Sunday, August 31, 2008


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


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.