December 31, 2012

Week Two

Christmas turned out to not be the biggest problem of the week - we'll get to that.
Got a good swim in on Christmas Eve, and chased it that evening with a solid 3.5 mile run.
Christmas Day was a welcome break
Wednesday morning I was right back in the pool and got my workout done just before they closed the Y due to a looming blizzard!  Got 40 minutes in on the trainer before the day was done.
Thursday I found 5 miles late on the treadmill at the Y before I enjoyed a rest day on Friday!
Saturday was 80 minutes on the trainer, but I skipped the drills and just spun easy.
Sunday I met my match.  9 miles was the run plan for the marathon, and Pete had already done his, so I had to go for it!  On snow and ice covered roads, I ventured out in the 18 degree wind and slipped my way around town for 89 minutes!  Everything felt good...until...yep, as soon as I stopped moving and sat down - BACK PAIN - AGAIN!  This was one of the worst ones that kept me on my back and side nearly all day.  2 muscle relaxers helped a good night sleep, but the end of this cold had me coughing through the night to the point that Molly left the room at 2 a.m.!  Monday I woke up feeling better, but as of late this afternoon the pain is back!  I scheduled an appointment for Monday with CIO.  It's time to figure this out!

December 23, 2012

Week 1 Complete...mostly

Well, week 1 did not go "exactly" as planned.  Here is a quick recap.

Monday - swim only = problem 1 - NO GOGGLES!
Seriously, Sunday night I'm getting my things together for a Monday morning pool swim and discover that I'm missing my goggles.  I recall having lost them at Steelhead, and having to borrow Morgan's for the September Sprint Tri, but I don't recall buying a new pair - because I didn't!  FAIL!
So after a quick trip to Dunham's, we're now set for a Tuesday swim!

Tuesday - I just swam for 35 minutes, and boy are my arms tired!!
But then I had to do the regular workout too, so the evening run and bike still took place, but I cut them both a little short.  The treadmill was in order for the run, and the trainer left much to be desired.

Wednesday - I bailed on the swim from doing all three disciplines yesterday, but knew I had to get out for a run.  Bad weather was about to move in, so Pete and I hit to the streets for a cold 5 miler which was what the marathon plan called for.  Unfortunately, I had some pretty bad back pain after I got home and relaxed.

Thursday and Friday were completely out of the question as Molly has surgery, and I was taking care of the kids and off of work myself.  The driving back and forth to Indy took too much time, so I knew I had to have a good weekend.

Saturday run ended up on the treadmill, and was to be 8 miles.  I ended up running 6 and walking 2, but at least the back held up with no real problems.

Sunday was the longest trainer ride to date at 80 minutes.  I was ready to get off at 50, but knew I had to get the time in, and felt very accomplished when it was all done!

Next week is Christmas, so it's not going to get any easier to stay on the plan, but we'll do our best!

December 16, 2012

12/17 = 18=26.2 and 36=140.6

Call it new math, call it fate, call it crazy, but on Dec 17, I will begin two simultaneous training programs. 
An 18 week marathon training plan leading me up to the Carmel Marathon in April
AND
A 36 week full Ironman training plan that will lead up to the Louisville Ironman in August

The Carmel Marathon (my entry compliments of Indiana Vein Specialists) will be my 4th full marathon, and is already on the calendar as an official 2013 race, but the Ironman still has an * next to it.

The * is all about staying healthy!  If I can get to Spring Break and still be on track with my training and feeling good, then I will take the plunge and go for the ultimate finish line to become an Ironman, but I have concerns about my back sustaining the punishment of the training.

If you're at all curious - this is the plan outline I intend to follow.   http://www.trifuel.com/triathlon/ironman-workouts/ Obviously I'll have to make adjustments on the fly, but this should be more than enough to get me to the finish line.

On run days I will be sure to hit the required mileage according to the Higdon Novice 2 planhttp://www.halhigdon.com/training/51138/Marathon-Novice-2-Training-Program

So that's the plan!  2 full weeks of rest should have me ready to begin the journey.  

Check back next Sunday for a regular weekly update!  Happy Holidays!

December 7, 2012

STRIP AT NIGHT

The Las Vegas Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon is dubbed STRIP AT NIGHT!  The play on words was enough to get my attention, but when my buddy Pete said he and his wife Amy were renewing their vows at DURING the race, I knew I had to be there!  Pete and Amy are two of my biggest supporters including traveling to Michigan with us this summer for the Ironman Steelhead 70.3 race, and this was just one way to give back   -  and besides, it's not like I need an excuse to go to Vegas in December!


Free flights booked with skymiles on Delta, Hotel room for 2 nights at Planet Hollywood costs as much as the race entry itself, throw in a few meals, and Molly and I figured out how to do this trip pretty cheap - and quick!  We're out of Fort Wayne on Saturday morning, connecting through Detroit and arrive in Vegas by 1.  Quick shuttle to the hotel to check in and a walk to the Mirage in the 70 degree sunshine for the mandatory wedding meeting at 3.  Pete and Amy came out Thursday night with her sister Brenda and brother in law Jesse. Grabbed a quick bite at the California Pizza Kitchen, bet on some ponies, and met up with our friend Chris Cook to walk over to the Venetian for packet pickup!  Enjoyed the expo for a good hour or more including shooting a commercial for Chocolate Milk (more on that later), and then back to the hotel to drop everything off and head out to Fremont Street for dinner.


Met up with Team Olson and took the Deuce downtown.  I knew Pete would love Fremont Street, and it did not disappoint.  First order of business - cheap buffet!  After fueling up, second order of business was entertainment, and the Queen show on the canopy was outstanding!  Molly and I also had to pose for a pic at the 4 Queens, a tradition that started the first time we came in 1996!  Next up - cheap gambling - $3 Craps and $1 Roulette, and we both won!  Late night bus ride back, and lights out by 11 pm (that's 2 a.m. where we woke up)

video

Slept in Sunday morning, found some breakfast sandwiches downstairs, Molly went back to sleep, and I took a walk, pulled a few levers and bet on the Colts to win.  Lunch at PRB Rock Bar while watching the Colts game, and back to the room to get ready just in time to watch the Colts win, pocketing me an extra $36!

Walked down to the start line and met up with the YRC gang as the full marathon started at 3 pm!  Molly left us and headed to NYNY to witness the wedding ceremony while the rest of us headed to the starting corrals.  Over 32000 athletes, and the herding of the cattle was on!  Enjoyable and high energy as our wave approached the start and darkness set in on the Strip for the 4:30 start.

As exciting as it was the only disappointing part was the first 3 miles were just an easy jog as all of the couples had to arrive at NYNY together for the ceremony.  We jogged easy and stopped off for some pics at the Welcome to Vegas sign.  Then carried on to the ceremony and waited for everyone to arrive!





The ceremony was wonderful.  Pete surprised her with a new anniversary band for her ring.   Renewals first, Wedding second, 3 minutes, I do, I do, I like it, put a ring on it, kiss it, and let's go!  Confetti is flying and true love is witnessed when Amy tells Pete, you boys go on and have a good time....and that's exactly what we did!

The on course entertainment was very good.  Especially on the strip.  We stopped often for pictures in various places in crazy poses.  But the one took that cake was running INTO the Riviera casino and actually placing a bet!  Only one roulette table open at the time.  I put $5 on 13 and $10 on black - Pete put $10 on 13 and $10 on red - Pete takes my picture here and was lucky he didn't have his phone taken away.  RED 30 - Pete wins $10 and cashes in his $20 for a push, I lost!  But that was 4 minutes well spent just to tell this story!

We said all along we didn't care about our time, and continued to jog easy at around a 10:30 - 11:00 pace, stopping at least once every mile for more pics.  The course turns back south into a headwind that was 20+ mph sustained.  Not so much fun!  My feet hurt, and my legs were tired, mostly from walking around the strip on Saturday and Sunday, but we pushed on, and finished with a respectable 2:52.  Seriously - considering we stood around at the wedding for 15 plus minutes, and with all the starting and stopping, it's impressive we didn't take 4 hours to finish the thing!  


The finish line was wonderful in the lights with the music pumping and the lights flashing.  People are packed shoulder to shoulder 4, 5, 6 deep.  Thankfully since I ran with my phone, I could call Molly to locate her.  The finish area was well stocked, and quite long.  But the bling - well the bling - GLOWS IN THE DARK!  Tell me you got a medal cooler than that?  Nope!  You don't!  IT IS AWESOME!


 Molly and I returned to the hotel and enjoyed the buffet there before heading to bed.  In bed by 11, and the alarm set for 3:15 a.m.!  For some reason it didn't go off, but Molly woke up at 3:37!  Shuttle picking us up at 4 a.m., and somehow we made it!  6 a.m. flight was not my finest idea, but was ready to get home on a Monday before the kids got off the bus.  That was until we landed in Detroit to learn our flight home was cancelled.  After going round and round with Delta, we surrendered to a $250 rental car to drive to Fort Wayne.  Made it there before our standby flight even left Detroit, but we were told it was not likely we would get out of Detroit until Tuesday morning (not an option).  The remaining drive home was uneventful.

An amazing weekend trip - on the ground less than 48 hours, and we packed it all in - 4 days later, I'm still not caught up on sleep!  STRIP AT NIGHT!  AWESOME!

To see the entire photo album, click here 

November 23, 2012

Drumstick Dash Race Report AND...Police Report?

CHAPTER 1
Thanksgiving morning, while many are making the final preps for a day hosting the 3 Fs (Family, Food, and Football), the Day family is up early and lacing them up for a good cause!
The 10th Annual Drumstick Dash took place in the Broad Ripple neighborhood of Indianapolis.  The race is one of the fastest growing races in the country, and in just its tenth year, over 16,000 are expected!  All proceeds support the Wheeler Mission, and we found this to be a great opportunity to do something as a family.

I signed up for the competitive long course (4.6 miles), Molly signed up for the non-competitive short course (2.5 miles), and the kids came to participate in the "Lil Gobblers" Run!

Molly has been training with her friend Jessica, and we also coordinated the day with our friend Sara.  Jess' husband and daughter, along with Sara's husband and boys were also attending and graciously agreed to watch our kids so that Molly and I could participate in the bigger events that happen simultaneously.

Out the door and on the road by 7 a.m., we arrived to park at the Glendale mall on 62nd Street.  The race organizers had us park out there and provided free shuttles to the start line to alleviate congestion with traffic and parking.  The lot was FULL and overflowing.  We parked and met up with the Smiths.  We seriously stood in line for 15 minutes before boarding our shuttle, and getting dropped off near the start line at 8:25.  The race starts at 9.  Thankfully Andy dropped Sara off near the start line and she was able to go in and get our packet, bibs, and shirts.

Bib on, kiss the wife, and we're all going our separate ways.  My back was quite tight and I wanted to get a GOOD warmup in, so I took off running the course backward for a good 4 minutes in one direction and back, probably covering well over a half mile, and then jumped in a portapot before heading to the start line.

Seriously, the crowd replicates the Indy Mini - thousands of crazies - great costumes, turkeys, pilgrims, santa, you name it!  I positioned myself between the 8 and 9 min pace markers and continued stretching.  A large screen showed the live crowd from high above.  And they sent the costumed turkey on his way (first to catch it wins a prize) - And then we're off!  Or at least two minutes later I was finally moving.

Mile 1 was quite congested and forced lots of weaving in and out of runners trying to find my pace.  I was content with the 8:30 on my watch at the first mile marker.  The streets narrow through the neighborhoods, and this keeps things tight during mile 2 as well.  8:24.  I passed the turnoff for the short course and 1 out of every 5 were taking the turn, so I felt good about where I was.  Mile 3 felt good with the back loosening up and I kept it close at 8:30.  For Mile 4 I really thought I would drop it down under 8s, but honestly the back just would not allow me to go to another gear.  With each attempt to accelerate, I could feel the back not only refusing, but almost pushing back.  By the end of the mile I was please to keep it close at 8:38.  I assumed correctly that the course would measure a little long, but only because of the weaving I had to do early on; and in fact the final distance was 4.69.  The last .69 paced out at a very consistent 8:29.

As we neared the finish line the congestion was so thick, that runners were being stopped just short of the timing mat (so much for running hard through the finish) - To put this into the big picture, there were 10 finishers with my exact same time of 39:51.  We were separated only by tenths!  I finished 1813 out of the 5755 timed finishers and 140 out of 287 in my age group.  Not bad for the aching back.

I followed the crowd to the food and drink, and then went back to meet the kids.  Jess had just finished the 2.5 course with a great sub 12 pace, but Molly was yet to be seen.  We waited and watched until she arrived, and the kids ran out with her to escort her to the finish.  Not the time she wanted, but I couldn't be more proud of her.  Shortly there after Sara arrived after completing the long course and was pleased with her time as well.

We made our way through the crowd to arrive at the Lil Gobblers race just in time.  It literally was a 20 yard dash!  But was super cute!  Yes, I said super cute!  10 year olds first, and Morgan ran "fast" and got her medal and goodie bag!  Love this!  Emma and Carter enjoyed the race as did the other kids.  Probably over 60 kids between all age groups, and the medals were a big hit for them!  One last family photo and we're parting ways.

Walking back to the shuttle drop-off/pick-up I could feel my back getting tight again, and Molly said her foot also hurt.  Once we got on the bus, I could really feel it tightening, and couldn't wait to get back to the car to get another muscle relaxer and ibuprofen.  We smelled terrible, but once we got to the car, the next stop was to be my parent's home in Connersville for a quick shower before we head to Grandma Day's for Thanksgiving with the family!

CHAPTER 2
As we walked to the car, smiling and enjoying the moment, the day, the sun, and being thankful, the kids spotted our vehicle and ran up ahead to get in - I unlocked the door with the key fab and the lights flashed confirming that it was unlocked, Carter got in, Emma got in, and as I reached for my door handle, I noticed the door handle was cracked and broken - my first (naive) thought was that the car parked next to us, which was gone, must have slammed their door into ours and hit it just right to break it off.  I yelled for Molly to come and look and without missing a beat she says, someone picked the lock.  I didn't believe it, until she repeated herself while running around to the passenger side.  Opening her door - "My purse is gone!"  What?  No!  How many thoughts can go through your mind at one time - Jaw.  Drop.  Seriously?  "The iPad is gone!"  Nooo!  Please tell me this isn't happening.  I look at Morgan, Is the Ipad back there?  No!  The look of terror on her face is one I won't soon forget.  Molly looks me dead in the eye and I can read her mind.  I'm reaching for the console and before I can open it, she says "Your wallet and phone".  Open the console.  Gone!  Noooooo!  Noooooooo!  Dear God, please let this be a mistake.  I'm looking everywhere, on the floor of the car, under the car, between the seats - nothing - anywhere - it's all gone!  All of it!  ALL OF IT!

All of our clothes to change into in the back of the vehicle are still there.  Morgan's DSi was still there.  Carter's Mobigo was still there.  These people knew what they wanted.  Molly's purse is large, and was tucked under the dash on the passenger side, and the iPad was tucked behind the passenger seat in the storage area there.  I suppose it's possible a small part of it could have been sticking out, but my wallet and iPhone were stored in the console.

Molly called 911, and reported the crime, and our whereabouts.  We waited patiently for the police, all the while reassuring the kids that we were okay, and were going to be okay.  Even though we barely believed it ourselves.  Carter didn't really get it, Emma was concerned, but Morgan was devastated.  She was crying, no sobbing, and so upset, mostly out of fear and uncertainty of the moment.

Thankfully Molly runs with her iPhone, so she had her phone.  She called our Jess to let her know because she had also parked nearby, and as we awaited the police, Jess and her family arrived to comfort us.  Some time had passed and we finally spotted the police nearby, only, they were talking to other runners, near their cars.  Molly and Jess began waving their arms to them to get their attention, but it turns out we weren't the only ones who had called 911.  

When it was all said and done over 16 vehicles had been burglarized including an Illinois State Trooper who had his badge and gun stolen.  A few vehicles had their windows busted out in addition to the theft of their personal items.  While we waited our turn to file a police report, the kids became restless needing to use a bathroom, and having upset stomachs.  Jess and her family were kind enough to load all the kids into their car and seek a gas station to solve those problems.   One of the 4 visible officers arrived to our vehicle to begin the police report.  He called the entry process "lock punching".  A long screwdriver type object gets driven into the key hole, punched once down and then hard to the side to pop the entire lock core almost straight out of the door without the alarm ever sounding!  From there it's easy, and he said "These guys are pros"

Looking back, it was the perfect crime.  16000 runners, who obviously don't carry anything with them while running, being asked to park in a mall parking lot on Thanksgiving morning while the mall is closed, and thus, no mall security on duty!

While we waited on the police to arrive, we had time to call the Bank Debit Card 800 number.  Molly just happened to have an old debit card in the bottom of the console, and the 800 number was valid.  Indeed they had already charged $100 on the debit at a walmart, and it was approved.  But a subsequent $300 attempt was declined.  We learned later that this type of back to back activity is reported as suspicious and fraud systems decline it.  We were told we would have to work with the local bank branch to dispute the $100 charge, and have new cards issued.  Jess' husband looked up American Express phone number on his phone and let me use it to call.  Again, they had already charged $300 at a walmart, but a subsequent $400 attempt was declined.  Amex was outstanding to work with and I was assured immediately that the $300 charge would be removed, and a new card would be shipped UPS next day for me. 

These were really the only ones we were immediately worried about because of the high credit limits and obviously access to our checking account cash.  This brings us to the next dilemma - cash!  We had no cash on us (thankfully), but without any debit cards, we also have no access to cash, and without credit cards, we have no way to purchase anything!  I have an eighth of a tank of gas and an hour drive to get home or to Connersville.  When Jess returns with our kids, she offers me $20 saying it's the only cash she has.  I graciously accept saying I have a bad feeling I'm going to need it!  The kids are still pretty shook up, but buckle in and we're on our way.

We debate briefly just going on home and saying to heck with Thanksgiving, but decide to call my folks and get their opinion.  Dad answers and says just come on.  I fight back the tears to say, "Dad, you'll have to give me money, I don't have anything", and he reassures me that he'll take care of us, just come on in.  I tell him I could care less about what I smell like right now, I'm starving and just want to come straight to dinner and we'll change when we get there.  He assures me that will be fine.

We talk the entire hour about all the things that have just happened, and what it means for everyone.  Call after call are coming in and texts are making Molly's phone ring more than a Salvation Army bell!  By now she has announced it on Facebook, and we've talked to our parents, insurance agent, and friends that were likely trying to reach me on my phone.

We arrive at grandma's house and go about the rest of our day as best we can.  We retold the story a dozen times over, in person, and on the phone.  I drowned my sorrows in food, food, and more food (no alcohol in grandma's house)  and tried to relax my mind with some football.  Morgan negotiated a stay with my folks, and so 4 of us headed back home.  We spent the better part of the next 2 hours sitting with the laptop, telephone and a stack of statements making call after call after call after call to every card we had.  Only one other card reported activity.  A Marsh Visa card was attempted for $213 at a Marsh Supermarket.  Really?  They went grocery shopping?  Actually we found out this morning what they were trying to buy.  Want to take a guess?  What is the only thing you can buy again, and again, for exact dollar amounts??

Answer:  Gift Cards!

Dear cashiers of America - No one buys multiple gift cards, using multiple credit cards in succession - ever!  And if they do - feel free to ask more questions, and report the activity!

The gift card answer came from the bank teller that I worked with this morning to get the $100 disputed, new cards issued, and some much needed cash out of the bank account!  Additionally, we were able to order new driver's licenses online - very easy; and were successful in placing fraud alerts on our credit file with all the major credit bureaus.

So there you have it, we will hear more about the insurance on Monday.  The car lock should get fixed with no problem on the car insurance, but the contents - well, I think it's safe to say they are gone.  The kids are most upset about the lack of an iPad.  I've developed the shakes without my iPhone, but was thankful to find my old Droid to get me through the short term.  And Molly has added a new purse to her Christmas list.

It could have been worse.  But it shouldn't have happened at all.  I posted a comment on the race's facebook page notifying them that I was one of the 16 victims and hoped they would guarantee security for future races.  One of the organizers replied quickly saying that they certainly would, and how sorry he was.  Molly replied again saying how much we enjoyed the race, and the mission, and that we WILL be back.  Sometime this afternoon that organizer replied again with this response, "Chris and Molly, Next year you and your entire family run the Drumstick Dash for free! We will also get you a VIP parking pass at Applebee's and have you come in and hang out before the race."  My wife said it best, this simple gesture just restored my faith in humanity.

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

November 21, 2012

OH MY BAAAAAACK

When you last heard from me, I was whining about my back hurting after the Muncie mini - since then things seemed to be pretty good with the occassional annoying tightness after a long run.  But this past Sunday was no ordinary tightness. 

Had just finished a solid 10 mile training run with Olsons and friends and drove home.  Did a few errands before I went upstairs to shower.  After I came down and ate my breakfast, I was standing in the kitchen stretching against the counter when a pain unlike anything I've ever experienced shot down my lower back.  I hobbled toward the couch only to have a second spasm.  This time I yelled out like a little girl - EEEE!  Molly came running to stabilize me and help me to the couch.  I couldn't even sit or lay or flop or even move!  It was the most bizarre feeling ever.  I don't have any idea what caused it.  I finally fell into my chair and tried to find a comfortable position.  I was able to sit without much pain for almost an hour before I got up - AND THEN - EEEEEOOOOOWWWW - To downplay it a bit, let's just say this scream continues at random intervals for the next 30 minutes - the pain was so bad that this stubborn mule actually picked up the phone and called the Dr!  He agreed to call me in a muscle relaxer, and my nurse Molly was out the door to get it for me and allowed me to stay home while she took Carter to his birthday party at Chuck E Cheese. 

I promise it was not a ploy to get out of the party.  I was quite upset to miss it, but it was the right decision.  Once the meds kicked in, I did get a little drowsy, but they did what they were supposed to.

I took Mon, Tues and Wed completely off from any exercise, and am hoping to be 100% for tomorrow morning's Drumstick Dash in Broad Ripple.

Stay tuned to how this turns out...

October 27, 2012

Muncie Mini Recap - Operation Break 2 Hours

SPOILER ALERT!  I BROKE 2 HOURS!

I have to tell you how it ends because it changes the thoughts and strategies that I had and used throughout the race. It ends with me realizing that my GPS was OFF the entire race, which means all of my splits data was being sent from my footpod (not entirely accurate)

It was a cold and windy 36 degrees at 8:15 when I arrived at Muncie Central.  Got my timing chip, geared up, and met with the gang.  The plan was in place, and I was feeling quite confident with my ability to execute.

Canon booms and we're off.  Tried to settle into a pace quickly, but the course forced us onto a closed sidewalk along Wheeling.  Very disappointed that they couldn't block off one lane of road for us.   Most were too crowded and couldn't pass.  I felt really bad for the 10k and 5k sprinters behind us who would have to navigate through the mini marathon walkers.

Once we broke off the sidewalk onto Riverside we were able to spread out and Pete, Amy Fletcher and I were together on pace.  Mile 1 clicked off at just under 9:00 which I was surprised at because I was just sure the congested sidewalk slowed us down, but as we got a little further and Pete and Fletcher started to pull away I was concerned.  I checked my watch and the pace was solid under 9:00 every step of the way, and that's all that matters!

I kept them in my sights the entire race.  Every single mile clicked off between 8:40 and 8:55 so I wasn't worried.  What began to worry me though was how quickly my watch was clicking off miles compared to the mile markers.  Mile 3 my watch goes off at 26:30, but I don't pass the mile 3 marker until 27:00 - quick math says 9:09 pace needs to have me at 27:27, so I'm good.  The problem is that it only gets worse.  By mile 6 on my watch it says 53 minutes, but by the time I get to the 6 mile marker the watch is over 54 minutes - still 9:09 math says I need to be under 54:54.  You get the idea.

Still, by the time we get to the turn around (7.3) I am a solid minute behind Pete and Amy.  The math tells me I'm "probably" holding a 9 minute pace, and so I'm not worried, and in fact am so proud of what Pete is doing.  Just hoping he can hold it together, and also hoping that I can still catch him.  One mile at a time.

Near the turn around I saw my faster friends, John Mickle, Shannon Cline, Mike Shunneson, and after the turn drew inspiration from my friends chasing me including Del Brinson, Amy Thomas, Amy Olson and Sara Fauquher.  I felt strong enough to start picking people off one at a time as I worked my way to my pacers.  The foot pod shows the pace picking up, but it's all relative.

Ultimately, I'm within 15 seconds with 2.1 miles to go (McGalliard), and believe I can catch them.  I spent all I had to catch up, and got to them as I witnessed them take their first walking steps of the race.  A water station with 1.5 miles to go was the point I finally caught them, and knew that I had to keep pushing as my own goal was still uncertain.

At the 12 mile marker, I knew I could get away with a 10 minute mile, but that only assumes that the marker is in the right place.  With the inaccuracy of my watch, I couldn't chance it.  The press is on, the pain is real, and I was able to pick off two more runners in the final mile.  With a half mile left I take the hard left onto the Walnut street bridge where the MAFS crew comes unglued cheering for me.  Luke literally slaps my ass on the way by, and there's only one person left that I can possibly reel in - and it's Zach Rozelle - yes, the former Yorktown Superintendent is the real deal!  I had battled with him between miles 9 and 10, and thought he got the best of me, and by the end...he did!

It was another uplifting moment as I came onto the track to find my children waiting for me to once again run hand in hand across the finish line together!  Smiles all the way, and I'm done in 1:57:36!  Check my shoulder and Amy is not far behind me, and before the clock strikes 2:00:00, here comes Pete!  Yes!  We both did it under 2 hours!

I had quite a bit of pain afterward, particularly in my lower back.  Once I hobbled to the car and got home, got showered, and got food, I was anxious to sit down and upload my Garmin data - as it came up on the screen I realized there was no map - and that's when it all made sense - no map, because, no GPS!  My mile by mile splits were being sent from the foot pod, and that explains why my watch measured the race at 13.5 while everyone else had it at 13.06-13.08.  Again, very thankful to have remained so focused to be able to know exactly where I was every step of the way!

I'm not going into quite as much additional detail on this recap for the following reasons...
1)  The Muncie Mini continues to struggle to increase participation.  As an athlete you want and need more people.  At one point I ran nearly 2 miles without anyone passing me or me passing anyone.
2)  The course remains sub-par  - The out and back is bitter sweet - It's nice to see people, but there are not enough people to see, so the greenway can get quite boring.
3)  This was the first time I actually felt like I was "RACING".  I was SO focused on the goal, that every spare moment was spent doing the math, focusing on my body, stride, breathing, etc.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

October 25, 2012

Muncie Mini Plan and Play List

1:59:59 - That's the goal!  Anything faster than that and I've exceeded my expectation.  Anything slower than that and it's just not meant to be. 

A year ago at this race, I PR'd with a 2:10:xx and the course measured short.  This is my best chance to go under 2 hours.  The plan is to go out comfortably at low 9s pace and drop a couple sub 9 minute miles in there before the turnaround (mile 7.3).  Ideally I will hit mile 10 at 1:30; that will give me plenty of confidence to bring it home under goal.  It is an out and back course and I have a good handful of friends racing that will be uplifting to see them on the course.

I train with one earbud in, and so I will race the same way.  I realize I'm opening myself up to criticism here, but here are the tunes that get me going these days.  Yes, I like mostly newer music, but it's a pretty decent mix (no country) - Some are meaningful, some inspirational, and others just match a good running tempo for me.  There is exactly 2 hours of music here!  They are listed in alphabetical order, but I'll just press Shuffle and hope they hit me at just the right time as I need them!  (If you see one you don't know, google it, I bet you'll like it!)

All The Small Things - Blink 182
Beautiful Day - U2
Check Yes Juliet - We The Kings
Clocks - Coldplay
Closer To The Edge - 30 Seconds to Mars
The Edge of Glory - Lady GaGa
Everlong - Foo Fighters
The Fighter - Gym Class Heroes (Ryan Tedder)
Gangnam Style - PSY
Glad You Came - The Wanted
Good Feeling - Flo Rida
Good Time - Owl City (Carly Rae Jepsen)
I'm Not Afraid - Eminem
The Kill - 30 Seconds to Mars
Kings and Queens - 30 Seconds to Mars
Live Your Life - T.I. (Rhianna)
Lose Yourself - Eminem
More - Matthew West
Not Over You - Gavin DeGraw
Ocean Avenue - Yellowcard
One More Night - Maroon 5
Raise Your Glass - Pink
Rooftops - Lost Prophets
Run This Town - Jay-Z (Kanye)
Shake It - Metro Station
Starships - Nicki Minaj
Stronger - Kanye West
Titanium - David Guetta (Sia)
Too Close - Alex Clare
Without You - David Guetta (Usher)

October 19, 2012

#IMKONA inspiration and a commitment

I'll be the first to admit - I'm a little addicted to following professional triathletes these days.  I follow many on twitter, and I like many more on facebook; as well as all the companies that sponsor them.  I challenge you to find another sport or activity that, on any given weekend, you can toe the line and compete side by side with some of the world's best athletes.  You will likely never play a full game with Jordan or Kobe, You'll never tee up 18 with Phil or Tiger, and good luck scoring a single point off of Venus or Serena (unless they double fault).  Yet, in an Ironman, any weekend warrior (like myself) can pay the entry fee and go head to head with the best in our sport...every...weekend!

The difference remains, that aside from the elite athletes, very few of us are competing with each other; yet, we are competing only against ourselves.

As I watched the Ironman World Championships in Kona unfold throughout the day last Saturday I was obviously most interested in who was leading, who was fastest, who faltered and why, and of course who won?!  But the following morning I was anxious to scroll through the age group results and find even more inspiration.  The oldest finisher, the youngest finisher, the challenged athletes, and especially the last finisher (you must complete the course in under 17 hours).  The stories of many of these athletes will be featured on next week's featured broadcast of the race that I will record and watch countless times in the weeks and months ahead.    Highlights of the last hour in Kona!

I have bottled up this kind of inspiration for days, weeks, months, and beyond as I become more and more intrigued by the activity, I find myself on the edge of making a commitment.  A decision to chase a dream that just 3 years ago would have been laughable to anyone in my life.  I understand that this is not something I can do alone, and yet it is entirely up to me.  I understand that there will be sacrifices for myself, my family, my friends, and yet all will be better for having been a part of this.  I understand the challenge is as mentally taxing as it is physically exhausting.  I understand that it's not about the destination, it's about the journey. 

I am blessed with a career that affords me the time.  I am blessed with a family that affords me the time.  I am blessed with friends that lead by example.  I am blessed with a renewed body that is up for the challenge.  My mind is right, my heart is ready, and the stars seem to be aligned.

At this time I am committing myself to begin a training program on December 17th that will prepare me to complete the August 25, 2013 Ironman Louisville.  I understand that every mile I have completed to this point has been an important part of my training for this event, but it's now time to focus the effort.  The event traditionally does not sell out until mid summer, and I will not commit my dollars for entry until the Spring ,all assuming that the training is going well and my health remains strong.

I am looking forward to the structured workouts and having a plan.  Thanks in advance to my friends and family for understanding and supporting my journey to become an Ironman


September 23, 2012

Chase Charlie - Catch Charlie!

Today was all about going FAST!  Chuck Alfrey came up just to pace me through this race knowing that he could settle me into a successful pace.  The goal was to go under 25:00 which is about 8:02 pace, and I was confident I could get the job done.  So much so that Chuck said "Let's destroy it".
We were out of the gate like a dog on a rabbit, Looked down to see a 6:xx pace, only to hear Chuck yelling at me, "Settle, settle!"  (like I was said dog), I watched my Garmin tick back into the 7:xxs and decided I was comfortable there.  He talked me through the whole thing.  Mile 1 was 7:24 and I felt good, but at the half way point we made the turn at the scramble light and it was uphill a bit on McKinley.  Mile 2 was 7:49.  Quick math says I can do a 9 minute mile and break 25:00.  Just then Chuck says "don't settle" - it was like he knew - so we pressed on with him pulling away just enough to get me to go with him.  He tells me we are 8:03 on this mile and need to pick it up to press it under 8, and we did!  I had a little burst with a quarter mile to go, but decided it was too early.  Chuck really wanted me to go, but I knew I couldn't.  Once we were inside the stadium I picked it up just a little more and Mile 3 was a 7:46.  Now rounding the corner to the finish line I can see the time clock and it still says 23:xx - WE'RE GOING TO BREAK 24! - And we did,

23:44 is the new PR and was good enough for 3rd place male age 30-39!  How bout them apples!

To celebrate - we went for a 10 mile run!  Yes, I'm serious!

September 7, 2012

JOY AND PAIN

JOY!
I'm sure you've returned to my blog daily for an update of last weekend's final triathlon of the season!  Sorry to keep you waiting, I've been buy polishing my award!  OH YEAH!  You heard me!  THIS GUY earned a spot on the podium!

I told myself there was only to be one speed today and it was FAST!  I was in and out of the water in personal record time, and flew through T1 with the determination of the winner.  The bike was BLAZING fast, and for the first time averaged 20 mph!  LEGIT!  The run worried me after the early effort, but I thrived!

The drama came as the results were posted and I was listed as 7th out of 10 in my age group.  Upon further review, several athletes were listed as recording bike splits over 28 mph!  I don't think so!  Indeed, they had CUT THE COURSE!  And...you guessed it 3 guys in my AG were DQ'd ... thus giving me THIRD PLACE among men 35-39!

Ironically, I had just posted days earlier that I would never find the podium, and should therefore seek Clydesdale races - scratch that!  I can race with the big boys!

Check out the improvement over the last 3 years - wonder what I can do in 2013???



PAIN!
In the effort to lose more weight and stay FIT, I am committing myself for one month to tracking my food, and workouts as I embark on my first ever Fitness Program.

INTENSITY is a 4 week-8 session course at the Y that my friend April is teaching!  It is sold out to 21 athletes with prerequisites for enrollment.  The first class was at 5:30 a.m this past Wednesday, and as I type this 60 hours later, I am STILL sore!  Squats, box jumps, and walking planks in the shadows of the street lights at this hour is all new ground for me!  But, I'm up for the challenge!  Bring it!  Stay tuned for weight updates all month!  (213 today)

August 31, 2012

2 years ago!

Ah the memories!  --  Feel free to read this blog post from my first sprint triathlon - 2 years ago this weekend!

http://iadviseu.blogspot.com/2010/09/my-first-triathlon.html

It is actually really entertaining, funny, and even a little sad!  But the amazing thing is how my perspective has changed.  Not just from my times and expectations, but including my preparations, nerves and confidence. 

I'm far from being called a veteran triathlete, but I'm proud of what I've been able to do in 2 years time. 

Supposed to be a rainy day tomorrow, but we will make the best of it, and celebrate the journey that has renewed my spirit for living a healthy lifestyle!

Have a great weekend everyone!

August 20, 2012

Steelhead 70.3 Race Recap

This is my recollection of the race weekend - it is unedited and raw - you are likely to say "TMI" multiple times - read at your own risk!

Main Characters:
Chris Day - first time 70.3 athlete with Hero Support Captain/Wife Molly Day, complete with 3 children, Morgan, Emma and Carter
Pete and Amy Olson - Athletic Supporters extraordinaire
Chuck Alfrey - first time 70.3 athlete and wife Staci
Sara Fauquher - Aquabike athlete rockstar and husband Andy who are celebrating their Anniversary by running this as a relay
Gary Thomas - veteran triathlete and training for 140.6 with wife Amy
Lucas Smelser - Muncie Area Fun Squad (MAFS) founder and faster than fast triathlete with his wife - Lisa Smelser who is equally as fast amongst the women

Location:  Jean Klock Park, Benton Harbor Michigan

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Not a bad place to watch a race!









Hero Support Vehicle is gassed up and ready to roll, we meet up with Team Olson for an 8:30 departure, and race our way to Benton Harbor.  There is a 1:00 athlete briefing that I think we can make even with a quick Pizza Hut lunch stop.  We drive mostly straight to the park, and get parked easily.  Short walk over the dunes and behold the beautiful Lake Michigan!  This ain't Prairie Creek y'all!  Find a bathroom and walk into the meeting as it begins.

The outdoor picnic table seating area was standing room only.  The meeting was very informative and helpful!  I'm feeling comfortable with everything around me and was thankful to have Molly by my side while Olsons took the kids down the beach to the water.  Meeting is over, and time to register.  Smooth and easy with great volunteers, and I'm into the merchandise tent.  One of my favorite shirts from Muncie is the M-dot logo with all the athlete names on the back.  It's soft, comfortable and super cool!  Thankful to grab one for half price via Molly's Ironman connections.  Bump into Chuck and Staci for the first time in the merch tent.  They had just arrived in time to check in, but had yet to attend the meeting.

I will carry it...
...cause it will carry me
Olson's have returned with the kids, and it's time to make a plan - We all walked back to the van and retrieved my bike, my wetsuit, and Pete's mountain bike.  Pete brought it so that he could chase us around the course easily.  I walked the bike to transition and racked it without riding at all.  Pausing of course for the obligatory bike over the head photo!  I had read the course was hilly, so no need to exhaust myself today.



Ran into Sara and Andy who came up last night and had already taken care of their logistics.  Their anniversary was yesterday, and their relay team name is "Happy Anniversary, Honey"!  I found a changing area and slipped into the wetsuit while Pete took off to explore the course for us.  The kids ran the beach chasing seagulls, while Molly and Amy grabbed their chairs and sat on the beach while I swam.  The meeting informed us we would swim South to North with the current.  Didn't take long swimming a couple hundred yards in each direction to realize what they were talking about.  Lots of boats on the water made it quite choppy and I was getting rocked around as much as I did in the Ocean at Kona!  Not fun!  20 minutes is all I need, and I'm out of the water and drying off.

Pete returns to break the news that the run course may require cross country shoes, and a hiking backpack - as I feared, there are some hills!  Changed clothes and back to the car, our work here is done for the day.  We've got some time to kill so we chose to drive the bike course.  Hills are certainly the name of the game around here - 100 feet of gain right out of the gate.  But the road conditions became the story once we turned off the Blue Star Highway.  The best I can describe it is when a road is being grated, and they take that top layer of asphalt off before they repave it.  When you're driving it, your tires make that HUMMM sound the entire time?  Yeah, it's like that!  After about 15 miles into the bike course I've seen enough so we abandon that plan and are now seeking the nearest Target store!

No one "forgot" anything, but we didn't pack the kids' swimsuits because we knew there would be no time at the hotel for swimming - What we failed to realize was that we would be sitting on a BEACH ALL DAY while I'm racing, and the kids can swim - Thank you Target for your 50-75% clearance racks at the end of swim season!  Mission Accomplished and it's dinner time!

Lasagna = Carbs = YUM!
Gary Thomas had made reservations for 17 at the local Papa Vino's restaurant for the MAFS crew at 6:00.  We were first to arrive with Olson's followed by Alfrey's.  They took us back to a private party room set for 19.  Fauquhers showed up, and an acquaintance to many, TJ Tryon came too.  TJ has been helping Chuck quite a bit, and many of know of TJ as being a USAT official.  Gary Thomas (GT) and his wife Amy show up with Luke and Lisa Smelser all sporting their official MAFS shirts!  (should've gone back to the car and put mine on too)  Smelser's brought their hero support too, and Scott Hubbard and his girlfriend Brenda Skoczelas round out our group of 20!  Dinner was awesome, and I may have eaten a little more than I should have, but I had not snacked all day since lunch 6.5 hours ago, and was not eating anymore before morning.

We shared great conversation and stories with all, and it was hugs, high fives, fist bumps, and well wishes all around as we went our separate ways!  It's about a half hour drive to our hotel, and Olsons were 5 minutes beyond that.  They followed us to ours and we coordinated our plan for race morning before checking in.  Once checked in, everyone showered, jammied, and hit the sack.  Lights out at 9:30!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Alarm goes off at 4:20.  I'm up and showering while everyone else sleeps.  Ate a banana, and granola bar, and drinking about 16 ounces of Gatorade while getting ready.  One of my biggest concerns race morning is having a good poop before the race, and I didn't get it first thing, so hoping the food will wake the stomach and get the bowels moving.  No luck yet.  Pete and Amy are coming to the room at 4:45.  Pete is picking me up and Amy will stay behind with Molly and the kids to come later.  Gather all my things, we're out the door, and while in the elevator I realize - oops - I left the car keys in the room, and I'm going to need to get in the car to get the rest of my gear - elevator down - elevator up - keys - elevator down, and now we're loaded and on the road by 5.

It's very cold this morning and I sat out a sweatshirt to bring for this very reason - problem is, it never got packed.  Pete literally gave me the sweatshirt off his back to keep me warm, thankfully he had a long sleeve tech for himself.  Heat was on in the car the whole drive in, and it was a very quiet ride.  I was still in a meditation mode.  Doing mental reps in my mind and thankful to be able to lay my head back and close my eyes while Pete did the driving.  We drove straight to the parking lot which is about a mile South of transition, but near the swim start.  Shuttles were provided to get athletes from parking to transition, and then back for the swim start.  I grabbed all my gear except for the wetsuit which Pete offered to take since I didn't need it until much later.  Pete said he would just walk over while I shuttled over and got set up in transition.

No wait for a shuttle, and as the door closes, I hear from the back of the bus, "Chris Day!" - Smelser's are all smiles in the back of the bus.  I probably looked silly as I was wearing my bike helmet, but my hands were full with bike shoes, towels, nutrition, etc.  "You got your bike helmet?", I respond, "Roger that!"  while shaking my head side to side so it wobbles on my head which draws a laugh from the athletes, I'm truly all smiles, and starting to get a little anxious about the day ahead.  Bus drops us off VIP-like and it's a short walk to transition.

Transition area is literally a quarter mile long!  Bike are lined on the left and right with one rack right down the middle.  The sun is no where to be seen, and only the portable halogen spots illuminate the area, but the music is on and announcements are nonstop.  I have until 6:45 to get my things set up, and it's barely 6:00 right now.  My bike is racked near the end of transition, so it's a long walk to the bike, but there she is waiting for me.

First order of business is to get some air in the tires.  I knew others would have their pumps, so I didn't mess with mine.  Unracked my bike, and propped it up against a monument nearby, and easily found and borrowed a pump.  115psi in both front and rear today.  Brakes check well, Gears turn fine.  It's in an easy gear, so I rerack it and start unpacking my gear.  Towel out, Running shoes off and set, Bike shoes out and set.  Gatorade in both bottles on the bike.  Nutrition loaded on the bike.   Gels on my bib belt, and bib...bib...where's my bib, oh yeah it's in the white envelope with my timing chip and swim cap...chip...cap...bib...should be in the bag...this bag...not in ....what....where....  OH NO!!!!!!!!!!

I DON'T HAVE MY TIMING CHIP - OR MY BIB - OR MY CAP!

Think - think - I must have put it in the other sling bag, the one that I left for Molly to use today - in the hotel room!  Grab the phone, place the call, and calmly ask for the whereabouts of said envelope.  "Yep, here it is, I've got it right here, and yes, here is your bib, cap, and timing chip"  - Where are you?  We're leaving the hotel right now - 30 minutes away - It is now 6:15 - transition closes in 30 minutes - This means there is no possible way it will be here in time for me to do anything with it.  Before tucking my phone in my bag I called Pete to inform him of the issue and tell him to stand by and wait for the call.  I'd meet up with him in a few minutes.

Think - think - I don't need my swim cap until I get in the water - my wave doesn't go until 8:05 - she'll make it!  I don't need my timing chip until I start the race at 8:05 - she'll make it.  I don't need the bib until I start the bike - but how will that work if I can't get it attached to my bib belt before the race?  Answer:  There will have to be a coordinated handoff as I come out of the water.  This can work, this will work - don't panic.  Okay dear, call me when you get parked and we'll figure it out.  In the meantime, I'm going to seek out a race official and ask for alternatives.  They have told us before that if we lose our timing chip, just ask for a new one.  Swim caps should be easy to come by (Muncie has thousands leftover every year), but the bib remains the concern.  You must wear it for the bike and the run!

I ask a volunteer where I should go, and they suggest the finish line where the timers should be stationed, but there's no one there - I return to another storage area and ask some other staff who reply it's too early for anyone to be there.  Maybe it was the panic, maybe it was all the walking, but that was when mother nature decided to call!  There were 30 portapots lined outside of transition and the line was moving swiftly.  I jumped in line and took care of business.  Relief!  Glad to have that done.  Probably not eating or drinking anything else, so should be fine.  "Transition closes in 20 minutes" is the announcement followed by, "Early waves should be headed to the swim start".  Now I'm getting panicked that I can't even get an answer - - that's when God threw me a curveball - - in the form of Matt Hay!

Matt is a friend from summer church camp when we were in High School.  We reconnected last year as he made his quest to become an Ironman.  He stayed with us last year when he raced Muncie 70.3 before completing 140.6 in September.  Matt lives in Northern Indiana and came with a friend, but as he says when asked what he's doing here, "I came to see you!" - HUGS!  Matt, meet Pete - Pete, meet Matt - the two of you talk while I find an official.  I finally found a fast walking, radio carrying, collared shirt female that gave me 10 seconds while walking fast.  "I've lost my timing chip, where do I go?" - "They're at the swim start" - "okay, but I've also lost my bib" - "You're screwed!" - No seriously, that's what she said - "You're screwed!"  WHAT!  Are you serious - Shocked, but determined, I offered my solution - "if my bib gets here in time, can someone hand it to me as I get out of the water, and I'll carry it to my bike?" - "Yeah, sure that should be fine" - Should be?  Can you be a little more reassuring?  And with that, she was on the radio to someone else and making her way to the swim start.  "Transition will close in 10 minutes"

Dealing with the reality that there's nothing more I can do but execute the plan, I grab Pete and Matt and we make our way down the beach to the water's edge to begin the 1.2 mile walk to the start line.  Along the way, Matt and I are small talking.  How calm the water is; how big the houses are; how neat the sand dunes are.  He says to me, "I'm resisting the urge to catch up on life with you, realizing you've probably got a lot on your mind" - To which I say, go for it!  Maybe it will help me relax.  He mentions an IU/BSU game that we should coordinate on, and we talk about what he's got coming up as far as races.  Half way down the beach the phone rings, and the package has arrived at the parking lot, now they're trying to figure out how to go straight to the swim start.

We pause on our walk as we are within earshot of the National Anthem, and 2 minutes later, we hear the cannon go off, and can see the pros running into the water!  It's 7:00 and this thing is underway!  2 more waves get off the beach before we arrive and meet up with the package.  All is well, and I can relax.  The plan will work.  Hugs from the kids and a kiss from Molly remind me that we're fine.  I spot Chuck on the beach, he looks ready and has only 20 minutes until he's in the water.  With a deep breath I realize mother nature was calling again - or maybe it was Papa Vino's calling (I knew I ate too much) - bathrooms are over the dunes, so I make the trek.  1 bathroom with 1 stall and 5 portapots.  I opt for the bathroom and it takes me 20 minutes to get through the line, but success is had!


   Chuck is already in the water as are all our females - the pros are out of the water and probably working mile 10 on the bike.  Back to the beach, and finish pulling the wetsuit on.  Hugs, high fives, and fist bumps all around - the music is loud at the start line, I'm hopping, jumping, shaking out the arms, etc.  Morgan asks if we can go put our toes in the water, so we do.  Water feels great, and I get in waist deep.  Back out and we've got time for a couple more pics with GT and Lucas who start in the wave after me (5 minutes later).  At that point I made a promise to everyone - "THIS (pointing to my smiling mouth) stays with me all day, no matter what!"  Thinking back to Coach Armando's final words of advice - "Smile allllllll the waayyyyy, it's easier that way!"


Yellow caps in front of me are in the water, and the fluorescent green caps are in the queue - that's me!  Adjusting the goggles and wetsuit one final time, the announcer reminds us that the water level is very low and we can essentially run to the first buoy - 10 seconds later - AIRHORN and we're off




SWIM

He wasn't kidding - I jogged easily to the first buoy before I was even calf deep, and then continued walking to the second buoy before I was nipple deep and found room to take that first diving stroke into the water.  Once in position it was crowded as I feared.  Had several close calls of flying elbows, kicking feet, and right hooks swinging near my face.  The large red buoy turns us parallel with the beach and there are 8 yellow buoys, followed by 8 orange buoys before we get to the final red buoy to turn us back toward the beach.

I struggled to the second yellow buoy before I felt like I was able to get into a groove, but once I did, I found comfort and was able to focus on my stroke.  Each time I found myself on someone's heels, I held position to see if I could pick up a draft, but often found my long reach would tangle me with them, so I would pass.  I always breathe on my left which is looking away from the beach, and so I only lifted my head forward to spot the next buoy and hold the line.  I made an effort to touch or brush up against each buoy so that I knew I was holding a line closest to the shore and not fanning out into the lake to make this thing any longer than it needed to be.

I actually found myself matching an identical pace as another green cap, and I hung on his right hip so that as I took a breath on my left I was looking right at his legs.  This was a great position and I stayed with him for several buoys and minutes.  I think I may have gotten too complacent in this position, and stopped "racing".  I was just sort of swimming, but was feeling good as I caught the slowest of the yellow caps that went off 5 minutes ahead of me.  It was about that exact same time that the orange caps behind me caught us!  There was a pack of 3 or 4 that went by so fast they left a wake, then a bigger pack behind them before a stream of them were mixed in with us.

At the first orange buoy I checked my watch assuming I was halfway - it read 24 minutes - I had said I'd like to do the swim in 45 minutes, so if this were true I was a little slower than I preferred.  Sticking with the plan, and reaching longer and pulling harder at times, by the time I got to the 4th orange buoy a stream of red caps were coming by now!  These were athletes that started 10 minutes after me!  Wow!  These guys are fast!  Somewhere around this time I looked around and counted at least 6 different color caps in the water with me, and that's just what I could see.  By the time I reached the sixth orange buoy, I was ready to be done!  Bored isn't the right word, but I'm just going through the motions at this point, and thinking ahead about "the handoff".

As I hit the final red buoy and make the right turn toward the beach, I'm wondering how long I will swim before I hit sand.  I had read that I need to continue swimming until my hands are dragging bottom before I stand up with the idea that you can swim faster than you can walk in water.  But at this point, as soon as I see someone standing, I'm reaching for the bottom.  I finally find it, and stand right away.  Pull my goggles off and try to gather myself and focus on the shoreline to find Molly.  She was wearing a colorful sweatshirt that made her easy to find.  I was expecting her to be half way up the chute that leads to transition, but she was at the water's edge.  It occurred to me that I should go ahead and pull my arms out of the wetsuit so that once she hands me the bib I don't have to risk ripping it or getting it wet by pulling it through - came out of the wetsuit easy enough on top and get a successful handoff!

 

Running up the beach was difficult as the sand is very fine and loose.  The chute is surrounded by cheering fans on both sides, and with the relief of having my bib and being done with the swim I am once again smiling ear to ear - so much so that I hear people commenting, "love that smile", etc.  The swim was long and arduous, but I'm not too upset with the results. 

Swim = 47:15 - 934 overall - 696 men - 124 division

Heading out on the bike
Into T1 - I make the long quarter mile barefoot jog to the bike.  Over the fencing I spot Amy Olson and Matt Hay both running with phone/camera in hand.  They were able to get inside the finish chute to stand on the other side of my bike as I transition.  I also spotted Luke at his bike which meant he'd made up the 5 minutes on me in the water, and then some as he was about to exit with his gear - First order of business - get that bib attached - it probably only cost me 15 seconds, to bend down and secure it to my bib belt - then get out of the wetsuit - push and pull and then just step on it - threw it toward the fence and sat down to put on my bike shoes, helmet, and sunglasses - grabbed a drink of gatorade - is that it?  yep - I'm out!  Short jog to the bike exit and ran past the congestion at the mount line to hop on the bike - T1 time - 4:33

BIKE

I felt pretty good coming on to the bike, but I knew there was a long climb ahead of me in the first 5 miles, so I kept it in the middle ring and kept the cadence high to get my legs under me.  Took my first gel right away and just a swig to chase it.  The first big climb was challenging, and I can see on my Garmin data that I only managed a 14.5 mph pace on that climb.  Somewhere around mile 7, I heard a familiar voice -  and here comes GT.  Just like at Muncie, he caught me quick, but he's moving much stronger than I am and he and several others were by me in a hurry.  I'm getting killed on the hills, but am reminding myself to settle in for a long ride.  While mile 3 was the slowest of the entire ride with that first hill, I got a pay off at mile 13 with a downhill that Garmin clocked at over 35 mph!  Now that's movin!

My nutrition plan was executed flawlessly - Every 15 minutes, I'm drinking - Every 45 minutes, I gel - and at the 1 hour and 2 hour marks I eat half a payday candy bar!  The aid stations were spaced pretty well, 4 in all, and I took water at the first one but pitched it immediately, and took water again at the second one, and kept it while pitching one of my own bottles, then pitched that empty water for a full gatorade at the third one.  Skipped the 4th.

The Blue Star Highway was nice to ride on despite the hills, and before we turned off of it, I spotted the leader coming back - he was working mile 45-50 and I'm barely past mile 10.  But once we turned East onto the county roads the rumbling began just as I had suspected it from the drive yesterday.  The rumbling was so bad that gear was flying off of bikes everywhere.  water bottles, gatorade bottles, CO2 cartridges, flat kits, etc littered the road and became obstacles on the ride.  As many are talking as are not, other than the obligatory "on your left" passing comment.  Mile markers were out every 5 miles, and the course was well marked.  The only interesting thing that made me smile, was at the halfway point, someone had painted the road with the words, "56 divided by 2 = 28"!  Somewhere around mile 32 there was a stupid steep climb.  For the first time I actually geared down to the small ring.  It didn't last long, but it was painful, and my cateye showed I was down to 7 mph at one point!  That's slow!

The remainder of the bike course was a struggle to stay in good aero position as my back began to ache more than usual, and my man parts were rubbing raw.  I applied the skin strong slather before hand, but between the swim and the sweat I'm sure it was wearing thin - probably didn't apply generously enough - the other realization was that the chamois in my bike shorts (that I train in) are a little thicker than the chamois in my trisuit - this caused some discomfort in the saddle that I wasn't used to in miles 40 and beyond.

I kept thinking I would catch someone I knew - maybe Chuck or Sara - they had started 30 minutes ahead of me and maybe I could have such a good bike that I could make that time up, but as I turned south onto the Blue Star Highway for the long stretch back, I was met with a headwind that remained the entire last 15 miles!  This was frustrating as I was now working much harder to maintain the same speeds.  I was doing the math in my head early and thinking I might break 3 hours on the bike, but knew it would be tough to do so now.  I traded positions with several riders off and on with legal passing to break the wind.  I can only assume they were working with me intentionally, but after doing most of the work, I left many of them behind.

Within the last 6 miles, I began to think ahead to T2, and opted back to the middle ring for a higher cadence, but with 3 miles to go I found myself about to charge down that same first hill that broke me early - back to top gear, and one last push, but with the wind, I could barely get it to 25 mph.  Geared down and made the turn toward the beach.  They funnel us up on a sidewalk that is marked "No passing Zone", this is a good half mile stretch on a narrow sidewalk with sharp turns.  I decide that since there is no passing, I will use this opportunity at a slower pace to come out of my shoes early.  I've done this successfully before and believe I can do it.  Unstrap right shoe, and grab heel, pull out and land the foot back on top of the shoe.  Around a corner, and do the same with the left.  I'm out of the shoes and rolling smoothly to the dismount line.  Even overheard some comments from spectators pointing at me "Look he's out of his shoes already too"  Both socked feet on the ground and dismounting when the rider in front of me (shoes still on) dismounts his bike by throwing his left leg up high enough to clip my right wrist - OUCH - he apologized quickly and sincerely, but I was fine.

Bike = 3:03:14 (18.3 mph) - 844 overall - 669 men - 123 division

Into T2 I'm running like a champ - shoes still clipped to the bike - running in my socks - quarter mile jog all the way -  I spot my fan club cheering loudly - I'm still all smiles and waving - I hear a "How do you feel?" and simply yell back "AWESOME!"  I really did feel good.  Made the long jog to rack the bike and again sat to put the running shoes on - helmet off, visor on - check the glasses and go -- but first, I need sunscreen!  Sadly, the aid station was behind me and not at the exit, so I had to jog back about 25 yards.  I yelled ahead "who's got sunscreen?" and someone turned around with their gloves covered and slathered my neck, shoulders, upper arms, and even the tips of my ears (thorough) while another volunteer handed me a cup of water.  Chug it, pitch it and go - T2 and out in 2:46 - very efficient!

RUN

As I exit T2 I spot Amy Thomas taking pics, and I yell out with arms in the air and a smile on my face!  "Look at me, I'm really doing this!"  It was a crazy good feeling to have the bike done and know that equipment issues would not ruin my day (lots and lots of flat tires out there today), it was only my legs that could fail me now.  I'm into a good groove early, but recall Pete reporting about the monster hill at mile 1.  If he's right, then I've got to run well to it in case I need to walk it.  As I cross under the Blue Star Hwy bridge, I recall the best sign of the day - simply said - DO EPIC SHIT!  Go Gabe -  I smiled and laughed and pointed at her - she pointed back and yelled, "It's not just Gabe, You do epic shit too!"  As funny as it was, it meant a lot!

The Garmin beeped at me exactly as I crossed the mile 1 marker - 10:26 - and then I turned the corner to locate "the hill"  It wasn't super long, but it was super steep - No question I'm power walking this one.  Others are running down the hill and are only a mile from their finish - I am 4 hours into my race, and these people could have had as much as an hour head start on me, so they could be 5 hours into their race - Lots of respect for these athletes.  At the top of the hill, I get a short jog in before I hit the first aid station.  It is well stocked with water, ice, gatorade, cola, and snacks.  My routine would be the same for every stop.  Grab a water and the ice, mix the two - drink the gatorade, then swig the water - dump the remaining water on my head and dump the ice in my trisuit.  Add in a swig of cola for miles 5 and beyond.  I committed to walk every aid station and run well out of each one.  This allowed for some consistent early miles - the first four were all between 10:26 and 10:56!

Pete found me around mile 3 on the run, and updated me on who all he had seen (nearly everyone), and was enjoying riding around watching us.  He anchored himself at the entrance to the Whirlpool World Headquarters where we enter their campus and run a walking trail inside the campus.  As I entered the campus, I spotted Luke who was on his way out...for the second time.  The course is a double loop about 5 miles around and I could easily calculate that he was working mile 10 and was therefore almost an hour ahead of me.  As I entered the campus and walked the next aid station, I did the quick math in my head that with less than 10 miles to go and being 4:30 into the race, I could run 12 minute miles in and finish under 6:30 - this would be a dream come true since I had said all along anything around 7 hours would be okay with me.

I could take nothing for granted knowing that my late run miles are often much much slower than the early run miles.  I pushed on and continued out of the campus passing Andy who was working his second loop confirming that I am the last of the MAFS out here.  Coming out of the campus, Pete was still waiting on me as I faced the dreaded hill!  I could see everyone was walking the hill, and I was comfortable to do that as long as I could run again after.  I continued to make jokes with people as they passed me - "Is this your third or fourth lap?" - "This is so much fun, I think I'll take a third lap", etc - Anything to make myself and others smile!

When I got the merge point, and faced the sign that said 2nd lap straight, finishers turn right, I was a bit dejected thinking of doing this 5 mile loop again, but I felt plenty strong enough and continued on.  I spoke first to almost everyone I passed, but one female in particular was walking and spoke to me first.  We had just passed the mile 7 point, and exchanged a short howdy, and good luck.  10 seconds could not have gone by when I hear this woman behind me let out the most blood-curdling scream I have heard since I don't know when.  It crescendoed from oh, to OH to OOOOOH to an all out AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!  As I turned to look she was already flat on her back with her leg in the air gripping tightly to her calf muscle.  I stopped in my tracks and turned to walk back, but 3 others raced past me (in the wrong direction) to get to her first.  One gentleman in particular yelling as loud as he can "PUSH AGAINST IT - PULL YOUR TOE UP!"  I paused momentarily debating what I could do, and chose to continue my race and offer a quick prayer for her.

As I neared the next aid station, the athletes around me were communicating the news to the volunteers who passed the word on to the police blocking the intersection who responded swiftly to her.  Would love to know if she was able to continue.  I grab all the aid I need here and a little extra ice (TMI WARNING:) I have been feeling like I needed to pee for the last mile or so, but don't want to take the time to stop at a port a pot to find out, so for the first time in my life I achieve the amazing sensation of urinating...on myself...in my trisuit...while walking...yes...while walking...just little bowed-legged shift and it's running down my leg - Again, I grabbed extra aid, so a quick rinse of water down the suit, and chased it with ice as always - hey my socks feel a little soggy now too.

After turning this corner, I spot a familiar pair of neon compression socks ahead!  Those were unmistakable, as they stuck out in my mind when they raced by me at mile 7 on the bike, but could it really be?  "GT?!" I yelled, and without looking he throws his hand in the air as if to say, "yep, you got me".  As I jogged nearer I became greatly concerned for what he was dealing with, and searching for the right words I said, "That was nice of you to wait for me" - okay, probably not the right words, but my goal was to make him smile.  No such luck - he may have rolled his eyes at me.  "What's going on? Stomach, Legs, What?"  He replied that he had fought a hamstring injury for quite some time, and today it got the best of him.  He'd had an amazing bike split (over 20 mph) said he had a rocket 8:20 first mile, but that was about the extent of his race.  I reminded him that he was wise to slow up as there was a bigger picture out there for him (140.6 in November), but then he started speaking of quitting - No, I said you can't quit - But then he said that he had nearly fallen twice, and I knew this was real.  We exchanged conversation about how others were doing, and how my race was going.  I told him I thought I could get in under 6:30 and he said "well you won't get it done walking with me."  I asked if he'd like to jog just a little with me, but he said he could make it 4 steps and would surely have to walk again.  With that he gave a firm hand grip and I told him as sincerely as I could - "I can't thank you enough for helping me get here - I don't know what's next for me, but whatever it is, I need you."  He humbly snickered, but I repeated myself - "I NEED YOU!"  I still don't think Gary knows how much he means to my motivation.  I look up to him like a big brother.  Thanks GT!

I'm on with my race, and feeling good.  When I reach the campus entrance Pete looks confused - why is he seeing me before GT?  He asks, Did you see GT?  I reply yep, he's coming up behind me here - Don't let him quit!  He has to finish - no matter how bad it hurts, or how slow it is, he can't quit!  I worked my way into and around the campus loop and as I hit the 10 mile marker I do the math in my head that I only have to run a 40 minute last 5k to break 6:30 - I got this!  One last peek at Pete as I exit and he escorts me to the base of "the hill" before I begin walking up it and he retreats to encourage GT to the finish.  Walking the hill proved to be costly as mile 11 clicked off as a 13:02 mile, my worst of the race.

Once to the top of the hill, I resume my pace and my conversations.  The next couple to speak to me first was very encouraging, "Looking good!" he said as I jogged up on them and with them for a bit.  The wife asks me "How many of these have you done?"  And I laugh replying, "This is it, my first and...well...I guess I won't say only" - They reply that it's their first as well, and we have a 5 minute "how proud are we of us" session!  Ultimately my pace was faster than theirs, so I went on.  Next to the last aid station, and I take on all the fluids I need, and press on quickly feeling strong and knowing I can make it under 6:30.

The last aid station is near the mile 12 marker and walking one last time I'm committed to running it in - double fisting ice and water, and...well yeah, I may have pushed a little more out of my bladder (I'm telling you I could barely control any of my muscles), but feeling the ultimate relief I begin the last jog of the day.  Remember the big hill at mile 1? - now I get to go down it!  I'm now passing more than are passing me, and I am listening intently for the finish line music, but first....I hear Pete - yep here he comes one more time - what are you doing?  where's GT?  He's fine, I wanted to see you come into the finish chute and then I'll go check on him.  He rides ahead and jumps off the bike for one last photo as I cross my 70th mile of the day!

As he leaves, I hear the obnoxious sound of Amy Olson's cowbell (don't you dare get my kids one for Christmas) and alongside my favorite Hero support photographer Amy Thomas!  Nothing left to do but continue what I've done all day - smile and wave!  I can see the finish chute - I can hear the music - And as I make the final turn into the chute, every comment means 70.3X more than the one before, "Way to go" "You did it" "You made it" "You're here" "Congratulations"

Somewhat overcome with emotion I'm grinning ear to ear.  I check my shoulder and there is no one behind me - The spotlight is all mine - The moment is mine - I'm pumping my fists in the air, and looking for my family - I hear them first - Then see them - They're all there - I'd love to stop and chat, but we'll settle for a high five - this starts a chain of high fives from dozens and dozens of fans down the fence row, and then I actually hear it "Put your hands together for Christopher Day from Yorktown Indiana" - I think I jumped in the air - still pumping my fists - still smiling!  Still smiling!

Run = 2:30:17 (11:28 pace)

OVERALL = 6:28:05 - 911/1499 overall - 694/1057 men - 127/159 division

I traveled 70.3 miles for this!
As I lowered my head to receive my finisher medal, I grabbed my face, but there were no tears - I'm not sure there was enough liquid in my body to cry, but the emotion was very raw and very real.  I heard my son yelling, daddy, daddy, and when I went to the fence to give him a hug - he said "Daddy, you forgot to high-five me when you won!"  You can bet I gave him that high five, and a kiss, and another and another!  How lucky am I to have had my wife and kids there today.  I admit I didn't want to bring them for the hassle of it, but looking back at these pictures of the fun they had, I'm pleased they were able to share the moment with me.

We took our time packing everything up, (she made me throw my socks away) even enjoyed one more dip in the lake.  We got to see Gary finish, and got all the hugs and congrats from our MAFS friends that stuck around.  Many had a great day.  Several PRs (Luke by over 11 minutes) and even some hardware for the incredible Lisa Smelser - 5th in her Age group!  Congrats Lisa.  And couldn't be happier to share my first 70.3 with Chuck finishing his (and crushing my time at that!)  The car ride home was long, the muscles were tight.  We shared the driving responsibilities, and Carter caught a few Zzzs.  When we finally got home and tucked in - I asked him if he had fun, and he answered in that 4 year old voice "Yes, And can I do an Ironman Race Sunday?"  Too which I smiled and said, Maybe not Sunday, but definitely someday!