Friday, August 30, 2013

REV3 Half Iron Old Orchard Beach Race Review

Here is my race review of the Rev3 Half Iron Old Orchard Beach.  If you haven't read about the week leading up to the race and the pre-race festivities such as the expo, practice swim, etc,  read it here
But as for the race itself, here goes:
Since we were staying only about 15 minute walk away from the race site and there was virtually no parking lots near the venue, Leo and I headed out to the race around 4:50 am.  It was a very calm walk.  I'm usually hyper and want to talk and analyze, and Leo is very quiet.  I could feel myself bouncing along and every time I tried to speak to Leo, he shot me a look of "can you please shut up, it's early".  

So by the time we got to the transition area and start of the race, it was perfect timing to hit the port-a-potties.  Everyone who knows me knows that I need like 3-4 trips to the bathroom before every run, race, ride.  It's weird, but I feel really comfortable doing that and since there were no lines, I went straight to do my business. From there, I headed to my already racked bike and started to unpack.  I really liked how spaced out Rev3 makes each competitor.  They do a great job of not having athletes fight over such a small amount of real estate.  Even better was that there were 2 bikes that were never checked in the night before, so that left 2 more open areas for a few of us to share.  None of us were complaining 1 bit.  And of course, I was the one who suggested that we take over and use those open slots.  I'm not shy or ashamed one bit.  Unpacking and setting my gear up took surprisingly more time that normal this morning.  I've had it down to where all I needed was like 10 minutes, but for some reason I took a lot longer today.  And that's with packing things and mixing my drinks the night before.  Weird, but it didn't affect the race one bit. 
All set, ready to jump on and go

So after putting my HoneyMaxx bottles on my bike, I laid out my run gear, Body Glided up, and took the walk to the beach for the start of the race. 

quick note- Mixing HoneyMaxx the night before the race in warm water and having it dissolve then putting it in the refrigerator was key.  It has never tasted so good, and dissolved even better than before.
Leo told me he would meet me down at the beach since he wanted to drop off shoes to run from the water to the transition area (it was about a .3 mile run) so I took the journey alone.  No worries, I warmed up and jogged it.  Once at the beach, it was time to as Barney Stinson would say "Wetsuit Up". Once I was in my wetsuit I kept looking around for Leo. He couldn't have been far.  But after about 5-10 minutes of scanning, and not seeing him, I decided I needed to get in the water and do my swim warm up.  So I jumped in the water and was quickly woken up by the warm and toasty 59 degree water temp.  My face was so frigid after being in the water for only 5 minutes, I didn't know how I was going to make it through the whole swim.  Everyone was so cold it was actually quite funny.  But I decided to internally heat up my wetsuit to keep me warm.  If you know what I'm talking about there, then you are definitely a triathlete.
After a few minutes of warming up, I got out and looked around for Leo again.  Still no luck.  But after another 5 minutes or so, he found me and we had about 5 minutes until the start of the race. So we said our good lucks, went to our starting positions and were off.  Before we knew it, we were toeing the lie and the gun went off.

The start of the swim was surprisingly calm for a race.  There wasn't a lot of kicking, clawing, and fighting for position.  I expected more of the typical triathlon swim frenzy, but this was nice and relaxed.  As the swim went on, I kept a steady pace and a comfortable pace.  Having the swim practice the day before, I was comfortable with my pacing and knew I would have a decent time.  But after about 5 minutes (and hitting the first buoy), I noticed the top of my wetsuit was starting to get really tight.  Like tight to where I couldn't breathe.  It felt like I was having a panic attack, but I was completely calm.  It was so weird.  So I had to flip over on my back for a few seconds and to get it fixed, and went off again.
Once I hit the first turn buoy, the swim felt really long.  Like they left the buoys out over night and they drifted out into the water.  I checked my watch and I was a good 3 minutes slower than the day before.  Not good.  But, I kept passing people on the swim and caught a bunch of the people from the wave before me.  I thought I was doing well, and hit the second turn buoy and realized again that my time was slow.  Well, at this point it was just time to sight a big, huge Ferris wheel on the beach and go after it. No more holding back, and I really wanted to get out of the cold water.  
With the low tide and shallow waters, I had to stop the swim a good 50 yards from the beach and run through the water.  Not fun at all.  When I finally hit the beach, I made the run through transition, picking off about 15 people in the process who decided to look for their shoes, take their time ripping their wetsuits off, and whatever.

I also noticed my sister and father on scene.  In the back of my mind I had a feeling they would do this, but since it was early, I really didn't expect it.  But it got my sister the opportunity to take a pic of me exiting the water.

Overall swim:  41:53-  not happy with the time, but a lot of us are guessing they measured the course wrong. No one really blazed this course, so I didn't lose so much ground here  
T1- I got to my bike quick, stripped my wetsuit off, threw my glasses/helmet on and noticed a camera man filming me do all this.  I wish I would have seen him earlier since all I could manage was a "woo" that he got.  However, I did manage to make race video so in some ways that's good
T1 time: 4:26- that includes the run from water to bike

I hopped on my bike and headed out to the course.  This course had fast written all over it.  Within the first 2 miles, I knew it was going to be a good day. About mile 3, I started realizing that about 5 of us were all passing each other then getting passed, then passing the next person. It felt like a big game of leapfrog. I would pass them on the hills, they would pass me on the descent.  Finally we just all had fun with it and started to talk to each other on the course.  The course was wide open so we were just flying down the roads.  This was a nondrafting race, but because we were all doing the same speeds, we all kind of drafted each other unintentionally.  There was just no way to avoid it.  We were all going at the same pace.

The miles kept ticking by.  At the first checkpoint, which had a net gain in elevation, my average speed was 20.5 mph.  That's great since the second half of the race was all flat and downhills.  I realized at mile 30 that I was having so much fun on the course.  When did I ever like being on a bike course?  Never.  But this was such a great course that I loved it. 

Everything was going perfect until mile 43. There were about 10-12 of us all in a line and then a slight hill hit us. Not a big one for sure, but I went to change gears and my chain snapped off the chainring and got stuck.  I had to stop and try and fix it.  I couldn't get the chain back on my gearing.  It was so weird.  Finally, someone asked if I needed help and he stopped to assist me.  I couldn't believe it.  More impressive was that I noticed on his calf that he was in my age group.  After about 4 minutes of fumbling and getting grease all over our hands, my chain got back on my gear and I was off again.

So to whoever helped me on the bike, I wish you nothing but good Karma in the future and help if you ever need it.  You didn't have to do this and I am so thankful to you.  You're awesome whoever you are.  I tried to find you after but I couldn't

Even with that, I closed out the bike course extremely happy and headed to T2.
Bike: 2:37, averaged 22.25 mph the second half of the course, even with a 4-5 minute stop with no moving. I'd say I'm pretty happy with that.

I filled both water bottles on my bike with HoneyMaxx.  This was seriously awesome.  The taste was incredible, it dissolved fully, and I didn't need to waste time grabbing another bottle on the course.  HoneyMaxx was a saviour for me today and I am so thankful to be part of their team.  I had no issues with cramping during either the bike or the run, which was a first for me so I'll continue to be a huge supporter of HoneyMaxx
T2: 1:19
I racked my bike, threw on my Skora's and headed out on the course.  Probably could have shaved 10 seconds off my transition time seeing as it was a descent on the bike and came at us quickly I hardly had time to dismount, but not the end of the world.

Once on the course, I knew I had some ground to make up because of the chain issue.  I didn't know what position I was in for my Age Group but I figured I had no shot at a podium.  This took some of the pressure off of me and I could enjoy the run.  I also knew I was going to see my family at the .5 mile mark so I had 3 minutes or so to look forward to and get my legs under me.  I saw my family waiting on the corner of a predetermined spot and started making sure I looked good for pictures.  I also screamed out, "sorry for the delay, had a bike issue".  Either way, my family was extremely supportive and I was thankful they were there.

After seeing my family, I knew I had run most of the course earlier in the week so I felt comfortable with my pacing.  However, at the 2 mile mark, we ended up going on the trail and not the street I was running on all week.  I didn't know this so I didn't run this part.  Not a huge problem since it was packed trail and very flat.  I started picking people off left and right and knew I had to control myself because I was going too fast.  I was aiming for a sub 1:30 Half, and figured it was definitely possible.  At this point the Olympic distance athletes were on the course with us, so it was hard to determine who I was running against. Some of them were going so fast that it just plays with the mental part of the run.  Once we got to the turn around point for the Olympic course, I knew the rest of the people were all racing the same distance as me. 

I felt great until mile 11 where I was just a tad tired.  Not crazy tired, but it was at this point where I started playing the mental game.  "Should I walk, should I not"  I ultimately gave in and walked for 30 seconds up a hill.  Once at the top of the hill, I started to run again and felt refreshed.  I saw Leo just as I started to run again and he was just coming out for his run portion.  He crossed the street and gave me a high five.  Seriously?  He looked so refreshed and happy.  All I wanted to do was get through my last 1.5 miles and be done.  So I headed out for the finish line knowing that the most exciting part of the race for me was about to come.

One of the things I was looking forward to the most was running through the finish line with Riley.  I said that if I didn't have anyone around me then I would pick him up and cross the finish line with him in arms.  With my bike chain issue, I knew I was definitely going to do this. I didn't care who was near me.  I was picking him up anyway and having a moment of glory with my son.  So at the start of the finishers shoot I met my family and grabbed Riley and crossed that finish line with him.  I couldn't have been more happy

"Daddy, come get me.  I'm waiting for you"
"I got you kid, let's go finish this"

The best finisher's medal anyone could ever give me

Run: 1:33:09- not my best run, but not unhappy with it either.  

TOTAL TIME : 4:58:27  7th in Age Group.  Looking at the age group podium, I wouldn't have been able to catch any of them, so I'm happy.  

Post Race:
Afterwards, it was off to take pictures, meet the family, and enjoy the race.  My family went to sit out on the beach and I waited around for Leo to finish.  Not that I am complaining since it gave me a chance to put some Normatec booties on for recovery.  
These are nice
Once I met up with Leo's family, he crossed the finish line and we met up for the congratulation pictures.

Afterwards, it was back to our house for some bloody mary's, lobster dinner, and my reward of Peanut M&M's
This race was one of my favorite races ever.  Rev3 puts on an amazing race and they know their clientele.  Rev3 cares about their athletes more than the race, which is something that not many companies do.  I will definitely be back for Rev3 events, and have already signed up for 2 of their races in 2014 with a 3rd that I am just waiting on the dates.  I had a great time up here in Maine, loved the course, the event, and the town.  I will definitely be back.

Thanks for everyone who helped throughout the season and cheered me along.  It was a great season.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rev3 Half Iron Race Report- Part 1- week leading up to race and expo

By now, you all know I was in Maine for the week for the race.  I've decided to break up the race report into 2 different reports due to how long (I know, sorry) it will be.  Since we were up there for an entire week, it can't just be a report on "hey, my race went great here are my splits".  There is a lot more detail on the entire race week than that.

So while I was up there, I ended up running a good amount on what I thought was the race course.  I ran 7 miles a few times on the course to see the elevation, how fast I can take it and how I would feel.  I thought this would give me a huge advantage on race day since I would know how I would feel during the run.  The problem is, I was running on somewhat fresh legs and know after a swim and bike so even though I tried to hold myself back, it was still pretty fast.  However, I did get the lay of the land.

The one part about race week that I don't enjoy is my complete shutdown of alcohol.  Normally, it's not so bad, but we were on a vacation and it was my birthday so I would have liked to drink a little bit up there.  Knowing how important this race was to me, I decided to do a complete cleanse of alcohol and not have any until after the race.  Sooo upsetting, but I was able to do it.

So as it got closer to the race itself, there were a few things to do.  First off was the athlete check in and registration.  Since the race venue was close to where we were staying, I had the wife, my father, and Leo all go to the expo for that so we can look around.  Once we checked in, it was time to go shopping, pick up race swag, and also coordinate where I would be picking up Riley towards the finish line.

My thoughts on the Rev3 Expo were disappointing.  Not because of how the expo was or how limited the vendors/sponsors there, but it was always built up that the Rev3 brand is the best in terms of expo and swag.  It's always a downer when you expect something to be amazing, and it's just alright.  It's like seeing a movie that everyone said was the best movie ever and it was good, but you expected more so in the end you thought it wasn't great.  Same thing here.  With the exception of about 3 different vendors, the area was pretty bare.  We went to pick up our number, got a swag bag, walked around the merchandise tent, saw the 3 vendors that were there, took some quick pictures, and that was it.  I honestly expected more.  I wanted there to be more.  Unfortunately, we were there for like 30 minutes and that was it.  Nothing to do so we took off.
Number look up.  yup, I'm on the list

Leo and I getting our timing chips

This is the area I would say I was the most disappointed with the race.  When signing up, there are articles on how great the swag bags are for Rev3 events.  They give out a Headsweats visor, shirt, goodies from sponsors, and in fact, a pair of really good goggles.  However, when I picked up my bag, all it had in it was a visor and some samples.  Not good at all.  No goggles (which when I signed up months ago they said would be there), no shirt (which I would get as a finisher), no nothing really.  So upsetting.  For such a great race, I really wanted more.  I would have even bought more, but the merchandise tent didn't really have anything great either.  Just one or 2 shirts specifically for this race.

Practice Swim:

One thing that I have to give so much credit to Rev3 is the practice swim they arranged the day earlier.  On Saturday before the race, they set up all the swim buoys, had lifeguards in the water, a swim clinic by the pros who were racing, and it gave us the ability to jump in the water and practice.  So Leo and I woke up early and got our butts down to the water to practice.  While we couldn't swim the entire course, we could swim over half of it.  This was all most of us needed.  It was great to get those open water swim scares out of the system the day before.  So I swam down to the last turn buoy and turned back and did over 50% of the swim course.  I couldn't have been happier.  Warmer, yes. happier no.  The water temperature was a nice 60 degrees so wetsuits were definitely legal that day.  The wake up call your body gets when it jumps into water temperatures that cold is pretty amazing.  But it was good to see the swim breaks and the tides to know how deep the water was (not very), and also be able to clock myself for the majority of the course.  I could also get my sighting views which is always a good thing.
Leo and I very happy to be out of the water instead of about to go in

After the practice swim, Rev3 does a worst wetsuit contest.  I have to say, this is hilarious.  It's like we're back in high school and it's a popularity contest and who brings the most people, but it's a site nonetheless.  Basically, people come out in their wetsuits from like 15 years ago and try to be the worst so they can win a brand new wetsuit to replace their horrible one.  Personally, I like the day glow orange Don Johnson one below.

Yeah, they are all that bad

 With all that being done the day before, the only thing left is to check in the bikes the night before the race.  We went to the athlete briefing then checked in our bikes and went home to grab some dinner and off to bed.

Rev3 does it great for the transition area. Each athlete gets their own personalized bike rack, not some bar where everyone just throws their bike on it and are fighting for whatever spot they can get. We also get our own name plate.  It makes it just a tad more special and you feel honored to have your bike with them.  Small touches like this are what will keep me coming back to Rev3 events.

Yup, thats me
All racked and ready to be picked up in the morning

So after all this, there is only one thing left to do...and that's race.  The actual race report will be up within the next 48 hours.  Just waiting on some last minute photos to come in

Monday, August 26, 2013

Quick shots

I'm pretty beat from racing yesterday and driving 6 plus hours today then having to unpack the car, pick up Thunder so I'll just give some quick shots from the vacation.

Full race report should come in the next few days, but it was a great day yesterday at Rev3 Half Iron at Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

But for now, here's a sampling of the trip:

A little time on the beach getting a tan early in the week

Riley just getting his toes wet

"Dad, hold me so I can see"

Post race with the 2 finishers
(more explanation during the race report)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My 33rd Birthday

I turn 33 on Thursday of this week so it isn’t a bad time to reflect on the past year even though it hasn’t finished yet.  It seems like a lot has gone on in the past year and we are only 8 months in to the year.

I’m not really sure I have had a better year than this one so far.  Obviously, the big part of my year started on the 1st day of the year with Riley being born.  Since then, everything else has taken a back seat to whatever is going on with Riley.  Being a father has been something that I could have imagined what it would be like.  Having Thunder for the past 8 years was supposed to prepare me for fatherhood, and while it did do somewhat of a job, it in no way compares to what real life daddyhood entails.  Every day now revolves around Riley, and I try to work around him.

Writing a post on Riley would take too long and all encompassing, so I think it speaks for itself.  However, this year has been filled with so many other things.  It seemed like the first 4 months of the year was either talking about Riley or talk/training for the Boston Marathon.  Boston took up a huge part of the first 4 months of the year for me, and I am glad I got to experience it.  Even though the day itself was marred by tragic events, I am proud to have been part of the actual race.

After Boston, I transitioned into Triathlon season and have been full force since.  As a birthday reward (if you can call it that), I am giving myself a present of running the Half Iron in Maine.  So far this week has been great building up to the race and spending time with the family.  I’ve started to get that nervous/excited feeling since it’s midweek and the race is now fast approaching.  In fact, on the way back from dinner tonight, the wife and I saw the Rev3 event trailer with all the timing equipment.  I felt like shouting out the window “woohoo, go Rev3”.  But it’s time to have a good race this year and see what this body is capable of. 

I’m also proud to be associated with a few brands that have been extremely supportive throughout the year.  By now, everyone should know how much I love Skora shoes and even more so, the Skora Base which is my favorite shoe ever.  I can’t thank Skora enough for allowing me to be am ambassador for them.  I have also solved my nutrition issues and hydration problems with the brand association with HoneyMaxx.  Their products have kept me going for the past 5 months and I can’t wait to rep the line even more.  Furthermore, the company understands what my life is like and how the balance of training and raising Riley is.  It’s great to be part of an organization that values the same things I do.  Then there is X-1 Audio, who has kept me training with the right music.  Having the ability to listen to music while swimming has been crucial to my improvement in the water.  

With that, I’ll be out celebrating my 33rd birthday going for a run like I always do, then sitting out on a beach playing with Riley and having dinner with the family all in anticipation for Sunday’s race.  Not really sure how you beat this year.

Monday, August 19, 2013

It's Race Week Again...with a vacation

It’s race week again.  The most glorious time of the year.  For some reason, it doesn’t feel like its race week.  There is a more calm subdued feeling within me than normal.  Typically during a race week, its like I’ve had 16 shots of espresso running through me and I can’t sit still and all I do is think about the race.  Not right now.  It’s not that I’m not excited about the race, because I am.  I think it’s just more that it’s coming after a week of vacation that I’m currently in right now, and it also means that it’s the end of my serious race season.  Yes, there will be other races from now until the end of the year, but this is the "A" race of the year so everything else will be for fun.

Because this is a destination race, me, the wife and Riley had to pack up the car over the weekend and head on up to Maine.  Well, it was more like me packing up the car while the wife told me how she would have done it and how I don’t know what I’m doing.  Either way, everything got in the car and we took the 5 hours drive Sunday morning and finally arrived at our rental town house mid afternoon Sunday.  I had planned to take a picture of how packed the car was, but totally forgot.  But packing up for a race is hard enough.  Now add all the stuff a 7 month old needs, and its lucky we ate before the drive since we couldn’t even fit a bag of bagels in the car.  A few hours later, my parents and sister showed up and let the games begin.

Part of getting up here so early is really good because I have the ability to preview as much as the course as possible.  I am literally staying on the race course, so having direct access to it is great.  I went out this morning and ran 7 miles of the run course, and more importantly the hardest 7 miles of it.  The middle 3 miles (its an out and back run, so just double that 3 miles) is really flat so I wasn’t concerned about it so much.  But I got to run the first and last 3.5 miles of the run and ran it a little faster than race pace but very controlled.  I got a chance to see whatever hills there are on the course and how long/hard they are.  Knowing this is such a huge advantage for me.  Driving the bike course is a little more difficult because of how long the distance is and how they are pretty local roads and no highways.  It’s not like I want to be driving 56 miles through local roads.  Do you know how long that is?   As the wife would say…FOREVA.

The bad part of getting up here so early is it affects full training.  Granted it is a “taper” week so its not so bad, but I can’t really bike all out since I don’t know the course and the roads aren’t closed for the race.  I’d have to be a little more cautious than I would if I was home.  I’m just concerned that my bike fitness will suffer a little bit by not having that one more day of pushing my legs.  I thought of taking a spin class with the wife but I don’t think I want to do that during race week.  I’ll just go out, jump on the bike and hit it.

Same thing with the swim.  The beach is great here and nice to sit out, but its crowded for me to swim and I don’t know how comfortable I am swimming so far out into the ocean.  Not to mention the fact that there were 2 reported Great White Sharks in the Maine are last week, so needless to same, I’m just a taaaaaaad freaked out right now.

But, this week is all about spending time with the family and Riley at the beach.  Thursday happens to be my birthday so it’ll be nice to celebrate up here.  Though I am trying not to drink and eat like crap all week so celebrating will have to wait until Sunday night. I’m sure as the week goes on, I’ll start to get the buzziness that I always get, but for now, it’s time to sit back and get a tan.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Race Pace vs. every other pace

With just about a week left before the Rev3 Maine Half Iron, I have been working on my race speeds.  Doing this is probably the hardest thing about my training.  I typically train all out, balls to the wall and leave it out there every day.  I know it's not the smartest training and I shouldn't be doing that, but it's just something that I always do and feel like it benefits me more than going for an easy run or bike.  I read an article recently about how athlete's "easy" days are too easy, but more importantly athletes "hard" days are too hard.  I usually fall into the every day is too hard.

Because of how I train, practicing my "race pace" is often painfully boring or hard to hold myself back.  For example, my race pace for the half iron run split is going to be around the 6:40-6:45 pace.  Well, that's the planned pace, we'll see how it goes on race day.  However, when I train, my mile splits are typically anywhere from 6:15-6:30's depending on the length of run, course, how I feel, etc.  But I barely bring myself down to that 6:45 split, except for marathon season where I am hovering around 6:55's for distances over 17 miles.  So in order to hit my race pace goals, I desperately need to work on my pacing, both on the bike and the run.

This past weekend, I went out for my last "long" bike ride before the race.  I would have liked to schedule one more in, but because I have to travel for work this weekend, then the wife, Riley and I are driving up to Maine on Sunday, I can't find time to fit in a long bike.  Knowing this, I worked on 2 things.  First, not crashing.  Sunday was the first day I felt really comfortable on the bike again.  I mean, really comfortable.  Not, hey, I kind of know what I'm doing.  Not alright, I can do this.  It was, "let's go".  Let's hit that pavement and put some serious miles down.  I'm very happy about that.  It was a nice confidence boost.
Second thing I worked on was pacing, cadence, and gearing on the bike.  I tried to envision race day and knowing I would have a half marathon after the bike, I didn't want to blow my load on the bike.  As a result, during my ride, I typically was in one gear easier than I train in for most of the ride.  There were points were I definitely wanted to fly and pushed it at those spots, as well as other areas where the hills were killer and I really wanted to attack the hills to make sure I knew I was ready, but overall the ride felt somewhat easier than I'm used to.  I ended up going for a quick 3 mile run as an unintended brick workout after the ride was done, but all in all I was happy how I cycled and felt good throughout the ride and even during my run.  I found my sweet spot for how hard I should be working and what gears I should be in for this long of a race.  In fact, my run was waaaaay too fast after the ride, but that was something I started focusing on next.

Working on my run race pace is a lot harder for me than working on cycling race pace.  We all have those days where everything just seems right and your runs are smoother, faster, crisper than normal.  That's been my week this week.  I keep trying to hold myself back but my legs just keep going faster.  I finally had about 3 runs this week where I forced myself to be between 6:37-6:44 miles.  I will say this, when working on that specific pace, I enjoyed the runs a lot more than normal.  I felt like Superman.  I felt like I could go forever.  Isn't it weird that when I want to run a 6:45 mile for a marathon it's the hardest thing in the world, but now that it's a shorter distance, I felt like it was so easy?

I know I shouldn't always going all out when training, but during my first few race pace runs this week, I felt like I was losing fitness.  How weird is that?  I finally came to realize I wasn't losing any fitness and I know I can crank out fast miles if I wanted to, but right now that isn't the goal.  My goal is to find that rhythm where I can feel great for the first 8 miles of the half marathon part and then start to increase my pace.  I don't want to lose it early in the run so I definitely came to grips with my race plan.

Race pace vs. training pace is just so difficult.  Let's just hope I continue to figure it out over the next 9 days so everything goes right on that Sunday.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Are you ready for this?

Am I ready?
This question is one that I'm sure all endurance athletes ask before a race..."Am I ready for the race?"
With 2 weeks to go before Maine, I find myself asking that question a lot now.  Since I can't massively change my fitness and improve on it within the next 2 weeks, all I can do is ask the questions and either know that I have done everything I can to prepare, or take the opposite approach and know I haven't done enough.  But at this point, I am where I am and there isn't much that can be done about it.
It's weird.  It seems like all year I've been building up to this race, but now that it's here, I'm not excited for it.  Maybe because it's within striking distance and I know that I don't have anything waiting for me afterwards, or that I just don't want to know how I'm going to do.
The past few weeks have been a blur for my training.  I feel like I haven't had great weeks of training and have been slacking even though I have been putting the time in.  I just feel so tired or have a lack of motivation to train that the intensity isn't there.  As a result, I am now starting to ask myself, am I ready?
I know my run will be ready for Maine.  I usually never doubt that part of my training.  I tore through a 14 mile run last weekend in 1:32.  Not bad for a run I was taking it easy on.  Where I am asking myself is mostly on the bike.  Since my crash, I really only felt comfortable on the bike once, which was last week.  Hopefully after this weekend, I'll gain some more confidence back and feel good again.  The problem has been I haven't put the miles on the bike as much as I should.  I had a good ride last week but I did some of it with Leo, who is noticeably slower than me so I wasn't pushing myself as hard during those miles.  If I can put down a good 3 hour bike ride this weekend and get my confidence back I think I should be good.  In addition to my bike, I'm also lacking on my swim training.  I know everyone has the same problems, but swimming is just so damn boring.  Back and forth, back and forth.  I can only go so long in the pool without dying of boredom.  After the race in Stamford, I felt great about my swim.  But that was 2 months ago and I don't think I improved so much on my swimming that maybe I have gone backwards in my training.  My motivation to stay in the pool every morning is dwindling down.  
Some people might say it's nerves talking, but I know it's not that.  I still think I can do really well and still place at the race, but I just want to know that I'm going to do well and not have to wonder about it.  Isn't always the fear of not knowing is worse than knowing?
Other parts of the race that I'm starting to question is nutrition.  The one area where I have to figure out is how much nutrition I'm going to bring with me on the bike and how much I'm going to grab on the course.  The run part is easy.  I'll have gels on me and there are water stops every mile on the course.  It will all be there for me on course to grab and go.  What is starting to get me thinking is on the bike and the bottle handoff.  Everyone says it's relatively easy.  Just slow down, point to a volunteer, throw your old bottle and grab a new one.  But without having practicing this, I keep running all these scenarios through my head.  I guess I'm going to have to drag the wife down to a local parking lot and practice with her handing a water bottle over to me. I'm reading all the forums, blogs, etc about how to do it and it seems easy enough, but I really just need to practice.  Then there is the weaving through the road with bottles on the ground.  I just hope I don't hit one and bite it.

My sister asked me if I was ready for the race earlier this week.  My response was "only one way to find out".  I don't have an answer for her because I really don't know.  The bottom line is waiting sucks.  Knowing that the race is in 2 weeks, patience is needed and I don't have that.  Add on the pressure that I don't think I've had a good race all year and I really want one, especially this one.

But at this point, the only question I can ask myself is "am I ready".  Like I said to my sister, only one way to find out.  

Saturday, August 3, 2013

First Family Vacation

This week the in-laws are taking us on a family vacation to the Hamptons.  Yes, the Hamptons.  The place that garners so much attention in the summer months and my personal feeling of it being a snooty town.  However, it is a free vacation and the first time that the wife, myself, and Riley get to go away together.  Add in my brother in law and my mother and father in law and there is definitely some words that can only describe what I’m thinking. 
First up, came the packing. It used to be so easy.  It used to be my wife and I would just throw our stuff in a bag and just go.  Not anymore.  I feel like Riley travels with his own entourage.  We have the pack-and-play, his play tiles, his bouncer, his play mat, his bottles, food, diapers, wipes, clothes, stroller, and a whole lot more that you cant even imagine.  Packing for his was just too time consuming and stressful.  Next up was me, who might have been more stressful.  Because we are now down to less than a month before Maine, I need to make sure I can get a lot of training in.  And because we’re staying on the beach, the question is, am I going to swim in the ocean.  Why not, so lets pack the wetsuit.  Running gear is easy so that didn’t take long except for having to realize that I need a hydration pack, then a bag of HoneyMaxx, then gels and more nutrition.  Just a lot of things that I don’t think of on a daily basis but need for the few days away here.  The big debate happened when it was time to figure out should I bring my bike or not.  I really wanted to, but it is such a hassle.  I’d have to load it onto the car, then keep it in the hotel room and realistically, was I going to ride?  As much as I would want to, I probably wasn’t going to.  But after looking at the local gyms and seeing there were essentially no spin bikes in the area, I felt like I had to bring my bike.  In the end, I decided not to, but I'm kicking myself now.  I continue to look for spin studios in the area and might have found one, but I still need to log the bike miles.
Riley loved packing even though we hated it

Once packing was over, we packed up the car, or basically just threw everything inside as best as it would fit and drove off.  The first day it was just the wife, Riley, and me.  One day all to ourselves.  Blissfull peace before the crazy happens.  The second day the in-laws showed up and now we’re one big happy family.  I’m not sure if sarcasm comes through on a blog, but if it doesn’t, well, reread the last sentence throwing your own sarcasm in there.  The wife and I thought it would be great since we’ll have permanent babysitters and we can have some time to relax.  We’d give Riley to grandma and grandpa and we can do our own thing.  I can go work out, she can sit out.  Yeah. Not so much.  It seems like we are now watching both the grandparents and Riley just as much.  The vacation hasn’t been easy one bit.  Since the grandparents don’t listen to us about Riley, we have to watch them watch him.  And when we go out to dinner, its basically us trying to shove food in our mouths fast as we can so we can take care of him while the rest of the family leisurely enjoys their meal.  Not really relaxing if you ask me.  
He looks like my little cubano

Add to that, that I don't see eye to eye on any topic with my mother in-law. In fact, I would be a little more honest if I knew the wife didn't read my posts.  I'll sum it up like this, she has no filter, says what she wants and makes no sense most of the time.  Insults fly out of her mouth, but she doesn't realize that she says them.  They just come out and for the good part of 5 years, I have been biting my tongue not saying anything to her about them.  I almost couldn't do that this week though.  At one point she said in front of everyone that she would rather go to Georgetown instead of George Washington University (where I went).  Not that insulting because Georgetown is a better school, but really, who says that out loud?  It's like saying I'm not smart enough for her.  She then tells my wife that she thinks I have a wandering eye when it comes to looking at other women.  Is she friekin INSANE?  That was what set me off.  I'm so glad the wife told me this after I was no longer around her.  Let's be real  here.  Take away from the fact that I love the wife, have a baby with her and am very happy in my marriage.  That's the obvious.  But throw in that there were NO females under the age of 65 to look at.  And if they were under 65, then they were younger than 15.  So no way I was checking anyone out.  But she told the wife she thinks this, after I spent 3 days playing and watching Riley the whole time.  If I wasn't with Riley, then I was working out.  I can't wait for the next time we are together.  This will definitely come up.  
I have been able to work out though and I think it’s a good preparation for Maine.  Since Maine’s run will be along the beach and pretty flat, I need to learn how to run in the crosswinds and also work on pacing.  Since a lot of my runs have hills in them, when I get to flat runs, I tend to really push myself too hard since it feels easier.  Then I crash late in the run and hate life.  That is exactly what happened the first day here.  After 3 miles I wanted to just stop.  I kept trying to slow down but my pace was averaging 6:03 miles.  WAAAAAAY too fast for me.  So Ive been working on slowing down and keeping myself composed and I think I have finally gotten it down.  Swimming has been a little difficult since the pool is so small that I find myself not doing laps but swimming around the perimeter of the pool to add some distance and break up the monotony of the laps. Today was the first day I got to jump on a spin bike and my legs are feeling it.  Tomorrow I may just give in and take a spin class to get some type of decent bike workout in.  Either way, I need to find some time to get out and workout. It’s my only time away while I'm here. 
Riley finally gets in a big pool
I can’t say I’m unhappy here.  The vacation is definitely nice, even though I'm working the whole time.  Riley went on the beach for the first time.  He’s been playing in the pool every day and we are eating good.  Its nice to spend these types of moments with family, but its just so much more stressful than a vacation should be.  But only a few more days and then back to reality for this city slicker. 

The 3 of us out to a nice dinner

Riley seems to be enjoying his vacation