Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's Almost...

TIME!  The official end of the off-season starts at 12:01 a.m. on January 1st.  

Mentally... I don't think I've ever been MORE ready to get to work.  Its taken a LOT of self-discipline, a really messed-up shoulder, and the plague to keep me from training over the last two months.  Having said that... I'm really glad to have had the adversity that has kept me from training.  Honestly... it would have been a total mental and physical disaster had I jumped back into training 2 weeks after Clearwater.

Physically, I'm confident that my body will catch-up in good order after a relative 2 month deficit. Or at least that's what I've been told.  This is where having a coach like Liz REALLY pays off.  I know that I won't jump in and overdo it... simply b/c she won't let me.  Which ultimately means that in the long-run... I'll be faster AND injury free!  All good things. Swimming is being put on an indefinite hold.  Turns out that I probably shouldn't have raced in Clearwater... did a little more damage that was prudent and now my recovery time is quite a bit longer.  I'm doing all the right things... 2 different physical therapists with two different approaches... as well as resting and only doing specific exercises that'll get things ship-shape. Liz feels confident that I should be able to put the kind of swim together that I want at Coeur D'Alene despite getting a late start in the pool this year.  Another "blessing" with not being able to swim immediately is that it will give me an opportunity to really focus and strengthen the two other disciplines!

I read something about fear this morning.  "Anyone that stands at the edge of the unknown, fully in the present, without reference point, experiences groundlessness."  Seriously, read that again.

So here's the connection: I'm standing at the edge of training for a full ironman in June.  I have no personal reference point.  I'm completely scared shitless.  But here's the thing...  I.  Don't. Care.  We usually think that bravery is based on being fearless.  The reality is, those that are brave... are intimate with fear.

Let's be brave this season... shall we?

Breathe...


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gingerbread Houses are for....

EATING!!!!

Right? RIIIIIIGHT??? I mean REALLY! What is the POINT of decorating a beautiful house MADE of things like gingerbread and frosting and gumdrops and whatever the hell ELSE ya wanna put on the dang thing if you're just going to LOOK at it??? No really. Answer me that.

I'm talkin to you.

Speak up.

Answer me.

Shush.

Be quiet when I'm talking to you.

OK! SO the point of a gingerbread house is to have FUN with your family while you're putting the thing together... THAT'S the point right? I guess for some it might be to get as anal retentive as possible, placing things just so.... and completely SUCKING the life out of the project... and that's... okay. Whatever floats your boat... but the point is... if it brings you together... and you have fun... then THAT'S the point!

Now THAT is a gingerbread HIZOUSE!

AND... we had a BALL!

I hope everyone is happy and healthy and getting ready to celebrate a fantastic holiday with friends and family! Do some fun stuff! Play Twister... bring your "A" game! Sing some Karaoke... from the top of your freakin lungs... b/c HEY! They're family... and they can't disown ya for that! Hm.

Breathe...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Daze!

Apparently, we Eugeneians don't know how to deal with a little smattering of snow! Once you get an accumulation of any significance... as in 3 inches... the entire city shuts down and calls it good. We are simply NOT prepared like you crazy people in states like... I dunno... MN... where a 13 degree day with freezing rain is "mild". However, Eugene is a city where, on any given cold, rainy day, you'll find 75.2% of the population wearing Birkenstocks with their wool socks. H2O in liquid form... we're solid... but once that stuff even remotely resembles snow... we freak out! As a result, we've had an inordinate amount of no school days! Now, I know that as a loving father I'm supposed to say, "I LOVE snow days! It's just a great opportunity to take time out with the kids, play in the snow, and drink hot cocoa!" This is ALL quite true. However, I have to say, the noise... yeah... the noise of the three adorable, wonderful, fantastic kiddos, who are EXTREMELY excited to NOT have school AND get to play in the snow can be overwhelming at times. I'm good for about 2 full days... then I need a BREAK! No such luck today. No school. Another beautiful layer of the fresh white stuff on the ground! Joy. Rapture. PLUS, starting at 9 am this morning... I enter the realm of single father for the weekend! No rest for the weary... but I think I'm up for it... I've done it a million times before... just not in the snow. This is a perfect opportunity for me to practice... breathing.

In other news, my shoulder is turning out to be a complete A-HOLE! That's RIGHT! That's what I said! Apparently, a dislocated shoulder doesn't simply heal on its own OR within a week after its been injured. I've tried reasoning with it, stretching, massaging, and drugging it into submission... all to no avail. Apparently, what it wants is rest... the little pansy. So that's what I'm giving it! Plus some witch doctor physical therapy that ends up hurting so bad it makes me curl into the fetal position, suck my thumb, and whine like a little baby! BUT, apparently its working... and things are getting better! SO... as my upper body wastes away... I'm doing my best to be patient and keep my legs in some kind of working order so that I wont DIE December 29th when I start my training cycle for IM CdA '09.

Hope you're all happy, healthy, and whole. If you have family coming in for the holidays... remember, they love you and their intentions are ALWAYS the best... even if they're SO annoying you'd rather punch them in the neck. Simply....

Breathe....

Tom! He's dah MAN!


Snow-covered homestead!

View from living room!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Off Season!

I posted this pic on my FB profile.  You'd be surprised by the reaction I got.  People actually made FUN of it!  Really.  I'm not kidding. Personally, I just don't think people understand how truly street I am.

Anywho.  The off season continues.  I took an entire 2 weeks completely off from any sort of physical activity following Clearwater.  I wanted to give my body adequate time to recover from the race as well as make sure that things were kosher with my shoulder.  I started back in the gym after that with some light weights and core work.  I'm actually VERY hungry to train... but my shoulder is having none of that!  I finally went in to see a PT and she worked me over pretty good.  It's going to be a process.  Hopefully one that doesn't last too long.  I told her that I absolutely HAVE to be swimming by January 1st.  I'm being a "good boy" and doing exactly as I'm told and trying to heal up as best I can.  The hardest part is sleeping.  I haven't had a truly good night's sleep since coming back from Florida and its really beginning to get to me.  I just can't find a position that's comfortable and as a result, toss and turn and moan and groan all night long.  NOT my idea of fun.  BUT... it is what it is right?  I'm doing everything I can possibly do to heal properly and in a timely manner.  So... I'm breathing... and I'm attempting to be patient... and attempting to listen.  I'm not perfect... but I'm trying.  Here's the thing about patience though... everyone only has so much.  Right?  I mean, at some point, don't all of us need to blow a gasket.  Throw a little fit?  

Gee.  I guess that's all I got.  It's a beautiful, chilly, sunny Saturday morning.  I am getting a workout today... just nothing involving my shoulder.  Anyone want to come along?  Could use the company...

OH!  I forgot to tell you!  If you want someone else's perspective on my Clearwater trip and all the chaos that ensued... please go visit Liz's blog HERE!   Its a total riot!  Liz writes really well... and to see it through another set of eyes is really fun!

Hope you're all happy, healthy, and whole.  All you couples out there... get out with your partner.  Get a sitter.  Maybe even organize a standing Saturday night date.  I don't care if you're tired... get out there.  Have fun.  Hm.

Breathe...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Clearwater Race Report... the finale!

Ok. Try to imagine heading into a race with zero anxiety, zero expectations, and zero pressure. That is exactly how I felt when I toed the line in Clearwater. Let's face it. I was just lucky to be there.

BOOM! The cannon fires!

The night before, Liz and I had specifically discussed the swim start. We had decided that getting caught in the chaos wasn't the best plan considering my shoulder. So, when the cannon went off... I casually strolled behind the mass of 200 elbow-throwing 35 to 39 year olds and entered the water at an easy, high-kneed jog. Once the water was about mid-thigh, I dove in and took my first strokes. I was still in the pack but needed to break out and find some clear water. I accelerated as if nothing had ever happened to my shoulder. Yeah. I KNOW!
Can you believe it? I was all of a sudden clear of the pack and heading out on my own. Not in front... but just behind the really fast guys. I was actually smiling underwater! I hadn't hit my watch at the start... I didn't want to come out of the water looking at my watch and getting dejected... so I was just out there swimmin... comfortably. I exaggerated my reach and body rotation and just swam. As I came up on people... I'd hit the throttle and pass. I had ZERO issues in the water! SO FUN! I came out feeling completely fresh and ready to go to work on the bike.

T1 was actually enjoyable! Wet suit strippers and a little dude following me into the tent to take my stuff... probably the smoothest transition to the bike that I've ever had.

On the bike the plan was to get things warmed up a bit and not go crazy out of the gate. I have had a tendency to go too hard within the first 20 min... so I just took it easy and let people go. I had 4 gels taped to my top tube and a bottle of Gatorade Endurance and water in my bottle cages behind my seat. As I passed the 1 mile marker and was taking a left turn, I hit a pretty serious bump... and launched BOTH of my bottles! Yeah. Seriously? I just started laughing maniacally! I mean really... what ELSE could go wrong in this race? SO... on I pedaled until I reached the first aide station. I was able to grab a Gatorade and a water and get them back in the cages... only to launch my Gatorade 50 yards down the road. Uh huh. See... this is what I'm saying! Its a comedy of errors at this point! Luckily, on a whim I had grabbed some Endurolytes and shoved them in my race kit... I just sucked down a few of those plus some water and I was good to go until the next aide station.

Riding in this race is a LOT like riding your trainer... there's just no letting up. You hammer, hammer, hammer... and then you hammer some more. There's a point where you find a rhythm... and you just go. I was feeling really strong on the bike. I had decided to go without any data whatsoever. No speed. No cadence. No watts. No HR. Just me and my bike. To be honest, it was GREAT! All I had to look at was the road and the scenery and my fellow competitors. I wasn't constantly checking my wattage to make sure I was working hard enough... I was just GOIN! I LOVED it! Liz might say otherwise... but I'm pretty sure that from here on out... I won't be competing with data.

Anywho. The ride was going fine. I won't go into it in detail... but there are a TON of drafting cheater-pants out there! Totally infuriating. I saw some Austrians actually slapping high fives they were working so well together. At times, catching a draft was completely unavoidable. When you're barreling down a residential street 4 deep and you're boxed in both in the front AND the rear... what exactly are you going to do? I found early on that if you put forth the extra effort to surge over and over and over to get out of a group... you'd waste yourself. SO... I did the best I could staying out of the draft and staying legal... I can be confident that I rode the best legal ride that I could have.

Here's where it got interesting. Around mile 30ish of the bike... on a long, flat stretch of the road, I had a guy challenging me coming up on my left. I noticed him a little too late to respond so as soon as his front wheel crossed the plane of mine... I let up. As I backed off on the throttle a little bit, I looked up to see a red car turning directly in front of us. Yeah. Not kidding. At each intersection of this race... you had cones, police, and volunteers ensuring that no one gets in the way of the bikes. Well, this guy snuck through. He came from the opposite direction and took a left-hand turn... STOPPING right in front of us!!! Yeah. Stopping. So the guy on my left is able to squeeze around the backside of the car... me? I can't go left b/c that means taking him out. I can't go right b/c that puts me into the curb. I can't lay the bike down b/c that would definitely mean the end of the race for me. SO... at roughly 25 mph, I lead back and slam on my breaks. I run straight into the right-side passenger door, launch up and over my aero-bars, and slam my upper torso on the roof of the car! I slide back down and launch into the loudest, most profane string of expletives you could ever imagine. I spin my front wheel to make sure its not completely torqued, put my chain back on and take off like a bat outta hell! Pure adrenaline! I was bound and determined to catch the pack that had made it around the car! I might have paid for that surge... about 20 minutes later... the adrenaline abated... and I was TIRED! My attitude was still in tact though... and I actually laughed a little bit. Coming into T2, I knew it was going to be a painful run.

I rolled into T2, passed off my bike to one of the catchers, got my shoes on and sprinted to the porta potty! Yeah... I don't know about you... but I've never successfully peed on the bike in a race. SO... I spent the next 5 minutes trying to empty my very cramped bladder! LOL... I was cracking up in the porta potty... and got the oddest looks from the volunteers when I came out.

So, my plan for the run? I threw that thing out the window. Mentally and physically I was in survival mode. So much had happened and I just wanted to run as well as I could. The first mile clicked by and I nailed the pace... I was right on target... but that didn't last long. Apparently, when I had hit the car and launched up onto the roof, my left quad and my right knee had caught the aero bars on the way up... as a result... my quad was in a cramped state the entire run. I just couldn't hold the pace that I started with and and struggled to hold a 7:30/mile pace. I was cramping in my left quad, my right hamstring, and my right calf... and slowing down or walking didn't help in the least. I simply kept running and took in as much fluid as I could at each aide station. It was a hot day. According to Bigun it was in the low 80's. It FELT to me like it was in the 90s! Though I wasn't hammering the run as I had hoped... I was working as hard as I possibly could. Because its a two loop run... I got to see Liz out there workin hard... she even managed to grunt at me once. I also saw Mirinda... who didn't look terribly happy... but I told her she looked fabulous anyway. When I hit the final turn-around... I was kinda done. I did a little mental wrestling with myself. I knew I was on the home stretch. I also knew that I was having a crap run... so the question was, do I finish hard... with a push? Or do I just kinda glide in. I looked up and I saw a guy who's back I had looked at the entire race. His name was Jason. I wanted to beat Jason. So I pushed. As I passed the 12 mile marker... I got to see Tacboy and Bigun... though it was good to see them... I couldn't manage more than a grunt at that point. I caught Jason... he was fading. As I got on his shoulder, I paused there. He was cramping and not having a good time. "Come on Jason... let's go". THAT was a mistake! The little encouragement that I gave him made him take OFF! The bastard. I kept my eye on him and didn't drop my pace... catching him in the last quarter mile and passing him. We had a good laugh about it later.

I crossed the line... completely spent... and completely happy. I still had no true perspective on what my actual time was. Of course I wanted to know... but to be honest... just finishing this particular race was enough for me. Starting on Wednesday morning, everything seemed to be lining up against me... and I saw it through. That was a big deal. I didn't have my standard emotional reaction to finishing... I was just glad to have done it.

Turns out that I did ok. I PR'd the swim by 4 minutes and the bike by 12 minutes. Overall... I set a 17 minute PR at this distance with a total time of 4:40: n change. Yeah... you could say I was happy. But... just think what I could have done had I been healthy!!!!! *wink wink*

Hey! Thanks for reading! I know that my race reports can be long and drawn out... but that's how I am. I take my time. Its more enjoyable that way.

Here's to the off-season! I'm in the process of eating... and eating... and eating. Hope you're all happy, healthy, and whole.

Breathe...


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Clearwater Race Report Part II!!!


Ok! So where were we? Oh.... yeah...

Bigun picked Erich and I up at the airport and proceeded to drive us to our hotel in Clearwater. Being the SNAG (Sensitive New-Age Guy) that he is, Bigun took care of everything including putting my bike together and forcing pain pills down my throat. I am forever indebted to the guy for all his help. After getting the bikes together we headed down to dinner where I proceeded to eat twice as much as the big dude. Yeah... I have eating skillz. And nunchuck skirrz. Don't let the emaciated body fool ya.

Needless to say, I was exhausted from the stress of the day. Forget that I had been awake since 2 o'clock in the morning... I'd been in pretty severe pain and riding an extreme emotional roller coaster the entire day. I was D.O.N.E. With a healthy dose of pain pills/muscle relaxants/ibuprophen/melatonin.... I was off to dream-land!

The next morning we headed down to the expo to get our bikes tuned up and check out the sights. I was also going to get a hold of some medical folks and see what the verdict was on my shoulder. Thanks to the miracle of modern pharmaceutical intervention... I had slept really well and in relative comfort. Waking up... the mobility in my shoulder hadn't gotten any worse... but I still thought it would be a good idea to get it checked! That's when it happened...
I ran into Mirinda!!! YES! It was HER! Looking as adorable as ever. No... I didn't scream like a little girl... nor did I faint... nor did I do the happy dance. I did my best to maintain my coolness... and failed miserably! I did however manage a semi-coherent sentence when she asked me what was up with my arm. *sigh... pitter-pat*

Ok. So! I find the massage tent and ask for the dude that REALLY knows what he's doing. So... in walks "Doctor Pete". Pete has a Ph.D. and is licensed in Clinical Sports Massage, Soft Tissue Injury Rehabilitation, Myofascial Therapy, AND Kinesiology. Yeah... that last big word? Remember the Olympics? Remember women's volleyball? Remember the funky tape on that one athlete's shoulder? Yeah. THAT'S Kinesio tape. Pete spent the next 45 minutes working on me. This hurt. This hurt a LOT.

It's funny. I guess its no secret that I'm uh... kind of... well... EMOTIONAL!!!! Its a blessing AND a curse. Anywho... I teared up while Pete was working on me. It wasn't the pain.... I liked that part. It was the fact that here I was at the world championships and I was NOT going to be even close to 100%. But that wasn't even it. I wasn't 100% before I even left with being sick and my crazy foot injury and my strained calf! LOL. It had more to do with the text messages and phone calls that I was getting. There are certain people that just plain "get it"... people that have wanted something so badly... more than anything in the world... and for a long time, had their hopes and dreams dashed over and over until everything played out. They've been through it... so they can relate in a way that no one else can.... and they let you lean on them... and they listen... and they say the exact right things... and THAT? That is what reveals the brilliance of these random "tragedies". If you just pay attention... you can learn so much about yourself and those that you're close to. Hm. WHEW! ANYWAYS... so I'm tearing up... and forgetting to breathe... which is ODD because I'm always talking about breathing and this other massage guy was like, "Hey maaaan... breathe into iiiiiiiit". So I relaxed and Pete was able to finish the job. He told me to spend the rest of the day keeping my arm as still as possible and then get in the water on Friday and try it out. At this point, I had resolved within myself that the worst-case scenario would be that I swim with only one arm. Game ON!

So for the remainder of the day I tried to stay as quiet as possible. Now THAT is just reDONKULOUS! Me? Quiet? Though you might not think it... I can actually be a pretty calm dude. At times... I might be considered stoic... yes... pensive even. However, is being at the world championships of ANYTHING the time to be quiet? Heck no. I ran around the expo and talked to vendors and got my bike all fixed up and ate and talked and ate and relaxed and got my stuff all ready and ate and took a picture with a lion and just kinda hung around. I got to say "Hi" to Bryan D. of Arizona fame, (Remember him, super-fast guy that I got to train with back in May?), I got to chat with Amanda Memphis Balding, in a Dorthy costume of all things, and the absolute BEST part of the day? I got to finally MEET my beloved coach LIZ! She gave me a ring and told me that she was down at the expo and to look for the tall, busty blond! Bah ha HA! I couldn't find her for the longest time... it was weird. Anyway... it was kinda like meeting a long lost friend and I followed her around like a little puppy for a while before heading out for an early dinner, (which Liz bought!). Along with Liz I got to meet Colleen and Bryan from Seattle. Colleen is another one of Liz's athletes and totally cool (its actually a requirement of being one of Liz's athletes... coolness). Bryan? He is just... ummm... he's just a dude. You know? He's one of those lovable guys that you meet and right away you wanna grab him in a bear-hug and yell, "I love you maaaaaan!" Yeah... that's Bryan in a nutshell.

Man! What is WRONG with me?! This is taking for-EVER!!! Sorry! Geesh!

Ok... fast-forward to Friday morning. Time to try the arm out in the water. Erich and I mosey down to the Gatorade swim, I struggle into my wet suit and walk down to the water. Wading in, I couldn't help but feel a twinge of apprehension. I'm human after all. I slid in and took a few strokes. The arm worked. I wasn't in excruciating pain, my range of motions was pretty good, and I was actually able to pull a little water. The weakest points of my stroke on the right side were the catch and the finish... but I could actually USE the arm! I was really happy. It was what it was... and I KNEW that I could at the very least swim a 35 minute swim. Coming out of the water, I felt... relief. I could race. I'd be slow. But I could race.

I went back and saw doctor Pete real quick. He stripped me of the current tape-job, worked on me for another 15 minutes, slapped on some MORE tape in a totally different configuration and told me good luck. There really wasn't any more that he could have done... and actually... I appreciated his considerable lack of dramatic and inspirational words of wisdom. Pete was a simple dude. I liked that.

So... transition bags packed. Bike dropped off. Well-fed. Early to bed. Calm. Focused. Ready to put together whatever I could early Saturday morning. I dropped off to sleep that night with absolutely zero race anxiety.

More soon... happy Thanksgiving. Hope you're all happy, healthy, and whole.

Breathe...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Clearwater Race Report!

FINALLY right? Here's the thing though... I'm NOT dragging this one out over 12 days! Maybe 10... but NOT 12. There's just TOO much good stuff to gloss-over... mostly before the race even begins. The unfortunate thing is that this whole story is best told with me standing in front of you animating the entire thing! But... you'll just have to settle on the written form.

Pre-Race:

Erich and I piled into the car at 3:00 am on Wednesday the 5th to head up to Portland. The flights were cheaper and more direct from there! Normally this is about an hour and a half drive... but for some reason... it took us a full 2 hours! As a result... we didn't pull into the economy lot until 5:00 am! With a flight leaving at 6 am... we were a bit... uh... pressed for time! Of course, we had the slowest shuttle driver on EARTH! We got to the counter just fine and got all checked in... by an extremely efficient agent I might add. SO... we were on our way!

I had to make a quick pit-stop before heading security. I set my boarding pass up on the little shelf, glanced down, and... WAIT! This isn't MY boarding pass!!!! This isn't MY destination!!! You can't even fathom what ran through my head at that moment. Luckily, I remembered to zip up and took off at a dead sprint to the ticket counter. Trying to remain as calm as possible, I shove my way to the counter and the "efficient" agent. Listen to this little exchange:

Me: "You gave me the wrong boarding pass... my bag AND bike are going to ATLANTA."
Agent: "Why didn't you check it while you were here at the counter?"
Me: (pregnant pause) Are you FREAKIN KIDDING ME!??? You need to get your fanny over there, get my bags, and get me on the right flight NOW!"

Luckily, she only blinked once and then sprang into action. She was able to stop my bike from heading to the wrong plane but my gear bag was nowhere in sight.

Me: (very quietly... close to her ear)... Find. My. Bag. Get. It. To. Tampa.
Agent: Ok... but you need to go catch your plane. I'll take care of it.

BAM! I'm gone! I am sprinting at full speed through the airport, heading toward security... wearing Crocs on my feet. Uh huh. Crocs. My shoulder bag, (yes, man-purse), is slung over my left shoulder and I notice that it's unzipped... my wallet, keys, iPod etc. are all in there so I twist my torso to the left and reach across my body to zip it up. As I'm doing this I take a sharp right turn... and my feet fly out from under me. I go down HARD... the entire weight of my body landing on my right shoulder... completely dislocating it. Yeah. You read right. White hot pain. Blinding light. Sweat immediately pouring down my face. I'm 15 feet away from security, on my knees, unable to stand. About a half-dozen TSA personel rush over, I can hear them calling for paramedics, one agent leans down and rubs my back, telling me everything is going to be ok.

Me: "Stop talking. Don't. Touch. Me"

All of a sudden, another voice, like an angel, "My husband is an orthopedic surgeon. He's right here. Can he help you?" Hell yes! The doctor asks me how he can help.

Me:"Reduce this. NOW!I'mracingintheIronmanWorldChampionship70.3onSaturdayandIhavetocatchmyplane."

He knows what he's doing but despite his best efforts, he can't get it back into the socket. I stand to give him a better angle and he gently guides it back into place. INSTANT relief!

Doctor: "You're not going to race on Saturday."
Me: "Uh. Yes I am."

I'm so jacked on adrenaline I don't feel a freakin thing. I thank the doctor, ask him for his card and grab the nearest TSA agent.

Me: "Get me through security NOW! My plane leaves in 10 minutes and I'm not missing it."

This nice lady, the same one I told to stop talking and not to touch me... helped me with my bag, my belt, my shoes and got me through security. I took off at another full sprint toward my gate. I threw my boarding pass at the ticket dude and continued my sprint down the ramp afraid of loosing momentum. Finding my seat, I see Erich, comfortably sitting in his seat, looking at me like a hog staring at a wristwatch. I'm cradling my right arm with my left, I'm deathly pale, and I'm soaked in sweat.

Me:"Dude!TheygavemethewrongboardingpassalmostsentmystufftoAtlantaIdislocatedmyshoulderithurtsI'mracing
anyway"

I shuffle to the rear of the aircraft and ask the flight attendants for ice and ibuprofen. We had to connect through Salt Lake City so for the next hour and a half I iced and drugged as best I could. I kept testing my shoulder's mobility... and was becoming increasingly dejected. Man. How could this happen? Can I race? If I do, will I injure myself further? How will this impact my next season? TOTAL flood of emotion. Barely holding it in check throughout the entire flight. In a word... it sucked ASS.

Once we landed I sent Liz a text, "I dislocated my shoulder but made my flight." and Bigun, "Bring a sling and some ice. I dislocated my shoulder". Then called my wife. Her reaction?"Huh? Wha? You did WHAT?" LOL! Classic. Called another friend who COMPLETELY said the exact right things and calmed me considerably. VERY thankful for that. Hm. I was able to grab some zip-lock bags from the security guys for ice and buy more iduprofen before jumping on the flight to Tampa. Believe it or not, I was relatively comfortable during the 4 hour flight. I kept ice on my shoulder 30 minutes out of every hour the entire way and worked my liver overtime with 1000 mg of ibuprofen. I was encouraged to find that about 2 hours into the flight I could raise my arm above my head without an excruciating amount of pain.

Finally landed in Tampa and Bigun met us at the gate... grabbing my bag, giving me a sling, and generally being a mother-hen. Sent another series of texts... the first to Liz, "Its ON! Bring the disk!". I was very optimistic at this point. I could move my arm, my bag AND my bike had arrived unscathed, and Bigun brought me pain medication. Things were lookin up!

Whew... that's all I got for the day. So much for not dragging this out. More tomorrow. In the meantime...

Breathe...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Thank Yous!!!

I can't seem to find the intestinal fortitude to actually complete my race report. I'm probably over-thinking it. SO... before I get into the race report... I really need to take a little time and thank some people that have been an integral part of what has been a VERY long 2nd season in triathlon.

You may recognize the people at left. Honestly, I don't even know where to begin. I started this whole triathlon thing 2 years ago b/c I saw a couple of my less-than in shape friends doing it and thought, "I can do that!". None of us realized the impact that first race would have on our lives.  To say that my family has been "supportive" simply falls short. They've come along with me through the entire journey... sharing in my successes and failures. Particularly over this last year... we've had some challenges... and we've learned a LOT. This sport can truly consume you if you let it. I want to thank them specifically for reeling me back in and keeping me focused on the big picture... without pointing fingers, nagging, or judging. Thank you you guys.  I love you.

Take a look at the chick on the right.  No, not the tall skinny one.  The short, cute one.  You might have heard me mention her name a couple of times.  Her name is Liz, and she's my coach. She started working with me at the beginning of the year.  Let me say this, I would not have had the success that I did this year, without her patience, guidance, support, and expertise. She focused me, pushed me, challenged me, educated me, and talked me down from quite a few post-workout meltdowns.  She put up with my annoying and random text messages and kindly answered ALL of my stupid questions in a MORE than timely manner.  I am eternally grateful to ELF.  She's like the smarter little sister that I never had, and I couldn't imagine launching into my 2009 season and meeting the challenges of IM Coeur D'Alene without her.  THANK YOU LIZ!

Sally.  I want to thank Sally.  Couldn't have done it without you.  Serious.  THANK YOU SALLY! Hm.

LifeCycle and Gilad.  Thanks for all your support you crazy little buff dude!

Very special thanks to the Bigun.  For the sling.  For the drugs.  For puttin my bike together and forcing me to be still.  For the rides.  For the support.  For the company. For understanding De Oppresso Liber and for just plain bein there.  Love ya big dude.

Lastly, I want to thank all of you.  If you're reading this right now... you can be confident that you played a part in my journey this year.  Don't laugh... it true.  Thanks for taking the time to read.  Thank you for all the kind words of encouragement and support.  Thank you for your wit and your ribbing!  You helped to keep things light and real.  Just...  very simply... 

Thank you.

Breathe....

Monday, November 10, 2008

And so...

it goes.

Just wanted to let ya know.... I'm home... I'm happy... I'm whole.  Here's a brief summary:

  • Dislocated my shoulder on Wednesday.
  • Tried NOT to drool on Mirinda Carfrae on Thursday morning.
  • Met and squeezed Liz Thursday afternoon.
  • Met Memphis on Friday.
  • Raced on Saturday.
  • Lost my hydration at mile 1.2 of the bike.
  • Ran into a car at roughly 25 mph at mile 30 of the bike.
  • Peed for a solid 5 minutes in T2
  • PR'd
Yeah.  Good times.  Details to follow.

Breathe...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My game face is...

... ON!

Yeah. That's the one... the picture to the left... you know... my game face. Intimidating isn't it? That's the look that I'll be giving Frenchy as I pass him on the bike.

It's no real secret that I've been a bit... off, the last couple of months. I've run the gamut in terms of what could possibly go wrong. Crazy foot injury, strained/pulled calf that just won't heal, illness, PLUS some serious emotional uproar on the home-front! There have been moments... o.k. entire weeks... where I've questioned if I should even bother heading out to Florida to do this race. Hell, I've even questioned whether or not I should even be doing triathlon period. I mean really... WHY? Yeah... it's been that bad.

Here's the thing... all that stuff... is ME. ALL of it. Right now. Right this moment. The ick and the yum. Ya know? That's the way it is, has always been, and will continue to be. That's life. The ebb AND the flow. If I was to make black and white decisions based off of singular moments... I wouldn't be taking into account the possibilities of what comes next. Does this make any sense whatsoever? To anyone? Aren't the future possibilities worth the temporary discomfort of the present? You could apply that question to anything really... what would you miss out on? So. Here I am. Completely raw. Extremely uncomfortable. Throwing myself out there... and believing that whatever happens... is supposed to... and I'm present for it.

Liz had this to say: "Mentally these next few days, you need to decompress and relax. Resolve things as best you can, but once you board that plane, put those issues in a box, close the lid, and leave it in Oregon. When you show up in Florida, it is ROB TIME. 100% ROB. Rob needs to be mentally connected, plugged in, ready to DIG DEEP for this one. Because it will hurt. Oh yes. It will hurt good." THIS... is exactly why I need a coach. I know these things. Everything that Liz said above... I know. I've told myself the exact same things. Thanks Liz... I needed to hear it from someone else.

Here's the "why" for me: Every single time I push/hurt/dig/fight/thrash/tear, I'm given the opportunity to discover something in myself that's mine and mine alone. I love that. I. LOVE. THAT. That's the why.

So here's the deal. I'm racing on Saturday, the 8th of November at the Ironman World Championship 70.3. My wave hits the water at 7:25 am. I'm bib #688. I will be one of 1,999 other competitors... and I will have NOTHING left when I cross the line.

Sunday? I'll get up and have a big fat freakin cheese burger in bed. You know WHY? Because I can... and I have zero issues with eating in bed... zero... none whatsoever.


Remember this guy? Yeah. Me too. He's the one that'll be racing.

Thank you for all your support. Thank you for "getting me". Thank you for listening.

Breathe...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Silence...

... is deafening isn't it?  I'm gettin ready.  This time next Saturday... I'll be turning myself inside-out... and I can't wait.

More before I go.  In the meantime... I hope you're enjoying a beautiful fall day and no one is throwing up on you.  ;-)

Breathe...



Saturday, October 25, 2008

I forgot....

to post this video of TOM! Hilarious and pretty much sums up my little guy. This is on the fourth day of our trip. We'd been going hard the entire time and on Sunday we decided to leave the hotel at a leisurely pace and head over the California Adventure. That place has a completely different vibe than Disney Land and is less jam-packed with all of us annoying tourist families! Anywho. We had a GREAT day in the park and for those of you that DON'T know... which would shock the hell outta me if you didn't... there's a parade EVERY day at the Magic Kingdom! Yeah! Cool huh? I mean really... where ELSE can you see a parade every SINGLE day??? So we grab some concrete in the front row. Tom is SO excited he can hardly stand it! We're waiting for the parade and he's sitting in my lap. He turns to me with that devil-may-care grin of his... here's the brief conversation:

Tom: "Dad? Can I triafalon?"
Me: "Uh. What do you mean exactly?"
Tom: "Right now. Can I triafalon?"
Me: "You gotta help me out here buddy. A triafalon? You mean right now?"
Tom: "Yeah. Right now!"
Me: (Looking over at Jack with a look that says, what the hell is he talking about? Jack shrugs) "Uh. Ok. Sure. Go triafalon."

Without another word, Tom LEAPS out of my lap... and this is what happened!

Enjoy and...

Breathe...

video

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Disney Hangover!!!!

I'm BACK!

Yeah... and take a look at that freakin turkey leg! I must say, that is quite possibly the most handsome picture I've ever taken!  Agreed?

We got back from our 5 day Disney extravaganza on Tuesday night. Then, Wednesday morning, I caught a 6 am flight to Seattle for an extremely important (HA!) quarterly business meeting only to return later that night... around 11 pm. Needless to say... I'm just now starting to catch my breath.

Disney was REALLY fun! I will say that as an adult, this is NOT a trip that you take for yourself. Or at least I don't. This is a kid trip... and if you head into it without your "kid hat" on... you're sunk. You might as well pack it back up and head home... b/c you're going to be miserable. Lucky for me... reverting to 6 years old has never been a problem for me. Training came to a screeching halt and I indulged in things like the turkey leg, multiple Mickey-shaped ice-cream sandwiches, big freakin lollipops, and yes... an occasional churro. While all that food indulgence was fun... the hangover has been BRUTAL and I've had to fight the sugar beast every day that I've been back! "Hi. My name is Rob... and I'm a sugar-aholic". Seriously fell off the wagon while down in LA... but I'm back on and suffering through it!

Training picked back up on Thursday and I must say... I think the time off might have done me some good. In addition to my foot feeling pretty close to 90%... my brain needed a break as well. The whole family needed the time together... collectively "getting out of Dodge" did all of us a lot of good. It was just really great to hang out, laugh, have fun, and hold hands!

Clearwater is just around the corner! I have a couple of weeks of good, hard training before my taper. It is what it is. I'm ready-ish... and looking forward to puttin the hurt on some foreigners! LOL! I am ready. I keep telling myself that. Coach Liz reminded me that I have an entire year's worth of training under my belt... so yes... I'm ready. I'm ready to finish. The problem is... I'm not overly interested in finishing... I wanna race... and race hard. Having said that, this IS about the time that "Crazy/Headcase Rob" starts to get out of bed. You know the guy... he likes to worry about stuff. He likes to plant seeds of doubt. Knowing this... I generally pay him a bit of attention... make him feel wanted and needed. Then... just like Mickey... I kick him in the nuts and tell him that he's a little whiny bitch. Luckily... as the past has demonstrated... I'm done with him at LEAST a week before I race!

Hey! Does anyone have a Blackberry Pearl? Anyone addicted to the game that comes on that phone? Brick Breaker is the black-hole of time-suckage! I won't even tell you my score b/c those of you that aspire to compete with me would be so dejected... you'd just give up right then and there. Yeah. I've got skirrz. Like nunchuck type skirrz. AND... if you happen to be around me while playing.... I will do my best to distract you from your game.... using any mean necessary. Fear me.

Ok... that was random.

That's it for now! Hope you're all happy, healthy, and whole. Enjoy some pictures from the Magic Kingdom and...

Breathe...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I'd like you....

to meet "Sally Too". Here's a couple of adjectives that might describe her:
Beautiful.
Intelligent.
Funny.
Full of life.
Empathetic.
Oftentimes selfless to a fault.
Cleaver.
Quick witted.
Aware.
In-tune/in-touch.
Talented.
Driven.
Focused.
Emotionally available.
Real.
Freakin sexy as all get-out.

That's just scratching the surface too. The fit is coming along. Just a couple of tweaks to make and then we'll mesh just right. Fit is everything... and I think we're pretty compatible. I'm REALLY looking forward to riding her in Florida on November 8th at World's! I just FEEL faster on this bike. The weight difference is amazing as is the smoothness of the ride... its just even, rhythmic, purposeful... simply a dream. I'm really pleased so far! Quite a fun little purchase!

That's it for a bit! The family and I have a date with Mickey and the gang. We're heading up to Portland to spend the night and we'll fly out first thing in the morning on Thursday! What's really cool is that we'll be in the park by noon and riding our little fannies off! We really need this trip! We just have to get outta dodge and go have some FUN! Ya know? I just found out that we'll be able to see one of my friends down there from my Comedy Sportz days! Just an amazing guy and HILARIOUS! He hasn't seen the kiddos in a couple of years and he and Jack have always had a special bond... he's kinda like an uncle to him! We're all REALLY excited! Don't worry... I'm not planning on jogging while waiting in line. Although... it would be kinda funny to wear a body suit and run around the park a bit! Imagine the odd looks! "Hey! Who's THAT character???"

Hope you're all happy, healthy, and whole... enjoying the Fall weather etc.

M U

Breathe...