Thursday, June 23, 2011

BIG NEWS!!!!!!!

I remember it clear as day, I was in the middle of a brick workout.  I rode on the street towards our house, up the driveway, unclipped my shoe… and the garage door started opening.  “That is odd” I think to myself, “I must have caught my wife just leaving, rather interesting timing.”  I stopped my watch and she came out the door to meet me.  “Hey, how was the ride?” ‘Good” I replied, “Headed out for a quick (40 minute) run now.” She looked at me and uttered two words that will change our lives forever!

“I’m pregnant!” With a huge smile on her face.  I was shocked, sweaty, excited, and my adrenaline started pumping through my veins like I had just won the lottery.  We had been planning/trying/whatever you call it, so it was not unexpected, but to hear the words… it changes everything.  It is for real now.  We celebrated a few minutes, but as any spouse will tell you, hugging after a hard workout isn’t always the most attractive thing!  She had been stalking me on my ride, knowing I would be home soon, so as soon as she saw me, she opened the door to tell me the news! 

She had plans that evening with her sister and obviously wanted to tell me first!  I headed out on my run after a few minutes and had an blazing fast run from the adrenaline rush! 

I could stop the story here, but I realize it would be a pretty short post, so I will add some more to beef it up a bit, hopefully you will find it worth reading.

Trakkers that were in Knoxville, yes we knew at that point.  Mike Moore, sorry we had to give a generic response when you asked if we were considering kids!  “Why yes, we absolutely are considering having kids someday…” We just did not define someday with a date! 

It amazed me how much your mentality shifts and how quickly it happens.  We go from a married couple with only really our lives to worry about, to immediately being concerned for babies health.   At our first appointment, the physician’s assistant who was doing the ultrasound said to us “Here you can see you have a healthy baby with a good heartbeat” A wave of emotion hit.  Holy cow, we did that, that little flashing pixel on the screen, that’s the heart beat of our baby!  Although the measurement was only .43 cm, roughly the size of a sunflower seed, not including the shell!  Technology is pretty cool! We looked at each other and smiled.

I think that moment was broken when we heard the following words “Now I don’t want to scare you guys, but…” Our excitement quickly changed to looks of concern “Ok what is wrong, what did she see?” 

 “You guys have two healthy babies in there!” 

“Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh…… oooooooookkkkkkkkkkkaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy…………” Was the exact response.  Here are my wife and I, shocked by what we just heard.  I will come to find out that I apparently went white as a ghost, but stayed upright!  That is right… you heard it correctly… TWINS!!!! I saw a tweet by teammate Heather(runfastermommy) that cracked me up the other week.

I am all for a good deal, but holy cow… two?!?  Just when you get your mind wrapped around becoming parents and everything that means… you get this curve ball.  As my wife and I said… it is God’s way of saying, “You guys can be planners and try to have control over things as much as you want… but just remember it is My plan” 

I am a numbers guy, no secret there.  You know… 1+1=2 

In this case, I am not thinking that is quite valid logic.  The sum of the products is not the product of the sums.  1+1 != 2

Fast forward to Today.  We are both 100% as close as you can be to accepting adjusting to the thought of twins.  I cannot imagine it any other way!  The last little nugget of info for this post.  They seem to believe the twins are identical! 

We are very excited to begin this journey!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Race Report: Mason City Triathlon - First Overall!

I will start this report by saying I was not terribly into this race.  Ever since the disaster which was New Brighton, I have been a little less motivated.  It is a dark rut to find yourself.  My motivation to workout was low, meaning my conditioning has slipped, and the fear of another poor performance loomed in my head.  I am highly competitive, so a disappointing race like New Brighton was tough to take.  I know I am better than it, and this week… I am going to prove that (mind you this is the week after the race) 

I drove down to Mason City, Iowa on Friday evening to stay with some family.  My wife is from Mason City, so my father-in-law, Jeff, and I decided to do the race after he heard about it.  First things first… it was a third annual race.  In 2009, it had 25 people, in 2010 there were 50.  Not large by any standard, but growing.  I sometimes forget that Minneapolis is a big area, and there are a lot of races, venues, and people to attend.  When we signed up, it was $30 bucks, and I figure it would be a good hard training day if anything. 

Seeing as we were staying about a mile away from the community center pool, we did not have to be up too early for the 9AM start.  We still managed to be there at 7:30.  When we arrived, they were still getting some things setup.  We picked up our packets and were informed there were no race number bibs, but that we should check back later.   I got marked up, number 57, picked up my swag bag (Tech t, water bottle, and a nylon sling bag).  Let me just say this… if this race is in the third year, gives a swag bag like that, and only charges $30 dollars for entry…. Where does my $65 plus for the c heap ones in the Cities go?  Someone’s pocket I assume.  Later I would come to find out that the volunteers for this race were also AMAZING!  The only races I have seen people so helpful in comparison is Rev3! 

The layout for this race was a bit different than normal.  The swim was a 150-yard pool swim, in an outdoor pool.  My first time lap swimming in an outdoor pool.  Transition was actually on the pool deck.  There was a semi complex system of ropes/cones to direct people out of the water, along the pool deck to transition, then back out a gate to get to the bike course.  This was due in part to the timing all being done from one trailer.  All of the wires were close, but it made for some odd paths between sports.

I got setup in a spot and got settled in.  It was overcast, but quite sticky even early in the morning.  My water bottles were sweating all over the place, not to mention I was as well!  I sipped on my bottle of EFS Orange and Pre-Race about 30 minutes before the race started. 

I am not sure I am 100% convinced with how the swim was run, it was alright.  There were 4 lanes setup in the pool.  Each lane was actually a double lane from what I am used to.  It is a circle swim.  I think probably to give more space to those who are not as comfortable in the water.  We started in the deep end, and a semi TT start with one in one out style.  Being number 58 and only 16 people in the water at a time, I had a bit to wait, but not terribly long since it was a 50 yard pool, down back down is all we had to swim.  One thing I am not used to… out of water start.  I was a bit worried about diving in with my TYR Nest Pro goggles, the last thing I wanted was to pop the seal and fill with water, but with the swim as short as it was, I could probably manage with some water in them.  I cranked down the straps a bit and got ready to dive in. 

“57… GO!” I dove in and was off like Flipper for a tasty fish treat.  150 yards, half of my warm-up set, approximately 2 minutes of pushing myself in the water.  My first 50 was fast, so fast that I passed two people going the same direction.  In my lane.  I was in the shallow end before I even knew it.  I quickly analyzed how the water looked… was it deep enough for a flip turn and not looking like an idiot, other people had, so why not?!?  I flipped and pushed and headed back for the deep end.  Good work on that Jeff, now keep it up.  Sure I went out a little too hard, I know that for a fact, but whatever, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. (Thanks Nemo!)  As I got to the deep end, I always have trouble gauging distance from the wall especially since I am not used to the line being so much deeper.  Another flip, with about a 1/3 of a push because I was too far away, and the last stretch was ahead. 

As I got back to the shallow end, I saw one of the people I passed on the first length getting out of the water about 5 seconds ahead of me.  Not too bad, I felt good about that effort!

As I hopped on the pool deck, I checked the Garmin, 2:11.  Not the 2 flat I was looking for, but good enough.  Ironically enough, I am not sure how they got swim time and T1 split, but my chip time said the exact same. Swim time got me 6th overall.

Transition 1:
After running around the cones and rope, I circled back to my bike, and got into my shoes, sunglasses, helmet, and away I went.  Over the pool deck, in some grass, down a little hill over the timing mat, then out to the parking lot.  Whew, time to get on the bike. 

Time: 1:07 - due to the crazy nature of this layout (2nd fastest time)

10 Miles, this was going to be a hurt-fest.  Having done the MS150 last weekend, I had some bike miles, but not on my Kestrel Airfoil.  I did manage to get one good workout in the week before, but only one quality workout in two weeks left me questioning what my legs would do.  I tried to settle in on the bike, but the first little bit was in town and had a few tricky turns/rough spots I wanted to make sure and avoid.  As I got onto the main stretch, I started to push the pace.  My goal was to hold 240 watts.  I saw 400s, I saw 100s, but tried to keep pushing for that 240 mark.  Being a bit later in the start line, I was able to pass people on the bike.  I do not do as well out in front, and I seem to do better as I am reeling people in, it gives me a target.  On the way out I made some good movement up, and never had anyone pass me.

I was using my Stinger 90s with disc cover and felt some wind, although it was low, I was trying to figure out where it was coming from.  I hit the final stretch and made the turn around to realize that I had it in my face on the way out.  SAWEEEETTTTT! I would have a tail wind going home.  Time to take it up a notch.  I pushed the stretch back into town hard, even with the wind helping, I was able to hit some good numbers, and not kill my lungs/HR.  That being said, my HR never really came down when I got on the bike.  I was working for every watt I was putting out.  A few turns back towards the park and I was back before I knew it.  I knew I had a good split, right on par with what I was expecting, but probably not much more.  I thought to myself, that’s what you get for being lazy, so you better hope you didn’t blow up your legs for the run.

BIke: 25:40 - 23.38 MPH - 3rd fastest of the day

Transition 2:
Weaving back to the racks, I tossed my things down, slid on my Avia’s and headed out. 

Time: 0:59 (4th)

Yep my lungs were still burning, and I felt like I was running in a steam room.  I tried to go out with 6:40s the first mile and let my body “come down” a bit before picking up the tempo.  Well… that never happened, and I slipped closer to 7 minute miles.  Ugh, did I push too hard on the bike or am I just not used to the weather? The run was a twisty run through the campgrounds and park, weaving in and out, going over some streams.  The thought of jumping in the water did occur to try and  cool down some, but I opted to wait on that.  I had not been passed on the bike, and quickly passed a couple of people on the run, then saw someone ahead of me a few hundred yards, and tried to keep him in sight.  I was slowly gaining, but wasn’t sure if I would ever catch up.  After a short downhill section, we hit a turn and I was able to hold some momentum as I went past him and then it got lonely.  There was nobody in sight.  I had nothing to focus on as we hit the trail on the river.  Did I mention I wanted to jump in to cool off?  It would have been better than roasting in the humidity!  I felt myself start to slip a little and had to keep focused on pushing myself.  After weaving back over a bridge, I knew I was in the home stretch, somewhat.  The first 2 miles were a bit long. It was advertised at 3 miles, but I think it was a bit more like a 5k in the end. 

The last little stretch came back on some city streets, and finally I saw some people ahead of me, unfortunately, they were far enough ahead that I could not make up the distance before the finish line.  I came across the timing mat, and about hit the ground.  I heard the guy in the trailer spout off my time, 51:34.  “Nice work out there, that is the top time right now!” Dang I thought to myself, I was shooting for 50 minutes, but the second part then hit me (my brain may have been oxygen deprived a little, so it took a few seconds to process.)

Run: 21:37 (7:12 pace, fastest run split of the day!) 


I was happy with the race, hit my wattage, the run fell apart, and I know I am capable of running that course sub 50, so I plan on going back again.  I did end up first overall.  My first podium, and race win!  I was pretty pumped, this was the catalyst I needed to get me back in the swing of things for the rest of the season. 

Remember above when I said the swag bag was good, well I saw the prize table, and thought to myself, “Holy cow, I have paid more money for a raffle, with lesser prizes and worse odds.”  They had some KILLER giveaways.  An autographed Vikings helmet, football, jersey, 5 iPod shuffles, iPod nano, iPod touch, a Kindle, a Nook, 2 Toshiba netbook computers, 2 digital  cameras, 2 digital video cameras, and a number of other things.  I managed to win a RoadID gift card as well!  Another great plus for this race.  Their prizes were amazing! 

I am back, getting on schedule for workouts, and focused on having a great second half of the season.  This was just what I needed to remind me, hard work pays off!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Race Report: New Brighton Sprint Triathlon 2011

Nothing terribly eventful here. I was using a free entry into this race and there were some hold-ups in the system, mostly with my packet not being there, but they got things sorted out and before I knew it, I was in transition getting everything ready.  The weather was going to be just about perfect, mid to high 60s water, sunny, and almost no wind! I got in a warm-up on the bike, and a short run and felt great while sipping on my First Endurance cocktail of EFS Drink and Pre-Race.  At about 10 minutes to 8, I snagged my TYR Cat 5 Wetsuit and headed to the water for a quick warmup.  Nothing terribly eventful here, felt good, fluid, very floaty (technical term) and ready to go.  The water was about perfect with a full sleeve wetsuit. 

Half mile, Garmin in my cap, triangle shape out and back style.  I started right up front (knowing I would not exit with the leaders, but mostly trying to avoid the crowd at least.  Off we went, and I started faster than I should have, I was feeling good and decided to go with it.  Unfortunately my training has changed a bit, so a lot of my effort has been spent doing 100 repeats and not holding it for a half a mile.  I was about 2/3 of the way out before I felt myself letting off a bit, not getting comfortable, just losing form and strength in the pull.  A good turn around, and I was aimed back at shore.  My sighting was a bit off on the way in, partially into the sun, and who knows what other excuse! 

I felt like the course was a bit long, although the Garmin said it was .51 miles.  Maybe it was just a bit longer than years past, because swim times did look a bit slower than one would have expected.

Transition 1:
I felt like my first year all over again.  I was a bit disoriented and struggled getting my wetsuit off my ankles.  After fumbling around a while, I was able to run out and get on with the show.

From bad to worse.  I have no clue what happened on the bike, but I had nothing.  As soon as I started pedaling, my glutes and legs felt like they had gotten done doing about 1000 squats or lunges.  I could not generate power for the life of me, I could have walked a few of the hills quicker than I seemed to be biking up them, and all around, I was shot.  I have absolutely no explanation for this outside of having felt sluggish all  week.  I was shooting for 250 watts and being in the higher 23 MPH Range, that was not happening!  I started getting passed by people left and right, having Clydesdales climb quicker than I was, ugh what a day!  I was mentally checked out of this race very early. 

Transition 2:
Outside of forgetting my race belt after a few steps and a quick turn-around to grab it, nothing crazy here. 

Oh yay, finally the last leg.  Right away I knew that a 20 minute 5k was about as likely to happen as winning the lottery.  I tried to hold on to something in the higher 6 minute pace, and quickly found myself right at 7s.  They were painful 7s at that!  My lungs were burning, stomach about ready to heave, and legs still felt like I had already run 20 miles.  I plugged away, got chick’d about half way through (not to mention the one who flew past me on the bike) and decided to try and hold her pace (right at 7 min miles) We flip flopped a few times and as I entered the wooded trail, I knew I had a pack of 3 hanging on my heels.  I heard one chatty guy offering his 2 cents to people, breathe this way, relax that, one foot in front of the other.  Thanks buddy, as if I didn’t already know how to run.  I did hear one guy say he was just following “the guy in green” (that was me).  I responded saying he better not be in my AG and make a pass in the last 100 yards or I would be pissed!  As we hit the turn around with about a mile to go, I finally got some legs.  As we entered the woods again, I picked it up a bit, wanting to catch back up to Mr Running Coach who was about 30 yards ahead.  His pace was slowing, and mine was getting faster, so it did not take long to pass him.  Then my focus was on making sure to keep him behind me, and not get  out sprinted at the end, so I pushed a bit harder.  A quick glance backwards and I hardly could see him and ran it out. 

Results were sucktastic.  Overall the times seemed slow from what I would have expected and years past.  I don’t know if the swim was a bit long or if the bike changed a bit, but I ended 2 minutes SLOW of my time last year.  The best thing that came from this race is that eventually, I knew I was going to do a race and not set a new PR on that course.  Sure, not the race I would have liked that to happen on, but it was bound to happen.   All I can do is take it as a learning experience and go with it.  My race with Jared can hardly be considered a race.  I guess I was not terribly far behind out of the swim, but it was game over from there.  Oh well, one race in the books that did not go nearly as well as I had intended, keep training with the long term goal in mind!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Weekly Ramblings - 5/23/11

This is not going to be in the normal format, frankly because I am feeling lazy.  I had a good workout week last week including a solid ride on Saturday morning (which turned out to be a great day despite what the worthless weatherman would have you believe...)  I am about ready to start flipping a coin, and I would expect better accuracy than they can give me.  I had my longest solo tri bike ride, 54.5 miles, 2:39, 1 flat tire, 40.3 MPH max speed... WEEEE!!!, 204 watts, 90 RPM... numbers numbers.  It just felt good to be out and riding.  That is until I hit the last segment, and by last segment I really mean the last 1/3 of the ride where I went back into the wind.  I was elated to be outside and riding a longer distance, it was a great day, changed my own flat (first time I have had the stuff with and flatted), didn't waste my CO2 etc! 

I had a rough weekend of eating!  We went out a lot with family, had lots of snack foods, and I feel miserable this week!  Zero energy, luckily as I actually start doing workouts it comes back, but motivation to do them is what is killing me.  Time to get back on proper eating especially since I race this weekend.

Some may know that I am doing New Brighton (provided my registration got there with no issues.)  This is where triathlon started for me.  I did a 1:34:36 my first year, and came back a year later to run a 1:13:50.  While I know another 20 minute gain is out of the question, a 10 minute gain would put me at the course record... here is where it gets tough, the last little bit, the push to make seconds count, to make your body ignore the voice inside that says to let off the pedals just a bit.  Oh no... there will be none of that.  I know I am capable of a heck of a race, and plan on executing!

Last year I did a practice swim with Jared... ahh Jared!  I came out of the water a minute behind him last year but made up two on the bike, the problem... Jared is a runner, it was not long before he ran past me like I was standing still.  His 19 minute 5k was enough to gain him about 3 minutes on me.  The final result, he finished a bit over 2 minutes ahead of me.  People often talk about having a nemesis in racing, I think Jared is as close as I get to that.  I do not know that I would call him a nemesis, but rather a mark to shoot at.  I suppose I pick him because I know he is racing the race, I know that we are similar (all three combined) abilities, and the fact that we swam together once adds a personal touch to it.  Sure I could pick any other random 25-29 Male, but this makes it a bit more fun.  Will I be mad if he beats me? Absolutely not.  I know where my fitness is at, and I have found this new thing called the Hurt Box... yep we have all heard it, but this weekend I plan on spending some time there. 

No more slightly uncomfortable swims.... the pace = balls out, hopefully I do not end up like this:

Uneventful T1
Bike... Jared said he was not worried about my bike... I have been feeling really good on the bike this year, so does that mean he is also feeling good? who knows... but I know this is going to be the area where I throw out any doubts or feelings of being uncomfortable.  It is 14 miles... which could mean 12 or 16... but I know that I can make my legs push this section hard.
Uneventful T2
Run - I would be silly to say that I am not intimidated by his run a bit, I am getting better, sure I have broken my 20 minute 5k PR this season.  I know I need a lead going into the run, and I know I have to push beyond uncomfortable on the run.  What does that mean? Well that means running faster for 5k than I have before... The rest is just numbers...

Looking forward to this annual race to test my gains for the year.  I am not putting times/paces/places out there for this race.  I am just going to race.... hard.  In 2 weeks I have another short sprint race that I plan on pushing just as hard as my body can go.  I want to have nothing left at the end, having coasted in on fumes!

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