Sunday, December 12, 2010

Texas Trails Run 50 KM Race Report!

Hello Dear Readers!

Brief Overview Before We Get Started

Well, I did it and I feel really good!  I finished the 50 KM (31 Mile) ultra endurance trail race yesterday in 5 hours and 31 minutes.  I placed 22nd overall and 14th in my age group.  I think I could have placed higher, but my lack of hill training really killed me after mile 20.  Enduro Photo was there taking pictures.  I will post to my gallery once I have them.  Here is a rundown of my day:

Pre-Race Evening

I had a lot going on the day before the race.  Work was very hectic and I didn't get on the road to drive to Huntsville till after 6:30 PM.  About halfway to the hotel I stopped at a Ihop for my pre-race dinner ritual.  Of course I had breakfast.

This included eggs, toast, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, wheat toast coffee and blueberry pancakes.  Took me a little while but I ate it all!  Below is the evidence.....

I got to the hotel around 9:30 PM and checked in.  I tried to get my race packet from the local restaurant but the race officials had already left.  I wasn't worried since they had race day packet pickup available.  I stopped at the local valero and got 3 jugs of Gatorade and got back to the hotel and sorted my gear.  Trail runs are fun because you have to be self sufficient.  No aid stations every mile.  This one is better than others in that they had aid stations every 3-5 miles.  My gear included things such as gators (to cover my shoes and protect them from rocks and such from getting inside), a Camelbak water bladder, ipod, food and salt supplements, cold gear, head lamp (in case it is really dark when I get there) and of course the most important item of all....lots of anti chaffing butt cream!  As usual I went to bed way too late for a sane person who is about to run 50 KM the next day.  I think the clock said about 12:45 AM.

Good Morning!

My alarm went off at 4:45 AM and I slumped out of bed and went to work taking a shower, brewing and drinking some coffee, going to the bathroom as many times as possible!  The last part is REALLY essential.  Think about it, do you really want to carry toilet paper on the trail and have to squat behind a tree all sweaty? I checked out and hit the road by 5:45 AM and got to the race site at around 6 AM (the hotel I stayed at was only a few miles from the entrance to the Huntsville, State Park).  I grabbed my race packet and had a hour or so to kill before the start of the race at 7:30 AM.  I got my gear box set up near the starting line.  A gear box is something we trail runners place on the trail that has stuff I may need during the race.  Mine had Gatorade, muscle milk, supplements, socks, some clothes and extra chaffing cream.  After that was all settled I turned on my GPS watch and headed for the starting line.

Race Report

This race consisted of three loops.  A 6 mile loop and two 12.5 mile loops. I started at the front of the pack, I don't know how I ended up there, and started off at a pretty good clip.  That first loop was pretty uneventful, and when I saw my split from the GPS at the start of the 2nd loop I saw that I was doing a 8 minute per mile average!  So I realized then that I was going waaaaaayyyyyy too fast and turned it way down a notch.

The second loop went really well.  I passed a few people here and there and hummed along great.  I always feel a little guilty passing someone.  When I go by, I want to say "Sorry", but that's just a hang up of mine.  I usually just say something like "Great Job!"  I do recall one guy I passed where we interacted for a while.  We chatted a bit and did some small talk.  I was feeling really good at that point and decided to run ahead.  I said, "I'm sure you will pass me before the race is over."  Guess what his reply was?  "Oh, I will."  Anyway, I might have been pushing a little too hard still, but I thought, "What the heck, let's see where this goes."  I don't do any trail running for training, since where I live is basically a concrete jungle, my legs protested a bit when I went up the hills, but man did I fly down the hills!  Not sure where I got the courage, but it just seemed like the right thing to do.  I would just relax my legs, pick up my feet a bit higher behind me and let them fly.  The only thing I focused on was where my feet were going when they touched the ground.  I finished the first 12.5 mile loop and went to my gear box and chugged a muscle milk and refilled my Camelbak with more Gatorade.  I checked my GPS splits and this time I was down to a more reasonable 9 minute per mile pace.  I was still feeling pretty good and I was on pace to break 5 hours!  This was not my original goal, but once I saw that it was within potential range I got super excited.

My calves were also starting to cramp up a bit (especially on the uphills) and it was now starting to get pretty hot (believe it or not, the temps were in the high 70's to low 80's).  I was sweating profusely and felt the dreaded salt buildup on my face.  This is a sign that I was getting dehydrated. It wasn't long before the Camelbak was empty and the stuff served at the stations was still several miles away.  So I decided to walk a bit and try to recover.  Of course, this killed my average time.  So I knew 5 hours was no longer an option and I decided to go for 5 and a half.  Once I got to the water station, I gassed up and filled the bladder again and re-hydrated as best I could.  A mile or so later I was running again but my times would be off the remainder of the distance. I finished the last loop with a average pace of 13 minutes per mile.

And the guy I passed who promised he would pass me before the end of the race?  Well you guessed it, about a mile away from the end he caught up to me and we raced each other to the finish line.  Yeah he beat me, but I made him really work hard for it.  The good thing is that he forced me to pick up my pace and for that I am very grateful!


Every time I race I have two goals:

1. Beat my previous time for that distance and venue.
2. Learn from my mistakes.

Number one was easy since I had never raced that specific distance before.  Yes, I have done shorter and longer races, but this distance was my first time.  Number two definitely had mission accomplished written all over it.  My biggest mistake was not making sure I was hydrated throughout the event.  Next time, I will make sure my Camelbak stays full the entire time as best as possible.  Who knows?  Maybe next year I can beat 5 hours?  That's all for now!

Tri your best!


Sunday, October 31, 2010

I'm a Running Fool!

Hello Dear Readers!

It's sure has been a crazy time for me and my training.  Putting some LOOOOONG miles in.  Last weekend I ran 20 on Saturday and 8 on Sunday.  Both runs were VERY excellent and I actually kept the pace I was assigned by my coach!  I guess my long distance running legs are starting to come back.  This week's training was reduced volume, and yesterday I ran 14 at under my allotted pace.  Might have pushed a little too hard, since I am not feeling it today.  I'm supposed to run 6 this morning, but I think I might go to the gym and do some weights and put the miles in on the elliptical.  Sometimes I really like doing the elliptical since it simulates the running motion but without the impact of the cement.

Anyway, I am thinking of entering the 50 KM race in Huntsville in December.  It is the perfect distance for a tune up on the same course as the 100 miler.  Also it's timing should be perfect in that is is before the taper.  I'll post an entry about that race once I confirm my entry.  That's all for now.

Tri your best,


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Miles Are Piling Up!

Hello Dear Readers!

I know it's been a while since my last post.  But believe me, I have not been idle!  We have switched training to running pretty much exclusively.  I need to ramp it up in preparation for the Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile Ultra Run.

This is the same course I did the fifty mile race a few years ago.  For the 100 mile event, it is five loops, a distance of twenty miles each.  I have 30 hours to do the whole course and 6 hours to do the first 20 miles.  My goal is to complete the entire race in 24 hours (besides finishing of course)!

Be sure to go to my Garmin Connect page at my website to see my workouts (at least the ones that are outside).

I have been doing a few weight workouts here and there, but no where near the consistency that I would like.  I recently changed jobs and the hours have been pretty crazy, so I can only get my workouts in later at night.

ANyway, just letting you all know that I am still alive and training!  That's all for now.

Tri your best!


Monday, August 2, 2010

Vineman 2010 Race Report!

Hello Dear Readers!

I DID IT!  I finally broke the 13 hour barrier I have been chasing for several years now.  In fact I achieved two goals with this race.  I came in under 13 hours AND I finished while it was still daylight outside!  Want to here the details?  Read on....

Before the Race

I arrived to San Francisco on Thursday, and had a nice shock to the system with the weather being 55 degrees.  Very refreshing compared to my triple digit Houston weather.  I got my rental car and headed on up the 101 towards Santa Rosa to pick up my bike (I shipped it out the week before).  The guys at Norcal Cycling were awesome and I highly recommend them to take care of your cycling needs if you are in their area.  Once I got my bike I squeezed it into my mid-size Camry and continued up north to Cloverdale (which was where my hotel was).  Cloverdale is one of those communities where there seems to be no industry whatsoever but somehow there are people with lots of money around.  I guess the residents commute to Santa Rosa for work.  The hotel I stayed at was a brand new looking Super 8 hotel.  The proprietors were Indian and very nice to me.  Why do I bring up their nationality you ask?  Well, the hotel smelled like CURRY the whole time I was there.  I swear that was all those good folks ate.  Fortunately, the smell did not permeate my room once I was inside it.  Does that make me a bad person for mentioning it?  Maybe.  But I HATE curry!  I guess it's my Yankee up bringing coming out.  Anyway, all in all not a bad place to stay and like I said before, the folks running the hotel were very accommodating.

Adventures with Buddha

After I checked into the hotel, I went across the way to a McDonald's to start loading up my calories.  It was beautiful outside and I ate by myself sitting in the Sun.  There was this old guy sitting outside eating his lunch by himself as well.  When I was done, I decided to ask him if there was a Denny's around (hey I had to make sure I could do my pre-race breakfast for dinner ritual).  This guy looked at me like I was crazy and said there was no Denny's there and I'd have to go back down to Santa Rosa for that.  He went on to say that this town is very small and if I got up at 6:30 in the morning  and went outside I would see no one for a long time.  I thanked him and walked to my car.  Once I was in the guy had followed me and asked me to roll down my window.  I thought to myself, "Bill, what did you say to piss this guy off?"  Turns out this gentleman had a message for me.  He said that the reason he was placed there at the same time as me was to tell me to go visit "The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas".  He said it is a Buddhist Monastery that is open to the public for visiting.  He said it is peaceful and there are even peacocks wandering around there.  I thanked him again and
drove off pondering the wonders of the Universe that caused this event to happen.  I decided then and there that I could not let such an opportunity go to waste and when I got back to the hotel I asked for directions and made plans to go there on Friday morning.  Race check in wasn't till the afternoon so I had time to kill anyway.

The next morning I had a hearty breakfast at the local greasy spoon (French Toast Yummy!) and headed north to Uvalde to where the Monastery was located.  It was easy to find and boy the guy at McDonald's wasn't lying.  It was peaceful, serene and when I first got there I was greeting with this cool entrance:

Once I signed in I was greeted by several HUMONGOUS peacocks!  They came right up to me (I am assuming they were looking for a handout) and made this really odd peacock call (click here to see video of one making the call).  It was so loud it scared the poop out of me (well almost).  Here are some pictures of my new friends:

Once I was done there, I then went to the Temple area.  Here are some shots of the outside:

Once I was inside I was greeted by a life size bronze statue of the Master who founded the Monastery.

Note the picture on the lower left.  That is this Master's Master in China.  This picture was taken after that Master dies and they preserved his body and kept it on display.

I then went inside and took some pictures around the internal prayer and sermon/teaching area.  Note that everywhere there is a wall space, a little Buddha is in place.  Yup, you guessed it, there are 10,000 Buddhas in this Temple.

This is a Prayer drum.  It is very large.  Note the Buddhas in the wall.

This is a Prayer Bell.  Makes a very very deep tone when it is rung.  Hey look, more Buddhas!

One of the many bronze Buddha statues.  See the little Christmas tree looking thing there?  If you get close to it, each light source is it's own Buddha with a date on it.  Each Buddha represents someone who died and they get to stay with the Buddha to learn I guess until the date inscribed on their box.

This is the area of the Temple where the master sits and does his teachings.  The picture is of the original founding master.

I did get to see several male and female monks there, but I was not allowed to take their picture.  I'm not sure if this is a general rule or if the ones I asked just didn't like my looks.  I am really glad I spoke with the guy at McDonald's, not sure if I will ever have that kind of opportunity again.

On my way home I made a stop to take some pictures of the beautiful scenery.  Sure looks a lot different than Houston!

I wanted to climb this rock face.  But I had a Ironman to do the next day!

I thought this dead tree was interesting.

Ahhhh.  A babbling brook!

There is a story behind this.  Wish I knew what it was.  Looks like someone purposely planted those on the river's edge and placed rocks around it.  Almost looks like one of those road side memorials doesn't it?

Pre Race Dinner!

As most of you already know, I have a pre-race meal ritual I do before all my races.  I find a Denny's or Ihop to have a huge breakfast for dinner.  I did find a Denny's in Santa Rosa and here is my picture of dinner!

Let's take an inventory:

Coffee, Orange Juice, Eggs, Bacon, Ham, Sausage, Wheat Toast, English muffin, Pancakes and Hash Browns!  Yes I ate it all and rolled myself out of the restaurant and drove my 30 miles back to the hotel.  It was worth it though!

Race Morning

After getting about a few hours of sleep my alarms went off at 4 AM and I got myself rolling.  As usual I frantically got my gear together and did my best to get to the race site by 5:30 AM.  I rolled in about 5:40 and had to hustle through and get my butt moving since the gun goes off for my age group at 6:35 AM.  The thing that was freaky about this race was that the T1 and T2 areas are in two different cities.  I was in the mind mode of both transitions being in the same place and brought my big triathlon bag full of stuff.  Once I was there I realized that if I did not fit everything into my plastic numbered bag (I was 333), then it won't get brought to the finish line.  I don't know how I did it, but I got everything in except the wetsuit.  Of course this would have to go in after the swim since I had it on at the time.

Once I got that all settled and my bike in proper position, I finally was ready to head to the river to start the swim.  As I was starting to move the announcer was stating that if those in the white caps (me) were not in the water now, they better start running to get there in time.  Yes, me and several others had to hustle to get in the water.  I got in and maybe 30 seconds later the gun went off!

The Swim (2.4 Miles)

Another different thing about this race was the swim course.  It was in a flowing river (the Russian River).  SO you would go .6 miles upstream and then turn around and go .6 miles down stream and then go and do it again.  The race director mentioned that the water is shallow and said the depth ranged from 4-7 feet.  What he should have said was that the depth ranged from 2-5 feet.  I kid you not, there was a few times where I went to pull and ran my hand along the bottom!  So yes I stood up (along with everyone else) and dolphin swam till the water got deeper.  Going against the current was tough, but then you got to rest when swimming with the current.  My total swim time ended up being a little slow at 1 Hour and 25 minutes.

Transition One (T1)

I felt good out of the swim and the temperature was still pretty low so I wasn't overheated at all.  I got to my bike and looked at my tiny plastic bag already full with other stuff and realized I was going to need to put my wetsuit in there as well.  I did my best to get it in there and ripped the plastic bag in the process.  I started freaking out a little and one of the race officials told me not to worry and took my misshapen bag and said he'd take care of it.  Thank you whoever you were!  I grabbed my bike exited the transition area (my time was 7 minutes and 35 seconds) and headed out for my long bike ride!

The Bike (112 Miles)

The bike course consisted of two loops of 56 miles.  It was really beautiful.  Everywhere you looked it was all winery foliage and cottages.  The road was pretty rocky in some spots and a lot of people had busted tires along the route.  Fortunately I was not one of them.  Over the course of the 112 miles I lost ALL, my water bottles!  I think it was one during the first 56 mile loop and then the other two during the 2nd loop.  There were water stops ever 11-12 miles and they were well stocked.  One thing about the course I was not expecting were the hills.  The course guide stated that it was a rolling course with one challenging climb.  And boy there were not kidding!  Granted, this was no Lake Placid as far as the difficulty goes, but it was still pretty dang hard.  Since it was a two loop course we hit this heartbreak hill at miles 50 and 100 or so.   The first time around I thought to myself, "Ohhhh this is a hard one but I got it."  But the next time around, I was thinking, "Would it look bad if I got off the bike and walked up the hill?"  Don't worry, I didn't get off, but I did do it slower the next time around.  I ended up finishing the bike in 6 Hours, 20 minutes and 55 seconds.  That averages out to about 18 miles per hour.  Not too shabby!

Transition 2 (T2)

I roared into transition and got all my running gear on and made sure that I sprayed a new layer of sunscreen over all exposed skin (still got sunburned though).  I ran to the area where our Run Special Needs bag was stored that morning.  I had three bottles of Ensure to drink.  Of course, when I opened it, I spit it out because it was boiling hot!  All well, I guess maybe next time I can bring a cooler or something?  I exited the transition area in 5 minutes and 9 seconds.

The Run (26.2 Miles)

This was where it got interesting again.  The run course is a loop you do three times.  Water stations every mile and was well equipped with pretzels, Gatorade, water, oranges, peaches, GU Bites, etc.  I was rally careful starting on the run by not going too fast out of the gate.  I didn't want to have a Lake Placid experience where I was doing a bit of walking.  The weather was still beautiful and the humidity seemed low (at least compared to Houston) so I was feeling really good.  I had plenty of Thermolyte capsules (think salt) and some Aleve and some Caffeine.  There were a lot of spectators along the course and I swear every 3 miles or so there was someone blaring the Rocky theme!  I really appreciated that because how could you not get pumped up when you hear that?  Once I got done with loop number one I assessed myself.  I still was feeling good!  So I kept going at the pace I had been running.  NO WALKING!  I even ran up the hills! I spoke with lots of fellow runners as we plodded along the course and I met some crazy characters.  One guy was running in a French Maid outfit (the girls loved him).  I got to talking to him and we laughed at all the attention he was getting and discussed other races we had done together.  I mentioned how Lake Placid was a harder course and he said, "Yeah, I did that last weekend."  I almost tripped over my jaw as it hit the ground.  Two Ironman Races in two weeks.  Now that is crazy!

I kept looking at my watch and marveled that if I kept this up I was going to do it.  I was going to break 13 hours!  Whenever I ran by a photo guy, I held up my fingers in a one and three configuration.  This was such a big deal for me and I wanted to make sure I remembered that this was the one where I got my PR.

What would a race story be without something a little bad happening?  As you see up to this point things were going really well and I was really excited.  But around mile 22 or so I started having what I will politely call "Gastrointestinal Distress".  Yeah, that.  Running was starting to get uncomfortable and I knew I was going to have to make a "Stop" at one of the portable latrines.  Why would I not want to do that do you ask?  Think about it, these have been out baking in the sun for 12+ hours.  Oh and they have been getting used.  And by used I mean USED HEAVILY!  Around mile 23 I said oh heck with it and took a deep breath and got in.  I did what had to be done and reached for the paper and guess what?  NO TOILET PAPER!  At this point I was starting to get worried that if I spent any more time in there I was not going to make it in under 13 hours.  So fortunately there were still seat cover wrappers and they did the job.  I think I might have lost more than 5 minutes with that little incident.

The rest of the run was pretty much right on target and the last three miles were awesome!  The music, the crowd and just as I turn the corner to go into the finishing chute, I see the clock.  I know I started 5 minutes after the official gun so I had to beat 13:05.  And as I was crossing the line I saw the clock had just hit 13 Hours!  I DID IT!

What's Next?

My year is pretty much done at this point.  I am going to take a few days off to recover and then I am going to start training for my first 100 mile trail race.  That's right.  100 miles running!

That's all for now, I will post my race pictures once they are available.

Tri your best,


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Less Than One Week to Go Till Vineman!

Hello Dear Readers!

Well the race day is coming up very quickly. I leave on Thursday to fly to California. I shipped my bike last Thursday and it should get to Santa Rosa on Tuesday. Hopefully it will be undamaged! I instructed the bike store to check everything out and make it race ready. Since it's been a while since I updated the blog, let's catch up on some items:


My training for this race was a little up and down. Since my training has occurred during the hottest months of the year, I had a few setbacks due to heat overstress. Basically, sine I am not a morning person, I have been getting up later and doing my long runs and bike rides during the hottest times of the day. So every workout I get close to heat exhaustion. This is good if you do it sparingly and let your body adapt to the changes, but I was doing it nearly every time! So the problem starts to arise that the accumulation of heat stress causes your body to not recover from the training well and as a result you get slower and slower. My Coach (Kevin), saw this was happening and ordered me to back off for a while and that seemed to do the trick. I have done a lot of long distance stuff over the last few months with several 100+ mile rides and 20+ mile runs. My taper period has been going really well and I feel myself really itching to get out there and hammer the miles. I am definitely ready for the distance, but the speed is something that is yet an unknown until I actually get to race day.

Body Health

Overall, I feel really good. No knee pain that is of any consequence. I am still a little tight and am stretching nightly to try to stay loose. Also I am working on making sure I carbo load this week, try to get plenty of sleep and get very hydrated.

Race Day Items

Race day so far is looking pretty good. The weather over there says it is going to start in the 50's and then get into the low 80's. PERFECT racing weather. The elevations of the bike and run are no where near as difficult as Lake Placid's Ironman was so that is definitely a bonus. One thing that is really interesting about this race is that it is considered a "Green" triathlon. This means they do their best to minimize waste. How do they do that? Well for one thing they don't use paper cups during the run! They use this item called a HyrdaPouch. Kind of like a water bottle and you hit the jugs with it as you go through the water stop. I was concerned about this really slowing people down and I just heard the other day that the race director decided to add paper cups back and gave people the option of going cup-less until 7 PM then they have to use the HydraPouch system.

Another interesting race item is that this is one of those races where the start and finish are in different places. I HATE THAT! All well, so I have to ride the shuttle (boo hoo!).


Besides just finishing this race, I am still attempting to win that elusive sub 13 hour Ironman time. The way I see it, I can do the swim in 1:20, take 10 minutes to go through transition and get the 112 in within 6:20, take another 10 minutes (will need much less) and have 5 hours to do the marathon. I figure I can do the bike with an average speed of 18 MPH and have plenty of time to make the 5 hour window. If everything goes according to plan I just might finish somewhere in between 12:30 and 13:00 hours. Wish me luck!

I'll try to blog again once I get to California and I will definitely try to take some pictures of the wine country I will be riding through. Until then....

Tri your best!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Race Added to My Schedule!

Hello Dear Readers!

Wow it sure has been a while since I last posted. Apologies again for being a little lazy. Seems like triathlon training and life in general has been getting in the way of my blogging! Don't forget that you can come to my website at any time and click on the TRAINING tab to see my GPS data of the workouts I've been doing outside.

New Race Added to My Schedule

I am competing in the Tour De Braz 100 mile bike race this weekend. I am using it as a training ride in preparation for the Vineman Ironman at the end of July. I am going to try to average 20 MPH but with the terrible heat we are having in Houston right now, I probably will keep it closer to 17 or 18 MPH. It's a relatively flat course so we will see. It's been a long time since I rode that far, but I need the time in the saddle (even though my butt would disagree).

Vineman Ironman Training

Training for this race (July 31st) is going pretty well. I need to get off my butt and do the travel arrangements before air travel gets too high. The heat is really affecting my speeds. It doesn't help that I have gotten into the mode of sleeping in on the weekends and not getting out on the road until mid day (when the temps reach over 100 degree heat index).

That's all for now!

Tri Your Best!


Monday, April 26, 2010

Ironman Lonestar 70.3 Race Report

Hello Dear Readers!

Wow this was a great race! Despite the bad weather from Friday night, and the resultant cancellation of the Sprint and Olympic distance swim, Sunday's race went on as scheduled.

Pre-Race Morning

I got up at 4 AM and did my best to get the sleep out of my eyes. Made some coffee, ate a skillet's hot breakfast. Gathered all my gear and headed down to Galveston. Along the way I ate a banana, muscle milk, and a nutri-grain bar. Got to the race site at about 5:10 AM and had plenty of time for the body marking and most importantly a few visits to the porta potty! At 6:30 AM we were told to go to the swim start staging area. Due to the large number of athletes at a smaller venue, we did a set of wave starts based on age group divisions. I was in the 40-44 group so we were wave 8. The pro's went off first and as usual Andy Potts was the first out of the water. After lots of waiting (or so it seemed) my group was called to the docks to get ready...

Swim (1.2 Miles)

The swim portion of this race was fairly hard. While the winds definitely died down during the night, we still had a stiff breeze blowing across the bay. This made the conditions a little crazy because we were swimming in a head wind for 2/3's of the swim course. The wind made the water really choppy with good sized waves. The first leg of the swim went great. I felt good and I felt like my pace was decent. When we hit the buoy for the left had turn to the long section of the swim, I knew it was going to be interesting. In order to get a good swim time, you need to get into a rhythm and stick with that sustainable rhythm. The problem was that it was hard to maintain a rhythm with waves constantly crashing onto your head every time you breathed. Normally this is not an issue if you can breath bi-laterally (on both sides). If a wave tends to hit you in the face on one side, you just switch to another. Problem is that the waves didn't come at you from a side but from straight ahead, so your goose was cooked no matter what you did. I made the best of it and chocked on water here and there, but it was tough to keep the pace consistent. I did notice that I was not the only one having issues, because I passed several swimmers from the previous swim waves. Once I got to the end, I made sure I waited until the last possible minute to get out on the exit platform, due to the oyster beds that would cut your feet if you got up too early. Once out of the water, some nice ladies stripped my wetsuit from me and I ran through the water fall to get the salt water out off me and ran into the first transition area. Total swim time for 1.2 miles was officially 44 Minutes and 39 seconds.

Here is the link to my Garmin swim data. Note that the GPS is not accurate due to the signal being lost in the water.

Transition One

I ran into T1 at a good pace and got to my bike without any problems. Did my best to get my feet clear of the sand and get my socks, shoes, helmet and glasses on. It took me a little longer than usual, but I want to make sure I have no foot problems during the bike or run. My T1 time was: 4 Minutes and 34 Seconds.

Here is the Garmin T1 data:

Bike (56 Miles)

Once I got out of the Transition area, I mounted my bike and headed out on the course. This was a 56 mile out and back course with no hills. The wind was still going pretty strong (about 15 MPH) so it was tough going. It was more a cross wind that was north to south rather than a head or tail wind. It seemed the it was pushing against my going west on the course. I noticed my speed was between 19 and 20 MPH and that was fine by me. I stayed loose and in control and just targeted other racers and reeled them in. I suspect some of these folks were from out of town since they seemed to be surprised by the wind. I was feeling really good because I passed a whole bunch of people. Hydration and nutrition plan were executed fine. At mile 28 we had a turnaround and headed back. Here it felt like I got a little bit of an assist from the cross wind and my speed jumped up between 21 and 22 MPH. Again I just spent the time reeling people in and passing them. The last mile or so back to the transition area was especially tough since it was straight North into the headwind. My legs were definitely on fire! Overall, taking the conditions into account I was happy with the bike portion. My time for the bike ended up being 2 Hours 44 Minutes and 11 Seconds. My Garmin data for this portion is here:

Transition 2

After fighting that huge headwind I rolled into T2 feeling really good. I jumped off the bike at the dismount line and found my rack space easily. Threw off the shoes and slipped into the running gear and headed on out. My time through T2 was a fast (for me) time of 2 minutes and 49 seconds. The link for the Garmin data is here:

Run (13.1 Miles)

I got to say, my run can be summed up in three words: I CRUSHED IT!!!! This was the fasted 13.1 miles I have ever done after biking and swimming beforehand. Last year, my time on the run for this race was over 10 minutes per mile. This time it was a average of a 8 minutes and 37 seconds per mile! Felt great the whole time. I kept expecting to blow up at that pace (which is fast for me) but the blow up never came. The last mile I was a little tired but kept accelerating. The last 10th of a mile I was running a 5 minute per mile pace. Here is the Garmin data for the run portion:


Overall, despite the windy conditions I was extremely pleased with my performance. My ranking was 60 out of 237 in my age group (top 25 percent). Overall my ranking was 292 out of 1586 total competitors (top 18 percent). Hopefully next year I will do even better!

That's all for now.

Tri your best,


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tomorrow is GO TIME!

Hello Dear Readers! Just a quick update before I start shutting down and attempting to go to bed early.

Race Preparations

Well tomorrow is go time. That's right, first race of the year. It's been a busy last few days. Had to drive down to Galveston yesterday to get my race packet. Today I had to go again to put my bike in the transition area. I plan on getting up at 4 AM tomorrow to get to the race site by 5 AM.

Pre-Race Dinner

I took my wife to Denny's tonight for my ritual pre-race meal. French toast, eggs, wheat toast, English muffin, ham, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy and orange juice!

Race Goals

My goal this year is quite simple: Go Faster Than Last Year!

I think where I might see the most improvement is the run. I definitely feel that I can go faster. Of course, if I am not consistent on the bike and swim compared to last year, it might balance out to the same time. But if I can do the swim in less than 40 minutes, the bike in less than 3 hours and the run in under two hours, I should be able to beat my time previously.

I will post my performance after I have recovered from the race. That's all for now!

Tri your best!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Just a Few More Days Till the First Race of the Year!

Hello Dear Readers!

Ironman Lonestar 70.3

Well the first race of the year is on tap. I am entered in the Ironman 70.3 Lonestar race for this Sunday. It is going to include over 1500 racers and a whole bunch of pro's! The weather looks to be pretty good for Sunday and I feel like I might do better this year than last. My run has definitely improved. Swimming and Biking are about the same so hopefully I can keep those times relatively similar.


Training has been coming along pretty good. Over the last few weeks I have felt a bit burned out and was a little lazy here and there. Especially when it comes to the Bike. I just don't feel like going on 3-4 hour rides lately. I've kept up with my indoor power cycling and that is keeping me in OK shape. Hopefully I still have a good enough bike aerobic base to go strong during the race this weekend.

Upcoming Races

I am still registered to do the Vineman Ironman distance race this July. However, I may have to rethink it, depending on a bunch of factors (money, schedule, time for training, etc.). For now I am going to continue to train assuming I am doing the race. I will have to make a decision by Mid-June.

My coach has stated that if I really want to do the 100 mile run, I may want to just focus on that the rest of the year and be more prepared. I may end up doing that.

I will definitely blog about the race itself afterwords and time permitting I may blog about the events leading up to the race this weekend. That's all for now!

Tri your best,


Monday, March 29, 2010

Training for the Week of 3/28/2010.

Hello Dear Readers!

Wow it sure has been a pretty tough training week. Upon reviewing my new calendar form my coach (Hi Kevin!) I see that we are training through the Galveston Ironman 70.3. What this means is that I will not have a three week taper (like usual), but a abbreviated one week taper.

Here are my training stats for this week (as usual go to my Garmin Training page to see the stats of my training while wearing the GPS watch):


Swim 2500 Yards as:

Warm Up: 8x50 drills w/ 10 sec. rest
Main Set: 100/250/500/500/250/100 all Zone 5 w/ 20 sec. rest
Cool Down: 400 easy w/ pull buoy


6 x 1 min. fast spin (105+) / 1 min easy
2 x (4 x 2 min. at Zone low 4-5, #1,3 in Aerobars, #2,4 sitting up in one gear bigger / 2 min easy between all) – extra 3 min between sets.
10 min. cool down

Followed this up immediately by a 4 mile transition run at a 8:12 min/mile pace.


Run AM
4 miles
8:50-9:05 pace

Bike PM
30 miles
Zone 2****
@ 90-95 cad


8 miles
8:50-9:05 pace

I ran this inside the gym on the treadmill.


Swim 2500 Yards as:

Warm Up: 300 easy free
Main Set: 2000 free in Zone 3
Cool Down: 200 cool down


16 mile long run this day. I was very tired since I went to bed super late the day before. I did end up averaging a 9:35 min/mile pace.


I was supposed to do a 90 mile bike ride this day. I met the BAM club in Galveston to ride the race course. We had 20-30 MPH winds since we were right on the sea wall and after 60 miles I was totally wiped!

I have another tough week of training ahead, so I need to get right back to it! That's all for now!

Tri your best,


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Training for the Week of March 21st

Hello Dear Readers!

Spring is finally here! Now we get longer days which translates to less excuses to do my workouts! No more, I can't go out now, work got in the way and it is getting dark soon. The last week has been wonderful weather, that is until yesterday. Storms came in with 20 mph winds and temperatures dropping into the 40s. Today is slightly better. Sun is out, but the wind is even worse (30 mph gusts) and the temperature got down to 38 last night! Let's hope this is the last really cold batch of weather we get until the fall.

American Liver Foundation

I have started building some contacts with the American Liver Foundation ( to see if I can get a donation program started to help those who also suffer from Liver Disease. I got a voicemail on Thursday from their local Houston office and hopefully we will start our conversation this week. I'll keep you all posted as to how this goes.


I had a great training week! Had a time trial on Thursday and had my fastest 2 mile split ever! More on this later (See Thursday section below). Here is the breakdown of my training:


Swim day this day. I did the following swim workout:

Warm Up: 12 x 50 as: alternating drill/kick on 15 sec. rest
Main Set: 2 x (300 free Zone 4, 4 x 50 back on 20 sec. rest, 250 pull Zone 3)
Cool Down: 16 x 25 choice Zone 1-2 on 5 sec rest

These are the swim zones we figured out from my 1000 meter time trial a few weeks ago:

02:28 Zone 1
02:19 Zone 2
02:10 Zone 3
02:01 Zone 4
01:52 Zone 5a
01:43 Zone 5b

All Zones are +/- 2 seconds and the times are per 100 meters.


This was a bike trainer day.

6 min. at high Hr #3 / 3 min easy
8 min. at Hr #3-4 / 3 min easy
6 min. at Hr #4 / 3 min easy
8 min. at Hr #4 / 3 min easy
10 min. cool down


Run AM
4 miles
10:10-10:20 pace

Bike PM
30 miles
Zone 2****
@ 90-95 cad


Time Trial Day!

Run at the local high school track 6 miles as:

2 mile very easy
2 miles TT 100%
2 mile very easy

Are you ready for this? I did my two mile 100% effort time trial in 13 minutes and 42 seconds! I finally broke through the 14 minute barrier!


I took the day off today. My legs were fried from the time trial.


Bad weather came in so I did a 16 mile run at the gym on the treadmill.


Today I am supposed to do a 80 mile ride. But it is cold and very windy and I just am not feeling it! Instead I went to the gym and rode the bike there and did some weights.

Well there you have it folks! Remember to always do something everyday even if it's not too much! That's all for now.

Tri your best!


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Training for the week of March 14th 2010

Hello Dear Readers!

This week I definitely feel my triathlon fitness coming back. I had to take Thursday and Friday off due to death in the family. Thanks to all for your very kind condolences. Here is the breakdown for this week:


2500 yards
See e-mail

Weights (Upper)


20 miles
@ 90-95 cad.
Run TR
4 miles
10:00-10:10 pace


20 miles
Zone 2****
@ 90-95 cad






12 miles
10:20-10:30 pace
w/ 2 x 2 miles in 18:00 w/ .5m jog in between


60 miles
Zone 2- low3
@ 90-95 cad

Go to my Training Page to see my Garmin data results.

On a personal note, while attending funeral services, I really thought a lot about life and how we take things for granted. Just a reminder to you all to live every day to the fullest and care for those around you. You never know when their time, or YOUR time will end.

Tri your best!


This blog has moved

This blog is now located at
You will be automatically redirected in 30 seconds, or you may click here.

For feed subscribers, please update your feed subscriptions to

Monday, March 1, 2010

2010 Triathlon Season Training is Now in Full Swing!

Hello Dear Readers!

I hope every one's training is going well. I had to go on business travel for two weeks in the UK and my training definitely suffered. While I did bring enough clothes and gear to get my training in, I had so many things going against me on this trip. Bad weather, hotels that did not have gyms. Not staying in one city for more than a day so by the time I would get to the hotel it would be late and I would have no motivation. I did however have a few good workouts the first weekend I was there. The Brits have some good gyms available. Virgin Active was my favorite. Mr. Branson sure knows how to treat his customers! One way of viewing the situation is that I got myself plenty of rest, so when I did finally get back the states my "fire" was burning hot and I couldn't wait to get right back at it.

I had some great training sessions this weekend:

Saturday's 10 Mile Long Run

Here is the link to my Garmin data for Saturday's run:

Took it easy so that I would have plenty of energy for Sunday's long bike and run session.

Sunday's 60 Mile Bike with a 3 Mile Transition Run

This was the highlight of my week. Even though there were 20 MPH winds on the roads, I still averaged 19.1 miles per hour. I immediately transitioned to a 3 mile run and this also went really well. I ran the last mile in 7:22! For me that is phenomenal!

Here is the link to Sunday's bike session:

And the 3 mile transition run right afterword:

Now that I am back into the swing of things, I will attempt to post more often. Of course, if anyone has questions please feel free to contact me and I will do my best! That's all for now.

Tri your best!


Monday, January 11, 2010

Bandera 100KM Race Report

Hello Dear Readers!

Well I have three words for this race: I DID IT!!!!!!

100 kilometers of running. That's 62 miles of blood, sweat and tears. Well, maybe not tears, but icicles since it was so cold (more on that later). Let's get started:


I got up at about 5:30 AM on Saturday. The race started in two hours and they said we had to be there by 7:20 AM to get our drop bags checked in. Of course, I was scrambling that morning to eat my pre-race morning meal. This consisted of a microwave breakfast of eggs and bacon and two muscle milks. Of course, I made as many trips to the bathroom as possible so that I would be "empty" for the race. I started freaking out because I was a little behind due to my last minute packing of my drop bag boxes. These drop bags are very important because during these very long races, you need to be prepared for anything. So in each box you want to put food (I had bottles of ensure in there) as well as extra clothes, shoes, lights, etc.

I got to my car and I was not too pleased to see that the temperature read 8 degrees! I knew then that I was in for a very cold race day. I have never run in these temperatures before so this was going to be interesting.

I boogied to the race site and averted potential disaster when just a few miles into the national park, there was a low water crossing that was frozen over. The car in front of me hit the ice (stupid southerners) and spun out and almost went off the road into the water. He did recover and I avoided getting hit with him and made it to the race site at pretty much 7:20 AM! Got my drop bags checked in and got ready to bring on the pain!

Race Start

The gun went off at 7:30 AM exactly and 147 100 KM racers got their cold butts moving! For clothes I wore CWX pants and shirt as well as another shirt over that. I also had a cool weather running hat and gloves. It was definitely cold starting out but we got warm pretty quick as soon as we started hitting the hills. For Hydration I wore my 70 OZ Camelbak filled with Gatorade.

The Topography

This is not a flat race. And it is a myth that Texas is completely flat. Here is the elevation chart for the race (click to make bigger):

There are six steep climbs (Sky Island, Ice Cream Hill, Three Sisters, Lucky Peak, Cairn's Climb, and Boyle's Bump). The course is divided into two loops each one thirty one miles a piece. So do the math, that's twelve steep inclines and declines. The last three climbs were the worst. What was surprising about this race was that the climbs didn't bother me as much as the descents. The descents are what kill my knees.

The Terrain

The terrain in this race is very difficult. In fact it is rated 5 out of 5 for difficulty. This is due to the loose gravel, boulders and rocks that exists on the ascending and descending portions of the race. For those of you who remember my first attempt at this race last year, it was this loose terrain that caused me to fall and DNF. The other thing that made this interesting was the constant scraping of the legs you get from the very tough cactus plants. Here are some pics so you can see what I am talking about (click to make bigger):

The day got warmer and warmer as I moved along and it eventually was comfortable. I ran along with my buddy Ryan (you may remember him from my previous ultra races). He had broken his elbow a few weeks ago but still raced the 50K. It's always nice to have someone to talk to when doing these things.

Aid Stations

There were support/aid stations every 5 miles or so. You can see where they are labeled in the elevation chart above. They had great names (Nachos, Chapas (everyone joked at me about that one since it is pronounced that same as my name), Cross Roads and Last Chance). The stations had all kinds of food. Grilled Cheese, Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, Coffee, Cocoa, Candy, Crackers, Quesadillas, Potato's, you name it! The staff was great and I really appreciated all their support. Not only did they give us food, but they kept very careful track of who was where. Each aid station has to show who came in so that no one is left behind.

Video Updates

I tried something new this race. Every ten miles or so I got my cell phone out and taped a segment. It was a lot of fun and I did three segments before my battery went out. Here are the links to each segment:

Update at 10 Miles

Update at 20 Miles

Update at 30 Miles

The First Loop

So how did I feel? Well the first loop went just great. I took my time and was very careful on the climbs and descents. I ran the flats or anywhere where the surface was nice and hard and had good traction. There was no way I was going to repeat last years fiasco. I took in the scenery and basically enjoyed myself. I arrived at the halfway point (which was one 31 mile loop) in under 8 hours. It was still daylight at this point so I was really hoping to get as much in during the 2nd loop as possible before dark. I drank some Ensure and filled my hydration pack again. I said goodbye to Ryan and his buddies (since they were done) and went on my way alone.

The Second Loop

I was really pumped going into the 2nd loop. I knew that I still felt great, my legs and knees were fine and I started entertaining the thought that I was going to finish this thing! I knew what I was in for the 2nd time around and this helped my mental game since I knew that I could do the loop one more time.

As I ran along I did realize I had made one potentially terrible mistake. I had three light sources for when the nightfall came. I placed lights in both of my drop bags, but as I started my 2nd loop I realized that I might not make it to cross roads (the aid station where my 2nd drop bag was placed) until after dark! I started to freak out and realized that I would have to buddy up with someone who DID have a light until I got to cross roads. Fortunately I met two awesome guys (Frank and Mike) shortly after my little panic session. Frank was from Chicago and Mike was from DC. Not only were they cool with me running with them, but they had extra lights I could use until we got to cross roads. Plus they were going at exactly the pace I was. Thank the trail Gods for them!

It started getting dark at around mile 40 and then the temperatures started to plummet again. I heard that it got down to 16 degrees by the time I finished and boy I felt it. My hands were really freezing even with the gloves on. I fixed this by taking the gloves off and blowing into them to try to get them to dry a little. This did the trick and I was pretty comfortable the rest of the race. When we got to Cross Roads at mile 46, I got my own head lamp and gave Frank back his extra one. We stood in the aid station shivering and took our time getting coffee, cocoa, grilled cheese, etc. till we got a little more warmed up. I asked one of the volunteers if there were still a lot of people behind us and she said 30 percent or so were still to check in.

At around mile 50 Mike started having to really slow down and we had to push on once we started the last three climbs starting with the Three Sisters (see map above). Frank and I were still doing really great and were jabbering away about all things (life, women, kids, jobs, you name it) to pass the time. I saw that my GPS ran out of battery at around mile 56, but at that point I knew we would finish well within the time limits so I didn't really care.


One thing that I wanted to share with you was at one point after mile 50 (I think it was during the Cairn's Climb, we started hearing coyotes. At first it was just one in the distance. I looked at Frank and said "Eh we can take on one little coyote." Then a little while later we heard what sounded like half a dozen or more coyote calls. And they were pretty close. I think Frank and I picked up the pace a little and we had some chills going down out spines (not from the cold).

When we got to the top of Cairn's Climb we had to stop and look at the night sky. Since this race is in the middle of nowhere, there was no light pollution. I haven't seen the sky so vividly since I was a kid growing up in the Adirondack mountains. It was truly a site to behold.

The Finish

Frank and I got really excited when we got to the base of Boyle's Bump. We knew we were basically done and picked up the pace tremendously. I think we ran the last mile in under 9 minutes! I crossed the finish line with a time of 16:53:29. This put me in 78th place out of 147 racers. Only 110 racers actually completed the distance.


Well there you have it. My first 100 KM running ultra. It was an awesome experience and I am really pleased with my results for a first timer. Thanks go out to Kevin at Tri On The Run for coaching me and of course my wife and family for putting up with my crazy training hours and constant complaining!

What's next you might ask? Well I think my next big goal is to do a full 100 MILE ultra. If I choose to punish myself this way, I will likely do it later in the year. There is a 100 Mile race here in Bandera that is basically this course done three times.

Stay tuned for photo's to be added to the website. Until then, Tri your best!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bandera 100 KM Ultra is Almost Here!

Happy New Year dear Readers!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. Mine was very busy with lots and lots of running! I am now just a few days away from the Bandera 100 KM foot race and I feel very ready for it. I took this race much more seriously than I did last year, so barring any falls, etc. I think I should finish fine.

The Weather looks like it is going to be clear and very cold in Bandera. Race will start at about 20 degrees and only get as high as 45 degrees. I am sure to get my racing clothes layered so that I don't freeze to death!

I bought another storage bin to use in the transition areas. That gives me a total of two. I will pack some extra clothes, shoes, food, medical stuff etc. so that if I need to make some changes mid-race, I am as prepared as possible.

The Taper is going very nicely. Did 5 miles yesterday mixed it up with stair climbing and elliptical. I did 4 miles on the elliptical during lunch today. Trying to keep things nice and easy on the joints. I have a off day tomorrow and Friday I will do some very light weights and only 3 miles.

Friday I will be driving to San Antonio and checking into the hotel and then driving to the race site for my pre-race meeting and packet pickup.

I plan on doing some video and pictures with my Droid phone during the race, so I have been practicing a little with it to make sure I can do it properly. I will post a videos after the race (assuming I survive!).

I will probably do one more blog update before the race to let everyone know what is what.

Tri your best!