Monday, September 26, 2011

Augusta 70.3

Race week was pretty simple; a nice taper leading up to what would hopefully be some fast sbr'ing in Augusta, GA on Sunday.  I felt surprisingly chipper on my runs and was getting a lot of sleep so I hoped that I was doing all the right things for a good race day.  I wanted to be top 5 amateur (preferably top 3 - even though I knew that wouldn't qualify for the ol' pro card) and in my head I was thinking that a time anywhere from 4:02-4:09 would get that job done on race day.  So yes, my goals were high and the bar was set, but I knew I was fit and ready to race.

Traveling down with Bob and Melissa was super awesome as we made it down on Saturday to packet pickup, bike drop - off, and dinner without any mishaps and headed to Melissa's Dad's apartment in Aiken, SC (~25 mins away) for a quiet night.

Race morning dawned uneventful, albeit humid. Setting up the bike was simple and Melissa and I met back up with Bob to head over to swim start where we all ran into Selle and Kenneth.  We chatted a bit as I put on my wetsuit and it started to drizzle as I walked to start.

Swim 1.2 miles in 22:03 (5th AG)

As everyone knows (or, everyone who knows everything about most things with regard to the race) the swim at Augusta is down the Savannah River.  Times are always fast and people gain anywhere from 4-10+ minutes.  The slower you are, the more help you get from the little muddy.  Added to that the fact that it's normally a wetsuit swim and the slow swimmers are coming out of the water around people that they have absolutely no business being around.  Suffice it to say, my time was good but I was extremely annoyed that certain people came out near me or - in one case, in front of me - as I believe I'm a better swimmer than they are.  The M18-24 and M25-29 (1 of 2 25-29 waves) started at 7:44 and made our way downriver.

Immediately I could tell that I was uncomfortable.  Very quickly I felt like I was on the verge of having a panic attack.  This doesn't happen too often for me but when it does I'm usually wearing a wetsuit.  I felt claustrophobic and the sky was overcast so it was tough to see in my tinted goggles; all of this added up to make me feel exceedingly uncomfortable.  Not uncomfortable in an "I feel like I need to poo" kind of way but more like a "I feel like I'm drowning" kind of way.  Both of those situations are uncomfortable, but one is easily solved and one is not.  For the most part I was able to settle myself and eventually the feelings subsided but it was a decidedly not awesome way to start a long day.

After a little while it started to become apparent that swimming near the right side of the river was a bad idea, as there was a TON of debris in the water.  Not trash, luckily, but what looked like weeds or branches or seaweed (yes, I realize that seaweed is not found in rivers but that's what it looks liked).  This was especially the case towards the end of the swim.  I was swimming beside Tom Clifford for a while and then he went off to the left near the end and I lost him but saw him come out of the water a little ways ahead of me.  The run up out of the water felt difficult and I was breathing pretty hard but I made it to my bike just as Tom was leaving with his.

Transition 1 - 3:10

Not a whole lot to say here, it was a long run so my time wasn't THAT slow but I definitely could have been more efficient.

Bike 56 miles in 2:23:22 (moved up to 3rd AG)

Starting out on the bike I did not feel so hot but I tried to settle in and get my HR down to a more reasonable level.  There wasn't anyone on the road in front of me for a ways so I just put my head down and tried to find a groove.  After a couple of miles I could tell I was catching up to the two cyclists I could see in front of me so that was encouraging; at the same time my legs started to loosen up and the watts came a little easier.  Unfortunately at some point before mile 10 (don't really remember where) I hit a large hold and my downtube bottle and gel flasks decided that it was time to depart.  Unfortunately I did not realize this until I next reached for a hit of calories and at that point I did not want to turn around and try to find them.  I had planned on taking in between 800-1000 calories on the bike and about 700 of those had just disappeared.

I didn't really "panic," per se as I knew I could make up for some of that with on-course nutrition so I rolled along and eventually caught up to the two guys in front of me.  I'm not going to name names, but suffice it to say that one of these guys deserved multiple penalties for multiple offenses.  One of them wasn't so bad but the other should have been DQ'd.  Riding on the left side of the road (with NO ONE else around), drafting repeatedly and blatantly (on myself and the other guy), not having a number, not falling back once passed...I could go on.  Anyway, the first bike aid station didn't come until later than I expected so I grabbed two bottles of perform and carried on; not even thinking to grab gels.  I make no excuse for that oversight and I obviously wasn't thinking clearly.

For the next 10-15 miles I drank both bottles of perform but before the next aid station my stomach felt like it had shut down.  By mile 35 or so I started feeling really bloated and at the next aid station I grabbed water (again, no gels...dumb!) to try and help with digestion.  I realized that I had basically had no water for ~2 hours and that frightened me a little bit.  Basically, I was starting to get worried.  My legs felt ok but my stomach was doing pretty badly.  Still, I knew that in a long enough races things could sort themselves out if you make good decisions (unfortunately I did not do that).

After mile 40 it was basically me and the guy that deserved all the penalties as the other 18-24 had fallen back.  Unfortunately at this point my watts began dropping and I couldn't put any more power to the pedals.  I still felt very bloated and was hoping that I could produce a really solid burp or fart and get rid of all the whatever that was in my stomach.  Even puking would have felt good!  Unfortunately nothing surfaced and as we rolled into the last 5-7 miles of the bike course I was about 40 watts below my goal average.  I was going the slowest when I should have been going the fastest and proverbially dropping the hammer.

I also began dealing with cramps in the last 5 miles...some slight to moderate twinges in my left hamstring and in my hip flexors.  At this point I began really worrying as they wouldn't go away and I still felt extremely bloated.  Anywwayyy, I rolled into T2 feeling pretty dejected as my race had quickly gone downhill after the 2-2.5 hour mark.

Transition 2 in 1:53

I was a bit surprised by T2 and hadn't taken my feet out of my shoes yet so I had a slower, clumsier dismount than usual but rolled my bike into the rack and bent over to take off my shoes and my hip flexors cramped a little bit again, which made putting on my socks and running shoes difficult... Not too happy at this point.

Run 13.1 miles in 2:21:07 (back...way, way back!)

Starting out on the run I immediately felt pretty shabby.  My stomach was so full and I couldn't burp and nothing seemed to be going right...  I made it to mile .5 before I resigned to walking and then starting running through the aid station before seeing Scott and Jenny hanging out just past the aid station.  I stopped and sat with them for a while, basically giving up on my race.  I said that I preferred a DNF to coming in with a slow time and that was that!  After a while my stomach felt like the sitting still created some actual digestion and I felt significantly less fat and bloated than when I initially sat down; after watching all these runners go by I figured that I may as well try and finish.  Sure, it may end up being slow and painful but at least I won't have another DNF like at Louisville last year.

I started running and for a while it wasn't too bad but it quickly became an alternating process of run and then cramp and then walk and then run again.  It was long, slow, and I almost want to say "fun." Not fun in the traditional sense like "haha, this is awesome" but more in the "I'm proud of myself for doing this" kind of way.  Anyway, I eventually made it to the finish line for the staggering time of 5:11 and change.

There are a couple of positives to take away from this race
1) Finishing is a positive, right?
2) I negative split my run (1:11:xx and 1:09:xx)! haha
3) hmm, experience?

There are also some negatives
1) It's easy to feel like you've let people down with a race like this (your self, your friends, your coach)
2) Along those lines, it's also easy to second guess your goals after a race like this
3) When you set the bar at 4:0X and come in at 5:11, it's a bit disappointing...

But the main one would be #2.  When you train as much as I do with the expectations (hope) of eventually racing in the professional field a race like this feels like a bit of a reality check.  Sure, one race isn't the end of the world but in two of my biggest races this year I've had my worst performances (AG Nats and Augusta).  I've also raced really well this year, so to focus on 2 bad races and forget about the 8+ other good races would be short-sighted of me (and of anyone in a similar situation, of whom there were many at Augusta this year).  So it's important to move on and keep the ol' chin up etc etc.  I am happy to have finished.

This week will be about recovery and making sure I'm ready to race again in 2 weeks down in Myrtle Beach. Redemption time!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Better late than never

S - 10,600 yards
B - 222.3 miles
R - 39 miles

Time - 19.53 hours

Rule # 17: Team Kit is for members of the Team
Wearing Pro Team kit is also questionable if you're not paid to wear it. If you must fly the colors of Pro teams, all garments should match perfectly, i.e. no Mapei jersey with Kelme shorts and Telekom socks.

Most people won't even recognize the names of the teams listed there as their cycling fan-dom is too new and annoying.  This rule is flagrantly violated by many people.  It's actually one of the ways in which serious athletes mark and then subsequently make fun of the less serious athletes.  Well, maybe "serious" isn't the best description.  How about ignorant?  That works.
Need I say more?
There are some exceptions to this rule in my book: old school jerseys are now cool to wear again.  Items like Mapei, T-Mobile, and others are acceptable these days.  Because when you have something like that, more likely than not your are a discerning cyclist.  You don't just buy some jersey that you see on TV in July and think you're cool; it's like buying a '63 Corvette Stingray split-window versus a BMW 3 series.  Sure, they're both fast and functional but one is steeped in history and bad-assery while the other is a good car that is way too ubiquitous to be cool.  The moral of the story is: don't wear Team Discovery Channel, Team Radio Shack, Team BMC, Garmin-Cervelo, HTC, etc and expect to be taken seriously.  It ain't gonna happen.

Rule #26: Shorts and socks should be like Goldilocks.
Not too long and not too short.  No socks is a no-no, as are those ankle length ones that should only be worn by female tennis players.
Tom Boonen is a perfect model for most things.  Except for his coke habit.
This one is staggeringly, maliciously, ignorantly, amusingly abused.  Here's one simple rule that basically says everything you need to know about socks (which is the area in which my main grief lies): ride in cycling socks, run in running socks.  No, triathlon socks do not count as either (unless you are racing; therein lies the exception to the rule).  Cycling socks should be longer than 4" (although it depends on your size, they MUST go up past the ankle, however) and running socks should be shorter than your ankles.  Period.

On a different tangent, Augusta 70.3 is this weekend! Should be fun.  Some stiff comp there, as Kenneth will make his half-ironman debut, Tom Clifford from Wilmington (recently ran a 1:14 at Steelhead), and Jeremy Sipos will also be racing.  Plus others I'm sure I don't know about.  My goal is simply to do the best that I can, no chasing times, only going as hard as possible for a touch over 4 hours...

Monday, September 12, 2011


Anybody who guesses what the acronym in the title stands for gets 5 points.

S - 7,900 yards
B - 70.3 miles
R - 11.2 miles

Time - 6.62 hours

Well, it looks like after my not-so-great AG Nats Brian has been taking it a bit easier on me to make sure that I don't go into races fatigued.  Well, more fatigued than usual.  Unlike AG Nats where I felt good in the days leading up to the race this week I couldn't really tell.  I was coming off a big week of training and was ready to try and light the ol' fire underneath my bum for race day.

So since not a whole lot of people know what race I was doing, it's called the Best of the US Amateur National Championship which is basically a gathering of some of the top racers from each state.  Or at least, that's the goal of the race.  In each state there is a race that takes the top 3 male and females and invites them to participate in the series championship, which this year was held down in Gulf Shores, AL in conjunction with the Brett Robinson Coastal Triathlon.  North Carolina's qualifier was Stumpy Creek, where I placed 3rd.  I was the only person I knew of going to the race and it worked out conveniently for me since I could stay with my family in our beach house in Fort Morgan, AL which is only 30 minutes away.

I drove down on Thursday and thoroughly enjoyed the most boring drive you can do in I-85.  Once you get past Atlanta and Montgomery and get on I-65 it is incredibly boring.  It's fun, however, when you get off the interstate and onto the smaller roads and go through towns that nobody has ever heard of like Bay Minette, AL you get to see neato stuff like this:

I guess this has got to be cool somewhere, right? Take note of the balls.
I arrived at our house safe and sound to amazing weather, which was quite a contrast from the weekend before during the tropical storm.  It's always pleasant to get to the beach because there is no cell phone service and we don't have television so it's nice to just feel sort of cut off.  Plus, when the views are this good, it's hard to not just go stress-free naturally!

Looking west
So on Friday the BOUS athletes gathered for packet-pickup and post pick-up "meeting;" it was interesting to note how small the field was compared to years' past.  Unfortunately (or fortunately I guess), this didn't diminish the competitiveness.  Since I'm the ultimate results stalker, I had a pretty good idea of how many people would beat me.  But really, the main thing I wanted out of this race was to "bounce back" from a terrible race at AG Nats and get some mojo back so I can [hopefully] crush Augusta.

Race morning I accidentally woke up at 4 instead of 5 and made my way to the race site.  I set up my transition area and went on a quick bike ride then a quick run to hit some non porto-potty bathrooms.  When I got back to my spot there was an official walking around saying that the water temperature was 74 degrees (and therefore wetsuit legal); considering that the previous afternoon water temperature was 86 I had only brought my speed suit.  Oh well.  Unfortunately I was one of only a couple racers that were wearing their speed suit but I didn't feel too bad about it since the swim would have favorable current and it'd be easier to run up the beach at swim exit and my transition would be a bit quicker.  The BOUS athletes had a separate mass start from everyone else so that was nice and at the sound of the gun we all ran into the water and began swimming.

Swim - 19:34 (4th)

The swim was very simple; we had all walked a mile down the beach so the route was simply out to the first buoy, turn right, head down the beach, the turn right and exit.  Very straightforward.  I chose a slightly different tactic this time; as opposed to going balls-to-the-wall from the get go and gradually slowing I chose to take it out [relatively] easy and then try and speed up toward the end.  I always have a hard time telling where I am in the field during the swim but I was sighting easily and swimming pretty straight so I wasn't too concerned.  I felt at about the half way point I was towards the front but with such a small field it's basically a long line, especially since everyone was so experienced - almost everyone was drafting.  I noticed that the person I was swimming behind had dropped off the feet of a wetsuit wearer so I moved to pass and ended up being the lead of the second "pack" without ever quite catching the wetsuit wearer.  At the last buoy I had a feeling I was near the front but didn't really know for sure and exited the swim feeling pretty comfortable and not over-worked.  It was a nice change of pace from the way I normally feel at swim exit.  I ran up the beach pretty quickly and entered transition.

T1 - 1:11

Now we get to what I'm most proud of at this race: my transitions.  Normally I sit around and make a waffle or two in T1 but this time I didn't waste any time, although I did anger a volunteer by turning right after entering instead of to the left like they were directing.  I had decided the right turn was the way to go when I was setting up my area and was "in the zone" and basically disregarding what they said since I wasn't really listening and knew that there was no "flow of traffic" rule in the pre-race info.  As I got to my bike I put on my helmet, took off my speedsuit and while I was putting on my shoes the "main" transition volunteer came over and said "Hey # 7 you know we could disqualify you for that!" I responded by saying "What?" and he said "You disregarded us, we could disqualify you for turning right." I didn't really have much to say but as I was leaving I said "Well disqualify me then there's nothing I can do about it now!"  I thought it was ridiculous that he felt he had grounds to DQ me for something like that and disregarded it as I left T1.

Looking down like a Cat 5 noob! Everyone else ahead of me had shoes clipped in already, noted...

Bike - 58:24 (6th)

I headed out on the bike and quickly passed a couple of guys and was in second place at about the end of the first mile.  I could see the leader, Colin Riley, up ahead and the motor bike so I just put my head down and rode hard.  After a while Ben Hall came past me and I stayed with him for 3-4 minutes before giving up (he rode a 55:00, that's 27 mph...) and settled back in to a more reasonable pace.  The bike was basically an 8 mile out and back then a 6 mile spur towards the end.  The wind was in our face on the way out and off our right rear on the way back.  We went over a big bridge at mile 8 and Matt Payne caught me at that point (rode a 55:35...) and I didn't really have a chance to try and stick to his pace as we were going through some technical areas at that point.  I put my head down again and was rolling along nicely and got to the spur and saw that the group of 3 was basically riding together (legally, duh) before I turned around myself to notice that Pat Parish had caught up to me (he rode a 56:39, I sense a trend...) and he passed me at the end of the spur with about 2 miles to go and I finally managed to stick with someone to the end!  I think in these races (international/olympics) I stick it in cruise control a little too readily.  Although it's unintentional, I shouldn't be biking 3+ minutes slower than these guys.  I need to learn how to make myself hurt a bit more on the bike and run for these shorter races.  But anyway, I digress. Excuses, excuses.  I rolled into T2 about 3-4 seconds behind Patrick and hopped off mah bike.

Hopping off bike, trying not to fall over.  I think about it every single time.
T2 - 0:37

Another blazing transition, this one in no small part thanks to Ashley's new method of installing Yankz that seemed to help a lot.  It may not have been the fastest set of transitions overall but I didn't give up big chunks of time like I normally seem to...

Run - 36:22 (5th)

Headed out on the simple, flat, straight out/back course about 15 yards behind Patrick, who then proceeded to run away from me.  I held a good pace for 2 miles then I think I gradually slowed down as it was tough to motivate myself to run really hard as 6th place was pretty distant and 4th place was out of my view.  I got to the turnaround and it was Matt, Colin, Ben and then Patrick chasing hard so I would have liked to run faster just to see what would happen towards the finish.  After the turnaround I basically just kind of strolled in to the finish line (not entirely true, I was working hard but didn't feel like I was moving fast) to finish in 5th place. The run was pretty boring so I can't enliven it much, unfortunately.

Yayy for finishing

Final - 1:56:06, 5th OA

All in all I'm pretty pleased with this race.  It was extremely well run and except for one disgruntled volunteer everyone seemed really nice (and reasonable...).  I didn't have a standout performance but it was really solid. No glaring weaknesses and nothing out of the ordinary.  5th place against a field like this is pretty good, although I wish I had run faster.  But that and 5 bucks will get you...well pretty much nothing these days.  It was good to bounce back after a disastrous AG Nats and I'm feeling confident about Augusta in 2 weeks; I think I can do well there.  Hooray!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Episode VII: Star Wars, the triathlon

S - 17,150 yards
B - 242.8 miles
R - 40.1 miles

Time - 21.74 hours

Before I go any further this week, I'd like to point the more intrepid reader to my first ever blog post on this here web log.  I think it's appropriate, given in part that it's now my 4 year anniversary - to show how ignorant and yet full of hope I was back in 2007.  I started running from August to September (a long period, I know!!) then stopped until January of 2008.  My endurance life was in it's infancy and I think it's pretty funny to look back and see this sort of stuff.  Who knows how long this will keep going, but wouldn't it be funny to be a blogging 40 year old and look back and see what your 22 year old self was thinking?? Scary.

This was a good week back at it for training.  I had such a fun ride on Sunday that I get to now raise my FTP by 15 watts, which will make every workout I do in the future that much harder!! Wooooo hooo!  I was scheduled to do some longer intervals (2x25mins and 2x8 mins) at threshold but near the end of the first one I just felt like continuing on with the pain.  I did it for several reasons:

  • It didn't change the overall intent/goal/focus/whatever of the workout
    • This is important to note as many people feel it is appropriate or a good idea to switch around what their coach suggests.  You pay the coach, why not just do what they say? That way you'll at least be able to hold someone other than yourself accountable! Just kidding Coach Brian, but not really.
  • I felt good 
    • This can be a double-edged sword.  A lot of people feel good and then over extend themselves.  In a race, they feel great due to their taper and feel like it might be *that* day where their normal numbers go out the window.  Those days don't really exist, if you haven't trained yourself to the right level, it ain't gonna happen.  Put in the work, you'll be rewarded.  I was rewarded today.  Well, that and some rest!!
  • I wanted to test myself
    • Not many coaches schedule 60 minutes of threshold for their athletes.  This is due not in small part to the fact that most athletes would rebel against such torture.  Guess what? The best way to raise your FTP is to do a LOT of riding at or just above FTP.  It's REALLY HARD to motivate yourself to push at that level for an hour when you're by yourself and it isn't a race.  I just kind of wanted to see if I had the balls to do it.  Luckily, I didn't write a check that my ass couldn't cash.  This time.
So, I ended up averaging about 43 more watts than I averaged for the bike portion of AG Nationals 2 weeks ago.  5 watts = .5 seconds/km, so that would roughly equate to 160 seconds or 2.5 minutes.  That would have been a 56:30 40k split.  While it's nice to do the calculations and dream big that's all that is, a dream.  The odds of me being able to hold that kind of power in a race that crowded and up and down is an idea worth as much as a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin getting it on (thank you Ricky Bobby).

A lot of athletes (myself included) fall into the trap of making excuses, which - in and of itself - isn't really a bad thing, that lead to absolutely preposterous claims of lost time.  My favorites revolve mainly around the swim.  Someone will say they went off course and add some totally random, made-up distance to their swim and thereby lost time.  There are a couple of things wrong with this:

  • It's part of the race; if you go off-course, that's your new swim course.  You didn't add time by aiming wrong, you just decided to create a new swim course and put yourself at a disadvantage!  Silly you.
  • I read a race report from someone that did AG Nationals that said they believed they added approximately (I loved they used "approximately," by the way...the irony slays me) 400 yards to the swim.  400 YARDS!!! That's so awesome.  To do that you'd be SO FAR OFF COURSE the kayakers would have pronounced you dead.  Haha, 400 yards.  I believe I stated I may have strayed (or, excuse me, created a new course) by about 50-75 yards.  Given what I saw people doing before my wave I'd say that was appropriate.  Still, now that I'm rational about it (and it's in hindsight, which is ALWAYS 20/20...) I can say it was a max of 50, but more likely 30-40.  It's hard to really add a lot of distance unless you go the wrong way.
  • Rule # 76.  No excuses, play like a champion.
Right now Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope is on TV and I can just picture Luke Skywalker's blog entry for the "alternate ending" where he didn't destroy the death star:

Dear Diary,

I was making the run into the little channel thingy and I had all these enemy TIE Fighters on my tail and stuff, which was really distracting.  My buddies that were flying wingman weren't really doing that great of a job, so that was kind of frustrating.  They kept dying and stuff and when you're trying to save the Rebel Alliance and destroy the Empire it doesn't help so much that the soldiers can't just weave and stuff and dodge the blasters.  I was totally set up to have this perfect run and fling those bombs right into the exhaust port, thereby destroying the greatest threat to democracy and a new dawn when BOOM, the sun got in my eyes and I went a bit off course.  Unfortunately, that momentary lapse added on about 1.5 star miles to my route and I ran out of time to get my bombs in the little tiny hole.  My bad.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.


Luke Skywanker

Friday, September 2, 2011

Some random thoughts

Week of training: ~6 hrs maybe.  A little more biking and a little less running than I should've done.  It was good to not worry about workouts for a week and just hang out; I can't say enough good things about last week, it was spectacular.  'Nuff said.

Some thoughts after watching Ironman Louisville last Sunday

1) People spend SO MUCH MONEY on this sport it's literally staggering.  I'm not excluding myself at all but wow, triathletes are a bunch of gear geeks!  Speedsuits, 6k+ tri bikes, race wheels, rental race wheels, all for people that are going to be going slow AND fast.  It's really kind of impressive; just goes to show that triathlon attracts a lot of type A personalities and that most of those types of people are good at what they do in the workplace!

2) Louisville is a very pretty city.  Sure, it's in Kentucky (loses points, just kidding...but not really) but it's got a cool mix of both old and new architecture that feels very...neat.  It's very unlike Charlotte.  Everyone in the Queen City is trying so hard to give it a personality and it really just doesn't work.  I've lived in two cities in my life other than Charlotte and both have more character than Charlotte can ever hope to have.  New Orleans really needs no explanation (although, unfortunately for myself I'm probably the WORST New Orleanian in the world as I don't try new foods and I didn't party at all growing up...) and Williamsburg (VA) is one of oldest and coolest (if you like dorky, historic stuff...ME) town/cities I've been.  Louisville feels kind of like that; a big city with character.

Swim finish; photo credits to Ashley

3) It's easy to undervalue what people are going through - or have gone through - to show up and race an Ironman.  A lot of us (definitely including myself here) take it for granted that you can complete a race like this.  I remember I posted briefly about my race last year - - and talked about how much I took for granted what this race meant to me and other people.  When you've talked yourself into the fact that you are going to do well, that you'll be near the front, and you'll finish before 6pm it's SO easy to just write-off everyone else that will be finishing by midnight (hopefully).  It's just a different experience for those people.  It was fun to spectate and watch friends that were going sub 10 hours and see others that would be going >16 hours.  They are getting WAY more bang for their buck as well!!

4) It is really fun to cheer.  Traditionally, I've been a really, really crappy cheer(er).  I'm not good at yelling the same stuff over and over to people I convince myself won't (or don't) appreciate it.  On Sunday, however, we all had a great time cheering and saying ridiculous things to people that generally produced laughs or blank stares.  It was obvious which racers were having a good day...

5) Homeade Ice Cream and Pie is a delicious, heart-warming way to end a day. Away from most of the IM scene which is great.
'Nuff said.

6) I don't really want to race an Ironman anytime soon.  I'm glad I did B2B in 2009, but I think - looking at it long term anyway - it wasn't really a great decision.  I was unprepared for the distance and I would have been better served doing short stuff.  I'm not really sure what next year is going to look like but I wouldn't mind doing 100% olympics.  I don't think they're my strength, but the faster you get at the sprint/olympic distance the faster you will (eventually) be at 70.3/140.6.  Athletes that have "1 speed" are not properly developed as endurance athletes.

All that being said, I definitely had some race envy.  It was really fun to watch everyone go out and have a very good race; if everyone had sucked I don't think I would have felt the same!  No IM's for at least 2-3 years for me though, although Brian teased the possibility of doing B2B 2012 as a longgg training day.  I kind of dig that.  No pressure!