Tuesday, November 27, 2012

2013 season already off to a great start!

     After some serious time off to get my neck back to at least a neutral position... this week kicks off my new training plan for the upcoming 2013 racing season. In preparation for my training and race schedule I was surfing the net and came across an open invitation to submit an online application for consideration for selection onto the inaugural THETRISHOP.com triathlon team. Some time last year I signed up to receive their email flyers and so I was already aware of their site but after reading through their application and reading that their core values are...

- Have fun, learn and grow as a person and athlete
- Help others learn and grow by sharing what you have learned
- Be brand ambassadors for The Tri Shop and co-sponsors

... they aligned perfectly with my values and thus I decided to give it a shot. If there is one thing I have learned over the course of the past two years doing road races, duathlons and triathlons it is that you get the opportunity to meet a ton of great people and each one of them has a unique story about how or why they are doing that event... either as a seasoned veteran or a newbie. I have certainly had a lot of great support from family, friends, coaches and even complete strangers along the way and I am always looking for ways to pay stuff forward.... whether it be gear, ideas, tips or techniques I have seen work for me. If I can encourage just one person to give it a try I know they will really enjoy the experience and probably encourage someone they know to do the same. So with that attitude... being a member of an organization with those similar kind of goals seemed like a win-win situation.

So... last week I was notified that I was selected to be a member of their team and I could not be more thrilled with the opportunity. The reality is that I am going to race and why not do it with a team that embraces the idea of having fun, embracing personal growth and helping others in the process... not to mention it has some nice perks to go with it. THANK YOU THETRISHOP.com !!!!

This year I will be changing my colors...  I wonder if Santa has any cool black and red helmets in his workshop???

Attitude Trumps Pain!©

Monday, October 8, 2012

She packed my bags last night pre-flight...

Rocketman Olympic Triathlon
26 August 2012

Well... the plan for the year had this as my last triathlon of the 2012 season... an Olympic distance... and although I was fired up to compete I was also somewhat apprehensive as I knew I was not 100% prepared due to my training falling off in the weeks leading up to it due to some neck issues. The day turned out to be filled with some very valuable lessons that will fuel my efforts for 2013.

I drove up to Huntsville on Saturday after getting up early to drive up to Auburn for one of Colby's travel soccer team games. He actually had 2 games that day but I had arranged for one of the other parents to bring Colby home as I had a nearly 5 hour drive from Auburn to Huntsville and needed to make packet pickup before 6 o'clock. The drive was uneventful as was packet pickup and I headed over to Redstone Arsenal to check into the lodging there. This was really convenient given the event was being held on the base. I headed out to the Straight To Ale Brewing Company (READ: lesson #1) and despite my best effort to "only have one beer"... I ended up in a great conversation with one of the Assistant Brewers and as he gave me a personal tour of the brewery he poured samples of their "house beers" for me to try. Two and half hours later I left there and headed out for some dinner... Carraba's for pasta... after dinner it was back to lodging for some restless sleep and last minute preparations. 

After a really good night of sleep I got up and went through my usual pre-race routine... hydration, breakfast, unpack and repack, etc. I then headed down to the Tennessee River at the South end of the Base where the Transition Area was staged. Everything with setup was perfect... no issues... I got in the river for a warm-up swim... it all felt great.... then I made the long walk down to the swim start... as I stood on the banks looking out at the buoys it dawns on me just how far 1500 meters looks when it does not involve laps in a 50 meter pool. I strike up some conversation with fellow racers all while contemplating how far the swim looked... I am actually really nervous at this point... and convince myself to just swim my own race... stay calm... swim smooth... go easy... relax... I have swam this distance in the pool a bunch of times... 

As I make my way to the end of the pier for my start... I remind myself... just relax and enjoy the event (INSERT lesson #2)... it is my turn and I jump off the pier into the water... BBBLLLAAAMMM... okay... it is only about 5' deep and my feet impact the bottom hard which throws them instantly into toe cramp mode... but I press on anyway and just try to swim my way through them... now.. if you have ever had toe cramps you know what I mean... and sitting on the couch with one is WAY different than trying to swim in a river with them... on BOTH feet! But after about 75 yards they subside and I get on with my smooth, relaxed swim plan. Before I know it I am at the first turn buoy... make the right and quickly hit the 2nd turn buoy.... which starts the 850 meter straight shot to the boat ramp exit. For the first time ever, I am able to draft off a guy in front of me... we are swimming exactly the same pace and I am in his bubbles (INSERT lesson #3)... I occasionally check the siting but by all accounts it is perfect... so I settle in and just enjoy the draft. As we approach the slight bend to enter the channel to the boat ramp I feel awesome... and as I stand up to make my exit... for the first time ever in any triathlon... feel spectacular... relaxed, not winded, calm and smiling... as I cross over the T1 timing mat I push the lap button on my Garmin.... WHAT???? That cannot be right... 27:15 (14/22)... 1:40/100yd... how can that be... that was the easiest and most relaxed stroke I could have ever done and yet I hit my target ON THE NUMBER!!! (INSERT lesson #4)

T1 was quick (3/22) and I was now out on the bike... now... the one part of my training that had been solid was my biking as I had just completed the Southeast Time Trial Championships for the same 40K distance... so I was not concerned about the bike portion. As I headed out on the bike I started to take on fluids... I had 2 bottles on my bike... 1 with water (INSERT lesson #5) and 1 with Fluid... the bike was going great except I was sweating a ton... it was already in the 90's and really humid... but my stomach was not doing so great and given I had zero appetite I chose not to take on any nutrition thinking it would just make it worse (INSERT lesson #6). I reached the halfway point having passed a lot of people and having only been passed by a couple of strong bikers and I was on my target power. As I made my way back on the out and in course... my legs started to feel heavy... weak... I felt I was giving the same effort but my watts were slowing falling off... I developed a slight headache and was starting to get really irritated as I watched people I had previously passed go by me with relative ease. Despite the situation I press on... 1:16:45 (9/22) with a 19.4 mph average... having hit the halfway point with a 21.6 mph average...

I make a quick T2 (6/22) and take off on the run... as I start the run I realize that the one area I have the most concern about for this event was the run as it was what fell off due to my neck bothering me... and I have on my fairly new Skechers GoRun shoes... (INSERT lesson #7)... I have a mental discussion in my head about where I am at in the event... and realize I have never run a 10K in these new shoes... only a couple of 5K's... oh well... I press on... the first 1 1/2 miles are on a nice trail in the woods and at the first mile mark my watch beeps and I realize I am right on pace... I seem to have recovered somewhat from the disappointing finish on the bike... I feel pretty good but I am still sweating like a madman. I depart the shade of the woods out onto the blacktop and into the searing heat from a cloudless day.... the watch beeps... Mile 2 and still on pace... I just might salvage this race after all... as I hit the first water station I take on a full cup of water and dump one on my head... now... somewhere between that water station and the next mile marker I start to feel really crappy... and for the first time ever in any race... I walk... then I run... then I notice my heart rate skyrocketing... I walk... I run... I walk.. I run... I hit a water station and drink several cups of water... and back to the run-walk... I hit the final water station and take on more water... at this point I am sweating so badly that I am leaving wet footprints from my waterlogged shoes.... I rally with 1/2 a mile to go... I cross the finish line... 1:03:50 (19/22) for the run... my worst 10K ever... for a whopping total of 2:50:30 giving me a middle of the pack 11/22 overall.

After crossing the finish line I get a bottle of water and begin to wander around confused... in a daze... cramps set in... first the calves then my back... after about 20 mins of wandering around I decide to go back to Transition and gather up my stuff... I load everything up and make my way back to my car... on the way back I decide I am really thirsty and I know I am dehydrated so I stop at the gas station and pick up a huge bottle of Powerade... I down the drink and head back to lodging for a shower so I can hit the road. About halfway through the shower I start to come out of my funk... the spasms stop... and I go from feeling hungover to feeling somewhat normal again... for me anyway! So I pack up, check out and hit the gas station again on my way to the highway.... I pick up a Monster Rehab and a Coke... I down the Coke in the parking lot and hit the road for an uneventful 3 hour drive.

Along the way I drive in complete silence as I try to put together the pieces of the day... so many things to think about... some highs and some lows... I am not disappointed in my overall effort and just write it off to my training falling off... I wanted a peak performance without the peak training effort required to get it... (INSERT: lesson #8)

On Wednesday I hit my PT for a session on my neck... he is a triathlete... and a damn good one to boot... he asks how the race went and I give him the details... to which he responds... Hyponatremia... huh... Hyponatremia... turns out I was suffering from this condition... all the classic symptoms if you know about it... Hyponatremia is a metabolic condition in which there is not enough sodium (salt) in the body fluids outside the cells... Sodium is found mostly in the body fluids outside the cells... it helps to maintain blood pressure  but also is needed for nerves and muscles to function properly. And it turns out that the more water I drank on the course the worse I made it.... had I stopped and consumed the Heed drink I might have been able to fight it off... INSERT final lesson!

So... from my perspective... I had a PR... ON LESSONS LEARNED! I will chock the entire event up to just that... an opportunity to learn some things not talked about in the books or magazine articles... and I am already looking forward to Rocketman 2013!!! 

This is what misery looks like... 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Alabama State Time Trial Championships

I decided I would try something different and signed up for this race... and what I did not anticipate was the schooling I would get on competitive cycling. It was an incredible indoctrination into their world!

The first racer was off at 0900... the start was at the Columbiana Middle School in the heart of Columbiana, AL... about a 75 mile drive from my house. I hit the road right on schedule at 0630 with a bowl of oatmeal, a cup of coffee and a large water bottle. I made great time and actually arrived earlier than expected... and as I pulled up to the school... (cue school bell)... the lessons began.

So.... I got there at about 0740... and as I pulled into the school parking lot I was met by a huge group of riders already in position in the lot and riding their stationary trainers to get warmed up... did I mention the first rider was off at 0900??? Given I was early I decided to take the opportunity to drive the course.. which was a nice 40K (24.8 mi) out and back on country roads. I had actually mapped the ride out on www.mapmyride.com so I had a good idea of what was in store for me... but here is a snapshot of my post ride elevation graph!

That climb on the way back is a Category 5 climb... not a big deal if you are hard core rider but for me... anything that has a category assigned to it gets my attention!

So I strike out on the drive of the course... it starts with a bunch of rolling hills... but nothing that really catches my attention... until I get about 7 miles out... then the elevation change starts to get my attention.. and then once over the crest I encounter a very technical descent with one hairpin turn where the auto speed limit goes from 40 to 10 mph... then as I head out to the turn around point I pass a cyclist heading back... apparently he came out to ride the route... NOT DRIVE IT like me... LOL!

So I flip around and head back... and at 13.25 miles I hit the Category 5 climb... only a 1.2 mile climb with avg gradient of 2.7% but enough to get your attention.

Once back to the school parking lot I get parked, get checked in, get my number and start to get changed into my cycling gear for the event. At this point I meet what becomes an invaluable asset in my schooling... fortunately for me "DW" who is parked next to me is a DVM and Professor at the Vet School at Auburn University... he is easily 10 years older than me and a CAT 1/2 rider... suffice to say he is a hard core roadie... now... picture this.... a 55 year old 5'10" and 135 pound cowboy from Kentucky with a huge southern draw and a big ole fumanchu mustache wearing a cowboy hat, cowboy boots and a terry cloth wrap... pretty sure that was all he had on... he had a F-150 with a cap on the back of it and inside was a complete cycling shop... bikes, wheels, tools, clothes, helmets, boxes of nutrition products, etc... INCREDIBLE... but being an Auburn graduate... we were instant buddies... and smartly I instantly confessed I was out of my league as this was my first real cycling event... and he jumped on the opportunity to help me out... over the course of the next hour he executed Competitive Cycling 101 for me... and for that I am forever grateful!!!

Alright... having completed the academics... it was time to get warmed up and ready to ride... I got dressed, pumped up my tires, checked to make sure I have everything... pounded one more bottle of water... for 0830 it was already hot... when I let the house at 0630 it was already 82 degrees and 80% humidity and now at 0830 it was already approaching 90 degrees.. I decided to ride out the course 10 mins making for a nice 20 min warm-up... certainly nothing close to the 90 min trainer warm-ups that had been going on around me but good enough for me! After my short ride... I drank another bottle of water and then proceeded over to the starting line... I was off at 0906... with the first rider going off at 0900 in 30 second intervals... I worked my way up the line until I was next... a holder grabbed my bike from the back and I clipped in... 5... 4... 3.... 2... 1.... "GO!"... and I was off..

Now would be a good time for me to give you an update on the weather conditions... we were a couple of days into a heat wave and today was to be the peak... 104 degrees with heat index in the 120+ range... and very little wind if any at all... I can honestly say that I wish I had put an extra bottle on my bike for this event... IT WAS HOT... miserable kind of hot as it would turn out!

I quickly got up to speed and could see a couple of riders out in front of me on the rolling hills of the start... but at 2 miles I heard that unmistakable sound of a carbon disc wheel... and at 2.15 miles... whooosh... the guy that started behind me goes by me... and I was going 26 mph... this event would replay itself at least ten times throughout the course of my ride... just for comparison... I averaged 19 mph over the 40K ride and the guy that won it averaged just shy of 30 mph... again... this is competitive cycling and these guys can ride!

The worst part of the ride was on that climb coming back... not so much because of the terrain but more for the fact that it was HOT... zero breeze... and the heat coming off the black asphalt was oppressive... hard to breathe... other than that note... there isn't much to report...

I spent most of the ride trading positions with the guy that started ahead of me... we must have passed each other a dozen times... then with 2 miles to go he went by me... for what I thought was the final time... but when we hit the 1K left... I decided I had just enough in the tank to try and run him down one last time... and so I did.... I managed to get around him and stay there through the finish.. afterwards he would tell me that he really wanted to catch me but just couldn't...

This photo was taken just after passing the finish line.... I can honestly say that at the end of the ride I was spent... legs quivering, soaking wet, upset stomach, light headed kind of spent... the weather was tough and it took its toll on a few.. at least one had a trip to the ER... several others spent some time laying on the sidewalk with bags of ice on their torso trying to cool off...

All in all... it was a great event... I rode a personal best on that distance and this was on a MUCH tougher course than the others... but most important is that I learned a lot... it was awesome to see the caliber of riders that rode this race... very motivating and I am glad I did it!

Attitude Trumps Pain!

Monday, June 25, 2012

I was thrilled to be a co-author with Gene on Part 6 of his ongoing series... the role that Personality plays in The Right to Lead model... the "how" leaders do what they do...

The Right to Lead- Personality

Friday, June 8, 2012

Commentary - The right to lead part four: competence

I was asked by Gene Kamena, our Joint Strategic Leadership Course Director, to help contribute to an ongoing 8 part series that asked the question... What gives you the right to lead? The series is based on a model he developed and serves as the foundation for our leadership curriculum. Here is a link to the latest edition published today...

Commentary - The right to lead part four: competence

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bo Bikes Bama Recap

I am a little behind in getting this blog update but in all honesty I am still processing the impact the day had on me both personally and professionally.

As many of you know... I overlapped with Bo Jackson for a couple of years at Auburn and was witness to some of the unbelievable things he accomplished on both the football and baseball fields there. I have always been a big fan of his... and so when I first heard about his plan to do this event I knew it was something I was going to do... clear the calendar... change my plans... whatever was required to support his efforts and the state of Alabama.

So here was the premise...

I quickly signed up for a shot at one of the spots on the 28th... and want to personally thank all of those that made contributions in my name... I found out that my fundraising efforts would have qualified me to ride a 2nd leg... maybe next year!

Alright... so I secured a spot on the last day which was a 50 mile leg from Bo's home town of Bessemer to the finish line in Tuscaloosa. I know and before you even go there... this was not about Auburn vs. Alabama... War Eagle or Roll Tide... Blue and Orange or Crimson and White... this was about Bo wanted to do something for the state... PERIOD!

Having secured my spot... it then dawned on me that the logistics were something I had not properly calculated... I needed to get to Bessemer for the start... yet have a ride home once finished in Tuscaloosa... as luck would have it... one of the cycling clubs in Tuscaloosa offered a few spots in the cars of their members making the drive up that morning... and I fortunately secured one of only a handful. Now for some irony... turns out... we had a really nice Tuscaloosa lawyer as our chaffuer... and the other 3 spots were Tyler (current Auburn student) and Chris (Auburn Alum)... so picture this... 3 Auburn Tigers getting a ride from an Alabama alumni... who wasn't even doing the event... just offered to give folks a ride... that was hilarious but I truly appreciated Patrick offering his services.

So... in order to avoid having to get up at 0330 to start what was already going to be a long day... I made a hotel reservation in Tuscaloosa and after dinner on Friday night I headed up there... had an uneventful night sleep... hooked up with my ride near the finish... made our way to Bessemer to get the ride started. After getting checked in I had an opportunity to meet some of the celebs riding that day... Ken Griffey, Jr... Picabo Street... DeMeco Ryan... Jay Jacobs (Auburn Athletic Director)... I was sitting in the hotel lobby when Bo walked in... a fan says... "Can I get your autograph?"... to which he responds... "I haven't even had a chance to get my first cup of coffee yet... there will be plenty of time for that!"... turns out he is a normal dude!

Alright... so we gather up and Bo gets up to give us some guidance for the day... "This is not a race... I repeat... this is NOT A RACE!" He encouraged all of us to take a chance to join him at the front throughout the day and share our story... but warned us... "If you join me on a hill... I WILL NOT talk to you... these legs are getting heavy!" And with that... we were off...

Now... he said it wasn't a race but at the chirp of 1 mile complete from my Garmin... I looked down to see we had averaged 19 mph since the start... that pace would quickly be replaced by about a 15 mph average. During the course of the first leg I struck up a converstation with a guy on an old steel road bike... it was a Campy and very similar in spec to my old Panasonic... I commented on his bike and he said "This is the first time I have been on this bike in 20 years"... I chuckled inside and  thought to myself as I looked at his circa 1980 cycling attire... "then it has been about 25 years since you had on those shoes"... they were classic all leather uppers from the late 1970s... this guy looked like he had just popped out of a time capsule from the 1980's!

So... Our first rest stop was about 13 miles into the ride... following a hill... now let me say this... that hill was the steepest thing to date I have ever pedaled up... people were literally falling over from a dead stop as they could not get their pedals to turn over... incredible... but I rode along side the Trek boys all the way... kind of cool! Now for the rest of the story... it turns out the guy on the old steel bike literally tore the leather uppers off the soles of his shoes... which were still attached to his pedals when I saw him walking up the hill in barefeet... and his face was dotted with black specks from the deteriorating foam padding inside his helmet... hilarious!

At the rest stop I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Picabo Street... an incredibly nice and genuine person... I did not realize that she spends about half of the year living in Alabama... where she is originally from...

Once we headed back out on the ride... I eventually made my way to the front of the pack and my opportunity to talk with Bo... unfortunately we encountered a hill and I only got some affirmative grunts to some of my questions... but in all honesty... I found him to be incredibly gracious and very genuine... he is simply just a great guy with huge heart... and he LOVES ALABAMA... the state and not the university!

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful as we made our way to the lunch stop... I did have a mechanical issue with my rear wheel and had to pull over and wait for the support vehicle... I ended up swapping out my rear wheel for one of theirs... and that wait put me as the last rider... so I put the hammer down and caught back up with the group about 20 minutes later!

Lunch was catered by Bojangle's... and it was AWESOME... again... the opportunity to meet some great people was the recurring theme of the day... a real treat!

 Following lunch... it was back on the road... we were cruising pretty good when I crested a hill and noticed the group all dismounting at the bottom... everybody gathered together and we walked up a driveway to a pad that used to be the foundation of a house with a detached garage... it was an impromptu moment that Bo decided warranted the stop... he told us about his experience back in the Fall when he drove the route and relayed the discussion he had with the owner of the house...

This little valley used to have a bunch of houses/trailers which had all been wiped out by the tornado... most of the owners did not have insurance or the money to rebuild and have been homeless ever since... this was a year later... it may not be easy to tell from the photos but the destruction was incredible... like a scene from Planet of the Apes... there were signs that there used to be civilization but it was eerily silent. Bo told us that when the homeowners were finally allowed back to the area... they were thankful to find salvage trucks pulling their vehicles from the ravine... only to find out they were there for repossession purposes... just when you think you have hit rock bottom.... WWHHAAAMM! It was this single impromptu stop that put it all together for me... minus the celebrities... minus the $5000 bikes... minus the media... these folks had their lives literally turned upside down and lost everything... EVERYTHING... it had a significant impact on me and I knew at that very moment I needed to do more!!

So we were back on the road after that surreal experience... we made our way through some small towns on the fringe of Tuscaloosa... and the roads were lined with people cheering as we pedaled by... each one shouting out a thanks or Roll Tide or War Eagle... or my personal favorite... Roll Bo Roll... we gathered for our last stop at about 3 miles from the campus... we had a hard time to hit the Coliseum to join up with those that were going to be a part of the community ride through the campus to the finish line. And again... it was an opportunity to meet even more incredible people... what a great way to spend the day!

We remounted and headed to the Coliseum... complete with at least 10 police escort vehicles and 8-10 motorcycles.... let me say this... the police escorts for the entire event were simply spectacular... we effectively road on a closed course all day... never once did I have to worry about a single car and every intersection was blocked off for our arrival... AWESOME!!! We met up with the community ride folks... Bo said some nice things about the Tuscaloosa community coming out to support his efforts despite the football rivalry and we headed out on the final mile... the closer we got... the thicker the crowd got... and by the finish we were greeted by cheers and applause as Bo rode through...

There was a huge party after the ride with food, drinks and entertainment... simply a spectacular event. I applaud Bo for his efforts to put together such a daunting event and realize his efforts would not have been as successful without the assistance of Trek and Livestrong... and although he did not reach his goal of $1,000,000 yet... he raised the awareness of America to the devastation those people faced last April... I will do it again if given the opportunity!! THANK YOU BO JACKSON!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

tri magazine – May 2012 : One Age Grouper To Another

A few weeks back the President of my multisport team sent out an email asking if anyone was interested in answering some questions for a monthly installment of an online triathlon magazine called tri magazine for a segment they call "One Age Grouper To Another"... the topic was about knowing when you are race ready and what you thought about tapering for a race. Anyway, over a Saturday morning cup of coffee I proceeded to answer the questions... we were asked to include a photo so I bundled them up and shot it back to him. Then today I get a FB post from him telling me that I made the May 2012 edition... they must have liked my response or only had 2 responses... either way it is pretty cool to see my writing in print... digital counts right? Wonder if this can serve as my annual requirement to be published in order to maintain my teaching credentials...

If you don't want to sign up for the free account... you can get the article here... minus the handsome photo of course...
tri magazine – May 2012 : One Age Grouper To Another

Attitude Trumps Pain

Friday, April 6, 2012

Powerman Alabama Double Oak Duathlon

Back in December I signed up for Team Magic's Powerman Alabama Double Oak Duathlon which was the 25th of March... having no way of knowing that in January I would have serious issues with my neck. After working through all of those issues I was bound and determined to complete this event even if that meant walking the run portion... I paid my money and it was simply a matter of principle... I was not going to let my injury define me!

To be perfectly honest... I went into this event with a new attitude... really an adoption of a new philosophy I got from my buddy Jonser... last year I was trying to win every event I competed in and judged my success on that statistic... and that statistic alone. Following an exchange of emails with Jonser...

           "When it comes to placing- it is a (for the most part) a meaningless metric. What I mean by this is for most in the pack racing, there is no value in the placing, as it takes the focus off the individual athlete and can distract the athlete from what is most important-their individual effort. 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."

The light bulb goes on... and thus a new philosophy for 2012... now... couple that with the fact that at this point I am not in race condition as my physical activities were curtailed due to the ongoing neck issues! Regardless... I was stoked for the event... it felt so good to print off the race checklist and gather up all of my stuff... I was excited!

I went into this event with zero expectations other than to simply finish... and one personal goal of trying to beat my previous best time on the bike course... I have ridden it nearly a dozen times and that was my metric of success!

I gathered up all my stuff... brushed off the cobwebs on transitions, nutrition and number placement... got up early enough to make the drive up to Birmingham so as to arrive just as packet pickup opened. It was an uneventful drive up.... Almond Butter and Sugar Free Raspberry jelly on Ezekial bread, coffee and water for the trip. I arrived just as planned... changed clothes, picked up my race bag and headed to transition with my stuff.

As usual... you meet some incredible people doing events like this... and today was much the same... as I set up my stuff I talked with some great folks and just felt really at ease. One difference today was that I was wearing my new team colors... Team MMS!

So after getting everything all set up... and refreshing myself on how to use my Garmin 310XT in Multisport Mode... it was show time... I made my way up to the Start/Finish line and watched the earlier waves go off... they event this year was modified from last year... 5K/20K/2.5K and part of the runs were off road.... more on that later... so it is the old dude wave time... bang... we are off... I started the first run on just an nice even pace for me... zero concern for all of the speed demons that took off... or the fact that guys older than me were passing me... again... I was just happy to be there! So the run is an out and back 5K... on a hilly unimproved road in the park... I continue to run with relative ease and comfort as I reach the turn around... but on the way back I am starting to pass those speed demons... hmmmm... at about 2.2 miles we exit the road and enter the trail portion... it was scenic but it was also single track and full of roots... you could not pass and your had to remain very vigilant to watch your footing to prevent turning an ankle... we exit the trail at about 2.8 miles and finish up on the asphalt road... I enter transition... 25:32 (8:13/mi avg)... WOW... I am somewhat shocked with the relative ease at which I had just run that 5K... but quickly don my cycling gear and head out of T1... 58 seconds... I have trouble getting my right cleat in for some reason... takes 3 tries before I make a solid connection... then off we go...

Now... the bike is only 12 miles but it is a brutal... hilly 12 miles with 2 really good climbs... and the last one comes right at the turn around... so you climb then don't get to take real advantage of the descent due to the 180 degree turn around... only to have to climb it in reverse again! But.. I know this course... I immediately start to pass people... with relative ease... it isn't until I am at about 8 miles into the ride when I get passed by not 1.. but 3 of the Elite athletes... I can hear them coming... the unmistakable sound of a high end, all carbon, disc wheel bike... WRRRHHHH.... WRRRHHHH.... WHHHHRRRR... they were the only people to pass me on the bike... then just as I start up the last climb I throw the chain off the front on a double shift... DAMMIT... I have to stop, get off the bike and get the chain back on... as I am fumbling with it I get passed by 3 riders... I get it back on and then have fight getting clipped back in on a steep uphill... I get clipped in and now I am just pissed off... I start hammering it... pass the 3 that passed me and push hard to T2... 40:03 (18.3 mph avg)... WOO HOO... beat my previous best by 40 seconds... WITH THE THROWN CHAIN! I am stoked... but quickly get changed and head out of T2.... 56 seconds...

The second run was only 2.5K but it was in reverse of the first run... as I make my way onto the asphalt... a woman (Team Magic member) comes running up along side of me... "I was happy to see you got your bike fixed so quickly"... another great example of the sportsmanship that I have witnessed multisport events... we run together for a few minutes... and catch a group just as we are about to enter the trail portion of the run... she quickly sprints ahead and gets in front of them going into the woods... DAMMIT... that was a brilliant move and I was stuck behind them for the entire trail run... ZERO chance to pass... so I follow them closely as I watch her pull away... we exit the trail out onto the unimproved road at which point I kick it into high gear... now... up to this point my right IT band was really aching... but the faster I ran the less it hurt... so I ran hard... and quickly approached the finish... 12:24 (7:59/mi)... 1:19:52 total... mission accomplished!

After I am done... I make my way up to the food... get something to eat and drink while I wait for transition to open up... I compare notes with Greg Miles of Montgomery Multisport... and then hear that transition was open... I make my way down and gather up all my stuff... I am just about to head to my truck for the drive home when one of buddies comes over and says "Congrats!"... "On what?"... "You are on the podium"... HA... I walk up and look at the Unofficial Results... sure enough I am 2nd in my Age Group... AWESOME... maybe there really is something to this new philosophy... I was thrilled to say the least!

Great event by Team Magic... looking forward to the next one in late April... Colby and I will be both competing in the LJCC Super Sprint... should be fun!

Attitude Trumps Pain!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bring on the 2012 Season

Well... my "off season" held great promise as I went into it... my goals were simple...
  1. Improve my flexibility
  2. Improve my strength
  3. Improve my power output on the bike
  4. Keep my weight under control
With those in mind... I embarked on a Winter Cycling Performance Plan... A heart rate based cycling program designed for triathletes and cyclists to improve their Critical Power over a 16 week period...
Developed by Jorge Martinez of E3 Training Solutions, a plan to get you ready for spring! It was awesome and grueling at the same time... but I embraced the training and having completed 8 weeks of it I saw a 10% increase in my power... it was an awesome feeling!!

I started working on my strength training and even took up Yoga.... and some of my Christmas presents were yoga related items... I was stoked to have my own mat and not have to use the dirty sock smelling ones at the YMCA.... I had done a couple of sessions and was really getting into it as it appeared to help dramatically with my hamstrings...

Then January 5th... BAM... following a what I would call a great yoga session... I woke up with a kink in my neck... assuming it was just a function of sleeping funny I shook it off... spent most of the day on Friday uncomfortable.... assuming it would go away in a day or two... even did a long run on Saturday morning as part of my Half Marathon training plan... Saturday night I did not sleep well... Sunday was awful and I spent most of it on the couch... Sunday night I did not sleep at all... Monday morning I went to see the Doc... got the standard Naproxen, Flexeril combination and sent on my way. But even the meds did nothing to alleviate the pain and discomfort! I went back in because I had not slept in almost 5 days and was a wreck... they gave me Valium... did nothing... so back in to the Doc... they took xrays and saw reduced disc space in the C5/6 and C6/7 area as well as a nasty hook osteophyte (bone spur). So... I was sent in for an MRI and given a consult for a Neurosurgeon... he confirmed what the xrays showed as well as herniation of the 2 discs in that area. So it ordered a 3 shot series of Cervical Epidural Steroid Injections done in 2 week intervals...

Fast forward... the symptoms changed over time.... from intense pain to now a constantly numb right thumb and a shooting sensation down my arm that makes my right thumb and index finger go to sleep... I am seeing a Physical Therapist twice a week and off any kind of meds.... I have lost grip strength in my right hand and general arm weakness.... so I have another MRI next week and follow up with the Neurosurgeon the week after... more to follow on that front...

So.... let's get to the 2012 season... my goals have changed for this year...
  1. Stay healthy and uninjured
  2. Have fun and enjoy races vice trying to win them all
  3. Encourage family to do events
  4. Improve flexibility
  5. Complete Ironman Augusta 70.3 in September
My schedule looks like this...

2/12 Mercedes Half Marathon in Bham, AL (CANX due to neck injury)
3/17 Blue Streak Cycling Time Trial (10K)
3/25 Powerman Alabama Duathlon (5K/20K/2.5K)
4/6 HAP 15K Run
4/22 LJCC Super Sprint (150y/6mi/2mi )
4/28 Bo Bikes Bama- Bessemer to Tuscaloosa (50mi)
5/12 Transporter Sprint (300y/12mi/3mi)
5/19 Peachtree International Olympic (1.5K/40K/10K)
6/9 Buster Britton Memorial Sprint (400y/13mi/5K)
8/11 Mountain Lakes Sprint (600y/16.2mi/3mi)
9/30 ESI Ironman 70.3 Augusta (1.2mi/56mi/13.1mi

I was fortunate to have been able to renew a couple of my 2011 sponsorship deals... Fluid, Zym and Honey Stinger... also I joined a new team for the season... Team MMS... a local multisport team that I am proud to be a part of... a great group of people with the same passion I have for all things multisport!

With the love and support of my family I can hopefully get the neck situation under control and allow me to do these events... stay tuned for updates!!!

Attitude Trumps Pain!