Thursday, November 29, 2007

Vegas Prep

I’ve been running around this week praying for my calf to heal, worrying about my Elvis suit and freaking out about the ETA for my wig…MY WIG! These are not concerns I ever imagined I would have but there it is.

So just a quick update to keep you in the loop. I want to thank everyone for their support on my last post! The calf feels MUCH better. Legs are tight but I had a great massage yesterday and I think it’s a go! My motto will be “Slow and Easy”

The Great Santa Run will most likely be a run/walk or slow jog just to see how things hold up.

The Las Vegas Marathon will be slow too. I want to take the opportunity to act the fool and cheer back-o-the-packers on to victory, after all it’s Vegas Baby, everyone needs a bit of the King!

My hair DID NOT arrive today so the GEEKGRL and I went to a local wig shop…her hair didn’t come in either. The GEEKGRL was talking to the shop owner while I was out in the car doing something and apparently the shop owner told GEEKGRL, “When your husband first came in he didn’t say a word he was just really quiet and started looking around…I thought he might be a cross dresser.”

INDEED, a cross dresser! Apparently I fit the M.O. of a cross dresser, big quiet white guy in a wig shop…a lot like Bigun I suppose…hmmm, is there something we don’t know? Apparently these big guys come in quietly and say “Can you make me beautiful?” I must have ruined the moment when all I said was, “I need some Elvis hair.”

The other thing…my receipt has “head” on it. Now I don’t know about you but that is one word I never thought I would see on a receipt...even if it is the Styrofoam, wig holding kind.

Finally, my compadre, fellow Outlaw Miguel…he has taken to calling himself “Miguelvis”

Viva Las Vegas BABY!

Monday, November 26, 2007

What goes up…

I have been riding a high for the past month or so that was just unprecedented. I PR’d the half at Soma, had a great race as Silverman and PR’d my 10K on Thanksgiving. In addition to that my training was going very well and I was starting to settle into my winter running. This Saturday I went for a three hour mountain bike ride down along the Rio Grande and Sunday I went for an easy trail run with some friends and a mile and a half in BANG!

It felt like someone had thrown a rock and hit me hard on my left Achilles tendon and I was brought to an immediate stop as pain radiated up the inside of my leg all the way to my hip. It was a brief shot but the pain was nauseating and then everything went pretty numb. I hobbled back toward the car as my friends ran ahead to come back and pick me up. I was unable to push off my left foot and anytime I accidentally did there was a weird watery grinding feeling. I immediately took some anti-inflammatory meds and drove myself to the nearest gas station to get some ziplock bags and ice.

Since I was able to walk/hobble I decided to wait until this morning to make an appointment with my family doc, who I trust, and didn’t go to the ER. This morning I got in to see doc, he poked and prodded and said the tendon felt really strong and there was no pain. I then said, well, it hurts when I do this and I got off the exam table and stood up on my tip-toes and GASP, immediate pain. He grimaced and said, “Ok, there it is, about four inches up from the heal. I’m going to set you up for an MRI.”

I can’t claim to know what exactly is going on until the MRI results come back but I did some reading and apparently you can rupture or partially rupture your Achilles tendon and not immediately crumple into a heap writhing in pain. Apparently the sensation ranges from feeling like getting hit hard in the tendon to feeling like being shot. I would say mine felt like getting hit by a champion rock skipper…I have no idea what it feels like to get shot.

If indeed this is a rupture I and done for the winter and might be able to start coming back early spring, maybe March or April depending on how things go and what the treatment may be, either immobilization and physical therapy or surgery, immobilization and physical therapy. At a minimum I am unlikely to do a marathon this weekend. Best care scenario, I wrenched a muscle or the tendon really good and will only be out a couple weeks, doc said I heal surprisingly fast.

So here is a new challenge, being an invalid, not of my own choosing but one that I guess I do need to work on. I suck worse at being an invalid than I do at the iron distance but at least I love racing the iron, I REALLY REALLY HATE being an invalid.

So here I am in bed typing away between readings of a truly unusual but interesting book “C.C. Pyle’s Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America” determined to be a good patient. Of course I’ll keep folks updated as to my condition and start trying to figure out what I can do to stay in shape if I get bad news.

In the mean time I went ahead and registered for the new November Ironman Arizona, after all, this is only a temporary setback.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

2007 Season in Review

I thought I had better squeeze in a season wrap up before I start hitting my marathon and ultra season, starting next weekend, and my 2008 tri season, which actually begins with a race on December 9th called the Polar Bear.

My 2007 season has been epic! I think the biggest news for me is that I have earned the title of Clydesdale Champion for the South West Series for a second consecutive year and will now be retiring my local/regional Clydesdale Racing Card. I weighed in this morning at 199.5 and think I will continue to lose through this winter. However, even if I were to continue hovering at 200 I still wouldn’t race Clydesdale in any of my local or regional races because I don’t want to feel like I might be discouraging new comers. I think there is a point at which you stop being a motivating person to chase and start becoming a discouraging opponent to face though at big races like Soma or out of state races I’d still probably race as a Clydeif I still qualify.

So, on to the season review. I hadn’t planned to do it but this year I completed:
2 brevets, 1 was 126 miles and one was 194 miles
1 10K
1 marathon
2 duathlons
8 sprint triathlons
2 olympic triathlons
4 half-iron triathlons and
3 iron distance triathlons

23 races and only one broken bone and a calf muscle that kept acting up but otherwise I’m no worse for wear.

The Best and the Worst of my season:
Best swim – Ironman Louisville: 1:12:57
Worst swim – Silverman: 1:35:32

Best bike – Soma HIM: 2:29:45
Worst bike – Ironman Arizona: 7:23:09

Best run – Hobbler Gobbler 10K: 47:14
Worst run – Ironman Louisville: 7:18:21

Best overall race: it’s a tie - Soma HIM and Silverman iron distance
Worst overall race: Ironman Arizona

Best triathlon advice: In an Ironman race you must train to eat what will be on the course and you must train to eat anything and everything because you don’t necessarily know what you will encounter on the course but you will most certainly need it. You should also learn to race by heart rate AND RPE, if you get HR and RPE correct your pace will take care of itself.

Worst triathlon advice: In an Ironman race you must develop a highly systematic nutrition and pacing plan and stick to it. Train with exactly what you plan on using for race day and do not try new foods or fluids out on the course.
Most valuable lesson learned this season: A sprint is a race and an olympic is a race and while you also race a half-iron and some people are able to race a full Ironman they are not really races so much as they are they are tests of survival that require you to be able to keep your wits and adapt.

Both of these distances require you to be solidly in the moment, be flexible and be patient. You can most likely pull off a HIM self-supported with your own nutrition but it is exceptionally unlikely that you could ever do so in an Ironman. I want to say that it is completely impossible but as soon as I do someone will comment on how they did it. Never the less, I would estimate that the chance of something going wrong during an Ironman is 99.9% and the only way you will recover from that mishap, actually in my opinion it will be more than one mishap, is if you are focusing on taking care of yourself in the moment, are flexible and are patient. You need to be able to calm yourself down, take a deep breath, smile and move forward doing the best you can in that one moment.

Oh, one other bit of advice, don’t look at a bad race time and conclude it is a bad result, it is a learning opportunity. Endurance sports are thinking persons sports and when you waste your time bitching about slow times or poor performances you lose the edge that could be gained from that experience and applied to your next race.

Fortitudine Vincimus my friends! Through endurance we conquer!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Thanksgiving Thank You: Illuminating the Shadow

In Jungian Analytical theory there is a concept referred to as the Shadow. The simplest and most straight forward description that I have ever heard of the Shadow is, “The Shadow is the place we put all those things about ourselves that others and society find unacceptable.” Just like the name implies those things that dwell in the Shadow are hidden from the light of day, not only from the light of society or the light of our friends and family but much of what is relegated to the shadow become lost even to ourselves.

The things that are relegated to our Shadow are impulses, the things that arise in us naturally and unbidden. Jung says that we are born whole people and the process of life experience and the imposition of social mores whittle away at us so we progressively become less and less of who we were born to be. Now this is not always a bad thing, infants have some pretty distressing impulses. Have you ever see the baby that discovered you could make cool designs with the stuff in his diaper? Have you ever experienced the thought when standing on a high ledge, “I wonder what it would be like if I just jumped right off the edge?” Those are impulses that are perfectly normal but I would suggest it would be a bad deal if we always followed through on them.

Some impulses are very weak and pretty much disappear like the impulse to smear feces…we hope. Some impulses are very strong, however, and persist in seeking expression. The weak and strong impulses are generally different for different people. Now here’s the hitch, the strong impulses that are stuffed into the shadows, it is theorized, begin to warp and change as the battle between them seeking expression and you trying to suppress them rages on. Jung contends that this is one of the principle sources of harmful or even evil acts; the impulse warps, becomes ugly and every once in a while it breaks through your defenses like a frog leaping forth from your mouth. A benign example; have you ever met that person who REALLY wants to be part of the “in group” but just can’t pull it off socially, they hang around the fringes and occasionally blurt something out that just isn’t quite right? That would be an example of someone who has the impulse to be gregarious and social but, for whatever reason, has relegated that part of them to the shadow but that part keeps trying to break out.

People who are really neurotic have huge Shadow selves and small, whittled down, anemic “authentic selves”. People who are just downright evil, say, like Hitler or Stalin, have enormous Shadow selves but have no compulsion in freeing their twisted impulses to reek havoc in the world. People who have fully liberated their Shadow selves and found ways to give creative and positive expression to their impulses are often referred to as “Self-actualizers” and most of us are caught somewhere in-between hopefully heading in the direction of self-actualization.

So, that is my enormously verbose psychologist way of leading in to what this post is really about, a Thanksgiving thank you, a thank you to the sport we love and to the community of triathletes that have embraced me and that I have embraced. I can not begin to convey just how small I had become and how far I have come. By the time I was 25 years old I was practically invisible were it not for my Shadow. I spent years fighting to escape into the light of day with some success and many, many failures. One I entered into the sport of triathlon it was as if someone handed me a sledge hammer and steroids and when I figured out what to do with them the walls came crashing down and I am rushing headlong into my future, ever more whole, ever more alive.

What, you ask, is the metric against which I measure? When I was 26 it was my goal to get through college, get an obscure degree in some field of Philosophy. I wanted to get a job in an obscure Philosophy department in a tiny college and get an office that was remote and packed with books and papers. I wanted to hide from the world and do nothing but read and think about things that didn’t have much application in the world…and now, well, now I will be running the Las Vegas Marathon dressed as Elvis and, indeed, that is the direction that I want to go, had always wanted to go.

I am heading in the right direction and every day I become more of who I am and so I am thankful, thankful to my lovely wife, my wonderful friends, my crazy bloggy peeps and the global community of triathletes that have helped ignite the flames of my passion.

Thank you, thank you very much!

FINALLY, had a little run today, a little 10K, smashed my old PR on a much harder course and ran about 47:10, I’m still waiting for official results to be posted. I did a 2 mile warm up run from my home to the run start and then about a two and a half mile run a little later after some post-race coffee with friends so when you look at my Garmin profile the run course is between those two downward spikes in my average heart rate. My first mile and last mile of the race are sullied by my much slower paced warm up and post race run but note that one sub-7-minute mile…Whoo-Hoo!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Silverman Pics and More

First things first, I want to shout out to Johnny Tri…SHOUT. The GEEKGRL and I had the great good fortune to have a sit down meal with the Johnster while he was in New Mexico visiting family on his way back to Vegas. We ate Indian, talked like old ladies in a crack fueled sewing circle and had a few laughs. El Johnno is quite the guy and I am really looking forward to getting together again in a couple weeks on his home turf…in his own home even. Thanks again John!

Ok, so now for the Silverman pics and a recent development in my own strange world.

A none-to-happy camper coming out of the water, I had just looked at my watch and was trying to choke back an open display of disgust.

Out on the bike I might have been a wee bit faster were it not for the 12 pounds of sunscreen that was slathered on my bod by the sun screening volunteers. On the bright side, the only places I got too much sun was where I took responsibility for the coverage. Also, note that huge blue thing in the background? That’s a view of Lake Mead from maybe mile 25 or 30. You can sort of tell that a whole lot of climbing has been going on already.

Here I am heading out on the run feeling my oats and ready to, a, well, run I suppose.

Now this is the finish line pic I’ve been waiting for…ok so in my dream that time sign says 9:58:27 and it is bright and sunny outside but let’s take this one step at a time, I’m still getting the pose right.

And last but not least, the pic that almost caused me to exercise my psychologist powers when I saw it and have myself committed. Have you ever seen such a psycho?! Well, at least I’m a happy psycho and yes, I was every bit as happy as I look.

Now on to the other news. You already know that the GEEKGRL and I along with Johnny Tri and his Pops are runnin’ a 5K in Santa suits with something like 7,000 other people in Santa suits. Well, the Vegas madness doesn’t stop there. Apparently the Silverman knocked something lose and, well, I am running the Las Vegas Marathon…hold on to your seats…I am running the Las Vegas Marathon…dressed as Elvis Presley! Oh yes I did, I said it, I’m gonna’ be a Runnin’ Elvis! The leader of the running Elvi is trying to organize a world record attempt at the largest number of running Elvi on one course. Actually I think he is trying to ESTABLISH a record since I don’t think one exists. I’m guessing that since the people from the record books will already be there to tally running Santa’s why not spend another day and record the Kings?

What can I say but, “Thank you, thank you very much”

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Course that Makes Ironmen Cry: A Silverman Race Report

When I signed on for the Silverman I thought I had only registered for the hardest iron distance race in North America. Apparently I was mistaken. The Silverman claims to be the “World’s Most Grueling Full-Distance Triathlon”, yes the WORLD’s most grueling full distance triathlon and I have to say that I believe that is true. Professional triathletes Dave Scott, Chris McCormack and Peter Vabrousek all said it was the hardest course they had done and all three of these guys have raced a lot, probably more than any three triathletes in the sport so who am I to argue. The other thing about Silverman, you probably get the best schwag in the sport…seriously it’s almost worth the price of admission.

The course is like a rugged moonscape. If you have not visited the deep desert southwest where the landscape is covered in creosote bush, cholla and big sage and the most colorful things around are the rocks then it is hard to imagine but it is a beautiful place in its own right. Lake Mead is huge and clear and capable of generating the kind of wave action you only find in very large bodies of water. The bike course is mostly an out and back though T1 and T2 are in different areas with T1 at the lake and T2 at a community center in the city of Henderson, NV. The bike takes you deep into the desert on the longest and largest rollers I have ever seen. At about the half way point on the way out we literally rode up and over a high saddle adjoining two mountains, the rest of the 9,700 feet of climbing was just preparation for that monster climb and the “Three Sisters” that you hit at about mile 95. The three sisters are short and steep, three consecutive climbs of 18% grade with no downhill in between just climb, a few yards of flat, climb, a few yards of flat and climb again with the last climb being the longest. When I hit that point the guy in front of me wobbled to the top of the last of the sisters, rolled a few more yards and then got off his bike and started pukeing…that pretty much says it all. The run takes place through the suburbs of Henderson, is two “loops”, pretty convoluted and contains an additional 2,500 feet of climbing and, like the bike course, these climbs were not short choppy rollers, they were long sweeping climbs, at least one was over two miles of steady uphill, which made it a real bitch going up as well as coming down. In short, this course is made to beat an Ironman into submission or, at a minimum, make them realize just how monumental a task Ironman is, I mean realize it in their bones.

My morning started out well and I was feeling great. I ate about 1500 calories for breakfast and headed off to the start. The weather was perfect and everything was calm at the start. The water was 70 degrees and crystal clear. When the starting cannon fired we all headed for the first turn buoy and I was swimming fast. Unfortunately my navigation was very poor so I was heading in the wrong direction very quickly and every time I would sight I was way off course, I kept pulling strongly off to the right. I still have no idea why I was swimming so crookedly but it was terrible, I was all over the place and this was when the water was perfect. I finally got back on track long enough to round the first turn on target and then immediately began swimming way off to the right again out towards the middle of the lake. I know that it is my responsibility to swim on the marked course but I admit to feeling abandoned by the boaters and kayaks that were supposed to keep the swimmers from getting too far off course. I was not just a wee bit off course I was at least 200 to 300 yards off course on several occasions. My problem, sure, but come on I am not too fast for a kayak to catch. After the next turn my problems were compounded dramatically. At this point I discovered that a wind had blown in and the water now had pretty big chop coming from the direction you were trying to swim. Not only that but the course was also set up to have you swimming directly into the sun for maybe as much as 40% of the swim so here I was already swimming poorly with waves slapping me in the face each time I pointlessly peered directly into the sun. It was very rare for me to be able to see other swimmers because it was all a fog of waves and sun. I could see kayakers in the distance as long as they were beside or behind me but I could not see any buoys and the occasional glimpses I did catch of the swim pack only told me that I was straying farther and farther a field.

With the wave action and the constant trying to sight and getting slapped in the face I was starting to take on a lot of water and was starting to feel sick and for the first time ever in a triathlon I began to feel scared. I was out in this huge choppy lake losing strength, losing my direction and the boat support just seemed to be spectators. I finally started bobbing up and down and yelled "Help, I can’t see the buoys!" and one of the kayaker's fired back "Go to the yellow buoy!" I was overwhelmed by anger and knew then that I had to save myself or just swim like a maniac until I was pulled from the water, either way I needed to get to shore or be rescued. I didn't want to take it out on an unsuspecting volunteer so I plunged my head under water and screamed "F&%K!" and just started swimming desperately ahead, to where, I didn't know. Somehow I caught sight of the yellow turn buoy, which was a ways off, and I swam for it, made it and then turned to shore. I still had a hell of a time swimming straight, especially now that the waves were pushing me off course to the right in addition to my mysterious inability to swim straight but at least I could see and sight. I made it to the shore after what seemed like an eternity and noted that my swim time was 1:35 and change, a very inauspicious beginning to what I already knew would be a very long day.

I shot into the changing tent and caught myself feeling pissed about the whole swim ordeal and then reminded myself how bad a day I had at the DeuceMan when I let my emotions get the best of me so I checked my attitude and turned my focus to the bike. I got out of transition pretty quickly because it was a very small and efficient transition area. I don't want to go any further before stating that the volunteers at Silverman are indeed first rate and I can't explain what happened on the swim but I'm willing to consider that my perception was messed up and I developed an unfair attitude. The support was as good as I have seen in any major race.

I hit the bike and it begins with a slight uphill climb, the smallest of the day. Once out on the open road I immediately began to eat and drink and just rode by RPE. I had stripped all my bike computer stuff prior to Soma and left it bare again for Silverman. As the Bigun commented in an earlier post, I did this one Old School. I think that is as it should be because from what I understand about our sport from people who where there in the beginning the Silverman is indeed an old school course. It is not a typical IM course that caters to people's dream of becoming an Ironman, which is fine; it is a course that dares you to race it…I would venture to say that you should probably have done some other, pretty much any other, Ironman first before taking on the Silverman.

Anyway as I headed out on the bike I was feeling very good and was easily gaining ground on people who had beaten me out of the water. Within the first 5 miles I caught and passed one of the Clydes in my age group but he was not exactly competition just a guy out there doing his best. At about mile 15 I got a bit of a surprise when none other than current Ironman World Champion “Macca” pulled up along side, gave me the Hang Ten sign and said “Way to go Mate!” and then pulled on off down the course. Now I’m no expert in Australian culture but since he specifically referred to me as “mate” doesn’t that mean that I’m like a good friend of his…like I could stay at his house if I ever decided to go do a race in Australia? I just may take him up on the offer and remind him pointedly of our little encounter if he tries to back out or calls the police or something. I also got passed by Dave Scott but he was busily fumbling with a Gatorade bottle and according to his later account of his race he was having enough trouble without trying to be kindly to his fan club.

The bike course is a very, very difficult course. The climbs are long and slow but the descents are long and blazing fast but in the end you can not make up for the slow uphill trudges because overall there is more elevation gain than loss, a lot more gain than loss. Most of the roads are smooth as glass having been freshly paved through much of the park. There was one stretch of about 10 miles though that was pretty rough and at one point I hit a patch that was so rough that I later discovered it ejected both my water bottles and caused my bento box to fly open and the entire contents was ejected. I was going so fast at that point that I had a death grip on my handlebars and didn’t dare look anywhere but straight ahead and I just preyed that the terrible noise I had just heard wasn’t something like my bottom bracket cracking open or spokes snapping.

As luck would have it I discovered the complete loss of my nutrition about 7 miles from an aid station where they held our special needs bags. When I hit that aid station it was like a pit-stop. I was immediately swarmed by people who were asking me what I needed and pointing out their wide array of food offerings. One person giving me a hand was Isaac, a fellow blogger who was also volunteering. Thanks Isaac, it was good to meet you! So, I slammed down my Full Throttle energy drink (Blue Agave) re-loaded my bento box, grabbed two bottles of Gatorade and ate a peanut butter and jelly uncrustable and was back off to do battle with the second half of the course. At every aid station on the bike I also grabbed a bottle of water and drank down as much as I could squeeze out before having to dispose of the bottle, probably got at least 20 oz per 10 miles in addition to what I drank in between. I finished with the part of the bike that takes place in the Lake Mead area, which ends about mile 90, and headed into the city of Henderson and its infamous bike path that contains the three sisters. I made it up that evil little series of climbs and got to T2 still feeling pretty good, much stronger than I have ever felt after an IM bike leg.

I moved a little more slowly in T2 because I wanted to be methodical in preparing myself for the marathon after all, if you recall my whole goal for this race was to begin the marathon feeling good and with any luck complete the whole marathon feeling good. When I headed out onto the run I was indeed feeling good even though the run began with a mile down hill and my quads and low back were feeling pretty rugged. The run also consisted of impossibly long and continuous climbs but I was very conservative trying to walk the steepest parts of the up hill and also breaking up the long down hill runs with a little walking so as not to beat my quads to death too soon. It began to drizzle two or three times while I was on the run but it was very light and kind of nice. Again the aid stations were loaded to the brim and the volunteers were first rate. At one point early in the run a Japanese guy started to pull up alongside me while I was running uphill and I noticed he was walking. I let him by so I could watch how he was walking. After studying him for a few minutes I tried to copy his walk and low and behold I cut 2 to 3 minutes per mile off my own walking pace so now I didn’t need to worry nearly as much about losing too much time when switching to the walk.

During the run I kept drinking as much as I could switching between Gatorade, water, coke and the occasional broth and I kept moving forward as best I could. After completing the first loop of the run I got my special needs bag and plopped down on the curb and just sat and rested and drank a second Full Throttle energy drink. It felt so good to just sit there and enjoy my energy drink. I chose not to rush it and savored the moment, gathering strength for my last half-marathon. You will notice my much longer mile split at the half-way point in my Garmin data. After heading back out on the run I was feeling pretty good again but by mile 15 my stomach was starting to go south and at mile 16.17 I stopped to duck behind some bushes where I puked my guts out for a minute or so, rinsed my mouth out and hit the road again.

Somewhere around mile 19 I collected on an agreement I had made earlier. There was one aid station on the run where the people were drinking beer, not a wild party just having a few beers. During my first lap they offered me water, Gatorade etc…and I spied their beer. I said, “Hey, you didn’t mention the beer!” and the guy said, “Is this your first lap or your second?” I said “first” and he said, “When you come around for your second lap we’ll give you some.” So, on my second lap I collected a cup of Guinness Extra Stout, or real beer as I like to call it, and drank it down. Now them is some carbs!

I headed out for my final 7 miles and shortly spotted three guys running together that looked like they could all be Clydes. At this point I thought I was most likely in first place in the masters clyde division because I thought I had passed everyone on the bike and there wasn’t anyone I could identify that was ahead of me on the run that could have possibly qualified as a Clyde. There was no way I was going to lose ground this far into the race so I picked up the pace. I was still in an uphill section but I walked less and jogged more. I knew that about two of the last four miles was downhill and the rest was about 50% flat and 50% climbing. At the beginning of this last 4 mile stretch I decided to spend everything I had left in the bank and do my best to lay in some distance between me and those other guys. I thought about all the bloggy peeps I have met and read, all the people who have been good enough to comment on my blog and support me and gained the strength I needed to push the pace. I was able to lay down two consecutive sub-10 miles and some good distance on who I thought were my competitors.

During the last mile I had a small kitten start meowing at me from the shadows and it started running along side me. I am a sucker for kittens so I started meowing back and calling to it, “Good kitty” it disappeared into a bush but then picked me back up about a half mile later and I repeated calling to it in a kitten friendly voice. It came up to me and I gave it a scratch on the head and spoke to it a little thinking that I was alone in the dark. Right about then this tough looking triathlete that I had been going back and forth with for the last few miles of the run came running by. I stood up, cleared my throat and gave him a manly “good job” and fist pump and then ran off into the darkness. About a half mile from the finish line I peeled off the long-sleeve shirt I had grabbed from my spcial needs bag, rolled it up and tucked it in my jersey back pocket. I straightened up my Outlaws uniform and race number and then started my final kick to the finish. I must have ran down the entire finishers chute in my stupid “finishers pose” because I was DETERMINED to have a good picture once and for all. I think I had a great finishers picture but I’m still waiting.

I had completed the 2007 Silverman Full-distance Triathlon in 15 hours 5 minutes and 49 seconds. While I was the slowest clyde to finish the race I did finish and had my second fastest iron finish yet on a course that was harder by a wide margin than anything else I have done. I blew the swim somehow and my bike split and transitions were comparable to the first and second place clydes. I was blow out on the run but I’m working on that this winter and hopefully I will get just a little closer to really being strong at this distance. Regardless of my results this was an awesome race and I couldn’t be more pleased with my end result. Sure, I could have had a much better swim but even that was a chance to prove to myself that I have learned to take a bad race and turn it around. I applied everything I have learned and thought about all season and came across the line of the world’s hardest triathlon in good shape. Had I been on an easy course I would have PR’d. This is a race that I will probably do again but only if the right people are also racing because while I love the course I have nothing left to prove to the Silverman I would only want to share the experience with friends.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Life is Sweet for the Sweetness!

Sometimes in life the good things just pile up like gifts under a Christmas tree…this weekend has been one of those times for me.

As soon as I learned about The Las Vegas Great Santa Run I totally wanted to do it. I can’t explain it but I wanted to do this silly little 5K more than just about any race I have ever lusted after I mean, come on, for a $45 entry fee you get a 5-piece Santa Suit and get to be a part of a world record attempt at gathering together the largest group of running Santas EVAR!

Since the GEEKGRL and I will already be in sin city with our running shoes why not throw in a little marathon, huh? So there it is…we are also registered for the Las Vegas Marathon, which will take place the very next day. This run will bring me closer to Silver Maniac status and the GEEKGRL to Bronze Maniac status. This great adventure is being made possible by non other than the blog-o-riffic Johnny Tri who is putting us up and putting up with us for the weekend and who will also be partaking in the festivities. For some reason I am seeing a little 5K Santa Smack-Down followed up with a barley malt carb loading protocol…you know, in preparation for the marathon.

Next up on the list of truly fantabulous news…I saw a 1, that’s right a 1. Where did I see this 1 you ask? Why, it was on a little thing I like to call Mr. Bathroom scale. That’s right baby, after my workout Saturday I weighed in at a svelte 198.5, after my long run on Sunday I put up a scant 197! Sure, after each workout I was dehydrated and yes I am still a clyde legal 202 but OMG! These are numbers that I have not seen since I was 18 years old! I have slowed my diet to a crawl so I can slide into Silverman honestly representin’ my Clydesdale brethren but my weight keeps falling. It is now my “heaviest” week of taper, carb loading and hydrating so I should maintain the 202 and maybe hit a 205 by race day but man, I’m cutting it close.

So, how did the GEEKGRL and I celebrate the appearance of the fantastic number 1 on my bathroom scale? We went out and bought me some new underwear and undershirts!

Yeah, yeah, I know it doesn’t sound all that great but let me explain. I’ve been dropping weight for a while now and my clothes, especially my underclothes have, well, um, needed some work. The GEEKGRL has been after me to get new unmentionables but I have resisted…I suppose for no other reason than for that manliest of manly traits, the absolute refusal to dispose of clothing that still has the faintest gasp of life in them. I went and tossed out my XL undies and replaced them with, drum roll, MEDIUM underwear and large undershirts…hey, I still got the physique happenin’ on the upper deck dontcha know.

So, here is a pic of me sportin my old undies before the GEEKGRL and I went a shoppin’

And here is a pic of me sportin’ the new loin cloth.

Ok, ok, maybe a pic just for the ladies in the crowd…and…it’s not really my style of garment…and, well, um, it’s not even me but you might have been prepared for some imposterification after the first pic, but still…MEDIUMS?! Have I EVER worn medium underwear, medium ANYTHING in my entire life…I think not but Mom Baboo will have to confirm or deny.

Finally, I did my first race as…HEAD REF! Yeah BABY! The Big Cheeses at USAT, read as the USAT Head over-all numero-uno ref and my regional coordinator decided to let me test my wings on a tiny little end-o-the-season duathlon called the Defined Fitness Duathlon. There were a total of 71 athletes present AND THEY WERE ALL AT MY MERCEY, BWAHAHAHA! Oh, sorry…and they were enthusiastic and seemed appreciative of my services, ah hem.

I ended up solving one unfortunate problem, ensuring that a turn with some sand on it got thoroughly swept, zipped around the bike course making sure people weren’t drafting or blocking or anything and ended up handing out only two penalties (they were both for 3.4i Unauthorized Equipment if you must know…these chickadees were wearing I-Pods).

I had a great time. What a weekend! What a life!

Now for another installment of The Rules.

As I consult the Great USAT Tome of Competitive Rules I find one that many people talk about, joke about and, heck, I even had some friends try to convince me to risk this penalty. What was asked of me? “Hey, your trained up, why don’t you come run Ironman Arizona with us as a BANDIT…you can get BLANK’S race number and stuff.”

That’s right folks, banditry. So here’s the skinny.
Rule 3.5 Unregistered Participants
Any person who participates in any portion of a sanctioned event without first properly registering and paying any required registration fee shall be suspended or barred from membership in USA Triathlon and barred from participating in any sanctioned event for a period of up to one year.
b. Any person who in any way assists another athlete to violate Section 3.5a by providing or selling a race number to that athlete fee shall be suspended or barred from membership in USA Triathlon and barred from participating in any sanctioned event for a period of up to one year.

Ugh…suspension…banishment. Banditry…just say no! Adn, don't forget; USAT sanctins Triathlon, Duathlon and Aquathon so if get caught and you need to get you Athlon fix you will have to do it at an unsanctioned race.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Soma Shoot Out

Here I come out of the swim

Bike split so fast the cameraman almost couldn’t catch me.

Driving down the finish shoot and…

Nooooooooooooooo! My finish pic ruined by…

The 4th place Clydesdale, the guy who beat me by 1 100th of a second!

To make matters worse I slowed up right at the end so I wouldn’t be the dick that sprinted past people in the final couple of feet. That’ll teach me.
By the way...does this guy look like a Clyde? I don't know but he looks like a frickin stud whatever he weighs. Maybe if I do like the Bigun says and start pumping iron I can stay right at 200 lbs indefinitely.