Monday, December 29, 2008

The best sports story of 2008!

First off, thank you to all of you who emailed me with well-wishes and things, after my decision to step away from racing this next year. I appreciate the thoughts and kind words, and hope to see the fire return sometime soon.

On to the topic of this post...In my opinion, this is the greatest story of 2008 in sports. I am biased because of my teaching background, and coaching kids, but I still think it's clear. Enjoy, and be sure to watch both parts. It always brings a tear to my eye. Why? Because it always reminds me of how much I love my wife, Orlanda. It makes me think of the impression and lasting affect I have on the world, when my time comes. Hopefully, if I go she'll know how much she meant to me, like this video shows he meant to her...

Part 2...


Monday, December 22, 2008


So I've been talking about it on here briefly, and writing some about the dilemmas I am facing with regard to my athletic career. So what's going on?

I watched the Ironman World Championships on NBC a few weeks ago, and I thought I might get a sense of where I'm at when I watched that. I enjoyed the broadcast, but honestly, it didn't make me feel all excited to get out on my bike, to go run, or even enjoy a swim. I really just didn't feel like I wanted to go out and train. I wanted to race, that's for sure! But to be truly wanting to race well, you have to want to train, and train well, on a daily basis.

A few weeks ago, I talked about how I felt I was tired of getting 7th-8th. I feel like I have reaped the rewards of that in the past, and to continue to work at the same level and have the same results would be disappointing, and unfulfilling. I knew that it was either time to step-up my commitment, or step back. Stepping back is much easier to figure out, but stepping up is more challenging. To step up you must figure out where you are weak, and look to challenge those weaknesses. One weakness was that training mostly alone was allowing me to be soft, and I needed to find a group where opportunities would be better. I looked for opportunities to find a group to work with on a semi-frequent basis, and tried to determine if this was really possible given my commitments and other responsibilities.

In the end, it's just been very hard. I don't feel I have the mental desire and willingness to sacrifice like I have in the past. It is because of this I am stepping away from racing. This is not to say I am "retiring", because that's not the case. I am simply saying that at this point I don't feel the desire to train day in, day out, and go for the goals I have normally had regularly. How long will this last? Who knows? It could be a few weeks, few months, or even a few years. I'm not worried about that part right now.

I do not feel a lack of desire in my life in general, quite the contrary. In fact, I feel strong and have more desire in many other aspects of my life. Honestly, since stopping training, I've seen my relationship with my wife elevate to an even higher level, and I feel much happier about that. It's been something which has probably affected my motivation level for another season, given that our relationship has improved so much. (For those of you wondering, it will be our 2 year anniversary soon, and I got her an AWESOME gift for the ocassion. I will reveal that in another post, but trust me, it's good!)

I have also seen my opportunities for writing and coaching increase which I am really excited about. If you've followed my coaching blog, you've noticed how much I've been writing and the things I've been doing. You've probably also seen the new training plans I've launched, which incorporate iPod videos. I came to realize recently that if I spent much of my training time doing my coaching and writing, I probably would have made a lot more money. In this economy, prize money is staying the same, so it is basically going down. Meanwhile, travel expenses continue to go up. Sponsorships are more cut-throat and dwindling. In terms of economics, racing professionally is a poor business decision for my family and me at this time.

I don't know when the desire to train and get back to racing will return, but I'm not worried about it. At this point, I'm hoping to focus on being more of a coach and author, and taking advantage of the current home prices and securing my family's future.

I will still keep this blog updated, but my main focus will be my coaching blog. Check it out, and let me know your thoughts as the year goes on.

Once I get the desire again to put in the daily grind to be the best athlete I can be, I'll be sure to post it here. In the meantime, I'll be focusing that energy in areas with a better return on my time and investment.

I'm excited in my life, just not about training and racing anymore. Stay tuned for more...


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Coming soon...

A lot of thoughts....My season, XTERRA, and much more. Tomorrow, (Tuesday), expect a post.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Ironman Worlds

Yes, I watched it. What did I think? I will share those thoughts soon.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008


While researching a topic for my coaching blog, I came across a training guide for a company, which uses a quote of mine, citing me. It's the first time I've found myself quoted, and when I read it I was actually asking myself, "Wow, when did I say that?" I was pretty impressed with the quote, and it took me awhile to find out where it came from.

The quote was placed in a marathon row training guide for an indoor rower company in the UK, called Concept2 Rowing Machines. They place it at the top of the section in the guide called, "Mental Preparation for a Marathon Row." The quote was taken from three years ago, in USAT's magazine, Triathlon Life, when I was asked, "What motivates you?"

“I’m motivated by the internal desire to test my limitations in the world. To truly find out what I’m capable of I must know my limitations. It never ceases to surprise me that my limitations are well beyond what I thought.”
Elite triathlete - Jim Vance

I'm impressed how the quote transcends our sport, and can be a motivational line for life. Sometimes, I still surprise myself.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Training? What's that? Not something I've been doing lately. I've gotten out the door a few times, but not enough to call it training. Just not feeling the desire to get out the door and put in the miles.

I think I've had more beers than miles lately, but I'm enjoying focusing on coaching and other opportunities. What is in store for me? Not sure yet. I could see me doing a number of different things, from a few races, many races, not racing, training and not training in 2009.

Why? I think the main reason is that I looked at the past year, and put so much effort into training and racing, and I really don't have much to show for it. I also looked at the results of Arizona, and figured if I had been healthy enough to race at my fitness, I think I would have been about 7th, give or take a few places. Probably just as easily could have been 20th though.

I am well aware many people would die for the opportunity to be anywhere near the top 10 in a pro field, especially one the caliber of this past Ironman Arizona. But I've reached a point where I feel I'm plateauing. I've been 7th-8th in a few Ironmans, and I just feel like I've "been there, done that." At this point, continuing to put forth the same effort and commitment for the same result does not sound appealing. It especially does not sound appealing if I can put my energy toward other things which are much more profitable for my family, such as my coaching and writting endeavors.

So I am at a point where it is time to step up, or step back. What will I decide? I don't have an answer for that yet, but it's clear I need to do something different, which is a definitive step in one of those directions.

In the meantime, I'll just enjoy the downtime and see how I feel about things, what opportunities present themselves, and what I decide.

Thanks for checking in...


Monday, December 8, 2008

Car for Sale - Honda Accord

I'm selling an extra car we have, as Orlanda and I are downsizing, looking to buy a home soon.

This Honda Accord EX is in great condition and gets excellent gas mileage.

Power Windows
Moon Roof
Power Door Locks
Alloy Wheels
V-6 engine
Front Side Air Bags
ABS (4-Wheel)
Air Conditioning
Tilt Wheel
AM/FM Stereo
Multi Compact Disc
Power Steering
Cruise Control
Dual Front Air Bags
89000 miles

Car has been kept in garage to keep in good condition, and is priced to sell! Blue Book has it at $9400, but $9000 gets it, Please email Jim at jim at jimvanceracing dot com for more info.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Great Marcus Video...

If you've followed this blog, you know about my good friendships with many of the Navy Seals. Marcus Luttrell has been an especially generous and good guy to me, and I love him as a brother.

Here's a video of typical Marcus....It's why I love him, (even if he is a staunch Republican! hahaha).


Tuesday, December 2, 2008


2 things to remember.......

I forget.


Monday, December 1, 2008

New Training Plans with Video

Last post I spoke about the new training plans for Oceanside 70.3 and SuperFrog Half Ironman. The other big project I've been working on is a new style of plan, which focuses on improving skills, more so than fitness. The skill I've chosen to focus on is swimming, in which I give 20 different drills and skills for building coordination and feel in the water. The plan includes underwater video with each skill and drill, to help demonstrate the drills effectively and eliminate confusion. (If you've ever tried to explain sculling to someone, then you understand what I'm talking about.) Here's the kicker though...

That's right, the videos are iPod compatible! This allows you to take the videos with you to the pool and review the skills and drills on site. Trying to memorize drills can be difficult, and just reading how to do them can be difficult to visualize.

If you're a coach who stands on deck at a pool, this is a great tool to demonstrate drills without getting in the water yourself. I am selling these plans to both athletes to help them, and to coaches, who could use the videos with clients they have.

If you're a person who swims solo, this plan is for you!

You can get the plans at:

Look for more soon, and in the meantime, check out my coaching blog.