Friday, July 11, 2008

Chattanooga, Tennessee

This weekend I am visiting the lovely city of Chattanooga, Tennessee. I have been given the opportunity to come race the BMW Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon on Sunday, and I am looking very much forward to the event.

So far my visit has been very nice. I have been given a short tour of the area, and will be heading downtown for some dinner a bit later. It's always great to see a new place, to race a new event, and to meet some new folks.

I also look forward to catching up with some of my Tennessee friends, including those who came to my talk up in Nashville back in January.

If you're in the area, please swing by the expo tomorrow around 2:00PM to say hello!

Friday, July 04, 2008

After the Ironman

It's been nearly two weeks since the race up in Coeur d'Alene, and life in the Lovato family has continued full-swing. Amanda proved to be top Vato this month, bringing home the overall victor's trophy, and ensuing paycheck, after winning the Spirit of Morgantown half iron out in West Virginia.

I, on the other hand, resorted to my second profession as dog walker extraordinaire. Luna and Blue were overjoyed to have me in recovery mode, as it added up to several great dog walks in the Boulder foothills. After five days of complete inactivity (minus aforementioned dog walks), I ventured out for an easy spin last Saturday. The legs were feeling pretty good, and the energy levels were coming back around. A short swim and short run topped off my training for the week/ weekend, and next thing I knew Monday had arrived.

Week two after an Ironman is not quite as fun as week one. The Ironman Finisher Appetite (IFA) tends to wane after five or six days, and the ability and desire to eat everything and anything tapers off. IFA is actually one of my favorite things. If I regret the order I placed at a restaurant, or if I made the wrong meal in my kitchen, all I have to do is wait an hour or so and I'm hungry all over again.

Week two is when the desire to train will normally creep back into the picture, but the ability to train is maybe not quite there yet. The energy levels have a lot to do with that, and mine took about nine days to get back to par.

Week two can be very indicative of how hard I raced. A couple of years ago, after my fastest Ironman race to date, I was still unable to get going in week two. I felt some residual soreness in the legs, and my desire to move was still missing.

Week two this time around has been pretty good. I know I raced hard up in Idaho, but to be surviving the final half marathon, as opposed to really pushing it, really gave me a bit of help on the recovery side of things.

Talking to my Ironman Yoda last night, I inquired as to how I should approach this next ten days before I toe the line at the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon, which is an Olympic Distance race. With only three weeks between CdA and Chattanooga, I did not know how to best maximize the time. The suggestion from Yoda: do a 5K running race.

Having heard about an event sponsored by a local brewery, one in which BEER is the prize, I thought I'd take the suggestion and jump in to the race. Fortunately for me, it was not a 5k, but rather a 4k, in honor of the Fourth.

I say fortunately for me because jumping back into the short distance race scene meant that I was about to blow out the pipes, and blowing out the pipes often means blowing up. This meant I would be blowing up one kilometer closer to the finish line!

Avery Brewing offered the winner his weight in BEER. They offered a case of BEER to age group winners. And they offered two sixers to each person who finished second in his or her age group. Referencing the above photo, you will see that I finished second in my age group.

The details are a bit fuzzy; perhaps they are clouded by the lactic acid that moved into my brain, making their way up from my arm muscles (which none of the others in front of me seemed to have).

What I do remember is the first mile split reading 4:55. Next thing I remember thinking was that I was glad I only had a mile and a half to go. Somewhere around 2 kilometers into the race, I felt the arms get heavy; the legs were still moving. Turnaround number two meant I had almost a mile to go. A whole mile!? I resisted the urge to rock my head back, chin up, and shoulders back. Mile two was a more conservative 5:20. I had regrouped a bit, and was saving for that final 400 meters. With a quarter mile to go, I kicked into another gear.

To be totally honest, I was very pleased to find that I had that fifth gear. I had not used it in several weeks, or months. I held onto fifth place, and as I previously mentioned, second in my age group.

And now I will drink my reward.