Monday, December 8, 2014

Hey..Got my head out of my ass!!

I relayed the details of my latest triathlon to one of my trusted advisers and friends.  I waited in anticipation for any sage wisdom or possibly some sympathy for my DNF.  What I received instead was an obvious observation. "You're an Idiot" Not something I could really argue with.

I had flown out to Palm Springs to do the HITS Championship.  I had signed up with my friend Angela Lee to do the 70.3.  Jen Roe was going to do the Sprint.  I had actually put time into training..not a lot of time..but time.  I had not lost weight though, which I knew was going to hurt me if the weather was hot. However, the race was in December and thus it should be cooler.  (Hmm Palm Springs is in the middle of a desert...I'm an Idiot)  My first indication that Palm Springs may not be that cool is the fact that the terminal does not have a freaking roof.  Apparently it rains once a year.


But before I get into all of the observations and facts that tend to prove the hypothesis that I am an idiot..let's rewind a bit and look at what I did right. Based on my past performances I know that I tend to possibly sweat a little more than other people.  Thus we scientifically figured out exactly how much I did sweat.  I tend to sweat between 48 ounces (low HR and temps) to 72 ounces (high HR and temps) per hour.  So roughly 1.4 to 2 liters per hour.  I then had my sweat tested which showed that I lose approximately 1180 mg of sweat per liter.    It means I lose between 1652 and 2360 mg of sodium per hour.  Now..the 1.4 liters of fluid and 1180 mg of sodium are high numbers but don't look that high..until I look at the total loss over the span of a race. So over an 8 hour time span I could actually lose 16 liters of fluid and 18,880 mg of sodium.  So now that I actually look at these numbers..I possibly could be an idiot for racing a 70.3..in the desert.


In the positive column..I did receive advice from my friend and nutritionist Dina who works for fuel4mance in Denver.  I also received advice from Allen Lim, Ph.D. founder of Skratch.  He suggested that I use their hyper hydration drink mix which has about 1700 mg of sodium per serving.  His crew put on a seminar at Kompetitie Edge where they taught us how to make portable food for the bike.  Angela actually made the rice/pbj.  I cannot recommend these portables enough.. The white rice and protein are perfect to eat..very light tasting..easy to eat on the bike..and perfect quick digesting calories.  The hyper hydration should only be used by guys like me that have serious sweat and sodium problems.  I was warned it was going to taste horrible..but the sodium was actually very subtle.  (However this is coming from a guy who adds salt to mcdonalds fries and hamburgers...so take this advice with a grain of salt..or 1700)

Getting sodium test done as Dina looks on

Allen Lim


Anyway..I thought I had my nutrition at least under control.  So I packed my crap up and headed to the desert.  Angela Lee picked me up at the airport and we drove to the Hits HQ to help put packets together.  And to be fair to Angela..She totally kept up her end of the bargain as far as any Asian stereotypes regarding driving.

Packing for the race


Outside the gated communities.




Inside the gated communities..in fact right outside my bedroom

My bike..Angela's car

I don't know what I expected from the Palm Springs area..but basically it is a desert wasteland with a few meth houses and wandering mad max nomads surrounding the most beautiful gated communities and golf courses.  After only 12 hours there I was really hoping that the geriatrics driving their faux BMW and Mercedes golf carts down the streets would actually be hunted down by roving bands and tied to the hoods of desert dune buggies..Or that at the very least we hit one or two with the mini cooper we were driving. Unfortunately none of this happened.

Angela and I spent the evening gossiping and doing girl talk. The next day we were joined by her stud muffin Dave and Jen flew in that following evening.  The night before the race the kitchen was a mess with with rice patties, Skratch drink mix, cliff blocks, foggle, goggles, Gu Gels and Hoo Ha Ride Glide. DO NOT get those last two items mixed up..I'm not telling you that I know this from personal experience..but it does not end well on either end if you do mix them up.   I learned many things that night preparing for race day...but the most important one was that Angela truly loves me. She didn't even blink an eye when I asked her to shave my shoulders since I was sure that the hair that had migrated from my head to my back would slow me down while I was in aero positon.  And even lied to me and said that the hair was white from the sun and not grey.  I'd kill for her now. And it is possible I may have already.

Angela cutting up the fantastic rice/pbj cakes she made
Not a gel


Race morning Dave, Angela and myself went down to the race site and suited up for battle. Dave and Angela actually looked like triathletes..I of course looked like a moving billboard for the Badgers..both in content and girth.


Getting ready for the swim..yay


We went down to the swim start and with 650 of our closest friends we waited for the starting bell..and off we swam..or some of us did.  The water was so shallow on the first leg that a lot of people actually walked.  I can tell you that it is not very comfortable swimming ..finding your pace and then ramming not a person who is stopped and standing in the water in front of you.  What is even less comfortable is getting to the deep part of the lake, finally getting your rhythm and running into someone head first.  I know this first hand.  Someone had crossed the buoy line and swam into the oncoming swimmers..lucky for me I was the one who found him.  I honestly thought I had broken my nose...which honestly would not have been all bad..and stopped in the water for 30 seconds thinking there would be blood everywhere..but there wasn't. I immediately had a headache but finished the swim leg..a little slower than I was hoping..but I was done.   I then ran (walked) to T1 and hurriedly (nonchalantly) changed into my bike stuff. Dave was gone but Angela's bike was still there. Since Hits provides stools at T1 I took full advantage and sat down and made breakfast before heading out on the bike. My head was still hurting.


The bike was very scenic..if you like sand..and wandering desert nomads. But it was flat. I stayed with my hydration plan and hammered for the first 15 miles.  I then saw Jen working the first aid station and stopped to say hi..and also eat and drink.  About 5 minutes later Angela came flying by..so I got back on my bike to stay with her.  I almost immediately felt very bad.  My head hurt..I couldn't keep up and then I had to pull over because I was nauseous.  I kept going on the bike but slower and slower. and then I was on the ground. I have no idea how.  I took a few minutes got back on the bike and made it back to T1.  I was done.  I felt so bad I found the EMTs and they wanted to take me to the hospital. They thought I may have had a concussion during the swim. I just wanted to lay down.  So after checking me out and having me sign waivers the EMT people took me to a palm tree and laid my carcass down.  I had jokingly told Jen that since I had no family in Palm Springs that she was responsible for me.  I can only imagine what she thought when she got my text.

My view form the prone position.waiting for the others to finish

I laid under the tree for an hour or two.  Jen showed up and I called her Judy. Dave crossed the finish line and I called him Steve. I think I thought I was in Santa Monica for the Rose Bowl at one point.  Angela finished and did awesome. She got 1st in her division. Jen actually got 2nd in her division for the sprint the next day.  Dave set a PR for himself.  So team Abekat Anarchy did represent.



Looking dazed even before the race

Angela finishing




However, even without the swim mishap I don't know if I could have finished the run strong..or at all. I was completely feeling dehydrated by the end of the day.

So I am taking my wise sage's advice to "get my head out of my ass" and give up triathlons. At least the long ones.  I am going to focus completely on diet and weight loss and doing sprints. Possibly some olympics.  Maybe someday I will revisit the long course but only if I have a new body.

I had a blast with two of my best but seldom seen friends. I also met a new friend in Dave. So it was a good trip...as much as I can remember anyway.





Monday, September 22, 2014

Race Report - Rev 3 Maine!!

About a month ago I completed my favorite race with some of my favorite people. I did the olympic distance Rev 3 Maine at Old Orchard Beach.  It is the first triathlon that I have competed in for a long time. I use the word "competed" very loosely.

The plan to do the race was very last minute. The family had some vouchers from Delta that needed to be used up and one of the only places we could head to out of Colorado was Maine. It gave me a chance to sign up for the Rev 3 race and most importantly I could see some of my friends for the first time in 2 years. (the last time I did Rev 3 Maine). Jen Small (milesmusclesmommyhood.blogspot.com) lived in Maine and Jen (seejenroerun.blogsot.com)  and Angela (http://hole-head.blogspot.com) were going to fly in for the race. I would also be able to hang out with Casey and Marc and meet some of my friends from facebook in person..JDP and Michelle.

My training had been haphazard at best. Further, the girls I was racing with..Jen and Angela..had not been training at all. Their job had taken up all of the spring and summer. So we decided to do the race together.  A novel idea, especially for a triathlon. Somehow the thought of doing an olympic distance tri on no training seemed to be an ok idea.

Obviously the first thing one should do a couple of days before a race is to use all sorts of muscle groups that haven't been used in years.  So Angela and I attended Jen Small's bikes and biceps or ..weights..or something...class. All I know was by the end of class I could not move..and came close to losing my dinner from the night before. In honor of Angela and me being there Jen made the class a team event where we were doing spinning, burpees, squats push ups.. etc.  My team won..but only because my friend JDP pulled the entire weight of the team.

JDP, Angela and Michelle..After photo..obviously

Jen, Angela, Me, Michelle and JDP

My turn on the bike - no distractions

After our little workout we decided that it may be prudent to do a trial swim.  Not really to work on our strokes..but to see of we could actually fit into our wetsuits. I had never actually worn my blue seventy wetsuit before. In theory it should fit. However, I knew there were going to be issues when I was having trouble getting it over my ankles.  I thus grabbed a can of trislide..basically the equivalent of Pam cooing spray...and lubricated my entire body with it.  Yes, I am sure that mental picture has stimulated a number of you..probably your gag reflexes.   With the help of some friends we were able to get the wetsuits on.  No one looks good in a wetsuit..no one..and Jen's actually had ORCA written on it.. no comment is needed.. lol.

The crew..trying to get our wetsuits on.


Apparently dancing


All right I lied..somehow Angela always looks good in wetsuit..I don't know how or why but somehow she does.

On Friday we had the Glow run with the kids. By Friday I could hardly move from the workout the day before..I was in serious pain and shoving alleve down my throat.  My thighs were so sore that I had trouble standing up from the toilet.

The Glow run was fun..but more of a workout than I envisioned. I ran with Jen's son..who decided to sprint most of the way.  My daughter hung ut with Jen Small and her daughter..and somehow picked up the art of photo bombing.
My daughter with Jen Small and her daughter

Where could she have learned this from?
After the glow run we went out to eat. Luckily Jen Small was with us to keep us from deviating from our nutrition plans. 

Let's see what looks healthy?

Well we can't go wrong if we order what Jen is having.

 Basically we ordered one of every type of sea creature..deep fried.

The day of the race quickly came upon us. Like I said.. Angela, Jen and I decided to do the race together. Which was interesting. I was the best swimmer, Angela the best biker and Jen the best runner.  Further, this was Jen's fist olympic distance race. I would never suggest doing an olympic distance on no training..but that is what we did.  We were going to be slow..but we were going to have fun.

In transition area before the race. 

At the swim start I changed my assigned wave. Instead of being in the men's Clydesdale wave I put myself in the women's athena wave. The Rev 3 people even changed my swim cap color so I wouldn't feel out of place with the rest of the girls.  The athena wave seemed fitting for me since I like to hang out with the girls anyway.  By starting in this wave Angela, Jen and I swam the entire course together. Jen struggled at times with her stoke and endurance, so Angela and I would swim side stroke coaxing her along the way.  Jen was actually very comfortable in the water..and if she would have stopped talking during the swim we could have shaved 25 minutes off our time..Just kidding Jen!!!  We would have only shaved 15 minutes off.

Marc Jen and me before the race

We were the last swimmers in..thus the kayaks pretty much gave us an escort.  As we approached land Jen cramped up. She started getting concerned (whining) about her calves cramping and not being able to walk or finish the race. Angela gave her words of encouragement..and so did I.  I think my words were..stop whining and get out of the water..I am going to count to 5!

Giving Jen words of encouragement.


Once we were out of the water everything was smooth sailing.  We had all gotten through the swim and any sharks in the area obviously decided I was too big to try and eat.   Since our bikes were the only three left in transition it was easy to find them.

Jen..just happy to have made it out of the swim alive




The ride was nice and fairly flat. Even though we were last we had plenty of company on the roads since the 70.3 mile race was using the same course as we were.  Obviously our pace was not too fast since I actually took pictures on course..lol.  However, at one point Angela and I were actually moving pretty good..and we were drafting off of each other.. a no no.  As I tucked in behind her I heard the sound of a motorcycle and when i looked back..it was the referee holding up a yellow card.  Seriously! I am in dead last..and getting a penalty for drafting?  When I checked the race results later on I noticed there was no penalty assessment. My guess is that they saw the O for olympic on my calf and realized how slow I was and did not want to add insult to injury.

Once done with the bike we donned our running gear and headed out for our 10k run.  Jen and I sang songs ranging from the Violent Femmes to John Bon Jovi.  I hate John Bon Jovi..but I played along.  I even did my "ice bucket" challenge at one of the aid stations as Angela filmed it.

Lacing up the running shoes - wow those legs look kind of good.

Heading out on the run course.
The day had actually gotten fairly hot and believe it or not I was having hydration issues. So I actually had to start using salt pills and was downing about 16 ounces of water at every stop.  It dawned on me that if I would have been really pushing this race I would have had some serious issues. I had gone through 70 ounces of water on the bike and was still dehydrated.

After run/walking the course we came to the finish line and went over it together.



Three amigos..finished

Marc who had another good race

My wife and apparently my dog who supported me through my training and non training

J. Small took second in the aqua bike
I can honestly say that even though I did a minimal amount of training this was the most fun I have had racing ever. The fact I did the entire course with Angela and Jen was wonderful.  I have never laughed or talked so much.  It was so much fun..that Angela and Jen convinced me to race in Palm Springs on December 9.  Angela and I are doing the half..which means I will actually need to train..and watch my nutrition.  There is no faking a 70.3 race.

Me and my lucky CU Buffs shirt in Maine..next stop Palm Springs




Happy Trails everyone!








Sunday, July 13, 2014

Walmart Cervelos

My last blog post I stated it was time for a change. I was overwhelmed by the number of people..friends, family and strangers alike who stated they knew exactly what I was going through and had gone through it themselves.  Everyone has struggles from time to time and it is how we deal with those struggles that write our legacy.  It's also important to remember no matter how alone you feel or how you think you are the only one that has faced a problem...you are not. In fact if you ask for help or simply discuss your plight ..you will be surprised someone close to you has faced the same issue.

OK..has anything changed in four weeks?  I still have stress with work and am struggling for that career balance. That has not changed and I need to work more on those issues.

However, I have signed up for some triathlons..even with my pathetic little training over the last year and a half.  My first is two weeks away..The Evergreen Sprint Triathlon. It has plenty of climbing..which I hate..and the swim is long for a sprint..and I have yet to actually fit into my wetsuits. Thus I should be totally not ready for the race. I also signed up for the My Way or the Tri Way Sprint triathlon in August.  However..I had some Delta air miles that were going to expire and so the family and I are heading out to Maine to do the Rev 3 Maine Olympic distance instead. Not only will I get to do the course that I love..more importantly I will get to hang out with friends I have not seen in a while..Like Jen and Angela..and the other Jen if she ever apologizes to me for rooting against the Badgers. I then have a race in September close to home, the Littlefoot Triathlon. And I am even considering doing an Xterra mountain bike race..the Desert's Edge Xterra.

Since I have signed up for these races with no possible way in hell of being ready for them..Jen Small has once again decided to to coach me through the ordeal.  As Jen summed up our special coaching/athlete relationship to another person..."I write Scott's schedules..he ignores them.. we laugh...".  Apparently she is taking this crap seriously though..My third day of training..in my custom off the couch fat ass to Olympic race..was a 20 mile bike and 3 mile run.  WTF..I don't do that in a month anymore.  This was my obligatory before pic.



Here is the after pic..After riding and then trying to run on legs that felt like rubber..so instead of a run/walk it was more of a walk/crawl.
Yeah..I'm still out of it in the above picture.  Today I was scheduled to do a run/swim. and this is what I looked like.
I may look like crap but getting back into a regimented schedule was awesome. I feel like I am accomplishing something.  I have lost about 7 pounds this week and my running is starting to improve from non-existent to a semi slow shuffle.

More important then my new fitness regimen is that I have reconnected with a lot of friends in the last two weeks and intend to reconnect with others in the next month. I found my way back to Kompetitive Edge and hung out with friends old and new.  Attended a number of parties over the Fourth weekend and had a blast. Also went to Irish Fest with the family and it was wonderful..Except for the part where I took my shirt off in public and my Six yer old..yelled..don't do that..covered her face with her hat..and told my wife to tell her when it was over. 

Actually looking at the picture I think she had a point. I may need a bit of a tan.  But my traps are looking damn good.


It is that social interaction that I have missed. Life is about memories and happiness and sharing experiences with family and friends it is not about your VO2 max..whether you ride a Custom Guru or a Walmart Cervelo..or even how many billable hours you get in.  It's making your friends and family laugh, being there when they need you and leaning on them when you have to.  And although I have learned this many times in my life..it is about sharing your feelings and emotions with your friends and those you love so they know how much you care about them...life is short..you don't want to wait one or two.or six years..to reach out.  Unfortunately that is what I have been doing.  Tomorrow is going to come whether you like it or not..and so is that next race..or next deadline. You have to make the most of today..and plan for tomorrow if you can. I just hope that my friends and family know that I am always here along with the rest of my family to help them through rough spots if need be.

I'm back on track and cannot thank my family and friends enough..as well as those that I don't even know who have reached out.  I also cannot recommend enough the From Fat to Finish Line Facebook page.  The members are unbelievably supportive of one another and many have a warped sense of humor. Kris, Nora, Gayle, Rik, Dena, Patty, Melissa, Michael, John, Phoenix.....and the list goes on and on of people I consider friends off that page.

Like all of us I have a long way to go..but I am rearranging my priorities.  It is more important letting a great friend have a laugh at your expense just to see them smile..Yes my nickname was Charlie Brown for obvious reasons..then it is to worry about how strangers perceive you.

Later Gators!

Oh..and to prove I am actually back in training..I learned the hard way that cutting your ass while shaving it, can in the long run end up wrecking a pair of khakis.  Yes..it is better you don't ask.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Time for a change.

I haven't blogged in a while. I haven't done much of anything in a while.  May flew past and we are half way done with June. It seems like summer will be gone before I even know it is here. Exercise and nutrition for me have been way off..ok nonexistent.  To be honest I have been in a funk.. a funk that has lasted nearly a year and a half.    I have zero motivation..and when motivation does try to come back from the dead  my negative thoughts beat it back into submission.  Unfortunately it seems like I am in a terrible downward spiral.  I don't workout because I am stressed about work..or what may happen at work..or what may happen in the future.  Seriously. I can not plan anything more than a week in advance because I am convinced something terrible will happen..something bad at work will pop up....someone close to me will get sick  or die..I'll get injured....etc.  (These are all things that have occurred to me in the past) Thus I have not planned any races. Thus with no races planned I have not trained.  Or if I do start training I realize how much time I have wasted not training and eating poorly and become depressed about that. Yes..I am currently a mess.  My stress eating has taken over and I am averaging about 5 hours of sleep a night..and not good sleep. My weight has been fluctuating between 242 and 245..the heaviest I have ever been. Honestly I am finding it hard to get motivated to get out of bed on some days.

So I am batting 0 for 3 in the main health categories..Exercise, Nutrition and Stress Management.

I am wasting my time and life worrying about things that may or may not happen while at the same time becoming depressed over things I have not done.  Especially since I have a six year old daughter who continues to grow up..and I am missing out on things.  I haven't had a summer vacation in two years and I am not going to get those years back.  I had to cancel our trip to visit friends out east and tour D.C. last year.  This year my wife and daughter went to Disney World on a trip without me because of work conflicts. I can't even explain how much it hurt to have my daughter go to Disney World without me. So how do I fix this..

First, I need to try and stop worrying about things.. Much easier said then done. Especially since my mind wakes me up at 2 a.m. or 4 a.m. and won't let me get back to sleep. I can control what I can control and that is it.  I also must get proactive. And I have to plan things..if bad things happen they will happen either way.  However, I must convince myself I can't waste my life worrying and doing nothing.  I took Friday off to be with the family...Thursday night I couldn't sleep at all because I was worried about what would happen at work on Friday.  Friday I waited for a telephone call..and tonight I am dreading going in. Thus I am not going to sleep.

Second I need to set some goals and plans.  I have two free race entries to use up this year..so I am going to decide which races I want to do and sign up.  If I don't race then I have not lost anything..but at least I will have some goals.

Regular exercise should help my stress..and even if it does not at least my body will be healthier.  Although I have not been extremely religious my entire life..in fact I have questioned it numerous times in the last few years...I have found that going to mass on a regular basis..even a couple of times a week is soothing.  I have also found volunteering to be good for me. So I will look to see what I can do as far as volunteering for more races, at church and my daughters school and sports.

Right now I don't have a passion...Work is not my passion nor is my profession..in fact they are probably what is keeping me from finding my passion.  I used to love volleyball..played 4 nights a week..spent weekends at tournaments....however I have not played in about 4 years and have lost touch with all my friends who used to play.  Triathlon and biking do nothing for me right now..probably because I don't have a goal to train for or more likely because I do not have friends to train with at this point. I'm so out of shape I am embarrassed to ride with people who have asked me. So I guess I need to find my passion again..if I ever actually had one to begin with.

My nutrition has to change since it is literally killing me.  Again, I need to be proactive with this. Pack my lunch..make my breakfast and plan our dinners.  I know small changes are the way to go..but I think I have done so much damage that I really need to do something drastic.  Thus I am going to try and follow the six week plan in the Eat to Live book by Dr. Fuhrman,  It is a plant based nutrition format.  I love meat but I can do without it..I have in the past.  The problem is giving up dairy... I love cheese. 

So in short..the plan.

1.  Try not to stress about work  and do things outside of work that make me happy - volunteer, church, exercise etc.
2.  Exercise (set goals and draft training schedule to stick to)
3. Nutrition  (proactive - pack lunches - plan meals in advance)
4. Reconnect with family and friends..make them a priority.
5. Have faith..and enjoy the blessings I do have..like my wife and daughter.

I also need to take advantage of the resources available to me. I belong to a cycling club and tri club and have not had the motivation to attend any of their events this year. I also am active on a facebook page - From Fat To Finish Line that has a lot of wonderful people that are full of good advice and encouragement.

I am also going to keep blogging - it seems like a good outlet for  me.  I was hesitant about putting this blog online since it is a fairly serious post but maybe it will kick start my new program.  I guess this post is more for me than anyone else.  I need to change now - I am missing time with my family and friends and have not "lived" for a while.  I need to put things back into proper perspective.  What is a nice house if you can't enjoy it..and stressing to the point you can't enjoy family and friends?   I'm sure a lot of you reading this have gone through similar times in your life and can relate.

First Triathlon

Local hike

Buena Vista
Hopefully my next post will be light-hearted.  A few things that were positive the last 6 weeks.. My daughter did her first triathlon of the season and did awesome. She is also doing great on her swim team. I got a brand new..used 2005 Mercury Mountaineer..since my Sorento was totaled out in a car accident.  My daughter and I both ended up in the emergency room..but nothing serious. We also got in a short weekend trip to Buena Vista.

Hopefully I will be posting int he near future with some positive stories.  Have a great week and I hope everyone is enjoying the start to their summers. Happy Trails!