Et Voila, I tri! - Diary of my journey(s). Observations! #Zentriathlete, #familybalancetri, #zenfamily


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15 August 2016

2016 - August 08 - August 14 Week In Review

Activities - Strava Logs (Shane's Strava link)

(I don't always provide links, so, please copy and paste if you are Strava stalking me :) )

Activity 1 - RUN
Activity 1 - RUN
Activity 1 - RUN
Activity 2 - SWIM 1, SWIM 2
Activity 1 - Took a rest day, cancelled 20 mile bike ride
Activity 1 - Epic Leg 1
Activity 1 - Epic Leg 2
Activity 2 - Epic Leg 3


Monday morning weigh in 191.9
Saturday post activity weigh in 189.9
Sunday Morning weigh in 190.0

Targeted Activity and Focus Points

Did mainly 50's speed work and one 100.  Easing back into it after a long hiatus.  I just need to focus on head position, exhaling before breaking head out of water and breaking habits to reduce drag. Need to build up to mile sessions for each time in the water.

Close but no cigar

Living to run.  Scraped MAF this week for to just get 'er done.  trying to understand how to conduct a 3 mile MAF test to benchmark things.  More to come.

Doing better, was even pretty good except for one set of poptarts during EPIC.

Weights and Strength

Weekly Reflections and Focus

So pre- EPIC.

The week was settling in pretty good. The DELTA meltdown (Doesn't Ever Leave the Airport) was definitely in my favor this week on Monday 8/8/2016. So much less stress and I now had the ability to have family time this week. I was able to get out and run, too. On one run, Liz said I better go fast. So I did, and went on performance and not on MAF. The other runs were pretty standard, and on one of them I went out and crushed a particular segment (it was on the Liz said go fast run). It was new shoe day and I just got after it and destroyed my previous PR on the segment. At the writing of this post I am 2nd overall on that particular segment and I think the 1st person (KOM) is potentially un-achievable for now. See segment here.

My swim this week was interesting. When I got to the SARC pool I took a picture or two to remind myself of one of my sanctuaries -
SARC - night swimming - approx 9:35 PM
I had the lap pool to myself. So, I decided to stay inside and just do 50 yard lengths with one 100 yard length in there. My overall lap time was many times faster than I thought I would achieve. So that is a good thing. the bad thing is they will be serviceing the pool while I am in town. I will need to use the outdoor pool. I should be able to get at least one time in the pool next week.

Epic Cache To Teton Relay
August 13, 2016 in Logan to Jackson, WY

So on Thursday, a team was still looking for a runner.  I sent a message saying I had interest.  Well I figured, oh well, no news, off to other things.  Then when Liz went in for her eye exam, the receptionist or a worker there was asking folks if they knew any runners, b/c this team needed a runner.  As serendipity would have it, it was the same spot for which I messaged a bit earlier.  then, when I saw the message from Janet, I was like, DRATS, they filled the spot.  Have a great race.  She responded telling me I was the one.  So, I go the info from Janet and my wife to contact Lindsay.

Well first impressions on phone are a PITA.  I was a bit concerned about the exchange i had with the van leader Lindsay.  I'm sure she was like, who is this kook, and why are we letting him be on the team and be in our van.  I think it was the end of the week and we were both like, this is a bit awkward, so like whatever, see you at said time in Preston at the White Church.  What I am trying to say, is I probably came off like some weirdo, just trying to make sure I got all the needed details so I could also relay them to my wife.

So, I grabbed my gear, stuffed it in two empty bags (k2 snowboarding pack and 2016 70.3 Ironman St George Swag gear bag), and finally got to sleep.  Oh blessed sleep, you were so good to me.  I woke up prior to my alarm, took a good shower.  My wife Liz has run this event two times previously so I knew what I was in store for the next 28 - 35 hours or so.  I cooked up my egg and hearty greens mash and finally got out the door.  

I arrived right on time and I took care of Juniper a bit, while Liz meandered and go to know the van crew.  One of the gals sig'o's was there and his name is Fia - presumably a nickname.  Cool dude.  We chatted it up a bit until Liz and Juniper had to exit and get home.  Then, as a team, we meandered over and watched the other van finish and our van's first runner get out on course.  We took a team photo before the exchange and I got to talk to a few folks.  Kerry, and another Baird I think.  It was nice and I expressed initial appreciation for being allowed to fill the gap.

So, before we headed out, I decided to not take my sleeping bag b/c it looked like space was a wee bit tight.  It was.  So I made a mistake and left the sleeping bag with Liz in the car, and off she went with the precious sleeping bag.

Ok, back to the linear timeline.  To the players/runners/participants/foolish ones of Van 2.  Forgive my calling y'all out by name and my initial and summarized thoughts, but they are brief and real and helps to paint the story of how cool this relay is.  In all honesty, each person is great and a rock of a person in their own way and collectively they are great good people.  They each made me as a stranger feel accepted and comfortable.  This is in the runner order, I was last.

The other dude in the van.  He knew 3 of the ladies as he is a an advisor with them professionally.  He is a solid runner.  He is a music listener, but had a hard time following the initial course, but he was able to figure it out.  He was the youngest runner of the van - I think - fact check???(compared to my age 42).  He's a good dude.  He is still trying to get his arms around what will lead him to happiness and fulfillment in life.  I  wasn't too worried about him, his demeanor and his running abilities.  If I had to give him a relay nickname - it would be 'knows how to take crap from the ladies' - Natalie and Lindsay in particular.

Janet -
The lady that got me into this mess.  She is the only runner that was more mature and presumably wiser than me.  She was dubbed the 'mom' of the group and loved the role too.  In fact, I was glad she got me involved in this mess.  Solid runner, another triathlete, what's not to like you ask?  She looks like she could eat all of us for lunch and ask for more - as a runner.  She looked like a no nonsense, be your friend type, until it was time to be active then game on!  She is a great lady, mature and pretty calm.  I think although she mentioned this may only be a one time thing for her, I imagine we will see her in another relay group over the next two years.  And beware, if she's even more ready, she will be eating up runners as she goes.  If I had to give her a relay nickname - 'MommaBear'.

Mary - 
She was a bit of a tough read.  You know the type, why do you run, can't really tell, but can sense that ambiguity would lead to clarity if patient enough to sit back and observe.  This gal turned out to be on point when it came to running.  I appreciated the modesty in her approach to running given all the things I learned about her during our adventure.  She is no doubt a therapy runner, and what showed in her running from a complete stranger's very shallow opinion and brief observations --  this gal has lived life and despite what muck she was dealt, found a silver lining in most things and it showed in her running and overall melancholy and content demeanor.  If I had to give her a relay nickname - 'The focused Zen connoisseur'.

Lindsay -
This gal reminded me of my old buddy Aaron Dickey's wife Jill.  It took me a bit to place that.  She was a little more focused at first b/c of her van leader role.  She loosened way up and discovered she was recently filmed as a bow hunter.  She's pretty intense after trolling her FB quickly once she friended me on Facebook and also as I watched her prospect votes out of unsuspecting Relay participants.  it was fun to see her work her magic for votes.  But here's the reality, she deserves those votes.  Same goes for all the van 2 folks, great people.  Lindsay is a person any team would want to have.  A good solid consistent runner.  she was kind when my quirky nutrition thoughts came out when we ate at the middle of the road mexican place after our first van cycle.  I thought she would be all type A, but ended up a very cool person, I was very wrong about the first impression on the phone.
If I had to give her a relay nickname - 'Huntress, van leader, focused party leader, nat's partner in crime'.

Here's an article about her huntress adventures.

To cast a vote click here  locate the 2016 voting link at the top right.  Then locate the radial button next to her photo - Lindsay Christensen from Idaho USA.  Then locate the vote button and click it.   The vote button is in a weird place on a desktop, was a bit easier on a mobile device.  Follow the directions and don't forget the follow up email confirmation steps.  I'm sure she'd appreciate the support.

Natalie -
The anxious one.  You can tell she's a good momma as her little girl interacted so well with Dennis and Juniper while we were waiting and she wasn't over concerned.  Dealing with an injury but she pushed through it.  Her Sig'O was the samoan named 'Fia'.  She was a bit looser and more interactive at first, and kept that way until she ran into problems after her first run.  I was surprised that she was so tough and stubborn, but the most anxious and concerned person i have come across in a long while.  Her partner in crime was Lindsay as they work together and could tell there camaraderie was from something very pure and sincere.  If I had to give her a relay nickname - 'tough as nails, stubborn as they come, anxious nelly'.

This meme comes to mind for Natalie --

So there you have it, a small glimpe of the folks who accepted and tolerated my shenanigans.  I could see all these ladies and my wife being great friends over time.  Who knows.  We are runners, we are quirky, we are stubborn, we are strong, we accept other runners - well about 85% of the time as long as we don't ALWAYS relay with them.  LOL

So those are the players.  I will focus more on things from my perspective.  As mentioned, I lucked out.  I was in a good van of folks.  They each had similar but very unique and diverse strengths backgrounds, life stories and the journey each of them was on is their own.

My runs.  

LEG 12 - Here's a link to the run profile
In this relay format i was to have 3 runs.  According to the EPIC information the number 12 spot was the 11'th easiest.  I wasn't too worried but Liz kept saying there is this hill.  I looked at the run profile and wasn't too concerned as I have been taking in pretty good ascents this whole year prior to 70.3 Ironman St George.  I kept hearing Lucho in my mind, if your motivated you'll be ready and do what it takes.

So off I went on this run.   So, first the only true negative thing about the course, was this exchange there were no porta-potties.  So i set off and almost missed the first turn spotted the runner in front of me and headed on course.  I ripped out the first mile and was like slow down.  As the hills came I just kept motoring on, shortening my stride a bit on the hills and then coasting to recover after the crest.  Man I had to pee.  So after the vans past, yes, yes I did.  I stopped!  Don't worry.  I watered the fields of Idaho during an event.  How horrible, but it was like 85 degrees and the weeds needed to be cooled off.  So I got back at it waiting for this 400 foot hill.  Well it didn't disappoint and it slowed me down.  it was so slow that a tractor trailer coming down was throttled down in like reverse as you could hear the engine laboring up and kicking a bit like it was trying to shift to a better gear.  Well I stopped just before for support and then up I went.  About 250 yards in after the van crested the hill, I was slowed to walking, at a brisk pace up about half the hill.  I then told my internal governor to 'suck it up' and then i shortened my stride and took a million steps, but I slayed that dirty Bugger.  Lindsay said that a common friend mandi, made her group go run it with her post event, b/c it kicked her trash and Mandi is a little fitness hero.  I was able to keep the 6.3 mile with a 563 ft rise to just over an hour in the heat.  That hill sucked, and i was initiated into my first relay leg and completed it with a decent showing.  See Strava links above.

LEG 24 - Here's a link to the run profile
Middle of the morning, like 420 dude!  I didn't get too much rest at the van exchange or while riding, tried to get what I could.  Also had a bio break right on an exchange, and you know what I say  -- 'Don't rush a BM or you'll be back'.  Anyway, it was flat, it was fast, it was dark.  This was a serene and pleasant run.  I passed 3 people on this leg.  One gal called out to me, "nice pace, I'm cramping" - 'um sorry - your van is right there'.  I was under 23 minutes for 2.9 to almost 3 miles.  I got after it settled in, and only backed off a bit on the 3rd mile b/c I wasn't sure where I was going to finish.  You know those mind tricks that happen at 420 whether or not Mary Jane is involved.  Circling back.  It was a bit cold on this run so the motivation to warm right up and keep at pace was higRunning at deep night like that is always fun and interesting.  While sleep deprived one's mind wanders.  In my section I only had EPIC vans no monster semi's or other yahoo travelers like the others had the pleasure of dealing with.

LEG 36 - Here's a link to the run profile
Bringing it home/. I told the group not to wait for me, I just needed the bottle of water. Well truth be told, taking the larger water bottle was a mistake. i was the stranger and well, I wanted colder water. It was nice to have but it was a PITA to carry on the next five miles. At any rate, I went out too hard and fast - who me, never! I started to galloway as I knew the heat was eating me up as I watched my Heart rate clip the 170 bpm mark. So I knew I needed to stay in front of it. I did. I doused myself with the water, and drank more than I normally do. I realized how fatigued my body was from getting less than 2 hours of sleep (my fault no worries). As I was going, I spotted another runner prior to turning into the resort and I clipped him. I passed him. I ran by his team, and saw mine. janet came out to run me in, and i just got after it (sorry janet). i didn't mean to but I was ready to hit it and I did. The team came in with me and many of them were stiff from the previous few hours events. We passed through the arch and it was over.

The results:

-- 33 hours 33 minutes and 33 seconds.  Hope Smashers completed. Yes that was our time.  Look here:
Look at that crazy time

Anyway, EPIC is now in the books.  We didn't hang around long.  We got our under the arch photos, and I exchanged my shirt for a good fit.  then we were off.  i was not aware of how tired I was  and I needed sunflower seeds while I pounded my monster.  Needless to say we made it home.  This Relay has been a good relay.  I like it better than the road races of Ragnar.  The caliber of runners is great, the camaraderie among the participants is good, and our vans were great.
Liz wants us to do this next year, and to do so we have to figure out the Dennis and Juniper thing.  Dennis will be easy, and Juniper the challenge.  If Liz isn't expecting it should wok out.  If she is, it all depends on her safety, even though i know she can run while pregnant.  It's just do we want to chance a delivery int he middle of nowhere, but now knowing Mary, Natalie and Lindsay - we'd be in good hands of great nurses - even if it is all heresay from them only, I trust it.
I may circle back for some more thoughts, but I need rest and Juniper is perking up.  It is late and rest is very important for recovery.  A good downhill to shakeout this event is needed.  Enjoy the pix below.  Cheers!
So, a few folks have been mentioning the disappointment in the medals.  Yes they are small but this is what i told someone in a Facebook post:

So I kinda like it... Although we killed ourselves in different ways out there, the medal isn't what defines the outcomes, but serves as a simple memory to invoke the other memories of the journey... I will not forget that hill, running a sub 8min/mile pace at night watching falling stars and passing 5 teams, nor holding a monster water bottle on the last leg and finishing strong.... Medals are cheap, and memories are forever... 

Pro tip(s) for next relay 

  • Bring a sleeping bag and bring a tent or better yet a hammock.  The fence posts at exchange 18 in Condi Idaho are perfect for hammock love and a pre-twilight nap/snooze, if the other runners will keep it down a bit.
  • Bring sleeping pad, make room for the sleeping pad, sleep is more important than anything
  • Bring eye mask that I don't use on flights
  • Ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones may be worthwhile (for the talkers, socialites and snorer's)
  • Rear hitch add on or space case above the vehicle, get your cooler and extra gear outside the vehicle if at all possible
  • Consider a tent
  • Bring more sunscreen
  • A mini cooler for rags - you place water and ice and these are great relief on the day time legs
  • for the music listeners, phone coverage is spotty, have critical music on your device - Pandora may not always work -- i don't listen to music
  • Don't forget to put meltables in coolers 
  • Be open minded, be kind, be supportive, be ready to be sleep deprived
  • Check all night gear prior to leaving - my flasher batteries were ok at home but failed on the trip - lesson learned
  • Enjoy the journey

EPIC Relay Pics

Weekly pics

Early morning of epic before changing for the adventure

Baby girl getting ready for naps

daddy look, I found my ear

The Mizuno Creation shoe progression, third pair - yup good shoe for me

post run

middle of run, i don't fear the singlet anymore...

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