Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Wow..what a week.

I received a lot of motivation last week from a number of sources.

First..I attended a hydration seminar at Kompetitive Edge on Wednesday night. The presenter was Dr. Stacy Sims..the brain behind Osmo Nutrition.  Dr. Sims was exceedingly personable and conducted her presentation in a Q&A format which was awesome since we had our specific questions answered.  A couple of the elite athletes were concerned about "hydrating too much."  Seriously? I actually just wanted to punch them in the face. Luckily I sat my big rear right in the front so she couldn't ignore me.  Obviously the question I had  was..how do I hydrate enough not to die during my next ironman attempt.  Her answer was very surprising.  Instead of telling me to take in more and more sodium during the race like I have been told by all my nutritionists she stated I was probably already taking too much in.  She suggested using a product..like hers..as the sole source of hydration during the race and not to drink regular water.  She acknowledged that I should be drinking about 48 ounces per hour but that the sodium in the drink should be enough.  The main thing is to stay away from sugars in drinks and food which hindered water absorption or increased dehydration.  According to her Sucrose, Glucose and natural sugar are the only sugars to ingest.    This cuts out most of the drinks I use because they contain maltodextrin.  She was also against the use of all gels.  She suggested on longer races to start with solid foods..something as simple as a pbj on white or clif or mojo bar and move to semi-solids such as chomps or blocks.  Even jelly beans would work in a pinch.  Another interesting tip was that she suggested taking tums tablets in t1 or t2 to help with any stomach issues.  I would suggest that anyone interested in hydration read the blog on her products page at Osmo Nutrition. Even though she is the main person behind Osmo Nutrition she did not push or even mention her product that much during the presentation.

On Thursday the fun continued...Jen Small arrived in town for the Rev 3 team summit.  She brought with her a 6 foot blonde named Elizabeth who was also on Rev 3.  Luckily I got to spend the afternoon with them taking them around Golden.

Elizabeth at a local watering hole..wearing a napkin as a mask
Apparently Jen and Elizabeth don't get out much in Maine and New Jersey since they were totally enamored by the local watering hole and somehow ended up taking the napkins from the restaurant and using them to try and rob the local convenience store.

After lunch/dinner I then took Jen to Kompetitive Edge to meet her hero Ryan.

Jen and her hero
After a lot of arm twisting it was decided that Jen and Elizabeth were going to stay at our house..They kicked my daughter out of her room and slept in the trundle bed. 

Thursday night I went to my athletes party for Kompetitive Edge. I met some of the other athletes and our sponsor reps from TYR, OAKLEY and SCOTT.  Every one I met was very nice..but definitey the crowd overall was a bit introverted.  But give me a few months and I will have everyone talking to me ..or at least talking about me.

The party was hosted by one of the athletes at his house. I noticed a ton of signed NFL jerseys in his house and a Browns jersey with his name on it.  I went up and told him how the Browns were my second favorite team after the Packers and that my favorite quarterback of all time was Bernie Kosar. I had a dog named after Bernie and still have my poster of Bernie from 1986.  He then informed me that when the Browns signed Bernie Kosar they cut him as their QB.  Umm..Oh.  Guess I should have done some research.

Friday we woke up and Jen actually got me to go to Starbucks with her..I didn't actually get anything but oatmeal but it was fun.  My daughter was in seventh heaven with the girls in the house..she had her starbucks with them in the mornings before everyone went their separate ways.

Girls having their breakfast to start the day
I obviously know Jen and what a great girl she is.  Elizabeth turned out to be just as great. My wife and her friend invited Elizabeth on their power walk and my wife kept asking her if she was doing ok on the walk...a lot of people fly in to Colroado and have trouble with the altitude and hills on the first day.  Elizabeth just smiled and said she was doing great.  The next day I informed my wife that Elizabeth was a 10 time ironman finisher and 30 time half ironman finisher...something she never shared with us. (I actually had to google her).  I did run a background check also after she stole the napkins from the restaurant but she came back clean.  Anyway..I love great athletes..who don't immediately tell you that they are great athletes..and don't take themselves too seriously.(Colorado peeps should take a lesson from this..just sayin)

Sunday we said goodbye to Elizabeth but were able to spend most of the day with Jen showing her around the town.  This was good and bad..since Jen now has pictures and notes on where she can have me work out.  She really liked red rocks for workouts as well as the trail up South Table mountain.

Jen on lookout mountain
The girls heading up to Buffalo Bill's grave
The steps at Red Rocks
Jen figuring out how many times I should run the stairs for my workouts next week
New friend Kate
We also picked up another athlete to sleep in the trundle bed.  Kate from Rev3 joined us. It turns out Kate was originally from Wisconsin..which instantly made her cool..and what was really weird is she knows my friend Keely in Maryland..what are the chances?

I had to go to work on Monday so I showed Kate and Jen where to start their climb up South Table Mountain..which they did and then were off to the airport.
Jen on South Table..notice the X on her butt..I think it is a target for kicking

Kate on South Table
I definitely had a blast and I found out that a lot of the Rev 3 people are going to be at races that I plan on doing this year..so it should be a blast.  Every Rev 3 person that I have met is completely awesome and fun.  (Did I seriously just use the word awesome?..thanks Jen)

So Monday night I get online and found out that my friend/nemesis Angela has started a blog.  Her blog Another Hole in the Head is almost as entertaining as mine.  She is also being coached by Jen and plans on doing a couple of races with me..and she thinks she is going to kick my butt.  That will not happen.  Thus, the last week has been a whirlwind of fun and information that has me psyched for the season.  But he most motivating thing that happened was when I went in for my uniform fitting this afternoon.   Kompetitive Edge decided to go with a European cut compression team kit this year..which means the XL fits you if you are 5'6' 150lbs.  I don't have any idea how many Xs are in the size of my uniform but let's just say I did not feel svelte.  In fact the word Kielbasa popped into my head when I looked in the mirror.  If the image of me in the team kit in public does not motivate me to get my butt moving nothing will.  Of course I am now thinking about going to the European restaurant tomorrow at lunch for sausage and pierogis.

Take care everyone.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Let's get it on...

Let's get it on....(and I don't mean this cycling jersey which somehow mysteriously shrank 2 sizes since September)  Ok..Probably should have put some exclamation points behind that first sentence to show some exuberance.  Time to get the season started.  However I am feeling like a rock..a very large rock...with a few flat sides.  I'm at the top of the hill..and I am positive I will gain a ton of momentum once I start rolling...but those first few revolutions are going to require some leverage.  You know.. a large stick to put under my derriere and pry it off the ground.  Luckily I have that leverage.  In fact I have a lot of leverage...yes many people more than willing to shove a stick under my butt and watch me roll down the hill.

As I mentioned in earlier posts I am being sponsored by Kompetitive Edge this year. Kompetitive Edge is the premier triathlon store in Colorado and also has a significant online presence. The Kompetitieve Edge logo on the left side of my blog is an active link to their store if you were curious about checking them out.   Most of their athletes have their crap together and are at the top of their game.  Those athletes are fine tuning their training and racing strategies and planning on which podiums they will be stepping up on...Yours truly is not. So how did I get sponsorship..other than my sparkling personality?  It comes down to one word..something I have that no one else does..something that sets me apart... Kringle.  Yes, that wonderful treat from Racine Wisconsin.  The KE boys won't admit it..but its true.   And I can live with that.  The KE boys are also business people. Thus they realized that by sponsoring me their logo is on course a hell of a lot longer than with their other athletes and my girth will allow them to put entire product descriptions on my uniform.  And we all know that the medical professionals have a lot of disposable income..so what better way to advertise then to have me rolled into the med tent after races. 

Kompetitive Edge has been willing to partner with me to reach my goal of a full ironman distance this year.  They are along for my journey to get fit and learn as I go.  I cannot be happier.  With their resources I have no excuse not to have a successful season.  Their people are extremely knowledgeable and their merchandise is top notch.  They are equally helpful whether you are an elite athlete or a beginner in the sport.  Further, KE has partnered with fantastic individuals and groups to supply bike fitting, nutritional information, athletic testing, etc..

I cannot praise Kompetitive Edge and its people enough. They go above and beyond the normal tri/bike/swim/run store.  The mere fact that Ryan will even touch some of these athlete's bikes...considering we all know what triathletes do on thier bikes...amazes me.  I also think that Jared and Ryan at KE are part social workers considering how much time they spend with their athletes and their issues.

Obviously there will be a few differences between myself and some of the others KE is sponsoring...like uniform size.  I think they may end up just sewing a couple together for me.  And instead of "podium" shirts for me..they are making me specialty shirts that have most of the writing on the back just in case I am face down on the course.

Besides the guys at KE I have my coach Jen Small who is more than willing to push my butt into the abyss.  Jen promotes herself way too much as it is so I am not going to spend a lot of time on her. Jen is half the girl she was a few years ago and  just know that she is Awesome!  And her visors are Awesome! and she hopes that everyone has just an Awesome day..and remember to just always be your Awesome self!!

 By the way..Jen and her cohorts just got done doing their RAGNAR relay from Miami to Key West and were actually featured on the Today show.  You can see the video HERE. The race was part of their movie From Fat To Finish Line that I have mentioned before.  Check out her BLOG or JRoes's BLOG to read about the experience.

In addition to my peeps, I also have a few projects that are germinating....I will share them with you if they come to fruition.

Lastly I have bitten the bullet and have agreed with my doctor to go on a daily medicine for that pesky gout issue.  He believe the med as well as drinking about a gallon of water a day should get rid of the problem completely. We decided my uric acid was just naturally too high at this point and could not be adequately taken care of with diet and nutrition.  I am on day three of the med and I am not feeling any effects of that stupid disease..so far..so good.  And I am definitely not going to miss paying $9.00 for 32 ounces of cherry juice or drinking baking soda.

There will be a lot of others providing leverage on this journey that I will introduce you to as I move forward to September.

Take care everyone!

Friday, January 11, 2013

New Year..New Beginning

I planned on writing this post on January 1, 2013.  The obligatory date on which to post the goals for the New Year as well as discuss the optimism for a new beginning.  We had just gotten back to Colorado from our holiday trip to Wisconsin the evening of December 31st.  I had gotten a new triathlon book for Christmas by Joe Friel that I had begun reading and had the idea of comparing the principles in the book with those in the Maffetone  and  MacKenzie books.  I could start a heated conversation as to which author was right and which was full of hooey.

Unfortunately about 12 hours after we had gotten back to Colorado my brother called.  The doctor at the hospital my mother was at told him to round up the family members.  We had taken Mom to the hospital the day after Christmas.  She was suffering from pneumonia and low blood pressure.  Something we had dealt with before numerous times..including the previous two Christmases.  We had joked that the ICU at Froedert Hospital was our new holiday tradition.  What the heck..they had a great cafeteria with awesome cheese curds and the staff was always amazing.  Although Mom (Which meant we) had been in the hospital for six days she was moved form ICU to a regular floor and improving. Thus we had left as planned on December 31.

Christmas had been fun with all of the grand children coming over to be with their grandmother and Far Far (or Mor Far depending on the particular family) as grandpa liked to be called.  Grandma had gotten to oversee the preparation of the meal to make sure everything was being done to her standard.

CHRISTMAS DAY with the Grandkids.

We got into Milwaukee late the night of the 1st.  Mom was on a Bi-Pap machine and could not talk.  Her CO2 levels in her blood had reached incredibly high levels.  The hope was to get the CO2 down again.  She had been in this position literally dozens of times before where the doctors had said that she was not going to make it.

The first time we were told my mom would not live was when she had a brain aneurysm 20 years ago.  She spent 105 days in the hospital fighting additional bleeds and pressure.  She manged to prove the doctors wrong..she left the hospital..in a wheel chair with limited mobility, speech and in constant pain from one complication or another. But she had 100% brain function and was 100% our mother.  I was 25 at the time, Mike was 23, Ben was 16 and Becky 13. 

Mom would continue to be our mother and see me get married as well as my brother Mike.  She also saw the birth of her first grandchild.  She would run the family with an iron fist when it came to recipes and holiday traditions.  But she also had a wonderful self-deprecating sense of humor. Her and my dad would also become fixtures at Camp Randall for Badger home football games.  During this time she continued to suffer complications from the brain aneurism mostly in terms of physical pain..but I never heard her complain or curse her lot in life.

Then six years ago my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer and was given 3 months to live.  Obviously my mom and dad did not see this as a viable option and instead sought out other doctors to help them overcome this little "challenge".  My mother lived past that 3 month time limit and saw the marriages of the other two of her children as well as the birth of four more grandchildren.

She refused to give in to cancer and asked for chemo therapy when all else had failed..even to the detriment of her already beaten up body.  At times after a busy day with the grand children or other family, dad would need to run her to the emergency room and she would invariably be put in the ICU in an almost coma like state.  Her body would just shut down almost all of its functions to recuperate.  I remember this happening numerous times with each times the doctors telling us that she would not leave the hospital.  Each time mom would end up at home leaving the doctors just scratching their heads.  On one occasion we asked her primary doctor about the odds..he responded that for anyone else there was not really a chance but Judy enjoyed proving him wrong.  She never stopped fighting and her heart was stronger than anyone knew. We had gotten to a point where we expected miracles.

When I first got to Wisconsin this year for Christmas I sat at the breakfast table with my mother and watched all of "her" birds on the deck and feeders. There seemed to be a hundred of them of all sizes and colors. 

The day I left Wisconsin I put on the hat that I had given to my mother after my Racine 70.3 race in 2011. I was proud of my accomplishment but even more proud of my mother. Dad said she wore it quite a bit when she had the thinning hair from chemo.  I sat at the breakfast table and looked out the window.  There weren't any birds.  The deck was empty and the trees were empty. 

I realized how many time I had sat at that table and although I noticed the birds I sometimes did not pay attention to them.  The birds always seemed to be there..coming back day after day..entertaining, beautiful, fun.  And now the day I wished more than anything to see the birds they were gone..and I thought about all the opportunities I had squandered to see them..and I cried.

I'm a not in the best frame of mind as I write this. I have been sick for 4 or 5 weeks and have had multiple gout attacks. No doubt stress related.  I haven't worked out in at least 3 weeks if not more. Unless you count the walks from the ICU to the cafeteria.  I put on 15 pounds over the last couple of weeks and don't really remember eating anything. Except salads, cheese curds and green machine drinks in the hospital cafeteria.   And I think I have lost some muscle in my right quad..which is usual when I have not worked it out.  I don't even want to think about triathlon or anything else at this point.

However, I know even now that by Sunday I will be ready to tackle a new season..a new year..a new beginning...I don't want to let my mom down..She'd probably just tell me to Suck it up Buttercup..

A fitting tribute my cousin made to mom...she inspired a lot of people.