Sunday, July 27, 2008

A good excuse or a sign?

I found a relatively flat course to ride - I mean its a loop and its got plenty of elevation change - but for around here it is really flat and nice. I was able to ride the 55 mi at an avg of 16.2mph - that is nice and gives me some wiggle room on the run if I can keep it up. Right now I am a bit out of commission due to my IT band problem in my knee. I tried to run a 7 mile trail the other day and really had some more issues. So no running for awhile. That is a hard thing to do because I really start to freak out about not being able to do the run. I emailed John to talk me down a bit and he did so like it was nothing. It will be good to see that guy in a little over a month. So anyway I've been biking more and coming up with excuses not to swim...which is getting to be a problem. Well, yesterday morning I was going to do the 55 mile route again early - I woke up at 3 to eat breakfast so I could take a full bolus - but then Zoe woke up right away with me (cosleeping). I thought she was just dreaming and so I walked out of the room. I turn on the light to the bathroom and then I hear Ash call - I jump back in the room just in time to see Zoester gagging and so I scooped her up and got her to the toilet where she promptly threw up a few times. She was still out of it a bit and I let down my gurard - she turns and walks out of the bathroom and I hop out into the hall to get her and bring her back and she turns, puts her hands to her mouth and throws up. Well, her fingers did a good job of vaporizing the vomit and pressurizing the larger pieces into a shotgun spray pattern. Direct hit...mostly in my face. Needless to say, I did not reset my alarm to go ride that morning. It turns out that we went to a birthday party that day of a couple of kids of dear friends of ours - Zoe's piece of cake had a monstrous bright red flower (or something) icing on it - the tell tale signs of red were all over me. She was fine the next morning, however and asked if it was a dream. If only....

Monday, July 21, 2008

Shootin for 17 hours

I am continually amazed at how much work it is taking to barely finish this Ironman. I have 2:20 for the swim (I can do that), 8 hours for the bike (its going to be tight), and then 6.5 hours for the marathon (also tight). However, any time I save on any part goes to the next part - the times I gave are for the cutoffs. Yesterday I went and rode 100 miles - I did 2 loops of the Blood, Sweat, and Gears 50 (and had to add on a couple of miles because the BSG is more like 48 miles) - its a pretty mountainous route from the center of the universe (Valle Crucis School - Dave's school, my old school) up to the gate to Grandfather Mountain and back around. I did it in 7:00 (minus a 15 min stop half way in to call Ash and redo water, etc) - which makes for 14.3 mph average. To make the cutoff, I have to keep 14mph. On the plus side - I kept my average heartrate to 128 (69%max) - Rick said to shoot for 70% - and I felt absolutely great. I kept the water/salt intake good and I was able to eat (at least in the second half - was strangely high for the first 50). When I hopped off my bike I jogged around a bit to see how I felt and I could have easily gone for a run...normally the run after the bike really stinks. And so I've got to have faith that the mountains are going to be good for me and that everything is going to work out... because I want to have plenty of time to hobble the run. Of course, I've got to attribute some of the comfort to the sweet schwag that Peter sent to us last week - Specialized gave us a super pair of cycling shoes (my feet have never not gone to sleep on the bike until now - I hate to admit it, but there is a real difference between the expensive shoes and the ones I usually buy:), a great helmet (also very comfortable - helmets have come a long way in the 6 years since I bought my last one:), and a nice pair of sunglasses (seeing as Adia just broke mine...serendipity)

Saturday, July 19, 2008


The term "Brick" has had a lot of influence on my life. Billy used to call me that. My car was named the brick-mobile (thanks again Bill). My dad (and I in the summers) worked for a Brick plant. Now it means "a way to be uncomfortable for long periods of time". I took a day off after the marathon and then did a 50 mile ride with Dave. My knee still bothered me some, so I took 2 days off and then did the long brick with dave. Supposedly in the athletic world lingo, "brick" means "bike-run"? We did the 5 hour bike followed by the 2 hour run. I got up at 3am and ate breakfast then went back to sleep. Got up at 5:00 and was out at Moses Cone Park (on the Blue Ridge parkway) by 6 and we were off. We did loops up to Grandfather mountain and back, stopping each time to weigh ourselves (yes, we brought a scale) to try to figure out sweat rates. It was cool that day so it was easy to stay hydrated... but it still took more than I would have thought. The whole time we were concentrating on keeping heartrate low and salt, water, and blood sugar good...which justifies why we were slow! My blood sugar was between 70 and 130 the whole time and I was able to eat much more than usual because I took a regular lantus (12u) the night before. I have been the king of blood sugar lately. When we started running I thought my knee wasn't going to last - but after 3 miles or so, everything started to loosen up. There was still pain, but it didn't overshadow the pain of fatigue too much. We did 9.5 miles in just under 2 hours - by the end I was in some odd zone - just looking down at the ground and not saying much. I wasn't feeling much - good or bad. Dave was in a zone, too - but it was a good zone. At the end of 7 hours he was cracking jokes. The dude is becoming a machine. He is riding 100 miles right now to Asheville where his wife will pick him up on their way to the beach. Tomorrow I am going to follow suit and do a century... I'll swim today, I guess. 50 days to go.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

1st Marathon...done

Here's the lowdown on my Grandfather Mountain Marathon. I cut my lantus down to 8 units the night before and didn't take anything in the morning. I woke up and ate breakfast at 3am so I could take a full bolus. My blood sugars that day were between 140 and 100 the whole day until the night when they rose a bit. So success on the glucose front. I then woke up at 5:30 and headed over to the marathon. It was a bit unnerving as everyone I talked to seemed to be pretty experienced and when I mentioned that this was my first one, the comment was always a variation of "well, you sure picked a hard one to start with" or "well, this is the hardest road marathon in North America"... I mean, come on - that is a little discouraging. So we go down through town and pass the mall - and there is Dave. I didn't know whether he would be there but suddenly there was company. So we went along and headed uphill. Somewhere in the first 5 miles, Dave says (in typical Dave fashion) "I'm just going to run the whole thing" Well he had his fist bottle of perpeteum and he woke up late and didn't eat breakfast... why not? On we go. I see a couple of former students who were manning an aid station at mile 7 and another former student and her mom a few times further down cheering us on. So, all was going well - I was drinking 3-4 cups at each stop and taking my endurolytes and had no cramping issues. About half way in a biker went past and said "is that Steve?" Turns out I had my Diabetes Training Camp shirt on and Chuck (the guy from ASU that is analyzing all the data I have been slack about putting in) was out on the route cheering people on. So we had a Triabetes 3 even without John - and with a breath of serendipity. Speaking of John - the guy who tricked me into Triabetes with just a hat (he later has given me just an absolute crapload of diabetes/training stuff) - I wore the hat as kind of a reminder of the whole year journey to this point. At one point late in the run, I was musing about the whole thing and a car came by with the license plate RWH something - well "RWH" was taped inside my hat at one point because that is John's mantra - "Return with Honor". You can get to his blog (not that he ever updates it) for a complete rundown of RWH... the link is on the side of my page. So I notice a twinge in my I.T. band in my knee just past half way. Hmmm. Thats odd. Never had any IT issues. It only hurt when I walked and then started up again. Hmmm. Well, it progressively got worse. I could run fine, but no walking hills....ahh, thats what I get - an injury with a sense of irony. Dave fell back with what we later think was simply dehydration... another lesson to learn. His blood sugar was holding steady at almost 200 and he still had some perpeteum as well as a gel he found on the road! So I wasn't too worried about at that point. When I saw Chuck again I sent him back with a pack of Clif Blocks for Dave - but he didn't need them. I never hit a wall or felt bad (of course, I wasn't killing it time wise) and I was happy about that. The last 2 miles Ashley drove up beside me and cheered me on - on the back of the minivan was the message that you see from Zoe... It was perfect - I was laughing and moving faster than I had much of the run. I love that little dinosaur. (in case you don't know - Nigel Marvin is like the crocodile hunter that goes back in time - its a BBC production - we play this all the time...seriously) The finish is on the gravel track at the Highland games with bagpipes playing and tons of people cheering - very nice. 4 hours and 36 minutes. 10 and a half minute pace. I was hoping for a little better but I was so glad to make it to the highland games before the cutoff (5 hours). So off I limp (by this time it is really painful to walk - had to straightleg it) back to the road to meet Ash and Zoe and Adia. Very sweet. And today my leg seems much better - I've got some worries, but I think I will be fine.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Grandfather Marathon saturday and ... steak

First off, Rick Crawford (DTC super coach...seriously) has sent us a training plan that really seems to be painful... but necessary, I guess. It carries us through the last 2 months. I am currently getting nervous about the Grandfather Mountain marathon in 2 days. I guess its because I have never done one and this one is uphill and has a time limit... oh and a few people have said its the hardest road marathon in the US. But on my side, I did have a big steak tonight and finally might have given my body something it needed (protein and fat in huge amounts) - I have been hungry for a good solid month now (I haven't been able to have the butter out and not continually snack on it) but I haven't had a steak in a good long time. I cleaned everyone's plates in bliss and I am sure I ate chunks of meat that my wife and daughter had already spit out... it didn't phase me a bit. Aside from the salt issue and cramping - I have never noticed my body needing some kind of food... it was a rather amazing experience...I guess you have picked up on that as I am going on and on about dinner. Well today was rainy but I took Zoe to Valle Crucis and we put the canoe in on Clarks Creek and wound down an 8 ft creek a ways to the Watauga River and then went down that a spell - we saw a baby deer and a bunch of waterfowl... the baby deer was funny because Zoe had specifically said on the 5 minute drive to Valle Crucis that if we found a baby deer she wanted to raise it.... then we ate a steak for dinner and all memory blanks out after that... I'll let you know how the marathon goes - I might have talked Dave into pacing me for awhile. Apologies to vegetarians and those Chick-fil-a cows.... no disrespect to either intended... especially the cow.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Lesson learned hopefully

OK, so I was freaked out after saturday's cramp fest. I learned from Rick Crawford that I should get in 1g salts (electrolytes)/L of water every hour. OK, so I was not near that on saturday. Today Dave and I went and ran part of the Grandfather marathon course - we planted water and food - I woke up early (3am) to eat breakfast and take a normal bolus (as Anne suggested) - then I went back to sleep until the run - I carried Endurolytes - and all went perfectly. Every 5 miles I drank around 500-700 ml and took 3 endurolytes (it was cool) - my blood sugar was between 100 and 160 the whole time - I maintained a comfortable pace and HR - I felt great (aside from pounding the road) and I went 20 miles. That is my longest ever and I felt like it would be no real problem (aside from the pounding) to run the other 6 and just do a marathon today - but I have the Grandfather marathon in 11 days - so I'll just hold off :) I am just ecstatic that my legs feel good... in fact the only soreness is some leftover from Saturday, I think! Did I mention that I ran 20 miles?