Monday, September 10, 2012

Life Goes On

It will eventually take me over a month to process and write everything I have to say about my Ironman experience (I'm not finished yet). But the world has continued to spin, as ever. New York City is deep into marathon season, which means fall is nearly upon us and prime running weather has almost settled in.

I got a nice taste of that yesterday, at NYRR's Bronx 10 Mile race. This race used to be a half marathon and I'm still a little disappointed that NYRR has done away with the half marathon series, but it was a good race nonetheless.

Perhaps the best part of it, though, was the fact that my friend Sunshine ran 10 miles for the first time. You know what else? She made it look easy. If yesterday was any indication of how she'll do at her first half marathon, things are looking pretty damn good.

Hey, girl, hey!

As an aside, my friend Amortya, who's previously written a guest post here, also ran the Bronx 10 Mile. Ran it into the ground is probably a more appropriate way to say it. This guy ran 10 miles in approximately 1:25, which works out to an 8:30min/mile pace.

It was a weekend of victories, people!

Friday, September 7, 2012

IM Story #5: A New Team

You may recall that I found a triathlon coach soon after my first successful half Ironman distance race in May. This is Brian Hammond, head of a triathlon team called The Everyday Triathlete. My experience with Brian has been stellar. About a month prior to Ironman, I went to a weekend triathlon camp organized by Brian, his wife Sarah, and partner in Everyday Triathlon, Travis.

Spending time with a group of people who share the same goals and motivations that I have was new and exciting. Instead of being the crazy one who’s training for the Ironman, I fit right in! Whether or not we’re all crazy or not crazy is irrelevant because we’re all in the sport of triathlon together, and that comes with many perks. Namely, a spirit of camaraderie that I’ve sorely missed through most of my time as a triathlete.

Six Everyday Triathlete team members whom I met at camp (Brian K., Chad, Chad, TJ, Dave, William) also raced the Ironman US Championship. Being able to spot others in the same uniform and yell encouragement/hear encouragement yelled at me was an element of racing that I haven’t experienced too much and which I very much appreciated.

Brian K. and I took the same ferry to drop off our bikes. He took this pic!

Brian, Sarah and Travis were even on the course cheering for us! They set up around mile 11 of the bike and were there for what had to have been 6 or 7 hours. Hearing them cheer was a huge boost each time I passed.

Seeing Brian and Travis yards from the finish line totally blew me away. I think I finished well behind the others on the team, and yet they still stayed and cheered me through the end! For that, I will always be grateful. Thanks so much to everyone at The Everyday Triathlete. You helped make my Ironman (triathlon as a whole, really) experience more than I imagined it could be.

Note: Coach Brian and teammate Maura will be racing at the Rev3 Iron distance race in Cedar Point this weekend. Best of luck to both of them!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

IM Story #4: In Good Company

In 2010, I met my friend Jared while playing recreational quidditch (for the record, there is a difference between recreational and competitive quidditch). Jared told me his remarkable story of losing 100+ pounds over a few years and how running had helped him do it. He then told me that he ran pretty regularly with a group called Soles on Fire and said he’d ask the group leader to put my name on the weekly running list.

That group leader was Trey. I had the pleasure of going on a few of his weekend group runs that summer. I even remember Trey wishing me good luck just before my first Half Iron in Providence. Trey ran his first marathon (Trey, if you read this, correct me if anything is wrong) in Greece (coolest thing ever) that fall along with Jared’s girlfriend, Meret (whom you’ll also hear about again). Stories colliding everywhere!

In June 2011, about a week before registration opened for Ironman, I saw that Trey posted about it and asked him if he was signing up. He did, and though he moved from NYC to San Francisco later in the summer, I liked knowing someone else who was taking on the same gigantic challenge.

I was happy to see Trey at the end of the mandatory athlete briefing but even happier when he tapped me on the shoulder around mile 17 of the marathon. It was exciting to see a familiar face, and we struggled through the next few miles together.

Trey wrote his own race summary a few weeks ago and I can tell his victory here will inspire many others to push their own limits, whether through Ironman or another challenge.

Congratulations, Trey. It was an honor to race with you.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

IM Story #3: With a Little Help

Dan took this pic! Check his stuff out at
Look at these fine folks. I really can't thank them enough for their support. I already mentioned my mom, but here's some fun facts about everyone else.

Monica and Dirk:
  • Newlyweds
  • Witnessed me running the wrong way out of transition
  • Mon let me set up my bike trainer in her room so we could watch episodes of Girls
  • Brought my bike back to the city from transition in New Jersey
  • Rumor has it Dirk took a tri bike joyride on the way back from Jersey
  • Designed sexy t-shirts with this on them:

Points if you can spot their nod to the sewage issues...
Jeremy and Giri:
  • Two of the smartest people I know
  • Along with Monica, tolerated my drying workout laundry in the living room
  • Witnessed my grouchiest race moments in Riverside Park
  • Kept me company for the final miles
  • Took pictures at the end of the race and didn’t show me the bad ones
  • Animal lover
  • Hosted t-shirt making proceedings
  • Sick on race day, still came all the way out to Jersey for transition
  • Allowed use of her vehicle (named Tiger Shark) for transportation to one of my early races, the 2010 Mayflower Sprint
  • Badass psychiatrist
  • Came all the way up from North Carolina; was at transition
  • Within the first 24 hours of meeting, we realized we both ran and decided to go for a run, during which I sneakily had us running a minute faster per mile than either of us normally did
  • Despite the above bullet point, we’re still friends!
Sunshine and Russ:
  • Trained in Muay Thai kickassery
  • At transition
  • Along with Vicky, met me at the end of my 100 mile training ride to Montauk
  • Nice enough to take me and my bike back home so I didn’t have to make it a 200 mile training ride to and from Montauk
Geri and Dan:
  • First met them both at the 2011 Queens Half Marathon (Geri racing, Dan spectating) at the behest of our mutual friend Jared
  • Over the 3-hour span of the race, Geri and I managed to talk about everything from chafing to relationships
  • Geri accompanied me to the expo when I checked in for the race
  • Geri and Dan both reassured (and partly terrified) me about things that could go wrong on the bike over dinner after the expo
  • Dan took amazing race pictures including the one above
Here's Dan!

There’s also Jorge, who saw me at the top of Dyckman Hill (another one of my less cheerful moments) and whom I unfortunately missed at the finish; Michael, an accomplished triathlete who gave me all kinds of Ironman advice and saw me cross the finish line; Jared, whom you’ll hear about once or twice more. Also, just anyone who had to hear me gripe or talk too much about the race.

Many of these guys (Monica, Vicky, Sunshine, Anna, I'm looking at you) will be doing their first half marathon in 2013!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

IM Story #2: A Running Legacy

I purchased my triathlon bike last November and I owe the decision to do so mostly to my father, who has been running since long before I was born. While he would do track workouts at Holmes High School in San Antonio, my brother, cousin and I would play in the middle of the oval. We were occasionally made to accompany him for a lap, something we were rarely happy about. He got me my first pair of running shoes (Air Max Triax) when I was 8.
This guy won a 1.5 mile race in 9:50 earlier this year
 He claims he's getting old but has continued to kick my butt in races.

IM Story #1: Ironmom

I got my mom a t-shirt that read “Ironmom” to wear during the race. This would still be true about my mom if I’d never mentioned a thing about Ironman. She is and has always been fiercely independent, able and willing to do pretty much all things that need to be done on her own. More than just for her support of my Ironman efforts, I owe her thanks for most everything I have and am today. All the things I could remember and write about to further emphasize this wouldn’t be enough. She came all the way from Texas to cheer me on!

Talk about stories. She has some great ones.
After I ran my first marathon, my mom said “Promise me this will be it!”

I broke my promise. Sorry, Mom!