Monday, August 20, 2012

Color Run 2012

Jade, Jenna, Robin
More and more these days, crazy events are popping up everywhere and I have to say the Color run can be categorized as one of these crazy events.  A month ago my daughter asked me to race the color run with her.  Well, you know me, I can’t pass up an opportunity to run with one of my kids, so I said sure I’m in.  Really I think she just asked because if she goes with me, I pay her entry fee.

So the problem was, this race fell on one of my long workout weekends and it was the last long weekend before my Ironman race, so I had to move some workouts around to fit it in. 

That meant I had to run 17 miles on Friday push my 100 mile bike out to Sunday to create a hole so I could do the color run on Saturday.  No problem though, other than I would have to run a short fast race the day after a long run, haha, as it turns out, it wasn’t that fast. 
I really didn’t know what the color run was, I knew that I would be running a 5k in downtown St Louis that benefited autism, and that I would be covered in paint along the way, but who knew it would be so much fun.

What could be more fun!

Jade, her friend Jenna and I arrived at the race venue along with a few thousands other people, I heard someone say there were 60,000 people running.  I don’t know if there were that many, but it sure felt like it.  

Standing on the starting line

We waited in line for the bathroom and grabbed bandanas from someone giving them away. The Johnny on the spots were out of toilet paper, but lucky for us the girl in line in front of us had some wet wipes and shared them.  Then we looked around at the vendor tents for a few minutes.  Oh and we found a pair of shoes for Jade’s boyfriend, Zach.  If you don’t know Zach, he is 6’8” and wears a size 18 shoe, so as soon as we saw it, we knew it was his size.

"Zach, I found your shoe"

We went over to line up, getting in what we thought was about the center of the pack.  The race started at 8 am, but we did not move,  pretty soon it was 8:30 and we still had not moved.  Since it was going to be a while I snapped a few pictures with my adventure cam while we waited to start.

Lets get this race started

The crowd was getting restless and people started throwing the paint packets that were in there race bags, I decided to throw mine too, but it went kind of wrong and I ended up coved in purple paint. 

A little paint never hurt anyone

Jade and I were wearing safety glasses (don't ask where I got them at) in hopes of keeping the paint out of our eyes. Jenna had on sunglasses, I kind of wish I had sunglasses because it was really a bright day out.  We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to take a paint bath on. 

Jade in her stylish safety glasses

We finally started moving and at 8:50 am, we crossed the starting line, we could see people finishing across from us when we were just starting.  It was hard to run because there were so many people, so we tried to get to the outside to get around the crowd.   We made it to the first paint station, where volunteers squirted us with big bottles of powdered paint, every paint station along the way had a different color paint.  When you ran through, there was so much paint in the air that you could hardly breathe. 

Girls just want to have fun

There were so many people as we ran by a building with windows you could see the crowds of people in the glass.

Look closely at the windows you can see all the runners coming by!

I decided to run ahead of the girls and do some video, so people could see how cool the race was, you can see some of the different color stations on the video.

It seemed like no time and we were at the finish line. It took us 40 minutes which is slow for a 5K, but considering the crowd and how slow it forced us to run, I didn’t think that it was all that bad. 

Jade & Jenna at the Finishline

The race was really fun, but if I do it again in the future, I will plan on lining up at the front of the crowd, that way we can run faster and get more paint. I mean I don’t mind sharing paint, but I would rather it be with a few hundred friends, not a few thousand. 

Oh and on the way home we stopped at McDonald's, you should have seen everyone looking at us.  A lady asked if we were in an accident, I said yeah with a paint truck.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wood River Tri 2012

This was my 12th year competing in the Wood River Triathlon, my first time was in 2000, it was my first year of competing in triathlons, I took a year off in 2010 because I was training for Ironman Louisville and was not in shape for a short fast race.  Now that is kind of a funny statement, because this year I have been training for Ironman Wisconsin, which means, once again, I’m in long, slow shape, not short, fast shape, I really had no business competing in this race.  Oh well too late now.  Over the years, my times ranged between 1:30 (my first year) and 1:14 in 2007, this year I finished in a mediocre time of 1:21:39.  Not my worst, but not a time I am really happy with either. At least I still pulled out an age group award. I’m not complaining, it could have been worse and I really thought it would be, because my runs all year have been awful and I have been plagued with injuries in the last year, it’s like a dark cloud is following me around. I’m ready to break out of the cloud and get back to some fast times. 

So this is how the race went for me. After I entered the race I had second, third and forth thoughts about doing it, I even thought about selling my entry, but then my daughter Jade and her boyfriend Zach, said they were going to do it as a team, so now there was no way I could get out of competing.  I could not let Jade do it without me. 
Race day came and we started with the club photo, looking at this picture you would think everyone in the club was there, but they weren’t in fact more people competed from the club than were in this photo, they just got there late and missed the photo opportunity. 

Metro Tri Club (aka: Team Godzilla)
(Photo Courtesy Jeff Schleicher)
After the photo I milled around a little snapping a few photos with my adventure cam. I got a photo of some of the past and present club board members, just hanging out waiting for the start. 

MTC Past and Present Board Members
Russ even grabbed my camera and took a photo of me hanging out, if you notice I’m smiling even though I was pretty sure this was going to be a really ugly race for me. 

Robin Hanging Out
(Photo Courtesy Russ Darbon)
It’s not like I haven’t been training, I have been training like crazy, most days doing two a day workouts, but again, it’s all long slower stuff and not fast stuff.  I guess I can’t say it is never fast, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings I run with Jenny, Russ, Jim, Carl and Chris and sometime Caleb and Shanna come too.  They are all faster than me, so I’m always chasing, which is good as long as they don’t kill me, sooner or later I should start getting faster. 

(Photo Courtesy Jeff Schleicher)
(Photo Courtesy Jeff Schleicher)
(Photo Courtesy Jeff Schleicher)
(Photo Courtesy Jeff Schleicher)
(Photo Courtesy Jeff Schleicher)
I was number 22, so my start time was 7:05:15, so just before 7:00 I jumped in the dive tank to warm up.  As I was there Terry came over to do the same, of course I had to challenge him, since he is my biggest nemesis.  Before he could get his goggles on, I yelled “race you to the other side” and took off, he jumped in sans the goggles and came after me.  I had to beat him now because I knew he was going to kick my butt once we were on the course.  Hey, so I had to cheat a little, remember I don’t swim, I slowly drag my sinking carcass across the pool by sheer determination, not by any skill. After my big win against Terry I talked some trash then headed to the starting line.  

I was soon on my way to what I thought for just a few minutes had been the fastest swim of my entire life. 

Robin trying to look like a swimmer
(Photo Courtesy Jeff Schleicher)
I took off, and I felt like I was going at my normal pace, I got passed by two guys, that wasn’t too bad for me though, I got to the end of the pool and ran out looking at my watch for my split time and low and behold I saw 7:19. 
Almost a fast swim
(Photo Courtesy Jeff Schleicher)
That was the faster time I have ever gone in my entire life, I could hardly believe it.  I ran to my bike where Patrick was hanging out, giving me some Patrick style encouragement to help me tie my shoes faster.  I grabbed my bike and hit the road, looking at my watch again. Now everything came in focus.  My watch had bounced over to real time from stop watch mode in the pool and my time wasn’t 7:19, it was more like 11:15, which is normal for me.  It was like someone had just let the air out of my tires. I went from ecstatic to “oh I should have known that was wrong”.  Well at least I had a couple of minutes of fitness bliss thinking my training was really kicking in. Back to reality and back on the road.  I rode my six laps on perfect roads, averaging just under 6 minutes per lap.

Robin speedy fast
(Photo Courtesy Jeff Schleicher)
Robin Suffering
(Photo Courtesy Jeff Schleicher)
Everyone on the course was great, cheering me on every lap, giving me a little confidence boost. Even my teammates that I rode past or they rode past me, cheered me on.  What a great event where you know so many people who want you to do well and the volunteers were great too, my favorite was Lydia at the second water stop, she always encouraged me even though I wanted to kick her grandpa’s (Terry) butt. 

Terry my Nemesis
(Photo Courtesy Jeff Schleicher)
I finished the bike and headed out on the run, this was the leg I was most worried about.  My running has been awful all year and I just can’t seem to get any faster, I’m not sure if it has been the heat or something else, but it has been ugly.  I ran the first lap averaging 8 flat miles.  I wasn’t sure I could hold up, but the weather was cool so I thought, “just hang as long as you can”.  I started passing a lot of people on the second lap and that helped me push a little harder, I ended the second lap with exactly the same split time as the first. 

Robin finishing 
(Photo Courtesy Jeff Schleicher)

I ran through the finish line and saw Jade and Zach just showing up for the race. Even after all my notes saying don’t forget your race packets, they did, so Jade had to call and have her dad bring them.  They were starting to get a little nervous, this was not Jade’s first race, but it was Zach’s so they were asking a million questions.  They even had a cheering section show up to watch them. 

Zach's Cheering Section

Now, my race was over and theirs was about to start, Zach who has never swam a lap in his life was going to swim and also bike, Jade was going to run.  I hung out with Jade cheering Zach on getting ready for her run leg to start.

Jade and Mom
Zach took off on the swim leg and was passing a ton of people, but then again when you are 6’8” and the water is only up to your waist, you can move pretty quickly.  He had a nice little system, he would dive do a couple strokes and push off the bottom again. I was really surprised at how fast he made it through the swim, I’m sure it was faster than my swim leg was. 

Zach kind of swimming
He was out on the bike in no time and oh my gosh, he rode way faster than I thought he could, he was averaging just over 6 minute laps.

I told Jade I would run with her, she was ok with that, but then again, she wore her headphones the entire run and every time I said something to her, she would yell “what, I can’t hear you”.  It was really kind of funny.  She was still glad I went with her though, just knowing you’re not suffering alone means a lot. 

Jade getting her Run on with mom along too
(Photo Courtesy Russ Darbon)

We ran the first lap a little faster than the second, but the laps times were pretty even. I was defiantly the proud mom standing behind the finish shoot watching her run through it. 

Jade Finishes
(Photo Courtesy Russ Darbon)

Oh and Zach loved the finisher medal, I think he might have worn it to bed that night.  They were pretty darn happy with their race and both Deena, Zach’s mom and I were pretty proud. 

Another happy group at the race was Carl, Chris and Caleb’s family, I think they had 5 family members competing.  I told you earlier that I had been training a lot with Carl, Chris and Caleb, and get this they are all related, uncle and nephews. Oh and they are all fast.  The entire family is not in the tri club yet, but I’m thinking they soon will be, I think just about every one of them took home hardware at this race. 

Carl, Chris & Caleb's family
(Photo Courtesy Russ Darbon)
So the race was over and it was time for the awards, even though my time was not at all what I am capable off, it was still fast enough to pull out a 2nd place in my age group.  My nemesis Terry beat me, like I knew he would, but his time also put him at 2nd place in his age group.  To me, that means we tied, we both had a 2nd place finish, and that’s how I’m going to look at it.  At least until next year, since I have vowed to be in faster shape and kick Terry’s butt next year. 

Terry and Robin 2nd Place
(Photo Courtesy Russ Darbon)

One last thing, I want to say thanks to all the Metro Tri Club members for coming out and not only racing, but cheering everyone on, I know it means a lot to me and to all the other members of the club also.  I had a sore throat by the end of the day from cheering so much.  But the Biggest THANKS of all goes to the city of Wood River for putting on such a family friendly event, the course was perfect, the volunteers excellent, the food couldn’t be better and the chance to hang out with family and friends on a Saturday afternoon, well that is priceless. 

See all run/bike photos by Jeff Schleicher click here
See all swim photos by Jeff Schleicher click here 
See all photos from the Adventure Cam click here