Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lake Stevens 70.3 RR (Part III)

Ack! The final chapter! FINALLY. I had a meeting in Seattle week before last... which kinda sucked the life out of me to be honest. SO... here we go!

Race Day! 4:30 wake up... b/c I'm that anal. Does anyone else like to shower before a race? I do. Is that weird? I dunno... there's something about starting your day... and day where you're going to be covered in sweat and spit and goo and sports drink and urine and quite possibly.... poop... starting off completely clean. Yeah. Huh. ANYwho... so I showered, greased up with sunscreen and lubed bits n pieces then grabbed some grub. Colleen and Brian were up as well and there was that wonderful feeling of anticipation hovering over everything! SO cool.

Into transition... set stuff up... said "Hi" and chatted with Amanda, Matt, and Luke... wished them luck and headed down to the water.

Swim: 31:59

Is it bad to jump into the water feeling ambivalent? Probably. I don't know if that really describes how I was feeling. I just wasn't worked up about it. Then again... maybe I was. Maybe by saying that I was ambivalent... that gives me an excuse if I don't do well? It's a possibility right? Huh. The games our heads play.

Anywho... the gun goes off and I'm in the mix. Probably one of the roughest starts I've ever had. I think that b/c of the buoy line being visible... people struggle to remain on that line and fight for their position. Unfortunately... I threw some elbows to get out of the melee and cut to the inside of the buoy line. Once past the pack I cut back in and settle roughly 6 feet to the right of the line... still visible but not right on top of it. My swim was... fine. I think I need to learn how to swim hard in a race. I don't really know what's holding me back... but I have yet to really get after it in the swim. Then again... maybe that's the way to approach it... relaxed. My results aren't terrible... and I come out of the water ready for the bike... but it kind of irks me... I need to be under 30 min consistently... and I know that's well within my reach without killing myself. Out of the water feeling fine and making a point of smiling on exit.

T1: 1:33

I forced a smile out of the water after remembering my death-stare at Vineman.

Bike: 2:46:44

This is a great bike course. While its two loops... which isn't my favorite... the scenery is beautiful and its relatively challenging in terms of climbing. My plan was to cruise the first loop. Literally. I went without power, heart rate, speed, or time for that matter and just settled into a comfortable pace. I'm still blown away at the number of athletes that blatantly draft... particularly on a course like this where there really isn't any viable excuse to do so! I kid you not... I came upon fairly tight groups of 5 to 6 riders on four separate occasions. SO frustrating!!!! I was definitely "that guy" at least twice... you know the guy, the guy that's yelling because everyone else is a bunch of cheaters? Yeah. "You f****** CHEATS! What the F*** is WRONG with you people! Hope you're enjoying the rest you F****!" Yeah... that was me. I also had no problem asking the ref as he passed on his scooter if he had nailed them and handed out a wealth of penalties. Arg. So... after the first loop I picked up the pace but not drastically. I was pretty comfortable the entire time. Nutrition was fine
and for the first time... I think EVER... I didn't launch a bottle! YEAH!

Peeing is my issue guys. I have got to figure out how to effectively pee on the bike. I can't ever seem to relax enough to completely empty my bladder! As a result... I attempt to hold it for as long as I can and end up getting so cramped up that once I DO stop at the porta-john... it takes me 5 min... at a minimum to get it all out! SO frustrating. So there I was... about to begin the second loop... and having to stop and pee... all the while being passed by other riders! Came out of the can and got back after it. I picked up the pace significantly in the second loop... at least I think so... it's hard to tell without any data... but I definitely worked harder the second time around. Coming off the bike I was feeling a bit sluggish... tired... and I was determined to take that first mile of the run extremely easy to let my legs come around.

Looking at my results from '08 when I last did this race, I was surprised to find that my overall time was only two minutes slower this year. What surprised me about that was from what I remember... I SUFFERED during the bike in '08. I had nutrition problems, peeing issues (again), and just about killed myself in terms of effort. This year I cruised it. It felt easy. It's encouraging actually. I think that it can takes years to build your fitness... having a full year and a half between these two races made a difference... even if my training was spotty all during 2010. Good stuff.

T2: 1:30... to the guy that literally screamed at me like a complete psychopath to dismount... sorry that I didn't slow down to a complete crawl 50 m before the dismount line... thanks for volunteering... but f*** you. :-)

Run: 1:41:37

Out onto the run course... forcing myself to go easy! This is TOUGH b/c out of transition there are a TON of people going nutso... so its really hard to reign it in. Got a really nice, "GO ROBBY!" from Amanda and headed out. Was NOT feeling it folks. Just kinda felt like dog poo... and yes... I had to pee... AGAIN! I had a hard time on the first loop of this course last time... and it certainly wasn't any different this time. Another 5 - 7 minute pee break at mile one and I was off.
Let's fast forward a bit. I was heading up the hill toward the turn around... not feeling terribly spry... and I glanced up the hill about 50 m... there he was... my "arch nemesis". You'd think that would be good news to me... but he was heading DOWN the hill! Here's what went through my head:

"Are you KIDDING ME? He's got 2 miles on me!!!! How is that possible?! Holy crap he's running well. GAWD... I hate that dude with his pretty hair and muscles, and attitudinal swagger. I want to punch him in the neck! Alright. I gotta get him. I just gotta"

I was so dejected and pissed that I didn't even look up and say "HI!" as he went down the hill and past me. I was kinda surprised at how visceral a reaction I had to that. Guess I really don't like the dude and it was a DEFINITE shot to my ego to watch him handing me my ass in a race... he's never beaten me before... and this time... it looked like a definitely possibility. ACK!

At the turn-around I hit the throttle and headed back into town. My legs were beginning to feel good and I was finally finding my stride. The heat was coming on but I was actually feeling quite good. Back through town... and ANOTHER potty break at mile 7! Literally... another 5-7 min of pee time! INFURIATING! Out of the potty and there was Brian... as usual... HUGE smile on his face.... "Hey SKINNY ROB!!!!! Go buddy! Lookin good! Get after it!"... love the effects of a good cheer can have on you! Around mile 8 I got passed by Tyler Stewart, who I got to meet at Vineman this year... she's a nice gal and an intense competitor. "Holy CRAP Tyler! You look great! Go get her!"... she was in second and it's always fun to try and get a giggle out of the pros as they blow by you... no giggle... but a "thanks" and "good job". Back through town again and I started to head up the hill toward the turn-around. I was beginning to feel the effort I was putting in... but to be honest... I was still pretty darn comfortable. I looked up the hill and guess WHAT? There he WAS! Not coming down the hill.... but shuffling UP it! I was going to pass him... with ease! I couldn't believe it! In my head I was like a little school girl! "He broke! HA! I got him!" I came up just behind his left shoulder and hung there for a second... then eased forward... turned my head to the right... "OH! Hey man! Lookin good!"... then hit the accelerator again! BAH ha HA! What IS it with this guy that brings out the asshole in me??? I'm NEVER like that. But BOY was it awesome to pass him on the run! The rest is pretty uneventful. The last two miles I threw down pretty hard but was never overly uncomfortable. I crossed the line not knowing exactly where I had ended up time-wise but hoped to be under 5 hours.

Final: 5:03:20

Overall I'm happy with the race. The biggest thing that bothers me is the peeing. I peed 3 different times on this course... which probably isn't bad in terms of hydration etc. What really chaps my hide is that if you do the math... being conservative... I spent, at the very least, 12 minutes PEEING! In reality that number is probably closer to 15 min. SERIOUSLY??? I have GOT to figure this out folks. If I had shaved 10 minutes off my time... know where that would have put me? From 13th in my AG... into 4th and within easy striking distance of the podium. That's where I'd like to be. Oh well... live and learn

Thanks for taking the time to read. Hope you're all happy, healthy, and whole.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Lake Stevens RR (Part II)

Ok! So check it out! Another post right on the heels of another! YeeHAW!

Saturday morning broke with an early-ish wake up followed by a quick n snappy bike/run to make sure the legs work ok and everything on the bike is firing properly. Col joined me and Brian had his weekly long run in preparation for the Portland Marathon in Oct. At this point... it still hadn't really dawned on me that I'd be racing the next day. I guess this is a tribute to my more relaxed attitude toward racing this year... kinda nice actually... although I'm not convinced that if you want to "go hard" that this is the way to approach it. After that, we showered up, threw Pip in the car and met Brian for a big, phat breakfast.

For the remainder of the day we got our transition bags packed, bikes set up, and just kind of layed around, feet up, water bottles in hand. It's funny... I felt SO sluggish for the rest of the day. I think you know you're getting ready to race when you feel like a fat, lazy slob the day before. Somehow... your body knows that the next day its on... so it almost forces you to relax. It's good to listen to your body... it just knows.

Late afternoon we threw our bikes on top of the car and headed out to the lake to check them in and get a quick swim in the lake. The weather couldn't have been better... tho there were mutterings about how HOT it was going to be on race day. It's a relatively short drive out to the lake and Col and I took the Mini... which also happened to have a sun roof. Word to the wise... if you're putting your bike up on the roof of your car... don't put your number on it till you've gotten to transition. As we're cruising along, I glance up at my bike and notice that there is a small tear in my number which is on my seat post... it gets bigger... and bigger... until finally, whoosh, there goes most of it!

Col and I set things up as best we could then took a dip in the lake. The water was warm and gorgeous and... as usual... visibility was great. For those of you that don't know... you can actually follow the buoy cable throughout the entire race... no sighting required if you choose that line of approach... literally. My body felt good... you know... rested... relaxed... happy body. YAY!Looks like a rat spent some time gnawing on it! Pretty funny actually and I enjoyed rolling into transition with a very ghetto lookin number on my bike.

Colleen and Bryan have some friends that live right ON the lake approximately 1 mile from the swim start! Talk about PERFECT! They generously opened up their home, fed us dinner, and entertained us with stories of their water skiing prowess. Skiing for them is like triathlon for us... they beam when they talk about it! There's this whole huge competitive water skiing community that I had NO idea about... pretty neato.

Full belly. Final check on gear and bags. Warm shower and early bed! I had just a hint of nerves as I laid there. Lake Stevens is where I earned my slot to the world championships in '08 and despite my best efforts... I had expectations going in. In the back of my mind, I was convinced that I could PR this course... even tho my training has been spotty this year. PLUS... my arch nemesis was racing as well... and I really wanted to hand him his ass on the course! LOL!! I drifted off... relaxed and ready...

Stay tuned... race day is comin! Thanks for taking the time to read!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lake Stevens 70.3 RR (Part I)

FINALLY huh? The problem is, once I have a minute to myself... kiddos in bed, house clean, dishes and laundry done... all I want to do is sit and enjoy a temporary catatonic state. Then when I don't have my little loves... I find other things to do like house projects. Sigh. Kinda puts the kabosh on the creative writing skills.

This is going to have to be done in stages I think. There's just too much for my little brain to spew in one post... so here it comes!

I got up to Seattle around noon on Friday and hooked up with my IM CdA pals Colleen and Bryan and their dog Pip! They generously offered me a place to stay for both Friday and Saturday... for FREE! I lllllllOVE free! It had been over a year since I'd seen either of them and we simply picked up where we left off... really great folks! Isn't that true of triathlon people? Some of the easiest people in the WORLD to make lasting friendships with. Of course... they're also kind of a pain in the ass aren't they? "I can't eat that... I'm training... It's 8:00, I have to go to bed... Pass the salt, I've been crampy... What do you mean my bright white compression socks do go with this dress?". Uh huh. We are a rare and wonderful breed.

After hooking up with Colleen, a we grabbed a bite to eat, (a big, fat, awesome, dirty dirty delicious GYRO!) and headed over to the very swanky Everett Holiday Inn for packet pickup. This is a MANDATORY race briefing and you're not allowed to pickup your packet until you've gotten your, "I'm a Good Boy and Know the Rules" stamp. After that 1/2 hour of my life that I'll never get back, we grabbed our packets, perused the ironman store for overpriced stuff that we really don't need, and took off. We spent the rest of day doing last minute bike tune-ups and hanging out. While we were at Mrcrampys, we ran into Blake... who just happens to be coached by Liz as well! Blake has a big bald head... which is funny... and just a great attitude about him! For the last event of the day we went to the velodrome to catch some of the racing before heading home and hittin the rack early.

There's day one... I know... thrilling. Stay tuned for more and thanks for taking the time to read!


Me, Col, and Blake @ MrCrampys. Look at his MELON!

Me n Col... we're cool... just ask us.