The party was awesome and it was great to catch up with everyone. I will say that I did my fair share of beverage drinking and had to pay for it the next morning. I can’t say I was completely worthless but if there is anything just above that state, then I was there.
In case you were to busy trying to watch 'good football teams' play this weekend you missed a great game. Like they say, throw out the record books, honestly PLEASE throw them out, atleast for this year.
The Cougs came through with yet another awesome game and beat the Fuskies for the 4th time in the last 5 years. AWESOME!!
Then it was time to head to the old stomping grounds and celebrate my buddy’s wedding.The first glass of beer had memories of the night before but once it starts flowing; only trouble follows. The wedding was a blast.
Apparently there was a box of glasses from the 1950’s sitting around and what kind of party would it be if they were just left laying there. Definitely a highlight of the night was seeing all the different types of glasses people actually wore back then.
Well, I can definitely say I am glad this weekend is over. Now it is time to go through detox and get back to REAL life.
Last weekend were my first two trips to the gym and it took until this morning for my body to feel up to actually working out again. It is amazing how many different muscles are used during weight training.
Well on Monday night, Kevin our master’s coach, introduced me to the Finis Tempo Trainer. This little toy really helps me focus on having a consistent and strong stroke throughout each set. You place the little gadget up under your cap and it beeps at a specified interval. Though the sound could be annoying to some, I find it way more helpful.
It was fun experimenting with different stroke intervals and I notice how difficult it was to finish with the same cadence that was SO easy in the beginning. I by no means am an expert in swimming or teaching swimming but if you ever get an opportunity to use one of these you might just find some benefit.
PS. Try setting the interval to 0:50 (half of a second) and swim. Apparently this is what the Olympians swim their 50m sprints at. It feels like you are just throwing you arms in front of you as fast as you can.
After walking through the extremely large downtown district, all 3 blocks of it, we decided to head to the local brewery for a few drinks and some appetizers. Little did we know what we were getting ourselves into.
As we grabbed the closest table, we noticed that a band was setting up on a small stage right next to us. We thought this could be fun, sitting here listening to some live local music.
Before you knew it, there were probably 10 people gathering around with bongo drums. We are now trying to comprehend what is actually going on. Apparently every Tuesday night the locals gather at the brewery and have a drum circle. They all get together, bring their own drums and instruments and sit around and play music. There was even a didgeridoo, who knew they actually play thouse things outside of Australia. They encourage dancing and if you are game, you can even join in and play one of the extra drums.
Lyara and I playing in the band.
First off, Lyara jumps to the side of the stage and grabs a drum. Before you know it Natalie is sitting next to here also playing a drum. Since I really didn't want to just sit back and do nothing I jumped in for a few minutes. It has to be one of the weirdest, most interesting, and fun times of our trip.
Here is some video of this crazy night.
I WILL HOPEFULLY GET THE VIDEO UP SOON!So if any of you have an extra set of bongo drums and want to join my band just let me know.
2. There is enough carbon fiber to build an aircraft.
3. There are age-group athletes that can do a half-ironman in less than 4 hours.
4. You can PR on your swim by over 4 minutes and still be 80 out of 92 in your age group.
I went to bed on Friday night knowing that Saturday morning was going to be an adventure. Some of the best athletes in the world will be there and of course little old me. After getting up at zero o’clock once again, we got ready and headed down to Clearwater to get the day started.
After dropping off my bike and gear bags yesterday, there really wasn’t to much to do before the race and since my wave started 75 minutes after the pros I had a long time to wait. Most of the time was spent hanging out with Greg, Natalie and Lyara and watching many of the age-groupers waves going off in 5 minute intervals.
In transition before the race.
Greg and I before the race.
After a quick warm-up swim, I was in the athlete corral and it was time to go. Trying to take the whole atmosphere in, I talked with a few of my fellow athletes to see how they felt. Here is my brief conversation with a guy from Rhode Island:
Steve: How’s it going, you feeling ready.
Fast Guy: Yep, you?
Steve: Yeah, should be a fun day.
Steve: Where did you qualify?
Fast Guy: Rhode Island.
Steve: That’s cool.
Fast Guy: How about you?
Steve: Lake Stevens, I took a role down slot.
Fast Guy: Doesn’t matter, you are here.
Steve: That’s true.
Steve: How fast you planning on doing this?
Fast Guy: 4 hours!!!
Steve (to self): Holy Shit!! What am I doing here?
Steve: Well you have a good chance at being near the top.
Fast Guy: That’s the plan.
Steve: Good luck.
Fast Guy: You too.
Steve (to self): I need more than luck:)
Back at home I had this brilliant idea of sprinting down the beach and trying to enter the water first. Well that plan was quickly forgotten as soon as I was standing there looking at some of the greatest athletes in the world and knowing that getting swam over really doesn’t sound like fun.
So I am standing at the starting line, getting ready to race the biggest race of my life. I am not sure why but I wasn’t really nervous. My energy was up and all I wanted to do was give this race my best effort and not come in last place for my age-group.
The cannon goes off and my race begins. We all start wading into the water and we were off. The first few hundred yards were a bit rough with getting punched a few times in the eye but I was able to get into a good grove and just did my best to keep the feet in front of me in sight. I was hoping to hang on as best I could and try to not be the last one out of the water.
Exiting the water, heading to T1
As I was approaching the beach I just focused on staying calm and keeping my effort steady. I swam until my hand reached the sand and stood up. Starting running through the water while taking my wetsuit off. After I was halfway up the beach I looked at my watch and saw 32:50’s and new that I had a great swim. My goal was sub 35:00 and if I was sub 32:00 that would have been freaking awesome.
I went down the beach, through the showers, pass the wetsuit pullers and into the transition area. At this point I had no idea where I stood but once I say T1 almost empty I knew that I was near the back of the pack.
Heading out of T1
I quickly grabbed my bike and headed out of transition ready for my longest ride since July 6th. I heard Natalie and Lyara cheering which was great motivation to get going.
One of the negatives about starting in the last wave of the world championships is that there is absolutely no one behind you and since EVERYONE else is so fast there really isn’t too many people in front of you either. I spent the first hour trying to chase some people down so I didn’t feel like I was out there all by myself.
I started to see the famous packs of rides that are so common for the world championships and I really wondered what was going through some of their minds and why they were so content at sitting on the wheel in front of them. I know that it is very difficult to get out of the packs but there is a reason it is against the rules and the athletes need to respect the rules and do their best to not cheat.
After one of the first turn-around’s I began to catch some of the waves ahead of me and was beginning to join some of the packs of riders. I rode up on the first group and decided I would do my best to pass a few and try my best to not draft. After passing one group of riders I noticed rider number 1249, Robert, was pulling a group of three girls for the last few miles.
I asked him how he was doing since he was pulling them along and he laugh. It was at that moment that I passed and my good buddy Robert jumped on my wheel. This was the beginning of a long day for Robert looking at my ass. Literally he was on my wheel for well over the next 15-20 miles. At one point I looked back and there was a pack of at least 20 if not more than 30 people in a straight line right be ME. I felt like Roger on our famous Greenbluff loops. They were all there content sitting on my wheel and letting me pull them throughout the race.
I know the smartest thing to do would have been to pull for a bit and then let someone else take the lead and give me a break. But I didn’t come here for a training ride. I if had a chance to win this or even be competitive then maybe I would have done something different. For me personally it was about racing my race. I hind sight this might have caused me to push a little to hard and struggle a bit during the run but I was ok with that.
I really felt strong throughout most of the bike. I knew I was pushing a bit harder than normal because of the people on my wheel but at no point did I feel that I was overexerting myself. I was glad to see that Robert and a few other riders actually received some time penalties for their drafting, which helped justify why I rode like I did.
As we made our way back into town, at about mile 45, I started to wish the bike was over. I had a feeling this would probably happen since this was as far as I had rode in any training rides since my last half Ironman race. My legs were beginning to tire and my speed dropped dramatically. Unless you were following the Ironman website when I was averaging 201,600 mph.
I finally made my way back over the causeway and into Clearwater Beach to make my transition to the run. As I dismounted my bike my legs felt pretty good and I was through T2 pretty quick.
Running my first lap.
In my last two half’s my first mile pace was in the low seven’s. I know this is too fast and did what I could to slow down. My first mile was just over 8 minutes and I felt like I was going slow. I tried to keep that pace and my next two miles were in the same ballpark. It was now that I wanted to pick the pace up and see if I could reach my goal of 5:10 for the entire race.
This is also when the wheels began to fall off. I am not sure exactly what happened, but I am sure it was a combination of the length of the workout, a bit of dehydration and the heat. Each mile began to get worse and worse. I wish it would have been my knee because I knew I could have ran through the pain, but instead it was my stomach. It wasn’t the pain I experienced in Boise with the side stitch but and overall stomach ache.
Each time I tried to increase my effort the stomach got worse. I SLOWLY watched each mile get slower and slower, until it was a struggle to stay under 12 minute miles. My body was not ready for this kind of torture and it showed as I began to fade and I looked forward to each aid station so I could walk. My quads and right calf muscles began to cramp and walking was the only thing that felt good. I believe I stopped only 2-3 times between aid stations to walk for just a few second, but it felt like an eternity.
I finally reached the causeway for the final time and told myself that I would not walk no matter what. I am pretty sure I was shuffling slower than a snail but I did not walk. The last few miles were pretty brutal but I did cross the finish line and received my world championship medal. This was definitely not how I wanted my race to go but with how my training has been, I really and not shocked by the results.
Icing the quads after the race.
Since my training had been nothing short of sub-par, everything that happened in this race made complete sense. I could have gone out there and just slowly went through the race but I wanted to come here and give it all I had. Even though this year it wasn’t enough to finish strong, I learned that if I ever want to make it back to an event like this there was to be a dedication and desire that goes beyond just being a triathlete. I really don’t know how this race will affect me in the future but it was definitely a great learning experience.
Now it’s time to go play in the sun:)
Nat, Greg and I on our run. Notice our fancy new visors.
We followed the ride up with a run and our new visors, Thanks Emma. Also thanks to my awesome teammates for the goodies and great quotes for the bike. It will definitely be inspiration while I am out there sweating my ass off.
P-Dub all ready to go.
Time to play like a champion. Thanks B's.
After a quick shower and final packing Natalie, Greg and Leara showed up at 4:45am to pick me up and we headed to the airport. It was still dark and I am pretty sure I was still half asleep. Check-in went smooth and before we knew it we were on the plane and headed to Florida. Our first stop was Salt Lake and the flight attendant informed us that it was a balmy 23 degrees. I was just glad I got to stay in the airport and was headed to sunny Tampa.
I have never been able to sleep on planes but I was optimistic that this would be my day. I had been up since the butt crack of dawn and the movie they were playing was a classic. Journey to the Center of the Earth, the new one, and if that couldn't put me to sleep then nothing can.
We finally arrived in Florida and were welcomed by a nice sunny sky. The weather is warm and the beaches look awesome. After grabbing out luggage we headed to the bike shop, with the help of Betsy, to pick up my bike and then we were off to dinner.
Well tomorrow I do my first official ocean swim and I have to tell you I am a bit nervous. Then we get all checked in and it actually becomes official. I have this weird feeling that the atmosphere might be just a 'little' different then Boise or Lake Stevens. Thanks for all the well wishes and I hope to keep you updated throughout the trip.
I have yet to ride over two hours for a few months and only have a handful of long rides. P-Dub has been in the back of a FedEx truck for the last week snuggling up to all the other lonely boxes. I just got word that he has arrived in Tampa and the weather is absolutely awesome. I haven’t heard if there was any damage during the trip since he was too busy hangin’ at the beach trying to pick up on the hot lady bikes rolling around.
Last weekend I was able to get in my first long run 1.5 hrs and covered about 10.5 miles. I was relieved that I felt good at the end, so that is a bonus. Thanks to Tim for joining me and getting me out for one last good effort.
As I leave the nice ‘COLD’ confines of my house in search of some sun and warmer weather, can’t wait to get the race started. Since dominating a race of this caliber is only for the best, I know what I should be capable of and anything less will just not work.
In case you are up at some ungodly hour out here on the west coast, my heat starts at 5:00am PST or 8:00am EST. My athlete number is #1411 and you can track all athletes at http://ironman.com/worldchampionship70.3.
I hope to keep you all posted on all the fun adventures in Clearwater. Stay Tuned!
Well, I VOTED. This is a first for me. I am not sure why I haven't voted in the past but this year was the first time. There are no excuses and I guess I could be one of the millions to blame for our current state of chaos.