I survived the 2011 Lonestar Sprint Triathlon!
For those who are a little confused on the whole triathlon concept, let me give you an idea of what it is like. The entire sport is designed for people who just can’t decide what they want to do. We swim, we bike, and we run. Strangest of all, we call the whole thing fun.
This past Saturday found me up at 5am and eating a heart breakfast of half a cup of oatmeal and half a piece of bread. Not a lot, but the last thing I wanted was to start the race with a full stomach. Next I left the hotel and walked to the race’s transition area to set up my gear. Fortunately the hotel knew what was going on or they would have wondered where all the bikes were coming from. After setting up my spot I put on my wetsuit and got ready for the swim. Triathlon swims start in waves and my group (men 35-39) were the second wave. We donned are macho orange swim caps (am I the only one who thinks these things look silly?), walking to the end of the dock, and jumping in the water. Nothing like a cold bath to wake you up in the morning. By triathlon standards the swim was short (.3 miles), but the finish line sure looked a long way off. With the sound of the cannon we were off.
Open water swimming is a lot different then swimming in a pool. In the pool you have lanes and you can see what is going on around you. Not so in the ocean. I definately need to work on going in a straight line. I couldn’t see more then 2-3 feet through the water and it felt like I was swimming in a void. Occasionally I would catch a glimps of another swimmer, but most of the time it felt like I was alone in the water. I exited the water towards the front of my age group. I would love to lay claim to outstanding swimming skills, but the reality is that most triathletes are poor swimmers and I happen to be a little less poor then the rest. Total time in the water: 11:50.
As I exited the water I entered into what is known as transition 1. This involves the time between the end of the swim and the start of the bike ride. In theory it is a time when the competitors sprint at top speed to their bikes and take off like the wind. My reality was a little bit different. First off I wasn’t running. I started at a walk as I pealed my wetsuit down to my waist. From there I dropped onto my back and a volunteer helped to pull it off the rest of the way (thank you volunteer, you saved me several minutes of wetsuit wrestling and a lifetime of humorous stories for the crowd). I then slowly jogged to my bike, got on my bike shoes and helmet and waddled towards the bike start (Have you ever tried to run in bike shoes? Trust me, waddle is the right term.). I also realized I had forgotten to put on my race belt with my racing number on it. Oh well. Time in transition: 4:04.
The 12.5 mile bike ride started off with a nasty headwind for the first mile. After that it turned into a mostly sidewind until the turn around. While I am getting better at biking, it is definitely my weakest event. The strong winds made it extra challenging, but the though of having a tailwind at the end kept me going. And boy was it worth it. I finished off the ride at almost 26 miles per hour with the wind helping to push me right along. Total time on the bike: 50:26.
Back at the transition area, I entered into transition 2, the time between the end of the bike and the start of the run. This involved dropping off my bike and helmet and switching into my running shoes. I also remembered to grab my racing number before starting the run. Time in transition: 2:29.
As I started to run I took a quick glance at my watch. 1:08 flashed at me. My target goal was to finish the race in under 1:40. That gave me 32 minute to finish the 3.1 mile run. No problem. A 10 minute mile is fairly standard for me, which would give me a minute to spare (what can I say, I’m a slow runner). Of course, that is my normal running pace, not my pace after swimming and biking for an hour! The main though I had going into the run was DON’T WALK. If I ran the entire time I could do it. If I walked, even for a minute, I wasn’t going to make it. It wasn’t until 15 minutes into the run that the temptation to walk started. It kept nagging at me until I reached the 2.5 mile marker. At that point I knew I was going to make it and I even started to speed up (not much, but my legs felt it). Total time on the run: 29:28.
Crossing the finish line in any race is a great feeling and one that everyone should experience. This race was especially satisfying for me because I met all of my personal goals which included:
While I met all of the above goals (finishing time was 1 hour: 38 minutes: 14 seconds) I am particularly happy with the last one. Last year I finished each of my triathlons with major IT band issues. It was often bad enough that I couldn’t walk without a limp for several days. This year I have worked to build a stronger physical base and replaced some running shoes that were way too old. The results are amazing. Not only did I not have any IT band issues this time around, but I actually got to enjoy the entire race experience: the beginning, the middle, and the end. Now I just need to figure out which triathlon is next.
Tomorrow marks the beginning of my triathlon season. I will be competing in the Lone Star Sprint Triathlon in Galveston, Texas. I entered this event last year, but the swim segment was cancelled at the last minute due to extreme wind, so it ended up being a duathlon. I’m hoping this year it will turn out to include all three events: swim, bike, and run. The distances are fairly short: .3 mile swim, 12.5 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run. OK, I admit that short is a relative term. Compared to the 1/2 ironman I am training for in October, these distances are short. I promise, however, that the swim buoy will look plenty far away on saturday morning as the bell goes off. I wish everyone a great weekend and success in whatever endeavor you undertake.
Looking through the archives you will notice that I spend most of my time on this blog talking about photography. Today I would like to talk about something a little bit different. Earlier this month my wife, Noemi, started a blog: Healthy Mama MD. Her goal is to help individuals who are interested in living a healthy lifestyle with an emphasis on exercise and eating right. I assure you Noemi knows what she is talking about. Not only does she walk the talk (she went from being a reluctant runner to having completed two half-marathons) but she brings a great combination of personal and professional experience to the discussion (did I mention that she is a pediatrician?).
I invite you to check out Noemi’s new site and hear her story. Blogging can be lonely in the early days and I know Noemi would appreciate a bit of encouragement as she gets going on her new project. Better yet, keep coming back and you just might learn something.
MPix is currently offering a great opportunity to get that print you have been dreaming about. Between now and March 30th, MPix is offering 15% off all print orders. To get the discount, enter promo code “prints15” at checkout.
Our school recently entered the annual TAPPS (Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools) competition. This is an art competition, with more then 20 different categories in which students from different schools compete against each other. The Winston School San Antonio (where I teach) has done very well in the past, taking an overall first place last year along with many individual student winners. Unfortunately, this year the judges liked the other student’s work more and as a school we ended up tying for 5th place. We were understandably disappointed, but I was very happy to see that the three pieces that will be going on to the state level competition are all my students! Yes, I feel like a proud father who’s child has completed a great accomplishment (which in a way they have). So, without further a-due, let me share with you the three students and photographic pieces that will be representing The Winston School San Antonio at the state TAPPS competition.
The water fountain image was taken by Saion Peterson during his first week in my photography class (great shot for a beginner). I love the diagonal lines and the effective use of shallow depth of field to control the viewer’s gaze. Obviously the judges liked it too as the image was awarded 1st place in the Traditional Photography category.
The baseball image was a great surprise for both me and the photographer, Joel Corchado. For me because Joel is not even in my photography class this year. Joel took photography with me last year and I was happy to learn that he has continued to shoot. A few months ago Joel brought me a shot of a baseball he had taken at his house. The image had high contrast and limited detail. Remembering how much Joel enjoyed creating artsy, abstract images, I decided to introduce him to HDR (high dynamic range) photography. Joel then reshot the baseball image as part of an HDR series, brought them into PhotoMatix, and added the final touches in Photoshop. With HDR grunge images, you never know if the viewer will love it of hate it. Fortuantely, the judges loved it and awarded Joel 2nd place in the Manipulated Photography category.
Finally, we come to Caleb Smith’s panoramic image. Caleb actively petitioned the administration at our school to let him take photography this year. I am very glad he joined my class as he has a creative eye and has expressed an interest in becoming a professional photographer. Caleb’s panorama consists of seven images which were taken at the local park while standing inside a dome jungle gym. The images were then stitched together in Photoshop and strokes were applied to the pieces to create a puzzle like effect. The end result is pretty cool and the judges liked it enough to award it 4th place in the Manipulated Photography category.
After work today I am getting in the car and heading out to the North American Nature Photography Association’s annual summit in McAllen, Texas. On Thursday I will be presenting two breakout sessions on Wildlife Filmmaking for Still Photographers. If you will be attending, make sure to say hello.
(click on the image to see larger version)
27 days into the new year and I am finally getting around to making resolutions. Actually, this is my clever plan in action. It is well known that few people are able to keep their resolutions past the first week. By starting four week into the new year, I have already demonstrated an impressive level of commitment. I do get credit for the last 27 days right?
As those of you who have been following this blog know, last year I decided to challenge myself to complete a sprint triathlon. Not only did I complete one, but I ended up competing in three, including an olympic distance race which covered 33 miles! OK, competing might be a strong word, but I crossed the finish line each time.
The sense of accomplishment was great and I look forward to another triathlon season starting up in March. My first race will be the Galveston sprint triathlon in April. More importantly (and unbelievably to myself and others), I will be entering my first 1/2 ironman race in either September or October (still deciding on the race date). For those of you who know nothing about triathlons (me a year ago), a 1/2 ironman race is a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run.
Yes, I have officially passed the point of sanity. Now, if you will excuse me, I have some training to do.
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Beginning in February, I will be offering a series of one day workshops and classes at The Winston School San Antonio in San Antonio, TX. These classes are open to the public and are a great opportunity to master your photographic and digital media skills.
The first two course offerings are:
Upcoming Conference - North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA)
In March (March 9-12, 2011), the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) will hold their annual summit in McAllen, TX. The NANPA summit is a great educational experience with a focus on wildlife and nature photography. I am also happy to announce the I will be presenting one of the breakout sessions this year: Wildlife Filmmaking for Still Photographers. So join me in McAllen for a few days and don’t forget your camera, the Rio Grande Valley (south Texas for non Texans) is one of the best bird hotspots in the world.
I would like your help. When I teach classes or give presentations, I spend time answering questions about my personal experiences and photography in general. Along those lines, I would like to answer some of your questions each week on this blog. To do that, I need your questions.
If you have questions about photography, animal behavior, or anything in between, please post it in the comments or send me an e-mail and join the conversation.