Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I need a triathlon coach... now

I've been lacking motivation. I've been frustrated with my weight loss, or lack thereof. I've been tired. I've been putting off restarting training. I have some great news about my 2012 season, but it doesn't mean much if I don't start getting ready for it. It really won't matter.

I'm ready to start working. I'm ready to finally get rid of the extra weight that's been stopping me from being fast like my friends. I'm ready to stop making excuses for why I can't do things; why it's so easy for me to take the easy way instead of the right way. I'm ready to be the confident, fun, happy person I was the season before last, who pushed his boundaries, raced hard, but never took himself too seriously.

My last few weeks haven't been without progress. The race in Raleigh was a fun challenge, and the 5k in Toledo was my 3rd time doing, and I beat my best previous by 1 second. A small difference, but on only 3 1/2 hours sleep I am very happy with how it went. I'm ready to acknowledge that every 1 second I take off a run is progress, regardless of how long it took to earn or how much suffering went into it.

Speaking of suffering, I'm ready to suffer. I probably shouldn't put it where my new coach can read it, but I am ready. I can't imagine how much suffering it will take to lose 100 pounds, but I'm ready to do it. I'm ready to sacrifice, in terms of time and yes, even food. Whatever it takes to get better, faster, and most importantly, lighter.

Because I'm finally ready (I just hope my coach is).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I know it's a cliche but I truly am thankful for the blessings and friends in my life. I had a great day Sunday; Rach and I ran the Wake County PTA 5k, and then had a terrific Thanksgiving dinner.

The race was a cross country trail run, in 80 degree heat (in November no less) and very hilly and challenging, but a lot of fun!! Tons of kids were running, which was a lot of fun to watch, and gave me plenty of slow parents to beat. Rach placed 4th in her age group barely missing the podium. It was great to see all those kids running as part of various schools healthy life initiatives. I realized I rarely compete against my peers (slow tall fat guys) and when I do, it's cool to be seen by some of them as fast.

Dinner was amazing, and Rach took some great pictures but the big moment was when I set the rolls on fire in the oven. The box that brown and serve rolls come in says its safe to go in the oven. Not our oven. Actual fire. Replacement rolls made up for it, but couldn't compare to Rachelle's sweet potato souffle.

Speaking of my sweet potato, Rach is travelling with the women's basketball team to Atlanta, and I arrived yesterday in Michigan for time with my family. Tomorrow morning I've got another 5k and then a full day with the family.

I hope you enjoy the holiday and the weekend with your family

Friday, November 18, 2011

Furry Friday Fun

It's been a pretty good and quiet week. I go home next week for Thanksgiving, and I can't wait to spend time with my family, run the Thanksgiving 5k, and eat some turkey. Before then I'm going to run a 5k and eat some Turkey. Confused? Rach is going to be away with her basketball team on Thanksgiving, so we're celebrating our holiday traditions this Sunday with a 5k followed by traditional Thanksgiving dinner Sunday before I get on a plane Monday morning.

The best part of this week has been the excitement of watching Stanley learn and grow. So much can happen in a week!

First, he got a job as my office manager, as shown in this picture of him keeping a watchful eye on me at my desk.
That disapproving look is because he doesn't think pajamas are office appropriate
Once satisfied I was busy with the tasks at hand for the day, he went about the work of every manager:
At least he has confidence I'll get my work done
Apparently, sleeping and eating and playing and pooing isn't enough for a puppy on the go these days so he decided to take up flying, shown here in high speed because I don't know how to use a video editor properly.

Finally, I lost 1 1/2 pounds this week and ran a three times. Not quite as much as I wanted to, but more than I thought I might be able to being as swamped with work as I was earlier in the week.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Luke Skywalker would have been an awesome triathlete

When I was growing up, all I really wanted to be was this guy:
I even still have the haircut
Somewhere along the way, instead of becoming that guy, I became this one:
I think he's placing a pizza order into the microphone
As I look back at last season I have a lot that I'm really proud of, and some things that I wasn't as pleased with. The focus on training for Rev3 Cedar Point was such a new experience, and looking back, physically I believe I was capable of completing the distance. The problem I had was that when it came to both training and racing is that mentally I couldn't bring myself to truly believe I could do it.

Yoda is always right, and this is no different. I worked hard, but not hard enough. To paraphrase the Master himself, too often my mind wasn't focused on where I was, what I was doing. I let myself be too easily distracted from the bigger picture by things that certainly don't matter as much as my health and my performance goals. It was a tough lesson to learn learn at my A race for the season, but I'd much rather get something out of it than not. 

Plus, it's a lot better than having your hand chopped off
There's a lot to the idea of fake it until you make it, and that's what I'm planning on doing on the days my attitude and willpower aren't where the need to be. I could try doing Jedi Mind tricks on myself, and dipping the fridge in carbonite.Of course, you can't fake the work it takes to train, so that part I'm gonna do for real.

What do you mean I got a 2 minute drafting penalty?

- I got my blood test results back from my physical. My blood sugar was very good, my triglycerides were very good, my overall cholesterol was good, and my good cholesterol was dramatically improved. My LDL, or bad cholesterol was just a very tiny bit high, but the doctor said not to worry about it, as I had eaten pretty poorly coming out of Shipwreck leading up the test, which likely causes the small spike. 

- I bought a groupon for a sports shop in Raleigh and it turned out to be the tri shop that runs Beach to Battleship. They were having a huge sale, and we got Rach some new $100 racing shoes for $40. Plus I finally got my hands on some strawberry Honey Stinger Waffles and a new 

- I ran Monday, but had a serious work deadline Tuesday and the Drs appointment Tuesday plus the lack of daylight and no lights on our busy road, I'm back on the road again Wednesday. 

- I sent out a couple emails to potential coaches today. I want to have the coach in place by sometime in December so our planning and training for next season can get into full swing.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Course Correction

I've always been an extrovert. It was my primary defense mechanism  when I was picked on pretty heavily as a kid (today they'd call it bullying). I've more than once been guilty of speaking before I put thought into my words. But I also have an introspective side, and I've been doing a lot of thinking about my season and something a few of my friends have mentioned to me.

When I first got into triathlon, I had just two goals; I wanted to lose some more weight, and have a way to ride my bike competitively because I wasn't fit enough for road bike racing. Somehow during the past two seasons my goals changed away from just the enjoyment of competing and training, to what I can get out of it (Sponsorship, etc). If I'm going to reach those goals I set all the way back when, I need to simply let go of everything else as a goal, and focus on just the enjoyment of being outside, doing a sport that I love.

That's not to say I can't enjoy some perks of my efforts both in terms of activity and blogging. Just last week I was able to redeem 1000 points on earndit for a $100 Bonobos gift card that I turned into 2 awesome pair of shoes. I also redeemed another 300 points for some Bulldog skin care products. If you aren't using this site, especially as a man, and you work out with a GPS or other tracking device, you can rack up some serious free stuff. And now that they've added challenges, there are even more chances for people doing high mileage training to earn some great free stuff.

And I still hope to be a member of Team Rev 3, though admittedly the competition seems to be more fierce than I had anticipated. More than 600 applicants, including a lot of amazing athletes and even the spouses of pro triathletes as we witnessed in today's announcement of Rich Allen's wife as the next member. Only 1 in 30 will make it, but if I do, I'm going to use the support I'm given to focus clearly on those original goals I set way back at the beginning of all this.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Too much stress, not enough training

So I've got some stuff to share, and not all of it is pleasant. It's been a challenging week here, to say the least, but things are looking up!
  • When I was on my way home from Shipwreck Tri, Rachelle called to tell me that she had just spoken to her mom, and after 28 years of marriage her parents are getting a divorce. There's a lot of shock involved as they had generally been seen as a very happy couple, and it hit Rach pretty hard. She's an amazingly strong person, and she hasn't buried her face in a quart of ice cream, so I think she's working her way through it. I'm doing my best to be supportive, and I think there will be some retail therapy in her future this weekend.
  • Yesterday, there was a lock down situation at Rachelles work. A student who lived in a standalone house on campus was being served warrants at his home barricaded himself inside the house with weapons and explosives. Rachelle's primary office was less than 100 yards from the house. She was fortunately slightly further away during the incident. Some buildings were evacuated and roads into the campus were blocked off. When she first texted me, she believed there was a sniper on the loose on campus, and only through contacting the sheriff and calling the TV station was I able to get the true details and get them to her. It was still quite scary though, and probably the most surprising part is that we lived in Boston for two years with only our bikes being stolen but we come to podunk, North Carolina and deal with something like this.
  • Between recovering from Shipwreck, the stress of this weeks events, and lack of sleep from taking the dog out to go to the bathroom every three hours, I've been exhausted all week. Thus I haven't been doing a heck of a lot of training. My eating hasn't been exactly great either, but I've definitely been conscious of that fact, and I've been actively working on it. I'm determined to reduce my soda intake to that of only the very occasional, and to delete diet soda from my diet entirely. It's a big step, but I think an important one. I've got bottled water and a little G2 around, and a small bottle of Diet Mt. Dew for when I really need it, because cold turkey is hard.
  • Rev 3 begins announcing the new team today. They're announcing one new member a day for the next couple of weeks. I'm really hopeful I have been chosen, but if not I'm just glad Mandy AKA Caratunk Girl thought enough of me (and Rach) to recommend me. I've made some amazing friends in my life and I feel like that's only increased since I started doing triathlons. Wish me luck, it's going to be a nervous few days.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Race Report: Shipwreck Triathlon: with pictures and a podium!

Saturday was the last race of a very challenging, but successful triathlon season. With back-to-back DNFs in my big goal races, I learned that I hadn't bitten off more than I can chew, I just didn't do quite enough chewing. Even with "failures" in my "A" races, I had the itch to get back in the saddle. One of my primary goals each year is to improve my USAT ranking, and you need 3 completed Tri's per season to earn a ranking. When I got through Rev 3 Anderson, I just had to go get that last race in, and when friend of the blog Derek mentioned the awesomely named Shipwreck Triathlon on the NC coast, I knew I'd found my race.

My original plan was to bring Rach and Stanley the pup out for our first family trip and spend the rest of the weekend checking out beaches and lighthouses. Unfortunately, Rach had to cover men's basketball practice, so I took a half day Friday to make the drive out more enjoyable and turned it into a one night vacation. On the trip out there, I hit the USS North Carolina, the battleship of Beach to Battleship fame. It was pouring when I got there, so I didn't take the tour, but I did buy an actual piece of the ships decking used during WWII; taken off when it was retrofitted in the 90s.

Big ship, but what does the sign at the bottom say?
You'd think they'd just use the battleship to fix this problem
Then I headed over to check in, and let me just say it's a good thing I knew ahead of time that the GIANT BRIDGE over the intercoastal waterway wasn't part of the bike course, because I might just have peed all over my rental car seat if it was. I scoped out the course, which was every bit as flat as they advertised. The weather on the other hand was pretty dreadful, and not at all looking great for race morning.  

The gorgeous view of the bad weather from my room
Race morning, I woke up to this:

This is what all race mornings should look like
Over at the race, I met Bob and Alan (and Alan's wife whose name I have totally forgotten; because I'm a terrible person) from Beginner Triathlete who were hanging out when I went to see the swim start. It was nice to see friendly faces, and learn more about the area from a local. I had some pretty strong goals, but I also realized standing there on the sand before the race that I hadn't swam in seas this choppy in quite a while. 

Pre-race camaraderie, and the big dude needs a haircut
The Swim: After Cedar Point and Anderson I talked about needing to focus more on the swim in order to be stronger getting on the bike. I sort of did the opposite of that in preparation for this race. I've hardly swam since Anderson, and I think I went in overconfident. 1k swim? I've done almost 4k this year at least twice, but not in 2 foot seas. The water was 68 degrees, but it felt much colder and I had trouble catching my breath from the minute I hit the water. My sighting wasn't great and in general this is one of the toughest swims I've ever done. It wasn't long it was just really hard. I wasn't last out of the water, but I was way slower than normal, and that's before a decently long walk from the water to T1.

This might be the coolest picture of me ever
Swim Time: 35:43

T1: I lost a minute because I forgot to take off my watch before removing my wetsuit, and the hard swim definitely slowed me down. Not my worst T1 of the season even, but definitely need to work on the swim so as to come out of the water strong.

T1 Time: 5:54

The Bike: Almost totally flat. I mean the elevation change was less than 15 feet for the whole race. Being on the bike felt really good for the first 4 1/2 miles... and then you turn around and ride right into the wind. The tailwind wasn't very strong because it wasn't blowing from directly behind, but the headwind felt like it was coming right at you. Of course it was worst during the last 4 1/2 miles, but honestly I felt pretty good for the better part of the ride. I had hoped to average 15 MPH, and I came very close to doing so. A little less wind and I'd have gone a lot faster. I was the slowest bike time among men, but by just over a minute, so I felt like I hung in there pretty well.

Almost back to T2
Bike Time: 1:13:58

T2: This is the best T2 transition I've had in a real long time, maybe ever. I was off the bike and on my way out smoothly and easily, and even with a few second delay to reset my Garmin to run mode. This was a significant improvement, and maybe the area I'm most proud of in this race.

T2 Time: 1:40

The Run: The run was almost entirely a walk again, as the wind took quite a bit out of me. I ran a couple of minutes total, but managed to walk just under 4 MPH, and finish at just about the pace I expected to. I knew I needed to keep working on my run long before this race, but I also learned that my math needs some work too. Somehow I thought 8k was 4 miles, so I guess I need to make sure to convert km to miles before I plan a race.
Bob got some great photos including me crossing the finish
Run Time: 1:10:03

Total Time: 3:07:17

The best part is that with a small field and a flat course I was in competition for a podium the entire day, and as it turned out I came in 3rd place Clydesdale. I know it's not a big deal, but it sure felt like winning a major award. A great way to finish the season for sure. I'm so pumped for next season already.

Me at home recovering with my sweet reward in hand

Thursday, November 3, 2011

drinking and sleeping

Somebody is drinking plenty of liquids and getting lots of sleep in my house...

... sadly it isn't me.
I was reading the other day that it takes 4 days to properly hydrate leading up to a race, and so it's no surprise that someone with my sweat rate (roughly 8 gallons per hour), it's something I need to be concerned about. I know my race is just a long sprint, and the weather is cool, but I've been drinking a 32 oz G2 every day this week to supplement my normal fluid intake.

After the horrendous day Tuesday, I had a very good Wednesday and a pretty good Thursday in terms of both training and food intake. My Tuesday run was a tougher one, I tried a 2/3 run/walk interval set, and I got through 4 intervals before I had to drop back to 1:30/3:30. When I got on the bike Wednesday, my legs were absolutely dead. I pushed through the first 30 minutes at a good tempo, and wound up doing better than usual on one of my Strava climb segments, but after 30 minutes I was good and tired, so I cut the ride short. I'm not concerned about the ride distance, and if anything my improved climbing should help with my endurance on what is said to be a very flat course.

As for goals, I'm not sure what to think. The swim is only 1k, and its supposedly with the current. The weather calls for potentially 20 MPH winds from the north, so I'm guessing we swim south very quickly, and the southbound section of each of the two bike loops will be great, while the northbound sections will be less fun. As for the run, it's 4 miles and again supposedly quite flat. The cutoff is 3 hours, and anything less than that will make me happy, but I would really like to try for a 2:30 or less Its possible, if my transitions are strong. With a short swim, my T1 has a chance to be good. 

Finally, thanks I've gotten some real nice support from folks when I've been down lately and I appreciate that a lot.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's just bullshit

Yesterday, I had a really bad day. I mean, really bad. And there are no reasons why I had a bad day, just excuses. Lots of shitty excuses that I made to my wife and to myself to try and justify my actions. Or technically my lack of actions yesterday.

5 days until race day, and I didn't train yesterday. With an open road right outside my door, the ability to somewhat make my own schedule at work, and a pool just 3 miles away, and I didn't do one damn thing to utilize any of that to train or even just be healthy. In fact, to top it off, I ate for total shit too, just to boot. Big Cheeseburger for dinner at 8 PM is not a way to prepare for a triathlon or lose weight. I have friends that ran a marathon on Sunday, and I can't step away from the plate for a few minutes to run a couple miles?

I have an amazing life, is it that much to ask for the willpower to get to having an amazing average less fat body? I can let myself get away with this crap anymore, it's just gone on way too long. It shouldn't be this much of a challenge for me to just keep track of what im eating and when I hit my points total for the day, STOP EATING. seriously.

None of yesterdays excuses hold water today, and I'm going to channel all my negative thoughts from and about yesterday into doing the best I can today to be healthier, stronger, and faster. I'm going to run, and then I'm going to swim, and I'm going to eat, but the right kind of foods and in the right amounts.


- Another fundraiser to please consider. My teammate Julia had her sweet ride (a Trek Madone) stolen a few weeks ago, and as an athlete who has qualified and is preparing for AG World Championships, she's going to need a new bike, and some money to offset the costs of travel and training. Belmont Wheelworks was kind enough to loan her a great bike for the time being,  but we all know what it's like to ride someone elses bike; no matter how awesome it is you always wish it was yours. Julia is doing a fundraiser with some terrific triathlon prizes. If you're local to the Boston area, you can show up for her spin class tied to the fundraiser or just donate.

- Stanley is ready for the 2012 cycling season, and is clearly trying to convince Jonathan Vaughters to sign him to the Chipotle development squad (he's only 7 weeks old, so he's not quite ready to ride with the big dogs). I wonder if they will make him dogfood burritos?

Short runs, long naps; definitely a sprinter in the making