Friday, December 07, 2007

Going for it.

"The ultimate is not to win, but to reach within the depths of your capabilities and to compete against yourself to the greatest extent possible. When you do that, you have dignity. You have the pride. You can walk about with character and pride no matter in what place you happen to finish." -Billy Mills

Credit to Phedippidations for the quote. He did a podcast on running legend Billy Mills. I have to say, this is one of the truer statements I've heard regarding pushing oneself. It was originally intended for athletics (and I totally agree with it), but it works for a lot of sectors of life. I encourage you to push yourself to safely push yourself to your limits, and never to quit. Because, as it was made popular by the Ironman videos..."You can quit, but nobody cares, and you'll always know."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Seasonal Clif Bars!?!

Allow me to say.....Yes! I haven't had one yet, but I'll bet they're good.

Baby Steps

I'm glad that Sam designated this "collaborative effort" blog as a place to celebrate our victories, both large and small. In a few months I hope to celebrate Elis's first steps, but today I am celebrating my 40 minute run (jog) yesterday morning with no more than 2 minutes walking total! And that in the middle of fighting a cold, which for me, is a discouraging mental hurdle. And - I can honestly say I enjoyed the entire run. Something good is happening in my body - hooray!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

MiamiMan Pics, You want it, you got it

Crystal Clear Larry and Penny Thompson Lake

Sam Stooging in T1

Sam running with Jose (Jose hung for about a mile and then ran into the bushes, not sure what he did there)

Coming into the finish (ecstatic to be almost done)

Amber's abstract triathlon photo (pretty cool, I think)

Mark and Sam struggling to stand up and look human

The momster

Amber and I celebrating

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Miami Man ½ Iron Race Report

This was the “A” Race for the year. A lot of training and a lot of work went into preparing for this event. I wasn’t outwardly worried about the race, but I think it had me a little stressed out over the last few weeks leading up to it. I had a small eye twitch for multiple weeks that is now gone. Weird, huh? Maybe I put too much pressure on myself, but I hadn’t really made any stated official goals as far as time or place for the race, so it didn’t make sense. But I’m pretty sure this was the answer. By the way, this report might not be nearly as long and extensive as others, but at least I’m writing it. I’m not sure what it is, but I have no desire to write this stuff at the end of the year. It was the same with Chicago last year. I don’t feel nearly as burnt out mentally as after the marathon though. Anyhow, let’s get down to the nitty gritty


Did a short easy ride with some bursts along with my brother on Friday. I followed that up with a quick 2 mile run around race pace, attempting to stay aerobic. Saturday consisted of a leisurely drive down to Miami with a contingent. It was fun; we stopped at Cracker Barrel, went to the Harley Store, ran the kids at a rest area, and had a good time. We went straight to the park when I got down there to check in, do packet pick-up, check in the bike in transition, see Mark, and hopefully get in a short swim in the wetsuit. Got checked in pretty easily, the volunteers were doing a good job, I weighed in at 192.2 lbs which I thought was a little high. Hehe. So the one big disappointment of this day was that they closed the swim an hour earlier than what they had said, so we didn’t get to swim. It was too bad, because this was a very nice lake. Cool water, very clear, quite refreshing.

We ate dinner at Outback that night, where I consumed a large quantity of food. I wasn’t too worried about it, as it was about 5-6 pm when I ate, and the next meal was race morning. Hung out with Amber and the family a little bit, picked up some oatmeal and bananas for breakfast the next morning, met with Mark to discuss the race and departure time.

Race Morning: Standard getting ready stuff. Glorious 2 cups of coffee and the outfall it precipitates. Mmmm.

Swim: 1.2 miles, 37:14, (1:46/100 yd)

I was really happy with the swim. I felt like I went too hard the first lap, but relaxed on the second and felt like it went a lot faster. I’m really beginning to enjoy the swim in these races a lot more. I’m hoping to swim quite a bit this winter and get a good deal faster. If you want a nice swim though, you should do races at this venue.

T1: Long Run into T1, I used the wetsuit strippers, and it was great. (4:22)

Bike: ~54 miles, 2:32:08, 21.3 mph

This course was FLAT! It was so great. It was super easy. I stayed aerobic the whole time. There were a few wankers who were illegally drafting, and I just don’t understand these people. They make absolutely no sense. Do you really enjoy your “victory?” Whatever, I didn’t let ‘em bother me. They’re gonna do they’re thing.

My favorite part was when people would slow down on some of the “hills.” By hill I mean a 100-ft section where the road tilted slightly up at approximately 0.25% grade to get over a canal.

Coming into T2 was pretty cool with all the people out there cheering. These kinds of things make me want to do Roth or IM Wisconsin, the classic races with huge crowds.

T2: Had to throw on the socks, shoes, hat and grab some more e-caps, but forgot to grab my race belt and number. I also stopped at the port-a-potty on the way out of T2. The pee was only slightly yellow, so I was pretty pleased with the 5 bottles of fluid on the bike. (3:23)

Run: 13.1 miles, 1:40:22, (7:40/mile)

The run course was great, and I didn’t start hurting until the second loop. Running through the zoo and partially on dirt/grass trails was cool. I caught Mark long before I expected to. I was thinking mile 10, and I caught up around mile 3, we chatted for a bit and then I pressed on. I really did feel great on the run. Got to see my whole cheering club twice on the run (at two different spots). All in all a great race.

4:57:29, 41st overall, 2nd in 25-29 AG.

There were some rumors about this race being a qualifier for the USAT national championships, and potentially the world championships at this distance, but I have yet to figure out if this is really the case. If anyone reading this knows for sure, please help me figure this out. I’m not saying it’s going to happen for sure, but I’d like to at least know what’s possible before making the decision.

All in all, a great season finale. Now for some other things, some good time with people who are important to me, some holiday parties, and some rest. I’m currently beginning to do some life brainstorming about goals, life as a story, personal legacy, purposes, values, etc., so hopefully in the next couple of months that will become more apparent. Thanks to all the people who supported me this year in Triathlon. Especially Amber, who made numerous sacrifices of time and energy to support my hobby.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


If I remember correctly, Dr. Seuss had a "Sam I am" theme in one of his books, and some of Sam's high school friends and teammates called him that periodically to express teasing affection and admiration when a helmet bump or back slap wouldn't do.

So even though I'm probably breaking all tri-geek etiquette rules, I want to say how great it was to see SamIamMiamiMan cruising by in the Miamiman triathlon Sunday and looking strong, focused and happy (except for the last few miles :-) and achieving the goals he's trained for so diligently these many months. David, Kyle & Michelle and their three kids cheered him on as he passed through the Miami Metro Zoo on foot, while Amber and I anchored his cheer squad for his swim start, bike transitions and his great finish. Hopefully we'll be able to post a few pics soon for the fan club.

Sam, we, your family appreciate all the ways you have encouraged us to choose life and health these past couple years. We love you and celebrate your great race, SAMIAMMIAMIMAN!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Let's Roll

I sometimes forget how mental all sports are. However, this is especially true for endurance sports. While many people close to me would probably say I never stop thinking and talking about it, but I sometimes do. Anyway, it's good to know that there's at least one thing that can be controlled when it comes to races, as well as life: How will you react? This is especially important for people who weren't given the best genes, don't have all the best experience or natural speed or anything like that. Grinding is what I like to call it. When it looks bad, so what. If you're hurting, get going. If it's hot, whatever...

I say all that to say this: nothing really looks bad and I'm ready for Miami. But I don't know what race day holds. Fair weather, a storm, wind, severe heat, cramps, flat tire. Whatever. No matter what on sunday, I'm settling in and sticking it to that Miami course. Man, I love this crap!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

So AN Ohio State University is once again ranked #1...

And I'd just like to remind them who they are...

Friday, October 19, 2007

If you were pissed last weekend....

That you didn't really get to watch any of the IM world championships from Kona, then I have your solution. You can find the full video from ironmanlive here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sam's mobile

What is that? You ask. It's a bike rack for the top of my car. I received some great birthday gifts yesterday from Amber that I'm pretty excited about using. Now I can travel with my bike without putting down the back seat and all that mess. The other nice part is that the racks allow for all kinds of different stuff, such as an extra cargo box, or skis, whatever. Awesome!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

New object of bike lust...

I don't currently possess the funds or the willingness to spend that amount of funds on this bike, but it sure is nice. Maybe someday...Maybe not...whatever.
Tom Demerly from Bikesport Michigan wrote a great review . Check it out. The integrated fork seems to be a good idea.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Chicago Marathon (Sam's a-hole moment)

I'd like to start by saying it's a crying shame what happened yesterday. People shouldn't be dying at these events. But it's going to happen when people have health issues (known or not) and choose to run. You know that little voice inside your head that automatically speaks (silently if you have a filter)? The voice inside is brutally honest, and I have to say speaks from the heart with no concern for how people feel. I have to say before I start, I honestly don't care either way if someone wants to run a marathon to say they did it or for whatever reason. If they want to do it and choose health, good for them. I'm happy you're working at it. That's a whole heck of a lot more important than qualifying for Boston. However.....
My unfiltered mind has a couple of questions.
(1) What kind of weather were these people "training" in all summer to prepare for this marathon? I ran Chicago last year and I suffered through a lot of brutal heat. I know from my training runs that it probably would have added 15-30 mins to my overall time. But that's it. No more. My theory (supported by a lot of personal experience) is that many people don't train and aren't in anywhere near good enough shape to try to cover 26.2 miles in a morning.
(2) If you can't get past halfway by 4 hours, what are you doing trying to run a marathon? That's OVER an 18 min/mile pace! That's 3.2 mph. Most people can and do comfortably walk at this pace touring the Mag. Mile. Seriously people. It's an effing marathon! Not the dog Park.
(3) How you gonna disrespect a marathon? The thing is named for someone who died upon completing a mammoth feat. I speak from experience (and I ran sub 3:30) when I say I trained with fear. I knew I was going to do it, but there was a little bit in the back of my head that said "26.2 miles is a long way to run!" I don't think I'm alone in this. This is the PSA portion of the questions. If you don't run, you need a year to train. If you do run and haven't run a marathon, you need 4 months minimum to really train for a marathon. These people who write training programs say these things for a reason. The body needs time to make adaptations.

(4) It was hot all week and the weather was predicted. If you know you're running slow, you should be prepared for the eventuality that aid stations might not be that helpful. Why weren't you? 'Nuff said about that. You're solely responsible for your safety. Paying $100 doesn't mean someone else takes on the burden of your personal health assessment. (Granted, this same logic applies to the people running the race. This article is in no way an excuse for your shameful performance this weekend if what the reports say are true).

I really write this article to say this. It's ok to not do big stuff like this. Your health and life are more important than this stuff. But if you want to do it, really get ready so race day is a celebration and maybe a time challenge, but certainly not the time when you answer the question "is this really possible?" Follow the training programs and get ready. Let's not have people dying and gettting hurt over things that don't matter.

I write all this and say i sure hope the evil karma doesn't come get me in Miami. It probably will and I'll have a bad day because of this. But you know what? I'm ready. 65-mile ride yesterday at 18+ mph for 3:30 in 93 degree 60% humidity weather. If the bad comes, I'll drink some water, suck it up, and curse the heat.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Painful to see.

I might have to qualify for this thing sometime.
My question: why not use more bridges to break up the pack? Well, it's gonna be fast.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

If I were going to dope...

I'd talk to this guy. Fabian Cancellara defended his world championship Time Trial crown by 52 seconds over a 44.9-km course. wow.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

You might be taking yourself too seriously...

If you're 70, and you're cheating at triathlons. Seriously? Seriously.

Triathlon growing in Lexington

Lexington is finally growing up a little bit. The Tri for Sight is now second in size (in KY) only to IM KY. Not bad.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Tri for Sight Pictures

Dave (one of my bosses) and Myself Looking alert and sessy before the swim.

Dude who wouldn't let me pass him for the last 250m. Little frustrating, but oh well.

Me in T2 wasting time on the watch. I don't think I've ever come back to that empty of a rack.

Coming in on the run. Man that was painful

Getting my award (a piece of glassware)

Cheesin' at the finish line

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tri for Sight Race Report

So one of the goals I had set for this year was to podium at a race. I thought this would push me to train harder and work for some goals. That said, let's get on this race report, shall we?

I wasn't quite as strict with the diet this week. I had already put in 90+ miles on the bike prior to the race. I drank beer on friday, I ate pork and beef at the company picnic on saturday. I just didn't care. I told a couple friends friday night that I was either going to podium or blow up on the run. Saturday night, I had a splitting headache. I think it was due to large stressors in my environment the past few days. Dealing with the fallout of getting run off the road on thursday afternoon during my long run, having to call 911 for a guy having a stroke or heart attack at my company golf scramble, etc could have both contributed to it. Thankfully, I have a great girlfriend who took care of me and helped me get ready last night while I was laying on the couch, hurtin'.

7 am races are early, so I got up at 5 still with a bit of a headache. I popped an Excedrin Migraine, drank some coffee, a diet coke, and ate some cereal. I was ready.

Swim: 800m, 14:29 (1:47/100m)

It was a pool swim, and I felt really good. Passed about 3 or 4 people, was passed by one. these times seem long to me, but everybody's times are slow. Maybe I need to swim more. 500 yds this week is a bit thin.

T1: Long run from the pool to the Community College included: 4:14

Bike: 18+ miles, 49:55 (21.6 mph)

I didn't feel all that great on the bike today, and apparently I need to take a class on gear shifting. I threw my chain again. It's a pretty hilly course, but fun day out there regardless. Guy I know caught me at the end of the bike, and I knew I was going to have to hammer the run if I was going to beat him.

T2: nothing much to tell other than dropping my bike into my leg and gaining a nasty cut. 1:01

Run: 4 miles, 25:04, (6:16/mile)

I didn't know I was running this fast, but I was trying to hold true to my blow up/podium promise. It hurt, but I kept passing people and finished pretty strong. I beat my friend on the run by 2:30. Beat him overall by 12 seconds. whew!

Overall: 1:34:41, 7th overall (out of about 300 I think) 1st/23 in AG.

One guy in AG actually beat me, but he won the overall and is trying to qualify for nationals. Dude's fast. So I got the AG trophy (pics later). Needless to say I'm pretty stoked.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Trail Beckons

On mornings like this, the gym doesn't have a chance to win the toss - I've been away from my beloved Pinellas Trail for over two weeks - and the overcast sky and cooler air brought on by whatever tropical storm is out there right now makes a convincing assertion that summer may actually be coming to an end.

I'd been biking our rails-to-trail for many years before I realized that trail cyclists considered it one of the best "urban" trails in the country. Kyle and Sam were young homeschooling tykes when we first hopped on our bikes to ride the very first completed sections in the middle of our long thumb-shaped Pinellas county. Now it's 34-36 miles end to end with several off-shoot spurs, it connects a bunch of city and county parks, and travels through a wide spectrum of commercial and residential neighborhoods from the housing projects to upper class Belleair with "white trash" and retiree mobile home parks and scores of middle class neighborhoods in between.

I can take the Gulfport spur near the southern end to eat lunch on a rooftop overlooking the Gulf of Mexico or watch the swing dancers at the pavillion, then cross the inter-coastal in the section pictured above, then much farther north, paralell the Gulf again in Dunedin, Crystal Beach and Tarpon Springs, smelling the briny air across the mangroves, even when I can't see it. You can bike for breakfast, lunch or dinner in downtowns made for day-trippers (Gulfport, Dunedin, and Tarpon), and the food is so good at some of these places, that it will take you quite a few bike trips to sample them all.

On my relatively short ride south this overcast Saturday morning, I mostly passed or was passed by other "serious" cyclers (road bikes with helmets, bike shorts, tops, and shoe clips) riding in small groups, with relatively few walkers, runners and skaters. I also encountered a tyke on one of his first rides without training wheels being coached by Grandpa and Grandma who crashed into the fence pictured above just after I passed, a couple of homeless dudes with bikes having a chat by one of the overpasses - a pretty regular occurrence in certain sections of the trail, an assistant cook heading to work with a dangling cigarette, an orange Fanta, and a serious hangover clouding his face, and the best part of my coffee break: a blue/black crow who strutted around the Starbucks patio like a gun-totin' outlaw, forcing the tiny wrens to safer ground.

I like passing commercial buildings sporting murals on several sections of the trail (St. Pete, Clearwater, Tarpon), a homeless dude who routinely reads the paper on a bench just over the fence from the swankiest neighborhood in the county, women who walk the trail barefoot in their Sunday suits and hats with high heels in hand on their way to the African Methodist Episcopal church, compact Mexicans on their way home from work, middle-schoolers clad in baggy blacks who clump together for identity and power, and cast-net fishermen hoping to snag supper from the Anclote River.

It's our trail, its my trail and I love it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

At least we're better than Mississippi, West VA, Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Tennessee

This post is mainly meant to be a provocateur for Steve. State obesity rankings are in.
So my question is this: what's it like to be a vegetarian in the fattest state in the union?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

It's baaack...A short photo essay

So It's certainly mainstream, violent, and whatever derogatory moniker one would like to choose, but the author can't help feeling a little like the two in the photo below now that football season is back.
It's even more fun when it doesn't totally dominate your saturday or sunday. However it feels like this when your alma mater pulls an upset on a top ten rival.

And it's bound to happen at some point in February, the no football blues will come...

But take heart, because before you know it, Mike "Toast" McKenzie will be back with his ridiculous hair and being shown the back of numerous players' jersies on their respective ways to the endzone.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

More Music City Pics

Exiting the swim
My supporters (minus 1) looking moderately confused

In T1 wasting time.

Rod and Myself Running step for step.

Me on the verge of puking but putting in the kick

Monday, September 17, 2007

Music City Triathlon Race Report

This is the second Olympic Distance Race of the season and really the final prep race for Miami Man in November (I'm doing the local sprint this week, but I don't really think it qualifies due to its short distance).

The weekend began with the drive down to Nashville to stay with Amber's very hospitable family (A big Thanks to the Leslie's). Saturday, we went over to get registered since I signed up late and was on the waitlist. I was pretty sure I would get in, but didn't want to leave it to chance, so I showed up before they opened. I got in, got the right size t-shirt and a blue cap (you'll see below why this was so interesting-it did help the spectators find me though. I might try to do this in other races). Race Report Below: The pic below is me hangin' out before the race. I'm easy to find with my blue cap. If you look directly to the left of me, you'll see a guy who I think is related to Mr. Miyagi. Dude was whipping out some dojo stretches before the race and Steve and I shared a few good-natured laughs over it. Steve also gave me some swimming tips on streamlining my body in the water. Thanks brotha!
Swim: 1500 m (I think + run to transition, not sure) - 27:32.87 (1:50/100m)
I felt pretty good most of the swim. I also felt smoother in my stroke than I did a couple weeks ago. I still swam off course a little bit, but still an improvement. I'm hoping to keep getting better on the sighting. It'll come. I got out and my adoring fans were cheering me on the run to transition. It was pretty cool.
T1: 2:08.9 - No big deal. I ran out the wrong way at first and had to turn around. I just need to keep getting quicker.
Bike: 22.5 miles - 1:01:28.43 (21.96 mph)
The bike was really good. It was a hilly course, but most of the hills were shorter than the ones here in KY. Honestly, I just had one of those really good days where I felt like I had juice in my legs in almost every gear. At about mile 16, I thought a big climb was coming up and tried to gear into my small chainring. As I did this and threw the chain, I swore at myself for being an idiot. I had to slow down and stop to put it back on and lost probably a minute to minute and a half. In hindsight, this was a painful mistake. About 10 people I had passed in the last 5 minutes passed me when I stopped. I was pissed, but decided I was going to use it for motivation to track people down on the run. All in all good bike, but I need to not have mistakes like that
Run: 10k - 40:12.21 (6:29/mile) PR by 6 seconds for a 10k!
I got out of T2 and almost fell down on some uneven ground. Ran about a quarter mile and then went up a 1/2-mile switchback hill that was brutal. At the top, I fell back just a little bit of some skinny dude that looked to me like he was going to put together a good run. So I latched onto him a little bit to try to keep a good pace. After a while we got out to the dam and I was running next to another guy named Rod. It was an out and back and we ran over a dam and down a large hill that we had to come back up (also painful but we made it). On the back, Rod pulled me up one hill and said "hang on and get up here!" I'm grateful for that as I would not have had the run I did without him. As we were getting back to mile 5, I knew it was mostly downhill and I wanted to repay Rod for his help, so we started picking it up to try and catch dude in gray who was in Rod's AG. On the .5 mile steep downhill, I just let it rip striding out fully and going about 5min/mi pace. Rod yelled at me from behind "It's not even fair with those long legs you've got!" I told him my large arse was pushing me down the hill. At the bottom of the hill, I was hurting bad, but still had about .3 miles left. We had passed gray suit dude on the hill and all I wanted to do was beat him. We caught another old guy at mile 6, and I poured on almost all I had. At about 50 yards out, we went in through the fence (and my cousin Steve said he thought I would get kicked at the end), I decided I'd worked too hard to lose at the end, so I poured on everything else I had and finished strong in front of rod and old dude. We must've dusted gray suit dude (or he was demoralized by watching me stride past him like a bloated camel), because he wasn't in the video that Amber took.
Total Time: 2:14:06.25, 4/29 in AG, A really solid race for me. The real twist now as I look at the race results is if the guy ahead of me is really in 3rd place since he had a 2 min drafting penalty (cheater). If his penalty has yet to be assessed, I finished 3rd. Oh well. Good day regardless. I'm asking the RD if I'm reading the results correctly and will update when I find out.
Summary: I need to keep getting better on sighting in the water, keep speeding up my transitions, and not do stupid crap like throw chains on the bike. However, I do believe this HR training/base training really works. I feel so much better running at that speed now. It's uncanny. I'm really looking forward to lower volume, smooth pace base work this winter in hopes of really cranking it up for next spring at the Louisville Triple Crown and St. Anthony's.
I've attached some pics below of Amber and Myself after the race, and Steve messin' with my bike with me thinking I was leaning out of the picture.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

So I Love Dogs, But

Sometimes they get their comeuppance. I was riding today, and I heard a dog come up on me. I've learned in the past year that if you want to keep a dog out of your spokes, you have to scare them off and keep them away from your bike.

So without even thinking about it as the dog came up next to me on the right (running full speed), I let out a strong "HEY!"....I definitely scared his butt, because he tried to stop on a dime. I kid you not, he had so much momentum when he stopped that he literally somersaulted right next to me. I was a little worried at first that he was hurt, but then he got up and looked at me. I smiled to myself with a great sense of accomplishment. Today's Score: Sam 1, Dogs 0

Racing into Shape...or Something like it.

So one way to work in some speed when you've been struggling to get the speed workouts in is to race frequently. I've got one this weekend, the Music City (1.5-K Swim, 40-K bike, 10-K run) and the Alcon Tri for Sight in Lexington (800-m swim, 18-mile bike, 4-mi run) next weekend.
One problem with the Music City: I signed up late and got put on the waitlist because the race is sold out. I should still get in according to race directors, so I'll be there. Look for the Race Report(s) coming up and then a little break for some ramp up to MiamiMan.