Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How far are you going to swim??

Earlier this year I began following Hillary Biscay's blog.  It's a good read and she always posts plenty of pictures (but it is BRIGHT pink which makes it very difficult to pretend to be working when you are caught goofing off).  It wasn't long after I started following that I read about Linsey Corbin's 10,000 yard birthday celebration swim.  My first thought was "that’s stupid." My second thought was "I want to do it!"

The past two weeks have been my offseason and they have been glorious. I have done nothing but eat and drink and sit on my butt. Instead of morning swims, I have been sleeping in. Instead of taking lunch runs, I have been taking lunch naps. Instead of afternoon workouts, I have been drinking and then passing out early. Like I said, it has been glorious. But it doesn’t take long for me to get bored of this type of activity, or non-activity. So I decided that the Saturday after Thanksgiving would be a perfect time to do my 100x100 swim and to kick off the 2012 training season all in one fell swoop.
I thought this would be a good opportunity for a group swim and tried to enlist some friends and the local tri-club. Come swim time, not one person showed up. So I was off for a solo swim!
Since the longest I have ever swum was 6,000 yards, I wanted to pace myself. My goal was to try to keep my splits consistent between 1:32 and 1:35. For the most part I stayed right on track. I grouped the 100’s into sets of 10 to help break things up. After each of the first 10 100’s, I took a 5 second break. After each of the second 10, I took a 10 second break, then back to 5, back to 10, and so on. After each 10 100’s I would take a two minute break to catch my breath and stretch out whatever was getting tight.
I thought since I had not swam anything at all in the last two weeks that it would probably take 1500-2000 yards to find my stroke again and really settle in. Well after 4000 yards, I still couldn’t remember how to swim. So I did 1000 with a pull buoy. Nope, still can’t swim. I was hitting my times for the most part, but man was it a struggle fest! So I did another 1000 focusing on my stroke. Nothing. Alright let’s do a 1000 kick. "I’ve swam 7000 yards now, surely I have to be making progress." Nope, still can’t swim. So after another 1000 working on my stroke I went back to the pull buoy. On the last length of this set, at yard 8,975, something clicked! "That’s what I have been doing wrong!" After seeing my times slip to 1:36, 1:37, 1:38 as I got more and more tired, I finally figured it out!
I set to work on my last 10 100’s and busted out a 1:28. "That felt good, but take this one easy. You still have 900 to go." 1:28! "Slow down man." 1:28! "Same time?" 1:28! "Ok, screw it. Let’s go." 1:28, 1:29, 1:28, 1:24, 1:21, 1:17!

All in all my first 100x100 swim was a complete success, even if I was unable to lift my arms for the next 48 hours.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Miami Man Half Iron Race Report Part Deux!!

Ok, I know I'm late again.  If you haven't seen part 1, you can view it here, otherwise, here's part two of the report:

Race morning the alarm went off at 4:20. I ate my PB&J sandwich and drank a little mountain dew (the kind with real sugar!) and took a quick shower. We were checked out and in the car by 4:40! I love races with bike check in the day before, because race morning there is very little to do, just get my nutriton for the day set up, eat PB&J number 2 and stretch. Except even with the very little to do, I still forgot my endurolytes. So after a mad dash sprint back to the car, then back to the transition area, then to throw my wetsuit on and sprint to the start line, I was nice and warmed up and ready to go!

32:58 - 1:34/100yard - 6th in AG
This is the first time I have ever felt like I was racing in the water. I lined up with the front of our wave and when the gun went off I dove in and took off sprinting. I was determined to make it on the feet of someone fast when we made the first turn. Unfortunately, I still haven't figured out how to swim really hard AND swim straight. Instead I swim way to the left. So my little detour kept me from getting right on the feet I wanted to be on, but I still felt like I was in good position.  I managed to stay in a little pack for the first couple hundred yards but after rounding the 2nd turn buoy, there was nothing left of the pack.  So off on my own I went! 

This swim was in a spring fed lake, so it was crystal clear.  I could see the rock formations on the bottom of the lake nearly the entire swim.  This was a very nice change of pace from the nasty lake and bay swims I have grown acustomed to where you can't even see as far as your elbow when you are swimming. 

I finished my first lap and jumped out of the water to round the timing mat.  As I did so, I heard my cheering section scream that I was in 6th place.  As I hopped back in the water, I could see the next guy in my AG about 25 yards ahead of me.  No matter how hard I swam, he always seemed to be that same 25 yards right in front of me and we finished the second lap in the same position.

I didn't quite make my goal of swimming a 31:xx but I have to say that I am still very happy with this swim.  I have a lot to work on, but just 6 months after swimming a 1:20:31 at Ironman I will call this an improvement. Of course all of the extra speed could be attributed to this swim cap:

T1 - 1:57

2:30:50 - 22.3mph - 4th in AG

 The bike was tough.  Much tougher than I thought that it would be.  The course was flat as a pancake, but the wind was howling!  And my bike is not quite an aero bike.  If you missed part one of my race report than you might not be aware of the fact that I am riding an ancient race bike, known as The Mummy.

Well, I did manage to alter The Mummy a little bit from the picture and add race wheels and aero bars to it.  But despite the changes, the components are still 26 years old.  And it didn't take long before that proved to be a problem.  I wasn't even out of the park that this race is staged in before my rear deraileur decided to throw my chain.  Fortunately though, riding this bike has made me quite proficient at working on a drive train.  So I was off the bike, fixed the chain, and was back riding again in just a minute or two. Now, time to get to work!

During Ironman Texas, I don't think I consumed near enough electrolytes or calories on the bike, so I wanted to make sure I did not repeat that mistake here.  I started with two bottles of gatorade diluted with half water and made sure that I drank a minimum of every 15 minutes.  I took a hammer gel every 30 minutes as well as 1 or 2 endurolytes (depending on how I was feeling) every 30 minutes.  I staggered the gels and the endurolytes so that I didn't have to take both at the same time. 

I wasn't on the bike long before a group of 3 guys, including 2 guys in my age group, riding in a peloton came past me.  I let them go and decided to stick to my heart rate, but after the initial pass, they didn't seem to be putting any additional time on me.  Then the more I watched them draft, the more mad it made me.  So I put a charge in and passed them and then put some space between us.  We ended up battling back and forth for most of the day.  Although one of them was not quite staying out of the draft zone and the other one was no more than half a bike length behind the person in front of him at all times, it was fun to actually race against them and to know where I placed in the race at pretty much all times. 

I started out feeling great on the bike, but as time progressed, the wind picked up big time and my heart rate began to drop.  I thought my inability to hold my heart rate was just the headwind, but after the race I started thinking about things and realised that the change in bike position the week of the race probably had a good deal to do with my heart rate.  Moving my position on the bike from more of a touring position, as the bike was designed, to an aero position moved a lot of the load from my hamstrings to my quads.  This just sucked my legs dry.

In the end, one of the guys I was battling with rode off, I dropped the other and then passed another guy to move up to 4th in my AG coming off of the bike. 

T2 - 1:14

2:08:47 - 9:49 min/mile - 10th in AG

Yeah, the run was carnage.  My quads were cramping within the first half mile.  It didn't matter how much fluid or endurolytes I sucked down, there was no saving them.  My heart rate stayed about where I wanted it, but I couldn't get my legs to move any faster.  I would push harder and harder and my heart rate would shoot higher and higher, and then when I got to the next mile marker I would find that I was not actually running any faster at all.  That's not fun.  I walked through the aid stations and "ran" all the rest of the time.  But that "run" kept getting slower as the day went on.

Sucking down some warm Mountain Dew in a desperate attempt to keep moving.

As I stumbled through the run I began to calculate my times and negotiate with myself: "ok, keep pushing here.  If you can hold this pace, you can still break 5:05." "Ok, keep pushing here. If you can hold this pace, you can still break 5:10..."  In the end I had to run a 30 minute 5k to break 5:15.  I pushed as hard as I could, but once again no matter how much I pushed the hurt, my legs weren't moving any faster.  At one point in the last mile it felt like I kicked a towel or blanket or something and looked down to see what my leg was caught in.  There was nothing there.  "Ok, so now my legs are shutting down.  Let's not pull a Chris Legh here at the end of the race..."  So now I'm pushing as hard as I can and praying my body does not shut down in a collapse fit for Hollywood.  Fun stuff.

I dropped 6 places on the run and finished in 5:15:48.  I'm not exactly proud of that finish or that time, but I am proud of how hard I pushed.  That was the most I have ever hurt in a race and the hardest I have ever pushed. 

Now to find a bike...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Miami Man Race Report Part 1

As soon as a race is over (sometimes before it is over), I begin to start writing the race report in my head. Unfortunately, it rarely makes it to paper (or computer screen). So I have decided to turn over a new leaf and write the race report only 3 days later! The race was on Sunday, so I decided we would drive down to Orlando Friday night and meet up with my dad who has been working there and living out of a hotel. We were going to just share a hotel room with him that night and then get up early Saturday to go down to the expo and check in for the race. My little brother, Payton (freshman in high school), decided he wanted to go with us, so I would have a total of 3 fans at a race 600 miles away. Pretty cool!

The brave-traveling-fan-brother

I decided back over the summer that I wanted to do the Miami Man half iron. It looked like a pretty cool race with a 2 lap swim in a crystal clear lake, flat bike course through the Miami countryside (yeah, who knew that existed?) and a two loop run through the zoo!!! But, I was saving for a wedding and honeymoon and wrote this race off. Then out of the blue one day, Anna surprised me by paying my way! Of course, at that point I was training and racing on this:

Well through a mishap involving a derailleur stuck in my rear wheel and a derailleur hanger that did not want to do it’s job and bend/break, I now have a cracked carbon frame and a 1985 Raleigh Olympian known as The Mummy to train and race on:

To make a long story short, I was holding out hope until the very last minute that I would have another bike to race come the Miami Man. It didn’t happen. So the Monday before the race, I swapped out the cockpit on The Mummy and put the base and aero bars from the Slice on it. I have to give a huge thanks to Joseph at Pro Cycle and Tri who helped me get the bike in as close to a raceable condition as possible! But, I was only able to get one short ride in on the bike with the new set up, but thought "oh, well. I am flexible and this shouldn’t bother me too much. Besides, it will be faster." Well, it was faster, and I was able to hold the TT position just fine for the 56 miles. But, after 6 months of training exclusively on a road bike (that is more of a touring position, I have been told), I did not think about the devastating affect this would have on my qauds. More on this later…

I have been battling a virus and a head cold for the last couple of weeks, but I think that may have been a bit of a blessing in disguise. It may have taken a bit out of me on race day, but the week leading up to the race, it made me get plenty of sleep. I was in bed no later than 9:00 every night and even made it to sleep before 7:00 twice in the week leading up to the race. There is nothing like an 11 hour night of sleep!

Now on this race, logistics was my next obstacle. Miami is 12 hours from Mobile, AL and I had already used all of my vacation days on our honeymoon in September. All of the bosses knew I was going to Miami for a race, so I couldn’t try to use a sick day either.Well, my boss then stepped up in a big way and told me to go ahead and take the afternoon off on Friday so I can get a head start on the road. So we pulled Payton out of school early and headed to get the rental car. After a debaucle that only I could cause, Payton, Anna and I were all finally on the road, but still an easy 4 hours earlier than we would have been without my boss letting me off early.

Then, on the way down, my dad called me with some good news and some bad news. The bad news was that he had been completely unable to find a pair of cheap hotel rooms anywhere close to the race for Saturday night. The good news was that when his boss heard this, he went ahead and booked two hotel rooms for us at the Hampton Inn, and on top of that, he booked an extra room so Anna and I could have our own room Friday night! That was a major relief and a HUGE help on this trip!

Saturday, Anna and I got up at 5 and headed down to Miami. We made it there just minutes after the expo opened up and completed check in and bike check in in record time. We met up with Bill and Anne, the president of our tri club, the GCAT’s, and his wife, who were both racing and rode the course together. We ate Itallian for lunch and Cuban food for dinner packed my bag for the morning and made it to bed by 8:30. I was out like a rock only minutes later.

Tomorrow: Part II – The most I have ever hurt in a race.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Help a brother out

My little brother, Nolan, graduated from high school this past year.  Instead of taking the traditional route of heading to college to party, he has decided to take some time for mission work.  Immediately after graduating, Nolan moved in with me to work two jobs to earn money for this trip.  He also spent all free time he had writing letters asking for support.  He earned and raised a ton of money, but he is still short.  He is heading to the middle east, to the country of Oman for 3 months and he needs some more help to get there.  This is the letter he sent out the other day.

In only seven weeks I will be headed to the Middle East, God has called me to go into the nations of Oman and the United Arab Emirates. My journey started this March while on a mission trip to Guatemala. From there I knew I would be doing a Discipleship Training School (DTS), a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) program, instead of attending college this year. It’s a six month school containing three months of training followed by three months of outreach, designed to equip young people then send them to the world.
I am currently halfway through my DTS and God has already done miraculous things I never could have imagined, including three healings earlier this week. Among many things I have learned how to hear God’s voice, Do what he has told me, and live in freedom with Christ. When I leave I will put all of this into practice, ministering firsthand to the Muslim people.
Before I can go I need your help. About $5,000 is still left to be raised for my outreach to the Middle East. Within the next six days $1,500 is needed so that flight tickets can be purchased. I ask that you will please partner with me in prayer, and, if you are led, with my remaining finances as well. If you wish to see God’s light shone to the dark places of this world please pray, and if God leads you to, please financially contribute.
How to Contribute
1.       Visit
2.       Insert My Information

If you can give anything, even $5, please help him out.  His information is as follows:

Last name: Robinson
First name: Michael (he goes by his middle name, Nolan)
Students email address:
Students birth date: Februarty 22, 1993
School seminar name: DTS - Fire and Fragrance Bilingual
Starting month and year: September, 2011

Thanks a lot for helping him out!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Yeah, this is going to be embarrassing

Yesterday I applied for a sponsorship that I would LOVE to get.  But, I realize I am not near as fast as most of the people that have submitted their applications. BUT, speed isn't everything!  At one point, the would be sponsor said to send in pictures, videos, whatever we thought would help our case.  Well, I couldn't figure out how to send videos through his website and I didn't want to just tag him to Facebook posts, so I thought "why not write a blog and then everyone can share in the fun (read humiliation [wait til you see me dance in the video...])!"  <.... that's a lot of punctuation right there!

Well, here are some highlights from my, so far, short triathlon career.

We have a short series of pictures from 2010 Heart of Dixie Triathlon.  Here you see me before the race happy and ready to roll!
 Fast forward about an hour to the swim start. Let's do it!
 Coming out of the water I feel great!  Lake swims are awesome!
Next, I hammered through the bike.  Please not the photo has been greatly distorted by the incredible speed that I was traveling at.
Then, I ran it on in! Note the sheer joy on my face, no cramping at all in this race! That is definitely not a look of pain, nope!

This year before Ironman Texas, I decided to let Eneko Llanos borrow all of my mojo.  He won.

I did not.  But I finished my first Ironman!  Here I am running down the finishers chute!

Let's fast forward to September 9th, 2011.  Maybe my favorite day ever?  Here I am right before the start of the Brett Robinson Coastal Tri Sprint Distance.  I was definitely up to something when this picture was taken...

After the race, third overall (!), I had to put on my best Bo Jackson pose with my bike, The Mummy (that thing is older than me!)

Then it was time to head off for the fun stuff! 

Yep, podium in the morning then marry that pretty little thing in the afternoon!  It was a good day! 

Well, the sound isn't working (I'll try to get that fixed) but here you go!

Well, Mr. Potential Sponsor, I've made my pitch, and have been making it for a couple of months.  I hope I fit what you are looking for!  And everyone else, well, someone teach me how to dance...