Race recap: Route 66 Half Iron

On July 26, after two weeks of makeshift training due to work and vacation, I pulled on my EPIC Endurance tri kit and made my way out to the Route 66 Half Iron in Springfield, Illinois. I had heard a lot about this race–good and bad. However the prospect of racing on historic Route 66, along with my own eagerness to do some racing was too much.

Unfortunately it was one of the hottest days of the summer. The race updates the week before signaled the race would not be wet suit legal, with Lake Springfield water temps recorded at 86 degrees–unusually hot for such a large body of water. On top of that some wind made, what I can only assume are normally calm waters, into a choppy mess.

Oh well. Complaining wasn’t going to make it any easier. I set myself up in transition, stopping to exchange words of encouragement with fellow Tri-Sharks and friends from Path Performance and Grim Reaper Fitness. Around 10 minutes before the swim start a referee made an announcement over his megaphone.

They had checked the temperature of the water and had determined that the race would be wet suit legal. Commotion erupted in the transition area. Most people had not brought their wet suit. I had packed mine out of habit but couldn’t decide whether to wear it. It was pretty warm. I could overheat. On the other hand a wet suit equals free speed and would help in the choppy waters. I went back and forth and finally decided to wear it.

Image Lindsay Bridge in Springfield

Lindsay Bridge in Springfield

The 1.2 mile swim course went under the arches of the historic Lindsay Bridge and back down the shore to a point past the swim start. I fell into a good rhythm on the way out. I easily made it under the bridge, around the turn buoy, and then started swimming back. That’s when the wind kicked in. I fought choppy waters and a current created by the bridge and wind. Every few strokes I took would leave me slightly in the air and smacking back down in the water. Thank you waves. Boats of lifeguards and

Image swimmers in Lake Springfield

Choppy waters in Lake Springfield

volunteers provided an additional challenge when patrolling the perimeter of the course as they created a wake from the side. Nonetheless I kept pushing myself and made it to the swim exit. As I approached the end a guy ahead of me refused to let me pass, so as soon as I could stand I sprinted past him across the line for my own satisfaction. On to the bike.

Swim time: 39:40 Very solid for me. I was pleased!

I was looking forward to the bike, which is odd for me. I do a lot of training on Route 66 from Normal to Pontiac and am fond of the road. The route had some bumpy spots and a few minor hills. I kept my heart rate in low Zone 3 the whole time and managed a good speed. Actually I was flying and feeling really good doing it. I was determined to keep it up through the end of the bike. The way back had a headwind to keep things interesting, but I stayed nestled in my aero bars and kept the wheels spinning.

Bike time: 2:44:49 Holy cow! For me this is amazing. I was baffled that I was able to keep up a 20.4 mile pace over 56 miles. What was even better is I was still feeling fantastic.

After a strong performance on the bike, I was feeling pumped for the end of the race. I did great on the swim. I flew on the bike. And not that I am the world’s best runner, but out of the three sports, the run is definitely my thing. I figured I would be able to finish the race in a really big way.

Image Steven Barcus running Route 66 Half Iron

I quickly played triage with my run pace in favor of keeping my stomach under control and staying hydrated.

But like Icarus I flew too close to the sun and burned. I was little more than 2 miles into the run when the heat and humidity started affecting me. The temperature was around 86 degrees, the air was thick, and the hilly run course was not helping anything. I had practiced good nutrition on the bike and was taking in plenty of fluids and gels on the run, but nothing was helping. It was agony.

I rarely think about quitting during a race, but each time I saw a SAG golf cart drive by, I thought of how easily I could flag it down and end this jaunt through Satan’s backyard.

But pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.

I kept plodding along, grabbing water and ice at every aid station, drinking Heed when I could, and trying to maintain the delicate balance between running, drinking, eating, and not throwing up. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, I made it back to the Lindsay Bridge and ran across the finish line.

Steven Barcus running on Lindsay Bridge

The Lindsay Bridge signaled the end of a hot, humid, and hilly run.

Run time: 2:11:47 Ouch! That hurt my ego. I was hoping for something in the area of 1:45-1:50. I reviewed all of the run times for racers after the fact and found that my time was fairly typical, and that there were only a handful of really fast times. Still, I’ll log the run as a lesson in pain and suffering.

Final time (with transitions): 5:42:08 That time ranks me as 8/17 in my age group and 35/155 overall. Minus a slow run I am pleased with my performance. I did well in the overall stats and set a new P.R.

What is more, I feel like I will be able to kill at my next 70.3 triathlon, Border Wars, at the beginning of October. I have almost two months to prepare between now and then. My hope is to knock a couple of minutes off my swim, maintain my pace on the bike, and bring that run to where it should be. With cool autumn temperatures, I think I have a shot!

Image Route 66 Half Iron medal

The newest medal on my wall, positioned next to the one I received for my first century at Miles of Smiles. I was sad to miss MOS for the Half Iron, but am glad I got to race.

Thanks to HardyBreed.com for taking photos and posting them to their Flickr account.

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Vacation training in Canada

I may have mentioned this before, but when I first started distance running and triathlon, I would always hear my fellow athletes and friends describe the training they were going to do on vacation. “While we are in Italy we thought it’d be the perfect time to do a 70-mile ride through the countryside.” OR “We’re going to Florida for the week and plan to do a lot of open water swimming and beach running. Sand running really strengthens the ankles!”

Ugh! I wondered why these people couldn’t just go somewhere and enjoy it for a few days without busting their butts all around the destination. I decided I would never be one of “those” people. Evidently I was lying to myself. I’ll share two stories from my own vacation training.

My dad arranged a trip for me and my brothers to do some serious fishing for a week on Eagle Lake in Ontario, Canada. I immediately decided that this was the perfect opportunity to use downtime to log some running miles in another country. I also brought along my wet suit in the off-hand chance I had an opportunity to do some open water swimming.

I did quite a bit of running along hilly, dirt roads and trails near the camp. It was very pleasant overall and my routes frequently took me past gorgeous horses, bald eagles, and sweeping views of the surrounding forests and lake. I even had a running companion at one point–the camp dog, Bosco. Bosco wandered camp and hung out with me on more than one occasion. He would walk down to the docks and lay dutifully by while I fished. He would bring logs over (not sticks) to play fetch. And one day as I was running out of camp he came bounding after. I didn’t mind at first since I had never seen him stray far out of camp. This day he just kept going. I made it around .75 miles, or 1.2 km for my Canadian readers out of camp and he was still following me, albeit at a slowing pace. I had planned a 10-mile total out and back run and REALLY did not want to have to carry an exhausted, 90-pound dog on my shoulders for the second half of my run, so I sent him home. Or I tried to.

Bosco the black lab

Bosco was a great dog, but I figured I shoudn’t be the one to test the limits to his endurance.

He wouldn’t go. I commanded. I coaxed. I pleaded. I even tried to sprint off without him, and he still kept trying to follow. Finally I turned around and ran him back into camp. He ran off to find his water dish and a nice fetch log when we arrived. I used the opportunity to make my escape without him. A little part of me was sad he didn’t end up following me again. But most of me was happy I didn’t have to haul a lab over hills in Canada.

I’ve got to say though that my favorite training day was when I got to do some

Steven Barcus at Eagle Lake

I pull on my wet suit and get ready to plunge into Eagle Lake.

open water swimming. My dad took me in our boat from the docks late one afternoon. As we were leaving the dock hand asked if we were going to fish. My dad responded that he was taking me out a mile and dumping me off the shore of one of the many little islands, after which I would swim back. The dock hand laughed good naturedly at my dad’s “joke.” My dad told him he was not joking. The dock hand gave a surprised look and we took off.

pelicans, seagulls, and Steve Barcus

I swim by the treacherous birds of Bird Rock. Who knew there could be pelicans and seagulls so far north?!

Eagle Lake is really big. It is home to bald eagles, ravens, deer, loons, ducks, seagulls, pelicans, supposedly moose and bear (never saw any), and fish including northern pike, walleye, and musky.

I was dropped precisely 1.2 miles from camp and began the swim back. The route had some opportunity for sighting. First to the edge of Strawberry Island (really wish it had a more badass name), then to a small group of rocks we referred to as

pelicans and seagulls in Ontario

A closer view of Bird Rock.

Bird Rock due to the land being packed with seagulls and pelicans (very clever naming, I know), and finally past an outcropping of land and into Waldhoff Bay where our camp, Birch Dale Lodge, was nestled.

The waters were pristine, but brisk, so I was glad I had my wet suit. There were no big problems for the most part. My dad did a great job of spotting me between landmarks and drove off the seagulls and pelicans from Bird Rock that were taking dives at me. He also had a sea plane come in really low. Thankfully this did not land on me due to the presence of his boat!

Steven Barcus at Eagle Lake

I make the approach to camp unbeknownst the groups of unsuspecting campers.

When I arrived at our dock and heaved myself onto the wooden planks, I was surprised to hear applause and cheering. I looked over and saw that a dozen or so people had watched me finish. It doesn’t get any better than having your personal cheering section. I took questions, accepted compliments (including one boy telling me I looked so fast he thought I was a musky), and made my way back for a hot shower.

I may be one of “those” people, but I see it as being fortunate to have the privilege to train in places others will never go. Big thanks to my dad and my little fan club for making it possible.

Steve Barcus on  a dock in Eagle Lake

I stand up on the dock and greet my public! Hooray for me!

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My July 4th in 88 words

I summarize my fourth of July in 88 words:

American Triple-T swim cap

*Happy Birthday America!

5:45 a.m. Bzzt! Bzzt! Snooze…Bzzt! Bzzt! Snooze…Up! Water. Gel. Running shoes. 6 miles with intervals. Home. Protein shake. Load bike. Drive to the lake. Wetsuit. Goggles. Jump. Sploosh! 1.2 mile swim. Pose. Click*. Strip wetsuit. Change into bike kit. Bike. 15 miles. Merna Tap. Hamburger. Bike. 8 miles. Retrieve CO2 cartridge. Scold. Kicks on 66. Beer. Bike. 11 miles. Lake Road Inn. Pop. Bike. 3 miles. Lake house. Beer. Chat. Home. Stretch. Shower. Nap. Dinner. Drive to party. Fireworks. Wine. Beer. Snacks. Home. Prep bike. Stage gear. Sleep.

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“Don’t Panic,” the world’s greatest relay team, rebranded itself as “42” and headed north to take on the Rev3 Wisconsin Dells 70.3 relay. We were all eager for a repeat of the success we saw in Knoxville, Tennessee, and were approaching the race with a relaxed attitude. We figured if we each raced our portion to the best of our abilities, we wouldn’t have any trouble at least being contenders for the podium. Unfortunately even simple plans can become complicated.

Infinite improbability

Saturday night before the race we had a good dinner, hydrated plenty, stopped by the candy store for post-race gummy bears, (David and I went and grabbed a couple of drinks), and we all got to bed at a decent time…no problems here, right? Unfortunately Kelly has had problems with her back for years. I never appreciated the full extent of those problems until a coughing fit caused her to completely throw out her back.

She was in pain. A LOT of pain.

She took some medicine, tried to use a roller on her back, and did some basic stretching. We drove to the race course to set up our gear, hoping by then she would begin to feel better. She did not.

Steve Barcus, Kelly Ruiter, and David Ford at Rev3 Wisconsin Dells triathlon

Don’t let the smile fool you. All was not well at that moment!

Excruciating pain was scrawled all over her face.  Dave and I were ready to consider other options including:

1. Jori Cooper, a friend who was spectating the race could fill in.

2. I could borrow some goggles and swim in run shorts (not ideal).

3. We could just not start the race.

Kelly had other ideas. She decided to do the practice swim and see how she felt. After gutting it out several hundred yards she swam back to shore. The pain from her back could be seen in each stroke. What she said when we pulled her out of the water surprised both Dave and I.

Kelly Ruiter Rev3 Wisconsin Dells

Kelly Ruiter on the practice swim trying to come to terms with her surroundings.

“I think I’d like to try it.”

I’ll admit I wasn’t thrilled about the idea. In fact I gently tried to talk her out of it. But I also knew the only person who can tell Kelly Ruiter what to do is Kelly Ruiter. With that she lined up to start the swim, jumped in the water, and started working on the 1.2 miles ahead.

Anything that happens, happens

Bike transition at Rev3 Dells triathlon

Bike transition at Rev3 Dells triathlon

Dave and I stood around transition making final preparations to his bike, chatting with other racers, and calculating imaginary splits. Kelly had originally planned to do her swim in under 40 minutes, but had adjusted her anticipated time to 50 minutes, not including the additional time that would be needed to sprint up the long hill to transition. We watched the clock and also kept tabs on other relay teams, one of which took off the bike before us. Suddenly we glanced over and spotted a girl with spiky red hair waving her arms and running through the transition gate. She was way earlier than we expected.

“Holy crap, there she is!” I said, very surprised.

Dave snapped on his helmet and pulled his bike out of the rack while I ran over and ripped the timing chip off Kelly’s leg, wrapping it around Dave’s immediately after. With that he was off on a brutal bike course that features more climbing than the 112 miles of the IRONMAN Wisconsin bike course.

Kelly’s official time: 40:07…Geez!

She was in quite a bit of pain afterward, but she had that luxury. Against the odds she had made it through 1.2 miles and at a time many would be envious of. Great job.

Oh no, not again!

Dave had ridden the Rev3 Dells bike course before, so he knew what he was getting into. Unbeknownst to his competitors he had a few advantages.

1. This time he did not have to pace himself for a full 70.3.

2. There was a relay team in front of him he wanted to hunt down.

3. Dave has been royally rocking his bike races this year.

4. He is David Ford.

Steven Barcus and David Ford at Rev3 Wisconsin Dells

A few seconds earlier I was lounging in the shade. Now, having just taken the timing chip, my mind was focused on running.

Knowing that the course had some brutal hills, Dave anticipated finishing his leg in just under three hours. Kelly, Jori, and I made plans to run back to the hotel and return to transition in more than enough time for Dave to pass the chip to me. Everything proceeded as planned. When I returned to transition I stretched, tried to get pumped for the run, and then sat down on the ground underneath a tent. No point in me baking in the sun and getting dehydrated yet.

I was in the middle of taking a gel, anticipating that Dave would be returning in around 10 minutes, when I heard someone yell, “Barcus!” It didn’t register with me at first. The second time I heard my name yelled I suddenly realized that it was Jori calling out, and the only reason she would be doing that was if…

I sprang up from the ground and dashed to the bike rack as Jori hollered, “He’s coming.” I turned to see Dave barreling into transition, screeching to a halt in front of me. I grabbed the chip from his ankle, wrapped it around mine, and sprinted out of transition.

Racing hard hurts! Dave catches his breath after making the handoff. Sometimes you keep it together only as long as you need to.

Racing hard hurts! Dave catches his breath after making the handoff. Sometimes you keep it together only as long as you need to.

Don’t panic

Dave did a great job. With a bike time of 2:51:22, he had not only caught the relay team in front of us, but also created a nice lead. During the first few miles I scanned incoming bikers for the other team’s number. I was at mile 1.7 when I saw their rider headed toward transition.

“Well,” I thought to myself. “It’s my race to lose now. Get on it!”

The Dells course was hot and hilly. Still I kept on it, pushing it up the hills reasonably and letting gravity do its work on the descents. It was grueling, and the entire time I was keeping an eye out for other relay runners. Kelly had a great swim despite her back and Dave had an awesome bike. I really didn’t want to be the one to blow this.

I kept moving and eventually saw the finish chute. I was worn out and felt a bit like a zombie after all of those hills, but I managed some energy when David and Kelly met me in the finish chute. We all ran across together, putting another relay in the books.

Steve Barcus, Kelly Ruiter, and David Ford at Rev3 Wisconsin Dells triathlon

42 crosses the finish line!

Steve’s run time: 1:40:57

I’m pretty happy with me time for all of the hills and heat. I’ll take it.

Steve Barcus, Kelly Ruiter, and David Ford at Rev3 Wisconsin Dells triathlon

BONUS PIC: Speaking of “sometimes holding it together only as long as you have to,” I gave in to exhaustion immediately after crossing the line. Sometimes racing isn’t pretty.

Team relay time: 5:14:46.746

Steve Barcus, Kelly Ruiter, and David Ford at Rev3 Wisconsin Dells triathlon

Podium shot!

Our finish time earned us a spot on the podium once again. There may have been some hiccups (or coughs) along the way, but we all did the best we could and were able to enjoy doing it. Walking away with hardware is great, but at the end of the day it is just icing on the cake.

Next up for our team…I don’t know. I guess we should start working on that.


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Return to Madison

Last Monday saw me returning to the Ironman Wisconsin bike course for a couple of loops. This ride was not on my training schedule, and I hadn’t ridden more than around 45 miles this year, but I figured, why not? I was already in the area visiting family. I saw it as a good chance to get out and get some good hill training in.

Ironman Wisconsin bike course

Rolling hills, sweeping landscapes, and idyllic weather made this a great ride!

I had a beautiful day for the ride, so I took it easy, actually enjoying some of the scenery. It is easy to forget to do that when training, especially on an Ironman course. You get so wrapped up in cadences, heart rates, watts, and miles per hour that sometimes you miss the sweeping landscape right in front of you.

The ride was relatively uneventful until 60 miles in, almost exactly halfway through the second loop. Riding along I suddenly heard the dreaded, “PSSSSSSSSSSSSH!!!!” sound erupting from my back tire.

“Well, by golly it looks like I am fortunate enough to have an opportunity to practice changing a tire,” I said, not at all angry or cursing the pebble, nail, or other item that had interrupted my ride.

Kestrel Talon at Fireman's Park in Verona

My faithful steed served me well. Fireman’s Park in Verona works as a great staging point to ride the loop.

A while later, and with hands black from grease and oil, I continued my ride. I was faced with a choice as I was halfway through the loop: Go back or finish the loop. Going back was technically the better choice since it would have taken me through two towns, and avoided the three infamous hills of the course and Stagecoach Road. (Fun fact: Stagecoach Road gets its name due to the fact that the last time any work was done on it was when stagecoaches traveled on it.)

I chose to continue. As I said, I wanted to ride the hills. Fortunately fate did not punish me for riding without a spare tube and CO2 cartridge. I made it back to Verona at 77 miles and cranked out 3 more to make it an even 80. Truth be told I would have loved to do the extra 20 to make it a century ride, but I decided I had tempted fate enough by riding the hard part of the course without any repair tools or support.

All in all a good day. I plan to make it back up to Madison again this summer and get a 100 miler in. Plus, Madison is a great town and I wouldn’t mind taking my time on the trip. I’ll probably make the local Pedaling for Kicks a big ride, so I have options.

Rev3 Dells relay next weekend. Check back for a race recap!

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Mostly Harmless

Last fall, myself, along with Kelly Ruiter and David Ford, who you may remember from my wildly popular Sufferlandria/Dante’s Inferno crossover blogs, sat at J. Gumbo, toying with an idea. The idea was to form a relay team and sweep the Rev3 relay circuit, beginning in Knoxville. Kelly would swim. David would bike. And I would run. Thus our training began.

David Ford, Kelly Ruiter, David Quinn, and Steve Barcus

Our travel group featured (from left to right) David Ford, Kelly Ruiter, David Quinn, and Steve Barcus

Before we knew it, winter had passed along with “spring” (I’m using that term loosely) and we made our way down to Knoxville. We picked up another racer for the 9-hour drive and made it to the race site. Our team name was “Mostly Harmless,” paying homage to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy novels. We signed in, check out the expo, enjoyed some local restaurants, watched a robot throw around a beach ball in the science village, and passed the time. Yet all the while our minds were on Sunday…Race Day!

Into the Drink

Kelly Ruiter

Kelly Ruiter waits for the swim start at Rev3 Knoxville.

Kelly was anxious about the swim. She didn’t have a lot of open water experience and 1.2 miles is a big distance. Fortunately the swim is wet suit legal, and is mostly downstream. I didn’t tell her before the race, but I was thrilled she was doing the swim. Because if she hadn’t, I probably would’ve had to, and last year the water was frigid. Am I implying that I am not tough enough to handle some freezing water? Yes. That’s exactly what I am saying.

Kelly fought off her nerves and suited up early. David and I walked her down to the dock for her wave’s 7:25 a.m. start. Luckily the water wasn’t as cold this year and she was able to get comfortable quickly. A few seconds later we lost her in the pod of pink caps bobbing up and down in the river. After a few minutes, the air horn sounded and her swim began.

Kelly Ruiter waits in the Tennessee River

We lost Kelly in the group of pink caps. I am pretty sure she is one of the people waving.

Dave and I walked back to transition so he could begin preparing his bike for his event. He tweaked his bike, mused over lenses of various tints and colors for his sunglasses, and set up his nutrition. I mostly stared at the clock and watched the river, playing the waiting game.

After around 39 minutes, we saw a streak with red hair running toward transition. After some quick cheers, Dave readied his bike and stuck out his foot for the timing chip. Kelly sprinted to where we were set up. I grabbed the chip off her ankle, wrapped it around Dave’s, and without a word he took of on his bike.

Kelly’s official time: 39:30  AWESOME!

If You’re Having Fun, You’re not Pedaling Hard Enough

By Dave’s own estimation, it would take him at least 2 hours and 45 minutes to ride the 56 mile bike course through the hilly Tennessee countryside. Kelly and I used the time to go back to the hotel, pack some of our things, get cleaned up, and have something to eat. I collected my nutrition and then we went to the expo area where we watched the first of the pros cross the finish line and make victory speeches. After that it was back to transition to begin the waiting game…again.

The area we were set up in is where all relay teams are stationed. This means that you can try to size up the competition (in triathlon you can’t really do this based on physical appearances) and also keep an eye out for when their team members begin and end. We had some good conversation with the runner for another relay team. While Kelly and I fully expected Dave to come back before her biker, we were wrong. Out of the blue her teammate showed up, exchanged the chip, and took off running. Dang.

This was actually kind of fun because then we knew there was at least one team in front of us. Believe it or not a little pressure and some friendly competition can make a race all the more enjoyable. From the second she started running, we started counting the minutes.



Still not a big deal.



C’mon Dave.


She has a decent lead now.


Anticipation building.



Dave came flying in on his bike and came to a halt in front of us. This time it was Kelly who ripped the chip off of Dave’s leg and then fixed it onto my ankle. My turn!

Dave’s official time: 2:50:34 An impressive time, especially considering that he was realistically projecting just under 3 hours for the 56 miles. Fantastic!

Selective memory

My run started at a fast pace due to a combination of excitement and knowing that there was a team I needed to catch. My pace fluctuated between 6 min/miles and 7:30 min/miles. I did not have to wait too long though. At mile 1.8 I passed the other runner.

Still, with 11.3 miles to go, there wasn’t time to assume it was over. I settled into an approximate 7:30 pace and continued running like the other teams were right on my heels.

I would like to say the rest of the run was smooth and uneventful. Unfortunately I learned that I suffer from very selective memory. One of the things I tell friends and family who don’t race is that while you deal with a lot of pain, exhaustion, and discomfort, you block it soon after finishing the race. You bask in the glory of your accomplishment and focus on the good moments. And there are good moments, even if those moments sometimes only revolve around being done! It seems I had blocked the Knoxville run course from my memory. I had remembered the course as mostly flat with one short, steep hill, and two kind of long, but gradual, hills.

Not even close.

This course was very hilly and had a lot of twists and turns. I am fairly confident that there are roller coasters based on the terrain of the run course. My memory returned to me after mile 3.1, when things start getting tough. Crud.

Nonetheless, it didn’t change my plan: Go out and run 13.1 miles as quickly as I could. So that’s what I did. I followed the twists and turns, reaching the summit of one hill after another, until finally I was at the home stretch. Together the team ran across the finish line. As soon as I crossed I immediately began reblocking out how strenuous and exhausting the Rev3 Knoxville running course is. Because that’s just what you do!

Steve’s official time: 1:40:19  Not as fast as my Lincoln Half Marathon time, but given that the Knoxville course is significantly more challenging than the  Springfield course, I’m grateful for how it went.


We did it! Mostly Harmless set out to take a podium spot at Rev3 Knoxville and did just that. For our accomplishment we each received Powerbars, Powergels, 1st place pint glasses, and interlocking award medals. Tired and victorious we set out on the 9-hour journey home.

Kelly Ruiter, Steven Barcus, and David Ford accept the first-place relay team awards at Rev3 Knoxville.

Mostly Harmless indeed!

Final relay time with transitions: 5:12:49… YESSSSSSSSSSSS!

In the end we were glad there was healthy competition for us at the race. It is great teams can motivate each other, and it always helps knowing that you either have to chase someone down or someone is chasing you down! Next up for the team is Rev3 Dells. Same people, but we might even change the name. Perhaps we’ll go as 42 or the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters. Stay tuned to find out!

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Back in action (with the bling to prove it)

Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon finisher medal

Traditionally the finisher medal for the race is a giant penny, but in honor of the 50th anniversary, they did something special. So AWESOME!

Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.~Abraham Lincoln

Last you heard from me I had fought through the 9-day Tour of Sufferlandria workout and and was a little better and a little worse for it. So what have I been doing these past two months? A lot! I just figured I’d spare you all reading posts along the lines of blah blah blah indoor training blah blah blah winter sucks blah blah trainer rides blah treadmill…

So let’s get to the interesting stuff. On April 5 I made my way back to Springfield, Illinois, for my first race of the year–the Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon! Originally I was going to sit this one out since I knew I was spending the week before at a conference in New Orleans that would not see me return until 10:30 p.m. the night before, but then I saw the hardware for it and had to have it.

So with only six hours of sleep; minimal training the week before; and a diet that consisted mostly of gumbo, jambalaya, and fried chicken, I made my way to the start line of a scenic but hilly course.

The race ends in sight of the historic capitol building and features spot on Abe and Mary Lincoln impersonators. (Photo courtesy runabe.srcc.net)

The race ends in sight of the historic capitol building and features spot on Abe and Mary Lincoln impersonators. Abe kicks the race off with one of my favorite quotes. (Photo courtesy runabe.srcc.net)

As you likely gleaned between the “blahs” at the beginning of this post, I have been working to get my running game back, and that work paid off. I managed to finish the race in 1:36:59–a new PR!

Some perspective: that time saw me finishing 96/1,946 overall and 15/111 in my age group.

I’ll take it! I am sure that if I get a little sleep, some proper meals, and find a flatter course that I might be able to shave another minute or two off that time in the next month or so.

Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle…time for me to get hustling!

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