Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Chattanooga Waterfront Report

Wow! What an incredible experience in Chattanooga. I came over with the family on Saturday and we weren't able to check into the hotel so I left my bike with the bellman with about a dozen other bikes and went to the Big River Grill for lunch. I had a really good hummus salad that was a perfect lunch.

We then walked down to the Aquarium area on the way down to the packet pickup. The boys had a great time playing in the water in front of the aquarium and Cedar would have sat right in it if we would have let him.

We continued on to pick up my packet and get checked in and it was HOT! After I got all of my stuff we walked back to the Hotel and got checked in. The family took a nap and I went for a run down to the race area and recorded a short podcast. I am not sure if I will be able to use it because it wasn't a very good recording but I will doctor it up and give it a shot. I ran for about 15 minutes and then had a good stretch. I checked out the expo, walked out onto the pier and took some photo's of the swim finish. Then I went to the transition area to find my bike and try to get familiar with my transition area. I have never seen such a large number of racks.

I went back to the hotel and we went to the Children's Museum and I stayed there with the kid's for about an hour until I ran down for the pre race meeting. I missed the part I was wanting to hear about the course overview but I was able to get my questions answered. I then met back up with the family and we closed down the Children's museum.

Soon after that we went up Signal Mountain to a little Italian place called Nino's. Nino is great, he always comes out to talk to his customers and bends over backward to accommodate. They were having a special with a veggie lasagna that was absolutely incredible. The kids were a little restless but overall we were glad we went. Really great food!

We went back to the room and I started getting everything together for the race. I was hydrating by drinking plenty of water and getting all numbers placed, tires pumped, Infinit mixed, etc. I was able to get to sleep relatively early but didn't sleep real good. I ended up sharing a bed with my 5 year old and he slept real close to my back and I had a little bit of a pain in it when I woke up.

I ate two packages of oatmeal and a banana and drank plenty of water when I woke up at 5 am. I took my Sharpie and wrote 2:29:59 on my inside fore arm and underneath it wrote "Push On!!" This was my aggressive goal of the day and a reminder that I could do this. I got everything together and was ready to walk out of the door by 5:30 am. I stopped by the desk for a cup of coffee, drank half of it then put on my pack, helmet, and hopped on my bike to ride down to the transition area.

I was the second person to rack my bike and got a pretty good spot. I got everything set up and put on my running shoes to go for a quick run. I went through a stretch routine and tried to relax a little. I grabbed the Infinit I was going to drink prior to the swim and started walking toward the pool start.

It was a little over a mile to the start and I opted out of the bus ride because I wanted to warm up a bit and they had been going since 6 am with 85 athletes a piece in them so I am sure they were pretty ripe. It was an enjoyable walk and I chatted with a seasoned triathlete that had been in the sport for 20+ years. It was a great conversation since I had just started and I was able to hear about his journey and share my experiences.

I got to the field about 7:45 and waited around watching the athletes line up for their swim start. The sun was hot and I found some shade to keep me cool. I sipped on my Infinit that I had brought with me and before I knew it they were lining up the 900’s. I got in line pretty deep into the field and it seemed like no time until I was on the ramp down to the swim start. Once that happened like all TT starts it was quick. I slid into the water and then I heard “944 GO!”

I wanted to stay as close to the buoys as possible to take advantage of the current. I normally swim to the right but the current was pulling me and I managed to stay pretty close. At least I wasn’t close to the shore. The swim felt good and I started out easy, picking it up as I went. I past under one bridge, then two, before I knew it I was approaching the exit and I swam toward the steps. There was a volunteer there with their hand outreached to help me out. I ran up the few steps and hit the mat at 24:50 (42/149 age group).

I ran around and to the steps to transition. I had practiced this the day before and decided to run every other step to the top. There were 17 steps and it was a little tougher than the day before. I kept a nice pace running into the transition area and counted 9 racks before I turned down to find my bike. Helmet, shades, bike, go! I ran with my bike out of transition and to the mount line, hopped on the bike and went. T1 was 2:12. I got up to speed, slipped my feet into my shoes and got them fastened and started up MLK to get on to the highway.

I was feeling pretty good at this point and I just started out to get a feel of how it was going to be. I hit the first hill and it wasn’t too bad but I knew I was going to be working. I was passing a lot of people on the bike and I was hanging with a couple of people in my age group as we kept passing each other back and forth. At this point I started feeling really good (maybe too good) as I looked down at the time that was written on my arm and my reminder to push on.

I remember telling myself that I could do this and I was riding really well. Before I knew it I was at the turn around and turned into the wind and kept pushing. The way back seemed a little tougher but I just kept digging and moving forward passing a lot of people, then being passed a little. I wasn’t drinking as much as I thought I should have been and I had quite a bit of Infinit left. The exit came up quick and I got back on MLK with thoughts of the run on my mind. I finished the rest of my Infinit and got my feet on top of my shoes. I made it to the dismount line, hopped off and ran with my bike into transition passing one person in the process. My bike split was 1:10:43 and 22.1 mph (24/149 age group). I counted one, two, three racks and went to the left to put away the bike. Unfortunately, went on the wrong side but there was only one bike there so I racked my bike and went under the rack. Shoes, cap, grab race belt and 10 oz. flask and Go! T2 time was 1:42.

I ran out of transition and soon after I heard the family cheering. I gave Sheldon a high five and was on my way to experience what would be a very painful three point one miles. I had a horrible stitch but I kept running. Looking back I think this had to do with eating a little too much and not spreading out my intake of fluids on the bike. I kept looking down at my time and knew that I wouldn’t reach my goal. I didn’t let this bother me and I just kept up the best pace I could.

By the time I got to the turn around my stitch had eased and I tried to pick it up a little. I sipped on the Infinit that I had brought in my flask and pushed as good as I could. Before I knew it I saw the finish and really picked it up as best as I could. I saw the family and gave Sheldon a high five. He told me later that it hurt because I was running so fast. I crossed the finish line relieved and was handed a nice water bottle full of cool water that was a welcome treat. Run split was 56:48 at a 9:10 pace (71/149 age group).

After they removed my chip I walked up to find the family and gave them a great big hug. I had finished. I was pretty hungry I thought so I went to the food tent and picked up a sandwich and a slice of pizza. I drank about 3 small cups of regular Coke and lots of water. It was pretty hot so I went with the family over to the Coldstone Creamery and they all enjoyed ice cream as I went to the athletes tent to check the results.

When I got there a lot of people were crowded around reviewing the results and I was able to find my standings I was 35th out of about a hundred and forty something and I couldn’t believe it. I was very skeptical because not all of the splits were listed and I have seen results change in the past. I talked to a couple of people about it and they were sure that I had qualified for Nationals. It wasn’t until Monday morning that I found out for sure. I ended up in the top 26% of my age group and have never felt better. My final results were 38/149 age group and 221/839 males. I am looking forward to the ten weeks preparation for Tuscaloosa and I am very proud of where I have come in a short time, accomplishing my goals, and thankful for those who have helped me along the way. Push On!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Relaxing Weekend

I just got back from Fripp Island, SC. We spent Friday through Monday there with my wife's sister and her family. This was a great vacation and I was really able to relax the whole time I was there. The island was very laid back with plenty of things to do to keep the kids busy. The picture above was what we got to see every evening from the place we were staying in.

Friday I took the day off from any exercise and enjoyed a morning at the beach and a nice long nap with the boys followed by an afternoon at the pool. Saturday I went for about a 7 mile push run on the island. This was fun and very flat. There isn't much you can do about that being on the coast like that but I still managed to keep my heart rate up and really enjoy the wildlife. There were a lot of deer that weren't afraid of people and that was really nice. The one below was right outside our pad one evening. I managed to get a nap on Saturday as well. Very uncommon but a plus for taper week.

Sunday we headed to the golf cart parade that was pretty nice. The kids loved it and the folks were pretty clever with their designs. Here you can see the crowd anxiously awaiting the first golf cart float and the start of the parade.

After the parade I stayed back with Cedar while he slept and managed to get 30 minutes in on my trainer before he woke up. I took him to the pool and hung out with the family for a while and then we all went back to the house. While everyone napped I finished off my 42 miler that I had started on the trainer earlier. I had a nice fast ride west with the wind and really worked on the way back against the wind. It was a pretty good work out. I obviously didn't have the hills I usually try to hit on my long ride but it was very peaceful and I enjoyed it.

That night we had a nice meal and watched some good fireworks put on by the island. This was a great time spent with the family and relaxing as well as getting in my workouts for the weekend. I ended up taking today off and I will start my week tomorrow. It will be a short week since my race is on Sunday. Hard to believe it is already here. I am excited, nervous, and ready for the race. Push on!