Thursday, December 31, 2009
The new address is http://teambabydinosaur.blogspot.com
I'd like to take this time to thank all of our readers over the past couple years. You guys have been awesome with your inspiration to us and motivation. I've certainly seen a lot of change within myself over the past two years and I can only hope that continues in the future.
On behalf of both of us, thank you. :-) We look forward to seeing you at our new blog!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
The ring! Blue topaz donated by my dad for the cause set simply. I love it.
Anyway, on to the race! Brandon and I did this same race last year. We were thinking about doing a smaller one, but decided "eh, what the hell" and did it again this year.
Last year: 4,000 people showed up.
This year: 9,000 people showed up (7000something finishers).
Last year: Race temp somewhere in the 40s.
This year: Race temp ended up cracking 60.
Last year: We pretty much quit working out for like a month at this time.
This year: We've kept plugging along somehow.
Last year: The race would be the longest one to date.
This year: I've cranked out over four several times and even cracked five once.
Last year: I had to walk during the race.
This year: No walking for me!
Last year: I felt fine.
This year: Ran through a head cold (which is still here ... grrr ...)
Okay, so except for that last one, this year was much better than last, including our times (which you'll see in a second). Given the warm weather, there was still snow on the ground, though.
Brandon standing in CO snow for the 11th straight month.
We got there about 90 minutes prior to race start so we could find good parking so we could get out of there pretty quickly after the race ended (race time was 10:15am; i had to be at work at 12:30p). As a result, we had tons of time to walk around and warm up.
Brandon and I with Gobbles the race mascot.
The typical "Brandon adjusts his iPod" warm-up shot.
Continuing the silliness. I also rocked out my new Zeal sunglasses this race (they were awesome).
Exiting the port-o-potties. Remember how I said 9000 people showed up for this race? Yeah, there was this row and another row with about the same amount of port-o-potties right next to it ... and none other except at the finish line. Yeah. Glad we got in line early.
Some guy dressed as a chicken.
Brandon channelling his inner warrior for the race.
T the Tree becoming a tree ... kind of literally (t the tree was my hockey nickname ... long story).
We finally made our way to the start about 15 minutes prior to race time. Given that it's our "last" race of the season, we decided to run it together. I kind of felt bad making Brandon run with me given that his running has been going a lot better than mine AND my body decided to get sick on me, but he insisted.
Given that this race is so huge, they don't have people at the mile markers yelling out your time. Which, given that it ended up taking us 90 seconds to even get to the timing mat at the start line from our place in the masses, was probably okay. Anyway, first mile was different for Brandon and I. He thought it felt bad. I thought the first mile flew by and was kind of surprised to see that first marker. I felt okay while running and I didn't lose my timing chip in the first tenth of a mile like I did last year, so that was a plus.
The latter half of mile two was when things started to get iffy for me. One thing that probably helped in the first mile and a half was we ended up running on the path in the park and NOT the street. However, halfway into mile two, we wound up back on the street which I'm sure changed the impact of my feet hitting the ground and blahblahblah. I also started heating up a bit (remember what I said about it getting to 60 degrees?). Regardless, if mile one felt great, mile two felt like crap.
Mile three wasn't that better. I was seriously concentrating on form so it wouldn't crumble into the ground and I was slowing my pace a little just so I could keep running. It crossed my mind to take a small walk break, but I know that once I make the decision to walk once, I've made the decision to turn what was a run into a walk/run. Sucks, but that's the way my body works. So, I kept on plugging.
Mile four was the most painful. I could tell Brandon probably wanted to pull away, but, wonderful fiance that he is, he stayed with me. I kept giving him one word answers to his questions (which were mostly, "You okay?" me: "yeah."). Still, I kept running. Felt marginally better once I saw the finish line. Was a lot happier that, unlike last year, I could actually SPRINT across the line this year ... though it was probably one of my worst kicks ever.
Last year: Got stuck in a logjam and had to walk across the finish line.
This year: Was able to actually RUN across the line!
Last year: Finished in 48:26 for a 12:06.5/mile pace.
This year: Finished in 40:52 for a 10:13/mile pace.
Last year: Finished one second behind Brandon.
This year: Finished one second ahead of Brandon.
To sum up, it's better to never just stop training and even if you have a head cold and haven't been putting in that many runs (particularly longer distance runs), you can still pull a decent time out of your behind.
Also, as Brandon and I are hoping to do a blog overhaul sometime between now and January 1, you might see even less posting than you do from us now ... particularly from him. Just to warn you.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Anyway! I was going to post a marginally amusing Thanksgiving post about things you could do to help combat food overload (like use frozen turkeys as kettlebells - the bags already have handles!), but I got lazy and didn't follow through.
However, Brandon and I did run a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving (same one as last year) and it went a lot better than last year. Once I upload my photos (hopefully tomorrow), I'll get that race post up.
Friday, November 13, 2009
And yes, I'm engaged to Brandon now. :) I'll post a photo or two probably early next week. :)
Thursday, November 12, 2009
My theme for November is Explosiveness. It's time to hit the weight room again, regain the muscle I have neglected for a few months and also explode in other ways...like the pool and the pavement. Bottom line is, I'm going to be hard on myself this month. And make my body explode.
In other news, come January, our blog is going to have a different format. Instead of updating you on the mundaneness of our otherwise very boring lives, it's going to be more specific, with issues and whatnot that we come across. I'm hoping to update it nearly daily, so keep coming back!
And in other news, we are no longer boyfriend/girlfriend...we are engaged!!!! I'm sure pictures of the ring and whatnot will follow shortly.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
The first was Wednesday. As you may have read/heard about, a big ol' snowstorm hit Colorado this past week. Well, I had either a run or a cycle penciled in for Wednesday as I was off work and it's a bit hard to ride one's bike in a snowstorm. So, I ran. It was cold and wet, but I ran.
Me all bundled up and ready to go!
The view outside. If you look closely, you can tell it's still snowing.
At this point, I shoveled a bit of the driveway so I had a path to the street and I took off. Given that the sidewalks were barely shoveled off but the roads had been plowed, I took advantage of the fact that pretty much no one was out on the roads and ran in the street. Not the safest thing and not something I would normally do, but in this case, it worked.
I did a short loop around the neighborhood; I felt great and warm and could have gone longer ... had I remembered a scarf/neck gaiter. The bottom half of my face kinda froze due to the snowflakes pelting it and the wind that kicked up every now and then. If I had something covering my face, I definitely would have been able to pull out a longer run.
Path I'd shoveled ALREADY almost recovered in snow.
Frozen me post-run. You can see my delightfully rosy cheeks ... and chin ...
In any case, the short run I managed was fantastically fun. It was also probably the best test of the Drymax socks so far as I apparently ran through some puddles and never noticed until I noticed my shoes were pretty wet when I got home. Oops. Still, my feet were bone dry!
The next run was what I'm for now terming the Team Baby Dino Annual Hallow's Eve Moonlight Run. (yes, i'm a nerd)
I came up with the idea for the run when Brandon and I were thinking of things to do on Halloween. Going out and drinking really wasn't an option as I had to be up this morning to be at work by 6. So, I thought that we could get black t-shirts, paint them with glow-in-the-dark paint, grab our cameras and run around the neighborhood, taking pictures of cool jack-o'-lanterns or whatnot in the process. It wouldn't be a serious run; just a fun way to enjoy the holiday now that we're too old to go trick-or-treating (boo).
So ... we did.
Us! Front of shirts.
So after taking a few pictures of our own jack-o'-lanterns, we were off. Sadly, there weren't that many good Halloween displays/jack-o'-lanterns, but we did get some fun pictures of us running.
Brandon ... who ditched his hat at one point.
Me enjoying myself.
Flopped in the snow.
Getting some snow resistance.
If you made me guess, we only did a couple of miles. I couldn't even throw a time out as we stopped at my brother's house at one point to take pictures of him and his girlfriend in their freaky costumes (they went to a bar). Still, it was a way to ENJOY running. Make it something we want to do more often.
As a result of this run ... we want to do it again next year. Make it the second annual version. We're also thinking of making our own shirts for the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot we're doing (four miles!).
Because if we've got to run, we might as well make it as enjoyable as possible, right?
Saturday, October 31, 2009
One was Wednesday during the crazy-ass snowstorm that hit Denver (yes, during the snowstorm) and the second was, oh, just about 30 minutes ago.
I'll blog more tomorrow (with pictures!) with the tale of both runs.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Eat sugar, but not too much (if you must at all)!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I know that sounded like a bad book review on Amazon, but seriously, this was an amazing book. T and I discussed it at length. Do we over-analyze running? Is this really a simple thing that we are meant to do? Are we so absorbed by the comforts of society that we have forgotten how to run?
What I took away from it, if there was only one thing to take away, is keep things simple, in any sport you do. Focus on enjoying yourself when you're out there. The second you concern yourself with making running something you HAVE to do, it no longer is enjoyable.
Friday, October 9, 2009
This morning, I went for a run in Rapid City. It was 28 degrees when I started my run. Moreso, I'm fighting a cold right now. Nonetheless, I pushed myself through it and ended up doing 2.13 miles in 24:19. Not a good time, obviously, but you know what? I don't mind. Because that brings me up to my next point.
Everything I do in this next year is important. Every time I work out, every time I swim, bike, run, weightlift, play hockey, etc. I am doing something to my body. I'm changing it. Therefore, I have decided my theme for this next year will be called Breaking Down Walls. It's got numerous meanings, including what I just mentioned above. Another one is I want to push myself continuously. Every workout, I want to break down a wall. And obviously, we're both looking at doing an Olympic triathlon and a half-marathon. Yeah, breaking down those walls. :-)
Last week, I ran 5.23 miles in Wichita. It might not seem impressive, but consider this: I was fighting a cold that week (and still am), and I ran 13.02 miles that week. That is a record for me in terms of mileage in one week. I'm really happy about that. This week was a letdown due to a lot of circumstances, but honestly, I'm ok with it. Normally, I probably wouldn't be, but hey, we're breaking down walls. :-)
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Anyway, after reading an excerpt in 5280 Magazine and I'm pretty sure this one in Men's Health, I decided to pick up Christopher McDougall's book Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.
Long story short, it was AMAZING. McDougall, a writer for the aforementioned Men's Health, wanted an answer to a simple question - "How come my foot hurts?" He'd been told that it was due to running and the high stress that it puts on one's feet. In figuring out exactly why running hurts one's feet, however, he learned about the Tarahumara, a group of running people down in Mexico. The Tarahumara are basically the world's best ultramarathoners, having come to one such race (the Leadville 100) and kicked everyone's asses. They are also kind people, have very low injury rates and are pretty much perfect (so McDougall describes them).
Anyway, the book tells of McDougall's tale of finding the Tarahumara and then learning how to run and train like them, finding out that he can run further and longer as a result with no injuries.
McDougall winds his story in along with the basic history of ultramarathon-ing as well as the history of how our foot problems (due to running) came about. Basically, as humans evolved and moved upright, we were born to run and run long distances. Barefoot. The human foot was made to run barefoot and all the correcting crap we do to our feet with our running shoes and stuff basically makes it worse. In other words, since Nike came out with the first cushioned running shoe, runners started getting injured and injured a lot.
If you like running, a good story, history and a touch of anthropology mixed all together, I highly recommend this book. I just picked it up from the library, but I'm thinking it's one I may need to buy to have for the personal library.
After finishing the book yesterday, I was motivated to go running around the park barefoot ... but knew I had to get in some miles. So, I decided to go for a long run. I tinkered with my form a little - keeping my back straight and my steps as light as I could make them ... and I did well. I tried to enjoy the run and not feel miserable and for the most part ... it worked.
I didn't have to walk until just past the 3.2 mile mark and only seriously walked when I got to this murderous hill near the end of the run (100 feet in elevation gained in under a half-mile). All in all, I did 5.12 miles in 1:00:16 ... which is the longest run I've EVER been on. EVER. It was the first time I've ever cracked the five mile mark. My quads started hurting a bit near the end as did my stupid buniony feet, but it also felt AMAZING at the same time.
So, that's where I am. Except for pretty much my total lack of bike riding lately (oops), I think I'm well on my way to early prepping my way for an Olympic distance triathlon next year and maybe even a half-marathon next December (2010, people) ...
Monday, October 5, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
1. I hadn't uploaded pictures yet.
2. I've worked a whole ton.
3. It's been emotionally stressful (pretty much lost a long-time friend this week ... no, she's not dead ... she just apparently did a 180 in personality. yeah.).
4. The crappy, dreary, rainy, cold, gloomy weather hasn't helped either.
In any case, I finally uploaded pictures and the sun's FINALLY come out again, so yay, race update.
Anyway, this year's recap is somewhat similar to last year's recap ... right down to the crappy breakfast. We managed a better meal the night before (and our pre-race sushi for lunch instead!), though.
So, last Saturday morning, we woke up, I tossed on my winner underoos, got dressed and headed the 30 miles down the road from our hotel to the race site. Circumstances this year prevented us from pre-registering, so we got there with plenty of time to go do that.
After registering, we wandered over to the perma-restrooms (not the porta-potties), did our pre-race business and then warmed up, finding a sunny spot to stretch in.
Brandonpants ... chilling prior to the race.
Trying to stay warm!
Soon enough, it was time to hop the bus to take us 5K down the road to the abandoned drive-in race start. We got off the buses, looked over at the turkeys at nearby house that were gobbling away and then lined up ... about 100 feet back from where we normally start. We waited for the Boy Scouts to drop the flag and tell us we were off ... I love this start. Really.
See all the guys setting their watches? The green stomach you see ended up winning the race in 14:40.8. Yeah.
The usually-not-very-organized start was even less organized this year as we were to soon find out. Anyway, this race didn't feel that good. It's a small race that's been getting bigger and bigger every year and becoming not as fun, honestly.
In terms of pain, this race also didn't feel that good. I hadn't had a chance to get in much in terms of a halfway decent run (or two) the week prior and the ones I did get in sucked. I just kept watching people pass me and pass me and pass me ... and I had no hope at all for a decent time.
Still, I kept plodding along, passing a few people along the way. I never felt like I settled into a groove, however, and my sports asthma and crappy breathing kicked in near the end of the race. Since I parked right near the course this year, I was hoping to pick it up once I saw my car, but I couldn't manage a sprint until I was already in the "chute" (i use the term lightly).
I was crying as I finished, due to my breathing issues and just the overall crappiness that I felt. I waited for my breathing to subside and then walked to the car to change into flip-flops, stopping for a few pictures first.
The race fairy!
Me with said race fairy.
After changing shirts and shoes, we headed back to the park for some post-race snacks, grabbing a silly picture in the process.
We like oranges!
After food, we waited around the park a long time for our results, neither of us having any clue of what we finished in. Brandon had heard a time close to his, but also the news that they were having timing issues (... which was probably why our start was even less organized this year). After a while, we said, ah, screw it and went to the car to go home ... and realized the battery was dead. I remember my purse handle getting caught on one of my light steering wheel lever thingys and I thought I had put everything back to normal ... but apparently not.
So, we walked back to the park to find someone with jumper cables. In the process, we found out our times - I finished in 27:35.5 - 8:52.85/mi ... my second time under 9:00/mi this year.
I didn't believe it. Add the 50 seconds of wonkiness the race people were talking about? Yeah, I'd believe that. But, what the race people say goes, so I'll take it.
After finding out our results, we also found some nice EMTs who had jumper cables in their ambulance, so we bugged them to help jump me and send us on our way home.
As Brandon said, the race was our last official one of the season, even though we're planning to do some sort of Turkey Trot-type race on Thanksgiving. We'll see how that goes, though, as this week has been a struggle in terms of working out. Damn stress.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
This year, running hasn't exactly been our cup of tea. For girlfriend, she's been struggling with it pretty much all season...for reasons we don't quite understand. As for me, I've done pretty well with it, but still have yet to get into that groove that I did last year. Nagging injuries have plagued me all season long and the week before this race, I thought I might be dealing with a muscle tear in my right calf. I took a few days off from working out though and I think that did the trick.
Regardless, we drove up to Buena Vista and Salida to accomplish what we had been dreaming about all year long. We dealt with some construction on 24 which didn't make either of us happy, but eventually we made it to Salida. We checked into the hotel and went to a little cafe to get something to eat. Then we stopped at Wal-Mart to get some stuff and went back to the hotel to relax and sleep.
Woke up very early and headed over to breakfast. Powdery scrambled eggs, paper-thin bacon, and raisin bran were my breakfast, along with water, milk, and a banana. We ate, changed into our running stuff, and packed the car, ready to head to Buena Vista.
We got there and registered. With plenty of time to kill, we hit the fixed bathroom that we found last year and began stretching and warming up. The sun was definitely warming the place up, but it was still very chilly. I also began thinking that this year wasn't my year to get a P.R. I just wasn't sure I could pull it off.
We loaded ourselves on the bus and headed 3.1 miles up the road to the turnoff where our race began. For whatever reason, they started us further back from the road this year. Don't know why they did this, but I digress. Someone said 3-2-1 and we were off!
I was in 1st place for maybe .01 miles, but still, I have officially lead a race in my life! I sprinted across the road so I could run down facing traffic and attempted to settle into a groove. I forgot how they really don't have mile markers for this race, so there's really no way of knowing where I'm at. Also, there's no water tables, which would have been kind of nice...not going to lie.
I saw the town and figured I would be close to my P.R., which is 27:17. I had to remind myself not to push it yet. I had been trying to catch this one guy the entire race who I would estimate was no more than 5 seconds ahead of me; yet I couldn't catch him. I saw the turn towards the finish and kicked it into high gear. And I passed the guy! I hit the finish line at full speed and quickly asked the time guy where I finished. He said they were at 27:15 but had problems with the timing. Oh great, I thought, another year of a botched time. And this year, I didn't keep track on my own. I started walking towards the turn and saw girlfriend booking it in. I cheered her on to the finish.
We both took in a lot of the snacks and pastries they offered us post-race and waited...and waited...and waited...apparently they had a big problem with the timing. The race director dude said he wants to go to chip timing or some other form of electronic timing. We decided to not wait around and just head home. Of course, girlfriend's car didn't start, so we had to try to get it jump-started. First though, we would see if the resluts were posted. And then we saw it. My time...25:57! I was shocked and amazed. Apparently they had major issues with timing, but that was the accurate time. I was blown away. Girlfriend finished in 27:35, which is her best time in the past two years. Happy, we decided to skedaddle. I decided to ask the ambulance driver if he could help us. He jumped the car and home we went.
A great way to close out my racing season.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
The fall must be a motivating season. I think I've kind of figured out how my mind works in terms of the 12 months and working out. Here's a breakdown of each month:
January - New year = new goals and motivation. Workouts are numerous and demanding
February - Start settling into groove, which means I get lazy
March - I hate this time of year and generally spend it moping and be even lazier
April - Holy hell! I gotta get to work! Race season is underway
May - Yay, nice weather outside! Bike and run a lot
June - Hooray, in full race season now
July - Ok, it's hot. But still working hard
August - Summer is over. I'm sad. Lazy time again
September - Fall! Leaves changing! Yay! Let's go embrace the outdoors!
October - Dude, season is over. Football and hockey are only priorities now
November - Oh crap, Thanksgiving is coming. I need to work out
December - Work out? Christ, I don't care
Yeah, that's the general breakdown. As you can probably tell, I don't do well in late spring or late fall/early winter. That's not going to happen this year. I plan on doing both an Olympic tri as well as a sprint next year, so I am staying in tip-top workout shape this time around.
Oh, and just so you all know, girlfriend and I are shooting for Ironmans a lot earlier than planned. 30 years old! Yeah, that's right.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Anyway, in the past few weeks/months, running around the neighborhood has gotten quite boring. You can run any different route, go any which way, but at the end of the day, you still end up running down the same street to and from home.
I've been up at Red Rocks 3 times in the past month and a half. Once to see a concert, once taking my mom up there who was visiting us and once taking my friend up there who was visiting us. And I don't know what it was, but looking at the stage, the rows, and the view, I got an image in my head. This image was me next year, doing an Olympic triathlon. Plowing my way through the water, smiling as I come into the 2nd transition off my bike, and sprinting across the finish line. So I got to thinking...what if I use the great Colorado outdoors as my own training arena? What if I harness everything that is around me and instead of just admiring it, use it?
I pondered it for a few days and came up with a thought. Swim in the reservoirs around the state including some way up in the mountains. Cycle in the foothills and again ride up to Maroon Bells in Aspen. And run Red Rocks. Why not? Mix it up! Use the state of Colorado as a training arena! Take advantage of the beauty!
We were riding back on the lightrail the other night from the Rockies game and I mentioned to girlfriend the idea of running Red Rocks. She wasn't too excited about it, but when I told her that running every row was the equivalent of running a 5K, she perked up. We both wanted to squeeze in a long run, so we headed on up. And boy, let me tell you, there's something special about running up there. Yes, it was hot. Yes, it was challenging. But my god, it was wonderful. We both had great times, and we both were feeling energized.
While I will not be able to make it up there every day, I plan on utilizing it a lot in the offseason when I can. This may prove to be the spark that ignites the powderkeg! (that's me...I'm the powderkeg...)
Monday, August 31, 2009
I'm starting to learn a few things:
- I can't take more than two days off in between runs.
- I need to warm up and stretch at least a little before a run.
- I'm getting to the point where I can't eat a lot of grease/crappy food - otherwise I feel the repercussions for DAYS.
I also learned that Famous Dave's's (?) chocolate-covered pig lickers (that is, bacon) are FANTASTIC.
All things considered, neither of us did too badly at the fair. We split some cheese curds with his parents (fried cheese balls; pretty tasty), split french fries, split a chocolate shake and split the above cup of chocolate-covered bacon. Separately, I had a lemonade while he had a diet coke and a corn dog. Given the Minnesota State Fair and the various foods on sticks and fried crap that they have there, I figure we ended up okay.
While we didn't put in an official workout while there, we did a lot of walking around the Fair, downtown Minneapolis and the Mall of America.
We also tried out EA Active for the Wii. Verdict: I love it SO MUCH BETTER than Wii Fit. EA Active has you doing stuff with a resistance band AND has harder exercises. Wii Fit is best for those who want low impact exercise (that is, yoga and balance games) or for those just trying to ease their way into exercise for the first time. EA Active is for those who want to graduate from Wii Fit and actually get a halfway decent workout while using a video game.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Wednesday was my first official day off in a week. It felt nice to relax my muscles, which had been screaming at me to take a break. It also was nice to kind of reflect where I was at with working out. Basically, aside from trying to set a PR in a 5K in 3 weeks, I'm really not training for anything...other than keeping in shape for my triathlon and running season next year. But I always feel better when I work out. My body feels better, my head feels better, etc.
So that all being said, after a few days of resting up in Minnesota, we'll be back on the workout horse tomorrow!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I'm not entirely sure how this happened. Maybe it's because I've been feeling productive - Wednesday was super-productive-cleaning-day for me and I scheduled in a long run and that newfound motivation carried on through. Maybe because summer's starting to turn into autumn (my favorite season) and I'm determined because of that. Whatever it is, though, I'm happy for it.
Anyway, this is what I've done:
8.19 - Ran 3.19 mi in 34:08 - 10:42.01/mi
8.20 - Ran 1.36 mi in 13:13 - 9:43.09/mi
8.21 - Ran random park sprints (almost an off day; didn't keep track of any distance or time)
8.22 - Swam 400m in 11:00 - 44:15.42/mi; lifted core and legs
8.23 - Ran 1.04 mi in 10:10 - 9:46.54/mi
8.24 - Swam 1000m in 25:00 - 40:14.02/mi; lifted arms (and am STILL FREAKING SORE)
8.25 - Ran 3.35 mi in 35:30 - 10:35.82/mi
8.26 - OFF DAY!!!!
8.27 - Ran 1.36 mi in 13:21 - 9:48.97/mi
Of note: I never walked anytime I ran (wooo!) and all swimming (except for like 50m on the 22nd) is done breaststroke (i know, i know).
However, one thing I've noticed happening - and I don't know if it's because it's starting to be fall or what - is that I've FINALLY been able to get my run times under 10 minutes/mile. FINALLY. It has taken all damn summer and look. Granted, it's only on my shorter runs, but that right there is a HUGE victory for me.
Granted, I know that in theory, my times should drop if I keep running enough, but that hasn't happened all summer. The fact that it finally is happening makes me giddy. I'm not down to the 8:30/mi that I managed to get down to in 2007, but maybe it'll happen by Autumn Color. Maybe.
Here's to my running FINALLY getting better, here's to all of you in hopes that you've had similar breakthroughs with training/life lately and here's to a whole crazy FOUR DAYS OFF from work ... two and a half of which will be spent in Minnesota. State Fair, downtown Minneapolis, the Mall of America, a Twins game and much fun will be had this Friday and Saturday. Woo!
Monday, August 17, 2009
However, I came across a fun-sounding race in one of the free local sports magazines given to us at another race (one of those mags that have lists of all local competitions) - "Run For Your Life: The Alferd Packer Cannibal Run."
For those of you who don't know who Alferd (or alfred) Packer is/was, think the Donner Party of Colorado. Long story short, Packer led a group of miners from Utah to Colorado hoping to find gold. The trek was in winter, they got lost ... Packer was the only one who showed up out of the group to Colorado. Remnants of the bodies of the others were found and Packer was accused of cannibalism; got tried for murder, but only served time for manslaughter. His grave is found in Littleton Cemetery ... and Trey Parker and Matt Stone of "South Park" fame made a musical movie about his story which is hysterical and I recommend it to all (and will eventually make brandon watch it).
ANYWAY, as part of Western Welcome Week, the Littleton Rotary club apparently hosts a 5K/10K race in Packer's honor called the "Alferd Packer Cannibal Run." It landed on Brandon's birthday and as he "didn't want to do anything" for his b-day ... I figured running a 5K would be fun. So we signed up for it.
We arrived at the race at 7am to pick up our packets and despite some snafus regarding the race people figuring out who we were, we got our stuff and were pleasantly surprised to learn that you had the option of being chip timed. Obviously we exercised said option.
Brandon before the race with Ivan and Nelson.
Given that we were there so early, we took time to do our, um, business (mine didn't go so well; of course, my food consumption lately has been crap, crap and more crap) and stretch out really well. Also, given that it was Brandon's birthday, I got him a party hat to run in!
We had discussed a sash, but I forgot about it and had found the hat a few days prior, so we went with the hat.
Anyway, there weren't a lot of people lined up for the start despite there being two events, so we snapped another picture before we ran.
At 8am, we were off. The race went partially along the Platte River on the same trail that we'd cycled on a multitude of times before. We knew that the race would be partially on the Platte ... but we didn't know that it would be less than a mile of it. Right around the marker for the first mile ... we made the left to go back under Santa Fe and head toward Prince (and Packer's grave) ... which, go figure, was uphill. However, it was also out of the headwind that we usually bitch about while on our bikes, so that was good.
Much of the second mile was uphill including some fairly tough sections within the first quarter mile of mile two. Stupid me also forgot that Prince was also a nice, hilly road. Anyway, we kept plugging along until the second mile marker which was right after we ran past Packer's grave.
We continued on Prince for a little while longer, sloping downhill and cutting on to another trail to go back under Santa Fe back toward the finish line. This part was relatively flat, which was nice. We were thanking all the race volunteers and cops we passed ... most of whom were high school kids who paid us no mind. Losers.
Soon enough though, we were nearing the home stretch. Almost forgetting I had my camera, I snapped a pic of Brandon running in that last quarter-mile.
Right after this point, we made the turn to the 5K finish and started our final kick - the only time we really didn't run together. As I have a marginally better kick, I finished a second ahead of him in 32:46 ... for around a 10:32/mile. Not great, but not bad, either.
I know I have lots to work on in terms of my running if I want a good time at Autumn Color this year, but I know that I can push through and do it. Hey, I didn't walk this race and it was one of the few runs I've done with Brandon (and actually WITH him) that I've enjoyed myself.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Thanks in advance to FotoJack, whom I ... um ... jacked these from.
Brandon on the bike. Look! He's happy!
He picked it up again it seems, just looking determined.
Booking it around the corner to the finish line. As I believe I mentioned in my recap post, I started my kick a smidge too early and therefore apparently had to defy gravity going around the corner, praying I didn't fall over.
This picture could also be proof of a hockey background coming useful in a triathlon/road race, as I look marginally like I could be skating. Or did the first time I saw this picture. Either way.
This last picture is courtesy Brandon/our friend Mark, as boyfriend didn't see fit to post the pic of me actually crossing the finish line. Meaniebutt.
This is me doing my best Steve in a Speedo one-legged pirate impression while crossing the finish line. Too bad I didn't have a watch to check.
If you HAVE Facebook and are friends with either myself and/or Brandon, I believe you should be able to click through and see the picture there. If not, come stalk us (or, at least me)! I like new friends. :)
I'm flying with a captain this month who I am not exactly having fun with, for a variety of reasons (ask T, she's met him) and the other day, out of the blue, asked me why I did the triathlon. I explained to him that I wanted to see if I could do it. He asked me why did it matter? I told him that I like pushing my body to find out what its limits are. He said he's tired of people all bragging about they do this, they do that and wonders why anyone would push themselves that much. I said because obviously we're very different people.
I'm sure some of you know why I wanted to do the tri, but some probably don't. There's actually a variety of reasons. The main one is that I had a lot of demons to push away. I had the "fat" demons that were following me for so many years and when I crossed the finish line, they vanished. I'm not kidding. The weight lifted off my shoulders was unreal (girlfriend even said so). But also, I found out that I can push my body to a new height. I have discovered something that I want to pursue!
So, my question to all of you out there is, why? Why do you push yourselves? Why are you slaves to your gyms? Or the road? Or your bikes? Why?
Sunday, August 2, 2009
7-8 years ago, when I was morphing myself from a muscular football and hockey player into a beer drinking and cake eating tub, running/triathlons/any hard form of exercise seemed so far off the map. I would scoff at the idea of ever running a marathon. A triathlon? You gotta be crazy. And 7-8 years ago, I knew maybe one guy that was into marathons. Sure, every now and then we all might go out and run two miles or something in college, but that's about it.
Fast forward to today. I am now a triathlete and consistent runner. My girlfriend is also a triathlete (thrice) and into running and cycling. And it seems every time I'm on Facebook, someone's status update involves them going for a 20 mile run. Or they are doing a triathlon today. Or they have pictures from the latest race they did. My question to everyone is this: is pushing yourself and testing the limits of your body the new cool thing to do?
Take my 3 best friends in college. We all had our own abilities and athletic prowess. Me for example, I was the strongest and best at football and hockey. My buddy Tim was a baseball player. Great at it. My buddy Eric, for how bony he was/is, was a tennis player, skier, and hockey player. Steve was a skier and distance runner/triathlete. Today, Eric is now a marathon runner, my buddy Tim completed a half-marathon yesterday and is slated to do Twin Cities in October, and I have my first triathlon under my belt, plus many 5K's and a 10K.
Here is what I have observed: marathon runners, triathletes, and the like are still held in high and crazy regard by the public. The majority of people out there have not done any sort of race. We as athletes probably notice more because that's who we associate with. Now, I have observed some people (especially females) who train for 3 weeks in a year, do a triathlon once, and call themselves triathletes. I personally don't like that or care for it. You shouldn't do these events because they are cool and hip and allow you to hold yourself in high regard. No, you should do these events for a reason. Whether that reason be for charity, helping others reach their fitness goals (Steve in a Speedo) or because you are passionate and like pushing the limits of your body.
Running and triathlons may be hip, but make sure you're doing them for the right reasons.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Anyway, here is my post for my third triathlon - My Way or the Tri Way. If you recall from last year, I was so despondent after my tri that I didn't even want to post. Well, this year's post is a lot more upbeat than last year. So that's good.
We woke up early Saturday morning, only needing to get dressed and eat breakfast ... as we were smart and packed up the Rav the night before. So, we got dressed and made some scrambled eggs and ham with toast. We left a few minutes later than we wanted, but we still made it to transition just after it opened - right after 6am.
We got there and unloaded the bikes.
We put the front tires back on and made sure we were all full of air and ready to go. Once we had tires all full of air, we grabbed spots in transition.
After making sure we had spots next to each other, it was time to get body marked. In honor of fellow blogger Steve in a Speedo, I got a smiley face on my calf (which, weirdly enough, is the last part of my body marking to fade).
Once marked, it was time to get transition officially officially set up.
My spot all set up ... except for my run shorts which I was still wearing.
Our buddy Mark who came along to take pictures.
After we made sure our transition area was all set up, we went to test out the water as our open-water at Aurora Reservoir the week prior was COLD. 7.18.2009 - water temp about 68 degrees. 7.25.2009 - water temp in the mid-70s. So glad for that.
Brandon happy the water is warm. Photo is backlit, but I actually like it that way.
The soon to be triathlete couple!
Satisfied that the water would be a lot warmer than it was, we headed back up to transition. We both had sand on our feet and we couldn't find showers ... and I didn't want to use our water bucket just quite yet ... so I went for the unconventional (but fun!) method - the sprinklers.
From then, it was time to start prepping and stretching.
Brandon stretching me out.
Soon enough, though, it was time to start.
At 8:07, seven minutes after Brandon started his first-ever triathlon, and after talking with some other women in the group, the women started their first leg of the race. I ran down the 150 yards or so down to the water ... which was a bad idea as it hurt me for the first part of the swim. Due to that small sprint, my breathing got elevated to the point where it was extremely difficult to get into a good rhythm. So difficult, in fact, that I swam most of the way to the first buoy with my head above water. Yeah. I also had to stop at one of the kayaks to clear out my goggles ... as my first attempt to do so while bobbing in the water trying to keep myself afloat didn't work out so well.
After I got my goggles cleaned out (well, mostly), my breathing got back into normal enough to get into a good groove in the water. By the time I hit the turn around, I felt great and was swimming well. I kept swimming even as I saw other people getting out of the water (and pretty sure i peed with about 100m to go) but waited until I got fairly close to the shore.
I'm glad Brandon and I rode at least part of this course a week ago as we knew what the first two miles and the last two miles of the 14 mile course would be.
The powers that be described the course as "rolling" ... which I'm convinced would be "hilly" most anywhere else in the country. I didn't get passed too often on the course and in fact, passed quite a few people - mostly on the uphills (which i'm so proud of). I didn't have too many issues on the first half of the ride ... except with the stupid cardboard race number I attached to the frame that kept trying to fly off and annoy me. I finally got that figured out, though.
My cyclometer was spazzing on the ride (although, in hind sight, i probably should have just cleared it out again and it would have worked), so I couldn't notice anything but cadence. My mph for the entire ride? 0.0.
Okay, not really, but it was nice to just have to pay attention to cadence and not be dispirited with my slow-ass speeds on the uphills.
I kept waiting to see Brandon on the bike and just as the turnaround was coming into view, I saw him. I yelled "SUSHI POWER!" at him in reference to the delicious dinner we had the night before and what our sushi chef jokingly said. He yelled something back and I kept on going.
Only about three people passed me on the second half of the bike course - one I don't remember, one was someone I had already passed and the other was when I was fiddling with my damn race number again and took a swallow of diluted Gatorade. My calves were starting to ache a little and I started going a tad numb, but I pushed it through, thanking course volunteers as I could.
I eventually rolled back into the transition area. Total leg time: 54:57.
As I trotted my bike back into transition, I saw Brandon heading out for the run, so I naturally yelled at him. He waved and ran out while I got ready for my run. I changed shoes, tossed on my BU shorts, changed shirts, took the 30 seconds to put my hair clips in and I was off. Total time: 2:20.
I jogged out of transition and started the run ... though I had to stop very soon after to stretch out my calves which were cramping ridiculously. After getting them to the point where they weren't ouchy, I started running again. The run course, much like the bike course, was Colorado "rolling." I walked quite a bit within the first mile as well as saw a snake (probably a rattlesnake) and passed one or two people.
Soon after starting the second mile and right before I hit the water station, I saw Brandon not too far in front of me. However, I was still running/walking. I walked three total times in mile two - once was at the water station to get some water (damn sun finally came out) and the other times were on some killer uphills.
Fairly soon after I passed the second mile marker and started on the last 1.5 miles of the race, I started seeing Brandon in front of me. And he stayed in his sights in front of me until probably the last half mile of the race when I finally caught up to him. We stayed together for most of the end of the run until I finally took off (a stark contrast to our other races this season when he's left ME in the dust). Total leg time: 37:41.
Yes, because this race was "My Way or the Tri Way" with people doing the disciplines in whatever order they so desired, we had a T3 which took us back into transition and down another 200 yards or so to the finish. I ran through transition, confused on why this one guy right near Brandon and I just walked and continued on down toward the actual finish line.
I waited to kick due to a few curves and pedestrians crossing the course, but I finally did ... with one killer curve left where I almost biffed it. Still, I blew through the finish line for a total leg time of 1:26 and a tri time of 2:03:38.
Our buddy Mark got a picture of me crossing that is similar to Steve in a Speedo's "one-legged pirate" shots, but only Brandon has a copy of that one. Boo. FotoJack got some good shots of my kick, but those are for tomorrow.
When I finished, I grabbed my shirt and immediately started looking for Brandon because I knew he'd be finishing right behind me. He crossed the finish line, dove into my arms and almost collapsed from the joy, exhaustion and exhiliration. I know that training for, doing and completing this race meant so much to him and I was so ridiculously proud of him when he crossed that finish line. Honey, I love you and I am SO PROUD OF YOU. Even now, three days later. SO PROUD.
I'm glad this tri went well especially considering my training this year has been a struggle. Cycling has been crappy. My running has been downright awful. Swimming had been the only good thing for me. Somehow, though, everything came together. This was my fastest ride I've done all year which was AMAZING. The run was about average and the swim was slower (open water, goggle issues, etc.), but I don't care. I'm just happy I was happy after this race.
I think the key is for me to not care and just go into the race with an "eh, whatever, this is going to be fun!" attitude ... which is weird for me to have as an athlete and as a competitor. I am a competitive person ... who performs best when she's chilled out. Finally figured it out for hockey and I guess triathlon's going to be the same way. That's probably the reason why last year's race went so poorly - I had so many goals and aspirations and expectations that I set myself up to fail.
This year, I say "screw it" to all of that and I bust out a time that's sure, a few minutes slower than last year, but on an overall longer course. Mentally, I go to another place during competition and I think it helps.
Next year? Hopefully an Olympic. I know I'm mentally ready, but physically will still be the question. And for sure ... Ironman by 40. I've got 14 years - I'll do it.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Woke up and got ready to head out to the res. We were slightly held up by breakfast as it took longer to cook than I would have liked, but regardless, we got there just after 6 and were there in plenty of time. We took our bikes out of the car and got them put together.
After we got the bikes assembled, we grabbed all our race gear and headed to transition. We found a great spot in transition. Closer to the bike entrance and exit in the middle row. We racked our bikes up (these were standard bike racks, FYI) and laid out our transition area.
We had a surprising amount of room in the transition area. I guess that is what happens when you have a race of only 550 athletes. Believe me, I'm not complaining though. :-) After that, we got body marked and loosened up. Theresa dedicated one of her calves to Mr. Steve in a Speedo, so I hope he's happy. :-p By this time, transition was getting busier so we decided to go test the lake temperature. Keep in mind, this was the same lake we swam in last week and it was a balmy 68 degrees! This week, we walked in and the lake was surprisingly warm. Thank you Jesus for 90 degree days last week! We posed for a picture or two then headed back up to transition.
Naturally, our feet were nasty from the sand walking back up. Me, I just went to the public bathroom and rinsed them off in the sink. Girlfriend, however, took the less conventional (and let's face it, more fun way) to rinse off her feet...in the sprinkler!
Then came time to stretch. I had this vision of me doing a ton of crazy-ass stretches for like an hour, but I really didn't do anything out of the ordinary. Just got a good warm-up in and stretched the muscles out.
After the stretching, we heard the pre-race briefing. Then came time to line up for the start. I started the race promptly at 8:00 am, and girlfriend started the race at 8:07 am. She and I discussed how I would be waiting for her at the end of the race, and also did a tiny bit of goading each other. She reminded me that if she came in 7 minutes behind me, she would beat my time. I tried to use this as a tiny bit of motivation, but whatever.
Then came the 5-4-3-2-1 countdown and we were off! I was doing it! First, had to run 150 meters down to the water. The reason they did this is because the My Way or the Tri Way allows competitors to do the race in any order they want. To make things fair, they had a mass start. I jogged down to the water but as I got closer to it, I just walked. I figured I was really in no hurry to get the swim done. Cause really, let's face it. I'm not winning the triathlon on the swim leg. I walked into the water and walked until it was about chest deep, then dove on in and started swimming. I reminded myself over and over that I was doing a triathlon and was just so proud. I got into a nice groove and was swimming wonderfully until about 250 meters in. Then I hit a wall. My left calf cramped up badly. My breathing suddenly struggled. I needed to switch to sidestroke, which I was really bummed out about, but at the very least, it kept me relatively calm and my head above water. When I hit the turn-around, there was something very uplifting about it. Maybe it's the fact I could see the shore, or maybe it was that I knew the swim was 1/2 over. Regardless, I put my head back in the water and kept moving. Unfortunately, that didn't last too long. I had to keep my head above water for nearly the entire 2nd half of the swim. I knew I was losing time, but at that point, my only concern was getting back to the beach. Finally, I was able to stand and walk out of the water. I saw our friend taking pictures and that motivated me to start jogging. I walked/jogged up to transition and got into my cycling gear. I was really glad I practiced transition, as my first transition went very very smooth. Then I was off on the next leg.
Ok, so by now, as you're probably guessing, my spirits were pretty low after the swim. You would be somewhat right. I was kind of sad that what I thought would be my strongest leg was definitely weak, but I was also upspirited in that I knew I had two legs to go and had plenty of opportunity to play catch up. Literally, within .25 miles of the bike, I was already in a great mood. And my legs, although a little sore, were feeling fine otherwise. And here's something that not only surprised me, but felt amazingly motivating: I was passing people! Here I was, getting my ass kicked in the water, and yet I was rising up on the bike, passing these same people that blew by me in the water.
When I made the turn out onto Quincy Avenue, I knew I was going to have a good ride. I had an attitude that was going to allow me to have a good ride. I was looking at the hills instead of daunting as opportunities to catch people. Now for those of you that have read our blog, you know that I am not that strong on the uphills, but on the downhills, I can power by people. This is what happened. On the way to the turn around point, I would estimate there were 6 uphills and 2 downhills. As you can guess, I did get passed on some uphills, but I was also passing people. You know how good that feels? The sport you feel is the weakest of the three and you are kicking ass at it?
At the turnaround point, I popped a Clif Shot Block and pedaled hard. At this point, I had kept my cadence the whole way and was quite frankly damn proud of myself. I kicked it hard and off I was going. I saw girlfriend on the ride for the first time. I believe she yelled Team Baby Dinosaur and Sushi Power as I was going by. I yelled Sushi Power and pedaled hard. During the ride, I also made a friend. A dude on a mountain bike was trading places with me quite a bit. We chatted for a bit, and I told him I hoped to see him on the run. As I turned into the entrance for the reservoir, I blew by him and said I'll see him at the finish line. To be honest, I never saw him again. I don't know what happened, but I'm sure he finished.
Came into transition and realized there was only 3.5 miles to me becoming a triathlete.
I was smiling at this point. I probably had been for the majority of the ride, but this was the first time I noticed. I knew I was going to finish. I knew I had made up time. And I was so happy. I put on my running shoes and was off. As I was running out of transition, I heard someone yell BRANDON and looked behind me. There was girlfriend coming into transition. She had nearly caught me. I knew at this point that she was going to beat me. Did I care? Not 1%. I kid you not. Not 1%. I was only racing myself.
I ran out of transition. I thought this was very important, cause I figured if I walked, I would have a hard time getting started. My legs felt weird, but I knew what to expect thanks to practice and whatnot.
When you run during a triathlon, it's surprising how little you think. You just basically keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep plodding along. The only thing I was thinking was how much I hated that course. It was hilly, and the turns and twists basically made it so you could see your competition well ahead of you as well as what was behind you. Not a fan of that. It did let me see that girlfriend was catching up to me. Around 1 mile left to go in the run, I knew she was going to pass me. I was happy this was going to occur, because I wanted her to succeed in the tri so bad.
She caught me with about .3 miles left and after a brief exchange, I told her to run ahead of me. She did, and I was so proud. And at that time, I was proud of myself too. I knew I was going to finish. I knew I was about to become Brandon Geist the triathlete.
So, this T3 explanation. As I said, the mass start had to ensure that everyone had it fair, so to get to the finish line, you had to cut through T3 to get to the finish line. I ran through T3 with people cheering for me. I was so close! I turned down the ramp to the finish line and a guy that had already finished gave me a high-five. I had this vision of me rolling across the finish line or kissing the ground, but I just wanted to cross. I stepped on the mat and instantly the demons that had followed me my whole life disappeared. The former 208 pound kid, with 22% body fat had become a triathlete. The kid that at one point couldn't run 1/4 miles without getting tired had conquered the triathlon. I had crossed the finish line!
I saw girlfriend wating for me and collapsed in her arms. And a prediction came true. I started crying. I sobbed in her arms and just took in what I had finished. It was an amazing feeling. I was so proud of her and myself for what we had accomplished. We had done it!
More reflection will come in a couple days, on what I could have improved on and what I did right. But for now, I don't care. I just did it. I am now a triathlete.
Overall, my times were as follows:
Swim - 27:04
T1 - 2:29
Bike - 58:19
T2 - 1:39
Run - 39:49
T3 - 1:38
Total time of 2:10:56
And now, I leave you some song lyrics. This is called Infinity by Guru Josh Project. This song has become my unofficial "triathlon song".
Take your time
And take your time
To trust in me
And you will find
And take your time
To trust in me
And you will find
The time goes by
While you'll receive
Here's my key
A freak like me
Just needs infinity