Thursday, June 26, 2008

Philly Race Report

What a great weekend to be out doing something you enjoy. The bride and I drove up to Philly on Saturday afternoon. I-95 was actually pleasant without much traffic. The only traffic issue we had was at the Harbor Tunnel in Baltimore. However, that did not add much time to the trip. We arrived at our friend’s (The Organizer and her boyfriend the Drug Pusher) house a little after 3.

We all went to packet pickup, which was very well organized. The Organizer saw some of her friends and they chatted for while. The Drug Pusher took us on a trip around the racecourse for about an hour. It is always good to do a recon of the course. However, most of the west side of the course was not assessable by car.

After the abbreviated recon, it was back to the Casa while the girls and the Pusher had some drinks. I organized my stuff and finally had a beer. The Organizer made a great pasta meal and I finally turned in about 9pm.

I was up at 0430 on race day. The Pusher was nice enough to drive me to the race site, even though it was less than two miles away. Setting up transition was easy—plenty of room for the bike and my gear. I hopped on a bus about 0545 for the trip to St. Joe’s Boat House. After arrival, I did a few minutes of warm up swimming in the river and then it was back on land to wait. The announced water temperature was 75 degree, but I opted swim with a wetsuit.
My wave went off at 0725. The first 250-300 meters were fairly physical, but nothing out of the ordinary. The swim was point to point from St Joe’s Boathouse to a small beach at the transition area. After finding open water, I settled into a nice rhythm and was very comfortable. After I swam under the bridge, I started looking for the swim exit. I could see the balloon arch off to my right and what I thought was the final buoy. I started swimming at an angle to hit the buoy and make a hard right to the exit. Guess what—it wasn’t the last buoy. I started hearing some yelling and slapping, so I looked up. A kind volunteer was telling me that I was going the wrong way. I swam back out and finally made the turn at the correct buoy. I exited the water, looked at my watch and saw 31:09. Damn!!! I would have broken 30 minutes if I had stayed on course.

I took my time in T1 to get my HR down. Then I was out on the bike. The first mile or so was nice and flat. I looked down and realized I was doing around 19.5mph. Heart rate was good and I did not feel like I was pushing to hard. It was up a ramp on the road, up a small hill, down a small hill and then started up a longer harder hill. I have done harder hills and longer hills but this hill sucked. Must have something to do with having ridden only about 100miles in the last month. I think I average about 3.5 mph going up the hill. Then back on flat ground, around an old mansion, which looked like it is now a hostel. Then came the fun part, a nice fast down hill. Zooooooooooom!!! I am smoking now. Back on flat ground and I am averaging around 20 mph. Feeling good, not breathing hard, and enjoying the overcast morning. Across a bridge and through a construction site on the road, up a longer hill, but it did not hurt me as much as the previous hill. Again the down hill was a lot of fun. I had been dreading Lemon Hill, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had been anticipating. Another down hill and around the Museum of Art where I waved at the bride. The second lap was very similar to the first, with the exception of throwing my chain on the big hill. I put the chain back on and then just walked my bike to the top. There was no way, that I was going to start peddling again on that hill.

I came off the bike, into transition, and was off again on the run. I don’t remember much about the first 4 miles of the run. I cramped a couple of times, but around mile 4 I just ran out of juice. I do remember the Drug Pusher running out on the course and asking me if I needed anything. I thought he was a volunteer and started to ask myself if I really looked that bad. Another mile and I was across the finish line.

The coup de grace was going to Pats for a cheesesteak following the race—Provolone, Whiz, Wit. If you have to ask, then you don’t know. LOL
Photo Courtesy of DC Rainmaker

Friday, June 20, 2008

Philly Prep

The last couple of weeks I have been preparing for my race in Philly. I have been focusing more on my swimming. The new swim coach has been worked wonders with the group of swimmers we have. Yesterday was my last hard workout and he had me swim time trials:
400 -- 7:10
400 -- 7:25
200 -- 3:41
200 -- 3:45
100-- 1:50
100 -- 1:51
100 -- 1:50
100 -- 1:43

I know for you speed demons out there that is not fast at all, but I am damn happy with times.

Finding time to run has not been a problem either. I have been averaging about 20 miles a week over three run days. My problem has been biking. I have been averaging one bike ride a week and it has typically been for 2 hours or less. I know that my biking will not be that good this weekend. The good news is that the course is more of less flat with some small hills.

We will be departing Saturday morning and staying with a friend of the Bride who lives near the race site. She has been planning a big a weekend for her and the Bride. After the race, the only thing I am really looking forward to is going to eat at Pat's.

Monday, June 16, 2008

...and here I am

This past couple of weeks have been non-stop action. The first week in June I was doing my change of command inventories and getting ready for my new Army job. Even as a "weekend" warrior, this job is full time. However, before the ceremony, I had a wedding to attend in Reading, PA. It was a very nice wedding and the reception was even better. The food was actually good. I even discovered a new drink--Malibu rum and pineapple juice. It is great for those hot days.

Sunday we were up early and heading back to College Park, MD for the ceremony. We arrived a couple of hours early, introduced the bride and her parents to some of my new soldiers and conducted a rehearsal of the ceremony. To make it official here is my "command" photo:

Last week it was back to work and back to steady workouts. I was able to swim about 5000 yards, run 12 miles, and actually got in a 25 mile bike ride before I left for another wedding on Saturday. Friday was an interesting day. I had to go to the DC jail to deal with one of my soldiers. Lets just say that is a very interesting place.

One of the Bride's cousin was getting married near Princeton, NJ. This wedding was nice, but the food wasn't as good as the week before. Plus it rained like hell and the roof at the reception location leaked. Then we had breakfast with some family members and headed back to the homestead.

Today was back at work, but we had all sorts of connectivity issues. Then to top everything off, we had a short, but strong storm that knocked the power out for about 6 hours. But it is back on, so I can sleep coolly in air conditioned bliss.

This weekend it is off to Philly for the Philly Tri. More on that later.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Joys of Command

This morning I was back in the pool for the first time in almost three weeks. We have a new swim coach who has a very different approach to coaching that the our previous one. I think it will be a very good change. We did a bunch of breast and back today. I don't really care for either stroke (read-I am not that good at them) but the breast stroke does work other muscle groups. Even with my slow ass breast and back stroke thrown in there I managed 2400 yards in about 51 minutes. I was pretty happy.

The bigger news is that I have been conducting change of command inventories for my new adventure in the Army. I was chosen last month to be the Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) Commander for the 354th Civil Affairs Brigade. For those of you that don't know much about the Army, all the equipment has to be accounted for and signed by the new commander. The missing stuff has to be found or the old commander may end up paying for it. So this week I have been counting all sorts of things. Weapons, sleeping bags, Hummers, computers, you name it and I probably counted it.

I am very excited about this opportunity for the simple fact that I have a lot of respect for the the commander. He is definitely one of the good ones. On Sunday, we are having the official ceremony where the guidon is passed from the outgoing commander to the incoming commander (me). I have a number of friends and some family coming to ceremony. My wife and her mother really know nothing about the military. So it will be an eye opening experience, especially for my wife. LOL.

Here is a video I found of the unit the last time they were deployed.