Monthly Archives: June 2010

BBQ Sunday

My grill had been out of commission for a few weeks because I hadn’t found the time to get a new igniter and install it. I finally found the time this weekend and decided I would try to make some pulled pork on Sunday.


I started out Saturday night by getting some rub and letting it sit overnight.


Sunday morning I let it sit out for a few minutes and then injected an apple juice based sauce into the pork to help keep it tender.


And at 10:30 I tossed it onto the grill over indirect heat and let it cook.


For a long time


It even thunder stormed for a while so I rolled the grill into the patio to cook for the last couple hours.


At 9pm  I made the executive decision that it was cooked enough and it was time for dinner. I pulled it apart and made some sandwiches with a couple of different BBQ sauces.



The pork had a really good taste to it but it was clear that certain parts hadn’t been cooked all the way because there was still a lot of fat left.


Thinking about it now the problem was how I dealt with the indirect heat while cooking. I have a four burner grill so I set the far left grill on low and put the pig on the far right side of the grill and never turned it during cooking. This probably caused one side of the pig to cook a lot faster then the other producing the results I got. So next time I either need to rotate it a couple times during cooking or if I can still keep the temperature low enough I am going to try and turn the far left and far right burners on low and put the pig in the middle.

Today I put the pieces with a lot of fat left into the oven at 250* and let them cook for a couple more hours and things turned out very good with dinner tonight.  

Gearing Back Up

After taking last week mostly off; I ran once, biked once, and swam twice.  I’m still not sure what the rest of my season is going to be look (probably shorter races) but it’s time to pick the volume back up with training this week, and I had a couple of really good workouts.

I had a 3,000 yard swim where I was averaging 1:35 per 100 yards the entire workout, and I just finished some intervals at the track where I was able to hold 6:00 min/mile for all my intervals. It’s good see that my body has bounced back after the race but it’s frustrating to know I had better swimming and biking fitness then what showed up on race day.

Eagleman Race Report Part 2

Part 1 covers the actual race itself and this part is the adventure I had after the race.

As soon as I crossed the finish line and stopped running it felt like someone was turning the lights off. I was getting very light headed and was starting to see black spots in my vision so I sat down in the one of the chairs they had set up at the finish. Somewhere along the way to sitting down someone took my timing chip off and I got my medal, but I don’t remember any of that happening.

I decided it was time to get up and keep moving so I went to find the family and judging by how look in these pictures I was still kind of out of it.



I walked over to the swim start with the intention of going in the water to try and cool down a little bit. I only made it calf deep before I needed to sit back down on the dock. (And yes I tried to walk in with my shoes on)


I sat on the dock for several minutes until I had the strong desire to lie down again. Then the world started spinning and I was getting really light headed again so I decided it would be a good idea to walk over to the med tent if I was going to lie down. And at this point I was apparently starting to slur my words a little bit.


I sat down on a stretchers and they came over to take my vitals. I felt much better after laying down and drank lots of Gatorade and water for 10-15 minutes so I decided to sit up and see how I would feel and that is when things got kind of scary.

I got the worst cramps I have ever experienced. My abs cramped and started to spasm, which was causing me to take really shallow breaths, my calves got extremely tight, and it felt like someone was turning crank and tightening my quads and the muscles (tendons maybe?) on both sides of my knee. It felt so bad I was yelling and rolling around in pain. One of the doctors came over to try and get me to relax and stretch my calves to release the cramp. I was trying to tell him where the cramps where at but it just came out is inaudible grunting and pointing. They gave me some salt pills and told me to take really deep breaths and relax to release the cramps.

The cramps finally let up after 5 painful minutes but everything still felt really tight and like it would cramp again the second I tried to move. I continued to sip Gatorade and take deep breaths but every 10 minutes or so another wave of painful cramps would come. After about 30 minutes of they decided to give me an IV bag. 

The IV worked like magic and I instantly started to feel better. The bag took about 15 minutes and after ten more minutes of laying down I was able to sit up without cramping and could wander around the med tent without cramping. I walked waddled  around for 5-10 minutes and it was amazing how tight all my leg muscles were, my knees didn’t want to bend anymore.

The medics suggest I get a light massage to try and stretch things out. The race had free post race massages so I got in line and got worked on for ten minutes and I felt much better when she was finished. 


Looking back on the race I just wasn’t able to drink enough fluids to keep up with how much I was sweating and lost to much salt. Which is kind of surprising because I had two salt tablets before the race, I was constantly drinking water and Gatorade on the bike, and then I had another salt tablet at the start of the run. I tend to sweat a lot but I think the heat and humidity just took it’s tool on me and I couldn’t keep up.

I was able to make it back home safely  without anymore cramps or light head feeling but I was drained. I had a couple of late flights for work on Monday and Tuesday so I still feel really worn out several days later. This is far and away the most beat up I’ve felt after a half ironman.

While I’m disappointed with my race performance and that my hard work didn’t translate into a good race I can’t be too mad. If I had somehow managed to continue running for a few more miles I could have wound up passed out in a ditch on the side of the road from heat stroke or had those bad cramps during the run.

But I do need to do a lot of thinking in the next couple weeks. Both about my schedule for the rest of this year; if I really want to do another half ironman and if I want to do Eagleman again next year. I’m thinking something like Mooseman which is in New Hampshire might be a better fit for me. Eagleman is always going to be hot and humid and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to excel at a race like that.     

Eagleman Race Report Part 1


This was my most disappointing triathlon race so far, I had a solid  four months of training this spring. I was 15 lbs lighter then last years race  and to have this dud of a race is very disappointing.  

Pre Race

Unlink most races the pre race activities were actually very busy for me. It was a very early morning with the alarm going off at 4am. I stayed in Salisbury so I had a half hour drive to the race site but because my Dad was volunteering at the race we got to park inside the Great Marsh Park and I could sit in the car and see my bike in the transition area.


The problem was when I went put the rest of my racing stuff with my bike I was surprised to see that my back tire had blown out and gone flat. That’s not too big of a deal as it is usually just a quick inner tube change. But this was different, the wheel cover that I use to turn my power meter training wheel into an aerodynamic disc had cracked. I think the tire just blew out and the force cracked the plastic cover.

This left me with a difficult choice, I have an older deep section race wheel from before I got my power meter. So I could either take the cover off and use a standard wheel with the powertap or I could use my old race wheel and not have power to pace myself. I have ridden the course multiple times and had a good idea of what my goal watts should feel like so I decided to go with the aero wheel without power meter since it would give me the fastest setup. 

Swim 43:12

The other interesting prerace news was that the water was 79 degrees which means no wetsuits. That’s not a big deal for me, I’m a decent enough swimmer. It just means that I would swimming a few minutes slower.image

This year’s swim course was a bit different then last year. Everyone swam out to the end of the boat ramp and we had a deep water swim start.



The swim start was actually very calm for a big Ironman and I only got kicked once or twice in the first couple hundred yards and then it was clear sailing until I would catch up to the stranglers in an early wave.


I was feeling really good during the swim and took what I thought was a good line. So I was very disappointed when I got out of the water and saw 42 minutes, I was really expecting to see 35-36 minutes.


I think what happened is I took the long way back to shore after the last turnaround. You can see what I’m talking about in the picture below. The red buoy is the swim finish and you can just make out the orange turn buoy if you look into the background. Instead of going right to the red buoy (which you are allowed to do) I tried to stay closer to the yellow sighting buoys which you can see obviously added some distance to my swim.


T1 1:44

I didn’t have a wetsuit to take off so this was quick.


Bike 2:34:20


The race plan was to take it easy for the first half hour at around 210 watts for the first half hour and then go up to 220 watts for the rest of the ride. But because I didn’t have my powermeter I had to improvise and go by heart rate and perceived effort. I biked the course 3 times this spring and this was the calmest I have seen the wind.


Being in one of the last waves the course can get really crowded and this year was no exception but most people were good about staying to the right and letting the faster people pass. I spent most of ride passing people and for the middle twenty miles found someone going about the same pace as me so I kept him about ten yards in front of me and let him make sure people were moving over to the right to pass.

I was expecting a big headwind like usually for the last 10-15 miles but it wasn’t there which was nice. Mentally it seemed like the bike just flew by and I was back to the park and done before I knew it.


Because of the lack of wind I managed to average just under 22 mph for the ride which is a couple minutes faster then last year, but since I didn’t have the power data I don’t really know if this ride was truly better then last year or not.


Looking at my hear rate chart I did a good job of following the plan I improvised and I don’t think this was what lead to my run performance. 


T2 1:49

Another quick transition but the fact that my back is covered in dry salt from my sweat is a sign of the bad things that are on the way.


Run Death March  2:30:22

This was a complete and utter disaster. 


The plan was to run ~ 8 min miles for the first 3 miles to get my legs under me and then drop the pace down to 7:30. I didn’t feel to bad coming out of the transition and got through my first three miles at an 8:15 pace.



I tried to pick up the pace up after three miles and my legs were having none of that so I settled back in at an 8 min per mile pace for next mile and then I just blew up.

This was the worst I have ever felt during a race, my legs would not let me run. The heat and humidity just wore me out and I was done. I was only able to run for a quarter mile at a time and then I would need to walk again. It was so frustrating because I knew from all my training I was capable of these paces and I wanted to keep running but it just wasn’t happening. It was a run/walk suffer fest for the next nine miles.

My heart rate would start to shoot through the roof when I would try to run at an easy pace and I would start see one or two spots out of the corner of my eye until I started to walk again. Once I got to mile 11 it turned into mostly walking for the next mile. 


I walked until I got to the finish tunnel and then jogged down the finish line to a disappointing finish time .


Post Race


And this is where all the fun starts. But that will have to wait until part 2.

Quick Eagleman Update

I had a really tough day out there today. To everyone’s surprise the swim was a non-wetsuit swim so I obviously swam slower then if I had the wetsuit but it wasn’t to bad. The winds weren’t to bad and I had a solid bike ride setting a new PR at just over 2:30:00. But then the wheels came off on the run, I made it 4 miles before I completely broke down and had to run/walk the rest of the way. And to top it all off I got to spend 90 minutes in the medical tent after I finished the race.

Everything is fine, I was just very dehydrated. I’m out of town the next couple days so I’ll try to get my report up by Wednesday, there is going to be plenty to write about.


Last week I took a work trip to Huntsville, Alabama for a few days. I had a late flight back Friday so and had some free time Thursday so I got to visit some interesting locations.

Thursday I visited the Brahan Springs natatorium for my swim. This is a really nice indoor/outdoor pool that’s only cost $3 to get into so it was a great deal. It’s a 25 yard by 50 meter setup so maybe I’ll get lucky and they will it set up for long course meters next time I’m in town because I’ve never swam in a 50 meter pool.

I had some technique pointers I was working on that finally clicked and I was swimming right around 1:30 per all my 100’s which was really good to see.

DSC_4095.jpg image by charles_ucsb

In the evening I drove 15 minutes outside of town to the Monte Sano state park to get in a trail run. The park has a very vast trail network and looks like it has some great mountain biking. I stuck to a couple of trails at the top of the ridge so that I went back by my car to rehydrate because it was about 92 degrees and very humid outside.  


Friday had a few hours to kill before my flight home so on a recommendation I drove to Decatur, Al and visited the award winning Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q

I got a pork plate which was delicious and is probably the Best Bar-B-Q I’ve had so far. But the sauce is really what makes it. They have won tons of awards for it, and I think it lived up to the hype. I actually just went to webpage and you guy buy the sauce online, so I’m probably going to buy  some after I finish righting this.


Back in Huntsville I went by the US Space and Rocket Center. This also happens to be the home of Space Camp which I always remember as being one of the prizes on those Nickelodeon game shows I watched as a kid.

I didn’t think the museum is as good as the one’s in DC but that’s probably not a fair comparison. Most of the museum focuses on the role Huntsville has played in the development of rockets for the military and in space exploration. It also has lots of info about Wernher von Braun. Plus there’s two full scale Saturn V’s; one is by the main entrance  and the other is laying on it’s side in the main museum.    

photo (1)

And they have this in the parking lot. It’s an SR-71 right?

photo (2) 

No, it’s actually an A-12 which was built for the CIA and is what lead to the SR-71 program. Most people don’t know this plane existed they just know the SR-71. 

So overall I had a good couple days in Huntsville. I got a couple of solid bike rides in this weekend and I’m feeling really good about Eagleman next Sunday.