Sunday, June 20, 2010

Vacation and Life as a Spectator...

I've now gone 11 days without a workout out minus lifting weights and doing some core work. I really haven't seen a bit of change in how my tendon is healing so I may go back to some easy bike riding and swimming in a week if I continue to see no change. I had hoped that by stopping workouts entirely it would heal much more quickly but that hasn't been the case. This is the first time in 4 or 5 years that I've been on a summer break from teaching and not been into big training mode. Prior to last year I was spending the summer in a crash course of 10 weeks trying to cut from 195 lbs down to 175. With last year being my first of year round training I was trying to fine tune the fitness I had gained all winter and put in some good race results. I'm trying to find some "projects" to work on to keep my mind off training and racing so this week I started a big one. My goal was to treat our 6' privacy cedar fence with a fresh coat of cedar finish. I put in 2 long days of work and I've got at least one more for the outside. It will be 2 more if I decide to get on my knees and do the bottom 5" of the fence that no one sees but Jen insists is something I must do if I'm going to add the "fence treater" badge to my growing list of home improvement capabilities. I figure if you let the grass grow long enough along the bottom of the fence it is pointless to treat that bottom 5". As you can tell from the photo I did a pretty amazing job on this thing and I am temporarily available for hire if you know anyone who needs a fence treated. I didn't forget to treat that one piece of the fence, I just left it untreated for the picture so all of you could see how awesome my work is. If my achilles heals during a job however I reserve the right to abandon the work and leave it entirely unfinished.

On Wednesday I attended the volunteer meeting for the QC Triathlon. On Thursday I had the Stroke Awareness pasta dinner. Race director Eric Sarno asked me to attend and be available to answer questions about the race. Friday was packet pickup from 4-8 p.m. I arrived at 4 expecting to be a host...showing people around the course and answering questions. The plans had changed and they needed me to put these cool looking body number tattoos on people. It was quite a timely process to put 4 different tattoos on them. 2 race numbers, one age group number, and a Kaminski Pain and Performance logo since he purchased all the tattoos. I would say I messed up about 1 out of every 4 tattoos I put on people. You know they call them tattoos because once they are on they don't wash right off. I would put a number on someone's arm upside down...and realize I messed up, and then have to apologize and explain that the mistake was permanent. After messing up about 5 of those (including 2 on the same person) I decided I would do no more of them and I assumed my job as a host for the rest of the evening. If the woman from Idaho whose numbers I messed up twice happens to be reading this I aplogize deeply. I never wanted that stupid job and won't ever take that job again. Saturday I would work the race. I went to bed about 10:30 Friday night and was awoken by the screams of "Young Warrior" Owen about 10 minutes prior to 1:00 a.m. I tried unsuccessfully to get him to sleep for about 20 minutes and by the time he fell asleep at 1:30 I was awake...wide awake. I did a warm cold contrast bath for the achilles and tried to get back to sleep unsuccessfully at 2 a.m. I laid there until 2:15 and then decided there was no going back. I was excited for the race even though I wasn't racing. I also worried that a late storm was going to have them scrambling to get things together so I decided I would do what most people would...go lift weights at our high school at 3:00 a.m. and then drive to race site. The lift was nice and quiet...weird how no one else bothers you in the weight room at 3:00 a.m.

I arrived at the course at West Lake at 4:30 and helped get things ready to roll. The race went very smoothly. It was great meeting lots of people who follow the blog. I was excited to watch them and other friends and Team Tri-Fit members compete. This is the very first triathlon I've ever watched without competing in and it was a unique experience. I had many people ask me if it was tough to watch. Obviously I would have rather competed but with that not being in the cards I had an awesome time watching the race. Here were my thoughts as a spectator and a few shout outs to some people I watched in no particular order.

1. The lady with the child seat still attached to her bike definitely won my vote for "coolest looking Tri bike"at the race. This isn't a picture of her exact bike but this is the setup she rode. She happened to be racked next to my good friend Jared Dammann who was competing in the Elite division. I know he was thrilled to be racked next to this bike. He said she had an advantage in transition because all the things she needed were tightly packed into the seat. I'm guessing that advantage was negated by the wind this seat would have caught on the actual ride. The only thing making this bike cooler would have been to put a Dora doll in the seat for the ride.
2. Congratulations to Team Tri-Fit member Jessica Imm on winning the overall women's title!!! She is in just her 2nd year of doing triathlons and has a tremendous future in the sport! We were really excited for her.
3. My good friend Shane Peitscher did his first triathlon ever this weekend. He called me last week to ask if he was supposed to bring a towel for transition to cover himself with when he took off his swimsuit and put on his biking shorts...I got a good laugh out of that until I realized he was serious. It was awesome watching him race and hearing his stories afterwards. He had one of the 5 worst bikes I saw in transition out of 700 and said he felt like he was getting passed by cars when he was riding as hard as possible in the hardest gear his mountain bike had. Congratulations on finishing and I'm super glad you enjoyed the first race. Hopefully many more to come for you!
4. It was awesome seeing so many Team Tri-Fit members in action. I know from talking to many of you that you dropped minutes...lots of minutes from last year's race. I hope the group atmosphere that Team Tri-Fit has become has been a small part of those improvements. If nothing else the club has helped the sport grow in the QC as membership is at nearly 90 in just our 2nd year.
5. LeeAnn Herrera is a beast! If you haven't followed her journey through this entire training process you should check out her blog at She is absolutely hilarious. She chronicled her life training for her 1st triathlon and again it is incredibly funny. It is better than the QC Times sports section and Triathlete Magazine which used to be the only 2 things I ever read. LeeAnn completed her first triathlon and looked great doing it. She learned how to shift her bike a week ago and did awesome. Her story is very inspiring to me. Thanks!
6. Congrats to Jared Dammann on being the top Quad Citian. I won this award once when I actually lived in the Quad Cities and it is a really cool award. What makes me feel especially proud and even very old is that I was Jared's 8th grade history teacher back in my 2nd year of teaching. It is pretty cool to watch a former student get into the sport let alone become a stud in the sport! I've had some good rides with Jared and I'd say good swims too but they always hurt like crazy because he kicks my butt all over the pool. You have a tremendous future in the sport!
7. Watching the race unfold was fun. There was a lead pack of 3 swimmers coming out of the water. They are much faster swimmers than I am. I knew while watching that if I want to be great in this sport I need to be fast enough to hang onto the last guys feet. There's a considerable benefit drafting in swimming and the bigger the group you are drafting on the more benefit there is. I need to work on being strong enough to hang onto the last person's feet in a group. As I watched this race the lead guys, the top 10 of them or so looked like machines. They all looked ridiculously fit and you could tell they had been training lots. They carried what looked like no body fat. I had a hard time picturing myself competing against those guys. I wondered if I looked like that when I raced. It was different seeing them as a spectator as opposed to a competitor. I definitely was in awe, and a little jealous of the condition all of them appeared in.
Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!


Chad Beert said...

This is a great race and I really need to get back and do it again, especially since my parents live maybe 5 miles away. Good to see the local club is growing as half the fun of this sport is getting others involved and watching them accomplish things they never imagined.

LeeAnn said...

Jeff thank you for everything and it was an honor to have you there cheering everyone on!
The bike seat was awesome and I agree a Dora Doll or something would have been a nice touch.
Thanks for being a loyal reader to I have had a blast doing it.
I'm hoping to do the Dewitt Tri in August.
Thanks're the bomb-diggity