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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!

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 🙂

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

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.

http://ironman.com/events/ironman70.3/syracuse70.3#axzz1wXsXfg6c

Count down clock on middle right side of the page. Enjoy!

Here’s my most recent position on the bike. With the bike portion on an ironman being an area that huge time gains can be made by being more aero, bike fit is critical. Not only for reducing drag, but also for human concerns such as comfort, and power. Most important is that reducing drag, and increasing comfort allows you to reduce your split time by increasing speed for a given power output (watts), or to allow you to conserve energy for a given speed, allowing you to have something in the tank for the run. Comfort contributes to speed, as the more time you can stay in the aero bars, the more aero you will be over the distance of the course.

In the very near future, I may lower the bars another spacer, and repost. As my weight drops, and I become more acclimated to the aero position, I think I can do a little better in lowering the frontal area. Any observations, opinions welcomed.