Special Thanks

Special Thanks to Susan, Laura B., Tim K., Spencer C., and Gary M.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Austin and Humidity

We spent Easter weekend where I grew up in Austin visiting my family and Susan's mother, Blanche, who drove up from Houston. Everyone was nice enough to put up with my training and I couldn't have completed it without their help. The weather was unusually warm and windy, even for Austin this time of year. The high temp was 90 each day with 85% humidity. During the ride on Saturday the wind was blowing 20-30 mph and this actually helped to keep me cool. Regardless there was a fine layer of ( how do I put it? sweat, moisture, wetness, gross I know but you get the picture) covering my skin the entire time I was training. Man I love Amarillo's dry climate.

Saturday I took off riding into unknown territory based on my map and it didn't take me long to remember how hilly it can be. The county road I picked had about 30 cattle guards mixed with low water crossings but the scenic views made up for the rough ride. 5 hours was the goal. Luckily my SAG ( Support and Gear) car arrived after 3 hours when I had exhausted my 4 water bottles ( no convenience stores on this road).

                                   Evie and my mother drew the short straw to help me out.

After loading up, I was back on the road. Of course Evie wanted to keep an eye on me so they tagged along for the next few hours and they were welcome company.

                  Do ya think Evie would help me change a flat while wearing that pink tutu??

Tim had a long run scheduled for Sunday. He wanted me to run for 25 minutes and walk for 5 minutes every half hour until finished. I chose the hike and bike trail around Town Lake to accomplish this.

It was very entertaining to watch all of the different Austinite's that were out getting exercise. Walkers reading their iPads to all of the very fittest that the Hill Country has to offer. Austin's weird reputation shined through when I heard some girls talking about this "guy" running around with his shirt off. Then I saw why they were discussing him. Picture the yoga instructor from the Couples Retreat with short hair running around in cargo shorts that were hanging down so low that only "one thing" was holding them up. It almost made me puke and laugh at the same time. Thank goodness there were enough ladies running around, showing their six pack abs, to cure me ( I might get in trouble now). Anyway, it really made the 4 hours and 23 miles go by very quickly.

                                                    One of the pianos along the trail.

Susan and I thank God every day for placing us in Amarillo and the panhandle has far surpassed my expectations but a special part of my soul will always belong to Austin.

 Thanks for checking in.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pouting & Recovering

More from the wife....

When Sloan started writing this blog, we both decided to be honest about this experience - from the bronchitis to the humility lesson on the mountain bike, I think he has actually stayed true to that!  My turn!  I have to admit, I have noticed that the closer we get to the Ironman, Sloan is getting more intense, focused and serious.  Now, these are qualities I have always seen in Sloan - and they actually come in handy in his "day" job, but I am not a fan when "office Sloan" doesn't turn into happy, cute husband and dad on the way home from the hospital.  I can tell that even though Tim's weekly workouts challenge Sloan, he has also really had to juggle his schedule to make it all work and that has produced a couple of moments where his "intensity" level gets him in trouble with his loving wife.

I have amazing friends and when I was explaining my frustration with Sloan's increased absence and mood, my good friend Joanna did what any friend would do:  listened.  After a couple nods, I really expected her to say to me - "he needs to lighten up."  Nope.  Her two word response to me was this:  "finish strong."  She was obviously 100% correct.  We have been training for this race since October/November - it has been a blast watching him challenge himself and succeed.  I am so proud of all that he has attempted and I do want all of us to in fact, finish strong.

Oh, and the above picture of my favorite tulips were hand delivered to me by a really cute guy in scrubs on Monday while I was playing cards with the girls. Smart man.

Happy Easter to you all!
PS - a picture of Evie who caught her first fish yesterday!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

San Angelo Duathlon

Our coach, Tim Key, thought it would be a good idea to compete in a race prior to the Ironman next month. We chose the 18th Annual Striders Duathlon Long Course in San Angelo,TX. This is the longest running Duathlon in the state. The course consists of a 5 mile run mostly along a dirt road, a 45 mile bike ride, and then the 5 mile run again for a total of 55 miles travelled.

Gary and I drove up the day before in order to check in at the required orientation by the race director and also to have our bikes inspected. GP was eager to try out his new Trek. It's pretty awesome with a custom paint job but even more impressive are the Durace electronic shifters. It passed inspection without a glitch needless to say.

 On the morning of the race I had  two Power Bars , a bananna, a 500ml bottle of water, and one cup of coffee about 2 hours before the start. We arrived with plenty of time to set up our transition area for the run-bike-run. Gary wasn't sure if his bib number 911 was a good or bad omen. When you see his results it was obviously good.

The first run started at 8am and it was a beautiful 55 degree morning without much wind. I didn't drink anything and tried to maintain my pace at under 8min/mile. My HR was about 10 beats higher than I wanted it to be but I really felt great.

Gary and I discussed that we were going to press hard for the first part of the bike ride. We started off into a headwind of about 30mph by this time and later we changed direction so it was a very strong crosswind. Finally at mile 25 the wind was at our back for the home stretch. Nutrition on the bike was important because I knew that the final run would be fast and short and I wasn't planning on slowing down to hydrate then. I went through 2 bottles of electolytes, 1 bottle of water, and 1 bottle of Hammer Sustained Energy while riding. The only other source of calories was two Power Bar gels.

Finishing the bike was a highlight and I felt strong for the final run. It took me a mile or two to transition into a comfortable run again trying to stay with a sub 8 pace. I did slow down at two aid stations for quick sips of water but that was it. Below is a picture of me crossing the finish with one of the female sprint racers just in front.

Coach Key should be proud since 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place went to his athletes. I am very happy with my 8th place finish mainly because this is the first race that I have completed that I can honestly say I gave it all I had and didn't play it too conservative. Susan would be thrilled.
The website below has the results and if you put in the bib numbers you can see the split times.

1. Jarred 3:09:24  bib 915
2. Damon 3:22:38  bib 916
3. Gary 3:25:19  bib 911
8. Sloan 3:43:20  bib 910

This weekend I'm meeting my family in Austin to celebrate Easter. Tim has a 5 hr bike ride for Saturday and a 3 1/2 hour run on Sunday in store for me so that I can get a good taste of the humidity.

Thanks for the visit.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Another First

Saturday was another first for me along this journey. Running a Half Marathon is the longest distance that I had run until now. The schedule called for a 3 hour run which I decided to do completely on the trails at the Palo Duro Canyon. 18 miles later in the 90+ degrees and I had a new PR in total distance and also for being off road. People had been asking me , "how long are your runs now?", "when are you going to put some 20 milers in?" . Well it turns out that these long distance runs are the most worrisome for causing injury in someone my age so Tim has been holding them out for the end of my training. Overall I feel really good so far and my biggest worry has been the possibility of a stress fracture in my right foot. After a visit with the podiatrist and a few Xrays later, it turns out that I am fine and the pain is gone too.

Most of my running during the week takes place in the early morning hours at the Downtown Athletic Club. I put the treadmill on 2% incline to take the advantage of the moving belt out of the picture.
For some reason my boys have decided to get up early to join me some mornings. I want to thank the other members for tolerating them and helping to keep an eye out for them too.

                                                           Hudson (left) and Chase (right).

Tomorrow I travel with Gary and William to San Angelo for a Duathlon that Tim asked us to do as a warm up for the big race in 35 days. I will let you know how it goes.

Thanks for the visit.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My First 100 Miler

"Ironman training is all about learning how to be comfortable with being Uncomfortable." Coach Tim Key

This past Sunday was a big accomplishment for me.... really more mentally than physically. For some reason riding a bike for 100 miles was a huge hurdle for my mind to get over. We travelled down to Lubbock to go to see Reba and George Strait in concert on Saturday night. Bright and early the next morning William, Tim, Jerred, Damon, and I began our 5:45 hours on our road bikes. We started near Slaton,TX and headed to Post then turned South to Gail where we turned around and went back. The terrain consisted of gradual rolling hills which is very similar to what the course will be like in Houston. It was much colder , however, and we even had to battle some sleet for an hour or so. Tim followed us in his car and gave us great coaching advice as well as replenished our water bottles along the way. One thing I learned was how important calorie intake will be during this part of the race. Our goal is to intake 2gms/kg/hr of calories while riding the bike.

Here is an article on Active.com by Rich Strauss that I think describes perfectly the strategy for the bike portion of the Ironman race:

All you've done for 9 months is build a vehicle. Ironman racing is about how you DRIVE that vehicle, it is NOT about the vehicle. The majority of athletes on race day are fitness-focused (look at my T-shirt, look at my abs/veins/etc, look at how fast I can go in the first hour of the bike, etc.)
It's easy to get caught up in the buzz and energy of the day, but creating and sticking to the right plan for you is the only thing that will lead to the best possible day.

The Line

Nothing on race day really matters until you reach The Line on the run. The Line is the point at which continuing becomes very, very difficult. You define success as simply not slowing down at The Line. EVERYTHING before The Line is simply about creating conditions for success for when the Line comes to you. Additional Kool-Aid flavored thoughts we'd like to put in your head regarding this point are:
  • A successful race = a good run. There is no such thing as a good bike followed by bad run, period. In our world, if you showed up with solid run fitness, had a "good" bike and a poor run, we will ALWAYS assume you messed up your bike pacing, until proven otherwise.
  • If you think you can ride faster than we're telling you, prove it by running well off the bike.
  • Ride your "should" bike split versus your "could" bike split. Your Could split is what you tell your friends you could ride on a good day, when you're out together for your Saturday ride. If you say you "could ride a 5:50," your Should split is likely 6:00 and is defined as the bike split that yields a good run (see above bullets).
  • In our experience, 80-90 percent of the Ironman field doesn't know how to race. If you find yourself doing the opposite of everyone else, you're doing the right thing. If Jimmy is "king of this random hill" at mile 46 of the bike...don't join him! Lots of people passing you in the first 40 miles? That's good, don't join in. Going backwards through the field on a hill? Great!
  • Think you made the mistake of riding too easy? You now have 26 miles to fix that mistake. Make the mistake of riding too hard? That mistake now has 26 miles to express itself, to the tune of X miles at 17-18′ walking pace vs X miles at 8-12′ running pace. Do the math. How great is that bike split going to look as you are walking/shuffling the last 10 miles of the run? The Ironman run course is littered with fit dudes walking and talking about what a great bike split they had. Don't join them.
  • Every time you feel yourself about to roll the dice and race, look at where you are. Are you at The Line / Mile 18? If not, please stick to the plan!

William on a climb near Post, TX.

In closing, I would like to share with you a favorite verse of mine about faith. Hebrews 11:1 " Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." God is definitely using this whole Ironman experience to strengthen my faith. I believe that our previous experiences of obeying the Lord teach us to trust Him. Each small step of obedience solidifies our confidence in God so that when He challenges us with a more difficult assignment, a firm foundation of assurance enables us to trust Him and carry out His plan. This 100 mile bike ride was one of those small steps for me.

Thanks for checking in and have a great day.