Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
Apparently equals Half-Ironman training. Sunday morning/afternoon I raced in and completed the Amica Texasman Long Course Triathlon up in North Texas. Which consisted of a 1.2 mile swim in Lake Ray Roberts, a 56 mile bike ride through the ranch country of Valley View, TX, and a 13.1 mile run mostly through the trails of Johnson Branch State Park. I finished 33rd overall (5th in my age group) with a time of 5 hours and 34 minutes, way under the 6 hour goal I had set for myself. I was very pleased with the results, but ultimately this was a training race for the Ford Ironman Arizona (Nov. 21, Tempe) and a learning experience. So what did I learn along the way?
- There is a gigantic statute of Sam Houston about 70 miles north of the city on I-45
- Sam Houston had awesome Mutton Chops
- Everybody loves Buc-ee's, everybody.
- When a Texan tells you that a place has the best lasagna they've ever tried, it probably doesn't mean much.
- BBQ Chex mix is not as delicious as it sounds
- A pre-race dinner of Lasagna, a Greek Salad, and BBQ Chex Mix is apparently satisfactory
- Falling asleep at 8 or 9 is difficult for a 25 year old
- Staying asleep when you're worried about showing up late and you're staying in a cheap motel just off the interstate is impossible
- Showing up early is definitely the way to go
- I need a better way to transport my gear
- Doing the swim portion of the race in a Speedo makes you a crazy person
- But doing a half-ironman is a completely rational pursuit
- I weigh 79.4 Kg
- Lake Ray Roberts tastes smoky
- I should avoid drinking the water
- It is easy to get lost in a lake
- It is crazy difficult to change into biking gear wet and tired
- Hills suck
- Bananas are awesome
- Having too much water is impossible
- A mechanical problem during the bike portion would be the worst thing ever
- I need new pedals
- Hills suck
- The bike portion of the race is mentally devastating
- Long-course triathletes are incredibly supportive of one another
- At mile 50 I would have run an extra 6 miles just to get off of my god-forsaken bike
- I need a new saddle
- Changing into running clothes from biking clothes is a snap
- Mentally gearing up for a 13.1 mile run, less so
- Race supporters and volunteers are amazing
- Some people are machines
- I am not a machine
- Long-hair, headband, aviator combo was a hit with the crowd
- kids think you're awesome if you let them spray you with water
- kids that spray me with water are awesome
- Sport gels are not delicious, but they work
- Hills suck
- Seeing an athlete succumb to the heat/exhaustion is distressing
- Being handed water by an overweight volunteer smoking a cigarette is quite possibly the most extreme juxtaposition I've ever been involved with
- At mile 12 I'd have given anything to be back on my godforsaken bike
- That joke killed at mile 12
- Finish line announcers can make anyone smile, even after 70.3 miles
All in all I was incredibly pleased with my performance. My hydration strategy worked to perfection (I didn't lose a single pound during the race), but I need to consume more calories on the bike, and be better prepared for the isolation the bike portion demands. The more reps I get in transition the better, and again the biking portion is the most important for your overall finish. Don't believe me? I had the 11th overall best swim time, the 31st best bike time, and the 40th best run; I finished 33rd overall. Link to results below.
Miles covered so far:
Monday, May 3, 2010
Read that last line again, and know that I'm dead serious. Anyone dubious of my credentials or curious as to what weight to give such a bold statement here's a short list of the acts I've seen. Aerosmith, Beck, Counting Crows, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, Kiss, Fuel, The Bravery, Crash Kings, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Robert Plant, Flogging Molly, Simon and Garfunkel, Better than Ezra, Everclear, Cowboy Mouth, Rush, Run DMC, Pearl Jam, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Bruce Springsteen, The Kings of Leon, and plenty of other less heralded but no less talented musicians. All of the shows I've seen were good, but only a few of them approached what happened Saturday night. I suppose now I'll throw together a short top five of concerts I've been to.
5. James Taylor - I don't remember if there was an opening act for this show, but I do know JT didn't need one. Rain fell for nearly the entire set but the waterlogged faithful had enough enthusiasm to coax Jimmy out for 3 encores causing him to wonder aloud, " I don't know if I should love you, or be afraid of you".
4. Cheap Trick opens for Tom Petty - Standing 14 rows from the stage would help the ratings of just about any act, but I would've loved this show from the nose bleeds. Cheap Trick was great, and the Heart breakers were on fire. Something magic was in the air that night that made sure all of us had fun, my little brother described it as "cigarettes and burning leaves" which isn't too far off.
3. Robert Plant opens for The Who - This show had potential to be the best I would ever see it doesn't get better than this I can die in peace type concert except for one thing. Robert Plant. To say he disappointed that night is an understatement. He played a few Led Zeppelin songs between his own mindless drivel, but he was so out of it no one recognized the tunes until they were nearly finished. To this day I doubt he remembers the show, because though he knew he was in Central Pennsylvania he didn't seem to know where. The Who, however, were the cure to Robert Plant's wails. They were phenomenal, especially considering John Entwhistle had died only a few weeks before the show. A touching video memorial, and an inspired performances by Daltry and Townshend were a fantastic tribute to John, and made for a truly remarkable night.
2. Beck opens for The Rolling Stones - Worth the price of admission. This show easily quadrupled the cost of any show I had been to previously, and stretched the budget of a college student, but I couldn't in good conscience miss the Stones. So I bit the bullet, got in line, got decent seats, and waited. Beck was great, though nobody in Hershey seemed to care, and I left the concert that night knowing two things. 1) Beck is great, 2) Age is a number. The Stones were on all night. Rocking hard through the entire set and quickly dispelling any thoughts I had about them being too old to blow me away. The songs were great, the stage was cool, the show was awesome, and despite being close to 300 years old (in rock star years) Mic, Keith, and company showed everyone that "senior citizens despite being slow and dangerous behind the wheel, are still good for something."
1. The Ettes open for The Dead Weather - You've probably never heard of The Ettes, but they played an opener that was good enough to headline most shows... just not this one. As for The Dead Weather show I have never been completely transfixed by a band for an entire show. Moving or really doing anything other than watching slack-jawed and stupefied was out of the question. The music was great but the performance as a whole was mind-blowing. I would not shell out the money to see the Stones again, even after 4 years. I would shell out three times as much money to see The Dead Weather again tomorrow, in a heartbeat.
They fall into a short list of shows I will drop almost anything I'm currently doing to get to no matter the inconvenience along with Bob Schneider, and Rebirth Brass Band. Check all of them out, but seriously check out The Dead Weather. Awesome.
Oh yeah I've been training too.
Miles Covered so far: