Probably the easiest review to ever do on a big race. If this is not one of the nicest weekends of the entire summer, then we are in for an unbelievably great summer. This is Syracuse, and for us to have typical sunny California weather for an entire weekend, well it is a big treat. Very little wind, abundant sunshine, starting off cool in the morning, reaching mid seventies in the afternoon. Kenny and his army of staff and volunteers but on a great race. To have over two thousand triathletes, their families in one place with participants from all over the world including royal princes, to make it all go well and actually look like it was easy to pull it off has my appreciation. Kudos to all that made it happen.

In my previous blog I predicted a few things, one of which is that I would be inspired. I was, I am.

My race was cut short. Normally I would say, yeah that sucks, not happy, what ever. I have one regret of not being able to enjoy the scenery that I knew awaited me on many points on the bike course. I made it as far a a few hundred yards up on Sweet Road. My right knee popped going up the first big hill out of Jamesville. I walked it up, got back on, spun as much as I could. When it came time to apply the needed power to the crank arms to climb , the same knee barked. Part of me said tough it out, deal with it later. A more sensible side of me, which seldom wins an internal argument like this decided  that pushing up Sweet Road would likely cause more damage, like a tear or something worse. I dislike not finishing pretty much anything I start out to do. I dislike surgery and or missing out on entire seasons much worse. I walked the bike back nearly all the way to race site.

It is unplanned events like this that you find out about other aspects of the race. My fellow racing participants (it was a lot of them, I couldn’t begin to tell you ho many) would ask if I was OK, if I need help, neighbors watching the race would inquire and offer to help, the bike support crews, law enforcement, etc. All very friendly and offered a helping hand. I was told That I could get a ride back if I needed it. Once they were done giving bike support on the corner of Sweet road, they would come get me or I could wait. Cool!  It felt good to walk it off, and the pain subsided as long as I didn’t try to push hard on a crank, or run. I would walk most for the way back, and got on the bike and coasted the downhills. This suited me fine as I didn’t want to bother anyone, or distract from those that needed help and be sent on their merry way to finish the course. If I needed a ride that would happen just for the asking.  Once I got back in, and sent our team runner off  (as a team we were now DNF, but at least Todd could get in a solid race run in unofficially), I headed up to the medical tent. Once there,I got prompt professional care, squared away with an assessment, ice pack,and eventually sent me off in a knee wrap. It was swollen some, but no trip to the hospital.  I was able to walk reasonably well, and we’ll see what tomorrow brings.  I don’t recommend that you ever need  to visit the medical tent, but if you ever did, they have my vote. We parted with thanks, but hope I don’t see you again today :) The way I was treated by all those around me was inspiring, and says a lot about the community spirit of the race.

A visit with the good doctor will be on the schedule this week. It is my hope that being actually smart about it, may stave off  further problems.

Something that I thought was just great, was when the last athletes came in off the bike and headed out on the run course. They were cheered by, and very loudly I might add, by the pro’s, the elite athletes among us, as well as the crowd that had gathered waiting to get it in to retrieve their bikes.  I was glad to be there  to witness that, and to help cheer the remaining participants on.

Very happy for my teammate Mary Ryan for a good swim, and running teammate Todd Robertson who put in a solid run on a tough run course. Couldn’t ask for a nicer teammates to share the day with.  A big thank you to  my sister Kim,and my wife Lee  for volunteering, helping with wet suit stripping duties. Very glad for the family support and helping out with the race.

Again my hat is off to Kenny and his team for giving us a great race today, and for all of you that added to my experience of enjoying an absolutely beautiful day in upstate New York.

 

To those that have followed my wandering writings in the past, I do apologize. My blogging on the sport we are all fond of has been non existent for a while now. Not that I have had a change of heart, or no longer promote all the good tangible things that come from a multi-sport lifestyle. In fact, it hasn’t changed at all. My schedule is not much of one as I still am working on building a tech company, and to gain stability financially. The idea of keeping what Lee and I have worked so hard for is the first priority until we can no longer do so, and have to rethink our dreams for the future. With  all that my training time has been minimal,and will rely on experience and pure grit for the bike leg tomorrow. a few extra long bikes would had made me feel more ready, but that always seems to be the case. I am on a great team with super nice friends which make it an absolute pleasure to participate with.  Mary Ryan will start us out on the swim, and Todd Robertson will cleanup on the run. I’ll be handling the cycling chores. No doubt my bike , a 2011 Specialized Comp, is fast enough. It is a smooth ride, and never a complaint since I bought it. The engine (myself) of course is always suspect.  I know the course well, the hills are no taller, less or more steep than they have been in the past. It is a pretty course to ride. I will enjoy it, as it is slated to be a very nice day to race, surrounded by thousands of like minded people pursing a great sport. It is and will be  inspiring, and I will soak it up as much as I can. No major time goals or other nasty teams to beat :) Seriously, no big rivalries, maybe a little trash talk here and there. The goal will be to finish and finish well, and look good doing it. This year for me is more of a social event with a significant work component. None of my comments are meant to be detracting from those with other race goals as it is certainly a big part of the triathlon lifestyle. Whether it will be for a podium spot, a personal best, other time/speed goal, or first time at that distance. Some of my triathlon friends will use tomorrow as a big training day for a full ironman later this summer. Bigger achievements await them, and you have my admiration. I wish all my fellow athletes a great race tomorrow, a safe one in fact, and that it be memorable one as well.

Slowly getting back at it folks. Nothing like a small event like Syracuse Ironman 70.3 on one’s schedule to expedite a training plan. My teammates Mary Ryan, Todd Robertson and I are all in for the 2014 event in June. Mary will do the swim , Todd has the 13.1 miles of fun, and I have my work cut out trying to make my fast looking tri bike have some kind of an engine. More to come as now I have to figure out when we can actually bike outdoors without snow tracks and skis :)

Up early today, unfortunately not to race, rather have to go into work for most of the day. I am grateful to be swamped with work, servicing a contract/design project for my main customer, however I do cherish my play time, and time at home. Gorgeous day, and I would rather be on a relay team or volunteering. Syracuse 70.3  is an epic event.

As I finish writing this, everyone should be out on the bike course, the swim leg of the race in the done category. Participating last year, I can freshly recall the 4:30 AM arrival, body marking, checking the bike, and all the little nuances of race prep on event morning. The adrenaline, and excitement is something I remember most. The bike course is scenic, and one of my favorites. There is something very different climbing Sweet Road with a sea of triathletes on race day verses the training rides be it solo or the CNY tri club. Something about working it together in mass ( without drafting of course) just makes it perceptibly just a little bit easier. The run will be a hot one today, but again, It is a tough but pretty run.

So from the confines of my office in spirit and in heart I am with you. I wish you all an epic day,  awesome experiences, and that you reach your goals or take away something very positive and tangible! I’ll be watching the posts, and online comments and pics. Hope to see you at other events later this summer.

Mike

If you have been following along this year, you know that 2013 has been a big year of changes. For me, probably about 3-4 too many.

The last two months have been mostly suffering fools, mental anguish, and making changes to weed out things that take away more than they enhance life at the Joyner household. In retrospect probably a long time coming. There were a few disappointing surprises. Life goes on.

Training has been sporadic due to time constraints getting a tech company up and going. Training/racing definitely falls into the category of things that give so much to quality of life, managing stress and better health. Not something i would want to cut out. As much as having that brass ring of ironman in front to drive me is a good thing, I find myself way overtired, not sleeping well and worrying too much.

Ten weeks to go to Ironman Lake Placid, and I am at a place not feeling the love of sport, and I have to do a mental reset. My longish bike ride today came to a stop at 15 miles, dead tired, no drive to push through a 35-40 mile ride. It’s not me, and there’s no faking an ironman. When I toe the line for the big dance I want to be well trained, not hanging on for dear life, worrying about cutoff times. Last year this time I felt very driven to hit each milestone in route to Syracuse 70.3.

In the long view of things, it’s a game/pursuit we love to do, and ranks somewhere beyond 2nd to supporting the household, taking care of family, and being there for my wife, as she certainly is for me. Time for me to regroup, and refocus on the important things first.

What next? Its just one race, there will be others to aim for. I do have take care of my health and well being, just set different goals. It’s not feasible to dedicate 12-16 hours a week given my circumstances, 4-7 hours. I can fit in. I’ll talk to my coaches and lay out a new course, concentrating on base, keeping my head fresh, stress managed. I’ll be low key this summer and maybe eyeball something late summer. More to come later.

A big thank you to those who checked up on me today. It is just as likely for me to be there as not. I was there on business last week,and ran the Boston marathon in 1995-1996. It would not be unusual for me to go there and watch as it is one of the nations largest spectacles. Those of you who have been there for the race or ran it, know what a packed last quarter mile to the finish is like. It is a deafening roar, and lined with thousands of people. The reporting is correct that at the 4-hour mark it is a sea of people making their last strides to the finish. They are also correct in that you typically see lots of young children along the course. I can recall children calling out bib numbers shouting encouragement going up heartbreak hill. It is something that you remember.

Had the bomb(s) been larger or more successful in imposed intent, the counts would have been so much higher. It is maddening and to bring one to anger that children were willfully targeted as well as the well-being of all that came to witness a great race/event. It is my humble opinion that hell does not burn hot enough for the perpetrators of this evil deed.

Being a runner and actually having been there before has me rattled a little, as it hits close to home. Like many of you, I do not wish to live in fear or to abandon the very things that bring happiness, satisfaction, and sense of purpose along with all that we care to do in our daily lives.

It is a scourge of our humanity that we endure terrorism, and the deeds of those with little or no regard to the gift of life. Is not each of our lives a gift, something to be regarded as precious?

Not wanting to be on a hate rant, I do hope for justice, and pray for those lost and injured in today’s terrible event.

Sorry if the title might mislead some, this is not some epic deal of overcoming all odds, or a terrible situation or malady. It is the title that stuck in my head while running today.

Despite the “Oh you did an Ironman, yawn” attitude you see over in some elitist triathlon forums, I view the big dance as a monumental thing.  Take one look at me and you’ll not mistake my physique to be that of a distance runner or 5-8% body fat endurance athlete with all the speed, and grace of form that one imagines. Nope not this guy. Even in my glory days of thirty something and a slender 152 lbs, I was not a gifted athlete, terribly fast or all that dialed in on technique or form.  I sure was faster than I am today and would take it back in a heartbeat. No pro career in the works for me ever. I did however love the sport, and especially how empowered I felt, and how positive is was for my outlook, and perspective. It made me feel very alive as it does now. Being determined and having stubborn will as my allies I press on.

I sure picked a hell of a year to tackle the ironman distance. Of course when I signed up, my career was not in turmoil at that time. The training is most certainly a great stress relief. It is also a source of stress in that I barely make my workouts on a good week, and missing more than a few probably doesn’t help in my quest. My good doctor will read this, and will be sure to set me straight. No qualms there as she practices what she preaches  and I get away with nothing. No excuses :)  Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for so many things, general good health, my wife, my family, and my friends. I live a good life, and know that I am fortunate.  In that respect, shut up and get on with it.

My daily schedule is chaotic for now, lots of hours, with each week begin different as I try to build a tech company. eating is erratic, and my weight is stagnant, and needs to drop and soon. My constant worrying is self imposed. and I am sure it is affecting a number of things. Being this is the first weekend in three months that I did not work, is maybe a sign of balance on the horizon.  I am surrounded by great support of my wife, and close friends. I really do need to listen to them more and take it more to heart.

Lately my workouts have been drudgery, taxing, as I feel overtired, and always thinking about work instead of pounding out a good workout. Some days my supposed positive outlook and iron will falls short for the build up  for Lake Placid. There is no excuse or circumstance that means anything when that start cannon goes off on July 28th.  There is some headway on the swimming side of things, so I’ll take that as progress.

I toed the start line at Syracuse Half Marathon this morning. It would run through my old stomping grounds where I used to live in Eastwood many years ago. I was looking forward to running a city course which I like very much. Coming off Lake effect 13.1 a month prior, I felt reasonably ready to cover it as an easy pace training run. Up to start time  everything felt normal and familiar and I was ready to go. The plan was simple, go easy the first mile, no faster than 10:30 as there was a good uphill stretch on James Street, and to ease up going up Court Street roughly halfway to 2/3rd of the race. Pace would be 11ish with a 20-30 sec walk break every mile after mile 3 to ease my hips and back the heart rate down.

First mile out I stayed with the plan, but felt like I was overtired and working too hard given the pace and the flat first mile. I eased up James Street the way I wanted to, and was ok with it. Settled in for the next two miles, and felt a little better. Mile 4, I felt that didn’t have it in me to finish, and that I was having a problem. A big problem. If this was all I had to see something through, what would I do at mile 16 with another 10 miles to go at Lake Placid. This was my little battle today. I thought it was odd, as I enjoyed running my old routes, the race itself, the volunteers were fantastic, all good stuff. I made it my pact that If  I could not mentally tough out a half marathon on an odd day, then what was I thinking about pulling it together for 140.6 miles.

I used my little mental tool kit and bag of tools to work out my little funk. Dropped to 11:30’s,  eased up my stride and did my best to put my head back into the miles ahead. A little stubborn will goes a long way sometimes. I am sure neither of my coaches would have thought that the race was at all critical, likely telling me to just go out next week, and put the miles in, move on. Personally I needed this little win over myself to put this funk behind me. Eventually I felt better, and the remainder of the miles seem to go by quicker. Once I hit mile 12, it was a done deal. All said and done, I felt so much better for crossing the finish line. Kudos to Ken for putting on he race, the volunteers, the police and all that made it happen. Great inaugural race!