Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Journey of a 1000 Miles Begins with a Single Step

Today I start a journey that I should have begun this year but it wasn't one of my goals.  Today I begin the long path to Age Grouperdom.  I have been 200+lbs for as long as I remember, maybe even longer.  Going in to high school I was six feet tall and right around 210lbs.  My football coach fell in love with me the moment he lay eyes on me and by my senior year with lots of weight training I was a top notch 250+lbs offensive lineman.  I had learned to love the gym, weights and the soreness I felt the days after hard workouts.  This didn't change after high school either.  When I joined the military I kept lifting and kept gaining.  The year before my service to this country ended I tipped the scales at a whopping 285lbs!  No granted I was no tub of lard but I wasn't Ronnie Colman either.

Shortly thereafter I found endurance sports, forsake the cast iron love that I had once known and fell hard for a new mistress.  Since then it has been a slow process coming back down in weight.  By the end of my first year of running I was in the upper 230's and at the end of my first triathlon season I was in the 220's.  Now with my second season of triathlon behind me I weigh in firmly in the mid teens.

With my eye on Clearwater for 2011 this excess weight just will not do.  It was fine for the 2010 season where my goal was to rule the Clydesdale Division.  Now though, every extra pound is precious energy that I need to either save or convert to forward motion.  So with that said it is time to take a hard look at the CRAP that I am eating.  But down that doughnut, pick up the salad fork and with the help of friends and fellow triathletes drop a solid 5lbs per month for the next 5 months till my first "A" race of 2011, New Orleans 70.3.  My first chance to qualify for the 70.3 World Championships.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The End of a Season.

So the end of the season is drawing near.  Only two more races to go, the San Diego Triathlon Classic and the Mission Bay Sprint Triathlon.  So with the season ending I guess it is time to reflect a little and ask myself, “Was this a successful Triathlon season?”  I finished last year on a rough note.  Two days before my final race of the year I was in a bad cycling accident where I fractured my orbital bone and injured my hamstring.  I still raced and actually set a 5k PR that day but the damage was done in that accident and I still have nerve damage to prove it. 

Going into the 2010 season I had set out with two real goals in mind; to get on the podium as a Clydesdale and to shave a solid 30 minutes off my Half Ironman time.  My off season training was solid thanks to the NCC Challenge put on by USAT.  I logged more miles swimming, biking, and running in the off season than I ever had and I went into my first race of 2010 feeling pretty good about myself.  The Tritonman was a good test for my fitness and a great sounding board to see where I was compared to last year, since it was also my first race in 2009.  Finishing the race I knew my training was on track since I set a course PR of 10 minutes and placing 11th in my AG. 

After Tritonman I moved into the meat and potatoes of the year.  The season totaled two Half Ironman triathlons, two Olympic distance tri’s, six Sprints, and one Half Marathon, this of course doesn’t include all the amazing Tri Club of San Diego triathlons and aquathons that got thrown in just for shits and giggles.  So did I reach my goals for the year?  Did I make it to the podium?  Did I shave a half hour off my HIM time?  Yes, I did.  With two races to go I have accumulated a total of six podium finishes this year, four second place, and two third.  As for my Half Ironman time I destroyed my HIM PR by 45 minutes, and I even set a Half Marathon PR by ten minutes this year!

Still, I am not sure how I feel about this season.  There were some things that let me down.  For instance I never took a first place finish as a Clydesdale, but on the other hand my times were good enough to put me in the top three at six races as a Clydesdale and would have placed me in the top ten as an age grouper on several occasions.  I cannot really complain there I suppose.  As a secondary goal I really wanted to hit the five hour mark at a Half Ironman.  This chance was taken from me by a dam bursting at Tempe Town Lake. 

I achieved every goal that I set for myself this season and even went beyond.  I don’t know why but that doesn’t feel as though I was successful.  Many people would say I am a crazy over achiever, PR’s left and right, podium finishes, and I even picked up an amazing sponsor in Synergy Sports and Gray Cycling.  So I guess I am just going to say thank you to the triathlon gods and be thankful.

Looking to next year what do I want to do?  Well my goals for this coming year are just as loft as last year.  I plan on leaving the world of Clydesdale and up the stakes as an age grouper, hoping to consistently place in the top ten in the 30-34 bracket and I am dedicating this season to qualifying for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Clearwater, Florida.  How do I plan on doing this?  Well dropping a few pounds will be necessary; shaving another 45 minutes off my HIM PR is going to happen as well.  This off season I will be focusing on my run and really bringing it down, training more scientifically on the bike by using a power meter and staying consistent with my day to day training.  I know I am an underdog in this sport, but I have been counted out before.  I have been told that I would never be sponsored, and that I would never accomplish anything in this sport.  Well, I have already proven the nay sayers wrong and I will continue to do so in 2011.  Just watch me!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thoughts on aging.

What defines age? Webster says it is the length of existence from beginning to any given point. Thankfully this definition does not dictate the unit of measurement for said length. I am not one to often think about my age or how it affects me. But this morning I woke up to something very disturbing. Today was like no there day. I started it the same as always. I got up, took a leak, made coffee and oatmeal and checked my email. But as I scanned my email I looked down at my chest, which hasn’t been shaved in a while now, and noticed something very disturbing. Out of the hundreds, nay, possibly thousands of hairs or my chest I somehow notice the ONE hair that was not like the other. Horrified I tried ripping it out, to no avail. Losing my patience for this one hair I debated on trying to gnaw it off but quickly dismissed that as well. As a last ditch attempt I took a set of fingernail clippers to it. THE ONE GREY CHEST HAIR! God help me

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The last month

This last month has left me in a slump. My personal life was in turmoil, my training has dropped down because of school, and well…. There is school to deal with. Thankfully in the last couple of weeks a few things have changed that have left me able to focus more. My personal life has quieted down, I completed my first course at the University of Phoenix and I have picked up Synergy Sports/ Gray Cycling as a sponsor. For these three things I am very grateful!  Let me say that I just recieved my first tri kit from them and I was plesantly surprised.  The top fit great!  It didn't ride up and in the water was very sleek.  The tri shorts were amazing as well.  Unbelievably comfortable on my long ride this weekend as well as my 8 mile run.  I am really looking forward to trying out all their product, from tri clothes to carbon wheels!

Yesterday I went for my first 50+ mile long ride in months. Pallas and I ended up just over the 70 mile mark and it felt great. It was amazing just to be out there riding. Not trying to hang on to or pull the "A" group, not trying to hammer my body into a cycling machine. Just riding for the sake of riding because I love being on my bike in the middle of nowhere. The solitude and peace is something that a soul needs on occasion.

Today I had the best long run I have had since racing the RnR San Diego Half Marathon in June. It had seemed like I had seriously derailed some where despite having taken top three at every race since then. So today I set out on an 8 mile run that included 8x400 @ 10k pace. With my motivation lacking over the last couple months I went back to something that has always been able to put a spring in my step, watching the Ironman World Championships. Watch it I did, and motivation was found once again! Finally a little fire in my belly had been ignited. I had almost forgotten what it had felt like. I headed out the door and made my way to the water front. A beautiful day in San Diego isn't unusual and today was no different. After a 2 mile warm-up I hit the repeats making sure to stoke that fire that I had found in my belly today. Patting myself on the back for every victory this season has brought me. Finally after a strong finish the run was done, I was fresh and hungry, not just for food.

With my triathlon season ending in under one month I am looking towards next year. What will my season hold? Can I possibly qualify for Clearwater in 2011? I know that with consistency and dedication that it is possible. I may not be the favorite to get in but I am not the dark horse in this race either. Now I am off to look at race times, course profiles, how far slots have rolled down, temperatures and anything else that I can think of to find the perfect race or two that suits me and may just give me the chance to show that the underdog may not be the favorite but still has a shot for a "W".