Monday, December 17, 2012

Last Blog of 2012?

Lately, I am concerned with my blogging about trivial things.

Then again, what is trivial?

For example, I work in a somewhat subjective (sic: trivial) piece of a strongly objective field. However, that subjective piece (usability and web design) play a pivotal role in determining the viability of the fruits of objective labor. "What are you writing about Bryonman?"

It's like this: I can write the most standards compliant HTML, CSS and JavaScript and use the most tried and true server-side / database logic available and the end-result can still be 99% failure if the subjective piece (the user interface) is garbage. If the user's can't find what they need in the matter and time in which they expect ... they will leave.

I digress.

I feel fortunate in life.

I am in the habit of taking NOTHING for granted and I like it. I do not 'woe is me' as much as I once did. Generally speaking we (the collective we) have a choice on attitude ... and I find it easier nowadays to choose the positive path. I am not talking about choosing the "head-in-the-sand" approach. I am talking about taking the challenge of being positive in a negative world. It is my way of fighting back without using hateful words or thoughts. It also defends me against feeling sad and depressed by the news in the world. Sadness breeds deeper sadness. Mourning and sadness are separate things. I mourn all the bad news that I read and see ... but I search until I find some glimmer of positivity and work from there. Otherwise, what do I have?

So what is on tap for 2013?

Mission Statement 2013: Get Carrie healthy while having fun.

Are we going to race? You bet. Are we going to race as often? Probably not. We shall see. All I know is that we plan on being just as active and even more together than we were in 2012. She has allowed me to accomplish my GIANT goals - now it is time for me to play support dude to her own goals - whatever those might be.

I have three things on my list for 2013 that are set.

1) The Desert Classic Duathlon (if it is held). This will be my 3rd consecutive year for this race ... and this is the one that started the multisport craze for me.

2) A special spring-time race ... to be unveiled ONLY after the race is over.

3) The Pikes Peak Ascent - I qualified with my 1:37:22 half marathon time. This race is in August.

Other than those three things we have some tentative things on the schedule that will allow us to train together as a duo to get Carrie back on track. She's already run her first 13.1. As her knees continue to improve and we get more treatment we should see even more big goals accomplished. It's up to her. I will support no matter what.

Don't set resolutions for the New Year. Make the change now and start today.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Race season retrospective.

2012 was quite a journey. It transcends races, training, nutrition and time. It is now a set of memories that I can draw from for years to come. I have learned so much that I now know less than I did when I began.

I started a new job on January 3rd. That is always an exciting and interesting time. Yes, I still work at that same job.

In January I raced my first ever half marathon. I came into the race injured and still managed a 1:37:22. I will remember this race for beating me down like I have never been beaten down before. Physically and mentally I was spent after this race. I remember my hamstrings causing my problem on race morning rather than my feet. Most of all I learned how to REALLY push myself at this race. I was fourth in my age group.

In February I raced the JCC Sprint Triathlon. All things considered this is probably one of my top performances ever. My swim was less awful. My bike and run were both strong. I won my age group by over three minutes.

We also closed on our latest home in February. In typical fashion, we immediately started remodeling it. We are nearly finish with the inside now. It looks great. We like the neighborhood and the proximity to the hiking trails.

In March I raced the Desert Classic Duathlon. This course is tough. I like the challenge. The second run course was amazingly steep at the end. I want to race this again. I had bike problems at this race and it probably cost me 4 minutes on my time. I was 9th in my age group. What did I learn? Triple check the bike before the starting gun.

In April I raced the MaRquee Olympic distance triathlon in Tempe. This was only my second Oly distance to date. I came in to this race a little overtrained and ill-prepared for this distance. I was only three weeks away from Ironman St. George and all my training had been endurance-based rather than speed work. I was slow on all three and could not get deep breaths during the run. I still had a decent time (2:36) - but I can do that distance much faster and I will in the future.

Later in April I redeemed myself with a 3rd place overall finish at the Seville Sprint Triathlon in Gilbert. This was a confidence builder going in to St. George and this rates as my highest finish in a race yet!

In May I completed Ironman St. George. I do not have an official time but I have the medal. I can honestly say that venue was a blast and a challenge. The run was painful and fun at the same time. 14hrs. 25mins. of cardio bliss. I suppose I would not change how this turned out because I actually did talk with and hang out with Carrie, mom and dad that day.

In June I wanted redemption. I considered doing the 70.3 in Boise but it would not fit on my calendar. I did both the Chino Valley sprint (7th overall and 1st in my age group) and the Payson Sprint (11th overall and 4th in my age group). At Chino I felt great. My run was a little slower than I wanted. At Payson I was out of gas on the bike but had a better run on a tougher course.

In July we went to Hawaii - the big island. It was awesome. We hiked, swam, snorkeled and hiked some more. We celebrated our 15th anniversary. It was a great trip. Things to remember for a lifetime.

Also in July, we went over to California for a zipline and hiking adventure with the group we met when we were on the Motion fan hike. That was fun. We hiked to the top of Mt. Baden-Powell.

In August I turned 39, but not before I competed in the Mountain Man 70.3 in Flagstaff. This is hands down the toughest race I've had yet (and that is post two full Ironman finishes.) This race is tougher than the infamous Olympic at Bartlett Lake ... but only because of the distance. If Bartlett were a 70.3 that would be one of the harder races on the globe at the traditional distances. Why was it so tough? 1) Elevation. 2) Hills. 2) Calf cramps for 9 of the 13 miles on the run. I was 5th in my age group.

In September we hiked and worked on the house. Honest truth is - the Mountain Man beat me down a little bit. Not the same beat down I received at the half marathon. The MM beat down was not as painful but lasted much longer. Plus, my bike was all jacked up there for a while.

October was glorious. I got my training legs back a bit. We also hiked down to Reavis Ranch and back with Baron. That was great.

We headed down to Douglas, AZ on October 13th and the crew of Sally Borg, Carrie Howell, Brian Folts and I set out to ride the Cochise County Cycling Classic. 167 miles of cycling goodness. What a great day! This is probably my favorite race of the year simply because of the ENTIRE situation. I was 6th overall and 1st in my Age ... but the best part was nearly a 21mph average for the day.

Eight days after Cochise I embarked on the 70.3 SOMA race in Tempe. It was fun. I think I was a bit wiped out from Cochise but I managed to keep things intact to finish in 5:17:16 - which is a PR for me at the 70.3 distance. I think if I had been fresh that I could have gone below 5 hours for the race. I was 13th in my age group and was in the top 16% of finishers for the day. On paper, this is probably my best performance for long course races.

November was insane with the last minute decision to go ahead and do Ironman Arizona ... which I still can't believe happened. It is just amazing how infectious the endurance dream becomes.

On Thanksgiving Day I did the reverse sprint triathlon - only four days after Ironman. I am glad I did the race because I secured my 3rd place finish in the 35-39 age group for the 13-race series for 2012. I also learned to not push my luck with sinus infections. I ended up in bed for a couple of days after this race. BOOOOOO!

On December 2nd we headed off to race the Rock n Roll 13.1 in Las Vegas. I was pacing Carrie in her first 13.1. She exceeded her expectations and we left Vegas with two super cool medals, a great experience and no injuries. She's on the mend!

On December 8th I raced my first 5K since 2010. On four hours of sleep and some questionable foot issues I put down a PR for the 5K distance - 20:22 by my Garmin. I wanted sub 20. It is there. I will get it.

All things told - this has been a great year ... but not without challenges. Time management is a real thing especially when your loved ones are effected by a somewhat trivial pursuit.

Monday, November 26, 2012

YMCA Thanksgiving Reverse Sprint & The Aftermath

Still wearing my Ironman wristband, I woke at 1:30 am on Thanksgiving day. I could not get back to sleep. Unlike Ironman, I had been prepping for the YMCA Thanksgiving reverse sprint triathlon. It's a one hour race. A 2 mile run, 12.5 mile bike and a 400 meter swim. The swim being last is my mortal enemy. If you think I am slow in the water you are right. At least I didn't drown.

I had breakfast and loaded up on anti-histamines and throat lozenges. I had been sniffling and aching since Ironman. It sort of made me feel like an oxymoron. Or just a moron ... to be sick after such a "look how tough I am" event. I arrived early enough to get a decent spot in transition. I loaded up my spot with my gear and headed back to the car for a nap. I actually did go to sleep for a bit. Around 6:00am I emerged from the car and parked myself at the end of the pool area and waited for the race to start.

I had a brief warmup jog with Sharky. My legs felt fine, which was a surprise. What did not feel fine was my breathing. My chest felt like it would explode. Everything was shallow. I knew I was screwed before the race started. I tried to loosen it up and relax. I tried to think positive thoughts. BANG! There's the gun. I looked at my pace about a quarter mile in ... I was on a 5:40/mile pace. Okay. This works. That's when the wheels fell off. Mile one was a 6:50. Mile 2 a 7 something. I was already out of the race. (I had been running 12 minutes for 2 miles in training).

My bike was surprisingly good - time-wise - considering how inconsistent it was. I felt slow and cumbersome with only bursts of the speed I can generally muster. I had been biking 12 miles in about 30:25 in training. I guess I was close to that because the bike time includes both transitions and I went 33:44.

I hit the water with all the power of a feather. I literally SANK TO THE BOTTOM and stayed there for a moment. I don't think I am the only dude that is negatively bouyant but I guess I need people to understand my lack of bouyancy. Here's an example: When I jumped off the pier at Tempe Town Lake for Ironman I grazed the bottom of the lake with my left toe. I was wearing my wetsuit AND trying not to touch the bottom of the lake. It is 12 feet deep. Yeah - it's that imbalanced. I love 50 meter pools though. I can get in the little bit of swim groove that I have and stretch out a bit. 11:06 for 400 meters. I was gassed. Funny enough - I didn't stop the entire time - but my turnover on my swim stroke was sluglike at best.

59:14 total time.

What did I learn?

Ironman fatigue is real.

Do not expect OR EVEN ATTEMPT a top-notch performance during illness.

If you race while you are semi-sick - you will likely get SUPER SICK. I spent the following day at the doctor's office and in the bed (Sinus and gland infections). I am just now (4 days later) starting to recover.

Life is a journey and a learning experience. I am just dumb enough to have constant turnover for new subject matter.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Post IMAZ Thoughts Swirl

The clouds have lifted.

May 5, 2012 did more damage to me than it should have ... mentally. It really is silly. This whole pursuit of the perfect way to DESTROY one's body and actually get a kick out of it.

I see more clearly what this whole journey is about. It's not just about getting a fitness routine. It's not about improving your overall health. I truly believe it is about finding the dark recesses of the brain and deciding once and for all what do to do minimize those dark areas.

Wait! What? Don't try and wax philosophical here Bryonman.

I'm not. I am also not trying to make long-course triathlon into some "solve all problems" medicinal journey to the top of the mount. What I am trying to say is that I believe that I had a defeatist attitude prior to getting into multisport. Everyone that does a race or a training day that goes to the edge of their abilities KNOWS that there are moments of true soul searching. My favorites in the past three months have been those eight or nine hour days on the bike. Being all alone with no one watching and STILL keeping pace and time is a true victory of the human spirit. When that darkness creeps in on those days I have now gotten to the point where I grab on to it and explore. I want to understand why I have negativity. More importantly I want to be able to empathize with other people that I know that dwell in the negative far too often.


Because there is a VERY SHORT LIST of people on the planet that we get to say TRULY care about us. In the past, I firmly believe that I was very selfish in that the caring was not really a two-way street. "My name is Bryan and I am a self-centered egotist." My short list of people cared about me deeply and I don't think I cared enough about them in return. I know most of you that actually read this drivel would vote for that statement and call it gospel. That previous Bryan is fading ... even amidst all this self-centered endurance obsession.

Here are some things that happened on Sunday that noted this change.

1) During the swim ... I was starting to get frustrated and felt I wasn't covering enough water to make the cut-off. Then I started thinking about my dad's friend Richard. Richard was an athlete and a very nice guy too boot. He and dad knew one another for 58 years. Richard would have loved triathlon. He never got a chance to compete. He passed away from cancer last month. This crushed my dad - which in turn crushed me. "Swim this out for someone else man. This is bigger than you. Get it done. Stop whining."

2) During the bike ... my favorite part (I know - surprise surprise) ... I am typically balls-out like Jo Jo the circus boy. Literally two minutes before we hopped into the cess pool for the swim Barry Tait walks up to me and says "You know what you need to do today? Back off that bike so that you have something left for the run." I admit now that I had a dark moment right then. Bullcrap - I thought I am going to hammer this bike course. Then I embraced the darkness. Barry does not deserve this disrespect. So almost in the same moment I went from "don't you tell me what to do" to "Hey wait - you aren't even supposed to be here today so why not try something new?" So I did as Barry suggested. I was originally going to ride a 5:15 which is well within my ability. I ended up riding a 5:40. Barry Tait is about 90% of the reason that I managed to push 190 lbs. to a sub 12 Ironman. I won't forget that.

3) Fighting against my urge to hammer the bike the entire 112 miles I watched as many of my fellow 'competitors' blatantly broke the drafting rules on the bike. I admit that I wanted to get in on the energy savings. I entered another dark zone and almost joined a big group. I refrained. It made it tough to pass these huge groups of squids but it was also gratifying. Let me get this straight fellows - you are all drafting and I can still manage a pass while sitting up and eating? I will chalk that one up to hard work on the bike this year.

4) On the run I only remember one dark moment. The rest of the time I felt fresh enough to chest bump gorillas (irony), moonwalk through aid stations and yell at teammates and friends. The dark moment was about mile 14. My stomach started churning - similar to the "big release" churn at St. George. I wanted to stop and walk. One cramp doubled me over but I was STILL passing people. I passed this older lady while bent over in pain. She asked me if I was okay. I grumbled something and kept running. About a minute later the pain stopped and I slowed down just enough to tell her thank you for asking if I was okay. Then I started thinking about Carrie. I started thinking about how much she would love this if her knees and feet would allow her to compete. I got a surge of energy from that did not stop until Tuesday night.

Sidenote: Being a sucky swimmer has advantages. I passed approximately 1,558 after I emerged from the water. If I'd been passed by that many people after the swim it would have been mentally exhausting.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ironman Arizona 2012. "Surprise - you get to do 12 hours of cardio today."

So how did I go from not doing Ironman Arizona to finishing Ironman Arizona in 11:57?

Well it's a short story really.

We got to packet pick up in Tempe. I kind of looked at Carrie and I was like - well we have already paid the money and we were planning to work out this weekend anyway.

She and I were just going to start together and get as far as we could together. I was looking forward to it.

Then, she woke up at about 2am on Saturday and she was sick as a dog. Sneezing, hacking and fever.

"Just go check your bike in and do it," she said.

I was beside myself. "Really?"

For this I will forever be grateful. Wife - you are a good egg. I love you.

++++++ Brief Race Report +++++++++

With no game plan in place and the longest swim I had done in two months being 3000 meters about a month ago ... I was in my wetsuit standing on the shore of Tempe Town Lake with my friend Scott [sharky] who swam a 1:19 compared to my 1:47.

I had kept my post-SOMA fitness by walking and hiking with Carrie and Baron. I had also been doing some speed work - training down (or up) for the sprint I have on Thanksgiving Day. I knew I could handle the bike and run - if I could swim under a 2:20 to avoid the 2.4 mile cut-off.

This was the biggest mass start on the swim that I've had. It's weird. I was never alone during the entire swim. Constantly getting groped or kicked. The course curves a bit so I had some of my typical sighting issues ... but not bad. I thought for a bit that I might not make the 2:20 cutoff - so I swam with a little more efficiency. Just like always I had moments of decent swimming interrupted by water slapping flailing.

Out of the water at 1:47. I had planned a 1:45. Not too bad on the planning. I wish I could swim faster -- even a 1:30 would be great. Someday. At least I got through it. Finishing is the accomplishment. The time is secondary.

My transitions were much better than at St. George. Why? Because I was racing rather than chatting. I still had fun though. I was cracking wise with the volunteers and they humored me with their cordial chuckles. It is a little weird at Ironman races with the bag system I prefer having my stuff laid out where I can easily just pick it out and take off. It is nice to have your bike fetched from the rack for you. T-1 - 8 minutes.

The first lap of three on the bike was weird. On the climb up the Beeline to Shea - my quads were still jacked from the swim. I was horizontal for too long. Then the first downhill was awesome. I hit and stayed at 30 mph for a long while. Without this first lap - my bike time would have been much slower than it was. The wind picked up a bit on Laps 2 and 3. It's funny how even the slightest wind can have a huge effect on the bike. I wasn't the only participant that noticed the wind. It was just enough to be annoying. I finally closed the 30 minute gap Scott put on me on Lap 2 of the bike. He was having some intestinal issues. I stayed with him for a minute or two - but did not want to have any cramping to set in - so I bolted off. I played chase with a Pro triathlete for a while until I decided that I was being stupid - so I backed off and resettled in my groove. Off the bike in 5:40. For the record - I did go "potty" three times and had a 3 minute ordeal (yes I timed it) with some mud stuck in my cycling cleat that temporarily prevented me from being able to clip into my pedals.

T-2 - Bike to run with sunscreen application 3 minutes. I knew I could really save some time on this transition.

The run felt pretty much the same the entire time. I just ran within myself and avoided straining my calves and quads. I did a good job on nutrition all day (after I found my hidden salt tablets.) I did not eat as much on the bike as I did at St George and that helped me on the run.

Chicken broth. Wow. I love that stuff on marathon courses. It did not hit the shelves until I was on mile 20 ... so I started gulping as much as I could.

I met Sean from California at about mile 23. He and I stuck together until mile 25. He fell back. I was afraid to fall back with him. I knew we could get in under 12 hours if we kept pushing. I was consistently around a 9:30 pace for the entire run. Again - it is not about time. It is about racing smart ... accomplishing the task ... and arriving at the finish line healthy and in one piece.

26.4 mile run - 4:13 ish.

Total time: 11:57:26.

The St. George gorilla is off my back. It is now official. I am Bryonman.

In summary - it was a good day.

Swim Garmin Entry

Bike Garmin Entry

Run Garmin Entry

Thanks to Carrie. Love - B

Thanks to my family. Specifically to mom and dad for giving me this cardio engine.

Thanks to EVERYONE on Team Triple Sports and WannaTri Triathlon Coaching.

Thanks to Scott Leckey.

Thanks to Barry Tait.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A wish list of sorts

So we spent 6 billion dollars to drive a wedge further between our United States. I am quite certain that 6 billion could have been used in better ways.

Here's what I wish:

1) I wish that we could return to a cohesive union of individudalized states.

2) I wish people would think for themselves rather than have television, the pastor or the gasbag neighbor tell them what they think.

3) I wish people respected the office of the President - no matter what. I have been guilty of this myself. If there is no respect for the position it will never attract the true leaders we need.

4) I wish we, as a "civilized" society could return to TRULY caring about people. Two-faced niceities are WORSE than honesty.

5) I wish we had the LOGIC to team up to fight real issues ... cancer, environment and energy are issues worth tackling. Let me sum it up. No one is going to take your guns. It's a woman's body - women have brains so they can do what they want. We live in a country where you can say anything you want. Let's drink tea because throwing it in the ocean only ruins two good things.

6) I wish the two party system would go away. Math tells me that it is the cause of the country's division.

7) I wish the grumbling would stop. I know I am contributing to the negativity in this list, but I have a point. Wait for it.

--- I know what you might be thinking:

"Hey "toolbox" - this is a triathlon and fitness blog. I don't need to read your soapbox rants."

HA! Gotcha. You read it anyway. All 5 of you.

Here is the deal. We, as a unified front, can do ANYTHING.

1) Let's be more positive.
2) Let's be less sarcastic. I'm as snarky as the next guy - but it harms things.
3) Let's be less materialistic.
4) Let's only engage in healthy competition.
5) Let's find any hint of momentum and ride it out.
6) Let's engage in works that support the whole.
7) Let's bury 'we versus them'.

I applaud each American that can stand behind a cause. Here's the kicker ... let's use that energy toward the CORRECT causes. I don't believe I see many movements flying around in our era that are the correct causes. Moreover I believe some of the people and organizations that ARE trying to do the right thing get trampled on because they are in direct conflict with a corrupt special intrest. I am talking about organizations like Susan G. Komen - or Livestrong. These are organizations that have been dragged through the mud over what SHOULD be considered INDIVIDUAL faults or lapses in judgement. People make mistakes. We, as a people, should not penalize an entire movement due to the acts of an individual.

I think we'd be surprised if we unified.


I just learned this: My ninja name is

Zushifukato Rimomeikutata

Monday, November 5, 2012

Soapbox Issue : BASIC Gym Ettiquette

Okay. Two posts in one day. I can't help it. I have ranted about this before. I am ranting again.

For reference:

This is a great summary of my thoughts on basic GYM ettiqutte for your review ... before I launch into this story.

I go to the gym at lunch during most work days. 1) It keeps me from spending money during the workday by going out to lunch with coworkers. 2) I like it ... for the most part.

Today I hopped on the spin bike to blast out an all-out 30 minute rumble. The second part of the plan was an all-out 400m swim. I suppose the circumstances caused me to push even harder than I would have otherwise.

So there are a set of guys that generally irk me while I am in the gym trying to better myself and somehow staying out of everyone's business. Let me label them - and this is based on many many hours of listening to their ramblings. I feel like I know them even though I have never uttered a word to most of them.

1) Stock Market Genius
2) Grumpy Old Marine
3) Too Curious
4) Too Comfortble Naked
5) Shaggy Dog
6) Wrinkles
7) Bragtastic
8) Flappy

Let me start here ... for months all these gentlemen have done is:

1) Not worked out
2) Talked about politics or all their millions of dollars

This nice little old lady walks up to one of the recumbent spin bikes that is unoccupied and Stock Market Genius walks over and says "Hey, I am using this!"

I was shocked. She moved on - without a peep. I really really really wanted to say something. I rose above it and used the fury on the bike.

Understand this ... during the exchange Stock Market Genius (SMG) was standing in front of Grumpy Old Marine (GOM) who was daintily pedaling his spin bike and they were trading political barbs ... even though I believe they are on the same side.

Flappy and Bragtastic were on two other recumbent spinners and were also interjecting their opinions into the conversation. So as not to be drown out by the buzz of the treadmills and stairmasters they made certain their opinions were heard.

Even though I did not speak up and help the lady out I do feel as though at least one of the other gentlemen should have told SMG to allow her to have the bike while he continued his circular politico conversation. One would tend to believe that GOM would be the one to correct the situation but perhaps I am overgeneralizing the Marine Corp populous.

Bryonman - what the hell are you rambling about? What is the point?

1) If you are at the gym please workout. At least fake it. If you are not there to workout - cancel the membership and start a meetup group that sits at a coffee shop to discuss whatever you want to discuss.

2) Do not bully others while hiding behind a mob mentality - especially those who are genuinely there to workout. It is shameful to see adults behaving like middle-schoolers.

Slight topic shift -

If you are showering at the gym:

1) Don't hover and/or linger in the locker room. It's weird.
2) If you ARE using the locker room as a "hangout" ... let's not take "hangout" so literal. Cover it up. That's for you Flappy and Wrinkles.
3) The hand dryer is not a body drier. Stop it.

If I have offended you ... you might consider your own use of the gym.

What's been going on?

What's been going on?

  • Fall cleaning at the house.
  • Backpacking.
  • Walking.
  • Training - Speed Work.
  • Adjusting diet ... again.
  • Planning.
  • Working.
  • Sleeping.
That sums it up.

On October 27th Carrie, Baron and I went on a 20 mile - 26 hour backpacking excursion to Reavis Ranch in the Superstition Mountains.  The hiking was rocky and had a bit of climbing ... but we were basically alone for most of the walk. Bonus track: The famed apple orchard produced tons of apples this year. These trees are over a hundred years old and have not received ANY maintenance in years ... yet they still produce apples. These are real apples. Tasty ... and surprisingly small compared to the modified giants we see at the grocery store.

This past weekend we went on a 10 mile hike on Trail 100. It's still flipping hot on the desert floor. It was 92 degrees when we finished hiking on Saturday morning. Yesterday we did some straightening and cleaning around the house. I did a run/bike brick workout for speed. It's been a while since I have done a true speed workout and I could tell.

We also donated some clothing and knick knacks to the local Goodwill. It feels good to give away USABLE items. Sadly, I see people taking JUNK to Goodwill. I am torn on this. On one side I see that it might be better than being in the landfill. On the other side I feel like this stuff will eventually END UP in the landfill anyway.

Get out and vote ... but no matter which way you vote - don't be rude to people just because they don't vote like you. Remember - it is the lesser of two politicians ... where politicans = mostly corrupt. I wish we voted on LEADERS and leadership rather than parties, special intrest or politics.

Monday, October 22, 2012

SOMA Half Ironman 2012

So I set a personal record yesterday at the SOMA Half Ironman in Tempe.

5 hours 17 minutes and 15 seconds of cardio action.

Official Results

More likely, it was like watching paint dry. Not for me because I was working - but for the spectators - they were probably like "speed up man". I was trying.

++ Swim was measured too long.

++ The wind picked up massively on the third loop on the bike course ...

++ I was hot and bloated on the run. I always eat my way through this race. Plus, the course was closer to 14 miles than 13.1.

The honest truth is that there isn't all that much to say about this race ... and what there is to say is more philosophical than race related.

I've raced in 30 or so races since February 2011. These are races of various lengths and disciplines.

It's time for a break - or at least to slow down a bit.

It's not for lack of interest in fitness. It's not for lack of motivation. It's for my wife.

She's been injured. She is on the mend. The time is now to help her get back to 100%.

But Bryonman ... what about Ironman Arizona?

1) I am boycotting WTC (Ironman branded events). They have still refused to list me as "DNF" for Ironman St. George. I did the course. I have the medal. They pulled me from the water - but yet they will not even give me the credit of toeing the line that morning.

2) Carrie and I were supposed to do IMAZ together and cross the line together. There will be other races down the line where we can achieve this goal.

3) I don't want the desire to compete to take away from the specialness of the event(s) I enter.

4) I have had TWO fantastic events in the last two weeks. This is a great time to take a break.

...and the list goes on and on.

What's next?

Well, Carrie and I are going to do some backpacking and get some mileage on her feet. Then we have the Las Vegas Half-Marathon in December. Then I have a 5K race on December 8th - my first standalone 5K since 2010. I will be on the hunt for a 5K PR in that race. It would be fantastic to come in under 20 minutes.

I will probably take a short break from the Bryonman blog over the next few weeks.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cochise County Cycling Classic - 2012 - Douglas, AZ (165 Mile)

The race is complete! The Cochise County Cycling Classic - 2012 - Douglas, AZ (165 Mile) event was probably my favorite event yet.

Here is the output from my Garmin.

Here are the official results.. I was 6th overall.

Sally, Carrie and I headed down to Douglas, AZ (on the Mexico border) on Friday afternoon. We toured a bit of Benson and then we drove the back half of the course. We arrived at the famous Gadsden Hotel at about 6:30pm. Brian Folts was there waiting on us. He and I agreed to team up on the race.

The Gadsden is historically interesting ... but not the best place in which I've rested my head. I guess I had framed a different type of hotel in my brain.

We went over to the race meeting and pasta dinner on Friday night. It turns out this is the 25th Annual Cochise Cycling Classic. They gave out special pins to the riders AND their support crew -- so Sally and Carrie freeloaded a pasta supper and got some swag. Bonus!

We woke around 4am and the usual pre-race whirlwind began. Coffee. Food. Sunblock. Gear. Water. I actually managed to remember EVERYTHING. Folts and I rolled up to the start line just in time to catch the national anthem.

Section 1: 1 to 33 miles to Bisbee. The biggest climb of the day.

Brian and I were out in front of the 25 brave souls that decided to take on this course. We were out there for the first 30 miles. I let him pull because that was the plan. For one of the miles I led the entire crew. I pulled them at 23 to 24 miles per hour on a decent little incline. I broke off soon and let some of the other guys pull. Folts and I got back together and resumed our plan. At mile 22 ... the incline increased and the speed decreased. Brian was pulling the whole crew at 17 mph on a very steep section. I hung with him but my heart rate was surging. It is tough to eat when you are in a pack of cyclists like that ... but I managed to get two gels and two salt tablets during the melee'. Keep going. At mile 31 the incline goes SUPER steep. It is a category 2 climb. The 5 fastest guys dropped me and those guys included Folts. I made a decision. I could have kept with them for those last two miles of intense climbing but I figured that would spend me for the entire day. It would suck to get a DNF just trying to keep a pace that I couldn't manage.

Section 2: 33 to 90 miles to Benson.

Having made the right call in backing off the Bisbee climb I knew I was set for the day. I also knew at this point that I would get a platinum finish (under 9.5 hours) barring any mechanical problems. How did I know this? The pace was so fast coming up the hill (22 mph average for the first 33 miles) that I knew I could just maintain a comfortable 20 mph and still secure the platinum medal. The descent from Mule Pass says I went 70.6 mph. This is not true. My bike spedometer said 56 mph one time. I think the Garmin picked up a car that whooshed by me a little too closely. I was on the course alone after passing a few of the lighter guys on the descent. I caught up to a very fit looking dude and we started swapping leads. This was at about mile 45. He could not stay with me. He told me to go on. I tried to keep him with me because it would have worked better to have both of us working in this section of the course. After I left him this tandem bike comes out of nowhere. They were in the 92 mile race. They were like "hop on". I have NEVER seen a tandem climb like these dudes. Holy Moses! I usually can hop on a Tandem on a downhill for a draft. Now I can say I have used one for a draft on a steep uphill. They actually dropped me before turning off on their route. Somewhere around Tombstone or St. David I found another crew of 4 or 5 cyclists. These would be the guys I would ride with for the rest of the day. We rolled in to Benson way ahead of schedule. My Garmin was still showing a 21.2 mph average even after all the up and mileage to Benson.

Section 3: I-10 to Dragoon. Mile 91 to 105

I saw Carrie and Sally at the time check in Benson. I think they knew I was going to be fine when they saw me there.

Sidebar: Without the logic and love of Carrie and Sally - Brian Folts and I would have struggled. We saw other support vehicles being MUCH less than supportive during the day. Thanks a billion.

Riding along a freeway sucks. This is possibly the worst 14 miles of cycling I've ever experienced. 1) It was scary. 2) Debris everywhere. 3) I saw not one but two different types of knives lying on the shoulder. 4) I had to pee. 5) There were two super annoying hills to climb. 6) It was hotter on the free than it was out in the open. You get the point. I made it. Whining session over.

Section 4: Dragoon to LaFrieda mile 106 to 135

I stopped to pee. I didn't care who or what saw me. It had to be done. I also had a chance to see what had been bothering me in my shoes since about mile 60. Both of my custom insoles had broken in half and the plastic was cutting into my sock / feet. I think they were just worn out. I pulled them out of my shoes and then hopped back on the road. I caught up with my group again at about mile 108. I pulled them down the hill to highway 191. I accidentally dropped them. I looked back once and they were there. I looked again and they were gone. In hindsight I suppose 26 or 27 mph was a bit much considering we were over 100 miles into the race. I saw Carrie and Sally two times during this stretch and it helped a ton. I was chugging water and eating as often as I could. Eat to stay in the race. Drink to stay alive. Dang. I have to pee again. Where is the downhill that the course map promised? There was a border patrol checkpoint that had a 15mph speed limit sign. Let's just say I was following their speed limit due to the hill that was there. I was bummed out for a few miles. Not because it wasn't nice scenery but because I had been tricked into believing that the climbing was over.

Section 5: ElFrida and back to Douglas mile 135 to mile 165.

After my second pee break, my crew members caught up to me again. We were to remain a group of four all the way to the finish. My feet are bruised up today from the lack of padding against the carbon fiber soles of my cycling shoes. I was literally limited to what my feet would bear. You can tell by my heart rate on my Garmin output. I was sort of lying back and just letting things happen at the end of the day.

7 hours 55 minutes total time. Moving time 7:51:38. Average moving speed 20.8 miles per hour. Total climbing - somewhere around 5000 feet. It was not flat. The weather did cooperate. In some years - this course is a DNF travesty.

Definite and unquestionable platinum status for me by over 1.5 hours. No more "special" platinum list from the 2011 Tour de Tucson. I am stoked.

Next up - Sunday October 21st - SOMA 70.3.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Time to go ride my bike

In less than 24 hours the Cochise County Cycling Classic begins.

8 hours after that I might be finished. Nearly 170 miles of hammer-down action. You can bet on a full report right here on

I am going to thank - in advance - Carrie and Sally for being the best road crew a guy could have. And to Brian Folts ... no matter how it turns out we will have fun. That said - I hope I can log in tomorrow and see us at the top of the results sheet.

Everyone have a great weekend.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Solid weekend -with perks

Carrie and I rode 31 miles on the canals on Saturday morning. Then she headed back to the house and I struck out on a hill climbing adventure. I did repeats on Scottsdale Mountain - which is steep. Most importantly it is nice pavement and there is very little traffic. I think I did the half mile ascent 8 times. I think the average grade is about 8% on that thing. It is not an easy hill. It felt good.

Yesterday I ran my second fastest 13.1 to date ... my fastest was in race conditions. I ran a controlled 1:45 13.1 with a negative split. I controlled myself for seven miles and then started quickening the pace. Each mile got faster as I went. I believe this is a first for me. I started with 8:20 pace and then dropped to 8:05 then 7:50 then 7:20 then 6:50 and finished with with 6:40. Funniest part of all this is that the ending was uphill and the pace still got more intense. There was more in the tank throughout the run too! It made me smile.

Training 13.1 Moderate Effort

Our new carpeting was installed on Wednesday of last week. It is such a nice upgrade. We are close to getting the inside of the house finished. It looks very nice and is much different than when we bought it back in February.

What lies ahead.

This week I will try and avoid any "all out" efforts. I will still train to keep everything fresh.

The 157 mile Cochise County Cycling Classic is now 165 miles.

165 mile route

My friend and speed demon - Brian Folts is riding with me. I am fast on a bike but he is just STOOPID fast. We should make a decent duo. It's going to be fun.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Interesting Fact ...

From September 2011 to September 2012 - I ran 900 miles. In that same span I walked 259 miles. Big deal, right?

That is 3.175 miles per day.

A 5K per day on my feet. I am fortunate to have the ability to do this.

On toward the weekend!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Intensity and distance ... last week's training

The updates to the blog are less frequent nowadays. I don't have any less to say. I do feel like I have said most things that are related to the journey. I want to avoid repetitiveness.

Last week was a very solid week of training. I hit all but one of my weekly goals. I did spin class two nights which completed the goal of five days straight with at least an hour of cycling with super good intensity. This goal served two purposes. It rested my feet after a 130 mile running month in September. It also reintroduced my legs, abs, back and neck to the idea of being on the bike quite frequently.

We did yoga two times last week. That was helpful. We lifted weights twice which was also helpful. I ran a treadmill 10K at lunch on Thursday. I swam three times last week - with one of the swims in the current of an infinite pool. Talk about an odd and challenging workout. 30 minutes in that thing and I was ready to do something else. I liked it ... just mentally fatigued.

On Saturday I rode 121.3 miles with over 5,000 feet of vertical climbing. This is my longest ride outside to date. I averaged around 18 miles per hour. The average speed wasnt the goal. The goal was to get the climbing and the mileage. Done! I have enough in the tank for the Cochise ride and I have a couple of weeks to lighten up and work on some speed work too! It should be a fun day in southern Arizona on Oct. 13th.

I wanted to do a long slow run on Sunday. I did not get up out of bed in time. Then the day got started and we were too busy for that to take place. No big deal. I had an 18+ hour training week last week ... and over 6 of that was on Saturday. I probably needed a break.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A slower week last week - by design

Last week I needed a little break. After three very solid weeks of running my legs needed a little rest. The calf issues are solved. I have had some annoying foot issues. The good news is, I had this same issue back in January when I upped my run mileage. I know how to handle it. Rest!

I did get three really solid bike rides in for the week. I backed off the mileage a bit and worked a little harder. I did some good steady climbing on Saturday's bike route. Yesterday's bike jaunt had some steeper climbing and I did them at the beginning and the end of the ride.

I ran a 10K on Thursday. This training run included my fastest 2 mile time, my fastest 5K time and was also my fastest 10K - in training - to date. If I had not had to cool the engines down at mile 2.6 due to foot issues, this would have been my best mid-distance run ever.

I swam for an hour twice last week too.

I retrospect, I guess I didn't take TOO much down time. I just decreased the time spent and the mileage.


Domestic Guy Progress

So Carrie and I have been working diligently on the house remodel over the past four weeks. This past week we finished off painting the cabinets in my bathroom, painting the cabinets in the laundry room and patching and painting the walls in the laundry room. We have also replaced the lower cabinet on the newest section of the kitchen.

Over the weekend I did some yard work, fertilized the trees and roses and worked on a plan to rebuild some shelving and storage in the workshop. There was a section of flooring that needed to be replaced with a slightly larger piece to prepare for the new carpeting we ordered on Wednesday. I also helped Carrie with some grout issues we had in the kitchen.


This week I will focus on spin class in my mad dash to prepare for the 150+ mile Cochise County Cycling Classic that starts and finishes in Douglas, AZ. Yes it is a one-day event. I am shooting for 8 hr. 59 min. and 59 sec. With SOMA 70.3 8 days later I will also be prepping to that race. I will swim at least twice, have one more long outdoor bike day and slowly bring back the run to finish the week with a 13.1 at a manageable pace before the taper. Usually I loathe the taper. This time, I know that I need it. It will be welcome.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Where have you been for a week?

I've been running.


Bryan Howell
Phoenix, AZ

Rank 283 of 3,458 participants.

106 Total Miles of Trail Running in 16 days.

Challenge Completed at 105%.


This was tough. My previous high for ONE MONTH of running was 92 miles. I might be close to 200 miles for the month of September when it is all said and done.

These weren't flat miles either. In total, the 15 runs I did to get to 106 miles had well over 9,000 feet of vertical climbing.

I am also not going to lie. It made me tired. I will probably take a few days break from running.


Saturday's ride was going very well. I was averaging below 130 for my heart rate and still averaging about 17 mph. I was also climbing for nearly the whole three hours before I hit some debris on the side of the road and RIPPED a gash in the sidewall of the rear tire about an inch long. I tried to McGyver the thing in several ways - but the gash was too large. So my 120 mile day was reduced to 60. I am okay with it because I felt great after the ride. I know I can sustain enough power and endurance to ride the 157 mile Cochise Challenge in under 9 hours. I just need to maintain my fitness for the next three weeks.


Sunday's run was fun and it had a purpose.

A friend and a runner - Karyn Yates - passed away on 09/14/12. Karyn died from complications brought on by a brain tumor. She was very close with my high school chum Mike Seiler. Carrie and I got the opportunity to hang out with Karyn two times. The first night Carrie and I met Karyn we each felt like we had known her for years. She was one of those people who made you feel like she had lived a thousand lives and rather than being pessimistic - she was sunny and light - while still keeping an air of real substance about her. She was a good influence.

So I needed 14 miles to complete the Trail Running Challenge.

I ran 20.

At mile 6 or so ... while climbing a steep section of Trail 100 in Phoenix ... I stepped on one of those pointy rocks that are determined to leave my midfoot screaming for relief. I knew I'd messed it up for the day. I backed off the pace and just let things happen. It annoyed me for the next 12 miles or so. At mile 18 - it stopped hurting just long enough for me to finish the day with some pride. I thought - "So what ... you have a bruise on your foot. Just keep going." I did. I am glad. I will take a few days off to let it recover. I will also forever know that I did this 20 mile day for a reason and it was beyond my own selfishness.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Increasing mileage again

I spent a couple of weeks focused mostly on running. With the calf issues magically gone I could resume bike and swim training. Late last week I kicked it into the next gear. I had two good long swims on Thursday and Friday. It is so much nicer to be able to relax and still manage to cover some distance in the water. I am still not fast.

We have made tons of progress on the house in the last two weeks. We took some time off between June and August because the work we did in March, April and May sort of burned us out. Plus, we were on the road a tone during this summer.

Saturday was planned as my long ride. I wanted to get between 80 and 100 miles and needed to get some climbing. I left the house at 5:12am according to Senor Garmin. At mile 14 it was just after sun up and a bee found his way into my helmet. Rolling at about 21 mph, I could not stop and pull the helmet off fast enough. He stung me on the right side of my freshly-shaven dome. That slowed me down for a few moments as my head swelled up a little. I decided to ignore it and refocused on the task. I climbed over the ridge into Fountain Hills and down onto the IMAZ bike course. I rode down the Beeline to Gilbert Road - which is really the only part of the course that climbs. At the turn around I grabbed a gel and headed back up the route. The IMAZ bike course stops at Shea Blvd. I kept climbing. I rode out to Bush highway. Parts of this section of the Beeline climbs quite a bit. At mile 62 - I turned around and headed home. I had one more climb which was back over the ridge at Fountain Hills. I had sat back and conserved the whole day trying to simulate Ironman pace. Funny enough - this was probably my fastest and most comfortable 90 mile ride ever. Even with the climbing, stoplights, the bee incident, handing out a tube and a CO2 and stopping for water I averaged over 19 miles per hour. My average heart rate was down around 134 which is L1/Z1 for me. I believe this was my longest ride since IM St. George. This is good! I have built fitness without those long silly 6 hour ride days.

We spent Saturday evening at Tom and Tui Conner's house for Tom's 60th birthday. "Tom Conner" is a guy that I believe is an international double agent. He's such an interesting man - he probably doesn't even drink Dos Equis. Truth be told - Tui runs the show. She gives Tom his mission requirements.

Sunday morning I woke at 4:00am with the intention of getting the run out of the way. The problem was that I was not feeling very "worky outy". I went back to bed. I opted for the evening run. Mile 1 was rough. My quads were tired and I had very little torque. By mile 3 I was rolling again. It is funny how the body adapts once it understands your intentions. Then I got a break ... the clouds moved in and the last 6 miles of the run were much cooler and cloudy. I squeezed out 14 miles with about 1300 feet of hill climbing. I enjoy trail running. The paces are slower - but the terrain keeps me busy.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

This is one of the main reasons ...

In February 2011 I had an employee heath screening. I had already been training for over a month and had completed the Desert Classic Duathlon. I thought I was getting back into shape .... and I probably was ... but I was disappointed. It was the straw that broke the camel's back. I vowed a change.

Over the past year and a half I have made so many changes in many ways. I believe that I have medical/scientific proof that some of the changes are working in my favor.

Today - I had a health screening from the same company that administered the one back in 2011.

Measure Feb 2011 Sept. 2012 Difference




- 33

Blood Pressure



Down 20/14

Blood Sugar

109 (fasting)

88 (fasting)


Total Cholesterol



- 65

Good Cholesterol



+ 31

Waist Circumference



- 8


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Happy September?

I tell you what ... life moves by too fast nowadays.

In September 2010 we were in Nashville wrapping up selling a house over there. We had also just finished the fan hike episode of the show Motion on the Live Well Network. That was the episode on the John Muir Trail in the Sierra National Forest of California.

In September 2011 we were training up for the Bartlett Lake Olympic Triathlon. We had not yet done an Olympic distance race at this point last year.

And here we are in September 2012. We have had a huge year and we continue to stay busy with remodeling the house, working, training and traveling.

This was a good weekend. I found a balance of training with house chores. It makes life a little more pleasant that way. I ran and biked quite a bit. We walked. We talked. We painted three rooms in the house ... there is only one room left that has not received some level of painting - the laundry room.

I've been trail running in an effort to get over the calf issues I've been having. I have been experimenting with shoes too. I have been running in Newtons. I like Newtons. I believe I have outgrown them or something in my gait has changed. I ditched the Newton Gravity in favor of a two-year-old pair of Nike Vomero 4's and my calf problems went away within two runs. This morning I was calf pain free for the whole 11 miles - and it was a trail run chocked full of climbing (1200 or so vertical). So ... back to the drawing board on the shoe choices. The shoe experiment has netted me my most productive seven day stretch of running ever. I ran 52 miles from 8/28/12 to 9/4/12. Granted - the trail running paces are a bit slower - but the terrain is MUCH more volatile - and when I get out on the flat on the street things seems easy.

I went out for a 45 mile bike on Sunday evening. I flatted and there was a stout little headwind. I managed to keep my heart rate down to about a 135 bpm average. That is a feat for me. I usually just go out and hammer. I am trying to switch my mentality.

I have also switched some things around food-wise. I am not going to talk too much about the change until I KNOW that is has netted some results. Suffice to say this is the biggest diet switch I have made since March of 2011.

Hoping for cooler weather soon.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

This is crazy, right?

I love statistics but this one sort of scared me. Not like "Boo!" but rather like "what is the deal here?"

From August 27, 2011 through August 27, 2012 :::

I completed 715 workouts. That is almost two workouts per day on average.

I have logged well over 700 hours of training. That works out to around a 14 hour training week on average.

I traveled over 7000 miles during my training.

There are lots of sevens there. I guess that is good. I am thankful that I do not have any major pains or injuries with which to contend. Sore calves, feet and hips are acceptable.


Three nice runs in the bag this week. A 5K on Monday. A 10K on Tuesday. A 10.5 miler this morning. The calf issue seems to be disappearing. I am still learning.

Back to the spin bike this evening.

Until next time.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Another Weekend In The Pines

We've been to Flagstaff quite a bit lately. I like the mountains. I especially enjoy escaping the heat. To celebrate my birthday we spent the weekend up there riding bikes and hiking.

We rode on Saturday. The weather was great. It can be humid so long as the temperature is below 85. That's exactly what it was. There were lots of people out riding. I rode a 60 mile day with a pretty fast 19.5ish average. Of course it was at altitude and there was a fair amount of climbing. I did not feel 100% strong - but it was still a good effort.

Yesterday we hiked a bit of the Kendrick's Peak trail. It was humid and warm. We went up to the first saddle and it looked like there was a storm moving in - so we opted to avoid the lightining strikes. It was probably a wise decision. By the time we left the wilderness area the wind and rain started ... and we were surrounded by lightining. Good call!

So there it is. I am 39 and I am good with that. I've had lots of support and love that I might not 100% deserve.

Onward and upward. Lots of cycle time coming up over the next few weeks to prepare for the 157 mile Cochise County Cycling Classic.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Elephant in T1

Lance Armstrong -

Solo mis dos centavos. (Just my two cents.)

So the case is mostly based on hearsay coming from competitors that finished behind Lance in several races over their careers, right? I am no attorney and would not pretend to be... but even the language in the press release seems to lack "hard" evidence. No offense - but who gives a crap what the other competitors say -- without evidence.

So is this to what we are resigned? Is this fueled by jealousy? We've taken a guy - who has been scientifically shown to be the exception to the normal gene pool and decided that we must take away his hard work because others in the sport can't get over the fact that this gifted individual ALSO DID THE WORK to be the best...

I've done Ironman. I know what it takes just to start and finish that. Many of us on this board know what it takes. We SHOULD do it for the love of the competition an
d self improvement. I suspect Lance is no different - save the fact that he's a supremely gifted person with drive to boot.

If the USADA has proof... then show us the proof. I will vote for science over "testimony". Is this Salem and is Lance a witch?

The USADA is robbing the world of watching a guy do what he does while having fun doing it.

As far as the divas in triathlon / cycling - if Lance shows up - whips our butts at a race with a shark-like swim, a crushing bike split and a fantastic run I say good for him - if he passes what has now become his MANDATORY drug screens. Great! I got to be there and race with a guy that is one of the best endurance athletes ever.

100% pure, unadulterated "new world" bull crap. If you aren't looking at this situation with some distrust of "the machine" then you aren't paying attention. The real truth is that the people outside this situation don't even know the REAL story. Including me.

Good week for training and a happy birthday

So yeah - I am a year older than I was on Wednesday. The thing is I feel younger than I did 10 years ago. Fitness.

I started out the week with a three workout day. I did a 6 mile trail run on Monday morning. I then ran the stairmaster at lunch for a 5K. That was quite sweaty. Later that evening we went for a stroll around the neighborhood.

I did spin class on both Tuesday and Wednesday. We lifted weights and did Yoga too. I also did an uphill run on the treadmill. I am working through the calf issues. I am trying to strengthen them. It's not an injury - it is weakness. I also need to stretch them out before going to bed.

Yesterday we went out for a spin on the canals. We got a break from the heat so it was nice to go cycling after work without roasting.

We are headed for the hills again this weekend. Flagstaff. We will cycle on Saturday and hike on Sunday. Cooler weather prevails!

Until next time.

Monday, August 20, 2012

I did not know ...

The best place for group conversations or messing with your smart phone is in a crowded hallway or on a narrow staircase.

I learned this today in multiple locations throughout my day.

Life is so educational.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Happy Friday to You -

I have had a busy yet productive work week. I did manage to train a little coming off the half ironman on Sunday. I am usually ready to rock the day after these events. This was not the case after Mountain Man. I can honestly say that the first day I felt even close to recovered was yesterday. Certain courses will take a toll on the whole body I suppose. Still, I would not trade the experience. Good times.

The weather in Phoenix has been great for the past couple of days. Clouds and a little rain have been the standard now for over 48 hours. What a blessing. It was becoming unbearable there for a couple of weeks.

Tires of all sorts are expensive. I have found that out over the past few weeks.

What's on tap next? Fitness. More weight training. More swimming. Probably some form changes for my run to try and address the calf cramping issues. If the weather holds we will probably bike, swim and hike over the weekend.

My bike is on the mend. We re-routed some cables in the hope that both shifters will behave a little more accurately. I have a new front derailler. The SRAM Red had about 7,000 miles on it. I guess I will excuse it for wearing out. The spring was shot.

Good luck to all my peeps that are racing this weekend. The Pikes Peak marathon is this weekend!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mountain Man Half Iron

Executive Summary

Number of missing front deraillers: 1
Number of flat tires during bike: 1
Number of times chain came off during race: 3
Number of miles pedaled exclusively in the big chain ring: 57 (all of them)
Number of vertical feet of elevation gain during the race: 3000+
Number of calories burned: 6900
Number of calories eaten during the race: 2500
Number of salt tablets consumed: Lost count at 15.
Number of rolling calf cramps on the run: 20

The course was measured long on all three disciplines. Yesterday's Mountain Man was actually a 72.3.

Total Time: 5:50:38 (51 minutes above target time).

52nd out of 123 starters.

5th place in the male 35-39 age group.

Swim: 46 minutes - 1.4 miles
T1:2min 20 sec
Bike: 2hr 44 minutes - 57 miles (almost 21mph - even with all the mechanical stuff).
T2:1min 38 sec
Run: 2hr 15minutes

Yes it was still fun. Yes I learned some more things about life. Yes this was the hardest race I have done. Yes I underestimated the course and overestimated my target times.

I have two 70.3 finishes in as many starts and I can say both of them are sub 6 hour finishes. I am thrilled with that.


Race Report

I've had front derailler issues since my bike blew off the rack at Ironman St. George. I have been trying to avoid anymore outflow on cycling gear. It was a noble effort, but in the end it is clear I should have replaced the derailler.

On the way up to Flagstaff I stopped in at the bike shop and had them take one more look at my shifting. It was dropping the chain off the small chain ring on downshifts. We spent 15 or 20 minutes trying to get the shifting to respond and finally we arrived at I could get it to shift correctly if I were on the smallest cog on the rear cassette. I could make it work if I focused on smooth and calm shifting.

While climbing the 6000 or so feet up to Flagstaff from Phoenix the tube in my rear tire exploded on the bike. I had let some air out on purpose. I think the bike guy put some back in while he was test riding it. Either way, I am glad I decided to test ride the bike again that evening. The front derailler was completely jacked. It would either drop the chain or not respond at all to the shifter. I took it off and cleaned and greased the spring. I tightened the cable. I adjusted the height. I aligned it perfectly with the drive train. I did everything that my remedial bike skills would allow. On the final test ride I thought I had it. Suddenly the spring released during a shift and the derailler got mangled by the big chain ring. Now it was all bent and wavy from the "toothy" impact of the chain ring. Executive decision time: I am taking it off completely. It is a liability. I can ride the bike course in the big chain ring. I will just have to back off my target time by a few minutes. No big deal. I will make it up on the run.

After replacing the tube on the rear and re-packing my race bag I hit the bed. I did a good job of hydrating for this race. Further, I actually got some decent rest prior. I hardly ever sleep before a race.

I woke at around 3:30 am on race day. I hammered down two large yams and a small cup of coffee. I loaded my bags and my newly modified Kestrel "10 speed" onto the bike rack. Here goes nothing!

What a tremendous race venue. So campy! So original. This is the 28th year for this race. I am proud to be part of the history.

The race started early. After getting everything set up and chatting a bit with some pals (Folts x 2, Rink, Leckey, Eaker, Tait, "Colin") there was barely enough time to get to the start line.

Mountain Man 70.3 Elevation Chart

The swim was long, but I was relaxed throughout and sort of stayed on course. I sighted fairly frequently. I even caught myself having a few moments of good swimming. I stopped once to clear the fog out of my goggles. The only trouble I ran into was coming in to the finish where I had to swim out wide to avoid the giant and unpredictable rocks leading up to the dock. Since I have very tender feet I have to really be cautious. In my other half ironman swim, I swam almost 51 minutes. I came out of the water at 46:08. The other swim was in Tempe at 1000 feet of altitude. The mountain man swim is at 7000 feet. I will take it. I wanted a 42 minute swim, so I was close. I think if I had swam just a little more aggressively I could have gotten the 42.

The bike route is fun. We rode most of this course with the Freeloader crew last summer. Seeing Barry and Colin throughout the ride helped me find comedy in my bike's mechanical issues. Barry wondered why I did not blow past him on the downhill coming back into T2 ... He did not know that I had flatted at mile 50 and rode it on a flat the rest of the way in. It was a good thing that I had gotten a new tire. An older tire would not have allowed me to ride 7 miles with very little air. To have a 20+ mph average on this course is a good ride. I held back on purpose to save some for the run.

This is a runner's course. I fancy myself as a decent runner nowadays. I have a disadvantage. I have sensitive calves and I weight 186 pounds. The runners that were sub 2 hours on this 13.4 mile course (not a typo) were the smaller guys. I ran a 2:15. I was about 30 minutes slower than I had trained toward. I can't imagine how hard this run would have been if I had not conserved / had issues on the bike.

My calf cramps began at mile 8. I still kept pace with what I was running BEFORE the cramps started. I seriously had very little power for the run all day and when the "rolling" cramps began it really became a challenge to keep running. I locked up two times where my legs just stopped working. These calf cramps are strange. They start behind my knee and roll all the way down to my achilles and then back up to the knee. It feels like my legs are being shocked with a cattle prod or an electric fence. Other than the two major lock ups - I "ran" the whole thing.

What did I learn at this race?

1) Mountain Man 70.3 is a difficult and fun challenge.
2) Elapsed time is becoming much less important to me as the race history piles up.
3) Having this level of fitness and knowledge about my performance is fun.
4) 70.3 and up distance races are almost different sports when compared to the shorter races.

This was physically tougher than the day at St. George because my intensity level was up near my "race pace". I was not sore after St. George. I am sore after the Mountain Man 70.3.

Friday, August 10, 2012

I like the Olympics

I like the Olympics both summer and winter. It always impresses me when we get to witness some of the top athletes in the world in their given sport. I am not as drawn to some of the sports as others. Some of the sports I do not really understand.

Race walking, for example, is a sport that makes me giggle a bit but also frustrates me. No offense to these folks, but this is not walking. This is a modified run with some wiggly hips and bad tibia angles. Even with the pause button on the streaming video I could pause and catch most of the walkers with both feet off the ground. A half marathon in one hour and 20 minutes is not a "walk". How fast would they be if they ran? I feel like we have not seen the fastest legitimate marathoner because he or she is busy race walking.

My race walking rant aside, each of these people had a dream and they have trained many many many hours. Their family and friends have supported and / or hated them during the journey. They have sacrificed a ton to get to where they are and I for one applaud them.

Here's another rant. Usain Bolt is fast. We get it. He is a character. We get it. Rodmanesque or not, why does this guy feel the need to showboat so much? Geez man, act like you've been there before. I can't run a 9.6 100 meter dash. If I ran a 11.6 I would be thrilled. I want to believe that if I was the fastest sprinter on the planet I would not feel compelled to A) Proclaim myself a living legend. B) Downtrod others who have reasonably questioned your career trajectory. No one ever doubted your speed Mr. Bolt ... 10.6 is still a fast 100m. What we have a tough time reconciling is the massive decrease in you 100m time in only a few short months. I hope you've done all this talking and winning without doping.

I am a Phelps fan. He was built and born to swim. He has worked hard. He's admitted he is not perfect. He says he is done with the Olympics. I hope not because the world enjoys his skill. Well done Michael. Take a break. Do some other things. Then decide if you are done. My prediction. See you in RIO Mr. Phelps.

Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee. If the decathlon included a 400 IM swim, I would declare these two gentlemen some of the better athletes to walk the planet. I don't know which of the 10 events to remove to add the swim ... but that would be a true test. Either way, I do think it is fitting to hang "greatest" on one of these guys (and Bryan Clay too). I have always admired the track & field people. Those gifted people who can jump and run and make it look like they are supposed to be doing it.

How about the gymnasts? I like watching gymnastics. I like all of the events. Gabby Douglas peaked at the right time. We will get to see her again in Rio. How about that Netherlands dude on the high bar? "Epke Zonderland of the Netherlands produced a spectacular horizontal high bar routine." That and he has a great name.

In my next update I will unleash a wordy, non-sensical and self-centered race report for no one's enjoyment!

Until then.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wish in one hand ...

When will it stop?

I wish I owned a restaurant chain so that I could play the role of pundit.

I despise politics of any flavor, gender, color, class or creed. I yearn for geniune leadership. I am not a leader and do not desire to be one - thus the reason I never weigh in on most poltical discussions.

Do the world a favor and think for yourself, reason through the issues and apply logic where logic is required. Emotion, hearsay, regurgitation, rhetoric and scare tactics should NOT be part of any personal or societal decisioning.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Time travel - Fun outings - managing anticipation

Do you ever think about time travel? I like the concept. If you go too far into the details the issues become evident. I am not even thinking about the concepts introduced on Doc Brown's chalkboard in the original Back to the Future. I am talking about more basic stuff - like could you assimilate to the current time IF you had never lived during that era. For example - if I went back to the 1980's I could manage to fit in relatively easy. If I dropped in 50 years into the future or 1000 years into the past I believe it would be extremely difficult to assimilate - even given a longer stretch of time.

Yes, we watched a movie. It is called Happy Accidents. It was from 2000. Very interesting plot.

Last week was probably one of the more physically taxing weeks I have had training-wise maybe since March. The intensity of the work is getting higher while the duration is actually slightly down. I think I like this plan.

I had a great ride on Saturday morning. 57 miles in 2:38 with a controlled heart rate. Also had to deal with red lights and traffic - so I am really pleased with this effort. This is probably the best training ride I have ever had. Then we headed up to Flagstaff for some high altitude and cooler weather. We did a great hike called Sandy Canyon and went up to Fisher Point. Baron the dog was a little tired, so we turned back.

Yesterday was chore day along with another great hike. I did something yesterday that I haven't done in a while. I cooked most of my food for the week. This will allow me to focus on the key workouts leading up to next Sunday.

Have a great week!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Training hard - starting to back off a bit

This has been a great week of training. I have pushed the intensity to where my body said: "Hey, wait a minute chief ... take some rest."

Guess what? I listened.

Now I have a day to recover before one more longish ride. Then we will head up to Flagstaff for another weekend of playing in the altitude.

Next week I will go back to speed work and take a couple of days off prior to the Mountain Man 70.3.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Learning through every means possible.

I can't get enough information. Quirky, obscure or otherwise, I am a huge consumer of information. I guess that is both a built-in trait and a product of our times. Is it information overload? Maybe. I submit that only happens if the information taken in is not used at all and discarded without true understanding.

You are thinking ... where is he going with this ... and you might be on the verge of overload.

WAIT! Come back.

We were 120 feet up into a Ponderosa Pine in the San Gabriel Mountains on Saturday when I was given tons of information about the different types of evergreen trees in this area of Southern California. We were then strapped into a harness and clipped to a line and zipped 1200 feet across a canyon at 45 mph to a Sugar Pine on the opposing slope. After the excitement of the zip all I could think about was how awesome it was to be able to have this much fun and STILL BE OPEN TO TAKING IN NEW INFORMATION.

I am constantly on the lookout for new information. I process it and decide whether it will be useful to me in the immediate future OR to file it away for recall at a later date. None of it is useless. I have known for some time that I am not 'smart' but I do have a decently capable memory bank. I attribute it to head size. I have a huge melon.

The point? Keep learning and develop a healthy skepticism. It helps you in both the short and long term. I think true learning helps everyone around you.



Yes. I had an outstanding week of training last week. I ran my second fastest 5K on record (20:55). I did hill repeats on the bike on Friday morning and gathered about 1500 feet of climbing in a little over 25 miles. Along with our zip line adventure we stood atop Mount Baden Powell. The trail started at 6500 feet and ascended to nearly 10,000 in a little under 4 miles. It was steep. It was a great 8 mile workout.

This week will include some long and intense bike riding and running. I will swim at least 4 days this week. I already swam 2500 meters today.

The Mountain Man 70.3 specialness is on August 12th. I will be ready. My last race as a 38 year old.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

AC Woes ... Could be worse

The air conditioner stopped working on Sunday afternoon. We have called several different service companies and they were all backed up with other calls. Some were backed up as much as six days.

The good news is that the unit is relatively new and the motor is covered under warranty. We now believe that we will have cool air in the house again sometime tomorrow (Thursday).

In times past, I would have been FURIOUS and "woe is me" about this situation. I must have grown up a bit lately. While I did miss sleep on Sunday and Monday, I realize that in the grand scheme of things it could be much much worse.

So we took the opportunity to use the air conditioning at the gym after work this week. I think that has been awesome. We also found a very nice resort with very low nightly prices. (The Orange Tree Golf Resort) It actually might be the nicest room in which we've ever hoteled at 1/3 of the price of the hotel in Hawaii last week.

It has been a good week of workouts. Three days in a row of running. Five days in a row of short distance and high intensity cycling. I had a strong swim at lunch - probably one of the top swims I have had in my slow "lunch-accessible" pool.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Humidity in the Desert Heat + Sidebar

Wow. It's been that uncomfortable kind of hot over the past four or five days. That short period of time in the desert where the monsoons flow up from the south and cause a minute amount of rain, a ton of wind, some lightining AND humidity. It's not the humidity like a 90 percenter back in Kentucky but it is big news when the thermometer has triple digits on it in Kentucky too. I think it is a tie until the heat here goes over 105.

We rode a nice long ride on Saturday. It was silly how humid and hot it got. The heat can really zap you if you aren't careful. We stayed hydrated.

Yesterday I did a longish 14+ mile run with quite a bit of hills included. I was holding back a bit since it was a training run and SO HUMID. I still ended up running my second fastest 13.1 ever. I averaged an 8:09 pace - even with the hills and the heat. I am very happy with that output.

We also saw the movie "Ted". It was funny. It's not a completely AWESOME movie but it has it's moments. The animation they did with the bear is impressive.

We hung up a new kitchen cabinet yesterday afternoon - despite the fact that the HVAC stopped working at about noon yesterday. It was 90 degrees in the house all night last night. It finally cooled down to about 86 this morning before I left for work.


Sidebar: Aurora, CO Shooting

First of all I am truly sorry for the people involved in this incident. We used to live in Aurora and we know some people there in the area. I hope all of them are safe.

I am not going to get into a political debate over guns / no guns. The debate is old, tired and circular.

I would like to address the human factors side of this tragedy. Some people are wired a little differently. We, as the 'stable/normal' masses, try to categorize them as "imbalanced" and we treat them as such. We are potentially making the problem worse. For example, if a person has tendencies to be depressed we react by putting them on a series of chemical cocktails to enhance their "mood". The problem is that we create a biological crap-storm within their system and it often reacts in strange ways. Why do we do this? Because we are incapable of dealing with their depression.

I am not suggesting that the shooter in the Aurora theater was on any medications. I am simply citing an example of how we tend to manipulate a person's biology rather than have a helpful human relationship with them.

I am also not using the whole philosophical "what is normal?" argument. To me it boils down to nice and humane versus cruel and inhumane. What good does it do me to judge someone's behavior or lifestyle if their lifestyle does NOT negatively effect those around them?

Being quiet, shy or "backwards" does not hurt anyone SO LONG AS the quiet person does not beat up small animals and push elderly people out into the street at a busy crosswalk. That said - treating people harshly that are different CAN give their persona a violent shove from HARMLESS to mass murderer. We have seen this so many times in the past and yet we refuse to learn.

Whether it is triathlon training, work, teaching or family - I always try and be OBJECTIVE and look for the root cause when challenges are presented. Let's do ourselves a favor and look for root causes. If someone in the Aurora shooter's life would have looked deeper into his issues we may have 12 less murders today.

Friday, July 20, 2012

70.3 Mentality

I am a speed junky. I always have been and at 38 years old I suspect this speed thing is just part of my core values. Want proof? I love the takeoff on an airplane so much that it often relaxes me at puts me to sleep. I'm strange. You knew that already. Where am I going with this?

I need to get my longer rides in and just have them be in L1 and L2. I recently did a 55 miler where I accidentally averaged about 21mph. For an average age group athlete or casual cyclist to go out ALONE and average above 20mph is a good day -- I don't care who you are. I have never done that on this particular route. It has about 1500 feet of climbing, so it is not flat by any means. In fact, my previous fastest average on this loop was about 17mph. I know I should be seeing improvement in my speeds, but I don't think they should be jumping this much in a two or three month window during LESSER training volume. There are tons of variables to consider in this ... but one fact remains. 13.1 is not a pleasant experience if you hammer too hard on the 56 mile bike during the 70.3.

I've logged about 100 miles on the bike this week and will add more tomorrow and Sunday. I've also had two good 1 mile swims this week. I am working much more efficiently in the water. I am STILL NOT FAST but I will hold my own. I'll trade a little speed in the water for some extra power for the bike and run.

We dropped cable about two years ago. We have Netflix. I must admit that Breaking Bad is a clever show. I enjoy it. I am not in support of the premise (making meth) but it does give the public a glimpse of what it must be like to get sucked in to a life of crime.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Video testimonial starring Bryonman

I don't plan on this "going viral" ... but I am not displeased with what they produced. In fact, I like it and I am my own biggest critic.

Arizona Pain Specialists has been on my "Team" page on the blog since Day #1. Now they have some video of me telling my story.

Here is an article that summarizes all the verbosity of my blog quite nicely.

Arizona Pain Monthly


Huge 24 hours of training. A 10 mile run last night, a weight training session, two twenty mile spin classes and a Yoga session.

This half ironman in Flagstaff is not going to chew me up.

Anniversary in Hawaii

July 11th 1993 - Our first date.

July 11th 1997 - Our wedding day. We eloped. Gatlinburg, TN.

July 11th 2012 - Our 15 year anniversary. We were in Hawaii on our "delayed honeymoon".

We waited a long time to have a REAL honeymoon. It paid off! We spent seven awesome days on "The big island" of Hawaii.

Day One: We walked around our resort in amazement at the size and splendor of such an establishment. We also caught a sweet sunset.

Day Two: We drove down to Volcano, HI. We saw Kilauea. Scratch that. We walked on the caldera! We hiked all over Volcanoes National Park. It was impressive.

Day Three: We snorkeled at Two-Step and Hapuna Beach. Impressive stuff. We also did the Luau at the Hotel. Fun stuff.

Day Four: The anniversary. We hiked at Pololu and Waipio. Both hikes were steep. Great views. We ate at Bamboo Grille in Hawi, HI.

Day Five: Water day! We swam (distance) in the pool and snorkeled at A-Bay about a mile down from the resort.

Day Six: Hilo, HI and Waimea. We hiked. We saw Akaka Falls. We hiked some more. We explored Hilo and ate some awesome Sushi. We capped off the day with a hike and educational tour of Mauna Kea and the telescopes on the summit.

Day Seven: We toured all around Kona. We saw the start/finish line for the Ironman. We ate some good food. Then we hopped on a puddle jumper and flew to the airport in Maui and then grabbed the big jet and flew home overnight.

Us at Waipio. Great steep hike. (See below)

Bryonman at the Ironman start/finish like in Kona.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Good week - strange but welcome weather

So the 4th of July turned out to be pretty darn good. I did this weeks long run during a cool but humid morning. It was a solid effort. I usually don't train double digit miles so intense - but it felt good and I went for it. I am sure it will pay off in the future.

We have been painting in between workout and work sessions. The office is about ready to be reassembled. It has been completely remodeled and updated. We got rid of the carpet in favor of our new stained concrete floor. Carrie added a nice base color and glaze to the cabinets - which now match our office furniture. We painted the baseboards and walls. We also painted the hallway and the newly built closet. Our next painting tasks will be the den, the bathrooms, the guest room and the "mud room". We have painted about half the house thusfar. We are taking our time. It has not been too burdensome.

Prior to round two of painting we are going to celebrate our 15th anniversary. I suppose this is our official honeymoon. We are headed to Hawaii. We are stoked. We've been traveling quite a bit over the past couple of months so the anticipation could only start building once the wedding trip was complete.

Good luck to all those racing this weekend. I know several people are racing at JCC in Scottsdale. Be safe, stay cool, hydrate and go fast!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy 4th of July and other updates

Last week wound down nicely after a crazy beginning.

Thursday became a day off from training. We worked on the house. Friday I trained at lunch and we worked on the house some more. Saturday I rode an interval ride and followed it up with an interval run. We also painted quite a bit on Saturday. On Sunday we painted some more and swam at Bartlett Lake for an hour or so.

We also had the opportunity to hang out with some of our rock climbing gang from years passed. Saturday evening was fun to catch up with some awesome people that we hardly see anymore. Funny enough, several of that crew have become cyclists, runners and even full-on triathletes.

Yesterday I had a media session with Arizona Pain Specialists. I took my medals and some photos. They also shot some video. They intend to use me as one of their success stories. Back in April and May of 2011 I used them to help me get past a nagging knee injury. Dr. McJunkin applied a steroid injection in my left knee on two different days ... and the second one seems to have done the trick. We'll see what happens. When I get some links I will post them out to get everyone's feedback.

Yesterday was a good training day too. I did a mini brick early - an 20 minute and 8 mile ride with high intensity followed by a 1 mile run at a 6:40 pace. I can now run a sub 6 mile pretty easy without a bike session in front of it. I can't get that output after a bike session - but a 6:40 pace after an intense bike session is better than I have done in the past. I will take it. Progress is fun. I am now just competing against myself. It's mentally healthier that way.

Last night we did spin class. It was the typical sweatfest but I worked a little more consistently than normal under the load. I paid the for work during Yoga. I was TOAST. I just used it to stretch my hips and calves ... it was still awesome. We also did more core work than normal and I liked that.

At lunch today I swam a quick 800m and ran a 5K. I am getting more efficient with training during lunch. Yes, I actually got all this in very close to an hour total. Tonight we are doing spin and Yoga again. That combination is amazing to me. I have used Yoga breathing techniques in several races ... and it helps tremendously.

Happy 4th of July to everyone. Someone smarter than me said:

"Liberty is the right to choose. Freedom is the result of the right choice."