Thursday, August 30, 2007

Did You Know

That on Aug 7, 1988 I broke my neck. I was a quadrapelegic for a short time, then only my left side was paralysed and then I was just told that I'd probably never walk again and then that I'd just never run again. I think I won a 5k in less than a year after that. The only thing that doesn't really work is that my left arm is weaker than my right arm (2 out of the 3 tricep muscles work fine - but one does not work so well). My left arm also hurts A LOT when it gets colder than 60 degrees.

I also got a chunck of muscle cut out of my chest. It got beat up (by lax balls going 70+mph) when I was a lacrosse goalie and got nailed in the chest a lot (the defense wasn't so good) and the bruising didn't go away.

I also fractured my skull, thumb, pinky, wrist, knee, leg x 2, ankle and last november - my nose. I broke a bone or two every year from 1st grade until 12th grade.

Nothign to do with broken stuff:

My race schedule for the remainder of the season is as follows:

Sept 15th - Mt. Tam Hil Climb (bike)
Sept 23rd - The Sentinel Triathlon (Oly)
Sept 29th - Tinley's Adventures (Oly)
Oct 7th - Napa Sprint

PS - that's Piper (age 2) in the photo above.

Good luck to Soda as she nears the end of her cross country journey back to prison at Wellesley College

Monday, August 27, 2007

Santa Barbara Long Course Triathlon

I think I'm happy.

After driving down for 5.5 hours to one of the nicest places anywhere in America, I sensed that Santa Barbara was a great location for a race - even if you felt woefully undertrained for one. I'm sort of a baby since I have really only raced sprint distances and one Olympic this season - the long course format was my Ironman: 1 mi/35 mi/10 mi.

I brought my 2 daughters and Mrs P. I think I had talked them into coming out to watch me come in from the run portion of the race - watching a triathlon is the closest thing my wife will do just short of going to hell - I promised that there were palm trees and she could walk 200 meters and she just had to stand and wait. Cocktails were just around the corner I hinted.

I had imagined huge waves - the big kinds that you'd imagine in a tropical location - complete with surfers and sharks. Once I saw the water I realized that I don't even think there was a tide. Apparently the islands offshore break up most of the big wave sets and the swim leg of the race was in a very nice little lagoon like area - sans sharks and surfers.

I did forget and then remembered at 12:30am - the morning of the race - that I had forgotten to put the New Skin stuff on my feet to keep them from blistering. Woke up, set alarm back to 4:45am.

Got up at 4:45am, in a room with 2 sleeping kids and 1 sleeping spouse. Put New Skin on my feet. About 2 mins after application 1 of 3, my wife says 'what is that smell?'. I was in trouble. It works great but smells worse than paint thinner and nail polish. It can also smell up a decent sized hotel room in about 2.4 seconds. I claimed that the air conditioning would make it go away quickly - hoping that I'd be in less trouble. I ate my bagels and drank my coffee. I snuck out the door for the 1/2 mile ride down to the transition area.

The race morning, like all mornings in Santa Barbara was perfect. I didn't even notice if it was warm or cold. There was a lot to think about in order to have a good race. I found a spot in front of the biggest palm tree in the parking lot. I figured that it would be easy to find after the swim. I noticed later that there are about 59,993 other palm trees in the area.

I hopped into the ocean for a short warm up - I always regret NOT doing one, so now it's religious for me. After a few agonizing moments waiting for our wave to queue and spotting one fellow competitor sporting a mask and snorkel - we were off, sprinting into the ocean. The water was cold but after 30 seconds I only noticed the palm trees along the shore as we swam parallel to the short for a 1/2 mile out and then back. I kept and eye on the pack and stayed on course for once - drifting only a few dozen yards out of the optimal line at the most. It was over in 35:30 - not fast but for me it's about getting onto the bike. This was about 530th place out of 750 or so.

I took my time in the transition which included no water to wash the sand off of our feed and a nice little run out of transition and into the street where you would mount up. I struggled to get onto my bike, dropping a shoe, putting it back on the bike and finally sprinting out onto the course. The bike course was fricking hilly. I couldn't keep count of how many hills we climbed - but it was a lot. Luckily there were downhills too. Downhills where you hit over 35mph, on sew up wheels - one of which is a brand new lightweight disc with a field about as packed as an ITU race was interesting. I only yelled at one guy for riding along on the left side of the road as I was splitting groups of riders as a decent clip. I only hoped that when I went between 2 people that they suddenly didn't panic and take me out. I rode 90% of the race on the left side of the road and finally saw some clear road about mile 29 where I put my head down and hammered as hard as I could. At times I was 27-30mph on the flats - a disc wheel makes a world of difference once you're over 23 or so. It's free speed - I'm not sure why more people don't ride one or at least ride aero wheels of some sort. I managed to see Ian who generally whoops me good in the swim by a half-dozen minutes or so regardless of distance. We rode together for about the last 4 miles and headed into transition together. This was about 39th place out of 750 or so.

Since this was a long one - I wasn't going to risk blisters or something that would add an addtional challenge - so I took my time, cleaned the sand off of my feet and put on socks, then shoes. I zipped out of T2 with Ian right on my heels. I think we ran together for about 5 miles until I had to slow down on a long uphill in order to keep from blowing up. Ian is lean and fit whereas I am not lean and sort of fit. I wear black because it's slimming but that doesn't make me any faster on a long uphill run.

Ian dropped me good but I could see him about 100 yards up the road. I slowly put in surges from mile 5 to mile 7 before I could catch him - it really takes a lot to make up time when you're on the limit. He runs steady and fast. I sat on him just looking at his feet from mile 7 until about mile 9.5 where I couldn't continue with his increasing pace. I think I called him a whore for doing that but not sure I said it loud enough.

In the end - he got me by about 30 seconds but I was happy I finished and delighted to have had such a solid run of 1:15 in 10 miles. This was about 105th place out of 750 or so or 25th in our age group of 112.

For once, I was mildly happy with my results. Now I need to improve for next year.

PS - here's a new triatlete who hails from Tiburon. She's the queen bee of our swim group in the Belvedere Lagoon. GO SODA!

PSS - my wife did get her cocktail after the race. I found her with a 2 year old having a fit and a 4 year old with a thumb in her mouth who then asked me if 'she was the fastest still?' (we probably do 2 miles a week of running - mostly sprints together) - she is fast and loves to win. My wife looked at me and said 'it's been a hard morning you know'. What do you say to that? I say, read this blog for some insight into a pretty hilarious trip.

PS(3) - many thanks to Ian Charles who I think is hanging up his tri suit for the season now. He's been a great mentor/coach helping me with everything but my transitions (thank goodness). I'd still be swimming with swim noodle in lane 2 if it wasn't for him. He was a great pacer at Santa Barbara - I just hope I can trick him into either racing at Tinley's on Sept 29th or to sign up for a 1/2 marathon with me this fall.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

T Minus 2

Only 2 more days before the Santa Barbara Long Course Triathlon on Saturday! I'm not sure if I'm excited or a bit intimidated by basically a race that is double the distance that I've been racing all season. It's a 1 mile swim, 35 mile bike and a 10 mile run. The bike course is apparently not a flat and fast one like I enjoy. It's got a few little hills as does the run course. I'm doing the race with Ian (who I train with and for some reason he doesn't have a blog) and his wife Sally.

My hope is to finish the race in 3:25, have a solid bike and run and to see fewer than 1 shark. I'm also racing on a brand new HED lightweight disc wheel that they shipped me yesterday!

I wanted to wish Ben good luck as he heads to Hamburg for World Champs on Sept 2nd! He definitely has inspired me to train harder and to eat more fruit instead of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

I wish I also had something funny to write - but not much funny stuff has happened. Except for the guy who cut Ian and I off on the bike a few weeks ago - only to rear end a car at a stop light about 100 yards down the road. My daughter Sada also provides me with well wishes every morning on my bike commute - she yells 'I love you daddy don't crash'. I also ask her who is fast and she'll say 'I'm fast and uncle Ben is fast'. I need to whoop her good on our next 1/2 mile run together just like I did in the Tea Party Game (which isn't as easy as it sounds, Ben got whooped 3 games in a row). I can also crush in Candyland. I just hope Santa Barbara is better than getting stuck in Molasses Swamp.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Tom Boonen

I don't have much today - it's a rest day after a few good efforts this weekend. The weather (as nearly always) has been perfect - mid 70%, sunny and light winds. Chris Tremonte can tell you about the not so light winds. Here's a great song about Tom Boonen. There's another one out there that goes 'tomeka tomeka tomeka tomeka' in the spirit of bad german techno. If you find it - tell me. Otherwise here is a link to the Tom Boonen song (lyrics and really bad translation below):

Tom Boonen

Tom Boonen, de renner van de nieuwe eeuw
Tom Boonen, de troonopvolger van Museeuw
Een boom van een kerel, één meter tweeënnegentig
Hij weegt tachtig kilo, nee, dat is echt geen lichtgewicht
Tom Boonen, in buikdansen is hij vrij goed
Tom Boonen, kan rallycrossen als het moet
Maar op zijn tweewieler is hij de snelste van het pak
Tom Boonen, amai wat een krak.

Tom Boonen, komt heel laat in de nacht pas thuis
Tom Boonen, hij fietst ze allen eerst naar huis
Want op zijn tweewieler is hij de snelste van het pak
Tom Boonen, amai wat een krak.

TOMs Boonen TOMs Boonen, the renner of the new century TOMs Boonen, the throne continuator of sparrow century a tree of one kerel, one meter ninety-two he weigh eighty kilos, no, which are really no lichtgewicht TOMs Boonen, in belly dance he free well TOMs Boonen are, be possible rallycrossen if it must but on its bicycle he the fastest of the package TOMs Boonen, amai are what krak. TOMs Boonen, come complete late in the night just at home TOMs Boonen, he cycles them all firstly to house because on its bicycle he the fastest of the package TOMs Boonen, amai are what krak.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Stuff, Stuff About Me

NAME: Loren Pokorny (you probably know this already)

NICKNAME(S): None, except for the ones I give myself like 'The Lorpeedo'

MARITAL STATUS: Married to my 1st wife Greta.

DATE OF BIRTH: Sept 25, 1971

WEB PAGE: duh, also

NATIONALITY: United States

CURRENT RESIDENCE: Tiburon, CA - also lived in: Seattle/Redmond/Maple Valley, WA, Greenland, NH, Nederland, CO, Tample, FL and Durham, NH.

EDUCATION: BA in Political Science, University of New Hampshire

HEIGHT: 5'10"

WEIGHT: race weight 155, current weight 176

FAVORITE RACE: Anything that I get a chance to do a few times over: Tri for Fun - but that's just a sprint. I'll have to answer at the end of this season.

FAVORITE TRAINING RIDE: In the summer or fall - a loop or two around Mercer Island was always a hoot with a group. Now it's Alpine Dam - about 35/40 miles with about 10 miles of UP - the climb takes up up and then down Mt. Tam here in Marin, CA.

AVERAGE DAY CONSISTS OF: Ugh.... (Ben can corroborate this schedule if you don't believe me)
5am (or earlier if I'm going to the gym) - Swim/Lift (MWF) or I run (T/R)- max of 1.25 hours for either day - so I can get home!
6:45am - shower/change into bike clothes
7am - eat
7:10am - out the door on my bike to catch the ferry to SFO
7:40am - catch the ferry
8:30am - arrive at work
5pm - leave work - ride home
6:15pm - get home
6:20pm - eat
6:22pm - give girls bath, play and read stories
9pm - say hi to Greta, read, watch movie or chase Sada some more
9:30pm - sleep

ANY MENTORS: Ian Charles, Ben Collins, Scott Fairchild and my wife

FAVORITE PRE-RACE FOOD: unfortunately pizza

WORST EXPERIENCE IN A RACE: which one. My friend Tracy characterized my season as such: "it's not flat, i was sick, i didn't sleep right, i didn't eat right, i couldn't find the race, my spongy thing fell out, my feet blistered, i used my disk wheel, i was sick, i was overtrained, my schedule is ridiculous, i left my powersticks at home, i was sick". I think my worst experience was not eating before a race where my power sticks died. I'm sure there will be more since I don't want to let Tracy down.

FUNNY MOMENTS IN A RACE: I like to think that when I say 'c'mon Hurcules' to the really big guys I see in a race that it's funny. I usually follow that by 'don't hit me'. It's probably funnier when you're running, your eyes are crossed and wearing a tri-suit in public. I'm probably not thinking stuff is really funny though when I'm racing. I'm pretty much my worst critic.

Favorite EATS: anything. pizza and cake are pretty much the best.

IF I WASN’T A TRIATHLETE I’D BE…: Still undecided. Since I'm really an analyst/program manager - I'd rather be a triathlete but living under a roof is nice. Plus my daughters appreciate food and clothes and Little Mermaid snacks.

QUOTE TO LIVE BY: 'My other car is a tuna sandwhich'.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

OT, Sick, Folsom and Goodbye Huli

I think I've done it - I'm either OT (over-trained), sick or both. Starting last week I could NOT get my HR up over 172 at all. I tried 3 days in a row to do some sort of interval and when I failed miserably - I turned around and went home. Thinking a few days would give me some rest and recovery before racing Folsom on Sunday. It wasn't enough but I hoped in the water and enjoyed the Olympic distance race. The swim was long - longer for me because I can't swim straight when I'm tired and unfocused. I sited on a hill in the distance except most of the hills look the same when you're goggles have fog and water in them. When I didn't see anyone around me I figured I'd take a look and found I was about 30m off course. I swam until I hit the turn buoy (litterally) and found out that they aren't soft like you'd think they were.

I got out of the water and shuffled (rather than sprinted at 190+ HR) to my bike. I hopped on my rig and headed out into what Ben called a pretty flat course (though you can't explain why on such a flat course he would find himself in a 39x23). I thought for sure that with enough caffiene and gel that I'd feel better but I never did. I rode at about an 80% effort-keeping well within myself hoping to feel better and to save something for the run. You can see here in the adjacent chart that in a previous race that my HR doesn't actually drop when I race. The longer the race went on - the more my HR dropped. I resigned myself to cheering for people and working on eating and drinking in order to be ready for my much longer race in Santa Barbara in 2 weeks.

I hit T2 and lollygagged my way through - hitting the run with the hope that I would feel better. I ran and felt no better - but kept on going. I cheered for the other athletes who were feeling far better than I was (some were not though) and did my best to keep a steady pace and finish strong. I took water at each mile and ended up finishing around 2:26 - about 8-10 mins off of what I wanted to do - but there will be more races in the near future to hit those times.

Ben 'Huli Chicken' Collins whopped it in the race and broke the course record. My friend Ian Charles also suffered from the same 'illness' that I had but pushed himself into finishing strong without so much goofing off on the bike or run. We'll have our day in SB on the 24th and I'm sure the results will be much more positive. Ben left our guest quarters today and left lighter and much faster than when he arrived. He also left with 2 new carbon bikes, a personal PR, a course record, about 300 packets of Clif Shot Blocks, a few missing care package parcels from Garmin and Tyr and a pile of new friends and fans.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Visiting Vineman

A few weekends ago I drove up to wine country at the ungodly hour sometime before 5am in order to catch the pro wave start at the Vineman 70.3 race with Mr Collins. The goal was to get some triathlon in without racing, to cheer for my friend Rhae Shaw and to get Ben into the product booths to meet some prospective sponsors. We caught the pro swim exit - which was interesting. The bike course starts at the bottom of a small and fairly steep hill. 80% of the age groupers were in the wrong gear as the started to climb the hill and clip into their pedals. I think the pros all nailed it though. We discussed for about an hour about how every single person had to walk down the hill with their bike - so everyone saw the hill yet put their bike into a 53x something. People fell, dropped chains, ran up in bare feet, ran up in bike shoes (one of the most painful sounds to hear is a person slipping up a hill in bike shoes) etc... a circus at the very least.

I saw many of the big names in person for the first time - the others I saw back at Alcatraz in the fall. The only observation is that I have is that they're all very very lean. Michelie Jones is very tall and 'gangly' but fast.

We then grabbed some breakfast and raced over to T2 where we could catch people coming in on the bike and out on the run. A great spot with some pretty interesting course mashalls. One guy we had to teach how to cheer. He would say things like: 'Nice Sneakers', 'Cool Hat', 'You're not even sweating!', and 'Go Pink Lady'. It was fun to see a guy who drove a dune buggy get into it and support people. He had us laughing pretty good as he cheered, spat sunflower seeds and told us how he did donuts all night in his buggy.

Chris Lieto rocked the bike course and was first out on the 13.1 mile. Some 9 mins later Craig Alexander and Luke Bell came in afterwards. Sam McGlone rocked the bike couse and was only a few seconds behind Michelle - it was pretty clear who looked good. We cheered for lots of people - caught my friend Rhae after she had to cheer for us (I kept catching her AFTER she went by). Alexander and McGlone both won their races - both with a killer run. Lieto later confessed that he had run 13 miles once in the past few months. We got to spend some time with Lieto and McGlone - both really cool people. Sam finished her race, saw me take a picture and said 'want to take a picture with me' - she hadn't even gone through the finish chute. She said that outside of a race nobody recognizes her - so it was fun for her to have that sort of attention.

We ended up meeting a bike sponsor for Ben -Beyond Fabrications - and made a few other contacts that we're still working with for him. This Sunday we race at Folsom where Ben gets to show his chops against some California boys and to put in a nice hard effort in before his big race at Worlds in September.
I end this post with Chris Lieto who was a really nice guy and who remembered Ben from his performace at Lavaman where he whooped Chris good. Chris also supports my triathlon camps that I do with Chris McCormack. Some of the other pros we got to see were: Luke Bell, Paul Amey, Brian Lavelle, Chris Hauth, Pete Jacobs, Greg Remaly, Dede Griesbauer,and Lara Brown. It was incredible to see how fresh most of these folks looked when they were done. My friend Rhae finished 5th in her AG and 9th overall. Her focus is Kona - but pretty amazing for someone who said:

"The race was ok. Not great – but not horrible. Just not that much gas in the tank – know what I mean? And I was hot. And not in that “slinky black dress, make your wife jealous” kind of way. But in that “holy shit get a girl some ice” kind of way. So I did a 4:48 and got a bottle of wine. That’s all right when all is said and done. If there is liquor I can be convinced it was a success."

Monday, August 6, 2007

Tri for Fun #3 - Race Recap

This weekend I did the final of 3 sprint tri’s in the ‘Tri for Fun’ series (also the 2nd of 3 races in a row for Aug or 2nd of 4 races in 4 weeks). I was tired – still not a great week of sleep with a max of 6-7 hours at best. Not even great sleep – but race day happens and I’m sure lots of others are in the same boat. It was a nice morning as always in Sacramento – 83 at the finish of the event.

The swim went ok – I wanted to hop on some feet and practice drafting. I found it’s easy to hop on feet but hard to find feet that go straight or ones that were relatively quick. After spending about ¼ mile looking for someone – I found one guy who was about as fast as I was – so I wasn’t going to be any faster, but I was going to have an easier swim. Our wave of 30-39 started 2nd this time instead of 4th or 5th. So I only had 2 groups of guys to race through. I swam through a few stragglers in the 1st wave and even stopped to watch one guy who I was sure on his way down – but no, he was doing sort of a doggie paddle breast stroke thing… going under water and then popping up a few feet ahead.

Exited the swim a bit slower than I had wanted – but I didn’t work that hard. I passed about 8 people from the swim exit (about 5 of us came out together) and into T1 where my HR was 191. Got onto the bike and hauled it. This time I wanted to ride my disc. I also broke rule #1 – don’t change anything on race day. I rode a disc wheel I hadn’t set my bike up for and on hill #1 I threw the chain into the disc – getting it stuck between the disc and the gears. My bike went from 22mph to 0mph in a sweet skid (I should have fishtailed it for style). I got off the bike and removed the chain, got back on the bike and passed a few more people until I got to hill #2 and did it again. I spent a few matches getting back up to speed and to make up some time that I lost (about 1:30 max) due to my stupidity.

I also tried eating 1 extra gel before the race – I think it would have gone better had I eaten the 2nd gel around the middle of the bike rather than at the beginning. T2 was the best ever – people actually cheered for how fast I dismounted my bike and left onto the bike dismount line and kept going. I saw on a site that in one race I passed 13 people in transitions – so at least I’m fast somewhere!

The run was ok – a good T2 and a solid first mile about 21 secs faster than my previous outing there. I didn’t feel good and the 2nd gel extended a few greetings but I kept it down and tried to settle into the last 2 miles (which you can’t really do very well). I definitely felt better on mile #2 but I was beginning to feel the heat and the result of my hard bike. Mile #3 was a struggle but I kept on plugging – not as fast as I had been before but I didn’t feel terrible. It was definitely a lack of sleep that was hurting me more than anything. I finished in exactly the same amount of time as I had lost fixing my chain – about 1:30 down from my previous race.

Looking at the results everyone seemed a bit slower too. I finished 3rd in my AG and 14th overall. Had I not dropped my chain I would have been 2nd AG and 10/11 OA. Lesson learned.

Next week I’ve got the Folsom International Triathlon (Olympic) which is also up in Sacramento where it will be in the 90s by the time I hit the run. I’m heading up there with Ben and Ian who will both do well up there. I’m working on my run this week with 2 interval workouts (fartleks at max sprint (or 95%) x 30 sec x 5 + recovery X 3 sets and then some hill intervals. I’ll get in 2 swims and will commute by bike to work as always with a few efforts tomorrow and Wednesday before backing off for an easy Thurs-Sat. Race on Sunday.

Oh yea, my avg HR for the race was 175 and I saw 208 on the run. Ouch.