Friday, November 27, 2009

Me? A photo shoot? I guess so!

I a week or so ago I received an email from a friend of mine Erin Reilly. Erin is another amazing person to come out of Boonsboro, MD. After graduating high school she decided to get out of dodge and become a chef. She moved to New York City and began her schooling at the Culinary Institute of America. After finishing her schooling there she moved to the West Coast as a chef for several different celebrities. Some where along the way she found a passion for fitness and after several years as a chef she decided to change gears and move into a different profession. Today Erin is a fitness professional, teaching group classes, boot camps, one on one training, and owns her own fitness studio in Fredericksburg, VA. Oh, and when she isn't doing that she is fitness modeling. So, I digress. The other week I receive an email from Erin telling me that she had just gotten done talking to her good friend and favorite photographer Wen McNally. I guess that some how I had come up in their conversation and Wen end up deciding that when she comes to San Diego in January that she would like to do a photo shoot with me. Kinda cool huh? Nope, I am not getting paid and no the picture will most likely never see the light of day but hey; it's going to be fun!

Friday, November 13, 2009

How I Got My Groove Back

Since my bike accident last month I have been fighting off numbness and pain in my face and a nagging hamstring injury. The facial pain has made deep breathing and breathing while swimming difficult and my hamstring injury all but side lined my running for a while. It has been mentally trying the last month. My coach has thankfully been the voice of reason for me when I have needed it the most; which is pretty much everyday that I train. I enjoy speed work while running and I love a good pool work out or open water swim; so not having them available to me was driving me crazy.

Two days after my accident I raced in the Mission Bay Triathlon in San Diego. This race was going to be THE "A" race for my season since I had decided that IMAZ was not a financially sound thing to do. When the accident happened I knew that my hopes of being on the podium had been shattered and that I might not be able to race at all. Thankfully I was able to make it to the race start with a slightly beat up, and in desperate need of a tune up, bike. I still had fresh road rash on my legs, a sore shoulder, painful orbital bone, and some serious numbness through out the left side of my face. To say in the least I was not in top form that day. I saw my competition in transition and I knew that I wouldn't be able to hang with them today. Today was going to be all about finishing. I went into the water and warmed up before my wave start, which just so happen to be the very last start of the day. This meant that I would be dodging people while swimming, biking and running. I will skip the messy details and move to the end where I place a modest 7th as a Clydesdale a full 6 minutes slower than I had originally planned. But 7th as a Clydesdale and 240ish overall out of 1500+ people isn't too bad after an accident.

After the race everything seemed to fall apart. I lost my stroke in the pool some where and I was really hoping that some one would find it and give it back. No matter how hard I tried or how much I pulled I had nothing to give. My times were slow; my stamina was gone, what happened to me? And then the weirdest thing happened. I started looking at my hands as they entered the water instead of looking down at the bottom of the pool. They seemed to slip seamlessly into the water; barely a bubble would race to the surface. Suddenly my pull felt strong and effortless and my 100m times dropped back to where they should have been. Can it be that something as simple as head position can make that big of a difference? It seems as though it can.

The other thing that I have been working on since my accident and now that I have been given the ok to run easy again is my running form. As with most runners when they first start out I was a heel striker. While I have never had any real injuries I have never felt as though I flowed over the ground. I always felt as though I was muscling through every single run. With the help of my coach that has begun to change and I feel now as though most of my propulsion is in the forward direction. This is a good thing, right? It’s another huge break through for me. I am really hoping once I can add speed work back into my running that I will see some real changes!

I am getting my groove back!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A month in review.

So its been just over a month since my last blog and a lot has happened. I wrecked back on Oct 1st and it hurt! I fractured my orbital, some how injured my hamstring, jacked up my bike and then had a crappy race two days later. But hey, what can I expect? Thankfully I am on the mend, the numbness in my face is almost gone, and my body is beginning to recover nicely, although I did just come down with a cold that has left me near horse. I have been going to physical therapy now for a couple weeks and I can't really tell if it is helping or not. I do know that my hamstring is feeling better.

My coach and I have decided that I shall forgo any running races during the off season to make sure that I heal up entirely instead of pushing now and paying for it later. I would much rather have a great 2010 race season than have one or two good off season marathon/half marathons. My 2010 season is starting to shape up looking like this.

Tritonman Feb 20th "C"
Superfrog HIM Mar27th "B"
La jolla Half Marathon Apr 10th "C"
Wildflower HIM May 1st "B"
San Diego International Oly June 27th "C"
Vineman 70.3 HIM July 18th "A"
Solana Beach Tri July 25th "C"
AFC Half Marathon Aug 21st "B"
Surf Town Sprint Tri Aug 22nd "C"
Mission Bay Tri Oct 3rd "A"
San Diego Triathlon Classic Oct 9th "C"
Soma HIM Oct 24th "A"

It will be challenging but I think do able and I expect good races out of me this coming season so hold on to your seats!

I was forced to transfer jobs with in my company a few weeks back. I was dreading the day that this would happen but now that day has come and gone and I am actually rather happy where I am now. Working in the Lean/Six Sigma office as a green belt facilitator has given me an interesting view of how things can operate in a more effective and productive manner while eliminating what really isn't needed. Now instead of helping to eliminate waste in other peoples shop I have a shop of my own that I actually work in to see what I can do myself. Am I happy that I was forced to transfer? Looking back, yes I am. The guys I work with are great and the work that I do now is easy and stress free. Life is good.

Friday, October 2, 2009


The sort and sweet of it is this. I wrecked, HARD. My bike is ok but I am banged up. Racing on sunday..who knows.

Work Issues, Fiesta Island and Some Pre-Race Jitters

Well the last two weeks have been rather crazy both in my professional life as well as in triathlon. It seems as though my work as a process improvement facilitator is drawing to an unexpected end. I guess that is one of the joys of being a contractor to the military. The only difference that I have found so far is that fact that I could ‘quit’ if I wanted to. And I do, but I can’t. Why? Because in this economy I am happy to just have a job. Trust me I have been looking for a new place for myself, professionally but as I said, and I think we all know, times are tough. So what does this mean for me? Well originally it meant that I would be interviewing for a new and exciting job that included travel, working some nights and learning a new skill set. What does it mean now? It means that I am being forced by the company that I work for to accept a position that I absolutely do not want, and as a matter of fact, I had already turned down. Is the job horrible? No, but it’s doing the same work that I did while I was in the military and one of the main reason I moved on from the military was because I needed to find something new to do, to grow and learn. While taking this position I will do none of those things. After expressing these views to my boss he told me my two options. He says to me this is what I can do for you. “You can either take this position, do the best you can and move up there or you can find a new employer. I will give you a week to think about it.” I of course told him that there was no need, that I would take the position. That has left a very sour taste in my mouth towards him and the company that I work for. So, yes I am searching for a new employer.

My life as a triathlete has been great, in comparison, the last two weeks. My training has been going so well except I am having difficulties with my swim. It seems that I only have one speed in the water. Slowish. Speed work is just very hard for me to get through right now. I don’t know it’s the combination of volume and intensity of my swims or maybe I am just not ready to be pushing as hard as my coach, Darcy, would like. In any case I have voiced my concerns to her and we will see what she comes up with to keep me moving forward.

Last Sunday I competed in the Triathlon Club of San Diego's monthly club race. Darcy and I had talked about me doing this a race as a tune up for my race this coming weekend, the Mission Bay Triathlon, which will sadly be my final race of the season. So together, Darcy and I decided that while I would go out hard at the club race; I would not actually race it. That is always hard for me to hear as I am a little bit of an all or nothing kind of person when it comes to racing. There was a huge turn out for the race, which was awesome! When everyone lined up for the start it seemed as though the mass of triathletes must have numbered near two hundred.

We were sent off on our way as the race started, without warming up any. It took a little while for me to find my stroke but by the 300m mark I felt things starting to come together, 9 strokes and then sight, 9 strokes and then sight. As I came out of the water I was pleased to see that I was towards the front of the mid pack. This isn’t unusual for me but since it took so long for me to get into a grove I thought that I may have been further behind. T1 was fast for me. I believe less than two minutes. I would be able to tell you much more accurately but I had forgotten to start my Garmin at the beginning of the race. So, at this point I decided to do the entire race with out it. I throw on my aero helmet and bike shoes and head out of T1.

Five laps around the southern end of Fiesta Island; no problem! I start hammering away and then realized that the game plan was to go out hard but not all out. Giving my body a quick once over I decided to keep hammering away. I felt good, my legs were turning over quickly and I was pushing a big gear. The laps flew by and on occasion I would look down at my computer and I would see 22, 23 and some times even 26-27mph flash on the screen. I was moving! I came cruising into T2, already out of my bike shoes at the dismount line; I was off the bike running. After a short distance back to rack my bike, I slipped on my running shoes and grabbed my sunglasses and headed off on the four’ish mile run.

Now if you know me you know that the run is not my strong suit and it wasn’t very long before I started seeing the people that I had passed on the bike slip by me on the run and start to fade into the distance. This feeling, I think, is one of the worst in triathlon. Knowing that you have a lead on a person or group of people and seeing it slip away is frustrating. All I could do is keep telling myself that I wasn’t racing, I was tuning! Keeping my turn over quick and my stride small I made my way around the two loops of the northern part of Fiesta Island. The minutes seemed to creep by, no music to distract me, no Garmin to tell me if I was on pace, all I could do was keep an I on the runners ahead of me and try and hold on to them with out pushing to hard. With about ½ a mile to go I decided I could no longer sit on my laurels. I needed to pick it up, so I decided that I would reel in the two of the three women that had passed me. After all I still had my manhood to defend. Right? And with less than a ¼ of a mile to go I pulled a head with no one close by a head or behind me. I cruised across the finish line in 1:24:12, a full 5+ minutes faster than the last time I had raced the same course back in March. Was I happy? Oh yes.

This week has been full of pre race jitters. I really would like to race for a podium spot as a Clydesdale or an AG spot in the top 15. I got some good training in at the beginning of the week and now it’s all about keeping fresh for Sunday. After that it’s time to go into the off season (AKA. Get your run legs about you and race some half marathons and one marathon). So with me luck peep’s. I am going to need it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Why I Tri

Today I was reading some old blogs from a fellow Tri Club of San Diego (TCSD) member Rachel; when I came across one that talked about Speed vs. Fun on race day. She quoted Chris McCormack saying that if you didn’t line up on race day expecting to win then what other reason did you have to be there. Of course if you are familiar with Triathlon you will know that Macca is an amazing triathlete who has most of his life been a front of the pack type of person, and while I am sure that when he is racing Ironman distance races he must ask himself why he is out there, that he has never really had to ask himself that question pre-race as age groupers do.

As an age group triathlete you get the pleasure of many things; like having to pay to enter races, or not getting a free bike, shoes or nutrition and having to come up with a reason to swim bike a run everyday with knowing that you may never see a podium let alone a dollar for winning a race. This got me wondering; why do I tri?

For me triathlon is, of course, more than about winning. I am a Clydesdale, which means I weigh in at more than 200lbs. Many triathletes don’t even believe that there should be a Clydesdale category, let alone give them medals for finishing first among the “fat” people; many believe that there should only be the Elite and the Age Group racers and that those two groups alone level the playing field enough. If you aren’t fast enough, then you just aren’t fast enough, right? So for me, as a Clydesdale, I race to run down as many “normal” age groupers as I can. I want to show the world that some one over 200lbs can still be quick. But for me simply as a triathlete I race only to see how hard I can push and still survive. Yes, I want to know how I stack up against the world but more than that I want to know how I stack up against myself.

I train seven days a week most weeks with one or two light days for recovery and I find that it is in training that I truly ask “Why am I out here?” It’s easy to pay your 80-525 dollars and step up to the water and dive in but it is the brave who know that the race starts well before the start of the race. So here is what I have found gets me up and moving over the last year. I keep training for the joy of it, I constantly am searching for the feeling that I get when I go out and put in a hard 6-10 mile run, just go with it, finishing, so strong and fresh, that it brings tears to my eyes. I train for the solitude; it has been in those moments when left alone in the middle of nowhere when I am at my lowest that I have been able to find how hard I am willing to climb to carry on. While many train for social aspect of triathlon and train solo for the opposite reason, I love the elusiveness that training on my own brings. The world has become so small that sometimes it is impossible to find a moment alone, even when you are in an empty room, so I walk out the door to find the quiet places in the world.

Each and every triathlete must find their own reasons to train and race, I am sure that many are similar to mine, in the end though it doesn’t matter why we are out there but it is more important that we have all come together for the one reason we all share; the love for Triathlon

Sunday, September 6, 2009

100 Things About Me (part one)

So it has come to my attention, through some other very cool people, that there is a lot that you don't know about me yet. So here is the beginning of the 100 things you may not know about me.

1. I am Buddhist. It's a long story but yes. I firmly believe in Buddhism but I am pretty bad at it. I eat meat, and I kill things; bugs mostly (especially spiders).

2. I bicycle every where I go. Well any where that I can't walk or run to.

3. My diet never really changes. On any given day you could ask me if I had chicken, oatmeal and tuna and 99 out of 100 times I would say yes to all three.

4. I love to swim in the ocean. If I don't do it at least once a week I feel like I have missed out on something.

5. I served in the United States Navy for 9 years and loved every minute of it.

6. I have been to more countries around the world than I have been states.

7. I have two cats that I love to death, Sinatra and Critter. By the way... I hate cats.

8. I may live in San Diego, but I hate being hot. I would rather freeze than break a sweat while relaxing. Good thing it doesn't often get about 75 at my apartment.

9. I used to train in MMA, but after I found endurance sports I was afraid to get hurt so I stopped doing it.

10. At one point in my life I weighed in at 285lbs.

11. I grew up in a very small town in Maryland but it was good country living.

12. I don't have cable TV and I don't really miss it.

13. I do have and love netflix!

14. I will call you to see if you want to hang out but I will never invite myself over. I will never invite myself to anything. I believe that if you want me some where or want my company you will ask.

15. Screaming kids drive me crazy. They make me never want to have sex again.

16. I don't like making choices unless it's what bike course to ride or which run I want to do.

17. I am a great cook but recently I have been eating a lot of microwave dinners

18. I love washing clothes but hate to put them away.

19. I drink 6 cups of coffee every morning.

20. I rarely partake in adult beverages. I just don't find the appeal any more.

21. I own more clothes to train in then I do to wear in normal life.

22. I think my cats are insanely funny even if no one else does.

23. I have no self control when it comes to food that is bad for me. Give me a large pizza or a half gallon of ice cream and I promise you it will be gone in less than one hour.

24. Other than coffee, water is pretty much the only thing I drink.

25. I used to be a manager at a popular night club, that is no more, here in San Diego. While I don't miss working until the wee hours of the morning, I do miss how social it was and how there were no politics.

26. I love photography. I can look at photo's all day.

27. I don't have a favorite color but I wear blue and black all the time.

28. Every day I train I am still amazed that at one point in my life I thought that running a mile and a half was far, and that I now won't even put on running shoes for less than 4 miles (unless my coach tells me too)

29. I have a Triathlon coach, while I know I will never be a pro I do want to be the best athlete I can become, and my coach is amazing.

30. Until last year I didn't know how to swim, I knew how not to drown but not how to swim.

31. Nap time is my favorite time of day!

32. For some reason I don't name things. I have never named a car, or my tri bike... or anything else that isn't alive.

33. I am a cancer survivor but TNT'ers annoy me. I think what they are doing is great but it annoys me.

34. I think Ansel Adams is amazing.

35. I have one sister and three nieces.

An introduction to me.

I have debated for some time if I was ever going to post a blog. I wasn’t sure if I would have anything to say and if I did have something to say to the world would I be able to write in a manner that would express what I wanted to say, the way I wanted to say it. Not to mention, of course, do I really want to put my thoughts, life and emotions on display for the world to see.

At this point, since it’s obvious that I have decided that I would try this whole blogging thing, I should introduce myself and tell you a little about myself. For the purpose of this blog I’ll be going by Tri-Buddha. I am, among many other things, a triathlete. On most days I eat, sleep, and breathe triathlon. I am no professional, I have never won a race, or age group or even the larger than life Clydesdale category but I have come close. Maybe one day soon I will even get on the podium. I love the sport. It gives back to me just as much as I put into it. You may wonder what I get back from doing triathlons, after all it’s just a sport, right? This is true, triathlon is just a sport but it’s a sport in which I can crawl with in myself; not to hide but to explore. Triathlon allows me hours of time weekly that I can spend in self reflection which would normally be filled with the white noise of modern life.

I am a Buddhist and have been for several years. I am Buddhist but far from a good one. I don’t go to temple or spend time in traditional meditation; long ride, runs and swims are my meditation. Often when I am in the pool I find myself swimming with my eyes closed with only the thought of my breath in my mind. Removing desire from my life, I have found, to be the hardest thing about Buddhism. I want to be happy. I want to be successful. These like any other desire cause me suffering and I deal with that everyday.

I am a reclusive member of society. The older I get and the longer I am Buddhist the less I feel connected with society. I have friends, I go out for drinks and dates just like the rest of the world but I don’t crave the human interaction as much as most of the people that I know. I work as a Lean Facilitator which, if you know anything about Lean, is a very social job. All day everyday I am up in front of people, helping them figure out how to make their lives and jobs more efficient.

And one other thing that I have never been. I have never been good at ending anything. Not relationships and certainly not this blog. So I will leave this now... how it is and come back again soon to tell you more about me.