Boulder 70.3 Half Ironman Race Report And My Future Fitness Plans

Well I finished another race. My 30th triathlon to be exact. It was an emotional and painful finish. But then, any race with the name Ironman in it is bound to be just that. Emotional and painful. For those of you just now tuning in. The Boulder 70.3 Half Ironman is 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles on a bike and a 13.1 run.

Half_Ironman_Boulder_

I felt really good going into the day. I felt like I had trained enough to cross the finish line, but knew I had lacked some training at times because of my schedule at home and with travel.

The swim went really well for me. It was by far the best swim I had all summer long. Smooth, easy and strong. My wetsuit felt good and I got out of the water feeling like it was a good start to the day.

Once I got on the bike for the next leg of the race, I kept calm and didn’t go out too strong. This is because the first ten miles is a slow climb and at 5,000 feet in altitude I’m not one to take altitude lightly. Once I got on the back end of that climb, the rest of the ride went pretty smooth until the last ten miles when my neck started to get really sore from the position I was in on my bike. While that was happening, an old frustrating thing that happens with my shoulder when in down in my aero bars started to flare up… or tighten up a lot. It made the last few miles tough on me mentally.

By the time I got into the run, my spirits were really high. I ran a little and allowed my legs get used to running but it was slow… really slow. The weather had turned really hot and with no shade on the run, I was doing everything possible to keep fluids in me. The run was just painful, hot and slow. But I wasn’t going to quit. So I kept going and I finally finished the race.

I finished with tears in my eyes. Partly because I was in pain and ready to be finished but also because the finish line for a race this long isn’t just the finish line for the race, it’s the finish line for a long process of training and a journey that is amazing and takes a toll all in the same season.

For the past few weeks I had been talking about taking 2014 off from triathlon races of any distance and during this race had a lot of time to think through a lot of things going on in my life. Especially, my fitness as it pertains to triathlon. Don’t get me wrong. I love triathlon and won’t quit racing but I am going to re-work how I do it.

Here’s the plan.

Even though training for triathlon is a lot of time in the pool, on the bike and in running shoes – because it’s such a calorie burner, I always want to eat my weight in food when I’m done training. I’ve never been great with my nutrition and honestly, if I kept my meals to fruits veggies and some protein, I would be a lot lighter. But I’m not. I’ve learned to race weighing anywhere between 210 and 220 over the past few years and I’m tired of it. I need a big switch in my fitness and now is the time.

So over the next year, my goal is to drop down to 175lbs to 180lbs. I think that’s a healthy and safe weight for me being 6’2” tall. I’m going to get there by first focusing on healthy cleaner eating habits. Then I’m going to work on being a stronger runner. Running is my weakest of the three sports and having the extra weight really takes a toll on me. I feel it physically but then mentally it usually drags me down even more. I love to run but I want to do it a little lighter than I am now.

I’m also going to be getting in the gym to reshape my body by lifting weights. Not to gain muscle mass but to get lean and fit. It’s proven that lifting sheds the fat and if I’m doing that with running and the occasional bike and swim over the next year, I think it will get me where I want to be.

I hear this stat all the time.

Being healthy is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise.

At this point I’m convinced that’s true.

So in 2014, if you see me talking about racing it will be in the form of running 5k’s, 10k’s or half marathons.

Another reason I’m taking time of from training for triathlon is the time it takes away from the rest of my life. Time for family, friends and work is always lacking when it comes to training this much. My son Micah will turn one in February and I want my weekends with him when I’m not travel so I don’t miss this part of his life. The truth is this. Saturday’s and Sunday’s are long training days and I’m tired of everyone around me including me having to sacrifice that time because I have to be out for a long ride that day.

When 2015 rolls around, my goal is to be down in weight and much faster in my running shoes. Then I will be racing in triathlon for sprint and Olympic distances because in 2015 I’m actually going to compete for time. My goal is to be finishing in the top 10 of my age group. I think I can do it.

Here’s something to think about for all of you attempting anything like this or if you know someone who is. Support is key. Whether you are running a 5k or an Ironman race. Support is essential! Your family first needs to be supporting you, then your friends and as a little extra goodness, my friends online were off the charts in their support when I posted what was happening with training and racing. I know it sounds crazy but knowing there are people following along online really helps get me across the finish line.

So there you go. Here’s to what was a great season of training and racing and here’s to a future of rebuilding and focusing on other parts of my life.

How about you? Have you had times where you have taken a step back to refocus and get better in your life? What did you do?

 

Surviving A Rough Transition

Last week I raced in the Boulder Tri Series Sprint Triathlon. It was a short distance race and I’ve raced in my fair share of them. I was using this race as a gauge to see where I sit physically. The first 5 months of this year where a little tough getting my training in with the birth of my son, Micah, but once the end of May arrived I was able to kick things into full swing.

Transition_Triathlon

I’ve written about transition before as it relates to triathlon and life, so going through this last race had me thinking about how crucial transitions really are in a triathlon.

To catch some of you up concerning triathlons, it is three sports in one race. Swim first, bike second and run third. However, between the swim and bike there is transition one and between the bike and run there is transition two.

I’ve said this in the past. We train in all three sports and get very proficient at all three but spend very little time practicing the transitions. Just like in life. We get really good at doing different stages of our lives, but it’s the transitions we sometimes aren’t as prepared for.

In this last race, even though I did well in the race. I struggled through the transitions and other parts of the race.

Swimming is my best of the three sports and since we got to wear wetsuits I was going to be able to swim even faster, but I failed to remember to cinch up my wetsuit enough to give me enough room in my shoulders to make my swim feel effortless. Instead, I spent the whole swim fighting my wetsuit. I swam slower as a result and was completely worn out as I exited the water into the first transition.

This isn’t the way it’s supposed to go. Not only did I not go into the transition well, I was tired coming out of the transition as I left out on my bike.

The bike portion of the race was fine and when I came into the transition area. The bike next to where I’m supposed rack my bike had fallen on my stuff, which meant I had to pick up that guys bike and re-rack it as well as rack my bike. This was costing me time. I had another little hiccup in transition before I got into the run.

In the end, I just shook my head. Sometimes I’m great at transitions and sometimes I’m not.

I feel like my life rolls like this too. I seem like I’m on a good course to transition well from one part of life into another only to figure out I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was.

Being prepared really can make or break the next stage of either a race or life in general. Don’t you think?

I know it’s been this way for me at times. I always want to perform at my best but for whatever reason, sometimes I struggle through it and don’t get settled in the next stage as soon as I could have.

I’m thankful for little reminders like this. It helps me to evaluate what I did wrong in the race and try to correct it in my training and in the next race. It also helps me to keep a focus on what’s going on in my life so that I can stay on top of what I need to be doing.

How have you gotten through transitions well? In a race or in life? Have there been struggles along the way you didn’t expect?

About Three And A Half Months

That’s how long it’s been since my last blog post. About three and a half months.

A lot has happened in those months. Mainly, my son Micah was born and the journey through the first three months of his life have been nothing short of busy, tiring and fun. I will write about his birth and what it is to be a first time father in my 40’s in another post. But for now, I want to start this time back on my blog with a look into a little of the past and the future.

Three_Months

For starters, I can’t believe I went three and a half months without touching my blog!! Sure, I have a lot going on at home with a new baby in the house, work, travel and the swinging door of family and friends here. But not caring to really blog or even worrying about it was honestly a little shocking to me. I love blogging. I love inspiring people to do something great with their life and get healthy. I love sharing what’s been going on!

But this time around to say I missed it would not be accurate. I didn’t miss it. I didn’t think much about it… until recently.

Much like stepping away from touring full time in a band 12 years ago. I needed a break from the machine of music so I could get back to why I loved music.

In the same way, not blogging for three months allowed me to remember why I started blogging in the first place. Because it was fun and allowed me the freedom to be creative in ways I was never creative before and sharing my experiences through writing.

Over the years, I’ve done a lot of social media and blog consulting and I absolutely love it. But at the same time, I put a lot of pressure on myself to either blog really well and do all the right things to get traffic or I just didn’t do anything at all. There was no middle ground for me… and I need middle ground more than ever.

Today? It’s not about traffic (another post coming soon). Today? It’s not about doing all the right social media things (another post coming soon).

Today and in the future, it’s just about being me and processing some parts of my life as I feel the need and when I feel the need to share it.

As I’ve been processing writing on my blog again, it takes me back to a post my friend Sarah Markley wrote called The Pleasure and Holiness Of Writing. It’s a great post, but there is one sentence that popped out for me and has stuck with me ever since. She said this about writing .

What I’ve learned along the way is that I process much of my life as I’m writing. This is what I mean: The learning often doesn’t come until the writing.

I think Sarah nails it. I process my life a lot better when I’m writing about what I’m experiencing. I deal with life in a more balanced way and I feel more connected to who I am because of it.

So with that… I’m here. I’m back and I’m ready to write again… and again… and again.

The New American Airlines And Their Merger With US Airways

Most of you who keep up with me on twitter know at least two things are certain about me.

I love traveling and I love flying American Airlines.

Something you won’t pick up from me very often at all is my dislike for other airlines or even bad customer experience from products I use. I think the days of complaining on twitter are not as productive as they once were (there are some exceptions to this) and it does make the complainer look like… a complainer.

New_American_Airlines

Before I go any further I need to say this. No matter who you like to fly… ALL AIRLINES HAVE THEIR SHARE OF PROBLEMS and American certainly has their fair share of them. So there is really no perfect airline, but there are airlines who minimize the negatives well and handle customer service well. @AmericanAir has mastered handling customer service through social media better than any I have seen. Bravo!

Now… all that to say, the thought of my favorite airline merging with my least favorite airline scared the mess out of me. But now my view has completely changed for the positive.

It all started when American Airlines rolled out their new branding and their new planes equipped with updated cabins.

Over the past twelve years I’ve racked up almost 2.5 million flown miles with American with a portion of that internationally. One major area they have been way behind in is their cabins in economy, business and first class for international travel where not what they could be. Don’t get me wrong, flying business class to Europe or Asia is pretty amazing, but still behind the competition.

This is in the process of all being updated. I’ve seen the new look of the cabins and I’m impressed. They have finally stepped up to the international plate and firmly made their place at the table. Domestically, this means upgrades as well which is always a good thing.

I’m also impressed with the new look of the American Airlines brand. The new livery on the planes look awesome and the logo is slick. It feels very contemporary and competitive.

So here’s the part I was really concerned with – The merger with US Airways.

The few times I’ve flown US Airways, the experience was less than impressive. From the checking in process all the way through the flight I never felt like this airline was really trying to win friends and influence travelers. However, I’ve always made it to my destination.

The truth is I’ve never been a fan. Ever. So when I heard they are going to merge… I got a little shaky. “What’s going to happen to my American Airlines!!!”

In the past couple of weeks I found out that US Airways has been operating in a profit. WHAT??? Yep… it’s true. That right there told me that no matter what I don’t like about them, they are doing something right.

Then as recently as yesterday when the merger came through, all the reports I heard and read had these things to say. The labor unions at American are extremely happy with the merger which hopefully means no more sabotaged delays by pilots, mechanics and flight attendants for us! YEAH!

Also this new company merger will retain all the brand of the New American Airlines and the Advantage frequent flyer program stay the same. My guess is the US Airways frequent flyer program will get merged into Americans frequent flyer program. Home office will still be in Dallas and here is the great part for employees of both companies. Because there is minimal overlap of routes, there aren’t expected to be any major layoff’s. At least that is what’s being reported in the news so far.

So, it sounds like a win/win for everyone. Us as travelers and them as a company trying to stay alive and in the game giving us all a big and better travel experience.

I have to say the way this all rolled out in the recent weeks did nothing short of increase my loyalty to American Airlines. Rolling out impressive new branding followed by a very promising merger exceeded every expectation I had for this situation.

How One Piece Of Information Changed My Entire Perspective

When I moved to Colorado, one of the first things I did was join Life Time Fitness. It has everything I need to continue training for Triathlons along with one of the strongest cycling clubs in their system and a growing community of triathletes.

Life_Time_Fitness_25_meter_pool

One of the big perks is they have an outdoor pool and an indoor pool for lap swimming. However, when I got in the pool I was frustrated how slow I was swimming. Sure, I hadn’t been training as much so I felt slower in the pool but something was off. Maybe it’s trying to swim at 7,000 feet is the problem? Or maybe I was just that much out of shape.

I’ll go with all of the above. No matter, I have since been very frustrated when I get in the pool. I was really missing the pool I swam in and the group I swam with in Brentwood, TN was even greater.

Until a few weeks ago.

A few weeks ago I started swimming with an organized group of masters triathletes at Life Time Fitness. We meet at least once a week and our swim coach gives us the workout to swim through. During our first workout with him, he started throwing out drills to us in meters… not yards. WHAT?!?!?

You see. This whole time of being at Life Time, I thought they were 25 yard pools. There are no postings anywhere about the length of the pool and it’s pretty easy to assume by the looks of things, these are 25 yard pools.

Nope… they are 25 meter pools!! For all of you non Yard/Meter people. A 25 meter pool is just a few yards longer than a 25 yard pool.

Well now this changes everything! No wonder my stroke length was longer. No wonder my 100 Yard average swim was long! Because it was 100 Meters!!!!

When I realized this during my workout, my whole outlook changed. I went from grumpy swimmer to happy swimmer. I really was on track with where I should be and with the work I needed to do to get faster. Ahhhhhh relief!!!!!!

Funny how the mind works right?

Did the physical distance change and get shorter? No. Did I suddenly get faster? No.

My perspective completely changed with one single shift of knowledge and everything became clear and obtainable.

What is it in your life that if one piece of info changed, your goals would seem more possible? What would happen to your outlook on frustrating parts of your life if you could shift the situation with one missing piece of information?

I can’t tell you how many times this has happened in my life…

“If I had only known that one thing…”

I would have approached things differently.