Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Where has the time gone?

Sorry for the delay; I have been slacking.

It is hard to believe that I only have two and a half days left here. Though I have done quite a bit, there are still things on my list. Guess I'll just have to try to sneak out again sometime.

On Friday, my mom and I went with a local bird expert out to Mauna Kea to try to see some of the more rare and endangered birds of the big island. The first stop was a nature preserve on the eastern slopes of the volcano (the wet side). We saw a bunch of very colorful and two and a half of the three endangered birds we were looking for. One them we only saw briefly and never got a good look at. (I cannot remember all if the Hawaiian names of the birds so will not even try to here.) That afternoon we worked our way to the western slopes (dry side) to try to see a few more birds and one other endangered species. There was not quite the diversity of birds on this side but we did manage to see 4-5 of the bird we were looking for. It was a neat, but sad feeling getting to see a bird that was so rare.

Saturday morning we got on the road at 4:30 to make it over to the Kona side for a whale watching tour. The day started off interesting as we had to make most of the drive in a severe thunderstorm. (Whereas Hawaii does get a lot of rain, it typically does not come so violently.) But we made the nervous drive just fine and were even a little early for the trip. Once we got on the boat we were told that we would start by going about 2 miles off shore to see if we could see some of the toothed whales (sperm whales, beaked whales and pilot whales) that stay around the island all year. Sadly after about an hour and a half without seeing anything we had to start making our way back to shallower water and begin the search for humpbacks. While we did get to see spinner and spotted dolphins we never did manage to see any whales.

Sunday was a bit of a wash as the thunderstorms had continued and did not let up until late that afternoon. We were actually pretty happy to just have a day to rest and recover from our two previous early mornings.

Monday we got off to a leisurely start and meandered our way south until we came to South Point, the southern most point inthe US. It is a pretty interesting place. Severe cliffs down to the ocean and tall grass prairie on top with very little to break the wind. On our way back to Hilo we stopped at two black sand beaches and saw several sea turtles basking. Apparently the green sea turtles will bask for up to 24 hours and during much of this time look completely dead. After talking to some volunteers that were watching over some turtle nests, we were relieved to know that these weren't just sick or dead turtles on the beach.

Yeaterday did not take us far from Hilo. We went over to the second house to clean out the pool and while there we saw a couple of humpback whales breaching off the coast. The show did not last but for two or three jumps, but it kept us glued to our binoculars scanning the surface for more activity. That afternoon we headed into Hilo to go see a few parts of the town that I have yet to see and to do a little shopping.

Over the next two days I am hoping to make it up to the northern tip of the island and take a hike through one of the valleys and also head back south to check out more of Volcano National Park. Not sure which one will be done on which day, but we shall see.

Hope that all is going well back on the mainland. Miss y'all. I think I am off for a run before this day gets started.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I made it to Hilo! I was even feeling a little perky as I got offthe plane and started walking down the open air terminal of the Hilo airport. This feeling did not last long. After a short walk about Coconut Island the day caught up with me. We had dinner at Ken's Pancake House where I proceeded to pretty much crash. After that we called it an evening ad headed to the house. I think I made it to nearly 8:30 local time before crashing. Morning came early though as I am still on Texas time and could not really sleep past 4:30. So a little before 7 I grabbed my running shoes and went for a 55 minute run down Onomea Bay Scenic Loop. It was a pretty fantastic route to run. I crossed several one lane bridges that went over streams that were cascading their way to the Pacific. Between the dense foliage you would get glimpses of waterfalls and the ocean. (I'll try to post pictures later.)

One thing that was strange to me was that as I was getting off if the plane in Hilo I almost had the feeling of coming home. Perhaps home is not the right word, but it felt comfortable and welcoming; even though I have only been here once before. Last summer I had a total sense if awe and was nearly overwhelmed by all that I saw. It is still just as awe inspiriping as before, but just feels more like an old friend this time around. (There was your sappy moment of the day.)

We are off to explore the Puna Coast this afternoon.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


The flight out of LA left on time and our expected flight time is five hours and twenty minutes (I started writing this while in flight.) Thus far the flight has been pretty smooth. Though shortly after leaving LA I realized that I don't remember what time my flight leaves from Honolulu to Hilo. I think it is about an hour and a half layover so I should have time to check my email and look into this as I have to check in for that flight yet.

My one complaint so far is that they did not offer a free meal on the flight. I had to spend three bucks for a tube of Lays potato chips. Amazingly enough they do give you the entire can of soda for free! So between finding my flight and checking in for it I will probably try to find some food.

Made it to Honolulu fine! Managed to get a Burger King veggie burger and fries to complemet the lunch of poptato chips. Good stuff.

Checkin for my Hilo flight was easy enough, but the signs pointing me to the correct terminal were a tad confusing and the tram does not tell you where you are. Luckily I swallowed my pride and just asked. I'm now waiting at the gate and will leave in about 45 minutes. Talk more then. Aloha!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

LAX onward to Honolulu

Do anytime I have to navigate away from this blogger app, it deletes my previous ramblings. Attempt number three! Made it through the long security line in Austin. Flight into LA landed early and am now boarding the flight to Honolulu. So far everything has gone smoothly with the exception of my contact solution leaking out on the flight. I have a longer lay over in Honolulu and will try to post more then.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Iron Star Report

It would be logical to assume that the lack of a race report is because I have just been too busy to get around to doing it. That would be great if it were true, but I have had loads of time to get this done; just haven't gotten around to it. I'll get into the story of my abundant downtime later, but for now, the race report that was promised!

Somehow I managed to wake up about fifteen minutes before my alarm went off at 4AM the morning of the race. I guess the nerves were all ready getting ramped up. Claire and I had managed to get our transition bags packed the night before and had everything setup to where all we had to do was load the car in the morning. My cousin said that their neighborhood was a little shady so we should keep the bikes in the house overnight. Their house is beautiful and the neighborhood is as cute as can be; Claire and I were a little curious as to what constitutes "shady" in my cousin's mind. But we played along and left our bikes in the house overnight. When we made it out to the car Sunday morning we discovered that Claire's Camry had been the unfortunate victim of an egging. That is right, someone egged her car. Who does that anymore?! (I kind of found it funny. The humor was lost on Claire at first, but that probably stems from it being her car. Yes, I am aware that I am a jerk.) Even with having everything setup and staged the night before, it was nearly 5 before we got on the road. Outside of not being able to find the Wal-Mart or HEB that was open for some bagels the drive up was uneventful and quick. (We did manage a convenience store for some power bars.)

Once we parked and got the tires pumped up we had about a half mile walk to the transition area. Originally I was not a huge fan of this but in hindsight I think that it allowed the day to sink in a little bit. Getting everything in its place in transition was pretty easy with the exception of the incredibly low bike racks. I have always racked my bike by the seat but these racks were so low that was not an option, though I did try much to the annoyance of those around me. I finally settled on using the handlebars instead. Think I will have to start doing that from here on out actually. Just as we were about to start working our way to the swim start it dawned on us that we had yet to pick up our timing chips. Oops! Luckily Stacey, Sally, and Eric were hanging around to help the poor distraught racers keep their heads on their shoulders.

I was in the fourth and final wave to go out that morning. The swim portion was a point-to-point route and it really pointed out just how far 1.2 miles is when you lay it out. Lake Conroe was at 73* from what we were told and I would say that it was fairly cool; especially without a wetsuit. I had not been able to train too hard going into Iron Star. Early October brought some calf strain issues and the last week of October brought some flu like crud to me. Really, the week before the race (when I am supposed to be doing very little) was the first time I was feeling healthy in a month. So my plan in the water was to just go easy. And easy I went. Perhaps too easy. It took me 41:00 minutes flat out to complete the swim portion. And I even ran part of the swim! (The water was pretty shallow at some points.) I was hoping for something in the 37 minute range, but oh well. Finishing was the primary goal. When I finally got to the end of the swim I was shocked to hear, "Good job, Tanner! Let me help you". Sally had taken it upon herself to start helping the swimmers out of the water and up the boat ramp. It really felt great to see a friendly face right out of the water. Stacey was shouting out from the sidelines and documenting the event for us all.

Transition 1 was not anything to write home about. I wasn't horribly slow, but I am certainly less proficient than most at getting going on the bike. Perhaps this can be something to work on for next year's season. At any rate, Beva and I were off.

Cycling is not my strong suit. Again, my goal was to just go through at a decent pace, but to not kill myself. Well, I accomplished one of those. I managed to come in second to last in age group on the bike. And if you look at the official results it says I was last. But the guy in first place took 00:01:04 to do the bike course and 3:23:38 to do transition 2. I took 3:20:01 for the bike portion. Alas, more things to work on. The bike ride was gorgeous. A lot of the ride was through Sam Houston National Forest and around Lake Conroe. There were three water bottle hand-up stations and all were well manned with very helpful and encouraging volunteers. Each stop also had a porta-john which I did not miss one of. Perhaps that would have helped out my time a little bit, but at least I knew that I was staying hydrated and that my body was still working. A little less than halfway through the bike course I saw James moving along and going pretty strong. I had no idea at the time how far in front of me he was, but soon found out the distance was pretty immense. A little while later, perhaps two and half hours or more into the bike I came up on Claire. She was smiling and doing well. I must say that it is really nice coming up next to your friends in the race. Of course it is nice to see them and exchange encouragement, but I think it also adds a little familiarity to a pretty daunting and foreign world. At least it did for me.

So, three hours and twenty minutes after getting out of the water I started rolling back into transitionland and getting ready for the run. Once again, I was pretty slow at this transition thing. Maybe I should just learn how to adjust everything on the go. Oh, and there was a bathroom leaving transition. Yep, I hit that one too. Surprisingly enough, my strategy of taking it easy was paying off and I felt reasonably good going into the run. Of course, just as I started going, it dawned on me that I had only done one run of 10 miles in the past two months. This had potential of being interesting. Plus, I was wearing racing flats. But with the screams and shouts from Stacey and Sally; it felt possible.

The first few miles clicked by really quickly. I ran into Jimmy and Nyleva on the run which again a real comforting feeling; felt like a training run and the pressure thawed a little. Somewhere between miles two and three I had the realization that I was running my first half marathon. Hmm...this should be interesting. Around mile four I saw James again. He was looking very strong and headed to the finish line. That was mile nine for him. He would go on to smoke the course in 5:28:03 and take 3rd in the 30-34 age group! I was still feeling pretty good at this point and the miles continued to be coming and going seemingly quick for which I was very appreciative. The only disconcerting thing was that while I was not being passed by anyone, I had yet to pass anyone in my age group. (In triathlons you will have your age written on the back of your calf so that you can identify other people that are in your age group.) Oh well, there was not much that I could do about that. The water stops were stationed every mile and had water, gatorade, gels, and electrolyte pills and again were staffed by very helpful, friendly, and encouraging volunteers. For those that have not raced before, it really is amazing how much having people cheer you on can perk your spirits. By the time I came to mile eight I had managed to pass someone in my age group which made me feel a little better but the culmination of the days events were starting to settle upon me. My pace had certainly dropped a little and I found myself saying, "Only five more miles!". This was not looking quite as rosy as it was at mile 2. Surprisingly enough my little countdown seemed to be working and by mile eleven I had managed to pass another person in my age group. Neither one of us were looking particularly vibrant at this point, but who was? By mile twelve the ball of my foot was starting to object to the racing flats. As long as I focused on making a good foot strike though the pain was not severe and I could continue onwards. Also, the last person in my age group that I had passed seemed to like my pace and had not faded as far behind me as I had hoped. Walking at this point was not an option. Finally I made the turn to the resort! Surely the finish line was just around the corner. But alas, they routed us through the neighborhood what was supposedly for less than a mile though I feel it was more like an additional 10k at this point. And then there it was; the finish line. As I emerged out of the residential street I could hear the cheers from my Austin support group. James and Jacque were on the sidelines already finished cheering me on alongside Sally, Stacey, and Eric that had been there all day for us. Somehow I found one last gear to finish as strong as I could. One look at the clock told me that I would be able to accomplish my second goal; breaking six hours. I started twenty minutes after the first wave and the race clock read 6:19:xx. I crossed at 6:19:32; subtract twenty minutes from that and my time was 5:59:32! The run had taken me 1:53:20. And my first half ironman was done.

After getting water, a Pepsi, and a banana I collapsed by my friends. My body had had enough. After a few minutes I was able to be somewhat cognizant and had the chance to see Jimmy and Nyleva come in one after the other. Following close behind them was Claire. All six of us had finished the race! Finishing the race was a major accomplishment, but being able to share it with the people you had spent time training with really made it much better. (I know that is cheesy, but it really did make a difference.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Iron Star Half Iron Tri Recap

Woohoo! The half ironman is done! Not only did I complete my first half ironman distance tri yesterday, I also ran my first half marathon! Yesterday I, and several of my Rogue training buddies, completed the Iron Star Triathlon out in Montgomery, TX on Lake Conroe. Everyone did a great job! Jacque (5:59:11), Nyleva (6:34:37), Jimmy (6:39:28), James (5:28:03 and 3rd in his age group!), Claire (6:56:47), and I (5:59:32) all swam, biked and ran through the piney woods of east Texas yesterday and all finished strong. It was a pretty good showing for the Rogues I would say. My goal was to break 6 hours so I was quite happy with my 28 second buffer that I left myself.

Luckily my cousin and her husband live in Houston, only an hour away so Claire and I were able to stay with them this weekend to avoid paying for a hotel and not have to drive all the way back to Austin yesterday. Today we are both quite sore and moving pretty slow which is OK since neither of us have be at work today or even on the road home at any particular time. On top of the soreness, we are both ravenous. Luckily we both like to eat a lot anyway so this is being put down in the "perk" category.

Speaking of food, I think lunch is calling. I will post a more detailed race report this week along with some pictures hopefully. Thanks to everyone for all of the support leading up to this. It has really helped! In the meantime, run friendly! -T

Monday, September 28, 2009

Somber News

I just found out that the son of one of my friends is in a coma from a fall he had last week. While I never met Justin I have worked with his dad for several years and consider him a friend. Justin works for RunTex and is involved in the running world. RunTex is having a candlelight vigil this Thursday night, October 1st, at 8PM. I know that it would mean a lot for the family to see the running world come out and show their support.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Austin Tri and Beva

So much to report! I bet it would be a little less daunting if I were to do this a little more progressively, huh? Since I last left you all I got my new triathlon bike, gone to Corpus Christi, and completed my first Olympic distance tri.

Strawberry Shortcake is a great bike and a ton of fun to ride. But when it comes to racing, her 12 gears, down tube shifters, and steel frame make her a little less than peppy. So it was time to look at getting a new bike. Enter Beva, my lovely Masi Coltello Aero. When I ordered her I was expecting to get a red bike with white lettering and decals, but came to find out that the previous year’s model was available for $200 less and the only difference was it was white with red lettering and decals. For those that don’t know me all that well, I am not exactly the world’s largest UT fan. In fact it could be said that I am a bit of a UT antagonist. So alas, the “red” lettering and decals is actually a rather dark orange. This was a little bit of a kharmatic sucker punch. Oh well. She is still lovely and I am having a blast on her. It is amazing how much easier cycling is on a newer and lighter bike.

A couple of days after getting Beva, I had to head down to Corpus Christi for a conference. It has actually been 20+ years since I have been to Corpus, so I was pretty excited to head down there. I stayed at one of the Omni hotels right along the sea wall, so the view and location were great! My first evening their I decided I would hop out to the sea wall (just across the street from the hotel) and go for a run. The first thing I noticed was how incredibly humid it was; who would have thought that?! But the second thing I noticed was that practically everybody waved at each other! It was the coolest thing. No matter what pace, direction, or what not, everybody out on the sea wall acknowledged the other folks out there. The next two days I managed to get Beva out on the road. Beva is much larger than Strawberry so for someone that is already not the most comfortable on a bike, she is a bit daunting. With that in mind and my race coming up the next week I figured that I should just spend some time getting acclimated to riding her. Luckily the conference's schedule (and my skipping of one session) allowed for me to get two rides in, one of about 30 minutes and another of about 90. There is definitely something to be said for riding along the beach. Pretty nice little outings. Oh; the conference was good and I actually learned a fair amount.

Speaking of learning stuff; I really hope that I learned a lot from the Austin Triathlon. It really all started out fine. I got my bike setup in the transition area the day before, had a decent sleep that night, and came to the race feeling pretty good. As has become tradition (well, if two previous times counts as tradition) I popped a gel about 15 minutes before I jumped into the water for the swim. The treading start was something new to me, but I really liked it. The start, though still a jumble, did not seem to be quite as violent as the running starts. The swim went really well. I didn't want to go out too hard and be exhausted as soon as I got out of the water, but I didn't want to lollygag toomuch. Despite the dread of not being able to see the buoys that were spread incredibly far apart, I was able to get in a decent stride most of the way and felt great for all 1500 meters of the swim.

Typically I am not too terribly fast in transition and today ended up not being an exception despite my efforts to make it one. My feet were just caked with mud and dirt by the time I made it to my bike and it took me a bit of time to get it knocked off sufficiently before throwing on my shoes. Oh well.

Well, here it is; Beva's maiden race. The bike course consisted of three laps around and through downtown Austin. I had done a test run on the course just two days before so I was feeling pretty confident that I would be able to get through it without incident and know where to shift and all that good stuff. This was all true, but alas my inexperience on bikes caught up to me. I dropped my chain just a few hundred yards before a big turn and had to jump off to the side of the road and get it back on. More than likely this didn't take but a minute and a half or so, but it was still aggravating. I was just in a bad gear choice and tried to push it too hard. Luckily this was the first loop and I was able to get through the next two without any other mechanical failures. If only my brain didn't stop working too. During my ride I took another gel and for some reason, it did not agree with my stomach too well. I became a little queasyabout 15 minutes after taking it. Then there was the fact that I am a little too competitive at times. About halfway through my first lap I started to hear the familiar sound of carbon disc wheels coming up behind me. This was not supposed to be happening so quickly on my new bike! Beva and I were supposed to be flying! It took me the rest of the lap to realize that most of these people breezing past me were the pros making their laps, yet I still felt pressured to try to kick it up a notch anytime I got passed. This increased machismo coupled with my gurgling tummy left me quite distracted and I failed to drink even half of the water and Propel that I had with me. By the end of the bike I was still feeling OK, just a little bit of an upset stomach but nothing too bad. I had average 20mph which for me was really good and ultimately I was pretty happy with the ride.

Shortly after reracking my bike and getting my running shoes on I began to feel the effects of under-hydration and a digestive system not loving the gels. I wanted to throw-up and could not drink enough at the water stations; plus my legs felt as if they had nothing left in them to give. As I filled up on water and Gatorade at the water stops my stomach began to start sloshing with all of the liquid it no longer had the ability to take in. My queasiness has now manifested itself into outright nausea. Awesome! Only 4 more miles to go. The run is typically my best part and I had been looking forward to it. Alas, it felt like I was just barely moving and despising every minute of it. Finally I saw that the finish line was within a quarter mile and managed to summon everything left in me and gave it one last push. As soon as I crossed the line I started looking forward to my next triathlon and was telling myself that I would learn from this experience. Then I set off to pass out under a tent with cold water and try not to throw-up on anyone.

Miraculously I had to have been moving faster in the run than it felt like. I managed to finish the 10k in 48:27 and the entire race in 2:38:16. Not as well as I know that I can do, but for my first time out I am really proud of that time. It was certainly the most difficult physical thing I have done so far. Now the countdown begins for Iron Star in Conroe, TX; a half ironman on November 8th. We shall see what happens.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


There really is not a whole lot of running or triathlon stuff to report right now; so what little I have I will get out of the way first. The leg is feeling much better! This morning I made it through a 4 mile run with no pain. And I even went along at a pretty good pace, so that is making me very happy. Hopefully this means that I will be ready for the Austin Tri on Labor Day. We shall see. Only other tidbit of news I have is that I should be getting my new bike in this week.

On a completely un-running topic I recently drank the koolaide and purchased an iPhone. (My office recently gave the OK for us to use them and I found out the data plan was $15 less per month than my BlackBerry.) Going into buying the phone, I asked a bunch of my friends what they thought of theirs and was amazed that only one of them had anything less than an enthusiastic praise chorus for it. That one just said that it was a good phone. I have never seen that with any electronic device. So my expectations were pretty high. It has been about three weeks now that I have had my iPhone 3Gs. It is definitely a good phone. But i have not had the euphoric experience that most people seem to have. I cannot really put my finger on it, but it just hasn't changed my life to quite the same degree as it has seemed to do so for others. What about y'all? Any thoughts?

That is about all for now, but in the mean time, run friendly! -T

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Long Overdue Update

Who would have ever thought that I would have a staggeringly wide gap between posts? Yeah, we all saw that coming I think...

I have now completed my first two triathlons and am three and a half weeks out from my first Olympic distance. Jack's Generic Tri was the latest endeavor. It, like Couples Tri, was a sprint distance race. Luckily this time there were no chain, or other mechanical, issues with Strawberry Shortcake. Everything seemed to go a little smoother this time around just by the simple fact that it was a tad less foreign to me. I think that I can probably kick it up a notch or so on the swim, but was pretty happy with the effort I gave throughout it all. We shall see how it all comes together for the Austin Tri (the Olympic distance) coming up on Labor Day.

We all know and love Strawberry Shortcake. She is a lovely 12 speed, steel framed bike from the early '80s with the gear shifts on the downtube and has a ton of character. I truly do enjoy her and look forward to holding onto her for some time to come. But as far as riding her in a triathlon is probably akin to trying to run the Kentucky Derby on a Clydesdale. So I have gone forth and ordered a new bike. My Masi Coltello Aero should be in late this week or early next. Needless to say I am quite excited.

The last bit of exciting kibblet of knowledge is that I am currently trying to recover from a lower leg injury. Last Saturday, about halfway through my 14 mile run, my left shin just started hurting more and more until it finally forced me to stop and hobble home. (It is a very long walk from the Capitol grounds to Mary Street.) I have laid off of it, mostly, this past week and have had some work done on it at Advanced Rehabilitation. It seems to be getting better and I am hopeful that I can get back to running this coming week. As for right now I will continue to take it easy and sport the red kinesio tape on my leg.

Perhaps I do have the motivation to go for a dip in Barton Springs today...

As I forgot to post this yesterday, I will fill in the cliff hanger. I did go swim yesterday afternoon and this morning at Barton Springs. It was quite nice and am glad I did it. The tape held up through the first swim, but I took it off in the shower last night. No major hair loss to report.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Call for Body Glide

This is not a post for the faint of heart. Well, the ending at least.

For my long run this Saturday I decided to head over to One Texas Center at Barton Springs and South 1st and do a modified version of one of my favorite runs. I took off on South 1st, crossed Lady Bird Lake (it pains me to not say Town Lake) and up Colorado before weaseling my way over to Guadalupe. The goal for this run was to do 90 minutes, and as I had not done a true long run in quite some time, I was not exactly sure what to expect.

All in all I was feeling great. Made it down the drag and was headed north of campus. I even made it to Lamar with plenty of time to spare before turning back. At the 40 minute mark I hit 51st. I wasn’t quite sure of the ease in which I could find cross streets and such that would take me back to good southern bound routes after that so I decided I would just turn right onto 51st and make up the extra time on the hike and bike trail.

After hoping from Duval to Speedway, through campus and across the Capital grounds, I started to notice an annoying little sensation as I was running south down Congress. One of my nipples had begun to chafe a small amount, but not an insane amount; just enough to announce its presence. This was kind of odd as I had used Body Glide before my run. (For those wondering, Body Glide is a lubricant to reduce chaffing during running and comes in what looks like a deodorant stick.) So I go ahead and hang a right and jump onto the hike and bike trail at Congress and proceed onwards to the Pfluger Foot Bridge. As I am making my along the trail I start getting this weird sense that people are looking at me with an abnormal amount of curiosity. I know I am sweaty and certainly a little flushed in the face, but I am not wheezing for making any strange grunting noises so I am a tad perplexed. (Somewhere in the back of my mind I was certain it was just because they had never before seen running demonstrated in such a magnificent and graceful way. I like to live in a fantasy world. And yes, the unicorns do run beside me.)

Finally I made my way back to the parking lot of One Texas Center and after 90 minutes I had covered 11 miles. As I began to walk around a little to get my cool down in that I realized why everyone had been giving me perplexed looks; there, on the front of my shirt was a sweat diluted blood stain leading down from my right nipple. Lovely!

The moral of this story is to always use more Body Glide than you think is necessary. Or it just serves as yet another great thing to laugh at me about. I’ll let you all decide.

In the meantime, have fun, stay safe, run friendly, and wave; even to the guy with the bloody nipple. –Tanner

PS I have a strong sense that I was jumping from one verb tense to another throughout this. I am too lazy to go back and make the changes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Couples Tri

I survived! Which is much more of an accomplishment than I had thought that it would be. I finished in 1:25:46 which beat my goal of 1:30 and I definitely learned more on what to expect in the future. It was a blast and I am definitely going to keep going!

The swim, as expected, was the most foreign event to me. I have swam in open water before and am not creeped out by murky water, but I had never done these things with several hundred of my best friends; that is where things became a little interesting. People had prepared me for the onslaught on bumps and kicks that were going to happen, so that was frustrating, but not frightening. What really started to make me bug out was that when I came up to get my bearings, I had to really strain to see over the other swimmers and it just took much longer to get a fix on where I needed to go. Finally by the last third of the swim I had settled down and got a good stride going. Hopefully the next race will be a little more smooth. [800m in 16:28]

The first transition was by far my longest. It was a pretty long jog up from the lake to the transition area. Once there I had to put on my shirt, dry my feet and pull on socks and shoes. I probably could have gone a tad more smoothly through it, but all in all, it wasn't too bad. [T1 in 3:27]

So off to the races Strawberry Shortcake and I were. Make no mistake, I was planning on getting creamed here. (And I did.) We got rolling and as expected all of those fancy, new, younger bikes just passed us up like nothing, but still I was going forward and feeling good. All in all, that was all I was hoping for. I had been warned about this one turn at the bottom of a hill that went directly into a pretty steep climb. As I got to the bottom of the hill I got into what I thought was a pretty light gear, made the turn and started my climb. I quickly realized that I had misjudged my gearing and had to drop it again. Yeah, disaster loomed. My chain slipped off as soon as I did this. I quickly hopped off and jumped into the weeds, flipped the bike over, and started examining the problem. Let it be known that I am not mechanical in nature and that I have no experience repairing bicycles. Low and behold, after a couple of minutes I had the chain back on. Miracles do happen! Now came the crashing realization that I was still in too big of a gear, especially being that I was starting this hill climb from a dead stop. Back over the side of the road to change the gear again. Finally made it up the hill and had reasonably smooth sailing from there. Even started to pass a lot of people; not sure if it was anger or just the "rest" that I had. All in all I would say that I lost anywhere from 3-5 minutes with that ordeal. [11.2 miles in 41:59]

Second transition was fine. Was already in my shoes and outside of hanging my bike up the wrong way got out fairly smoothly. [T2 in 1:15]

Finally I was off to the races. I knew that I didn't have everything left in the tank, but I felt that I could still run at a decent pace. The trail was almost entirely on grass, except for a little bit on a road at the very end, which made the pounding a lot easier to take. After about a mile in I realized that I should have popped a goo in transition or at the tail end of the bike, but oh well. There wasn't too much left. Most of the race was downhill until you came into the last kilometer of it or so. Climbing that last hill really pointed out how much energy I truly had already spent. But as I neared the top, I saw the finish line, and saw that my parents (for whom this was their first time coming out to see me race since high school) had made it there to watch the final kick it pushed me on and I was able to sprint in the last 150 meters. I had crossed the line and finished my first triathlon. [5km in 22:35]

Sorry for the long-winded play by play. I'll try to keep the next report a little shorter.

Run friendly! -Tanner

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tri Training

June marked the beginning of my triathlon aspirations. That month quickly melted away, much the same as the stick of deodorant I forgot in the car, and I have now found myself in July. The training is still going strong and I have managed to transpose my sick running obsession onto the whole triathlon thing. Sunday will mark my first triathlon. My good running buddy Jimmy signed us up for the Couples Triathlon (horrible name for it not requiring you to actually be a couple). This is only a sprint tri (800m swim, 11.2 mile bike, 3.1 mile run) so it shouldn't be too terribly brutal. I'll let you all know how it goes.

Yes, I have apparently forgotten how to write. Hopefully I will become more productive on here and that might inspire the mental juices to flow once again. (And yes, I am aware that they never flowed with much force.)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Athletics in America

I love sports! I love playing them. I love watching them. And I love to attend sporting events. That just needs to be said before anything else.

My original intention with this blog was to inspire a few more people to be a little friendlier on the running trails. I had actually wanted to stay away from more serious subjects or really anything that might be polarizing. (For those that know me, not speaking my mind is very hard.) But some recent commentary during the NBA playoffs hit a nerve that fired a switch and now I cannot hold it in. So please, read what I have to say and comment.

During the second round of the NBA playoffs my favorite player, Dirk Nowitzki, in an interview commented on how the series of defenders he had faced were able to guard him well. He even went on to essentially complement them on their defense. In the media this was seen as a sign of weakness and Dirk was attacked for "giving fuel" to his opponents and bolstering their egos. Now, I can understand where some of the commentary is coming from; you don't want to give your opponent an instruction manual on how to play you. But it really irked me how so many of the commentators were saying that as a star athlete you should never admit or acknowledge anything that might suggest you are anything but the best player. This is where the floodgates were ripped open for me.

Every day we hear how athletics helps kids stay out of trouble and builds character. I am not saying that I completely disagree with that and I know that this is the case for a great number of folks. But I would have to say that the way we view and treat sports, from little league up to professional levels, really only makes sports a positive for a very select few. I hope that I never have the type of "character" that does not allow me to congratulate someone for doing something better than I can. ESPECIALLY if I participate in the same activity.

Competition is a good thing and can teach people a lot about themselves and life. Sports are a great arena to teach this, but far too early it becomes solely about winning and not about having fun. What the competition in sports can teach us is that is the game is played the right way you can take pride and knowledge away from even a loss. And at the end of the day, it is just that, a game, and should be done because you enjoy it and for that reason alone. When we put the emphasis on winning at such an early age we create an environment where kids are self conscious about their athletic ability by the time they reach kindergarten. So unless you are one of the fortunate few that show great athleticism at an early age I could not imagine that you would grow up thinking that sports builds character much less keep you out of trouble.

As things are setup now, and reaffirmed through the commentary on a basketball star complimenting a competitor, athletics is breeding a society of egotistical bullies and alienating a much larger percentage of the population. "I'm just not that good at it," should never be a reason to not do a sport if you have fun doing it.

So there you have it. My take on athletics in America. I will still watch sports and I will still love playing them. I am sure that many of you have some thoughts on this and I would love to hear them. In the meantime, run friendly! -Tanner

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Much Delayed Update

OK, I am officially tired of working on the flu! I meant to write earlier, but my work schedule made it hard. Plus I am lazy, so...

The Round-Up 10k was a tough race. I had run the course once before, but it was with a group and a slow pace, so my memory of it not being too hilly or tough was quickly proven inaccurate. My coach, Roger, paced my running buddy, Dave, and I are for the first part of the race. Roger had just ran the Boston Marathon that Monday, so his help was more than the normal act of kindness. What a trooper! We might have taken off a little too fast, but I know I would have never ran the race as fast without doing so. We ran the first 2 miles in under 13 minutes! Slowed up after that, but I still got my PR at 42:36! Dave too got his PR of 42:22. Not the course I expected it to happen on, but it was a rush.

I have had the opportunity to jump on Strawberry Shortcake, my bike, once and hit up the Veloway. It might be true that once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget. However that saying says nothing to your ability to have confidence or even ride in a straight line. It was a scary and funny outing for sure, but I did have a blast. So once I get a new chain on her (little bit of a kink in it now) I will be out there more just trying to get comfortable again.

With that, and the ever increasing temperature, I think that it is safe to say that I am now moving forward with training for a triathlon. I have no idea what I am thinking in doing this, but I have a feeling it is going to be fun. :) Alrighty then, with that I am off to bed. Have a good one and remember to keep runnin' friendly! -T

PS Real pictures and better layouts coming. I promise.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Final Week

That is my new bike. The photo isn't all that great, but she is red and white. I have decided to call her Strawberry Shortcake. Why even try to make her sound masculine?

So this is the final week before my big race. I honestly don't know if I am going to be able to improve any on Cap 10k time, but the training has been fun the past few weeks. Two Saturdays ago, my good running buddy, Dave, and I took off on an 8 mile run off of Lake Austin Blvd. There were a lot of people running along the streets over there and it was a great run, so I can see why. But one thing I did notice was that the vast majority of the runners out there waved! They actually acknowledged other runners. It was such a great thing! So, wherever you are, keep waving and say "Hi!".

That is really all I have for today. Tonight I am meeting Sara to get learned on the ways of riding a bicycle. I'll keep you all posted on how that whole saga unfolds. -T

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What in the world am I thinking?!

Lately I have been really struggling with where I should place my focus this summer. I love running without a doubt and am never in a bad mood while doing it. But golf was my first love and is still a huge passion of mine. So with my last planned race coming up in a week and a half I had started debating what sport I should really focus on. There is no way that I would give up one completely, but simply place more emphasis on one and do the other purely for fun.

I have pretty much decided to focus on the golf this summer, but a third idea has crept into my mind: triathlon. Now, I have never been a huge fan of bicycles. Not sure why, but I have tended to prefer running to biking. Apparently, this could present a bit of a problem when it comes to doing a triathlon. So I purchased an old road bike for really cheap and will spend the summer riding it around a little just trying to get familiar with a bike again. It is true; you never forget how to, but it certainly is a lot scarier than it was before.

Over the summer I am going to try to dedicate myself to golfing, getting in better physical shape, swimming, running, and will just get comfortable on a bike so that hopefully I can start actual training in the fall. Perhaps I should try to squeeze my job in there as well. :)

What about you? Any plans on changing the routine this summer? Let me know. In the meantime, I will see you all on the trail! -T

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Capital 10K and Bunny Chasing

Greetings one and all! Life has been fairly busy for me lately so I apologize for having not blogged anything in quite some time.

The Capital 10,000 was the last Sunday in March and a race that I had never ran before. It was pretty much as crazy and goofy as I had heard. Most of you will be surprised to learn that I passed up the offer of free Krispy Kreme doughnuts along the route. I had set a goal to beat 45 minutes in this race and am happy to report that I did! I finished at 43:54 which I was pretty impressed with. The entire week prior I had been in San Antonio and had only managed getting on an elliptical twice so I was a little worried I'd be stiff. But the weather was great and the crowds were awesome. Who doesn't love hearing the Rocky theme?

After the Cap 10 I have decided to really focus on the Texas Round Up at the end of April. So last night while I was running past the local ACC campus, I passed two folks chasing their pet rabbit around the parking lot. I am not entirely sure how this bunny came to escape from the truck or any of the back story but decided that asking questions would probably not bring me any answers I wanted to hear. I just new that I did not want to run back by the parking lot and see that the bunny had been hit by a car. So after about 10 minutes of unforeseen sprints, the charcoal grey bunny was captured and back with his owners. Roadkill avoided.

OK, I am writing this from one of the hallways in the Austin Convention Center as I am attending the National Hurricane Conference this week and I think I should probably start getting ready to go to my next session. Have fun and see you next time! -Tanner

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Austin in the Spring

Obviously I am getting a little excited about the warmer weather and the longer days. My running group met yesterday afternoon near downtown. As I was driving there, with the windows rolled down; I heard the sounds of bands playing for SXSW, watched the people running about downtown for work and the music and just basked in the sun. Sadly, I do not believe that I will be doing anything for SXSW, but it is fun to see the activity it brings to Austin each year. After the run, I was able to slip on my birkenstocks for the first time this year! There really is no point to this entry other than to say the weather is great right now! So go out and enjoy it. Feel free to share your stories. Peace, Tanner

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Oh blessed day light saving time!

We have had a week of longer days now. And from keeping my ear to the grapevine and the barrage of Facebook status updates I am guessing that not everyone is as stoked about this as I am. For me, I love that I can now go practice golf for an hour or so after work and still make it home with time to go for a good run. I know that some people are a little irked with having to drive to work in the dark; but I say it is a small price to pay. Besides, it will be light in the morning soon enough! Go out and soak up the sun!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Make love, not war.

There are a lot of reasons why people do not live the healthiest of lifestyles. But once someone makes an attempt to change some of those habits there are just as many reasons why they may chose to abandon ship and go back to their old routine. The overall goal of this blog is to help eradicate one of those reasons:

RUNNERS AND HEALTH NUTS ARE JERKS! At least a good percentage of them are.

I think we all lose perspective once we go down one path or another. I love to run. And I run farther and faster than is necessary to stay in shape. I am training to race. Sometimes I will look at other people in a running group and ask myself, “Why aren’t they pushing themselves harder?” Then I have to remember that they probably do not have the same goals as me.

As I stated in an earlier post, I still crave the horrible fast food and other junk like that from time to time, but more often than not can talk myself out of it. Yet, I still find myself being judgmental of the people that don’t eat as healthy as me. “Do they know what they are doing to their bodies?” That is the same question people asked me when I was a smoker. And it annoyed me to no end then. Yes, I was well aware of what I was doing to my body.

Most of the readers of this blog are probably on the healthier side of things in terms of lifestyles, so I don’t feel as if I really need to offer an olive branch to motivate someone to be healthier. But I do feel I should make a challenge to you all to try and make the world of physical activity and berry munching to be a more accepting one. Say “hi!” to someone on the trail, offer help and be friendly in the weight room. And if you see someone be a jerk or an elitist, call them out on it. It is an intimidating world to enter, especially if you have never been to it before.

I realize that this probably comes of as a little too much of a hippie love fest thing, but I’m from Austin so I say it’s fine.

Friday, February 20, 2009

What are we going to do tonight, Brain?

As I look out the window of my office today I can see that the sun is shining, not a cloud in the sky and that the wind is blowing a bit. Of course, all it does is remind me that I am stuck in my office for the next two hours or so. My leg seems to have healed enough that I can do a little running on it. Wednesday I ran with my group and was able to do the drills, though not at full speed, but was able to do them. It is really amazing how much of a relief it is to be able to run again.

As I am sure that you have noticed, true ideas of discussion have been limited here. It was my original goal to just have a blog to get people to start enjoying running more and spread the joy. (Yes, I know that was way too cheesy.) But, I think that the majority of us like it when someone throughout the course of the day takes the time to acknowledge us. Why not try to be that person for someone else?

And whereas I did not really want this to become another technical running blog, nor a political blog of any sorts, perhaps I could start sharing some routes and drills that I have found or been shown. It might venture slightly into the technical world, but hey, I am in need of material here! Also, please share any of your routes, drills or tips in the comments. Thanks!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Out of the Game...Temporarily

Once I decided to make a much more concerted effort to stay on top of the blog game a bit more, it would only make sense that I get an injury and am taken off of the running path for a bit. Not entirely sure what is going on, my my IT band/hip are rather sore and my knee has decided that it wants admission to the pity party as well. If things do not start feeling better over the weekend I will probably start looking for professional opinions on the happenings.

The biggest problem that I find when I am unable to is my diet. I love to eat. And when I am running a lot I can get away with eating more and also tend to crave primarily healthy food. However, when reduced to a more sedentary life, my old culinary cravings surface. Namely anything served on a value menu or off of a rotisserie at the local 7-11. Am I alone in this or are there other active people out there that have similar issues? Perhaps it is that when I am moving about a lot I crave the foods that allow me to keep that energy level, but when I am down for the count, I crave those incredibly rich foods that leave you in a coma for several hours after eating them. Oh well. Love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, February 9, 2009

I'm a hypocrite!

This post is primarily a confessional. Between work and life (read laziness) it has been quite sometime since my last entry. I will try to be a little better about this in the future as this is a blog that I am truly interested in cultivated and seeing grow; you know, t-shirts and groups. :)

One confession down, one to go. I must admit that I became one of the non-friendly, unwaving folks on the hike and bike trail a couple of weeks ago. I was down there to do a three mile time trial for a running class that I am in. During the three miles, I was so intent on posting the best time that I could that I merely responded to the other folks on the trail as objects to be navigated. Here is the part where I would normally give justifications for my failing to wave and be friendly, but no. I started this blog to try to get people to be different than that, and I completely failed to follow my own advice. So all I can do is promise to try to do better in the future.

OK, time to head outta here for now. Check back frequently as I promise to better on this. Cheers! -Tanner

PS I'll try to add some photos and other formatting stuff soon.

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Year's?

Is it just New Year’s resolutions or what that has people out on the trail? On Saturday I made it around Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail and realized that there are a ton of people out there. At least there were a ton of people on the western end of the trail. (My more common east side was still fairly devoid of traffic.) This brought to mind several questions:

1) Is it really just the New Year’s rush out on the trail?
2) Why is the west side of the trail always so much more crowded than the east?
3) How do I go about maintaining the run friendly style on the super crowded west end?

In reality, I think I know the question to all of the questions above but would like to open them up to more discussion. Obviously question 2 is more of an Austin question, but the other two I feel are open for national, or even international, debate. So let’s hear it.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Greetings to one and all and welcome to the maiden voyage of this blog. Being that this is the first entry I figure it would be best if I just tell you a little about me and why I am even doing this. My name is Tanner and am a 26 year old semi-avid runner. I grew up in the Hill County outside of Austin, and while driving out there, it is customary to wave at the other cars on the road. I would like to see a little more of that attitude in running. I understand and respect that running is a great escape; it allows you the chance to zone out and be completely alone in your thoughts as that is one of the things I enjoy most about it. At the same time, we are all out there doing the same activity, so we have something in common; why not try to make the world a little less big and formidable?

So, when you see me on the trail and I wave at you (more than likely just a lazy peace sign and a nod) do not take it as me hitting on you, but simply that I am saying, “Hi! Glad to see you out here”. We spend too much time focusing on the differences between each other. Burn that extra calorie to flash a peace sign and hey, maybe even flash a smile. :) See you out there!