Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Triathlon is a lifestyle (Long Overdue Update)

First let me apologize for not updating everyone sooner. It has been a really crazy last couple months with trying to juggle the training, work, and most important my family time. My last blog was back in October and so much has happened over the last few months that I will try to touch on. Lets start with a update on my training. After the Kerrville triathlon finished my training moved towards the San Antonio Rock & Roll Marathon that was held on December 9. During that time my training moved towards a significant increase in the amount of miles I put in to get up to the marathon distance level. It was a really great opportunity for me to feel a very small portion of what the Ironman will be like. I also convinced my wife Courtney to join me in this. She signed up for the half marathon and we made a family training calendar for her. She started training about 10 weeks out to build up to the 13.1 mile run in which she had never ran more than a 5k. It was the most amazing thing to watch her confidence level sky rocket after each weeks long run as she would beat her personal record in distance going from 5 miles up to 12 two weeks before the run. During this time I was still training for triathlon with a focus on the run and taking the final swim lessons to help me get over some of my fears of the water. Sometime in November something clicked and all of a sudden my swimming went from nothing to something I was starting to feel confident in. My average training time during the fall was about 8 to 10 hours each week which was not bad compared to where I am now. My weeks now look something like the chart below which is about 16 hours worth of training.

January 26 Weekly Workout Plan
Swim - 2800 meters
Bike - 2 Hrs Trainer
Swim - 2500 meters   
Run - 7 miles repeats
Bike - 2 Hrs Trainer
Run - 1 Hr Intervals 
Swim - 2700 meters
Bike - 90 miles
Run - 15 Miles
I am not sure how I would be able to manage this amount of training without the full support of my wife. She puts up with a 2 year old at home while allowing me to get 5 hour bike rides in on the weekends while I am sure she would love nothing more then take a break after a week long battle raising our crazy son. I will never be able to thank her enough. 

Race Day - Rock & Roll Marathon
The morning of the race we were up around 4:00 to get in some important nutrition before the race and make our way down to the Alamo dome. It was pretty crazy if you have not been to a marathon before. There are about 20,000 people there trying to check gear and get in there starting area before the start. I started in corral 4 which was one of the earlier groups and I had my wife come up with me. We said a prayer just before we left and that was the last time I would see her until I finished. Once we started I was focused on the next 4 hours of work. I broke the marathon down into 4 chunks to keep my focus on each mile rather then the big picture. Each 6.5 miles I had a little different strategy to allow for different things to happen and the best possible outcome. The 1st quarter I was focused on keeping my heart and pace down, out of the gate I always jumped out fast and new I would need to pace myself to keep my energy. The 1st quarter was fairly easy easy as I keep my pace around 8:30 per mile and planned to start kicking it up a gear each quarter after. The 2nd quarter I continued to feel strong and I was able to move to a 8:15 pace. After I past the halfway point I was slowly starting to feel some fatigue start to creep in but it was expected. I made it to about mile 14 when you turn back north towards the finish line. When I made the turn I could see the Alamo dome about 12 miles away and it looked 100 miles. It was a major challenge to keep my mind focused on the little things when you see the end which looks forever away. I had to put my head down and focus on me, each step took my complete focus. The 4th quarter of this race in along the Mission Trail which sucks! There is nothing there and it seems to last forever. At around mile 22 my body was starting to quit on me. My legs were screaming at me to stop and for mile 23 and 24 I lost pace from my normal to about a 9:15 but I had to use everything I had to just maintain that. Once I got out of the Mission Trail at mile 24 I was able to refocus and put the pain in the back of my mind. I was very thankful for those long training days in the Army and on the Texas A&M practice fields to have the mental strength to push my body much farther then most. The last 2 miles were a complete gut check, everything in my body said stop but I just kept pushing. I crossed the finish line with a time of 3:44 which I was very happy with. I was hoping for anything under 4 hours. My wife finished her half marathon with a 2:18 and she looked like she could have run the full. I was a complete mess. I could barely walk my way to the car. Needless to say I was happy that was over but I learned a great deal about myself during those 4 hours. I know now that I can push even more then I thought and I know that I will need to have a very controlled focus on my pace throughout the Ironman to be able to go the distance. 

Currently I have raised $7,513 towards my goal of $20,000 for Save the Children. Back in November I arranged a charity auction through eBay with several item which were donated. One was a A&M Game-day Experience which was donated by the Letterman Association. It was a huge success and raised over $2,000. I am currently working on a couple sponsorship's to develop a custom triathlon suit to market those companies during the race. If anyone knows of a company that would be interested please let me know. Thank you to everyone that has been following my challenge and especially everyone that has supported me. I will keep you updated as I move into the next phase of training. 

Gig'em & God Bless,

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