Friday, September 24, 2010

I'm back...

Thanks to everyone who sent me emails and posted comments concerning Allen Salinas. It has been a rough few weeks for many reasons and that is why I have been absent on my blog. I have had three funerals in three weeks, I messed up another set of expensive wheels on a ride in Austin, I crashed on my bike (a different one) for a stupid reason, I came down with a sinus infection, and my kid is failing math. And now that all of the bad stuff has been noted, let's move on to the good stuff.

I ran in the Zilker Relays in Austin on September 3rd. I had a great team consisting of Greyhound on leg 1, Coach Tammy Metzger on leg 2, Shawn "Hubbster" Barrett (Hubby to Carrie "Tri to be Funny Barrett) on leg 3, and me as the anchor. Our team was named Greyhound's Bitches. Hey, you have to get in the spirit of things. I was the only one on the team under 40 so we could not qualify for the Mixed Masters category. This will come back to haunt me. Basically, this is a "Puke Fest" event and you run as hard and as fast as you can for 2.4 miles against some of the fastest runners in the Austin area.
Team Greyhound's Bitches
Me, Greyhound, Coach Tammy, and Shawn

Trust me, there are some abnormally fast humans in the Austin area. This was an evening event so things got started around 7:00 pm once the sun had started to come down in the sky a bit. Greyhound cracked out a strong 18:35.08 for a average pace of 7:35 per mile. The Bitches were told we had to do as well or better than that...OR ELSE. Coach Tammy is in her off-season so she did great crossing the line in 20:53.06 for an average pace of 8:34 per mile. Shawn was next up and he flew through the course in 16:50.32 for an average pace of 6:54 per mile. Way to go Shawn!!! I was last and had been waiting around for nearly an hour to get my run on.

As I was waiting for Shawn in the transition area to get the wrist band my nerves were on high alert. The adrenalin was pumping and my legs were twitchy. I just hoped that I would not bomb out and crater on this run. The sun was down now but the sky still had some light in it. This means that the temps were better and closer to what I am used to on my morning runs, still up in the upper 70's and low 80's. As I got the hand off from Shawn, I started out my run at a pace that was not out of control but snappy. Within 150-200 yards, the path turned left and went uphill on a gravel path. I could feel my heart rate going up as I was maintaining my speed up that hill. I took a few breathes at the flat at the top before racing past a few people on the way down the hill. After exiting the trail, the course turned left onto Barton Springs Dr. and went uphill again. This was a longer uphill but the course was now on pavement. I passed a person walking up the hill and focused on the guy who passed me and I made him my rabbit. On the way down the hill I cut loose and let the legs fly. I passed a few more women before we turned left and into the park area. At the first aid station I grabbed a cup and got a little sip of water and ended up pouring most of it all over me. It is hard to run fast and drink. The effort was hard and mildly uncomfortable and I made myself calm my breathing so that I would not hit Ventilary Threshold 2 where things go anaerobic. I passed another gal and had to find another rabbit as he was too fast and getting out of sight. I started playing fishing and reeling people in. Now I was getting more walkers. The light was disappearing out of the sky and I wondered why in the world I still had my sunglasses on. Oh yeah, so no one could see how much this was hurting by looking at my face. Going through aid station #2 again I only got a little sip of water and most of it ended up all over me. It was enough to keep my mouth from drying out. There was one last gradual uphill to a turn around point that was back at Barton Springs Dr. The downhill was not as speedy as the other ones, but I was working hard to hold off a gal that was gaining on me at the turn around. At the bottom of the road the course turned left and there was a good 400-500 meter run to the finish. Greyhound, Coach Tammy, and Shawn were all yelling at me, but I had Rhianna yelling at me even louder to "Go Hard or Go Home" in my ear. I turned it on for the last kick and was basically at a sprint with this other gal.

I cannot remember who crossed the mat first but as soon as I stopped I had that "Oh crap, I'm gonna barf!" feeling and started walking around to get away from people if I really did up-chuck my Mahi Mahi fish tacos that I had for lunch and had not set well with my tummy. That's what you get for not asking if the Mahi Mahi is grilled or fried. I got fried. I pulled it together and found the team. I had no idea what my finish time was until later. I ran a 17:44.41 for a 7:16 per mile pace!!! HOLY CROW!!! When did I get fast??? How did that happen??? Our team finished in 1:14:26.41 or an average pace of 7:35 per mile! WOW! We're ROCKSTARS!!! However, compared to all the fast people from Austin, we finished 11th in the Open Mixed division. If I had been 34 days older and we could have raced in the Mixed Masters division, our team would have come in 3rd. I heard about that from the team. Ok, next year it is on like Donkey Kong!

I have had some good workout and because of life in general I have missed some workouts. I am set for a 4 hour bike ride in the morning and a 15 mile run on Sunday. This is the last big weekend for workouts before Longhorn 70.3 in 3 weeks. Intensity will still be high, but the distance will come down. The bruises from the bike crash are turning yellow-green and they no longer hurt to touch and the meds are working so my sinus infection is getting better.

Good luck to my buddy Ryan who is racing at USAT Short Course Nationals in the morning. He came in 3rd in his age group at the Nation's Tri a few weekend's ago in Washington D.C. with a 2:10:24! This boy has gotten fast. I remember when I first started working with him and I could swim faster than him. Now he can finish a 1500 meter swim in under 23 minutes. All you single ladies out there, Ryan is a catch! Super nice, super smart (engineer), super fast, and super cute. What more could you ask for? And he can sing. He will be racing Longhorn 70.3 in a few weeks. This is his second 70.3 distance. After racing with me in Switzerland back in 2008 he vowed he would NEVER do that again even though he finished the race with the hardest bike course I have ever done in a smoking 5:12. I peg him to go under 5 hours easily at Longhorn. Good Luck Tay! MORE COWBELL!!!

OK, time to take my meds so I will sign off for now.

Thanks for stopping by,


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sad news

Coming off a great Labor Day weekend with great workouts both in Austin and in Houston, Tuesday beckoned us back to work and school, and back to reality. Reality means that there are tragic events in our world and that we never know when we may reach the end of our lives.

Tuesday was supposed to be the start of swim team for my son after having the month of August off. Short Course season was starting up again. Houston has been pretty rainy the past few days due to Tropical Storm Hermine. A notice was sent out that swim practice was canceled and that there was a meeting. Ok, thunder means no swimming and I guess that they wanted to get the parent meeting out of the way. Another message was sent out that the meeting was changed to my son's school commons. When we arrived, the commons were full of swimmers and parents, but no coaches or swim team board members. After waiting and things being pretty quiet, one of the swim team board members asked for the younger swimmers to head to the back.

It was announced to us that one of our swim coaches was killed in a traffic accident early that morning. I had noticed that Coach Allen had not walked in with the other coaches and I had a sinking feeling when the swim team board member started talking. Coach Allen was more than just one of my son's swim coaches, he was a friend of mine. I had gotten to know him about a year and a half ago when I introduced myself at a triathlon swim clinic and said my son was a part of the Cy-Fair Swim Club. From there, we talked when I showed up at the Fleet pool to do my laps. We cheered each other on from across the run course at Buffalo Springs Ironman 70.3 last summer and the Clear Lake International Triathlon last weekend. We discussed our race schedules and made plans to get in some longer rides as he was training for Ironman Arizona and when we would both be training for Ironman Texas. I rang a cowbell and cheered him on at several marathons and triathlons over the last year and he would tell other parents at Swim-a-thon that I was a triathlon coach and could help them reach their goals.

Here is the information that I could get from the Houston Chronicle since the information from the meeting was vague to ease the emotions of the kids:

Man killed during pre-dawn jog in northwest Harris County

A man died after a sport utility vehicle hit him as he was trying to jog across a road in northwest Harris County early this morning.

The incident happened in the 13700 block of Telge about 4:50 a.m., according to the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said the man, whose identity has not been released, was taken to North Cypress Medical Center, where he died about an hour later.

The man was jogging across the road when he was hit by a 1997 Green Chevrolet Blazer that was traveling southbound on Telge, deputies said.

Deputies are investigating the case. No charges have been filed so far.

Coach Allen was out for his run before he had to be at the pool for a 6:00 am Masters swim workout. He was doing what many of us who are training for a triathlon or a marathon do when they also have a full time job. We try to get those workouts in where we can. We have to cross streets and sometimes run on them because there are almost no sidewalks in our part of town. We try to be safe and alert at all times, but sometimes that is not enough. Allen had qualified for the Boston Marathon and was currently training to complete his first full Ironman race in Arizona this November. He was an important part of our swim team. Coach Allen Salinas joined the Fleet Coaching Staff in September 2002. In October 2004, Coach Allen was named the Head Developmental Coach for the Satellite Programs. Allen is well known for his fundamental technique training, and his success record for preparing the novice swimmer for State level swimming. Coach Allen is involved on the Texas Swimming Association board where he represents and helps direct our sport for the state. Coach Allen is also a key instructor in our renown Fleet F.I.R.S.T. program, and has been an integral part in the program’s considerable success. Coach Allen has coached swimmers to Age Group (TAGS) champions as well as top 16. Allen is a graduate from the University of Houston with a degree in Kinesiology and Creative Writing.

My son is pretty torn up. I think that this is the first time that he is old enough to understand the impact of someone's death. I am still in shock. I can't believe that i will not see Allen at the pool on Thursday or hear him say, "Right, right..." when we talk about what we did for our training over the weekend. He was full of joy to work with the kids and there is a huge hole in our swim team with his absence. Now we all wait patiently for details on his funeral. I hope that I can make the type of impact that he made on our community and our kids in his 30 years when it is my time to be called home.

I will miss you Allen. Finish that training run up in heaven.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Clear Lake International Triathlon Photos

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend. Mine is still full of fun so I will post about all of that later. For now, I give you the race photos! Sorry that the watermark is all over them. I'm not jiving with the price of the photos that the race photo company wants to charge. If it was reasonable, I would pay, but this is not an Ironman race either.

For some reason, these signs are always around where we do a race. Hmmm....
A beautiful sunrise to get the race started.
My wave. First after the Elites. I am closest to the orange buoy on the left.
On your mark....Get set....
2nd in my age group out of the water in 30:32.9
Heading into T1.
Out on the bike course and ready to rock it!
Zipping past NASA and Space Center Houston.
Almost done. Velcro undone on the shoes.
Heading into T2. 1:12:35.1 total bike time with a 20.7 mph average.
Mile 4 on the run of an out and back course. I am holding my left water bottle so it does not fly out of my Fuel Belt.
Mile 5.5 of the run. LOOK!!! Both of my feet are almost all the way off the ground. This never gets captured on film. I'm still holding my bottle.
Looking strong at mile 6. I finally let go of the bottle!
Same shot, different angle.
Into the Finish chute and BOTH OF MY FEET ARE OFF THE GROUND!!! Yes!!! I look like I am really running and not shuffling along!!! Run time of 54:21.2 and a pace of 8:46 min/mile.
Crossing the finish line in 2:39:25.8! Not my best, but I'm thrilled with it.
Third place Podium Finish!!! 1st finished in 2:30:13.4 and 2nd finished in 2:36:32.4
Thankfully I saw no gators along the way.

I have done some fun things this weekend so look for another post mid-week. Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend.

Later Gators!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Win a Garmin Forerunner 310XT!!!

Hey hey, Rainmaker is giving away another Garmin Forerunner 310XT!

Head on over to Rainmaker's Blog to find out how to get signed up and to learn how the Garmin Forerunner 310XT can help you improve your training and racing.

Contest ends soon so don't delay!

Later Gators,