7/10/2010

So what is Team RWB Ironman?

Team RWB Ironman is a branch of Team Red, White, and Blue--a non-profit group of athletes seeking to raise awareness and funds in support of American heroes, specifically our wounded warriors. Team RWB athletes will race triathlons, marathons, and ultramarathons as the mode of raising awareness and funds.  We are currently at the grassroots level, but have high aspirations for the future.  The Ironman Team is composed of athletes who will commit to racing Half-Iron and Iron distance triathlons.  Athletes can pick any race(s) to do, but for 2011 we will have a "marquis" Ironman race that we would like to get as many Team RWB athletes to race so we can have a heavy presence and team support.  For 2011, that race will be Ironman Arizona in late November 2011.  We will be putting out more information on how to register, but be aware you have to register a year in advance for these races.  We are hoping to have several athletes racing, as well as a large support team.  You can read more of the specifics here: Prospective Athlete Letter.

If you are interested in being a member of the team, regardless of race, please email teamrwbironman@hotmail.com or post on the Facebook group site. Either Steve or I (your team captains for this next year) will get back to you promptly!! Please consider joining us in our inaugural season and help us grow Team RWB!

Please check out www.teamrwb.com for the mission statement and purpose of Team RWB!

7/05/2010

Ironman Coeur d'Alene race report

I apologize that this has taken a little while to get out...

Not including training, my race started when I dropped my bike off at Austin Tri Cyclist for a tune-up and for Tri Bike Transport to bring my bike to Idaho. Though I have a hard shell case for my bike, I think going with TBT was the absolute right call for this weekend. It was great not having to worry about taking it apart and putting it together twice and then after the race, just walking it right over to TBT. Such a convenience though next time I'll take my bike with me.

So, I flew out to Spokane via Dallas and Seattle on Thursday afternoon. I picked up my rental and stayed at a Motel 6 in Spokane (only $39 per night!). Friday morning I grabbed breakfast and headed in to CdA. There were swimmers in the water and cyclists on the roads but as tempting as it was to jump in, Friday was my day of absolute rest. I got into town pretty early so the expo and TBT weren't open. I grabbed coffee at a shop in town and just enjoyed being by the water. I picked up my bike, put it in the car and picked up my race packet. It was still early in the day so I drove the bike course. First impressions were that it was a beautiful course with lots of rolling hills, though none of them worse than the worst hills I had trained on the Fort Hood range roads. After that I grabbed lunch and went to the hotel to check in (Red Lion in nearby Post Falls). I had a great room with an amazing view of the river and mountains! I used the afternoon to get a lot of my gear ready and then went down to the water to lay out for a bit.
Friday night I went back into CdA for the athlete dinner and mandatory meeting. I sat next to a few squids including the coach of the Annapolis tri team. Good folks! Brittany and my parents flew in late Friday night but I needed to be in bed so I didn't see them until the next morning.

Britt and I got up early Saturday and went down to City Park. I got a quick swim in Lake CdA (not terribly cold but quite choppy). I then did a short ride along Lakeshore Dr where Britt got some pretty cool video footage!
videoWe headed back to the hotel and met my parents for breakfast. I got my Swim-Bike and Bike-Run gear bags packed and Britt and I headed back to the expo to drop off my bike in transition. We came back to the hotel to grab my parents and went back into town. We walked around the expo for a bit and I had a good session with the ART (Active Release Therapy) guys. They tried unsuccessfully to fix my tight butt and hamstrings. More to follow on this. We grabbed some lunch and ate right along the lake. Beautiful! We then went to the grocery store to grab some Cliff Bars, Peanut Butter and Jelly, and a few other essentials. We had an early dinner (pizza delivered to the room) and got to bed early.

RACE DAY
Woke up at 0400 ready to go. There was a beautiful full moon over the mountains and reflected in the water outside the hotel room. I had breakfast that consisted of some bananas, leftover pizza and I think a powerbar. We left for City Park around 0440. We got a great parking space, Britt left to go do her volunteer piece and my parents and I walked to transition. I got body marked and headed in to get my bike ready. When I was pumping up my tires, the valve stem on my rear tire broke right as I finished getting my tire to the right pressure. The threads were screwed up and luckily it wasn't an issue during the race. Getting there early was absolutely the right call. Transition quickly filled up but by then all I had to do was use the bathroom and get my wetsuit on. I could relax and I didn't feel rushed at all. My dad went off to see the swim start from the east and get some pics while my mom stayed with me on the sidewalk behind the beach. When I got there and looked at the water out to the first turn around, I realized that it was a very manageable distance. I hadn't been sure about the 2.4 miles but seeing it broken down like that really helped. When the time came, I got my wetsuit on, gave mom a hug and headed down to the beach.



SWIM
I really wasn't too nervous about the swim start. I positioned myself to the right and toward the back. When the gun went off I made my way to the water and jumped in. At first I was having some issues with leaky goggles but adjusted my swim cap and I was good after that. The crowd honestly wasn't too bad. I was able to get behind a good group and swim pretty well. I just kept telling myself to relax and not use too much energy. Just get myself into a sustainable rhythm. The first turn around was chaos. It was insanely backed up! Once we got around that turn and the next we headed back in after our first lap. I was pumped to be heading back to shore and feeling great. I came out of the water, through the arch and over the timing mat and checked my watch...38 minutes! I was pumped and pushing people out of my way to get back into the water. The first lap was much better than I thought. I got going on the second lap and the crowd had thinned significantly. When I made the last turn to come back to the beach I ended up drifting a little off to the left. I got back on the right path and headed toward shore. I came out of the water in 1:22. This was a good overall time but my second lap was a little disappointing after my doing so well on my first! I think not having the crowd to draft off of and taking my little detour hurt. Oh well, I felt amazing coming out of the water and was ready to get going on the bike.

I was so excited coming into transition that I literally ran and did a baseball slide right in front of the wetsuit strippers (to which one gave a resounding safe sign and call!) They got my wetsuit right off and I ran to grab my swim-bike bag. I grabbed my helmet and shoes, sprayed on some sunscreen, put my race number on and my wetsuit in my bag and headed over to my bike. I saw my mom by transition and then got on my bike.

BIKE
I was pumped when I got on the bike but knew that I really had to keep my emotions under control, get into a steady groove and get ready to start eating. The bike route took us out on Lakeshore Drive to a turnaround before heading back through town then out toward Hayden Lake. I started drinking water and took a gel. Then I pulled out my PBJ and ate my first half. Bad news, when I pulled out that sandwich my little baggie of 500mg Tylenol went flying. Oh well. I ate the first half of my PBJ and turned north toward Hayden Lake. Though slowly gaining altitude, we had a good tailwind so we were able to take some pretty significant speed with us. Having driven the course, I knew there were hills coming so I kept my effort in check. We started the series of rolling hills by the lake and I'd make sure to downshift and stay in the saddle. I really only got out of the saddle just a few times and not for more than a few seconds each on the first lap. I was still passing a lot of people on the hills. The downhills were pretty treacherous for me. The 100mm wheel I have up front caught quite a bit of the crosswinds and I also think my gluing job with the front tire was suspect. Needless to say, I rarely went downhill in the aero bars. I was hanging on for dear life and almost ate it a few times. The only time I struggled at all on the first lap was on the long, straight stretch heading back to downtown CdA. Because of the tightness in my back and hammies, being stretched out in the aero position hurt. One thing about the hills is that I would come out of the aero bars a lot to open up my hip angle and develop more power. I saw some guys out there in the bars going uphill at about 8 mph. Makes no sense at all. Anyway, I hit the halfway mark at about 2:59, faster than I probably should have been but I really wasn't overexerting myself! We proceeded through downtown CdA and back along Lakeshore Dr. Our special needs bags were waiting out at the turnaround at Higgins Point. It was great, as I was coming up they yelled out 234 and when I made the turn a couple girls were waiting there with my bag. I reached in, grabbed my other PBJ and some Cliff Bars. They said I was looking a little pink, put some more sunscreen on me and I headed off. I'll speak more about the volunteers later but they were absolutely amazing! No surprises on the second lap as I knew exactly what to expect. I'll admit that the hills started to hurt toward the end of the second lap but I was still having so much fun out there. By the time we came back into town to transition, I was flying and feeling amazing despite 110 miles of riding! I knew that I had met my time goal for the bike and finished in 6:11. I saw my family and Britt as I came into T2. I came out of my shoes before I got in there, handed off my bike (did I mention the volunteers were amazing??) and ran to get my run bag. Not wasting any time, I headed out on the run course.

RUN
I was so pumped about my bike ride but I knew that I had to be very smart about my run. Due to nagging IT Band issues, my longest run in training was only 12 miles. I knew I wasn't prepared to run a marathon but would have to draw on my endurance base and experience with 3 prior marathons. It was very difficult to keep my pace controlled around a 8:45-9:00 mi during the first half marathon but I kept telling myself I could pick it up on the second lap if I felt strong. It was a very good thing I didn't pick it up early. Around the half marathon mark, I started to get tired. I also started to feel some pain in my left knee, caused by the pulling of my tight quad. I stopped to stretch every now and then and was ok. I really had to push on the second lap and at about the 18 mile mark my knee started to really hurt. The hill at the turn around did not help!! I really had to push through the pain on my last trip along Lakeshore Dr and I was starting to stretch more frequently. Around mile 23 I pulled over in pain and frustration and let out a few obscenities (oops). This guy heading out for his second lap came over and handed me a few packets of Biofreeze...talk about a guardian angel!! I had never heard of it before but it helped tremendously! I had to bust open the other pack with about a mile to go but after that I just put my head down and drove to the finish. I never walked once, it hurt like hell but I made it to the finish in 11:50:25 after a 4:09 marathon.
I had a modest time goal of finishing under 12 hours and I was happy to hit that. I know if I'm properly trained I can definitely get in under 11.


After the race I linked up with Brittany and my parents. I went straight down to the lake where I put on a dry shirt and waded into the cold water for about 15 minutes. I learned a long time ago the value of an ice bath and I think those 15 minutes helped me tremendously! After that I went over to the finisher area and grabbed a few pieces of pizza. We grabbed my bike out of transition and walked over to TBT then headed back to the hotel.
After a few phone calls and a quick shower, we went out for a steak dinner at Outback.

Monday morning we debated about heading in really early to get in line for Finisher gear. I really didn't want to get up early so we all decided to take our time, have a good breakfast and head in around 9. Brittany went over and signed up for next year's race while Mom and I went to the merch tent to get some t-shirts, mugs, etc. I dropped off my gear bag with TBT and picked up the remaining gear from my special needs bags. We grabbed lunch and then we drove the bike course so that Britt could see what she's in for next year and my parents could see what I had done the day prior. We went back to the hotel, got our bags packed and relaxed before heading to a great dinner at Tony's by the Lake! We had calamari and I had a bison steak and about 3 big Blue Moons...delicious! Took some pics by the lake and then headed back.

Got up real early to drop my parents at the airport in Spokane. I came back and had breakfast with Britt and then headed off to the airport myself. It was a long day of traveling and I actually got stranded in Dallas. That was fine with me because I got to spend the evening with my aunt, uncle and cousins and then miss the first few hours of work (meetings) on Wed.

PAIN
So, after I shipped my tri bike, I did some rides with my road bike which of course has a different setup. About middle of the week before the race I started to get real sore and tight in my butt and hamstrings, which I assumed was a product of using the other bike and slightly different muscles than I was used to. So I really didn't worry about it. But when I got to CdA it kept getting worse. I picked up a foam roller at the Trigger Point booth and worked on it on Friday but it didn't help. I was ok during my swim and ride Saturday morning but the tightness and pain was still really bad! You should have seen the worried look on Brittany's face when I'd double over in pain after getting out of bed or standing up from something. Luckily the pain didn't bother me too much on race day. Like I mentioned above, it was tight when in the bars for an extended amount of time and after a while on the run, I had other worries! Well, on Monday I felt better than I had all week which is not how I pictured the day after an Ironman is supposed to be! But the tightness returned. Someone thought that maybe it wasn't a muscle but rather a pinched nerve or disc. That makes sense. Sitting for long times with my big compressed seemed to make it hurt the worse. I got home and did some stretching of my bike and leaving my legs alone which also helped. I've got a chiro appointment tomorrow so we'll see what they say. I played golf Saturday, kayak'ed yesterday and had a great ride this morning and feel pretty good. Makes me think more and more it was a pinched nerve that got me. Whatever. I didn't let it stop me on race day!


I can honestly say that I had an awesome day. Sure the last few miles were the toughest miles I've ever run but I can definitely say that I had a blast out there for 130 miles and just struggled through the last 10. The pain went away when I crossed that line and they put that medal around my neck. It was a great day and the atmosphere was incredible. For the days leading up to my flight to CdA I had started to get really nervous including losing some sleep at night. The second I pulled into downtown CdA that all disappeared. I got so excited by the beauty of the area and the atmosphere. Everyone up there was just so nice. The other competitors, the locals in town and the amazing volunteers on the course. I find myself a week later already itching to not just sign up for another Ironman but to be competing in one. I had that much fun on race day. Unfortunately I couldn't sign up for next year with Britt. With a potential deployment looming, I'm stuck here in limbo. If we don't go anywhere I intend to do CdA next year as well as Arizona, which of course will be our big race for Team Red, White and Blue!

I must also say that having Brittany and my parents there was incredible. My parents have always been supportive and though they can't come to everything I do, they do make it for the most important stuff (first marathon, change of command, first Ironman, etc). And Brittany was such a great mentor. She flew up there to cheer me on and had endless amounts of good advice. I know the weekend wouldn't have been nearly as successful if they weren't there to help me as well as share it with me!! Thank you!!


Ok, that was pretty long and I know I left a lot of details out. I have many more pics. See my Facebook page for more and request me as a friend if you're not. Or perhaps I'll make the album totally public. Anyway, pepper me with questions if you have any!!

Steve

7/02/2010

Team RWB Ironman Athlete Recruting!

Are you a current or future Ironman or Half-Ironman triathlete? Do you value America's combat veterans who have sacrificed selflessly for our country?  Would you like to make your race more meaningful by bringing awareness to and fundraising for our amazing Wounded Warriors?  If so, then the Team Red, White and Blue Ironman team is for YOU! For more information check out the Facebook Discussion and join our Facebook page!  You may also email teamrwbironman@hotmail.com with questions! 

Check back here to learn more about our athletes, their training, and their racing!