Race Reports

Boulder Colorado March 2009

Mountain View

I joined a small group from Chicago to train in the mecca of the tri world for a long weekend. The afternoon I arrived it was 55 and beautiful outside. That night we got 18 inches of snow! Awesome. The good thing here in Bolder is that the 18 inches will probably be gone in a day or so. In the mean time, the town shut down. The city doesn’t have snow plows (they can’t justify the cost-what?) so the streets were shut down.

The hotel had a 10’ X 10’ workout room that I abused for a day. The recumbent bike (only bike in there) would smoke and smell like a tire burning on harder intervals.

Once the snow melted our group got in some fantastic trail runs through Boulder. The change in altitude is felt right away.

Swimming was interesting at altitude. I almost bought the farm trying to flip turn on a hard 100. There are not a lot of pools in the Bolder area and your chances of swimming with some of the hot shots in triathlon are pretty good. We were lucky enough to be swimming in the same pool as Tim and Nicole Deboom.

We only got one day in on the bike. We hit a 12 mile loop north of Boulder that gave us about 1500 ft of climbing. What a breath taking ride. The first loop I hammered after a 45 mph flat. The second loop I took out my camera and got some pictures. Words cannot describe the beauty that is out there.

Boulder is everything you here it is and much more. I completey understand why people visit there and never go home. The people are so nice. The entire town, it seemed, was set up perfectly for the athlete’s lifestyle. I think there was a bike shop every couple of blocks and I have never seen this many Subarus in one place. Bikes are the main mode of transportation. I had a great time and will be back again as soon as I can.

Hawaii April 2009

I joined my wife out in Honolulu where she was attending a dental conference. With my coaches advise, I brought not my road bike or my TT bike, but my mountain bike. He advised me that due to the traffic and craziness of the city that a MTB was the way to go.

I would devote 7 am to 1 or 2 in the afternoon to working out and the remainder of the day to Mai Tais, sushi and getting some sun.

I hit a local bike shop for the lowdown of the land. I was pointed up to the mountains north of Honolulu. I had strict instructions that if I was to go off road on any descent to stay to the right if the trail split. The mountain range here wasn’t that big. The height ranged from 1350 ft to 1600 ft.

My first day I ascended up the 1350 ft climb and, man, I have to tell you it goes up fast. Even in my granny gear on the MTB I was grabbing for more gears. The ascend is a little over a mile and the off road descend is a few miles.

Up at the top of the mountain the view is breath taking. Before descending, I road through some trails that stayed along the top of the mountain. I chose to descend off road to see what it was like. I kept in mind what the bike shop said about staying right. The terrain is really hard red dirt and lava rock. After about a half mile of fast technical down hill I came to my first of many splits in the trial.

I stayed to the right and to the right again and again and the trial was getting really thin and I was entering jungle like territory and I could no longer see the coast line or buildings on the horizon to keep me going in the right direction. I decided to turn around and turn left at the last split. A few hundred feet later I was hitting some crazy drop offs and wicked crazy technical turns and navigation. I dropped a couple hundred feet really quickly and started to figure I took a wrong turn. There was no way I could make it all the way back up there. I would have to carry my bike on this difficult terrain. My MTB shoes couldn’t get any traction.

So, now I start coming up on cliffs I have to descend. I would have to let my bike go down the side of this cliff and climb down to find my bike and do this all over again. Was I worried? Hell yeah man! I was starting to panic and just kept up a good pace. I had to get to civilization sooner or later. I had food and Gatorade to keep me going. I came upon an asphalt road that twisted and turned for what seemed like miles that stopped at fence gate that looks like it would surround a jail. I treked along side of the fence for a while and saw a street below with cars on it! I made it alive, I thought. I now had to get over this fence. The fence ended at a man made wall that dropped 50 ft strait down. I just had to get up there and throw my bike around the fence and crawl around the fence and I am home. On the climb up to this point, five ft from the fence, my shoe came off as I was pushing my bike up this cliff. Crap! I didn’t really yell this but you get the point. I somehow managed to jam my foot back in my shoe and continue. Just as I was about to heave my bike around this pole I felt a terrible stinging pain around my right leg. I looked down and there was a rose bush looking vine with huge needles wrapped around my leg. Any way I moved made the needles jab into my skin. I took my leg out of it like a pair of pants, wipped my bike around the post, climbed around and descended to freedom. Not really, it was a “no trespassing” water purification plant that I had entered. I startled some workers who yelled something at me as I exited out of the front gates to freedom!

Ok, so I won’t get into detail of all the other climbs. If you ever get out to Honolulu, bring your mountain bike and stay to the right.

Hope to see you all at a race very soon, Glen

Buffalo Springs Half IM Race report 07/01/08

I arrived in Lubbock TX a few days early to get acclimated to the heat. The temps here were 104 (and windy) the previous week. I was greeted to a cool 97 (and windy). It is always windy here. You can set your alarm to wake up at 5 am and it is windy already!

My hotel was in a strange area of town. Across the street from my hotel was the lush and decorated Texas Tech University. On my side of the street were old abandoned buildings with broken windows (or boarded up windows), no landscaping, abandoned un-working fountains, methadone clinics and the unfortunate.

I chose to do my workouts across the street. No one told me Buffalo Springs was a dry town. This is an important tidbit.

My coach and I wanted to tweak the race plan a little for this race. Instead of hammering out the bike and gambling that I could find my legs on the run, I was to hold back on the bike and save my legs for the run. I liked the idea.

Pre race brick

You may think Texas is hot and flat, right? Hot yes, but the race director managed to find a mini Grand Canyon in the middle of the Texas oil fields to hold a half IM.

The lake is spring fed so it is always cool enough for a wet-suit swim; And the winds are so strong that there is actually a current for half the course, two good things.

I was lucky enough to start the bike part of my brick next to 2007 Half IM World champ Marinda Carfrae. We had a nice chat and I let here get on her way. The run winds through the streets that line the lake then head up and out of the canyon only to dip in and out to challenge your spirit.

Race morning

It is key to get to the race site early to get a good parking spot on the ridge of the canyon. I had my headlamp to light the way because the sun was set to rise in a couple of hours (thanks Fedofsky).

I decided to stop trying to sleep at 3:30 AM and get on my way to the lake. Something weird struck me as I exited the hotel. It was cold and there was no wind.

After I set up my transition area, I had a lot of time to kill. I was freezing. I didn’t bring a jacket or sweatshirt because you never need one here. I huddled at the exhaust of one of the construction compressors that lit the transition area. I kept my head in the breeze so I wouldn’t get sick from the fumes. It worked!

Swim start

I watched the 7 waves in front of me start the race by “running” on shore along the waters edge for about a hundred feet. I noticed that the “running” (or falling and getting trampled) was slightly faster, so I would try it.

The athlete’s that attend these Kona qualifiers are really aggressive and pushy and you need to hold your own in difficult situations or you will get eaten alive. I tried to toe the line on the swim start. The action was fierce on the beach even before the gun went off. There was a lot of shoving and pushing to get to the front. Then I thought why should I be up front to just get swam over in 50 meters. I started the swim in the second tier of athletes. The horn went off and we all went running along the water’s edge in about 8-24 inches of water. Right away, my heart rate was too high and I was stepping on rocks, sticks, turtles, people that fell, getting elbowed during the entire run, sorry, swim. As I dove into the water to begin the swim, my heart rate was so high I couldn’t get into form. It took me a while to recover from the run along the swim start. So, was it faster? I don’t think it helped. The rest of the swim was uneventful. After I got going I felt great. I managed to remind myself early to swim without my bad habits. I exited the water in 28 minutes and some change. One of my fastest swims to date.

Bike

As I exited T1, the race announcer was sort of giving a clinic on riding techniques and efficiency on the bike; I was listening as I approached one of the giant climbs out of transition. All of a sudden I heard him using me as an example. “Everyone look at number #381, look at his form.” “Knees in, smooth pedal stroke….” That was pretty cool! Little did he know I was going to be a whimp for the next 56 miles.

Did I mention it was 62 degrees? And now it was raining. I wanted to have a solid bike and get in all the nutrition I needed for the run. The hills here are difficult because the road is twisty, narrow and uneven and has really shiny spots that get slick when wet. The decent on these roads is really tricky. You can’t build up any speed because you are constantly cutting through the turns of the canyons on slick roads. I did notice way more flat tires than I have ever seen in my experience.

Everything was going fine up until mile 49 when I was thinking how lucky I was not to be one of literally hundreds that flatted. All of a sudden, SSSSSSSSSSS! I felt my bike get unstable and slow. I jammed on the brakes so I could change my tubular as fast as I could. I have never had a flat and have never practiced changing a tubular. I normally change tubulars with a beer or two while munching on a tube of Pringles, and I had neither beer nor Pringles with me.

I jumped off my bike and checked the rear tire, it was fine. Good, because the spare has an extension on it for a deep rim and I had a deep rim in the front. I checked the front and it was holding air. It was only holding 20-30 pounds but it was holding. What to do, what to do. I was near the end of the bike and I am not sure if the time down while changing tubulars would be gained. I decided to see how riding on 20-30 pounds felt. I could still get to 25 mph (with the wind) and hold it, but I was now putting my heart rate out of the zone I wanted it to be. The roads are rough and uneven and I kept feeling my front 404 smashing the pavement. I had to sit way back on the saddle all the way into T2.

Run

Now it was time to go to work. Right away I was hitting 6:30’s (Garmin) without too much effort. I slowed a little so I wouldn’t waste myself to early. I was surprised as a few fellow triathlets knew me from my children’s books. They were very nice guys. We had some small talk and rooted each other on.

These hills were brutal. A 9:45 pace up led to a wild 4:50 pace on the way down. The mini energy lab (similar to Kona’s energy lab) was not an issue this year with the cool temps. The plan of going easier on the bike was working, and I felt great.

As I neared the end of the run I noticed that something wasn’t jiving with my Garmin and the mile markers. I turned on the Garmin in T1 before I headed out on the bike course so the watch can find the satellites, which normally may take a few minutes. This is what mess up the distance. I realized that at mile 12 when I was really at mile 11. Wow! This is hard to handle. When I crossed mile 13 on my garmin, I had another mile plus to go. Imagine torturing yourself for 13.1 and running through the finish line and holding that pace for another mile.

I collapsed at the finish with calf cramps with a 1:38 half. I got a free ride to the med tent for fluids. I thought I had it bad until I saw the guy next to me crash to the ground twice in his foldable lawn chair/cot. The second time he was actually trapped in it as it flipped back smashing his head on one of the tent poles.

This half was without a doubt the hardest half I have ever done. It is funny that it is not advertised like this. I attended the awards ceremony hoping for a roll down slot. And of course, no roll down, the winner took his slot.

I think, other than the flat tire, I had a solid race. The plan to hold off on the bike did give me some legs to run with. I finished 15th in a very difficult age group.

Texas is a great place to visit. Everyone is so nice, even the people that look mean are super nice. Makes me want to reconsider how I treat people.

Once again, to my support staff, thank you so much. All this travel is very enriching and would not be possible with out you.

Thanks to my coach and many other friends for their advice and encouragement.

Now to start the long stuff for Ironman Louisville, Where I will have the opportunity to see some of my family on the sidelines! Glen

Picture of Bike in Buffalo Springs 2008

Eureka Springs Xterra Race Report 06/12/08

I am down in Eureka Springs AR visiting Helene’s parents and grandma. We have all the kids and Shasha (our nanny) with us. We packed everything important to us in our “bus” and headed out after dinner on a Thursday hoping the kids would sleep most of the ride.

10 hours later we arrived. The kids were great!

I only had a few hours to get to the race site to check things out so I didn’t look like a complete amateur on race day the next day. My father in law, Dr. John Dolce, was my pit crew for the weekend. We got to the check in where there was no expo or bike shop support. Wow! What a difference from road triathlons. This may be a problem since the last time my mountain bike was off the wall where it hangs in my garage was last year when I pulled the burley with it.

So, we get to the race site the day before the race so I can get on my bike and hit the toughest trails so I can see what I am in for. I had to ask some of the locals working at a fishing dock where the race trail was because nothing was marked yet. I was lucky to find a nice enough lady (with a Marlboro in her mouth the entire time) explaining to me what she knew about the race. She (and her staff) asked me where I was from. I said near Chicago, IL. They all laughed and said that these mountain trails here were going to “Whoop my little Chicago butt.” “That’s nice,” I thought. How do you say Chicago with a cigarette in your mouth? I walked off thinking I might be in for a little butt kicking. And, I just got my ass handed to me on a silver platter in Hawaii a week earlier.

On my practice run up the first climb, I was off my bike in the first 25 feet after spinning my rear tire too much. I made some adjustments to air pressure (thanks, Andrew for the seat height tip) and tried it again. The climbing went much better the second time, but I was forced to push my bike up part of the way. I was really thinking I might have bit off more than I can chew. I love single track: The tougher the better, but this was way more technical than anything I have seen before. Was this a good choice for my first Xterra? Then I thought, “Who the heck can make these climbs?” I will just do the best I can and try not to break any bones or need to dip into the bag full of sutures, needles and numbing agents my wife brought just incase of a bad crash.

Race morning

I didn’t get a yellow race cap like everyone else did so it was easy for my family to see the green cap among the hundreds of yellow ones.

Swim

The swim was warm and muddy. I lost sight of the main pack at the turn around and stuck with a guy back to shore. I think I was in the top ten.

Bike

T2 was interesting. I initially was looking for the only Cat Cheetah in the racks. I found my “ordinaryish” Stump jumper, put on all my equipment and was on my way out. That first climb I mentioned earlier was a walk up hill, thank goodness. On the walk up, I did notice my exertion and HR completely maxed out. I was a little hypoxic, I have to admit. This is 2 minutes into the bike. I had to calm down. I did notice my gears were all screwed up. On the climbs I had to hold my thumb on the shifter or the gears would jump all over. When the terrain was flat it didn’t matter what I did, the gears were all over the place. I have never attempted to understand how derailers work, but I knew the rear one was messed up. To make things worse, every time my rear wheel hit hard, the skewer let loose and my back wheel came out of the drops locking the brakes up. Between the derailer and the skewer issue, I must have stopped 20 times to make adjustments that were all unsuccessful.

I was hammering along using whatever skills I had acquired in my mountain biking past to get me through much of this. I really think it was my BMX back ground (which I grew up on) that kept me from losing my teeth on some of the toughest, most dangerous, craziest looking terrain I have ever seen. I can’t imaging being the race director or person that set up this bike course saying, “yeah, I think we’ll have the bike portion go up this algae infested slate-rock/mudd/rutt covered 10 foot high, 45% root entwined sideways twisting natural spring.” Yeah, that looks good.” What!!!

It was literally: focus, focus, focus and fight to keep your speed (momentum) up and your front tire where it had to be and your center of gravity always changing to meet the demands of the terrain. I had no idea that the bike portion of an xterra requires this much attention of mind and body. We as road triathlete’s are used to just getting into a rhythm on the bike which is just: put your head down, stay aero and just hammer this thing. By the end of this xterra bike, I had a huge headache and my hands and upper body were wasted.

Anyway, I saw some really cool terrain, some beautiful views of Arkansas and made it thought he bike with only one wipe out which I saved, thank you. Guys, who I believe, have nothing to live for, passed me many times on the bike. When you are passing someone, you are supposed to yell, “On your Left (or right)!”

I got passed by a couple of guys that were going so fast all I heard was, “On your Le…!”

Run

You have heard the saying, “It was as easy as shooting fish in a barrel” right? I am used to getting off my bike with trashed legs. In xterra, you only use your power half the time. The other half you are descending.

I came out of T2 feeling great. I was passing everyone! What a mood elevating experience. I recognized many jerseys that ripped by me coming back to me on the run. The run was a blast! I felt like Rambo in the movie just running straight through the woods, over logs, through streams, up crazy terrain, sliding down hills… it was a lot of fun. The down side, 2 miles of this terrain feels like 5 miles. I was coming up to a mile mark that I thought would say 3 and it said 1. The run was slated as 4 miles. It turned out to be a super hard run for different reasons. Again, you just couldn’t “turn off your mind” and hammer. I finished strong with the 3rd fastest run of the day to get third in my age group and eighth overall. Awesome! What is even better than that is I saw my family multiple times on the course and was greeted by my children at the end. Mt children were proud of me and said I was “super fast.”

I definitely recommend an xterra to any triathlete. What an experience!

Thanks to my father in law for being my (must have) go to guy this weekend. Thanks to my family for being there. I had a blast and still have all my teeth and no broken bones. I have to go now and drop my bike off at the shop! Glen

Something funny at the awards ceremony happened. To break up the monotony, they had a few contests. One of the contests was a push up contest. The winner was to get some cool swag. Now I know what I am supposed to do with a World record in the bench press.

Each participant had a volunteer counter. We had one minute to do as many as possible.

I counted 104 for me (my counter counted 94). Unfortunately, your counters count is official. I lost to a young kid (who was pretty huge) that did 98 push-ups in a minute. Helene was watching and she saw some cheating. What ever, I am not going to be a bad sport. I won a pair of really cool xterra trail shoes!

Train safe! I hope to see you soon- Glen McGowean

Dr John Dolce (Helene’s Dad) and I with our hardware!

Dr John Dolce (Helene’s Dad) and I with our hardware!

Kona Half Ironman race report 5/31/08

My friend Dan and I arrived a few days early to acclimate to the weather and time. Of course, it is beautiful and the weather was perfect. In the days prior to the race, we got a chance to do a lot of snorkeling and even came upon a bunch of dolphins in the ocean. My pre race workouts and bricks went great. I felt ready for this race.

Race morning

I arrived with enough time before the start of the race to fill my bike bladder, pump the tires and make all the little adjustments for a smooth transition/race. As I was gathering my stuff to head down to the swim start, I noticed a puddle under my bike. The puddle was Gatorade leaking out of the bladder. The bladder had a hole in it. What the hell? It didn’t leak with water in my pre-race brick. We didn’t have enough time to go back to the hotel and get another bladder. We emptied the bladder and tried to patch it but it didn’t work. The leak was a steady drip. I stayed as late as I could and topped the bladder off before heading down to the start.

The swim

The sea was angry that day, my friends. All 1200 athletes swam out to the start buoys and waited for the start. The currents were very strong, dragging us out towards the first buoy. The officials on wave runners and paddleboards were yelling for us to move back behind the start buoys or they were not going to start the race. As we were backing up more and more people were swimming out to the swim start and getting dragged to and past the swim start. It got so tight in there I started to freak a little. You really had to fight to keep your head above water. A constant cascade of elbows, knees and feet to the ribs, stomach and back was brutal. After the worlds longest National Anthem and second song that we couldn’t hear, the officials started yelling for us to back up again and then, Bang! The race started. This was by far the biggest war to the first turn I have ever been in. As we all approached the first turn buoy, it was apparent there was a problem, 600 people trying to make this 45% turn at the same time. The buoy was getting punched and pushed away. The harder I swam towards it the further it seemed to go away from me. I, and hundreds of others were in the same boat; we just couldn’t get to the turn buoy. We all looked up at the officials on the paddleboards. They just watched. Hundreds of us had to cut the first turn buoy. As I got to the second turn buoy (at this turn you swim the length of the beach), I thought I swam into a jet ski as I was getting blasted in the face with spray. I tried to breath on the other side and I was under water. I went back to the other side and realized it wasn’t a jet ski but the spray coming off the white caps. This was going to be a long day. The currents were bad. The angle I choose to swim at to counter the currents was insufficient. In the last 100 meters a guy not once but twice hit me in the back of the head as he tried to swim over me. I understand hitting someone once, I did it all morning. The dude was unnecessarily aggressive and abusive. After the second hit and dunking of me I stopped him grabbed him by his face and pushed him back. After this ordeal, I noticed him swimming right next to me. We were breathing at the same time looking at each other. I think we both just wanted to get out of that ocean. I exited the water in what was my slowest swim time in years.

The Bike

I felt really strong as I crested the hill up to the Queen K HWY. I hammered the first 25 miles to try and catch as many guys in my age group as I could. The winds were the worst I have ever seen there. On the way down from Hawi, I just didn’t feel that good. At mile 40 I started to get passed. I repassed a few but was not feeling well. As I entered T2, I heard 8, 8th place in my age group from my friend, Dan. Well, better than last time hear in 2006. I was looking forward to my run that has really come along recently.

The run

In the first mile you can tell how the next 12 are going to go. I really struggled. I think I left my legs back in the hotel room. I hit rock bottom at mile 9 where I walked for a while. I met some nice guys from Chili who encouraged me to take on little distances in the road. I am not sure what wasn’t working. The hills and spongy grass were not the problem. Coming off one of the best races in my career two weeks ago in Galena, IL. I couldn’t complain about what was happening. I finished 16th in my age group and worn out!

There is practically no roll down in Hawaii so went to the awards ceremony for a nice dinner and to watch the show.

Some other things that happened in Hawaii

The day before the race, I was out at the race start getting in a quick swim to check out the currents. I just swam out to the first buoy and was on my way back in about 10-12 feet of water. The water is crystal clear here and there is always something to look at in the ocean. After a breath I turned my head back towards the bottom of the ocean and was greeted by the biggest (actually the only) manta ray I have ever seen. It had to be eight feet or more across. I freaked! I must have screamed like a little schoolgirl because the great beast turned on its side and started to come up at me. I can only imagine what this must have looked like from shore. I was actually trying to get up on top of the water to run on it like in the cartoons. After a few seconds of total hysteria trying to get on dry land, I realized I needed to see where this thing was. I would rather try and fight it off than have it just eat me whole. I turned my self around but couldn’t see anything through the millions of bubbles I had created in my half run half swim. Then, through the bubbles, here he comes again. That fighting thing I mentioned kind of fell through as I raced to shore.

I felt as if I had a new lease on life until the day after I got home I noticed a commercial on TV. It was a vacation get away that showed kids swimming and frolicking with the manta rays in Florida. Man, do I feel silly.

Fishing!

I always set a date to get out on the big blue with my uncle for some deep-sea fishing. We rarely get anything because I normally go in October (the full IM) when fishing is bad. We got a few 5 pound Ahi tunas and a nice Ono and we were satisfied when my uncle yelled, “Fish on!”

I jumped in the seat, hooked my vest to the giant reel and held on as this fish ripped off miles of line. I was relaying to my uncle and his mate that I felt like I was being pulled in. As you are seated in the main seat, you have this big board that you put you feet on to keep yourself from being pulled in. You are in a vest that is locked onto the reel and pole, that is it. If the drag is set to tight, you are over board being pulled straight down. Well, I had nothing left in my legs from the race the previous day to fight with. I was yelling at my uncle and his mate that I felt like I was going to be pulled in. They thought I was kidding and just laughed. Dan, saw the horror in my face and knew I was serious. Dan kept his hands close by my neck to grab me if I was on my way in. A few times my butt was a foot off the chair! This was a merciless fight. It took everything I had on this day to get this thing boat side. It took the mate and Dan to haul this 154-pound Ahi tuna (yellow fin) over the side into the boat. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This thing was a giant! It was also a beautiful creature. I was in awe and think I was screaming and high fiving for 15 minutes. My uncle asked us if we got any pictures of me almost going in. He wanted them for his web site. He thought it was funny. I would have let the great fish go, but it was sold at market and I probably ate him the following night for dinner at a favorite restaurant.

A thank you goes out to my wife and children for allowing me to keep chasing this dream. I have been away at a few training camps around the country since January. This would not be possible without you.

My awesome support team of Shasha, my Dad and Olga also get a big thank you for helping out at home with the kids when I am away. Also thanks to my coach, Jen for all you do to keep me going in the right direction.

Train hard, train safe! Glen McGowean

May 17th Galena Sprint Triathlon race report

May 22, 2008

The race website listed the water temp at 55 degrees F, Great.

While dropping off my bike in T1, I noticed many heavy hitters in the local tri scene doing the same. I was hoping to just have a good day. The last time I did a sprint was last summer and I remember that they just hurt! Going from training for an Ironman to sprinting is a lot more difficult, and awkward, than one might think.

The swim was pretty straightforward. I came out way behind the lead pack in my wave (4 waves of 40-44), but not last anymore.

I little disoriented, I managed to get my wet suit off and everything jammed into my T1 bag, so thy can transport it to the finish line, a minute plus slower than everyone else.

I knew I could get some time back on the bike, so I hammered it. The bike was hilly and windy. 16.8 miles going hard went by sooo slow.

My new Xentis aero bars and the custom made brackets felt great.

Entering T2, I glanced to my right and noticed the hill that we have to run up and over in our 4.3-mile run. It was a monster, Bigger and steeper than Lake Geneva’s beast. I saw my friend Dan and his wife Kristen as I exited T2 and heard “attack that hill!” As I came upon it, I noticed everyone on it was walking up it. Screw that! I just came back from Colorado and went up an 1800 ft trail that was less than a mile long 3 times in two days! Even with that said, it was a tough hill to jog up.

The run is basically, 2 miles up and 2 miles down. On the way up I saw a couple of the fast guys going down (earlier waves). They didn’t look that good. Up to this point, I was having a flawless day. I was just cruising along at a moderately fast run. I have Kona (half in May) on my mind and don’t want to pull a hammy or anything so I kept the run under control, especially the 2 miles down hill.

As I free fell down the last quarter mile of the run, I could see the finish and was glad to be done. I knew that my feet were going to hurt from the hill decent on the run but this is crazy! Five days out I feel like the James Kahn character in the movie “Misery” with Kathy Bates after she was done working him over with that 2X4.

I told my friend Dan I wanted top 5 in my age with such a talented field. I ended up 3rd in my age group and 12th overall! What a pleasant surprise for me. I did have an almost effortless day. I am now on the heels of some of the most recognized local (and National) guys in my age group and overall thanks to a great coach, a well thought out plan and hard work. I have had three really good training camps this spring. One in Kona, HI, one in the Smokey Mountains of TN and one in Colorado Springs, CO. It has been difficult getting in all my workouts with the lifestyle we lead in our home but the ones I get in are great! I felt prepared for this “practice” sprint and the results from the race are a great confidence booster going into the Kona Half in Kona this May 31st.

Train safe and I hope to see you this summer!

Glen

2008 Spirit of Racine race report

I was up in Racine early on Saturday to watch some friends in the sprint race with my daughter Anna. The race web site posted water temps of 54 degrees. Anna and I found a good spot at the swim start to set up camp. Anna had other ideas. She wanted to go swimming. She was playing waist deep (in her dress) in the same water the triathletes were struggling to stay in.

I honestly didn’t feel the water temp. I knew it was going to be an awful swim for the half Ironman the next day.

I dropped off Anna at home and headed back up to spend the night at my good friend Carl’s house who lives a couple miles away from the race sight.

Race morning:

This was purely a training race. My coach and I are working on fine-tuning pacing and nutrition for next months Ironman Louisville. When in the city limits the name is properly pronounced Luville, or everyone will correct you.

I had no pressure on myself or from others in this race so I was without jitters.

Swim:

The water had managed to get a couple degrees colder over night. On the up side, when you are numb it really doesn’t matter.

After an hour delay due to heavy fog and poor visibility, the race director was getting ready to start the race.

I got in the water to get acclimated to the temperature and get my face in and used to the shock. After less than a minute in the water, I couldn’t feel my hands. This was a little alarming to me but everyone else was in the same boat and we weren’t swimming too far off shore.

I pushed my way to the front and toed the inside line for the swim start. The gun went off and I sprinted in the water and did a few dolphin dives and then my goggles came off and the freezing water went in my eyes. Wow, what a weird feeling.

The visibility was still poor out on the water as I was zig zagging looking for buoys. The quarter mile run up the beach with feet you couldn’t feel is always a challenge up here.

Bike:

I was in no hurry in T1. I jumped on the Cat and tried to get into a rhythm. My goal was to hold a decent pace and negative split the 56 miles and feel strong for the run. My gel flask holder broke off my frame while I was moving. I managed grab it before it fell to the street. Now what do I do with it? I held on to it for a few miles and was forced to throw the flask holder to the ground. I stuffed the flask in my race shorts. I was feeling good and hammering away then all the drafters started to show their form. This really gets me upset. I did notice some 40-44 age group guys in the peloton of cheaters and decided to just keep passing them alone and let them re-pass me as a group and just keep re-passing them so I can keep the 40-44 guys close by. At mile 40 in the middle of passing the entire peloton of cheaters for the umpteenth time, I sort of ran out of gas and found myself having difficulty passing them. Just then a draft marshal shows up right beside me. The marshal was looking at me like I was up to something. I found the energy to finish the pass on the pack and the motorcycle stayed with me. Come on! I just couldn’t believe this. When the motorcycle finally left, the peloton re-grouped and passed me again. This time I was too tired to belittle them with my solo efforts.

I still managed to practice some good nutrition and get some valuable bio feed back.

Run:

T2 is always interesting, as I have to get creative and find a place to put my custom painted helmet so someone else won’t damage it.

I hit the run with a couple bags of cliff blocks (experimental nutrition for the Ironman next month) and a lot of sodium. The run was going great and to be honest, was going by rather quickly. The temp and humidity were climbing quickly. My goal was just to hold a seven-minute pace for the 13 miles. It was going well until I started to get my always-present broken toes feeling. I struggled with this for half the run. I used this “practice” race to try some different running styles, stretches and techniques to try and alleviate this horrible feeling. Nothing worked and I struggled in with a 1:36 run.

Finish 4:29, my first sub 4:30 half Ironman. I was very pleased with a sixth place finish but upset I can’t figure out the broken toe thing.

On the way home after stopping at DQ for about 3500 calories of ice cream and hamburgers, I had some time to reflect. It is hard for me to believe that little me, the average dude, that used to go as hard as I could in half Ironman races and finish in 6 hours is now recording the times I am. I look at many of these talented triathletes in awe. I hold them in such high esteem. I do not think of myself as one of these talented triathletes. This racing is about moving forward and not making stupid mistakes. I am soaking in my accomplishments right now and taking it all in because I remember all the years of trying just as hard and finishing hours later.

This is such a great sport. It brings one greatest attributes to the surface. There are so many obstacles to overcome in triathlon. These obstacles are not only the physical, mental and spiritual. They are the restructuring of our work, our families, our spare time (yeah right), not attending fun things like BBQ’s because you have to get in a 120-mile ride that day. Each and every person out on that race course has their own story, and I hope they record them like I do for the sake of personal history.

There are some really bad things in our sport. Some things that wipe away all the hard work and dedication most of us have to the sport. These are the cheaters, the drafters and the dopers to be specific. It is an insult to us that put in all the effort it takes to meet our goals. Unlike a student that cheats his way to perfect grades only to fail on the job because he doesn’t know what he is doing, a cheater in triathlon can find himself racing with the world best in Hawaii, the ultimate nirvana of triathlon. In my 12+ years in triathlon, I have seen a lot of things. One thing that I can’t stand any longer is cheating.

I came back to this race report after I had a chance to cool off regarding the cheaters and I will get off my soap box now.

As this season nears it end, I hope you are all achieving your goals and having a great time doing it!

I hope to see you all soon. Glen

My Triathlon Family Bike Helmet

2008 Ironman Kentucky race report

It is really hard to put into words something that means so much, and that you are so intimate with. Ironman is not only a challenge to our minds and bodies but a relationship with our limits and our guts.

My brother John and I arrived a few days early in Louisville so I can get off my feet and get some rest. I felt very prepared for the race that was to take place this coming Sunday. I have to admit, walking around seeing these “perfect triathlon specimens” all over the place does make you doubt yourself. I did have some panic attacks where I found it hard to breathe all of a sudden. It is amazing what the mind can make the body do.

This was a very special race for me as my family was driving down to cheer me on from the sidelines. I must have visualized seeing all of them a thousand times in my mind. Each time was better than the first.

During some of my panics, I would email or call my coach in a panic with my doubts about this race. She would ensure me that I have done the training, put in all the time, saw the results from my efforts and most of all am ready for this.

I think everyone close to me knows my ultimate goal. I have changed my goals from qualifying for Worlds in Kona to just having a good day. Pre race jitters, nervousness and unreal expectations will destroy your day. I just kept telling myself to go out and do what I have been doing for the last 9 months in preparation for this day. The only thing different is that a couple thousand people will be testing themselves too. I just need open water, no catastrophes on the bike and 26.2 miles to get this thing done.

I got some good rest the night before the race. I showed up to transition ten minutes before it opened, just as three hundred other people had. I got in to transition, pumped up the tires, filled the bladder in the Cat, reset the computer and headed out for the ¾ mile walk to the swim start. The race is a time trial start, first come first serve. I was a couple hundred back in line. Perfect, as it gets really hot in KY in the early afternoon and I want to be as far into that marathon as I can.

My brother John arrived shortly after I got in line. Even with the camaraderie of all those other triathletes, it is nice to have your brother there to keep you company. I needed to run to the port potties about 45 minutes before the start of the race. I told John I would be right back. Man the lines were long. I got back about a half an hour later. Meanwhile, the race officials had opened the starting line docks (that we were to jump off for the start) open. My spot in line with my goggles, nose clip and swim cap where gone along with John. I totally freaked out. I jumped barriers and fences screaming Johns name. I tried to guess where I might be in line if never left. Nothing was working. I decided to go back to where I was when I left for the port potties and there was John. No damage.

Swim start

A few minutes later I was in a fast pace walking towards the end of a dock that was the start of the Ironman. Goggles on, timer started, I dive in the way I had practiced a hundred times before and this time my goggles come off.

The current going up the river for ¾ of a mile was more difficult than last year. It was difficult to stay straight into the current. In the segment going up stream, something weird happened. I had some contact with a few swimmers as many of us were pushed to the right or left of the course from the currents. I was sandwiched between a guy on my right and a woman on my left. As we all made contact, we all adjusted our stroke and lines like we normally do and I felt the woman to my left (whom I was swimming a little faster than) going for my chip. For those of you that haven’t heard of this delightful trick, this is what happens. If someone in the swim feels like they have been cut off or hit unnecessarily or harder than normal, they will strip the alleged of their timing chip strapped to their ankle screwing up there race results. In 13 years if triathlon, I have only heard of this and can’t imagine that it actually happens. What kind of person does this?

So I feel her grasping at my ankle with every stroke she has. I feel her grimy little finger nails scratching at my ankles and she actually had the chip band in her grasp for a second rolling it over. This contact was of the most innocent kind, the kind that happens all the time. I thought for a few seconds what I could do to her. I decided to be a bigger person and let the next person she tries this on rip her goggles off and throw them.

I exited the water a few minutes slower than last year but feeling much better. I did see my wife Helene on the sidelines, my first feel good.

Bike

I have been really hammering the bike hard lately and felt ready to have a nice negative split on the day of I can stay focused and stick to the plan. As I jumped on the bike and headed out, one of the straps that keeps my foot secure in the shoe had come completely out of the guides. No biggie. I stopped and fixed it.

The course is basically 12 miles straight east where you hit an eight-mile out and back killer down hill that you have to climb back out of then onto a two-loop roller coaster ride through the countryside of LaGrange County. At about twenty miles into the bike, I noticed the bottom of my left foot getting real sore. At fifty miles I could barley push down on that pedal. I tried to compensate with pulling on the up stroke on the left but started to cause cramping in those muscles. There was really nothing I could do here and now except stretch it on down hills. I kept checking my average speed and it was better than last year each check and that was all I needed to carry on.

Half way through this bike course, I realized just how difficult this course is. I was talking with my coach last week about trying to cut 30-40 minutes off last years split. How foolish of me.

The only reprieve was the 12 miles back into town going west where we were with the wind. I was pumped up to see, with all my problems, that I was actually faster than last years bike.

112 miles actually went by pretty quick (only in my mind). As I loosened my shoes so I could jump out of them in T2 I realized how much trouble I was in. I could not put any pressure on my left foot. It felt like I broke a bone in my foot. I couldn’t even move. I was meet by some volunteers that tried to carry me to medical. I couldn’t even bear the jarring of them carrying me. I had to stop them and just breathe.

I just needed to be alone with my mind for a long time as I lay on a cot in medical. To be served this right now was so overwhelming I fell apart. Why was this happening? Why now? My marathon was my weapon and I couldn’t use it.

I will never quit, I kept telling myself as I tried over and over to get up and walk. After 45 minutes of ice and stretching I got myself over to the exit to the run where the sun block station is, got some sun block and started to walk.

Run

As I exited transition, I saw my friend Marcus who was looking strong as he pasted me in a blur. He gave me great encouragement to carry on.

The terrible pain was a seizure or cramp of a muscle that was slowly letting lose. I did a little limping, walking and half jogging for the first half marathon. By mile 13 I was almost symptom free and running. At the turn around on the run (mile 13) I came across my family. My kids where waving signs they made for me. I stopped and enjoyed the visit. These are the best rewards in life, totally overwhelming.

As I jogged along, I looked at all the faces, the pain, and the drama. Everyone must have such a great story. This race is a journey, not only in distance but also in learning about yourself and the limits you have.

By mile 18, the same place I hit the wall last year, I was feeling great. My pace was just as it was in practice. The support from all the people that lined the streets was amazing. You almost don’t want to let them down. As I pasted mile 22, then 23, the 24 I was only feeling stronger and stronger. As I made my way through the final blocks prior to the finish, I felt OK with all that had happened today. I felt lucky to have finished this IM. Getting to the end of an Ironman, no matter how you do it, is an amazing thing. It brings perspective to your life.

After I had some time to reflect on this day, I swore to myself I would never sign up for another Ironman again in my life. If I won a lottery spot, I would never pass this up but to go through this again, no.

That was on Monday. Tuesday, I find myself running through the list of Ironmans for 2009!

Swim 1:11

T1 2:40

Bike 5:40

T2 47:38!

Walk 4:16

Total 12:09

Me and my son

2007 Ironman Louisville race report

Man, I can’t believe how fast time goes by. It was just 10 short months ago that I had a couple of brews too many and signed up for a full Ironman.

That fateful night is still a little blurry, but I think I e-mailed a friend, (that has done a full Ironman, and has been encouraging me to do one) that I had signed up for Louisville. I was glad when I received an e-mail back saying he was joining me in Louisville.

I don’t know what drove me to sign up for this race, but I am happy I did.

Aside from a good day at the Eagleman Half in Maryland, this year’s race times have been pretty lousy (my own fault, being hard headed and not listening to my coach on when and how often to race).

I was lucky enough to have the company of my older brother John on this trip.

We arrived a few days early so we could settle in and I could rest.

The entire experience started out great. Everyone in Louisville was super nice to us. The IM staff and volunteers were ready for us and well organized.

We had Friday and Saturday set aside to swim in the river in order to get used to the current.

On Friday morning I joined a couple thousand other athletes in the Ohio River.

The course was lined with buoys. As we got closer to the river, we noticed right away that many athletes were being dragged down current and having to be rescued by kyakers and police boats. You could see right in front of you that it was difficult to make any progress up stream. We had to get some video of some of the “not-so-great-swimmers” jumping in to get a quick 20-minute swim. They didn’t move forward the entire time. When they were done, they just angled back in towards shore and got out.

I put on my new “Zeropointthree” super suit and jumped in. I started laughing right away because it felt like a giant endless pool. I started off for the first buoy. The current was really strong; I would say it was 2-3 mph. I took off for the first buoy 200 meters away. I was barely making any progress. As I got closer, I noticed a bunch of people around the buoy. The closer I got, the harder it was to make any progress. At one point, I was convinced all these people around the buoy were course workers towing the buoy up stream. It took me 20 minutes to get to the first buoy about 200 meters up stream. I grabbed onto the buoy once I got there and went limp. MAN, now I could really feel the current. I was almost skipping along the surface of the water.

I let go and it took me a few minutes to float back to the swim start where I had started.

Saturday: race briefing (athlete meeting).

All the regular stuff was covered and they informed us the swim was altered due to the unusually strong current. Awesome! There was no way the swim could have been held there. So, the swim will start in an area of the river protected by an island. The swim will still be 2.4 miles, we just have to go farther up stream. The city engineers did their best to slow the currents using the locks and dams.

Sunday: Race morning

I can’t believe this day has finally come. I feel ok and rested. I’ve had no beer for two whole days. I am sure a surplus built up somewhere.

I love this part of the race: The pre-race jitters. I love the tension.

I pumped up my tires and covered the cut-out on both sides of my 909 Zipp disc with pictures of Glen and Jack. On my handlebars I had my little Anna and Helene looking up at me for the 112 miles.

My friend Aras and I headed ¾ of a mile to the swim start. It was a first come first serve time trial start. That is good as I am not a great swimmer and this is fresh water with no wet suit (87 degrees F). One athlete per second off the end of a pier is the way all 2300 of us started our day!

My bother John met us at the start to get some pictures. Some really funny guys were in line with us and their jokes really helped me with my nerves.

Swim Start:

One athlete per second and I am 10-15 seconds away from jumping in the water at the end of the pier when I notice that something wasn’t right.

Just then, I noticed that my nose plug was not on my nose and missing. I am a whimp and can’t swim without it. I quickly scrambled and found it under my suit were I put it earlier. I quickly put it on as I jumped into the water where I racked myself on the waters surface. Ok, heart rate is high and I am in pain. Not a good start.

Getting around the island was easy enough. Now we are entering the main part of the river. Right away I am way too far to the left of the buoys and am being pulled down stream. I corrected my angle and tried to find someone to draft. As I made the turn around the “turn-buoy”, I didn’t notice any change in the current. As I was swimming under one of the two bridges, I noticed that I wasn’t moving. I went wide around the turn hoping there would be a stronger current in deeper water. I was wrong. I was trapped in some sort of eddy. I really had to hammer hard to get out of it. I exited the 2.4-mile swim in 1:06. I was excited. I was hoping for a time of 1:10.

T1 is 2 football fields away, about 2 football fields longer than usual. The crowds are big and pumped up so I didn’t mind. I felt myself smiling the entire run into T1.

I made the decision to change cloths for all three segments of the race so my transition times would be longer than usual. The cycling jersey I decided to wear must have shrunk on the way or I got pumped up in the swim because I couldn’t get it all the way on. The volunteer I had with me was doing the best he could do to help me get my jersey on. I finally had to settle for a jersey that was twisted off to one side, kind of like someone was trying to take me down.

Bike:

Finally, out on the road! My cycling jersey is on sideways and twisting me. What the hell? I struggled with it for a couple of miles and got to a point where I could deal with it. Now I am noticing that I am sliding off my seat onto my bars. I practiced everything in training, what gives?

Ah, yes, the Chamois cream. I didn’t use this stuff with the cycling bib I am wearing. My new seat is carbon (imagine that) and already slippery. The cream must have oozed through the uniform and gotten on the seat. I was having such a hard time keeping myself on the seat that I pushed off the bar tape and wrap on my aero bars trying to stay on the seat.

Great! Now what. I don’t have anything with me except my spare tubulars, Co2, sodium and power bars. I had to do something, so I took an unwrapped power bar and put it on my seat and sat on it. Man it was perfect! I wasn’t sliding anymore.

My coach, Jen Harrison, had a long talk with me about the game plan for the day. The race doesn’t start until the 85-mile mark on the bike so she advised me to take it easy until then and start to build there after.

The course was much harder then had been described. One section had two blazing fast 3/4-mile descents. I love the descents, but in traffic it is almost like a video game. In and out of traffic going 47 mph was awesome. Parts of the course like this remind me of how lucky I am to have a bike like this. Even at 125 lbs, I scream past everyone on these descents. The Cheetah doesn’t even move. It’s almost as if it is asking for more speed!

At mile 30 and 65, we went through a town called, LaGrange that was PACKED with people. It reminded me of the Tour De France where the crowds are so thick there is only a few feet of roadway left.

It is in this town where I saw one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Someone with a twisted sense of humor had decorated a poor raccoon that had been hit and killed by a car. It was situated on the side of the road facing the bikers. Someone put a party hat on it and party beads around its neck. An empty beer was under his paw and his tongue was hanging out of a gaping mouth. It looked just like a party raccoon that partied too hard. When I saw it I burst out laughing. I laughed out loud for the next mile. I was looking forward to seeing him again on the second loop, but he was gone. I heard that some locals brought it home to eat. I searched and found someone who actually videoed it. I may have been a lot funnier to us that were racing as it broke up the day a bit. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlN1JmtUhcE

Ok, back to the race. Just like my coach said, it was easy. I was enjoying the views. The bike course went through Kentucky’s thoroughbred country. At mile 95, as I was starting to pick up the pace, I had entire large muscle groups in my legs start to lock up. If any of you have ever experienced this you know the pain. I couldn’t even get my shoe unclipped to shake out my leg. I was taking sodium as planned. Not sure what happened. I had to stay in zone 1-2 for the entire 112 miles. If I tried again to pick it up a zone, the same cramp in the same muscle group would lock up.

Bike 5:46. 15 minutes slower than planned.

T2! Another couple of football fields. I was so glad to get off that bike. Note to whomever is reading this, you can probably acquire a Cat Cheetah cheap if you get me at this point in an Ironman, ha ha! I felt good coming into T2. I couldn’t really tolerate any solids on the bike. I had one power bar, one Cliff bar, two Gu’s, a couple gallons of Gatorade and water and a power bar topically on my seat on the entire bike ride.

Run:

I felt great on the run. I felt like it was a regular day back home going out for a routine run. I was wearing my wife’s Garmin GPS watch to monitor my pace. I was going at a 7:10 pace at a perceived exertion of 1. My coach said I may feel this way and to settle down and settle into a pace I could hold for the marathon.

My run started out great. I followed the plan. Every aid station I had an entire cup of water, most of a cup of Gatorade and solids as tolerated. Mile 1 through 17 was a piece of cake. I was eating and drinking. I saw my brother John a couple of times on the run. It was great to see him and I felt confident of a great finish. I was going through my sodium as planned, then WHAMM! I hit this invisible wall. This is the first time I think I really hit the wall. I was completely blank inside. I felt nothing. I was not aware of my time or the qualifying time for Kona. I just wanted to walk, and it felt great. Just as I stopped to walk, I saw my friend, Aras, going the other direction. I must have looked bad because he turned around with a concerned look on his face and walked with me. What a great guy to jeopardize his own race to help me out. He walked with me for about a half mile. He is a doctor, so I was in his mobile triage unit.

I thanked him for stopping and walking with me, but he needed to get back to his race. I would be ok.

I walked for about a mile. I ate what would amount to a meal at the mile 18-aid station. I decided to start running again. I felt stronger than I had in a while and carried on. The pain in my quads was something I have never felt before. Imagine an M80 (quarter stick of dynamite) going off in your quads. This is about the sensation I was feeling, and it happened each and every step in the run after mile 18.

I stopped to walk at each mile aid station from mile 18 to mile 25. By this point I was out of sodium pills. “Bananas and pretzels” (I was out of sodium) was all I kept telling myself. My goal of a sub four-hour marathon was going to be minutes out of reach, but I had to finish running. I watched as I passed each 40-44 guy hoping I was bringing myself closer to a Kona slot. Deep down I knew you can’t walk as much as I did and go to Kona, but I fooled myself long enough to run the last mile in. The pain was mind-boggling.

The enormity of the task had slipped my mind as I made the final turn towards the finish line. As I rounded the last corner, I heard the crowd roar. I felt the cool air of the air-conditioned finish line. The lights, the energy, the power, the look and excitement on the faces of the volunteers and spectators as I made my way to the finish line brought out all the emotion that you would imagine would come along with accomplishing a task that you thought was impossible just yesterday. I will never forget this feeling.

Marathon 4:07, eight minutes slower than planned.

My brother John was there at the finish to make sure I was ok. Thanks man! I decided to keep walking to keep from locking up. We walked back to the hotel (4 blocks) so I could jump in the shower and return to the finish line to enjoy the finish line festivities. John took the bike pick-up ticket and went to pick up my bike. He rode it from the swim start to the hotel (3/4 of a mile) and said to me when he got back, “How the hell do you ride that thing?” “I’ve got a neck ache and my crotch is killing me from riding it back to here!”

We got back to the finish line and got a table at a nice restaurant just a few feet from the finish line. I had a porterhouse steak (medium rare), grilled asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes! I washed this down with 4 Sam Adams and a shot of the houses’ finest tequila. Now, I was right.

I saw my friend, Aras, carry his daughter across the finish line where he destroyed his previous time without training. After a couple more beers, I hit the sack AN IRONMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I must say, it was easier than I thought (up until mile 18 on the run)[and I only say this because I thought it was impossible for me to finish, period, let alone in the 17 hour cut off time]. Then, after mile 18, I experienced pain and suffering that I didn’t know existed.

I didn’t get my spot to Kona. That is ok, I will keep trying. I was told from some veterans of the sport that I would have many questions answered during this day. One question that was to be answered was why I do this to myself. I waited all day for this answer and it remains a mystery. I do know that I would never quit in this race. As bad as the bad was (and it was the worst I experienced) I kept fighting back. I learned I am not a quitter and I can dig and dig and dig into my soul to find a way to finish something I thought impossible.

Total: 11:12

Thank you Helene Marie. You told me I could do it and to believe in myself. You were right! Hearing the raw excitement and flutter in your voice after I finished was all I needed to hear to know that you were proud of me. It was priceless and I will never ever forget that.

Thank you Dad and Olga for filling in at home and taking care of our three wonderful children. You are so very important in their lives.

Thanks John for joining me all over the globe in my quest to race in Kona. I hope you have had a good time.

Thanks to my coach Jen Harrison. You are wise beyond your years.

Thanks to my many friends and family that supported me and gave me encouragement up to and after the race. I appreciate it more than you will ever know.

Thanks to The Bike Shop of Glen Ellyn for getting my bike set up for the race.

A special thanks to Power bar for keeping me on my seat!

I am an Ironman!

P.s. I hope this finishers medal doesn’t clash with my wardrobe.

NAME

GLEN MCGOWEAN


BIB NUMBER

1292

AGE

41

PROFESSION

NUTRITIONIST

STATE/COUNTRY

VERNON HILLS IL USA

SWIM

BIKE

RUN

OVERALL

POSITION

1:06:54

5:46:17

4:07:18

11:12:10

174


RACE LEG

DISTANCE

PACE

POSITION

TOTAL SWIM

2.4 mi. (1:06:54)

1:45/100m

319


FIRST BIKE SEGMENT

22 mi (1:08:19)

19.32 mph


SECOND BIKE SEGMENT

23 mi (1:12:08)

19.13 mph


THIRD BIKE SEGMENT

30 mi (1:37:37)

18.44 mph


FINAL BIKE SEGMENT

37 mi (1:48:13)

20.51 mph


TOTAL BIKE

112 mi. (5:46:17)

19.41 mph

265


FIRST RUN SEGMENT

4 mi. (32:41)

8:10/mile


SECOND RUN SEGMENT

4 mi. (38:11)

9:32/mile


THIRD RUN SEGMENT

4 mi. (38:48)

9:42/mile


FOURTH RUN SEGMENT

4 mi. (33:10)

8:17/mile


FIFTH RUN SEGMENT

4 mi. (45:28)

11:22/mile


SIXTH RUN SEGMENT

4 mi. (41:50)

10:27/mile


FINAL RUN SEGMENT

2.2 mi. (17:10)

7:48/mile


TOTAL RUN

26.2 mi. (4:07:18)

9:26/mile

174

 

 

TRANSITION

TIME

T1: SWIM-TO-BIKE

6:01

T2: BIKE-TO-RUN

5:40

 

 

PENALTY

TIME

TOTAL PENALTIES

--:--


Black Water Eagleman half Ironman Race report June 10, 2007

The expo was small but nice. The Jon Blazeman foundation (who the race was dedicated to) had a booth where you could meet John’s family and Brian Breen (the guy that raced Kona 2006 for John). It was very emotional hearing his sister speak.
Saturday morning my brother John and I headed over to the swim start for a swim and quick brick. Water was warm and murky with a 1-2 foot chop. You can really get disoriented if you don’t site often on something fixed on the horizon.
I have been focusing on this race since December of 2006 honing my skills to hopefully gain that elusive slot to Kona I want so badly. I can’t believe this day is here already. Am I ready? There are so many guys in my age group. I can’t possibly be faster than all of them. These are some of the things haunting my mind the two days prior to race day.
The competition was fierce. The pro women side was stacked. Badmann VS last years Kona runner up, Ficker, with a bunch of talent chasing them.

Race morning: There was no wind! My brother and I got to the race site early so we could get a good parking spot. I was ready to race but my head wasn’t into it yet. The National anthem started.

Swim

Wave one (pro’s) was in the water for their start. Wave two was on the beach and my wave (3) was just behind them warming up. Just then I realized I didn’t have my goggles, cap or nose plug. “Oh, crap!” I yelled. I thought I left it all at the hotel. I sprinted back to transition hoping I would find it all in my backpack. As I was running along muttering profanities to myself I noticed 3000 people to my left looking at me motionless. I looked closer and they all had their right hand over their hearts. I looked to my right and I was two feet in front of the lady singing the national anthem. Crap! Why do I find myself in these situations so often? I kind of made the universal ducking motion. I am sure I had the look of embarrassment on my face.

I found my swim stuff in my transition bag and ran around the back of the transition to the swim start.

Wave three, three hundred seventy four participants. I started in the front hoping to jump to the inside of the buoys on the way out to find some open water on my way out to the turn around. The horn blew and we were off. I tried to get to the left for some open water and everyone else had the same idea. I tried going a little more left and sure enough, I found open water. I kept the yellow buoys in site and hammered. I thought I was doing great when a jet ski stopped me. The lady driving it said, “you are way off course!” “You have to get back over there with everyone else!” Crap!

I must say after this winters’ work in the pool with some one on one help I am much faster in the water, I just have to work on swimming straight.

As I exited the swim, I looked at my watch. 28 minutes! I was so happy. I found my bike right away. Put on my helmet and race number and grabbed my bike to head out and noticed that my bottle holders were to high to get under the bike rack. I couldn’t lift the front end of the bike to lower the back end because the fluid in the bladder (of the frame) would pour out. I had to re-rack my bike and run around the whole rack because there was no room for me to crawl between the bikes. Crap! What a disaster. I would have loved to see this comedy.

T1

I am off. I am finding it easy to hold 25-26 for the first 10 miles. There is no wind and the roads are great. I am starting to do the math and getting excited. I figured the fast 35-39 guys would catch up at 40ish miles into the bike. At about 30 miles, I got passed by a 40-44 guy. He was obviously a great cyclist, But, he had a wheel sucker on him. The wheel sucker was also a 40-44 (age group on calf) age grouper. They were going at a pace I could not keep up with and I just had to watch them ride away. The further they got away, the more upset I became. I saw the guy in front swerving, trying to get him off his wheel, but this drafter was just unwilling to get off his wheel. I have been training my butt off since December 2006 for this race, taking valuable time away from my family and work to try and qualify for Kona. There was no way I was going to let this scum take my spot. Just then, here come the fast 35-39 guys flying past. I knew that drafter would jump on one of the faster guys wheel if he had the opportunity. Sure enough, as soon as the fast 35-39 guys went by them, he jumped on someone’s wheel. I could watch no more. I was furious! I HAMMERED up to this group and actually had to slam on my brakes when I caught them. I stopped right next to the drafter and said: “Dude, you have got to get off everyone’s wheel!” He wouldn’t even look at me. I then asked him how he even got up here with all the fast guys. He then responded that he has “huge legs and is a great rider,” what ever that means. I was starting to get out of control. I think I started to threaten him, as he got belligerent back at me. I almost jumped off my bike onto his to tackle him. I yelled, “Get off everyone’s ass and ride honestly!” and took off. I was so mad I found myself hammering along at 28mph. All of a sudden I hear a motorcycle, Music to my ears. As the driver and official went by me, I yelled his race number and said he had been drafting for 12 miles. I slowed up a bit and all those guys came by me, including the drafter. The drafter was behaving. I saw the official tap the driver and motion to back off to watch from a distance. Sure as shit, the drafter was back on someone’s wheel and that motorcycle came flying by. Bam! Red flag (drafting penalty). Ha Ha, I yelled. And went by making eye contact with him. All those fast guys were very supportive. They thanked me and then took off. I was spent. I went out of my comfort zone and almost got into a fight. I was really tired. I got back to T2 in 2:25. Crap!

T2

I wear socks now after a blister filled 2006 so T2 is a little slower. After running all the way to the wrong end of the transition area and back to the exit, I was out on the course. I felt pretty good.

My brother yelled out “nine, ninth place!” as I passed him. Wow, I thought. Ninth out of three hundred seventy some guys! How can this be? Let me insert here that I have a great coach in Jen Harrison. I really wasn’t killing myself to get to this point. Just following the plan. Training since December has been torture and this really didn’t seem as bad as some of my training days. I started picking off guys right away. I ran my way up to fifth place. As we all know you can’t escape all the feelings that come along with this type of racing. Somehow you just have to keep your mind busy or kind of go blank to deal with the hurt. I was really excited about where I was in the race. I started daydreaming about racing in Kona. I would start the planning when I get home. I needed to get tickets, the room, start packing my Hawaiian shirts etc… Then, a bunch of those same guys passed me back. Alright, I need to start planning Clearwater (back up qualifier). Man, I could almost see the division of Kona and Clearwater in front of me.

This was without a doubt my best half Ironman run ever. In addition to thanking my coach Jen, I can thank Paul Huddle and Paula Newbie-Fraiser (from my recent IM training camp with them) for giving me great advise on how to eat on the run. It worked perfectly. In every other half ironman, my stomach was a mess. My stomach was not even an issue. It allowed me to push hard enough to feel every other part of my body breaking down-Ha Ha.

At mile 8, I felt my legs starting to ache and get heavy. I needed to stay with a bunch of the 40-44 guys around me to try and break away in the last mile. If I tried to pick it up a half step, I started cramping and could feel that I may not finish running.

I looked at my watch with a little over a mile to go and it read 4:23. To see such a small number this late in a race is special. Just two short summers ago, I was a 5:50-6:00 half ironman guy. I crossed the line losing a sprint (which I never do) to a guy probably in my age group, in 4:32. I was a heap at the finish line. All the guys I ran with the last couple of miles were all smiles and high fives. I couldn’t high five, I was lucky I threw a low five. My brother John was there for me at the end when I could no longer walk. Thanks John!

I finished worse than I thought, but I exceeded most of my expectations. I called Helene and she put it all in perspective for me. Kona slot or not, I stuck to my plan, exceeded most of my expectations and finished faster than I ever thought I was capable of.

I missed a Kona roll down by two people. Two measly people. So so close. I accepted my Clearwater slot and promised myself I will be back next year to bike a faster 56, rack my bike properly and know how to get out of T2. This might be the ticket to Kona.

Thanks first and foremost to my wife Helene and my kids for putting up with this craziness. Thanks to my family that helps with the kids: Helene, Dad, Olga and Shasha for taking the kids when I am training. Thanks to my brother John for joining me and helping me throughout the race.

I couldn’t have gotten to this point in triathlon without a great coach in Jen Harrison (and her husband Jerome for fixing my bike when it won’t work).

Name GLEN MCGOWEAN
BIB NUMBER 403
AGE 41
PROFESSION Daddy
STATE/COUNTRY VERNON HILLS IL USA

SWIM BIKE RUN OVERALL POSITION
28:25 2:25:43 1:33:12 4:32:31 111

RACE LEG DISTANCE PACE POSITION
TOTAL SWIM 1.2 mi (28:25) 1:29/100m 212
TOTAL BIKE 56 mi. (2:25:43) 23.06 mph 186
TOTAL RUN 13.1 mi. (1:33:12) 7:06/mile 111
TRANSITION TIME    
T1: SWIM-TO-BIKE 2:55    
T2: BIKE-TO-RUN 2:16    

Ironman 70.3 World Championships Race report

September 5, 2006

Nov 13, 2006

Let me start by saying that my wife Helene and I try and attend the Ironman Hawaii Ironman World Championships as often as we can. Whenever we are there, the energy is so thick in the air it gives you goose bumps. Being in Clearwater this year to race gave me those same goose bumps. From the time we landed in Tampa until the day we left after the race, I felt like a superstar. The city of Clearwater and the Ironman staff and volunteers were so welcoming, so congratulatory for making it there.

Thursday night

My brother and his girl friend joined me at the host hotel for some appetizers and a beer to calm my nerves. The next thing you know, there is a full-blown party going on. All the big wigs from Ironman, the commentators, the mayor of Clearwater, pro athlete's and age groupers we partying it up like it was Saturday night after the race. I went up to Mike Reilly (the voice of Ironman [the guy that screams Joe Shmoe, You are an Ironman!!!]) and I wanted to ask him to say these same words with my name inserted, but I chickened out and just said, "Hi, introduced myself and said I hope you tell me I am an Ironman sometime in my life." He said, "You know I will, Glen." Later on I went up to Greg Welch and said, "this is crazy, don't these people need their rest?" His response to me was, "it's only a half, buddy." I guess I could expect a response like this from a guy with his personality.

I signed some of my children's books and gave them out to some of the IM staff and commentators. I was pleased to find that they knew me and of my books and that my books are favorites at some of their schools and homes. That alone made my weekend!

Friday

Friday was a trip. For five years I drooled in Hawaii watching triathlete's go through their pre-race meetings, swim practices, warm-ups of all kinds then check in their bike and equipment the day before the race. Now it was my turn. I did everything as slowly as possible so I could savor the moment. The Volunteers were super. So many smiles and best wishes on race day! I think I said thank you and have a great day 1000 times.

I hate it when people over use the word surreal, so I won't use it. Going through bike check and racking it and getting it ready for race morning was just as I imagined it would be. There was my four foot spot on the rack with my name and bib# waiting for me. The isles in transition could host a parade they were so wide. I think I hung out there talking with people for 2 hours.

Race morning

My wife and I have all of the music by Israel Kamamawiwo'ole (IZ). He is the famous Hawaiian singer that passed away in the 80's. His rendition of What a Wonderful World became very popular soon after his death. His music is the spirit of the Hawaiian island. It reminds us of our marriage, our honeymoon (in Hawaii in 2002 watching the 02 race in Kona), our kids as we put the to sleep at night with his lullaby's and most of all triathlon.

I put on my Ipod with IZ playing as I jumped on the shuttle to go over to the pier for the start of the race. I instantly go all blubbery and felt so very fortunate, so lucky in so many ways. I though about the long road I took to get to this race. I could never have done it alone. The shuttle ride to the pier was way too short of a ride. I didn't want it to end. I liked the place I was in mentally.

Body marking

Body marking on race morning is just like on the IM DVD's. The volunteers are amazing. I double checked everything on the Cat and did a lot of visualization to calm myself down prior to the start of the race.

The start of the race!

Jumbo trons with IM commentators talking stats, music and helicopters filled the air. This was an awesome time. The spectators look at you like you are a famous superstar. The energy in the air was electrifying! I decided to try and seed myself in the swim and not get up in front as I usually do, as everyone here was probably a better swimmer than me. Big mistake. My wave had roughly 400 people in it and I was stuck dog paddling and pushing for a while. I managed not to swallow any salt water until the last 300-400 meters. I got an entire mouthful at one point.

Swim time 33:00 ouch!

Going through T1 was great. I was still trying to soak it up. I had the biggest smile on my face. Experienced my first wet suit strippers. That was cool and fast! The help in the changing tent was great. I remember waving to spectators and getting eye contact with them thanking them for their support as I always enjoyed it when I was a spectator in Hawaii.

I quickly found the Cat and was off. We were given one lane for the entire bike course except for a 2mile interstate stretch that was completely closed off for us. The 1 lane actually was less than a lane as the cones were in the lane at some points. It was obvious right away that this was the World Championships. I normally work my way through the field pretty easily, but not here. Traffic was grid locked all over the Clearwater area. Cars were trying to get across the course were they shouldn't. People were out of their cars arguing with cops about the gridlocks. It was uncomfortable to be hammering down this narrow raceway this fast with so much hostility on either side of you. After a few miles you noticed some packs forming. This is where the race really got exciting!

There are a lot of different philosophies about what happened out on the bike. Here is my story.

My bike is my strongest event and wanted to hammer. I told my coach I was going to hammer the bike as hard as I could and try and hold on for the run. What I saw out there was shameful, out of control, dangerous and awesome. A pack started to form about 6 miles in. Everyone was fast. The pack grew to about 20-30 guys. This many guys in a 10-foot wide area of road, going 28-32 (at times 45), mph is pretty cool!

At first we (most) of us were trying to get out of the draft zone. It was obvious most of us didn't want to draft as athletes were turning their heads looking for a way out of the pack, pointing and yelling. Over a couple more miles at this pace, you could easily see the drafters. There were 4-5 guys in this pack (me being one of them) who spent most of the ride at the front of this 4-5 wide peloton. Each of us, and let me say it was awesome to see and more awesome to experience, tried to break away to get away from this pack. There were multiple times when someone would slow up and the guy behind him wasn't paying attention and all of us almost went down. It was crazy. It was scary. Everyone in the group was angry. Tensions were very high. This is what made some of us stronger cyclist try and get away. I definitely wasn't gong to back off and let them go ahead.

A marshal on a motorcycle caught us and was screaming at us to break it up. "Come on, Break this up you guys!" is what he kept yelling. We all thought to ourselves, how do we do that? Just then we came upon that 2-mile stretch of interstate that was 5 lanes wide and the stronger guys took off. We did manage to drop a lot of the guys but we did get some wheel suckers that hung on. That is when the marshal started taking digital photos of these guys and hitting them with penalties. What are these guys thinking? The marshal is close by and they are 6 inches off some guy's wheel. I saw at least 8 given.

At one of my last attempts to get away from the group I just pulled to the right after passing a bunch of guys and a motorcycle pulls right up to me and slows to my speed startling the hell out of me (I thought he was going to hit me), points at me and yells, "great job!" "Great job!" I though he was giving me a penalty at first. That felt good and I hope it sent a message to the guys that were not racing an honest race behind me.

After a turn around (180 degree turn), on the way back towards Clearwater, I saw the first of two pileups. What a horrible site. Guys all over the road, smashed up bikes, cops, ambulances, it was horrible. The next pile up was even worse.

By mile 45 my legs were shot from all the break away attempts and the salt water I took in was starting to catch up with me. I looked down at my computer at mile 53 and the elapsed time was 2:10. Wow! The last couple miles were tough. I did see one more bad accident as a car pulled out from a fast food place right in front of three cyclists. All three cyclists T-boned the car. There were pieces of Zipp wheels in the road! I was happy to see T2. With a huge smile, I handed the Cat off to a catcher. I was so happy to get off that bike!

Bike time 2:18 (24.5 mph ave)

T2 was great! Once again the volunteers are super. I went out conservative on the run hoping my legs would come around. Right away, I felt my quads just above and medial to my patella start to lock up. Great! I shuffled along to the first aid station and got some sodium pills in me and had a GU. I started to feel better a couple miles later. The more sodium I took the better I felt, odd. By mile 5 I was ok. I tried to pick up the pace and started to throw up. My race was a wreck at this point. I just wanted to run the entire half marathon. I was trying everything out there to try and feel better. I was drinking coke, eating oranges, pretzels, Gatorade, whatever I could find. All of this wasn't making me feel any better and no worse at the same time. I just decided to enjoy this awesome opportunity and run it in anyway I could.

I saw both the men's and women's race front row. Samantha McGlone flew past me on her way to the finish just as I was starting my second of the two-loop run.

From mile 7 on I was high fiveing people, talking to volunteers etc. I did and didn't want this to end. When I could hear the finish line I tried to pick it up so I wouldn't look so pathetic as I crossed. The finish line was awesome. There were tons of people all over clapping and cheering and screaming. It was great. I was doing that high five thing were you five on one side then run to the other side and five over there for a while. Everyone was so genuinely happy to see you finishing. As I crossed the finish line I noticed John Blaze AKA Blazeman, The Warrior Poet (Diagnosed with ALS a few years back). He was in his wheel chair with his parents behind him. I walked over to him and picked up his hand and said, "It is good to see you John." His parents said thanks to me as I walked away. Wow! That felt good to do. He is a great guy with a terrible disease.

All in all I had an ok race (with on one the worst runs ever). It was a very special day for me. My brother John (who I believe is hooked on tri's as he talks of racing in one next year) came out with his girlfriend to see me race. I wish my wife and kids could have been here but it is all just too much for them right now. I did have my families picture taped on the bars of my bike. From time to time I would look down and say little funny quirky things out loud that come out of their mouths from time to time.

My final time; 4:45.

One hundred and something out of two hundred and something. Not where I wanted to be. Perhaps I need to make myself throw up after the swim if I take in any salt water. This is not something I feel like practicing.

I had a great season!

I won my age group in every race I entered (except IM races). I PR'ed at every discipline multiple times throughout the year and had a super time doing it. Who say's you can't teach old dogs new tricks.

Thanks to my lovely wife Helene for putting up with all of this craziness. Thanks to my kids for giving me a reason to smile, shed a tear and even laugh out loud during races when I think of them. Thanks to my coach, Jennifer Harrison. You really know your stuff!

Thank you to my brothers and friends for helping me out by joining me at races (sorry about the France thing John). Thanks to my parents on both sides for helping with the circus back home when I am away at races. Thanks to Shasha. The kids (and us) think you're the bomb. Thanks to all my friends in and out of triathlon for your help and support.

Now I am going to sleep.



2006 Monaco Half Ironman race report

My brother John and I arrived a couple days prior to get acclimated to time and to drive the bike course. We rented a scooter, as it was cheaper and more fun.

Nothing I did in preparation for this race was even near what I was about to see. Our trip through the 56 miles was awesome and scary. The up hills and cut backs were relentless. The roads are very narrow and there aren't any guardrails to keep you from falling off the cliffs.

The bike portion map had a graph with elevation change at each mile mark but did not justify how brutal the bike course really was. At one point on the scooter ride, I turned to ask my brother if this was half or a full IM as the ride took so long. I thought I might have overlooked that this was a full IM.

Race morning! The swim start was a two lap Australian style were you exit the water after the first loop and run around a cone on the beach and dive back in for the second loop.

The sun wasn't going to be up until after the swim so it was very dark. It was a mass start with the pro's in front of the age groupers. The gun went off and all 690 athletes raced into the Mediterranean Ocean. I was freaked out right away as I swam over an underwater camera guy that was 15 feet down filming. I tried to stay to the inside of the triangle to stay out of the mess of triathletes. As far as contact in the water goes, this was the toughest swim I have ever done. Contact the entire swim. People were actually grabbing my legs and pulling me back and under the water. This was a constant thing. I was kicking people as hard as I could (and getting contact) and at one point turned around and basically wrestled someone because they wouldn't let go of my legs. Another obstacle in the water was the man-o-wars that were all over the place. I swam right over a big one on the first lap. This was my first sub 30 minute 1.2 of my life, COOL!

Transitions were long as there was quite a long run to get your bike after you left the changing tent. I was looking forward to the bike as I had trained my butt off this year. I brought my road bike, as TT bikes aren't practical on a course like this. The climb up the French Alps started ½ a mile into the bike. The climbs and cutbacks were brutal. I think I hit my downshift lever 25 times in the first 5 miles looking for a smaller gear. I recall looking down at my computer: 5.8 miles in 45 minutes, it is going to be a long 56. The first downhill was long and twisted through the mountains. I rode the brakes to keep my speed below 40mph. I was terrified at times. In my triathlon experience, brakes were only used when you had to stop at the dismount line at the end of the bike part. Here, braking was a major component of the race. You go up 850 feet, now you have to descend down on slippery roads with traffic and hairpin switch backs. The muscles in my forearms that help me squeeze the brakes were killing me. They were actually fatiguing to the point of not working the way I wanted them to work. I can honestly say that there were some descents that I was not in control of my bike anymore. I thought I was going down multiple times. I was begging for an uphill! My competition, which I could hang with on the up hills, made me look like a little girl on the descents. It was obvious that most of these guys I was riding with (Jean-Paul, Marcelle, Oscar, Roberto, Jean-Claude, Christian [names were on your bib]) had experience on the descents. I could slap all these guys on the flats so it was an exciting race. My coach (Jen Harrison) told me to ride with-in myself on the first half and to go all out on the second half. Well, at mile 30 I was going to start riding hard. I believe I have come a long way. I have put in the time and effort. It is up to each individual to race smart. I was racing smart. I was eating, drinking and listening to my coaches advise. I rounded a sharp corner in a slight up hill to see there was an aid station there. I quickly grabbed my almost empty water bottle to throw it to make room for a fresh one. I don't really know what happened. The water bottle slipped somehow and it fell and hit the valve stem on my front rim, which let the air out of my tire instantly. I thought I was having a bad dream. I stopped, put my head in my aero bars and tried to wake up. I could not believe what had just happened.

I had come to the conclusion to not bring a spare tubular and Co2 with me on this race as I have on all races previously, because in the past 12 years of competing in triathlons, I have never had a flat and have always had a spare and Co2 with me.

I kept repeating, "I can't believe this is happening." No one at this aid station had a pump or a tube or anything. I don't believe you are allowed outside help any way. My race was over. The swag vans that bring in athlete's that had crashed, broke down, or quit and those vans that wait until the last biker is on his/her way in to collect everyone out on the course were now visible. I was freezing as it was raining up here and my body temp was dropping now that I had stopped. I had decided that my race was over and I was going to DNF. I just wanted to get back to the hotel and sulk. An official and some race support stopped to see if they could help. No one had what I needed. This happened near a neighborhood in the Alps. I, and some of the aid station workers, ran up in the neighborhood to go house to house to see if anyone had a pump or something. Someone brought a basketball pump out. I was desperate and even tried this. Then a motorcycle stopped and brought out a can of "fix a flat." He insisted in his broken English that it wouldn't fit my valve. I had to beg him to try. It screwed right on. He sprayed the can into my tubular and this white foam went all over. It was coming out between the rim and the tubular where there were weak points. He was speaking French but I understood that I needed to wait for this stuff to dry and it will start to fill the gaps where the air was leaking from the tire. We waited 15-20 minutes and put more "fix a flat" in. It was still coming out but not as bad. We waited again for 20 minutes and holy jumping French toast the tire and rim were holding air. It was only around 25-30 pounds as this can of stuff was for a motorcycle tire but is was something. I now was forced to ride my bike 26 miles with hardly any air in the front tire. I thanked everyone that had helped me and set off down the descents. It was ugly. I could feel the tire folding and coming off the rim. I rode with my weight over the back tire to save my front rim. This sucked. I was so mad. I just followed the IM signs on the road as I made my way back in. I stopped to try and put in more of the "fix a flat" that I had with me in my back pocket only to let out pressure. Now I was really mad. I started riding again. A little while later I came upon an accident at a cutback and asked the guy trying to fix his bike if I could use his hand pump. In an attempt to put it on my valve I let out even more pressure. I couldn't get this guys pump to work. Now I am screwed. I have 15-20 pounds of pressure left and I have to make the accent and decent over the mountain to get back. I changed my mind about quitting and decided to finish even if I was last. Coming back in to transition I could see that I was among the last 40% left on the bike course. I saw my brother right away. He had a look on his face like, "What the hell, where have you been?" I told him what had happened and that I would see him at the finish. The run was a 4 lap flat run with a little hill at the turn around. A little hill for them out there is not what we call a little hill. This was the biggest hill on a run course I have ever seen. It was the "beast" at Lake Geneva's course only steeper and 4 times as long. But, that was ok. I was running on anger, which is actually a fast fuel! I had a chance to run with some really fast guys who were on their final laps and I was just starting. What I wanted most was to just finish and bring home a sweet finishers medal.

The finish line was among the nicest I have ever seen. I crossed the finish line in 5:57. It felt more like 6:57. I PR'ed in the swim and run and learned a big lesson: Being prepared for a race includes so many facets. I was smart in my preparation, execution, nutrition, game plan and my mental game, but stupid by not covering my, "what if list." I didn't want the extra weight on my bike that a spare tire and Co2 cartridge would add because of the climbs and it cost me a Kona slot. I wasted 45-55 minutes on the hill trying to fix my flat and another who knows how long stopping to try and get more air pressure so I can limp in this bike in the last 26 miles.

I will never make this mistake again.

One last thing: In the hotel room, I decided to put my pump on my front tire to see what pressure it read. As soon as I pushed the pump head on the valve, the valve broke off.

  • Swim 29:50
  • Bike 3:45
  • Run 1:37
  • Total 5:57

I still managed to qualify for the Half World Championships in Clearwater this November. I think I will bring that spare and Co2.

Thank you to my wife for taking on all three of our high energy kids by herself and letting me race an IM race in another country. It was an experience I will never forget.

Thanks to my coach for giving me only the best advise which I chose to follow, except for the spare tire and Co2. I learned my lesson.

Thanks to my brother John for coming along as my support. Your words of encouragement were heard and appreciated on each of those difficult 4 laps of the run. I am glad we had the time together.

A special thank you to my wife and three kids, which I saw in my minds' eye on some of these huge descents, that made me ride my brakes so hard and not go flying over a cliff trying to race too fast. This was only a race. I made it home to my family in one piece.

By the way, the race medals are a piece of plastic painted silver with another piece of white plastic that says Monaco Half Ironman on it. It is the same quality medal that little kids get at fun runs on the forth of July. This from a city that the average Joe drives a Ferrari to his yacht for an afternoon nap each day.

Spirit of Racine 2006

The day started out with me forgetting my car keys in one of the 40 porta-potty's lined up outside transition. I used one of the ones in the middle. So I got to spend some potty time with strangers right off the bat. No one had an issue with my interruptions.

Found my keys, no crap, I found em'!

I could tell as soon as I started setting up my transition area that I was tired and just didn't feel like doing this today. I forgot my sodium pills I kept on my bike for the third half Ironman in a row, a three-peat! Luckily, my wife talked me into having a back-up one on the run so I grabbed the extra one for the bike.

I just wanted to go to the swim start and just hang around and stretch a little. I had to make myself go through a pre-race checklist (that everyone should go through) prior to the start of the race.

I warmed up my legs with a half-mile jog then wanted to take my bike out and check the gears, brakes and make sure my shoes were clipped in tightly for the start. It is a good thing I went through this check-list because I forgot my helmet in the car. After retrieving it, I finalized the checklist and headed out for the mile walk to the start. On my way to the swim start, I noticed my car keys in my rear pocket of my race suit. What else can go wrong???? I just wasn't with it today.

As the starting horn went off, I thought to myself, "self, I would rather be in bed."

I love swimming in choppy waters and this lifted my spirits a bit. I tried to limit the swim to 1.2 miles as I normally swim all over the place. I was getting some drafters on my feet and when I would attempt to kick them off I was getting cramps in my legs. Great, cramps already! I exited the water in 32 minutes, great for me! After the quicksand run to T1, I was exhausted. Just as Jamie stated, this was the hardest part of the race

I am used to flying mounts coming out of T1 but the Cheetah doesn't let you do this as the front end is so low and the bottle holders in the back are so high. So, after a minute or so I was off. My swim wave was one of the last off so I had everyone in front of me and hardly anyone in back. I just started hammering. It felt good to look down at my computer and see a decent MPH. At 50 miles I still hadn't been passed. I really didn't know where I was in my age group. I did the math in my head and was hoping for a 2:30 bike. The running clock (on my wrist) would have to say 3:03ish. I never look at my watch in the middle of an event, I don't want to upset a pace by seeing something good or bad. In the last mile I glanced down at my watch and saw 2:52. This boosted my mood! I did finally get passed in the last couple miles as I let up to get my legs used to spinning a little higher cadence. I noticed one of the guys had a 40 on his calf, crap!

I proactively took 4 sodium's and finished 8 gu's on the bike ride to hold off the cramps.

This season my legs never get that brick feeling starting the run (thanks coach!). I grabbed my second flask with 6 gu's in it, my second sodium container and was off. My legs felt good. I was still battling this mood I was in. I just couldn't find enough reasons to keep going. I re-passed a couple guys in my age group going up the hill. At the top of the hill in the first mile it happened. My quads locked up. I had to stop and massage this out. For anyone who hasn't ever experienced this massage, holy cow is it uncomfortable!

I quickly took 4 of my eight sodium pills with a few gu's and started walking. The walk turned into a jog and I used the cramps as a guide as to how fast I could run. I ran out of sodium after the first loop of the run. Once again, just like in Hawaii, I am a scavenger for sodium. I found some at mile 8 and gathered them up and put them in my container. I though I heard someone laughing at me. On the second loop, I had had it. I was at least entertained by the pro women's race. I was actually scared for Lisa Bentley. I thought, by the way she was running, that someone was chasing her with a knife! Turns out she is just a fast triathlete.

I couldn't really gauge how I was doing so far. I though I might go just under 5:00 but couldn't tell.

I waited until I was in the last mile to look at my watch. It said 4:38. I looked at my watch again, and then again. Did I hit it on something and stop the stopwatch? I looked at it again to see if it was running. It was. I was a half- mile from the finish. My mind was reeling with possibilities! Could I go in the high 4:30's? Could I possibly PR by 45 minutes? My 8-minute pace quickly turned into a 5:30 pace.

I was overcome with emotion as I crossed the line. Happy that I had gone that fast and mad I just couldn't focus today and go faster.

I looked at my watch and it read 4:41. I noticed Tim F. right along the fence. The only thing I could say was "look at that!" I was pointing at my watch. I was so excited. Then all those darn cramps came back. I was quickly held up by a volunteer, (Linda Hime a friend and triathlete) who removed my chip. Seeing I was in some discomfort, The Hammer and Rod carried me to the med tent for some help. I think I was showing off my watch to them too.

What seemed to be a glum race turned out to be a 43-minute PR!

Total time 4:42:08

Thanks to my wife for letting me include this race in my schedule and managing the kids all by herself. Thanks to Carl and Janyce for the wonderful hospitality, again! Thanks to the Urats, for just being Urats. It is great being part of this unofficial team.

I may fly The Hammer and Rod to France this September for the Monaco Half Ironman as my medical crew. You guys were great!

Carl Granetzke has been promoted to Senior VP of sales and public relations director for My Triathlon Family Children's books.

I had a great time at the booth with all of you that stopped by. The bike raffle was great! I had to keep a close eye on The Hammer. I turned my back for a minute and the Cat was up for raffle.

Thanks to my coach, Jen Harrison, for designing all the workouts that got me here!

This is a great race and I look forward to it next year!

Glen

2006 Honu Half Ironman- Kona qualifier

June 7, 2006

My best man Dan and I arrived early to get a little acclimated to the time/temp and sun. The new ride (Cat Cheetah) was ready to go. I got out on the Queen K a couple of times and the Cat felt great (or I felt strong).
Knowing my swim is the weakest of the events, I knew I would have to come from behind to qualify. I have been training my tail off since November of 2005 for this race and everything needed to go right.

Just looking around race week, you knew you were surrounded by some of the fastest in the sport. I met some nice people from all over the globe and everyone had the same objective, a slot for Kona in October.

Race morning 06-03-06

Hauponu state beach. The Honu half announcer was a weather/sports guy from Hawaii. He predicted winds for the race and Madame Pele came through. A couple of new things for me: I have never been in a mass start and I have never raced in the ocean.

I started at the front of the pack about 10 people down from Pro Chris McCormack. I new I was going to get beat up, but I didn’t want to get behind hundreds of people at the turn buoys. The water was warm and clear, like you were swimming in an aquarium.

The cannon went off and the washing machine turned on. Contact immediately. The pushing and kicking didn’t stop until the first turn at ¼ mile. I wanted to swim the course on the inner most side of the clock-wise loop. At the ¼ mile mark we all turned right for a half-mile stretch. My biggest mistake was not asking questions prior to the race. There was such a strong current pulling you out to sea that after 5 minutes of drafting a bunch of people on this half mile stretch, I noticed we (hundreds of us) were out to sea by at least a quarter mile, maybe more. I tried to swim at an angle to get in a little and move through the course a little. Not much was happening. I was really wasting time. I decided to swim almost directly back towards shore and pick up the first draft I could back on course. Exiting the water, I looked at my watch and it said 35 minutes. Not a good way to start out. So, I was roughly 5 minutes behind were I wanted to be.

T1. I have always seen those garden hose pieces hanging in T1 with fresh water coming out on the Kona DVD’s and had to give it a try. T1 was on a steep hill in the middle of this land between the queen K and the beach. I set my bike up in the small chain ring in a small gear to get up the hill. Just as we crested this hill coming out onto the Queen K the road went down hill. I went to throw it in the big chain ring and nothing. I tired 15-20 times. I was saying to myself, “My race is over, what do I do?” I rode like this (in the small chain ring) for a mile or so. I was getting madder and madder. I grabbed that brand new Campy shifter and started wrenching it back and forth. Then, bam! It went in to the big chain ring. I came out of the water in 238 place and just lost bunch more. My legs felt great. I just started hammering. I was passing a ton of people right away and was getting tired of those rumble strips you have to go over when you get back over to the right after passing so I just stayed out to the left and hammered passed as many people as I could see in front of me. My buddy and I drove the course earlier in the week but it didn’t prepare me for how drastic the down hills and up hills were. On my fist down hill, I realized my short gears were useless after 38 mph. The only thing I could do on a downhill was tuck in. There is a long down hill after you make that left off the Queen K. To put this in perspective, do you remember a time when you were younger and you were in a car with a friend and that friend decided he was going to try and see how fast his car could go with out letting you know? You know that sick feeling you get in your gut, the one that makes you wish you were anywhere else but in that compromising position in your friends out of control car? Well, I only had about a month on the Cat up to that point and I was still getting used to how light it was and how responsive it was. As I decended down this hill I pedaled as long as I could. 38 turned into 42 to 46 then 50 and then the front end of the bike started shaking violently and I tried fighting it. I was still flying past people while this was going on. I remembered a lot of triathlete’s were in their aero bars and I was on my cow horns. I realized that I had started to hit the breaks. I thought to myself, “I am in Kona racing against some of the fastest people in the world and I’m putting the breaks on on a decent?” I let the brake go and got in the aero bars and relaxed and the shaking subsided.

The road leading up to Hawi wasn’t that bad. It gets tough when you see the sign that says Hawi 7 miles. Madam Pele was kind as it started to pour. At about 3.5 miles to Hawi, the lead group came barreling the other way, lead by Chris McCormack. I started counting and at the turn around I was 52(and the volunteers at turn arounds also let you know where you are in the standings thus far. The way down from Hawi was a blast. The uphill (that brought many to 50 mph plus) was a bad experience. I didn’t want to chance going down on my small chain ring and being stuck there again so I was mashed this big gear going 8 mph. At one point I almost came to a complete stop. On the way back to T2 I was passed by 2 guys making it three I was passed by on the bike.

Coming into T2, I saw Dan. He yelled out twelfth and 4 minutes down. That meant I was in 12th place in my age group and 4 minutes down from last year’s winner in my age group.

At IM races they catch your bike, Cool! The poor ladies in T2 couldn’t find my bag. Once I had it I was off to the changing tent. It’s just like the Ironman DVD’s. I was really having a good time. Leaving T2, Dan reminded me I was 4 minutes down (thanks a lot Dan)J

I passed 2 guys in my age group in the first mile. The run was brutal. Up, down, up, down, on grass. We even ran a portion on the beach right in front of the seaside grill/bar. Dan said for me to look for him at the bar as he would be enjoying a frosty brew. I didn’t even turn my in that direction.

I tried to pick it up earlier than I normally would and I started to get that pre-vomit thing. I tried slowing the pace for a while then picking it up. I tried drinking, eating, not drinking or eating. Nothing was working. I went for my sodium and it was gone. I wore a one piece race suit and I thought it may have shifted positions and moved from the place I put it coming out of T2. I must have looked like I had ants in my pants or I was feeling myself up cause I couldn’t find that pill case full of sodium no matter where I looked.

I noticed there were a bunch on the ground a few miles back and that I could probably find some if I looked. Well, bird poop out there looks just like sodium tabs. I didn’t pick any poop up but it was close. I managed to find 2 partially dissolved tabs at mile 8 or 9. I took them at the next aid station. The nausea wasn’t as bad after the sodium but I still felt like I couldn’t digest anything. My legs felt great. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even get that “brick” feeling coming out of T2. Between mile 12 and the finish, it seemed, that every guy that passed me was in my age group. It sucks when you just have to watch them go. After the race, I realized that I had swallowed a lot of salt water in the swim. You don’t realize how much water you take in on fresh water tri’s until you race an ocean one.

Anyway, I crossed the finish running the same crappy pace all 13 miles. As soon as I stopped running all my toes and both feet cramped terribly. I fell down to grab and unbend my toes and I think the finish line volunteers thought I passed out cause the next thing I knew 5 people were hauling me off to the med tent. After about 80 ounces of Endurance Gatorade and a bag of pretzels a message and an adjustment by a chiropractor, it was miller time. I didn’t feel bad that I didn’t qualify. Even if I had a perfect day and went as fast or faster that I though, I still would have been out of contention by 15 minutes.

Swim: 35 min

Bike: 2:31

Run: 1:47

Total time: 4:57 (20 minute PR in a half, in Hawaii!)

I, of course, couldn’t have done this alone. Thank you to my wife (and sponsor) Helene who has given me all the time I needed to prepare for this event and this summer. Thank you for allowing me to make some adjustments in my equipment that has obviously paid off. The last 7 months must have been exhausting.

Thanks to my Dad and Olga and to my other Dad and Mom (and Grumbum) for helping so much when I was out training and in Hawaii.

Thank you to my kids; Glen, Anna and Jack for putting up with me. Sorry to Glen for crashing with him in the Burley on training rides.

All the training in the world doesn’t mean anything unless it’s done correctly. So, thanks to my coach Jennifer Harrison for her vast wisdom of the sport. My wife and I trust your knowledge and judgment. Thanks for answering all my crazy questions in the last 7 months.

Thanks to my best man, Dan, for coming out to Kona to help me out on race day and keeping me company. Thanks to his wife Kristen for letting me take him to this race and away from his family.

Thanks to The Bike Shop of Glen Ellen for building my new bike.

Glen

2005 Long course Nationals (Smithfield, MO) race report

Wow, what an honor to be here. Conditions were tough. The day started out with an equalizer start. The women had a 15 minute start on the guys. The swim was nice. There was a strong current after the last turn towards shore. You actually had to swim to the left to get in! I heard rumors that the bike course was brutal. It was either up hill or down and the down hills were always shorter than the up hills. Well, this was mostly true. I do believe that there was a 30 yard section that was indeed flat on the 2 loop bike course. The race director might want to take a look at this and fix that flat area. I recall seeing the biggest snake I have ever seen, outside the zoo, dead in the middle of the road on the bike course. By the time I got onto the run, the temperature was bringing back memories of Spirit of Racine 2005 (102 degrees F). The motrin and sodium tabs were not working as well as at Racine. It was a very difficult run. The run was also a two loop course. I recall being lapped by the overall winner (Tim Hola) and actually being startled by the speed at which he came by. It was great to be in the company of such elite athletes. It made me raise my game. I had a PR in Racine by 10 minutes and a PR at Nationals by 10 minutes.

The same night, I recall sitting at the very nice bar at the host hotel. I pushed so hard at this race I wanted to treat myself to a nice dinner. There were 25 or so patrons in the bar at roughly 5:00pm, mostly triathletes and people associated with the race. I ordered a nice glass of Cabernet and a huge porterhouse steak.

Halfway through my dinner, sitting at the bar, at least 5 maybe 6 people sitting near me (belly up to he bar) told the bar tender, "I'll have what he is having" pointing at me. Who needs carbs post race! What a funny site this was.

Spirit of Racine race report, July 25th 2005.

Heat at the 2005 Spirit of Racine half IM soared to 102 degrees F and the heat index rose to 110. Knowing this day would be a personal battle of attrition, I set out with a different game plan. I treated the day as a day of practice. I would swim easy, bike very easy and try and run the entire 13.1 miles. Being a fast twitched sprint racer, this was a challenge in itself. Watching everyone pass me on the bike was killing me but I knew it would pay off.

Clinically speaking (nutritionally), our caloric requirements increase with body temperature. I knew I had to eat more. I was amazed at the quantity I consumed on the day. Here is what I can remember: 1 Doughnut, 1 large coffee, 2 Power Bars, I don't recall the # of Gatorade bottles or water bottles, 15 Gu's, 3-4 bananas, 7-8 sodium tabs and 6-7 Motrin. I started taking the sodium and Motrin at the start of the run as I forgot them in transition. The cramps were often and brutal. Other than stopping to message out a quad or calf muscle, I ran the whole run!

The sheer number of triathlete's beaten down by the heat and humidity was amazing. Being someone that blows up in the heat, I was blown away with how I was performing. Every time I felt the cramps coming on, I would take another sodium, Motrin combo and try and find a banana and slow the pace a bit. Having a goal of just finishing this race running was one thing but to finish running in this heat was another. I must have smiled half of the run. I didn't want to smile the whole time, I didn't want to get too cocky and end up walking.

I have to thank the city of Racine, all the volunteers and companies that donated all the goodies at the aid stations. I would also like to thank all the very friendly neighbors on the run coarse that set up their sprinkler or hosed us off as we ran by. There were also two kids with their super soaker's drenching people on the run coarse. Thanks to you two. One of you ran with me for a hundred or so feet and emptied your gun at me. It felt great!

The ice at the aid stations was great. At the 3/4 point in the run, I noticed a volunteer holding up a chunk of ice roughly the size of a volley ball asking who wanted it. Drawing on my sprinting ability, I was there first. I cradled that jagged 3 pound chunk of ice like it was a baby. In a half mile it would fit into a glass as an ice cube. That was the best half mile of the race. I was actually a bit chilled during that point.

Like everyone else out there, I had a lot of time to think. I thought about my wife and kids. About how fortunate I was to be healthy enough to do what I loved, racing triathlon. I was sad my family wasn't here to see me race. My wife is in the difficult first trimester and this heat would have made the day miserable for her. I kept looking down all the side streets during the run hoping I would see our car parked as she would try and surprise me with her presence. But, I didn't see our car or her or the kids. I got a bit emotional on the run. I believe the tears were a combination of many things on this tough day.

I set my own PR on this day. I raced patiently and with a lot of wisdom.

A special thanks to the race director, Scott Erdman. Mother nature threw a tough one at him Saturday and Sunday and the race went off without a hitch!

The Spirit of Racine is truly a class act race!

Warning

**Please consult a physician regarding medication of any kind taken in association with training or racing. The information in this article is for entertainment purposes. Taking over the counter medications without the advise of a physician can be harmful. Everyone has a different sweat rate and electrolyte loss rate. These rates need to be evaluated by a professional prior to ingesting any such products.