Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Beginning

First day of "off season". I told my wife, Sarah, yesterday that now it is her time. She is training for Boston and the next couple of months I am dedicated to her training. Whatever time she needs I will work around her schedule. Sarah has been my biggest supporter through all the Ironman training, marathon training and just all my training stuff. This training session for her is very important. We both have been juggling the two of us training for the last 2 months, but now I am fully supporting her and her goals. I am still in the training mode (which never go away), but I have backed off to maintain fitness and help her achieve the goal she has established for herself for the next 3 months.

I woke this morning at 5 AM to "go to" the track (not hit the track) with two of my closest training buddies. Jeff and Bob. The 3rd one, Jay was, well??? We have trained together for a number of years and I have always enjoyed their company. Michele, the LSU Swimmer (very fast) was going to meet us as well to run her track workout but I received a text from her that she was going later. She is having some quad issues she probably made the right choice. I will find out from her tomorrow in the pool how she is doing. I also need to give her the data I collected from the Half Ironman event. I met, Jeff and Bob at LTF in the lobby and we ran over to the high school track. The air was cool and the morning pitch black. No moon to shine some light on our run to the track and around the track. Venus and Mars were dominating the skies this morning with Venus being the brightest object in the sky. It was calming to look up and see millions of stars in an area that is overpopulated with street lamps and other lighting. When we got to the track the only visual reference we had was the white lines on the track. We ran a scouting run around the track to move any debris, hoses, benches, trash cans, etc from our running path. Bob, who is training for a qualifying time for Boston was running: 2 X 1200M & 4 X 800M's. Jeff was running 5X (2 minutes fast then 2 minutes easy). Both Bob & Jeff are training on the Furman Institute Program. Jay, who just finished Augusta Half Ironman as well was MIA. Jay is also going to qualify for Boston, but took the day off, I guess. I decided to run the outside lane (Lane 8) at a moderate pace just to get the blood moving. We all started our different workout routines. The morning was so aphotic that 100 meters out you lost all visual contact with the runner in front of you. But the cool morning was so pleasurable that you got lost in your run and enjoyed the chill of the fall morning instead of the summer long Georgia humidity we have been experiencing. I saw that Bob was nailing all of his set times, with a little huffing and puffing. After the workout I looked up his times he was supposed to run. They were too fast. Jeff continued to looked strong on the fast then easy's. I thought about form and trying to increase my efficiency while circling the track. It was nice just to run without a set number of miles, a set time or a set pace. Just running was enjoyable. We all finished up our routines, the morning was still so black that when Bob finished his last 800M and stopped another runner almost ran him over. Neither Bob nor Jeff and I saw him cruise by us. I thought Bob was going to knockout another 800M just to show him who's boss. But he maintained his composure and we made our way back to the gym. When we get together the conversation is always lively even on the warm down runs. We got back to the gym and stretched then went our separate ways to start our day. It was a good start to the beginning.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The End

I have created a blog to document my end to the beginning. This first posting will document the end of my triathlon season and the beginning of my journey towards a 3 hour Boston Marathon time. I have set the bar high as a 43 year old dude, but if bars are not set high then I figure why even try? As I sit here with my youngest daughter, Ellie who helped me create this blog I gather my thoughts on where to start this end.

The best place to end is me standing in the Augusta Common area after the Inaugural Iron Man Augusta 70.3 event.

After a grueling race...

The reason this race was so grueling had nothing to do with physical fitness but mechanical and mental issues that plagued me during the race. I finished this particular event but some of the obstacles I ran into:
  • Getting sucker punched in the river during my Wave by a swimmer swimming perpendicular to the flow of the river.
  • Cleats that were too small for my Look Pedals.
  • 3 Flat tires and running out of tubes, CO2 and having a broken regulator.
  • Rear derailleur was out of line and chain kept jumping off the small ring.
  • The aid stations running out of cups on the run.
  • My mental facilities eroding on the first flat to when I crossed the Finish Line well over an hour + of my set goal time.
You are probably thinking, what? how? why? come on! There is no way all of this could happen to a single individual during a race. Well, it did. But, if it was not for an angel that came riding up on a bike, I would have had the letters; D-N-F by my name. That angel was Michelle an AG 40-44W participant who stopped to not only provide me the supplies I needed, but change my tire and pumped air as well. I am truly grateful for her unselfish deed. If it was not for Michelle I would have not finished that day and would have been devastated. For that I am truly thankful.

But enough about the negative. The positives:

  • Building new friends during training that will last a life time.
  • Understood more about what this sport is about than just a selfish race.
  • All my friends PR'd or Placed at this event.
  • Helped Michelle with her Grad Study Thesis during the event.
  • Learned more about myself and how to overcome obstacles.
There are a lot more positives when you think about it than the 6 hours of negatives I encountered.

It is best to show them in pictures:

Todd, Jay and me at Luigi's

New Friends through training;
Jennifer, Randy, Susan and of course...Ann Marie

The Bike Gang
Rebecca, Jay, me, Melissa, Jennifer & Ann Marie

Ann Marie (She's turning Pro) & Brian the "Happy Dude" for a sub-5 70.3 event
So this is the end. It was the end to a great training season for triathlons and I have made some good friends along the way. Each one of these special people have a passion for doing their best in whatever they do and that is why I gravitate to them.

Tomorrow marks the beginning to a new journey. I am officially in "off season" mode until December 28th when I start Boston Marathon Training. In the meantime, I am going to do what I enjoy, drink beer, run, swim and most of all support the following people in their quest for the Holy Grail, the Qualifying time for Boston. It is my goal to see each one of them hit their qualifying goal a the Rocket City Marathon in Hunstville, AL on December 12th which gives me as much satisfaction as crossing the line myself:
  • Sarah: My Wife and biggest supporter in the crazy stuff I do
  • Wren: Sarah's Training Partner and her friend
  • Tracey: My baby sister
  • Jay: My arch-nemesis (the one that pushes me the hardest because he is always on my heels)
  • Bob: The Bullet and an awesome running companion & friend
  • Ann Marie: The most competitive, nicest athlete (person) I know, even though she kicked my behind in a 10K and won't let me live it down!