.

A chain of related memories...

With Ironman staring me in the face, these are the things I am thinking about.  Ironman is going to be hell.  A hell of a lotta fun.  Better a hell of my own choosing then a life of mundane mediocrity.  Life is precious and fragile.  Every new day is a gift, a reward for doing everything right the previous day.  What are you doing with your gift?  Are you wasting it?  Are you trapped in a cycle of mundane familiarity?

There is so much to do in this lifetime.  So much to learn.  Get out there and take risks.

Live.

Wes

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mock(ing) Me (gobble, gobble)

Have I told you guys this story before?  If so, too bad :-)  You get to hear it again!

My father was an avid hunter.  He used to stalk all kinds of genteel woodland creatures:  dove, turkey, deer (once in a while), duck (in a blue moon).  Being the dutiful father, he dragged took his eight year and eleven year old sons with him.  Oh, how I enjoyed those freezing mornings, sitting in the woods with my BB gun, watching the deer ticks crawl across the leaves towards my warm body.

My brother laughed and made fun of me.  Not sure why.  I assured him that I COULD kill a turkey with my BB gun.  Just needed to hit him in the right place.

Evidently, turkeys are smart critters.  They can see an eight year old kicking a sapling from miles away.  As years passed on years, the BB gun gave way to a shot gun, yet never was a shot fired in anger.  This wasn't a big deal for me.  I mean, I shot at one unsuspecting turkey over a period of eight years.  My father, not so much as one in fifteen years.  I think he had the clucking all wrong.  To rub salt in the open sore of his soul, his partner shot four gobblers his first year.  Dear Jesus, have mercy!

Fast forward to the twentieth century.  My friend Paul Kindzia travels to the great mountains of North Carolina and takes pictures of turkeys.  I tease him about mocking me.  In response, I get more pictures of turkeys.

Thursday afternoon, I'm riding to Publix, and there is a flock of the damn things walking through my neighborhood.  I wanted to jump out of the car and strangle one of them with my bare hands!!

Them's good eatin!!!

I figured I'd have a hard time explaining the blood and feathers on my clothes when I got to the store.

That night...  I dreamed of turkeys.

My GAWD it was so cold yesterday morning on the bike, and this was after I went back into the closet for long sleeves and tights.  I forgot that this time last year, I was training for a marathon, riding very little.  On tap was a four hour ride, not more than 75 miles.  Not a freakin problem.  What was a problem was thirty minutes in zone 2 followed by three 20 minute intervals in Zone 3.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to get to Zone 3 on the bike when it's cold?  and you have to pee?  Like four thousand times in an hour?  I'm reaching the end of my second zone 3 interval when I see a forest critter crossing the trail, near Coot's Lake.  At first, I thought it might be a cat or something, but as I got closer, I saw it was a flock of, you guessed it, turkeys.

Ramming speed, Captain!!

As I approach them, they non-chalantly exit the trail and stop by the side and just a watch me pedal by, cursing under my breath.  Not a care in the world.  No off roading for this boy on this day.  I'm going to take my sore as hell buttocks, legs, and neck home and sulk.  I'll be doing what everybody else does come November.

Buying my turkey frozen...

Wes

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Two Weeks from Today

One hour from now, the cannon will go off and Ironman Florida 2008 will get underway...

Shit.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Weighing In (Politically)

I was born and raised a conservative.  As such, I am not a member of any party. I have always considered myself an independent thinker, and I have no problem voting for any candidate if they share the same values and core principles that I do.

My father has been a small business owner since my birth. Each of his seven brothers and one sister excelled at business and life by working hard and taking individual initiative. They were and are all successful. I grew up believing that individual hard work is the way to get ahead in the world, and for the most part, I have followed in their foot steps.

However, I also believe that, as a civilized society, we have certain responsibilities. We need to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves. We need to provide basic services to those who are unable (not unwilling) to do it themselves. We need to come together as a community and provide security and infrastructure for ourselves.

There are things that I like and dislike about both major parties. I admit that I've disliked the Democrats more for a long time now. The big thing that has put me off about the Democrats has been their insistence on class warfare campaigning. I can't tell you how infuriated I get when ever I hear the phrase "for the benefit of 1% of the population". That is an immediate turn off for me, and I will not vote for any candidate that bases their campaign on this garbage. Let the Democratic Party be the party of the middle class. That is fine, but what ever happened to win-win? Show me a party that focuses on win-win and they have my vote all but in the bag.

The Republicans on the other hand have just lost it. Did anyone besides me think that John McCain was just whining in this last debate? Nominating him for president was just a huge mistake. I have issues with the Republicans as well. Like, their continued failure to balance the budget. Like repeatedly getting the country into foreign wars, and their failure to secure our borders NOW. Like their continued insistence on giving our hard earned money away to foreign countries when our own people need help. It's just ridiculous.

Another thing that tics me off about both parties is how generous they are with other peoples money.  There's nothing quite like taking money away from people that don't need it and giving it to those who do.  More often than not, their solution is more government.  Let's make a new Law (rule) and that will fix everything!!  I fully realize there is a contradiction here.  You have to pay your dues as civilized society.  It's just the balance between help and hurt is very elusive.

After watching the debate, I almost, ALMOST liked Obama enough to vote for him. He stayed away from that stupid 1% thing, and I was thrilled by his leadership in staying away from that. What is holding me back? It's not what Obama will do. I'm not really sure what affect a greenhorn politician like Obama will have on American politics. I think he can do some good. Unpolluted ideas and all. What I AM afraid of is a U.S. government entirely in the hands of the Democratic Party. Without some checks and balances, the masses of Democrats in the Congress and Senate will have a free(er) reign to pass all kinds of liberal crap. It will usher in a new era for the United States, and that scares me.

What's a disenfranchised conservative boy to do? A Libertarian protest vote? I like the Libertarian Party. I probably won't decide until I'm actually in the voting booth.

In the mean time, I'm still praying. God help us all.

Wes

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's About Damn Time

When I started on this journey a little over two years ago, I had seen my weight reach an impressive 235 pounds. That was extreme. More often than not, it fluctuated between 220 and 230. Running helped to lower that number into the 200 to 205 range. This was a plateau that I had reached before. I think I spent a couple of months at that point before triathlons and marathon training dropped me down into the 180s.

I have been in the 180 range for over a year. Part of this I attribute to my fondness for beer. Part of it to my attitude that I can eat what I want as long as I don't over do it.

When I weighed myself after my LOOONG day Sunday, I came in at 179.5. I had dipped below 180 several times in the past three of four months, but I attributed that to dehydration from the workout. Well, this morning, I confirmed it!!! I weighed 178 pounds. I was like, "Holy crap!!! What took so long?"

We have been having some beautiful fall weather here. I've been feeling wonderful, despite the soreness, and have turned in three good workout sessions. Tuesday, I swam 2800 meters in the pool, then followed this up with a 50 minute run at a 10 minute average pace. Yesterday, I took my bike back to Columns Drive for a little delicious flatness! That was oh so welcome!! LOL... I did 30 minutes in Zone 1 and 45 minutes in Zone 2, and it was good. I'd forgotten how fun it was to go fast!!!

Have a great Thursday, y'all!!

Wes

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Blog is Loved

There really is nothing like being amongst friends who "understand" you, in one, multiple, or all ways :-)

Six Random Thoughts about Mwaaah! Here we go:

1. I had a dream last night. I arrived at the Silver Comet Trail to do a six hour bike ride. When I went behind the SUV to get my bike off the rack, I realized I had brought my hybrid, with big ole mountain bike tires on it. I don't own a bike with mountain bike tires.

2. Sometimes people say things to me, family, friends, complete strangers that practically make my jaw drop in disbelief. I just don't understand how people can go through life thinking that way. Its times like those when I have never felt so alone.

3. I cut up my first canteloupe this morning. I {heart} canteloupe. For the life of me, I just don't understand/and hate why I am missing out on so much of the things I enjoy because I am either too scared/lazy to try or am just set in my ways. Unacceptable!!! What's even funnier is I enjoy doing this stuff!

4. I wrote my first computer program when I was nine years old. I used to play Dungeons and Dragons when I was younger. The paper kind. There was a system in the back of the book to play solo. I programmed my Vic 20 to be the Dungeon Master.

5. You know those little yellow critters that live under your toe nails? I'm cultivating a couple of colonies of those. Since I don't use my toe nails for anything, and they aren't hurting me, I thought, rather than take some nasty pill, I'll just give them all names :-)

6. After Ironman, I'm going to give chess another try. I figure that's the easiest way to put back on 15 to 20 lbs!! ROFL...

I hope you guys enjoyed that. If you want to be tagged, than consider yourself tagged! First six people to accept in the comments, go!!!

Have a great Tuesday!

Wes

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bringing It (Strong)

Sunday morning, the alarm clock went off way too early.  I guess needing an alarm clock at all is "way to early".  The wind was whistling  through the trees, carrying over from the day before.  The wind Saturday didn't bother me nearly as much.  After I ran the line at a U-15 soccer match, I headed to the gym for my 4000 meter swim.  I was very pleased with my 1:12:00 minute time (with breaks) and toyed with idea of asking the race officials if I could use paddles and a pull bouy at IM Florida.

Even though I knew I shoudn't, I allowed myself to languish in bed.  I really should factor my languishing time into my wake up call, but I don't.  Eventually, I dragged myself out of bed and downstairs to finish my morning preparations.  At least I was smart enough to pack my gear the night before.  All that was left was breakfast, one PB & J sandwich, and a loading of the car. 

I get to the trailhead, and its already getting light outside.  I am running behind, yet I surprise myself by prepping the bike quickly.  I'm on the road (trail) by 7:37.  Today's ride is 6.5 hours of crotch numbing goodness, IM simulation.  Taking a clue from my last long ride at the Silver Comet, I opt for two 28 mile out and backs.  As is often the case, a good portion of my ride was split into Zone 2 intervals.  I much prefer the "just ride" kind of long days, but being inspired by Kona and all, I do my duty.

Out on the trail, at about the 22 mile marker is a nursery.  The drive way cuts across the trail.  It was here that I got my first flat tire ever (not self induced) on a training ride.  I see the pot hole coming and lifted up my front tire safely.  The back tire hits with a crack, and I hear the air whistling from the tire as it tattoos my leg three to five times per second.  I was more angry at what this would do to my schedule than I was at the actual flat tire.  I managed to change it in under ten minutes.  The new Pro Race 3 tires I recently put on my bike are so easy to get on and off.

I set back off down the trail again.  Now, I was worried that my back tire would flat again.  After reaching the 28 mile marker, I decided to go ahead and shorten my second loop by extending the first.  I wanted to do forty, but opted instead to turn around at the 37.5 mile marker in Rockmart.  The back tire held up fine.

You can really tell that fall is arriving in Georgia.  The wind was blowing.  It was cloudy and dreary.  I started to get drizzled on.  I was cold in my Jagged Iron Tri suit.  The trail was littered in leaves, sticks, and pine cones.  At mile 13 of the trail, the asphalt ends and concrete begins, reverse on the way back.  I rode through some tree debris, heard a crack, and thought to myself, how unlucky it would be to get two flat tires in one day.  Shortly there after, I heard the thump thump thump of a flat front tire.  *le sigh*

I walked Aerowyn up the trail a bit and changed the front tire.  This time, I don't think it took me all of 5 minutes.  Now, I was really worried.  I was having a most unfortunate day.  When Murphy brings it, he comes strong!  I made it back to the car without incident.  I refueled, grabbed my credit card, and rode to the bike shop at mile 4.3.  I was able to restock my canisters and tubes.  I did a 17.5 mile out and back, and finished up the day with 110 miles of riding.  I held up much better on this ride, despite the intervals, than any other long ride I've done.

While changing into my running gear, I stepped on a sharp rock and put a bruise in my heel.  WTH?  LOL...  Fortunately for me, it didn't interfere with my run off.  My legs felt really good, and I was able to run an 11 minute pace off the bike for 40 minutes.  I definitely could have gone longer.  After my long run of 16.5 miles on Thursday, that was a great feeling to have.

After all was said and done, I was at or on the Silver Comet Trail for 8.5 hours, my longest training day to date.  I'm kind of getting tired of it (the trail, that is)  :-)

What does one do with oneself after a long training day?  Shower?  Relaxing brew?  Kick the feet up?  Not this boy!  LOL...  I went and reffed two adult soccer games.  The players love me :-)

Wes

Friday, October 10, 2008

In Honor of Dave Martin

ESPN has a great article on Dave Martin and the swimmer by his side when he was attacked by a Great White off of Fletcher Cove in San Diego.  It is pretty long, but well worth the read when you have a chance.

Hat tip:  Sarah at Chasing Iron


Nectar of the Gods

I've been off coffee for almost a week now.  Well, I had one cup with Karen on Monday.  I'm enjoying my second cup of the week (eeee-gads!) now.  I have no words.

If you don't hear from me all weekend.  Now you know why.

(I'm still undecided if it helps/hurts my reflux)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Not so Bad

After what seemed like fo eva, sweet glorious rain has final honored our fair city again with its presence. And not just the sprinkle of holy water type of rain either. We had almost an entire days worth. My plan called for a 1.75 hour bike ride either inside or outside on a hilly course. I don't know about you, but if I have the choice of doing hill repeats or riding inside on the trainer, I'm opting for the damn hill repeats. Unless of course its raining.

Around four o'clock, close to quiting time for me when I'm not lazy, I checked the skies. Sure enough. It was nasty. The ride home from work wasn't that bad, even after a stop at Target for gels and Cliff Bars. When I pulled into the drive way, the sky spewed an angry drizzle.

With a sigh, I put Aerowyn on the trainer and resigned myself to an hour forty five of delicious boredom. I changed into my gear, hopped on the saddle and proceeded to warm up. My warm up went something like this:

la la la la what time is it la la la la what time is it la la la la what time is it

You get the idea... Not even Dr. Phil was helping.

Around the 18 minute mark, I look at the den window and swore that it had stopped raining. I got off the bike, went outside on the deck, and sure enough. No rain. Woo hoo! Hill repeats!! (What is wrong with me?) I grabbed my helmet and gloves and rode off into the evening for 4xThe Test. I actually did five. For the remainder of my ride, I rode down by the lake, but it got dark. So I came home, and finished up 10 minutes on the trainer for a total of 27.25 miles.

After a dinner and a little fam time, it was off to bed. Wes doesn't stop for gels and Cliff Bars for nothing. This morning, I had my last LOOOONG training run of this season. As is usually the case, I woke up at 4 AM and could not get back to sleep. The alarm went off at five, and I was up and at'em, ready to knock this sucker out.

I modified the plan for this run. I was going to do an eight plus mile out and back, but stop at the store to refill my Fuel Belt as necessary. I ran down Bell's Ferry to Highway 92 where they had just completed some road construction with new side walks. I decided, at the spur of the moment, to change my out and back into a big loop. The run down Hwy 92 was fun, mostly down hill. The down side was there were no side walks on the roads I needed to cut through to get back to my neighborhood. With the cloud cover, it was extremely dark, and I opted to step off the road when ever a car came in my direction.

At the hour forty mark, I came to the QT by the interstate and paused for the refill. My body, evidently, decided it was cold and done for the day. When I started running again, I was really feeling it. After a short half mile, I was back in familiar territory, the eight point three mile route around my neighborhood. I figured I was going to need to add some more time. When I came to the entrance to my subdivision, I opted to go straight and head up to Hobgood Park and say "Hi!" to all the walkers :-)

One loop of Hobgood was good enough for me. It was back down the hill, left into my subdivision, and then a short walk (or two) up The Test, and I was back home in 3:02 for 16.5 miles.

My legs were hurting, yet I felt really strong this entire run, even though my pace was similar to my last long run. When I got home this morning, I read on Liz's blog, the difference between discomfort and pain. Discomfort is something you work on and broaden. Pain is something you listen to immediately. I broadened my horizons this morning. Whether a 16.5 mile training run is sufficient to get me through an Ironman marathon, only time will tell.

Wes

P.S. I haven't forgotten I've been tagged ;-)

Monday, October 06, 2008

What Price, Friendship?

I can't remember a longer hiatus in my blog, even when I was feeling blog impaired.  It's not like I'm having the post race blues or anything like that.  When you are training for Ironman, there is no "down" time.  I'm certainly not still whining about my penalty (mostly).  Truth is, I could've been disqualified, once for drafting, once for pee-ing in the woods, and once for throwing my gel wrapper ON THE GROUND!  I KNOW!!  Really, I felt like I was close enough to the aid station for someone to find it easily.  *sigh*

Really, I've just been kind of drifting along, on an even keel.  I did a lot of recovery work last week, and even though Liz said that ALL of it was optional and/or I could cut it short, I still hit all of my training.  About the only  thing optional about it was swapping out Aerowyn for Bags during my rides.  She gets lonely too, and there's something exhilirating about pushing Zone 2 on a hybrid :-)  But I digress.

As the weekend approached, the training got more serious.  I asked Liz if it was OK for me to OWS with Paul Kindzia, the Polish Sausage (Hammer:-).  He was doing a brick at Mary Alice Park and invited me along.  A couple of his other friends showed up, and it was the four of us swimming in the mirror like conditions of Lake Lanier.


I was pretty happy with my swim.  Despite feeling sore, I was second in the group on the first length, and led the group on the second.  After that, I kind of petered out a bit.  Paul said my swimming was spot on and that I was ready for Ironman.  Coming from a multi-iron finisher, that meant a lot.

After the swim, I had a fifty minute run.  Paul was kind enough to run with me, even though my pace wasn't likely to get his heart rate above 100.  He almost looked pained when I asked him to let me run by myself, cause I wasn't worthy.  LOL...  I'm sure I have that same look when some of my friends say they don't want to "slow" me down.  I get it, but I felt like I should at least give him an out!  LOL...  Thanks for sharing the brick with me, Paul!  It was a real treat for me.

Sunday, it was back to the Silver Comet Trail.  I visibly winced when I saw the outside temperature in the 50's.  This boy has no arm warmers and the long sleeves are still in the closet.  The first twenty minutes reminded me of that freezing ass cold ride I did with Sarah and Lauren back earlier in the year.  It was freezing.  I eventually warmed up, as did the air, but in sticking to my hydration plan, I had to pee like 3 times on the bike, in 2.5 hours.  Just damn :-)

Late last night, I'm sitting with Dee Dee on the couch, watching Home Makeover, when I get a text message from none other than Ms. Karen!!  She was in town all the way from sunny England ;-) and wanted to meet up for coffee!  How cool is that?  I usually sleep in on Mondays (my off day from workouts), but I wasn't passing up the chance to chat with K again.  We had a nice coffee and bagel this morning, and some lively conversation to boot.  Karen is on her way to Las Vegas to have a rockin holiday.  Karen, don't forget!!!  17 :-)

Training with Paul (for the first time) and seeing Karen again has reminded me of the value created by our community.  I've gone through most of my life being able to count the number of close friends I have on two fingers.  Now, I feel like I have close friends all over the world.  It's been really good for me, and I believe, its made me a better person (you probably need to check with Dee Dee to make sure).

To all my friends I adore, those I've trained with, those I've met, those I've yet to meet (and we will), those who tolerate my foolishness :-), my thanks and admiration.

Wes