After what has been an extended stay from active training, participating as an athlete in local events, I have arrived at mission critical once again. In focusing on making my tech business thrive, keeping my head above water, I simply ignored or put back of the shelf something that I enjoy, and is actually good for my physical self, as well as my mental clarity. I leave that to you to argue that one…

The past few years after having finished Ironman Syracuse 70.3, and the team event the following year (knee problem forced me out 5 miles in on the bike) have been less than ideal from a perspective of triathlons and each of the three sports. 2015, and the first half of this year have proved to be more than difficult in both circumstances, and more importantly my responses, my reaction to these circumstances. Difficult clients were above and beyond in some ways, causing me more time if front of three 24″ monitors. 70-80 hour weeks take their toll over time. Family issues have been challenging, however, no family is immune to those rising to the occasion. This spring our mother loss her five year battle with Alzheimer’s. All contributing circumstances, explanations, however not deserving of being excuses. There are too many examples of folks like you and I that accomplish great things while overcoming far greater odds or circumstances, and it lays clear that our (mine) reaction is what should be dealt with, put back into proper perspective.  Going with or relegating myself to excuses is an admission of no solution, missing that kick in the ass to turn it around.

In my vast wisdom, I made the executive decision to sign up for the inaugural Lake Placid Ironman 70.3 next September. A goal, a stake in the ground has been placed. No it is not the full ironman as of yet. Not the big dance. We’ll hit this milestone first once again and see where it goes.

Fifty one weeks to drop what is much too excessive weight from my frame, and get back to making my tired old self move forward by means of self propulsion. Excuses will not cut it here. I do the work, I’ll finish. No time goal, but there are goals to be met knowing what speeds I can realistically achieve, and manage my body responses to stress.

I’ll be exchanging boat loads of sitting behind the desk of stress for the more healthy kind. I’ll be better off for doing it, and if all goes as planned, see you at the shoreline of Mirror Lake next September.

© 2016 Mike Joyner- Joyner Outdoor Media 

This year’s event would have me participating as a volunteer. After Last years issue with my knee, I took it easy, and was actually mindful of the doctor’s advice. No trouble since, healed up with out issue. Another year in business and way too much time in front of three monitors, I would not have any significant training to prepare for the event this year. I suppose in the back of my mind i’m a bit disappointment in myself, but the event deserves the preparation and the respect for what it takes to finish it, and to finish well.

The swim is sweet, no huge waves to deal with, and the only real annoyance is the weeds you encounter on the course close to the beach. The bike course is challenging in the first third of the 56 mile distance. The views are worth it. The last third of the bike course with a net loss in elevation is great for getting your legs back for the run. You earn your finishers medal the most on the second loop of the 13.1 mile run. hitting the hill on the turnaround for the second time, and the short hill before entering back in the park to the finish just seems harder second time around. Like most half or full Ironman races, they don’t often give you easy, flat courses. Syracuse 70.3 being on par or similar for course difficultly with Ironman Lake Placid is a common opinion. Of course that would be fodder for argument depending on who you talk to. Again, it’s a course I like for so many positive reasons, and loath for how much you have to earn it to finish. Well worth the effort.

This years event I volunteered as a bike escort for the lead athletes on the run course. One way of staying close to the sport when not participating. Having volunteered for many years at various events since the early 90’s I have found it to be gratifying, a way to give back to something I love, and you get to work with a ton of “can do, lets make it happen” folks. Rubbing elbows with such great people is an uplifting as well as a learning experience. Highly recommended.

Benjamin Rabin was the volunteer captain for our group and he made it super easy to know when, what, where. Friendly, clear, and concise emails made for a no hassle experience.  My job was to get out in front and guide the 3rd place male on the run course once the runner entered on to Apulia Road. We would guide each of our assigned lead runners on the course until they came back to enter into the park. First loop was easy, as there was significant space between participants. By the time the lead runners came back out onto the road for the second loop, we had to be on our toes to identify the lead runners, and to safely guide and negotiate the crowed lanes of runners in both directions. I applaud the runners here as it was tight quarters. and when it came time to move ahead as the lead runners overtook participants out on their first loop, they graciously moved to the side to allow me to pass as I guided my assigned runner. Our group was comprised of experienced riders and familiar with the course, made for a no incident experience!

Once my task was competed, I hit the food tent. A sub and a slice of pizza hit the spot. I stayed for another hour to cheer on people I knew, and headed home. It was later after I left that a storm hit, and prompted the shutting down of the race for a number of participants still out on the run course. I understand they cleared the course and the park in short order, and got everyone out safely.  Hard decision to make, but knowing Kenny (race director) as I do, he is a quality guy, and the type of person you want in that position when things come up or circumstances change.

I attended the volunteer picnic the following day, and we were all treated to a nice picnic dinner. Again as mentioned before, it’s a great time hanging with positive people, and its all about “can do.” Honestly, it is very refreshing.

Should all go well next year, I may toe the start line once again at the 2016 running of this event.

Hats off to Kenny and his crew for putting it all on, to my fellow volunteers for doing what you do,and I hope that my fellow triathlete friends had a great time out there!

Today was a day that a significant goal was proclaimed, started a year ago, was put to motion, and finished. All good, all done  as I type this! For my daughter Christina, today was her day. I’ll argue in my own perspective it was in fact partly mine. Yep, my prerogative  if you’ll stay with me on this.

My daughter started a journey of taking control of her health, weight and choosing the path to a better well being. This would be taken head on, on a few  fronts with a healthy diet, exercise and plenty of it. Over the years she has been a spectator to many of my events watching me finish. This would include a half ironman finish, a bunch marathons, including Boston, and the numerous weekend events I participated in. So it can be said I lead by example. Christina mentioned that she would like to walk the Dallas Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon. Without hesitation I would fly down from New York and walk it with her. This is no small affair as she had been plagued with knee problems as a young woman, including several surgeries. In her preparation for this goal, in a years time she has literally shed  60+ pounds. A monumentally accomplishment. For those of my followers that had gone through such transformations they most certainly understand what a big deal this is, a testament to pure guts and determination. As her father I am most proud of her taking this on, and making it happen. As a mother of three children (otherwise known as my grandchildren) the positive and tangible benefits of a fit and healthy woman are of course obvious, and to the result of a much more positive and improved lifestyle. Not easy with three children at home.

I flew in a few days before race day to settle in, and do the usual race event prep that is customary and expected. Since this is a large event, the race expo is a happening all of its own. We would take the kids and make an afternoon of picking up our packets and checking out all the vendors. For myself covering 13.1 miles is no longer daunting, something I have done many times since the early 90’s. Although I walk some, especially during hunting seasons, my efforts at covering significant distance is by various paces of running. Not that I was concerned about finishing it, however I am sure my walking gait and efficiency is not optimal. At some point It would at least take on the feel of more work than a leisurely stroll in the woods. My goal here was to accompany Christina’s first attempt at this distance and  to help her in any way I can to make it happen. She would do all the work, and I needed to be available as the old wise one, and head cheerleader. One thing for sure, I would have plenty of years of experience to call upon for mistakes not to repeat (I know most of them, and of course by doing most of them personally myself), tips and tricks to help the time pass, and to mitigate the various problems that creep up while covering the miles of a distance event.

We got to the event start with ease, and the wait for the start in all reality didn’t seem all that long. It was a cool 53 degrees at the start, and would be a comfortable ride all the way. We had a good position in the staggered corral staging, and got into a comfortable 16:48 /mile pace which was ideal for walking. My first gems of well learned wisdom was to not surge out with the hordes of runners and just get dialed into a pace we wanted to do. We did. The miles clicked off easily,and we would jog the downhill sections and a few of the flats in order to bank free time against the four hour time limit. Each mile we would bank another 70-90 seconds against the clock. I found it funny as they had “selfie” stations to take pictures with props, cowboy  rope handlers, and such. Mentally all the distractions and eye candy, coupled with making good decisions would prove useful when the last two miles got harder.

The police and the event staff and especially the volunteers were above and beyond friendly and professional. No complaints as it was well orchestrated and ran well. There was water, Gatorade, and gels when we really needed those, and given the cool temps, all that was needed. We maintained pace up to mile 10, and it would be were the pace began to slow.  We were in territory that was beyond distance that she had ever conquered, and she earned ever bit of her finish the last two miles. I knew when she was gritting it out as the conversation became less, and I could see she was doing whatever she had to to keep it moving forward. I was a little sore at that point as I don’t normally walk that distance, but otherwise felt fine. It was at that point my words of encouragement would take a back seat to her determination to claim her first attempt as a finisher.

The down hill finished was a welcomed reprieve! Christina decided she would run that last 150 yards to the finish. We would run it in together and step on the timing mat in sync. The goal was accomplished, and with a little bit of style. Christina became a little overwhelmed at the moment of truth, something I truly understand, and suspect many of you do as well while achieving a big goal. Post race food goodies hit the spot, and concluded a great event.

Truly it was Christina’s day, and almost as much mine as her father. This is our “thing” we did together, and something I’ll cherish for years to come. I am one proud father today, and yes it most certainly my prerogative  :)

 

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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 volunteersput 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