Monday, 23 April 2012 11:44

IronWill

[caption id="attachment_5797" align="alignright" width="212" caption="Maybe This Can Be the IronWill Logo?"]ironman_ironwill_triathlon_logo[/caption] IronWill is my new branding campaign for any Iron-Distance race.  I may even start a whole movement behind this because becoming an Ironman take just that: Will.  You have to be willing to sacrifice time with family and friends.  You have to be willing to sacrifice your Saturday and Sunday afternoons at the very least.  You have to be willing to sacrifice sleep.  You have to be willing to sacrifice PERIOD. There are athletes out there that are naturally gifted at racing triathlon.  I happen to not be one of those individuals.  What I do have and lots of it is heart.  I have the heart to endure a lot of pain.  That pain will be physical but I think more than anything else it is mental.  I have a knack for tricking my mind into thinking that it won't be so bad and before I know it I have traveled another mile.  Then it comes time to play another trick and another mile has been ticked off. My trick to have the will to succeed has been to break down not just the entire race but even the race within the race.  The swim is not 2.4 miles long but instead it is a maximum of 3x 30 minute swims.  A 112 mile bike ride is not 112 miles but 24x 15 minute segments.  Why 15 minutes?  I use my watch to notify me when 15 minutes has gone by so that I can take a drink.  It helps to keep me fueled and hydrated and I don't have to worry about riding 112 miles but instead just riding 15 minutes.  Now the marathon.....oh the marathon!  26.2 miles of running but I have a plan for that too.  4 hours is 1/6th of an entire day.  That is nothing.  I can spend 4 hours on Facebook or 4 hours on Twitter right?  In addition to the 15 minute segments I am also incorporating the following two processes into the marathon.  First 30 minutes will be aerobic followed by 30 minutes at lactate threshold then back down to 30 minutes of aerobic.  So now I am only running 30 minute segments.  Also, at every while I will walk for 30 to 45 steps.  All of this is to bring my heart rate down and allow me to finish with a solid 5k kick. This weekend I rode on Saturday for 119 miles and hit the 112 mile mark at 6:00:11.  I took it easy and kept my heart rate low and that has me fired up, but I had to have the will to push through the headwinds and crosswinds that dominated 4/6th of the ride.  When the wind is blowing in your face and your legs are spinning and you feel like it is pushing you backwards you have to buckle down.  You have to push through it and ask yourself do I have what it takes to finish this?  The beauty of that is the reward.  There is always a reward for your hard work.  It could be a PR, it could be finishing something you didn't think you could or getting that tailwind that pushes you to 24/25 mph without really pushing. On my swim I got in the water and used the mantra that Coach gave me:  The swim is just something you have to do.  The race starts on the bike.  That meant to just get in the water and not push it.  Just swim smoothly and efficiently.  Following this advice I swam 2.2 miles in 1:10 which projects to a 1:17.  I think that easily could be 1:15 with a bit of a push or smart drafting, but once I got out and started my run is where the fun started.  I started out slow and kept lowering my pace per my race plan.  It was at Mile 15 when I thought about what I was doing and what I was accomplishing.  I was on my way to be an Ironman and thought about all the sacrifices and all the fights I had with myself.  Fighting the alarm to get up early and get in the pool.  Fighting the thought that 1 hour of aerobic spinning is useless.  Fighting the notion that packing up that bag full of bottles with hydration and nutrition is an exercise in futility.  All the while I keep doing it because my will to succeed is stronger than my will to accept status quo.

‎"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will." ~Vince Lombardi

ironman_1406miles_triathlon I have always said that those that are stronger and faster will always be there, but there will never be anybody that works harder than me.  I do the things that others say:  I can't do that.  I take pride in that.  That is what keeps me going and pushing to find my next level.  I was a 4:39 marathoner just 3 and 1/2 years ago.  Now I am looking to go 4 (really looking at sub-4:00) on the marathon AFTER swimming 2.4 miles and riding 112 miles.  I was a 2:10/100 yards swimmer in the pool and now I am looking to swim 2.4 miles in 1:49/100 yards in the open water.  I do not accept that this is my threshold, but instead think that this is just a starting point. So with all of that I am now branding this as IronWill.  Who's with me?
Published in Race
Wednesday, 15 February 2012 12:04

Triathletes Are Not Selfish

[caption id="attachment_5300" align="alignright" width="261" caption="Connor Pulling His Brother Cayden"]connor_green_cayden_long_triathlon_ironman[/caption] There is this underlying theme that triathletes are selfish because of the amount of time necessary to train.  There is the 4-6 hour bike ride on the weekends, there is the 2-3 hour run as well.  There are hours on end spent at the gym swimming and lifting.  Let's not forget the amount of money it takes to participate in this sport.  To race an Ironman you are going to fork over $600+ to WTC for the pleasure of putting your body through what is one of the longest and most grueling endurance events known to mankind. This is all true but I have also found triathletes to be the most self-less of all athletes I have met.  As background I have played sports since I could walk.  I played baseball and football as a youth. I started running as an adult and in between I was on college intramural squads so I have seen my share of athletes and the triathlete is willing to do anything to help.  It is amazing what a tight-knit community this group is and everyday I am amazed by the acts of kindness that go on. This past Sunday I had an 8 mile run at lactate threshold pace.  I went out at 7:30a with Robert and pumped out those 8 miles in less than an hour and let's just say by the afternoon I was spent.  I needed a nap and at 2pm told Karen that I was going in the bedroom to lay down.  I flipped on the TV and turned directly to ESPN hoping golf would be on so that would put me to sleep quickly.  As I turned to ESPN2 I saw that E:60 was on and I stopped to watch.  I love documentaries and when those documentaries are about sports then I am at my pique of curiosity.  The first segment went by and I can't recall what it was about, but then I thought I saw a Swim, Bike, Run logo as Karen and I were talking.  When they came back from commercial sure enough they were going to be discussing triathlon.  I had no clue what they were going to be talking about but I wanted to watch. The first thing you see is kids.  My initial reaction was this was going to be about what is too young to start your endurance, specifically triathlon career.  As the story unfolds you find out that it is about a brotherly bond between Cayden Long and Connor Green.  The story is so touching and just incredible.  Cayden has cerebral palsy and for him there are activities that he cannot participate in.  Cayden watches as Connor plays football.  Cayden watches everything because he can't walk or speak.  What Cayden can do is swim, bike and run thanks to his brother Connor's unselfish approach to him. Connor wanted to bound with Cayden as the story is told.  He wanted to make sure that his brother was able to be like any other kid.  I watched this documentary in awe, and not because of what Connor was doing.  We have seen this with Dick and Rick Hoyt but because of how young Connor was.  For him to have a sense of what his brother needed was amazing.  His sense that his brother was different but that it didn't matter astounded me.  This young man is teaching a lot of adults what it is like to be selfish and caring. The best line of the entire documentary comes when the boys' Dad asks Connor if he would do triathlon without Cayden so he wouldn't always come in last place.  Connor's response was: NO.  Just purely incredible. Read about them in this post at the Nashville Kids Triathlon. Also, watch the E:60 piece or click this link to access if player is not working. Here are two other videos that you can watch as well:
 
I know my feelings the first time I read and watched Dick and Rick Hoyt race and those have been flooded over by the story of Cayden and Connor.  That is a truly amazing story about a 7-year-old and can teach us all to lend a helping hand.

What Selfless Act Have You Done Recently?

 
Published in Race
Thursday, 02 February 2012 14:29

What Happens On My Run

[caption id="attachment_5213" align="alignright" width="270" caption="You Can Forget All Your Worries Out On A Run"]running_mentality_thouhgts[/caption] While filing away papers this weekend - I found a card i have kept stashed away for years. I cant seem to throw it away.. In 1994 - Ronald Reagan announced he had Alzheimer’s.  I read it in the newspaper, and decided I should send a letter. I sent a letter to Ronald Reagan. I told him I was sorry that this was happening to him, and my grandfather also was diagnosed with this. I also told him I would pray for him, and any time he was in Texas - he and his wife were welcome to come visit my family for dinner. Thinking back on this part makes me laugh, because that was unlikely. I was 26 years old.  A month or so later, my mom called and said I might want to stop by, as I received a card from the White House. I arrived at my parents house, and I received a envelope with the presidential seal on it and inside was a pre-printed thank you card from Ronald Reagan. I knew nothing about politics. I did know Alzheimer’s. My Grandfather had Alzheimer’s.  My Grandfather and I used to run together when I was a was a teenager. My Grandparents took me for a month long road trip in an RV and we ran a lot during this trip - in fact we ran in Canada.  When he was diagnosed, it seemed to happen so quick. Maybe this was because I was young. I remember eventually he did not know who I was and it scared me. I would avoid going over when he was there.  The last time I saw him - his eyes were empty. He was not there anymore. He was not with us. He was in his own world. You see Alzheimer’s is not painful, unless you are a family member. Fast Forward 2012 - Today my mom is living with Alzheimer’s. This disease is hereditary - and she was the unlucky one between her and her brother. Years ago - she felt like she was slipping, and snuck out and bought a gameboy with educational games and tried to keep her mind fresh to avoid this. Today, she cannot count money or tell time. Not a day goes, and I want to call her and tell her something or bitch about something - but I have to decide whether this will make her anxious, and make her condition worse. When I was going through my divorce in my first marriage, I lived with my parents for a few months, and although it was tough living with my parents again, I could talk to her or cry and she was there.  She often would try to hug me, and I was so angry from the marriage failing, I would pull away. Today she is slipping away - slowly. Part of me wants to avoid, like I did with my grandfather. The other part of me just wants to hold her hand. I want to tell her its ok - I will fix your remote control again, and I will tell you what a DVD player is, and show you how it works, again. My mom is in perfect health (other than this)  She likes to take walks. She LOVES to play with my son.  Everyday - I miss talking to her more about anything. I miss her lectures on how I need to go to church, or how to raise my son, or deal with my ex-husband, or be nicer to Jason. I know at some point her mind will be gone. She wont be in pain. She will eventually need assistance with eating and normal daily activities and will no longer know who I am. This is on my mind daily. Its possible I might be the one out of four sisters that gets diagnosed someday, and I hope for a cure for this disease, and the pain it causes so many families like mine. Once a week - I do try to do a longer run of 9-11 miles.  Most of the time I go out to the lake.  This is 25 minutes away. I could walk out my front door and run in the neighborhood. I could drive 10 minutes up the road to a park. My long runs are at the lake. I usually go with a friend. We talk for a few miles. After that - the Ipod goes on. I ran 11 miles Sunday, and tried to remember what I was thinking on my run. I was not thinking about ANYTHING. My mind goes blank. I am one with the lake. My problems are gone during these runs. Peace. Solitude. I run because I love to run, but I also run to set my mind free. For a few hours during the run - I am not hurting inside. My time. Free mind. I know eventually I have to stop and come back to reality but this time is mine for a few hours to forget on purpose.

What Happens To You On Your Run?

Published in Race
Monday, 23 January 2012 11:44

Excuses Are Like A**holes....

[caption id="attachment_5149" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Naps are ok, but not in place of working out."]lazy_man_excuses[/caption] The person who really wants to do something finds a way; the other person finds an excuse.  ~Author Unknown I am the BEST person to give excuses. When I am running, if I see a sign ahead, I think it must be a stop sign, I need to stop. If a runner in front of me stops, I think ‘oh I better stop too..‘ The list of excuses goes on.. its raining, snowing, windy - I have a cold,  sinus infection, headache..  ANY excuse usually worked with me. Not anymore. Recently my passion for running and working out has rubbed off on others - and they want to jump on the fitness bandwagon.  The problem is, no commitment - just excuses.  Starting something new is always scary but when you have someone offering to do it with you, and test the waters - don’t think of reasons not to do it. First of all - I take this personally when you cancel and give me some silly excuse. Second - REALLY?  That excuse sucked. The general rule - if its above the neck - Think: Sneezing, runny nose, scratchy throat. You most likely have a cold or something similar, and running actually can help you recover fast. If your symptoms are below the neck - Think: Chills, fever, upset stomach, flu - stay home and get better. If your excuse is something such as.. I am tired, lazy, its raining, its cold, its hot...please stop.  Don’t act interested in changing your life, and go back and sit down on the couch with your crunch and munch or doritos, or both. I enjoy running... in the rain, in the snow, in 100 degree temps (carrying a frozen water bottle) and I enjoy the way I feel after finishing a run. Some days I don’t have a lot of time to do much, but I get out and get something done. Its better than nothing at all.  This weekend, I have had a pinched nerve in my back, and I cant move my neck or look to the right at all. Did this stop me from moving? I ran a total of 19 miles this weekend and did a hour long bootcamp. How do I feel? Well other than not being able to look to the right and see Jason sitting next to me, I feel great. I feel like I have accomplished something. I ate red velvet pancakes with zero guilt. [caption id="attachment_5150" align="alignright" width="273" caption="Do you know anybody that would do this?"]excuses_running_exercise[/caption] I talked to one of my friends the other day and she is working on getting in shape, and she walked a little over two miles in 50 minutes. I was thrilled.  Who cares how fast you went. JUST MOVE and keep moving!  Take care of your body now. I have another friend who walks half marathons. Awesome. She is not sitting on the couch - she is moving. You have all weekend to go do something - go to the park, rent a bike and explore, keep moving and enjoy the world. Stop with the excuses. Today I am still good at excuses. Just different ones. “Jason my back hurts will you make me some popcorn”, I need to re-lace my sneakers and I always mess up, can you do it?”  The other excuses with running are gone. I tackle hills, pass the stopped runners and I keep moving.

Do you have excuses?

Published in Race
Monday, 02 January 2012 11:14

Res·o·lu·tion

res·o·lu·tion Noun: A firm decision to do or not to do something. [caption id="attachment_4950" align="alignright" width="271" caption="Courtesy Of Hammock.Com"]resolution_goal_inspiration_motivation[/caption] So here we are again at the beginning of a new year and all over the social media sites you get to see people’s new resolutions for the year. My personal favorite is those people that decide to get in shape, and last 4-6 weeks, crowding up the gyms then heading thru the drive thru on the way home because they got a good workout in. I have been guilty of the typical resolutions - work out more, stop drinking so much (those were the days) and my personal favorite - no more sweets (ummm when hell freezes over!)  The funny thing about these resolutions, is that people tend to gorge on things knowing that the end of the year is almost here and there time is about to be up so they need to eat as bad as possible, drink up, smoke up and live it up. I am guilty of the typical “I will start dieting, after I have this pizza, and yummy desert and maybe just start Monday fresh so I dont have to stress out about it this weekend.” My question is: WHY WAIT on the resolution?  I no longer wait until the end of the year, but start now by signing up for that race to keep me moving, or buying that outfit and leaving it out so I have a goal to wear it at some point and I know I have something to work on.but now I am feeling like I should have some sort of resolution for the beginning of 2012... so I have decided to make a list of things that are hopefully attainable and am sharing them to make me accountable.
  1.  Get rid of the negatives in my life. There is always that one person - that is the constant doom and gloom. I am one who thinks - “Oh I can help them” - and actually no I cant, they just normally bring me down with them.
  2. Be kind to others - I used to have a little charm string  (Most likely buried in my junk drawer) that has beads on it.  The goal of this little charm was to do something nice for someone, or pay someone a compliment (find something about that person you dislike, and be sincere in your compliment) Once you had completed the task - you would move the bead to the other side. There were 5 beads to move. I carried this around with me for months and it was my little mission to move the 5 beads, and it felt good to get it done. I think now is a good time to start this back up and maybe it will rub off on others and hopefully improve my mood as well.
  3. Stop making excuses - I am queen of griping about something - but doing nothing to fix it.  I hate my job - (have you looked for another?)  These drawers are mess (why don’t you clean it up)  I want six back abs. (have you done any ab work recently?) See where this is going.. Stop complaining. Make that change this year or shut up already.
  4. Spend more quality weekend time with my family. No social media. No TV. No Iphone in my hand. 2012 will be about coloring, reading, games, going to the park, riding bikes and enjoying being together. Also making sure to visit my parents more often - I am blessed to have them in my life still - I need to take full advantage of this now
I’m sure I could come up with several more but lets be honest, the more the list grows, the less I will do. Keep it simple and make 2012 a GREAT year.  I also have a little secret as to how I know that 2012 is going to be great.  I was $hit on by a bird on New Year's Eve.  Hello 2012 I'm ready for you.

Do you have resolutions? Have you kept them in the past?

Published in Race
Thursday, 15 December 2011 18:27

Seeing The Country One Step At A Time

I am in Charlotte, North Carolina visiting my mother for a few days so my posts may be sporadic as I'm trying to take in as much time with her, her boyfriend, my sister, and my nephew.  It's been nearly 2 years since I have been here and I am cherishing every moment I have with them. This morning I set out on a one hour run and from the first step to the last it was as if I had never seen this part of where she lives.  I have run here before, but because it has been so long none of it looked familiar and I enjoyed it all.  The smell of pine trees (we don't have any near my house), the feel of asphalt (our roads are concrete), the cold damp wet weather that would get warm when you ran past the tree line and into the sun.  It was an experience. While on the run I thought about where running and triathlon have taken me and where they will be taking me.  I also thought of a post I had written a while back about seeing the sunrise while out on the run.  All of these thoughts told me that running/triathlon has opened up a world that I never would have experienced if not for these sports.  I have run in New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Charlotte, Dallas, San Francisco, San Diego, Boulder, and Maui.  Next year I will be traveling to Maine, Arizona and Puerto Rico for sure but who knows where else. One step at a time I will see the United States and the best part it will be at a speed at which I can comprehend my surroundings.  Ask people who drive at 65 mph what they saw and they can't give you an idea.  Ask a runner what they saw while out for 1 or 2 hours and you will get a full description of everything.  The ability to do that is special and I cherish it.  Training and racing is important to me for a number of reasons, but when you add in the ability to see our great country then the importance goes off the charts.

Where have you run and/or raced?  Which city/area was most memorable?

-------------------- Here is the sunrise post in case you did not have the chance to read it before or if you are dreading that early morning run on Saturday/Sunday: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The Early Runner"]running_early_morning_sunrise[/caption] As a runner we are often asked: 'Why do you run?' and 'Why do you run so early?' For me the answer is very simple.  I run because it is my time.  It is my time to getaway from the everyday.  It is my time to let my creative juices flow.  It is my time to examine who I am and how I want to be better.  It is my time to dig down deep and push myself to the next level.  It is my time. And during that time I have seen some of the most amazing sunrises.  I have run pre-dawn in cities like New York, Maui, Dallas, Jackson MS, Cozumel, Miami, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Austin, Healdsburg CA, and Charlotte to name a few.  It is the same sun everywhere I have been but it is a different and amazing feeling because each city, town, village is different. I have seen my breath in Jackson MS in October on a 16 mile run.  I didn't have any idea where I was but as the sun started to rise and my feet met the pavement a warm sensation came over me that can never be replicated.  I felt free at that time.  I had a 7 hour drive back to Dallas ahead of me and at that time it didn't matter.  I was alone with the world and at the same time I was one with the world. I have had sweat pouring off my forehead in Cozumel while running side by side with my wife.  We didn't talk, we just ran.  We didn't have to talk as we knew what the other was feeling.  The sun was beating down on us but to our right was crystal blue waters.  A sight like no other.  Yes, the water in Maui was crystal blue as well but in Maui I had beaches before that water.  I had the smell of pineapple in the air.  Fresh sushi was on tap for lunch and well Maui was different from Cozumel. This is the beauty of running.  The ability to see the world from a different perspective.  Have you ever seen the sun rise?  Have you ever seen the sun rise while running?  How about seeing your city?  You drive through it everyday but have you ever run through it and seen it  from a different perspective?  Have you truly opened up your eyes to your environment. For me this is what running is all about.  It is the Social Studies class they never taught in school.  They can tell you about the capital of Texas being Austin, but they can't tell you how it feels to run down Congress Ave with the capital building ahead of you and the hundreds of people going to their many destinations. I love running and it is my lifestyle.  It brings me joy and happiness.  It brings out my creative problem solving skills.  It bring out the best in me.

Have you ever seen the sun rise?

Published in Race
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 11:14

An Open Letter To Myself

As of this writing I am approximately two weeks away from making a run at a Boston Marathon qualifying time.  I have to finish the marathon in 3:10 just to have a chance to register, which means that I really need to run a 3:07-3:08 to be able to get in. For the past few weeks I have changed my training to start in the evening since that is when the marathon will be taking place.  It hasn't been easy and after every run I seem to have a rationale for why it didn't go as planned.  With that as background I took to my run Monday morning, which was to be an aerobic 5 miles, and wrote an open letter to myself during those 5 miles.  I finished the run beaming and had the following splits: 8:46, 8:10, 8:06, 7:28, 7:18 and my heart rate never climbed above 158 bpm. What did that letter say?  Here it is:   Dear Jason - I am going to start off by saying it plainly to you:     stop making excuses.  Enough of them.  Yes it's hard to run 7:15s.  Yes it's hard to do it for 1 mile let alone 26.2 and I get that but you know what......you're tougher than 7:15.  You are stronger than 7:15.  You can run 7:15 but you have to believe you can. Stop making excuses.  I know you just raced 70.3 Austin and then went out and ran 18 miles at a 7:51/mi pace and then a half-marathon that was just two minutes off a PR after running 5 miles before the race.  That pace of 7:31/mi was just the beginning of what was going to be an awesome end to training in time to race Vegas. I get it that the 20 miler at 3:45pm was tough b/c you didn't know what to expect but guess what:  that is an excuse.  You've run 20 miles before and so why you felt it would be difficult before you even took your first step is beyond me.  I understand that a mid-week 12 miler is hard, but guess what anything worth going for in life is going to be hard work. Oh, that 22 miler you had on Saturday evening.  Yeah it was tough and it kicked the living snot out of you and I understand that but stop making excuses.  80* temperatures with 80% humidity.....so what?  You didn't hit your splits but you still ran 22 miles and never gave up.  You never stopped to walk and throw away the whole workout.  Your legs were cramping and you almost threw up when you were done.....congrats as you are tougher today because of it. When your calf is acting up.....tell it to shut up.  When your quads are screaming at you as you pound down a hill, talk to your hamstrings and laugh at your quads as they are being weak.  When those same hamstrings are crying as you ascend that same hill just think to yourself that you are pushing the weakness out of your body. You want a Boston marathon qualifying time do you?  Then work for it.  Don't stand on the sideline hoping that the time will just happen because it won't.  You will not just show up and hear the gun go off and finish in under 3:10.  You are going to have to push and pull.  You are going to have to threaten your own body.  You are going to send up prayers and wishes.  You may even cry from the pain, or throw up at the finish line but if you want that goal then you are going to have to push yourself to get there. Do you think that the guy that gets the slot is not working hard right now?  Do you think that you will just get to register?  Stop thinking that and stop making excuses because there are others out there working harder than you.  They are pushing themselves because they can taste that 3:10......can you?  Do you have what it takes to push yourself as hard as you can for 3 hours?  It's 3 hours and then you have the rest of your life to talk about how you pushed and qualified for Boston.  Or you can take those 3 hours and not qualify and think to yourself if you had just done this little extra you would have gotten there......BS that is an excuse being setup. Stop making excuses.  Start running faster.  Start pushing harder.  Start testing the limits of your ability and then once you get there GO PAST THEM! That a-boy.....look at 7:18 split.....Congratulations......now rest for tomorrow we will do it again!   Sincerely - The No Excuses Team
Published in Race
Monday, 14 November 2011 11:44

Analyzing Yourself To Get Better

Triathlon can be a microcosm for life.  There are ups and downs.  There are triumphs and failures.  There are great days and awful days.  In the end it is how you react to both that defines you and allows you to progress through both sport and life. Yesterday I posted about how my first late evening run went and the changes that I'll be making.  What I did not discuss was my disappointment in my run.  I finished the 20 mile run in 2 hours 53 minutes for an 8:41/mi pace.  Not a bad pace for a training run and for one at night.  The problem is that my focus ever since the end of October has been the time of 3:10.  I need to run the Las Vegas Marathon in 3 hours and 10 minutes in order to qualify for Boston.  Will it be the end of me if I don't?  NO.  Will I be disappointed? YES.  Will I come back stronger?  OF COURSE. I thought a lot about this run on Sunday and while on XTRI.com I saw a post labeled Sorry, No Mulligans in Kona!  It was written by Tim O'Donnell who is one of the top Americans in triathlon.  Tim might be most famous for dating Mirinda Carfrae, but he in how own right is a top-notch world-class triathlete.  I had the opportunity to see Tim at Ironman Texas and the followed him throughout this season.  When I read that he had pulled out of Kona I was stunned and wanted to know why or how.  I came to find out that he fell ill but that was all I could find out.  Yesterday I got the entire story right from Tim's fingertips and it inspired me to no end.  Read this post for yourself here: ==================== Sorry, No Mulligans In Kona! by Timothy O'Donnell [caption id="attachment_4707" align="alignright" width="193" caption="Tim O'Donnell"]tim_odonell_triathlete_ironman_kona[/caption] I wish Ironman racing was more like golf. If it were I would have definitely asked for a Mulligan at the Ironman World Championships last month in Kona! Regardless of how well you prepare physically, mentally and emotionally for the biggest race of the year you have to get to the start line healthy. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do that this year and my debut in Kona was a humbling experience from Queen K. Despite some set backs in early September including a case of “foot drop” prior to the Hy-Vee Triathlon, my preparation for Kona went really well. I logged the biggest training weeks of my career and highlighted the preparation with high watts on the bike and the fastest training runs I had ever seen in my (short) Ironman career. Everything leading into the race was focused on success on the island, locked on diet; great training and the BEST gear put me in position to compete with the world’s top triathletes. Rinny and I headed to Kona two weeks early to acclimatize and get (re)acquainted with the course. We spent our first week outside of town at the Mauna Launi Bay Resort where we were treated like royalty. The peaceful resort setting along with the Mauna Launi’s top rated fitness center and pool made for the perfect prepping station. We headed into town the following Sunday and hunkered down in our condo on Alii Dr. With the craziness of race week and the obligations involved it is nice to be near the action. Almost all my sponsors were in attendance and I was glad to have the chance to do a few appearances for them and to thank them in person for their unbelievable support. Along with the appearances I had a good amount of media obligations race week, definitely something I don’t experience at the normal race. With my strong debut at Ironman Texas and my position in the Kona rankings I had drawn some attention leading into the race. My taper seemed to be perfect and my last few tune up sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday we spot on. On Friday, the day before the race, I noticed I was very fatigued as I prepared all my race gear. With the riggers of Ironman training I was always fatigued in the weeks leading into the race, so when I was fresh and tapered race week it was hard for me to notice that I was feeling off. Friday night Rinny touched my head in passing and then paused and told me a felt a little warm. Uh Oh. It turns out I was running a fever but it was the night before the biggest race of my career…I shrugged it off and said I was fine. Race morning came and it was an unbelievable vibe in transition. My goal in the sport was finally right in front of me…Kona! I went through my normal race routine and chatted with my coach Cliff before heading into the water. The cannon went off and just like that the race was on. As I battled among the other racers I found myself towards the front of the main swim pack. While I was in good position the pace seemed much harder than usual. I noticed I was struggling to keep my position in the group. Staying focused, I made it to shore still near the front. When I hit the beach I immediately noticed my entire body ached but it was Kona and I was going to keep going! Growing up one of my swim coaches always told me “you don’t have to feel good to swim fast” and I kept this in my mind as I struggled through transition. The day didn’t get any easier as I hit the bike. As I went up the small coming out of transition I noticed my legs had nothing. One by one the other racers went by me and I dangled on the back of the lead pack. I fought and fought to keep contact and after falling off and catching up several times the group eventually left me behind on the Queen K. Less than two hours into the ride I started reaching for coke at aid stations; I knew I was in a bad spot. Cliff spotted me on the course and when he saw me covered in vomit and wobbling on my bike he knew we had to shut it down. I decided to keep riding back to transition but I knew I was out of the race. The remaining part of the ride was the longest 40 miles I have ever ridden. When I got back to transition I found Cliff and my parents who had come out to watch my first Kona. They we glad to see I was ok but could tell I was devastated by how my day unfolded. After all the time and energy I put into this single event I was left with nothing. Still I knew this was the gamble I was taking with Kona, when you place everything in one race you can either win big or lose big. My real disappoint was from knowing it wasn’t really me out there racing. I didn’t get the chance to do justice to the extensive preparations I made for the race. But like I said, step one in racing is getting to the start line healthy! My disappointment was palpable and many friends and family touched base with me after the race to give their support. The strongest message I received was from my friend and founder of Team RWB, Mike Erwin. Mike emailed me with a famous quote from Teddy Roosevelt, “The Man in the Arena.” Mike didn’t know it at the time but during my induction at the Naval Academy I had to memorize “The Man in the Arena” and it had stuck with me through my Navy career. When I read the email I knew I had not lost anything on the day. Instead I had gained a valuable experience that would only make me a stronger racer and a stronger person. I’m no stranger to failure but I have always prided myself on fighting back from my shortcomings. My Kona debut was indeed a failure, but a failure I plan on using to only make my next attempt on the island a success. We all face challenges in life and all failures can be overcome. I plan on overcoming my challenges in Kona and I hope everyone reading this blog will face their challenges head on too. When it gets tough, and it will, don’t forget the words of President Roosevelt: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Until next time, keep fighting and dare greatly! T.O. ==================== I have a saying that I am going to train and race in the redline.  I am going to live my life in the redline.  I am going to keep pushing and pushing until I find my limits.  So far I have yet to find that limit.  I think that if we fail from effort it is different from failing from lack of effort.  I would rather blow up on the race course or make an error at my job because I went after it as hard as I could.  I am not afraid of failure and should I bonk during the bike portion of a race then I will go back and see what I could have done better and work at that. I may not the be the fastest.  I may not be the strongest.  BUT I will work the hardest.

Can You Identify With Tim O'Donnell's Blog Post?

 
Published in Race
Sunday, 23 October 2011 12:00

What Time Is It?

Game Time!

I will swim faster, harder and smarter than ever before.

I will ride faster, harder and smarter than ever before.

I will run faster, harder and smarter than ever before.

When all is said and done I will have crossed the finish line with nothing in the tank.

When all is said and done I will raise my arms in victory regardless of time because I beat the course.

When all is said and done I will smile the smile of all smiles and know that beyond a shadow of a doubt I DID IT!

Thank you all for your support through a very hot summer of training.  A year long dream of racing two half-ironman races in one year is coming to fruition.  I will have had weeks of 15-20 hours of training.  Races where I PR'd and races where I discovered something new about me.

None of this would ever have happened if not for my wife Karen who has provided me all the support any one person can need.  Thank you.

Published in Race
Wednesday, 12 October 2011 11:44

Channeling The 3 C's

[caption id="attachment_4458" align="alignright" width="259" caption="What we train for! Finishing. Not Quitting."]ironman_triathlon_finish[/caption] This past Saturday us triathletes celebrated our Super Bowl, World Series and Masters Golf Tournament all in one day.  In case you did not know the World Championships were held in Kona, Hawaii.  The best of the best from the pros as well as the age grouper toed the line to celebrate where the sport of triathlon was born and where the best athlete in the world, on that day, would be crowned champion. The featured athletes are typically the pros and they feature the likes of Craig Alexander, Chris Lieto, Andreas Raelert, Chrissie Wellington, Miranda Carfrae and Julie Dibens.  That being said, somebody can show up that day and have the race of their life and propel them across the finish line faster than any other competitor on that day. I believe that triathlon showcases the best athletes because we not only swim but we also bike and run in consecutive order with a total of 5 minutes rest between each discipline.  I have heard people say that basketball players are the best athletes but I have yet to see LeBron James talk about racing an Ironman one day, and I would guess that if you asked him to do it he would laugh and say that the thought alone was crazy. While watching the race on Ironmanlive.com I was astounded by three of the athletes and each for different reasons.  We all know that Ironman racing and training can be as much mental as it is physical when it comes to strength.  The early morning wake up calls to swim, bike, run in the dark.  The adherence to a diet so that we are as lean and fit as we can be when the gun goes off.  Going to sleep at 8:30pm knowing that you will be waking up in a few short hours to get some sort of exercise in.  We sacrifice for the sport and it gives back much more than that. While on my run yesterday morning where I was trying to negative split 13 miles I channeled the three Cs of Kona and my run was made easier and much more enjoyable than it was intended to be.  What are the 3 C's you are asking and the answer is Craig Alexander, Chrissie Wellington and Mirinda Carfrae. Craig Alexander, the men's winner and now world record holder, suffered from cramping towards the end that forced him to stop at least three times and stretch while the clock kept ticking.  These stops put the World Record in danger of not being reached but her persevered and cross the finish line 12 seconds faster than the fastest race ever run.  Crowie was channeled on this run for his perseverance.

Chrissie Wellington, of the title undefeated at the 140.6 distance, suffered road rash and a torn pectoral muscle from a bike crash two weeks before the event.  She could have pulled out but she did not.  She did not swim as fast as she normally does, she did not ride as fast as she normally does, but she ran faster than she normally does so that she could be at the top of the podium when the day was done.  As a matter of fact she held the record for fastest marathon ever run in Kona (for a few minutes anyway.)  Chrissie was determined to not let excuses cloud her race and for this reason she was channeled on this run.  I put myself in her shoes (not literally but she does run in Brooks just like me) and made the determination that I was going to negative split this run even if it hurt like mad.

Watch at the 2:35 mark as Chrissie hits the X button on her playstation control to pass Caroline Steffan

As mentioned Chrissie held the marathon record for a few minutes, and that was until Mirinda Carfrae crossed the finish line.  Mirinda ran a 2:52 marathon which is incredible on its own but considering she just swam 2.4 miles and rode 112 the feat is even more amazing.  As I was watching the race I noticed, as did everybody else, that Mirinda was running as loose and free at Mile 25 as she was at Mile 1.  Her form was perfect, her cadence was high and her attitude was what we should all strive for:  never give up.  At Miles 11 and 12 I was slowing down but I channeled Mirinda and told myself that now was not the time to give up and go home with the negative split but to push it and solidify a faster Mile 13 than Mile 11 and 12.

When Your Next Training Day Is Not Going Well Will You Channel The Three C's?

What Do You Turn To When The Going Gets Tough?

 
Published in Race
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