Sunday, October 30, 2011

Same Race, 8 Years Later

Eight years ago in November of 2003 I did my third triathlon and last weekend, I did the same race.     The Suncoast Triathlon is held at Fort Desoto Park, FL on the Gulf of Mexico (Link to the race site).   
I'll tell you about my first and second triathlons some other time, but my third at Fort Desoto in 2003 is what started me on the current road to fitness, healthier eating, weight loss and endurance sport.  It was fun to return 8 years later and I was accompanied by my kids who braved the chilly morning and got up extra early on a Saturday morning to come see me race.  The Gulf was 69-70 degrees, so I opted for my wetsuit to keep me warm and I feel like a superhero!  Swim times - 2003=10.46, 2011=11.12, but this year they increased the swim distance from 440 yards to 660 yards, so without doing a bunch of math, we'll say I was faster.  Transition was embarrassingly slow due to the extra time to take off my superhero outfit, but I was warm and buoyant, so I'm good with that.

Biking at Fort Desoto can be described in one word...Windy.  Alternating headwinds, crosswinds and thankfully tailwinds made for an inconsistent ride, but on average, my speed was about 20mph.  Not amazing, but I passed a lot of people on the bike and was only passed by tri-studs on really cool bikes, so I'm good with that.  Bike times - 2003=36.06, 2011=29.51.  A good improvement, but considering I did 2003 on my heavy, old, green, beater hybrid bike, it could have been better.   Transition time in 2003 was under 1 minute primarily because of no shoe changing, so tack on 30 seconds to change into my new Newton running shoes.

I felt great on the run and pushed to hold a steady pace the whole way.  About 1/2 mile into the run, I heard heavy breathing and footsteps approaching, but they didn't pass, so I kept pushing.  After about a mile of this, the footsteps went by me on the left and I glanced down at the right calf to see 20...years old that is.  He was either pacing off me, the geiser, or I held him off for over a mile.  In the process of holding him off, I caught and passed a 12 year old girl who was the final leg of a relay team and she was cooking.  It took me over 1.5 miles to reel her in and just about the time I was being passed by Mr. 20, I blew by the 12 year old girl...whew!  She was the picture of efficiency and was really making me work.  Run times - 2003=31.19, 2011=22.17.  Huge improvement for me and a personal best 5k time.  I'm not used to running miles with a 7 in the time, let alone 3 of them in a row, so I'm definitely good with that.  Thank you Newtons.
Overall time 2003=1:21, 2011=1:10 - It was a fun look back and I'm interested to see how things improve as my training becomes more consistent and focused. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Will Work(out) for Donuts

I love donuts!  There, I said it.
Donuts are part of my training and nutrition plan and this should be no surprise to those who know me.
Donuts = Fuel
Donuts = Motivation
Donuts = Yummy Reward


Growing up near Los Angeles in the late 60's, my earliest memory of donuts was of the Helms Bakery truck.  The Helms Bakery trucks slowly roamed the neighborhoods wafting the sweet smells of fresh donuts, cookies, brownies and breads until kids (like me) came running.  It was like the Ice Cream Man, minus the annoying music, but with with donuts.  I distinctly remember the long, wooden drawers filled with glazed donuts that slid open from the back of the truck.  It was genius!  From that point forward, I was hooked.
Next came Winchell's Donut House.  Sometimes on Sunday mornings after church, our family would stop at Winchell's for a sugary treat and my Dad would get a cup of coffee.  I remember leaning against the glass display case to get a better look at what seemed like hundreds of donut options.  When I was in high school, Winchell's correctly assumed that bigger was better and offered huge glazed and twist donuts.  The twist was as over a foot long and the glazed was as big as a trash can lid, minus the handle.  College days and nights saw some Winchell's action as well since they make donuts 7x24.  This only reaffirmed my love of the yeasty treats.

You can't live in Los Angeles without paying homage to Randy's Donuts.  It's near LAX airport and is a SoCal icon.  On a recent visit, I paid my old friend a visit picked up a few for the road.  Yum.  Unfortunately, Randy's no longer sells the Fred-Flintstone-giant-spareribs-tip-over-your-car size as illustrated in the picture.  Too bad.  In Florida, the closest you get to Randy's Donuts is the Rockin' Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios where you get to ride right through the middle.  Sweet!

Now we're living in Florida and Krispy Kreme opened a new store a few years ago equipped with the donut assembly line and glaze waterfall.  You can't help but make a U-turn when you see the "Hot Light" burning red, signifying fresh donuts being made where the wire conveyor belt is caked with icing and crowded with hot glazed happiness.  Unfortunately this nearby store closed, but it is survived by others in Tampa Bay area that carry on the tradition.  RIP local Krispy Kreme.

A recent addition to the local donut repertoire is Nicolas.  Nicolas makes great donuts, don't get me wrong, but they drive me crazy with their approach.  They make a limited number of donuts and often sell out...a fact that they seem proud of.  The cinnamon twirl is excellent, but you have to get there early or place a special order to guarantee satisfaction.  Donut frustration!

I even tried my hand a making homemade raised donuts.  It took a few hours, was slightly messy, but was totally worth it.  I'll continue to motivate myself with the promise of a donut reward and re-fuel after a long workout with a carb-tastic, sugary donut and a glass of milk.  Donuts are like a sweet training partner who keeps you going when times get tough and is there to celebrate your hard fought victories.  Thanks for being there donut friend.  Now let's get down to business...nom, nom, nom.