A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Where in the World is Dane?

Since we last checked in with extreme runner Dane Rauschenberg (at the Boilermaker 15K Road Race), our favorite beef-loving athlete has been a busy man (if you call running six races in six weekends busy).

[At left: Dane approaches the finish line at the Boilermaker 15K Road Race]

Then again, this is the guy who ran 52 marathons in 52 weeks. So the fact that he's only run five half marathons and a 20 mile steeplechase in the past six weeks may prompt shouts of "slacker" at his next race (not me, of course, but maybe from less sensitive fans). And if you look at his race calendar on See Dane Run you'll see that he is taking this weekend OFF from running.

So what is going on? Where in the world is Dane this weekend? Well, if you happen to be in Louisville, Kentucky, you might want to stop by the BEEF booth at the Louisville Ironman Expo and say hi. Dane will be there promoting beef with the Kentucky Beef Council.

Dane continues to talk about beef's role in his diet with other athletes via his Running Matters blog on Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and his own own blog, See Dane Run. In fact, his post today is called Facts on Beef and is a great look at the nutritional benefits of beef.

I'm so glad I bumped into Dane on the plane on the way home from running the GO! St. Louis Half Marathon. He is a great advocate for beef and has been an inspiration to me as I trained for the Boulder Ironman 70.3 triathlon and prepare to run my first marathon this December (stay tuned for details!).

Thanks, Dane!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Why? Never Again! What's Next?!

Why? That's the question a lot of people ask when I talk about tackling an Ironman 70.3 triathlon. And, honestly, it's the question that was running through my mind around mile 8 of the 13.1 mile run in today's Boulder Ironman 70.3 (the last leg of a 70.3 Ironman, following a 1.2-mile swim and 56-mile bike for a total of 70.3 miles).
Above: Pain is overshadowed by elation, relief and satisfaction as I crossed the finish line at today's Boulder Ironman 70.3.

For the answer, take a look at my before and after picture. Sixteen years ago, at the young age of 30, I weighed 270 lbs. and got very little exercise. As I began to live a more healthy, active lifestyle I realized that I need to set goals to get me out of bed in the morning to ride my bike. So I signed up for an MS150 bike ride (fundraiser for Multiple Sclerosis research). After my first century ride (100 miles) I was hooked.

Several years later I met Nancy Strickland, a fitness instructor and tri coach, Nancy convinced me to give my first tri a try. Despite nearly drowning (not really, but I did stuggle mightily in the swim), I was hooked. So I signed up for swimming lessons with Nancy and started training for my next event. Ten triathlons later, all of various distances Nancy challenged me to sign up for the Vineman 70.3 (triathlons come in many distances -- sprint, Olympic, Ironman 70.3 and 140.6 are just a few).

I ran the Vineman 70.3 in July 2007 and thought "never again." The 13.1-mile run in 90+ degree heat was the most painful experience of my life. But it wasn't long before I was asking myself, "What's next?" I need goals!

Two months after Vineman I had a little altercation with a car and ended up getting a new titanium collarbone (in a bike vs. car altercation the car always wins). I continued to ride and run but stopped swimming and didn't sign up for another tri until this year -- the inaugural Boulder Ironman 70.3.

So tonight I am sitting on my couch reveling in the satisfaction of completing another Ironman 70.3. Three years older and about 5,430 ft. higher, I set a new PR, besting my Vineman time by over 22 minutes! I worked hard to get here and completed my goal. It's a great feeling...in spite of the pain. That's "why."

I'm not saying "never again." but I'm also not running out to sign up for another 70.3. And although I've toyed with someday trying a 140.6 (double the distance in each event), I think I have given up those crazy thoughts (ask me again tomorrow...or maybe next month).

So what's next? Maybe a marathon. I've done five halfs (two as part of the Ironman events) but never a full.

Or maybe I'll go back to being a couch potato...NOT! That's the one thing to which I can say, "Never again" and mean it!

Ride on!


Pics from the Boulder Ironman 70.3
photos by Leslie Williams

The Boulder Ironman 70.3 began with a skydiving team and singing of the Star Spangled Banner.

A Sharpie pen turned my old tri jersey into my new BEEFMAN jersey (still a work in progress). Unfortunately the love handles I developed in my "Fat Daren" days don't really look great in the super cool BEEF tri top my friends at the Texas Beef Council sent me :(

A warmup swim in the Boulder Reservoir netted a new seaweed toupe and a lot of confidence that my "water anxiety" issues were under control.

My heat (Wave 5) began around 6:45 a.m. I compare the swim start to a school of pirhannas attacked their prey. It can be a bit disconcerting so I have learned to move to the side and settle into my rhythm before re-entering the fray.

Exiting the water is part relief (to be alive) and part trepidation (still have a 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run to go!).

My bike is one of the last on the Wave 5 rack after a very slow swim. I had some serious time to make up on the bike and turned in a 2:54:24 (19.3 mph average over 56 miles -- a personal best and ANY distance in a triathlon where drafting is not allowed!).

The run is my least favorite part of the event but I felt good for the first 6.5 mile loop. I slowed down a bit on the second loop but still hit my run goal of sub-10 min. miles (2:09:43). Dehydration became an issue in the last several miles and both hamstrings threatened to seize up at any moment. did I mention it was 90F during the run?

Nothing refuels like BEEF! The zinc, iron and protein in beef help repair and rebuld your body from instense physical activity. "The Rancher" burger at the Pearl Street Pub in Boulder (and two Amber Ales) hit the spot, but the hour-and-a-half ride home was painful. I'm glad Leslie was driving. Not sure I could have focused on the road!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Triathlon Training Tips (lessons learned the hard way)

Running late for the Boulder Stroke and Stride (swim and run) I was a bit "out of sorts" as I entered the water. I had missed the official start of the two lap 1500 meter swim by about 15 minutes (traffic getting from south Denver to Boulder was slow) and the fast swimmers were already finishing their first lap and running down the beach at Boulder Reservoir to start their second. In the middle of this churning mass of arms and legs I started swimming.
Above: The Boulder Stroke and Stride (1500 meter swim/5K run) takes place every Thursday in the summer at Boulder Reservoir.

"I can't breathe!" Inhale, exhale, it seems so easy on dry land. If you get out of breath on the bike or on a run, you just slow down. But for some reason in the water your brain functions differently. When you get out of breath your brain says, "I'm gonna die!" and panic ensues.

"Don't panic!" I told myself, "Just breathe." But I couldn't. So I stopped, treaded water to the side and looked back. With the setting sun glinting off the water (above) I couldn't even see the beach I had just left. All I could see was splashing water. Should I swim back to shore or keep going? I knew if I went back I wouldn't be back Sunday for the Boulder Ironman 70.3 (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1 mile run). I had to calm, down, get into my rhythm and finish the swim. So I gave a thumbs up to the lifeguard anxiously watching me from the dock and slowly started swimming. Stroke, breathe, stroke, breathe and eventually I settled into stroke, stroke, breathe, stroke, stroke, breathe, my normal pattern. I finished strong and feel confident that I will be ready to swim Sunday morning.

LESSON #1: Do NOT wait until three days before the big event to practice an open water swim in a competitive setting (and don't be late for the start).

Putting my running shoes on over wet, sandy feet I realized that I had not brought any socks. I know many triathletes do not wear socks but I always run with socks. This was my second big mistake of the day. In the lasst miles of the 5K I could feel a blister forming on my right upper heel. By the end of the run it was bleeding pretty good. I don't think it will bother me Sunday. At least I hope not. Running a half marathon is painful enough without a nagging flesh wound!

LESSON #2: Do not do anything "different" on three days before the big event (or on race day).

After making two mistakes on my last significant training day I called my former tri coach from Kansas City, Nancy Strickland and asked for some final advice. Nancy said to take Friday off (today) and just do a very short, easy five mile ride, 1 mile run on Saturday. Basically, there is nothing left to do but keep the legs moving and the blood flowing!

Off to Boulder tomorrow...

Ride on!