Thursday, May 31, 2012

Never get tired of laughter

I swear I have laughed so much in the past three weeks that ... well ... I want to laugh at the amount of laughter.

I don't know if that loose screw finally broke free or if my perspective on things changed. Heck, it could be both.

Most of the time I am laughing at Carrie. Not laughing at her like "I can't believe how stupid you are ..." but rather "Wow, I have never thought of that thing in that way ..." or "I can't believe you just said that."

For example:

I am now famous at home for being borderline narcoleptic at any hour past 6pm. (This is a much better option than it was a few years ago when I was attending sleep studies to try and figure out why I couldn't sleep.) A few weeks ago I passed out mid-sentence and I awoke to Carrie's voice and face RIGHT IN MY GRILL as she semi-shouted "Sleep!". It sounded like an intro to an 80s rap song the way she said it. It was defintely one of those you had to be there moments - but just now I had to stop typing to laugh.

This week I re-focused my efforts on eating very cleanly. It definitely makes a major difference in how I feel. Not that I had been eating horribly - but with the training volume in pre-Ironman phase, nearly anything with any hint of nutritional value was on the menu.

I am so excited to race this weekend. Last year I got a flat and crashed on this race course... so it is revenge time. The race this weekend is well-suited to me because MOST of the race is on the bike. It is a 300m swim, 22 mile bike, 2 mile run. I have purposely been working speed since May 7th in prep for this weekend and next weekend's shorter sprint races.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Major house progress - training notes

Aside from some training over the weekend (walking and cycling) we mostly churned out work on the house.

To recap our progression on the remodeling job:

February 27th - signed the papers.

March 10th - removed popcorn ceiling and refinished throughout home.

March 20th - removed carpet in two bedrooms and repaired and painted walls.

March 25th - replaced missing carpet with bamboo floors

April - removed dropped soffitts to raise ceiling by 14 inches in the kitchen and entry way.
- removed dividing wall between kitchen and dining room to open up the whole great room.
- relocated and rebuilt the coat closet in the entry to make the entry way larger.
- reworked ALL of the duct work for the HVAC and added a second air return to increase efficiency.
- added a new pantry, a double upper and double lower cabinet to increase the size and space in the kitchen.
- added new pendant lights over the kitchen island and 17 new LED recessed lights in the remodeled space

May - (post Ironman)
- replaced / added new tile where walls were moved
- stained new cabinets to ALMOST match the existing (will be a project later to match all cabinets)
- removed carpet from office - refinished concrete and stained in a coffee color - sealed with clear epoxy
- painted kitchen (2 gallons)
- painted great room and entry way (2 gallons)


It has been a journey just since Ironman. Yes, I have been training - but I have found a balance with work and home improvement. I have to say that the early early morning workouts (3am-4am) EVERY DAY during Ironman training were both physically and mentally tiring.

Over the long weekend we did the staining on the concrete in the office, worked on the cabinets, finished grouting the tile and painted both the kitchen and the great room. We had not planned on painting but because the concrete prep was effort followed by a waiting period on multiple steps ... we just went for it.

I had a fantastic and fast 24 mile bike ride yesterday (1:03:20). I ran into Christian Bailey (a teammate) and we climbed Hummingbird together. He sprinted ahead at quite a clip. It was nice to have somebody whip me so soundly on climbing that hill. I can now train at a new level because I know he is faster than me. He did admit that it killed him to go at that rate. I have to admit that I was fine afterwards :-). I finished the uphill back to the house faster than I ever have - holding 23mph for a half mile with about 3% incline. Everywhere on the route I was at least 1 to 2 mph faster than I was pre-Ironman. This is just further proof that A) I am still a beginner. B) Long course racing is very different from sprint and middle distance. C) Ironman training is tiring.

Two sprint races over the next two weeks. I will be ready.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Three cycle sessions in 20 hours.

Overdoing it is my thing most of the time.

Wednesday / Thursday turned out pretty darn good considering. I have resumed my routine of going to the gym at lunch during the work day. It is a good habit. I am not out spending money on expensive lunches and getting some extra training time in to boot. During yesterday's lunch workout I rode the spin bike for 30 minutes at a sweaty pace for a little over 12 miles. Then I hit the treadmill for a 5K at around 21:20 which was even more sweaty than the bike pace.

Last night we headed over to the gym for a spin class with Penny. It was hot in the room so the sweat was rolling. We did an endurance ride. Since we were there about 20 minutes early, we had well over an hour and a solid 25-30 miles.

Then I shot out of bed this morning at 4:55 and headed out to meet Seth, Jason, "XTine" and Bruce for the Mad Libs ride. It was only the second time I had ridden with them because I usually train by myself or with Carrie. So another fairly intense 20 miler on the bike.

Speed. Speed. Speed.

Gotta love it! Did I over do it? Nope. I am not sore and I am ready for the next challenge.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Soap Box - non triathlon ranting

I was reading about the climbing year at Everest. 4 climbers died this week in conditions described as "congested".

I then saw this quote:

"Traffic jam at Everest. Perhaps it's time people realized they are not being pioneers..."

I congratulate this person for nailing it. This is my point. I am a climber. I have climbed all over the southwest. I have never done mountaineering. It is somewhat appealing to me because I don't get cold too easily. I have always said I have NO DESIRE to do Mt Everest. I hear that the litter on the mountain is becoming a problem. The problem being that it is not just empty oxygen bottles. It's human waste, food waste and dead bodies with a side of steel oxygen containers.

Isn't it time to at least reassess the situation surrounding the summit of Everest? People with more money than sense show up to "conquer" the highest peak on the planet only with the aid from a team of sherpas, a professional guide and any other luxury that can be had above 18,000 feet. I agree that it is probably a very challenging physical endeavor but this is getting ridiculous.

Here's another quote:

"You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things – to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated."

Guess who said this? Sir Edmund Hillary. He and Tenzing Norgay summitted Everest in 1953. What this quote says to me is that Hillary realized that he was just a regular person who decided to do something DIFFERENT. He wanted to push his own boundaries. He was obesssed with summitting the mountain. After he did, he spent his life helping the people of Tibet ... rather than climbing Everest again and again. He did summit several other peaks after Everest but continued to do some truly pioneering things beyond climbing.

"Going after goals is a pure endeavor if those goals are persued with a personal motive and measured only in terms of how it changed you as a human."

I said that - just now.

Going to the summit of the world's highest mountain for the sake of being able to show people your wealth and prowess is a poor approach.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bringing back the endurance training

Endurance is funny nowadays. It's like it never left. I rode 30 or so miles in a high intensity spin class and had plenty of juice left at the end. I suppose the speed work I have been doing over the last couple of weeks is keeping my fitness intact pretty well. I remember a time when I would build up some endurance - take a week off from it and come back to find that any endurance I had built was gone. The only exception to that rule is hiking. It seems I can jump back on the trail and hike for hours any time I want. That is a luxury that I do not take for granted. Backpacking is a little different. I do have to prep and train to carry the heavy pack.

It's the small breakthroughs that make for the biggest returns. I changed one little thing on my swim catch while swimming at Bartlett Lake. I am now using more of my forearm to grab water and it is helping me get faster without expending any more energy. In training (or racing for that matter) I rarely go below 2:00 for 100 meters. Yeah, I am that slow. However, I swam 1000 or so last week and had 4 100s in the 1:50s and one at 1:44. My previous fastest 100 meters was 1:48 and it was an all out sprint and was not surrounded by 900 other meters. I still have work to do.

There is such a drastic difference between running for speed and running for endurance. It's an interesting math problem to try and conquer. My speed is back to where it was or maybe a bit faster. The problem is that I feel the speed workouts MUCH more for running than I do for the bike or swimming. By feel, I mean my feet and to some extent my shins and knees. I have been listening and backing off as appropriate. I still weigh in the 180s and I am sure that is one tiny thing I can continue to try and adjust. The fact is - I am cranking out 11.5 second 100 meter dashes. I am not going to win any foot races with REAL sprinters - but as a 17 year old I ran my fastest 100m around 13 seconds. I timed myself as a 22 year old and was able to pull a 12.3. Either way - at 38 I feel comfortable saying that I am a faster runner than I was when I was 17. Perhaps it's not necessary to do 100 meter dashes. Oh well, it felt good at the time. Maybe I should stick to 400 and 800 all out efforts.

Around the house we have been installing new tile. Of all the home improvement work we have done over the years, this is the first time we have laid floor tile. We did a tile back splash in a kitchen once, but that is a bit different. If you ever want a frustrating challenge ... try removing old mortar off a concrete sub floor from a previous tile job. Bleh! Chisels, hammers, scrapers, grinders, dust and havoc. In total, we will end up installing 36 tiles. No it's not a huge job, but it saves us some cash and now we know we can lay tile.

I am scheduled to race on June 3rd in Chino Valley, AZ. It is basically a 22 mile bike course with a short 300 yd swim and a 2 mile run on either side of it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Where have you been?"

"Bryonman, where art thou?"

I have been training.

I took one day off after my first 140.6 day. I then resumed working out. Granted, I lifted weights and walked for the first week, but I did a whole heap of that.

Since then I have managed several speed workouts, two nice speedy brick workouts and one long open water swim. My run pace is coming back and I might have actually gained a little speed on the bike.

I have also been catching up on home improvement projects, working, teaching classes, planning my fall race calendar and motivating others around me to get up and do something.

What is up for the fall? Check out the reformatted My Races page.

I will write more in a few days. I just wanted to post an update. All is well. Super motivated.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ironman St. George 2012 Race Report - 140.6

Blog Post # 141.0 - I completed 140.6 - with a time of 0:00

I am happy:

1) To make it out of the water alive.
2) To have been given the green light to continue the course.
3) To have been given a finisher medal - even though I officially do not have a time.

All in all, it took me about 14 hours and change to do my 140.6 - but I did it.

"Official" or not, here are my personal Garmin settings - unedited.

There was no need for me to RACE the bike and run. I did work hard, but wanted to complete the day - so I went super conservative into the headwind on the bike.

My Swim - Swam 1:40:30 before being pulled for safety reasons.

My Bike - Includes both T1 & T2

My Run - I ran a marathon. Mile 10 was rough. Stomach issues.

Need more proof? Bryonman finish video (Around 15:01 on the race clock)
. That's me in the orange white and blue - the announcer calls my name well after I cross the finish line.

FINALLY -- a place you can go to see that I did toe the line that day.

Search for bib # 984 ...

Results Search for Ironman St. George ... look at all my zeros. (search for bib 984)

Here's what happened. I am not going to edit this as I go. I just want to get the story out.


I woke at 2:45 am. I ate breakfast. After packing "all" my bags I hopped in the car with Carrie for her to drop me off at the shuttle that serviced Sand Hollow Reservoir. Let's be honest. It was a school bus. I did not care. I sat in the middle of the bus, applied my headphones and ... DRog? Again? Out of all these racers DRog hops on the same bus. We laughed for a minute and then each of us resumed listening to our headphones.

Transition was chaotic. There were neither enough tire pumps or port-o-johns. I sat down in front of my bike and waited for the sun to rise. I chatted a little but mostly I was there to watch people and prep for racing. I kept waiting for the nerves to hit me. They never did. Soon enough, I was in my wetsuit and educating people why they might want to consider switching their timing chip from their right ankle to their left.

The Reservoir was much more "glasslike" than it was on Friday and my 20 minute practice swim. Seriously, when we went into the water it was both a good wetsuit temperature and darn near perfect for swimming. After watching hundreds of age groupers drift well in front of the start buoys - "bang" - we were off and for the record, I started at the start line unlike half of the other racers. For shame!

Wow. This is going well. I was calm. Stretch, pull, recover: repeat. I was cruising. Turn #1 was a sharp left at about 1100m. I was right around 22-23 minutes. Good! I am ahead of schedule. Stretch, pull, recover: repeat.

"Why is there a jerk out here stirring up the water in a jet boat?" I remember thinking this for a minute or so. I was looking for it during my sighting strokes. The moment I was pushed up out of the water and splashed back in fairly forcibly I knew what was really happening. People started yelling. "What the hell?" The kayakers were getting tossed around like ragdolls. After a few jostling sprays from some big waves, I realized it had begun. The wind. I was at about 27 minutes on my Garmin.

I don't remember much between 30 minutes in and 1 hour. All I remember is trying to stay focused on good form and trying to fight the sun and dust to find something to sight off of. I suck at sighting anyway ... so add in 4' to 5' waves and forget about it. Some of the waves were large enough that I was trying to stay beneath them by diving down a bit which is tough to do in a wetsuit.

At about 1 hour I started hearing screams for help. It was at least three different people because their voices were so distinct. One dude had blood curdling fear in his voice. That was a little unnerving. I tried to block it out and kept swimming. A kayaker pulled up next to me at one point and with wind and spray battering her face she yelled "You are doing fine - just head toward the radio tower from here!" I actually felt sorry for her for a second until I remember that I was trying to swim in this crap. I could still see other swim caps, so I knew I was still in it.

The waves did not relent. They actually became less predictable and a bit larger as I went. I would pick up what I thought was a pattern and then a wave would hit me from a completely different angle. They were hellbent on pushing me to the very center of the lake.

At 1 hour and 35 minutes, I noticed a boat loaded with people in swim caps and wetsuits bobbing next to me. "You okay?" "Yeah", I yelled ... "Am I going the right way?" "Yes, swim around the island." I was getting there. I had about 40 minutes before the cut off. I could probably make it. It looked to be about 800 meters or so. At 1 hour and 38 minutes, the same boat was next to me bobbing even more violently. I was thinking ... "I really don't want you to float next to me and watch for 40 minutes." "Hey man, you are a tough guy, but we just watched you make 30 decent swim strokes and you lost 10 meters. This is not safe." I knew what he meant. It was his nice way of saying - get in the boat without arguing please.

The 20 other swimmers on the boat had been on there long enough that some of them were shivering, huddled under blankets, blue around the lips. Me, I was wise-cracking and making light of the situation because I knew I gave everything I had. I ended up "swimming" for around target time for the swim. I stopped my Garmin when I was pulled at 1:40:30. The honest truth was that there were times where it didn't feel all that safe. There were even a couple of moments where drowning crept into my head. I think that was lack of experience in this type of water.

For about 40 minutes we crept and bobbed around the lake looking for swimmers. I was helping the captain spot because I wasn't shivering uncontrollably like the others. We pulled one gal and two dudes out of the water. The waves continued to bash the boat. The captain moved everybody toward the back of the craft because the water was coming in over the bow. Even this 32' boat was getting tossed around. It was actually kind of cool to pull swimmers out of the water and have them thank me.

At capacity, we headed for shore. It was a chess game. The waves, the kayakers, the swimmers and the boats were all trying to survive and the waves were pushing all of us toward the middle OR worse, back to where we started the swim (which was NOT the finish). A big group of swimmers ended up swimming to the boat ramp where we started. I am not sure if that was a survival move or if they thought they had swam the course and that was the exit. At least 10 swimmers were standing on the island waiting for a ride from a boat. Others - they made it through the swim. Some of them had a great swim time. I suppose the more gifted swimmers liked the challenge.

"Here's what we are going to do folks." A race official yells over the wind to make himself heard. "No one could have predicted this wind or these conditions. We are going to take your timing chip now. If you want to continue AND you make the other cut offs for the day you can cross the finish line and you will get a medal ..."

Say no more sir ... Bryonman out. I restarted my Garmin. I was the only one of the twenty three on the boat that reacted when I did. The game is back on. I came here to do 140.6 and now I have a second chance to do so. The wetsuit strippers got me out of my batman suit and I was off to the changing tent.

It took some "mental maneuvering" to get re-focused on the plan. I needed to eat. I swam for 1:40:30 and sat on the boat for another 40. I probably needed to drink too. I think I sat in the changing tent for about 7 or 8 minutes regrouping and organizing my bike gear.

I left T1 when the race clock said 2:30:04.

Oh yeah. I still have to deal with this crazy wind. On my practice day, the hill leaving the lake had been a 42 mph hill. Today that same hill was a 24mph creeper. I decided then and there that this was not a day to "race". This was a day to enjoy and experience. I still had to stick to the nutrition plan because I was still going to be out here for a long while. I was not physically gassed from the swim at the time, but I think it took a lot out of me mentally. I was glad that I was able to block it out and resume the process.

So I knew they said they were going to pull people from the bike course at Mile 22 at 11:30. By the time I remembered that I was already on mile 16. I think I passed mile 22 at 10:45. That was fairly quick considering I was conserving and not challenging the headwind too much. Good. I am out of the woods for cutoffs. Luckily I am a strong enough cyclist that I could conserve energy and still finish the 112 miles before the 5:30pm cutoff. That soon into the bike, I knew I would cross the finish line. They better keep their promise to let me cross the line. I teared up a little.

I went through Ivins and Mile 30 before the parents and wife could make it there via the shuttles. Luckily I did see them before I left the swim so they all knew I was okay. Focus! Eat. Drink. Live. Laugh. I did all those things. I had longish chats with aid station workers. I petted dogs and horses. I actually took four bathroom breaks on the bike - which I never do because I am usually in "super race mode". I took extra food and water for other cyclists. I did give a cyclist a GU and a bottle of Perform right below the wall. I gave out a Co2 cartridge to another cyclist while helping him check his tire. I soaked up too much sun and tons of scenery. I remember climbing into Gunlock and seeing the water hop around in that lake ... and the winds were nowhere near as rough as they were at Sand Hollow. I cried a little. This is beautiful. I survived that swim. That is something I could have never done even a year ago.

For the record - the "Wall" is not that bad. There is a steeper more annoying hill prior to the Wall that is short but for my money it is much tougher. I honestly think it goes 10-13% grade for about a half mile. After pulling that annoying hill and the Wall, it was time to go through Veyo and start the descent. I had only been passed a handful of times on the bike - even though I was honestly riding well below my race pace. On the descent I really started moving. I hit 57 mph at one point and had several miles that were well under two minutes. I passed two very fit and fast cyclists on the descent and one of them caught me on the uphill going back into Ivins and congratulated me on a very fast 15 miles or so. That made me glow. I can cycle at quite a clip - but I knew I still needed to conserve today. Wind, heat and mileage were all factors in the marathon. I wished him luck on his run and he said - "this is the hardest race I have ever done". Within a mile or two he was out of sight. I like to think chasing me down the hill gave him a little boost. A guy can dream, right?

St. George 112 mile bike elevation chart.

I believe I ate my weight in food on the bike. My stomach kept handling it, so I kept shoving it in. I was staying hydrated. I hate Perform ... but I drank it too. I was eating Perpetum straight without mixing it. I was trying to give myself any advantage going into the marathon. The wind did not let up the entire time I was on the bike. On the ups it was annoying and took extra effort to keep a good pace. On the downs it was fun but downright suicidal. I am just trusting and crazy enough to pedal in situations like that rather than ride my brakes. Ask the gal that underestimated my speed and pulled out to pass someone on the big descent after Veyo around Mile 100. We almost found out the hard way what it feels like to crash on a bike at 40+ mph. I somehow sneaked between her pedal and a road cone without hitting anything. Bike handling is my second best skill behind stubbornness.

I pulled in to T2 around 4pm a full hour and a half before the bike cutoff. It turns out that some of the people that MADE the swim were pulled off the bike course and not allowed to continue. I don't know how to feel about that fact. I do know that permits and road closures played more in to that official decision than anything else. All I know is that I was given the chance to finish due to poor and unpredicted swim conditions and I made the choice to continue.

I have 8 hours to finish the marathon. I had conserved energy on the bike which was tough for me to do at times because I wanted to go so fast so bad. I remember having the conversation with myself in the Port-Ouch-John. "Okay dudeski, you have saved it for the run now go out there and do sew this day up correctly." The guy in the J-John next to me says "Yes sir!" I didn't realize I was talking aloud. I had to laugh.

I spent a few extra minutes in the stinking, sweltering changing tent talking to an Army Ranger and a Brit that were very kind. This is living. I am sitting here with an Army Ranger and he is talking about the water being as bad as any swim he's been on ... oh and we are clearly on pace with one another. Am I this fit nowadays? I guess so.

+++++++++ The Run ++++++++++++

All systems were go again. I may have been a ghost in the official timing system, but I must have had quite a presence on the run. The spectators were awesome all day and night. "#984 passing people - looking strong!" I was. My run had been sound for the last two months of training. I was running 8 or 9 minute miles and still conserving energy. Early into the run I stopped and chatted with Carrie, Mom and Dad. I think that was when THEY knew I was going to cross the finish line. I purposely did not tell them I was not going to have an official time. I did not want them to be disappointed.

I have 8 and 9 minute miles from my Garmin tracking until mile 11. Oops! I guess I may have taken in TOO MUCH on the bike. My muscles felt fine and full of life - but my stomach was pissed off. That was a rough and hot Johnny-On-The-Spot stop. The stinky toilet was right in the middle of the Utah sun at 4:45 in the afternoon. Even still, it never crossed my mind to stop. The pain was annoying but nothing worth sacrificing the second chance I was given to cross the line and get a medal.

I saw the family several times on the run. At mile 11/12 Dad said I looked "sorta rough". He was being very positive. I think I might have impressed Dad a little on May 5th, 2012. "Wrap it up son. You are going to be an Ironman." "I need a hug." I said. I think there was a collective "Awwwwwww" from the other spectators in the area. Mom and Carrie ran down beside the course and gave me a hug. That must have worked. I pretty much ran / shuffled the rest of the course.

St. George 26.2 mile run elevation chart.

Let me talk to you about chicken broth. Is that the best thing ever? I am craving it right now. That was the thing I survived on during the last 16 miles of the run. My stomach would start to get pissed and about that time, I would pass an aid station that had broth. "Broth!" I would start pointing and calling out what I needed. I only wanted broth and potato chips. I would occasionally pop a salt tablet to keep my calves under control. I did not have another "sweet" item after mile 6 on the run. I will vote for chicken broth in the next election. I will cook all meals with chicken broth going forward. I love chicken broth.

I met and talked to so many cool dudes on the run course. Seth from Salt Lake. John from Georgia. Gabe from Iowa. I ran with Seth for over a mile right after the "big release" at mile 10/11. He wished me luck before falling off my pace. I begged him and tried to coax him along. He begged me to just keep going. So I did.

The zombies started attacking the course at about mile 18. People were dropping like flies, shuffling and babbling nonsensical phrases. This all motivated me. I was still keeping a 12 minute pace ... and passing more folks than were passing me. Mile 19 /20 was a little rough but Carrie walked with me through that half mile and I told her "Thank you, but this little downhill says 'run' all over it. Love me." I ran the last 6 miles without stopping ... sucking down chicken broth at every opportunity.

At the finish, I pulled as many people with me as I could. I did get the vet from Georgia to switch from walking to running and he finished strong. In typical Bryonman finish fashion, I concluded the run and the 140.6 with an 1/8th mile of 5:50 pace output. That was for me and the spectators. It was my way of saying - "See folks, I still have juice in the tank". I am always out to prove something.

Upon analyzing my Garmin output from the run, I realized that minus the 10 minutes where I forgot to stop my timer at the finish AND the 10 extra minutes for the "big release" I did have a sub 5 hour marathon after a brutal swim and a brutal bike. The best news of all this is that my biggest pain is the sunburn on my lats and shoulders. I truly do feel like I could train tonight without pain or injury.

So my rough stats were:

2+ miles in the water at a time of 1:40:30

(40+ minutes on the rescue boat)

T1 - 12 minutes

112 miles on the bike - 7:15:15 (15.5 mph moving average)

T2 - 15 minutes

Run - 5:00:00

Roughly - 14hr:25min moving time to finish. I crossed the line at 15:01 and change. This is three hours greater than my original target time - but a race like this has the ability to shift your perspective. Contrary to the length of this boring race report - I can't even come up with enough words to explain how much I learned.

Back to train and race another day. Perhaps tomorrow. :-)

+++++++++++++++++ Thank Yous+++++++++++++++++++

To Carrie: This chance happened to me because of you. I love you.

To Mom: You were very strong during the event. You held it together even when you feared for me at the lake. Thanks for coming out to spectate ... oh and birthing me. Love.

To Dad: I always want to make you proud. I think I got one of those opportunities on May 5th, 2012. Your words during the run were perfect. Love.

To Brandon and Blake: See what old men can do? Love Bryan

To Paul and Barbara: Thanks for the support - especially during the Christmas holidays while I trained up for this event. Love Bryan

To Sarah and Seth: Nice coaching. Good advice. Good plan. The fitness IS there. The attitude was right. I was just a bit outmatched on swimming skill. My lack of experience is the only thing that stopped me in the water. I was prepared. You did your jobs.

To My Fellow IMSG 2012 Alums - Jarrett Wyatt, Adam Folts & Shawna Folts: Jarrett - seeing you and checking in with you on the bike was helpful. Shawna and Adam. Both of you rock and I appreciate you chatting with me on the run. Tri Tri again!

To Ted Knotter and Sally Borg: Undying love and support. This whole journey is pretty much your fault since you got me back into cycling in 2008 at the Bike Tour of Colorado.

To Brian Folts: Fresh and Loose - living the dream. Who knew that a fast guy like you would be able to teach me to not worry about time and just live? Praise be the treadmill.

To Ben Brown: Thanks for teaching me what you taught me about nutrition. Most of all, thanks for being a good friend.

To Penny Bailey: Spin class followed by Yoga! The prescription for anyone serious about getting into better shape. Thanks for all the support.

To Team Triple Sports: The perfect Tri squad for me and my quirky personality. Here's to the remainder of 2012.

To Bruce McHenry: Whether climbing rocks or swimming in 5 ft swells, you have introduced me to living. Keep up the good work.

To Barry Tait: Thanks for the advice and friendship man!

To Christian Bailey: Thanks for all the advice, bike work and general entertainment.

To Dan Quick: You might be the coolest person I have ever met.

To Scott Leckey: You would have loved this race. You would have made the swim. Thanks for being a good friend. Keep training.

To Mark Konietzka and Tri Family Racing: If you have not been out to a Tri Family race and you live in Phoenix - do not hesitate. A great local race team. Mark is the man!

To Dan Cadriel: The Mayor! Ever since I cornered you and picked your brain about things at Seville in the fall of 2011 I have used your advice to help me understand myself as I relate to this journey.

To my Online Followers: Thanks for reading. Tell your friends! Help me stay focused. I have the second half of 2012 to race yet!

To Andy Graham and SBR of Murray KY: Thanks for allowing me to train with you while we were in town. We will see you again soon.

To my Benton KY Family & Friends: All the class of MCHSers that followed me. Ironman Brock and Ironwife Jessica - much love. To all the "Southies" ... I wore my orange and blue onesie to represent. I wore red shoes and gray socks for South Marshall colors. "Heather HD and Ron" - hang in there. You will win. Julie Guyton - keep running! To Dariel Miller, Doc, Phyllis and all of Dad's old work buddies rooting me on ... thanks! Brad Miller - you are one fast cookie and quite a good role model.

To Myself: Good work! Celebrate this but please do not stop. You have put in a tremendous amount of effort to get where you are and now you know that the sky is indeed the limit.

To everyone else: If I forgot you or you cannot possibly be lumped into one of these categories - call me out. I will fix it.

What are we doing tomorrow????

Friday, May 4, 2012

Here we go ...

A HUGE shout out to my new "real-life" friend DRog!

So DRog and I have followed one another's blog for a number of months. When I got back from my bike ride this morning - a nice guy parked right next to me asked if I needed some help moving my bike rack around. I said "Nah, I got it man ..." He says "How's the bike running?" I said "It's doing well." He's says, "Where are you from?" I said, "Arizona". Then I took a look at his face more closely and I said "Hey, are you DRog?" He says "Yeah, how do you know that?" I said "I am Bryonman."

Out of thousands of racers and on a random practice day - we ended up parked right next to one another. This is a great story that I will remember forever.

Woke at 4:20am yesterday and did a quick 7 mile run. Then we had breakfast and headed out to Highway 9. The destination: Zion National Park. I knew that place was awesome, but I clearly had no idea how awesome. Holy cow. Carrie and I have decided that we should plan a week long backpack journey through the park in the near future.

Last night was the Ironman welcome dinner. It was fun to see all the the people who have essentially had similar existences over the past 6+ months. I liked how many of the athletes had multiple family members with them. The mandatory meeting was less mandatory than I thought it would be.

After a very good night's sleep I had some breakfast and headed out to Sand Hollow Reservoir. The water is a great temperature for the wetsuit. The wind was high this morning so the water was choppy. I actually like the choppiness. It adds a level of interest. After the swim, I went out for a 30 minute bike ride. It will be a BLAST coming out of the water. Those first few downhills are 45 mph hills for me - without much effort.

On to bike check-in -

The positioning they assigned me in T1 is solid. It should be pretty easy to flow through and make quick work of T1.

T2 might be a bit of a different story - but since they don't have it all set up yet, I am not sure of how that is going to work. I may go back down there tonight to see how it will actually all work.

The logistics in all this is challenging but fun. I have all my bags ready. My special needs bags are probably over prepped with stuff - but you never know.

The shuttle to the reservoir leaves at 4:30 am. Time to get some rest - after I check in on my students.

I just noticed the night before last that this post is number 140 since I started the blog. I find it fitting that my T3 post for after the race will be number 141. It was not planned. I am not that clever.

Next stop - the St George Finishing chute. I should be so lucky. It's a charmed life I am leading and I refuse to take it for granted.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Phoenix to Vegas by Wagon Train -

Well. That drive just plain 'ol sucked.

I think there is a construction zone extending from Phoenix to Vegas. It was crazy.

Other than that, things are going well. I have stuck to the eating plan with near perfection. The parents and wife are being MORE than supportive. We are all learning that this is a bigger deal than we thought.

St. George is ready for us. WTC may be a somewhat evil empire but they appear to know how to put on an event.

I've had two short running workouts in a row and things just keep feeling better and better.

Next stop - packet pickup / registration.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Let the cardio vacation begin

Headed to Utah tomorrow morning. I can't believe it is finally here.

We did spin and yoga last night and that workout hit the spot. I intended to run this morning but decided to sleep in a little and clean up around the house a bit in preparation for my parents arrival.

I am surprisingly relaxed. I am spending quite a bit of time visualizing the race in my head. What I have to do is stay focused. I've been pretty good at that during the training. I just hope it carries over into the race - especially the swim.

Next stop St. George Utah for the LAST full Ironman on that course.