Archive for June, 2012

Five days post race! Doing rather well! Other than being a little ‘off’ (more than my normal ‘off’), a little tired, no gimping, no complaints. Good sign that I am itching to get back to doing some workouts. Per Endurance Nation protocol -training time off vacation.  Sleep has been strange,and I have been famished all week. I have indulged, but time to get back on the weight loss goal, and I’ll get it done.

I have a pile of photo’s from the big day, and you’ll find some them at the end of the post.

My big announcement at least for the day, and in my world: 140.6 Ironman sometime in August/September/October 2013! Race: TBD. Races in the running: Ironman Wisconsin, Rev 3 Cedar Point, Beach to Battleship are the current front runners.

No doubt there will be other 70.3 races. I may do Syracuse again, as a team, or maybe as an B or C race as it is early in the season. I love the race, the course, and especially the volunteers. The positives are a lengthy list.

Why do 140.6? It is on my bucket list. At 52, I would rather do it sooner than later. It may be my only one, it could be one in a string of them. Won’t know until I cross that point in time. Having a big goal suites me, and keeps me on track with fitness/weight goals.

My next journey will include along the way the usual list of local races (Boilermaker, Tromptown, Turning stone 13.1, Little York Tri), but will also include the NYC marathon as another bucket item this fall. No doubt 2013 will have a few local events on the calendar. This far out, just laying down the foundation for a big event. Endurance Nation Coach’s Rich and Patrick are currently reviewing the races I have lined up, and will set me up with training plans that will adjust across the next 13-14 months to get me across the finish line, and finish well.

A full ironman will entail some of the training I just completed, and will certainly build upon it. It will also have it’s own metrics specific to ironman training. It is not trivial, and will require focus and commitment on my part.

Post Ironman Syracuse, reveals that I have problems to correct and or improve upon. If I wish to succeed in my next goal, and cross the finish line, I need to address these very issues.

So far the list of items to fix, and improved:

  • Weight- no ifs, ands, or buts, It has to come off. I am not slugging around my big butt some 140.6 miles. I plan to slug around a smaller one  🙂   Looking to sign up with Core Diet, to not only reduce weight, but correct diet issues, and fuel properly for training. I know Dr. Lynn Cunninghamn will read this, and she’ll be on me to get this done. She is my general practitioner, and  very thorough. Very much needed reality check, and a good one.
  • Swimming- Need to be smoother, more efficient, and significantly faster. Solution requires coaching/lessons, and more pool time. I would likely finish the 2.4 miles in over 2 hours, and that would be close to 2:20. Come the big day, I do not want to be worried about being up against the cut off time. This is not a daunting issue, but it must be addressed
  • Bike- Add power (watts) measuring. I need to up my game and training with power will help with proper feedback. Before the 16-20 week plan to Ironman, I need to work on intensity, and speed on the bike. 112 miles is no joke on race day. Lot of hours in the saddle, and being able to back off the effort and still have a decent bike split is crucial to setting up a good marathon.  Later this year or early next. I will get a bike fit to affirm that what I have is ok or improve it. Current bike fit is decent, and comfortable. With weight loss, and a disappearing gut, I should be able to lower frontal profile.
  • Run- Continue to build endurance and fitness. Running is my strongest discipline of the three currently. Weight loss and Out Season (OS) training will add more speed. Will continue to have a more efficient stride. Keeping injury free will be key here.
  • Race day nutrition- Big issue. It appears that I am way under on electrolytes, salt, etc. Solving the muscle cramping in the later portions of long events is critical. I will have to experiment some to solve it. The obvious thing to do, is to adjust the amount/levels of fluids, nutrition ,and electrolyte,/sodium products to to alleviate the problem, and allow my body to perform at it’s best potential.

Looking forward to the next 13-14 months, there will be a significant effort to accomplish what I have set out. So begins my next journey!

BTW, a big thank you & photo credits to Dave Knabel, Sam Sampere, and Lee Joyner

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Done! Very emotional finish for me yesterday. The heel nipping of self doubts, and former paradigms of accomplishing something I did as a much younger man came to an end yesterday at 2:47:08pm. I’m back, and I have put my stamp on it. 8 months of committing to a single end: crossing the finish line after covering 70.3 miles of the half ironman distance. I seized the day! Further more, I enjoyed every second of it, whether it was going as planned, and even as much when plans changed. In my very narrow, singular focus, it was my day to be had.

Before I go on further about my experience of race day, I cannot say enough or do it the proper justice in thanking Ken, all of his race staff, and especially so, the hundreds of volunteers that went above and beyond to make the race day experience fun, and memorable. We (athletes) were treated like royalty on the course and at the race venue. There were friendly folks out along the course that cheered us on. The couple that was spraying the misting spray from their garden hose on Palladino Road made lots of friends that day. I would be one of those friends. I hear there is an appreciation party for the volunteers. In my opinion, us athletes should put it on. I’ll flip burgers, whatever is needed.

To everyone that helped put it on, thank you!

Race day- 3:18am, I’m up and moving. Alarm was set for 3:20am. No clue how my body does that. 3:20am is early even for hunting season. Lee is up, our weimeraners are not sure what is going on, but they’re getting fed, and liking it. Transition bag was packed night before, double check it again, we’re good to go. Finish my fueling ritual, and we’re down the road. Arrive at Jamesville Beach 4:40am from the south end of Apulia Road, no traffic, no fuss, no delay. Waiting in a long line is not something I am real good at and this suits me well.

A little bit of a walk from parking to the transition area. No problem, we’re early, and enjoyed the early morning walk. A little cool/brisk, but I am more than excited, and warm enough on my own accord. Headed down to body marking, and met fellow blogger Carrie Stevens who said she would be my personal body marker for the race 🙂 Great to meet folks that you chat with online. The marking area was set up on the way to entering the bike corral, and it was a no brainer. Got into the transition area, and set up for the race. Common throughout the day, everything you had to do or take care of was worry free, and easy. Us old guys trying to focus really appreciate this.

CNY Tri Club, had a tent along side the bike area, along with bike racks for the tri club. This is where race day hospitality goes into another gear/level. Great place to hang out, food, gatorade, two of their own porta-potties. Yep, life is good. My sister Kim (Fraser) met us their at the club tent. Lee (wife) and Kim were there not only as my support crew, they volunteered to be wet suit strippers. I had some fun with that topic. The club’s hospitality was extended to them as well, and is appreciated.

Met up with my fellow Endurance Nation Teammates Doug Johnson and Bob McCallum. Very cool to finally meet them in person. I would eventually see them again way out ahead on the run course. They were like rockets out there. Both were in full EN ninja mode. Doug went sub 5 hours (1st ever 70.3 event), Bob, just over the 5 hour mark. very fast company to keep.

Swim start couldn’t be better! Gorgeous blue sky morning. not too breezy, and very sunny. Perfect day! Before the start of the 50-59 swim wave, I have my mantra repeating in my head: “You have a plan, execute, and repeat. swim smooth, and steady.” The horn blared and off I went. No problems finding room to settle in. The new wet suit was feeling good. No real problems other than the occasional competitor swimming over me or bumping as the faster swimmers from the following waves worked their way passed me. I got kicked in the head once, but a side glance, not hard. No harm, no foul. I felt that I was swimming a little smoother, a little faster, and I would confirm that as I stood up at the swim exit point. 9 minutes faster than the open swim rehearsal on the swim course a week before. Slow yes, but faster, and I’ll take it. Got running down the line while pulling down the suit top, no problem. I spotted Lee and Kim, and had them strip the wet suit off. Told them I was stoked at a better swim time. Off I ran to get the bike.

No problems in transition. 5 minutes, a little slow, but I was ok with it. Long day still lay ahead. Got out on to the road and got things moving. The fast trip into the hamlet of Jamesville is deceiving as you get your first short hill after turning the corner. The race rehearsals were priceless in knowing what, when, where. Everything along the entire bike course went by in a flash, it felt very fast. Sweet Road went by faster then I remembered it during training. I think a lot of that perception comes not only from race day excitement, but in the fact of being among cyclists all through the course rather than the lonely time trial experience of training. With the swim wave starts there was a constant flow of faster cycling animals that powered up through the sea of triathletes that dotted the course. We were among some great talent during the race. The dreaded wall just before mile 20, went better than it did in training. I ran the rear disk, trispoke front wheel, and it was super aero. Lots of free speed with that setup.

The remainder of the bike went just as planned although a little faster than in training. Nutrition went as I had planned, although that is subject to post race review as will become evident shortly. I kept my heart rates in zone 2, and low zone 3. No big pushes. Everything I did on the swim and bike was done to set up a good run. The last third of the bike helps with that. I took every advantage on cruising the downhills, being very aero, and maintaining smooth effort on the remaining flat stretches of road, and small rises. Bike split- 3:20. A full 8 minutes faster than race rehearsal, and I did it with less effort. I felt really good about execution of the bike plan. Mentally I would have liked to see what I could have shaved off, and I am guessing 15-20 minutes. No doubt I would have been spent once I got off the bike. It is a race of combined disciplines after all. Two legs down, and all according to plan. I was feeling really good coming into the transition area.

Second transition went fine with out issues. 2 minutes, I was ok with it. The first few hundred yards, I was pleasantly surprised. I was moving forward and not feeling that bad getting my running legs under me. Just before reaching first run aid station, my left quad cramped up hard. Walked the station, picked up water/ice/coke.

At this very point in the race I have critical choices to make. The following is what I had going on in my endorphin soaked head: “Ok, I am well trained, a boat load of lessons from Endurance Nation to draw from, think it through.” That kept me calm and comforted for the entire run, that plus the statement I made the day before: “I plan to enjoy the day to the fullest.” For the stubborn side of my brain: “Seize the day” would satisfy any other negative thoughts.

I continued to walk another 100 yards and run down the first hill. It was getting hot, 81 degrees I am told, and I decided on trying a 9:45-10 min pace. I originally planned on 9:15 after the first mile. My quad settled down, and for a little while I thought I had straighten out my problem. Used the porta-pottie at the 2nd aid station. All good, fluids are good, yeah! Picked up water/ice/coke/iced sponges (love those.) On the way to mile three, my left hamstring locks up. Right side is now twinging. I massage a little, walk to corner that turns uphill to turnaround. At the corner, resume running. Third of a mile, my left quad locks up. I stop, and massage with stretches. I walk to turnaround and next aid station, continuing to grab water/ice/coke. Run the down hill at 10:15 pace. Calves start to twinge, I slow down to 11:30 pace. Bottom of the hill, both quads start up again. I walk to next aid station, same routine- water/ice/coke/orange slices/ice sponges. Slammed a GU gel @ mile 5. Run the flat up to the hill just before the park. Walk to top, and resume running to aid station @ mile 6, water/ice/coke. Run to second loop, stop at shower tent for 30 seconds. It felt wonderful. Asked the volunteer if I could just camp there, and I made myself laugh. Saw Lee there, happy thoughts, make it happen. Good pick me up. Think about 15 great years together. The love of a good woman is so inspiring. I’m back running to start the 2nd loop.

It was tempting in so many ways to say the hell with it, and walk off the course. “Seize the day” was my redeeming thought for the day. As I describe my battle, I fail to mention that I was in good spirits. I was truly enjoying my race experience despite the setback. The volunteers were wonderful, saying hi, thanks, and joking with them, even when I was reduced to walking to work off the cramping. I met a bunch of triathletes from New Jersey while out on the run course. Spent some time with a few of them. I enjoyed that a great deal. Misery sure does love company 🙂 Post race on the way home I discussed this with Lee, about wanting to bail on the first loop. She flat out told me, no way, not happening. Would not let you do that. She knows me, and she had my back. I do count my blessings.

2nd loop out, I made it to the next aid station again, water/ice/coke/orange slices. Walked a quarter mile, ran the down hill again. My slow pace was now slower than first trip out. Both hamstrings would tighten up on and off again. I did manage to satisfy whatever was cramping up my quads. Most of the second loop was the same as far as fluid intake. Biggest change during the repeat loop- I hooked up with fellow triathlete Peter Jennings from New Jersey. He was having similiar issues and we decided to walk the hills, run the downhills and flats at a pace where nothing ached or cramped up.

On a side note, it did bother me a little to walk a hill, as I happen to like them. I live and train in a hilly area.

We enjoyed great conversation, and the last 5 miles just went by. I still had gas in the tank, but could not get the muscles to loosen up. Calves that I worried so much about twinged a few times, but never became a problem. A few times I tried to up the pace and I would get immediate feedback of tighthening and twinges of different parts of both legs. I problem solved as much as I could, and I felt empowered that I knew I was doing what I could to salvage the remainder of the race. After meeting up with Peter I was happy to resolve the dilemma to just enjoy the ride, and not do any further damage.

We ran most of the last mile in, and did our best to look good for the pictures. We all know that is most important. In fact during the semi epic loop back to the finish, that is what I said to most of the people we chatted with. I made simple fun of the moments.

Crossing the finish line was so emotional. So important personally. Crossing the finish at 7:37:08 was a full hour longer than what I had anticipated. But other than being able to say I ran a faster time, I really don’t believe I would have enjoyed or savored the day any more. I would likely to have missed out on the final miles spent running along side with Peter. Lee and Kim were at the finish line waiting on me, and I was so glad to see them. I looked for them all the way along the finish lane.

Another side note: We both started in the same swim wave, but Peter is just over into the next age group. Even so, we timed our feet, and crossed the timing mats at the same time. Good fun.

The ice cold chocolate milk after the finish was so, so good. I went by the food tent, I wanted what they had, but could not eat. It would be a few hours before I did. Funny how a big day in the sun will do that to you. Lee and I stopped back up to the CNY Tri Club tent, and I got a wonderful massage. A big thank you for arraigning that on race day. The massage tent at the finish was busy, and would have to wait. We headed home after that. The nice walk in seemed like a distance event walking back.

On our way out we saw several fellow triathletes still out on the course. Those folks are tough as nails, and have an iron will. They have my absolute admiration, and respect.

Stopped into Poole’s diner at the end of our road, and had a soft ice cream cone. You could say I inhaled it. Slept on the couch, and had a plate of perogies a few hours later!

Tonight, I celebrate with a chicken wing pizza, a mug of Arrogant Bastard Ale ( a favorite), followed by a salute of American Honey (Wild Turkey whiskey) at my favorite spot- Harry Tony’s.

This part of my journey has come to it’s natural end. The process from October, leading up to the time I cross the finish line has been more than an enjoyable one. The growth, lessons learned, improved fitness, and health has been for a lack of a better word, incredible!

This journey will transform into another. More weight to lose, more events to race, problems to solve and correct. Next year may bring bigger goals and challenges. I do thank all of you that followed my writings, and I hoped that we shared common ground at some level. A big thank you to Ken for prodding me to blog this journey. I am also forever grateful for Lee, my wife, who’s love and support made this all possible!

See you all at the next race!

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Super day today! Great day to enjoy! Moderate temps, lots of sunshine. Before I go any further, I wish everyone a great race tomorrow, and that it is a safe and memorable day.

I slept in this morning, and eased into the day. My wife had to work this morning (bummed about that), so it was just the dogs and I. A little stretching, light breakfast, and relaxed. Our home sits in a peaceful place in the woods, and I took full advantage of it. After a wonderful soaking hot bath, got the bike loaded and off to Jamesville.

Bike drop off was super easy, no problem with traffic. CNY Tri club had the tent up, and I downed gatorade with a hotdog fresh off the grill! Here at the expo to change shirt size, then home for a meal of perogies.

Later tonight a massage, pack the transition bag and get to bed early.

Random thoughts;

  • Water temp 75.9 this morning, cool night tonight. Wet suit legal swim, yeah!
  • Calf is feeling good, less to worry about.
  • Drink, hydrate, drink.
  • At 52, I am enjoying good health. Turned my health from a bad direction to a good one.
  • Thankful for a loving wife who has supported me  getting to this point. It is time away from the household
  • What I did 20 weeks ago helped me get here, I have a race plan, did the work. No excuses.
  • My first 70.3 that I did 18 years ago, I just went and did it based on my fitness, a few long runs/bikes. It was a suffer fest. Tomorrow I will not only seize the day, I will enjoy it start to finish. I worked for it!

Karma is good today, and I feel rested, and anxious to get it done. See you early tomorrow, game on!

Old, slow guy race plan, and I forgot to mention still overweight. Not like I was, but I still have my goal of 160 that will still hang in front of me as my carrot after Sunday. Trust me, I’ll get there. I am stubborn enough to make it happen. It is a big deal that I lost 54 lbs, but that is old news, and I have to keep at it. I was hoping to be 170 something on Sunday, but it looks like I will come in at 184-186. No real loss of weight, in the final weeks of training. One mistake I made was over fueling the big workouts. The whole issue of what will work for me to lose weight, and train for long course and or full ironman events, is a high priority come next week. Have to focus on the next 46 hrs.

What I have planned for Sunday comes from the focused training of the pass twenty weeks and what I have learned as an Endurance Nation Team member. I have whatever fitness I have, and Sunday is the day to execute a well thought out plan. I was not able to follow the training schedule 100%, but I got most of it, especially the key workouts. Coach Rich and Patrick guided me through the minor setbacks and how to move workouts around or amend to get the best return on investment (ROI), something they are very big on. Since joining the team, I have seen big gains. My VDOT went from 32 to just shy of 41. Cycling cadence jumped from low seventies to low nineties. Bike speed on the flats back near 19-20 mph, up from 16-17mph. I spend more time in the aero bars, and climb much better seated. Swimming is still my weak spot, and that is showing glimpses of improvement. No excuses, I need a swim coach. If I step up to full ironman distance, my swimming form will not cut it.

Today is my admin day. I’ll head up to Syracuse, get my stuff, cruise the expo. This morning I tried the new wet suit in the pool, and I am liking it. All good there. I will drop off the old sleeveless to get fixed while I am in Syracuse. Always good to have a backup. I do have the full wet suit, but the water is getting warm for that.

Saturday is all about relaxing and eating right. My wife is planning perogies for an early afternoon dinner, yummy. Also have to drop the bike off to the transition area. After that, stay calm, and get what sleep I can. Getting nervous already, so we’ll see.

Sunday- Race day! Early, early morning. Plan to be there by 5am. My wife and my sister Kim, signed up to volunteer as wet suit strippers. Should be a story from that all by itself.  Have to be sure when I come out of the water that I find a burley dude to pull my wet suit off, and not a bay watch babe, could be trouble  J

Swim- My wave goes at 7:10. I will be in lots of company for the entire swim. Goal: happy thoughts, swim my own race, my own pace. Keep steady, keep smooth. I found recently that I am picking my head out of the water too far while breathing, need to do better at turning to the side to breath. Also need to focus on my pull, and not being sloppy. Breakfast will be light, thinking maybe some peanut butter rollups. Before the race, a couple of GU gels, and diluted Gatorade or Roctane. If I have a great swim 45-50 minutes. I am hoping to at least to break under 55 minutes.  Either way, as long as I stay relaxed, no panic, and especially no calf cramps, I’ll be ecstatic.

Transition (T1)- I will have my tri kit on under my wet suit, along with chest strap (heart rate monitor). Towel off, swig down some water, turn on the garmin, socks, shoes, helmet, sunglasses, go. There is a fairly long sprint from the beach to transition area that will add a few minutes. My guess, I should make it out on the bike 3-5 minutes

Bike- strong and steady, not full out. Need to set up for a good run, and not empty the gas tank. Ease into first hill by Jamesville Prison, relaxed and smooth at the crest, get a nice spin/rhythm going. Smooth and steady up Sweet road. I know where the breaks are up the long climb, stay focus, and in the aero bars as much as I can. Stay in the seat. No out of seat climbing.  Having done the bike course several times, I know where I can gain lots of time, and were I should just conserve effort.  The back end of the course is fast with only a few rises. No big efforts after turning on to Route 13, other than the wear and tear of the miles themselves. The last ten miles, just spin and enjoy the down hills. Nutrition: my speedfil holds 40 oz, plus I have two bottle holders behind seat (they’ll be empty, but I can grab bottles on the course if needed) I will have the speedfil loaded with GU Roctane, and I can add  water as needed. I’ll down a powerbar after Sweet hill road, then one or two GU gels (or Roctane Gels) per hour. I will also have Lava Tabs (salt) that I will take (two max per hour). Still debating what wheels to use. Narrowed it down to a disk in the back, and either a trispoke, or radially laced semi aero front wheel. Time goal: 3:20-3:25

Transition (T2)- Dismount, rack the bike(unless the volunteers take it for you), helmet off, shoes off, swig of water if needed, slam a gel, running hat, running shoes on, go. Time: 1-2 minutes.

Run: First three miles 9:15 pace (may drop to 9:30-9:45 if hot). First mile may be iffy, and if I need more time to get my legs under me, then I biked harder than I should have. In training, 1st mile has not been terrible. Having nursed my right calf all week has me a little nervous. Yesterday’s training run went very well, so feeling better about it. First trip up the big hill to the turn around, I will likely slow to 10:00-10:30. Save it for the return trip down. Not a bad hill, but it hits you hard after coming off the bike. Pick up the pace to mile 10 to 8:45, depends on the heat. Second trip up  to the turnaround (2 loop course), push it to 9:30 if I can. Last three miles, if I have it in my legs, race it. With my goal of just finishing it, and looking good in the process, this will be where I will push it if no trouble with cramping, and I executed my plan properly. Walk 30 steps each water stop, gel every 3-4 miles, water and or coke as needed. Water over my head most likely, I’ll take ice as well.

If all goes well I’ll finish and seize the day. Time wise, I am looking at 6:20-6:45, slower if I have problems or calf forces me to walk.  All the training, time, and money spent, I plan to enjoy the day to the fullest.

Big thank you to Endurance Nation for the guidance, and helping me to have a solid game plan. What I have learned has paid back with big gains, and I can see it working.  Come Sunday morning, I’ll have my game face on. It’ll be “go time” and I have to trust and execute the plan!  That’s my story and I am sticking to it!

It’s getting real now! Count down in hours, no more days.

I spent the bulk of taper week doing little more than rest, stretching, massages, and recovery. I finally got out today for an easy pace work out. Right calf feels normal now. It was a hot midday work out. 87 at high noon. Today was short and sweet. I set up a reverse brick workout. Easy 2 mile @ long run pace with 6 sets of strides (30 steps each.) Jump on the bike, covering 5 miles on a flat loop, keeping cadence above 92.

Done, no pains, no twinges, all parts working as they should. Green light for Sunday. Better news is that I was just itching to do a work out, and very tempted to go longer and faster. Wise enough to leave that to Sunday’s business. Tomorrow, I’ll head up to the expo, take care of admin stuff. Easy swim with new wet suit in the morning. Go through all the equipment, checklist, nutrition supplies,and plan out the meals leading to race morning.

Next blog- Old, slow guy race plan

Today is a better day! After several days of taking it easy, foam roller, deep tissue massage, and a visit to the good doctor, my calf is nearly back to normal! Such a relief. I will get in some light spinning on the bike, and easy run or two before Sunday. Just to shake out the jitters. The new sleeveless wetsuit came yesterday,and I will do a swim workout in it  just to be sure all is good there.  So far I am doing a bang up job on taper, relaxation,and recovery!

My visit with Dr. Lynn Cunningham, confirmed what I kind knew. Calf is not tore or major muscle pull, but my diet needs fixing, and I am low on electrolytes and salt. At this point, I am not going to see anything major between now and Sunday, but I need to pay attention to my diet regimen as much as I do training.  Very grateful my doctor is a triathlete.  Looking seriously at going with Core Diet to get things straightened around.

The days leading to Ironman Syracuse are looking brighter! I do have to adjust my strategy to ward off cramping during the race. Really don’t want to go there, as bad cramping can make for a very long day or worse. I now need to do final preparations for race day, and stay clam. Yep, even an old fat guy can get a little nervous. Seriously though, I am getting pumped up for Sunday!

While nursing a sore calf, and in wind down mode of race week, I get to think about other things that interest me other than training. Obviously from the title, this would be about tattoos. More specifically: triathlon or ironman themed tattoos. After completing Ironaman Syracuse (it is the goal), I may commemorate it with one. Been thinking about it. All said and done it’s just a race, although a great one in my opinion. For me, it signifies a large body of work, commitment, a return to the sport, and on my home stomping grounds. The significance is an emotional one.

Generally speaking there seems to be two camps. Those that either have tattoos or admire them, and those that really dislike or look down at them. Very polarizing subject, not a lot of neutral or middle ground from what I see.

I most certainly fall into the first camp. I have a love of many forms of art, including skin art. In my younger days I sidelined as a freelance photographer. Although I liked tattoos, I waited until after I turned 50 to get my first one. That one is dedicated to my wife and our marriage. I got that on our 10 year wedding anniversary. We recently celebrated 15 years since we first met. Being the best 15 years of my time on the planet, I am very happy with what some would think is a risky subject to get inked.

By most standards I am heavily inked. I have an entire back piece dedicated to family and my grandchildren. Both upper arms, left rib cage, and a triathlon kokopelli 70.3 ankle band. I posted those pics in an earlier blog. The 70.3 piece commemorates having done the Firmman 70.3 in 1994. The kokopellis signify growth and joy. I certainly have gotten that from being a triathlete. Each of the tattoos I have were thought out over a significant period of time, and not spur of the moment or impulse decisions. No regretful choices made in a drunken stupor.

While researching ideas for artwork to possibly commemorate the milestone event, I came across quite a few discussions about triathlon tattoos and a derivative topic of M-Dot tattoos. There are very stark and divided opinions even among fellow triathletes. I find it a little odd, as the genre of triathlons has it ‘s roots from the big island, a cutting edge, techie sort of way of thinking. From the big island there is a long and rich history of Polynesian art & culture. Like the general public. Many hate them or like them. I do understand that. It is a personal choice and form of expression. There are some that cling to the old stereotypes. I do laugh at that, as when dressed in business casual attire you would not know I was inked. My decision to maintain that is based on being pragmatic. As an engineer, I work in a very conservative environment. Being that my skin art is very personal, I am ok with that. There are religious objections, most are related to interpretations of Leviticus 19:28. Scholarly insights focus more on the practice during that period of markings that worship the dead, and false gods.Very strong opinions on both sides of that.

Given my perspective, my discussion here is on the divide of the commemoration of a big “bucket list” item, whether it be a full or half ironman. On the side topic, there are very strong opinions that one should not get an M-Dot tattoo unless you have gone the 140.6 distance. Even if there is a 70.3 or some other way that distinguishes it as being 70.3. In my book, 4 to 8 hours of finishing something like an half ironman is not something to turn your nose up on. Have we gotten to the point that completing a 70.3 event is much the same as doing a 1 mile or 5K fun run? I think not. An observation of these forum discussions reveals in many cases that full ironman athletes exhibit a snobbery among some of them. This would be aside from whether or not they are cool with tattoos in general.

As much as I happen to like the skin art, I would separate the distinction between full and half distances. Not to diminish 70.3, but to somehow make the full ironman art work to be a more significant piece to represent the epic quality of it. Should I ever step up to a 140.6, that would be my perspective. As to go with the WTC M-Dot logo? Personal choice, as I think it is beyond just a corporate logo. It is so recognizable and synonymous with Kona, and the ironman triathlon race itself. Ironman Syracuse is a M-Dot branded event. Not sure if I would incorporate it or not.

Like I mentioned before, not everyone likes tattoos or wishes to commemorate in that way. I get that. Some folks are very private, others like myself want to have others enjoy it as we do, and are very social about it.

Last parting thought: Should you choose to commemorate your big day with a tattoo, go big, and get a great artist.