Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mission Accomplished in San Angelo, TX

This past weekend I went back to a place I first set foot in back in 1992. Let's rewind, in July of 1992 while in the Air Force I started school at Goodfellow AFB, San Angelo, TX. Back then I thought this was the slowest town on earth and I spent every weekend but two in San Antonino getting to know the next city I was going to after San Angelo. Little did I know 17 years later I would willingly return to race my biggest race to date with a very high goal set for myself.

Last August I decided I wanted to qualify for a spot in the Long Course Duathlon World Championship and I set my sights on the Striders Duathlon as my A race for 2009. Is it crazy that I have two marathons this year and neither one of them are my A race? With only days before the race I discovered the ITU decided not to have a long course championship this year, even with this news I was still determined to continue on my mission to crush my competition in my age group.

Kevin, Sampson, and I drove up to San Angelo on Saturday to only to find it warmer than expected with winds gusting in the 20's. Oh boy the race is going to be fun. As Kevin took off for a 21 mile training run Sampson and I checked out the race site & area, grocery store and proceeded to get into race mode.

Sunday arrived with much cooler weather, little wind and overall perfect race conditions. Me being the A-type I am, I was the first racer to arrive so I had plenty of time to myself to prepare.

The race started promptly at 8:05am and I was checking out the competition looking for the others in my age group but could not spot them. The run was on what they call "Dirt road from hell" and I was warned about this road from Adam S. and Michael L. so I was prepared to hold my pace and do the first 5 mile run in 40 - 45 min. 44:28 first milestone CHECK.

As I headed out on the 46 mile bike course I knew I had to pace myself otherwise I would blow up and either die at the end of the ride or severely pay for it on the second run. I held a 19mph pace which I considered good given the wind had picked up, the rolling hills (known as the seven sisters) were tough toward the end and the chip sealed roads really kept speeds in check. I finished the ride in 2:26 well under my 2:30 goal, second milestone CHECK.

By the time I returned from the ride, Kevin being the wonderful partner he is had checked us out of the hotel and gotten in his open water swim.

Heading out on the second and final run I knew I had to hold it together and I felt pretty good. About a mile into the run my legs started to cramp so I had to stop and get them straight. At every water stop going out I took what ever the volunteers were giving to keep my core temperature down and to stay hydrated. By the time I hit the turn around I was feeling good so I had to make up lost time. I pushed it as hard as I could not knowing where the competition was and then I passed by someone who I thought was in my age group, I was crushed and thought my hopes of winning my age group were gone. But keeping with my motto, "Don't look back, you're not headed that way", I did just that and ran my race. 50:48 slower than expected but I left it all on the course. 4:03, Third milestone check, not sure?

To my surprise while checking the race results I found out the other person in my age group dropped out of the race so I WON MY AGE GROUP!!! Mission Accomplished and if there was going to be a championship I would have qualified.
Overall it was great race, well run and I will be back next year to defend my age group title. Hopefully I can convince Kevin and some others in Austin to do it with me. Now it's time rest a little and continue training for whatever comes next.
Be safe and remember, "There's no reason to look back, you're not headed that way"

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Loooooong Overdue Update

Wow, I can't believe it's been over a month since I updated the blog especially since so much has been going on.

My marathon recovery went great and I was back to full strength and ready to race the 2009 Blue Norther Duathlon on March 15th with my training mate John. This was my first multi-sport race ever last year so I really wanted to improve my time and have a better race. Well I guess I can say "Mission Accomplished," I improved my time by over 11 min. & won my age group beating a guy 5yrs younger than me. Two multi-sport races to start the season with, one second place and one first place finish. I really like winning :-)

Work continues to keep both Kevin and I very busy, and we can truly say we enjoy what we do and work with some really great people.

Ironman race day is 11 weeks away and Kevin's training is going great. But I have to brag, physically it looks great on him :-). The training hours are getting longer but we still find time to relax enjoy life and spend time with those closest to us. His Ironman support crew has grown and we're so excited one of our best friends Michele will be coming out along with his sisters and two nephews. Michele and I even decided to volunteer the morning of race day to be more of a part of the event.

Last weekend was a milestone in our training as we headed to Galveston to take part in the Lonestar Triathlon Festival. A lot of our teammates and friends participated in the race with us and it made for a fun filled weekend. We drove down on Friday and the winds were very high Friday and Saturday but Mother Nature took pity on us and when we woke up Sunday (race day) it was warm and the winds were pretty calm. As the gun went off after 8:30 Kevin started his second half-iron man and I participated in the half-iron relay with our friends Darcy(swimming) Me(biking) and Tim(running). We all had great races; Kevin finished the race in 4:51, 7th in his age group out of 52 and my relay team finished in 5:19 in 3rd place out of 12 teams, even with me getting a flat tire at mile 36 of the 56 mile bike route. Did I happen to mention I like finishing in the top 3 spots :-)? Three races and three top three finishes, let's hope my streak continues next week.

Kevin & I at the pre-race briefing

Race morning, looking fresh & ready to race
Me and my machine on race day
Many of our great teammates on race day

Speaking of next week, I compete in my premier race of the year, the Striders Duathlon in San Angelo, TX. This race is a 5 mile run, 46 mile bike, 5 mile run and is a qualifier for the Duathlon World Championship. Wish me luck for a successful race.
On the 25th of this month we'll be riding in our 3rd Hill Country Ride for AIDS and Kevin will be celebrating his 42nd birthday.
And then training continues with a couple more races and long bike rides but we continue to enjoy our life, work, and many other blessings we have. So until the next update, Happy Easter and may you and yours be safe and well.