Sunday, April 29, 2007
I did not feel like I'd been destroyed by my 150 mile ride--at least that's what I thought. I ran a couple of snappy workouts this week, but I felt sleepy all the time. Now, even after a nice casual ride with MisheleK, a quadruple-iron training partner, I ache walking down stairs. Time to taper?? Um, yeah.
It would seem we all have our limits.
Another type of limit was reached on Friday night. I arrived home after a decent swim to find both women in the dog pound upstairs watching a movie.
Actually watching a miniseries--the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice.
Now, I may wear a bow tie to work, and I may shave places that most men don't, but darn it, I'm a man, and I have limits. To quote that great philosopher, Popeye, "that's alls I can stands, and I can't stands no more."
Rather than risk atrophy to my "package" or having it confiscated altogether, I elected to leave them to their chick flick. I did what any self-respecting man's man would do.
I went to sleep by nine.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Because we were going to be at it all day long, Mrs. Greyhound took us out to a spot on the course so we could avoid the mass chaos and delay of 12,000 cyclists taking to the road at once. This cut about 15 miles off my customary starting point, but we were still well east of the start in Katy, Texas. So, I don't feel like we cheated. She snapped this "shake and bake" picture before Triboomer and I saddled up and hit the road.
We started in a dense fog, but after the "lunch" stop in Bellville, the sun came out. Here are some riders strung out on the road west of Industry, Texas. Industry is an odd name for the area, because the rolling hills are BEEEE-YOOOOOUUU-TEEEE-FULLL.
The wildflowers were so dense you could smell them while riding on the road. Just check out that carpet of bluebonnets.
And this is beautiful, Texas countryside. God's country.
Yes, you are in Texas now.
If I tried to explain how big this ride was, you wouldn't believe me. So, a picture is worth a thousand words. Here is a mere fraction of the 12,000 riders at the rest stop west of Fayetteville, Texas.
We met Mrs. Greyhound and our girls north of La Grange where the course turns back west toward Austin. Here's the Boomer with Kat Gurl, a triathlete in her own right.
The girls did girly things. Here is superpounce caught in the act of breaking state law--gathering wildflowers from the right of way. But she wasn't alone.
Here is the contraband--FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS.
We were very ready for a break when we met up with the girls. We thought it would freshen us up to get off the bikes and eat solid food.
When we got going again, we were dead. Dead legs. Dead asses. Dead lungs. Dead brains. Dead spirits. There was little or no talking for the next 20 miles or so to the top of the Smithville Hill. Each of us was just trying to find a rhythm that we could maintain, fixating on the little white line, and trying to put miles beneath the tires.
Just keep spinning. Just keep spinning.
Fortunately, we got a second wind about the time we hit Bastrop and made great time along FM969 into Austin. Boomer, however, saw his life pass before his eyes on FM969.
The road has no shoulder and limited visibility. Boomer was riding behind me. Without a lot of riders on the road, we were kind of sitting ducks. A pickup overloaded with firewood was traveling at a high rate of speed overtook us, went to pass on the left but had to hit the brakes because of an oncoming car. It fishtailed and had to bail off the road into the ditch to avoid taking Triboomer out. Thence, it screamed along in the ditch for several yards before passing me on the right and coming back onto the road.
As we got closer and closer to Austin, with no coned off lanes like one would have on Sunday, safety became more of an issue, if that is possible. Mrs. Greyhound took up driving behind us with her hazard lights on, but eventually that was not working either. So, right when our computers turned over at 150 miles, we were just reaching Austin. We called the ride in the interest of continuing to live.
We rode in the car the remaining 15 miles or so to the capital and staged this finishing shake and bake. Again, given the miles we had ridden and the safety concerns, it did not feel like cheating.
We were a "happy few" who we saw doing the ride in one day, and who gathered at the capital that evening. And gentlemen in La Grange then abed all thought themselves accursed they were not there, and held their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks of the one day, iron-style MS150.
But we were two of many who rode the ride, the whole route, for people who can't. Two of many who will have raised $11 million to fight multiple sclerosis, a disease that is on the run. Be some of the $11 million by hitting the donation link in the sidebar.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Cyclist pops question after finishing 180-mile rideHe proposes to his girlfriend, who has MS, after cycling from Houston to Austin for BP MS 150
By LOUIS B. PARKSCopyright 2007 Houston Chronicle
AUSTIN — One minute Kristi Mays of Spring was standing with thousands of others at the BP MS 150 finish line, waiting for her sweetheart to arrive. The next, she was surrounded by cameras, and her sweetheart, Alex Peña, was there, on bended knee.
"Will you marry me?" asked the sign someone held up behind Peña. Having a sign was a good idea. The noise from the crowd and public address system announcing arrivals just about drowned out anything short of screaming.
Whatever, Mays got the idea. There were tears and then a firm "yes."
Affectionate reunions were common at Sunday's conclusion of the 2007 BP MS 150, as waiting family and friends congratulated about 12,000 riders on making the 180-mile ride from Houston to Austin.
But for Mays, who waited with her 16-year-old daughter, Shelby Lamberson, the moment was poignant even beyond the surprise proposal.
"Last July 11th, I found out I have MS," Mays said.
The event raises money to fight multiple sclerosis, a devastating nervous system disorder. Peña, 47, rode this year in Mays' honor.
"I have ridden this ride about eight times — but about 20 years ago," Peña said. "Never for a cause except to raise a little money. I knew a little bit about MS. I never knew anybody with it.
"When I found out she had it, I thought this would be a good way to show her I support her."
The proposal was more confirmation of that support.
"It floored me that he did something like this," she said. "This was way, way not to be expected."
Peña was able to propose marriage sooner than he expected with help from the Lone Star Chapter of the National MS Society and Robbins Bros. Jewelry.
They tipped off reporters and photographers, who stood close to Mays at the finish line without revealing themselves, and provided the Marquis-cut engagement ring.
Mays and Peña have dated for five years.
She said the diagnosis last July was devastating.
"I thought this is the end of my world," said Mays, a native Houstonian who works for a mirror and marble manufacturing company in Houston. "What am I going to do about my daughter? I raised my daughter by myself. What does that mean for her, and what does that mean for Alex? I didn't want to be a burden to either one of them."
Peña, who works in the tumor registry at St. Joseph Medical Center, wants to make sure she never has to worry about that, and riding to support MS research was meant to represent that.
"It was pretty emotional," he said of the two-day ride, during which participants were frequently reminded why they were riding. "I teared up a few times."
Almost all 12,000 riders who started the MS 150 finished it, in what ride director Doug Suggitt said was the safest ride ever, with no major injuries in an estimated 2 million road miles.
"We attribute a lot of that to the Safety Task Force and education we've done," he said. "We're seeing it pay off now."
The riders started the second day of the ride in La Grange and made the final 80-plus miles to Austin.
The final rider arrived shortly before 5 p.m. at the finish line in front of the Bob Bullock Museum on Congress Avenue.
The oldest rider, 93-year-old Bud Schiffman, came in to loud cheers from the thinning crowd at 4:50. Like the early riders, he was smiling and waving as he passed the finish line.
As for the newly engaged couple, they were off to eat sushi before beginning the long drive back to Spring.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
I don't know what time they finished. But, they finished.
They could be lying for all I know.
Anyhoo, when Greyhound and I last spoke with each other, they had been at the 112-mile mark and were doing just fine. And, I was directed to make sure that the blog-world knew that TriBoomer was inspecting every HoneyBucket from Houston to Austin.
I know... weird. Common sense says that it would be the canine in the group hitting every fire hydrant.
Sorry, Greyhound. That's the best I could do after my run. You're lucky that I was actually able to string some nouns, verbs and punctuation together in a somewhat coherant style. I'll admit it, your blog is getting more from me than Benny is.
Congrats again. You. Rock.
He and TriBoomer continue to tear up the course with the wind at their backs. Unfortunately for them, they have no love handles so they're losing out on a little extra help from the wind. Sometimes 91% fat free has it's drawbacks. That's all I'm saying.
Anyway, they're still feeling good. They're going to meet up with Pauline and grab some lunch and chill for a little while before they continue on. The flowers are in bloom and apparently, the fragrance is unbelievable. I'm trying to imagine it while I pet Bailey. Who currently smells like poop, vinegar and oil. It's possible that the vinegar might be coming from my feet... but, you get the gist.
I'm heading out for a 20-mile run, so I won't be able to update for a few hours. If I had my way, I'd just sit here all day and defile Greyhound's blog (for the children)... but I'm the genius that decided to sign up for the marathon. I have no one to blame but myself.
Go Greyhound and Boomer!!
"I reckon we're about a third of the way finished. We just passed through Industry and are in the nice hilly country in Texas. The sun has come out and it's a beautiful day. The wind is at our back... as it should be."
Which I will now translate to Nytrospeak:
"We've gone 53 miles and are only a THIRD of the way finished. HOLY SH*T. I can only thank God that hilly country in Texas is different than hilly country in Utah. Cuz, real hills would be the end of me. THE END OF ME. The sun has come out and it's a beautiful day. The wind... well, I'm not allowed to say "like buttah" anymore... seeing as I'm not a gangsta. And "bling, cheese and ice" won't do, either. So, I'll just say that it's as it should be. I'm currently looking for the closest strip club... but in the 'hilly' country in Texas, there's not just as many as you would think there would be. Best Little Whore House In Texas? A myth."
Told you he'd regret this error in judgement.
I'm supposed to run 20 miles today, so I don't know how many more updates I'll be able to get in. I'll do what I can, though.
Go Greyhound and Boomer!
This morning Benny woke me up to tell me that I've been asked - nay, DEMANDED - to hijack a certain canine's blog and "give the peeps a progress report".
Since I'm not smart enough to figure out how to track him, I'm going to be making it up. Well, most of it. When he called this morning - the ONE MORNING I didn't have to wake up at 5:15, thanks a lot Greyhound - he was at mile 35 with TriBoomer. They have "successfully relieved themselves. It is cloudy, cool, foggy... and the tailwinds are like buttah."
Someone needs to tell this man he's NOT in his 20's anymore. And when he WAS in his 20's... describing something as "like buttah" probably would have gotten him shot.
Anyhoo.... those of you who have not donated yet (like, um... moi) can still do so. I think. Gee, Nytro... it's only been six months since the bet and you still haven't contributed. Niiiicceeee. Better get on that.
You know what I find interesting? Within three hours of actually meeting Greyhound, we ask him to hold our wedding bands. It takes him six months, but he reciprocates that favor... by giving me his login and password to his blog. I predict that he will come to rue the day he made that particular error in judgement.
And, can I just say that his password? Benny and I had a serious "awwwweeee" moment. So. Cute.
That's all I've got for now. I'm hoping Greyhound will call me throughout the day with various updates. And I'm praying that at least one of those updates comes from a strip club.
Meanwhile, in the house that IronBenny and Nytro built, Benny just showed me some serious sexiness. He's bought himself a biking bib. And I must say, I may never see again. That image has burnt my cornea. Apparently, it doesn't matter how fit and sexy you are in real life... the bib? It's the great equalizer.
Go Greyhound and TriBoomer!
Friday, April 20, 2007
Team Greyhound is in a state of readiness for our one day assault on the Texas capital.
We strike . . . BMNT (before morning nautical twilight)
Rangers lead the way.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Of course, this is my pedal partner.
No distance is too great. Team up. Click and give if you can. And if all else fails, send us your prayers and well-wishes.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
And I know Bolder loves all things chart-like, so especially for my very supportive uber peep, here is the route profile:
Now, there is some good news and bad news. First the good. The BP MS150 fundraising link is now operational again here.
The bad is that when I went for a run at lunch, a stiff wind was coming from exactly the OPPOSITE direction I need it to blow on Saturday. Let's hope that turns around.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
In other news, weather.com says we will have temperate weather and a nice 13 mph wind at our backs all the way to Austin. If so, this goofy little bike ride will be a walk in the park.
. . . . but, weather.com has been known to lie like a rug. So, as my wingman would say, stay tuned.
Finally, to get you really stoked up into a charitable feeding frenzy, I include the following video from last year's ride. Note the fiddle player on the tractor. I remember him, as well as the pedal partner that they interviewed at the break point. Enjoy and respond.
Sometimes it helps to think about small things--form, drills, glide. Thankfully, while I thought of small things, I did not think about "it." For a whole hour.
Stroke . . . stroke . . . beathe . . . stroke . . . stoke . . . breathe
I did not imagine the gunshots. Or the screaming. Again.
Stroke . . . stroke . . . breathe . . . stroke . . . stroke . . . breathe.
I did not think about families with empty places at the table, pictures of children with silent voices.
Stroke . . . stroke . . . breathe . . . stroke . . . stroke . . . breathe.
I did not hear the talking heads--primped and made up, having no information and yet compelled to spew in order to make money--profiting from pain. Dancing in the midst of grief. Shouting in the national funeral home.
Breathe ouuuuuuut, ouuuuuut, iiiiiiiin. ouuuuut, ouuuut, iiiiin.
I was not angry. My chest did not ache.
Stroke . . . stroke . . . breathe . . .
A refuge. For an hour. From noise. From them. From memory. From me.
Stroke . . . stroke . . . breathe . . . . .
Friday, April 13, 2007
For you, this means two things:
1. Pony up. If you are inclined to support a really wonderful charity that uses it's money to help real MS patients and to fund real research, hit the fundraising link in the sidebar and be as generous as you can. My own wife is taking effective medications that did not exist 10 years ago. Every little bit helps, and many many thanks to all the bloggy peeps who have already donated.
2. Cowboy (or Cowgirl) up. We need more WINGMEN. The official ride is closed, but if you want to ride the second half of the ride with us, shoot me an e-mail and I'll tell you where to meet us on the afternoon of April 21. I will SUCK YOUR WHEEL all the way to the Texas capital, ply you with beer, and generally have a grand time.
In high school (and even now) time seems to stand still every afternoon in that insulin shocked, lugubriated twilight between lunch and leaving to do what you want to do. But this morning, at the masters swim, that same second hand swept like lightening through our rest intervals. 12x100 meters with a two blink rest interval and until the cows come home.
Even in triathlon, a race against the clock, time speeds up or slows down, sometimes both at the same time. Hit a rough patch on the run, and you lose time with the minutes screaming by while time simultaneously grinds to a halt as the run goes on forever.
I guess I'm reminded of time because the events are starting come at me fast and furious. The calendar says I am just over a week out from the MS150. Bolder's clock says I am only 21 days from Wildflower. (I don't think this is possible, but I'll go with it.) The clock in my sidebar says I am 148 days away from Ironman Wisconsin, my first.
My sleepy brain thought about time this morning as I was standing around with a bunch of teenagers in their pajamas. Seriously. We were all waiting for the aquatic center to open, me for masters swim, they for swim team practice: a couple dozen teenage kids in their pajamas or boxers or gym shorts, come straight from bed, fuzzy slippers and flip-flops, the boys with their ratty hair all akimbo with bed head, the girls all flyaway ponytails.
Now, there's a certain sense in which I would NEVER go back to high school, even if I could. But as I stood there watching all these kids doing their bored sleepwalk to yet another practice, I was jealous. They are totally unware of the gift of their own youth--bodies that are all lean muscle, taut, smoothe skin, powerful and flexible limbs, potential overflowing, trained to glide with speed through the water, unmarked by age or injury. Yet, I am sure not one of them was aware of the blessing while they were living it. They were just going to another practice.
I felt like grabbing one of the kids by the shoulders and telling them to fill this time and drink deeply of this rich and wonderful cup that they have. But of course I didn't. They would have thought me nuts, and might have been right.
So, reader, I'll grab you by the shoulders, whether you think I'm nuts or not. You can use time, but you can't grip it. The more you try to squeeze and hold it, the more slips through your fingers. You can fill time with something, but time filled with nothing still passes--it passes emptily. Most of all, you can't kill time without injuring eternity.
The number of times your minute hand will go 'round has already been decided. For good or ill , your clock is wound. So, fill your time with good things, and gulp it down.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. (Psalm 34:7)
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Awwwww, she put her arm around Superpounce. Look how special Superpounce feels.
She put her arm around me, too.
What do I do? OMG What do I do?
Should I put my arm around her too?
NO.WAY. Only if you want to look like a stalker.
If I don't I'll look stupid and stiff.
But she's Desiree Ficker. OMG
What are you, in high school?????
Basically, YES. And girls like this don't acknowledge my existence.
Dude, you're 40. About time you grew out of that, don't you think?
OK, OK. I will put my arm around . . .
NO. Not gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent.
Yes, I will.
Definitely. No. Yes. No. Yes.
OK, then Yes.
Her hand is on my shoulder. OMG. Where do I put my hand????
Shoulder? Too friendly? Yes. no. yes. no. maybe. crap. I don't know.
No. On her waist.
NO.WAY. It'll look like I'm grabbing her on the . . . um . . . . OMG I just looked at her . . . um . . .**cough**
OK, higher than waist, lower than shoulder.
NO!!! Not THAT in between.
OMG, she's really skinny. I can totally feel her ribs.
SHAKE YOURSELF. FOCUS!!
What do I do with my face? I look goofy when I smile.
Show teeth? OMG, creepy internet groupie man with the toothy smile.
He seemed so quiet. We never knew.
More subtle. Gentle smile. Yes. Calm, sophisticated . . . . controlled . . .
What is that person doing with my camera.
Didn't flash. Is this going to work?
This cannot end well.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Des did not disappoint. She made a BIG deal of Superpounce and made her feel truly special. Thanks, Desiree. You are a real champion.
So here is how the night went.
Superpounce sitting in Dad's office before going to Tri On The Run and the Houston Racing & Triathlon Club meeting.
Superpounce getting an autograph at Tri On The Run.
Superpounce shadowing Des as she signed more books at the Houston Racing meeting.
Des telling us all the details of her experience at Kona last year.
And finally, Des, our triathlete, with dad and daughter.
Thanks again, Desiree. You know we'll be cheering when you drop the bomb this year.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
The worst is over. Frodo survived the swim.
Going out of T1. Hang loose, Kahuna. This is supposed to be fun, remember?
Stretching the legs over a little rise.
Haulin' a$$ on the bike course
More a$$ haulin'
Finishing with superpounce. Who is having more fun?
Friday, April 06, 2007
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
I really only had two goals for the run: do a better transition and hold as steady a pace as possible with no walking. I accomplished those goals
Coming in off the bike route, I tried something I had never done before. Instead of running in my bike shoes, I slipped my feet out of the shoes, pedaled on my shoe tops, and jumped off the bike. I nearly fell as my legs adjusted to bearing weight again, but it worked. Ran into transition, slipped on the shoes, socks, hat, and I was gone. T2 time was 1:35.
On the run, I just settled into a rhythm, nothing too strenuous, that I knew I could maintain. After seeing some pictures, I wish I had focused on form a little more. Even so, along the way, I passed several men younger than me who were really struggling, which is great motivation for a 40 year old who is trying to age in reverse. To paraphrase Iron Wil, we're all racing the grim reaper, but when he catches me, he's going to be wheezing and clutching his chest.
The biggest motivation was coming up behind a guy with an m-dot on a hat from the Ironman World Championships in Kona. Now, neither of us were moving terribly fast, but it was on.
It was so on.
I dropped Mr. Kona like a bad habit at mile 4 and never saw him again.
I did see other people I knew on the course, including Houston Racing teamates, both in the race and at the water station that the club staffed. The crazy tri club decked themselves out in an Egyptian theme. MisheleK, dressed as a mummy offered me solid food, but I declined on the grounds that I make it a practice not to puke in front of girls.
The time wasn't terribly spiffy (2:01:59), especially considering the course was about a half mile short (ironically, it was the Boy Scouts that sent us the wrong way). Nevertheless, that is much faster than I ran my first, open, half-marathon without all the biking and swimming. Even being faster, it required less effort. My average heartrate was only 142, well shy of latate threshold. Last time I raced, I was toast for a week. This time, I went faster and am already back to a full training schedule.
The other really really good part of the day was catching up with Christy (to my right in black) and Tricia (behind the barrier in yellow) who were part of the possie who caravaned to Lubbock for my first HIM last year. That, and meeting new friends besides, was the highlight above and beyond having a mentally strong race. We all had good races, Christy especially. This mini freak of nature set a personal best, smashed the course by turning in a 5:10, and was fifth female overall.
THE REALLY REALLY GOOD
This was the first time Superpounce and the Pack Leader have seen me at a triathlon. They got to see me pass their vantage point three times. The last time, Superpounce asked the Mrs. if she could run with me to the finish, and just before jumping out, inquired, "it's not 10 miles is it?" She grabbed my hand and we brought it on home together.
THE OTHER REALLY REALLY GOOD
THE BAD AND THE UGLY
There was no bad. There was no ugly. I cannot wait to race again.
Bring on Wildflower.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Wait. What were we talking about?
Because my buddy Bolder is wandering around his pad murmuring, "homage," I will stick with Bolder's patented format.
My goal in this outing was to do a well-paced ride that would allow me to run even splits without walking. I did this, notwithstanding some very challenging conditions. The bike split was only 3:21:50, not flashy, but I only needed an average heartrate of 130 to get that done. That's almost like napping, Tac Boy. I was essentially the same bike split as Buffalo Springs at my peak last year, but this time instead of being cooked where I could not run, I was fresh off the bike. I love it when a plan comes together.
About 28 miles of the two loop course were ridden into the teeth of a 20+ mph coastal wind. This was very very hard, and likely would have cooked me in the past, but thanks in part to the Simply Stu podcast on mental training, I kept my head, hunkered down, and got it done without being impatient, and staying focused in the moment. .
I took the headwind straight in the face. Others? Not so much.
Up to this point, I did not quite understand all the hubub about drafting, but there is nothing like pulling yourself into a wind that threatenes to knock you off your bike to make you resent those who don't.
I got passed on the bike by some faster, stronger cyclists. I also got passed by some cheaters who were blatently sucking wheels and moving in packs, gaining at least a 20% advantage in the process. I'm not talking about drifting in and out of a 3 bike length draft zone. I'm talking about moving in a pack of six riders, two abreast, two feet from back wheel to front wheel, for miles at a time. If I had cut the course by 20%, I would be disqualified for cheating. These people should have been disqualified as well.
So, I asked myself the question: WWBD? No, not "what would Benny do?" "By the Book Ben," Ironman veteran, would have issued a gentlemanly reminder to his fellow competitors. I was thinking more along the lines of "what would Bolder do?"
"NICE PACELINE, F*CKING CHEATERS!"
Did I say that out loud? I can neither confirm nor deny.
If I did, no one heard me. The howling wind was too loud.
THE REALLY REALLY GOOD
The bike course was two 28 mile out and backs. I felt even stronger on the second trip. All this base training must be working. I had plenty in the tank so I started gobbling up the riders in front of me, even while clawing into the wind. I looked at people's ages, marked on their calves, as I passed, and thought to myself, "Dude, you're 27!!! You just got dropped by a 40 year old married guy!"
Of course, at one point a woman with "Air Force Cycling" on the back of her . . . of her . . . her cycling kit passed me. But I did not mind so much. Riding behind her draft zone made me feel . . . patriotic.
I'm a red blooded American man, that way.
Hey, not that kind of patriotic, and anyway, I passed her back after awhile, gave her the "Go Air Force!" got a big smile in return, and dropped her permanently. (Of course, there was the Navy tri-team guy who smoked me like I was a banana republic).
The best was at the turn for home, 20 mph wind at my back, I knew that I needed to hold nothing back. I hit 27 mph on the flats and was able to gain on and gobble up riders I saw two and three miles down the road. As I roared past, I'd give out a "Go Team" for the TNT riders or "Houston Racing!" to a couple of my tri-club team mates.
Sustained speeds of 27 miles per hour!!!
As a grownup, have you ever "WOOOOOOHOOOOOOO-ed" in broad daylight while riding a bike?
I have. It was like being nine again. Let's go play in the tree fort.
Monday, April 02, 2007
No, that would take too long. Let me sum up.
My swim TOTALLY sucks.
I have done a half-iron, open water swim before, but that was last year. I have exceeded that distance this year, but that was in the pool. Sunday, at the Lone Star Half, was the first time back in the open water, and it was a shock to the system. In an homage to my buddy Bolder in Boulder, here are the basics:
This is the first race in which I have not been forced to grab a kayak in order to quell my panic, reaquire my breathing and steady my nerves before continuing. I developed a mental game plan to keep me patient and controlled before I got into the water, and I was able to keep my mind together. I swam well within myself, averaging a 138 HR and could have kept going if necessary when I finished. Given the conditions, I am well pleased with that.
The swim course at Buffalo Springs was nice and comfy--a lake in which the course roughly paralleled the banks, from which one was never so far that you couldn't just turn for shore if things went wrong.
Lone Star, not so much. The swim course took us out into the middle of a HUGE body of impenetrably murky salt water. If you got in trouble, it was about 500 meters between life guards and easily 800 to 1000 meters to shore. If you don't belong here, you might not come back.
Seeing that before the race kind of freaked me out, because I have never really felt that I belonged here. That combined with a breathless feeling on my practice swim had me worried. So, I literally told myself, "You are not here to race. This is a long training day. You've got all day to complete this swim." It kept me from freaking out, but I did take all day. Slower than my last HIM swim, albeit in more difficult conditions and with inadequate open water practice.
First, I got socked in the jaw during the swim. Well, actually I socked myself in the jaw before the swim. My hand slipped loose and I clocked myself while trying to get that tiny condom-sized swim cap over my freakishly huge head. My jaw still hurts today.
Second, I pull to the right and the course turns to the left. Ok, I more than pull to the right. I am an aquatic Forest Gump on crystal meth.
It could be just my usual unbalanced stroke. It could be a strength deficit that remains on my right side as a result of the disc injury. Whatever. Before the first left hand turn, I EASILY swam 100 extra meters by continuing to pull wide to the right. It continued on the back stretch of the course, easily adding another 150+ meters to my day.
The worst portion was before the last left hand turn for shore. There was a pronounced chop, and I was conciously trying to pull to the left. I'd swim 10 strokes, then try to sight, but the bouy disappeared. It was nowhere near where I expected to see it.
I had swum 90 degrees to the right, A COMPLETE QUARTER TURN, or if you're counting 180 DEGREES OPPOSITE of where I was trying to go.
I'll try again. 1 . . .2 .. . . 3. . . etc.
One more time . . . . 1 . .. 2 . .. 3 . . etc.
**Insert invented Martian expletives here**
I DID THIS THREE TIMES!
And who should be there at the spectator ropes immediately when I drag my corpse from the bay??? MisheleK, swim star and Ironman veteran from Houston Racing and Triathlon Club. Were any tri-chicas watching when I was blazing downwind at 27 mph on the bike? Noooooooo. Only when I'm waddling from the water like a neoprene covered disaster victim.
Oh, the humiliation.
DUDE, mix in some once a week open water practice with the tri club and more masters swim classes. This is not rocket science.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
This year's Half-Iron (first of three): 6:17:43
More later. For now, it's me, Glenlivet single malt scotch, a bathtub, and 40 pounds of ice.
And in another note, mylaw firm and Houston have both been sucking donkey balls with increasing frequency and intensity as time goes on. So, tomorrow, I'm going in and withdrawing from the firm and putting the house up for sale. We haven't got a plan, but I want to move somewhere cool like Bolder, Fort Collins, Seattle, Ogden, . . . . I don't know. Anywhere you can actually ride a bike.
If anyone needs a law nerd, let me know. I'm your guy.