Boise Ironman 70.3: Pre-Race

So I signed up for this race last year October and it has been on the schedule ever since. This weekend, race day has arrived. The plan was to fly out Saturday morning, get all set up for the race, race on Sunday and fly back Sunday night. In total the trip would be about 39 hours of fun.
At 6:30 am Saturday morning my parents arrived at my house. We loaded up my car and headed to the airport. Our flight was at 7:40 am so we arrived about an hour early. I had my gels and GU2O powder in my carry on and was hoping this would not cause an issue when going through screening. I was through security in no time and was ready for the flight. At this point we met up with Sheena and Ali who were coming down to cheer us on. They were not going to race, they just wanted to come down and cheer on their fellow Tri-Fusion teammates. Thank you girls, it was a fun trip.

After our short flight down and quick stop at the rental car counter we were off to downtown for me to check-in to the race. About 2 weeks ago I wrote out a pretty details schedule because I thought I would be in a pretty tight time crunch only arriving a day before the race. I only gave my self 15 minutes to go through registration, opps. When I arrived the line was about 100 yards long and took over an hour of waiting before I got my packet. So much for the time schedule but checking went pretty smoothly and then we headed up to Lucky Peak Reservoir were the swim was located.
This is a unique race where the swim and T1 are located in a different location that T2 and the run course. After a slow stop for lunch at Wendy’s (I am not sure how they call it fast food) we headed up the canyon to T1. I was going to meet Steve Kramer who generously took my bike from Spokane to Boise which really helped out with the logistics of packing it and hauling it around Boise.
We arrived at the reservoir and were greeted by a ½ mile long climb up a gravel road from the bottom of the damn to the top. It was definitely a nice climb in the heat of Saturday afternoon. Swass and swalls were definitely an issue. After finally arriving at the top I found my bike and got it all ready for the race. After a quick trip down to the water for a temperature check (it felt pretty cold) we headed back down the hill to the car and drove the bike course.
The drive around the course really helped get me mentally prepared and after we finished I was really starting to feel ready for this race. It was not the most difficult course but it would involve me riding in aero for a ton of miles. There were really only 2 or 3 big hills to climb.
After we checked into our hotel, my parents and I headed downtown with Greg and Natalie to check in our run gear. The race officials gave us three bags for all our gear and for me this was definitely new and challenging making sure I have everything in the right place.
We then headed to Gino’s for dinner and were met by Sheena, Ali, Jay, Michelle, Matt, Jessie and Matt’s dad. Since we didn’t have any reservations they gave us til 7:00 pm sharp to eat and we had to be out the door. It turned out to be just enough time. It was great to enjoy some good food with everyone before the race and try to talk some strategy. I really feed off all the energy and this is one of the main reasons I enjoy the club so much.I finished off the day heading back to the room and making sure everything else was ready for the early wake-up time. I tried to get some sleep but was distracted by the MMA fights that were on TV. I know this isn’t the best pre-race sleep but I am always restless and it was nice to just lie in bed and relax. Finally falling asleep around 11:00 pm, I was feeling good about the task ahead.


Week Before!

The week leading up to my Boise 70.3 race was pretty hectic. I was trying to get in a couple of good rides to get more comfortable in aero on my bike and one last wetsuit swim in Liberty Lake since I had only used it once.

Tuesday’s BLT was nice to get one last long ride. I know my fitness really isn’t going to change over this week but I have been struggling to stay in aero and I wanted to ride the majority of the loops in aero to build some confidence. The first loop I rode with Tiffany and the second I joined the group for the majority of the ride. My legs were feeling good and I felt pretty strong in aero so that was a plus.

Wednesday I drove out to Liberty Lake to join a few Tri-Fusion members for their weekly swim. I really didn’t want to swim too far but I knew that it would be important to get more comfortable in my wetsuit. I think I was in the water for about 15 minutes which was just about perfect.

Thursday was an epic ride from the Thompson’s house that I am pretty sure I will never forget. As I was heading over there after work all I could see were dark dark clouds forming in the western skies. I had a feeling that it might rain a bit but this wouldn’t be the first time I had rode in a few sprinkles, so what the heck.

The funniest part of this photo was Llyod, the Thompson's dog. He ran out as Natalie was getting ready to take the picture, stopped and posed and then ran away as soon as the flash went off. He is definitely a Thompson. Nobody even called his name. Hilarious!
As soon as we got rolling down the rode the skies opened up with rain coming down and the lighting was a nice little touch to top it all off. The ride was fun but I would like to compare it to setting your trainer up in your bathtub, turning on the shower and sitting under the water for an hour as you peddle away. I do have to admit that I had fun out on the ride and would definitely do it again. This picture is the second time I rung out my jersey after the ride. It was WET!After the ride we enjoyed some awesome lasagna and I was able to pick Roger’s mind about a few more triathlon tips. I would also like to thank Cameron Smith, a new Tri-Fusion member, for taking my bike up to the south hill and saved me about an hour of driving and a huge hassle off my mind.

This was a pretty long week but it has been a ton of training to get to this point and lets hope the race goes well.


Memorial Weekend 2008

After work on Thursday, I headed up to Priest Lake for our yearly Memorial pilgrimage up to Kalispell Island. This is my third year joining our group. We usually try to head up early to make sure we get Silver Cove. These camp spots are located on the south side of the island so you are protected from and of the wind and waves that are pretty common up on the lake.
Thursday evening was spent setting up my tent, TWICE. The first time I guess I set it up pretty close to an ant hill and before I knew it the rain fly was covered with these little red buggers. I am personally not a fan of waking up to having ants crawling all over me so I decide to completely tear everything down and move it. Apparently after setting it up and getting my tarp tied down for the second time I still hadn’t moved far enough away. I decided to stick it out because as far as I could tell they were only on the top. That night we headed over to Hill’s for dinner and all I can say is that it was GREAT to be on the lake.

We really had no plans for Friday since there were only 4 of us up there at this time so we spent the day working on the boats and just hanging out. The evening started with the arrival of 5 more people and now the campout had officially begun. We ended the night once again with a little bit of drinking and some dancing to the live band at Hill’s Resort.

Every Memorial Day Coolin, a small town on the south end of the lake, has a parade and craft sale. We usually head over for the noon parade and hang out a bit checking everything out. Before I headed over I picked up Mari, Scott (his first ever camping trip) and Trish. They really liked to idea to come out and enjoy such a beautiful area and get away from Spokane. It was awesome to run into a few of my Tri-Fusion group members Jim and Claire Powers. I swear we are everywhere.
After the parade we headed up to Elkins for the infamous Huckleberry Daiquiri and just spent the day floating around the lake. The weather wasn’t great but overall is there really every a bad day at the lake. That evening everyone was able to talk Trish into staying, so this too became her first every time camping. I personally have been camping since before I was one so it amazing me that there are people who do not camp. It was great they came up and hung out.
The night finished off with the starting of the fires we built earlier in the day. These fires are definitely not the most efficient fires but they are sure pretty cool to look at. The forest service actually encourages you to cut up the down trees for your firewood but I am pretty sure this is not what they had in mind. After running my three guests back to their cars on Sunday morning, that was all the camping they needed:) I headed back down to Coolin for their yearly fun run. I am not sure how an 8.2 mile run is real fun but it was great to see a few more Tri-Fusionites, Dave and Terri Orr along with Jeff Blackwell. I had been talking with Jeff the last few days and my plan was to run with him for part if not all of the race.

Once the race started I had a feeling that trying to keep up was not an option. When we passed the first mile maker my watch read 6:08. I knew at that moment that this was going to be a long day. There was definitely no way I was going to be able to keep up that pace for much longer. The next few miles were between 6:30 and 6:55, so I was still pretty excited about the pace. Then the turnaround came and all the hills I have been descending hit me like a ton of bricks. I had a few 7:30 miles and I think even a 7:55 mile but not sure. Overall I finished the race in 57:28 on the course that was actually 8.11 miles. That figures out to be a 7:05/mile pace. Not bad after a long weekend of letting loose and focusing on just having fun.
The rest of Sunday was spent completely relaxing at camp and in the early afternoon the sun finally came out. I decided to head home early to give myself an extra day to get ready for my trip next week to Boise for my race.


The Week Before!!

The week leading up to Memorial weekend is always chaotic. There is some much to get ready for camping and getting my boat ready seems like a full time job on top of my full time job on top of my training. Since I was busy this last weekend with the rafting trip there really wasn’t any time to get everything done. I spent the week gathering all my gear and preparing the boat for the first trip of the year. This involves de-winterizing the engine and making sure everything is in working order.

My week started out by joining Tim for a great run workout. The plan was to do a one mile warm-up run followed by 2 miles at a faster than race pace run. We would then turn around and repeat on the way back. Since I wasn’t able to get my workouts in over the weekend I knew I had to push myself. My legs felt pretty fresh and it was good to get out and run. The tempo run was a nice change of pace and I have to give Tim props for sticking it out. He had a crazy weekend of training and still managed to pull it all together and come run with me. Thanks buddy. Afterwards I finished the night up at Coldstone with Tim, Andy and their friend Lisa who is visiting from Germany. This time I stayed away from the Peanut Butter Cup Perfection and went with an equally delicious Berry Berry Berry Good, which consisted of strawberries, raspberryies and blueberries with cheesecake ice cream, UMM UMM UMM GOOD! A little more healthy, RIGHT?

Tuesday was a push to get in my BLT. I was running a bit late and drove past Eric and Dave as they were heading out for their loop. I did my best to catch up but rode the loop by myself. This was the first time on my bike in a week but I felt really good. My legs had some minor cramping so I decided to get a very short brick in just to make sure I could still fun off the bike. Overall it was a good day of training and it felt good to get back in the saddle.

The rest of the week was just getting everything packed. I was able to see all the great Tri-Fusion members at our monthly meeting on Wednesday and I the plan is to head out for Priest Lake for camping on Thursday after work. It should be an awesome weekend. Even though it was an extremely long week I know it will payoff once I am up at the lake.


Rafting the Lochsa River

So since my car was finally working, I got to leave it at home and head out with a few of my friends for our yearly rafting trip. Last year my friend Jon’s brother died from cancer and they carry on the tradition of rafting down the Locsha River because it was a place he loved to be. I was fortunate to join them last year and as long as I am invited I will not miss this trip.
After working a half day I met up with the group and we were off on our trip. We made the 4 hour drive down to Kooskia, ID to the Three River Resort. This year I decided to sleep in my tent and with the beautiful weather, this turned out to be a great decision. Last year I think the temperature topped out at about 50 degrees and this year it was suppose to reach well into the 80’s. NICE!!
Friday night was spent hanging around, playing a few drinking games and just getting ready for the big day tomorrow. Waking of Saturday morning I was going to go for a quick run to stretch out the legs but after the sitting up in my tent my head had other ideas. I was still up before just about everyone and was getting ready for out trip down the river. We had are quick pre-trip meeting and after signing our life away, we gathered up our gear and got all dressed up. I have to say, after being spoiled with my Blue Seventy Helix wetsuit the farmer John I had to borrow was nothing special, but I am rafting so what the heck. After gathering for our quick group photo we loaded up on the bus and headed up the river about 20 miles. Last year this part was pretty nerve racking thinking that we were going to take our boat down these rapids. This year I was expecting to see much of the same but the water was so much higher that nothing looked the same. Last year when we were here the water line was 5.5 on the bridge, this year it read 8. It is really hard to explain something I know nothing about but the water being 2.5 feet higher had to be pretty crazy. All the guides were saying was that this was BIG water. Once we reach at our launch site we finished gearing up and were on the water. This year our boat was designated the safety line and we would be the last to go through and if anyone needed to be pulled from the water that was our job. Last year we only had 2 people fall out and I think one was pushed for fun. I really didn’t think this year would be any different.

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As we approached one of the first big rapids, Christmas Falls, the boat in front of us flipped. The boat was my friends, Jon and Jenny, who invited me and their cousins who I rafted with last year. It is one thing to see a boat flip but when it is someone you know, you immediately go into survival mode. The first thing you think about is how to get to them and pull them out of the water. This is a very serious river and situations like this can turn very bad very quick. As you think about saving them you get the quick reminder that you still have to go through the exact same rapid that just flipped them and you too are at risk. After navigating through the rapids and getting into position to pull a few people from the water everyone made it safely out. I do have to admit that looking into their eyes while they were floating down the water was extremely emotional because you could tell they didn’t know if they would make it. Sitting on top of this raft and never experiencing “swimming” it is hard for me to say how I would react but those 5 were very tough and I am glad they were able to get our of a hairy situation with only a few bumps and bruises.

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The rest of the trip was still fun with our boat having two people fall out which we were able to quickly recover, we pulled one other from another boat and I even had to opportunity to guide our boat through some smooth areas. This might have been the highlight of the trip except for when I guided our boat into a rock (not as dramitac as it sounds). As we hit the rock, I proceed to fall off the back while everyone else was still sitting in their positions. I managed to pull myself back in and everyone got a good laugh that the “guide” fell out. I was there one second and gone the next.

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The rest of the night was spent just hanging out taking about our trip and enjoying everyone’s company. These are a really great group of people and I can’t wait until next year.

One I get my water camera developed I will post a few more pictures.


They Call Me Mr. Mechanic

So my day begins. I wake up at 5 am trying to figure out what I am going to do. Should I ride my bike to work or should I get my car jump started and see if my midnight car-madness did the trick. After literally just standing in my kitchen for 15 minutes pacing and trying to figure out what to do, I decide I am riding my bike and I will try to figure out the car situation during the day. As I am getting my riding cloths on, I think it would be better to get the car started and see what happens. After a quick phone call, my friend shows up to start the car. Once the cables are hooked up, the car fires up and I am off to work. Once again I reach the ever so frustrating end of my block and my battery light comes on. I didn’t even know my car had this light, since this is the very first time I have ever seen it. So back to the driveway and I hitch a ride to work. Car problems are going to have to way.

After a few searches on the internet I conclude that it must be an alternator problem and I will pick one up on my way home. I receive a call in the early afternoon from my dad offering to head over and see if he can get started on trying to fix the problem. After a long search for my spare key, that never turned up, there was no way from them to get into my car and all their effort was wasted. Isn’t this why we have a spare key, obviously I need to get a new one made. It was awesome for them to try and help but it sounds like I am going to have to tackle this by myself.

A quick stop and 150 bucks later I have a new alternator to be installed in my car. A printed some pretty rough directions off the internet on how to change out an alternator in my car and I was ready to go. Apparently there are 10 steps to the process and it should take 2-3 hours.5:55 pm - Step #2 Loosen the upper alternator adjusting bolt and mounting bolt nut. After a brief search for my alternator I began to loosen the bolts that in my eyes closely resembled adjusting bolt and mounting bolt. DONE!
Ohh wait I forgot to do Step #1- Disconnect the negative battery cable. This seems like a pretty important step, maybe that is why it is the first thing to do? DONE, and only after doing one other step. NICE!Step #3- Loosen the right front heel lug nuts, raise the car and remove the right front wheel. This step seemed pretty easy, I have changed a tire before. Since I have not had the opportunity to build up my tool collection I grab the stare tire jack and raise up the car and remove the tire. I am cruising right along. Maybe this won’t be so bad after all. DONE!Step #4- Remove the right front accessory drive belt splash shield. WHAT!! What the hell is right front accessory drive belt splash shield? After staring at the wheel well and then my engine compartment for a good five minutes and pounding on everything in sight, I finally see something that looks like it can be removed from the car. Yep, that must be the right front accessory drive belt splash shield. DONE!

Step #5- Loosen the lower alternator bolt. After struggling to be my hand situated in this tiny ass space I begin to loose the bolt. DONE!

Step #6- Remove alternator belt. Easy, right? Wrong! This took for freaking ever. After contemplating the consequences of just cutting the damn thing off I finally get it off the alternator and we are back in business. DONE!

Step #7- Disconnect the electrical connector from the alternator (I suggest to wait on this). I have to ask myself why he put this as step #7 if he suggests waiting on this. Since this piece of paper is my expert mechanic I guess I will listen. NOT DONE:)

Step #8- Remove the upper adjusting bolt and nut the lower bolt and nut. This was a pretty self explanatory step and was done pretty quickly. DONE!

Step #9- Remove the lower alternator mounting 3 bolts, at this time turn the alternator sideways and remove the wires(push the red tab down until it slides and wiggle the connector). You have to love mechanics using terms like wiggle. I am not sure what the alternator mounting 3 bolts was but I turned it on its side and struggled for at least 10 minutes trying to get the damn wire loose. Maybe I wasn’t wiggling enough. Finally after some persuasion with a screwdriver (probably not the best way) the wire connector comes free. DONE!Step #10- Remove the alternator from under the car (this will take some time to get it out) before putting the new alternator in spray the lower bolt and nut with some PB Blaster then upper mounting bolt and adjusting bolt (it will make it easier to install). I don’t know about you but right about now the PB Blaster was sounding pretty darn good, isn’t that what the have at Dairy Queen. Since I don’t know what PB Blaster is, I skipped this step and got ready to put the new one in.

Right before I made the error of installing the new alternator I call to see if they can test to see if the old alternator is dead. You see, they have a fancy machine that is suppose to tell you if it is good or not. So I head over with the old alternator and my battery in toe to see what the problem is. And no I didn’t have to do it on my bike, I was able to borrow a truck:)

After a short wait in line they hook my old alternator up. At this point I am expecting theme to tell me that this thing works like it is brand new and you just spent the last hour wasting your time. It is at this point that I actually explain to the guy my problem and the following dialogue begins.

Idiot Car Owner: So you have no way of telling me if this alternator is bad
Nice Schucks guy: Nope, we don’t have the right connectors.
Idiot Car Owner: So this alternator could be perfectly fine and I just spent all this time taking it out .
Nice Schucks guy: Yep.
Idiot Car Owner: So what about my battery, is it any good?
Nice Schucks guy: Your battery has seen better days.
Idiot Car Owner: Apparently so have I.
Idiot Car Owner: So do you have the battery I need
Nice Schucks guy: Yep, right over here
Idiot Car Owner: Ouch another 75 bucks!
Nice Schucks guy: Well since you just bought a new alternator, how bout I make it….ummm… $36.
Idiot Car Owner: Well...I guess I need to get a new on anyways. Sold!I really didnt want to risk putting in a old alternator and it not working, I made the decision to keep the new one. Finally arriving back at my car with a new alternator and new battery I am ready to get this car back together. Putting everything back together was going pretty easy, a little too easy for comfort though. But after about 20 minutes I had my car back together and it was time to turn that ignition key. I was expecting to hear nothing, but fortuntately the beautiful sound of my engine came to life (well as beautiful as a 2.0L 4 cylinder engine can). PROJECT DONE! Time: 8:04. Not bad for a rookie, 2:09.
So I have successfully changed out my alternator and battery. Maybe next time I will check the battery first but it was sure a great learning experience. If you ever need any help putting a new alternator in your car, I am your man. If you ever need any help taking it out, you better find someone else. I would like to give a special thanks out to Trish for offering to give me a ride home from work. She recently had car problems and understands the stranded feeling, thanks again.


Car Trouble

Sorry about the negative post yesterday. I just always enjoy seeing people at our workout events and I actually wrote that post after a pretty long Wednesday. There was no intent to be mean so if I came across that way then I am sorry. So many people do so much to make this club what it is and I dont want to take anything away from that.

This will be a day I would like to soon forget. The morning started out well with the early morning wake up call and swim. My last few days have been pretty long and I was hoping to get an evening to relax. This weekend I am traveling for a yearly rafting trip down the Lochsa and I have been going pretty crazy trying to get everything ready. After work heading out to Cabela’s to pick up my new boat cover and then meet up with a friend to borrow some rafting gear. After traveling to the top of the south hill he couldn’t find it which was not a huge deal just a long drive and a good hour of my evening I could have spent relaxing.

Finally making it home around 7:30 I put the new cover on my boat, this did bring a smile to my glorious day. It looks pretty sweet if you ask me:) I packed up what gear I had to head over to my buddies for them to haul down. I load everything in the trunk and jump in to start my car. There is nothing, I am pretty sure I heard a cricket laughing when I turned the key. S&$T I must have left my lights on, nope. Maybe a door open, nope not that either. Why will my car not start?

After asking my neighbor if he could give me a quick jump the car fired right up. Sweet! At this point you would think my story could only get better right, WRONG. After pulling down the alley and reaching the street, I lose all power. This is the first time this has ever happen since I bought the car 4 years ago. I have had very little problems and I can’t figure out why tonight must be the night. My thoughtful neighbor saw me sitting down there and came to see what happened. Once again we jumped the car and again it started right up. Maybe I have a dead battery or could it be the alternator (I sure hope not). Deciding it would not be a good idea to drive anywhere I head back to my place.

Now that I look at the picture, maybe there could have been a bit of preventative care. But who wants to do that:)

After looking at the battery terminal I knew I needed to get a new one. With all the corrosion that had built up, maybe I wasn’t getting a good connection and cleaning that should help. Since I have no ride and it is 10 at night there is only one place where you can go to get auto parts. Yep, Walley’s world. I grab my old mountain bike the original silver bullet(WAY FREAKIN' HEAVY) out of the shed, pump up the tires I am ready to go. Nothing like pulling up to Wal-Mart at 10 o’clock on your mountain bike, but if this fixes my problem the all was worth it. Wal-Mart at 10 is a complete story by itself.
I finally got the new terminal and headed back to install it. After about another 30 minutes I have the new terminal on and I am ready for my car to fire up. No such luck. Since there really isn’t anything you can do at 11 regarding car work, I call it a night and try to figure out how I am going to get to work tomorrow. Maybe I will ride my bike. At some point I am going to have to get this POS in to check and see if my battery or alternator is toast. There will definitely be a post about how to not change out your alternator if I need to get a new one. I hope you had a better Wednesday that me:)



I am replacing this post with an apology to everyone in our club. At no time do I want people to not realize how grateful I am to be a member. What was written was not the way to handle my bad day. These last few weeks have been extremely crazy and things around me have been rather difficult. I think I just had a bad attitude at the end of the day and took it out in my post. I am really not sure why I took the approach I did but I realize that it was completely wrong.

I have left the comments that were posted because I feel that everyone's response is very important to how I move forward from this moment. I hope that this does not ruin the many great relationships I have built over the last year. I look forward to continuing this journey and it wouldn't be the same without you all. I hope you will underestand and I am truely looking forward to the next opportunity to hang out. Once again I am sorry.


Happy Mother's Day and Training Away!!

I would like to start this post out by saying Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there. This is your day to just sit back and enjoy.

Sunday began with the most amazing sound of my alarm clock waking me up early for the master swim. I know after the race and the long trip back Saturday night the swim was not going to be my best. Since it was Mother’s Day I had no idea how many people would even show up, but since I didn’t have plans until the late in the morning I decided to attend. When 8:00 rolled around and there were still only 3 of us at the pool, I knew this was going to be a small turnout. The only people to show up were one very new person and one soon-to-be member to our Tri-Fusion club, Sara (1 month) and Laura (next month). Once I made the determination that this was going to be it, I did a relatively slow 45 minute swim and called it a day. Even though yesterday’s race was pretty short, the entire trip sure takes a lot out of you. I am just glad I didn’t have to pay.

I finished my morning with a little yard work and then headed out to my parents to spend Mother’s Day with my mom and eat some awesome food. Today my dad made his patented BBQ chicken which, like always, was delicious.

Sunday my legs were feeling pretty good from the race and since I was coming off the race high I decided to see if Tim wanted to go for a long run Monday evening. He had been at Disneyland and I was pretty sure he would be itching to get back to training. I decided to make the 3.6 mile run down to his house and meet up for a nice little 8 mile run along the river. It was good to get the extra miles under me with the Boise 70.3 in three weeks. The total run was about 1:40 with a pace of 8:30. The pace is a bit slower than I would like to run in Boise but the time and mileage is what was important today. This was not our fastest run by any means but it was a nice long run to hang your hat on.

Since this was my longest run of the year I was fortunate enough to get a ride home. I really didn’t feel like making the trek back up the hill to my house. Francis hill is hard enough to ride up after 1 or 2 loops on the bike. I can’t imagine what inappropriate words my legs would be screaming if I forced them to run up that hill at about 13 miles. We finished the night with dinner at the fine Chinese cuisine, Panda Express. You really can’t go wrong with Panda, right? I was happy to survive the long run and I really can’t wait to hit Boise.


Mother’s Day Triathlon

Since Boise 70.3 is so early in the season I really felt it was important to get a true triathlon in before race day. I have a brand new wetsuit and knew that it would be extremely beneficial to get an open water swim in and a T1 transition to see how it feels. This was my first triathlon since last September. The plan was for Roger, Jessi, Tiffany, Trish and I to head over to the west side for a race on Saturday and be back in Spokane Saturday night. Total trip time: 29 hours.
Our trip started out by meeting at the Thompson’s at about 4 on Friday to make the long drive over to Lacey, WA to our hotel. After getting all loaded up and myself receiving enough crap to fill a wheelbarrow for having 3 bags and yes it was only thre, I don’t care what the other blogs say. On my usual road trips I am stuck behind the wheel but this time I was able to sit back and relax while Mr. Smiggles took the helm. The drive over went pretty quick especially when we put in Wedding Crashers, a pretty funny movie and a must see.

After arriving at our Comfort Inn and after unloading all the gear, it was finally time to hit the sack. As my roll away was pushed into the room, I had a feeling this was going to be a long night. I have never really been able to get a good night sleep in a hotel bed and tonight was going to be no different. After the lights went out about 11:30, I was up til about 1:00 am and then again at about 4 am. It is off and on til I decided to get out of bed at about 6:15.

This is me before I realized how comfortable this bed really was:)

Since the race wasn’t until 11:00, I was really going to be able to enjoy breakfast and fortunately this hotel provides and awesome complimentary breakfast buffet. I had an awesome waffle smothered in peanut butter and syrup. If you have never had peanut butter on a waffle or pancake you are missing out.

Before we left we all set a few goals for today’s race. My first goal was finish my first open water swim of the season, I know it is pretty simple but baby steps. Second was to average over 20 mph on the bike and third was to finish the race under 1 hour.

The race site was about 30 minutes away so after loading up, we were off. This is one of your typical small sprint races with the make shift transition area with creaky bike racks. After setting up my transition area, taking the bike out for a quick spin and warming up my legs it was time to get on the wetsuit and head over for a quick warm-up swim. The new wetsuit was a bit tight and I was hoping the warm-up swim would help me adjust to the new fit. Apparently I forgot this pic on the earlier editions of this blog. A little pre trip fun involved some fun emails with one discussing helmets and how some people put them on backwards, right C#$tany. So I brought up that I would where one of those hats that holds a few beers, well this is the Triathtletes version of the Beerhat. I already have the patents pending so don't even think about trying to copy :) This is me trying to suck it in so Jessi can get this wet suit zipped up. I am not sure what Tiffany is doing at this time but it is hilarious.
With this being my first swim of the year and it still early in May I knew the water was going to be a tad on the chilly side. When my feet hit the water I think chilly was an understatement. As soon as my face it the water I think my brain began to freeze, literally. The quick warmup turned more into a cool down but since the race was only 250 yards I knew I wouldn’t be in the water for too long.

As the count down began and the seconds ticked away until I plunged into the muddy pond they called a lake, all I could think about was just stay calm. Jessi gave me some great advice reminding me that going anaerobic in such a short distance on your first race wasn’t really going to help and may only save you a couple of seconds. Once the race started and we were off swimming it all came rushing back even the awesome kicks in the face. Ohh how I love triathlons.

The first half of the swim I was all over the place. Zig-zaging back and forth. If you were watching me from shore I am pretty sure it looked like a sailboat tacking back and forth. I couldn’t see anything in the water or out in front of me. I wasn’t sure if it was my goggles fogging up or I was losing my vision as my brain function started to fade with the more time my face was submerged in this ice cold water.
Finally we reached the boat and I was hoping to get myself swimming in a straight line. After a quick run into the rope separating the out and back and cutting off Jessi, I finally figured out how to swim straight. I am pretty sure I turned the 250 yard swim into about 300 but that is why you do these races. Goal one accomplished.
Coming into T1 it was great to run in next to Jessi. She is always voicing words of encouragement and cheering you on. My first swim to bike transition of the year was not pretty. Since my feet felt like they were gone, getting into my bike shoes was definitely a challenge. Overall the helmet, shoes and sunglasses went pretty smooth. The next step of mounting the bike was absolutely horrendous. I took me for freakin ever to get clipped in and actually heading down the road. I was passed by two people including Jessi coming out of T1.
This picture shows just a bit of my frustration. The funniest part of the entire thing is that Jen was actually able to take three more pictures of me in the same exact spot still trying to get clipped in. YEAH!!
I told myself going into the bike portion of this race that I wanted to push myself. After watching the two riders start to open the gap on me I knew I had some work to do. The first few miles felt pretty good and then everything began to fall apart. I knew my heart rate was going to be high throughout the race but the entire time on the bike I never felt comfortable. I felt like I was struggling to catch my breath and get into a comfortable zone. The time I spent in aero was a complete struggle so quite a bit of the race I was up on my hands. The bike course was extremely flat and I knew that I was loosing a ton of time with each pedal out of aero. Still with all the trouble I think I averaged just over 21 mph (had some questionable timing by me). Goal two accomplished.

Finally making it back to the transition area, I was hoping the run portion of the race would be much better. Lately my running has come a long way and I was ready to get out and see how the legs would do coming off the bike. After struggling to get my nearly frozen feet into my shoes I was off. I could definitely tell the pace was much faster than my races in the past. I was about 300 yards behind a group of three runners including Jessi. All I wanted to do was keep pushing my pace and the ultimate goal was to run the three mile out and back in under 20 minutes.

The first half of the race I just tried to close the distance between myself and those three ahead of me. I reached the turn around at 9:54 with a 6:36 pace. The second half of the run was also pretty good. The two guys in front of Jessi were a bit too quick for me to catch but with just over a quarter mile to go I was able to pass Jessi and finished in 5th overall. The second split was a 9:29 with a 6:19 pace and an average of 6:28 pace. Last year I would have been around 7:28 so I am pretty excited to see the improvement. My final time was 1:00:12. Goal three NOT accomplished.

I really don’t know why this happens to me over and over but I always finish just outside my goal. I know the smallest things of actually being able to clip into my bike on the first time or being in aero for just a few more minutes would have solved this issue but I guess that is why you race the race.

I want to give a shout out to Jessi. I am jealous on how strong she is throughout these races. She is always up front and is always pushing herself to the limits. Both of us don’t like to admit it but I feel we have an extremely friendly and light-hearted rivalry going on. She is smoking fast on the bike and I have the edge in the run. If the swim were any longer she would dominate me but it is always fun to push it until the end and always finishing so close.
After the finished Roger, Jessi and I headed out for a cool down and find Tiffany and Trish to cheer them on to the finish. After reaching Tiffany and running with her for a bit we crossed paths with a bloody Trish. I personally like the story of how she saved the poor little kid from a vicious dog attack but if you have checked out the Tri-Fuison gallery I guess you know the real story. Trish was SO tough pushing out the pain and finishing the race. This was the first time she had run three miles straight. It was awesome to see her with a smile the entire time. That people is hard-core.
After the race we did a little first-aid on Trish’s leg and then loaded up the Excursion for the trip back to Spokane. After the mandatory stop at Starbucks the trip was complete and we were on the road home. Thank you Mr. Smiggles for driving and I think overall it was a great trip for everyone.


BLTB- Bike Loop Tuesday Brick

After taking Monday off it was time to get going again. After heading down to Kirk's for the BLT, we were off. The first part of the first loop was at a comfortable pace. For the first time I was able to hang on with Roger, Jessi and the crew as we came across the bridge. This is usually where for some unknown reason I decide that my bike has little rocket boosters and I jump in front to pull us past the golf course. I knew with Roger leading this was not going to happen so I just jumped on the wheel in front of me and hung on for dear life. I am pretty sure we averaged over 25 mph once we hit on Aubrey L. White Parkway. As we approached my newly named Death Hill #3 (just for me), I was not leading and I thought for once I would reach the top within the group. I had the plan in my head and I was ready to go. As we hit the bottom of the hill I once again got passed and I wasn't even in the front. DAMN. After regrouping with Kirk and Josh, we had our work cut out for us if we were going to join the lead pack. After a quick rest at the back of the pack, I did my best to pull us up with everyone else. At this point my legs felt like noodles and it was all I could do to hang in there. Fortunately I was able to finish the loop with the group and I was pretty stoked to make it all the way without getting lost in the dust.
The second loop was much of the same except we were at a little bit slower pace with was still faster than I ever ride all by myself. After the loop Tim and I headed out for a 4 mile brick run. It had been quite some time since I did a longer brick workout and the legs felt pretty good. As Tim and I both pointed out the pace felt pretty slow compared to Sunday but my calves could definitely feel Doomsday hill. Over all it was about 32 miles on the bike followed by 4 mile run at just over an 8 minute pace. If I could keep that pace at Boise I would be pretty excited.


Bloomsday 2008

If you get bored reading this, well tough. Today is my third bloomsday race in a row. Each year I have set myself some pretty aggressive goals to help push throughout the race. With a time of 56:29 last year, I really felt with all the training I have done, 52 minutes was a reachable goal. All I would have to do is average 7:00 minute miles. I really haven’t been running much lately with Wednesday’s run being my longest in over two weeks.

10 pm- Set alarm for 6:30 am. Plenty of time to get up, eat some breakfast and still be ready when Tim and Andy arrive at 7:15.

4:05 am- Roll over and look at clock. Nope not 6:30 yet.

5:00 am- Take another peak at the clock, still not time to get up. Start to wonder my I can’t seem to sleep through the night.

6:25 am- Well since I am not going to lie here for 5 minutes to wait for the alarm to go off, I decide to crawl out of bed.

6:30 am- Realize I don’t have to much to do to get ready for Bloomsday since it is only running and feel it is too early to eat breakfast, since the race doesn’t start til 9:00. I turn on the TV and sit at the computer to check my email. After the 1 minute it takes to see I have no new emails I flip through all my channels and watch nothing on TV for a few more minutes.

6:40 am- Decide it is time to jump in the shower. I always need a shower to really wake up in the morning.

6:50 am- Start making breakfast. Have a tough decision whether to eat two packets of oatmeal or just one. Grab two, put one back, grab two. I know the race is pretty short but I do not want to be hungry before the race. Make decision two is good.

6:55 am- Eat breakfast in front of the TV during one of the national morning shows. Since I had already flipped through my 7 channels 5 times, I watched a pretty awful Neil Diamond concert (sorry for you ND fans). Just what I need to get inspired for a race, right? At least I will have my I-Pod with some good run music to help me along.
7:19 am- Tim and Andy show up. I would like to thank them for hauling me downtown so I didn’t have to drive. It was like I had my own chauffer service. Maybe I should be up with the elite:)

7:28 am- We find great parking spot just south of the arena. You have to love a 10 minute car ride to a race. Here we get all geared up grab our trusty FRS and head down to the staging areas. 7:43 am- Arrive at Starbucks to meet up with Zach to give him is number. Spend a little bit of time getting warm and watching everyone get their pre-race caffeine fix. I am not sure how anyone would walk let alone run with one of those drinks in their stomachs.

7:48 am- Guy tells me my race chip can not be read unless it is in a vertical position on your ankle. Last year I placed it in my shoelaces and had no problem, but thank you for the advice.

7:52 am- Bathroom Break #1. And the nervousness starts even though I feel great and I don’t think I am nervous.

8:02 am- Arrive at the yellow staging area. Now the blood starts pumping and I am starting to feel the energy.

8:04 am- Realize I have forgot my Ipod. SH*T! How am I supposed to run this race without music? I spent an hour this week getting all the right songs loaded up for the big day. Make mental decision that I will not have music in any other races this year and it is time to toughen up.

8:07 am- Our group: Tim, Andy, Zack and I take up residents in our spot before the race. This is where we will spend the next 50 minutes standing until our group gets to go.

8:14 am- Bathroom Break #2. I take off into the STA plaza and make my way upstairs to the bathrooms. There is no line. SWEET! I am not sure why so many people stand in those long porta potty lines. Let’s keep those bathrooms as our little secret. And yes it has only been 20 minutes since I last went.

8:18 am- Arrive back and group. Eric joins us shortly after and now I have someone to pace off of. His plan was to run a sub 50 minute race so I was hoping to stick with him for the first few miles.

8:25 am- Need to go to the bathroom AGAIN. There has to be something wrong with me but the only time this happens is right before a race. I decide I better wait a bit longer to make sure this is my last.

8:26 am- My heart rate monitor will not work. I can not seem to figure out why it will not start picking up my heart rate. I get the sensors all wet and still nothing. I will probably not let my heart rate dictate my pace in such a short race but I still would like to have some readings. I spend the next few minutes trying to get it to work.

8:32 am- Take 2 Ibuprofen and 2 Aleve to help with my sore shines and possibly keep any irritation down with my achilles.

8:33 am- Bathroom Break #3. Back into the STA plaza. I run past the long lines at the porta potty and have to wait all of 1 minute and I am good to go. I try to see if heart rate monitor will start working and it does. NICE! I decide now I would go for a quick warm-up just to get the blood pumping to the legs. I am excited that my foot is not bothering me and I feel pretty fresh.

8:40 am- Start heading back to the group. Section yellow is really starting to fill up and it takes a while to join back up with the group. I finally found them and everyone is ready to get going.

8:50 am- Would really like to make one last bathroom stop before we get out on the course. Last year I was able to run over to one of the outhouses just as yellow started and was still able to make it back in time. This year I was trying to run with a group and knew this wasn’t going to work.

8:54 am- Throw shirt into tree and it STAYS!! Victory #1 DONE!

8:55 am- Take my Powerbar gel and all I can think about is where I can pee.

9:00 am- Yellow begins to move forward. At this point I realize that there was going to be no bathroom break and I was just going to have to hold it. GREAT!!

9:05 am- Bloomsday 2008 begins. I still need to go but I am hoping after I start running my mind will switch to the race ahead. I start off following Eric as we dart in and out of people. I always feel like I am in the game of Pong for the first mile or so.

Mile ¾- I run up on Jessi. She was unable to find us at the race start but she was able to get a much better start position. It was great to wish her luck.

Mile 1- Time: 6:21. I knew the first time was going to be pretty fast with the adrenaline pumping but I feel good. I will shortly get set in a comfortable pace.

Mile 1.1- Porta potty off to the right. I start to think to myself this could be my chance. I make up my mind that I will stop and as I come around there is some other fool waiting in line. Looks like I am not the only one but there is no way I am going to wait for him to finish. I head off down the road.

Mile 1.9- Bathroom Break #4. See large group of porta potties. There is no way all of them are full so I run off course and jump in the first one I can see that is empty. 16 seconds later I am out and back on the course. Feeling like a million dollars I take off like a Kenyan and then realize that a full out sprint for the next 5.5 miles is not a good idea.

Mile 2- Time: 7:04- I know my pace is still under 7 minutes per mile because of the pee break and now all I have to think out is running. SIGHHHHH! At this point I see Tim running a few yards ahead of me. It was extremely easy to pick out the Tri-Fusion shirt and was nice to run with him for a bit.

Mile 2.85- Ask Tim if I missed mile three. I personally feel the mile between 2 and 3 had to be the most difficult. I know that Doomsday is pretty steep but this mile just keeps going up and up. Tim informs me that we are not there yet. Thanks buddy.

Mile 3- Time 7:02- I had a feeling that there would be at least one mile over 7 minutes and I am pretty stoked at this point to see that it was only over by 2 seconds.

Mile 4- Time 6:51- Running past the college. I realized that this goes way faster on the bike during BLT’s. My legs are feeling pretty strong and I am looking forward to seeing what Doomsday has in store for me this year.

Mile 5- Time 6:56- Still under my goal pace and at near the top of Doomsday. After talking with a few people about race strategy I decide to try and actually run down hill towards TJ Meinach. Normally I tend to just slow up a bit because you are running downhill. This time is was an all out run. The strategy worked pretty well. At this point I can now see Eric about 30 yards ahead and I am going to do my best to chase him down.

Mile 6- Time 6:49- I picked up the pace a bit and my legs are feeling pretty good. I have caught Eric and he informs me that Doomsday kicked his butt. I completely understand but I am feeling fast and it is time to kick it into go gear.

Mile 7- Time 6:43- I begin to wonder if I can break 50 minutes for the race. I set my goal of 52 knowing that would be a solid improvement from last year but deep down I really wanted to be sub 50. At this point I am wondering if my damn bathroom break is going to screw me over and I am going to come in with a time like 50:14 or something like that.

Mile 7.46- Time 2:52. The last half mile was run at a 6:13 pace. Gotta like that. Finishing time was 50:43 so I guess the bathroom break didn’t completely ruin my day. You get to play the game "Where's Steve".
I was pretty pleased with my time. Jessi was giving me a hard time afterwards for not being really excited about beating my goal of 52 minutes. I have a hard time showing tons of emotion when it comes to racing but I was definitely pleased.

Some people look at me and think I am crazy for not being so happy but I know that I CAN and WILL do better. I am relatively new to running and triathlons but I keep going back to the word, Potential. I should celebrate the small victories like today but being such a competitive person I know my potential is much greater. I finished this race knowing that if I would have trained harder or was a bit more dedicated I could have set a time that even shocked myself. When that day comes, I promise you I will show some emotion.

A few of us stuck around and tried to congratulate all the people we knew as they crossed the finish line. It was great to see so many familiar faces and share in their excitement. I need to give a special shout out to Jessi for her 6 minute PR and especially for Tiff’s 11 minute PR. Way to go girls.
Afterwards Tim had made a crazy commitment of doing a second loop so we headed up to the car. Tim joined Crazy Joe (Tim’s nickname) and they took off. Maybe next year during Ironman training I will be that crazy:)
I had to make it a point to Tim that Andy and I were going to treat ourselves to some Maggie Moos. There is not better thing then some cold ice cream after a long hot run.

I finished off the day relaxing in the sun and then joining the Swanson’s and Gallagher’s for some great BBQ and recapping of the day’s events. Another Bloomsday down and next years goal is already set. Sub 48!!