Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011- A Year in Review

As 2011 closes out... I have taken a moment to go back and review my training logs and race results... and what a year it was... here are my totals:

2011 totals
Bike:93h 48m 23s  - 1641.45 Mi
Run:81h 59m 17s  - 565.82 Mi
Swim:43h 29m 19s  - 103625 Yd (58.88 Mi)

When I went into this year I set pretty high standards for myself... 

1. Not hurt myself!
2. Attain USAT Honorable Mention status in my USAT National Ranking
3. Podium in at least one multisport event
4. Lose 10 pounds
5. Increase flexibility
6. Increase Core Strength 

A review of my goals is in order...
1. Stay healthy- Minor injuries along the way... bruised toe, sprained ankle, a couple of scrapes from bike falls... all recoverable... and then the getting hit by a car happened on September 10th.... elbow is almost back to normal although I still cannot put it directly down on anything hard... and my back is still a work in progress but way better than just a few weeks ago... I will call this one achieved!
2. USAT Ranking- Nice to have high expectations... it took a total of 84.67 points to make Honorable Mention and I only got 70.1... still a great year and something for me to continue to pursue!
3. Podium- I got on the podium twice... LJCC Super Sprint with a 1st in AG but the one that I am most proud of is the 2nd in AG at the PT Solutions Sprint as it was held 2 weeks after the car incident... I will call this one achieved!
4. Weight- I lost more than 10 pounds... achieved!
5. Flexibility- I think I actually went in the other direction... my discipline for stretching needs significant improvement... fail! I have started going to Yoga at least once a week to improve in this area!
6. Core- Some improvement gained just as a result of training... need to add dedicated core strength training to my program... somewhat achieved!

One bonus that I never anticipated going into this past year was being part of a team or picking up corporate sponsorships... I had the privilege of being a part of the Falkee Triathlon Team this past year which involved a whole host of sponsorship deals and that was a great experience! Additionally, I managed to apply for and get selected for a few individual sponsorship deals as well... and look to carry those relationships forward into the new year!

Here is the list of completed events for 2011:
2/5 HAP Lemay 10K (49:56 PR)
2/13 Mercedes Half Marathon in Birmingham, AL (13.1 miles(1:51:36 PR)
3/5 New Park Family Duathlon in Montgomery, AL (2mi/10mi/2mi(1:06:24)
3/28 Powerman Alabama Double Oak Duathlon in Pelham, AL (2.5K/20K/2.5K)(1:06:20)
5/14 Peachtree International in Peachtree City GA (1.5K/40K/10K(2:48:04 PR)
5/31 LJCC Super Sprint  (200y/8mi/2mi (First Place in AG)
6/11 Buster Britton Memorial Triathlon in Birmingham AL (400y/13mi/3mi)(1:20:53)
7/10 Summer Triathlon in Lorain, OH (400y/14mi/5K(1:18:59)
8/13 Mountain lakes Triathlon in Guntersville AL (600y/16.2mi/3mi(1:22:40)
9/5 R3 29th Annual Labor Day Run Montgomery, AL (22:32)
9/24 2nd Annual PT Solutions Sprint (1:05:01(2nd Place in AG)
10/8 MANE Event 5K Prattville, AL  (21:33 PR)
10/23 Spinners 8K Prattville, AL (37:53 PR 1st in AG)
11/4 HAP 5 Miler (39:24)
11/5 Maxwell AFB Blue Streak Cycling Time Trial (6.5 mi(3rd Place in 40+)

All in all I am going to call this past year a huge success as I have established a firm foundation from which to build on for 2012. I learned a ton of things along the way from other triathletes like my Brother, Scott Jones and John Lafreniere... without the advice and support of guys like that I would still be floundering around trying to figure it all out on my own. The other huge advantage is having the love and support of my family. Doing triathlons is a selfish sport to say the least... the commitment required to be successful involves early mornings, late nights, planning and travel.... and being an observer at one of these events is a lesson in patience as the contact time with the participant is literally measured in seconds and involves getting up really early... again... selfish! 

One benefit to my obsession with this new lifestyle is the opportunity for healthy living to rub off on my family... and I am proud to say that my wife has turned into a running nut! She competed in several road races this past year and even completed her first Half Marathon. Additionally, Colby competed in several multisport events and road races and even won a local Duathlon.... plus... we... as an entire family... have participated in several road races this past year... which has set the stage for more in 2012!

So let's talk about 2012... the goals remain the same... but the gameplan is taking a different spin. I used 2011 as a year to build a solid base across all 3 disciplines... albeit I only swam from March to September and although the 2012 race season will have several repeat events scheduled... there is only one "A" race... Ironman Augusta 70.3 in September... scattered throughout the season will be other events but the goal is to do a sub 6 hour 70.3 event and I have picked Augusta as my venue. 

I learned a great lesson from Jonser this year... and that was to stop focusing on competing against others as much... to establish goals for myself and compete against myself... a much better measure of where I am... as he so eloquently put it... 

             "Nobody is you. No one has your pressures, your challenges, your physical issues, etc. So in that, the effort is yours alone and is not tied to others." ~Scott Jones

Thanks for the continued mentorship along this journey.... your insights and tips are always helpful! If anyone is interested in coaching or camps... here is their website...!!

Again... I am thankful to have family, friends and mentors that are willing to offer advice! The other change for the 2012 season... and probably the one I think is going to be the coolest... Sherri, Colby and Maddison are going to compete in the LJCC Super Sprint as a team... Maddison is going to kick things off with the swim leg and then hand it over to Colby who will execute the bike leg and then hand it over to Sherri who will anchor the team by doing the run... I am already really looking forward to this event... more to follow!

I have secured 2 sponsors already for the 2012 season... I am proud to represent and be associated with both of these companies and I LOVE THEIR PRODUCTS!!!!! I was a fan of their stuff first... so the benefits of sponsorship are awesome!


Alright... here is the 2012 plan as of today:

2012 Planned Events

2/12 Mercedes Half Marathon in Birmingham, AL
2/23 Heritage of Air Power 15K Run
3/25 Powerman Alabama Duathlon (5K/20K/2.5K)
4/22 LJCC Super Sprint (150y/6mi/2mi )
5/19 Peachtree International Olympic in Peachtree City, GA (1.5K/40K/10K)
6/?? Buster Britton Memorial Sprint (400y/13mi/5K)
9/30 ESI Ironman 70.3 Augusta (1.2mi/56mi/13.1mi

The goals have been tweaked, the focus has changed but the mantra remains same... Attitude Trumps Pain!

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fluid Performance Drink Review

Alright... I have been using Fluid Recovery (previous review here) for nearly a year now and cannot imagine my training plans without it... it has become an integral part of my training. I love it so much that I have turned my wife onto it as well as a couple of friends. So imagine how thrilled I was to find out that they were coming out with a Performance Drink! I put in a pre-order and based on my enjoyment of the Recovery Drink I hedged my bets on liking it and ordered both the Blueberry Pomegranate as well as the Raspberry Lemonade.. and I could not be more thrilled with that decision!

- GREAT TASTE (most important characteristic for me)
- easy to mix
- 30 servings per container
- NO Artificial ingredients
- NO Artificial colors
- NO Artificial flavors
- NO Gluten
- NO Dairy Protein
- Nothing trendy or unhealthy

- It doesn't mix itself and find it's way into my water bottles

THANKS for another quality product I can safely add to my training plans!!! You guys rock!

Here are the details...

What is Fluid Performance?

Fluid Performance is an energizing blend of electrolytes and carbohydrates for sustained energy and optimal hydration during exercise.
When used consistently during training & competition, its unique formula helps the body sustain energy levels, avoid cramping, buffer lactid acid, & maintain hydration. It contains a dual source carbohydrate system, bioavailable electrolytes, and Vitamin C, creating an all natural & easy to digest sports drink.

What are the benefits of Fluid Performance Drink?

  • Energy Delivery - Simple & complex carbohydrates in optimal balance to maintain blood glucose levels during exercise training and competition.
  • Reduced Cramping - Medical grade electrolytes replenish those lost in sweat and help keep the body in optimal balance, even during intense exercise.
  • Lactic Acid Buffering - Sodium Citrate helps to buffer lactic acid, maintaining energy levels and allowing you to break through training barriers.
  • Immune System Support - Vitamin C helps scavenge free radicals produced during exercise.
  • Consistently refreshing great taste - Low sugar & light flavor creates a drink mix that you don't have to water down, ensuring you receive 100% of the nutrients you need.

Nutrient Harmony

Fluid Performance Drink combines ingredients that work in unison together and provide more benefit than taking them individually. When consumed during exercise training and competition, Fluid Performance provides the stable energy, electrolytes, and taste you need to perform.
Fluid Performance Drink is also easy to digest thanks to its gluten-free carbohydrates, it is dairy free, and contains no unnecessary ingredients.
Take Fluid Performance Drink during your next workout and feel the difference in your performance!

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 scoop or 1 packet (27g)Servings per container: About 30
Amount Per Serving
Calories 100Calories from Fat 0
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 0g0%
Sodium 200mg8%
Potassium 65mg2%
Total Carbohydrate 24g8%
Sugars 8g
Protein 0g0%
Calcium 24mg 2%
Magnesium 11mg3%
Vitamin C95%
*Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.


Maltodextrin (glucose polymers), Fructose, Sodium Citrate, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Potassium Chloride, Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Gluconate, Magnesium Carbonate, Fruit & Vegetable Juices (natural color).


  • Artificial ingredients
  • Artificial colors
  • Artificial flavors
  • Gluten
  • Dairy Protein
  • Anything trendy or unhealthy

Sunday, October 9, 2011

3 racers... 3 new Personal Bests!

Sherri, Colby and myself all signed up for The MANE Event 5K which was an event to help support the Prattville High School Cross Country team. Sherri is down to her final week of preparation for her first Half Marathon, Colby has not really done any training and it is exactly one month since my accident... so we really don't have any intention of blowing this one out of the water! But low and behold... everybody had a spectacular race today and I could not be more proud of our finishes... 

Sherri finished with a 24:59 and was 71/170 Overall, 5/14 in Age Group and 18/76 in All Females

Colby finished with a 23:36 and was 48/170 Overall, 8/21 in Age Group and 42/99 in All Males

I finished with a 21:34 and was 34/170 Overall, 4/23 in Age Group and 31/99 in All Males

Those are new Personal Bests for all of us... it was a relatively flat course on a slightly windy day... what a great way to spend the morning and even better that we were able to support the Prattville High School!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Psychological Resilence

10 September 2011... a normal Saturday morning by all accounts... I got up with the intention of completing a 20 mile bike ride followed by a 5 mile run... my last long brick workout with only two weeks until my last triathlon of the season.

I got myself ready for the training session and gathered up all of stuff I thought I was going to need to be successful... kissed my wife and headed for the garage hearing those words I hear on nearly every ride... "Please be careful out there"... huh... no worries! I got my bike ready... filled my water bottle... set up my running gear... pumped the tires... put on my shoes... strapped on my helmet... put on my "day glo" yellow vest as the temperatures were a bit chilly that morning... and headed out on my ride! The plan called for a couple of 6 mile sprint efforts but I decided I was going to ride a steady effort for the entire distance... I set out on what I have deemed the "Pit Bull Alley" route since there is a white Pit Bull out there that likes to give chase... as a matter of fact I now ride a clockwise route so I am going downhill as I pass his house since I learned going the other direction makes me very vulnerable during the climb and he can keep up with me at that speed. I digress... so I hit the alley and for some reason he made a decision to stay in the carport that morning... he just glared at me as I went by him... oh well... the excitement for the ride was over... I continued down the street... made a right hand turn... and settled back into a nice pace... I was sort of day dreaming when I caught movement out of my peripheral vision to the right... HOLY CRAP... he is new... a different white Pit Bull was coming from a trailer and making his way through some taller grass at a high rate of speed... I did some Target Motion Analysis and realize we are on a collision course... I crank up the speed and manage to have more speed than him when he makes it to the roadway... HHHAAAHAAAA... he gives chase down the road... "Come get me you mother scratcher" I yell... he quickly gives up and I laugh as see my heart rate had spiked during the event... from now on I will keep him in mind on this route!

At this point I am a little more than halfway through the ride and settle back into a nice pace... my average is well above my previous best on this route but I remind myself that I still have a 5 mile run to follow..,. I continue to make my towards home reminding myself that I still have to deal with "The Crippler"... it is a 1/2 mile climb that is exactly 2 miles from my house and comes at the end of all of my rides... I started calling it "The Crippler" because it can take your legs right out from under you if you don't have something left in the tank... as I make my way to the climb... I settle in and start the mental battle of climbing... I am about halfway up it when BBBBAAAAAMMMMMMM... I hear this really loud thud and the sight of exploding glass as a car goes past me... I think to myself... WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT??? Then instantly feel my left arm go numb... HOLY CRAP... I just got hit... OMG...

Now this is where the eyes and brain have a serious miscommunication... I am upright... pedaling my bike... feeling significant pain and the sight of a car slowing down up the road... DID I GET HIT? WHY AM I STILL RIDING? WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY LEFT ARM?... it just simply did not compute very clearly... then suddenly the pain made it perfectly clear... I was just side swiped by a Jeep Cheeroke!

I quicky unclicked my pedals... laid my bike down and looked up the road... initially she did not even slow down... then she braked... then accelerated... then slowed down and stopped... a sigh of relief... then off she went... HOLY CRAP... my initial thought was... well I guess I will ride my bike home and get Sherri to take me to the ER... then I remembered I had my phone with me... I fished it out of my cycling jersey and called her... as I stood there, bent over... getting an assessment on my injuries... she picked up... "I have been hit by a car but I am alright... I need you to come get me"... she told me later that as soon as the phone rang and she saw it was me she knew something was wrong... as I explaining where I was I heard a car pull up alongside of me... the driver had returned... then I heard a car coming up from behind me... a guy in a truck stopped and came over to help... he must have been a Doctor or in the medical field as he was immediately trying to assess my injuries... I could then see Sherri coming over the top of the hill... I picked up my bike... he quickly took my bike and had me sit down... as he had called 911 and they were on their way... I could then hear sirens... I sat down and for the first time since the impact the adrenaline was subsiding and the gravity of the situation started to sink in... my legs began to shiver uncontrollably... the guy that stopped started to check me over... I had little feeling in the left arm from the elbow down... my hand began to swell very quickly... fortunately they took off my wedding ring and blood soaked watch... my elbow was bleeding pretty badly... my hip really hurting... and my back was tweaked... he checked my pulse and verified there were not open fractures...

I then saw a Prattville Police car drive up... I immediately recognized the Officer as one of the father's of a kid on Colby's soccer team... he walks up... "You're Colby's Dad..."... yup... "You're Garrett's Dad"... yup... I proceed to tell him what happened and he takes down the information... then the EMTs show up... they immediately start to get vitals... and assess the wound on my elbow... they recommend I get to the ER and offer me either a ride or to have Sherri take me... I chose Sherri... so they help me get into the truck... the officer comes up and tells us that the accident will be turned over to the State Patrol as we are outside of the city limits... but to proceed to the ER and a Trooper will likely show up there for information... so we are off...

Sherri heads to Baptist Health ER... now.. if you have seen the movie Patch Adams with Robin Williams... I pretty much have him as my Doc in the ER... as he does his initial assessment of my elbow, hip and back... he quickly turns his focus on the elbow... after some xrays and cleaning up... he decides a couple of stitches are in order and gives me a couple of shots of lidocaine to numb the area... but in the process finds that the relatively small laceration opens into a rather large "pocket" which had filled with blood causing a golf ball size hematoma... he then proceeds to open up the wound and begins sticking foreceps into the pocket to determine the size... and is amazed at just how big it is... he then determines the pocket needs to be flushed prior to stitching... by the time that is complete and he begins the first stitch... the skin is no longer numb and thus the first stitch HURTS A LOT! But he gets it in... then proceeds to put a stitch at the other end with the ultimate plan of stitching in a drain in the middle... but following the 2nd stitch he decides the thread used for the first stitch is not heavy enough and he is fearful it will simply tear through the skin... so he calls for heavier thread and takes the first stitch out... did I mention that the skin is not numb in that area?? So again... he puts another stitch in that area... then stitches in the drain... I ask about the xrays and he says that there "does not appear to be anything broken or dislocated"... he wraps the elbow... gives me the lowdown on the meds... a quick tetanus shot since I do not recall when I had one previously... while we are waiting the mandatory 15 mins to be released following the shot... the State Trooper shows up with a Prattville Police Officer... he explains the paperwork I have to fill out and departs! And shortly thereafter we depart as well...

So... needless to say... I spent the rest of the day on the couch... sucking down Naprosyn and AMOX... after an excrutiatingly long night... on Sunday the reality of what had happened had begun to sink in... and realization that I was literally a couple of inches away from a completely different outcome... couple the emotional distress with the fact that the tweak in my back had begun to manifest itself into what would be more than a tweak and let's just say that Sunday was a long day! After another restless night Sunday which was interlaced with bouts of reliving the impact in a slow motion dream-state... I followed up with the military doctors... the Flight Doc decided to remove the sutures and drain as it appeared that there was no longer fluid production... he replaced the sutures with Dermabond to close up the gash... he also checked out my hip and after looking at the hump on my back immediately sent me down to see the Chiropractor. After a quick interview he completed a series of mobility and range of motion tests... did an isolated adjustment on the area near the swelling and set me up with a series of appointments to come see him twice a week for the next month.

Over the course of the week... I had to force myself to take it easy... I was supposed to be in my last full week of training before the taper week for the last triathlon of the season... I was in peak condition... it was frustrating to say the least... but my back would remind me that I needed to take things slowly several times a day! Mentally I struggled with what had happened... I felt violated... a careless driver had taken away my freedom... my passion to compete... against my will... and there was nothing I could do about it... after a couple of days of wallowing around in self pity I made a conscience decision that I would fight back and be positive about things... I vowed I would come back stronger than before... I refused to be held back by the accident... and all of the positive support from my family and friends fueled that passion... I WILL BE BACK... BETTER... STRONGER... FASTER!!! The mind is an incredible asset... and as my personal mantra states... Attitude Trumps Pain!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mountain Lakes Triathlon+New bike= Fast bike split!

Mountain Lakes Triathlon... the second to last race of the season for me... Guntersville, AL... 600 yard swim, 16.3 mile bike and 3 mile run... touted as one of the fastest events in the area due to the course!

For this blog entry... I need to go back to Wednesday... the day my new triathlon bike was delivered... it came late Wednesday afternoon and when I received the text from Maddison saying it was delivered I immediately departed work. I arrived home with my heart all a flutter... opened up the box and unwrapped my new chariot with incredible fervor! She is a beauty... I am beaming from ear to ear... but quickly my elation is squelched when I realize I have to put it all together... and I AM NOT A BIKE MECHANIC! To protect the bike during shipping it was completely taken apart and wrapped up... not a big deal... I have a workshop... so off I go... I make quick work of getting it all together... albeit... the fork/stem took several attempts to get everything in the right order but it was together in about an hour... except for the rear derailleur... the slip washer had come off during shipment and the entire body had come apart... now.. I knew what needed to be done to get the tension required back on the spring but for the life of me I could not figure out how to do it... with greasy fingers... as luck would have it... we had Mark Nelson and his kids over for dinner that night... and Mark has experience with bike wrenching... so after dinner we head out to the workshop and btwn the 2 of us we get it all together... I quickly take it out for an inaugural spin... and INSTANTLY realize just how fast she is going to be once I get a proper fitting. So here she is...
I bought her used from oddly enough another Navy guy out in Oregon... it is a 2010 Trek Equinox TTX 9.5 frame with Campagnolo groupset, Bontrager Speed Limit brakes, Blackwell Research carbon base bar and Wrist Relief carbon extensions... all done in a Trek Project One custom paint job called "Flying Ace"... designed to look like a WWII fighter plane. Needless to say... when I saw the bike I knew this was the one I had been looking for... AWESOME!

Friday 12 August 2011

     I hit the road from work around 1300 as Guntersville is about a 2 and half hour drive... the original plan was for Sherri, Colby and I to go up together but life happens... Thursday night was Open House/Orientation at all the kids schools so the soccer coach moved the normal Thursday night practice to Friday night as they had their first game on Saturday in Gadsden (only 25 miles from Guntersville).... So I went solo. I arrived in Guntersville before the packet pickup opened so I took the opportunity to drive the bike route... a really nice 16 mile loop around the lake... fairly flat and on nice roads. Following the drive I walked out to see the swim area as well as the transition and run route... great venue! I proceeded to packet pickup at 1630 and received one of the events now famous tie dye t-shirts... VERY COOL... maroon and white... not my favorite color combination but turns out they did it this year as a show of support to those that lost so much in the tornado up in Tuscaloosa... very cool! I ran into a couple of guys I know from Montgomery... then headed to the store for zip ties (read: I needed to reroute the power meter cables on the bike) and then to the hotel. I checked into the Microtel in Albertville, AL (neighboring town from Guntersville)... GREAT room and GREAT staff... received a "Triathlete" special rate which was $20 better than the Government rate... and was told that they were going to serve breakfast early for the triathletes... 0500 start vice their normal 0630... very accommodating! Got all of my stuff in the room and decided to get dinner first... Sante Fe Cattle Company adjacent to the hotel... and steak sounded great... I broke from my traditional pre-race pizza dinner and may have a new favorite!
     I sat at the bar for dinner... and ended up next to an older gentleman... and proceeded to have the most fascinating 90 minute discussion with him about a wide range of topics... I relish nights like this.. the unexpected gift of meeting great Americans with unique stories... awesome dinner! I head back to the hotel and get the bike all ready to go for the morning... while I watch the Whale Wars season finale of course! I hit the rack about 2200 and set two alarms for 0500...

Saturday 13 August 2011
     I wake up... roll over and look at the clock... 0457... funny how the body/mind work sometimes... I get up and get the now standard pre-race shower and shave done... complete the checklist one last time... making sure I have everything... GTG!
    At 0600 I depart the parking lot for the Guntersville Recreation Center... on the way I crank up some motivational music... Eminem's Lose Yourself... I am fired up... I arrive at the venue... get all my crap together and walk my bike over to the Transition area to get set up... I run into my Prattville swim buddy Mitch as well as I guy I have come to know through all the local triathlons named Sonny... I head to my spot... as I am getting set up I strike up a conversation with the woman setting up next to me... Kennette... yet another example of just how many great people there are in the triathlon lifestyle! As I am about to finish up... it starts... Mitch told a couple of his buds to check out my bike... and over the course of the next 20 mins there are about 20 people who come over just to see her... VERY PROUD... LOL... at about 0700 I grab my swim stuff and head to the pool for a warm-up swim... I get in a couple hundred yards and feel GREAT... I am ready!!! I make my way down to the water to watch the SE Collegiate swimmers start the event... during the pre-race moment of silence I decide I am going to dedicate my efforts today in memory of the U.S. Navy Seals that lost their lives this past week.
     Following the start of the Collegiate Championship racers... we start lining up for the Time Trial start... I am #464... we were seeded based on projected swim time... I put down a modest 11 mins... still work to be done on the swim! The line moves quickly... before I know it... I am running into the water... a shallow, rocky bottom into the mile-foil infested lake... I quickly settle into a nice pace... I feel great... and after a couple hundred yards I realize I forgot to start my watch... my first event wearing my new Garmin 310xt... so I start it and get back to swimming.... on the way out I feel great... fairly straight line... very little traffic... I am actually passing people... I round the first buoy... good... I round the second buoy... good... then for some reason I start to veer to the right... I swing out wide and despite a mental effort to get back on a more direct line to the beach I continued to stay wide... here is what the watch showed... not completely accurate but you can clearly see I started my watch late... and you can see the veer to the right following the second turn... swim was supposed to be 600 yards... Garmin path calculated 828 yards given an straight line from the start to when I actually started my watch.
      If I use 800 yards.. the resulting time equates to my perceived effort during the swim... like I said... work to be done! Anyway.. I exit the water... run up the hill, through the Rec Center and into the parking lot... get my bike gear on... and head out of transition... cross the mount line... execute a perfect flying mount... clip in and start my ride... it becomes readily apparent that I am going fast as within the first 2 miles I am passing people very quickly... a quick check of the power meter shows a nice effort... I trade places with a woman about 6 times during the first 6 miles... we laugh as we pass each other... "Tag... you are it"... we continue to do this over the bike course... SIDEBAR: at mile 8 I decide I HATE the saddle on my new chariot... that will be the first thing I change out... SIDEBAR COMPLETE.... then at mile 10... I pass her for the last time... I settle into a really nice pace and feel great... I am passing LOTS of riders... first people with race numbers in the 300's... then 200's... but at mile 12 I get a wake up call... I can hear him coming.. that distinctive whoop whoop sound of a carbon bike with a carbon disk wheel... he blows by me like I am standing still... I glace down at my computer... 27.6 mph... HE IS FLYING... had to be 35+... I make the right hand turn at mile 14 with only the 2 mile causeway across the lake btwn me and the bike finish... my glasses are smudged with sweat so I decide to take them off... WHOOPS.. dropped them... a quick glance to mark the location... and back to the task at hand... a strong finish... just as I get on the causeway... I pass #200... what a great feeling... I started 264 spots behind him on the swim... I round the last corner and head for the dismount line... I did not anticipate how short it was and did not have time to take my feet out of my shoes... so I ride up to the dismount line and unclip... off the bike and into transition... a quick change of shoes... grab my visor and running belt... and off to the run... 
     My plan is to take whatever the body will give me on the run... I want to run a 7:30/mile average... after a short 1/4 mile I glance at the watch... 8/mile... back to running... legs feel a little heavy.. maybe I went too hard on the bike... maybe the transition off the bike in the new position is different... things to work out in training... anyway... I continue the run... taking water at each station... quick sip them dump it on my head... my watch vibrates... 7:54 first mile... okay... settling into a nice pace at this point... I hit the mid point in the run... ICE COLD WET TOWELS... yeah buddy.. I run the next half mile with it on my head... it is the little things that matter... watch vibrates at mile 2... 8:04 second mile... back to running... at about 2.5 miles I finally settle into what feels like a great stride/pace... unfortunately there is very little left in the run... I finish strong... 

Overall 1:22:40
15th out of 59 in Age Group
139th out of 779 Overall
Swim 11:48 (25th AG/300 Overall)
Bike 43:54 (16th AG/120 Overall)
Run 23:49 (18th AG/185 Overall)

Overall: I am thrilled with my effort... when compared against all of my races... this was by far the best bike split I have ever had... run was very consistent with previous events as well as the swim... work to be done there but I consider this event to be my best overall triathlon to date... hard to believe my Brother and I did our first one nearly a year ago... I have made major improvements this year and this event is a huge boost for my confidence that the training is paying off!
     Following the race... I stuck around to watch the winners get their awards, took a shower then headed to Gadsden for Colby's soccer game... it was a REALLY tight match... and a heart breaker to boot... they ended up losing 2-3 with the final goal being scored with less than a minute left on the clock... bummer for the team to lose their first game of the season but they played fantastic... it is going to be great season!
     As always... a huge shout out to my family for the love and support they give me each and every day... no matter how I finish the race... first or last... when I get home I am still married to an incredible woman and the father of 4 incredible kids... #1 in Age Group and #1 Overall!

Attitude trumps pain!

Monday, July 18, 2011

OWS Lesson on sighting...

Well... I am finally getting around to writing my entry on this month's race... and after A LOT of abuse from my Brother on my style of previous posts... I am going to make this one short...

25th Annual Summer Sprint Triathlon
Lorain, OH
Lakeview Park

Swam, biked, ran... lost to my Brother by 2:59... took a wave in the face on a forward look for sighting and coughed uncontrollably for about 325 of the 400 yards. LESSON: forward sighting= good; forward breathing in rough water=bad. Bike course was flat but bumpy. Had one of my best runs but not enough to catch my Brother. The family support was incredible.... I cannot overstate just how awesome it is to have your family there cheering you on for those fleeting moments in transition... sucks for them but motivating to me! The end!

1:18:59 total
63/170 overall
13/20 Age Group (40-44)*

Jelly Bean and her funny signs!!

My Uncle Mike and two cousins... Chad and Craig! Thanks for coming out guys!!!

*They did not use USAT Age Up rule otherwise it would have been a 3/7 Age Group.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Stringing it all together...

So I signed up to run the Buster Britton Memorial Triathlon which is one of the longest running triathlons in Alabama. The race honors the life of Buster Britton - one of the Birmingham area's original triathletes that lost his life in a fun run after completing the Hawaii Ironman only a short time earlier. Buster was a true inspiration for triathletes as the sport began to take shape in Alabama. Buster Britton Memorial Triathlon will qualify the top male and female state of Alabama resident for the 2011 Best of the USA Amateur Competition.... so this guarantees some great competition!

Now... interestingly... golfing and triathlons have some things in common... much like driving, chipping and putting... there is swimming, biking and running... each discipline in the respective sport requires attention and dedicated training. You can over practice in one area and under practice in another... and let's face it... there are some days where you just never know which person is going to show up... the one that can drive (swim) or the one that can putt (run)... but being able to string them all together on the same day is the goal!

Goal: top 10 Age Group finish
Event: 400y OWS/13 mile bike/5K run
Location: Oak Mountain State Park (VERY hilly bike and run but same course as Powerman)

Saturday 11 June 2011

0415- Alarm goes off... shower... shave... don race kit.... prepare coffee (thanks love for getting up and doing that)... prepare oatmeal.... scurry around the house going over the checklist one last time just to ensure I am not forgetting something.
     Now the beauty of today is that Cassidy and Sydney are going to join me for the event... I cannot begin to tell you just how nice it is to have family there to cheer you on... the "GO DADDY GO!!!" gives me goosebumps and is a real motivator. Okay... the really amazing part is that my 16 year old and 10 year old daughters are going to get up at 0430 on a Saturday morning to go with me.... love you guys for making that sacrifice!

0500- out the door for the 1+15 hour drive... eat my oatmeal... drink water and coffee... mentally go over the transitions and bike course in my head... 

0600- Eminem "Lose Yourself" on volume 11... just to get the game face on... the girls think I am nuts... probably some truth in there... 

0615- arrive at Oak Mountain State Park... $7 to get in which... {grabbing soapbox}... really pisses me off that they stage an event in a State Park and you are forced to pay the entry fee to get to the event... charge me $5 more on my race entry fee and make the entry to the park free... one car per racer... sheesh... {off soapbox}

0625- arrive in Transition and begin the setup... everything goes as planned... 
0700- Pre-race meeting to discuss course layout... then we head down to the water... plan is to get in and do a short warm up swim prior to the start... 

0710- arrive at the water exit point... girls grab a prime seat on the bench located on the hill side and have a front row seat to the water exit area. I walk over to the swim start... DOH... forgot to put on my heart rate monitor strap... oh well... at this point I can sense where my heart rate is based on feel... no worries! I make my way into the water and realize that the entry.... which is a time trial start... is into a mucky lake bed filled with rocks, sticks, trash can lid, etc... racers are in there pulling out all of the debris to avoid people getting hurt on water entry... NOT GOOD TEAM MAGIC! I do a quick 50 yard out and back swim... I feel good!

0730- Time trial swim starts... I am #155... before I know it... I am next... "GO"... I run down into the mucky lake... and run by a couple of swimmers that chose to start swimming early to avoid the bottom... I dive in and start the swim... I quickly settle into a nice rhythmic pace and having learned my lesson at Peachtree... I come up for a buoy sighting every 10th stroke... first 3 are spot on... so I put my head down and decide to power swim for 20 strokes... low and behold... when I come up to sight... I have gone left and now I am inside the intended line... I hunker down and get back on track... I round the first buoy making a left hand turn and start a really nice pace... very controlled... I feel great... next thing I know I am approaching the second left turn.. around the buoy and headed to the beach... and I am passing people... before I know it I am in shallow water... I stand up and run to the waters edge... swim cap and goggles off...  and up the hill... I hear "GO DADDY GO!!" (cue the goosebumps)

The swim time did not click over to T1 until we were at the top of the hill... and by all accounts I have read... most believe the swim was a bit long... Swim time= 7:55... 6th best in AG...

T1- I quickly make my way into Transition... find my bike... throw on my helmet, sunglasses, watch, cycling shoes and grab my bike... and run to the mount line... T1 time= 2:03... it could be a tad bit shorter but this included a lengthy run from the lake to the parking lot where Transition was staged.

FLYING MOUNT... I nailed it... passing several riders who stop to mount their bikes... I quickly start pedaling and once up to speed I click in my pedals... BEST ONE YET!!!

Bike- Now... I have ridden this course 7 times on several training rides as well as in the PowerMan Alabama race.. so I know the course and I have analyzed all the data... for some reason today was not my day on the bike... and for some other reason... I had my fastest average downhill speeds ever on this course and my slowest average uphill speeds... the result was a less than average ride... I am not really sure what was going on but I know I was very disappointed in the bike portion... I can only hope the guy that knows how to putt shows up today... 
     I get passed by several folks... all on triathlon bikes... I pass several on some of the climbs as well as a couple of folks on mountain bikes but that is less than satisfying... all in all it is a less than average ride.

T2- So I am coming into what I think is the end of the bike and the entry to Transition... I take my right foot out of my shoe and begin pedaling on top of my shoe... thinking I am about to make a left hand turn into T2.. but no one is signaling me to turn... I continue down the road and pass Transition on the left as I head back out into the woods the wrong direction... I panic... start pedaling harder... glad I have one foot still clicked in... I weave around the curvy, winding road... for what is a really scenic ride but there are ZERO people... and I do not see another rider anywhere... I make my way up the switchbacks... pedaling hard... in sheer panic that I am off course and missed a turn... I make it up the last switchback and realize I am heading back in the right direction finally... I can hear the announcer... WHEW... I am on the course... but this will serve as a serious lesson to double check the route and not assume it is the same as last time... I quickly take my left foot out of my shoe and pedal to the dismount line... 
Bike time= 45:03 (my worst effort by more than 4 mins; 17.3 mph avg; 10th in AG)

I quickly hop off the bike and start running with it to my spot... I find it easily... rack my bike, helmet off, hat on... Now... I pre-staged socks just in case I decided to run with socks although I had practiced without... it was only 0825 but it was already in the 90s and humid... I was soaked with sweat from the bike ride and decided to run with socks... this obviously costs time but I made my decision... 

Socks on... shoes on... grab my race belt... and I am off... I switch over my watch to running and will put my belt on as I run up the first hill... T2 time= 2:19

Run- now the run course was a mixed blessing.... it was on an unimproved road through the woods... so it was nicely shaded but IT WAS HILLY! the first 1/3 mile is straight up a hill... I feel pretty good but I am waiting for my legs to shift from biking... I get passed by a couple of dudes as well as two women... RUN YOUR OWN RACE... fortunately there were several water stations on the run and at each one I take a cup of water... a quick sip or two and then dump it on my head... I AM HOT... as we pass the 1 1/4 mile point we start a long uphill climb... but before I know it I am at the half way point turn around... a quick glance at the watch shows I am picking up speed... I settle into a nice pace with controlled breathing and based on my training I know I am running at the top of my aerobic zone... perfect... Now.. for some reason I feel REALLY good and pick up the pace... my stride length grows... my breathing is steady... and my plan is to keep this pace up for as long as I can.... I begin to pace people... LOTS of people to include one of the guys that passed me at the start as well as both women... one lady says "strong run dude... finish strong" as I go by her... I make my way up the last climb and as I make my way down the hill knowing the finish is near... I can hear someone coming up from behind... he is gaining on me... getting closer... then just as I exit the woods and head into the finishing chute... he slingshots around me... he had momentum but I decide that I am not going to get punked at the end... I start to run as fast I possibly can... a valiant effort but I am not going to catch him... 

Turns out.. he is 18 years old and finishes 20th overall... but I cross the finish line just behind him to great fanfare as they watched the pass occur... 

Run time= 23:34 (7:52/mile avg; 6th in AG)

Total time= 1:20:53... good enough for 10th in AG... goal accomplished despite a poor bike effort!

Post Race- Fluid Recovery drink, water and great conversation with some of the guys there I know... then pack up my stuff and head back home.

Overall- I had what was a good swim for me... and a real confidence booster... a below average bike... and a GREAT run... one of my best runs to date... all in all it felt like one of those days on the golf course where you hit nearly every drive in the rough or woods but then sink some long putts for par... it is a grinder kind of day... a lot of effort required to stay mentally focused but in the end the overall score is really not too bad... maybe a beer cart in triathlons would help!
      HUGE shoutout to my family for once again supporting me in both my training as well as my girls getting up early to make the trek with me... a stop at Whataburger on the way home made the trip worth their sacrifice! GINORMOUS kudos to Cassidy for all the great photos along the way... I love you guys!

Attitude Trumps Pain!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Family triathlon day... what a Memorial Day!

This year's Memorial Day was a family trifecta on the triathlon front... but let me start this blog entry with this... I crashed my bike twice this past week during training rides... once when I threw the chain shifting... and suffice to say that when you are going 24.6 mph and fall onto asphalt... it leaves some nasty road rash... the first wreck resulted in mostly backside road rash and one nasty one on my right elbow. The result of the wreck caused some damage to my handlebars, shifter/brake hood as well as my pride as this was my first ever wreck.... but I picked myself up, dusted myself off, fixed my bike as best I could on the road and finished the ride. Now... one thing I noticed on the ride home was what appeared to be the front tire wobbling... I thought the wreck caused the front wheel to be out of true but upon some investigation I found out that the front tire was significantly damaged. So... I swapped out the front tire with a new one and prepped my bike for the next ride. A couple days later I mounted the mighty steed and headed out on my ride... but just as I went into the second turn and not yet even out of the neighborhood... the front tire went flat followed quickly by the bike and then me going flat... fortunately there was minimal damage to the bike but my front side did not fair so well... I pretty much landed on my palms, chest and right knee... my hands were bloody, my Navy cycling jersey torn and my right knee was a mess... but I walked my bike home... changed the tube... and went back out for what turned out to be a great ride!

Okay... onto the event... Colby and I were signed up for the Sterne Agee LJCC Super Sprint Triathlon being held in Birmingham, AL on Memorial Day. The race had a 0800 start time and consisted of a 200 yard swim, 8 mile bike and 2 mile run. I knew it was going to be an early morning given we had to drive 90 miles, get our race packets, get setup in transition by 0730 and mentally prepare for the race... and that meant we needed to hit the road by 0530. So Sunday night we packed up our bags, filled our water bottles, loaded up the truck with our bikes and secured our cheering gallery (Sherri and Cassidy).

Monday 30 May 2011
    Standard up before the alarm... shower and shave... put on the race kit... head to the kitchen for a nice bowl of steel cut oatmeal. Sherri was up early as well and started the coffee for the 1 1/2 hour drive to Birmingham. Colby and I scurried around the house making sure we had everything we were going to need... and checking the checklist one last time just to ensure we would not forget something. At 0535 we loaded up the truck with bowls of oatmeal in hand, water bottles and travel mugs full of hot coffee. The drive was uneventful... but the chaos would soon follow... we found the LJCC with no issues and quickly made our way into the Gymnasium to get our race packets... then t-shirt and swag bag pickup... then timing chip pickup... it was just after 7 am and Colby got the last Youth Large tech shirt and I scored a nice Women's large as I did not want the remaining XXL... so Sherri now has a keepsake from the event and she will put it to good use at the YMCA during her workouts. But I digress... by this time it is 0714 and bikes have to be in Transition no later than 0730... so we head back out to the truck to get our bikes and gear and make our way to Transition... queue panic... this race included temporary TriTats vice Sharpie body marking and the full monty numbering system... Now... this may not mean much to most but the numbering system includes a lot of numbers that have to be placed very specifically in various places... fortunately for me.. while Colby and I were getting our first pre race pee out of the way she was listening to a woman demonstrate the proper placing of all of the temporary tattoos and stickers.. and I will say this at this point... had it not been for her being there I am confident that I would not have been able to get Colby completely situated in Transition as well as my stuff... THANK YOU SWEETPEA for being there!

So... Sherri tells me to go get my stuff set up and she will take care of Colby... So I head up to my spot and start the assembly process of sticker placement.... I get my stuff laid out how I like it... "5 mins to Transition closing"... AHHH SNAP.... I am way behind... and not completely set up yet... I throw on my HR strap... find my goggles... flip off my flip-flops... step on my half consumed GU Roctane (read: GU now all over my Transition mat and shoes)... can I mention that this stuff is appropriately named... GU is gooey when out of the package... but  I quickly make my way down to Colby's station... I quickly help him finish setting up his gear... verbally go through the process of each transition... he is ready and getting nervous about not heading to the pool as there are only a few left in Transition... Sherri quickly puts on my number tats... and we are off to the pool..
     We walk through the Community Center to the pool... find someone in charge and ask how the swim is going to work... it is a serpentine swim starting at the far end of the pool... swimming up the lane then under the lane marker and back down... for a total of 6 lanes... then after the last lane we shoot off at a 45 degree into the shallow play portion of the pool and swim around a buoy then straight line to the stairs... not ideal but a great option for Colby's first event. I am number 29 and he is 92... ying and yang... they call out on the PA that we need to line up by number... everyone gaggles around trying to sort it all out but eventually we all get in order... we are ready!

     The person wearing #1 is a 14 year old boy on the US Junior Olympic team... he ends up winning the entire event... the kid was a stud!
     SWIM- So the plan is to get in the water on the edge, working your way to the corner and each swimmer will go in 5-10 second intervals... at 0800 they send off #1... and so the race begins... standing in front of me was a guy that did 10 years in the USMC.... we idly chit chat while we wait... he tells me that he will swim to one side as he knows I am going to pass him... within 60 yards I am tickling his feet and eventually pass him on the 4th length... the swim is going great... I feel really good despite the mayhem at each turn... I quickly round the buoy and make my way to the stairs... I exit the pool and start the long run through the Community Center and out into the parking lot out front... it was a long run...

     BIKE- I find my bike... throw on my shoes, helmet, glasses and Garmin (read: I really wish I had at 310xt at this point)... I run with my bike and THIS TIME I execute a flying mount with perfection... quickly lock in the cleats and I am off... we exit the parking lot and make a right hand turn up the road... where right at a mile there is a 180 degree turn around... I pass several folks to the first turn... once I make the turn I get out of the saddle and accelerate as quickly as possible... back into the aero position and settle in for my attempt to really ride as hard as I can.. the course had some rolling hills but nothing like my training rides... I pass several more people on the bike and then eventually get passed by a guy on a tri bike... ARRRGGHHH... I end up in a position where there were 3 of us and we end up trading positions for the entire bike ride... they pass me on the flats and downhills and I pass them on the climbs... fortunately for me the last mile was all uphill and eventually I pass them both on that last section... at 5 miles there is the second 180 degree turn around... and a quick acceleration back up to speed follows... as I am approaching the 7 mile mark of the ride I see Colby coming the opposite direction and he looks great... I yell out to him "GO GET EM COLBY T"... he smiles as he heads out... as I approach the parking lot I unstrap my feet from my shoes and pedal in on top of my shoes... I come screaming up to the dismount line and execute a perfect dismount into a quick run with my bike... I rack my bike, slip on my shades, take off my helmet, put on my race belt (stupid) and then left shoe... perfect... then right shoe... NOT PERFECT... the shoe gets stuck on my wet skin and curls under... it costs me a few extra seconds but I am now off on the run...

     RUN- I head out of transition... grab a cup of water as I did not do a good job of drinking on the bike... and head out on the out and back run... it was on the sidewalk and at this point there were very few in front of me so there was little traffic to contend with... the legs were a bit heavy early but I tried to manage a good pace... just shy of the 3/4 mile mark we made a hard left turn and headed into the woods on a trail... straight up a 60 foot climb.... my calves did not care for that... but the shade was a welcome sight.... as I make my way through the trail section I can hear someone coming up from behind... it turns out to be Mary Rosser... the only woman to finish ahead of me... she is over 6 feet tall with an inseam of at least 5'9"... she blows by me (she ends up running 6min/mile avg)... we make a 180 degree turn and a slow descent exiting the woods where we entered it... then a right turn and 3/4 miles of sidewalk to the finish... now.. at this point there is a ton of traffic outbound and the congestion on the sidewalk was significant... but I pick my through and head up the last hill... near the finish there was a slight jog to the right and a short run up a grassy knoll onto the finish line... I cross the finish and think... alright... that felt great! I grab a bottle of water and stroll out of the chute...

     I quickly find Sherri and Cassidy... we head back out to the road to wait for Colby to come back by on the bike... after just a couple of minutes we see him coming... he is powering up the hill and looks good... we make our way over to the outside barrier of the Transition area... Sherri positions herself across from his bikek location... I walk up towards the entry point... as he comes in... he is walking his bike... I can tell by his body language that he is tired... I ask him "Great ride... How you feel buddy?"... to which he replies... "I'm tired"... in a really weak tone... head down... I think to myself... he may be done... I encourage him as he walks his bike down to his spot... trying to pump him up... Sherri is praising him for an awesome ride... "How are you doing Colby T?" she says... "I'm tired Mom... and thirsty"... he racks his bike, takes off his helmet... gets a drink, puts on his shades.... grabs his Sport Beans... and heads for the run start... ALRIGHT.... he is headed out... we cheer him on!
     I tell Sherri that I am going to get my prescription glasses from the truck... as I make my way to the truck I look at my watch... 0858... OH WAIT... is that right... it has been several minutes since I finished... my goal was 55 minutes... turns out it was the right time... I finished in just under 46 minutes... awesome feeling! So I get my glasses and head back over the finish are to cheer on Colby as he finishes.. we see him coming... one last small climb up the grassy hill and through the finish... he is a Triathlete!!!! What an accomplishment... we could not be more proud of him... simply spectacular to see him push himself through to the finish! We quickly meet him on the other side and congratulate him... then I remind him... you are now a Triathlete.... he simply smiles as big as he can and says... "That's cool Dad!"

    POST RACE- we make our way into Transition and gather up our stuff... then head to the truck... put our bikes on the rack... grab our change of clothes and head for the showers.... after a quick shower and wardrobe change we head out to the pool area where the post race festivities are going to take place... we grab some food and drinks... when Sherri comes over and says... "I think you finished first in your Age Group"... WHAT? I walk over to where the results are posted... well I'll be damned... I DID!!! What a great feeling given I was not at my peak having taken an entire week off after the Peachtree Olympic as well as trying to heal from the two bike wrecks... just goes to show you... on any given day... well you know the rest!

    Colby becomes a Triathlete... I get my first AG win... my Brother runs a spectacular race in the CapTexTri Sprint Triathlon in Austin, TX honoring me and remembering our Dad for Memorial Day... not sure it gets much better than that... love you man... what a memorable day!

     This event taught me a couple of things but also reminded me that having family support is critical to the individual success... yeah it is you against the course come race day but without the understanding and love of your family you cannot be properly trained to execute at your best... huge kudos to Sherri and Cassidy for getting up early and being our biggest fans on Monday... it meant a lot to both Colby and I to have you guys there.
    So.. What I learned is this... you need more time to get 2 people settled in Transition when you don't have the luxury of picking of your race packets early... and don't... DON'T ever put your half consumed GU down... hold onto it until you done with it!

200y swim- 3:07
T1- 1:40
8mi bike- 23:51
T2- 58 seconds
2mi run- 16:15

Total time- 45:50

Attitude trumps pain!