Saturday, November 13, 2010


At the end of each season, I always seem to get that empty feeling and feel rudderless and drifting with the current until that focus finally returns. At times this like these, I find it helps to reflect back on where I came from and what I have accomplished. Once upon a time I was part of an amazing high school cross country team in Vacaville, CA. In 1986 we won the last ever Northern California Championships and in 1987 we came in to the first ever California State Meet ranked 5th. Competing for myself and my teammates was incredibly rewarding.

After high school, I joined the US Navy and entered the submarine force and naval nuclear power program. That provided me an opportunity to learn alot about myself, and the lessons I learned from running helped me focus and perform well enough to earn an NROTC scholarship, get a wonderful education at California Maritime, got to play Intercollegiate Water Polo, Basketball, and Volleyball, while earning a dual engineering degree. Again the most rewarding part was being part of a team. After college, 6 years as a submarine officer took its toll on my waistline and then shore duty and sympathy weight gain left me morethan a little out of shape. After getting out of the navy, things didn't improve and one morning I found myself starring at a face in the mirror with 4 chins and tipping the scales at 230 pounds over 100 pounds heavier than my high school racing weight.

About that time a friend of mine at work, was organizing a weight loss challenge. I joined in, changed my eating habits, and started working out again. That turned the tide and soon that same friend challenged me to join him in doing the Carpenteria Triathlon that fall. Well I took the bait, and I haven't looked back since. I lost over 60 pounds and have kept it off, and embraced the challenge of becoming a triathlete. After a 14 year hiatus, I had a lot of work to do. I went from 9.8 mph on the bike in my first tri (having to get off and walk a hill as well) to averaging over 24 mph in a 40 Time Trial; I relearned how to swim and went from surviving the that first 1/4 mile OWS swim to being a top 1/3 swimmer in most races I enter and being able to swim an Iron Distance swim as a warm up; I regained some of my youthful form on the run going from 10 min miles in a stand alone 5k to 7 min miles on the run leg for an Olympic distance race. I went from sprints, to Olympic, to HIM, to Full Iron distance tris over a 4 year stretch, each step a struggle but reach achievement more rewarding than the last. This year I completed my 5th iron distance event at Cedar Point (and set a PR at age 40), completed my 9th marathon, completed my 12th HIM, and my 50th multi sport event.

Being able to say that you completed something that at one time you truly believed was impossible is such a powerful feeling. Completing the journey for another year is fulfilling but leaves me yearning for more. A new journey lies ahead, a mountain pass in western Canada is calling my name challenging me to face my fears and test my resolve on a 140.6 mile journey of self discovery.

So now when I look in the mirror instead of seeing the Pilsberry Dough boy, I see someone who has the guts to dare to reach for the dream, the resolve to work through the tough times, and the passion to see the journey to its end. Once you followed that rainbow to its pot of gold, (the finish line) and you become an Ironman, Eagleman, Tiberman, Devilman, Diamondman, Steelman, Black Bear, a Revolutionary, a marathon finisher, a triathlete, or whatever, you will know the journey was worth every drop of sweat, every sleepless night, and ever single mile.

Pain is temporary, pride lasts forever!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cedar Point Race Report

The Revolution 3 Cedar Point Full Rev. took place on September 12 and it was a fun filled day. The official race report is can be found at But there is so much more to the story

My last week prior to the race, work decided to make thing interesting and I had a few crisis es to deal with. It took all focus off thinking about the race. In fact I really seemed almost more excited about the fact I had gotten into Ironman Canada for next year. But I had to push off my departure for Cedar Point by a day and my plan to pack and get my car tuned and get a haircut were replaced with an extra day at work waiting for people to review my report. I didn't even know if I would have had to come back on Friday until late Thursday night. Fortunately that part actually worked out and I only had to take care of the car Friday morning before hitting the road around noon. Got to Cedar Point at about 8:30 pm but I discovered Panera Bread has awesome black cherry smoothies to go with that great bread. Followed a car with a very nice bike on the roof since I sort of knew they were headed my way. Finally got there and missed all the pre race get together with Team Trakkers in the park but I just checked in with Tammy and went to bed.

The next morning I went out my backdoor to the beach and the swim practice. And the Team Trakkers, Tri Slide demo. Met Carol on the beach and soon saw the rest of my green clad teammates. SO I got to sneak up on people and spray them down with Tri Slide then get some pictures and do a practice swim. If I didn't feel good about the race at this point that swim just freaked me out. I never thought a lake could be so rough and the 5-6 foot swells beat me up on the ways out, didn't let me swim parallel and stay on line and pushed me way off line in the way in. From there I headed to the Trakkers tent and got a 1 on 1 session with Robert form First Endurance for about a half hour before he had to head to the airport. From there I gave away stuff, and hung out till around 1:30. Then I packed up my transition bags and then wheeled my bike to the beach and carried it to the Transition and then listened to the athletes meeting and ate a Turkey sandwich and pizza sticks and went back to the hotel, turned on the TV and feel asleep.

In the morning I made up my 4 bottles of EFS and 1 bottle of UltraGen and mixed one more for breakfast along with some chomps. Didn't pick up some bagels the night before. Filled my EFS liquid shot bottles and headed over to transition. Got weighed and body marked, put my stuff on my bike and then got my tires pumped up and then it was 5:30 and I went to the changing tent and got changes and just sat in the dark and reflected a bit. I zoned out and still wasn't in a racing mindset. At 6:30 I visited the porta potties and then headed up the beach to the swim start. Now my stomach just didn't feel good. I sat down on the beach and dropped off my dry clothes bag. Then shifted the start back a few minutes for the pros to start at 7:00and the pro women at 7:03 and then it was time to shuffle towards the shoreline.

I absolutely love the feeling in those last few minutes. You can feel the tension in the air as everyone was lost in their thoughts. My thoughts were still, "what am I doing here today?" Not the most positive thing. But then the horn went and we trotted to the water and started wadding and wadding about 200 yards out. But that spread things out and then I was swimming nice and smooth and bam I felt great. Then swim was pretty uneventful I swam straight and the lake was about 75% calmer and I just got into a nice smooth rhythm. Half way we were up and wadding to shore and then running down the beach for leg number two. That messed with me for a while but I got back into control. The lake got a bit rougher that loop but it wasn't too bad. Stayed smooth and warm and got thru the swim well.

Swim 1:22:16.

Transition was slow and uneventful till I got out to my bike the dropped my glasses and got my butt kicked putting on my arm warmers (one inside out), and then got going.

Bike Leg:

The bike started off smooth as I trailed one of my Trakkers teammates as I got a drink of EFS and got into rhythm and shifted up to the big ring and started riding. I tried to make sure I kept in a few gear lighter and didn't push too hard, but I was cruising along and then caught Jamie as the guy in front of us nearly ran into the cone. Was going good until we got off the causeway and hit a bump and my aerobar and headset both rotated. I pulled the aerobar back up as best I could but I really should have stopped and fixed it right there since I could already tell it was uncomfortable. I did good for about 40-50 miles and then my back started hurting. My legs were fine but it was not comfortable in aero. Plus the wind was starting to pick up. Bjorn Anderson Powered past me at around 45 miles and he was flying. I was drinking my EFS every 5 miles or so and taking a liquid shot every 10 and doing well keeping up with my nutrition. Stopped at special needs at about mile 50 and got my new bottles and liquid shot flasks and stretched my back and then got going again. Did not have any other props catch up to me so Bjorn was way ahead as when turn for the second loop. The second loop was just a real pain in the back and then the wind picked up to just make things worse. With the wind and back pain I started to fuel less frequently as my mind was distracted by the pain. That started a bit of a downward spiral as I was slowing due to my back and not fueling due to the wind and back and by the time i made it back to the causeway I was really ready to get off that bike. My butt, my hands, my neck, other parts I care not to mentions joined my back in screaming out in discomfort. That causeway just ket going and going and the road was rough. Both of my teammates passed my back in the last 2 miles but at least that distracted me from the pain for a bit. Finally we reached the end and turned into the parking lot and finally the dismount line. Woo Hoo. Started out averaging 20 mph ended up about 16.75 mph and average about 18 mph overall. Still my second best ironman ride but I felt rotten. Mainly because i only had 1 flask of EFS and a bottle and a 1/4 of EFS over the second half. The best nutritional in the world doesn't do much good sitting on my bike frame. And to think Robert even talked to me about this the day before.
Bike 6:14:12

T2 was long and slow over 10 min, but I put on some sunscreen and gooped up my feet, drank a full bottle of UltraGen and then headed to the Porta Potty. Right there I had a wardrobe malfunction as my zipper picked right there to break. So I got to run the marathon with an open top showing my chest, but no sunscreen. Started off and shuffled onto the marathon course.

The run started off very rough as I shuffled along and just vowed to shuffle to the first aid station. Saw the leader and second place pro just before reaching the aid station which was cool. Started off taking water, and grapes and tried Cera Sport. Hate to pan something but that stuff was flat out nasty and I didn't have any EFS. Shuffled to the next aid station and got a banana and grapes. Saw a guy go down and stayed there to make sure he was ok and got some help, looked heat related. They called the ambulance and dumped water on him and when he seemed in good hands I moved along. Turns out one of the folks helping him was the minister who gave the invocation this morning. He put his race aside to stick with this guy and and help him to the end walking most of the second loop, which was very cool to here the next morning. For me, i said a little prayer and had that moment. I was hot and dehydrated and not feeling good but I asked myself the question "DO you have what it takes to see this thing to the end?" Yes I do I said to no one as I shuffled away to the next aid station. I settled in to water, cola and grapes each aid station walking until I got all the grapes down, and then off. But about mile 5 my legs started to come to me and my shuffle finally evolved to a stride. I was feeling better and the crowd was great as a couple people told me they saw me on the bike and it felt good. Same with the silver wigged group. I hit a bathroom break at mile 7 which was a good sign and I came out and start to actual run. From mile 9.3 to mile 16 I actually ran my best segment dropping from a 12 min mile to a 10:26 average. I kept it up and actually started feeling good and interacting with the crowd, talking to the other athletes who needed a boost, and most of all thanking the aid station folks. Kept my routine but was running good. I made it around to the end of the first loop and it was tough to see that 26 mile sign and have to turn the other direction. Skipped special needs (only had a sweat top and bag of chomps). Caught up to Jamie right as we left the park. He looked rough and I shouted some encouragement but had to keep moving. The second loop was actually fun, I kept walking the aid stations and stopped for a second pit stop at mile 20, but I was running pretty well from aid station to aid station. The crowd stayed great and the police support at each intersection was also great. As I reached mile 21 and had the miles down to 1 hand, I started to think "when is sunset 7:15 or 8:15? Could I actually get a PR out of this? The sun was still up so maybe. My legs started getting heavier but I was feeling so incredibly positive and pushed along. The sun set about mile 24 but I got to see an awesome sunset going across the road to Cedar Point. Had the aid station worker tell get me the grapes without having to ask and cheer me on, I felt good. Just got a quick drink on the last aid station but seeing that 25 mile sign was a beautiful sight. I passed a guy coming into the parking lot and he cheered me one which was cool, I was cruising along and passed 2 other people. Of course at the same time seeing the folks heading out for lap #2 was a bit sad. Must have been tough seeing the looks of joy and excitement on the faces of the athletes finishing up and knowing you still had a ways to go. I hope they all finished and go the chance to feel my joy. Coming into the park and thru the rides to the carpet and the video screens and boom there was my picture on the big screen. I had the chute to myself so i pumped my hands and waved my arms and got called in by Whit. Felt great. Saw 13:05:59 on the clock 2 min short of my PR but later found out that was from the pro start and my official time was 12:53:29 a 10:30 PR.
Run 4:59:31

Overall 12:53:29

Didn't expect much but kept with it worked through the hard time and had a great experience for the marathon and got a PR despite not getting my best time for any of the disciplines or T1 and T2 for that matter. Very Satisfying. Great race and a great time.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pre race (Or REV) jitters

This has been a very strange year for me. I discovered First Endurance products this winter and they worked so well for me I had far and away my best offseason every. I rode two 500+ miles months and a 668 miles month in February and was seeing my performance improve considerably. Got to my first tri of the year, Rev 3 Olympic at Knoxville and was having a great race right until I went flying over the handlebars of my brand new Kestral. From there my season changed abuptly. I got back up to finish despite trashing my hands, face, wrist, and ribs as well as my bike. I finished almost out of spite looking like a zombie. But from that point on my season was just messed up. I had to heal up and recover for most of the next month, which got my back in the water just in time for Rev 3 Quazzy. I decided since I wasn't going to be competitive I might as well do something a bit different and did the Revolution (Olympic on Sat and HIM on Sun on a very challenging and hilly course). I did fairly well in the Olympic and then survivied the HIM but a month off of serious training just made it really tough.

From there I just seemed to loose my enthusiam, and had a really hard time putting some good training together. The best thing that happened for me was going on vacation to Puerto Vallarta , Mexico and having my wife throw down the gauntlet and say no sweaty clothes for 2 weeks. Surprisingly that was just what I needed. I had a great tmie and when I got back my enthusiam had returned and my body was finally snapping back. Had a great month of August 640 miles bike, 125 miles run and even some good swim numbers.

So here I am, 7 days before an Iron Distance race. I really have no idea what to expect. I feel good but I don't know if my base it there. This is my first Iron Distance on my Kestral which shoukd help, I been using my UltraGen which is great stuff, got my EFS and EFS Liquid Shot. I should be set.

So what do I try and set my sight on a PR? Qualifying for half max? Just finishing? I have not idea what to expect. So I think I am going to throw any expectations out the window and just let whatever happens happen.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Brick, brick, brick

I travel quite a bit in my job. Sometimes I will go to a plant and find they have facilities where I can stick with my normal routine and run at lunch and the ride later that evening. But sometimes that just doesn't seem to work out. Last week was one of those weeks. I'm just one of those people who really does not like to get out of bed before dawn to workout, race yes, train no. As a result, I take advantage of those weeks to do some bricks. I did a reverse brick (run- bike), and standard brick (bike-run) using a hilly out and back course on road near the hotel and a ride on the exercise bike in the hotel. Then I threw in a decathlon brick (run-bike-run) on the machines. Once I got back home I kept my brick week going by doing some biking in the morning then doing a Run-swim brick about an hour later.

Obviously the run-Bike and run-bike -run mimic what you experience in a race and pays direct dividends but the reverse brick is a great opportunity to get your legs used to pacing while your are tired and training for that late race biking. But the one I enjoy the most the run-swim, I think pays a ton of dividend. Normally during the swim you are fresh, but with one of these brick you enter the water tired and it forces you to concentrate on form and staying smooth and getting used to the later stages of a HIM or IM swim.

Each night a good water bottle of EFS during the middle of the workout and a waterbottle of UltraGen with in 30 min of the end and my legs feel great the next morning. Stay flexible, stay thirsty, and have fun.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Recharging my batteries

Most triathletes are type A folks who have a very hard time actually taking a break and "gasp" taking a few weeks off training, paticularly in the middle of reacing season. But this was exactly what I managed to do for a couple of weeks. The family and I recently took our first triathlon or marathon free vacation in 4 years. Now to be honest the family hasn't complained too much getting to hit Panama City Beach Florida, Disney World, The Grand Canyon and Phoniex, London, Scottland, and Wales, and the best trip ever two weeks on the Big Island of Hawaii. In Hawaii we joined a vacation club and periodically they require us to sit thru another sales presentation but then give us a 4-5 day vacation for free for the trouble. So the reward for sitting thru that painful 90 min was 4 days in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Well we decided to stay a bit longer and booked a few extra resorts. But the wife made it clear she didn't want the luggage to smell like my gym bag so this was going to be a workout free 2 weeks. Well given the two month leading up to this vacation with a nasty bike wreck, missed training due to food poisoning, and work trips, and even the Revolution double at Quazzy, I actually figured a few weeks off wouldn't be a terrible thing. Well I did manage to get quite a bit of swimming in as the boys lived at the beach each afternoon, and on a couple of great tours. But I also got to swim wiith and ride a Sea Lion, then a few days later do the same with a dolfin. We went horseback riding and climbed about 3000 vertical feet into the Serra Madres above Puerto Vallarta, took a jeep tour thru the Sierra Madres, went snorkling on two islands Mariatas and Caletas, where we saw a few huge manta Rays, many cool fish, and an Zebra Moray Eel. One of our resorts had a water park and each one had some amazing pools, and every where we went there was some amazingly good food. I managed to gain about 6-7 pounds and give myself a black eye body surfing when a wave body slammed me into the rocks. We also got to hit the PV zoo where you actually get to feed the animals, (Vegitarians only) and got to hold and play with a Tiger and Lion cub. A something most people will never be able to say my Tiger cub chomped on my arm. No blood but the bruise complete with fange marks was a pretty unique sovenier.

While I can say my fitness isn't at the top level it was, my chronic aches and pains seem to have disappeared and mentally I feel refreshed. So I got to knock out a bunch of items on my bucket list, and recharge my batteries. I highly recommend it! And if you need a place to stay, I now have a timeshare in Puerto Vallarta. Cheers!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Things I have learned about myself through Triathlons

Things I have learned about myself:

-The majority of my physical limitations only exist between my ears.
-Nothing is more satisfying than doing something you once believed was impossible.
-Without risk there is no reward.
-Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.
-That hollow feeling in your legs after you will your self through a hard race/workout is priceless because it means you gave it your all.
-I am capable of more than I ever imagined.
-You don’t have to finish first to win.
-You always have enough time to do the things you really want to do.
-Almost any problem can be solved with proper balance and proper lubrication.
-Staying in the moment and enjoying the ride will get you through whatever life throws your way.
-The top priority is to finish what you start and have fun doing it.
-Even though I am an engineer, computers still kick my tail.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Happy Birthday to me (at Quazzy Rev 3)

Last weekend I officially became old, turning 40 on Sunday. But like any good triathlete I had to make sure my thirties went out in style. So I signed up for a completed the Revolution at last weekend's Rev 3 tri at Quazzy, CT. The Revolution involved doing the Olympic Rev on Saturday and then the Half Rev on Sunday on one of the more obnoxiously hilly bike and run courses around.
Things started with a nice drive up on Friday afternoon and got to hang out with pros Richie Cuttingham, Mike Lavato, Dede Griesbaeur, and Carole Sharpless, and probably a few more I didn't even realize while I worked at the Trakkers Booth. Drove the Olympic course and discovered they found a few more hills they missed last year, then headed the the hotel. Saturday, the Olympic race was a blast. Got to start in the first wave, had a nice bike, and a good run, but stayed within myself and had fun. Checked out the scoring and I ended up in the top quarter and was scored in the 35-39 AG and finished top quarter of that age group as well.
Hung out before rechecking my bike for the Half and got to meet Miranda Carefree and Craig Alexander and then headed back to the hotel and got some seroius sleep. Sunday got up early and did it all over again. Had one of my idols Natasha Badman cross in front of my car in the parking lot, and got to listen to Richie Cuttingham talk about racing next week at Eagleman. This time I got to wait for the 5th wave, watch the pro waves head out and then head out. Again the swim went well, but the bike was more of an adventure. The hills start early and just keep going. After about 5 miles I shifted down to my small ring, I get to the top of the hill and I can't get the chain to shift back up to the big ring. I was pretty pissed as I was getting passed on the next downhill, but I was finally able to shake it off and accept I could be worse off that being stuck on the small ring on this course so I lived with it and went on. Rode pretty well, got rained on a few times and ended up only a few minutes slower than last year. The run wasn't a whole lot of fun as the hills on the bike, the Olympic the day before, then bike wreck at Knoxville (28 days earlier) and not having my bike until the Tuesday, and not drinking enough on the bike all can back to beat me up. But I had the body markers write happy birthday on my calf and whenever anyone came by they wished me a happy birthday and it really helped keep me shuffling along. I finished the race and the double, then got some dinner and a cupcake and really felt old.

But I officially became a Master's athlete in style and had a great weekend before driving home to celebrate with the family.
So remember no matter where you go there you are. Have fun and enjoy the ride! Age is just a number.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Valley Forge National Park

One the best perks of my job is the fact that me office is located in King of Prussia, PA about 2 miles away from the visitor's center of Valley Forge National Park. While I have always been a big American Revolution buff (I used to live in Lexington, MA, rode Paul Revere's ride, canoed under the bridge in Concord, etc) and being able to explore a place where one of the key moments in our country's history took place is amazingly cool. But Valley Forge is also a runners and cyclists paradice. Miles and miles of roads, hills, trails, fields, and breathtaking views to go along with history.

Friday, I took a ride up to the park and ran the multi purpose loop which takes you past Log City, the Masonic Arch, past cannons and statues and past Washington's Chapels. You also climb about 600 feet, pass within a few feet of the local herds of deer, got scoped out by a huge Golden Eagle, Redtailed Hawk, and a Turkey Vulture or two (that wasn't the best feeling). Throw in the bus loads of students, the lunch time walkers, runners, cyclists, the horseback riders, the model airplane pilots, and even a couple of Harleys.

A run like that just charges you up and make you feel glad to be alive, and makes the rest of the day smooth as silk. Location, location, location. I love my job.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Redemption (n): 1)Recovery of ownership by paying a sum. 2)To pay off. 3) To fulfill. 4) To make amends for. 5) To save from sin.

12 days ago, I was healthy and in some of the best shape of my life and was about half way through a spectacular race to start of my 2010 triathlon racing season. I had PRed the swim by several minutes, had a solid transition and actual got my wetsuit off in record time, and was mowing people down on the bike leg. 12 miles in and a grand total of 1 person had passed me and felt strong.

Then in an instant my race turning into something completely different. A narrow two lane country road on coming traffic, no shoulder, and a white pickup truck in the lane with the cyclists. I was annoyed by this but as I started closing in on the truck, but just then the driver comes up on a cyclist thinks about swerving out to pass but sees on coming traffic and hits the breaks hard. Suddenly I am on top of this truck with on coming traffic in the other lane and no room to the inside and I jumped out of the aerobars and jammed on the breaks and suddenly was flipping and supermanning onto the pavement. From there, my race turned into a journey about nothing more than seeing this thing to its end. I finished, but underneath the pain from the road rash/brushed ribs/sprained wrist and mangled hands and gashed arms/hands/nose/mouth/and chin, grew another pain. The pain knowing what could have and what should have been. After the physical pain faded, that pain grows deep inside.

After a week off thanks to having to keep both hands clean and dry and baby my battered ribs, I got back on the horse on Monday and did a run at lunch and then a ride on a stationary bike Monday night. I was on the way back. I ran 25 miles this week with alot of hills and did some cycling as my bike was being repaired. What drives me to get back at it, the pain of what could have been. The only thing that will ease that pain is to get back out their and on June 5th at the Rev3 Tri make something happen. I have payed a heavy price, financially and physically, but when we are faced with adversity we find our true nature comes to the surface. The drive to redeem myself to take back the feeling, the pride, and glory that this accident robbed from me. I may not perform to the highest level on June 5th, but the pride to drag myself to the starting line and strive to get the most out of my battered body is my redemption.

Thanks to my Trakkers teammates, my co-worker who think I'm nuts, to First Endurance for providing some great fuel to help my body recover like it never had to before, and to my beautiful and loving wife for nursing me back to health and trying to understand my madness. Triathlon is about stepping up to a challenge and looking deep inside to find the strength to rise to the occasion.

Enjoy the ride. Pain is temporary, pride lasts forever.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


This weekend I had a very interesting race at the Rev 3 Olyimpic Tri in Knoxville, Tn. See the race report for some of the details, but the key moment was on the bike leg. I was flying on a narrow 2 lane road with lots of traffic in the opposite direction and one truck in the lane with the cyclists, being in the 8th wave you get to pass alot of slower cyclists from the eariler waves which really boosts your confidence, but it worked against me in this case as the truck came up on one of these slower cyclists, could pass due to on coming traffic and hit the breaks hard. Next thing I know I am closing fast on his bumper and no room to pass on either side and I jumped out of the aerobars and mashed the breaks and ended up to getting the fronts first and found myself supermanning over the handbars at 24-25 mph. I took most of the impact on my hands, chest, and chin and rolled off the road. After taking my time on my hands and knees to catch my breath, I took inventory off my head and teeth, I got up and discovered my legs were ok and nothing seemed broken, then I looked at my hands which were a bloody mess as was my chin and nose. My bike was ok except the head set was twisted and I had to straighten that and the big ring shifter was snapped off so I kept it in the small ring. So I found my water bottle, took a drink ( which hurt like heck) tried torinse off my hands, (which hurt even worse), And then popped the chain back on and started walking my bike down the road.

Now comes the momement, someone running back from the aid station I had been approaching asks me if I was the biker who fell and told me an ambulance was in route. For some reason, right then I hopped on my bike and told him, "I'm OK" and started riding. I rode pretty conservatively since I wasn't too sure of my bike but soon I was actally passing people and besides for being limited to the small ring and not getting out of the saddle since my hands hurt like heck. Those last 14 or so miles went by pretty quick and I resolved to finish out the race. Long story short despite several discussions with race officials and medical folks I would not let anyone deny me from finishing this race.

After the race and after my trip and care at the medical tent (which was outstanding), I had a good number of people tell me how couragous I was for finishing and how much of a trooper or inspration I was to refuse to let my accident keep me from finishing the race. Later I visited the ER and got stitched up and took many x-rays and fortunately nothing was broken but I had some serious road rash in my hands, arms, chest, and some on my face, a sprained left wrist and a nicely bruised rib and serveral days off work since I can"t drive with my splint on.

I can't say why I made the choice I did. I know I thought about what a waste to come all the way to Knoxville from Philly only to crash out while I was on the ground, but when I hopped on the bike it was almost an involuntary response. Once I didn't think I would make things worse, I made up my mind to see it out. Many people I greatly admire (Julie Moss, Chris S, and Natasha Badman) have had that same responce to fight on and try and finish even when it doesn't make seanse to a rationale person.

So you judge, was I couragous or stupid. Either way I can tell you, there is a strange sense of pride seeing the race to its end, especially when things really go bad. I discover this at IM Arizona when the act of fighting though adversity gave me something fast more valuable that any medal. And it was 100x stronger at Rev 3.

(knoxville run 1a.jpg)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Keeping the world safe and other training obstacles

While triathlon is my hobby/sport/addiction/obsession but it is not my job. Most of the time my job and training/working out go hand in hand and are not mutually exclusive, but sometimes they end up butting heads and normally the job wins.

I am a Senior Project Engineer for the Division of Reactor Projects of the USNRC. My job is to protect Public Health and Safety thru ensuring the safe use of nuclear materials in power, medical, and other uses. It is a job and a mission statement I take very seriously and take a lot of pride in. I work in the nuclear power plant side of the house, so periodically I get to play in Emergency Preparedness drills. This week I got to travel to Pittsburgh to play in one of these drills. These drill a really a site to behold. Watching the plant, the local community, the counties, the PA State Troopers, the states of Pennsylvania, West Virgina, and Ohio, FEMA, the DHS, and the NRC, all working together to meet a common goal is a very impressive evolution and takes alot of work to get right. Problem with these drills is that the go on forever. This one started somewhere around 2pm and we wrapped up around 10pm. Then with the post drill, "wash down and critiques" I didn't get back to the hotel until about midnight. Throw in a pseudonormal work day before and a late flight the night before and working out just wasn't in the cards.

So I'll be juggling my schedule around for the rest of the week to catch up, but at least I can sleep well knowing I helped make sure the communities in the vicinity of the Beaver Valley Power Plant will be able to respond to any civil emergency (The Emergency Plan they exercised is used for smaller scale issues such as gas line breaks, severe storms, tornadoes, and transportation accidents as well as problems at the nuclear plant.)

But I'd be lying if I didn't tell you, I was thinking about riding or running thru the awesome rolling hills in this area, at several points during the exercise. But sometimes we have to make a sacrifice or two.

Have fun, be safe!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A tale of two races

Spring is that great time of year when everything feels fresh and full of promise and the last two weeks I finally toed at starting line to start the year. This winter I have worked really hard at improving my cycling but as a result I have done minimal work on my running. But of course, my first two races were running races; a 5K (Pottstown YMCA Spring Forward) and a hilly 5 miler (Valley Forge Revolutionary Run. Having not done anything resembling speed work in a loong time, these two were mainly just to see what kind of shape I was in.

Problem is I just am not very good a short races (or at least that is how I feel). The funny thing is I have actually medaled in 4 of my last 5 5Ks but I just can't seem to push myself hard enough and I always feel like I have way too much left over at the end. This was certainly the case last weekend. I had about 50 people pass me again in the first half mile, at that point I catch my rhythm and start working forward for the rest of the race, but this year I had several folks come up from behind my and overtaken me in the second half of the race, which just annoyed the heck out of me. So I felt like I ran a terrible race but I still ended up finishing 3rd in my age group by a comfortable margin and passed about 40 of those 50 people who blew past me at the start. Not a PR, but not bad. So the results were there but I didn't like race.

This weekend, I did a much larger race the Valley Forge Revolutionary Run, a very hilly 5 mile run thru the Valley Forge National Park. There were about 1200 runners on a very narrow road which slowed thing down for everyone and I felt like I ran a great race, even pacing throughout despite the hills. I stayed patient at the start, then smartly worked my way forward working both the uphills and downhills effectively. Felt like I parsed the effort just right and worked hard and was very satisfied with my race. The results, I was 15 seconds slower than last year, several spots lower overall and in my age group. So the result weren't great, but I was very satisfied.

I guess the same goes for Tris. I have never even come close to the medals in a tri, heck I'm lucky to get top half in an Ironman, but the satisfaction I feel doing those races is 100x better than any medal. So for me the effort is far more important that the final standings. It took two races n two weeks to drive that home yet again.

Have fun, enjoy the ride. And above all else remember, it is easy being green! Go Trakkers!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Death to the King (Burger King that is)

Some times you’re the windshield, some times you’re the bug.. Well this week was one of those bug weeks. It started off with a trip up to Oswego, NY for work. Got in the car it was 71 and raining, got out of the car and it was 39 and raining. The most miserable conditions I could imagine and the hotel didn’t have a workout room and the only gym available was $8 a pop. So I decide I could shift my scheduled day off from Friday to Monday and avoid the wet and cold. The next day was about 35 and still raining and we didn’t get back to the hotel until 7:30, so another day went by.

Then the fun began, the next day I started home late in the afternoon, at 5 pm I stop at a gas station in Clay, NY, buy an Arizona Ice Tea and some Red Bull, and then saw a Burger King and my mind immediately informed me I was starving. So I went over and got 2 Whopper Jrs and an order of Onion Rings. Well about 4 hours later I started feeling bloated and getting cramps. Just made it home in time for that to turn into feeling violently ill. So for the next 10 hours my body decided to purge everything. I felt like death warmed over as my body was revolting and there was nothing I could do about it. Finally by morning, I was done being violently ill, which saved me a trip to the hospital at least, but I was wiped out for the next two days and could even think of eatting something solid until Friday morning without feeling sick. Finally feeling myself today but it ended up being a totally lost week.

Let’s put is this way, My new Kestrel Talon Tri SL arrived on Thursday and I haven’t even taken it out of the box. You know I’m feeling bad when I can’t even play with my newest toy.

BK is hazardous to your health.

Friday, March 19, 2010

March Madness

I love this time of year! The 70 inches of snow in my driveway (great cross training opportunity, eh), is finally gone and this week it feel downright tropical with temps reaching the 70s in the Philly area this week. Even had to extend a couple of my lunch runs this week to take advantage of the weather. Plus the NCAA basketball tourney is my favorite sporting event each year. With my DVR I can watch just about every game on the tube in front on my trainer.

Once the 3 layers of sweats are peeled off and the sun is shining, I am starting to get that itch to race again. This year promises to be alot of fun. I have a great group of Trakkers teammates to meet at Knoxville, Quazzy, and Cedar Point. I have an evil desire to do both the Olympic and HIM on back to back days at Quazzy to celebrate my 40th birthday with a final race to kiss 39 goodbye and another to welcome myself to the Master’s category. By the end of this year I should be able to say I have done more REV3 races that anyone else as I plan on doing the full series plus the double. Of course the cool thing about getting older in I get 5 extra minute for Boston and 20 extra minute for USAT Halfmax. I have my new Kestrel Talon Tri on its way, my first Tri bike, and have been having a great winter hammering the Computrainer and can’t wait to see how it translates to the roads. It’s almost time to get out there and have some fun. The thrill to compete and the joy of putting myself to the test and seeing what happens.

Have Fun!