Saturday, June 28, 2008

You are an Ironman!

So the finish. Just so you know, there will be many posts that I make regarding this whole experience. The people of this week are sorely missing from my posts - our bloggie peeps - our creepy internet friends - as well as photos and video that needs to be compiled. This is really just the down and dirty. The way Blink likes it.

The aid station with two miles to go was packed with a group of college kids drinking their brains out and yelling and screaming and high-fiving us through the aid station. I knew this would be the last aid station I would partake in, so I downed a "double" of coke, and stopped to walk only long enough to swallow. The mile to the next aid station was a long one. I could hear the finish line, but it was getting dark and lonely. I took advantage of a particularly long stretch to walk for a minute (I'd count to 60) and collect myself for the final push. No more walks. No more coke.

I doubt many folks were using the first/last aid station much any more - it was pretty well packed up for folks bringing it home. I ran through it and said thanks to the few remaining volunteers. Around the corner I knew the route separated for folks finishing and folks needing to do one more lap. Oh the secret pleasure I took in scootching over to the left side of the road - the finisher's side! This new ground snaked through the streets of Coeur d' Alene where volunteers informed me of an 8 block run to the finish line. Hanging a final left at the top of finishing street, I could see the two bright spotlights that shone the way to Ironman. They were now close.

Coeur d' Alene proper converged on these 8 blocks. Because of the spotlights in my eyes, it was difficult to see just how many folks there were, but I could feel them just the same. "Great job, Marc!" and "Keep it going - your only 3 blocks away!" filled my ears and hands outstretched for high-fives were laid out in front of me. These spectators filled the shadows of my peripheral vision, and that shadow bottle necked to the finisher's shoot. I thought it was loud running those last 8 blocks - the noise was nothing compared to the final 100 meters.

I was all alone entering the shoot, but as soon as I came into view, the stands went bonkers. These folks, with a few exceptions, didn't know me from Adam, yet they screamed for me like I was a family member. I couldn't hear the announcer calling my name, but like on the bike, I had some more High-fives to give. I caught sight of Di on the right side surrounded by "creepy Internet friends". I went left and slapped hands with folks I didn't know, then right again, then left. At last, the Ironman tape lay stretched out before me. I tried to lift it over my head, but one of the holders had more strength then me - still, I held it, and in that instant, became an Ironman. It felt awesome.

My insanely long run split of 6:14:33 doesn't even make me all that mad, even today. I've certainly got a goal now for my next run at Ironman, with my finishing time of 14:32:23, shoot, so many things were great about that day, it would be silly to be upset about 6 hrs of it. Very quickly after finishing, collecting my medal, t-shirt and hat, I spied Di and collected my finisher's kiss and hug. Mmmmmmmmwaaaah! Even though she could have, I'm glad she didn't have to hold me up.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Impressions of Ironman

It's hard to know where to start, now that it's done. How many times can I reiterate the fact that Coeur d'Alene is drop-dead beautiful? I doubt, with the race day conditions, there is a better place to do the Ironman. I'm sure, however, I'll look for a place over the years to come.

So I swam the thing in 1:34 - what makes that incredible is that, folks, I really didn't do much swim training. I had an open water swim of 1:52, and then a pool swim of 1:41 at the distance - I really was hoping for a 1:45 or better - how it happened I have no idea. The draft? Probably. Not sighting, ever? Probably helped too. Oh, don't get me wrong, I had plenty of activity in the scrum - just because I was "the.bigun", I didn't get any respect. I even had my swim cap knocked off. That's NEVER happened before. It was rough out there, but really, in my pea brain I knew that as long as it was rough, I was catching a draft - even though my tendency was to swim out away from the scrum line, I fought that urge and stayed in the mix. Probably helped my split.

The last 1k meters I totally had to go. #2. That also may have helped my swim split. I didn't hear any announcement of my name as I exited. All I wanted was out of my suit and into a port-o-potty. I was dying thinking of the minutes wasting away but I finally emerged, victorious, and off to the changing tent I ran. Nekked Bigun. Oh, and there was some serious shrinkage - but other than Bolder, I really wasn't out to impress anyone. I seriously - read "very, very much" - over-chamois-creamed my bibs, and it really did not feel that great once the shorts were in position. The sacrifices we make....

My bike was LONELY on its rack, as usual after any triathlon swim that I participate in - which brings me to my first IMCDA gripe - a total lack of race clocks on the course. I would have been AMPED had I known I crushed my swim goal, but instead, my lonely self was just content to be done with it. A surprising 9:54 T1 (I really thought I took more time purging) on a goal of 5 min, and I was off on the bike.

Now I was certainly ready for the CdA bike course. I put in 5 Century Rides in the months leading up to the race - confidence was high. Perhaps a bit too high! It took my Garmin 1 mile to finally read the satellites, and after all the stats finally popped up, my HR was about 155. Way higher than I planned! It was flat, and usually after the swim my HR is elevated, so I worked to bring it down by calming myself, taking deep breaths and slowing a bit. Just in time for the first hill. Now I'm looking at HR's over 160 - and I had told myself that I just would not do that no matter what. Oops.

I really didn't do much hill riding - ok, lets call it what it is - mountain climbing - here in Florida. Even in the hillier parts of the area I live in, there is little that resembles the 5 or 6 major "climbs" of the CdA course. On one of those climbs, one of the crowd cheered, "great work, there, big guy!" - and it made me think... "hey, this is Ironman! I'm supposed to be WORKING at this, not sitting back and taking it easy!". By the end of the first 56 mile loop, I was feeling it. I probably went out way too hard. Coming back into town, I totally planned on taking it easier on the 2nd loop. Then, almost exactly 1 mile from the bike special needs turnaround spot, something interesting happened. I saw Taconite Boy. He was "merely" 2 miles ahead of me. I stopped real quick to pee (no, I just could not get myself to squeeze it out while riding....) and put myself into chase mode.

Now I know that's kinda uber competitive of me, 254lb Bigun, to pick on skinny little 180lb TacBoy like that. But truthfully, at that point, I needed a spark. I didn't pick up my pace, I just didn't fade. Well....fade much that is. Those climbs the second time around were done in the smallest rings possible, and I'm sure they were slower than the first go-around. I did not spike my HR this lap and kept myself under 160 for most of the ride, even on the big efforts. Up at the next turnaround, Tac was about the same distance from me, maybe a quarter-mile closer. "He has to fade sometime" was all I could think, and my strength, the flats that were also into the wind, were coming up.

I passed a bunch of folks in those last 12 miles heading into town, folks shaking their heads as the wind beat them after 6 or 7 hrs of riding. But I did not pass Taconite. He entered T2 4:46 ahead of me - I certainly gained ground, but couldn't catch my podcasting partner. Great ride, Tac, and thanks for that 2nd loop! I got'er done in 6:26:59 for an average speed of 17.37 mph. Goal was to be "better than 7 hrs", and a 6:30 was my ultimate best-ever, all great day. Wow.

Sitting down to change into my run gear, all I could wonder was, "where am I gonna find 26 miles in me?". Another truth: I'd never run off of my centuries - I was venturing into uncharted territories (as well as that 112 mile ride was my longest ever) and a little bit worried. I looked left and right and saw lots of dudes just sitting there, holding their heads in their hands, resting or thinking the same thoughts. That catalyzed me, and I just methodically put my run clothes on with the help of a volunteer (who put my shirt on backwards....way!) and got the hell out of that tent....into another port-o-pottie. Only #1 this time. T2: 6:51

The first 13 miles sucked royally. After 2 miles, my stomach went south, and stayed there no matter what I tried. I walked. Lots and lots of walking. Momo caught me right away at mile 3. Then Bolder and Spokane Al smacked me down at mile 10. Greyhound zoomed by at mile 11 or so. I tried bananas, pretzels, water, Gatorade - none worked. I stumbled into run special needs and grabbed my long sleeve shirt, knowing that it would get cold, especially if I was still walking. I remembered, all of a sudden, advise from Bolder - drink Coke at mile 13 and never go back - it will help. So I started drinking Coke and taking in a gel or two. Ta-da!!!! My tummy was all better! Strange how fast it took. Should I have started with it earlier? Don't know - but you can bet that next time I'll try it!

So shortly after mile 13 (pun intended), Greyhound runs by me again and he says, "You're reeling me in, Bigun!" - and he's about 2 miles ahead of me, and for the first time I feel great. I thought, "you know, you can turn this around. you can negative split this marathon. you may even catch Grey....". I vowed then and there to only walk the aid stations. Weird thing - I started to pass people. After 13 miles of getting passed by EVERYONE - the.bigun now has a wake. I certainly was not moving fast, just faster than before. There was pain, but I had energy. Energy is everything - you can overcome pain with energy.

I really wish I had a 13 mile split for you, but IMCdA did not post run splits. Gripe #2. Along with gripe #1, ie, not having any clocks on the course, my only timepiece was the sun - and sunset was around 8:30. The sun was getting low in the sky - I knew I wouldn't finish in daylight. But running I still was, and ticking off the miles better than in any back half of a marathon I'd ever run. The feeling of only 5, then 4, THEN 3 miles to go is almost indescribable. Elation is a good word for it. Relief. Psyched out of your mind. I started seeing folks heading out for their 2nd laps with glow-rings around their necks - for a second there I was wondering if I was going to get one....

At 2 miles I could hear Mike Reilly announcing finishers in the distance. Since the finish line was one of the coolest experiences ever in the history of "HARD THINGS THAT MARC aka BIGUN HAS DONE" - I'll save that for later.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Iron Prelude

Before I try and describe the experience that was Ironman Coeur d'Alene, I must first thank, from the bottom of my heart, my wife and greatest fan, Di, or TrisherpaDi as she's come to be known.

Di stood by me through all the training, all the gadget buying and fretting over reservations and plane fares. She waited nervously for me when my IM run went to shit, worried that something horrible had happened to me.

She put up with my daily obsessing over trinkets and splits and sunglasses without hardly a word of complaint. She was there for me. I love her more than she knows.

She was my first friendly face in the finish shoot - her hug and kiss was the validation of a year of training. For over 14 hrs she found me on the course and lifted me from whatever funk I was in at the time.

I couldn't ask for a better partner, lover, friend - if I haven't said it enough - Thanks, Di - I love you!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Twas the Night...

So here we are at our awesome house in CdA, getting ready to carbo-load for tomorrow's big event. We've met everyone...just as planned, so far it's been a very social trip. If it were not for Tri-Rob's company computer with his AIRCARD - I'd not be blogging this.

The weather is going to be perfect. The water temp has risen to manageable levels. The bike course looks challenging, the run course is absolutely gorgeous. I can't imagine a more beautiful Ironman course.

So I - we - all of us are ready. Tomorrow, I attack at dawn. Looking around at all these uber-fit, mostly little, svelte, hard-bodied people, I have to keep reminding myself that I've done the work too. Pace...Nutrition...Attitude. Almost time for my game face.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ironman CdA Spectators...

I know there are a bunch of folks who won't be in CdA that are watching and thinking good thoughts for I thought I'd try and make it easier for ya.

First. On Sunday morning you'll want to go to IronmanLive. From that site you'll be able to watch a live feed from Coeur d'Alene. That feed has interviews with VIP's from the race (no, not Tacboy or Bigun...yes, hard to believe...) and usually shows views from the transition area or other parts of the course. The quality of this broadcast in terms of content and just plain old staying "up" is dubious at best. I've seen them do a fantastic job - Ironman Wisconsin for example, and a horrible job - like for the recent Ironman Arizona. The swim starts up at 7am local on Sunday morning - and that's really cool to watch - so try and tune in for that at least.

Second. On IronmanLive there will be a link to track an athlete. When you go there, you can enter in bib numbers or athlete's last names to get split times for various parts of the course. The quality of this feature is also troublesome - it is delayed, and sometimes it goes out, but you'll never know it. When it's not getting updated properly, you'd think your athlete has not yet, for example, transitioned from the bike to the run - when in actuality they are already out there pounding the pavement. So use the tool, but don't get worried if it gets late and people are not yet where you think they'd be.

Third. We'll do everything we can to keep you updated with our blogs. Hopefully we'll have internet access and have time to post while in CdA. There are at least 29 of us racing, with more of us bloggers there in support - so someones gonna be posting while all this is going on.

I thank everyone who has wished me luck and want to let you know that I appreciate your well wishes! It's nice to know that you'll be looking out for me on race day. Dad wanted me to post this dashboard view of the bike course just to see what we are up against out there. I hope I didn't miss anyone who's racing in my number's picture above!

It's getting close now.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Leaving soon...

Well, tomorrow we start packing for our 3:36 flight on Tuesday out of Tampa. Of course, we gots loads of laundry to do, 9 days clothing to plan, cold weather clothes to find and pack, plus the whole race layout....Monday's gonna be a big day!

Gotta Shave Rave for sure. That will entail some sheers to the legs - I've let them get pretty long again. I need a fresh flattop too. Get them ears lowered.

Need to make another trip to the bike shop. Dumb Bigun forgot to take off my cassette from my training wheel before I packed the tools to put it on my rental Zipp 808 (did I mention that I'll be riding 808's yet....yea, I thought so...) - so hopefully they will loosen the screw up for me post haste on Monday.

Some decisions were made. Red top from the Chicago Triathlon will be my run shirt. It's seen a marathon and worked well. Why mess with success? Blue Nike bike jersey and bibs for the bike. Long sleeve cool max shirt to combat the cold morning air - 47 degrees overnight lows - and I'll even start the bike with my cycling gloves. I'm 99.9% sure I'm going to adjust the screens on my Garmin to only show Heart Rate, Average Heart rate, and Miles - no speed. I'm thinking I'll be pleasantly surprised with the cool temps, riding with my aero helmet and race wheels (which I have yet to do on a long ride), and aid stations every 10 miles - plus the excitement of IRONMAN - no predictions of bike splits, I just think I'll be happy.

As will the run be a happy jaunt. Training in high heat and humidity adds significant stress in the form of raised heart rates for any particular pace. Mid 70's temps during the run is a 15 to 25 degree drop from my normal training temps, and a 55% humidity is going to feel awesome. The trick for the.bigun will be to arrive at the waters' edge without being sick, as significant temperature changes tend to bring on the sniffles. Lots of OJ.

It's also time to cash in the piggy bank. That's right - the CDA Fun Bank will be converted to green tomorrow at the credit union. We didn't fill up the jar as much as I'd hoped in a year, but whatever is in there will surely buy a few beers!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

CdA Plans

I was chatting with my Dad a day or so ago, and he asked me what we were gonna do besides race up in Coeur d' Alene - good question! After thinking a moment, I responded that the thing we will do most of is socialize! Everything has been so hectic here at the year round outdoor training center - it will be most awesome just to get away from it all. The moving, the cutting, the training, all that...all behind us as the plane takes off on Tuesday.

I'm sure there are things to do and places to see once we get there. I and perhaps we (TrisherpaDi included) miss the mountains so much living here in the swamps and land of the giant rat, that just being amongst them and their majesty might be enough. The lake, the cool temps, different vegetation and building structures will all be so different to make it a great enough escape.

Truly, however, the infinite meets, hugs, hello's, conversations, and get togethers that will take place from this coming Wednesday and continuing on for nearly a week will make the trip. Physically getting out and doing what we love to do - swim, bike and run - with our virtual friends is an opportunity of a lifetime. Spending time with people that I know, possibly, better than friends I have locally but because they don't blog, our friendship is somewhat superficial in comparison.

I'm not saying all my non-blogger friendships are weak relationships and that just because a person blogs then they are my BFF. All I'm saying is that, well, when it comes to YOU ALL, I know things. I know fears. I know triumphs. I know family troubles. I know of trials and graduations and birthdays and new births. I was there, in my living room, watching you cross the finish line in Wisconsin, sharing, even that little bit, the glory of that moment with you. Thank you, BTW. I know things you probably don't talk about with your local friends and family - how do I know this? Because I don't talk about most of what I blog about with my local friends and family.

But then again, I'm a dude.

See many of you soon!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Coolest Number!

Ok, so I'm biased. I have to say, however, that mine...not the coolest number ever for the race. Better than number 1 - well, not really. But close!


Yes, that's right - the easiest 4 digit number to remember in the entire world - I'll bet even a few of you lazy folks even use it as your PIN on your debit card. You know who you are!

Now that bib numbers are issued...dang this thing is getting close. Did you see the lake temps plummet in the last 2 days? Crimeny! We'll be darn lucky to see 55 degrees come race day. And what's with the cold evening lows? 47 degrees - basically, the water will be warmer, if you can believe it, than the air temperature on race day. Now that's a comforting thought!

So assuming I make the swim time cutoff of 2 hrs and 20 minutes, we'll exit the water to a happy 50 degrees and jump, water-logged and frozen, on to our bikes for some 17 - 30 mph (remember, there are downhills too...) riding through cold air. What you say? Highs for the day could reach 81 or so? Nice...just in time for the run, we'll hit the day's high - which is still 15 degrees cooler than temps at the year-round-outdoor-training-center.

And NO, I'm not complaining about 81 degrees - luv that! The question quickly, once the sun does down, does it cool off around there? I'm guessing it's pretty quick - and since I'm 99.9% sure that if all goes well and I make the bike cutoff - I'll be running in the dark, and the cold. TriSherpDi - bring a jacket!


Too bad I don't have a 12:34 Ironman in me....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Triblogger CdA T-shirts!

These came out really, really cool.

The fabric is nice - it's called anvil dri-release. It's got a little bit of cotton in it to make it soft.

Of course there are some without the Sherpa on the back too.

Dang there are a lot of t-shirts in this box! We are gonna seriously represent in Idaho (who you calling a ho?) this year!

Maybe we should have had them done on sweatshirts?

(the.bigun apologizes for the lack of photographic quality in the representation of these fine, fine T-shirts. These pics were not taken with TrisherpaDi's high-speed camera, nor with her trained eyeballs. Sorry.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Good things

Those sunglasses I got, the frameless Tufosi's - worked awesomely. Great optics, just enough shading, they look good, and the only piece of the glasses I can see is the nose piece. Thumbs up for sure from the.bigun.

The new aerobottle - great as well. no splashing with the new lid means that I can fill it up to the top now. It also means no face full's of Gatorade when I hit a bump! Refills easy with a standard waterbottle - really, no negatives and all positives.

I tried the new Roc Gu - contains extra amino acids and caffeine. Good stuff actually. Used 2 on my last 50m ride, on an empty stomach, and I really liked them. Maybe Gu will have some at CdA...

I also bought a pair of the cheepo booties that Spokane Al recommended on the CdA blogger site. $18 with shipping; it's hard to go wrong there.

My taper has been a bit less than textbook. I've been really, really taking it easy - aside from work, my workouts are lacking. Now that I'm shipping my bike out today, I'll be really avoiding any temptation (however slight) to get on the trail and ride. I have been getting in some heavy lifting - moving TrisherpaDi out of her studio, and then moving all the "stuff" into the house. Fun stuff.

I shipped my bike today to Spokane! $53 to ship it. For all you shippers out there....some tid bits:
  • If you can get the box under 7" wide, you can save around $10 on Fedex ground. My box was 8" - I may have been able to take an inch off - but with the crank on, it makes the bike a bit wide.
  • My box height was 28". I didn't change that dimension (or the width) - and with my seat removed, the top of my seat tube and the bottom of my crank took up the whole box. My bike is a 58 cm.
  • The box length was 43" - even if it was smaller, that would not have effected the price much. I believe that under 50" is where you want to be. I shortened the box to match my bike's length. The whole orig. box by itself would have been over $80 - so by shortening the length, I saved a bunch. I was able to do this by not shipping my wheels. I'm renting Zipp 808's, so I figured that sending the extra weight and lengths were not necessary. The whole thing, with the tools to put it together, weighed 28lbs.
  • I took off the rear derailleur and hanger - to protect it - and that helped the length . I had to loosen and bend in my aerobar grips, and take off the elbow pads, to make that whole contraption less than 8 inches wide...that was a pain in the neck. I just hope I used enough Styrofoam to pad it all. I guess we'll see in a week!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

IM Shipments

Got some good stuff in today. I'll be testing these out on my last long-ish ride this weekend; they seem way better optically than these cheepo's I train in. I bought some more of the cheepos too - after all, they do work.

I got some new cleats for my shoes. Nothing like a nice set of cleats. I've taken out my liners on my bike shoes - the largest size of tri-cycling shoes is still just a bit too small for my feet, and taking out the liners went a long way to preventing hot foot. Yes, it was hard on the feet for those first few long rides, but I'm used to it now. Makes it nice in transition. Oh yea, my last long ride I noticed one spot on the bottom of my foot felt like a nail being driven through it. Well, actually, it was a screw. One of the screws to my cleats, on both shoes, goes in so far that I can feel it inside the shoe. So, I'll be using a washer or something to try to make sure that screw can't be felt inside the shoe anymore. I'm sure that with the liners in there'd be no problems, but that just won't work for me in a long ride.

I also got a new Profile Design aerobottle. Mine was (is) 3 years old, and kinda nasty looking. The new ones come with a top, of all things - so we'll put that to the test, refilling and whatnot, tomorrow as well.

Got my bike back from the shop. They did a tune up, replaced the shifter cables, trued the wheels, lubed it all up - definitely a whole new bike it seems. I had the bottom bracket bearings replaced - before you could pull on the pedals away from the bike and there was some play to them. Not good. Now there is absolutely no play at all. The mechanic said he had to take blow torch to it to get the bearings off the tube. Nice. He also said that it was the last set of bearings he would be able to replace on that Bottom Bracket. This set was the second replacement. Guess I should start shopping for a new BB.

Also got a box to ship my bike in from the LBS. This has to be done on Monday or Tuesday. That's gonna be a reality check. The big day is upon us! I'm really looking forward to strapping on those Zipp 808's (rented from and seeing what I'm made of on that course. Bring it!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Man, what a couple of weeks. Not sure I really want to get into the ongoing saga's of Team Bigun, or Team Big Bikes for that matter. Lets just say that if you go over to Di's blog, you can get an earful, or eyeful - anyway. Don't ya wish it could all be pigtails and butterflies this close to the big show? wouldn't be Ironman if it were easy.

I'm sure things will work out. I'm sure they will get better. Months, even weeks ago, it was easy to put my head down and get out the door without much fanfare. Now there's a lot of "shaking off the cobwebs" before one foot goes in front of the other...and even then, there's not a lot of enthusiasm involved. Of course it being 97 today didn't help matters much.

I'm psyched - really, I am. I am so wanting to hit that beach and get this show on the road. I'm looking forward to meeting so many great people, and sharing this event - dare I say "life altering" event - with everyone there. Not to mention the parting. Did I mention the partying? It would be nice to have some things settled by then. But that, my friends, may be cutting it a bit close. If you see me, in 2 weeks and 4 days, not quite in a place I should be....PLEASE...feel free to snap me out if it. I'll welcome the help. Trust me, I'll be working on ME as well. I know all too well that I'll need to be above and beyond the black cloud that surrounds us at this moment in time.

And no, Nytro, that doesn't include a swift kick in the bells...and I don't mean cowbells either.

Monday, June 02, 2008


The past 7 or 8 days were nuts. Peak training week. Ungodly high temps. Serious business "developments". And to top it all off, a friend died.

I'm kind of mad about the friend dying thing. Being as young as I am, even with my military background, I haven't had that many people that I know, family or friends, die. My friend was only a year older than me. I say friend, yet I'm positive I did not know him well enough.

Tom and his wife Lisa started as customers of Diana - she did some design work for them, including a remodel of his restaurant where I first met Tom, "McHale's Chophouse". It was absolutely the best food I've ever eaten. Tom cared about every plate that was ever served, and came out to check on his customers often. Oh, the calamari, and prime was all just awesome! He grew tired of his time away from family (he had 3 young boys) and the headaches of owning a restaurant (and a bar, and another restaurant) and closed down my beloved McHale's! I was NOT the only one in Brandon who was angry that day for sure.

But that's not why I'm mad now.

We had dinner at Tom and Lisa's house once, maybe twice, and met them out as well - Di continued to have a business relationship with Tom and a friendship with Lisa, but for some reason I never really had time (or made time?) for Tom. Now he was a busy man too - it's not like he called me, ever, or I called him and tried to get together for a beer. It just never...happened.

We had some things in common, Tom and I - he went to Cornell the same time that I went to West Point. He was riding a bike a couple years ago... actually he stopped riding just as I was starting to. We both struggled with our weight and size, and talked of diet and exersize. We both loved food. Tom was a lineman - played for the Bucs, the Eagles and the Dolphins. He still weighed-in close to 300 on a good day, and I don't know....big guys just seem to get along. He had way about him - he was just great to be around.

I'm not sure when I learned, but Di told me one day that Tom was in rehab. He was in constant pain as a result of his injuries earned during his football days, and had succumbed to a habit he was working to break. When I heard, I thought, "Tom's a strong dude - he'll be ok soon enough", and I really didn't give it much more thought. I got updates from Diana through his wife Lisa, and it seemed like he was struggling more than I would have figured, but not so much that it caused me concern. Why wasn't I concerned? I don't know, really I don't. I guess I just thought so highly of Tom that I figured he'd fix it.

So I missed out. That's what I'm mad about. I had a chance over the last 5 or 6 years to get to know a really great man and I blew it. No, I don't think I could have influenced him in any way to change the circumstances causing his death. He had plenty of friends - good one's in fact - and his family was loving and there for him as well. Selfishly - I just wish I'd have known him better. I know he would have added to my life.

Tom will be missed. If it's possible, or makes sense, I wish I could be missing him more.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Ironweek 4

I think I trained all this time so that I'd be in shape enough for last week. Barely. Some highlights of the week:

203 miles of biking, Longest Ride: 102, Average Total Speed: 18.25, Avg HR: 134bpm.

Day after 103 mile ride, I did a sprint tri with a 15 mile bike, average speed: 22.64 mph. Nice....and the first time over 22 in a triathlon!

I'm happy with my biking. I'm taking my bike to the shop tomorrow to get a tuneup, and make this my last big bike week. The following week I have to ship the bike to Spokane, so this is the last chance I'll have to make sure everything works. I've noticed my bottom bracket not turning as round as I'd like - it seems to flair too much when I push with the right leg. So that's just one thing I'll be having them check (replace with new bearings...).

26.11 miles of running, averaging 10:46 pace and 144 bpm for the HR. I'm not as happy with my running, so this week, while my bike is in the shop, I'll spend some more time running, and getting at volume up over 30. I need a longer run too - but if it starts feeling squirley, I'll cease and desist.

The wheels totally fell off - my legs exploded after the bike on my sprint tri today. I actually WALKED some on a 5k - I.had.nothing.

I should have seen it coming. No breakfast. 5 hrs sleep the night before. No nutrition like Gatorade or Gel's before or on the course. I raced like a total newbie in that regard, and bonked - if that's what you want to call it - half a mile into the run.

8097 yards of swimming, with a long swim of 4k and, well, the pace is so slow as to just leave it all at that. I was very happy with my 4k swim, in that I lowered my 2.4 mile swim time to 1:41 - that's 11 min faster than my last 2.4 mile continuous swim.

Luke still whooped me in the water today on the sprint tri - good grief, I suck! Oh well....

So all that amounted to 18.78 hrs of training for the week. Phew. I'm beat. Done. Ready to call it a day! Three weeks left until the big show. One week of swimming and running. I'm very ready to be done with all this....

Of course we celebrated at the race (beer tent) and the Daiquiri Shack across the street after the race. $12 Margarita pitchers are just way too good a special to pass up.