The branch is open today which means I'm at work but with the weather (yup, still snowing) and the season things are pretty quiet around here. So, instead of doing some much needed filing, I'm doing time wasting things like this:
More snow. A whole week of sub zero temperatures. This is not Saskatchewan. Or Colorado. This is the time of year when we Vancouverites are supposed to be lording our weather over the rest of the country. What happened to you? Vancouver, you've changed, man. Tried to run outside yesterday. The temp was -11 Celsius. That's about 12 F. Was feeling OK until I realized my critical error: the glasses I was wearing were made of metal. Metal is an excellent conductor. Metal feels like burning when it gets cold and touches your skin. 1.5 miles in total. I never thought I'd say this but I miss the rain. Couple cool tunes. One from The Hold Steady off their new album 'Stay Positive' and a older favorite from The Decemberists off the 2006 album "The Crane Wife'. One is a song about working construction and getting drunk with your buddies on the water tower and the other is based on a Japanese folk tale about a man who rescues a bird who ends up turning into a beautiful woman who spins the most exquisite fabrics and then flees when her husband discovers that she is spinning the cloth out of her own feathers. I'll let you guess which is which.
Gunner was fighting the tail end of a cold when we were in Vegas. Violet and Jamie caught it and I was giddy in my endurance athlete smugness for not having gotten sick. Oops. Looks like I gloated too soon. Home from work today resting up. I would have been home anyways because there's about 6 inches of snow on the ground and Vancouver is shut down. This city does not function in the snow. C'mon people, we should be used to this. It's just frozen rain and heaven knows we get enough of that! I leaned out the front of our townhouse and snapped the pic above. What a waste. It's like getting sick on vacation. I blame the swimming...
What do you know? FatDad can float! Today marked the official beginning of my foray into triathlon. In my lifetime, I have done exactly one Olympic distance race. Training for that race consisted of about 5 bike rides each no longer than an hour, about the same amount of trips to the local pool (never more than 1500 meters) and maybe 2 easy runs per week. This time I've given over my training to Gunner and I'm pretty sure things will be a little different. Today was 1000 meters in the pool, which actually didn't feel too bad, then about 80 minutes on the mountain bike on some local trails. It was rad to get back on the bike after so long away. The weather has been unusually cold here and everything in the watershed is frozen. I felt pretty bad ass riding when there's ice on the puddles! By the end of the ride, both of our front derailleurs were frozen and wouldn't shift. Sweet! I'm still not totally sold on the whole 'switching over' to triathlon thing. I feel like it's a big waste to let all this marathon fitness slip away without seeing what a couple training blocks in a row could do. My plan is to get as much running in as I can and hope for the best! Gotta at least keep those long runs! Here's a pic of Violet in my goggles. Once she got them on, she wouldn't take them off. Imagine her with a toque (or for you Southerners a 'wool cap') on and that's how she looked when we went to the store! Classic.
I've been slacking a bit on the music front because I used up all my monthly bandwidth on Box.net. I picked up the new 'Hold Steady' album but haven't had a chance to listen to it yet. I'm sure I'll have something from those guys up here before week's end.
Here's the video of me in the chute. My legs had started to cramp when I began my 'kick' and this is me trying to balance the conflicting goals of running as fast as possible and keeping my hamstrings from cramping. I laughed out loud when I first watched this clip. It felt much, much faster than it looks!! Sorry about it being oriented sideways.
So, I was thinking that maybe I'll need to change the title of the blog. 3:15 to Boston? Same ring? Maybe not, but whatever. Either way, I went to Vegas to get my ticket to Boston and I got it. Sure, I have to wait until 2010 so that I'll be 35 but that's a minor detail....the time from Vegas will still be valid and I'm going to go. For those of you following along, the score is clearly Beth 1, FatDad 0 in the '1st annual Vegas Online Smack Talk and Marathon Challenge'. There was some chatter about the loser of the challenge needing to dress up like a Vegas celebrity however, someone was a little too enthusiastic in their post race brunch celebrations and missed the opportunity. 'Celine's' time has passed. Too bad... The race: First off, for those of you who may be considering travelling to Vegas to race, know that Las Vegas and marathoning are an awkward couple. It is really, really tough to keep your mind on why you're there. I can understand now why there are so many Olympic athletes who fall short of their potential at the games because of all the distractions. Who wants to be sitting in their room eating pretzels when they could be strolling the gardens of the Bellagio? Or drinking Miller lites in the sports book. Or eating cheesecake when you should be in bed sleeping. Hypothetically. That said, the course was flat and fast and running down the strip is pretty cool. Race morning, up at 4AM, meet up with Brian and we head to the lobby to grab a pre race coffee. Share a cab with another racer heading out to the start line at Mandalay Bay. Get possibly the angriest cabbie in Las Vegas. I'd say that 5 of the first 10 words out his mouth were f-bombs. Tells us he's been in Vegas for 17 months and working as a cabbie for 14 months and he hates it more every day. Tells us he hates the race and the road closures. I guess he figured that spandex, short-shorts and visors were our 'going out' clothes. Yikes. Ran into Beth at the start line but she took off to the seeded runners corral. It was my first blogger friend meeting! The interweb is crazy. My Garmin wouldnt turn on, which sent me into a very minor, brief panic. Gunner gave me his and talked me off the ledge. Brian was running the half and was hanging back in the crowd at the start. I started between a chatty Mexican guy who was looking for a 3:20 Boston time and a stoic Irishman who had run a 3:05 in the past and was here to see the sights and shooting for 3:30. Gun went off, fireworks popped and I settled in running alone. Ran on pace for the first 4 miles and caught up with Beth and Filipe. Ran with them until about mile 9 and by then we had gathered up a pretty good little pack of about 6-7 runners with Beth pulling off the front. I started to have some small issues with my stomach and getting food down almost right after I ate the first gel about 40 minutes in, and by mile 9 I needed to make a bathroom stop. That was the last time I saw Beth. Ran through the next couple miles with weird stomach cramps and bad burps. Nothing too serious but it was putting a damper on my ability to get fluids and food down. Didn't take much in at all between 9 miles and halfway. Hit the halfway point right on time but I was feeling pretty beat up. Somewhere in the next mile/mile and a half I can remember catching myself doing the math and trying to figure out how slowly I could run the rest of the race and still finish under 3:15. That's when I knew 3:10 was gone. To say that I made a decision to slow down wouldn't be quite right but it was something like that. More like I accepted a lesser goal for a smaller amount of suffering. I was worried that this exact thing might happen going in to the race. I feared that because I knew that 3:15 would get me where I would wanted to go that I would take the 'good enough' option when things started to hurt rather than digging deep and going for it. I'd even made sure that none of my friends and family knew that 3:15 would get me to Boston so that none of them would say "Well, if you don't run 3:10, 3:15 will be just as good!". Turns out it didn't matter. I knew that 3:15 was fast enough and so that was my new goal, for better or worse. I settled in, pushed as hard as I could on that day and started gathering the pack that had ran away from me when I stopped to use the bathroom. I'm pretty sure I caught them all but one. I had slowed down and stopped eating and my stomach was feeling better. I caught Felipe at about mile 20 and had a second wind that lasted until about mile 24. Somewhere around mile 21 I ran up along side a grey haired guy who asked me "What are we holding here, 8:00?" My watch said 7:10. I told him the pace and he said, "C'mon, let's pull each other" but I let him run off. It wasn't until I told that story later in the day that I realized how hilarious that man's homoerotic suggestion was. The last few miles the half and full course overlap and whole road was filled with walking half marathoners. I could see about 4 guys ahead of me running the full, and about 3000 people walking the half. That was mentally tough! The walkers looked so happy, strolling and chatting, eating. I just wanted to find a friendly looking group and join them! But, of course, I didn't. I ground out the last couple miles, turned the corner and saw the time clock about 150 meters ahead of me: 3:15:31. For those of you unfamiliar with the Boston Athletic Association's qualifying standards: I had until 3:15:59 to cover those last 150 meters. Ordinarily, not an issue. At the end of a marathon it's a different story. I took off in what I considered to be a 'sprint' and covered the last bit of ground in time to see the clock read 3:15:57. That's what I call perfect pacing! I'll try and post a funny video here later that Jamie captured of that finishing chute 'sprint'. Um, I'm pretty sure that when you sprint your feet are supposed to leave the ground. It felt fast, honest....haha. So, bittersweet results in Vegas. Happy to have earned my trip to Boston, a little disappointed that I quit on myself. Overall though, after having some time to reflect, I'm happy with how things turned out. I took 20 minutes off my previous best time on 5 months of hard training less than a year after I finally quit smoking, and finished 138th overall out of about 4000. I'm OK with that. There will be other races where I can prove to myself that I'm able to push it to the limit. Gunner's talked me into doing some Xterra this year. He tells me swim training starts next week. That should be interesting....
Just back in from Vegas. 3:15:44. Mentally and emotionally I'm struggling with the result. I'll post a race report when I regain some perspective. Huge props to the Cali Crew: Beth killed it with a 3:03 and finished 3rd female OVERALL!! James showed up to run the half in support and ended up 4th male overall!
Tonight is our last night at home before we take off. Jamie's parents are in town from Saskatchewan to look after Violet while we are in Vegas which means that tonight they get our super sweet Tempur Pedic and Jamie and I are hitting the air mattress in the living room. Oh yeah! I'd sleep in the garage if I had to. I'm so pumped to have them come out like that. Thanks Mom and Dad! Workouts this week have been pretty light, just a few miles at or slightly below race pace to keep the legs turning over and feeling loose. I usually run in the morning before work. I slept through one workout earlier in the week and later that evening I emailed Tim to let him know I had missed it and to see if it was cool that I make it up the next day. He sent me an email that basically said: "I work hard on this schedule. Timing of workouts is important. No, you can't just F^%&*(ing make it up later.It's 4 days before your race. get your head in it! There is no 'make it up tomorrow'". OK, so he didn't actually swear, the email was very professional and I may have been reading waaaay too much into what he wrote but I SWEAR I could feel the frustration. It was 8:30Pm by the time Jamie got home from the gym that night and I was out the door at 8:31 to make up the workout!
Three more days of work and we're getting on a plane and heading down to Vegas! All the work is done. The only thing left is to run the race. Today's title is stolen from Tim. It was the subject line of the last email he sent me with this week's schedule. Just the one key workout for the week: Sunday, 26.2 mile long run. To steal another quote from coach, "Today is going to be easy until it gets hard." Right. Gunner is down with a bad leg and is about 90% that he won't be running so it looks like I'm throwing down solo. Pretty bummed about it but it sounds like he has some shenanigans planned which will for sure make up for it. Post race meal is all planned out. The four of us, Me & Jamie and Brian & Julie, are planning on meeting up with James and Beth and hitting up the Mandalay Bay Burger bar. The Cali crew scoped it out online and it looks pretty sweet! Several different types of meat to choose from and toppings that would blow your mind: obviously all the usual suspects like cheese etc. but when was the last time you had the option to add fois gras to your burger? How about black truffles or a half a lobster? Looking forward to it. If you all have any other suggestions for places to eat in LV, let me know. I'll be looking for a post race buffet to hit: off season begins promptly 3:08 after race start. FatDad is making a comeback!