Friday, January 22, 2010

PF Chang's Rock n Roll Marathon - Phoenix, AZ

I haven't completed an open marathon in 7 or 8 years and Monday morning reminded me why.
Let me back up a bit. I signed up for this racing while still in decent shape from IMOO. The hope was to better my PR marathon (set at IMOO). Could I could pull off a 3:30 with some decent training and weight management? Well, ten pounds and probably not enough training later, I arrived in Phoenix with the realization that I would settle for any type of PR, let alone a 3:30.
The idea was to start just ahead of the 3:30 pacer and continue with an 8 min pace...possibly picking it up a bit in the second half. My better half decided that she would push 7:45 to 7:50's, but didn't mention that our previous plan had changed. The first 6 or 7 miles were between 7:40 and 7:55, so I realized that picking it up probably wouldn't happen. At about mile 11 or 12, I started to notice that Julie was getting smaller and smaller until finally, by mile 13, she was out of sight. It was then that I realized that I was really quite cold. Most people had started out with gloves and a long sleeve throwaway. I kept my long sleeve COTTON shirt and gloves on the whole race, not knowing that it was my cooling sweat that was keeping me cold. My heavy sweat rate was no different the any other run/race but for some reason I didn't make the connection. At mile 16, signaling that I was starting to slow a bit, the 3:30 pace group slowly went past me. Not good for the old mental toughness. My new goal as to keep ahead of the 3:40 pace group. At mile 22, a woman ran past me with a 3:40 pace card on her butt. I thought the she must have dropped the pace sign or something, so that goal was shot. Just a half mile or so farther down the road, the actual 3:40 pace group came up to me but didn't pass. My legs were basically done, but I just stayed with them until we came to a "hill" (really a bridge overpass). At the start of the down hill, I picked it up just a bit and didn't cramp. I decided to just keep pushing and see if I could stay ahead of them. It hurt...a lot. I ended up coming in just under 3:40, so that was great, but I have never hurt like that during a race...Ironman included.
In hindsight, I never would have pushed through the pain without my training last summer. It really taught me that the body can do so much more than the mind thinks it can.
Post-race, we decided that In & Out burger sounded like heaven (maybe it was just Kerry and me), so we walked there and then back to the light rail for the trip home to the Yndepad.
Sunday evening/Monday morning were brutal. Feet hurt, quads just killed. Walking down stairs must have looked hilarious, but it felt really bad. At one point, walking down stairs backwards was just the stuff. I'm kind of dreading masters swimming tonight. There will be no heavy push-offs, nor any kick-work for this guy. ***(I bagged masters, sorry Theresa!!)
Thanks for reading!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Erik's Inaugural Ironman: IMWI 9/13/09

IMOO was an amazing race! (Ironman = 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run)

Little background:
I have cheered at every IMWI since 2002 and couldn't have imagined doing my first Ironman race anywhere else. Wife Julie coaxed me into trying one loop of the bike course last summer and I had a blast, so I signed up to volunteer for the 2008 race just in case I would grow a pair and sign up for the 2009 race. Honestly, the distance has always worried me, but with all the fun and excitement, I took the plunge and signed up the day after. I promptly had the feeling of "what have I done?!?!" My coach (Jared Berg) brought
me around and put together a plan that really worked for me.

Couple of points:
The 30 minutes of down time before heading to the swim start had me more nervous and uncomfortable than I had been since before one of my high school football games. If I looked calm on the outside, it was all a front because my guts were churning and every little thing seemed to bug me. The walk down to the swim start with Julie, Cathy and Kerry seemed juuust a bit like a death march. Swimming is definitely my weakest event, in fact 8 months before, I was lucky to make it to the pool once, maybe twice a month. An 800 was a full workout.

Race Report:
Swim- 1:23:XX
Multiple people have told me that staying to the inside of the first corner buoy is the way to go. I came to realize that if you do this make sure to be near the front (I think Cathy Lee mentioned this). Every slower-than-me swimmer was just in front of me when the canon went off.
The first 5 minutes were total chaos and if someone would have told me that I actually went backwards, I would have believed them. Eventually, I worked my way to the outside of the buoys and about halfway to shore. There were less sighting-challenged swimmers there, but there were plenty of arm throwers. Good grief, I was prepared to get knocked around quite a bit, but the back of my head was smacked multiple times, I caught the heel of a spaz kicker right on my
goggle lens, sending the right goggle into my brain...well it felt like it at least. I didn't receive the intentional punches that I have read about, and my guess is that I inadvertently smacked a few people too, but man was I ready to exit the water. Oh, being a left side breather, the view from the back side of each loop was
beautiful. The Monona Terrace with the Capitol and other city buildings was quite a view.

T1 (transition from swim to bike) - slow

Bike- 6:20:xx
The first few miles of the bike seem like a waste of time, plus that one section of road after the convention center was pretty rough...lots of bottles and salt tabs all over the place. The road to Verona felt good and restrained. The road between Verona and Mt. Horeb was much better this time because unlike my training ride
5 weeks ago, there was no 20mph wind in my face. The hills on both loops were great. I have learned to really like this bike course. Somewhere between Verona and Mt. Horeb I developed a slow leak in my rear tubular. After the rollers just
past Mt. Horeb, I stopped to check the now bouncy rear tubie. I couldn't see anything obviously leaking, nor hear anything so I decided to just use some CO2
and pump it back up. This lasted until just after (I believe) Stagecoach Rd. I stopped again to check and then add more CO2.

Just after leaving Verona (about miles 96-7) for the way back to Madison, I had to stop again to fill. This only lasted until about mile 104. At this point I was out of CO2. A course official asked if I needed anything and I said CO2. He didn't have that, but had a pump. I asked if that was okay for me to do and he said as long as I pumped it up myself I was legal. I was able to get in about 80psi before my arm got too tired to pump any more, see, I wasn't clear enough mentally to set my bike down to pump. I think the term is mashed-potato-brained. This air lasted about half a mile, so I got to ride in the last 7+ miles on a flat rear 808. The helix was no problem, but me and my parts were ready to part with that bike and saddle.

T2 (transition from bike to run) - slower
Run- 4:10:xx
Mad dash to biffy, then out on the run course. After about two miles, I realized that my legs felt really good. It's strange how on the bike they can feel so fatigued, but once on the streets, they were great. At each aid station I would combine two half-cups of water and Gatorade for a total of two cups of liquid. Then I would dump a cup of ice in my hat and grab two sponges. Each hour, I would take 4 Thermolites. The miles just ticked by and I had my most enjoyable marathon ever, including standalone I PR'd my marathon by ten minutes. I stopped taking in liquid at miles 24 and wouldn't you know it, about 300yds from the finish I had my first and only twinge of a cramp. That just meant that I didn't get to sprint and "ruin" someone else's finish line photo.

Total - 12:12:xx

Kerry is just about the best training partner a guy could have. Our brick (bike/run combos) work including mile repeats with aid station, allowed me to learn how to run really well after walking. The longest post-bike run we ever did was 15 miles. Cross-Training really allows you to do less overall miles and still make it. If I ever do a standalone marathon again, I'll use the same training, just with faster miles.
I couldn't/wouldn't have done this race without the support of family, friends and
team mates that always had positive energy to give.
Nutrition is/was key for me. Pre-swim (2 hours) I ate a concoction that Jared
shared that consisted of oatmeal, protein shake power, applesauce, peanut butter, brown sugar and raisins. It was over 600 calories that really sticks with you. On the bike, at the start of each hour, I took in 224 calories of CarboPro, 90 calories of Hammer Gel (chocolate of course) and 4 thermolites. On the run, I stayed with the 4 thermolites each hour along with gatorade, coke, water, ice and sponges...well, I didn't eat the sponges.
Sorry this was so long, but I couldn't have imagined a better first Ironman race.
Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

First race of the season: Oakdale Duathlon

The Oakdale du (3 mi run, 13 mi bike, 3 mi run) was a chillier (45 degrees) then desired start. I wore knickers, jersey and wished that light cloth gloves would have been in the gear bag. No rain but a NW wind that was going to be noticed. E and I were there at the opening of transition to catch the early buzz of excitement. A last minute decision pulled E from participant to Sherpa and king photog. He was happiest in this role today. I did Oakdale last year for the first time, so the course was not new to me. It does attract a lot of first timers and some speedsters, making for a fun atmosphere. It is a beautiful, low-key, fun, not thick high-profile, competitive event that Randy and crew have fine tuned over the years to make it a successful and safe day for everyone.

From the second the gun goes off, the lead men turn into specs and we ladies remain close. After mile 1 Sarah Viamonte becomes more of a spec and Angie Schmidt and I remain close. I knew Angie’s strong running ability, so wanted to keep her within footsteps to stay in the game. I haven't worked as much on speed this yr as I have on distance, prepping for challenging halves in June, July and august. I had my work cut out for me. Came in to T1 in 3rd, 1 min off the leader. Erik was there with cheers, but didn’t disclose our gap on the leader. By mile 2.5 of the bike I was passing Sarah for first. Being competitive and a math girl I was calculating times while maintaining pace. I didn’t know Sarah’s biking ability as she is new to the metro area racing scene, but figured out that she is a great runner and that I would need some distance into T2 to pull off a win. Bike went well, no train crossing the RR tracks and no frozen appendages. As I exited T2 I see the next 3 ladies (including Diane Hankee)all coming in within seconds of each other. I figured I had about 1 to 1.5 min on them – not thick pressure but no room to slack. Legs didn’t feel that great until mile 1-1.25 when there was a little down hill and I could finally stride things out and find a rhythm. I see Erik as I exit the woods and have about a third of a mile to go. I ask him if there is a female in sight and was happy to hear “nope, not a one”. WHEW! I relaxed, maintained pace and had a nice finish.

Next up: The classic and competitive GW du, where conditions are looking to be about ideal!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Trout Opener 2009...with a whimper~~~

Two weeks ago, I was excited as a lower-middle-aged man can get.

Why, you ask?  Well, I was packing my car with the essentials.  You know...sleeping bag, lantern, campfire-chairs, hip-waders and yes, my trusty fly-rod.  I was heading out for a reunion of the Hull boys and Trout opener at Hay Creek Campground.  In this case, the Hull boys were Uncle Patrick and Cousins Bill, David and Tim.
Hay Creek is a tiny blip on the map, just outside of Red Wing, MN.  Redwing is the home of "the shoe" better known as Redwing Shoe...some of the finest footwear in the world.  It is also the home of cousin David and his wonderful family.  Last year was the first time we had not gone down to Elba, MN and camped at the Lazy-D Campground.  Last year was also the first year that we missed trout opener...not because we didn't go, but instead, because we jumped the gun by a week.  None of us decided to check the trout calendar.  Oh well, it was still a nice weekend.  This year we checked the calendar and hit the right weekend.  

We all arrived on Friday and got settled in.  By settled, I mean that I had a beer in my hand within 5 minutes of arriving.  In this family, beer doesn't simply mean Miller Lite or Bud.  There's usually a diverse mixture of acquired tastes.  For example, Spotted Cow (thank you New Glarus, WI), Mississippi Mud, Moose Drool, Grolsch, St. Pauli Girl, etc.  This year, Pat even brought some Schlitz...yes they are making it again.  Unlike most years, there was also some Captain Morgan, Scotch and even some Rumplemintz (courtesy of our "interesting" neighbors).  What happens at Hay Creek, stays at Hay Creek.  It was fun to hear some of the same stories that have been told since I was a...glimmer;)

Saturday morning came much too early.  I was reminded that drinking at near-college levels does not work when you have the tolerance of a two-bottle-limit triathlete.  Ugh!!!  Pounding head and tender tummy were the order for the day, not just for me, but for the rest of the crew too.  For breakfast, Tim and Pat had the best ideas for hangover food.  Tim thought that we could make egg muffin sandwiches by frying eggs in a muffin pan, slicing some Widmers brick cheese and placing it all between a Thomas' english worked like a charm...even over the campfire.
Pat brought some granola, yogurt and cooked some steel-cut oats.  All of this food helped to fill the void and get us on our way.  

Please note, this was trout opener and I haven't mentioned fishing yet.

We finally hit the creek at about noon.  It's still cool enough in the morning where a hatch doesn'treally occur until between 1 and 3PM, so we were right on schedule...more lucky than good for us.  Hay Creek, or at least the section we fished might not be the spot for season opener from now on.  

These pictures don't really show it, but fishing was pretty tough with downed trees, steep rocky banks and lots of overhead snags.  After an hour and a half, we were kind of pooped and decided to regroup.  I did manage to catch a beautiful little Brownie, but that was it. 
 Everyone else was skunked.  It was about this time that Cousin Amy called that she was on the way to the campground with her two boys.  We decided to go back and grab some lunch and enjoy their company.  Once we got back to the campground, David called his wife Shelley and had her bring their three kid out to play too.  Pat's daughter (Cousin Kate) drove down from St. Paul to say hi as well.  All of a sudden we went from a party of five to a bakers dozen.  It was great seeing everyone, but it was clear that the fishing was done.  

After some lunch (brats and sausage), catching up and kids fishing, the ladies and kids left us to our quiet campsite.  Tim napped, I nursed my slight headache.  The other guys checked their blackberries and played some cribbage.

Dinner was up next and Patrick shined.  He brought about 7 pounds of Atlantic King Salmon.  The fillets had that super-fresh orange/pink tint and were thicker than my hand.  To prepare them, Pat made an aluminum foil tray, sprayed the fillets with a coating of canola oil, covered them with brown sugar and then topped them off with some crushed cashews.  I have never had salmon prepared that way before, but it was delish!!  We literally stood around the fire, each with a fork in hand and picked at the salmon until it was about 2/3 gone.  Oh so good!!  After dinner, some of the others were able to crack a beer or Captain/7up, but I stuck to diet Pepsi and water...what a wuss.  The evening ended on a pretty tame note...helped along by some light rain, so we all hit the sack.

Sunday morning came with the rain still falling and man the temp had really dropped.  What to do, what to do?  Canadian!!!  Basically we crowded around a camper table (inside) and played 21/blackjack until the guys had to leave.  I think that I ended up about 6 or 7 bucks, but as long as the money stays in the family, it's all good.

I'm not sure what we'll do next year for opener, but as long as we're all healthy and actually decide to fish, it will be fun again.

Thanks guys for a fun weekend!!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Well, you haven't heard from me in a while, so here's a quick update.

The last few days have really gotten me in the mood for Spring. I know it's not the official start yet, but after a really long, cold, snowy winter, we just had a string of three terrific days. Two of them were spent in Sioux Falls, SD helping Julie's Dad move. Today, well, I worked from home and was able to kick Payton (Pug) out of the house (on the deck) for a few hours. Sure, I was chained to my laptop, but she was free to sit on her dog pillow on the sunny, 63 degree deck. She wouldn't leave the deck to sniff the shrinking snow piles even with my prodding...goofy dog. If I could have, I would have.

Julie took off from work a few hours early to do some errands and then meet me at home for...yes!!...our first outdoor bike in 4 or so months. I am officially sick of my bike trainer. Our ride was an out and back totally only about 28 miles, but they were glorious!! Some Spring winds 10-15, some recently thawed manure at the couple of barns we pass, but we saw other bikers, some runners, our 3rd or 4th Robin and our first Redwing Blackbird. We had such a nice time that we decided to turn it into a mini-brick, running for about 20 minutes.

Dinner consisted of some microwave stir-fry (what a concept) and some microwaved Mukimame (fancy term for shelled soybeans). Now we're going to watch 24 and I'm going to munch on a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Does it get any better than this?


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New Coach

This is a short but sweet update. E and I have always been great dream builders and goal setters. We don't really have the classic New Year's resolutions, but instead we lay them out as goals: personal, landscaping/household, financial, etc. Areas vary based on what's flowing in our lives. This yr I struggled with it. I found myself mimicking much of what I had last yr. Why??? I think/feel I've lost touch with the soul of my drive.

Well I have a very special and unique opportunity to be working with a Personal/Business Coach. It was offered up last July and I just couldn't add a big commitment while IM training. So post IM, I pondered many things and made the commitment at the tail end of the yr. I want my engine back. What's a type A with a flat tire?

I interviewed 3 and chose her on Monday. She's a woman with drive, strong sales experience, 5+ yrs of P coaching and also peace and with-it-ness. Yesterday I was emailed a 10 page questionnaire that is quite frankly going to take many days to fill out/ possibly weeks to complete. Very thought provoking questions of ..... me. I love it - Its new.

I've found that just planning to be coached has brought back my "motivation", for lack of better words, to complete tasks, do the little things, to plan, and to not be "overwhelmed" with the big picture. I love it - it's me.

Now as I navigate thru the questionnaire, I'm forced to slow down and think (not an ingrained instinct) and dig deep with those thoughts. Sort of a sole searching, redirecting and introduction to some new lights. I'm so embracing the opportunity. I'm open for this change.

Cheers to a new and unknown 2009!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Off Season - ready or not... here I am.

Was it really a month since IMFL? Where does the time go? You know you're old when you say that line. To back up just a tad I was really ready for IMFL, so ready that I didn't want to stop training. Did I really peak? Yes, I guess. But all of my other IM's I've been nursing a niggle or wanting it to be the day after so I could just hang with E or to not HAVE to workout. But not FL. Our fall was SO gorgeous I LOVED weeks of training (very refreshing after a gazillion races) and I didn't want that to come to an end. This made the following days/weeks post IM extra hard. Thanks to the recovery tent with chicken broth, IV, etc... I recovered nicely and wanted to get back in the saddle. MENTAL TALK - take YOUR down time, you physically (even tho i did't feel like it) and mentally need to take this. Accept the common lows/depression that often follows an IM. My head was all over. I wanted our MN fall back. I wanted to find a marathon to run. I feel good and need something on the radar.

To follow up on Kona (thansk RR for reminding me) top 4 qualified and it rolled to 5th. So me being 6th, just 2 min back, missed it. (sniff sniff) As much as I told myself before hand " been there, the box is checked" and it's ok if it doesn't happen, I really relized that I wanted this to happen. One reason could be that the decision is made for Goal Race 2009... but no Q, so now what? After dear friend Merilee rocked out a super solid IMAZ performance and hit a Q, I know i wanted to try again...make Kona a group trip... Let's work hard and do this. So what are the options to Q? IMCDA - lottery? IMKY? Buff springs 70.3? Tons of pros and cons to mapping out 2009, but I'm going for Buffalo springs. CY is in too and another dear friend is strongly considering it. BS, TX... here we come :)

Erik is signed up for IMWI and was accepted to race on the Penn Team in 2009. Our energies feed off eacheother. We're having fun doing workouts together and trying new challenges. Cheers to an eventful 2008!

Live, laugh, love ~ julie