Friday, September 29, 2006

Some things I noticed about Triathlon

I came across this posting in the Triathlon Forum on MySpace a while back and I can totally relate to about every single one of these. I had this on my blog on Myspace but since I have started this I thought I would move some things over.




Some things i noticed about fat, out of shape idiots that don't know a thing about or have ever participated in a triathlon...they:

1. repeatedly call it a "marathon", "superthon", etc.
2. repeatedly call me a triathlon
2. refer to olympic and sprint distances as "easy"
3. think only the ironman is a "real triathlon"
4. want to verify I am training and racing correctly
5. think i have "a lot of spare time" to train
6. think i am not training enough or correctly
7. think it is "impossible" that I could "do" a triathlon
8. doubt and talk negatively about me or my training partner to me (wtf?!)
9. think i'm a faster cyclist than them because my bike is faster
10. like to race me on their 1st lap @ my lap 130 in the pool
11. like to race me on their mile 1 @ my mile 40 on the road
12. think my positive attitude about myself is a negative one against them
13. "accidently" almost kill me as they turn into McDonalds on their cell phone
14. promise to show up and cheer for you and never show
15. reminisce about high school and how triathlon couldn't ever be tougher
16. how they go on and on about becoming a triathlete but dont do anything...

i just kinda let this stuff slide off my back... instead of trying to help someone that doesn't want to help themself I just let them be... it a waste of time to change their feeble minds...

then theres the moment they ask how i did in my race (with that smirk of how they expect me to have finished last or something) and i answer them with an outstanding finish time and placing.... the look on their faces is hilarious... like they swallowed a big rat or something....

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Estes Park Marathon 2006

This was one of the weirdest races that I have been involved in so far. The race itself was great, the support was great, and it was well organized. The weird part was the way that my body reacted to the work that I put it through. You will see what I mean in the following paragraghs.

We (my uncle's family, Barb, and myself) left the house at 4:30 am on Sunday to make the 1 hour 20 min drive. It is such a pretty drive that time just flys by. We arrived 1 hour before the start of the race to pick up our packets and let our nerves run crazy until start time. ;o).

Come 7 am it was time to get it on. The first 16 miles went great!! We (Steve and I) said right on pace of about 9:40 per mile and plotting right along. I kinda set the pace off of my heart rate montior, trying to keep it below 155 beats per min. Of course after 16-18 miles my heart rate montior is useless because when your body starts getting that tired your heart rate shoots though the roof. To keep the same pace that I had at 155 meant that now my HR was about 170. That is just to high, but I just kept going along.

At about mile 22 Steve got in front of me to take a turn setting the pace and all of the sudden I started feeling sick to my stomach. I lasted for about another 1/4 of a mile and then everything started coming up, I freaken started puking. This continued for the next 2 miles to mile 24 when a race official saw me and pulled from the course. The held me from finishing the race for about an hour and 15 mins while they put an IV in me and cooled me down. It was a bit warm out at 85 and the course was pretty hilly. I really do not know why my body reacted this way. I did all the training but for some reason my body quit asorbing the fluids that I was taking in causing everything to back up.

Needless to say after spending over an hour getting fluids put into me I refused to be transported and finished the race on my own. I will not have a DNF (Did Not Finish) on my record if I can help it. I guess that I did learn one thing though, even with all the training in the world you never know how your body is going to react on race day.

My final time, with my over an hour stop, 5 hours 21 mins.

Train Hard and Take care of yourselves, thanks for reading my blog.



Sunday, June 4, 2006

I have Escaped from Alcatraz

It is offically over, I have escaped from Alcatraz!!!

What a ride and adventure the past week has been. It has been non-stop running since I left last Thursday. We, Barb (roommate) and I took off at 6am on Thursday with the mind set to drive as far as we could in one day so that we would not have to drive much through out the weekend. Needless to say as I talked in the third person all day Thursday to drive Barb crazy we made it all the way to Reno (15 hours) so that we could hit the slot machines late that night and drink a few beers (free when you play slot machines).

The next morning (Friday) we got going around 7am to head towards NAPA Valley, the wine making capital of California. We rolled into the town of NAPA around 9am and I could not have been more impressed. That is such a great place!!! Grapevines and winerys as far as the eye can see. Needless to say Barb and I had our share of wine intake after visiting 7 different winerys that day and tasting everything that each one had to offer. That night while sitting in the hotel room waiting for the effects of the wine to go away I started to think about my race that I had in two days and prayed to the Gods above that I will make it through in one piece. Maybe going wine tasting all day was the best thing to be doing before a race but I would not have change a thing looking back on it now. It was so much fun.

Good food Good wine = Good Times

Saturday morning we got rolling around 8 am and hit the city of San Francisco around 10 am. My first thought as I drove into the city is that there is a shit load of money in this town. The houses (everywhere) and cars where all big money. All we did on Saturday after getting to the city is drive the race course so that I kinda had an idea of what I was in for and we went to the race check in and meeting. The check in and meeting is required so that you can understand how things are going to be ran and what the rules are, even though they never change from race to race. After that was all set and done it was just a matter of relaxing and getting mentally ready for the next day. I had a 4 am wake up call coming.

Ok the race report, here we go.

I was already laying there awake when the wake up call came at 4 am, needless to say my nerves were a bit on edge. I was really starting to get nervous about the swim part of the race from Alcatraz. After arising I ate a bannana and a Clif Bar with a glass of milk so that I at least have something in my stomach for the long morning that I have laying ahead of me. Our hotel was about a half mile walk to the race start so I wanted to get going by 5 so that I was there by 5:30 to set up and get all my gear around. As I was setting my gear and unpacking my duffle bag I discovered that my wetsuit is gone!! I totally freaked out, there was no way that I was doing this 1.5 mile swim in 55 degree water without my wetsuit. I dumped all my gear in the fenced in area and took off running back towards the hotel down the street that I came in on. I got about 3/4 of the way back when I found my wetsuit laying there in the middle of the sidewalk. The stupid thing fell out of my duffle bag as I was walking to the start. What a way to start the day, made me start to wonder what else could go wrong today.

The start of the swim is from a boat that is parked in front of the island of Alcatraz. They unloaded 1800 plus swimmers off that boat in under 6 mins. They removed a railing from one side of the boat and everyone just starts going over the edge like a big tidal wave into the bay. That was crazy!!!! Once I got away from the boat and things started to calm down it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. It was just hard to site where I was going because of the waves and the fog that rolled in half way through the swim. When the fog rolled in I decided that I would just follow everyone else and not worry about siting. Hopefully we would all end up in the correct location on the shore. The swim took me 48 mins., not great but better than I thought it would be.

Next up was the bike and run parts of the race. Nothing really eventful really happened during these 2 parts of the race. I word of advice that I can give to anyone who does this race is to train in the hills. I spent a lot of time the last couple of months trail running in the hills west of Boulder. If I would not have done this there is no way that I would have finished this race in good shape like I did. The reason that I say that I finished in good shape is because after finishing the race Barb and I went to Pier 39 for lunch and to look around and I was not totally wiped out.

It was a great trip and hope to do it again someday, but the chances of that happening (hard race to get into) are very slim.

Alcatraz 2006 finish

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Thursday, June 1, 2006


I moving this from Myspace over to here.
This is a story that I came across on Scott Dunlap's blog that I just had to share with everyone and I loved it so much that by sharing it with you I am also creating an archive for myself. Hopefully it is ok to re-post this. Enjoy.


In case you haven't read "Runners", a short story by award-winning author Roger Hart, I thought I would reprint it in the blog (with permission). I can only hope to have such stories 20 years from now!

Roger Hart is an Creative Writing Instructor at Ohio University, and boasts a 2:27:48 marathon PR. If you like this story, you can order Erratics, his collection of short stories that won the George Garrett Fiction Prize. Roger is currently working on a novel, and assures me he still gets out regularly to run!

Thanks to Alan Abbs for pointing me to this.

Enjoy, SD



WE RAN THROUGH BLIZZARDS, THUNDERSTORMS, freezing rain, covered bridges, creeks, campgrounds, cemeteries, parks, a nuclear power plant, county fairs, and, once, a church service. We were chased by goats, geese, a crazed groundhog, guards (the nuclear power plant), a motorcycle gang, an armed man in a pickup, a sheriff's deputy, and dogs, both fierce and friendly. We ran when 2 feet of snow covered the roads, and when the windchill was 30 below. We ran when it was 80 degrees at seven in the morning. We ran on streets, sidewalks, highways, cinder tracks, dirt roads, golf courses, Lake Erie beaches, bike trails, across yards, and along old railroad beds. Seven days a week, 12 months a year, year after year.

During the hot days of July and August, Ed ran without a shirt or socks; I always wore both. Norm ran with a screw in his ankle and joked that it was coming loose. Ed was faster going downhill; I was better going up. The three of us met at a race and became training partners, competitors, best friends. We ran together on Saturday mornings, usually a 20-miler along the shore of Lake Erie or a 22-mile route over hilly country roads through Ashtabula County [Ohio]. We ran thousands of miles and more than a dozen marathons together, but most of the time we ran alone.

We gave directions to lost drivers, pushed cars out of snow banks, called the electric company about downed lines and the police about drunks. We saved a burlap bag full of kittens about to be tossed off a bridge, carried turtles from the middle of the road, returned lost wallets, and were the first on the scene of a flipped pickup truck.

We ran the Boston Marathon before women were allowed to enter and way before the Kenyans won. We were runners before Frank Shorter took the Olympic gold at Munich, before the running boom, nylon shorts, sports drinks, Gore-Tex suits, heart monitors, running watches, and Nikes.

We ate constantly, or so it seemed. My favorite midnight snack was cookie dough or cold pizza. Ed enjoyed cinnamon bread, which he sometimes ate a loaf at a time. Norm downed buttered popcorn by the bucketful and Finnish cookies by the dozen. We all loved ice cream, and drank large vanilla shakes two at a time.

Still, friends said we were too thin. They thought we looked sick and worried something was wrong.

We measured our lives in miles down to the nearest tenth, more than 100 miles a week, 400 a month, 5,000 a year.

The smells! From passing cars: pipe tobacco, exhaust fumes, and sometimes the sweet hint of perfume. From the places we passed: French fries, bacon, skunk, pine trees, dead leaves, cut hay, mowed grass, ripe grapes, hot asphalt, rotten apples, stagnant water, wood smoke, charcoal grills, mosquito spray, road kill. And from ourselves: sunscreen and sweat.

Some people smiled and waved. A few whistled. Once or twice women from passing cars yelled we had nice legs. Others, usually teenage boys in sleek, black cars, yelled obscenities, called us names, gave us the finger, and mooned us. They threw firecrackers, lit cigarettes, soda cans, half-eaten ice cream cones, beer bottles (both full and empty), squirted us with water, drove through puddles to spray us, swerved their cars to force us off the road, swung jumper cables out the window to make us duck, and honked their horns to make us jump.

We saw shooting stars, a family of weasels, a bam fire, a covered wagon heading west, and a couple making love in a pickup. We ran with deer on a golf course, jumped a slow-moving train to get across the tracks, hid in ditches during lightning storms, slid across an intersection during a freezing rain, and dived into Lake Erie to cool off in the middle of a hot run. We drank from garden hoses, gas station water fountains, soda machines, lawn sprinklers, and lemonade stands. We carried toilet paper, two quarters, sometimes a dog biscuit.

We were offered rides by "The Chosen Few" motorcycle gang, old ladies, drunks, teenagers, truckers, a topless dancer (not topless at the time but close, real close), and a farmer baling hay, but we never accepted a single one. We argued about the dancer.

We were nervous before races and said we'd quit running them when we weren't. We won trophies, medals, baskets of apples, bottles of wine, windbreakers, T-shirts, pizza, pewter mugs, running suits, shoes, baseball caps, watches, a railroad spike, and, once, $500. Often we didn't win anything, although we never looked at it that way.

Ed liked to race from the front and dare other runners to catch him. I preferred to start a little slower, stalk those who went out too fast, and sneak up on them around 20 miles when they began to look over their shoulders. I felt like a wolf, and they were the prey. When I passed, I pretended not to be tired, and never looked back.

Our goal was to qualify for the Olympic Trials Marathon, to run faster and farther, to beat other runners.

Did we ever have runner's high? Didn't it get boring? What did we think about? Why did we always look so serious? Sometimes. Sometimes. Running. We didn't know we did. One spring day it rained so hard the road was one giant ankle-deep puddle, and Ed was huffing, and our feet were splashing, and it struck us funny. We laughed until we collapsed, tears and rain running down our faces. We joked about the time Ed had to pee and caught himself showering a snake, the time we got lost during a winter storm and refused to turn around, and the time we ran by Don King's ranch and were mistaken for two boxers. (We never understood how anyone could mistake us for boxers, but we loved it.)

We felt guilty about the time we ran into a church service being held in the middle of a covered bridge, and were too tired, too inconsiderate, too stubborn to turn around, so we sprinted down the center aisle, dodging the two men with collection plates, and ran out the other end of the bridge while the congregation sang "Praise God from whom all blessings flow...'

And the dogs! The ones that tried to follow us home and the ones that attacked us. The time that Ed, Norm, and I yelled at a growling Doberman, and told it to go home. The owner jumped in his pickup, chased us down the dirt road, swearing he'd shoot us for bothering his dog. We ran through a field and across a four-lane highway, circled back through the woods, hid beneath the underpass, and then jogged into a gas station where we celebrated our escape with ice-cold Cokes.

Or the time a sheriff's deputy stopped his cruiser to protect us from a German shepherd as large as a Poland China hog in a nearby field. The dog jumped through the open window and landed on the deputy's lap, and, while they wrestled in the front seat, we ran, afraid of what might happen if either ever caught up with us.

We found pliers, purses, golf balls, bolt cutters, billfolds, money (once, over $200--returned to an 18-year-old boy--no reward, no thanks), tape cassettes, CDs, sunglasses, school books, porn magazines, a Navajo ring, car jacks, a fishing pole, a pair of handcuffs (no key), an eight ball, and a black bra (36C).

We ran farther and faster. We sprinted up long steep hills by the Grand River until all we could do was stagger. We ran intervals on a dirt track: 20 quarter-miles in under 70 seconds, the last lap in 56 flat. We got lightheaded, our hands tingled, and sometimes blood vessels in our eyes ruptured from the effort.

We ran because it beat collecting stamps, because we were running toward something, because we were running away, because we were all legs, lungs, and heart, because we were afraid of who or what might catch us if we stopped.

One winter, while running twice a day, I was on my way home from a 7-mile run, and I couldn't remember if it was morning or night, if when I finished I would shower and go to work or shower and go to bed. I looked at the horizon and the stars, the passing cars, and the lighted barns for a clue, but couldn't figure it out. Ed said one time he went out for a run and bumped into himself coming back from the previous one.

We lost toenails and we pulled muscles. We suffered frostbite, hypothermia, heat exhaustion, sunburn, blisters, dehydration, and tendinitis. We were stung by bees, bitten by black flies, and attacked by red-winged blackbirds. Sometimes, after a long run, speed workout, or a marathon, our legs would be so sore, our Achilles so inflamed, that we could barely walk, and we'd limp or shuffle painfully when going from the couch to the refrigerator or from the front door to the mailbox.

We treated aches with ice and heating pads, or soaked our legs in DMSO, sometimes in Epsom salts and hot water. We tried medical doctors, surgeons, chiropractors, acupuncturists, podiatrists, massage therapists, trainers, and quacks. We were given shots of novocaine and cortisone, told to take ibuprofen, Tylenol, and aspirin. We were warned that we were ruining our knees, our hips, damaging our feet, breaking down too much blood, that we would suffer arthritis and degenerative joints.

BUT SOMETIMES IT WAS LIKE FLOATING, as if you were sitting on top of a pair of legs that you didn't think would ever get tired or slow down.It was as if the legs were yours but they weren't.

It was as if we were part animal: a running, flying animal. A horse, a bird. It was like feet kissing the pavement and effortless strides, the body along for the ride. It was like sitting in Ed's '67 Corvette, that monster engine gulping high-octane fuel and turning 6,000 rpms, your foot ready to pop the clutch. Like freedom and invincibility. When we ran around comers, we were jets sweeping in formation.

We each had a resting pulse in the low 40s and body fat of 7 percent or less. I was 6' 2", raced at 148 pounds, and went through a pair of running shoes every 6 weeks.

Once, I experienced chest pains, a sharp stab beneath the ribs. A Saturday morning, 22-mile run. Seven steep hills. We raced up the first hill to find out if it was my heart or not, and when I did not drop, we raced up the second and third. After 6 miles the pain eased off, and Ed said if it had been a heart attack, it must have been a mild one. Thousands of miles later, a doctor unfamiliar with a runner's heart sent Ed to the emergency room where he was poked, prodded, hooked up, and given oxygen. Finally, Ed said enough was enough, pulled the IV, and ran home. Two weeks later, he set an age-50 record for the mile in a local meet.

Although we ran faster and faster, it was never quite fast enough. We failed to qualify for the Olympic Trials. Still, four times we drove for hours and slept in our cars to watch others compete for the three Olympic spots. Then, just as we once stalked other runners, time stalked us.

We began looking over our shoulders and thinking about the marathons we had run instead of thinking about the next race. We slowed down. Our bodies balked at 100-mile weeks, and it took longer to recover from a hard run. Sometimes when the weather was bad--very hot was always worse than very cold--we took a day off. Sometimes we would skip a day because we were sore or tired. We stopped giving the finger to those who ran us off the roads. We gained 5, 7, 10 pounds. More.

Now, Ed has a granddaughter; Norm has "screw pains," and I have a retirement clock and deformed toes. We've turned gray, lost hair, and joined AARP. We run 25, 30 miles a week. From time to time, we race, no marathons but shorter races, 3, 4 miles, maybe a 10-K. We measure our lives in days, months, and years, not miles.

Ed and Norm still live in Ohio; I moved to North Carolina, then to Minnesota. We no longer run together, but we keep in touch and reminisce about the time the newspaper ran a front-page story about a group of snowmobilers who had ridden nearly 10 miles on a day when the temperature was 5 below. We had passed them during a 20-mile run. We argue about who threw the rock at the house, whose fault it was we got lost, and which one of us the topless dancer really wanted to take for a ride.

We complain that we're running slower than we once did, and make jokes about timing ourselves with calendars and sundials. Sometimes when we're running we'll spot other runners ahead of us and the urge to race comes back, and we'll do our best to catch them. Last fall while I was running in a park, I overheard a high school coach urge his runners to pass "the old, gray-haired guy." I held them off for a mile although it almost killed me, and, when I had completed circling the park, I ran by the coach and said, "Old guy, my ass."

But my ass is getting old along with my other body parts. When I sometimes fantasize about one more marathon, the fantasy seldom lasts more than a day. Fast marathons and 100-mile weeks are things of the past.

And what did we learn from running 70,000 miles and hundreds of races, being the first to cross the finish line and once or twice not crossing it at all, those runs on icy roads in winter storms and those cool fall mornings when the air was ripe with the smell of grapes, our feet softly ticking against the pavement?

We learned we were alive, and it felt good. God, it felt so good.