Thursday, June 23, 2011

About The Tattoo

A while back I read a quote that in regards to the triathlon lifestyle, I find more true as time passes by:

"From the outside looking in you could never understand it.  From the inside looking out you could never explain it."

I am often asked, as I am sure every triathlete has: "why do you do this?"

The first time I heard this I remember giving a short and sweet answer:  "to stay healthy" and I also remember the conversation going to places I had never imagined.  I was told the numerous other ways I could stay "healthy" without having to inflict my body with so much "pain and torture."

As time passed and my distance goals changed, conversations like this got more interesting.  I had developed an arsenal of reasons.  "Because I want to push myself", "Because I want to see how far I can go." and again I always received blank looks as if they were trying to say "I still don't get it".

I find that there's great respect from the general population towards triathletes.  Folks understand the massive commitment necessary to do this; physical and mental.  What most folks still cannot comprehend is the "why" do we do this?

I have toyed with the idea of getting a tattoo once I finish my first Ironman.  I have not been a fan of tattoos.  As a matter of fact, I fought long and hard with my daughter to try to get her not to get a tattoo.  Well, she did and that was that.  You can imagine the surprise on her face (and all those who know me) when I announced my intentions to get an Ironman tattoo on my left calf.

And why do I want to do this?, you may ask. I want to show the world what I've done, and yes... I want to brag.  For the rest of my life.  I'm going to make shorts my new dress code. I'd like for the world to see.  I want people to ask about it so I can tell them my story.  Yeah, once I cross that finish line, I will have earned the right to wear my tattoo.

At a dinner party a couple of months back, I found out that one of my friends that was there was also doing the Ironman Louisville.  One of the other guests told me.  So the conversation started and again I was asked: "Why Are You Doing This?"

"For The Tattoo", was all I said.

"Oh... how cool is that!"  was this person's reply.  No more further explanation was needed!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

About 77 Days

That's how many days are left to train, to build, to get ready for IM Louisville 2011.

The past couple of weeks have been interesting to say the least.  Two Century Rides, long(er) swims, longer runs.  And I took a peek at what's coming up in the horizon and its just going to get better: a couple of recovery weeks and "big volume weeks."  Nice!  I have a vacation scheduled in July but not from training.  We will be visiting Panama City Beach so my plan is to do some bike and run, hope to do this on the IM Florida course.  Not sure where I'll get the swim done, however.

On May 28th I did my first Century Ride.  This was the longest distance I have ever ridden before.  Did not know what to expect, was not disappointed.  The first 50 miles of the ride were relatively flat, rolling hills that were easy to ride and I managed an average of 18.1 mph.  Pretty good for me.  The second 50 miles were a bit slower. A combination of heat, leg exhaustion, hills, etc. took a toll and I ended up with an average speed of 16.4 for the ride.  I was still happy.  Total elevation climb 1631.

Here's what the course elevation looked like:

Yesterday I did my second Century Ride.  It was hot, it was humid, t was hilly.  Total elevation climb was 6495... At times it wasn't pretty.  Miles 47 through 60 were pure hell.  They were for me.  But I persevered and made it through.  Average speed for the ride was 15.9!  This was a surprise to me.  I thought it would be slower.

Here's what the course elevation looked like:
And I am told that this is much better than in years past.  Can't imagine!

I learned a few things yesterday:  1)  This "hot toes" issue of mine has to be resolved.  Soon.  Not fun at all.  2)  The bike's not shifting smoothly.  This also has to be resolved.  Soon.  3)  Need to intake more calories during long rides like this in preparation for Ironman.  Gels and I are not getting along.  Need to look for options.

All in all the past couple of weeks have been very satisfying.  I can see progress each and every time I go our on a swim, a ride or a run.  Progress in one way or another.

With just 77 days left (as of this writing) the excitement of it all is building and building fast.  IM Louisville in now more than just a dream... it's a work in progress and it will be here... Tomorrow!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

About Triathletes And Golfers

Many, many years ago, I gave the game of golf a shot.  It seemed back then that everyone, well most everyone, I knew played the game. I never got the hang of it, never even came close.  Because of this I could never understand the infatuation with the sport by those who are consumed by it.  I guess the same could be said about the sports of fishing, hunting, or for that matter any other sport.

I remember one day I was playing with a coworker when he hit one "sweet shot".  Straight out of the tee; no hook, no slice.  He put it right where he wanted.  I remember as we were walking towards the ball, he made the comment:  "This is why I play golf.  This is why I keep coming back.  Because every now and then you hit a ball like that.  This is what it's all about."

Again I thought:  "much ado about nothing".  I just didn't and couldn't see it.

As triathletes we all have our strengths and weaknesses.  We train all but focus on improving our weaknesses.  This is what we strive to do.

As most who follow me know, my weakness is the swim.  I work hard, real hard at improving.  I work on form, strength, speed, etc.  Every slight noticeable improvement is cause for celebration.

Today I have cause to celebrate.

My plan said that I needed to swim 4200yds.  New distance for me.  Got in the water at 5:10am and off I went.  The first few laps were all about the warm up.  I planned on doing this for 500yds.

It was surprisingly smooth and steady.  When the 500yds were completed I thought I would keep going and attempt 1000yds before first break.  That happened without any consequence.  Still felt good.

When the 1000yds were completed I took a very short break, drank a sip of water.  This must have taken 10 seconds.  No more.  I didn't want to break the rhythm, so I kept going.

1500.  2000.  2500.  I couldn't believe it.  Every 500 I would take a very short water break.  Again never more than 10-15 seconds.

Half way through I stopped for about 5 minutes to talk to a friend.  Triathlon Talk. Training Talk. Louisville Talk.  And then off I went again.

The remainder of the swim was much like the start.  Slow, steady and oh so very smooth.  During the latter part of the swim I had to concentrate hard on keeping the elbow up, body rotation, follow through.  Made an effort to make each and every stroke count.  I kept looking at my lap time and couldn't believe what I was seeing.  Most were under 1:10.  For me this is HUGE!

When it was all said and done, I finished the 4200yds in 1:50:58.

Yeah, much like my friend's golf game, days like this in the water is one reason why I keep coming back.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

About Winning Some Tommie Copper Compression Sleeves

Okay.  It's time to give back to all who have been supportive and have followed my journey thus far.

Starting today and through 19th you will have a chance to enter a drawing to win a pair of Tommie Copper Compression Sleeves.  This is my way (with the help of TC) to say THANK YOU!

To enter the drawing you must complete a few steps.  Sorry, but the prize is so amazing that a little work is warranted.

Here's what to do:

1)  Follow my blog.  On the right hand column (--->>>) you will see a "follow" button.  Just press it and complete the "follow" process.  If you already "follow" then leave a comment to this post telling me that you "follow"

2)  Follow me on Twitter.  Again, if you already do, leave a post telling me so.

2) "Like" Tommie Copper on Facebook and follow on Twitter.

3)  Once you "follow" this blog, "follow" me on twitter, "like" Tommie Copper on Facebook and Follow Tommie Copper on Twitter, leave a comment on this post letting me know that you have.

See, simple process but worth the little work.

Winner will be randomly selected from those that leave a comment on this post and will be drawn on June 20th at 8am using

Good Luck and Thank YOU!