142 days: St George is glorious

I have a plan to raise $10,000 for some awesome organizations by Sept. 22, 2013 – the day I run in Ironman Lake Tahoe. Less than 5 months away! Raised so far: $5,187! Want to increase this total? Chip in a few bucks to one of our causes here, or find out how you can get involved by pinging me on Facebook or by dropping me a note.

Reminder: There is now just 1 day remaining to double your donation to a couple of great causes. Until May 4 I’ve pledged up to $500 $750 to match donations through our cause made to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Washington & Alaska and to the American Heart Association. Follow the link, donate, I’ll match it. Right now, $220 of matching funds are still on the table. Hurry! This is particularly important right now as little Kyle continues his heroic fight.

St George is Glorious

Note: we are in St George, Utah, this weekend so I can run in the inaugural Ironman 70.3 St George (it used to be a 140.6, this is the first year of the half-distance, but still absolutely brutal, course).

Registration packet is picked up. We drove the bike course. I biked the run course. Bike is checked in. Belly is filled with pasta and protein (and a splash of wine). Transition bags are packed. Morning clothing, sunscreen, hydration, and fuel are at the ready. About ready to take down a container of Dream Water to ensure I get at least a few hours of sleep and don’t spend all night obsessing over strategy, the course, and my T1 & T2 processes. Wake up call is at 3am Mountain Time. Breakfast at 4am. Shuttle to the race at 4:45am. FUN!

From the moment we arrived I have only one thing to say about the host city and everybody involved with this event: GLORIOUS.

The scenery is GLORIOUS. Here are a few of the scenes that I will see as I am on the bike course:

Snow Canyon is a natural wonder

Snow Canyon is a natural wonder

More Snow Canyon

More Snow Canyon

... and even MORE Snow Canyon. Too bad I'll be climbing up a long, steep hill - will be too focused to enjoy this natural beauty.

… and even MORE Snow Canyon. Too bad I’ll be climbing up a long, steep hill – will be too focused to enjoy this natural beauty.

Everybody we’ve interacted with – from our hotel, to every restaurant, to the race staff and volunteers, to fellow racers and their support groups. Yep. Once again, GLORIOUS.

This course is tough. Some might call it downright brutal. At mile 40 on the bike you start a 6 mile climb straight up the hill through Snow Canyon Park. At mile 3 in the run, after already running uphill for 3 miles, you hit the 9% uphill grade.

But every single second of it you are surrounded by beauty. And really, really awesome people. Next year my goal will be to qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Vegas… and you can be certain I’ll be coming back here as part of that qualifying process.

If you are so inclined, you can follow my progress along on the Ironman St George website. My race number is 1798. I won’t be breaking any personal records thanks to limited training and that recent viral infection (I am back to about 95% right now – easily good enough to race!). But I am going to race my race… and have fun… and race probably harder than I should.

As you can see, we’ve had a lot of fun here… I’ll finish this post with a couple of fun pictures from the race weekend so far:

The rig with the Rocket Bike on top as we leave Redondo Beach. We had to take the bike off the roof when we got to highway 15 - the extremely high winds terrorizing the area almost ripped it off the roof!

The rig with the Rocket Bike on top as we leave Redondo Beach. We had to take the bike off the roof when we got to highway 15 – the extremely high winds terrorizing the area almost ripped it off the roof!

At race check-in we got to see the Friday "pro panel" - Crowie is on stage along with Leanda Cave in this photo! Ironman royalty!

At race check-in we got to see the Friday “pro panel” – Crowie is on stage along with Leanda Cave in this photo! Ironman royalty!

I got in a quick training ride on the raceday setup - this stretch of road is on both the bike and run courses, on a bluff overlooking the city. Amazing views.

I got in a quick training ride on the raceday setup – this stretch of road is on both the bike and run courses, on a bluff overlooking the city. Amazing views.

Posing with the Rocket Bike at bike check-in at T1 before I put it on the rack

Posing with the Rocket Bike at bike check-in at T1 before I put it on the rack

And, because I am a dork, I had to express my enthusiasm! Yeehaw!

And, because I am a dork, I had to express my enthusiasm! Yeehaw!

The bike is racked. Time to go eat!

The bike is racked. Time to go eat!

About 60% of the bikes are checked in - this is a view of T1. Millions and millions of dollars in carbon fiber are sitting here tonight, waiting for the storm to hit it in the morning.

About 60% of the bikes are checked in – this is a view of T1. Millions and millions of dollars in carbon fiber are sitting here tonight, waiting for the storm to hit it in the morning.

This is going to be awesome.

Or should I say GLORIOUS!?

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