Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What a windy day can do to you... A recap to IMAZ2014

It's been a couple days since our epic IMAZ, a week and a couple of days to be exact and while I've written this report and posted it on our Team's page it wouldn't be complete without being posted here. Res already posted her review on her blog and you can go read it here . While our counts are very similar, both are always unique as we each have different views and all that goes through our minds in different through the day. 
Let's start by saying it has been one of the toughest one of all 3. I know we've had our share of tough ones, from broken bones to mechanical failures. This one was hard but couldn't have asked for an overall better day (I know doesn't make any sense)... Well maybe less wind and we will spare the details for later.
We started this journey a year ago when we volunteered all day by catching bikes and pointing runners until the last runner was taken out of the course at the 17 mi cutoff. It was an awesome journey, after 2 140.6 in a year we can say that while it wasn't easy it definitely wasn't impossible. We both had our goals set for each one of our big races and we had big dreams but we weren't going to let our race day(s) be ruined by any setbacks we could encounter and we would make the best out of it regardless of the outcome. If we have learned something about racing and long distance racing is that you can plan the perfect race all you want, but you have to adapt and make changes as you go. Of course, changing or adapting doesn't mean that we would not try our hardest out there but circumstances change and you simply adapt and keep moving forward.
With no further due, here are some of the details of how it went down:
Days leading up to it:
Underpants Run... representing Sweat Pink withe Res
We left home on Wednesday with a short stop overnight in El Paso. Ended up arriving to Tempe at around 2 pm on Thursday. So we were able to check-in at our hotel, dropped off the bikes and went to the Ironman Village to do the athlete check-in.
Before we knew it, it was 5:30 pm and we had planned to do the Tribe Multisport Store Underpants Run. It seemed like something fun and we had a blast along with other 100 people. Fundraising about $1000 for a local charity. It's always good to give back. 
We went early to a yoga/stretching session that a guy from the Arizona 2014 FB page had setup. He was pretty amazing as he was going through chemo the entire training and still toed the start line with us. We did that, kinda took it easy afterwards. Then we went to the Tribe Multisport annual party. It's a pretty cool event. Got to talk to a couple pros and enjoy the tri community in the area. Highly recommend it. After that we went to dinner with Suzy, John, Herb and some friends we met through the Arizona 2014 FB  group and then back to the hotel to pack the bags.

Early morning swim, was pretty good. Water didn't feel cold so we decided it was going to be a sleeveless swim, with a short spin after it. Then it was to the typical bike checkin, bag drop offs and heading back to the hotel. We wanted to rest since it had been a couple of intense days. No much rest on the legs. We didn't really do much from 3 pm until race morning. Fixed nutrition, got dinner takeout and off to bed we went at 8:30.
Systems checked
The day started pretty early. 3:30 am the alarm went off. We wanted to be out of the hotel by 4:15. So it worked out great. We made it to parking at the US Airways Building parking garage by 4:30 and had an awesome spot. That's a tip for future participants it is free. However make sure you don't leave your bike outside on your rack even if it is secured. There were a few reported stolen bikes from athletes.
If you haven't experienced the morning of Ironman it is a very surreal experience. There are athletes everywhere, if you have a pump you are everyones best friend, you try to remain calm but nerves crawl up, typically I put my headphones on and try to avoid talking to anyone other that Res. A lot of times we don't even talk, we know exactly what we need to be doing, I pump air while she loads nutrition and fixes the bikes, we got a system down and it works. This time wasn't any different, we stayed calm, I think I was listening to Pitbull for the most part, keeping my mind in a festive state.
We got our wetsuits on and then we walked to the swim, seemed like everyone wanted to get there at once, we heard the cannon for the male pros, women pros, and then we were able to slowly hit the water.
courtesy: Intenet or Facebook
We located our selves around the middle. The swim had a few spots of full contact but nothing too bad. Except for Res that she had someone come after her after she hit a lady in the middle of the chaos without intention. I guess some people can't let go sometimes. It wasn't like she had planned to hit her, you can get the details on her post. When you are with 3900 of your closest triathlon friends, expect contact, that's all I have to say. Our swims were pretty even, within 1 minute of each other. We both PR'ed our swims by a lot. We went into transition and looks like we left transition within a minute or so of each other.

The bike.... I came to get my bike to find out that my entire front bottle had leaked out, had a bottle of water from transition with me so I mixed it up with my infinit concentrate and off I went. The bike is where it became survival and damage control. Leaving town there was a slight wind, which wasn't too bad at first. However when we hit the BeeLine it turned into a headwind for 10 long miles. The Beeline has a "climb" of 2% for about 8 of those 10 and then about 4% until you reach the turn around. So needless to say I kept thinking how it would suck to do that 2 more times. Going down was awesome, I reached max speeds of 33 mph without even trying. The only sad part was that we had to do it all over again and again. It didn't get easier, winds got harder and also legs got weaker. Some reports called for winds
Some fun back in town
up to 30mph. After fighting the wind for so long you go into your mental mode of fighting every quitting thought that comes across your head. Seeing Res on the way up each time gave me the boost I needed to do it all 3 times, also for her seeing me go down while she was into the wind was encouraging that at least there was a break coming up. So the bike was hard, would've I done anything different? Maybe not push as hard on the way up on the first loop, but it was hard to tell what it was going to be easier or worse later. We were fortunate to not have any flats or accidents, there were plenty of those around. People getting up to 4 flats. Since the wind was blowing sticklers around they were just all over the place. Definitely seeing our Sherpa at the turn around in Tempe was pretty awesome. A familiar face before we go through the wind tunnel. I have to say seeing the pros looping us around and passing us like if we were standing was amazing, got to see a good group of pros going up and they were doing easily 20 mph up hill into the wind while us mere mortals were simply grinding our granny gears pushing 12 mph. The girls were as good too. The only bad outcome of the bike was that I guess there was so much sand being blown with the wind that I had gotten something stuck in one of my eyes and I had a bit of a glare for about 100 miles that with the sun didn't really help. Note to self pack some visine next time.
All I could do was hold on to the bike
Suzy and I hitting the run... no cramps yet
Run... If you can call that a run, I got off the bike and knew I had a little left, not as strong as I had been feeling during training. I got out of transition pretty quick, and saw Suzy out too, which surprised me because I had caught up to her before the start of our last loop but I guess she must have passed me on my many pee breaks (still haven't mastered that skill). we jogged/walked the first 5 miles but I faded quickly, and started walking. Simply couldn't keep jogging, hamstrings were just killing me at that point. I knew Res wasn't too far, maybe 2 miles and getting closer, well... She caught up to me at mile 15. From there it was a let's drag each other because we are so close type of deal. The aid stations were pretty good, tons of energy. Even though there were a few spots where it was hard to get through as it was dark and lonely. Having Res at that point made heck of a difference. We saw Herb at mile 24 and then told him we would see him in 25 minutes at the finish. We went back to town and started jogging. what we had left. Pulled our flag and went to the finish line. It's always amazing to finish and when we finish together and we are getting pretty good at it.
best feeling finishing together... can't describe it
We definitely wanted to thank everyone for the messages through the day but special thanks to our Sherpa crew for hanging out there all day. We have to say we that we have the most amazing teammates and Sherpas that anyone could ask for. 

 Like I said at the beginning no matter what the outcome was, we are happy on how our day went, didn't have any accidents or burned feet and the day went pretty smooth. Of course it was challenging but I think that regardless of how much physical strength or preparation you have your day will throw curved balls at you and you have to adapt and accept the circumstances. The days leading up to it called for a light breeze and the night before they called for heavy winds... Just wasn't expecting them on our face that long. Other than that, it was a successful day, I managed to stay upright on the bike even with that wind which is always a plus.

Caught on camera.... sealing our finish line with a big KISS!!!

For now we are off to a well deserved rest after 11 months of constant training, also we will use the next couple of weeks to do our packing as we are moving back to the East Coast.... New York here we come!.... more details coming up. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

15 days to IMAZ... Bring it!

As I sit here on a flight from Portland to Dallas, what else you do than to start writing blogs or blog topics for future posts. Gotta love the "down" time and airplane wifi. Anyways, we got 15 days to IMAZ, our last race of this 2014. It has been a great year for the two of us, despite the setbacks of my crash earlier in the year, it is amazing how by approaching this season in a total differnt way really helped us get through the daunting task of 2 full long distance tris (read iron-distance since it is an Ironman and Challenge).

This is what you do on a date night
Originally when we set up for this quest of craziness, which was race at Challenge Atlantic City (140.6 No. 1) and Ironman Arizona (140.6 No. 2) we had to sit down and discuss our goals. We had our coach of course bless our decision, however it was ours and we had to own it. For starters, one thing that might be noticed from our blog is that we definitely cut back on racing. 

We had an amazing 2013, it was our second year of Tri-ing and after going a little crazy with 13 races during the year we decided to cut back. Granted last year our A race was a lot earlier in the year so pretty much after Ironman Texas we just didn't want to stop training or racing and simply lose all the gains of the training and endurance we had achieved. We finished the year and we were tired, a couple of injuries were bothering us and we needed to thank our bodies for doing what they had done. 

So for 2014 we only signed up for 4 races and you probably have seen the posts about them. Now that we are reaching the 4th and last one it is just interesting to see how our life has totally transformed. When we set off earlier in the year for Challenge Atlantic City, we knew we were in for a really long year, so we had to be smart during training. One thing we learned last year was that we needed to listen to our bodies. Our bodies had done a lot, but we didn't listen as well and paid the price. To some extend at one point we were just racing to race, without a set goal or simply because others were doing it. This year we were smarter in the sense that we decided that no short races were going to be done. We did a couple of 5Ks but were for fun or for good causes (DFW Lab Rescue 5k) Also it is not news that racing is expensive, and while I didn't really tallied up the total of how much we spent (kinda afraid) in 2013 it is safe to say that it was a lot. So wanted for it to be differnt for 2014, we set up a budget after knowing we were doing 2 out of state races, so it was important we stuck to it. I think not only our bodies are thanking us but our checking account is too. I know racing is exciting, and you see progress and your body is giving you results but don't forget the big picture. Why do yo do this?

For us, at least, this year worked out great. Having a late race, meant we couldn't really slack off at all during the year. We had only a few weeks fully off after Challenge and while it took me a while to get back to it, my body was responding pretty good and Res was also seeing awesome results. While still not extremely fast, it is amazing to see how we can now do a 4-5 hr bike ride and go run errands all day and don't even think about the long ride. Or run 13-15 miles and not even feel sore afterwards. Our coach has been amazing too helping us keep this endurance and also get better. If you would ask me, I think we are better prepared for Ironman Arizona that we've been in any of our previous 70.3s or other 2 140.6s. It just feels like all the parts are falling in the right place. We probably started our tapper a little earlier than what our TrainingPeaks has on schedule, but we feel rested, not stressed, healthy, and more than anything happy. We are happy that our 2014 journey has been amazing and can't wait to close the year with an amazing race at IMAZ. 

For now, we will enjoy our taper, continue to be healthy, dial in the last minute details of our race and setup our trip in 14 days to Tempe to take it all in. You might hear from us before race day... It is a long road trip from Fort Worth to Tempe, so we might have some extra time in our hands. So stay tuned. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Think about you and only you... By Res

Sometimes it is interesting to see how our society teaches us to compare ourselves to others. A lot of times we fall into that and somehow it just becomes routine and we don't even realize of it. It isn't any different when you are practicing sports. If you have followed my entries, you probably have realized that:
1. I don't have a huge athletic background, close to non-existent.
2. I am slow. Albeit consistent but slow. Maybe I'm a little hard on myself because I want to be faster, but I'm slow :)

I guess my point, or what I'm trying to get across is that when you get sucked in the competitive mode of the sport, or in life you fall in the "comparing" to others mode. No matter how secure you are of yourself or how much self steem you have there is always a comparison that goes along with it. It doesn't only happen in sports, it happens in our professional lives too.

In sports, now that I'm a lot more active that I had ever imagined I would, I've learned the hard way how to not compare myself. A lot of times, because I want to be able to keep up with Felipe, I get frustrated because of my slower speeds. He actually tells me that he wished he had my consistency, I can keep up the same speed for longer workouts or as I like to call it... "My only speed" where he simply goes all over the place blowing up a lot of times towards the end of the long days. So what have I learned? I've learned to be patient, to be consistent and to work hard.

Being patient is important, getting frustrated won't get you anywhere and simply will frustrate you even more. Felipe keeps telling me that I am too hard on myself, that I have the speed and that just have to give it that extra "umph" to get faster. Being consistent is even more important, can't simply go all out and burn yourself on a workout thinking that it will make you faster, but on the contrary, being patient and smart about it will actually make you faster. Speed will come with time. Lastly, working hard, I always told Felipe that I simply didn't have any more gears, that my swimming pace or my bike was just slow. He always asked me if my arms burned during swimming, when I gave him the "not really" answer he said, you are not working hard enough. Maybe he was right, I wasn't feeling the burn, meaning I was just at my comfortable pace, the pace that doesn't get me out of breath and that fees just right. I started to realize that I was the one holding myself back, I needed to feel the burn, of course who likes that... No one... But maybe it was a good thing, getting outside my comfort zone and see if the magic happened.

Well, let me tell you, it works, feeling that burn has been a great feeling when I can see my effort is paying off. Just to give you an example I have been able to break 2:00/100yd on long swims (longer than 3000). I'm actually down to 1:56/100yd. Yup, I feel the burn but I didn't do it all in one day, it was through consistency, patience and hard work over the last 2 months that it happened. Same goes for the bike and the runs, but I just wanted to give you a little example of how comparing yourself doesn't really help you, it actually hinders your progress. The only one you need to impress is you. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Challenge Atlantic City - Our own video production

We've both shared our own race-recaps, I've shared it here and Res shared it on her own blog on her post "a Day to Remember" but we thought I would be cool to show you how our day and days prior to it went. Enjoy this short video...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cracked ribs... What's our purpose

It's been now a couple of weeks since we did Challenge Atlantic City... Not going to say that have been the worse weeks ever, you might think that recovering when you are in pain can suck. In part is true, it does suck, and trust me you don't realize that you use certain muscles of your body until you have to do relively easy things like getting in and out of bed, sneezing, coughing or maybe even using the microwave (when is above your head). So over the last few weeks it has been more of a healing process. Both body and soul, for the body  I think the scars show that it has been going pretty well, and little by little I've been getting more movement on my shoulder, I can wash my hair now without that much pain. After going to the doctor and feeling really sore in my chest area, after further exams, it was determined that I just had a couple of cracked ribs, which if you have ever experienced that, you probably kmow how it hurts. The soul, while is not that it was a soul searching period or anything like that it was more of a mental break. A 140.6, long distance tri, ironman triathlon or whatever you want to call it is a pretty hard thing to do regardless of how trained you are for it. As it turns out, most pros who are the ones that can crush one of this in less than 9 hrs avg, actually are amazed how we the age groupers can hammer these in 15-16 hrs and come back for more by signing up to do more of these. The mental strength that you carry through a long day like this is probably greater than your body strength. Your body can take the beating, I think we proved that a few weeks ago and also last year during Ironman Texas. However your mind is really the one that is doing a lot of the work at that point, making you take that extra step, or go the extra mile to complete it. So the mind needs recovery time too.

Being an engineer and having to sit for my EIT and PE exams I compare it to those exams. A little background, before you graduate with your engineering degree some engineers elect to take a state exam that qualifies you to be an Engineer in Training, fast forward 4 years of gaining experience and you get to do it all over again to get your Professional Engineering license. Both are pretty hard exams and each is 8 hours. You prepare for months, similar to a 140.6 Tri, stop all sorts of social life, it's you the books, coffee and the library. A lot of people tell you while you are preparing for it or the day before the test, that they will wait for you at the closest bar for happy hour. Well... Guess what... Your body might want to have a beer or two... Your mind dictates otherwise, it is simply exhausted from all that thinking. 

So after that little engineering analogy, back to what we've been feeling... The first week post Challenge it was a zero training week. Coach even loaded it on TrainningPeaks like that. The second, well while Res could do some, I couldn't do much, rashes were still fresh, shoulder hurt, ribs couldn't let me breath hard so it was another week of do what you want, but not really do a whole lot. The third and forth weeks rolled in and little by little I started, the shoulder still sore didn't allow me to swim much and after a work trip to Denver I realized my ribs wouldn't let me swim either. Ribs won. Now I can say that I'm back to the pool, yet feel like I went backwards and I know is gong to take a few more weeks if not a month or two to get back to the swimming shape I was pre Challenge, but on the bright sight I'm swimming, biking and running again. 

We've been able to go on our long bike rides together, while I could've pushed out as usual with the fast group recently I've taken the approach of just staying back with Res. Not that we never did it before, I guess we didn't do it enough. We always knew we were there but rarely we were together. Now it's different, we've been riding together, we go on our 3 and 4 hour rides together and yes I'm still stronger than her, she is pushing her self and learning to not get frustrated because I drop her at the hills, on the contrary she pushes even harder so I don't drop her so badly. So it is a win win situation. We get to ride together, quality time and she is getting stronger and we are actually enjoying the rides. That's the one main reason we do this sport to begin with. The sport is an indivual effort on race day, but in reallity is a team effort to get you there and for us that's what matters. The team effort and spending time together. We are taking a similar approach on the runs. 

I guess walking for almost 7 hours and riding for close to 45 miles a month ago really taught us a good lesson.... 2 are stronger than 1 and no matter what happens if we are with each other we will cross any finish line we have in front of us, be it a race finish line or simply a life event.

With that thought... Always remember why you do this, what drives you to get up in the morning or go in the hot summer evening to train, or why you even begun your journey and reflect back on that. Sometimes we get sucked into the competitiveness of the sport and of course who doesn't want to be better and faster, but what really matter for us, is being there with each other and for each other, 

Friday, July 4, 2014

What does Mind over Body really Mean (Challenge AC Race Report)

Well, I know we haven't post much about our preparation for this race. It was in a way on purpose, din't want to get you all bored with the details of what we have done or haven't done for it. Now that we have completed it it's time to reflect on our day... or days including the days leading up to it.

We had decided last year to do Challenge Atlantic City because it was so close to Res' home. Our thoughts were to spend time with family a week prior to the race and then go to the race with them so they could experience our racing/triathlon lives. We found an awesome home not too far from Bally's (host hotel) but not in the middle of Atlantic City which made it for a good headquarters location.

We arrived to AC on Thursday after picking up our cheering squad at Philly's airport. We headed to the house to unload the truck and bikes before we headed to the expo. Didn't want the bikes on the rack while we were at the expo. We then went to the expo which turned out pretty interesting considering you had to walk through Bally's casino to get to it. People were very nice and friendly, it seemed a little bit less daunting than the WTC/Ironman check-in. We got our packages, and then started to walk the expo. They had one of the athlete meetings around that time so we went to it, got the typical download, course changes, rules, etc... great energy from DelMo and Vigo those two guys are amazing. Our crew had a start on us since they went to the beach party at the Bally's Bikini Bar where the Challenge Welcome party was at. There we got to see T.O., Rinny, Mark Allen, Andres (whom we had seen at check-in) so we hung out there a bit. We called it a day pretty early, didn't want to get too wrapped up into the party scene that AC offers because we know how it can come and bite us later.

Friday... practice swim.. Rinny... Athlete Dinner

Rinny signing up our shirts 
Rinny and Res
One good thing about this race is that they didn't only have practice swim for 1 day, they had 3 days of practice swims on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We had decided that we were going to do that swim on Friday. So we had a light breakfast and off we went. Practice swim was great, we felt the current that we will talk about a little later but nothing too out of the norm. Salt water, dark water, similar to the Galveston swim for those of you that have done it. Practice swim course was about 0.5 mi which was a little longer than I would anticipate but didn't bother us either. As we were finishing the swim we noticed that Macca was coming out of the water with us... so of course we had the typical picture with him. Couldn't help it, major groupie move.... didn't care. Then we went back to the hotel to get the Profile Design wheels on the bikes since we had scored a free demo pair of 58's for our bikes. While we were waiting for them got the chance to talk to Rinny and she signed our shirts and wished us good luck, that meant so much, she is so nice.... we then just went back home since the rest of the family were arriving that evening so we wanted to be there when they arrived and before we went to the Athlete Dinner. We left for the dinner... having only experienced Ironman Texas 2013 Athlete Dinner this one was really good compared to it. Bally's really did a good job to feed us healthy but great choice of food, sweets, fruit, you name it they had it. The talk was great, very inspiring they had the Blazeman Challenge Award and also they had a few other stories to share. We sat with Andres during dinner and a few other athletes we met at dinner, so we just chatted a bit with them.

Saturday... easy spin... beach... rest...

Colombia representing pre-race ride on the Colombia-Uruguay game day
Saturday was an easy day, wanted to try the new borrowed wheels before race day so we went to Brigantine which is a town south of AC and we rode for about 30 minutes, loved the wheels and the bikes felt great. Short little ride around the two roads and back to the beach for some beach time before heading back home for some rest and to finish getting everything ready for the race, race bags and bikes for check-in.

Checking in with Macca.... that' was pretty funny

When we got to transition we actually had a great surprise... we were walking in when some photographers went running by us, when we turned there he was, Macca was checking in. We got our bikes racked and checked out transition and headed home. Not before we picked up some pasta dinner at Bringantine, we found Andres an italian restaurant with great food. Then went home to eat, pack nutrition, and try to rest... try... because as you know resting before an event like this is very elusive... to non-existent. I think I finally closed my eyes at midnight.
Race Day
Best surprise from Mrs. D our host before we left
Alarms went off at 3:15... we got ready and went down for our breakfast... our cheering crew had gone and explored the Atlantic City nightlife the night before so they were a bit festive :)... which brought good energy. We did our usual oatmeal, PB&J english muffings, banana and OJ breakfast. Got Res' parents ready and headed out the door. We got to Bader Field at around 4:45 so we did a quick check on the bikes, pumped air, last check of the transition bags which they allowed us to check at the last minute and we then just waited for the start.

We were waiting when they announced that the water temp was 80-deg which made the swim wetsuit optional. After a second of freakout we made the call to swim with wetsuits mainly for 2 reasons. 1. It would allow us to take advantage of them, 2. We could swim together and didn't have to get in our waves. So we decided that it would be best, no much debate after that one.
We saw the Navy Seals parachute down to Bader Field while the Star Spangled Banner played, it was pretty amazing, also knowing that 2 of them were going to race alongside with us. We said our good byes to Res' parents and we went with our crew to the swim start. We were the last wave so we had still time.
Our wave started to get called in and we pushed ourselves in, we barely made it to the water when they let us go. Didn't count that we were the largest wave of all because of all the people that had decided to do the wetsuit swim. We said our good byes in the water and off we went. The swim was one of the toughest swims we've done. The first 1000 yds were with the current, felt great with a bit of traffic but got cleared pretty quick. The first turn came by and we headed back... that's when it got interesting. Out of the remainder 2900 maybe 2500 were against the current.
Navy Seals parachuting in
By the time we had to bring it home we were just exhausted of fighting the current. Also a few things threw us off, since there were not many buoys marking the way in between the turn buoys. That made it difficult since we had the sun in front of us most of the way so we couldn't see the turn buoys. We just ended up following heads and hoping for the best. At the end our garmins ended up at 2.7 miles for me and 2.52 for Res. We came out almost at the same time out of the water with a 2 min difference.

In transition, we came out of the tents at the same time and started the bike ride together... that was pretty cool. Got to ride with her for about 2 miles and then off we went as usual, the plan was to see each other at the run. The bike course was exiting, going thorough the Atlantic City Expressway and into the towns wasn't too bad, we were actually going pretty fast, I had to keep myself from pushing since I knew the pace was a bit fast. We got back on the expressway and the wind was on our back. Since we had the last wave on the swim that meant we had a good group of people ahead of us, so had a lot of people to pass. While passing one guy, at mile 25 or so, I looked back to make sure I cleared the pass but I lost control of the bike and stumbled into the pavement. Hit hard. I don't think quitting even cross my mind at the time. The guy that I had passed also crashed and he stopped to check on me. My shoulder was in a lot of pain, I moved my arm and saw that I could move it so off I went again on the bike. I got to the mile 30 station and washed off. By then the pros were already starting to come back so got to see a few of them including Andrés. I was on the Hammonton Loop by then and trying to enjoy the scenery as much as the pain allowed it. Went through special needs station but skipped it there, I had planned to stop the second time. Going through Hammonton was OK, could've been more exciting I guess or I guess my pain was such that I just didn't enjoy it. The second loop was simply a blur, all I remember was pulling into special needs and getting off the bike. A guy in there helped me get washed off, got some ice for my shoulder and it really made a difference. As I was about to pull out guess who was coming in.... RES!!!! I was so happy to see her... She freaked out when she saw me, but was able to keep her cool. We got her special needs figured out and decided to keep going. We only had 40 miles after all which meant going back on the Expressway. Well.... Remember that start of the bike where we were going really fast with a nice tail wind??? Yup... You got it, the wind had picked up and was a head wind. Our 22-23 mph on the way out turned into an 11-12 mph on the way back. Most painful 30 miles we've ever done, we were glad to have each other and to keep each other company. Many times along that stretch the thought of quitting came across my mind but having Adriana in front of me or behind me and knowing that finishing had turned into a team effort made me simply push harder and make the bike cut. We had slowed so much due to my extended stops that we had lost about 1 hour or more between all stops so we were cutting it pretty close. Seeing the exit 2 of the Expressway was the happiest moment of that bike ride. We came into Bader Field and we saw Brian, Becky, and Jenny they were so happy to see us but saw their jaws dropped when the saw me.
Coming into T2
I got off the bike and went to medical immediately to see if they could clean me up better and check my shoulder. The medics were awesome, and I sensed they wanted me to pull from the race, but it was 4 pm... We had 7:30 to Walk 26.2 miles.... A known territory for us (been there done that). Adriana and I went to change. The tents were empty, volunteers weren't as involved as ironman volunteers that pretty much would dress you up, here you were on your own, which with one arm could be challenging. I managed to get dressed and went out to start our 26.2 mile walk. By then Brian had done the math for us and we needed to keep a 15:50'/mi pace to make the cut, so it was something we knew we could do. Luckily Adriana's shuffle is a 13'/mi shuffle so I knew I was in good hands. The walk was probably the most mental part of the whole day.
LOVE HER!!!!!!!
Walking together really made the difference. I knew Adriana could go on her intervals but she chose not to and stuck with me... What a champ!!!  She pretty much kept us on schedule. We joked around, talked about life, told ourselves we would never do this again, cheered others, got inspired by others, made new friends, I mean 6 hours is a long time, so might as well make it entertaining. Anything to take my mind off the pain considering that I was dealing with it with just ice.... Yup... Not even a Tylenol. We went off and hit the boardwalk, that was fun, seeing more people made those first miles go relatively fast. We were talking with others and got word that the first cutoff was mile 17 by 9:00 pm. We were at mile 13 and it was 7:00 pm. We had done half a marathon walking (speed walking) in 2:30. We said we are good. Only bad thing is that I was starting to fade, my pain was making me really uncomfortable. Brian and and the girls met us again and they walked with us a bit. Brian said you keep this up and you make the cut... Coach's message to us. So we had 2 hours to do 4 more miles. I had started to slow down a bit, and got worried because we were down to 16'/mi. That meant we were not going to make it. Told Adriana let's jog it, Brian started to pace us and opening the front since there were a lot of walkers on the boardwalk we didn't want to zigzag around too much... I pretty much had one speed one direction... No steering around anyone. We picked it up to our marathon pace of 10:30'/mi and man that hurt. We did about 2 miles like that. It was all I could take. We got to mile 15 and slowed down a bit, back to walking but at least we knew we had time. We passed the 17 mile marker and had 30 min to spare... We were good. Then was just single digits, 9 miles before 11:30 pm. We could do that right?  Those were some lonely miles. Our family had to leave because of the kids and the boardwalk had only a few of us running with the rest just being tourists. Loved going by Boardwalk Hall because that energy really pumped us up.
Brian and Becky sporing the Team Res-Puli Support Crew T-shirts
We saw T.J. Begg the youngest athlete at 16 and his dad John, who turned out to be Caity Begg's brother and dad (Young Tri founder). We walked with them a good chunk of the boardwalk and talked a bit. We also saw so many people that were just encouraging and were happy to encourage people along they way, you take what you can get during those times to dig deeper. When we went to the turn around and had 2 miles to go we knew we had it, it was 10:30 pm and Brian was coming to take us home. I was literally falling asleep while walking, Adriana was holding my good hand to steer me in the right direction and when we got to Tropicana we started our jog again. Amazing how seeing lights, people and getting pumped to finish makes you simply get all you have left to take you to that finish line. We took our flag out, planned how we were holding it and entered the Shute. I couldn't believe what we had done, Adriana kept telling me to smile for the pictures, I thought i was smiling... Clearly I wasn't.... I was done. Wanted to cry, jump (but couldn't), thought I was smiling, but all we did was hug each other and cry while we got our chips taken off our legs. We had done what i thought 14 hours earlier was nearly impossible. I definitely have to thank Adriana the true Ironman of this story... She made all this possible putting the team on her back and carrying us both to that finish line. All I can say is that this was definitely a CHALLENGE and it was completed.  Yup... Call us crazy... Nuts,... Stupid... But we got one more of this stunts in 4 months in Arizona. So right now, time to heal, recover, stop hurting and get back to training. As for the shoulder X-rays didn't show any fractures, we are waiting to get back home to see the orthopedist and hope for the best. Hoping with some PT and time I will get back to it, at least I know I can bike and run.... The swim might be another story.

So I guess what you might be wondering... was it a good race. I think definitely it was, it truly lives up to its name of CHALLENGE. Yes we can ask for no currents but Mother Nature can do whatever she wants, no wind and flat courses bike courses but then what would be the point, and a run less entertaining.... but nothing better than people watching through the Boardwalk. So would we recommend it... if you want a true CHALLENGE go for it... if you want to be tested and see what you are made of, definitely sign up. If you are not too sure you can finish it... then get to training and sign up for it. :) and remember "Anything is possible if you have the courage to make it happen"
Best Finish Ever!!!! priceless... and yes it the pic was FREE too :) Thanks Challenge
If you want to see more pictures.... click here

Monday, June 9, 2014

Running for a good cause

If you have seen some of our posts on twitter or Instagram you know that we are lab parents. We have rescued 2 beautiful black labs from the DFW Lab Rescue, a local non-profit rescue group in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We rescued our first lab 6 years ago, a few months after we rescued her they were holding a 5k. A fundraiser to help with the costs of running the organization covering vet costs, and other cost associated with this great cause. What is best about it is that it was our first 5k. We knew we could run, simply signed up and maybe “trained” for a couple of weeks, running a few blocks around the house. Race day came up we were just happy to run with our new dog. She was so happy pulling me the whole time and she probably carried the heavy lifting a good 2 miles, but then we jogged back and finished our first 5K together.

Last year we had to put Anise down after finding out she had a spleen tumor that had metastasized in her lungs and heart. We found out after a race and before our Ironman. We waited until after that big race and we went ahead and rescued our JayJay. We fell in love with her, and she did the same with us, making her self comfortable on our bed when the foster mom came to our home visit.
sprint to the finish line
Anyways we have done their 5K a few times, this year being the 3rd year and they had it two weekends ago. We ran it as usual, Felipe leaving us in the dust, he has gotten podiums before there so he likes it, and JayJay and I stayed in the back with the rest of the puppies. Once again Felipe got his podium and JayJay and I managed to finish it, she struggled a little but I gave her the motivation she knows now which is she will see her “papa” and she started running again looking for him. He was waiting for us at the finish line (as usual) and when she saw him she just started sprinting towards him.
Ice Bath anyone??? feels good...not sure why my parents complain so much when they do it
The funniest thing was when we were walking afterward JayJay saw a kiddie pool that was full of ice and water with water bottles and she didn’t think twice and got in it for a nice ice bath. I guess dogs need that too… She didn’t complain as much as I normally do when I get in one… She looked rather happy.

Scout wrapping up his first 5K

We also got to share it with a couple of of Tri-ing friends and their pups, most of us have that in common so we run with our 4 legged kids every once in a while, since we don’t have little humans to push around in strollers we let the 4-legged ones pull us around :).

So with that we did one more 5k, but is a 5k that holds a close place to our heart for many reasons. Like I said before is the very first one, the one that got us off the couch, our beloved Anise who crossed the rainbow and our JayJay who has been a great dog and we love her to death.
our Anise on her last road trip to Jersey

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Third time is a charm... Well sort of

OK, so it's been a couple of weeks already since we finished our third 70.3 Ironman. In a sense it was a race that we were kind of looking forward to but not really if it makes sense. Yup.... Confusing we know. Maybe you have seen posts from Res on her blog about our motivation and how bad of a job we were doing keeping up with our training schedules. So that's the "not really" part of it. We felt a bit unprepared, and maybe were underestimating the distance. It kind of happens... But don't let that fool you it is still a big race and a long day. We went in with our training as much as we got in, one thing for sure we were rested. We did our long workouts and hit them hard but we felt strong on them, long swims were great, long rides didn't really bothered us so much and the runs.... Well the runs suffered but we had some miles in the running shoes that made us think we were going to be OK.

The week leading to it was of course crazy busy with work. We didn't do our typical day off before the race. We typically leave Friday as a day off and since the race is on Sunday it leaves us Saturday to "rest" more. Well... If you know what happens at the Expo day then you know you do anything but rest. So our approach this year was leave the house on Saturday, go in to check-in, eat, rack bikes and leave... It actually worked out pretty good in our opinion. It eliminates the amount of walking you do trying to walk to places you don't really need to be at. Also it helped with the nerves, which were pretty high due to the weather conditions we were going to have so the less time we spent at the expo and around athletes the better for us... Yes... Antisocial mode helps sometimes.

We were able to see the coach, he gave us some last minute weather related tips and off we went. We went to the hotel with K (our Sherpa of choice for the weekend). She wasn't doing the race since she got sick but still offered to come down and help us with cheering, and also for the drive back home after the race. Anyways we went to the hotel and stayed there until the next Sunday morning. Did the usual pre race stuff.

Sunday came, we enjoyed the benefits of being in the club village this year. It is pretty nice to have that since we have a place to camp near transition. We just got there while the team people got ready. We chatted a bit but not much, usually we are not too chatty without being rude.  There were a lot of nerves because of the weather which at that point we had nothing else we could do other than let Mother Nature take her course with our day.

This year we our waves were different than last year, Res went first then Puli. The swim was rough, chop and current took at beat on us and it was not fun to see people taken out as we were getting off the dock. The bike while uneventful we were being very cautious as the roads where wet. A little of a tail wind on the way out and cross wind on the way back made it for a fun bike. Galveston is an out and back bike which it's cool because you see everyone and we saw pretty much the whole team. Getting off the bike we hit the run. Puli didn't feel well, he was getting belly cramps after probably taking too much salt water on the swim, Res keep pushing forward with her awesome steady pace. 

It was a great day. Puli managed to have a PR on this course and a sub 6:00 70.3 with a 5:59. Res managed a 6:40 which wasn't a PR but knowing our load over the next months a number she can work with since we don't want to get injured nor push too much too early as the year will be long and this is just the beginning. We definitely have learned to read our bodies, our fitness and endurance are there, we need to put longer hours and get some speed but other than that we have a tough couple of months coming up and want to do well without breaking apart.

We were also glad to spend time with almost all our teammates and our cheering crowd who were awesome. One more for our 70.3 distance... Again one of our fave races and we will probably do it again, being so close to home. 

Time to get motivated so we can get the peak of our Challenge Atlantic City training in and work on our weak points. Other than that... Let's continue having some fun. :)

PS. Even if the weather is overcast... Do not forget sunscreen! Those sun rays will still burn you and we want to continue playing outside so let's avoid the risk of cancer.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A year of 3's

It's been a while since we did an entry, it sucks when real life and grown adults stuff gets in the way of fun. Our year has been crazy busy with work, life and the usual nuances of adulthood. Our workout life has been pretty uneventful, since we are keeping our racing limited we don't have as many exciting things to share when it comes to triathlon... You get us... We hope.

So what have we been up to, not much... Honestly.  Back in February we did our 3rd half marathon. Our 2nd time doing The Cowtown. It was a run that we did to keep a tradition we are trying to start to do The Cowtown and try to get our medal display that they normally have after you run a few of them. This time is 3 medal display, so we are only 2 away :).

Anyways, it was a run that we had not trained much for. Last year if you remember we wanted to close the year with the Dallas marathon! that clearly didn't happen and the wheels fell off after that. We couldn't get our motivation to run or do major workouts, then family in town, the holidays, the cold weather, the really cold weather just added up to no motivation and lack of training. Well.... Guess what... Lack of training sucks when you try to run a half marathon or try to run... period. We had a long run before it of about 10 miles, we felt pretty good but we knew we were not in for any PRs. But we were fine with it, we know we have a long year ahead of us and we are taking it slow. With our races this year, going and killing a super fast half Mary is great but it is not worth at the end with the recovery and how much it would hurt. So we did it... Puli managed a PR by a little over a minute and I managed to finish not walking, not a PR but surely felt every mile of those 13.1. 

We know it's not an excuse, but the cold weather really messed us up this year...we will pay for that in the summer but for now we just want warmer temps. So finally we feel like we've been getting to a constant good volume of workouts, not 100% but more than 50%. We are feeling stronger on our swimming and biking but our run has suffered a lot since we haven't done much of it, crappy weather means not going outside to run.

On Sunday we are going to our 3rd Half Ironman. It will be 70.3 Ironman Texas. We know it is going to be an interesting race, we've had a couple of confidence booster workouts where we feel awesome about it so we will see. Last year our volume was really starting to peak for ironman Texas and burn out was also kicking in, so this year we feel we are more rested so hope that it actually translates to bodies more recovered, we will see... Stay tuned for updates on it.

By now you probably saw the trend... A year of 3s. 3rd half marathon, 3rd half ironman, and you got it, 2nd AND 3rd Full distance with Challenge Atlantic City and Ironman Arizona. Our peak will start probably when we come back from Galveston next week, it will be a good gauge but unlike last year we don't feel burned out. We are trying to keep ourselves from triathlon burnout as we still have 7 months of heavy workouts. A lot can happen and getting injured ain't going to be one of them. :)

So... For now... Hope you haven't missed us too much, we will try to do better, hopefully you will get to see more of us either here or on Res' blog and we can share more of what we've been up to. Hope you enjoy these videos we are leaving you with. After all we TRI to have fun and we pay to have this fun... Might as well... Enjoy the ride :)