Friday, April 30, 2010

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures ...

Being that it is a Friday and most of us are beat down from a long week I will just post a bunch of pics so as not to tax our brains anymore than what is necessary.

But first, tomorrow is IronMan St. George  and a few of our fellow bloggers are going to be out there giving it the good fight.  So best of luck to Mike Russell (@ 26.2 is my Cooldown), Bob and his buddy Arnie (@OneHourIronman), and Fatty and his wife Lisa (@ Fat Cyclist).  Good luck guys and I can't wait to read the Race Reports!

I mentioned early that I won a Zipp 440 Front Carbon Wheel on Ebay.  It came today and here are the pics:

Very excited.  Quite the steal for around $100!  Going to take it to the LBS to get the tubulars put in and then I am going to order a rear disc cover from and place on my rear trainer wheel.

Here are pics from last weekends race:

Moody Gardens - Race Site

What OWS would have looked like if it had actually happened!

The Gulf and you can see why the swim was cancelled!

Early morning transition area.

Me leaving my "special place".

Starting the run.

Apparently, getting ready to take out a small child.

Coming down the finishing chute.

These next pics are all from the LoneStar Ironman 70.3 the next day.

Moody Gardens Run Course .. great location!

Much calmer Gulf on Sunday!

Overall winner Terenzo Bozzone - 3:49:06 (Super Fastie)

For the guys:

Desiree Ficker

Desiree Ficker

And .....

Desiree Ficker

Super cool cowboy hat finishers medal ... Gotta love Texas!

I hope everyone has a great weekend.  I have a 50 mile bike ride tomorrow and a 12 mile run on Sunday.  Sort of nice to not have a race or be in a taper!

Thanks for Reading,


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

So What is Up .... ?

- I just did Week 6, Day 1 of the Push Up Challenge and I can barely raise my hands up to the laptop to type this!  That. Was. Brutal!

- Last week I wrote that I was considering purchasing a Computrainer or a PowerTap to really help me laser focus in on my bike training.  Well, the new bedroom furniture looks great and my wife really likes it.  And the new mattress  has made sleeping a joy! (note to self - repeat this until you believe it!)

- Watching the Biggest Loser now and I still cannot stand Michael.  He is working hard and losing weight but something is just not right about him. He just seems so fake every time he opens his mouth.  He will not be missed if he goes home tonight.

- Congrats to the Pens for advancing to the next round of the NHL Playoffs!

- The Pittsburgh Pirates might be the worst baseball team ever assembled.  On Thursday they lost 20-0 to the Brewers at PNC Park.  After losing 3 more games over the weekend to Houston they had a chance last night to get back at the Brewers for the ass whopping last week and promptly lost 17-3.  Wow, they suck.  Oh, and on Saturday I was wearing a Pirates hat and a seagull pooped on my head.  Even the seagull was letting me know how shitty this team is.

- I am wear testing a pair of shoes for Brooks right now.  They are the Defyance 4's.  I currently run with the Defyance 3's so it will be cool to have input into the feel of the shoes I will be running with next year.  So far I absolutely love how they feel and they are super-sexy.  I hope I get to keep them!

- Last night Annie and I were running in my neighborhood and we ran past a guy who looked rather suspicious.  Well, when I say "looked suspicious" I mean "carrying 3 ft iron tool used to remove sprinkler heads".   These sprinkler heads have large copper fixtures which can be stolen and sold. The price of copper is through the roof right now.  I promptly ran home and called the Sheriff's department and by the time I ran back outside they already had apprehended the guy. That is how we roll in Texas guys (and apparently Arizona).  He ended up showing the officers where all the tools were hidden and where he was hiding the fixtures.  This guys has cost the HOA some cash over the last few months.

- I enjoy "24" so much more when it is Jack vs The World.  This year is going to end very badly for some Russians.

- I'm still not over the swim being cancelled on Saturday.  The challenge for me in doing the Olympic distance was in how I would perform in the 1500M OWS.  My options are to either get the hell over it or to do another race, soon.

-  If I do another race (soon) then my little planned 6 week rest and relaxation time before I begin training for the Nov 7th HIM might have to turn into a 4 week rest and relaxation period.  Not sure what I am going to do.

- New Toy on the way!! I found a used Zipp 440 Carbon Front Wheel on Ebay last week and put a bid on it.  For $95 I am the winner!  Never thought I would win it for that cheap!  If it ends up being true and looks good then I will probably get a rear wheel disc cover from for my current wheel and BOOM!  I have race wheels!

- LOST was a repeat tonight.  When I clicked on the TV guide and noticed this I was quite disappointed.  Damn you Network TV and your upcoming crappy Sweeps Week!!

Thanks for Reading,


Monday, April 26, 2010

Push Up Challenge Week 6 ... The End of the Road

Alright everybody, if you have followed the plan and advanced past week 5 then this will be your last week in the push up challenge!  If you were unable to finish up Week 5, no biggie, you can go back and repeat this week and then move on.  Good job to all of you that have stuck to the plan and if you happened to waiver some that is okay because you can pickup and start again.

After Week 5 you were supposed to do an exhaustion test to see which column you fall into for Week 6.  If you haven't done that yet then do it today and start Week 6 tomorrow.

Here is the Week 6 Schedule:

Personally, I have achieved to the 60+ column and am ready to give it hell this last week and hopefully nail 100 on Sunday.  If you are not there yet then just keep pounding away at it and you will do it.

Drop a comment and let us all know how you are doing.  James and Boomer have already surpassed the 100 rep barrier .... has anyone else yet?

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lone Star Olympic Triathlon Duathlon Race Report

Swim canceled due to high winds .....

Yep, that is what happened.  The wind was so bad in Galveston that the swim buoys would not stay in place and the poor guys on the kayaks were unable to hold still in the bay.  So, they scrapped the swim and had us do a bike and run race. 

The way the race was originally scheduled was that Sprint Distance was to begin at 7am and then the Olympic Distance was scheduled to go off at 8:30am.  I am not sure how many people were racing but my guess is that over 2000 were there.  Being that I am a below average swimmer you would think I would be cool with this!  BUT I was disappointed because I have been working hard at my swim and was excited to measure my gains in an actual race.

However, the RD made the right call because if the conditions were unsafe and someone would have got hurt then that would have been awful.  It is always right to error on the side of caution in these situations.  And the wind was crazy -- easily had gusts over 40-50 mph!

Anyway, we started the race on the bike.  The Sprinters went off first.  After they were done we waited about 30 minutes until the course cleared up some and then they let us go.  We did a Time Trial start with 3 seconds in between each rider.  It was different but okay.

The bike was extremely difficult because of the high winds and it was hot out.  By the time I hit the course it was well over 80 degrees and even with the wind, very humid.  The "back" portion of the bike ride was brutal with a headwind just crushing you the entire time.  I completed the 24.85 mile bike in 1:17:26 for an average pace of 19.22 mph.  Not bad with the wind.

My transition was a little slow (1:53) because I decided to run with new Brooks shoes that were sent to me on Thursday for wear testing (The Defyance 4).  I had to tie them instead of using my Yankz, but that probably only cost me 10-15 seconds.  They were extremely light and comfortable.

I hit the run course and I could feel the last portion of the bike in my quads.  My first mile was done right around 7:00 minutes but I was really starting to feel the sun and the heat and I decided to slow it down a little.  Damn it was hot!  My quads really didn't loosen up until about mile 5 and I tried to make up as much time as I could on the final mile.  My time ended up being 48:40 for the 10K.  Which is an average of 7:49/mi - not my best time but I'll take it.

In my 35-39 Age Group I finished 34/97.  The overall results are not up yet so I am not sure how I did compared to the entire field.

Overall, I was okay with my results.  I wish I would have pushed a little harder on the first half of the bike and the first half of the run.  It sucks that the swim got canceled but it was still awesome to be out there on a beautiful day doing what I love.  Annie volunteered at an aid station with our Tri club.  I was really fun to have all of them out supporting those of us racing on Saturday.  Many of them did the 70.3 Distance today!

Annie and I spent the day at the above mentioned Lone Star Ironman 70.3.  We took a ton of photos of all the ridiculously fast pros and many of the super-inspirational age groupers out there giving it their all.  We are both completely exhausted from the busy weekend and the camera is still in the car.  But tomorrow I will do another post with these pics, along with the final week schedule of the Push Up Challenge.  

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Thanks for Reading,


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pre-Race Plans ...

This is a taper week for me leading up to Saturday's LoneStar Olympic Triathlon.  The plan is for Annie and I to leave on Friday and head on down to Galveston and check into our hotel.  It is only about a 70 mile drive but we have to go through Houston traffic so it will probably take about 2 hours.  This is an officially sponsored Ironman event (70.3 on Sunday) so it appears there is going to be a ton of cool things to see.  I will race on Saturday and then we will stay an extra day and cheer on the triathletes doing the HIM on Sunday.  Should be a fun weekend and we'll take a bunch of pictures and I will put up a long race report on Sunday night!

Here are the MAPS for the Olympic distance race.

This will be my first time doing a distance longer than a Sprint and I am feeling pretty good about my training and my overall conditioning for the Olympic Distance. Being that this is my first time doing this distance I want my goals to be both modest and conservative. My goals for the race are as followed:

Swim:  1500M - 30 to 34 minutes:  This is an ocean swim in the Gulf and it is wetsuit legal.  I am not sure what to expect in terms of waves and overall chop for the ocean so I am hopeful it will be calm but prepared for it to be rough.  If I can average around 2:00 to 2:20/100M I will be happy.

Bike:  24.8 Mi - 1:18 to 1:22 minutes:  This bike route runs right along the Galveston Seawall and according to the weather forecast we should be expecting some 20+ mph cross winds.  This is pretty much the norm along the seawall in Galvestion.  And my age group wave doesn't take off until 8:34 am so by the time I am on the bike the wind will be kicking up. With the cross winds I will be happy to average 18-19 MPH.

Run: 6.21 Mi - 46 to 48 minutes:   A 10k on a nice flat route.  If I can keep myself from blowing up on the bike I could make up significant time on the run.  This is about a 7:30-7:50 pace.  I can do this pace and possibly better if the wind doesn't drain me.

Transitions:  6 minutes.  Looks like T1 is quite a distance from the swim exit so a 3+ minutes T1 time is probably going to happen.

Total Time Guess:  2:40 to 2:50 Overall.

Wish me luck and I'll be back on Sunday with my Race Report.

Thanks for Reading,


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bontrager Race X Lite Rear Cage Holder + Boomer = 103

First, I'd like to start out saying congrats to Boomer at Project Exercise for being the 2nd member of our group to reach the 100 Push Up mark (103 actually).  All this despite knocking himself silly with a concussion over the weekend!  Awesome job Boomer, post the badge proudly upon your blog for you have earned it my friend.

I have been looking for a hydration solution that fits on the back of my ISM Adamo Racing saddle.  I have a few friends using the X-Labs Carbon Wing and it is pretty cool.  You can fit 2 bottles, 4 CO2 cartridges, a spare tube, and other small accessories on this particular unit.  And the location of this sucker makes it aero.  Being that I am a Triathlete and have chugged the kool-aid that is carbon AND aero this seemed like a perfect solution to me.  Only problem was the X-Lab- it is $129.  This seems excessive to pay for a bottle and tube holder, does it not?  I started looking around online and came across the Bontrager Race X Carbon Cage.  It also has the same features of the X-Lab but it wasn't all that much less priced at $114.  I thought, "No way am I paying this amount for a rear bottle holder!"

Well, a few weeks passed and I kind of forgot about the rear hydration system until today.  I stopped at my LBS on my way home from work to pick up some GU.  They had some Profile Design rear hydration systems but they just held the water bottles and had no room for storage.  I asked the owner if he had anything similar to the Bontrager model?  He said he had one Bontrager left in the back if I wanted it. I told him I didn't want to pay $114 for it so Thanks but no Thanks.  He got a big smile and said, "I'll give it to you for $44."  So I am now a proud owner of a Bontrager Race X Lite Rear Cage Holder.

I got home and was planning on a ride anyway so I mounted the cage.  The darn this is freaking beautiful.  I was able to get both bottles, a CO2 cracker, spare tube, CO2 cartridges, and a multi-purpose bike tool comfortably onto the Cage and it sits in a nice aero position!!!  I took it for a 17.5 mile ride and it performed beautifully.  I practiced grabbing the bottles from both sides and placing them back into the cage.  I am so glad I stopped at the LBS today and found this.  In hindsight it probably would be worth the $114!

A+ on the Bontrager Race X Lite Rear Cage Holder.

Tomorrow I will be back with my plans and goals for this weekend's Tri.

Thanks for Reading,


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Week 5 Push Up Challenge ... Almost there!

Week 4 of the Push Up Challenge is in the books people!  This was a difficult week and my arms are hanging from my shoulders like a couple of frayed up running shoe laces.  Now that Week 4 is complete it is time for another exhaustion test to see where you rank going into Week 5.  Go ahead and drop and do the exhaustion test, really go ahead, I'll wait ....... c'mon a couple more reps ... you can do it ..... Ok, wasn't that fun.

I did 72 reps for my exhaustion test this week and as is implied in the name, I am exhausted.  But after you look down and see Week 5 you are going to realize that Weeks 1-4 were like the minors leagues.  So, you have just been called up to The Show and it is time to step it up!  Here is your schedule:

Yep, that is not a misprint it says there are EIGHT SETS!!  I know. This is no joke this here push up challenge!  Okay, lets say you did not make it to at least 31 reps on the exhaustion test?  Not a big deal, you will just go back and repeat Week 4.  But if you have done at least 31 reps then match the columns and rows above and get to it.  And the good news is after we storm the beach this week another exhaustion test is in our future before we make the final push (up).  Personally I am going for 90 at the end of the week!  If you got to 100 this week let me know and I'll cross you off the list to the right.

Now on to other business.  Everyones favorite Left Coast Blogger, Chantalle, over at the LA Daze Blog tagged yours truly with the "Honest Scrap" badge.  I am required to list 10 honest things about myself.  So here it goes:

1.  My wife is my best friend.
2.  I am a closet road rage-aholic.
3.  I am very poor at parking. However I am an excellent driver.  Weird, I know.
4.  I enjoy TV shows that are made for 13 year old girls (Dawson's Creek, Supernatural, Buffy ...etc).
5.  I used to think that playing 18 holes of golf was exercise because I'd walk like 2 miles or so.
6.  I haven't consumed a soda in over 2 years.
7.  I arrange the clothes in my closet by categories: Dress Shirts, Long Sleeve Polos, Short Sleeves Cottons, Knits, etc ... and then I color code them using ROYGBIV.... OCD much?
8.  I cook dinner in our house 95% of the time.  I wonder how my wife and pugs eats when I travel for work?
9.  I have never had a massage and really have no desire to have one.
10. I have never Pee'd on my bike, but deep down inside I know that one day soon I will (-:

Their is my Honest Scrap.  I am not going to nominate anyone else because that is how I roll biatches.  But if you would like to join the Honest Scrap party knock yourself out!

Thanks for Reading,


Rain, Rain go away ...

So much for my long ride this morning!

The alarm went off at 6am and I jumped out of bed ready to drive down to the country roads and enjoy the solitude of a nice 75-mile Sunday morning ride.  First thought was that it is still very dark outside for 6am? Hmmm.  Then I went upstairs to wake up the pugs for the morning walk.  We stepped outside and it was overcast with that smell that is an indication of rain.  Crap.  Went to and saw that some nasty thunderstorms were on the way and supposed to be here for most of the day.  I guess my 75 mile outdoor ride is now going to turn into as much as I can tolerate on the trainer.  I did 2.5 hours on the trainer yesterday evening and am not sure how much more I can withstand. We shall see!!!

PUSH UP CHALLENGE UPDATE:  We should all be finishing up Week 4 and getting prepared for Week 5 (almost done everyone).  You are supposed to do another exhaustion test to see where you rank for the Week 5 chart so get to it guys!  Maybe this exhaustion test will uncover a couple of more 100 Push Up members!  I will post up the Week 5 Schedule first thing tomorrow morning so it will be easy to follow for the rest of the week.

Sunday Morning Ramblings:
  • All is not lost because I have already put 140 miles on my bike this week.  I'll miss my goal of 200 miles this week but my training plan only called for about 80 miles so I smashed that.
  • Speaking of LOST, only 5 hours left until this show ends forever and it is all starting to come together.  Well, not really but it is at the least extremely entertaining and I cannot wait to see how they wrap this sucker up or if it is even possible to wrap this sucker up!
  • As most of my readers know I grew up in the Pittsburgh area and am a HUGE fan of Pittsburgh Sports (yes, even the Pirates).  As a Pittsburgher I have always had a huge sense of pride with the way the Steelers represent the spirit and character of the city.  Just like Pittsburgh, the Steelers have always had a blue collar, lunch pail type of image that blends perfectly with the attitude of the area's residents.  I have lived in many different cities and the Pride that is felt from the Steelers by the city of Pittsburgh is like nothing I have seen anywhere else, (Cleveland is close) it actually transcends the game. Ben Roethlisberger is a remarkable football talent and is one of the main reasons the franchise has 6 Lombardi Trophies instead of just 4.  This football team is a Super Bowl contender every year with him under center.  With that being said, I would like to see nothing more then him traded or outright released as soon as possible.  He could throw for 500 yards a week and lead the Steelers to another Super Bowl and I will not cheer for him.  Never again.  His actions are that of an arrogant, entitled, elitist asshole that has no place on this proud franchise.  When you are the face of the most popular sports franchise of the most popular sports league you have certain expectations that are expected of you outside of the football field. Not only has he not lived up anywhere close to these expectations,  his failure as a human being is so epic that many in Steeler Nation feel the same way as I do and we would rather lose with pride than win with Ben. 
  • I feel much better getting that off my chest and articulated on the interweb.
  • My older Pug, Ernie, is now 10 years old and is starting to have trouble going up and down the steps.  I seem to be carrying him around a lot lately. He seems to like that!
Carry me please!

  • Thanks to all of you for your comments on my last post about being a little Tired.  Just to be clear, my body is feeling wonderful and the triathlete lifestyle is incredibly enjoyable and rewarding.  My so called fatigue is more from following a structured training plan every single day and I am mentally exhausted from that aspect.  So when I am done with Saturday's Oly Triathlon my rest is going to be from a training plan and not from working out.  Hence, enter some P90X and Insanity workouts.  I am just going to wake up every day and do whatever physical activity I feel like doing until the HIM Training Plan begins (June 21st).
  • I am seriously considering acquiring a CompuTrainer.  I found one on ebay that was a few years old but it got sniped out from under me.  The reason for kicking around the idea of training with a CT is that training with power really intrigues me.  I have read many articles about PowerTaps and training with wattage and think I could really benefit from this type of data.  I am a data junkie and keep stats for everything I do training-wise.  According to many a Pro Triathlete a CT is one of the best training instruments available to us and the results attained from its usage are track-able and quantifiable.  The problems is that I have the money saved but my wife wants a new mattress and bedroom furniture.  Got to figure out a compromise!  Ray over at DC Rainmaker did an excellent review (here) of a CT and also helped me over email with a few questions -- Thanks Ray!
  • I spent the last 3 days at a convention in Downtown Houston and am pretty darn worn out from it.  This week of training is a much needed taper week before my race on Saturday and I plan on following it as closely as possible.
Have a great week everyone!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Future Training Plans ...

This week is just flying by!

Here is a good pic of me from Saturday's Tri:

Pointy Helmet Needed!

I have a convention in Houston the next three days and am afraid my training is going to be a little limited so I have been going pretty hard on the bike.  Over the last 3 days I have already put 93 miles in on the Quintana Roo.  I am trying to get to 200 + this week with hopefully (weather permitting) a long ride on Sunday morning to put me over the top.  Also, since James has hit 100 PUs I have been quite motivated and did Week 4, Day 1 twice yesterday and then did a max rep test this morning - hit 67 push ups.  I am feeling pretty confident that I will be able to do 100 by the time the program is complete!

Future Training Plans:

Okay,  I began my little Triathlon journey one year ago this month (29:01 5K, really?).  I guess it is my TriTraining-versary?!?

Anyway, I have been going pretty hard for a year without any breaks and lately I have been having trouble giving it my all during my workouts.  Physically I am fine, the problem has been that I am not in it mentally.  The thinking is that I might be a little burned out and could use a less structured schedule to give me a little time to relax.  My focus has been far less than what I expect and my brain is just fatigued!

Sooooo ..... after my race next Saturday I am going to take it easy for a little while. Training will commence except without a Planned Training Schedule.  I am going to run when I feel like it, bike when the wind isn't blowing, and probably not swim at all!  If I wake up at 5am and am not feeling it that morning then I will roll over and go back to bed for an hour.  I have been missing weight training so over this time I am going to hit the dumbbells again and get the upper body back.  Will also do some P90X and Insanity too! Sounds pretty good, eh?

But, do not fret fellow Triathlon -aholics.  This is by no means permanent.  In fact this is quite short-lived!  The main reason that a rest is going to be taken is that starting June 21st I will begin a 20-Week HIM training program for the IronStar 70.3 on November 7th:

I want to hit this 20-week HIM training as hard as I can and need to be mentally ready to dedicate myself 100% to killing it. A little rest will allow for me to do this!

 I am also considering enhancing my bike training so that my results can be more measurable and pointed.  Not sure how this is going to happen but should have an update in a few days.

So to recap, after April 24th I am going to scale back my s/b/r and relax for a few weeks and then begin a new 20 Week HIM Training Program.  Pretty simple.

Thanks for Reading,


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Congrats to our First 100 Push Up Winner ...

And in only 3 short weeks James from the Daily Trainings Blog reached the 100 Push Up Pinnacle. He actually did 101!

Awesome job James, you are an inspiration to us all and for that your reward is this 100 Push Up Badge and your name in RED over on the right side bar:

Right click, copy and paste, and BOOM this sucker is displayed proudly on your blog.  And as all the other Bloggers will attest: we love badges on our blogs!  So, now we all know what we have to do to get this lovely little badge on our own blogs - James has blazed a trail for us all to follow so now it is time to bust it up over the next 3 weeks.

Who will be next?


Sunday, April 11, 2010

100 Push Up Challenge ... Week 4 (Half Way Point)

If you are checking in to see my Race Report for yesterday's Triathlon CLICK HERE

If you are checking in to see the Gun Show then look at this guy:

Boom .. That. Just. Happened.

My arms and shoulders didn't look this good before the PU Challenge.  No way.  The PU Challenge has been difficult but it is worth it because this sucker is getting results.  I have spoke with a bunch of you who are doing the challenge and are seeing excellent gains as well.  Keep up the great work and lets BRING IT for only 3 more weeks.

Here is the schedule for Week 4.  After this week you will need to do another "exhaustion test" to move into Week 5 so get yourself pumped up for an end of the week max!

I spent today planning my training schedule for the rest of the year while watching the Masters.  If you didn't get a little misty when Phil meet his family on the 18th then you are a robot.  And him winning on Tiger's big comeback bid made it even more special.  It is events like this that make me love sports!

Anyway, I will post up my training for the rest of the year sometime this week - got a lot going through my head and will need some advice from my blogger pals!

Hope everyone has a great week!

Thanks for Reading,


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Gateway to the Bay Sprint Triathlon Race Report ...

3:30am .... beep, beep, beep

Yep, that is the time the alarm clock went off this morning.  Knowing it was race day I sprung right out of bed as opposed to my normal reaction of smacking the snooze button rather violently multiple times!  We wanted to get on the road around 4:30 so I had some time to eat a whole wheat bagel, indulge in a splendid cup of fresh coffee and even answer some emails for work (yes, I have issues).

We left right on time!

I will break this RR down into sections and include the pics that Annie snapped throughout the morning.


We found an awesome parking spot a couple of blocks away from the transition area and I took this time to do all the necessary bike prep work.

Still a little sleepy!

Getting my game face on

We ran into Stu and Leah from my Tri club and talked to them a little while and then I went and got my transition area ready.  Leah was racing today and Stu was down for some clinics that Matty Reed and Andy Potts were doing and he was then racing the Oly distance tomorrow.  Of course I left my sunglasses in the car so I had to run back and get them.  That was my warm up!


The swim was in the bay and the transition was a good quarter of mile from the swim exit. This first image is from Google Maps and the yellow line shows where we exited the water and how far the T1 area was from the exit:
Carpet was down on the street for us to run on -- nice touch!

Time to Race!

This next picture is from the race website and it is a picture of the swim start area:

Looks nice and peaceful, eh?

Here are two pictures I took 5 minutes before the start:

If you think the water looks rough, you are correct- nuttin like the pic above!

Ramp to enter & exit the water.

My Age Group was in the 2nd wave so we got to start early. They combined the 30-34 and 35-39 Age Groups so there were a lot of us in the water battling it out.  I love when we start in one of the first few waves, nothing worse than standing around waiting.  So, we meander on out to the starting buoys about 50 yards from the shore.  The water is only waist high and the first thing all of us notice is that the waves are pretty aggressive.  The gun goes off and I start swimming.  First thing I notice is that an extraordinary amount of effort is being exerted and this amount of effort is not even close to being equal to the amount of forward progress?  The good news is that everyone else in my age group is experiencing the exact same thing.  The bad news is that saltwater does not taste very good and I am taking it down.

Lots of knees and elbows were a flying and due to the the waves and overall choppiness of the water sighting was darn near impossible.  I triangulated the rising sun from my position and basically just swam towards the sun. I eventually found the turn buoy and made my way back to the shore.  The trip in was much better with the current and waves now at our backs.  It was still choppy and hard to see but I realized I was passing quite a few people.  Even some people in the first wave.  This is an unusual occurrence for me considering my swim ability is rated somewhere between poor and bad.  

Overall, even though the above paragraphs sound tough, I actually enjoyed the hell out of this swim!  It was brutal and hard but because of this it was even more rewarding than usual to complete.  If it was easy everyone would do it.

I exited the water feeling very fresh.  My overall splits were:

Split Time:  12:34
AG Rank: 19/40
Wave Rank: 36/83

These are pretty slow swim times and for me to be in the middle of the pack shows you just how rough the waters were this morning!  

Very cool pic of me coming out of the water.


Transition time after the longish run was 3:30.  This was a decent time because of the long run to transition but I ran right past my rack.  Really need to pull my head out of my butt sometimes.  Probably only lost a few seconds but it is still frustrating to do stupid things.

I get my bike to the line and head out to the course.  You make a right hand turn and start heading right up the Kemah Bridge.  This is a big step bridge that Ocean vessels go underneath and it was a steep climb.  The hard part really was not the climb it was that you just jumped on your bike and your legs are still in swim mode.  Then you go down the north side of the bridge and I got up to 35 mph at one point.  You make an immediate right hand turn and swing under the bridge on a utility road and come out on the other side of the bridge and climb back up the other side.  Yes, less than 1.5 miles in and you are already doing two huge climbs.  Then you start on a pretty flat and straight road which was directly into a head wind.  It was this way for 7 miles.  I was maintaining about 18mph in the head wind and I was working hard.  The good news was that when you completed the turn around the wind was at your back.  The next 5 miles I averaged about 22mph. I ended up averaging 19mph for the 12.5 miles.  I got passed by a few guys and also passed a few guys so overall the bike was rather uneventful.

Had a smooth dismount and found my rack position right away.  Tossed on the Brooks shoes and Brooks visor and took off for the run.

My overall Bike Splits were:

Split Time:  39:40
AG Rank:  15/40

With the wind and bridge it was hard to have an awesome average.  Considering I really only have about 5 months of riding experience I'm extremely happy with how my bike splits are getting better each race.

Coming into T2.

Ass shot!


My T2 time was much better at 1:17.  My rack was at the opposite end from the run start so this is a good T2 split.

So the run starts and my legs are still feeling very fresh.  I start off strong and immediately pass about a dozen runners.  About a half mile in the left side of my lower back begins to tighten up. It isn't really hurting but it is aggravating nonetheless.  The run course takes us literally right along the Kemah Boardwalk.  It is very cool to be running on the boardwalk but there were a ton of turns on this sucker. I felt like we were in a maze at one point.  About 2 miles in my back is really getting tight and since I am not wearing my Garmin I am thinking my run split is going to be awful.  Then, just like a light switch, the tightness just turns off?  With about a half mile to go I let it fly and sprint my way into the finish.

I see Annie and and our friends from the Tri Club, Suzy and Todd and thier kids, all cheering me on.  It is always nice to hear cheers when you are finishing!  I found all the guys and slammed some water.  I felt awesome after the race which to me means I left something on the course.  I really think I could have pushed a lot harder on the run and just used the tight back as an excuse.  I told everyone that I probably averaged an 8 minute mile on the run and was disappointed with my run performance. Well, I guess I was justing being the eternal pessimist because the run split was pretty decent:

Run Spilt:  21:25
AG Rank:  5/40

Running Hard at the finish.

Crossing the finish line.

Post Race and Summary:

This was the inaugural year for the Gateway to the Bay Triathlon and the organizers did a very nice job and it went off pretty much without a hitch.  They had awesome volunteers and great crowd support.  A job Well Done by Aaron and the OnUrLeft Team.  I will definitely do this race again next season and make sure all my friends do as well!  Unfortunately the skies opened up and some serious thunderstorms came through the area as we were pulling out of the parking lot. It probably ruined what was a real nice post race party.  I will never post a weather snapshot on my blog again like I did earlier in the week -- Big Jinx!

As for my performance, I was hopeful that I could complete this race in a time of 1:20.  My actual overall time was 1:18:26.  So, I did a little better than what I expected.  Overall I was very happy with my swim and my swim ranking.  It was hard but it was cool.  I think I could have hammered a little harder in the beginning of the bike leg.  Still being relatively new to triathlons I sometimes have trouble gauging how hard to go and when to reserve, but with each race I am getting much better at this.  Even though I had a very strong run ranking I am still disappointed in my time.  I was targeting a 21 minute run and I did that but deep down I know I should have been around 19:30 on this run. It was flat and fast and I held up some because of a tight back.  Also I will never run without my Garmin again.  I just ran using RPE but if I would have been tracking my pace I know I would have pushed harder.  Live and learn my friends.  

Overall it was a very fun race and I finished with a very respectable time.

Overall Time:  1:18:26
Overall Rank:  79/750 ?
Overall AG Rank:  15/40

I made Annie stick her head in this cutout as we were leaving - love it:

Thanks for Reading,


Friday, April 9, 2010

Gateway to the Bay Sprint Triathlon Tomorrow ...

Tomorrow is the first Tri of the season!  I've already done 6 other races (4 run & 2 du) this year so it sort of feels just like another weekend and is probably the reason why I am neither nervous nor anxious for the race.

I went down to the race site this afternoon to pick up my packet and everything was all setup and ready to go.  The swim exit is about  .25 miles from transition, quite a nice little jog!  I am guessing that the T1 times are going to be a little longer than usual!  I took a photo of the Bay where we are swimming with my Blackberry and it looks pretty rough, some decent sized waves (sorry, I can't find my blackberry sync cord to DL the pic).  Their were a bunch of other guys standing around the swim start and they were all concerned about how difficult the swim looked.  I actually was the opposing voice because I thought it looked all hardcore and am excited to swim in saltwater for the first time during a Tri - weird considering the swim is the hardest leg for me!  Can't believe I just looked at the swim portion of a Tri and got pumped up -- I don't even know who I am anymore!

After that I walked over to the transition area and found my assigned rack location and was excited to see it was very close to the bike exit.  The bike leg has us going over the Kemah Bridge which is a lot steeper than I originally thought.  My guess is a lot of us Texans who are used to riding nothing but flats will end up walking the bike up a portion of this monster - hopefully I am not one of these riders!

The run course is flat as a pancake right along the boardwalk.  I plan to redline this leg.

Overall, it looks like it should be a fun but challenging course.  The official distances are 500M Swim/12.5 Mi Bike/3 Mi Run.  I am thinking I can do a 10-12 minute swim (not sure how the current will affect this time), 40-42 minute bike, and a 21 minute run.  With transitions I will be pleased with a 1:20ish time.

All my gear is just about packed and I have decided to travel light.  No Garmin, No Bento Box ... basically as little gear as possible. Helmet, Bike, Brooks Defyance, Shimano SPDs, race belt, water bottle, wetsuit and tri suit.  That is all.   If I get a flat I will take the DNF.  On a Quarter or Half course I will carry all my gear, on a short Sprint like this I am just going to go all out and not sweat the small stuff.  Fast transitions = faster overall finish!

Wish me luck and I will put up a race report and with Pics tomorrow!

Thanks for Reading,


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sunny Outlook

Sorry I was crabby Jeff yesterday.  I am back to my normal sarcastic, non-angry self.  The A/C is fixed and my foot is living the dreamy existence of being surrounded by the delightful Moleskin.

I have my first Triathlon on Saturday and check out the weather forecast for the entire weekend:

How awesome is that?

Today was a solid training day.  I got in 2500 meters at the pool and 22 miles n the bike.  I destroyed myself with intervals in the pool and then again on the bike.  I am toast right now!

Getting ready to go watch LOST on the DVR and slam a recovery drink- VERY EXCITED to watch LOST!!!!

Thanks for Reading,


Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday = FAIL

Have you ever had one of those days when you should have never even got out of bed?  Today was that day for me.

Aside from the Pirates crushing the Dodgers 11-5, today just sucked!

First, the air conditioning in the house decided to stop working.  We live in Houston.  It was 82 degrees at 7:30am  in my living room!!!  The best part is that we have TWO air conditioning units.  One for the upstairs and one for the downstairs.  And both of them quit working.  A/C repair is not cheap.  Good times! Bye, Bye new road bike.

Then my accountant called to let me know that my taxes were complete. Our Government is not cheap.   Bye, Bye Carbon Race Wheels.

After driving over 200 miles I finally made it home and decided I was going to try and run without socks for my planned 30 minute tempo run. No socks will equal a faster transition time.  It actually started out great.  My first two miles were done in 12:50 and I was feeling extremely strong. This crummy day was turning around for the better!  Then at about the 2.5 mile point I started to feel some minor irritation on my back right heel.  Then the minor irritation started to hurt.  My right foot was really hurting and around the 4 mile mark I sat down on the curb and took my shoe off.  Yep, I had rubbed off skin on the heel and on part of my arch.  It was raw and I needed to stop or it was going to get really bad.

Well, I was approximately 1.5 miles from my house.  I had left my cell at home and the A/C guy was going to be at the house in 15 minutes.  And no way could I even walk with the shoe on my right foot.  Sooooo ... I walked home barefoot! Took off both shoes and tried to avoid all little pebbles and other road debris.  I have no idea how people do the barefoot running thing?

Got a nice little hour on the trainer tomorrow planned and another hour of intervals in the pool in the evening.

At least 24 was half decent tonight!

Thanks for Reading,


Sunday, April 4, 2010

100 Push Up Challenge ... Week 3

We are starting Week 3 of the 100 Push Up Challenge.  If you have made it this far give yourself a big old fist pump.  Maybe a little Woot-Woot!  You have earned it!  Personally I am seeing some nice improvements in my guns.  This program is hard but we are all doing it!

Ok, now that you have completed 2 weeks you are supposed to do an exhaustion test and make a note of how many you do and this is your new max number.  Use this number to choose your Week 3 column.  Here is what the 100 Push Up people say:

Don't forget, now you've completed Week 2, it's time to take an exhaustion test. Perform as many good-form push ups as you can manage before you physically can't do another one. Make a note of how many push ups you complete, and move on to Week 3. Hope you're ready for the next level!

Here is what the Week 3 Schedule looks like:

I am going to move into Week 4 instead of repeating Week 3 again.  I am ready for the bigger numbers.

Also, I am thinking about doing a max rep test in the next couple of minutes just to see how I do.  I'll post the results if I end up doing that.

Have a great week everyone!

Thanks for Reading,


Sunday Morning Ramblings ....

Only got a few minutes to post before I have to leave for the Easter Brunch.  When did brunch become so important on Easter anyway?  My wife said it is because it gives women a chance to dress cute and take pictures ... she might be right?

  • Yesterday was a fun training day.  We had the club Duathon in the morning.  It was a 2 mi run followed by a 13 mi bike ride followed by another 2 mi run.  Annie participated and did very well.  Every time I saw her she had a big smile on her face.  One of the ladies in the group, Karen, stayed with Annie through the entire event.  That was a very nice thing for her to do so Thank you Karen!
  • I am not sure of my times in the Du.  I was the second runner in on the first leg with a 12:39 time (6:19/mi pace) and then I had some issues on the bike.  I started pedaling and my legs felt sooo heavy.  I was having trouble pushing 17mph on the flat out of the park. But the effort I was putting in should of had me in that 22-23mph range?  The back of the bike just had a weird heavy feeling? I am thinking maybe I just blew myself up on the run? About 2 miles in you start down a long hill and I could barely get the bike up to 17mph in aero going downhill?  Okay, something was wrong?  I kept hearing a slight "whoosh" sound so at the bottom of the hill I jumped off the bike and realized my rear brakes pads were brushing against the rim.  I unlatched and straightened the tire and was back on my way.  I am such a newb!  When we finished up the guys were all asking me what happened and one of the guys, Stu, said, "didn't you ride the bike before we started?" --- He had a very good point!  Lesson learned.  I had taken my bike off the trainer and just put it on the car rack.  As for the times, I forgot to stop my Garmin so I'll have to wait to see the results once the club posts them.  I think I was the 4th place finisher?
  • After the Du a few of us made the 45 minute drive down to Lake 288 for another OWS.  This is my 3rd OWS in the last 6 days!  I am ready to declare myself ready for the first Tri of the season this coming Saturday!  We had a sunny, 85 degree day with the water temperature at 68 degrees.  Just an awesome day for a swim!  I am estimating we did about 2200-2400 meters around the buoys.  I am just loving my Xterra Vortex 3 Wetsuit.  
  • Whole Wheat Pizza is amazing!  A little restaurant down the road from us has a whole wheat pizza that is so good.  As most of my old P90X readers know I maintain a pretty clean diet but love pizza!  Unfortunately, most pizza is made with white enriched flour and that is a big No-No.  Now, this whole wheat pizza is still something Annie and I only eat in moderation but it is so awesome to get my pizza fix in every few weeks or so!
  • I love Opening Day of Baseball.  I have to drive up to College Station for the day tomorrow but I have XM radio and will be able to listen to a bunch of games.  It will be so nice to listen to baseball instead of getting angry listening to political talk radio.
  • This was my recovery week.  I have only trained for about 5 hours (per my plan) and my body is feeling very fresh because of it ... going to spin on the trainer tonight just to help the legs recover from yesterday's efforts.
  • It is always amazing to me the amount of people that flock to the Easter Mass at the Vatican.  Over 100,000 people and it is raining.  Faith is an amazing thing.
Thanks for Reading and Happy Easter!


Friday, April 2, 2010

Bike Porn and March Recap ...

First here is Annie's new Trek 1000:

We had to hurry up with the pics because it was getting ready to storm.  I tossed some SPD pedals on the bike and it is road ready.  We went for a quick little ride and all those years of spin classes have Annie ready to tear it up on the road.  She's got a pretty good motor!

I went for another OWS yesterday with a few guys from my Tri Cub.  It was a little windy but we still had a good time and a good swim.  I am still a slow swimmer but am getting much more comfortable in the open water, we estimate we swam about 2100 meters yesterday.

Here are some pics from the OWS last Sunday in the San Jacinto river:

Getting ready to jump in -- I am in the black swim cap.

Here is me coming back.  I was trying to wave to Annie.

Here are my training numbers for March and then for the 1st Qtr 2010:

March's totals:
Bike:15h 37m  - 276.85 Mi
Run:11h 12m 48s  - 75.4 Mi
Swim:7h 00m  - 15309 M

2010 totals
Bike:47h 44m  - 844.65 Mi
Run:31h 54m 07s  - 214.79 Mi
Swim:18h 15m  - 37709 M
Strength:1h 30m

Overall I am very pleased with the way my training is going.  Currently I am doing an intro HIM plan but my longest race is only an Olympic Distance.  The reason I am doing the HIM plan was to see how my body would handle the increased volume of a HIM plan.  So far, so good!  

I am enjoying an official day off work today and it is glorious!  We slept in and then went to cafe for breakfast.  Annie is going to work at 1pm and then I am going to go for an easy run to get in a little volume before tomorrow's Duathlon.

I hope everyone has a great Easter weekend!

Thanks for Reading,