Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hello my name is Mr Half TRIing and I have a problem...

Hello my name is Mr. Half TRIing and I have a problem.  It started off with just trying a little 5K.  It was nothing big, just some little training with some friends.  I never thought it would turn into a problem. 
Soon the 5K was not enough.  I needed more. I needed something harder and more addictive.  Next, my little 5K turned into a 10K.  Surprisingly, I did not get what I expected from the 10K.  It just wasn’t enough to feed my addiction.  I needed something even harder.  How about trying a little 13.1?  The first 13.1 was free.  Bonnie and my friends warned me about my growing addiction.  But who is Bonnie to talk.  She went straight from a 5K to the hard stuff 26.2.  She was the one with a problem!

That's me in top right.
Note: The blue runner on the bottom as a more serious issue!

So that one 13.1 turned into two, three, four…   I needed help.  I needed to talk to someone who had similar additions.  So I found a group called Half Fanatics.  They were supposed to help me get over this addition.  They gave me an ugly blue shirt but soon I became just a number (number 394).  I soon found these people had a bigger addition than me.  They were serious pushers.  They soon sucked me deeper into the addiction.
Even Ronald thinks I have a problem.
But he was a serious Pink Folyd fan!

I needed something new to kick the addition.  How about you buy a bike Bonnie suggested?  It was really just a way for her to expand her addiction.  After getting the bike she suggested we do a sprint triathlon together.  After just one sprint I jumped to an Olympic.  The day after the Olympic I signed up for the Ironman 70.3 Florida.  Now I am signed up for the Clermont 70.3 in 19 days, 70.3 Augusta in 124 days and Miami Man 70.3 in 173 days. 
I even have Tough Mudder in 193 days.  Tough Mudder plans to torture me through electrocute, mud, freezing water, pain, etc.  Where will the madness end?!?!
Hello my name is Mr Half Triing and I have a problem.  Do you have a problem too?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rohto Ironman 70.3 Florida Race – Run

Rohto Ironman 70.3 Florida Race – Run
Noodle Legs!
 So out of T2 I go.  My legs feel like wet noodles but are not in pain.  The sun is blaring and it is about 85F degrees and I am sweating like a pig.   At least now I have sunscreen on.
It’s funny about how your mind forgets the tiniest of things when you are preoccupied.  About 100 ft out of T2 and already into my run I noticed I forgot to do something, I forgot to take off my cycling gloves.  DOH!! Here I am running a 70.3 looking like the idiot with his gloves on.  I really considered tossing them but I decided to carry them inside my empty running pouch.  It was tricky but I got them into that small pouch.  I looked like a kangaroo carrying a small roo.

Don't foget to take off your glove idiot!

So at this point my body was going into sugar refusal mode.  I had 1 GU before the swim, 1 in T1, and 4 on the bike and 1 in T2.  My body was refusing many more GUs.  Not a good sign but the stomach was not upset just demanding no more sugar!  I think I only had 1 GU for the entire run. 
One of those bad boys is mine.  Save me one!

The running course consists of 3 loops.  There were loopbacks even within the loops.  Boy was I looking forward to seeing the same scenery so many times (sarcasm).    

They place your name on my bib just in case you forget it.

Much of the run (maybe 35%) is a “trail run.”  By trail run it means just a dirt road.  Nothing like a normal trail run but boy did people like to complain about not running on the road.  I would hate to see them on a real trail run.  They would just implode.  I did not find the dirt road portions of the run all that bad.  They were boring because there were no spectators but it was not a bad surface to run on.
The worse part of the run was the lack of spectators.  They really only existed at the race end.  This means that for 95% of the race there was no one cheering you on but other runners (if they were cool) and the aid stations.
So close yet so far!

The aid stations were placed about every 1.25 miles.  I did not care if they were supplied great as long as they had water and ice.  Whatever you do make sure you stay cool or you will overheat.  Water and ice are your saviors when running in the heat.  Every stop I put ice in the front and back of my shirt.  That was nice because my race belt would hold the ice in place.  Ice also went into my hat on every stop.  To top that off one or two glasses of water were duped on my head.  One awesome volunteer was taking one gallon jugs of ice water and dumping it on people’s heads if they wanted.  That was awesome.  Luckily I only saw one person who had to be treated for heat exhaustion.  I did see one or two people throw-up probably due to overheating. (The aid stations were frequent and well stocked with water, ice, sports drink, pretzels and cookies).
About midway through the race I got a huge cramp in my side.  Luckily I learned on the Crooms Fools Train Run that many people take potassium pills for this.  I kept two in my running pouch just in case.  I popped one potassium pill and two Advil and in about 15 minutes life was good again.
Triston begging for money as I run past
I am not a great running.  My PR is around 1:56.  My normal 13.1 is about 2:10.  I assumed with this heat and being a long triathlon I would get around 2:30.  I hit that almost on the money.  I was off by only a few seconds.  I would have like to go faster but my body was just tired and really hot.  I figured if I pushed the run harder I could over heat.  I really need to work on some speed training.
Me and my hippie step-son. 
We run to many races to afford him a haircut!
When I finished the race I felt great.  I was not hurting or sore.  I was not even exhausted.  I felt great.  I did feel very hot and needed about 15 minutes just to cool down.  I was surprised at how well I felt.  I figured I would be sore a day or two after the race but I was not.  Strange, the hardest race of my life and I felt great.  Maybe I should have pushed myself harder.  I will keep that in mind for my next 70.3.
Lots of GUs left on my belt!

One medal for the wall

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rohto Ironman 70.3 Florida Race - Bike

Rohto Ironman 70.3 Florida Race - Swim
Out of the water and into T1.  Well sort of… I got lost in T1 and it took me a few minutes to determine where I was at. T1 was about 6 minutes for me.  Since it raining so hard during transition setup everything was not laid out nicely.  Everything I needed was in my bag so it took me longer to get to everything.

Hi Mom!!
I ran out of T1 and the length to the bike ride was longer than heck.  I was on the furthest rack from bike out.  It took easily a minute to get to the bike start.  I finally got the start and got yelled at because I tried to get on my bike 1in before the start.  Stupid official, like I have a chance at winner the race.
Over the river and through the woods..

Onto the bike and into the wind.  The wind was kicking hard that day.  The cold front brought the rains in the morning and winds in the afternoon.  The wind was blowing at 10-20 gusts.  I am not a wind rider and it was really hard to push through that wind.  Several riders said it added 20-30 minutes onto their bike times.  I agree because I should have finished the bike ride at around 3 hours flat (which would have made many giveaway guesses of 6 hours almost perfect).  The wind never seemed to be at your back. 
One thing I did not train for was riding at 16 mph and grabbing a water bottle from a volunteer.  That was a little tricky.  The volunteers at the first stop knew what they were doing and took off the tops of the water bottles before handing it to us.  It was hard trying to get the top off the bottle drinking it and throwing it in the designated areas.   When the top was off it was a breeze. 
I got pretty good at the water bottle pickup trick.  On the last stop I had an empty water bottle so I got cool and had the water bottle top in my mouth and the bottle in the cage.  I grabbed a sports drink, took off the top and poured it into the water bottle in the cage.  Tossed the drink, took the top out of my mouth and screwed it onto the water bottle in the cage.  All this while going 18 mph on a bike.  Pretty fun stuff.
Doohh..  Halfway through the ride I remembered I forgot sunscreen at T1.  Oh now.  This white boy is going to be hurting later.
Every time I passed someone on the ride I would try to encourage them or tell them about the beer tent that was at the next rest stop.  Several people laughed and most said thanks because they really needed the encouragement.  Many were having a really hard time with the wind and needed a
“pick me up.”
At about mile 52 I was looking at the retention pond I was about to pass when I spotted a 5-7 ft alligator in the water.  I was raised in FL so alligators are not a big deal to me but when I pointed it out to the guy behind me he screamed like a little girl.  It was funny as heck.  What was the gator going to do, swim out of the water, jump the fence, catch up to the guy doing 20 mph and bite him?! 
Off the bike and into T2.  T2 went well.  I remember the sunscreen and bathed myself in it.  Put on my shoe, running belt, etc.  Sucked down a GU and made my way into the running portion
To be continued…

Cool bike for a disabled ridder

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rohto Ironman 70.3 Florida Race - Swim

Rohto Ironman 70.3 Florida Race - Swim
The swim was held in a lake on Ft Wilderness property.  It appeared to be a clean but dark lake.  You could only see feet if they were about 1 foot in front of you.  The water temperature was announced to be around 83F so it was nearly bath water temperature.
Pretty Beach
The swim was where I put the most work into for the past couple of months.  Over the past couple of months I had to teach myself how to freestyle stroke efficiently.  For the majority of my life I breast stroked (stop giggling) because of a shoulder injury that prevented me from moving my shoulder in particular ways.  My breast stroke (stop giggling) was particularly good, very fast and I can do endurance swims using this stoke but I figured on a 70.3 I would wear my legs out for the rest of the race.
Beach Start

The swim start was a beach start so no one was in the water to begin with.  When the gun sounded everyone ran into the water to begin their swim.  The water was way to warm and the swim was very crowded for a while.  Several people where grabbing feet and trying to swim over one another but the crowd quickly spread out.
The lake in the morning
For the first 100 or so meters I had trouble sighting.  There were a ton of boats in the water and water was pretty choppy for a lake.   After fighting getting off course for a while I saw a swimmer in my group who was slightly faster than me but a strong swimmer.  He was easily fighting the crowd so I decided to draft him for the entire race.  It was a great choice because he fought the traffic and weaved in and out of the crowd with ease.  This meant I did not have to do it.  It also meant that I had did not need to swim so hard and I did not need to sight for the entire race.  After the swim I thanked him for the draft and he said he was happy to have me behind him because I prevented people from swimming over top of him and/or grabbing his feet.  It was a win/win for both of us.
The swim was much easier than I expected.  This was probably because I concentrated so much on drafting the guy in front of me and not letting him get to far ahead.  When I got out of the water I felt great and was not winded.
Many people could not make the swim (or panicked) and had to drop out of the race.  They had to be brought back on the boat of shame.  Many swimmers were floating on their backs and clearly did not train properly for a swim distance. 

Side Note:
Last night I saw Kris Kristofferson in concert.  I had 3 row center in a very small theater.  He preformed for just over 2 hours.  It was a great concert and it was the second time I have ever seen him.  After the show he signed autographs for everyone who waited.  He was a super nice guy and it was a great concert.  All that was on stage was him, his guitar and his harmonica.  I ended up getting his autograph.
Great Seats
Signing Autographs

Very cool.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rohto Ironman 70.3 Florida Race - Pre-Race

Rohto Ironman 70.3 Florida Race - Pre-Race

My day started off with the alarm going off at 02:50.  Now I am NOT a morning person but through the training for this race I have become more and more accustom to getting up early.  I slept much better than I expected.  I only remember getting up once because some idiots at the hotel were having a party.  My family did not need to get up till around 03:30 so I tried to be quite as I got ready for the day.

My breakfast was basically an elementary schooler’s lunch:  two peanut butter (I prefer Justine’s Almond butter) and lemon curd sandwiches on SandwichThins, a banana, an apple and a water.  Pretty boring but good for you breakfast. 

Triston got right up in the morning and was excited to leave.  I was really surprised because I thought it would have been REALLY hard to get a 16 year old up and out of a hotel room at 03:50 in the morning.  I think he knew how important it was to me and he was excited to see the race.

Cookies are yummy!!

For this race you have to drive to the Disney Dopey or Grumpy parking lots and take a shuttle to the Ft Wilderness race sight.  Disney was great at having about a dozen buses ready to go.  Note: Loading a bus with Ironman triathletes reminds me loading a bus full of army troops with their rucksacks.  Everyone is loaded down with too much equipment and hits everyone else as they walk down the aisle.

It's better than raining men. Hallelujah!

I got to the transition area around 04:15 and it began to rain cats and dogs.  As if the rain was not bad enough it started to lightning heavily.  The parking lot where my transition area was located quickly became a swimming pool.  I waited for about 40 minutes and it did not let up.  Almost everyone decided to leave all their gear in their triathlon bags and do their transitions using the bags.  Thank god I just got my waterproof Rocket Science Sports bag from TriBug (shameless plug).  It made life so much easier.  (Note:  there will be a review of this little gem next week).

The rain would not be so bad if the outside temperate was not in the high 50’s.  Everyone was shivering from the rain, cold, and nerves.  Nothing like living in Florida where you are shivering in the morning and sweating profusely 2 hours later in high 80’s.

It's electric boogie woogie woogie!! SOURCE

The swim start was delayed 20 minutes and we all started to worry they were going to cancel the swim.  Nothing like training for 8 months and learning that you will only be doing a bike and a run.  I was starting to get really disappointed.  I trained really hard for the swim.  In 3 months I learned (by myself) how to freestyle stroke and now I may not even need to use I t(not cool, not cool at all)!

The rain eventually cleared up and everyone gathered around the swim start.  My stomach was doing summersaults so I took some stomach medicine.   I think it was a combination of nerves and my body wondering why I took it off its normal bathroom schedule.

I was in wave 21 of 22 so I have about 1 hour to watch other waves start their swim.  That would be torture for me so being the social butterfly I am I decided to talk to others. 
Shawn’s Ironman
One individual (and follow blogger) I spoke to was Matthew from Shawn’s Ironman. You can read about his story and struggles here.  Shawn is Mathew’s 2 year old son who was born with “several urological conditions including a multicystic dysplastic kidney and then diagnosed with a patent urachus. He had to have surgery at 10 days old to correct the leaking out of his belly button. During that surgery they went in and determined that he also had a very rare condition that, to the doctor’s knowledge, closely relates a bilateral urethra (I have coined “Shawn’s Urethra” after my son since there has never been a case like his) where his urethra split near the prostate and exited behind his scrotum. There has been very little research or studies regarding his condition, but everything that came back said he was the youngest to undergo the surgery to reconstruct and remove his 2nd urethra at 7 months old. At that time they also removed the cysts where his kidney should have formed. At 14 months old he underwent a third surgery to repair a tethered spine."

Mathew was a great and humble guy.  He is running Ironman’s to raise research money and bring awareness to his son’s struggles.  I told him I would make a monetary donation to his cause (which I did) and to give him some exposure on my blog.  If you want, check out his website and post a supportive comment.  Please let him know I sent you.

About 15 minutes before the swim I popped a GU.  Fifteen minutes later I aligned up at the water’s edge to begin the swim.  I was feeling great and focused.  The countdown began and the gun went off…

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Sorry Chicken, not everyone is a winner. 

And the winner of the 70.3 giveaway is.....

Karen from Working It Out
Karen with the guess of 6:15:12.  She had to have known about the 10 – 20 mph wind gusts everyone faced on the bike ride.  Everyone’s cycling times were about 20 – 30 minutes slower than they expected due the winds.  If the winds were not a factor it would have been a very close call between everyone’s 6 hourish guesses. 
The high winds really affected my bike time.  She must have also know you could not put a transition mat due to the high amount of rain that delayed (and almost) canceled the swim.  My transition area had almost 1-2 inches of standing water.  I had to live out of my waterproof tri bag.
Karen, please contact me to claim your prize.
I will give a full race report later in the week.  My computer is dead at home so I have to fix it so I can blog more often.

Here is my race break down.
Swim: 41:16 (2:10/100m)
Bike: 3:09:05 (17.77 mph)
Run: 2:29:15 (11:23 pace)
T1: 6:51
T2: 6:23
Overall: 6:32:50
Rank: 1226
Div Pos: 141

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Throwback Thursday - I'm on a Boat

Throwback Thursday - I'm on a Boat

Dude, I need a serious sun!

Apparently my mother could afford to take me fishing but could not afford to buy me a haircut.  Dear lord, I look like a member of the Beetles.  The only kick butt part is I am rocking out with my Sesame Street life preserver. 

Ya, she thinks I'm hot!

Look at the expression on the face of the girl behind me fishing.  She got caught on camera checking me out.  Ya, even back then I had a way with the ladies.  (Or maybe she was just laughing at the dork in the Big Bird life preserver and the stupid haircut.  Naahhh...she was checking me out!!).

Plant Porn

Apparently my air plant thinks it is spring.  It is showing its red colors and blooming really late in the year this year.  It must be due to global warming.

Lots of lighting bolts this week.

Sunday’s race temperature keeps dropping.  Rock On!!  They are now predicting temperatures in the low 80s.  The bad news is the likelihood of rain is increasing.  Weather Channel is predicting a 40% chance of rain. Oh well...

FYI - do not forget to enter my 70.3 Ironman giveaway to win a $25 Gift Card to TriVillage.  See my post here

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ultimate Direction Wasp & Wink Hydration Pack Review

Ultimate Direction Wasp & Wink Hydration Pack Review
FYI - do not forget to enter my 70.3 Ironman giveaway to win a $25 Gift Card to TriVillage.  See my post here
For those of you who know me, I am the type of person who researches the heck out of an item before I buy it.  I believe you get what you pay for.  I like to buy once and love the item I buy.  I do not want to go back out and find a replacement because I purchased a PO and when I find an item I love I like to share it with my followers.   
This leads me to my new favorite running item.  The Ultimate Direction Wasp hydration pack.  This is my new security blanket.  I LOVE this hydration pack. 
I spent over a month researching the best hydration packs for running and basically only two names reigned supreme (the Nathan HPL 020 and the Ultimate Direction Wasp & Wink) Both are great packs but the Nathan is made more strictly for street running and has very little (if any) storage space for longer trail runs.  Many people also do not like Nathan’s bite value.  The Nathan is made more for city slickers.  The Wasp is made for runners who like to get dirty. :-)  But the Wasp is still great for City Slicker runners.  Unlike most hydration packs, all three packs are made with runner's specifications in mind. These are runnering packs more than they are hiking packs (although the Wasp and Wink would work for light hiking).
I live and run in Florida where temperatures in the high 90s are fairly normal so I need to keep hydrated.    I also need a pack that is does not make me hotter (temperature not looks – nothing in the world will me look hotter :-) ) and still stay comfortable.  I thought running with a hydration back would be a bear but after several runs with the Wasp I LOVE it.  I do not even notice it is there.  It stays cool.  The straps were comfortable.  The pack rode high on the back so it did not hinder my run or my back.  The back ventilation kept it cool to use.  There two mesh pockets in the front are great for storing GUs, bars, iphones, etc.  They are also really easy to get stuff in and out of.

Her X-mas presant (I love the Xmas lobster jammies)

Bonnie needed a hydration pack for her 50K trail run (see this post) so for Christmas I bought her the Ultimate Direction Wink.  The Wink is the female version of the Wasp.  They are basically identical.  She was a little skeptical of the pack at first but after her 50K run, she now LOVES her pack.  She even suggested I do I review of the packs.  The volunteer filling the water bladders kept asking us the name of our packs because they like them so much.  They said they were the easiest and fastest bladders to fill all day.  They also like that fact that it had some storage.
I will not bore you with all the details of the Wasp because other bloggers have already gone through this trouble.  Below are many great reviews of the Wasp (and the Nathan 020).  They go into the pack in vast detail and will give you all the specifics.  Let me just tell you I LOVE mine and HIGHLY recommend it.
You will probably need to purchase these packs online.  It is hard to fine either the Nathan HPL 020 or Ultimate Direction Wasp/Wink in a brick and mortar store but it is fairly easy online.

FYI - do not forget to enter my 70.3 Ironman giveaway to win a $25 Gift Card to TriVillage.  See my post here
Dont just take my word for it see other people reviews
Review of the Nathan HPL 020

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Special Contest in Honor of My First 70.3

I would like to have a contest as a thank you to all of you who take time out of their day to follow my strange humor, my even stranger life, bad spellen, grammar, etc.   
The winner will receive a $25 gift card to  They offer a wide variety of gear for runners, cycling and swimming.  Their gift certificate FAQ is here.
Here are the rules.
1)   REQUIRED: In the comments of this post you must try to guess my final chip time for the Rohto Florida 70.3 (you cannot guess DNF).  Those who follow my blog regularly have an advantage because they have a good idea how lighting fast and awesome I am. :-)

2)   REQUIRED: You also need to tell me why you spend precious time out of your day to read my insanity and if you want me to continue posting after my first 70.3.

3)   All comments must be placed before the end of day Saturday, May 14th, 2011 EST.

4)   In the event of a tie, the person who posted first will win.

5)   Only one guess per person is allowed.
6)   Following my blog is not required but it does indicate to me that people actually read this blog and want me to contiunue posting.

Monday, May 9, 2011

D-Day - 7

Exactly 1 week away.  Almost exactly 168 hours.  I will be in one of the last three waves.  I have to watch nearly everyone else swim for almost 1 hour before I can even get into the water.  That will be torture!
Bonnie did the Danskin sprint triathlon on Sunday.  She finished 16th out of a hundred something.  She was pretty excited and had a great time.  Now she needs to buckle down and start focusing on the Augusta 70.3 she registered for. 
Triston did his first B level ride this weekend.  I did not want to hit it too hard over the weekend so I thought it would be a good time to have him do his first B ride.  He held his own with the group and completed about 40 miles at an 18 mph average.
Would anyone be interested in a little contest?  I was considering giving away a prize in honor the big day.  Would anyone be interested in participating? If so, let me know.  The contest rules would be posted later in the week if I get enough interest.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Last Night’s Fortune Cookie Fortune

And drowning sucks!

So my fortune last night read “Swimming is easy.  Stay floating is hard.”  Wow, thanks!!  I needed to know that right before the race.  So the swim will be easy but staying afloat will be hard.  Well, if I can not float, drowning would suck!!  :-)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

12 Days Left

Only twelve days left.  I am starting to get nervous.  I found out I am in one of the LAST three waves.  That sucks.  That means I have less time to finish if something goes wrong.

On Sunday's cycling ride I had a tube EXPLODE on me.  It scared everyone in the cycling line.  This puppy went off loader that a shotgun.  It tore an 8in rupture in the tube.  God, I hope that does not happen in the race.  Luckily no one was hurt. I want to put some miles on the new tube this weekend to make sure it will not happen again.  I have bad luck with tubes.

Saturday was a 3K swim.  The first 1K I had a hard time finding my pace and breathing.  The second and third K was really easy and enjoyable.  I have to remember to start off fast to break from some of the crowd and then slow down and focus on stroke and breathing.  If I can find someone to draft off of I will in a heartbeat.

Sunday was a long brink (46mi bike + 13.1 mile run).  It was as hot as hot as Hades (probably in the low 90 with next to no shade).  It should be as hot during the race.  Luckily I live only about 20 miles from the race site so I am more use to the weather than most running it.  My biggest concern is the heat.  The mileage I know I can do.

Daniel: Hey, what kind of belt do you have?
Miyagi: Canvas. JC Penney, $3.98. You like?

I have not trained in 3 days.  My lunch time has been taken up with self defense training.  It’s a free class and has proven to be “interesting.” I am learning how to stop someone from assaulting me and using common items to defend myself.  Good stuff to know (especially if you are women).  I recommend all women take a self defense class.