Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Tao of Rupp

Recently I've been watching a lot of interviews with Galen Rupp on Flotrack (btw, any idea why this site doesn't work on Firefox?) and I've noticed that he has a peculiar disposition for an elite athlete: he is perfectly mild-mannered.  For someone competing at the highest level, I would expect something a little more fiery.  But whenever he is asked about one training method or another he never takes an extreme position, rather his response is always somewhere in between.

Rupp is in good company because Plato taught the same thing.  It's called the Golden Mean, and it is the idea that every virtue is flanked on either side by two vices.  For example if being greedy is one end of the spectrum and being careless with your money on the other end, then prudence is somewhere in the middle.

I'm sure that Galen Rupp doesn't style himself as any kind of guru (quite the contrary, he is famously private.)  But I can't help but wonder if his overall demeanor is one of the contributing factors to his success.  When any runner has a bad day there is a temptation to fly off the handle and make some wild change to your training.  But running is a sport about temperance, control, and consistency.  So maybe being quietly confident is the key to long-term success.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

You stupid monkey!

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.  I took two days off from running over the weekend instead of my usual one, so when I hit the roads last night I felt like a billion dollars.  My legs were fresh and light, and after two days away from my favorite sport I was longing for that scintillating sensation of speed.  That was the best of times.  The worst of times came today when I paid the price for running harder and faster than I was really ready for.

Nothing in particular was injured, but every element in my lower leg was sore.  Every step of a very slow two miles was painful.  I guess I learned my lesson.  Some weird pains have been cropping up in my knees and hip, so that coupled with my obviously over-used calf muscles means I'm going to take a cross-training break for the next few days to let this die down.  Biking and swimming would be good for me right now, and after about two months of nearly uninterrupted running at rapidly increasing speeds a rest is probably past due.

P.S.  I had to throw this in here:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Prodigal Daughter Returns

My favorite blogger is back!  Lauren Fleshman, American 5k pro, had a ruinous performance at the U.S. Olympic Trials and subsequently disappeared from her usually consistent site  Her posts had been getting fewer and farther between as she struggled with injuries and forced breaks, and I figured with how things went in Eugene that she might stop running and writing completely.

But as she described in her latest post she just needed to get away from the running world for a while and re-calibrate.  It's good to have her back, it sort of feels like a friend has reappeared.  She gives great advice on running, along with a quirky, self-deprecating wit that provides a rare view into the life of a professional runner.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

How to keep your shoelaces from coming untied when you run

Maybe this is obvious, but I've never seen it written anywhere so I will just put it out there.  The reason shoelaces become untied is because the knot bounces up and down when you run.  So after you tie them take the hanging loops and slide them under the laces on the top of your foot, like this:

This immobilizes them as you run and they don't come loose.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Much needed wisdom

I woke up today feeling unusually stressed.  Unable to shake the feeling and needing a distraction, I pulled out "Lore of Running" by Tim Noakes.  But instead of merely a distraction I found wisdom that spoke to exactly what was eating away at me.

The chapter on overtraining ends with a description of Alberto Salazar.  He notoriously flamed out early in his career, and when he announced his retirement Salazar said:

"The biggest thing I've leared isn't simply that I trained too hard all those years.  Everyone says, 'Alberto trained way too hard and burned out."  To be a world-class runner, you have to train hard.  But what I did learn is that you can't do those hard workouts increasingly.  In order to be good, you have to train at a high level, but you must allow your body time to recover.  You need to take time off.  You need to run easy on some days, and you need to take at least a month off at the end of the season.  I never did either."

This quotation along with the overall message of the chapter is that the body and mind are intricately connected, and there is a limit to the stresses they can handle.  If you exceed that limit, you can do irreparable damage, and miss out on some of the things in life that really matter.  Running wasn't what was causing me stress, but as Joe Friel as pointed out all stresses are the same.  As I feel myself approaching burnout I need to take a break, step back, and relax.  As long as I do that my body and mind will auto-correct and everything will be alright.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

New Shirt

This wouldn't be a real blog without a self-shot photo of me standing in front of the bathroom mirror:

I just bought a new shirt and I wanted to show off.  Ordinarily I don't like running shirts that have words on them because usually they say something stupid like "Running Doesn't Build Character It Reveals It" But this one had the simple imperative, "Run".  That's a message I can get behind.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Are runners masochists or hedonists?

Runners love to brag about how hard it is.  "My legs were killing me!"  "Can you believe how hot it was?"  "I totally hit the wall."  We glory in the pain, and the more pain, the more glory.  For many of us an easy three mile run would be boring.  But if that three miles were on a track, doing repeat 400's at near-sprint pace without full recovery in between, then we are interested.  It isn't just that we see the pain as a necessary requirement to reaching our potential; we enjoy the pain for it's own sake.  Some might even see it as the ultimate goal.  There is a word for this; masochism.

But running also has many pleasures.  You get the endorphin rush that comes from going fast, and the mellow bliss that follows a hard workout.  You feel the wind as it brushes over your bare skin, and the thrill of moving fast on your own power.  You bask in the majestic scenery of a rugged trail run deep in the mountains, and, let's face it, the equally beautiful view of being in the company of other runners who are thin, fit, and spandex clad.  Running is very sensual.  This love of pleasure also has a name; hedonism.

So which are we?  Do we love the pain or do we love the pleasure?  I used to be firmly in the former category.  The idea of pushing beyond my limits and enduring extreme suffering for some worthy goal seemed romantic to my adolescent sensibilities.  But as I've grown up and mellowed out a little, I think I've moved more to the latter category.  I genuinely enjoy the sensation of running, and I see it more as a relaxing, meditative pursuit than as an avenue to prove myself through self-flagellation.

Maybe masochism and hedonism aren't truly separate desires.  Maybe they stem from a more fundamental desire to just want to feel something, anything, good or bad.  What do you think?  Feel free to comment, I'd love to hear some other perspectives.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I had some kind of breakthrough tonight.  I went out for a light 20 minute run, and after just a few minutes I felt completely warmed up.  Naturally my stride started lengthening, and I could feel myself speeding up.  It was as if someone was pulling me forward.  The feeling was too powerful to brush off, so I went with it.

I couldn't have gone more than three miles, but the speed, the speed!  Rather than pushing off the pavement I felt like I was gliding over it, sailing.  And my lungs felt completely unencumbered, as opposed to the usual asthmatic tightness that always used to creep up during speed work.

The last time I felt like this was in high school, when I would be in the middle of a 5k and I had separated from the other runners; the feeling of being warmed up enough to be loose, but not tired enough that fatigue had set in.  And going fast.

I can't imagine what could have causes such a spectacular jump in my performance.  My running has been good lately, consistent, some hill work for strength.  The only conclusion I can come to is that my body finally absorbed some adaptation that had long been in the works.  I started running in very thin shoes about six months back, and it required a complete retooling of my running form to land on the forefoot.  Until now it always felt like I was slightly straining the tissue in my lower legs to do so, but not tonight.  My legs finally figured out how to run this way.

Normally running is relaxing, tranquil.  But tonight I'm so excited I can barely sit still.  Good things are coming.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Taking risks and failing

I'm a very cautious person, especially when it comes to running.  I think it comes from years of injuries and physical therapy and the fear of not being able to live my life.  So to avoid injury I always make a safe plan for steady improvement and loathe to go off book.

But this post isn't about that.  It's about taking risks.  Specifically, that sometimes you need to take them.  My roommate (who happens to have the same New Balance Minimus shoes) invited me to go running with him and a friend in American Fork Canyon.  He didn't know exactly how far we would be running and didn't describe the terrain, but I decided to throw caution to wind and just go with it.

We started by heading into the canyon which takes you deep in the Uinta National Forest, and immediately steep cliffs and deep green pines swallow you up.  Once we got to a reservoir we took a treacherous single-lane dirt road further into the mountains, which dropped us off here:

Killer view, huh?  We took off running and immediately I could tell the pace was too fast.  It was all up-hill and we were really moving and I could feel my heart rate spike to dangerous levels.  My inner obsessive-compulsive was saying "this is TOO fast, you're going to flame out!" But I was running in a group and frankly I had no idea where we were and I didn't want to get left behind for the mountain lions.

And guess what, after about ten minutes my asthma started to kick in and it looks like my inner voice was right: I did flame out.  I was forced to hike the rest of the way to the top and catch them again on the way down.  But you know what, even though I made the "wrong" decision, I don't regret it.  Sometimes you need to take risks and fail.  I maybe shouldn't have gone on that run, and I definitely shouldn't have tried to stay with the pack after I found out the pace.  But if I had played it safe I wouldn't have been in this jaw-dropping canyon, I wouldn't have been able to test myself, and I wouldn't have run the more than three miles of insanely steep, rocky, winding and absolutely thrilling downhill that ended the trek.  All things considered it was definitely worth it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall feelings

As the seasons change so does running: it feels more mellow, more easy-going.  Part of it comes from the weather because now I don't have to steel my nerves as I head out for another trek in 101 degree heat.  Instead the soft coolness of the autumn air refreshes and renews my muscles as I move.

But the bigger change is in my goals.  During the racing season I have races and deadlines constantly looming, so there is this constant pressure to make progress quickly because if I toe the line and I
m not ready there will be problems.  But once I decided that I wasn't going to race any more this season, everything changed.

Now I've moved in the building phase, that long, slow period in the winter months where you go back to basics and retool your machine to have a better season next summer.  I still have goals, but they are a little more nebulous, and further off.  I can run solely for the pure joy of running, rather than to meet some special training criteria.  And if I'm too busy with work to do yoga and run on a given day, I could take a day off from the pavement and not worry about it.

For every endeavor we all need periods of intense focus and periods of relaxed recovery.  This is periodization, really, but a more holistic kind.  We should take the time to enjoy the variety and the fresh perspective that it brings.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The man who climbed up a mountain and came down still, I guess.

For the last couple of weeks I've been running the trails along the Wasatch Front, and it's been a blast.  Every day I pick a new place and just explore.  And now that autumn is in full swing, the scenery is gorgeous.  I started in the Spanish Oaks Reservoir and decided to run up the small mountain just behind the lake:

There were two ways to the top, and first looked pretty dang scary:

This one looked a little tamer:


It was still a monster, with long stretches of 40 percent grade.  To give you an idea, after six minutes I had already climbed this high above the lake:

But I could barely notice my heart pounding because the trail looked like this:

Once I got to the top things leveled out a little and I could actually run instead of hike/climb/crawl.

By the time I made it to the peak my lungs were ragged so I took a short photo break.  This is the trail I had just wrestled into submission...

...and this is the view from the top.  Not a bad climb in just twelve minutes!

I decided to take a different way down by running along the ridge and going down that scary trail I considered going up.  I don't know why but there is a big white cross at the end of it which looks rad perched like it is.

When I reached the cross this was the view back up the canyon.  This is why I love this spot so much.

The way down wasn't actually a trail, but some kind of dried up river bed.  It was crazy steep and made of this loose, crumbling clay which was about the most dangerous terrain possible.  I walked most of the way down to keep myself from snapping a leg.

At the end I could cool off by jumping into the reservoir and unwind by sitting in the sun sipping an ice-cold Arctic Shatter Powerade.  So, yeah, it was basically perfect.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Guess what? There are no superfoods.

I'm not an angry person, so I never rant.  Well, almost never.  I hate the phrase, "superfood."  You see it everywhere- tv commercials, magazine ads, newspaper articles.  The problem is that it is totally meaningless.  The reason there can be no superfoods is because there are no good or bad foods; only good or bad diets.

You can't eat everything that you need to survive in a single meal-there are too many different essential nutrients.  So you eat a variety of foods over time, and what your body responds to is the time-average of all the things you eat over days, weeks, and months.  A good diet is one that has the right balance of everything- protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.  A bad diet is lopsided, too much of one thing, or none of something you need.

So it doesn't make sense to say, "This food is bad for me" because depending on what else you had been eating, that food could be either a good or bad addition to the overall context.  Broccoli isn't inherently healthier than cheeseburgers- they both have things you need, and they both would be elements of an overall healthy pattern of eating. If you had eaten nothing but broccoli for a week, than broccoli would be the worst choice for your next meal.  And if you had gone all day without eating any fat, than a cheeseburger would be the perfect choice.

So there are no superfoods- not oatmeal, not goji berries, nothing.  I think the reason these ads infuriate me is that they are the most despicable kind of marketing campaigns, the argument of "buy this because it is the right thing to do."  And what really burns me is that these people know enough about health to know that what they are saying is a lie.

Another manifestation of this fundamental misunderstanding of basic physiology is recent government efforts to curb unhealthy eating by enacting laws that prohibit things that aren't categorically bad for you.  Mayor Bloomberg has passed a host of laws prohibiting certain foods he believes contribute to obesity.  His most recent "accomplishment" is banning the sale of sodas larger than 16 oz.  The problem with this restriction is that there are situations where drinking more soda than that would be perfectly legitimate.

One example: according to Dr. Tim Noakes (the man who has done more rigorous scientific studies on the physiology of running than any other researcher) a two liter of Coke is the best thing to drink in the middle of running an ultra marathon.  The combination of glucose, sodium, and carbonation is exactly what a person needs if they are in the middle of running 50 miles.

So if someone tries to convince you that you need to eat this one magic thing to be healthy, you can tell them their wrong and be confident in the fact that you weren't tricked into buying something you didn't really need.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Galen Rupp is My Hero

My senior year of high school my friends and I drove down to Eugene to watch the 2002-2003 Oregon State Cross Country Championships.  We all ran together on the Glencoe High Cross Country team but none of us were good enough to go to the state championships to race.

But we were excited just to be spectators because the men's race was supposed to be a showdown between the raining State Champion Ryan Jesperson and this new phenom Galen Rupp.  Because you know one of those names and not the other, you probably can guess how the race turned out, but let me tell you anyway.  The two of them charged away from the start in a dead sprint, opened up a solid lead, and spent the entire race shoulder to shoulder.  As they came onto the track for the last few hundred meters, Galen Rupp pulled away and won.  They finished 5K in under 15 minutes, and that was the first time in my life I had ever seen anyone run that fast.  It was electrifying.  At that moment  knew that Galen Rupp was going to do something great.

Since then I've moved out of Oregon and only heard about him from time to time.  But whenever I'd stumble across an article, I'd think, "Oh yeah, I saw that guy back in the day."  I remember seeing him in the Beijing Olympics, but he finished far back in the 10k and I was a little disappointed.

But in recent years his career has exploded, setting the American record in the 10,000 m and being the only person of non-African origin to go under 27 minutes in the same.  Something that hit me is that because athletes evolve over time, not only is Galen the current fastest white man in the 10k, he is the fastest white man of all time in the 10k!

Then when he won both the 5k and 10k at the U.S. Olympic Trials, I, along with everyone else in the world, was paying attention.  He was a serious contender for both events at the upcoming Olympics, something that the USA hadn't had for a long time.

So when the final of the men's 10,000 m came up the Saturday before last, I was glued to my couch to watch it live.  I like watching most Olympic events because athleticism of that level is always inspiring.  But this was the race that I really wanted to know who was going to win.  Most of the field stayed together for the first 25 laps, with different athletes taking the lead and then peeling off.  But with 800 m left and no one going for it I was screaming at the TV, " Rupp, go!"  Finally on the last lap Mo Farah took off and Rupp went with him, and the two of them charged through the final 400 m in 53 seconds to win gold and silver.

The last time I had felt like this watching a race was eight years ago during the Oregon State Champions.  Much has been said in the press about what Galen Rupp has accomplished; the first American to medal in the 10,000 m in more than 40 years, the first white athlete that can seriously compete with the east Africans in a long-distance event.  But not a lot has been said about how he did it.

I saw an interview he did with the press in London right after he got the silver medal, and he pointed out that he met Alberto Salazar in 2000, and that he had told Galen that they weren't going to take any short cuts.  Salazar was taking it upon himself to put together a group of guys to bring American distance running back to what it was, and that this was going to take years.  The fourteen year old thought about it, and decided that he was in for the long haul.

There have been some discussions on the blogs about Galen Rupp's perfect stride.  I ran the numbers and if he has run on average two hours a day since he started, he has taken 94,608,000 steps.  Most of which under the watchful gaze of distance legend Alberto Salazar. That is how he got that perfect form and ran onto the medal stand at the Olympic Games.

This is why Galen Rupp is my hero: not only is he fantastically talented, but he has the calm, patient work ethic to be his absolute best.  My running had hit a snag recently with nagging Achilles tendon pain, and I had recently dropped my speed and volume down to try to regroup.  It was disappointing that after six months of running I could do so little, and I was starting to doubt how far I had come and my plans for the future.  But seeing Galen say that there were no short cuts reminded me that being the best runner you can be takes years, and if you just trust in that quiet wisdom that you can achieve great things.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sweet simplicity

Now that the triathlon is over I'm taking some time to focus on running, and I've noticed the biggest difference between the two disciplines.

Triathlon is very complex.  Each sport has it's own skills to master, and there is the constant challenge of training for three things at once.  It also has a ridiculous amount of gear; bikes, pedals, goggles, trisuits, wetsuits, swimsuits, et cetera.

Running, on the other hand, is simple.  With only one sport to train for planning the upcoming week becomes a breeze.  And even though there are many different kinds of workouts, there is a much smoother continuity between them: lift weights to build strength, run to focus that power, and stretch to keep the muscles loose. When it comes to gear I only need to wear three things; shoes, shorts, watch.

After the frantic pace of the last couple of months it is a relief to feel like things are slowing down, becoming clearer, more focused.  Triathlon was a great challenge and one that I will return to in the future, but it isn't where my heart is.  Running is my true passion.  I find myself daydreaming about it's smooth, rocking cadence while I'm waiting in line at the grocery store, or imagining myself tearing around the track in anticipation for the afternoon's speed work while I'm walking home from school.

When I first signed up for the triathlon I did so as a stepping stone into regular running.  I'm happy to say that my training worked; I'm out there almost every day, and my back has been pain free for months.  I feel like I've returned home.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Big Race: T-Minus 0 Days


The first thing to do was breakfast.  Denny's was the only restaurant open at 4 AM so we went there, and I got down as much Pancakes, milk, sausage, and orange juice as I could given the unforgivably early hour and my nerves.  I was expecting to see a bunch of other athletes there getting fueled up, but the only other people around were two mangy teenagers sitting at the counter.  What the other athletes ate before such a huge race I'll never know.

Next was a shower, shave, and a last minute run to get energy gels (the one piece of gear I forgot, but something that I would sorely need.)  On the drive to the lake I got out my iPhone and listened to the one thing I knew would get pumped: the opening speech from the movie "Patton":

"When you reach your hand into a pile of goo that moments

 before was your best friend's face, you'll know what to do."

The Swim:

Three races started before mine so I had a half hour to get on my wetsuit:

The lake wasn't very cold so I almost ditched the suit, but it looked so cool that I couldn't bring myself to leave it behind.  Eventually I waded out into the water and get ready for my start:

The swim was 750 meters, one lap around Ken's Lake.  About 8 minutes in I started to go into oxygen debt, which was what I was afraid off.  Swimming has always been the hardest part of triathlon for me, and ten days of bronchitis just before the race had robbed me of a lot of lung capacity.

But I tried not to panic and flipped around to do the backstroke until I could catch my breath.  It slowed me down a lot which was frustrating given how much freestyle I had done to prepare for this, but given the situation it was the best that I could do.  Also the water was really choppy in the middle of the lake because of this wind that was whipping out of the mountains, so that definitely made it harder to breathe because waves kept crashing over my face right as I would turn my head.  After a few minutes I was feeling better and rolled over back into the freestyle and was able to finish the swim strong.

As soon as I got out of the water I started to dismantle my wetsuit and head into the transition area.

The Bike:

T1 took longer than I thought.  There were so many things to remember: shoes, watch, helmet, back pack, water, gels, timing chip.  I really didn't want to get all the way into the mountains to realize I left something crucial behind.

Once I actually got going the bike course starts with a monstrous 1-mile stretch of dirt road that climbs straight up into the La Sal mountains.  I had done a lot of hill work in my training, but I spent most of this section in the lowest gear just trying not to red line.

Because the next section of the race is so remote I have very few pictures (which is a tragedy because the scenery was spectacular.)  But I think this shot sums up the experience pretty thoroughly:

Yes, we had to wade through a river.  I had seen pics of this part so I knew that I hadn't gone off the trail.  The next quarter mile was mostly flat but it went through this thick, deep sand.  The problem with trying to ride your bike through this was that if you slow down too much your tires just get stuck and you can't pedal.  I had to constantly jump off, pull my tires out of the soft, red sand and get back on.

Once again the terrain morphed, this time into the famous Moab slick rock.  This was hard and smooth, gently rounded by the wind, with steep jumps and boulders all over the trail.  This was something that I just wasn't able to train for, because there is no terrain like this in northern Utah where I live.  But I felt like I gradually figured out how to ride it by trial and error.  First, I had to constantly look ahead and plan the easiest route on the trail.  Second, I tried my best to keep my momentum going because once you slowed to a stop it was impossible to pedal up the really steep sections.  And third I had to learn when to stay on the bike and climb and when to jump off and carry it.  When a four-foot sheer wall stood a head of me, it was clear I wasn't biking over that.  Watching the other riders helped a lot, because I could try to follow them and mimic the ones that clearly had  more experience.

An hour into the race I was starting to feel wicked tired so I pulled out a Cliff Shot and that made me feel a hundred-percent better.  That sugar and caffeine felt like lightning jolting through my veins.

After a while the field thinned out quite a bit and I stopped seeing medics, photographers, and even other riders.  This is when the whole thing stopped feeling like a race and started feeling like an adventure.  I actually forgot that there was anyone else in the entire world and felt that I was pushing into this strange and ferocious wilderness all by myself.  The whole world was silent, and the only sounds were my own tires scraping against the rock and the steady pulse of my lungs sucking air in and pushing air out.  It was still early in the day and the course went mostly east, so with the ascent and the heat and the red rocks and the blazing light it felt like I was riding my bike straight into the sun.

My trance was broken when I hit the turn-around and saw a lone volunteer standing next to a fold-out table with Gatorade and water.  After such untamed terrain this reminder of civilization was a little jarring.  When I stopped for a drink I checked my watch and saw that I had been on the bike leg for an hour and fifteen minutes.  It took me 75 minutes to go 4.2 miles!  In my defense I had climbed almost a thousand feet, which meant the bike course averaged an 8 percent grade.

The ride back was a cinch because it was almost all down-hill.  I just rode the brakes and tried to go as fast as possible without losing control.  I think the thing I'm most proud of is that I didn't crash once.  This part of the course was a blast because I could just fly down the mountain and catch my breath to get ready for the run.  I made it all the way back to the lake in less than 15 minutes.

The Run:

T2 was easy because I just had to hang up my bike and ditch the helmet, but when I started to run I realized just how tired I was.  It was a strange feeling, beginning to run when I was already so exhausted.  At this point I had been out there for two hours and I could really feel it.  It wasn't that my legs were terribly sore, my whole body just felt drained, weak.

The run course was moderately difficult with soft sand and lots of short, steep climbs.  At a couple of points I actually had to use my hands to help me scramble up some embankments.  But I was passing people, which felt great.  I passed 10 or 15 people in that 5k, and I didn't get passed by anyone who was in my race.  I actually felt strong, my form was good and I was gradually speeding up.

The last mile of the run pulled out of the mountains and looped around the lake where we started.  It was great because you could see the rest of the runners and the crowds lined up at the finish line, so it gave you a lot of motivation to push hard right to the end.  They even had a loud-speaker blasting classic rock songs and an announcer cheering people on.  The best part was this person apparently had a list of all of the contestants and their race numbers, because as I was approaching the finish line I heard the peppy female voice announce, "Coming in now is number 290, Colin Mann from Provo, UT!"  I felt like I total rock star.

I want to thank my parents for coming all the way out to the ends of the earth to see me race, and Xterra for putting on such a rad event.  The swim took me 20:30, the bike 1:29:42, the run 34:02, and my total time with the transitions was 2:31:11.  My swim was pretty poor, but I held my own on the bike and and did pretty well on the run which was basically what I expected given my strengths and weaknesses.  Comparing myself to the other athletes, I got 7th out of 8th in my age division, but being a man in your late twenties is the most competitive age group so I wasn't expecting to be real competitive here.  Basically I got beaten by everyone who had experience and were in it to really race, and I beat everyone who was just in it to finish.

In retrospect this was basically the hardest triathlon I could have possibly done, so picking this as my first foray into multisport probably wasn't the best idea.  But I knew this race was going to be tough and that was one of the reasons that I specifically picked it.  In the end I don't think I had any major regrets, and I'm really proud at having done something so epic.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Big Race: T-Minus 1 Day

The day before the race I started to get really nervous.  I'd trained really hard, but I kept hearing so many horror stories about the bike leg that I started to worry that I'd get out into the mountains and I wouldn't be able to do it.  I think part of my mood was the weather taking it's toll; it had been in the high nineties every day that we had been there, and I had spent every afternoon out hiking in the desert with my dad.  I felt like I had been baked.

On the bright side I had the best hamburger of my life that day:

This was the Drunken Onion Burger at the Slickrock Cafe.  They slow cook red onions in beer which was fantastic.

My dad and I also saw some pretty amazing scenery at Canyonlands National Park.  The views were amazing, there were canyons inside of canyons; I've never seen anything so big in all my life:

Then at dinner my parents and I went to this great Italian restaurant so I could carb up:

That night I had so much on my mind that I couldn't ever completely relax.  A few days before they had changed the start of the race from 9:30 AM to 7:30 AM which drove me nuts.  They did it because of the heat, but that meant I was going to have to get up at 4 AM to have breakfast!  I spent the whole night tossing and turning and trying not to think about hydration and wetsuits and transitions and flat tires and energy gels and on and on that finally my alarm went off and it was time to go.