Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Race Report

The morning of the race, my wife wakes me up, she hasn't been able to sleep.  I slept like a rock.  I remember falling asleep what feels like seconds ago.  For some reason the lights aren't working, infact... nothing is working.  We look around the room and there is no sign of power anywhere.  So I look outside the room and our city view is dark.  Great.  No big deal, but seriously?  What a strange way to start out.  I get ready for the day by iPhone light, my wife holds the phone so I can see.  at this point getting ready seems automatic, I've packed and dropped off everything, and have rehearsed every second of this day a thousand times in my mind.  We talk a little about how the day will go, confirm meeting points, and head downstairs for breakfast, by iPhone light.  The entire hotel and surrounding area is black, and there is nobody around.  Wait, nobody around?  We look for food and the trays are empty, no other people... what's going on!  that's when I realize i'm up an hour earlier than we planned because of the time zone difference and leaving Dena's phone on airplane mode.  Awesome!  Trudging back upstairs, by iPhone light, and i can think of a million different better ways this day can be going already!!
Giant Race Map in the Expo.  Photo with a scuba advertisement
I try to go to sleep again but never really go down.  We had woken up at 2:30 am.  the race starts in 4.5 hours.  The race, oh yeah, that day is finally here.  It feels unbelievable, like it's not really true and somehow I am still dreaming.  Such a cool story to be part of, I can barely believe God is doing this in my life.  It's really amazing.  Of all the places in the world to do an Ironman this has got to be one of the most beautiful.  My mind races with the race plan from the days and months before.  I think of the time I was in the expo, the course map, the wind conditions and weather.  I am ready, my mind and body are so ready that I am to the point now of being annoyed at every moment that goes by that I am not racing.
I want to go I want to start I want to swim and I can't take another moment!!  Finally after what feels like hours, the hotel power comes back on and 15 minutes later we head down for real breakfast.  My wife wakes up and eats with me even though she dosn't have to leave the hotel for several hours still.  My buss leaves at 4:30 and I am anxious to get on it.  The ride to the event is quiet, but buzzing.  Everyone is excited to get started.  Jeff and I get there early, and for good reason I'll find out later.
T1 looking at swim start.  Amazing place
to do a race.

just a small fraction of the people lined up for the race.
We tripple check our bike and equipment, people take photo's and laugh at the 15 gell packs I have taped to my bike haha.  Maybe excessive but whatever!  Fill the tires with air.  You have to let it out the night before or the heat of the day will cause them to burst.  I had no idea till the night before.  I sheepishly ask for a bike pump from somebody with a $3000 TREK bike, everyone is happy and in a great mood.  I've never seen so many people in such a good mood!  There are 50 porta-potties and easily 25 people in line for each one, it's amazing.  And we got here early.  I do my morning routine, and hop in line at the dock.  We are easilly within the first 25 people in line.  it feels surreal, it's finally here, and in the moment it feels like my entire life has been for this single day.  Certainly the majority of the last life changing 6 months has been for this day that I have talked about and wished about and prayed about and made new friends about and it's finally here.  They drop the rope and we start walking in.  Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds fill the docks.  We move right up through the cheering people, so many people, and hop in the water.  Jeff takes me to a great spot under the dock, where there is a fence outside dolphin pens, this place is usually a swim with dolphin spot and so we play with flipper for a few minutes while we wait.  people keep jumping in, above and around us.  Jeff and I say our good-bye's just seconds before the gun goes off, see you on the other side stud.  You're a rock-star.  The gun fires and everybody takes off.  I hold back and take a few deep breaths... this is actually happening i say to myself... let go of the fence, fix goggles, lower swim cap, start swimming.  it feels good.  natural.  easy. I know i could go so much faster but i have to keep cool and level headed.  This is going to be a long day.  It's just a long workout day i tell myself. 

I have never been in the water with so many people before.  It felt strange and spooky the day before during the practice swim, but today it feels fine. I keep running into people from behind, swimming around them.  I didn't think i would be the one constantly passing but for the whole swim, that's what happened.  Passing people, getting off course and running into them.  Like salmon swimming up stream, we all are just going in approximately the same direction with the same goal... those blue stairs 2.4 miles away.  People run into me and just keep swimming, it's amazing.  I keep to the outside whenever I feel like breast stroking for a while, mostly I feel bad when there are people around me.  We make the first turn and i can't believe it happened already.  That was fast.  The turn is physical, people are confused, grabbing the buoys, one guy calls for a boat.  I swim on.  The second leg is fast.  The current is with us and it's lightning fast.  I duck my head and just swim.  I watch the sea floor streak past.  I realize I can't hear anything, this is the first time I've worn a swim cap and it feels like I am invincible with it on.  I can't hear, so I just focus on the movements, over and over, repeating the same stroke as the ocean pushes me on, it want's me there almost as much as I want to be there.  The water is my ally, until the second turn.

Amazing photo!!  Seriously!!
The second turn leaves just a little distance to get back to the starting point and the wonderful blue stairs.  but for some reason, the ocean hates me now.  I swim and don't seem to move.  Just making the corner I find myself somehow pushed all the way to the outside about 50 yards off the turn buoy.  What?  Whatever, i duck my head and see the most fantastic coral below me.  The water is just 20 feet deep here and I get to watch the coral now, before there was only sand.  But the coral doesn't move.  The current, I realize, is against me now, as it was the first leg, but I didn't care because I was excited and fresh.  Now I have to kick it into a new gear just to make forward progress.  Fine, I feel good and the stairs are close, thought i can't see them yet, I kick it up and push.  Pushing harder feels so good... I understand how people can over do it in these races... Everything inside you just want's out, the energy just wants to go, to be released.  It takes so much mental energy just to keep it in.  I am passing people almost constantly now.  I notice when i am getting close to someone's heels because suddenly it get's easier to swim.  This must be what drafting feels like.  Suddenly, the stairs come into sight, and I kick it into the fastest gear I have.  I love the look of those stairs now, I look to my right just intime to see my fantastic wife, brother, and sister in law on the cliffs just off the swim area!  They grab a fantastic shot of me swimming.  Up the stairs, i pull off my goggles and stuff them into my swim cap.

Coming out of the water, pulling off the swim cap and suddenly being able to hear feels like being born.  Suddenly I hear what has always been going on.  The cheers, the crowd yelling, so loud compared to the quiet of the swim.  My heart-rate spikes, I know not because i have a HR monitor, but because I can feel my heart beating in every part of my body like a surge, but it's fast, so fast.  I remember Patty's advice, chill out when you come out of the water.  So I resist the urge to run.  I calmly look around for my family and throw out a peace sign to them before moving on.  I walk to the showers, and take my time there too, breathing slowly, just thankful that I can breath whenever and however I want too.  My breath has kept rhythm with my movements for the last 90 minutes and it feels good to be out of the water.  I really can't believe how quickly the swim was though, i remember training 90 minute swims felt like an eternity, but this felt like moments.  Other people are skipping the showers.  This is my race.  I head to T1 and realize I forgot a towel.  laugh at myself and grab the table cloth off the Gatorade table.  everybody laughs and I dry off.  On with the bike shorts, jersey and shoes, carful of sand, loving my body glide, taking my time getting my bike.  I spend 22 minutes in T1 and I am not even sorry.  :)

I grab my bike and click on the GPS watch I borrowed from Vanessa  Thanks V the Fantastic.   I know exactly where the bike is because I put it there, and I dreamed about it last night... wow, last night seems like an eternity ago.  actually this morning feels like ages ago!!  How is the swim over already!!??  I hear my family cheering as I approach the exit to T1, stop over and give my wife a big kiss.  My brother is there looking like a giant, impossible to miss because is is always 8 inches taller than everybody else.  That's him in the green!  His wife Sarah against the palm tree.  Seriously glad they were there like rock-stars.
The day would have been significantly less awesome had they not been there.  Thinking about them during the swim and the bike and the run were what kept me busy.  I don't know how people do this kind of thing without stuff to think about like family and friends.  I could never have gotten to where I am, actually competing in an Ironman without God, family, and friends.  Thank you everybody who was awesome enough to help me along this journey.  I definitely had many great thoughts of you throughout the day.

Me and Jackie Arendt.  Stay tuned
she is a pro-women's athlete, who finished
with a time of 9:44.  She will be guest
writing for the blog in the future.
I hop on the bike and head out.  Still quite wet, but no big deal.  I look down at my 15 gel packs taped to the bike, and laugh again at myself.  I got to talk to one of the pro athletes at the mandatory meeting and got her contact info.  She thought I was INSANE for going couch to ironman in 6 months.  haha, I do too.  The bike feels great, if you asked me at that moment, I would have told you that except for being wet, it didn't even feel like I had gone for a swim that day.  I felt totally fresh, partly because I usually only swim with my arms, but also because of the crowd support and the family support   One look at my family and bam I could have swam another 2.4 in the blink of an eye.  GPS watch still doesn't know where I am.  I powered it on last night to make sure it found me, played with the settings for hours just like Vanessa said i would haha.  How she got to know me so well in such a short time I may never know...  Fully charged and ready to go I just need it to find me and tell me how fast I am going.... finally it clicks over and tells me i am at 22mph.  !!  What?  I was holding back for the first few miles, going easy until I found my groove, how am i going at 22??  whatever I roll with it and keep easy spinning at 20-22 mph laughing all the way!  HA HA HAAA!!

The bike course is three laps, each lap is basically broken into three sections.  I named and created them myself.  I call the first section the jungle ride.  It's great, there is no real wind, and if there is it could be considered a light tailwind.  But there isn't much to look at, it's basically a perfectly straight road right through the jungle.  this chunk is about 13 miles.  The second chunk is what I call the beach ride.  It is beautiful beyond imagining!!  the coast and the beach is right there, less than 100 yards from where you are riding!  With little hammocks and bars and stuff to look at, and also picture perfect scenes of cliffs and beaches, really amazing.  buuuuuuuuut.  the problem with the beach ride, is this TERRIBLE AND TOTALLY SUCKY HEAD WIND!  the course description said it was a cross wind??  BS.  it's right in your face at about 25mph the entire time.  AND the weather report from the night before was totally wrong.  the winds were gusting as much as 30 mph.  I turned a slight corner out of the jungle ride and WHAM!  I was struggling to keep a a speed above 13mph!  Dear oh dear!!  This was almost panic time for me after about an hour of this, I was prepared to kick it up a notch or two but didn't want to do so on the first lap!!  i decided to just keep my effort level consistant like i did in training and see how I was time wise after lap one.  This turns out to be a decision that saved my race.  If i had pushed too early on the bike, I would have been wiped out by lap three.  Thanks again Patty and Brian for your great advice.  Section three of the bike I call the city ride, and it is terrific.   It starts with the most blessed corner God ever made, which turns you away from the coast and makes the head wind into a tail wind, followed by an immediate aid station.  Through the whole bike, I took a gel every 30 minutes, and something else every hour, either half a cliff bar or whatever else i could get my hands on.  Turns out the cliff bar was the only thing I ate other then gel's on the bike.  The city takes you through three different concert spots, each blasting music and surrounded by people shouting SI-SE-PUEDA!!  (meaning you can do it!! apparently)

This is me the day before the race.
Just checking in my bike and getting
my race numbers!!  see the gel packs?
Lap 2 of the bike started good.  I was satisfied with my time for lap one and so kept the same level of exertion for lap 2.  It got nasty when the cliff bar made me feel bloated, and I dreaded going through the damn winds again, but pushed through this time knowing that relieve was coming when I got to what i called salvation corner!  I ended up with great bike times, for me.  I slowed down a bit each loop by about 1 mph.  My final bike time was EXACTLY what I wanted it to be within minutes.  I was off the bike by 4:07 in the afternoon when I was shooting for 4.  I know I was pissed about the 7 minutes too!  The biggest issue I ran into was my bike shoes!!  They gave me lots of trouble throughout training on every long ride, digging into my feet on the sides, and this ride was no different!!  I should have gotten different shoes but chose to be stubborn  which is typical behavior for me.  I ended up ditching the socks completely (which was AWESOME!)  and still had to take a 5 minute break each loop to massage my feet.All things considered, I made some great friends, found some gears I didn't know I had in both the swim and the bike, and could not wrap my head around the fact that there was still a marathon to run.  I spent the entire third loop trying to convince myself that I would be able to do it and couldn't.  I ended up deciding agreeing to disagree with myself and simply digging in my heels and saying 'I will not quit'.  This was the only option since I was unable to convince myself that the marathon was in-fact, going to happen.  I ended up drinking about 48oz of water between each aid station, which worked out to be about every 15 miles, or every hour.  

T2 came and I got giant high-fives from all my family, this is really a boost I can not describe with words. Seeing everyone there was like a breath of fresh air.  I took my time in T2 and believe it or not, putting on those sneakers felt really really good.  By the time I stood up (sitting is so awesome) I felt strong again, ready to go and take on the world (just never wanted to see my bike again).  I am off to do the first of six 4 mile legs.  I break it down to four mile chunks in my brain so my head doesn't explode.  But strangely enough, this running thing isn't hard.  I thought it would be really tough after the swim and the bike, but it's not bad at all, again i feel fresh!  It's the most bizar thing when your body is telling you one thing but your mind is saying no, that can't be possible.  It felt GREAT!  Like I was the piolet of a ship called my body that was unstoppable!!

First leg of the run is over with an average of 11:44 min mile.  Great.  Feels amazing, I am eating bananas and Gatorade  and water and all systems are go.  There are all these strange things at the aid stations like oranges and things that I never thought of eating, and although tempted I was for variety, I stuck with my plan.  Sick and tired of gels and banana's I chowed down every 30 minutes alternating between the two.  As I walk/ran, i pondered the events of the day, and though the sun was setting, and i had been outside all day, the swim might as well have been another life!  It felt like ages ago, like a distant memory from my childhood, and at the same moment, just second ago I was climbing out of the water.  I can hardly believe the day is already so close to over.  The second loop of the run is just like the first, like every other run ive been on, the routine is basically unaffected by the fact that i had already swam and biked that day.  My body didn't seem to care.  Even my knee which had been such a pain in the tail after mile 7 on almost ever run I had ever been on was just not a problem!  Everything was green go and keep on trucking, until lap three.

16 miles into the run, things started to break down.  My knee started hurting, which I really couldn't complain, at least it wasn't mile 7.   My stomach got queazy  and my body starting acting weird   I couldn't stop peeing!!  The running felt like I was running through sludge and My walk speed dropped from 15min/mile to 21min/mile.  I was hurting, but honestly when you only have 8 miles left after a day like this, you just don't care about anything, you just are too excited.  I make the agonizing decision to run the last mile, then change my mind and decide to run the last half mile, then change my mind and decide to run the last quarter.  People are cheering with glow sticks and yelling, and then you have to run.  As I round the corner for the finish everything goes into slow motion.  I hear the announces saying my name and my home country, he yells the signature "Aaron you are an ironman!!" I run down the blue carpet, I can hear every heart beat, every breath, is like music.  I can't describe the feeling you get as every single person looks at you.  cheers for you, for those few seconds, it seems like the entire world only cares about you.  

I cross the line, and first thank God, then kiss my wife, there is my brother, 8 inches above everyone else.  What an amazing day.  They give me a towel and this giant heavy metal, that says ironman Cozumel finisher.  Somebody asks me if I need recovery or medical... I don't think i answered but just staggered forward.  Somebody hands me Gatorade, I drink it.  There is pizza and i eat two slices.  Somebody hands me a cup of noodles... mmmmmm.... I really do love food......  I end up getting lost and having to retrace my steps.  I take an ice bath inside the recovery area, get a finisher T-shirt, and a massage.  My family finds me and we all talk and walk together.

Can someone go from the couch to the Ironman in just 6 months?  Hell yes.  Is it worth it?  double hell yes.  How do you do it?  I'll say the same thing a hundred people have said before me.  You have to set a goal, make a plan, and then follow it based on your schedule not based on your feelings.  Have a great reason for doing it in the first place, and let that momentum carry you through the boring hard parts.  Tell everyone you know what you are doing, and feed off both the positivity and the negativity you get back.  Let the cheerleaders cheer for you, and let the neg-heads bug you into success.   Carry as many people along with you as possible, family, friends, coworkers, everybody.  And once you get to the top of the mountain, and you finally turn back around to see where you came from.  Enjoy the view.  You will be just as astonished as everyone else at what you have accomplished.   The first step is to dream big, the kind of dream that breaks boundaries.  If somebody isn't telling you your crazy, you need a bigger dream!!

I really cannot thank enough all the people that went down this road with me, my family, my friends both old and new, my co-workers and business partners.  All of you played a huge part in my success and I can not wait to continue this party called life with all of you in the future.  This is far from the end of the blog, stay tuned for the next crazy dream and the crazy story of how you can make if happen in your life too.  I have some idea's on what to do next, you'll have to stay tuned to hear about them.   Check out the facebook photo's section form more photo's of the event.  Link is on the right :)

I would like to end this very long entry with one tiny piece of advice.  If there is something eating at you that you have always wanted to do, you gotta go do it.  If there is some big dream you've been putting on the back burner, it's time to turn up the heat.  Don't ask yourself what the world needs, that won't get you anywhere.  Instead ask yourself what makes you come TRULY ALIVE, and do that!  because what the world needs are people, who have become truly alive.

My brother and his wife Sarah.  Rock-stars.

The view from our first Hotel room.  The second was even better!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Night before the Race

I read the colors of which bag goes where a thousand times... checking over and over.  Blue is bike, red  run, yellow bike special needs, green bike special needs, the colors are burned into my mind.  I think I packed every bag a hundred times.  At this point though, all the nerves are gone, nothing can happen that will change the outcome at all.  Everything has happened exactly as it was meant to and tomorrow will be no different.  The worry stopes, the nerves calm, I think i might even be able to sleep.

My brain almost refuses to accept the fact that the day has come, that tomorrow is the day of the race.  It doesn't feel real.  My life feels like a dream at this point.  I can see the anticipation and excitement on the faces of everyone around me, it's all anyone can talk about.  The hotel's across the island are chock full with the ironman contestants, more cardio fitness packed into one island than ever before, since the last ironman.  I talk to people who have done five before, three before.  I talk to people who have never done a full ironman, but they have done multiple half's and have trained for years.  I talk to a precious few who did the unthinkable and trained for an ironman in just a year, all of which have a history of physical endurance racing.  I've thought and rethought my plans, strategies, and backup plans a million times, there's nothing left to think about.  The only thing left to do is visualize.

I went for the practice swim today, felt the waves, tasted the salt... I like salt... it makes me feel like I can fly.  Some of the other contestants are talking about a strong current during the swim.  I can imagine the water on my face, the motions of the swim.   I have swam miles and miles and miles preparing for this race...  I feel good about the swim

Transition one: get out of the water, supposed to be showers there somewhere, take your time.  What if I forget, can't think that way.  Go over the blue.. no .. yeah blue bag...  Shoes, equipment, water, nutrition.  What goes in which pocket...  Bike helmet, make sure it's buckled, don't get on too soon... Find my wife... I like her... give her a kiss, then ride away.

I can feel the wind on my face from the few practice races I have done here in Cozumel.  The pedals feel good under my feet.  I love the feeling of peddling, makes me feel fast.  The surging muscles in my legs are almost in slow motion in my mind... The course fly's by in my mind as I imagine the road... three loops.  I have been thinking of the crosswinds for months... other people are worried too, but the forcast is for low winds and a cool day... what will be will be... think about transition 2.

off the bike by 4, just get off the bike by 4 no matter what!  change my socks, put on sneakers.  I remember the practice run.  Felt heavy, slow, lumbering... like I was made of rock.  I hope it dosn't feel like that tomorrow... I really don't like running, but I like the way the road feels, the stride.  Feels like i could go forever, just moving.  Farthest i've ever ran so far is 16 miles, and that was very rough.  Worried about my knee, stupid IT band... i've done all I can do, as long as I've off the bike by 4 I will be ok.

I am not worried, but excited, so very excited.  I can feel my heart pounding, slowly, as I visualize each moment of the day to come.  So aware of the events that will follow, feeling the swim, feeling the bike.  Cant wait for it to be over.  will this really be worth it?  I hope everything will be ok... but deep, down I know God will take care of it somehow.  At the end of the day I know, making a move like this requires just two things... Faith, and Determination.  I've done the work, I've put in the hours.  I have a plan I will not fail.

I fall asleep without any hesitations.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Flying to Cozumel

I am sitting in the airport, or flying on a plane, on my way to Cozumel, Mexico to actually race in the IronMan.  I am writing this blog while traveling, so I don't' know when i'll be able to upload it.  I can't believe the day has come, that it is actually three days away and really happening.  Even though I've visualized it a million times and practiced for it for the last 6 months almost every day, it's still hard to believe it's here.

The nerves feel the same as if I were 10 years old going out for my piano recitals again, or about to go through my exit exams for Engineering, about to speak in front of more than a hundred men for the first time.  It's not really fear, that comes over you, more like you become more aware of things.  You start to visualize things that you had never thought of before.  Scenario's and possibilities start racing through your head.  The advice of so many people, trainers, partners, friends and family race through your mind.  You start to think of all the people you would let down if you failed, but instantly shut those thoughts down because they are the enemy.  On Sunday, the contest will be between me and the road, me and the water.  But today the contest is happening between my ears.  I have to control what I allow my mind to visualize, because your mind does not know the difference between reality, and what you visualize.  If you tell yourself not to miss the ball, you'll miss it.  So you have to tell yourself to hit it.

The truly amazing thing is that our minds are capable of visualizing things we have never experienced.  Situations and circumstances we have never gone through.  I can actually see myself climbing those blue stairs after the swim, feel the salt water in my mouth and on my skin, though I have never done these things yet.  My mind will execute them when the time comes according to the dominant thought in my head leading up to it.  It's easy to stay positive when your surrounded by people that believe in you.  And in this modern age of Facebook and social media, it's easy to be 'surrounded' by people that believe in you.  I am sure that the people who encouraged me and thought well enough of me to tell me they were watching will be the thing that carries me through.

After all, once you've told the whole world you're going to do something… well, you just have to do it.  Time for me to go 140.6 miles... because 140.7 would just be insane...

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Best Laid Plans...

We are officially less than two weeks away from the ironman, and basically I have two feelings; great and terrible.  As the event approaches, and my head has more time to work, I start imagining every possible outcome, from stubbing my toe on a buoy line, getting elbo-KO'd in the water, breaking my collar bone in a bike accident (Seriously Harriet, you are an all-star), even cardiac arrest during the race!    All manner of things has happened in the past during IronMan races, and my imagination is powerful enough to fill in the gaps, wherever they may be, for the freak accidents that haven't happened yet!  I think each and every one of us is guilty of being our own worst cheerleader.  The things I have thought in my mind make the rest of the events in my life seem mundane and simple, but the battle between the ears is where the battle in the real world is won or lost.  I even daydreamed once that I had been abducted by aliens 3 feet from the finish line and they wouldn't let me go!  Seriously!  but before you think of me as a total loon, think of the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone.  I don't mean a baby little toe outside, I mean one big giant double footed LEAP outside your comfort zone!  And it's not just an internal battle that get's your head going in the wrong direction either, sometimes real issues can pop up, and have to be dealt with and accounted for.  If you're head is in the wrong place then those issues that may just be mole-hills can seem like mountains, and the mountains can seem like planets!

The plan from day zero, for my IronMan, was to train on one bike that I had borrowed from a buddy, and then before the race exchange bikes for a really nice time trial bike I would borrow from a buddy (I know, cheap right?)  Well, a couple days ago, I found out that I wouldn't be able to get this sweet honey of a race bike, it wouldn't get here in time.  and so naturally I paniked!!  Oh crap I don't have a bike!  the training bike is falling appart, I'll never finish, this is a disaster, how could God have let this happen!!!  And once the malstrom of evil thoughts and horrible feelings was done rampaging my carefully thought out plan, I calmed down and did a little thinking.  I called a few buddies of mine, who are both IronMen and super biker people (Patty and Brian, rockstars the both) and they downloaded some wisdom.

The truth is, it would be a really bad idea to change bikes this late in the game anyway, with the race less than 2 weeks away.  My wife has been telling me to use the training bike in the race for months now, I tell you I should listen to her more often.  Turns out it would be a bad idea to change bikes even a month away from a competition like this... but the bike makes me faster, i need the extra time so I can have it easier during the run, I thought to myself.  Not true.  Sometimes the lies you say to yourself, the fibs you let yourself believe are just little trifle harmless things.  But they are designed and laid out in an almost calculating way, so that at the right time they can all pounce on you at once, like springing a trap.  See all the pieces of a trap are totally harmless by themselves, just like the little fibs in our heads, but when they come together, you've got a deadly combo.

When you ride a bike, for long periods of time, the muscles and ligaments get used to moving in a certain way, pulling and thrusting with a certain force, and in a specific direction.  They maximize their ability to ride THAT bike in THAT way.  once this pattern has been started, riding on the same bike with the same setup only strengthens the groove.  Until even a tiny adjustment in the bike, like a seat hight change or seat angle change, can seriously degrade performance and even cause injury, numbness, cramps, or worse.  This is what I found out after I was done throwing my little tantrum that I wouldn't have the bike I had told myself I needed.  Good thing too!  If i had changed bikes this late in the game I would be opening the door and inviting in all sorts of problems that I didn't even know where lurking there!

The moral of this story, and the truth about the way the world works, is that we all have somebody looking out for us.  He want's whats best for us and cares about us deeply.  when I started this IronMan, I invited Him in to help me out, to carry me through!  Truth be told, to this day, i am still not sure if the IM was His idea or mine!  But when you ask for help, you usually get it.  My wife was ready to drive her butt, with our twin daughters, all the way to Chicago to pick up the bike if I had asked her to, Brian and Patty both took my call and talked me off a cliff.  Vanessa has always been there, most people are willing and able and will jump at the opportunity to do a good thing for their fellow man, and we are made in the image of God!  How much more do you think HE is willing and able and ready to jump at the opportunity to do a good thing!?  and he did just that for me with the bike.  Although at first I was quite angry about it, once we calm down and let wisdom into our lives, we learn the truth about things and usually, we see providence rather than chance, opportunity rather than opposition.  Because that's the truth.

Honestly, the whole experience, and the experience of our lives, on a daily basis, would be much smoother and more enjoyable and amazing, if we would all just take a deep breath, and have a little more faith in God.  For everybody who is experiencing something a little different than they had hoped, just remember... He is out there, and he cares, and he is willing and able to help.  He is usually just waiting for an invitation.

Monday, October 29, 2012

4 Weeks Out

Welcome to the end of October, and the home stretch of training.  Here, we have just finished what's called BASE 4 and it was the last section of training for performance increases before the actual IronMan race.  After base 4, this is when the nerves set in.  We are starting the taper, in which the hours drastically drop off and your head has more time to think... Great... I can feel my body tense up when i think about it, ready to start swimming at any moment, even though the race is still around 4 weeks away.  You start to visualize what it'll feel like in and during the actual race, you imagine what it'll look like, when you swim with 3,000 other people, what it will be like at the transition tent, and as you visualize it in your mind, your body reacts.  You feel your heart rate pick up, you start to sweat, your imagination runs wild with images and scenario's and possibilities  both good and bad.  The realization comes to you that you WILL be kicked and elbowed in the face.  Not probably... WILL BE.   How is that going to affect you?  hmm.  The mind is an incredible thing, and it doesn't know the difference between dreams and reality.  If you don't believe me just start thinking about your favorite food and before you're done reading, your mouth will start to water.

Base 4 was the hardest and most time consuming part of the training schedule, when the hours are the longest and the day's are the shortest.  Hours spent riding my bike in the basement, running on treadmills and staring out dark windows in the morning.  This is where the race is won or lost though.  When the schedule get's tough and the training isn't as fun, what do you do?  When your dream seems a little farther away than you thought it would be, and accomplishing your goals is taking more than you thought it would, isn't as much fun as you thought, what then?  This is the deciding moments, each day a new battle in the war.  What are you fighting for?  The story changes, people struggle for races, in business, in politics, in sports, and the winners and the losers are separated by a tiny fraction.  These daily battles are what decides the victor.  If you can see it in your mind, if you can taste it, then your brain can make it happen, whatever you can dream you can do, your mind is that powerful, your body is that reactive!!

The greatest thing about your mind not knowing the difference between reality and a dream is that your brain prepares your body each time you imagine something.  Like eating, or running, or swimming, or getting kicked in the face.  Rehearsing it in your imagination each time.  Each time preparing your for that moment, that sprint, that speech.  People tell you to visualize when you speak in public, when you high-jump, poll-volt, etc.  and this is why!  You can program yourself in advance for incredible success or incredible failure.  Most of us are somewhere in between.  Be careful what messages you say to yourself, and what you allow others to say to you because each message is another little segment of programing, it brings you closer to quitting or closer to winning.  Be careful what you tell yourself because your brain is a supremely positive thing, even if we in our conscious mind aren't always.  Your brain doesn't process negatives.  So you can't say, I will not be sick, or you'll get sick.  Your brain will focus on the word sick and make it happen for you.  It doesn't process the NOT.  You've got to say I will be healthy.  Then your brain focuses on the word health and makes it happen for you!!

As the training hours dwindle, and the race draws near, I will be preparing my mind for the struggle.  As the time draws near for any event, weather it's speaking in public, meeting with your boss, asking for the promotion, sitting down with your spouse for that difficult talk, or finally opening your own business like you've always wanted to do.  You MUST prepare your mind, and let your mind prepare your body!  You are in command of such an incredible weapon, the most powerful device ever made on earth or in the heavens, the most powerful computer hooked up to the most ruthless hardware in existence !  The space between your ears is literally the crafter of the universe you live in!  It generates the thoughts, that motivate the actions, that create the circumstances, that build the life you live in!  In the past it has created nations, and torn them down!!  You are your own master and commander, you can literally change your entire life into whatever your dreams are if you start controlling and putting into action the worlds most powerful tool, the most powerful thing ever created:  You.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

5 Weeks Out

It's five week from the actual race and the pressure is on.  I think there comes a time in every plan, in every big dream or grand accomplishment, when you look at what you've signed up for and it hit's you: you are insane.  You've totally lost it, gone bonkers, no more marbles, off your rocker, headed to the funny farm, whatever.  This is the point when you actually look at what your shooting for, and for some reason you see it for what feels like the first time, for what it is.  You know it's been there all this time, but it must have been in disguise, because now you see it for what it is: a looming mountain of insurmountable impossibility.  Or at least that's how it suddenly feels.  You have to resist the mental urge to think about possible escape routs, ways out, easy paths that might minimize the effects of you quitting.  I have news for you; this is good!!  This moment is normal and actually means your on the right track to possibly pulling off your probably truly insane goal!

HERE BE DRAGONS.  That's what they used to put on the edges of the maps, the places that people had never gone before.  Complete with little pictures of demon possessed lizards breathing fire and spitting acid!  Humans are interesting really, at one point in the past we actually thought if you kept going in one direction for long enough, far-enough past the point where nobody had been before, you'd eventually come to a cliff and just fall off!  Silly really, but it does indicate one thing.  People are afraid of going where they have never been before.  Which is a smart way to be, really, when your talking about just surviving for as long as possible... but people weren't designed to just survive either, were we... So this brings us to the biggest dilema of our lives.  The truth is, we are not just afraid of going where you've never been before ... if you're honest ... the truth is ... your afraid AND COMPELLED to go there!  The question is, which is stronger?

The vast majority of the time, the fear wins out.  it twists our thoughts, actions, perceptions, logic and decisions to keep us on course to live.  It uses our very senses against us to covertly hid from us the evidence that could lead us to question that decision.  Just look at when people thought the world was flat.  You telling me that for hundreds of years people watched the ocean and Columbus was the FIRST GUY to notice the ships drop below the horizon??????  Nooooooo... lots of people noticed it, but they ignored the logical implications.  Chris on the other hand, decided on a different path.  The path of suicide.  The path of insanity.  The path of total laughable, fly-in-the-face-of-all-current-understanding.  People do this every now and then, Abraham Lincoln, Tesla, Thomas Edison, Aristotle, Newton, and hundreds of others.  If you think this stuff doesn't happen anymore, just google Cliff Young!

Ground breaking might be one option if you're going to go where no man has ever been before, but there is for most of us, another option.  Find someone who's been there before and talk to them.  In my case it's Patty and Brian.  Both have completed and IronMan in the past and both make my mountain of  insurmountable impossibility... well... surmountable.  If you want to build a business, find someone who has done it.  If you want to go to antartica, find someone who's been there.  If you want to go to the moon, start with NASA.  We live in an amazing time where people are doing incredible things all over the planet all the time!  The potential of one person to plug into thousands of incredible ground breakers has never been this big in the history of the world!!  And on top of that we've got the internet! There is nothing stopping you from crushing your mountain of insurmountable impossibility into tiny pieces and selling it on amazon for a million dollars except a decision to go for it.  Remember, you were born to be amazing, you are wonderfully and powerfully made, you have what it takes and the world needs you to go for it!!  There is no growth without risk!

Just think of what the view will look like when you look back from the top!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

So, you thought it would be easy?

What do you do when things get really hard?  Do you act like things aren't as hard as they are, and fake it?  Do you start to blame other people?  Do you start to get quiet and unplug from people?  What happens when it turns out to be significantly harder to do an IronMan than you originally thought?  Where do you turn when getting your next promotion is flat out more work than you predicted?  How about when your grand training plan somehow get's off track?!  What about when your nutrition plan just simply is not cooperating and nothing seems to be working?  I tell you what, when your ironman event is late in the fall, like Cozumel ironman which happens in late November, there is going to be an issue that I failed miserably to predict.  I never saw this particular problem coming which is silly, really, since it's totally unavoidable and happens every year as surely as the sun rises.  And it's impact on my training plan is a subtle as a freight train to the face!  It's called sunlight, and we have less and less of it each day as the winter draws closer!

So what now, with less and less time each day to train, and with the weather getting colder and colder, what can I do?  Should I get angry because nobody warned me?  Should I quit?  Should I act like the nutrition will somehow just work itself out and refuse to show any need for help?  of course not, that would be totally and completely lame!!  HAHA!  The lameness is easy to see when it's somebody else's story, sure, but these are the things we do every day when it's our own story!  What do you do to hide yourself?  What are the things your not fully comfortable talking about or discussing?  Is it finances and money that makes you feel inadequate?  Maybe bosses or people you have a lot of respect for make you uncomfortable?  Well I say, you are flipping terrific exactly the way God made you and you should stop pretending because your cooler when you don't!

Here is the secret; you have incredible potential.  An astonishing amount of untapped ability, talent, skill, precision, and power all locked away in this thing called your future.  And you have all the keys you need to capture it all and never give any of it back.  We as humans however, have a hard time believing that we are awesome, we thing we are broken, weak, clumsy, ugly, fat, skinny, whatever.  And we do things to try to hide our weaknesses, and the things we do to hide are the things that end up stealing the future from us.  I am talking about failure, or exposure, or embarrassment.  These things are not things to be avoided, they are things to be sought out and charged into!!  Failure isn't what happens when you don't succeed, it's what happens JUST BEFORE you succeed.  You MUST FAIL in order to succeed!!  that is the truth.  So if you want to unlock all the phenomenal awesomeness that you have in your life, in your future, in your God made person, you've got to stop being afraid of the very things he uses to bring you to your best!

Today I am going biking with a pro biker.  This guy is a competitor in bike races.  He has like trophies and prize money and stuff, and I am going to feel like a pansy riding with him, but that is a lie.  The thing that tries to keep me where i am at says, "he is better than you", "your a loser", "don't waste his time", "he's going to think your pathetic".  HAHA all LIES!  the truth is, I will be a better rider the more time I spend with him and that is EXACTLY why the lies come in.  The lies are afraid of me reaching my full potential and want to keep me away from the things that will help me get there.

Today, and every day, is about slaying demons!  kill the things that want to kill your future, never let a single one live, don't even let them take another breath!!!  You are incredible, wonderfully, and powerfully made, and should be totally and uncompromisingly intolerant of the things that syphon away your strength and take away your potential and future.  Go get em and knock em down!  Go get uncomfortable and start improving yourself!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

When did this happen?

There is a cool event waiting for those of us who decide to change and make a difference in the way we live our lives.  It is an awesome thing that will happen to all of us, right when we least expect it.  It happened to me a couple days ago.  All the training, all the dieting, all the striving to make a difference in our level of health, so that we can live longer and be with our families for more years, as an example of a healthy person who is awesome!

When you start you are looking for results practically every few hours, or at least every day.  At least I did.  Each day after a workout I would check myself out, and look the same.  No difference yet champ. And the weeks roll by, no change.  Eventually though, you start to feel better.  More energy, more happy, laugh more, ect.  Still no change in how you look.  So eventually you stop looking, seriously, you just get over it.  You love working out because you feel great, you could never go back to not working out because you remember how shitty you felt all the time.  See you could never understand how crappy you feel, if you are unhealthy, until you are healthy.  Your normal is unhealthy, you think that is normal for everybody, but it's not.  Once your free of feeling crappy, you realize just how crappy it was!!!  This is true of everything too, not just health!  It's true of a crappy JOB, a crappy relationship, a crappy whatever.  People are afraid to step out at first, but once they do they realize how much better things could be!  ESPECIALLY when it comes to your fitness!!

Here is some truth, i know it may be difficult to swallow, but it's true none the less.  If you have bad days a lot, or you think your spouse is a pain in the neck, and hate your job.  ALL THOSE THINGS WOULD BE IMPROVED IF YOU GOT IN GOOD SHAPE!  the reason is because YOU would improve.  if you want your life to be better, then go make it better.

Anyway, once you are free from the crappyness of un-health, and you look back, you basically stop looking in the mirror because you realize it's not about how you look, it's about how you feel.  Then, nature, and God, have a fantastic surprise waiting for you.  The months roll by, training continues, and you accidentally glance in the mirror again and POOF!  out of know where you have suddenly become the person you always wanted to be, not because you changed your body, but because you changed your LIFESTYLE!!  POOF you suddenly are married to someone you love, not because they changed into someone lovable but because YOU changed into someone who could LOVE!  POOF your business is on a whole new level, not because the people on your team or in your life suddenly got better and more awesome, but because YOU changed into someone who can see the awesomeness already there in other people! 

If you go make a move in your life for just one reason, and you only get to pick one, this would be it for me.  Because I want to suddenly be surprised at the person I have become three months from now when i start to move.  6 months from now.   I am about 4 months into my training, not even fully there yet, i have 2 months to go and i am already astonished at what a difference has happened in my life.

Go get it, go get your reward, go get your true self, go become who you were ment to be!!!  You have everything you need already!!  You have what it takes!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Ahh, the ever elusive motivation.  Passion and excitement can carry you a long way, a very long way, into a goal, or a training plan.  But not all the way to the goal.  You get pumped, jazzed about something, you get all fired up and go for it!  Guns drawn nothing can stop you!  For a while, it's amazing, and you do great stuff, you nail your workouts, you hit your times, you get your cardio health up and your body in the best shape of your life.  You open your own office, double your income, hit your milestone, whatever.  Eventually, however, the excitement is going to wear off and you'll have to find something deeper to keep on your training plan.

Why do you want to be healthy?  Don't you know it's way more fun to be fat and eat everything in sight and never ever get off the couch?  What is your reason for wanting to be in good shape?  Do you just want to look nice in your skinny pants?  is that all?  You're going to need something to hold onto when the waves get rough.  Something to keep you going when it suddenly isn't exciting to wake up at 6am for a run anymore.  When you've done it so many times it's not even a big deal to those around you anymore.  Sure, you've broken through countless barriers, and overcome amazing obstacles, and your in the best shape of your entire life, but even extraordinary becomes normal over time, so now what?

Let me tell you why I am doing this.  For me, this is a very selfish and personal agenda behind doing an ironman.  I have all the usual reasons, just to say i did it, to brag about it, because i like the name, etc etc.  But those aren't going to carry me over the finish line.  Those reasons don't really even stand up to a month of training.  The real reasons for me to go for it, for me to complete it, is because my family deserves a winning example.  My kids, even though they are only 2, understand the importance of running, biking, and practicing something till your good at it.  We have a saying whenever something goes wrong, we tell them to say "nooo biiig deeeal!".  This is a great way for a child to understand that when something goes wrong its not the end of the world, not even the end of the day, it's just an opportunity to overcome and grow!  This is true for knee problems from running, neck problems from biking, or fear of swimming!  If your nervous, stressed, uncomfortable, then your growing, learning, improving.  I am not saying that being stressed all the time is good, i am saying that NEVER being out there past your boundaries is also very not-good.

So when the chips are down, and weekends are suddenly not available, how do you cope?  Do you quit?  Or when you're more lean that you want to be (how is that for a problem we would all want to have) and you know that if you get much leaner it's going to affect your performance, how do you handle it?  If you are eating your breakfast and you dump your milk all over the ground and your two years old, what do you do?  When your cereal bar get's stolen by a dog, what now?  Do you scream and cry and throw a fit until someone else solves your problem for you?  Congratulations, my kids can handle a crisis better than you!  haha.  Or do you rise up, take a deep breath, and do what needs to be done.

The trick is to make the plan when you are fired up, when your on cloud nine, when your invincible and your convinced the world is about to be dominated by you for all time.  When you feel seven feet tall and bullet proof, that's when you position the cannons, issue orders to the troops, and prepare for battle.  You layout the path when your full of faith and power.  And then you walk it, even when it's hard, even when your faith is low, even when you don't feel so powerful, you walk it out.  When you look back, having NOT QUIT, having NEVER QUIT, and realize what you have accomplished, you'll ACTUALLY BE seven feet tall and bullet proof, now it's not just a feeling, you've won.

It is all or our responsibilities as men and women, as image bearers, to do this.  We must reflect the power and strength we inherited, the majesty that is our birth right and go for it.  Risk it all.  Leave it all out on the field.  Bike down steep hills at night, whatever it takes to make your dreams a reality!  Your dreams were given to you for a reason and that reason was not just to make you wish for them in vain!
Seriously, what is it that you want out of life?  Why don't you have it yet?  Why haven't you started working toward it yet?  What is holding you back?  Whatever it is, today, take a moment and turn around to look your fear, your chains, whatever they are, look them in the eye and say no.  Say enough!  I don't need you, I am better off without you in my life.  It's time to be free.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Running, Part 3:

Adaptability.  If i had to choose a word, which describes an area of the human race, which no other species has in quite the same magnitude as humans.  The one word which is the reason we live in the most remote corners of the globe, the reason we are the dominant species on the planet, the core of what gives humans an edge over not just every living thing alive today, but every living thing that has EVER lived.  it's adaptability.  God gave this to humans in spades, no question.  Yet, even when we have gobs and gobs of this lying dorment inside each and every one of us, we are all so very afraid of change.  It's really quite a dichotomy.  I have found the incredible adaptability of our bodies through Ironman training, but that's really only the tip of the iceberg.

The couch to Ironman idea, the foundation of it, is that our bodies, minds, and hearts are far and away more adaptable than we give them credit for.  Look at the show biggest loser for a moment.  Some of those contestants lose 2x, 3x, and even 4x their final body weight over the course of the competition.  Holly smokes batman!  Adaptable bodies.  I would never be able to finish this ironman were it not for the designed in adaptability of our muscles, ligaments, bones, tissues and everything!  Thank God for that!  Furthermore, I am trusting in the adaptability of mind, even more so than that of our bodies.  Truthfully, three months ago, if you had asked if I could ever do a marathon, i would have said no way,  and swimming 2.4 miles was strictly impossible for all but the elite.  Say NOTHING about riding over 100 miles!  To be sure, changing the way you think is MORE important than changing the way your body functions.  Get this, three months ago I was having trouble getting my mind around 26.4 miles, now I have a friend who is this very weekend going to run one-hundred miles!  RUN!  You are a total STUD Haslam!

The question of how to get started running keeps coming up.  So let me tell you what i think a good way to get going is, from zero, in order to avoid injury and still have a fairly quick ramp up to good runs.  For starters, just run for 15 minutes.  Don't worry so much about distance, pace, or anything, just run for 15 minutes.  this should be challenging if you just got off the couch, but if you've been doing the chalenges throughout the running entries, you'll be able to do it.  Stretch well, rest the next day, then do it again.  Keep doing this for about two weeks, then double the time.  Keep that up for about two or three more weeks, then double the time again.  Keep your runs easy, don't push too hard, remember the cardio wall isn't going to make it easy on you no matter how much you want it to.  And breaking through it will feel amazing!!  Pay attention to your body and focus on form.  Watch the video on running I posted in running part 2.  You can do this!!  by the time your up to running an hour, you'll have done enough reading and studying of your body to keep going without my help i am sure.  Remember, your body is adaptable, but so is your mind!  Start spending time and talking with runners, they will broaden your perception of what you are capable of.  Beware the neg-head and find some great people who believe in you.  Have faith in the one who designed you, He did a good job!

I think that you are build for greatness.  Honestly, there is no other explanation for why we are capable of so much more than what we need just go scrape by.  Seriously i think most people could live their whole lives and never even need any more than 5% of their total potential.  Most of us can be respected and admired just by living up to 20% of who we are truly, the true master that lives inside each of us.  Just imagine what would happen if you were 50% of your true self.  Just take off the boundaries on yourself for 2 minutes and think of what you would be if you were just you.  the real you, no masks, no limitations.  What would you do tomorrow if you knew that you could not fail?  Guess what, even if you do get injured, you think that's the end?  Your incredible body will recover from that too!!!!  You are designed, cell by cell, for incredible astonishing awesomeness!  The reason this feels so foreign is because that awesomeness is not realized all at once, it is built day by day, step by step, run by run, phone call by phone call.  It never feels glorious in the moment, but you wake up one day, having lived from your true strength for years, and it hits you.  You need to be yourself, because the real you is exactly what the world needs.

Link to Running Part 1: Running Part 1

Link to Running Part 2: Running Part 2

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
- Howard Thurman.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Biking, Part 3:

Biking is a blast.  Nothing else to say.  It is fun, downhills are a rush, uphills are a chalenge, I like going fast!  it's amazing fun!  I think you would all be surprised at how fast you can train yourself up to being able to do really long distances too!  Most of us can go 10 miles easily our first time out.  Others have no trouble going 20!  I'll tell you one thing though that any person who has ever biked for speed already knows.  Wind SUCKS!  Also, as a quick little side-note.  A bee landed on me while I was riding, and I looked at him and said, fly away little friend, and then I realized it was a hornet, and he stung the life out of me while I attempted not to crash and tried to brush him off at the same time!  So, listen, just as a reminder;  bee = friend, leave these guys alone, they don't want to hurt you anyway, just interested in what your up to.  Hornet = not-friend.  These guys don't care what your up to they just want to mess up your world.  Kill them with high speed and in great quantities.

I just went for a 56 mile ride over the weekend.  56 miles along the southern shore of the great lake Ontario.  I averaged around 22mph on my way west, with a nice wind at my back.  I got to see some really cool stuff too!  Like these weird tree's that seemed to grow old shoes!!  HAHA!  Apparently the local legend is that if your shoes stick to the tree then your wish is granted.  Interesting.  I also got to see some FANTASTIC country side on my way out.  Apple orchards that went on as far as you could see, and a lake that stretches out farther than your eyes can focus for miles and miles and miles.  Cool stuff to be sure, but the wind.... ugh.

I turned around 1.5 hours into the ride, having gone about 34 miles, knowing it would take me longer to get back and knowing I had taken a rather meandering route there, I decided I would just go a little past my finish and turn around again to get to a full four hours.  By this time I had already realized that I had forgotten my gel's and food, so I was going to be very hungry... But I had no idea how hungry hungry could get!  So I started, blissfully unaware of how much the wind and lack of energy would totally and completely kick my rump all the way back home.  Seriously, I mean wind is one thing ok, but how does it even make sense that you would have to pedal to keep from stopping when your going down hill???  The wind was just 10mph and gusty.  So i couldn't even ride in a straight line, incredibly exhausting.  I know that i can ride about 17.5mph on flat ground with no wind, but here i was seriously struggling to keep my speed over 14!  By the time I was half way back I couldn't even think straight.  I mean it, I remember thinking very irrational things, like my bike hated me, and that I might never get back.  haha!  Your mind starts to play tricks on you at some point for some reason, I haven't really figured out why or how yet...  Either way, about 10 miles from home, having struggled against the wind to even maintain a 16mph average for the trip, starving and having no energy left, and being sick of riding miles and miles with no food right through prime apple country, I decided to take an apple.

I carefully looked up the name of the farm I would be sampling from for mention here.  It was called Glendale Farms and it was AWESOME!!!  I am near positive this was the best apple I had ever tasted.  I put another in my pocket for later and with new found vigor I hopped back on my ride after my 5 minute break and off I went.  The last 10 miles were hard but not like the 10 before it.  Here is the moral of the story.  If you forget your nutrition on a long ride, not even a wishing shoe tree will save you from the suck.  Another moral of this story, is that if you really are hungry, God probably put an apple tree or 500 nearby just for you.  Another even crazier moral is that if a bee lands on you while riding your bike, don't wait to see if it likes you before you brush it off!  Yet a fourth moral of this story is, that if a bee lands on your apple while you are biting it, then ride straight into the nearest shoe tree... well OK that last one might not work out so well.  But, remember, it might not be so wise to wish upon a shoe tree, if your bike shoes are the one's you'll need to get yourself home, you might get stung by a bee.... ok, I am done now.

Anyway, the point is, if you get out there and do something, amazing things will happen to you and you'll have great stories to tell at the very least!!  Have fun, and post your craziest moment / coolest discovery while riding your bike in the comments section!  I bet there are some awesome spots and stories out there!  Let's hear em'!

Check out more photo's of the area here:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I think it's about time for a wake up call.  There are a lot of factors out there that can possible prevent you from accomplishing your goals.  There are probably two or three chalenges for every asset you have at least.  The odds are totally stacked against you.  Are we talking about an IronMan?  Sure, just as much as we are talking about your first marathon, or going back to college to get that degree, or starting your own business.  If you want it, and it is worth fighting for, then it's going to be hard.  It is going to take a fight.  Really, doing an ironman is easy, that's why everybody does them.  Starting a business is ordinary, that's why over 90% of americans are employees, not owners.  You want some advice?  Don't even try it.  Stop now.  Quit.  It's never going to happen anyway, just look at all the chalenges.  Look at all those issues and problems you have to overcome.  Impossible....  But wait, that doesn't really discourage you does it.  It doesn't make you want to quit.  Do you know why?

Let me tell you something you may already know.  You are awesome.  I mean, you totally kick but.  There is a reason you are reading this, and there is a reason you have decided to take it to the next level, or if you haven't decided to yet, then there is a reason you're going to one day.  Because you are built for majesty.  I know that probably sounds strange, it's not language we use every day.  What does it really mean?  It means, my friends, that you were created with a purpose.  You were made with something in mind.  You have been created in the most amazing way, the formation process you went through in your mothers womb still to this modern day baffles scientists and doctors.  Sure sure, we know very well WHAT happens, we just don't have a clue WHY.  Listen, read, or watch any documentary on this process and you'll hear a lot of what happens next, you'll hear almost none of "this is because".  We don't get it.  We put men on the moon and launched machines to the far reaches of the solar system, but we still don't understand where we come from.

It is a truism that if you want to understand the purpose of a thing, you can start by examining it's functions, what is it capable of doing.  So to that end, let's quickly examine a human.  A human is built, cell by cell, brick by brick, for something... but what?  well we can certainly say we are made for a fight, look at all the incredible survival systems we have, redundant processess that overlap and cover each other.  The adrenal system alone is proof that we are made for a fight, and it is not unique!  There are many bodily systems that exist just to boost our performance well above our imaginary limits.  one could also say we are created for survival.  Look at our capacity to understand the world around us.  Nobody can even hope to argue against our ability to harness the environment.  Such incredible intelligence, easily hundreds of times smarter than the next smartest animal, well above and in excess to the level of intellect we need just to be the dominant species?  when was the last time you examined your hand?  Listen; the smartest people on the planet have been trying to copy our ability to WALK for centuries, and have failed.  Your body is a mechanical, electrical, intelectual, artful, combat ready, obstacle destroying, masterpiece designed for ... well ... MAJESTY!!

Next time you run, or ride, or swim, or whatever, before you start think a little about the machine you are in command of.  The body you are solely in control of.  The shape of it, the size of it, the capacity of it.  All of these things are yours to command.  Your Will runs and governs it all.  It will flex and bend to become what you want it to.  Just like your life.  Push your self and you grow.  Stretch yourself and you improve.  Breakthrough your boundaries and it hurts, for a second, and you keep the new territory forever.  You are meant for greatness, you are born royalty, you are created for majesty.  Look at you!  You are pilot and captain and commander of the most amazing thing ever made!!  And it is capable of becoming whatever you drive it to!!  There, all done with my reality check for the day.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Seriously.  Yup.  Believe it or not, this is an extremely important part of endurance training.  The best part about sleeping, is that it is great.  Really, who doesn't like sleeping?  Here is a surprise, if you like getting 8 hours per night normally, with training it'll be more like 10 that you need.  Not surprised?  Well I was!  Sleep is critical for weight loss, stress reduction, muscle growth, protein replacement, hormone balance and a host of other amazing things your body needs to keep functioning.  You've got to handle the details for your body's sake!!  If you don't take care of the details, sleep will be the factor that suffers, and it's the one thing you don't want to compromise.  Honestly the toughest part of getting this IronMan finished, is the scheduling and managing of all the tiny details!  It's all the semantics that make it tough!  The workouts are hard, yeah, but it's dodging little kid swim lessons that is the real chalenge!!  Running is tough, but without clean cloths and a fresh supply of socks, your sunk.  It's a deal breaker!  Not to say that this stuff isn't manageable, it's just one of those little gotcha's that seem to fly below the radar.

Let's do a little math though just to see how all this works out.  Let's take a look at how busy you are, really, in an average week.  In a seven day period of time, there are 168 hours.  If we sleep 10 hours a night, and work 10 hour days five days a week (this includes driving time and lunch), we are down to just 48 hours... tiny right?  Hardly.  Let's say it takes us all an incredibly long time to get ready each day, say an hour including breakfast, and let's say we take a whole hour each day for dinner and cleanup.  So far, we've got 34 hours left.

Then let's say we have a family that we love and care about and we invest two hours each day in ADDITION to family meals like dinner, to spending quality time with them.  Tucking in the kids, reading them stories, kissing the wife, things like that.  Two hours a day people, do you know how far above the national average this is?  Just IMAGINE your life if you spent two dedicated hours each day to spending time with your kids!!!!!  IMAGINE!!!  whew, ok, that would be amazing, really, if everybody did that!  Anyway then we are down to 20 hours per week.

Finally, let's say you spent an hour a day, once your job, your sleep, your family, and your house are all taken care of and feeling very well maintained and loved, you just waste an hour each day, doing whatever.  That brings our total down to 13 hours per week.  Can you do something incredible like train for an ironman in 13 hours per week?  Survey says?  YES!  Absolutely!  Just look at the guide!  There are only a few weeks that are over 13!

168 hours / week:
70 hours sleeping
50 hours working
14 hours with family
13 hours training
7 hours being beautiful
7 hours eating cleaning
7 hours whatever

Now, let's have a little reality check for a moment.  Do you really work 50 hours a week? really?  Most of us probably don't have a 30 minute commute.  On top of that, if your a guy, there is no way your going to spend 7 hours a week taking showers and getting dressed.  Even if your a girl, 7 hours putting on makeup and brushing your hair??  But really, the real gut check on this list is that there isn't a category for TV?!  How can we function without TV??!?!  even if you dedicate the 7 hours of whatever to television, that's only ONE episode of Big Brother a day!  and no survivor?  hells kitchen? hotel hell?  grey's anatomy??  OH GOD WE MAY ALL DIE!!!  haha, just kidding, obviously.  But really, what are your priorities.  This is definitely possible and very doable but it does require disciplin.  As a final note on that topic, if TV really is a priority to you, then rearrange the hours so that you get more TV time.  The point here is that even with tons and tons of fluff, there are way more hours in a week than we need to get everything important done.

My advice, schedule your day in 2 hour blocks.  That way, if you get off track, you've only lost 2 hours at most.  Plus, 2 hours is a perfect amount of time to get something good done, be very productive.  This will really start to set you free.  Once you know exactly what your supposed to be doing and you know that it supports both your short term and long term goals and aspirations, the pressure is totally off.  You are able to focus on what's going on at that moment and get way more done because you have a plan you can trust.  The trick is getting it into your calendar.  Writing it down.  What would I see if I looked at your calendar today?  Now, go make a kick butt calendar, and rest easy with your 10 hours every night!  You crazy sleeper you!!