Saturday, September 26, 2009

Events #23 AND # 24...Hit the Brixx 10K and 5K, Saturday September 26

What started out as just event #23 - turned into a why the hell not...let's do two. On a drizzly dark morning heading in to the race, I knew I needed to get miles in as prep for next weekend's when asked - 10K, 5K or both, I immediately said BOTH...they run back to back, so all I had to do was finish the 10K in time.

Saw Kevin Collins at the race - Kevin is doing Florida IM - the big enchilada a FULL IronMan in a little over a month, raising $10K for the LLS. As part of his fundraising scheme - he set tiers to induce certain incentives...for instance - $5K - he will wear a mohawk leading up to and for the race, once he reached $7,500 - he would wear a running skirt, or "skort"...and not just any skort - his is a leopard print with purple seams down the sides...he was wearing that lovely number today - no mohawk yet - but the skort....and he's at $8,500+. When he hits $10K - he'll color his mohawk purple...can't wait to see pics of the skort, the purple mohawk...all of it. Kevin is alos a TnT coach and a fellow Bank of America associate. All around great guy who goes above and beyond. He'll also be doing Florida IM with John McLean and Greg Counts - fellow TnT Alums. Kevin's fundraising page - as he is still shy of the $10K can be found here - if you are so inclined to check it out and help Kevin along...

As always - I met a lot of great folks along the race and before. I had the honor to meet Scott Campbell. Scott's son Garrett passed away after being diagnosed with Infantile NCL, a fatal neurological disorder that took his life devastatingly in December 2007. Scott and his fellow "Team Garrett" member ran the 10K - some also ran both - and their big event to raise awareness and funds is next weekend, the "Take Flight Triathlon" here in Charlotte. More info can be found here

Scott and I shared a beer after the races (at 9:45 AM...yes ) and chatted a bit. He is a strong, friendly and wonderful individual who is doing so much to not only honor is son but also further work to help others who may be faced with the same devastating diagnosis. As he said, it is part of the healing process and it is remarkable what he has accomplished. I look forward to getting to know Scott and do what I can to support his mission in the coming years.

Also ran into Sarah Hereford - an auditor that we work with at BAC during earnings and the 10-Q process (coming up in a couple weeks - whoo freakin hoo).

So I ran with Kevin for the first mile plus and then he was doing run / walk - as per his training schedule and the fact that he just did a century ride (100 miles) yesterday. Madman. Then went off on my own.

Cool day - the drizzle had stopped - lots of runners on the course and some spectators. Good course - with some interesting hills...the fog shrouded the city so even when we were heading back in, it was difficult to make out the skyline. But all in all - perfect day for a race. Support and logistics were great - so hats off to the folks at Brixx, Run For Your Life and all the sponsors. Got asked about the Karhu shoes by a bunch of folks at the end (of both) and told them they were the easiest to transition into and thus far - some of the best shoes I had run in in a VERY long time...the craft hat, shorts, socks etc...worked perfectly too.

Did the 6.2 miles and geared up for the next 3.1. Also had a chance to talk to Theoden Janes, blogger for the Charlotte Observer, who crushed the course - as he said - "it's on like Donkey Kong" en route to doing the NYC Marathon in November.

Head out for the 5K and it's mostly the same course to begin with - a few new twists and turns and we're headed back in.

At the end of the day - I truly got out of the runs what I wanted to and needed to....better leg speed and maintained an even pace for both races. Right around 8's

Today's race - is dedicated to the memory and in honor of Scott's son Garrett. While he was not struck down by a blood cancer, I feel that in honoring him - the mission and memory that his father and family are honoring - it is appropriate. I am in awe of the human spirit to overcome such tragedy and do something absolutely wonderful with it. So - today's events are in memory of Garrett and in honor of Scott and what he is accomplishing. I wish him and his family all the best - and look forward to seeing him again.

10K 50:51
5K 25:31

Not my fastest for either - but still like I said - exactly what I wanted.

Next up - SC Half IronMan - and it's gonna hurt.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Next scheduled event - SC Half October 4

Have to admit it - I am bit nervous about the Half IronMan in two weeks. The training for all the other races have complemented one another by allowing me to get my runs, swims, rides, etc. in appropriately....but as Coach Steve has told us - you might be able to "fake" your way through a sprint, and "make" your way through an Olympic...but a Half - if not properly trained will make you go cryin to your momma....

I've gotten all the components down and covered the distances - but the training has not been as consistent as one would like. So - it's gonna probably hurt.

There - I've said it. And no - I don't necessarily feel any better about it - but I'm gonna do my best to get over this cold that is trying to creep in and get all the rest of my taper training in this next week...and be as prepared, mentally and physically as I can.

What I am afraid of or in fear of right now is sooooo incredibly minor compared to what LLS patients and their families go through each and every day - knowing that through your support we've raised $16K and will make the $40K or more...and help bring light to their lives. ...

Bring it on - just bring it on next weekend :-)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Event #22 Cane Creek Sprint Tri Saturday September 19, 8AM

One word - DELUSIONAL: a fixed belief that is either false, fanciful, or derived from deception. as in - I was delusional thinking I had an awesome swim - and denial now....I DID NOT SWIM THAT SLOWLY...

Seriously - I swear I had an awesome swim today. but according to the powers that be in my race chip, their mats was something like 2+ minutes slower than my past races. BAH! no way...ok - maybe, but i want a recount...great googely moogely...that's not right.

anywho - the TrySports Development series - a series of races geared towards first timers - allows racers to EASE into the sport of Tri by starting at 8 AM vs oh my god early AM... and Cane Creek last year was where I started hatching the idea of the 40 in 40....

early into transition, down to the water and in and off we go - a GREAT SWIM...well - so I thought and up to T1 - swim to bike.

Of course I managed to fidget around in T1 - but got on the bike and got going. good course with some rollers upfront - and then flat and more downhill-ish on the back...kinda like a mullet - business up front, party in the back...

Word to the wise - on the bike - clif bars, no matter how small and delectable - are REALLY hard to eat, wash down and ingest...they are dense little buggers - that I have eaten before on the bike - but especially the "chocolate brownie" variety - egads...

had a good ride and as I was riding along - this 13 year old boy was really hammering and keeping up. i told him so - he was a REALLY strong rider - we'll be seeing him again someday. seriously - that good - he kept up with me going 20 MPH uphill...

T2 - bike to run - quick switch and out we back - again was tight - so it started out slowly, but with a double loop for a 5K - and knowing the course - I knew it would loosen up - which it did around mile 1.

During the day - I saw fellow TnT Alums, Ruben, Lex, Holly and Jen....they all did awesome. And as always - I met a lot of very cool, awesome folks - all just down to earth, friendly and supportive. Try Sports and Setup Events - as always - did an awesome job and I would recommend this course to anyone. Especially if they're looking to have an AWESOME swim...ha ha

Regardless of what my time was - it was a great day for a race - and a lot of fun as always. And of course - another race down in the 40 in 40...22 down - 18 to go.

Got a few miles in (running) after the race - as SC Half is in a couple weeks and I needed the miles - and managed to really scuff up my shoes on the trails - but they still did me right and all the Karhu and Craft gear held up great.

Today's race is dedicated to Liza Bourg - Liza is Wayne Bourg's daughter. Wayne is a fellow TnT alum as well - who just rocked the course at Patriots Half IronMan last weekend. Liza is a great spirit and Wayne is an equally great man...who has accomplished much for his daughter and TnT. Liza was diagnosed with ALL several years ago and thanks to the work of the LLS and all TnT folks around the world, has been in improving health for the past year +. She also had an "extra" role in an American Girl movie. Despite what she has endured, she - when we had the pleasure of spending sometime with her - has such a glowing, powerful and amazing personality - such a great outlook and presence - it is infectious. I am proud to be able to help her and those like her who are battling blood cancers.

So - at the end of the day - total time 1:34:18
Swim - 19:38 (hmmmm)
Bike - 43:59
Run - 26:19

Go Team!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Event # 21 Nations Tri, Washington, DC Sunday September 13

After a long drive to DC and getting through our mandatory briefing, it was off to game day prep. Lots of last minute checks and hydration preparation and proper (are quesadillas proper?) fueling...

Saturday was our day to rack our bikes in transition - by far the biggest transition I have ever seen with room for 6000 triathletes. Followed by some team information, a pre race talk by Dave Scott and a practice swim in the Potomac river. No trees or massive detritus in the river as we practices - but I was glad to have my was CHILLY

Sheila arrived Saturday - after classes - and was awakened by my 3:30 wake up on Sunday AM to get some breakfast in me and gather up my gear for the race. Didn't get a whole heck of a lot of sleep Saturday night - no matter what 3:30 AM is early...

Met the team in the lobby and we got on the bus. Arrived at the race sight in darkness and did final set up in transition, laying out gear for each stage of the race, filling tires, checking water bottles, bio breaks, etc.

Even with 2 hours before the race started - the time flew by as the sun began to rise over the Nation's Capital....

So - with 6000 registered athletes, there were 30+ waves - which is how they start the race. Wave by category (elite, para-athletes, military (special to this event), then age first then women) - every 3 - 4 minutes.

They get us in the water around 7:20...the horn sounds and we're off. My swim is not bad at first - but I soon realize - there are few buoys to sight off of - sighting is where you make sure you're going the right way, in a "relatively" straight line to minimize your time swimming...."shortest distance between two points". As I get to the first turn, I look over my right shoulder taking a breath and there is the Lincoln Memorial....I make the turn and straight ahead is Arlington National buoy, turn and head downstream - so far - besides the two clowns who grabbed my feet and pulled me backwards - not too bad...those two clowns received a swift kick to the noggin by the way...hey all is fair in love and triathlon

As I turn downstream - I don't see a buoy - so I follow the leaders - or the folks in front of me - and then get out from under the Arlington Memorial bridge and still - no I pull up and flip up my fogged up goggles....oh - THERE it - that's a long ways off...hmmm

get back to swimming and finally make the next to last turn - one more stretch then in to "home" and I can get out of the water. Make the last turn and promptly (although unknown to me) start heading more towards shore than the finish...a nice kayaker comes along and yells "LEFT, LEFT"...I look up and am like - " Oh - yeah - thanks....phooey"

Pull myself out of the water after what seemed like an interminably long swim - a bit more tired than I expected to be...and start peeling off the wetsuit and head towards T1 - Swim to Bike...after wrestling with my wetsuit - a lot harder to get off over ones ankles than you might imagine - and get my bike gear on - I head out to ride.

Bike is a couple of loops, one about 5 miles, one about 20...the 5 mile loop allows me to get me breathing down and start to take in some fluids - slowly.

See coming out of the water - especially on longer swims - your blood is mostly in your upper body, you get out and get upright and it "rebalances" itself...often making you disoriented, nauseous, etc. So you need to take in fluids and calories slowly at first - otherwise - you may share your breakfast with the other riders. While sharing is usually a good thing...doing so all over them, their bikes, etc is not so popular.

Head out on the 20 mile section and it is a long, slow gradual climb - with some moderate downhills - but mostly up. Also - with this many riders out there on a relatively narrow course - it is IMPOSSIBLE - not to draft or block - both of which are infractions in triathlon. Drafting - like in NASCAR - is where you get into the "slipstream" of a rider in front of you and let them block the wind and pull you along - blocking is when you are alongside a rider, not allowing them to pass or move out to pass...but try as I might - as well as the thousands of others - it can't be avoided.

Make the 180 degree turn to head back into town - up over one hill and pop into the big ring and get moving...20 mph, 21 mph...25 mph...miles spin off and we're almost into town...I hear a wreck behind me - didn't sound good - and head into the final mile.

As I start to go under an overpass, I notice - water bottles....lots of them - everywhere...a water bottle lawn sale - and I wonder what the....then I hit the same pothole everyone else hit and lose my gel flask - lawn sale...yikes - no popped tire though.

Make it to the dismount line and into T2 - Bike to Run.

As I head out - my back is a bit tight - and someone passes me saying "you were my motivation on the ride" he passed me....great - I motivated you to kick my butt...oh well - off he went and off we went - 6 miles - nice and flat - mostly shaded, and well supported with lots of spectators...awesome.

Mile 1, 2 and 3...chugging along, not my fastest - but one foot in front of the other. I see a lot - and I MEAN A LOT - of TnT folks along the way. Great to see everyone out there.

As I make it to mile 6, I am happy that I will soon be done. It has been a challenging race - not overly taxing - but admittedly, I am getting tired. That fatigue though - is minor compared to what we are working towards eradicating.

Also - as a side bar - there was a man - who in the vein and spirit of "Team Hoyt" did the race with his child.

For those of you who don't know of Team Hoyt, Dick Hoyt has completed numerous marathons (Boston included - as a qualified racer) and competed in the Hawaii IronMan - with his son Rick. Rick was born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, limiting oxygen flow to his brain, debilitating him. The Hoyt's continue to work towards Rick's inclusion in everyday life ( and are an inspiration for everyone....

I saw them at the start, the father attaching a raft to himself to swim with his child in tow, on the ride - with a bike carrier/wagon attached to the bike, and in the run - finishing with a smile on their faces...

That and the fact that one of my teammates, Marty Pittman was diagnosed with CLL (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia) in April and the unending work to be done for the LLS, made me make 110% certain I crossed that line. Marty - whom I met for the first time this weekend - is a great guy full of energy and determination, with a wife and two young boys (7 and 5). His energy, his fight, his power - and the need to continue to raise the awareness of the LLS and their work - made me damn sure I kept going. This event is dedicated in honor of Marty and his fire - his fight, and my ability to try and make a difference for him and countless others. Marty - and the rest of the team rocked the course...and everyone finished.

Now - I don't know this for certain - but while there were 4300 who toed the line at the start on Sunday and about 3900 who finished...I can almost guarantee that all 585 of the TnT athletes out there Sunday finished....because we're not out there racing to win for ourselves, we're out there racing to win against blood cancer.

As was noted from the inspiration dinner, in the average time it took for folks to complete the race, 48 people were diagnosed with a blood cancer...48 people in 3 hours...

Thanks you, Marty, Wendy, Pam, Maggie and Juliene for racing with me this weekend and being so much fun. Thanks a MILLION Tricia and Lynn for keeping us focused and on track and getting us across the line - both at the start and the finish.

Thank you all for your support and kind words. Go TEAM!!!

Swim 35:09
Bike 1:14:58
Run 54:08
TOTAL: 2:51:22

Congratulations to all TnT Folks this past weekend

Two events in two cities or one city, one town....two triathlons two different distances....18 athletes

7 in Washington DC - Nation's Tri

11 in Willimasburg, VA - Patriots Half Ironman

Great job to my fellow Nation's tri folks, Marty, Maggie, Wendy, Juliene, Pam and Bekky...we endured the Potomac - we willingly and legally swam in that river - ick...dealt with the fact there was no way in hell we could not draft or block or anything given the 4300 folks on the course, avoided the water bottle "lawn sale" under that overpass created by the potholes and bumps in the road - although I contributed a gel out there and ran that pancake flat 10K on Haynes Point - along with our nearly 600 other TnT'ers! You guys rocked the course.

Equally impressive job by the TnT folks in VA.

Great Job Coaches Steve, Jenny and Kevin and TnT alum John, Greg, Wayne, Cara, Lindsey, and Shelly - and first timer - Tal....who I suspect had the quote of the day regarding his swim..."No I am not getting out of this water, I am swimming to cure blood cancer" - and fellow TnT sympathizers Marcus and Matt Crow... looked up your times all of you - damn impressive.

Also - of course a great big huge never ending thank you goes out to our coaches who kept after us during the training and kept with us through the race. Wouldn't have dared toed the line without you and never would have crossed the finish. Our unsung heroes - folks we often forget to thank - usually because we are cursing them for making us do a brick after riding 30 - 40 - 50 miles....or another swim drill....kick on side, single switch, triple switch, shark fin....arrrggghhh

I don't know the final tally from the Patriots Half and funds raised but in DC by the Western NC teams but over $2.4 million was raised by all 585 TnT athletes competing in the DC event.

Go TEAM!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Event #21 - Inspiration dinner recap - Nation's Tri Washington, DC

The Inspiration Dinner was Saturday night - after we got to take a practice swim in the lovely - chilly Potomac River and hear Dave Scott speak - giving us some race tips. I will say this about our teams coaches - we are well advised and prepared - at least based on some of the questions that were being asked during Dave's talk.

For those not in the "world of Triathlons" - and admittedly I didn't know this much about him....Dave Scott is a 6 time Ironman world Champion (Kona - the big one) and the first inductee into the Ironman Hall of Fame. He knows his stuff. and was remarkably personable and down to earth.

During the dinner we learned quite a bit about TnT, Triathlon and the LLS.

While the LLS has been around for 60 years, Team in Training is only 21 years old and triathlons have only been a part of the program for 10 years. Triathlons have raised over $200 million for the LLS. Over the 21 years of TnT nearly 390 thousand athletes have been trained to complete a marathon or half marathon, century ride, hike or triathlon (of varying distances). These athletes have raised nearly $1 Billion over the 21 years....Are you one of them? Do you want to be? there are a lot of great events coming up....

For the Nations Tri - with 6000 registered participants, there were 585 TnT athletes competing This years Nation's Tri TnT athletes raised $2.4 mm for the LLS. The top 3 fundraisers raised $45k

Some of the advice given to us was sound... Stop and take in scenery Lincoln memorial as you make the first turn in the swim...Arlington cemetery at the next turn, Washington memorial, WW II memorial as you ride and run - from vantage points often not allowed or available

Additional advice that pertains to triathlons, marathons, cycling events....
Manage what you can in the moment
Keep the faith in your self and the work done
Remember what you have done through the course of your training

Our Honored Patient Hero speaker was Jake Sulberg from the NJ chapter - at 22 he held the room and audience in his words and battle...

In 2007 after hiking with his family he felt sick, was treated for his symptoms. Later on he and his family went to Italy - after feeling sick once again - a mass was found between his lungs and he saw great sights in Italy only from a small window in a small room for 25 days.
He was diagnosed with Burkitts lymphoma. Throughout his chemo he and his family battled and focused on "getting through this"

Once the first rounds of treatment were completed - he and his family took a 14 hour flight from Italy stopping in Scotland, Iceland, Canada - along the way - he had his first meal of solid food in months, kfc in Iceland...reportedly delicious.

His humor and strength were pervasive throughout the discussion. He recognized what he had encountered and dealt with - and honored so many more who were not able to win this battle.

He also told us as "we were "getting through" our race that when we think we're at the end or going to stop, remember that 48 people will be diagnosed with a blood cancer during the time it takes on average to finish the race.

His words, the humor end energy he filled the room with - kept me going through a challenging but fun event on Sunday...

That and the fact that the 40 in 40 and our work to make it a success was recognized during the dinner. In front of the 585 athletes, their families, friends and coaches Jake, Dave Scott, and Chuck Brodsky - founder of the Nation's Tri - I was honored to be recognized and inspired to persevere. And I hate being in the - a little out of my confort zone there...

More on the race - coming shortly.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Coming up - Event #21...Nation's Tri in Washington DC - Sunday September 13

With an "out of town" tri coming up...I am a bit extra anxious. The out of town aspect just makes it that much more interesting. Pack the bag extra early - and carefully - as I will not have all my home base supplies close at hand...check, recheck and recheck again the bike - clean the chain, check the brakes....must remember my tire pump...

Nations will be my first Olympic distance this year - so that means, a 1 mile (1.5 kilometer) swim, a 25 mile (40 kilometer) bike and 6.2 mile (10 kilometer) reality it is a training race for the SC Half in a few weeks....which will be the second longest event (in distance) to date...

But not looking past this weekend, I get to swim in the Potomac River with 2399 other triathletes, ride up and around Reedy Creek Park, and run amidst some of the nations most memorable, iconic landmarks in and around downtown DC. This is a TnT lots of TnT folks will be there - quite possibly the majority of the field - and lots of great TnT always!

Weekend will be busy, busy, busy....when I get to DC I get to meet the Karhu Rep and chat about the products so far. Go through a MANDATORY pre-race briefing...these are usually optional - one wonders why it is mandatory? catch up with the Team - and then catch up with some friends from ATL who I haven't seen in a long time...

Saturday - another fun filled - jam packed day....we have to rack our bikes in transition Saturday and leave them there overnight - due to parking and traffic logistics - and then we get to have a swim practice - so not just one swim in the Potomac - but TWO!!!

When we lived in DC, I recall a significant amount of detritus floating in that river...some of it sizable - like whole trees - especially after heavy rains - so that should add a new dimension to the swim....

then off to the inspiration dinner, then set up the rest of my gear and triple check the bag and try and get some sleep before the 3:30 AM wake up. The race kicks off at 7 AM...I start swimming (or flailing in the water) between 7:18 and 7:24....based on the age group waves.

It is supposed to be a beautiful day for a race - or some sightseeing in and around DC...which once I get out of the water - it will be - sort of.

The recent bike fitting has done wonders to increase my wattage or cranking power and has helped ease the mild discomfort I was feeling in my knee. Thanks again TrySports! The swims with and without the Team have helped get me properly prepared - or so I think...and my own versions of training - have - well - kept me focused on the event at hand.

So - big weekend - with lots of stuff to do....and some sleep to go get...for now.

Go Team - will try and update as soon as possible on Sunday - or in the interim if anything of interest occurs....

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Did I mention the $16K raised

I am sure I did...but just in far - since this all began, we - yes WE not I - have raised nearly $16 thousand so far in the quest for the $40K I set when I crafted this challenge - in a little over 4 months. That is incredibly inspiring - and I am humbled by the support I have received.

From friends and family, from colleagues at work, from acquaintances, from what one might consider "perfect strangers" we have accomplished so much thus far.

My next step is to approach corporations for monetary support to boost this even further. The $40K was a goal set to tie in to the "40 in 40" theme. It is but a small dent in the needs of the LLS, the patients, their families... to recieve the support and research they need. It is not a required amount, it is not a set amount...if - no - WHEN we exceed that it will make this challenge all that much more beneficial to those who we know, are related to, have met - who have battled blood cancers and lost - and those that continue that battle today.

Do you know of a corporation that is open to the opportunity to do so much more? If so - please let me know. I am pursuing sports oriented as well as health oriented, family oriented, community oriented organizations to help us all surpass this goal.

I appreciate your continued support and kind words - and am humbled by your generosity.

Thank you all..... GO TEAM!