Posts Tagged ‘Ironman Syracuse’

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!

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.

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

Light at the end of the tunnel. I like those days! Third week in swim class with coach Bill Houser. I signed up for a eight week swim course with start and finish video of one’s self  in the pool. Very easy going coach, and to me very young although anyone under forty is a “young’n.”  Good news, I like my coach,and so far so good, and it’s going to work out well.

I like to swim, not particularly afraid of the water, however not very fast in the water. Syracuse Ironman 70.3 I was nearly an hour in the water. The thought of going two hours + at Ironman Lake Placid is not a comforting thought. Cutoff for the swim is 2:20. Hence swim lessons. I have been told by many that correcting swim form flaws and working with a coach I should be able to pull off a 1:40-1:45 swim. Slow, but with a much better buffer against the clock.

First swim practice we were all video taped swimming a few laps and at different angles. I won’t list all what I saw, but I would best describe it as a floating rock, or  a tow barge, slowly moving though the water. Yeah I was so impressed! Not. Those great swim videos were the swimmer glides though the water as some epic part of an nature study or flow and fluid dynamics seminar, are not what I look like at all. Not even close. Coach Bill asked that everyone self critique- given a list of very common flaws of that simmers have. He would then comment. Good news, he and I agreed on my substantial list of things to correct.

Last night we worked on glide, and a bunch of the drills we previously worked on came together. My 25-28 strokes per pool length dropped to 20-21. Please don’t video tape me yet, the list of things to correct is still long. I knew that I made a drastic change, and I could feel it in the water.  More like a fish, less like a rock.  I now see a path to get there, and swim a reasonable time, with less effort.

I do appreciate those little personal victories.

Middle of January, we’re in the thick of it, and on many fronts. Currently in Endurance Nation’s Out Season plan. The idea is to work on speed and needed skills. Of course in my case speed is oh so relevant and a large matter of perspective. Given that qualifier, I have faith and past experience that supports the belief that I will be ever so slightly faster on wheels, land and sea at the end of the Out Season (end of March). It is my hope that I will see substantial gains as compared to the here and now as I type this. After that, welcome to volume and endurance on top of some speed work, just not so much.

It has been overwhelming when combined with starting a new technology company. Long hours, up to my eyeballs trying understand more of the business side of things. As chief  everything officer, all things including the buck stops at my feet. Good news, office is up and running , and working on first contract. Getting it up and running and making money quickly sure helps.  I have yet to nail down a solid schedule with everything in flux. Having some flexible time does allow me to get  workouts in, but I need to get that down to a consistent schedule. Training for an ironman and starting a company, probably not the best idea, but it does help relieve the stress. No trouble sleeping this past week.

With multitasking in overdrive to the point of mental abuse, I did accomplish a few things for my ironman quest. Swimming lessons start in two weeks. That will take up Tuesday night time slot. Renewed YMCA membership  to get other swim days in, plus tread mill for those over the top nasty winter days (winter running is my favorite). Three blocks from my office,and very handy for a early or midday workout. Hopefully I will be bike training with a power meter in a few weeks. Looking forward to better more consistent and objectively measurable workouts on the bike. The watts don’t care about other factors or how you feel. More watts, harder, faster. I am signed up for race rehearsal camp in June in Lake Placid. It will be great to get a real feel for the venue. Should be a big confidence builder. Anything I learn there will give  me a few weeks to either enhance or correct before the big day. Looking forward to meeting my teammates that weekend. Even with all this going on, I am still working on getting the payload down. Getting faster by dropping weight is a plus. Still have to get a bike fit done before those long 3/4/5/6 hour rides.

As I mentioned in earlier blogs, I will forgo some of the usual races to stick to the training plan, not to mention keep a reign on discretionary spending. Broke my heart to not sign up for boilermaker (favorite race) That day will be a two hour bike and 20 min run, with a four hour bike the day before.  I am signed up for Lake effect 13.1, and the new Syracuse 13.1. Looking forward to doing those as I can fit them into my current out season plan. Of course it calls for doing 1/2 mile repeats  at tempo pace with 2 minute recovery pace between each one. Smile and run anyway  🙂

Mike

Wow what a year! I am currently breaking tri-geek protocol with a glass of fine Riesling, as I reflect on 2012. There will be one or two more before the ball drops. 2012 was a huge year for so many reasons. I’ll start at least from the triathlete perspective.

2012 was my year of renaissance, my comeback to the sport.  I went all-in, with both feet. Joined the Endurance Nation team, and tried to string together as many “right” things to do that I am capable of. In my singular “world view”, I was shaking in my boots. I was going from zero to 70.3 after a 14 year hiatus from the sport. My “A” race was Ironman Syracuse 70.3, a half ironman event.  Goal accomplished, I overcame and adapted as the year unfolded. It was not a perfect race season, but a very good one. I worked through whatever happened, and I literally enjoyed all of it.

For my overly positive perspective, I can easily point to Endurance Nation, the EN team,and coaches Rich & Patrick for the majority of it.  Even though I am much older, certainly much slower, as compared to my glory days of my thirties, I felt more empowered, and in control of each and every event. Having the mental toolkit to deal with the actual race was a game changer for me.  The race season include several sprint tri’s, an olympic tri, Syracuse Ironman, 4 half marathons,and an assortment of 5k’s,and other mid distance running events. The one disappointment was NYC marathon which of course was canceled. Mother Nature can be a very cruel in her fury. Recovery for the people in those areas is still on going. Despite the destruction, the cancellation, The “Run Anyway” event that came together that Sunday, was inspiring, and a lifetime memory.

Race season slowed after the first week of November. I entered into a bike concentration plan that is now just ending. As you will understand further, the past month leading up to this was very stressful, and not as productive training wise as one might hope for. Despite the awe inspiring comeback year, My professional life took it in the shorts a week before Christmas. My company was sold and only half of the engineering team was offered a position in the new company. Myself and the one other remaining original founder of the company was not invited back, as well as other very talented engineers. Ying and Yang in full effect for me personally.

Not all is lost. I am starting a new technology company, and we’ll see if it sinks or swims. I am driving the bus for now. With that it leaves some uncertainly for Ironman Lake Placid, which is my “A” race for 2013. Obviously if I am not successful  I cannot afford the costs associated with the event. It is an unknown for now. In the mean time, I have a career plan, and an ironman plan in place to succeed at either or both (both is the correct answer). It is more important to succeed with the company in order to keep our land, our home, and to contribute to our bills. In that regard, triathlons take a back seat. It does mean that I will be at fewer races, which is ok as far as not distracting from the training plan for Lake Placid. I can live with that. As we are taught how to adapt to race an iron distance  endurance event, I must adapt to the abrupt change in my career as an engineer. My quest to cross the finish line as an ironman could realistically be postponed. Either way, I will continue to train,and make the best of it. After all triathlon is my play time, my stress relief.

There is a crossover from the tri world to the career world as well. The goal driven mentality, the perseverance, the stick with it till you make it mantra, all comes in handy on the real life side of things. I can assure you that I will apply all of those things within my power, and capabilities. My lively hood is at stake, and while I train for a full ironman, reality for making the distance, and making my company succeed, will never be more than a thought away.

I will be truthful, as much as I have had many great things in 2012, I am doubtful and worried about 2013. In both work and play, I am tackling two very large unknowns. In my plus column, I have the unwavering love of my wife and family, my health (a big thank you to my doctor, Dr. Lynn Cunningham), and I am blessed in so many ways. Team EN will have my back as they always do, and with any luck, 2013 will be a pivotal year, even more so than 2012.

With that I leave you in a hopeful but concerned state of mind. I wish you all a great 2013, and I hope to cross paths as our lives forge forward. Tomorrow you can find me at the Resolution Run in Syracuse, and you can be sure I have a few resolutions to carry with me throughout the year.

God bless, and may your travels this holiday season be a safe one.

Mike