The Bike to Run transition was another disaster. Good news is, I can improve my time by a good 10 minutes, just by having decent transitions. I fumbled around looking for stuff in my transition bag, spent way too much time deciding to change my socks, and then even more time actually changing my socks. Like I said- a disaster.
Once I got out on the run course, things were better. Just 26.2 miles to go! If I can do a 4 hour marathon, I can still reach my goal. I can do a 4 hour marathon. Just not after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles.
The plan was simple. Run.
Well, there was a little more to it than that. I would walk through all the aid stations and up all hills. Part-way through the run I also decided that I would also walk whenever I came upon a friend/teammate who was walking. This should give me plenty of opportunity to stay fresh during this last, long stretch.
Seems like everyone makes the goal of getting out on the run before the first finisher comes across the line. I was able to do that- I was at least a mile into the run, when I passed the lead runner going the other way. There's one small victory.
Shortly after seeing the lead runner I noticed a pro racer ahead of me. As I got closer, I noticed that it was Heather Gollnick. Several years ago I volunteered at Ironman Wisconsin- my volunteer job was to ride my bike in front of the #2 female runner. Heather was second off the bike, so I got to lead her around the course for about the first 1/3 of the marathon. It was an amazingly cool experience and it was one of the things that inspired me to do Ironman. So I speeded up a little to catch Heather and I told her my story. She remembered that it was the second year of Ironman Wisconsin and she went on to win that race.
I was feeling good, so I continued on and left Heather behind (she was on her second lap- but I'll still take that as one of those little victories). Through the stadium, out to the lakeshore bike path, over Observatory drive, through the aid station where I worked last year and a bunch of my friends were working this year, up State Steet, turn around- back down State Street, back through that aid station and back out to the lakeshore bike path. On the bike path was were I finally ran into my training partner, Julie, for the first time all day, she was heading in the opposite direction, just about to hit Observatory. This was odd- in that last time she beat me off the bike and I caught her a little after the stadium. We expected that I would beat her off the bike this time- but not by that much. We're about even in the swim and close to even on the bike- I might be a little faster- or she might be- just depends on the day. Something must be wrong. As we passed- she jokingly asked me to wait for her, so I stopped and said I'd wait right here. Apparently some people around her actually thought I was going to wait there for her. Thankfully she knew I was joking. We passed again a little before I got to the stadium on my second loop- she was heading in on her first. This time we stopped and talked for a while- turns out something was wrong- she got kicked during the swim. So hard that she was fairly certain that she broke a rib. And I thought I had a bad swim,
For the rest of the run I was kind of in that in-between place- nat fast enough to catch the fast people and too fast for some others. So, I would run with friends for a while and then they would tell me to go ahead.
The Ironman Perform sports drink continued to bother me through the run- so there were unsuccessful stops at pretty much every porta-pottie. The sun went down with about 2 miles left in my race and I yelled out "Someday I will finish this race in the daylight!" to which somebody replied "Yeah, and someday they'll start the race at 5am!"
So, I came out of the water with a big smile on my face. As I said, it was a "that's finally over" smile, not a "wow, what a great swim!" smile.
It was also a "now I get to ride my bike" smile.
I am first and foremost a cyclist and was very much looking forward to getting on the bike. Although I would have to wait a bit longer than I had planned.
I got into transition- no wait, let me back up a little. I was walking up the helix (that curly-cue drive way that leads up to the parking in the Monona Terrace) when I got body checked by some guy sprinting up the helix- "Get out of the way!" is what I heard as he sprinted towards transition - "F--k You" is what he heard in return. Another local team did an experiment- walking the helix once and running it once- they compared heart-rates and times with each try. If I remember right, the difference in time was somewhere between 15 and 30 seconds depending on how briskly you walked. And it definitely was not worth the spike in the heart-rate for that 15-30 seconds.
So, on to transition. I grabbed my transition bag and headed into the men's changing area. The plan was to drink and Ensure, put on shoes and socks, grab my helmet and sunglasses and get out of transition.
The problem was, I couldn't get my transition bag open. I handed it to a volunteer and said "I tied as simple of a knot as I know how" and he thought I was done and started to take the bag away from me. I explained that I couldn't get into it, so he untied it for me and then was super helpful. "Here's how we do it.." he said, as he dumped everything on the ground- let me grab what I needed and then he packed everything up and sent me on my way.
Next stop- sunscreen. At Ironman, the volunteers do EVERYTHING for you. Everything except race. Yes, there was a volunteer to slather sunscreen on me. I reminded her to get the "tramp stamp" to which she replied- "oh, looks like you forgot last time." Yes- I have a very attractive tan/burn line on the small of my back.
On to the bike. The ride starts by going down the helix opposite from the one we just ran up. This is a no passing zone, so you can really take it easy in the helix. From there, out on to John Nolan and down around the coliseum and finally out of Madison, heading towards Verona. The main goal on the first lap of the bike course was to ride smart. Not too fast. If I feel good, I'll speed things up on the second lap.
I passed my friend (and training partner's sister) Angie coming out of Verona and probably confused her when I passed her again about 5 miles later. I had to stop for a bathroom break. The Ironman Perform sports drink wasn't sitting well, so there were several bathroom breaks in my future.
Other than the Ironman Perform problem, I felt good on the bike and rode exactly as planned for the first loop. The second loop started with a stop at the special needs bags (and another bathroom break, of course) where I had a bottle of chocolate milk and a bagel with peanut butter waiting for me. I downed that stuff and took off on lap two.
Lap two, pretty much the same as lap 1.- truly nothing to report here, just a nice smooth ride, with a few pottie stops. The only cramping came really late in the ride and I was able to back off just a little and it went away.
I didn't quite hit my goal on the bike. I was hoping to go 6 hours or under, I went 6:19, but I was still looking good for my overall finish at that point, so I was happy.
All the pregame festivities went well. Thursday morning I went for a swim with my regular open-water swim class, followed by a short run with a few members of the Endurance House team. From there we went out for breakfast and then back to the Monona Terrace for registration. I actually wasn't planning on doing registration on Thursday as a good chunk of the people I regularly train with were doing it on Friday- but when I got there, the line was short and I ran into a few friends, so I did it. And am I glad I did- the lines on Friday were long and slow moving.
After registration I made my way through the Ironman store, bought a couple of things and headed home to rest up.
Friday started with a swim with a few of my friends, including my training partner Julie- Julie and I spent the first few minutes in the water discussing where we should start on Sunday. That conversation freaked out a few of the others- as we were discussing how badly we got beat up in previous years and where we started for those swims and how from a completely different spot our friend Tara got her nose broke. I don't think anyone really wanted to hear about that- and I'm sure Julie and I made it all sound worse than it really was. It's kinda fun scaring people who have never been through that swim before.
Another post-swim breakfast and then the rest of the gang went through their final registration and from there we did a short (10 miles- on the nose) bike ride. Once again, the rest of the day was spent with my feet up, relaxing. Well, mostly relaxing- I spent some time packing up my transition bags.
Friday night was the athletes dinner. The Endurance House team met before the dinner for a few pictures and then went in for some pasta and to share stories of the year of training.
Saturday- 3 things on the agenda...1) Check in transition bags, 2) Check in the Bicycle, and 3) Dinner with my family at my sister's house. And again, as much of the rest of the day as I could, I spent with my feet up relaxing.
Sunday morning came quick- the alarm went off at 4am. I actually slept like a baby until that time- my wife said she got a good 90 minutes of sleep. I put down a big breakfast and then my cousin Brad and my friend Mike showed up for their ride downtown.
We checked our "special needs" bags and pumped up our bike tires. I have a ritual on race-day that also includes taping GU packets to the top tube of my bike and of course using the porta-potie 20 or 25 times. No- no nerves here.
O.K.- on to the swim.
We got down to the water and slowly swam out to our starting spot. We picked a spot about half-way between the corner buoy and the ski-jump and back just a little bit. There were a few rows of people right up front and then a nice empty space and a whole bunch of people back further- we went to the front of those people who were back a little ways- so we had a nice open space in front of us.
When the cannon went off, we started swimming and for about the first 50-100 yards had a nice clear path. I instantly got into the rhythm that I wanted- breathing very comfortably on both sides, no problems sighting, long-smooth strokes. This is going to be a great swim!
And then the entire field of 2800 swimmers descended on that nice clear area that I had.
I know that's not true- but that's what it seemed like. It seemed like everyone wanted to swim in the same place I did. And they were all willing to swim over me, push me under, kick me or do whatever it took to get to where they wanted to go.
I panicked. Bad.
I stopped swimming and looked around for a way out. There was no way out. And the swimmers just kept coming at me. I talked to a friend the next day who said at about that point he rolled over on his back and started crying.
When I realized that I couldn't get out of there, I decided that I would just have to swim. It wasn't pretty. The long-smooth strokes were gone. The breathing easy on both sides turned into gasping for breath on the right side whenever I could manage to rotate enough to do that. The easy sighting was gone- replaced by basically swimming wherever the rest of the pack was taking me.
My plan all along was to break up the swim into two shorter swims- swim one lap and then stop and rest for a bit, get my bearings and do another lap. I'm not the strongest swimmer in the world and I figured that breaking it up into more managable chunks would make sense. I didn't realize that it would be a necessity.
I finished the first lap and stopped- as planned. I looked at my watch and I was about 39 minutes in. Not bad, considering how rough that first lap was. I can still come in under 1:20.
But I didn't.
Somehow the second lap was just as bad as the first. Usually things start to calm down by the second lap- the swimmers start to get spread out and that creates a little more room. Not this time.
I finished up the second lap and headed in- looked at the clock as I exited the water...1:29. While I was disappointed in that time, I had a huge smile on my face. I was done with the swim and ready to bike. And...I was racing Ironman. That alone kept a smile on my face for most of the rest of the day!
Over the weekend I finished my third Ironman Wisconsin race. For those who are not familiar, an Ironman consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run.
For those who are not familar- yes, all in the same day.
Ironman Wisconsin is a great race. The spectator support is nothing short of amazing. The backdrop is perfect- riding out in the Wisconsin countryside, running through the UW Campus and of course finishing in front of the state capital. Your couldn't ask for a better setting.
Well, you could- but you have to qualify for Kona. And apparently that's not in the cards- more on that later.
Or right now.
I set some goals for Ironman this year. They were pretty lofty goals, but not out-of-the-question goals.
Here's what I wanted to do...
Swim: 1:20 (that's about 5-7 minutes faster than I've gone in the past, but I'm a much stronger swimmer now than I was then)
Bike: 6 hours or under (I can definitely do that distance in that time- but this is a tough course and I have to do this between a long swim and a marathon run)
Run: Somewhere around 4 hours (I never know what to shoot for on the run- because it's hard to predict how your body will react to that swim and bike)
Total time: Around 12 hours (again, it's hard to predict what's going to happen on race-day, so I keep that prediction pretty loose).
Here's the odd thing- I didn't hit any of those goals, BUT- I'm still very happy with my performance.
I'll get into the specifics of why I didn't hit those goals over the next couple days, but I'll say now that I had a good day, overcame some obsticles and in the end heard those words once again...
"Pat Gallagher...You. Are. An. Ironman!"
For the rest of this week I'll break down the race, event by event. Tune in tomorrow for all the gorry details of the swim.
As I walked down the hall earlier today, a coworker grabbed me and asked "Who's Tony Orlando? and what song did he do?" I told her that he was best known for "Knock Three Times" and he was the leader of the group "Tony Orlando and Dawn." I explained that they had a variety show that everybody watched when I was a kid. In return I got a blank stare from my coworker. That's when hit me- she has no idea what the variety shows of the 70's were like. You remember the shows...seems that every cheesy duet in the 70's had one. Tony Orlando and Dawn was actually a trio- but the rest of them were duets- Sonny and Cher, The Captain and Tennille, Donny and Marie. They were all the same- a song and dance number to open the show- interupted by friendly banter between the hosts- usually consiting of one of the hosts making fun of the other (Cher teases Sonny about being short, Donny doesn't understand Marie's obsession with County music, Tennille teases the Captain about his baldness, etc.)- and then, after the appropriate amount of teasing and one of the hosts pretending to be REALLY UPSET- back to the song/dance number.
Next up, a couple of mildly funny (I'm being kind here), very family friendly (although they acted as if they were very edgy) skits. Gotta have another song/dance number- this time from a special guest (think we can get Bobby Goldsboro to sing about how that tree has grown? What? He's got his own variety show? What's Anne Murray up to? If we can get Ray Charles, we can tease him about being blind!). Next up- a couple more family friendly skits and of course then it's time to wrap it all up with another big song/dance number. Oh, did I forget to mention the costume changes? Sometimes several within one song. Hell, Cher would completely change her costume and hairstyle 3 times in the course of a 3 minute song! So that's the 70's variety show. Not sure exactly when they went out of style. And I'm sure I would not watch them today, even if they were on TV. But they were fun at the time- if for no other reason, than for a young boy to watch for Cher's inevitable wardrobe malfunction.
This weekend on Triple M we're playing some of the greatest live music ever recorded! Every hour will start with another cool live song. So, I thought it would be fun to put together a list of my favorite live albums of all time...
1) Cheap Trick...at Budokan. O.K., so Cheap Trick has been my favorite band since I was a kid, so this is no surprise. But it is a great album. I love Cheap Trick's studio albums, but they really shine live. I've probably seen them 40 times over the years- I didn't include any other live Cheap Trick albums on the list- but I do have to point out that I was in the audience for the recording of "Music For Hangovers" and in the audience for the video shoot for the song "Say Goodbye." Also, if you like what you hear here, you might want to search for "Bun E's Bootlegs" a series of live recordings from various parts of their career- there's some interesting cover songs and a few of their own songs that they no longer play live.
2) Marques Bovre & The Evil Twins...Live @ The Pres House. I can't remember if this is even an official release- I think so, but I'm not positive. It was recorded at the Pres House here in Madison- I believe the guys at Audio For The Arts did the recording and did a fantastic job. I don't remember the exact circumstanses here, but I think Marques was about to take some time off, maybe for surgery? Anyway, it was a great performance- again there were several songs that don't get played live too often and again I was in the audience for this show.
3) The Neville Brothers...Live On Planet Earth. I actually lost this CD on a flight to Jamaica several years ago. I was BUMMED! I know exactly where I left it- in the seat pocket, where they put the bad in-flight magazines. I was listening to it and then popped in another CD and left the Neville Bros in the pocket of the seat in front of me. I have since burned myself a new copy of the CD and I love it- from the very beginning where they are introduced as "The Mighty, Mighty Neville Brothers" all the way through the very end and their stellar version of "One Love/People Get Ready." Other highlights include "Voodoo," "Congo Square" and of course "Yellow Moon."
4) U2...Under A Blood Red Sky. Do I really have to say anything beyond "This is not a rebel song...this is 'Sunday, Bloody Sunday'?" O.K. I will. I remember walking down the hall of one of the dorms in Platteville several years back and hearing this blaring from one of the rooms. I stopped in to find out who was playing it...and I ended up marrying the girl who had it on her stereo. Not right then and there, but several years later.
5)Little Feat...Waiting For Columbus. Several years back I had the opportunity to introduce a Little Feat show at the Barrymore Theatre. I walked out on stage, stepped up to the mic and said "Please join me in welcoming...let's hear it...F...E...A..." and so on- just like on the record. Later that night while I was standing in line for a beer, somebody said that they knew I was going to do that- I asked how and he said "because that's exactly what I would have done." Oh, and then there was the night that I got drunk with Richie Hayward and about half of the New York Yankees. I won't bore you with the details- I'll just say we got kicked out of the bar and haven't been back since. On the record itself- I love "Dixie Chicken > Tripe Face Boogie" and "Time Loves A Hero."
6) The Allman Brothers...At Fillmore East. No idea how many times I've seen these guys over the years. One of my favorites was at Alpine Valley- Elijah Blue Allman was playing with the band at the time- the show was over and we were hanging out backstage when the phone rang. Someone on the crew answered and yelled for Elijah, as he walked away I joked that Cher was on the phone- and then as the crew guy handed the phone to Elijah, he said "It's your Mom." So yes- Cher was on the phone. As for the album- a 22 minute "Whipping Post" - gotta love that. I also love the live versions of "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" and "Stormy Monday."
7) The Who...Live @ Leeds. It wasn't until this album that I realized how much Cheap Trick was influenced by the Who. I know, it should have been obvious- but this is the album that made it obvious to me. I hosted a show on Public Television a few years back- it was a live performance from the Who and my cohost pointed out the similarities- I wasn't going to argue with her there on live TV, but I didn't really see it. So I went home that night and dug out "Live At Leeds" and listened. Oh, now I get it. The Who really did influence Cheap Trick. She was right. I was wrong. That happens (more often than I'd like to admit).
8) Bob Marley...Babylon By Bus. I know, the "LIVE" album from Bob Marley is the classic one. But I became obsessed with this album when I realized that the tour that the recordings came from came through Madison. I can't remember now where it played- possibly the old Capitol Theater or the Orpheum? I wasn't there, I just always thought that it was cool that the tour came through Madison. A few years ago a did a little research on it, actually making calls to Jamaica and some museum that tracks all of that stuff and found out that none of it was actually recorded in Madison. But it's still cool. Musically- I love the way the album opens with "Positive Vibration" and from there- it just keeps up a great vibe through the entire recording.
9) Talking Heads...Stop Making Sense. No great stories to go with this one. I just love Talking Heads and I never had the opportunity to see them live. I really hoped that when they played for their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony that they would have a ball and decide to tour again. I could see from the first note they played that night that it wouldn't happen. I'll have to be happy with the live album.
Day 2 of the Centurion weekend was fun for me- I didn't race on Saturday, but I spent the day playing the part of the race announcer and of course watching the races.
The day started at 6:30am with me and my wife (who is forced to be my assistant whenever I am a race announcer) getting our instructions from the Centurion folks. Lots of notes on the day's schedule, race rules, sponsors to thank, etc. We went through the notes and set up our own little plan of attack. We had a couple of important times to be aware of...pre-race it was all about making sure everyone knew the rules and what was expected of them and of course getting in those sponsor mentions. After we started the race we thought we'd be able to rest for about an hour. It was a 25 mile race, so surely it would be at least an hour before the first rider came in, right?
About 50-55 minutes later, the first bunch of riders crossed the finish line- averaging more than 27mph! And it was a steady stream of riders after that. The next part of the day is trying hard to announce every rider as they cross the line. A bit of a challenge when they were coming so fast and furious. Sorry if I missed you or mispronounced your name. This was the big part of Laura's job as my assistant- she would keep one eye on the finish line and another eye on the computer and do her best to feed me names as people finished.
At one point during the race we noticed (or it was pointed out to us) that several people were completely missing the finish line- racing down the other side of the road and never crossing the line. This is a problem as the event is chip-timed. If you have ever been in a chip-timed race, you know that you are told over and over again "no chip...no time." In other words- if for some reason you are not wearing the chip that you were given, the timing system will not read that chip and you won't be timed. What they don't tell you is that if you don't cross the finish line, you also won't be timed. When we figured out what was going on we also realized that it wasn't the fault of the racers or of the race organizers. Somebody had parked their car in front of the sign that pointed the racers towards the finish line. The racers didn't see the sign (it was blocked by the car) so they just kept riding. When we figured out what was happening Laura had a new job- head down to the point where people were getting off course and get them back on course. And I had no assistant. Not a big deal, as everything in this race was computerized- so I just had to read names off the computer. The guy from the timing company had the really tough job- he had to figure out who missed the finish line and try to get a good estimate of their finish times- all while being asked the usual questions- "did I win?" "what was my time?" "is my girlfriend in yet?" etc.
As soon as we finished the 25 mile race and the race awards, it was on to the kids race.
Cutest. Race. Ever.
The kids had a choice- either go 1k or 5k. It's o.k. for Mom and Dad to ride along if you want. The 1k race was a short loop that the kids rode through once, the 5k race was a long loop that they rode twice through. The best part of the race itself was the littlest kids not really understanding what was going on. They would go the wrong way. They would not go at all. And most often, they would stop well before they made it to the finish line. One kid in particular stopped about 10 yards from the finish. His Dad and I stood at the finish line trying to coax him across. He stood there with a look on his face that said "wouldn't it be easier for you to come to me?"
The real fun started after the kids race.
Every kid gets a medal. Every kid gets to come up on stage and get their name announced. Every kid gets their medal placed around their neck by Graham Fraser (the guy who started Centurion Racing- and I believe Ironman too). Every kid gets to step to the edge of the stage and get their picture taken. Yes it took a long time, but it was a whole lot of fun. As each kid came to the stage I asked them to say their name into the microphone- of course 1/2 of them were too shy to do that, so they told me their name (or Mom told me their name) and I announced it and then tried to ask each one about their experience racing that day.
Me: "Did you go real fast?"
Me: "Well, then you deserve a medal"
...and on to the next kid.
Well, on to the next kid after the papparazzi finished taking pictures.
And the next generation of bicycle geeks is born. Your welcome.
I realized, as I headed into my weekend of bicycle racing, that I have never done a straight bicycle race. Well, once when I was a little kid- there were races around the square and I pulled up on my bike, some guy asked "who's riding on 'sew-ups?'" I raised my hand and he walked over and gave a little twist to the tire. The tire came right off the rim. Apparently I didn't have the tires glued properly into place. I had to race on a borrowed bike. The only other thing I remember about that race was some older guys yelling at me to downshift as I rounded the corner by State Street and started to head up that hill. Looking back, it was good advice, but I remember thinking at the time that the hill wasn't that big- I can handle it in a heavy gear.
So, this weekend's Centurion was my first experience with bicycle racing (no swim before or run after) since that day.
And it went relatively well.
My first race of the weekend was on Friday night, the Media Challenge Team Time Trial. I've watched enough racing that I know some of the strategy behind it- kind of like your buddy who knows how that Packers could have won the SuperBowl the last 3 years- and not just this year. This wasn't going to be a true Team Trial, as each member of the team would start seperately (as opposed to the whole team starting together), so I didn't quite know what to do stratigically. So I just set up the team to ride girl-boy-girl-boy. Beyond that- no real strategy, except- "if I catch you, try to grab my back wheel and hang on as long as you can."
Last week I shared that some of my Ironman team was accusing me of stacking the deck. Well, congratulations to the Brava team who did an even better job of stacking the deck. They brought in a couple of guys who I'm told hold the course record for the Race Across America. And they beat us...by 13 seconds. I know Ricky Bobby would say "second is the first loser" or something like that- but I consider that a pretty good race. And I'll give credit to all the competitors for sportsmanship. One of our racers was actually hosting one of those guys from the Brava team for the weekend and the guys from the Brava team figured out that we didn't know what we were doing, so they gave us some pretty solid advice on how to start the race.
Speaking of starting the race. Have you ever seen a bicycle Time Trial? The race starts with the rider on his/her bicycle at the top of a ramp. Someone is holding the bike upright and the rider is all clipped into his/her pedals before the race even starts. It looks really cool on TV, but it made us really nervous- so the Centurion people were nice enought to give us all a test run down the ramp. That test run went fairly well- I realized that I needed to start in a lower gear, but other than that- I didn't fall over, so I consider it a success.
Then came the actual race. As I brought my bike up onto the ramp, the guy holding the bikes told me to clip in one foot and wait for the announcer to say "10 seconds" before clipping in the other foot. No problem...except I couldn't get the first foot clipped in. I think I was just nervous about getting it right. I finally got the first foot clipped in right as he said "10 seconds." If it took me 20 seconds to get the first foot clipped- how would I ever get the second one clipped in properly? I did it! With 3 seconds to spare and then I was off.
The course was 2 laps- about 6k per lap. I could see my teammate Julie ahead of me, so I just focused on catching her. I caught her about 1/3- to 1/2 way through the first lap, going through the round-about that we had practiced several times. She later said that she figured that is exactly where I'd catch her. As we went through the round-about I asked if she could grab my wheel? She said yes and grabbed on for the next two miles or so.
I wasn't paying close enough attention and let myself get a bit ahead of her when I saw my next teammate, Petra on the second lap. I caught her in that same round-about and asked the same question- this time the answer was no. I didn't worry too much about it because I knew Julie would be along soon and the two of them could work together for the rest of the race, so I sprinted the rest of the way around the second loop. I finished and turned to see Julie and Petra coming to the finish line- so it seems that it wasn't a bad decision to keep going- they were able to help each other and I was able to sprint ahead.
In the end the Triple M/Bicycle Federation team finished second (missing first by a mere 13 seconds- did mention that before?) and both Julie and Petra got medals in their age-group. Matt and I missed medals in our age group, I actually won the 45-49 age-group, but they were giving medals in 10 year chunks- so they gave the medal for 40-49, I think I got 4th there.
I've been previewing the Centurion bicycle races all week- and now we're on to Sunday's races. The big ones. The Centurion 5o and 100 mile races! I'll be racing the 100. 100 hilly miles. My only fear is that since I have been training for Ironman, I have spent no time at all training on the Centurion course. I can do 100 miles without much of a problem. I've done that a few times already this year, but I've not ridden on the Centurion course since training last Summer (and then I didn't race- I got spooked by the storms). There's lots going on with the race beyond a bunch of people riding fast. I mentioned Jessepalooza yesterday- that's happening on Saturday. On Friday Dream Bikes will be out at the Middleton Airport collecting bikes- if you have a bicycle that you no longer ride, please consider making the donation. You can read more about Dream Bikes on the Activate With M page. On Sunday- right in the middle of the biggest climbs of the 100 mile race- the town of Blue Mounds is throwing a party! They are looking to do at this race what Verona does at Ironman. If you've ever been in Verona for Ironman- you know it's a great party. The closest thing I have seen around here to a Tour de France atmosphere. So, if you are not racing- grab your cowbells and head out to Blue Mounds and cheer on the racers and enjoy the party! Don't want to drive out to Blue Mounds- head to the Middleton Airport on Sunday, there will be shuttle busses running between the airport and the Blue Mounds party from 7am until 3pm! See you Sunday!
I'm using this week to preview this weekend's Centurion Bicycle Races. The fun starts on Friday with the Time Trials, then Saturday it's the kids race and the 25 mile race. And there's even more fun on Saturday. Registered racers will get free admission to Jessepalooza at Keva Sports Center. Jessepalooza is a benefit concert to raise money and awareness for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Diabetes Research Institute. Live music all day and on into the night with Bascom Hill headlining! Back to the races. The kids race gets going at 11am with 2 age-groups. The 5-9 year olds will race a 1k course and the 10-13 year olds race 5k! The Centurion Kids Zone will be open from 10am until 2pm with the kids race awards ceremony happening at Noon. The 25 mile race gets going at 7:30 in the morning with the awards ceremony happening at 10:30am and the Centurion Wisconsin Expo is open until 4pm. There's still time to register for any of the Centurion Races- and there's something for everyone...so there's a race for you! Tomorrow I'll preview the big Sunday races!
Widespread Panic celebrates 25 years of making music with 3 nights of shows at Milwaukee's Riverside Theatre- October 20-22. This weekend Triple M gives you a chance to win tickets to the show. Just look for the Widespread Panic logo hidden somewhere on the Triple M website (that's the site you are on right now).
A few years back I had to spend a couple days and nights in Dubuque, Iowa. Don't ask me why or who I was with- for legal reasons, they'll all deny being there.
So, on our last night in Dubuque, we went out for dinner and drinks. After a couple cold beers we all decided to make the trek across the Mississippi river to East Dubuque.
East Dubuque is known for two things...
1) Chili Dogs
2) Strip Clubs
Since we already had dinner, we skipped the Chili Dogs.
We were at our second strip club of the evening when an attractive young woman figured out that I was the guy on the radio and that Widespread Panic was to perform in Studio M the very next day.
Don't ask- I have no idea how she got that information out of me?
Eventually- after becoming our tour guide for the evening and taking us from club to club to club- she convinced me to invite her to that Studio M session with Widespread Panic...her favorite band.
Again- don't ask.
I returned to the office the next day to a message from Widespread Panic's management company. Everything is set for the Studio M session this afternoon, we have just one request- this will be the band's first performance with their new guitarist, George McConnell, so please no audience. Just let the band use this as a warm-up for their show that was scheduled for that evening- which will be George's first live show with the band.
Great. Does anybody have the number for that stripper in East Dubuque?
Believe it or not- somebody did.
So I made the awkward call...
"Excuse me- I don't remember your name, but last night I saw you 'dance' and..."
"Well, you are now officially uninvited..."
But somehow word got out that the band would be performing in Studio M- and after uninviting the stripper, people just showed up. And when the band saw those people hanging out outside the station, they invited them all in- so even though we were asked not to have a studio audience, we had a full house.
But no stripper.
How much cooler would Studio M be with a stripper?
There's already a pole in there.
Big time bicycle racing comes to Madison this weekend! It's year 2 of Centurion Wisconsin- European style road racing, right here in Madison- or I guess the Madison area to be more (or less) precise. The races start and end at the airport in Middleton and for the most part head to the west.
And that means...
I'll get to the hills later this week.
Today let's talk about the Friday night Time Trials...including the Media Challenge Team Time Trial. For the Media Challenge race there's $500 on the line going to the charity of choice of the winning team. I will be racing with my team to pick up $500 for the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin.
No pressure there.
Not only is bicycling a big passion for me- so I want to do what I can to support the organization that helps keep bicycling safe for the people of Wisconsin, but it would also look bad if the Bicycle Federation team didn't do well in this race. Actually- it probably looks bad if we don't win it. We are representing the BICYCLE Federation after all.
My Ironman teammates have accused me of stacking the deck, but I don't care.
The rest of my team is Petra Kilian-Gehring (co-owner of Speed Cycling here in Madison) and 2 of my training partners- Matt Agnew and his wife Julie Murphy-Agnew.
I'm going to assume that Petra is fast- I've actually never ridden with her, but I've met her at a couple of races. She looks fast. And she's the co-owner of Speed Cycling. I think she's fast.
Julie is fast- my best example is when we first started riding outdoors this year- Julie dropped all the guys on all the rides, I was able to keep up...until we hit the hills, then she dropped me too. I'm guessing it's lonely up there.
Matt is faster. Matt, Julie and I ride together at least 2 or 3 times a week. Matt regularly has to stop to wait for Julie and me. He claims that he doesn't wait long. But he waits.
We're racing on Friday night. The Time Trials start at 6 and we start our race at 7:15.
The Time Trial is very spectator friendly. In fact- I can honestly say that my favorite day of watching the Tour de France in person was in 2009 when my wife and I spent the day at the Annecy Time Trials. There's always something happening at the Time Trials and as a spectator you can be right in the middle of it all and watch it all up close! On that day in Annecy, Laura and I picked out our spot, just about 100 yards from the starting ramp- the nice thing about the time Trial is that we could sit there all day and watch racing all day- another racer went past us every 2-3 minutes. We could watch him getting ready at the ramp, start his race and then fly past us on his way out of town. Annecy was set up really nice in that we only had to walk about a block to then get to the finish line, so we could bop back and forth between the start and finish. We didn't of course- at one point it started raining and we headed for the nearest pub- where we watched the race on TV. That was cool too, we would watch a rider start his race on the ramp on TV, then we would turn around and watch that same rider fly past us, right in front of the pub. The Centurion won't be on TV, so you won't be able to do that- but you can have a beer while you're there...
Head down to the Middleton Airport on Friday night- bring your cowbells, make a little noise- and make a night of it. In addition to the races, the Centurion Wisconsin Expo will be open, plus there will be food from Biaggi's and beer from the Capital Brewery! When I get off the bike- I might join you for one!
Tommorow I'll look at Saturday's Centurion events + Jessepalooza!
Somewhere along the line I have become a runner. It was never my intention, but it happened. I think part of my love of Triathlon is the social aspect of it.
The most social of the 3 sports is the run.
While me and my friends spend a lot of time gabbing before and after swims (just ask my wife), oh- and of course during breaks in those swims, we spend most of our swim time with our faces buried in the water. It's tough to be socialable with your face buried in the water.
It's a little better on the bike. But if you are riding safely (and there are some who really should read and pay attention to this next line)- you are NOT riding in a pack, you are riding single file or maybe (at the most- and only in certain situations) 2 abreast. On race-day it's even worse- not only are you not allowed to ride side-by-side, you can't even ride directly behind somebody- I think the triathlon rules say 3 bike lengths. So it's tough to be socialable when you're staring at the back of someone's head, or worse yet 3 lengths behind them- although a little easier than when your face is buried in the water.
Then there's the run.
The run is the most socialable of the 3 sports. It's pretty acceptable to run in packs. Even on race-day, there's no rule against it. As you get yourself in shape, it's not hard to talk while you run. So the run becomes the most socialable of the 3 sports.
And because I like the social aspect of triathlon- I've become a runner.
The run at Door County started well for me. Once again, I ran into a much younger friend just as I left the transition area- he started several waves before me and I was about to catch him. That in itself pumped me up a bit. But then there was the fact that he's a much faster runner than I am- so the plan was to catch him and then let him pace me in for a new PR (personal record). I caught him and very shortly after that passed him. At about mile 4 I ran into Tara and Jamie Osborn from Endurance House- they weren't racing- just cheering us all on. Jamie was pretty excited that I was racing so well- but I was feeling pretty rough at that point and I told him. He ran along with me for a block or so and encouraged me- "just keep turning your legs over" he said. And I did.
I should mention somthing at this point. Since I was passed by my friend Kristin in the first transition- I had not been passed. At all. And it was starting to wear on me. At that point in the day all that was going through my mind was "somebody pass me, so I can just relax and race my race." It finally happened at about mile 5 when I saw a local family on the side of the road, handing out bottles of water (did I mention the temperature? 101 degrees with the heat index), so I ran (o.k., maybe I walked) over to them and grabbed a bottle of water and started running again. It was at that point that a young woman passed me. Finally! I can relax now.
Shortly after that point was the first of 2 big hills. Last year I started walking this particular hill when an old guy passed the bunch of us who were walking, turned and yelled "that's why we're here boys...to run!" and kept running up that hill. So I had to run the hill. This year I decided there was no way I would run the hill. I walked it and I'm glad I did. I got my running legs back by the top of the hill and headed back into Egg Harbor, where I knew I would see my wife and the rest of my family. I felt good as I passed them. About that time I also saw my friend Stef who told me that another friend was about 5 minutes ahead of me. I knew that he had started several waves ahead of me, so I was feeling pretty good about myself and I pushed the pace a little bit until I caught him on the second of the two big hills. We walked the hill together and he told me that he had not seen many people my age- he thought there were only a couple ahead of me. So I pushed the pace a little more- I think I passed two more guys my age and then caught at third at mile 12. We both stopped at the aid station- didn't talk at all, but kept an eye on each other. I grabbed some Gatorade and water and started to run again. And I heard "Damn!" from him- we both laughed I told him that I was watching him out of the corner of my eye the whole time. We ran together for a while- running into both of our wives as we ran together and then we hit the big downhill before the finish line at that point he backed off and I just tried to relax and let gravity do it's job as I ran down the hill and into the finishers chute. I felt bad that I passed him so close to the finish line- but I was also worried that we would cross the line together and they would put one of us in 3rd place and the other in 4th- leaving one off the podium. Turns out that wasn't a problem- I ended up 8th and he was 9th, I think I beat him by about 15 seconds and congratulated me as soon as I crossed the finish line.
So I said yesterday that I was a bit upset after the swim. A friend, who started 3 waves behind me, passed me in transition. Another friend, in my wave, was swimming breast-stroke and keeping up with me (even though he really wasn't- I thought he was). When I looked at my watch, I thought I was in the water for 50 minutes. O.K., "a bit upset" is an understatement.
I was pissed off.
I got on the bike and hammered it for 56 miles. The friend who passed me in transition got passed back within the first mile on the bike. I never saw the other friend again. I passed my cousin at mile 20- but didn't notice him (sorry Brad), apparently he said "Hi Pa..." as I went past. I didn't hear it. I just kept riding. Angry.
Actually, about a third of the way through the ride the anger turned to joy. This due to yet another mistake. When I reset the bike computer, I accidentally set it to read "Maximum Speed" instead of "Current Speed" or even "Average Speed." I thought I was looking at my average speed when I looked down and saw 27mph! Like I said, I was feeling pretty good about myself at that point. In my mind, I was going to finish the bike portion of the race in just a hair over 2 hours! Even with the 50 minutes in the water (that was really 40 minutes) I could do a 2 hour run and still come in under 5 hours!
It was about 10 minutes later that I realized my mistake- when a ride down a small hill changed that "average" speed to 30 mph. Thankfully at that point I just laughed it off and kept riding.
In the end I did have a really good ride. I finished the ride in just over 2 hours, 30 minutes, good for 9th place on the bike. I had to pee really bad by the end, but other than that- I felt good heading into the run. The pee thing made my second transition not so good. Well that and the fact that I tried to change my TRI top into a nice lightly colored tech-shirt. I couldn't get the TRI top off, so I had to run with it on. Not a big deal, but I would have been a little more comfortable in the tech shirt.
I set a few goals going into this Triathlon season...
1) Win my age-group in a Sprint length race
2) Top 10 in my age-group in a Half-Iron length race
3) Somewhere around 12 hours at Ironman Wisconsin
While I didn't hit that first goal in the only Sprint race I've done this year (I got 5th in my age-group), I did have a PR (Personal Record) at that race.
The second goal was reached while I was on vacation last week.
On Sunday, July 17th I raced in the Door County Half-Iron distance race and placed 8th in my age-group. I'll recap the race over the next couple days, starting today with the swim.
We actually got to Door County on Friday night and met up with friends/training buddies early on Saturday morning to watch some of the Sprint length race and then head out on the lake to get a feel for what we would be in for on Sunday morning. We swam out to the first set of buoys and regrouped there to show those who had not done the race, where the race would go from there- the rest of the buoys weren't in the water yet- so they just had to imagine how the course was going to look on race-day. We swam for a while in the direction we would go on race-day and then turned and headed back towards the finish line. We could feel the current pushing us along as we swam out, so we figured it would be tough coming back.
And we were right.
Tough- but not nearly as tough as it was on Sunday. I was in wave 10, so I didn't start the race until sometime after 8:30am. The water was getting pretty choppy by that point. Just like the day before, the swim out to the first set of buoys went smoothly, and the first length with the current to our back wasn't bad either.
And then I made that turn and headed back into the current.
I could feel myself slow down considerably. I found it hard to get any sort of rhythm down- especially any rhythm with my breathing. When I finally made it to the last turn, I didn't turn sharp enough and when I started sighting, I didn't see the finish line, which completely confused me. I completely stopped swimming and looked around- only to realize that I was just headed slightly in the wrong direction. I also noticed a teammate who I know was in my wave breast-stroking his way to the finish line.
How slow am I if this guy is breast-stroking the course the same speed that I freestyle it? Turns out he did the same thing as me- misjudged the turn and was just getting himself back on course.
I finally did make it to the finish line, had my wetsuit stripped off and headed to the transition area. On my way to my bike Kristin passed me. Kristin started 3 waves behind me.
Wow- I'm a slow swimmer.
I looked at my watch to confirm how slow I was- it was now 9:22am. If my wave started at 8:30am- that was more than :50 minutes!!! I didn't find out until much later that my wave actually started late, so it wasn't a :50 minute swim, it was actually about :42 minutes. Still not a good swim, but not as bad as I thought. And to turn a negative into a positive- I took the anger from the swim onto the bike. I'll tell you why that was a good thing tomorrow.
Laura and I have been to the Tour de France a couple of times over the years. The first time was challenging to say the least- we had no idea what we were doing and ended up standing around for about 5 hours drinking wine followed by the entire race going past us at about 40mph and then nothing. We still had a blast- we have lots of stories from that trip to the Tour, but overall we had no idea what we were doing when we actually tried to watch the race.
By the next trip to the Tour, we had figured some things out. Things that made out race viewing more pleasurable. And we decided to try something new. Let's take in a time-trial stage! The time-trial was scheduled to hit Annecy and we were staying a few miles away in Chambery. The day before the time-trial, we did a test run, to make sure we knew exactly where we were going, where to park and of course the location of a nearby pub where we might be able to get a drink during the race.
On race-day we got up early and headed out to Annecy. It was one big party- the race itself started and ended in Annecy and the start line and the finish line were right around the corner from each other, with a big beautiful park in between. The park is where the team busses were all parked and where all the riders and Phil Ligget were hanging out before and after the race, so you had great access to everything and all within a couple block region.
After taking a stroll through the park and looking at the team busses and watching the riders warm up we grabbed a beer and staked out our place about 100 yards from the starting ramp (on the time-trial the riders start by going down a ramp). When the rain started, we decided to head into that earlier mentioned pub and watch the race on TV- that in itself was interesting- the rider would go down the ramp on TV and then we would turn around and watch him ride past the pub seconds later.
By the time the rain stopped we had, of course, lost our spot so we went looking for a new location.
UNBELIEVABLE! A perfect spot, right on a curve so we'll watch the riders coming straight at us and then curve away and head out of town for a loop around lake Annecy! We grabbed the spot, I pulled out my camera and leaned out over the fence to get a good shot.
If you've been watching the Tour at all this year, you know what's coming. If you've been watching the tour at all this year, you have seen cars hit the riders and almost as stupidly (is that a word)- spectators interfear with the race- causing even more crashes. I think at last check the race was down 22 riders- mostly because of crashes. Several of those crashes caused by either cars or spectators.
So, I leaned out over the fence with my camera- ready to get the greatest shot of the race EVER! and it was at that moment that I felt the rider buzz by me. He couldn't have missed me by any more than an inch. I calmly wet my pants (no I didn't do that), packed up my gear and moved. As I left that spot a couple of American guys asked if they could take the spot- I told them that they didn't want it- but they took it anyway. And as soon as the next rider came down the ramp and around that curve, they packed up their stuff and headed out to find a new spot.
So as we remember the first 20 years of Triple M...and announce that Wilco is coming back to Madison (Wednesday, Oct. 5 at the Overture Center), I'm reminded of the time that I went to a Cubs game with Jeff Tweedy.
O.K., that might be stretching the truth just a bit. I did go to a Cubs game and Jeff Tweedy was there with me- I just didn't know it at the time.
I was invited to come down to Chicago and watch a game from one of the famous roof-tops across the street from Wrigley Field (BTW- funniest T-shirt spotted last weekend at the Chicago Pride Parade...Wrigley Field- Home of the World's Largest Gay Bar...The REALLY Friendly Confines"). The rooftop that we were on was set up really nice- with an outdoor bar and bleachers- so I grabbed a beer and headed to the bleachers and sat down to watch the game...and do a little people watching. About half-way through the game I heard a bunch of guys inside the stadium yelling in our general direction- "Jeff...Jeff...Jeff!!" they kept yelling. Finally one of them yelled- loud enough to be heard very clearly over the rest of the crowd..."TWEEDY!" And that's when the guy sitting directly to my left gave an embarrased little wave and all the drunk guys who had been yelling cheered for him and I realized who I was sitting next to. I poked my wife and whispered "Hey- that's Jeff Tweedy" and we went on drinking and watching the game.
I don't remember a whole lot more from the day- I didn't ever really sit down and talk with him, but there is one thing I can say with a fair amount of confindence...I'm pretty sure the Cubs lost that day.
As we continue to remember the first 20 years of Triple M, I'll tell you about the night that Sheryl Crow grabbed my ass.
Right off the bat I'll say that it usually costs you a beer to hear this story- so if you are reading this, you owe me one.
It all started a few weeks before Sheryl Crow's debut album was released and she was on a promotional tour. Record labels do this from time to time- they take a new artist out on the road visiting radio stations. The artists often perform in the radio station conference room for the station staff and management. This particular day was an extremely hot day- and the air-conditioner at the Triple M transmitter was broke. The transmitter overheated and we were off the air. That's when a beautiful young woman walked through the door. Oh, that's right Sheryl somebody is coming to visit...great!?!?
Sorry Sheryl, we're off the air- you can't play...unless you would like to head into Studio M and perform there- maybe we'll play it on the air sometime.
She took me up on the offer and headed to Studio M with John Urban. They recorded a Studio M session and finished just as we went back on the air. I invited her to come into the studio and play something live on the air. After two songs, she left and the transmitter failed...again. Nobody, except me, heard that performance. We were literally (my wife hates when I use that word) on the air long enough for those two songs and then off again.
As she left, Sheryl asked if I would be in Boulder next week. There was an upcoming radio convention in Boulder, Co. that I was going to, so I said yes. I honestly didn't think anything of it- thought she was just being friendly and that I would never see her again.
A week later I was in Boulder, waiting in line to register for the convention. Standing in line with me was Michael McDermott and a few minutes later Sheryl joined us. Michael went and grabbed us all drinks and I figured out that Sheryl really didn't know anybody, so she just hung out with the two of us for the rest of the afternoon.
That evening the three of us went to the Fox Theatre to see Sonia Dada and a few other bands. And to drink. And we drank. A lot.
After a few drinks Sheryl started bouncing between Michael and Me and David Baerwald. She'd spend a little time with Michael and then a little time with me and then a little time with David and back to Michael again and so on and so on. This went on for quite some time and eventually she had both arms draped over my shoulders and looked up at me and said "somebody needs to take me out of here before I ruin my career." I told her it wasn't going to be me- I'm married - and she moved on. A little later, when Sonia Dada was on stage, we walked into the room where they were playing and my drink was dry, so I turned to the bar to order another drink (because I clearly needed another drink) and that's when I felt a hand on my ass followed by a nice hard squeeze. It's been a while since I have been single, so I didn't know how to react. I said "can I get you something?" to which Michael interupted us and said "no- I think she's had enough."
The next night, back at the Fox Theatre, I was telling a few friends the story- and admitting that "I'm a guy- so I'm probably exaggerating a little bit." That's when Sheryl walkd in the door- as soon as she saw me, she made a bee-line for the other side of the room. As far away from me as she could possibly get. Eventually she got the nerve to come talk to me and she appologized. I said- "that's o.k. Sheryl, someday you'll be a big star and I'll tell everybody about the night Sheryl Crow grabbed my ass."
And I've been drinking free off of that story ever since.
These days I usually add one more line to the story- "...and that's the night that Sheryl Crow decided that she had to have a biker guy..." although I'll admit that isn't true- in fact I doubt if I even owned a bike at that point. But either way I had a shot before Lance did.
We celebrate the 20th anniversary of Triple M on July 4th at 1:05pm. So yesterday a bunch of us were sitting around sharing stories from the last 20 years...
- The Delbert McClinton show at that club by Hilldale
- Mark Curry swearing on the Triple M stage at the Taste of Madison
- Peter Himmelman at the Crystal after being rained out at the Taste of Madison
- Mooseâs grill exploding at the taste of Madison during Marques Bovreâs set- Marques returns to stage with âBurn This Town.â
- Triple M tailgate at the Regent Street Retreat in 1993 (?) when Wisconsin beat Michigan- the student section crush- ambulances flying past our tailgate rushing students to the hospital- ambulance drivers waving to each other as they passed on Regent Street.
- Pin the Lips on Mick before a Stones concert at Camp Randall
- The Dark Side of the Rainbow
...and of course (Mom- stop reading now)- the time I got high with Bob Dylan's kid.
The story changes depending on how famous Jacob Dylan is at any particular time- if he's got a big hit at the time it's "The time I got high with Jacob Dylan" - if not, it's "The time I got high with Bob Dylan's kid."
This was several years back- Chris Isaak was playing a show at the Madison Civic Center and the Wallflowers were the opening act. It was the first night for the Wallflowers on the tour, so they were a bit nervous. After their set I went backstage to meet the band.
If you've never been backstage at the old Civic Center- it's much like that scene in Spinal Tap where the band gets lost backstage before a show. When I finally found the Wallflowers dressing room- we sat around and talked for a bit and then somebody (if you're still reading at this point- it wasn't me Mom) pulled out a joint and lit it up. I remember sitting on the floor, leaning up against the wall as we passed the joint around.
And then Chris Isaak walked into the room.
Mirrored suit and all!
Now if you know anything about Chris Isaak- you know that he's a pretty healthy guy. From what I've heard, there's no drugs or alcohol on the road with Chris. In fact- I've heard that there no caffeine on the road with Chris.
I don't remember who had the joint at that moment- but whoever it was very quickly put it behind his back and Jacob stood up and walked over and said "Hi Mr. Isaak" to which Chris Mr. Isaak replied "I just wanted to come down and say Hi and welcome you to the tour" and he was gone as fast as he appeared. We all had a good laugh- when we knew he was well out of hearing range - and finished passing it around.
That night Chris Isaak put on the best show I ever saw from him.
Or maybe I just think it was a great show.
I sometimes forget how strange my training schedule has become. And what has become perfectly acceptable to me and my friends.
The training schedule over the weekend called for a "brick." A brick is when you do two of the sports back to back, usually it's bike then run. This was our first BIG brick of the season- we met at my friend Julie's house at 6:30 on Saturday and set out to ride the Ironman loop followed by the Paoli loop- a total of about 75 miles followed by running 2 Arboretum Loops for a total of a 13 mile run.
I guess the first place that people might stop and say "you're crazy" is the part where I said "at 6:30am on Saturday," but I'm a morning person, so that doesn't bother me at all.
The next "you're crazy" moment came after the run when we were all sitting in Julie's screened porch drinking chocolate milk and eating cookies when Jennie, who was sitting next to me said "we STINK!" and we all just kind of shrugged it off. Like I said- some strange stuff has become perfectly acceptable. Yes- we did stink at that point. No- none of us cared at all. That's just the way it is- in fact, we joked about how my dog loves it when I come home smelling like this- in her mind, I just smell MORE like me.
I did eventually go home and shower and then Laura and I took off for our getaway to Chicago. We checked into our hotel and jumped on the elevator to head to the room. Two more guys got on the elevator and appologized that they had not yet showered and might smell bad. Laura laughed and told them that it would take a lot more than that to offend us. She then told them about my brick that morning, to which they replied...
"Who was chasing you?"
I'm a week behind on this- but it's still a good check-up on how I'm coming along on my athletic goals for this year.
1) Age-group win in a sprint-length triathlon
2) Age-Group top 10 at the Door County Half-Ironman
3) Around 12 hours at Ironman Wisconsin
Those are the 3 goals that I set for myself. Obviously, I haven't hit #2 or #3- those races haven't happened yet.
I also haven't hit #1.
My plan was to check that one off at the Capital View Triathlon a little over a week ago. I ended up #5 in my age-group. That doesn't hit the goal- so I'll have to try to find another race and try again, but there are some real positives that came out of that race...
- That #5 finish in my age-group was also #21 overall- so, 4 of the top 20 were from my age-group...5 of the top 21. I think that's probably the definition of a tough age-group.
- When I went through body-marking, I gave my age as 37, so that's what got marked on my leg. My training partner pointed out the mistake and corrected it for me. And that got me wondering- what if I was 37? Where would I have finished in that age-group? I figured out that I would have finished #5 there as well. So I started looking at all the other age-groups to see where I would have finished. In every case, except Men 25-29, I would have finished in the top 5. I would have been #6 in the Men 25-29 age-group. Again, I would say that's a pretty strong case for the fact that it's a pretty competitive age-group.
- I wasn't passed at all on the bike or on the run. That used to happen a fair amount- because I was the last one out of the water, so there was nobody to pass me. That's not the case anymore- now that I know how to swim, I'm actually somewhat competitive the WHOLE race instead of just on the bike and the run. But still, the bottom line is- 4 guys beat me out of the water and then were able to hold me off the rest of the race- no, nobody passed me on the bike or on the run- and I passed quite a few people on both the bike and the run...but not the 4 that I needed to pass.
So- a new goal for the year...
4) Swim Faster!
The other day, the Triple M staff was sitting around talking about "Madison Day" and reminiscing about concerts that we've seen in Madison over the years. Eventually the conversation turned to odd combinations. And so- I present to you a few of my favorite odd combinations that I've seen over the years, in no particular order (most of them right here in Madison).
The Beach Boys with Off Broadway- I don't know if you remember Off Broadway? Their "hit" was "Stay In Time" and I first saw them opening for Cheap Trick at the Coliseum (that's what we called the Alliant Energy Center back in the day). The band was much better suited to opening for Cheap Trick- that's the kind of energy they had and they had that Midwest vibe about them. I remember partway through the show with the Beach Boys, the guitarist flicked a pick into the audience and NOBODY made a move for it- it just fell harmlessly to the ground. At that point the guitarist stepped to the microphone and asked "does anybody have a pick I can borrow? I seemed to have lost mine?" to a little (very little) laughter.
Def Leppard as the opening act for Blackfoot. About a year before they came through as the opening act for Ted Nugent and the Scorpions. That worked- they didn't really have a hit yet, and they were all about 17 years old at the time. By the time they came back through with Blackfoot- EVERYONE was there to see Def Leppard. I think their second album was out by that time, they still didn't really have any hits, but they were starting to get a pretty good following and you were cool if you were there to see the opening act and didn't care about the headliner.
A little side-note...I think I've seen Blackfoot 4 times and I don't think I ever actually went to see Blackfoot.
I mentioned Cheap Trick before, so how about this one...
INXS, Cheap Trick and Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers. O.K., this one wasn't in Madison- but close enough- Alpine Valley. I'm guessing somebody got into Ziggy's stash before booking this one.
Van Halen and just about anybody that ever toured with Van Halen. I once saw a 50's band (sorta a poor-man's Sha Na Na) open for Van Halen, I saw BTO (definitely not in their hey-day) as the opening act, but my favorite was After The Fire. After The Fire was the OTHER band that did "Der Kommissar" - Falco had the actual hit with the song.
Speaking of bands beyond their prime (I was a few minutes ago) and speaking of Def Leppard (I was a few minutes before that)- how about Uriah Heep opening for Def Leppard. Yeah- nobody cared. Not even me.
Got any other odd combinations?
A few weeks ago in a conversation about biking, my Dad said "everybody crashes eventually." A couple days later my training partner, Julie went over her handlebars on a rainy morning and ended up with lots of nasty bruises and a really sore back.
After that crash, it seemed like we were magnets for bad riders. My (least) favorite was the guy who split us while we were riding up a hill. I know we shouldn't have been riding up the hill side by side- but we were, our bad. As we were riding, another rider came up behind us- without making himself known and passed us. And to pass us- he rode between us! For the rest of the ride he yo-yoed up and back, up and back. We ride at a very steady pace- but every time he'd pass us, it would take all of his energy to do so and then, with no energy left, he would fall back again.
Every time he passed us he would be silent- never letting us know that he was passing. Every time we passed him, we would very clearly and very loudly say "on your left!" hoping that he would eventually get the hint. He didn't. The final time he passed us was at the precise spot where Julie crashed. I gave her a bunch of room, to slowly go down the hill and safely take the corner where she crashed- she took it very slowly and cautiously. If you had been riding with us at all (and he had- unfortunately), you would know that a slow ride in the country is not at all our style- so maybe you would conclude that there was a problem here??? Aparently not- he blew by her (again without saying anything) about a foot to her left, rounded the corner and headed up the next hill. This is when we decided that we had enough of him - we blew by him on the next hill and never looked back.
Which brings us to this past Saturday...and my accident. Like I said- everybody crashes eventually. Me, Julie, her husband Matt and our friend Brodie took off at about 7. Matt and Brodie are a bit faster, so they were a ways ahead of us and I didn't know the route we were riding. I was leading, with Julie right behind and yelling out instructions. She said we would take the next left- I thought she meant we would turn left at the end of the road we were on- it's a road we ride often on a different route and we usually turn right at the end- so I assumed she was just telling me to turn left instead of right. Suddenly she yelled- turn here! And I did- not noticing that the road I was turning onto had a layer of fresh tar and gravel- the bike came out from under me and I slid across the tar and gravel. I got up bleeding from my arms, legs and hands. I tried to clean things up, but it's tough to clean tar and gravel from cuts so we turned around and headed back to Matt and Julie's house where I whiped away the blood and headed to Urgent Care. I spent an hour in Urgent Care with a Doctor and Nurse picking gravel out of the wounds and carefully cleaning away the tar.
I heard Jonathan and Kitty playing Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" as part of the Bob Dylan 70th birthday celebration and it made me think of the Rod Stewart song "Forever Young." Odd thing is- they are two completely different songs...that are the same song. I know, that doesn't make sense- but look at the two songs...almost line by line, they say the same thing, but say it slightly different.
Right from the opening line there are similarities...
Bob sings...May God bless and keep you always
Rod sings...May the good Lord be with you
Down every road you roam
Bob sings...May your wishes all come true
Rod sings...And may sunshine and happiness
surround you when you're far from home
Bob sings...May you always do for others
And let others do for you
Rod sings...And do unto others
As you'd have done to you
Bob...May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
Rod...Build a stairway to heaven
with a prince or a vagabond
Bob...May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young
Rod...in my heart you will remain
Forever Young, Forever Young
Forever Young, Forever Young
Bob...May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
Rod...Be courageous and be brave
When Kitty was telling me what she thought of the new Cars album (see her review in her blog), she reminded me of the time I met Benjamin Orr- so I told her I would share the story.
I was at a radio convention in Boulder, Colorado.Â It's not unusual to meet rock stars at radio conventions- Glenn Frey (the Eagles) walked up to me at a convention once and started talking to me about the Packers.Â The unusual thing here was the fact that Ben (more on that later) was not a part of the convention- he just happened into the restaurant that I was at.Â The other unusual thing is HOW we actually met.Â
I was out to dinner with Maxanne Sartori.Â Maxanne was a famous DJ in Boston and was instrumental in discovering Aerosmith and the Cars- and I'm sure a few others too.Â By this point Maxanne had moved out of the radio business and was working for record labels- her job was to call me (and other radio people) and try to convince me to play certain records.Â We had reservations at a very nice restaurant outside of Boulder- it was me, Maxanne and a few other radio people.Â We were standing in the parking lot waiting for our table and Maxanne was telling us stories about her days discovering these artists- in particular, she was telling us about the Cars and in particular she was telling us about Ben (not Benjamin Orr or even Benjamin in her world- just Ben).Â As she was telling the story about Ben- somebody standing behind her recognized her voice- from her days on the radio (it's amazing how many people migrate from all over the country to Boulder- I have been recognized there several times and I've never worked there).Â So- the guy says "Maxanne?" and Maxanne turns around to see Ben Orr standing there.Â This was well after the Cars had split up and he was in Denver for a show and decided to head to Boulder for dinner with some friends.Â So we stood in a parking lot outside of Boulder- waiting for our table- and Ben Orr and Maxanne Sartori told us stories of the Boston music scene back in the day.
Been a while since I checked in here- so I thought I should bring you up to date.Â Training has been going well.Â The big goal this year is, of course, Ironman Wisconsin and I'm feeling pretty good as I progress towards that.Â No real setbacks- unless you consider bad weather a setback.Â It's been a bit annoying not being able to comfortably ride outside.Â Don't get me wrong- I spend plenty of time outside riding my bike- but I prefer days when I don't have to first get all bundled up.Â Those days have been few and far between.
That being said- this weather has been pretty good for running and living right across the street from some of the best running in the area (Pheasant Branch Conservancy) makes that even better.
And then there's the swim.Â If you've been following along the past few years- you know that the swim has been my weakness.Â Well, as of late- there's been some ups and downs with the swimming.Â Obviously, if biking outside is uncomfortable, swimming outside is even more uncomfortable- so we're still in the pool.Â Two interesting classes this week- I do my Masters swim classes at Harbor Athletic.Â A Tuesday morning class- bright and early- 5:30am and a Thursday evening class.Â The Tuesday morning class was a test class- the test this time consisted of the class doing 6 100 yard swims-Â we had 6 minutes to do each one.Â
Sounds easy, right?
The trick is- each of those 100s is done as fast as you can- and then you rest for the rest of the 6 minutes and then go on to the next one AS FAST AS YOU CAN and just keep repeating that cycle.
Even though I'm the slowest one in the class- I give myself points for improvement.Â The first 4 100s were all in the 1:45 range and then I dropped to about 1:50.Â It wasn't long ago that I struggled to (or couldn't) stay under 2 minutes per 100- so I'm really happy with the results.
Then came the Thursday class.Â Once or twice per session, we always do something completely different.Â Thursday night- we played water polo!Â Fun- yes!Â But I still hrut from the fun.Â About 3/4 of the way through the hour- my left calf cramped up.Â Bad.Â SomehowÂ I was able to pull myself out of the water (all the while thinking- "what if this happened during Ironman?"), tried to rub it out and finally just gave up on the game...until I was volunteered to play goalie.
I'm not a good goalie.Â Thankfully- I don't think anyone was keeping score.
The other day I said that I like rain this time of year.Â I like the rain because it clears the streets of salt and other debris that's been gathering all Winter.Â So the rain is good, but...
Now I'm ready for a sunny day.Â Sunny and 70 degrees would be great!
I'd like to ride my bicyle outside...without having to wear 12 layers to keep warm.Â Or incredibly hot rain gear to keep me dry.
I'd like to run on the trails of the Pheasant Branch Nature Conservancy.Â Not just the paved part- I'd like to go out on the loop and maybe climb the big hill.
I'd like to put the kayak in the water and aks Laura to follow me while I swim to Captain Bill's and back home again.Â
Or maybe take the drive up to Devils Lake and swim across and back for a perfect 2.4 mile swim.
I'd even like to follow that up with a run on the trails around Devils Lake.
Or a ride through the hills around Devils Lake.
I want SPRING!
Not just a day on the calendar that says Spring has arrived.
I want SPRING!
(and then Summer).
...remember that song?
This time of year I actually do love the rain.Â I get funny looks whenever I say that, but I always look forward to the first couple of good rains of the year.Â
There's the obvious reasons...
- It's another sign of Spring
- Everything is brown right now..the rain brings green grass & flowers
And then there's the not so obvious reason...
Several years ago I had a coworker who raced motorcycles.Â He was a pretty good racer and he was fanatical about his motorcyle.Â He wouldn't take his bike out on the road until after the second good rain of the year.Â Why not?Â The rain clears the road of all the salt and debris that has collected on the road over the winter.Â All the salt and debris that messes up his bike.
And my bike.Â
I'm not too skilled when it comes to bike maintenance- so anything I can do to avoid more maintenance is a good thing.Â Not riding on the salt and debris covered roads would be one of those things.
So...I love rain!
Just got this note from the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin...
March 2, 2011
The Governor's 2012-2013 budget eliminates $5 million state bicycle funding. Â Â This state funding supports vital bicycle projects across the state like bicycle plans that help build more bicycle-friendly communities and bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure such as paths and bridges. Together, we worked hard to establish this fund during the last budget cycle and together we'll work hard to restore it.
Â We wanted to alert our members of these issues and to let you know that we are closely monitoring the budget process. We will continue to update you on the situtation and will be calling you to action during the budget hearings.
Â Now more than ever, it's important that we stand together as a bicycling community. The upcoming weeks are going to be critical in restoring our bicycle funding. The best action you can take today to protect bicycling in Wisconsin is to register for the Wisconsin Bike Summit.
Everything happening up on the square got me to thinking about my unique relationship with...
That's right- I said my relationship with Bruce Springsteen!Â No, I never met the man.Â But there's still an interesting relationship there.
I started thinking about it the other day when I got an e-mail from my Mom.Â She was passing a message along from someone who lived down the street from us when I was growing up.Â The message- ask Pat to get Bruce Springsteen to come to Madison for the demonstrations.
Of course I can't just pick up the phone and call Bruce.Â But I do know a guy who knows Little Steven (and I've met Steven a couple times myself).Â So I e-mailed that guy and he had basically the same reaction that I did- "I can't just pick up the phone and call Bruce" - although he said that he wished he could and then went on to tell me his Springsteen stories.
He used to work on another syndicated show (he now works for Little Steven's Underground Garage) and always wanted Bruce to be on the show.Â Several times he tried and several times he got no response.Â Until he was doing a special Roy Orbison tribute program.Â Again he asked Bruce to be a part of the show and this time he got a response...
Bruce is honored to be asked, but won't be able to work it into his schedule at this time.
Best rejection he ever got!
So I told him my favorite Springsteen story.Â It was just before "The Ghost of Tom Joad" was to be released and I got a call from management- Bruce wanted his album played for a roomful of fans somewhere in the midwest.Â He wanted to see how the album was going to playÂ to middle America.Â It's got to be true fans- could I put something together?Â A few days later I had a coffee shop full of Springsteen fans and a copy of the new album- we all sat and quietly listened and then there was a long discussion about the album with a Columbia Records representative taking careful notes.Â And then they all turned to the Columbia Records guy and said "Can we hear it again?"
And we listened again.Â
And talked more- until we finally had to kick everyone out of the coffee shop, so they could close up.
There's other Springsteen stories too- like the time I had second row seats for an acoustic show in Chicago and my Father-In-Law died the day before the concert.Â Of course I missed that show.Â My Father-In-Law liked Bruce because "he sings about America."Â I wonder what my Father-In-Law would think of what's happening now?
Over at my sister's house, there is no such thing as "too much snow" - it's a house full of snowboarders, so as long as they can make it out the front door they are loving this.
Then over at my parent's house- it's all about snowshoeing.Â Again, if they can make it out the front door, everything is just fine.
Me- I'm getting a bit bummed out by all of this snow.Â I hate running indoors- but I'm guessing an outdoor run is next to impossible over the next couple days.Â I'm not a fan of riding indoors either, but me and my friends found a space so we can all ride together indoors- that makes it a bit better.Â Problem is, we're not going to be able to make it to that indoor space.Â So it's a week of running inside on a treadmill or around a little indoor track and a week of riding on the trainer in my little, HOT cycling room with no cable TV.
Can't wait for Spring!
It's Madison Restaurant Week!Â In my circle of friends, we start talking about Restaurant Week several weeks out.Â Making plans and where we're going, what new places we'll try, etc.Â And then after the fact we all compare notes.
Several weeks ago one of my workout buddies was celebrating a birthday, so his wife brought cupcakes to the workout (I know- seems counterproductive).Â Not just any cupcakes.Â Cupcakes from Daisy Cafe and Cupcakery!Â I had heard good things about Daisy Cafe- but had yet to try it out, so I was pretty excited to try the cupcakes.Â And then the box was opened...and there it was, in the corner of the box...a cupcake with....BACON!
You read right.Â BACON!
Sold!Â It was then and there that the love affair with Daisy Cafe started.Â And yes- the bacon cupcake was as good as you would expect.
So, when I saw that Daisy Cafe was a part of Restaurant Week, that was my choice.Â I really didn't know what to expect.Â A place called "Daisy Cafe and Cupcakery" sounds like (and is) a great place for cupcakes.Â But dinner?Â Once again they did not disappoint.
Laura and I headed out to Daisy Cafe on Monday night.Â We decided to each get something different and yell "switch" half-way through each course.Â We often intend to do the big switch but usually don't.Â Monday night we did actually do the switch.Â For the first course I had Shiitake French Onion Soup (and made the obligitory "do they just call it 'onion soup' in France?" joke), Laura had the Panko Crusted Shrimp Cakes.Â Both were excellent- although I will admit to a little "appetizer envy" - I love any seafood made into cakes.
For the main course I went with the Daisy Deluxe Cassoulet.Â I've been to France twice- but somehow have never hadÂ cassoulet, so I really don't have a genuine French cassoulet to compare this to.Â This cassoulet was a good thick stew of beans, pulled duck, venison sausage, smoked pork sausage and BACON!Â Needless to say- I joined the clean-plate club.Â The cassoulet was excellent.
Laura had the Steak with Brandied Mushrooms for her main course.Â I can't really comment on her dish- as I'm not a steak eater, but judging from the way she ate it up- I'd say it was also excellent, and even though I'm not into steak- the "with brandied mushrooms" part of the whole thing sounded excellent.
For dessert we both chose the same thing...The Cupcakes.Â How can you not get teh cupcakes at a place with "cupcakery" in it's name?
Which brings me to my final question...
Is "cupcakery" really a word?
As active sports fanatics, most of usÂ wouldÂ rather spend our time out DOING things- rather than watching others do things.Â That being said, there areÂ a couple of filmsÂ playing in Madison over the next couple of days that might be of interest...
The first is happeing tonight (1/11- sorry about the short notice) at Eastgate Cinema and Point Cinema.Â The movie is "Hood to Coast" - the sub-title is "Ordinary People, Extraordinary Journey" - that might give you an idea of what you are in for.Â The film follows the grand-daddy of all relay races. It starts on Mt.Hood at 6000' elevation and winding 196 miles to Seaside, Oregon on the Pacific Ocean.Â 12 runners run 3 legs each of varying distances to cover the 196 miles.
The second film that you might be interested in is playing on Saturday at Sundance- it's called "Bicycle Dreams- The True Story of the Race Across America."Â As you might have guessed- this one follows a bicycle race across America.Â This one is being presented by Wisconsin's Dairyland Dare Bicycle Ride and is a benefit for Dream Bikes- a non-profit, used bicycle store, strategically placed in low-income communities.Â I will be at the showing- acting as your host for the day and telling you more about both the Dairyland Dare and Dream Bikes.Â Hope to see you there!
...so far so good!
Trainig for the 2011 Ironman Wisconsin started with the new year and I have set some very specific goals for myself.Â I have a fairly clear plan of what I want to do over the next couple of years in Triathlon- top priority of course being Ironman Wisconsin on September 11, 2011.Â Although I have set a time goal for that race, I'm not going to share it just yet.Â Too much can happen between now and then- so for right now, let's just say I'll be happy to finish the race.
Beyond that race- I plan to race at Door County this Summer.Â Door County 2010 was absolutely my best race ever.Â I did the Half-Iron distance in somewhere around 5 hours and 25 minutes.Â I'm odd- I honestly don't know what my exact time was- most people can tell you down to the second.Â I know it was somewhere in the 5:25 range, I think it was 5:26:something, but it may have been 5:24:something.Â
I will also race some shorter distance races- probably Capital View, maybe Lake Mills, maybe Verona and I'll look at some others too.Â I really enjoy short distance races- especially Sprint length races.Â My best performance in a Sprint length race was 3rd in my age group.Â I got 4th in my age-group at Capital View last year.Â I'd like to win my age group at least once.
I will not do a marathon in 2011- other than the marathon in Ironman, but that doesn't count.Â I didn't make my goal of qualifying for Boston during the 2010 season.Â I raced 2 marathons and came fairly close both times.Â I learned a lot with each of them, but I didn't quite hit that goal.Â And now that goal will have to wait until 2012, mainly because there is too much recovery time after a marathon and I don't want to take that time off of my Ironman training.
I will closely follow my Ironman training plan.Â I have always done a pretty good job of this.Â I feel pretty good about the plan I have for this year.Â I feel good about the team of friends and coaches working with me.Â I feel good abotu the way things are set-up.Â I will follow the plan.
That means I will do my core workouts.Â This has been an extreme weakness for me in the past- I just haven't done the work.Â I will do it this year.Â I've learned a lot about core work and I have a pretty good plan to follow here as well- so I will do those workouts.
Finally- I will keep the world up to date on my training here.Â Look for regular updates, race reports, successes, failures, etc.
Some of my most memorable runs have been in the snow and in the cold.Â Not always my favorite runs.Â But some of the most memorable.Â So, as I ran to the office this morning, I thought about some of those runs.
There was the morning that I ran with my friends Susan and Tara- we ran the Arboretum Loop and added on a lap around Monona Bay to make the entire run about 9 miles.Â It was cold and snowing and windy- near blizzard conditions.Â As we made our way around Monona Bay we laughed at the "dummies" out on the Bay ice-fishing.Â Then we realized that they were probably laughing and having the exact same conversation about us.
There was my last long run before the Arizona Rock & Roll Marathon.Â I needed a 22 mile run and the temp. was somewhere between zero and 10 for the entire run.Â I found a 7 mile route from my house to my office and went home to office to home and finally to office again.Â 21 miles.Â Close enough.Â Did I mention that there was about a foot of snow on the ground?Â On the first leg- to the office- about a mile from the office, I had to go to the bathroom.Â BAD!Â As in- I barely made it into the office on time.Â I then took about a 20 minute break before heading out on the second leg of the run.Â Half-way back home I was so cold that I stopped and warmed up in the doorway of a Walgreens.
There was the run around the lake- again with Tara and Susan and this time joined by Jamie and Jim.Â We started at the Monona Terrace and as we ran past the coliseum the sign read -2!Â About half-way around the lake I hit a wall.Â I had no energy left, my water bottles were completely frozen and my GUÂ packs wereÂ solid as well.Â I fell off the pace from the rest of the group- Jim came back to see if I was O.K.- I told him to go ahead, I would be fine.Â Famous last words.Â Thankfully Jim didn't trust my assessment of the situation and when he finished the loop got in his truck and back-tracked until he found me...walking.
One of my favorite Winter runs was with the 2009 Endurance House Ironman team.Â Again, we met at the Monona Terrace.Â From there we ran a portion of the Ironman course, until we got to Observatory Drive- we did hill repeats on Observatory Drive- back and forth over that hill 4 times before heading back up State Street and around the Square back to the Terrace.Â My friend Angie ran to the run...from the far West Side of Madison.Â She was determined to run home again until I insisted on driving her home.Â Somewhere there is a great picture of Angie with icicles hanging off her eye lashes.
This morning's run wasn't as memorable as those runs- but it did bring back the memories, so it was a good run.
The e-mail came late last night.Â The Tuesday morning Masters Swim class would be meeting in the "Sport" pool instead of the lap pool.Â And we would be playing Water Polo.
Oh, this should be good.
Most everyone in the class had never played before this morning.Â Including me.Â And it showed- although I would say for a bunch of people who had no clue what was going on- we didn't do too bad.
When class started we swam a few laps to get warmed up- then a few more laps skulling and swimming head-up, just to get us in the proper form.Â A few instructions followed and a quick Water Polo-specific passing and shooting drill.
Then came the fun- we split up into two teams and played about a 30 minute game.Â My team scored the first two goals of the game, but then got shut out for the rest of the game and ended up losing- I think the final score was 4-2.
All-in-all, a fun workout that definitely did NOT play to my strengths.Â And of course we're doing it again in the Thursday night class...can't wait!
Soon it will get cold.Â
Soon the snow will fly.
But not today.
Not that there's anything wrong with cold and snow.Â If your into that.Â I'm just not.Â Most of the active stuff that I like to do is more fun when done outdoors on nice, sunny, warm days.Â
So I can get a bit down this time of year.Â Knowing that it's all coming to an end.Â
But not today.Â Today is THE LAST GREAT DAY OF THE YEAR.Â
That's been happening a lot lately- and I'm fine with that.Â I'm fine with all the great weather we've been having all the way into November.Â But now it looks like this might actually be the last great day of the year.Â So I'm out of here!
As soon as I'm done on the air today- I'm out the door.Â And on my bike.Â You'll find me and a friend riding the Paoli Loop one last time this year.Â Unless she can get out of work a little earlier- then you'll find us riding the Ironman Loop one last time for the year.
No vacation left?Â You can't go play outside?Â I think you are looking a little sickly today...maybe you should head home.Â You know- you wouldn't want to pass anything around the workplace.Â Do it for the safety of your coworkers.Â I won't tell your boss.
So- Laura and I are remodelling our kitchen (and pretty much the entire first floor of our house) and now it's down to CRUNCH TIME!
CRUNCH TIME- means I spent the weekend doing things that I don't know how to do...hanging drywall.Â Thankfully, most of what I hung will be hid by the cabinets- but there are a couple of small spots that won't be hid.Â
And I feel like one of those guys on the TV show "Over Our Heads."
The scene was probably pretty entertaining- if I wasn't living it.Â
On Saturday my Dad came over and helped hang some drywall- he actually has some knowledge there- so that was nice.Â On Saturday, I tried to finish up the drywall and at the same time Laura was trying to paint the areas that were already done.Â
Laura now has yellow hair.
I nearly had to come to work this morning with a face full ofÂ joint compound.Â It's an attractive look...on both of us.
The goal is to have the room completely drywalled and painted BEFORE the installation of the new cabinets.Â We want this done before the cabinets are in because neither one of us has the patience to paint around the cabinets.
Wish us luck.
I didn't set out to do a complete Triathlon yesterday, but that's what happened- without really thinking about it.
Swim- Tuesday morning means Swim Class.Â It's Masters Class with Derek at Harbor Athletic- bright and early, 5:30am.Â I was ready for class.Â I just wasn't ready for the class that he put us through.Â The bulk of the set was 8 100 yard sprints- each followed by 50 yards easy.Â Swim the 100's as fast as you can- they are timed.Â I averaged about 1:46 per hundred- which I was extremely pleased with, this is by far the fastest I have ever gone in the pool!
Run- Yeah, I did the triathlon out of order.Â I did Swim-Run-Bike instead of Swim-Bike-Run.Â A few friends went for a short run last night before cycling class.Â We initially intended to run around the loop at the Pheasant Branch Nature Conservancy, but we didn't have quite enough time, so we made it a nice, easy-paced out-and-back run and made it back to Harbor in plenty of time for cyling class.
Bike- This was the first week of a private cycling class @ Harbor.Â I've always enjoyed this class because unlike most spin classes, this class concentrates on very cycling specific drills and exercises.Â Everything in the class translates into something that is used when we move back outdoors in the spring.Â I also like the class because the bikes in the club have the most unrealistic computers in the world.Â According to my bike computer I went over 30 miles in just over 1 hour!Â Yeah!Â 30 miles an hour!Â Not a bad average.
As mentioned before, Laura and I are in the middle of remodelling our kitchen.Â We're working with Nonn's Design Showplace on the design and actually giving you some say in what's going into the kitchen.Â You can help us make some choices here.
So while you are contemplating what goes in our kitchen- I've been spending my time ripping all the old stuff out.Â And finally everything is out.Â My garage is now full- because I want to reuse as much of the old stuff as possible (believe me- it won't be possible for some of that stuff).Â The plan is to hang some cabinets in the basement and use them for storage- but that's a ways down the road.
Some of my favorite deconstruction moments...
Why is that cabinet so shallow?Â Oh, because it's an actually 2 upper cabinets- being used as a lower cabinet, leaving a whole bunch of unused space behind.Â Space where we could have been storing things!
It's the no dead mouse tour of the kitchen.Â I thought for sure as I ripped cabinets out- I would find the bodies of dead mice behind them.Â Yeah! No dead mice!!!!Â WARNING: I'm going to be a sexist pig here...I squeal like a little girl when I see a mouse.Â I hate the things.Â They completely creep me out.Â There is nothing worse than a mouse.
Ooooops!Â Forgot to turn off the water.
And the electricity!
That's right- when I started taking the dishwasher out, I had not yet turned off the water and the electricity to the dishwasher.Â To be fair- I thought I had.Â But I had not.Â I figured that out when there was water spraying around the kitchen.Â It was also at that point that I realized that what I had actually unplugged was the disposal and not the dishwasher.Â Thankfully I figured that out before it was too late.Â
I should have learned from that mistake.
Over the weekend my Dad was helping me put in a new subfloor.Â The wires for the diswasher were sticking up through the old floor (all capped and safe).Â We decided to pull the wires back down into the basement- and drill new holes to bring them back up later.Â In order to feed them back down into the basement, we had to take the caps off the wires- that's about the time I heard my Dad yell.
Ooooops!Â I probably should have turned the electicity off before he did that.
So a few minor mishaps along the way (Dad is fine), but overall things are going well.Â Now go vote- because we are ready for the reconstruction to begin.
This Summer I had the honorÂ of being invited to act as race announcer for the bicycle races at the U.S. Transplant Games held here in Madison.Â As I was headed out to the Games, I posted what I was about to do on my Facebook page- I got several comments on it, including one person asking if I would be throwing out any "Liggettisms" - referring to the great cycling commentator Phil Liggett.Â If you have never watched the Tour de France on VS., it's worth it just to listen to Phil Liggett and his amazing description of the race.
Personally, I've never really enjoyed the job of "race announcer" - there's way too much going on, it's too easy to mispronounce names (you have no time to figure out the proper pronounciations as people are racing to the finish line), there are times when there is absolutely NO action at all- and you have to fill that time with NOTHING and when that dead time is over...there's way to much action- it's really difficult to give every racer the credit that they truly deserve.Â That being said- this was for a good cause so I went out there and called the race, doing the best I could.Â People seemed to appreciate my efforts and I actually had a lot of fun doing it.Â
But I'm no Phil Liggett.
But Phil Liggett is coming to town.Â Yes- the real deal , Phil Liggitt will be here on Friday night for the Saris Gala.Â Phil will be the featured speaker at the annual event- a huge fundraiser for the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin.
I will be there as well- first to help lead a ride of costumedÂ cyclists to the party and then to act as MC for the evening.Â There's more info about the party on the Activate With M page.
Maybe Phil will teach me a few Liggettisms on Friday night.
Laura and I are completely gutting the first floor of our house and basically starting over.Â I've been taking out the flooring and kitchen cabinets for the last week or so- all going relatively well.Â One small snag over the weekend, when I was removing the soffit above the kitchen cabinets- the way it looks is that they built the frame for the soffit, installed it and then drywalled over the top of it.Â That all makes sense, but as I was ripping the frame out, I noticed that part of the frame was behind the drywall on a wall that I want to keep.Â Tough to describe here, even tougher to remove the frame without wrecking the drywall that I wanted to keep.Â Thankfully my Dad happened to be coming over to help with something completely different (he had built a beautiful stained glass piece that was hanging in a pass-through between the kitchen and the living room- he was over to remove it, so I don't break it during deconstruction).Â Anyway- Dad walked me through getting the soffit removed and the rest went fairly smoothly.
Until Monday night.Â I wanted to leave the cabinet with the sink and dishwasher as long as I could- but it was time for that stuff to go.Â Several of the little clips that hold the sink in place were either rusted or in a spot that made it really difficult to get to.Â Eventually the sink came out and the countertop was removed shortly after that.Â
Then came the dishwasher.
I had unplugged the dishwasher and disconected the water earlier.Â Or so I thought.Â What I had really done was unplug the disposal (should have realized that when I removed the sink) and unhooked the drain- but not the inlet portion of the water for the dishwasher.Â So I was pulling...and pulling...and pulling on the dishwasher, trying to get it out of it's spot, but it kept getting hung up on something that I couldn't see.Â That something that I couldn't see was the water-line coming in to the dishwasher.Â And I kept pulling on it...
Until I cracked the pipe.
And water was spraying.
Until I ran downstairs to shut off the water to the entire house.
It was about this time that I realized that I had not unplugged the dishwasher.Â The dishwasher is hard-wired.Â So I returned to the basement to try to find the circuit that turns off the electricity to the dishwasher.Â Several tries later and the power to the dishwasher was off.Â
So was the power to the lights in the stairwell, and the outlets in the bathroom and a couple outlets in the kitchen.Â Yes- all on the same circuit.
At this point I was able to search out the water shutoff valve for the dishwasher itself- so I didn't have to have the water off to the entire house.Â Of course when I found it, it wouldn't turn.Â Last time I came upon a shutoff valve like this, I ended up breaking it and had to call in a plummer to fix it.Â This time it went much better and I was able to get the water shut off with no further damage.Â Which allowed me to turn the water back on to the rest of the house.Â With the exception of the hot water going to the main bathroom.Â So now Laura and I get to shower in the second bathroom.Â Where the shower-head is about 3 feet high.Â I'm over 6 feet high.
The pros come in and fix my damage today.
I actually put a couple of "A" races on my schedule this year- the first one was the Door County Half Ironman.Â In that race I hit all but one of my goals- I'm still a little slower than I'd like to be in the swim, but I only missed that goal by a few seconds.Â So the first "A" race was a success.
Now on to the second "A" race of the year- the Chicago Marathon!Â This one was special because I did it as part of Team In Training.Â If you are not familiar with Team In Training, it's an organization that trains people to do athletic things- marathons, triathlons, long distance bike rides, etc.Â In exchange for the coaching, those people raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society.
Sunday was the big race- here's the race report...
Pregame: Lots of pregame this time around.Â My intent was to get all packed up and ready to go on Friday night.Â That was the intent- then my old college roomate sent me a note on facebook- he was in town, so went for beers on Friday night after work.Â Pregame gets moved to Saturday morning.Â
Laura and I got up early Saturday morning- packed, unpacked, checked to make sure we remembered everything for the race, repacked and then checked through everything again.Â After taking the dog to the kennel, we made a side trip to Endurance House, unfortunately they weren't open yet.Â Fortunately my friend Katie was there to lead the Saturday morning run group.Â Unfortunately Katie doesn't know how to use the new cash register.Â Fortunately, she let me grab what I needed for the weekend and just leave a note (I came back and paid for everything yesterday).
Off to Chicago we go!Â Tolls are getting expensive and it seems that no matter what time you hit Chicago, no matter what day you hit Chicago, there's a traffic jam.Â Yes- there was a traffic jam at 11am on a Saturday.
We finally made it to the hotel, checked in and rushed off to the expo.Â A huge expo.Â At the expo I got my race packet with my number, my chip and a bunch of other stuff.Â At the expo I also tried to talk my way into one of the fast corrals.Â I easily qualify for one of the faster corrals, but I got my paperwork in late- so now I was stuck trying to convince them that I should be there.Â No luck.Â I will start in the general corral.Â This will come back to bite me later.
Back to the hotel and off to the Team In Training dinner.Â A very inspirational dinner- with a couple of speakers.Â They did a great job of combining inspirational talk with entertaining talk.Â After dinner the Wisconsin team gathered for some last minute advice from the coaching staff and to go over the race-day kits, to make sure everyone knew how to attach numbers, chips, etc. and to personalize the team shirts- several people adding messages about who they were running in honor of.
Off to bed early on Saturday night- but not before jumping online to follow theÂ Ironman World Championship in Kona- one of our coaches, Jackie Arendt was racing- and eventually took second in her age group!
Early to rise on Sunday morning- I met the team downstairs and we walked to the start line together.Â On the way there I found out that Steve had the same time goal as me- so we lined up together, just under the 8 minutes/mile sign.
Lining up under the 8 minutes/mile sign also came back to bite me (just like not making it into one of the fast corrals).Â I hadn't noticed that many of the pace groups were lined up in front of that sign- including pace groups that would be going slower.Â There are 45,000 people in the Chicago Marathon, so it's really hard- especially early in the race- to move up.Â It's possible, but it takes some time.Â I spent the first 10 miles running at about an 8:40/mile pace, by the time I was able to pick up the pace, I was close to 10 minutes behind where I wanted to be.
Then came the heat!Â It got hot.Â I'm not sure how hot- but I heard somebody who finished right about the same time as me say that they saw a bank sign that said 85 degrees.Â I heard someone who finished later say that they saw 87 degrees on that same bank sign.
Despite the heat, I felt good through mile 24.Â From 10 to 24 I was able to fairly comfortably run at about a 7:30 pace.Â I wasn't always able to run that fast because of the crowds- but when I was able to run how I wanted, I could fairly comfortable do that pace.
I started to tighten up at about mile 24, but was still able to keep up a decent pace- probably in the 8:00 range for the rest of the race- I say "probably" because I didn't pay a lot of attention to my watch at that point- the heat was getting to me and by that point I wasn't going to make my time goal anyway, so I wasn't paying close attention anymore.
Been a while since I've been swimming in a pool- but we're back at it!Â Today was the first day of masters swim class at Harbor Athletic.Â After spending the whole Summer in the open water, it was quite an adjustment back to the pool.Â
There's a lot more to think about in the pool...
In the open water I don't have to kick (my wetsuit keeps me floating)
In the open water form is not nearly as important (my wetsuit makes up for my shortcomings)
In the open water I have to sight as I swim- this actually adds a slight degree of difficulty- I don't have to do it in the pool, but it's hard to get out of the habit and every time I sight, it slows me down just a little bit.Â
In the pool I have to swim in a straight line (which I normally do- but in the pool I HAVE TO).Â
In the Pool there's somebody RIGHT NEXT TO ME and on the other side is a wall.Â
In the open water, if I get too close to the person next to me I move over a little- I've got the whole lake to work with.Â
I feel much slower in the pool.Â
I think I am a little slower in the pool.
We swam 1900 yards today...
8 x 50 with 15 seconds rest (even sets: 25 skull/25 free...odd sets 25 doggie paddle/25 free)
100 free (10 seconds rest)
200 free (15 seconds rest)
300 free (20 seconds rest)
The faster kids in class then completed the other side of that pyramidÂ andÂ wentÂ back down (3oo...200...100)- usually I hang out after class with my friend Julie and finish what we didn't do in class- but this morning we were both beat after 1900, plus another friend- Tara lost an earring, so we spent our time looking for that.
Laura and I are remodeling our kitchen.Â We're working with Dana at Nonn's Design Showplace and giving you the opportunity to help us pick what goes in the kitchen- more on that later.
This weekend I started the deconstruction process.Â First up- get rid of the soffit above the kitchen window.Â Not knowing what was under the soffit and having never done anything like this before, I was a bit nervous- what if I cut into the electrical and electrocute myself or burn down my house?Â
Turns out there was nothing to be nervous about- in fact there was a whole lot of NOTHING.Â I removed the soffit and under the soffit I found - NOTHING!Â There was a big empty space being completely wasted in our kitchen.Â Worst part is- the part of the soffit that I removed over the weekend also covered part of the window.Â Suddenly the kitchen feels bigger and brighter.Â Imagine that- don't cover the window and there's more light in the room.
Part two of the deconstruction was to find out what's behind the shelves in the lower cabinets.Â For some reason those shelves are only about 12 inches deep.Â Must be something behind there- right?Â Maybe plumbing?Â Electrical?Â A gas line?Â Something?
More wasted space.Â And it was quite a deconstruction project.Â Dana said that I could probably use a pry-bar to lift up the countertop, then pull the countertop off and look behind the back wall of the shelves.Â I pulled up on the counter a little, so I could slide the pry-bar in and as I did, I completely pulled the countertop off the cabinets.Â No pry-bar needed.
My wife likes to say that our house was built by the "Crack Monkey Construction" company.Â I'm starting to believe her.
Next up on the deconstruction- the floor.Â Several years ago I put a floating bamboo floor in the whole first floor of our house.Â It looked nice when it went in, but it has not worn well.Â So the removal process has begun.Â This process has been relatively easy- although a bit tricky in areas where I actually properly trimmed it.Â The floor is out now in the kitchen and most of the dining room.Â I'll work on the rest of the dining room and the living room over the next couple of days.Â
And what I'm left with- for the most part a really crappy old hardwood floor.Â I know- you're saying "great- hardwood, sand it down and refinish it- it will be beautiful."Â NO- you missed the part where I said "A REALLY CRAPPY hardwood."Â This is in terrible shape.Â Oh, and to add to it- at one point our house was a lot smaller- and half of what is now the living room, was at one point the front porch- so half of the living room is the crappy old hardwood and the other half is the old porch boards.Â That's gonna take a little work.
So- back to your part of the whole project.Â Come on over and grab a hammer...
You can help us pick what's going into the kitchen.Â The cabinet style.Â The wood used on those cabinets.Â The countertops.Â etc.Â And in the process, you could win $1000 shopping spree at Nonn's Designe Showplace.Â Head to the Nonn's website and vote for your choices.
O.K. folks- here's a great way to support the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society through Team In Training and Team Triple M as we get ready for the Chicago Marathon on October 10.Â Not only is it a great way to support the cause- it's also a great way to get yourself some cool stuff.Â The team has put together an online auction- included in the auction items is some Rock & Roll memorabilia from my own private collection.Â I had to get these all approved by my wife- and had to really argue for a few of them- so bid high!
Among the items up for bid...
A beautiful signed Patti Smith poster- this is the one I really had to fight for, Laura is a fan- but I convinced her that the cause was worth it.
A signed, uncut Widespread Panic CD package- this one is hard to describe, but if you are a fan- I can almost guarantee that you haven't seen anything like this before.
A signed Lou Reed "Magic & Loss" CD- this is in a rare, limited edition metal package- an Lou signed it to boot!
A signed Moby poster- I honestly don't know where I got this, but I did, and it could be yours- or buy it for the Moby fan in your life.
A very rare Queen box set- this is a 4 CD set that was realeased to radio only to celebrate Queen's 20th anniversary as a band.Â The package looks like a chest of drawers, with drawers that pull out to reveal the 4 CDs.
Two signed Bruce Hornsby albums.Â These are signed vinyl albums- two copies of the first album- The Way It Is.Â The cool thing here is the two different album covers- the original cover and the cover that you remember from that first album.
Led Zeppelin 20th anniversary "Stairway to Heaven" single.Â If I remember right- "Stairway to Heaven" was never released as a single back in the day- but for the 20th anniversary of the song, they put together a very cool package that included a single and a nice lyric sheet, all in a "pop-up" package.
Signed BoDeans poster.Â Madison is full of Bodeans fans- this is a really cool poster signed by the band.
Signed Santana Brothers poster.Â A few years back, Carlos Santana did an album with his brother Jorge and Carlos Hernandez.Â This is a signed poster from that album.
You know the old saying...
Bid early and bid often!
This was the long run with Team In Training before the Chicago Marathon! A scheduled 20 mile run, starting in waves. As the name implies- we ran a figure 8 around lakes Monona and Wingra. A great route, but a little tough on game-day, making our way though the area between the zoo and Monroe Street.
I had two goals for the day- 1) run the entire run at an 8 minute/mile pace, and 2) finish the 20 miles with enough time to be able to double back and make it a 22 mile run- to see if I could keep that 8 minute pace for 22 miles- in my last marathon I was able to keep the pace for 20 miles, but then died a slow and very painful death over the next 6 miles. I figure if I can keep the pace for 22, I've got a better shot at it on race day.
I was able to accomplish both of those things- doubling back 1 mile and meeting the rest of the team and then finishing the run with them for a 22 mile total.
Now I'm ready for the best part of training...THE TAPER!
BTW- if you would like to make a contribution to the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society through Team In Training, go here.
So the triathlon season is quickly coming to an end- it really works out nicely here in Wisconsin, where Ironman is a nice signal of the end of the season.Â Now that Ironman has passed, the season is pretty much coming to an end- I've got one race left on my schedule- not a triathlon, but a Marathon- the Chicago Marathon that I'm running with Team In Training to raise money for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society.
So now that the season is coming to an end- it's time to start thinking about all of those projects that got ignored while I was training hard for the past 9 months.Â And the big one around my house is the kitchen.Â Laura and I are finally redoing our kitchen.Â The whole thing - cabinets, countertops, flooring, everything.Â
So, word got out that we were doing this and I got a call from Adam Nonn at Nonn's Design Showplace.Â This started what looks like will be a great partnership- Adam set us up with one of his best designers- Dana - and we started seriously looking at what should be done.
The good news- the layout of the kitchen is actually pretty good and very functional- considering the size of the kitchen (it's a really small galley kitchen).
The bad news- it's poorly designed when it comes to storage.Â We have no place for a trash can or recycling- if that gives you any idea of what we're up against.
Dana has put together some plans for us and we are ready to move forward with remodelling the kitchen.Â
So- back to the phone call from Adam..."What if we let your listeners help design your kitchen?" was his question.Â And oddly enough- Laura thought that sounded like a good idea.Â So, as we move forward- we'll be working with the design that Dana put together for us- but you get to help with things like picking out cabinets, countertops and even what kind of wood will be used.
So- head to the Nonn's Desgin Showplace website and start make your picks.
Please- be kind.Â I have to live with this.Â And I have to live with Laura living with this.
Saturday was the Shelley Glover Century Ride.Â This is the first time I've done this ride and it was a really tough, challenging ride.Â The ride started/ended in the Dells and made it's way over the Baraboo Bluffs and then back over the Baraboo Bluffs again.Â In between- there were some hills.Â Lots of hills.
Normally for a century ride, I figure 20mph- which means I'll be out for 5 hours- but then I add an hour on to the ride- just because it's 100 miles and who knows what's going to happen over 100 miles.Â So, I plan on being out for 6 hours.Â For this ride I was out for more than 7 hours- a little over 6 1/2 hours actually pedalling the bike- the rest of the time spent at rest stops trying desperately to eat enough Powerbars and bananas and drink enough Gatorade to regain my strength and go back out and ride again.
That was Saturday.
Sunday was supposed to be a short ride to the Riley Tavern for pancakes with my friend Susan.
Sunday was spent on the couch.Â I didn't even get dressed until I had to go get a pizza at half-time of the Packer game.Â
Monday was still a rough day- I decided to do Sunday's scheduled workout on Monday- a 7-9 mile run.Â
I did 7 miles.Â I actually did it fairly fast- about a 7:40 per mile pace, which is pretty good for me, but it felt awful.Â My legs felt tight the entire time.Â It was hot- which I didn't plan for, I packed cool weather gear when I left for work in the morning.Â And I just felt tired the entire run.
Bottom line- if you are looking for a really challenging end-of-season ride next year- the Shelley Glover Century Ride (there's also a half-century and I believe a 10 or 20 mile course) will fill the bill well.
As I mentioned the other day- I was asked to host the Ironman volunteer appreciation dinner on Monday night.Â At the dinner I talked about all of the amazing things that I witnessed over the weekend- here are a few of them...
- I saw the first athlete come out of the water in 45 minutes (he very well could have lapped me- TWICE!)
- On the flip side- from my perch on the helix, I watched a guy swim 5 strokes (I counted) and then stop and rest, swim another 3 strokes, stop and rest, swim 1 stroke, stop and rest, swim 4 strokes- you get the idea.Â Part of me said he wasn't properly prepared, the other part admired him for the way he kept at it.
- I watched as a friend who had trained for 2 straight years, with a goal of finishing in less than 10 hours, finished in 9:57!Â Congratulations Justin! You're going to Kona!
- I watched as 2 more friends - a married couple - crossed the finish line together for the ultimate finisher photo!
- I saw 3 more friends finish 1, 2 and 3 in their age group.Â All in the same age group, by the way.Â And all from Madison- how's that for dominence?
- Like lots of other people, I saw a blind man racing.Â And like lots of other people, I wondered how the hell he did the swim? (btw- I found out how on Monday night- he was tethered to another swimmer, who pulled the tether to the left or right to communicate direction to him).
- A man with an artificial leg stopped at my aid station, sat down on the ground, removed the leg, cleaned it and strapped it back on- then got up and ran the rest of the race.
- I watched as a spectator on Old Sauk Pass ran up the hill- several times - encouraging the athletes.Â I decided to try the same and ran alongside a few of my teammates.Â I ran the hill 3 or 4 times and then decided the other guy was crazy.
- I saw the day end for several people at my aid station.
- I saw several more re-energized when they passed through the aid station, heard their name announced and heard the music playing!
Congratulations to all who competed!Â I'll be there with you again next year!
The plan for today was to tell you all about Sunday's race- I didn't race, I spectated and volunteered.Â The plan was to tell you all about the experience- but that's gonna have to wait until tomorrow.Â
Becuase my friend Stef (who did race- with her husband Josh) posted this on facebook- and I just had to share...
Ironman weekend!Â I had been looking forward to taking in Ironman with a new perspective.Â Over the years I always spent some time down at the finish line cheering for the athletes and secretly (and sometimes not so secretly) dreaming of doing the race myself.
Then I did it.Â And I did it again.Â That's right- for the last two years I competed in Ironman Wisconsin.Â I had a really good race in 2008 and a not so good race in 2009.Â In that time I also fell in love with the sport.Â I'm actually much better at short distance triathlons- I can often pull off a top 5 or 10 finish in my age-group in a sprint length race and I just missed the top 20 (#21) at the Door County Half Iron distance race this year.Â But I love Ironman.Â It's a completely different animal.Â
So this year- with a new appreciation for the sport- I was really looking forward to taking in the race.Â And the race did not disappoint.
Ironman weekend actually started early for me when I found out on Wednesday thatÂ I won my entry into next year's race in a drawing at Endurance House!!!Â Guess I'm in for next year.Â I was leaning that direction anyway, and my wife had given her blessing, so I was probably going to register- but now I'm in for sure!
The fun continued on Thursday when I spent the morning volunteering at registration.Â I had signed up to volunteer because it gives you preferential treatment when signing up for next year's race.Â Turns out that didn't matter- but I still had a ball working at registration!Â
My job on Thursday was to check timing chips.Â I swiped the chip over the sensor and the athlete's name appeared on a computer.Â I had the athlete check to make sure the info on the computer was correct and then I handed the athlete a strap that was used to hold the chip to their ankle.Â Best moment of the day came when I handed the strap to a woman, explained that she should attach the chip to the strap and put it around her left ankle.Â That's when she gave me the deer-in-headlights look and asked if I could please do that for her.Â Surprisingly she wasn't the last to ask for that assistance- 3 more people weren't able to figure it out for themselves- including on guy who explained that he's "just not very mechanically inclined."Â I was happy to help- but trust me, we're not talking about a very mechanical device here.Â
Friday is traditionally the "Gatorade Swim" (it actually happens both Thursday and Friday), the first chance to get out and swim on the actual course- with the buoys set up and everything.Â Unfortunately there was no Gatorade Swim this year.Â I have heard rumors that Gatorade pulled out and nobody else wanted the liability, but I have heard nothing official.Â
We decided to swim anyway.Â It's good to get out on the course sometime before the race and swim it at the time you will be swimming on raceday- so you know where the sun will be and Â so you can look at the sight-lines or approximate sight-lines in this case, since the buoys were not yet set.Â
We hit the water at 7am with the Endurance House team- the buddy system was a must since we had a pretty big group and the water was pretty choppy.Â As I usually do, I swam with my friend Julie- we swim at exactly the same pace and we breath out of opposite sides- so we can always keep track of each other.Â Unless the waves are so big that she disappears behind them.Â There were times that I wouldn't see her for 10 strokes.Â It got a bit scary out there.Â
We swam from the entrance (just to theÂ East ofÂ Monona Terrace) to a spot a little past the handicap dock (just to theÂ West of Monona Terrace).Â At that point we turned around to head back.Â Now weÂ were swimming INTO the waves.Â We lasted about 5 strokes until both of us stopped swimming and started coughing up all the water we wereÂ swallowing.Â We talked about getting outÂ of the water right then, but decided to push on.Â This time we swam for a minute or two and had to stop again.Â When we stopped the second time we heard sirens all around us and saw an ambulanceÂ @ theÂ terrace.Â Â Again, we talked about getting out of the water, but decided (warning- dumb decision coming up) that we didn't want to walk past whatever was happening on the terrace-Â so we swam on.Â Yes- that's right, it's obviously dangerousÂ swimming- there's an ambulance right thereÂ and they're pulling somebody out of the water- but we'd rather swim than witness that.Â Like I said...dumb decision.Â But we made it.Â Later that night in a bar, by pure chance, I ran into someone from the rescue squad and they told me that they actuallyÂ had to pull two people out.Â Thankfully both were o.k.Â
I was planning on taking the rest of the day Friday off and just wandering around Ironman Village and taking in the sites, but by the time I left on Thursday we had only registered about 800 of the 2900 athletes- so fearing that they would be swamped on Friday, I was asked to come back and help out again on Friday.Â Which I did, and again had a ball.Â And by the time I left on Friday I was asked to come back again on Monday and host the volunteer apprecialtion dinner- which I did.Â More on that later.
Tomorrow: Race Day- and what a great race day it was!
There is a ride every Tuesday night from the Capital Brewery- always short rides- about 20 miles- usually a good group of 40-60 riders, ranging in skill level from complete beginners to seasoned veterans. The seasoned vets head out first and ride fast and then 2 more groups follow at a more casual pace. Kevin- the ride leader - calls the groups "fast," "faster" and "fastest".
Last night, because of the weather, the group was a bit smaller- maybe 20-25 people, so we all rode out together.
It ended up a somewat nervous ride- as there was a pretty good crash about 5 miles into the ride. About a half-dozen riders went down at the front of the pack- I was the first in the pack to not go down, but somehow still banged up my hand a bit. One bloody knuckle and a sore hand- but other than that, everything (including the bike) seems fine.
The crash also had a negative effect on a downhill later in the ride- coming down Enchanted Valley- which I normally ride all-out, I got a bit scared thinking "what if something happened to the bike in that crash?" So I slowed a bit coming down the hill. I'll take a good look at the bike tomorrow and make sure everything is o.k.
We ended the ride with a race the length of Schneider Road- I was just off the lead pack for most of the length of the race- but they really pulled away at the end. I think I ended up 5th or 6th. I guess you could say I was the first in after the peleton.
Beers after the ride in the Capital Brewery Beer Garden as usual- and by the time the ride ended, the wind had died down and the skies cleared.
Half of me is really excited to go watch Ironman this year with a whole new appreciation of what's happening.Â I watched the race all but one year in the past- I was in bed, sick that year- and it was the year that it was cold and raining.Â But I never really fully appreciated what was happening unitl I did the race myself.
The swim was too early in the morning- so I never made it down to watch the swim.Â
The bike course was mainly out in the country and I guess I just didn't realize that people head out there to watch it.Â They do.Â In particular in Verona (I know, not really "out in the country") where there is a massive party on race-day.Â People also gather on some of the bigger, more challenging hills- Old Sauk Pass, Timber Lane and Midtown Road all get good crowds of people making the athletes feel like they are in the Tour de France.
The run is what I always watched.Â I don't know why.Â I was never a runner before training for Ironman.Â I guess the main reason is because it is the easiest thing to watch.Â It's mostly right downtown.Â There are huger crowds of people up and down State Street and especially at the finish line on Martin Luther King.Â The run is also where you see the drama.Â The race for the finish.Â The look on somebody's face when they get oh-so-close to the finish line and realize that they have to turn around and go run another loop of the course.Â The thrill of finishing.Â The pain of finishing.Â It's all right there on MLK.
This year I have big plans for Ironman weekend.Â No, I'm not racing this year- but I'm volunteering both on raceday and at registration on Thursday.Â Volunteers get priority registration for next year, so sometime between now and next Monday, I'll decide if I'm racing next year.Â I'm leaning towards racing.
So my plan for the weekend...
Work at registration on Thursday.
Swim on Friday morning- the course is open for what they call the "Gatorade Swim" - it's not exactly the same as raceday because there's not 2000+ people hitting and kicking you as you try to swim, but it is a great chance to swim the actual course.
There have been some tentative plans for a bunch of Ironman friends to do a long bike ride on Saturday.Â No reason- just to get together and relive our Ironman memories.
Sunday will start early- I'll get up early enough to watch the swim.Â I've never seen it before and I'm told that it's pretty spectacular.Â After the swim I'm going home to pick up Laura and we'll head out to Old Sauk Pass with a picnic lunch and watch the cyclists as they take on the biggest hill on the course.Â Also onÂ Sunday that same group of friends from Saturday is manning the State Street aid station for enough of the afternoon that we should be able to hand a cup of water or Gatorade to literally EVERY runner in the race.Â And when we're done there, we'll probably all grab a drink and then head to the finish line to cheer on the finishers.Â I have also never experienced the final runner coming in- so if I can handle it, I'm staying until Midnight.
I said that half of me is really excited about watching the race this year.Â The other half of me is completely jealous of everyone who will be racing.Â
Good luck to all of you- especially Linda, Stef, Josh, Derek, Sarah, Marie, Jamie, Justin and I know there's more, don't worry I will be there screaming for all of you on Sunday!
Have a great race!
I've never seen the movie "Freaks," but several of my friends were quoting the movie all weekend long as we welcomed my wife into our group.Â It's a pretty exclusive group...of people who do really stupid athletic things.Â We all became good friends while training for Ironman and since then have found crazy things to do- the most recent of which was running the back-to-back half marathons this past weekend.
When I started training for Ironman the first time, Laura decided to take up karate.Â It's something that she had always wanted to do and with me gone training all the time, it made sense for her to start her own training.Â Last Friday Laura took (and passed) her test for her "blue-stripe" belt- putting her solidly into the upper level belts.Â Now things get tough for her.
On Sunday Laura ran her first half marathon.Â
She started making her way into our little group last Winter when Julie asked me if Laura would want to join the cycling class- I was a bit surprised when she said she would.Â I was even more surprised when I learned just how strong her legs had gotten doing karate- she might not have the speed of the rest of the group, but she outlasted us all through climbing drills.
A few weeks ago when we were all training for the Centurion Bicycle race we sent Laura off on a different route- assuming that she'd never be able to keep up with us.Â We finished our training ride and found out that Laura went about twice as far as we expected...and only a few miles less than us.
Sunday when she completed her first half marathon is when the "Freaks" quotes started..."We accept you!Â One of us!Â One of us!"Â She tried to tell us that it was not only her first, but also her last half marathon.Â Of course we didn't accept that- we made her join us in the team picture and explained that she's now in the club- or maybe it's a gang- and she's not allowed to quite the gang.
Yesterday she skipped karate and joined us for the Capital Brewery Tuesday night ride- followed by beers in the beer garden of course.Â One little mishap at the end of the ride and she's now got some nicely scraped up legs.Â Kevin said it's a little something to show for the effort.
Yeah- she's one of us.
Day two of the two-day marathon took me and my friends up to Minneapolis for the Minneapolis 13.1 race.Â We left Madison mid-afternoon on Saturday and headed to River Falls to stay at Julie's parent's house for the night.Â Saturday night- a great meal of chicken on the grill and of course the traditional pre-race pasta followed by a rousing game of Farkle (Google it).
Early to bed- and early to rise.Â 5am wake-up followed by a quick breakfast and a 30 minute drive to Minneapolis and we were ready to race.Â The race started at 7:13 am- get it- 13.1 mile race...7:13am?
As for the race itself...
I reached all but one of my goals- unfortunately the one goal I missed was the overall time goal of 3:30
I wanted to negative split over the 2 days- check.Â I ran about 5 minutes faster on Sunday.
I wanted to negative split on Sunday- check.Â Actually- I may be wrong on that, I'm not really sure how to read the final results and I don't think the timing mat was right at the 1/2 way point- I think it was at 10k, I don't remember running over it at all, but others told me it was by the 10k sign.
My resultsÂ on SundayÂ were really good- I'm fairly certain it was a PR (by about a minute, I think).Â
1 hour, 45 minutes
Overall: 199 out of 1892
Age-group: 16 out of 78
Gender: 159 out of 745
I felt pretty good on the run- although I will say that it seemed like most of the run was at least slightly uphill.Â The course was nice in that most of it was shady and ran along the river for almost the entire course- so we always had a pretty nice view.
A couple of months ago a co-worker was running his first 5k and asked for my advice.Â I told him to look for an attractive woman about his speed and follow her.Â Let her set the pace.Â Just keep your eye on her- it will take your mind off the run.
I used that advice on Sunday- I actually found an attractive young woman who was just a bit slower than me- but it worked out well because she NEVER stopped at an aid station- just kept running.Â
Wasn't carrying water.Â
Never saw her take a GU.Â
Never saw her eat a Shot-Block.Â
She just ran.Â And ran.Â And ran.Â
We'd get to an aid station and I would walk through the aid station- drink my water and Gatorade.Â She would keep running and get a ways ahead of me.Â I'd find her in the crowd and slowly catch up to her by the next aid station- when the exact same thing would happen again.Â I even stopped for the rest room at one aid station and she kept running- and I caught her again my the next aid station.Â
By mile 12 we were running side by side- even talked for a couple seconds and then I pulled ahead until the final 100 yards or so, when she caught me and sprinted for the finish line.Â At that point I figured that she had helped me so much through the race that I wouldn't race her to the finish- not sure I had it in me anyway, and there was nobody close behind, so I just took a nice easy stroll across the line.
A couple of months ago a few friends came up with the idea of running 2 half-marathons in 2 days.Â We would start with the Madison Mini Marathon on Saturday.Â We would then drive to the twin cities for the Minneapolis 13.1 half marathon on Sunday.
This was the weekend for the adventure.Â Matt, Julie, Tags, John and I all ran the Madison Mini Marathon on Saturday and then were joined by Laura (my wife) as we headed up to Minneapolis for the second half of our adventure.Â Laura ran her first ever half-marathon on Sunday.
I set a few of goals for the weekend-
1) negative splitÂ each race- that is run the second half faster than the first half.
2) negative split between the 2 days- that is run day 2 faster than day 1
3) 1:45 - 1:50 on Saturday
4) 1:40 - 1:45 on Sunday
5) total time of 3:30
I'm fairly certain that I negative split on Saturday. I did the first 9 miles at an 8:30 pace and then picked it up for the last 4 miles- usually between 7:30 and 8 minute pace.Â Unfortunately when I checked the results my split time was missing- so I don't have anything official that shows that I reached that goal- but judging from what I saw on my watch, I can check off that goal.
I came pretty close to the second goal by running the Madison Mini Marathon in 1:50:19, but with that time it's gonna be really tough to do an over-all negative split and get my total goal of 3:30
The race itself today was really fun- a great route, great support, lots of spectators, great race announcer, nice post-race party. The only negative was the heat- and for some reason I wasn't expecting that- I knew we were expecting a high in the 80s, but I thought the race was early enough that we wouldn't have to worry about it- so I brought NO salt tablets. I learned something for the Sunday run.
Tomorrow- part 2...the Minneapolis 13.1
A couple of months ago an e-mail went around to a bunch of my friends suggesting it might be fun to all head to Minneapolis on Sunday, August 22 for the Minneapolis 13.1 race- a half marathon that is part of a series similar to the "Rock & Roll Marathon" series.Â
When someone pointed out that it happens on the same weekend as the Madison Mini Marathon and most of us are planning on running that- the decision was made...
A Two Day Marathon!
We'll run the first 13.1 miles on Saturday in Madison.Â Then we'll all jump in our cars and head to Minneapolis for part two of our two day marathon on Sunday.Â
Now here we are- the big weekend is upon us.Â Most of us have done marathons before (well I guess all of us have during Ironman, but that's different), but none of us have done 2Â half marathons in 2 days- so we have no idea of what to expect.
As for me- I'm setting goals.Â Â I have no ideaÂ if my goals are realistic.Â But I'm setting goals.
Goal #1: Run a 3:30 marathon.Â This is the time I need to qualify for Boston.Â This is the time that I want to do at the Chicago Marathon when I run with Team In Training.Â 3:30 over the course of 2 half marathons will NOT qualify me for Boston- but it will be a nice mental hurdle to get over.
Goal #2: Negative Split.Â This basically means to run the second half of the race faster than the first half.Â Essentially you are saving energy during the first half for the second half.Â This takes some discipline for a couple reasons- 1) you are feeling really good and have a whole bunch of adrenaline during the first half- so it's really hard to convince yourself to slow down, and 2) (and this is my problem) it's hard to convince yourself that the energy really will be there for the second half.Â If I run slow for the first half- will I really have enough energy to run fast enough to make up the lost time?Â
Taking all that into consideration, I would like to finish Saturday's Madison Mini Marathon somewhere between 1:45 and 1:50 and finish Sunday's Minneapolis 13.1 somewhere between 1:40 and 1:45.Â
One more thing that should be mentioned- Sunday is also Laura and my 23rd wedding anniversary- so she's joining me and all my crazy friends for the Sunday portion of the fun.Â This will be her first (and quite possibly last) half-marathon.
Strange morning.Â The day started with me hitting the snooze button...twice!Â The third time the alarm went off, the clock said 5:10am (I set my clock 10 minutes fast- so it was really 5am).Â I jumped out of bed, got dressed quickly and sprinted out the door.Â As I left, I remembered that my car was running on empty (now you have that ear-worm, have a good day), so I loaded all my stuff into Laura's car, jumped in my car to move it and noticed that Laura had filled the tank.Â Thanks Laura!Â So I took all my gear out of Laura's car, loaded it in my car and got ready to leave, and then...
The phone rang.Â I assumed it was my friend Julie (odd- she doesn't usually call, sheÂ sends a text if she's not going to make it to class), so I answered.Â It wasn't Julie- it was the 9-1-1 center, claiming that I had just called.Â I hadn't - in fact I had looked at the phone just before it rang- it was on the text screen with a series of texts from Julie on the screen.Â I explained that I had not called- they explained that they still had to follow up.
I took off as soon as I convinced them that I was o.k.
I got about 3 or 4 blocks from home when I realized that I forgot my wetsuit.Â I returned home, grabbed the wetsuit and took off again.Â I was almost to Law Park (I live about 20 minutes away from Law Park) when the phone rang again- this time it's the police following up on the 9-1-1 call.Â I explained that it was a mistake and again they explained that they had to follow up.Â They were headed to my house.Â
When I got to class I was telling the story when my friend Pam said I should call home to warn Laura that the police where coming- so she didn't freak out when a cop showed up at the front door while I was out swimming.
Turns out Laura didn't freak out until a little later.Â She slept through my call and the call from the police- they were sitting in the driveway at the time and called before I did.Â
When Laura woke up, she listened to the new messages- the first one from the police.Â Now she freaked out.Â I was gone swimming and the police had called- what happened?Â She finally got to my call that explained the whole thing- but it still took some time for her to calm down.
I was on vacation all last week- and like most people I spent my time off relaxing.Â For me- relaxing means...
So hard, in fact, that half way through the week a friend asked me if I had a "secret Ironman entry" that nobody knew about?
No secret Ironman entry- just a lot of free time on my hands and Laura just started a new job- so she didn't have any vacation to burn.Â So left to my own devices- I ran.Â And swam.Â And biked.Â A lot!
The week actually started poorly in that regard.Â My plan was to race the 100 mile Centurion on Sunday, August 8.Â I got up at about 4:30 Sunday morning and started prepping for the race.Â I live just a couple miles from the start line, so I decided to ride to the race.Â As I left home, the fist of the lightning started.Â And it didn't stop for much of the morning.Â By about 6:30 it was getting really nasty and they moved all the racers into an airplane hanger to keep us safe.Â Eventually they announced that the race would start at 7:30 instead of 7.Â Then they announced that the 100 mile race would be cancelled and the 50 and 25 mile races would start at 9am.Â
Me and my friends went for breakfast.Â
The races did get going at about 9:30am- but by that time me and all my friends had decided to call it a day.Â I've heard from several people who did race that it was a fantastic race- in fact I came back to the watch a little bit of the finish later in the day and talked to several people as they crossed the finish line- all had a great time.Â Sorry I wimped out and took a nap instead.
Monday started with the usual Open Water Swim Class and then later in the day- feeling guilty about missing the Centurion race- a couple of friends and I went for a ride.Â WeÂ intended to ride from their house and then do the Ironman loop- it would be close to 70 miles.Â In the end we figured that we didn't have enough daylight to do 70 miles so we did a really cool 40 mile route that took us out to Mt. Vernon and back along country roads the entire time.Â Â A hot ride for sure- but a whole lot of fun.
I had to run to the office for a couple minutes on Tuesday morning- so I decided to turn it into a workout.Â I drove in, did the couple things that needed doing and then ran home...in the heat!Â I got home with just enough time to hop on my bike and ride back to the office to pickÂ up the car and drive toÂ Harbor Athletic,Â where I had a session with my personal trainer.Â Tuesday wrapped up with the regular Tuesday night Capital Brewery ride.Â 20 more miles in the extreme heat.Â And we rode it fast.
I decided to take it easy on Wednesday- went for a short, easy run.Â Although with the continued heat- it wasn't all that easy.Â 4 miles through the Pheasant Branch Nature Conservancy.Â I was a sweaty mess by the time I got back home.
Thursday came and it was back to the crazy schedule.Â 6am a team swim in a beautiful private lake followed by what I thought was going to be a shortened version of the Ironman loop on my bike.Â I thought I was chopping about 10 miles off the loop- turns out I chopped about 2 miles off- so I ended up going 39.5 miles, again in the extreme heat.Â And I had to do it at a decent pace, as I had to make it back to Harbor Athletic for another session with my personal trainer.Â I skipped the Harbor Athletic ride that night- instead my wife wanted to run.Â I told her she had to run indoors (it's o.k. for me to run outside in the heat- but nobody else.Â Nice double standard).Â We ran a mile on the track @ Harbor, then walked a mile on the track (she wanted to check her speed walking- knowing that she would have to walk a bit in her upcoming half-marathon), we then went upstairs to the treadmills and I ran 3 more miles while she ran two more.
Friday- it says "Rest Day" on my schedule.Â So other than another personal trainer session, I spent the day resting.Â I do what I'm told...for the most part.
Saturday morning I hit the road on the bike and did the Saturday Morning Harbor Atheletic Ride.Â Same ride that I did with my friends on Monday night- but not quite as hot as it was on Monday.
Wrapped up the vacation on Sunday morning with a 10 mile run with the "My First Half" training group.Â I think they are all ready for the Madison Mini Marathon this weekend.
I'm doing the race this weekend with some friends and then we are heading up to Minneapolis for the Minneapolis 13.1 half marathon on Sunday morning.
The Centurion Wisconsin Bicycle race is this Sunday.Â There are three different races ranging in length from 25 to 100 miles.Â Registration is open right up until race-day.Â If you are not up for doing the race- you can still join in the fun as a spectator.Â
The race starts and ends at the Middleton Municipal Airport- which is conveniently located just of the Beltline on - get this - Airport Road in Middleton.Â This would be an obvious place to watch the race, and of course there's a few more good places to be a spectator...
1) The Village of Blue Mounds.Â There will be a complimentary shuttle running from the Middleton Airport out to Blue Mounds, leaving every 30 minutes.Â From Blue Mounds, you will be able to see the 100 mile race pass by twice (it's a 2-loop course and Blue Mounds is in the middle of that loop).
2) Black Earth.Â Both the 50 and 100 mile courses run through Black Earth.Â The 25 mile course turns off before it gets out to Black Earth- so you won't get to see those folks in Black Earth- but you will have a chance to cheer on everyone else.
3) Cross Plains at Baer Park.Â If you want to be sure to see ALL of the riders- Cross Plains is the place.Â All three races pass through Cross Plains.Â The 25 mile race turns right on County Rd. P at the end ofÂ Airport Road, the other two races wind through town a bit more.Â Baer Park is the recommended spot for watching the 50 and 100 mile races in Cross Plains.Â
4) Brigmam Park.Â If I remember right, Brigham Park is just as the race is leaving Blue Mounds and it's right at the top of a BIG (and rare) downhill section of the 100 mile race.Â The park is beautiful and offers a nice place to lay out a blanket and watch the race while you picnic.Â
Another thought- if you are not up for the race, but would like to ride a little bit of the course- head out to Brigham Park in a few weeks when the leaves start to change colors and ride from there.Â I did a ride fromÂ BrighamÂ ParkÂ last fall and it may be the most beautiful ride I have ever done.
If the spectating experience has you inspired to start riding- check out the Centurion Expo- also at the Middleton Municipal Airport.Â The Expo is open 10am - 4pm on Sunday and there will be live music from 2009 Project M Champion Mike Droho and Compass Rose from 11 until 3.
Just a couple (o.k. four) races left on my schedule for the season.Â I'm doing the Chicago Marathon in October as part of Team In Training- raising money for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society.Â Make a donation to the efforts here.Â Training has been going well for the Chicago Marathon- although I feel like I've been a little distracted with some other races.Â But more than that- I feel like I've been really distracted from the fundraising.Â That's a big part of the Team In Training experience and I've let that slide a little bit.Â So here's me begging...please make a donation!Â Yeah, I know- asking for the sale is not my strong suit.
As for the other races- a bunch of friends and I are doing back-to-back half marathons later this month.Â Saturday, August 21st is the Madison Mini Marathon- we're racing that and then jumping in our cars and heading to Minneapolis for the Minneapolis 13.1 race on Sunday, August 22nd.Â There's another big event on August 22- Laura and I celebrate our anniversary...23 years!Â Hey, here's an idea- make a donationÂ of $1 for each year that Laura and I have been married...for the math impaired, that would be $23 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.Â Round it up to $25 if that's easier for you.
Then of course there's the Centurion Bicycle Race this weekend.Â Many of the same friends are racing - some of us doing the 50 mile race, others (me included) doing the 100 mile race (you could donate $1 for every mile I ride in the Centurion- I'd even do it twice if enough people agreed to that).Â The same folks who started Ironman Wisconsin are responsible for the Centurion.Â If you have ever taken in any of the Ironman- as a spectator or as an athlete, you know that these folks know what their doing.Â This is going to be a great race.Â Very challenging with some tough hills.Â Our team was riding the course last weekend when I noticed on the ground on one of the hills, somebody had written 12%...13%...14%, etc.Â The numbers referred to the percent grade of that hill.Â I'm not sure exactly how % grade is figured out- but I can tell you for sure that anywhere in that range is some tough climbing.Â In fact tough enough that this race will reward a "King of the Mountains" prize- just like the Tour de France.Â
Not that I'll be wearing Polka Dot on Sunday- but you never know.
It all started normal- I headed out to do one loop of the Pheasant Branch Conservancy and then down along the stream to Laura's Karate class.Â I was about a block from Parmenter Street (my ultimate destination) when I heard a noise coming from in the woods.Â I looked to see what I believed to be a homeless man down on the trail that leads off the main path.Â He couldn't get up, one of his shoes was off and he really couldn't communicate very well.Â He motioned for me to come help him and pointed to his shoe.Â I promised I would try not to hurt him as I put his shoe back on- he then motioned for me to take is leg brace off and held his hand out for me to help him up.Â I tried several times, but couldn't lift him.Â Eventually I flagged down a cyclist on the path and the two of us tried, unsuccessfully to help him up.Â The man was still not able to communicate with us beyond a few grunts and groans and a motion that looked like a gun to his head.Â I told him he didn't want to do that, to which he shook his head no, I asked if he had been shot and he nodded yes- there was a big gnarley scar right where he kept pointing the "gun."Â Eventually we realized that we weren't going to get him up and he was obviously hurting, so we called 911.
It took a disturbingly long time for the police and rescue team to arrive, but when they got there they seemed to know him and were able to help.Â I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes, so I took off before they finished with him.Â When I got to Laura's karate class, I realized that I hadÂ left my water bottle by the side of the path, so Laura and I walked back to pick it up and were able to get an update from the officers when we did- everything is going to be o.k.
As I prepare for my next couple of adventures- The Centurion Bicycle Race and the Chicago Marathon, I'm reminded of another really cool active sports event that is happening in Madison this weekend...it's the U.S. Transplant Games!
I was asked to be the race announce for the bicycle races on Sunday.Â I don't have a lot of experience as a race announcer, but I couldn't say no to this.Â Here's how the games were described to me (stealing now from the e-mail I recieved)...
"I promise that this will be a very special experience for you.Â All participants in the race have received a life-saving organ transplant.Â And, cheering them on will be their own families who came so close to losing them, as well as living donors and the donor families in attendance at the Games.Â These donor families have lost a loved one and, at one of the most difficult points in their lives, chose to donate the organs of their loved one so other individuals could live.Â
The Games is all about the celebration of life!"
The U.S. Transplant Games open on Friday and run through Wednesday, August 4- if you would like to more about the games- go here.
We've known for a long time that the Madison area is home to some World Class Cyling...now the rest of the world is catching on.Â Yesterday's New York Times included an article about the cycling mecca that is the Madison area.
The article talks about the disappointment we felt when we didn't get the Olympics and then how we moved forward- knowing that we have an Olympic Caliber route right here in our back yard.Â
They talked with Robbie Ventura- who designed the course and Mayor Dave who has taken the energy created with the Olympic bid and focused it on other cycling ventures- in particular Ride the Drive.
And they talked about the Centurion.Â The Centurion race is a European style bicycle road race that will happen on Sunday, August 8- starting at the Middleton Municpal Airport.Â There are three routes to choose from, ranging from 25 to 100 miles- the difficulty level goes up along with the miles.Â
I rode the main loop of the 100 mile course last weekend.Â As a bit of a preview- I can tell you that it's a tough course.Â Lots of climbing.Â My team started the ride in Mazomanie and did one loop.Â About 7 miles from the finish I bonked.Â Hard.Â I was dizzy, my legs were wobbly, I couldn't focus.Â It sucked.Â A friend let me draft off her for a while until we caught up to the rest of the group.Â At that point we rested for about 5 minutes before finishing the rest of the ride.Â I was fine after that, but the point is- I bonked.Â That hasn't happened in a long time.Â
We're riding the course again this weekend, only this time doing two loops.Â I promised the group that I would be better prepared this weekend.Â Last weekend I ran 10 miles before the ride andÂ I had run a fast 10 miles the day before.Â None of that this weekend.Â I'll concentrate on the ride and hopefully things go better.
Back to the New York Times article- if you would like to see the whole thing, check it out here.
At the beginning of the year I set a couple of goals for myself- 1) to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and 2) with no Ironman on the schedule this year, my "A" race for Triathlon would be the Door County Half Ironman- and I wanted a PRÂ (personal record) at Door County.Â
I missed the Boston qualifying for Boston on my first try- in Arizona earlier this year.Â I was right on track through 20 miles and then things went bad.Â Really Bad.Â I missed it by almost 20 minutes.
I hit all my goals at the Door County Half Ironman a week ago.
So now it's back to the first goal.Â And this time I'm doing it at the Chicago Marathon with Team In Training.Â Team in Training raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society while providing coaching and support to athletes as they train for big events like marathons, triathlons, century bike rides and more.Â You can make a donation to my Team In Training efforts here. (please make a donation to my Team In Training efforts)
I spent a good part of this past weekend running.Â Running fast on Saturday- with the Team in Training team.Â I did 10 miles at an 8 minute per mile pace.Â That is exactly the pace that I need to hold for the marathon.Â I know 10 miles is nowhere near 26.2 miles, but I was happy to hold that pace for 10 miles considering that I haven't run since Door County.Â I did another (close to) 10 miles on Sunday, this time much slower as I went out with the "My First Half" team on Sunday morning.Â Even though it was a slower run- I still felt really good about this one- back to back 10 mile runs was tough- but I made it through.Â
I finished up Sunday with a 35 mile ride with a few friends.Â We're all getting ready for the Centurion Bicycle Race in two weeks- so we headed to the West and climbed hills.Â Lots of hills!Â I nearly got sick at one point, and my friend Julie had to pull me (I drafted off of her) up to the rest of the group.Â After a little rest, I was good to go again and we hit a few more hills before calling it a day.
The goal, as I mentioned before, was to get to the run at a point where I could do a 2 hour run and still make my overall goal of 5:30.Â So I guess the goal for the run was 2 hours- not exactly blazing speed, but a decent pace after a 56 mile bike ride and a 1.2 mile swim.Â In the end I ran the half-marathon in 1:52 for a total Half-Ironman time of 5:26!Â I believe that represents a Personal Record for me, although I don't remember what my time was at Racine in 2008- I think it was in the 5:30 to 5:40 range, but I'm not sure.
So here's the run report...
Shocking! That's all I can say about how good I felt on the run.
I ran into my friend Matt as I left transition- felt pretty good about that, as he's a faster runner I figured I would just let him pace me in to a PR.Â I ended up running with him for about a mile and then he fell back and I kept going.Â Just after that a couple more teammates caught me and passed me- but as they passed me they said I would catch them later.Â I stuck with my plan- adapted from the Endurance Nation talk I heard before Ironman last year- tried to run about 30 seconds slower than my normal pace for the first 7 miles and then up to my normal pace for the rest of the run.Â I felt so good that it was actually hard to keep the low pace for those first 7 miles.Â I caught two more friends, Mike and Josh just after the turnaround- and headed up the first big hill.Â I ran about half that hill and started walking with everyone else around me- until an old guy ran past us- "that's what we're here for, boys" he said to us as he ran past- so we all started running again.Â Never caught him, but he did inspire us to run.
I finally saw Laura (spectating) as I passed by Shipwrecked brewpub for the second time- a quick high five and I was on my way. Just before I hit the trail, I saw a couple more friends, Stef and Angie coming, so a couple more high fives before the trail and then eventurally the BIG HILL.Â Nobody ran that one- after the race I even talked to the woman who was the overall female winnerÂ and she even walked it.
It was starting to get hot by the end of the big hill, but I was almost done so I pushed on to the end. Caught one of those two teammates from earlier at the 12 mile mark and I finally figured out how to run down a hill comfortably- so I passed the second one on the way down the last hill before the finish line.
Fisrt off- I forgot to give you my goals and times for the swim when I posted the swim blog on Wednesday.Â
My goal for the swim was to complete the 1.2 miles in 40 minutes.Â This was the one area where I didn't quite reach my goal, I came in at 41:06.Â Interesting (or maybe not) side note: My friend Julie and I swim at the same speed- because of this we are always together in swim class and when we do group swims with our team.Â We've swum across Devil's Lake and back, side by side at exactly the same speed.Â For Door County we were in different waves- I was in wave 10 and she was in wave 13- we joked that each of us wouldn't know how to swim without the other one right there.Â I finished in 41:06, she finished in 40:48.Â 18 seconds apart over 1.2 miles, without knowing where the other one was.
O.K. on to the bike...
56 miles.Â My first goal was to finish the 56 miles in under 3 hours, but my bigger goal was to start the run by the 3:30 point, so that I could do a 2 hour run and still make my overall goal of 5:30.Â With the 41 minute swim and my pathetically poor transition, I would need to ride a bit faster.
I rented a set of Zipp wheels for the weekend.Â Well worth it! For the first few miles I kept looking down at my watch in disbelief at how fast the mile markers were coming up.Â Rain started to hit as I got to Sturgeon Bay and continued on and off out through the loop and back to Sturgeon Bay again.Â The temp. was perfect for the bike portion of the race, although the rain caused a few problems- in fact officials were slowing us at some points (down hills and heading into corners) because of the slippery streets.Â I was happy that I kept exactly with my nutrition plan- although I may have overdone it a bit with the fluids- I had to stop twice for bathroom breaks.Â With the rain falling, I thought of just going on the bike, but thought better of it- I've still never done that. Those two bathroom breaks probably also helped keep me out of the top 20 in my age group- which I missed by 1:21
T2- I was even slower in T2 (4:18).Â Part of that slowness was because I changed socks- the socks I was wearing on the bike were soaked.Â That lost time was worth it for the dry socks.Â I also boiled some potatoes on Saturday night and left a baggie full of potatoes in transition and ate one during each transition- this was a great thing to counter all the crappy gells and gatorade I was living on through the rest of the day.
MondayÂ (or later today, if I have time)...The Run!
Maybe it just wasn't meant to be.Â Once again ladies and gentlemen- here's our special guest World Cup Blogger, Keefe Klug...
As the Ghanaen breakaway began in the first few minutes of overtime our nation collectively watched its 2010 World Cup hopes dissapear with the flick of a foot.Â
Galiant efforts by the US team against Slovenia and Algeria will be overshadowed by their innability to protect the 18 yardbox at the onset of games.Â Of the 5 goals scored against the Stars and Stripes in their 4 games, 3 of them were scored in the first 15 minutes.Â In fact, the only goal scored after the first half was the Ghanaen goal to seal our fate.
Playing from behind is doable in one, or maybe two games, but to expect your squad to do that consistently against world class talent is absurd.Â Good analogy-Â Brewers Starting Pitching: US First half defense
In other world cup news, Im excited for the other first round matchups. My upset pick? Japan over Paraguay tomorrow.
Now that the brackets are official I will show you my picks for the rest of the tourny!
Uruguay over S Korea (correct 2-0)
US over GhanaÂ (incorrect 1-2)
Netherlands over Slovakia
Brazil over Chile
Germany over England (correct 4-1)
Argentina over Mexico (correct 3-1)
Japan over Paraguay
Spain over Portugal
Â Uruguay over Ghana (I had US here)
Netherlands over Brazil
Germany over Argentina
Spain over Japan
Â Netherlands over Uruguay
Germany over Spain
Â Germany 2. Netherlands 1.
Â Golden Boot watch:
Gonzalo Higuain (ARG)
Thomas Mueller (GER)
Asamoah Gyan (GHA)
David Villa (ESP)
Luis Suarez (URU)
Interesting facts so far:
-South America as a continent is UNDEFEATED.Â 5 of 5 teams made the round of 16.Â That will change this afternoon when Chile and Brazil meet.
-Through 4 games Argentinian Striker Gonzalo Higuain has scored more goals (4) than Algeria, North Korea, Switzerland, Honduras, and France combined (3) through 14 total games in their first rounds, respectively.
Â Enjoy the games!
Once again- my special guest World Cup blogger (and Project M finalist!) Keefe Klug...
Before you watch the round of 16 game on Saturday (1pm) make sure you know about your 2010 United States team.Â The US has won their group for the first time since 1930 and will face Group D Runner-up, Ghana.Â
Goalie: Tim Howard-Plays for Everton in the UK's Premiership.Â One of the best goalies in the World Cup has played as well as expected.Â His performance against Algeria was brilliant as he produced a clean slate for only the 5th time in US World Cup history.
Â Midfield: Landon Donavon- The Captain has scored a record 45 international goals for the US in his career and made the most important goal in US history Wednesday morning to defeat Algeria.
Â Forward: Clint Dempsey- The lone player to score for the US in 2006. The Fulham forward has had several good looks on goal so far, but has been unable to connect.Â He will have to perform superbly for the US to advance far in the Knockout round.
Â Defense: Jay Demerrit- The Green Bay, Wi native has been one of the lone bright spots in a shaky US defense.Â However, the defender is 30 years old, so fatigue may set in at some point.Â But he is a cheesehead!!!
Team play-The National team has won their group for the first time since 1930 and look poised for a run in the Knockout round.Â Two more wins will bring the best US showing in history.
Â Draw- The US faces a good, but rough-around-the-edges Ghana squad, but have a relatively easy draw until the semi-finals (ie. no Germany, Brazil, Argentina, etc). There is an excellent chance the US will advance to the Semi Finals for the first time ever.
First Half- The US has played dismal defense early in matches. All 3 goals allowed in the group stage were given up in the first 30 minutes of the game.Â Algeria nearly scored within the first 3 minutes.Â The US must play with more poise at the start of the match or they will be heading home.
Â Officiating-Â The US has had two goals disallowed in the last two games by absolutely rubbish penalties.Â It nearly cost us the game on Wednesday, and the phantom call last weekend was the talk of the tournament.
Â Why they will succeed
- Success will hinge on patience and execution.Â The US has world class talent, but has played anxiously when on the attack.Â Counter-attacks are where the US shines.Â Howard is great at outlet passes and big bodied players like Josy Altidore are excellent downfield targets for the Keeper.Â
Â Why they will lose
-Simply put: We are not there yet.Â The talent level of the US doesn't compare to the powerhouses in the tournament.Â Although we can beat anybody on any given day, the consistency needed to perform at this level isn't there.
Â Consider the US squad to be like Gonzaga in a NCAA basketball tournament.Â They are a team that nobody wants to play, but can be dismantled by the big dogs.Â
Â The game on Saturday will hinge on the US's ability to control the beginning of the game.Â Wear your Stars and Stripes proud!!
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You probably know the name Keefe Klug from Project M- Keefe was one of our fabulous musicians in Project M.Â It turns out Keefe is not onlyÂ a great musician, but also a sports nut and has been closely following theÂ World Cup.Â Â Â So, I asked Keefe to be a special guest blogger for aÂ couple of weeks and keep us all up-to-date on the happenings in the world'sÂ biggest sporting event.Â Â So- hereâs Keefeâ¦
So now that the group round is nearing an end, let's take a look at the favorites heading into the Knockout round of 16.
Group A-Uruguay and Mexico both clinched this morning after Uruguay beat our neighbors to the south 1-0.Â Uruguay has played stunning defense having yet to allow a goal in the world cup. Mexico will most likely be playing a tough Argentina team in the Knockout Round.
Group B-Argentina may have solidified first place in this group by this afternoon, but regardless of the outcome they have dominated as expected.Â They are one of the favorites of the tournament with arguably the best player in the game, Messi, and biggest personality in Head Coach and former World Cup star Diego Maradona.
Group C- The US team can secure a birth into the round of 16 with a win over a lackluster Algeria squad tomorrow morning.Â The favorites of the group, England, have underperformed terribly and have been ripped apart by their media.Â They will have to beat group leader Slovenia and hope for a US loss to advance.
Group D- The US would play either the first or second place team from this group if they were to advance.Â Germany, a powerhouse through the history of the cup, started strong against Australia, but faltered with a 10-man squad against Serbia.Â This group is still up for grabs, but look for the Germans and Serbs to advance.
Â Group E- The Netherlands, runners-up in the 2008 Euro Cup, have handled both of their opponents so far and look to advance as the first place team in the group. Japan and Denmark fight out for the final spot on Thursday.
Â Group F- Defending champs Italy are struggling and any team could advance in these final games.Â Team to cheer for?Â New Zealand.Â The Kiwis were pegged as one of the worst teams and shocked everyone by tieing Italy.
Â Group G- The group of death!Â Brazil is the most dominant soccerforce in the world and Portugal has another player that could be considered the best in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo.Â When these two teams meet on Friday, the game will have the atmosphere of a finals match
Â Group H- Look for Chile and 2008 Euro Cup champion Spain to advance, but niether can be thrilled to see a potential Brazil, or Portugal looming in the near future at the beginning of the Knockout Round
Â Predictions: (future outcomes in group play may make these matchups impossible)
-Germany over the Netherlands
-Portugal over Argentina
Â Finals- Germany over Portugal
Â Interesting world cup facts:
Â 1. Only Seven nations have ever won the cup. (Brazil, Germany, Argentina, England, Italy, Uruguay, and France)
Â 2. Europe and South America are the only continents to have had their nations represented in the finals.
Â 3. The best showing by the US was advancing to the quarterfinals in 2002.
Â 4. Brazil or Germany have been in all but two world cup finals.
Â 5. The player with the most goals at the end of the tournament is given the Golden Boot.
Â I'll talk to you guys after the US game tomorrow morning.Â Both Group C games (US vs. Algeria and England vs. Slovenia) will be on tomorrow morning at 9am.Â Let's go Yanks!
It's World Cup time again, and since I know just enough about Soccer/Football to be dangerous- I thought it would be a good idea to bring in a special guest blogger for the next couple of weeks.Â You probably know the name Keefe Klug from Project M- Keefe was one of our fabulous musicians in Project M- well, it turns out Keefe is also a sports nut and has be closely following the action in South Africa (Keefe's not in South Africa- the action is).Â So- here's Keefe...
Hey everyone!Â Well Pat asked nicely, so here I am!Â The official world cup blogger of 105.5 triple m.
Â For those of you unfamiliar with the beautiful game, I will provide a breakdown of all 8 groups and the favorites to advance to the round of 16. For now here is the diary from this morning's game.Â In their first match the US men tied England 1-1.Â Their next match will be next Wednesday vs Algeria.Â Â
Â 8:58- Good morning!Â Great time at the Project M Finale last night.Â Obviously I'm disappointed that I couldn't pull out a victory, but Jimmie did a great job all competition so congrats buddy
Â 8:59-Â I have an immunity to hangovers I've just decided.
Â 9am-Game time
Â 9:00:10-Â Dempsey drops a Slovenian with an elbow a la Dlo Brown.Â Solid WWE move.Â The most important thing the US needs to do today in my opinion is be patient.Â No quick trys.Â Slovenia is gonna be physical so it will be hard to break them down.
Â 9:03-Â Announcer says Slovenia's population is the size of Houston.Â Couldn't they have picked a better city to compare it to?Â Gross.Â Most populated country in the cup vs least populated.Â I did not know that.
Â 9:08- How old was Donavan when his hairline started to recede?Â 14? 15 tops?Â I was 22...(hang head in shame)
Â 9:13-Â Disaster.Â 1-0 Slovenia.Â Diirrrrtty shot from outside the 18' box,Â but where is the middle d from the US?Â The US goalie Tim Howard is one of the best in the Premiership in the UK. That one wasn't his fault, he had no chance.
9:24-Â I like Finley a lot.Â He's really fast and bodies up well for his size.Â On another note,Â congrats LA Lakers.Â Great finals series.Â Most entertaining NBA finals series since Pistons won in 05(?)
Â 9:35- There is a player on Slovenia named Bojston Cesar.Â That is a great name for a Bond villain
9:36-Â First good shot on goal by the US.Â Torres drove it strong.
Â 9:40- After a terrible yellow card called on Finley,Â the US is turning up the heat. There have been a couple good trys at an equalizer before half.Â Finley misses the next match now...uh oh.
Â 9:41-Â Oh boy I spoke way too soon.Â 2-0 Slovenia.Â There were way too many players forward on the US.Â They got caught off guard...again.
Â 9:47- Halftime.Â Not looking good at all right now.Â Although we sure are used to playing from behind.
Â 10:02: Second half starting.Â Leaders on the US need to get the squad going
10:04-Â Amazing goal by Landon!!!Â Goooooaaaaaallllll!!!!!!!Â Great finish!Â He struck that so well I think he put it through the keeper! 2-1 Lets go Yanks!!
Â 10:16-Â Quite a wrestling match in the box between Dempsey and a Slovenian.Â I'm really excited that one of the best players on the US has the name Clint.Â I find that name very American.
Â 10:26- We are getting mugged and no whistle.Â Shady reffing. How many tackles from behind is this ref going to allow??!
Â 10:27- Great try by Altidore.Â I Thought that was the equalizer!
Â 10:31- Less than twenty to play.Â Let's go boys!Â Time to get rocking and rolling!
Â 10:38-Â Bradley!Â The Equalizer!Â Amazing two goal comeback.Â That was a phenominal cross by Altidore.Â Great timing by Bradley on that ball.Â The US just saved their World Cup on that goal. Amazing Amazing Amazing! 2-2!
Â 10:41-Ahh???Â Should be 3-2.Â This referee is terrible. What is he thinking?Â The announcers are calling him a nightmare.Â Haha.Â
Â 10:46-Â Just a few minutes to go.Â I'd be happy with a point.Â What a great match.Â Let's hope we can hold on.Â
Â 10:51-Â It looks like that's the game.Â Great comeback by the yanks.Â Now we have a must win next Wednesday against Algeria.Â Â USA USA!!Â My only beef with this match was the referee.Â He took the winning goal away from us with a bad call!Â I love this game though and I'm looking forward to cheering against the Brits this afternoon!
For music and shows please visit the Keefe Klug fan page on facebook
Â Also keep your eyes open around Madison for shows from Keefe Klug and the Surgical Presicion
I had a great weekend riding and racing.Â I did just what I said I would probably do.Â I rode the entire 100 mile Trek 100 ride on Saturday.Â And just as I predicted, I rode hard- averaging a little over 17.5 mph through the 100 miles.Â At one point I came in to a small town with a group of cyclists and we made the electronic speed-limit sign blink really fast, telling us we were going too fast.Â The speed limit was 20mph, it said that we were going 28 when it started blinking.Â You would have though we just won the Tour de France the way we all screamed and pumped our fists in the air.Â At the next stop, somebody asked where to pick up the speeding ticket- he wanted to frame his.Â Unfortunately, no speeding tickets were handed out.
Sunday was the Capital View Triathlon at Governor Nelson State Park.Â The last two years I did the Olympic distance race at Capital View.Â The first year I was 3rd from last in my age-group.Â Last year I was top 10 in my age-group (I think it was 8 or 9).Â This year I decided to to the shorter Sprint length race.Â The Sprint length race is a 400 meter swim followed by a 12 mile bike ride and finishing with a 5 k run.
Best Swim Ever!Â I averaged 1:30 per hundred yards.Â Showing my swim coach the results prompted the response- "You know you were supposed to swim AROUND the buoys, right?"Â I was that much faster than my norm (I'm normally about a 2:00 per hundred swimmer).
Really Strong Bike Too!Â For the 12 miles my average speed was a touch over 23 mph.Â This surprised me- even though I'm most passionate about the bike, I have not been feeling strong on the bike at all for the last year or so- I had a HORRIBLE race at Ironman and nothing in the few months before or after that felt very good either- until the last couple weeks.
Surprisingly Good Run!Â The Capital View run course is difficult.Â There's no other way to put it.Â My friend Susan and I ran the course with one of the organizers the week before the very first Capital View Triathlon- when asked what we thought of the course, we lied and said it was a great course.Â When we got into Susan's car, she asked what I really thought of it- HORRIBLE- I couldn't imagine running that course after swimming and biking.Â She agreed.Â
Well, on that terribly tough course, I averaged under 8 minutes per mile (and Susan won her age group)- I always use 8 minutes/mile as a benchmark for a good run for me- so apparently it's not as horrible of a course as we originally thought.
Overall- I took 4th in my age-group.Â Just missed the podium.
So- a pretty good weekend, right?
I thought so.Â Until the new issue of VeloNews arrived at my house yesterday.Â It's a special Tour de France preview.Â In it, there are several pages of TdF records- including fastest average speed for a Tour.Â That record was set by Lance Armstrong- I believe itÂ was in 2005, when he averaged a bit over 41 kph ...that's better than 24 mph!Â
I know it's not a fair comparison, but...
I averaged just over 23 mph on a 12 mile course.
Lance averaged over 24 mph over the ENTIRE Tour de France!
Over this past week of training I have felt better than I have in the past year or so.Â I had my best bike ride of the season on Wednesday night- a loop of the Ironman course in just over 2 hours.Â I had a great swim on Thursday morning- felt stronger than I ever have in the water.Â Not that I'm fast, but my confidence is way up and I am LESS SLOW.Â My run has been feeling great all year.
So now comes the big decision.Â What to do this weekend.
Saturday is the Trek 100- a great ride to raise money for a great cause- the MACC Fund- Midwest Athletes Agains Childhood Cancer.Â
Sunday is the Capital View Triathlon.Â
I'm doing both events.Â The decision is how to approach them.Â Do I do the full 100 mile ride on Saturday?Â It would be my first century of the season- and it's been bothering me that I haven't done one yet- even my wife hasÂ said that I need to get out on the bike more.Â But if I do 100 miles on Saturday, do I ruin my race on Sunday- I've been feeling so good and feel like I'll have a good race.Â
Next decision- Saturday is not a race, but if I do the 100 miles, do I go hard?Â Or do I take it easy?Â Again- do I want to risk ruining my race on Sunday?
And now another thingÂ to toss into the mix...
The World Cup is underway!Â It's the U.S. vs. England Saturday at 12:30pm.Â If I do 100 miles on Saturday, I'll have to miss part of the game.Â I may miss all of the game because when I finish the ride, I'll be in Waterloo.Â What's the chance that a sports bar in Waterloo is tuned in to soccer?
And one more thing to throw into the mix...
Because of the poor water quality on lake Mendota- there's a possiblilty that the swim portion of Sunday's Capital View Triathlon will be cancelled.Â So even if I do a shorter ride on Saturday- saving myself so IÂ feel good and ready to race on Sunday, will I get to do a TRIathlon?Â or will it be a DUathlon?Â
I think it's all gonna be a gametime decision.Â Which means- judging from my past- that I will probably ride 100 on Saturday,Â ride that 100 hard in an attempt to make it back to see as much of the game as possible.Â Come back and race as hard as I can on Sunday.Â
I can handle that.Â
For the last couple of years I have done my first century ride of the season on Memorial Day weekend.Â It's a great weekend to get in a long ride.Â It's far enough into the season that I should be in good enough shape to do it, and it's a long weekend- so I can take one day out of the weekend and devote it to cycling, without messing up the whole weekend.
Well- it didn't happen this year.Â I tried, but no luck.Â My original plan was to do the century on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.Â I even posted on Facebook that I was going to do it.Â Then I woke up on Sunday morning and it was insanely HOT.Â You might remember- they had to stop the Madison Marathon that day.Â Monday was better, but I had a bunch of friends over for a swim and then sat on the deck with my wife drinking wine (and napping) in the afternoon.Â A friend called at 4- "I'm going for a ride...but I have to leave RIGHT NOW."Â So I skipped it again- and to be honest, by that point it had gone from a century to a half-century to a quarter-century.
Last weekend I was going to try again.Â I felt like hell as I rode to Verona, but pushed on.Â I rode the Ironman loop feeling pretty crappy and stopped back in Verona to meet Laura for lunch at the Draft House- I may have mentioned this before- but that may have been teh best burger I ever had!Â When I got back on the bike, my computer was all screwed up and I wasn't going to put in the time and energy if I couldn't verify the century- so I stopped when I got back to Madison (66.5 miles).
So- it's gotta be this weekend!Â
The Trek 100 is a great opportunity for my first century of the season.Â 100 miles- for a good cause- the MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer).Â The ride starts and ends at the Trek World Headquarters in Waterloo.Â Saturday morning at 7:30 we roll out.
This is a special ride for me, both for the cause- I love the MACC Fund and think they do great work- and for the fact that several years ago, the Trek 100 is the first place I ever heard of Ironman (more on that in another blog).
Hopefully I'll see you in Waterloo on Saturday, but if you didn't get registered for the ride in time, you can still help out with either a donation or by volunteering.Â Go to trek100.org to find out how.
I normally don't get political in this blog.Â Or really even talk about current events.Â It's normally all about athletic endeavors.Â But today, as I was preparing for the Radio Deli, I noticed the today is "World Ocean Day."Â That, of course, got me thinking about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
There's been a lot of talk about how BP wasn't prepared for this type of disaster.Â No back-up plan.Â The talk has mostly been about how dumb that was.Â MaybeÂ the dumbest thing ever- not having a backup plan.Â Â
Believe me, I think that was pretty dumb.Â
But as I was thinking about it this morning- I started wondering- if that is the dumbest thing ever...then every other oil company in the world must have that plan ready to go in the case of this kind of emergency, right?Â I mean- they can't all be run by the dumbest people in the world, can they?
So if all the others have the plan to stop the oil spill, where are they?Â They seem really quiet right now.Â Shouldn't they all pull together and get this thing done?Â I know they are in competition, but there's something bigger at stake here.Â
I remember after Katrina- all the Madison radio and television stations pulled together for a giant fund-raising effort.Â We're all in competition.
After 9/11 all the major television networks pulled together for a giant fund-raising campaign.Â They are all in competition.
Hell- Bill Clinton and George Bush have come together to help during times of extreme need.Â I don't think those guys even like each other.
Where are the oil companies?
A busy weekend of training.Â Saturday started with a morning run with the Team In Training Team.Â We are in training for the Chicago Marathon- you can make a donation to the Team Triple M fundraising efforts on the Activate With M page.Â It was a short run (5 miles) at a nice easy pace with a really good group of runners.Â If you have ever think about doing a marathon, long distance bike ride, triathlon, Ironman, etc., please consider doing it with Team in Training- the support is unbelieveable and the money raised goes to a great cause- the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society.
That was the start of the day on Saturday.Â From there I hit the road on my bike with the plan of doing about 70 miles (even had the brief thought of going 100- but thought better of it).Â I rode out to Verona, feeling completely horrible.Â A quick stop at a convenience store for some chocolate milk and a bottle of Gatorade (not together- that would be gross), and then it was off to Mount Horeb, Cross Plains and back to Verona where I met my wife for lunch at the Draft House.Â I don't know if it was because I was feeling so bad or if the burger was really that good- but I swear it was the best burger I ever had.Â I got back on the bike and headed for Madison when I noticed that my bike computer said I had gone 240 miles so far, at an average speed of 48 mph.Â On my best day I could never come close to that, on this day I couldn't come close to half of that.Â Something was wrong with the computer and I couldn't figure out what- so that's when I officially decided that there would be no century that day.Â I'm not riding 100 miles unless I get credit for 100 miles.Â My friend Julie had done the same route earlier in the day, and she logged 66 miles- so that's what I'm using for my official mileage for Saturday.
Sunday I got up early and ran about 6 1/2 miles with my friend Tim, followed by another 3 miles with the My First HalfÂ group (btw- if you would like to join us - register when you register for the Madison Mini Marathon- $25 for the My First Half group goes to Leukemia/Lymphoma Society through Team in Training.Â When I was done with that run I jumped on my bike and rode to the Triple M stage at Ride the Drive.Â The stage was powered by stationary bicycles- so I also took 4 shifts on the stationary bikes.
And this morning I had a 5:30 open water swim class followed by a short run.
Yeah- I may have overdone it a bit.Â I'm ready for a rest day.
Watching the news this morning, I remembered one time a couple of Summer's ago when I had a leak in my basement.Â Water was streaming into the basement through a tiny hole in the wall.Â I didn't know what to do until my wife came up with the solution...
That's right- bubble gum.Â We each put a piece of gum in our mouth, chewed and then plugged the hole with the gum.Â It didn't completely stop the flow- but did a better job than what I've seen so far in the Gulf.Â So maybe bubble gum is the solution.
Or maybe not.
Another possible solution.Â Two Summer's ago (apparently everything happened two Summer's ogo), while on a long bike ride I got a flat.Â Annoying enough- but when I went to fix the flat, I noticed a small hole in the side of the tire- so when I put a new tube in and inflated it- the tube popped out the side of the tire through the hole in the tire and blew out again.Â
Then I remembered a solution I had learned a few months before.Â A dollar bill placed inside the tire (between the tire and the tube- at the spot of the hole) will do a decent job of patching that hole- at least temporarily.Â So I pulled out a dollar bill, placed it inside the tire, put in a new tube and inflated.Â It worked- I was able to ride home on the bad tire.
So, there you go BP- two possible solutions...
1) Bubble Gum (I bet you could even purchase the gum at a BP store)
2) A dollar bill (or maybe millions...or billions would do the trick)
Tonight's the night!Â Summer officially begins with the opening day party at the Capital Brewery Beir Garden!Â Friday nights in the Summertime- the brewery is the place to be...live music...great beer...and it's one of those special spots for people watching.Â All kinds of people.Â For those that are new to the experience- a couple of tips...
1) get there early or late.Â The crowd peeks somwhere around 6- which makes sense, if most of us are getting done with work around 5pm.Â By about 7 or 7:30, some of the early-birds start to head out to the area restaurants for a bite to eat, and the late-comers start to arrive- sorta a "second shift" kind of thing.Â So, if at all possible, try to plan your night so you arrive before 6 or after 7.
2) Last call is early.Â The Beir Garden shuts down at 9.Â
3) As I mentioned before- all kinds of people.Â This includes kids and dogs.Â It's not unusual to see Mom and Dad with the kids- often times the kids head across the street to the skate park.Â It's also not unsual to see the family dog hangin' with Mom & Dad.
4) Dinner is NOT served.Â Bring your own.Â They are perfectly fine with that.Â Order a pizza and have it delivered.Â They are perfectly fine with that too.Â In fact, I'm pretty sure that if you ask, they have menus from area delivery places behind the bar- but remember the bar is going to be pretty busy
5) Have fun!Â
That's really all there is to it.Â Parking can be a little tough, but I'm sure you can handle the walk.Â Or better yet, take a cab- you are there to drink beer after all.
Speaking of the Capital Brewery.Â A new feature at the brewery- my friend Kevin leads a bicycle ride from the brewery every Tuesday night after work.Â Eventually the routes will be posted on the Capital Brewery web-site, but for now Kevin keeps an e-mail list and sends out weekly invites.Â Don't worry if you are not on the list- everyone is welcome, just show up at about 5:45, the ride leaves the brewery at 6pm.Â The rides have been about 20 miles.
And while we are on the subject of exercise- tomorrow morning at the World's Biggest Bratfest...it's the World's Biggest Bootcamp.Â I went to a preview Bootcamp at Bratfest this morning and I can tell you that they will work off those brats and more.Â 9am on Willow Island.Â $10 for adults, $5 for kids.Â The cash goes to the American Family Children's Hospitol.
And while we are on the subject of Bratfest...I got a nice surprise this morning as I rode my bicycle to "Take Your Brat To Work Day" - A FREE BRAT!Â The Saris Cycling Group was at Bratfest this morning buying brats for anybody who rode their bicycles to the event!Â This was to bring attention to the "20 by 2020" campaign, with the goal of transforming Madison into a city in which 20% of the residents commute by alternative modes of transportation by the year 2020.Â Learn more at www.20-by-2020.com
Last indoor swim class of the season- we're off next week and then hit the open water the following week!Â About once per sessionÂ our instructorÂ does a test set, so we can see our progress- and there has been progress!Â We do that test by swimming 100 yards, 10 times straight, with 10 seconds rest between each- he then subtracts 90 seconds (the nine 10 second rest periods) off the total time and divides by 10 to get our average speed per 100.
After class I sat down with the instructor and looked at the last few sessions and the progress I made. The earliest records he had on me had me doing a little over 2:10 per hundred (I think it was 2:14), last time we tested I was at 2:04 per hundred and this time- because of a screw-up on my part (I swam an extra 50 by accident), he didn't have my 100 time figured out yet, but I did do the whole set- including that extra 50- faster than I did last time (without the extra 50)!
So the question of the day- is running a half-marathon on your bucket-list?
But you're intimidated by the thought of running 13.1 miles...or the thought of running at all?
This is just for you...
I'm teaming up with Leigh Mills from NBC15 and putting together the "My First Half" training team for the Madison Mini Marathon on August 21.
The the goal of the team is to have fun, get someÂ exercise, and, of course, finish the race! No time goals.Â In fact the only goal is to get you across the finish line...and check something off that bucket-list!
The 12-week journey starts at the end of the month, with me and LeighÂ hosting weekly no-drop training runs, meaning you will not be running alone- no matter how slow you are (or think you are).Â The runs will begin and end in various locations throughout the Madison area.
The whole thing will be done in a very casual, freindly, non-competetive atmosphere in order to help make you comfortable with the idea of running your first half marathon.
Become a part of the "My First Half" training team when you register for the Madison Mini Marathon.Â $25 will be added to your race entry fee and that money will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through Team In Training.
The Madison Mud Run was on Sunday.Â First off, I should appologize to my wife.Â When I signed us up for the race, she asked if she could handle it?Â Of course I said she would be fine- and she was.Â But this was a tough race.Â Much tougher than I thought.Â I thought we would run a couple hundred yards and then go through some silly obstacle.Â Run a couple hundred more yards, another silly obstacle.Â And so on.Â And so on.Â You get the idea.
Well, it was more like run a mile.Â On trails. Up and down steep hills.Â Ostacle- climb over a 5 foot wall- you know like what you see army guys do.Â Run another mile.Â Crawl under barbed-wire.Â O.K, it wasn't barbed wire, but it was set up like when you see army guys crawling under barbed-wire.Â Run another mile- go through the tire abstacle.Â You know- the obstacle you see army guys running through.Â Another mile and over another 5 foot wall.Â
I'm guessing I've got too many miles in here- but that's what it felt like.
btw- watching the military guys do this course was a lot of fun.Â I swear they hurdled the 5 foot walls.Â No problem at all.Â While the rest of us struggled to get over- they made it look easy.
The whole thing ended with a crawl through the mud pit.Â Yes- CRAWL through the mud.Â Believe me, the spectators would not let you get away with trying to RUN through the mud.Â Embrace it- get down on your hands and knees and crawl through the mud.Â The really cold mud.
In the end it was a really fun race.Â Laura also had a good time and has already said that she's looking forward to the Fall race.
The schedule called for 1.2 miles this morning. I wasn't really in the mood, so I took my time getting up and getting to the pool, but then when I got there, it actually went well. No speed work (as you can see from the post title), just nice, slow and easy- making my way through the workout.
I may have actually gone a bit further- as I often loose count part-way through a set...if I think I may be at 200 yards or 250 yards- I always go with the lesser. So in the end I think I may have gone an extra 150 yards.
We started a new tradition last night...theÂ Tuesday night Capital Brewery ride.Â Nice group of about 30 people- not bad for the very first time! Â We did about 20 miles in the really strong wind.Â As usual, the wind never seemed to be at our back- always in our face.Â Post-ride beer made it all worthwile.
Join us next Tuesday if you can.Â All are welcome.
6pm- starts/ends at the Capital Brewery in Middleton
I had a PR (personal record) at Crazylegs over the weekend- 35:53
I had actually set two goals for the race.
Crazylegs Goal: 40 minutes
Crazy Crazylegs Goal: 35 minutes
So I came really close to my Crazy Crazylegs goal!
This morning I went to the "Dailymile" website and everyone was sharing PRs, so I started thinking about mine and realized that I really don't know most of them- I have a decent idea of the basic range, but I don't really know exactly where I stand- as many people do.Â So I put together my list, as best I could...
Ironman- 13:42 @ Ironman Wisconsin 2008
1/2 Ironman- somewhere around 5:30 @ Racine 2008
Marathon- 3:49 @ Arizona Rock & Roll 2010
1/2 Marathon- somewhere around 1:44 @ Tyranena 2009
10k- Whatever I did at Berbee Derby 2009 (45ish???)
8k- 35:53 @ Crazylegs 2010
5k- I don't know if I've ever run one, but I hit the 5k point of Berbee Derby at
In the world of runningÂ and/or triathlon "DNF" stands for "Did Not Finish."Â As you can imagine, you never want to see "DNF" next to your name on the race results.Â But that's what happened to me last year for the Crazylegs race.Â
Well, "DNS" would actually be more appropriate.Â A bunch of friends and I decided to make it a "brick" - that isÂ a ride and run back-to-back.Â So we gathered at 7am and rode the Ironman stem- 15 miles out to Verona and then 15 miles back.Â And we got caught in a storm.Â A really nasty storm- in the middle of nowhere.Â No place to stop, we just had to keep riding.Â We finally did find a convenience store and stopped.Â There was a police officer parked there, so while the rest of the group huddled together trying to stay warm, I walked over to the officer and asked if he knew when the storm would pass through.Â He checked the radar and told me that the worst had passed- we should be fine to ride again.
He was wrong.
We rode back towards Madison and it just got worse.Â At one point a rider went down and slid about 20 yards on the wet pavement.Â I was just behind him, so I rode out into the middle of the road and stopped traffic while he gathered his bike and got off the road.Â We finally did make it back to our cars and got changed and ready for Crazylegs.Â I was just about ready to go when my phone rang- it was my friend Susan (sitting in the next car) who had decided to skip the run.Â That's all I needed.Â
DNS- Did Not Start.
So now I sit here ready for Crazylegs 2010 and there's more rain in the forecast.Â We're doing a brick again.Â But this year I'm determined to actually do the run.Â
My Crazylegs goal (other than no "DNF" next to my name)- 40 minutes
My Crazy Crazylegs goal- 35 minutes
The best part of strength training- when it's over, I reward myself with a few minutes in the hottub!
While sitting there, I watch the lap swimmers and pay particular attention to their form. This morning there was one woman who really looked like she was swimming in slow motion. It was really interesting to watch- she even did flip turns in slow motion. My original thought was that she was working on lengthening her stroke (that's what I need work on- so I assume everyone is working on that) by taking fewer strokes and gliding further with each stroke- which made it look like slow motion.Â I started counting her strokes- it was a good 30 strokes per 25 yard length, so I doubt that was it- but it was really cool to watch and it looked really relaxing and peaceful as she slowly made her way from one end of the pool to the other- while the rest of the lap swimmers literally swam laps around her.
This Saturday is the 4th annual Mad-City 100k race.Â
That's a run by the way.Â
This is a pretty big deal as you might imagine- not only is 62 miles a massive distance to run, but the Mad-City 100k is the National Championship race at that distance.Â So you will see some pretty elite athletes running through the Arboretum this Saturday.Â
And you will see me. Â I will be part of a relay team- running the 50k version.Â So, no- I'm not crazy enough to run 62 miles, but it will be kind of cool to be on the same course with those extreme elite athletes.
No Ironman on my race schedule this year.Â I needed at least a year off of that intense training, so this year my main race will be the Door County half iron distance race.Â The race is in July- so today is the first day of the half-iron training.
I started the training with my regular Monday morning swim class at Harbor Athletic.Â A great way to start the week- in the pool at 5:30am.Â 2400 yards with lots of speed work this morning.Â
Tonight I go for a short run, just to loosen up after a fairly intense run last night that included a couple of big hills.Â My traditional Monday night run is either from home or from work to Laura's karate class.Â
So- today is opening day for half-iron training.
Oh yeah- and baseball too.Â Go Brewers!
I think I figured out another reason I'm not so good at strength training.Â I think they call it A.D...
Oh, sorry I got distracted by a cute little bunny rabbit just outside the studio window.
Anyway- I'm easily distracted.Â
I know when you lift weights that you are supposed to stand in front of the mirror and watch your form.Â And I do that.Â For approximately 2 reps.Â Then I start to notice other things...
WOW- look how much weight that guy is lifting.
Wonder what he's doing?Â I should try that.
What's that machine do?Â Do you think you lay down on it?Â Straddle it?
Ooooh, she's pretty.
Look at the old people doing water arobics in the next room.
Oh, yeah, that's right I should be looking in the mirror and watching my form.
Is he really doing curls with that much weight?
Look at her form.Â Perfect.Â I wish I could do that.Â Maybe if I watched myself in the mirror and paid attention to my form?Â Nah.
And so goes my mind while trying to actually accomplish something in the weight room.Â But I did have one major accomplishment today...
For the first time EVER- when I went to the machine to do Lat Pull-downs, I had to INCREASE the weight on the machine. That means that there was someone who is probably even more of a beginner than me working out on that machine before me.
Let me repeat that...I had to increase the weight on the Lat Pull-down machine.
Made me feel pretty good.
This morning wasÂ the best I have felt in the water in several weeks.Â Last week at the end of the workout, I tried slightly changing my hand postition to catch more water through the stroke and it seemed to help.Â I tried to concentrate on that throughout the class this morning and while I didn't always keep the proper position, I felt much better.
TheÂ distance was approximately 2400 yards- we finished off the class with 3 x 9 minutes.Â I didn't count laps, but my friend/lane-mate Julie counted 9 laps on each of them and she was consistantly 1 length ahead of me.
100 I.M. (that's always a humorous set)
2 x (50 skull/50 free)
4 x 75 (50 fast/25 easy)
3 x 9 minutes
Last night my Ironman training group met to talk about safety as our training takes us outdoors for the first time this year.Â So, I thought this would be a good time to remind others- particularly bicyclists- to be safe out on the roads.
You have the same rights & RESPONSIBILITIES as the other vehicles on the road- which means if you expect to be treated equally- you need to obey the same laws.Â Stop at stop signs and red lights.Â Don't go the wrong way on a one-way street.Â Signal your turns...
Left Turn: left arm straight out.
Right Turn: left arm out, bent up at the elbowÂ (over the years it has become acceptable to use your right arm straight out- but officially, all signals are done with the left arm- it goes back to the days before cars had electronic signal lights).
Stop: left arm out, bent down at the elbow.
While it's perfectly legal to ride two abreast in many situations- it may not be the safest way to ride.Â Remember, there are drivers out there that don't like bikes- when they see you riding two abreast they automatically see you as impeding the flow of traffic- even if you are not and even if it is perfectly legal to ride that way.Â Single file is probably the better way to go in most situations- but if you do ride 2 abreast, be very aware of your surroundings and come into a single file line when there is traffic.
Call out your intentions to other riders... "Slowing"Â "Stopping"Â "On Your Left"Â etc.
There are always arguements about what's safer- riding on the sidewalk or riding on the road.Â I generally side with riding on the road- although there are a couple of extremely busy roadsÂ where I buckle under and ride the sidewalk.Â
I know this really isn't a safety issue, but...
While you are riding you are embassadors for a great sport- in one of the most (if not THE most) active cycling communites in the country.Â Don't leave your empty GUs, Cliff Bar wrappers, old tubes, CO2 cartridgesÂ and other junk on the side of the road.Â It looks like hell and it's quite obvious who did it.Â Pack out whatever you bring in.
See you on the road!
I was kind of down on myself yesterday after masters swim class.Â I wasn't able to finish the workout during class, so I stayed after to finish things up- but I didn't feel too good about it.
This morning my attention shifted from swimming to strength training.
After I finished my workout this morning- as I usually do, I rewarded myself with a few minutes in the hottub before heading off to work.Â While sitting in the hottub I always watch the lap swimmers- it's fun to pick out things that I need to work on and it's even more fun to watch an absolute beginner, as I was able to do this morning.Â
Not that I like to watch others suffer- but that's where I was almost exactly 2 years ago.Â In fact, I was afraid to even swim in the lap pool- too intimidating, so I spent my time in either the sport pool or with the old people in the warm water pool.Â This morning I sat in the hottub watching a guy doing the same drills that I had done two years ago (which reminded me what good drills they are- especially considering that I need to work on lengthening my stroke).Â I watched him swim from one end to the other.Â Stop.Â Pull off his goggles.Â Rest.Â And finally swim back.Â
This is exactly where I was 2 years ago.Â
Well, add some coughing and spitting out water that I had swallowed as I swam that length- then it's where I was two years ago.
Watching that, I realize that I really shouldn't have been so down on my swimming yesterday.
I had the opportunity to ride outside for the first time this past weekend.Â I was the guy at the Shamrock Shuffle leading the 5k run on my bike.Â I didn't catch the exact time that the winner crossed the finish like- but the clock read 16- something. That's fast!Â Not even too shabby on a bike, considering the hills on the course.Â I can comfortably run about 8 minute miles- so when the winner finished, I would have still had a little over a mile to go.Â That's fast.
I used the excuse of leading the run to get out and ride a little more on Sunday.Â So I rode from home to the race, rode the course once to make wure I knew where I would be leading people (I recently heard a story of a lead biker taking runners in the wrong direction), lead the race and then had a nice causual ride home for a total of 26 miles.Â Not huge- but a nice first time out.
And now that the "first time out" is out of the way- I'm back to communting to/from work.Â Not every day yet, but I have done the commute a couple days this week.Â Just 2 small complaints- 1) it's a little cold in the morning when I leave home, and 2) the sun doesn't come up early enough to make it a long commute and still get to work at a decent time.Â But that's coming.
My regular weekend running group is meeting in Middleton this weekend, so I was asked to plan the route. Â My initial plan was to do the Pheasant Branch Conservancy Loop first, followed by a longer, 9 mile loop.Â With all the rain we've been having, I feared that the Conservancy loop might be a sloppy, muddy mess, so I wanted to run it once before I took all my friends out on it.
I hope they want to come back sometime in the Summer and run in Middleton, because it really is a beautiful route.
But it's nearly impassable right now.Â Nearly- I was able to run it. Â From my house, the first half of the loop is all wooded.Â In those wooded areas the snow has partially melted and then froze solid.Â Of course through that process people have run, walked, snow-shoed and skied on it, so it's not even a smooth icy surface.
Once you come out of the wooded areas, it's perfect- the ground is a little soft from all the rain, but really it just made for a more comfortable run.Â But the ice in the woods more than out-weighed the nice second half of the loop.
Had to get out of bed and workout this morning- yesterday morning when the alarm went off, I had every intention of getting up and getting on the bike.Â But I didn't, I slept in until 6 and then got up and read for an hour (exercising my mind!).Â Tonight I'll miss my cycling class, so I HAD to get up early and rideÂ this morning.
So I set the trainer in front of the TV, turned on the news and cranked out an hours worth. The cat was a little confused- I had my road bike on the trainer this morning- usually I have the tri-bike on the trainer and I put a pillow on top of the aerobars- the cat sits on the pillow and rides with me. No aerobars on the road bike, so no pillow, so this morning she just stared at me wondering why? I tried to tell her that I had the wrong bike for her to ride along- but she wasn't buying it.
A friend and training partner wanted to go for a ride last weekend- I asked her if she was going to take HER expensive bike out on the salty roads?Â She said she would if I would.Â We both chickened out.Â I was a little jealous when I saw all the people out riding last weekend- but I think it's better in the end to hold off for another week.
My paranoia stems from a conversation I had several years ago with a coworker who was a big motorcycle racer.Â After a beautiful late Winter/early Spring weekend, I asked if he got his bike out.Â He looked at me as if I was crazy and then explained that his bike doesn't come out until after 2 good rainfalls.Â He's not going to let all the salt on the road ruin his bike.
I figure my bike is probably a bit more fragile than his, so I've used that same measuring stick ever since- the bike stays on the trainer, indoorsÂ until after the second good rainfall.Â So while the rest of the world is hating this weather- I'm walking around with a huge smile on my face, knowing that this weekend- the bike does come off the trainer and I'm out on the road again!
Strength training is starting to come along.Â Still not my favorite activity- but I have figured out that there are two reasons for this...
1) Too long before I see results.Â I'm in my 3rd week and I don't look ripped, I know that's not a reasonable expectation, butÂ 3 weeks into running, I could actually run a mile or two, it felt like I was progressing.Â This doesn't feel like there is any progress.
2) I like to sweat.Â I sweat a little with strength training- but nothing like an hour on a bike or running.Â After a soccer game I can wring out my shirt.Â Not the case after lifting.
I did add a little twist to the routine this morning- doing the last set of each exercise on top of a bosu ball (that funny half-exercise ball- flip it over so the flat side is up and try to stand on it).Â Really made me concentrate on my core.
This morning was the last class of the current Masters Swim Class at Harbor Athletic.Â We usually do some sort of timed set for the last class- in order to see our improvement from session to session.
Today was no exception...
2700 yards- including a 1000 yard timed set.Â Wasn't fast (22 minutes), wasn't pretty on that timed set- but I made it through.Â I lost track of my laps somewhere around lap 15- from there I figured I would finish 1 lap behind my friend Julie- so when I saw her standing at the end of the lane, I'd swim 1 more lap.Â
We thought about doing another 300 after the timed set- just make it an even 3000- that's become the usual routine whenever we are close to 3000 in class, but it was getting too late.
I think I have my slowness narrowed down to 2 things- 1) Lengthing my stroke.Â I actually feel like I'm doing this, but Derek (the instructor/coach) keeps yelling at me to lengthen my stroke, so I must have some more work to do on that.Â 2) My absolutley pathetic kick!Â I can't kick!Â We did a series of 3x200 pull sets and I was able to keep up just fine.Â Take the pull buoy away and make me kick and I get lapped about 700 yards into a 1000 yard set.Â I can't kick!
At cycling class last night Kristin was wearing a "Dailymile" shirt.Â Having seen the logo before on facebook, but not knowing what it was all about, I asked her about it.Â Turns out it's a facebook-like site just for athletes.Â You can post your workouts there (and it keeps a running total of your miles), you can find training partners, you can find people to motivate you in your training, etc.Â Â Â She also mentioned "meet-ups" and explained that sometimes all the Dailymile people from Madison get together and have a drink.Â I'm in!
DailymileÂ also syncs with facebook- so when you post on Dailymile that you ran 5 miles this morning- it automatically posts that to your facebook page.
Just what I need- another obession!Â But I had to do it.Â As soon as I got home from class I fired up the computer and registered on Dailymile.com.Â I also set it up to sync up with my other obsession- facebook.Â And while I was doing that I noticed something odd.Â You know on the right side of your facebook page it lists suggested friends?Â Stella McCartney was there.Â
Yes- that Stella McCartney.Â
I said something to my wife who reminded me that she is a fashion designer and maybe they were suggesting that I become a fan of hers.Â NOPE- facebook thinks Stella McCartney and I would be good friends (o.k.- they said nothing about being "good" friends- but still).Â So I took facebook's advice and requested Stella's (we're on a first name basis now- or at least in my mind) friendship.Â Still waiting to hear back from her.
And while I wait- I workout.Â And post my workouts on Dailymile.com.Â This morning I posted a 2700 yard swim.
After that swim I could really go for one of those "meet-ups."Â
Maybe Stella will join us.
Michael McDermott played a really cool show at the High Noon Saloon last night- performing his classic debut album, "620 West Surf" in it's entirety.Â This was an idea that I had a couple of months ago and Michael agreed to do it- but we never really got a chance to talk about how it would work.Â
It was an early show, so I rushed over to the High Noon as soon as I got off the air- Michael came out to greet me and that's where I first suggested that I spend the entire set up on stage with him- interrupting the show whenever I felt that it was appropriate to talk to him abut the songs.Â He loved the idea and 20 minutes later we were on stage, explaining to the audience how it was going to work.
I was a bit nervous- as I had left all my notes about the album sitting on my desk in my office at work.Â So I worked from memory and Michael's set-list.Â If you have ever seen how a musician writes a set-list, it's usually just key words, phrases or even initials- Cheap Trick writes "IWYTWM" for "I Want You To Want Me" - the fans know what it means, but for the casual observer to look it the list- they would never be able to figure out what's going on.Â Luckily I've been a fan and friend of Michael's for about 20 years now.Â But still- when "Mr. Simmons'" came up on the set-list, how was I to remember that the full title of the song is "Mr. Simmons' Arkansas Christmas Blues?"Â Luckily Michael decided that he didn't want to play that one- so it really didn't matter.
I did learn a few things last night- like I had no idea that Bruce Hornsby played on the original album, or that Glen Phillips of Toad The Wet Sprocket is also on the album.Â And there was a line in the song "Shadow of the Capitol" that I finally got to ask about- and I found out that the line goes...
"...ministers of munipulation telling me my dreams are NULL"Â
I never could figure out the word "NULL"Â
If you missed the show last night- there's another chance to see Michael with his full band next Wednesday night, also at the High Noon Saloon.Â This time I'm sure he'll play some songs from "620" along with newer stuff too.
I mentioned a few days ago that I started doing some strength training.Â Which brought the question..."why now?"Â
Which I guess is a good question.Â
It was about 10 years ago that I gave up my very comfortable life as a couch-potato and decided to do something athletic.Â Since that time, I've ridden in 4 AIDS Rides, 1 MS Ride, done 2 Half-Ironmans, 2 Ironmans, 2 more Marathons and a whole bunch of shorter distance races and rides.Â
But never in the last ten years did I pay any attention to strength training.Â
So why the change?Â
Last weekend after our run, a bunch of us were having breakfast and talking about the weight loss and gain that goes with the kind of training that we've been doing.Â I mentioned that I was looking for a shirt to wear one morning - I held up two choices and my wife pointed out that one of them was hers and it would never fit.Â Actually, I had already tried on that shirt and it fit just fine.Â Maybe it's time to bulk up a little- I mean, I fit in my wife's little clothes...yes, I mean LITTLE clothes- I've made fun of the fact that she can shop in the kids department.Â And I now fit in those clothes.Â
Time to bulk up.
I finished telling the story and a friend reminded me of a bike ride last Spring.Â We started the morning with a time-trial race.Â It was about a 10 mile race and I dressed appropriately for the race.Â I didn't dress appropriately for the 40 mile ride that a bunch of us decided to do after the race.Â It was a cold Spring morning and I was in short sleaves and bike shorts.Â My friend Susan raced in the morning, but had family stuff and couldn't do the longer ride with us.Â Susan insisted that if I was going to ride, I needed to be dressed warmer- so she handed me her vest and arm warmers.Â If Susan is 100 lbs, I'd be shocked.Â No way am I fitting into her clothes.Â Or so I thought.Â Susan's stuff fit me just fine.
Time to bulk up.
When both Susan and Laura's clothes fit me just fine- it's time to bulk up.
So,Â I've started adding strength training to my routine.Â I'll let you know how that goes.
As I left for work yesterday morning- I told my wife that I was going to do one of 4 things after work...
1) Run - either to our house or to her Karate class (about 4-5 miles, either way)
2) Drive to her Karate class & take part in the class - I do that from time to time when they are doing core work...I hate core work, so a class makes it a bit more bearable.
3) Drive to Harbor Athletic and actually force myself to do some strength training...I hate strength training even more than I hate core work.Â So I just don't do it.
4) Drive home and sit on the couch watching TV and drinking a glass of wine.
Before I even finished with the choices,Â Laura said "strength training...you need to do the strength training."Â That's how often I DON'T do strength training- my wife is telling me I NEED to do it.
So I settled on (or she settled on) strength training.Â
So as I was wrapping up my workday, I asked Sarah- our promotions director and resident strength training expert- what to do.Â Sarah put together a nice circuit of exercises for me - describing and demonstrating each one as best she could without weights in front of her.
So I headed to Harbor- a little scrap of paper with Sarah's notes in hand.Â And I found that it's not nearly as intimidating as I had feared.Â Sarah had me starting with some pretty light weights- she figured I could bench-press 40 pounds- and she was right- I may have even been able to do more...but let's not get too carried away.
So I did Sarah's circuit (hey, that's what I'll call it from now on- "Sarah's Circuit") and went out to the loby to sit and wait for my wife to get back from her Karate class.Â I sat reading a magazine- my arms shaking from all the work I had just done.Â Today I'm sore- but my wife tells me that's a good thing.Â
I think it's one of those "no pain, no gain" things.
It's been more than 30 years since the Miracle on Ice- the day the U.S. Hockey team beat the Soviets to clear the way to the Gold Medal.Â Somehow I missed that anniversary- I think it was 30 years ago this past Monday.Â But today is also a big anniversary- 30 years ago today the U.S. Hockey team beat Finland to win that Gold medal at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.Â
Badgers Mark Johnson and Bobby Suter were both on that team.Â Mark is now coaching the women's team which goes for Gold on Thursday against Canada.Â Mark Johnson could skate away with 2 Gold Medals...30 years apart.Â How cool would that be?
I very clearly remember the 1980 games.Â I remember that for years after the games Bobby Suter owned a little sports/bait shop around the corner from my Grandparents home.Â I remember walking down the street nervously with my poster of the U.S. Hockey team and shyly asking Bobby to sign it, which he did.
I remember being at a high school basketball game on the night of the Miracle on Ice.Â I remember exactly where I was sitting when I noticed the crowd in the opposite corner of the gym start to go crazy for no apparent reason.Â I remember turning to my buddy Tim and saying "do you think they got the hockey score?"Â I remember how that little corner of crazy cheering got bigger and bigger until the word got to the game announcers- they gave the score and the place went NUTS!
I remember just a couple years ago- being honored by Madison Magazine on the same night that Mark Johnson recieved a similar honor.Â I remember the limo pulling up to my house.Â I remember climbing into the limo with my wife and being face-to-face with Mark Johnson.Â I remember thinking about the 1980 Winter Olympics as I rode to the Monona Terrace.Â
I remember telling my friend Susan about the experience in the middle of a long run as we trained for Ironman 2008.Â I remember Susan telling me that she once walked down the aisle with Mark as they both stood up in a mutual friend's wedding- it was just after the Olympics and she was still in high school- feeling like the luckiest girl in the world.Â I remember joking that between us, we have walked down the aisle and ridden in a limo with him- between us, we might be married to an Olympic star?
I remember later in my Ironman training reading my grade-school buddy, Bobby's blog about beating a legend.Â Â Bobby finished the 2007 Ironman Wisconsin and while he was recovering with his family he heard Ironman announcer Mike Reilly say "Mark Johnson...you are an Ironman!"Â He had to go look- sure enough - Olympic hockey hero Mark Johnson had finished just a few minutes AFTER him.
I remember finishing the 2008 Ironman WisconsinÂ and checking my time against Bobby's 2007 time- I was slightly faster...not a fair comparison, I know- different conditions from year to year, but still, I somehow felt like I had also beat a legend.
I tried.Â I really did try to like curling.Â
I've heard lot's of complaints about the coverage that curling has recieved at the Olympics this year.Â Most of the complaints stem from the fact that somebody doesn't believe that curling is really a sport.Â My favorite line- "any sport that you can drink beer while doing- is NOT a sport."
I can't really argue with that, but I wanted to give curling a chance.Â I've got several friends who are seriously into curling- although my suspicion is that people take up curling because "I might go to the Olympics."
So, the other night I sat on the couch.Â TV on.Â Tuned in to curling.
I watched all night.
I don't get it!
Don't try to explain it to me, because I have also come to the conclusion that I don't care.
Skiing, snowboarding, hockey, figure skating and even that weird sport where they ski and then shoot at things- they all make more sense to me than curling.Â And in all of those cases, I can work up some amount of excitement for the players playing the game.Â They don't even have to be U.S. players- if there's a good story I can get excited for the Canadian figure skater or the Jamacian bobsledder.Â It just didn't happen with curling.Â And I have official give up trying.
I've kind of gone back & forth on the Olympics thing.Â I was really excited in the weeks leeding up to the games, but then as the Olympics got underway, I started to lose interest.Â Until last night.
I know this is Jonathan's area- but I got wrapped up in the men's figure skating last night.Â I think it came about because when I turned on the TV, they were running a behind the scenes profile of one of the skaters- in that profile I got a glimpse of the workout routine.Â This happened minutes after I ducked out of a cycling session a little early- because the instructor suggested that we get off the bikes and do a little core workout.Â I HATE CORE WORKOUTS!
Watching the figure skaters do their core workouts- I got a new-found respect for them.Â The guy I was watching was doing push-ups...feet on a big exercise ball and each hand on a smaller medicine ball.Â Again- he was doing push-ups like this.Â Lots of them.Â I bet I couldn't do one!Â
By this point I was hooked- I had to watch the competition.Â And I got completely wrapped up in it.Â Picked favorites.Â Felt bad when skaters fell or stumbled just a little on the landing.Â I got upset when TV went to commercial before giving the scores.Â And then argued with the judges when I didn't agree with the scores.
There was a discussion at one point in the evening- about whether or not figure skating is really a sport.Â You can make that decision on your own, but I will absolutely say that the skaters are athletes.
When my wife was a little girl she went to church with her Grandmother one Sunday morning.Â Grandma told her that she had to be very quiet during the service- couldn't say a thing.Â So, Laura sat there wondering what would happen if she said something.Â Curiosity finally got the best of her and she said, very quietly, "peas."Â Her favorite food at the time was peas.Â I know- not normal for a little kid- but I would expect that someone who would eventually go on to marry me would not be quite normal- even at that young age.Â Well, when she said "peas" very quietly, nothing happened- so she said it a little louder.Â Still nothing- so she finally shouted at the top of her lungs..."PEAS!"Â You can imagine that her Grandmother was a bit embarrased- but had a great story to tell for years after.
When we were in college- Laura and I figured out how to dress up the peas with dinner a bit.Â We added canned mushrooms- for an added special touch to our fancy dinner of Hamburger Helper and a side of peas.
Today peas have a special healing power.Â But not in the way youÂ might think.Â There is always a bag of frozen peas in ourÂ freezer.Â Frozen peas are perfect for soothing a sore knee or shoulder.Â I sit on the couch after a long run with a bag of peas on my sore knee and I usually feel better.Â Problem is- we sometimes forget that the bag of peas in the freezer has been used to sooth my sore knee and we open the bag and cook it up with a can of mushrooms (still love that combo).Â And the peas taste awful- they have been frozen, thawed, frozen, thawed, frozen...you get the idea.
Which brings me to this past weekend.Â On Sunday morning I went for a run with my usual weekend running group- as we ran along the lakeshore path on the UW campus, somehow the subject of using frozen peas to sooth sore joints came up.Â They are perfect- they mold perfectly to any area of your sore body.Â Â When I mentioned my problem- Carrie said she keeps a bag of peas in her freezer and onÂ that bag of peas is a piece of duct tape.Â On that duct tape is written...
"For Sports Injuries Only"
I never have to suffer though bad peas again!
When training for an Ironman (which I am not- this year) you get lots of different responses when you tell people.Â The reactions range from complete disbelief...to complete questioning of your sanity.Â Why? is a really big question.Â My friend and training partner Mike recently sent me an e-mail that he got from another Ironman friend.Â I think this explains it all (I highlighted a few of my favorites)...
140.6 Reasons to do an Ironman:
001. Makes everything else seem so SHORT.
002. The 3 week taper before the race.
003. The 4 week recovery after the race.
004. To reach down and find strength you never knew was there.
Â 005. As much Pizza as you can eat (and my coach can't say no).
006. To find out who you really are.
007. Beats watching the new Survivor, Big Brother, or anything else on TV.
008. For all the times you heard someone say "I'd do one of those ... I just can't swim."
Â 009. Sunset in Madison.
010. Because I've told everyone I one day will be an Ironman.
011. Mike Reilly's hoarse voice still bringing people home at 11:30pm
012. The Massage Tent - anywhere.
013. My friends waiting for me at the finish line,
Â 014. For the ones that believed
015. ...and the ones that didn't.
016. Chalk on the road.
017. Easy rides and runs the week before.
018. Finishing your last workout and smiling because you know "I'm SO ready."
Â 019. For everyone who has ever asked you "Why?"
020. For the teachers in school who told you you'd amount to nothing and to silence the one voice inside your head that still believes that bunk
021. The view from Richter Pass (IM Canada)
Â 022. You want to test the endurance limits of the iPod music collection in your head.
023. Creating your own, "Amazing Race."
024. Spectators looking up your name and cheering as you plod past at sunset.
Â 025. Where else can someone ripping off your clothes in public be considered a benefit ? (Wetsuit Strip)
026. Miles in the Run
027. See the world and eat the food in each country, guilt free.
028. So you can answer "One." When people ask "How many days does that take?"
Â 029. To wave at the scuba divers.
030. To backstroke and wave at the TV helicopter.
031. Encouraging Cards in your special needs bags.
032. Encouraging Cards in your T1 and T2 bags.
033. Chicken broth and coke, ultimate power cocktail
Â 034. Chicken broth (Yes - it's worth 2 by itself)
035. To one day show your child what he or she can do...and at an earlier age than you.
036. The view from Lake CDA. (Ironman Coeur D Alene)
037. One step further to your dream.
Â 038. Because I gave up ice cream to do this!!!!!!!!
039. Driving the bike course in a caravan of friends, again and again.
040. Valet Parking and Catering ... all day long.
041. You might get on TV
042. To gain the confidence to do anything.
Â 043. To have the confidence to say yes or to say no.
044. Takes as long as having a baby, nearly as satisfying, only without the morning sickness and the 21 years of bills that follow.
045. Flying with a bike case makes business trips seem EASY.
Â 046. Sharing a smile with people wearing the finishers T-shirt the next day.
047. Knowing that as you step in the water on race day - YOU MADE IT THIS FAR! Now just get home.
048. How many people can say they did anything for 12,13, 14, 15, 16...hours?
Â 049. Knowing that you are running the same race as Kate Major, Desiree Ficker, Chris Leigh, Cameron Brown, etc.
050. The wristband that somehow becomes your favourite fashion accessory.
051. So that when you tell your grandchildren stories about what you did when you were young...yours will be true.
Â 052. Running along the ocean in Oceanside, CA.
053. High fives from people you don't know.
054. The Sponge as a fashion statement
055. Because even when you are hurting, you can still run !
056. Knowing that after the gun goes off, you don't have to worry anymore.
Â 057. First Place and Last Place get the same amount of cheers.
058. Walking to the start with friends...
059. Getting lapped on the bike by Michelle Jones, Chris McCormick, Craig Alexander, Chrissie Wellington...
Â 060. Getting lapped again on the run by Michelle Jones, Chris McCormick, Craig Alexander, Chrissie Wellington......
061. Making the turn for home in Ironman Canada
062. Because MolybdenumMan doesn't trip off the tongue in quite the same way
Â 063. If Judy Molnar can, dammit, so can you.
064. You might get to run with Alexandra Paul!
065. High fiving Daryl Haley, and going backwards 5 feet.
066. Sunset over Lake Coeur d'Alene on the run.
067. If Randy Caddell can do it with just his arms, you can certainly do it with your legs.
Â 068. Easier than Eco-Challenge.
069. Didn't play sports in high school.
070. Because everyone knows you are training and you can't stop now.
071. For all those 4:45am mornings, when you wished your head was still on the pillow.
072. Makes US Navy SEAL training seem like a good idea.
073. You enjoy the smell of chlorine in the morning.
074. You've had enough with your current social life.
075. For the love of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream!
Â 076. Your friends are watching on the web.
077. You need to prove to your mom that even if you get on the bike right after you swim...you won't catch a cold.
078. Your ex'es think you are nuts and they actually admire you a bit (secretly).
Â 079. Roadies think you're nuts.
080. Masters swimmers really think you're nuts.
081. Your running club KNOWS you're nuts.
082. To see the Maori Warriors right before IM New Zealand
083. Monday morning swims... you feel like every Monday is the start of a new thing (even though it is not)
Â 084. 3 hour breakfasts after the morning swims
085. To fulfill a dream.
086. To say, "I am an Ironman".
087. The sunflower fields in Madison (IM Wisconsin)
088. Glow sticks on the run close to midnight
Â 089. Silent hugs on the start line.
090. Because Winston Churchill said I can't ever give up.
091. The 12-step program to make me stop hasn't been invented yet.
092. Any National Anthem, before the start, anywhere.
Â 093. Knowing that when you wake up at 4:00am, the next time you go to bed you will be VERY different person.
094. 3 miles down on Main St. (IM Canada)
095. The whole ride of IM New Zealand
096. Because you've always wanted to see how many CD's and towels it would take to ride the whole IM CDA course on the CompuTrainer
Â 097. Makes your next marathon just a nice morning run.
098. To make your Boss jealous because YOU have a life that doesn't involve the office.
099. Because the longer you're out there, the less per hour it really costs!
Â 100. Being there is way better than watching
101. Finding yourself in the middle of your doubts ... finding a new meaning of being scared.
102. Finding out that you're far stronger than those doubts a few miles later.
Â 103. Falling in step on the run and making a friend to the end, without having to say a word.
104. A fried breakfast the day after.
105. Watching people headed home while you're headed out, thinking "I'll be there soon ..." and they cheer for you.
Â 106. Understanding why that is as your cheering for people headed out when you're finally headed home.
107. That feeling of ice cubes in your hat on a hot run never getting too cold.
108. Telling folks with flat tires "It's a long day - hang in there!" and seeing them breathe and smile for a moment.
Â 109. Hearing people cheer you up while your changing a damn flat tire.
110. Rolling into T2 knowing that no matter what - you can't have a flat sneaker from here on in.
111. Having someone catch you, and hold you up when you can't do it anymore.
Â 112. Miles in the Bike.
113. The IV's feel SO good the next day.
114. To see if it really feels as good to do as it does to dream.
115. And then to see if it really feels as good the second time, and the third, and the fourth....
Â 116. To learn the power of commitment and determination.
117. Morning in Panama City (IM Florida).
118. To try and finish in daylight.
119. To try and finish before midnight.
120. To try and NOT get stung by that (*@! bee this time.
Â 121. Your nieces/nephews already think you're a hero - prove them right.
122. Your ex'es don't...but you might prove it to them, too.
123. An M-Dot Tattoo would look swanky on your ankle.
124. 5000 Volunteers - all for you.
Â 125. Hearing them say "You're almost there!" all day long.
126. Being nearly almost there - for real.
127. Chicken broth and coke! (It's been awhile)
128. The finish line.
129. Because your training partners said you were a fighter
Â 130. The first time you think "Holy crap - I'm doing an Ironman!"
131. Beating back the voices that say "Holy crap - you can't do an Ironman!"
132. Mile 26.
133. That moment when you KNOW you're going to make it for the first time all day.
Â 134. Running down Lakeside Avenue. ( IM CDA)
135. Running down Sherman Avenue.
136. THE FINISH LINE
137. The first step after you cross the line and think "Oh, My....God....!"
138. Hearing Mike Reilly say, " You are an Ironman!"
Â 139. The Medal
139.6 Because they said I can't
140.6 Because I say I can.
BTW- I NEVER gave up ice cream (and I added chocolate milk and chocolate chips cookies to my diet on a regular basis) and I think somebody confused sunflowers with dandelions.
I have travelled to New Orleans several times over the years, both pre and post Katrina.Â New Orleans is one of my favorite cities in the world.Â But that's not why I love the Saints.
Actually- before I go any further, I should say that the Saints are not my favorite football team.Â That honor is reserved for the Packers of course.Â The Saints are my second favorite team.
And like I said- it has nothing to do with the fact that I love the city.Â If I picked my sports teams by love of the city I'd be a Vikings fan (hate them), in baseball I'd love the Yankees (hate them) and I'm sure there's a Soccer (excuse me "football") team in Paris that I'd be a big fan of.
No- it's not because I love the city.Â But the city does have something to do with the reason.Â
First off- the second time I travelled to New Orleans, I noticed an obsession with all things Vince Lombardi.Â I have no idea why, but there were posters and plaques and t-shirts and coffee mugs, etc., etc. etc. all with images of Vince Lombardi.Â It seemed odd, but kind of cool.
I still wasn't a fan at that point- but it was pointing me in the right direction.Â I became a fan after my next trip to New Orleans.Â
This is the point where I should admit that on all but my very first trip to New Orleans (I was about 15 at the time), I may have over-indulged just a bit.Â O.K., on all but that very first trip to New Orleans I over-indulged.Â A lot.Â And seemingly, so did everyone else.Â Not just the people that I travelled with.Â EVERYONE.Â In case you hadn't heard- that town is all about over-indulgence.Â Food.Â Drink.Â Women.Â Whatever- it's all about over-indulgence.
That is why I love the Saints.Â No- not because I have some great respect for people who abuse alcohol.Â Actually kinda the opposite.Â I have great respect for anyone who can focus enough to get anything done in that town.Â I can't imagine how they put together an entire football team that's able to focus enough to play a game, let alone win a game, let alone win enough games to make it to the championship game.Â The only place it might be a tougher task is Vegas.Â
But I doubt it.
For some reason Jonathan Suttin hates when people use their facebook updates to say things like "Great win for Bucky tonight!"Â I'm not sure why he has a problem with it, but he does.Â Me- I think it's fun.Â I especially like when people get creative with those updates.
Pre-game I had posted something about Jimmy The Groundhog predicting an early Spring AND a 6 point Badger victory tonight.
Post game I posted that I now expect Spring to start tomorrow.
There were plenty of friends who posted disbelief..."Did that really happen?"Â "Was it all a dream?" etc.
Plenty of "lovin' the Badger victory" type posts.
A few "Bad night to be a Spartan" style posts.
But my favorite came from my friend Matt...
"Izz-0 and 7@ KC vs. Bo"
I tried.Â I really did.Â I tried to watch "One Tree Hill," but it just wasn't in me.
Let me explain.Â I have no great need to have another "must see" television show in my life.Â I've got plenty of that already.Â I can't miss the Monday night CBS lineup.Â Or the Thursday night NBC lineup.Â I can watch 24 hours straight of Law & Order (or any of the 37 spin-offs) on any of 112 different cable networks.Â The reason I tried to watch "One Tree Hill" is because my favorite band- Cheap Trick- was supposed to make a special appearance this week.Â I've probably seen Cheap Trick 75-100 times over the years.Â I love most everything they have ever done.Â And they were going to be on TV.Â That doesn't happen a lot at this point in their career - although they also just shot a performance for "Soundstage" and will, in the very near future shoot another performance for "Austin City Limits" and they recently rerecorded "Dream Police" as "Green Police" for an Audi commercial that will debut during Sunday's big game.
So anyway- I tried to watch "One Tree Hill" and got about 30 seconds into it before I was bored beyond belief.Â
TGFT- Thank God For TIVO!Â Â I TIVO-ed "One Tree Hill" so now I can fast-forward through all the boring stuff and get to Cheap Trick.
Feel free to ruin the story for me.Â
I just don't care.
The workout board said that we swam 3200 yards this morning.Â I don't think we went quite that far.Â But it felt like we went double that.Â
After the warm-up, the swim coach pulled the lane ropes out of the pool and the rest of the class was spent basically all beating each other up in the water.Â
For the first set- we ran (in the pool) around the outer edges of the pool for one lap, followed by what he calls a "Tarzan" swim (swim with your head up out of the water like a little kid who's afraid to get his face wet) for one lap around the pool followed by 6 laps around the pool freestyle.Â
The class is full of people over varying speeds and abilities, so you can imagine the chaos in the pool.Â It was a great simulation of open-water swimming at the start of a triathlon.
The next set he had us swimming a little more traditional, in that we were swimming up and down the lanes, instead of around the pool.Â However, what he had us doing, caused even more chaos.Â To start we swam (Tarzan-style)from one end of the pool to the flags- not quiteÂ at the other end, we then turned around (without touching the bottom), swam (freestyle) back to the flags on the near side, turned around (no touching the bottom), swam back (Tarzan) to the far flags, again turned without touching and swam back (freestyle) to the start.Â Again, with the varying speed and ability levels- it was pure chaos- swimming over the top of each other, punching each other, goggles knocked off, etc.
We did that set one more time, but added one more lap for the second set.
And we wrapped up the morning by running a lap, followed by two laps of Tarzan and 6 more laps freestyle.
Or something like that- I eventually lost track.Â
And my arms went completely numb.
I got an e-mail today from Midwest Sports Events- an organization that promotes active sports in the area.Â Midwest Sports Events is working with an organization called SOIL in Action to provide assistance to Haitians displaced by the recent earthquake.Â For their part, Midwest Sports Events is collecting running shoes and t-shirts to be donated to the cause.
As you probably already know- at this time money is the biggest need for the people of Haiti.Â However, in the next couple of months as things start to get back to something resembling normal, there will be a great need for these items.
I know that everyone who regularly takes part in any active sport has a closet full of shoes and t-shirts (drives my wife CRAZY!).Â Clean out your closet this weekend and take your stuff to the 2010 Great Lakes Multi-Sport Expo at State Fair Park in Milwaukee.Â Look for donation bins at the main entrance both Saturday and Sunday.
For more on the 2010 Great Lakes Multi-Sport Expo, head to the "Activate With M" page at 1055triplem.com
As I said yesterday- I didn't quite make my goal of 3 hours and 30 minutes at the Arizona Rock & Roll Marathon.Â Despite missing the goal, it really was a good race.
The start line was MASSIVE.Â I have never run with so many people - over 35,000 gathered for the full and half marathons.Â Based on my estimated finish, I was placed in corral #2- right up near the front of the pack.Â This made for a much easier start compared to my last marathon- when I was so nervous about finishing that I started about 2/3 of the way back in the pack and ended up walking about 1/2 the time through the first two miles- because it was so crowded and I just couldn't find the room to run.Â
Immediately I found the 3:30 pace group.Â A pace group is a pretty cool thing- a pace leader holds up a sign with the goal time and everyone with that goal time follows him or her.Â Yes- they hold the sign through the entire race.Â We were also asked to pin a pace somewhere on our shirts, so if people got seperated from the group, they could easily find us again.Â My buddy warned me not to pin the number on my shirt- in case I fell off the pace- it might be embarrassing to come across the line in 4 hours with a 3:30 pinned to your shirt.Â I should have listened.
As soon as the 3:30 group gathered somebody asked how the leader planned on pacing it- he responded that we would run a steady 7:59 minute/mile pace.Â This is basically what I had planned and he carried it out perfectly.Â In fact at one point he noticed that we were at at 7:53 pace and made us slow down.Â This was working great.Â The pace was comfortable.Â The people around me were fun to talk to.Â There was a band playing at every mile marker (it is the "Rock & Roll" marathon after all).Â This is going to be a great race.
Then we got to the 13 mile mark- the pace group leader left the course and left us with a new leader.Â I can understand why they do this- it's gotta be tough to carry a sign while keeping a perfect pace for an entire marathon.Â The problem was- the new guy was going too fast.Â I guess fresh legs are not always a good thing.Â I tried for a while to stay with his 7:45 minute/mile pace, but I fell off the back of the pace group, as did a few others.Â No problem- I was prepared for this - I was wearing my Garmin, so I could watch my pace there.Â I had a pace tattoo on my right arm, so I could check my time against where the tattoo said I should be.
And all that worked right up through mile 20.Â I passed my wife at that point and shouted out that I was right on pace- I checked all my various devices and she was right.Â I was perfectly on pace...with just 10k to go!Â
This is going to happen!
No it's not.Â
Yes- I was on pace at the 20 mile mark.Â But this was also the spot where all my little mistakes caught up with me.Â No good pre-race breakfast.Â Not properly hydrated.Â Oops- forgot to eat one of those GUs.Â Ran too fast for a few miles in the middle.
My legs started to tighten.Â I kept running until it was obvious by checking the Garmin and the tattoo, that there was no way I could make my goal.Â That took another mile or two.Â I then decided to walk through the aid stations.
Once I stopped running, it was really tough to start up again and when I did, it was really easy to stop again.Â I started making deals with myself- I'll walk to that light post, then I'll run to the next mile marker.Â O.K., maybe not ALL the way to the next mile marker.Â Maybe just to that other light post.
I was almost to the 24 mile mark when the 3:40 pace group caught me.Â So I had lost about 10 minues in the last 4 miles.Â I heard the pace leader giving instructions- "we're 37 seconds ahead of pace- we're going to use what's in the bank on this upcoming hill, then we'll come in right at 3:40."Â The group was excited to hear that they were going to make their goal.Â Or at least they seemed to be excited, as they pulled away from me.
I ended the race at 3:49- so if you are following along, between miles 20 and 24 I lost 10 minutes...between miles 24 and 26 I lost almost another 10 minutes.Â I crashed.Â Hard.
So, I didn't make my goal.Â But I did beat my personal record by more than 40 minutes, so even though it wasn't exactly the race I planned for- it was still a good race.
And I learned a few lessons for next time.
A couple of weeks ago my friend Susan was the subject of an article in the Sunday paper.Â No she didn't do anything bad- the article was about "Destination Marathons."Â Last weekend Susan and I, our spouses and two other couples headed to Arizona for the Rock & Roll Marathon.Â I probably should have talked to Susan a bit more about how to approach a "Destination Marathon," because there are some things about preparing- especially on race-day, that are different when you don't sleep in your own bed or have access to your own kitchen.Â I'm not saying that's the reason I didn't hit my goal, but I'm sure that was at least part of it.
My goal was 3 hours and 30 minutes.
I finished in 3 hours and 49 minutes.
Not my goal, in fact I missed it by nearly 20 minutes.Â However, it was a PR (Personal Record) by more than 40 minutes- so I'm happy with my race.
I thought I was doing everything right- although when I look back, I see a few things that I could have improved on- especially better hydration and nutrition on the morning of the race.Â
Normally before a race I have an english muffin with a salmon patty and an egg on top for breakfast.Â To drink I start with a bottle of Ensure and then drink some Gatorade and some water to get properly hydrated.
Without access to my own kitchen- I had a bottle of Ensure and a little smoked salmon.Â I totally forgot about the Gatorade- even though my friend Mike was downing a big bottle of Gatorade on the bus to the start line.Â
I was going to take some salt tablets before I started the race, but had nothing to drink to wash them down.
I decided not to bring my own water and Gatorade on the run, because there are water stops every mile.Â Problem is, to keep the pace, I had to run through the water stops- so it was hard to get enough water down.Â And they weren't serving Gatorade (they were serving a different sports drink- that I had not trained with- so it didn't sit too well with me).
I packed 4 GU packets into my race belt- which should have lasted until mile 19- when they had GU packets at the aid station.Â Problem is- I messed up and skipped one of the scheduled times to eat a GU.Â I still had 1 GU packet when I crossed the finish line- kind of like having 1 time-out left at the end of a football game that you lost by 1 point and were driving for the winning score when the clock ran out.
Despite all those little things I really did have a good race and am happy with the restults.
I'll take you through the actual race tomorrow.
So, I'm running a marathon this weekend- and I need your advice...
I have a goal of 3 hours and 30 minutes.Â That works out to running at a pace of about 8 minutes per mile.Â The way I see it there are 3 ways to achieve this and the advice I need is- which of these should I use as my race day strategy?
1) Run 8 minute miles- Every mile, start to finish (I have a Garmin, so keeping track of my speed should be fairly simple).
2) Go out slow- save my energy for later in the race when I really need it and when everyone else is slowing down because they went out too fast.
3) Go out fast- no matter what I do, the last 10k is going to hurt, so I might as well get a little ahead early in the race and give myself a bit of a cushion so I can slow down when I get to that point.
Now, I think I know the answer to the question, but I'd like your opinion...and your reasoning.
First off- my appologies for being so lax in updating my blog lately.Â With the holiday season (just finished my last Christmas party yesterday!), things just got away from me.
Lots going on- my marathon is this coming Sunday.Â I think I'm ready- although it's hard to tell, training in this weather.Â I know I can do the distance (26.2 miles), and I know I can do the speed (8 minutes/mile).Â I'm just not sure about that speed for that distance.Â It's been tough to maintain the speed for any distance in these condtions- poor footing, super-cold, etc.Â Although I was able to keep the speed for about 15 miles of my 22 mile run a couple weeks ago- not sure what I did for the last seven, as I messed up my Garmin at the 15 mile mark- but I would guess that I slowed a little bit.Â The good news is 8 minute miles now feels slow to me.Â The bad news is- as I said before- it's been hard to find the conditions around here where I can run that pace for a decent distance.
On a completely different subject- Masters Swim class this morning.Â My lane finishedÂ the workout a little after the rest of the class- but finished to a big cheer from the coach- as he yelled out that we had just done 2800 yards.Â Other than Ironman- that was the longest swim we had ever done (we laughed about how we don't really count Ironman), but we didn't let the celebration go on too long.Â My lane-mate said we had to do another 200 to make it an even 3000 yards!Â It was a slow 200 but in the end we did 3000 yards!Â Almost 1.75 miles!Â In just over an hour!
It was a decade of change- at least for me.Â
I'm a pretty active person.Â Well, today I am a pretty active person.Â a decade ago, not so much.Â I clearly remember being home from work- sick- laying on the couch, watching TV and reading the paper.Â I saw an ad for the AIDS Ride.Â I had heard of the AIDS Ride before- even saw a bunch of cyclists heading down from Minneapolis as I drove home from a weekend with a friend once.Â But I didn't even own a bike at the time.Â
I looked at that ad and decided that I wanted to do that.Â Ride my bike (what bike?) 500 miles and raise money for the AIDS Network.Â When my wife got home from work, I told her about my goal.Â She pointed out the obvious (you don't even own a bike) and then stated very clearly that she was NOT going to ride.Â It was about a week later that we went to an informational meeting and I signed up for my first AIDS Ride and she signed up to be a part of the crew.
When Spring came I borrowed an old bike from my Dad and started training- commuting to/from work.Â I lived on the North side of Madison and worked on the far West side.Â I couldn't ride that far, so I rode to my parents house, my Mom would drive me the rest of the way and then pick me up after work and I'd ride from their house back to my place.Â This went on for a few weeks- Mom making cookies and feeding them to me every morning- me protesting that I would be the only guy ever to train for an AIDS Ride and actually GAIN weight.Â After a few weeks I got the nerve to try to ride a bit further, so I would ride to my parents house, we would load the bike into the back of my parents car and Mom would drive me & my bike to work, then I would ride all the way home.Â After a few weeks of that, and about 1000 more cookies, I was finally in good enought shape to ride all the way from the North side to the West side in the morning and then all the way back again at night- with no stops at Mom & Dad's in between!
I spent the rest of that Summer commuting and going on longer rides on the weekends.Â Then came the big week.Â 500 miles from St. Paul to Chicago (I think the route actually ended up being 550 miles) in 6 days!Â Close to 100 miles a day for 6 straight days!Â And I did it.
And I did it the next three years too.Â A total of 3 AIDS Rides (Twin Cites to Chicago) and one ACT Ride (starting and ending in Madison- 400 miles).
So now I'm a cyclist!
Not a runner.
I remember training for my first Crazylegs run.Â 8k.Â About 5 miles.Â I trained.Â Hard.Â Interns laughed at me.Â For them, they would show up to Crazylegs still drunk from the night before and run it with no problem.Â I had to work my way up to running it at all.Â But I did it.Â 5 miles.Â I don't think I walked at all.Â
Not sure that really makes me a runner.Â But I did it!
Over the decade I watched Ironman.Â Lots.Â Every year thinking that eventually I would do that.Â I was a cyclist and a (sorta) runner, but I didn't know how to swim.Â So every year, right about Ironman time I would go to the health club and try to learn to swim.Â And every year it would last about 2 weeks until I would give up.Â
One year I volunteered at Ironman- my job was to lead the #2 female runner through the course- me on my bike, her running.Â This really inspired me.Â This time I even took lessons when I tried to learn to swim.Â Still no luck.
It was in August of 2007 that I opened an e-mail from Endurance House- "Come join the 'Becoming An Ironman' team."Â O.K. maybe this year I'll actually do it.Â I'll join the team- then it will be on them to get me the rest of the way.Â So I hung on to that e-mail for several weeks.Â Told nobody about it.Â Not even Laura.Â I finally got the nerve to tell Laura about it a few days before Ironman 2007.Â But I still never made it into the store to learn more about it.Â Finally on the day of the race, I actually walked into the store- and we talked about what I wanted to do.Â I made it very clear that I was a cyclist, sorta a runner and didn't even know how to swim.Â And they felt confident that they could get me there.
Laura and I headed to the race, still not sure.Â We watched for a while and Laura suggested that we go get a drink and talk about it.Â We walked into and empty bar (everyone was outside watching the race) and sat and talked.Â I guy walked in and ordered a shot- he asked if we've "got somebody out there?"Â No we didn't- but we explained that we were trying to decide if I wanted to do the race next year.Â His wife was still out there- his theory was that the human body is not made to take that kind of punishment.Â I ran into him the next morning just after I registered- he just shook his head.
This time out I finally did learn how to swim.Â You know the saying "It takes a village..."Â Well, it took an entire village to teach me to swim, and it was still a close call- I still didn't know how to swim about 2 months before the race.Â Eventually I got it and on raceday I did much better than I expected.Â I swam the 2.4 miles in just over 90 minutes.Â I did the entire race in 13 hours and 42 minutes.Â My original goal was to finish.Â As I got into my training a bit, my goal was to finish in under 15 hours and eventually I adjusted the goal to "between 12 and 14 hours."Â Â So I hit all my goals!
I did Ironman again in 2009 and will do it again someday.Â Not in 2010, but I will do it again.
Yes, it's that time of the year again.Â Actually, it's that time of the decade again.Â Time for year - no wait- DECADE end lists.
It's tough to come up with favorites from a ten year stretch.Â But I'm gonna try.Â My musical tastes are fairly wide, so there's a bit of a variety on my list.Â I also obsess over things- once I discover something, I have this habit of buying up everything the artist has ever done and listening constantly to that artist.Â Finally, like most people, I associate music with things that have happened in my life- so there's a little of that on my list as well.
So, here we go- in no particular order- my best of the '00s (is that what we are calling it?)...
Oh- and I really MEAN it- in NO PARTICULAR ORDER- except in the order I thought of these...
Kid Rock- Rock N Roll Jesus. I know- it makes me white trash- or so I've been told by many.Â I just love this album- couldn't name a song on it, because it's in my 50 CD changer at home and I never really looked at the titles- but there's that song about New Orleans, there's that summer song and of course Kid Rock's version of the John Eddie song "Lowlife" (I guess I can name one of the songs).
A3 or as they are known in the rest of the world- Alabama 3. I love these guys- the obsession began when "Woke Up This Morning" was used as the theme song for the Sopranos.Â Then I bought the album and loaded half of it on my ipod.Â Then I was running one night and their version of "Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness" came on- the first line "Everybody gotta run sometime..." and I was hooked.Â I bought up everything I could find.Â I took off a day of work to go see them play an early set at Summerfest.Â I listened constantly.
Michael Franti- All Rebel Rockers. I've always like Michael Franti, but when this album came out- I became obsessed.Â Like A3 it's a really cool mixture of rock and blues and hip-hop and just about any other type of music you'd care to throw in there.
White Stripes- 7 Nation Army. How is it that a song that we've heard a million times before sounds so fresh and new.Â Think about it- it's basically Led Zeppelin at it's dirtiest and grungiest.Â But it sounded like something totally new and different.
Audioslave. What a voice!Â What a band!
Green Day- American Idiot. Like the Who- a bunch of punks who made a concept album.Â AND IT WORKED!Â Love everything about this album.Â We took it with us the first time we went to Ireland and whenever we couldn't find something to our liking on the radio, we drove around listening to Green Day.
Speeking of trips- On our last trip to France we listened to a station called NRG (get it "Energy").Â I think they owned 3 CDs- one was the Fray's self titled album, one was the Lily Allen CD (they played a song called "F- -Â k You" constantly- unedited by the way) and some hip-hop song that was something about a "shorty on the dance floor" - I LOVE that song.Â No idea who it is, but I loved it.
Like I said, many of my favorites are favorites because they remind me of a certain time or place.Â Another song that I don't know the title of or who sings it, but I heard a million times on AIDS Rides over the years had a chorus that said "scream if you wanna go faster."Â U2s "It's a Beautiful Day" always reminds me of my first Ironman- it's that song that played as the swim started and U2s "All That You Can't Leave Behind" always reminds me of my first trip to Ireland- as the album was just out and there were billboards everywhere and every radio station played it nonstop.
I've never been a huge John Mayer fan- but there are 3 of his songs that I would include in my best of list...
Waiting On The World To Change
I just think they are exceptionally well written songs.
I saw the Kaiser Chiefs in Chicago one drunken night a couple summers ago and fell in love with them.
And I finally had a chance to see Prince.Â In Milwaukee- I don't even remember exactly when, but I'm pretty sure it was in this decade- so it's gotta count.Â It was a surprise show- they announced it a day or two before the concert and of course it sold out.Â And of course it was everything you would expect from Prince.
So there it is- a list of some of my favorites from the past decade.
Now on to the next one- I think we'll call it the teens or tens.
Apparently this is the week for tests.Â Like mid-term exams, for people who haven't been in school for a long, long time.
It started last Friday.Â My wife took up karate about the same time I took up triathlon.Â Last Friday she spent the day fretting over her Purple belt test.Â Not that she needed to worry- she was well prepared and did a great job.Â Laura is now a Purple belt.
Next test- I've been working towards a 3:30 marathon, so I can qualify for the Boston Marathon.Â My first test as I trained for that came a few weeks back when I ran the Tyranena 1/2 marathon in 1:44.Â My second test happened on Saturday- not sure if I really passed, but I know I came really close.Â We did an 18 mile run on Saturday morning- my goal was to average 8 minute miles.Â Unfortunately, I messed up when I charged my Garmin- so I don't know what my pace was, but I was able to stay with the lead group (doing between 7:20 and 7:40 minute miles) for about 11 miles, then I fell off their pace a little for the last 7 miles.
Another test comes tomorrow morning in the masters swim class.Â I still find it kinda funny that I'm in a "MASTERS" swim class- so I like to say that.Â A lot.Â So, tomorrow morning in the MASTERS swim class we are doing a speed test- a series of 100 yard swims, as fast as we can, with 10 or 15 seconds rest between each one.Â We'll average the times to give us a 100 yard pace.Â Last time I tested this, my pace was just over 2 minutes per hundred.
The last mid-term exam comes on Thursday.Â We're doing lactic threshold testing.Â This basically helps set heart-rate training zonesÂ (for the fitness geeks out there- I know I am over simplifying it).Â
I don't really have to study for any of these- but like my wife with her Purple belt test- I will worry about them all.
O.K., the weather outside actually isn't too bad today- but when IÂ got in the car at 5:15 this morning, ready to head to my swim class, I first had to scrape the windows.Â I know it's gonna get (much) worse before it gets better (there is a point in the middle of Winter when we get to class in the dark and it's still dark outside when we leave)- but I'm still gonna whine a little.
I'm really starting to love the Berbee Derby!Â Now two years in a row I got a Personal Record at Berbee Derby.Â This year I ran the 10k in 43:38- that's averaging 7:02 minutes per mile!Â Good for 12th place in my age-group!
Again this year, my friend Tara and I talked before the race and set some goals.Â Last year we decided to try to run 8 minute miles and I ended up with about a 7:30 pace and she was at about a 7:20 pace.Â So this year I suggested we aim for 7:30 and hopefully actually hit 7:00.Â The strategy seems to work.Â I was just over 7 minute miles and she was just under 7 minute miles.
Endurance House put together a team for the race- I actually didn't register soon enough to be on the team, but I know everyone there, so I hung out with them before the race- we went for short warmup run together and while we were on that run, Tara jokingly said "5:15 for the first mile" and then I added "descending from there" (meaning- go faster on each mile after that), she finished the instructions by telling everyone they needed to run hard enough to puke at the finish line.Â We were, of course, joking.
So the race started and Tara and I did the first mile in 6:19.Â I told her that I would puke at the finish line if I kept up that pace- but she assured me that now was the time that we just ease into a comfortable pace.Â I stayed with Tara through 4 miles and I stayed under 7 minute miles for 5 miles.Â That last mile killed me.Â It's almost all uphill and I had gone out a bit too fast, so I was starting to lose steam.Â But I made it- and made it in my best time ever!
I usually make it to one Packer game a year.Â Thing is- for some reason, I usually make it to a late season game.Â That means it's usually cold.Â Really cold.Â Which means everybody is really bundled up and you can't see their true colors.
I went to the game this past weekend- and while in a normal year, eveyone would have been bundled up, this year it was t-shirts and shorts.Â Let me repeat that- t-shirts and shorts at a Packer game on November 22!
So without all the parkas and ski masks I noticed for the first time how many fans of other teams show up at Lambeau.Â I always looked at Lambeau as a special place in the NFL, but I didn't realize how many fans of other teams felt the same way.Â We played the 49ers (I say "we" because I made that really smart investment a few years back- and it's paying off, it's one of the few investments that hasn't lost money for me in the last couple of years), so of course there were a handful of 9ers fans- one sitting right in front of me.Â I also saw t-shirts with logos fromÂ the Bears, Vikings, Lions, Patriots and Cowboys in the imediate area.
It was obvious, from watching those fans of other teams, that Lambeau is a very special place.Â And not just for us Packer fans.
My friend Susan and I went for a 15 mile run on Sunday- we're both training for a January marathon.Â As we were running we were talking about our training program.Â In particular we were dreading one speed workout on the schedule for this week...
So- the workout is a series of 400 yard runs.Â
8 of them.Â
Followed by another 8 of them.
That works out to aboutÂ sixteenÂ quarter-miles...or 4 miles.Â Not too bad until you add this little nugget to the equation- each of those needs to be done in 95 seconds.Â Now that's why we were dreading this particular workout.
So that workout was on the calendar yesterday.Â I looked over the plan to make sure that I knew exactly what I was supposed to do and realized that there was one more little twist...Â
It was not 2x(8x400) @:95 each...
It was 2x(8x400) DESCNEDING from :95!
So- 95 seconds is the SLOW one- the idea is to get faster on each 400.
I immediately e-mailed Susan with the news.Â She e-mailed me back to tell me that she and Tara (also training with us for that January marathon) did the workout earlier in the day and tried to descend on just the last 5 instead of all of them, and they were successful in their attempt.
So- that's what I tried to do...2x(8x400) descending on the last 5.
AND I DID IT!
I offended my friend on facebook the other day.Â Deb just recently got on facebook- one of her first postings was about how excited she was about "flyball" this weekend.Â Not enough time to explain what "flyball" is- let's just say it involves a dog, hurdles and a tennis ball.Â You can use your imagination from there.Â Anyway- I posted "You're weird...I'm going for a 15 mile run this weekend."Â There was supposed to be some irony in the fact that someone who is going to enjoy running 15 miles thinks somebody else is wierd.Â She missed the irony.Â She just saw "You're weird."
Which brings me to the fact that there is always someone weirder.Â My wife has pointed out that the advent of the internet has made her feel much better about her obsessions- while she would like to see David Bowie in his bath-robe signing "Absolute Beginners" to her, she can always go online and find someone with a much weirder Bowie fantasy.
I have also found this to be true with athletics.Â If you are training for your first 5k run, no doubt your neighbor is training for a 10k.Â If you are gonna try a marathon, your best friend is taking on Ironman.Â About 2 weeks before the 2008 Ironman, one of my training partners tried to convince me that it would be fun to run the Grand Canyon from rim to rim to rim.Â Yes- start at one rim, run to the other rim and than turn around and go back again.Â She pointed out that we would take all day- it's not a sprint.Â No S___!
So a little over a week ago, as we lined up for the Tyranena Beer Run- a half marathon- I started talking to a guy about running.Â Now, I did the Tyranena race as a prep race for the Arizona Rock & Roll Marathon, coming up in January.Â This guy was going to do the New Orleans Rock & Roll Marathon in February........and a bunch of other marathons.Â He is a part of the "50 under 4" club.Â I had to ask- and you won't believe the answer- he's trying to do marathons in all 50 states, each one in under 4 hours!Â He's about half-way there.
See, i told you- there's always someone weirder (and that's not always a bad thing).
It's hard to describe to someone who has never seen Bruce Springsteen.Â It's hard because so much of what he did last night would have been seen as a gimmick if anyone else had tried to pull it off.
- He walked through the crowd
- He had the crowd bodypass him back to the stage
- He performed his most popular album in it's entirety
- He brought a young boy up on stage to sing with him
- He played a set of audience requests
- There were several audience participation segments of the show
- He opened with the song that mentions Wisconsin (Cadillac Ranch)
But here's the thing- in the hands of the master- it all worked.Â Nothing came off gimmicky.Â Born To Run was just as relevant today as it was 30-some years ago.Â The kid who came up on stage to sing with him- knew every word to the song he sang.Â As did everyone in the crowd on those "audience participation" numbers.Â The audience requests where done by collecting all the signs that people had brought with them- piling them on the stage and then randomly grabbing one, showing it to the band and playing it.
As usual Bruce Springsteen does not fail to impress.Â In fact he gets more impressive every time I see him.
I mentioned earlier that I had a great race on Saturday...I ran a half-marathon in 1 hour 44 minutes, a PR for me!
What I didn't mention is that my wife didn't make it to the race.Â Laura had a karate class in the morning and then was going to drive out to Lake Mills to hopefully catch the end of the race.Â Unfortunately, she never made it out of town.Â Before leaving, she decided to stop by the grocery store for some munchies for the ride to Lake Mills.Â While she was in the store somebody hit her car and left.Â No note.Â Nothing.
A big $7000 thank you to that person.
So now while Laura's car is in the shop, I'm riding my bike to work.Â No big deal, I've done it before.Â In fact I usually commute by bike in the Summer and a couple years ago I did the same all Winter.Â But I wasn't ready for this.Â It's cold.Â I get cranky.
Last night I was reminded of that Winter when I rode to work all season.Â By the time I left the office last night, it was cold and dark- I had to hurry home as my wife and I were headed out to see "39 Steps" at the Overture Center (go see it).Â The whole thing reminded me of a after work ride that Winter- I was going to meet my wife at the Overture Center for a show.Â I rode from the West side to the Overture Center, locked up my bike and took my helmet off.Â One problem.Â No helmet!Â I had left the office - in the dark - in the Winter (bad roads and all) - and forgot to put my helmet on.Â
Not just because of the danger of riding on bad roads, after dark, at a time of year when people aren't used to watching for bikes - but also because my wife was going to kill me when she found out.Â I crossed my fingers, hoping she wouldn't notice the no helmet thing when I loaded the bike into her car.Â No such luck.Â
Believe me- I have never forgot the helmet since.
Maybe I shouldn't really call it a PR (personal record), because about 1/2 way through Saturday's Tyranena Half Marathon, I realized that this was actually the first time I have ever run a stand-alone half marathon.Â So, no matter what I did for time, it would be a PR.Â I've done a couple of half-iron distance triathlons, which include 13.1 miles runs, but this was the first time I had done the run- without swimming and biking beforehand.
And it went well.
I finished in just a hair over 1 hour and 44 minutes, giving me an average of 7:58 minute miles.Â My goal was 8 minute miles!
So I reached my goal, but...
I'm not so sure I can sustain that for another 13.1 miles.Â
It's o.k., I've got about 2 months to get to that point.Â My goal is to hit 3 hours and 30 minutes in a full marathon, which I'm running in January.Â Training is coming along quite nicely and this was the first real test.Â I passed.Â And I'm looking forward to the next test.
I've never liked the term "Indian Summer."Â I suspect it comes from the same place as "Indian Giver" (I'm probably completely wrong there, but as long as it's in my head, I'll never get past it) and I would consider that to be a rather racist term.Â Being that my wife is a member of the Onieda Nation (and knows karate), I tend to avoid those types of things (not that I wouldn't avoid them anyway- butÂ Laura gives me a littleÂ extra incentive).
All that being said...
I'm lovin' this Indian Summer!
I went for a run last night.Â In shorts!Â If you know me at all, you know how much I hate long pants- or "big boy" pants as my wife calls them.Â So as the weather turns cooler, my mood gets a bit lowerÂ when I have to desperately search for my "big boy" pants.Â But my mood always comes back up when I get to pull the shorts out again anytime between November and February.Â
My appologies to my family and friends who were getting excited about the coming of Winter and ski/snowboard season- but I'm going for a nice long run (in my shorts) tomorrow and a bike ride (again, in my shorts) on Sunday!
Oh, and appologies to Laura too.
I told you that I have trouble running fast on a treadmill- but I'm working on it.Â Last night I had a 6 mile run on the schedule.Â Got home a little late, so I decided to head to the health club to run on the treadmill.Â When I got there, I noticed the guy on the treadmill next to me was comfortably running at 7.5 mph.Â I had to at least try.Â I'm happy to report that I was able to do the entire run at more than 7 mph- a good portion of it at 7.5 mph!Â So I'm getting faster.Â Slowly, getting faster- if that makes any sense.
Speed work yesterday.Â I think I have shared the fact that I have trouble running fast on a treadmill.Â Outside I comfortably run about 8 minute miles.Â Inside on a treadmill I comfortably run 10 minute miles.Â I don't know what the difference is, several people have given their opinions- some make sense, others make no sense.
Anyway- a couple of weeks ago I was doing a speed workout and would push the speed up to 8 mph on the speed part of the run, then back down to 6 mph on the recovery part.Â I was telling Tara (one of my training partners) about that workout- Tara told me she did basically the same workout, but was able to push it to 9 mph.
So I tried that last night- the workout called for 6 repeats of 3 minutes at a high speed, with 2 minutes of recovery time in between.Â So I decided to do 3 of those high speed repeats at 9 mph and the other 3 at 8 mph.Â I made it through the first two at 9 mph, but then I got to that third one.Â I made it through about 90 seconds at 9 mph and had to slow the treadmill down to about 8.5 mph for the rest.Â Still- in the end, I was able to push it a little more than I ever had in the past.
Note to my wife, who- as we were watching the NYC Marathon over the weekend- thought she could probably run with the leaders for about a block.Â They were running right about 5 minute miles.Â 9 mph (which I wasn't able to hold for 3 minutes on my last repeat) is a 6:39 pace.Â Neither of us could keep up with those guys- even for a block or two.
For the masters swim class, thereÂ are usually 3 people in the slow lane.Â
My friend Julie.Â
And one more person.Â
That last person varies from week to week.Â This week there was no third person for a good portion of the class, so instead of circle swimming- Julie and I swam side by side.Â We are exactly the same speed- which causes problems when we circle swim, as no matter who is in back- they are constantly swimming into the person in the front.Â
This morning, about half-way through the class, Pam joined our lane.Â I assumed that she got moved down from a faster lane.Â In the open water Julie and I are generally a bit faster than Pam, but in the pool she's a bit faster than us.Â So, in the pool, Pam is usually in a faster lane.Â I felt bad when she got moved down to our lane this morning- partially because she had to move down, but mostly because it was back to circle swimming for the slow lane.
Then I found out- she didn't actually get moved down to our lane- she got moved UP to our lane.Â She had gotten so far ahead of the others in her lane that she was told to move to our lane.Â
So we finished class with Pam a little ahead and Julie and I constantly bumping into each other as we tried to circle swim, but feeling pretty goodÂ because WE MUST BE GETTING FASTER!
So, the stated goal for this year (I guess NEXT year- 2010) is to qualify for Boston.Â The first attempt at that will happen in January at the Arizona Rock & Roll Marathon and the training for that run has begun!Â
There are 4 couples all going to Arizona- 5 of us racing the full marathon and I think one more racing the half.Â The last two are enjoying a little sunshine in Arizona while escaping a cold Wisconsin Winter.
Of the five of us doing the full marathon,Â four are training together (the 5th is much faster than us- his goal is sub 3 hours).Â There is a little discussion as to what our goal is- as we all have the goal of going to Boston together next year- we each have different qualifying times to reach.Â As the oldest, my time is 3:30, two others are arguing that the goal should be 3:20 (not my fault that they are younger) and the last one says she only needs 3:45 (also younger, but that whole "she" thing comes into effect)- which I think is completely unfair, as she is MUCH faster than me.
In the end I think the way weÂ will work it is this- we'll all train for a 3:20, that will give me a good 10 minute cushion- which I think I will need.Â The woman who nees 3:45- she'll be able to walk it in that time.
A friend of mine recently posted on facebook that he was all itchy from swimming in the chlorinated water at the Middleton High School Pool.Â Right away I suggested that he come join us in the saltwater pool at Harbor Athletic.Â A few more suggestions were made for saltwater pools and a few people mentioned other over-chlorinated pools in the area.Â So, I thought- let's get the list out there.Â Who's got the best saltwater pools in the area?
I'll start with Harbor Athletic.Â Give me your favorites...
Pretty big news this morning.Â A new series of bicycle races is starting up in 2010.Â The Centurion Cycling series puts pros an amateurs together in the same race- with routes of 25, 50 and 100 miles.Â The series starts with 3 races in 2010- in Boulder, Colorado, Mammoth Lakes, California and here in Madison- or I guess Middleton to be more accurate.
TheÂ local race begins and ends in Middleton near the airport and will use at least a portion of what would have been the olympic course- I would assume also some of the Ironman Wisconsin course.Â The local race will happen sometime in August and they are expecting up to 3500 racers.
Find out more about the races at centurioncycling.com, there is also a facebook group if you are into that.
So- I've done Ironman.Â
Time for a new challenge.Â
Partially because my wife said if I do Ironman again in 2010, I'm doing it as a single man, and partially because I need something new.
So, the new challenge is marathon- I have done one marathon outside of Ironman and that didn't go too well.Â Actually it was fine for what it was- my first attmept at anything like that, very early in my Ironman training.Â I finished in 4:30- having wanted to break 4 hours.Â I guess I broke 4 hours- just the wrong side of 4 hours.
So now the challenge is to qualify for Boston.Â For my age-group I need to run 3 hours and 30 minutes.Â Judging from past performances- I'm a ways off, but I feel cautiously optimistic.Â
I'm hoping that my first attempt to qualify will be in January in Arizona at the Rock & Roll marathon.Â Not sure I'll be able to work that out- but I'm training as if we are going.Â A group of 4 or 5 families are all going together and at least 4 of us in that group are going with the same goal in mind- so we're having fun training together.Â
Of the 4 of us that are all looking to qualify- 2 have done it before, 1 has qualified multiple times and neither of them will have any problem at all this time around.Â The third one is a really strong runner who has never quite made it- but has come really close, including one time running into a 20 mph wind- with gusts up to 40 mph- he needed 3:20 and ended up with 3:27.
Then there's me.Â If you watch "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" - I'm the "wildcard" in the group.Â I have never even come close.Â 4:30 in my one stand-alone marathon and a little over 5 hours in each of my Ironman marathons.
I'll keep you up to date on the progress.
I went for a run after work the other night.Â It was a great run...
...until I got to the nature conservancy in Middleton.Â That's when that old Joni Mitchell song kept running through my head.Â
Joni, since you wrote the song, maybe you can help- doyou know of a way to UN-pave paradise and bring back the beautiful trails in the conservancy?
Tonight is the night for the annual Saris Gala- to raise funds for the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin.Â If you are a cyclist- you should be there.Â It's a great event with lots of the stars of the cycling world- Taylor Phinney (US Olympian, first American to win Paris/Roubaix U23), Gary Fisher (inventer of the mountain bike), Robbie Ventura (former racer and current cycling commentator on VS), Axel Merckx (Olympic medalist), Christain Vande Velde (top 10 Tour de France- 2 years running) and more.
There's also a silent auction and a live auction with lot's of really cool cycling stuff to buy, plusÂ food & drink and a great bunch of people to hang out with.Â I'll be there to host the first part of the evening- that means I get to remind you to place your bids on all the silent auction stuff and thank all the sponsors.Â It also means I get to hang out with all those famous cyclists for the night, so I'm pretty excited.
There's more info on the Saris Gala on the "Activate With M" page at 1055triplem.com
It's getting to that time of year- when those of us who wimp out and don't ride year round, start to think about moving inside on trainers or dropping the bicycing routine completely- until Spring rolls around again.
With that in mind- the outdoor rides are down to a precious few.Â So, when I woke up this morning and got ready for work- I had to quickly change my plans when I heard Jonathan and Kitty give the forcast for today.Â
Time to ride!Â
And it felt great!Â Probably because I knew there won't be many more days like this.
Until Spring rolls around again.
My Dad got a new bicycle trainer recently, so I inherited his set of rollers and my wife got my trainer.Â A trainer works pretty simple- the front wheel of the bike sits on the ground and the back wheel gets hooked into a contraption that allows you to ride against the pressure of a small wheel on that contraption.Â It's really not very tough to ride in a trainer, there's not much of a chance of falling- everything is VERY stable.
Not the case with the rollers.
Last night Laura and I decided to do a little ride in our workout room.Â Her on the trainer.Â Me on the rollers.Â The season 4 DVD of "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" on the TV.
If you have never seen a set of rollers- imagine 3 cylinders, with a big rubber band stretched between them.Â Your back wheel sits between the two back cylinders and your front wheel rests on the front cylinder.Â As you pedal- your back wheel turns the back cylinders and the rubber band between the front and back turns the front cylinder- and thus- your front wheel.Â Oh yeah, one other thing- unlike a traditional trainer- you are in no way attached to this contraption- so it's up to you to balance.Â The slightest little movement can throw you off the rollers.Â
I think my wife enjoyed the fact that I was the one having trouble on the bike for a change.Â She hopped on her bike and rode.Â I very nervously climbed on my bike and tried to ride.Â And chickened out.Â And tried again.Â And chickened out again.Â And tried again.Â And turned just a little too much and nearly rode off the side of the rollers.
I did eventually get it down- leaning against the wall for a good portion of the ride, but at times riding with absolutely no support.
The only real problem was the fact that the rollers are so loud, I couldn't hear the TV.Â These problems don't exist outside on the road.
While running the marathon portion of Ironman, I came upon aÂ big group of guys in number 4 Vikings jerseys.Â When I told them they were cruel- they agreed that they may have taken it a bit too far, but assured me that they had my back on that day.
That got me thinking about the other Favre shirts I've seen.
I'm sure you have seen them too.
T-shirts proclaiming hatred for Bret Favre.
When you sit down and think about it, what he did really isn't that bad.Â Sure it upsets us, but really- if you were offered a big chunk of money to go to work for a company that competes against the company you currently work for- wouldn't you do it?
But still- I have been ammused by the T-shirts.Â Some of my favorites...
[gallery link="file" columns="2"]
We'll never forget you Brent (I think this is the one that got the ball rolling)
Then there's the shirt with the big number 4 and directly under the 4 is "gotten"
and don't forget the jersey with the big number 4 and the name Favre was replaced by "Judas"
I'm sure there are more- and I'm sure I'll see more in the coming days- these are justÂ a few that have really stood out over the last couple of weeks.
My wife is just now getting into bicycling- we got her a new road bike and she's been having fun riding all Summer.Â In order to improve the experience- on Saturday we got her a pair of cycling shoes and went to my parents house so my Dad could put the proper pedals on the bike.Â
Then- we told her to ride!
We told her to ride down the block and around the corner- it's a dead-end street- there will be no traffic- you can easily turn around in the cul-de-sac.Â What we didn't count on was all the kids playing in the cul-de-sac.Â And Laura screaming for them to get out of the way.Â And my dad and I laughing.Â And my Mom hiding in the house- she wanted nothing to do with it.
Not the best start to riding with clip-less pedals (why do they call them "clip-less" when clearly you "clip" into the pedals?)Â (I know why- don't answer that question).
Saturday night- we went out to dinner with a bunch of friends to celebrate a teammate's birthday (Happy Birthday Julie).Â Several of us at dinner were planning on riding on Sunday morning and Laura was going to join us.Â Until the clip-less pedal incident.Â When we told the story, the conversation turned to accidents involving clip-less pedals.Â Falling over in the driveway before the ride even started.Â Falling over on campus- in front of thousands on a football Saturday.Â Hitting a parked car- flipping completely upside down and remaining clipped in (that may have been my favorite).Â And of course the time I borrowed my Dad's old recumbent on Rhythm and Booms Saturday and rode around the Warner Park area- I came to a stop sign and forgot that I was clipped in- fell over and couldn't figure out how to get back up.Â I got a good laugh from all the people headed to Rhythm & Booms.
As you might guess, this didn't actually make Laura feel better about riding with clip-less pedals.Â In fact- she skipped the ride and put the bike on a trainer at home to practice.
(she may still be clipped in)
Seems that everyone wants to celebrate after finishing an Ironman.Â Understandable- but wow!
Here's the post-race celebration schedule from this week alone.
Wednesday night- run with some teammates and then out for a drink to celebrate my birthday.
Thursday- full team party!
Friday- Out for dinner & drinks with a bunch of people from last year's team.
Saturday- Out for dinner & drinks to celebrate the birthday of 2 more teammates.
Sunday- Early morning ride followed by brunch with another bunch of teammates and workout partners.
It's a tough life, but...
Leading up to Ironman a bunch of teammates got together for a 13 mile run every Wednesday after work.Â We all decided that we wanted to keep up the tradition after Ironman, but didn't want to run the week after the race.Â So this is the first post-Ironman Wednesday night run.Â
And it just happens to fall on my birthday!
My suggestion was that we start at the normal starting point and run 3 blocks to the Great Dane and have beers.
We came to a compromise- we'll run about 1/2 of our usual run...then a birthday drink!
A couple quick notes about the bike before I get into the run...
- It has been pointed out to me that it's a GOOD thing that I spent so much time on the bike at this year's Ironman.Â After all- the bike is what I am passionate about.Â That's kind of in line with my philosophy that I get more for my money than those fools who are doing Ironman in 10 hours.
- As I made my way through that very long bike ride, the cheers changed from big, loud cheers for me as I rode, to calls of "You Can Do It!" and it wasn't a Nike or US Army "You Can Do It," it was more of a pathetic sounding "You Can Do It" with an unspoken "I think" tacked on the beginning of the phrase.Â But that wasn't the worst part- eventually the cheers changed to "Hang In There."Â I really don't need to tell you the tone of those cheers.
O.K.- on to the run...
After the pathetically bad bike ride (not race- ride.Â Not planned that way- but that's the way it ended up).Â I thought I was in for an even more pathetic run.Â This wasn't the case.Â A couple of days before the race, I attended a talk on Ironman strategies.Â One of the things they talked about was pacing on the run.Â They said that for the first 6 miles you should run a pace like if you were out on a Sunday afternoon run, but add 30 seconds per mile.Â After the bad bike ride, I thought it might be a decent idea to add a bit more than that- so I ran atÂ about a 10 minute per mile pace for the first 6 miles.Â I caught up with my friends Julie and Eric at Camp Randall Stadium and ran with them for the rest of that six miles.Â So far, this plan was working for me- I was feeling pretty good.Â We also caught up with a couple more friends - Tara and Susan- they were on their second loop (a full 13.1 miles ahead of us) and my grade-school buddy Bob, who was also on his first loop.Â At the 6 mile point, the guys giving the talk told me to now run a normal pace- so I picked it up a bit and was feeling pretty good.Â Keep that pace, they said, through mile 18- this is when it really get's tough and this is when most of those people who were passing you earlier (because you were laying off a bit) will start to fade.Â At the 18 mile mark, just push through for the rest of the race- the tool you will use to push through is counting the people you pass.Â They said they have had racers reporting passing 500 people.Â This all would have worked great for me, except...
I was right on track with everything they said.Â Took it easy for 6 miles, picked up to a normal pace at that point- finished my first loop feeling strong and despite the poor performance on the bike, was still on track for a PR (personal record).Â I got to Camp Randall again- did my loop through the stadium.Â When you run on the turf in Camp Randall, you get little tiny pieces of rubber in your shoes- it's the stuff that makes the surface soft to run on, ground up tires and old athletic shoe soles is what I believe it is.Â So I decided to sit down and empty my shoes before continuing on.Â This was a mistake- as I reached down and took off my shoes, my legs cramped.Â Bad.Â Really BAD.Â I screamed- loud enough that the volunteers came running to check on me- the volunteers actually put my shoes back on and tied them for meÂ as I tried to rub the cramp out of my legs.Â I'm sure the cramps can be traced back to the lack of salt tablets in the heat earlier in the day.Â I ended up walking for about the next 1.5 miles and a few times again after that.Â The PR was ruined, but there were still a couple of little victories on the day-
On both the first and the second lap of the marathon, I helped somebody get their own PR.Â With a couple of miles left on my first lap, a guy ran up next to me and asked if I minded him pacing off of me- he was just about finished with the race, having a hard time, but still had a PR within reach if he could keep up the great pace that I was running.Â So, I paced him in for the last couple of miles of that loop.Â Same thing happened with about 5 miles left in the race- someone looking for an abviously much slower PR asked to pace off of me.Â I had a bit more time to talk to this guy and found out exactly when he needed to be in to get his PR.Â We seperated a couple of times throughout the course of those last 5 miles, but as I passed him just before State Street, I looked at my watch and assured him that he had it.
So no PR for me- but I did have a hand in a couple of other PRs!
And I finished the race!!!
O.K.- let's start by saying that the bike portion of the race should be my strength.Â I came into this whole thing as a cyclist who didn't know how to swim and had never run more than 5 miles (I had done that once).
The bike killed me this year.Â
Everything started o.k.- my strategy was to take it easy through the first loop of the course and then kick it in a bit on the second loop.Â This is what I did last year and it worked fairly well for me.Â I had also heard a talk about Ironman strategy earlier in the week suggesting the same thing.
And the first loop went well.Â I was feeling pretty good all the way through Cross Plains.Â I went up Old Sauk Pass just fine, no problem going up the big hill on Timber Lane.Â Then came the big downhill on Timber Lane.Â It's steep.Â It's fast.Â There's a hard left turn at the bottom.Â Halfway down the hill I heard a siren.Â A loud siren.Â Must be a firetruck coming.Â No, wait- it's coming from my bike!Â My bike bust be falling apart!Â AT 45 MPH!Â Where the road turned hard to the left, I went straight into a driveway and got off my bike- I checked everything I knew to check and nothing seemed wrong, so I got back on my bike and started riding again.Â I went around the next few curves and turned onto Midtown Road- up the big hill on Midtown and then took the right hand turn to start heading back to Verona.Â Another big downhill.Â Another siren.Â LOUD!Â My bike must be falling apart- this time at 35 MPH (I actually thought to look at the computer, so when I found someone who actually knew what they were doing, I could tell them how fast I was going).Â I stopped, checked over everything and again found nothing wrong.Â Back on the bike, heading into Verona - I'm just about there, a little freaked out by the siren, but other than that I'm still moving forward.Â Then it happened.Â A car passed me- a car with a digital clock on the top.Â My first thought was that it's nice to know where I am in the race, then a bike FLEW by me and I realized what was going on...I was being lapped by the pros!Â This didn't happen last year.Â In fact last year I spent a lot of time trying to figure out if it would be possible for them to lap me (apparently I came to the wrong conclusion).Â This really messed with my head.
I made my way through Verona, a little dejected and getting pretty hot.Â I stopped at the special needs bags (you can pack whatever you want in a "special needs" bag and stop to get it half-way through the bike- there's another special needs bag for the half-way point of the run).Â The guy helping me with my special needs bag was hurrying through the bag- trying to find what I needed when I told him to calm down- "It's not a race anymore."Â That's how much those things got into my head...half-way through the bike, I had given up on the race.Â I would finish, but I certainly had no intention of doing well at that point.Â I explained what was happening with the bike and thankfully he knew something about bikes.Â He told me he couldn't touch the bike, but he could tell me what to look for.Â I checked over all the things he told me to check out and he looked at me and said "dude- there's nothing wrong with your bike.Â Your Gatorade bottle is open and the wind going across the top is causing the siren sound."Â I shut the Gatorade bottle, went on my way and never heard another sound.
But the problems weren't over.Â A bit later I reached into my pocket to get my salt tablets and they were gone.Â No salt tablets and about 50 miles to go.Â In the heat.Â I was in trouble.Â This time I cramped as I made my way up the Old Sauk Pass hill.Â I cramped again on the Timber Lane hill.Â I cramped again on the Midtown hill and one final time on the the way back into Madison.
I was never so happy to get OFF my bicycle.Â I handed the bike to a volunteer and said "you can just throw it in the lake."Â I got a bit of a laugh, but at that point I was only half joking.
Worst. Bike ride. EVER.
7:30 (last year I did it in 6:44 and last year I took it easy on the bike)
Monday: The (actually not to bad) Run!
So everything went well for the pregame.Â Laura and I and a few friends/teammates left the transition area about 6:30 and made our way down the helix towards the water.Â Laura found a great spot on the helix with some friends- perfect for viewing the swim and the beautiful sunrise.
The sun was rising over the lake as we got into the water, each of us with our individual notions of the best place to start the race.Â I went for the same spot I did last year- about 20 yards back from the start line on the very inside corner.Â My friend Mike also chose that as his starting spot.Â About 5-10 minutes before the start, a woman came swimming up to me and asked if this was a good spot to start for a "1-30" swimmer?"Â I missunderstood- thinking she meant 1 minute, 30 seconds per hundred yards - which is a bit faster than me- so I told her to keep moving forward, I'm more around a 2.Â Thankfully I eventually realized what she meant (1 hour, 30 minutes for the 2.4 mile swim) and brought her back to our area- she may have gotten a bit (more) beat up if we hadn't figured that out.
Just before the start of the race, Jamie Osborne from Endurance House did a beautiful job singing the National Anthem - then the cannon went off and we were underway!
I was actually a bit surprised how soon I was able to actually start swimming.Â From last year's experience, I was expecting to tread water for the first 100 yards or so until the pack broke up a bit, but this year I started swimming right away.Â That's not to say the pack really ever broke up- but somehow I was able to swim.Â And somehow I was able to keep my form and keep my breathing pattern that I had practiced so much,Â I was a little nervous about the breathing pattern- I have an odd breathing/sighting pattern- I breath every 4 strokes and sight every 10 strokes.Â I was worried that all the bumping and hitting and kicking would take me off that pattern- we did in exercise in our open water class a couple of weeks ago where the slowest swimmer in the class went first, followed by the next slowest (me) and so on.Â The lead swimmer was told to swim erratically- the rest of us were told to stay right behind her.Â That exercise was so chaotic that I ended up breathing every other stroke and trying to sight at the same time.Â I was completely worn out after about 200 yards.Â This swim was even more chaotic, but somehow I was able to keep my form throughout.
Actually chaotic doesn't even begin to describe what was going on.Â It was like a prize fight.Â In the water.Â While trying to swim 2.4 miles.Â I think I figured out that my swim improvement actually hurt me a bit on this swim.Â Last year I had just learned to swim.Â I was slow.Â Really slow.Â So I never really got into the mix of the swim- but I was fast enough to stay in the wake of the main field of swimmers last year, so that helped pull me along.Â This year I was fast enough to stay with that main field of swimmers (not in their wake- but actually up with them), so that meant instead of a relatively easy swim, being dragged in the wake of the main field- the main field was right there with me- beating me up the entire time.Â There were probably 4 times through the swim where I thought of quitting.Â I would have just turned and headed to shore and called it a day, but for some reason I kept going.Â The corners were the roughest- everyone has to swim around theÂ corner buoys (you can swim inside the rest of the buoys), so no matter what track people were taking around the course- EVERYONE met at the corners.Â Coming out of a corner at one point I got pushed pretty good and swallowed some water- I stopped swimming for a second and just started coughing up the water- the guy behind me (the one that hit me in the first place) stopped as well to appologize.
It was roughest in the corners, but that doesn't mean it was easy anywhere else.Â I tried everything.Â Swimming inside the buoys.Â Swimming way outside the buoys.Â Swimming just to the right of the buoys.Â Swimming right in line with the buoys - who would be dumb enough to do that?Â It would mean you had to take the extra effort to go around each buoy as you got to it.Â But sure enough- there were tons of people there as well.Â There really was no place to go to get out of the hitting and kicking and pushing and shoving.
So, bottom line- I finished the swim.Â About 4 or 5 minutes faster than last year.Â Not quite as fast as I had expected, but I was happy to be out of the water.Â My parents and my sister were standing under the clock when I got out of the water and made sure I saw how well I had done.Â I high-fived them, ran to the wetsuit strippersÂ and let them strip me (still the most fun part of Ironman), then made my way up the helix - kissed my wife on the way up and then it was off to the bike.
Tomorrow: The (really, really rough) bike.
I'll go into more detail in each part of this race report- but let me start by saying that the 2009 Ironman Wisconsin was a humbling experience.Â I went into it feeling very well prepared, ready for just about anything.Â Anything but the heat, apparently.
As I usually do, I'll break up the race over several days here- starting with...
The pregame portion of Ironman lasts several days.Â Thursday started with the "Gatorade Swim" - bright and early, 7:30am.Â I had a really good swim- I was testing out some new goggles, which worked beutifully.Â After the Gatorade swim, we all changed into street clothes and went to breakfast- don't remember the name of the place, but it's the old "Clevelands" and it was amazingly good.Â Â Post breakfast was registration and then a short bike ride around the lake, just to get the blood flowing a bit.Â So with Ironman 3 days away, I take a short bike ride around the lake- half-way around the lake I see a woman (obviously an Ironman athlete) running around the lake.Â No wait- running FAST around the lake.Â She was headed the other direction- I assume started at the convention center, so she was about 8-10 miles into her run and running at what I would consider a sprint...3DAYS BEFORE THE RACE.
Friday was pretty much a repeat of Thursday, a group swim on the course- just one loop, so 1.2 miles followed by a great breakfast- this time at Marigold's and a little shopping at the expo.Â I was already registered, so while others did that, I went to lunch with my wife.Â We wrapped up Friday with a big pasta feed- 2500 athletes all gathered at the convention center to carbo-load.
Saturday morning was spent packing all of the transition bags- unpacking the transition bags- repacking the transition bags- trying to figure out what I forgot to put in the transition bags- shopping for those things that I still needed to put in the transition bags and finally dropping the transition bags and my bike at the Monona Terrace.Â Oh, how I hope I packed everything in those bags.Â
Next up on Saturday was packing the "special needs" bags.Â There are 2 special needs bags- the first one you can access at the half-way point on the bike course and the second one you can access at the half-way point of the run course.Â You can put anything you like into these bags- so I put a little food in each and a fresh pair of shoes and socks in the run bag.
Early to bed on Saturday night- 8pm.Â I slept great from about 8:05 until about 2am.Â From 2am until the alarm went off at 4am it was a lot of tossing and turning.Â Laura had it worse- she wasn't racing, but constantly thought of things that I needed to do for the race.Â My favorite was when she remembered (at about 3am) that I needed to put my timing chip on my ankle.Â She didn't want to wake me, so she laid awake, thinking "timing chip, timing chip, timing chip..." for about an hour until I got up- when she could finally remind me to put my timing chip on.Â When she did, she looked down and saw that I was wearing my compression socks- "don't forget, you have your socks on- don't put the chip on over your socks and then take the socks off."Â I assured her that I would remember to take my socks off before I put the chip on.
Breakfast- 2 eggs, salmon patty, english muffin and a bottle of Ensure.
Off to the race.Â Parking was a bitch, but we made it up to the square on time to drop off the special needs bag and then back to transition to pump up the bike tires and meet up with some friends.
Coolest thing of the day: You may remember from last year- I had a childhood friend that also did Ironman.Â We reconnected over the internet after our mom's realized that we were both doing Ironman, but we never met in person.Â At about 6amÂ a guy walked up and said "Pat???"Â I looked at him and said "Bob???"Â We met for the first time as adults just before the race started- never saw each other in the water or on the bike but ended up running together for a while, which never would have happened if not for that one moment in transition.
Tomorrow: the (rough) swim report.
This is the time of year that a whole lot of triathletes have been waiting for.Â Ironman Wisconsin is right around the corner (Sunday) and now it's time to taper- meaning a little less intense workouts.Â So, here's what the weekend looked like...
Friday: 1 mile swim.Â This is the normal group swim with a bunch of teammates, but this time followed by lots of donuts.Â I didn't get the message, but it seemed like everyone else brought donuts- so we spend some time undoing any good that we did in the swim.
Saturday: 40 mile ride with a few friends/teammates.Â The teammate who picked the route (Michael) needs to be taught the meaning of the word "flat" - the route was anything but flat.Â The teammate that set the pace (Tara) needs to be taught the meaning of the word "slow" - it was a flat out fast pace.Â But then I should know by now not to trust Tara with the details of the taper- last year she took us up to Devils Lake for a 2.4 mile swim followed by a trail run- yeah, on those trails.
Sunday: Easy 6 mile run through the Arboretum.Â This came off exactly as planned- we did a nice pace through the Arboretum followed by a cup of tea and a lot of conversation about the year of training and what's to come.
Monday: Devils Lake swim- 2.4, but we really took it easy.Â It's 1.2 miles from the North Shore to the South Shore- we swam that, spashed around at the South Shore for a while- threatened to dump my wife out of the follow kayak (who then threatened to kill us all) and then swam back.Â This on was followed by a nice picnic with loads of great food, Bloody Marys and Mimosas!
As for the rest of the week- I swam this morning on the course with my regular open water swim class, I'll take tomorrow off altogether, swim again either Thursday or Friday and maybe bike or run on the other day- but if I do, I'll keep it really short.
The bike's all tuned up and ready to go.Â Went for a ride last night and felt great!Â
Obsessively checking the 10-day forcast.Â It doesn't go through the 13th yet- but there's some crappy weatherÂ next week Tuesday through Friday...hope that means weare getting it out of the way b-4 race day!
E-mails from teammates are flying around with everyone's pre-race thoughts.
Family and friends looking for projected times, so they can come cheer.
Must be just about race-day!
The sign as you pull into the lot at Law Park reads something like...
ABSOLUTELY NO TRIATHLON PARKING!
This seemed a little odd this morning as we all parked in the lot at Law Park before our swim.Â We decided the sign wasn't for us, since we were not planning on a full triathlon this morning...just a darn cold swim.
The sign also made me wonder- I know the community support for Ironman Wisconsin is really big, but really are people getting there 11-12 days before the event even starts?Â
Are they staking out their spots, so they have the best view of the swim start?Â
Do they hope for the best seat in the house at the finish line when that firstÂ person crosses?Â
There's not a lot to see of the bike portion there at Law Park/Monona Terrace- but it is kind of fun watching the wet-suit strippers as the athletes head up the helixÂ and into transition before that 112 mile bike ride- is that maybe why they are getting there more than a week before the race even starts?
After the Madison Mini Marathon on Saturday, a few of us got to talking about finish line etiquitte, so I thought this might be a good time to share my ideas- which are by no means original thoughts- in fact, they are completely stolen (talk about etiquitte) from a blog that I read on the day I registered for the 2008 Ironman Wisconsin.Â
Of course I was pretty excited about the possibilities, so I spent the afternoon, not working out, but surfing the web- for anything I could find about triathlon.Â I stubbled on a blog that talked about finish line etiquitte- something I had never thought about before.Â The blogger pointed out that the person just in front of you - the one that you COULD pass in the last 10 yards of the race - yeah, that one.Â That person has trained just as hard as you.Â That person deserves a great finish line photo just like you (but not a photo OF you).Â Don't ruin their (really long) race day by passing at the last second and hogging the limelight at the finish line.
So, ever since I read that, that has been my finish line philosophy.Â With 2 slight exceptions.
1) If if looks like I could get the last spot at Kona and there is one guy in front of me and he's in my age group- I'll do whatever I can to get around him.Â NO WORRIES HERE!Â NEVER GONNA HAPPEN.
2) If I'm challenged- I'll race to the finish.Â This does happen.Â At High Cliff this year, as I was headed down the chute, to the finish line - I heard teammates screaming for me to run harder.Â It was then that I realized that there was a kid challenging me, so I sprinted to the finish - we finished exactly even.Â I justÂ about passed out.Â He calmly walked over to the food table and grabbed a bite to eat.
So- if you are just ahead of me as we turn the corner onto MLK, a week from Sunday - no worries.Â You'll finish just ahead of me.
If, on the other hand, you are just behind me as we turn the corner onto MLK, a week from Sunday - please don't challange me.Â There's no way I'll have enough juice left to sprint to the finish.
Besides- I have a really crappy finish line photo from last year- I want a good one this year.
With 2 1/2 weeks before Ironman Wisconsin, I realized that like last year I have been constantly readjusting my goals.Â Only difference is - last year I kept udjusting up, this year it's down.
Last year I went into the training hoping to finish the race.Â If I crossed the finish line at 11:59:59pm, I would be fine with that- and I didn't expect a lot more.Â A few months into training, I realized that I could do quite a bit better and I adjusted my goal to 15 hours (10pm).Â I was feeling pretty good about everything- except the swim, but I was confident that would come.Â About a month before the race last year I readjusted my goal again- this time giving myself a pretty big window- somewhere between 12 and 14 hours.Â My teammates thought I was NUTS- none of us will do that, I was told.Â BTW- both of the teammates who said it was impossible, finished before me-Â one in just over 12 hours and one in about 12:45- I finished in 13:42.
This year has been different.Â I went into the training feeling pretty good.Â By Thanksgiving time last year I was running faster than I ever have before- had a personal best at the Berbee Derby (7:30 miles!).Â Over the winter my swimming improved dramatically- cutting more than 30 seconds of my 100 yard time!Â The bike felt great- I felt really strong as Winter ended and we did those first few outdoor rides.Â Then I got a late Spring cold.Â A really bad one- I was sure I had swine flu- the doctor said I was "a little congested."Â That little congestion took me away from my training for 2 full weeks.Â When I returned, my knee was bothering me and continued to bother me through the Summer.Â I also never felt like I completely got my strength back.
So now I sit, with 2 1/2 weeks to go, trying to set some goals.Â This is tough.Â My swim is stronger than ever.Â My run is o.k.- don't think I can do 7:30 miles on any consistant basis- but 8-8:30 on a 10k wouldn't be out of the question, 10-11 min. miles on Ironman might be possible.Â And I just plain feel week on the bike.Â Not sure why.Â I just have the feeling that I'm not as strong as I was a year ago.Â Coming out of Winter- my goal was to be somewhere around 13 hours and if I had the perfect race- around 12 hours.Â Now I'm back to the main goal being to finish with a secondary goal of beating last years time.
Unless of course I suddenly feel strong again on the bike- then it's Kona or bust! :)
Rough water in Lake Monona this morning and several classes all working out in the same space, so our class stayed relatively close to shore- making it a bit easier for Derek (the coach- I once read that if you are over 30 and still have someone in your life that you call "coach," you are a triathlete) to keep an eye on us.Â
It wasn't a long swim- we started down by Machinery Row and swam to the handicap accessible dock on the other side of the Monona Terrace.Â At that point we truned and headed back.Â Now, I have become pretty good at sighting in the open water and have become a pretty straight line swimmer, but it's time for new goggles.Â I had loads of problems with the goggles this morning.Â They filled with water.Â They fogged up.Â They are not tinted, so swimming into the sun is not only difficult- it wasÂ a bit painful.Â I know, I'm full of excuses!Â Bottom line- I had a real difficult time sighting this morning.Â
So, there I was swimming back towards Machinery Row- having absolutely NO IDEA WHERE I WAS GOING!Â Then I hit something.Â My first thought was that I had bumped into Derek's canoe- he had passed me just a minute earlier.Â Then I realized what I had done.Â Out of that whole big lake, I swam right into that great big ski jump.Â
And there on the other side of the ski jump- all my teammates- laughing at me.
BTW- no I was not going fast enough to catch any air - I'll leave that to theÂ Mad-City Ski Team.
Like I mentioned- we had a blast in France.Â The Tour.Â The Wine.Â The Food.Â Just hanging out.Â But even though I was on vacation, I tried to keep up with my training.Â I promised my wife that I would be done by noon each day and I did a good job of keeping that promise.
The Run- I always enjoy running in a strange place.Â It's a great way to discover new areas that you may not have otherwise explored- and that mostly held true on this vacation, although there was the one run in Paris that took me into the most unbelievably boring part of the city.Â Other than that- I had a ball.Â While we were in Chambery, I ran a couple of different routes- one taking me out of town a ways and then into another small village.Â Probably the coolest thing I saw on that route was the two miniture horses in a field as I ran from one village to the next.Â They couldn't have been any more than waist high on me- although I don't know for sure because when I got close to them, they got spooked and ran to the other side of the field.Â When I didn't take this route, I ran in town and found the University area.Â The main challenge with this run was the narrow roads- especially coming down a big hill with switch-back turns, a wall on one side of the road and a fairly significant drop-off on the other side- no sidewalk, of course.
In Paris the best run was through a big park.Â no idea of the name of the park, but it was right near the Latin Quarter and had a beautiful running path that must have been a bit over 1 mile for each loop (took me just over 10 minutes per loop and I was running alone and a a very comfortable pace- not fast at all).Â Without running, I probably would have never discovered the park and it was just about 3 blocks from our hotel.
The Swim- This was great down in Chambery.Â We had a pool at the first hotel.Â A small pool, but still a pool- so I was able to swim several days there.Â Then we found the lake!Â Maybe 10 miles from the hotel.Â We had asked at the front desk for some cool places to visit and they pointed us to a mountain lookout not far from the hotel.Â We never found it but on the way there we saw a lake with a couple of very nice looking beaches.Â The beaches turned out to be not all that nice- no sand, just rocks lining the shore, but there were a couple of public piers about a third of a mile apart so we walked out on the piers and looked into the water.Â CRYSTAL CLEAR!Â So my workout became swimming between the piers.Â On the morning of the Annecy Time Trial, I drove out to the lake first and swam.Â About half way to the lake I realized that I forgot my goggles.Â This is how clean the water was- I swam without the goggles and had no problem with it at all.Â Can't do that here.
Bike- Biking was rough.Â Last time we were in France we went to a nice little bike shop and rented a couple of road bikes and had a great time riding one of the stages of the Tour.Â Not the full stage- Laura is just starting out as a biker, but we did ride for a few miles on a mountain stage, which was pretty cool.Â Months later I saw a television show that followed a couple of guys who came to France to ride one stage of the Tour.Â They were a part of the Trek Travel group and the stage that they showed them riding was the same stage that Laura and I rode.Â We actually met someone from Trek Travel in the bike shop where we rented our bikes- in fact he helped us rent the bikes (we didn't speak enough French to get it done on our own).Â
Â We assumed we would be able to do the same thing this year.Â We tried 3 or 4 different bike shops and nobody would rent road bikes.Â Everyone had mountain bikes, but no road bikes.Â So I ended up with a beat-up, old (girls) mountian bike.Â Every 2 1/2 turns of the crank something slipped- never did quiet figure that out.Â Laura decided to be a bike snob and refused to ride a mountain bike- she wanted a good road bike or nothing at all.
There was one particular ride where I found myself riding down a hill through the switch-backs and all I could think about was the fact that I was going to have to ride back up those switch-backs.Â And I did.Â Slowly.Â On the crappy mountian bike.Â On another ride I was on a frontage road- there were small signs along the side of the road and I was doing my best to try to figure out what the signs said- my French isn't too good, so I had to really concentrate to get any of it.Â And that's what I was doing- really concentrating on the signs- when suddenly the road came to an end.Â I noticed about 3 feat before I would have crashed.
So I didn't really go to France for the food or drink or even to drive through the round-abouts.Â No, this trip was all about the race.Â The Tour de France.Â Now before you accuse me of not thinking of my wife at all when I plan a vacation- IT WAS HER IDEA.Â And it was her idea last time we went to the Tour.Â She's a fan- she canÂ name the winners for the past 11 or so years (it helps that Lance Armstrong won 7 of those) and she can probably tell you the top 10 from this year (or at least pretty damn close to it).Â When I suggested that she get into a fantasy league- she asked why I don't do it- "because you know the sport better than I do" was my response.Â Plus- like she told my friends at a class reunion "It's the Tour de FRANCE...not the Tour de Ohio"
So I can name the top 3 from this year's race- Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck and Lance Armstrong.Â Beyond that I just enjoy being there and being a part of the big rolling party.
We got to 3 stages live and watched most of the rest on TV in various bars throughout France.Â Hey I said drinking was not the MAIN reason for the trip- I didn't say I didn't drink.Â We did miss Ventoux completely until we got home and watched it on TIVO-Â we decided that next time we'll plan our trip around that stage.Â That was impressive.Â
Here's the stages that we did catch...
Tuesday, July 21- Martigny > Bourg-Saint-Maurice
At about 1 in the afternoon we were walking through the streets of Chambery when I asked Laura if she wanted to catch the Train to Bourg-Saint-Maurice for the race.Â She was up for it, so we walked to the train station and got on the 2pm train.Â 90 minutes later we were in Bourg-Saint-Maurice and ready for our first stage of the tour.Â As we rode the train there we were wondering how we would find the race once we got there.Â Didn't think it would be a big problem, as most everyone on the train seemed to be headed for the race.Â Turned out it was no problem at all- we got off the train and we were there- in fact, if the train had just stayed in the station, we probably could have stayed on the train and watched from our seats.
Immedieately after we got off the train, we grabbed a beer and started walking along the road where the riders would come in.Â We found a spot.Â RIGHT ON THE FINISH LINE!Â Perfect!Â As we finished beers, one of us would leave our great spot and go get more beers while the other saved the spot.Â So we stood.Â And drank.Â And waited.Â And waited.Â And waited.Â You get the idea.
The Caravan came through about 40 minutes after we found our spot at the finish line.Â If you are not familiar with the Caravan- it's like a Mardi Gras parade...at 40mph.Â I don't know how that translates into kph, but I do know that it's a really fast parade.Â Basically all the race sponsors get cars in the caravan- most are built up into big floats and there are crews of people throwing stuff from these floats.Â Kids and little old ladies are diving for this stuff- remember, they're going 40mph.Â The stuff they are throwing ranges from complete crap to some pretty cool stuff- two years ago Laura got a bike jersey and an old-school bike hat (you know, the kind they wore before eveybody wore helmets).Â This time around I got a hat and a little cell-phone holder with the Tour de France logo and Laura got a purple pom-pon.
The caravan usually comes about 45 minutes before the riders.Â So we had time for another beer and then came the riders.Â Just as the first of them crossed the finish line, the crowd starts to make their move to the podium for the awards.Â Because we had such a good spot, we waited through the peleton and then a few more riders before we made our move.Â
When the awards were finished it was back on the train for the 90 minute ride back to Chambery.Â Laura spent the entire train ride with an old French guy trying to figure out his bar puzzles.Â I pretended to sleep.
Thursday, July 23- Annecy > Annecy
Time trial day!Â We had been looking forward to this one for quiet a while.Â Our plan was to drive from Chambery to Annecy.Â We decided to make the drive on Wednesday, so that we knew where we were going on Thursday.Â Glad we did that, as it became very clear that we didn't want to drive.Â There may be parking in Annecy somewhere, but I couldn't find it.Â So it's back to the train.
The train got into Annecy and we just followed the crowd to the park where the race started.Â For the time trial, the racers took off one at a time- every two minutes.Â We found a spot about 20 meters from the starting ramp- right on a curve, so the riders came right at us and then curved off just before they got to us.Â Again- perfect spot.Â As riders lined up, I would take a picture of the support car next to the ramp, zoom way in to read the tag on the front of the car so I knew who was coming and then erase the picture and do the same for the next racer.Â I wore a old-school cotten jersey with an American flag on the front that I had bought at the Tour two years ago-Â Americans constantly talked to us.Â One guy asked about my Ironman tattoo- turns out he had done 7 of them.Â I felt like a bit of a wimp.
We watched about 50 riders go off and then it was time for a beer (not the first mind you- but the first time we would have to leave the perfect spot).Â I decided to run for a beer and leave Laura to gaurd the seats.Â I got back with 2 bottles of beer and then realized that they were NOT twist-offs.Â Decision time.Â Do we leave the perfect seats and head to a bar?Â Or do we skip the beer today and keep the perfect spot?
10 minutes later we were sitting in a really nice little pub along the river, watching the race on TV, drinking beer and waiting for lunch.Â We made the right decision- 10 minutes after that it was raining.Â Kind of odd watching the race on TV while it was happening right outside the bar- sometimes we would watch a rider start on TV and turn around to watch him go by about 10 seconds later.
After lunch, the rain stopped, so I headed out to find another spot to stand- Christian Vande Velde was about to start and I wanted to see it.Â I didn't see it.Â But I wanted to.Â Anyway I started walking down the street and imagine my surprise when I found another perfect spot- room for 4 or 5 people, just had to duck under a rope that was holding up a sign from one of the sponsors.Â So I did- and I leaned out into the road to take a picture when the next rider came through- and nearly got hit!Â About that time a couple more American guys came by- thinking the same thing.Â I warned them about how close the riders get- they lasted through 1 rider, tried to take a picture andÂ very loudly said "F--- it!Â I'm not that good of a photographer, It's not worth it"Â and walked off.Â I followed after a couple more riders.
After Lance, the Schleck brothers and Contador, we made our way across the park to the finish line - took us about the same amount of time to get across the park to the finish line as it took them to ride all the way around the lake and get to the finish line.
Annecy was set up great for viewing the race but after the race it was tough to get around- we never did make our way to the podium, although we could hear the ceremony over the loud-speakers.Â Walking back to the train station, they had taken the fencing down from around the pit area, so you could walk right up to the team busses- so we went and checked out the Garmin and Astana busses.
Sunday, July 26- Montereau-Fault-Yonne > Paris Champs-Elysees
O.K., do I really need to say anything about this one?Â It's Paris.Â It's the Champs-Elysees.Â We walked from our hotel in the Latin Quarter and then just walked up and down the Champs-Elysees.Â We saw a group of women from America- dressed kind of skimpy with a big sign that read "Girls Gone Wild...For Lance."Â We walked into the Nike store, where everything was "Livestrong."Â We walked out of the Nike store and started walking down the street when someoneÂ tapped me on the back and asked if I was from Middleton (I was wearing a Capital Brewery jersey).Â We finally settled on a little sidewalk cafe and had a couple of glasses of wine.Â Each time the race passedÂ us (8 total) about half the people at the cafe jumped up on their chairs, watched the riders go by and then sat down again.Â For the last pass, I actually left the cafe and jumped up on top of a trash can while I held on to a light pole, giving me- once again...
...the perfect spot to view the race.
Just back from 10 days in France for the Tour de France and already last Friday I was admitting to being a little bit of an "Ugly American."Â Yes- that's true, but there's also a little "Euro-Snob" in me.Â Some things I need to know...
- Why can't Americans figure out how to use a round-about?Â It's really not that difficult, and if you are really afraid of the round-about, just stay in the right lane (left in England, Ireland or other places where they drive on the "wrong" side of the road) and exit when you want to- you'll never have to cross over a lane to do it.
- While there's some damn fine street vendors on the State Street Mall and around the Square- Why can't I get ham & cheese in a crepe- like in the streets of Paris? (and if I can- where?)
- BTW- same thing for those great, simple sandwiches with french bread and a slice of ham?Â And that salmon panini I had on my last day in Paris?
- What's wrong with small cars.Â Europeans seem to function just fine with small cars, why can't we?Â Â (It would probably also make the round-abouts easier to handle)
- How come the rest of the world can handle speaking both English and their native tongue?Â While we (myself included) have trouble with just one language?
Just back from France, where Laura and I took in several stages of the Tour de France and spent more than a little time swimming, biking, running,Â eating and Â drinking.
After about 10 days in France, I realized that there is more than just a little "ugly American" in me.Â For instance, I would like to know why...
- I can't rent a decent road bike in France.Â The damned Tour de France takes place there- you would think I could get a decent bike!
- Two of the three hotels I stayed in didn't have showers in the bathroom- just a tub and one of those hand-held shower heads (like in 40 Year Old Virgin)
- Waiters can't even pretend to act like decent service is important to the dining experience.Â I am truly all for the "slow food" movement- I can't remember the last time I ate at a fast-food joint, but this was closer to NO service than SLOW service.
- Beer (excuse me- bier) and wine is served in those little tiny glasses.Â The price is right- just a couple bucks, but you barely get a swallow and then you have to wait another half-hour for the bartender to serve you again.
- Road signs marking bike routes just disappear when you actually get out on the route.Â I'm riding along on my beat up old mountain bike- I find what looks like a great bike route, start following the signs pointing me up the mountain and suddenly they're gone- do I turn right or left up here?Â Impossible to tell.Â The damn signs disappeared.
- The soda selection is pathetic!Â This translates to read "I can't find caffeine free diet Pepsi or Diet Lipton Green Tea."
- The French hair-dryer technology has yet to catch up with us here in the US.Â Not a big deal to me- I shaved my head before we left, but for my wife, this was a real problem.
I know I sound a little negative, but believe me- I had a GREAT time!Â
Next time- "The Euro-Snob In Me"
I was looking for a nice casual ride last night.Â I got a message on Facebook from my friend Luke, who asked if there was a group ride.Â I answered that we are meeting at 6 at Endurance House.Â But- WARNING- I rode with Tara and Susan (monsters on the bike...and run...and swim) the last couple of days and I'm a bit worn out- I'm up for a nice casual ride.Â Luke agreed- see you at 6.
Well- I'm a bit on an idiot.Â When I came into work in the morning I packed up everything for the ride.Â Everything EXCEPT my bike shorts.Â So, when I finished my last break on the air at about 5:40, I had toÂ drive home to get my bike shorts and then over to Endurance House.Â As you might guess, I got there a little late- in fact as I was driving towards the store, I saw the group riding away.Â I knew the route they were taking, so I thought I could just ride real fast and catch them.Â Problem is, they very slightly changed the route and in that slight change of the route, I passed them without realizing it.Â So I kept riding fast.Â Trying desperately to catch the group that was actually now behind me.Â
I got back to Endurance House where I ran into the regular Tuesday night run group, who told me that I was the first one back.Â Seemed a bit odd, but sure enought- about 5-10 minutes later, the rest of the group rode in- all talking about the nice casual ride they just completed.
So- tonight, if the rain goes away, it's a nice casual run home after work.Â But first, I need to drive home sometime during the day and pick up my running shorts.
The official Horribly Hilly Hundred (HHH) was on Saturday, June 20. A couple of teammates did the ride, 1 or 2 missed the ride in favor of Grandma's Marathon up in Duluth, Mn and most of the rest of us were racing at High Cliff. So- since most of us missed the fun, a bunch of us got together yesterday and rode the Horribly Hilly course. And yes, it is HORRIBLY HILLY!
The day actually started on a really positive note. When I left home in the morning, I tried to figure out how long it would take me, so my wife had some idea when to expect me home. We were starting at 7am- I should be able to do 100 miles in about 5 hours, add an hour due to the fact that the course is "horribly hilly" - I should be done sometime between 1 & 1:30pm. I'll be home around 2pm.
The really positive note that the day started on...when I got to the ride, I was told it's 100k, not 100 miles! Oh, this should be a breeze- I'm ready for 100 miles and I only have to ride 100k!
I was only a few miles into the ride when I realized how happy I was that it was 100k and not 100 miles. That 5-6 hour estimate for 100 miles of this course would have been WAY off. In fact if it was 100 miles, I might still be out there. If took about 5 hours to do the 100k ride. Then I found out that there are some nuts who actually do a 200k route of the HHH! I think I saw some of them still out of the course a week later.
The ride itself is really beautiful. Tough climbs with some really fun downhill runs. We all gathered at about the half-way point of the ride for a short rest stop and a teammate had placed some water and muchies under a tarp in the ditch at about the 50 mile mark, so we we had another rest stop there. Time to bitch about the hills and at the same time congratulate each other.
Just after that rest stop, I saw a series of signs there had placed alongside the road for some other event. The signs simply read "FFF." I thought about stealing one of the "Fs" and adding to the "HHH," so it would read "HFHH."
Figure it out for yourself.
I don't know if I mentioned it before, but I had a HORRIBLE run at the High Cliff 1/2 Ironman over teh weekend.Â The heat got to me.Â And it seemed to be getting to a lot of people around me too.Â As I ran through the High Cliff State Park, I heard several people talking about how rough it was- running in the heat.Â Also lots of people talking about the fact that we haven't had a chance to train in the heat this year.
Well- now we have had a chance to train in the heat.Â And I have forced myself to do just that.Â The other day, when the temp. was nearing 100, I ran home from work.Â Just six miles.Â But six really HOT miles.Â Don't think I was the only one nuts enough to do it, here's the count...
4 other runners
Several baseball/softball/soccer games
1 guy walking with a set of dumbbells
and a whole bunch of kids and even a few adults cooling off in the fountain at Lakeview Park in Middleton.Â Yes, I veered from the course to do the same.Â After I had earlier veered off course to stop at the Nitty Gritty and beg them to refill my water bottle and veered off course at another park to refill my water bottle.
I figured this out late in the day on Saturday, after finishing the High Cliff Half Ironman.Â The experience of a Triathlon is very similar to the experience of a Phish (or Grateful Dead) concert.Â I know, it sounds crazy, but stay with me a bit here...
The most obvious similarity- those who partake in both can very easily become obsessed.Â But that's not where it ends...
Ritual:Â Again, those who partake in each, get to the events well ahead of time and have a very specific ritual to get ready for the event.Â My triathlon ritual involves checking tire pressure, taping GU packets to the bike, laying out my shoes in a much more orderly fashion than I ever would at home and using the porta-potties a dozen times.Â The Phish/Dead ritual involves brownies and using the porta-potties a dozen times.
Clothing:Â In both cases, you could never get away with wearing those clothes to a business meeting- although many of the participants spend much of their week-days in business meetings.
Goofy Stickers on the cars in the parking lots:Â Only the initiated understand...
"I Miss Jerry"
"Tri Like Hell"
"Trey is a Jedi"
The Things We Ingest:Â Again we ingest things that normal people wouldn't think of ingesting- but in both cases, what we do ingestÂ seems to Â make the experience better.Â Somehow, I survive the day at a triathlon eating nothing but GU packets and drinking nothing but water and Gatorade.Â Somehow at a Dead or Phish show you can make a meal out of those brownies- is there something in those brownies?
Both groups understand what these are for:
But I think triathletes have a slightly different use for them.
Yesterday was race day- The Capital View Triathlon.Â I did the Olympic length race- just under a mile swim (although I probably swam a mile- more on that later), 25 mile bike ride and 10k run.
The Swim: As my wave went off, I was feeling pretty good- I had done an open water swim on Friday and really got my breathing and sighting dialed in, so I felt pretty confident.Â My main problem at the start of the swim is the fact that I couldn't get a good seal on my goggles and the left eye kept leaking, so I had to stop several times to empty the water and try to get it sealed again.Â Finally I just decided to live with it, because it just wasn't happening.Â As I swam out to the first turn, I sighted on the small buoys- as I passed one, I would start to sight on the next one- until I passed the last small buoy- then for some reason instead of sighting on the big buoy (where I was supposed to turn) I started sighting on the support boat- a little to the right of the buoy.Â As I swam off course, the rest of my wave swam right on past me.Â And then when I realized my mistake and started swimming back on to the course, the next wave passed me.Â After I rounded the first turn I started sighting on the buoys again- or I thought I was sighting on the buoys- I was actually sighting on somebody wearing a yellow (same color as the small buoys) swim cap,Â That person was also swimming off course.Â Once I got that figured out and got back on course, the swim went great.Â I finished in 34 minutes- well within my goal of 40 minutes (it took me an hour last year- so I didn't set the bar too high)
Transitions:Â Last weekend at Lake Mills- the transitions KILLED me.Â For some reason, I just couldn't get anything done in transition- I was over 5 minutes for each transition.Â This week went much better- I think I was under 2 minutes for each transition and everything went really smooth.Â No fumbling around for any equipment- no forgetting any equipment.Â Just two smooth transitions.
The Bike: If I remember right, last year I averaged about 18 mph on the bike course- this year a little over 20 mph-Â so, that felt good.Â I felt bad for one guy who I passed as I was riding up the hillÂ as we headed back to Schneider road (can't remember the name of the road- Enchanted Valley?) - as I rode past him, he asked if I was on the long course or the short course.Â I told him I was riding the long course, he asked if he missed the turn for the short course- I explained that he missed it by about 10 miles.Â Other than that (which didn't effect me at all) my only negative on the bike course was the fact that I downshifted too early heading back into transition- probably cost myself 3 seconds, so that's not really a complaint.
The Run: This is a tough run.Â It's all on trails- some well groomed trails, some just mowed trails through a field.Â Lots of hills and a good portion of the run is out in the hot sun.Â Strategy for the run was to run as hard as I could- knowing that considering the course, that wouldn't be too hard.Â I knew I would have to walk from time to time- so I tried to keep that to A) the really tough hills, and B) the aid stations.Â I ended up walking through most of the aid stations and up 1 or 2 of the steeper hills.Â In the end the run was my weak spot in the race, coming in at just under 9 minute miles (compared to last weekend at Lake Mills where I run around 7 1/2 minute miles).
Post-Game: Capital View set up a great post race party.Â The coolest thing was the fact that you could walk up to the officials table, give them your number and within seconds have a print-out of your race- including times for the swim, bike, run & transitions, plus how you finished within yoru age-group.Â This was the most exciting thing for me.Â Last year I finished 3rd from the bottom in my age group.Â This year I was 8th!!!!Â I just walked around with my little printout and one finger pointing to where it said that I finished 8th!Â I'm sure I annoyed more than a few people.Â Sorry about that.Â O.K., that's not all I did- I had a couple of beers a couple slices of pizza and hung out with my friends and teammates.Â
Overall- the perfect way to spend a Sunday morning.
Well, the first race of the season didn't go quite as well as I planned, but a lot better than it could have.
Yesterday was the Lake Mills Triathlon.Â Me, my dad and my cousin all raced- so that was pretty cool.
It was a sprint length triathlon- 400 yard swim, 15 mile bike ride, 5k run.Â I figured I would probably finish in an hour and 25 minute, so I set my goal for an hour and 20 minutes- just to push myself a bit.
The Swim: It was a cold, cloudy and eventually rainy morning.Â I didn't want to go into the water at all- so I didn't until the very last moment.Â Lots of others were out in the water getting used to it- including my dad and my cousin.Â I decided to stay on shore and take the shockÂ at race time.Â My wave started and the water wasn't nearly as cold as I expected- but it was cold.Â The swim out to the first buoy went well- a little bumping, but nothing out of the ordinary.Â As I rounded the first buoy I got hit pretty hard and it threw my breathing off- to the point where I was trying to breath every stroke.Â Still not a big deal- that's how I went through the entire Ironman swim last year.Â Then it happened- I was trying to site on the next buoy when I got a mouth-full of that cold water and started choking on it.Â I stopped.Â Floated for a little while.Â Panicked a bit. Turned over and back-stroaked for a bit.Â And then finally regained my composure and made it back in to the transition area in just over 10 minutes.Â This is a swim that I should be able to do in about 8 minutes- that's the cool thing about sprint length races- even if you really mess up the swim, you only lose a couple minutes.
The Bike: After what seemed like the longest transition ever, I was on my bike and rolling.Â What a great course- mostly flat, a few rolling hills, but I never had to shift more than a gear or two in either direction.Â The down side is that with a course like that it's hard not to draft.Â I don't think I got any penalties- but I wouldn't be surprised.Â Overall the bike was pretty uneventful- although it did rain for a good portion of the second half of the ride- even saw a little lightning in the distance- never even heard the thunder, that's how far off it was.
The Run: Another slow transition and then it was off to the races.Â The officials had said that there will be two water stops on the run- so I figured mile 1 and mile 2.Â There was water as we left transition, but that couldn't really be the first of the water stops...could it?Â It was.Â But in my mind- I was waiting for a water stop at mile 1,Â it didn't come until 1.5- not a big deal, it just seemed like a really long mile.Â Once I got it figured out, the rest of the run was great.
So- in the end, I figured I would finish in 1:25, set a goal of 1:20 to push myself a bit and ended up finishing in 1:24.Â Clean up the swim and transitions and I hit my goal.Â
Maybe next weekend.
Last class of this swim session at Harbor this morning.Â Usually we end a session with some timed sets, so we can see our improvement.Â Over the past several sessions I have made major improvement, without even realizing it... until I saw the numbers.Â I used to swim 100 yards in 2:35.Â For the non-swimmers among us...that's slow. REALLY SLOW.Â I can't even go that slow anymore- I've tried.Â Can't be done,Â I'm now around 2:00 per hundred- still not the fastest in class, but I'm quite proud of the improvement.
So, this time we didn't do a timed set in this final class.Â Instead Derek had us do an insane set- sprint 25 yards > Â jump out of the pool > 10 push-ups or 10 sit-ups or 10 squats > sprint 25 yards.Â
btw- that was 1 set- we did 8 of those.
btw- we had already done 1600 yards before starting the sets.
My arms were tired to start.Â I sprinted the first 25 and actually didn't do too bad- almost staying with the woman that I was swimming with.Â I jumped out of the pool, tried to do a push-up and had absolutely NO STRENGTH LEFT!Â Couldn't even do 1 push-up.Â So, I rolled over onto my back and did 10 sit-ups and sprinted back to the start.Â From there on out I alternated between sit-ups and squats for each set.
Now I understand why, from time to time, it says "strength training" on my training schedule.
Busy weekend of training- after a couple of slow weeks because of a terribly nagging cold, I finally got out and worked hard this weekend.
I'll get to the "Best Bike Ride Ever!" in a little bit- first the busy weekend of training...
Saturday started with a 10 mile time-trial.Â It was a route that started and ended in Cross Plains.Â I drove the route the night before so I knew what I was in for.Â I knew there were 2 big hills and a few rolling hills, but otherwise pretty flat.Â We could either do the time-trial as individuals or form teams, so I formed a team with a couple of friends.Â Unfortunately when we got there, we were the only one's who formed a team, so it was back to individual racing.Â
I did alright, not quite what I had hoped, but not bad either.Â There were two or three guys who were clearly the lead pack, then a group of 6 or so people in the next group and 1 or two more groups, each with several riders- I was able to hang with that second group until about half-way up the second big hill, then they lost me and I wasn't able to make up that time.Â So in the end, I would guess that I was somewhere around 8th place- just a guess though.
When we finished the time-trial, a group of about 8 of us took off and did a loop around the Ironman course- another 40 miles.Â Susan- who I carpooled with to the time-trial didn't join us, so when we were done with the loop, I rode home for a grand total of about 60 mile for the day.Â I was pretty happy with the workout for the day- a good preview of what's to come the next few weeks with several races throughout the mnth of June.
Sunday morning Susan and I ran around lake Monona for a nice 12 mile run.Â It had been a while since I did anything near that distance, with that terrible nagging cold I talked about earlier, plus my knee had been bothering me.Â All in all I was pretty happy with the run- we went out a little too fast- just over 8 minute miles, settled in to about 8:30 miles and slowed to just over 9 minute miles for the last couple.Â
Now comes the "Best Bike Ride Ever!"Â After my run on Sunday morning, Laura and I went to look for a new bike for her.Â She hasn't done any cycling in years, in fact she really didn't like the activity cycling at all.Â Odd thing is- she's a cycling fan- she'll watch races the way most people watch a football game, it was her idea to go to the Tour de France a couple of years ago for our 20th anniversary and it was her ideaÂ to return for the race this year.Â Anyway- last year, as I was finishing up my Ironman training, she mentioned that she would like to try cycling again.Â With the newer, lighter bikes, she though she might like it better.Â So on Sunday we went out and got her a new road bike- a Klein with a carbon fiber frame and a pretty nice set of components.Â And then we went for a ride.Â Not a long ride- just a 6 mile loop around the Arboretum - but it was so much fun to be out riding with my wife!
No offense to my usual training partners.
First the Good- I did a solo century ride yesterday.Â It wasn't fast.Â It wasn't pretty.Â But I did it...100 miles, unsupported, all by myself.Â I felt pretty good through the first 60 or so miles- from my house out to Cross Plains where I jumped on the Ironman route and rode that loop.Â There were a few tough areas- the wind was strong, so when I was riding into the wind, I wasn't exactly setting and speed records, but when the wind was at my back I felt like Superman!Â When I got to Verona on the second loop I was starting to tire a bit.Â But I was determined to finish it, even if it took me all day.Â I called my wife and we decided to meet for lunch at the Grumpy Troll in Mt. Horeb.Â So I had a nice break before finishing things out.Â So, the solo century was the good, and that came about because of the bad...
The Bad- the aborted century on Saturday.Â This was to be a group ride-Â me, Mike, Michael and Susan.Â Â We were starting at 6:30 on Saturday morning, so Susan picked me up at 6.Â About 2 minutes later I remembered that I had failed to finish up a project at work on Friday.Â A project that absolutely had to be done right away, so Susan dropped me and the bike off at the station- I said it would take about 15 minutes and then I would ride from here to Verona and meet the rest of them who were riding from the boathouse just off John Nolan Drive.Â Ten minutes later my phone rang, it was Susan- we're bagging the ride because of the rain- maybe we'll go out later today.Â So she picked me and my bike up, took me home, unloaded the bike again and I decided to go back to bed.Â As I was getting ready for bed I decided my time was better spent by going back into work to finish up the rest of what I had to do for the weekend.Â I'm half-way through those projects when the phone rings again- it's Susan, we're riding- ready to go?Â So I drove home, changed again, grabbed my bike and loaded it back onto her car.Â This time we all met in Verona and the plan was to do two loops of the Ironman coarse- so about 80 miles.Â About 5 miles into the second loop I bonked.Â Bad.Â Really bad.Â So I turned back, loaded my bike back onto her car and drove myself home.Â Susan finished the second loop and then rode to my house to pick up her car- so she probably did a full century.Â So after that, I had to prove myself- that's why I did the solo century yesterday.Â Which leads me to...
My Spin on it all.Â Here's what I tell everyone I did this weekend- On Saturday I did a Metric century (100k or about 60 miles), I rested on Sunday and cheered some friends in at the Madison Marathon, and on Memorial day I did a good old fashioned AMERICAN century (100 MILES).
Last Tuesday I woke up with a sore thoat, but went to my swim lesson anyway.Â From there everything went downhill.Â The thoat got worse, then it turned into a full head-cold and eventually had me laying in bed thinking I was dying of swine flu.Â Thrusday and Friday I just came in to work to do my air-shifts.Â Did NOTHING else those days.Â Saturday and Sunday I layed in bed all day.Â Monday I completely missed work and layed in bed all day again.
After that Tuesday morning swim, no workouts all week.Â
Now- it's time to try to climb back to where I was.Â I still didn't feel 100% on Tuesday morning, so I skipped the swim.Â Last night I joined my sister at Endurance House for their regular Tuesday night group run, which seemed to go o.k.Â This morning it was back to Pilates.Â
That was the toughest workout ever!
Things that seemed easy 2 weeks ago were killing me this morning.
Things that were challening 2 weeks ago were near impossible this morning
Things that difficult 2 weeks ago were laughable this morning.
Can't wait for the weekend- 112 mile bike ride on Saturday, 1/2 marathon on Sunday and I'm sure we'll figure out a good swim on Monday.Â Should be pretty entertaining to see how my body reacts.
...if it wasn't screwed on.
I have a regular Friday morning swim with my friend/training partner Tara.Â We meet every Friday morning at 6:15 and swim for about an hour.Â This morning Leonard, from my swim class was going to join us.Â Â You would think that I would have the routine down by now.
So this morning, I got up, got all my stuff together and was ready to hop on my bike and head to the club when I remembered that it's garbage day.Â When I did get on the bike, it was already 6:15- that's o.k., I only live a couple of blocks from the club.Â Then as I'm in the locker room changing, I realize that I forgot my goggles.Â I'll head into the pool to tell Tara that I have to run home to pick them up- thankfully I did- she always has an extra set of goggles with her, so I used those.Â So I went back into the locker room to change and realized that I forgot my water bottle- left it in the cage on my bike.Â Forget it- I'm just gonna swim.Â
You'll love this last one- I got to work after my swim and went to change out of my bike shorts, when I realized that I forgot to pack my underwear.Â
So here I sit, with a pair of bike shorts on under my work clothes, typing about how forgetful I am.
Swim class this morning- the main set had us doing a 600 yard swim at our Ironman pace, then a little later in the set a 400 yard swim at our Olympic distace pace and still later in the set a 200 yard swim at our Sprint distance pace.
We may have gone out a bit too fast on the 600- the pace for the first 100 was about 1:40- this in the lane that usually averages a bit over 2:00 per 100.Â
We may have paid for it later- at least I may have paid for it later.Â By the time I got to the 200 at Sprint distance pace- I was beat.Â So beat, in fact, that I made a decision- my Sprint distance pace is more of a strategy- not really a good strategy, but a strategy.
And that strategy is...
Make it up on the bike!
"How do you fit it all in?" is a question I get asked a lot.Â As I'm sure you have figured out if you read this blog- I train a LOT.Â At least 6 days a week- sometimes 7.Â There is actually a rest day scheduled in to every week, but I sometimes cheat and do the Saturday swim on Friday (the rest day).Â That's one thing that I do to fit it all in...I cheat a little.Â Doing the swim on the rest day is a nice compromise for me- it's an activity that's not really hard on my body, so I don't feel real bad about cheating myself of that rest day and it takes one thing off the plate on Saturday.Â On Sunday I usually skip the swim on the schedule and do that on Monday morning.Â I then do the Monday workout after work.
So that's how I fit in some of the workouts- but what about the rest of life.Â I got to thinking about that over teh weekend- a particularly busy weekend.Â Here's how the weekend went...
Friday after work I headed to the Capital Brewery, where Jonathan had an appearance for the season opening of the Beer Garden.Â Not that anyone had to twist my arm to go to the Capital Brewery Beer Garden.
From there - a quick stop at home to let the dog out- Laura was in Milwaukee for a Marathon (working at the Marathon- not running in it), then it was off to the Majestic for the Serena Ryder concert- an early show.Â I showed up at Jonathan's appearance- so he did the same for me- we hung out for a while and had a quick drink.Â Then it's back home for dinner and to rest up for the rest of the weekend.
Saturday- Early morning bike ride- 42 miles around the Ironman loop- starting in Verona.Â My Dad picked me up at 7:15 (Laura had the car with the bike rack- so I needed a ride to the ride) and drove to Verona.Â Â My friend/training partner Susan started her ride in Madison, so as we finished our loop, I decided to ride into Madison with her and then I rode home again, making for a nice 70 mile rideÂ (I left a note for my Dad so he wasn't waiting for me).Â My intention was to then run when I got home, but my running stuff was in Dad's car and he didn't have time to drop the stuff off.Â So I just relaxed for an hour or so, before getting ready to head out to the Going Green Expo.Â Spent the afternoon at the Going Green Expo and then finally home again- by this time Laura had returned from Milwaukee.Â We had intended to go see the Rousers on Saturday night, but we were both beat- so a night on the couch was in order.
Sunday- early morning swim with Susan.Â I usually skip the swim on Sundays, but this actually seemed like the easiest part of the workout to work into my schedule on Sunday.Â From there- home to do a little yardwork (the lawn needed mowing for the first time this year) and then back on the bike- this time mainly for transportation- I rode into Madison for the private concert with Jason Mraz- for those who were wondering- it was at the Indie Coffee Shop on Regent Street- for those who walked in yesterday afternoon- that's why the shop was closed for a couple of hours- yeah, that was Jason Mraz playing his guitar.Â From the Jason Mraz show I got back on my bike and rode over to the Going Green Expo again- this time to pick up some stuff that I had ordered on Saturday while I was there.Â From the Expo I called Laura to see if she wanted to meet somewhere for a drink- but she had been doing yard work all afternoon and was too tired.Â So I rode home again- when I got there, she changed her mind and we went out for a quick drink.
So how do I fit it all in?Â I don't always.Â Sometimes I skip workouts.Â Sometimes I move workouts to days that work better for me.Â Sometimes I skip shows :(
Been busy around here lately.Â We spent last week going through all the entries for Project M and deciding on our 10 contestants.Â Lots taken into consideration there- remember it's about the music, but it's also a reality show- so there's a bit of casting along with judging the music.Â
So we now have our 10 contestants.Â Tomorrow night we meet them here at the station for the first time.Â We'llÂ explain what's expected of them, take some pictures, sign some autographs and weÂ might drink an Old Style or two.Â Or at least I might.Â Finally- we'll hand out the very first of the songwriting challenges.
Can't tell you what that challenge will be yet- you know, just in case one of those 10 or one of their friendsÂ is reading this.Â Don't want to give any unfair advantages.
Look for that first challenge and artist bios, photos and maybe a little video on Thursday.
Right now- it's mostly behind the scenes stuff- figuring out how we will set up the studio...who's shooting the video, who's posting video...who's shooting pictures, who's posting those pictures...who's going to be the good cop judge, who's going to be the bad cop judge...BTW- I volunteered to be the guy that tells someone to "...pack up your guitar case & go home."Â Can't wait.
O.K.- so I'm definitely in for Ironman Wisconsin this year.Â Here's the rest of what I have planned for the year- not registered for everything yet, but here's what I want to do...
May 24- Madison Marathon (I'll do theÂ Half- Marathon)
June 7- Lake Mills TriathlonÂ (Sprint Length)
June 14- Capitol View (Olympic Distance)
June 20- High Cliff Triathlon (Half-Iron Distance)
June 21- Verona Triterium (Spint Distance Triathlon) (BTW- My WIFE'S idea to do 2 TRIs back-to-back)
Then off to France to be a spectator for a change- The Tour de France calls.
And back to Madison for...
August 30- Madison Mini Marathon (Half-Marathon)
September 13- Ironman Wisconsin
Can't wait for Summer.Â Can't wait to actually compete.Â Tired of training.Â Need the payoff!
After answering the question about a million times, I realized that I probably haven't said it out loud yet- Yes, I am doing the Ironman this year.Â
Goals for the year?Â Well, just like last year, I won't tell you exactly what I want to accomplish until after the fact (again, I promise to be truthful), but I will give you some general goals...
1) As always- FINISH
2) Do better than last year.Â Last year was 13:42 (my wife will correct me and say 13:42:01- but I think 13:42 is close enought for Rock & Roll)
3) Under 13 hours.Â I think this is a very achievable goal.Â Both of the people that I do most of my training with finished under 13 hours- both usually race better than I do (I've only beat each of them once- and that was a run, not a triathlon), but in training I'm usually right with them.
4) 12 hours- or at least in that general range.Â Now this is a bit more of reach for me.Â This would mean taking almost 2 hours off my time from last year.Â Near as I can figure, this would be nearly a perfect race for me, with absolutely NOTHING going wrong the entire day.Â
So, where am I at in the process?
Swim: Last year 1:31:45.Â In talking with my swim coach last week, he projected that I can come in under 1:20 this year, and I've got several months left before the race- I may be able to improve on that.
Bike: Last year 6:44:54.Â My strategy last year was- knowing that I can comfortablyÂ ride the course averaging 19mph, I should slow down a bit, since I need to do a marathon after- so I'll try to average 17mph.Â And that's what I did.Â I know- not much of a strategy (one coach actually laughed out loud when I told her that was how I raced last year), but it got me through the bike and on to the run.Â This year a) I'm stronger, and b) I have a much better understanding of what my body can do and have been training using my heart rate zones, so I really know how hard I can push (and when to back off a bit).Â I won't be guessing, like last year.
Run: Last year- 5:07:07.Â I've become much stonger here as well.Â Not That I'll do a 3:30 at the end of an Ironman, but a 5 hour marathon isn't in the cards either...hopefully.
Honestly- I'm not a huge baseball fan.Â As you may have guessed by this point, I'm more into active sports- not that baseball can't be active- I'm just a lousy player, so baseball is not an active sport for me.
That being said- I love when baseball season rolls around every year.Â SUMMER IS HERE!Â Or at least it feels like it's right around the corner when you are at the ballpark.
That being said- who makes up the MLB schedules.Â They always say that they want the small market teams to prosper- so why do they send the Brewers to places like New York on holiday weekends?Â Weekends when, if at home, the small market team woudl be able to draw a lot of fans.Â Why is the Brewers home opener against the Cubs.Â A Brewers/Cubs game would sell out no matter when it happens.Â A Brewers home opener would sell out against any team.Â So why wast a Cubs game there.
Some good.Â Some bad.Â But overall, I think a successfull weekend.
I had a lot on the schedule on Saturday- bike, run and swim.Â Because I was out a little too late on Friday night, I slept in a bit on Saturday and went to a 10am cycling class.Â Immediately after the class, I headed to the pool for a fairly short swim.Â These two things went well.Â
Then came the run.
I had to work for a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon, so I thought I would run home from work- about 6 miles.Â Should be easy.Â Right?Â Wrong!Â I had a terrible run home.
Sunday was a brick workout- not a real long one, but the first of the season.Â We rode 25 miles followed by a 6 mile run.Â This went great!Â We did the Capital View course on the bikes and then run the trails at Pheasant Branch in Middleton.Â It was the perfect day for it and I felt great, so apparently Saturday's run was just a temporary setback.
Yesterday was the annual "Shamrock Shuffle."Â My job this year at the Shuffle was to lead the 5k runners around the course- me on my bike, them- well, running.
Sounds simple enough- get in front of the lead runner and stay in front of the lead runner.
Sounds simpler than it is.
The 10k race went first- followed a few minutes later by me and the 5k race.Â The only problem here is the slower 10k racers are all over the course when the (really fast) 5k leader is trying to make his way through the course.Â I'm yelling for people to get out of the way, but there's just too many of them- and I was being a little dumb at first and just telling them to get out of the way- not telling them which direction to move- so they were moving- but some moved to the right and some moved to the left and I was stuck behind the mess as my lead runner passed me and worked his way through the crowd.Â When I cought him again, he told me to tell them which direction to move- after that advice it went much smoother.Â Until the turn-around.Â Now we're running towards the slower 10k runners, the slower 5k runners AND the walkers- some with strollers- and I'm yelling at them to get out of the way.
We did make it through the throngs of people and back to the finish line in what seemed to me like record time.Â Although I'm sure for that lead runner, it was just another Sunday jog around campus.
As I left Chicago this morning, after my night hangin' with U2, I was listening to WXRT- Lin Brehmer was talking about his night hangin' with U2.Â "I was just doing my job" was what he said when asked about the night.Â And I will tell you- sometimes it's a great job that I (and Lin) have to do.
The night started early- I was instructed to be in a hotel lobby at 5:30pm.Â From there we all hopped on a bus and headed to the "top secret location."Â Turns out that location wasn't as secret as we had be led to believe- when we arrived at the Metro in Wrigglyville, there where three television news crews outside the club and hundreds of people just waiting to get a glimpse of the band as they entered the club- these are people who were not going to the show- just standing out in the rain, waiting to see Bono and the boys for a split second as they walked into the club.Â I bumped into (literally) Shirley Manson as she got out of a van and ran into the club.Â Didn't really realize it at first- until I heard the crowd scream "we love you Shirley" which reminded me of theÂ time my wife got mistaken for Shirley- late one night after a Garbage show in Milwaukee- but that's another story.
Inside the club there were two big leather couchesÂ and one chair on the stage- that's it.Â No instruments.Â It was pretty clear that the band was not going to play.
As the show started Shirley walked out and introduced herself and the boys in the band- as they entered they walked along the edge of the stage slapping the hands of those lucky enough to be up front.
The show was exactly what you heard on the radio- Shirley would go from band member to band member- having each talk about the songs that they played.
What you weren't supposed to hear- and I got an appology from the production company because you did hear- was what was happening while the songs where playing.Â Rather than making us all sit and listen to the songs, the band took questions from the audience while the songs were playing.Â Topics ranged from Bono's secret to a long & happy marriange, to the inspiration behind a song on the new album.
After one hour of U2 and Shirley Manson playing the part of guest DJ- it was over.Â Everyone got loaded back into the busses and taken back to the hotel.Â Well almost everyone- I joined a few folks (Shirley and U2 included) for a drink and some appatizers at a place called The Violet Hour.Â The Violet Hour created specialty drinks for the evening- naming the drinks with a U2 theme. (Click the image for a larger image.)
I'll have a "The Magnificent" please.
It's U2s Day!Â Tonight on Triple M, right after the U2 Radio Takeover, we're digging deep into the Triple M archives for a live U2 show from 1987.Â The concert was recorded in Chicago at the Rosemont Horizon.Â And I was ALMOST there.
I was the new guy at the station- just out of college, doing my dream job- hosting the Radio Deli in my hometown (that would be Madison).Â The closest U2 would get to Madison on that tour was Chicago- so we put together a promotion to send a bus-load of people to Chicago for the concert.Â The entire promotion revolved around the Radio Deli- you had to listen to the Radio Deli to find out where to go to win yourÂ tickets and bus ride to the show.Â Naturally, since the whole promotion revolved around me and my show (or at least in my mind it did) I would be hosting the trip, right?
WRONG!Â Like I said, I was the new guy- just out of college.Â Hadn't yet paid my dues- I don't get the cool perks.
Was I pissed!
Eventually I got over it.Â On the next tour, U2 came back to the Rosemont Horizon and not only did I get to go to the show, but I got to bring my wife and a couple of friends.Â Among the friends was Marla.Â Marla is an attractive young woman who got all dressed up for the show.Â I mean REALLY dressed up for the show.Â She looked great- so the joke was that Marla thought Bono might spot her and want to date her.Â
To this day- whenever we see a woman in a sexy dress, my wife and I smile at each other and ask if maybe she thinks Bono might see her and want to date her.
So tomorrow is U2s Day on 105-5 Triple M.Â U2 rarities, live music, cover songs and of course tomorrow night there's the U2 Radio Takeover.Â The whole thing got me thinking about when I first discovered U2...
I was a Sophmore at UW-Platteville and I was wondering through the halls of MacGregor Hall when I heard "There's been a lot of talk about this next song..." blaring out of a dorm room down the hall.Â Now I had no reason at all to be in MacGregor Hall.Â I didn't live there.Â I didn't really have any friends that lived there.Â I didn't need to walk through MacGregor to get to class.Â Or the cafateria.Â Â And I certainlyÂ had no reason to be on 4th floor MacGregor.Â But there was this girl- there's always a girl, isn't there.Â There was this girl who lived on 4th floor MacGregor- and yeah, I had a bit of a crush on her.Â Anyway- I heard the intro to the live version of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" coming from a dorm room- I had to find out what that was.Â Turns out the song was coming from the room of the girl I had a crush on- when I asked what it was, she smiled, held up a copy of the new live U2 album- "Under a Blood Red Sky" and we sat there the rest of the afternoon listening to one of the best live albums ever!Â
The girl- her name was Laura Wisniewski.Â It's now Laura Gallagher.Â We've been married for almost 22 years.Â And we have U2 to thank for it.Â Well, U2 and David Bowie and a lot of patience on her part.
Hangin' with a few friends at Bockfest over the weekend- anÂ ex-coworker says "You better watch out in 2010- I'm coming after you at Ironman Wisconsin."
Now there's 2 problems with this statement...
1) I'm not exactly the fastest triathlete in the world- so if you're looking to challenge someone, it's not all that impressive to challenge the slow guy.
2) It's really hard to take you seriously when your so drunk that you can barely stand up.
See you at IMWI 2010- I'll be the guy on the sidelines, drinking a beer and watching you as you run up State Street- at about 11:30pm
I walked into a cycling class last week and someone asked if anyone else had trouble with this week's "strides" workout.Â I've described the "strides" workout in the past- it's the one where you run 20 seconds, turn around an hop on one leg back towards the start- and repeat - and repeat - and repeat.
Well, there was a new "strides" workout on the schedule.Â With this one, it was a 20 second burst up a moderate hill, turn around and walk back down and do it again and again and again.Â you get the idea.
Thing is, I didn't read the entire description of the workout- so I was wondering how this guy could have possibly had trouble with such a simple workout- eight 20 second bursts up a moderate hill.Â How tough can that be?Â 10 minutes and you're done!
The same workout was on the schedule again last night, but here's the thing- eight 20 second bursts up a moderate hill was ONE SET!Â The schedule called for SIX SETS!!
Did anyone else have trouble with this week "strides" workout?Â 'Cause I sure did!
Masters swim class- this morning at Harbor Athletic.Â As I did a set that included 50 yards backstroke, Derek (the instructor) pulled me aside to tell me that I need to extend a bit further- really reach.Â And pick up the cadence.Â I told him that the backstoke isn't meant to be used that way- it's all about survival, when I'm in the middle of the lake and I just can't swim any further.Â Roll over and very slowly backstroke until I catch my breath- THAT'S what the backstroke is all about.Â He pointed out that I actually don't need it for that anymore, for which I thanked him.Â
Derek & I have talked a couple of times recently about how far I've come in the last year- in fact I ran across an e-mail from him that was sent just after Ironman- the e-mail was sent to our whole open-water swim class congratulation me and Susan- the two from the class that did Ironman.Â Reading the e-mail I was reminded of just how bad of a swimmer I was when I first started training.Â He pointed out that just a couple of months before, I could barely swim 25 yards.Â And I had just completed the 2.4 miles of the Iroman course in 91minutes!
A little inside info from the Tour of California...
Yesterday I told you about my coworker's significant other- he's the guy with Trek out in California right now for the Tour of California.Â She came in to work this morning with a little inside info.Â You may have heard that Lance's bike was stolen the other day- he's been riding a back-up.Â Well, the bike has been found- in pieces.Â But Lance wants to ride that bike- so the crew pulled an all-nighter to get the bike ready.Â As I post this, the new blog is not up yet- but eventually you can read all about it here...
In the mean time, enjoy this picture of the bike- as it was before it was stolen and stripped...
And I was just sent a picture of the crew pulling that allnighter- getting the bike rebuild...
There's a woman who swims just about every morning at Harbor Athletic Club.Â We usually end up in the pool about the same time and always say "Hi."Â One morning she asked if I was training for the Olympics?Â "No, I'm not fast enough.Â I'm training for Ironman and I'm barely fast enough for that" was my response.Â So yesterday morning she walks in the pool just as I'm finishing my swim.Â "Are you sure you don't want to train for the Olympics?" she asks.Â "No, why do you think I should beÂ training for the Olympics?" is my response.Â To which she says "Because you can smoke marijuana if your training for the Olympics."Â I laughed and said "think about how fast Phelps would be if he didn't smoke dope."
This morning I was telling my wife about the conversation- her response...
"Imagine how SLOW you would be if you DID."
Yesterday I was talking about how fun it is to run outdoors in shorts in February in Wisconsin.Â I had the opportunity to do that again last night.Â I stopped by Endurance House to pick up my vitamins and a group run was just about to leave.Â They told me they were running hill repeats on Parmentor Street in Middleton, so when I got home, I threw on a pair of shorts and ran to Parmentor in hopes of catching them there.Â I never did find them, but had a blast.
The other thing that the warm weather has brought out is bicycles.Â I don't know if you have noticed, but they are everywhere right now.Â I have had several offers to go on bike rides.Â People so excited about getting off the trainer and riding outside.Â I actually follow some advice I got from a very skilled motorcycle rider I used to work with (I mean VERY SKILLED- like he raced at Road America).Â His bike stayed garaged until after the second good rainfall of spring.Â While it was often tempting to ride earlier, and certainly the temperature was warm enough, he always wanted to wait until the roads were cleared by a couple of rainfalls before he took his expensive bike out.
So, I'll toss in a 2 1/2 Men DVD tonight and spin away on my trainer.
Yes, this is February in Wisconsin and I'm lovin' it.
Over the weekend I ran both on Saturday and on Sunday.Â IN SHORTS!
Yeah, it was a little cool on Sunday, but once we got going it was actually quite comfortable.Â I actually got to the run a few minutes late and the rest of the group was just taking off when I pulled up.Â They saw me and all stopped- about 20 people running down the street, all come to a dead stop to wait for me to get ready.Â So I hurried a bit and took off without my gloves.Â About 1/2 way through teh run I heard someone else say how warm they were- It was then that I was happy with my decision to tough it out in shorts.Â And not too upset about forgetting the gloves.
The down side of the whole thing- and believe me, I think everyone on the run knows this- it ain't gonna last.Â We were all having a ball running in the spring-like conditions, but all dreading the day that winter hits again.Â
And it will.
Last night Laura and I went to see Cracker at the High Noon Saloon.Â I forgot how much I love Euro-Trash Girl!
...but then that's not really the point here.Â The point is how my life has changed in the last couple of years.Â Before the show- I went to Harbor Athletic for a cycling class.Â Laura picked me up after the class and we went for dinner at The Weary Traveler.Â From there we headed to the show.Â After the show, Laura drove me back to my car and then it was back home.Â Here's the point where I realized how much life has changed in teh last couple of years- as we drove back to Harbor, Laura accidentally turned into the parking lot of the bar next door (Midtown Pub), we had a good laugh when I pointed out that you can no longer just assume that my car is parked at the bar.
Not that we never end up at Midtown, of course.
Laura and I went to a Super Bowl party with a bunch of teammates from the Endurance House Ironman team.Â Some were people from last year's team, some were new to Ironman.Â At half-time the conversation turned to Ironman (as it often does when this group gets together).Â All the "veterans" were sharing stories with all the "rookies."Â Probably scaring them a little, but that's beside the point.Â As the conversation went on, my attention turned to the TV and I poked my wife to point out Bruce Springsteen playing "Glory Days" during the half-time show.Â
We both had a good laugh.
Yesterday-Â my friend/teammate Tracy commented on a picture on her own facebook page...
The comment was simply..."Is it Summer yet?"
Of course that got me longing for Summer.Â But it also got me thinking about last Winter.Â Somehow, last Winter- even with all the snow, I just dealt with it.Â I ran outside all winter long.Â When the snow came, I smiled, grabbed a shovel and called it "strength training."Â I think it was the excitement of doing something new- training for Ironman.Â This year is different- I've been there.Â Now, when the temp. dips below freezing, I know I can find an open treadmill at Harbor Athletic Club.Â When it snows- I smile and look out the window and tell myself that it will warm up and the snow willÂ melt away soon.
Summer can't be too far off.
And I'm told TracyÂ will be serving her world famous Margaritas at the Superbowl party this weekend.Â
Life isn't too bad.
Over the weekend Laura and I were thinking about how our attitudes have changed in teh last couple of years.Â Before I started training for Ironman, we were the stereotypical "couch potatoes."Â Not so anymore.Â On Saturday morning we got up and went to a 7am Reformer Pilates class at Harbor Athletic.Â 2 years ago, we would not have been awake at 7am, let alone going to a class that had anything to do with athletics.Â After class we went home, had a little breakfast and then she took off for her karate class and I went to a cycling class.Â We both got home from those classes at about the same time- "How was karate?" I asked.Â "Good, how was cycling?" Laura asked back.Â When I told her how tough the class was, she said "Good!"Â Now, 2 years ago if I had gone to the class at all, and if I said it was tough- that would have been a good excuse to sit on the couch and relax for the rest of the weekend.Â Not so anymore.Â Now it's a good thing.Â And the next morning I'm off to run 8 miles, including hill repeats of Observatory Drive on campus.Â
BTW- when planning a running (or biking) route, you may want to avoid any road with the word "Observatory" in it's name.
I've heard from several people who are training for Ironman or other triathlons that they are having trouble staying motivated.Â Near as I can tell, it's just "that time of the year."Â It's cold outside- nobody is doing their training rides outdoors, which means they are indoors on a trainer...boooooooooooooring.Â You can do your running outdoors- most of the time, but even with running, it's easier just to hop on a treadmill instead of getting all bundled up and risk slipping on that spot of ice in the road.Â Swimming- obviously, we're indoors with the swim.Â This probably actually makes the swim a bit more of a social activitity, but back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and back...you get the idea, again it gets a bit booring.Â Add to it the fact that many of us (who will train together once the warm weather gets here) belong to different health clubs- so we really can't train together this time of the year.Â So, this time of year gets to be a bit frustrating.Â
It may be frustrating and tough to stay motivated, but wait til you get outdoors.Â It will all be worth it.Â It was about this time last year that I took a trip to New Orleans.Â The main purpose of my trip was to run in the Mardi Gras Marathon.Â It would be my first marathon and I really didn't do to good.Â But I made it through the marathon.Â I also took my bike to New Orleans, figuring it would be a decent place to get in a few rides.Â It's all flat down there, in fact they actually built a hill in the zoo, so the kids of NOLA could "experience" a hill.Â Anyway, I went for a bike ride and couldn't believe how strong I had gotten during my training to that point.Â You don't really realize it when your on a trainer, but you really are getting stronger.Â And faster.
BTW- quick story about New Orleans.Â We found a cool little Irish pub we liked- Boondock Saints (named for the movie).Â We were sitting in Boondock Saints one afternoon, talking to the bartender about cycling.Â She warned me that there are some pretty rough neighborhoods in NOLA- I should be careful on my bike.Â I told her that I knew, but "I'm fast."Â Her response- "Faster than a bullet?"Â I was pretty careful the rest of the trip.
A couple of weeks ago, early on a Friday morning I was taking out the trash.Â One of my cats- Ruby- loves to try to get out every time the front door opens and sometimes when I'm just runing out for the mail or to take out the trash, I let he "escape."Â Of course I grab her and bring her back inside after her 2 minutes of fun.Â On this particular morning I did not let Ruby out.Â As I dropped the garbage bag at the edge of the road I glanced down the road and saw a dog.Â Like I always do, I said something to the dog, just a simple "hi puppy" and turned to head back in the house.Â The dog barked at me.Â "Oh, the dog likes me" I remember thinking and then watched as the dog ran towards me.Â Just as the dog started running I caught a rabbit out of the corner of my eye as he ran around the corner of my house.Â Now it started to become obvious, the dog was going after the rabbit, not saying "hi" to me.Â Then, as the dog ran past me to go get the rabbit, I noticed- the dog was not a dog at all, but a fox.Â Suddenly my mind went to Ruby- did I let Ruby out?Â Did she sneak out without me noticing?Â Was that Ruby and not a rabbit that I saw out of the corner of my eye?Â When I got back in the house I immediately searched for Ruby and found her.Â All was right in my world and in fact I just witnessed a little nature, right there in front of my house.
Last night my workout called for "strides."Â I've explained these before, but in case you have forgotten- it's a running drill- a 20 second burst, turn around, hop 30 times on one foot, hop 30 times on the other foot and then walk back to the start line and do it all over again.Â I live pretty close the the Pheasant Branch Nature Conservancy in Middleton (the words "Nature Conservancy" in the title should have clued me in to what was to come), so I often run there.Â I decided to do the strides in the nature concervancy and it was going well, until I saw the fox.Â He crossed my path, just about 10 feet from where I end each of those 20 second bursts.Â He was not aggressive in the least, in fact, he made no move toward me at all, but all I could think of was the fox taking off after the rabbit on that Friday morning.Â Would the fox sense that I'm injured (seeing me hopping down the path) and think "Mmmm, lunch?"Â I never saw the fox again, but he was in my head.Â I did another set of 5 strides, looking over my shoulder constantly every time I was hopping back to the start line.Â I started my last set of 5 strides and decided it wasn't worth it, so I finnished the workout off by running and hopping home again.
So, the workout looked like this...
2 sets of 5 really good strides
1 set of 5 really hesitent strides- constantly looking over my shoulder and wondering if I was about to become lunch for the fox and his family.
1 set of 5 strides, running for 20 seconds down the sidewalk toward my house followed by hopping 30 times on each foot down the sidewalk and repeating until I got home again.
I'm guessing the neighbors and the folks driving down Century Avenue had a pretty good laugh last night.
Early morning swim today.Â It was not really a big workout- I did a total of 1200 yards, basically enough to wake me up before heading off to work.Â So, I got to the pool at about 6am and saw the usual stuff- at the end of each lane there were flippers, kick-boards, pull-buoys and water bottles.Â Well, all but one lane was full of that stuff- in that lane there was a guy swimming and a big bottle of diet Mountain Dew sitting at the edge of the pool.Â He'd do a couple of laps and take a big swig of the Mountain Dew and then back to swimming again.Â
Now THAT'SÂ a wake-up call.
A few years back I was driving on East Wash., stopped at a light, behind a bus, when I looked in the mirror and say a car coming at a pretty good clip- it was pretty obvious that the car was not stopping and I had no place to go.Â Just at the point of impact, I let off the break to absorb some of the impact.Â My car rolled forward and I hat the break again before I hit the bus.Â The car hit me hard enough that the woman's air-bag deployed and hard enough that her liscense plate was imprinted on my back bumper.
I got tattooed again tonight.Â Not in the traditional sense, but more like the car accident- only without the luxury of cars.Â I was playing soccer tonight and took a ball to the thigh.Â Hard.Â So hard that the lines from the ball are tattooed on my thigh.Â Yeah, you can actually see the lines from the ball on my thigh- kinda like the liscense plate on the bumper.