Monday, March 22, 2010

The Sub Club

FINALLY!!! That 1:30 barrier in the half-marathon distance has been hanging over my head for a long time. This past weekend I "broke on through to the other side" with a 1:28:36 effort at the Canyonlands Half Marathon in Moab, UT (see pictures below). I'm really pleased to have joined that particular Sub Club, and to have achieved it through negative splitting the race. It took me a little while to settle into a pace early on and I never really had that wonderfully effortless feeling that you get when fully rested, but it was a great run nonetheless and a good fitness check going into the half ironman this coming weekend. The Canyonlands course certainly feels much better when you are in good running shape! I ended up running quite a bit of it with a girl I know from Salt Lake, Amanda Theobald, who works for the Salt Lake Running Company and runs for Westminster College. It was the first half-marathon that she has trained for and she asked if I minded if she paced off me. No problem! It was really fun running with her, and awesome to see her break 90 minutes as well. We finished just one second apart in 12th and 13th place. Nice run Amanda!

All in all it was a great weekend. Moab was its usual gorgeous self and we enjoyed some good hiking and photographic opportunities. We had dinner one night and went hiking the next morning with our new friends Christian and Kate who also ran the half and are just really awesome people to hang out with. They both ran PRs as well which of course makes the trip even more fun. (Albert did not run a PR but I suppose that when you're as fast as he is that best times don't come quite as often.) I also bumped into a bunch of swimmers from Steiner...Erin, the twins Megan and Marisa, Ben, and was great to see so many fish tackling the dry land event! And of course we saw lots of familiar faces from the running and triathlon communities...BJ and Chrystelle, Clark and Kristy, Chad Derum to name a few. Congrats to everyone who ran!

Next up for me: a short work week in Salt Lake then a flight to sunny California on Thursday for the 70.3 race in Oceanside on Saturday.

Moab Pics

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hypothermia (Or A Case Of The Stupids)

Yesterday was not a great day to be outside riding, but I had a 4.5 hour ride on the schedule and had talked my friend Allan into doing it with me. The plan was to meet at Allan's house in Bountiful and then ride northwest towards Antelope Island and maybe even over the causeway, time permitting. I knew that the forecast called for an 80% chance of rain and snow but stupid me, I was in denial. Surely it couldn't be that bad! We met at 10 and started rolling at 10:15. Another rider from the Bountiful Bicycle Club, Gary Gardiner, also joined us but was planning to only ride a couple of hours. It had already started sprinkling a bit by the time we got started and Gary turned off after only 15 minutes saying he was under-dressed for the weather. That should have been a sign because Gary is hard-core to the point of senselessness, but it still didn't seem so bad. So we kept going. And it got colder, and the rain came down harder.

After 45 minutes Allan said he would be fine with calling the ride at any time, and (silly me) I said we should go for another 15 minutes to at least make 2 hours. That was one of the dumbest calls I've ever made! The roads were getting wetter and wetter, and so were we. As is typical in Utah on a bad day, there was a headwind no matter which way we turned. My feet slowly disappeared, then my hands followed suit, making operating the brakes a tenuous endeavor and shifting darned near impossible. And then I noticed that the rain had decidedly turned to snow at some point. I was already more miserable than I've ever been on a bike before, but the snow sent me plummeting to a dark mental place that I've never quite experienced before. It was a real struggle to keep going and I think if I'd been on my own I would have stopped to have a good cry. Thank goodness Allan was there to keep me going! The last three miles were a death march on wheels but we finally made it.

I was so cold that dismounting was a trick, and then I couldn't even lift my bike or take off my shoes or helmet on my own. Allan wasn't quite as badly off as I was and he helped get me inside, made hot tea, and made me sit by the heater wrapped in blankets to warm up. I had some dry clothes in the car but was shivering so uncontrollably that I couldn't think straight and didn't have the dexterity to peel off my wet cycling kit immediately anyway. After about 15 minutes I started thawing out and was able to change clothes and instantly felt better. I eventually got it together enough to drive home, toying with the idea of trying to finish up the ride inside on the trainer. I rethought that once I got home and a) the bike on the trainer was not cooperating and b) my body felt like all it needed was a good nap. Lesson learned: listen to the weather man, and do not be so bull-headed as to try to finish the workout at all costs!

I'm feeling fine today and am back on track with training. Now the focus is to stay WARM and healthy leading up to my season openers: the Canyonlands Half Marathon in Moab next weekend, and the 70.3 California in two weeks!