Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What Now?

It's been a few days and I can almost walk normal again. I have been asked by a few folks the big question: What's Next? I have no idea. I'm looking at a marathon in November but that is too far away so I'm opening it up for advise. What should I do next? Keep it close to home (GA) and cheap other then that I'm open. I have 1 vote for drink beer and eat Doritos.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'm Still Alive

Sorry but these are random thoughts and my spelling and grammar sucks. Don’t think less of me. I’ll proof read later. I’ll post pictures soon.

Saturday night we had out TNT pasta party that was pretty cool. We walked up this hall with TNT coaches and mentors cheering and it really gets you going. I could have started the race right then. We ate and listened to some speakers. Dave Scott spoke was pretty good but the highlight for me was a gentleman from the New York chapter that had done his first event WHILE battling cancer. He was now back to do St. Anthony’s and in remission. He was a real uplift.

I got in to bed early that night. I think all the events of the previous days had finally caught up with me and I slept great. Once again I woke up just before the alarm and wake up call. I had to go down the street to get body marked and set up my transition area. I walked out the front door to see what look like a parade of people walking by hotel. It was quite a site to see so many people so early in the morning. I got marked and set up quickly and went back to the room. This was the nice part about being so close. I was able to get something to eat (a beagle with peanut butter) and go back to bed.

After a short nap I woke up and had my wife put sunscreen on me. Of course my numbers smeared. The day before I had put the sunscreen on Sammy before he got number and it smeared, today I was no better putting it on after being numbered. You can’t win. I then grabbed the wetsuit and headed over to the swim start.


My group was next to last so I had to wait. I watched few groups go off and then put the wetsuit and cap on. I was so nervous that I thought I was going to get sick. Then they called our group and I was able to calm down. We moved down to the water before long heard the start gun. I made my way in and started to swim. Some people don’t like swimming with so many folks but it takes my mind off the event when you have to fight for a spot to swim. The waves made it much harder to swim then back in the lake and you don’t even think about the saltwater taste. That sucks. I felt like I was getting pulled off course the whole way and had people swimming on top of me until the bitter end but I made it. I felt real good except for my back. I found myself twisting in the waves to try to stay on course and see the markers. I think I could have knocked off a few minutes if I would have sighted better and trusted my sighting. With people going every direction it made me look and adjust too often. It was a good lesson learned because it made me slower and it hurt my back. I climbed out of the water and in to T1.


Slow. I walked most of the way until I saw a few TNT guys from Georgia. I know I can’t beat everyone but I don’t want to be last either. Grabbed a beagle and peanut butter snack, took a drink, put on my gear, and me and Pokey were off.


We were told that the course was flat and for the most part it was. The hills were so slight that you had to look hard to determine if you were going uphill, downhill, or on flat ground. I was feeling good on the bike and passed a lot of people and had very few pass me. I was in the aero bars for most of the race and felt no pain until the last couple of miles when the padding in my tri shorts just was no longer enough. I had never ridded longer then 20 miles and not in my tri shorts. My manly area felt the extra miles and less padding. The bike finish was on cobblestones and I almost bit it. I was pretty happy with the ride and could have been much faster if I could ever master drinking while I ride. I slow down to a craw when I need to get a drink.

I walked until I saw a TNT guy that I was trying to catch on the bike starting to put on his running gear. I quickly put on my shoes, race belt (best investment), and hat and took off. I beat him out and that felt good. I just had to stay in front.

Within the first ¼ mile my back was killing me. I was running so slowly but I was still passing more people then passed me. I felt like I had been running forever and mile marker 1 almost broke me. Each marker and water station seemed to take longer to reach and by marker 3 I had started walking. It was neat to see all the people out cheering it does help but my back was getting bad and I had started cramping in other areas. After a while I spotted a familial face, Sarah . She had a good pace going I wished I could have ran longer with her but my legs were killing me and I had to try to stride them out. She was a good uplift when I needed it. Thanks Sarah! Post more. AI tried to just keep going and before I knew it I could see the finish. I stopped to put on the shirt that I had carried for the entire run. It is one of those shirts that has a muscular body printed on it. It belonged to my dad and my family would recognize it right away. I thought it would be a fine tribute to the man that did so much for me and the reason I trained with TNT. I floated across the finish line felt a great weight lifted. I finished.

After I finished my wife and son were right there with hugs and kisses. I love those two! We all walked back to the TNT Georgia tent that was right on the corner before the finish. As a team we cheered for the next couple of hours and runner after runner finished. We cheered for everyone and cheered very loudly. It was such a great feeling to see a person almost lifted with energy and we cheered. Many people who were walking found the energy to run and finish strong. I felt more joy in watching others finish then I did when I finished. TNT is a great group and the Georgia chapter is full of some special folks that know what it’s really all about. GO TEAM!

17th – Male TNT (3rd on my team)
2292th – Overall
OVERALL TIME - 3:02:57
SWIM - 30:28
2:02 - pace
T1 - 4:11
BIKE –1:19:23
T2- 3:09
RUN - 1:05:48
10:36 per mile

Meek and Mighty

Sorry but these are random thoughts and my spelling and grammar sucks. Don’t think less of me.

We woke up Friday morning and headed out the door about 4:30am for the long trip to down to the race. About 30 minutes in to the trip I realized that I forgot the tickets I need to get in to some of the TNT parties. So, it’s now 5:30am and we are on our way. Nothing like adding an hour to a long car trip to get things moving in the right direction. I was hoping that my wife, Stacie and son, Sammy would sleep most of the way to St. Petersburg so that we could make some good time. I soon realized that this was not going to happen. We were about 2-3 hours down the road when everyone got hungry so we STOPED and ate. Growing up we never stopped on a trip unless it was to get gas so this got me all goofed up. We had a few more stops along the way but we finally pulled in to the hotel at about 2PM.

This hotel was nice and right in the middle of everything. We could and did walk to all events and the expo was right out the front door. We got unpacked and walked over to get all checked in with the event. Back to the hotel for a short nap and then liner (not lunch, not diner). Later Sammy and I went over his checklist for his race on Saturday. The room never seemed to be the right temperature for my wife so I was up and down a few times during the night. No problem because it’s not like I have to have my son over to body making and transition setup at 6am! My internal clock has been great for the past couple of years and I woke up right before the alarm went off. I then stood and waited for the wake up call to come so that my wife did not have to get up.

Sammy and I got down and setup and I realized that I screwed the boy. I TOLD him that he could wear his running shoes down to transition and then realized that he had nothing to wear back to the hotel after we set up. His mother had to take him back. Sorry Stacie! After he got setup I had to meet the Georgia TNT team at 7 for an open water swim. The water temperature was great and it was very clear. I could see the bottom the entire swim. We only swam out a few buoys and back and then did a practice start and swam a few more buoys. It was nice how clear the water was but it was a lot choppier then expected.

After the swim I had to run back to the room, drop off my wetsuit and then get over to see my son start the swim. I ran about a mile total in no shocks and old running shoes and got the only blisters of the weekend.

The Meek and Mighty was very cool. The 15+ group was finishing the swim when I arrived and I got to see wish Sammy good luck before he took off with the 13 year olds. He turns 13 on December 17th so he gets screwed in triathlon but what are you going to do.
I sat next to a lady complaining about it the day before and had her daughter in tears because she would have to compete in the older group. Sorry to go off here but it made me mad. The mom told the girl that she did not have to race and some other crap that will just have this girl falling short for the rest off her life. When the mom got up to go complain to some race official I spoke to the girl and told her that she could indeed make the distance and that it was all about finishing, putting in the effort and not to worry. She was only running another ½ mile and she had put in the training. Come on parents; push your kids to try a little harder.

Sorry. Back to the race. Sammy had a good swim. He looks real sleek in the water and is a better swimmer then me. He had a good bike and run and finished strong. I don’t know who was grinning bigger, me or him. I love that boy!

Now that his race was over I felt a lot more relaxed. I realized that most of the pressure I felt about this whole weekend had nothing to do with the race on Sunday.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Big Day

It’s here! I leave in the early morning to go down to Florida to run this race. Thanks for all the help and support. I’m scared but excited. I'll try to post a report and hopefully pictures on Tuesday.

What do you use to get PUMPED for an event?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Good Reminder

Team in Training has what are called Honored Heroes. They are people that have cancer or are in remission. They are a reminder of why we train and more importantly raise money. Last night at swim practice we had a visit from 2 of our Honored Heroes. One gentleman has stage 4 non Hodgkin’s leukemia. For the folks who don't know, stage 4 is the last stage. The man is dying and his thankful words and upbeat look on life made me forget all about the race and put things back in to perspective. I joined TNT for many reasons but I think I lost sight of the bigger picture. The second Honored hero also spoke and told us how the research that TNT has sponsored has allowed him to life a better life. He was given only a few years to live and he is now in remission. He lives with cancer but he continues to live. He is a very good triathlete and has done quite a few Ironman races including Hawaii. He jumped in the pool and swam with the team. He rocks and just flew thought the water.

I'm NOW ready for this weekend because no matter what happens I (we) already complete the goal by raising money for the cause. The race is just the icing on the cake! Life is good!

Here is a picture of Sammy on my bike Pokey. GO TEAM!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Feeling IT

Less then a week away and I'm feeling it. I'm scared and excited. This race that has been the focus of my life for what seems like a lifetime is this Sunday. I’ve been involved in sports for most of my life and I can’t remember feeling this nervous this far out. I'm getting to the point where I just want to get it over with so I can move on with my life. I’ll try to calm down and enjoy the weekend but right now I just want to finish.

It’s been a while since I posted and all is well as far as swimming, biking, and running. I continue to get in some good runs at lunch (usually about 4 miles) and it helps to break up the day.

Saturday was a team session that was 77 miles away. I needed to go but backed out because of the rain when I woke up. I felt really guilty because I don’t get enough time on the bike. I was afraid that I would get sick or fall and get hurt and miss the race. One teammate did have a pretty bad fall and will miss the event he has trained for months. I feel bad for him and hope he can get back in the saddle soon. Saturday afternoon was perfect weather and I needed to ride a little so me and the boy (my son Sammy) went for a short ride around the neighborhood. I didn’t even put on my bike shoes. After a couple of laps Sammy went inside and I headed out of the neighborhood for a few more miles. I rode the route that I did at the beginning of the year. It was only a few miles but I did it so much easier and faster. It felt good.

Sunday was an open water swim. It was cold but felt good as soon as my arms and face went numb. After the swim I ran went on a 4 mile run with a few teammates. It’s so much easier running with people. I hope I can find a few to talk to at St. Anthony’s.

This week is going to be a taper week and I plan to not even come close to pushing any kind of exercise. My body feels good and I can just do harm at this point.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My New Love- Don't tell the wife.

Last night was our third date. I just feel so young when I’m with my new love. Ever since the day I first swam with my new wetsuit I just knew she was the one for me. I LOVE MY WETSUIT AND I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT!

Last night was our last continuous swim and I knew that I wanted to get more time in the wetsuit. The entire team crammed in to one lane for the start. The pool is set up for long course and the lanes are a little wider then normal in this pool put it was crowded. The first lap I was swimming over people and making my way through the pack. After about 200 meters I found the poor soul that I was going to draft off. I stayed right on his feet for quite a long time. I could see that he had me and at least 3 others behind me that he was pulling through the water. After a while I felt like I could pick up the pace so I passed him and swam by myself for a while. I just feel like a different person swimming in the wetsuit. I get so much out of each stroke. After a few hundred meters I caught a fast swimmer and got in behind him for the rest of the swim. He set a great pace and I felt like I could swim for hours. I ended up swimming 2000+ meters and felt great doing it. I LOVE THE WETSUIT!

After I finished I got out and watched the rest of the team finish. Swimmer after swimmer climbed out of the pool with great big smiles. A few of the slower teammates had a lot more swimming to do and it was so great to see how the team cheered and encouraged them to finish.

The last swimmer had the entire team waiting and pushing her to swim further then she thought she could ever swim.

She wrote the following email this morning to the team:
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone of you
that stayed on deck and cheered me on as I swam, and swam and swam to
finish "The Big Swim". Oh how I dreaded even showing up last night,
because I knew that I would be the last one out of the water and all
of my teammates would be standing there WATCHING me. I have always
been intimidated by this team, because you are all such good swimmers
and I took my first ever swim strokes in February. As I walked
across the deck to swim my last round, I was crying in my goggles and
I told Beth to tell everyone to go home! She said no, they are your
teammates and they want to be here to see you finish. As I swam all
those lanes with Heather and Jaimie at my side I had A LOT of time to
think about how far I had come. I thought about Michael and Nanci
and how when I took my first strokes at a weekend clinic, Nanci was
swimming along side me in the other lane and Michael was on deck with
a huge smile and clapping. I know his mother is going to be a great
guardian angel for this team! I also thought about all the coaches
and mentors and how they must have needed a stiff drink while trying
to get me to this point.

I really want to tell you, I am glad you stayed and WATCHED me,
because, as I heard the screams, cheers and Beth saying "Come on
Rachel, you got this" it honestly gave me the strength to finish
something I thought I could never do! I now know that with the
wonderful support from my teammates and a little ride under the wings
of our guardian angel Betty, I will do okay at Wildflower!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My Good Run

I was about 2 miles in to my run yesterday when I realized that something was missing. My music! I sometimes run with and sometimes without my MP3 player. When I run at work it is usually with the tunes in my ear. The weather was so nice and with all the flowers blooming I just took in the view and kept moving. I continue to try new routes and it’s nice to see new things.

Today was another great weather day. I was ready to run and this time remembered my mp3 player. Running at lunch has turned in to a nice midday escape. As I stomped along the route a song came on that always reminds me of my dad. At times I can almost feel him running with me and I run with ease for the whole time the song plays. I have 2 songs on bring on this feeling and they seem to always come on when I’m feeling low. Today I just stopped and walked while the song played. I enjoyed my moment with dad.

Sometime back I was sent a like to a video: The last lecture of Randy Pausch . It’s worth the time to look it up and watch. It’s very moving and last night I watched a special about this man and his story. It’s got me thinking.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Almost Here

The transition clinic was canceled due to the weather. But Sunday was a nice day and I went for a bike ride with the team. I getting better overall but the smallest of hills still takes every bit of energy out of me. At least I kept up with the other riders.

It’s Tuesday and that means I MUST complain about how poorly I swam last night. It’s getting old so here it is: I came, I swam, and I finished (real slow). It is just a few more weeks until St. Anthony’s and it is all I’m thinking about. On one hand I can’t wait and on the other I am scared to death.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Game Time

It’s April and that means the race is this month. In my mind I have always had plenty of time. Time to train, time to get the bike worked on, and time to get the last of the gear I need. Time’s up! I’m starting to feel the butterflies in my stomach and that’s good. I always do better when I’m a little scared. The truth is I’m more excited then scared and can’t wait for race weekend.

We are going to be practicing transitions tomorrow morning for our group training. I have a real hard time walking in bike shoes and have not determined how I’ll handle that in transition. I planned on dropping the bike (Pokey) off at the shop to get a tune up tomorrow after our training but just realized that I would not be able to ride on Sunday. Sunday is suppose to be a great day here in Georgia and I NEED time on the bike. Looks like it will have to be dropped it off next week.

Good news! I have a check in my pocket that will finish my Team in Training fundraising. I feel so good to get that off my and my wife’s plate. Thank you to all that contributed and a big thank you to my loving wife Stacie. I can now focus on the next couple of weeks and really enjoy the whole experience. When I first heard of Team in Training I know it was a perfect fit and it has been what I needed in my life. The stories that I have heard and the people I have met have made me a better person.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wonder Boy

April is here and that means the race is this month. Most days my son calls me when he gets home from school to ask me to play basketball (his big love) with him when I get home. My answer is always the same “do your homework and then you need to train". This 12 year old boy is doing the Meek and Mighty triathlon the same weekend then I'm racing and I'm starting to worry about his ability to finish. Last night I got home and he had decided he was going to train. He got on the bike trainer and then hit the treadmill. I hate to say it but he did not look good at all. Up until now I was just worried about the swim, I had seen him fly on the bike and run for days on the treadmill. I started to wonder if this boy was in trouble or just having an off day.

Today was Wednesday and I try to swim before work. I have been looking for a good time to take Sammy to the pool to see how he swims. I know he is pretty good but he’ll have to swim 200 yards and that is not easy for a kid. 5:45AM came and the alarm went off, I wanted to go back to sleep but I had told Sammy the night before that we were going swimming. We made our way to the pool and after getting the boy set up with a swim cap and giving him a few pointers we started to swim. I took off and made my way to the far end of the pool and was shocked to see Sammy right on my feet. He looked good gliding through the water. The Wonder boy was back! He has a nice stroke and I'm sure he'll be able to make the swim with ease. I don't need him to break any records but I want him to have fun and it’s hard to have fun when you’re sucking in water. I think I can relax knowing that he’ll at least finish and do it without killing himself.

Lunch came and it was nice outside. I put on the running shoes and went for a run out on the streets. I took a new route that keep me off a busy road for a bit longer then my run last week. I ended up running somewhere between 3 and 4 miles. The legs feel good again and I’m starting to think beyond the tri at the end of this month. Can I do a marathon?