Friday, August 12, 2011

Kap'n Karl's 30K

Jess and I went up to The Pedernales State Park in the Texas Hill County to run this night 30K trail run. We had a blast despite the heat and were really happy we went. I ran this run last year and had run out of water and had issues with cramps. This year, no cramping, and I really felt like I had a great run and never felt bad throughout the run. I was also really happy to finish 30 mins faster than I did last year. Jess ended up getting 5th in the females, which was amazing, and I finished in around 2:41 for 7th overall. This was just a great event and a fun run.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Laurel Highlands Ultra 77 Miler

Last weekend Jess and I went up to PA to see my family, catch a Pirate game, and of course - run an ultra. We had a great time on our trip and got to Ohiopyle, PA the afternoon before the race to hike around and check out the scenery. This town is a hidden gem and I hadn't been there since I was in highschool. So that was really cool. We checked out the natural waterslides, some of the waterfalls, and hiked over some of the bridges crossing the Yough River. We also grabbed dinner, a couple beers, and an ice cream, pretty standard pre race meal.

The next morning Jess followed me down to the start which we could walk to from our bed and breakfast. I was doing the 77 miler which had a 0530 start and Jess the 50K which started later at 0800. I had put together two drop bags, one for 44 miles and one for 64 miles with both having fresh socks and some extra lara bars and the latter having my head lamp. The race was a point to point which was pretty neat but also makes for its own challenges, but I was lucky enough to have my brother and his wife and my sister agree to be my pit crew and cheer section for the afternoon and evening.

The race scenery was pretty awsome. The first 10 miles were pretty slippery from rain the day before and had some gnarly hills. I could tell after the first two hours that it would be a longer day then I had hoped. I hit the 2nd checkpt near Seven Springs PA in about 6 and half hours or so (maybe longer). And I was still feeling decent at this point. This was the first spot I saw my family and my sister's friend, Katie, there to cheer me on. That was really great and helped big time.

The next section included a detour to get over the turn pike which adds and extra 6.5 miles or so to this normally 70.5 mile race. This section was on gravel road and pavement. It definitely was a rough section being out on the road here. But again my brother and sister tracked me down on the road and even jogged a mile or so with me. That was great. This was probably the warmest section as well, although we got pretty lucky in that the temps probably stayed in the 70's for the afternoon. I also got caught in a little rain shower at one point which wasn't too bad.

At 44 miles I switched socks and headed back out on the trail this time glad to have the pavement behind me. The next 20 miles were tough. I was doing the jog-walk-shuffle routine just trying to slog my way down the trail. I was feeling pretty bad and wasn't sure I wanted to continue, but being a pt to pt I knew that if I wanted to drop, I had to do it at the aide stations at either 52 or 64. I got to 52 and decided if I could make it to 64 I would be home free and hopefully my family would be back from picking up Jess from her run and she would be there to cheer me on as well. So I continued my pathetic slog forward.

At some point in the race someone told me the later sections of the trail were more run-able than the early part, which ended up being true. But I was in rough shape so I don't know if what I was doing would qualify as running. At one point there was a relay guy ahead of me and I would walk till he was almost out of sigh then run till I'd catch him and then walk again. Each time he would ask if I wanted to pass and I would tell him emphatically "no."

When I made it to 64 I saw Jess and the fam and that was great. I got the headlamp and Jess put a new shirt on me which in the end backfired because the dry shirt immediately started chafing, oh well. Here my brother was ready to hit the trail with me. That was AWSOME! We walked out of the aide station and after some painful shuffling he basically said "dang dude, we are going slow." So I told him to keep jogging and I would keep up. It seemed to work and before I knew it we were actually trail "running" again.

So we ran on and off as it got dark and made it through the last aide station at 68 miles. I told Scott when we got to about 5 or 6 miles out I was just going to push as hard as I could to finish it up and he said he would probably just let me go. So that's how it went down. I finished in 16:36 for 9th place just after 10PM. I was stoked and completely spent. The pic below is of my kankles 2 days later when they swelled up like softballs. I was pretty much a physical mess last week. I don't think I'm going to run anything over 50 miles until I start running more during the week. This run was doable, but extremely painful and my recovery afterwards was rough.

In the end I had a great time. I am convinced I wouldn't of finished without my family and friends being there and my brother helping me through the last 13 or so miles. I owe them big time. Jess did a great job on her 50K as well, although she didn't get the time she wanted. Below is the first 44 miles from the garmin before the battery went dead.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Beach 2 Bay Marathon Relay 2011

Yesterday was the annual Beach to Bay Marathon relay here in Corpus Christi. It was a very hot and humid day here which caught up to me towards the end of my leg. This year I got on a pretty fast team with 2 of the runners from my gym, Jessica's brother Jordan, and 2 ringers one of the guys recruited for our team. We finished in 12/186 in the mens division and 23/2436 overall with a time of 2:50:15 for a 6:30 min/mile avg pace. I was pretty stoked with that result even though our goal was to go sub 2:50.

I ran the 3rd leg which was 4.36 miles. When I got the baton I was running with mostly young speedsters, so I just tried to keep up with them. Below are my mile splits. You can see the wheels falling off towards the end. After I handed off I proceeded to vomit, nearly pass out, and eventually got taken care of in the little medical tent when they hooked me up with an IV. It was hot and extremely humid, but its still hard to believe I got that messed up in just 4.3 miles. I don't even really remember much of any of the last mile.

mile 1 - 5:57
mile 2 - 6:16
mile 3 - 6:47
mile 4 - 7:06
last .36 - 8:00 ish

total about 28:30 for 4.36 miles for about a 6:32 min/mile pace. Overall a very fun event and I was stoked to run with some fast guys and post a pretty respectable time.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ironman St. George Lessons Learned: How to Turn a DNF into a WIN

First off, I would just like to thank everyone who has showed so much support throughout this process, and this event. I have to give a special shoutout to my wife and parents, who made this event very special for me - thanks for everything guys.

As most of you probably know by now, I had big plans for St. George, and things did not go as well as I would have liked. I showed up to this race with incredible fitness, more so than any other in my career thus far. I focused my goals for this race to finish in the top 5, and to qualify for Kona.

I had a great week leading up to the race. Plenty of sleep, great taper workouts, the Mavs were in the process of sweeping the Lakers, things were really coming together. Emily and I drove up on Tuesday to acclimate, get familiar with the course, and get a few days of relaxation with no distractions from work or home. This was really valuable, as I felt very comfortable with the course and city come race day.

Since starting work with my coaches, Matt Dixon and Gerry Rodrigues, swimming has been a big focus for me - I have upped my yardage tremedously, and really focused on getting my high school fitness back. The swim course is an absolutely gorgeous one-loop swim in a perfectly calm reservoir. The big concern prior to race day was water temp, which was in the mid-50s last year, but we got really lucky and waded into the water at a very comfortable 62. I lined up next to former Navy swimmer John Marinovich, an absolute beast in the water, and purplepatch teammate Jess Smith. We were lane mates at training camp, and she joked that her one goal in the race was to beat me out of the water (she was consistently faster on longer sets.) After the gun went off, I immediately attached myself to John's hip, and drafted off of him for the first 500 m or so. I was struggling a bit to keep up, and thought this pace might be a little aggressive for such a long day. I dropped back slightly and waited for the chase group to catch me. I found 2 or 3 people swimming a good pace, and joined up with them. Once again, I attached myself to the hip of a swimmer, much to their dismay. As we made the turn for the long leg, I realized it was a female, who I initially thought was Jess, but then realized was bigger than her. In true Gerry R fashion, I stuck in this poor woman's bow wave for almost 2 miles of swimming. I was conserving energy and feeling great. At one point, I was cruising so easily that I was worried we were going slower than I would like, but I decided I would just conserve and see where it landed me. A guy caught and passed us just before the turn for the last leg, so I sped up and jumped in his wake. I got out of the water in 54:49, a massive PR, and felt like I had just been out for a sunday stroll.

I set out on the bike with a goal wattage of 225, and got busy trying to set that pace. My plan was to sit up and spin easily up the hills, and then crest and try to hit goal wattage in the descent. The first 20 miles are rolling, and I was feeling great, just cruising slightly below my target, but happy with how I was doing. A couple of guys formed a small group, and I comfortably rode with them (legally) for much of the first miles. The only exception was on the hills, where they would get out of the saddle and hammer, I would let them go and spin, and then almost immediately catch them on the descent after. One of the best parts of my race was my bike setup and position. I consistently caught and passed guys on the downhills who were pedalling and I was just cruising with tucked knees. I rode with this group until about mile 45, when I saw that my wattage was about 205, so I picked it up slightly to 215, and dropped them. They caught me again as I was easily spinning up "The Wall, " but after we started the fast leg back to town, I caught them again and passed them like a rocket while conserving energy. I hit mile 66 feeling awesome, 10 watts below my target, and in the lead of the age group (I found out later via split times.) I was just sitting with the group and enjoying such an awesome day, when all of sudden at mile 85 my whole world dropped out. I couldnt even push 150 watts, and had no clue what was wrong. I looked down at my calorie bottle, and saw that it was full. FULL? For some reason, I was having such a good time, I let my mind drift and didnt stick to the nutrtion plan. Combined with the heat, and my lack of water and calories, I had gone nearly an hour without taking anyting in, and was paying for it big time. For the next 20 miles, bike after bike passed me, as I was frantically trying to get calories down and recover. I think I probably tried to take too much to quickly, and it was no longer absorbing. My stomach would not allow one more drop. I tried to just wait for the downhill section back to town to recover and hit my target watts, but my legs were gone. I was crushed mentally at this point. I had no idea how I had gone from feeling so good to so bad so quickly. I limped into T2, put on the running shoes and thought that I would be ok, and just gut it out for a long day.

I realized how long it would be as I started toward the first aid station. I was doing 10 minute miles, and my heart felt like it was thumping out of my chest. I walked through the first aid station to try and get as many calories as possible, but I felt like I was going to fall over. This started 7 miles of walking/shuffling, but I was done mentally at that first aid station. I was overheating, my heart was racing, and I was barely moving. I started to get more disoriented as I went along, and soon couldnt even figure out how long I had been running. The memory gets a bit fuzzy here, but apparently at mile 8 as I walked through the aid station, I was not responding to questions from the volunteers, and just sat down on the road. They pulled me into a chair, and fed me some water, as medical personnel check my vitals. I regained my composure, and they asked me if I wanted to try to finish. I stood up and almost fell down again. I knew my body was done, so they loaded me in a golf cart and took me to the med tent. The nurse in the tent took my temp, and turns out it was 93.

So that sums up the race. I was absolutely crushed that I had been having such a great day and would not be going to Kona.

So what are the lessons learned from the St. George debacle? Well, after a conversation with Matt, as well as some email exchanges with teammate and friend Meredith Kessler, I realized that I have a lot to learn about endurance racing. My goals and focus for this race were completely in the wrong place. I was focusing on results, such as placing and Kona qualification, not the process of putting together my best consistent race. I was focused on beating other people, not pulling the best out of my own body regardless of what others are doing. I also have learned one of the biggest lessons the hard way: Ironman is a journey, not a destination, and last Saturday was simply one day in my journey. Who I am is not defined by race results, but understanding what a great life that I enjoy. I have a loving supportive wife and family, a great network of friends both in and out of triathlon, and wonderful home and even two cute puppies. These are the things that define me, not whether I can brag about having raced at Kona. There is no doubt that someday I will toe the line there, but it will not be for 2011. And thats ok. I am looking forward to the journey, and discovering  my personal limits. I am very grateful to be a part of purplepatch, and get to learn from those who are further along in their journey than I.  A great big personal thanks goes to Meredith, who, after passing at mile 22 and being rushed to the hospital, was emailing to check on me at 4 am after coming to. That is the true definition of selflessnes, and the lesson is not unnoticed.

This post would not be complete if I didn't also mention the performance of Jess Smith, who is an incredible athlete and a great person as well. She finished the race in 10:20, which was good enough for 4th. Overall.  Wow, Jess, you amaze me. I am as excited for you as if I had done it myself. But maybe we should check those swim splits ;).

I woke up on Sunday thinking that the road to Kona was over, and that my season was a wash. I woke up today realizing that my road is only beginning, and Kona is merely a stop along the way. Mere said it best in her own blog post, a very inspired piece which you can read here:

"This one race is not going to define me but instead I will LEARN from it which ultimately will make me a better athlete, person and coach. Thus, this is a win win situation in the long run."

I am looking forward to learning and growing as an athlete and as a person, with a newly humble outlook. I look forward to continuing my journey on the Train of Pain, with some great friends, riding through some beautiful country. This is what sport is all about, and I plan to enjoy every mile with a new attitude, and rediscovered enjoyment.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Saturday 23 Apr 11

CFG open WOD 5

20 mins AMRAP
5 Power Cleans 145 lbs
10 T2B
15 Wallballs

10 RNDS + 5 PC's + 1 T2B

Last week - CFG open WOD 4

10 mins AMRAP
60 bar facing burpees
30 OHS's 120 lbs
10 muscle ups

I made it through the burpees / OHS's / and 4 muscle ups.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Not be left out...

In honor of HT and SB crushing it up at LJ today, I ran a half marathon too. Up to Cabrillo monument, then down around Sunset Cliffs. Awesome run, great times.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wednesday and Summer/Fall Plans

Crossfit Games Open WOD - week 4

60 bar facing burpees
30 - 120 lbs OHS
10 Muschle Ups

I Made it through the burpees, OHS's, and 3 muscle ups. Hopefully, I'll try this one again. I'm already out of the running for regionals because I missed one of the workouts due to a CQ det, so it doesn't matter too much, but this workout was intriguing to me.

I also ran some intervals afterwards. I've been trying to nail down what ultras I want to run over the summer and fall. I just bought a plane ticket to go with Jess to PA for the Laurel Highlands Ultra back in my old stomping grounds. The race is called a 70.5 miler, although the website mentions a detour for a downed bridge that adds about 7 miles. So I'm not sure if its 70 or 77 miles. Here is what I'm planning for now.

June 11 - Laurel highlands Ultra 70.5 miler
Aug 21 - Pikes Peak Marathon
Oct 29 - Cactus Rose 50 or 100 miler (based on how the 70 goes)
Nov 26 - Quad Dipsea