O’Sean, Where Art Thou?

Yeah, I totally blogged the hell out of 2013. I just forgot to make them visible to everyone. Yep, that’s the ticket.

Actually, the Mrs. and I had a big plan and we wanted to wait until after she earned her

Ironman title to implement it.  We done had ourselves a baby boy.

Meet Seamus.

SeamusBaby1 SeamusBaby2

A few months after he was born we unfortunately had to say goodbye to an old friend. It was hard saying goodbye and fortunately he did not suffer very long from cancer.  Still miss him every day.

Coleco

 

We didn’t do much racing at all in 2013 since Kelly was pregnant. We both agreed it was best for her to limit her exercise to walking and swimming since she can be a bit clumsy at times. (Her words, not mine!)

We mostly walked around the neighborhood and such. After Seamus was born we even finally made a couple treks up to the top of Mission Peak. Pretty, ain’t it?

MissionPeak

 

It’s been great being a dad so far. Only 10 months in and I’m enjoying every second of it. I don’t know how or why, but we were blessed with a pretty docile little guy. He sleeps (for the most part) very well and is pretty easy going.

Although, he’s apparently already into the ladies.

Seamus_Chairs

And he got to spend a few months with Coleco. I wish Coleco was younger so he could grow up with Seamus. He was afraid to go near him at first but warmed up to him pretty quickly.

 

SeamusColeco

And he’s already getting into music!

 

 

SeamusDrumsticks

 

And of course, he’s getting prepped up for triathlon.  The shopping cart belt is blocking “MARATHON” in there. :)

 

SeamusFutureRunner

And he’s been working on getting the swim leg down pretty good now!

SeamusWater

 

I don’t have anything to say about this, I just thought this one was cute.

 

SeamusPointing

 

 

And us together!

SeanAndSeamus

I’ve been slowly regaining my fitness. I’m playing in a Bubble Soccer league and a regular soccer league during the week. I’m also starting to build up my endurance again because I have Ironman Arizona coming up in November!  I still have a lot work ahead of me, but I’m looking forward to it.

 

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My Big Ironman US Championship Trip Part 2

You can read my first post over here.

Logistics for the Ironman US Championship was very unique to any race I’ve ever done before. It’s very understandable since, you know, the race was being held in the biggest city in the United States. After checking into our hotel we had to head to the Ironman expo to check in, get our bibs and swag bag, and pick up our bicycles.

The welcome sign for us athletes to New York City

The “swag” bags are now backpacks. SO AWESOME!

We checked in, picked up all our bib stuff and had to weigh ourselves. I’m not sure what the point of that was — I guess Ironman wanted to know how fat I was. At least I was only 4 pounds heavier than when I left home… and I was wearing clothes. woo hoo!

Instead of the smaller mesh bags that Ironman were giving out at previous races, they started to give out these awesome HUGE backpacks. I love it. Very roomy and I retired the one I brought with me to use this one for the trip home. Inside the bag has all the standard goodies, some coupons, samples and even an Ironman U.S. Championship license plate frame. They’re going in a good direction on these things.

Instead of shipping our bikes or bringing them on the train/plane, we utilized the TriBike Transport Service. And OH MY GOD was this TOTALLY worth it. We shipped them via FedEx last year for the Poconos 70.3 and it was more of a hassle. I couldn’t imagine doing that in New York City.  With TriBike Transport we dropped them off about a mile away from home at Sports Basement in Sunnyvale and picked them up at the pier outside the expo. Can’t complain! We wandered around the expo, got our bikes and went back to the hotel to prep them up.

Couch is packed with my stuffs!

 

After getting our bikes back, we had to head back out and get food.  We, of course, had to go to the Hello Deli, made famous by David Letterman.

And Rupert Jee was there of course! The dude is awesome. Youtube some of the skits he has done with Letterman if you don’t believe me.

I … got the “Big Ass” and laughed like an idiot when Rupert Jee said “your big ass is ready!” … it was delicious.

The Hello Deli

The next morning Kelly’s parents and brother arrived. They were our support squad! Was pretty awesome having them here. They came out to Texas for my first too. How cool is that?

Our top notch support crew! (Minus Jeff, he was taking the photos!)

We had to head on down and board the ferry with our bikes to drop them and our gear bags off at transition. It was a cool ferry ride over to Fort Lee, NJ.  Here’s a bunch of photos I snapped.

Athletes on the ferry

Our bikes making out.

Have to ham it up, right?

Under the George Washington bridge

The city from the ferry!

And now to get on to some of the race details. We got to sleep in pretty late … we woke up at 2am. Downed some food (I think I ate a chocolate croissant and various other things) and got dressed. We headed down to board the athlete ferry to transition.  Things were about to get real!

My best memory of the whole trip was sitting in the ferry terminal waiting for the all aboard signal. The volunteers and staff got on the first ferry and when they were walking by boarding all the athletes started clapping. It was an awesome thing to see.

We headed out on the nice 30 minute ride to transition. I was already starting to sweat due to the humidity. I knew it would be a long day and I wasn’t sure if I could cut it. I have a very high sweat rate… eeck!  We dropped our run and bike special needs bags off and queued up in line to fill up our tires. Mike Reilly was already there and announcing everything (The official voice of Ironman) but it wasn’t making me as nervous as I was over in Texas.

At 6:00AM-ish we boarded another ferry that would take us 2.4 miles up the Hudson to the barge where the swim start was. We stayed on the boats while the pros went off – both the male and (I believe for the first time they got their own wave) the female pros. It was amazing to watch. Then right after that they started queuing up the athlete boats and getting us into the water time trial style. I believe ours was the 2nd or 3rd boat. We only stayed on the barge for a few seconds before taking the plunge into … THE HUDSON.

Always freaking smiling

Never freaking smiling

The swim was very fast. I forget what time the current went in our favor but it was pretty early into the swim. I finished it in 56:10 and Kelly came in right behind me at 56:27. The water quality actually seemed fantastic until about the last 50 meters of the race. Then it was dark when you put your head in the water and you can smell the pollution. It was very gross. Right before getting out if you stood up you were up to your crotch in murk.

Unfortunately Andy Naylor, a 43 year old police officer, from Hong Kong passed away during the swim. I was swimming a bit to the right of the river and the boat was motioning for me to move further to the left for spacial reasons. Such a tragedy. :(

Headed into transition:

My face is a little bit black from the murk, but check out the guys legs behind me.

Pretty face, eh?

That’s not facial hair. That’s Hudson!

I don’t even know why this was in my photo package. It looks like Tony Soprano is punching some guy in the face though so I’m posting it.

Unfortunately Finisherpix and our support crew didn’t get any photos of Kelly during the swim exit. :(

Took my time in transition and headed out for my favorite part. The bike!

The whitest man in the world!

SMILING

I was a bit cocky about the bike course. I road the computrainer course file a few times and felt the rolling hills weren’t too bad. Well, throw in some humidity and make those rolling hills much worse than expected. My legs were toasted. I was shooting for around 5:30 but quickly knew that was out the window a bit before the halfway point. I unfortunately missed my special needs bag because I was stuck on the left passing a large group of riders and couldn’t pull off to the “NASCAR Style” special needs setup they had. I would’ve liked to take more of my nutrition with me from that but ate the rest of my honey stinger waffles and used up the last of my salt pills. I was taking 3 capsules per hour but had to ration them out a bit during the 2nd half of the bike.

An awesome shot of the empty transition that Jeff was able to take. How cool is this?

The last two or so miles of the bike I just gave in. I couldn’t get in the aero position anymore and that “little hill” from the computrainer was tearing me apart so I was sitting up and just rolling in. I came in 10 minutes past my time in Texas, but was happy that was over. Believe it or not but it wasn’t as humid in Texas that year and this course was a bit more difficult in my opinion. I finished the bike in 6:33:58.

I headed into transition and just sat there for a bit inside the changing tent. Drinking as much of the water as I could and just trying to regain composure. Was definitely my longest transition ever! 16 minutes! To be fair Ironman transitions are generally fairly long due to the gear bag stuff, versus placing all your stuff at the bike.

Right outside of transition there is a pretty good uphill. I was going to walk until my body felt comfortable running.

I was icing my hands down. haha

Surprisingly I look much better than I felt at that point.

Too bad you can’t smell over the Internet.

Kelly coming out of the changing tent. How cool is the backdrop?

She forgot to zip her jersey. lol

Kelly waving goodbye as she heads up the hill of death

The run course was BRUTAL. There was a double out and back portion that was about 4ish miles each way and it was quite hilly. I walked mostly until the first aid station where I started my diet of coke and water. It rejuvenated me very quickly and I was able to start running. I walked the big hills and was able to run down them and run the flats for the most part. I kept up on 2 salt tabs per hour on this and kept up the coke. I also started taking in the chicken broth when it was available at some aid stations.  There is nothing more delicious during an ironman than chicken broth.

My nutrition felt pretty much in check. I was impressed. At mile 14ish there was our run special needs and I took out my BBQ fritos secret weapon. They’re delicious and really hit the spot during a run. A guy I was running with was completely grossed out by the smell but I dropped him like a bad habit!

I somehow set my Garmin 910XT into “locked mode” during the end of the bike so it was stuck in cycling mode. I couldn’t tell what my splits were or how far I was into anything. They have mile markers for every mile of the run so I was occupying myself by doing super complex mathematics on the course.

We had to go up and down a few flights of stairs to cross the George Washington Bridge. People on the internet were of course crying about that, but it was really nothing at all in my opinion. It went by very fast. We spent a bit of time in Fort Washington Park and made our way towards the finish through Riverside Park. It was certainly very far from a PR marathon but I finished in 5:59:33. I didn’t even know how close I was to 6 hours because the Garmin was acting up. Hah!

Here are some run photos:

I was shoving sponges in front of my hat to keep cool. Learned my lesson not to put them down my back!

Not sure what was happening here, but the scenery is cool.

Unfortunately not many photos of the Keldo on the run either :(

…. and the big moment that it was all worth the effort for:

I can see the chute and hear Mike Reilly!

And nothing hurts anymore!

DONE! (Time is wrong since it started with the first racer!)

The “official photo”

I finished in 13:52:56. I really didn’t have too much of a time goal planned and once I got to New York and felt that humidity I threw out what I did have! I was very nervous throughout the race hoping that Kelly was having a good day. We were able to see each other during the 2 loops of the run which was pretty cool and helped calm me down.

Now to wait for Kelly to bring it home!

The cheering section!

and here she comes!

vroom

 

Love this

 

This is my favorite. :)

 

The finisher pose!

Kelly and her proud parents!

I was so proud of her. I knew she could do it.

Here are the videos!  I can actually hear Mike Reilly call me an Ironman. woohoo!

Me:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePXJKsnO8o4

Kelly:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-Or2P1gLGc

After finishing up we all headed back to the hotel. Kelly and I ordered pizza/hoagies delivered to our hotel at 2am. It was glorious.

Thanks for reading!!!!

Stay tuned for Part 3 – the vacation and train trip back home!

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My Big Ironman US Championship Trip Part 1

I was scheduled to do the Ironman US Championship in New York on August 11th. It was my second Ironman, the first being Ironman Texas which you can read all about over here. I think I’m going to split the trip into three blog posts so I don’t overload everything. ;)  If you just want to read the race specific post, please skip this one and head on over to part 2.

I drove to Texas because I believed it would be logistically easier with all the gear I had to take and the other thing I hate to admit: I hate airplanes. I hate the silly TSA security, I hate the style of travel, and most of all I just hate being stuck inside a big metal tube 30,000 feet in the sky.

So I decided to take the train to New York City. Yep, I took Amtrak across the country and back. The excursion was going to take 3 and a half days and be a vacation all unto itself. Unfortunately Kelly couldn’t get the extra time off for the ride to New York, but she would be joining my for the train ride back to California. I did it solo! It gave me plenty of time to polish up on some materials for two certifications I’m working on (CCNA/Securty and the  CISSP) so I can’t complain at all. It was very stress free.

I had to take two trains, on the first and longer route I booked a roomette to myself. This means I get a tiny little room in a sleeper car all to myself and it includes all of my meals in the dining car. (Hey, the Amtrak steak is actually REALLY good, and the herb chicken was quite tasty!)  On the second train I just stuck in coach to New York City.

The first train was the California Zephyr which has to be one of the most gorgeous routes through the United States. It passes through the Sierra Nevada (oh my god I have to spend a lot more time up there) and the Rocky Mountains. I was awestruck with some of the scenery. My photo skills aren’t very good and my two “awesome” cameras are an iPhone 4S and a Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

Have some photos!

At Emeryville, on the way into the train station.

It was really nice to be at the station without those butterflies that I get when flying. Everything was stress free and the people were very nice.

Hardest part of my trip was knowing I wasn’t going to be able to see her for a few days :(

I boarded the Zephyr and quickly found Kelly from my room. I tried talking her into sneaking on into my carry ons, but she wouldn’t do it. Grr.

How I spent most of the days :)

Here’s a few scenery photos I took while around the Tahoe area.

I am totally in love with the Lake Tahoe area. It was easily the prettiest place I have ever seen. I haven’t really spent much time up there and that’s a shame since we’re only a few hours away in the bay area. This will change.

Like I said earlier, the food on Amtrak was actually really good. I was totally expecting some lame microwaved meals but they proved me wrong. You sit communally at the diner car tables with other travelers so it’s really easy to meet new people on the train. The most memorable one being a couple who live in London. (and they were over here in the US with the Olympics going?!? wtf!?)  They were talking about all the traveling they were doing in the US and what parts they liked the most. Funniest thing of all was the guy really liked Budweiser. He ordered a few and even had some Budweiser swag. (Glasses case with their logo on it even … hah!)

The awesome attendant got my bed ready while I was eating dinner

The attendant on my sleeper car was Debbie. She was incredible. She learned my name pretty much instantly and was asking about my trip. Totally first class. She made up my bed while I was at dinner and I got to sleep in this configuration. The two seats fold down into a single bed. It wasn’t The Four Seasons, but it was far from uncomfortable. I slept really well.  The next day would take us through some more beautiful terrain, namely Colorado. We followed the Colorado river for 200 some miles and it was gorgeous. Have some badly taken photos!

My sleeper car was the very last car on the train. It was pretty cool to take some photos outside the back window.

 

 

Grand Junction Station

We stopped in Grand Junction Station. Small town but very unique. I felt like I was in an old western movie.

A photo I stole from Wikipedia to show how cool Grand Junction actually looks.

 

Colorado Rockies Stadium

Our next real “stop” stop was in Denver. We had a little under an hour to wander around. I was jogging a bit and loosening up the ironman ready legs. The Rockies stadium was right next to the amtrak location. I wish had a little more time to explore but was afraid of missing the train so I didn’t venture all that far away. :(

The California Zephyr getting geared up in Denver

I spent the rest of the day mostly studying and hit the sack early. Chicago would be coming up that afternoon and I had a long layover to wander around the city.

Union Station in Chicago

 

Amtrak coach waiting room area in Chicago

I wandered around Chicago a bit, but since I had a large bookbag, laptop bag and a big carry on suit case I couldn’t go too far. The Sears Tower is only a few blocks away and I was trying to track down a hot dog cart. Couldn’t find anything and I was bummed. Fortunately I had another layover on the return and a wife to help carry the equipment!

Lakeshore Limited Coach

The train into New York’s Penn Station. It was late when I took this. I was in coach, but it wasn’t bad at all. Not very noisy. I had a seat partner but he was quiet. I had my headphones on and got in more valuable studying time.

I didn’t take many more photos. I was getting a little antsy by then and was ready to hop off to get a good sleep in and head to the Ironman expo.

My cheapy hotel room!

We were staying at the Ironman host hotel, The Sheraton New York near times Square,  but I didn’t really want to pay the expensive almost $300 a night rate for the day I was going to arrive. I was able to book a room at The Americana Inn while I was on the train. The rate was really good. It’s a no frills hotel and you share a bathroom but it was super clean and couldn’t beat the location at all. I was super happy with this — they have the “you’re not going to be in your room much anyway” philosophy and I agree. Highly recommend that place.

Anyway, the next morning after I got in a good sleep, Kelly arrived! She flew into JFK and was taking a taxi over to my hotel to hang out until the check out time and head to our fancy-shmancy hotel. I was so happy to see her. We headed to that hotel, checked in and headed to …………

Pier 92 where the Ironman expo was ready to welcome us! Stay tuned for the next update where I’ll detail the race in all it’s glory!

For all two or three of you that are reading this (Hi MOM!!!) you can check out all my photos on my picasa web album here:

https://picasaweb.google.com/112488671120703156549/IronmanUSChampionshipTrip?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCPiwj-Kkgbz1Hg&feat=directlink

Will update soon! :)

 

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I got stuck in 2011 somehow.

Holy cow, the last real update I did was right after the Silicon Valley Long Course Triathlon from June? I suck. I need to post more often. :(

I certainly haven’t laid off doing events at all since June. Since the SVLC I have done quite a few things. From the middle of 2011 to 2012 I think I’ve done:

  • Ironman Vineman 70.3
  • The San Francisco Marathon
  • Santa Cruz International Triathlon
  • Labor Day Run For a Healthy World, Sunnyvale Baylands 10k
  • Steven’s Creek Trailblazer 10k
  • Ironman Poconos 70.3
  • Steamtown Marathon
  • Campbell Oktoberfest 5k
  • San Jose Firefly Run 5k
  • NorCal Warrior Dash
  • New Years Run for a Healthy World 10k
Hey, I like race shirts and bibs. It is a good way for me to build up my wardrobe of t-shirts that are way too big for me.
Instead of boring anyone with little details I’m going to plow through these with some photos thrown in. Sound good? Splendid.
Ironman Vineman 70.3
This was my second year racing up here in Sonoma county and it was much more pleasant than the first year. You can read my recap of it from the previous year over here. I finished in 6:28:02, about 36 minutes faster than 2010. I had an ok swim and bike, but as usual the heat really got to me on the run and I ended up walking a ton of the course. Some day I’ll drop enough weight and learn to run. Maybe.
This was Kelly’s first attempt at the Half Iron distance and she did well! The Silicon Valley Long Course was pretty close to the distance, but the terrain is a little more forgiving than what Vineman offers. She finished in 6:45:49. She brags because she did better than my initial time… but I think the weather was much nicer this year! ;)
Here are some photos of the Vineman 70.3:

Kelly trying to outrun Damon Wayans.

cycling in wine country!

I never get finishing tape when I finish :(

The San Francisco Marathon
Second year of this puppy too! 4:51:47. I fell apart during the second half. I don’t even remember what lame excuse I had but believe me, it was a really good excuse! Trust me! Still did better than the previous year, but I really want to get back to the 4:15 range. :( Here’s some photos!

Don't ask, I have no idea what is going on here. I swear she didn't make fun of me. haha.

I only race so I can hang around gorgeous ladies.

See!? I usually can't keep up though. lol

Maybe I should change the title of my blog to “That Creepy Guy at the Races” ?

Kelly did well, clocking in a new PR. Very impressive!

Santa Cruz International Triathlon
I love this race. It’s a month or so before the bigger Sentinel race at Santa Cruz but that doesn’t take anything away from it. Well organized and laid out. I finally bought new race wheels and this was my first time getting to test them out. Was happy to get a 1:08 bike split.

New wheels, same slow rider :)

ugggh

Kelly hamming it up for the camera.

And still makes running look easy

Labor Day Run For a Healthy World
A cute low key race at Sunnyvale Baylands Park.

I love the pony tail flying around

And here is one of my favorite series of photos. This was taken coming down to the finishing line – this guy passed me maybe about a quarter mile back. I may not be good at endurance running, but I still have the sprinting skills left in my legs. It made for a good photo and we were laughing about it at the end. :-)

Steven’s Creek Trailblazer 10k
This was my first race I ever did three years ago and I guess it kicked off a pretty bad addiction. My work sponsors it and a few people from work showed up.

The gang

hah!

Finally one where I look like I'm with it.

Ironman Poconos 70.3
This was just a mess. We traveled back to Pennsylvania to do the inaugural Poconos 70.3. The swim was cancelled because of the heavy rains that were happening the previous week. We walked down to the river and saw huge logs, branches and other junk just flying down the river. That would’ve been really dangerous to swim in.

The road conditions for the bike course weren’t very good. I don’t know if I’m just spoiled from being out in Northern California now where the roads don’t get much abuse from mother nature. The combination of humongous potholes and still wet and slick conditions made me give up any semblance of actually racing this. I just took the bike course easy and even got off my bike at one point to help a girl change a flat tire. I think I’d wait a couple more years before doing this one again so they can iron out some of the kinks.

Both of us just happy to be done.

 

Kelly looking good on the run course

Steamtown Marathon
My second time running in my hometown marathon and I had a complete meltdown. I didn’t bring along any of my salt tablets and the heat just absolutely destroyed me. I walked the last 10 miles and had my first ever visit to the medical tent afterwards. My blood pressure was sky rocketed and I needed electrolytes very bad. I sweat buckets even on cold days, so I should have remembered to bring my salt tabs. This sucked.

There's like 20 photos of me walking across the finish line, but here's one of my before I melted down

And a finishing shot of Kelly killing it a new PR!

Campbell Oktoberfest 5k
This was one of two races for the day. This is an awesome run put on in Campbell at the Los Gatos Creek Trail – same location as the Valentines Day Run. Kelly was pissed that she got passed by a beer in the last mile. hahaha. 

Love this photo of us together!

This is the beer with Kelly in the background. HAHAHAHAH lol

San Jose Firefly Run 5k
After the Oktoberfest run we got some food and rested our legs for a bit. Then later that night we headed to the Willow Glenn area in San Jose for a night run. Everyone was lit up with flashing lights and there was a lot of neat costumes. We agreed we weren’t going to run it hard. Then the race started and we changed our minds.

Only photo I could find. Gross. haha

NorCal Warrior Dash
This was the second year doing the Warrior Dash and they made a *lot* of changes to the course this year. There was a lot more obstacles then the previous year. I presume they wanted to make it more like that tough mudder stuff – but at least this was still timed. It was a pretty good time but I don’t know if I’ll be back next year.

The mud pit was fun of course. Instead of crawling like most people I decided just to swim in it since it was quicker. It got a good reaction. My shorts fell off at the finish line because of all the mud in them and I was standing there in my boxers. hah.

Mad ups?

She got them too.

a

She wasn't having any mud near her face. Wuss.

I, on the other hand, embraced the mud.

New Years Run for a Healthy World 10k
And per our tradition – start the new year by running a 10k out at the Palo Alto Baylands. And then scurry home to watch the bowl games. :)

 

Oh my god I look creepy

 

There was a few more little runs in there like the Santa Cruz Jingle Bell 5k that I couldn’t find any photos from. Oh well!

That was how I spent the end of 2011. Now to start working on a quick post to get 2012 up to date.

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2012 Tentative Race Schedule

My blog was down for a while due to some negligence on my part. I wasn’t on top of updating my plugins and I believe someone found a nice hole in there and appended some code in places. Anyway, it’s all fixed up now and I’m slowly gluing things back together.

We’re already five months into 2012 so I guess I should get down to business. Here’s my tentative 2012 race/event schedule:

2012 Schedule
1/1 – New Years Run for a Healthy World 10k
2/11 Campbell Valentine Fun Run 10k
2/26 – Stanford Treeathlon
3/11 – South Bay Duathlon
3/25 – Oakland Marathon
4/07 – Hollywood Half
4/29 – Pleasanton Half Marathon
5/5, 5/6 – The Relay
5/12 – Los Altos Hills Pathways 10k
5/20 – Morgan Hill Sprint Triathlon
5/27 – San Jose Earthquakes Challenge 10k
6/23 – Silicon Valley Long Course (Half Iron distance)
7/15 – Vineman 70.3
8/11 – Ironman USA Championship
9/3 – Labor Day Run for a Healthy World 10k
9/22 – Firefly Run 5k
9/30 – Muddy Buddy
10/07 – Rock n Roll San Jose Half
10/13 – Campbell Oktoberfest 5k
10/28 – Morgan Hill Marathon
11/22 – Silicon Valley Turkey Trot 10k
12/9 – Jingle Bell Rock 5k

These are what I’m planning, but may add some/delete some etc.

If anyone out there is doing any of these let me know so I can say hello!

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How to make my GREEN MONSTER.

I’ve had quite a few people asking me how I make my breakfast smoothies, so I figured I’d throw together this simple HOWTO with plenty of obnoxious photos. It makes for a tasty and quick breakfast and it is a pretty good way to sneak in a few good servings of veggies. I generally buy all my produce from Trader Joe’s and Sprouts Market. And I buy a monster bag of frozen strawberries from Costco! Anyway, here’s a quick rundown of ingredients:

GREEN MONSTER Ingredients
Frozen pineapple chunks
Frozen strawberries
Banana
Chia seeds (I buy them in bulk at Sprouts)
Frozen broccoli (I buy the chopped kind)
Spinach
Kale
Whey Protein (I buy Nectar’s Strawberry Kiwi flavor)
Trader Joe’s Green Drink Powder

Anyway, here we go:

All the stuff!

Holy cow that looks like a lot of stuff.

Adding that pineapple

I try not to use a lot of pineapple since it’s mostly just sugar. If I were concentrating solely on weight loss I probably wouldn’t use any at all. Because I generally do around an hour of exercise every day I don’t mind this.

Frozen strawberries!

I buy a huge bag of these babies from Costco. I admit that I take in a big whiff of the bag when I open it… smells so good. I wish there was a working Smell Over TCP/IP Protocol available for you to scratch and sniff it.

BROCCOLI ACTION SHOT

This feels like cheating. I add somewhere around half to a full cup of broccoli. Usually the chopped variety but really anything works fine. You won’t even taste it. See? Cheating!

What in the hell is this thing?

Sean Trivia: Years ago before soccer practice at Penn State my friend would make fun of me because it would take me about 30 minutes to eat a banana. I just couldn’t eat them fast. Now I can pummel these things.

Chia seeds. Yes, the same ones you can make a pet out of!

Yes, I read Born To Run and think that consuming chia seeds gives me super human ability to run ultra marathons barefoot. Ok, actually I like them for their Omega-3 fatty acid profile, but hey, the placebo effect may help too.

SUPER Green Drink Powder

This stuff is probably my secret ingredient. I’ve tried other powders but never liked the taste. The Trader Joe’s powder actually tastes really good and overpowers almost everything.

Here I am so far. Is this getting exciting yet? :)

Alright, so things are looking pretty normal right? How about we go crazy?

A big handful of popeye food!

This is where it is definitely cheating. I take a huge handful (I added even more after this) and you can’t taste any of it. I yam what I yam. Toot toot.

KALE!

Kale is great. If you open any of those magazines you’re likely to see kale on the “Top ten super foods you should be eating” lists they like to put out. You can’t even taste it in this smoothie though. Neat eh?

SLAM that smoothie.

The blender fills up pretty quick, so I gotta slam it down to fit it all in there. I just wanted to include a photo of me punching a smoothie.

Water is important for you too.

I never add enough water and get angry that it isn’t blending correctly. I then add more and it works a little better, and then a little bit more and it works perfectly. I think I add about 1.5 cups of water to it. It makes it better for sucking up in a straw too so it’s not green sludge.

BLEEEEEEEEND!!!

Blend all the delicious ingredients together. It may take a while and you’ll have to push the ingredients down further. Er, I know you’re smart enough to know how to use a blender but I’m not and it took me a while. haha.

Oh, and I almost forgot one more thing. I like lifting weights and I like protein so I add a scoop of Whey to my smoothie too.

ARGHHHHHHH

Just one scoop and then remix it.

Whey Action Shot

I should have taken a good after shot with it in a nice glass, but alas I was running late this morning and had to bring it to work with me again.

The finished product

I filled up my bottle with green sludge goodness, and had a little bit left over which I quickly sucked down. I really enjoy making these and they are a fun way to get in some veggie servings without even thinking about it. The only problem I really have with them is they are high in sugar/fructose, but this is my main source of carbohydrate for the day. The rest of my meals tend to be high in fat and protein. Of course I try to include vegetables as the main source of carbs the rest of the day.

I encourage anyone to try this and experiment with it. See what you like and what you don’t. I made a few bad ones before settling on what I like. Blueberries overpower almost everything so I didn’t use those anymore. Kelly tried chocolate whey powder in hers and it wasn’t that great. Kelly’s version uses almond milk too.

Have fun and experiment. Let me know if you already make these and what you throw in it! And if you don’t make them yet and give it a shot – let me know how it goes!

And lastly:

You can't resist these eyes, Sean.

I let this guy lick up some of the remains a couple times… not a good idea unless you like taking care of green liquid poop. So if your pet is finicky, don’t let it lying around. lol

 

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Ironman Texas loose ends and some Silicon Valley Long Course love

I still keep reflecting on Ironman Texas and what things worked for me and what I need to work on. Here’s a few thrown together thoughts and photos that I have left over.

Oh! And the “Finisher’s Video” that I got.

Mike Reilly did in fact call me an Ironman at the finishing line, however the video didn’t capture that epic moment. :(

Here are some photos!

The worst part of these trips is dropping this guy off at the vet for boarding. Kills me every time :(

T1 at full Ironman events are very clean - much the opposite of most other races.

I think I was still a bit confused from the whole horizontal to vertical thing.

Happy with my fit so far, but I think I can likely start lowering my cockpit more. (Stop thinking that way, you dirty pervert.)

Oh god I could eat this every day for the rest of my life and I would die a happy (and very large) man.

What do I think I did right?

  • Nutrition - Up until the last loop of the run course I was feeling great with no stomach problems. I generally don’t have digestion problems but sometimes don’t keep up on calorie in-take during long endurance events. I can’t remember all that I had but here’s a basic run down of what foods kept me going.
    • Breakfast? I can barely remember! A combination of Greenlees awesome cinnamon bread, some dark chocolate peanut butter, Trader Joe’s miniature chocolate chip cookies and probably a kids clif bar. Super healthy right?
    • Honeystinger Waffles – I believe I had 5 or so of these things. Definitely my favorite thing to eat while cycling – very tasty and go down easy.
    • Powerbar Gel Blasts – I’m not really much of a fan of gels, but these gummy style bites are a great alternative. I emptied a couple bags of these into a ziploc bag and took them when I felt necessary. I mixed the raspberry and strawberry banana flavors. (3 packages total)
    • Clif Shot Blocks – I love the tropical flavor and saved the package for the run course to switch it up.
    • Powerbar Perform – The on course sports drink. I actually like the lemon lime on the bike, but didn’t care for the mango on the run course. I tried to alternate bottles of this at the bike aid stations and…
    • Water!
    • Potato chips – On the run course when salt was needed very badly. Ate maybe two handfuls over the entire marathon.
    • Chicken broth – best thing I ever tasted.
  • Bike pacing – I was happy with my bike split. 17.6mph over 112 miles isn’t very fast but I felt like I left enough “juice” in the tank to be able to give a valiant effort on the run.
  • Not panicking after being punched in the face multiple times during the first 5 minutes of the swim. I’ve been hit before plenty of times, but never so much in such a little amount of time. The Ironman washing machine was amazing and intimidating.
  • Thanking the volunteers every time I could – without them the race wouldn’t have been the amazing experience it was. I tried to thank every single one I could for doing what they did. Great people.

What do I think I did wrong?

  • Weight – This one is obvious. I still need to shed at least a minimum of 25 pounds on my frame. I’ve come a long way so far but I’ve been stalled for way too long. It’s my own fault for not controlling my diet more and using the “I’m training” attitude too much. I think this is the hardest to fix for me but I have to try. A lighter weight will increase my speed and endurance since I’m essentially strapping a 25lb (35lb?) plate to my belly and going out there doing this.
  • Brick Workouts - I didn’t do nearly enough of these at all. It wouldn’t have prevented the meltdown that I had with blisters on the run course but I would have gotten a lot further along than I did before that epic meltdown! Respect the brick!
  • Bike Workouts - My cycling workouts were much more rare than they should have been. Yes I’m happy with my pacing but I know I could’ve been much better if I spent adequate time out in the saddle. It is the sport out of the three that I feel the most comfortable so I neglect it too much.
  • Heat adaptation – Not sure how the hell I could be prepared for that Houston heat but there has to be a way! Lock myself in the sauna for a while? Wear layers? I think I just got unlucky with the California weather too.

I have many more things that pop in and out of my head that I wish I did differently but those are the main ones. I have to lay off that BBQ!


Will I do it again!?

YES. I’m already in the planning stages of picking a new venue for another challenge, and this time I’m bringing a partner. Kelly is going to join me on the next Ironman journey. Very excited and will post updates on here shortly.

I’m under the impression now that life is way too short to stay sedentary and indoors, so…

Silicon Valley Long Course

A triathlon in my backyard! They added a new long course (1 mile swim / 56 mile bike / 9 mile run) format for this year. I did the SVIT (Olympic Distance) last year and the recap is in this post.

I did a bit better than I was expecting, especially after the Ironman a few weeks earlier.

Swim: 34:53 (Making progress, happy, goal time was under 38 minutes.)
Bike: 2:55:34 (19.1mph, happy with this too, goal time was under 3:10)
Run: 1:28:59 (Goal for this was 10 minute miles, 1:30! whew)

Total time ended up being 5:05:02. Honestly would have been happy with anything under 5:30.

This was Kelly’s first attempt at this distance and she did very well. She completed two sprints and an Olympic so far, so this was a big step up.

Kelly finishing!

All done and gloating after finishing :)

Finishers medal

Whew, sorry for the big blast of random things flying around. Organization isn’t my cup of tea. I really don’t have too much going on until mid-July when the Vineman 70.3 is and I’m looking forward to getting revenge on my performance from last year!

For now it’s time to rest up…

She's going to kill me for posting this, but I think it's hilarious.

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I Am An Ironman.

Two weeks ago I accomplished a goal I was looking forward to for a long time and something I never thought I’d be able to do. I traveled to Texas and took part in the Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas. It was a long journey and I put a lot of effort into it and am happy with everything. Shall I get started? Okay then!

You did what!?
Yep, I drove to Houston from the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m still a bit shaken up from the nasty flight back from the Rock ‘N Roll Marathon in Las Vegas and the idea of somehow getting all my gear there was too hard to fathom. It was 1962 miles away and an extremely boring ride on Interstate 10 for most of the way.

We packed up all the gear and clothes – I know I brought too much stuff, but it was my first Ironman and thought I’d need to bring an entire bike toolbox with me! D’oh. We were able to squeeze all the stuff into the Prius and had plenty of room. The hatchback is a lot bigger than you’d think! The drive itself was very boring – I5 down into Los Angeles and then eventually hooking up with I10 all the way into Houston. We stopped in Phoenix on the first night and some Econolodge in the west Texas boonies the second night. We should have left a day sooner because we had to high-tail it for another 7 hours of driving to get to The Woodlands for the mandatory packet pickup … on Thursday … even though the race is on a Saturday!

Packet Pickup
We made it to the packet pickup, which was located pretty close to the Woodlands Mall parking lot with a few hours to spare. We apparently picked a good time since there was only 6 people in line – by the time I got my stuff done the line was probably over a hundred strong. Iron distance triathlons work a little differently than the shorter distances. All your gear goes into specially marked bags, so transition areas look and work much better. The packet also had my race Bibs and stickers to place on all my bags and gear. Here’s what our hotel bed looked like:

I didn’t have to worry about the green one since I had family with me but I used the other 4. The ‘Special needs’ bags you get to pick up at about the half way point on the bike and during laps 2 or 3 of the run.

What do you do with these puppies? Here’s a little sample:
Bike Gear: Jam my aero helmet, bike shoes, socks, sun glasses, bodyglide, food to put in my jersey pockets.
Bike Special Needs : More food: Honey Stinger waffles, powerbar gel blasts and believe it or not honey bbq fritos… salty and hit the spot at the right times!
Run Gear: Obviously shoes, visor and a fresh clean pair of socks! And more waffles!
Run Special Needs: More of the same food.

I was fortunate enough to not only have my awesome wife with me there to support me but my in-law’s flew all the way to Texas from Pennsylvania to be there! It was so awesome to have them out there and definitely helped me push along at some of my worst times.

Bike Drop Off
The day before the race you have to drop off all your bags and your bike and yep – it was pretty intense and really starting to heat up in Texas. I was dripping sweat just walking around as you can see here:



The rest of the day was spent lounging around and eating everything I could find.

And on to the spice – the race itself!

Swim – 2.4 miles – 1:39:09
The water temperature was warm enough that a special wetsuit role comes in to play. If you wear a wetsuit you are not eligible for age group awards or to take a coveted Kona slot for the Ironman World Championships. Needless to say the only way that would happen is if rednecks shot everyone else in my age group while I was on the bike. So I opted to wear a wet suit. Swimming is definitely not my strong point and I’ve never been in a mass-start before. I wore a sleeveless wet suit for the first time to try to keep cool before the heat was on.

Nerves in full effect - trying to clear my head!

We all queued up into the water after the professionals were sent off. Over 2,000 of us lodged into a fairly small area of the lake. They played one of my favorite tunes to kick off the start – Black Sabbath’s Iron Man. (Click that and read the rest of the review! lol) Once it started, holy crap, it was mass mayhem. I was kicked in the face and punched in the side of the head about 15 seconds into the race. I knew it was going to be a long day.

Good luck finding me :)

I was hoping that once the better swimmers got further out things would spread out a bit, but that never happened. I was surrounded by people for most of the swim. It ended in a canal at the Woodlands Waterway which was gorgeous, and pretty intense with people lined up on both sides cheering us on. It felt so good to hear Mike Reilly’s voice over the speakers at the end of the swim. It was my biggest fear – not making that 2:20 cutoff somehow.

It was a bit more packed when us slower folks made it that far!

Transition 1 – Swim to bike – 10:23
I wanted to get in and out of transition and onto that bike as soon as possible but of course there was a bunch of hiccups. I double knotted my transition bag the day before and wasn’t thinking about having to open it when I got into the changing tent. Spent a minute or two fumbling with it before just tearing a hole in the side of it to get my bike gear out and jam my swim stuff inside of it. Luckily for me all of my stuff ended up in tact when I picked it up at the end. I have no clue how I spent 10 minutes there though… haha

Bike – 112 Miles – 6:22:32
The bike course was beautiful and relatively flat for 112 miles. Total elevation gain on my Garmin Edge ended up being 3,618ft. That is a bit less than some little 40 mile loop I do in California. I still tried to maintain my decent heart rate so I’d be able to run the marathon. It felt really good to be passing a ton of bikes… one of the benefits of being a terrible swimmer I guess! I kept up on my nutrition really well during the bike and felt great. In retrospect I probably should have pushed it a bit harder and aimed for 5:45 or under, but that run frightened me since the heat and humidity in Houston area is unreal. I had to stop to pee at an aid station about 30 miles in.

I alternated taking water and sports drink at every other aid station – except skipping the 1st one and another one later on in the course. And at mile 60ish I picked up my special needs bag to replenish some of the nutrition I liked. Also in there was a note from my wife that really picked the spirits up.

The heat really started picking up during the last 30 miles or so of the course and I knew that run was going to be walking hell. I tried to ease up a little more to keep my HR down and recover the legs a little bit. By the time the Garmin showed 112 I was certainly ready to get off the bike, but it hadn’t felt like it was that far. That was a good feeling!

Transition 2 – Bike to Run – 14:13
I handed my bike and helmet off to the volunteer and headed toward the changing tent. Yep – in full Ironman’s they even rack your bike for you. Totally bad ass and I want that for sprints!

Just walking near the changing tent I really felt that Houston heat. It was like walking into a pizza kitchen with no windows or air conditioning. Holy cow. I utilized the facilities and headed into the tent. I sat down and was already downright drenched in sweat. They ran out of water in T1 and the volunteers were scrambling to get some – there was quite a number of people just sitting there staring at the tent walls. I knew then it was going to be even more rough than I thought. I took my time getting new socks on and bodygliding up all the important places. Then I took a minute or two just to regain composure and headed on out. At least I can grasp why this one took 14 minutes!

Run 26.2 miles – 6:00:29
I got out on the run course and thank god there was an aid station about 100 feet from the exit. I loaded up on water like a camel! I think my sweat rate was higher than what I could physically drink at the time. I was about 1 mile into the run course and I saw a few people sitting on the curb trying to regain composure. I saw two different people throwing up behind a dumpster and into bushes. I saw a lady crying and breaking down. I thought I accidently made the wrong turn into a warzone. The most surprising thing was that I passed a female pro (They have P’s written on the back of their leg) while running a 9:00 mile… She was likely on her 3rd lap of the run course already, but if that wasn’t a sign for things to come I don’t know what was!

Yeah, very attractive huh? I had to peel all the hot triathlete ladies off me with a knife.

The aid stations were incredible. Volunteers were very well trained, very vocal and the most supportive I’ve ever seen. I was able to keep running by shoving the ice cold water filled sponges down my back and rigged up into my visor. This was a major catch 22 that I didn’t know yet. The water from the sponges was running down my back… through, uh, a special area, and down my leg into my socks. This majorly chafed that, uh, special area, and water logged my shoes. I ended up keeping between a 10-11:30 minute mile for most of the 1st lap which would keep me on track for me 5 hour goal. The people surrounding the waterway were incredible. My name was on my bib and hearing everyone personally cheering me on really helps. I unfortunately missed my family since they weren’t sure where the start of the course was – they ended up being at the start of loop #2 and #3 though!

The 2nd loop? All hell started to break loose. My feet started to burn and I could feel the friction starting to heat my feet up. This combined with the outside humidity and heat was just killing me. I kept up my water rituals, but ended up with a pretty nasty present for it.

[[[ I made this small becuase it’s pretty gross – click on it if you really want to see it. lol ]]]


I had these big guys on both of my feet. It was hurting to land on the ball of my foot but I was able to run-walk the rest of loop number 2.

Loop 3? OH MY GOD WHY ARE MY FEET ON FIRE I AM GOING TO DIE. I was contemplating stopping at the med tents for assistance but I was afraid they would take me off the course. I have no idea why but I just had it in my head that I needed to get this done by myself. I pressed on but had to walk just about the entire lap of 8 miles on those lovely feet.

Still looking good for all those ladies!

Throughout the race I kept trying to thank every volunteer I saw – they made the race soo much more than I thought it could be, but by lap #3 it was getting hard to do it. I still did – but when someone said “Looking good!!!” I wanted to say some choice words back to them! hah! I was at a point where I stopped sweating and it really scared me. I was actually starting to get a little cold… I knew something wasn’t right so I started taking everything at the aid stations I could – water, sports drink, potato chips, cookies etc. I felt better 10 or 15 minutes later, but it was a bit scary to think I was only 6 miles away from becoming an Ironman and I might not do it.

During the NBC coverage of the Ironman World Championships I always found it funny that they would have chicken broth on the course when it started to get later in the run. On my 3rd loop I got to take some – and OH .. MY .. GOD it hit the spot. It was the perfect mix of salt and taste that I needed. The only thing that tasted better to me during the last month was the BBQ and TexMex that I got to eat. I slogged on and got to that finishing chute.

Overall Time – 140.6 miles – 14:26:43

140.6 miles done, and a title for the rest of my life.

I was tearing up – I think I only ran about a mile of that last loop and walked the rest, but I felt like a million bucks when I hit that finishing chute with people screaming everywhere. I felt like a rockstar or a professional wrestler running down to the main event. It made that hugely steep entry fee seem not so bad.

And my favorite photo of it all? I didn’t get here by myself – no way in hell I would have managed to do it. I had the best support and training partner someone could ever ask for… she thinks she wouldn’t have been able to do “one of these” yet? BS!

 

I know this post has been long enough so I’ll try to add another one with some more details of some of things that happened and how other stuff went… but for now…

I AM AN IRONMAN! :)

 

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Big Update-o-Rama

*** WARNING ***
Sorry! This is long! I should have probably broke it into pieces, oops!

Holy crap, I’ve been super busy. Since my last update in February I did race in the Stanford Treeathlon, Jenny’s Light 10k, Green St. Patrick’s half marathon, US Half Marathon Part 2, Tierra Bella Century, Big Bunny Fun Run and The Relay. I’ve been really busy training, eating and sleeping as much as possible while Ironman Texas lingers right around the corner. I don’t think I’m even half as well prepared as I should be by now, but I can’t complain.

Here’s a quick rundown of things that went on:

Stanford Treeathlon:
The weather for the Treeathlon was very cold for the bay area and the water temperature I believe was into the 50’s. They unfortunately had to cancel the swim portion because of hypothermia fears while out on the bike course. They turned it into a duathlon format instead by replacing the swim with a run. Of course I’m not a very strong runner (not that I’m a strong swimmer, but hey!) I was a little bummed but it’s a completely understandable decision by the race directors. Proud to say I finished pretty mid-pack… which makes me very happy! Progress! Cycling was pretty fast and the running a bit slower… as usual! :)

SVTC Group shot!

Jenny’s Light:
The Jenny’s Light 10k was pretty fun. I didn’t do too well but I don’t even remember what lame excuse I had! Haha. It was at Vasona Park in Los Gatos and for a very good cause. Unfortunately I don’t think I have any photos from the event which stinks, especially since Kelly won a prize for wearing a running skirt! I promise if I find photos I’ll get them on here.

Go Green:
The weekend after the Jenny’s Light run we went back to Vasona Park to run the Go Green St. Patrick’s Day Half Marathon. It was a lot of the same course as the previous week, except, well, twice as big. Good scenery and good people, but it was very crowded. There was also quite a lot of problems going on such as signage and volunteer shortages. I think the race might have grown a little too big for it’s belt already but hopefully they straighten it out for next year. I did ok but blew up a bit during the last few miles of the race.

Yes, I was trying to give a thumbs up on purpose!

US Half Part 2:
A month later we headed up to San Francisco to do the 2nd half of the “US Half Marathon” series. It was the same course as the first half, but it crosses the Golden Gate Bridge and through some nice areas of San Francisco so I can’t complain. It’s a full marathon with a 4 month break in-between! ;) There was a big lack of porta potties, but I found one about 100 yards past the starting line. (After the race started!) I stopped my garmin and I’m using THAT time as my official time, because hey, who the hell puts porta potties on the other side of the starting line? Anyway, I was trying to keep my heart rate fairly low for this and was really happy being really close to breaking two hours. I know I can definitely do it now if I go out harder and have a less demanding course. The Golden Gate Bridge does subtract 1 minute from your pace though… always pumps me up.

This is why you don't give me the option to make our own personalized bib!

Left medal is from the 1st half, right one is the 2nd half

They COMBINE!!!!

Tierra Bella:
Because I’m a huge fan of suffering, we headed down to Gilroy to ride the Tierra Bella century. It was a nice 102 mile route with about
6700 feet of climbing on my altimiter. The Henry Coe climb was pretty difficult but rewarding. I believe it was around 2700 feet over the course of about 8 miles. I wanted to have a full recap with photos on the ride but alas, I forgot to even bring my camera with me for the ride. I’d like to go down and ride a bunch of the route again and get some shots. It was gorgeous. A volunteer took a good shot of Kelly and I at the rest stop around the 75th mile.

Can you spot the hidden oreo?

Big Bunny Fun Run 5k
I love this race. A nice little trot around the City Hall area in Cupertino the day before Easter. No Active.com registrations, you actually have to mail it in or use some decrpit city-wide course registration management system. I think I set a 5k PR at this race, but the best part – Kelly placed 3rd in her age group! And the 31-39 Women’s age group is really competitive. Really proud of her and she was lit up like a Christmas tree for the rest of the weekend.

Bib & Age group award medal!

The age group placer herself!

and last but not least …

The Relay:

It’s a really fun and unique style of race. Each team has 12 runners and take turns running through the 194 mile course. It starts in Calistoga, CA and ends the next day at Davenport, CA next to Santa Cruz. Each team splits into two separate vans. The van with the current runner out on the road goes to a point or two on the course to support their runner and then waits at the next transition where the next waits for the ‘baton’ to get started on their leg. So if you ever see a ton of white vans and runners around, you might have wandered in the path of a relay style race. They’re becoming very popular now with the RAGNAR Relay’s taking off and even a movie being made about the Hood To Coast one. One of the nickname’s it has is “California’s Longest Party” — and that it is.

For those who have read Dean Karnazes’ book, The Ultramarathon Man, this is the same race he talks about during the book where he ran solo. Yes, the same one he ordered Round Table pizza during!

The atmosphere is pretty awesome – vans get all decked out with decorations and even some runners run in costumes. And team names? Yes, very creative: Just Watering Your Flowers Ma’am, 24 Bouncing Boobs, Team Dean Minus Dean Plus 12, Better At Running My Mouth, Pigs in Pursuit (A team of all Cops from Woodland, CA, hah!), Trans Fatty Asses, Well Hung Over… just to name a few! Our team was ‘The Scrappers’ since our fearless leader (and sponsor) works for Sims Metal Management. I don’t know how Dave can organize something as well as this. I think I’d have an easier time running it solo than trying to get everything together as smoothly as he did. Major props to him.

Each runner does 3 legs. I ran 5, 17 and 29.

Leg 5:
A nice flat 5.4 mile run through Yountville, California. It’s pretty close to Napa and is a gorgeous small town. The sun was really beating down and made for a really nice challenge. If this is how bad it was here I don’t know how I’m going to make it through Ironman Texas!

Leg 17:
This was mostly on some bike paths around Corte Madera into Sausalito. It was perfect running weather although it was somewhere around 1am or something at the time. A couple big hills in the beginning but mostly pretty flat for the remainder. Felt good and my headlamp worked really well. A few runners actually thanked me for lighting up the area when I passed them. Glad I picked it up last year at Zombie Runner.

Leg 29:
This leg is a big hill. I don’t know how much elevation it actually was since apparnetly my garmin believes I fell off one of the cliffs on the route. (Says 2,542 feet gain and loss, 1607.) … probably around 1000ft I overheard someone say. Anyhow — this was very hard as some grades during the run were so steep that my calves felt strained trying to run up them even with a super quick and short cadence. Still happy with my time on that — I passed quite a number of people during it too and I was definitely not the only one struggling out there.

The only thing I really dislike about it is that some people/teams are infatuated with ‘roadkill’ — passing another runner. I dislike the whole concept. I think running is more about being free and enjoying the spirit and experience. It’s more euphoric to me than marking numbers and celebrating passing someone who may be slower than you. Big deal. Good job. I have more appreciation and respect for the person with the slowest time than I do the quickest. I like to think I’m not talking out of my ass – I passed 20 other runners and was passed by 2 runners. (3 on the first leg, 8 on the 2nd, 9 on the 3rd.) I’m not fast by most measures but I was really very lucky to get people in bunches on my route. Last year I was probably passed by about the same and I think I passed 2 people. I still remember waiting for our runner last year and watching another set of runners go by and a their van yelling ‘nice roadkill!’ to their runner that passed someone else. I don’t like that. Enjoy the time outside and the route to get there. If you’re in the top few elite teams, sure, be happy you’re smoking your competition, but I think knocking your ego down a few notches while you do it would make for a better experience. Sorry for the rant. Fortunately my team wasn’t really caught up in it at all, and were all supportive and cheering everyone else on.

My team was a really great and fun bunch:

L-R: Kneeling: Robert, Norm. Standing: Jennifer, Kelly, Mark, Me and Ed

I left my cell phone and camera on the kitchen table so I didn’t even get to take any photos or utilize the twitter #TheRelay2011 hashtag. Argh!

Here’s a few photos of the weekend that I was sent from Ed and Norm (Thanks guys!)

The start line. Only 194 miles by foot until the end.

Jennifer starting strong! (Bib 105)

Only a brief sample of the miles upon miles of vineyards we saw.

Kelly and Robert. Don't know if it's the shorts or not but he's fast!

Awesome pony-tail action shot!

Always looking at that watch! Doh. And Norm looks too good for just running in that heat!

Me looking at the watch. Half of my race finish photos look like this too :)

Only 196 miles, a few hours of sleep, BBQ, burritos to get to the end. And enjoying the after meal.

Whew, sorry for the photo bomb. I’m glad others took them and shared! Was a really fun weekend.

Conclusion:

I have a very short time left to fit in some more training before I start the major taper for Ironman Texas. Do I feel ready? No way. Will I go for it anyway? You got it. I feel like I should have done at minimum twice as much volume as I did, but hope it’s enough. I’ve done a few 2.4 mile swims in my pool (without flip turns too) and come close to the two hour mark. I won’t be able to wear a wetsuit becuase of water temperature and it’s going to be hot as hell there… so I’m hoping I come in under 2 hours for that. The cutoff is 2 hours and 20 minutes and I’d like to have a bigger buffer. Cycling has been my strongpoint so I’m hoping the 112 miles will leave me with enough hours to run, walk or shuffle on the marathon.

I’ll do my best to keep this updated but feel free to follow me on Twitter. I’m sure Kelly will live tweet my updates on May 21st. Or she’ll let you know how I’m doing in the hospital that it’s sponsored by when I get bit by a water moccasin. *panic*

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2011 Tentative Schedule

Ok, I suck. I admit it. I totally suck. This post has been sitting in my wordpress queue for over two weeks and I was too dumb to finish it. Feel free to chastise me on Twitter.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnyway – I’ve been compiling up a list of events that I’m going to attempt to do in 2011. It’s a lot bigger than I expected but I’m looking forward to it. Some people like to go out and get sloshed on a Saturday evening or go out to a fancy restaurant on Friday nights. Well, not I. I can’t place exactly when it happened but participating in endurance/race type events is extremely fun. The people, the atmosphere, the actual courses and scenery… and it’s much healthier than consuming 5,000 calories worth of liquid to only throw it up the next morning. Although sometimes I feel like I should be throwing up during the run.

Everything is not set in stone but here’s the list. My ‘A’ races are Ironman Texas, Vineman 70.3 and the Poconos 70.3. There’s a few scheduling mishaps that I’d like to work through (glaring example is the Steamtown Marathon the week after the Poconos Half Ironman.) but should be a blast!

2011
Jan 1 – New Years Run for a Healthy World (10k)
Feb 12 – Campbell Valentine Fun Run 10k
Feb 27 – Stanford Treeathlon (Sprint treeathlon)
Mar 6 – Jenny’s Light 10k
Mar 13 – Go Green St. Patrick’s Day Run (Half-marathon)
Apr 10 – US Half Marathon Part 2 – The ‘Other’ Half
Apr 16 – Tierra Bella 2011 (Century)
Apr 23 – Big Bunny Fun Run (5k)
Apr 30 – May 1 – The Relay (Team: Scrappers!)
May 7 – Los Altos Hills Pathways (10k trial)
May 15 – Bay To Breakers (12k)
May 21 – Ironman Texas (!!!)
Jun 11 – Silicon Valley Long Course Triathlon (Half iron distance)
Jun 12 – Silicon Valley International Triathlon (Maybe!)
Jul 17 – Vineman 70.3
July 31 – The San Francisco Marathon
Aug 14 – Santa Cruz International Triathlon (Olympic distance)
Sep 5 – Labor Day Run for a Healthy World 10k (Don’t see it on their website yet but I presume it will go on in 2011)
Sep 17 – Palo Alto Echelon Gran Fondo (Century)
Sep 25 – Santa Cruz Sentinel Triathlon (May skip on this)
Oct 2 – Ironman Pocono Mountains 70.3
Oct 9 – Steamtown Marathon
Oct 15 – Oktoberfest 5K Run
Oct 29 – Warrior Dash
Oct 30 – Monster Dash (10k)
Nov 24 – Silicon Valley Turkey Trot (10k)
Dec 4 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon
Dec 11 – Santa Cruz Jingle Bell Rock 5k

Whew, I think I burned 508 calories just compiling that list.

In other news – after saving up for a long time I finally was able to get a triathlon/TT bike – and for a pretty nifty price too!

2011 Felt B12. Excuse the ugly cabling housing – it will be fixed along with shortening the aero bars after I have my FIST fitting done. And excuse the backward seatpost bag – I couldn’t rig that stupid thing on there with the TT seat but I already fixed that. ;)

Only been on two longer rides of about 50 miles with a bit of climbing and I’m in heaven. I shaved off a couple minutes of my Old La Honda time. Although I can probably smash it on my road bike now since it’s been a while since I tried and I should climb much better on that. Hah!

The real test will be in another week and a half at the Stanford Treeathlon at the Redwood Shores. I’m a terrible blogger and I don’t think I even recapped it last year. Shame on me.

I saw this posted somewhere on a forum and thought it was pretty fun – San Francisco locals should appreciate this. San Francisco neighborhoods by the bike type:

Anyone else an event-a-holic like me? Anyone doing some of the same events?

Valentine Fun Run

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