Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Maybe No More Upper Body Workouts

Here are a couple of always flattering race pictures from the Door County Tri. 

Apparently I can lay off the upper body workouts because in both pictures I look a little "over developed." But hey, look at me all ready to dismount with my feet already out of my shoes. (What a pro.)


Maybe I wouldn't have so many problems staying cool if I didn't insist on carrying my lucky beaver pelt stuffed down the front of my shirt. (This may actually have been a live beaver this time as it looks like it has started to chew its way out of my jersey.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New Training Methods

With only a few days left of vacation I have decided to stop fooling myself and just not run. I will run with my peeps when I get home. I still have about 8 weeks until the Twin Cities Marathon and I am not going to be all fat and out of shape if I don't run until Saturday, right?

I have not sworn off all training however. I have been using some new training methods and some new training partners and they are really working me. 

To keep me focused and minimize distractions they insisted on taking the ferry to Washington Island with only our bikes for transportation on the island. (OK - that was my idea, but they agreed.) When we arrived we got right down to business.

E is a very serious training parter. Notice she is keeping her eyes focused keenly on the prize.


F is a bit friendlier, at least with the camera on him.


F likes to pull the train.

I was having a tough time holding onto E's wheel a lot of the time. Those little legs turn a HUGE gear at a very high cadence.

Time for an open water swim. Our goal - the iron ore ship on the horizon.

First some core work. Take these rocks and throw them as far as you can.

E and F understand that so much of training is mental. We spent some time practicing patience, finding balance and reaching a state of Zen.

E and F also helped me better understand nutrition. On the return trip we refueled with Cokes and raspberry Milano cookies.

Our pit-stop really helped. Coke is an excellent fuel for 7- and 9-year-olds. It's like high-octane race car fuel. The speed of the return trip was so high F was blowing his hair out the top of his helmet.

Finally waiting to board the ferry back to the mainland. A good hard day of training complete.


(A got a day without the kids. Aren't I a nice husband? Actually, she insisted I take the kids and give her some alone time. When I say "insisted" I mean "ordered," but then you already knew that.)

I Am Glad You Guys Got It

No need to provide an explanation for Monday's post. I think you all pretty much saw the pattern. I knew you would because you are all highly intelligent, incredibly witty, wise and good looking people. How do I know this? You read my blog. Only highly intelligent, incredibly witty, wise and good looking people read this blog. 

It's been proved. 

By science.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Theme

Following are a bunch of pictures. They are kind of random, but a theme develops. This will not score me points with potential employers, my wife, my in-laws or law enforcement officials in any number of southern states. I will however score points with my 7-year-old son, maybe my 9-year-old-daughter and 12-year-old boys across the country (and people with the maturity level of said 12-year-olds, myself included.)


Still on vacation - we saw this little critter napping on the wall outside our front door this morning.


Does anyone else find anything funny about my breakfast this morning? (My wife saw this one at the table and we shared a laugh, so you can too. And yes, I ate every bite.)


We went to this petting zoo called "The Farm" today like we do every year. They have sheep.


They have sows and piglets.

They have horses. My timing could not have been worse.

Oh, this picture is much better. This is "Big Duke." Duh!


And an ass.

(If anyone is baffled by the "theme" I will post a slightly more obvious version tomorrow, but come on, it's all pretty obvious, isn't it?)

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Vacation Yawns

I am not a very good vacationer. I hit ten days max and I am crawling out of my skin wanting get back home. I am kind of there right now. I miss Apollo - the dog - who, apparently, has not been playing well with others at the boarding facility. ("He's not 'aggressive,' just a little rough with the other dogs. He has been getting extra 'naps.'" great - my dog has behavior issues and is in time-out ALL THE TIME.)

We did have a pretty fun day with the kids. We went to this place called "Hands On Art Studio." I thought it would be just some glorified paint-your-plate place, but it was so much more. They had mosaics, jewelry making (and not just beading), glass making and metal working. 

F had absolutely no interest until he saw the metal working. Here are pictures of my future welder (and if that happens I will truly be jealous - I really want to learn how to weld.)

"Let's cut some steel!" (He was actually mad at me because I embarrassed him earlier when he walked into the ceramics studio, started touching everything and then knocked five pieces over - no breakage. He said to me as I told him, "Don't touch, AN-Y-THING!" "DAD! It's called 'HANDS ON Art!'")

Working the plasma cutter.

Almost done.

Grinding off the burrs.

A few more sparks.


A few finishing touches.

While F was workin' the steel, E was painting some ceramics. She made a very nice little box. Here is a picture of her with her two little cousins. 


When E saw what F had done, she wanted to come back and work some steel as well. We'll go back, I have some designs of my own to make. 

OH, I saw the hugest cock!









He was just strutting around, crowing.

We also got some wind today that really whipped the lake into some "surf." I almost tried to get out and bodysurf (I have been able to in the past) but A reminded me I had chicken to grill - DE-NIED!

Tomorrow looks like more of the same. I do have a ten mile run scheduled so that will save me somewhat. (I know, I know - I am totally able to suck the joy out of just about any occasion.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Au Naturale

I promised E that I wouldn't post this picture, but I had my fingers crossed. A took the picture - I had nothing to do with that. My kids are way more "earthy" than I figured.



Kids on the Rocks

This year the kids are at a great age - old enough to get around on their own by bike, young enough to be fearless. As I noted before we have been coming to this area for about 10 years now and this is the first year we have brought the kids' bikes with. We rode our bikes about a half hour north of the house to Whitefish Dunes State Park and after E recovered from whining about how tired her legs were, we climbed around on the rocks that overhang Lake Michigan. It made A's "palms sweat" but the kids and I had a great time risking imminent death or at least an unplanned swim. Here are a bunch of pics.
A great picture of A and the kids - on a cliff.

The kids stuck under an overhang.

A precarious rock bridge.

E perched precariously.

A dangerous hole.

The kids under that "dangerous hole."

I love this one - A peaking over telling F to get away from the edge while I tell him to get closer to the edge.

"Yoo Hoo! Kids, I'm down here."

Keep climbing!


"What lies over yonder horizon?"

At one point on the bike trail near the nature center you come upon these little settings depicting life at different times in the early history of the Door County Peninsula. I have sepia toned them to increase the creepy, "Blair Witch Project-ness" of it.



Wednesday, July 22, 2009

An Alternative Way to Fund a Vacation

We are on vacation in Door County, Wisconsin for two weeks. We have been coming here for years and one of our favorite stops is Al Johnson's Restaurant. This place is famous for Swedish pancakes and having goats on the grass roof. Every year I take pictures of the goats. 


Every year the kids try on viking hats.


And every year after eating we go to the park down the street. This year we had some extra entertainment. Someone training for the redneck olympics and getting his daughter or niece in on the act. 




This guy spent the whole time we were there sweeping the playground with a damn metal detector. Then he taught the little girl how to do it, but insisted on pocketing everything she found. I swear to god, people have no shame. (And put a shirt on for the love of Pete.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Proof

This is for D, who doesn't believe a race happens without pictures. Here is some video and a photo for the non-believers or curious out there. (My family doesn't document anything very well.)

video
Listen closely to hear my loving son yell, "Get Moving!"

I was real tired here. I really just wanted a nap.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Door County Half Iron Distance Triathlon - Long Report

My goal for this post is to make it as long as possible so it takes you the same amount of time to read it as it took me to finish. (That fulfills D's request - I aim to please.)

Saturday
We got to the house we stay at in Door County, Wisconsin, unloaded all the clothes and junk and then I drove across the peninsula to pick up my race packet and go for a short swim. I decided to use a full wet suit as it was pretty fricking cold last year - water temp was estimated to be about 60 degrees. As I was walking up to get my stuff I caught part of the pre-race presentation. 

Apparently, the sprint (which was held earlier on Saturday) had such horrible swim conditions - heavy chop and cold water - that they shortened it from 1/4 mile to 1/10 mile. They said they would make the determination on whether or not to hold the full swim in the morning, but assured us they would have a swim - even if it was shortened. 

With that in mind I suited up and hit the water. It wasn't too bad until you got past the pier. It was pretty up and down, but nothing I felt I couldn't swim a full race in. Of course that is me and I would probably swim in a septic tank if I had to. This was the FIRST time I had ever swam in this full suit. It fit great, but felt a little "weird" but I was able to stroke cleanly with little effort. I decided I would race in it, but lowered my expectations and chucked my beginning of the season swim goal and decided to just go for the same time as last year. I figured I would be OK.

The rest of the night was just settling into our abode for the next two weeks. Along the way I forgot to eat lunch. I was getting hungry and downed a bunch of grapes and a big glass or OJ. Later, this combo did not agree with me (if you know my past issues you know what I mean.) Needless to say I wasn't real hungry for dinner so I didn't eat much - even though I tried. I had a nice dessert of a couple of Immodiums.

After we got the kids to bed I mixed up all my liquids and packed my bag so I could get going without waking anyone up. 9:30 - in bed.

Sunday
I got up about 4:45 and got moving. I slept well for the night before a race and wasn't feeling any stomach issues. I got packed up and on the road about 5:30. Setting up transition went fine. Got marked and stood around. I really hate that part of the race - I am there alone so I have no one to talk to and no where to go really. Finally I got my wetsuit on to warm up - I had to burn off some nervous energy. 

I was the first in the water. The water was no where nearly as choppy as the day before and the temp was about 65. The full swim would be on. I warmed up and as I was bobbing around out by the first buoy another guy swam up. We chatted about the course a little bit, he was a nice guy. I swam back in, made one last check of my transition to make sure nothing was moved, because there were still a lot of empty slots around me when I left. It looked good so I went back to the start to wait. 

The Swim
I started in the first wave. The "elite" wave. To qualify for that all you had to state was whether you were a strong swimmer. I am, so I did. I was a little nervous about a mass start with a bunch of aggressive guys. Don't get me wrong, I can be as aggressive as the next guy, but I was not sure what to expect. It was a little physical at the beginning, but I got through it to the first turn and then it got easier. I told myself to take it easy and just get through the swim, not to push it too hard. It was really feeling good and easy - much better than the swim the week before at Lifetime. 

After the turn for home it got a little sketchy for me. I started to catch a few people and others started to have problems tracking. I got pinched off by a couple of guys two or three times and had to stop to get away from them. Kind of pissed me off. 

T1
My exit this year was flawless. I hit sand with my hand twice, stood and ran up the ramp. I skipped the strippers again and got to my bike. I checked my watch and it said :31. I struggled to get my wetsuit off and after being head down trying to get the damn thing off my foot I felt a little lightheaded. I finally got the thing off, grabbed my bike stuff and was off. I got on the road and struggled a little to get my shoes on again, but nothing major. I did pull out the short toe strap so I had to fish that in on the fly, but I had so much practice I did it without a problem.

The Bike
I got settled in on the bike and it went way better than last year. Initially, I thought I was going to have problems because my shoulders were so tight and sore when I was in my aero bars that I was thinking I might have ride on the brake hoods. Once I got warmed up it was all good. 

The ride was pretty funny - to me anyway. Riding trough rural Wisconsin you see a lot of crazy shit. I had to dodge a dead porcupine in the middle of the road. I'll tell you what, if someone didn't see that thing and hit it they were in for a world of hurt - those quills looky nasty. I passed a field of cows who looked at me as I went by and mooed. A few miles later I dodged a dead raccoon in the middle of the road - that was just gross with guts and broken teeth and other assorted gore. Still further on I saw two adult wild turkeys with about a dozen chicks crossing the road. When I shifted, the noise startled them and they bolted across the road in a quick hurry.

At about the half-way point there is a small loop that we do. My family was camped at the common corner so they got to see me go by twice. The second time by they were able to count the people ahead of me. I was 19th at this point. I am never 19th!

Now what race in rural Wisconsin would be complete without a near death encounter with a tractor pulling a massive plow?

Just past halfway we start to double-back so we have bike traffic going both ways. I am making a sharp left and there is a tractor pulling a big disc cultivator that takes up the full width of the road. They stop him to let the bikes behind him get around the corner and then one person waves him on while another waves me on. I start to go through the intersection, realize that he isn't stopping and clamp on both brakes. I was able to keep my balance and not have to unclip, but was bugged that I was almost run over by a fricking tractor. 

I have been feeling good the entire ride and have subsequently forgotten that the last quarter of the course is pretty much all uphill, but kind of sneaky uphill. The legs started to feel it, but the last four miles is back the same way we started and the road is smooth and relatively flat so I was feeling pretty fresh. 

Once again, I had to pee for three-quarters of the bike. Every time I saw a clump of trees or a port-a-potty I thought about stopping, but I didn't want to ruin the good time I was having. My final plan was to sacrifice a fast T2 for a potty break. 

T2
Coming into T2 I had my feet out of my shoes early and was able to make the quick dismount and get my bike racked. As I racked my bike I shook another bike loose and it fell over. I toyed briefly with the thought of picking it up, but I was getting into my running stuff and I still needed to pee. Some guy waiting around for his relay partner was nice enough to re-rack the guys bike, because I probably would have left it. (Isn't racking your bike securely part of your responsibility? I know - karma will kick my ass for even thinking that.) Unfortunately, the port-a-potties are in the opposite direction of the run out so I had to back track. I peed and was on my way. My T2 was twice as long as last year and my T2 last week.

The Run
It started out great. I was feeling fresh and light and was running about 7:25 miles, which is pretty good for me. I felt good through the halfway turn and then ran out of gas. Just past the turn is a fairly long steep hill. Last year I trucked right up, this year I walked in the middle. I was able to get going after only a short walk and was doing alright, but knew my run wasn't going to be what I had hoped for. I was hanging in there, until mile 10. This is "The Bluff." 

Again, last year I just gutted it out and ran up the whole thing. This year I walked the majority of it. I just didn't have that extra gear. At the top, I took my time and walked through the water station and then got back to running. I did great until the middle of mile 12 and I just had to walk again. I only gave myself between two telephone poles and then I got moving. I walked through the last water stop. 

From here on to the finish it's downhill with a very steep downhill at the end. I was able to get the wheels turning and had a good strong finish. I was super excited to see my time on the clock as I was coming in.

The Post Mortem
At the beginning of the season I looked back at last year's races and wrote down some goals. Here are the goals for this race:

Last Year:

Swim - 34:10, Bike - 2:51:58, Run - 1:51:32, Final - 5:20:27


This Year's Goals:

Swim - 30:00, Bike - 2:40:00, Run - 1:45:00


How'd I do?

Swim - 30:10, 18th fastest overall, 5th fastest in AG

Bike - 2:38:07, 73rd fastest overall, 12th fastest in AG - Both not bad considering I don't do much bike training compared to swimming and running.

Run - 1:49:47 - 107th overall, 15th in AG - what can I say? (sad trombone)


I am incredibly happy with 5:02:30. Especially with an incredibly long T2 and an average run.


The swim was a nice surprise especially considering it felt so easy and with the log jam at the end. 


My bike blew me away. Way better than expected. 


I am a little disappointed in the run, but when I looked at my splits I was actually running well at the half way point and not so horribly the last couple of miles, but those two hills absolutely killed me. The run felt way worse than last year and it was still faster, if only by a minute - that says something. 


No GI issues. I was gassy and bloaty during the run, but I just chose some lonely times on the road to let that take care of itself (if you know what I mean - toot, toot.) I may have figured out the cause of my GI problems last week. Every liquid, gel and chew I had all day had caffeine in it. I can't drink a cup of coffee before I run or I have the same problem, so I went caffeine free on everything this race and no problems. I also took three Immodiums when I woke up so that probably helped. 


I will not pee on my bike so don't even suggest it. I have a bashful bladder so peeing in the open might be a challenge as well. 


After over two and a half hours in the saddle I am still waiting to get full feeling back in my "man-root." (I should write romance novels, shouldn't I?)


Here is the tape from the results page:


I will post pictures if anyone got any good ones.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Door County Half Iron Distance Triathlon - Short Report

I am officially in vacation mode now that the race is done. Overall very happy. 5:02 (Not 5:08 as I tweeted) which is an 18 minute PR. When we left the results said 7th in my age group and 53rd overall with about 800 total male and female participants. I killed the swim and killed the bike and had an average run. No major malfunctions and no GI issues (Yet. Thank you immodium.) Now I need a nap. Details to come. (Raccoons, porcupines and tractors - oh my!)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Good Two-thirds of a Triathlon (and nine-tenths of a good race report)

I have recovered from yesterday's Lifetime Fitness Tri. Eleven or so hours of sleep help that. Oh, and not having stomach cramps and the accompanying GI issues helps as well, but more on that later. (Settle in - it's another long one. Be careful you don't dose off.)

Wake Up
MS was scheduled to pick me up at about 4:45AM so I set my alarm for 4:00AM. Like I ever need to do that. I got up to let the dog out about 2:30 and then just rolled around until about 3:50 and figured, "Ah, hell, I might just as well get up." Everything was packed and prepared the night before so all I had to do was eat breakfast drink my 24 oz. of Accelerade and get dressed. MS was right on time.

We drove over to CS's house. MS and I took turns trying to destroy the powder room. MS came out singing "Ol' black water, keep on turning..." She's gross. We apologized profusely to CS - she vowed never to have us back. CS lives about a mile from the start so we just parked there, threw our backpacks on and pedaled to transition. 

Set up
We biked to transition. It was jammed already, but we all got good spots. The USTA officials were out in force (something I don't remember from the past) double checking transition set-ups. My number was announced as being racked incorrectly, but a USAT official was standing right there and cleared me, so I have no idea what that was all about. We went to body marking. A blogger friend, Natalie, was supposed to be there, but I didn't see her and I even loitered, uncomfortably, for a little while. I continued to drink whatever I could find (or at least it seemed like that - I think I am a nervous drinker.) As we were milling around our transition areas Greg Bennet walks by. Then Craig Alexander, Matty Reed and Andy Potts. They were walking the transition area so they knew where to go. It was cool to see these guys. They are pretty normal sized. Fit to be sure, but not super thin and wiry. Before we knew it we were kicked out of transition. We grabbed our wetsuits, caps and goggles and headed to the beach. 

As I am standing in line for the porta-potty with my gear in my hands, I suddenly realize I have absolutely NO IDEA what I am doing. I have no idea how I am going to transition from swim to bike. What the hell! I need to work off some nervous energy. 

I suit up to swim even though we have an hour before we start. I just needed to do something. It felt good to be in the water, but man were they liberal on the wetsuit ruling. The pool is cooler on most mornings. But hey, if you are going to allow me an advantage, I am going to take it along with everyone else. Luckily I have a sleeveless wetsuit or I would have been roasting. When I got out I had to pee, but decided I didn't have time to wait in the line for the nearest porta-pottys. I decided it wasn't that bad. I really should have hopped back in the lake and gone. Too late for that, they called my group.

The Swim
First a rant. How the hell do they figure out when each age group goes? My group was wave 30 out of 31 or 32. I did nothing but swim over people, push people out of my and dodge around people for the entire swim. I have no suggestions for solutions. Every age group will have faster and slower swimmers so there really isn't a good way to do it. It just seemed particularly irritating this year. 

The swim start was a huge pain the ass (sorry, a little more ranting, but this nature caused.) The start is time trial style with each person going off in 3 second intervals. The leg to the first buoy was directly in line with the sun. Sighting was absolutely impossible. I was able to stay close to the intermediate buoys and sight off of those but it was extremely difficult. The glare also made it impossible to see people ahead of me. As happened last year (but for other reasons) I found myself swimming half way over people before I realized it. There were also a lot of zigg-zaggers because the sighting was so hard. 

I made the turn at the first buoy and, like I always seem to do at this race, made it too wide. Now I am basically swimming back across to traffic to try to get on the shortest line. More traffic, more inadvertent beating up on competitors, more moving people out of the way. This leg seems to go on for ever, but I did notice the intermediate buoys going by quicker than I recall. 

I make it to the next buoy and am in a traffic jam. I remember that the angle back to the beach is tighter than 90 degrees and get on a good line. There is some chop picking up and and blowing right in my face. I get a couple of huge gulps of water when sighting so now I feel a little sloshy. There are lots of people around and I am hitting a lot of feet, hands, arms, etc. From the color of the caps around I can tell I am coming up through the wave that went over five minutes before me. I feel kind of bad about all the contact but not enough to stop and apologize. I am actually having pretty good luck just pushing people to the side - between me moving them and me moving away from them we both get more space. As we are getting closer to the swim out I feel more contact with my hands and feet. I know I am kicking people and hitting people but hey, I have a race to run. 

I see people standing up plowing through the water. I keep swimming until my hand hits sand a couple of times. I stand up and start "running." I really should have done a couple of dolphin dives because it was still a touch deep. All of the sudden I hear my name being called behind me. It's my friend MS. She tells me someone kicked her goggles off a couple of minutes ago and I fear that it might have been me. 

T1
I trot up the deep sand after leaving the water and start trotting to my bike. MS is right behind me and then passes me in T1. I am feeling kind of sloshy and my legs are not super "runny." I struggle out of my wetsuit - which took waaaay too much time - get the helmet and sunglasses on and grab my bike from the rack and trot to the bike out. 

The Bike
When I get to the bike mount area CS is getting on her bike. She too had started in the wave ahead of me, but she had a much faster transition than me. I uttered some garbled barks and click in her direction that, in my mind, sounded like, "Good luck, kick some ass," but like I can't high five when running, I can talk while trying to mount my bike.

My bike mount wasn't super stylish but it was efficient and I pedaled off with my feet on top of my shoes, gained some speed and got both feet in with little difficulty. Then I kicked ass. Within the first couple of miles I had caught up to MS. I passed her with a friendly, "Get out of my way, Sellke!" (I may be a tad hyper-competitive.)

I knew that my swim was only a couple of minutes faster than last year so I needed to have a strong bike, but not so strong I couldn't run. I was turning a big gear on the flats. On my training rides this year, I found that if I turned a big gear at a moderate cadence I could cruise along for quite awhile. I still suck climbing, but I worked the downhills like a maniac. So that is what I did. I pictured myself like a locomotive - slow to get up to speed, but effective when I get there. I didn't really "push." I found that sweet spot where the speed was high and my legs felt light. It was fantastic! 

I didn't shoot up the hills, but I didn't coast on the backs either so it more than evened out. More than once I had to remind myself that I still had to run and to hold back some. I played tag with another biker from my AG for about half the leg. He would zip ahead and then I would pass him and then he would repass me and back and forth. I have a feeling it was more him than me altering his speed, but it made for a funny distraction. I saw my family twice on the bike. They got a perfect spot on a long straightaway with very few other spectators around. It was at a spot where you double back after a loop around a lake. It was so great to see them cheering.

One thing that has given me endless amounts of pleasure is passing TT bikes. I ride a road bike with aero bars. A middle of the range Trek Madone with stock wheels (that suck, by the way), clip ons and the greatest saddle ever made - a Fizik Arione. I wear a middle of the road Giro helmet - nothing aero, just well vented. And I love to pass Cervelos and Felts with deep rim wheels and guys with aero helmets. As Lance said, "It's not about the bike."

(Disclaimer: I would LOVE to have a TT bike, don't get me wrong. And I have nothing against people owning or racing on them. Everyone makes their own choices. I had limited funds, I bought a bike that is more utilitarian for me. It is just kind of validating to me that you really can't buy speed.)

I was figuring my bike leg would take a little over an hour so I started fueling for the run right away. I was drinking from my aero-bar mounted water bottle and eating shot blocks so that I wouldn't be cramming in nutrition at the end of the ride. At one point we go rocketing over some train tracks and my aero-bar bottle popped out of its cage. I juggled it with one hand and was able get it back in place, but it was pretty funny. I drank the whole 22 ounces of liquid in that bottle and started the second one. At this point I am realizing that I really have to pee - still! I am figuring that during the run I would reabsorb some and the urge would pass. (I like to make up medical/anatomical theories for bodily functions - I have no idea if reabsorption is even possible, but whatever.) 

The bike-in was a thing of beauty. Early enough I started to get my feet out of my shoes and was able to step right off of my bike to run to T2.

T2
Running to rack my bike I had to go from one corner of transition to the diagonal opposite corner. I followed a guy just ahead of me through a couple of relatively open aisles to get to the main corridor. When I got back to my transition area I saw a couple of bikes already racked. Damn it, well off to the run. I got my bike on the rack, got my shoes on, hat on and number belt. Putting my number belt on I ripped the number off one side so I just tucked it in. (On the Fuel Belt number belts, do you leave the short bungies a little loose?)

The Run
Immediately out of transition is a water station - I passed. My legs were actually feeling pretty good, but, man, did I have to pee. I ran on trying not to think about it. 

I could not get my mind off of it. I needed to find a porta-potty. LIKE RIGHT FUCKING NOW! Problem is - there are none. We are running on trails in a park. I am going to have to gut this out. 

I am starting to get a cramp from clenching, but I can't release while I am running. I can't concentrate on anything else. I am going crazy. Why is this happening? Again! Here is what I figure: I drank my usual amount of liquid with breakfast. Then during set-up I drank another bottle. The day was cool and dry. I wasn't sweating nearly as much as when it is even a little warmer. Then I didn't pee before the swim. Then I took two HUGE gulps of lake water, followed by more liquid on the bike. So here I am with an uncomfortably full bladder and no where to go.

There is a point on the run course where you come off the path in the park and go half way down a bridge and make a u-turn then reenter the path in the park. As I am leaving the path the get on bridge I see two porta-pottys on the opposite corner - at the end of the u-turn. That stretch was the longest stretch of road I have ever run. I knew relief was waiting but there was no short cut. 

I get to the end of the u-turn, head toward the porta-pottys and am beat there by a step by someone else. SHIT! Both are occupied. The clock is ticking - quickly. The two of us wait. Finally, one door opens and the other guy goes in. Apparently, the person in the other one was having some real issues because they never came out even after this other guy left and I was done. I figure I dropped 5 minutes, just standing there and then peeing.

Once, I finished I was a new man. I took off, but I knew that my run was toast. Funny thing is, I caught up with the guy I was playing tag with on the bike. Turns out he was doing the short course as he peeled off to finish and I had one more lap to go. 

I was running OK but not quite as fast as I wanted. I wasted a lot of energy early on and now was starting to feel some more GI issues. I think it was a combination of things, as I wasn't running that hard and I had never had these issues at previous tris. (Running races are a different story, but I have come to expect these issues and prepare accordingly. For this I didn't.)

Finally, I was coming up to the finish. I was determined to push it hard down the chute and finish strong. I had also decided I would finish with my hands high over my head instead of my usual "run through." As I am running down the chute, who do I see? My family! They right on the barricade leaning over to give me high fives. (I tried and failed miserably. AGAIN!) I think that was easily the highlight of the day.

Post Race
Ugh, cramps! Almost immediately after finishing I was getting stomach cramps. Nothing debilitating, but not exactly enjoyable. I walked over to find my family and just missed MS and then CS finish as I was walking up behind them. 

My family and I then walked back to the finish area to try and catch MS and CS and then to find out our results. I ended up seeing the girls in the results line. MS came in 5th in her AG, CS came in 7th in the same AG. We all qualified to race at the Lifetime Fitness Challenge Championships down in Dallas, but none of us will (Dallas, ugh.) 

The girls were off finding their families and my fam and I were hanging around and who walks up but Natalie! She is super cool. And petite. For some reason I figured her to be taller. We all chatted for awhile. I had heard her cheering a couple of times on the course. (She is a much better spectathlete than I am. She was able to pick out my number or what I was wearing before I got to her - I always end up cheering after the person has gone by.) Hopefully Natalie will get a chance to race this year now that her vertigo has abated somewhat. 

My wife and kids were real troopers but they were getting restless so I cut them loose. We still had to pack up transition and find massages and pros. I personally needed to find a porta-potty and this couldn't wait. 

I just need to cut to the chase - I crapped a couple of times, the second time was kind of colorful so I thought it might be a little bloody as I hadn't been eating a lot of beets or anything. On my way back to find the girls ran into this guy:

Greg Bennet

This girl:
Pip Taylor

And this girl:
Sarah Haskins

They were all talking to people so I just took photos and moved on.

When I found the girls at the massage tent I sat down and waited for them to be done. Who walks by - Steve of Steve in a Speedo. We chatted for a little while - he is super nice.

That about raps it up. Next Sunday I get do a HIM distance race in Door County, Wisconsin. Imagine how long that race report will be. (Sorry this one kind of lost steam at the end, I will be more entertaining while I am on vacation.)