Monday, December 29, 2008

Resolution Run 5K & A New Year's Resolution

Sub-18 runner Matt Clidas (in orange shirt) at the start of the Resolution 5K Run.

Saturday was our local running club's annual New Year's 5K, the Resolution Run. I normally do not run this event, nor do I usually make New Year's resolutions. However, training buddy John invited his brother Mike and nephews Matt and Andrew in from Seattle for the holidays and I hadn't had a chance to see them. John had arranged for them to run the 5K before flying out later in the day. So, this was my one chance to visit with them. Fellow triathletes Tony and Tracey were also running, as well as our newest runner, Debbie. I would include a further identifier for Debbie, but the use of certain words and descriptions without the express written consent of the National Training Buddies Association are strictly prohibited.

In any event, the run is in Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, a little over a mile from my house. No reason to drive over, I decide, just run over to warm up before the race. So, at 6:20 I jog over the park. Being an elongated island-like structure attached to Ft. Lauderdale Beach, Birch State Park contains a loop road about 1.7 miles long. Of course,once in the park, I take the longer way around to the start area, so I've run about 2 miles before the race starts. I come up to the waiting race crowd from the back of the pack. I first come across the ladies: Tracy and Debbie. They have appropriately seeded themselves back from the start line in anticipation of their finish times. They indicate that the guys are up towards the front. Being as ego driven as the next guy, I work my way towards the front.

I find the guys placed a couple of rows off the front line. We exchange hellos and start the usual pre-race trash talk and sandbagging. Matt is a high school senior who has run sub 18 minute 5Ks. He states his intent to run a sub 18 (trash talk). I suggest he move to the front line. Mike explains that he hasn't run in a long time (sandbagging). Andrew states that he is a wrestler at his high school, not a runner (sandbagging). Tony just wants to improve his run times for triathlons (sandbagging). John turns to me and says: "Its a 5k. This should be your race." Now, this is both trash talking and sandbagging at the same time. Let me explain.

I am not a smart runner. I tend to go out too fast off the front of a race and get pulled out with guys I have no business trying to keep up with. Thus, I start fast and slow as a race progresses. John, tends to start off slower and pick up pace as he warms up. In short races, my approach usually allows me to finish ahead of John. In marathons, his wiser, more even paced approach invariably allows him to best my time. The toss up is the half marathon. However, I have been doing longer endurance runs in preparation for the Disney Marathon. I haven't raced a 5K in over a year and a half. I have not done speed training since before the Vegas Marathon. So, I take John's "This should be your race" comment as trash talk, pushing me to try to keep in front of him. But its also sandbagging in that he's acknowledging that I should finish before him. Most likely, he's just messing with my head.

It works. I start to wieve my way towards the front as the race starts. Andrew is keeping up but is on the outside of the road. I tell him to move the left to run the shorter tangent for a left curve in the road. Of course, the road shortly thereafter curves to the right. He must think I'm an idiot. Fortunately, I had pulled sightly ahead of him, so I didn't have to see any quizical looks from him. In any event, I average about 7 minute miles for the first 2 miles and slowed for the last mile. My time: 22:25, a 7:13 pace. Not a P.R., but not bad for the last 5K before I turn 50. Matt runs his sub 18. Andrew came in close behind me, followed shortly thereafter by John. About a minute or so back come Tony and Mike. Next was Tracey, who never believes us when we tell her a couple of runners behind her are trying to kick past her to the finish. Debbie rounds out the group with a P.R. Congratulations, Debbie!

The next day, Tony throws Tracey a birthday party at their house. I meet Joe, a South African who tells us about his 12 times running the Commrades Marathon (a 58 mile ultramarathon). Fellow triathlete Carrie tells us about her upcoming Ironman event in New Zealand. Also present is a woman named Mandy who is training for the Marathon des Sables (Marathon of the Sands), a six day ultra-run in the desert of Morraco in which you have to carry all of your food and clothing for the event in a backpack. I always enjoy hearing about these ultra events, but also think how crazy they sound. Why do people do these events?

It begins to occur to me that the risk with signing up for the Ironman event is not the failure to finish. The risk is that you will succeed. Your mind will then start pondering the larger possible challenges. Thus, by the end of the evening, I've figured out my New Year's resolution. If I am successful in completing the Arizona Ironman in November, I resolve not to sign up for a harder event. However, like most New Year's resolutions, there is always the risk of breaking it.

Post Script 12/30/09: Got in my final 15 miler last night. Felt strong. Let the Disney taper continue!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Last 20 before Disney: Craptastic!

It's been said that if you are going to run marathons, you have to enjoy the training. That's true to a point. I love a long run...up to about 15 to 16 miles. But its the 20 mile training run that is the gold standard for marathon preparedness. I do from one to three 20 milers in preparation for a marathon. I've also been known to run a race to avoid having to do a 20 mile training run. My Las Vegas Marathon run was just such an avoidance run. Why? The last 5 miles start to hurt. The hamstrings and calves start to tighten and get sore. Oh, I can finish them, but it does hurt.

With the Disney Marathon coming up in just a day under 3 weeks, I knew I had to get out for a 20 miler in the next two weeks. Sunday is normally my long run day. However, this weekend was one in which I was up late on both Friday and Saturday nights. By Sunday morning, my body just said no to a long run. I was a slug all day. Luckily, I've learned to listen to my body and not try to run when run down. Monday morning, I vowed to get in a long run after work.

I arranged to meet a client at her condo around 4:30 PM. As I drive along Ft. Lauderdale Beach, I note the cool temperatures and a breeze. As my meeting drags on, I take a couple of glaces out the window like a dog eager to go outside. The meeting finally ends and I bolt home to change and get out the door.

Its one of those swirling wind nights. As I work my way south along A1a, I start thinking about whether I'll make it a 15 or 20 mile run. Better to knock out the 20 first and trim down mileage as I get closer to marathon day. So, I decide on the 20 as I head back north from 17th Street. I neglected to use body glide and was getting rubbed raw by my running shirt. So, off it goes. Of course, the winds shift and are now blasting directly into my face with the sand pelting my skin. Oh well, I figure I'll have the wind at my back for the last 5 miles. As I approach mile 14, I start to feel tension in my hamstrings. Adding to the fun is a condo sprinkler system whose water is blowing sideways with winds now blowing out of the east. Its like running through a car wash. During mile 16, I'm about blown off my feet by a strong wind again out of the east. However, I manage to stay on my feet and make it home. My last 20 miler before Disney is in the books. Now, I can enjoy this most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas. Taper time.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Can't we stop for breakfast?

It's Saturday, December 20 and another early morning ride is upon me. For once, I'm early to the meeting place, Downtown Bicycles. Actually, I was late for the originally planned meeting time of 6:30 but early for the adjusted meeting time of 6:45 agreed to when I spoke to Tony that morning and negotiated a later time since I was already running late.

Twenty miles into our ride (just me and Tony this time -- Bill, Carrie and Jerry all had some kind of conflict or, late Friday night), a ZMotion training ride starts to pass us and I see a great opportunity to let Tony demonstrate his riding strength but getting out in front and pulling a bit for this group while I sneak into the middle of the pack so I can draft and go at a much faster speed with much less effort. Tony and I had originally planned on riding 50 miles but now having the drafting benefit and the distraction of being with the group and others that we knew (Gina, Jared, etc.), I suggested that we continue on to this group's turn-around point, the Boynton Beach Inlet. This would give us a round trip distance of 60 miles.

At the turn-around point, the ZMotion group stopped for about a 10 minute break which I was happy to join. Gina was making plans for everybody to go back to the Cove Restaurant in Deerfield Beach for breakfast. That sounded like a great idea to me but task-master Tony wouldn't allow it. So while everyone else went off to breakfast, we kept riding to complete our 60 miler. But it wasn't over yet.

A semi-quick change from cycling shoes to running shoes and we were off for an approx. 4 mile run. Although we dragged along at a real slow pace, it was still great to get another bike to run transition under our belts. And the weather was outstanding for a run along A1A with an awesome view of the calm ocean. And yes, in December here in Florida, we can bike, run, swim and truly enjoy the tropical outdoors while many of those elsewhere around the country are digging out from the latest snow storm --- they even had one in Vegas this week! Ha, ha ---- I love living here!!!! Sorry Wayne (Anchorage, AK).

Quick footnote -- one of the great aspects of getting out on group rides or runs is having the opportunity to meet new people. On this group ride, one of the riders that we met was Gerardo who has completed several Ironman triathlons. Gerardo lives in New Jersey and is originally from Argentina. He travels all over the world to participate and compete in triathlons. When he is vacationing, he will often go to a bike shop, rent a bike, go out for a ride and usually, wind up meeting and riding with a group of locals. Like many of the riders and runners that I meet, Gerardo was most generous in sharing race stories, course descriptions, Ironman experiences and training tips. I also found out that he just recently ran a marathon in NJ and ran a 3:30 to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Congrats to Gerardo!

Checklists are VERY Important!

It's Wednesday, December 17 and I'm out the door at 5:45 am to meet Tony and the rest of the riders at Downtown Bicycles for their weekly Wednesday morning ride. I pack up the car with what I think is everything I will need for the ride, as well as what I will need for a short run with Tony afterwards. As I'm pulling up to Downtown at just a few minutes before 6am, I'm getting ready to get out of the car and I realize that I've forgotten my clip-in cycling shoes. For those reading this that don't ride, you cannot go out on a "real" ride without your cycling shoes --- I did think about using my running shoes but that would have been the perfect recipe for a total disaster. (You can never find a "cycling-shoeaside bomber" when you need one! ---- come on people, who throws their shoes at the President of the US?)

So here I am pulled into a parking spot with about 30 or so riders just getting ready to ride and I have a decision to make: do I get out of the car and let Tony know that I'm an idiot and I forgot my cycling shoes and therefore, will need to get back in my car and go home or, do I succumb to my embarrassment and just pull my car right back out of my parking spot without saying anything and ride off to the west and away from the beautiful sunrise just ready to come up out over the Atlantic Ocean? I hoped Tony would come over to my car and spare me the group humiliation but no luck there. I tried to call him on his cel phone but no luck there either -- he left his phone in his car. I drove off!

As I pulled away, I wondered if Chris was also with the group so I gave him a call and reached him at home. He had decided to pass on the ride that morning. I was able to convince him to join me for a workout so I went home, got my cycling shoes and met Chris at his house for an approx. 22 mile ride with a 4 1/4 mile run afterwards. All was not lost but another lesson was learned --- ALWAYS USE A CHECKLIST!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

In Recovery

No, its not a 12 Step Program, but maybe it should be. The last 10 days my body has been recovering from running the Vegas Marathon. The first couple of weeks after running a marathon are weird both physically and mentally. I took the first week completely off, simply trying to readjust to Eastern Standard Time and getting over the leg soreness that occurs after a marathon. The legs feel achy, particularly after sitting at a desk for several hours at work. By the weekend, my body was itching to run again. So, Saturday was "get back on the road" day.

The first run after taking several days off after a marathon is always rough. The leg muscles take about a month to fully recover, but you are asking them to kick back into gear. Its a bit like trying to rev an engine that is badly in need of a tune-up. Its during these first couple of runs back that any issues with the joints, tendons and muscles of the legs threaten to come forcefully to the surface. This is why you take it easy these first few runs back. The legs come slowly back into shape over the next couple of weeks. However, until they come back, you feel a bit old and creaky.

Biking is good cross training during recovery. Biking is like the methadone of exercise recovery. Still addictive, but it doesn't beat up the body as much as running, the heroine of exercise. However, its been windy several days when I planned to bike and I just didn't have the extra motivation to fight the winds. The holiday parties didn't help either with rides scheduled anywhere from 5:45 AM to 6:30 AM.

Tomorrow, I plan to do an Olympic brick (25 miles bike/10k run). Nice and easy mind you. I have to place myself in the hands of my higher power. Take it one day at a time. Don't want to get hurt.

Then, its off to Miami for lunch with Bob & Melissa to trade triathlon and marathon stories. Kind of like the way ex-anythings tell stories of past benders. The ones where we get all glassy eyed and start thinking that maybe we could squeeze in yet another endurance event onto the training calender. Bob & Melissa are on their way down to Patagonia to do some adventure running. An adventure running vacation? Its like they discovered some new drug that I've never heard of, but which sounds interesting...and perhaps slightly dangerous. I'm definitely interested to hear about this event.

OK, perhaps marathon recovery is a 12 step program. I'd better go make amends to my riding buddies for not showing up for the last several rides. "Hi, my name is Bill, and I'm a runaholic."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Weekend In Vegas

I’m a sucker for BQ talk. BQ is runner shorthand for running a qualifying time to run the Boston Marathon. For my age (49, going on 50) that’s a 3:35 marathon. In heading out to Vegas to run the Las Vegas Marathon, I had planned to run it purely as a training run in preparation for the Disney Marathon on January 11th. However, runners talking about trying for a BQ the day before the marathon was as common as slot machines at the casinos. As infectious as the slots too.

Wife Salome, son John and I fly into Vegas at noon. By 2 PM we are checked into the Mandalay Bay Resort, the host hotel for the marathon. We meet up at the Expo with Anchorage runners Mark and John. They both state their plans to run BQ times. The temperatures are supposed to be in the high 40s to lower 50s with winds around 5 mph, ideal running conditions. I explain that I came to Vegas to run it as a training run, but that I would meet them at the start and try to pace with them as long as I could. I later call a friend of a Hawaii running buddy. She too informs me that she is gunning for a BQ.

After an early dinner, I head back to the room to prep my gear for the morning and hit the sack early. Salome & John hit the strip to see the sights. I awake to hear them come in, but fortunately fall right back to sleep. I’m up at 4 and out the door around 5:15 AM to head downstairs and outside to the start area located in front of Mandalay Bay. The temperature feels not as low as the 49 reported by the Weather Channel. Of course, what happens to me at all too many of my marathons happens again. I can not locate any of the runners I’ve agreed to pace with. This may be a blessing in disguise as I don’t know how I’ll run. I’m coming off of a half ironman run a month ago with only one long run of 20 miles two weeks ago. Not being able to find my buddies, I start talking with a runner from Tucson, AZ, who states that she is going to try to run a BQ in 3:40. I can’t get away from these people.

The race starts on the strip at 6:05 AM. A beautiful start as its still dark and the strip is lit up. Like most things in Vegas, the race organizers feel the need to kick it up a notch, so they start shooting off fireworks as we head down the strip. Bright lights, big city, very exciting. So exciting, I shoot off and get pulled out with the faster runners to a way too fast first mile in 7:10. “Slow down, Tex” I think to myself. I’m out way too fast. Mile 2 clocks in at 7:27, still too fast but better. I think the flashing lights from the casinos and all that BQ talk have me too pumped. The fact that the first 5 miles are on a slight downhill slop don’t hurt either. I hit the 10K mark in about 47 minutes: BQ time. I’m starting to buy in.

The problem with the idea of a BQ is that you’ve pretty much got to run the best you’ve ever run to hit the time. The guys at the Boston Athletic Association have figured out aged based qualifying times that make you train to be in the best shape of your life to hit the number. To hit those times, you have to in PR (personal record) condition. Everything has to click on that day: your nutrition, the weather, your head. Too many other factors to mention. I knew coming in that my training wasn’t BQ type training. But we are in Vegas and we all make stupid bets sometimes hoping that luck makes up for shortcomings. I’m all in.

I’m good, but slowing for the next 3 miles, with miles 7, 8 and 9 ticking off in 7:59, 8:10, and 8:17. A 15K split of around 1:15. Not bad, but that 8:17 is a problem. I realize I’m falling off pace. I know that the course starts to go uphill for the next several miles. Perhaps the BQ attempt should be removed from the table. Maybe I should have placed a side bet to finish. During mile 10, I notice my hams feel tight. If I keep trying to push pace, I risk leg muscle craps and walking. OK, I remove my chips from the table and decide to make this what I originally intended: a training run. I slow to upper 8 minute and lower 9 minute miles. Near the half marathon mark, Mark Schroeder passes me. “Keep it up buddy,” I say, “I’m bleeding pace. This is now a training run for me.” Mark says he’ll see me at the finish. I wish him luck and let him go ahead of me.

The psychological problem of starting at a faster pace, then slowing down, is that a bunch of runners that were running even paces start passing you. Not an ego boost. However, I temper my feelings of shame with the realization that all the runners passing me look really fit. I have not been passed by any of the over 1,000 runners running dressed as Elvis. The “Running Elvi” as they are known dress up as “The King” and run marathons doing goofy stuff, like dancing and singing Elvis songs along the course. Around mile 18, humiliation awaits. I am finally passed by my first Elvis. But its no fat Elvis. This guy is running at a good clip. No goofy antics. That comes a mile later. During mile 19, I get passed by two somewhat less fit Elvi. One of them starts goofing for the crowd, doing a hop and air guitar arm swing. OK, its funny I admit to myself. And besides, I’m approaching mile 20 and I’m not hitting the wall. Life is good.

I feel well enough to pick up the pace the last 6 miles. As I approach the finish line, I see the clock approaching the 3:50 mark. I kick it in the last 100 yards to come in at 3:49:47. My personal demarcation of whether I’ve run a good marathon is if I break 4 hours. Thus, I feel good about my run. I broke 4 hours and only got passed by 3 Elvi. Or is it Elvii? Of my running buddies, a couple made their BQs; many did not. But hope springs eternal in Vegas. We place bets, but not every bet pays off. To those that didn’t hit the jack pot, I say, throw in some speed workouts and keep playing. Me? I’ll be doing the Disney Marathon in January. I hope I don't do anything Goofy.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Kids in Distress Inlet Challenge (century -- 100 miles) bike ride - Sunday, 12/7/08)

While Bill (the other "Wild and Crazy Guy") was off running the Vegas marathon and honing his running skills, I was busy breaking some new ground venturing into what was for me, the uncharted waters of my first "century" bike ride --- 25 miles further than the longest one-day distance I had gone on a bike up to this point.

The day started at 6am when I met up with Tony and Carrie at Chris' house where we would park our cars for the day. Chris lives less than a mile from the start of the ride. With temperatures at about 60 degrees, winds out of the NNW at about 8mph and a magnificent sunrise on the way, we rode over to the start and picked up our bib numbers and pinned them on to our jerseys. Amidst a crowd of about 1,000 other riders, we mingled a bit, caught up with some friends, got pumped up with lots of upbeat music, ate some last minute energy snacks, hydrated once more and then made that last and all important bathroom stop before starting the ride at 7am sharp.

Although we would eventually be riding north from a beach parking lot close to Port Everglades Inlet in Fort Lauderdale up to the Palm Beach Inlet, in order to log a full 100 miles, the course would first take us a few miles south along AlA up and over the 17th St. Causeway drawbridge. With the first wave of riders (those riding the full century -- there was another wave starting at 7:30 -- the 62 milers and the 31 milers -- the metric century and the 1/2 metric century riders) approaching the bridge, a small problem arose -- the bridge was having difficulty closing from it's last opening and the gates were still down stopping a rather large group of pumped up cylcists from crossing and continuing on their journey. This very frustrated group, only about a mile and a half into the ride, after waiting about 5 minutes for the bridge to open, finally vetoed the request of an official "ride support guy" to wait for the bridge gates to go up, and instead reversed course to head back to the start and continue north from that point. There was no stopping this angry mob of cyclists on a mission.

In making my way back down the bridge against the standing traffic and over a grass divider, I managed to lose my riding buddies Tony and Carrie. I waited for a few minutes in the hope that they were behind me. Eventually, with no one else left, it was pretty clear that they were up ahead so I finally started out on what was now looking to be a very long day that wasn't getting off to the best start. So much for "no child left behind"!

By the time I got back to the start area, it was about 7:30 and the second wave was starting to go out. What a mess this was with both the 7 and the 7:30am waves getting merged into one big group -- exactly what the planners had tried to avoid. From my perspective it was actually great. I was quickly able to hook up with other riders that I knew and actually contemplated turning around with these riders at the 62 mile mark if I couldn't reunite with Tony and Carrie. Among the riders I ran into, it was nice to see Sheena from Downtown Bicycles, Jared Knapp, Gina/Nora/Kelly (from the JFR running group), Brandy and a bunch of other people that I know from riding and running circles but whose names I don't yet know. And of course, like with all of these events, I met many new people as well.

Earlier, before the race had started, I had met up with buddy Keith Seago. Keith was going to be riding the "metric 100" or 62 miler so he would be going out with the 7:30 start, hoping (and with his skills, "likely") to catch up with me, Tony and Carrie. Keith never did catch up with us. Not because we were ahead of him but because he was way ahead of us the entire time. I'll bet he was working really hard to catch us and unfortunately for him, we weren't even in front of him -- sorry Keith!

Riding north along AlA in a pretty large pace line (group) at a speed of about 20 - 22 mph was pretty comfortable with the constant opportunity to draft (for the non-riders reading this -- that's when you ride behind others and in essence, get pulled along in their "draft").

Making our way into Boca Raton, at about the 20 mile mark, as luck would have it I caught up with Tony and Carrie. As it turned out, I didn't really "catch" them. We were riding together all along in this rather large group -- they were closer to the front of the group and I was somewhere in the middle. So finally, we were riding together.

Eventually we made it to the first rest stop somewhere near Boynton Beach at the 35 mile mark. Quick bathroom breaks, refilling water bottles, eating some bananas/oranges/peanut butter and jelly sandwiches/cookies ---- all in about 10 minutes and we were back on our way.

Just another 15 miles into Palm Beach and we were quickly to the 50 mile turnaround point for our return south to Fort Lauderdale.

And now the real fun starts! Or should I say that this is when I got a little stupid and ahead of myself by trying to hang with a group of much better trained riders that with the wind now at their backs, were really ready to step the pace up. So for about 5 miles, I hung. But I knew I would pay for riding at a pace that I'm just not yet trained for. Eventually, I dropped back. Carrie also dropped back along with a few others. You're never really alone in these large group rides. Our small group of 4 or 5 took turns "pulling" and rolled into the next rest stop (appox. mile marker 65) about 10 minutes behind Tony and the lead group that he stayed with. Tony, by the way, is an incredible cyclist -- real strong, consistent, able to sprint and hang with the big boys on most days. He's also most generous when it comes to pulling us lesser talented riders along and I know he often holds back just to help us train.

Reloaded with water and snacks, we moved out again. And once more, I made the same mistake of trying to hang with the lead pack -- a rather large pack as well and I was right in the middle of it. Now for those who are familar with my riding style, you know I'm a "wobbler". Tony has actually given me the nickname, "Crazy Legs". I do try hard to stay steady and keep my line, but I do tend to shake a bit which makes other riders very nervous -- and understandly so. The last thing I want to do is fall and take other riders down with me. Cruising along now at about 23 to 24mph, I hear another rider saying "316, get it together, you're making me nervous", or something to that effect. This guy had a real friendly tone. Not knowing what my rider number was, I didn't realize that he was talking to me. After he made these comments a third time, I carefully looked over and he said "yeah, you" -- again, in a real friendly tone which I was very greatful for. Some riders can get really nasty -- and again, understandably so. I really had no business being in the middle of this pack.

Well, now knowing my race number, and wondering if getting this number could have been some sort of a sign ---- I responded "it's John, 3:16". To which he responded: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" -- accurately quoting this well known bible verse.

This guy was unbelievable. He spoke Spanish so I shouted out "como se yama". Someone shouted back for him "Bianco". He was truly concerned about me going down and the wreck that I might wind up causing. Unlike many other cyclists, his approach got me thinking real quickly about dropping back and getting out of this potentially dangerous situation. Bianco then shouted out Tony's number, 714 and said: "Romans 7:14" and then proceeded to quote that bible passage. Our new "friend" sure knew his scripture.

So I took this "sign" and was cheered on with a "nice job" by Bianco as I safely moved over to the right side and began to let the pace line fly by me. Carrie and a number of others eventually dropped back as well and together we made our way back to Fort Lauderdale through the remaining approximate 30 miles. Yes, these last 30 miles were a bit of a challenge. I wouldn't say that I was "toasted" or that I "blew up" at all. I actually felt pretty good. But to say that I wasn't feeling a little "toasty" in the legs would be a big lie.

Carrie, a new friend Vicki (a new and first time grandmother who about a year ago decided to make a major life change and started excercising and lost something like 60 pounds) and I, cruised into the finish line back in Fort Lauderdale at about 12:15 for a total time of about 5:15 which was very respectable. Tony was there to high-five us and give us his congratulations on our ride. He made it back with the lead group and even "pulled" for a good portion of the way finishing in under 5 hours.

With the ride now over, we sat down for a nice "Bubba Gump" sponsored lunch and did our best to begin replacing all of the calories that were burned over the past 5 plus hours.

I must say that a 100 mile bike ride is a long ride. And yes, all that I kept thinking about after we finished was how the heck am I going to swim for 2.4 miles before riding 112 miles and then put my running shoes on and run 26.2 miles right afterwards! Ironman Arizona --- what were we thinking Bill??? Hmmmmm -- very interesting. I guess we'll just need to train really hard and work our way up to it. Just like we did leading up to our first marathons, our first sprint triathlons and our first 1/2 Ironman. After all, we're just Two Wild and Crazy Guys!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

4th Man In

Let's not forget buddy Keith Seago -- who might I add will likely come in first out of this rag-tag team of triathletes! With an e-mail to Keith and his persistence with the system (if you can call it that), he also gets registered. And now we have a team of 5. Should be a blast!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cyber Monday: Registering for St. Anthony's

I've come to learn that Ironman events and certain other triathlon's have become so popular that registration opens and closes out in a matter of a couple of hours. Such is the case for St. Anthony's Triathlon, an Olympic distance event (Swim 1.5K · Bike 40K · Run 10K). St. Athony's Triathlon takes place in St. Petersburg Florida on April 26, 2009.

In trying to lay out some events in 2009 to lead up to Arizona Ironman in November, we were considering St. Athony's Triathlon as an event to get us geared up for serious summer training. Knowing it fills up fast, we agreed to call each other to make sure we would both be at our computers ready to register at the opening bell at exactly 9 AM. Of course, thousands of other triathletes from around the country were at their computers ready to do the same thing. We also contacted friend Chris and brother Dave to do the same thing. No reason we can't suck a couple of other athletes into registration madness.

I try to log in at 8:59 AM, not being sure whether my computer clock was a minute slow or if the guys at (an online registration site used by most marathon and triathlon events) might have activated the system a minute early. Can't hurt to try. Bam! I'm in. I work my way throught the couple of pages of information needed to register. I can't believe I got in. When I tried to register John & myself for the Arizona Ironman I had to keep hitting the resend button after repeatedly getting a "Site Too Busy" message from the computer. I get to the final screen where I imput my credit card infomration and hit the send button. Here we go.......waiting.....waiting......
only to be finally met with the following message: "We are experiencing higher than normal volume and are therefore unable to process your request at this time. Please wait several minutes and then try again. We apologize for this inconvenience."

Try again? Dude, I was in. I was logged into your computer and all my information was in. Name, age, address, credit card information, shirt size, blood type. I hit the send button. What are you doing to me? OK, don't panic. Hit the resend button. No luck. OK, how about the back page button? Hey, here I am at the credit card page again, but its missing my information. So, I re-input the data and hit the send button. Now I get a blank page. In the bottom of my screen it says "Done." This is not the way its supposed to look. I'm suppose to get an acknowledgment that I'm registered with a link to a receipt page with my payment information. At least this is what I've seen on every other event I've ever registered for on

Alright, I can play this game. I'll hit the go back bottom again and resend. "System Busy, try again later." I spend the next five minutes refreshing the page until I get in again. I now get a message that I'm already registered. I call John and find out he has yet to get in, so I submit his informtion. I hit the send button. No response, other than a "System Busy" message. I don't know why I even looked, but I chose this moment to look at my e-mail in box. I've got mail from Whoops, I've got two sets of e-mails from It looks like my registration went through.....twice. I call back John who tells me he has finally gotten onto the web site. I tel him he'd better check his e-mail first. Sure enough, he also appears to be registered. So, he calls buddy Chris and "pays it forward" by registering Chris who hasn't been able to log in. Three in, one to go.

I call brother Dave. We both keep trying for the next half hour. Finally, he gets in. I can only image that these kind of situations were going on around the country as thousands of triathletes rush to grab the 4,000 slots for an event that will not take place for over 4 months. So, its not the swim, the bike, or the run that's the hardest event for St. Anthony's. Its the registration.