Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Journey to Ironman Month in Review: February 2007

The days: worked out 17/28 days

193 days until race day.

This month's totals.

Swim: 10150 yards
Bike: 190 mostly phantom trainer "miles"
Run: 27.1 all hard fought winter Wisconsin outdoor miles (except 4.5 Michigan miles)

22 hours total.


I would have sworn I was ramping up running.. but then taking stock in the short month, horrid weather, and just plain busy-ness.. I suppose it wasn't as banner as I had thought. I normally consider myself someone who is not prone to the whims of the elements. Ice on the side walk is a different story though. As weather improves, I will need to get diligent about taking my run to my lunch hour.

Training highlights would of course be swimming entirely new distances (probably in my life), a 2 hour mountain bike ride in very low temps and on fluffy snow with some killa mountain biker crew.. Though, for all I know they headed for a hot chocolate, as they got away quick and I didn't see them until later. Bike trainer and a Superbowl the next day. Say what you will about the trainer, but it's better than no trainer and a bag of chips + super bowl.

Last/not least, the detractors aka excuses. On-call has begun. So go easy on me. I am doing more training on-call than I normally do (usually nothing). Never mind the "bug" mentioned in a previous entry. Also a couple of 7 hour bouts in the car to and from a funeral was necessary. I would say more about what a tough woman the world lost, but that's family stuff.

Next month: The training plan I bought starts. No going back now. It happens to coincide with the new DST laws that the country passed. Thankyouverymuch govt.. Just when morning daylight rides would be almost possible, let's move it up an hour.

Mantra's.. . This is my year. Game on!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Let's see how far I get. Or, see if you can guess when I start making up stuff...

  1. Because it's there.
  2. Because it's my year.
  3. Julie Moss footage. I really don't know what year I watched an early version of the Ironman broadcast, but I do know it was early. It made some kind of impression on me.
  4. Eat like an Ironman.
  5. I like training long. Race day is just the whipped cream on the ice cream.
  6. I wanted to run a marathon. This way I won't get a "It took how long" look.
  7. For the T-shirt.
  8. I volunteered in 2002. I wanted to take back something.
  9. You've done a triathlon. Was it an Ironman?
  10. Get it out of my system so I can aspire try other fun stuff like 24 hour mountain bike races.. Or maybe just regular old mountain bike races.
  11. Build mad-crazy base for the CX season.
  12. I'm too slow to be "just a cyclist".
  13. An excuse to have (another) cool bike.
  14. I can't say I'm one with nature road riding. I do think there is a spiritual aspect to longer runs and rides.
  15. Playing wall tag in between following the black line is often therapeutic.
  16. You can't fake it. You either do it, or not.
  17. For the days that the flavor of the day is: tiramisu.
  18. For the days that the flavor of the day is: grasshopper fudge.
  19. For the days that the flavor of the day contains : chocolate
  20. For the days that the flavor of the day contains : cheese cake
  21. For the days that the flavor of the day contains: mint
  22. For the days that the flavor of the day contains : fudge
  23. For the days that the flavor of the day is : almost any flavor without nuts.
  24. For the days in any month that has a flavor of the day which is : with nuts, but the sunday of the month is without nuts.
  25. Keep at it long enough, I just might learn to swim, bike or run.
  26. Gives me something to blog.
  27. Procrastination... I have a separate lifetime goal that involves writing/recording an album of music on my own.
  28. Because "she" said I wouldn't do a triathlon. She's long since eaten the words proudly, but why let up now?
  29. Set an example. (like for the marathoners at work).
  30. Never know when your car will break down. This way I'll have the skills o run or bike to work.
  31. Killer abs (I can hope, right?)
  32. So I can look back to the one workout per day times fondly.
  33. Because I'm no longer a contender at the burrito eating competitions.
  34. Billiards halls are smoke filled here. Though, a Romine's is pretty clear.
  35. It's good to have goals.
  36. Rebellion. "Ma, 2000 other people signed up." "Well if 2000 other people were going to jump in the lake would you?" ... ahem. 'Nuff said.
  37. I'm just crazy enough to think that the discipline I get from doing Ironman might spill into other pieces of my life.
  38. For my kids. Who's kids wouldn't want to stay up until midnight?
  39. For my wife. See #31 about abs. Haha. Maybe so I can live longer and she can see my smiling face an extra few years.
  40. What else am I going to do with the extra 11 - 17 hours per week?
  41. It's easy to get inspired by folks like the Hoyt's.
  42. Because unless you're at mile 90 of an Ironman on a 55 or 95 degree day, "the beast" really isn't that bad of a hill.
  43. Because I already got 140.6 engraved on my ipod nano as a goal.
  44. Sometimes inspiration can be "local".
  45. Or even, actually local inspiration.
  46. So, I can hook up with my peeps from online before the race.
  47. Because there is a "Burritos as big as your head" restaurant in Madison.
  48. I started triathlons in 2001... So I can get it over with and move on.
  49. Four halves does not make two fulls, or even one for that matter.
  50. Everyone is doing it. Shoot one guy at work has a brother that did it. Another guy at work knows a guy who's signed up. Most of the folks online seem to have done it. That's pretty near everyone.
  51. Because she doesn't believe I'll only do one. (see potato chip syndrome)
  52. Beats surfing websites with naked people on them.. oh wait, what are those pros wearing anyway?
  53. Walking the dogs in the morning leaves me needing more workout.
  54. To hear "JWM You are an Ironman!"
  55. Two other people in my village are doing it.
  56. Inspire some "regular folks" that think Ironman is only for elite athletes. I'll show 'em.
  57. Because I'd rather do 6 hours on the bike than 6 hours in a golf cart.
  58. It's already paid in full.
  59. Release. So I don't totally crack. I wasted some hate on a trivial matter today. I don't need that. Turns out, I didn't workout today either.
  60. It beats the mall.
  61. Basement indoor training gives me time to catch up on some old movies, or "The Simpsons" dvd's.
  62. I need more sleep. This way I'll be forced to get it.
  63. Cost justification : Fixed gear bike as a training tool (OK so you don't have to be signed up for Ironman to do that)
  64. Cost justification : Road bike as a training tool.
  65. Cost justification : Gotta have a sweet tri-bike.
  66. Because my singing is horrid.
  67. Cost justification : Mountain bike to keep training fun.
  68. Cost justification : Roof rack for car..
  69. Cost justification : nutritionist.
  70. Cost justification : swim coach.
  71. Winter riding gear.
  72. Cost justification : run coach.
  73. Nothing like a quiet bike ride.
  74. Cost justification : bike coach.
  75. You can sign up for Ironman and train for it. In a year you are done and have that in your pocket. Or you can not sign up, and you won't have it in your pocket.
  76. Cost justification : message therapist.
  77. Cost justification : scouting week in Hawaii (I'm just seeing if any of you are still reading)
  78. Cost justification : Triathlon training camp.
  79. One hour in a pro triathlete's endless pool. and horrid video evidence to prove it.
  80. Julia Childs' cinnamon rolls from Alterra Coffee Shop at the Lake.
  81. Because my 6th grade teacher said I would never be more than a C student. She gave me straight B's.
  82. When else am I going to get 3 nights in a hotel with peace and quiet?
  83. Because I'm not taking my pager with on race day.
  84. The same reason I drank tequila in my early 20's.. That "What are you nuts? But why?" look.
  85. Because you can't take life too seriously.
  86. Because at some point on the bike, I will hear "It's a beautiful day." surge through my brain. Can you hear it?
  87. It's a great excuse to finally put some "real" swim yardage down.
  88. Run frequency is a requirement this year.. Or it will be a walk-a-thon. In the past I didn't feel quiet so compelled.
  89. That 1/2 will hopefully look more like a race next year.
  90. It's now or never for making weight.
  91. For the tattoo? (nah)
  92. To run through Camp Randall.
  93. "Verona’s festival last year alone attracted over 20,000 people and was likened to the “Tour de France”."
  94. But please don't paint my name on the road. CHALK!
  95. Because I don't have cable TV.
  96. Because doing Ironman qualifies one to give online advice to folks 3 times faster than me.
  97. Because we all die.
  98. Because I have 8GB of tunes to get through on my Nano.
  99. Who doesn't want mad crazy training totals?
  100. So the occasional latte won't make a sizable dent in my calorie input to output ratio.
  101. What else would I blog about?
  102. Because Tri-teacher did it.
  103. Because Bill will.
  104. Because I won't catch R. Tool Shedmeister in a bike race. I'll just assume he can't run.
  105. Because MC is done with it.
  106. Because I've been telling TTN I'm gonna sign up for six years now. (no sir, I didn't sign up the missus w/o her knowledge).
  107. Because when Dre' says you need to lift your heel more and lean forward a bit from 1000 miles away, dang it he's right! How does he do that?
  108. Because my neighbors were going to sign up for turning 50.. Instead they are heading to France. Suckers!
  109. Because when my four year old daughter watches Ironman on the streaming web video and the 1025th finisher crosses the line.. She says "Another winner! Yay!"
  110. Because she asks to ride her bike when there is 2 feet of snow. And she still has training wheels.
  111. Because when I don't train due to excuses like oncall, I find myself up at 11pm writing a list of 300 reasons to do ironman.
  112. Because listing 346 reasons would be crazier than just doing it.
  113. Because I'm selfish.
  114. Because of you.
  115. Because Rachel ended up in a recorded band. Thanks for the cookies.
  116. Because keeping millions of dollars safe is stressful work.
  117. Skim best friend and a see-roll to go for Roy.
  118. Because once a month I have a beer, if I need it or not..
  119. I believe everything in moderation. The reason I train for Ironman is my list of "everything" is quiet long.
  120. Frazz would do it.
  121. I've been to Moab to ride slick rock (long ago). I need a safe way to maintain base until I go back.
  122. Because it just wouldn't be as challenging if my kids weren't in there first year of school, aka petrie dish.
  123. Who doesn't want to spend more time at the Swim store.
  124. Who doesn't want to spend more time at the LBS.
  125. Who doesn't want to spend more time at the LBS.
  126. Who doesn't want to spend more time at the LBS.
  127. Who doesn't want to spend more time at the LBS.
  128. Who doesn't want to spend more time at the LBS.
  129. Who doesn't want to spend more time at the LBS.
  130. Who doesn't want to spend more time at the LBS.
  131. Who doesn't want to spend more time at the LBS.
  132. Who doesn't want to spend more time at the LBS.
  133. Who doesn't want to spend more time at the LBS.
  134. Who doesn't want to spend more time at the LBS.
  135. Who doesn't want to spend more time at the LBS.
  136. Who doesn't want to spend more time at the Rodiez.
  137. Who doesn't want to spend more time at the Athlete's foot.
  138. Who doesn't want to spend more time at the Nike outlet store.
  139. To start writing a list which makes me think I should do run store web design.
  140. Because one does not need more reasons than miles.
  141. 140.6 seems like such a good number. So much more alluring than a mere 26.2.
  142. I should have known I would do something like this by the time I hit 4th grade. Someone brought tootsie roll pops to school, and I spent the day counting licks. 714. I've since heard many other accounts with much smaller numbers.
  143. Because most days I get up before 7 am and don't even stay up until midnight.. Ironman or not.
  144. Everyone looks better in the pool. Or a wetsuit for that matter.. Now getting out all soggy after 2.4 miles is a different story.
  145. Because a double Ironman is too far.
  146. Because of Dad.
  147. One forty seven. 199 less than 346.. but that would just be silly.
I quit the list. Back to the real focus.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Ante Up

Or, "Reason # 347 to sign up for Ironman".

I hit the pool this morning to test the waters on my new plan. It's a few weeks before I have to start my plan, but I wanted to feel ready. Without giving the workout away for free, here's the rough draft.

Warm up 500m of swim, pull and kick.
1100m drills.
700m of "testing out the drills on real swimming".
200m of cool down swimming.

All very do-able. I was just outside 1 hour 10 minutes for the entire workout. Yikes! I guess I have some work to do.

Here's where the ante up comes in. I recall, in high school five page papers were like a death sentence, or just plain pulling teeth. Then, in my first week at college, I was asked to write a paper or two. The new minimum standard was five or more pages in length. For some reason, once I hit week one in college, five page papers were cake. Just do it.

Last year, I bet I didn't swim 2500m in any given day all year. Not even on race day did I hit those totals. This year it's my "first" workout. Welcome to Ironman.

So, if you're reading this and thinking 2500m is too far to swim... Or whatever you have in your life that is too hard. Just sign up for Ironman. It won't seem like such a big deal any more. Or, just do it.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Week in Review - a bug

Half the house showed evidence of a stomach bug. I felt evidence of one, but thus far have not materialized evidence of said bug. Today, after taking 3 days off working out, I dared the bug to do some mojo on me. I ran 7 miles. Near the end I felt as if said bug my set forth upon me and take me up on the dare. In the end, I made it through the run. I further pushed my luck with "the bug" by eating a sizable dinner. Shortly, I will partake in some frozen custard from yesterday. If that doesn't torque the bug into some kind of unhappiness, then I will take it swimming in the morning.

Other than that, I looked ahead at my homework on the training schedule.. I have some work to do. My first swim is on the order of 2500 meters. I've been swimming on average 1000 meters. I don't think it will kill me to get to 2500. All the same, I better get cracking. Monday was 1500, no problem. Wednesday was a fast 1000 (ran short on time).. And Friday, well I was off waiting for the bug.

And while I don't enjoy the latest bug visitor. I did get a big dose of "my daughter still needs me". I can be grateful for that.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Quick and easy story. But it's a lesson for y'allz.

This shirt is from my very first cyclocross race. You don't get the shirt unless you pay the man. It's good, cheap fun. Do what I did. Go see the race the year before. Then absolutely declare you will never do that. The next thing you know you are looking at 45-60 minutes of lactic threshold testing in the form of a race. In the immortal words of Ferris, "If you have the means, I highly recommend it." (paraphrased, I'm sure).

It was a Halloween race and many a folks wore some sweet and crazy getups.

Also note, this is actually a decent looking shirt. No thanks to my photography laziness, it's not a great picture.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Inverted Run?

Quick entry then off to the showers and sleepy time.

Most of my "shorter" runs start with some sort of HR red line while my body says "What!?!?!?! Are we running again?" Then eventually my perceived effort comes down and I fall into a decent pace. Today, I needed a run. I also knew I didn't feel like I should be pegging anything HR, RPE, or any other TLA. So, I slowed it way up at the beginning whereby I avoided that spike. Then, like magic, I eventually fell into a nice pace. My overall pace came up a bit slower (but not tons), possibly explained by the slippery snow. I should try this "new fangled" pacing scheme again!

Oh and have I ever been so happy to see 22 degrees F? Never. It was beautiful.

Mantra: It's my year.
OH, It's SO my year.

Friday, February 09, 2007


That's right. Day 2 of my little T-shirt thingy. I'm going to do an easy one today. A very memorable race day T-shirt.

First, I have done all four Spirit of Racine Triathlons held thus far. 2005 was number 3, and my hope for really bringing it home after such improvement in 2004. I did abundant winter training. I was out biking in 15-20 degrees temps on my fixed gear. I paid. By the time the weather hit 50s-60s I was out of tights and in just my bike shorts.

Guess what? Race day was the first really hot day of the year. It was easily 20 degrees up the scale from what I had trained in all year. I tried to enjoy the swim, knowing what was coming. On top of the heat, the bike was on the windy side. I pulled in better trained, but right on time to my 2004 bike split. And worse for wear. I saw my wife and kids there. They were heading for a swim in the lake and I was taking my own dang transition time. I knew it was not going to be fun. But I paid to have this day and I was going to have it. Local residents and spectators with hoses saved me out there. I couldn't have finished without them. I had taken for granted the blissful race day conditions of 2004. When I finally hopped into the car after the finish, the thermometer read 100. I later heard a high of 98. And about the only thing I could hang onto was that I finished, as it appeared that about 1/3 of the entrants did not. By default, I had nearly made middle of the pack !!

Here's where the T-shirt really comes in. The next day I was at my favorite local coffee shop. I spied the yellow version of the shirt. The yellow one (I was sure) was for volunteers. So, I said to the woman wearing it "You volunteered? Thanks!!". Luckily she did volunteer. At first she gave me some runaround about "didn't she look like she could do the race?" I only saw yellow == volunteer. I swear. Lesson, thank all the volunteers. But do check they are volunteers! I'm certain she could tell I did the race, as I was barely walking.

That's TSOTD 2. Expect plenty more race shirts (probably half a stack from Racine), among other kinds.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007


Tee Shirt Of The Day, Day 1. I thought of this odd little reason to post when "we" decided to rearrange our upstairs. It has been noted to me that I have 75-100 T-shirts, most of which are unfit to wear. Most have some (albeit small) story or memory associated with them. I'm not promising to keep up with this.. but in case more of my T-shirts are "lost" X-files style in the wash, I can still have the memories.
This particular shirt has a small but important story. Blood Donation day is coming up again soon at work. Once I got this shirt for donating. The last time I donated blood, I subsequently became as ill as I have been in my adult life. Hard down horizontal for one week. Without more details, that experience has left me a bit gun shy. As blood donation day gets nearer, I am acutely aware of any sniffle or hunger pain. Twelve days to go until my next "test". I don't consider myself a hypochondriac. I better get some sleep.
Come on the rest of you all.. Get out there and roll up your sleeves. We've got work to do.

For more information see the Red Cross.

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Please Someone Tell Me...

When folks think of new laws like one which would ban Ipods while crossing the street, they have but first thought that maybe the drivers shouldn't be on their cell phones either. Aren't there laws about stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks? Is it now OK to hit someone if they have headphones on?

Yet another "driving is a right" indicator. If you are a pedestrian, you already know you have to look. Please be careful out there.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Bike Junkie, v2

How'd I get here?

The journey started on a training wheeled, banana seated, "girls" bike from some family friends. We will skip the trifles before that about big wheels. Mom would tell a tale when I came home from school after realizing (way too late) that all the other kids had long since removed their training wheels. "Your Dad will be home in a little while?".. "No Mom, I want the training wheels off now." Hopefully, I was more respectful to my Mom than that. I wasn't normally very outspoken. By the time the day was done, I'm sure I skinned a knee or two. Low and behold I lived. I learned to ride. Bike Junkie was born.

From there I upgraded to a 100 dollar, (probably 100 pound) smallest 10 speed made by Schwinn. Oh how I loved that bike. I raced my big brother. I ran it into the back of a parked car while trying to learn to shift. It took quite a beating for me.

Once that bike got small (It lasted years), I upgraded to a full sized model. Beacon Coronet as I recall, was the name of this new big bike. Dark blue. I rode it all over town. Down to the beach. Half way to some older girl's house when I got a flat and carried it home.. (must have been a sign).

My Dad had a powder blue Viscount. Eventually I inherited that for a while to ride around school.

Then, mountain biking was becoming somewhat more popular. I got a larger than life (22" frame) , rigid frame/fork, Giant Iguana. I took that to some local trails with the gang. A time or two around there and I was done.. My buddy let me ride his newer, lighter, smaller, specialized stump jumper. It was then clear to me that I was not experiencing anywhere near the same ride as he was. And his easy ascent on certain climbs became less of a mystery. A search for better equipment was a must.

Who knows how much time past, but I eventually found a very slightly used Giant ATX 780 with double butted steel frame and Rock Shox Mag21. In the early years that bike saw Sedona, Moab/Slickrock, Marquette Michigan, and Mackinac Island. All those great destinations thanks to my lovely wife. I still have that bike today. In more recent years, it's seen a single (what was I thinking?) WORS race, and much child pulling duty around town. And of course the other day, I did try to follow some tracks in the snow made by some folks who know more about how to mountain bike than I ever forgot.

I must have been frequenting a bike store or two once in a while (I never could stay away from them, even when I didn't need a bike or bike stuff). I vaguely recall seeing triathlon bicycles and thinking I should figure out what sport you have to do to need one. Of course, at the time it was just shy of a day dream.

Onward to my first "road bike". The previous ones I considered "10 speeds", if that makes much sense. GT made a nice (cheap) ZR4000 that I picked up. My wife got the steel one. I tossed on some clip-less pedals and was ready to rock. Add to that my first triathlon book, fuel in the form of a healthy amount of skepticism from my wife, some run shoes, a gym membership, and I was ready to go.

Skip ahead past a year or so of triathlons. I'm in it for the haul.. I was (am) slow, had (have) tons of room for improvement, and loving it. Time for a wicked fast triathlon bike (or at least a triathlon bike that's not stupid expensive).. At the time, Cervelo made the One as a triathlon bike (now it looks like a road bike with clip-ons). It was a reasonable price and got me aerodynamic! It never hurts to have additional bikes too.

A year or two on that, and I was ready for some upgrading. A "set of new components" for my road bike soon became a new bike. I think the paint is chipping or I have a crack or something.. I headed down to a recommended LBS and got a GREAT deal on an all Reynolds 853 steel frame made by Schwinn (see 1st bike). I ended up using the wheels and brakes from that GT and built up the Schwinn with Ultegra components. What fun! I probably didn't end up saving much cash once I bought tools and "learned" a few things, but I got to build the bike. That's my current "road bike".

Still there is a quest for more.. I had a hankering for something different. Something simple. Maybe something a bit cooler than I am. So I started looking into a reasonable fixed gear bike. Then I saw another. Then I started really noticing them all over. Some had flavor. Some were from Cali. Then there was a local option. It turns out when I was getting fixed gear fever, the local bike store guys were just talking about that Milwaukee One fixed gear bike. The were trying out a few different things.. and while Langsters were cheaper, these were the local boys putting together something sweet. I'll cut out the parts about my sleepless nights and all the whining... Fast forward to my birthday that year.. Mom and my wife went together to go big for my b-day.. Woo Hoo! I love riding that thing. I know I had tons of miles on it in the first 2-3 months I owned it, and my birthday is in December in Wisconsin. See rule #1, buying bike stuff only helps you if you ride. If you ride more, it was worth the money.

Since then, I turned the fixed gear into even yet another bike. I picked up some Panaracer Crossblasters and flipped over the rear wheel to the freewheel side. Then, I twice got brave and raced CX races on it. When I asked for gear advice, some guy told me he had no problems racing in 42x16. Of course everyone else at the race seemed to think I was nuts and were looking for my insane tree trunk legs.. Oh well, ride what you brung. Note to future slow single speed CX racers.. Don't ask for gearing advice from people that are faster than you. R. Tool Shed, I take full responsibility for asking and accepting the answer. This notion probably also applies to all those "What cassette should I use for Ironman Wisconsin?" posters too. In defense of said advisor, if I had been going fast enough to keep up, it probably was the proper gear.

Now what better excuse can I have to lust after a decent geared CX bike for next year?? The saga continues.. Oh the memories.

My long drawn out post wouldn't be a long drawn out JWM post without a list. Here are a few reasons to be a bike junkie...

  1. Because they are mechanically simple.. try fixing your car without a computer if it was made in the last decade.
  2. Quiet please. That ride in the snow the other day just accentuated the fact. There is nothing like a quiet bike ride.
  3. Bikes are "cheap". Sure nothing is free. But if your idol is Lance (if), you can ride exactly what he rides for $5000. Yeah, it's real money, but compare to those who has a NASCAR idol. See also planes, trains, or yachts. It's cheap transportation. OK, runners can stay quiet right now.
  4. My Grandpa biked. My Dad biked. I bike.
If you made it this far.. Thanks for listening!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Bike Junkie?

So, a guy gets into a sport (triathlon) it's a way to get another bike.
So, a guy goes mountain biking in 5 degrees and snow and he wants a single speed mountain bike.
So, a guy manages to get his entire backside handed to him in the two CX races he's been near or in. As a result, he thinks maybe a new shiny bike on a hook in the basement would be fun.

Who doesn't?

I say, it's okay to buy them (so long as the children are warm and fed). But you gotta do the miles first. I have the triathlon bike. Let's get Ironman done, then lust for the next one. Sure it's easy to get swept up. Gotta stay focused.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Tag the Blog

OK Tri-teacher. Game on. Please don't check my spelling.

Well, I don't consider myself much of a TAG type person when it comes to things like blogs and email. If you're reading this and want to be TAGGED, consider yourself TAGGED. If you don't want to be TAGGED, by all means carry on and read / comment as normal.

Oh, except you bbieberitz. You are so tagged. That's what you get for admitting subscribing to this blog.

1. Describe a memory from your first triathlon ever.
2. Describe a memory from your most recent triathlon.
3. What's the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you in a tri?
4. What's the most thrilling thing that's happened to you in a tri?
5. What is something you discovered about yourself by doing triathlons?
6. What is The Big Goal that you're working towards?

Let's get to it.

1. My first triathlon.

My first year of triathlon, I signed up for the Wisconsin Triathlon Series races. Lake Mills being the first race. I remember very little. So I'll keep it somewhat short on truth, and make up a few things to beef it out.

The wetsuit. I decided to be a big man and go frugal style, sans wetsuit. At the last minute my wonderful mother stepped in and bought me a wetsuit. She didn't want her baby freezing in the water I suppose. Anyway, thanks Mom! Because it brings me to first race memory number 1. I got in the water before the race just to get the feel. I froze. I couldn't swim. Wait no. I couldn't breathe. I was going to die. Sell my bike, I won't need it. .. .. .. Calm down. Just float in the wetsuit. It won't let you sink. You're not going to die. Now breathe. Breathe! OK, better. Now, swim like you did in the pool. See, it'll be fine. My advice for prospective triathletes, get in the water ahead of the gun going off and talk yourself through the swim.

I lived. My memory gets fuzzy after that. I recall a heat on the run I hadn't really run in before. More because I probably did my run training at night. This was not much shade, and sunny. I'm not sure it was really that hot. But it was hot to me. I walked more than once. It was hard. But I must have had a blast, because I did the next one. Oh and the food at the witriseries races is almost worth the price of the race alone.

2. My most recent triathlon

Spirit of Racine 2006. Getting out of the water in a 1/2 Iron distance race and not feeling sapped going into the bike. WoooHOOOO!!! Mission accomplished on the swim. Taking the bike medium easy and hitting about 10 minutes under my next best bike time. And NOT have 100 degree weather on the run (like in 2005) ! Keeping the smackdown alive by staying in front of Bill (barely). All in all, just having a darn good time of it.

3. What's the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you in a tri?

Wow, tough one. Say the first thing that comes to you.... Running out of t2 at Elkhart Lake Triathlon with my bike helmet on.. Or the pics from that race (or a previous time I did it) which I would have labeled "the running stance".

I have a better story that was more embarrassing for someone else... Spirit of Racine (maybe the first one in 2003). I was coming out of t2 and went to hit the porta-let. Well now, if you're a female pro, and you're done with your race when I have to run into the t2 porta-let, you should lock the door. Initially I got yelled at. I quickly shut the door as I realized what was going on in my haze. As I went for a different stall I heard, "SORRY!". Apparently she realized her error. Anyway, I was not scarred for life. Hopefully neither was she.

4. What's the most thrilling thing that's happened to you in a tri?

Again we're relying on my unreliable memory. I love the quiet getting ready of the morning. Walking the beach to the start. All the nervous energy. Trying to stay calm. We're all in this alone, but together at the same time. Race morning can be so great and such a knot twist all at once. That is a thrill.

Also, a few years ago at devil's lake tri (sprint distance) I did my best to go hard on the run. It was fast as I can or bust. Toss my cookies at the finish line if I must (I didn't). And pulled off my first sub 9 minute mile in a tri 5k. That was a pretty dang big thrill. My swim had also been a serious PR. Ironically, my bike was over 20 minutes off my projected time. There were rubbing brakes, rainy weather, and serious hills to account for my error. Turns out my "projected" time was closer to the winner's bike time. Error in my judgement more than performance.

5. What is something you discovered about yourself by doing triathlons?

  • If I don't workout, I will be huge, jittery, and generally unhappy.
  • I've learned how much simply changing perspective can change your limits.
6. What is The Big Goal that you're working towards?

If this is the first time you read my blog.. My big goal for this year is to complete Ironman Wisconsin. I may yet change my mantra weekly.. Right now it's, "This is my year!"

With my homework out of the way. Time to hit the hay. 5:15 the alarm goes off. The dogs will walk. The pool will wait for me bright, crisp, and early.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Shaking off the "Trainer Blues"

It took all my biking clothes and then some, but today was a BLAST!

In spite of my best efforts to sabotage my setup so I couldn't ride in single digit temperatures, I made it to a trail ride. I was egged on by the appearance of former Ironman, single speed mountain biker from DC. I even hauled out my mountain bike, which hasn't seen any real action in years. Well, it went from 0-60 on the action meter right off! warned, we might be in for the "coldest temps in a decade". I got many "looks" when I answered the question "what are you doing this weekend?" at work.

Big shout out to Cliff for providing some tasty treats for the ride. They didn't have to give me free stuff to convince me.. but I'll take it.

For the curious...

  • Titanwear tri-short #1
  • Target store plastic bag
  • Titanwear tri-short #2
  • Smartwool bike socks
  • Big ole winter socks (grey w/ the red top)
  • Specialized mountain bike shoes
  • Trek winter shoe covers
  • Lakefront Marathon long sleeve wicking shirt as a base
  • long sleeve warm tight shirt (think active long underwear)
  • Harpoon IPA bike jersey (for karma)
  • Pearl Izumi balaclava
  • Tifosi eye wear
  • Thin 99 cent one size fits all gloves
  • Big thick super warm bike gloves
  • Pearl Izumi winter bike clothes reviewed late last year (tights and jacket)
  • Last but not least an illuminted ugly bright blue wind breaking type bike jacket on top of all that.
  • If you're bothering to go mountain biking in the dead of winter w/ a bunch of folks that are twice as fast as you (on their single speeds).. And if you're also bothering to bring your Garmin Forerunner, then by all means have the good sense to press start in the parking lot. That way you have a good chance that the rescue team will know in which direction to drag the body. Turns out, I found it again on my own.
  • Not all dog owners will be completely inconvenienced by all bikers... One woman was cheering us all on. (note there weren't many folks out, much less cheering). Try to be respectful.
  • Man that was fun! (get the point) Training should sometimes be just plain fun. Forget the HRM number/graphs etc.. Or bring it.. but put tape over it. For what it's worth, I had no time to look at any numbers or watches with my death grip on the handle bars!
  • If you're going to weigh your bike down with a Gatorade bottle, drink within the first 20 - 30 minutes.. otherwise it will be frozen. For that matter, it might be frozen even after the 30 minute car ride, 30 minutes inside at home, then 15 minutes on top of the radiator while showering, and only drinkable after an additional minute in the microwave. That's frozen! Alternatively, I suppose you could bring a spoon for your Gatorade flavored squishee.
  • 5 degrees and sweet packed snow single-track vs the trainer.. Think about it.
  • Not a lesson, but I wonder. Is bike lust wrong?
After all that, if you're not amped to go biking in the winter.. Well, consider that Arrowhead endurance race was much farther north and started this weekend. Yikes!! Mad crazy props to all those folks.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Journey to Ironman Month in Review: January 2007

The days: worked out 22/31 days (12 of last 13 days)

209 days until race day.

Swim: 13450 yards
Bike: 124.2 mostly phantom trainer "miles"
Run: 45.53 mostly hard fought winter Wisconsin outdoor miles

The last 10 days or so, I've been trying out the frequency and character of my purchased ironman plan that starts in March... So far so good.. Sleep will be key. I'm not at all discouraged by an 8 hour week. Seems like a similar week would have not been impossible last year, but harder. Perhaps in the face of 11-17 hours / week, 8 just doesn't phase me.

I'm putting one toe in the water on the 5th/3rd 25k run in Grand Rapids.. We'll see how training toward that goes.. But right now, it looks good. My currently long run is only an hour. I don't think increasing it to 90 minutes will be difficult.. After that, we'll see. is predicting "possibly the lowest temperatures in a decade". Anyone want to ride? Bring your heat.

Feb 1.. slept in.. oops !