Sun, 09 Oct 2005

Summer recap

It was a quiet summer on the weblog, but a busy one in the real world.

Back at the beginning of June, I said Ironman is "a feat I may never attempt." But that didn't stop Jenny and I from registering for Ironman Coeur d'Alene 2006 the day after Ironman 2005. Since then, we've been planning and preparing. Swimming is new to both of us so we've been spending a lot of time at the YMCA in the pool. A couple of weeks ago, I did my first 1-mile, non-stop swim in the pool. I also bought the bike Joe rode in Ironman CDA. So, step-by-step, we're getting ready.

In July, Jenny did her first triathlon, the Valley Girl. Completing it was a huge accomplishment for Jenny. She's always had a fear of the water, so by doing an open water swim in competition she defeated one of her demons.

She followed that up with the Coeur d'Alene Triathlon doing the bike leg on a team (the Hugh Jass Racing Team). I competed there as well in the Duathlon placing 13th overall, 7th among masters, 2nd in my age division (there were 4 of us), and received a first place division medal. Go figure. (The 1st place winner in my division was also 1st among all masters. So, he took that award leaving me the division medal.)

In September, Jenny competed in the Palouse Sprint Distance Triathlon. That was an experience. Up at 3AM, on the road by 4. The swim was in an outdoor, heated pool, but the air temperature was in the low 40s. It started raining while Jenny was swimming and didn't stop until she was running. Like most challenges, it was a lot of fun when completed, but not necessarily while competing.

The next day was the 26th annual Spokane Autumn Century. Jenny passed, having just completed a triathlon. I watched the weather, closely. After last year's wet cold start, I decided I'd hold out for the Tour de Lacs if the forecast was for rain.

The weather forecast kept improving. The radar image looked good before I left the house. Joe met me at the start, and we began with the expectation of perhaps a bit of drizzle but no significant rain.

By the time we got to Deer Park, we'd been riding in a steady cold rain since just after the start. Neither Joe nor I had dressed for constant rain. Joe had arrived at the park a few minutes ahead of me and was shaking uncontrollably, perhaps hypothermic. I called Jenny and asked her to pick me up in Deer Park. It didn't take much to convince Joe a ride home was saner than continuing in such dangerous conditions. We holed up in a Laundromat until she arrived.

The following weekend, Jenny and I did the 15th Annual Tour de Lacs Given my experience in the Autumn Century, we prepared ourselves for rain. And we did get rain for the first 20 miles, or so. The weather improved and we had a fantastic ride. We signed up for the super long route, normally 122 miles, but with a detour due to construction and the trip from the finish to our hotel, I logged 128 miles for the day. Jenny took a short cut from Plummer to Harrison on the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes giving her a total of about 114 miles. A triathlon the weekend before, 40 miles of running during the week, a couple of nights swimming at the YMCA, and a 30 mile bike ride 2 days prior left her feeling a bit spent by the time we got to Plummer. Can you say, over-training?

The Tour de Lacs is a two-day event. We did the long route, 73 miles, the second day and we both finished feeling strong. It was definitely a better experience for us than last year and we're looking forward to riding it again in 2006.

Sometime in the week after the Tour de Lacs, my bike computer began behaving oddly, then reset itself. I was disappointed. It had between 9500 and 9600 miles on it and I'd wanted to watch it roll over to zero (not having enough digits to display 10,000). The bike has about 14,000 miles on it now the battery in the computer having died twice before.

It must have been all the rain, because the old battery tested good when I went to purchase a new one.

The really big event for us, though, was our first marathon. Last Saturday, we ran the St. George Marathon in St. George, Utah. We can't boast great times—in fact, we finished near the tail end of the pack. But we finished!

I'd been suffering from IT Band Syndrome for the 3 months prior to the race. My training plan fell apart when I reached 13 miles on my long runs. To top it off, I came down with a nasty cold just days before the event. My plan was to run until I couldn't run, walk until I couldn't walk, and crawl if necessary to finish. At about 12.5 miles when I couldn't run any longer, I knew I was in for a long, hot, day. Jenny caught me at the 23 mile mark and we finished together.

We're both looking forward to another marathon where we can start without illness and injury and run the full distance. We'll get that opportunity at Ironman CDA 2006 if not before.

My boss lives in St. George, Utah. So, the day after the marathon, he had us out geocaching. I'm not sure hiking on the steep hillsides and rocky washes was the ideal recovery plan, but we enjoyed ourselves.

We drove to St. George and back logging 2200 miles on the old Honda Accord wagon. It now has 227,000 miles on the odometer. When we pulled off the freeway, just 3 miles from home, I noticed some steam escape from under the hood. We had a cracked radiator that we had replaced this week. Thankfully, it didn't happen 1,000 miles from home.

With a lot of driving time on the trip, I had time to consider just why I'd chosen to drive instead of fly. Separation anxiety. I couldn't stand to leave my bike home, so we drove the entire distance with our bikes on the roof rack all for a 25 minute bike ride the day after the marathon.

Yes, we could have flown with the bikes, but the last time I took my bike on a flight, the TSA completely unpacked it, confiscated my chain lube (hazardous material!), and repacked the bike without allowing me to assist. I didn't want to go through that process with two bikes. And what kind of rental car will accommodate two bikes and their travel cases?

I suppose I could see a therapist about the separation anxiety, but the 25 minute bike ride was likely better therapy and less expensive. ;-)

They say Ironman takes 7 months of intensive training. So, we've got a short off-season. By Thanksgiving, we'll begin our Ironman training in earnest. Until then, we're going to enjoy a bit of down-time and less rigorous activity. Maybe.

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