Sunday, April 21, 2013

4 weeks and counting.... any motivation left???

These last couple of weeks have been pretty hard. In a sense, like we said after Galveston we think that we got a confidence boost after finishing it and knowing that we had plenty (well not really plenty) but that we had a bit left still that would probably be what we needed to take us to that 140.6 finish line. As we spent the week in Galveston, we had a hard time getting back to it, it was even worse when we got back home to a sick puppy which made it even tougher for us. Last weekend was full of emotions and an emotional roller coaster when we had to put her to sleep on Sunday afternoon after being diagnosed with the C-word on Thursday upon our return. So needless to say this past week has not been easy. It has been busy with work stuff for both of us and definitely emotional.

We were able to get 100+ miles in last Saturday, of which 80% were outside and the remainder was after we came back home to be with her, we were so glad we did. Sunday we were supposed to have a swim and a run (both long) neither of which we did.

This week was off to a rough start already, to top it all off, Monday was a sad day for the running community after the Boston Marathon bombs that really put a lot into perspective. We had people asked us if that was going to make us stop racing or even considering not doing our upcoming Ironman because of it, our responses were, no we're definitely going to swim, bike, run, no matter the circumstances.

We managed to get a few workouts in, about 50% of them. Considering it was a recovery week, we were actually glad with our workout rate. Don't think we could've done much more than that. Yesterday we went for an 80 minute run, we put in about 8miles which was pretty good, longest we've gone since Galveston, so it was a good one. Today we had a swim/bike brick... temperatures in the 40's in the morning, water probably in the 60's guess what... we skipped the swim, not a good time to push our luck and get sick by just going in ice water. Then we waited for some crazy ones (who didn't do Galveston) that were doing the swim and we headed off to a 56 mile bike ride. It was actually a good one, logged in 53 of the 56 by the end, in 3:11, winds of 12-15 mph didn't make it easy but we were pushing.

Talking to teammates we found out that the motivation is not there anymore. We all have been struggling our own battles with lack of motivation, injuries, plain ol' pain, too much work, and in our case grief. We know we are only 4 weeks out and definitely we all seem burned out with the training, pain and other issues that come from the crazy journey to be an Ironman. It definitely has been a journey, a learning experience. We've learned to know our bodies, trained our bodies to have the endurance needed for the long day but more importantly we are learning to train our mind. If the mind is OK, then the body will carry you. This past week was proof of it and we managed to still get some work done. We will continue and we will come out of this one and get to our final goal... all we need is that little push. It definitely is a mix of physical endurance but more importantly mental strength.

This week now is off to a good start, we are more motivated but it is more of a "let's get it over with" type of motivation. So with 4 weeks left let's get this over with.

Monday, April 8, 2013

IM 70.3 Texas (Galveston) race report by Puli

Alright, we thought we were going to get to this one a bit sooner but we were actually pretty busy the last few days with Puli's conference in Galveston (how convenient right?). So while we drive back home we decided to do our race reports.

We better start off with Friday. Heading there was uneventful, we were able to get some time off from work and left at around 4 after loading the bikes and the usual load that takes for a racing weekend and some extra days of R&R for Res and work for Puli. Got to the hotel at around 9:30 and went for a light dinner after check-in. Definitely something to plan for the future as there isn't really anything open in Galveston after around 9:00 PM, so we know for future reference.

Saturday we got to sleep in a bit, got breakfast at the hotel and headed to the expo. Picked up our packages, saw coach M and a few others from the team and then headed for breakfast No. 2. It was actually good since we got to catchup a bit with everyone. Then we headed back to check in our bikes. That went pretty quick. It does help when is a one transition area only.

After that we just headed back to the hotel and got to prepare our bags for the next day before heading to the group dinner. Which is a tradition of our team. Coach gave us his pep talk and we just relaxed a bit, as much as you can relax on the day before the race. We were pretty calm actually. Just taking it all in as we were doing this for fun, there were a few first timers on the team which were a bit nervous, and we were supporting them more.

Sunday morning, alarms went off at 4:00 am, got ready, and headed to have breakfast at the hotel. Of course everyone was doing the same but it went pretty quick. We then headed to transition, body marking and setting it all up. It was actually quick to set it up. To the point we thought we were forgetting something, but we didn't. Met the coach, the others and then by 6:30 we got wetsuits half on, it was a chilly morning, and we parked relatively close which was really good.

Here is were the individual reports start.

Race according to Puli:
After we headed to the dock we met a couple of the guys from the team that were on the previous wave and on my wave and we just chatted there for a bit. Then we headed to the dock... the wait before jumping in was the worse, once we were up we jumped in with about 3 minutes left. The water was actually not that cold, I stayed to the back as I didn't want to get into the mix of the wave. I think I stayed too much to the back, I could've done it without the extra 200 yds (lesson learned). Then I did the usual, counted until about 7 or 8 and then headed out, I started a bit fast but then got into a good pace I was at about 2:05'/100m before I hit the 1st buoy. I hit a bit of traffic and then the gave after me started to catch up to me. It was actually a bit hard to see those girls swimming passed us so early, but then I just got back into my pace which by then was started to get slow. Ended the swim at 44:31 with a 2:18'/100m. Faster than Austin, not as fast as I expected but I take it. It is a good pace to keep for the Ironman in a few weeks.

Finished the swim, then off to T1... it was for some reason a long transition, just a lot of running through it because of the layout so it took what it seemed like forever to leave transition. Once out of transition the bike was pretty simple, get on Seawall Blvd after a few turns around Moody Gardens and 28 miles out turn around and 28 miles back. The first 28 miles were fast, averaged 21 mph. It was a bit deceiving because the wind which wasn't fully on our back was a mix of side and back wind. So the side wind made it feel like a head wind... err NOT!!! not a head wind, it was all in the back (not all but you get the idea). Turned around and the side wind was still there and NOW the head wind was more prevalent. Dropped to about 18 mph and some sections a bit slower. Pushed a bit too hard to keep the average which I started to feel by mile 45 or so. Legs were starting to feel it so I slowed down a bit because I knew I was going to pay for it on the run. I was being passed by the 40-45 male and females (those old folks are FAST!!!! I want to be like them when I grow up). Something funny actually happened around that time, I was passing a few people and came up to a 50 yr old lady, I chatted a bit with her on how the wind was taking it all from me and that she was doing a good job and I passed her, I didn't think I slowed down, she picked up some speed and passed me maybe half a mile later and comes to my side and says to me: "ha... did you slowdown?", told her: "just having my gel" and let her go of course passing her a few seconds later and never seeing her again. I know I should've let it/her go but c'mon... I was being nice :). Anyways, aside from that, people were actually being nice, except a few guys who were clearly drafting and flying by everyone (more power to them I guess). Got off from Seawall Blvd and on 81st towards Moddy Gardens, didn't count with them making us go inside the airport, it was actually nice because I was able to get my feet off my shoes without any traffic as it was a wide open area. By then one of the guys from the team caught up to me as he had gotten a flat so I passed him on the course. Bike was over in 2:57 avg 18.93 mph (18 minutes faster than Austin)

Finished the bike, then off to T2... T2 was fast, get my socks on, shoes, grab the hat, put some sunblock and off I went. Not before visiting the port-a-potty and missing a fight of two guys fighting for the 1... couldn't believe it but there are still some people like that out there (breaking records for the fastest port-a-porty brake I guess). On the run I focussed on trying to keep a 8:45'/mi to 9:00'/mi pace, which I did for a little bit, but then realized it was more of a 10:00'/mi pace what my legs had left. First 10K at 53 minutes. I got to see Res on my second loop, and then started to see our teammates that was a relief as I got some energy to continue running. By the end of the second loop heat was getting to me and just was feeling the previous push on the bike, by around mile 9 I started to do a lot more walking than running, on the start of the 3 loop Coach M must have seen my face because he asked how I was feeling... I waved at him and gave him 1 thumb up telling him: "last one" and left. Went for my last loop and got done. That loop took forever, probably because I was slow, got to the last stretch before the turn and got to the finish line. Run time:  2:23 with an avg of 10:58'/mi (9 minutes faster than Austin)

Total time 6:14:01, a few lessons learned mainly on pacing and learning to listen to my body (listen more to what the legs say). Also hold on to the temptation when people pass me on the bike... wasting the energy on the bike catching up will make me pay for it later on the run. I guess I will have to be smarter than that on IM TX in a few weeks.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Our second 70.3 (Half IronMan Texas)

In about 2 days and change we will be lining up at the start line to what will be our second 70.3. Leading to this one in some regards has been a different experience. It is actually weird but we are not feeling as nervous, as with our first... I guess you always remember your first. Also we have been really smart in our training leading up to it, smart in the sense that we haven't crashed... Yes it is still a fear and a serious safety consideration in all our workouts particularly those involving 2 wheels.

We have been training a lot, logging 13-15 hours (some longer) weeks for a while now for our full ironman in May, so to say it one way... It just feels like a long training day. That doesn't mean that we are not respectful of the distance, we are still very respectful of it, it is a good beating on our bodies on that long training day, so we are being smart about it too. Doing Austin as our first probably opened our eyes to a lot of realities and also training for IMTX has just made us so much stronger. It has been a slow but steady process for both of us, but we have seen the progress we've made on all 3 disciplines. Our long swims continue to be long... A bit faster than they were 5 months ago when we were training for Austin. Our bike probably has been the strongest it has been in the 4 years we've been riding, not even when we were training for our first MS150. Nowadays riding 85-90 miles on a long training day is actually not that painful after all... Not sure about running a full marathon after it but at least we can start walking one :). Our run, it has improved as well a lot, our paces have been pushed to our limits by Coach M, and we appreciate it because come Sunday we will put it up to the test. The fact that we can run 15-16 miles now on a long run day just seems unreal knowing that a year ago Puli couldn't run for 8 weeks after running a 10K :), yes we were very out of shape.

So going back to what we think of Sundays long training day, we will take it as such... More than anything we will have fun! Keep smiling and being smart about our "training" it will be a good measurement day for IM TX which is only a mere 5 weeks out and fast approaching. Right now we don't think we are as nervous as we were on the weeks leading to Austin's race, the accident that time didn't help the situation but still we were still very nervous, we were stepping into the unknown, we had a few long swims, the bike we knew wasn't a problem but we had never run a half marathon distance before (much less getting off the bike), now it isn't the case anymore. We know more about our bodies, our strengths and weaknesses , and also how we go about different situations. Yet it is an unknown course, but hey... Every course will be unknown at least once... Until you go back to crush your own records... Which we have no intentions for Austin... Maybe in the distant future... Very distant :), but at least having that unknown factor is actually a good thing it is what makes this sport fun, the venues, the new people, everything that you see on race day.

So, if you are reading this and want to follow us on Sunday's journey, you can go to the Ironman website ( and follow us with our bib numbers... Res: 1726 and Puli: 406.

Hopefully our next post will be on Monday with our race recap after having a few recovery drinks on e beach :)

Until then... Cheers!!