Friday, September 30, 2011

How to Not be a Dork in Kona: The Rules

Kona is the big dance.  The show.  The grand daddy of 'em all.  The Super Bowl of triathlon.  Pick your analogy they all pale in comparison to the race and week(s) leading up to the race itself.  If you are a triathlete, I hope that one day you get to race in Kona.  It is amazing.  As awesome as the recap show is on NBC television - it is one tenth of what goes on during the week and a snapshot of the day.

Things have already started as some pros arrive earlier and earlier to adjust to the heat as best that they can.  It seems that this is now an age group thing too.  I know one guy who has been in Kona since September 9th and he is from Germany.  Kona is a bit different than your standard Ironman.  Knowing that going in is something to consider.

Rule #1 - Don't judge a book by it's cover.

When you get off the plane, you will see tons of people and everyone will seem to be in shape.  You cannot know how much someone trained or is "all there" mentally.  You will just see the physical appearance of people.  Three years ago - EVERYONE in Kona looked like they needed a cheeseburger.  Thin was in.  Times were a lot slower.  If you are racing, I promise you this... a) you will beat someone who is "more ripped" than you on race day, b) a grandmotherly type WILL pass you somewhere on the course and will not even be breathing hard.  In 2000, I was in a "drag race" with the women's 55-59 champion.

Rule #2 - Respect the Hawaiian people and the island.

The Hawaiian people are allowing this race on their home.  They are good people and amazingly kind if you aren't a jerk.  Say "Aloha" and "Mahalo" (thank you) when you are in a restaurant and on the street.  I am blessed to call several native families ohana (family).  I helped a Hawaiian guy who had a tire blow out on the Queen K once and it turned out he was a police officer who had his phone go dead.  That year (2005) I was a volunteer and he got me through to the family area to see one of my athletes (Cedrick Dujon) finish.  When another policeman said, "Who is that?" (pointing at me) My friend said, "It's my cousin.  Can't you see the family resemblance man?  He's alright.  Let him in."  I am looking forward to catching up with him and his family next week.

The island... where to begin.  The big island of Hawaii is the most amazing place on Earth in my opinion.  The tropical water with green, pink, black, white, and red sands.  Lava pouring into the ocean - DAILY.  A mountain larger than Everest (when measured from the ocean floor).  Dolphins, turtles, rays.  Appreciate the place... there aren't many like it on this planet.  It is so amazing, that even the hardest non-believer comes home believing in God.  It is a spiritual place.

Speaking of...  Madame Pele is the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes and fire, and Ku, god of war.  Madame Pele is one bad-ass, touchy deity.  Placate her and everything should be cool.  Piss her off - and you are in for a long string of bad luck.  How else would you explain miles of homes being devoured by lava and only ONE being spared when Uncle Charlie (a native Hawaiian religion deacon of sorts) says a prayer on the roof of the home and lava starts moving the other way?  **More about him in a moment.**

Legend says that Pele rules over everything hot on the Big Island.  Fire, volcanoes and the leeward side of the island.  Pele worship is alive and well near the active craters where lava is one of those "uninsurable" risks.  Pele is said to appear as a beautiful young woman on the volcanoes.  Down the slope, away from her home - she is said to appear as an old woman with flowing white hair, dressed in white and often accompanied by a small white dog.  If you see such a woman, it is custom to offer her a ride and water if you have any.  If you see either hitchhiking on Highway 11 as you approach the national park, you are advised to give her a lift...and anyone who has seen the Brady Bunch knows that you should never take any lava rocks from Hawaii.

Madame Pele is said to have a taste for gin.  On race day, or in race coverage, take notice of the lava pyramids adorned with leis, offerings in ti leaves, anthuriums and ho'okupu.  If you want to be more to the point, a couple of bottles of Tanqueray poured over your lava pyramid and a prayer should do the trick.  Building a lava pyramid is common practice of racers.  BE ADVISED THAT LAVA IS SHARP AND WILL CUT YOU DEEPLY HANDLE IT WITH CARE.

Subsection A, Rule #2 - if Uncle Charlie asks to drink with you - you drink.

My friend brought me to meet this living legend at 9am on a Monday.  Uncle Charlie, upon meeting me, stood up and announced that we were going to have a drink.  I was informed that this was a tremendous honor and drank whatever he gave me.  My wife wound up driving us back to the hotel.  I was hammered, but at least it was 3pm in Chicago.

Rule #3 - Pro athletes, seals and turtles - leave them alone.

Imagine if during the most important week of your work year you had people everywhere asking you for your time, autograph and picture?  Early in the week - no problem.  As you get closer to the race... give these folks their space.  Their faces are 100% game face by Thursday.

Turtles and coral - while they look pretty and strong - they are both fragile.  Admire them from a distance.  The Honu turtles are an endangered species.  Hawaiian monk seals are known to be aggressive from time to time.  Leave them alone.

Make sure the only thing you leave behind are foot prints in the sand.  If you see garbage or plastic in the water, remove it and throw it away or into a recycling bin.

Rule # 4 - Prepare and expect the worst.

In 2000 and 2001 there was a 8' sea swell, high temperatures and category one hurricane force winds - ideal for a triathlon right?  In Kona they won't cancel the swim for white cap waves.  You better be ready.  Well... if you are here, it probably won't bother you that much.  In 2006, there was crazy heat (137 F heat index) with a STRONG thunderstorm in the early evening.  Expect HARSH weather conditions.  Anything easier is a blessing.

**Best race to simulate Kona conditions?  Buffalo Springs Lake Ironman 70.3 in late June. Lubbock, TX

Rule #5 - Lighten up Francis.  You may never be here again.

While this is all that it is cracked up to be, don't be a jerk.  After the race you'll have to go back to work and 99% of the world's population still won't be exactly sure how far that Ironman is.  Keep it in perspective.

Changing Seasons

Took half a day off yesterday and went fishing near my house.  Took Greta for an extra long walk and dodged some rain.  Kept thinking how the weather will be dramatically different next week.  Current temps hovering around 48 F.

I'm very excited about next weekend.  What we do as marshals has to be taken very seriously.  No two years are alike.  Triathlon is very different from when I first started.  The personal challenge isn't to beat any person, but to get myself in condition.  Perhaps if I am fortunate enough to get to the FOP again I will have some rivalries that mean something.  For most of us - the most important rivalry is with the clock.

I'll be blogging about what I see, hear and experience.  I consider it a privilege to be a part of the Ironman World Championship - yes, even as a marshal.  This will be my sixth time at the "big dance" of triathlon.  Pale by many in comparison (I realize) but every trip I learn more, meet more people and see new things.  Only in Kona can this be experienced.

Good luck to my amateur friends who are competing.  You earned it.  Now enjoy the opportunity (if not the pain) that you have before you.  Don't break a rule, because friend or not - I will tag you with a penalty.  THAT is my job.  A true friend (like the ones going) understand that.

Lastly, I am really excited to watch the CAF guys.  Scott Rigsby and Rajesh Durbal.  Scott lost both legs in an accident when he was dragged behind a truck and lost both legs.  Rajesh was born with some issues that caused amputation of his legs and one arm.  BOTH... will beat "QUALIFIERS who earned it" who have two arms and two legs.  Last year, Raj swam 1:17 with one arm.  He's in better shape this year...  1:17 - one arm and no legs.

Triathlon's post season is here.  It's time.

See the beauty if the opportunity that life is presenting to you.

I missed the HUGE buck behind this tree, but centered the tree in the frame.

A fine largemouth bass on this early morning trip to the river.  15.5", ~ 2.7 lbs.. No fish were harmed in this photo.

Looks like someone sprayed the top of the trees with red paint.
Rain moving through.

Sun is back.
We must take time to stop and smell the daisies. 
Most bright rainbow I've seen in a very long time.

My office mate and I are constantly playing tug of war.
Tired puppy - think long run tired.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Since When...

I'm back in town again.  Feels nice to wash my dishes.  Speak to my wife in person and not over FaceTime or Sykpe.  To walk, brush and feed my dog.  She's pretty stoked about it too.  Greta has been sleeping on my feet every night since my return.  During the day, she seems to spend time between Lorrie and I in our respective offices in the house (Lorrie prefers the downstairs "study" and I prefer the upstairs headquarters.)

I got to see my chiropractor.  Dr. Crunch as he is known in our house (actually a misnomer because he isn't one of those adjustment happy stereotypical chiros.)  Dr. Crunch is known for his brutal honesty, root cause analysis and fixes.  I think my past athletic success is directly due to his unique exercises targeting the smallest of muscle imbalances.  His balance of eastern and western medicine has really gotten me back in the game.  

Dr. Crunch is from New York.  His practice is in Oak Brook.  That means for me to see him it is a 1-1.25 hour drive one way.  So when I go there - it is because whatever he does works.  He has fixed virtually every joint in my body and throw in my back for good measure.  My last trip gave me the wake up call I was needing. 

"Bob, I've known you for 10 years.  Since when do you take three days off in a week during the season?"  He wasn't done.  "How much do you weigh?  Is this the fattest I've ever seen you?"  Yes it is.  Thanks for noticing.  "When the hell are you going to make a difference in this weight?  I want to see you before Kona and I want four pounds off you."  We then proceeded to review my workouts for the next two weeks and plan my diet accordingly.  Two pounds down.  Two to go.  "Since when are you a fat ass?"  Jeeze, its one thing to point it out and another to wallow in it.  "This is bullshit.  You need to get back to being competitive."  
Even Greta got in on the intervention. (Thanks for the deal on the sweet all weather jersey David.)
Cannot argue with a word he said.  Since when do I stay up since 10:30pm?  Miss workouts?  Forget how to upload my watch?  

So, I've had my off season.  It's lasted about five years.  Five years of putting everything in front of the workout schedule.  It's time to get back.  It started today.  I booked myself into my own CompuTrainer classes.  I'm teaching AND riding - ALL of the sessions.  I'm swimming masters again.  I'm running again.  The results will take time.  

The next "since when" will be  a bit different.

Monday, September 26, 2011

ITU Marshaling and the USAT Elite Nationals - Buffalo, NY

Friday I flew out to Buffalo, NY to get my first ITU marshal experience.  The planes flying out of Chicago were packed with New England Patriot fans; didn't know so many lived in Chicago.  What's interesting is a nickel had gotten caught in my jeans pocket and I got the TSA pat down.  When I turned my pockets inside out the nickel came flying out.  So yeah... something that small was found.  GOOD!  Got to the hotel about 9:30pm and caught up with my roommate Graham Wilson.

Saturday was an early start.  Up at 5:00 eastern time - my normal wake up time on a work day at home - we were in the car by 6 after another briefing on the ITU expectations and some breakfast.  We prepped for the elite women's race and before you know it the gals were checking in.  We were checking bikes to make sure that they were legal with UCI and ITU standards.  Another person was taking pictures of the front and back of the uniforms of the gals.  (This was kind of creepy.  An older guy taking pictures of women in a tent of their front and back sides- a ITU uniform check for the placement and correctness of the triathlon uniforms.  I thought a female should have been taking those shots.)  The USAT folks came in and asked me to start getting birthdays for the women who were 23 and under.  I felt really old when the first gal told me her birthday was 12/9/1991.  That is the day I graduated from college.  This person could be my daughter.  Damn... I'm getting old.

The race went well.  I called a penalty on #2 (later learned it was Laura Bennett) for mounting before the bike mount line.  She was clearly 3-4 meters behind the line.  She was even out of the camera shot that we take for each area in ITU.  4-5 pedal strokes on the bike before the line.  That is a :15 second penalty.  Laura kept going and ultimately served her penalty on the last lap of the run.  She won the race by 6 seconds.

The men's race was a little later and a bit larger.  In the video that Mary did check out how much the dock is leaning.  The race was a bit less dramatic with Hunter Kemper winning by a wide margin.

All the athletes at this race were true pros.  Those who were penalized or DSQ (that's ITU for DQ'd) were very professional.  It was a really great format for racing.  I think the US amateur athletes could learn a lot from watching ITU professional athlete behavior.  No crying or bitching about a penalty.  Take it and move on.  (The coaches can appeal/bitch up a storm.  If they protest a call $50 for the officials to review it.  If an athlete complains about a penalty - the clock doesn't start until they stop bitching.  I kinda like that.)

Went out for wings and ITU talk (when in Buffalo - try the wings) Saturday.

Sunday was another review of the ITU methodology and philosophy.  Then lunch with my USAT bosses before jumping back on a plan to Chicago.  On my plane was Andy Potts' coach.  Had a conversation with him and then we were off.

On the taxiway into Chicago, some guys from Buffalo who were headed to Las Vegas and had a tight connection got up out of their seats seconds after we landed and started walking toward the cockpit.  The flight attendant pinned them into the kitchen area.  We were about 15 minutes behind schedule due to the rain and winds aloft.  Then the karma train came to visit... the jet bridge was malfunctioning and EVERYONE had to wait another 5 minutes.  The Vegas people made their flight, but it was fun seeing some self centered jerk offs have to wait.  My only hope would be for them to get a fine too.

Here is the video Mary shot and some shots I put together.

Something about the clouds reflecting off the water that is awesome.

Hello Winnetka!

Chicago in the distance.

Happy puppy!  48 hrs away was very tough on her.  PS: Lorrie was glad to see me too.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Conversation with Tara Costa - Biggest Loser to Ironman

Last night I had the pleasure of speaking with Tara Costa.  Tara was a contestant on NBC's show "The Biggest Loser" which is about teaching people that exercise and eating right is part of daily life and an active choice.  The contestants go to a ranch in southern California to work with trainers, doctors and dietitians where they work very hard to achieve amazing levels of transformation.  It just shows you (the audience) what can happen with help from trainers and smart food choices.  Tara lost 155 lbs. going from 294 lbs. to 139 lbs. in 18 weeks.

Even experienced Ironman racers and trainers can learn from the show.  I DVR the show and watch it on the bike trainer or treadmill at my house.  For myself, I really connect with some of the people on the show.  I think there are similarities in all people and seeing this play out on a reality show is interesting.  The best part is that these folks are learning to move and eat again.  To believe in themselves.  Trust the process and change their lifestyle forever.

In the end, folks on these shows need to sustain what they learned in their day to day life.  Just like anyone who is overweight, you have to diverse yourself from the old ways and pathology of what got you to that weight.  If you want a lifestyle change then you have to change your lifestyle.  You cannot "train to eat" which is what I hear so much today.  You need to start small and change what you can.  Right here.  Right now.  Reprioritize your life and put yourself on top of your important list.  I often tell my clients that in an airplane if the cabin loses pressure they must secure their oxygen mask first and then help their children.  Same goes for diet and exercise.  You first.  World second.  If you die because you are obese, your children will still be here.  Better make sure you aren't obese then right?  Same goes for other medical issues.  Get them fixed.  It's only 30 minutes four to six times a week.  You can do that.  Even if you have to get up early before everyone else to make sure it happens.  By taking care of yourself you will make yourself available for a longer time.

CB (Coach Bob): Hi Tara.  Thank you for talking today.  How do you manage your diet these days?

TC (Tara Costa): Hour to hour.  Day to day.  I plan just for today.  The key is to keep me focused on the important things I need to do.  I also keep certain foods away from me.  Frozen yogurt, Oreo cookies... sweets in general.  If I want it, I make myself DRIVE to get those things.

CB: Then it becomes a conscious decision to eat those things.

TC: Right!  I'm an unconscious eater.  I make sure I'm eating with a knife and fork versus eating with my hands.  This means I must sit down and prepare my food and portions (and calories). No grabbing of food.   What happens is I eat a bunch and I don't remember how many I had.  I don't eat anything out of cellophane bags.  If it is in a bag, there is a strong chance that it is bad food.  I always have an apple in my purse.

CB: How has Ironman training been?

TC: You know, the hardest thing is eating enough with these long workouts.  I'm not used to eating that much.  A six hour bike ride has a lot of calories in it.  I'm not used to eating that much.  Last week I was hit by a car on a training ride.  Minor accident, but it required a trip to the chiropractor and a couple of adjustments.  Other than that, I've been knocking down the longer sessions.

CB: Are you excited about Kona?

TC: Kona is a blessing.  It has led me to a new lifestyle.  I've met so many kind people and a tremendous diversity of people.  I'm really excited.

CB: What would you tell people to do eating-wise if they are in a social situation (party or going out)?

TC: I like a good beer from time to time, but I haven't drank at all since starting to train for Kona.  If I go out now, it might be club soda with orange and some cranberry.  Maybe a splash of vodka.  I am going to have a beer after Kona for sure.

CB: What do you tell yourself when you get in a rut?

TC: This too shall pass.  I go back to reading notes about what I want to achieve.  My goals.  Another is, 'When a door closes, open a window.  When all the doors and windows are closed, break a window.'  I reorganize myself.  It usually starts with cleaning.  Clear my surroundings.  Clear the mind.  Put pen to paper and write - what would make me feel better?  Then go do it.

From Tara's website...  what a difference she made in her health.
When you get into the proper eating and exercise patterns the body becomes more efficient.  Like putting good fuel into a Maserati.

CB: What are you doing today?

TC: I'm working as a weight loss coach for obese people.  What I see most is the "reward appetite" people everywhere.  People who say, "I burned 1,500 calories doing a 10k so now I'm going to eat whatever I want."  It doesn't work that way.

I save 1/4 to 1/3rd of what I eat for what I want.  For example, if I burned 1,000 calories at an event, I might eat 250 calories of a treat ONE TIME.

CB: Is there anything else you'd like people to know about?

TC: Yes, I'm doing a raffle with my Inspire Change Foundation, which will run until September 23, 2011, it is raising money to support Kicks 4 Kids, a program aimed at providing active footwear to children grades K-8 who otherwise would not be able to afford them. The mission of the Kicks 4 Kids program is to get kids back on their feet and active from an early age! In addition to supplying kids with new kicks, every child will be given a playbook that parents and children can utilize to make sure they get in their 60 minutes of activity per day. The Kicks 4 Kids program will officially launch in Kona, HI this fall when I race in the Ford Ironman World Championship.  Here is the link:

CB: Mahalo nui loa (thank you very much) for talking to the athletes and readers of Kokua Multisports.  You have a lot of great information that you shared with us today.  I wish you the very best in Kona.  Remember... no drafting.  I hear the marshals are really mean.  (laughs)

TC: Thanks talking to me about Kona.  I'll do my best.

CB: Hope your finish photo looks better than this...  my fist pump finish was after this was snapped.  Then again... I didn't even recognize my catchers (Tammy and Jill - my friends and training partners for three years prior to this race... or my brother, who was with them.)  I noticed Mike about 20 minutes later.

Monday, September 19, 2011

We Will Age Differently

I've been hanging out with some of my old swimming buddies.  I'm re-invigorated and going after my own fitness.  You know why?  The swim folks I've been hanging with KNOW we will never be as fast as we were in our 20s.  Or will we?  Well, what the hell?  Let's give it a shot!  The best part is that these swimming folks are very different than triathletes and their cliques.  The self medicating Ironman/ultra distance types.  The anti-social cyclists who must drop and crush everyone into dust.

They are having fun and encouraging each other!  Shocking... I know.  A friend of mine who is an Olympic champion invited me to a masters swim meet.  Me!  We've kept in contact after racing against each other 20 years ago.  I told him, "Dude, I'm in no shape to race the big boys."  His response, "Nobody is.  Come on out and swim anyway.  I think this may get everyone going and change masters swimming and racing forever."  As usual.  He is right.  Screw the fitness.  I'm going to race.  My breaststroke is still good (even out of shape).  I'll make a run at the breaststroke and perhaps the IM races.  What's the worst that could happen?  I get "housed" by a bunch of great swimmers?  The upside potential could be having great fun and really reconnecting with people who get it over a few swim races and probably several beers after the races are over.

It's about racing ME.  My best times.  I've always said it is about doing the best you can do at THIS POINT IN TIME.

This is what has been missing in my triathlon experience since 2006.  The groups I was training with pre-2005 were about getting everyone faster and racing well on race day.  The same local groups are about "winning" the sprint to the end of the street.  Carbon wheels and skin suits are now common place at the same rides where "in the old days" people would make fun of you for drafting.  This weekend - I found my out of shape, 200# butt pulling people into the wind on a 40 mile ride - until the sprint to the sign before the parking lot.  Congratulations... you won... NOTHING.

This same group was complaining about "former pro triathletes" now racing as amateur athletes in Ironman (specifically Kona).  My opinion on this has always been - open to all.  Is it a tough break to show up to a race and be next to Troy Jacobson, Gordo Byrn and Bruce Gennari?  Yep.  Does it mean that they will "beat" you that day?  Not necessarily.  They have full time jobs (or aren't training 40 hours a week like they used to).  Is it fair?  Probably not.  I think an athlete would want to race against the best.  If you know that Peter Reid could drop into Ironman Canada and be in your age group (Pete and I are the same age) - wouldn't that fuel your will a bit more?  Would he beat me?  Probably.  What if...  I caught my taper just right.  What if he was tired?  Had a mechanical?  Winning or qualifying isn't everything.  If I was able to push one of those guys in an age group division I'd call that a victory.

Enter in people like Phyllis.  Mother of two.  49 years old.  Going back to school for another degree with two years of eligibility left?  Why not walk on?  At Pepperdine no less!  Holy cats!  NCAA Division I swimming is really tough.  EVERYONE is great.  Tough physically and mentally.  Going back to swim competitively takes a lot when you are 18-22.  At 49, it is taking it to another level.

I hope you join me rooting for Phyllis.

We won't age the same as our grandparents.  We won't age the same as our parents.  Things will be different.  Just how different will be up to us.  What level are you going to take it to?  Medicine is different.  Food is different (not necessarily for the better.)  At least we are more aware of better food choices we can make.  I would add in the 1950s through 1980 how many 5ks, triathlons, etc. were there?  Not many.  Here in Chicago you can do a 5k through marathon running race ANY weekend day.

We are aging differently.  I recently found a results sheet from a race I did in 1988.  There were 13 40-44 men.  Same race this year... 256 40-44 men.

I'm really excited about other swimmers "coming back".

Janet Evans  --  Here she is doing an 8:59 800 LCM free at age 39.

Ian Thorpe "The Thorpedo"

Dara Torres

This is great stuff!  You are as young as your will.  My mother-in-law hits a "milestone" birthday next Monday.  She doesn't look like that number at all.  Her spirit is a lot younger.  As I say to everyone, you have a choice to LIVE your LIFE or watch other people LIVE while you fade away into a grave.

This will make us ALL better athletes.  The days of 1:05 Ironman swim and then bike and run are LONG gone.  This is a good thing.  I tell my athletes to "Be an athlete, not a triathlete."

An old saying from the Schaumburg Park District - Life.  Be in it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ironman Recovery - Don't be Stoopid

Julie Moss feet from the finish line.
Post Ironman Wisconsin I've had a lot of questions about recovery.  Recovery is very individual.  It will depend on your fitness, stress, diet and a few other items mixed in just to make it interesting.  After finishing an ultra-distance or Ironman triathlon, there are things that you should avoid and items that will greatly aid your recovery.  This is where you can maximize your Ironman training and effort for the following triathlon season.  This is also where you can get injured and sick.  My recommendation is to relax.  Take time to celebrate getting to the starting line and finishing what you had the courage to start.  Don't run the Chicago Marathon after Ironman Wisconsin; to what point and purpose?  Some people can - doesn't mean you should.  Give serious thought to events and their timing post Ironman racing

1.  Right after the race take a full day of complete rest.  This is assumes no other medical issues or injuries.  Go walk to the Kona roll down.  I'm amazed at how many people don't go to the roll down.  Nobody there means you get the slot - even if you are dead last.  One of my athletes got the flu from a long international plane ride.  Dead last in her age group by more than two hours and a personal worst of 3.5 hours.  She finished.  Kona slot - none of the other women in her age group could afford the time/expense of Kona.  In Kona she beat her "qualifying time" by five hours.

The first week NONE of my athletes do workouts longer than 50-60 minutes.

2.  Get a massage.  A great massage (or even a bad one) will help the body flush the body and get the blood flowing.

3.  Do a "Plus Delta" of your race.  A consulting review technique; what went well (plus), what would you change looking back at the race, training, diet - anything (delta).  Save this and review it before your next Ironman / ultra distance triathlon.

4.  Call / thank those who supported you.  Even if you never took them up on it.  Let them know how much you appreciate their sacrifices and share your success with them.  In Hawaiian this is expressing your "kokua" for them (using it in the slang for "consideration").  Don't overlook this.  When I did Ironman Canada I brought back maple syrup for my friend Kim who roller bladed next to me on my long runs.  A simple gift of consideration.

5.  Eat right.  I'm not saying to avoid comfort foods.  Go ahead and get a cheeseburger and shake (or beer).  As a whole you need to eat good fuel to repair itself and bounce back.

6.  Don't do a complete stop of training.  You need to move.  This will help you with maintenance of your fitness and keep you impervious to injury.

7.  Post Race Depression or Post Ironman Blues - the reality of "life" and a career now demanding payback for time away (along with the lack of exercise induced endorphins) can be really sad.  It doesn't have to be.

A) Plan the next season.  Look at races (if you aren't already signed up) - look at the course profiles. Consider your strengths and the race.
B) Keep celebrating!  Put the finish line picture on your desk.  Plan a night out with your training partners and drink a beer (or two) and the first person to talk about triathlon has to buy the next round.  **NOTE: most triathletes cannot stop talking race stuff.  Keep your mouth shut and talk anything but racing.  Easy way to get free beer.**
C) Sleep in - wake with no alarm - really.  See what it's like on the "other side" for a change.

8.  Work on your weakness and start to improve.  Every year I make a road trip to see the nutritionist and bike fit guy, run form coach, swim coach.

9.  Fix the injuries - if you have something that "just ain't right" - Fix it NOW.  Chiropractor, doctor, dentist, whatever.  You cannot race at your peak when you are worried if a part is functioning at full capacity.
Chris Leigh at Ironman World Champs in Kona.  He never made the finish line.

10.  Build the base.  Start building the large base of aerobic fitness.  Most people fail to go "fast" at Ironman because they don't have enough of an aerobic base to "push off from".

11.  Build power.  No... I'm not (necessarily) talking about the weight room.  Bike power.  You can keep the heart rate down AND do power work on the bike inside.  It's my favorite way to watch college football.

This finish started in 1997.  Two major mechanical problems, forest fires and 94 F heat couldn't beat great preparation.
The biggest lesson you learn with every Ironman "finish" line you may be fortunate enough to cross - this is just another mile marker.  The race is over, but your life is not.  You have seen what is possible in your life.  This was an opportunity to learn and grow as a person.

The choice is easy.  Watch other people live life or fade out of life.  It doesn't have to be racing in Ironman races.  It could be teaching kids, raising money for a charity, cleaning up your neighborhood or as simple as being the best person you can in your own family and enabling great things at home.  

The choice is yours.  Life is waiting.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

If you are a Garmin user...

If you are a Garmin user you should read this blog entry by Ray.

I am an SRM dealer and I'm looking at this with very excited anticipation for March 2012.

More Pictures from Madison

The Sun Prairie water tower.

Buy local!

View of my 9% grade hill that most days - I had to myself.

Best sushi in Madison is on the EASTSIDE!  Inexpensive and lots of it.

Jerks are here too.

Great thunderstorm east of Madison had an impressive cloud structure.

Office visitor one morning.

2x Olympic gold medalist Beth Botsford

Yes... a measured 9% grade hill!

The base of 9% hill.

9% base

"trail head" for my night runs

More trails

A F1 tornado came out of this storm it only touched down on the lake (thank you very much).

When in Madison...

Odd road hazards on the way home from Madison.

29 options of agave nectar - outstanding.

Now, it's a party

Yes... that is BLUE hair at the HyVee.  

Orafice view looking west

Pre- Ironman start

Ironman Wisconsin Helix