Monday, June 30, 2008

The Case of Floyd

Today, Floyd Landis lost his final appeal to Court of Arbitration for Sport, (CAS), the highest court in all the land, when it comes to sport and doping offenses. He now goes down as a convicted cheater, forever linked with the likes of Ben Johnson, Bjarne Riis, Nina Kraft, and many others.

I am often asked what I thought of Floyd, and if he cheated. My answer has been, and always will be, "It doesn't matter." Why? Because Floyd's rights were violated, and as long as the system has to cheat to catch the cheaters, the system will never work, and will always leave us questioning who is really guilty, allowing more scandal and corruption than already exists.

Today's article by the Associated Press, quotes the CAS panel's 58-page decision, which admits the lab used, "less than ideal lab practices". No where did it even mention that his name was released to the press before he was even notified of his A sample being positive. Never mind his right to protection until the B sample has been tested. Never mind the fact the sample showed degradation levels which, by lab policies and procedures, were deemed too high to get acceptable results.

Talk with someone who works in a lab, and ask them what would happen if they used the practices and acted as these labs did. Guess what the response would be. You can bet it would be, "I'd be fired." The lone exception apparently being if you work in anti-doping lab. Ask a criminal attorney how viable this evidence would be in criminal court.

When I look at USADA, (US Anti-Doping Agency), and WADA, (World Anti-Doping Agency), and their handling of Floyd's case, I see a governing body who gets to choose who is guilty and who is not. They violate rights of athletes without repercussions, and before Floyd, no one had the resources to fight it. The costs involved for the attorneys and court fees, have always been far too great to give a professional athlete in Olympic sports a fair opportunity to fight the charges they face.

"That's always been part of the system, that they've always had more resources than the athlete. This is the first time it's even been close," Landis' attorney, Maurice Suh, said in an interview last year.

Bankrolled through several private sources, including a fundraising campaign he launched on his own, Landis forced a case that cost more than $2 million -- a burden on him, but also a strain on the bottom lines of both USADA and WADA, which shared the cost of prosecuting the case.

After his unprecedented public hearing at his first arbitration case last May, the arbitrators upheld his doping ban but scolded USADA and the labs it uses for practices that were less than airtight. (source - AP, June 30th, 2008)

The biggest fear I have is testing positive, especially since I don't cheat. If I were to test positive, I could never afford to fight it, even though my innocence would be obvious, (at least to my family and me.) If you think it's unlikely, look at how many athletes claim to be innocent, it's hard to believe they are all lying. And then I see Floyd's case, where clearly there is enough reasonable doubt, and he makes the financial investment to fight it, and still loses.

What consequences would I face? What would happen to my reputation? I couldn't fight it. I would just have to accept the label of cheater, no matter the truth. My family forever shamed, my dreams shattered, and future career aspirations related to the sport most likely over. And this would be an innocent person.

Why did the CAS uphold the ban? I haven't read the entire 58 pages, but I can guess as to why, which wouldn't be written. There is no contingency plan if something were to happen to USADA or WADA. If they are overly critical or overrule these agencies, what would happen? You can bet chaos, until the agencies were restructured and reinstated with these issues resolved. I'm guessing they didn't have the courage to make the right decision, and open the flood gates.

Is Floyd innocent? I don't know. But I do know that USADA and WADA are running the show. Athlete rights, testing policies and protocols, and repercussions be damned. All athletes lost today, not just Floyd.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

A funny read from Lovato

When I wrote my race report, I was going back thru the events of the race, and of course I started with the swim. I tried to describe the events of the swim as well as I could, discussing the surges, but it's always interesting to hear other perspectives of the same race as well. This is an excerpt from Michael Lovato's blog, on the swim and what happened. (I am yellow 1, Scott Curry is yellow 2).

"I opted not to take a long warm up, which is a departure from my pre-race norm. I figured I'd only start to cool of if I was in the lake too long before the start. Positioning myself at the start line, I chose not to pay attention to where anyone else was standing. I have finally learned that my best swim will come when I do what's best for me, rather than key off any of the others' actions.

Two or three strokes into the race, I found myself on Viktor's feet. He had green, I had purple (caps). He was easy to spot amongst the others in yellow. I stayed put for a couple hundred meters, enjoying a very, very comfortable start. We were barely above a float, as far as I was concerned.

As we neared the first turn buoy, I took Amanda's advice by making a surge. My normal swim strategy is to hold on for dear life, while making no sudden movements. Amanda knew I had worked hard to get my swimming back to where it was years ago, and she felt I could play some games in the water. This surge to the first turn was only the first of many little games I would play during the 2.4 miles.

Out of the turn and into the sun, I kept my surge going for several meters. I noticed that Viktor was still in tow, and the two yellows were hanging tough. Through the second buoy, I eased up, stayed the course, and returned to a comfortable pace. Nearing the beach, Viktor came back through to take the lead. In spite of my games, we were actually working well to pull one another through the course.

Exiting the water and re-entering is one my least favorite parts of a swim. Lucky for me, we were in a group of four, and Viktor make a right turn, instead of the left we were supposed to take. I gracelessly flopped back into the water, checked yellow 1 and yellow 2, noticed Viktor's slight gap, and I dropped the hammer. How much fun it is to be able to race the swim!

I tried as hard as I could to drop the trio. I went through the first buoy, and kept the pedal down. My effort was for naught, as they were all still in contact. It doesn't hurt to try, and the efforts to drop my competitors did not seem to hurt me in the least. I settled back in and saved energy for my next effort.

Rounding the turn, I made another go at dropping the yellows. I zigged left, I zagged right, I surged and I veered. Nothing worked, so I settled back into a normal pace. Again, I reveled in the fact that I was in control of my swim (and of others') for the first time in a while.

Before I end up with a novel about the first 54 minutes of my race, I had better touch on the bike race for a spell."

I thought that was pretty accurate, and I was wondering why the hell he was surging so much, but now I understand.

No race for me tomorrow. Swam last night in the open water, sans wetsuit, and the leg was just too sore. I would be risking too much to race. Need to get back to basics and preparing for IMAZ.


Friday, June 27, 2008

This is a new one...

I am not kidding with the following statement...Today, I sneezed so hard, I strained my hamstring. I think that's a new one. It's a new one for me anyway.

I tried to go for an easy 10K jog, and couldn't do it. Right hamstring was just too tight and sore. Heading to the Cove to swim easy and let the leg soak a bit.

Diet has been crappy this week to say the least. Lots of beer and junkfood, so I guess that's what I get. I was on the massage table the other day and the body seemed to be pretty good for coming off an Ironman.

If I do end up racing, it will be a strong field. Here's the start list...


I'll know more tomorrow I guess.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Some post-race thoughts...

If you've read my race report, then you can see there is a lot to think about and review with the race. I write race reports to help go over everything in my mind again, and review my decisions and actions during the race, in order to identify weaknesses or issues.

One of the biggest things I thought about in the race was whether I was getting soft or not. I hadn't been able to catch the many of the leaders like I had hoped during the second lap of the bike, and was frustrated. I figured I was having a bad ride, and not racing well.

In my previous post, I mentioned my goals for the bike were 261 watts NP, (which would be a .76 IF). I thought I was having a fine ride early, but late I felt like I was watching it slip away. It wasn't until after the race, when I looked at the power file, when I realized I actually rode pretty well. I just got beat by guys who were better that day.

I actually ended up with a NP of 273 watts, and IF of .793. That is one of the great things about a power meter. I thought I rode poorly, and yet the power data tells a different story. In fact, after talking about it with Joe, he was really pleased with how I rode. He said, "If you would have told me you'll have a .793 IF, I would have said, 'We'll take it!'" Without the power data, I would have been wondering how I could have ridden so poorly, and what went wrong, when really I was fine.

If you're interested in viewing the power file in WKO+ software, you can download it here:
Power File for the bike - WKO+

As for the run, clearly it needed more work. The injuries I dealt with did not allow me to gain the fitness required to run well off the bike. But, that's not an excuse, it's a part of the game. You have to be ready on race day, injuries or not.

If you're interesting in viewing the run file in WKO+ software, you can download it here:
Run file for the marathon - WKO+

After the race Joe and I had a phone conversation, where he asked me if there was anything I would have done differently in the race. I initially told him no, but after doing the race report and really going thru things, I found a few things.

1. I would not have used the Camelback. It was a good idea to try, but my nutrition plan still needs some tweaking. Mostly, I need to carry less calories and even rely on the on-course nutrition at aid stations more. This will keep my nutrition plan simple and basic, hard to mess up.

2. I should have started the race with Evans and Rhodes, and tried to stay with them through the swim. Though some may argue that would have been a bad idea, it may not have. Rhodes lead Tom the whole way, swimming steady, while our pack had surges and changes going on. If I would have gotten dropped, I could have just waited for the second pack. And even sometimes, knowing you have had an AMAZING swim, can lead to other amazing performances.

Knowing now how good I felt, I will not let that happen ever again. I will always get with the fastest swimmer(s) and make my goal to be on their feet. If I want to make the next jump, I've got to be up there and be in the mix from the beginning. I'm a little disappointed I gave-up the idea of staying with them from the beginning, as that should never happen.

So what is next for me? Good question. I was offered a slot to Kona, but I turned it down. It was entirely a business decision. Looking at the costs, it was going to be a minimum of $1500 to toe the line in Kona, before counting car rental, accommodations, and food. Seeing where my fitness is right now, there is just too much work to be done to be ready for the type of performance in Kona which would allow me to pay so much for doing a race. If the season had gone really well, and I was very strong right now, I could do it. But it's clear I'm not strong enough at this juncture, so no Kona for me.

Instead, I will be racing Ironman Arizona in November. I'm actually looking forward to it! It's in Joe's backyard, Orlanda can come, JT will return, Marcus wants to do it again, and maybe even his brother Morgan will come too! Of course, that's a long ways off, but I'm already looking forward to it. There's a lot more time until this race than Kona, meaning I have a better chance to reach peak fitness.

Between now and then, I'm still working on the race schedule, but I'm considering a return to Tahoe for XTERRA Nationals! We will see what happens. I'm also in discussions with Joe about some changes to the training regimen, such as a return to the Sunday MILFside runs. Stay tuned.

That's all for now.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ironman Coeur d'Alene

(Warning: This post is long...sorry. But if you like details, you've got them here.)

I wasn't in this mess, as we had a 35 min head start, but it's always a cool photo!

Race Day!

My multiple alarms went off at 3:30, 3:35, 3:40 and 3:45. Yeah, it was overkill, but you don’t want to oversleep on race day. I’m up for some breakfast, my first sips of coffee in almost 2 weeks, and hydrating. We headed over to the race venue at 4:45, and pull up on schedule, 5 AM. My race would start at 6:25, so this gave me plenty of time to get my things done pre-race, and not feel rushed.

After getting everything set for the bike and transitions, I went to the wall along the beach near the start. Orlanda had set-up a spot to watch the swim there, and was all smiles. She and Marcus were definitely helping to keep me at ease, (just like JT normally does at these!) For such a selfish endeavor, and the feeling of being alone out there for so long, having a support crew like her and Marcus really helps to give me things to look forward to, and not feel alone out there. It really adds a team element to the race, and that means so much to me.

6 AM, I’m putting the wetsuit on and going thru my stretching, loosening up exercises for the swim. Marcus is making me laugh, while Orlanda is still all smiles, total positive vibes. People are gathering around and watching me stretch, using the bench to simulate the swim stroke and holding water.

Pre-race stretching and loosening up.

Head down to the water, and another guy and I are the first two people in the water. I do a short warm-up swim, and the water feels great. No neoprene cap, as the temperature was 59.5 degrees, and the threads had been scratching the back of my head/neck, causing a bad rash, scab. Instead I went with a silicone cap under the latex yellow cap. I did a few hard starts, for about 50 meters out in the water, then easy back to shore. I see we have about 10 mins until start, so I go drop my wrist watch off with Orlanda, so she can give me time checks throughout the day. Then it was off to the start line to keep loose and ready.

My plan was to mark Michael Lovato and/or Victor Zymetsev, as much as possible, for as long as possible, without feeling like I was in over my head. I noticed Victor had a green swim cap, and Lovato a purple cap, since the cameras wanted to be able to easily spot them in the water, which meant it would be all that much easier for me to identify them as well! These two boys know if they want to beat Tom Evans, they have to keep him close in the swim, and pace themselves right, and seeing that Victor had reeled in Tom late in the race the past 2 years, he’s almost the perfect pacer for the race.

Standing on the shore, there is almost no wind, and the currents look negligible, so we’re lined up straight with the buoys for the start. The last 2 minutes were killing me. I just wanted to get started, I was excited. It was a great feeling, because I hadn’t felt that way about a race in awhile. I had a good feeling about stepping into that water. I took a look to my left and right at my fellow competitors, and said in my mind, “I hope you boys are ready for me!”

Swim – 54:04

When the cannon goes off, I swear you feel it in your chest before you hear it. It’s almost like someone punches you in the chest, then you hear it. Two steps into the water and it’s a total dive forward, with clear water in front of me. About 100 meters into the race, I notice Lovato is on my left, Victor on my right, and Tom Evans and Bryan Rhodes off to the far right. By 300 meters, our packs have established, as Evans and Rhodes are given their space, and the chase pack of myself, Victor, Lovato, and a few others is set. Victor leads our pack, while Lovato gets on his feet. I settle in on Lovato’s feet, and can’t believe how easy the pace is. I realize we are not going slow, because the Evans duo is not pulling away from us much at all, and I even begin to wonder if I should make a move for their pack, but I decided to play it conservative.

We reach the first left turn, and Victor does not want to lead anymore, so he pulls off to the side doing some backstroke, and Lovato takes the pace, throwing in a surge. I was ready and matched it, as did Victor, and we turn toward home on the lap. The lead trades back and forth between Victor and Lovato, with unspoken communications, and neither asking me to do any of the work, and Victor doing most of it. A few more surges, and we finish the first lap, and I’m feeling great! Our pack is just 4 people, as Scott Curry is the only one with us, and a big gap to the next person. Then I witnessed Victor do one of slyest moves I’ve ever seen in a race by a wily veteran. As we cross the mat to finish the first lap, it’s clear we have to go left, to start the next lap, and instead he goes right acting as though he thinks we’re done with the swim, and still looks back at me. Everyone is yelling at him that he’s going the wrong way, and I’m pointing the other direction. I get to the water and realize I just got “PUNKED”, as now I’m in the lead. DOH! Not what I wanted. At this point, I’m not wanting to do any favors for those guys, and it’s too late to get with Rhodes and Evans. I take the angle to the first buoy really wide and see Lovato coming on the inside wanting to set a harder tempo, so I tuck in behind. Lovato proceeds to put in a big surge lasting about 200-300 meters, and I match it. My confidence is sky high, and I’m willing to match anything he can throw at me, and am getting pumped up with each move I match. This game continues until the end of the swim, with Victor back in the mix, and me drafting nearly the entire swim. I was thinking, “Man, this couldn’t be scripted any better for me!” I hear a time check, and we’re 2 minutes down is all, more than a minute better than last year.

This is the 2nd lap of the pro swim, with Evans and Rhodes out front, our small 4 man pack chasing.

T1 – 2:14

Quick to the wetsuit pullers, and I’m off to the tent, putting on my camelback and helmet, running out to the bike. Scott Curry and I are toe-to-toe, Lovato back in T1, and Victor just a little ways up ahead of us. I’m out so quick, Marcus runs over to the T1 exit, waiting for me, worried where I’m at because he can’t see me, but not realizing I’m already gone.

Scott Curry and I on our way out of T1 together.

Bike – 5:04:50

Before I know it, Victor has issues with a spare tubular tire, fumbling with it, Curry is fumbling with his shoes, and I’m in third 5 miles into the bike, with Tom gaining only 10 seconds on me. I had planned to ride a bit higher watts early in the race, around 330, and then level off to be steady the rest of the way, but with the way things were going, I decided to just chill and ride 300 watts, letting the race develop and see what everyone else would do. By mile 10, Lovato has made a big move to get to Tom, as have Curry and Victor, and now I’m needing to ride at FTP to stay with them. I back off and decide to let them go, as I wanted to race smart. My Look 496 felt great, and I knew it would help me to the best split I could do, if I rode it to my strengths, which would be the flats and downhills.

By mile 25, we hit the rollers and Lewis Elliott and Mike Neill have caught me, and they are pushing the climbs hard. Lovato is in second and I still see him up the road, so I feel like I’m doing the smart thing. I catch Rhodes just past the 32 mile turnaround, and notice Courtney Ogden is closing on me, after erasing a big gap early, riding hard.

Meanwhile, the time gap to Evans grows every check, up to about 6 mins by mile 40. I talk with Slowtwitch’s infamous Johnnyo at the time checks, and I’m upbeat, knowing I’m doing things smart, wanting to push the second lap.

My Functional Threshold Power, (FTP) coming into this race was 344 watts, and the goal was a Normalized Power, (NP), of 261 watts, which would be a .76 Intensity Factor, (IF). This means to ride at 76 percent of FTP for the race. If you’re a good Ironman racer, you can ride anywhere from .76 to .80, but .80 is hard, and going over this percentage can be a big risk.

Meanwhile, Steve Larsen was beginning to make his presence known, closing the gap on me. My hope was to hold him off for the entire first lap, and try to run him down. I accomplished holding him off until 10 miles into lap 2, as I’ve caught back and passed Elliott. Great! Tom has 9 minutes on me, while everyone else is about 6 minutes to 2 mins ahead, staggered ahead of me in almost perfect 1 minute intervals, and I’m liking what I’m seeing. Now I would have a chance to reel them in, and get into position for a run at the podium.

Well, that didn’t quite happen. I had been pushing pretty well, and could see that my power was fading slightly, but that was expected. I get to the far turnaround, and see that it’s a mix of some of them still putting time into me, others holding about the same, and others coming back, but not enough to satisfy me.

During the first lap, it was actually quite easy to tell when I was going too hard, as I was becoming a little nauseous, and wondering if I was pushing too many calories at one time. I never threw up, but was borderline a few times. Unfortunately, the switch from bottles to a Camelback did not allow me the opportunity to check visually, if I was pacing my nutrition correctly. I could only reach back and try to feel how much was left and this was not very good for determining. This was one flaw which never revealed itself in training.

I was getting frustrated as I hit the flat sections for the final 25 miles. I tried to remind myself of what I learned in Hawaii last year, when I told myself, “At 80 miles on the bike, you’ve got to want to be in that saddle!” This is where I began to have some doubts creep in, so I tried to keep that thought in my mind. I nearly get hit by a car at an intersection, and now I’m starting to get cranky and upset. I begin to wonder if I haven’t caught anyone because maybe I’m getting soft. Am I really as tough as I need to be? Do I want it bad enough? Is this is a sign that my best days are behind me?

I roll into T2 and I’m still wondering if I’m becoming soft, or racing smart. “Well, I’m about to find out,” I told myself.

T2 – 1:44

Uneventful, in and out with everything I needed and wanted. (I had made a clothing strategy change, as every Ironman I have ended up sunburned from the exposure of the shoulders, shoulder blades, face, head and arms. In Kona, it was clearly a trauma to my body, and being fair skinned, I knew I had to get more coverage. So the entire race was completed with Zoot’s Ultra Cycle Jersey, which is AWESOME! So light and breathable, with great skin coverage and SPF 50! Smartest decision I made pre-race! I also added their hat for the run, and it’s amazing how little sunburn I got, only a little on my neck and forearms.) Grabbed the hat and off on the run, starting in 8th place, same as last year.

Entering T2.

Run – 3:14:58

Early on, I see I’m about 9 mins down on Victor in 4th, and 5 mins down on Curry in 7th. Honestly, I’m feeling like crap! By mile 2, I’m wondering how I’m going to hold off Elliott behind me, about 2 mins.

Due to running injuries in my left leg which hampered me for about 6 weeks in March and April, my running had to start over in May, with Joe and I just hoping it would be good enough for the race. Given how well my riding had been going, we decided to plateau bike fitness and focus more on the run for the last build into the race, but we trained for the aggressive start of the bike, and just hoped I would have enough to be able to hold on at the end of the race.

With this, our goal was 6:30 pace thru the first 10 miles, or slower, as long as I was conservative, then starting the race from there. Our hope was 3 hours, as my running had been up and down in the short time window we had. It was really unclear as to what might happen.

I struggled thru the first few miles, with Marcus on the Pugsley, at checkpoints to keep me tuned in to how the race was going up ahead of me. Finally at mile 6, I begin to feel my rhythm, and I’m ready to get going! I keep it at 6:30’s thru mile 10, and as I’m about to catch Scott Curry, I see Marcus and yell, “I’m back brother!” I pass Curry, and hit the half-way point in right near 1:31. At the start of the second lap I see Courtney Ogden and Steve Larsen are about 10 and 8 mins ahead of me, and I’m thinking I can get them if I can keep up the great feeling I’ve got.

The Pugsley Marcus was riding around ride!

I hit mile 14 and the now I’m struggling a little. I’m trying to get in calories and keep it up, but I’m beginning to struggle. I hit mile 15, and suddenly I’m thinking about walking, when I see Ogden about 10 meters in front of me, walking. Realizing I made up 8 mins on him in less than 2 miles, I decide I can’t walk and try to push on, establishing a gap to hold 6th place.

I’m working hard on the run out to the final turnaround, and I realize I’m having a fairly strong second lap, as the only people who have gained any distance on me are Tom, Victor, and Larsen slightly. I’m thinking I might be able to still get Larsen, but with the big hill at the turnaround, my legs are beginning to get pounded. I have 5 minutes on Curry in 7th, another minute on Elliott in 8th, and it appears a long way to Becker in 9th. A few miles later and I’m doing everything I can to hold on. Legs are aching, and the quads feel like someone has tied a rope right across them, as taunt as can be. I’m slowing badly. My nearly 6 weeks of little to no running, has finally shown itself. I was in some trouble.

Just past mile 25, I’m assessing how the race has gone, and thinking I’m happy to get 6th, only to see someone fly by me. The person was going so fast, I thought they were an age-grouper on their first lap, but I see a “P” on their calf, indicating professional. A woman screams at me, “You’re in 7th now, you gotta go!” I go from a deer in headlights to a man on a mission, trying to make a move to catch him back as we hit the last uphill, half-mile stretch before the finish. I’m gaining back on him, and I see him looking back at the aid station, I push again. About 300 meters later, I was nearly to a walk. Olly Piggin had come from no where on me, and used a strong finish to catch me and put me away. I came around the final bend for the downhill 400 meters, and feel like I’m limping.

7th place, 9:17, about 2 mins out of 6th, but only 1 min ahead of 8th. As unlucky as I was to get passed, I was lucky that Curry didn’t catch me. I had a real sense of satisfaction as I crossed the line. It wasn’t clear to me before the race where my run fitness was, and how my injuries had affected me. If I can keep myself injury free for a good stretch of time, I think I will have some great fitness.

I gave the race everything I had, and I walk away satisfied. I got beat by some great performances, and tough competitors. I was in the mix in the race, and believe it or not, this is the 2nd best result I’ve ever had in an Ironman.

Marcus and I enjoying a few beers post-race at the finish.

A few days of rest and travel, then light activity before toeing the line this Sunday for my hometown race, San Diego International. Should be interesting to see how my body responds.

Orlanda enjoying herself with us as well post-race.

I’ll be posting some post-race thoughts, and figuring out the rest of my season schedule soon, to post here.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Twas the night before....

Tony and I, after he made some final adjustments to my bike.

Well, it's almost time. It's been a good day. Went out the race venue and did an easy brick with some surges to race pace. Everything is running smoothly, as the body feels good, almost no sluggishness at all. The run was a tad sluggish, but even the pace was fairly quicker from the start than when I feel sluggish.

After the brick, went to eat at the Dockside restaurant at the resort for a large brunch, and then to check in the bike and bags. After that, it was home to relax for the rest of the day. I made the decision not to leave the house, and do as little as possible. I've pretty much accomplished it.

1 PM was an hour massage with William, and the body is definitely ready to go! Today Orlanda went to the grocery store to get some dinner and some DVD's. She made a great dinner for all of us, and we enjoyed "Blue Collar Comedy Tour". A great movie to watch pre-race, because it kept me really loose and laughing. Totally took my mind off of the race.

I'll be heading to bed shortly, and up around 3:30. Tomorrow morning I get my first sip of coffee in almost 2 weeks! Looking forward to that.

I need to make sure to say thanks to everyone who has sent me good luck emails, text messages, and left comments on here. It means a lot to me that so many of you would take the time to do that. Thank you very much, and we will see how it goes tomorrow.

This is Sue, who reads my blog. She was bummed my camera battery was dead, and there weren't any photos. So she was one of the first we took a photo of with the recharged battery!

For those of you that don't know, you can follow the race live, with athlete tracking, text updates, and even some live video, at

That's all for now...

Do I look cool now?


PS - In the meantime, Marcus was just showing me his new motorcycle...check it out, and if you've read the book and know the story, really study the bike and see all the amazing custom stuff based on the book the guy did!

Friday, race week

Yesterday was a busy day. Got up early and had a light breakfast, then went to the venue to get in a swim, do some last minute tweaks on the bike with Tony, before a short ride. Then it was breakfast with Orlanda at Dockside, a really cool spot in the Coeur d'Alene Resort Hotel. Great views of the lake, mountains and boats. After breakfast I had a quick shower and then it was off to the pro meeting. Found out at the meeting a few interesting things:

- We start at 6:25 AM, instead of our usual 10 min headstart. This is to let us have 2 laps clear ahead of us, able to complete the first lap of the swim before the mass start of 2000+ people. One problem though, if you are a bad swimmer, even as a pro, and can't swim that first lap in under 35 mins, you're in some trouble! Not sure who that might happen to, but will be interesting to see.

- There were 21 men registered, and 14 women, meaning 5 spots for the men, and 3 for the women. However, there are a few men who have not shown up, so our numbers may not be big enough to get 5, meaning it would be an equal split of 4 and 4. It all depended on if they showed up by 4 PM yesterday, so I'm still waiting to hear the final word. The only 2 men in the field who have Kona slots already are Bryan Rhodes and Michael Lovato. I'm sure you can do the math on what that means for me.

After the pro meeting, I hustled over to the Spokane Airport to pick up Marcus. We made a quick trip over to the local news station, so he could do an interview with them for the evening news broadcasts. Here's a photo while we there, with anchorman Dave Erickson, and I have to laugh how Marcus doesn't smile in photos!

That's all for now...


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Getting near...

It isn't much longer now. I'm feeling pretty good and things seem to be coming together nicely. I've been on the massage table everyday since Monday, and have seen a dramatic difference in how I feel and how loose and clean my muscles are. The great thing about the massage is the same guy who worked on me before Florida is the one I've been with this week, William. William runs the Center 4 Recovery in Tampa, Florida, and came out to work on athletes here in CdA. It's been great to have a guy like him who knows what he's doing, and being consistent with him allows us to work on the areas we need and periodize the massages for the week. It's made a big difference already in how I feel!

I also have been able to just relax, and not feel rushed. Getting here 2 weeks early, I wasn't sure was the best thing, but now, I see how much it's done for me. Normally I would have arrived Monday or Tuesday, and been hauling butt to get my bike together and ready, get out and ride as much of the course as possible, and drive the rest, see the run course, get my numbers, get massages lined up, go to my homestay or hotel, get food, everything like that. It's like you're so damn busy you can't relax and really taper. This year, I'm not in any rush, and don't need to see the course, as I've ridden it a bunch and know it well. I've run plenty on the run course, and was able to get a head start on the massages. I have all the food ready for the week pretty much, and things are low-key. All I've been filling my time with is client plans to write and charts to follow-up with, sleeping, eating, catching a few movies I've been wanting to see, and final preps. Normally, I would be stressed at home right before I left, trying to get a bunch of stuff done, but that didn't happen this time because I did it 2 weeks ago. This really has worked well so far!

Last night things got even better, as I met up with my boy Tony, and we went to dinner. Those of you that know me know who Tony is, as he's been a part of my life for many years. He recently moved back to Idaho, living and working back in Moscow, about 90 miles down the road. He's here working for RaceDay Wheels, and going thru the final touches of my bike as I write this. There is no one in the world I would rather have work on my bike than him. He's awesome, and I don't have to stress about the bike now either. It will be great to see him out there on race-day, supporting me as well.

Tonight I go get Orlanda from the airport, and tomorrow Marcus arrives. Like I said, things are starting to come together nicely.

I'll check in again before the race, but that's all for now.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Lone Survivor again..

If you've been following this blog, you know I'm a big fan of the Navy Seals, (many friends in San Diego who are Seals), and of course a big fan of Marcus Luttrell's book, Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10. Marcus and his twin brother Morgan are good friends of mine, who I've had the pleasure of spending some time with. In fact, normally my boy JT, (a Seal as well), is a part of my support crew, but he is in Iraq right now. (Love ya bro! Hope you're safe and reading this!) It was thru JT that I met Marcus and Morgan.

Last year's race was an especially hard one for me here in Coeur d'Alene. I had learned of my friend's death, Jim McCann, during the week of the race. Then during the race I suffered a bee-sting to the chest, near mile 25 of the bike. Did I mention I'm allergic? JT wasn't able to make, and it made for a tough time for my wife.

I had read Marcus' book and promoted it on here for a few weeks, and it was amazing how much of that book rang thru my mind while I went thru agonizing pain and suffering. The book is an incredible story about endurance, be it physical, mental, or spiritual.

So this year, with JT gone to Iraq, and me in need of a replacement for my support crew, I asked Marcus. In typical Marcus fashion, he responded, "Just name the time and place, and I'll be there!" Marcus will be joining us, (Orlanda and I), and helping as my support crew. It's great to have guys like he and JT around, because they treat it like a mission, and keep their cool. It also helps me, as I know if I need anything done, they take care of it, so I can concentrate on relaxing and racing. They help keep Orlanda calm, and even me calm. It's hard to get nervous about a race, when you know these guys are used to going into battles, knowing it could be their last. It helps me keep perspective, and makes me fearless. (It also helps that they're big, strong boys to carry me if I need it after the race!)

This will be Marcus' first Ironman experience, witnessing one of the coolest races on the circuit.

If you're going to be in the Coeur d'Alene area for the race, check out the news on Friday evening, as Marcus is scheduled to have an interview with the local anchors on KXLY. They found out he was coming here, and wanted to do an interview with us.

Today, Monday, is my day off this week. Have a massage and just getting some work done for some clients. Otherwise relaxing. Stay tuned for more updates this week.


Friday, June 13, 2008


The numbers are up, and I'm number 6 for the race. Here's the field:

1 - Victor Zymetsev - Ukraine, defending champ, 7 time Ironman Champ
2 - Tom Evans - Canada, 2nd here last year, uber biker and swimmer
3 - Micheal Lovato - USA, 3rd here last year, tough dude, (starting to see a trend here in the numbers?)
4 - Bryan Rhodes - New Zealand, uber swimmer, and 5th here last year
5 - Steve Larsen - USA, this guy can ride
6 - Me

So it's clear they use the numbers to seed us for the race, and base it first on place last year, then how they think it will go, so Larsen got the #5 over me, as they expect him to beat me. That's fine with me. That's why we do the race.

Larsen is definitely a guy capable of doing some damage in this race, maybe a dark horse even for the win. There are a few other guys who are pretty good and might be overlooked...

Courtney Ogden - Australia, solid athlete, good swimmer. I expect him to be near the front. Finished 2nd at 2006 Ironman Canada.
Olly Piggin - Canada, Don't know much about him, other than that he outsplit Evans on the bike and run at a recent half in Canada, nearly running him down! If he can keep us close after the swim, he can shake things up.
Lewis Elliott - USA, If he is on, he's tough! Strong rider who just needs to put together a run leg. If he does, he'll be up there.
Blake Becker - USA, He seems to be improving well, and coming off a big win at Rockman half in Chicago.
Mike Neill - Canada, Coming off a big win at Gulf Coast half.
Scott Curry - Canada, Top 5 performances in Ironman are nothing new to him.

Honestly, this field is even tougher than last year! Pretty amazing since they split the fields last year and offered more prize money, making it a men's championship.

I normally find you can take the top guys in the field and cut them in half. Some are dealing with injuries, some are just not as fit as they could be. Others will have a bad day, mechanicals, sickness, or something else will go wrong. (Me, last year with the bee sting.) Others will not execute a good race strategy and struggle. And there's always a guy or two who are ready to really break thru. Back in 2006, that was me at Florida.

I have a sense of what will happen in the race, and will share that in a later post. More announcements coming soon, but no pics since my damn camera battery is dead and I forgot the charger! I'll work on it though.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

IMCDA? Or maybe IM Anchorage?

Well, I think I may have confused this race with Ironman Alaska....It's been cold and wet here. This morning it was 38 degrees when I got up. It got up to a balmy 51! People are worried about the water temp, hell, they should be more worried about the air temp!!!

Tomorrow is my last big workout before the race, and it's supposed to rain in the morning, then thunder storms in the afternoon. Greeeeaaaaat.

Luckily it cleared up for my ride and run today, and the clinic I did on Sunday. I don't mind running in the rain, but I don't want to take any risks with a ride in the rain. I think I'll be on the trainer in the morning.

Planning to post some pics soon.


Friday, June 6, 2008

Heading north...

Packing up tonight, heading out to Coeur d'Alene tomorrow morning. Yes, it is a bit early, 2 weeks in fact. Good opportunity to get out of here, away from the day to day stresses, and distractions, and just focus on the race. My homestay, Scott, is a great guy who invited me out early this year. It's great to get back to CDA, and see him again.

I'll be conducting a small clinic on Sunday, with some of the local triathletes, and Ironman competitors. Should be a lot of fun!

Otherwise, I'll be doing a lot of training on the course, and getting it down again.

I will keep you posted on how things go. I'll have a special guest visiting me soon...will save that for another post.


Monday, June 2, 2008

Training homestretch

I am entering the home stretch of Ironman Coeur d'Alene preparations, and things seem to be going fairly well. One thing is clear, I am stronger than I've ever been on the bike. I am clearly at a new level for riding, and my watts are proving it. It's got me pretty excited for the race, and I am looking forward to it.

I've been doing a lot of solo-riding, with 4+ hour efforts at Fiesta Island. (Yes, 4 hours around Fiesta Island. Crazy, boring, but effective!) The workout has been 3x6 mins at threshold watts, with 2 min recoveries, then 3x20 mins at just below threshold watts, 5 min recoveries, then 2.5 hours steady state at high zone 2 watts. Each week has seen improvement, significantly, despite a large increase in running volume.

My running seems to be coming on, but still helter-skelter, as I've been piling on the mileage. Some days I'm feeling like I can crush it, then other days are a death march. A simple example is about a week and a half ago, I did a 2 hour run moving well, right around 6 min pace on a hilly course. 2 days later I did a zone 1 only 90 min run, which was all at 6 min to 5:40 pace. Followed that up with my 8 hour day which was a death march. This past week, much of the same. Yesterday's run, legs were toast. Like I said, helter-skelter.

Weight has been all over as well, so clearly my body is in a state of chaos and change. The taper for CDA will only be about 10 days long, so that means another week and a half of solid volume and training. Why only 10 days? Because my running still needs to come along, and as strong as I am right now, 10 days is a long time for a taper. I am also not peaking fully for this race. The main goal is qualifying for Kona, and saving it for that. Hopefully, that will happen. If not, it looks like IMAZ in November.

My swimming is about the same as my running. Normally it's hard to keep each sport improving. I think when the taper comes though, the swim will launch! Peter used to tell me, "Swimming is the first thing to go when you're tired."

That's all for now...