Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Monthly Mileage

Well, February has ended, no more opportunity for training this month. If you didn’t get it in it ain’t happening. Here is what I’m posting for the month:

February's totals:
Bike: 38h 36m 34s - 625.22 Miles
Run: 14h 11m 19s - 86.51 Miles
Swim: 5h 46m - 14200 Meters
Strength – 30 minutes
Walking- 45 minutes

Monday, February 27, 2006

Be strong, be proud and most of all be you!

Tonight I attended a seminar by speaker, author and fellow New Mexico Outlaw Michael “Wiz” Giudicissi. In the seminar he discussed a few of the topics in his book “Changing Lives: Achieving Your Untapped Potential” and one of the things that jumped out at me was the idea of taking charge of your own destiny and implementing incremental change in your life in order to achieve your goals. To put it another way, take personal responsibility for yourself and your life and meet your goals, don’t just live life reacting to what comes your way. Living a reactionary life is not much of a problem in the world of triathlon; most people you meet are highly motivated, self-disciplined and self-starting. However, I have noticed a trend among Clydesdale and Athena athletes to react to age-groupers in a rather defensive manner with respect to their size. Always talking about weight loss, always maintaining the goal of “becoming an age grouper.”

Well, maybe this goal is in the cards and maybe it’s not. The fact of the matter is some people are just large. How healthy would Shaquille O’Neal be if he were to lose enough weight to not be classified a Clydesdale? Granted that is an extreme example but you get the drift. There are not many, but there are a few, triathletes who refer to Clydes and Athenas in mocking tones. I remember a race I was in last year where, during the awards ceremony, someone in the crowd near me said, “I missed my calling in life, I could have just sat around and eaten droughts and been a Clydesdale then I could have won something too” when they were handing out the Clydesdale and Athena awards. The #1 and #2 Clydes in that race were 25th and 27th overall and smoked many age groupers, entire age groups even. It was the 2005 Milkman Triathlon, look it up on CCR Timing. Just two weeks ago at the John Stermer Duathlon, I won the Clydesdale division, would have placed second in my age group and was 14th overall. Make no mistake, there are some hardcore, hard racing Clydes and Athenas out there; they qualify for Kona and the Boston Marathon(though they don't get to attend those events as such, at least not Kona, they must go as age groupers).

The point is, don’t strive to become something just because the attitude out there may be that age groupers are the only worthy triathletes. If you are heavy, train, eat healthy and see what happens. Whatever you do, don’t be intimidated by some twerp who derides your size, that is not in the true spirit of triathlon, at least not the sport I’ve come to love. It is also an attitude that is not shared by most triathletes I meet but is more often the attitude held by those who are either too lazy to get off their buts and run their own races or who have identities that are too fragile to brook any inconsistencies in their world view. I’m 6’2” and the chances are good that I will no longer qualify as a Clydesdale at some point in the future; at this point I weigh in at 212 and did indeed have weight that needed to come off. Still, I will have had my time in the sun, my time as a fast Clydesdale and I will be proud of it and proud of the brother and sisterhood I have enjoyed in the ranks of Clydes and Athenas.

So there you go, take charge of your own destiny and don’t just react to the world around you. Be strong, be proud and most of all be you! And for all you age groupers out there, if you think you hear a truck barreling down on you during a race, look out, it just might be me or one of my brethren coming to pay you a visit; we are getting faster baby ---- sweet dreams.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Here it is, the 2006 New Mexico Outlaws Triathlon Racing Team uniform! I got the skinsuit and the two-piece. I’m partial to the skinsuit given all the short course races I do but someone told me I would probably want a two-piece for the long stuff.

This baby should shave some time off my splits!

That's what I'm talking about - Climb baby Climb! Yesterday I went out for my long ride and since I’m currently training for the infamous Buffalo Springs Lake Half-Ironman, I wanted to hit some hills. The great thing about living in the Rio Rancho/Albuquerque area is that there is no shortage of hills. I got in 60.3 miles and had maybe 6 total miles of flat ground, the rest of the time I was either heading up or down. To make things more interesting there were constant winds with heavy gusts. I was able to maintain an 18.5 mph pace, which is respectable for the conditions and this time of year. I know as a Clyde the whole power to weight ratio isn’t on my side but who cares, right? Just gotta get more power!

Hitting the Wall: A Lost Dutchman Race Report

This was the fifth year of the running of the Lost Dutchman Marathon and they saw record numbers of people signing up for their events. Runners World named this marathon one of the best small marathons in the country in 2005 and I wasn’t disappointed. There are a total of five events that take place, the 2K family fun run, the 8K trail run, the 10K the half-mary and the full marathon.

The marathon was a winding course that started out at the Peralta trail head in the Superstition Mountains. It was fantastic. The busses to the start headed out from the Apache Junction Rodeo grounds at about 5:20 am and dropped us off at the trail head by about 6:10. It was still dark out ant the temperature was a pleasant 45 degrees. The start area was the best I’ve experienced yet; there were maybe 100 fires lit with carpet squares laid out around them. In addition, there was a tent set up with hot coffee, cinnamon sticks, cookie pieces, cold water and hot water with tea and cocoa. The moon was about half full, bright and the sky was clear. It was a great experience sitting out around those fires with fellow runners drinking coffee, finding out where everyone came from for the race and laughing at other people’s weird training and racing stories.

Shortly after the sun rose the race kicked off with the first six miles taking place on a dirt road leading out of the Superstition Mountains. It was a great start to the race; the road was fairly smooth, winding and had some nice small rollers but was generally downhill. Runners were surrounded on both sides by southern Arizona’s signature saguaro cactus and all other manner of desert plants. It was easily the most scenic race I’ve been in and there were even a few folks running with cameras who were stopping intermittently to take pictures. The dirt road wound down to highway 60 where we turned west to run about two miles until heading back north into the Gold Canyon Estates. The run looped through the subdivision, which was filled with very nice homes and several locals who had come out to cheer us on. The course through here contained a lot of climbing but they tended to be long climbs at about 4% grades so it was not bad. The route continued on like this the majority of the race, in and out of residential areas, rolling hills and one little out and back where the marathon course began to overlap with the half-marathon course.

At about mile 20.5 I was, stupidly enough, struggling with dehydration and had been relegated to walking to the next aid station. I must have slammed down five half-cups of Gatorade at the mile 21 aid station, took a little stretch and within about a quarter mile felt much better and was back to running. Because of the layout of the course I was able to spy one of the one parts of the course was particularly interesting, the Dutchman’s Revenge. This was a strip of dirt road about 100 yards long that climbed at about a 14% grade. It takes place at mile 22 and there is a plywood fa├žade of a brick wall for you to run through at the top of the hill so, if you are either tall enough or have enough energy, you can literally hit the wall. I’m happy to say that I hit the wall at mile 22. I pulled into the finish chute to end the race in 4:47:19; 12 minutes and 13 seconds shy of my goal but still a PR.

All in all it was a great day and a great race. I really think I’d like to run this one again.