Monday, June 27, 2011

Transitions

I looked through my handy dandy training manual and settled on the last week workout of the transition training program.  It called for five hours of training, which was more than the second week of the intermediate sprint program, but less intensity.  I doubted seriously that I would get my workouts in over the weekend.  That meant missing one bike and one run workout.  The virtual coach, however, said to do whatever I wanted the week after a race.  So, I did.

Friday, I headed down to Mobile straight after work to see my father and pick up Matthew.  Paw Paw is doing a little better.  After he wakes up, his mind is a little sharper, and his conversations make a little more sense.  As the day wears on and he tires, his mind finds it more difficult to stay with us, and that’s fine.  He has a long road ahead of him, and we will be there to carry him when necessary.

As for me…  The next phase in my training starts tomorrow.  I have four weeks until my last sprint of the year.  I can hardly believe my tri season will be over so soon this year.  Believe me.  It’s ENTIRELY necessary.  Triathlon is not the only thing transitioning in my life these days.  I’m not fool enough to believe that I am in total control.  I am fool enough to believe that I have some control over the process.

I’ve set an ambitious goal for my next race.  I want to finish top 5 in my age group.  It’s challenging, doable, and it must not affect my responsibilities.  Everything, after all, has it’s worth…

Wes

Monday, June 20, 2011

And They Shall Fall

A Callaway Gardens Super Sprint Race Report

The alarm clock kicked off at 4:20 on back to back race weekends for me.  For Dee Dee, it was to be her first race of the season.  We loaded the car up to head out as close to five as possible.  I was pleased to see Dee Dee bring her tri-bike out to the car.  Yes, I assured her, the bikes were securely fastened to the bike rack.

We were just a few minutes shy of 5 AM pulling out of the drive way, and the sky was visibly lightening just as we reached the other side of Atlanta.  Around Newnan, a few more automobiles with bikes on the back began to appear on the road.  We waved “hi” to our Waffle House as we exited the interstate for the 10 mile drive or so to Callaway Gardens.  No time to dally. Somebody was about to have an impending explosion.  We hustled through the entrance and found a parking spot right next to the pavilion where race registration was ongoing.  This was the perfect spot for our immediate needs, but not so good for race logistics.

The biggest challenge at Callaway is finding a good spot on the racks for the bikes.  We gathered that this year was less crowded as they were taking race day registration for the first time ever.  As I walked the bikes to transition, it became apparent that this year’s field was smaller. I put Dee Dee and my bike on an open rack right next to a big tree, then walked back to the pavilion to pick up my registration.  Dee Dee met me there, and we breezed through packet pick up and marking.  This race is rather casual in that they don’t put race numbers on helmets or bikes, and they only mark your wave number on you calf.  The usual assortment of bikes was present, and Dee Dee and I laughed quietly at some of them.  A few bikes had three (or more) bike bottles on them for a 9 mile bike course!

Our bike pump was in the car, so we stopped by there on the way back to transition.  We spent a few minutes getting setup, and I pumped up both our sets of tires, then walked the bike pump back to the car.  At 7:30, Dee Dee and I headed down to the lake for our warm up swim.  I told Dee Dee I would meet her at the far corner and got bizzy wid it.  They had moved the buoys further in, and in some places, the water was barely 3-4 feet deep.  The good news was that unlike previous years, the skies were overcast and the water was relatively cool.  I guess the lake had gotten some rain recently.

At 7:45, the race announcements took place.  Starting at 8 AM, the various age group waves hit the water.  I was in the third wave.  Dee Dee was in the 8th, I think.  After the first wave went off, I kissed her good bye and lined up behind the second wave.  You got to get in the water early to get a good position on the end of the line.  After the second wave went off, I quickly moved into position on the end of the line.  The water wasn’t as deep as it usually is.  While we were waiting to get started, one of the triathletes stated that somebody had drowned last year (but resuscitated, I think).  That was why the buoys were closer to shore.  Another guy was complaining that his 310XT wouldn’t pick up us heart rate.  I laughed and recommended to him that he not wear his HR strap in the water.  I heard the RD start the count down from 10 seconds.  I hit start on my watch, and we were off.

This race, I was going “nekkid”:  no Garmin for me!  For the first 40-50 yards, my wave surged, and I’m right in the mix.  I begin bumping up against the guy on my right before he passes me, then the guy on my left begins to dance with me.  I’m holding a straight line to the buoys and he is trying to go off course.

Man, I think to myself, these guys are fast!

By the time we reach the first buoy, I’m behind the lead pack of 5-6 swimmers and I’m going hard.  I’m trying to decide at this point if this is the effort I want to hold for the entire swim.  I was at puke pace +5.  I decide its not a good idea and slow down a bit to catch my breath.  I’m at the first turn buoy in no time.  I feel a guy on my right hip, and I leave him a little room at the turn.  I peak my head up to site on the next buoy, and all I see is a swarm of yellow caps from the preceding wave.  What a coincidence that the buoys are also yellow.  None the less, I see it sticking out above the crowd, and I settle back into my swim.  Periodically, I feel somebody drafting on my feet, and I dodge the breast strokers and walkers.  At one point, I have to dolphin dive to get around a group of walkers.  From this point onward, the swim into shore was pretty easy.  I achieved a rhythm that was comfortably hard for me, and brought it home.  The only question was when to start running through the water.  I swam a little further than most people and started my run about 30 feet from shore.  Unlike previous years, I wasted no time getting up the hill and across the timing mat.  I hit “lap” on my watch at the waters edge, and I was rewarded with a 6:19 swim time, my best ever.

Official swim time:  6:47  2nd in Age Group.  This proves there is no need to get flummoxed by burn and crash swimmers at the starting line!

I tried to run through transition this year, but I was seriously out of breath, and the rocky pavement is just not conducive to running.  I quickly found my bike and got everything on, grabbed my bike and trotted to the other end of the parking lot.  This year, I made sure my chain was on, and my bike was in a low gear.  I had a wee bit of trouble getting clipped in, but nothing serious.  Wheels were on the pavement and rolling in no time.

Official T1 time:  2:07

They bill the bike course as a 10 miler, but the reality of it is that it’s an 8.4 mile loop around the lakes at Callaway.  There are a few slight up hills, a few sharp turns, but for the most part, it’s built for speed.  All the excitement of the bike ride happened in the first 3 to 4 miles.  I’m behind some dude on a ten speed when I heard a loud “POP”, and his front tire went flat.  I had to slow down a bit to both let him over and to make sure he wasn’t going to crash.

Not more than a mile later, I hear the whir-whir-whir of a tri-bike coming by with race wheels.  I’m not really worried about what anybody else is doing, but I don’t like being passed by people in my age group.  This guy goes past me, gets up the road about a 75 yards, and I hear the sound of metal on pavement, followed by a crash.  The man had gone around a corner in aero, bent over too far, and his pedal had hit the ground.  I slowed down a bit to check on him, but when I saw a volunteer rushing over, I continued with my race.

The rest of the bike course was one Z5 blur.  I did my best to hold effort, but there were times that I wondered if last week’s race was making it’s presence felt.  I pulled my feet out of my shoes on the final straight away into transition.  I jumped from my bike with no problem, but my left shoe came off the pedal (again!), and I had to stop and pick it up.  I found my row and started trotting back to my spot in transition.  An older lady with “racoon eyes” was coming towards me with her bike.  Gotta love a woman that wears eye make up to a triathlon.  She asked me where the bike course was.  I guess she was a wee bit confused with all the cyclists coming and going.  I pointed her in the right direction then hustled over to my stuff.

Official bike time:  22:36, 9th in age group, 22.3 mph

I smiled when saw Dee Dee’s bike was gone from the rack.  In our excitement for her to use her new tri bike, we had neglected to get her a tire changing kit for her new 650 wheels.  I teased her about not flatting, and told her to “run it in” if she did.  Bike to run transition was pretty quick.  I dug out my old Zoots for this race, even though they are about ready to be retired.  I grabbed a cup of water on the way out of transition, but again, given the length of the parking lot, my T2 time was nothing stellar.

Official T2 time:  1:52

From past experience, I knew I could gauge my run pace when I hit the halfway point on the other side of the lake.  I took off at a hard pace, and I just felt like I was gonna die.  After you round the nearest side of the lake, what usually happens is you emerge out on the far side in full sun light, with no shade until you reach the aid station.  This year, however, was different.  It was overcast, and a little cooler.  Funny thing happened on the far side of the lake.  I found my running rhythm.  The pace was still hard, but I was no longer dying.

At the aid station, I decided I didn’t need to stop this year.  Usually, I cop a walk, because that’s my way of giving in.  Not this year.  I glanced at my watch, and I knew there was a chance that I could go sub-50.  If you remember, that was my goal for this race in 2009, at which I failed miserably.  After the aid station, there is just enough uphill to tweak your legs and remind you how tired you are, then its back to flat and fast running. 

I kept asking myself over and over again.  How bad do you want this?  I ignored the runners in my wave that passed me.  This was about me.  I heard the band and the finish line through the woods.  At the edge of the woods, we make a right onto the side walk.  I glance at my watch and mistakenly believe I have two minutes to reach my goal.  As I crest the small hill there, I look at my watch again and smile.  I was off by a minute.  I really had 3(!) minutes to reach my goal.  I run down the hill and enter the finish chute.  I didn’t sprint this year.  I had run a pretty even pace/level of effort for the entire run.  I did, however, raise my arms as a crossed the finish line, and I was happy.  I hit stop on my watch, and it reported a time of 49:16.

Official run time:  15:59, 8 min pace 17th in age group

I went back out on the course and ran Dee Dee in.  She finished in an hour fourteen, two minutes faster than last year.  I was very proud of her.  It had been almost 18 months since her last triathlon.  We spent a little time browsing the expo after the race, and of course, we stopped at our Waffle House for breakfast on the way home.  What a fabulous way to start off Father’s Day!

This makes my third PR this year in a row.  This is really really sweet after going through all of 2009 and 2010 without really setting any.  I don’t want this to end, although I know that it will.  For now, I’m going to focus on my final sprint triathlon in July, then its on to the marathon!

Wes

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Lighter Side

After my race on Sunday, I’m walking back to the car with Richard, his lovely (and very pregnant) wife, and Eyrleigh, their little bundle of joy (trouble? :-).  There’s nothing quite like the long walk to the car after the race.  We were heading back to their hotel room for a quick shower then a lunch.  I remembered that I had left my wallet and my cell phone lying in the cubby hole in front of the gear lever.  I was worried somebody would break my window and steal my wallet, not that there was anything of value in it.  When I got to my car, the windows was STILL DOWN from when I had rolled into the park.  I had grabbed my gear, locked the doors, and left the window open.  LOL…  My wallet and cell phone were, of course, untouched.  This is the kind of thing that happens when you hang out with the right crowd.

My father has been fighting bacterial meningitis.  He’s a tough old coot.  The doctors said that the number they use to gauge the severity of the infection was 15,000, and he’d never seen anybody survive over 10,000.  Not only did my father survive, but he is well on his way back to recovery.  Dee Dee and I drove down to Mobile Monday morning, one of the perks of being able to work off site.  The back road we took to the hospital goes past a small lake, and as we were passing, I saw a little box turtle just a bookin it across the road.  I make a quick u-turn and pull up in the middle turn lane, just as the turtle enters the traffic lane in the other direction.  I see that a car is coming, and I won’t reach the turtle in time, so I stick my hand out the window and point at the turtle.

Well, evidently, the driver thought I was trying to flag him down, cause he kept going and pulled up beside me.  I cringed and listened for the sickening crunch, but heard nothing.

What can I do for you sir, the driver asked?  Oh nothing, I said.  There’s a turtle crossing the road and I didn’t want you to run him over.  I’m not sure what the guy thought, but without further comment he took off, and there was the turtle, in his shell on its back, undamaged.  The car tire had hit him and flipped him over.  I rushed to him quickly and grabbed him by his shell and the little bugger hissed at me.  Yup, I thought.  The little guy is going to be just fine.

My dad was pretty out of it.  Talking about all kinds of strange things and just rambling on and on, making no sense.  While we were there, Janette, his wife and my step-mother, checked him to see if he was wet, and he tried to be funny, opening his eyes wide and going “woo woO WOOO!”.  When we all laughed, he pulled up his night gown and did it again.  At that point, we knew he was going to be just fine.

Karma.

Wes

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Old Haunts and New Digs

A West Point Lake Olympic Triathlon Race Report

This is not the PR you are looking for…

The pattern for this year is slowly emerging.  It looks like all of my races are taking place on days my Sherpa is working.  While I, on the other hand, will be sherpa-ing Dee Dee’s races with relish.   This is perfectly fine for me.

I spent all day Saturday getting ready for my race.  I was done with my 30 minutes of workouts by 9:30 AM or so, then I had the whole day to find stuff to do.  I cleaned.  I washed.  I packed.  I even removed Ironman Arizona’s dirt and grime from Haint,  Dee Dee came home from work, and we grabbed a quick bite to eat, then it was off to bed.  I planned on getting up early and driving 1.5 – 2 hours to West Point Lake in the morning.

The alarm clock went off at 3:45 AM, although I had been awake since around 3:30-ish.  There was no time for phaffing.  By the time I got situated, the car packed, and ate breakfast, it was time to leave.  The ride to the lake was uneventful.  I pulled into the park at dawn’s early light.  I had an hour and ten minutes before transition closed.  This, of course, is much more time than one needs to setup transition for an Olympic distance race, but I don’t like to stress first thing in the morning.  I got body marked and picked up my chip.  It took all of ten minutes to get my stuff laid out, then it was time to hit up the port-a-potties and get in my warm up.

On the way out, I began to run into my friends.  Teh Cube was there.  Cube is an age group athlete that has really been pouring on the performance lately.  I also ran into Richard and his family, and brutha Murtha was there as well.  I followed the run course for about half a mile before turning around and heading back.  It wasn’t exactly hot, but it was extremely humid, and my tri top was already wet.  As I entered transition, another friend, Danielle, grabbed me to say “hi!'”.  She commented that she liked the kit I had put together.  Dee Dee had ordered an HTFU tri top from their web site, but it wouldn’t fit, so I claimed it.  I had paired it with a new pair of red tri shorts and my Tri Bike Transport visor from Ironman Arizona.  I was flaming red for sure!

One final check of transition, then I grabbed my goggles and swim cap and headed down to the lake.  I went for a short swim in the 87 degree water before being called back to the beach for the race start.  This race does a time trial start, with two people entering the water every three seconds.  They made some attempt to line us up by bib number, but I ended up standing with Murtha and Richard.  My bib number was 98, and Richard’s was 135.  It took us about five minutes to reach the lake.  The starter held up his arms.  The assistant punched in our numbers, then the starter said “Go”, and we were off.

Richard started out a lot faster than I did, and he hit the water first.  I had been experiencing my usual open water trepidation.  It wasn’t a huge issue.  It just felt like I was being rubbed the wrong way.  Once I got going, I focused on finding my rhythm and not drinking the nasty lake water.  They had changed the course up this year a bit.  Rather than heading out for 2-300 meters then turning right, we only went out for a hundred to two hundred meters then turned right to follow around the peninsula.

wpolyswim

Since this was a time trial start, there was no thrashing and fighting at the start, yet I did manage to bump into a young lady who scratched then proceeded to push my hip out of her way.  I didn’t mind the pushing, but the scratching was a new experience.  She had nails.  I was actually swimming in a line towards the buoys, and I had to cut her off to keep my angle.  I wore my clear goggles for the swim, which was fine, except that the sun was coming up over the race start.  When I made the first and second right turns, I had it right in my face.  It didn’t affect sighting, but it was a little annoying.

For the most part, I kept a straight line.  If you zoom in  on the picture above, you can see where I drifted to my right and then made a correction.  I’m pretty happy with those lines though.  At the race start, I had placed my 310XT in my swim cap, and I was a bit surprised when I felt it buzz while I was still in the water with about a 150-200 meters left to go.  WTH?  I reached the boat ramp to transition just as the sprint triathlon was getting under way, and all of the triathletes doing the sprint were crowded on m left.  Now, I’m not dissing this event, nor the race organizers.  I love me some GA Multisports, but its really hard to compare year over year results if the course distances are not the same, and having a swim course long or short seems to be a reoccurring issue for most race companies.

The 310XT reported my swim time as 31:04, a minute slower than my race 4 years ago, and 15 seconds per 100 slower than my Ironman pace.  I cringed, but I didn’t let it get me down.  Being frustrated is fine, but that’s not a reason to feel defeated!

I arrive at transition with everything laid out nicely.  I put on my HRM, my race belt, grabbed my helmet and sun glasses, and then stopped.  Where were my shoes?  LOL…  I had forgotten to take them out of the bag.  No doubt, this little snafu cost me precious seconds, but still, I was out of T1 and onto the bike in a respectable 1:42.  I CAN have great t-times when I try :-)

Before the race, I had mapped the bike course on a popular web site sose I might peek at the elevation chart.  After looking at it, I thought to myself:  self?  That doesn’t look quite as rolling as I remember it.  Famous last words.  It was.  The first couple of miles out of the park are slightly downhill, a great time to get pacing and heart rate under control.   Teh Cube came flying by me around mile 2, and that was the last I ever saw of him.  He was motoring.  My HR was in the high 150s/low 160s, which was completely normal, but not the long term plan.

wpolybike

Once the rollers started, my heart rate settled down into the 148-150 range that I wanted.  I tried to conserve some of my energy on the down hills, and I allowed my HR to drift higher on the climbs.  Over the course of the bike route, I played leap frog with a twenty year old girl in a Georgia Bulldog kit.  She would pass me on the uphill, then I would fly by her on the downhill, only to hold her off for 5-10 minutes before repeating.

At about mile 17, I think, we enter a park by the lake where the aid station is.  I dropped my empty water bottle expecting to be given a bike bottle or a bottle with a top on it in return.  I was a bit flabbergasted when the volunteer handed me a bottle with no top.  How was I supposed to put that in my bottle holder?  I spent the next three or four miles drinking my water and riding with it in my hand.  That was annoying.  I finally dumped out the remainder and put the empty bottle in my aerobar holder.

I passed twenty-something about 2 miles from the end of the bike and teased her about still having time to pass me once more, which she didn’t.  I pedaled into transition on top of my shoes and hopped off the bike with no problems.  I was very calm and relaxed in T2, remembering to grab my gel and visor.  I was out onto the run course in a minute-thirty.

The run course for West Point is deceptively flat.  It starts out going slightly downhill, then there is a long period of slight uphill that is annoying.  I started out at an 8:40-ish pace.  My entire goal for this race was to set a new stand alone PR on the run, and to do that, I wanted to keep my pace in the 8:30 to 8:50 range.

wpolyrun

Both of my thigh muscles were starting to cramp as I neared the first mile marker.  My right hamstring had cramped on the swim (I forgive you wet suit!).  I kept my stride short and quick and sent relaxing thoughts to my muscles.  All of the runners were sticking to the shade as much as possible.  Once we hit the bridge over the dam, there was no shade, and things got hot.

The pace on my Garmin started to go into steady decline and walking through the aid stations did not help.  Within a couple of hundred meters of the turn around, Richard picked me up.  I had swam around five minutes faster than he had, and it had taken him up to this point to make it up on the bike and the run.  As we headed back across the bridge, we crossed paths with Murtha.

BRUTHA MURTHA!  I bellowed. Getting it done, today!

Andy was nursing an injured foot, and I was glad to see he was having a great day.  Richard and I chatted a bit on the back, but the heat was taking its toll.  Richard told me that he liked to sprint at the end, and I mustered a laugh.

You go right on ahead, I said.  I don’t want to hold you back.

The final aid station and the lone hill on the run course finally did me in.  I couldn’t hold pace and my overall average drifted up into  the 9-9:10 range.  That little crescent where we follow the lake in the image above is right before the hill.  That stretch of road from the hill to the left turn back to the finish was the longest ever.  Just like last time, I could feel my thighs threatening to cramp, but I hung on. 

Now that I was back on the other side of the bridge, I was able to utilize the shade, and it felt ten degrees cooler.  It took every ounce of perseverance I had to keep running all the way to the finish.  Within a couple of hundred meters of the finish, twenty-sumfin chicked me on the run for good measure.  There was no sprint to the finish for me this year.  I maintained my pace and crossed the finish line with a smile.

Two young boys were claiming the timing chips, and it took some effort from me not to fall over.  I grabbed a water and went for a short walk, before heading to the sprinkler tent for a nice cool down.  I chatted with Richard and his family and watched Andy finish.  Then, we packed up our stuff and headed home.

A few days later, the results arrived in my inbox.  My 10K run time was 56:52, a mere 28 seconds off my stand alone 10K PR.  drats!!  My overall time was 2:48:37, a 3:08 PR over my results from four years ago.  That wasn’t quite the PR for which I was looking, but I’ll take it. Not a bad result for “just having fun” this year.

Up next…  The Callaway Garden’s Sprint Triathlon…

Wes

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Struggle

Fun and games...
Fun and games...
Fun and games...

I learned something about struggle in the pool Thursday afternoon.  Training for these short races essentially means the letup in intensity is modest during taper.  I backed off from a power swim set to a basic swim set on Tuesday, then Thursday, my workout was shorter, but included a 6x100 VOS set with 20 sec recovery in between.

I call VOS puke pace...

While I was warming up, I thought about my last VOS swim set (and my first one), and in particular, I thought about how my pace  declined as the workout got longer.  There are people out there in the world that are much faster than me.  What are they doing that I'm not doing?  Then it dawned on me.

I struggle.

Oh,  I had realized this  before, but I had never thought that my fighting the water actually made me slower.  This seemed like a great time to test my theory.  I paid particular attention to my swim style and form on the first 100.  I came in at 1:23.  Typical, and well below my target pace of 1:27.  I then proceeded to duplicate that feeling on my second 100.  My reward was another 1:23.  I slipped a little on my third 100, coming in at 1:25, but I bounced back with another 1:23 on my fourth 100.  Interavls 5 and 6 came in at 1:24 and 1:25 respectively.

These little breakthroughs are nice.  It wasn't a physical breakthrough.  I wasn't even breathing hard.  It was a mental and form breakthrough.  Sometimes, these kinds of improvements are the hardest to grasp.

Tomorrow, I am off to Lake West Point for the West Point Oly Triathlon.  This was my first ever Oly so long ago and my current course PR.  I rode my bike 20 minutes this morning and ran off the bike for 10.  I was done by 9:30 AM wondering what to do with myself for the rest of the day.  So far, I've straightened downstairs, upstair, ran the dishwasher, washed towels, washed Haint, and thrown all of my tri gear on the kitchen table.

My strategy for West Point this year is simple.  I want to PR the 10K run.  In order to do that, I've stripped Aerowyn down to just the bear essentials.  I'll put my tire kit in my bento box, and my bike bottle between my aero bars.  Other than that, she is unadorned.  I will wear no socks.  I will wear no gloves.  I will not daily in transition. Go, go, go!

If the weather forecast holds up, I should be done before the temperature reaches eighty.  A lot of my friends are going to be there.  My first triathlon of 2011 is going to be a party....

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Wes

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Word

–noun, a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning.

It seems like such a long time ago.  Hitting rock bottom has that affect on you, I guess.  It’s so dark down there, once you claw your way back to the surface, it’s hard to see from whence you came.  You guys diggin my proper English?  :-)

Dee Dee and I had closed the family business.  We had our house, our cars, our kids, our dogs, and a little bit of money.  The charge sounded, and together, Teh Bug and I did everything in our power to keep an air of normalcy for our family.  The kids went to the same school.  They participated in the same activities, and we started rebuilding.

A goal was set, and a carrot was offered.  If we could save (x) amount of dollars, we would buy Dee Dee that tri bike of which she had been dreaming.  (admit it, you’re impressed with my English skillz).  The first six to nine months, our savings account blossomed.  As a matter of fact, we almost reached our goal.  Then the long drain began.  As our savings sank towards zero, the reality of it all sunk in and Dee Dee and I got with the program.  We cut our expenses.

Since that time, the needs of the family has changed.  We have a son in college, and a daughter who has moved back into the house.  We are slowly but surely climbing back onto a sound financial footing.  I am pleased to announce that this month, we have reached that goal.

Being a man of my word,  we bought Dee Dee this:

DeeDeeTriBike

If you take material things out of the equation (all material things will return to dust), all a man is left with is his word, and I value mine above and beyond all other things.

Wes

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Interview

Joseph over at Tri for Time sent me some questions for an interview.  If you'd like to gain a few more insights into your faithful blogger, you can find the article here!

Monday, June 06, 2011

How it Is

Continuing with my theme of this year being “different”, my weight is creeping back up towards the 190 mark.  It’s not really a big deal for me.  I’ve been enjoying my beverages on a daily/weekly basis, and for the most part, my training has been going fine.  With my first race a week away, I’m ready to tighten things up a bit now.  The learning process never ends.

With no soccer matches on the schedule this weekend, Dee Dee and I took advantage and had some multisport fun.  We arrived at All3sports.com shortly after the store opened.  I still love that place.  It’s the best candy store in town.  Earlier this year, Dee Dee bought an HTFU tri top that would not fit her.  My boobs aren’t quite as big as hers, so I claimed it :-)  I’ve been wearing the same tri shorts (when I use them) since day one, and I felt quite strongly that now was the time for a new pair.  Rather than spend upwards of $100 on a matching pair from HTFU, I opted to by the $50.00 pair of LG tri shorts from All3sports, in red of course.  Yea, that’s right.  I’m going to be a flaming bad ass.

Along with my tri shorts, I bought new goggles for Dee Dee and I, and one of those torpedo bottle mounts for the aero bars.  That’s the one you mount between your aero bars, but it takes a standard bike bottle.

Dee Dee had been wanting to swim in the lake for a few weeks now.  After lunch, we grabbed our things and headed up to Red Top Mountain.  At that time of the afternoon, more than a few casual swimmers and boaters were enjoying the cove.  I swam with Dee Dee out to the buoy at the entrance before turning around and heading back.  I would have liked for her to go a little bit longer, but 850 yards is a good starting number.

Sunday morning, we were up early for Dee Dee’s first ever Bud Plant ride.  We didn’t quite get there at dawn, pulling into the parking lot around 7:15-ish.  Since this was Dee Dee’s first trip to Cartersville, she didn’t realize there weren’t any bathrooms.  She made a side trip up the road while I prepared the bikes.

Originally, we had planned on doing the 45 mile route.  After 12 miles or so, it became apparent that Dee Dee wasn’t quite ready for that distance.  We split off onto the 32 mile route and finished up in a little over two hours.  I was really proud of her grit and determination while tackling the rolling hills.  After the ride, I treated her (us!) to Waffle House :-)

My original schedule had called for something like a 2.5 hour ride with 10 over/unders, but this year, that’s just not important to me.  This year, it’s not about me at all.

I’d like to keep it that way…

Wes

Friday, June 03, 2011

Burning Bridges

I’m not sure what happened last Friday.  My run around lunch time on Thursday got hot fast, and I’m sure that it depleted my sodium and potassium stores.  The lingering effects of that run, no doubt, put a damper on my Friday VOS swim set.  By design, I should have had Friday off to recover, but I needed to get the swim in before the weekend.

My new motto:  Humble Pays!

Not 12 minutes into my first center on Saturday morning, I twinged my calf muscle.  The pain was excruciating.  I spent the next few minutes trying to decide whether or not I wanted to work through the pain for the rest of the game, or give up the center to one of my assistants.  I endure, although it was not pleasant.  As the tournament carried on, I found that if I nursed my calf, I was getting closer and closer to “normal”, and I made it all the way through.

My Tuesday swim was used for recovery.  I did the prescribed yardage, but my pace was by feel.   Having neglected my bike, Wednesday morning found me on the Silver Comet Trail at the butt crack of dawn (6 AM).  It was just me, the crickets, and the fat cat rabbits (big ones!).  The bugs were out in full force as well, reminding me to keep my mouth closed while I ride.

Since I had been doing so much running on the weekend, and would be this weekend as well, I opted to do another VOS swim set on Thursday.  This time, I was better rested, and it showed.  I was able to do all 12x100 below a minute thirty, and most of them below my target pace of 1:27.  I calculated my t-pace for this session at 1:27, a full 5 seconds faster than my last VOS set.

Boy, do I look like a fool?  <==  not humble.

Later Thursday evening, my assignments for this weekend’s games came in, and my heart sank.  I had forgotten my previous experiences with State Cup here in Georgia, and the reality of it all was sinking in.  The politics and cliques and “golden child” syndrome was still present.  The quality of the matches was just terrible, and my assignments for the weekend were terrible as well.

My response to the State Assignor:  no, but thanks anyways.

I have now been officially removed from his list.  I was well aware that this would happen when I made my decision.  My father taught me a long time ago not to burn bridges.  You never know when you are going to need a relationship.  For the most part, I have accepted this as a core principle of my life.  There are times, however, when you need closure, the stamp of finality.  Nothing is more final then dancing flames, a bridge flambe.  From this point, there is no turning back.

Now, I don’t even know if I want to be a referee any more.  The disappointment I feel is strong.  The sense I have of not getting what I want from this, nor getting back equal or greater value to what I put in, is also strong, and the feeling is unpleasant to say the least.

Like my father says, these decision are best made with a clear head (a dish served cold).  I plan on doing nothing, making no decision, and if that holds true till the end of the year, then my registration will expire, and my decision will be made for me. 

We’ll just call it semi-retired, and that may or may not be a good thing.

Wes

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

My Review: e21 Recovery

I am a skeptic…

Why are you snickering?

I don’t believe in gimmicks.  No…  I scoff at gimmicks.  I believe in hard work.  I take most claims with a grain of salt, until I have reason to believe otherwise.  Most, if not all, of the time, that information comes from personal experience.

Two to three weeks ago, I was feeling particularly run down.  I remembered a friend had recently joined a new triathlon team that claimed to have found the secret formula for recovery.  I messaged Molly on Facebook and asked her what it was she was taking.  Why e21, she said!  She asked me if I would like a sample, and I responded: of course!

e21RecoveryA few weeks later, my little packet of e21 capsules arrived, just in time for a big soccer tournament weekend.  I had three games on Saturday, and five games on Sunday.  I took one capsule in the morning before my games, and two capsules after my games on Saturday.  It seemed kind of strange, but I could almost feel the fatigue leaving my body.  Sunday morning, I took two more capsules before heading to the fields, and another one between games three and four.

Usually, by the end of these tournaments, I am just beaten up:  Ironman like beaten up.  My fourth game was canceled, but I had the center on my fifth game, and it was a full 90 minute match.  I had plenty of energy and stamina left in my legs to give the players a quality match!

Fast forward to this past weekend.  Jimmy and I went down to Columbus, GA for State Cup.  Each referee is assigned three games a day for three days.  The temperatures are just brutal.  I took two e21 capsules per day, and I even shared a couple with Jimmy.  For my last, and most important match, I was running the line on a U-17 game at Columbus State University.   The winner would go through to the next round.

Seventeen year old young men are fast, but I was there on every play.  I mean, I can’t keep up with seventeen year olds when fresh, but with the help of e21, I was no more than 2-4 steps behind the kids the entire game.  This was a tremendous boost in my efforts to give a fair game.

Unlike my first tournament, I didn’t get that sensation of fatigue leaving the body, yet I could tell that my legs were a lot less fatigued than normal.  After, not one but, two tournaments, I am firmly convinced that e21 not only does a great job of supplementing my electrolytes, it boosted my energy and reduced fatigue as well.

As I mentioned earlier, Molly sent me a free sample to try before I buy.  Now, I need e21 to pony up a year’s supply for free :-)   Barring that, I guess I’ll have to look into purchasing my own.  This stuff is just amazing.

http://blog.recoverye21.com/

Your mileage may vary…

Wes