Monday, September 21, 2009

Adventures in Austria....

Three days after Ironman I loaded myself up on a plane and flew into the Munich Airport in Germany. Once there... my good friend Jim was waiting for me at the airport. We then took a train to the city of Salzburg in Austria and the adventure week had begun! The next day we were joined by three others (Karen, Rebecca & Cathi) in Leogang.

My first day in Leogang consisted of a trail run followed by a nice dinner with the others. I was in awe over the beautiful scenery.

The second day in Leogang all the girls went on a guided mountain bike adventure with Martin from Bikepark Leogang. I wasn't sure how the post Ironman legs would hold up during this ride, but somehow... I made it.

The third day the group met in Zell am See for some hiking and trail running. Jim had rented a guide for the day to help navigate the trail. We mostly hiked to the first peak... the Maurerkogel. Myself and Cathi ended up spliting from the group and did a little running to another peak... the Oberer Gernkogel. The views were stunning from those peaks!

The Fourth day the whole group went for a touring bike ride. This ride turned out to be quite an adventure as we weaved in and out of

little towns along the way. Every now and then we would even stop to pet animals. At one point we even stopped and toured some caves. What a great way to see Austria!

The fifth day the whole group went to see the Zum Krimmler Wasserfall (the Waterfall in Krimml). We along with our bikes were shuttled to Krimml. After viewing the waterfalls Karen and I made our way back to the city of Zell am See on our bikes where we would meet the rest of our group for dinner. Another day of weaving in and out of little towns and sight seeing! Awesome!

The sixth day I opted to do another guided mountain bike ride along with Cathi. The rest of the group stayed to play at the bikepark. Our ride took us to another peak called the Hundstein. A climb that took us to nearly 7,000ft elevation. The locals say it is the highest peak in which you can reach via mountian bike. WOW... my post Ironman legs felt this for sure! There were times I wondered if I'd even make it to the top! Unfortunately for me... I had no real nutrition for the day.... so that along with being tired from my event were not a good thing. Lesson learned... Always take your own nutrition from home. Chances of finding the proper nutrition that work for you in a foriegn country are slim to none!

After putting in a grueling ride the day before... Jim and I headed for the Eisreisenwelt (Ice Caves) in Werfen. AMAZING... that one word about sums it up. Beautiful ice formations inside a massive cave. It ws downright COLD in there too! Getting to the cave was not easy either. We had to purchase tickets.. then walk to the lift... then once off the lift we had to walk to the entrance of the cave. I was hoping to have pictures from the inside of the cave, but photos were not allowed inside.

The next day we loaded all our stuff up and headed back to Salzburg for a day in the city and then dinner with Jim's dear Austrian friends Christian and Claudia. Karen and I did mucho shopping and Jim took the other girls for some sightseeing. The place we stayed in that night was a very swank 450 year old hotel gone modern... The Art Hotel.

Sunday morning I was up at 4:00am to catch my shuttle to the Munich Airport. Goodbye Austria... till next time!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ironman Louisville

Sooo... I've been pretty quiet on here lately. Guess it's time for an update as I previously stated I'd do. The latest news is that I did indeed become an Ironman for the 3rd time on August 31st! A recap of the race is below... If you care to read.

Before the race:

Before the race Trey, Xian and I drove up to Louisville on Friday. We jetted over to the expo once we arrived and picked up my race packet and did a little shopping. The next morning we returned to the race site on the river and did the bike drop-off, transition bag drop-off and took care of some odds and ends. We also decided to rent a neat little bicycle for 3 or 4 persons to tool around on. Wow.. what a great way to see the city and riverfront area.

Raceday... the swim:

The swim always makes me nervous. It's not my favorite leg... and for those who know me well... know that I don't really log in the time I should for this discipline.

The swim start actually took place about 1 mile up the river from the race site. It was a long walk and there was a bit of chill in the air. I had on a jacket and my new compression socks for added warmth before I needed to hand them off to Trey. Since this race is set-up as a Time Trial Start.. the wait was rather long... so it took a while before I was in the water. Once in the water I felt pretty calm and my stroke felt good too, but the swim felt so long and I kept wondering if I would ever finish! The water was dirty and smelled of gasoline and diesel fuel... ugh... so polluted. First and last time I'll intentionally swim in the Ohio River. Boy was I glad to be out of that water!

The bike:

The bike went down about like I figured it would. I felt good for the most part and had a low spot around mile 75-80. Tried to stay positive and kept telling myself it would pass. Shortly after this... I stopped for a bathroom break and when I got back onto the bike... I felt like a new person. The rest of the miles were mostly pleasant and uneventful. I will say that the bike course was beautiful. It was much Hillier than I thought it would be, but the pastures and horse farms were stunning along the way. Around mile 100 my right hip started to bother me... soo... when I got off the bike at mile 112... I was more than ready for the run.

The run:

Running was actually something I looked forward to as I was ready for a new position after the long bike. Miles 1-4 were pretty fast and I felt so good. Trey saw me around mile 4 and ask me "What are you doing?! You are running 8min pace.. that is crazy!" After he said this to me.. I figured I might wanna back-off a bit before I run out of energy. I did back-off a bit and stayed strong for the most part, but there were ups and downs along the way. When I got tired... I would do a really fast power walk until running seemed okay again. When I hit mile 24.. I knew I was going to set a personal record and I began to speed up. From mile 25 to 26 I ran in at 7min pace to finish up the race. WOW! I had beat my best IM time by nearly 30mins!

After the race:

Man.. I was tired, but felt decent. I was in alot better shape than most people around me... so I was thankful. Trey and Xian were waiting on me at the finish line and had cheered me on throughout the day. I am so lucky to have such a supportive family!

The next morning we meandered over to the expo to pick-up some finisher's items. After that we headed south and stopped at the Lost River Cave for some touristy type stuff... then we were on our way back home.