Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Weekend in NH

Because we missed Timberman weekend, we had a 4 day weekend that we needed to reschedule. My brother was going to be up at the farm in NH, so we decided that was the place to go.
We arrived Friday afternoon, on the way to the house we stopped at a farm stand and picked up some corn and tomatoes. Then stopped at the grocery store for avocados (yup more guacamole) they also had 2 six packs of Long Trail IPA. My brother loves this stuff and can never find it, so into the cart they went. Then up to the house to to make some dinner.
That evening we connected up with my dad back in Pennsylvania using the video chat. My brother’s older son Ryan was there visiting him so this was a nice opportunity to use that feature. Ryan found the whole thing to be very fun, mostly because of the video “special effects”.

This 2nd one reminds me of Pete Townshend.

Saturday morning I was going to run 8 miles. I had to get this done in the morning because it’s headed into the upper 80s-90s. I slept in later than I’d planned. That’s easy to do there. At night if you don’t have fans on, it’s dead quiet and so dark you can’t see your hand in front of your face. (Those who have stayed here can verify that). Which was awesome in terms of catching up on sleep but my route was only about 30% shaded. I then ate more breakfast than I should have... I couldn’t wait any longer, I had to get out running. (Around 9AM)
I ran from the house, which is on a hill but the majority of the run was flat. The first mile or so was rough but eventually I settled into something that felt good. I feel that because of my back issues, lack of flexibility and the number of run miles I’m getting in, that I’m really tuned in to my foot strike and stride. I’m not saying I know what I need to do for maximum speed and efficiency. I just know when something is out of place and is likely to cause injury if I’d continue to run on it that way. Fortunately, I’ve been in a good zone lately and I’ve been able to keep everything in check.
Because I wasn’t sure of the heat, I ran with my fuel belt and 4 bottles of Gatorade. It was totally unnecessary but I’m glad I tried it. Running with the 2 bottles on the back of the belt is fine. The 2 up front are great if it’s an unsupported race and you need the extra volume but it’s odd how much heavier I feel with the 2 front bottles. I hardly drank anything while I was out there, then as soon as I was done I chugged everything I had on me. I need to start working on my “in run” hydration.
The afternoon was spent at the beach. Another amazing day, it’s really nice to have no agenda other than run, then relax.

Sunday was the big run day. Again it was going to get hot and I wanted to start early but it didn’t happen. The sleeping was just too awesome. I made sure to make breakfast a bit lighter and to give myself a bit more time before starting my run. My run was a big portion of the NH Marathon course, just not starting at the beginning. I took 2 bottles in my fuel belt and I took an extra pair of socks with me in the front holders. I’m still trying to find the right combination of shoes and socks.
Genine was my support crew. I ran around the lake counter clockwise and she biked it clockwise. I figured she would meet up with me at just about the right intervals to refill from the bike bottles. I was going to try to be much more regular about taking in fluid. Sure enough somewhere between my 5-6th mile we met. I reloaded the bottles and we both kept on rolling. I wasn’t sure exactly when our next crossing would be but I was hoping somewhere along the final third. This run was going much better than my run along the canal path. It seemed that anyone that wanted to get a workout in knew to be out early before it got too hot. So there were quite a few cyclists and other runners out there. Oddly enough, I only saw one other biker or runner going the direction I was travelling. He started further out ahead and just ran away from me.

Once I reached the north part of the lake, about 8-9 miles in? The incline of the hills became a challenge. Going uphill isn’t such a big deal they just slow you down. The steep downhills on the other hand, I kept wondering if I should be walking. I didn’t have the turnover to manage that steep of a slope.

Then Genine found me on her 2nd lap.

At this point, I figured I could use the company and it would also be nice to have access to fluids easily. So she zipped around but was probably never more than 5 minutes away. This worked out well. The west side of the lake has a few good hills to get through before it flattens out near the ledges.
When I got to the ledges a runner was headed towards me and he said, I thought I might see you again. I had seen him on the opposite side of the lake. I guess he was doing the same run in reverse.

This is probably around mile 13-14.
The same thought entered my mind this week as last week while running along the canal. I kept thinking that just jumping into the water sounded like a much better idea than running the last 3 or so miles. Fortunately, this week I knew it wouldn't be long until I'd get to jump in. I finished the 16.3ish miles in 2:32:xx. I have a bunch of thoughts regarding the run and the training plan but I can't seem to find the time to type up everything I'm thinking. I'll try to write another post tomorrow.

Monday, August 30, 2010

17 miler??

What is the update Matt? How did it go?

I got 45 miles in last week. I ran my 18 miler over a week ago and have a 20 miler scheduled for this Saturday.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Week 8

Yep it's been 8 weeks of Marathon training. I don't think I've completed the total mileage for any of the first 7 weeks. I'm trying to change that. Last night we got home after 9 and I had a 4 mile run to do... I got out the door at 10. The first mile was really ugly but I got the run in.
8 miles this Saturday. 17 on Sunday. Sunday will be challenging, I'm hoping to come out of it with a gain in confidence at the very least.
I do keep in mind that I've chosen a very tough training schedule for my first marathon. So I don't beat myself up too much for missing a few miles here and there. I'm sure I'll come away from this with a few lessons learned.
So far I've learned that my hamstrings seem to be having the toughest time with this schedule. I keep working on stretching the out all day long but it's not enough. I think it's time to start going for massage and find out how much of an impact that has on them. I just have to find the time to do that.
Looks like a great weekend of weather in the Northeast. Have fun everyone!

Monday, August 23, 2010

I can't escape timberman

I worked at our Studio in northern NJ today. On my way home I hit very heavy traffic on I 287 and was in stop and go for about 30-40 minutes. The whole time, I'm following racer #124 from Timberman. Just to the right of them is likely a couple other racers, just a guess seeing how they had a Cervelo tri bike on their car. I almost rolled down the window to ask how they did but we never got to that complete stop side by side to allow that to happen.
I thought it was a funny situation. One last jab at me for missing the race.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Run, Nap, Party, Sleep, Run, walk...

This past week was a big week of running for me. 40 on the schedule. As always there were some obstacles.
Tuesday morning run 4 miles. This was done at the track the track workouts are still a nice variation to the schedule.
Wednesday 8 miles, unfortunately a project at work kept me an hour later than normal, then there were problems with the trains so that pushed me about another 90 minutes later. I got home a little after 9PM. I was wanting to get the run done but I really hadn't eaten well enough to convince myself that was a good idea. So Wednesday's 8 miles didn't happen.
Thursday 4 miler. Only I decided I wanted to get my 8 in, so I ran 8 instead. Iced my knees and heel after my run.
Friday another long day at work.
Saturday 7AM we meet up to run at the High Bridge rail trail. I've got an 8 mile pace run scheduled. I hang with the group for about half a mile then turn it up to an 8:20 min/mile. Or something like that. This trail has mile markers and I'm noticing that since I've moved my foot pod to my new shoes it's not giving me accurate distances. It's falling short. Not a big deal, I decide that I'm going to keep my HR under 170 and use that as my metric. I'll figure out my average pace from my stopwatch at the end of the run.
One really odd thing that happened shortly after I upped the pace. The top of my left foot gave me a few zaps of really sharp pains. I stopped to make sure everything was stretched out and moving properly. It seemed alright so I kept going and it wasn't a problem again.
I finished my 8 miles in 1:04:50 it felt like a good run. I then took the time to do a bunch of stretching. Next stop, breakfast at Gronsky's, I was ready to eat.
After that I fell asleep on the couch for a bit. Then we had to get ready to head to Asbury Park for a wedding.

I know. So odd to see pictures of us without spandex or sunglasses on.

I knew I had a 16 mile run scheduled the next day and Genine had to go into work. So we planned on going easy on the partying. Which was going quite well until I walked past the bar just when he had set out a pitcher of Sangria... The pitcher came with me to our table and the bartender kept watch on our table and would send another over as soon as it was empty.
The party rolled on until about 1AM we got home around 2. I would have guessed I'd sleep until noon on Sunday but was up at 8:30. I was feeling surprisingly well all things considered, maybe this 16 miler is going to happen after all.
I got my gatorade into my Fuel Belt and had an extra bike bottle for refills. I decided I'd run the canal path figuring the dirt trail was going to be easier on my feet/knees. I ran North 3 miles and then back to the car. 6 down, it's humid and I'm already drenched. It's raining on me occasionally which sounds like it would be nice but it's not helping. Refill the belt bottles and head south for 5 miles. The sky looks a bit more threatening than it did an hour ago. Which I guess kept people from running and biking this trail today. Which is really making this run boring. I was trying to keep my HR under 160 but my legs kept falling into a pace that would have me at about 162. Not a big deal, just odd that I can't seem to make myself slow down.
As I'm closing in on 11 miles (my turn around). There is someone running towards me. Should I turn around now and ask if he minds if I run with him? Nah, get to the 11 mile mark that way I'm done when I get back to the car. Big mistake.
I turn around at mile 11, I'm kind of low on gatorade, with no chance at a refill. Bad planning on my part. Then I get to 13.1 mile and I think. There it is, my Half Marathon for Timberman day. And I lose all motivation to continue running. Cardio and legs are good. I just think the lack of sleep and the fact that I've been out here alone for the last 2+ hours had caught up with me. Well there are no short cuts to getting back to my car. It's still 3 miles away. I keep thinking that I really don't want to walk it, that will take much longer, obviously. But guess what, I walked it in. 3 miles, weird, once I'd walked far enough that my HR was in recovery/rest it seemed like a bad idea to start running again. The amazing thing is other than the people at the bridge on the main road fishing. Nobody passed me in either direction as I walked 3 miles. As I said, it was a boring day out on the trail today.
I'm still pleased with how things are going with the running. At times as I was walking I was thinking that I'm really not improving my mental toughness today. I think it's easier to be mentally tough when you actually set yourself up properly to perform something like this. Meaning good sleep and good nutrition. So I'm not going to beat myself up over this one. I had told Genine that if I got 10 miles in today it would be good enough. So there you have it.
Now if only there was a pitcher of sangria in the fridge at home...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Kinzua Country Tango 2010 Results

Their website seems to be down this morning. Here are the 2010 Results.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Excel old Tango Results

Everyone is waiting on the results from the Kinzua Country Tango. I'm not sure what the hold up is but because it seems to happen every year, I've decided to put together a spreadsheet with results from previous years. I almost never use excel, so I thought it would be a good project to learn the program better. It's going well, if I had someone read me numbers I could be done with last year's results already. I'll post up my work here and on the facebook page when I'm done. I'll see if I can get it onto a shared google document as well, that way you don't have to have excel on your computer to check out all the results in various methods of sorting.
I would say that this whole project is good because I will learn the program better but I'm realizing it's another one of those programs that unless you use it often, you will never remember how you did everything. At least I'll know that it's possible.
If the 2010 results aren't out by the time I finish this. I'll definitely find out if my spreadsheet would help move things along.

Our last two trips to the pool have been short 45 minute efforts. My 10x100 the other day went better than expected. Tonight I wanted to give my legs a break so I did a bunch of pulling with hand paddles.
Running is going well. It was pretty dark at the track at 5:30 this morning but it improved quickly. I hope I don't end up regretting doing these "track workouts", they are supposed to be short easy run days. I'm enjoying the change of pace so I'm going to keep with it until it feels like it's too much.
I'm not sure I've been on my bike yet this month. Kind of a bummer but it will be fun to see the results of all this running. I've got to lock in a couple run events soon. More on that later.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Timberman #1031 DNS

I'd be lying if I said Timberman wasn't on my mind this weekend. This would have been vacation/travel week.
I didn't take my $75 rebate by pulling my name out back on June 30th. I kept wondering if I would change my mind, or find some way to actually get up there in time to do this race. As it turns out, I'm fine with not racing next weekend. My bike and swim mileage was better when I was training for my Olympic distance races back in May/June. Sure, if I knew I was going to Timberman, I would have made sure I put the time in but it's just been an odd summer of training for both Genine and I. I'm definitely not in race mode.
All the 90 degree days certainly didn't help. Yes, perhaps it would have been excellent heat training... If I were going to Kona, I would be thinking this has been the perfect summer. (by the way, last year was all rain and I'm sure I complained that I never got to test out training in the heat with salt tabs to try and manage the cramping on long events.)
Also because of the heat, I bailed on an abs challenge online. It was just too hot in the house to do 15-20 minutes of core. The problem wasn't the workout, it was that I then had to try and cool down and then get a shower before going to bed because I'd be soaked. That 15-20 minutes turned into an hour.
Also I think the pool crowd grew as a result of the high temps. People took the family over to escape the heat. There were a couple times that we went to the pool and there were people just bobbing down the lap lanes. All of them. I wonder if that was part of the reason for the new signs at the end of the lanes indicating classes, lap lane or family swim.
Anyhow, one thing is certain. Having a "goal race" in mind seems to be key to my focus. Which brings me to, marathon training.

As I mentioned in my previous post, my back revolted a bit last weekend, the result. I missed my 14 miler last Sunday and my 3s on Tuesday and Thursday. I did the 7 miler on Wednesday. My back seems better but my left hamstring and glute issue has returned. I will probably schedule a massage this week and if that doesn't help. I'll go to a chiropractor I haven't been to in awhile because it's not convenient, he's not cheap but he's really good when he's focused.
I ran my 7 mile pace run Saturday, (pace being 8:20). It was an odd run. The first 4 miles felt like it was harder than it should be to hold 8:20. Then the last 3, it was hard to slow myself to 8:20. I'll admit I spent some time thinking about Jim's half marathon last weekend. He knocked that out on a 7 min/mile pace. I haven't even come close to that on the 3-5 mile races I've done this year. Awesome.
I ran my 10 miles easy on a flat trail today. I had hoped to run it on hills but I took it easy because of the hamstring. It went well, although I am now running into chaffing issues and blisters. My zoot tri-shorts are off the list for running. Next up the 2xu, also I plan on ordering a variety of running socks and trying out this vaseline on my toes thing. I'm also back to the night splint for my left heel.
I know, it sounds like a whole mess of problems, hopefully it sounds worse than it is. Because if I'm going to miss the marathon, I want to know right now. The training schedule starts to get tough starting this week, this week is a 40 miler. I can safely say I've never run that many miles in a week before. I'm ready for it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Matt's 2010 Tango Race Report.

You couldn't have asked for better weather the day of the race. We woke up to temperatures in the high 50's I think. The fog didn't burn off until most of the runners were past the 9 mile mark of the 13.1. It then became a beautiful clear day and the temperature at 2PM was still only 77 degrees. If only you could have these conditions for every race.

6:30AM I caught up with Jim, he was feeling confident about his ability to run well this morning. The only issue was hydration. There are no water stops and you aren't supposed to hand anything off to supporters during the run. (although I did see at least one person ditch some gear to supporters at the dam). I had offered him the use of our fuel belts but he hadn't run with them before and he didn't want something new to deal with on race day. So he decided to go without… Until the last minute. Once they called the racers to the line he decided to take just one of the 8 oz bottles with him. Probably a good call. It's really hard to know whether you've nailed your morning nutrition/hydration until you are out there running.
A few minutes later they are off (6:59:21). I snap a bunch of pictures at the start then jump into Jim's car and drive along the race course snapping a few pictures out the window along the way. As I was driving up Hemlock, there were a number of people running up the right lane of the road. I was just trailing behind waiting for them to create space for me to get by. They never did, they were rocking out to their iPods, they never knew I was there until I was passing them on their left. Not a very safe situation.
I eventually got ahead of all the runners and parked along side the road. I hopped out to take some more photos. I'm guessing we are 4 miles in at this point. Watching the runners approach, it's actually a bit unfair to judge them by their efforts at this stage of the game. For some this is their only event, others it's the first of six.
I'll admit that I was curious how the Maija vs Jim race was going to go. I spotted Maija leading a group of 5 runners. I started to take some pictures . I got everyone in the group. As I was lowering the camera wondering where Jim was, I realized he was at the back of that group. He looked over and he knew what I was thinking. He just smiled and nodded, he was right where he wanted to be.
I stayed a bit longer but eventually decided I wanted to be at the dam in time to see them cross. I wasn't sure how much time I'd have so got back in the car and drove around to the other side of the river and up to the dam. This would be mile 9 for the runners. There were quite a few people there waiting to cheer on their relay team runners. As soon as their person ran by, the groups would quickly load up in their cars and head down to the beach for the run finish & bike start. I was waiting to see Maija and Jim. Or would it be Jim and Maija? I didn't have to wait too long to find out. At about 8:03 Jim had reached the 9 mile mark. Maija was about 1:45 behind him. It was now my turn to run to the car and head to the beach. The fog was thick at the dam but the sun was already shining through as we approached the beach.
I parked the car and went looking for Genine and Adam to let them know their runners were approaching on time. I went back to taking pictures. It was a good distraction from being nervous about my event. There were some nice upgrades at the first transition this year. They were getting the numbers from the runner as they turned into the park, and radio it ahead to the finish, then they would call out the number for the relay biker to get ready. Also they had roped off a chute for the runners and bikers. This helped keep the spectators out of the way. Also because there was no parking in that level people had setup chairs and such to kick back and enjoy the race.
It wasn't long before Jim came running in (8:31:21). He was running hard, definitely in an every second counts mode. Adam took off and I set my stopwatch to make sure I was over at Elija Boat Launch (the swim start) ready to go in about 50 minutes. Maija wasn't far behind (8:36:19) and Genine was off on her ride.
I check with everyone to let them know I'm headed to Elija for the swim start. Everyone piles into vehicles and we are off. The bike route starts with a 2 mile climb, I catch up to Genine pull up along side and cheer for her, then moved out of the way. It's not exactly the best time to chat.

I get to the swim start and find Craig's mom. She's my safety kayak for the swim. I had a few things I wanted her to have in the boat. An extra pair of goggles, a GU and some gatorade. It's unlikely that I'll need any of it but it doesn't hurt to have it just in case.
I'm using my sleeveless wetsuit top, so I applied a ton of body glide where my arms contact my chest. Because it's such a cool morning, standing around in the wetsuit wasn't a problem. By the time I was suited up I shouldn't be waiting long anyhow. So I positioned myself over near the transition box. They improved this area a bit but we still watched bikers race through the box and into the spectators. There really needs to be a dismount line so bikers come to a stop right before the box. I'm talking to the other swimmers waiting to start. At least two of them are saying they are going to swim the 2.5 miles in under 50 minutes, one even said he'd be under 45 minutes. Yikes! Here I'm thinking 65 to 70 minutes is likely for me. Ah well, I've got to have my running legs for the orienteering. Hopefully I'll make up for the lost time there. They call my number to let me know Adam was on the way in. We make the tag and I am off. Run down 2 flights of stairs across a parking lot, someone says I'm probably the 5th relay team into the water as I run by out onto the dock, then sit down, put on fins, hand paddles, slide off of the dock. And realize that I didn't pull my goggles over my eyes. Doh! Pull hand paddles aside, put goggles into place, hand paddles back into place and go!
I'm cruising along for less than 5 minutes when I realize my HR is out of hand. Whether it's from the thrill of the start or from swimming at too quick of a pace I don't know. I decide I'd better just flip over to my back, kick with the fins for a bit and then start my distance swim pace again. That worked. Now it's just a matter of holding that for the next 60 minutes. Last year any time I'd lift my head up out of the water, Judy would tell me how many people I've passed. This year starting in 5th place I knew any news I'd be getting would be about people passing me. So I figured I wasn't going to look for others and I wasn't going to ask. I'll get there soon enough.
There was a bit more chop in the water the final half of the swim. Not a big deal. Swimming in a pack of people during a triathlon is more difficult than what this was. Overall I was pretty zoned out during the swim. As I rounded the final turn to the beach I wondered how long I've been swimming. It really didn't feel much longer than 45 minutes, I just hoped I was still on track. I didn't kick as much this year knowing that I had to run soon. When I reached the beach, I didn't see a buoy or anything that I was supposed to swim past. I just got to the concrete and worked at getting my fins off. Unlike previous years it seemed that I was being spared the massive leg cramps. I look at my watch, if I hurry up the hill to the transition box I should finish in about 70 minutes. Not awesome but it's what I expected. (I think 5 people passed me)

I run up to the transition box. We get our orienteering maps, we step to the side and I ask Todd to just dump everything out of my transition bag. I get my shoes on and grab everything else. GU, Cliff Bar, compass and fuel belt. Then Jerry and I run into the woods. There were 2 points that were going to give me trouble. We walked along a line that we thought might get us to point 1 but I really didn't have a good reference point. So rather than just wandering. I suggested that we pick it up on the way back as we were going to have to go this way to get back quickly. So we run to the top to check in at points 3, 4 and 5. Then we have to descend into Campbell Run to find point 2. This is where wearing running shoes was not a good choice. There were times I was really concerned for my ankles. Prior to race day, I had joked that if I were so tired from the swim that I couldn't run, that Jerry would have to carry me. Well down in this ravine, I was thinking if I broke my ankle Jerry just might have to carry me out after all.
Once we got to the point in the ravine we had to decide how to get that first point again. If we hiked around at our current elevation we should pass point one, but I was going to be without reference points and it was slow going. So we made the climb back up to the base of rim rock. It was crazy steep. If you slipped on the leaves you'd probably slide 10-15 feet backwards. You held onto every tree you could. Once we got to the top we picked our angle to the point from there and went straight at it. There were more people in the woods now, which made it easier. I'm guessing there were 6 other people in the area at the time. We check in at the last point, now to run back to the beach. We made good time going downhill, it was nice to be running, we hadn't done much of that. We tag Marty and he's off running the 4.5 miles.

We finished the orienteering course in about 90 minutes. Some people finished in 60. One person said they finished in about 60 minutes and they walked the whole thing. Which made me realize that this year's course was different. In previous years there was a good distance to travel and you could run most of the time, so making sure you picked paths on which you could move quickly was important. This year you had no choice but to hike in the woods. It wasn't about speed, it was about keeping your orientation and not losing time passing by points. I am curious about one rule tho'. How far apart can you be from your teammate? I know there are some in the complete tango that bungee themselves together the entire event. Yet for the relays, some told me they walked through the woods 30 yards apart so they wouldn't miss the point. I had thought you had to stay close. Maybe I'm wrong about that. I need to know the answer for future reference, I can see this type of course being the norm from here on out.

Marty is going to finish the 4.5 mile run in about 30-32 minutes so I hopped in the car to get down to the final transition. As I passed Marty on the road, he looked to be doing well. This run can be brutal in the sun but it's only 77 degrees which had to be nice. I'm not sure how many people he passed, he definitely moved us ahead a place or two.

Which leads us to the canoe. Jerry and Todd were going to go all out to try and win the canoe split. They had figured the rapids would be their biggest challenge, that was until their wicker seats ripped through. This made for a very uncomfortable trip. It seems that the guys team can never seem to come up with the right canoe for this event. They still did well. I think they passed one team and were passed by one team. Can't complain about that.

We finished in 7:17 our goal time was 7:19. I guess the predictions were good it's just the competition was better this year. It was still a very fun day. Now we have 12 months to plan next year's team or teams.

Some other random things:

I'm disappointed that I didn't have time to visit more with friends that were on the other teams. It's a busy day, I guess that's how it goes.

Two weeks ago when I did my practice swim, my left shoulder was killing me the day after. Using the hand paddles intensified the stress on my shoulder. I determined this stress was caused by my left arm not pulling straight back. I was introducing too much of an S into my stroke. So what little time I did spend in the pool the last couple of weeks, I worked at removing that S pull. I guess I fixed it because I had no shoulder problems after the race.

I also got my first wetsuit burn. I didn't get enough body glide around my right armpit. Fortunately it wasn't too bad. Just a few spots.

A few hours after the race, my lower back tightened up on me big time. My upper body was slanted from the waist in a freakish way. I'm guessing it's because I didn't do enough practice swims with fins on. I hate kicking but for this race I had to do it. Of course I didn't take time to stretch after I finished orienteering either. As a result, I missed a few of my marathon training runs this week. When I got back to the city on Wednesday I went to the chiropractor just to make sure everything was lined up before I attempted a run.

I had tried to golf on Monday with my dad and it didn't go so well. It was still fun to be out there tho'.

Genine had loaded up Bart Vashaw's race report on her computer before we left home. It was a fun distraction when we were stopped because of an accident right at the NY border.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kinzua Country Tango 2010 KB2 Style- Genine's Race Report

As always, I was excited heading into Tango 2010. This race is always one of the highlights of my summer. Not so much because of the race itself (although it is INCREDIBLE), but more so because it brings together so many friends that we don’t get to see often enough. And nothing beats hometown racing! We arrived in Warren on Thursday afternoon. Matt prepared to go scouting up at Rim Rock for the orienteering and I went up to Fredonia with my mom to see my sister & nephews. Friday started the annual flurry of activity leading up to race day: baking & preparing pre-race/post-race meals, gathering canoes, kayaks, life jackets, maps, do I have all my shoes, bike helmet, gloves, etc., who’s arriving at what time, who has coolers, snacks, etc…. and the list goes on. While it is hectic at the time, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s amazing how our friends and their families come together to support this seemingly herculean effort of getting all of our teams ready for race day.

Michelle and I met Friday afternoon to take a test run in the canoe. The water had been running high the previous week when she was out- and since Jerry & Todd had flipped their canoe in the rapids earlier in the week, we wanted to be sure to test our paddling skills before racing. We put the canoe in at Jon’s cottage and headed downstream, taking careful mental notes about which way to navigate the islands, currents, etc. We ran the entire 8mile race course to be sure we had a comfort level of the route, especially the rapids (which we managed thru with minimal water in the canoe). By the time Matt & Jerry met us at the end, Maija, Adam & Joanna had arrived & were out driving the bike course. We went home to clean up and then headed to the pre-race meeting. It’s always fun to see how many familiar faces there are from year to year & getting a chance to say hello. Matt & I joke that it is better than our class reunion! While looking at the team rosters to find out KB2”s number, we noticed that there were 9 womens relay teams this year- twice as many as last year. More competition= more fun! We headed back to my parents house after the meeting to enjoy a delicious spaghetti dinner prepared by my mom (thanks, mom!), completed last minute bike adjustments & race prep, quick shower and I was in bed by 10:45pm.

Race Day: My alarm went off at 5:15am. All 5 of us were fed, prepared and out the door by 6:15 to arrive at the YMCA by 6:30, for a 7:00am start. We took a few KB2 team photos (to show off our fancy, new tattoos!!), I chatted a bit with Damian, potty stop and then it was time to cheer for Jim, Maija, Shawn and the other 13.1mile runners as they started the race.

KB2 at the start of Tango 2010.

KB2 tattoo. Awesome!

Starting line at 6:59am.

As I was driving up to Kinzua Beach, I made sure to take in and appreciate the beauty of the fog lifting and the sun beginning to peek thru the onto the reservoir. It really was breathtaking.

View from top of the beach toward bridge at 7:30am.

I got to the beach and began to prepare my bike gear. Luckily Casey parked beside me and was able to help me get my bike off the roof rack - with the new car, I’m just a little too short to lift it down safely. He & I chatted for a bit as I got my bike together, ate a clif bar and then took a few loops around the parking lot to warm up. I headed down to the transition box & waited with Adam for Jim and Maija to complete their 13.1mile run. Within a few minutes, Jim came flying across the line from his run and Adam started off on the bike. Only another couple of minutes and …here comes Maija!! It’s go time!!

Adam & me ready to race.

Tagging Maija to start my bike.

Knowing that my overall fitness & training was not quite at the level I was at last year, I took the initial 2mile climb at the start of the ride conservative, but steady…. spinning, spinning, spinning. I got to the dirt roads feeling pretty good. While I remained a bit conservative on my climbs, I took a few more risks than previous years on the down hills. Now mind you, any experienced cyclist would still call my off-road riding skills weak at best, but for me I was trying to be brave. I still used the brakes, just less than I have in previous years. About 2/3 into the ride, a friend rode up beside me. I asked him if he passed any other women. He said there was a woman (relay) about 2-3mins back. I knew I had to stay strong. The steepest decent was just ahead. I reached the turn at the bottom of the hill and as I shouted my number to the checkpoint person, I heard “WR 72”! Darn it!! There she was, sweeping by me and bombing down the next hill. Clearly she was an experienced off-road biker with much a better skill set than me. I just needed to hang on & keep her in my sights. We were almost to the paved road again…a much more even playing field. Once we reached the rollers on the black top, I could tell that she, too, was slower on the climbs. There was hope! I pushed hard, finally catching and passing her. But she was having none of that. She soon passed me again. And again I told myself to hang on & reel her in. We were nearing the finish. I crested the last hill and noticed she was off her bike on the side of the road. My initial thought was, “oh no! I hope she is ok.” I soon noticed she had only dropped her chain. This was my chance! As she got back on her bike, she glanced back and knew I was on her tail. She gunned it and my legs despite giving their best effort, could not keep up. She rode into transition about 2mins ahead of me. Whew! I was relieved to be done and pass the baton to Joanna. After a few minutes of catching my breath, Jim announced Matt could be finishing his swim in 10mins. Yikes! Jim helped me load my bike onto the car (thank goodness for the kindness of tall men), gathered up kids, etc and headed back to the beach. I parked, grabbed the camera, and ran down to the transition box just in time to see Matt running up the grass from the water to meet Jerry for orienteering. Good timing!

Next out of the water was Joanna!! Wahoo!! While Joanna was making a speedy transition from swim to orienteering, I quickly looked at the map with Maija. 3 of the points looked to be fairly easy, and the other 2 points…well, not so much. We strategized briefly and then they were off into the woods. Then we waited…… After about an hour, Matt & Jerry came down the hill & out of the woods. Both of them saying how difficult the terrain was surrounding point 2. Oh no….did we make a mistake sending 2 “non-locals” out in the woods? “No,” I thought, “they will be fine.” Maija has been up there the past 2 years with me. They are tough cookies. They will be fine. And the minutes ticked by…….still no sign. As Michelle voiced her concern, I told her not to worry. It was still well under 2hours. If it took the guys 1hr 30min, it may take them up to 2 hours. That was my rational. I’m not sure Michelle bought it. Somewhere at about 1hr 50-55mins, I heard Damian yell, “Genine! Here comes Maija down the hill!” I turned to see her and Joanna running across the lot to the transition box. Goosebumps that made my hair stand on end covered my entire body! Thank goodness! They made it out safely!! (ok…maybe I was just a teeny bit concerned.) Amanda was tagged and relieved to finally start her 4.5mile run to the canoe launch.

T3...where to begin?

KB2 = Orienteering Extrodinaires!

Now that the girls were safe, Michelle & I drove down to the boat launch (cheering like crazy teenagers out the car window for Amanda as we drove by). We hit the restrooms, prepped the canoe, donned our PFD’s and waited for Amanda. We were anxious to start the last leg of our race. While we were waiting, we noticed the canoers from the other womens relay team practicing precision-like maneuvers in the water while they waited….in their racing canoe called “Team Confidence”. Gulp! Michelle & I both chuckled. We had altered the name of our trusty canoe to read “We-no-nah-Thing”. Clearly the only advantage we have over them is a head start in the water. Come on, Amanda!!

Tagging Amanda to start canoe.

Once we finally got the boat in the river, we aimed to get into a groove. But as I tried to paddle right, it seemed to throw the line of our canoe. So in order to ease the navigation a bit for Michelle, I paddled left about 95% of the trip. (My left neck/shoulder is still achy). Knowing that “Team Confidence” could possibly pass us at any given moment, we worked at maximum effort. No letting up…ever. As we approached the islands along the course, I was amazed at how my detailed mental notes from the day before suddenly disappeared. Ha! Ah well, I feel we made smart decisions and navigated to the best of our ability. I glanced at my HR monitor about 1/2hr into the ride and it read 179!! That is crazy high for me…higher than my running HR. Obviously I was a little keyed up! At times it felt like we were never going to reach end and the wind was tricky, but finally we passed under the Glade Bridge and by the refinery, dragging in a few spots, but pushed through with minimal effort. As we approached the rapids, Michelle & I reiterated to each other our approach for getting through without capsizing. Exactly what had worked during our practice the day before- come in from the right, hugging the rapids keeping them on our immediate left of the boat & then let them shoot us out the end to the left. No problem…right? Right. Well as we approached, I felt the water was more fierce than the day before. No problem. We got this. Here we go….. Oh crap! Big giant rock! Paddle left!! Around the rock, but into the rapids we went. Deep breath. I paddled gently on the left while shouting, “We’re FINE. We’re STRONG. We’re FINE. We’re STRONG.” Until we shot out of the rapids and made our way left around the island. Sigh of relief and then keep paddling! Michelle asked me, “We were shouting through the rapids for me or for you?” "Both!" I replied. : )

KB2 crossing the finish line!

Maintaining focus, we aimed for the trestle and finally passed between the orange buoys! Crossing the finish line at 3:07pm!! Whew…we did it! Our KB2 teammates, my mom and the guys were on the shore cheering us in. What an awesome feeling! Astounding efforts were put in by all of our KB2 athletes. All contributing to sealing another win of the womens relay division. Way to go ladies!

KB2 post race.

While we don’t have official results or splits yet, here is what I do know:

I have the BEST teammates EVER!

Maija kicked butt on the 13.1mile run! 3rd woman to cross the line!

Joanna ROCKED the swim!! And came out of the water strong.

In true Warrior style, Maija & Joanna hung tough out there in the woods! Amanda killed the 4.5mile run!

Michelle once again proved she has mad skills in the canoe. You are AMAZING!!

And the first place women's relay award goes to....KB2!

And of course a HUGE thank you to the strong, talented and handsome men of Project X!! Your support means the world! We couldn’t do it without you guys!! Congrats on your awesome race efforts!!

Congrats to Shawn & Bart! You made it!! Can’t wait to cheer you on for your 2011 finish…. without flashlights! : )

Finally, my last and BIGGEST thank you goes out to my mom!! Fabulous hostess, chef, baker, chauffeur and cheerleader! She handled a house full of crazy, hungry and dirty athletes with ease…and even offered to do it again next year!

Me with KB2's biggest fan: My Mom!

Kinzua Country Tango Pictures 2010

Because we were in the race, it was pretty tough to get pictures of everyone. We still managed to get some nice shots of quite a few people. Take a look and see if we got one of you.
Kinzua Country Tango 2010 Other Racers Set

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Kinzua Country Tango Pictures

I haven't had time to write up a race report. I did have time to edit all the photos. Here is a teaser set. Here are a few select photos of the guys team "Project X".

Jim Running the 13.1

Adam biking 20 miles

Me finishing the 2.5 mile swim

Me and Jerry after the orienteering

Marty Before his 4.5 mile run

Todd and Jerry at the end of the 8 mile canoe.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Quick Tango Update

We said we wanted to finish in 7:19 so that perhaps that would be good enough for 3rd place using last year's results.
We finished in 7:17 but competition was tough and that time got us 10th place this year.
The women's team KB Squared won again. They also faced tough competition in their division.
I've got over 1000 pictures to sort through and it may take a few days before we get official race results.
Race reports to follow.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Time to Dance....

Here is my bit of inspiration for all of my Tango buddies out there. There isn't any music, but it has a nice Inten-Sati flavor to it. I love it! And just remember, "I can do anything good! Better than anyone!"

More Tango Talk

Alright, the river today looked like the level I have raced at in previous years. I was hoping that wasn't what the volume was the other day when Jerry and Todd got swamped. So I called my Dad to see what the story was with the river level. (he's got a place on the river so he keeps track).
Here's the deal. When they went out on their practice run the dam was releasing 2400 cfs. Today it was down to 1300 cfs or less. (cubic feet per second by the way). You can check out all the graphs and such here. I'm guessing this lower rate is more likely for race day which will make for a more manageable set of rapids.

I haven't been up to Rim Rock in 2 years. That's where the orienteering is going to be. We are definitely in the sticks out here. National Forest and all that. So it was somewhat surprising that the front page of the newspaper today was about an abduction at gunpoint in the area I was going to be hiking today. That's really a horrible story. Unfortunately I'm guessing this will be one of the more talked about topics at the race this weekend. That's a downer topic during a fun event.
Anyhow, I went up and hiked around. I definitely had a few things in my head that were not right, so it's good that I got up there. I also hiked the portion of the one trail I hadn't been on before. I'd love to say that now that I've done this, I'm going to take 30 minutes off of our previous time. I know better tho'. I think we lost 10-15 minutes at one checkpoint, one year and we were within 40 yards of the point the whole time. It can be frustrating.
I haven't hiked up from the beach yet. If I have time in the morning, I may just do that. Then I'll have covered all the bases, which might allow me to relax about that event a bit.

Funny that I'm not at all worried about the 2.5 mile swim that happens right before all this. That part is just plain fun.

Tomorrow evening is the race meeting/packet pickup. I'm curious to see how many teams are racing this year. It's been more every year. I hope it's a bunch. I think we've got a good team and it would be fun to be ahead of most of them.

Final Countdown...Are we READY???!!!

Admittedly, after the Rocky Theme I decided that KB2 needed to add something as well. Of course Pat Benatar's "Hit me with you best shot" came to mind. Then I thought of "We are the Champions"....but Then....it HIT ME..... Europe's the Final Countdown.

Sit Back
Basque in the Glory of the past
Prepare the Bengay...cuz we aren't as young as we used to be!!

Here's to a fun filled weekend.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Some Theme Music

Hit play and read on.

Yeah. I'm sure this dates our group a bit. Sorry about that gang.
Of all the Rocky music this one always seemed to be the most dramatic and inspiring to me. It's just loaded with anticipation for some reason. Well that's what will be playing in my mind for the next couple days. I'll be scouting out the woods tomorrow afternoon to get ready for the orienteering then I'll probably swim for a short while. Friday is going to be filled with a whole lotta relaxin'.
Looking forward to seeing everyone this weekend!
How is this? This is how I would try it. I think.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Rapids Advice Requested (CRAIG!!!)

Ok Craig (or anyone else)..we would like some advice on the best way to approach the rapids behind the refinery.....I am posting here because well...we can't call. You ask yourself WHY? Well Jerry had your cell phone BUT it ended up waterlogged after an attempt to conquer the ferocious rapids failed. We ask not for Project X but for the safety of KB2.

Sooooo--what say you oh great one?

**Straight through them
**Waves on the left side of boat
**Waves on the right side of boat
**A few hail Marys

Inquiring minds want to know.......

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cyclists Ahead

I had posted awhile back about supporting a bike advocacy group or something because of my frustration with dangerous drivers out there.

That whole issue has been being worked on in the back of my mind for a while now and I have an idea that I’d like to get some feedback on.

First off I thought about the idea of there being bike friendly routes. Obviously many of us choose our routes by considering how safe they are. Meaning how much room is there to the side of the road. What is the speed limit for the cars travelling? How are the sight lines for these drivers?

I was thinking that it would be good to put up signs along these more popular routes indicating that is a bike friendly route. This way cyclists might focus their rides on these areas that have been determined to be a good biking road and now because of new signing Motorists are now aware that they are likely to encounter bike traffic.

That idea right there isn’t anything too special. The “Bike Friendly” Signs will have an impact for a short while but eventually would just be passed by without even being considered. So I started to think about how to improve on this.

I then thought about adding lights to the sign. Again if the lights were on all the time, or at fixed times of day, the sign would lose it’s attention. Here is what I came up with to improve this.

Cyclists that ride in areas where these lighted signs exist can buy a wireless transmitter that attaches to their bike. When they get into range of these lighted signs with receivers, they automatically activate the lights on the sign to start flashing.

Then the sign could read a couple of different ways. You could use the School Zone approach and write “35mph” speed limit when flashing”. Or “Cyclists ahead use caution when passing”

Obviously the lights would eventually time out at a predetermined time interval.

Questions? Suggestions? What do you think?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Not as hot, still humid

Started off Sunday with a 40 mile bike ride with Genine and Maija. That was about 10 miles further than we originally planned which was fine it was a nice ride.
We were going to swim right after the bike but I bailed. It would have been an ugly swim I just didn't think it was going to be beneficial. So I headed home and rolled out the IT Band with the stick and did a bunch of stretching.
Later in the afternoon I had my 6 mile pace run left to do. It kept looking like it was going to pour down rain at any minute. Finally I decided I'd just go and hopefully if it rained there wouldn't be lightning. So off I go. I run down to the ballpark and there is a game going on. So I decided not to run the parking lot loop because of all the attendants and people looking for parking. I'll have to add about a mile to my run some other direction. By the time I was 4 miles in it may as well have been pouring down rain, as I was drenched with sweat. I'm so glad I did the 13 miles yesterday in the lower humidity. I knocked out the 6 miles averaging a 8:06 pace. I should have been trying to slow myself down a bit. 8:20 is my goal pace for the marathon. I'm really not sure if that's the right pace. I've got 8 more pace runs on the schedule the longest is only 10 miles tho'. That doesn't sound long enough to find out if you can hold that pace for the distance but I guess it doesn't matter. Unless I mess something up so badly that I have major issues, I'm probably going to be happy with my results.

Even though I was drier during yesterday's run I still lost a ton of fluid. I haven't done the math but here's the info. I weigh myself before I run. During/After the run I drink 2 bike bottles of gatorade and 3 12oz glasses of water and I was still 3 pounds lighter.

Here are some cool shots from the TdF