Friday, September 30, 2011

Mission 140.6: The beginning (and some fun stuff)

Working from home in an area where internet is not reliable has it's advantages; today I spent part of my day not doing a lot because the internet was down in our little town, and it took most of the day to fix it. But because it was during work time, I couldn't just go ride my bike or clean the house. I had to be at my desk listening to conference calls, and working on my 90 day plan.

But when I wasn't doing that, I was finishing off my thought process on Mission 140.6 (yes, I am going to call it that, all formal and stuff) and here's what it looks like:

Step 1: Weight loss. I've started working on this already. The weight loss plan incorporates a healthy diet, weight watchers meetings, and as a reminder, a giant sign on the fridge telling me to stay the F*ck out unless its meal time or a post workout snack.

Step 2: Get a coach. I've talked about this before, but moving down here we can actually afford it now. Well, not technically now, but in the next couple weeks.  I'm not really sure what we're looking for in a coach, but I'm sure we'll figure it out.

Step 3: Get a team. Moving away from Boston meant we're a long way from Wheelworks, and while I considered rejoining because they're such a great group of athletes and friends, it just wouldn't do us a lot of good. So we're going to look for a local team to train with. Oh, and I also applied to Team Rev3. I'm sure most people don't make it public, but I don't keep much from you guys, and this is something important. If I get it, it means we'll save money on races, maybe get some nice equipment, and make some new friends. Rach applied too, but if they pick one of us, they probably won't pick the other, so the one who doesn't get picked will join the local team, and gets to buy a nice bike.

Step 4: Pick a schedule. We've got a few races already picked out (A few Rev 3 with Cedar Point as the obvious one), but we're still looking at the local early season races as well.

Step 5: Train.Train like I never have trained before. Seriously, and with commitment to get the volume I need to go back and get the job done at Cedar Point.

The fun stuff:

- I now know what motivation really is. I was on a 15 mile training ride yesterday when I got chased by a mean looking dog. It came within centimeters from my left ankle barking and snarling. I hit 18 MPH going UPHILL, so next time I really need to dig deep, I'll think of that dog. I was doing great until that dog spiked my heart rate. Wound up doing 15 miles in 1:04:xx on a very hot day, just missed 15 MPH average.

- The blog has been a little bereft of pictures lately, and I apologize for that. Here are some of the things that I've been too lazy to get off my phone until now:

Talk about a support crew: There were like 10 people in pink shirts
with something to the tune of  "Go Dave!" on them.

Bumping this car made the move to NC a bit more expensive

This bench is in front of the local grocery store here in NC

I had to explain to Rachelle that she couldn't dress shop
in the Big & Tall section

I may have completely disregarded this sign

I petted this penguin. Be jealous.

One of each, please, but especially the one with the cannon
If you look real close you can see several deer we spotted
on our first visit to a NC state park

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Endless Summer

I've talked about a lot of the fiscal benefits of moving from Boston to Raleigh, but one thing I hadn't really thought too much about was the weather. It's still summer down here. Sure it's rained a bit, but 80s and sunny is summer in my book, and Summer in October works for me. Being a lifelong Beach Boys fan, the Endless Summer, is an idea I can completely jibe with. If fall has to happen, it can happen late October, in time for the Halloween party Rachelle is planning for us to throw. 

Being in warm weather right now is great prep for Rev3 Anderson, which is good because I found out this morning I will be able to go. Not just that, but we also booked a pretty nice hotel for dirt cheap, (thanks, Priceline!) making the trip even more affordable.

Also, I'm aware the blog has been kind of dry lately, but I'm putting my effort into Mission 140.6 content which I had hoped would be ready today, but looks like it will actually be ready tomorrow. Bear with me, please.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Many changes for the good

We've clearly made a lot of changes in just the past 2 months; living in a hotel, moving to North Carolina, starting new jobs, our first IM attempt, living in a home instead of an apartment, along with all of the other parts of starting essentially a new life. I really think every one of these things is a positive towards my goal of living a more healthy life and finally making a concerted effort to lose more weight. 

One of the biggest is that I'm home now every day, so I'm no longer tempted to get "lunch with the guys" which was nearly an every day occurrence. Usually, I'd make a relatively safe choice like a sub sandwich, but I never knew for sure how many calories I was really taking in and with all the bread my guess is that it was a lot more than I should have been. So while I now have unfettered access to the kitchen, we've stocked it almost entirely with healthy choices, and I'm watching carefully what I eat. I'm counting points and measuring food again (I started today).

I've got a lot of reasons to get where I want to go. The biggest is doing everything I can to be more prepared for next years Rev 3 Cedar Point and all the races leading up to it. Aside from that, there's a new goal. Rachelle and I are joining some friends of ours on a cruise, and some of the fun things (like zip line riding) have a weight limitation I currently exceed. 

Im starting with large intentions but reachable milestones along the way.

- 30 pounds by 12/24/11 (weight 299)
- 70 pounds by 4/28/12 (weight 259)
- 90 pounds by 9/1/12 (weight 239)

That puts me in the right place for Rev3 where I should have no problem finishing. I know during the season it will be challenging to continue losing weight during the season, that's why Im giving myself 4 months to lose  only 20 pounds. Once next season is over, I'll work to lose the last 14 pounds to reach 225. 

I know this is a big goal, and I know that it will be quite a challenge, it's a key component of Mission 140.6, which you'll hear more about tomorrow.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A plan to fail

There's that old saying "A failure to plan is a plan to fail". Well, it sort of looks like that's where I am right now. You see I got all excited about Rev 3 Anderson, got signed up, started training, and in my thought process for the race I kept thinking about the fact that I was getting my first full paycheck prior to the race, allowing us to do all the things we needed to do, including pay rent, buy a couch, etc. and still allow me to race.

Not so, it would seem.

After realizing I had misread the payroll calendar, I actually will only get one weeks salary, which while enough to pay the rent, etc. may not include enough funds for us to afford to drive 5 hours each way to the race site, plus eat and stay overnight on Saturday. We bought the couch last weekend, and even if we could cancel the order, I wouldn't. You don't know how much you value furniture until you don't have any. So, it's now just waiting to see how much my check is to see if we or even just I can afford to go. If not, I can defer my entry fee til next year, but I was really looking to get in at least one more race this season.

Training lately has not been without cost either. If you remember, I flatted on my road bike just a 1/4 mile down the road from our house in the days leading up to Cedar Point. Yesterday I had 15 miles planned on the bike, and was using that time to explore new roads in the area. Everything was going great until mile 10 when I heard that familiar sudden hissing sound out of the front tire. In the battle of $80 race tire vs. chip seal   pavement, I guess we know who won. Plus, there's a small gash in the tire itself now, so I think I'm pretty much done with the expensive-y (yes, it's a word) race tires. I do have a spare tire to ride for the time being, until I can pick up a couple of stronger tires (Gatorskins probably) later on in October.

Speaking of picking up bike stuff, there are several Performance Bike's in the Raleigh area, which I'm excited to explore. There's also a triathlon shop called Inside Out that we're going to visit as well probably sometime in October. If nothing else, we're probably going to need a bunch of tubes.

To end on a positive note, the training has been going pretty well in terms of recovery from Cedar Point, and in pushing myself a little. Even with some small hills (200 ft of climbing over 10 miles) both of my past 2 rides I've been able to average over 15 MPH. I'm running today and start swimming tomorrow. The pool at Rachelle's work is free to staff, and very inexpensive to spouses, so we're happy to be able to have access to a nice facility just a couple of miles down the road. And tonight I try out my new running shoes which were desperately needed as my old ones had over 400 miles on them and were completely worn out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Once Upon a Time in North Carolina

Reader, Friend, and Fundraising support Derek has informed me it has been a long time since I blogged, and he's right. I had no idea it has been 8 days. That's the longest break I've ever taken, and let me tell you it was not intentional.

Last week after the race I settled in at my parents place for the week while Rach headed back home to work. I spent the week golfing with dad, hanging out with mom and sis, and goofing around with my nieces and my "temporary sister" Trine, the exchange student stay with them for the year. We celebrated my parents 40th wedding anniversary and I mowed my grandmothers grass. The fact that I did it wrong, again, for about the 24th year in a row is not surprising. Some things I don't think we ever get right, and there's a lesson in that too.

I did very little in the way of physical activity other than the golf, which I played poorly but surprisingly well considering the effort at Cedar Point, and my back has mostly recovered. I even rode my dads cruiser bike the 1 1/2 miles each way to my Grandmothers house in order to cut the grass, which was harder than I thought it would be; it reminded me how much I like gears on bicycles.

When I got back to North Carolina, it was time to get down to business. I started work at the new job for a health care company. This health care company not only lets me work 100% from home, but happens to sponsor a couple of pro continental bike racing teams through it's various subsidiaries (of note, none of my opinions ever represent these companies. In fact, my opinions barely represent me). Of course, I am now telling people that I am "co-workers" with professional cyclists, which is both fun and pretty much totally false. A guy can dream right?

We're still unpacking and cleaning, and we're a long way from done, but the kitchen looks great, the bedroom is getting there, and a small corner of the front room where my office is looks pretty nice. Having a house and yard is amazing, even if we're only renting. We're even going to throw a Halloween party, which will be interesting considering how few people we know here. In the meantime we're having problems with a broken pipe from our water well. Thank goodness for an awesome landlord.

I got in my first hard ride today on the MTB; papers I needed to turn in today in order to not get automatically terminated were left in the car last night which Rach had at work, so I had to ride down there and get them to bring back to fax. It turns out they did get them went I sent them Tuesday, so if nothing else at least I got in a nice hard 7 mile slightly hilly ride at max pace on my MTB. Max pace is not what I hope it will be in 2 weeks. I'm getting out tomorrow morning for a run before I have to come back to the house/office for a full day of watching orientation CBT's. Probably going for a run on lunch. When I can take a break in the mid afternoon I'm putting together my short training schedule for Anderson

I'm still fighting the cold I had going into Cedar Point, and it actually worsened substantially last week as my body recovered from the race. Im feeling better today and I'm wondering if this afternoons hard ride was part of that or if it's just the pseudoephedrine I took earlier. Uh oh, gotta be careful to be off the cold meds by the end of next week. Don't want USADA after me. Oh wait, they're gonna be too busy with a certain former pro cyclist who is going back to triathlon this weekend.

Oh, and I still need to register for Rev 3 Anderson in the next day or two. I'm doing the Olympic and volunteering for the 1/2 Iron once I get done with the race and quickly clean up. Just hoping I finish the Olympic before the pros finish the 1/2.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Thank you

I was pretty down in the dumps immediately following the race, and I have to say the response I got was nothing but incredibly moving and supportive. I can't tell you how much it meant to have such kind responses reminding me it was just about that one race on that day. All I can say is that in raising the funds for Team Fight and preparing for the race, I was just one part of a bigger team, and while the rest of the team met and exceeded their goal, I felt that I fell short of mine. 

The goal of Mission 140.6 - Rev 3 Cedar Point finish line
I've come to realize that Sunday was just the beginning. You and me, we just started Mission 140.6. It will end with a successfully completed Rev3 Cedar Point in 2012. For now, I'll be focusing on a couple of shorter races  to end the season on a positive note, building confidence and experience while still allowing time to get settled in at the new home and the new job. The first race on the plate is going to be Rev3 Anderson as I mentioned yesterday. After reviewing the course, I've decided to do the Olympic distance race. Less than a month to prepare for a tough course 70.3 bike course with a lot of climbing just didn't make a lot of sense. 

My partner in crime who is still deciding if 2012 is the year for her Mission 140.6
Plus, I've never finished an Olympic distance race. Last year, I had my first DNF in any race at MA State Triathlon. Plus, Rev3 is tying in to a big bunch of events in Anderson on the weekend that I'm going to enjoy before and after volunteering and cheering at the finish. Hopefully Rach will have the weekend off and can join me on the trip. 

The sign says: "There are lots of nice boys in Cedar Point, but none like you"
Then I'll just need one more tri this season to qualify for my USAT ranking for the year. Living in the south has it's advantages, as I should be able to get in at least one more race before the season ends down there.

The best part of the weekend was meeting online friends and making new ones too!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Rev3 Cedar Point: Reassess, Recover, and Revenge

Yesterday was really hard. When other triathletes tell you an Ironman is hard, you hear it, and think yeah, but I've done long rides, I've done long swims, and I've finished a half or two, so how hard could it be? It's really hard, that's how hard it can be.

The day started pretty well, cool with calm water and overcast skies. My nerves were not nearly what I expected them to be. The water temperature was low 70s, and felt plenty good in the wetsuit. I was focused on the race so much that I barely noticed the national anthem or the 9/11 memorial. It was my first mass start, and I made sure to be at the back. There's no doubt that living in the hotel for a month impacted our training immensely, but thankfully it didn't seem to hurt my actual swim result too much. I hit each buoy pretty much right time for the first loop.

I didn't sight well on the first loop, but in the second loop I did worse and was swimming left as I tend to when I'm tired. Notice how I said that the lack of training didn't hurt my swim time much? I got out of the water at 2:09, which was 9 minutes slower than I hoped but still plenty under the cutoff. With all the bad weather and lack of gym time, that was my first 2.4 mile swim. So while I got out of the swim in time, I knew it was going to a while before I was ready to get on the bike so I took my time during transition.

The bike started great. In fact, it started too great, because I did 16 miles in the first hour, which probably was a little too hard but felt fine, in fact it felt easy. The second hour was a little slower, but too badly, and while I was slowing down a little I was still averaging just under the cutoff when around mile 60 I got hit by a hailstorm. It was an overly hot day, but there were these random storm clouds and coming up to one of the tougher hills on the course, the light sprinkle from the cloud became hail. With the pain I was feeling from the hail hitting me, I got out of the saddle to climb, hurrying to get up the hill and that's when it happened: I felt a sharp pain in my back.

I was able to keep going but over the next few miles, I started having cramps with my legs to the point were around mile 64 my legs completely seized up. My left didn't want to bend and my right didn't want to straighten so every time I'd push down with the right leg, my whole body would hurt. I tried to keep going, but I simply couldn't pedal anymore. Little did I know the broom wagon was behind me as at that point I was the last cyclist on the course. The folks in the broom wagon were surprised I had been able to keep going after the hail, but in the end it wound up doing me in as much as my lack of sufficient training.

I will absolutely say when I attempt this race next year, I will give it the amount of respect it deserves and train to make sure I won't be hoping for perfect conditions just to finish.

This week, I'm spending time with my family and friends. Golf with my dad will probably be the hardest thing I'll do this week as Rach is taking the bikes with her, and I'm in no mood to run.

Well, I'm going back next year to get my first 140.6, but for now a shorter race at Rev3 Anderson will have to suffice. I haven't decided if I'm doing the half or the olympic, but I will be racing in October for sure.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Im sorry

I wasn't ready. I failed you. I'm sorry. My back locked up as I hurried to escape a freak hail storm on the course, I pushed as far and as long as I could after but then my legs seized and I was done. Thank you to everyone who helped me get this far, I'm sorry I couldn't hold up my end of the bargain. But I will be back.

The good news is that tonight my wife will become an ironwoman.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Race Day: Rev3 Cedar Point - Full Rev

There is a huge thank you post that I still haven't finished that would normally appear this morning, but I simply haven't had time with everything involved with the move. Anyways, Here's what you need to know to follow Rachelle and I on race day Sunday.

Rev3's Live Race Day page with video (and live athlete tracker?): Here
Rev3's Results Page (would be other place live tracker might be): Here

My bib #: 147
Rach's bib #: 348

Thank you all again for everything for donations, emotional support, friendship, and allowing us to be a small distraction on this very solemn day.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Onward to Ohio

Describing this past week as a whirlwind would not do it justice. All the packing, driving, and unpacking and we still have a long way to go to get the house set up. But all that has gone to the wayside for the time being, as we're now packed and ready to leave for the drive up to Sandusky, OH for the biggest race of our lives.

I really can't wait to be checked into the hotel tomorrow and relax. I did my last real pre-race workout yesterday (other than Saturdays practice swim), and it sucked as usual. My last workout before a race almost always sucks. This time, I had a blowout on the road bike less than 1/4 mile from the house, so instead I had to do the 10 mile ride on the MTB. I managed to have an overall good ride but flatting like before I had gone very far was less than fun. No real damage, other than needing a new tube.

The big news is that I am very happy to announce that I have reached my fundraising goal with 2 days to spare. Thank you to everyone who contributed financially, spread the word via facebook or twitter, or just kept reading my blog while I went on and on about needing people to donate. Thank you all very much, and I'm going to do my very best to make it all worthwhile for you.

I'll post tomorrow once Rach and I have checked in for the race with bib numbers and how to track us on line on race day.

Monday, September 5, 2011

6 days, 10 hours, 140.6 miles, and $75

Greetings from Angier, NC, new home of the Berry family. We adventurous spirits have completed our move, other than all the unpacking, registering and licensing, and all of those formalities beyond living somewhere that actually make you a resident. Thankfully I have 3 more days around the house before we leave for the race.

Speaking of the race, it's only 6 days from now. I'm still pretty confident that everything will work out. I'm a bit tired, in need of some serious stretching and hope the rain holds off to get a few more short workouts in. The other thing we'll have to get in is another 10 hours of driving between Thursday and Friday in order to get to Cedar Point, and get settled in with a day and a half to relax before the race.

Then, the fun part: 140.6 miles of suffering. I'll be writing about my race plans and final prep over the next few days, but blog posts will probably somewhat sporadic until Friday, as internet is not yet present in our new home. Let me tell you that 48 hours without internet feels like 48 hours without water. We're at McDonalds  

Finally, as a small note, I am now a mere $75 from my fundraising goal. Thank you to everyone who has helped so far, and if you haven't yet, why not be the one to push me over the line? The link is at the top of the page, and once we hit that goal, I can stop being a pain in the ass about this and talk to you about other fun things, like what I have been thinking about my plans for AFTER Cedar Point, and the next big goal (which will not involve fundraising).

Friday, September 2, 2011

Bye Bye, Boston

Tonight is one of those nights where sleep is evasive, but I'm not sure why. It's probably not any one thing, more likely it's a combination of a lot of things.

There's a Bittersweet Ave right by our hotel, but I'm lazy so you get this

  • Tomorrow is my last day of work at my current employer, and I'm having mixed feelings about it. When I started there I really thought I'd be there a very long time, and if we weren't moving I probably would be. I've made some great friends, worked for a very good boss, and grew as an analyst and a person. No job is perfect, and this one definitely had some foibles (hello, way too much testing), but in the end I'm really sad to be leaving it.
  • I'm Really going to miss a lot of people here. I spent most of my time working or training, so most of my friends are co-workers, team members, or triathletes I met along the way. The triathletes hopefully I'll run into at big races now and then, but a lot of people I may have already seen for the last time. Sure, there's facebook, twitter, and blogs to read, but nothing quite compares to sitting down with someone after a long day at work or on the bike, and just relaxing over a beer.
  • Moving is expensive and stressful. Even though I've gotten absolutely the best deal I could on the rental truck, I'm getting quality movers to help load the truck for dirt cheap, and I've booked the two nights of hotels before we get to our new place on priceline. It's still expensive, and 3 days after the move we're headed back to Ohio.
  • Speaking of expenses, I now have only $115 dollars to raise by race day, so if you still have donated, I'd sure appreciate it if you could. Even just $5 or $10 would really go a long way.
  • Tapering has been really easy this week because I have been so busy with everything else, I've barely had time to get any workouts in. Tomorrow we're going to swim at Walden one last time, and I'm going to go for a last Boston bike ride. I'll be leaving work early tomorrow and we're checking into a slightly nicer hotel not far from Walden so it should be easy to make the time tomorrow. 
  • I'm thrilled to be leaving the Natick Travelodge. They've been great to us, letting us stay in the same room all month, automatically updating our online pre-bookings, and providing an endless stream of room keys as our move out date continually extended. I'm going to miss my little buddy Mikey, but I will not miss the screaming baby that has lived (and screamed) next door to us for most of the month we've lived here.
  • Some of the friends we wanted to see before we left we just won't get to, and frankly, that sucks. But with work and moving and training, it's been pretty unavoidable that we don't get to say a proper goodbye to everyone.
  • With all that, I'm still excited to get down to North Carolina and settle in at our new house. It's going to be a grand adventure, and I'm really looking forward to it.
  • The race is coming, and frankly, I'm pretty confident. I'm down to minute planning details now, like what to put in my transition bags, and which watch to wear on each part of the race. I don't have a bike computer, so I've decided on the Garmin for the bike, as I want the pacing for the longest part of the race. And it's not that hard to do hit the lap button and do math every time I come to a mile marker on the run course.
  • I really am glad Rachelle decided on BU for this little stop of our long journey together. I can't believe how much this place has meant to me, and how it's going to take quite a while to call North Carolina home.