THE HEAT RISES – FEELS GOOD

What a whirlwind of the past few weeks we’ve had and now the days seem to be flying by. We now are into July and with it comes the heat and humidity of a typical summer. Sweat, hydrate, sweat some more till it feels comfortable. I don’t mind training in this weather since I like it and easily adjust to it, but sometimes it feels real good to end the day in the AC as you hit the sack (or an ice bath). I also sometimes lather purposelly in BioFreeze after my morning training to get a chill too.

Last weekend we did a 5K right in our hood. It was called Katie’s Run (www.katiesrun.com) and was a first time event to benefit the McBride family, who lost their young daughter to cancer a year ago and the Ronald McDonald House, of which she stayed during her final treatments. It was surely a fun, family oriented event and they got over 500 people to attend!

Gina was running with her sister Christina and her nephew Timothy. Her brother-in-law Bernie also came out to cheer on the family. It was an overcast but very warm and humid – mid 70′s all around in the morning. We all gathered up and were ready to rock. Great crowd, great organization, and was to be a great time indeed.

I lined up in front but in the mix with some headphone folks and 2 little kids holding water bottles. One teenage asked me what the cop car in front was for and I said – “Pacer”.  Three deep breaths and off we went and I ran as hard as I could in that humidity. I had trained well the week before in such weather so I was fine in it, just makes it heavy. We now have Flex Friday’s at work so I get to come into work later and use Friday’s as my longest and intense training day, so that has held plenty. Being cautious, I quickly got out in front and followed the lead police car and bike. Deja Vu of the Veterans’ Airport 5k race.

By the first mile, I was in the lead and just kept an eye on the tangents. By mile 2, it was all clear and it felt great to romp through the hood. I was all in tune and just before mile 3, I felt my hamstring strain a bit. I understood it to be expected, more so because of the week prior training in the heat, humidity, and intensity, so I adjusted before anything got worse. I made the turn to the finish and cruised it in at 17:05. The race director was there and I shook his hand to thank him for a great event. I high-fived Bernie and turned around to head back and pick up the rest of the crew.

It helps to cool down this way and get in a few more miles so I cheered as I often do as the runners made there way to the finish. I was able to catch Timmy before he hit the 2 mile mark and we ran together. He was feeling good and handling the weather well. He sprinted to the finish in way under 40 minutes and his Dad was really proud of him. We all now were at the finish to cheer on the ladies. Here they came in at 43 minutes! Gina had been dealing with a calf strain for a few days and Christina and her worked together to pace it well. Awesome indeed!!

It was party time as we got to hang out a bit and celebrate while also planning our Sherpa Hospitality Tent for future events. Then we were back to our place where we made our guests the usual weekend breakfast on the patio. Fun times. Christine even created another dessert blast of a cookie crust chocolate/banana/cream pie. Oh yeah. Oh yeah indeed. Tasted even better frozen!!!!!!

Now that Holmes has decided he needs to go for a walk at 4AM each morning, Gina has been up for the half hour tour around the block while I am starting to join them and take the chore on for myself at times. Sun comes up at 5:15 so it is a challenge to either catch another hour sleep or just get up and do training. Working on that one.

This weekend we had a sprint tri in mind and since the weather was going to be a scortcher, we had also planned to spend the rest of Sunday at the Bushman’s and doing the pool dip/BBQ. We got up at 4:30am and in the warm 70′s headed to Eisenhower Park. Plenty of time to park, walk around, and say hello to a few people we knew. Sunrise Tri and Polar were sponsors and it also raised money for the Wounded Warrior Project. A crowd of about 160 rolled into the area which doubled what they got last year. It was a fast race consisting of a 500 yd swim in the high-end Aquatic Center (which is a sweet facility), then a 6 mile ride along the park roads, followed by a 3 mile run within the parks many winding roads.

It was announced an hour before the race started that the run was shorted a half mile so it just meant I would want to go faster. These types of races have been great to test and see how I can handle such speeds within the framework of my current training geared towards my Oct 2nd half-ironman. Everything has been working well and today would be a good chance to let the Black Widow out and practice fast transitions.

We were allowed to seed ourselves in the pool as each athlete started 5 seconds apart and did 10 winding laps in the 10 lane pool. Mind you this is only the second time I have swam this year, the last being in May for Ironclad, but that was open water. This pool water was warm so I lined up around number 15 which would allow me to at least practice open water type swimming and making some contact in the water. I watched several in front of me make some interesting jumps into the water since we started on the deck. Some looked like they hurt and one even did a semi belly-flop.

Gina had a bird’s eye view in the stands overlooking the pool. As I lined up to have my timing device scanned, I took 3 deep breaths and was ready to rip. BEEPPPP! GO!!!!!!!

In I went and smoothed out my stroke and waited until I got to the end of the lane. I pushed off the wall and made sight of the person in front of me. Plenty of room to pass on the left but as I neared the 5th lane, I was quickly approaching two ladies coming to the wall at the same time. Sorry – yes I pushed off the wall, dove deep under one andsurfaced on top of the other and headed to the left making some contact. Nothing big, harmless, but certainly could have been worse. No swings involved.

Soon it was time to exit. I hopped out and into the warm humid air into the transition area. The grassy field made for a comfy surface and Gina gave me a cheer as I headed to the bike. I decided to wear my run shoes again on the bike and ran out onto the bike course and my pedals are wide enough to accompany this so it isn’t that bad. Saves me plenty in transition. On we go with the Black Widow and hammer began. I passed my SunriseTri fellow member Dan and he was doing well. The course was 3 loops and went something like this – hammer for a few minutes, slow down, turn, hammer back, slow, turn, repeat 3x. My heartrate was way high and I churned and ripped. Plenty of room, no cars, well situated. All I heard was my breath and sure enough 3 laps were done and into transition I come again.

The race announcer Terry was great here. I came in transition right behind another athlete and as we both hit the brakes he was yelling play by play of everything we were doing. As I grabbed my visor and made out right behind this guy, Terry was yelling it all out, hyping it up. Awesome. Gina said later it was great and everyone was checking it out. I was ready to rock now.

I made my pass of this guy right away and continued ripping it. I only took one sip of drink the entire race and once I had made the pass early, I saw no one near me. I knew my cadence was well, my heartrate was high, and where I wanted to be. Everything was controlled. I gave a final push and sure enough in the finish comes and I cross in 37 minutes! That was fast!! Turns out I finish 2nd overall by just 22 seconds! Full results at www.triandduit.com under Independence Triathlon.

I ran around for about 10 minutes after a hug and kiss from Gina and then enjoyed the rest of the event. We had time to chill, stretch, I got to speak to Frank at Sunrise and we just cheered everyone in to the finish. Too much fun. It was great, everything is right on par.

My swim for 500 yds was 9 minutes, the bike of 6 miles in 15 minutes (23.5 mph average) and the 2.5 mile run too 12 minutes for a 5:26 pace. All good. In fact if the race run section was it’s origninal 3 miles, I actually might have won it. It’s all good, and everything felt fine. We celebrated the holiday (and day) by going to a diner in Smithtown and as Gina says – “CHILLAXIN”. That was done even more as we jumped in the pool many times and had a great BBQ all at the Bushman’s. We didn’t end our day until 10pm.

As the weather now continues to get hotter, things are looking good towards the ultimate race in October. The Odwalla smoothies are a staple during these times and make for a great end of day recovery shake and meal replacement. Gina is keeping tabs on my weight as I have been at the low end of 125 for 3 weeks now, but the holiday has been a great time to CHILLAX and eat well. Gina and her Long Island crew are planning more 5K’s and I am going to start training the nephews on getting in shape through the summer. Props also to Eimear,Ashley, and Brad as they prepare for their respective events in Charlotte in that summer heat. Shout out to Wade in Texas also for despite a lower back injury, completed the Buffalo SPrings Half Ironman well and is now prepping for Oct 2nd as well.

So another race down, another podium type finish and some more hardware. Our HP computer shares our desk space with the awards from this year and it’s starting to bracnh to both sides of the space saver monitor.
Bring on the heat.

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