Friday, December 30, 2011

About A Year In Review

If there was ever a good year, 2011 was the one!

Now, don't get me wrong, I've had a pretty good run and I have very little, if anything, to complain about.  I have the most wonderful family a man could ever ask for; a lovely, beautiful, caring, adoring wife, two magnificent daughters that any father would be proud to have and what has to be the most amazing grandson ever.  The good Lord definitely knows into whose life to drop these blessings.

I am not any different from anyone who wants to accomplish great things in life and is willing to work hard for them.  I am focused, determined and most of the time on target.

As I entered 2011 I knew that one of the biggest items in my bucket list would, God willing, come true.  That is to become an Ironman.  I had signed up for Louisville which was to be held August 29th.  The training had begun and baring a major catastrophe, it would be completed as planned.  And that it did.  That day, I did become an Ironman. (read the race recap here)  But as we all well know this did not happen over night.  This was a journey that took almost four years to complete.

What I did not know at the beginning of the year was that two more items, both large by any account, would also come true.

The one item that is fairly common amongst anyone who actively works a bucket list is "to retire".  This item could have been found in my list as well.  Another item that is also frequently found is "to start own business".

As luck would have it, things worked out perfectly for both goals in 2011.  A situation presented itself that allowed me to take early retirement and on July 1st, I did.  I would no longer be a slave to the time clock; to deadlines imposed on my time by others; to the responsibilities of having someone, anyone to answer to on a daily basis.  I would be my own man.

In comes the second goal.  Due to the aforementioned event, now that I had some time in my hands, I was able to concentrate on starting my own business.  I became a Registered Court Interpreter for the Language of Spanish (thank goodness I paid attention in Spanish class) and on July 21st I landed my first assignment.  After that, it has been non stop.  I'm truly blessed.

I am busy, busier than I have been in years (hope my old boss does not read this), but a different busy.  Now "all" of my efforts are rewarded with direct benefits for my family and myself.  I am able to work as much (and this is now the case) or as little as I want to, when I want to.  I can take time off when I need to for as long as I need to.  You get the picture, don't you?

What's in store for 2012?  Hard to tell, hard to top 2011.  Said bucket list still has a lot of items in it.  Only time will tell how things will develop.  I have been struggling a bit trying to prioritize these.  So I have taken to the idea that I will let the year play its course. If 2011 is an indication of things to come, 2012 should be a doozy!

I'd like to invite you to go over to this blog's facebook page and click the "like" button.  Easiest way to get fast updates.

About The Best Of 2011

This year I have taken to my blog a bit more consistently.  This is post No. 51 for 2011.  That's almost one post per week.  Not a power blogger by any stretch of the imagination but a steady blogger at that.  I have seen the blog's popularity, measured by "hits" per post steadily increase.

It is no surprise that the post that gathered the most traffic was the one entitled "About Becoming An Ironman".  It accumulated over 2,000 hits in just 48 hours.  It was the most shared via twitter and liked on facebook of all posts.

This post takes the reader through my day at the 2011 Louisville Ironman.  If you didn't get a chance to read it, you can do so here.

The second most popular post and one that I feel strongly about is the post entitled "About Being Fit vs. Being Healthy".  I cannot measure its popularity in terms of "hits" because even though it was posted on September 29th, I still get comments via twitter and emails about it.  Apparently this post made a few people think about their fitness and health.

A couple of other favorite posts of mine deal with the issue of the "Ironman Tattoo".  I brought the subject up in a post titled "About The Tattoo", in which I used the subject to make a point as to how people really don't understand why we do what we do.

After the Louisville Ironman, the subject resurfaced again after I had mine done.  This post can be found under "About Ironman Pride".

I have been using the down season (I hesitate to call it an off-season because as we know, triathletes do not have an off-season), to write about what it takes mentally, to help yourself achieve your goals.  The first post in the series is entitled "About Positioning Yourself For Success".  There's a series of post that follow this one.  The first three have been posted, there are several more to come.

A facebook page has been created for this blog.  Please navigate your way there by clicking here and press the "like" button.  This is an easy way to ensure you get  future updates.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

About Resolutions

“Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve” ~ Benjamin Franklin

One of the greatest advises I’ve ever heard.

New Years’ resolutions don’t just happen.  You don’t wake up January 1st and decide that “this” is what you’re going to resolve this year.  If that’s how you do it, I have a bit of bad news for you.

A good resolution is one that has a chance to succeed.  Like any other goal you make for yourself, it has to be planned, thought out, dissected, chewed up, spelled out, shared, and yes… written.

New Year’s Day is full of good intentions.  We “resolve” to lose weight, to eat better, to exercise more.  Maybe we want to be a better spouse or parent.  Or it could be to improve our relationship with our employees, our employer, our customer or suppliers, our friends or neighbors.   You may want to be a better communicator; to listen more and talk less.

If you belong to and regularly frequent a gym, you know that the first few weeks of the year the building is full of people with great intentions.  Great intentions but no plans.  You know this to be true because after a short period of time, the crowds return to  normal,  left with just those who are serious about their goals.
There’s no feeling like that of achieving a goal.  A small one, medium or large one.

I challenge you to work on your New Year’s Resolution starting today.  Isn’t there something you been itching to do?  to accomplish?  A change you wish to make? An item off your bucket list?  I bet there is.

Think about this.  Write it down.  Set a date.  Work it backwards.  Spell out small steps you’re going to take today, tomorrow, this week, this month, etc.  And yes… share your resolution!  Tell the world, tell someone, just. tell. someone!  Accountability is a wonderful thing.


Please visit this blog's facebook page and click "like".

Monday, December 19, 2011

About Risks

The word "risk" has always had a negative connotation attached to it.  Depending on your point of view it could represent anything from failure and loss to danger, tension and stress.

But risk also has a positive side and it takes a special individual to see the chance of a big pay off, a big win.

Every time we make a decision, we're taking a risk.  Sometimes well calculated, sometimes not.  Everyone knows and understands that it's a pretty bad idea to take dumb, miscalculated risks; those that you expect to have no positive result in the short or long term.  On the other hand, it's equally foolish to pass the opportunity at an intelligent, well calculated risk; one which you expect to yield a positive result.

Most of us have learned to, and become pretty good at avoiding dumb risks.  But we are equally bad at taking the intelligent ones.  This is what separates the most successful folks from those who end up wondering what could have been.

Successful folks are willing to take those risks. They're willing to stick their necks out because they know that the potential benefits totally outweigh the potential setbacks.

Usually the long term benefits of a risk well taken outnumber the consequence of a potential failure.

I have always been a risk taker.  Always. Sometimes to the dismay of family and friends.  I have failed more often than I have succeeded, but I dare not think of what could have been had I not been willing, ready and able to take those risks.  And it all began at an early age.

As I was growing up,  had there been a vote in my high school for the "Person Most Likely To NOT Be Doing (What I'm Doing Today)", that would have been me.

Everything I tried to do I was not any good at.  Be it sports, or any other extracurricular activity, I failed miserably.  But I failed not because of lack of effort (okay, maybe a little bit), but because I was not any good at it.  I remember in the 7th grade I thought I wanted to play an instrument.  I was told by a music teacher that the trombone was the easiest to learn.  We went and rented one and two lessons later the teacher asked if I had ever thought about sports.  So off to football I went.  Tried out and made the team, only because I think they took everyone who tried out.  A couple of practices later, the coach introduced me to the baseball coach who in turn introduced me to the choir director.  Yeah, I was that bad.

The point is that I wanted to do something and I wouldn't stop. I continued to take risks despite my track record.  That is until I realized that I was left in the choir as a gesture of good will by the director for it was obvious that I didn't belong there.  All these hits took a toll and I stopped taking risks.

Through the years I learned to calculate risks better.  I learned that I needed to venture into areas where my chances of success were higher.  Slowly but surely I learned to master this, and with each new success I ventured into new worlds until eventually I found myself becoming an Ironman, which in itself it was probably one of the risks with the highest probability of failure I have ever taken.  Yeah, if my friends could see me now!

The key to success in risk taking is to look far ahead in the future. When thinking of potential benefits, its always better to think enough ahead so as to give your risk a chance to succeed.  Over time, small changes and/or adjustments to your plan can yield a higher chance for a positive payoff.  Give your decision a chance to play out.  Adjust as necessary and watch it come true.  This is what keeps me from getting discouraged when my failures outnumber my successes; it's because I keep thinking long term and I keep adjusting as time goes by.  I learn from each disappointment and adjust my sails next time the ship leaves the harbor.

Short-term thinking and risk aversion seems to be the modus-operandi in today's society.  We are trained from early on to expect immediate gratification with as little risk as possible.  A person like me does not quiet fit into this mold, and I don't want to.  I want to think ahead, way ahead.

Find an intelligent risk you can take today.  Who knows if it will pan out? Nobody.  May be it won't.  But what if it did?  Be happy with whatever the results, you will have gained courage and knowledge just by making an attempt.

Embrace Intelligent Risk.


I will discuss "mistakes" on the next post in the series "Position Yourself For Success."  Until then, I ask that you please visit this blog's facebook page and click "like".

Related Posts:

About Positioning Yourself For Success

About Attitude

About Passion

Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, December 8, 2011

About "Passion"

"Passion is the fuel that keeps us going in good times, bad times and all in between times.  Passion is the fire in the belly, the driving force or energy source that takes us to our destination... and beyond."

"Passion drives us to unimaginable places by helping us overcome unimaginable resistance"

Passion touches the depth of the soul and speaks to the spirit.  Passion can be so profound that trying to explain the feeling is like trying to speak a foreign language.  Although once felt, the need for explanation fades away and the experience takes precedence.

It wasn't until I met my wife that I discovered the true meaning of "passion", in more ways than one. Up until that point, I had no "fire", there was no purpose, very little meaning to what I did and how I did it.  I went through the motions and very slowly, I was getting no where in a hurry!

I had always been afraid of the "fire" because I didn't want to get "burned", so I was always very careful as to not let the spark fly.  I stayed away from pushing and taking risks because previous results had taught me that failure was not pleasant.  I had not realized, at that point, that each failure was a learning experience.

Fast forward 20 years.

Slowly I began to discover and fully enjoy newly discovered passions.  A new fire was added with the birth of each daughter, and later that of my grandson.  Amazing how how hot those burn today. I also developed a passion for all things right.  In my personal life as well as my professional one.  I found that these two merged nicely and when they did everything seemed to fall into place.  And with these experiences adding up one on top of the other, I ventured into a world I had feared for a lifetime.  The world of physical fitness, and an unprecedented passion followed.  It's been well documented throughout this blog.

According to surveys (you know there are surveys for everything), about 75% of the population do not know what their true passion is.  Clearly, not everyone seems to be doing what they were meant to do, but finding out what drives you is not as simple as it sounds.  It may come naturally for some but most of the time you have to ask yourself questions in order to pinpoint exactly what you were born to do.  But what questions should you ask?

These are only suggestions, but it's a good place to start:

* What puts a smile on your face?
                        Happiness and Passion go hand in hand.  So finding out what puts a smile on your face is paramount to finding out what you were put on this earth to do.

* What do you find fun to do?
                        Usually what we find that puts a smile on our face, we find fun to do.  Fun leads to happiness, happiness leads to passion.

* What sparks your creativity, curiosity and imagination?
                         Think of something you like to do where you find yourself expanding your horizon, always coming up with new,different and exciting ideas relating to the subject.                       

* What would you do for free?
                        What do you look forward to do regardless of whether there's monetary compensation or not. Doing what you have a passion for brings out your best, and this leads to greatness, and greatness leads to success.

* What do you like to talk about?
                        What topic makes you brighten up? changes your entire behavior?  Sometimes the topic of conversation may not be as clear to you as it is to others.  If in doubt, ask friends what it is that you like to talk about, what topic changes your attitude when is brought up.

* What makes you unafraid of failure?
                         When we do what we are passionate about, we have total confidence in our abilities.  Period.  Think of something you do or want to do, no matter what.  How can we fail when we do what we love?  Doing what you love is a success in itself.

* What would you regret not having tried?
                         We all have dreams but somehow life pushes us in different directions.  If you were at the end of your journey, what would you regret not having pursued?

Passion is yours to experience and revel in it, even if it causes you to scrape your knees every now and then.  Passion is within you.  It is yours to discover and master...But remember that passion will not be fully unleashed unless what you're doing, or want to do, is in alignment with who you are.

So, what drives you?  What sets your belly on fire?  Share your story with us by commenting on this post.


I will discuss "risk" on the next post in the series "Position Yourself For Success."  Until then, I ask that you please visit this blog's facebook page and click "like".

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

About Attitude

In this, the second post in our series on  "Positioning Yourself For Success", we begin by reviewing our first post's message on "Responsibility", or rather stating the awesome fact that if you are here reading on, you have taken the first step towards helping yourself achieve your goals; you have declared yourself "responsible" for your own actions.

So, we move on.  Today we will discuss:  Attitude.

"Ability is what you're capable of doing.  Motivation determines what you do.  Attitude determines how well you do it."  ~ Lou Holtz.

Everyone has an attitude.  Good, bad, positive, negative or indifferent.  We carry it with us wherever we go.  We let it guide us, bring us up or tear us down.  There's no escaping it.  We have it.  It's ours.  In most cases, our perception of said attitude is somewhat different than the perception others have of it.  But it's our, and that's what matters.  We must live with it.

Or do we?  Can we change it?  Should we change it?  Well, that's a question only you can answer.  But let me help you take a good look at yourself to help you decide.

When you look in the mirror, are you happy with what you see?  Is the person looking back at you someone you would be happy to hang around with?  To call your friend?  Do you see a smile?  A frown?  Is there a happy face staring back at you?

I don't remember when, I don't remember why or even how it happened.  What I do remember is that one day in the somewhat distant past, I had to change mine.  My previous lifestyle has been carefully documented so I will not waste precious time discussing this again, I will tell you though, that after taking full responsibility for my actions, or lack thereof, I took full responsibility for changing my attitude.

I found that a positive attitude helps you cope more easily with the daily affairs of life.  That it brings optimism into your life and makes it easier to avoid worry and negative thinking.  I found that by adopting a positive attitude as a way of life, it brings constructive changes into your life and makes it brighter, happier and more successful.  I found that with a positive attitude you see the bright side of life, you become more optimistic and expect the best to happen.  I found that it's a state of mind well worth developing and strengthening.

I have also found that having a positive attitude helps you achieve goals and attain success, faster and more easily.  I have found myself to be happier, with more energy and with extra inner power and strength.  I have found the ability to inspire and motivate myself and others.  I have found fewer difficulties along the way and able to surmount those that I did find.  Life has been smiling at me and I have found a new level of respect towards others, and from others.

So, are you in need of an attitude adjustment?  Have you been exhibiting a negative attitude and experiencing failure and difficulties?  It is now time to change the way you think.  It is time to get rid of all those negative thoughts and behavior and lead a happy and successful life.  Why not start today?  Have you tried and failed?  It only means you haven't tried enough.

Starting today, choose to be happy.  Look at the bright side of life.  Choose to be and stay optimistic.  Find reasons to smile, often.  Have faith in yourself and those around you.  Contemplate on the futility of negative thinking, behavior and worries.  Associate yourself with happy people ("like" my facebook page).  Read a lot; inspiring stories, inspiring quotes.  Repeat affirmations that inspire and motivate you.  Visualize only what you want to happen.  Become a master of your thoughts.  Learn to concentrate and meditate.

Positive thinking is not just saying that everything will be okay, as a lip service, and at the same time thinking about failure.  In order to bring beneficial changes and improvements into your life, a positive attitude has to become your predominant mental attitude throughout the day.  It has to turn into a way of life.

The choice is yours.

On the next post, I will discuss "Passion".  In the meantime, head on over to this blog's facebook page and click "like".  Thanks!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

About Positioning Yourself For Success

What is Success Positioning?

It's an ongoing strategic process. It is compared to carefully constructing a building.  It begins with a strong foundation.  The stronger and deeper the foundation, the stronger and taller the building will be.

Success in life comes to those who are committed, serious and determined about achieving their goals.  I have been able to accomplish some amazing things only because I have followed this simple rule.  But it hasn't always been easy.

It all begins simply and innocently.  For me it was the desire to loose weight and get off the couch, which evolved in time into a desire to become an Ironman.  Again, it hasn't always been easy.

And because it really has not always been easy, I had to Position Myself For Success.

I took to this the same approach I had been following in business.  I figured, if it worked there, it should work here.  And it is my estimate, that it has.

Through trial and error, I have identified 15 elements that when put to work together, create a solid foundation in which to build our future, pursue our dreams or simply perform at a higher level.  Not any one element is unreachable by anyone; they're all within your grasp with a little effort and dedication.

No element is more important than the other, therefore I will presented them in no particular order... except for No.1 and No. 15.  I will explain each in detail and how I adapt it to my fitness, running and triathlon goals here and in upcoming posts.

Everyone is different in their approach and no formula is a "one-size-fits-all."  Chances are extremely high that you have heard some of these before but chances are also high that you will pick up something from this series of posts.  If you adapt just one element into your approach, you will be that much further ahead.  At least that is my wish for you.

So, without further to do, lets get started.  Here we will discuss the first element:  Responsibility.

The good news here is simple. Nothing else that will be discussed in this series is of any value if you don't take Responsibility for your own actions.  Nothing.  If you're not willing to do this, you might as well quit now and go on doing what you're doing.

"It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities" ~ Josiah Charles Stamp.

I sat in front of my couch for a lifetime.  I gained weight and felt terrible.  My cholesterol was sky high, my back hurt like the dickens. If you don't count complaining and bitching about the aches and pains, I was doing nothing about it.  I was just content letting life pass me by.

I could have blamed anything and everything.  I could have sat there and continued with what I was doing, did I mention mostly complaining and bitching.  After all, it was easy; it required no effort.  I could have waited for life to pass by me and been content.  That is until I took Responsibility.  It was my fault, my own doing.  No one asked me or forced me into that rut.

Then a swift kick in the butt or a slap on the back of my head woke me up.  It was time to grow up and take Responsibility.  This is when the metamorphosis began to take place.

You too have to take Responsibility.  No one can do this for you.  Not your spouse, not your kids, not your friends.  It has to be yours.

If you've read this far, I thank you and invite you to look forward to the next post:  "About Attitude" as I continue with this series on Positioning Yourself For Success.

In the meantime, please visit this blog's Facebook page and click "like".  Thanks!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, November 18, 2011

About Mantras

We all know that in sports the mental game is 90% of the battle.  And as they say, the other 10% is all in your head.  And we all know that this is so close to the real truth that it's almost scary.

We train for months at a time to improve our swim stroke and speed.  We train for miles on out to ensure our cadence is just where it needs to be and we hit the pavement for what seems eternity just to make sure our stride is just perfect.  But that, my friends, sad to say is not enough.

Over the past several years, I have mastered the use of the power of self motivation.  I've put it to good use in my professional world as well as my personal life.  I've had tremendous success in both, mostly attributed, in my opinion to the self learned ability to look for and find the good things in everything and to realize that with the proper attitude, just about anything is possible.

When I started running and competing, or rather participating, in triathlons, I found it very helpful.  I would "talk" myself through to the finish even when the cards were stacked against this.  As the years went by I found that the messages came from different sources, there was no constant to these, but they all seemed to work.

It was on the drive to Ironman 70.3 Steelhead in July 2010 when I began to discuss with my wife, as I often do, the concerns I had with this race.  Most everything I had created were issues that after further consideration merited no place in my pre-race preparations.  And this is when and where my personal mantra came to life.

"You have to have FAITH in your training" she would tell me when I expressed concerns about my preparation.  "You have to have FOCUS all day long" she went on to say when I explained the concerns over the bike portion of the event.  During Ironman 70.3 Augusta, the bike leg was mishandled and caused tremendous pain and discomfort during the run.  "You do this and you will FINISH with a smile on your face" she concluded.

So there it was,  "FAITH. FOCUS. FINISH."  My mantra.

During all events, of any length, I wear a necklace with a stainless steel pendant with these three words engraved.  Often, and I do mean often, I find myself grabbing the pendant between my thumb and index finger and rubbing it gently.  This serves as a gentle reminder of what I must do.  It hasn't failed me yet, and I don't expect it to.

I am very happy to share this with one and all.  I have sent it as friendly motivational messages to friends prior to races.  One friend even found it worthy of engraving it into her Road ID.

No matter the sport of choice, most athletes have a mantra they go by.  What's your mantra?    When and how did it come about?  Share your story by commenting on this post, or on this blog's facebook page.  We'd love to hear your story.


Head on over to our facebook page and click the "like" button to keep updated on future blog posts.  Thanks,

Monday, November 14, 2011

About Obstacles To Overcome

I have been a very luck person.  During this journey through my new lifestyle I have had no serious injuries to deal with.  A bout with ITBS a couple of years ago was quickly and swiftly dealt with.  When it first showed it's ugly side, I had three weeks before my first full marathon.  I finished it with no consequence. Today, I know what I must do to keep this from returning.

Some six weeks before Ironman Louisville my heel started hurting.  At first I thought that I had changed my running stride and was striking on my heel more than before.  I went to a shoe store and purchased new shoes with special inserts.  This seemed to help the issure, but not eliminate it.  As it appears, that was not the problem.

During the home stretch to Louisville, the pain did not go away.  It did not get worst, but it did not go away.  During the marathon portion of the Ironman, I knew the pain was there, but at that point it really didn't matter.  Nothing would keep me from crossing that finish line.

As it turns out, the pain in the heel just got more intense the weeks following Ironman.  Each and every time I would run, I would be rendered unable to barely walk for a day or two after.  An appointment with the doctor was made.

The diagnosis was, as I suspected, Plantar Fasciitis.  I was told that amongst other things I needed total rest from running.  The Plantar Fascia would need to heel and running would prevent this from happening.  I had a half marathon on my schedule for November 12th.  This I needed to run.

I had not run a step for two weeks prior to the Hard Rock Cafe Run For The Party Half Marathon in Nashville.  I had been swimming and spinning, but no running.  I was not sure what kind of a day I would have.  I had never showed up to the start of an event as I did that morning.  I felt the endurance would be there, that was not the issue.  I was not sure how the heel would behave.  It didn't.

The first eight miles were great.  I was running a 9:20 minute mile steadily.  I was feeling great.  And then the wheels, as they say, fell off.  The pain was so intense that by mile nine, more or less, I could hardly walk, let alone run.  But in true fashion, I ignored the pain as much as possible, and continued through.  I had to finish.

My original goal, when I signed up for this event, was to run my first sub two hour half in over four years.  With a plan from my coach, I started training for this and in my perception I was doing just fine.  That is until the pain started getting the best of me.

I adjusted my plan.  I wanted to do the half in 2:15.  Through the first eight or nine miles I was in pace to do just that.  By that was not to be.  My finish time was 2:22:43.  Missed my goal by seven minutes.

After the race I couldn't walk two steps without taking a rest.  By late afternoon walking was almost impossible.  Some ice, a foot massage and plenty of stretching helped the issue.  In the morning, the heel was rested so the pain was not as bad.

I have a very aggressive schedule on my wish list for next year.  I have already registered for the St. Jude's Country Music Half Marathon and there are plenty of others, amongst them the Gasparilla Half Marathon in Tampa, Fl., which I'd like to run with my brother.  This one is in early February.  Not sure this one will be possible, will have to wait and see.

As obstacles come and obstacles go, this one has to be addressed wisely.  I have been told that continuing to run on a damaged PlantarFascia could result in serious damage to my plans.  So the advise of the experts I will follow.  There will be no running for me at least through the end of the year.

So, in my immediate future I see plenty of swimming; not bad because my form could use lots of help.  Plenty of spin classes; not bad because I need to build my bike strength.  Plenty of visits to the weight room, not bad because this I like to do.

So, running and I will be reunited again in early 2012.


Please "like" my blog's facebook page, (by clicking the link on the right column of this blog or click here) for easy and quick access to future posts.  Thanks!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

About The Off-Season

As triathletes and runners, do we have such a thing as an "off-season"?  We may look forward to less training, in volume and intensity, but can we afford to take "any" time off?

For me the answer is no. Not that I can't afford to take the time off because I sure I could, but I don't really want to sit around and do nothing.  After I finished Ironman Louisville I took what seemed to be just a few days off.  Mostly to rest my mind and refuel my spirit, to ponder and enjoy the immensity of what I had just gone through.  Yes, they were tired.

When the time came to get back to training I asked my coach to train me to run a sub 2 hour half marathon.  For those of you wondering what the big deal is... well, for me it's huge in two ways.  One, I have never trained or raced for time. It has always been to "finish" doing the very best I could.  And second I ran a 1:57:something three years ago and have not come close since.

I have three half marathons on my schedule already, but I have given up the idea of a sub 2 hr for a couple of reasons.  One... my heels are killing me. This is the first time ever I have to deal with pain, not discomfort but pure, intense pain.  Self diagnosis:  Plantar Fascitis.  I have a doctors appointment but not till mid November.  Don't they know we need things repaired, like today!  And second, running for time was stressing me out to no end.  I was not enjoying my training runs, at all.  This is not acceptable.

Another item on the off-season schedule is to plan next year's schedule.  I have started on that.


2012 Wish List

As you can see this schedule is not set in stone.  It has been written on a dry erase board so that it can be modified.  One thing is for sure, I plan on at least two Ironman 70.3 events.  The first one will be the Florida 70.3 Ironman on May 12th and the second is yet to be determined.

Strength Training will also be a big part of my off-season.  I did P90X last year and was extremely pleased with the results.  I have already started again, but I have added a few Insanity sets to the mix.  Just to keep it interesting.

I will train my weaknesses. I will concentrate on improving my swim.  It is still by far my weakest link. This does not mean that I will swim mega laps, for improvement in the water will only come from improved technique and this can only be achieved through drill specific sets.

During the past twelve months I learned more about Nutrition than I have during my entire life.  I am going to continue working on improving my eating habits.

And not last but definitely the most important part of my off-season will be my family.  During this year, they sacrificed a bunch to help me achieve my goal and dream.  When deciding what to do at any particular time, they will be the first choice.

So the plan for this triathlete's off-season is simple.  Family first, then whatever happens.  No structured training, no specific goals.  I will run for the fun of it, I will swim for the heck of it and I will spin/bike just because.  I will not stress.  I will not worry.  I will be happy!

What is your plan for the off season?  What will you do?

(BTW... Please click "like" on the top of the right side panel ->>> to "like" my facebook page.  Thanks!)

Monday, October 10, 2011

About Getting To Kona

A trip to Kona to participate in the Ironman World Championships is to a triathlete like a trip to Boston is to a runner.  Trying to figure out how to qualify for a spot in Hawaii has proven to be as difficult as trying to figure out when it will be your turn to sign up for Boston, that is... after you qualify.

And this question comes up this time of year more often than any other.  Most of us... well okay, a lot of us, spent the majority of last Saturday glued to the Internet watching the awesome performances by some equally awesome athletes and thinking while we were doing this:  What if?  What will it take?  How can I get there?

It really is not as difficult as one may think.  The qualifying part is, not the trying to figure out how.  Let me explain.

Up until now there has been three ways to get to Kona.  Actually four.  One is to earn a spot at a qualifying event, two is by being selected in the Ironman Lottery Program and three by winning a slot in the Ironman Charitable eBay auction. The fourth and lesser know way is to be selected as a featured athlete.  These are spots that NBC gets to feature athletes with special and extraordinary stories.  "Up until now" I said, because the WTC has added a new way.

There are 200 spots in the lottery and this is pretty straight forward.  You buy your spot in the lottery for $40 and if you get picked you get in.  The eBay spots are also pretty simple to get, if you have the means, financially.  The NBC spots are obviously more difficult to come about but if you have a story that's worth sharing, get in touch with NBC sports, you never know.

The bulk of the spots come from the qualifying Ironman events. Each and every Ironman distance/sanctioned event serves as a qualifier.  Additionally, six Ironman 70.3 events serve as qualifiers, 70.3 Asia Pacific Championships, 70.3 St. Croix, 70.3 Hawaii, 70.3 Eagleman, 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake and three hand cycle spots are available at the 70.3 Antwerp.

Each event is allotted a certain number of qualifying spots.  Despite the massive amount of research performed, I could not find out how this number comes about.  Each age group in the event is given at least one qualifying spot.  The remainder of the spots are divided proportionately to the number of athletes in the age group compared to the total number of athletes in the event.  For example,  if 40-45 males have 8% of the participants then this age group will get 8% of the spots.  In case there are no participants in an age group, the spot will roll down to the next group.

These spots will be issued at the end of each event and you have to be present and ready to ante up the $700 registration fee or your spot will roll down to the next qualifying athlete.

And so there it is.  Pretty simple, right?  But there's more.  A new way to get to Kona.

According to Andrew Messick, head of the WTC  "If you're a serious and dedicated triathlete who has participated in 12 or more Ironman sanctioned full distance events you will be given a chance to go to Kona." But these will not be added slots, these will come from the lottery pool.

You can listen to the podcast that includes the interview with Mr. Messick. Discussion on the new policy starts about minute 20.   Source credit goes to DC Rainmaker

Triathletes that have more than 12 lifetime Ironman distance events under their belt will be chosen first until all that meet this new qualification have their day.  The number of slots to be allocated is not clear yet, so it is unknown how many years it will take for all to be cycled in.

As for myself, I'm a realistic when it comes to Kona.  I'm not fast, not even close.  I can not expect to get a qualifying spot at a qualifying event... not yet.  I do not see myself participating in the eBay auction either. And having only completed one Ironman distance to date, it will take me eleven years to even think about the new qualifier... that is provided I do one each of the next eleven years, which is highly improbable.

So, if I really want to get to Kona, as I see it, I have two options.  One would be to write a 13 year plan to qualify in the 70-74 age group or, the lottery!

Decisions, Decisions.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

About Being Fit vs. Being Healthy

Of course you're fit.  You swim, bike and/or run for hours and miles at a time.  You can out-endure anyone close to you without even trying.  Your physique is envied by models everywhere.  You can lose weight without even trying and your body fat percentage is the goal of every top professional athlete.  Yes sir.  You're fit alright.

But are you healthy?

I have been thinking about this for a while now and even more so after the unfortunate death of a triathlete at the start of Ironman Louisville this year.  Of course we're fit, but are we healthy?

Those of us that got a late start in the sport, have a lot of ground to make up.  As for me, I was overweight (198 lbs), in pain from bulging, herniated and ruptured discs.  I have had numerous surgeries on my toes and ankle, leaving a constant nagging, if you will, on my lower extremities. Add to that the fact that I have high cholesterol due to family history and the very unhealthy diet that I followed for many a day.  In 1988 I had an asthma attack which landed me in the emergency room, at which point my cholesterol was discovered to be over 500; "a walking heart attack" I was told I was.

In 2006 I turned the corner and saw the light.  It was there blinding me, much like a train coming at you in a tunnel.  I did not want to be in pain any longer.  I wanted to watch my daughters grow, get married, have kids.  I wanted to travel with my wife; go places and do things only imagined impossible up to that point.  So I joined a gym.  I was 52 at that point.  I decided to get fit.  And healthy.

I changed a lot of my habits.  It was hard, but it had to be done. No ifs, ands or buts. It had to happen.  And slowly I started loosing weight, cholesterol started coming down hard (and staying down), pains turned to aches which are easier to manage.

I began to get fit.  But was I healthy?

My doctor suggested I see him twice a year vs once.  Due to the new stress I was putting on my body he wanted to make sure my ticker was ticking just fine.  I obliged.  He was keeping a close eye on me, for which I was very thankful.

I have done a couple of stress tests over the past couple of years.  Surprising the heck out of the techs performing the procedure.  So, as far as we can tell... yeah I'm fit and I'm healthy.

Most of the deaths at triathlons occur in the swimming leg of the event.  There's just to much going on at that point for an unhealthy heart to handle.  I understand that all the tests in the world cannot guarantee diddly-squat... but you know what?  I like my chances now a whole lot better.

Which brings me to the point...  Of course you know you're fit, but do you know you're healthy?  Go see your doctor more often.  Don't ignore, as much as us Type A personalities want to, unusual pains.  Chances are that they're nothing, but why take the chance?  When was the last time you had a stress test?  Call your doctor's office, have them schedule one... today!

Yes sir, you're fit alright.  But are you healthy?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

About A New Contributor To This Blog

I am extremely blessed to have access to this platform to document the musings of a journey that started some four years ago and has taken me through some fantastic and unbelievable places accompanied by some equally amazing family and friends.

This vehicle has also provided me with the opportunity to be a source of information and in a minuscule degree a source of inspiration to anyone who is in need of a "little push".

But I know my limits.  There are areas in which I am not versed well enough to be able to intelligently discuss.  One such area is Nutrition for the Endurance Athlete.  This area seems to be a topic that always draws plenty of discussion and interest, specially from those new(er) to the distance running or triathlon life style.

This is where my friend Corey Irwin comes in.  As a professional healthy gourmet chef, author, and running and wellness coach, Corey actively promotes total body fitness, balanced nutrition, and long range, preventive health via her nutrition/recipe and running websites.  I am lucky to be able to announce that Corey will join this blog as a contributing author.  Please watch for her upcoming posts.

Chef Corey Irwin
Corey Irwin, Runner

To learn more about Corey and her upcoming cookbook, visit her "about me" page to link to one of her websites and/or blog.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

About Ironman Pride

Three weeks and three days ago I completed one of the worlds most grueling events known to mankind:  the "Ironman".  If you missed my race report you can find it here for this entry is not about the race, or the journey to get to the race, but about the pride of becoming an "Ironman".

There are as many reasons why anyone would take on a challenge of this magnitude as there are people taking on this challenge, and it has been said that it's one of the most difficult things to try to explain, specially to those who do not understand the idea of pushing oneself to unknown limits.  I for one, gave up trying to explain.  Here is how I chose to handled it.

Life has changed post Ironman.  There's a huge sense of pride in having accomplished something that someone like me could have never imagined possible when I started doing triathlons in 2008.

And expressing this pride has come in many different forms.

In addition to the usual and obligatory IM merchandise; visor, hat, shirts, tee shirts, Finisher's Jacket, cycling jersey, coffee mug, car sticker, key chain, etc, etc, etc, I had a tattoo inked on my left calf.

Blood, Sweat & Tears
But this did not come without much thought and consideration.  Most of it done pre-Ironman.

During the course of those eleven months spent getting physically and mentally ready, I researched the idea of the tattoo.  Read countless accounts of why people get them done and why others choose not to and came to the conclusion that this would eternally be a sign and a stamp of something I did... that very few even attempt.

Through this research I found that those that chose to get a tattoo quietly expressed their opinion while the loudest voices came from those that frowned upon it.  Why?  I can't figure it out.  It is after all, as it should be, a matter of personal preference.

It's been a bit over two weeks since I got inked and it has been a conversation starter.  Folks that know that it means congratulate me and want to talk about the experience - not the tattoo. Folks that don't, ask... and I tell them.  With my head up high.  Proud to be an Ironman.

Friday, September 9, 2011

About "Post Ironman Doldrums"

dol·drums... A period of stagnation or slump.  A period of depression or unhappy listlessness.

I've been feeling a somewhat blue, so I went to the doctor,  he diagnosed me with a slight case of "Iron Deficiency".

Is this possible? Could this be true? Who me? Depressed? Anxious? Exhausted?   Somewhere along the line I heard that this could happen but no one is certain of how and when... or why?  Most importantly, once I  recognize it, how will I deal with it?

I have just completed one of the most amazing, mind boggling event of my life.  This was my goal, this was my thing.  I trained and I trained hard.  Day in, day out.  For months at a time.  My family began to wonder when and if they were going to get me back.  And just like that... after 15+ hours on race day, I crossed the finish line.  I became an Ironman!

So why the feeling of emptiness?  What's missing?  Shouldn't I be relieved that the pressure of the early morning / two a day training sessions are behind me?  Logic would tell me that it should.  Or could this be the problem?  All that free time.  Things were simpler then, my day was planned, there was no time to waste.  And now there are several hours of daylight left and I have nothing to do.  Nothing to do, but think.

I haven't had much of a feeling of depression.  I have been left wondering "what now?"  For me, there's nothing out there bigger or better than becoming an Ironman.  It was a goal I worked for for several years.  Methodically, purposely, one day at a time, one workout at a time.

So, what's next?  I know I have to schedule something, I have to plan something, I have to have a purpose.  I am not one to, although I should be, just train to train.  I am an objective type person, I need a goal to achieve, something to chase.  But everything seems to pale in comparison.   I have to get over this.  I have to get past this.

I will be running the Nashville Half Marathon in November.  I will be doing P90X for the second time or Insanity for the first time during the winter months.  As for next year, I'd like to do two Ironman 70.3 races.  I am looking at Ironman 70.3 Florida in Orlando on May 20, 2012 and Ironman 70.3 Augusta late September 2012.  Additionally, I'd like to do a few local sprint and Olympic distance races as well as the Country Music Marathon 2012.  Oh yeah, I'm doing the Ragbrai with my wife and some friends, and maybe just maybe the Cherohala Challenge.  I understand this is an aggressive plan and that something may have to give.  I'm okay with that.  And what about another Ironman in my future?  You bet!

And the lingering feeling that nothing will be as good as the Ironman?  Well, I just have to remember that "The Goals Did Not Become Less.  I Became More."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

About "Hot Toe Syndrome" In Cycling

You may have heard of this syndrome.  You may have not.  You may suffer from this,  You may not.  Either way if you're an avid cyclist or long distance triathlete, I think you will benefit from my experience.  Read on my friend.  Read on...

Throughout the past four years I have been battling a condition which in the cycling world is known as "Hot Toe Syndrome".  In a nut shell, it's a "burning sensation" or feeling that starts in the metatarsal area, or the ball of the foot and radiates to the toes.  At times the pain is so intense, it's debilitating.

I first noticed it when I participated in my first Metric Century Ride on Saturday, August 23, 2008.  At that point I thought that it was my inexperience on the bike that caused the pain.  I would find out as time went by that this was not really the case.

I put this issue out of my mind because it did not present itself again until I started training for Ironman 70.3 distances.  At which time my bike training rides began to get longer.  With time and a little attention, I noticed that the burning aggravated itself after 3 hours, more or less, on the saddle.

So I started asking questions and researching the issue on line.  I went to my local tri shop and picked their brain.  They really had little knowledge of the problem so I went to the local bike shop.

Here I was told that my bike shoes were the wrong shoes.  The toe box was to small.  My toes needed room to expand.  So new shoes I bought.  I was told that I may have to consider inserts to change the pressure points.  This is the first time I heard "pressure points".

I rode with the new shoes and it seemed to solve the problem.  The bigger toe box seemed to be the answer.  For the time being.

As I entered Ironman training bike distances, the issue came back with a vengeance.  On a century ride early in the season, the last 40 miles or so were pure hell.  So were the next two centuries.  Time was running out. Something had to be done about this, and quick.

I submerged myself in the Internet.  Hoping that I would find a "magical" solution to my problem.  "Surely, I'm not the only one suffering from this issue".  Everything I read, everything I learned kept coming back to the "pressure point" topic.  No one answer was offered anywhere, because everyone is different, but the same advise kept coming back... make sure you have the right shoes, make sure you have the right clips, make sure the clips are in the right place, etc., etc., etc.

I went to a third shop and they looked at my bike, my shoes and my cleats.  They had nothing new to offer.  According to them, everything seemed to be just the way it needed to be.

There are no other shoes in the market that offer a bigger toe box.  The clips had been adjusted on the shoes several times.  There was nothing else to do here.  So the owner at the local tri shop suggested I try a shoe one size larger than what I needed.  He let me borrow his old pair to try on in an upcoming century ride.

During said ride the problem seemed to have been solved.  One foot did not hurt, the other one did.  The pain, however did not show up till much later.  The larger shoe did not give me a good feel for the bike, it was not firm and I felt uncomfortable with it.  All I thought was creating another problem while trying to solve this one.  So I returned the larger shoes.

And then it came to me!  Just like that, out of no where...yes, in the middle of the night.

The only thing I haven't changed in this equation is the socks!.  Yes, I ride with socks.  I use a cycling sock which is a compression sock.  Compression.  That's what made me realize that maybe this was the problem.

So I took the socks off.

Next time I went out I went sock-less.  PROBLEM SOLVED!  No pain!  Zero.  Nada.  Nothing.  Zilch.  WOW, could this have been the answer all along?  I was sure hoping it was.

AND IT WAS! As it appears the sock was creating undue pressure (compression) around my toes!  Yes, it was something that simple.

Every ride after that, long, short and everything in between was sock-less.

An on August 28, 2011 at Louisville Ironman?  Yeah, NO PAIN!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

About Becoming An Ironman

I have spent the last 48 hours (give or take) replaying the events that led up to the finish line.  Not so much the events of the last eleven months, but the events of the previous 4 days.  It just went by a bit to fast.

About Registration:  We arrived on Thursday afternoon and proceeded to get registered and pick up all information regarding the events of the next three days.  This, as usual, with all Ironman sanctioned races was very smooth and extremely well organized.  The flow through the various stations was flawless so in no time I was tagged and ready to go.
No. 2765

About The Expo:  Let's just say I have made a very healthy contribution to the WTC bottom line!

About The Athlete Banquet:  Very inspirational and motivational. It was great to mingle with hundreds of your fellow Ironman participants.

About Saturday's Practice Swim, Bike and Run:  My number one reason for taking a practice swim today was to get the feel for the river; to know what I could expect in the morning.

I was pleasantly surprised when I quickly realized that the water was not any dirtier that that in which we swim here at home.  I had heard horror stories.  I started swimming up stream and made it to a couple of buoys and had to force myself to return.  The swim was feeling great.  Goal for today was just to swim 15-20 minutes.  The return seemed faster.  There was obviously a current.

After the swim, we biked for 20 minutes and ran for another 15.

About Bike And Gear Check In:  Made it to transition somewhere around 2:00 pm.  At this point the crowd had not gathered so I walked right in.  Again, I was totally blown away when a young lady came up to me and took my gear bags and proceed to walk me through transition.  Showing me step by step everything I needed to know.  Bags were in place.  Bike was racked!

Now all I had to do was relax and enjoy the rest of the day.

About Race Day

Needless to say I did not sleep long.  I woke up around midnight and the rest of the night was just filled with anticipation.  Alarm went off at 4am, but I was already up and about.
Quick breakfast and it was off to the races.  Time of day  4:45AM.

Arrived at transition a bit after 5AM.  Took my special needs bags to the trucks, filled the bike tires with proper air pressure and it was off to swim start.
About The Swim:  I had been very concerned about the time waiting in line to get in the water.  Due to the time trial format of the swim start at Louisville, it is a first come, first serve basis, so getting in line early was very important.  I projected I was in line by 6AM.  Had an hour to wait, but it was not as bad as I had anticipated.  I think the fact that my friends Skip and Bill were there along with me made the time go by faster.  Cannot forget my wife Monica and Skip's wife Charlene... they were there helping us calm our nerves.

Don't let the smiles fool you!
 Then the cannon went off.  The pros were on their way.  It was almost time to rock and roll.  In no time we could hear the National Anthem being sung and suddenly the second cannon went off... It would be just a matter of minutes now.

The line started moving quickly.  No time to think any longer.  The training of the past 11 months was about to pay off.
Concentration or Nerves... or both!
As we approached the ramp towards the boat docks, I saw my two daughters and their friend Lindsay.  What a sight!  This was huge.  The moment got bigger as we walked down the first ramp to the hooting and hollering of a massive number of friends, including coach Barry Baird, who had made the trip all the way from Nashville to support us.  Too many to mention... you know who you are, I owe you BIG!  High fives everywhere... What a send off!
And just like that... it was 7:17 and I was in the water.

How's that for form?
The first couple of hundred yards I spent getting rid of the nerves.  I was breathing heavy.  I knew I had to control this.  Which, thank goodness I did.  The rest of the way it was smooth sailing....err, swimming.  Before making the U-Turn to head downriver, I hit a sandbar with my feet.  Scared the living daylights out of me.  I saw several people standing and walking.  I quickly moved away so as to not be tempted to do the same.

Somewhere, about three quarters of the way down, my left calf cramped, and it cramped big.  It was sharp, intense pain.  I kept my cool.  Knew I had to.  The cramping went away while I continue to swim, but the calf was left in tremendous pain.  This pain I had to manage all day long.  Mind 1, Matter 0.

My estimated time on the swim had been two hours.  As I came out of the water I remember checking my watch and noticing that it was under that.  I was extremely happy.  Official swim time: 1:51:54.  Yeah!

 About T1:  It took over 12 minutes to get myself fully changed and ready for the bike.

About The Bike:  As I left transition, the adrenaline was flowing and it was flowing big.  This was amplified again, by the sight and sounds of my family and friends yelling and screaming my name.

"I'll see you in 112 miles"
 Somewhere around mile 5 my stomach started cramping real bad.  Not sure why, didn't matter.  Had to get it under control so I concentrated on the job at hand.  This lasted for about 17 miles and then it just went away.  Mind 2, Matter 0

The majority of my bike was just as I had hoped, just as I had planned, just as I had trained.  The temperature was extremely comfortable, for the most part.  The wind, however, was another story. On the second loop around LaGrange is picked up big time.  Again, fought through it and made it happen.  Mind 3, Matter 0.


Having The Time Of My Life!
I found it very difficult to eat solids during the bike.  Due to the cramping issues, I did not want to take any chances.  I relied mostly on my CarboPro mix and my wife's boiled red skin potato which I had in the Bike Special Needs bag.  This hit the spot.

As I entered the 10 mile stretch down River Rd., I began passing several triathletes that were, in my estimation having a hard time getting to the end.  I knew that I could play a small role in in their success by throwing positive vibes their way.  I kept reminding them that we were almost home.  Just a few short miles to go.  I remember telling this one girl that it was just 5 more miles and then we had a date with a marathon.  She busted out laughing.  As did I.  She yelled so I could hear:  "thank you!"  That kept my spirits up!

Oh yeah, the badly cramped left calf?  It was sore, really sore.  I kept stretching it while on the bike every chance I got.  My next concern was how it would feel on the run.  I would soon find out.

I arrived at the bike-in to the sights and sounds, again of a crowd fit for a celebrity.  What support, what a feeling, what a time.

I had hoped on 7 hours on the bike.  I was close.  Official bike time was 7:34:08.

About T2:  Once again it took me a bit over 12 minutes.  Full change of clothes again.

About The Run:

WOW... family support is priceless!

I'll see you at the finish line

You always wonder, even if for a small little bit, if you're going to have enough left to run 26.2 miles.  The first couple of miles of the run will pretty much set the pace for the next few hours.  I felt GOOD!  I was wearing my calf compression sleeve so this helped with the pain.  Never felt it again.  The ankles and heels was another story.

Almost from the onset, they began to hurt.  I have been battling this for a couple of months, but never allowing this pain to dictate my training or how I would race.  I would battle through this, no matter what.  Mind 4 - Matter 0.

The run course is flat.  Really flat.  This helped keep a steady pace.  I had trained the past few months running for 4 minutes, walking for 1 minute.  This worked out perfectly through the majority of the water stops.  On the ones that it didn't I adjusted.  This plan I believe helped keep my pace the way I wanted it.

For nutrition I relied on pretzels, some fruit, cola, chicken broth, water and two strategically spaced Stinger Waffles.  This proved to be sufficient.

I had hoped for a sub 12 minute mile average pace.  Somewhere around mile 15 I did some quick math and realized that if I pushed myself some, this goal could be reached.  Quickly I gave that idea up.  I knew that this could possibly ruin the rest of my run.  So I stuck with the plan.  Glad I did.

The tail end of the run was dark and somewhat lonely.  Again I found myself throwing positive messages to those I passed, but this time I think it was more for my benefit that for that of others.  I remember telling one girl that all we had left was a 5k and that "we do this in our sleep".  This was possibly the message that helped me through to the finish.

As I came closer to the finish line, I tried to create a lot of space between the triathletes in front of me and those behind me.  At the very last turn, I stopped and waited for the two in front to get way ahead, while keeping an eye on the ones behind me.  I wanted this moment to be "my moment".  I wanted to enter the runway alone, by myself, with no one to share the spotlight with.  This worked out great.

The last 25 yards or so I spend high five-ing everyone what would high five me back.  Everyone did.  From one side to the other.  I could hear my family and all my friends yelling, screaming and pushing me through the finish line.

And then I heard it.  Those words that made the whole journey worth it:  "Mauricio Sanchez, YOU  are an IRONMAN."  I am told that at this point I was jumping up and down, sideways and all around.

Mauricio Sanchez, YOU are an IRONMAN!
The goal for my run was somewhere around the 6 hours.  Actual time was 5:41:11.  Yeah, I was happy!

In my wildest dreams I had visions of a 15 hour finish time.  I would have been extremely happy with a 16 hour finish and ecstatic if I just beat the clock.  My total, official time was 15:32:16.  Needless to say... I will take it.

Would I do anything different if I had known how close I really was to that goal of 15 hours?  No.  I wouldn't have.  I ran my race  I ran my plan.  I did what I knew I had to do to achieve the ultimate goal, one that is not measured in the ticks of the clock, but the one that is measured in the ticks of the heart.  Yes, on Sunday, August 28, 2011... I became An Ironman!

"Earned... NOT Given"

Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, August 26, 2011

About Setting Big Goals

Today's message is about setting Big Goals... Do NOT be afraid of setting a huge goal for yourself, no matter how outrageous it may seem, no matter how far out you may be, no matter where you are in life.  It is never to late to go get what you want.  Just. Go. Do. It!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

About Choosing a Goal

The message today is simple... Choose a goal, any goal.  Go for it.  It will change Everything.  Really, it will.

I am just 3 days away from fulfilling one of my biggest goals ever... competing in an Ironman.  Well, a competition against myself and what the course has in store for  me.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

About What's Left To Do

Yes, we're on the home stretch!  In just about 90 hours (from the writing of this post) it will be time to get my game on in Louisville, KY.

The training is done, the tapering is in progress and the mind and soul are at peace for they know that with the able direction of coach Barry of Endurance Geeks, I have done the very best to get ready for this epic day.

The gear has been laid out on the couch for the past several days.  I go over and over the list, ensuring that nothing is missing.  There are five piles; swim, bike, run, nutrition and miscellaneous.  Occasionally I realize that an item needs to be added, like last night at 1AM.  So I proceed to add it and be done with it... for the moment.

I did not want to check on the weather predictions until Monday.  This is something I cannot control, so I didn't want to worry about it.  Much to my pleasant surprise, the weather has been very favorable for Ironmaning!

High 85, Precip 10%, Humidity 67% Wind from N at 8

Yesterday and today the forecast had slightly improved, so I'm hopeful.

I have had to find stuff to do to keep busy.  Some of you may know that I am recently retired and I'm in the process of getting a few projects off the ground, one of which is a Translation and Interpretation Service.  This has kept me busy, but not totally.  The focus for this is not where it needs to be, yet.

So, in comes my wife.  She suggested I write and design stuff.  She tells me that I should use my energy to put thoughts in paper and share with others what I'm going through, in the best possible manner I know; a positive one.

On Monday I started posting on my facebook pageDailyMile page and Twitter images of what I wanted to share.  Here's what I came up with:
Monday's Message

"I am very respectful of the course, of the challenge and the hugeness of the task in front of me.  But I "Ain't Skeered"

Tuesday's Message

"I am as determined to do this as I have been determined to do anything else in my life.  I expect that nothing will get in my way of accomplishing what I set out to do just about a year ago."

Wednesday's Message

"Everyone, including myself, has their own private reasons and motivation for doing something like this.  As stated in a previous post, YES, I will get a tattoo, but this is about so much more than that."

I suspect that I will add to this collection in the next couple of days.  I will have to depend on the power of "auto posting" to get that done because I also suspect that my mind will be racing a hundred miles per hour.

For anyone interested and wishing to track me, you need to go to the IronmanLIVE website on Sunday.  There you will have to navigate through links to find the "Athlete Tracking" option.  You can find me by either searching for my name, Mauricio Sanchez or by my bib number, which is 2765.  I expect to be in the water somewhere around 7:15 am (EST), and my expectation is to cross the finish line somewhere around 10:00 pm (EST), everything in between is somewhat irrelevant.  They will have several check points which will be tracked on the website and they will have a live camera at the finish line... How cool is that?