Ironman Texas 2012

IMG_0114 - 2012-05-20 at 16-37-57

For whatever reason, I decided it would be a good idea to do another Ironman. The problem however, I could do this thing on 10 hours a week of training or less. The key here, would be less.

What started off as a way to get it all back, ended up being a lesson in patience. It was also a lesson in work life balance. Work was crazy in 2012, with managing a large brand and launching a new one. On top of the work, my kids activities have reached a point where every weekend is filled with a game or a practice. I told myself at the start of this training that I would not sacrifice my life at home. I would sacrifice my training.

So what does all that mean? It means you get in 2 Century rides and only 4, 2+ hour runs. My weeks were filled with some 1 hour efforts here and there, but I averaged only 7 hours a week, counting my long ride on weekends. Many of the long rides were only 3 hours, because I wanted to get back for Parker’s baseball games and Hannah’s actives as well.

I also had a setback when my training partner, Linda Trinkle went down in a horrible bike crash. Linda was on pace to easily win her age group and make a trip to Kona. On a century ride about 50 miles from the house, she clipped my back wheel while we were leading out about 25 other athletes. She went down hard and broke her shoulder and a few ribs. Linda’s race dreams ended that day, but her hard work to recovery was an inspiration for anyone that followed her. Seeing her at the swim start reminded me how lucky every athlete is that gets to toe the line of a big race.

After the bike accident, I had a weekend trip which meant no long ride, then I found myself only 2 weeks out.

The beauty of Ironman Texas, is the race start is 5 miles from my front door. I get to sleep in my own bed, wake up, do an Ironman, and sleep in my own bed again! It does not get any easier than that. It is also a course loaded with people you know cheering you on. The downside is the 90+ degree Texas heat.

So when the are was over, I took great joy in my results:

56 minute swim
5:35 Bike
4:02 Run

For a 10:38. I basically equaled my first Ironman in 2005 with 1/2 the training.

The part I liked most, was realizing the journey can be as exciting as race day. Maybe it is because I have laid it all out there and achieved a goal, or maybe my life has changed as I watch my kids grow up around me. Either way, I was quite pleased with the day.

As far as my kids, there was one set back. I had to miss my son’s playoff game to race. Good thing they won, because I was there to watch the World Series game 5 nights later.

After hanging in transition for a bit, I packed up the bike and gear, called Shani and she met me on the corner with my son after his game. They picked me up and I went home. No fan fare, no new tattoos, no trip to Kona. However, I had a smile on my face and the pride and satisfaction that comes with pushing yourself over 140.6 miles.

What is Next? / Girls Run Speaker

Yes I am impatient. With the official broadcast of Kona not even on TV, I am already trying to plan out my 2010 racing season. With work and family obligations, planning where and when to race is not something you can do at the last minute.

However, after a long season it is so important to take the time to relax, recover and enjoy other sports and activities. This is a time to catch up on any personal things you did not get done while training took precedent over all of your free time.

So to answer my own question about what is next in the short term, here is my list:

    • Don’t allow any workouts to get in the way of my family activities
    • Weed side yard and fix the grass (guess who has asked me to do this?)
    • Ride with Woodlands Cycling Team
    • Start lifting some weights
    • See if I can find a cheap stand up paddle-board
    • Swim when I can
    • Have fun with little to no structure in my training

I am sure my to do list will grow as will my impatience towards my 2010 season. Bottom line, stay active, but have some fun and take care of all the things I have had to put off for the past 9 months.

Finally, I had my second speaking engagement about my Ironman experience. After 3 seasons of service, I was invited to speak to 60 girls at Hannah’s Girls Run group. I have to admit, this was quite a high point for me since the race.

With the girls ages being 6 – 12, I had to make it interesting and did my best by bringing all the toys. I shared with them how much you eat and drink while racing in the Ironman and what they need to eat and drink as they get ready for their 5k on Saturday.

There were great questions at the end and I hope the girls are inspired to keep up with their fitness after the season. I have mentioned many times on my blog how special this group of girls are to me and getting an opportunity to be one of the speakers was a huge thrill.

I am the race announcer at our 3rd annual Girls Run, Hit the Trail 5K this weekend. I look forward to seeing the girls run fast and enjoy competing in our Fall season finale.

38 Years Old

Today is my 38th birthday. It seems like yesterday that I was sitting in Denver with my friends the Salazar’s and Fricke’s for my 30th. You do have to wonder why life seems to go by so quickly.

Here is how I would sum up my life at 38:

Marriage: Awesome
Kids: Awesome
Health: Awesome
Job: Awesome

Overall Grade: A- (You can always improve!)

To sum it up, I feel better at 38, than I did at 28. I also could not be more positive about the future.

I am taking a few vacation days for the rest of the week, so it will be nice to spend time with friends and family.

Training on The Road

I often get asked, how and when do you train? This question often comes from people I know that see how often I travel and they wonder when do I get in the workouts.

Well, the first key is to have a good coach. Dana Lyons ask me for my schedule every week before I head out of town. He then coordinates my workouts around my schedule so I can do what I can while on the road. For example, if I am gone Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I tell him how long I have to workout and he typically gives me a variety of runs.

Now the creative part is finding the time and place to do these runs. Two weeks ago while in Philadelphia, I was staying by the airport. I had on the schedule a tempo run with 5 x 1 mile repeats. I noticed by the hotel, that there was a service road with a bike lane. I had the hotel bus driver tell me how far it was around and we discovered that it was about exactly 1 mile. So problem solved. I ran the loop 8 times counting warm up and cool down. You do get some strange looks when they see an idiot running circles around the hotel in the dark. However, it sure does beat a crappy hotel treadmill.

Traveling west is my favorite. The reason being, if we don’t have a work dinner, I can go to bed early at my regular time (8:00 pacific time) and wake up at 4:00AM with no problem. This leaves me with 3 – 4 hours of prime workout time in the morning before work. I typically only need 1 – 2 hours so there is plenty of time to get in a nice long run, get some work in and head out the door all before 8:00 am local time. On both of my recent trips to San Diego this has been the case so I have not missed out on too much running time. Note, If you are a night owl, this obviously will not work for you.

(In Dallas, we are fortunate enough to stay at the Cooper Clinic. This place is a triathletes dream with an outdoor running track, 2 lap pools and countless spin classes. They all start super early in the morning so you can get in the miles long before you have to start your day. If you travel to Dallas, give them a call and see if they have a room for you in the guest lodge.)

Swimming can be done as well by simply visiting The masters website will list all masters workouts and clubs in your area. If you can’t find one of those, the local Y always has a pool. I try and keep an extra suit and goggles in my suitcase, so if there is some extra time before a dinner etc., I can try and get in a short swim. If time does not allow for a swim, so be it. I think too many people stress over this one. Yes I swam in college, but I learned the hard way that these races are not won during the swim. They are won on the run!

Getting in a ride can be a real challenge while on the road, so most of the time I just work with Dana to be sure I don’t have one scheduled. If I can plan my travel around an early morning bike ride and an afternoon flight, then great. If not, it comes down to my one long ride on Sundays which I make sure it is a good one.

Sometimes I just don’t train and try to plan my off day from training around my travel schedule. It can be a real drag to get a run in after you have flown for 4 hours and have 100 e-mails to catch up on. The stress alone is a work out, so I always opt for the e-mails, stay current with work and live to train another day.

When I don’t travel, training is pretty simple, because I get up early! Daylight savings is a blessing, since you can start rides at 6:00am and be back by 7:30. You can run in the dark, so out the door by 5:00 and you have plenty of time to get in that run or swim.

Lastly, every athlete wishes they could have more training time. When I am having a rare pity moment, I often say what if I could ride my bike for 300 miles a week? It takes me about 5 seconds to realize that I am more than fortunate to see 150 miles a week and I have a great job and family that allows me to get in that much. After all, this is still a hobby and there will always be someone that can train a lot longer than you can, so you just have to get over it and make each session count.

So if you want to find time to work out while on the road, work with your coach, be creative and make it happen. Half the fun of this sport is the silly things we do as triathletes to get in the miles around our busy lifestyles.

Watching it Rain

On Wednesday, we had some cold weather move into Houston. It was quite a culture shock from the 85 degree days we have had over the past few weeks. Thus, I find myself inside today relaxing and watching it rain outside and writing on my blog.

Before I get into my training update, I have to share with everyone how proud I am of my son Parker and his T-Ball game on Wednesday night. I have ever seen him play so hard and do so well. He played in the infield for 3 out of the 5 innings and hit some shots to the outfield while at bat. You could see his confidence lift as the game went on. What a great sport for young boys.

With all I have going on with work, training and family, having an afternoon of relaxation has been a really nice treat. Mimi is here from Orlando and is joining us for all of next week. The kids are so excited she is here. I enjoy her visits as well because it always frees up some time for training!

Thanks to MiMi being here, I watched Cycling Tv on the internet this morning and got to see Alberto Contador Bonk on the final climb. I thought that guy was invincible, but it goes to show everyone can have a bad day. He was left all alone out there to defend his jersey and they got the best of him. Unless a miracle happens tomorrow, his Paris-Nice is over.

Yesterday was a long run of 15 miles, and the cold drizzly weather was welcomed by me as I always enjoy running in colder weather. Legs felt great and running in the dark, thanks to daylight savings, can make for an interesting adventure during an early morning run.

I did manage to get a nice swim in today up at the new natatorium. The Nat was set up as long course and should be for the rest of the spring and summer. Long course swimming is such a different experience than short course. It always reminds me of the long summers of training as a kid. Although my arms were tired today I still managed to put in a solid 4,000 meters. My swimming is really starting to come along and my times are starting to show some improvement.

Tomorrow should be a long ride. I hope the weather lets me get outside. If not, I will be on the trainer in Dana’s garage. If you have not checked it out yet, take a look at Dana’s new website

I found this youtube post of the final kilometers of the Paris Nice today. The quality is not that great and there is no voice over, but if you missed the stage, good chance to see what happened:

Ironman Interview

Yesterday I received the most awesome e-mail. I was contacted by someone from that is doing interviews of the athletes that qualified at IM Wisconsin. I don’t know if anything will be published, but to just get contacted was a pretty cool experience.

I finally made it back from Pittsburgh late last week and was so glad to be home. I was only able to get on a treadmill Thursday of last week in Pittsburgh after a forced 2 days off. My coach, Dana, had scheduled last week to be a rest week so not too much was lost.

Saturday was a very busy day for us. We had Girls Run for Hannah starting at 7:30, then off to the ball park for the opening day of T-Ball. The whole family was exhausted by the time we got home, but we had a blast!

Since I am the photographer at Girlsrun, it was great to get some pictures of all the girls for the start of the spring season. We have a record number of girls for the program this year, so I am sure we will raise a lot of money for Livestrong.

Training got back to normal by Sunday with a decent ride in some very warm weather.

This week promises to be a good training week with some hard runs, hard rides and my longest ride of the season on Sunday.

The pictures in this blog post include one of the T-Ball parade, one of Parker hitting home on opening day and Hannah at her first Saturday practice at Girls Run.

Fourteen Degrees

So what is 14 degrees? You are probably thinking it is some high tech weapon for my aero-bar angle on the bike. Better yet, the precise angle of the lugs on the bottom of my Newton Shoes. Nope, 14 degrees is the current temperature outside here in Pittsburgh!

I arrived here on Monday night and they have been in a deep freeze since I landed. I really don’t know when I will get a workout in, and might end up going a few days without one.

Anyone that trains for Ironman and lives in the Midwest is a dedicated athlete. I brought my cold weather running gear, but I don’t think it will do the trick in this temperature so I will have to find another way to get the work out in later today if at all.

Work is crazy right now so that is my focus. This economy is causing everyone to keep their eye on the ball like never before. I have a great sales team, so I know they can find a way to deliver numbers no matter what the economy is doing. Being in Pittsburgh is giving me a great opportunity to complete some work projects that have stalled and find some new ways for us to generate revenue. Strong companies like ours always emerge from times like these in a better position then before. I see us puting even more distance on our competitors. It is kind of like racing in a headwind. You can whine, you can cry, or you can HTFU, stay down on the bars, grind it out and ride so far ahead of your competitors they will never catch up.

Runners are Great Employees

I came across this awesome article by Oliver Blanchard from a blog called The Brand Builder Blog. Sometimes you read something else that you just have to share with others. So here you go:

Why runners usually make great employees.
February 21, 2009 by Olivier Blanchard

My good friend and super personal trainer Holly DiGiovine sent out an email over the weekend that struck a chord with me. Here’s some of what she had to share:

When you have a goal that is as huge as the marathon-it will “keep you honest.” It’s not like a smaller goal that you can announce and then put off or fake your way through. Once you sign up, commit months to training, and take your first step on race day-you better have done your homework.

The beauty of this is that it goes against 99% of the natural tendencies of our culture that favors gratification without effort or devotion. But is that kind of achievement ever as satisfying? Linda Hill once told me she loved the quote, “There is no glory in training, but there is no glory without training.” In no way is this more true than in running.
And business.
One thing I’ve found over the years is that many of the folks I train with (and race against) are for the most part as devoted to their jobs (if not more) as they are to running or cycling or triathlon.
Unlike participation in say, golf or softball or basketball – no offense to club/league sports – the type of determination, discipline and emotional focus that comes with training day in, day out for extremely challenging endurance events (often by yourself) tends to bleed over into people’s 9-5’s.
Whether you’re training for a marathon, a century or the Ironman triathlon, one thing you quickly find out is that there’s no room for bullshit out there on the pavement. You either do the work or you’re screwed. Politics won’t get you to the finish line. It doesn’t matter who you know or how well you can work the system. When you’re out there, every weakness bubbles up to the surface and stares you in the eye. Lack of preparation, lack of motivation, lack of dedication will all come back to bite you in the ass. there’s nowhere to hide. They will all find you and jump up on your back to stop you dead in your tracks. The choice becomes this: Do you let them stop you, or do you accept them and keep going?
You learn a lot about yourself, training for that type of event.
You learn a lot about how to break thresholds and get past your own little ego, training for events like these. When you’re tired and sore and hungry but you still have four miles to go, guess what? You still have four miles to go. How you get through these last four miles is entirely up to you. Nobody cares whether you walk those last four miles or run, or hail a cab. Nobody made you set 26.2 miles as a goal. Or 100 miles. Or 144+.
Once you’ve broken past your lack of will and learned to keep going, you are transformed. A similar thing happens to Marines during training. At some point, who you used to be before you went beyond what you thought your limitations were, before you kissed excuses goodbye, before you left all of the bullshit that stood in your mind’s way ceases to exist. You become someone else.
That someone else, the marathoner, the long distance cyclist, the triathlete, the Ironman, he or she walks into your place of work with you every morning.
We all work with two types of people: Partisans of the least amount of effort, and dedicated professionals.
The latter aren’t
all marathoners or triathletes, but I have yet to meet an Ironman or marathoner who didn’t take his or her intensity and dedication to their job.
Not that there’s anything wrong with drinking a case of beer and watching sports on TV all weekend, but who you are outside of your work does have parallels with who you are when you are at work.
Something to think about.
Wow. You guys have turned this post into The BrandBuilder blog’s most popular post ever. Over 2,000 views in less than 24 hours already. Thank you all: Fellow runners, cyclists, swimmers, triathletes… It’s amazing to have so many of you respond to this post with so much enthusiasm. You’ve really made my day. Next time you’re in the Greenville, SC be sure to look me up. Lots of great running, cycling and racing out here.
Train hard!

Saturday is an Off Day

After working all week and mixing in training when I can, I have come to really enjoy my Saturdays. For about 2 years now, I have made Saturday my off day from any training.

Using Saturday as a day off works out great because we typically have family activities like games and other things to do with the kids. Trying to fit a workout in around all of that just causes unnecessary stress for me and my family.

Sunday’s morning’s usually start with an early morning long ride so starting the ride on rested legs is always a bonus. After being off all day, I get up extra early on Sunday and look forward to my ride.

On another note, last night was Parker’s first T-Ball scrimmage. We have been practicing almost every day for months since the end of the fall season. At 2 of his 3 at bats, he hit the ball to the outfield and played pitcher and short stop for 3 innings. My son has worked so hard to get better and last night it showed! I was so proud to see him playing well and most importantly, enjoying being at the game and trying his hardest to make things happen for his team.

As this is an off day, we will head outside in a few to play some catch and his coach gave us some drills to work on as well. Hannah has her Girls Run starting soon so I am sure a short ride or run with her is in the works.

Saturday is not a day to just sit on the couch, but one where our family takes time to do fun stuff. Even my honey do list can be fun. (I just don’t let on that it can be fun or it will get way too long.)

Enjoy your day off, and be ready to hammer down on Sunday for a 3-4 hour ride.

Great Weather for the Weekend

The weekend is starting out to be a good one. My 1 hour run this morning was early before work and the weather was high 50’s and it was just great being out there and watching the sun come up. We are in for some mid 70’s in the afternoon all weekend which should make for some good cycling.

On my run I listened in to IM Talk and my HR started jumping with excitement as tri-season is fast approaching. Clearly I have high hopes for 2009, but hopes aside, I just love being out there and putting in the miles. IM Talk was all about their Epic Camp in New Zealand. For 2 weeks tri-junkies from serious age groupers to pros put in an insane amount of volume early in the season in New Zealand (They are in Summer). To hear their stories about 9 hour rides and 3000k open water swims gets you excited to take on the challenges of the season.

Beautiful weather also means time with the kids outdoors. Hannah has her girls run program fast approaching and we picked up some new shoes and clothes for her last weekend from Lukes Locker. I am sure she will be ready to run with me tomorrow. I also want to commend my friends at Lukes for taking such care with Hannah finding the right shoes. Hannah is only 9, and they worked with her as if she were toeing the line in Boston. I think every athlete dreams about owning a store like that some day. If you follow the blog and are new to running, don’t underestimate the importance of being fit in the right shoes. A store like Luke’s makes sure you are ready to run.

Parker should find out who his T-Ball coach is and what team he will be on this weekend. We have been throwing the ball at night and he has really improved the past few months. I look forward to his season and some more time tomorrow playing catch.

Great weather also means thinking about gardening! Thus, I am going to the Home and Garden show with Shani on Saturday. I am sure she will find some awesome ideas for our house. She had the front of the house painted this week and it looks beautiful. I did not think it needed it, but I was wrong. Always listen to a woman when aesthetics and beauty come into play. As men, we have no clue. Don’t fight it, just admit it.

Finally, I am grateful that I have a good job during these tough times. Tough times will mean doing things a bit different and it will get difficult as our economy changes from one of debt driven exuberance to conservative economics. All of these are changes for the better. I am also thankful that sport helps you prepare for so many life experiences. In Ironman, you have some great moments and some difficult ones in racing and in training. It is what you do during difficult times that make you stronger and better. Work is no different.

Break out the sunscreen because we will need it “down here” in Houston this weekend.

Good Training,