Sunday, July 31, 2011

Back in the saddle again

What? It's Sunday afternoon? Where did Friday go? Oh yeah. I was in "la la land" courtesy of the oral surgeon that removed my last two wisdom teeth.

I don't remember when I slept so much. Probably since my last bout with anesthesia back in 2004. It wins every time. Was there some pain from the tooth removal? Yeah, a little. It was not what I expected though.

I was required to "take it easy" yesterday. So we did that. I must say it was sort of nice. We goofed around at the house, slept and took Baron to get his rabies shot. Last night we hung out with Team Triple Sports, posed for a team photo and watched "tricycle races". I was ready to get back to it today though.

It is hot. It is muggy. It is good training, right? 60 miles on the bike including Scottsdale Mountain and Hummingbird. It is a very doable ride in a very short amount of time and it is mostly flat.

There is so much anticipation in my brain right now. I am stoked for August's training ... and my birthday - which will include some training because it's what I want to do. I really need to stretch out the length of the swims in August to see if I can handle the 1500 and 2200 meter swims I have coming up in the next few months.

So here's to closing the book on July 2011. It was the most active month of my life. I look forward to many many more of those.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fixing a flat on a training ride ...

In the midst of a BLISTERING pace on my morning ride today ... my rear tire deflated rapidly. It was one of those flats that is just shy of a "Boom". It's a common occurrence. I should really be rolling kevlar tires on my training rides. I just bought some new tires, so I think I will stick with them for the next 2000 miles or so.

I started to get a little "aggro" as I pulled off to change out the flat. I told myself to breathe, learn from and enjoy the experience. So I calmly pulled my tool kit out of my saddle bag and worked very patiently. I changed the tube, got a drink and hopped back on to finish the ride. I did not time myself, but I would say that it went fairly quickly considering I took my time and did not stress out about the issue.

I rode for 45 minutes and then ran for 60. I think I did a little over a 6 mile run. It was the maiden voyage for my new Brooks Ravenna2 running shoes and footbalance inserts. I think I like them. Baron the dog came with me so I kept the pace down a bit so that he would not over heat. I think it was little more humid than normal this morning.

I am getting two wisdom teeth removed tomorrow - so I have to stop eating today at 11:00am. I have also been warned about working out over the weekend. I guess I will listen and use the time to let my body recover a bit.

Monday, July 25, 2011

That just happened.

As July comes to a close I can look back at it and say ... "Wow". If you had told me last July that I would be a triathlete and also be 30 pounds lighter I probably would have laughed at you. On the inside I would have been misty-eyed because I wanted it.

The honest truth is I am probably in the best shape of my life at 37. Why did I wait this long? The most exciting part is that I have SO MUCH ROOM TO IMPROVE.

Three triathlons in a month. Sprint or not, that is aggressive considering all the training in between each event. I forced a day off for today because it has been well over a week since our last day off from exercise.

Solana Beach was so much fun. The triathlons we had done up until yesterday had between 75 and 400 racers. The Solana Beach triathlon had 1647 racers. There were 100 + dudes just in my age group. I went faster than my goal time. I wanted a 1:05. I bagged a 1:04:39. I was better than normal in the water ... fast on the transition to the bike ... I think I was really fast on the bike ... my feet were tender on the run, so I backed off and played it safe there. I knew I was not in contention for a medal AND I have a ton of training to do for the craziness that ensues in October. (Olympic Tri at the beginning of the month and Half Ironman at the end of the Month).

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

UPDATE (7/26):

Splits were:

Bryan

Swim 0:13:18
Bike 0:30:42
Run  0:20:39

Carrie

Swim 0:16:16
Bike 0:33:27
Run  0:30:52

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I have to really work on my nutrition between races. I have to figure out how to feed the fire properly without taking steps back. Next scale stop ... 180 lbs. I will be satisfied there. Nine more pounds. It will feel much better on my knees at that weight.

I also have to adjust my paces a bit. The half ironman is not a sprint ... I don't care who you are. Gone are the days of sprinting out the run and bike. I need to learn to be consistent and strong without going full-bore. That is tough for a type A personality.

I cannot wait for tomorrow. The insane training resumes.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ocean swimming -

Greetings from Solana Beach near San Diego.

So we swam 800meters yesterday afternoon - at high tide. The buoancy brought on by the salt water and the wet suit are making the swimming very pleasurable.

Last night we had dinner on the beach with Mark, Tony (triathlon instructors), Barb and Tammy. We turned in early because the last week of training was intense.

Today we swam 1000 meters. It turns out that we were swimming right up the middle of a rip tide (not the show from the 80s). Rip tide happens as the water furiously returns to the ocean via the deepest place along the local shore. The lifeguards went out to get Mark and Tammy because Tammy was struggling to get back to shore. I noticed it was tougher coming in but I attributed it to fatigue.

We soaked up a few rays in the 80 degree weather ... and then drove up the coast to Carlsbad, CA for lunch. Sidebar: There's too much traffic for my liking here along the coast. I do see the draw to the weather and the scenery.

We came back to the hotel, lifted weights and sorted our tri bags because tomorrow is race day.

Solana Beach Triathlon - 2000 racers

400m ocean swim
10 mile bike
3.1 mile run ... all as fast as you can go.

More later ...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

...managing the anticipation

So we have another sprint triathlon this weekend in San Diego. Of course I am looking forward to the event. I find that I am even more interested in getting back here and resuming the half ironman program. At one point on my run Tuesday night I actually caught myself making assumptions that I am ready for the half Ironman already. I might could FINISH a half at this point if I could make the swim before the cutoff ... but it would not be enjoyable.

I need to find someway to contain myself and enjoy the training. I do not need to fast-forward the event.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wearing helmets - you have the right to choose ...

Yes, you do have this choice. You can choose to not wear a "brain bucket" when on your bike, ATV or motorcycle.

Here is a request. If you are new to these sports and have chosen to ride without head gear ... please ride within your abilities. I saw a clown this morning on a Harley nearly pitch over the handlebars because he broke too hard to stop at the stoplight.

When I lived in Houston I saw a man on a crotch rocket slide beneath a moving van at 45 mph. He died at the scene. It made me think.

What does this have to do with Ironman? Nothing ... except to let all my tri friends know that I have and will always wear a helmet.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Learning to swim ... at middle age

So we both had "swimming lessons" as kids. I remember mine being less swimming and more dog paddling and flailing. I was scared of water. Not terrified... just scared. It is tough to get comfortable in learning anything if you have fear.

The fear subsided some years ago. I progressed to learn to dive and even do flips off the edge of the pool. Then I started jumping off bridges as a teenager ... so clearly the fear of water had subsided. I still, however didn't really know how to swim.

About two months ago we met a swim instructor named Sarah Simons. We've started correcting the swim stroke issues but I believe it is tougher to learn some motor movements as an adult.

I still don't know how to "swim" but I can actually make progress in the water.

Monday, July 18, 2011

First week of "real" training - complete!

Before we go to our sprint triathlon in San Diego this weekend I want to share my training schedule from last week. I actually began the half Ironman training program.

So after taking Monday to celebrate the anniversary and get the bike to the shop for repairs from the crash ... I started in on this new training program on Tuesday the 12th of July. 

Wait. Let me back up a bit. I should reveal my triathlon plans for the next few months.

July 23 - Sprint Tri - San Diego - Solano Beach
Sept 3rd - Reverse Sprint Tri - Anthem AZ
Sept 18th - JCC fall triathlon
October 2nd - Bartlett Lake Olympic Distance Triathlon (1500 m swim, 24.8 mile bike, 6.2 mile run)
October 30th - Soma Half Ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run)
        - Going to try and take a few days off after that 70.3 race.
November 24th - Reverse Sprint Tri - Litchfield Park, AZ
May 5, 2012 - IRONMAN St. George (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run)

To get ready for everything through the half Ironman on October 30th, this training plan is a graduated "time and pace" plan based on the number of weeks I have remaining. The first four weeks also has one day per week dedicated to core muscles.

Monday-Swim 30 min and Run 60 min
Tuesday - Spin class for 60min and run 30 min
Wednesday - core strength day. I will throw in a spin class and upper body weightlifting on this day
Thursday  - 60 min run 45 min swim
Friday - off (through week 4)
Saturday - 90 min bike 60 min run
Sunday - 60 min bike 30 min run

So last week I ran 20ish miles - we biked over the required time by far and probably had close to 150 miles - and swam on Wednesday Friday and Sunday. The Sunday swim was open water at Saguaro Lake. We swam about 600m but we tread water quite a bit between swim drills so we were in the water for over an hour. It was good exposure. I still need work.

Oh and for the GCC triathlon course, we had a 7 mile sprint bike race followed by a 1.5 mile trail run - as fast as you could go. Fun!

July 10, 2011 - Our 14th Anniversary and Chino Valley, AZ sprint triathlon

So we took Baron the dog with us for the Chino trip. Chino Valley is just north of Prescott,AZ. The temperatures are much more feasible than Phoenix because the towns are at or above 5,000 feet.

We left for Chino on Friday evening after another week of hard swim and run training. We hiked around in Prescott at Watson Lake. Baron was digging this trip. He had his own bed at the hotel room.

The Chino Valley race was made for us. The bike route was longer and had some hills and the swim was shorter.

1) Swim 300 yds
2) Bike 15.4 miles
3) Run 3.1 miles

In the swim - I stayed on pace with Carrie for the first time ever! She got caught up in a traffic jam in the pool and it cost her some time. The beach exit from the pool helped me because I stood up and ran when the water was about waist high.

Once I was on the bike - things felt great. My transition from swim to bike went much better than it did at the JCC triathlon. On lap one of the bike I was passing people regularly and no one passed me. Lap two promised to be even better. 7 miles into the bike ride ... my front tire felt mushy. Long story short, I flatted and rode the flat from mile 7 to mile 11 before I had to make a turn ... bikes don't turn very well when you have a flat front tire. Crash! I was not equipped with the right tools and my pump was back in Phoenix ... but still I tried to repair and go. It was not to be. I did the first lap in about 19 minutes. I was going to be about 38 or 39 minutes on the bike which would have put me in the hunt for the OVERALL. I actually would have probably been 5th overall in the race if I look at the times. I definitely would have won my age group because there was only one other dude. By default, I took second place and they actually awarded me a medal. Did I earn it? No, not really. Was I going to finish barring the flat. You bet. I estimate my time to be about 1hr 05min. I went back that afternoon and did the run. I ran the 3.1 in 21:40.

Carrie did really well on the bike. She finished in 1hr 30min. She won a gold medal in her age group! She beat the other gal by about 4 minutes total.

We finished the weekend by spending the day together hiking, going to the dog park and visiting Sedona and Jerome. It was a great anniversary weekend.

Have you ever done a real open water swim? We grew up on KY Lake ... but in all honesty I never really swam that much. One time I remember swimming out to a bridge that we wanted to jump from at KY Dam Village. Open water swimming can be spooky - especially if your swim stroke is MUCH LESS than perfect.

The next triathlon? It's open water ocean swimming! It is at the end of July. I guess we better hurry up and figure out how to swim open water.

That crazy July ... here we are. July 3rd, 2011 - JCC sprint triathlon

So one week after we finished the BTC we had another triathlon.

In the week leading up to the July 3rd triathlon, Carrie started trying to run again. She did actually run 3 miles two nights in a row before the knees started acting up again. We did ride one spin class that week ... but other than that we focused on the run and the swim.


The stats for this triathlon:

1) 500 yd swim
2) 13.4 mile bike
3) 2 mile run

Bryan was 5th in his age group with a time of: 1:05:59 - Note: There were 17 dudes in his age group.

Carrie finished 2nd in her age group with a time of: 1:16:28. She killed it on the bike!

Both of our swim times improved drastically in this event. Bryan is still slow in the water but much much improved!

Sally, Ted and Jeannie came to cheer us on. That was nice of them. Truth be told, I think they wanted to make sure we were actually doing triathlons rather than just talking about them. Kidding.

I talk all the time to my friends about how the bike bails us out in our triathlon pursuits ... so why does the bike come back to bite me in the next triathlon?
 

The Bicycle Tour of Colorado 2011

It always awesome in Colorado ... in my opinion. The Bicycle Tour of Colorado (BTC) allows for a slower road tour of some of the most scenic terrain the world has to offer.  http://www.bicycletourcolorado.com.

I have not had time to write a formal trip log. We also have five hours of video that I still have not pulled off the GoProHD. Heck, we haven't even processed all the photos yet. Remember the crazy July I mentioned. I digress.

We (Carrie, Ted, Sally and I) stopped and stayed one night at the Hatfields in Bayfield, CO. We pitched a tent in their front yard. It was good sleeping weather. We like Susan and the boys ... and we deal with Jeff.

On day one of the tour we went from Central City, CO to Estes Park, CO. I think it was about 60 miles. It was not a hard ride because I sort of knew what to expect. I think it shocked Carrie a bit. She tried to go at my pace rather than her pace. This is not advisable at altitude. We played tourists in the rain in Estes Park that afternoon. We heard grumblings of snow on "trail ridge road". That is the road that goes through Rocky Mountain National Park. That is where the route went on day two.

It rained most of the night in Estes Park. It was also a bit chilly. We woke to news of a special announcement coming from the tour director at 5:00am. Day two was not looking very promising. At 7:00 am - three announcements later the tour director released everyone to ride toward trail ridge. Day two was starting. Carrie urged me to go ahead without the rest of us to see how far I could make it before the ridge closed. 15 or 20 minutes passed and I finally took off. I made great time to aid one considering it was all uphill ... but the park rangers stopped me and about 10 other riders saying that aid two was full of riders and that no one had been allowed to go any further.

I waited for about 30 minutes and then Carrie got to aid one. After a long wait in the sandwich line we decided that we would ride back down to Estes Park and take the bus around the mountain ... because they had told us that it would be two more hours before they opened the pass. Sitting around was not pleasant so we bailed. We rode 27 miles total on day two.

Five hours later the Greyhound bus pulled up in Granby, CO where our bikes and tents were to be set up. I'm going to spare the details here because I am still a little miffed that I didn't get to ride trail ridge. It will be there in the future.

Day three - Granby to Steamboat Springs,CO. I think this was an 87 mile day. About 40 miles of gradual uphill leading up to the steeper Muddy Pass and Rabbit Ears Pass (about 10,000 feet). I just went. I had to stretch my legs after not getting enough riding on Day Two. There were five aid stations. I think I stopped at two of them. I rode up to Steamboat High School in about 4hrs and 34mins. The ride from the top of Rabbit Ears down into Steamboat was a beaut! 40-50 mph for about 9 miles. Carrie rode fairly well too ... and she was back on track. It rained again that night. Not as much ... but rain nonetheless.

Day four - Steamboat to Gypsum, CO - About 91 miles. Carrie and I rode together until Aid Three. It was uphill most of the day. We got to State Bridge at about mile 60 where the photographers snapped our picture. It turned out rather nice. After that ... Carrie began to struggle. The tour had to reroute the ride on day four due to some road closures for flooding ... so the route marked in the map guide was not the ride we were on ... the ride we were on was way more vertical. I gave Carrie my Gatorade and rode ahead to see how far we were from Aid three. We were only about two miles away. She cruised in to Aid Three and sat and ate. After I knew she was fine she sent me on my way. The remaining 25 miles were fast. I found three other guys that were faster than me on the way down. I pulled in to their crew and let them pull me in the draft. We consistently rode 35-50 mph on the way in to Gypsum. That was fun.

Day five - no riding! We acted like tourists in Glenwood Springs. We saw the Doc Holliday memorial. We went to Glenwood Caverns amusement park. It was fun.

Day six - Glenwood to Frisco,CO - over Vail Pass (roughly 11000 ft - Roughly 80 miles). I stayed with my crew for a good while on Day Six. I shot some decent video. My quads and calves started to get stiff so I asked if I could leg it out again. This was approved. By the way, earlier that day I had to have my chain replaced. I had bent eight links of my old chain. The repair guy told me I was pedaling too hard. I laughed. He did not. He was serious. He said he had seen lots of broken links but not eight bent links. I left Carrie at aid one. She said she was fine. I caught Sally right after aid two when the route started really going up the pass. I rode with her for a few miles. She said it was nice for me to ride with her but that I could go on if I wanted. Of course I obliged. I blasted the pass. Stopped for some photos and rode hard into Frisco on some great closed course and even part of the famous I-70! Both Peter and I hit 60mph on I-70. That is a bit too fast on a bike.

Day Seven - Frisco to Central City - the end of the tour. Up and over Loveland Pass! My task on Day Seven was to get back to Sally's Yukon so that I could fetch it and everyone's bags for the trip back to Bayfield. I blasted Loveland Pass. I even sprinted the top 1/2 mile at about 16 mph. Granted I was gasping for air when I got to the top - but I was at 12000 feet. By this time on the tour the climbing was much easier. The surprise of the day was just how steep it is from Idaho Springs up to Central City. That was a pull! I purposely saved some juice because I knew it was up ... but I didn't know it was THAT UP. 8% grade for 10+ miles. I pulled up to the Yukon before noon. I gathered everyone's bags and waited. About 1pm, Peter got to the parking lot. Shortly thereafter Carrie arrived and then at 2:15 or so Sally and Ted pulled in ... just in time for us to catch the shuttle in to Central City for a shower and some food.

Good times!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

May 15th, 2011 - and the events prior to -

So Carrie's knees were giving us fits. My left knee was having a repeat performance from last summer on the softball field. Both our swim strokes needed some massive improvement. We needed some additional support.

Bryan got some injections in his knee from Arizona Pain Specialists. They seemed to have worked! Carrie saw three physicians  before she found Dr. Kevin Sherman and Dr. Simon Billingham in Scottsdale. Both of them have been key in helping us work around her knee and leg problems. Each of us are getting coaching from Sarah Simons at Wannatri.com. Sarah is patient and has worked with us very closely. Her detailed drills are catered to each of our swim stroke issues.

On May 15th we ran a much larger race at Seville Sports Club in Mesa.

Our second triathlon was:
  1. 300 yd Swim
  2. 15 mile mike
  3. 2 mile run
Carrie was 4th in her age group. Bryan was 6th. Bryan missed a turn on the bike causing him to ride about a half mile extra and thus miss out on a ribbon.

Our swim times improved. Bryan's run time was ridiculously improved.

What's next? The BTC and swim training galore ... in preparation for a crazy July.

April 3rd, 2011 - Our first triathlon

How did the triathlon come to pass? Well, we just found one and signed up! We trained in the pool a total of two times before the race. We were more ready for the bike than anything else. Why? Because we had already signed up for the 2011 Bicycle Tour of Colorado. Having done that ride in 2008, I knew that Carrie needed to train consistently to be prepared for it.

Our first triathlon was:

  1. 400 yd swim
  2. 12 mile bike
  3. 3.1 mile run

Carrie finished second in her age group ... and so did I. That's right, we got medals at our first ever triathlon. Granted, it was a small local triathlon in Gilbert, AZ, but hey ... we finished!

Admittedly I struggled with the swim - taking over 14 minutes to do the 400 yds. Who cares about the swim time? Let's sign up for another one and train the swim even harder! Wait, we already signed up for another one at the same time we signed up for the first one. DOH! We race again on May 15th, 2011 in Mesa.

It takes quite a few people to get ready for triathlon this quickly.

Ben Brown - the guy who gave me permission to eat

So we did the Mining Country Challenge in March of 2011. It is a brutal long and somewhat frightening road bike ride in Superior, AZ. Look it up. It was good fun. I may do it again next year if it fits in my training schedule.

On that ride ... I was experimenting with a new nutrition plan based on the paleo/primal diet. Ben Brown, a nutritionist and exercise scientist in Scottsdale was in the driver's seat. I was trying to do the Mining Country ride without sugar or carbs. It was a tough adjustment. At mile 78 I started feeling a little better after taking in some Gatorade. Ben warned me that this may happen.

I got rid of about 10 pounds on my own from January 2001 to March 2011 ... but exercising like a mad man and starving myself.

I lost 20 more pounds from April to July by listening to Ben and eating more frequently and taking the right supplements. It has been an adjustment. I am not eating sugars, carbs, beans, dairy or wheat. I am eating some fruit ... but I mostly eat veggies, nuts and meats. I am rarely hungry anymore.

It was tough at first. I mentioned that I am fond of Baja Fresh and Chipotle burrito bowls. It was an interesting adjustment to learn how to dine out with friends without breaking my new food rules. Even the burrito bowls can be adjusted to fit and they still taste amazing! When dining out now I actually am surprised by the restaurants abilities to adjust their offerings to fit my requirements. Anything is possible.

Now ... I have set the stage. What about triathlon? How did that finally come to pass?

Road biking fascination

In the previous post I asked about false starts. Here is why.

So I rode the 2008 Bicycle Tour of Colorado. 400+ miles at altitude in 6 riding days. I even did the optional parts of the ride to the bottom of the Black Canyon of the Gunnision National park - which is 16 miles of 16% grade. Look it up. It is brutal. People on the ride were shocked that I had been riding for four months. Most of them attributed it to my "youth". I was 35 going on 36. That did not seem all that youthful to me.

Later in 2008 I acquired a USA Cycling membership and signed up for my first race in Knoxville TN. It was a two day event including a Criterium, a Time Trial and a 44 mile road race. I did not finish last! It was very fun. Then I stopped riding.

I did not sit on my saddle for over 7 months. I did start lifting weights and running 5Ks again. I got down under 220 lbs for the first time since 2004. I started winning trophies in my age group in the Nashville area races. Sometimes I would race "Clydesdale" and others I would just race in my age group. Either way, I was getting podiums.

I told you those stories in order to tell you the latest story. Are you ready for it?

2005 to 2010 - What just happened?

So in the previous post, I mentioned my "flirting" with triathlon. I also mentioned something psuedo-philisophical about recovering from change.

We sold our home in Arizona in 2005 at the top of the housing market. We retired from our jobs and built a house in Colorado.

We sold the Colorado house in 2006 and moved to Johnson City.

We bought another house in Nashville in 2009 and finally managed to sell the house in Johnson City near the end of 2009.

In October of 2010 we sold the house in Nashville and moved back to Phoenix.

It is tough to get on a real fitness routine with so much turmoil. That said, in 2008 we moved out to Phoenix temporarily for a contract opportunity. My Phoenix friends Ted and Sally convinced me to get a road bike and ride with them on the Bike Tour of Colorado.

I guess 2008 was the restart of the fitness routine and perhaps the renewal of the interest in triathlon.

Have you ever seen a false start at a track and field event?

Triath what?

So in the previous blog I introduced my recent history and relevant information. I also mentioned I was searching for something.

Years ago I saw my first Ironman coverage on the ABC Wide World of Sports. I believe it was the coverage of Ironman Kona. You know, back when sports were more relevant and exciting (no offense A-Rod). Very few things held my interest like this did. I was probably 10 years old. I could identify with these guys on their bikes because my friends and I rode BMX bikes EVERYWHERE we went. I was not good at the jumps and tricks like my friends - but I was the fastest and could ride longer distances than all of them. When I heard that the cyclists in the Ironman were riding 112 miles I was SHOCKED. I had to ask dad how far that was. He explained to me that it was like driving to Paducah and back home TWO TIMES!

I did not see another Ironman on TV until about 1994. At that time Carrie and I were dating and we watched the coverage almost from start to finish. We were both amazed.

Over the years we had threatened to learn how to do triathlons. We bought our first road bikes in Houston in 2000. I remember that we "upgraded" to the STI shifters rather than the downtube shifters. We also added triathlon bars (aka aerobars). The bikes were low-end Diamondback brand bikes. We rode them about 100 miles total and decided it was not for us.

Once again in 2004 ... we threatened to do the triathlon course offered at Glendale Community College in Arizona. At the last second we chickened out. I changed for the better in 2004. I finally lost about 20 pounds and have kept that 20 off ever since. I also learned that life was NOT about things but rather fun, love and relationships that add value to your existence. I was still a 180 pound guy trapped in a 220 pound guy's body.

In 2005, life got all scrambled up. Change is good but is sometimes hard to translate into the next move.

Backtracking a bit - Setting the background

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

So I have always been a little chunky. Not morbidly obese. At my heaviest in 2000 I was about 260 lbs ... which is pretty heavy for 5'10".




I guess I am athletic. I played baseball and basketball in high school. I am a rockclimber, snowboarder, mountain biker and backpacker. It has always seemed like I am the "biggest" one of all my active friends. It often shocks people that I am able to keep up or lead outings. Even at my biggest I was still capable of churning out fairly fast 5K times. In fact, I do have several trophies from age group victories in 5K races. If you need or want more information about my background feel free to send me an email.

Fast forward the story to January 1, 2011. At 223 lbs. I decided that I was tired of being called "big guy" or "big boy" when I was out in athletic or outdoor pursuits. After a New Year's Day ride with the Los Freeloaders cycling team I came home and looked through Active.com for racing events that were coming to the Scottsdale and Phoenix area. I found and signed up for the Desert Classic Duathlon on February 11th.

I trained quite a bit for that race. Most of my training was on the bike or in spin class because I was confident in my running abilities. On race day I was down to about 215 lbs. I had mostly been eating chicken, rice, beans and veggies (lots of Chipotle Burrito Bowls and Baja Fresh Bare Burritos). I competed in the Clydesdale division (200 lb +) at that race and took first place. The run shocked me. I did not train enough or in the right conditions. It was a fairly steep trail run. I also battled a hamstring pull and some intestinal issues after the transition from the bike to the run.

On February 12th, I vowed to myself and my friends that this would be my last "Clydesdale" event. I thought I was in search of something new. It turns out that the something I was searching for was deep in the recesses of my memories.