Monday, February 15, 2010

I'm not a runner.

I am not a runner. I've complained every step of the way to getting into running. But now I think I'm addicted.

In early 2008, Kitzzy was starting to get into running so I decided to run the 5k races that she did, but I didn't do any running in between the races. Eventually, she signed up for a 10k with her dad and my dad decided to do it. Well I couldn't let my dad show me up.

I signed up for the 10k and knew I would actually have to train for it so I started running on a somewhat regular basis. I still didn't like running after the 10k, so Kitzzy talked me into training for a triathlon. I like biking and swimming much more, and suffered through the run portion.

In 2009, I did several triathlons, including an Olympic distance at the end of the year. At the end of triathlon season, Kitzzy had started talking about running a marathon the following February. I eventually, yet still reluctantly, decided to train with her.

Starting in November 2009, I started on a pretty regular training schedule. I followed the training program that Kitzzy did with her Galloway group, but I just ran on my own. At some point in the last four months of training, I started to enjoy it.

I'm still not totally sold on marathon-distance runs, but I actually quite enjoy half-marathon distance and below now. Maybe after I finish my first marathon at the end of the month, I'll feel differently about that distance.

I'm now looking forward to triathlon season this year and hopefully now that I have my running base, I'll do a half ironman triathlon by the end of 2010.

Okay, maybe I am a runner.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Bike Ride to Wekiva

We've been talking about riding all the way to Wekiva Springs for awhile and finally decided on a date to do it. Tim, Kitzzy, and I left our place at about 7:15am, rode up the Cady Way and Cross Seminole Trail to meet Lisa, Joe, and James at the Townhouse Restaurant in Oviedo.

Our goal was to get to Wekiva by 11, but that was a bit optimistic. We got to the Townhouse at about 8:20, ran into Pete, and after a bit of a tire problem on Lisa's bike, got back on the trail by about 8:45. We took a break at Soldier's Creek Park and Tim, James, and I did a round on the trail.

From Soldier's Creek, the Cross Seminole Trail took us north where we crossed over I4 in Lake Mary, then got on the Seminole Wekiva Trail to head south to Wekiva Springs. I underestimated how far north it took us and it was about 12 miles from there to get to the springs.

Those springs were absolutely wonderful! Cold? Yes. Awesome? Yes. We barbecued some hot dogs and hamburgers and swam around. It was such a great reward after a long, hot ride! Overall we rode 46.47 miles and it took us 3 hours, 46 minutes to complete. (12:31 mph average)

Kitzzy in Aero James Lisa Joe

We had an awesome SAG car (Chastity) who drove up and brought all our gear. I had considered riding back, but needed to get some work done so we all loaded up our bikes on the car for the ride back.

I had a great time and I'm really looking forward to doing this again. I think we need to give ourselves more time and overestimate our ETA next time, but overall this was a great trip!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Watermelon 5k

I volunteered to be a walking guide for the American Council of the Blind at the Watermelon 5k. This was an incredible experience! The ACB is having their national conference in Orlando and a bunch of the members wanted to run the race. We each got assigned a partner and led them through the race.

The course was very crowded, over 3300 people, which made running a bit of a luxury. It took us 6 minutes just to cross the starting line! I was expecting to be walking the whole time but Donna, my partner, wanted to run. It took us about a mile just to get a clear enough to get some run time in.

The first mile and a half was a little shaky, mostly because of the crowds and just us getting acquainted to each others' leading and following style. Fortunately for me, she was a very good follower and was able to react quickly to changes. It was a following style that made you be a good leader. It reminded me a lot of leading and following in swing dancing and I told her she must be a good dancer. :)

We were able to do a 9:30 pace at times! I can't imagine trying to run that pace with someone leading me.

This was an incredible learning experience! There were just so many things you had to be conscious of in order to lead another person, especially at such a fast pace. Things you normally take for granted like small dips in the road and bumps. She couldn't see those and relied a lot on my cues, but held her own very well.

I had a great time and will definitely be volunteering to do this again. I just hope the next time, the race is a bit less crowded. It would've made this much more enjoyable.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Baldwin Park Triathlon

The day finally came for triathlon number two. I felt good going into it, except for the run part. I've been running pretty regularly, but not more than 2.5 miles at a time. Since training with Dominick and regular swims at Lucky's Lake, I've felt much more confident about my swimming.

I placed 11th out of 19 competitors in my age group and 86th out of 363 overall. My time was actually 5 minutes less than my first triathlon, yet the swim part was 350 meters longer. I'd say it was a good improvement. :)

The Goods:

  • Swim (750 m): 11 minutes 33 seconds
  • Transition 1: 2 minutes 21 seconds
  • Bike (13.27 miles): 37 minutes 59 seconds (avg 21.83 mph)
  • Transition 2: 1 minute 16 seconds
  • Run (2.59 miles): 21 minutes 21 seconds (avg 8.14 min/mile)
  • Total: 1 hour 14 minutes 31 seconds

The Swim (aka The Weed Garden)

After the SwimIf you've never had to wade through 4 foot tall weeds, you haven't lived! Lake Baldwin has an incredibly dense weed forest reaching from shore to probably 100 feet out. In fact it's probably like that the entire way, but 100 feet is about where I lost sight of it. Every time I pulled some off of me, plenty more came to take its place. Not the most pleasant part of the swim.

The swim itself went great once we got past the bulk of the weeds. It took a little while to get out of the main pack of swimmers to avoid getting kicked. I lost some time just trying to get out of the pack, but I tried to draft people to make the swim a bit easier. It didn't feel like 750 meters, I think because it's split up into 3 pieces and I usually just swim out and back at Lucky's Lake.

The Bike Ride (or "Oh shit, how many laps have I done?")

On the BikeThe bike ride went great. I wore my camel pack so I didn't really have to slow down to drink water. We rode 5 laps around Lake Baldwin and it's surprisingly difficult to count to 5 when you're exerting that much effort. I had the GPS with me so I just watched the mileage on it, but I ended up having to do math in my head to figure out my lap.

Going around in circles like that you get good at staying to the right and passing on the left. I saw one accident that took both racers out and I heard of several others happening. I felt like I was going so fast until some of those guys with their triathlon bikes went flying past me. It gave me something to aspire to. :)

The Run (or "Are my legs still working?")

The run was just sort of run on adrenaline. I haven't been training nearly enough at running as I have with biking and swimming and I really felt it out there. The pace was still pretty good, but I want to start track training and running intervals. I think that will help a lot.

I was having some chest pains during the run so I think I want to go see a doctor and get a physical and a stress test. The last physical I had was several years ago, long before I started getting into shape. I'd like to see the difference.

What's Next?

I have the triathlon bug. To see that your body is capable of this and not dying is pretty encouraging and intense. I want to do an Olympic distance triathlon before the end of the season. I'm going to start doing some more formalized training with the running and the bike. I've been training somewhat formally at the pool, but with the run I just do a lap at UCF twice a week. I do a lot of biking, but no real structured intervals, but I have been working Fartleks into my commute.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Muddy Buddy 2009

Muddy Buddy: Take 1

The AccidentCaleb and I finally got to do the Muddy Buddy. As some of you know, we tried to do it last month in Orlando, only to be rear-ended at the last minute, taking us out of the race.

The AccidentWell we decided to have another go at it and signed up for the Atlanta one. This time we chose a better theme for our costume. Our last costume was The Rickrollers which, while fun, was pretty lame by any standards.

Muddy Buddy: Take 2

Step 4: Pose for PictureThis time we chose the name Super Muddy Bros. and dressed up as Mario and Luigi. At the very last minute, we decided to make a Yoshi head and tail and attach it to the bike. The costumes came out awesome and the Yoshi bike looked amazing! We won first prize in the costume contest :)

The Ride Up With No AC

So besides the costumes being pretty epic, the ride up and back was pretty awesome. We took Caleb's car, a Jetta TDI that gets awesome gas mileage (45+ mpg). Unfortunately, his AC isn't working at the moment and the weather on the ride up was, less than optimal. We tried every combination of opening windows to see how we got the best airflow through the car, but it was always pretty damn hot.

Ice in a Hat

We talked about building a makeshift air-conditioner out of a cooler, ice, and a battery-powered fan. We ended up building this device at a Wal-Mart we stopped at, but it couldn't produce enough air to cool the car down.

The solution to our AC problems came in the form of ice in a hat. It makes for a great AC! You just put ice in your hat and even though it's totally hot out, you don't really care.

So anyway, onto the Muddy Buddy. I started the run portion so I ended up having 3 running and 2 biking sections.

The Course

We had 4 obstacles, each one in between a run-bike tradeoff. The first obstacle was a balance beam. This should not be this difficult, but after running over a mile over hilly terrain, your feet do not want to cooperate in anything that requires balance. Fortunately I got to ride the bike after this.

Through the MudThe second obstacle was crawling under a net. This is where I wish I didn't wear my Mario hat. It kept getting caught on the net so I had to do this weird sideways motion to get through it. Then it was time to run again.

The third obstacle was a short rock climbing wall. It was only about 8 feet tall, but once again, after running on hilly terrain, any rock climb is intense.

Step 5: Get MuddyThe final obstacle was a 15 foot tall inflatable cargo net with a slide on the other side. The cargo net started about 4 feet off the ground so just to get onto it, you had to just jump and pull yourself up. I was pretty destroyed at this point so this was rather difficult to do.

Finally the mud pit. I got to the end a few minutes before Caleb showed up and a bunch of us were just standing there waiting for our partners. Once Caleb got there, we got down in the mud pit and just crawled. The mud was so nice and cool. Just what we needed after that race.

This was an absolutely amazing event and I really want to do it again next year. I think we need to step up the costumes for next year. How? I don't know, but we'll think of something.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Firefighter Challenge

About a month ago, Kitzzy told me about this event called the Firefighter Challenge. I've done a bunch of foot races and this sounded fun and different. I also thought it'd be kinda cool to see what my dad and grandpa did for a living. I went ahead and signed up.

The event consisted of five parts and participants went two at a time. The first part was a labyrinth that you crawl through. It was a covered tube with a bunch of obstacles and low-hanging tops. Even crawling really low, my back hit the top of the box and scraped it up pretty good.

We then had to run around a cone, grab a charged firehose, and drag it about 100 feet. Those firehoses are surprisingly heavy when filled with water, but the nozzle is pretty awesome and they move some serious water! Once we got the hose to the end, we had to knock over two cones.

Next we had to drag a firesled about 100 feet. This simulates dragging a person out of a building. A firesled is a sled loaded with weight, about 100lbs, with two straps to hold on to. It also has this rubber-band device that simulates knocking out the roof from a building. We dragged the sled backwards, which really does a number on your calves, and had to use the roof-knocker 5 times. This was surprisingly difficult.

Finally, we had to put on a firefighter airpack and run up 14 flights of stairs to the top of the Rosen Hotel on International Drive. This was crazy. I felt very dizzy at one point going up and could not catch my breath for nearly a half hour afterwards. I don't know why running up stairs is so incredibly difficult, but this was harder than just about any run I've done.

This entire event only last 5:53 for me, but it felt much, much longer. There were some firefighters that did this in full gear, and a few people that did it twice! I have a newfound respect for firefighters and am glad I got to experience this. I *might* do it again if I can train a LOT more before the next one.