Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Year in Review

2011 will surely be remembered as the year I became terribly addicted to triathlons, duathlons, and road racing. I don't even want to start adding up how much I spent on race entries, equipment (a new bike, race wheels, ...), the gym, etc. However, I could afford it, it's gotten me into the best shape of my life, and it's been quite rewarding meeting and exceeding goals.
Besides racing, the figurative and literal "high point" of my year was being able to visit so many state highpoints. Almost every trip out of state involved at least one new highpoint. The most extreme, Wyoming's, was four days of trekking through the snow and was far more physically and mentally tough than any race I did. However, I wouldn't have been able to do it in the manner I did if I weren't in as good of shape as I've become as a result of training and racing.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Decker Challenge Half Marathon

This morning I raced the Decker Challenge Half Marathon, the third event in the Austin Distance Challenge (the first two being the IBM 10K and the Run for the Water), and while I didn't manage as quick of a pace as either of those races, I'm quite pleased with my 1:50:30, which smashes my previous half-marathon PR from 3M in January. It also significantly improves on the last time I did 13.1 miles on foot in that part of town (The Longhorn Half Iron). I didn't have much of a game plan going into this race, knowing it was going to be hilly, but not having done this race before (this course was not the same as the Longhorn run course, but included some of the bike course). My plan was pretty much to run an 8-minute pace in the flats, a little slower uphill, and a little faster downhill. There weren't many flats, and it seems the downhills didn't even out the uphills, as my average pace was 8:24 (by my watch). Also not helping my time was some pretty bad foot pain- my left ankle was hurting for the past two weeks, and my right foot developed a nasty blister. However, I was well within, and nearly exceeded my goal time of 1:50-2:00.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Thanksgiving / Connecticut Highpoint

After the Natural Bridge Caverns Du on Sunday 11/28, I flew to New York on Monday for a fairly brief, relatively traditional Thanksgiving with my parents, sister, and niece. I don't think I mentioned it in my post, but the eighth of my recent highpoints, Alabama, is 35th in rank of highpoints by height ASL, and happened to also be my 35th completed highpoint. This was unintentional, but when I realized that Connecticut is ranked 36th in height, I was more than a little bit interested in going there on this trip. It wound up being about the most exercise I got during a week of gluttony.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Southeast Highpoint Adventure

On Sunday, October 30, mere hours after racing in the Run for the Water road race, I got onto my Fat Boy and rode 3,100 miles in seven days. On this cold, crazy, trip I visited eight state highpoints and three capitols. This brings my totals to 35 and 25, respectively. Other than a relatively minor issue with the bike, some rain outside of Atlanta, and trying to keep warm when it was in the 40s, it was a fairly uneventful ride. I did run into a slight problem off the bike, but the only real harm done was a loss of time.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Natural Bridge Caverns Duathlon 2011

For my fifth race in as many weeks, today I raced in the Natural Bridge Caverns Duathlon, repeating the second multi-sport event I did last year. As with the Lost Pines Tri, I improved significantly in the interim. Partly because I wanted a fair comparison to last year, and partly because I thought the best racers would do the slightly longer "T-Rex" distance, I again did the "Woolly Mammoth," which is approximately Olympic distance at roughly 5k/26mi/5k. According to my GPS, however, the distances were more like 3m/27m/2.6m. It seems the run turnaround was a little closer in than last year, and the bike course included Krueger Canyon. Those differences aside, I was pleased to improve from 2:31 to 2:08:46, and to seventh overall, and another age group win (my first being at Lost Pines).

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Komen Austin Race for the Cure 5K

This past Sunday, I participated in Komen Austin's big fundraiser for fighting breast cancer. While I was a little bit disappointed with my time in the 5K race (22:32), it was heartwarming to see the nearly 20,000 people that came out in support of a good cause. I was hoping to improve on my 22:08 from a week prior, but the hilly course and warm, humid weather slowed me down. After the race, I joined some Harley friends who were out in support of Lisa, a breast cancer survivor who is currently in a wheelchair due to a motorcycle accident.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Anything is Possible 5K

I got back from a 3,100 mile motorcycle trip at 4pm Saturday [post forthcoming], but I was so intrigued by a 5K race spanning the end of Daylight Savings Time that I had to do it. Plus it was right down the street from my house, so I didn't have to go far. Thanks to the time change, I started at 1:50 am and finished at 1:12 am, for a -37:52 ET. It's only possible once a year, so I just had to be part of this race. My real time of 22:08 (7:05 mile pace) is a new 5K PR (not that I've done many, my previous best is from the Paramount 5K in February). I wound up 10th overall (of 84), and second in my age group. The guy that won my AG passed me with only about a half mile to go. I might have put more effort into chasing him if I had realized.

The run itself wasn't all that remarkable, although it was something of a different experience running in the dark. Most of the cloverleaf-shaped course was through parking lots, so most of it was well lighted, but there were some sections that were darker. Probably the funniest part of the evening was the UT band's tuba section out en masse, who brought slightly more enthusiasm than I felt was warranted for the hour of night (but then I'm normally asleep at that time).

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Run for the Water 10-miler

While it can be wearying, one of the benefits of racing all the time is that it's not long after a disappointing race before having the possibility of bouncing back with a good one. After having a terrible run last week in the Half Ironman, today I had a very good run in the Run for the Water 10-mile road race. The second leg of the Austin Distance Challenge, this event benefits the Gazelle Foundation, which build water wells in Burundi. Thanks to a beautiful clear, cold morning (starting temperature in the 40s), my average pace was actually just a tick quicker than the first Distance Challenge event, the IBM 10K. My time today was 1:19:26, for an average pace (according to the results) of 7:57 (my watch actually said 7:54).

Ironman 70.3 Austin

Sunday I competed in my toughest race so far: The 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run of Ironman 70.3 Austin, also known as the Longhorn half. It was my first "half distance" triathlon (being exactly half of the famed "full" Ironman), but won't be my last. While I'm not entirely pleased with my overall time of 6:42:15, I am pleased with my bike performance, and that I finished at all. I never really doubted that I would finish, but I wish I would have been able to actually run more than I did. Pressure in my stomach made anything faster than a walk with brief jogs painful.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


For my seventh timed event in the past six weeks (the sixth being the South MoPac TT Tuesday night, where I had my best time yet, 19:17, 25.1 mph average), this morning I raced in the IBM Uptown Classic 10K. Unlike last week, I managed to stick to my game plan (and my legs weren't wasted from the day before), and finished in 49:27, a time I'm quite pleased with, and resets my 10K PR from the previous 50:55 set at Cap 10K in March. This race was also the first stage of the Austin Distance Challenge, a series of five races culminating in the Austin Marathon in February.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Rip Roarin' Ride / Austin Marathon Relay

Like last year, my company sponsored entry into the Liberty Hill Lions' Rip Roarin' Ride on Saturday, and/or the Silicon Labs Austin Marathon Relay on Sunday. I may have taken the "play hard" concept too far by planning to do the maximum distance in both events- 103 miles and 12 kilometers, respectively. I figured it would be good training for the upcoming half Ironman I will be attempting. Despite "only" riding 87 miles, my legs were cooked, quite unfortunately, before I was finished running. However, other than major soreness, I don't seem to have injured myself, and I have gained additional training and experience.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Last Splash & Dash of the Season

Continuing my streak of beating my expectations (Lost Pines, Austin Tri, Wurst Tri), last night's final Splash & Dash for the year was my quickest yet- both the swim + transition and the run. Thanks to heavier than expected traffic, I barely made it in time. I had only a couple of minutes to get my shoes laid out and my swim cap and goggles on. I was glad for a couple minutes' delay of the usually punctual 6:00 start to have a chance to settle down and prepare myself. After the first ~50 meters, I swam the whole course breast stroke. I wore a different top than I have previously, and at least initially felt as though it might have slowed me down some, as I didn't feel like I was getting any glide from my stroke. It felt better later in the course, so maybe it was either my perception or the wind (not that it was particularly strong). Just based on the others in the water, it seemed like I was having a good swim: I seemed to be somewhere in the middle of the men, and only saw a couple of women (who started 3 minutes after the men). Once I was out of the water and started on the run, I had the quantifiable data: My swim + transition time was 15:59, shattering my previous best of 17:45. I started running at too quick of a pace, spurred on by the faster company. I pulled it back to a more reasonable pace for the rest of the first 1k lap, second lap, and most of the third lap (I had just enough left for a sprint finish). My lap times were 5:05, 5:16 and 5:08, which together improved on my previous best run of 16:01. My full course time of 31:29 was amazingly a full 3 minutes off of my previous best (in July). Not only am I pleased with my time, I was pretty stoked that I was not that far behind my friend MG, who's been at it for a lot longer. For the first time, I exited the water before her (her being 2 minutes quicker swimming wasn't enough to overcome the 3 minute head start), and she passed me near the end of the second lap of the run and beat me by 3:38 overall.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Wurst Tri Ever

For the third straight weekend, I competed in a triathlon (the others being the sprint distance Lost Pines Tri and Olympic distance Austin Tri). Amazingly, my body held together for the most part, and for the third straight week I beat my goal finishing time. My goal for this race was to beat my time from Jack's Generic Tri of 1:18, to make this my quickest sprint distance triathlon (different courses aren't exactly comparable, but still). This race was produced by the same people that did Lost Pines, and again had a relatively small field (250+ participants), but it seemed to have attracted some higher caliber athletes from San Antonio. There was a bloc that took home most of the top awards, leaving my time of 1:16:59 16th overall and second in my age group.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Austin Triathlon

Today I completed my second Olympic-distance (1500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run) triathlon, the Austin Triathlon, and I'm quite pleased to have significantly improved on my CapTex time from just over three months ago. The course isn't exactly the same, so they're not 100% comparable, but I did improve on every split time for an overall time of 2:43:34. Of course, with the much larger (1000+ for the Olympic distance) and more competitive field (including several Ironman champions), I didn't place nearly as high in the overall standings as my last race, but 313th puts me in the top half, so not too shabby in my book.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bastrop Lost Pines Triathlon

Today marks one year as a triathlete. The 2010 Lost Pines Triathlon was my first race of any kind since college (and I was never a swimmer, runner, or competitive cyclist before last summer). I was hooked immediately, and since that first race, I've done an "indoor triathlon," two more sprint triathlons, an Olympic triathlon, three duathlons, the Splash and Dash four times, two 5ks, a 10k, a half marathon, a time trial twice, plus several organized bicycle rides of various distances (did I forget anything?). And what a difference a year has made. I went from a 1:53:09, fifth in age group, to a 1:24:33 age group win, and third overall (although the swim was shorter, so not a 100% direct comparison in terms of the time). This event played well to my strengths and weaknesses, with a longish (16 mile) hilly bike and a short (200m) swim, respectively, plus a relatively small field. I'm absolutely ecstatic with the result, especially that I had the fastest bike split.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mixed Results

In this month's iterations of recurring timed events, I went one for two, in terms of improving on previous times. On the positive side, on the 9th I improved my time in the South MoPac Time Trial over June by 17 seconds to 19:43. That doesn't sound like much, and I guess it's not, really, but I'll take a 1.4% improvement and half a mile per hour (to an average of 24.5 mph). On the not so positive side, on the 16th I had my second slowest (of the 4 times I've done it now) time in the Splash & Dash. My total time of 36:57 was well off my best time of 34:29 in July, and slightly better than the 37:16 in June. My problems started in the swim. I swam to the outside, to keep from running into people, and also tried to swim freestyle. So, I wasn't really looking where I was going (need to work on sighting) and didn't have anybody else to follow, and wound up way off course, or at least going further than necessary. I'm not sure what happened to me on the run, but just before the end of the second loop, my stomach started cramping. I walked for a minute or two, then picked up the pace again, but not as fast as I had started, and not to the pace I should be able to hold for 2 miles (3 1k laps). One plus, also for undetermined reasons, is that I forgot to put on my calf compression sleeves, but didn't suffer from the calf cramps I've had many times transitioning from swim (or, elsewhere, bike) to run.

So, some questions I need to find answers for: If I show improvement in my strongest discipline (cycling) but none (at least not consistently) in my two weaker ones (swimming and running), have I really made any progress as a triathlete? If I'm actually faster swimming the breast stroke than freestyle (based on other data), should I really be trying so hard to improve my freestyle (especially considering I'm automatically sighting when swimming breast, and at the moment sighting throws off my stroke freestyle) just because it's supposed to be the best stroke for triathletes?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ring of Fire Ride

Today I rode in the Ring of Fire Ride, starting and ending in Luckenbach, organized by the same folks that put on the race in Corpus Christi I did in May. Considering Austin has been over 100 degrees more than 50 days already this summer, and today was another, it was definitely fiery. I expected that part. What I hadn't fully prepared myself for, despite having seen the route elevation profile, was how hilly the ride was. Since the "long loop" course was 42 miles, and I was planning on doing the 84-miler, I knew exactly what I was in for once I started the second loop. There was a race component to this event, and everyone was chip timed, but I was doing it more just to survive it than to have a fast time, and I'm pleased to say that I did survive it, with a total time of 5:38 (by my watch).

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Jack's Generic Triathlon

On Sunday, I had what felt to me like one of my best races so far at Jack's Generic Triathlon. Even though the venue wasn't the greatest, I felt like I did really well and finished within my target time of 1:15-1:20, with a time of 1:18:22. Quite telling of my strongest and weakest disciplines of triathlon, among age groupers, I was 460th in the swim and 19th on the bike. Thanks to the disparity in distances (and being 116th in the run), I finished 80th overall, 15th in my age group. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that I had (by seconds) had a better bike split than my two really good triathlete friends IM and MG, but that's really only because IM's computer fell off her bike and she went back to get it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Splash & Dash 3/Tour de France Ride

Well, my final week of sabbatical was pretty lazy and oh so enjoyable. My house and car got cleaned, but other than picking things up and giving somebody money, I didn't have anything to do with those. I learned more about belaying and rock climbing at the gym. Other than a few ordinary workouts, my big athletic feats were the Splash & Dash on Tuesday, and a roughly 100-kilometer ride Sunday organized in honor of the last day of the Tour de France.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Road/Climbing Trip 2011: Gannett Peak

On Monday, July 11, I set out from Pinedale, Wyoming on a 4-day trek to Gannett Peak, the highest mountain in the state, which peaks at 13,809 feet above sea level, and is part of the Wind River range. Due mainly to the slog of a 16-mile approach just to get into place for summit day, I think it was physically the hardest thing I've ever done, and I'm quite pleased to be able to say that I was successful, even more so that I did it solo, with no support other than following other parties the whole way. I don't think that summit day was that much harder than Rainier was, but including having to cross Bonney Pass both ways, and sections at are steeper than Rainier, it was at least a little harder. However, thanks to better physical conditioning and better altitude acclimatization (I don't think I was below 5,000 feet elevation in the week before this climb), I felt better than I did when I climbed Rainier two years ago. [Note: day 1 and 2 reports were written those evenings, days 3 and 4 were written after returning home]

Monday, July 11, 2011

Road/Climbing Trip 2011: Borah Peak

After a couple days of rest with my aunt and uncle in Bozeman, I drove to Idaho by way of Helena in order to attempt to climb Borah Peak (curiously also referred to at Mt. Borah), Idaho's highest point on July 9. After the most technically difficult I've done solo so far, I was proud to have bagged another state highpoint. But, as the saying goes, the top is only halfway, and I still had a challenging climb back down to my car.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Road/Climbing Trip 2011: Granite Peak Attempt

On Sunday, July 3, I set out with guide Kenny and fellow client Pete in an attempt to climb Granite Peak, Montana's highest point. We were the guide service's first trip of the year, and if we had been successful, we would have likely been among the first people to summit this season. Unfortunately we didn't even make it onto Granite Peak proper due largely to Pete's difficulty carrying the heavy load of gear necessary for the climb this time of year. We did, however, reach the summit of 11,755 foot summit of Froze to Death Mountain.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Road/Climbing Trip 2011: Prelude to Granite

After approximately 36 hours in Austin following my New York trip, I set off Thursday, June 30, for the next phase of my sabbatical. The main time constraint was that I had to be in Cody, WY on July 2 for some climbing training prior to the start of the actual Granite Peak climb on the 3rd. Since the direct route would have gotten me into Cody slightly earlier than necessary, I decided to make the route a bit more circuitous and tour a few State Capitols that I had previously only breezed by, stopping long enough for a picture with my bike.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

New York / New Jersey highpoint

This past Friday, June 24, was the first day of a 4-week paid sabbatical from work, which is approximately the best thing ever. For my first stint of vacation, I flew up to New York for the weekend. Saturday was a big birthday party for family friends, celebrating their 75th and 80th birthdays. On my way back to my parents' house from their place in upstate New York, I hit the highest point in New Jersey, only a minor detour, really.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Danskin Tri/Time Trial/Congenital Heart Walk/Pflugerville Tri/Splash & Dash

I haven't been up to anything particularly epic since CapTex, so I thought I'd recap a few smaller things I have done into one post. Other than volunteering for two triathlons and participating in two friendly timed events (which I will expand upon), I changed up my training regimen. I've still been swimming twice a week, but have been doing a lot less running and cycling. What I've been focusing on is hiking, with some rock climbing in the gym a couple times a week. All this training is in anticipation of a mountain climbing trip I'll be embarking on very soon that will hopefully take me to the highest points in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Utah. Much like I did to train for Rainier, I've been hiking up and down the "Hill of Life," a trail in a city park near my office with approximately 250 feet of elevation gain from bottom to top. I've added about 5 pounds to my pack every time I've done it, starting with about 35 pounds and working up to 50. The rock climbing has been pretty fun, other than managing to bruise my knees almost every session. I hadn't been on the wall much in the past few months, since I've been busy doing other workouts. I've made progress in my climbing- I recently topped out on the most difficult autobelay for the first time ever, and have repeated it a couple of times since. Also, when I was in recently one of the employees belayed and guided me up a route rated 5.8. So, I think I'm pretty ready for my trip, as long as the conditions are good enough.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Capital of Texas Triathlon

Not long after I completed my first triathlon last August, I realized that this year Memorial Day, and therefore the Capital of Texas Triathlon, would coincide with my birthday. Since CapTex was what inspired me to attempt a triathlon, and I was pretty much immediately hooked on racing, I decided all the way back in September to do the Olympic distance (1500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run) today, as a far off goal to aspire to. As you can tell from this blog, I've done quite a bit of training and racing in the interim, perhaps most analogously the Corpus Christi Olympic-distance duathlon I did two weeks ago (coupled with the Splash & Dash for swimming). Based on the du time of 2:01, and a one-mile swim in Barton Springs last Sunday in 52 minutes, I was hoping to break 3 hours in the tri today. I might have made it if I could have kept up the pace of the first half of the run for the whole 10k. I'm still pretty pleased with a time of 3:05:13.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Splash & Dash

This evening I participated in my first "Splash & Dash" and only my second open water swim. I hesitate to say I competed, since I finished 100-somethingth out of 200-some-odd. It was a 750 meter swim around a small lake (that is part of Pure Austin gym), then three 1 kilometer run laps around the lake. I didn't drown, I wasn't the last one out of the water, I got more open-water swimming experience, and my time of 34:45 gives me a target to try and surpass next time I do it (the event is held monthly during the summer), so it was a success.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Corpus Christi Duathlon

Today I did my first race "on the road" in Corpus Christi, an Olympic distance Duathlon (5k, 40k, 5k). The only reason I signed up for it, really, was because I got a free entry, thanks to the organizer's (Red Licorice Events) Twitter feed. It cost me more for a hotel for last night and the gas to get down and back than the entry fee would have been, but it was a good experience to be away from home and stay in a hotel before a race.

Before the race, I hoped to finish in the 2:00 to 2:15 range, and was quite pleased with a 2:01:46. I was even more pleased that for the first time ever, I finished "on the podium," with third place in my age group. It was an almost completely flat course, but the wind made it pretty tough, especially the cross-winds on the bike.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Shiner GASP/Skeese Greets Women's Triathlon

Yesterday I completed my first "century," or 100-mile bicycle ride, the Shiner GASP (or Great Austin to Shiner Pedal [which sounds redundant except for the fact that Shiner refers both to a town and a beer company]). The overall direction of the ride is southeast, and typically if there is any wind, it is either a headwind the whole way, or a tailwind the whole way. Unfortunately, this year it was a headwind (and occasionally a crosswind), but I decided beforehand to ride on my brand new race wheels to give myself the best chance of finishing. Considering that previously my longest ride was the Wildflower Ride about a month ago at 62 miles, I felt good finishing in 6 hours and 40 minutes (my watch showed 96.65 miles in 5:43 of moving time). Then this morning I got up early again to volunteer for a women-only sub-sprint distance triathlon.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lake Travis Triathlon

Today I competed in my first "official" sprint-distance triathlon (the Lost Pines Triathlon wasn't exactly sprint distance), the Lake Travis Triathlon. It's put on by the same people that do the Capital of Texas Triathlon on Memorial Day, which is the race I'm really trying to train for. When I signed up for the race (just last Sunday, although I'd been thinking about it for a couple of weeks before), I was hoping to finish in the 1:15-1:20 range. But then, on Wednesday, I pulled my left calf muscle somehow, and considered not racing. I adjusted my target time to 1:20-1:30 accordingly, and while I'm hardly ecstatic about at 1:24:35 time, I think it went okay for my first open water swim race and with the injury.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pittsburgh/PA-MD-WV highpoints

As I have the past few years, I flew up to Pittsburgh this week to take part in Carnegie Mellon's Spring Carnival. I figured this year, I would go a little bit earlier to take a little road trip to pick up the Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia high points. It was a pretty good trip, but ultimately left me completely exhausted trying to relive my college years.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pedal Power Wildflower Ride

Yesterday I participated in the Pedal Power Wildflower Ride, benefiting the Hill Country Children's Advocacy Center. I did the full distance, 60 miles, through the lovely hill country. I even tacked on a couple of miles at the end to make it a full 100 kilometers, aka a metric century. Despite this being one of the worst years for wildflowers since I've lived in the area (due to drought conditions), it was a nice ride and we had good weather. I survived the ride, maybe a little worse for wear, in just under 4 hours.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Capitol 10K

For my fourth race in the past six weeks, I raced in the Capitol 10K today. Unlike those others, I had actually planned on racing in this one for a while. As the largest 10K in Texas (this year over 23,000 runners), I figured it was something I should do at least once. Other than having to weave through a lot of people, it was a good race and I felt good running it. I followed my planned pace (first half ~8:30, second half ~8:00) and wound up with a time I'm pretty happy with, 50:55.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Blue Norther' Duathlon

About a week and a half ago, my co-worker/enabler IM said she was doing the Blue Norther' Duathlon in Seguin (held today) and that I should sign up. Since I didn't have any plans, I figured "What the heck?" and registered. Held at Texas Lutheran University, the race consisted of a 5K run (twice around the campus), a 14-mile bike on country roads, and the same 5K again. As the first race on my new bike, it went pretty darned well. If only I could run faster, I might have at least seen the really fast people. I finished with a time of 1:37:01, but at least one person had finished by the time I got out of T2 (transition from the bike to the second run).

Saturday, March 12, 2011

New Bicycle

I had been kicking around the idea of "upgrading" from my aluminum road bike to a carbon triathlon bike for a while. Since I came into a little bit of cash recently, I figured "What better time?" I started just looking, and I really liked the Felt bikes, mainly because they seemed to offer the best components for the price. Just looking at them, and talking with some people, it seemed as though there wasn't a whole lot of objective difference between the various manufacturers' tri-bikes.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

LifeTime Indoor Triathlon

I've been a member of LifeTime Fitness since June. Most locations hold an indoor triathlon at some point during the year, but for whatever reason the location I go to doesn't (so far at least), but the other one in town does. I decided to sign up for the race, held today. I happened to be on the other side of town a week and a half ago, and took the opportunity to scope out the club. It's almost identical to the one I go to, except that it's the mirror image.

Skiing in Taos

Much like I did last year, this week I took some vacation days (Monday already being a holiday) and drove to Taos, NM to go skiing. Because I waited until the last minute to book anything, I couldn't get a reasonably priced room in the ski village like last year, and I stayed in town. I took a city bus that runs between town and the mountain for 50 cents each way the three days I went skiing. The bus was easy and convenient (it stopped at my motel), but because the last bus back to town leaves at 4:30, I missed a talk by a world-class mountaineer Tuesday that started at 5 in the ski lodge. I took a group lesson on Wednesday morning that actually turned out to be pretty useful.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Break-A-Leg 5K

Today was the Livestrong Austin Marathon. I had planned to spectate to some extent, but it wasn't until Thursday I decided, "What the heck?" I would also run in the 5K race, benefiting the Paramount Theater. I haven't really considered doing 5Ks since the Relay Marathon because I had been using my weekends for longer runs to train for the half marathon I did 3 weeks ago. I figured this time that if 5K wasn't enough for the day, I could go for a run later. The race wound up going pretty well, ending up with a time of 24:38, good for 79th overall (of 1121) and 8th in my age group (of 56).

Sunday, January 30, 2011

3M Half Marathon

So, I accomplished all of my goals for the half marathon today. Well, the jury's still out on permanent injury. My knees hurt at the moment, I probably need to schedule a session with a sports medicine specialist. I stuck to my plan for the most part, except that I stopped for a restroom break at mile 8. Also, I started picking my pace up at the end at mile 12.3 instead of mile 12. My chip time was 2:08:54, well under my official goal, but a little slower than I really wanted. If I hadn't stopped for 2 minutes, I would have been right where I was hoping to be.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pre-Race Thoughts

So tomorrow is the 3M Half Marathon, which I've been training and preparing for for several months now. I'm feeling pretty well, if a bit anxious. I picked up my packet/schwag bag this morning. I haven't done many races, but this one definitely takes the cake for amount of stuff, mostly 3M products. I have my clothes all laid out for tomorrow. I have been hydrating myself all day and yesterday. I have been scarfing down sugary things in the name of "carbo loading." I think I'm actually ready, as long as I can get a good night's sleep, something I haven't done the past couple of nights.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 In Review / Looking Ahead in 2011

I would say that, in sum, 2010 was actually a pretty good year for me. There was a lot of personal shit I had to deal with, but as a result of that I got into much better shape and lost about 15 pounds. All that crap is pretty much settled now, so 2011 should be a banner year.
I don't really talk about work here, but it was kind of cool that the project I was on that wrapped up in February has gotten a lot of attention. It was a pain in the butt to answer sporadic questions throughout the year, but at least I know it hasn't gone off into the ether.

Here are the goals I set for 2010, and results:

  • Complete riding in all of Texas' 254 counties - Completed in October
  • At least five state highpoints (this can include revisiting ones) - Made it just under the wire on Monday
  • At least five state capitols (can include touring ones I only photographed) - Completed in October
  • Enter some sort of athletic competition - Triply done in August, September, and November

Some new goals and plans for 2011:

  • 3M Half Marathon, January 30. Definitely want better than 2:30, my stretch goal would be under 2 hours.
  • CapTexTri, Olympic distance, May 30 (my 33rd birthday). I don't have a target time yet, I'm just hoping to not drown at this point.
  • Any new races/distances, I would just like to do my best and be satisfied with my result.
  • Any repeat race and distance, to improve on my previous time.
  • Eight state high points, hopefully to include biggies like WY and MT this summer.
  • At least five state capitols, even if it includes driving and touring capitols I've already photographed the exterior of.
  • Be better about writing here than I was in 2010. [Side note: I joined twitter recently @mldarm]

Odometer readings at the end of 2010: Fat Boy, 109082; Night Train, 7528; Roma, 1369; Secteur, 1781. I'm pretty sure that 7404 is the fewest miles I've ridden in a year since owning a motorcycle. I'm not surprised I rode my bicycle more than the Night Train, in fact I'm pretty sure that until the September road trip I had put more miles on the Secteur than both motorcycles combined. I think the only time I rode the Roma this year is when the Secteur was in the shop getting a tune-up.