Friday, December 31, 2010

A Rewarding Year

Happy New Year Everyone.

Tri season is over....has been over.... since September....after the HalfRev at Cedar Point. You just can't swim open water around here after September. The water was just getting too cold. In fact it's frozen over. I have never seen Lake Erie freeze up this early in winter.

The off season was in full swing after the HalfRev. It was time to shift focus to other things. Relaxing, recharging, work. Work kept me busy in October and November. I also got my tat' so I couldn't swim for two weeks.

As I close out 2010 I find myself at a perfect place to transition to a new racing season. Aimee and I have signed up for a half marathon at the end of March that I must train for. I have some specific goals in mind so this training will get interesting.....more to follow on that.

But first I must follow suit of several other bloggers out there with a recap of the past year.

I don't have very many numbers to throw out here. Since I left Coach Angela I haven't been keeping track of my workouts in the true sense of the word. I usually have a plan and I execute it. I got the workouts done then moved forward. I have never really been one to compare workouts or do any in depth analysis of previous workouts.

I get it done and move on..and try to push it harder and faster the next time.

I swam some yards. This was my best swimming year to date. I was at the top of my game during workouts and races. I saw my 100 times drop which resulted in faster race times.

I ran many miles. Enough miles to get me through the distances. I am definitely lacking in speed right now. Something that needs to be worked on.

I also rode for hours, which leads to miles. I was most dissatisfied with my bike this year. I didn't have the power or speed compared to past years. This is another area which I plan on improving over the winter so that I have a very good base heading into the spring.

Now to talk about what I really remember from this past year.

As my post title suggests I have one word to describe the 2010 racing season.....Rewarding.

The rewards from this past season have come in many forms. Let us take a walk through the year as I share my thoughts.

Project Ironman
By the time January rolled around Aimee and I were already two months into her Ironman training program. We decided to use our collective knowledge and the book "Training Plans for Multisport Athletes" to get her ready for Ironman St. George.

We were figuring out the workouts and executing them together. I was using the same training plan to get me ready for the Ohio Triple T.

Being her coach, advisor, team director, travel agent, mechanic, cook, etc. was quite fulfilling. I wanted to make sure that her only task was to cross the finish line. I tried to take all the other worries off her plate.

Watching her cross the finish line was more rewarding than I can describe.

Helping friends.
Isn't that what friends are for? Not only receiving help from our friends but also providing help ....and letting them know you are there for them. I talked with so many people this year about training plans, nutrition, equipment, race strategy and many other things.

We met some great people leading up to and at Ironman St. George. Many of them were first timers and I tried to help them along with motivation and encouragement. And lasting friendships have been born from that day.

There were people who were training for their very first sprint tri. And there were also experienced athletes going long at their first half or full distance races.

I feel that the most important way I helped my friends was by just listening. I was hearing about their fears, worries, concerns. Can I do this? Why am I doing this? Should I do this? Should I do that? What should I eat? With some of them I knew they would cross the finish line and I just needed to boost their confidence. Others were lacking in their confidence and didn't only need a boost but a big shot of confidence injected into their soul. Everyone received positive energy from us, because when it comes down to is just plain doable. Anything is doable. And my number one job was to make sure they felt it was doable.

Mary did her first sprint triathlon. She borrowed Aimee's road bike and we helped her get comfortable on it. I even watched her take a tumble off it and get right back on. We offered some advice and assistance with her open water swimming. She made it across the finish line with no problems.

Patty, Jason and Ken had successful days at Musselman. Mike, Ken, Tiffany, Janet and many others completed their full distance race at the FullRev at Cedar Point. Rachel had a good second season in triathlon.

And everyone who I am referring to above crossed their finish lines. Some may have had some injuries but I still feel that their seasons were a success.

A new friend whom Aimee and I helped out was Adam O'Meara. Adam is a second year pro triathlete who came in for the FullRev at Cedar Point. We played host family for him during his visit to Ohio. I was racing the HalfRev but I was happy to help him get situated and ready to race. Seeing him during and after the race was awesome. He is a budding pro that I will enjoy watching race in the future.

TriSaraTops and I went on course for the Cleveland Marathon to help cheer for everyone participating. We were trying to follow the lead of Steve in a Speedo but we couldn't find any good farm animal costumes. However, we were able to find killer Bert and Ernie costumes.

We had a blast cheering for people and calling their names even though they didn't know who we were. We burned as many calories as the runners and had our picture taken with quite a few people.

Aimee and I volunteered at two races this year. The Greater Cleveland Triathlon and the Burning River 100.

Mickey is the race director of the GCT and more importantly a friend. I have only raced his event once but we have always provided volunteers made up of SnakeBite athletes. You can read about our volunteering in a previous post...GCT Volunteer Report.

One of our running friends Elizabeth was an aid station captain for the Burning River 100. Another worthwhile day helping others reach their goals. I think my original post conveys the message well.....Burning River 100 Volunteer Report.

Snakebite Racing
2010 was the most successful year for Snakebite Racing on the multi-sport scene. We brought on board approximately 10 additional athletes to represent the team and our sponsors. If we didn't have someone on the overall podium, we had people winning their age groups. At some of the awards ceremonies I loved seeing all of the hardware my teammates were collecting.

Of course the support of the SBR sponsors is much appreciated throughout the year. Go over to the team website and check out links to our sponsors.

SnakeBite Racing


I have mentioned before that I have been cross training with CrossFit. At the beginning of the year I was at Crossfit Cleveland West with Bill and Stacy. Just walking into the gym was motivating. I enjoyed getting pushed and helping push others to reach new levels of fitness. I backed off during tri season because I needed to be "fresher" for my races.

Near the end of the summer Kate, an elite crossfitter and certified coach, opened her own box (gym). I hated to leave Bill and Stacy's box. But when Kate's box was opening right around the corner from our house I had to follow her, no brainer.

I excitedly helped Kate get the space ready for business. Some painting, cleaning, and building made me happy to help this new business owner. Aimee and I have both helped in different ways with Coca Crossfit and Kate has helped us fill in some gaps with our training. You will be hearing more about Kate later.


When I was first writing this post I started thinking how arrogant it sounded. Hey everyone....look what I did. I'M AWESOME!

But in actuality this is my freakin' blog and I can write whatever the hell I want. But seriously there are two reasons for writing this.

First, when I am 80 years old, provided I can still find my blog, and my grandson is reading me some of my old posts...I can remember what I did in 2010 and have happy thoughts.

Ow..OW..OW! I just realized in 40 years it will be 2050.....OW!!!!!

Second, maybe this post will inspire someone to follow a dream, get up off the couch, volunteer, help it forward.

I raise a glass with my friends to a wonderful 2010 and a prosperous 2011.

Game On.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Word Bike

In lieu of a real post about something meaningful, probably in the near future, I want everyone to become real familiar with all the parts of a bicycle.

I pulled this image from The Bicycle is Art. Cool stuff.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Give Thanks Every Day

I'm trying to figure out what has happened over the years....the years between childhood and adulthood. The holiday season, these wonderful months between Halloween and New Years, has changed for me over the past 20-some years, but I'm sure it's not just me.

As I was growing up I remember Thanksgiving and Christmas were supposed to be days when you spent time with family and friends....period. Work was something that stopped on these days. Gas stations, restaurants, and stores would be closed. CLOSED. The only people who would be working were police, fire and rescue personnel, and we were thankful for them being there.

But over the years I have become frustrated with the commercialism of the holidays. The non-stop attitude of business. Black Friday. Stores open 24 hours or opening really early for some "great" deals. I certainly realize that we have become a 24/7 world. And Thanksgiving Day is an American holiday, so the rest of the world doesn't stop on Turkey Day.

Unfortunately I occasionally fall into the trappings of holiday work. I have customers that can only perform work during holiday shutdowns.

Today was one of those days. Now before you throw out a saying like "you poor thing" or "that sucks" hear me out. I signed up for this job knowing this would be part of my work. I've known about this for a couple of months. There was no way around it. It's my job.

So save the pity party.....that's not what I am looking for.

But I do want to share some of the thoughts I have had today as I flew to North Carolina and then drove to Virginia.

Thankful thoughts. Things I sometimes take for granted on a daily basis. Just a few that really popped in my brain today.

I have a job. I'm thankful that I have a job. There are so many people who are struggling due to the economic downturn....I'm glad to have a job. One that allows me to live comfortably, challenge me with projects, meet many people, help businesses run successfully, provide for my family, support my endeavors in athletics (triathlon, running, cycling, etc), travel around and possibly soon outside the USA. So I don't mind needing to work the occasional holiday.

Friends. Simple things like a quick phone call, short text message, an e-mail, blog comment or message on Facebook. Simple actions that help a person feel a sense of belonging and connection with those around us.

How are you? We haven't talked in a while. Let's go for a run.

It doesn't take much but it makes me thankful for the friends that I have.

Family. Everyone in my family understands my job and what it involves. We miss each other but also know it's not a permanent thing we have to deal with. My parents have always been highly supportive for everyone in the family. And during my 43 years of life their support has never diminished. Andrew and Amanda have made me proud as they continue to grow and develop into wonderful adults. I'm thankful for the choices they have made and how well they are doing now.

Most of all I am thankful for Aimee. She has been a solid foundation upon which I have continued to build my life. Each time I leave for a trip I know she will be there waiting for me at home. I'm thankful for the strength she has provided me during my struggles through work, triathlon, raising two great kids and just life in general.

So you see. I'm a little bummed about working on Thanksgiving. But I know what I am thankful for because of it.

Game On my friends.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Worlds apart....kind of

One of my excuses for not blogging, or not feeling like blogging, is that I have been traveling quite a bit for work. It's part of my job and I don't travel that often but sometimes when I do it's all piled up at once.

August was Philadelphia and Joliet, IL.
September was Chicago after the Rev3 race.
October was Detroit and Atlanta
November so far has been California and Detroit.

Currently I am in Southern Virginia. Danville. Go ahead, look it up. Despite being close to no where it is still a nice city.

So this morning Aimee and I got together with TriSaraTops for one hour of trail running. It was a little on the cool side with some drizzle. The temp was hovering around 50 degrees. We still managed to pull off a good run in t-shirt and shorts.

Aimee and I got home so I could shower before heading to the airport. My bags were packed the night before so I was good to go. So after an hour of being home I drove to the airport to catch my flight to Raleigh.

I arrived in Danville late afternoon and knew I still had some daylight to hit the Danville Riverwalk Trail. I had run this trail before and today would be my only opportunity to run during daylight hours.

At the hotel I noticed a flyer for the Bright Leaf Brew Fest on November 13th. Yep, just missed it. Where I was staying was also the host hotel.

Then as I was running on the trail I noticed signs for the Danville Half Marathon and 8K on November 13th. Yep, just missed that one also.

Regardless is was a great day for a two-fer. A very nice run with Aimee and one of my favorite chicks, then traveling 500 miles for run number two under blue skies and temperatures about 20 degrees warmer.

It's easy to get discouraged by the travel. It sucks being away from Aimee and family and friends and the normalcy of home. But I try to make the best of my travel situations.

I have run trails in the Kennesaw National Battlefield Park (Georgia), Chino Hills State Park (California), and the Danville Riverwalk Trail (Virginia) all in the span of three weeks.

Maybe it's not so bad after all.

Game On my friends.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it.

Four days. Have you ever kept awesome news quiet for four days? It's not easy. Especially if it's something that no one would ever expect. I've been quietly wondering when to spill the beans.

I mean it was a personal choice. I thought about it for a very long time. Like four years long time.

The decision would be permanent.'s not anything like LeBron's "Decision". I've made other permanent decisions in much less time. But this one needed to be just right. Many options went through my head. I would think about it, then set it aside to be brought up at a later date.

Wow this was hard. When I did make up my mind I wasn't sure about sharing it. I kept remembering that it was a personal thing. Do I need to share it with everyone? Would people really care? I looked around at my friends and thought...yeah...they would want to know. And I'm a pretty open type of guy. I don't hold much back if people ask. I threw one little hint out there and no one picked up on it.

Now that I have given you the run around. Now that I have teased you enough.....

.....maybe I do sound like LeBron.....without the hour long show........

just keep scrolling down

and down.............

and down.........................

I am so fucking excited.....................

TA DA..................

Yeah...I know. You're jealous. As my Crossfit Coach says, "I have ink envy."

Don't hate me because it's awesome. Hate me because I did it first.......AND it's awesome.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Same old sh!t

Well the title of this post could mean many different things.

I could spew forth the typical reasons for why I have not been blogging very much but it would be the same old shit.

I could go back in time and write a race report for the Chicago Urbanathlon. But it would be the same old shit of me posting a race report waaaayyyyy after the fact.

I could spend my time on You Tube until I find that magical video that will inspire and motivate you. Yeah...same old shit.

I just need to hunker down and spew forth some ideas that are rattling around in my head. Like you haven't heard that same old shit before.

Let's see what I can some up with............

Friday, November 05, 2010

Family and Friends Friday - Joe and Anne

It's time again for Family and Friends Friday. MY original post about a trio of friends has to be postponed until next week because of a more urgent matter.

I have actually introduced you to Joe and Anne before about 18 months ago here. Their daughter Carina had passed from an unrecoverable birth defect. Well Joe has been battling cancer for several years now. He's been through surgery and the associated treatments. He has always been in good spirits and has never stopped living life. In fact he was out West on a hunting trip last month.

Unfortunately Joe is not doing well. I received word through a friend that he will be going down to Ohio State University for some tests to see what the next steps are for his cancer treatment. CAT scans have shown that this fucker (cancer) has spread to multiple areas of his body.

Can't this guy be left alone? He's been through enough. He's done his fair share of suffering with his previous cancer and the loss of Carina.

And I can't imagine what Anne is going through. I do know her support system consists of many family and friends. Aimee and I will be there for her also.

So despite the negative news I know my blog and Facebook friends, who are loaded with positive energy will help me send that energy and supportive thoughts towards Joe and Anne as they face this renewed battle.

Game On Joe. Beat this fucker down.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


The first frost of the year settled over Northern Ohio last night. We woke up with the thermometer reading 25 degrees. I ran over to Coca Crossfit for my morning workout. Kate has been fighting with the gas company and still didn't have any heat for the box. With the inside temp. at 48 degrees I kept my hat and gloves on for the WOD. By the fifth and final round I did take them off.

After I got ready for work I was heating up the car and saw an opportunity to take some pictures.

Our rose bushes still had flowers and were kissed with frost.

Our Bird's Nest Spruce sports the frosty look very well.

Unfortunately the mums won't last much longer with the cold weather and frost.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Therapy for Me

Perhaps I have been ignoring my blog posting responsibilities. The season is over and I have needed to turn my attention to work due to several projects that have taken me out of town.

I do have one race report to post, if I want to call it a race. I'll call it a "run through the park". And I do have some other post ideas. It's just finding the time to get them written. So for the past 6-8 weeks...I still can't believe Rev3 was last month....I've been taking it pretty easy.

So on to today's post........

No matter what amount of talent, ability or physical capability we have as triathletes/runners/cyclists...the "normal" population sees us as...well...nuts. The questions still come up.....why would you want to run an Ironman....ride a bike 100 miles....swim back and forth for an hour. Or the comments are always the same...I don't drive my car that far...I'm still in bed at that would never see me wearing that.

Through it all I think that as athletes we are best described as competitive, dedicated, motivated...use whatever word comes to mind that helps you describe a Type A personality. And in some cases Type a prime bond rating.

But.....there is always a but....when the training and racing is over I have found that the intensity gives way to some serious relaxation. And believe me it's well deserved.

Last night the Cleveland Tri Club organized a Halloween Costume Fun Run. It wasn't just for members of the club but for anyone who wanted to run through some of the streets of Cleveland dressed up in costume. We started/ended the run at the Barley House in downtown Cleveland and had a great evening enjoying each others company. I ran with Jason, the Easter Bunny, a bottle of Crown Royal, Fred and Wilma Flintstone, a soccer mom, and Flo from Progressive Insurance. Even Alice Cooper and Hulk Hogan showed up. It was a great group of people to run with.

After the run we all partied at the Barley House with food and beverages. The Cavs beats the Celtics. Pictures were taken. Great conversations. It was a great night.

It was therapy.

After a long summer it was a time to forget about the training and eating "right" and getting enough sleep. Last night was about enjoying time with friends and letting loose for a little bit. And the fact that it was a Wednesday night didn't stop people from enjoying themselves. I couldn't believe it when Marc and I were the last from our group to leave the bar around 11PM, but there were plenty of other people still in the bar, so we by no means "closed" the bar.

The song in the sidebar has been my anthem for those times when I've needed some "therapy". I have included the video as well because it's fun to watch.

Once I get some of the pictures from the run or they get posted on Facebook I'll re-post them here. Just remember one thing. It's the internet so don't believe everything you may see. You know photos can be doctored with Photoshop very easily.

I'm just saying.

Therapy On.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Swimming to a better triathlon



If you had told me 10 years ago that I would enjoy swimming and the training that goes with countless laps in the pool.....I would have laughed and called you nuts. In fact three years ago I had to say this about swimming...Becoming a Shark. So here I am again writing about the part of triathlon that many people don't like, struggle through, tolerate, or survive so that they can get onto their bike and finish with a run.

When I started to get serious about triathlon I got with Coach Angela. She had workouts for me to do in the pool. Structured workouts for swimming was something new for me but it also made sure that the time in the pool was worthwhile and not boring.

At some point during our coach/athlete period together she was evaluating my swim stroke early in the season and she had the most awesome comment for me, "You are a swimmer." I thought I had posted about it before but I can't find the entry. Anyways, her comment really struck home for me. It was definitely a turning point in my triathlon career.

A couple of years later I find myself at the end of another successful season....and my swimming has never been better. In each race I was at the top of my age group in regards to swim times. Understandably a race is more often lost during the swim, it is rarely won during the swim. But my swim times kept me competitive despite what I felt were lackluster bike splits and finishing with a strong run.

Bare with me as I need to back track a little now. On August 13th I had the opportunity to attend a swim clinic made possible by friend and fellow triathlete Daniel Smith. Daniel had done the photography for a new book written by Four Time Olympian Sheila Taormina titled "Call the Suit".

It was awesome meeting and hearing Sheila talk about her thoughts on swimming. She broke down swimming to it's basic elements and two things clicked in my head.

First, I was already on track with some of her views about the basic swim stroke.

Second, she explained swim speed so simply that a light went on in my head.

And I'm not talking about the 25 Watt bulb like you see below.

I'm talking about a 8 million candle power military grade searchlight baby.

Years of miscellaneous information finally came all together like the pieces of a puzzle.

I left the swim clinic eager to read her book and apply what she was talking about. Of course I didn't want to jump into it right away because I still had two more races ahead of me, Vermilion Harbor two days later and the HalfRev on 9/12. We all know you don't start changing things mid-season.

I still started reading Sheila's book to get the basics in my head. I could immediately see what I would be focusing on in the off season. A lot of drills and technique would help me build a good base during winter swimming. A good technique base would then allow me to work on the speed and endurance portion for the second half of the winter.

Despite telling myself to be patient and wait for the post season I just...couldn't...resist......

During some of my swim workouts I tested out some of Sheila's swim techniques. I call them her's because she wrote the book, but in actuality the basic principles are used by all the top swimmers in the world....period.

I swam some 100's and 200's just to see what would happen. Nothing long that would damage me or change my swimming before the HalfRev.

If you happen to look back in my blog you will see that I've normally been a 1:30/100 yard swimmer. This season I was consistently in the 1:25 range for the short stuff and still around 1:30 for anything over 300 yards.

On two different occasions I tested my new found knowledge and was excited by my results.

I first did some really short stuff. A couple of 25's, then some 50's to warm-up. Each of those splits when multiplied made for some very fast 100's, interesting. I finished up with a couple of 100's to see if the estimates were correct.

I was pulling 1:15's out of my butt like nobody's business, and I wasn't winded after each one.

The second time I did my little test was during a work trip. I was in a local Y pool near Joliet, IL and decided to rip off three 200's. I'm usually happy to be at 3:00 or just under for a 200.

My first 200 was a A 1:25 average which is about right for my fitness this year.

Second 200....2:42. REALLY?!? I felt pretty good after that one also. Gave myself some rest an hit it again.

Third 200....2:38. Holy Crap!! 1:19 average.

At this point I not only drank the punch that Sheila was serving but gulping it down by the gallon.

So what is the punch Sheila is serving? Honestly, I can't do her justice by trying to describe it on my blog unless I plagiarize her book.

And I'm not even going to try and go there. It may sound like a plug for her book.....okay yes it is....but for $18 how can you go wrong? "Call the Suit" is by far one of the best training books I have ever bought and is well worth the money, plus I got mine autographed by Sheila.

So go and order her book. After you have read it then we can talk about what you learn from it.

Hey Sheila.....for this hand I'm calling Hearts.

This winter I'm getting my Swim On.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy Anniversary - Number 13

I must say happy 13th anniversary to my lovely wife Aimee. It's been amazing what we have accomplished over the past 13 years on many different levels. Changing of jobs, moving, watching Andrew and Amanda graduate from high school and beyond, vacations, etc.

Then there are all of the athletic accomplishments. When we got married we both would not have imagined that we would both be Ironman finishers. Aimee with six marathons. Myself with multiple half and full distance triathlons.

I came up with this anniversary gift list for the active couple with running, cycling and swimming in mind.

So you know you are a triathlon couple when your anniversary gifts follow the list below:

Year 1: Defeet socks, or some other technical footwear

Year 2: Cotton t-shirt, something that promotes your sport. "I Do Tri's".."Will Run for Beer"

Year 3: Leather bike saddle. Nothing says I love you like something comfy for the butt.

Year 4: Bike Jersey. She would love one with flowers on it, he wants the one with Pink Floyd.

Year 5: Reflective swim goggles. You can stare into your mates goggles & see the one they love.

Year 6: Case of energy gels. Yummy sugary energy in a squeeze pack. Perfect for those marathon love sessions.

Year 7: Running tights. If in the Northern climates you can run together outside in the snow.

Year 8: Heart Rate Monitor. Not only for training you can watch the heart rate increase when your loved one is close by

Year 9: Water bottles. Those old water bottles are getting gross. Time for new ones.

Year 10: New components for the bike. Shiny and smooth shifting a groupo will keep you moving forward for the next ten years.

Year 11: Headsweat Hat. That new groupo cost some cash. A nice headsweat hats makes sure you can still see your lovely mate despite sweating like a pig during a workout.

Year 12: Wetsuit. Nothing says I love you like the safety of a wetsuit in rough water or the warm hug of a full wetsuit during a cold water swim.

Year 13: Bike shorts. Make those long rides together comfortable.

Year 14: Yankz. Admit it, you are getting lazy about the gifts AND tying your shoes.

Year 15: Entry into Ironman event. Believe me, it's actually priceless.

Year 20: Trip to Kona to watch the Ironman Championships, provided you don't qualify.

Year 25: His and Her Computrainers. Those that train together stay together.

Year 30: Ben-Gay, Icy Hot, BioFreeze. Admit it. The joints aren't what they used to be.

Year 40: Compression socks. They are great for post race, provided you are still racing and controlling those varicose veins.

Year 50: Trip to Tour de France. Watch the pros. Drink some wine. Eat good food. Wish you were young again. Look back on your time together.

All kidding aside.......I love you Aimee and I can't wait to spend the next 13+ years with you.

Friday, September 24, 2010

This Girl has Soul

I've been meaning to introduce you to a friend of mine for quite some time now. Her name is Liz....and she has a soul like no other. I first met Liz at a local duathlon in 2006. I started talking with her husband after seeing what a great athlete she is. I recruited her for Snakebite Racing. Even though she doesn't race on the team anymore our paths cross often enough due to common friends and interests....and I am thankful for that.

She shared some pictures with me from her early days of triathlon.....and yes she does have her helmet on backwards.

Liz is high energy and a lot of fun to be around. She has taken her love of life and turned it into a non-profit organization called Girls with Sole. Their mission is to........

"Use fitness and wellness to empower the minds, bodies and souls of girls who have experienced abuse."

She has created partnerships with other organizations to help support her mission and provide girls with the support they need and deserve.

These pictures are from her recent participation at the Rev3 Full Triathlon in Sandusky, OH where she finished the 140.6 distance in 12:08:04 and taking second place in her age group.

She used this event to raise money for her organization with the help of great people like the one pictured with her below. To date the fund raising has brought in over $5,000.

Larry, Sue, Bob and Liz

As you can tell in the pictures above, Liz always has a smile on her face. And it is the most infectious smile I know. How can Liz not have an impact on the lives of the girls she reaches.

Game On Liz. See you soon.

Monday, September 13, 2010

HalfRev Race Report

So much to write about from this race I have to get it done quickly.

Race day started very early. Aimee and I were the home stay for a pro triathlete from Canada. Adam O'Meara is a second year pro and the FullRev was his A race. Adam was up early to get his food in and I woke up a little bit after him. I had a good nights rest but had a long way to go before my race started.

We left the house by 4:45AM so we could be on site by 5:30. The Full race started with the pro men at 6:50, pro women 6:53 and age groupers at 7:05. The HalfRev race wouldn't start until 8:30. I had plenty of time to prepare and talk with the bazillion of friends who were racing. I finally met Steve in a Speedo wearing his "bowl full of tutti-frutti" shorts.

I was able to watch Adam come out of the water and start the bike. I told him how far back he was from the leader and he was not happy, but it was information he asked me to tell him.

Aimee made it back from Dances with Dirt in Michigan in time for us to walk to the beach and get ready. Natalie got a picture of me before we went to the beach.

I jumped in the water real quick to spin the arms around and get used to the water temperature.....I also had to pee. I was surprised how cold the water was but that was fine. I said to some more friends in my swim wave and watched the first wave start. We were in the second wave of 18-24 and 40-44. There were 80 people in my age group (40-44) alone. Big field.

I lined up on the left side of the start line in the second row. The gun went off and we ran into the water. It was quite shallow for a while and once the water was up to my knees I dove in and started swimming. Being on the left side I didn't have any congestion and could see people to my right. A small chop in the water prevented me from breathing to the left. I just kept breathing right. I felt my sighting was doing well. We started catching the back of the previous wave and I had to pay attention during sighting to avoid these people.

At the first buoy we make a right turn and swim parallel to the beach. I was squeezing in between two guys from the first wave when the guy on my left hit my goggles with his hand. My left lense shifted but didn't come off. I swam another 20 yards and rolled over to drain the water and reposition my goggles. In no time I was back at it.

As we swam to the next turn buoy that was send us back to the beach the chop was behind me. I was able to get into a good bi-lateral race stroke. My sighting still seemed to be working well.

At the next turn buoy we headed towards the beach. I had to sight a couple of times to get a good line for the beach exit. All of the spectators were lined up the right with the exit arch on the left. It provided a good frame of reference.

The water temperature fluctuated as I swam towards the beach. The water was colder closer to shore and warmer further out. It was an interesting contrast during the swim and very noticeable.

I got closer to the beach and felt my left hand touch the sand. It was still deep enough to swim so I continued to do so. I could see people standing up too early and I pretty much swam away from them. With about a foot of water left I finally stood up and headed up the beach. I could hear Aimee and a couple of others cheering for me. I ran along the carpet into transition.

Swim time was 33:02 and I was 5th out of the water in my age group.

In transition I stripped off my wetsuit and started getting my gear on. Helmet always. Socks and shoes next. I had arm warmers laid out to take with me but I was feeling good and didn't grab them. I grabbed my bike and headed towards the bike mount line. I had a good jump onto the bike and started my ride.

I was out of transition in 1:33.

I was feeling good and wanted to have a good bike ride. Being my A race I was being rather aggressive. But that didn't keep me ahead of two people from my age group who passed me in the first 6 miles. I still stayed within myself and rode my race.

The wind was from the WNW and a little stiff. Stiff enough to make a noticeable difference in my speed. I was consistently passing people who started the FullRev prior to me. If I recognized someone I would cheer them on.

Around mile 20 I was passed by two police motorcycles. A couple minutes later Bjorn Anderson passed me as he was into his second loop of the bike course at mile 58. After he passed me I never saw him again.

Heading into the town of Milan, short out and back, I saw my former coach Angela and Diane. They cheered loudly as I went by. As I went through the town square I saw my mom and dad waiting for me. Of course they had a hard time recognizing me so I made sure to point to them. Around another corner were several tri club friends cheering wildly as I went by. It was great to see so many people at this point.

Out of Milan there is a nice 6.5 mile stretch heading east. I was hoping for a nice push from the wind but the direction was not very beneficial. The wind was hitting us more from the side. I was still keeping a good pace through the rollers and taking my nutrition every 10 minutes.

At mile 30 the HalfRev course turns left and the FullRev course continues straight. After my turn I looked around and I was alone except for a rider ahead of me. I dug down and pedaled into the wind. Since I was alone on this road I decided to empty my bladder. As I stood to pee I looked behind me and saw a group of people about 1/4 mile behind me. I decided to wait for a pee break and continued on to the next turn.

As I was beginning to start the climb into the town of Berlin Heights I was finally caught by the group. I looked over and the first person I saw was Jody, followed by Frank, followed by about 10 other people. I noticed 3 people from my age group, one female, and guys from the younger age groups that started with my swim wave.

I know Jody and Frank. They race clean. Jody was the one pulling up front. I was pissed by what I saw, especially when I saw some guys from my age group. I soft pedaled for a little bit and even coasted down a hill to get some distance from these guys. This is when I took the time to empty my bladder since I wasn't pedaling anyways.

I pushed the anger of seeing some of my competitors in the pack and tried to stay focused on my own race. I also had to pay special attention to my legs as they were starting to cramp.

After we left Berlin Hts the course turns left into the wind. This was the longest stretch of chip 'n seal on the course. I was watching the group ahead of me when a motorcycle passed me. I looked up and realized it was a USAT official. I said to myself, "Bust their asses!!" I watched as she had the driver pull up behind the group and just sit there watching them. They were climbing a hill and the motorcycle just sat back to see what would happen after the hill.

The official watched the group for a couple minutes before pulling up next to the group. I'm pretty sure numbers were being taken. Unfortunately I have no way of knowing what penalties were assessed. I still felt good watching this unfold and knowing I was not a part of it. I knew I would have a clean race and not resort to drafting.

I'm still plugging away trying to save my legs from severe cramps. I saw my mom and dad again on the course and was surprised. They do know the roads though and knew where to go.

On the rollers I had to spin in the saddle because standing was causing my legs to spasm. They were rebelling from the hard effort I put them through during the first 35 miles. The course changes direction several times. Sometimes we had a favorable wind...sometimes not.

The final 10 miles were pretty much into the wind. At one point a guy came up next to me and commented on how he thinks he missed a turn. He was doing the full and asked if he was supposed to be returning to Cedar Point to start the second loop. I told him he missed it way back. Looking at a map now he rode approximately 10 miles before realizing his mistake. Overall he probably added 20 miles onto his ride.

Mentally I was still in good shape. I was over the drafting I saw. I was keeping myself under control to save my legs. I told myself to wait and see what the run was going to give me. I was ready to get off the bike, but not at the point where I needed to get off the f'in bike....if you know what I mean.

I finally entered the parking lot and headed towards transition. I reached down to pull the velcro straps. Each time my hamstrings yelled at me, "What are you doing?" I just hoped I could have a good dismount and not cramp up completely in front of the everyone watching.

I did swing my leg over and made a perfect dismount and ran into transition.

Bike time was 2:38:24 averaging 21.21 MPH. I was 12th back to T2 in my age group so I was passed by 7 guys, some who were in the drafting pack.

I racked my bike and took my helmet off. I grabbed my shoes and luckily had not problems putting them on despite needing to bend over. I knew I needed some salt, so I reached into my transition bag and grabbed the bottle of Thermotabs. I grabbed my hat which had my number belt inside it. As I ran out of transition people were yelling at me about needing my number. I kept going because I knew I was fine.

I put my hat on as I exited transition in 53 seconds.

I wrapped my belt around my waist and clipped it in place. Time to best I could. My legs were killing me. Both quads and abductors were screaming at me. I had to keep telling myself to slow down and get used to the run. I couldn't completely stop because then the legs would win and stop me dead in my tracks. I guess I pulled a Jens Voigt and said, "Shut Up Legs. You will do what I tell you." I was starting to think that I would be reduced to a walking mess before this race was over.

I made it to the first aid station just past the first mile marker. I grabbed some water from a volunteer and kept walking in circles. I still couldn't stop. I dumped three salt tablets into my hand and shoved them in my mouth. I kept walking and talking with the ladies handing out water. I put down three more salt tablets and start to run again. I thanked them for being there.

At the second mile marker I hit the button and saw my mile split was 9:25. Not bad for taking the amount of time I did at the aid station. I didn't want to see a split like that again. My legs were feeling better by now. Still sore and crampy but not that bad.

Whenever the run course headed west we had the wind smack in the face. A couple of spots were between 5 story buildings that funneled the wind down the street. I felt like I was running in a wind tunnel.

As I try to write down my thoughts about the run I can't seem to put the words down in a way that conveys my feelings appropriately. Reliving the run is proving to be as hard as when I first took the steps.

Miles 3 and 4 are on long straight streets. I tucked behind a guy in my age group for a chance for him to shield me from the wind. I also saw my mom and dad for the 4th time along this stretch. Since I was moving slower, much slower than the bike, they could get some pictures of me. At the end of mile 3 I had a 8:09 split. Much better now with some water and Powergel in me.

I missed mile marker 4 but at mile marker 5 I averaged 7:38 for two miles, 15:16. Maybe my speed was coming back. I just kept going forward and listening to the directions offered by the volunteers. Follow the signs....follow the arrows...I just kept moving my feet in the directions the arrows pointed.

At the aid stations I grabbed the first water I found then grabbed a second water as I left the aid station. I was coherent about what I was doing. Suck down a gel and grab as much water as I could. I was also running alone a majority of the time. Many of my other races there were people all around. Not so much with this race. I had a few people to reel in but there really weren't too many targets to pull me along.

During mile 6 the course goes directly into the wind. This is when I felt the full force of the wind. But somehow my watch is telling me I had my best split with a 7:32 during that stretch.

Mile 7 was another long portion that was horrible to look at. I hadn't driven the course prior to I didn't know landmarks. I just buried my head and pushed on. As I made my way around a right hand turn I saw Rural Girl from the Evotri Team. She looked very focused (or was it drained) and I really couldn't muster the energy to cheer her on. Mile 7 resulted in a 7:52 split.

Now that I was halfway through the run I figured I would have no problem finishing. Keep on keepin' on...right? Well the body had other ideas. Another long straight to start mile 7. I made a left turn towards mile marker 8 and I could start to feel the length of the day catching up to me.

The wall was looming in front of me and my body just wanted to stop for a little bit. But I just couldn't let myself stop. Once I felt the relief of stopping I knew it would be hard to start again. And if I could stop once I would probably stop again. Or start walking. Or cramp up.

NO. I would not stop. I have never dug deeper than I did at that point. I just...wouldn't...let...myself...stop. And my body relented and continued to run for me.

Mile 8 somehow ended with a 8:12 split.

During mile 9 I saw my parents for the last time. They said I was starting to look tired at that point. I don't remember if I said anything but I was less than 4 miles from the finish. I saw Pharmie during a two way section and managed to cheer for her. Mile 9....7:52.....boy it sure did feel slower than that.

I caught up to and passed Cory from the BAFF team. He had started the run quite well and I was surprised to be with him again. As I passed him I encouraged him to stay with me. Unfortunately I didn't see him again until the finish line.

Heading back to the Cedar Point Causeway, 1st Street is about 1.25 miles. I could see the traffic lights down the road where we would turn left towards the finish. but it sure took me a long time to get down there. The intersection just never seemed to get closer. I was definitely focused inward and concentrating on moving forward. Mile 10 was along this part but I never saw the marker.

I made the turn towards Cedar Point and made it to mile 11. My two mile split was 16:31, average of 8:15 per mile. Wow, I was still holding my own. I saw Michelle from my team and cheered for her since it was her first Half IM. I also saw our homestay pro Adam heading out for his second loop.

I cheered for him and we slapped hands as we passed. Mile 12 brought me a 8:29 and I knew I was finally going to be okay.

I kept digging in for more energy to carry me to the finish. During the last mile I wasn't worried about finishing. I started to worry about what would happen once I stopped. Would my legs give out. Cramp up. Drop me to the ground. Oh well. I would just deal with it when I got there.

Back into the parking lot of Cedar Point, the volunteers and park staff were great controlling traffic and cheering for the athletes. I heard many people clapping and cheering me on to the finish. Near transition I heard Angela yelling for me and seeing a couple more people. Once I actually made it into the park I was alone for my finish.

As I hit the finish carpet I could see Aimee to the right and went to her. I wanted to give her a big hug and kiss but I was still afraid of my legs giving out before I made it to the finish line. I grabbed her hand and continued to the finish line. I heard the announcer call out my name as I waved my hands in the air to pump up the crowd.

I crossed the finish line 5:01:41 after starting with my swim.

A volunteer slipped a finishers medal around my neck. I was handed a shirt and water. I tried to keep moving in the finish area by walking in circles so my legs could slowly get used to no longer running.

I finished. I pushed it. I paid for it. I dug deep. Deeper than ever before. I survived.

Triathlon is a crazy ass sport. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. The people I have met, the places I have been, the things I have done are all priceless to me.

I thank Aimee for coming along for the ride with me. She has always been my #1 fan and supporter.

Thanks mom and dad for being on the course so much. Seeing familiar faces are always a treat.

Thanks to my teammates of Snakebite Racing for helping push me along through their own training and journey to the distances at Rev3.

Thanks to sponsors Bike Authority and Great Race Nutrition for supporting me and the team all summer with great service and products.

Congratulations to all who completed their Half and Full Rev races.

Game On.

Friday, September 03, 2010

It's a Flat Feeling

And I have felt it twice this week. But that is what taper time is supposed to feel like. With the Rev3 races at Cedar Point 9 days away I know many people who are tapering....resting....going crazy.

I was traveling for work earlier this week. Out of town away from home it is hard to get in those workouts. I ran one night and swam the next morning at a local YMCA. Tuesday night I was a slug after work. I plopped down on my hotel bed and watch some TV before finally getting out for some dinner.

Wednesday morning I had to force myself out of bed and to the Y for a light spin on an spin bike and a short run. Knowing I wouldn't get home until late that evening I had to get something done.

Taper time is for resting but you can't simply shut it all down.

Back home I was finally able to get out for a real bike ride. I suited up during lunch and headed out into the wind. It was blowing pretty good and I remembered a post I had about Madam Pelee I had written in 2007.

I was riding well despite the wind when all of a sudden I felt that flat feeling again. What the hell. I looked down and saw that it was my rear tire that was flat. I pulled over and changed the tube. I didn't find any obvious damage or punctures in the tube or tire so I'm not sure why I flatted.

I always make it a point to put new rubber on my bike before an A race. I had bought new tires last week but just haven't put them on my wheels. I took the flat as an opportunity to practice my tire changing skills. I took my time but didn't lolly gag while changing the tube. It was a good change.

I finished my ride with the heat and wind with no other problems and felt great the entire time. I think the Rev3 course has some people to be worried about. There will be some very fit and fast triathletes on course come Sept. 12.

Game On.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Vermilion Harbour Race Report

I guess it's just par for the course. A race report about 2 weeks post race.

Better late than never??? Right?

So if I go back and look at my calendar this race was on August 15th. Oooooo....that was last month now.

The Vermilion Harbour race is another great venue for HFP Racing. It's along the shores of Lake Erie between Cleveland and Toledo. The surrounding area is great for bike riding with some nice hills thrown in for some variety and best of all...the community completely supports this race.

I have been at many races where the volunteers are needed on race day. Not with this race. There was a great turnout of volunteers on race day. At one intersection on the bike course there were 5 volunteers AND a deputy sheriff. Yes the race is very well supported.

Despite being the third year for the race, I had never participated in prior years. Aimee has been at the race in the prior two year with me spectating in 2009. But this year I wanted to jump into the race as a final prep for the HalfRev on 9/12. The Olympic distance race would provide me valuable race training and allow for me to recover for the HalfRev.

Sunday morning rolled around and we began our normal pre-race prep. we loaded up the car and waited for our friend Mary to arrive at our house. We had been helping her train for her first sprint tri. To help her along she was going to come out early with us and get settled in for her first triathlon.

We drove to the race site and got all of our gear into the transition area. Body markings and timing chips were also taken care of. Being a local race I saw many friends and Snakebite teammates getting ready. I was able to chat with a majority of them. Tri Diesel also came by and we chatted for a bit before I had to do my warm-up.

After my warm-up run I ran through transition, made sure my gear was all set up and then got in the line for the port-o-potty. The line was long but I knew I would have plenty of time before the start of my wave.

I grabbed my wetsuit from transition and made my way towards the beach. I found a couple of teammates and we chatted while I put on my wetsuit. I tried to hold off as long as I could because it was already feeling hot at 8AM and I didn't want to overheat in my wetsuit.

But I also wanted to make sure I got in a decent warm-up swim. The water was a nice temperature and I managed to stayed cool. I chatted with more friends as we watched the sprint waves start.

Here I am cooling off

Eventually my wave was next up. I lined up at the front and waited for the green light to start. During the final few seconds of the countdown I started my watch and dug my feet into the sand. GO!!!! And we ran into the water.

Everyone with their fingers on the button


The water gets deep rather quickly so I took one dive and started swimming. The first turn buoy was only about 50 yards from shore so it was a mad dash to make the left turn ahead of the pack. Once we made the left turn were heading west against some wind. The swim course is a long rectangle that we had to do twice.

Heading west we were going into the wind and some chop. Heading east we had major sun glare.

On the first lap I was sighting very well and kept a great line along the buoys. The chop seemed pretty bad at times and I wasn't sure if it was being caused by other racers. As I sighted I could tell it was caused by the wake of a powerboat that had gone by. The rolling chop made it difficult to get into a good rhythm. The second time through the chop wasn't as bad.

On the second loop I got lazy and wasn't sighting as well. I looked up one time and saw a life guard pointing for me to swim right....I was starting to go into the middle of the swim course. Oops. I got my sighting under control and pushed for the swim exit.

As I was approaching the last buoy marker I saw someone swimming next to me. This person had not been there before and was actually passing me. As we reached the beach I looked over and commented on how she had a great swim. Yes.....SHE had a great swim. Having started 2 minutes behind me she was exiting the water WITH me.

My overall swim time was 24:09 and placed my 3rd in the age group.....only 7 seconds behind the guy in front of me. I felt I had another great swim, until I realized the girl who exited with me had an awesome swim. She would continue to chick me all the way to the finish line.

I ran up the beach and into transition hearing some friends cheer for me specifically JenC and her adorable son Will. I cruised into T1 and quickly changed to cycling mode. Toss the wetsuit aside and get my helmet, socks and shoes on. I grabbed my bike and headed to the mount line.

This is the second race where I have put my sunglasses on my bike. Once I get rolling I put my sunglasses on. It saves a few seconds in T1 so I go with it. My transition time was 1:14 which was fourth fastest for my AG.

On the bike we had to weave through Vermilion to avoid train tracks and some bad sections of road. The main road out of town is very choppy but you just have to push through it.

Getting started on the bike my legs were just not feeling it. They were sluggish and tight. They didn't want to release their energy. My prep up to this race may not have been optimal. I rode the course with my teammate Matt on Wednesday or Thursday prior to the race. Due to work I couldn't get in a shake down ride on Saturday. So the legs were a little too rested by Sunday.

I pushed on and tried to keep my spin high as well as my speed. In an Oly race you really do need to push more on the course. At times I was thinking to myself, "Man this hurts. My legs are killing me and I'm getting drained." Then I would remind myself that anything shorter than a Half is supposed to hurt.

Hell....even a half is supposed to hurt when you race.

What am I saying? When you race....It'

So I soldiered on and kept pushing myself. After about 10 miles of riding my legs finally woke up. This was nice because I could use the tailwind to my advantage and some hills were coming up that I needed my legs for.

During the out portion of the bike I was passed by my friend Rob R. He's on the "other" team, Spin/Second Sole. I was surprised to see him since he is a much faster swimmer than I and he is usually in front of me for a majority of a race. Looking at the results I was only 25 seconds behind him AND he was in T1 30 seconds longer than I.

So we exchanged a few words and I watched him ride ahead. My legs weren't "awake" yet.

The second half of the bike was much better. I had great speed heading back to transition. Entering the park area there were a lot of spectators and volunteers cheering for everyone. The final straight away to transition was lined with people cheering. I didn't disappoint as I slipped my feet from my shoes and had a perfect running dismount into T2.

My bike time was 1:12:00 which was a 20.7 MPH average. Good enough for 5th fastest in the AG.

In transition I racked my bike, took off my helmet. Slip the shoes on, grab my visor and gels, exit transition. Thirty....five....seconds. Yeah...that was the fastest T2 time in the AG. I don't lolly gag around in transition.

I held back during the start of the run just a little until my legs came around. I didn't want to hold back like I did at the Maumee Race, but I didn't need to blow up either. I grabbed some water at the first aid station out of transition.

It was getting really hot by now and the run was going to be brutal.

I had two gels with me and I started to take the first one after the aid station. There was another aid station not far away and I would chase the gel with some water. I avoided the nice people with hoses because I didn't want to get my shoes all wet.

The 10k run course is an out and back. So you get to see those in front of you and gauge your competition. I wasn't too dialed into my competition just yet. It was early in the run and I didn't know who was in my age group around me. Pushing forward was not a priority.

There was a slight breeze coming from the west providing a slight cooling as we ran into the breeze. I started seeing some of my teammates coming back from the turn around. They had all started in waves ahead of me. Mark was hurting in particular since he had been out of town for work and didn't have any workouts for 3 weeks. But he was still moving forward quite well.

Right before the turn around there was an aid station. I slugged down my second gel and grabbed some water as I passed through the aid station. Now I was ready to finish strong for the return trip to the finish line.

The wind was now at our backs. The breeze wasn't strong enough to provide any additional "push" but it sure did feel hotter without the breeze in our faces. Inside I was feeling strong and together. After the race one friend said she was worried about the run because of what she saw on our faces during our return. I may have felt okay on the inside but apparently my face was showing something different. Suffering? Pain? Agony?

I say yes to all three. It was definitely becoming a suffer fest. No shade. No breeze. High temps.


I was able to keep my mind in the game though. I was watching the guys in front of me and gauging their performance. How strong did they look? Was I gaining on them? How realistic is it for me to catch them?

I was feeling good so I picked up the pace a little. And I began to close the gaps. At one aid station I was very close to the guy in front of me when all of a sudden he stopped to get his drinks. I couldn't believe my eyes. I grabbed my waters and kept motoring along. In fact I picked up the pace a little to pass him with authority. Might as well build the gap when I can.

At the next aid station I caught one of the guys from Spin/Second Sole, Kevin, and encouraged him along since we were very close to the finish line. Through another aid station and up a little hill to the final two straights towards the finish line.

There was some young kid in front of me, 16 years old, and I just couldn't close the gap on him. But I was still finishing strong.

The young punk in front of me

Kevin from Spin/Second Sole behind me

A quick right turn. A quick left turn and I see the finish line. I focus in on the finish line and I hear Aimee, Mary, Jen, Gina and several other voices cheering for me. I cross the finish line 2:25:12 after entering the water. My final run was 47:12 which was the fourth fastest in the AG.

As they take the timing chip off my leg I try to regain myself and begin the cool down process. I grabbed a chair under the event tent and plopped my sweaty ass down. I spotted a large tub filled with drinks, water and ice. I grabbed a large chunk of ice and started rubbing my chest with it. I looked around and saw the same torture on everyone's face. Also relief that the race was over.

We watched more friends finish. Talked about our races. Waited for the race results to be posted. Team Snakebite had a good day. We had 5 people who placed in their age groups. I won my old guys age group by less than a minute. It was very cool to take the win on a hot day.

HalfRev coming soon.

Game On.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Greater Cleveland Tri - Volunteer Report

I have two reports to write and I have been very lax in getting it done. However, each report I feel has important messages.

Almost two weeks ago was the Greater Cleveland Triathlon. I have helped out the RD, Mickey, with this race from the beginning. Last year I assembled the team to work the transition area. This year I returned with another crew to help with body marking, traffic control, motorcycle coordination, transition security, bike check, mount/dismount line and anything else we could help with.

Aimee and I arrived by 5:15AM so that I could coordinate the troops prior to the transition area opening at 5:30. We needed markers. I needed answers to some last minute questions. We checked the numbers on the bike racks.

The athletes slowly started trickling in and we tried to make sure they were ready for the race. Timing chip, security bracelet, bike number, body marking, end caps in their handlebars. The idea was to make sure they had everything taken care of before going into transition.

There was the occasional bottle neck when someone didn't have their timing chip or security bracelet on but we had two of us checking for these things so the flow into transition was steady.

Considering that everyone who was helping out knows quite a bit about racing we were able to answer many newbie questions. Anything we could do to help people have a fun and successful race was done.....short of racing for them.

There were four race categories...International/Sprint triathlon and duathlon. Overall we didn't care what races people were in except for Aimee. She was sending out the motorcycle escorts with the leaders of each category. I was watching for the first sprint triathlete so I could give Aimee and heads up to send out the motorcycle.

As I noticed the wet shorts and saw ST on his calf I yelled at Aimee, "The guy in the purple top!!!" Well this freaked out the guy because I saw him look back like he did something wrong. I told him to keep going. At least Aimee knew who the motorcycle should go with.

At the mount line we kept on telling people when they could get on their bikes and to have a good ride. This is a great way to see ALL of the athletes and to see the many different ways people get on their bikes.

We cheered for everyone until the transition area was empty. For a brief while we had to handle two-way traffic until the last several people finally left transition. The sprint racers were coming back fast.

Overall everything was running smoothly. Some slight issues on the run course but nothing tragic. Also some misdirection on the bike course.

I really enjoyed cheering for my friends from the front row.

The athletes were very well behaved as we asked them to wait before entering transition. The RD indicated in the athlete package that transition would not be open for finishers until all bikes had returned from the course. We made a judgment call and opened up the area with about 95% of the bikes back into transition. We just made sure the returning athletes were given top priority in transition over people removing their gear.

Now to the "important" portion of the report and this has absolutely nothing to do with the athletes. If you recall Aimee was working with the motorcycle escorts. She has been doing this for the past 2 or 3 years. The same guys show up and she does a good job with them.

The guys are from the Cleveland Harley Owners Group....or H.O.G.s. Six guys show up to provide escort for the leaders and transportation for the two USAT officials who handle the race.

Post race Aimee shared two fantastic stories about these guys.

HOG #1: This guy was so inspired watching the race last year he....

  • Quit smoking
  • Dropped 20 pounds
  • Started running
Aimee gave this guy a little fist bump and congratulated him on his changes.

HOG #2: This guy was with the leader of the race, Jim LaMastra I believe. First bike out on the course. As they approached one of the intersections a car was blocking the direction arrow and the police officer seemed to wave them in the wrong direction.

Once he returned to the transition area he felt so bad about what happened he wanted to pay for the triathletes race fee. He wanted to PAY..HIM..BACK. Reimburse. Sorry for what happened. It wasn't even the HOGs fault.

Each year Aimee says the same thing. These are the nicest group of guys she has ever met....well maybe besides me....but she enjoys talking with them each year.

Game On HOGs......Game On.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Momma said knock you out

So much to blog about and so little time. Haven't I said that before? I think I have a volunteer report and a race report to write. Plus there are three other "important" posts I want to get written. Well I feel they are important and relevant and just some random thoughts I want to share with everyone.

So working backwards I need to post one of the "important" posts before the race reports.

So we are like three weeks away from the biggest and newest triathlon event here on the North Coast of Ohio. Yep...I'm talking Rev3 on Sept. 12th. FullRev and HalfRev. I know many people who will be participating race weekend...I will be in the HalfRev myself.

Some of my friends and teammates are using this race as their first full or half. Like many other people in the Cleveland tri community, I have kept my eye on several people and check in on them to see how their training is going or if I can help in some way.

I always preceed my comments with..."I'm not a coach" or " I'm not certified USAT Level I" or "in my opinion". I'm just trying to help people make some smart decisions and be healthy and make it to the start line or even better cross the finish line.

So as I am making my rounds I send an e-mail to my friend Rachael over at MissFit_Island . She is a college friend of Aimee's and Rachael has embraced the tri lifestyle wholeheartedly. She had just completed the Cleveland Olympic tri and I was seeing how she felt after the race.

She posted our dialog recently on her blog titled....You are at an Impasse. Feel free to read it then come back here to finish my post. That's okay. I'll wait.

Theme from do do do do do do dooooo....da do do do.....

Sorry...also had to take bathroom break.

Okay. So anyways. I'm just trying to be a concerned friend and help her make it to the finish line. Safely. Unfortunately my intentions were not reason I hate e-mail and blog posts......for the simple reason the written words can often be read the wrong way.

After she posted, then received some comments, Rachael called me to explain her post. I hadn't even read it yet. She wanted to make sure I didn't feel like I was thrown under the bus. She's just awesome that way.

Once I read the post and comments it all became clear.

Beth wants to knock me out. That's right woman. I'm calling you out.....and offering you a free shot should we ever meet...which could be sooner than you think.

I was just trying to be a sounding board for Rachael. The most important part of our dialog was me understanding her mental state. How did she feel her training has been going? What are her expectations? What will she be happy with?

And this is where I was put in my place. I was reminded what this is all about.

The Journey.

Self discovery. Pushing the limits. What are you capable of.

This is what I love about sports. This is what I love about blogging. This is what I love about the open dialog with people of varied personalities, abilities, education, lifestyles, etc.

We can all grow and learn from the people and events the make up our lives.

Our views about what we do may be slightly different but they are all right.

The only thing I will disagree with Beth on......being an athlete. I have had that "discussion" with Aimee many times. In my book...if you are an athlete.

Nuf said

Game On

Friday, August 06, 2010

Friday Funny - Can you handle the truth?

Truths For Mature Humans

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.......Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.....know what I mean dumb ass

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet? I can do this one.

6. Was learning cursive really necessary? My printing is bad enough.

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired. Back to Number 3.

10. Bad decisions make good stories. And interesting police reports.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again. My brother can probably relate to this one.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well. Our freezer has a light.

16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

17. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

19. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

22. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

23. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.

Ladies.....Quit Laughing. Eventually. ;-D

Have a fun filled weekend.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Burning River 100


Volunteers are not paid ---- not because they are worthless,
but because they are priceless.

For those of you that know I live near Cleveland....spare me any jokes about the title. Nowadays the Burning River is a 100 mile endurance trail run.

Four years ago I volunteered at my coaches aid station. The saying above was printed on the back of the t-shirts they gave us.

This past weekend I volunteered again at the aid station of running and tri friend Elizabeth (E-Speed). When I saw the t-shirts I was happy to see they kept the saying on the back.

With 2010 being the fourth year of the race it was also selected to be the USATF 100 mile national championship race. I was expecting to see some very talented ultra-runners on the course.

The Boston Store Aid station is a very busy place. The runners come into the station at mile 49.1 before heading out for a 5.4 mile loop which brings them back to the same aid station at mile 54.5. The aid station would be open for 12 hours running three 4 hour shifts. We had the first shift.

Elizabeth does a great job and decided upon a pirate theme for the aid station.

Here is the first shift crew ready for the runners.

Here is Elizabeth on the left with her sister Katie who was scoring

For those of you not familiar with ultra running these aid stations are something else. The food being offered was immense. PB&J sandwiches, pizza, watermelon, cookies, chips, grapes, soup, coffee, gatorade, water, ice, sponges....what am I forgetting.

The runners can also have a gear bag dropped off at the aid station. Inside the gear bag can be almost anything. Nutrition, change of socks, band-aids, bandannas, hats, etc.

My task was to be a handler. I would great the runner into the aid station and ask what he needs. Water bottles would be handed off to another volunteer to refill. I would call for his gear back to be brought forward and help him with whatever he needed. While he was getting ready for the next section I would tell him how far the section was and what to expect. I also made sure runners headed in the right direction for the loop they were doing. We wanted to avoid someone accidentally skipping a loop or doing a loop twice.

The first group of runners, the elites, often had their own support crew who would have most of their needs taken care of. As volunteers were weren't needed to much. If the runner was from out of town and didn't know the course we made sure they understood the next section.....distance, terrain, next aid station.

This dude in the white tights and black shorts (thank goodness) had a support crew so we didn't offer much help.

After about 30 runners had made it through the first pass of the aid station I moved over to the street corner where the runners would be returning. Aimee and Lou were now handling the first time runners, I started working on the runners coming to the aid station the second time.

Here is Aimee waiting for a runner while talking with our friend Dale who was handling gear bags.

As the runners made their way back to the aid station for the second time I would handle them before they went back out for their next 4.1 mile section. They were far enough apart that I could handle them on my own.

Here I am with the eventual second place finisher and local runner Mark Godale. He had a crew but I was still able to help.

There is much to be inspired by when watching an ultra race. Many stories to tell and motivation to absorb. The runners below on the right is an 18 year old local. He finished his 100 mile run in 18 hours and 49 minutes.

He's a cancer survivor. That's Aimee helping get his bottle refilled.

One runner I handled was 20 years old from Indiana. When he came into the aid station he was a little out of it. He wasn't very talkative and wanted to sit and have something to eat. I had seen the look on his face before....many times....usually at Ironman races. But here he was at mile 54.5 out of 100. He was over half way done. I was concerned that he wouldn't make it. Fortunately two local legends were close by and offered the right encouragement, advice and motivation to get him moving. His mom was listening intently to what they did I. I couldn't recognize the symptoms and offer a solution because it was a different environment for me. But when it comes down to it......Ironman and ultra running are very similar.

He finished the 100 miles in 22 hours and 7 minutes.

My final take away from this race was offered by my friend Dale. As I was waiting for a runner to come into the aid station I could hear behind me someone yelling for a change of socks. I saw someone running towards me with a pair but when I turned towards the aid station I saw Dale sitting on the group removing his shoes and socks for the runner.

That's the type of guy Dale is. He will give you the shirt off his back, socks from his feet and...well we can stop there.

Overall Aimee and I had a great time helping at the aid station. I hated to leave but we had other things to do. There would be two more 4 hour shifts at the aid station. I wanted to stay all day.

Ultra Game On.