Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Personal Victory on the Hills of Clermont

I’ve never done well at the marathon. It’s not that I haven’t tried. I just have never been able to tie together 26.2 good miles. All that changed yesterday.

Dick Beardsley holds the world record for most consecutive marathons while improving your time. He did 13 of them ending with the famous “Duel in the Sun” with Alberto Salazar in the 1980 Boston Marathon. He ran 2:08 and change. Check it out on YouTube:

I’m no Dick Beardsley. I was going for the opposite record. I’d finished 5 marathons in the last 10 years and got exponentially slower on each of them. 2:56, 2:59, 3:03, 3:10 and 3:37. I did one other marathon in 2003 that I didn’t finish. I chose to take the Green Line in from mile 16 of the Boston Marathon instead of facing the death march like I did in the 2007 Florida Marathon; my last pitiful attempt where I walked the last 9 miles.

Things didn’t look good leading up to the race. I have lots of breathing problems with my asthma this time of year. I couldn’t complete my run the day before because of it. I’ve been nursing an Achilles problem all year and it’s gotten quite painful. I couldn’t complete me run on Wednesday because of that. Basically the only good run from the last two weeks was a 14 miler last Friday night that I had to stop early because my Achilles was causing problems in my calf as well.

Damn all that crap. Shut up and run.

Race morning dawned windy and cold. 45 degrees driving to the start. I held my nose, wrote the check for $100 and I was ready to go.

Race Report: Florida Marathon, Clermont Florida December 19, 2009.

Sommer Sports did their typical lackluster job putting on the race. There was no National Anthem. No course preview. No race instructions. No nothing. 30 seconds to start and we were off.

When I did the race 2 years ago the first 5 miles were rolling hills. The middle 16 were on a dead flat bike trail leading to the final 5 miles of rolling hills with the biggest monster at mile 25. Nice. It was hot and I hit the wall around mile 17 and walked it in. No problem with the heat today.

What? The course has changed? Can I see a map? No maps. What do you mean no maps? There gone. Sorry. Whatever.

One change that I noticed right away was the start. Last time we started at the top of the hill and finished on the track. This year they were starting on the track. Crap.

If you’ve been to the track at the National Training Center you know that I mean. There is only one way in and one way out of that place. Yeah, it’s a big fat hill.

Before I go on let’s get one thing straight for those of you that aren’t from this area and have never been to Clermont. Ask any Central Floridian and he or she’ll tell you that it is VERY hilly. The hills don’t go on for miles like up north but you can’t go anywhere in Clermont without going up or down a hill.


Around the track for the first 285 yards and up the first of 14 hills that I’d have to ascend today. Life is going to be fun for the next 3 hours.

Not knowing the course my goal was to run 2:45. That’s 6:18 per mile. As soon as I found out what the course was and felt the wind I knew that was going to be impossible. A race is a race. Time to race.

Mile one: 6:18. I thought it was pretty ironic. At this point one guy had pulled away and I had caught him and he had pulled away again. I was in 2nd and behind me a pack of runners. Looks like the race was going to be competitive for the first time in its 3 years. Good deal.

6:08, 6:30. After mile 3 I got passed by 2 guys and was running in 4th. I felt strong and as you’ll see by the splits was having trouble maintaining a pace because of the wind and hills. 6:15, 6:11, 6:34 for 4, 5, and 6. I was now gaining confidence with every stride. The pace felt comfortable so I didn’t have to push. I could see the guys in front and there was still a group behind. He Achilles hurt but not very much. My calf was perfect. Today could be my day. 6:35.

Uh oh. I know that feeling. That is the feeling having to do number two. For me it’s never a wait and see. I’ve got to go now.

And I did… in the bushes. I didn’t want those gloves anyway.

7:43 for mile 8. This includes “crappin’ time”.

Out from behind the brushes and up a big hill. At the top I was wiped. Done. Knackered. Blah. My mojo was gone. Apathy was its replacement. Headwind.

I wasn’t going to pack it in here. Instead I was going to keep on pushing to see if my body would feel good again. I did. And I did.

This is a moment of decision that we all face from time to time, right? We are doing something that is hard. We know it is going to be hard but what the time comes that we must struggle and have faith. What do we really do?

Yeah, many of us pick up our balls and go home. We give in and we give up. Oh that’s too hard. Or we tell people, “See I told you I couldn’t do it”. Sob.

F**k that.

Time to run. 6:39, 6:38, 6:24, 6:46, 5:49. OK, we are at the halfway point and what a cruel halfway point. Approaching mile 13 you go down the big hill that you went up in the beginning, you run around the track, you see the finish for the half-marathon, you see people finishing the half marathon, you can see the finish, you can smell the hot dogs, but yet you must turn around, go up the big ass hill and do 13 more miles.

I was in 4th until my little potty break and then 7th ever since. The guy in second was the only one to turn around in front of me so I was now in second. There is something a little magically about the second half of a long race. It feels more now like you are going home and not away from home. I always get a burst of energy. I felt good. 1:25 for the half-marathon. Half-marathon to go.

6:26, 6:28, 6:40, 6:46, 6:25. The leader was 2 minutes up at the half and I had worked to within a minute of him by mile 18. Now it was several hilly miles and lots of wind. Thankfully this is where I met Kevin Grogan.

Kevin is a friend, rival, and owner of “Gear For Multisport”. The tank top that I was wearing is one that he’d given me two years ago to represent “Gear For Multisport” in this very race. I was so pathetic that year that I figured I needed to redeem myself.

For the next 8 miles Kevin would be there almost every step of the way. He would feed me gels and drinks. He would even post to Facebook how I was doing. Kevin certainly saved the day.

With 8 miles to go in a marathon lots of thins are going on. Obviously there is still a long way to go so your better not be bonking. It was also too early to start surging for the finish. I just kept doing what I was doing and pushing my hardest. My splits were getting slower and the sub 2:50 dream was gone but I could still go after the personal best set in the 2000 Boston Marathon of 2:56.


6:56. HOLD ON. For the love of God. Hold on. 7:08. Slowing but not bonking. Yet…

7:26, 7:10. You can do it. I know you can do it. Push to the end. The wind and hills don’t matter. One foot in front of the other. YOU CAN DO IT!

Mile 24. Biggest hill on the course. Who is the BASTARD that thought of this…

7:27. No more hills. One more out and back. Down the hill. Around the track…

7:19. The mile 25 marker is the most awesome site EVER. I can run a mile. I can run a mile. I am going to finish this race and I am going to run the best and fastest marathon of my career on a cold and windy day on a course with 14 hills.

And I am going to do it by running 6:06 for the last mile because I can.

Now I am on the track and at the 26 mile mark. Damn 285 yards. I pushed and pushed. With 100 yards to go I could see the clock. I can break 2:55. Let’s do that. Fight the cramps! I won the fight with the cramps but lost the battle with the barrier.

I crossed in 2:55:01 in 2nd place. The guy in frond was less than 2 minutes ahead and the next guy behind was less than 2 minutes behind. A good race for sure.

My two fastest marathons both included me stopping to Winnie the Pooh in the middle of the race. I wonder if that means anything.

This kind of effort would surely have been a sub 2:45 marathon in Boston or any other course for that matter. Oh well. Another day and another race.

Next up it’s a month off from running to heal my Achilles. My swimming starts on Wednesday. Only 32 weeks till my Ironman debut. It seems like a long time…

2 weeks prior to marathon and week after

Basically I did very little. I tried a long run 8 days before the marathon and made it 13 miles just under 7 minute pace. Not a great effort. All the other days I did light runs, walks or easy bike rides. I tried my best to nurse my achilles as much as humanly possible. Now I have rested for one week and contemplating training again next week.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Enbark Savannah Bridge Run 2009

Rain. I love the rain. In renews your energies and spawns thoughts of a brighter tomorrow. It’s just nice. Sigh.

But it sucks to drive in.

When we planned on driving to Savannah last Friday night we had delusions of granger. We were going to get to town in time for a romantic dinner and fireworks.

Instead it was a 5 ½ hour slog through the rain to see a few flashes of light in the rain soaked sky as we pulled up to our hotel room.

Oh well. We found a place for a quick bite and it was off to the room to sleep for the night. In the morning the Enbark Savannah River Bridge 5k and 10k. At 10:30pm we decided to check the website to see where registration and the start were. In retrospect there probably was a more appropriate time to do this…

“Oh oh, we have a problem. There is no race day registration.”

What an idiot. I really should have checked that, huh?

Of course now my wife and my differing philosophies butted heads. She says, “Look it’s a sign…” Oh please. I assured her that I’d get a number. I went to bed not knowing if I’d be able to do the race. “What, the rules don’t apply to you?” I didn’t have an answer for that one.

Out the door at 6am. Registration was to begin at 6:30am so I figured I’d get there early and beg my way in. Our motel room was actually on the race course and very close to the finish line. As a matter of fact the 6 mile mark for the 10k was almost in front of the parking lot. This means that the 5k start was 3 miles away. I’d run the race in 17:57 later. Why did it take me 35 minutes to drive 3 miles? Well… it’s because I’m an idiot.

If I had opened my eyes as I left the motel I would have see that the on-ramp for the bridge (the race started on the other side of the bridge) and drive right to the start. Instead I inexplicably went left. Then I found the highway. Aha! I’ll get on here…

Crap… the wrong way. I’ll just get off at the first exit and reverse direction. Crap…. Another highway. OK, reversed direction on second highway. OK, back going towards the bridge…

Missed my exit.

Back at my hotel. Crap. Crap. Crap.

Started over and found the bridge. Nice. OK now for the real challenge before the challenge. How was I going to beg my way into a full race? I can do anything I set my mind to. I decided to be honest.
Luckily when I arrived there were very few runners and mostly volunteers. I pleaded my case and ended up in front of the race director. Thankfully they had some extra numbers. I paid for mine and was off to my motel room to do a little “I told you so…”.

Now I had a race to run. Actually two races to run.

5k first. The 5k race went up and over the big bridge (5% incline for about ¾ mile) and finished downtown. As I waited in the pouring 48 degree rain I couldn’t believe how many people stood there shivering with me. There were 1500 brave souls in this race. Nice.

Santa blew the bull horn and we were off into the freezin’ ass rain. I went right to the lead. I felt strong and was running hard.

My strategy was to run as hard as I could in the 5k and see what was left in the tank for the 10k.

As I started up the climb I got caught and passed. The leader pulled away and had about 10 seconds at the top of the climb. My first mile was 5:46, and then I slowed to 6:06 for the second mile because of the assent. As I ran down the hill the gap began to grow thin. At the bottom of the hill the leader was maybe 10 meters in front. I made the pass at the top of a small hill and in front of my hotel.

My last mile was 5:35 and it felt great. I crossed the line with my hands in the air. This picture (the one that is shone above) was in the online paper the next day.

17:57 and first place in a 5k with 1500 people. Good stuff! I was happy and very proud! My day, however, was not over. I had another race to run.

The fellow that finished 2nd was only 3 seconds back and he was doing the “Double Pump” as well. The guy in third... yeah, he was also. He was around 20 seconds back. It was going to be in for a dog fight if I wanted to win the Double Pump crown.

Bring it.

I did my media interviews and found a nice warm hotel to hang out in. I even found a internet kiosk and updated my Facebook status. Ah technology.

9am. Time to race again. Go.

As I set out for the trip over the bridge AND back again I noticed something strange. Despite running 90% in the 5k I felt fine. My legs weren’t hurting at all! I love running in the cold.

At mile 1 (6:09) I got passed by the guy that finished 3rd in the 5k. He pulled away and I kept him in sight. I was going to have to race till the end. Life is good today!
Mile two was 6:20, then 5:52, then 6:06, then 6:06 (last time up the hill). One mile to go.

Gut check time.

I had worked my way into 4th after being in 7th at the mile. I’d been there for a while. The guy that I was focusing on was staying about 20 seconds in front of me. He seemed to surge when I surged and slowed when I slowed. I needed to get a little closer to preserve my victory.

With one mile to go I knew that what I did in the next 5-6 minutes would be the difference between 1st and 2nd place.

That’s right. It was my choice whether I won it or lost it. MY CHOICE.

I chose to win thank you very much.

I pushed the pace as hard as I could and left it out there. I would run a 5:25 last mile and passed the one dude to finish 3rd in the race. My time was 37:07. The guy in 2nd was the guy who finished 3rd in the 5k but I got within 9 seconds of him in the end.

Over 3 thousand entrants in the 10k and I finished 3rd. There were 350 people that completed the “Double Pump” and I won that. I’ll have to say that of all the races that I’ve ever won with is certainly the biggest. Very happy and proud to do so well.

Next is the Florida Marathon in Clermont on December 19th. The goal is 2:45. That’s 6:18 per mile. I can do THAT in my sleep…

Monday, December 7, 2009

Saturday, November 28th - Sunday December 6th

Saturday - easy run. 4 miles

Sunday - 2 hour bike ride. 5 mile run.

Monday - 12 mile run 10 mile bike.

6:37, 7:01, 7:19, 6:51, 6:39, 7:06, 7:22, 6:51, 6:42, 6:52, 7:29, 6:46. Great run. Didn't feel good but the pace stayed strong. Under 7 minute mile pace. 3 loops of the Fish Camp 4.

Tuesday - walk 4 miles. Achilles sore.

Wednesday - 60 min. indoor bike. Intervals 1 - 2 - 3 - 4- 5 - 6 (2 minutes rest) Running intervals 4Xmile 5:20, 5:20, 5:30, 5:15 (7 miles today)

Thursday - walk 4 miles - lower body lifting

Friday - run 4 miles steady 6:43, 6:45, 7:04, 6:48

Saturday - 15 miles (5 miles walking after race) 5k and 10k race. 5k 1st place 17:57 (5:46, 6:06, 5:35). 10k 3rd place 37:07 (6:09, 6:20, 5:52, 6:06, 6:06, 5:25). double dip 1st place overall.

Sunday - 4 mile walk.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Monday, November 23 - Friday the 27th

Monday - Dead tired from 18.6 in the woods yesterday. Easy 4 mile walk. CTS. Swim 1300 yards. Blah! Bike 30 minutes on indoor trainer.

Tuesday - Run 45 minutes walk another 20. I tried to do 10 miles today but my Achilles hurt and I was being a wuss. My bad.

Wednesday - Easy 4 mile walk. Swim 1500 yards. (450 6:26 with Wetsuit)

Thursday - Crappy 5k in Orlando. 17:17. 5:10, 5:30, 6:00. So not ready after 18.6 on Sunday. Felt the juice sap right out of me after 1 mile.

Friday - Walk 4 miles. CTS. Bike 2 hours in the wind and cold. Not fun but done.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I knew when I saw the look in her eyes that I'd be doing this race. "Look, dear, a 30k trail race in Tampa..."

I wonder sometimes if she loves me as a husband but secretly hates me as an athlete so she picks out the meanest and cruelest races for me to run. No worries. I'll show her because secretly I LOVE these races.

4:30am wake up. Caffeine. Long ride. Pay my 55 bucks. #2... twice. Ready, set, go.

It took about 9.58 seconds for 2 super fast looking dudes to be just gone. One I knew was doing the marathon and the other was in the 30k with me. That's when I learned that I'd be finishing 2nd today.

The end of the winning streak. Poop. Snapped at 3.

It took me before we got off the road and onto the trail to figure out that I had to pee. I stopped and peed. I then passed all that had passed me while I was relieving myself and was in 3rd place. (or 2nd if you will)

I ran 98% of the rest of the race alone.

Mile after mile I ran. I was running strong but suffering. I was having a hard time breathing but the speed was there and the legs were good. I settled in.

Head and chest up. Arms down. Stride long. I was running 6:15-6:30 miles for a long time.

For 40 minutes I didn't see a single sole. no fans. No family. no officials. No other runners. The only aid station that i saw had inadvertently been left with no humans. I helped myself.

I liked it. I was having a good day and liking the run. Really thought I was going to fly to the finish and run sub 2 hours. Then the left turn from hell.


OK, got through the headwind, right turn... SAND. Shit THAT sucked. It was a half mile or so and there was just no place to go. I was now 12 miles into an 18.6 mile race and my mojo was gone. I would have to suffer to the finish.

I went through the half marathon (just after the sand debacle) in just under 1:29. That's decent. To bad i was now jogging and no longer running.

Luckily a mile or so of road kept me from completely falling apart.

Back on the trail with 3 miles to go. God this SUCKS.

All of a sudden I felt a tap on the back. (He probably would have tapped me on the shoulder but this cat was SHORT) Out of nowhere was the leader of the marathon. He was one of the two fast dudes that darted out at the start. His course was almost the same as mine except that he had to run a couple of extra loops. He was well ahead of me and passing me at the same time. Yeah, weird.

Where was I?

Oh yeah. He passes me and I ran with him. Low and behold my utter slowness and mediocrity were not real they were simply me being a (forgive me french) pussy. I ran with him back at 6:15 pace for almost a mile.

He went strait to do another 9 miles (god help the poor soul) and i turned left to.... SHIT!! run through the sand again.

I did and I finished.

2:07:53. Not a bad day considering. I never bonked and I ran hard most of the way. I finished 2nd overall and only lost by 16 minutes. 3rd place was like 7 minutes behind. I guess I wasn't in danger of being caught.

I hiked around for an hour or so doing some geocaching while I waited for the awards.... which was pointless cause I got nothing.

Oh well. I good day and a great training race. Next it's a barn-burner 5k in Orlando on Thankgiving where I am going to run under 16:15. Till then... get you ass out the door for a run!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Giving the achilles a rest. Just walked 4 mile today. CTS

Friday, November 20, 2009

Next Races

OK, here are the races that I'm doing over the next few weeks. Come join me!

This weekend: 30k trail race in Tampa

Thanksgiving: BIG 5k in Downtown O-Town

December 5th: 5k AND 10k in Savannah. Nice!

December 12th: 10k (tentative)

December 19th: Florida Marathon. "Course has some hills..." Nice!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

30 minute run on grass. 400 yard loop with 100 yard sprint each lap. Felt reall cool to run fast!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

10 mile run. (Fish Camp 4 twice w/ out and back 1st 2 miles)
7:09, 6:56, 6:53, 7:18, 7:27, 7:05, 6:47, 7:17, 7:40, 7:09 1:11:42
Did this in the morning. Had a really hard time breathing.

1500 yards swim in the evening. Did not want to do this swim workout. Got it done.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

45 minute bike with intervals. 5 min climb. 10 X 1 min. 5 minute climb.

30 minute run. Blah run.

Monday, November 16, 2009

7 mile run. Tired and sore. Ick.
2000 yards swim in wetsuit.

1000 yards 14:38
1:21, 1:28, 1:29, 1:29, 1:30, 1:29, 1:30, 1:31, 1:29, 1:21. If only I could do this without a wet suit!

3 200's. 2:45, 2:49, 2:51

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Easy 4 mile walk CTS

Saturday, November 14, 2009

1st place Baldwin Park Half Marathon.

Total converted time: 1:20:36 (6:09 miles)

Miles 7 and 8 were long. I used the average times for the other miles as split times. This may be overly optimistic but I'm an optimistic type of guy. Felt strong on a coolish day. Won by about 2 minutes. Me and the guy in 2nd ran way far on mile 8 because they forgot to send someone to turn us around. nice. I'm back!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fish Camp 4 - Fastest time. 26:30-ish. Last mile 6:21

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bike 1 hour on trainer. Felt good!

Swim 1000 yards. Felt fine.


16:09. good workout. I'll take it!!

Fish Camp 4 - 6:51, 7:03, 6:55, 6:24. A good run! Winter running weather is here. Wahoo!!

Wednesday, Novemberr 11, 2009

4 mile walk and that's it!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Easy run at 7am. 30 minutes. I need a little break. Both feet hurt. Rest of the day off.

Monday, November 9, 2009

10 mile run on Lakeshore Dr. Hot and humid. Middle of the day. Blah.


TOTAL 1:10. Again, blah. I feel like crap. When is this going to end.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Saturday - Sunday, November 7-8, 2009

Saturday - Won the Aquathon in Winter Garden. What a joke. I was so fast they didn't even realize i was finishing and gave me an erroneous time. They gave me the prize for 2nd place! I asked the "winner" what his time was and he said 35 minutes. My watch said 27 something. That was without my suit which I forgot. i had to stop at Wal-Mart and buy a pair of Gym shorts. Duh.

Swim 500 yards 8:22.
Transition 1 minute
Run 5k 18:18.
Walk about a mile after the race.

Sunday - CTS. Walk 4+ miles. My paws hurt like hell. Grrrrr....

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday, November 6th

1 hour functional workout with Jim Beyer. Partner exercises.

Bike 1 hour on trainer.

Swim 1000 yards easy.

Tempo run (2 miles 11:40 on treadmill)

Thursday, November 5th

7am. Run 7 miles (52 minutes). Felt very poor.

Some lifting (Bench 2 sets 135 lbs 10, 10 and lat. pull down)

Swim 1000 yards (1:33, 1:43, 1:41, 1:42, 1:40, 1:37, 1:36, 1:36, 1:35, 1:32 - 16:19) Very happy with this swim workout.

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Bike 1 hour easy on the trainer at the YMCA.

Running intervals in the afternoon. 6X2 minutes at 60-70%. Felt fine. Last one was really bad.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesday November 3rd

Cooler today. Ran 1 mile. 5 clean and jerk (65lbs), 10 DB swings (40), 10 burpees. 2 sets.

Run 2 miles outside.

10 minutes of core work. Felt week and crappy. Easy 1 mile walk to finish off 4 miles.

Tired and weak. Blah.

Monday November 2, 2009

32 minute easy run at 6:30am. Felt OK. Weak at the end.

Swim 1000 yards. Had to stop because I could barely pull my body through the pool.

Bike 25 minutes. Tabata intervals (4 min X 4) rest 1 minute. Leg's burned!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November 1, 2009

Won the Tower 10 Miler today. Slow at crap. 1:07 something. Mile markers were all off. Suffered in the humidity. 1.5 warm up and 1/2 mile cool down. 12 total.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

6 easy. Eagle pass run. 47:00. Blister much better. Legs a little dead. 10 miler tomorrow is going to be interesting. Need to build strength so this will be a good workout. Shooting for 60 minutes.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The days following the race - Oct. 26- Oct 30

Monday - "Continue the streak" (CTS) 4 mile walk. My streak has been going on since Jan 10th, 2009. I'm going to do a year and that's it. I do way to many CTS days.

Tuesday - CTS.

Wednesday - Easy 35 minute run in Maui. Middle of the day and hot as hell. My blister hurt so much I can't even believe that I ran. I ran and washed up in a Walmart bathroom before we got on the plane.

Thursday - Back in Florida. 20 minute run warm up. 2 mile "Tempo". 11:33. I did three 2/3 mile laps around my block. 3:54, 3:48, 3:50. This was waaaay to hard. This should have been easy. It was very hot and I slept on a plane the night before. That's my excuse.

Friday - Swim workout. 100-200 (30 sec rest) followed by squats, DB swings (30 lbs), push-ups (3 sets - 3,6,9). Did all this twice. My band aid fell off my blister so I was done swimming. Total 800 yards. 4 mile walk on the treadmill. Workout in gym with Charlene. Core work, mountain climbers, DB swings, overhead press, push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, split squats. I guess that's about it.

My next race is a triathlon on Sunday. Coach says Just Do It and shut up!

Maui Mess

I knew for days leading up the race that it was going to be a disaster. I thought that I could will myself to race well. I hoped beyond hope that I could put out a killer race. I went into the race feeling like crap and that feeling never went away. The XTerra World Championships in Maui, Hawaii is not the place to have an off day. Never mind the worst race of my life.

I finished 63th overall in the race in 2005. I was only my 2nd XTerra race and I thought 7th in my age group was OK but I could do better. Every single day for 4 years I visualized and dreamt about this race. I went back in 2006 and got a flat tire. I then didn't race for 2 years. This race was run 1000 times in my head. Today's ending was the one ending I never thought about.

The swim was different in 2009. Instead of being spread out on the entire beach the 550 top triathletes in the world were confined to a 250 foot box. It would be a 350 meter salt water mosh pit to get to the first buoy. I made it to the orange buoy and around the next one. Out of the water for the short beach run and onto the second 750meter lap.

My brand new foggy goggles were an omen for the rest of the day. I suffered hard on the second lap and the swim was mercifully over.

The run up the little hill to my bike was harder than it should have been.

My bike was in a very good position in the transition area. It was very close to the entrance. Cool! I can get on my bike quickly.... before I was able to get the sand off my feet. THAT problem I can still feel at this very moment.

Swim gear to bike gear and I was off for the 19 mile bike. 2500 feet of climbing. I wonder if my training prepared me for THAT?

After a short pavement section it was up the volcano. Seeing the sunrise from the Haleakala was magnificent. Riding a bike 2500 feet up... not so much. By the top of the first hill my fate was sealed. The rest of the day was about surviving and gutting it out. My race was done.

"That can't be good" was the though that went through my head as I descended the first hill and noticed my handlebars were pointing to the right at about two o'clock. My tire was still at noon.

My handlebars were loose. This isn't the safest thing in the world. It took me a few minutes but eventually I found a rider to lend me a tool and I tightened my bars back up. I'm glad I noticed it when I did. It would suck to crash out of a World Championship race. Can you imagine that...

Several parts of the bike course are very steep. VERY steep. Thus many riders were forced to dismount to get over the rise. I had to do this 5 or 6 times and the sand in my shoes started to grind at my heels and the bottom of my left foot. Quit your whining and ride.

Climb, descend, climb, descend, suffer, suffer, cramps... final decent to T2. Mercifully it was over in 2 hours 3 minutes. I did this course in 1:49 in 2005.

Boy, I can't wait to run.

The run sucked. Over an hour or climbing, descending and running on beautiful Maui beaches. The blister on my right foot is the worst I've ever had.

I finished and it was done. The worst race of my life hands down.

164th in the world isn't bad. I'll take it because I have to. 25th in my age group in a number that is hard to swallow but I will. At the end of the day there was one fact and one fact only. I started and finished the XTerra World Championships. In between I did my best. What my body gave me I had no choice at the time. I emptied the tank.

What happened? I wasn't ready. That's it. I took my ability for granted and didn't properly prepare. What am I doing to do about it? For one, I'm going to record all my training on this Blog for the world to see. Also I've hired a new coach. Her name? Charlene Copley. That's right, my wife, the one who knows me best is going to be my new coach.

As for my training... I am going to refuse to under prepared ever again. I am going to refuse to take my talents for granted again.