Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Not much to say lately...

Graduated from CGSC.  It really was a great year.

We've had a nice Christmas day.  It's still snowing (and raining) in Portland so it's a great day to stay inside and watch "White Christmas" and "It's a Wonderful Life."


Thursday, November 27, 2008

A year for which to be thankful...

I'm thankful for the past 12 months because:

1.  I learned the difference between skepticism and cynicism.
2.  I grasped the concept of "work to live" vice "live to work."
3.  I was shown sympathy and empathy.
4.  I grew the number of my acquaintances and the depth of my friendships.
5.  I began to understand the truth that "just because you can doesn't mean you should."
6.  I was forced to internalize that a lack of education doesn't mean a lack of intelligence.
7.  I embraced "new deals" and not "nude eels."
8.  I served in the company of great men (and women).
9.  I have friends who shared the truth... No matter how much it might have hurt at the time.
10. Rachel, Boo, and Savannah...

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Clearwater


Each of us defines "success" individually.  Familial, professional, spiritual, social, and physical are just a few of the areas one might consider important.  While each has its own specific measures of success, I believe each of them are also inextricably linked.

2008 has been an interesting journey and I think my triathlon season has reflected the impact positive support from family, friends, co-workers, and coaches has on our individual performance.  

So, let me be clear.  I think 2008 was one of my most rewarding seasons.  I overcame early failure at IMAZ and finished with a significant personal best time for the half-ironman distance at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, Florida.

First, I'd never excel without the Rachel's support.  She pushes me to be my best in every endeavor.  

Second, I appreciate the friendship and support that Dave Ciavarella provided throughout the season. He's a true gentleman.

Third, I think Marc Becker at Ironguides is one of the best coaches in the business. His no-nonsense approach has resulted in 2 of my 3 fastest Ironman finishes and 3 of my top-4 half-Ironman finishes.  Basically, he knows how to coach:  Focus on the basics, reinforce proper habits (technique, diet, recovery, and consistency), and slowly/continuously build the athlete until race day results are known BEFORE the gun goes off.  I'd recommend him to any athlete willing to commit themselves fully to their goals.

As for race day... Beautiful course, disappointing swim, outstanding bike (reflecting TONS of additional bike work in training and a willingness to take risks in racing), and a hard-fought run.  I'd say the course gave me 10-minutes and I earned the other 10-minutes of my nearly 20-minute Personal Best.

TOTAL SWIM1.2 mi. (35:01)1:50/100m950141

BIKE SPLIT 120.7 mi. (54:06)22.96 mph
BIKE SPLIT 220.3 mi. (49:13)24.75 mph
BIKE SPLIT 315 mi. (38:23)23.45 mph
TOTAL BIKE56 mi. (2:21:42)23.71 mph

RUN SPLIT 13.5 mi. (25:00)7:08/mile
RUN SPLIT 23 mi. (21:42)7:12/mile
RUN SPLIT 33.6 mi. (26:45)7:27/mile
RUN SPLIT 43 mi. (22:49)7:36/mile
TOTAL RUN13.1 mi. (1:36:16)7:20/mile50577
  
TRANSITIONTIME
T1: SWIM-TO-BIKE3:48
T2: BIKE-TO-RUN2:41
  

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yes we can!


Inspiring... And, I believe him.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The challenge...



What happens when you take 10 of the nation's smartest Field Grade military Officers, 70 cans of beer, halloween, and a competitive guy?  We like to call it "the challenge."

The challenge?  Eat 50 packets of candy in 50 minutes (without throwing up for another 50 minutes after the challenge was complete) for $50. 
It all started innocuously enough...Apparently, children were afraid to trick-or-treat in our neighborhood...I suppose this isn't surprising given that our neighborhood is filled with a bunch of 35-40 year old "Geo-Bachelors" (guys whose wives are living back home while we're in school thousands of miles away).  The result was someone asking "what are we going to do with all this candy."  And then it happened...Someone said, "Vinnie will eat it" and Vinnie actually said he could...
The candy was a mix of Snickers, Twix, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Swedish Fish, and Sour Patch candy.  Somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 calories (heck, some people can eat that at a Burger King for lunch).

Vinnie started out on fire by powering through a few chocolates and a bunch of fish, but it was ultimately the Sour Patch which proved the greatest challenge.  At 20 minutes, he'd consumed 20 items.  At 30 minutes, he'd consumed 30, but wasn't looking good.  At 36 minutes, he threw in the towel, exited the house, and fertilized the grass.

I wonder what we can do with Turkey for Thanksgiving or Egg Nog at Christmas...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Peaceful...

I ran into this deer on Sunday's run.  Despite hunting season in full-force, we managed to watch each other for a few minutes.  It's as if the deer could sense that I meant no harm and that we could both coexist peacefully on a beautiful day.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sensitive?


I had a great weekend. With 3 hours of solid effort on the bike on Saturday and 1:45 of tough running in windy/hilly conditions yesterday, I should be feeling over-the-moon and ready for Clearwater...

Heck, I'm a Navy Diver...A "tough guy" as it were. I can shiver all day and drink all night and then repeat again the next morning. Well, actually, I have the alcohol tolerance of an 11-year old girl.

Nevertheless, I'm a pretty confident fellow. So, it's been interesting as I track my response to an event that occurred 8 days ago.

Last weekend (8 days ago), I took the Navy Physical Fitness test. It's nothing overwhelming (some push-ups, sit-ups, and a 500 yard swim). I finished my swim in 9:08. While not my fastest swim, it was a solid effort for me.

That evening, I was having dinner with my Executive Officer and her family. We were discussing the swim and I mentioned my time. That's when it occurred. Initially, it was just a slight smirk, but then it was followed by outright condescension...From my XO's 11-year old daughter! As she put it, "That's slow. I can swim 500 in 7 minutes." Wow!

I love to say I dismissed her comments, but I gotta be honest. After all the additional work I've poured into my swimming the past 10 months, it's REALLY frustrating to know that an 11-year old girl can still kick my butt. Heck, I've been working on my swimming since 1998 (when the girl was only 2 years old)!!!

Oh well...As I always say, triathlon teaches humility. Even for those of us who ARE racing the World Championships in 12 days.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Final bits and pieces...


17 days until Clearwater...
My legs are fine.  My swimming has reached a plateau (if I've improved at all).  And, I'm just trying to finish the last workouts so I can race. 
 
I'll need to tighten up my diet a bit as I'm feeling a bit "fat."

It's been a weird year.  Quite a bit of training consistency.  A solid coach.  Decent race results.  Yet, I don't really feel fulfilled.  Candidly, the half-Ironman distance doesn't feel "special" to me.  It just doesn't feel like a big accomplishment relative to the longer stuff.  

Do I enjoy the training?  Yep.  Do I like the people I meet?  For sure.  Do I think I've made improvements?  No doubt.

Current prediction?  4:40 as (:34, :04, 2:30, :02, 1:30)...

I'll need to work on my transitions to ensure I don't waste "free speed."  I'll also need to take advantage of the "legal draft" at Clearwater and ensure I keep pressure to the pedals if I hope to ride that fast.

After that... Time will tell.  I'm thinking 2009 will need to make room for Ursa Major, but I'll worry about that on 10 November once I've accomplished my goals for Clearwater.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sandbagging?

Last weekend, I was able to travel home to Portland for a weekend with Rachel.  When I'm home, we have really limited time for lots of competing demands.  One of my goals for the weekend was to race cyclocross.

'Cross in Portland has created its own subculture.  It's quirky, grassroots racing at its finest.  It's also an opportunity to see lots of friends in one location.

With that said, I couldn't afford to spend all day hanging out at a bike race so I chose to race the "Category C" event as it was starting earlier in the day.  With limited racing in my legs and only a single speed MTB to race, I felt that I could afford to "drop down" a category for the day.

Well...I guess not everyone agreed:-)  From the first stroke of a pedal (and for the next 45 minutes), I enjoyed the constant cheers of "sandbagger" or "race the Bs" from my friends along course.  

I suppose I understand.  In reality, we all race to push ourselves to the "next level."  Whenever one makes a conscious choice to plateau, they are bound to be "motivated" by others to keep pushing.  In some respects, THAT is what makes the athletic community special.  It's the willingness to push OTHERS to exceed their self-imposed limits.

Am I proud of my performance on Sunday?  Actually, yes.  I pushed myself physically and raced well.  Would I have preferred to have the time to race a more challenging category?  You betcha!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Long run...

Perfection... When everything comes together...  

I took a nice 1:45 minute run (building in pace/effort the entire time) on a beautiful "last days of summer" morning.

Days like today are the reason we run in the rain, cold, excessive heat, treadmills, forbidding streets of unknown cities, and alone.  For that rare day when the legs, the lungs, and the head all come together and say I AM ALIVE.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bike for sale...

I'm selling this for a friend (Jesse Anthony's pit bike from 2004/2005):

Ridley Supercross Frame/Python Fork (size 54)
Campy Chorus Carbon Ergo Levers
Campy Record Rear Derailleur (can trade for a Chorus Carbon Long Cage)
Campy Chorus Front Derailleur (can swap with a Record Carbon CT)
Campy Record Hubs laced to Open Pro Rims (Brand New)
FSA Carbon Crankset
FSA Platinum Pro BB
Empella Froglegs Cantis
Ritchey WCS Bars
Ritchey WCS Stem
Ritchey WCS Post
Fizik Arione Saddle
Michelin Mud2 Tires (Brand New)

$1350 complete ($1500 if you want the optional Mavic Ksyrium Tubulars with Challenge Griffo Tires).  $1650 with both sets of wheels.



Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The lone HUP...



As I rolled into the parking area for my first 'cross race of the season, I couldn't help feeling a little uncertain.  A new town, first race of the season, no knowledge of the local racers...It was enough to make one feel a bit apprehensive.  And then, a funny thing happened...Apparently, EVERYONE loves HUP United.  Regardless of the racers or the team for which they ride, the spectators out on course almost universally cheered "Hup, hup, hup!"


Unfortunately, that was pretty much the highlight of my day.  After spending 4 hours trying to convert my bike to a 1 x 10 yesterday, gluing Griffos onto some Ksyriums, and taking the day to prepare for the race, I'd simply failed in the most important preparation...Physical and mental.  

I just wasn't prepared for the technical riding (lots of tight U-turns and off-camber stuff).  Further, I hadn't done any true explosive burst work (I've been focusing on preparations for Clearwater).  The result?  When it came time to "go," I completely vapor-locked and wasn't mentally ready to push through the pain.  When combined with my poor technical riding (requiring extra accelerations) and a poor decision to ride a 44-tooth front ring (I guess I'm really NOT Richard Groenendal), the result was a disappointing finish outside the top-20 (of 45-50 riders) in the 3/4 race.
It didn't help that the Tubulars flatted 10 minutes before the start of my race and I was caught swapping cassettes to a back-up wheelset in a hurry.

Race review (BLUF):
Physical--Not enough explosive power, but good sustained riding and aerobic engine (no surprise here).
Technical riding--Sucked.  You gotta practice this stuff...
Mental--Good training day, but a poor racing day.  I needed to bury myself to stay in contact early and I let the group go.  The result was that I sat in no-man's land and couldn't push beyond my 40k TT pace.  With that said, I had FUN.  That's why I raced and I'm happy to have had the opportunity.
Equipment choice--Needs improvement.  Time to simplify.  A 40-tooth will be enough for me.  Tubulars will likely not be used again.  I simply didn't find the Griffos to hook up well (on a grassy, dry day?)...Wassup wit dat?  If I can't get them to hook-up on this course, I have no confidence they'll run well in the mud or snow.  I think I'll be back to tubeless running Stan's on a pair of Michelin Muds very soon.
Oh well...I'll be in Portland in a few weeks...Hopefully, my efforts there will end in a better result.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Vices...

Everyone has their vices. Smoking, drinking, carousing, travel, or buying bikes...

It's no surprise that Interbike is held annually in Las Vegas...If one wanted to collect vices (and bikes), this would be the place.

The reality is that I don't care much for Vegas and I'm not particularly interested in another bike that will make me "30 seconds faster over 40k" for the 6 races I use it each year.

What I do care about is TIME. How can I gain more personal time? How can I more efficiently use the time I have available? How can I improve my race times without spending $6,800 on a new piece of equipment?

Don't get me wrong. I love new bicycles. However, I'm much more interested in a bike that I'll enjoy riding EVERY DAY than one I'll spend more time talking about.

With that said, I do have one nasty vice...Do you ever find yourself watching "The O.C." on Soap Network? Well, let's just say that I have a new way to pass the time when riding the trainer.

Friday, September 19, 2008

General('s) fun...


Got up for the bi-annual CGSC run...1300 students "running" at the speed of the slowest person...in the dark...on rough roads...At least we were wearing reflective belts.

The CSM motivated us before the run with a lecture on the unapproved use of iPods on base...Apparently, it's not safe to wear an iPod when running on a sidewalk...Now, instead of running on the sidewalks on base, I'll head off post to the narrow roads of Kansas for my runs...I thought this school was supposed to understand the impact of 2nd and 3rd order effects...

Oh well, 80 days until the madness ends.

Monday, September 15, 2008

New program...


I've been "method"ically following my plan for the past 3 months.  Week in, week out...drip, drip, drip feeling the bucket of fitness slowly filling.  However, it's not training if it makes you feel comfortable so it's time for a change.

IronGuide just hit me with my final 6 week plan for Clearwater...I expect my quads to get bigger and my stomach to get smaller...Ain't that what ya' pay your coach for?

One workout in the book...Time for the droplets to get bigger...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hope springs eternal...


This past weekend I made my annual "pilgrimage" back to Notre Dame for the football team's home opener.  The campus was beautiful and filled with hope.  However, it wasn't just visions of football success.  It was the sense of genuine potential which permeated the trip.  Potential for self improvement, potential to change the World, potential to help others...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Labels

Six years ago, this woman was a smoker who was known to enjoy her beer.  Today, she's the ITU Long Course World Champion!

Far too often, we place labels on people... More troubling are the labels we place on ourselves.  "mid-pack," "competitive," "average," "fat," "weak," are just a few.  Why are labels problematic?  Because the prevent us from experiencing the full-spectrum of possibilities and emotions.

Five years ago, it would have been easy to label this woman.  If she'd accepted her designated category, she may have never pushed to learn her full potential.  She may have been closed to broadening herself.  She may have simply sat down and had another cigarette.

With that said, today we'll label her "World Champion."  However, knowing Ann Ciavarella, I'm sure she'll reject this label like some many others people have tried to place upon her.  

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fear

Eighteen months ago, I stopped at the top of these steps and gingerly carried my bike down them while a friend confidently rode his bike down them.  Despite their reasonable gradient and straight descent (and my full-suspension mountain bike), I was overcome by fear.  Today, I could ride down them without hesitation.

Fear can be a powerful tool.  At times, it can be logical (nobody likes falling down stairs).  Other times, it simply prevents us from moving forward.

I'd like to say that I'm easily embracing every new challenge that presents itself.  Unfortunately, that is simply not honest.  Rather, many of my steps into the unknown have been taken tentatively with an eye toward the comfort of the past.  However, just like riding down a long set of stairs, the key to overcoming fear (and successfully moving forward) is to focus on the challenge ahead and forget what lies behind.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Re-finding a groove...


I have no doubt that a strong mental state drives physical response.  After three weeks of lingering illness, Rachel visited last weekend.  We relaxed, visited K.C., and enjoyed a few nice meals.  By the end of the weekend I felt "healed."
This week's training reflected that my body was ready to start working again and I'm ready for the final 12-week push to Clearwater.  It won't be easy and it won't always be fun.  However, through the journey, I expect to learn more about myself.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Coast Guard SEALs?


In an interesting twist, the USCG has agreed to send Coasties to BUD/s with follow-on orders to spend 5-7 years with a SEAL Team.


With the USCG having the authority to make arrests, what effect will this new partnership have on domestic terrorism?


Friday, August 1, 2008

Just keep listening...

Since I failed to listen to my body and just take time off last week (and weekend), I'm still battling a bug. 

I've been reading a lot of athlete blogs lately and I can't help but realize that I don't share their enthusiasm for technologies.  If you listen to some, they'll convince you that it's impossible to finish (let alone race quickly) any endurance event without an HRM, GPS, and wireless (it's always gotta be wireless) Power Meter.  Now, I'm not a technophobe (after all, I did spend part of my career working in Intel's Digital Health Group helping promote standards such as Dynastream's ANT technology).  However, I gotta ask...How much is enough?

Why are we spending thousands of dollars to decrease every last gram off a bike and then making the bars/stem look like this?

Maybe I'm just getting cheap (or choosing to spend my money elsewhere), but I just can't get excited about staring at a computer when I workout.  After 8-10 hour days wasting away in an office, the last thing I want is to "zone out."  Rather, I think I'd rather just push my body, listen to it, and then push a bit more (of course, listening would have helped a bit last week).  

Anyway, rant off.  Everyone will pursue personal excellence in their own way.  However, when I'm outside, I want to embrace the moment and let myself go.

For those who are interested, here are my results and associated technologies:

IMUSA 2000--11:44 (no aerobars, no HRM, no other items)
IMC 2001--11:40 (aerobars, but no HRM...It broke at the start line)
IMW 2002--12:25 (aerobars and HRM)
IMCdA 2003--10:33 (road bike, aerobars, disc, HRM for the bike)--103 degrees on course
Kona 2003--11:11 (aerobars and HRM for entire race)
IMCdA 2004--13:xx (sick and didn't listen to my body...HRM, Disc, Aerobars)
IMC 2004--11:20 (aerobars, no HRM)
IM South Africa 2006--12:20 (aerobars, Power Tap, Zipp 404s)
IMCdA 2006--10:55 (aerobars, Power Tap, Zipps)
IMCdA 2007--I can't remember (Slow)...I just carried a camera, stopped to see friends, and had fun all day...(no technology involved)
IMAZ 2008--DNF (Tri Bike, HRM, Disc with Hed3)
24 Hours of Adrenaline (Laguna Seca) 2007--No gadgets except an iPod Shuffle for the first 12 hours...I listened to my body and placed 5th overall.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't see significantly better performances when I use technology.  My best days have occurred when I've really zeroed in on my body's response to the conditions.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Frogman Swim-Run-Swim

In ancient Hawaii, Warriors were known as koa, and gave their name to the koa tree, whose hard wood provided many of their weapons.
A traditional warrior society, Hawaiian chieftains and their retainers practiced a type of martial arts (lua) and engaged in Olympic-style games during the annual Makahiki festival that tested their abilities.

Much like the Koa Warriors, the bi-annual "Frogman Swim-Run-Swim" tests Military, Police, and Firefighters while honoring those who have paid the ultimate price in service to country.

Since 9/11, nearly 4,400 military have died. Perhaps, more troublingly, more than 1,200 Police Officers have died in the United States during that same period. To honor those who have fallen, the F-SRS committed to completing more than 5,600 push-ups and sit-ups during the course of the event.
So, here's how the day went (0800 hrs. start):
100 sit-ups
100 push-ups
Swim 250 meters
Run 3/4 mile
50 sit-ups
50 push-ups
Run 3/4 mile
25 sit-ups
25 push-ups
Run 3/4 mile
50 sit-ups
50 push-ups
Run 3/4 mile
25 sit-ups
25 push-ups
Swim 250 meters
100 push-ups
100 sit-ups
Toast to our brothers

Despite the early start and challenging workout, I felt honored to be invited to participate in the Frogman S-R-S and was thrilled to take home the "win" on Saturday.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Runny nose...

I had a great pair of workouts on Tuesday...Then, the body just said it needs a break.

I've got one heck of a summer cold right now...Wed/Thurs off, but I managed an EASY swim this afternoon (the solution to pollution is dilution).


Monday, July 21, 2008

Pleasant surprise...

I guess I melted yesterday because it was 100+ degrees outside during my run...I left the house without checking temps and just assumed it was 85 as it had been much of last week.  Needless to say, I understand why my hill intervals sucked yesterday...I should have been wearing my Fuel Belt.

Man, I really find ways to make things difficult on myself sometimes:-)

This morning's swim was mediocre...Slow on the 200s (2:59, 3:00), but at least I can complete them again (shoulder did pretty well). 

Time to go ride the trainer.  It's humbling to know that the TdF guys are riding longer today on their "off" day than I will ride on a training day.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hot, hot, hot...

I've felt about as useful as a poop-lollipop for the past week.  I'm just DYING on every run workout.

Melting Man?  Yep, that's how I've felt during my last 4 outdoor workouts.  I'm just wilting...I haven't completed a run in more than a week as my legs are just dead and I'm not holding up to the heat.  It looks like I'll need to move things to the treadmill for a while (drats!!!).  

It's not that the temperatures are THAT hot, but the humidity is definitely wreaking some havoc on my training (racing heart rates, short of breath, mushy legs).

The good news is that my indoor bikes went well this past week and my shoulder isn't too sore when swimming.  I guess that I just expected to be fully-recovered from Lake Stevens by now (my head is raring to go, but my legs are saying NO!).  


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I really like this...


Who says that gas prices are a "crisis?"  Just throw a leg over the trusty-steed and you can remove gas from your list of problems...

Do you smell smoke?

So, I'm taking a shower after running this evening and I start smelling something "funny."  As is typical, I assume nothing is wrong...Until my eyes started watering and I couldn't really see through the haze.  

I nonchalantly (read: slowly and stupidly) pull on some shorts and ask my roommate if he's noticing anything unusual (just as the fire alarm starts to beep).

It turns out that the Air Conditioner had overheated and caught on fire and was pumping electrical fire smoke into our place.

Anyway, all bikes and people are fine.  

The Federal Firefighters on Fort Leavenworth did a great job and were on site in less than 4 minutes.  I'm sure they were disappointed to climb into full fire gear without the chance to charge hoses (just securing the circuit breaker was enough). 

Aahhh....Drama:-)


Sunday, July 13, 2008

18 Weeks


18 weeks until Clearwater...

My rest/recovery from Lake Stevens is complete and I'm back at school.  I'm clearing the decks  of all non-essential priorities to focus on 3 things:

1.  Improving sustainable swim pace
2.  Developing power in the aero position on the bike (it's a completely flat bike course)
3.  Getting a bit faster (15 seconds per mile) on the run

These goals will be accomplished via the Smith & Barney technique of the Method..."I'll earn it."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Content to keep pushing...

Just a handful of the MANY Ironheads who raced well at Lake Stevens 70.3


Andy Grove once stated that "only the paranoid survive."  That might be a bit melodramatic, but I will concede that a consistent strain is the best path to improvement and recent successes have only fueled my ambitions to keep pushing forward.  It's been a really great week at home...A quick synopsis would show:

1.  Four of my guys selected for Navy Chief Petty Officer (Adley, Guin, Laws, and Nelson)
2.  I selected for Navy Commander (more of a feeling of relief)
3.  Tossed the "will I race with heart?" monkey off my back at Lake Stevens (and qualified for Ironman 70.3 World Championships)
4.  Had a great time seeing friends and family (including some great Trap/Skeet Shooting this evening)

I took two days off from training, treated myself to a little ice cream, and slept in.  However, "time, tides, and liberty wait for no man" and it's time to get back into training.

The goals have been set (I'll post them when I'm ready) and now it's time to take the steps necessary to reach them.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Lake Stevens 70.3


BLUF:  Well-run event, beautiful course with some challenging hills on the bike, lots of great teammates on course, borrowed bike, rented wetsuit, no HRM = 2nd fastest 1/2 IM ever.

With airlines charging upwards of $100 each 
way to fly a bike, I simply couldn't justify bringing my own to an event I was 
racing with no taper.  Fortunately, my friend Marc hooked me up with his SPEED MACHINE.  After 15 minutes of saddle/stem adjustment, I was ready to go (note the not-Slowtwitch approved spacers under the stem).

Saturday evening, we had a great dinner in Lake Stevens at Neapoli's.  Apparently pasta was a good idea as Chris Legh (defending Champion) was there as well
.  A quick drive of the course made it clear that the "new" course would be a bit easier than previous editions, but that the 3,000 cumulative feet of climbing would still sting a bit.  Reviewing the course was great for my confidence as it helped me realize that the descents were all critical sources of momentum on course and that there would be no need to slow or break aero position on the vast majority of corners.

Sunday morning started with a bottle of Boost (240 calorie
s), PBJ Bagel (360 calories), Gatorade (150 calories), a glass of cranberry juice (100 calories), and 4 Electrolyte pills.  I left the house feeling full, but knowing that I had 2 hours until the start of my race.

I was really hoping that my recent swim volume
 (prior to my tendonitis) would be rewarded with a personal best.  Although I'm swimming better, I think I just grabbed some slow feet and acted too patiently.  The water was clear with 8 feet of visibility and a "buoy line" which rendered sighting unnecessary.  Exited the water in 36:45 (about 2:45 slower than my goal).

T1 was uneventful and the ZOOT wetsuit I'd rented was REALLY EASY to remove (2:00).  

Bike course is basically a lollipop (5 mile outbound leg, 2 x 23 mile loops, 5 mile inbound leg).  The loops consist of a gradually climbing set of rollers for the first 15 miles, 6 miles of progressive descending (with some really nice fast sections), and a final kicker before repeating the loop.  I decided to run "lean" and only carry one bottle on the bike with 5 GU packets taped to the top-tube.  2 x CO2 cartridges taped under the saddle and a tube in my back pocket.  This was a good approach.  However, I'm not sure that I liked the Clif Bar drink I had in my first bottle (when mixed with GU it made me want to puke).  Therefore, I simply grabbed water at the aid station and took a GU every 20 minutes thereafter.  Simple solution (no need to do caloric-calculus...Just listen to the body!!!).

Speaking of listening to the body...I wore an HRM, but had decided prior to the race that it was there for "post race analysis."  It's a good thing too!  Had I listened to the HRM, I'd have pushed too hard, too early on the bike.  Instead, I listened to my legs despite my low HR readings while letting the "fast guys" ride away early in the first lap.  2 hours later, most of them came back to me on the ride into town.  

T2--SLOW due to a porta-pottie stop (I just couldn't bring myself to peeing on a borrowed bike).  3:00.

Run--Downed 1/3 can of Red Bull, counted cadence, and simply focused on running well.  Mile 1 in 7:06 felt EASY.  However, I also knew that I wanted to finish strong.  I let my teammate go and told him I'd see him at the finish.  Nevertheless, I was just ticking over the legs and really feeling good.  With 9 miles to go, I realized that the majority of my training efforts are done FASTER than I was running so I just let myself run at a "comfortably uncomfortable" pace with a plan to attack the final 6 miles.  Unfortunately, one little muscle in my quad began to cramp so I had to settle for maintaining pace and taking in a few extra electrolytes (I probably should have taken a few on the bike).  With 3 miles left, I was "on the hunt" and decided to risk cramping up... Fortunately, my legs held up and I finished the final 3 miles in just under 20 minutes for a 1:32 half-marathon.

Overall:  4:56:12 (my second fastest 1/2 Ironman to date), 81st place overall (12th in AG) and took the slot to the 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, Florida.

Conclusions:
1.  Don't get consumed by the details.  1mm either way won't kill a bike fit and wetsuits are all made of rubber...
2.  We don't need no stinkin' technology crutches!  HRMs and PMs have their place for some athletes, but I'm training better and more importantly RACING BETTER without them.  After 24 years of bike racing and 10 IM finishes, I know my body pretty well.  I do best when I actually listen to what it has to say.
3.  I'm going to rip my arms off if I don't find a way to improve my swim times!!!
4.  Running "lean" on calories (only 1 bottle on the bike) was great for a 1/2 IM (I'm not so sure it would work well for IM as I was pretty "bonky" at the end of the run).
5.  My Fuel Belt was KEY to my run success...My "secret sauce" available whenever I wanted it.  It was comfortable and will be used for all longer races moving forward.
6.  I'm definitely a 1-piece guy.  However, my tri suit from 2004 makes me look like a flamer (NTTAWWT;-)...I need longer shorts on my suit for Clearwater or I'll get arrested for indecent exposure.




Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Humbling...

There are many great men serving in our Armed Forces today.  When I hear the story of Petty Officer Mike Monsoor, I'm truly humbled. 

Petty Officer (EOD2) Mike Monsoora Navy EOD Technician, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for throwing himself on a grenade in Iraq, giving his life to save his fellow Seals.

During Mike Monsoor's funeral in San Diego, as his coffin was being moved from the hearse to the grave site at Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery, SEALs were lined up on both sides of the pallbearers route forming a column of two's, with the coffin moving up the center.  As Mike's coffin passed, each SEAL, having removed his gold Trident Badge from his uniform, and slapped it down, embedding the Trident in the wooden coffin.
The slaps were audible from across the cemetery, and by the time the coffin arrived grave side, it looked as though it had a gold inlay from all the Tridents pinned to it.



Monday, June 30, 2008

Finally home...


I'm home and letting the body recover from last week (a bunch of school-stuff and a few tough workouts).  

If I were a Euro-Pro, I'd say that I'm not having good "sensations" in the legs yet.  Basically, I'm just feeling ragged-out tired.  Of course, it could be that it's been 100 degrees that past 2 days and I'm just being affected by the heat.

I'll hop in the wetsuit today and see how the shoulder responds to the extra resistance.  Hopefully, I'm healing and I'll be ready for Sunday's race.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Do it right vs. Just do it


I should have clarified in my last post...

The root cause of my injury isn't that I've been swimming with paddles.  It isn't that I've been doing pull-ups.  In reality, the training PLAN is outstanding.  However, a great plan POORLY EXECUTED is not much good at all.  

I'm into responsibility and this one's completely on me (had I paid attention to my coach--the person I pay to provide good advice--I'd have no problems right now).  My shoulders hurt for 2 reasons:

1)  I was too lazy to purchase the correct size paddles that my coach recommended (he told me to buy small...I had medium lying around and chose to use them)
2)  I chose to "compete" when doing group workouts with some Army friends...Rather than focusing on doing pull-ups and laces-to-bar with proper technique, I let me ego into the equation.  I chose to "kip" and "snap" into the exercises placing undue strain on the shoulders for no other reason than a vain effort to impress some buddies (by doing a few more repeats incorrectly)...Pretty impressive eh?

With that said, I took the time today to properly execute a bike/run brick and it went really well.  Rather than letting my ego insist upon a 3.5 hour bike where I don't execute the run properly, I limited myself to 2:45 and NAILED the 30 x 30 seconds (with 30 seconds easy recovery) run workout following the ride.

I've said before that it's EASY to go through the motions.  If I'm really committed to personal improvement, it's critical that I DO IT RIGHT instead of just doing it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ouch!


Nothing frustrates an athlete quite like an injury.  Recently, I've made significant efforts to improve in the pool and to strengthen my upper body.  I've added paddles to my swimming, lifted weights, and begun doing pull-ups...

Apparently my rotator cuff has decided that it is unhappy with my training plan...My friend (who happens to be a Doctor) gave me the bad news today...No more lifting or pull-ups for at least 4 weeks.  I also need to "take it easy" if I attempt to swim.

With Lake Stevens 70.3 in 3 weeks, this is NOT what I wanted to hear.

I will give myself a few hours to vent/stress.  Then, it's onto focusing on the elements of my training that I can control.  In the Navy, we say "there are smart Divers and there are strong Divers...You can choose which you want to be."  It's not just about HTFU...It's about identifying a problem, adapting to the situation, and continuing to progress.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Just not feeling quite right...

I'm just posting this in a convenient spot so I can get some feedback on my position...Nothing has really felt "smoothe" on this bike recently (not sure why since it felt fine at IMAZ in April).  There seems to be a "hitch" in my pedal stroke, a little extra discomfort in the shoulders, and a distinct lack of power.

video

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Saturday ramblings...

Looking for an uplifting movie?  Check out "The World's Fastest Indian" with Anthony Hopkins.  Simply put, it's hope-filled and will leave you feeling optimistic.

Speaking of optimistic, I decided to check out River Road on Saturday...

Passable?


Only if I want to complete a swim workout...It was only getting DEEPER!


The Missouri River has crested its banks and flooded out many of the local fields (and access roads).  An inconvenience for me, but a real tragedy for those whose livelihood depends upon agriculture.  Fortunately, it only took a little re-routing and I was back to this:


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rainy Thursday...


Completed my workouts in the rain...Now, I'm just continuing my ego-centric habit of posting a picture of myself (this one's from Ironman Arizona in April 2008).

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Getting better in the water...

30 x 100 on leaving on 1:45 (10 seconds rest)...

That's a personal best effort. Is it fast? Nope. Is it an improvement for me? Yep.

It's all about consistency...Grinding away EVERY day. No excuses. No whining. No B.S. Just make the effort and smile when you improve. Today, I'm smiling a little. Hopefully, in 12 months, I'll complete this same workout on the 1:30 and smile a lot...That's only 1.3 seconds per month...

Time to go run.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Hup, Hup!!!

My new Team kit arrived yesterday so I went looking for muddy gravel roads to test it out.

The Chamois in the shorts looked pretty thin and I was worried...However, it was actually really comfortable after 3.5 hours on gravel roads and dirt.


The Vermarc jersey wicked really well in 90% humidity




Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pleasant surprise from Fuel Belt...

Have you ever noticed that some organizations are filled with nice/kind people?  It's as if making GREAT PRODUCTS isn't enough...Instead, these companies insist on DELIGHTING customers. Fuel Belt fits into this category...Great products, great employees, and great athletes!

I came home from class today to find the UPS man at my door delivering this wonderful package (the dogs will LOVE the collars/leashes and I will love running Gatorade Endurance through its paces in the lead-up to Lake Stevens 70.3):


P.S.  Disregard the counter-insurgency lessons learned manual in the background:-)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Why I love the Navy...

I'm frequently asked why the Navy Reserve would send an Officer to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  The truth is that I'm just REALLY lucky.  Some of you may find the following entry feels like platitudes.  However, it's true and I write it to remind myself why the sacrifices of service are far outweighed by the rewards.

People join the military for many reasons.  Patriotism, service to others, desire to visit foreign lands, good pay and benefits are just a few of the reasons.  Of course, I share similar reasons.  However, for me, it's been about adventure, education, and increased opportunities.

First, the Navy has provided wonderful adventures.  I've been fortunate enough to visit the Canary Islands (Christmas 1996), Italy (New Years 1996), Djibouti, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Guam, Korea, Japan, and France.  I've navigated a 53' Morgan Out-Island Ketch up and down the Atlantic Coast for a summer (can you say fresh fish BBQ?).  Earned qualification as a Navy Diver...Learned to work with ordnance...Stood between the #1 and #2 catapult aboard an Aircraft Carrier while two jets powered up and launched...Received "honorary Naval Aviator" status having completed a carrier catapult "shot" and an arrested landing...Conned a ship through the Suez Canal and driven small boats at high speed.  And...The adventures will continue.   

Second,  I love education and the Navy has provided it to me in spades.  It would have been difficult for me to attend Notre Dame without a Navy ROTC scholarship.  However, the gift of education didn't stop there.  When I left Active Duty, the Mendoza College of Business (Notre Dame MBA) program nominated me for the William G. McGowan Fellowship because of the leadership experience I'd gained while in the Navy.  Today, I'm earning my second Masters Degree while attending the Army Command and General Staff College.  In short, I value education and the Navy has either directly or indirectly paid for my B.A., MBA, and MMAS.

Finally, no other organization for whom I've worked has provided me nearly the opportunities to grow.  Simply put, I can think of no greater reward than the opportunity to lead America's young men and women.  The fact that the Navy allows (even encourages) me to have such an honor will leave me forever indebted.  

So there you have it...I've received more than I could ever give back...So, the next time you see me and want to say "thanks for your service," let me thank YOU first.  Without the Public's support of our military, I could never have enjoyed such a wonderful experience.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Another week in the books...

It's a good sign when I'm frustrated to miss workouts...Friday, the pool was closed for "Tornado Watch" and today nobody showed up to open the pool?  WTF?  

Regardless, I had a decent week.  My ride/run combo yesterday went well (3 hours on gravel roads with a hard 30 minute run-off) and today's 90 minute hill interval run was tough, but solid.

Getting selected to Team USA for the ITU World Long Course Championships has definitely been a nice motivator.  I haven't figured out how to pay for the trip, but I'm still excited to represent the U.S.