Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dream big and you never know what might happen...

Another hot day in Austin and we completed our outdoor exercise activities very early to beat the wonderful Texas heat. Kevin's training is going very well and I can feel great things coming his way at the Augusta 70.3 race in September. As for me, today is a day I didn't think was even a possible when I started running and competing in multi-sport races about two years ago.

Last year the Darnd'st Du in San Marcos, TX was my A race and I wanted to go out and kick some butt. The race went pretty good and I felt my times were solid, I placed 2nd in my age group. It was very rewarding to see a payoff at the end of a season of hard work. After the race I reflected on the season, noted the things I wanted to do different in the 2009 season and focused on my marathons. In Nov 08 I joined T3 to help me with my training and hopefully I would see the results in my races.

January rolled around and it was time for my first duathlon of the year and my first race since joining T3. I was surprised how much my times improved and I placed in second in the race. I thought, "hey I think this T3 training is paying off." As the year went on, I did more races than I did last year and my times kept getting better and better and I found myself placing in the top two at every race. So being a person who likes to set the bar high I secretly thought to myself, "if I can do this for a whole year that would be really cool" So I set my sights on going back to the Darnd'st Du and doing better than I did last yer.

So that brings me to today, time to race Darnd'st Du 2009 which happened to be the TX Duathlon Championship. I knew the competition would be tough since it was the state championship but I felt great going into the race. I followed my coaches tapering advice and said stick to the plan and let the day play out.

The clock went off at 3am and I started my normal pre-race routine and by 4:45 I was on my way to the race. Because I'm partly OCD, I like to be one of the first people in transition to get the best possible spot and make sure everything was just right. Everything was lining up perfect, my stuff was set and then I was able to chat with friends and get the pre-race nerves settled.

As the horn went off we took off like a bat out of hell but I knew I couldn't hold such a high pace for long and I backed off because that was not part of my plan. Overall I had a good run not as fast as I would have liked but I knew I could make up some time on the bike. In and out of transition in great time and it was time to settle in and have fun. One by one I was picking off the cyclist in front of me and I was holding a great pace. One thing I decided to try during this race that I hadn't tried before was to flush the legs with a higher cadence to keep them fresh, I figured it couldn't hurt but only help. Just after rounding the 180 degree turn on the course I looked down and realized my computer had fallen off. Oh well what can you do but keep racing right?

Coming to the end of the bike I took my gel as I always do and started visualizing the dismount and getting in and out of T2 as quickly as possible. Great transition time and I was off. I felt pretty good on the second run but this is when I realized I need more speed work but I think this is something we all say. I pushed it as much as I could through the second 5k and left it all on the course and hoped from the best in the standings.

To my surprise I did better overall in this years race by 3 minutes and finished second in my age group. It's a great thing to accomplish something you didn't even think possible a couple of years ago but it's even better to do it while getting healthy and having fun. Thanks to everyone I train with and let's keep pushing each other to keep getting better and thanks to the coaches for the painful and yet great practices.

One more triathlon to close out the multi-sport season and then it's back to back marathon time.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Will it ever end?

Well as another weekend comes to a close, we saw another 100+ degree day. When will it cool off and when will it rain in Austin?

This weekend we were reminded how great of life we have. We shared many good times with various friends and we were granted the gift to be able to get up both days to do our long ride and run. We know many may not be able to get up and share these simple luxuries so we are thankful for them.

So as we start another week, stop to think, how lucky are you to live the life you have.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My First Triathlon

Well, it's been a while since we've updated the blog but that doesn't mean our lives have been quiet, it's been anything but quiet.

However, I figured completing my first triathlon was just the occasion write a race report and update the blog at the same time.

Today, I crossed a hurdle and became a triathlete. Up until a couple of years ago I wrote swimming off as something I would never be able to do. This is also the same thing I thought about running after having two knee surgeries and having chronic knee problems running in my family.

Over the past few months I have been focusing on my swimming more than ever all with my sights set "Jack's Generic Triathlon". In the weeks leading up to the race I felt great and even going into race weekend and all I had to do was trust my training and just focus on finishing the race. I continued my normal pre-race routine and got up two hours before I needed to leave the house, just before 3am the alarm went off and my race day was on. I know many think this crazy but it works for me so if it's not broke why fix it?

Another thing different about this race is Kevin was volunteering and not racing, a role reversal from many of our race days in the past.

The pre-race swim went well and I felt great going to the starting line. After 4 waves started it was my turn to go, the horn went off and so were we. I told myself to settle down and just stay calm and this was going well until my left arm got caught by an anchor wire and the guy who was swimming in front of me decided to stop. This caused me to panic and the life guard had to come get me to settle me down. Once I regained my composer I was ready to finish the swim. Kevin, David, Jason, Vanessa, and Bianca circled the lake following me and it was great to see them there every time I took a breath. As I looked up and spotted the swim exit I knew I had the rest of the race in the bag. I exited the water and charged up the hill, it was time to make up lost time and my thoughts went from just finishing the race to not being last in my age group. In and out of T1 in great time and it was game on. I quickly started passing people on the bike and just focused on having fun. I saw several teammates on the bike course and it was great to have them out there experiencing this with me. Rounding the corner going going down the hill to T2 it was time loosen the legs and get ready to run.

After another flawless transition, I blazed out on the run and felt great. Because I had so many supporters out there cheering for my success a guy came up from behind me and said "wow, you sure are popular" I quickly looked at him and said, "I just know people". Out and back for a 3 mile run I turn the last corner and saw the finish line. Just then a guy came up beside me like he was going to pass me and I thought OH NO YOU DON'T!! I'm not sure where the burst of energy came from but I blew by him and 4 others in front of me. I had finished what I set out to do and what I thought I would never "TRI" just a couple of years ago.

Thanks to everyone for your support and very special thank you to my two favorite males, Kevin & Sampson.

This is just the first of many triathlons to come but as I have already been asked, am I done with duathlons? Not no, but heck no!!! I'll just do both.