2012 totals
Bike:138h 09m 10s  - 2259.52 Mi
Run:112h 15m 59s  - 738.79 Mi
Swim:52h 38m 47s  - 124826.6 Yd
Strength:5h 45m

Bike:  2126.73 Mi - 135h 28m 58s
Run:  1072.30 Mi - 171h 31m 01s
Swim:  148900.80 Yd - 62h 23m 59s


  Bike: 2300.41 Mi - 148h 40m 58s   

  Run:  800.87 Mi - 122h 34m 12s
  Swim:  180193.40 Yd - 86h 50m 40s


Outer Banks Half Ironman 70.3 Race Report

     Again, competing in races like this, I realize how God has blessed me and I always remember that the glory is his, not mine.  Having said that, it’s been a while since I have been in the blogging game.  Its been busy and I had to keep my priorities in line, of which this blog was not near the top.  The training for the race was substantial and I knew it was going to be time-consuming after watching M complete the Kinetic Half back in May.  I thought it would fail in comparison to the marathon training, but it didn’t.   Hopefully someone in the future can benefit from this report.

We left town on a Friday morning with my sister who had driven up and spent the night with us.  Got to the Outer Banks, dropped off the kids and M at my dear friends house and headed to packet pickup with my sister and hopefully for a dip in the sound to check things out.  The site was a beautiful spot right on the water by one of the bridges leaving Manteo.  Pickup was uneventful and we jumped in the water for a swim.  The buoys had been set up and as usual looked far to say the least.  They were doing the Olympic distance simultaneously so there were extra buoys for that fortunately.  The sound was warm and I was still debating on a wetsuit for the race.  I swam without it to see how it went.  We started off fine just wanting to do maybe 300-400 yards and get a feel for what the water felt like and how it looked underwater.  You could feel swooshes or brushes of water around your fingers on the way out which I figured out after a short time were baitfish scooting by.  Pretty cool.  Made it back in and headed back to friends for some rest and dinner at Mama Kwans (highly recommend).  Hit the sack at about 10p and slept surprisingly well.  Woke up a bit before 4:30a, race started at 7a, transition was open at 5:45a, and we left the house at 5a.   On time no problems.  Set up transition, got bodymarking, put on timing chip, and waited for the start.  The sound water in the early morning is usually pretty calm.  Not today.  There was a significant chop and wave action coming at us from the right along with a right to left current (as if just swimming isn’t hard enough).  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit worried.  My sister and I headed out for maybe 200 yards and I could tell this was going to be a doosy of a swim. 

 The Swim:

With only 100 or so people racing in the half ironman, it was a 2 wave start, boys and girls.  The horn went off and I waded out into the water.  You could actually walk a fair distance out, but that’s no fun and we all began to swim.  I realized very quickly that this swim was like no other.  The waves were smacking me in the face as I was going up and down over the crests of each wave.  I had to begin timing my breaths to be in between the troughs of the waves.  Got this down and knew that once I made the turn at the first buoy things would improve.  The first right hand turn was uneventful.  Sighting the buoys was a bit difficult because of the waves in the water.  The backstretch of the course was shorter than the other 2 legs.  I was swimming into the current a bit, but it didn’t affect me too much.  Just kept breathing and making smooth strokes.  Approaching the next right hand turn and last buoy, 2 things crossed my mind.  The first was I should be swimming with the current going back in and breathing away from the waves. The second was how bad is the sun going to be since I would be sighting directly into it.  All I could see looking back towards land was a flagpole, so I figured that was the park where transition was located.  I kept following some guys in front of me until I could see the markers on shore and soon enough I was on dry land.  Time was 34:33 for the 1.2 mile swim.


Transition 1 seemed slow, but there was a 200 yd run up to where the bikes were which accounted for most of the time.  I also took the extra time to put socks on which I don’t normally do.  Otherwise uneventful at a time of 2:44.

The Bike:

This was my first attempt at a completely flat bike course.  Sounds easy right?  Wrong.  I am not used to the constant sustained effort of flat roads.  Add in some coastal winds and that will make it a bit tougher.  All in all I can’t complain.  It was a 2 loop course of 28 miles each, so I was able to see M and the kids after the 1st loop which was cool.  By mile 40 the sun was really starting to beat down and I knew I needed to hydrate and get my nutrition in to be able to survive the run.  Came back in off the bike feeling pretty good.  Total time 2:51.35.


I am not sure why, but my transition from bike to run is always fast in comparison.  It was a 57 second transition and my only regret is I forgot to pick up my visor.

The Run:

The support on the run course was great.   They had an aid station every mile which I originally thought was crazy, but my mile 6 I could not have imagined any less.  I began to see a lot of walkers from the Olympic distance race in the first couple miles and that worried me a bit.  The course was not shaded by any means and the sun was at full tilt.  They were passing out ice cold towels at each station and I began shoving them down in my shirt to keep my body cool.  It worked great and my legs did not begin to tire until around mile 9.  My goal was to beat 6 hrs and I knew I was going to manage that, but I also knew I was in decent position based on the number of guys that I passed that were headed home when I was nearing the turnaround.  My gas began to run out around mile 11.  I approached an aid station and the lady was very kind.   I asked for a cold towel and she said she had 1 left.  I grabbed it and she asked if I wanted water or HEED (a sports drink.  I said I would need 2 waters.  She handed me one which I drank and she asked if I wanted the other over my head.  Finally, someone who understands how hot it was out here.  One tip of the cup and it felt great.  Only problem was it was HEED and not water.  At least I would smell like strawberries at the finish line.  The last 2 miles were hot and brutal.  There were a couple of short stretches where I walked for a second to clear my head and catch my breath.  The last part is back across an air field that felt like an oven.  About halfway across the field were my wife and son to greet.  My son vividly remembers my first words to him which were “it’s so freakin hot out here”.  He got a kick out of that.  The 2nd place female came blazing by me in that field.  Hats off to her, she was flying.  I ran in the last ¼ mile and felt spent at the finish line.  Run time 2:11.26.

Overall time 5:41

Finally Done

Hot and a little tired of waiting on dad for almost 6 hours

My 3 biggest fans

 Post Race:

The best part of the post race activities was undoubtedly the king medical guy at the finish line.  He was hosing everyone down as they came through.  Felt awesome.  It was a blessing to get to do this race and spend this weekend with my family and friends.  My sister and I finished the race unscathed and smiling.  Mission accomplished.  There was a sprint race the next day that our good friends were doing which was a blast to watch.  I think I like watching races almost as much as I like doing them.  Took a couple weeks of easy workouts to recover.  It is a little over a month after the race and I feel pretty good.  Just trying to decide what to do next.  Is it possible for husband and wife to simultaneously train for a full ironman, manage daily life with the kids, and work?  We might find out.  Still discussing.  Stay tuned.

Finish line pose from my sister and I.  Priceless.


Request by Faith

     When Jesus spoke to the masses and when Jesus spoke to his disciples, he not only called, but he commanded to help those in need.  He does not specify that it has to be someone we know, someone we have met, or even someone we share common interest with.  So how do I, a seemingly random blogger, ask my ever so small audience of blog readers to help a person I myself have never met? 
     Andy Barwick is the husband of my wifes college roommate.   He has an autoimmune disease called chronic progressive neuro-behcet's disease.  He no longer can work and has had to leave his home and friends in Georgia to move in with his wifes parents in West Virginia.  I cannot begin to imagine his pain, physically or mentally.  All I know is what I have read and watched and that was enough for me to want to help.  Andy is a great writer and his blog began 15 months ago detailing his struggles.  Start here from the beginning to get a sense of whats going on with him.  His wife and kids are his life as you will read.  All he can do some days is wait to see them and enjoy their company when they are around him.  Read the blog and other information from his site.  Watch the videos to get a sense of what his life is like.
     At the present moment he is awaiting surgery in New York City in August.  A $100,000 surgery that may or may not help.  His expenses are tremendous.  I read about their life savings, 401k's, retirement, and house having all been used up.  I don't know if I can begin to help, but writing this was a start.  Sometimes awareness can unlock doors.  I feel led to reach out to anyone who might read this that may have the means to help.  To see if his story touches them like it did me.  To see if anyone who reads this can identify with his life.  To see if anyone who reads this can pray for him and his family.  To see if anyone who reads feels compelled to help Andy.  His burden is heavy.
     Some will say there are many people in this world who need help, why have I chosen Andy to write about.  God has put Andy in my path.  In my faith of the Lord, I have no choice than to make his story known and try to help him and his family.  If you can, please contribute (tax deductible) using this site. The Helping Hands Ministry website http://www.hhmin.org.  Once on the site, click on "Make A Donation", then on the left hand side click "Donate to Helping Hands Ministry Approved Projects".  Under project categories, choose medical and you then can choose Andy Barwick.  From there, you can decide the amount you would like to donate.
     I would urge you to watch the videos on his site as well and imagine how you would feel.  If you think something like this could never happen to you, email Andy and ask him what he used to think. Then imagine hearing the words "I want to help" from someone you don't even know.


Fast Summer

     Yes, I have been wrapped up in my own little world the past few weeks.  Between work, 2 summer swim leagues, and family time, something has to take a back seat.  The weather seems to have taken a breather around here and let up on the heat a bit.  I have been trying to run early morning, but that is not always convenient.  I am in week 6 of the half ironman training and have begun to consult my veteran wife as to what I should feel like at this point.  The miles and yards seem to be piling on at this point and the heat just makes matters worse.  The kids 2 swim practices a day that we frequent help tremendously with time to get the workouts in without interfering with the family, but even still I find myself tired and lethargic at times from the heat.
     I have spent the past few months fighting my lower back pain/tightness.  I have been to the chiropractor a number of times and done countless yoga and therapy exercises on a daily basis.  None of it has solved the tightness and pain in the lumbar sacral area.   My next stop on the therapy bus will be at the local massage parlor.  M picked me up a 90 minute session to try out.  I know I get a lot of muscle tightness that clamps down on the vertebrae back there, I just hope that the massage is not a one hit wonder. 
     Props to my sister for winning her AG (age group) in her triathlon this past weekend.  She is my long distance training partner for the Outer Banks Half Ironman.  I guess I need to step up my game a bit.
     Was able to get out on a new route the other night with a good friend of mine, Sam.  We headed up route 20 from his house and made a loop from Stony Point, out Burnley Station, back on Watts Passage, then made a bee line (literally, he got stung) to the pool where we met the families for dinner.  I was in a slumber on the couch with an aching back when Sam called and had bearing problems in the rear cassette of my bike. I was less than enthused to hit the road that night.  Turns out, it was just what I needed to get going again.  Sam has a way of picking things up and keeping you going.  His riding abilities are superior to mine, so he is a master at riding just fast enough to make me work hard.  I keep saying I need to ride more with him to get better (plus I enjoy his company).  I need to work on making that happen.
     Swim is the theme of the day tomorrow.  Long course practice at 6:30a with B, then P and I will pick him up and head over to summer league practice at Key West for a couple hours.  I hope to squeeze my long run for the week in during the Key West practice.  Oh yeah, we have to be at Washington Park at 4:30p for the meet with City.  Where do the days go.  Later.


Weekend Fun

     It has been a busy 2 weeks, but fun nonetheless.  I guess I have halfway started the HIM training for the Outer Banks Half in September, but I have admittedly not signed up yet due to logistical reasons.  I have not really been following the training schedule too close yet.  The first 3 weeks are fairly basic and with the 4th week being a recovery week, I plan to pick it up closer in week 5.  My training volume is more than adequate right now.  Being that I work 3 days a week, my strategy with this race is to combine some of the shorter workouts and probably train 5 days a week instead of 6.  Swimming is a maintain thing for me right now.  I will not get much faster, and I am OK with that at least for this race.  I will concentrate on bike time.
     Last week was great.  Had a couple great rides, one being a hill climb from the bottom of Afton Mtn. to the top of Ravens Roost Overlook that I had wanted to do for some time.  It totalled out at about 3800 feet of climbing out and back from the bottom.  A new record for me.  Was able to do a couple bike/run bricks and a couple of short swims at the neighborhood pool.  This time of year is always tough for swims as the schedule at the UVA pool goes haywire when the students let out.
     The end of the week brought about the annual Cale Elementary Field Day for my kids.  I was in charge of taking the dog to the kennel for the weekend as we were leaving for Smith Mountain Lake afterwards.  All I can say was, at least he didn't puke this time on the way to the kennel.  He is a wonderful dog, but hates the car. Field Day was a great success and a blessing for many of these kids.

M was in charge of the tug of war for the kids and kept them entertained.

So proud to see B wearing his yellow FCA jersey.  4th grade was yellow, but he had other options.  You had better believe that kids and people read that shirt and ask about it.  What a blessing.

P had a great time as well and loved being with her friends.  I am so proud of her attitude and kindness. 
     After the fun we were off to Smith Mountain Lake for a short vacation with my family.  We skip Christmas presents each year with my family in lieu of a weekend trip.  This year we made our first trip ever to the shores of Smith Mountain Lake (SML).  It was awesome.  We arrived on Friday late afternoon with my parents already there.  The townhouse we were in was very nice and the backyard was the lake.  I brought along my kayak for some extra fun and was glad that everyone got a chance to enjoy it.

     We awoke Saturday morning and headed out for a bike ride.  My sister is joining me at the Outer Banks Half.  Myself, M, my sister and her husband headed out to explore a bit.  We got to see numerous neighborhoods around the lake which added to my view of the lake itself.  If you have not been there I would highly recommend it.  In fact, we will be back in August for a week of SML.  I could not help but think that lake living is very conducive to triathlon training.  It's all right at your doorstep.
     Upon returning from the bike ride and catching up with the kids, it was on to the water.  My brother-in-law gave us a kayak escort for a half mile swim.  Then I took B out into open water for the first time. 

     He loved it.  I was very nervous at first and made him use M's wetsuit for buoyancy.  He did fine and I was even able to draft off of him on the way back in.  P was in the open water for the first time as well and was mesmorized by all the fish that were around.

 That evening we hit the local Mexican restaurant as it is more gluten-free friendly than most places.  I think we were all famished from the days activities.  It wouldn't be a trip away from home without a stop for ice cream.  Fortunately we found a DQ on the way back and there were Blizzards to be had.

     I cherish any time that I get to spend with my family, as it just doesn't happen all that often.  We live in separate towns and life tends to get in the way sometimes.  You just don't know what the next day will bring, and you can never be sure that all of you can be together like that again.  Reality can hit you like a ton of bricks sometimes.  Doesn't this make it all the more imperative to know that no matter what, you will see each other again?  There is only one way to do this.  His name is Jesus.



Skyline Ride

     I have been strapped for good quality blog material lately, so you get the mundane stuff.  This is info. from a ride on Monday morning.  Was looking like a hot one around here, so I drug M up to Skyline Drive for a ride that was at least 10 degrees cooler.

     The roads and the views are spectacular.  There is something about seeing the world from a bike that is vastly different than in a car.  When I figure out why I will let you know.  Very similar in landscape to Blue Ridge Parkway except it requires a pass.  Maybe a bit less traffic.   The climbing is a bit more intense up there as far as length, but the grades are not too bad.  I still feel like it  is one of the best places to ride and avoid traffic and will undoubtedly make you a better rider.

     Did happen to snap this pic below on the way back to the car of a little friend that was ripe for a set of tire tracks.  He made it across the road unscathed after I stopped to snap a photo.  There is definitely a ton of wildlife to see up there.  If you ever venture over to DC Rainmaker's blog he often  talks about riding Skyline Drive and has seen some bears on the roads.

     I started listening to a new book a couple weeks ago called Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  It is another book similar to the likes of Radical.  These books attempt to lay out the intentions of the Gospels of the Bible as opposed to the way they see it playing out in America today.  I prefer the audiobooks (thanks mom) so I can listen on my commute to work.  Crazy Love is also another great book that really makes you think about the way you are living your life, especially if you have any desire to end up in Heaven. God gave us very specific instructions on how to live out the salvation and grace that he offers.  These 2 books have caused me to take the time to examine how I am living.  Jesus asks us to give all of ourselves to him, yet in even the best of circumstances, we try our best to only give him what we can spare.  Something is wrong with this way of thinking.  
     No races on the horizon.  With a 5 day weekend coming up, I hope for some great time with M and the kids and to enjoy this great weather.  The workouts will have to get earlier and earlier with the heat, but at least that will free up a larger hunk of the day to get some of the summer projects planned out of the way.  Later.


Tire Trouble

     So here is the details from my ride Friday morning.  It is seemingly uneventful.  A lollipop route from my house with a fairly standard amount of elevation gain in and around the Charlottesville area.  I got passed by a young guy just past Monticello.  I tried to hang with him for a bit, but these old legs are no match for a wiley youngster.  He opted for the rest of Carters Mtn. Road while I slid off onto a newly paved Rolling Hill Rd., nice.

     What you can't see is the 2 miles I rode/walked up on the Blue Ridge Parkway earlier that morning.  I had dropped the kiddies off at school around 7:40a and was headed up to the parkway to do a loop from the parkway out to Reeds Gap, down to Waynesboro, then climb back up via Rt. 250 to the car. 

I was greeted by a very nice sunrise on the horizon looking east.

     I hopped on my bike and headed south on the parkway.  The first mile is a gradual climb with some flat in the beginning.  At about 0.8 miles it starts to pitch up a bit.  I had just passed the 1 mile marker when I heard a loud pop and a woosh of air ran up my leg.  Lesson learned.  make sure to check your tires before you head out.  If this had just have been a tube I could have easily continued on, but looking down I had a bout a 3/4 gash in my tire going all the way through.  I can only guess that this gash was from a previous ride.  I rode the bike for a bit in the grass so I wouldn't bend or mess up the rim, but ended up walking the rest of the mile back.  I was passed by 5-6 passenger cars and 2 maintenance trucks on my walk back, none of which stopped to see if I needed any help or a ride.  I guess thats the day and age we live in.  I must have looked like a fairly dangerous biker is all I can figure.
   Nevermind the Giro d' Italia bike race this week, check out the Tour of California as local rider Ben King rides for the Radio Shack team.