Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sick, Pack, Flight, Go

So as to end the suspense I'm sure everyone has about Kevin's dig wondering about my ability to rent a van and if it would be successful - it was. Also, I never played the tuba - but I did play the french horn.

Starting this ironman week was tough. I came down with a cold on Friday. I thought I was alright on Saturday and did a 3.5 hour bike with Kevin, might have been a mistake. Basically for the rest of the weekend I was out of commission. I had a lot of packing to complete and things to buy for the race which I wasn't able to do. Also, Monday I had A LOT of work to complete before the trip. Thankful to say I did complete everything on Monday - the better story is the flight to Vegas. Tuesday woke up and was throwing last minute essentials into my bag and cut my pinky on a razor, realized I had no bandaids so I taped some gauze on my finger to get to Molly's on time, or else feel her wrath. Of course I was a little late and had to ask Molly for bandaids. With bandaids in hand we were off to the airport.

During the flight I felt fine but began to lose my voice, now this may have been good noise for Kevin and Molly but was annoying to me. The flight was uneventful. We ended up meeting Pat (QT2) in the men's room at the Vegas airport, Kevin seemed to have no problem getting his attention when Pat was using the urinal - no modesty there Kevin! After retrieving the car - and picking up my 3 companions we were off to drive from Vegas to St. George Utah! Let me tell you - there is not much there but we went through a spectacular rock formation about half way. St. George is a beautiful city and the condo we're staying is pretty nice. I'm now forced to eat extremely well will all these other crazy triathletes around - but oh well.

Today (Wednesday) we had a swim in the reservoir, a bike up some long hills and a run. It is wicked windy here which could prove to be interesting. Also, we got temporary tattoos for our race number and age! We are so cool - well not Kevin.

3 more days and I'm pretty nervous - should be alright as long as I beat Kevin (no worries - easy).

Sunday, April 25, 2010

76 trombones in the big parade is safe to say that no other triathlete in Utah can claim to getting their start in triathlons as a result of their high school marching band career. That explains when I passed you on the run at your first 1/2 ironman in Arizona why it looked like you were carrying a tuba...and I thought you played the french horn. Next year we go to New Orleans.

For the past 3 years Trent and I have traveled to Lake Placid to watch the ironman. And the plan last year was to volunteer at Lake Placid to secure a spot for the next year. But for the 3rd year in a row in rained and when in rains in Lake Placid in July it is torrential. The thought of biking down some of the hills in the rain where you can hit speeds of 50 mph was not appealing. Wiping out at that speed would put a crimp in my plan to live until the age 0f 105.

So at some point during the swim when we were volunteering in kayaks, the skies opened up and I yelled to Trent "forget Lake Placid we are going to Utah next year". This is probably a good time to mention the kayak story. It is about 6:00 AM and we are getting ready to go out on to Mirror Lake (no they don't swim in Lake Placid). Trent positions his kayak in the water and proceeds to place one foot in the kayak and then.......yes....while standing he places the next foot in. Now Trent has many talents but standing in a kayak is not one of them. We could only hope that the athletes he pledged to protect would not get wind of his inability to keep himself a float let alone help tired swimmers.

Time to take inventory of what I need to bring with me to Utah. I have taken care of the flights and the hotel leaving car arrangements up to Trent. Well it is only 100 miles from Vegas to St George, Utah just in case they run out of vans. Flights leaves Tuesday morning...stay tuned.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Welcome to the 21st Century

If you're wondering about my title, I dedicate it to Kevin's previous post which reads a little like War and Peace. Now that we have a history of Kevin's journey from the Dark Ages to the present, I'll write a brief response about how I got here. As some may know, I got my start competing in Marching band, that's right (shocking I'm sure). I never did any sports in high school or college though I wish now that I had joined the swim team when I had the chance, could have been useful.

My first race of any kind was the Seven Sister's trail race in Amherst, MA. If you know that race, you know it has about 4,000 feet of vertical and is 12 miles, 12 crazy miles. I was in grad school at the time (Geology for the ignorant) and after that race a good friend suggested I do a triathlon. So I signed up for the Hyannis sprint, that was 2001. So in all my glory, with my mountain bike, my baggy swim suit, and real crappy running shoes finished and had a blast!!

The next few years I didn't really train until I got serious and started training with Mike Sarro up when I was living in Concord, NH in 2005. Those were good times when I could just race and improve so easily. My favorite race was coming 3rd in my age group ---- out of 5!! In 2006 I moved to Nashua. I had read about a Master's swimming club that worked out in Nashua at 6:30 at the Boy's and Girl's Club. So I show up at 6:30 but no one was there, that's when I learned that it was 6:30 - in the mornining! And lo and behold who do I meet there - swimming sort of - Kevin McIntyre!!

So that is how it all began, I actually think I was slower then Kevin when I first started swimming - but only for like 2 weeks (hard to be slower than backwards). Kevin sort of led me to the crazy triathlon triangle of Leslie Reap - Gate City Striders - Granite State Penguins - Molly Zahr - and finally to QT2 and an Ironman, which I swore I would never do after my first half ironman in Phoenix, AZ. Still haven't quite got the run down right after the bike - I'm sure it will happen during an Ironman - right! right?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Swim

Last night was the first night I woke up thinking about the race. OK to be exact, I woke up thinking about the swim. I don't fear the swim, I can do the swim, I just don't like the swim. I am a runner first! I enjoy running down all those triathletes with calf markings of less than 45 (particularly those in their 20s and 30s). I typically finish the run in the top 5% overall and I have made great strides on the bike, mostly likely top 20%. But back to the "swim".

My college roommate Chris O'Connell was a swimmer and held many school records up until a couple of years ago. So for a record to hold for 20 years he either was a good swimmer or the Fairfield Univ swim program sucked! I never did make it to one of his swim meets but then again I am not sure he ever made it to one of my soccer games. But he did see me swim once and said "when you swim you beat up the water". He was correct, it was bad. I can honestly say given the choice of running 15 miles or swimming 500 yards, no contest, give me my running shoes every time.

This brings me to 2005, approximately 18 years after my first triathlon where I introduced the side stroke and backstroke to triathlons. It was the last soccer game of the spring for the Over 30 league and I announced that I would not be back for the fall was time to learn how to swim and give triathlons a chance. I will go back to playing soccer someday, I'm sure there must be one person out there who would come watch me play.

The local Y was offering a "swim class for triathletes". Perfect...except that I am the only person who shows up and the "instructor" just writes workouts on the board. I did learn that I could disprove the laws of physics when I kicked and actually moved backwards but nothing more. Three weeks was all I could handle.

Fast forward a month to my kid's swim practice where I learned about a masters program, with a coach on deck at least once a week. I show up to practice in my baggy swim shorts (not quite ready for the speedo, actually never ready for the speedo, definitely more comfortable in the jammers) and swim a couple of laps for Coach Mike. Everybody should be as lucky to have Mike as their first swim coach. After 50 yards and completely out of breath, Mike stops me. Pretty sure he picked up on 14 things I was doing wrong but decided to concentrate on 2. He first asked me if I was holding my breath under water. What kind of question was that...of course I hold my you want me to drown? He then asked me if I held my breath when I ran. Not really needing to hear my answer he explained the whole exhaling while under water thing. Good to know. Next he introduced me to the "catch up" drill, letting me know that no Olympic records have ever been set using my windmill style approach.

For the past 5 years I have never swam less than 3 times a week. I went from swimming 2600 yards for my first hour swim to 3800 yards the last time. Put a pull buoy between my legs and I could go farther. My legs just sink...I love my wetsuit! I have gone from 2:10s on 100 to 1:40s on 100. Hopefully my typical top 35% swim will improve to top 30%.

So as Trent mentioned in his earlier posting about how I might be a little sensitive when talking about the "craziness" of the swim start, he is probably correct. So for all those people who decide to swim over me, under me or through me...remember one thing...I will run you down.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Numbers....

My side of the story...hmmm...I think correcting some of Trent's untruths would be more accurate. Not knowing what a blog is and being sensitive to the swim, well one of these is correct. Perhaps I will go into further detail in a later blog posting.

Where to begin. I could start when I set a goal to someday do an Ironman. That would take me back to 1982, watching Julie Moss, punch drunk staggering across the finish line on ABC's Wide World of Sports and thinking to myself, that looks like fun! But if I started there, that would leave Trent out since he was probably still in diapers.

I could fast forward to 1987 when I did my first triathlon sprint in Franklin Lakes, NJ. I wish I kept a record of how I did but blogs didn't exist then. I do remember swimming side stroke, backstroke, maybe some modified freestyle and getting yelled at by a lot of annoyed swimmers. Hmmm, I might just have given away what truth Trent spoke of earlier.

No...I think I will begin with the end, the end of the 2009 racing season and talk about some of the numbers. Since race organizers typically like to stick a marathon at the end of most ironman races I decided that it would make good sense to run my first marathon without having to swim 2.4 miles and ride 112 miles first.

On a cold and rainy Sunday, October 18th if was off to Lowell for the Bay State Marathon. I won't bore you with a full race report but at mile 21 I was running with, at the time the 2nd place women and another runner when up in the distance we saw, at the time, the 1st place women. For the next 2 miles I got to witness a race within a race which took my mind off of the last 5 miles. The pass was quick and decisive giving the eventual second place female finisher no hope of retaking the lead. I actually ended up finishing 46th, finishing right after the first female and right before the second female in a time of 2:52:27. So yes I got "chicked" but it wasn't by Raelyn so I could live with it. I discovered that marathon racing is not like shorter races (1/2 marathon or less) where your lungs feel ready to explode at the next turn. Marathons are more of a grind, more of a mental race. Good to know.

So as Trent mentioned earlier the training is getting tough, difficult to hit those heart rates, difficult to even think about getting on the bike at times. So just what went into preparing for Ironman Utah. As I mentioned earlier, the beginning of training started with the marathon followed by 4 weeks of no swimming, biking or running of any kind. The goal for the next 4 weeks was to add some fat in order to add muscle down the road.

On November 16th, 2009 24 weeks of training began. Eight(8) base weeks, eight(8) build weeks, four(4) peak weeks, finishing with a three(3) taper weeks and race week. That adds up to a total of 396 hours of training or an average of 16.5 hours per week. The hours peaked at 23.75 hours during an overload week. Total miles: Swim 99, Bike 3,963 (3,800 of those miles were in my basement) and Run 742. first blog posting is in the books, and we even have our first follower so we must be doing something right even if we had to beg Molly.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

2 weeks to go

Kevin and I talked about keeping our first Ironman adventure recorded for posterity (or for quick deletion if either of us tank), and what better way to keep us honest then posting it on the web for all to see. Kevin suggested we do this in the style of Bill and Ted's excellent adventure. I changed the title a bit to protect the innocent, of which there are none here. During our journey we will be posting (well me really, not sure Kevin knows what a blog is yet, but he's about to find out since he has one) videos and pictures so you can live vicariously through our escapade! and I'm hoping that the more people who can share my pain during the race the better, cause there's going to be a lot.

For those who want to know how training has been going for me, well lately it has been a bit frustrating. To keep my heart rate in my aerobic zone I've had to really start pushing the bike, so it is much harder to maintain my training heart rate, which has led to workouts being pretty rough. Wattage on the bike, speed on the run and swim have all increased but it doesn't seem much easier even though my heart rate is lower. I'm sure this will pay off in the end but when your first week of taper is still 19 hours of working out, I'm definitely feeling burned out. I'll stop here for now and let Kevin tell his side of the story, just make sure you don't bring up how crazy the swim will be at Utah, he's rather sensitive to that.