Friday, November 25, 2011

Successful season?


What defines a successful season? Every year I set out a series of goals and typically I define success in terms of those goals. My goals for this year were to PR in the HIM and Qualify for USAT Half Max, To break 13 hours at Ironman Canada, to Qualify for USAT Nationals in the Olympic distance, finish in the top 7 for my AG in a tri this year, and to improve my USAT ranking score.

Well at the end of the year I only managed to do one of those as somehow I improved my USAT score for the year (really have no clue how that score is calculated.) Based on that I wouldn't consider this to be a very successful year. However, sometimes you have to look at things a bit differently based on the way the season actually played out.


2011 started out great, I was feeling great training well over the winter and feeling very optimistic, then I started to feel some pain in my left foot/heel which steadily got worse and worse. Turns out it was Plantar factias. Never had anything like it. Took 3 weeks off with no running, bought a PF boot to sleep in, bought heel cups, but nothing seems to work. FInally I learned how to massage it by rolling a can on the arch of my foot and it helped. But that just helped my manage the pain.

Started the season with a local race 5K for the 25 for the Metropolitan Veternatery Associates (the folks who operated on Cairo and fixed his knees) and Main Line Animal Rescue and actually won my age group. The next day I did the Revolutionary Run at Valley FOrge and I was in agony for the first 2 miles till in seemed to fix itself for a while but it was about 6 min slower than last year.


So I babied it as well as I could and then started to shift my goals and schedule around and my running really was cut back. So I thought, if I couldn't go fast maybe I could do some different. So I ended up doing 3 HIMs in 5 weeks(Rev3 Knoxville, Rev3 Quazzy, and Eagleman) and the OLY/HIM weekend double at Quazzy and 3 races in 8 days (Double at Quazzy and Eagleman). None of the times were spectacular, but using the Recovery Pump and First Endurance UltraGen I found that even my 41 year old legs could spring back. I even ripped of a 2:38 bike split at Eagleman (21.21 MPH ave) for my first 20+ ave split in any race longer than a sprint. All in all I had to call my little experiment a success and it was a great testamonial for Recovery Pump and Ultragen, both of which really worked for me.


Next was Ironman Canada. The race was without a doubt the hardest IM bike and run course I had ever completed. But I ended up making it even rougher for myself by shipping my EFS in my gear bag and sitting out in my transition bag in 90+ degree temps and guess what it went bad at the bottom of the first flask. As soon as I took it, my body rejected it and every other bit of nutrition I tried for the next 60 miles. Of course this happen right at the bottom of Reicter Pass, so I had to battle 2 1000 + ft climbs and the seven sisters unable to keep anything but water down. That was so friggin hard and I never wanted to quit more then I did. But something inside just wouldn't let me throw in the towel. I managed some amazing mental and physical damage control and found my way to T2. The volunteer at T2 will never know how much he helped me. I neer would have gotten out of that chair without his help and encouragement. So I waddled out to the marathon and an amazing thing happened, I got through it. I ran aid station to aid station, but I ran and kept running. Coming down Lakeshore Dr having overcome so much on that day, I never ever felt so proud. My second slowest Ironman ever 14:14 but I never had to work so hard in my life. Was that a success...absolutely!


Finally I did the Rev3 South Carolina HIM in October. First ever race post Ironman and a nice hilly course. So noone including myself saw a 5:35 coming, my second fastest HIM out of 16 tries and a 1:54 HM spilt in my best run of the season (and my foot was pain free for the first time all year). Didn't qualify for Half Max but my 2nd fastest HIM out of 16 attempts was very rewarding and unexpected.

After the Tri season was over, I did another 5K (5K for HOPE) in memory of Dawn Leach, a friend of my wife who passed from Breast Cancer this summer. Again I surprised myself by finishing 8th OA, winning my AG and getting a 5K PR by 1 second. That was definitely a success.


So was 2011 a success? In the end, I'd have to say yes!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Revolution 3 Triathlon - Come join the Revolution!





What make a great race? A challenging course, an exotic location, a top flight professional field, a race venue which rewards the family for coming to cheer you on, an outstanding staff and volunteers. Each person has their own specific criteria for what makes a great race, but very few Race Series have done better than Revolution 3 and succeeding in all fronts. Revolution 3' s philosophy is pretty simple, create a fun caring, family friendly atmosphere and create an event, not just a race, that satisfies the athlete and their entire family. That and attract some of the best professional athletes to come a compete side by side with you. I think they have succeeded ten times over.


I have been fortunate enough to have raced in 9 Revolution 3 events, so you could say I am a bit of an authority on the subject. I was there when Rev 3 burst upon the scene in their first event Revolution 3 Half Rev at Quazzy (CT) in 2009, Did the 2010 Rev 3 Series with an Olympic Rev in Knoxville, Half and Olympic at Quazzy, and the Full Rev at Cedar Point (OH). This year I tried the Half Rev at Knoxville, the Revolution at Quazzy (both the Olympic and HIM again), and did the inaugural Rev 3 Anderson,South Carolina Half. In nine tries Rev 3 hit the mark every time.



Why you ask? Well lets go down the list.
Challenging courses: The Revolution 3 Series course were designed by triathletes who know how much we love a challenge. The result in a flat state like Conn. the Race director created 2400 feet of climbing and 8 categorized climbs on the bike, and a hilly run to follow around the lake including a timed uphill mile; Knoxville with 4 categorized climbs, followed by a rolling run thru the green way, neighborhoods, and finishing at World's Fair park; Anderson with 1400 feet of constant rolling hills on the bike and a solid run, and a great full iron distance challenge at Cedar Point.

Exotic Locations: Rev 3 Costa Rica anyone. February in a tropical paradise anyone?


Top flight Professional Field: Craig Alexander and Terenzo Bozzone battling toe to toe at Quazzy in 2010, Miranda Carefree running down Julie Dibbens in 2010, and Julie holding off Miranda in 2011 at Quazzy, Matty Reed chasing down Cameron Dye at Knoxville in 2011, and Leanda Cave winning on the women's side. Bjorn Anderson rocketing out to a 20 min advantage on the bike at Cedar Point only to have James Cunnima run him down in 2010. Just some of the spectacular racing this series has seen. Plus no where else do the regular athletes get up close and get to meet and talk to the stars of the sport. I've posed for pictures with Miranda, Julie, and Craig at Quazzy, had Natascha Badmann sit down at a table with me, met Michal and Ammanda Lavoto, got asked about my race by Richie Cunningham, gone for a jog with Bree Wee, Heather and Trevor Wurtele, and got to quiz Matty Reed and Cameron Dye on their strategy for racing in the rain.


Family Friendly Race Venues: Triathlon is not the best spectator sport mankind has ever invented. Having two young boys, I know it is hard to keep them entertained at most races. Rev 3 took care of that. Races at Cedar Point a Six Flags type amusement park, the Dells in Wisconsin, one of the country's best water parks; Quazzy another amusement park give the kids (and wife/husband/posse) something to do while you are enjoying a 3-7 hour ride in the country side. Plus races at great beaches like Sarasota, and Maine, and the opportunity for a balloon ride at Anderson give your family lots of options. Plus events like movie night under the stars (free movie on the huge screen), concerts, the Little Rev adventure races, the whole family will enjoy the race.

Great staff and volunteers: This is another thing that makes Rev 3 stand out. The volunteers and staff are outstanding and are there to help make your experience first rate. People to pump up your tire race morning, the Tri Slide Lubrication Stations to get you set for the race, the aid stations are a party (the Disney themed aid station at Anderson, the Trakkers water experience at Quazzy) the Recovery Lounge folks and ART massage folks making before and after the race feel so much better. Race directors that want you to bring your entire cheering staff/family done the finishing chute with you.

Other extras: Rev 3 tends to have great race
swag too. Park admission tickets for Cedar Point and Quazzy, Hot Air Balloon rides at Anderson, TYR bags, event shirts, and long sleeve tech finshers shirts, great medals, Tri Swim products, GU, Jack Black Products, visors, and hats, and the medals are unique and original each year. Plus they take your picture before the race and show it on the big screen as you finish to give you the rock star feeling, your name is on your race number so the crowd can cheer you on, you get a personalized bike rack tag, wheel mount racks. Plus the race timing with lots of splits and family and friends can get real time updates, and the amazing web coverage and commentary of the race. The Quazzy 2010 webcast was better than some of the NBC Kona specials.

Bottom line: I have done close to 70 races in my 9years doing triathlon and the Revolution 3 series is the best. I have done plenty of subpar Ironman and Ironman 70.3 events but never a subpar Rev 3 event and that include the race I had a major bike wreck (Yes I can even tell you first hand the medical staff was great) and the race director hunted me down in my hotel room that night to find out how I was doing, what happened, and how he could make things even safer. That meant a hell of alot to me. Revolution 3 rocks so come join the Revolution, you won't regret it!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

REV 3 South Carolina Race Report


Rev3 South Carolina Half Rev
2011-10-09
Anderson, South Carolina
United States
Rev3
72F / 22C
Overcast

Triathlon - 1/2 Ironman
Total Time = 5h 35m 21s
Overall Rank = 72/197
Age Group = M 40-44
Age Group Rank = 15/37

REV3 Triathlon SOUTH CAROLINA 2011 - Age Group Recap from REVOLUTION3 Triathlon on Vimeo.



I'm at 4:21 and Trakkers Teammate Jill Poon Anniversay surprise finish at 8:05 is very cool as well.

Pre-race routine:

Rev3 was my last planned race for this season and was the first time I have done a race after doing an Ironman, having done Ironman Canada on August28th. Post Ironman I found it to be a real challenge to get back into racing and getting into a racing frame of mind. Plus 2 weeks of recovery post IM and 1 week of tapering minimized the amount of training I could do. So I wasn't feel very optimistic going in. But REV3 races have alwasy been alot of fun, so I decided I was going to participate but not race.

The drive down to Anderson from the Philly area didn't quite go as smooth as planned, got about 60 min in and realized I forgot my bike shoes and had to go back. Then I went a different direction to "make up time" and found Rt422 at a dead stop thanks to road work. Ended up being a 13 hour drive after my false start. On the way down I was actually able to pick up the Phillies game on a Philadelphia AM station in the Carolinas, but then the Phillies choked which lowered my sprites even more.

Saturday I checked in at the EXPO at the Anderson Convention Center. Anderson is right next to Clemson University and it was homecoming weekend verse BC Saturday afternoon so there was a ton of traffic and Clemson fans everywhere. Fortunately Clemson won easiliy and everyone was in a great mood all weekend. Got a TYR swim bag, a hot air ballon ride ticket, an event shirt (got a finishers long sleeve tshirt at the end of the race too), a visor, and samples of GU, Tri Swim, and Jack Black products. Not bad. Sat thru the racers meeting and tried to visualize how the point to point course was going to work. Drove down to the lake and checked in my bike and then did a lap on the swim course (very easy). Found some wooden pilings after the 2nd turn bouy if you swung too far to the outside which was a very good lesson learned to stave off a collision on race day. Then hit the bike shop and got new cleats for my bike shoes and headed back to the hotel. Had a pre race dinner with my Trakkers teammates at a downtown restraunt (had a Hawaian Pizza) and then headed back to get some sleep. Dinner was a blast as everyone was checking the Twitter updates for the Ironman World Championships and hurried back to watch the finishes on line. It was scarry how many of the top pros I actually know or at least met thanks to being with Team Trakkers and participating in the REV3 series over the last three years.

Got up at 5:oo am and got my stuff together and drove to the convention center. Set up T2 which took about 2 minutes, and then got on a shuttle bus down to the lake. Was very dark still on the road to transition got set up and then chilled out in T1 and visited the bathroom before the lines got too long. The water safety crew wouldn't let anyone in the lake until the sun was up so I hung out at the start and watched the pros start, then headed to the chute and I was in the second wave of AGers out of 3. Note: they listed the overal results seperately for Men and women. There were 97 women finishers in addition to the 197 male finishers and was about 90th overall.

Mentally I had one of the worst pre races ever. Had a feeling of doom, felt bad, asked myself why I even bothered to come down, but i was finally able to snap myself out of that funk and remind myself I was here to have fun and not get stressed out. That and talking to my rack mates helped alot.

Event warmup:

A bit of walking but since we were allowed in the water before the pros started no swim warm up. Just got started and got wet after the gun. Water was pretty warm but there was a pretty stiff breeze blowing.

Swim
00:37:48 | 2309.71 yards | 01m 38s / 100yards
Age Group: 16/37
Overall: 95/197
Performance: Average
Suit: Hurricane Cat 5 full
Course: Couterclock wise loop from one side of the pennisula to the other. 4 turn bouys and a sandbar to negotiate


Large wave with all the 40+ males, clyesdales and relay and aquabikers and a relatively narrow start area where the rocks were cleared, made for a bit of a rough start. I was to the right and middle not really by choice but since there was nowhere else to go. Lots of banging and grabbing on the way out to the first buoy and a even got a kick to the throat, (fortunately not very hard, but it got my attention. Things started to spread out and I found myself pacing with a guy in blue goggles and a red suit and settled into a good rhythm. The mob spread out nicely after the first turn buoy and i rembmerd my practice swim and cut hard to the inside after the 2nd turn bouy to avoid the pilings. From there i diamonded the rest of the course probably adding some distance but it made the turns so much easier. Soon enough i made it to the end and wadded to shore stepping on those nasty little rock until getting to the cleared segment.


What would you do differently?:

Get a bit of a warm up and start harder to clear some space that way. But all in all a good swim.

T1

Nice smooth unhurried transition. No issues getting out of my suit, a few issues finding my rack stopped at the first tree not the second, and was a bit bummed that most of my rack was gone. Took extra time to apply sunscreen and pack up my T1 bag, then got going.


What would you do differently?:

Was pretty slow since i still wasn't in a racing mindset yet. However that was OK. The guy next to me didn't put his wetsuit in a bag, hope he found in the lost and found afterwards.

Bike
02:54:56 | 56 miles | 19.21 mile/hr
Age Group: 17/37
Overall: 75/197
Performance: Good
First 30 miles 1:40:21 17.94 mph Last 26 miles 1:14:34 20.92 mph
Wind: Headwind with gusts
Course: Winding rolling course through the country side. First 30 miles was into a significant headwind 17-25 mph. Rolling hills through out but no that i would classify as very difficult. Number of technical decents including Millers bend, a quick downhill with a sharp left turn onto a bridge over a creek with a nice drop off on either side right into another climb. After mile 30 you headed back towards Anderson, twisting thru Penbrook? with a ton of turn in order to avoid the railroad tracks which was appricaited. Then back to town over some of the larger hills, past the start area into Anderson itself and highway 81 bypass and then back to the civic center. Joined back up with the Olympic course (which started later) for the last 7 or so miles.


Started out in 106 out of T2 an picked up 31 spots. Wind was rough right out the gate as was the first hill but i stayed on the big ring and grinded over it. Got into a good rhythm after that and stayed in the big ring the entire ride except for Miller's bend. The bend was about 14 miles in and was a hard left (most sharp truns are right handers) One guy had gone off road and down just before the bend and I slowed to make sure he was ok (a bit bloody but he waved me on). Got into a back and forth with about 3-4 folks where I would run them down and pass them and about 20 min later the would pass and pull way out ahead, then i would get my rhythem back and reel them in again. After 30 miles, I was still feeling good so I picked up the pace and got an assist from the wind and averaged 20.92 mph on the way back and really felt good even though this was one of the hillier segments. Once we joined back up with the olympic I got to pass a few more folks and felt pretty good. Alot of folk complained how hilly the course was but I didn't think it was bad at all. While it was constantly rolling hills, none of the hills were long or exceptionally steep and other than Miller's bend where I lost all my momentum I stayed in the big ring the whole time. Over the last 26 miles i did alternate standing and sitting on the hills but felt very good.


What would you do differently?:

Held back a bit too much over the first 30 miles, but that might had paid dividends latter, but had plenty in reserve to kick up the pace over the last 26 miles.

T2

Another slow transition. Took my time and tied my shoes and got some nutrition then had one false start as my hand pump was still in my uniform. Decided not to change socks. Also hit the potta potty on the way out, then hit the run out line.


What would you do differently?:

Go faster!

Run
01:54:34 | 13.1 miles | 08m 45s min/mile
Age Group: 15/37
Overall: 72/197
Performance: Good
First 1.3 miles 11:29 8:45 min/mile
Next 6.4 miles 58:20 9:07 min/mile
Last 5.4 miles 44:51 8:18 min/miles
Course: Couple of loop in the Civic center area then an out and back loop then a trip out to Main Street via the middle lanes and back. Finish at the Exppo after one last loop around the duck pond.

Started off shuffling along and had 2 people pass me and then 2 more, but I started feeling my legs come back to me and ran the second two down and started moving forwards. Was a mix of Olympic and HIM untill after the out and back loop, then the HIM turned away from the Civic Center and out towards main street. Had a 4 people pass my on that stretch before the turn around. Saw a bunch of my teammates and got a high 5 from Brian Fleshmann despite him having a rough day. Saw Jill Poon just before the turn around. After the turn i had a few more peopl pass me and I gave myself a little motivational speech and asked for a little more and my legs responded. I reeled 5 of the people who had pasted me back in and a few that passed on the first half and worked harder on the way home. brought my pace down about 50 sec/mile. Felt some discomfort in my quads and hammies but they didn't cramp as some around me did. Passed this dud e with bright racing flats on and pushed for home. Got one last guy right at the 13 miles marker and strode to the finish. Didn't look for my picture on the big screen till it was too late.


What would you do differently?:

Not much, well paced run Probably could have drank more EFS on the bike to stave of the cramps but i delt with it well.

Post race


Warm down:

Got my medal, shirt, removed my chip, and got some drinks and just sat on the grandstands watching the other finishers come by. Then headed out to the T2 and hunted down my bags and put on my sweats, then walked my stuff and bike to the car loaded up and headed to the hotel for a shower. Large chocolate Shake for post race hit the spot.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

2nd fastest HIM on a hilly course was pretty good. Not having an IM a month earlier and being in a better racing frame of mind couldn't have hurt, but i was very happy with my race.

Event comments:

Rev 3 did a great job again! Done the first races at Quazzy, knoxville, Cedar Point, and Anderson and Rev3 has done such a great job. Meeting the pros, stuff for the kids the little rev adventure race and a great staff and volunteers made this a great experience. Roads were a bit rough and the point to point course and 2 transitions was different but It wasn't a problem. Definetly will do this race again.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ironman Canada Race Report

Ironman Canada
2011-08-28
Penticton, British Columbia
Canada
Ironman North America
94F / 34C
Sunny

Triathlon - Full Ironman
Total Time = 14h 14m 19s
Overall Rank = 1848/2880
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 322/497




Pre-race routine:

Ironman racing teaches you alot about yourself. It is about the journey as much as the final destination. You never quite know what is going to happen between the day you sign up 364 days in advance and hopefully when you reach the finish line. For me Ironman Canada was one of those races that has always a special meaning. Ironman Canada is the oldest and longest running Iron Distance Event in North America. This was the 29th year and it is one of those races the other athletes will tell you you have to experience. This was where the Hoyts showed the world they could finish an Ironman Triathlon. This is where Sister Madonna Budder showed us age is only a number lining up at age 81. This race is a perfect mix of nature and history. Penticton is on one of the cleanest and most scenic lakes (not to mention large). The bike takes you on an amazing tour of the Britsh Columbia country side and up two mountain passes and it by far the most scenic race I've ever done, and the run lets you explore the southern lake and be cheered on by some of the greatest Ironfans you will ever meet.

I actually was shocked last year as spot for Ironman Canada went on line as it frequently sells out before getting on-line, but I wasted no time and signed up in the first minute. That started a fun filled year of training, a few injuries, sicknesses, unplanned work trips, etc, which left me feeling under prepared for the swim and run (Due to Plantar Faciatis on my left foot which limited my running most of the year and I still haven kicked it. No real excuse for the swim other than didn't do enough), but felt good about the bike averaging over 500 miles per month since my foot problems weren't an issue on the bike. We made a 10 day vacation flying to Vancouver for 6 days and doing a ton of siteseeing (Stanley Park, Chinatown, Grouse Mountain, Capillo suspension bridge, Downtown, and Grandville Island) then drove to Kalowna for the last 4 days, driving to Penticton on the other side of the lake (about an hour's drive daily). Race morning got up at 3:20, ate a couple kewis and had a bottle of Ultragen and Tammy dropped me off at the race site at about 5:00am. Got my bottles staged and special needs bags taken care of, then got my tires pumped up and then got changed. Was about 6:30am so I got in the water and got a bit of a swimm in before the pro lined up. Water was great.


Event warmup:

After my warm up 5 min swim, I ran into a cute an very nervious Japanese lady who said the water was cold, but I was really a case of nerves so I gave her some positive words. They lined up the pros and ran through the field, announcing Jacqui Gordan my Team Trakkers Teammmate, who had to withdraw due to injuries from a bike accident. Sad she wasn't here but it did sent some positive vibes. Then they sang "O Canada." That was really cool since there we are waist deep in water and about 1000 people are sing along, never see that is the USA. It was a very cool thing I will alway remember. Then the pros were off and 2880 age groups lined up. A nervious 15 min and there I was left and middle of the largest starting field in Ironman history about to get underway. Another round of "O Canada!" for the age groupers and then it was time to go. Up went the flags and we were off!



Swim


Comments:

For the biggest starting field in Ironman history, the pack was pretty well behaved, at least in my part of the lake. We started walking up to the line then got going and was very surprised how little beating and banging there was in the first 400 meters. Don't get me wrong there were people everywhere but we stayed off each other pretty well and didn't try and swim over each other and it worked well. The swim leg out to the first turn went very well. Lots of feet to follow and caps to navigate off of. So I just got into a nice smooth rhythem and cruised along. Navigated right along the bouy line. There was a bouy every 100 meters which was good. At the first turn buoy I was on the inside and there was a major traffic jam as everyone converged. But again most everyone stayed cool and went with it and no major contact. The short leg went well also, but the second turn was ever worse then the first it was so stacked up. Had a bit of a cramp there which sucked. Finally got swimming again and since this leg was into the sun, I did my best to follow feet since I was blinded by the glare. Had some issues swimming straight due to that sun, and got banged around a bit more since I was crossing peolpe's paths. But when I had a good set of feet I went well. Still stayed on course and soon found myself back at the beach looking at the rocks and standing up. Good swim!


What would you do differently?:

Not much. Maybe some tinted gogles would have worked better but still a really good swim, and I felt good



T1


Comments:

Normal ironman T1. Hit the wetsuit strippers, got my bag and headed into a very warm changing tent. Found my glasses fogged up, got changed smoothly, had some problems with my bike jersey zipper, gooped up with sunscreen and then trotted to the porta potty before heading out the long walk with my bike.


What would you do differently?:

Go faster.



Bike


Comments:

The bike started out OK. With 2880 on the course it got pretty crowded out on the trip up Main street as we got into a good groove. Riding along the back lake was cool then we turned left and up Mclean Creek hill which was a tough little grind made a lot tough by all the people slogging up it spread out across the road. After that was a nice praved downhill with a few good technical turns. Right at the bottom there was a accident and gear spread along the road, which I was very fortunate to miss. The leg down to Osoyoos was smooth and fun. Got into a nice rhythm and made sure to hold back and save energy for the climbs. Passed through a few towns which came out in force to cheer us on. Started drinking every 10K and taking a shot of EFS each aid station. At about 35 miles, my race turned for the worst as I was taking my EFS and then all the sudden I was gagging and throwing it back up. Tried some liquid EFS and same result. This was a really bad sign. The day was getting hotter and I could keep anything but water down and there were 65 miles of climbing left.
Soon we hit Ritcher and started grinding up the bottom slopes. Ritcher has several tiers to the climb so you get a break every so often, and you don't quite realize how much you climbed until you look down the the valley below. 1140 feet of climbing. But the fans turn out in force and it was a party on the side of the road and it felt very Tour De France like. Coming up to the summitt they have an MC and they were cheering you on like mad. The MC on top hollered congratulation you just conquored Ritcher Pass which felt awesome and then you were absolutely flying down the other side on a crazy decent. I don't have a bike computer on the Kestrel but we were flying. Then came the tough part of the course. The seven sister are a series of rollers between Ritcher and the out and back. Very hot and exposed road and it never let you get back into your rhythm. At this point, I was very close to dropping out. Still could take in anything but water (even tried the nasty poweraid- stuff which didn't work.) My mouth was dry, my nutrion was shot, my stomach hated me, my back was really starting to hurt and I could stay aero, and there was a serious headwind. When the going gets tough, you find out alot about yourself. I knew one thing i had to do was slow down, reduce my sweat rate, and try and hang in their till my stomach would accept anything. I had to deal with the sight of so many folks cruising past me but if I was going to make it I had to swallow my pride and let them go. I grinded through the sisters, was able to take and hold down some fruit and water at the next aid station and I got through the worst of it. After what seemed like forever we hit the out and back and there was one last evil little hill which I didn't gear down early enough for and had to stand and grind as I stalled out.

The out and back is tough and again very hot. There was a mini out and back leg and two people flopped over in front of me at the turnaround forcing me to go off roading to avoid running over them. (They were fine, just embarassed.) FInally you reach the end of the out and back and hit special needs. I stopped and unclipped and traded out my bottles, and again tried some EFS with no luck. So now it was back into the wind and what the heck I can't get my left shoe to clip in. Spent the next 5 miles cursing at my shoe and doing everything to get it to clip in to no avail. So the last 35-40 miles were with my left foot sliding on top of the pedals which made the climbs so much fun. As if this wasn't bad enough, then the real messed up part happened. Aid stations 8, 9, and 10 were out of bottled water. The only fluid I could keep down and they didn't have any. They had a hose at 8 and 10 and a line of people. SO climbing back out of the out and back at the hottest part of the day, into a head wind, and starting up to Yellow lake, with no water or nutrition. I was in my own personal hell. I was able to take a bit of EFS and thank god for the lady in Aid station 9 who had a water bottle of Ice which got my to and over Yellow Lake. The Yellow lake climb is very gradual until it turns up for 2- kilometer or so stretches. Again the fans were out and very encouraging and entertaining on the climbs. Felt like a rock star again. Once over the top the headwind and rotten road made it rough even on the downhills. There was another short climb and then finally aid station 11 with some ice cold water. Yeah!!. After that was a major down hill with twists and turn where we were flying and then back to Penticton airport into town and eventually back to Main Street for the last 3-4 miles. Saw the runners going the other way. Felt great to be back and even better to finally get of that bike.

I survived the bike, which did put a smile on my face. Just about everything that could have gone wrong did. But I fought my way though it. That was very rewarding even then.


What would you do differently?:

Address nutrion issues, back issues. DOn't know it the EFS went bad sitting in the transition bags or in my gear bag, but that it something I never want to experience again. Never had issues with EFS before but the temps in the mid 90s apparently spoilled the liquid shot. The expo didn't have anything other than powerade, where is PBN when you need them!!!



T2


Comments:

Got off the bike and the volunteer took my bike and I slowly walked to get my bag and headed to the tent. I had one great volunteer help me in the tent, I just wanted to sit a drink some water for a bit and he encouraged me, then helped get my stuff out goop up with Trislide untied my shoes and the hosed me down with sunscreen. I really appricated his help and encouagement. Probably would have just sat there for 20 minutes without his help. Visited the porta pottty, pulled on my Trakkers hat and off to the run.


What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I was not in a good place coming in, so just getting out of transition was an accomplishment at that point.



Run


Comments:

I walked to the start and then took fruit and water at the aid station and started shuffling off. You start with a loop from Winnioeg to Westover, to lakeshore and do and out and back. The first half of that loop I walked alot but i started trotting before the end of Westover and I kept in up the rest of the way other than walking the aid stations and getting every bit of nutrition I could. They had the aid stations very close together in town which was perfect for me. The fruit (oraganges, watermellon and grapes) and cola revived me. By about mile 2 I was actually floating along pretty well. As you got out of town you passed a park with a tent full of rowdy fans who were awesome. Got a few comments about my green racing kit with matching hat (Very positive comments) which made my smile.
Getting out to the shores of the lake it seemed like almost everyone was walking, so I was actually passing people doing my 11 min miles. Met alot of cool people along the way, who would tag along with me. Met a cancer survivor, a few native indian Pentecton residents, and a 75 year old guy would was leapfrogging my with a walk run. Very few people were running the hills but I was afraid to stop. I could let myself walk through the aid stations, because there was a purpose to get as much water, ice, cola, and fruit down, then get going. At Eagleman I found once I stopped without a purpose it was a lost cause, so I kept trotting and actually didn't feel too bad. Hit the turnaround and got my special need bag with a nice Kiwi fruit. The hills were tough on the way back, but I slogged along. At mile 15 I took a pit stop at the porta potty. The last 7-8 miles my legs started to get very heavy and my pace slowed. At this point the sun was going down and it was cooling off and more folks were running, especially as we came back into town. The trip dowm Main street was awesome with folks lining the street and encouraging you along. Finally we hit, Westover and you could hear the finish line. At the end of Westover, I saw Tammy, Adrian, and Matthew who were a bit worried since i was about an hour behind my normal pace, but happy to see me none the less. That pumped my up as we got a few pictures. The last out and back on Lakeshore just seemed to take forever (mile 25 marker is as you turn on to Lakeshore)but the street was jam packed. When I finally hit the turn around (which is about 4 blocks further than on the outbound loop) I was feeling great. I started listen to the announcer (Mike Riley was at IM KY) but they were giving alot of information. I passed two more people on that last 1000 m stretch and wanted to stretch out so each of us had the finish chute to ourselves. They announced me "Andrew Rosebrook of Royersford, PA. Andrew is a 6 time Ironman finisher having completed IM FL, Kona, IM AZ, and IM UK." (No love for Rev3 Cedar Point but this was a WTC race)." With that i hit the finish line with a smile on my face.


What would you do differently?:

Getting to the end of the race on a tough day is what it's all about. Defeating that little voice inside your head, even when what that little voice is telling you makes all the sense in the world, is an amazing feeling. That was make i felt the first time I crossed the line at IM FL and the feeling was even stronger at IM Canada. Couldn't have done much different on this run as i paid for the mistakes on the bike but I still managed to pick up nearly 300 spots even with a 5:19, my second slowest IM marathon.



Post race


Warm down:

My catcher grabbed me, and got my medal, got some water, pulled my chip, got my to my picture, and got my finsher shirt and hat. Saw Tammy and the boys and gave then the finishers stuff. Then she led me to the massage tent. Very nice lady from Wilkes Barre, PA. Small world. Got a massage, had a bit of cheese pizza, got my gear out of transition, got changed to some warm dry clothes, then brought my bike and gear bag to Tri-Bike transport. Stuffed the contents of the bags into my gear bag and dropped them off. Then a long walk to the car and back home to Kalowna. Really wanted a McDonald's chocolate shake, but the shake machine was oos at West Kalowna. Long shower/bath and of to bed sore as hell. A good zipper hickey and two rub mark from my tri shorts, and a small sunburn at the elastic on the legs and on the aclies tendons of both legs and back on my hands.



What limited your ability to perform faster:

Unable to take in or keep down nutrition on the bike. Plus a few mechanical issues. Can't ever fully recover from something like that but I am proud how well I coped.



Event comments:

Absolutely great fans and greater volunteers, and the course was absolutely amazing. My catcher and T2 assitant were great.!

Organizationally there were some issues however. Running out of water on three aid station on the bike was pretty unacepatble (especially since there were 800 or so more behind me) and I did notice that the volunteers were filling up water jugs from the lake on the run at several aid stations on the lake. Don't think that was supposed to happen.

There were a ton of ambulences on course for bike wrecks and heat related issues on the run, and those folks were outstanding as well. It was a rough day and I hear there were over 500 DNFs. Not that the Race director can control the weather.

Medal wasn't as cool as some of the IM Canada onces I've seen from previous years, and not along of swag for $650.

All that said the race really was spectacle and a very cool event to have been a part of. The course is breathtaking in many ways, the lakes are beautiful and clean, and the support from the community and voluneers was second to none. Very happy I did this race,




Friday, August 12, 2011

For everyone who ever had a dream.....


Whenever I need a pick me up, when the long weeks of training become a grind, when life gets in the way, I like to look back at one of the best moments of my life. In 2007, one of my lifelong dreams came true when I crossed the finish line at Kona. October 13, 2007 at 8:43 pm HST, I did something I never believed was possible but yet I always kept that crazy dream alive. I wish every triathlete could experience what Kona is like, so I tried my best to let the readers of my race report get a small slice. THe full report can be found here: http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=93818



The two parts I did best were the preamble and the finish. Reading these two parts still puts a chill down my spine. Enjoy!

The Dream:

For everyone who ever had a dream.....

When I was a kid I had all sorts of crazy dreams, scoring the winning basket at the Final Four, hitting a ball over the Green Monster, Throwing a touchdown pass to win the Super Bowl. However reality came along and made sure those dreams would remain just that. But I was part of a most fortunate generation that got to watch this sport of triathlon come into being and grow. I remember watching Julie Moss in 1982 on ABC Wide World of Sports and asking myself why would and how could someone push themselves to the point their body was shuting down just to reach a line on Alii Drive. At that point a dream was born, I watched Dave Scott (who lived a few towns down the freeway from where I went to High School) and found a hero. I watched Dave and Mark Allen battle, met a guy named Mike Pigg, but then my dream went on hold for 14 years as I "grew up" joined the Navy, started a family, got out of the Navy. But every year in December, I would watch the NBC Kona Special and the dream would be rekindled. New heros emerged Chris S., Sara Reinhart, Jon Blaze and I started down the path of chasing that dream again. In Nov 2006, I became an Ironman at Ironman Florida, and I thought that was as close to the dream as I'd ever come. But fate has a funny way of helping you out and on April 15, 2007 I saw my name on the list of Kona lottery winners. Dreams can come true!

The finish:


Now you are headed down Palani to mile 25 thru the last Aid station. Now you know you made it. The crowds which have been gone the last 15 miles are back in force and the closer you get to Alii Drive the bigger they get. Everyone is cheering you, you turn down and then one last turn onto Alii drive. Its magical. Suddenly you are flying down Alii, the positive vibe from the crowd and most importantly your fellow atheletes has you walking on air. These people understand and appricate what you have gone thru the last 13 hours. They don't care if you are a lottery winner and didn't qualify, they know whats going thru your head at this moment. Pure unadulterate joy. Your dream is 300 yards away. You enter the shoot and start going from side to side giving high 5s. And there is Mike Riley. Then you hear it "Andrew Rosebrook from Royersford PA....You are an Ironman!!!"




Follow the dream and never wake up! The journey will always be worth the price! Plus you may get to see something like this first hand.

Friday, July 22, 2011

An interesting two weeks (or how to stick with in on flood duty)


While I love triathlons, I am by no means a professional, which means my real job does have a way of making my training much more difficult. But where there's a will, there's a way. I just completed an eleven day trek on the road, but it was a lot harder that a simple 11 days to stay on track. First off, I mistimed ordering my UltraGen and Optigen HP, so I had no UltraGen and ranout of Optigen during the trip.

Part I of my journey was up in Wilkes Barre, PA. I was covering for the residents at the plant up there. Got up to the plant and it was already steamy hot. Susquehanna is a very cool place for me since I have access to a locker room and showers and more importantly, I are three measured "trails" inside the fence which is very nice since going through the security train when you are sweating like a pig. So for the first day I did 3 outside loops, but the heat was pretty tough. After work I found a nice bike in the health center and rode a tough hour. The second day was similar, but then after my workout, I got a call from the plant and had to go watch a test. That really messed with my sleeping schedule. Day 3 was a grind but I still had a great bike that night. Finally day 4, I knocked out a longer run and took the night off from cycling in order to get some sleep.



Part II started out with a 6:00am flight to Omaha, NE from the Scranton Airport, which meant getting up and departing the hotel at 4:00am. Got a little sleep on the flights arriving in Omaha around noon. From there I headed to Fort Calhoun, NE and that plant. Most people around the counrty may have forgot that the Missouri River has been having severe flooding since June. At the plant it was about 7 feet above flood stage. This made the plant basicaly into several island in the middle of the river. The NRC has had 24/7 onsite coverage since June 6th at the plant and I was going to be the swing shift guy for a week. I did manage to time my visit to coinside with an Excessive heat warning. Each day I got to walk down the flood barriers inside and outside the plant. In 100-108 degree heat and humidity the heat index was upwards of 115 most days. And when the sun went down the bugs came out in force. Plus it was still in the 90s. So I worked from 4:00pm to midnight each night at the plant, and got back to my hotel about 12:45am. The bad part was nothing was open after work so no food.


But on the good side thr Marriot Omaha had a 24 hour Health Center with some really nice equipment. So each night/morning I would go down a ride for an hour at 1:00am (something I never do), and then when I got up in the morning I would go down and run on the treadmill (since it really was too hot to run). Throw in the 2-3 hours rovering on site in full work clothes at the hottest point of the day, and it was a heck of a workout. The last night I decided to do a run at 1:00am since in theory I would do my cycling class when I got back. I also got another great break when I found a Whole Foods grocery store on the way to the plant, so I got Lunch and Dinner at Whole Foods and i certainly ate better that most weeks I spent on the road.

Just to finish things off, I got back to the airport in Scraton after a 5:55am flight out of Omaha find my car and first my remote won't work, then I find out it wasn't the remote, the car battery was dead as a dornail. Called AAA and got a jump, drove 3.5 hours back to the office and boom the car was dead again. Got another jump and got home and brought it to the shop. Wouldn't even turn over again once I got there, so no cycling class.

What a week!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Letting go of my old gear!


Funny how you can get sentamental about selling some old gear. Yes thats why, I found another use for my mighty Specialized Allez Elite. My very first road bike which took me though my first Olympic, HIM, and 4 Ironmans was the only bike at Kona without aerobars (someone said she was mentioned in the Triathlon magazine gear rundown that year). So even though I finally upgraded to a Carbon Fiber TT bike (My Kestrel Talon Tri SL), I found a permenant spot on the computrainer for the Specialized rather than sell her. I love my Kestrel and it has helped me take 15 min of my HIM Bike PR, but my old faithful steed and I have been though alot together.

My first wetsuit; however, found a new home this week. I bought a Blue Seventy Sleeveless wetsuit after my first two HIMS. It always kicked my butt getting it off but it clearly made me faster and accompanied me thru 10 HIMs and 4 Ironmans (Kona was non wetsuit), but this year I upgraded to a TYR Hurricane Cat 5 full suit. But my old wetsuit helped one of the lady's in my office get over some apprehension and complete her first triathlon in June (a wetsuit is a great security blanket to a newbie swimmer so I let her borrow my wetsuit) and on Friday I sold it too her. I am glad my old wetsuit will help another triathlete get into our great sport.

This weekend I also retired my AVIA Rhythms which got me through a hectic half season, with 3 HIMs and an Olympic and 3 races in 8 days. When I retire a pair of shoes I them toss my emergency shoes and religate the retired shoes to that status. So I had to throw out a very well worn pair of Shoes which have my fastest Ironman to their name. Good memories attached to a nasty, stinky, worn out pair of shoes.


But don't even ask about buying my old bike!!!! A bike with a Kona sticker and a total of 4 ironman stickers is priceless!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Marketing to Triathletes.


When I went and got my MBA one of my favorite class was Marketing Management. For most people in the world, you market product by making them cute, catchy, or send the message that this product makes your life easier. This stategy applies to most things including athletic events. How many marathons advertise as being flat and fast or as an ideal Boston Qualifier? Easy, fast, get more for less.

But triathletes are another breed entirely. We seem to respond to the polar opposite strategy. Pain, suffering, pushing the envelope...yeah bring it on!!!

Think about it. What is the image that defines triathlon to most of us. Julie Moss at Kona in 1982 pushing herself way beyond limits most people could even comprehend and even though her body was shutting down, she summounded the strenth to literally crawl across the finish line.



As a 12 year old, I remember watching that moment on ABC Wide World of Sports, not having a clue what a triathlon was but utterly transfixed. To this day I vividly remember two thoughts going through my mind. 1) How could someone push themselves beyond the point where they couldn't even stand and still keep going? That race must be something special. And 2) I wonder if I could ever do that? That was the birth of a dream. 25 years later, I was able to answer that question. Finding out it you have what it takes to push yourself beyond anything you ever thought possible. It was hard as hell, it hurt like heck, but it was one of the most glorious experiences of my life and I would have traded a second of it. Ironically, I finally met Julie Moss at Eagleman this year, and I found myself absolutely speechless.



But that challenge to test ourselfs in the exterme appeals to triathletes more than most groups. I remember listening to a Podcast interview with Heather Golnick who helped design the Rev3 Quazzy HIM course. Here is an triathlete being asked to make a course other triathlete would be excited to race. What did she come up with, only the hardest bike and run course you could make in Conn. When asked about it, she said triathletes love a challenge. And she has proven to be spot on. Rev 3 Quazzy attracts the best and deepest pro field of any race outside Kona, and was completely sold out this in its 3rd year. Why we love a challenge.



Need another example? Look at what happened this year at Rev3 Portland. The Rev3 folks devised an absolutely vicious bike leg and the tri boards were buzzing. But when one of the towns pulled out and forced REV 3 to go thru historic efforts to save the race and get an acceptable venue for the race at the last minute, the buzz on slowtwitch and other boards was full of pissed off triathletes who were REVED up to meet the challenge (and the bar) that Rev 3 had set at Knoxville, Quazzy, and Cedar Point. A flat and fast bike leg just left folks steaming. Why we love a challenge.



Just look at Savageman. The race was voted as the hardest 70.3 race in the world by triathlon magazine. That would scare most folks away, a triathlon uses it as a marketing tool and draws a full capacity 1100 athlete field. We are crazy, and you have to market to the madness!

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm not crazy!! Really! I have a Recovery Pump!


Well I haved updated my blog in way too long, but I did have a little bit of a busy stretch. Over the last five weeks I did three HIMs (Rev 3 Knoxville, Rev 3 Quazzy, and Eagleman) and one Olympic (Rev 3 Quazzy), with the last three races (Rev 3 Quazzy Oly, Rev 3 Quazzy HIM, and Eagleman) in a period of 8 days.

http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=256800
http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=255841
http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=255829
http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=253127


Why would I put myself through such a schedule? Good question. I've never been fast, but triathlon offers many a challenge even for us who may never stand on the podium. Triathlon can challenge you to go faster, further, or longer than you ever dared to try before. When you set your sights high, reaching your goal is that much more rewarding. Back in 2003, I got chewed up and spit out by the course at the Lake Arrowhead Triathlon, but I dug down deep and fought my way to the finish. That was such a great feeling and boom I was hooked. The Sprint grew to an Olympic in 2004 at the Lancaster YMCA Tri, the Olymic grew to a Half Ironman at the New Jersey Devilman in 2005, and finally the Half Ironman went to a full in 2006 at Ironman Florida. Each time I entered the great unknown and went further and longer than ever before, it was such an electric feeling. Finding out you are capable of more than you ever thought possible when the journey began is such a powerful feeling.


For a few years, I couldn't think of an appropriate challenge to up the ante, but in 2009 one sort of found me. I signed up for the Black Bear HIM which I still consider the hardest course I have ever riden, but then I got accepted to be on Team Trakkers and had to do the inagurial REV 3 Quazzy HIM, a very hilly and tough HIM the next weekend. So boom 2 back to back Hilly HIMs-the thrill was back again. The next year I did the Revolution- Rev3 Quazzy Olympic on Saturday and the Rev 3 Quazzy on Sunday. I felt more beat up than I did after any Ironman after that weekend.

So this year, I wanted to one up those last two challenges, so I combined them. A repeat of the Revolution at Rev3 Quazzy folowed up by another HIM (Unfortunately, they dropped the HIM at Black Bear) but this year I had a secret weapon. One of Team Trakkers new sponsors for 2011 was Recovery Pump. Recovery Pump is sort of like a giant blod presuure sleeve and a pump which compresses your legs from foot to quads up then deflats and repeats. In the process in helps to flush out the lactic acid and other wear products out of the muscles and works like a massage. An hour a day after a tough workout really helped to put the snap back in my legs. Recovery Pump and my UltraGen are just an unbetable combination. So this year I put it to the test. I brought my Recovery pump with me to Rev 3 Knoxville and followed the advice of the folks at the Recovery Lounge at the expo and spent 2 hours in my Recovery Pump after a long hilly HIM and sipped on my Ultragen. The next morning, i had a 10 hour drive back home and my legs felt great. Normally, a long ride home after a tough race is cramp city, but that day my legs felt great. An hour a day for the next two days and my legs felt great and my speed was back.

So I was ready for the real test Rev 3 Quazzy! Did the Olympic on Saturday and didn't hold back going 3:32 seconds faster than last year with a really good run. After the race I hit the Hotel and got 2 hours in recovery pump before dinner. The next morning my legs felt great and on a tough course I went 15:35 faster than last year in a year where I was in rotten run shape due to Plantar Facitis. That night I was in the Recvovery Pump for another 2 hours, watching TV and eating dinner. Again my legs felt good for the drive home the next morning. Again I used the Recovery Pump an hour a day and by Wednesday I had to reel myself back in since I had another HIM that weekend. The last challenge was Eagleman. I hit the Recovery lounge at the Eagleman Expo and pumped up for 45 min or so. Again my legs felt so great. 3rd HIMin 5 weeks and 3 race in 8 days and I ripped of my HIM Bike PR by 11:53 sec and 13:44 sec faster than my last race on this course. My legs felt great, unfortunately my stomach revolted and crushed my run, but my legs had another good run in them. My Recovery Pump passed its test with flying colors. A race like that with that much fatigue in my legs and I ripped off a PR! That felt great and took the sting out of my run. Recovery Pump works and helped complete another crazy challenge! Enjoy the Ride!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Decisions, decisions


Here we go again. I started out the year with a very ambitious plan for my racing schedule this year. But work has picked up and I developed a nasty case of Plantar Faciatsis in my left foot. Both of which have significantly impacted my training, particularly my running. So now I'm a few week away from my first triathlon of the year, Revolution 3 Knoxville on May 15, 2011. One of my goals for the year is to qualify for the USAT HalfMax National Championships which would require a HIM PR. Ideally, I would like to knock that goal out right out the gate in Knoxville which would allow me to engage in some measured insanity (Rev 3 Quazzy Olympic, HIM, and Eagleman 7 days later) in order to put my Recovery Pump to the ultimate test. But if I don't fulfill goal #1, my best and really only legit shot would be Eagleman. But right now I am having some doubts due to my limited running the last month and a half. So I have a decision go for the Oly at Rev 3 Knoxville and Rev 3 Quazzy to be ready for a max effort at Eagleman or stick with the original plan, going with the HIM at Rev 3 Knoxville and putting faith in the extra bike training I have gotten in since my heel issues and go for it. It's a tough decision and will affect my entire season.


Any advice? Thanks in advance!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Current Events

“ The mission of the NRC is to license and regulate the Nation’s civilian use of byproduct, source, and special nuclear materials to ensure adequate protection of public health and safety, promote the common defense and security, and protect the environment.”


This is what I do for a living. This is what puts food on my table, what keeps a roof over my family's head, keeps the lights on, and even allows me to engage in one of the world's greatest hobbies-triathlon. Specifically, I am a Senior Project Engineer for the Division of Reactor Projects in USNRC Region I. As a regulator, it is my job to ensure that the plants that I inspect are operated safely and in compliance with their operating license and the associated Federal Regulations. It truly is one of the greatest jobs in the world (my humble opinion). Each day brings new challenges and new opportunities. It is hard work, it requires incredible patience, it requires independent thought, and cohesive teamwork. It requires me to be a cop, a teacher, a spokesman, and a judge sometimes all in the same day. But when your job description contains the words "protect public health and safety" it is something to be proud of. I love my job because in my job I truly can make a difference.

It takes a rather unique skill set to be successful in my line of work. You have to have a strong technical background and be able to understand how a nuclear power plant functions and how each of the plant systems function and interact. You need to understand the design, maintenance, testing, and operations of each systems in order to be able to identify that something is not right. You also need to understand the law. A regulator can only enforce the laws and regulations which the licensee is committed to. You have to understand how an issue fits or doesn't fit within the regulatory framework. Then you have to be able to determine the level of significance for an issue. So you need to understand Probabilistic Risk Assessment, legal precedence, and a mountain of enforcement guidance so you can make the right call.

You also must be able to communicate issues to the subjects of your inspection, to their bosses, to licensee management, to your bosses, to NRC management, to the NRC General Counsel, to elected officials Local, State, and Federal) to the press, and eventually to the public. Each level of communication has a different audience, a different perspective, and a different level of knowledge and the message must be tailored accordingly of it is to be effective.

But the real skill is learning how to inspect. Learning how to review an issue, observe an event, review a cubic ton of paperwork, interview people, and find an issue, determine if it is within their ability to foresee and prevent, determine if it violates a regulatory requirement, and determine how significant it is and then figure out the contributing causes. Often it is like a puzzle. How do I look at something and find something the plant staff miss? That is the art of my job. It is a matter of perspective. And somehow it turns out it is something I have become rather good at.


The past few months, have been very challenging. After listening to a bunch of politicians tell the world how federal workers such as myself were the problem to all t=our federal budget problems and we need to cut (BTW the NRC recovers 90% of our operating budget from licensing fees from our licensees), and having the specter of a government shutdown and furlough (Unpaid leave of absence) over our heads, the events in Japan happened. The NRC immediately manned our Headquarters Operations Center and have manned it 24/7 ever since. We also sent technical experts to Japan immediately to assist the US Embassy and the Japanese Government. One of my coworkers was one of the first two people sent over and another soon followed. Here is the US we had to evaluate what was happening in Japan and determine if US Nuclear Plants were vulnerable to similar threats. We had to answer "Could it happen here?" "Are these plants still safe in light of the events in Japan?" The NRC took prompt actions conducting an immediate safety review at each of the 104 US nuclear facilities, and being forced to look at things from a different perspective. The Chairman and EDO testified for Congress. I was intimately involved in the planning and execution of the region's first Public Plant Annual Assessment Meetings following the Japan events. Reassuring the public that the plant in there backyard was still safe is a challenge when they see the images on TV. But as an Agency (and personally), the NRC concluded that US Plants are safe to continue operations. However, we fully intend to learn everything we can from these tragic events and evaluate it new or revised regulations are necessary. The events in Japan will challenge many of the assumptions the plants were designed upon, and certainly will change our perspective. Hopefully, we can learn from these events and make our plants even safer.

Triathlon has taught me many things and really has helped me perform my job. Staying calm in the face of adversity, having the patience and discipline to do the work necessary to see things through, how to make rationale decisions when mentally and physically exhausted are traits I have gained and/or honed through Triathlons which help me on a daily basis in my job. But Triathlon also taught me something else. Anything is possible. I wish mother nature didn't have to teach that lesson to the people of Japan the way she did.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tax Day, Heel Pain, and other challenges


April 15th-Tax Day. Every year I tell myself I'm going to do things right and knock out the taxes early and each year I end up waiting until the last minute. Cranking out those numbers bouncing from form to form, trying to figure out what the heck they are asking for. Basically a great way to spend a day.

Now this year, I had Friday off from work so I had a fun filled day of messing with the taxes from 9:00am until 4:00pm when I sealed the last envelope and handed them to the lady at the post offfice. Now yes officially Federal and State returns weren't due until the 18th this year, but local didn't get the memo and was due the 15th as normal. Why do I put it off? I usually get some money back but I simply hate going thru the whole evolution so I stuff my head in the sand until the clock strike 11:00pm and I forced to kick it into gear. Funny that I have the willpower to get myself out the door power thru a run on a 0F day each year that it wouldn't kill me to skip but I can't get myself to do my legally required taxes which end up resulting in $ in my pocket.


Of course, one of best days of life was on Tax Day in 2007 when on a break from a stressful day of doing the taxes I checked out Ironman.com and saw my name on the list of Lottery Winners and immediately lost all sanity. So maybe I procrastinate to relive the moment....yeah thats it!!

On another note, I have gotten the opportunity to experience a really nasty condition call plantat faciatis (or however it's spelled). My left heel started feeling like I had a bone bruise and it just kept getting worse especially after I cooled down from a run and getting out of bed in the morning. I did my research and took about 3.5 week off with no running (still could cycle and swim). Went for a run it Vermont on one of my all time favorite rave runs and my heel was on fire the next morning. I found rolling my arch helped and started doing that and survived a run this Thursday and was ready to bounce back and do a race this weekend. The race went well but the heel was throbbing tonight which just kills me. Back on the ice and rolling and hoping I can do the Revolutionary Run at Valley Forge Sunday which I paid $30 for today before the heel flaired back up. I hate PF!

On the bright side, I actually won my Age group (40-49) in my race today which was a surprise. My race report can be found at http://beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=248589&posts=1&start=1

Friday, April 1, 2011

Product Review -First Endurance EFS Sports Drink


Sports drinks are an interesting breed. Once upon a time I used to think Gatorade was the stuff. I was sweet and came in cool flavors and well Michael Jordan drank it so it must be good. It was there on the course of a few races so I used it. But it really didn't do anything for me other than quench my thirst, stain my clothes and goo up my derailer on the bike (LBS "fixed my derailer" by cleaning the gatorage residue stuck to it.)

Since I switched to First Endurance Products I have found a truely superior product that actually does something for me in addition to quench my thirst. EFS Sports Drink-Electrolyte Fuel System is a very unique product that works great for me. First thing you notice is the electrolytes. EFS contains 1160 mg per 12 oz serving of Na+, K+, Mg+, Ca+, and Cl-. Compare that to 163 mg for Cytomax, 216 for Gu Electrolyte Brew, and 435 for Gatorade Endurance and it is head and shoulders above its peers. So what does that mean? Well it means when you are standing around before a workout it has a salty aftertaste. But only you start working up a good sweat, you don't notice that at all and your body in replenishing the electrolytes it is sweating out. EFS has been proven to prevent cramping and dehydration even on the hottest and most humid days. With EFS you also don't need to take electrolyte tabs.

But EFS it more than that. At 96 cals/ 12 oz it is a great source of calories on the bike. It can be mixed at double strentgh for more calories. Another thing that sets EFS apart is the blend of amino acids. EFS uses Ajipure amino acids which are 99-100% pure which results in better absorption. The mix of Carbs and Protein fuel the body with everything to needs during a long workout. EFS also used Malic Acid (700 mg/ 12 oz serving)which stimulates oxygen consumption by increasing mitochondrial uptake, improving mitochondrial respiration and increasing energy production (I sure sound smart reading the bottle-Eh).

What does that mean to me? It means that I can feel a boost after I take a swig of EFS on a hot day. Since I have used EFS, I have yet to have the calf cramps that would plague me on run leg of those hot humid PA-NJ-MD summer races. I don't bonk, and unlike the sweet taste of gatorade, after 10 or so hours of EFS during an Iron Distance race, I can still stand the thought of drinking it. Since I switched I have PR at the Iron Distance on a hot day at Rev3 Cedar Point and EFS paid dividends my holding the cramps at bay and allowing me to run a consistant marathon.

Bottom Line: EFS sports drink has proven its worth to me in workouts and races and I would highly reccommend it. Comes in several flavors including Grape, Fruit Punch, and Lemon-Lime (I like grape best.) Give it a try, your body will thank you for it!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Near miss at the YMCA


I hit the pool at the YMCA this morning while my boys were in karate. I suveyed the pool and saw 4 lanes worth of swim lessons 2 full lanes and one lane with two ladies doing water aerobics? (playing jumprope with the noddles). So I took the last lane. This is normally the adult activity lane (ie water walking, etc) but there was no sign this morning and there was circle swim only sing either. So I hugged the lane line and provided plenty of space for folks to come join the lane. Did a HIM swim and got about 1000 in until it got interesting. A group of swimmers took over the water areobics ladies lane and not so politely asked them to move to my lane and just about the same time an old guy walking joined my lane. So the water aerobics ladies joined my lane and we all peacefully coexisted. Then another dude come to the lane after the ladies got out, watches me for a few laps and then joins in. Obviously, I'm splitting the lane and hugging the lane line up and down. Well imagine my surprise when I nearly have a head on collision with this dude coming back. "Come on Man." was all I said. Lets just say he gave me plenty of space for the rest of the swim. It charged me up for the rest of the swim and got me to put alot more effort into it and lap this guy a few time.

However, afterwards I wonder if I overreacted. Communication is important and the person joining the lane is responsible to make sure both swimmers are on the same page (Ie split or circle swim or you get a head to head situation as we had.) Big scheme of things it wasn't a big deal as we avoided the collision and other than 3 words nothing was said, but I sort of felt guilty for snapping at the guy (even though I felt justified at the time) .

So was I in the right or wrong? Thanks for your feedback.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A letter from the Commissioner.-RANT ON!


Going through my e-mails today and I got an e-mail from Roger Goodell,the commissioner of the NFL [actually it was thru NFL.com, but I felt important for a few seconds :) ]. On a day where people are fighting for there lifes in Japan following the earthquake and Tsunami, and even a day watching a bunch of college Basketball Players playing to win a trip to the dance and about a week until the government might be shut down and me and a few million government employees may be placed on furlough (IE no paycheck and no unemployeement benefits), getting a letter from the head of a group of billionaires asking me to feel sorry for them really rubs me the wrong way.

So Mr Goodell, Jerry Jones, and all the rest of you poor billionaries who voluntarily opted out of the collective bargining agreement so you could make even more money, do not dare ask for my sympathy. If you want my support...make sure you put a product on the field. Otherwise Shut the BLEEP UP!!!

The email is attached below:

Thanks for allowing me to vent. Rant off!

Dear NFL Fan,

When I wrote to you last on behalf of the NFL, we promised you that we would work tirelessly to find a collectively bargained solution to our differences with the players' union. Subsequent to that letter to you, we agreed that the fastest way to a fair agreement was for everyone to work together through a mediation process. For the last three weeks I have personally attended every session of mediation, which is a process our clubs sincerely believe in.

Unfortunately, I have to tell you that earlier today the players' union walked away from mediation and collective bargaining and has initiated litigation against the clubs. In an effort to get a fair agreement now, our clubs offered a deal today that was, among other things, designed to have no adverse financial impact on veteran players in the early years, and would have met the players’ financial demands in the latter years of the agreement.

The proposal we made included an offer to narrow the player compensation gap that existed in the negotiations by splitting the difference; guarantee a reallocation of savings from first-round rookies to veterans and retirees without negatively affecting compensation for rounds 2-7; no compensation reduction for veterans; implement new year-round health and safety rules; retain the current 16-4 season format for at least two years with any subsequent changes subject to the approval of the league and union; and establish a new legacy fund for retired players ($82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years).

It was a deal that offered compromise, and would have ensured the well-being of our players and guaranteed the long-term future for the fans of the great game we all love so much. It was a deal where everyone would prosper.

We remain committed to collective bargaining and the federal mediation process until an agreement is reached, and call on the union to return to negotiations immediately. NFL players, clubs, and fans want an agreement. The only place it can be reached is at the bargaining table.

While we are disappointed with the union's actions, we remain steadfastly committed to reaching an agreement that serves the best interest of NFL players, clubs and fans, and thank you for your continued support of our League. First and foremost it is your passion for the game that drives us all, and we will not lose sight of this as we continue to work for a deal that works for everyone.



Yours,
Roger Goodell

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Winning isn't everything!


Winning is everything, or so they told us. The thrill of victory was supposed to be the be all end all, but was it? While I was never the star athlete or the top dog at anything, looking back I can say I have had a pretty good resume. I ran some impressive times in high school, as a 7th grader in was running Varsity Track and X-Country at a Junior Senior High School, I moved to California and ended up as the 4,5, or 6 guy on a USA Today Honorable Mention Team, Northern California State Champs and Top 5 in the State my senior year. In my post, high school days I took up triathlon at age 33, have been fortunate enough to compete in 5 Iron Distance Races including Kona and 4 marathons including Boston. Along the way I won a single X-Country Race, several track races, and won a 10K overall, and even have been able to win my age group as a 39 year old and 40 year old in a few local 5ks, but the memory of those races hold almost no significance in my mind and heart. What I remember fondest is competing with my teammates, pushing each other to get our best, pushing myself to not let them down and the sense of team and camaraderie. My most vivid memories are of a warm night at UC Davis where I ran a race I consider to be perfect, and finished 5th, but I qualified for the Section Meet as an individual my final goal as a high school athlete. Even getting outkicked didn't knock the luster off that memory. Nothing is more satisfying that reaching a goal you worked your tail off to achieve.


Triathlon has fortified this belief. I have done things I thought were impossible. I've covered distances which boggled my mind, persevered through days when I had every right to pack it in, found myself in a place I truly had no business being at. But each time I found a way to rise to the challenge. Rev 3 Knoxville where I finished 192nd and 26th in my age group is one of the most vivid memories of my life. Getting up off the ground and finishing that race was special and I can take you through so many vivid details to this day. To see the race to its end under those circumstances was an amazing experience. Overcoming my fear, my pride, and the pain taught my so much about myself. I will treasure that experience forever as bizarre as it may seem.

Finally, I take more pride in a 1482nd place finish than any victory. Floating down Alli drive some 5 hours after Macca and Chrissy Wellington was the culmination of a dream I had ever since I was a 12 year old watch ABC's Wide World of Sports. So many incredibly improbable things had to come together for me to be there, but against the odds there I was finishing the greatest race in the world being welcomed home by Mike Riley. Nothing you will ever do can compare to achieving that impossible dream. I'll take that over a victory any day.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Race T shirt scenario- Why this reaction?

I need a ruling from all my triathlete friends.

I went to the SouthEast Pennsylvania Multisport Expo this weekend, brought my two boys and had a great time. We hit the Tri Columbia Tent (Club that puts on the Eagleman 70.3 and Chesapeakman Endurance Festival) and got into a nice conversation about Eagleman, which I am signed up for this year and did before in 2007. They had some really nice Technical T shirts with the Eagleman Logo which I mentioned I liked and then she gave me and both my boys an Eagleman T-shirt and a Aflac IronGirl Tri Tshirt for my wife. I thought that was very nice and gladly accepted the gift. My oldest son immediately put his shirt on.

Well for the rest of the the expo, Adrian got the "YOU did Eagleman!!??" comments from a lotta folks and I noticed the shirts were event shirts from the 2009 race. Some folks seemed downright offended that my son was walking around in a race Tshirt and he had not competed in that race. It sort of reminded me of the reaction we got at an Iron Maiden Concert Last summer where Adrian was wearing a replica T shirt from the "Killers" Tour which took place about 16 years before he was born.

SO the question is..1) Is it Ok to give a race Tshirt (actual event tshirt which the racers get not a souvenier) to someone who did not do the event; and 2) Is it OK for me to wear a Tshirt for a race I have done albet a different year? 3) What is with all the haters giving my 13 year old son a hard time? (Don't get the attitute at all.)

Thanks for your opinions in advance.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

It's a small world!

No this post is not about that evil ride at Disney, although that did make for a really funny thread on BeginnerTriathlete.com a few year back. Check it out if you dare but don't blame me if that tune is stuck in your head. http://beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=48893&start=1

No this post comes from a little encounter I had the other day at A.C. Moore. My wife sent me out on a mission to pick up some craft supplies. So I head out wearing my Steelman Triathlon sweat shirt, find the supplies and go to check out. The elderly lady at the counter sees my sweat shirt and asks, "Oh a triathlon, is that the one in Hawaii?"

Long ago I realized that no matter how obsessed I am with the sport of Triathlon, I shouldn't expect anyone else to know much about my sport other than "that triathlon in Hawaii they show on TV." But I really like being able to say, "Why yes I have done that race in Hawaii." Having won a lottery spot in 2007, I was able to make one of my dreams come true. So that race is very special to me, and it is great way to start a conversation share my passion the wonderful world of triathlon.

So back to A.C. Moore, I replied,"No this race was up in Quakertown, but I have done the race in Kona." Turns out she used to live in Kona back in the early 1980's and had a house overlooking the ocean. The store wasn't busy so we talked for about 15 min about Kona, how much the city has grown, how the race moved to the island and went it was moved to the island they could watch the swim from there backyard and the run from their front porch. I told hear about the "new high school" (used to be only the school was the one on the upper part of Palini), and the new shopping centers (Lowes, Walmart, Boarders, etc). It was really nice to share perspectives about a place were both had very fond memories of.

On the ride home, I also remembered, back in 2007 after we checked in for the race and were wandering around the shops at the King K hotel, we shopped in an artists studio and one of the artists recently moved from Collegeville, PA (the next town down 422 from where I live) to Kona. I remember having a similar conversation with her and we brought a personalized piece of art by her (Triathlon themed).

So you never know who you will meet out there.