Crazy Carl and Squirrel (*Explicit Material*)

Crazy Carl...he is this furry little animal who is just a bit too comfortable for my liking.

As I am sitting on the back deck, Crazy Carl lands on the railing and walking towards me. It was a slow, stealthy walk but he was definitely more interested in me than I was in him. Eventually he moved to within about 3 feet and without fear just stared me in the eyes. I am telling you...this was crazy. I have seen hundreds if not thousands of squirrels in my life and never once has one made me feel like it was going to attack me.
I am guessing it was because this thing is starving but I really didn't care...it had this crazy look in its eye and with absolutely no fear of humans. I didn't feel the need to stick around and let this thing start eating me alive. It was at this point Carla thinks he is cute and we should feed him...though I am pretty sure she never once came outside to face this crazy creature.

Here is Crazy Carl following me up the stairs.
It became pretty comedic as Rory soon realized I wasn't the crazy one and this thing was insane.

Rory thinking he isn't afraid of Crazy Carl...don't let his physque fool you...he ran too.

As for Squirrel:

When you rent a place, it is always a surprise when you meet the neighbors. In our case, we have one neighbor who we will now call Squirrel. Squirrel doesn't get a long with ANYONE in the neighborhood. There is word around that more than a few families have moved out of because of this guy. Kinda scary...but nothing to cry wolf about.
Look closely!!!
So the story goes, Squirrel believes he is the rightful owner of the land that is behind about three houses, our rental included and from the city website (he actually does) but I don't think my other neighbors care. Since one day when we came home we had this nice little surprise waiting for us...or I mean it is actually for Squirrel. It amazes me how grown adults handle some situations...good thing I will be a kid forever :)
And just in case you couldn't read it!!!
But what else would you expect...just another day in the neighborhood.


Race Report: Coeur d' Alene Olympic Triathlon

Leading up to this race I really focused on getting a few runs under my belt. I know two weeks is hardly enough time to become good at ANYTHING (it might be different for you) but I just wanted to have a couple consistent weeks of running before the Coeur d' Alene Tri. I have a feeling it benefitted me more mentally then it did physically but I didn't care, I was going to run.

It started off with me entering a local 5K the Tuesday after Race the River with the plan of running hard and seeing when I would fail. I am happy to report that I didn't die though with a heart rate of 198 over the last .1 miles...I am pretty sure I was on the verge. I did set a new open 5K PR of 19:14 for the distance (my Bloomsday 5K split was about 1 minute faster) so I knew my legs had a little bit of speed in them...but the trick would be to have it off the bike.
After my new PR!!!
I would have been faster if I was wearing a shirt like the kid in the background...

So over then next week and a half it was all about the run. My bike sat in the house...exactly like it was after my last race and didn't move until I loaded it up for the race on Saturday morning. I did get a few rides in on my road bike but that was it.

As I went to bed Friday night and set the alarm for the UNGODLY zero hour of 3:45AM, I was excited to see how it would go. So FREAKIN' excited in fact that I couldn't even fall asleep...like a kid on Christmas eve. All in all, I think I slept about 30 minutes...nothing like trying to amp yourself up when all you can think about is lying down. It got to the point where I actually contemplated rolling up my transition towel and just taking a quick nap next to my bike...but I figured I would wake up with a wetsuit dripping on me as the first swimmers were coming out of the water.

I also decided to do this race without a watch and just go by feel. No heart rate to keep low or time to try and beat, I was out there to race with my legs and just see what happened.

The Swim:
The great thing about doing a race each year is that you can see how much you have improved from the previous year.
Photo by Rory Buck
As the gun went off, I went out hard. The plan was to position myself up near the front, find some feet and settle into a solid pace. As we started in, I felt some open water immediately but knew with some serious swimmers in the bunch and it would take long for the wave of people to come flying by...and that took all of about 15 seconds. As I reach the bouy I found a familiar friend right next to me.
Unorganized Chaos!!!
Photo by Rory Buck
For the next 15 minutes or so, Nate Duncan and I swam stroke for stroke. I was able to draft of the EAC for a bit on the backside of the course and try to pull my fair share too. As we made the final turn back towards the finish I tried to open it up a bit, only to find Nate right there. Two years ago, I had a similar experience, he happen to be the guy who got the little extra kicking, see Coach Kevin and Rory...even triathletes can kick while swimming...but this year as we are wisely veterans, we were able to keep it clean and with a last little push and some swim traffic ahead of us, I was able to finish strong and swim what I believe is a new PR for that 'distance'.
Heading into T1
Photo by Rory Buck
2010- 24:38
2090- 19:27
2008- 26:05
2007- 30:41

Transition 1:
When you are not as 'fast' as everyone else around you, a quick way to make up time is in transitions. I have always made it a point to use this as my advantage and pick up those valuable seconds. After a quick challenge from Roger Thompson to have the fastest transitions (nothing like a little extra competition) I was ready to go.
My Transition Area...Key to successful transitions!
Photo by ME ;)
At Race the River I was passed by 3 or 4 people on the run up to the bikes. NOT THIS WEEK!!! I came out of the water flying. As soon as I reached the park I picked up the pace and flew through transition like I was being chased by the cops.

Sprinting towards my bike.
Photo by Kathy Worden
Even without the best location (near the exit since they had to run less with their bikes), I was able to have the fastest T1 at 53 seconds which was 5 seconds faster then my buddy Derek Garcia and 3 seconds faster than last year.

The Bike:
You only have a good bike if you have a good run. Since my focus for this race was the run, I knew I needed to be a bit conservative on the bike. It wasn't that I didn't ride hard I just didn't push myself like I normally would. It felt more important to leave a little more in the tank and give myself a chance on the run.
Photo by Rory Buck
The great thing about this bike course is that it keeps you honest. You can't go to hard at any one point or you will suffer bad later on. I really think this bike course suits me well though. There is a great mix of flats, rollers and a 'small' 3 mile hill thrown right in the middle.
Leaving the shoes on my bike!
Photo by Kathy Worden
I know I could have easily pushed myself harder and had a much faster bike split but that wasn't the goal for this race and even if I could have have gained 1 minute on the bike, with my current run it could have added 3-4 minutes on the run. As it turned out, I was 3 seconds slower than last year but think I probably rode easier. It is a good sign my bike fitness is there.

2010- 1:06:09
2009- 1:06:06
2008- 1:09:31
2007- 1:12:32 (shorter course)

Transition 2:
Once again I was trying to put down a solid T2. I had a couple issues trying to roll my bike along but was still able to lay down a solid 30 second time which was good for 2nd. I was beat by 3 seconds but was 8 seconds faster than last year.
Photo by Dave Erickson

The Run:
I can't say I was dreading the run but I was very nervous and didn't know how I would feel or how to attack it. I had a few people out in front of me to chase down...which never happens and I knew I had some dang fast runners behind me who were going to be flying.
Smiling on the run...must have been a good race!
Photo by Rory Buck
Since I had no watch or heartrate monitor, this was going to be on complete feel. I left transition with a 23 yr old and made it a goal to keep him in sight. I NEVER pass anyone on the run and usually get passed by 2 or 3 people before the finish. This time was going to be different.
Photo by Rory Buck
As we headed out, I really focused on keeping my pace up and it helped to have the 23 yr old to pace off of. At one point I actually passed him and he was pacing off of me...I know CRAZY!!! I pretty much caulked it up to him not knowing who I was :)
Just around the park!
Photo by Kathy Worden
Since Nate and fellow Tri-Fusion teammate Trevor Blackwell didn't catch me on the bike I knew they were back there somewhere. I was leaving transition when Nate was coming in and figured I had about 40-60 second lead. It didn't take Nate long to catch me and by mile 1.5 he was pulling away. Now it was up to me to stay focused and race my race.
And DONE!!!
Photo by Rory Buck
Overall, I am very pleased with my run. It definitely wasn't my fastest run split for a 10K or even at this race but with the struggles I had at Race the River, it was great to be able to run consistent and finish the race. I probably could have run just a bit faster but it is easy to say that now...not so much when you are struggling for each last bit of oxygen coming to the finishline.

2010: 42:40
2009: 41:29
2008: 42:18
2007: 49:41
I have the EXACT same photo from last year...
Photo by Rory Buck
Thanks again to my roommates Rory and Carla for coming out to cheer and take some awesome pictures. Also thank you to everyone for the text messages and cheering me along. It was not my best race but a race that I can build on and now work to improve.

Until next time...


Good Morning 50 Meter Pool

This morning we had our first of 4 weeks of swimming at Witter Pool. Now it has been almost 2 years since I last swim at Witter or any other 50 meter pool and knew I was going to be for a bit of a surprise on how different it is...
Chillin' in between sets!!!
Swimming in 25 yard pools requires flipturns...like a lot of flipturns...hence why a we deemed last season the 'Year of the Flipturn' and pretty much forced ourselves to flipturn during every practice. It started of bad...REAL BAD...but we stuck with it and now I actually like the little 1/10th of a second break you get off each wall. This is not the case at this pool.
The other end is down there somewhere!
So back to Witter and the journey that is required to reach the other side. I left the pool edge on my first trip down and to my surprise I was able to grab breakfast with my aunt and uncle in Seattle when I reached the other end...and yeah it felt that far. On my way back I stopped in Moses Lake at Chico's Pizza Parlor for some lunch. (BTW- The word on the street is Chico's is worth the trip from Spokane just to grab pizza).

On a more serious note...the diving boards and slide were NOT open today...and if you know anything about this group of swimmers, this is completely UNACCEPTABLE!!! They best get that sh#t together because we have some serious diving competitions coming up. But if all else fails...there are always KILL SETS!!!

Watch Yo Self!!!
So for the next few weeks we will be swimming outside and watching the sun come up...pretty freaking cool if you ask me.


Race The River 2010- Race Report

I know this may sound ridiculous but I considered this my first triathlon of the season. I know that Ironman is a triathlon but in my mind, it's really 3 different races that just happen to be done back to back to back. Race the River is a sprint triathlon or as I like to think of it, 1 hour of pain!

I was actually pretty excited to do this race. Last year I had 4 or 5 races under my belt by now. So being my first 'real race', I wanted to get out and see where I was at. I had done a few hard efforts in training since Ironman but nothing like what you experience in a race and knew it was going to urt.

Race the River is a great local race put on by Christine and Curt DuPuis and honestly, these two know exactly how to put on a triathlon. They are always looking for ways to improve and make their races top notch. Case in point, they added an elite wave to the mix. Since the bike course can be a bit crowded and a chance to race against the top athletes, I put myself in the elite wave and tried to hang on for dear life.

Pre-race consisted of me completely freaking out. As I went to air up my front tire, I had to removed the valve extension to make sure the valve stem would take air. When I went to put it back on I couldn't get each piece to line up. For some reason, my tire was actually spinning on the wheel which resulted in me having to completely removing my tire and putting it back on. Greg was able to offer a little help but I can't say how freakin' nerve racking something like that can be. Since the tires are suppose to be glued on and with this course having some serious corners...I really had to make sure at take it easy around each one.

Trying to get my tire back on!

With a disaster diverted and only a few minutes to spare, I put on my wetsuit and headed for the swim start.

The Swim:
This is my first hard effort in an open water swim. The kind where you are positive your heart will jump out of your chest and become fish food at any moment. As the gun went off, I did my best to go out fast and try to find some feet of a faster swimmer. I have never been good at drafting during the swim and I usually just forge my own way.

Picture by Rory Buck
Even though I knew it would be difficult to keep up the current pace the entire time, I was able to find some feet and did my best to stick with them. At one point, I was sure he veered way left which left me with open water in front of me. Convinced it would be best to stay in my line, I left his feet and tried to focus on keeping a similiar effort. Eventually I could see my draft slowly pulling ahead and even with a brief surge I was unable to close the gap and was forced to slow back down and get back into the comfortable...yet uncomfortable pace of a sprint tri.
Heading up to the Transition (They all passed me before we got there)
Photo by My Dad
As we reach the exit ramp, I had one last surge to avoid the congestion and think I came out of the water in 4th or 5th. Since it was a long run up to the tranistion area, I was passed by Nate, Greg and a few others but I was encouraged with my swim effort and excited to build on that.

The Bike:
After the long run and a mediocore T1, I was off on the bike. This is where I feel I have improved the most over the past couple of years...I really feel I can ride with some of the top racers. Starting in the elite wave gave me a wide open road which after hearing some stories from last year...was quite nice...if your heart pounding, legs burning and spit everywhere is nice :)

Picture by Rory Buck
I pushed hard on the bike. I didn't feel I was out of my 'Sprint' comfort zone but I was definitely pushing the limits. It took me the first two loops to get into a groove and before I knew it we were headed back into transition. I was able to chase down two guys and only let Nate going flying by. I was able to ride myself up into 5th pace and exited the bike ready to run...or so I thought.

Picture by Rory Buck
The Run:
I have never been a runner and honestly have never claimed to be, even back in high school track. I know that there is a good chance I will get passed and RARELY do I ever pass anyone myself. This race was no different.

Greg and I entered transition side by side and after a quick T2 I was out on the run course. I knew Greg was going to catch me, that really wasn't even a question. The big question was who is behind me and can I hold them off.

The great...or not so great...part of this race is the out and backs on the run. You are able to get an idea of how far behind you are and also how far ahead. At the first turnaround I was about 50 seconds up on 7th as Greg had passed me in the first quarter mile or so. I could also tell I was 1:00+ up on 8th...aka Germany (he was wearing one of those national tri suits) and he was moving fast.

Heading into the finish!
On the second out and back, Germany was now in 7th and my shot at 6th was quickly evaporating. With few hard efforts in my legs, I honestly had no idea if I could have run faster, I did my best to stay consistent and just hope that I would run out of room before I was caught.

With a half mile to go, I got passed and did my best to run with him but Germany was flying and that dream fell like the Berlin Wall. I was still able to finish strong and ended up 7th overall.

And DONE!!!
The only problem is that my run split was SLOW...like REAL SLOW... for me. In any other race, Germany would have never caught me and I would have cruised on in. There are a number of reasons: Ironman training, going hard on the bike and the biggest culprit...just not running enough in training. But the good thing is that this can be fixed with a little hard work and a few more miles.

All in all, this was a great experience. The DuPuis sure know how to put on a quality race from the Kids duathlon and Expo on Saturday and the race on Sunday. They had over 800 people registered and if that ain't a sign of a good race...I am not sure what is.

Also a special thanks for my parents coming out to watch me race. Love having the support and hearing the cheers!!!