Sunday, August 1, 2010

I Can't Sleep....what am I 8 years old again or what?

"I feel like I'm 8 years old or something. Here I am a grown man, struggling with the sleep demons cuz I'm so excited about my race tomorrow. My 5th wheel is sitting in the 5 mile Lake Park, graciously allowed by the race director, with my wife and kids fast asleep. I am running through the race and my transitions for the 312th time in my head. My heart beat rises with every thought of a mad dash from the beach or a sprint up the hill into the transition area shedding my wet suit. I can't control it. I've driven the bike course and have already practiced (in my head of course) the gears I'll choose and how hard I'll breath with each of the memorized inclines, and how fast I'm gonna fly by all those people who are gonna pass me on the run. My new TT bike is sparkly clean and my Zipps are ready to turn this large mass of a man into a flying blue smurf smear sizzling down the road as I try to listen for my little cheering section yelling "go dad" at hopefully 25+ mph. Every time I get close to falling asleep I get more excited because as soon as I fall asleep, I know the next thing is me waking up to run my crazy race with all them skinny peoples. I can't sleep, I can't decide on breakfast for tomorrow, and I still can't for the life of me remember what made me go from 345+ lbs to taking on an endurance sport. But Oh am I hooked and I LOVE feeling like a kid again. Yay me! To all my fellow Team mates, I know you share my feelings somewhat and that makes me feel a little less weird. But I'm okay with being weird. After all I wear little stretchy shorts:)"

These were the words of my late night email from my blackberry lying there in my bed at 11:15pm in the parking lot of the 5 Mile Lake Park. It was a great idea to bring the 5th wheel so that we didn't have to get the kids up at 4:00am and hit the road. Or so I thought. Things I didn't think about were; the Park is on a popular road and is right across the street from a 24 hr lit convenient store. I don't know if the owners of the store know it's a 24 hr store but there are quite a few of the local youth that do, and they apparantly meet there on friday nights to show off there new car stereo systems beneath the road lights. Wouldn't you know it the only window in my trailer that doesn't have curtains or blinds is the one facing the darn store. In my defense how was I to know it was the "happening" place for the youth to congregate?

I expected for the crews to be working setting up the event and didn't think that would be a problem. I could sleep through it, I told myself. I figured it was worth it to be able to sleep close enough to walk to the event, be on time, and have my stuff visible and safe. I didn't take into account the possibility of me behaving like a kid and not falling asleep when I should have. What does one do? Take a sleeping pill the night before and risk the groggy after affects the next morning? This wasn't even my first event. It was my 5th! Well it was going to be my first event with my new Tri bike but I didn't think it would affect me that much. Plus it's not even like I'm going to come close to winning or even placing anywhere close. At my size I'm lucky to finish one of these things. But I have my goals and I have my dreams. I figured my bike is my strongest, my swim is my scariest, and my run is...well I can walk if I have to. My goal was 3 hours flat. I figured my swim to be 40-45 min, my bike in 1:15, and a 1 hour run. All of which would have been PR's for me. What the heck you've got to set goals for yourself. My other goal was to do both of my transitions in less than 3 minutes combined. "If I could just get to sleep."

I figured I would be first or darn near first in line when transition opened so that I could take my pick of racks and get my dream spot. So I asked the director and he says that the TA would open at 6am sharp. I set my alarm for 5am and plan my morning accordingly. Alarm goes off and I said to myself "i feel like i just fell asleep". Well dodo head that's cuz you just did! I swear I didn't get more than an hour or so of sleep. I was so pissed at my giddy self for not getting more sleep. I walk outside to welcome the day and to my suprise I see a line of about 4 people entering the transition area already and "what the Heck!" Douglas is already in and got his bike racked! Holy Crap my evil plans are being thwarted. I must hurry!

So out the door I rush with my backpack and Tri bike inhand and hurry to get set up. Curse that race director. 6am sharp, my fat fanny! My dreams have been foiled. I get checked in and have to wait while the kind lady s-l-o-w-l-y marks my rippled tight calfs with her marker and both of her hands gripping all of my calf gently. I'm not sure if she was sweating or if that was a drop of drool, but whatever, I've gotta get to my spot. The best 5 spots were already taken and I could not get to the next best spot quick enough. Yay me.....I got it. I love my spot. If you drew a straight line from the "swim in" to the "bike out" then you would cross right over my bike. It was great. Not as good as Douglas's but oh well.

Gordon Gray and Lucas Montgomery show up and get settled in shortly thereafter. It was going to be a good day for TeamFastt. There were 5 of us racing that event and one of them was none other than "Lady Lightning" Patty Bredice. No one told me that girl was that fast. She had to have skipped the 3rd loop of the bike leg or something. That gal is speed! She was so fast that I didn't even see her at all in the event. Actually it was because she was already done with the first......and maybe second loop of the bike by the time I got out of the water. Did anyone tell her that you had to swim around all the bouys "twice"....maybe she missed the announcement. I'm kidding Patty. You're incredible. Both she and Gordon smashed the, what felt like a longer than .9 mile swim, with a 27:37 and a 28:50. I'm glad because I kind of need them and the other "lappers" to get out of the way so the water would calm down and I could get in my groove.

Finally I come around bouy number 4 finishing my first lap and see my cheering squad anxiously trying to recognize me in my swim cap. I give a little wave as I head out to start my second lap. I was finally feeling good and comfortable in the water. I had one lap left. I was definetely ready to get some moving going on and try to catch up a little after what happened to me about 200 yards out from the kick off.

I decided that I would do a little of a "mad dash" sprint from the start the first couple hundred yards and try to get around the first bouy somewhere in the middle of the pack. So I decided to go hard and breathe every other set of strokes instead of every set of strokes like normal. Result-I'm taking larger breaths when I come up for air right? Actually they're more like " oh my gosh i need air now-gasps". So it starts 10,9,8 and so on. We're off. Start went well and I was holding middle of the pack. Ok now I'm starting to slow down and need that air. Boy I'm out of shape. So as I'm coming up for a breath/gasp of air it just so happens that a wave of water was being propelled straight from another racers arm down my throat to my now open lungs yearning for that much needed air......aaaaaaah. What the Heck? that's not air, Oh my gosh I can't breathe! Where's a kayak? Not again, Drat! Dad Gum it I'm gonna have to drop out of this race cuz I'm gonna die!

Thank God I was able to hack it up and spit it out while steadily loosing ground to the middle of the pack. My trusty default breast stroke kept me slowly easing forward and all I could think about was "Im not even to the first bouy and I'm this choked up" I'll be lucky to finish. It took me about 200-300 more yards before I could even really get my face back in the water and swim correctly. I'm such a beginner. Thankfully it passed and I was able to finish my second lap without any more issues, other than the 3 or 4 people climbing over me towards the end of my first lap. Thanks Patty and Gordon. hehehe

I was feeling pretty anxious as I passed that final bouy of the second lap heading for the long home stretch. I felt good. I had no idea what my time was but to be truthful I wasn't worrying too much about it. I was thinking more like; breathe, stroke, roll, stroke, breathe stroke, oooh what was that in the water, stroke, roll, darn I forgot to breathe that time...kind of stuff. So I come out of the water, crowd is cheering like they do for that final finisher of an IronMan at midnight. I wave thank you and start heading up the hill for the transition area. My kids are on the ribbons yelling and waving to me. I look up and see 55:15 or something like that on the reader board and thought "drat, so much for my 45 minute swim goal. Oh well I'll have to make it up on the bike".

So I run into TA and out in what felt like a super sluggish 1:03 and take off on my bike. I knew that the first part of the bike leg was a little down hill and then a little uphill before the first turn off so I said I'm gonna power it right from the get go and start making some hay. Translation for all you Non-Hicks is "right from the get go and start kicking butt". So I put my head down and start stomping it. I'm crusing right along and I pass about 4 or 5 people and I'm thinking "oh yeah baby". Then all of the sudden the last guy I passed decided to swerve right and head down that other road. Then Oh that's weird theres a bunch of orange cones going down that road-hey everyone is turning there. Crap! actually I said something else but don't tell my mom. So I had to do a U-turn and head back to the course. See what happens when you don't get enough sleep. I even drove the stinking course. Oh well. So it just meant that I had to pick it back up and go get 'em. After I pushed it a little on the first loop and figured it out, I formulated my plan for the remaining 3 loops then promptly disregarded it because "there's no crying in baseball" quote from Tom Hanks popps in my head. Get to work. You just got a NewTri Bike and it's down right embarassing to fly by someone at 30+ on the down hill then be going slow enough on the hills to read each and every one of their sponsors on their jersey as they slowly pull away from you on the next hill. Bad Form Smee. So I just had to push it the whole way. I'm such a rookie. The rest of the bike leg went well and I enjoyed hearing my fan section each time I went screaming by.

Coming down the final stretch of the 4th lap, it was time to prepare for the dismount. I had yet to practice undoing my 3 strap bike shoes from my new Tri bike and was curious how my balance would be with the more aggressive geometry of a Tri bike. I would soon find out. Just as I start to bend over and reach for the straps, the guy on the P3 Cervelo that I had been playing hop scotch with for the last lap and a half was bending over to unlatch his shoes as well. Darn, I thought I was going to be special coming in all prepared and such. Oh well we both successfully unstrapped our shoes and did the half dismount as we come coasting in to the dismount mat. My family right there waiting for me, cheered me off the bike and into the transitiona area. Again I felt like I could've transitioned faster but I eaked out of there in a not to shabby 00:54. I didn't know it then but I had acheived one of my goals, with a combined transition time of 01:57. Which I thought wasn't that bad till I saw the Pro Chris Tremonte's combined time of 00:53. Wow he's fast. Something must be wrong with his timing chip-don't worry I've already notified the race director to check into that. :)

So I take off out of transition and head off on my run. I thought I was feeling pretty decent. That feeling would pass quickly. Actually it passed before I exited the park. But I wasn't going to let it show. I would run with my head up and proud. I am a "Triathloner" (not worthy of being called a Triathlete, I have coined a new word). Wouldn't you know it the run starts with a gentle incline, and unlike a bike, it's pretty hard to get momentum into the hill at 6 mph. So against my own desires, I did have to walk a few times on the run, but that was ok.

Not really. It's actually pretty wimpy, but that is what I told myself on the run. One side of myself is saying "there's no shame in walking to catch your breath, no one will fault you. you're still 290 pounds. It's crazy that you're out here doing this at all...while the other side of me is saying "you can't walk you sissy-that girl is gonna pass you-don't let them see you like this-you can do it-it's just pain-I'm so embarrassed at you (talking to myself remember)"

So I would squeeze another gu and trudge onward. It was nice to hear the encouraging support of my fellow teammates Gordon and Lucas on the run. Unfortunely they did not maintain my crazy pace and we parted ways. I won't say who pulled away from whom. They were on their second lap already, loosers!, but whatever. :)
I was doing okay, and was able to run the majority of my run and managed to pull out a 1:06 for my run. I was okay with that.

So coming into the park gearing up for the finish line a guy had just passed me and grouped himself with another runner lady that I had been chasing the entire 2nd loop of the run. I decided to stay on their heels and suprise them with a mad burst of "oh my gosh where'd he come from" speed across the finish line. Both of them had been running at my pace the past loop and I knew I had a little left in me to Finish Strong! So we come into the park and "what the heck?" they both picked up there speed considerably and were thinking the same thing I guess. Drat another one of my plans beginning to unravel before my eyes. So I said to myself "well there's two of them running side by side that should be about wide enough for me to try and run in their draft" :) So I have to kick it up a notch to maintain their pace and we weave through the final loops and there is the finish line about 40 yards away. I floor it! Blasting by the guy, at what felt like a 13 mph sprint but was probably only 6mph by this time, I come up next to the gal and was not able to overtake her but managed to land on the timing mat simultaneously and then came the chore of slowing this choo choo train down from my sprint before I knocked someone over. There were alot of spectators waiting at the finish and I just had to vere left miss the little ones.

Race Complete! I had done it. I had finished. I was depressed to see the 3:16:12 lit up as I crossed the mat but was later re-encouraged when I remebered that they started it when they let the women go first so my real time would be a few minutes less. It was. I finished with a 3:09:15 and was so stoked. I was already scanning through my memory of what events were coming up so that I could start preparing for my next one.

Catch my breath, return my timing chip and find my family. It was about time to find my lovely wife and get my well earned smooch. She's so great. She loves watching me do these races and I am so so so greatfull to have such a supportive family. My girl made a custom T-shirt just for me and especially for the race. who needs Sugoi?

I find my teammates and we swap congratulations. Where's the food? I want chocolate milk. They had none. Poop! Oh well some name brand energy drink and hot dogs would have to suffice. It was a great day. We raced, we finished, we dined, we left. We all return to our meager lives and little do all those other people that see us at work, or at Starbucks, or at the drivethru know that we are all Supermen! We are Triathletes! The crem de le crem of sport enthusiasts. And we the apprentice "Triathloners" bask in the glow of our fellow Team mates and dream of one day giving them a run for their money.

To all who read this and stay around long enough to follow my progress -"Patty, I am calling you out. One day girl I will beat you. Unless you get faster then my manly challenge is off" hehehe


Remember to thank the Lord Daily for keeping me safe in my work outs and rides.
Pray for the safe return of my missionary friend Dave Ferris who introduced me to this sport.
Be a healthy and active example to my wife, kids, and overweight extended family.

Swim: Don't almost drown next time-spend more time working on my swim stroke and overall swim conditioning.

Bike: More time in the saddle, general conditioning, and hit the weights. What was that sound? That's the sound of Shawn's thunder thighs (the good kind)

Run: Again just more weight loss and aerobic conditioning to help me maintain a good pace.

Upcoming Events So far that I have found that I will be doing:

August 21 Finish Strong Triathlon Lake Tye Monroe Sprint Distance
Sept 11 Olympia Black Hills Olympic
Oct 23 Lake Sammamish Half-Marathon (already signed up)
June 11, 2011 1/2 IronMan Boise (already signed up)

To sum up, I want to thank Lisa and Kris for founding this team and providing me with a bunch of new friends that share this new passion of mine, and an outlet for my feelings via this blog and email. To all my fellow team mates. God Bless You and you are "Triathletes" ( I totally used my Ironman announcer voice when I said that".

Go TeamFastt!