Wednesday, June 29, 2011

T-Minus 10 days til Triathlon! Any advice for a Tri newbie?

10 days til my first "real" triathlon, the Minneapolis Triathlon  Wow. I feel like it's been creeping up on me ninja style and today I realized that its just around the corner!  This summer seems to have flown by already, where has it gone?

Anyways, here is my gut reaction to my first Triathlon:

1.  Please be cool enough that I can use a wetsuit. Yes I know it's cheating (sort of) but I can use whatever I can get in the water to help me.  Tomorrow I am doing another OWS at Lake Nokomis, but sans wet suit so I can practice not having one on just in case it is too warm.

2. Don't freak out in the water.  DON'T. FREAK. OUT.  That is a problem for me, I freak out and lose all rhythm and panic.  The OWS has been a great idea to do, and I am glad I will have some experience in the water before race day.  Experience is a good thing. I just have fears of it looking like this:

How do you swim in all that?

3.  Swim. Needless to say you can tell I am a little nervous about the swim!

4.  Figure out what to put in my transition bag.  After reading several great blogs out there and other Tri articles, I know some items I should have in there (shoes, water bottle, sunglasses, helmet, Gu Chomps, Powerbar, socks, hat, towel, flip-flops) Any other advice?

5. No matter what, HAVE FUN!  I am in it to finish it, not to win it!  If anything that will be my mantra.  Finish, Finish, FINISH!  Plus look at the sweet medals they are giving out:

I haven't trained as much as I have wanted (injuries suck) but I have really worked hard at the swimming.  The Beginner's Master's Swim has been a great class that has helped me a lot, and I will continue to take it and maybe be a real swimmer some day.
I have at least ran the course, and biked half of the bike part.  I hope to do the whole thing this weekend so I wont be surprised come race day. 

I think this is going to be fun, and despite my nervousness with the swim, I know I can do it.  In 2009 I never would have thought I could run, but I did, and look at me now, 2 half-marathons and 1 marathon later I have done it!  Watch out triathlon, you are on my hit list!

Any ideas/suggestions for my upcoming race from the vets would be awesome!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Go Commando Adventure 5K Race Report: Mud, Fire, Water, Beer and FUN!!!

I posted on Friday about this fun 5K adventure race I was doing with friends this weekend and it didn't disappoint!  I and my friends had a blast!  Running IS fun, but add some obstacles, some mud, some fire, a waterslide, and beer for the finisher's and you got a fun race! It also coincided nicely with The Boring Runner's Sweat Your Thorns Off Virtual 5K so I decided to join in the fun. 

I decided to go redneck/WT for race as my costume (which were encouraged).  The family and I went to Good will where I dropped 10 bucks and got a pair of jeans and a flannel shirt, and added some shades and a bandanna and I got this look:

Sweet shorts!
 My friend Paul picked me up Sat. morning (and didn't laugh at my getup) and we met up with our friend, Teresa, from our Master's swim class, her brother Andrew, and her husband, Wade.  Shout out to Wade, who was just there as a spectator and with Paul's kickass camera got all of these photos!  Great Job Wade!  Anyways, we drove up to Stillwater High School where we parked and took a shuttle to the site of the race (that was the only negative that I can think of for the entire race, because once we where finished it took WAY too long to wait for a bus) Green Acres, a farm that has cross country skiing trails and tubing during the winter.  This was a 21+ event (sounds like a party at a club right?) so we had to show our ID and also sign a waiver stating that if we died or caught on fire we couldn't sue. Done.  My outlandish outfit was pretty tame in comparison to what some were wearing:

Mullet Brigade!

See? Jean shorts pretty popular!


Once we got our wristband for our wave (gold for the 9:15 wave) we lined up and jammed out to some music blasting from the loudspeakers.  Every 15 minutes they had approx 200 leaving the corral onto the course.  Here's us as the whistle blew,  and off we went!

That red bandanna was like a flag.....

Yeah, maybe the flannel also made me stick out
 Our first obstacle was jumping bales of hay setup near the loop we did by the start line.  We had lost Andrew at this point, but the 3 of us were pretty much sticking together. The bales were fun!

Hayfever Ridge! Jumping some bales!

The Water Crossing was next...2.5 miles and I was soaked from the waist down...jeans aren't very comfy when wet...

Bam! Right after the hay bales was the pond...and the 3ft+ water we had to jump in and wade across.  .5 mile in and I was soaked up to my crotch in cold water and I squelched squelched them on as water poured freely from my shoes.  Oh yeah!  I did like the "alligators" that were there to greet us.

Soaked, we ran on to the next obstacle which was some wooden barrows tied together that you had to jump up and scale and clamber across.  I used some Ultimate Warrior moves I had seen on TV and hopped up there and got over.  Not too bad, and we ran on back past the pond and around the bend:
All Smiles!!!
 At the bottom of the hill was the next obstacle, a rope bridge stretched (loosely) across a wooden frame.  Of course I hopped up and tried to use my Spiderman skills.....pretty awkward!  Lots of laughs as everyone tried to cross at the same time and the ropes were weighted down, so it wasn't too bad.

Got bail?  Well we did jump over some bales of hay....
 Once we made it across we ran on past the shed where there was this "watering" station.  I think they were playing on the Muscle Milk (who was a sponsor) with these streams of water, like from an udder. Weird. But I got some water.

Water udders?
 At this point maybe 1.5 miles in, we were all feeling pretty good.  Paul had tweaked his knee a little on the hay bales, but was otherwise ok, Teresa and I were regretting our attire.  She got soaked as well, and was lamenting her choice of loose shorts, and I was regretting the jeans, b/c those suckers were wet and generating some friction....surprised my pants weren't smoking in the above photo!

Next was the Serpent Hill/Ridge...ok I don't mind hills, but this one was steep and uneven as heck!  Most of the trail was to begin with (it is a field) but this was pretty severe.  All 3 of us pretty much walked up this hill, and at the top caught our breath and ran across the balance logs, and vaulted over the hurdles setup at the next obstacle.  At the 2nd mile marker was a water station which was nice, I was hot in the flannel even with the sleeves cut off, and I unbuttoned it some more hoping for some ventilation.  After the water stop we rand down a steep hill and headed into the pine forest maze.  String was wound through the marked trail so you had to crawl and climb through the maze up and then down the forest.

Where's Waldo?

Then my favorite obstacle was up!  The waterslide!  They had 2 giant pipes that they had cold ass water running through with soap added to make it slick. The pipes ended on a plastic tarp which would then let you slide into....MUD! Wahoo!

Looking good, nice form.

This is where I lost the form...

and I landed in the mud legs up in the air!

Almost slid into the hay bales!

Two Words: MUD


WTF? How did Paul make it down without mud on that white shirt?

So I landed as the above pictures show legs up, and when I hit the mud I skidded across it splashing it everywhere, and my shirt rode up so I got mud all the way up to my neck!  I would give that an 8 out of 10!  Teresa and Paul came right after and miraculously he had no mud on the front of that white tux shirt, but a little on the back, and Teresa got an atomic wedgie!  Muddied but in good spirits we ran on, the sand dunes were up next!

 The Sand Dunes/Hills were awesome, there were 3 of them, each time you ran up and then down, you had that roller coaster sensation where your stomach drops and you almost feel weightless.  I chickened out on jumping at the apex of the hill, I break easily :)
Continuing on, we followed the path to the tire run, which I had a blast with, it's like those army movies where you run through the tires, except some were a little dangerous b/c of the mud, I saw someone sleep in fall, ouch! We were in the home stretch now, finish line was in sight!  We had to jump over the fire and then run through the swamp/mud and we were done!

I am no Michael Jordan, but I got some air going!


And I'm earthbound again
 Together we ran on to the last obstacle, the swamp! 

The end is nigh!
 We slowed down approaching the water, and took stock of what lay in store for us:

I decided to try to carefully walk in...not a good idea, as I almost slipped and fell in head first:

Smooth move!

Not very graceful, but I managed to catch myself before I took a nice stanky bath.  We all got going and went thru the water and hit the mud.  I thought I was going to lose a shoe!

Almost there!

 I decided to plow through the mud and picked up my feet and charged to the finish line! Wahoo!  I did it!  Wasn't very fast, a little over 45 min, but I had so much fun!

Muddy and loving it!

As we finished we got our race medals: a set of dog tags that said Go Commando, pretty sweet!  Andrew had finished before us and was at the finish line so we got a group photo in our mud-spattered awesomeness:

We went Commando!

My shoes were white at some point...and my shades stayed on the entire time!

The last member of our Team, Ethan, came through the finish about 6 minutes after we did, he missed the 9:15 wave and went at 9:30 instead.  We grabbed another photo op with him at the official finisher's station:
Our official finisher photo
 Then it was time to get cleaned up!  The Lake Elmo Fire Dept was there hosing down the people covered in mud.  It was cold!!!!!! But it was a great way to get clean of all that mud.

Whew! Glad it wasn't on full blast!

While I was waiting in line some people in front of me where having a good time with the water. Especially these girls in front of us, there was music blasting in the finisher's area, and I swore there was some Pour Some Sugar on Me playing b/c they started dancing and gyrating as the water hit....maybe there was another reason the event was 21+???? be the judge...I will say the fireman was having way too much fun with those three.

Dirty girls getting clean?

Or clean girls getting dirty?

Anyways, we grabbed our checked gearbags and went to the changing tent and got cleaned up, and headed over to the food tent and got a hot dog and a pint of Finnegans Irish Amber Ale!  We toasted our 5K finish and watched others going down the waterslide. Here are some post-race drinking/happy photos:


Fun times!

1, 2, 3, Drink! Ok, Paul didnt get that one...

Thanks to Wade (pictured to Teresa's left) who took all the photos!

 After scoring some free Muscle Milk (I love the Light version) we headed back to the shuttle area (which took about 20 minutes).  Again, the only negative I had with this race.  Otherwise it was a blast!  I enjoyed the haybales, waterslide, fire, mud,....well everything except the serpent ridge/hill.  I would definitely do it again! Thanks to Teresa for inviting us to join her Team!

So that was my adventure 5K and also my 5K for The Boring Runner's Sweat Your Thorn's Off Virtual 5K.  A great fun weekend!

Anyone else do something crazy fun over the weekend?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Do You Go Commando? (seriously!)

Go Commando - As looked up in the urban dictionary:

1. Not wearing any underpants

2. If a person is 'going commando', they are not wearing any underwear.
It is called 'going commando' because of an old practice in the army, where, so you didn't shit your underwear in battle, you didn't wear any - and therefore could boast that you didn't shit your pants.
However there is a 3rd definition-

3. An adventure 5K hosted by Team Ortho on June 25, 2011 in Hastings, MN!

HA! So if you clicked on my blog to read about Going Commando as per the urban dictionary (which I think most guys have done at some point) you will be severely disappointed.  However, if you want to learn more about the Go Commando Adventure 5K that I will be doing with some friends tomorrow check out this link.  It looks awesome! Mud, waterslides, walls, jumping through fire, and more awesomeness!  PLUS Beer! What can you not like?  I will hopefully have some pics up of the race and my costume later this weekend.  I am thinking some cutoff jean shorts, ripped t-shirt, bandanna, and sunglasses...kinda like a 70&80s redneck hybrid...stay tuned!

In other news I really worked hard this week with swimming, biking, and running! 15 days til the LTF Triathlon!

Anyone else done an adventure 5K before? Let me know!

If you haven't checked out part 2 of my Minneapolis Half-marathon Race Report check it out here

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Minneapolis Half-Marathon Report: Race day!

This is late, but I have been working on this one for awhile here and there. It's a long one!

After the LLS inspiration dinner we headed home and got the kids to bed with grandma's help.  I then laid out all my stuff for the race (shirt, shoes, etc) packed my bag with extra clothes for after, and went to bed.  Before I knew it, the alarm went off at 5am to wake me up.  I groggily got dressed and then had a quick breakfast of bagel and cream cheese and a banana and drank some gatorade (yummy).  I then drove downtown to the Depot to meet up with the Team (check in at 6 am..whew!) while Maria, Grandma and the kids were coming down around 9:30 since it would be hard to keep the kids occupied for so long.  I nabbed a free spot on the street across from the Depot and headed over and met up with my Teammates.  We all were milling about, getting last minute touch ups:

Team Ironman!

Like the Tutu? Custom made I hear....

Dana was showing off her decorations in the back...really

I was taking pictures and of course talking about this or that and finishing up my Gatorade (bottle #2) because it was cool (60) but it was going to be a sunny warm day.

Me getting a picture taken of me getting pictures...hey it was early!

Everyone had a lot of friends and family there to wish them well and also to man/woman cheer stations.  Mark, who was running with us but then got injured and couldn't race, showed his support for dressing up as a member of the TNT cheer squad with Elizabeth's sister.
Kamberg, Krysty, Klapatch and Krew.  Like those shades Mark!

After everyone had checked in, we had our group photo at 6:20 and then we all went en masse to the start line. 

All 84 of my Teammates!!! GO TEAM!
At that point it was deserted with 30 mins or so till the gun went off, but there was a silver lining (or porcelain I should say) to getting there early.  NO LINE AT THE PORTA-POTTIES!  Which I definitely needed to hit up before the race started after all the Gatorade I had drank.  Before I did, I got a picture with my Teammate, Phil at the start line:

Ready to bust out 13.1 miles!

The corral started to fill up, and the sound of slamming porta-pottie doors soon began to take up a rhythmic beat to the counterpoint of the all the voices of the runners as all 4,800+ began to gather.  I took up with 5 of my Teammates (Ashley, Sherillia, Megan, Elizabeth, Larry) and chatted about the race as we waited.  Soon enough there was 5 minutes before start and you could feel the energy start to ramp up.  Sherellia and Ashley were a little nervous, but I was mainly pumped because it was sunny! And I had some Coldplay blasting through my headphones, so it was a perfect way to start! Lets go!

Mile 1-2:  After the start I ran with Ashley and Megan, dodging some potholes in the street until we turned and ran down past the Mill City Museum/Guthrie and headed toward Nicollet Island. I felt good, we were going a easy 11 min pace, until about 1.5 miles in my calf clenched up real tight.  I kept going hoping the pain would subside.

Miles 2-3:  After almost another mile of running and pain getting worse (I was starting to limp/run) I stopped and stretched my calf for 30 seconds, then started walking to see if that felt better.  It did, and I stopped 2 more times to stretch and then was joined by one of my Teammates, Rachelle, and we started running over the bridge to Nicolet Island.

Miles 3-7:  Wow. I felt great during these miles (minus the uneven cobble stone streets) and I even sped up and had to slow down because I felt so good.  The calf wasn't angry at me anymore and I cruised along and ran across the scenic Stone Arch Bridge.  Someone saw me and took a pic:

Bald head and nice ass, huh?
I guess they got my good side on that one!  Alie's picture had fallen off by then (I was asked 3 times if she was my daughter) probably because I was sweating so much!  I continued across the bridge waving like a ham at the photogs (was hoping I would get in the paper, no luck) hit up the water station and ran through the finish, and then thats where the party ended.

Miles 7-9.5:  HILLS. AND I MEAN HILLS.  There was a big ass hill to climb and soon as we passed mile 7, it was a doozy. I was working to get up it, and people were walking as fast as I was running...yeah I'm slow.  But I persevered and kept going and around mile 8 was a TNT cheer squad waiting for me:

Thanks Sandy and Mark!
Buoyed by the cheers I kept going despite now my calf was hurting as well as my feet (did I mention I had done one long run of 8.5 miles only to prepare for the race? Apparently my feet realized this and were not happy!).  The turnaround was soon, so I kept going and smiled for Paul, another Teammate taking pictures as we all passed by.  I have to say after the race, everyone was like Jamie you were smiling the whole time! Which was true I guess, I kept smiling and yelling encouragement the whole way to the Team (I know I am THAT guy who shouts and pumps his first and yells "WAY TO GO" alot, and I am sure some people wanted to punch me!).  I was having a good time despite my foot/calf pain.

All smiles and this a parade?
Miles 9.5-12.5:  I was run walking at this point, forcing myself to keep up with this one guy who had a Celtic cross tattooed on his leg. I wasn't going to let him out of my sights. I got a reprieve going back down the big hill, but then had to go up another. I fell in step with the celtic cross guy and we chatted as we both recovered.  This was his first half, and the heat was getting to him (75 isnt hot but in MN it feels like it!) I was feeling better, and I saw that last hill looming before me.....

12.5 to the 13.1:  I slowly pushed up the hill, knowing the end was near.  At the top I slowed to get my breathing under control, and I could see the flag lined path to the finish. I picked up my legs and started again, and I heard the crowd ahead.  In my mind I thought, finish strong! As I came around the turn I could see the final stretch and I gave it my all and sprinted toward the Finish.  I blew past a lot of people walking and heard Maria and some of my Team start shouting go Jamie!  I kicked it up at the last 20 yards and blew past the 75 year old power walker in the neon green runners shorts (he did the whole thing walking and nearly beat me....good for him).  Wahoo!!! I did it! Here's me at the finish:

Why are my eyes closed? Do I do that when I sprint?
My official time was 2:46:16 I think. I'll take it! After struggling with injuries all season I am happy to finish!

Post-Race:  My mom, Maria, and the kids got there 15 minutes before I crossed the finish, there were issues with the light rail so had to take the bus.  I was glad they got to see me finish, and my Mom was very proud to see me accomplish that.  I grabbed my medal and some post-race food (most of which the kids ate) and went back to the TNT tent and got my stuff.  We didn't get a chance to stay too long, my Mom's flight left at 2pm for NC, so we went home and had lunch and took some pics with grandma before she left.

The race was great, our Team raised almost $165,000 for blood cancer research.  That is truly amazing!  Alie, my personal honoree, couldn't make it to see me finish, but she was there with me when I crossed that line.  Team in Training is a wonderful program that can help you achieve things you never felt possible mentally and physically.  The people I have met and trained with since February are now my friends, and its been awesome!  I will continue this fall with the Team, and I currently training for my second marathon! 

Next up, my goals on my upcoming triathlon.....but here are some more photos of my TNTers during the race:

Betsy, Val, and Kristine our Coaches!

Lauri, a survivor and our Honored Teammate
Go Tanya! This was an awesome pic of her, all smiles!

Go Bob and Megan!

Way to go  Elizabeth!

Elizabeth K was also all smiles!