Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Few Random Photos

Running along Ali'i Drive...
Post race with my support crew
Classic Kona sunset!
Scenery along the "Road to Hana" in Maui

2:53 v 2:42

Crossing paths with Chris McCormack. His 2:42 form looks a heck of a lot more relaxed than my 2:53 form at the moment.

I have been enjoying the three week down time from training and getting my glute healed. The weather has been absolutely amazing since my return from Kona and I have tried to make the most of it with a few hikes and time on the mountain bike. My pre-base training kicks off next Monday. It's always fun to lose some fitness, put on a few pounds and then get back to work. The 7 am yoga class has been refreshing and my body is "unfolding" better than I expected. I am excited about the 2008 season kicking off with IM New Zealand in early March. As the winter weather rolls in I am looking at a few options for a quality block of training during January and early February in a warmer climate. If anyone has some ideas, let me know. At the moment I am considering Austin and Tempe. Kona is also being tossed around.

Happy Halloween and safe trick or treating!

Keep it smooth...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Strained Glut

With some lingering tightness since my return from Kona I made an appointment with PT guru Bob Cranny at Altitude Physical Therapy. I was keen on getting his insight on things and it turns out I have a strained upper glut muscle where it attaches to the lower back. The pain I experienced in Kona was not back related, but the strained glut. Bob initially thought my SI joint was out of whack, but after an evaluation he determined the glut was strained and now healing. At some point I tweaked it in training just before the race, although nothing jumps out at me. I did feel some tightness post my final long ride the week before the race in Kona, which was probably the initial symptom. Anyway, I will have a few more sessions with Bob for ultrasound and continue to stretch & ice it.

A few final thoughts on Kona...

- It is like no other IM event I have raced. The conditions and terrain are unique and the field is loaded with talent. To be top 10 requires a strong, balanced day in all three disciplines. Guys like Patrick Vernay and Michael Lovato did just that on race day...never being right up front, but solid throughout the day.

- Illness is common. Perhaps the gathering of athletes from across the globe in a relatively small area makes one susceptible to bugs & viruses. Several athletes withdrew or had less than ideal days due to illness.

- Be True to Yourself. As race day approaches and the energy builds around town, it is easy to get caught up in what so and so is wearing or how so and so is training. Have confidence in your preparation, know your limits and what works for you and make the best of it on race day!

Keep it smooth...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sand to Snow

My non-stop flight from Kona Saturday night arrived in Denver early Sunday morning to a bit of wintery weather with snow, rain and temps in the 30s. We were a bit late with our arrival, so me and a few friends (Joanna, Mark & Michael) hung out in the warmth of the terminal over some hot coffee and rather tasteless muffins. Fortunately all our bags arrived without incident, save my bike box which is sitting in some guy's storage unit in Kona. Instead of carting my bike around the islands, I made arrangements for my bike to be stored and then dropped off at the Kona International Airport before I made the connection to my final flight. The minutes ticked by and no sign of my guy. His business card did not have a cell phone so I figured he must have forgotten as I never receieved a call. It was a weeee bit awkward boarding that plane without my bike, but I am hoping he did indeed forget our meeting time and will ship the bike on Monday. I will have to keep you posted...I honestly do not want to deal with any drama.

It will certainly feel comfy to sleep in my bed tonight and enjoy another week off from training. I am looking forward to getting back to yoga this week though. Other items on the list include sponsorship follow-up, new sponsorship contacts, tentative 2008 race schedule, fundraising follow-up and contacts for speaking engagements. If I get really motivated I will download some pics from Kona.

My current read is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini which tells the story of an Afghani boy.

Keep it smooth...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sick in Maui

Apparently the race really jacked my body. After arriving in Maui yesterday afternoon I have been holed up in a cozy condo with the chills, fever, cold sweats and aching throughout my body. Hopefully it is something of the 24 hour variety.

In reflecting on my 2007 season I would have to say it was perhaps my most challenging and frustrating year of racing. I definitely made more gains as evident from my training, but come race day no one is looking in the training log. Despite not having my ideal race in Kona, I know that performance does not define me as an athlete or person. I ran an IM marathon PR and given how my back was feeling I was pleased with that. My nutrition plan was solid as well and I never felt depleted or experienced any cramping.

Random, lucid thoughts I know, but that is where I am at the moment.

Keep it smooth...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

2007 Ford Ironman World Championship

Collateral Damage - stiff back, sore legs, swollen feet, blisters, lost big toenail, sunburn, large serving of humble pie

Swim (1:00) - This was perhaps my best swim start as I was determined to keep my head down and swim hard the first 300 meters. It was a typical IM race start with a lot of body contact as I swam over and around other athletes. I did not sight at all until well into the swim as I had successfully secured a good draft. Through the turn-around I was feeling comfortable and swimming with two others. From my sighting it appeared a large group was about 100-200 meters ahead of us. The currents seemed stronger coming back towards the swim exit, but I still felt pretty good about things.

Bike (5:21) - Ughh! This was my second slowest IM bike split. My friends thought I was haivng mechanical issues or crashed. There was some hearty headwind along the Queen K and the final climb up to the turn-around at Hawi. My lower back began to bother as I rode through the wind gusts up to Hawi, but I thought it would loosen up as I made the descent with a good tailwind. My friend Billy rode up to me along the descent and I stayed with him briefly. He soon rode out of my sights. Making the turn back on the Queen K I was passed by numerous athletes and with 30-35 miles to go I was in a world of hurt. It was a VERY long ride back to T2. I had serious thoughts about pulling the plug with the amount of pain and inablity to stay aero. I just reminded myself to keep moving forward, but it was not fun to have soooo many athletes pass me with ease including JZ, Heather Gollnick, Hillary Biscay and others. My buddy Brandon rode by as I was out of the saddle in an effort to stretch my back asking, "You alright." "No, my back is jacked" I responded with frustration. Heading back towards T2 another Boulderite (Jeff Keill) caught me and encouraged me to run well.

Run (2:53) - Fortunately my back did not bother for the run and I was able to have a decent go. My focus was on keeping hydrated, cool and fueling. While I don't know my splits, I probably went out a weee bit too hard as the final three miles were ugly. It was great to have family, friends and Zane along the run course encouraging me to keep working. With no cloud cover I knew once I left town it was going to be pretty toasty along the Queen K and into the Natural Energy Lab. I simply told myself to keep moving forward. Coming down the hill on Palani I was feeling pretty well spent. The positve energy from the spectators pushed me to the finish line on Ali'i Drive to a 9:21:07 and 78th overall.

Boulder was well-represented within both the pro & age-group ranks and congrats to those who finished in fine fashion!

While this was not my ideal race I am grateful for the gift of good health to be out there competing in such an incredible event. Nutritionally, I felt good throughout the day. My body feels like it was just run over by a truck, but I will enjoy a relaxing week in the islands with a visit to Maui and Ohau. Someone asked me after the race, "Is it worth it?" Yes, without a doubt!

A HUGE thanks to everyone who was out on the course encouraging me, tracking me on-line and sending me positive thoughts. My efforts would not be possible without the support of my family, friends, coach and sponsors!



Monday, October 08, 2007

Race Week Baby

Monday in Kona has seen a significant increase in activity as race week begins! Things were quite peppy at the Gatorade swim this morning. I enjoyed getting back in the ocean for an easy effort. This afternoon, well in about two hours actually, I move from Joanne's house into my condo at the Kona Reef. It has been super comfy kicking it at Joanne's mountainside home the past week and the new digs should be just as inviting! Last night I had dinner with a few friends in town and made a visit to our friend Carole who got her eggs scrambled pretty good two days ago while riding...two broken wrists, broken vertebrae and some minor road rash. Her sense of humor is uncanny though and I know she will be out and about within a couple of days. Funny thing is Carole is the coach for double amputee Scott Rigsby who is racing this weekend. Scott has no legs and Carole has two broken limbs. The weather continues to be somewhat cool with overcast skies. How about the craziness that took place at the Chicago Marathon yesterday...yikes! I have never heard of a marathon being cancelled like that with thousands of athletes still on the course.

The days leading up to Saturday will go quickly. Wednesday afternoon I was asked to speak at a local school which should be fun. Thursday is the pro race meeting and my typical two day pre-race day off. My parents and some friends will be rolling in throughout the week, but I'll pretty much keep a low profile and simply enjoy the atmosphere as the energy builds.

Thanks for reading!

Keep it smooth...

Friday, October 05, 2007

Kona Mountain Coffee

The week has been rolling along in fine fashion. There has been a fair amount of cloud cover which has kept the temps reasonably "cool". The humidity is still a bugger though. My homestay is fan-freaking-tastic and just down the Queen K towards town is the recently opened Kona Mountain Coffee shop & store. Oh man, their coffee is soooo good and this week has been on sale for a buck! Best deal in town!! I saw several cronies at this morning's swim which was fun and this afternoon had an easy run. Along the Queen K is a state park called Kakolo National Park. It has a several "trails" which traverse a large lava field to the ocean and a couple of fish ponds. Well, I found a splendid dirt road down to a secluded beach with a short sandy trail. In addition to being on a soft surface (once off the lava rock trail) the sandy trail along the ocean offerred some shade :) The dirt road can be accessed from the Queen K, but it is unmarked. I doubt too many atheltes venture down it. If you are ever in Kona and have an easy run to complete, this is the place. Mums the word though!

Keep it smooth...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Big Island

Aloha from the big island of Kona!

My travels yesterday went as planned with no issues. It is great to be back in Kona and staying with my friend Joanne and her two little weiner dogs Lucy & Nani. Joanne lives in a new house since my visit in 2005 and it is conveniently located about five minutes from the airport. As I type I am kicking it on her lanai with my Kona coffee and enjoying the splendid view from her mountainside home which overlooks the lava fields and Pacific ocean.

Having sat on a plane for close to seven hours yesterday, I completed a little 20 minute shake-out run under the stars with a good stretch before calling it a night. My plan this morning is to venture into town and get in a good swim at the race site, hit the grocer store, build the bike for an easy spin along the Queen K and an easy run later this afternoon.

I brought my camera to document the beauty of the island, but wouldn't you know I forgot to bring the little cord to download to my computer...damn!

Keep it smooth...