Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Bike Porn

It has been a long time since anyone has posted any bike porn. So in anticipation of the Spirit of Morgantown I took this movie of Aimee's Cervelo. We got this bike for her in preparation for the Half IM in West Virginia. She has already said how she feels her cycling has improved and she is ready to have a good bike segment on Sunday.

Enjoy and there will be a race report next week.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Watch This!

Friday, June 20, 2008

How much do you want to reveal?

When I train I have a very active mind. I lose myself in the run or ride and let my mind process the many thoughts I have stashed away. I try to push to the back things like work and think about my life and how it sometimes relates to triathlon.

Now I don't lose myself to much that I don't keep the purpose of my workout on track. Performing the workout in key to my training success.

Over the past two and a half years of this blog I have read other blogs and forum posts about how a person reveals themselves with triathlon. First is how a person handles the emotional roller coaster during a race and NOT revealing themself to the "race". Second is how a person may or may not reveal their true identify as a triathlete, especially an Ironman.

I have my own personal feelings about both topics but today I am writing about the first topic.

Revealing Yourself to the Race

With triathlon there are so many emotions that go into training and racing this sport. We may feel guilty that our training takes up so much time away from our lives. We may miss moments with family and friends that we will never get back. Parents with young children especially have it hard since the early years are the most magical in that young persons life.

As we train and race we also learn to deal with the psychological impact of training hard and pushing through barriers that we never thought to reach much less break through. All of this weighs heavily upon our shoulders, especially as the race distances increase resulting in longer training periods.

A triathlon often takes on a personae of it's own. We learn how to deal with adverse weather conditions, mechanical issues, competitors, fears and anxiety. Because the "race" has a personality we must be mindful of what we reveal to the "race" so that it does not know how we are feeling.

We want to enjoy the race but perhaps we shouldn't enjoy it too much. What if the "race" doesn't want us to be happy and suddenly increases the heat or causes a cramp in our side. We also don't want to show how poorly we are feeling. At the first sign of weakness the "race" may take advantage of the opportunity and inflict even more suffering upon our weakened bodies. And worst of all, revealing to the "race" that, "yeah I've got this in the bag, it's all downhill to the finish from here." Oh the "race" won't like that and the last mile(s) can soon turn into a walking and stumbling death march.

I am speaking to this "revealing" from experience at three different races.

The first Half IM I did was the Great Buckeye Challenge. Aimee and I were working with Coach Angela. This would be our first long course triathlon. This was entering new territory. But this was all about finishing. Time didn't matter. Just finish the race. And I did. Thinking back to the finish though I realize how I cheated myself of the accomplishment.

I was a bad ass long distance triathlete now. I was surrounded by friends who came down to watch Aimee and I race. Coach was there with her husband as well. I crossed the finish line as if I had been there before. I got some water and bent over on the ground to collect myself.

The emotions of what I had just accomplished were right at the top of my throat, but I didn't let them out. The event medics even came over to check on me because I knealed there on the ground trying to contain the emotions for such a long time they thought I was having problems.

I can't believe I robbed myself of that moment. Two years later, 2006, would be Ironman USA. I started this blog to capture my IM journey. IronWil was my inspiration for writing. I found the Kahuna/williamlobdell and Bolder/write2fight. We were all on similar IM journeys that would lift and inspire us in different ways. For IM USA I participated in the Janus Charity Challenge raising funds for Komen.

Talk about emotional baggage. Family, work, training....the trifecta. Raising money for charity.

I was reading books and forums about race strategy. Keeping yourself cool. It's a long day, don't waste your energy on emotion. Don't reveal yourself to the race....not until it's over and you are across that finish line. I was holding well at Lake Placid. That is until the second loop of the run. I passed the Inspiration Zone heading back to he finish. The announcer said my name and said I would finish. I almost lost it right there, but quickly brought myself back together because damn-it, I still had at least 6 miles to go. I wasn't across that finish line yet.

Get yourself're not done yet.....keep running. There will be time to celebrate later. And I soldiered on. Before I knew it I was on the Oval heading towards the finish line where I would hear Mike Riley say, "You are an Ironman."

Over the finish line into the waiting arms of two wonderful female catchers. I caught myself again not really knowing how to react. I had raised my arms up in triumph for the finishing photo, but now what. Somehow Andrew (son), Amanda (daughter) and Becky (sis-in-law) had snuck their way towards the finish line.

I went to them....hugged them all.........and cried. It was finally over and I had my release.

In 2007 I backed down the training and prepared for an early season Half IM at Racing for Recovery. This would be a flat and fast 70.3 miles. No hills. No IM preparation. All out, balls to the walls, leave it on the course racing. Training went perfect for this early June race. The Lake Erie water was even warm enough to go without a wetsuit.

I was severely focused on this race. Mentally ready to suffer and see how fast I could go for the distance. Having completed IM USA the year prior helped take any pressure off from being able to finish. This one was about being fast, not blowing up and crossing the finish line with a PR.

I was very much within myself during the entire race. I barely acknowledged Aimee or Coach Angela. Maybe a slight wave when I went by. Emotions were in check....all energy was being poured into the effort.

As I ran down the finishing chute I knew I had a good day. My watch validated that I had beat my previous Half IM times by 30 minutes. I was also 5 minutes faster than my prediction.

I didn't hold anything back this time either. I stood at the finish line and screamed out loud for everyone to hear. You would have thought I had just won it over-all and had money waiting for me. No.....I just had a different, joyous release for this race.

I don't know what type of finish's I will have this year. Spirit of Morgantown, a 70.3 distance race, is this weekend. I'm going all out for that one. Then Ironman Wisconsin in September. Laying it on the line there also.

No matter the outcome of these races I will learn something about myself and others. But the one thing that I have learned and want to pass on to others is to embrace, enjoy and celebrate the accomplishment of crossing that finish line, no matter what distance the race.

You will be doing yourself and those around you a disservice by not letting the world know how you feel. Because bottling it up will serve you no purpose, but letting it out may show someone else how much fun you have training and racing. You may even inspire someone to give it a "tri" themselves and experience the thrill of crossing the finish line.

Game On

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How to ride a bike and take video

Vegas Vacation

Aimee and I went to Las Vegas this past weekend to help our friends celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. We lost no money on have to play to lose. We didn't see any shows....wished we had. We did eat well and got in some light training. I'm posting some of my favorite pics from the weekend.

Aimee, Dave and Wendy (the happy couple) the first day in Vegas.

Pictures from the Bellagio

Eiffel Tower on the Strip

Our bike ride through, you guessed it, Red Rock Canyon.

More flowers in the lobby of the Mirage Hotel

Walking along the Lake Mead Railroad Trail.

Hanging out at the poolside cabana's as the happy couple kiss

Dave's dad finishing off a bottle of Grey Goose

Friday, June 06, 2008

Family and Friends Friday - Dan Van

Dan works with my wife, Aimee. A couple of years ago Dan wanted to get a little more serious about his running. Knowing that Aimee was a marathon finisher he started asking her questions, followed a training plan and signed up for the 2007 Marine Corp Marathon. He trained, he ran, he finished. In fact he finished his first marathon in 3:58:55. A wonderful way to start his marathoning career.

Not long after the marathon Dan didn't quite feel right. He knew something was off. Unlike some men who just shrug off the occasional weird feeling, Dan visited his doctor. Dan's doctor ordered a colon scope. Dan had early colon cancer.

Again I was saying to myself, "Why Dan". He takes care of himself, is one of the nicest guys I know, sometimes house sits for us because the dogs absolutely love him.

Then I thought good for Dan. How is this good for Dan? It's good because it could have been alot worse. Because Dan was running and taking care of himself he recognized the ever so slight difference between feeling good and being slightly off. Being that in tune with your body is what possibly saved his life.

Someone else might have let it go and they would now be facing certain death. But Dan only lost 12 inches of his colon and is training for his second marathon.

Because of Dan my perception of the company he and Aimee works for, ADA Architects, is solidified. I always knew it was filled with good people to work with/for. Dan was worried about his recovery and the extended time off from his duties. Instead the company owners put together a fair and generous package so that Dan would only have to worry about getting better.

Not only did Dan recovery from his surgery but was back at work in half the time the doctor said it would take. Dan was physically fit heading into surgery and his level of fitness allowed him to recover that much quicker.

So like I said Dan is training for a second marathon. I've included the text of an e-mail he sent out to friends.

Game On Dan.....GAME ON.

Spring is finally here, I for one, am happy to see winter go this year because for obvious reasons, it sucked! However, I consider myself lucky that I have gotten thru the cancer for the most part unscathed and feeling 150%. My experience gave me a small glance of how this disease can impact others. I believe there are many in the office that can attest to the impact that cancer has had on family members and friends and themselves. It is because of this that I have decided to dedicate this running season to raising money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation for cancer research. I have entered a marathon in Maine on October 19th, 2008 and hope to meet my donation goal by this time. So, I come to uncomfortable territory here, in asking you to donate some of your hard earned money to the foundation. Please follow the link below to my donation page and give what you can. Also, please forward the link to anyone else whom you think would like to make a donation and make sure you use the donation box in the middle of the page so it credits my donation goal.

Thanks in advanced and thank you again for all your kind words and support during this time,

Dan Van

Monday, June 02, 2008

Message to triathletes......

You can also view the inspiration for this sign at

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Bolder Boulder Race Report

Work and training has kept me very busy so I haven't had time to blog, especially posting my race report from the Bolder Boulder 10k. So without further delay here is the race report.

30th Bolder Boulder 10k

I am going to keep this to a race report instead of a complete recap of the entire weekend trip to Denver and Boulder. The only preface I want to provide is that Friday through Sunday were beautiful days despite the cooler than normal temperatures.

We ate at a very nice Italian restaurant with Bolder in Boulder as our pre-race meal. It was just what we wanted for the night before the big event. When we returned to the HABC we settled in for the night with good conversation and plenty of laughs. I hadn’t been sleeping that well all weekend but I was still feeling rested. Part way through the night I woke up to use the bathroom and I heard rain falling outside. The rain was constant until the early morning when we woke up around 5:00AM.

Breakfast consisted of half a bagel with peanut butter and Boost. I really didn’t need the Boost for a 10k but I drank it anyway since my stomach was used to this type of breakfast. The three of us left around 6:00AM for the race so we could find good parking for the short walk to the start. Walking to the starting area I was nervous but in a much different way than other races. My nerves were calmer and I didn’t have any butterflies. Being an “A” race I thought I would be much more nervous to run. Was it the atmosphere for the race? Was it being with Aimee and Bolder that kept me calm?

The start of the Bolder Boulder is done in waves……a lot of waves…..87 waves to be exact. There were people holding poles with the start waves similar to the pace groups of a marathon. I was in wave AB which is the third wave to go. Looking up the street it was impressive to see all the people. The race was expecting over 50,000 people for the day. I left Aimee and Bolder at the bag check while I waded through the masses to my start area. The first 23 waves you have to qualify for by submitting a previous race result. The security for these waves was very well organized. They were checking race bibs to make sure you belonged with the group.

For each start a trumpeter played the “Call to Post” with 30 seconds to go. Then Davis Phinney would say a few words to the group before he shot the starter pistol. At 7:01:50 we were on our way.

I was back further from the starting line than I wanted to be. I had to weave around quite a few people before I found good open space to run in. Once I made my way towards the front I was able to get a better stride going. The first mile has a downward grade. It’s one of those that you don’t notice but it definitely increases your speed. During this mile my left quad tightened up on me ever so slightly. I don’t know if it was a mild pull or some type of strain but I used the first mile to take a quick inventory, see what the quad wanted me to do and decide my course of action. I’ve never had this muscle tighten up on me like this so I really didn’t know what caused the issue. After crossing the timing mat for the first mile I knew the muscle would get me through to the finish. This race was going to be a test of pain management.

Despite the profile of the race course, the uphills were not as bad as I thought. Sure there were some visible inclines but nothing that lasted too long or couldn’t be handled with extra helping of leg muscles. One aspect of the Bolder Boulder that helps you make it through the streets of Boulder is the on course entertainment. There were 30 bands, musicians, entertainers and front yards that provided distraction for the 50,000+ runners that would pass by during the day. I saw the Blues Brothers, Elvis, an 80’s garage band blasting their neighborhood, belly dancers (something I wish I hadn’t seen) and cheerleaders. I heard some bad karaoke and people saying “you’re almost there” with 4 miles to go.

Back to my race, I was running strong. The effort felt right as I was pushing hard for such a short distance race. I never looked at my watch but marked the splits when I passed each mile marker. Each mile that ticked by was the only indication of where I was. Not knowing the streets was a possible benefit that allowed me to just keep running. When I reached mile three I was half way done. I knew my pace was still good and it was something that I could keep until the finish.

At mile 4 was the first of two sharp uphills. I powered my way up the hill and through the aid station at the top. The volunteers at this aid station were not handing out the cups but were standing behind the tables filled with cups. I ran along the tables until I spotted the Gatorade I wanted and snagged it from the table. Since the volunteers were not handing out the cups they were able to cheer very loudly for us runners as we went by. Separated by only the table, their cheering surged through me and I felt the extra boost of energy as I crested the hill. I used the adrenaline rush to begin the downhill push towards the center of Boulder.

Bolder had told me that between miles 4 and 5 the street would have a slight downhill grade that would help with the pace. As I rounded the corner onto Pearl Street I tried to shoot the gap between two runners. They squeezed together just as I increased my speed. This was the only time I made contact with another runner. I backed off briefly until they separated again and made my move. I pushed down the street until we made several turns and crossed the 5 mile timing mats.

During mile 6 is where I started to really feel the fatigue but I was still in control of my race and kept a good pace as the course headed towards Folsom Stadium on the campus of Colorado University. Looming ahead was the second short uphill that dropped us into the stadium. What a cruel place to put an uphill so late in the race, but the benefit of finishing inside the stadium was worth it. I powered up the hill surrounded by runners from my wave and the wave before me and we all entered the stadium for the final lap to the finish line. I stopped my watch after crossing the finish line and tried to compose myself as quickly as possible. The finish line volunteers were trying to move people through the area quickly and I tried to oblige in between grabbing my knees for air. I finally was able to look at my watch and saw 40:13. I missed my goal of being sub 40 by approximately 13 seconds. I was immediately happy with my race. I ran hard and solid on a tough course. I left everything I had on the roads of Boulder except my breakfast. My actual chip time was 40:06, so I missed my goal by 7 seconds.

There are several people I have to thank for such a great run: Aimee for believing in me and reminding me to keep my arms down and loose, Jeff for telling me to stop scuffing my feet on the ground when my foot lands, especially when I’m tired, Coach Angela for getting me ready with some great workouts leading up to the race, Bolder for providing insight into the race course and accommodations while in Boulder. When everything is combined together it made for a great weekend in Colorado and a race to remember.