Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Track run 3

This morning was another track workout.
4 x 1200 @ 5K pace w 400 "rest" interval
5:49, 5:11, 5:10, 5:07
The first one is a 7:50/mile pace. Which is in the ballpark of what I consider my 5K pace.
After finishing that first one I thought maybe my expectations are too low. So I turned it up.
The 5:11 is just under a 7:00/mile pace.
Time to look at the calculator again. Using my 1:50:00 Half Marathon time as the input. Sure enough, it has me down for running a 6:52 mile for a mile race and 7:40 as my 5K race pace.
Guess I shouldn't have turned it up that far?

4 x 200 working on leg speed w 200 "rest" interval
:42, :41.9, :40, :41
These are the type of numbers the calculator was expecting for this type of workout.
As Armando finished the first interval he announced "Exactly Double the World Record!" (his run not mine). Which then put those runners efforts into very clear focus for me. Unreal!

I realize I'm not supposed to be a slave to the numbers. It's just that I haven't thought about these times and distances before and I'm just trying to make sense of it all.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's killing me . .

It looks like I won't be making any trips to NJ. The Oct. 4 weekend is the only full weekend I have open for about a two months. I think with baby 4 coming in Nov. it would be best to stick around here and get some stuff done. I still am going to do some training, just not travel to race.

Fall schedule:

Sept. 20 - Hero's Run 5K.
Oct. 11 - Waynesburg Homecoming 5K

Sept. 7 - PMS Tri I probably should join this group, Morgantown Multisport. They were awful nice to me at the Sprint Splash & Spin. I met a lot of Friday at the kid's race and they recognized and cheered for me on Saturday.
Nov. 23 - Bruceton Mills Cyclocross Baby might hold me up here, Nov. 22 is due date. If it comes early or late I might squeeze it in.

For the last year I have also been talking about doing a 10K specific race and don't get this done, so maybe I should look for this.

I hope to focus on running in the fall and get speedier. Maybe come out of the winter with some wind left, rather than feeling like I am starting from zero.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

2008 Sprint Splash Spin

Kid's did awesome. Maddy was strong on all three legs. Levi didn't like the run plus a teenage volunteer ran with him telling him not to walk, he was a little upset about this but survived. Eleanor did great, but got a stitch in her side during the swim which bothered her pretty good the whole race. Great Fun Friday night.

My race:

Swim: 330 yds, 6 mins 40 seconds (133/299, this includes relay teams)

I did the breast - free every lap. I felt good, I did not kill myself. I was in the lane with a faster guy than me. The first freestyle lap was nice because I sat in his slipstream, he then pulled away from me. This was 20 seconds slower than last year, but I had put in some more work than last year in the swim. I wanted to go faster but only 330 yds, losing a little time here is not a bad thing. In my heat of 10 I was the fourth one out of the water but only 45 seconds behind the first guy.

T1: 1:06 Not bad, I had hoped to be quicker, but putting that shirt on over a wet body is a struggle. Ran out quick. I am pretty sure I was now in 2nd place in my heat.

Bike: 11miles, 31:36 (49/299, wow!, 20.9mph)

My OK transition was hurt by the fact that when I took my first pedal stroke my foot came off the top of my left shoe as I was trying to flip my right shoe over. I took an awkward stroke to reset the pedals and my left shoe fell off. I had to stop dead. A volunteer nicely grabbed my shoe and threw it to me. I put it on, velcroed it and clipped in and started. By this point two guys had blown by me, probably 20 seconds ahead of me. I started to hammer hard. My group was pretty equally matched, so it took me about 5 miles to catch the one guy. As I approached the turn around I realized I was right only two guys from my group were ahead of me and I potentially could catch them. When I made the turn around I realized another guy was catching me. He was close and as I was approaching one guy ahead of me the guy behind me passed me. Which helped. I paced off him. I kept saying "three bike lengths, three bike lengths". The next long straight away we both passed the second place guy in our heat. When we were about 1.5 miles from the end, I noticed the guy in front of me down shift and start to turn a higher cadence, so I put it in a bigger gear and blew by him. He still had a faster bike time than me but I wasn't going to let him get into transition before me. The straight away into the transition I could see the first place guy in our heat. I thought "I hope he can't run".

T2: 1:09 Once again not bad. I haven't put lock laces on these running shoes so I had to tie. Another guy came in from our group as I was leaving the transition.

Run: 5K, 23:49 (71/299) Would only be my second 5k, tri or not, under 24 mins.

Again, Wow! The one person left ahead of me in my heat was a 16 year old kid. I could see him on every straight stretch. My legs felt awful at first, I was cramping like a big dog, but I wanted him. I kept pushing. I was about 1 minute behind him at the turn around. I marked the spot where I saw him and timed it. I had an analog watch on, so I knew my overall time, but I kept losing track of my run time. I thought it was over 25 mins, but it was faster. I realized a couple guys were probably catching me at the turn around. This actually inspired me for the last 1.5 miles to stay ahead of the guys behind me. I felt better and the stitch had miraculously gone away. On the last straight away I could see this kid, I knew I had lost him. He was slower on the run than me, but he had done his damage by being 40 secs. faster on the swim and me losing my shoe.

Final time 1:04:20 (almost 6 mins. faster than last year)
56/299 ( I actually was in 50th place amongst individuals, only six teams beat me).
9/20 in my age group (stupid 35-39 yr old males, too fast)

Only my bike was faster than my overall placing, which was the same as last year. Great Race. I couldn't be happier with my time, but will play that shoe deal in my head a thousand times. My biggest problem now is I have just raised expectations of myself way too high. Do I have to perform this well all the time??

Thanks for reading, wish Matt & Genine had been here. I would have loved to race Matt to see how much he had improved, even though we know he had improve immensely.

Overall Results:
2008 Sprint Splash Spin

Yes, Vinnie won again this year.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Kickin at the pool

Friday didn't go totally as planned. I had figured Genine and I would have found time to go out and bike. It was a beautiful day out. Instead we ended up getting stuff done around the house. Which is a good thing.
We did make it to the pool. We were a bit late so Maija and Paul were already into the main set. It's going to be a kicking night. Ugh! Actually I don't mind the kicking other than they end up having to wait for me.... and I've likely only done half the distance they have done.
I say I don't mind because you are supposed to work on your weaknesses.
Genine was swimming beside me and kind of just doing her own thing. Then I said why don't you do this kick set with us. You will likely beat me. She says, I don't know about that.... I'll guess that she did 25m when I was at 15m. I might be overstating my distance. :-)
I'm convinced she's going to be an awesome swimmer. We just need to get her to the masters class for some coaching. Whereas I need an intervention/hypnotist/surgery/something!!
To make some sort of improvement to my kicking.

Anyhow, once we finished swimming it was time for the abs workout. Genine and Maija were kind enough not to totally destroy me here. I'm sure they could have easily doubled/tripled the amount of time we spent on this. I'll be glad when I get to look back on this night and laugh about it.
So how do I get to that point? Well I've been doing the push ups sets every other day. I tried to fit abs in on the same night. It didn't work out. So at the very least, abs will be on the days opposite the push ups.

Lastly, I know I've turned up the workouts in this last week and that I've added weight training twice a week and also a track workout, but man! I've been HUNGRY! I think I'm finally going to go back to tracking my eats on again. Mainly because I feel like I must be eating the wrong "snacks". With fitday, I knew where I was with protein, fat and carbs. So I could just look to see if my snack should be chicken, peanut butter, oatmeal or fruit. Lately I've just been defaulting to Raisins or Craisins and I could just sit and eat the whole bag. So that tells me I'm eating the wrong thing.
If I get back on track with fitday. I'll probably try to eat my way to 170 and not be in a hurry to get there. I'm thinking 2600-2700 calories a day. With the exception of the B&BBQ day!

15/20/65 fat/protein/carbs

2650 total calories

397 calories from Fat
530 Calories from Protein
1723 Calories from Carbs

1 gram of Fat = 9 calories
1 gram of Protein = 4 calories
1 gram of Carbs = 4 calories
1 gram of alcohol = 7 calories

So.... Daily I should be eating
44 grams of fat
133 grams of Protein
431 grams of Carbs

BMX - Shawn could have been Gold

Maybe 2012 is his year. 6' 5" American BMX'r gets back on the bike. At 43 yrs old he would be, by far the oldest BMX Olympian, Ever, seeing how it has only been in th Olympics two times. That silly Torres story would have nothing on Shawn.

Former Junk Yard Worker, Film Hand, Slum Lord, Pizza Delivery, Priority Deliverer, Stage Hand, Web Designer & now Dr. Vashaw is competing as a relatively unknown in the world of BMX. He woke up one day when he realized it was an actual sport people cared about. He took his daughter with him to the track to give it a try again. After she soundly beat him, by bunny hopping over him after he wrecked, she rubbed it in by show boating on the last jump with a kick out reverse flip into a table top. He picked himself off the track and after eventually beating all the 12 year old kids in his quaint State College neighborhood he started an amateur run at the gold.

This story would be way better than the I am a quadriplegic triathlete.

Link to Olympic BMX story: USA - BMX Wins Three Medals

Thursday, August 21, 2008

BIB 106

The Sprint Splash & Spin Tri has given me a start time of 8:40 and let me know my bib number is 106. Last year I was 78. I have no idea how they hand out bib #'s. Last year it was based on what you thought your swim time was going to be. This year they told me based on what I thought my overall time would be. I was 93 last year in the race, so I figured my bib would be close to this. 2006 my bib was 105, so maybe this is my happy place.

I am really pumped for this race. I once again believe my swim will be close to 6:00 min range, probably over. I hate to even speculate on the rest of the race, I have a goal time best case and a range of what I don't want to drop out of. I feel strong, and I plan to attack rather than sit back and wait to see how I feel at the end.

Last year in the swim I did a length of breast then free then breast until the last 4 lengths, I went all out free. Matt asked if I was going to do this again, I said no I thought all free this year because I was able to hold free through the whole Spirit of Morgantown race (my time was awful). Well, I was doing 100 yd sprints in the pool last night on 2 mins. After 4 of these I was struggling to make the 2 min, so I decided to do breast-free-breast-free per 100. I easily went 2 mins and felt good. I have some real issues getting enough air when swimming, so I am back to last years plan, with just 330m (yds, can't remember which) I think my heart rate will stay down doing this.

No socks, no socks. I am doing this sprint sock less. Bare bones. I will only need a shirt helmet and shoes already on the bike. Run just throw off helmet put on shoes. No gloves or glasses or hats or swim caps. All time wasters and later concerns, that bother me a minute into whatever I am doing.

I was thinking about going shirtless the whole time, but I am modest enough and pale enough that this won't work. I may have to get a full tri suit to eliminate this problem.

I will let you know how the kiddos and I do.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Buckman/ track workout/ Goals/ Columbia Tri

Ahhhh. A nice relaxing sprint distance tri. Right! I don't think I'll be wearing my jeans and riding a cruiser like I did at my last sprint in Florida.

(Zephryhills Florida Sprint Tri, March 9, 2008)

Looking at this picture, I still don't feel too badly for wearing the jeans. The woman behind me is wearing earmuffs after all!

We had another track workout this morning. It was probably the coldest it has been in the morning in months. 5:45 AM and 5 of us showed up! As you commented the other day Craig, I am very fortunate to have such dedicated athletes/friends to train with.

So now that I've done 2 track workouts in my life... I have to start analyzing.
Let me start with something Armando sent to us before the workout. The running calculator.
I entered my Tango Half Marathon time of 1:50:00. It then gives you a breakdown of the paces you should be capable of. I haven't downloaded this morning's workout from my watch, but I know that the Sprint workout times are right in line with what I'm doing. I guess that proves that I'm not sandbagging. Or if I am, I have some amazing ability to sandbag proportionately 13.1 mile events to 400m events. :-)

It then occurred to me I put some sort of list of goals together back in January.
8 months later I'm finally doing the "speed work" from that list.
Nice that the weight issue and the bike training actually happened.
That leaves me with Abs workouts if I want to complete that list. For some reason I find the abs workouts to be just as difficult to get into as the speed workouts. Maybe I need to talk to the others about joining in on that suffer-fest as well. Ha ha!
Seriously I just have to change my mindset and do it. I've started doing the sets of 7 pushup program again. I wonder how painful adding abs during the rest intervals would be?

On that post I listed 11 races. I had 3 Olympic distance races on the schedule. Looks like I'll be one short... and of course the Mooseman swim wasn't the full swim this year.
And although I didn't race that exact list, it looks like I might still get 10 races in this year.

Oh, I'm not sure if you've noticed that I added the Columbia Triathlon 09 to the countdown lists on the side of our page. That's because I'm registered already. Craig this is a good race to do if you want to see some Pros. Maija says it sells out quickly because it's such a good event.
Are you guys in?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Ger - Mans

Dude from Germany won the Olympic Gold in the Tri yesterday. The best American was 7th Hunter Kemper. This is only significant because I was at our company picnic just a week and a half ago and a new employee's wife heard I had done a triathlon and asked if I knew who Hunter was because the law firm she worked for in Florida (before they moved to WV) had done some work for him and she had met him. I had heard the name but didn't realize he was in the Olympics. I am shocked that it wasn't an Aussie who won, actually they weren't that close. Just for prospective on our accomplishments compared to the world's elite (German dude's time):

1.5 km Swim (.93 mile) - 18:14 Rank 16
40 Km Bike (24.8 mile) - 59:01 Rank 34
10 Km Run (6.2 mile) - 30:46 Rank 1 (I have said and will always say, Runners win Tri's, by the way that is awful fast even by running standards.)

He had a total of 52 seconds in transition. You can watch it in it's entirety here Olympic Tri.
You can get both guys and gals at this link, no sound, but commentary to the right once you get it running. Girls times equally impressive. The Aussies won that and took Bronze. If you have trouble getting it to come up I used Zip Code 15370, Direct TV, WPXI 11.

I am feeling good for my tri Saturday. I did a bike/run brick Sunday. Came up with a little strain in left calf, typical of something I get, nothing awful. I have been stretching, soaking, and laying on the inversion table. Feels good today. I did not run yesterday like I wanted. After mini golf tournament in backyard with kids, getting their bikes ready for Friday, and watching the Olympics, I was worn out.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fall Races

As you all know, I hadn't registered/paid for any races this fall because I was concerned I'd be damaged by the Tango and wouldn't be able to race. Fortunately that didn't happen.
We were planning on the Morgantown Sprint, but Genine still can't run without pain. So we canceled that.
Well Craig called me on Friday. He's looking to get another race in with me yet this year. He suggested a race up near Williamsport PA. The swim is replace by a kayak. Which sounds fun, except I've never been in a kayak. Which might make it more fun for those watching I suppose.

Well here is a list of races that I'm looking to do out here in NJ this fall.

Here are 2 olympic distance, I wasn't planning on doing either of these but if this is the weekend you could do Craig and you preferred to do Olympic rather than the Buckman.
9/6/08 Pine Barrens Olympic. About 1 hour 40 min away.
9/6/08 Quakerman Olympic. About an hour away.

These are the 4 I'm looking at doing. I'm not sure how similar Skylands is to the Jerseyman race. I'll have to look into that.
9/7/08 The Buckman Sprint Tri. About 30 minutes away
9/14/08 Skylands Triathlon about 30 mins away
9/20-21/08 Out of town for a wedding
9/28/08 The Jerseyman Sprint. About 30 min away.
10/4/08 Solberg Duathlon. About 12 min away

10/4/08 Bassman Sprint. About 2 hours away. Tough to go do this when there is the Du 12 minutes away. It's too bad it's not like the Spring event with the long bike.

Craig/Shawn feel free to suggest others.

Genine is trying to get a relay team together for the Buckman. We rode the bike course twice around with Maija today. We will probably do it again next weekend. I'm guessing we will be "racing" it next weekend, so Genine will finally get to get a good test of her speed on the road bike.

She's also hopeful Maija will do Skylands with her as a relay. Maybe we will go ride that course next weekend as well.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Something New: A Track Workout

I got a call from Maija on the way home from work Friday. She and Todd were thinking of doing a track workout Saturday morning. This is good, I always seem to skip my interval/speed workouts if I'm doing my own thing. I think the last/only track workout I've done was Jr High with "Coach", on the cinder track 25 years ago.
So we plan on a 6AM start at the track.
Surprisingly enough, I wake up 10 minutes before my alarm. Wasn't sure what to eat, yesterday I didn't eat enough before going to the pool... I had about an hour, so I took my chances with my oatmeal & fruit mix. That worked out well.

The workout was: (Maija can correct me on this)
4 laps 10K pace. (which you can see I ran faster than I should have)
4 laps 5K pace for the first and faster for each of the next 3.
4 laps all out.

I wasn't sure how I was going to do, but overall I'm pleased with the results.

I think it's funny how uneven my pace is during the all out set. I'm definitely not familiar with what I can do there. I guess I should have figured what "all out" really means. Should my pace be falling off at the end because I'm dying?

On the All Outs (9-12) What it looks like to me is #9,#10 are builds. #11 I thought I had good pace but it was slower. Then #12 I got back to putting it all out there but doubted myself and pulled back a couple times.
The graph also has me thinking it's time to reevaluate my HR zones. A year ago I would run all out and 188HR was the highest reading I'd hit. I hit 191 on that last run today and at the Mooseman I hit 196.
We are going to try for 1 track workout a week. I'm looking forward to it.

Oh, as for total miles with wu and cd 6.7 miles. I had thought it was less until I realized I turned off my watch between the warmup and the main set.

Friday, August 15, 2008

You Tube

I had to post this. A few weeks too late but what the heck.

And the unexpected follow up story

New Spreadsheet / Weight Room

First I want to make sure you guys realize that there is a new spreadsheet if you want to continue to track your workouts. I think I skipped July but I've been logging my workouts all of August.

Next I'd like to state the obvious, weight training makes all the other workouts harder.
I went to the gym and did an upperbody workout last night. Then I went to the pool this morning, I was feeling fatigued after every 50m. Ugh!
It will definitely help me in the long run, the added strength obviously. Then there is the extra "bonus" of fighting through workouts when I'm not fully recovered.
The downside of this is, because I was fighting my way through, I couldn't count laps for anything. I was also working hard to stay under 2:00/100. That also was kind of a bummer.
I might swim again tonight just to work on my balance. It will depend on the weather, I should do some running.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Stroke Count

I watched Michael Phelps win the 200 free the other night on the Olympics. I went back on and watched the replay. I counted 25 strokes on his first 50 M, I then watched 27 or 28 on every other 50 M. Wow. That is awesome. The I tried to count others but with his lead the cameras didn't keep with the others the whole way. I think around 30 & 32 per 50M for the other guys I counted. His first 50 was probably the best coming off the blocks.

I haven't got much swim time in myself. But did 5 miles Monday run. About 13 miles bike Tuesday, and did a 4 mile run (no socks) before we went to Idlewild yesterday. Hope to get 20 miles on the bike tonight, an easy 3 to 4 mile run (again no socks) Friday along with a 1,000+ swim. Saturday another 20 mile bike with a 10 K run (socks on this run). Sunday, looking to run and find someplace to swim.

Sprint Splash & Spin on August 23. I hope to eliminate at least 1.5 mins on my transitions with the no sock procedure. Run & Bike looking good, hope to hold last years time on the swim.

I will know a lot of people at this Tri, but it looks like no other Venerable Companions. It has been over a year since I haven't done a Tri where Matt was there. I look forward to a shorter event and see if any of this increased endurance translates into faster performance. Will keep you updated on prep and race, plus my children are doing the kid's race on the Friday night before.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tango Half Marathon Graph

I'll have export the Brooklyn Run with elevation later.
My Avg HR was 10 bpm higher for the Tango run.
Click on the picture for a larger view

Above Tango Half Marathon: HR in Red, Pace Blue, Elevation shaded

Above Brooklyn Half Marathon: HR in Red, Pace Blue, Elevation shaded

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fused Ankle / State Finals

My dad had his Ankle surgery this morning. As far as we know it went as planned. The doctor was surprised to see that there was more "Junk" in there than she had expected but I guess it wasn't a problem.

Dad's ankle Screws

It was unfortunate that it was so rainy last week. We had planned to golf quite a bit while I was home. I only got to play 9. He did alright tho', I think he played at least 36.
He will be playing Wii Sports for awhile now. Give him about a month, then send your kids over to compete with him. I'm sure he would enjoy it.

In other news. Todd's daughter Claudia is playing in the State Finals in softball. Go Claudia!
Here is the story.

That's the news!

UPDATE: Claudia's Team Won. Here is the story

Shawn’s Tango 2008 Report

Let’s jump right into it. I met my team the night before the race. I already knew Jim, of course, though not exceedingly well, but well enough. Marty and Heather were brand new to me. It was nice to meet them both. I had heard a lot about them. We got our race packets and suffered through some echo-y pre-race stuff in the gym, then we headed home to Craig’s parents’ house to get some sleep.

The next morning, we assembled for the start. I looked at a few bikes hanging on cars, including a nice Tri-cross bike. Heather got ready and was trying to decide whether to wear her soft-shell or not and decided she would be warm shortly so took it off. Everyone lined up, Thad gave the prayer and shortly thereafter, the comically unexciting “Go.” Greg and I got in the car and headed up to the beach.

We arrived and got a nice spot near the transition area, and my dad pulled in next to us. Good plan as it turned out, since we would have to move one of those cars to the swim start. I got my bike all ready, loaded up my two water bottles, including my handlebar special, and did a few warm-up laps.

Runners soon started showing up. Already? Dang. 72 minutes for a half marathon. A few minutes later (or so it seemed to me), Heather showed up and I didn’t recognize her. I wasn’t sure it was her! She didn’t look at me and I didn’t hear her say her number, so I looked at a couple of other people to verify that it was in fact her. She was dressed differently, I swear, and she was sweaty and flushed, and I am not terribly good at recognizing women in the first place. Please bear with me, I barely knew her and had only met her the night before. It was in fact her so I took off on the bike.

The first…what, 6 miles of the bike course is uphill. Those of you who know me know that uphills are not my favorite thing, and a hill that rises hundreds of vertical feet in one straight shot is not up there with brown paper bags tied up with strings. I was passed by a fair number of people during this portion. Four of them pretty directly after crossing the bridge. I was actually gaining ground on a skinny young guy up until the turn up the hill, then he pulled away and I never saw him again. Oh, how I long for a flat bike course in some race. I slogged on for quite a while. Craig passed me near the top of the paved portion and I kept him in sight over a few humps on the dirt road but he eventually escaped from view.

From this point forward, I think I passed about as many people as passed me, which is helpful to my tender self-image. One of the guys who passed me up on the plateau was the guy on the Tri-cross bike I liked so much. Nice bike. Much lighter guy too. My favorite moment was when a guy passed me right near the top of the entire course, then we started down and I blew past him, never to see him again. Here is a guy who had to have made up numerous minutes on me over the last 45, and now, finally, when we stop going up, I can go fast enough that he can’t even catch me on the rolling hills to come. Maybe downhill biking is where I missed my calling. I am an inertial dynamo!

Coming down the last big dirt downhill, I passed the winning Tango co-ed team, and a few other people. The last couple of miles were on paved road, and I was doing pretty well there. Had a bit of back and forth with another guy, who ended up getting into the transition moments before me. As I come squealing in, I hear everyone from my support team yelling “Over here, over here.” I didn’t know where they had set up my transition, so I was somewhat surprised to see them where they were, and I turned the wheel to head that way. Instantly, the front wheel slips out and I crash to the ground, pretty hard. I heard a collective gasp from the entire assembled crowd, but immediately yelled “That’s just my normal dismount.” I got my feet unclipped, ran over to my towel and started getting my wetsuit ready.

Before I get too far, my teammate Jim says “We have some bad news.” My mind raced. What could be bad? I just did the last leg and I’m doing the next leg. There isn’t anything that could hang us up right now. He says “You know that safety canoe we paid for? It isn’t here.” I’m thinking okay, fine, what am I going to do about that? Just then, Thad, the race director comes over and says (to make a long story short, and a short transition longer) “I am going to let you swim, but you need to get across the lake first, then swim along the shore over there.” That’s cool. I can do that. It isn’t ideal, not the straight line I was hoping to take, but I’ll take whatever at this point since I don’t want to forfeit or wait until someone can go get a canoe and get back. So I finish putting my wetsuit on (thanks to Bart for mopping up the blood from my knee before I did that), grab my fins and webbed gloves and head down to the dock. I had never tried these gloves before this day, so it was going to be a fun experiment. I jumped in.

I swam toward the other shore at a reasonable angle, not directly, but trying to make it look like I was doing what Thad said. After getting over there, I hear someone yell “Hey!” right in my ear. I flip over and start doing the backstroke, seeing two guys on a jet ski right next to me. It is the aquatic safety director. “Where’s your safety canoe?” I stare at him for a moment during which he may have thought I was deaf. I then say “I talked to Thad about this” and proceeded to fill him in on the whole sordid tale, all the while trying to keep swimming. He says “You are a moving target out here. You could get killed! You didn’t even hear me coming right up next to you.” I replied “That’s true. I didn’t hear a thing!” He says “You gotta find a canoe. If you don’t, I’ll have to kick you out of the race.” I’m thinking that finding a safety canoe doesn’t seem likely. If I catch up to someone, they are obviously going too slow, and if someone catches me (unheard of, of course!) I won’t be able to keep up with them. Whatever, I’m gonna stay close to the shore just to try to appease him. So I swim on. Soon I come to a bit of a bay, and I have to decide whether to cross the bay directly or go the roundabout way following the shoreline. I say “Screw it, I need to keep moving here.” There were no boats over by the edge where I was anyway. So I went straight, risking a sanction. Next thing I know, here comes the jet ski again. What timing! I flip over to the backstroke, he looks down at me and says “You’re doing pretty well!” All I could say was thanks to that. He says “Where are you from?” I say “Oh, I grew up in Warren but I live in State College now” and other details of my current situation. He says it’s great that I am supporting this race and that I make the trip back every year for it. Yes, my friends, we had a conversation about urban flight, prodigal sons and global economics in the middle of this race. Eventually he says “Okay, just stay close to the shore here and I think you’ll be okay.” I was thankful that our safety director had had a change of heart, but I don’t know what inspired it. Whatever it was, he never approached me again and I was able to finish the swim uneventfully. As I approached the “turn” in the course, the point that sticks out before you can see the beach, I was gaining on several swimmers, one of whom turned out to be Matt. Wahoo! I’m making up time. I passed Matt a little before the beach and some other guy and a girl about at the same time. I arrive at the bikini-clad flag waver where you are supposed to exit the water (Nice touch, Tango), and I attempted to stand up. Not so easy. No blood there. I got to my feet and just stood still for a moment, then began a slow amble up to the transition box. I was dying. Those gloves had been much bigger than I had expected and had pumped my arms up considerably. No blood in the legs. I eventually got to the box and informed them that we were immediately beginning the orienteering leg.

Jim grabbed the map and I started to get undressed. Jim offered me a Gatorade, which I drank in seconds. More please. “Greg, go get my water bottle off my bike, please.” He did and I was ready to climb the mountain.

Considering the walk from the beach to the transition was difficult, it should be easily surmised that I was not ready to hike up the incline that we chose to climb for our initial ascent. My whole water bottle was empty before we made it to the top. I was still thirsty. I could tell I was already approaching dehydration. The first point was a little challenging, though we found it pretty readily after a slight veer off course. The next two points were a snap. Through all this, Jim was very pleasant and happy to let me go at my own lugubrious pace. The last point was where the trouble started. Well, assuming you don’t think it’s trouble to walk half the leg. We missed our last point several times and lost a good twenty minutes if not a half hour or more trying to find that one. What I learned was we need to pay more attention to how many steps we take and how those steps translate to distance. I think we didn’t care too much because all the other points were pretty much right where we expected them to be so we didn’t expect that we would need to be too accurate. Suffice it to say it would have been better to expect that. We came together in confusion with about 10 other racers and all decided to fan out in the same direction and within minutes someone saw the point. That moment was the only time in our orienteering leg when Jim couldn’t keep up with me. I plowed through the brush like a Bull Elephant in the jungles of India and Jim was getting tangled with his spindly legs and little mass. I waited at the point for him to catch up, and we then headed for the road and down the hill. We walked and jogged the rest of the way and made it to the transition with little fanfare, and Jim took off. Those spindly legs and little mass were about to pay off!

I headed for the canoe launch. It seemed like Jim was halfway there when we passed him. I got to the canoe and chatted with Marty (my canoe partner) for a moment, then he went to wait for Jim at the transition while I readied the boat. I was so thirsty. I put every bit of liquid I had left in my car into my igloo cooler, including a bottle of Gatorade and three of my daughter’s Capri-Suns. We got two double-ended paddles that Craig and Matt chose not to take, so that was cool, and I was still trying to get stuff figured out when Marty comes running down the hill. Jim was already there! He rocked the run.

Ah, heck, everything in the canoe and Bart pushed us out into the water. My goodness, was I thirsty…The Gatorate was not enough. Before long, I had to have more liquid. Those Capri suns were like the bald guy from Raiders of the Lost Ark, shriveling up in the face of the Holy Spirit. I felt like a giant vampire bat desiccating a victim in one desperate inhale. All three of them were gone in short order. I have to give some serious props to Marty who was a paddling machine during this part of the race. It was great to have him in the canoe with me. He did a good job of sighting obstacles and never stopped swinging that paddle the whole time.

That Igloo cooler came in handy a little later when we had to bail out a few inches of water from the canoe. I think we took on that water after walking through a section of river, then climbing back in. For some reason, our canoe was sitting pretty low in the water when Marty and I were in it. I wonder why that was? Anyway, I scooped out the water with the empty cooler and we were much lighter and moving on. That whole “sitting lower in the water” thing came back to haunt us a bit later. But before that, we came upon two beautiful women struggling to move their canoe forward. I had a bit of a giggle at Maija’s swimsuit, that rather ironically said “Fast” on the butt. Admittedly, that was certainly true on all her other legs, but it wasn’t holding up here. Marty and I diplomatically decided not to offer any paddling advice to avoid a wicked splashing or possible paddle to the head.

Shortly after that, the real excitement started. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. Just as we had Matt and Craig in our sights with some possibility of catching them, we entered the dreaded “Class II” rapids of the Allegheny River. Well, as it turned out, that massive tongue of untamed wilderness took our canoe under, and I mean completely under. It disappeared beneath the waves and our life jackets came up around our ears (still wearing them for safety!). My cooler, Marty’s wife’s Lexan water bottle and one paddle floated away. We had a few goofy attempts at getting the canoe flipped back over while remaining empty, but got it on the third try, I think. We hopped back in, refreshed from our dip in the refinery’s hydrological exhaust port. Craig and Matt had gained a bit on us during that episode, and it no longer looked like we could catch them before the end, but we decided to see if we could still post a good canoe split, so we paddled on vigorously. We recaptured all our floating debris except the water bottle. We saw our friends finish, still a couple minutes ahead of us but we kept up the good fight until we crossed the line.

Ah, it was over. I felt good. Nothing hurt too much, my performance was satisfying, considering I think I was the second heaviest guy in the race (after one biker), and I had done 4 of the 6 legs, which was 100 percent more than last year. Next year, I’m going for six.

Post race activities have been detailed elsewhere on this site, so I’ll refrain, other than saying Thank you to Jon and Joyce, Bart and Family, Greg O, Scotty, Tony and Judy, my Dad, Heather, Marty and Jim, and everyone else who made this day fun and functional.


My chiro adjusted me Friday, everything back in place. We talked about the knot in my shoulder. I asked about anti-inflammatory and pain meds and herbs. He told me, won't help much. That the problem is, at some point I over stressed the muscle there. I believe it was when I was in college, and I re-stressed playing softball in my late twenties. In my twenties I couldn't lift my elbow higher than my shoulder, which is the reason I originally went to a chiropractor. The muscle has Necrosis (death or lack of blood). What I feel or am experiencing is the live muscle around the dead muscle not enjoying being over worked.

Feels good today, future options would be heat, electro shockage, deep tissue message, or if it really starts to limit me, a big needle that shoots it up and dissolves it (short version). So, no joint problems, but the knot did get me a little twisted in the back and neck which he straightened out Friday.

What do you think Jim? Necrosis, sounds awful. When does my shoulder turn black? I might be one of those human interest stories, when they cut off my right arm because it is useless (good news is I lose some weight). Then I will be banned from competitive age group racing because the prosthetic arm Shawn designed for me gives me too much of an advantage, even on the Bike. He is amazing!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Jerry and Michelle's wedding day

Genine was up early, she had to go to with Michelle and Jen to have their hair done up. Jerry and I didn't have to do that obviously so he calls up and says he's got a free hour. It was absolutely gorgeous outside, so he says we should go for a bike ride.
At first I figured I should ride Michelle's hybrid so that we'd both be going the same speed. Then I remembered that Genine's bike has pedals that flip over to platforms. So we we adjust the seat height and Jerry is off and rolling on Genine's bike. I figure the best thing to do is to go back up Hatch Run again, this way he can get a direct comparison between the two rides.
We get to the top and of course have to stop to recover a bit. I then say now is the fun part, bombing back down the hill. I usually hit a max of about 39mph and spend much of the ride 28-32mph. But before we go he says, "I just have to make sure I don't crash and do a face plant onto the road." Ugh. This is true, we'd never hear the end of it if something like that happened before the wedding. So he takes it easy and I only bombed the first part of the hill. During which it sounded like a rock hit my helmet at one point. Better my helmet than my face! About 15 minutes later we are back at the house. I pull my helmet off and a disoriented hornet falls out!! Oh man! I'm so glad that sucker didn't go crazy on my head. We survived it, workout complete. Ceremony is in a few hours. More Later.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Kinzua Country Tango 2008 Results

Click on a picture to see it larger

Take it to the next level

I'm not sure if I mentioned that there was a deal to join "Genine's gym". It was a really good price, only I can't use the facility on Monday and Tuesday. That's their busy days.
You are probably wondering why I'd join another gym if I have a YMCA membership. Well the weight room at the Somerville YMCA is so uninspiring I have used it all of twice in 18+ months. It's just not a great facility, which is a shame.
On the other hand, being at the Warren PA, Y this week has been awesome. They have so much nice stuff in a very bright environment. They even have acoustic baffling in the Pool Area so it's not obnoxiously loud.
OK, back on topic. It was cheap enough that I joined the other gym for 2 years. I think that to take it to the next level, I need to put some time in at the weight room. Who better to get me started with this than Jerry!
I met Jerry at the Y Wednesday morning at about 9:30 and he put me through one of his workouts for the next 90 minutes or so. I definitely am not the perfect workout partner for him on leg day, because we'd have to unload a few hundred pounds off the machine as we switched off. It was not an all leg day though, so it worked out. He was able to give me some help with form on some of the machines which was good.
After lifting we hit the pool. I knocked out a quick workout and I figured it was time to head out. Nope. Michelle said "OK, let's see this Butterfly of yours". Oh man! So I flailed down the pool and then just swam back freestyle. She pointed out that I was not staying high enough in the water and that my arm recovery was basically removing all forward momentum as a result of that. She cruised down the pool a few times and I was able to see how it's supposed to work. Of course it's going to take some time for me to make that happen. But it was nice to see that once I get it, I'm not likely to lose it. (I don't think Michelle has attempted fly in quite some time and she still had it down)
Later that afternoon, Genine and Michelle went to the spin class. Jerry and I went on a ride up Hatch Run Road. Jerry was on his Mountain bike, with super knobby tires. I'm curious if he's interested in getting a road bike now. He was fairly certain he'd be able to keep up with me. It would be interesting to know how much more friction he was fighting compared to the road bike. 5x? 10x? Of course the other way to look at it, he was going to get a much harder workout out of the ride, right?
I think we are going to try to sneak to the weight room on Friday... (don't tell Michelle).
Shawn if you are in town in time you should join us. I think I saw kettlebells!

Trigger Point

My Chiropractor has officially given me a trigger point.

Dr. Clark: "How do you feel?"
Craig: "Fine, how do you feel?"
Dr. Clark: "I'm fine and you always feel fine, but why are you here to see me"
Craig: "A knot in my shoulder"
Dr. Clark: "Let's see, oh my. . . ., do you have full motion, oh. . . , that isn't good"
Craig: "It's tight but it has felt worse in the past"
Dr. Clark: "Breath, release, manipulate, small crick . . .Breath, release, manipulate, small crick . . . Yeah you are way too tight, do you have a little time today?"
Craig: "Sure"
Move to New Room, electro pads across my shoulder.
Assistant: "Do you feel pain at this setting (7)?"
Craig: "Define, pain"
Assistant: "Huh"
Craig: "I haven't got Novocaine for my last three fillings, so what you are doing only tingles"
Dr. Clark: "Turn it UP, Craig we are going to leave you alone, only hit the up arrow or down arrow, don't go over 20, but do what you can stand, I don't want to smell flesh burning"
Craig: "OK"

Setting 20 makes you thumb twitch uncontrollable, and your whole bicep involuntarily jumps about every 15 seconds. 9 volt battery on the tongue has nothing on this machine. Personally it feels just as tight this morning as yesterday, but I have another appointment to see him tomorrow. Doesn't really hurt. Hopefully it is well for Morgantown Sprint.

Pictures from Kinzua Country Tango 2008

Thanks to Greg and Scott for taking pictures during the event!

Here is the slideshow link
Here is the Sets Link

I'll get them labeled up later on.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I didn't even recognize you, man.

Chris Johnson said this to Matt at the Tango. Here is why.

Craig & Matt 07 Tango
From Matt's post earlier, Craig & Matt 08 Tango

I believe the reasons Matt started working out was to feel better, & look better. Despite any other improvements, I would say, "I didn't even recognize you, man".

I congratulate you on the change, you didn't look bad before, but as Billy Crystal would say "You Look Marvelous!"

Sorry Man, but I was looking at the old Tango pictures last night and couldn't help it.

Overall Tango Results

Warren Times Observer Version - Very difficult to read.

Tango Page
- Currently doesn't work, but this is the link once they get it up, I guess.

Ray Doolittle is the guy that passed me at the end of the bike that has comments here. I am giving him some praise, he was third place as a solo, he looks like he might know how to swim. He also gave a breakdown of the Mill Creek Adventure Race in a comment under my race report if anyone has interest. June 2009.

Times way faster than last year. The swim times especially. The average times for all the events up. I thought I saw 4 two person relay teams. The fastest one was 8:29. Then Matt & I, then KB2. Most teams had five or six.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Matt's Kinzua Country Tango Race Report

Friday AM. Pack up the car for a week off in Warren PA. Genine and our brother in law Scott headed out about 8:30 AM. It was probably a good thing that I was going to ride with Maija when she got out of work later in the day. We had so much stuff packed I wouldn’t have fit in with them without re-packing.
I probably should have gone back to sleep after they left but I had a To Do list that kept me busy most of the day. Who needs sleep anyhow?
Maija finished work, picked me up and off we go! Her GPS had us scheduled to arrive about 9:30-10 PM. Other than the typical NJ rush hour traffic, it was a pretty uneventful trip. I should have offered to drive the 2nd half of the trip…. Sorry about that Maija.
Once we got there, I had to get to work organizing my race stuff. That took awhile. Mixing up Gatorade, packing food options and deciding what clothes I’d need for each event. Then setting them up so I could find them easily once they were loaded in to our “Transition Area” AKA Craig’s car. I was up much later than I was hoping to be, as I said before. Who needs sleep anyhow?

Race Day:
We had planned to head to the race at 6:20-6:30. I woke up without an alarm at 5AM. UGH! 4.5 hours of sleep!! I wasn’t going to be able to fall back asleep, the nerves kind of kicked in already. It was raining out. We are talking major thunderstorm. I check out the weather online, looked like it was really isolated and would be cleared by the start. Whew! Now to psych myself up to race.

We headed down to the YMCA. So nice not to have to worry about leaving 2-3 hours early to get a parking spot. Also nice that it’s only 2 miles away.
I get there, find Craig and transfer all my Boxes of gear into his car.
Craig and Matt 2 man relay team!
GU product placement shot. Just in case they'd like to sponsor us.

13.1 mile run:
The first event is the half marathon, I had worn my Brooklyn Half Marathon T-Shirt on Friday just to remind me that I have completed this distance before. I also decided that I’d wear the Singlet we received from Dana Farber for the Leukemia fundraiser. Just trying to channel all the good energy I can.
Casey’s brother Joe lined up beside me and we talked a bit before the start. I asked what pace he was shooting for and he said 8-8:30 but he’d have to see how it goes because it’s a long day and you have to pace yourself. This was good news for me. I thought there was a chance that I’d be able to run with him the entire 13.1.
Next thing you know we are off and running. I’ll have to download the run info from my watch but I’m fairly certain we were faster than an 8 min mile pace for the first couple miles. I knew that wasn’t going to be a reality for me so I told Joe I was going to have to ease up and he said he’d ease up once he got into the hills. So I latched onto another group which seemed to be more of the pace I was thinking I should be running.
I’m guessing about 4-5 miles into the race someone runs up along side me and says “Wow, I hardly recognized you”. It was Chris and Heather. I had run with them back in December along with Jim and Marty. I’ve lost about 20 or so pounds since then. So that was a very nice morale boost mid run. So I ran with them for quite awhile, Jim and Marty drove up Hemlock and cheered for us as we passed them.
I’m guessing they dropped me once we hit the hill where the dirt road started. I don’t remember but I was right back in with Joe and another person doing the solo tango. They were talking about all sorts of stuff which really was taking my mind off of the running. Which was fantastic. The other guy was telling us how he’d only been at this for 5 years, before that he was one of those people that would sit around watching Nascar and Football. Then he decided to get healthy, so he got rid of his TV. At which point Joe says “Whoa Whoa, hang on here. I can do without Nascar but I’ve gotta watch the Steelers!”
It was very funny. By the way, I’m with you Joe, I’m not giving up on the NFL.
Another funny moment with these two guys was as we were approaching the dam. We were just getting into the really steep hill and I think this other guy was saying how he makes sure he never walks during a race. Well I think he was right in the middle of that statement and Joe and I both started walking up the hill. (Casey check with Joe on that for me). The other guy kept running and we were back up with him midway across the dam.
I’m starting to get the feeling that I’m in the home stretch and that a personal best was in reach. Of course I was also thinking that Maija would be tagging Genine any time now and Genine would be biking. Craig would be staring at the bridge waiting to see my orange jersey hoping I wouldn’t be too far behind.
As it turned out. Maija finished up 15 minutes ahead of me, Shawn’s teammate Heather finished 3 minutes ahead of me and I hit my goal of a 1:50:00 half marathon on a pretty tough course. Craig goes tearing off on his bike. I know he’s going to hit his estimated time this year. Last year was a mess for him so I know he’s determined.
I spot Maija and I ask how she did. She said she was the first woman to finish the run. Wahoo!! We are both pleased with the first event but now we’ve got to drive over to the other side of the reservoir to get to the swim start.

Matt and Maija after the 13.1 mile run

Waiting for Craig to Mtn. Bike 20 miles, as I prepare to Swim:
We get to the parking lot and I’m feeling like I don’t want to swim anytime soon. We have some time. So we go looking for our support canoe teams. Scott and Jerry are there for Maija but I’m not seeing Craig’s mom anywhere. There is still time. Get into the wetsuit, take another stroll around to find them and along the way I run into Jim. He’s telling me that Shawn is going to have to go without a support canoe because there was a mixup. Ugh! So I run down to the docks to see if I can find my crew and maybe they could help them out somehow. They are there. I hand them my Gatorade and food to put into the canoe and I head back up to the transition. Next thing I know, Craig is rolling into the lot!! He has passed both Shawn and Genine and we are first among our friends!!
I jog down to the water. Put on my fins and away we go.
Craig finished the bike in 1:23:00

2.5 mile swim:
I try to maintain a very slight kick with as I start out. My legs are plenty tight from the run but I’m hoping they will hold out for me. I know that I need them to stay close to Shawn and Maija. Well hope wasn’t enough. I had to bail out on the kick, then even with them just being on my feet I was so close to a calf cramp. I flipped onto my back a couple times and just kicked to try and work it out but when I was going to do this a 3rd time, I decided they were of no help to me in my current situation. So I handed them up to the canoe and went kickless for the next 60+ minutes. The cool thing about doing this is you use so much less oxygen. I was able to start breathing every 4 with a 2 mixed in here and there depending on wakes from passing boats. I’m guessing about an hour in, my stomach was telling me I was hungry. I didn’t want to stop. I was more afraid of what something new in my stomach would do, than I was afraid of bonking.
Towards the end of the swim I started to see other swimmers near me and I was being passed. Ah well, you do what you can. When I finally reached the Beach, you are supposed to run up to the top of the hill to the transition area. Which would stop your swim time. Well as soon as I stood up, my quads let me know that they although they just enjoyed the break during the swim, they were still unhappy that I made them run 13 miles this morning. So I had to work through that a bit before heading up the hill. I wonder how much time I added to my result because of this?
Time 1:32:00
Maija and Shawn both passed me during the swim. The girls were back in 1st place and we were back into 3rd among friends.

(Here is a picture of Maija going up the hill I’m speaking of to the transition tent, Genine is running down to meet her)

Orienteering 7 miles:
We were handed out maps as soon as I hit the box from my swim. So our orienteering time will also include my changing out of my wetsuit and getting into my running gear. Not sure why they did that but whatever, it only changes the split result and we weren’t going to break any records.
Last year Orienteering was my first event and we ran up the highway 3 miles first thing then ran the course backwards. Craig had already done the bike last year. This is a late apology to you Craig and a thank you for not making me run up the road to start the orienteering this year. I can’t imagine how slow I would have been.
This year we hiked up the front of the hill looking for point 4 on the map. Instead we found Shawn and Jim. Guess we are in agreement as to which direction we should be going. I was walking. Well we didn’t do a great job at finding that point but looking back I think I learned something for next year. We should have counted how many “steps” or flat areas we needed to climb in order to reach the right elevation. We lost time because we were searching the wrong “level”.
Now that we were on the flat, we tried to pick it up to a jog through the woods. I had a stitch on my right side where I’ve never had one before. So there was quite a bit of jog/walk/jog/walk going on as I tried to work through it. Craig got us to the next point and as we check in the people at the point inform us that the girls team was very pleased that they were there before us. Nice.
Now that we are on the road, it would be nice if I could actually run but I was still in walk/jog mode. We found the next point in good time. This time when when we say our number I’m told that my wife’s team is kicking our butt, or something to that effect. The whole crew there got a laugh at us there….. Very nice.
One more point to go. Finally I am jogging and not having to walk and we’ve got a good trail to follow. We get to the spot where we think the point should be and we see nothing. I mention that they said something about points not being manned and there just being a clip board and Craig says he thinks he may have seen something back a bit. I feel like we lost about 10 minutes looking for this point. Then once we found it of course we were razzed by the crew because Genine and Maija are long gone.
We head back up to the trail because it looks like there is nice trail to get us back to the road. We run into Shawn and Jim, oh man, if they find this next point quickly we are going to be in trouble. Fortunately for us, they found it just as difficult. Again I think I’ve learned a bit from that point. Craig has been spot on for distance and location all day. All we had to do was pick the distance we thought was right and then get off the trail and start looking. We were stuck to that path for some reason.
Anyhow. We then trekked our way across some tough stuff over to the highway and ran back down to the beach. Yes I believe I was finally running although I’ll admit the downhill was helpful.
Our time was 1:44:00. Last year we did 1:43:00. Uh Oh!
Seriously that T3 should have been at least 4 minutes!! We improved!! Really!!
Anyhow. We are now in 2nd place among our friends.

4.5 mile Run:
Craig took off on the run. While I went to get our Transition vehicle. I run into Greg and he tells me Maija hopped a ride with Bart down to the Canoe Launch because there was nobody there to drive her down. Well it’s cool that Maija is down there but now the Jetta is going to be left at the beach? Greg says he will help figure out how to get it back into town and I hop into Craig’s car and drive down to the boat launch.
As I’m driving along I’m watching for Genine, how much of a lead do they have now?? They have just “won” 2 events in a row!!
I finally see Genine. She has been dreading this run all week, she is walking. Hmmm do I feel badly for her or celebrate? Ha ha! I roll down the window and yell “GO GO GO, you must have a 20 minute lead on us!!” I’m not sure how much of this she actually heard but she started to run again. I did the right thing here right?
I get to the boat launch and I see Scott and Jerry. I ask if where Maija is. They say they haven’t seen her. Uh oh!
My brain wasn’t working well, I should have asked if they’ve seen Bart who supposedly brought her down here instead I park the car do a quick look around and Scott goes driving back up to the beach to look for her.
When I walk down to the water, there’s Maija waiting for Genine beside the canoe. All is well. Other than the fact Scott is now on a Snipe hunt at the beach. While we are waiting at the canoes there are a few photographers and news writers. They get the story about how Maija and Genine have a good shot at beating both of the guys teams. After chatting a bit, I had to go get the stuff for our canoe. While I was gone Genine had finished the run and as I’m walking down the hill I see them paddling away. I yell to them but they can’t figure who it is. I watch them fade into the distance as I wait for Craig. He finishes the run in 0:46:00

Canoe 8 miles:
Well this is it, we are still in 2nd place among friends and about 19 minutes behind Genine and Maija. We have no clue how far along Jim is into his 4.5 mile run. That’s probably a good thing for us. Look ahead not behind.
We aren’t far into the canoe when we get into some tough wind. I’m hoping that it’s not going to be like this the entire time. It would make for a very tough trip downstream.
I don’t claim to be a great oarsman, I just tried to keep the power on as long as I could. Finally we spot Genine and Maija. It was another 20 minutes before we caught up to them though. When they spotted us, I gave a WAHOO!!! And I saw them double their efforts. Craig had been watching and had pointers to pass along once we were along side. Then finally we moved along. Once we were a bit ahead, Craig then asked if I was willing to take some advice as well. Ha ha. Well I understood what it was that I was doing wrong, I’m not sure I was able to correct it. I think fatigue was playing a large part.
Anyhow, we navigated quite well. We only had to get out under the bridge just before the refinery. The people on the bridge were telling us to go the other way but I knew the side I was on. If we had to get out, it would only be for a very short distance. I wasn’t sure of the other side. I’ll have to try it in a non-race situation to find out about that other direction. The other good thing was when we got to the rapids we knew how to handle it. Shawn and I were nearly swamped last year when we went through it. So I had my dad ask around about that section when the canoe races were in town last year. We got through quick and dry! Good thing too because Shawn and Marty were not far behind. Craig assured me they wouldn’t catch us. Craig checked his watch and was disappointed to see that a sub 9 hour race wasn’t going to happen. We were just going to miss.
We finished the canoe is 1:44:00 and our final time was 9:02:00.

Now I’m going insert a comment from Craig a month ago
“The math works out under 9 hours. 8:06 with great efforts by both of us.
Lets say under 10 hours we had a great day,
under 9 hours awesome day,
under 8.5 a urine sample may be in order,
and under 8 hours, "please step through the metal detector, we are sure the bionics will set it off."

I’m going say it was an awesome day. Who would have guessed our 3 teams would be so close? 23rd, 24th, 25th. Certainly not me. Genine and Maija walking off with hardware and cash is pretty cool too.

I also love the fact that Shawn has already asked if I’m ready to do the Complete Tango with him next summer. For the record, don’t ask when I’m still having trouble walking down stairs. Give it a day or 2. Ha ha!

Good Times! I’m sure I’ll be posting more later.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Mission Accomplished (well...almost) - Genine's Tango Race Report

Whew! What a day! Now that it’s over, I have to admit that I was very nervous going into this race. I didn’t feel that I had done nearly enough bike training on dirt/gravel road conditions and my left hip pain was preventing anything more than 3-3.5mile runs. Not good. I had very restless nights of sleep the week leading up to the race – even to the point of waking up with nightmares of being lost in the woods! Needless to say I made it thru.

I drove to Warren with Scotty on Friday, arriving around 3pm. It was nice to have a riding partner as Matt stayed in NJ to ride with Maija later in the afternoon. The afternoon went by quickly, even without being able to meet up with Craig at Rim Rock. I met Craig, Shawn, Jim and team at the pre-race meeting at 7pm. After the meeting I rode with Shawn, his brother Bart & wife Pam, and friend Greg to take one last look at the bike course prior to race day. Even though it made for a late night, I am glad that I joined them. It was reassuring to have it fresh in my mind for the next morning. I got back to my parent’s house after 10pm. Matt & Maija had just arrived. I was hoping to be in bed by 11pm, but then Craig came over to meet with Matt and of course I had to make our KB2 race shirts. (It’s not that I procrastinated with the shirts, it was too humid in NJ for the ink to dry properly….right.) I finally made it to bed around 1:00am after finishing the shirts and getting my race bags finalized for the morning.

My first alarm went off at 4:30am. I promptly drifted back to sleep, getting up at 4:59. 1 minute before my next alarm. I’m sure I was quite tired, but I think my nerves&adrenaline were already pumping. Got dressed, ate a little and then Matt, Maija and I were off to the Y for the 7am start. We cheered Matt, Maija and Heather as they started the 13.1mile run and then drove to Kinzua Beach to await their arrival and begin the bike. I got the beach and felt strangely alone without Matt there, but quickly set about getting my bike off the car rack and getting ready to ride. My front break was sticking a little on the right, but Shawn assured me that it would fine. I took a spin around the parking lot once more for a final test, put my helmet on and took my spot next to the transition box to wait for Maija. Thank you to Greg for keeping me company for those next 5-7minutes. It really helped keep my nerves in check. Here comes Maija! Tag, I’m it and off I go!

Over the bridge and I slowly climb up that first of many hills. I passed the guy who started right in front of me. 2 other guys passed me on the next hill, and then I seemed to be on my own out there for the next 20-25mins. I focused on keeping my cadence in the 80-85 range and not wiping out in the dirt & gravel. Let me just say now that I am not confident on these types of road conditions, but I was determined to do my best. I went much faster on the flat roads than on the downhills…go figure! Scott Angove passed me about half way thru (I think), exchanged encouragements and off he went. I continued on. By the time I finally reached the end of the dirt roads, by hands & arms were cramping from my deathgrip on the handlebars/brakes going down the muddy, rocky steep down hills. I turned on to the paved road (Thank God!) and there was Craig coming up from behind. We rode together long enough for him to tell me about Matt’s awesome run time and then he took off up the next uphill. It was around this time that I noticed a strange whistling/rubbing noise. I figured out it was my behind-the-seat bottle holder that had come loose on the rough roads and sid down my seat post so it was now rubbing on my back tire. Oh well! No time to stop for that. I felt good getting to the finish as I tagged Maija for the swim. I finished in 1:40. I wanted to do under 1:45, so I was happy. It was nice to have everyone there cheering as I came in. Then my hamstrings and gluts immediately began to cramp. I did some stretches. They were still rocks, but I changed my clothes & drove back to the beach to meet Maija for orienteering. Getting back to the beach, I got to chat a few minutes with my mom, Kryste, Ian, Jon & Joyce and Craig. In about 15 minutes, I spotted Maija’s pink swim cap in the water. After a quick transition, we had our maps & were headed up the hill into the woods to orienteer. Yikes! Would my nightmares come true?

No, they would not. Thanks to Craig’s awesome map reading lessons, this turned out to be one of our best legs of the race. If only I could have remembered how to use the compass! As we started up the hill behind the parking lot and into the woods, I spotted Chris Darling & his teammate in blue shirts. They seemed to be headed in the same direction as us, so that was encouraging. We soon came up behind them & said hello. They went to the left & down hill, but we followed our instincts and went to the left & up hill. Our goal was to find point 4 on the hill before moving on to points 1-3. It took us about 25-30 min, but we found it (hooray!) and then moved up to point 1. As we checked in at each point, we asked to see if team 3-4 (Matt&Craig) had been there yet. Nope…Wahoo! We found point 2 easily (still no team 3-4!) and excitedly moved along the trail to the final check point 3. Once again, the guys in blue were ahead of us on the trail we were following, when they veered off to the left. Maija & I weren’t convinced, but I decided to take a peek anyway. Sure enough, there was the final checkpoint for us. We headed down the hill over a lot of wet ferns & rocks –be careful! Checked in (STILL no team 3-4!) and ran out to the RimRock Road. After a few seconds of strategizing, we looked for an opening in the brush and scrambled down the slippery slope, over the embankment and hurdled the guide rail on to Rt59 to run back to the beach. Ok, let me be honest here…the run/walk back to the beach. Just think if we would have run the entire way back, we would have beat those boys by even more than 9 minutes! We finished in 1:35. Yeah!

While in the woods, my Gatorade was no longer quenching my thirst. It tasted like I was drinking salt water. I couldn’t stand it. Maija offered the plain water from her fuel belt. I drank both bottles and had to refill them for the 4.5 mile run, hoping that it would be enough to get me there. I rationed it out until I got to the canoe. The 4.5miles to the Big Bend boat launch were looong, lonely and painful. Pure torture. To quote our nephew, Ryan, “This challenge smells like poop!” My legs were heavy, my left hip was shooting pain into my lower back and my mouth was full of cotton balls. I began playing the games of running to the next road sign, then walk for 2 minutes, then run to the next bend in the road,etc. Matt passed me in the car heading to the boat launch and yelled “Go, Go, Go” out the window. (Thanks!) It was the first I had seen him since the 7am start! How I missed him! I began reciting my intensati affirmations in my head at about mile 3 to the end. I was able to get into a “groove” and made it to the boat launch in 50min. A runner, I am not. I was happy to get in the canoe with Maija to begin our last leg. That joy would be short lived.

Being the awesome partner that she is, Maija had the canoe well-stocked with water & snacks. I was sooo thirsty! I drank 3 bottles of water during the ride. Even though we had about a 10min lead on the boys, I knew it wouldn’t be long before they caught us in the canoe. Let’s just say that tired girl arms are no match for big, strong boy arms….not to mention our canoeing skills (or lack there of). For longest time, we were paddling next to 3 guys in a canoe who were hardly paddling and one was smoking. Tell me why we couldn’t get past them?? (We finally did) Maija kept a lookout behind us for the boys and soon we heard a loud, “WAHOOO!” It was Matt & Craig!! We dug in and paddled hard. We were not giving up easily, but they eventually passed us, as did Shawn & Marty. Those darn boys!! Despite all the cute dog sightings along the way, the canoe took FOREVER! It produced a whole new set of affirmations & mantras that we recited to keep us focused…..”macaroni salad, hamburgers with cheese, corn on the cob, cookies, brownies”. (Hey, whatever it takes, man!) After 2:12, we made it across the finish line welcomed by a crowd of adoring fans! We completed the entire race in 9hrs:16mins – enough to take home the first place award for female relay teams. There were only 2 all-female relays, but the other team had 5 women vs. the 2 of us. Go KB2!

Once again, we had an amazing day of fun competition with great friends who truly enjoy spurring one another on to success! We all kicked some butt out there! Congrats to everyone! A HUGE thank you to Maija for hanging with the “old lady” and being such an AMAZING partner!! You Rock! Thank you to all of our support crews, Scotty, Jerry, Mrs. Cerra & friend, Greg, Bart & the Vashaw family, mom&dad, Kryste&Ian. We couldn’t have made it thru the day without your transportation, rowing and cheering. And another big thank you to Jon & Joyce for hosting and preparing our post race feast. It was delicious…and trust me when I tell you it played a big role in our canoeing! :-)

To end this ridiculously long entry, let me share with you my….


10. Seeing 3 dead snakes on the Tango bike course (better dead than alive!)

9. Riding the Mooseman bike course on my hybrid bike.

8. Driving 6 hours from NJ to Warren while Scotty sleeps in the car.

7. Taking our bikes off of the car top rack – by myself.

6. Riding my bike down a muddy, rocky death trap of a hill in the Tango.

5. Wearing our KB2 shirts with Maija. Yeah boys!!

4. Getting to meet Greg! You made my day so much fun!

3. Sitting on the deck at Jon&Joyce’s cottage, visiting with good friends.

2. Eating my mom’s macaroni salad. Mmmm!

1. Getting a hug&kiss from Matt at the end of the race. Love you!

Preview of Tango Results

I just stopped by the YMCA and picked up a printed version of the results. They are working on posting them to the website now. Here is a preview.

13.1 Run:
Maija 1:35 15/42
Heather 1:47 22/42
Matt 1:50 26/42

20 mi Bike:
Craig 1:23 16/42
Shawn 1:31 27/42
Genine 1:40 36/42

2.5 mi Swim:
Maija 1:18 24/42
Shawn 1:20 26/42
Matt 1:32 37/42 (even with this terrible result, this was my favorite part of the whole day)

7 mile Orienteering:
Genine and Maija 1:35 12/42
Craig and Matt 1:44 14/42
Shawn and Jim 2:09 27/42

4.5 mile run:
Jim :33 13/42
Craig :46 37/42
Genine :50 39/42

Shawn & Marty 1:38 18/42
Craig & Matt 1:44 26/42
Genine & Maija 2:12 41/42

Final Results:
Craig and Matt: 9:02 23/42
Shawn, Jim, Heather, Marty 9:05 24/42
Genine and Maija: 9:16 25/42

Craig's Dance

Tango is complete! Great experience. I was much more relaxed about the race this year, but I came into with way too many stresses.

Williamsport trip for Grandma's funeral midweek, started late Friday, tried to stop at Tri/Bike shop in Pittsburgh totally blew getting out of there, missed date with Genine at Rim Rock, wanted to eat dinner with my parents and daughter took a while, almost missed pre-race meeting, went to grocery store ran into people from mom & dad's church that didn't know about my Grandma, spend tons of time talking to them, ran groceries up to house, Shawn & Greg get back from reconnaissance of bike course, ran down to Matt's to have face to face meet with him about race the next day, met Maija, the Johnson's drove me crazy with the smell of cookies cooking, went back to my parents, got a couple things put together for the morning and proceeded to not be able to fall a sleep. Wonder WHY!

Woke up before the alarm, but felt great. Shawn, Greg & I went down to Y to watch the runners start. I talked up Maija pretty good to some old friends I saw at the meeting, I did notice she stepped right to the front with her toe on the start line. My Runner moved to the back of the pack. It was like last year, Thad gave a prayer for the race & athletes, then a very uneventful, "GO". Matt looked good.

I went to the beach. I always think I will have more time to get myself ready. The first dude comes in from the 1/2 marathon. I actually thought, "thank god he wasn't my runner because I wouldn't have been ready". I wait. Talk to Greg, Mr Vashaw, Genine. We wait. I move away from the line to get Genine a compass, here comes Maija. Genine is off. The clock is ticking. 10 minutes later here comes Heather, Shawn is off. I start thinking okay, not more than ten minutes, it was maybe 4 mins here comes Matt. He is fired up which gets me fired up. I take off. I pounded it hard, passed Chris Johnson on the bridge, went by another dude at the turn up Jakes rock hill than proceeded to pick off about 5 others on the way up. Hit the last part of the hill and could see Shawn's large frame in front of me. Rode up next to him, exchanged pleasantries and off I went. Gravity is not Shawn's friend. I then proceeded to attack as hard as I could. I did get passed by two people on the first half. I just kept thinking "no flats, no flats". We were warned about gravel, but the mud is what bothered me. I don't care about getting dirty, but my tires were feeling heavy. Hit the big down hill and I really let it fly. I braked once around the sharp left hand turn. I then could see Genine getting ready to turn off the dirt onto the paved. Pulled up next to her, told her how good Matt did on the run, she told me how much more she likes blacktop, she hung with me until the next little hill. I don't think her seat did her any favors, but she rode very good for not really ever riding a course like this before. A guy came up behind me at the end, saw my Mooseman shirt and said "Are you the guy with the Mooseman Blog?", I said yes rather than explain how many people are on our blog. Very cool blog he said. I hammered hard home, with Matt waiting to start the swim. He took off like a shot. Genine and Shawn were not too far behind me. I was in, no flats, I think about 1:22.

Waiting for Matt for the orienteering was longer than expected. Maija came in first, I was still trying to help Genine figure out where to leave the parking lot, in retrospect I may have helped them too much, more on that in a moment. Shawn gets in, we can see Matt coming behind him. Matt gets in. Just like Shawn before him, a little disoriented (I more than understand why). We took a little time to get oriented. Ran up the hill to get #4 first. We ran right into Shawn & Jim, Shawn was not moving very quickly. Of course I was still checking Matt to make sure he was with me. It was steep, and Matt's legs were not ready to run. Spot #4 was tough to find, but Matt sighted and we were off to the next point. We get there. We were team 3-4, they mentioned 3-5 (Genine & Maija, KB2) was asking about us. The next spot, when we said 3-4, these young guys were, "Man your 3-4, 3-5, the girls are kicking your butt, they were here 20 minutes ago, they looked tough". The last mark, which was a pain to find, they gave us the same story. "You better move to catch the girls". Why did I help girls?

We (meaning I) choose a not so friendly "path" to get back to the hard road. Matt looked and felt better. We were cruising pretty good now. I think we came in 1:40's plus.

I started out on what may be the loneliest run I have ever did. I felt for Casey last year doing it with a hurt leg. I passed a guy on the bridge and never saw another soul in front or behind until I got to the dam. I missed the dirt path and ran the paved road the whole way, which Matt thinks may have lost me a couple minutes, probably just a minute. I think I was 42 mins for the 4.5 mile run. My mom and daughter were waiting with our canoe. The newspaper reporter even let us know that the girls were beating us.

We started out paddling hard, "catch the girls, catch the girls". Then the wind came right at us, Ughhh! We got to the left to stay out of it. We must have been 45 mins or so into the canoe and Matt says, hey is that canoe KB2, I think I can see the pink on Maija's suit. I say, no that can't be them that canoe isn't even straight in the river it is going side ways. It then went sideways the other way. They disappeared around a bend. Once we got to a longer spot in the river we could tell, "It is KB2". We knew at this point we were going to catch them. With their tenacity and if they could pick up canoeing as well as they picked up orienteering, I'm glad I didn't have time to give them proper lessons, because we would have been in trouble. They gave it a shot to hang with us, but as small as they are, the boat was hard for them to control in the wind.

We carried on to assure Shawn wouldn't catch us. About 2 miles from the end, I looked back and saw a canoe coming that looked a little like Shawn & Marty. I didn't want to believe they had caught us, but it was true they were coming. I have a record of never swamping a canoe unless it was on purpose. I can't say the same for Shawn. We made it through the rapids near the refinery, Shawn and Marty, not so. They filled it good. Which gave Matt & I, a little reprieve from the chase. We came in strong at about 9 hours 2 mins. Over an hour faster than last year. Shawn & Marty came in 9 hours 7 mins. I think Maija & Genine were about 9:20, but we need to wait for final results.

It was fun, tons of support from everyone. Shawn's brother, Shawn's dad, my mom and her friends, Jerry Johnson, Scotty, Johnson's, Greg, food was good at Carlson's cottage. Nice seeing everyone. We live to dance another day.

Warren Times Observer Tango Photos

Shawn Photo Canoe Thumbnails
Craig & Matt Canoe Thumbnails
Craig, Matt & KB2 Canoe Thumbnails
Shawn bike 1
Shawn Bike 2
Shawn Bike 3
Maija Run
Matt, Heather (Shawn's team), & friend Chris J (Heather's Boyfriend)
Kind of a where is Waldo (I see Shawn, Craig & Maija)
Another Waldo (Craig, Gregg & Shawn)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Kinzua Country Tango Complete!

I'll have a report and photos from the day posted soon. I just figured I'd better post something to let everyone know that we survived. We did better than survive, I think we met quite a few (most?) of our goals and had an awesome time doing it.

Maija is the first to post her race report. You can find it here.

I had been holding off signing up for any other races in the next month because I wasn't sure how I was going to feel after this one. That Brooklyn Half Marathon injury back in May is/was still in my mind. Well my quads are in need of some rest/repair but other than that, I'm ready to go.
I think a return trip to Morgantown for the Sprint, Splash 'n Spin is in the works (Aug 23). Genine isn't very interested in doing an open water triathlon. This one has a 330yd pool swim. It's the perfect course for her first complete triathlon. It would also be my first "repeat race". I raced this event last year as my first ever triathlon. It would be fun to compare results.
Of course it's also a good excuse to go and visit Craig's family again. :-)