Saturday, August 28, 2010


First off, a BIG thank you to everyone who sent me a little luck before the race and to everyone who celebrated in my achievement. I am still in shock and disbelief that I was able to rock the race course this morning and pull out a 3rd place finish in my age group. This girl NEVER stands on the podium at a triathlon...NEVER! I am so used to being a middle of the pack gal or a top 20 chick. Today was so foreign to me.

I was up by 3:00 am and out the door at 4:00 am for a 50+ mile drive across town to Clear Lake, TX. I grew up in that area so the race course was going to be on roads I was very familiar with. I got to Clear Lake Park with plenty of time to leisurely get my bike ready and fill my bottles before walking across the street to the transition area and body marking. The racks were numbered in groups but you could rack your bike wherever you wanted on the rack. I did one quick look around and moved my bike into a spot at the end of one rack where it butted up against another. What the ladies at the end of the rack did not see was that I had positioned my bike right in front of the Swim In/Run Out entrance/exit. I think I was even closer to the exit than the Elite racers! Top it off, our rack was one of the closest ones to the Bike In/Bike Out. Add to the fact that I was in the first wave after the Elite start. Stuff like that just does not happen to me. I am usually in the last wave and somewhere in the middle or at the far end of the transition area. It was like the Perfect Storm.

A lot of my Team in Training friends were racing this morning as well. Coach Luke, Norma, Ryan, Audrey, James, Ross, Rochelle, Taryen, Andy, Carlton and Jade were racing either the Sprint or the Olympic distance. I told my buddy Ryan that he would catch me on the bike when we reached the Kemah Bridge.
Ryan is a triathlon stud and super fast. We did a group picture and then it was time for me to hustle to the start. I even ran into a girl that I was on high school swim team with before the race! She was two years behind me and her bother was my age and he swam as well. We both saw each other and after 22 years we knew exactly who we were looking at. We both still looked fit and we still had our swimmer bodies. Very cool!

The Elite racers and my wave were all moved into the water and then last minute announcements were made and the National Anthem was sang. BANG! The gun went off for the Elites and we moved up to the start line. I had positioned myself at the far buoy in line with the buoy line and there were very few people there with me. BANG! And we were off. The visibility in Clear Lake is almost zero and it is salt water. Clear Lake empties into Galveston Bay so there are some major differences between Clear Lake and a regular lake. I settled into my pace and started looking for the orange buoys. The sun was not really up yet so there was still a purple haze that hung in the sky. The water was smooth and almost glassy. There were patches of hot water and patches of refreshingly cool water as well. As I got close to the yellow turn buoy for the sprint racers I had a gal start to get in a tussle with me. She had swam from the other side of the pack and was trying to get in line with the buoys. I smacked her around as much as she smacked me around and then I let her pass and I got out of her way. I could see that there were maybe three or four pink caps in front of me. I settled back into my pace and noticed that the sun now looked like a big rosy orange globe sitting in the purple haze on the horizon over my left shoulder. It was still on target to the yellow turn buoy down by the Hilton hotel. After the turn, it was about 150 meters up to the next turn buoy. On the way back in, the water got a little choppy and I found it hard to stay on the buoy line. I always felt like I was being pushed away from the line. I sighted one time and a fish jumped out of the water in front of me. To pass the time I started counting my strokes. I had not had anyone pass me other than that gal I had tussled with. I saw the last buoy and the orange chute poles near the swim exit when two gals in green caps and one in a white cap caught me and passed me up. I did not like being passed but I was happy it took them that long to catch me and that they were not pink caps.

I swam up the ramp and leaped up and started running up the grass to transition as I was unzipping and pulling down my Blue Seventy Swim Skin and once in transition, I was right at my bike. Yahoo!!! I got my Pterodactyl helmet on, slipped my Spi Belt with my race number on it up over my hips and grabbed my bike and ran the 20 paces (literally!) to the Bike Out.

There were two other girls at the mount line with me and we hit the bike course. I let one gal go ahead as I slipped my feet into my bike shoes and started changing gears. The other girl I passed up pretty fast. We were on NASA Rd. 1 that runs in front of the Johnson Space Center. We would pass that on the way back in. I knew I had a little time before we got to our first corner where we would turn onto Hwy. 149 so I took advantage of the time to drink and to take in some calories after my heart rate settled down. I ended up passing three gals to the corner. I was zipping along at 22 and 23 mph. Once on Hwy 149 I saw the Kemah Bridge ahead of me.
I just kept the speed up to see how far I would get up the bridge on momentum. Even when I had to start working I was still pedaling at 14.7 mph. I passed a gal on the way down the other side of the bridge and was thankful that there was good police support to hold traffic as I came up on a busy intersection. I passed another guy and then, there was only one or possible two people way off in the distance ahead of me. I just kept pedaling, drinking, and checking on my heart rate. My goal was to keep my heart rate at or below 140 bpm but I was doing good just to keep it at 143. I would take it. The strangest thing I saw on the bike course? The banner at the side of the road that was advertising that on MWF I could watch midget wrestling and on TTh I could catch oiled women wresting at a local bar.

Remember how I told my good buddy Ryan that he would catch me on the Kemah Bridge? He did not catch me until mile after mile 9 when we were almost to the next turn. He started breezing by me and said I was doing awesome and wanted to know if any other men had passed me. I told him "No" and told him I would see him later. Ryan made the corner about 100 yards in front of me and now we were on FM (Farm to Market) 517 that would take us into Dickenson, TX. I had a few guys fly by me and one gal who was in my age group. It was time for Shot Bloks and S-Caps and more fluids. I had emptied my aero-bottle and was starting to empty another bottle. I passed another gal and soon it was time to turn back north and head for home. The road surface became bumpy chip-n-seal and I lost both of my CO2 cartridges. I prayed that I would not flat out. Thankfully the road smoothed out as we entered League City, TX. There was a nice patch of shade and I got passed by a gal who was not in my age group and another guy. I just kept my pace going. My legs were getting a little tired, but I seemed to be able to maintain my pace. Rolling through League City, I was surprised at all the new commercial business. I rolled through the intersection near my old high school and I knew that I did not have many miles left to go. It was time for more Shot Bloks and now all I had was Gatorade left in my one bottle. Now I was starting to see some back of the pack stragglers from the Sprint race. I made the final turn from Egret Bay Blvd back onto NASA Rd. 1 and started having to shout at people to move over to the right. Oh, and a message to the Crackhead who was sitting up and riding his bike with his arms stretched out over his head, PUT YOUR HANDS BACK ON THE HANDLEBARS. Thanks,...on your left. I had another guy pass me on this last stretch. I stayed about 5 bike lengths back and just followed him in. I saw all the people from the Sprint race on the run course and made sure to slip my feet out of my shoes and get ready to dismount.

With a smooth dismount and 20 paces back to the bike rack, I heard my friend Coach Jay cheering for me. I slipped on my socks and Newtons and got rid of my helmet and grabbed my Fuel Belt and hat and turned around and took two cups of water from a volunteer and dumped them over my head and ran out on the run course.

My pace was a little fast and ragged at first. Once I got my Fuel Belt on I realized that I had made a mistake of trying to put 10 oz. bottles in my Fuel Belt that normally held 7 0z. bottles. The bottles were bouncing around on my back and I lost each bottle and retrieved them in the first 300 meters. I had to turn my Fuel Belt around so that I could hold on to the tops of the bottles as I ran. It was not as bad as it sounds. I fell into a steady pace and gave a shout out to all the TNT people who were coming in from the Sprint race. I hit the first corner into the Bar Harbor neighborhood and found a little shade. Ahhhh!!! At the aid station I grabbed more cups of water to pour over my head and kept going. We took a right turn and ran back into the sun. I saw a gal in my age group try to pass me and then she doubled over and grabbed her calf. I kept on running. A few minutes later, after passing the Sprint turn around, she caught up to me again and asked if I had an extra gel. I told her I only had one on me. She told me thank you and said she could not believe that she ran out of transition without her gel. As she started running off I remembered that I had a gel in my tri top jersey that I put in there before the race started and suddenly I started feeling really bad for telling her I could not help her out. I didn't know how well the Clif Shot was going to help her cramps, but I knew that an S-Cap would set her straight. I called her back and told her that I had some salt caps if she wanted one and she gladly said yes. I fished one out for her and she popped it in her mouth. We exchanged names, she thanked me profusely, and I told her to save me a spot on the podium as she ran off. She did not have too far to run before we hit the second aid station. Again, I dumped water all over me and kept going. Now the runners had thinned out to just those who were doing the Olympic distance. There were a few guys who passed me and I was seeing the fast Elite runners and some of the gals who were ahead of me on the way back in. We were out in the sun again and it was starting to get hot. I just kept on trotting along holding onto the tops of my bottles. I saw Ryan on his way back in when I hit about 2 and a quarter miles. We hit a slight rise running into Nassau Park to get to the 3.1 mile turn around. Even though my goal was to run the entire way, I had to walk to drink a full cup of Gatorade. I grabbed water and poured it over my head as well. Now my socks were starting to get wet. After finishing my cup of Gatorade it was time to run again. On the way out of the park I had one of the TNT guys from the Nations Tri Team pass me up and cheer me on. I saw one of my kid's swim coaches on his way into the park as well. I know Coach Alan is a good runner (he qualified for Boston), so I knew it was only a matter of time before he caught me. I just kept on trotting along. I saw Robin from my tri club who is an excellent racer. She always places in the top three in our age group. She pointed at me and said, "I told you so! See you are ahead of me!" I was starting to focus on my breathing and the sound of it but it was wigging me out. I was at ventilary threshold 1 and I did not want to get to VT2 where the body goes anaerobic and you start imploding. So rather than listening to my breathing I started people watching and looking for the steeple on the church we had run by at mile 2. More people were running to the turn around and I was glad that I was ahead of the curve on this one. After passing the 2/4 mile aid station I saw my buddy Luke from TNT, I saw James from TNT, I saw Greyhound, and I saw Robbie, a friend of mine that I have known for a long time who started out coming to my cycle classes many years ago. The 1/5 mile aid station was getting close. I dumped more water on me for totally soaked socks and ran into the shade along a row of trees before heading back out onto NASA Rd. 1 and back into the sun. I checked my watch and saw that it was 9:33 am. Oh well, no PR today. As I ran past the Hilton I started to count my strides in time with my breathing. Now I felt like I was in "No Man's Land" There were only a few people heading out on the run course, a few stragglers left from the Sprint distance and very few of us, dare I say, fast people at the front. I only got passed by a few men on the way back from the turn around and I really thought that there would have been more. I did not get passed by any women!!! I hit 100 on my count and I started over again. I could see transition and the swim start out on the boat ramp. It was not far now. I saw the 6 mile sign and not far past it, the 3 mile Sprint sign. We were up off the street and on a stretch of sidewalk now and people were cheering for us. I saw Jay again with his camera. There was a hard right turn into the park and then it was down the chute and into the Finish Line. I saw that the time clock read 2:40: and change and I was happy with that.

I guzzled down a bottle of water and mingled with all the TNT gang. I was happy to be done and happy with my effort. Ryan and I stood in the shade under a pavilion talking about our respective races. We tried looking at the results but not many Olympic distance stats were up yet. We saw Luke come across the line and I waited along the fence to see a few more people finish. They were starting the awards ceremony and going through the Elite winners. A few people had asked me my final time but I was not really sure. The announcement of my age group was getting close. When Dave Rainey, Race Announcer Extraordinaire and one of our Tri club founders, read off "The Third Place Women's Age Group Winner with a time of 2:39:44, Elizabeth Garcia...", I could not believe it. I ran up from behind the table, and like an idiot I was jumping up and down and squealing like a stuck pig. The girl who I gave the salt cap to...she came in second. I gave her a big hug and she thanked me again. I have no clue who won first place. I can't even remember what she looks like. But we all got our picture together so I will have to check it out. I got lots of congratulations from the TNT gang and from other people in the crowd. I must have had a look on my face like I had just seen George Clooney in the nude or I had just won the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes.

Yes, all of the hard work that I have been doing paid off today. Now I have to keep working because I have the Longhorn Ironman 70.3 in October. Brick work is going to be very important over the next few weeks. So how am I rewarding myself? I drank a Dr. Pepper, I ate a hamburger and a cup cake, and I am letting myself sleep in tomorrow morning. After that, it is back to work. As soon as I get pictures from the race, I will post them.

Later Gators,


Thursday, August 26, 2010


I did packet pick-up yesterday and got my race number for Saturday morning. I am #52 and I am in the first AG wave after the Elite start. That NEVER happens. I still have to wear a damn pink cap. I'd like to see a race director give a men's wave pink caps for once and then they will know how I feel about pink caps. We got a nice Brooks tech shirt and a pair of socks in our bag as well as a Hammer Gel and a Power Bar.

I ran into a gal who will be my competition on Saturday. She said I was going to pass her up on the run. She said I was an awesome runner. WTF??!!?? Who has been spreading those rumors about me??? And this is from a chick who is HARD CORE and FAST. She always places in her (our) age group and she has done a few Ironman races as well. I think she has been misinformed.

As I said in my last post, I just don't want to get my @$$ handed to me in this race. I have been working hard to build speed not only on the bike but as the run as well. My run has always been my Achilles Heel, so to say. I have a great swim and a great bike and then the wheels fall off on the run. I don't know if it improper fueling and hydration on the bike. I may be going too hard on the bike and then have nothing left for the run. I have dealt with crazy high heart rates while shuffling along at a 11:00 min pace and also have had no power to even pick up my feet to run. My last Olympic distance race was 2 years ago. It was not good. I finished. I had a good swim and a great bike, but the run was miserable. I had to walk a lot of it. I could not keep my heart rate down and I had no power in my legs. I was also running at one of the hottest parts of the morning in Texas: 10:30 to 11:30 am. I had been in the last wave of a larger race and we did not start until after 8:30 am. It was demoralizing. I had come off of a good 70.3 race in Switzerland a few months earlier with a good run and I had been doing some running in the heat to prepare for the San Antonio Rock n' Roll Marathon. I was doing long runs of up to 15 miles at the time the Austin Tri rolled around. And then I could not even run 6.2 miles. I cried.

Looking back I don't think that I drank enough fluids during the race or kept up with my nutrition. I could have gone too hard on the bike and used up some of my run energy. The short course races are not about sustaining a good pace for 5+ or 13+ hours. They are all about going as fast as you possibly can and seeing how long you can hang out in the Pain Cave. I might not have been rested enough. Well, I am doing things differently this time around.

Yesterday I had a challenging brick workout and all I did today was a trainer ride of 6 X 5 min tempo drills with varying resistance. I also took a good nap this morning. I was supposed to go swim, but I skipped it. Tomorrow is usually a strength training and a bike day. It will not be happening. I am doing a short 20 minute run and then taking it easy tomorrow. I am drinking lots of fluids because yesterday I was behind on them. Sleep and rest are important. Bed time is in 30 minutes.

I ate kinda crappy tonight (Chuy's Tex-Mex) but I brought left-overs home. I will be eating clean tomorrow. I even made a Ruby Red Grapefruit Pie that is now in my fridge. I don't think I will be having a slice tonight. I'm too stuffed.

So here are my goals for the race:

1.) Have a good but even swim staying close to the buoy line.

2.) Keep my heart rate at or below 140 on the bike. I do have a big bridge that goes over a boat traffic lane to Galveston Bay but the rest of the ride is flat and fast. Drink enough to have to pee on the bike. I want to empty my areobottle and the bottle on the frame. That should be at least 57 oz. of fluids.

3.) Start out slower on the run and find my legs in the first half mile. Find my pace, settle in, venture into the Pain Cave and no walking.

We shall see how it goes. Thanks for all the well wishes, and keep them coming. I need the good mojo thoughts.

Later Gators,


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Race Week

So I have been busy. I did not get out a post last week because my summer vacation ended sooner than I thought it would. I had some great workouts where I stacked a 90 minute bike ride on top of a 4 hour bike ride just 12 hours apart from each other. I also got in a good long run in the heat. Pool work was good and strength training was spot on. I was on my own at home and enjoying my solitude. I even went to the movies and saw The Other Guys. I laughed so hard I caught myself snorting a few times. Pimps don't cry....

Well everything came to a halt last Tuesday. I found out that a fellow Team in Training coach, and friend, had lost her battle with cancer. Sue was only 50. She was a super athlete and a super coach and her nickname was "Super Sue". I ran the Seattle Rock n' Roll Marathon in her honor. So very sad.
I also had to get the house picked up a bit and retrieve my kid from the airport at midnight after his trip to the San Juan Islands with my Dad, my Step Mom, my Step Bro, Eric and my sister-in-law, Diane, and cousins, Max, Spencer, Evan, and Jason. He had a great time. Well I found out at 6pm that El Esposo was also on his way home from Chile where he has been since the beginning of July. I really had to get the house clean!!! I stayed up late cleaning rather than taking a nap before heading to the airport to get the kid, got to bed around 1:30 am, got a few hours of sleep, was up and cleaning again by 6:15 am, and just missed getting the sheets changed on the bed before El Esposo walked in the door at 7:30 am. My clean house became messy again with exploding travel bags and wet towels on the floors of the bathrooms.

So with that drama out of the way on Wednesday morning it was off to work and get my workouts done. On Thursday we had neighbor drama. We came home from eating out and saw our neighbor across the street sitting on her porch with the front door standing open, a cell phone in her hand, and her chest heaving. I ran across the street to check on her and she was hysterical. I asked if her husband was ok or if she needed an ambulance. She mumbled something about her husband and that he left and that it was too embarrassing and she could not tell me. I saw that her feet were bleeding and then I turned as El Esposo and the kid were coming up the walk....and then I saw the car. One of my neighbor's cars had all of the windows and lights smashed out and there was a shovel sticking out of the windshield. The car had all sorts of dents and scratches on it and glass was all over the place. Then I saw a police car drive by and I started out in a sprint to chase down the car as I was yelling and waving my arms. The cop finally saw me and slowed down about 4 houses down. My neighbor only wanted to talk to the police about what happened and El Esposo said he would be back in 15-20 minutes with a first aid kit. It seems that my neighbor's husband (who I have never seen in the 10 years we have lived in this house) got fired from his job for having material on his work computer that was not supposed to be there. And this was not the first time that it had happened. My neighbor went nuts and went after her husband's car with the shovel. Then, to top it off, when El Esposo goes back over to check on her and to retrieve an inhaler in her kitchen, he finds out that the neighbor is a hoarder. BAD, like Discovery channel bad. In a span of one hour we found out more about our neighbor than we had known in all of the 10 years we have been living in our house.

I tried to get to bed at a decent hour because I had to be up at 4:20 am to get a 90 minute bike workout in. I got to the park a little late because I hit the snooze button one too many times, but I got my full 90 minutes in. I did just shy of 30 miles and when I finished at 6:37 am it was already 85 degrees outside. The sun wasn't even up yet. On the way home I was treated to a rainbow dropping out of the clouds as a little reward for my hard work. I ate a big second breakfast and headed off to work. Later that day, we did family movie night and we saw Salt. Pretty good stuff. The ending leaves things open for a sequel.

On Saturday morning, Greyhound and I did an Ironman Texas bike course reconnaissance mission. We left from where the transition area will be set up and we followed the tentative course that has been talked about out to Montgomery, Texas. This is going to be a fast course! As we were rolling along at 25 mph, all I could think was that White Hot Ironman Ryan would be zooming by us at 31 mph. The road conditions are good. There was only one area where there were some cracks in the pavement and I am sure they will be sealed. The first 30 miles is pretty smooth with a few rolling hills and good shoulders on the roads. The Exxon station in Montgomery has Dublin Dr. Pepper for a pure cane sugar pick-me-up and clean bathrooms. We saw a bunch of other cyclists and triathletes out on the ride as well. On the way back, we took the tentative route back to transition and found that the roads were smooth with only one stretch that did not have a shoulder on Jefferson where it becomes 149. We found another good Shell gas station that had Mexican Coke (again, pure cane sugar) and Coconut Water! I was stoked. We only encountered one massive a-hole in a Hummer that honked at us and tried to run us off the road about 7-8 miles from the end of our 65 mile jaunt. The rest of the day I tried to stay in the air conditioning and drink lots of fluids. The Pan-Pacific Swimming Championships were on television so staying inside was pretty easy to do. Oh, I also got to see one of my TNT buddies/fellow coach, Bill Dwyer. Bill, it was SO good to see you and give your friend a big hug for the lovely compliments she gave me. They made my day. :)

This morning I got in a hot and sweaty 9 mile run in Zone 2 and Zone 3. Again the goal was to stay in the air conditioning and drink lots of fluids. Eh, not so much. I had to do some school supply shopping for the kid and hit the grocery for lunch stuff and pizza makings. Yes, I made homemade pizza for diner and there are left-overs if any of you want some. So now I have to convince someone to start getting ready for bed and El Esposo leaves in 30 minutes to head to Venezuela.

This week should be an easy week because I have my first race of the season on Saturday. I will be racing in the Clear Lake International Triathlon. It is an Olympic distance and my first race in the 40-44 age group. I am a little nervous because this is the first Olympic distance in two years. I am also nervous because there are a ton of fast women in my age group at these shorter races. I have a feeling I am going to get my @$$ handed to me big time. Any encouraging words would be helpful even if it is, "Just don't crash your bike." I am comfortable at the long course distances, but short course is giving me the willies.

Well, I will let you know how it goes,

Later Gators,


Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Crucible

Ok, so many of you had to read Arthur Miller's play, "The Crucible" in school. How could you forget all that Salem Witch Trial Awesomeness? It was Arthur Miller's response to McCarthyism and having been interrogated by the House of Representatives' Committee on Un-American Activities to name "names" of other people who were in attendance at meetings and gatherings he had attended. Well, I am not talking about that "Crucible", I am talking about the porcelain containers used in a lab or in a forge that can withstand temperatures that would melt or alter its contents.

I live in a crucible. It is called Texas. Frankly, I love it. I don't want to hear your moaning and whining about the heat and the humidity. HTFU!!! I don't want to hear your complain about the sweat running down your butt crack. Go put on some Cool Max!!! I don't want to see you simpering as you exit an air conditioned car or building into the heat. Toughen up Buttercup!!! I don't want to hear you rationalize why you cannot do your workout because of the temperature outside. HYDRATE!!!

I make my own weather. In my sphere of influence, the heat warms me up from being frozen inside some building that is overly air conditioned. In my little world, the humidity keeps the wrinkles at bay and gives me that youthful "dewy" look. In my neck of the woods, sweating lets me release toxins and reminds me to take a cool sip of iced tea (unsweetened please). If I can master heat training, then I have a leg up over you. You have a heat index of 109 degrees?


Yesterday the wind was non-existent. The sky was clear. The mosquitoes were at bay. It was a perfect morning as the sun started to lighten up the sky before it peeked over the horizon. I had 2 hours and 30 minutes of bike/run fun ahead of me. My goal was to be rolling at or before 7 am so that I would be finished by 9:30 and home before the kid got up. There is a park just a short 15 minute drive from my house that provides me with a 4 mile bike loop and many run loop combinations. I had directions from my coach to make the bike long and the run medium in length. I was to focus on keeping the heart rate steady on the bike and to see how things panned out on the run.

When I got to the park, my friend and fellow tri coach, Jay, was there with his TNT group. I parked away from their group and got my bottles and nutrition on the bike and got ready to go. At 6:57 am, I rolled out of the parking lot and headed out on the loop. I like this park because there is very little traffic and the cars that do run through the park know that cyclists and runners are out on the road. I got in almost three laps before the TNT group that Jay coaches hit the road. They had a run/bike/run brick that they were tackling. Jay had told me that there were some pretty fast guys in his group and a few who had done an Ironman as well.

I guess that it is like the bloodhounds when they grab hold of the scent of a rabbit. Those boys had seen me zooming past on my bike and they were out now to chase the rabbit down. Please tell me why it is that there are boys/men who do not like gals who know how to handle a bike and can hold their own out on the road? Why??? Well, many of those boys jumped in the loop right after I passed on the start of my third loop and began the chase. It took them a mile or two to catch up with me and then they screamed on past without an "On your left..." or anything. I have a term for you, and it is not a nice one. My buddy Ryan caught up to me around the 3 mile mark in the loop and we chatted for almost a mile and then I told him to go ahead because I was working on a pace and he was making me work too hard. All I had to focus on was a heart rate of 140 bpm.

I would watch the heart rate get up to 145 or 147 and I knew that I had to drink and calm my breathing. As soon as I took a drink, the heart rate would drop back into the 130's. I fueled and kept up with the salt and electrolytes as if I was racing. I was dialing it in. I kept my bike speed up in the 19-20 mph range the entire time. Because I was rolling along pretty well, I did pass a bunch of people. 24 women and 8 men to be exact. Playing "Fishing" and reeling people in gave me something to do other than watching my heart rate.

After 1 hour and 50 minutes I had finished 8 loops and an out and back on part of the loop to give me a total of 36.27 miles at an average pace of 19.78 mph and I kept the heart rate at an average of 140 bpm. SWEET!!!

As I was quickly transitioning and loading my bike in the car, one of my girlfriends, Lauren, drove by in the parking lot and said she was glad to see me and we needed to get together. I told her that I would see her at the Bridgelands tri the next morning (today) to cheer for her. I had to keep on top of my time to get my run done.

By now, the sun was high in the sky and a few clouds had rolled in. The temps were in the mid 80's by now and I had 40 minutes of running in front of me. As I took off, many of the TNT group were now on their run as well. I just started picking them off one by one. I kept the pace at a place where I knew I could go into cruise control and not have to walk. I felt slow. Even thought I was slow, no one passed me up and was getting the work done. Each loop was .93 mile and I thought about how that was the same distance of an Oly swim. I would have been much slower if I was swimming those loops. After 4 loops I looked at my watch and saw that I still had 5 minutes to go. I could have stopped there and walked to my car in the parking lot but I knew I had to push it and see how far I could go in those last 5 minutes. I thought that I could make it to the back part of the loop where Jay had put an Igloo 5 gallon jug cooler. When I got to the cooler, I still had 2 minutes. Time to reel in two last people. As soon as I caught up and passed them, I looked at my watch and had 15 seconds left. I was able to run 0.6 mile in that 5 minutes. I was able to get 4.3 miles of running in at at 9:19 pace in those 40 minutes. The last loop and a half my cheeks were starting to get tingly feeling which told me that either I was running too hard, I needed salt, or my body temp was getting too high. At 9:35 am when I finished it was 88 degrees with a heat index of 100 degrees. Yeah, I was hot....and not smokin' hot, just HOT.

I walked across the grass to the parking lot where Jay was to say "hello" to him and a few other people I knew. Most people, including the fast guys who had passed me early in their bike workout, looked at me like I was a sweaty alien. I headed to my car, got changed into some dry gear, and high tailed it to the local Taco Cabana and had a big plate of chicken fajita tacos, scrambled eggs, and black beans for a recovery meal. Some of the fast dudes were at the Cabana as well, but no one said a word to me. Strange since I was wearing a TNT visor. Oh well, I guess my sheer awesomeness left them star struck and speechless.....not so much. They probably thought that I was pissy for not saying anything to them.

When I got home, it was just before 11 am and my kid was still in bed. WHAT??!!?? All I can say is that he has a rude awakening coming in two weeks when school starts.

Well, I went out to the Bridgelands Sprint Triathlon and saw a ton of friends race and 15 people that I have coached in the past that were still enjoying the triathlon life. It was a fun morning for me. I will have pictures in the next post.

There is more heat training scheduled for this week and I am ready for it. As I said earlier, I make my own weather. I can withstand the crucible.

Later Gators,


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Garmin Giveaway!

Hey Blog Peeps,

I don't have much that is interesting to say other than my kid is trying to convince me it is in my best interest to take him to the Aerosmith concert tonight.

More exciting though is the Garmin Forerunner 310xt giveaway on DC Rainmaker's Blog!!!

Hop on over to Rainmaker's awesome blog and follow the steps to get your name in the hat.

Later Gators,


Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Ok, maybe it is the lighting and maybe it is just smoke and mirrors. I have been working HARD the last few months. I did all my long runs and finished a marathon. I have been doing TRX workouts for several months now. I did a week of training at 9,000+ feet above sea level. My run splits have dropped, and my bike speed has bumped up. No change in the pool. Meh...

Most importantly, I am now 5-6 pounds lighter than I was for Ironman Cozumel. When you are little, it does not take a huge amount of weight to make a big difference.

Has there been a special diet? No, not really. I have been eating like I normally do, but I have really cut back on big or second helpings. Of course I don't drink much other than water and tea. I do have the occasional adult beverage, but most times I keep it to one. Two can put me under the table. I try to stay away from fried food as much as I can and I have upped my fruit and veggie intake.

I have my first triathlon this year in 25 days. This is my first triathlon in the W 40-44 age group. It will be an Olympic distance triathlon. I have not done one of those in a few years. I am a little nervous about it. All the jackrabbits are going to come out to play and there are some hard core women in my age group. I have a sinking feeling that I am going to place somewhere in the middle of my AG. My testing the week before last spat out a 1:34/100 yd swim pace, a 21.2 mph bike pace, and a 6:40 mile pace....all for a 6 minute effort. My real effort in a race will be WAY SLOWER.

Today was more TRX and a nifty treadmill workout of 30:30 sec. at 6:40 pace or 9 on the treadmill: and 4.5 pace for recovery at a 2% incline. 20 repeats. Now I have to find some lunch and then I have a swim workout. My coach has me doing some hard speed work right now for this Olympic race coming up. We shall see how it goes.

Later Gators,


Monday, August 2, 2010

One Last Mountain Pass

Yesterday was supposed to be the day for The Epic Bike Ride on my trip. There were thoughts of pedaling to Aspen. There were things to be considered though. Mainly it was the weather. This year there has been a lot of rain in the afternoons. Not just a simple rain shower, but electrical storms.

So rather than risk getting caught out in a mess a decision was made to pedal up and over Vail Pass and into Vail, CO, 40 miles away and then check the weather before heading back up and over Vail Pass and back to Breckenridge. Sunday morning was overcast. Not good. This was the first morning where I did not see the sun shining on the mountain tops. The temps were a little cooler and I took measures to make sure I had enough warm gear on. It is always better to be over dressed and to have to peel a layer off than to be under dressed and shivering and wishing you had more layers.

8:00 am was the push-off time. Once hitting the bike path from Breckenridge, it is mainly downhill to Frisco. Strangely, I started crying on this section. I cannot explain why, I just had tears streaming back along the side of my face. I'm going to chalk it up to eye irritation due to the wind. There are some nasty little hills just before Frisco on the bike path where I swear the grade is at least 11% or more. I'm not sure what happened, but on one of these short nasty climbs I had an asthma episode. I got to the top of the hill and had to pull over and gasp for air pretty unsuccessfully. For all I know, it could have been just an altitude thing, or an effort thing. My chest did not feel tight or my airway constricted, but every time I tried to take a big breath of air, I felt like I got nothing in. I did not want panic to set in or to start seeing stars so I just had to hang my head in my handle bars and calm down and relax...and not cry more. WTF was going on???

After that, I felt like my mojo had been sucked out of me. I was not as fast as I would have liked to have been. Once past the hilly and winding section of the bike path I was greeted by a ton of cyclists coming in the other direction on the Courage Classic bike ride. The only bad thing about this was the fact that there are always some a-hole riders who ride into on coming traffic to get around slow or bunched up cyclists. I did my fair share of yelling to tell people to move back over. I was highly agitated. And I was still crying. Yeesh!!!

From Frisco up to Copper Mountain, the bike trail is mainly uphill and it will take about 45 minutes. I was not looking forward to all the cyclists barreling down the path on the other side and potentially taking me out if they swung wide. I made it to Copper Mountain in one piece and thankfully was able to take a nature break at a gas station before getting back on the trail and heading over Vail Pass.

I had to take things slower and I tried to settle in and find a good pedaling and breathing rhythm. I guess I got a little of my mojo back because the landmarks I remember on the path such as the crazy steep switchbacks, the wooden bridge, and the crawl to the scenic overlook came faster than I expected them to. I took a break at the top to fuel back up and to contemplate the weather. It was still overcast but it looked like there were darker clouds in the direction that I was going. No fun.

Once over Vail Pass, the bike path heads downhill past a lake and then rides just below I-70 with a few curves in and out of the trees. I had to pull over and put my long sleeve jersey and gloves back on because I was sweaty and now cold. The path then goes up along the highway and the only thing separating the cyclists from the cars is a long span of plastic orange safety netting. I am not a huge fan of rocketing the downhills on roads that I am not familiar with or roads that I know that have sharp twists and turns in them. This bike path is one of those twisty ones up near the top. I did pick up some good speed and got around 25 mph but I knew I had to be careful. There was sand and loose gravel in several places along the path where rain and snow melt had washed it from the road onto the path. I hit one of these patches of sand and my bike slid left out from under me. I quickly recovered and spat out some obscenities and slowed things down even more before a big swooping drop of the path to go under I-70 where there would be a sharp and blind corner. I did not want to run head first into another cyclist coming the other way. And I started crying again....whatever.

Once back up on the other side of I-70, the path widens out and it bombs for several miles almost straight down into Vail. There is a gate at the bottom but there is plenty of warning and you have a good enough view that you have time to slow it down. I laid off the breaks and let it loose. I saw 35 mph at one time. I was shivering and shaking all the way down. I clenched the top tube with my knees to help steady the bike but my feet were twitching around badly. There were plenty of people coming up the pass in the other direction who did not have on as much gear as I did. And I also saw people riding with no helmet! Again, WTF are you thinking???

Once past the gate it is still down hill into Vail but less aggressively steep. I had to keep an eye out on the cars parked along side of the road due to a kid's soccer tournament. I did not want some Soccer Mom opening her SUV door right in front of me. Once I pulled into Vail and put my bike on a rack, I found The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and got some calories back in me. Sitting on the grass I watched the clouds up over the peaks of the mountains. It was still overcast, but behind me to the west the blue sky was visible. I got to Vail around 10:45 and had to wait a bit for some of the restaurants to start serving lunch. After some food and a scan of the clouds again, the decision was made to scrap the ride back over Vail Pass because it was looking more and more like storms.

On the transport ride back there was rain and lightning at the top of Vail Pass. The rain really got going hard on the stretch from Frisco to Breckenridge. It thundered and rained most of the afternoon and evening. Yeah, you know it. More tears on the ride back to Breckenridge.

I have to pack my bike this morning and drop it off at FedEx and throw my gear in my luggage. The shuttle to the airport comes to pick me up at 11:45 am for a 4:50 pm flight. Again, no fun. That means I will be eating overpriced airport food for lunch. At least I have a good book to while away the hours. From what I hear, it has been HOT in Houston. I'm kinda not looking forward to that, but in some ways I am. Work starts again tomorrow morning at 5:30 am. Boooo!!! But at least it is a cycle class and my group is going to be happy to see me again after having last week off with no class and no sub. I will try not to hurt them with some crazy climbing profile.

Well, that is the long and short of it all. I had a wonderful time here in the mountains and I will have lots of great memories to think back on. I get back to regular coached workouts tomorrow and I get back to life as usual. I am going to chalk the crying up to hormones and the asthma episode up to high strung emotions. From the pic below you can see that I was not crying all the time.

Stay tuned for heat training...

Later Gators,