Monday, June 22, 2009

Push the mind.....

....and the body will follow. (PTMATBWF)

My tri buddy Eric B. sent me that message as I drove down to southern Ohio for the Triple T. It served me well on the last day during the half marathon. When I returned home I sent him a message asking where he found this saying.

His very modest answer, "I did." I did a google search of the phrase and sure enough, there were several hits of topics close to the phrase but none exact. Eric's phrasing is perfect in my opinion.

I pushed him further as to where the phrase came from. He had been reading a book about the Navy SEALS when it came to him. To be a good soldier, especially at that level, one must be prepared to go above and beyond. To be a great soldier (armed forces special forces like Delta, Rangers and SEALs) may require a soldier to push so hard that the outcome is one of two: completion of the mission or die trying.

Okay, I know this is a little extreme for triathlon or any other sport but let's take it in perspective. Many athletic events are all about pushing ones self to the limits or reaching personal goals. No where is this more evident than triathlon and running.

Look at these two pictures....stern concentration and determination on their faces.

I'll also include cycling because I have a personal bias towards it even though it does not receive the mainstream recognition since Lance Armstrong retired. But there is something to be said about riding 100 miles in one day, especially when most people can't imagine driving that far in a car.

Even in professional sports I can appreciate the talent the top athletes display and they do push themselves damn hard, but the industry is so tainted with drugs and thugs that I can barely stand watching any of that shit. There is something to be said for real athletes who push themselves to the edge for pride and honor instead of the big paycheck. "Pay me mo' money because I am that good" F' you all you spoiled little prissy

Give me an age grouper who pukes his guts out after an Olympic triathlon on Sunday then goes to his office job on Monday with nothing but a pat on the back and a sense of fulfillment in his heart. I will also cheer louder for the back of the pack runner who is completing their first 5k, 10k, half or full marathon. They have won over my respect.

Okay.....time to pull it back now. Just had to get that out a little......damn pretty boy Favre needs to STAY retired......bit so that I can get back to writing about.......and tell Manny to grow up, damn finger nail biting, dread lock wearing Marley wanna be who actually looks like a Predator.....pushing the mind.

So a couple of weeks ago Aimee and I attended an event where Ray Zahab spoke. Ray was one of the runners in Running the Sahara. I wasn't quite sure what to expect but he was an excellent speaker. At first I thought he was just going to tell us about his wild and crazy adventures, but he tied everything together with a purpose and lessons learned.

I realized, "Well try running across the Sahara or Antarctica and see if you can't learn something about yourself or the others around you." Talk about pushing your mind. This guy had to fight two occurrences of dysentery, sand storms, blisters, high heat and dehydration with no rest days. Across the Sahara they were out there for 100

Push that!

Now hang onto your pants....I'm finally going to tie it all together myself with the help of Ray.

His most memorable quote...........

"Running is 90% mental, the rest is all in your head."

Push the mind....and the body will follow.

The mind is a powerful tool. You take it with you where ever you go. Do not listen or believe what you body or anyone else is telling you, especially if the word "can't" is involved.

Thanks to Cyndi and Eric for "pushing" me to write this post. Sometimes I just need a little help from my friends.

Game On.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Just a typical weekend

Around our house summer weekends involve training, especially when it will eventually benefit racing a Half IM triathlon. Next on our schedule is The Dam Tri and then Musselman Half. The big race is Musselman. The Dam Tri is a training day.

So this weekend I used as an overload weekend. Friday was to be a morning run followed by a brick workout with the EvoTri teens with my best tri chicka TriSaraTops. Unfortunately the morning rain was not helping the matter and we had to cancel.

I did manage to get a run in after work. I went to Findley State Park and ran the 8 mile mountain bike trail. It was a great end to the week and allowed me to clear my head. I also came up with an idea for my next big endurance event. Lot's of options so I had, and still have, time to figure it out completely.

Being a late day run I knew my legs would be tired come Saturday morning, brick day. But the Cleveland weather wasn't playing nice again. Rain was falling at a steady pace and riding outside was not an option. So Aimee and I set up the trainers in the garage and picked a good workout.

2 hours on the bike consisting of:

4 x 8 minutes at 90 - 100 RPM - good intensity followed by 7 minutes off.

6 x 2 minutes big gears standing....climbing - 3 minutes off.

After 1:45 of riding I got off and went out for a ride on my road bike. The rain had stopped and I could do my final hour on the road. Back at home I finished with a 3 mile run. It was a good 3.5 hour brick.

As much as we didn't want to ride on the trainer I am glad we did. Having a specific goal in mind and executing it can reap more benefit that just going out for a ride unless you have the discipline to do the workout on the road.

After the brick we showered and ate lunch. Aimee was making goodies for fathers day picnic as her dad's house. I fell asleep on the couch....HARD. I was out like a light.

When I woke up it was Aimee's turn to nap and I put some laundry away and did some miscellaneous things around the house.

After dinner we got our crap together for Sundays events.

  • Half marathon run
  • Post run breakfast
  • Dads day picnic at her dads

  • Half Marathon Run
  • Golf with my dad and son
  • Dads day cook-out at our house.
The Half Marathon was an opportunity to run some great miles with friends and be fully supported by a local race director. I ran with Jason, Liz and Larry. We had a great time with fn conversation. We were almost having too much fun. Jason and I crossed the finish line with the clock showing just over 1:50. We both wanted to run some slower miles and after the Friday/Saturday combo my legs weren't going to carry me much faster.

The most enjoyable moment of the day was watching our friend Kim complete her first half marathon. She was putting in the time and each time I saw her she looked like she was enjoying herself. After the race we were talking and I told her how proud I was of her.

Kim unfortunately was laid off several weeks ago. It's been rough for her dealing with it as I could only imagine. She told me that running has helped her deal with the feelings of anxiety that accompanies stress like this.

I was glad to hear that her running was helping so much. I know I feel better after a good workout.

For the rest of the day I had a great time with my dad and son golfing. It was my first time out for the year and I played okay. Back at my house I prepped the burgers for the cook-out and waited for my parents and brother to arrive. We had a great time eating, drinking and talking.

As tired as I am it has been a great weekend.

Recovery day tomorrow includes a visit to the witch doctor for some accupuncture.

Game On.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday at Last

Yeah, it's been one of those weeks and reading through my bloglines I see others have had hard weeks as well. But somehow they found some time to post something.

Me? I got nothing. I mean I have stuff I want to post about......I just don't have it in me to post about it.

Some of my tri-buddies rocked it at the Racing for Recovery half IM in Munroe, MI last weekend. EB and MD had good solid races.

PTMATBWF - EB knows what this is all about and I do want to dedicate a post to it.

Last night Aimee and I listened to Ray Zahab talk. He is one of the runners from Running the Sahara. Going into this speaking event indifferent, meaning I didn't care if we went or not, I came out of it with a better attitude. He is a great speaker and has great purpose to his life. Something for people to think about at many levels. That deserves a post of it's own.

What's coming up....Andrew graduating from Ohio University Saturday...father's day....The Dam Tri.....Musselman Double Mussel. Just all sorts of fun summer shit.

Maybe this little brain dump has helped, hard to say.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Send some love to Tri Diesel. He's gonna get his Game On at the Wendy's International Sprint tri. It's his first. I'm excited for him and can't wait to hear about his experience.

Another triathlete is born out of the blood, sweat and tears of personal sacrifice and effort.


Sunday, June 07, 2009

Triple T - Summary

First I want to say thanks for waiting patiently for the entire race report series. Work since Memorial Day weekend has kept me very busy. We also traveled to San Diego to watch my sis-in-law run her first marathon at the Rock 'n Roll Marathon.

But I did want to post a Triple T summary.

I loved this race. We have already put next years race on the calendar.

I had so much fun at this race. Talking with people. Sharing experiences. Making new friends.

Race it like an Ironman. Next year I want to push it a little harder.

Race nutrition on the run is very important. This is where I blew up at both IM races and I was rock solid at Triple T, especially during the half marathon. I took in 5 gels during the run and felt great. During my IM marathons I fell off my gel schedule and paid for it. I finally have it down.

Here is a summary of my run splits from races 2, 3 and 4.

Race #2

Race #3

Race 4

Loop 1

Race 4

Loop 2





























I'm very happy with how I kept enough in the tank where I could improve my splits day to day, especially the final 2.5 miles.

I can't do this without alot of help and support. Aimee is the best in her support of what I do. She gets it and understands why I do this, partly because she does this insanity as well.

Bike Authority. Their bike support has always been top notch and my bike is always in working order. I do alot of maintenance on my own but their expertise helps fill in the gaps.

Flashpoint Wheels. I have raced many times with the FP 60's and they are rock solid. They spin up so fast and I know the wheels helped with some super fast downhills.

My Snakebite teammates who encourage each other for races and training.

Next big race is the Musselman Sprint and Half IM in July.

Time to get my training Game back On.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Triple T - Race #4

Sunday May 24, 2009

Race #4 – Half-Iron Distance
1.2 mile swim – 55.5 mile bike –13.1 mile run

Saturday nights sleep was anything but. It was 11:30PM when I think I actually fell asleep. After that it was a very restless sleep. Before bed we had been listening to some music from Aimee’s iPod. The Humpty Dance by Digital Underground would not leave my brain. “The Humpty dance is your chance doin’ the hump”. Or “the sounds laid down by the Underground.”

My brain just wouldn’t shut down. When the alarm went off at 5AM I wasn’t ready to move. That is when “it” entered my brain. My tri-buddy Eric B. had sent me a text on Friday; “Push the Mind and the Body will follow.” This would be my mantra for the final day of racing. Hell, it helped me get my tired ass out of bed.

Trying to get ready, my stomach felt unsettled from lack of sleep and weird eating habits for the weekend. I took in my pre-race calories and managed a bowel movement. That helped ease the butterflies or whatever was in my stomach.

We both prepped for the long morning ahead of us. Aimee was going to run the course loop with Linda while Mark and I were on the bike. We both needed fluids and fuel for the day.

We slowly made our way over to transition with everyone else. People were moving a little slower this morning but I wasn’t letting it keep me down. I was excited to see Big Country again. He always had some great last minute advice for each race. For this one he recommended chapstick on the rims of my wheels. Give them a nice shiny look. Don’t worry about them stopping, better to look good.

While we were on the beach waiting for the start of the race the Michigan State Triathlon Team was getting psyched up. They had 14 athletes down for the weekend either doing the race as two person teams or solo. They did their chant and was quickly reminded they were in Ohio by some Buckeye fans. O-H someone yelled, I-O was the response.

We started lining up for our final triathlon of the weekend. We hit the water and started the 1.2 mile swim. I immediately got going pretty good from the start. I focused on long, gliding strokes and good form. Half way through the out portion of the first loop I knew I needed to sight soon for the next marker. Just as I was about to look up my hand entered the water and ran right into the buoy marker.

I recovered from that little mishap and continued on my way. I was moving through the previous swimmers nicely and keeping a great pace. A couple of times I was able to draft behind or next to another swimmer. Not sure what benefit it provided but I was able to keep a good line around the loop. During the second loop I picked up the pace and changed to my race pace breathing; three breaths right then alternate to the left side for three breaths.

I came out of the water leading a group of swimmers and headed to transition.

Swim time 31:34.

How much can you say about your fourth swim-bike transition of the weekend? If you don’t have it down by now you’re doing something wrong. I ran out of transition and jumped on my bike for a nice double loop ride through the Shawnee State Forest.

T1 1:42

The bike course for the half-iron race is the most beautiful course I have ever been on. The fire roads were smooth. The tree cover plentiful and green. Switchback climbs that reminds one of the Tour de France. Of course the climbs were countered by wonderful sweeping downhill runs. There were a couple of curves that were pretty sharp and had to be taken slowly.

I saw several teams and working hard. I was riding with several others when we were caught by a large group of them. As I sat on the back end of the group I looked at the group in matching jerseys. I felt like we were Team USA out for a training ride. It was actually a very cool site to see.

I was riding a majority of the second loop with Clemens. He was with the group from Michigan State. But his Austrian accent was fun to listen to while we climbed the hills. He would pass me on the uphill and I would pass him on the downhill. I finally told him that if he put some meat on his bones he could descend faster. It was fun chatting with him at times during the ride.

The team aspect of this race became very evident during this final day. I saw teams suffering with one person doing better than the other or both slowing down on the bike. On the second loop I caught a team I saw earlier and the second person was struggling. His partner was further up the hill and looking strong. As I passed the weaker partner he saw me out of the corner of his eye and said, “shit”.

I was feeling great during both loops of the bike. I had one bottle of Perpetuem and one bottle of Gatorade for each loop. I also had a fruit smoothie Powerbar to munch on during the ride. My stomach was feeling a little jammed up during the second loop so I favored the Gatorade more than Perpetuem. By the time I made it back to transition the stomach was feeling better and I was ready to run.

Bike time: 3:06:31

T2 was completed in 51 seconds. I already had on my race belt with 4 PowerGels so all I needed was my running shoes and hat.

T2 - 51 seconds

The half marathon would be a double loop of the same course we ran on Saturday. The race description say, “by now you with either love it or hate it”. I was in love with the run course since Saturday morning. The trail running was challenging but much more enjoyable than running on a road.

Heading out of transition I started chatting with Luther. He is the stronger of the two team members I mentioned from the bike. He was looking behind for his partner, you know….the one who said “shit” on the bike. Luther was really cool though. As a Clydesdale he was all muscle. I wouldn’t want to meet him in a dark alley that’s for sure. I forged on as he continued to wait.

I made sure my pace was conservative and fairly easy. I was happy with the splits and I felt great. I was drinking only water at each aid station to help absorb the PowerGels and keep things moving in the gut. The aid stations had ice to cool us off. I was dumping the cubes down my jersey and pouring cold water down my back.

At the far turn around of loop one I grabbed a zip-lock bag filled with ice. The bag would sit inside my jersey and cool off my chest. The ice cubes were little tubes. I clenched a round cube between my teeth and with each breath a cool rush of air filled my mouth, along with some melting water. It may have looked weird but it felt pretty good.

On my way back I started seeing friends and offered words of encouragement. Big Country was the first friend I saw and he was about one mile behind me. I wasn’t sure if he would catch me so we could finish together like in race #2.

Once I hit the top of the large climb returning from the farthest point of the course, I increased the pace. From mile 4 to the transition area it is primarily downhill with some small rollers.

I settled into my downhill stride pattern of short quick steps. This really saved the quads and helped with a quick pace. I cruised back to the finish area where I refueled and reloaded my zip-lock bag with ice. I grabbed a banana HammerGel for some variety. I would sip on the gel until I reached the first aid station.

I headed back out feeling great and thrilled to see Aimee and Linda cheering for us. On the way out for loop two I kept the pace steady and cheered for more friends, both old and new. A simple slap of the hand can offer so much encouragement for each other. I don’t mind sharing the energy with friends.

The uphill sections this time had me walking a couple of times. I used my race mantra, “push the mind and the body will follow”, to get me going again after these short breaks. Essentially I was telling myself to get up that hill so I could run the downhill side. I also focused on the 5 feet in front of me so that I wouldn’t get discouraged by the distance I still had to cover to reach the crest.

Each time I saw the Hammering Half-Pints, Kaylyn and Morena, I tried to throw a funny comment at them but they really didn’t need the laughs because each time I saw them there were smiles already on their faces.

After going through the turn around I made my way up the final long climb. I just needed to make it to the top. Just past the top was mile marker 4. It was at this point I thought of another tri-buddy Mark D. He had written a race report where he pushed the final 5k of a sprint tri by reminding himself that “I can do anything for 20 minutes.”

I calculated that at an 8 minute pace I would cover the final 2.5 miles in 20 minutes. So at mile marker 4 I put down the hammer and decided to leave it all on the course. I just covered 138 miles of swim, bike and run. I can push out a hard 2.5 miles to the finish line.

So I pushed my mind and sure enough my body followed. I was passing people and pushing the rollers. At the last aid station I yelled for water and two people ahead of me jumped out of my way. I didn’t mean to startle anyone but it sure did clear the way for me to grab a final water without slowing down.

At about the half mile mark the trail turns to asphalt and you know the end is near. I tried to stay loose and keep the pace high, if not faster. I knew my pace was pretty quick since my calves were starting to scream at me and wanted to cramp up. Didn’t matter, they would have to suffer until I crossed the finish line.

Run – 1:50:23

Race #4 finish time – 5:30:59

Overall accumulated time – 11:12:54

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Triple T - Race #3

Saturday May 23, 2009

Race #3 – Olympic Distance
24.8 mile bike – 1500m swim – 6.55 mile run

There is nothing quite like a 5 hour rest before your next Olympic distance race. I’m still not convinced that the 45 minute nap was beneficial because it was so hard to wake up from.

I decided to ride my bike to the race venue 1 mile away. It would allow my legs to loosen up before the race. This was important since this afternoon race started with the bike leg. Yeah, it was kind of different but also interesting.

So we started in the same manner as the swim starts, two people leaving transition at 5 second intervals. This helped spread out the bike on the road.

The bike course is a simple out and back along SR 125; easy to follow, hard to ride. The difficulty of the ride is due to the two significant climbs. Of course those downhills were pretty fast too.

On the first downhill I was riding near a couple of two person teams. I was trailing the group and watching the road when I noticed the front wheel of one guy start shaking. He was off to my right so I wasn’t directly behind him. It didn’t look good. Here we are going at least 30MPH and he’s going to bite it right in front of me. Somehow he managed to stabilize the wheel and regain control. I glided past him and told him he had a good recovery. He just smiled at me because he knew how close it was to being a bad situation.

On the second downhill I was again riding behind a guy who was being a little too cautious and I was forced to stay behind him. I didn’t like being behind him but I just couldn’t tell what he would do next. Unfortunately it forced another rider to go around us and cross the double yellow line. I hated that he was forced to do it but I didn’t blame him either.

The flat section to the turn around was wet from a small burst of rain. It would be the only rain during my race. Heading back from the turnaround was pretty uneventful. The return uphills were long and allowed me to watch the final competitors attack the downhill themselves. During the final miles to the park I spotted a German Shepard strolling down the road. He was on the other side of the road just trotting along totally ignoring the cyclists zipping by.

Reviewing the computer again I reached a max of 43.5 MPH this time. Some people post race said they hit 50MPH. I never look at the speed during the downhills. First the road deserves your complete attention. Things are moving so fast you must remain on target for traffic, other riders, animals, potholes, etc. Second, I just don’t want to know how fast I’m going right before I crash. Ignore the speed and the fear of crashing never enters my mind until after the race.

Bike time 1:16:37

Back in transition I had to deal with something new putting on my wetsuit. Usually putting the wetsuit on is no problem, but with sweaty legs it can be a little tough to slip it on. I heard that the trick is to use plastic bags on your feet. I had grabbed some produce bags at the grocery store. I slipped the bags on my feet and they slid right through the legs. I worked the wetsuit the rest of the way up and headed toward the beach.

T1 time 3:39

Big Country said that he was cramping during this swim last year. With the legs full of blood from the bike and the cold lake water I could see why. I don’t kick that much with my legs anyways so I mainly pulled myself through the swim. Two loops in the lake with no issues at all. I did start kicking my legs near the end of the swim to get them ready for the run portion of the race. Overall I kept a great rhythm and pace throughout the swim.

Swim time 27:15

Swim to run transition was easy. Strip off the wetsuit and put on a second pair of socks then running shoes. I grabbed my hat and was gone. Each time I left transition I felt like I was forgetting something. Despite the feelings, I always had what I wanted and had clean transitions.

T2 time 1:32

As with the morning race I left transition under control. I made sure the pace felt easy and slow. I would still have 13.1 miles to run the next day, after running another 6.5 with this race. I had a PowerGel with me and started taking it during the first mile. I would wash it down with water at the first aid station.

Once again I was making sure to grab a lot of water or Heed at each aid station. They hydration was so important with these races. The hills on the way out were handled at a controlled pace making sure not to jack the heart rate to high.

After the turnaround I started to notice some people having difficulties. As I was going up the hill I saw once guy dealing with a bad hamstring cramp. He would hobble a couple yards then stop with his hand on his leg. Going downhill wasn’t helping him either. Near the top of the hill I saw another guy walking into the woods. As I passed him he threw up a large amount of fluid. His stomach must have been shutting down and was jammed up with solids or too many calories. I’m sure he felt better with the relief of a full stomach.

Shortly after seeing Mr. Puker, I crested the hill and reached mile 4. Remember that the final 2.5 miles is predominantly downhill from here with some short uphill rollers. I settled into a great downhill stride with short quick steps. The shorter stride helps save the quads and keeps the pace fast. Even on the flat portions I kept the stride the same and was really moving. I just wanted to keep the pace steady and finish with some left in the tank for Sunday.

Run time 51:54
Run splits

Race time 2:39:54

Mark and I after race #3

I cooled down with some food and talk with Aimee and friends. I put my name down for a 15 minute massage with Wendy the same girl who worked on me in the morning. What I didn’t know was the person in front of me was going for 60 minutes. I sent Aimee back to the campground so she could shower and eat for herself. I would ride my bike back to the campground 1 mile away.

Back at the campground I ate again with Aimee before hitting the showers. After eating I finally walked to the shower house to get cleaned up. I couldn’t believe it was 8PM and I was finally showering after having finished around 5:30PM. Imagine my surprise when I got to the showers and two other racers were showering and another walked in behind me.

I chatted with the guy behind me and we mentioned how beautiful the bike course was. It reminded us both of areas where we train, me around Cleveland and him about LaCrosse, WI. Turns out Hewbie has been in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and knows my friend and local race director Mickey. What a wonderful small world this is.

After my shower and back at the campsite we sacked out for the night. One more race to go and this would be the longest.