Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Eating Well, On the Road...

"What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? — it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies."
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Part 2, Ch. 8

Eating well is hard enough, but doing it while you're road tripping is almost impossible.  Unfortunately, with Lana almost 400 miles away right now, alot of both of our meals come from gas stations and fast food places.  That's what today's post is all about, eating as well as you can on the road.

Obviously, packing food from home is the best idea, but sometimes there just isn't...well...time...

Let's start by talking about what to avoid.

  1. Sugary Drinks-  Obvious.
  2. Gas Station Hotdogs - Even if they weren't half fat and half snout...they roll around for hours on a heater that probably hasn't been cleaned in months while being fondled by other patrons. Gross
  3. Carrot Muffins - Yes, there is a vegetable in the name.  No, they are not healthy.  The typical muffin is 400+ calories and 20g+ of fat. 
  4. Gas Station Cappuccino- Those machines are evil and drinking from them blesses you with about 150 calories for 12oz...and likely you're going to be in it for 20oz with these sugary drinks.

 Ok, so what can you eat?  There aren't alot of great options in gas station fair, and alot of this is an exercise is making the best of a bad situation.  Here are a few ok options though...

1. Coffee/sugar free soda/energy drinks-  Caffeen is my friend, especially on road trips. It's a balancing act though.  Hydration is good.  Pulling over to use the restroom every 15 minutes is not. 

2.  Nuts!  Unsalted if possible.  Filled with hunger satisfying good fats, protein, and fiber; nuts are a good choice.  I like pistachio's and almonds the best.  Just be careful of portion sizes, nuts are a very calorie dense food.  Pumpkin seeds are a winner as well, if you can find them without too much sodium.

3.  Fruit.  While it might not be the best of quality, you are likely to be able to score an apple/banana/grapes if you visit a more truck stop oriented gas station.  I have some of these produce oasis' memorized on my normal route just for this reason.

4.  Sandwiches?  This category can be a bit more touch and go.  Deli Express has some stuff that is reasonable macronutrient wise.  That being said, their food has to survive in the refrigerator of a convenience store and as such is rather highly processed and high in sodium.  Another great option is the gas station with attached Subway!

5.  Jerky?  Even more questionable, is meat jerky.   Turkey, Beef, high protein, low fat...all goodness, but jerky can be REALLY high in sodium.  Everything in moderation though.

6.  Bars??  While they're almost certainly always available, the granola bar can be a bit of a landmine.  They're often heavily processed as well, sugary, high in carbs, low in protein, and rather high on the glycemic index.  Don't get me wrong, I love granola bars, especially from places like Cliff, and Nature Valley.  They might not be the most ideal for fueling your drive however.  If you do go for a bar, look for some substantial protein in it and keep the calories low.  I recommend trying to optimize the satisfaction/calorie ratio. 

Eating on the road is tricky, and often you're making the best of a bad situation, but by being a little careful you can come out on the other end of your trip in good shape...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

VO2max Testing

One way of assessing fitness is with a number called VO2max.  The higher your VO2max, the more intensely you can exercise, and in general the VO2max of someone that is well conditioned is higher than someone who isn't in such great shape.

Ok, but what is VO2max? 

VO2max is the maximum amount (in milliliters) of oxygen that a person can use in one minute, per kilogram of body weight.  Brian Mac explains it in depth on his website, so if you want to know more that's where I'd suggest you go. 

Why do I care what my VO2max is?

The primary purpose for the fitness assessments I've been doing in this year's preseason is the establishment of a baseline of fitness.  I want to be able to repeat this tests at later dates and refer back to them so that I can evaluate how well my training is going.  Quantifiable metrics are the name of the game here.

Additionally, a more accurate VO2max will allow me to more accurately estimate my calories burnt in gym sessions with my Polar HRM, and that should hopefully help with my nutrition.

Polar HRMs use a secret sauce for calorie burn estimation, but it is thought to have once resembled this polynomial (although now Polar uses resting HR as a variable and that isn't expressed below):

Let C = KCals and weight = the person's weight in Kgs.

Men: C/min = (-59.3954 + (-36.3781 + 0.271 x age + 0.394 x weight + 0.404 x VO2max + 0.634 x HR))/4.184
Women: C/min = (-59.3954 + (0.274 x age + 0.103 x weight + 0.380 x VO2max + 0.450 x HR)) / 4.184

So clearly, the amount of calories your HRM reports burnt is rather dependant on VO2max.  

Estimating VO2max

So, outside of lab testing, how can you accurately estimate your VO2max?

There are quite a few ways, however the one I chose based on the environment I had available was the Balke VO2max test.

You can read about the testing protocol in detail at the above link, but essentially it's very simple.  Run around a track as fast as you can for 15 minutes and record your distance.  You're supposed to use a 400m track, and my track was 9 laps/mile (roughly 179m/lap).  In 15 minutes, running as fast as I could, I covered 3168 meters. 

Using this formula:  (((Total distance covered ÷ 15) - 133) × 0.172) + 33.3 gives me a result of 46.75 mls/kg/min VO2max

How accurate is this number?  Well it's probably good enough to set my heart rate to, and additionally as long as I repeat this exact test in the future it will serve as a measure of improvement to some degree.  According to Mac's website the correlation between this number and  actual VO2max is high as well.  

Estimating Caloric Burn

What does this mean for my energy expenditure estimations?  Well, the default setting on my HRM is a VO2max of 36, which would be about the norm for a non athletic 30-39 female, which is perhaps a safe bet for the typical Polar F6 consumer, but I believe it was causing my HRM to grossly under report calories burnt for me.  

For example, I recently did a bike ride averaging 150 W for 60 minutes.  Assuming 22% efficiency, which is conservative at best, that would indicate a calorie burn of:

150W = 150 J/s
3600 seconds * 150 J = 540 KJ / 4.184 (conversion rate between KJ and KCals) = 129 KCals

129 KCals / .22 (22% efficient, yeah I wish I was that good...) = 586 Calories burnt.  However in this same time frame my Polar F6 was reporting about 286 Calories burnt.  

I'm expecting that my new and more accurate VO2max will greatly improve the estimated calories burnt, but we will find out when I bike tonight...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays Everyone

I hope everyone finds a new PR, or at least the swag they need to train for it, under their tree.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Swim Test: 1000m TT

My season begins on 1/25 so I'm starting to gather some initial performance data and track my progress a bit more scientifically.

Today I did a 1000y Swim TT to get a baseline of my swim speed using a repeatable protocol. 

600y Warmup
1 Minute Rest
1000y Race Pace

Time:  20:45
Rate:  2.05/100y

Last year in my A race I did 2:11/100y so that's a minor improvement, although I'm not sure it really counts because that 2:11 was open water in 53 degree lake Michigan with real race intensity.  There are just too many variables to judge progress using race results, so I'm going to attempt to use this method to judge my progress.  I'm planning on retesting every time I change periods in my training plan, based on Joe Friel's suggestions in The Triathlete's Training Bible.  By the way, I'm going to be using the Training Bible exclusively for this season's training plan development.  More on that later.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gear Review: ISM Adamo Road Saddle

If you'll recall, one of my goals for this off season was to get a bike fit.  Before I did that however, I wanted to find a saddle I liked.  I definitely did NOT like the saddle that came on my Cervelo P1 and knew that my relationship with that painful little piece of plastic was going to be short lived.

I did some research and talked to a few people and came to the conclusion that the ISM Adamo was worth a very serious look.  While there are many fine high end saddles out there, in my opinion the concept behind the Adamo saddles was the best.  It also came highly recommended by some other Tri-Sharks and Beginner Triathlete members. 

There are two models of Adamo for TT bikes, the Adamo Race and the Adamo Road.  They seem to be essentially the same, with the Road weighing a bit more and having a bit more gel/padding than the race.  Light is good, but so is comfortable, so which one should I choose?  In trying to answer that question I discovered one of the things that separates ISM Adamo products from their competition.  Fantastic customer service.  After explaining my goals and needs to Dave at Adamo, discussing my weight loss history, and my Ironman aspirations, Dave recommended the Road over the Race for me.  Thanks for all the help Dave!

The Adamo is an unconventional saddle.  It doesn't have a nose like a traditional saddle, but rather is built to support your sit bones while  relieving the pressure from your perineal nerve, which prevents all sorts of medical badness that I'll just reference here rather than try to explain. 

At first I was skeptical about comfort.  I mean, who wouldn't be.  I very carefully read the Adamo instructions and watched their installation video though.  After that it was time for a road test.

I took my bike out and immediately felt pretty comfortable.  I only road for about 20 miles that day but I enjoyed the ride.  The next day the tissue over my sit bones was a little sore, but I knew that might happen based on Dave's warning and the products documentation.

After a few more rides I was enjoying the Adamo without any pain, and alot more comfort than I've ever experienced on a saddle.  The Adamo put everything else I had ever ridden to shame, including my pricey Fizik Airone.

Then, about 5 rides in, something surprising happened.  While the Adamo was always very good, I stopped for a tweak to how the saddle lined up laterally and  finally just got it exactly right and it was like I snapped into the saddle.  Things went from good to glorious and I couldn't be happier. 

A few days after that ride I took my bike over to a much more experienced triathlete's house and he helped me get the bike tuned in even more while spinning on his computrainer.  Things just kept getting better.
Not only am I more comfortable on my Adamo Road than I ever have been on any other saddle, but I'm faster too.  I know what you're thinking...faster? really?  Yes, faster.  It's very true.  I can stay aero longer, and I'm much more comfortable.  A more aero, more comfortable triathlete is a faster triathlete.

I highly recommend the ISM Adamo Road, it's great equipment from a great company that makes me fast and makes me want to ride.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gear Review: HEED Sports Drink

It's nearly impossible to review food.  As a (very) amateur cook I am painfully aware that everyone has different tastes and preferences.  Just the same, I'm going to give it a shot.

Here is what I like about Hammer Nutrition's HEED:

  • It tastes really good!
  • None of the citrus flavors have citric acid in them.  Thats a really good thing, because gels/drinks with citric acid in them tend to burn/bug me when I'm eating/drinking on the run.
  • Complex Carbs - There aren't any simple sugars in HEED, unlike many other sports drinks that contain glucose, sucrose, etc.  The theory is that this allows the product to deliver a less spikey stream of calories.  My personal opinion is that this theory makes a good deal of sense, but I don't have any sources to back this I mention it tastes really good?
  • It's 105 calories a scoop so that helps with easy math for portioning.
Here is what I don't like so much:

  • It can have a bit of a metalic after taste, which is the electrolytes I'm assuming.
  • There is a lot of gimmicky stuff on Hammer's website that I think takes away from the credibility of their product. 
  • It's sweetened with Xylitol and Stevia, which is probably fine makes me feel like one of those "sucralose is the devil but Stevia is cool cause it's like...from a plant, man." 

That being said, I've tried a bunch of sports drinks and thus far HEED is my favorite.

It's also worth mentioning that Hammer has another sports drink called PERPETUEM that is designed for endurance events that last longer than two hours.  I haven't tried it, but I am planning on giving it a shot as I continue working towards the 70.3 format.  The main differences are the additions of protein and fat to the mix, along with additional calorie density for those 1000+ calorie multihour bottles that long course people like to alternate with water.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bass Pro Shops Maynard Cohick Half Marathon

This was a really special race to me.  I wasn't running to set a PR or to try to be the fastest in my age group.  In fact, there was no "me" to this race.  This race was about "we."  This was Lana's A race for the year, and I had the privilege of running with her.  It was a great opportunity for me to do the half marathon format before my first ironman 70.3 next year, sure enough, but being able to train and run with my most important person was the best part of this experience by a long shot.

We lined up for a 7am start on Nov 1st, the same day everyone changed timezones.  Regardless, everyone seemed to make it to the start on time.  After a short invocation and the babershop quartet style singing of "The Star Spangled Banner" by the sons of silver dollar city (did I mention I was in the SOUTH?) the gun went off and we waited to start running.

The first few miles were very uneventful, aside from having to work a bit to settle into our pace. 

There seems to be a bit of a cult following for Jeff Galloway in Springfield, Mo and as such there were MANY Galloway training groups running the race.  The only thing worse than one person suddenly stopping in front of you is a whole group of people suddenly stopping in front of you.  Lame. 

Around 7 miles in we were greeted by Lana's parents, who had driven all the way from Minnesota to cheer for us.  They had actually made signs for us!  It was really cool! 

A few times in the race we passed a woman cheering loudly with a sign that just said "woo hoo."  We took note of her each time.  That following Thursday she would be the instructor for a spinning class we would both attend.  Small world...

At around 12 miles we were both showing some pain on our faces, and things started getting hard.  I was starting to cramp very badly.  In the end though, we made it through and rounded the corner to finish strong.

Post race we were treated to Miller Lite (which appears to be some strange type of yellow water, I wouldn't  recommend drinking that crap...) and biscuits and gravy.  Did I mention I was in the south?

After a quick shower we were out to get some real food (and throwed rolls) at Lamberts, which is really the coolest place ever.  My food log would later reveil I put down 1400 calories there, and it was delicious!  I had turkey, dressing, gravy, throwed rolls, potatos, fried zuccini, etc.  Wow, lots of food.
So that was the half marathon.  But wait one second... Who was this Maynard Cohick character anyway?  Maynard Cohick was a famous lawyer who would run between clients appointments in Springfield and his office in Republic.  When he wasn't doing that, he was breaking records climbing mountains.

Unfortunately this would ultimately cost Maynard Cohick his life

Maynard Cohick spent much of his life traveling around the world; he died on top of it. In his last letter to Jeanne, received about the time of the accident on Annapurna, Maynard wrote: "I love you very much, and hope this long absence hasn't been too difficult for you. Tell all the gang I said hello and the next time you hear from me, I will have been to the summit."  --Lance Feyh, Living the Life with

As I write the ending to this chapter of my life, framed by multisport, I can't help but think about the mountains in my own life.  Yeah, it takes some endurance to run 13.1 miles, no doubt.  But living 386 miles away from your best friend and greatest love is a real test of endurance.  Lana, I love you very much, and hope this long absence hasn't been too difficult for you.   We will be at the summit soon. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Spooky Workout

Last night I attended a Tri-Shark indoor trainer ride. It was hosted in a local bike store and it was a ton of fun. One of the sharks had worked out a "spooky" Halloween playlist with songs like "The Time Warp" and "Sweet Dreams" by Marilyn Manson (which maybe is spooky to some people, but is just "Tuesday on the way to work" for me most days...maybe I'm spooky?). Another shark made Halloween cupcakes for after the ride. It was a great time of course, but there is a bit more to the story.

So there we were, indoors, peddling and sweating. I was heads down 4 minutes into an interval in my 50x13 when I had a bit of a flash back.

In 2007 I was a light 330 pounds, down from 380 and I started looking for my first outdoor bike. I went around to a few local bike stores in town shopping. One of them was particularly helpful and they started talking to me about how they could build out the back wheel to handle my weight and avoid pinch flats. While I didn't buy a bike from them in the long run, I appreciated their understanding and willingness to help me get on two wheels.

That store in my memory also happened to be my current location. I couldn't help but smile as I remembered that first trip to this store. I was very proud to be here, peddling with these people in this place. Yeah, I'm skinnier and that’s cool, but there is so much more for me to be thankful for in how far I've come. I've learned to overcome setbacks and disappointment, to suffer through pain and persevere, and to live in the moment (ok, I have a lot to learn with that last one still). There are so many other things I've learned about healthy minds and healthy bodies along the way that living this lifestyle has taught me.

It seems appropriate that I was haunted by a memory like this on Halloween, and perhaps almost cliché that I would want to thank my ghosts for chasing me along my path forward.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Swim, Bike, Run, Eat -- Tofu Salad

I was in the mood for a salad tonight, and decided to throw this together.

Cooking for one isn't much fun, so I'm always on the look out for fast easy ideas.  This certainly fit the bill.


  •  2 tbsp reduced sodium soy
  •  2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey

  • 2.5 Cups Baby Spinach
  • 1/2 Cup Grapes
  • 1 tbsp Chopped Walnuts
  • 1/4 Cup Reduced Fat Feta Cheese
  • 1 Package Extra Firm Silken Tofu
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cube your tofu and put it on a 'pamed' baking sheet
  3. Mix the sauce and pour half of it on top of the tofu
  4. Bake the tofu for 30 minutes
  5. While the tofu is baking, mix the salad.  Cover with tofu and the remaining dressing. 

Calories: 416
Fat: 16g
Cholest: 10mg
Sodium: 1900mg (but you aren't really going to eat all that sodium in the marinade)
Carbs: 34g
Sugar: 19g
Fiber: 1g
Protein: 37g

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Race Report: Rogersville Wildcat Duathlon - 1:20:26.7

The  2009 Rogersville Wildcat Duathlon in Rogersville, Mo was my very first multisport event in the Ozarks.  It was a very small race with only 43 participants and 10 year age groups.  It was a fairly cold morning, with the temps just breaking 40 and 7mph gusts of wind.  This was certainly a "C" race for me, and I was planning on taking it pretty easy since I had an 11 mile long run to do the following day.  I did well, those things considered, and overall it was a great way to stretch the race season just a bit. 

Also, I have to brag just a little bit...  There was a 5k going on at the same time and Lana placed 3rd in her AG as well.  Thats right, 3rd in a 10 year age group.  Thats impressive!  I'd say all that long slow low intensity running is really paying off on the 5k times for both of us.

Overall Place:  21
AG Place: 5

Age Group 30-39M

Run 1
This was a bit of a wildcard for me because I haven't done a duathlon before.  I was running somewhere between "go for it" and "take it easy, this is a C race and you have 11 miles to go tomorrow" so overall I was happy.  There were a few rolling ozark hills on the course (read mountains) but I felt really strong.  I found myself pushing a 7:/34 at mile 1 and actually pulled way back. 

Overall Rank: 24
Time:  16:51.9
Distance: 2 Mi
Pace:  8:26/Mi


I really took my time in transition.  I was trying to be fast and efficient but I was wearing my pearl izumi shoe covers because I wasn't willing to freeze my feet off for a few seconds of speed and they took a while to get right.

Time:  2:38.5

All summer I've been grumpy about my bike speed in Missouri.  This was a bit of vindication however.  My 20Km PR pace this year was just under 21 Mph, so 17.7 Mph is pretty much the worst 20Km bike split I've ever seen.  That being said, my overall rank jumped from 24 to 13 on the bike, and there wasn't a biker I saw that I didn't pass.  What I'm getting at is that biking in the Ozarks is very challenging to say the least, and that I did about as well compared to other riders in the Ozarks as I do on land not best suited for mountain goats.

Overall Rank:  13
Time:  41:25.4
Distance: 12 Mi
Speed:  17.7 MPH


Not sure what happened here, but the timers didn't get my T2 time for some reason. 
Run 2

Run 2 was kind of bad.  I had some really serious cramps in my right calf.  I had to walk for a few minutes in the beginning.  Eventually I ran with the cramp and that was a bigger mistake.  This week I'm spending most of the time on the sidelines with a calf injury...  Even with the walk though, I don't think I was at 10:53/mi.  I have a feeling my T2 time got factored into this. 

Overall Rank:  34
Time:  21:45.8
Distance: 2 Mi
Pace:  10:53/Mi

Overall Race Time:  1:20:26.7

Afterwards I went in and tried to get warmed up and ate some post race goodies.  It was a great race that I would do again, but I REALLY hope I'm not in the Ozarks at this time next year to do it...

Running towards the finish

Running out of T2

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gear Review: Zensah Compression Sleeves

So...compression sleeves.  Everyone's doing it, so you should to, right?  Well maybe.  There isn't any real hard scientific evidence that I have found supporting the use of compression sleeves for either racing or recovery.  Joe Friel's blog is following this at a much more scientific level than I'd be capable of, so I'll leave that to him.  What cannot be questioned however, is the amazing popularity compression gear is enjoying right now.  Kona was no stranger to compression clothing this year, and even more  notably we all saw Lance in compression gear between stages of the tour recently.

So, compression gear is here to stay.  Does it work?  It seems impossible to say for sure at this point.  In my own very personal experience, I do enjoy compression gear after especially long or difficult training sessions.  I've trained with compression gear as well, but I really didn't notice a difference, aside from my ability to draw funny looks from the general population.

Ok, so lets say you want to try it.  What should you buy?  When it comes to leg compression, I think the Zensah Compression Sleeves are the best thing out there.  They're durable, built well, and not as badly over priced as some of the more well known (I'm looking at you 2XU) vendors out there.  Why sleeves over socks?  Well, if  you're doing a tri and you do decide to race in these things, sleeves are really the only way to go.  Additionally, wearing whatever socks you want (or no socks at all) is a really nice thing for post race recovery.

Looks: 4/5
Well, they look as funny as any compression sleeves.  Combine these with my Croc Prepairs and you'd really be styling...

Price: 3/5
More reasonable than most, but still kind of pricey for what they are.  I've heard of people having great results with medical grade compression socks purchased from CVS or Walgreens.  I haven't tried that, but it would be a cheaper option if it worked.

Performance: 5/5
For me at least, these things seem to help out with the inevitable DOMS that a long run/ride will leave you with.  They hold up well, and they seem to be constructed with better than average material and craftsmanship. 

Overall:  4/5
If you're looking for compression sleeves, these would probably be the ones to use.  Of course if anyone else would like me to review their brand, I'd be happy to.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gear Review: Crocs Prepair

I'll be the first to admit, I never, ever, planned on wearing a pair of Crocs.  Ever.  But...  Yeah, they're that good.  The Crocs Prepair clog is to feet what the compression sock is to calves.  After a long run, there is really nothing like it.  Alternating between three sports means recovery time is very very important and anything that can speed that along is a godsend.  These things certainly seem to help me.   

So, ok, they're a recovery shoe.  Neat.  But wait, there's more.  The anti microbial/anti fungal/anti odor foot bed also makes these things pretty much the perfect pre/post swim shoe as well. Also those little strappy things on the back keep them on unlike most other pool sandals.

So, if you're serious about recovering faster, and you want something diverse enough to wear after a race, before a race, to and from the pool, and after your runs give the Croc Prepair a try.  Yes, they're funny looking, but you're already wearing compression socks/sleeves so get over it. 

Looks: 2/5 
Yeah, they're Crocs...but they are slightly less ugly than the standard fair.

Price: 3/5
At around $40, they aren't cheap.  They do hold up well though, and they are much less expensive than other recovery footwear options. (Yeah, I'm talking about you Zoot.)

Performance: 5/5
They do what they intend to, and a little bit more.  Thats goodness.

Overall:  4/5
If you can handle the looks, you'll be a better athlete because of it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Off Season

It's officially the off season. As such, it seems like now might be a good time to make an off season plan. Right now, this is just a list of general goals that I am hoping will become more clear as time goes on.

Things to accomplish this off season:

  • Take two weeks completely off to heal
  • Finish reading "Going Long" and reread "The Triathlete's Bible"
  • Develop a training plan and race plan for 2010
  • Get a bike fitting done
  • Get a fitness assessment done
  • Get some swimming instruction/join a masters swim league

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Going Long!

It's official. I'm trying an Ironman 70.3 race. I'll be competing in "Whirlpool Ironman 70.3 Steelhead" on July 31st 2010.

This race is my first venture into "long course" triathlon and includes a 1.2 mile open water swim in Lake Michigan, a 56 mile time trial on the bike, and a half marathon

I'm hoping to finish in about 6 hours, but I'll take a sub 7 hour fact any finish is a success at this point. My training starts in we go!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Nice Round Number

I've been hitting 180 pounds on and off for a few weeks now in some less hydrated states, but during my normal morning weigh in this morning the scale informed me I was 180 pounds.

So...that's a nice even 200 pounds lost. Pretty cool!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Salmon and Broccoli with Peanut Sauce

Ahh, post season... I finally have time to blog a little bit. Anyway, this was a recent dinner that turned out especially good. I thought I might share it.

1 Cup brown rice - 188 Cal
2 Salmon Fillets (4oz) - 200 Cal
2 Cups Steamed Broccoli - 62 Cal

1 Tbsp Natural Peanut Butter - 90 Cal
1 Tbsp Lite Soy Sauce - 10 Cal
1 Tsp of Rice Wine Vinegar
Chili Paste (lots)

Total calories 550
Total Protein 55g
Total Carbs 57g
Total Fat 14g (of nut butter and omega 3'd goodness)

Not bad for a bachelor on a diet...

Green Lite Bites

This is a really good cooking blog, I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Chicago Triathlon 03:06:31

Overall Time 03:06:31
Overall Place 2414/4243
Gender Place 1942/2951
Age Group Place 392/557

So here it season's A priority race. This is what all that hard work has been for.

The Chicago Triathlon is the world's largest race. There were over 9,000 athletes in attendance, with over 4800 registered for the Oly. It was also part of the lifetime fitness triathlon series, and brought pro's from around the country. Matt Reed and Sarah Haskins were the first place pros. Unfortunately, Andy Potts crashed into an age grouper and had to be taken the the ER with severe road rash and possibly additional injuries.

Enough about the pros for is what the race was like for me:

Packet Pickup

Packet Pickup was on Saturday, the day before the race. It took place at a huge expo that was PACKED with people. The various stages of packet pickup were scattered throughout the expo, which made it a bit of a quest. Go here, get number, go there get chip, go to the next place to activate chip, and so on... They could take a few lessons in organization from the Tri-Shark Classic!

Here I am being interviewed by "The Age Grouper" which is apparently a Pod Cast I intend to check out.

The interview was apparently a stump the triathlete game of some type. I'm sure I sounded like a tool, but luckily I could answer the "how far is an olympic triathlon" question. :) He also asked me if I pee in my wetsuit. Silly else are you supposed to stay warm!

Here I am being body marked


On race morning coach/crew Lana and I were up at 4:00am. Transition opened at 4:15 and closed at 5:45. I got there about 4:30 and it was already packed. I got my stuff set up and walked about a mile to the swim start to wait. My wave started at 7:48, so I spent the next few hours trying to stay warm (It was in the low 50s that morning) and watch the sun rise. I had a Cliff Bar for breakfast at about 6, then I applied my sun block and body glide around 7 and climbed into my wetsuit.

The crowd was HUGE!

Here I am lined up to start the race. My age group (30-34m) was about 3 waves big, with each wave containing about 150 athletes. There were a few first timers, but for the most part this wasn't my group's first rodeo.

Time 00:35:46
Distance 1500m
Swim Rank 2370

Right before we dove in the lifeguards brought an elite back with a broken about a psych out.

The announcer told us to get in and we had to tread water in the start. There was alot of swimming over, under, and on top of each other after the gun went off, but it thinned out very quickly.

The water was crazy cold! It was 63.2 degrees according to the USAT officials.

I'm in the middle of the pack in this picture. How Lana figured out which rubber clad purple hatted dude I was is beyond me, but she did...

Time 00:04:37

The Swim ended with a 450m run from the water to the timing mats. As I exited the water I fell and banged up my foot. That seems to be a theme with me. I need to be more careful getting out of the water, I do that all the time!

Midway through the run into T1 I stopped in some grass to pull off my wetsuit. Thats when catastrophe struck. I noticed my timing chip was gone. The plastic chip strap broke. I was ready to panic. I checked the leg of my wetsuit and was somewhat relieved to find my chip there. Thats good. I asked a volunteer what to do. She told me to just drag the chip over each mat. Thats bad. Oh well, this is triathlon... Bad things happen sometimes, so you just have to HTFU and roll with it.

Time 01:20:20
Distance 40Km
Speed 18.9 Mph
Bike Rank 1870

The bike course was crowded. There were fasties, plenty of sub 15mph first timers, and even some people riding beach cruisers with baskets. Unfortunately those slow athletes on the crowded course made some of the turns rather treacherous, as Andy Potts would unfortunately find out later on.

The course was essentially a two lap out and back up Lake Shore Drive from Randolph to the far north part of the City (around Lawrence Ave).

There was a 15mph head wind on the north bound parts of the course that impeded progress a bit.

Here I am rolling down LSD. Heading South was awesome! The (now) tailwind made the course completely surreal as I flew down LSD at about 24mph and approached the loops sky scrapers. Wow...that was cool!

Turning on LSD to go down the Wacker exit towards transition.

I drank about 300 calories in the course but felt like I needed a little bit more so I used one of my emergency gels as well. I'm glad Lana suggested I carry a few extra...

Time 00:04:16

My second transition went well. I still had to drag my chip across the mat but at least I knew it was coming. Some knucklehead put his bike in my spot, which was annoying, but's triathlon.

Time 01:01:29
Distance 10Km
Pace 9:55/mi
Run Rank 2982

The run was awesome! The crowd was so huge and so supportive. I was getting high fives as I ran by, and lots of "alright, go Tri-Shark!" That was very cool. It was so awesome to see all the supportive families cheering their athletes on as well.

Here I am running out of transition on to the run course (sorry for the butt shot).

The run course crowd was massive! I had a small gatoraid at an aid station about 2 miles out, putting me at about 450 calories in at (I was guessing) 2 hours.

At about 4 miles out there was a huge aid station where I took on some water and a gu. As I ran through "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey was playing on the PA and I couldn't help but smile as I realized that this race was in the bag and I tried to remember to enjoy it. Unfortunately that gu was probably a little too much, putting me at 550 calories in 2.8ish hours. It was probably more than I could digest because I had a bit of a sour stomach at this point.

I didn't pay much attention to that though, the crowd picked up again and everyone was cheering and encouraging us. I heard someone shout "alright Tri-Shark, finish strong" as I rounded Balbo to Columbus and saw the finish line. I heard the announcer shout out "and here is Mike BerNEEHCOH" as I drug my timing chip across the mat one last time.

At the end of the event I was completely fine, but I knew I was going to be sore the next day. I was very happy to be done, and happier still to quickly find Lana and start celebrating the completion of my first olympic distance triathlon.

Thanks to the Tri-Sharks, the people at Beginner Triathlete, and the Triathlon community at large for all the help, this was an amazing accomplishment for a previously 380 pound computer nerd and I couldn't have done it without you.

Most importantly though, thank you Lana. You made sure I ate enough on hard training days, you never got upset when I needed a nap or had to take a few hours for a bike ride on one of our weekends, and you took care of me when I needed it. I couldn't have done this without your love and support lambda!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

High Water Mark

Sorry for the lack of updates, I've honestly been way too busy to blog lately. So here's the story for now:The Chicago Oly is on 8/30, which is 12 days away. I have been training ALOT. In fact, last week was the high water mark of said training. Last week’s training looked like this:

Monday: Bike 23 Miles

Tues: Ran 4.65 Miles AM / Swam 1500M PM

Wed: Ran 2 Miles Noon / Swam 2800M Open Water

Thurs: Ran 6.01 Miles

Fri: Off

Sat: Bike 42.5 Miles

Sun: Ran 7.27 Miles

Total Swim: 4300M

Total Bike: 65.5 M

Total Run: 20 M

Total Training Hours: 10

Here is the thing about training 10 hours a week though. It isn't really 10. Add in all the time you spend going to and from the pool/pond, bike maintenance time, recovery time, etc and this becomes a major time commitment. While this was the high volume week for my current plan, it will be "just another week" in a 70.3 plan, which makes me nervous about taking things to the next level in 2010. We will see about that, but the September Mattoon half ironman is a strong possibility at this point.

Another trick to maintaining this level of training is getting enough nutrition and sleep. If you mess up either (or both) of those you might keep it together for a day, but you won't keep it together for a week... I've found that one out the hard way. I'm almost there though... One more week and triathlon season 1 will be at a close. I'm very much looking forward to November's half marathon. The running focus will be great for me, the intensity will be much lower, and cutting back to 6 workouts a week will feel like heaven. Just trying to hold it together a little longer at this point…

Monday, July 20, 2009

Just Another Morning Run

Monday Morning. 5:00 AM. I stumble out of bed, put my running shoes on, and get ready to go. I'm moving on instinct and duty, hoping the desire to run will come. I quickly eat a banana, and make my way out the door. It's freezing, dark, and deathly quiet. My GPS beeps on and locks onto some satellites and I'm off.

This is what it is to be a triathlete. Race day isn't where you find glory; it's on the average every day runs. I do it when I don't feel like it, when it's hot, when it's cold, when it's dark. I did it the day I got divorced, the day I lost my house, and the days when every bit of hope seemed gone from the world.

5:30 AM. The sun is rising and I'm about half way through my run. I feel good. Really good. I'm glad to be out running this morning, because it means I'll be able to fit in a full swim work out and weights tonight. The hardest part of training for multisport is that there are more workouts to do than there are times to workout.

5:40 AM. The sunrise is really amazing. My thoughts are never far away from Lana, but I take a mental note of how beautiful the world is, and wish that she was here with me. She so deeply appreciates the beauty of the world around us, which is one of the many things I admire about her. I smile at this realization, and hope that, since she can't be here, she is warm and safe in bed and is feeling just how loved and cherished she is. I grin again, knowing I'm very lucky to have her in my life... Training is meditative and provides an opportunity to have some time to yourself to clear your mind, and reflect on your life. My body comes back healthier, but possibly more importantly, so does my mind. Every time I train I'm swimming, biking, and running towards the person I was meant to be.

6:00 AM. I'm back at home in time for a shower and breakfast. Maybe this was just another morning run, but there is nothing mundane about it. Every training run is an event, and they're all important.

Evergreen Sprint Triathlon - 02:06:12.9

The Evergreen Sprint was a really great race, and a great end for an insane chapter in my life. It was mostly the same course as Tri-Shark, with the exception of a longer 40Km bike route. The weather was in the low 60s, and there wasn't much wind at all.

My pre race routine didn't go very well at all, as I got there a little late, just making same day packet pickup and not really having enough time to set up my transition. Somehow I made it to the starting line in time though, and did pretty well.

Throughout the race I burnt around 2370 calories, and took in about 450. The first 150 was from a sports drink on the bike. Additionally I ate a gu in T1, 45 minutes later on the bike, and then 45 minutes after that on the run.

Overall Place: 67/XXX
AG: 5/12


My wave was bigish, with every male competing in the sprint starting at the same time. The water was warmer than the air on race morning. It was 76 degrees in the lake and just barely wetsuit legal. I didn't wear a wetsuit however, since I don't currently own one. When the horn went off things got rough really fast. I was in the front/middleish part of the pack and took alot of elbows. About 200m into the swim I took a hard kick to the chest as well. I really need to work on bilateral breathing as well. I was having a hard time breathing on one side because of the chop in the lake and some of the competators swimming closely to me and splashing me on the side I was breathing on.

Distance: 500m
Time: 13:24.3
100s: 2:27
Rank 6/12


I ran into T1 feeling like things were going pretty well. Bike shoes...check, helmet...check, garmin...check, sunglasses....uh...uh oh. My glasses were in my transition bag. I had to dig for them, because there was no way I was going to do a 25 Mile bike race without them. That killed any time advantage I may have had gained by not wearing a wetsuit.

Time: 03:27.5
Rank 4/12


I felt pretty strong on the bike. I knew I wasn't going to be able to pull of 20 MPH over 25M, so I made my goal 18 MPH and just focused on keeping my cadence up since I knew I was in this for a longer haul than normal. I spent some time at around 16, and some around 22 and I wasn't sure where things would end up but I just focused on keeping my cadence at 80+.

Just about 2 miles in there was an ambulance tending to a down racer that I had to avoid, which served as a reminder that there is danger in doing this, and that I needed to be careful. Later I heard that the athlete that crashed here ended up in the ER.

About 10 miles in several of us got stuck behind a very slow moving cement truck, which was extremely annoying. While I was curious if I could get penalized for drafting behind a cement truck the guy to my right was cursing like a sailor at the driver, who appeared to somehow be stuck behind a guy on a mountain bike.

A few miles later I was cruising at about 21 MPH when I came accross a large hill that I had to desend. I began my descent and stepped through all my gears, still aero, before spinning out of my casset and thinking "holy crap, this is kind of scary!" Glancing at my speedometer I saw that I had just exceeded my previous bike speed record, and was flying down the hill at 37.3 MPH. At that point my internal monologue went from "holy crap, this is kind of scary" to "wow, 37, sweet!" to "oh god, if I hit a rock I'm going to die!" Of course, since I'm writing this I guess there weren't any rocks.

About 20 miles in things started to really hurt. Riding at race pace for this long was something I wasn't probably ready for yet. My current training plan has me set to do it just in time for Chicago in fact, which made this ride about 7 weeks premature. There was no way I was going to let up though. I'm a crappy runner and an average swimmer, so I always have to have a strong bike performance. I tried to clear my head of the pain and let my mind go somewhere else (no I'm not going to tell you where, get your own happy memory) while I pushed through the last 5 miles.

Distance: 40Km / 25 M
Time:01:17: 18.0
Avg Speed: 19.3
Rank: 1/12!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I honestly don't remember much of T2. I do remember not being able to run much in transition off the bike. My feet were kind of tingly and my quads were doing the normal transition thing so I was really in kind of a daze. Apparently my transition was pretty lousy though, since I was 11/12. I'm thinking that I remained standing up through my transition and I probably should have sat down to change shoes.

Time: 02:50.8
Rank: 11/12


The run went pretty well. After I got my legs back under me (about .5 miles in) I started to feel really strong. I heard "Go Sharks!" from several of the volunteers and other runners as I passed and that encouraged me even more. About a mile in I saw a water stop so I hit my last gu and washed it down with some water. I spent alot of my time on the run in the 8ish minute/mile range, but ultimately I didn't break out of the 9s unfortuantely.

Distance: 5K / 3.1 M
Time: 29:12.3
Pace: 9:25
Rank: 9/12

Post Race

Tri-Mom Events races are the best, and this was no exception. Everything was great, well organized, and exactly right. The food afterwards was awesome! There were cookies, fruit, BBQ, gondolas from Avanti's (a Central Illinois thing I think) and bagels from Panera.

Our race times were available almost instantly from It's Race Time. We were able to walk up to a kiosk they had set up and they would print our individual times for us, including all our splits. I was very impressed, way to go Eric! I was also shocked to see that I had placed 5th in my AG, and not only did I place 5th, but there were awards for top 5! I was shocked. It felt really great to get a medal for a triathlon and be recognized for some of the hard work I've put into this.

As I walked back to the car I was probably glowing. I may have just been 5th in my AG in the Sprint (all the fasties did the Oly) but it felt like I had just placed first in Kona. I excitedly txted Lana and let her know I was safe and off the course and was happy to tell her about my award before I walked back to enjoy the awards celebration.

Evergreen was a total surprise. I was doing it just because it was a close triathlon. I didn't go in with any specific plan or purpose, I was just breaking up the monotony of training on my way to the Chicago Tri. What started as "just for fun" ended up being the highlight of my very short triathlon career. It was a great time.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Road to Chicago: Week 3 - 4

Week 3 and Week 4 are complete...sort of. I'm struggling with finding a realistic training plan that is not too easy or two aggressive. Week 3, my "easy week," left me doing too consecutive bricks. By week 4 I knew I had to make a change, and switched from my previous plan to the run focused oly plan on

So far the new plan is a little better, but seems to be redicuosly swim intensive. On week 5 it wants me to swim 58 minutes. Based on my current endurance pace that would be like 3000m of swimming. No thanks. The race is 1500m, so I'll go up to 2000, but thats enough swimming for me. I'm feeling burn out starting to kick in, so it's time to dial it back a bit.

Week 3 "Easy Week"
Monday: Brick: Bike 30 minutes / Run 45 minutes
Tuesday: Swim 1200m
Wednesday: Brick: Bike 60 minutes / Run 10 minutes
Thursday: off
Friday: off
Saturday: Run 3 miles easy / Swim 600m
Sunday: off

Week 4 - Back to the Grind
Monday: Run 30 minutes / 3.15 miles
Tuesday: Bike 12.5 Miles / 38 Minutes
Wednesday: Swim 1350m/ weights
Thursday: Run 46 minutes / 4.25 miles
Friday: Bike 30.4 Miles / 117 minutes
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Run 58 minutes / 5.35 miles

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Road To Chicago: Week 2

Week 2 of my Oly training is complete. The additional volume isn't so bad. The additional volume + illinois heat and humidity The environment can really take alot out of me. I have to work harder to get done, and I perform less well.

Here is what Week 1/2 looked like:

Week 1
Mon: Swim 1200y + Strength Training
Tues: Bike 38 Miles
Wed: Swim 1200y + Strength Training
Thur: Run 3M
Fri: "Off" (On my off day I did a 5 mile hike at Starved Rock for my birthday)
Sat: Run 4M
Sun: Bike 16 Miles

I had a training partner for my runs this week, which was awesome. It's so much more fun to run with someone else.

Week 2
Mon: Swimming + Strength Training
Tues: Bike 60 Minutes
Wed: Swimming + Strength Training
Thurs: Run 3 Miles (HOT and Humid! Lost two pounds on the run...need to hydrate hard core this summer!)
Fri: Bike 2 Hours 45 Min / 40 Miles (Burnt 2260 cals in a single workout) Swam 200y.
Sat: Run 5.5 Miles / 1 Hour (Slow, but jesus it was hot...I was dying at the end)
Sun: Bike 30 Minutes + Swim (No rest day, taking an extra next week)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What is Tri-Shark really like?

If you've never done a triathlon, or if you have but haven't raced tri-shark, check this video out. It really captures the spirit of triathlon!

Check Up

One of my least favorite things to do is go to the doctor. Unfortunately I had to go a few days ago. I wasn't looking forward to it...

When I got there I did the normal weight/vitals stuff and then waited for the doctor. The doctor did his normal doctor stuff, and then, with a huge smile, shook my hand. He told me that what I did was pretty unusual and a very big deal, and pointed out that my heart rate was as low at rest as any athlete he has ever seen (at 60 as I sat on the table, which was high for me), my blood pressure was exactly where it should be (124/70), and I had lost about 60 pounds since my last visit.

He told me he was relocating and wished me luck. On the way out of the office I shook his hand again, and told him good luck in his new position. He stopped me by the nurses station and announced "this gentleman has lost 195 pounds with just diet and exercise." The entire office stopped, and patients, nurses, and other health care type workers all applauded me. It was a little embarassing, but very cool. It beats a prostate exam any day... :)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Tri-Shark Classic Triathlon 1:25:14.5

Age Group Place: 26/45
Overall: 275/478

Tri-Shark has the reputation of being a really well run, organized, fun race. It was all of those things. It had a mini expo, a cool DJ booth, and good food.

My first open water swim. My wave started with about 86 other people. I swam with a wet suit, although the water temp was 71. The swim went about as well as I could have wanted, although I continue to need practice swimming straight in open water. Sighting is rather tricky, but I'm getting the hang of it.

Distance: 600y
Time: 11:30.2
100y: 1:55

Transition went really well, in and out. Nothing I could do much better really.
Time: 3:02.7

The bike portion is always what I look forward to, and I was really excited for this ride since the wind was very manageable, and would be at my back(ish) for about 6.5 of the miles.

Unfortunately about 4 miles in I started having some really bad cramping in my left calf. I just did the best I could to ignore it, and when I hit hills I stood up in the seat to try and work it out. It was a problem all ride though.

Time: 37:32.0
Distance: 13 Miles
MPH: 20.8!!!!!!

This is when the cramping got really bad! As soon as I entered transition I was hurting ALOT. I made it to my bike, and changed, but my time wasn't so good. T2 took about as long as T1 did, and I didn't have a wetsuit to remove.

Time: 2:53.3

Those cramps plagued me for the entire run, and pretty much ruined my chances at breaking 9 minute miles this race. Thats ok though, 9:46 is respectable for me in a tri, and I am very happy with my bike performance this time.

Time: 30.16.3
Pace: 9:46

Total: 1:25:14.5

As always, a big thank you to everyone that was with me throughout this race and the training that got me here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tri-Shark Details

For everyone coming to spectate at Tri-Shark this weekend:

Directions: Click Here

I'll be at the race at approx. 6:30 AM.

I'm starting in Wave 3, at 8:06AM. I'll be starting with about 86 other people.

Swim Cap Color: White
Number: 123

Other Ways To Pick Me Out:
Wetsuit: Black/Red with "Nineteen" written on it
Clothes: Light Blue Jersey / Grey Shorts
Bike: Red/Silver with the word "Cervelo" on the down tube - Red/White/Blue helmet

Please remember spectators are NOT allowed in transition.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hell Yeah!

I did my last long run before the tri-shark classic tonight. It was a really great run for me. I did 6 miles in 64 minutes, which works out to around 10:47/mi. The weather was perfect, cool and overcast. I was running a new route that turned out to be flat, smooth, and very fast. I did it without an ipod since I've killed my last shuffle and can't replace it for a bit.

I'm very proud of myself for getting to this point. My running has really improved recently, and it happened during some life events that would cause many athletes to stop training. If things go well I expect to complete tri-shark's 5k in 27:30 or less. If things go really well, 8 minute miles are a possibility.

As a side note, lately I've been running with a hat to keep the sweat out of my eyes. It works to some extent, however at some point during long or hard runs the hat becomes saturated and drips, which is probably worse. My solution so far has been to turn the hat backwards when this occurs, which because of the workouts involved when this is required, has made this new quirk of mine a bit of a victory dance. The hat was on backwards tonight...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Open Water

Just a few weeks left until Tri-Shark... Today I'm happy to report that I survived my first open water swim. It was an interesting experience.

Some random observations:

  • Dirty water + foggy goggles = Where the hell am I going.
  • The wetsuit made the 65ish degree water pretty nice. I was surprised.
  • The wetsuit provided alot of buoyancy. I could literally stop and float.
  • I had some breathing problems because I wasn't exhaling until my face was out of the water, which didn't leave me much time for getting a new breath.
  • Wow am I dirty now. I have sand in places sand should never be, and I'm still slippery from body glide.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Yesterday I reached another significant weight loss milestone.

When I started getting my life back under control in 2007, my weight was somewhere over 380 pounds. Yesterday morning I weighed 189 pounds, which means I've lost over half of my total body weight. I'm quite literally half the man I used to be. :)

I still have plenty of weight to lose, and the pounds get harder and slower as I approach my ideal weight. I'm very happy to be where I am though, and have begun shifting my focus from being smaller to being faster at all three sports, eating right, eating enough, and letting the weight loss stuff work itself out on it's own.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Road to Chicago

So it's official. Tomorrow I'll be mailing in my race change form and changing my entry into the Chicago Triathlon from Sprint to International distance.

My training plan is laid out already, and I start training for Chicago on June 7th. I'm looking forward to the challenge and can't wait to put everything I have into it.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tri-the-Illini Triathlon 1:14:31.10

Overall the weather was great. It was about 60 degrees out, and the wind was very calm.

AG 17/25
Overall 153/301

Swim 300m
Rank 18
Time 7:26.95
Rate 2:48/100m

The swim went well but I hit some congestion in the last lane. The swim was in a 50m pool at the UofI ARC. It was really cool to swim in a full size pool.

Rank 10
Time 2:10:00

It was a long haul from the pool to T1, and I took it really slow after the whole foot injury from last week.

Rank 6
Time 33:50.65
Speed 19.51 mph

The bike went very well. I pushed very hard and set a new average speed record for myself.

Rank 22
Time 2:30:10

T2 sucked. I was the first bike back on my rack and as I racked my bike the rack fell over. I stood it back up and tried again, but it fell over again. Very frustrating, but completely out of my control.

Rank 24
Time 28:33.40
Pace 9:13/mi

The run was good. Everything about it was nice and it just right. We ran through the quad, which was a very odd as it wasn't at all closed and there were students about doing their normal thing.

Total Time 1:14:31.10

Overall, my time was good. There isn't much I would have done differently. I'm very MOP in everything but the run, and I knew that going into this.

Next up..Tri-Shark!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Quote for Tomorrow

“There are bad times, but thats okay, just look for the love in it, don't burn the day away.”

-Dave Matthews

Racing Tomorrow

It's pretty much the 11th hour here, I'm racing tomorrow, and I'm trying to get myself in the right mental state to do so. I'm not there at all. My mind is everywhere but where it needs to be.

So, this will serve as a public record of me issuing a HTFU to my brain...

Music for the car tomorrow:

Run Fast Guys!

Since I won't be there, I wanted to take a moment to say "Good Luck" to Rob, CJ, and Ritter at Lake Run tomorrow.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sullivan Triathlon 1:29:12.60

AG Place 11/17
Overall Place 83/261

Rank 13
Time 09:25.75
Rate 1.59

Rank 14
Time 01:45.60

Rank 9
Time 44:39.95
Speed 18.0mph

Rank 14
Time 01:07.45

Rank 12
Time 32:13.85
Pace 10:24/M

Overall: 1:29:12.60

First, let me wax philosophical for a moment. Endurance athletes are warriors. It takes a lot of heart to do this to yourself. All warriors have enemies, but there are so many things against the Age Group Triathlete especially. Fitting training into your life is probably the biggest enemy. There are many others as well, including cost, time away from your kids, the physical and mental toll training takes on your body...the list goes on and on. This week the battle was harder than it has ever been for me, emotionally, mentally, and physically. This was a hard race, but the days leading up to it were far harder still... Athletes aren't made on race day. That isn't even the battle, it's just the victory lap. The battle is in day to day life.

The swim went well for me, and seemed longer than I expected for 400M. I took a few elbows, and unfortunately delivered some as well, but for the most part I didn't hit too much congestion.

About 10 steps out of the pool I slipped on the concrete deck and landed hard. I felt the concrete hit my head and heard a collective "ouch" from the spectators. I got up and kept going, but I felt the sting of a skinned knee. It didn't seem too bad at the time though.

I got over the timing mats and into my transition area. Everything went as planned and I was on the bike. It wasn't an especially fast transition, but it wasn't bad for my first one.

The bike portion of the race was my best leg by far. I felt strong. I stayed aero, I drank alot, and I passed alot of people.

My head was feeling a little messed up, from falling...but what was worse was the stinging feeling getting stronger in my right leg. I looked down at about mile 10 and saw blood running down my knee and thought "oh, skinned knee, I can deal."

The wind was awful, at about 35mph. Heading into the wind our speed dropped to almost nothing and forced me into my 34 ring, which sucked but I was going to burn my legs out fighting the environment. When I thought about slowing down, my mind was immediately drawn back to a conversation I had with a close friend just yesterday. Without going into details, I found strenght in the words of that conversation that I didn't even know I had and continued to hammer the crank into the wind.

Most of the course was acrossed the wind, which made navigation very difficult. I know that at one point I was leaning about 20 degrees off vertical into the wind to go in a straight line. In the brief part of the course where the wind was at my back I quickly spun out of my gears, bouncing in the 50/12.

I had a little bit of a problem with the dismount in T2. I nearly went over the handlebars trying to get off the bike before I went over the chip mat, having come in too fast. I recovered though, and made it to transition. As I changed to my running shoes I saw that my right sock was completely red from blood on the heel. I was going to pay for my slip on the run... It was a quick transition and I was running out to the run course.

Immediately on the run I was feeling my skinned foot. Every step hurt pretty bad. What made it worse was that my calves started cramping up about 400 yards into the run. In my bricks I've experienced cramps in my quads before...but never in my calves. Nothing I could do about it though. Overall the run seemed very very long. It seemed to go on forever, for a 5k. I was very happy to see the finish, and to complete my first sprint Tri.

Some pictures of the race...more to come I'm sure.

Getting ready in transition... Go, go sunblock!

Warming up in the pool.

Changing shoes in T2.

Out of the pool, right before the fall.

After the dismount, going into T2

Running out of T2


Bigger ouch!

Before I end this post, I need to thank everyone that helped me get to this place.

Thanks to my family for putting up with the training that got me here.

Thanks to CJ, Ritter, Shannon, and my other great friends for being a never ending source of encouragement and letting me talk endlessly for hours about triathlon.

Thanks to Lana for reminding me to always take care of myself and believing in me even when I don't.

Thanks to Wo for being Wo...and always reminding me to have fun!

Last but not least, thank you to all the Tri-Sharks who have welcomed me in to triathlon, given me advice, and told me "good job" as they pass me. :)