Thursday, June 29, 2006

Yam City 2006

Yam City Tri second go around . . .

It is funny how we learn lessons when it hurts or . . . it hurts. As a child we learned not to touch something after we touched it and it was hot. Plus, it hurt. Or we learned to be careful walking down stairs AFTER we fell and hit our head. And it hurt.

I learn in that manner today, as an adult. I know many of you have probably taken some sort of a leadership test or Myers Briggs, or some similar standardized test to evaluate your characteristics. I am an extrovert; however I debate this with a few folk since I feel I have been turned into an extrovert when I have many introverted tendencies. However that is another blog post.

I am a charge in, locate the objective, and fasten together a plan, then implement the plan, individual.

There is not an issue, objective, or problem that I can’t put together a respectable solution for and implement said solution. The problem with this is that it is like the old “don’t touch the hot stove” advice and then I touch it and learn, “you know, that was a mistake.”

I have friends that go into a situation and they think through the individual pieces of the puzzle. They analyze, plot, and put together a plan that is possibly more informed than my plan would have been.

I will say this. This is strictly to keep my ego intact. Between the two philosophies the success rates are quite similar. So I do a pretty good job completing my objective.

Today was a typical learn from your experiences day for me.

I’m just going to say it.

I have been sick for about four days. Three days leading up to this race. I didn’t feel bad by any other means and I felt this wouldn’t have a negative effect on my race. Remember, how I learn what not to do. This race experience taught me not to race if you’re under the weather.

Amanda was concerned that I might be de-hydrated because of my illness. I decided to pour down the electrolytes and drink plenty of fluids leading up to this race. As I drove to Opelousas I felt fine.

I arrive, unload, air the tires, roll into transition and see my friend Mike Pate. I know I talk about mike a lot, but he is such an awesome person. Not just because she does triathlons at 320 pounds. He is simply a kind, energizing person who cares about you and your success. I am lucky to have a friend like him. If you have a second go to his site.

I hope Mike and I are good for the sport. I hope that we motivate people by our experiences and our challenges. We are human and we have this BIG problem. We have an idea what you might be facing in your daily battles, whether it is food, money, compulsion and we want you to succeed. We also know that you can do it.

After setting my transition area for the race I began to taunt my friend Janni Pani from the Tri Club. Last year she motivated me to push myself and this year when all was said and done she brought the pain again. Next year Janni, next year.

I had HIGH aspirations for this race. Bad idea being sick.

I was #15. The race numbers were set up by how fast you think you would finish the 150 meter swim. I have been swimming my 50m laps in around 45 to 50 seconds. Therefore I felt I would finish the swim portion in around, 00:02:45 – two minutes and forty-five seconds. That is what I put on my registration.

Needless to say I was bringing in quite a few stares and glances my direction. I am standing in the midst of the swimming elite. Well proportioned, lean body mass, intimidating swimmers. Then there is the opposite, me.

One lady walked up to me and asked me what swim time I put on my registration. I told her 245. She didn’t even respond, just turned around walked back to her place in the line. I didn’t look to see where that was, but in my mind I pictured a small discussion going on about the fat guy in the front. I laughed inside.

Let me state something for the record right now.

99.999% of the athletes that participate in triathlons are AWESOME. They are supportive, amazed by you, comforting when you struggle, and I would not have continued in this sport were it not for my tri club and their kindness.

So, please, focus on all the good I write about in my blogs. The support and the positive response I have been given along this pathway of triathlon.

The race begins.

I jump in the water and go to the bottom and lose my goggles, great! When I come up the race director in mortified thinking he might have to come in after me. There is only 10 seconds between each racer for the start so I didn’t have time to find my goggles at the bottom of the pool. “GO!” he hollers. I’m off!

The first 75 meters I was flying. I thought I would get caught by the truly fast swimmers behind me, but not so far. Problem for me was the pool was extremely warm. Around lap 4 my legs felt like rubber????? I can only attribute that to the warm pool since that never happens to me.

In the middle of the 100m lap I was passed quickly by one guy. I made the turn on the next lap and let a guy go by, I don’t think he was happy about that, he looked a little tired, but he did pass and took off. In the last lap at the wall to turn around another guy was on my heels. I don’t like to hold people up. I don’t want to give anyone a reason to think I ruined their race so I let him go by at the wall, problem was I think he was gassed since I slapped his feet the whole way to the exit. I didn’t mean too and at one point I lifted my head up and slowed down so he could get ahead.

Overall I felt good about my swim. I was only passed by three folk, I think I held my own???

Again the water was warm so transition was a little tough with my rubber legs. I had a decent transition #1. My goal was to average 17 mph on the bike. I had been pushing it in my training and was hold 17mph in my training.

The initial 7 miles I was flying (for me). I was at or above 20mph. I have not learned there is a reason for this, especially when I wasn’t really killing myself to hold that speed. At the turn around I realized why I was moving so fast. Now, as I rode back I realized the wind is head on. When you are as large as I am, your torso and body act as a sailing mast. I was averaging 13mph to 14mph for the next 5 miles.

Last year during this race I remembered how bad the frontage road was that we raced on for about 2 miles. My memory failed me miserably! The road was a gazillion times worse than my memory served me. Each bump which were about 2 feet apart was like hitting a curb in the street. I was miserable. This is where I lost a great deal of time as well as missing a turn.

This was really unfortunate for me. I was about 20m behind this professional looking racer, cervelo P3 (one of the best bikes out there) matching racing uniform. I saw the turn ahead sign, however I am used to having volunteers on the road pointing you in the direction you are supposed to be turning. There were none. He continued straight and I . . . Followed right behind him.

Bad idea. I realized quickly that we were supposed to turn back there so I turned around and headed back, he continued on. So I lost time there, but lesson learned.

On the frontage road the cervelo guy passed me again, I guess he figured it out or was told?

The bike was over and I thought I had done pretty well. I didn’t think for a second I had made my goal of averaging 17mph.

Transition #2 was difficult again. My legs were still like rubber. I drank a half bottle of Gatorade and began to walk to the run course.

As I exited transition I saw so many friends there. Momma Bear, Denise, and Eric. Others were cheering as well. I love this sport!!!!!!!

I walked about 100 yards and then decided to start a slower than slow trot. I was going to try and bring my legs along for the ride until they found a second wind.

Problem. Remember the whole not feeling well, sick thing. As I began that trot, I felt dizzy. The I upchucked (I can’t think of a more polite word??) about three times losing any electrolytes I had forced in my system. I were not happy!

At the turn a young man about 11 ran up beside me. I recognized him as standing with Momma Bear. He said, “hear, you might need this.” And handed me a water bottle, a cold bottle of water. Little Angel!!! I knew it had come for another Angel who knew I always complained about needing water on the race course.

I had to walk a lot. My legs felt fresh now, but my head was holding me back. I would get dizzy if I ran to hard, it was just a dismal attempt at running for me.

I did put in about a half mile continuous in the shaded neighborhood we ran through, but then I heaved again and had literally no fluids in me I don’t think.

In about the last mile, Vanilla (from the tri club) and a small group of guys trying to get a workout in after the race were running the course again. As we passed each other going in opposite directions I said, “show offs!” and laughed. One day, one day I will be able to do that.

The run turned bad when there was no more shade and the sun was letting me have it. I was ready to walk it in, but a voice said, come on big boy, let’s run it in. I thought to myself, that doesn’t sound like my normal voice in my head????

“Come on” the voice said, “”let’s go.”

It was Vanilla. He had run back to help me in. Awesome. He pushed me to finish strong. He continued to talk to me the last mile and motivated me to finish strong and I can’t say how much that meant to me. Two reasons, he is one of the best triathletes in the club and in his age group anywhere and because he is a good guy.

In the last ½ mile my harem was awaiting me! All of the people who had finished, mainly gorgeous tri babes, were waiting to run in with me. The tri babe of them all was Janni Panni, who once again kicked my butt in this race. Thanks guys, you made it fun.

I crossed the finish strong and was happy with my efforts, not so happy about my performance but, none the less happy with the effort I put in today.

I had to get home quickly today so I was packing and getting ready to head out, but I was waiting to see Mike finish. I saw him at the turn and yelled for him, then pushed my bike by the finish. And hollered him in to the finish.

I felt fine until Brandy, John and I were at my vehicle. The sun began to pour down and I was zapped all of the sudden. Thanks to John and Brandy for basically packing my truck and putting me in it to head home.

What did I learn from this experience? Don’t set goals if you’re racing sick. I think maybe it should read, don’t race sick??? Nah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I go to Florida this week so the training may be a little weak, but next week, I begin my ½ Ironman training for my race in October, IronStar!!!!!!!!!! Woo Hoo!

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

Go out and run today.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

It’s a Fact . . .

I eat too much.

My problem is I can’t push away from a plate of food AND the plate or plates of food I order are big and fatty. I become upset when I am training hard as I did last week and early this week and I gain weight.

It is not muscle I am putting on.

I simply eat too much. I need help. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, at least since Sunday when I weighed in again after a week of hard training. I had gained 2 pounds. Then I critically examined how this could happen. After a few hours I decided I eat too much. You might be thinking to yourself, DUH!

What I mean is this, I am not lazy. I wake at 5:30 in the morning run, cycle, swim sometimes I will do two that morning. I work hard when it comes to my business. I have always worked hard. I worked at a little Chinese restaurant in new Orleans as a 13 year old washing dishes and cutting vegetables. I’ve never been afraid of hard work.

I cut out fast food altogether this year. I feel better, but I am not losing weight.

As I have come to this new knowledge I began to think about how often I eat out and eat out with friends. I now wonder how many of my friends look at what I order and think in their minds, “Oh My Goodness! Is he going to eat all of that?” I am sure it is out of politeness that they don’t say anything, but it could be something else. I am a big dude, not JUST fat but big, intimidating big. Now, I think most of my friends know they can say whatever they want to me and I will take it constructively. Even if it is attacking, I won’t eat them with my dessert!

I need help.

To my wife, my family, my friends and those who care about me:

Please help me order healthy food when you are with me. Help me eat less. If you’re not around me, send me positive thoughts, prayer, or if you are with me don’t be afraid to tell me to slow down.

I realize this is my problem and ultimately on I can handle this problem. However, it sure is nice knowing you have people behind you, supporting you.

I plan to do the following:

Order the smallest of what there is on the menu. Meaning if there is a choice between a 6oz or a 10oz filet I will choose the 6oz. I have stopped ordering anything with PLATTER in the description.
But, more over I am going to eat out less. For my birthday I have asked for one of those food sealers. You put your food in this plastic bag and this machine vacuums out all of the air and seals it airtight.

I am going to spend Sundays preparing portion adequate meals and sealing them to be eaten during the week.

A friend of mine in the Baton Rouge Triathlon Club agreed with me and offered calorie counting, so I am also going to add the advice in my meal preparation. Not only will I prepare the correct portions but also figure out the calories in each meal.

I will keep you posted on the progress.

Thanks for all of the support. It means a great deal to me and it helps.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Buster Britton

A day like none other . . .

I was really excited to take this race on.

The cool sweat was rolling from my head and it is only 5:00 in the morning. My body is prepping my mind for what is to come. All night I tossed and turned in my Marriot Courtyard bed. When I woke for the third time of the night I realized I had pulled the sheets off the bed and I was sleeping directly on the mattress . . . GROSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!

I was waking every 45 minutes from around 2:00am until it was time to rise at 4:45am. I’d roll, look at the bright red light lights that mocked me by saying, “ha ha! Made you look!” and it would only be 2:45am or 3:30am, and so on and then it hit me.

I was nervous!

It hadn’t hit me until then. I was worried about this race more than any other and unlike any other before this race. What was going on? The last three weeks I finished 2 Olympic Sized Triathlons in much worse heat than what was expected today. Why am I so nervous?

Rewind . . . June 12th, 2005.

My father in law Terry, Amanda, and I are in this same city, Pelham, Al. Just two weeks earlier I was in Birmingham for my FIRST EVER triathlon, tri-it-on triathlon. I was nervous that morning as well, but a different type of nervous. This morning I was worried about simply finishing this race. It was a long day, but when all was said and done, I finished and wrote the “Praying Mantis” blog entry that you can go back and read, it is really funny!.


Fast forward back to the present.

03:11:12 is why I am so dadgum nervous this morning and have been throughout the night. I have an immense amount of pressure on me and ONLY on me is what is so funny about this.

I am for the first time competing against ME!!!!!!!!!!!!

My little brother Thad and his wife Camille were waiting for me to arrive. I unloaded, checked in, which they really need to change their check in location, it is clear on the other side of the transition area and parking is a good (for me it was) ½ mile down the road.

I set up transition, which I am learning more and more about transitions and what works best for me.
As I line up to start the swim, this little inner competition thing starts to kick in again. I begin to calculate swim time, bike, run, and then I think about the course and where I had issues last year, then it is time for me to hit the water.

I felt great in the water, I was smooth and calm. Towards the end of the swim I did feel a little tired and I realized I was pushing myself a little too hard, BUT I HAD TO BEAT MYSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!

I came out of the water running.

I actually have found myself enjoying the spectator comments (amongst themselves thinking I don’t hear it or just caught off guard seeing this orca come out of the water and then start running!) I hear. There were a few surprised spectators as I waddled to my bike.

There was a friend I had on named Kristy. She is from the area of this race and I was looking forward to possibly fining her and sating hello. About 200 feet from my bike I see her coming up beside me in from water and I say, “Hi Kristy.” And that was that.

I took off on the bike, felt GREAT! I spanked the first 4 miles, averaged over 17 mph, then . . . Te hills of Oak “MOUNTAIN” Sate Park took their toll on me. The good news is this, last year I stopped several times AND walked up several hills.

NOT THIS YEAR BABY!!!!!!!!!! I did stop twice on the course, got my breath, let my heart rate settle down and finished each hill and the course ON MY BIKE!

In my head I began to trash talk my 2005 self.

“That’s right! Uh huh! I smoked you on the bike boyieeeeeeeee!” For some reason it is less gratuitous trash talking . . . Yourself.

Again, as I did on the Heatwave run course I made a commitment to run all shade and down hills shade or not. Last year I walked a majority of this run course. About mile 2 I was so excited. I thought I might beat my time last year by 1 FULL HOUR!!! WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!

The problem there was, I had forgotten my race time form 2005. I thought it was 3:22 and as I glanced at my Garmin 305 I saw I had a great chance of crossing right about 2:22. I was one happy camper and all smiles as I crossed the finish in 02:21:11.

I pulled a Memphis In May finish again and ran right on through the finish and right into the lake . . . AHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

So I didn’t beat my time by a full hour, oh well.

Just means next year . . . SUB 2 Hour race!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks to everyone for your support. As you can see, I am improving and I am losing weight AND I AM HAVING SO MUCH FUN DOING IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 09, 2006

HEatwave Race Report

Heatwave and a little more . . .

I have put together a very ambitious race schedule this season. I am addicted. There are many aspects of what I am doing with triathlon that has me so addicted.

My weight loss is the most exciting. Putting on a pair of pants or a shirt which 12 months earlier wouldn’t come close to buttoning or fitting and today has room to move with in it, just makes me smile.

The sport itself and the completion of each race has me focused day in and day out.

But this week has been a new and wonderful experience with triathlon. As many of you know I began triathlon last year. This weekend, June 10th will be the Buster Britton Tri, which last year I also participated in that race.

If you go back in my blog to June 2005 and read the praying mantis blog, this is that same race. I finished that race last year in 3:11:28.

This is where my new found excitement comes. This year I have a goal set to beat myself from last year!! WOO HOO! My goal is not only to beat myself, but take my time from last year and measure my improvement in the sport.

This year my goal is to finish this race in 2:11:28.

THAT’S RIGHT, I want to take a full hour off of my time. I am pumped!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wish me luck!

HEATWAVE TRI in Meridian Mississippi.

I will be really matter of fact about this race. The special moment for me in this race was seeing my Uncle there rooting me on. My Uncle, Uncle Bill, is very special to me in my life. He is basically a father to me. In my life he has been much more than an Uncle and I know that with some of the hell I put him through as a child and teenager, I was much more than JUST a nephew to him.

Seeing him there truly was the highlight of this race.

However, I must talk about the race and the director and the volunteers of this event. This is the best event I have participated in thus far in my short time racing.

Let’s talk about the swim. Great water, it was more like 1,000 in stead of 800, but I love to swim.

The 25 mile bike course is amazing. Rolling hills along the reservoir, shade, smooth road. Gatorade at the turn around, I mean awesome.

The run. I never look forward to putting my body through 6.2 miles of ground pounding running, but this course was the bomb! WOW! The first mile was hot, but breezy being by the water. Then the run goes into a trail, paved, that has 70% of it shaded. OH I WAS IN HEAVEN!!!!

NOW to the most impressive part.

The volunteers for this race were amazing. There was COLD water at each mile. Not water that they had dipped an hour earlier that was boiling because of the heat, but fresh cold H2O!!!!!

As you may have read in earlier posts, my pet peeve is when I am out on a race course and they the water stations just up and leave, or there is only one person there that doesn’t get up to help you out and just wants to go home.

HEATWAVE, no such issue. There were two of us, myself and a very nice woman, out on the course longer than most. The stations not only stayed open, but ALL of the volunteers waited until we had both passed AND they were full of energy and ready to help in anyway that they could. THANK YOU!!!!!


I finished more than 35 minutes faster than I did in the Memphis in May Olympic Tri. I attribute that to, starting earlier, wave starts, and the awesome water stations helping me with the heat and staying hydrated.

If you do triathlons, you should do this race. From top to bottom, swim, bike, run course, volunteers, organization, etc. I don’t think I will find another race better than HEATWAVE.

Thanks for your support. I am doing it!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Heatwave Classic - Meridian MS

I am all over the Sate this week, very busy.

I had an awesome race and this venue is the best I have raced in thus far in my short career as a triathlete. i reccomend anyone try it.

Enjoy the pics and I will post report later this week.

Thanks to everyone.