Friday, July 31, 2009

Number 3

Since most of the folks who read this blog aren't too interested in the gritty details, I'll keep it short.

Ironman Lake Placid went very well for me overall. After a series of injuries earlier this year (all self-inflicted), I was unsure of my true fitness. Now that the event is over, I can easily say I'm far and away much fitter than two years ago.

I made some mistakes during the day that hindered my ability to have a great run, but despite some rough patches, I still pulled out a PR. I knew halfway through the bike that sub-12 hours wasn't going to happen, but that didn't really get me down at all. I did what I could with what I had on the day.

You can see some photos on RDM's site. I might need to go with a crewcut next time, the spastic hair isn't too photogenic. But then again, neither were my facial expressions.

On a revelatory note, Hannah informed me that I'm not very enthusiastic to see my supporters during the run. Up until being told this information, I would have sworn that I stick my hand up and excitedly wave and smile as I run past. In fact, I have a distinct memory of doing so to Hannah and her parents when I came into the Olympic oval for the finish. Hannah's folks corroborated her story that I barely acknowledged them. Clearly there's some neurological disconnect going on here.

Thanks to everyone who came to watch: Hannah, my parents, RDM, JNM, significant others, Hannah's folks, as well as my college friends Trevor and Diana, and, of course, the other 50+ people that were there only for me. Also, thanks to Gordo at Endurance Corner -- I've learned a lot this year and I'm looking forward to what's coming up.

EDIT: Somehow in my early thanking, I left out the two folks that traveled the farthest to watch me: my aunt Robin and uncle Bob. Whoops! I blame the leg cramps on the run for that oversight.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My entourage

Hannah and I fly from San Angelo to Philly via Dallas today. She's hanging out on Thursday in PA and driving up to Lake Placid with her parents on Friday. I plan to be in LP on Thursday in time to register and get that out of the way as early as possible.

Each time I do an ironman, my fan base grows -- I want to say exponentially, but with some simple math, anyone would be deceived into thinking that's not true. So, I'm going to explain it with some complex math. Those of you who aren't professional e-mail writers like me may have trouble following along.

I've created an intricate chart to illustrate my popularity. The x-axis represents the number of ironman races. The y-axis represents those individuals willing to lose a weekend to watch me wear lycra and run around in circles.

An obvious answer to my increased fan base is that my family has grown, what with inlaws and various significant others, most of whom were around before, but clearly deemed me not interesting enough. Or they had work. Or they got suckered in this time around ("Oh, the Adirondacks are so amazing when it's not raining. And the day-long race is unbelievably captivating.").

It then occurred to me that there are a few other attendees that I can appropriate as part of my own loyal crowd. I'll have some friends from college watching the race this year. It's not important that they're actually there to cheer on one of their family's friends; I'm not above Venn-diagramming them into my circle of well-wishers.

And then there are the other people I've met over the years, many of whom are racing. I'll just assume that they're on the course to cheer me on. They couldn't possibly have their own goals (other than to be my supporters). And let's also assume that all of their friends and family are cheering for me, in that they'll be cheering for their own racer, who is, as we've just established, only on the course to support me.

It's not so hard to put that total number north of 50. And, if you take my previous incredibly involved chart and drop in the new numbers... can see that I can easily claim a more than exponential increase in fan base. And that, more than anything, is the reason I do ironman.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How it's going to go down

I have a race number for Lake Placid: 262. For those interested, you can track me on on Sunday, July 26. It should be pretty obvious how to do it once you're on the website.

The weather will probably be pretty cool compared with my current "I'm dying in the Texas heat" standards, so the temperature shouldn't really be a factor. I'm giving it 50/50 odds on if it rains or not. I lost my weather-control wand but I have a new jacket, so I'm not too worried.

Get the job done
My swim will be the easiest long-distance swim I've done. Part of that is because I haven't done the necessary swim training to mix it up with anyone and part of that is because -- after getting roughed up at LP last time -- it's not worth the mental energy getting frustrated. It'll be what it is.

I'm going to have a much quicker transition than my last two IMs. I've got a better wetsuit which shouldn't be too difficult to get off (unlike my last LP race, where I struggled with the top for five minutes and felt like I dislocated my shoulder). I'll probably be wearing my knee warmers under my wetsuit to save time during transition, so if you're there and looking for the dorkiest looking guy coming into the change tent, it'll probably be me -- essentially I'll be wearing capri pants.

I'll put on bike jersey, socks and shoes, put my gels and such in my pockets, roll on my arm warmers and grab my helmet and sunglasses. Depending on the weather, I'll either put on my rain jacket or a wind vest.

The bike is going to be controlled. I'm probably going to get passed by a lot of people. If everything works out, I'll see a bunch of them again in the last half of the marathon. We'll see how my bike fitness falls out. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I have no real sense of my actual race speed, as I haven't done any race testing. I have done a whole mess of outdoor riding for the first time this year, so I know what efforts I should be putting out. We'll see what happens.

My second transition is going to be quick. I'm doing a full change to running gear as I like to have something to focus on. If it's cold/rainy, I'll still be wearing the arm warmers. High fashion.

The first 18 miles of the run is going to be relaxed -- just rolling along. I'll be walking out of transition and waving at the crowds telling me to get running. Once I start my actual run, I'll be walking for a bit (15-45 seconds) every 10 minutes. If everything is going great, I'll open it up in the last 10k and see what I can do. If everything is going good, I'll maintain pace. If things aren't going so good, I'll do everything I can to keep the wheels from flying off. Whatever happens, I'm going to PR the marathon.

Will I break 12 hours? I don't know. But I'm going to race like I'm going for a personal best, whatever the day brings.

Bonus points if anyone knows who that is at the top.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Beards, Battle Scars and Bears

Since I'm mostly working from home, and don't really have to worry about my professional appearance, I wondered what happens when I don't shave for two weeks (aside from keeping the scraggly bits under control). This: Despite the quasi-beard and no one to see me, I still make sure to wear a suit to the (home)office every day. Keeps me in the zone.

Battle Scars
The cat has been mixing it up with somebody. The other day I noticed his ear had dried blood on it. And there was a small chunk missing (we originally thought it was just some errant fur). Well, we cleaned him up and his wounds are healing nicely, although now he's the tough cat in the neighborhood.

Since he is a cat, it's virtually impossible to get any clear pictures of his scars (with those cat-like reflexes and all). Here's what you get:

Hannah and I went up to the Abilene zoo on Friday afternoon. Many of the animals were hiding in the shade, but we did come across a black bear who was very interested in one of the local birds.

Sorry about the picture quality. Everything is via my phone.