Wednesday, November 08, 2006

More than worthy!!!!!

Where to start… well, after going to bed early the night before the race, around 10:30pm more or less, I was relax and feeling great. I swam 2 times in the Gulf of Mexico, and I felt that my hardest and scary leg of the Ironman wasn’t that bad, which I think calmed me down for the night. I woke up several times, as usual, but fell sleep again, until 5:00am that was when the 4 alarms set were on… Finally the DAY, November 4th was here, and competition right there. We wake up, the day was COLD and WINDY, it was in the low 40s, and it scared me a little because of the swim, but nothing there was nothing we could do against Mother Nature. I had breakfast, cereal with milk and a banana, plus Gatorade and an Accel gel for calories before the race. I put on warm clothes, packed the wet suit, prepared special drinks, checked last minute special bags, and went towards the start and pre-race stuff that needs to be done.

While walking, it felt cold, the wind looks bad and I was not feeling that good at all (mentally), but I finally decided to change that state of mind and dealt with what it was. After getting my number wrote down in my legs and arms, age in calf, and dropped off special need bags, I went to put on my wet suit and headed towards the beach. When I arrived there, I saw waves, thanks god there were smaller, but still waves. I ran into Chad and Kirsten, and their families. After few deep breaths, we went to the start line, since the start time was close. We crossed the first Ironman entrance and finally I was there in front of the Gulf to take the journey of my first Ironman for a full day, and it was. I lost my roommate Dennis, but we found him at the start line too, and hang there for few minutes, my toes were freezing and I was shivering a lot, the wind and cold was not fun.

There were a mix of emotions, I just wanted everything to start… at 6:50am the professionals jumped in the water, at 7:00am we all started.

I left the big massive start to go first since I’m a slower swimmer, and I didn’t want to get drawn by 2000+ people. I went into the water and felt great, I was floating and wasn’t that cold, the adrenaline went up and started to swim like if I know how to do it.

The water was great; I didn’t get drowned, just got few slaps on my legs, and some on my back. The 2.4 miles swim ended after 1:24:07. In fact I was surprised that the time I spent in the water didn’t feel like that at all. After getting out of the water, I passed by the stripper, which helped me to take off the wet suit -- this was very funny. It gave me time to rest (seconds), I ran thru the shower, which in fact I should have stayed a little longer since I hade sand during the bike, not nice at all.

Now transition… wow 11:33min, it was long I know, but I really took my time to dress up for the wind. I should work on transition timing a little more, and I didn’t even change into any bike clothing.

Now the biking vs. the wind, I think we have more than 10mph winds at some points, it was not fun, but well I was already OUT OF THE WATER, so piece of cake… yes sure. I started the bike and in less than 5 miles FLAT, great!!! Stopped and started to change the flat, what else could I do, no options, the good thing… I was just starting and I could probably make up the time. When taking the wheel out, I was a little desperate and missed the rim-wheel grip, and hit my nose, a nice boxing session on the race with myself. So far just pain, when finishing to put in place the inner tube, the crew car support arrived and helped me to finish, they got the wheel into the rim and pumped it (save a CO2). On the bike again, few miles later because of the wind and cold, I had a runny nose, cleaning it I realized I was bleeding, wow I thought at that moment that I was going to loose a lot of potassium, sodium, etc. and not that I was injured or something. Crazy thought but true, you are so focus that you don’t really THINK!!! After several miles, my nose stopped bleeding and I forgot about it for almost all the ride.

The weather changed a little, still cold but not much, just the wind, but everything else was good. Course flat and not that boring at all. Mile 50 or so, we had the opportunity to get our special need bag for the bike leg. It was great since I was running out off my power drink, and I had an extra bottle there, plus an inner tube that I took just in case.

Now mile 65-70, another FLAT cool!!!! It was time to rest and take my butt out of the seat, not that I wanted, but well no option. Glad I took the one I had in the special need bag. I changed the inner tube, pumped and on the road again. Good thing, both flat were my front wheel, hate to change rear wheel flats. After passing mile 100, I was really happy since that was the longest ride I have done for training and I was there, a little slower of what I expected, but there. The rest 12 miles were OK, no more flats, but… still windy. Time 6:38:52, average of 16.4miles, I need to work this out for next year.

Aid stations, and volunteer were great, the road was a little lonely, but the cheering, when present, was pretty cool.

Got now into transition, not that bad comparing with the first one, only 5:08min. This includes putting on my toe-socks, which usually takes few seconds. I took all the bike stuff off, grabbed my disposable camera and started to run. I took some pictures while there was light, people were laughing. I liked the run, and I was doing great, I felt that I had a good pace, at least during my first half marathon, and I tried to keep it. It was not really fast, so I thought I was going to be able to do it. Turning at half the distance, I grabbed my special need running bag where I had a long sleeve and my Venezuelan flag, for the end. It was getting colder, and it was already dark. I continued good, but them collapse, legs were a lot sore and they didn’t want to run at all, and I didn’t want to walk, but I have to do it, no energy. The walk wasn’t that bad, I did with other people and chat for a little while with them. I realized that walking with somebody was a good option, because when I started to walk by myself, my mind started to play bad, and I knew it was not going to be OK. Well after walking several miles, I started to jog again, but got some energy towards the very end, and ran the last 3 miles at a 7:30min per mile pace, don’t ask me from where, I just wanted to finish and I got the energy. While getting close to the end, I took my Venezuelan flag that I had place in my chest to protect me from the cold, and ran with it towards the end. I finished the marathon in 4:25:05 at 10:07/mile average.

The entrance to the final yards was great, I was really exited and started to cry, at that moment I saw all the effort paid, all those long training days did their work, and kept me moving. My personal goal of finishing was completed and I did great. None of my injuries were an issue in fact they never hurt.

It was all over after 12hrs: 44min: 45sec, picture says 44sec, but I can deal with it.
The whole experience was overwhelming, I did not regret any of the effort I put in my training to make my goal, and I really appreciate the help and support from many of you in the conquer of my first Ironman. Now is time to rest, think, and enjoy a well-deserved vacation!!!!!

Pictures... coming soon.

Monday, November 06, 2006

¿Por que un Ironman?

La verdad que empezaré dándole la razón a mi amigo Leopoldo y lo que escribió en su blog, ‘Mi gran amigo Guillermo Cabrera es una persona que uno nunca termina de conocer’. La verdad que nunca hubiese pensado que iba a estar entrenando y compitiendo en un Ironman 15-20 años atrás cuando estábamos en la Universidad y lo único que conocíamos era beber cerveza, ir a la playa, jugar domino, salir con gevitas y estudiar. Lo más que se nos ocurría era subir el cerro de la Gallo-Simón, o Sabasnieves por los culitos, y la socialización que eso implicaba.

Pasaba el tiempo y seguíamos en lo mismo jajajaja playa, sol, gevas, y cervezas, que mas se le puede pedir a la vida de unos estudiante y además recién graduados, NADA!!!! Así que todo seguía igual con una que otra rumba. Al pasar el tiempo me vine a los Estados Unidos a trabajar y acá como que se toman en serio lo del ejercicio, por lo menos en DC. Al principio tampoco hacia mucho, hasta que una amiga, Emiliana, la cual puede sentirse bien culpable de donde estoy ahora, me introdujo a las largas distancias de bicicleta. Yo hice 2 dos carrera que recolectaban fondos para el SIDA, una de 300+ millas (desde Carolina del Norte a DC) y otra de 500+ millas (desde Twin Cities hasta Chicago). Estas carreras tomaban varios días. Luego, siempre estaba inventando alguna salida en bici que implicaba casi todo el día, así que poco a poco fui tomándole el gusto a montar bicicleta, después me iba al trabajo casi todos los días de bici, que era una maravilla.

Al pasar el tiempo, unos cuantos años, José, un gran amigo de la oficina, me convence para inscribirme en el Club de Corredores del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID) y así comencé a correr, con el tiempo me di cuenta que me gustaba mucho y empecé a competir en carreras, nunca me hubiese imaginado que era tan competitivo a la hora de correr, pero creo que es el hecho de que todo el mundo en ese momento lo es.

Estuve unos dos años corriendo, y paseando en bici, hasta que decidí acompañar a un amigo, Mauri, en sus entrenamientos de natación. Me di cuenta que yo era bien malo, pensé que estaba en forma, y la natación me bajo de esa nube. Poco a poco comencé a nadar y por lo menos a hacer varias piscinas sin tener que descansar. Al principio era tan mal que hacia 2 piscinas y descansaba 5min. Con el tiempo mejoro, y ya soy capas de nadar 30min o más sin parar, mi estilo es terrible y al parecer nada eficiente, lo que pienso trabajar para las competencias del año que viene.

Cuando me di cuenta, ya estaba haciendo los tres deportes, y por que no hacer triatlones, implicaba conocer más gente, hacer otro tipo de actividad, y en realidad resulto así. Me registré en el club de triatlones de Washington DC y de allí en adelante empecé con triatlones pequeños, luego olímpicos hasta cuando empezaron las ganas de hacer más y se me ocurrió la brillante idea de hacer un Ironman, sin realmente ver lo que implicaba. Peor la verdad que haciendo triatlones me siento súper bien, logre desarrollar mucha paciencia, dedicación, y disciplina. Por otra parte conocí mucha gente fuera de mi área de trabajo que me permitió involucrarme más con la vida que llevo en DC.

La verdad no hay una razón especifica, todo se fue dando y simplemente fui enganchándome en el, me sirve de respiro y desahogo del trabajo, también salimos y festejamos, así que existe algo de vida social. El hecho de viajar por competencias, me gusta, y a demás son competencias sanas, hay mucho espíritu de camaradería a pesar de ser un deporte individual, pero en los entrenamientos y durante el día a día, el soporte del grupo es indispensable para lograr la meta del IRONMAN.

Después que empecé a entrenar me di cuenta que IRONMAN significa mucho para mi, fue, mas bien es, un estilo de vida que adopte y me gusto. El prepararme para esta competencia hizo que realizara cambios en mi vida, de los cuales estoy muy agradecido. Me sirvió para desestresarme de situaciones por las que estaba pasando. IRONMAN es una meta física y mental que me propuse, y estoy seguro de conquistarla el sábado, lo único que me asusta es que me guste tanto que se me transforme en vicio, pero que buen vicio.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

¡Una semana antes!

Ya solo faltan 6 días para el Ironman, y la verdad que ya quisiera estar haciéndolo. Estas ultimas 2 o 3 semanas en las que el entrenamiento ha bajado un poco de ritmo, he tenido muchísima ansiedad por que esta competencia ya termine. Fueron 3 meses de entrenamiento intenso, y un mes bastante más flojo, pero igual de entrenamiento constante.

Hay muchos de mis compañeros del club de triatlón que han estado entrenando desde hace unos 6 o 7 meses, y la verdad no se como han aguantado tanto tiempo. La recta final ha sido dura, y un poco fastidiosa se podría decir. Las temperaturas han bajado y ya oscurece más temprano, si a esto agregas que en mi caso, estuve entrenando solo, te cuesta mucho mas el pararte y hacer 2 horas de bicicleta, o salir a correr por dos horas, o nadar. Mi compañero de entrenamiento, que me ayudo mucho durante el verano, termino su temporada antes que yo, y por supuesto se dedico al descanso, muy merecido por todos los triatlonistas después de la temporada.

Ahora solo pienso en el esfuerzo y dedicación que hice, y en estos 6 días me dedicare a terminar el entrenamiento y enfocarme en prepararme física y mentalmente para el día final. Aun queda camino por recorrer, pero eso si los 224.96Km=140.6Millas son seguro, ya que lo haré el día de la competencia. Para los que viven en Washington DC es como ir de DC a Filadelfia, para los que viven en Venezuela es como ir de Caracas a Puerto Píritu.

Creo que es muy importante en este período, buscar otro tipo de entrenamiento (cross-trainning) que te permita descansar un poco mentalmente del monótono entrenamiento de bicicleta, correr y nadar. Durante estos últimos días, hice yoga, kayak, corrí otros caminos, entrené un poco más en el gimnasio y hasta hice una clase de escalar en roca, así logre hacer otro tipo de ejercicio que a la vez me ayudaban a fortalecer los músculos. Como comente antes, ahora hay que dedicarse a la nutrición, esta semana comeré muchos carbohidratos para así tener energía suficiente.

Gracias a todos los que han estado interesados estos últimos momentos, y les mantendré al tanto. Salgo para mi destino Panamá City Beach, Florida el Miércoles 1ro de Noviembre, la competencia es el día 4. Ya estaré escribiendo otras notas y publicándolas, gracias de nuevo y espero continúen leyendo.