Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Steed Has Returned to the Stable

I picked up my Cannondale Slice from the bike shop yesterday. I had them strip it down so when I get a new frame I can have it rebuilt. It was sad to see the old girl all stripped down and especially sad that after all the time I spent sweating, spitting and GUing all over her we didn't get to finish the deed. (That sentence could probably be in Penthouse Forum. Sorry.) It's also sad that I won't be riding a Cannondale again. The "deal" they were offering me was no "deal" and didn't instill brand loyalty. So, I found a better ride for way less money (more on that in a later post.)

The question remains - what to do with this frame? I have included some pics of the crack. I could probably have it repaired and keep it as a spare frame or sell it ultra cheep. Suggestions appreciated.

Stripped. Sad.

The Crack

It's a pretty big crack, but I can't believe bad packing caused it.

A different angle.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Cost!

MS kept track of her costs for IMWI. I guarantee my costs were higher, mostly because I ate a lot more GUs.

I pulled my training data from Garmin and here is what I did for my training over the last year.

(Some of these totals might be a little light as I did a lot of treadmill, elliptical and stairmill training while recovering from injury.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

IMWI 2010 Race Report - The Final Gasp

After the finish all I wanted was a Coke. The volunteers helped me find one. Then I just wanted to sit down. They got me over to the athlete's food tent and I found a prime spot.

I look extremely thin (for me anyway.) It took me about four days post race to get back to my pre-race weigh-in weight. (If you look very closely at my arm you can still see my "612" number from Honu burned into my skin over four months ago.)

My wife handed me the phone and told me to call my coach. Apparently she had some words to say to me.

She was extremely pleased with me. (She later awarded me the "Badass Award" for my performance.)

Hey, look I can still walk. I'm waiting to see how CS & MS are finishing. The finish line is to my left. Obviously, I'm still a little disoriented.

MS came through first. I caught up with her in the "food corral."

CS came in shortly after. I caught up with her right after the finish line.

Here are the three of us. The one thing we were all so happy about is that we ALL had a great race. We could all feel happy for ourselves and for each other. And we all trained and succeeded in our separate ways. It was an unbelievable feeling!

Eventually we all caught up with our family and friends. MS had some more training partners to cheer on and CS had to catch up with her kids. I had one thing on my mind.

And this:

I haven't had a drink in over three years (I had a little wine in Italy, so I guess that isn't an entirely true statement) but I wanted a beer. A big, cold beer.

I enjoyed it! A. LOT.

And then, my real motivation.

That's a bone in Porterhouse, folks. (Porterhouse = New York Strip and filet mignon.) And the hashbrowns were the perfect compliment.

Look at the concentration on my face. I'm in "the ZONE."

I finished the whole thing!

I really wanted to come back to cheer the last finishers at midnight, but when I got back to the hotel to drop of A and my mom my meat coma had set in and all I wanted to do was go to bed. So, I did.

The next morning we got packed up to leave. MS and I took the opportunity to turn the "Yes, we are MEAN" sign around.

When I got home my in-laws and sister came over for dinner. And I got cake.

Thanks for taking the journey with me. You can now return to your lives, families and jobs. (Now that I'm done with my race report I'm going to have to figure out what to do with all this free time. Maybe I'll start training again.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

IMWI 2010 Race Report - Your Prayers are Answered (We're finally to the run and the light at the end of the tunnel.)

I am thinking this will be the last epic post of the IMWI 2010 saga. I think I will have one short last post to wrap things up, but I have made empty promises before, so believe what you will.

T2 was crazy in that it was fricking fast. At least as I remember it. It could have been faster had I not stopped to fill up my water bottle, but that was probably like 45 seconds even thought it felt like an hour. Everything went according to plan and visualization. I got my bib shorts off without taking my top off, got my running shorts on and my shoes on without any hiccups. Hat on and fresh, clean sunglasses (a good call on my part) and I was gone.

My legs felt absolutely fantastic! Fresh, no "weirdness," light and fast. I busted out my first mile in 7:45 WAY too fast. Reigned it in and dropped it to a little over 8:00. I kept telling myself to pull it back. My first 6 miles averaged 8:38 which was right where I wanted to be, but it meant I really dropped off. Here's what happened.

I was feeling so good coming out of T2 and on those first few miles that I kind of freaked myself out a little. I was thinking, "there is no way I can hold this pace for the rest of the race and the last thing I want to do is blow up at mile 20 or 21," (in previous marathons I've had that problem.)

Nothing hurt. There was no cramping. Nutrition and everything was going well. BUT - I decided to err on the side of caution. To make sure I got enough fuel and enough water I started walking the water stops. Quickly, just so I could get a GU in when I needed to and plenty of water. Then I would get back on the horse. Considering my 1/2 marathon split, when I was actually running I had to be on an 8:30 or faster pace. I made the turn and was still feeling good. "Hey, there finish line, see you in a couple hours."

I clicked off a few more miles and then, as I was heading up a long shallow incline, my brain showed up. It said to me, "You really need to take a nap. You're tired. See that grass. Just lay down and take a nap. You're so sleepy." SHIT! My brain believed my brain and the other part of me had to do a little negotiating. "I'm not stopping, but I'll walk." So I walked for about a block and a half - got my shit back together, kicked my own ass and started running again.

The water stops started to get longer. I wasn't walking them quite as quickly. And then I started pulling out all the stops. I couldn't eat another GU. I started shoveling handfuls of pretzels in my mouth. I started drinking the "Gatorade." And then, against my better judgment, I started to down Cokes. Well, those Cokes and the pretzels did the trick. It was just something different and something to think about between water stops. I felt like I had trouble with Coke at Honu, but I was having no problems this time. My actual running pace was picking back up.

In hindsight I realize how much I like this run. I like the two loops and all the switchbacks because you get to see people. I saw Charisa twice and Cathy twice and Ian once. The first time I saw Charisa I yelled at her even though she was about four feet away from me. She shot me a huge Charisa smile and that made me feel good. Then I saw Cathy. She yelled something like, "HEY - Todd! Looking Good!" My response was something coherent like, "Cath. hey. good......looking." IDIOT! I missed Ian on the first loop but saw him on the second. I yelled at him to - "IAN! Looking Strong!" His response sounded a bit like this:

He may have looked strong, but obviously he was feeling like hell. I saw Charisa and Cathy again on the second lap but they were both working/suffering as was I, so I don't recall what I said if anything.

Time for some pictures. Some of these were by pros. Some of these weren't.

I was coming up on mile 20 and 21 and I am starting to realize that I feel pretty fricking good. Again, no cramping, no bonking, no super speed, but I really felt like I could keep going. It was at this time I started to think about finishing time. My goal to finish in daylight was secure. Now, if I could just figure out more accurately. I didn't swim or bike with my watch so all I had was my run time with me and no idea how I done on the bike. Then it struck me. I can totally figure out my potential finishing time by the time of day on my watch.

So I started to do math (not my strong suit) based on the 7:00 AM start time. I figured I'd be around 11:15 or 11:20 at the pace I was going. I redid the math after another mile or two and realized that I was going to be closer to 11 hours. And then something else struck me - I had about three miles left, wasn't close to being dehydrated or under-fueled - if I ran the water stops I might barely break 11:00. My body had gotten used to it's little respites so I had to be an asshole to myself and not let my body stop.

Heading up State Street I got behind a woman and a man who were running about the same pace as I was. I stared at that woman's back the entire way up State Street and around part of capital square. The two of them started to pull away, but I knew I was going to easily be under 11 hours so I let them go so I could get a nice clean finish line photo. I wanted a good photo so I tucked my sunglasses in my jersey pocket and made the turn into the finish chute.

Here's my finish line photo:

WEAK! It looks like I'm the Pope blessing the crowd. WTF? I had something so much more heroic in mind, but went with something more reserved. Never again.

Just after I crossed the line. I am an Ironman! (That's pretty cool.)

I'll wrap it all up with one more post showing what I did immediately after the finish and lots of pics.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

IMWI 2010 Race Report - DUDE! Really!? (Yep, we're only to the bike.)

I bet you thought this part of the race would never come. (Actually, I know you were secretly praying it would never come so you wouldn't have to continue with these ridiculous race reports.)

I ran to my bike with my shoes in hand. Maybe it wasn't the quickest option, but it's what I had decided to do. I hadn't been practicing my shoes-on-the-pedals-flying-bike-mount so I opted for the slow, safe and infinitely more dorky step-over-push-off method.

Down the helix and on the course. (I will try to keep this short - don't laugh - how much can I say about pedaling my bike? Oh, just you wait.) As we recall, I had forgotten my sunscreen so when I came running out of transition I shot by the sun screen "slatherers" and had to go back to get "applied." I had the presence of mind to have them slather my forehead so I didn't end up with a stupid "vent burn" from my helmet.

About two miles into the course we get on a section of narrow, bumpy bike path. It's a "no passing" zone and it lasts for what, maybe, like 3/4 of a mile at most. I get behind someone who is kind of poking along - doesn't bother me, I need to get my heart rate down a little bit. Some total douchebag is yelling a couple of people behind me, "GET MOVING! C'MON, PICK UP THE PACE!" Dude - really? Going slow for this short section is not going to make an once of difference in your day. If it really means that much to you, perhaps you should have swam a little faster or not dicked around in transition so long. Seems to me the only person you have to blame for your position is yourself. Prick! Once we got through the "no passing" zone I got around the guy in front of me, but I don't recall anyone jetting out and around me as they tore up the course. Hmm, perhaps D-Bag isn't as fast as he believes himself to be.

Shit happens, right? So here is some shit that happened. The tape holding my handlebar tape started to come off and it was getting my hands all full of black sticky stuff. That was annoying. I kept trying to tear it off without completely undoing it and kept almost going off the road. I tried to ignore it after awhile with varying degrees of success.

On the first little climb that required me to shift to the small ring, I slammed the shift lever down and dropped my chain. FUCK! Half way up a hill on the side of the road is not where you want to be fixing your chain. 30 seconds, fixed and done. Now, I have dirty hands. I hate that.

My nutrition plan was to take three salt tabs every hour. Here comes hour one. I pull out the canister with my salt tabs, try to flip it open with my thumb (done a hundred times during training) and proceed to drop the unopened canister. FUCK! In a flash of brilliance I had placed an identical canister of salt tabs in my "needs especial" bag. I could easily do the first half of the bike without salt.

The bike went along without major incident (this is good for you, because if a MAJOR incident had happened we might be here for weeks.) At water stops I was grabbing water bottles like a pro. Kept my speed up, but reasonable. Pointed to the bottle I wanted - grabbed it - squeezed as much in my mouth as possible - tossed it - pointed to and grabbed a second to carry on my bike. At one particular stop I came in way too fast. I went to grab the bottle, but it careened off my hand flying through the air and more than likely striking an unsuspecting volunteer in the face (or I like to think so.) I slowed down and grabbed the next two bottles. Nobody's perfect.

On the bike I had to pee. But I just couldn't actually "pee on the bike." I had never practiced it and although I did try - I have a horribly bashful bladder and it wasn't my bike - I just couldn't do that. I made a port-a-potty stop. It was actually a welcome break.

I also stopped for my special needs bag, got my salt tabs and another bottle and soldiered on.

About 3/4 of the way through the fact that I was riding a borrowed bike with a less than perfect fit started to become apparent. My shoulders were starting to get tight causing my neck to stiffen up and I started to get a screaming tension headache. I started to sit up a lot more, coasting down the hills instead of attacking them and standing to pedal slowly up the uphills to try and stretch out some. I could see it reflected in my computer data. My guess is it probably made about a five- to ten-minute difference. But, hey - I'll take it.

Coming down John Nolan Drive back into Madison I really found myself looking forward to the run. Not necessarily because the bike was so bad, although I really wanted to be able to stretch out my back and shoulders, but because everything was really feeling so good.

Up "the Helix" - much easier than I had expected - and off to transition. Legs feeling good.

Here are a bunch of pictures. Some are obviously me as they were taken by professionals. The others are probably not of me as they were taken by A and my mom. I'm SO glad I made my helmet so ugly and visible, but you still couldn't pick me out.

I really hate the way I look on a bike.

Monday, September 20, 2010

IMWI 2010 Race Report - Your 'Grueling Ordeal' Continues (The Swim)

The plan for this post is to be less wordy. I have pictures to post and how much can I really say about a swim that was over SO FAST.

Woke up too early as is usual before a race. I seem to have an intense fear of sleeping through my alarm, which has never even come close to happening, but my nervous brain keeps me safe. I ate my breakfast and got dressed and out of the room without waking my wife.

I met CS & MS in the lobby as agreed and we drove to the Monona Terrace.

Leaving the hotel - shitting in our pants.

I found a good parking spot very near the "needs especial" bag drop and - Starbucks! I can't drink coffee race morning but everyone else can. We knew from volunteering last year that the line gets long early so the girls dropped their bags and headed to get coffee. I kept forgetting things and made three trips back to the car to get stuff. Ironman brain.

MS met up with her training group and CS and I went off to take care of ourselves. We dropped our nutrition on our bikes and got body marked, ran into MS and her training crew and walked around nervously. I ran into Ian on the way to my bike and chatted him up since we were walking the same direction. In hindsight he may have wanted me to leave him alone but he was gracious and kind when he told me, "LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE!" (He didn't say anything of the sort, but he did have his "game face" on. Or it may have been his "I really have to take a dump, but I can't and it's killing me" face. Let's call it his "game face.")

CS and I went to find a bathroom, walked all over and found one with the shortest line. Well, the women's had the shortest line, the men's was a mile long (guys have a lot fewer toilets and you can't crap in a urinal. Unless of course you're a drunk college student in a bar or at a football game, then I guess anything goes.) Myself and three other guys saw a couple of guys walk out of the women's room, shot glances all around and waltzed right in. Everybody poops, right?

(At this point you should be glad that I don't have pictures.)

CS and I decided it was time to suit up. It took me a good 20 minutes of sweaty work to get my wetsuit on the one time I tried so I knew I had to allow enough time. We found a quiet area with lots of room and laughed at me as I struggled into my sausage casing.

Yes, that's a plastic bag on my hand. I needed CS to help me pull it out. Then I took the top off so I had to got through the same ordeal on the way to get in the water. I bet I could shaved minutes off my swim time if I didn't do that twice.

Finally suited up and then partially unsuited we walked up to start our "death march" down "The Helix" to the swim start. We ran into A and my mom at the main entrance.

"Oh My God! What are you doing here!?"

Me and A. I kind of look like a giant. And a bodybuilder. She's super cute, isn't she?

My mom, me and A - I like my "ladies" petite.

Me and CS - both rockin' the kick-ass TYR Hurricane Cat 5 wetsuit.

We said our goodbyes and headed to our "march of the penguines." On the way, we were picked out of the crowd.

"Yeeeesss! Can I help you?"

From there the swim was pretty straight forward. It took forever to get to the water. I knew I had to be in the front row not too far from the inside buoy. When I finally got in the water they were playing the National Anthem and in the most unpatriotic move ever, I swam over around and through the crowd of people to get the spot I wanted. I was very surprised how loosely everyone was packed. There was plenty of room to float and tread water.

When the canon went off I was out of there like shit through a goose (I paint a nice mental picture, don't I?) I think I led for, like, 15 seconds. You can see me here.

I was kind of annoyed by the other swimmers. We are at the tip of the spear and are obviously fast swimmers - can we work together and not freak out about being touched a little bit? If I touched feet once or twice they would kick like crazy so I had a hard time finding some feet to swim on. It was easier to move to the side and swim in some cleaner water. A straight up draft would have been quicker, but I I knew I was still getting a break even if I wasn't directly behind someone.

That first long leg seemed to take forever. The short leg was kind of a traffic jam and then the second long leg wasn't too bad. From there it's really a blur. The second lap flew by.

On the last turn the swim out arch seemed a million miles away. I was passing people coming up to the ramp. I'm always surprised by that. I don't really turn on the jets or anything, I just keep steady. Whatever.

Up and out with no problem.

Imagine how much faster I would have been without my hand caught in my zipper.

The wetsuit strippers did a fantastic job and I was headed up the "The Helix." Afterward, my mom commented, "You looked kind of stiff running up the ramp after the swim." "Um, I was running barefoot up a hill and I was trying to keep it to an easy jog so I didn't blow up before I even got on the bike." "You were running barefoot?" I love my mom.

I made it through transition and headed out to the the bike.

I am NOT wearing compression socks.

Here comes 112 miles on a borrowed bike.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

IMWI 2010 Race Report - What the F*ck Happened? (WARNING: boring)

I'm having a hard time remembering Saturday.

Let's see. CS and I got up early to drive the bike course. We dropped MS off on the way so she could meet up with her training group to swim in the "rain swept boiling lake of doom." Again, I wasn't interested in battling waves prior to race day. So, CS and I drove the bike course in the rain and because I am a directional retard we kept getting lost even though we had two GPSs, written turn-by-turn directions and a map. We were following a couple of other cars who were doing the same thing and wanted so badly to blow by them, slow down and then have them pass me so I could accuse them of drafting and just be a general asshole. I didn't do that, but CS and I had a lot of laughs contemplating it.

Yep, we're in Wisconsin. Hope I don't run into this guy on race day.

Driving the course never really gives you a good sense of what the ride will be like, but it's nice to pick out some landmarks to gauge distance and the location of tough sections. There were also the landmarks where it would be necessary to picture "butterflies and rainbows," sing Christmas Carols ("JINGLE BELLS, JINGLE BELLS, MOTHER FUCKING JINGLE ALL THE MOTHER FUCKING WAY. DASHING THROUGH THE FUCKING SNOW...") and weep quietly. We were anticipating a good day.

We headed back to the hotel (at some time we had breakfast, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was or where. I'm sure it was delicious and I did funny stuff and again was generally an obnoxious ass.) We went for a very quick ride to the Monona Terrace and back. I doubled the amount of time spent on my bike with that ride. It's a good thing we went when we did because I hit a bump and my left arm rest twisted. We went down to Machinery Row Bikes and they did a kick ass job making some last minute adjustments and making sure everything was tight.
CS had to get her bike checked in early because she had to pick up her family from the airport so we headed back. I went through my routine of dressing up my bike real purdy like, laying out my Bike and Run bags, going through my transitions in my head and then again as I ticked off all the stuff in the bags. (Flashes of my type-A personality.)

(I just reread this section and it's as boring as toast. Sorry. It's because I'm having a hard time remembering Saturday, which leads me to believe nothing particularly interesting happened or at least nothing at this time of the day. I guess it was pretty business like. Whatever. Maybe I'll make up some shit to make it more interesting. And I could probably add some random pictures, too.)

After CS left I started to feel lonely. I dialed up some adult movies...NO I DIDN'T! I called MS - she was on her bike so I figured I'd go for a little run. 20 minutes and done and I fricking stink. When MS gets back we take our bikes to check in. Uneventful.

Wait, no - this is where I met Ian and Charisa. We were all dropping our bags off in transition. I thought I saw Charisa's husband, Steven, in the hall and then, boom, there Ian and she were. They are even nicer in person. (Although, Ian is kind of fat - no he's not! I'm kidding. Charisa is super cute and she smelled like mountain prairie flowers - no she didn't! I'm kidding - she kind of smelled like Lucky Charms, strange.) We talked and then laughed and laughed about drowning in a wetsuit and other hilarious, but impossible tragedies. We all had people waiting for us (we are all kind of big deals) so we parted ways. Ian and I sized each other up which I mistakenly interpreted as an invitation to lean in for a hug. Ian interpreted it differently - he shook my hand. Following that faux pas Charisa raised her clenched fist, which I initially interpreted as a punch to my throat in defense of Ian from my weird attempt to wrap myself around his rippling masculinity. I flinched and closed my eyes. When my eyes flickered open Charisa stood there with her fist out, I chuckled uncomfortably and then laid upon her the most feeble and awkward fist bump in the history of Ironman transition bag drops. It was like I never learned anything from voting for Obama and watching his tender fist bumps with his wife. **idiot**

MS's husband and A were driving to Madison together and were still a ways out. I'm sure we did some other shit, but all I can remember is going with MS for a late lunch/early dinner again at Monty's Blue Plate Diner. Once again, I had a boatload of food. Then we did some other things. Then we went back to the hotel to wait for our spouses. They showed up, along with my mom. Then some other stuff happened.

(Are you guys as bored reading this as I am writing it? Let me see if I can wrap it up.)

A, my mom and I decided to go to dinner after I finished putting my "needs especial" bags together. We were going to go to a pasta place, but it was packed so we went to this white tablecloth steak house instead - Johnny Delmonicos. I had half a bowl of soup and half a salad since it was late and I had already eaten a giant meal. Our waiter was hilarious. When he described the porterhouse steak that wasn't on the menu he could see the lust in my eyes. I explained that I was racing in the morning and he said, "Oh, just come in and have it after the race." Hmmmm, I'll consider that. Strongly.

Then we went back to the hotel and went to sleep.

(MS & CS - if you remember anything even remotely entertaining about Saturday, please remind me. My readership is probably half what it was at the beginning of this post. From 4 to 2.)

I hope my posts get better from here.