Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My first impression the second time around

My first trip to Lake Placid was last summer when Vin and I decided to volunteer and sign up for 2010. My first impression was that I wanted in... I wanted to push myself and see what I could accomplish. While we watched the run I was both excited and nervous. Could I do this? Should I do this? The Ironman seems both insane and impressive and I still wanted in. My first impression was that if I trained properly I could do this, but thinking about this I had this impression based solely on seeing the run. I never saw the swim start and I never road the bike course. Hmmmm...

Fast forward to this past weekend in Lake Placid. I spent the weekend training with Coach cap, his brother Marc, Tom D., Art D. and my brother. I had a second chance
at a first impression. What I mean by this is that for the first time I was going to see the entire course. Let me say this loud and clear...this course is NO JOKE!

Vin and I headed up to LP On Friday morning and arrived around 2:30. After unpacking we headed out for a 13.1 run (1 loop of the two loop run course). Basically I'm the slowest runner of the group so I watched the guys pull away and I was left to run alone. The run course in LP is beautiful, but will be tough after the 112 mile bike ride. It will be easy to go out "fast" if the legs are there, but it will be punishing if that happens. The climbs back into Lake Placid will slap you in the face and then smerk at you as if to say "what are you doing to do about it?" It will be a fight.

Saturday consisted of riding the entire bike course (a two loop, 112 mile route) and a 4 mile run. Coach Cap gave each of us our prescribed wattage and outlined the race plan. On the first loop I followed my plan except for a few stretches where I pushed it. Big mistake. The loop contains some significant climbs, some screaming fast descents, followed by more climbing. The last 11 miles back to Lake Placid were uphill. Great...I get to do this again on the second loop. I heard the stories about the course, but they didn't do it justice. Living it, riding it, losing your legs on it, really made things clear.

Now keep in mind that we had a full training week under our belts and a half marathon in us from the day before. The second loop was going to suck and it did. Although I had energy, I didn't have any power at all. It's as if the legs wouldn't turn over. Long story short, I made it back but I was feeling it. I was feeling it every where. My legs, my neck, my mind, and let's just say the undercarriage isn't very happy.

When I got back to the condo to change for my run, Coach Cap was already there... bike finished, run finished. That boy can move! Anyway, he asked how I felt and I told him I was feeling it. I changed and headed out for the run. Surprisingly my legs were turning over. I had legs! Again, I'm not a fast runner. I just need to run without IT Band pain and the rest will take care of itself. As I ran alone, being the last one, I saw my brother heading back as I was heading out. He said that Coach Cap said that if we were feeling strong to run 6 miles instead of 4. Knowing I had legs I couldn't lie to myself. I had to run the 6 and I'm happy I did. I got through it and I accomplished
something I never had before.

On Sunday we finished with a loop of the swim course. Uneventful...but I know what's ahead. Imagine a fish tank full of Piranhas. Then drop a bloody piece of steak into it and watch what happens. Welcome to the start of Ironman Lake Placid. I'll be kicked, punched, and crawled over. I'll work hard to find a spot and get on the line.

Over all I'm very happy with the weekend. I know when race day comes I'll be rested, hydrated, and ready to go. I have 2 more weeks of hard work to get ready and then the taper begins.

My first impression the second time around can be summed up in one word: Respect
I have the utmost respect for this course, the challenge ahead, the athletes that have completed the event, the athletes that sacrificed to get to the line, but didn't make it.

Theodore Roosevelt said it best:

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

Respect!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

5 Weeks to go

It's starting to ramp up. 17.5 hours of training this week. It would have been 18 hours, but the ocean was freezing and a couple of my rides were 5-10 minutes short. My wife Keri-Ann pointed out that this is like having a part-time job. Today it felt like a full time job. 94 miles in the saddle and a 30 minute run. I'm feeling it. :-)

This past week Coach Cap kept my running at bay because of the foot issue I developed at Mooseman. The week after Mooseman my left foot was really painful, so we upped the bike and swim to give my foot some rest. I've been on my bike the last 6 out of 7 days, swam 3 days, and ran 3 times (1 hour and then 2 x 30 minute runs off the bike). Thankfully my foot is feeling better this week and that is due to my visit with Sara Thatcher. She seriously is some kind of body miracle worker. I'm not just saying that either. When I saw her last Monday morning I could hardly walk..3 hours after our session my foot felt 1,000 times better and my runs this week were much more bearable with a lot less pain. I'll see her again tomorrow for more work to keep my body in "peak" condition.

As I look back at my training and see the progress I've made I can't help think about the sacrifices. Not only mine, but my family's. I couldn't do this without the love and support of my wife Keri-Ann. She never gives me sh*t about a workout, she understands the physical demands, and she's there when I call her at 6:30 in the morning before my race and I'm crying for no particular reason. Ok, sometimes, especially when I'm tired, I get emotional. :-) Thank you hon!

And speaking of my family I'm excited to tell you that Keri-Ann and I will be expecting our second child on 1/1/11. :-) It certainly adds to the Journey and I couldn't be more exited.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My First Video Blog

I decided to give technology a try and see how this video blog thing might work. I hope you like it. :-)


video

Monday, June 7, 2010

Athlete 174 - Mooseman Half Ironman

Mooseman 70.3 - Race Report

Leading up to Mooseman I started to get very anxious, not because of my preparation, but because of the course. There is a big 3 mile climb which gets very steep, but I wasn't concerned about the climb. I was concerned about the descent and safety. It got to the point where that's all I was thinking about because the forecast was for rain. I pictured disaster after disaster which is not what you want to be picturing entering a race.

Unfortunately the mental toll got the best of me and I couldn't fall asleep the night before the race. Friday night I was on my feet most of the day and I only got 6 hours sleep. I though for sure I'd pass out Saturday night and sleep like a baby. Instead I couldn't fall asleep. I saw the clock tick 11 p.m. which meant if I feel asleep right at that moment I would get 5 hours. That didn't happen. I finally fell asleep only to wake up at 2:00 a.m. to drink a Boost Energy drink. When the alarm went off at 4:00 a.m. it was like a slap in the face, but we got right up and got ready. I new adrenaline would take over once the race started.

Swim:
The rain started and stayed with us the entire race. I got off to a solid start in the swim and felt very smooth. I kept thinking about all the things Craig taught me and kept focused on the task at hand. I had a clear lane to the buoys and hugged them perfectly. As I rounded the final buoy to head back into shore my goggles were really fogged up. That caused my one mistake on the swim. I drifted right instead of hugging the buoys. It cost me some time, but I felt great! Just over 35 minutes and feeling fresh.

T1:
My transitions have become pretty solid. Minimize what you need to do and move forward. Off on the bike.

Bike:
This was my main concern for the day because of the rain. My two thoughts the entire time were 1. Be safe.. just get down the hill safely and you'll be fine. 2. Hit your number (watts)...ok, I had one more thought. I wanted Vin to be safe too. Part of me was hoping that he'd catch me on the bike (he started a couple of waves behind) just so I knew he was ok. I didn't see him on the bike.

Overall I thought my effort on the bike was solid. Looking back at my file my watts could/should have been higher. I was working hard though and the conditions were challenging. I could feel my body getting cold, I could feel my leg muscles tighten. I hate making excuses, but I know there are a few reasons why legs could have felt better. With that said the watts don't lie. Coach Cap and I will review the file and go from there. Could have, should have, blah, blah, blah.


T2:
I came back into T2 soaking wet as did everyone else. My sneakers and socks were soaked and the body was cold. It was a bit of a challenge getting my socks on while keeping my balance so I didn't fall in the mud. I slipped into my shoes, grabbed my hat and water bottle and I was
off.

Run:
I had 3 goals for the run. 1. No GI issues 2. Get through it without any IT band pain and 3. finish strong. I run with my Garmin 310xt which has GPS and cadence. I make sure my turn over is over 90 RPM and keep an eye on my pace. It seemed like my pace was all over the place and wondered if I lost the satellite signal. My goal pace was suppose to be about 8:30 per mile, but I didn't want to push that pace just yet.

When I did the Patriot Half last year my stomach was all over the place and I thought I was going to have a very big problem on the run. In addition, with a couple of miles left, my left IT band tightened and I was in tremendous pain. Those two issues where on my mind, so I went a bit easier than planned. I also wanted to have a faster finish. As a decent cyclist and slow runner I am accustomed to see athlete after athlete run past me on the run. I decided to let it be and focus on my race. As I came to mile 10 my Garmin said mile 9.5 or something like that so I started to think that perhaps I had been running faster than I thought and that's when I could start to feel some muscles tighten, but not my IT band.

At that point I knew I had one more climb and then two miles of a downhill and then a flat stretch to the finish. As I looked at my watch I realized I'd have a shot at breaking 5:30 if I moved it. I pushed and pushed, but I felt like I wasn't moving. :-) I was starting to hurt, but I figured the race was just about over... I pushed all the way to the finish.

Finish time: 5:29:49

Post Race Observations:
Besides some soreness I feel 100% better after this Half Ironman compared to last year's Patriot. It's a testament to my training and keeping my body healthy. Outside of the weather, I never felt so ready and prepared.

Plain and simple I thank my coach Jeff Capobianco for his support, knowledge and friendship. I also thank my swim coach Craig Lewin. As I was cruising along everything you have taught me clicked. I felt smooth, comfortable and stayed fresh. I could have easily continued on.

In addition, I want to thank my PT Sara Thatcher for keeping me fresh and loose. I saw Sara today to work out some post-race fatigue and I'm feeling better already. I truly credit Sara for keeping me healthy and pain free.

I really enjoyed my Mooseman experience. As I raced the course I heard customers cheer me on and I did my best to cheer you on too. I'm proud to toe the line and suffer with you. When I was tired you were there. I hope that when you were tired I was there.

Congratulations to all who raced... on to Lake Placid.

One more thing... Last year at the Patriot Half my brother beat me by 7 minutes. This year his dedication and commitment to training and his goal of completing Lake Placid under Coach Cap has been amazing to see. As I've bridged the gap a bit on the swim and bike, his run was just awesome. He beat me by 19 minutes! Vin, I am proud of you big brother. Great effort!

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