Monday, November 9, 2009

Choosing my coach...

After discussing things with my wife, and making the decision, it became time to decide who I would recruit to help me on this journey, specifically, “who will coach me?” For some, this sounds like a crazy irony, because I myself am a coach. Shouldn’t I know everything I need to know in order to coach myself? Certainly I don’t lack the knowledge to coach myself, but I’m not ignorant to the fact I don’t know everything. I was able to coach myself to some incredible fitness in late 2008, with Joe Friel’s consulting, and even coached myself to the 2005 ITU World Age Group Championship for Men 25-29.

The problem is mostly objectivity that I tend to lack. Though I know myself, I know I can find it tough to stay objective and not fall to peer pressure in many of the decisions I have to make regarding training and racing. When I start to feel good, I tend to want to poor on the volume and intensity, and conversely, when I feel tired or bad, I want to back off way too much. The roller coaster was very taxing mentally and emotionally. Injuries would add to the mix, and I would be in dire straits.

I also would make decisions which in the past were based on things which weren’t important to me in the bigger picture, but I got caught up in short-term thinking. So after recognizing my weaknesses in my past training, I knew that I needed someone who simply could bring balance and structure to my training. I had to let someone else take the responsibility, and hold me responsible to it.

After coming to TrainingBible Coaching, I have become much more of a scientist, and really embrace technology and objectivity, to keep me balanced and my training more effective. I knew I needed a coach who would embrace science, even if it wasn’t in the same ways which I had in the past.

The coaches I have had in the past directly working with me have been Greg Welch, Cliff English, (briefly at the US Olympic Training Center), Peter Reid, and Joe Friel, which is an ALL-STAR cast! I knew my standards have been quite high, and that standard must be maintained.

Sometimes as a coach and athlete, we get stuck into thinking there is a specific routine to training, and we almost find ourselves in a rut, forgetting some of the things we’ve learned in the past, or even move away from experimentation in training. I have always searched for ways to do things better, and learn new things. As an Ironman-focused elite for the past few years, clearly my biggest weakness is speed and high-intensity. I needed a coach who would bring a different background of experience and perspective, to help me reach my goals for 2010 and beyond.

I always want to learn some new things to try with some of my athletes, and continue to provide a top level service to them, being a coach at the forefront of the industry. Certainly, a coach who would bring all these things to the table for me would help me not only as an athlete, but as a coach as well.

I had a short list of coaches, and did some research on them, and continued to ask myself again what was most important to me for learning, helping me become a better athlete, and advancing my career as a coach. I kept coming back to one name which I liked and provided me everything I was looking for, and then some. That name was Bob Seebohar.

Bob has been the nutritionist on staff with the US Olympic Training Center and the Florida Gators. He has successfully coached two of the top female ITU triathletes for the US, Sarah Haskins and Jasmine Onieck. Sarah went to the Olympics this year, and Jasmine won the US Elite Championship.

I will be his lone long course guy, but we will do some short-course racing as well, trying to do some different things and balancing the training for maximium performance preparation. Being his one guy in this arena is exciting and a great opportunity for me.

Bob has already taught me a lot, and I am looking forward to this relationship continuing for awhile. Should be exciting, stay tuned! My next post will be on my race schedule for 2010.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Meb on Letterman, doing the Top 10!

My buddy Meb Kflezighi, fresh off his win of the NYC Marathon, was on Letterman, helping with the Top 10. Funny stuff, check it out!


Sunday, November 1, 2009

With Apologies...

It is now a little less than 12 months ago that I left the sport of triathlon, as an elite. After DNFing with a bad virus at Ironman Arizona, feeling like I wasted months of preparation, I promised myself not to race in 2009, just so I could relieve some family stress, and actually bring in an income. I turned my focus to writing and coaching.

When I left teaching in 2005, it was because I loved the sport. I had sold my condo, and didn’t really have money worries. I never gave money a thought, I just knew that I loved training and racing. I had dreams to make the sport my life, and even though I left racing, I have shown that I have accomplished that. If you’ve picked up the November-December issue of Inside Triathlon magazine, then you might have read my column on the back page, “Asking Why”. It explains a lot of why I left the sport. It also explains how happy I am in my life, despite leaving racing.

There’s no question I miss racing. I never not-missed the racing, I’m too competitive of a person for that. What I had to ask myself was, is it worth it for the day in, day out grind of preparing to race? The saying, “The will to win is nothing compared to the will to prepare to win” is certainly the case. The mental and emotional demands of racing at such a high level take their toll, especially when doing your best means so much to you.

This past year off has done a lot for my perspective on training, life, racing and even what’s really important to me. My life was so out of balance. I had so much more to my life than racing, but I let my results control my happiness, rather than just let it be a supplemental aspect of my life.

At times, it was easy to get carried away with thinking I would just come back. At Ironman Wisconsin, I saw some things out on the run course, especially near the finish, which nearly brought me to tears. At Kona, I was in tears the morning of the race. I held back though, realizing those moments weren’t the key to a decision, it would be everyday after that moment which would really tell me how much I wanted to return to racing.

So many days I’ve enjoyed the fact that I don’t have to get on the bike and put in HOURS and HOURS on it. So many times I’ve enjoyed knowing that my biggest responsibilities to the day are just to my clients and what I want to do to advance the sport as a coach and writer.

Of course, there came a point where I hit 203 pounds on the scale, and I realized that was too much. That was 42 lbs more than my lightest from October last year, of 161. Suddenly, my self-esteem was starting to be affected, and just like earlier, I was out of balance again. I started running again, and dropped to 194 consistently. And even today I woke up at 192.

I began to realize racing gave me structure to my day, to my life, to my schedule, to my priorities. Not to mention satisfaction.

So after much deliberation, conversations with Orlanda, sponsor searching, and coach searching, I have made a decision. I will return to racing in 2010. With apologies to LL Cool J, don’t call it a comeback. This is not a comeback in a traditional sense. I call it more of a “rebirth” in the sport.

My year off has done a lot to teach me how to be a better athlete. It’s given me better perspective, and a level head. It’s recharged me, and helped my family. It is with this as my big advantage that I will be “reborn” in the sport and racing. I will not be racing for money. I will not choose my races based on prize money. I will not choose my goals based on what will bring the most income. I will instead race for love of the sport. I will not focus on series, or on what others think I should do. I will choose to race based on what brings me the satisfaction I want at the end of the day.

I refuse to make the same mistakes I made from 2005-2008, which drove me out of the sport. Instead, I will be smarter and use my biggest strengths more advantageously. I will surround myself with positive people. I will not chase sponsorships and waste my energy on that stuff. I will simply work with those who want to be a part of the great things I have going on, (my racing, TriJuniors, my coaching, etc).

So ironically, in the month I write in Inside Triathlon magazine how I left the sport, I announce my return. I am happy about this, because there is still plenty I feel I have left to accomplish in the sport.

On Monday, November 2nd, I begin training officially under my new coach. Who is my new coach? I will divulge that in my next post, and why I chose him. I will also discuss my race schedule, and what sponsors are currently on board with me.

Stay tuned…


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Why do you Run???

The answer may surprise you...

Need I say more???


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Kona Coach's Race Report Part 1

Wow, it's almost overwhelming to think of all the things that happened yesterday. It was one of the biggest emotional roller-coaster days of my life, but luckily, the highs were so incredible it is hard to sit and tell someone about them without becoming emotional.

Emotion was a huge part of the day. It was always a large part of my racing, and it continues to manifest itself on race day, even as a coach.

Got to the race-site with my athlete Scott, and helped all my athletes get everything set. After that, started walking to the start area and I called my wife around 5:30 AM. She asked me how it was going. Seemed like a typical enough question. I thought about it, and before I could say anything, I just started to cry. There I was walking thru a crowd of people, phone to my ear, and I’m starting to sob. I had to pull over to a corner and lean over to gather myself. It didn’t work. I cried harder, and all the while I couldn’t speak to Orlanda. She was still on the phone, hearing me breathe, and asking me, “What’s wrong?” I think she thought I was about to tell her some very bad news. But there was no bad news to tell her. In fact, everything was perfect. It was hard to imagine how long I had worked with my 3 athletes to get them there, healthy and prepared for the task of the day.

I also knew, rightly or wrongly, that I would be judged by what my athletes do that day. I think I also was dealing with a few of my own demons from leaving the sport, and here I was back on the island. I was prepared for a very long day, and it was a lot to handle and come to grips with at that moment. Orlanda understood. She has seen it all with me. Our conversation was brief, because I knew if I kept talking with her I would continue crying. Brian Long, longtime president of the Tri Club of San Diego, and good friend, saw me crying as well, and he helped me get my composure back.

Found the family and friends of my athlete Adam, and watched the start. It was quite a site to see. I never got to really see the pageantry of the event when I was racing. I was so focused on being race ready. It really has become a spectacle.

After the start we headed onto Palani, the big hill out of town, where all the athletes cross a few times early in the bike. I waited there with the family and friends of all my athletes, tracking and speaking with them as they came up the climb. First was Adam, with a great swim of 56 minutes, then Scott at 1:08, (not so great for him), and then Matt Hoover at 1:38, (FANTASTIC!)

The three athletes had astounding experiences. I knew Scott had a chance to go Top 10 in his age group, 30-34, and Adam I just wanted to have a solid race of all three. I had no idea where it would place him, but his confidence needed a boost from a solid race. Matt Hoover, The Biggest Loser winner, had a simple goal of “just finish.”

I had a plan to ride a bike during the run, checking on Scott and Adam at certain points in the race, riding up the road ahead. I couldn’t find a bike to rent or borrow, so I just went to Walmart and bought one. It was a good call, but a busted pedal late in the night made things interesting!

I had calculated that right about the time Adam and Scott would finish, Matt would probably just be starting the run. It’s amazing how it worked out almost exactly like that! I think it was 5 minutes from the time I saw Adam cross until Matt was walking on Kuikini.

Scott had an amazing day. 9:29 and 8th in 30-34 Men, amazing. He rebounded so well from his poor swim to ride strong all day and run well of the bike. He was one of the few athletes whose speeds got faster as the race went on. He followed the wattage plan, and ran according to the plan all the way. He struggled a bit on the Queen K for the run, coming back from the Energy Lab, but held on well enough to still pass a few more guys and finish with a smile on his face.

Adam had an incredible race, almost perfectly pacing his run. His best finish here ever, his fastest Ironman run ever, and nearly breaking 10 hours, with 10:04. I knew when he was so close to Scott in the Energy Lab, that he was going to hold on for a great race. He was so close with 2 miles to go, but he was just left to a shuffle and holding on. I was telling him all sorts of things, just to try and get him to go a little faster.

When he knew he wasn’t going to make it, he told me he was just going to enjoy Alii Drive. I followed him down and watched him cross the line on the big screen. I was really proud of him. 4 weeks after nutritional mistakes in Wisconsin lead to a meltdown on the run, he put it together and held on for the best Ironman performance of his career.

As if the day wasn’t long enough with their races, here came Matt Hoover off the bike. It was the start of something which I will never forget. It was truly one of the most inspirational and heart breaking things I have ever witnessed. I will share that in Part 2, tomorrow.

Coach Vance

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Change and Future

When I first came to the sport of triathlon, B+L was there. I met Scott Rittschof, then owner, thru my good friend and teammate/roommate at Nebraska, Tony Smith. Tony had moved to San Diego for a change of scene, and we were once again roommates, (and trained together enough to be called teammates again!)

Tony is always a well liked guy, and in the past I have described him as "The least lazy person I have ever met", (the guy is ALWAYS doing stuff!) I also have called him, "the most mechanically-inclined person I have ever met." He now works for Ironman, and it was great to catch-up with him again at Ironman Wisconsin this past weekend. (Good news to those who know him, he's coming back to San Diego soon!)

Tony was well liked by Rittschof right away, and therefore Rittschof liked me. (It's funny how when you begin to surround yourself with quality people, that group grows rather well).

I was just an up-and-comer, and with every result and every season, B+L supported me even more. I was a devoted follower and believer in the shop, and probably even more importantly, in the people who were a part of the shop.

The famous Dan Rock actually gave me a bike of his to ride for a while, while I experimented with triathlon. Who could have guessed how far things have come?

Thru some ownership changes at B+L, the same good vibe among the staff toward me was always there, and the opening of a second store brought much of the same with the new staff. They always supported me, and new staff always embraced me, unconditionally.

This morning, I sent an email to a number of members of the B+L staff, thanking them for their devoted support over the years. I had to break the news that the new ownership has chosen not to support me in my endeavors at the level I need to continue to grow the sport, such as my coaching, and my TriJuniors Team. Therefore, a change was needed for my future.

I am now officially on board with Nytro, and I'm very excited to work with an owner who has shown a commitment and excitement level for working with me! I know great things are in store for the sport, the triathlon community of San Diego, and even beyond San Diego.

I will always have a great place in my heart for the people associated with B+L, a famous store. Change is a part of life, and I'm pretty excited about this change. Stay tuned for more!


Monday, August 31, 2009

Little League World Champions - Park View Little League, Chula Vista

Wow, what a great weekend.

Local Chula Vista team wins the Little League World Series, in a hard fought game! I've really enjoyed watching them go thru the series and pull out some amazing performances and games, in the face of some incredible pressure for 12 and 13 year olds. Over 32,000 fans at the game, (big for a Padres game!) Vice-President Joe Biden, and millions watching on tv.

They have really accomplished something special, the likes of which they probably will never realize until many years down the road.

What's been more amazing to me is how this group of a dozen or so 12-13 year olds have brought this city, and county, together. Everyone is talking about it, excited about it, watching it. Bars are packed and showing it on all the screens. The sense of pride this city has shown is incredible.

A few people have said this team has been able to do what the Padres and Chargers haven't for so many years, win a world title. But I think this is even more significant than that. These kids truly represent San Diego! This isn't a bunch of athletes who were drafted and moved here, signed big free-agent contracts, were traded to play here or anything like that. These kids live here. They have lived here for most of their lives. All their families are here. They are San Diego.

There isn't a management that's about to trade one of them, and they move off, shifting their allegiances. We know they aren't in it for the money, they play for love of the game. And that is one of the things we all respect.

It's been great to watch. Congrats to the kids, and to the coaches, Ramirez and Castro. They did an outstanding job.

As a coach myself, I had a great weekend as well. My athlete Scott Iott won his age group at the Chicago Triathlon, (the biggest race in the world), and Kebby Holden qualified for Kona at Ironman Louisville. It was a great weekend!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Improbable

I saw something amazing today, and though it was related to Tiger Woods, it wasn't just because he lost for the first time after holding the lead heading the final round. Make no mistake, Tiger Woods is one of the most dominant and formidable champions of not just our time, but of all-time.

What was so amazing was the person who beat him. Y.E. Yang became the first Asian-born golfer to EVER win a major golf championship. And he beat the greatest golfer of all-time to do it. He beat him doing something which was deemed impossible, beating Tiger on the final day when he started with the lead. Brilliant, that's the best words I can describe.

I like Tiger. He has taught sport so much about the power of the mind. But I always like to see an unlikely challenger, a David, to come out and challenge Goliath. I've been there, as the David, and it's something I continue to find a strong emotional connection with.

I mentioned a few posts back watching Tin Cup, and how that movie provided a great quote. When a reporter asked Kevin Costner if he knew how low the odds or probability was of a shot he attempted which cost him the championship, he said basically, "Do you think I'd even be here if I cared about the odds?" I again find myself going back to it, in many facets of my life.

I was born an adopted child, who the doctors initially thought wouldn't live past 18, due to complications at birth. Later, doctors told my parents I would never qualify for the military, due to some of these complications. It was as though my physical abilities were not going to be good enough.

I was considered a troubled child while growing up with ADHD, and plenty of other issues and problems, and yet I have reached some of the pinnacles of the sports of running, cycling and triathlon. I was a bench rider in high school for football, and cut from the basketball team. It wasn't until the urging from my dad that I tried distance running at the end of my sophomore year. Three All-State finishes later, I walked on at Nebraska, and later earned a full-scholarship. I was a part of a program which won a number of Big 12 Championships, an NCAA runner-up in track, was a roommate of an Olympic Semi-Finalist in the 1500, and competed in the NCAA Championships. I graduated and became a school teacher and coach. Talk about improbable.

I left teaching about 5-6 years later because my passion was to be involved in the sport and make my living from my passions. I now successfully make a living off my passions and knowledge. When I think about it, it's rather improbable that I ever reached anywhere close to what I have.

It's been an amazingly long road, with an incredible amount of hard work. Many hours, days, weeks, months and years spent focusing on training and performance. Just as many studying to learn the things which provided me to where I am now. How many sacrifices I made, I could never fathom or even count.

I may not be THE best at anything, but does that really matter? Isn't being the best more about doing everything you can do to do your best? Isn't it about overcoming insurmountable odds?

Is Y.E. Yang the best in the world? Maybe for a day. Well, maybe until the next tournament. I don't know. But what I do know, is what I felt when I watched him sink that final putt, yell in glory, raise his entire golf bag in the air, and sob as he embraced his wife. I couldn't help but shed a tear, and know what his sacrifice was like, what odds were stacked against him. I'd be lying if I said I knew who he was before the tournament started, but when I saw him and his emotion, I felt like I knew much more about him than I ever expected to.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Performance, It's the Name of the Game

Gotta love it when a cyclist has fly-girls...


Monday, July 20, 2009

How to descend a mountain in the Tour de France

Awesome video of Fabian Cancellara's descent during Stage 7 of the 2009 Tour de France, after making a bike change and having to catch up to the peleton. This is how you descend a mountain!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Airline Customer Service

I had another terrible experience with American Airlines on my return from Spain. Thanks AA! You guys suck! Then I saw this today, and it makes me LOVE the 21st century, and social media.

Check it out, because if you've ever had any customer service issues with an airline, (who hasn't!), I think you'll really enjoy the video. Over 3 million views in 9 days is impressive, and the power of social media!

Now I have to call and complain with my credit union for the crap with my ATM card not working in Spain, EVEN AFTER CALLING THEM TO TELL THEM I WAS GOING TO SPAIN!!!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Video of Tour de France Finish in Barcelona

If you've ever wondered what it's like to see a sprint finish at the Tour de France, here's the video. Keep in mind, it goes fast, and this is an UPHILL finish, with the video taken at the 100 meters to go mark. There's a screen in the video so you can see them coming.

This is one of the coolest experiences I've ever had in sport.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Barcelona Bound

Heading to Barcelona in the AM, and looking forward t seeing the Tour for the first time. Also, the fact that it's Spain, Catalan, and Basque regions of Europe is going to be quite the cultural experience.

I ran 24 miles this past week, a record for 2009, and hoping to put in about an hour a day while in Barcelona. Had a slight Achilles ache on Saturday, so will have be careful. It's not easy when you're about 200 lbs! Hopefully I get to enjoy Barcelona and lose weight at the same time.

If you're not following my twitter account, @jimvance, I hope to do a bunch of posts and photos from the trip.

Stay tuned...


Sunday, June 28, 2009

SDIT, Barcelona and running again

I was out watching the San Diego International Triathlon, enjoying spectating for a change. Always interesting to be on the other side of the equation. Had many athletes of mine racing, as well as friends and people who attend many of my workouts, so a great opportunity to support others.

In a week Orlanda and I will head to Barcelona with our friends Jim and Nancy Walsh, to enjoy the incredible country of Spain, and I will get to fulfill one of my dreams of experiencing and seeing the Tour de France, as it comes through the city of Barcelona. Thursday of that week, Barcelona is the finish line of stage 6, and the start city for stage 7. Stage 6 will likely be a sprint finish, which should be awesome to see in person, while stage 7 is the first mountaintop finish of the tour, which will be exciting and probably the first major sorting out of the GC.

It's great to get to go to the Tour, because I was never able in the past. The month of July was always right in the middle of the season for me, and training and racing was always more important. Now it makes no difference, and it's great to have this opportunity.

I have even started running again, although it's so slow I would call it jogging. I'm not used to being passed when out for a run. I'm enjoying just getting out again, and trying to begin to get my weight back down to something I'm a little happier about.

I'm also realizing that the Ironman training was overkill in so many ways, I am much happier with the shorter sessions, and not feeling like my life is devoted to Ironman training. It makes me want to go back to short-course ITU racing.

All in all, things are good, and I am very excited about the upcoming trip. I hope to have more to report from the trip, complete with pics and Twitter updates.


Monday, June 22, 2009

FREE TriJuniors Open Water Swim Clinic - Sunday, June 28th

Please help me spread the word about this great event, for youth development in triathlon! TriJuniors is hosting a FREE open water clinic to any high school aged kids and their parents! The event is on Sunday afternoon, after the San Diego International Triathlon, at Ventura Cove.

If you know a parent of a high schooler who might be interested in TriJuniors, or who want to share the fun of triathlon with their kids, please share the linked flyer and/or following information:

Who: Parents and their teens, interested in triathlon and TriJuniors,

What: A FREE open-water swim clinic for parents and their high school aged kids, as well as Q&A with Coach Jim Vance about TriJuniors, to answer questions about the team, support, race and practice schedules, etc.

When: Sunday, June 28th, 1-2:30 PM

Where: Ventura Cove, Mission Bay Drive, (http://tinyurl. com/crm5vh) Map provided on flyer.

Flyer is available at this link:

Food and drinks will be provided to all attending. Please RSVP to Jim Vance at

Please help us promote and grow the sport among high school youth with this free and fun event, and pass this information on.


Coach Vance

Friday, June 12, 2009

Introducing, TriJuniors

On June 21st, 2009, TriJuniors will be born. TriJuniors is committed to promoting and developing the sport of triathlon among high school age youth, (13-18), in a team atmosphere, from beginner to elite ability levels, based in San Diego.

Athletes in the TriJuniors program will build skills and learn goal setting and pursuing goals. With hard work and fun, young triathletes will build a healthy lifestyle from their experiences in this positive environment for personal growth both in the sport, and in life.

TriJuniors will also support certain athletes displaying a desire and potential ability to compete at the highest level of the sport for their age, with a more focused and determined training regimen and development protocol toward ITU draft-legal triathlon.

Yesterday, I spoke about my desires and passions to grow the sport, and there are few ways better to help grow the sport than bringing it to our youth. San Diego is the birthplace and mecca of the sport of triathlon, but bolsters not a single youth team or program in its area. In my opinion, that’s embarrassing and a shame. I have decided to change that.

This team is not just going to be a team of young athletes which trains and races though. This team will set the standard and raise the bar when it comes to utilizing and leveraging social media to bring about sponsors, promote current sponsors, and promote the sport. After all, the team will be made of teenagers, and they always seem to be ahead of the curve when it comes to technology and social media.

I am happy and proud to lead this charge, but I won’t be able to do it alone. I’m asking for your help in getting this team going, and making it happen. Here are ways you can help:

• Tell people you know about us! If you want to expose youth in San Diego to our sport, then tell them about us! Tell their parents too!
• Follow our Twitter account, @TriJuniors or
• Promote our Twitter account, especially on Follow Fridays
• Become a fan our Facebook page:
• Promote our Facebook page to others

So why the big social media push? Because this team will be directed at youth, giving them amazing experiences in the sport, and the more presence we have, the better the benefits and experiences we can deliver the kids involved in our program.

Our website development is a little behind schedule, (not surprising), but by next week you can see and follow us at You can always follow us at the above mentioned social media pages. Registration for the team will be available on the website by next week, but in the meantime, parents interested in registering their kids will be able to do so by contacting me directly, at

Why does the season for the team only last 3 months? This is because the team is just getting started, and the summer months coincide with kids having the free time available to participate in the sport. It also helps to grow the team without as many conflicts with school sports programs. Eventually, I would like to see the team grow to a year-round program, but at this point I must start small. Also, there is no model for me to follow. I am creating the model for youth programs here in Southern California.

I also have no idea how well received this will be. I could have no kids at all, or just one. But if I have one, I will make it a great experience for that one! I could have 20. I am hopeful to get 10 kids for the season, but however many we get, we get.

Our race schedule will try to expose the kids to many different events, distances, and styles of racing, from non-drafting to draft-legal, Aquathlons to triathlons.

TriJuniors 2009 Race Schedule (Subject to change)

- Strawberry Fields Triathlon, July 19th, 2009 (Junior Elite Cup)
- TCSD Monthly Club Races
- TCSD Monthly Aquathlons
- Solana Beach Triathlon, July 26th, 2009
- Imperial Beach Triathlon, August 23rd, 2009
- Nautica Malibu Triathlon, September 19th & 20th, 2009

Membership for the season is $600. The season runs from June 21st to September 20th.

What do young triathletes get for $600?
- Coached workouts (minimum 2 per week, 4 max, depending on race schedule)
- FREE account, for training log and training plan
- Training plans built specific to their needs and race goals
- T-Shirts, apparel, and other TriJuniors specific items, (based on availability)
- Triathlon Club of San Diego Membership
- Potential sponsor products, (based on availability,)
- Sponsor discounts for young triathlete and their families
- Team environment for growing socially and physically
- Discounted race entry fees, (based on negotiated amounts)
- More to be announced as sponsorship deals are finalized

Due to the athlete numbers not being known at this point, sponsorships and the depth of sponsorships are still being negotiated. Stay tuned for more, because they will be announced as they get finalized.

So that’s the big announcement. More to come on this topic, and I am happy to answer questions here, or via Twitter and Facebook. So please help me spread the word!

Thanks for your support with this endeavor!

Coach Vance

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Leadership and announcement tomorrow

When I left racing after last season and decided to concentrate on coaching, I did it for a number of reasons. Some were:

  • Competition getting tougher
  • Travel expenses rising
  • Sponsorships becoming tougher to get
  • Prize money staying the same, or in some cases going down, (XTERRA)
Basically, everything pointed to negative. All of this contributed, but there were other things, like wondering if I had the mental commitment required to continue to race at such a high level. After all, these factors certainly upped the mental ante.

I was starting to look more at the opportunities triathlon was costing me, and not what it was giving me. I left teaching to race professionally, because I loved the sport, not because of money. Somewhere along the line that changed, and I wanted to go back to loving the sport.

I saw so many things the sport needed, which I had a desire to chase and make happen. I came to realize triathlon didn't need another pro-triathlete. What triathlon needed was leadership. Leadership in coaching, teaching, journalism, development, and growing the sport.

Since this realization, I've forged ahead with the same effort and intensity that I brought to my training and racing, near it's peak. Some of these things have been:
  • Coaching a weekly track workout, on Tuesday nights, trying to grow the event, and make it a learning experience for the athletes, not just a hard workout
  • Coaching an open-water swim workout every other Wednesday, because it was clear the community of athletes were lacking race-specific skills
  • Running my first training camp in Tucson, in March
  • Clinics on a variety of skills
  • Giving monthly talks on training topics, at B+L Bikes, on heat training, using GPS and power meters to monitor and track training, swimming, and much more
  • Expanding into other regions of the country to do the same things, (Chicago, Orange County, and soon New Orleans)
  • Coaching and working with elites, like Renata Bucher, to help her make the jump to the top step of the podium this season, (hopefully)
  • Working with celebrities, (Parvati Shallow and Matt Hoover), to bring more attention and new exposure to the sport
This has all been great, and I am happy about the decision I have made, and I think the sport is better for it. I hope to return to racing at some point, but right now, this is what the sport needs from me, and needs me to continue doing.

Last night, at the open-water swim workout, two people from USA Triathlon happen to be walking by, in town for a collegiate conference, and saw what I was doing. They came up and talked with me for bit, and seemed impressed with what I was doing. It was assurance that I am doing the right things, which the sport needs.

So tomorrow, I will announce the next step in this personal mission to be a leader in triathlon, and help raise the profile of the sport. I'm excited, and I think you will be too.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Google Alert Entertainment

I subscribe to Google Alerts, for my name. As a coach and athlete, it helps me recognize when my name is published, and what the general sentiment is of me. And then there are other times when I am just entertained by what comes thru the alert.

There is a black gentleman, also named Jim Vance, who is a news anchor in Washington DC. He is rather popular and well respected, (according to the majority of alerts I've gotten). That's always entertaining to read.

Then I get something like this today....

McCreary County Record - Whitley CIty,KY,USA
Jim Vance purchased the motel/RV park/restaurant in 2002 with his wife Donna. Three years later the couple obtained a winery license from the Kentucky ...

Tell me what I'm supposed to think when I get something like this! And no, I do not have any relatives in Kentucky!


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cool interview with Tri Club of San Diego

I did an interview with the Tri Club of San Diego, and it's available for reading in their June newsletter. Check it out, and let me know your thoughts...I thought it was pretty cool.


Friday, June 5, 2009

One of those days

It's been one of those days, where things seem to go great. It's also been one of those days where you want to pull your hair out. I've looked back and been amazed that everything that happened today could be a single day event in itself. Amazing.

I am so frustrated, angry, relieved and content all at the same time. Orlanda just hugged me and said it's been a big day, with a lot to deal with. She's quite right.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I used to belong to an online group of local athletes in San Diego, and some former San Diegans, who had a private message board. I left that group in April, because it became clear that I became a target of this group. My perspective was very different, my opinions sometimes extreme. I have a quite diverse and non-traditional background, so this shouldn't really surprise me or anyone.

It was funny to me how I was criticized rather consistently by the group as being self-promotional, and yet envied at the same time for chasing what I loved and dreamed, taking a risk and trying to make my dreams happen. When I did well I was praised, and when things went bad, or I had a different perspective, I was criticized relentlessly.

I guess it goes to show you can't please everyone. If you're too successful, people will hate that, and if you're a failure they'll rub it in your face.

One person mentioned that if I expected people to support me in my highest moments, then I had to expect people will kick me when I'm down in my lowest. I was at first offended by what he said, but he was right. And then I felt really sorry for those who feel that way. I realized I am better off focusing on what those people closest to me think and feel. Those who support me when I'm injured or sick, and DNFing, not just when I'm finishing on the podium, or have my name in the headlines.

I left that group, and I am today happier and more reassured about that decision. I'm not perfect. I've done things and said things which have upset people, but I've always laid myself out there. I've always been a person who wasn't afraid to make his lofty goals public, despite what others thought of the reality of me reaching them.

I recently saw the movie Tin Cup, (old movie, I know), and a reporter asked Kevin Costner in the movie if he considered how unlikely the chances were of a poor shot choice he made, when he went for the win. He responded with something to the effect of, "Look at me! Look at my weak sponsorships! Do you think I even stood a chance being here? Do you think I really give a damn about odds or chances? Chances are against me no matter what. If I paid attention to chances or odds, I wouldn't even be here."

I think that sums me up very well. I love the fact people have underestimated me. In fact, they would do me a favor by keeping it coming. Hell, in my last post I talked about racing one of the greatest cyclists in American history! I toed the line against him, and was competitive. Trust me, there are plenty of people who have known or met me in my lifetime and would not have believed that could even happen.

I guess that's what is great about life, and sad about those who don't have the same approach.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

RIP Steve Larsen

It was last June, Ironman Coeur d'Alene, that I raced Steve Larsen. I trained in preparation to race Tom Evans, Victor Zymetsev, Michael Lovato, and Steve Larsen. I knew I had my work cut out for me, and I wanted to be right in the thick of it against these guys. And I was. I finished 7th that day, after being passed 1 mile from the finish, holding on to dear life.

I had spent the first 2/3rd's of the day trying to hold off Steve Larsen. The last 1/3rd was trying to chase him down, hoping I could run him down. He is/was the best cyclist America has ever seen. Yes, better than Lance. No cyclist has ever done what he has done with a bicycle. Made the World Championships in road racing, mountain biking, on the track, and cyclo-cross. He raced on the Motorola team with Lance.

When he moved to Ironman, he became a force, winning Lake Placid in 2001, and pushing the best triathletes in the world to the finish line. He even finished 9th in Kona.

I knew that day last June he would be tough to beat, and I was anxious to see if I could beat him. I did not. He humbled me, and I enjoyed every moment of it. I wanted to test myself against the best, and I am very thankful to have toed the line against him at least once in my career. The photos in this post are of Steve from that day.

Steve Larsen died yesterday of an apparent heart attack during a track workout, at 39 years of age. He is survived by his 5 kids, and loving wife Carrie.

Steve and I never met outside of the race course, but I'll miss him. Rest in peace, Steve.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hurry up and wait

Hustled my ass off to get two offers in on two different homes. Not sure about either offer being good enough, but I tried. Orlanda and I hurried to get them in, now we just wait and see what happens.

Wish us luck....


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Life's highs and lows

Sometimes it seems like life is passing us by, and we're just waiting for something to happen. Other times life hits with a bunch of negative stuff, and we wonder how we're going to make it. Even other times life brings us some wonderful things that we stop and ponder what an incredible opportunity life and existence is. And incredibly, life can bring us all of both positive and negative extremes at the same time, making it all bitter and sweet at the same time. This has been my life the past few weeks.

About 2 weeks ago, I had an investment finally cash in, giving Orlanda and I the green light to buy a home. It's been something we've worked extremely hard for over many months, and when this happened to help with our down payment, it was

I went to Wildflower as a coach, and did some cool video work for Triathlete Magazine, which should help me as a coach. I also had some great experiences with athletes there, and I left thankful I had attended. But on the day of the trip up to Wildflower, I received notice from my mom that her sister has terminal cancer, only 3-4 months to live. Her chemotherapy did not stop the cancer.

Also that morning, I received notification that my athlete, Matt Hoover, winner of the Biggest Loser, was granted a spot in Kona. This is a great opportunity, and something we had been working toward.

The very next day, Orlanda's teenager sister went to the doctor and they found tumors in her pelvis. A few days later they confirmed the tumors were benign, but it was still a shock to the system, and hard on the family.

This same week, one of my investments cashed me out, and was the final step in helping Orlanda and I buy a home. We are pre-qualified now searching for a place. Exciting times.

So it 's been up and down. My hope is the up keeps coming, or at least I avoid the downs better.

Not really training, but being more active, and enjoying that. Thinking about trying CrossFit, but we'll see. Not sure I can do much with the house search.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Awesome story!

I subscribe to the blog, and this was their post today...AMAZING!

Traumatic brain injury victim David McGuire recovers to race with TrainingPeaks

Posted: 06 May 2009 02:35 PM PDT

image In 2005, David McGuire suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of blunt force trauma to his head. His brain started to swell so much that a large section of his skull had to be removed for 28 days. Now, although he can no longer form new memories, David uses TrainingPeaks to help remind him what he is training for: the Ironman.

After the accident, David was a different person. “I am released from the hospital a person with disability. My brain has lost all of its memories; how to walk, how to talk, how to taste, how to avoid hazards… During my time in the hospital and in my recovery, my job was outsourced and my apartment was sold. So I woke up with no home, no job, and no memory. At least I didn’t remember how bad things were!”

Although his memory was initially completely destroyed, David was eventually able to recall some long term memories. “I now suffer from what is called short term memory loss. My long term memories have been somewhat restored. Things like the ability to speak English. I have remembered my family, and my home. What happens now is that when I wake up tomorrow, I have no memory of what happened today. I know longer make ‘new memories.’ Think of the movie Memento.”

In addition to his short-term memory, David lost his sense of direction. “I have also lost my internal GPS. I no longer have any sense of direction. This can be troublesome when biking for 4-6 hours or running for more than hour.”

His sense of direction and memory were not the only things that changed for David, however. “Before my accident I was an office worker in a cubicle. I spent my time at work on a computer, and at home playing video games. I was the textbook example of a couch potato. I liked fast food, I liked junk food, and I was a homebody. I was not in very good shape… After my accident I had a peculiar moment. It happened one day I was at my parent’s house. They were my caretakers as not only had my apartment been sold, but I was unable to take care of myself. I required home care.”

“On this day my parents were out at work. They live in a very small town, where the transit system is every hour for only peak hours. I was reliant on them to do anything. I had spent years being independent and I was frustrated. You see I needed a haircut. I thought well I will just go and get a haircut.”

“I put on some jeans and t-shirt, I put on some shoes (not running shoes) and I went out. I managed to run all the way to the barber and I got my hair cut. As I left the barber however, my brain had deleted all memory of where I had come from, where I was, and where I was going. The only thing I knew was that I ran to the barber. I knew this because I was talking to the barber when he asked me why I was so winded. So I just started running. I figured I would eventually find my way home.”

“By trial and error and several hours later I found my way home, much to relief of my family. They were upset, and relieved, but still a little livid. I didn’t care though. I was elated, I found a new freedom. I could run, I could go anywhere, I didn’t need a bus, I didn’t need a car, and I didn’t need a ride. I could go anywhere. I could do this all by myself. Freedom!!”

Starting with that run home from the barber, David started running all the time and keeping track of his workouts in a day planner to remind him what he had done. One day, he went to visit his sister and showed her his log.

image “While I am visiting my sister, the big marathon runner in the family, one night we are sitting around and I am showing her my intense day planner. She makes a statement that I still remember to this day: ‘You run more than I do.’”

“This caught me off guard as I never saw myself as a runner. I mean a marathon was something almost biblical, it was impossible. I was however intrigued. So my sister and I came up with the idea of running a marathon together. We chose Chicago; my sister had run it before and really loved it.”

“It was on; I contacted a local Running Room. I got fit for shoes and gear and signed up for a Marathon clinic. I have never looked back. 18 weeks later, I ran my first marathon in Chicago, in 2006: a little less than a year after I was told I might never walk or talk again.”

From his first marathon with his sister, David started looking for more, and decided to try a triathlon. However, he knew that because of his disability, he would need to plan very carefully in order to accomplish his goal. “Now because of my disability, I can’t just jump into things. I need to plan, organize, study, research, and test. I read everything, I look at everything, I find the best bike store, I find the best products, I find the best people. I buy books, I buy magazines, I find websites, and resources. I take all these ingredients put them together and then start baking my goals.”

During this process, David discovered a special book that helped him prepare for his first Olympic distance triathlon. “In this research I found what is considered the ‘must have’ book of training for triathlons. It was the The Triathlete’s Training Bible 2nd edition by Joe Friel. Everything anyone needs to know to finish a triathlon is in this book.”

After discovering Joe Friel’s book and completing his first Olympic-distance triathlon in Vancouver in 2008, David made the decision to try an Ironman. “After some really long nights and a lot of talks with my family, I decided to try an Ironman. You see instead of thinking about all the things I can’t do, why not try to push the limits of the things I can do? I can swim, I can bike, and I can run. I love the training life style. I like the setting of goals. Let’s push the limits physically as I have reached what I can do mentally. Ironman here I come.”

To help with his preparation for Ironman, David applied the same level of intense research he uses with everything else, and found his way to Training Bible Coaching, TrainingPeaks, and training devices like the Garmin 705. “These are not just fancy toys for me, these are a necessity. Without them, I don’t know where I am, what I am doing, or how to get back.”

image Through TrainingPeaks, David has found the coaching guidance that he needs. “Well I have a fantastic coach #1; while we have never met I feel a level of connection. Carla Hastert has taken the time to make sure my specific needs are taken care of. I am what is called a high needs individual. I need to be told things over and over again because I forget. Carla is patient, understanding, and clear.”

In addition to the personal connection that he feels with his coach, David really appreciates the technology side of TrainingPeaks. “To add to the incredible charisma of my coach, is the technical ability of the training. You see Carla gets all the data from my Garmin devices, through TrainingPeaks. These are so easy to upload (with maps no less) she can then inspect a whole bunch of information, and email me specific workouts to do.”

David also clearly enjoys the tracking functionality of TrainingPeaks. “I can also keep track of my goals, my workouts, and upload and download data to it as well. I can save all my workouts, this was important because my computer had to be repaired. I lost all my data on my computer. I was able to go to TrainingPeaks and have all my data restored.”

The combination works perfectly for David. “With the relationship between Training Peaks and Training Bible Coaching plus the Garmin it is like having my own coach. It is much more than downloading a workout schedule. It is individual daily workouts that are specific for you, based on the information that is provided to the coach. Distances, efforts, intensity, all of this is taken in by my coach and then she sends me detailed workouts.”

“I know exactly what to do, what to focus on, and I get world-class information that covers all my specific needs. As I run or bike I can hear Carla every time my Garmin’s beep at me to slow down, or speed up, cycle faster, or just keep going. In a way I am taking my coach on the road with me.”

“What the Training Bible Coaching allows for me to do, as a guy with half a brain, and living off a very low income, is to follow my dreams. I get a world class coach; I get world class advice, from a person who has been specifically trained for training Ironman athletes, at a cost that even I can afford. There is no way I would be able to do what I can do without TrainingPeaks, The Training Bible Coaching, Garmin and most of all my Coach Carla Hastert.”

“Thank you TrainingPeaks.”

It's been too long since my last post, and I have much to report. More on that soon. Maybe even later today.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Saying goodbye

These next weeks I am saying good-bye to some of my closest friends. Luckily one of my friends on the Seal teams is getting married this weekend, and helping Orlanda and I deal with the losses we are soon facing, by bringing our good friends to us.

My boy JT leaves next week for Virginia, for the elite Seal team. I love him, Orlanda loves him, and we will miss him more than he knows. As much as we hope for his success, and we were happy he passed the initial screenings for the elite Seal team, we are sad he's leaving us. He's one of the best people to come into our lives, and losing him is not something which we agree to, but we love him and send him off with our blessings. We love you JT.

Jim and Orlanda

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Edge

"The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over."

--Hunter S. Thompson


Monday, April 20, 2009

Underwater Swim Video Clinic this Weekend in Chicago

Just a reminder that I will be in the Chicago area this weekend for an underwater swim video analysis clinic. I'll be conducting the clinic on both Saturday and Sunday, (whichever day works for the athletes), and the clinics include a presentation which will explain the key factors and technical aspects of swimming, as well the physics of the movements, so athletes can better understand what it is they want to accomplish in the water.

I have a few spots remaining, but time is running out. You can find all the important info and register here:

Hope to see you there!

Coach Vance

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Brother and Sunset

I had dinner with my brother this week. It was the first time we've talked in over a year. He moved to San Diego, but a dispute kind of put us at odds. He "manned-up" and made the first contact to fix things, ironically just 2 days after Orlanda and I had talked and decided it was time for me to contact him.

I love him, and it was great to see him. It's funny how the stuff you hold between family seems so big in principle, but when it comes down to it, you love your family and find it amazing you let stuff come between you.

I hope to spend much more time with him in the coming months, maybe even bring him to some of the events I'll be headed to, and expose him to more of my life as a coach, (and former, perhaps one day again, athlete). I think he's got great potential to do amazing things, he just needs to see someone he respects and cares about be an example how it can be done.

Soon after finishing this post, I'll be walking down the 5 blocks to the Pacific Ocean, and watching the sunset with Orlanda. It's at 7:20 PM this evening, and I'm looking forward to enjoying it with her. I love San Diego. Each time I think I would consider living somewhere else, I'm reminded how amazing and beautiful it is here. If you're thinking of changing your life and want to move someplace amazing, I would keep this place on your list. I did, and I will never regret it.

Life continues to move in the right direction, and it's tough to worry about a bad economy, politics, etc, when you live in your own wonderful bubble. At times I think my bubble is too small, but most of the time, I like that it's small. San Diego is great, and life is great here.

I'm heading to Chicago this weekend for a big underwater swim video analysis clinic, and hope if you're in the area, you'll consider coming. I will teach you more about swimming in a few hours than you've probably learned in years!

Hope to see you around...


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

RIP Dasy

If you've followed this blog, you know I am close with Marcus Luttrell. Marcus, his twin brother Morgan, JT, Boe, Ben and a host of other Navy Seals I have been blessed to know, and be friends with. There are certain people who come into your life, and they get you to realize what loyalty, care, courage, respect and love are about. Each one of these gentlemen I've met have brought this to my life.

I have spent time in Huntsville, Texas, at the Luttrell residence, with Marcus and Mama. I've had Marcus let me shoot some of his guns, and laugh at what a terrible shot I was. He respects my toughness like I'm a Seal, but knows I wouldn't make it as a sniper for the Seals.

I've met the animals on the farm, from Mama's horses, to the dogs, including Dasy. Last week, Dasy was murdered by some local punks in the Huntsville area, who were out shooting dogs. (I can't believe I have to even write that sentence.)

Marcus called me on March 29th, to catch-up, and tell me how he was hoping to see me at an upcoming wedding here in San Diego, for a mutual friend in the Seals, Ben. He had just gotten out of the hospital after having some surgery from complications still dating back to his miraculous survival in Afghanistan. He was on the mend, and things seemed like that were going to be good. It was a privilege to hear from him.

Then the next thing I hear is this news, and I am just thankful that Marcus did not murder these men. I am amazed at the restraint he showed as trained killer. I can't imagine I would have done the same.

The fact these guys even threatened Marcus afterward, shows a lack of any conscience. Then the other scumbag turned himself in, thankfully...

As soon as I heard about this, I called Marcus, and just wanted to pay my respects, and let him know I'm here if he needs anything. I know he doesn't, but man, I had to call. Killing that dog was like trampling on the graves of the lost Seals.

I worry now. I really hope these guys don't mean what they say, because next time, Marcus will not hold back I'm sure. I don't want to see him deal with more death and trauma. But these guys don't realize they just messed with over 2,000 of the most elite-trained killers the world has ever known.

I'm thankful my parents taught me right and wrong, and I'm thankful I have Seals in my corner.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

DVR has changed my life, and saved it. Happy Easter too!

Today I was able to watch the Masters, Paris-Roubaix, and the 70.3 World Championships. It's amazing what DVR can do! In my training, especially in the fall, DVR allowed me to train and not miss my biggest and favorite TV shows, games, etc. My favorite of course, were Nebraska football games. College football is a big Saturday sport, but Saturdays were also the typical times for big rides with groups, etc. It made it much easier to get out and get my workouts in, and still be able to catch all the action, from pre-game and kick-off, until the final buzzer. It's like the world of College Football was on my time.

It's amazing how much DVR has done for me in terms of not stressing to get to the TV to catch the things which interest me, and how I can fast forward thru commercials to even maximize the little time I have to spend to watch shows or games.

Now that I'm not training, and instead working my tail off, I've been reminded how much it helps to save my marriage! Most wives don't pay attention or even care about whether they are talking to you during commercial breaks or right at the climax of a show or game, they just want to talk with you. Instead of having to decide which to pay attention to, or half pay attention to each, I'm now able to push pause, and make my wife happy, and still catch all the action! Sometimes I don't even push pause, just turn my attention straight to her, and then go back and rewind and catch back up to where I was. It's awesome!

Thank you DVR gods!

Today I was talking with Orlanda and how much I like Easter compared to Christmas. At Easter, people just care about getting together and enjoying company. There isn't the stress of gifts, travel, etc. Kids are the main focus, not adults. It's really nice.

Happy Easter!


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Going against the favorites...

My friend sent me this, and I thought it was pretty cool. It's a lot of what I based my attitude and racing on. It's now a lot of what I try to get my athletes to see and think like...


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Elite License

I received confirmation the other day that my elite license is approved thru the end of 2010. So even if I don't do a single race this year, (which is likely), I will still be an elite for 2010.

That's good news for me. And also for those of you who are in my age group, (I'm 32!)

Not much to update beyond that. Well, there is plenty actually, but I'm not ready to do that yet.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Photo Collection Sharing #4

One of my favorite photos I have of me racing. The look on my face, you can see the focus in my mind. I'm racing the always tough San Dieguito Half-Marathon, thru the hills of Rancho Santa Fe, here in San Diego. I got second that day in 1:11, to Hector Hernandez. Not bad for a triathlete. I'm in second in the picture, trying to close the gap he put on me at mile 2, on a crazy uphill surge.

It also brings a lot of memories to mind. I had just gotten engaged to Orlanda about 24 hours before this race. I had also just returned from a training camp with a lot of the Canadian Olympic Triathlon Team and staff in Victoria, BC. I was a few weeks away from winning the famous Desert Classic Duathlon, defeating many big names in the sport, including 2-time Olympic medalist Simon Whitfield. I was headed to the US Olympic Training Center one month after this, and was quite fit and excited about the future.

This was the same season as Ironman Florida. It was a good year for me. And that's why I love this photo. It's also why I can't get back to training and racing right now. I don't have the same fire and desire I see in that photo. If it, it's almost scary.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Portobelo International this weekend

The Portobelo International Triathlon in Panama is this week. I love this race, and wish I could be there. Always a great time, on an epic course! Off-road doesn't do the toughness of this course justice. Thought I would share a few photos I like from back in the days I raced there...

Renata is heading there to race, and I think she'll win the women's race. Should be fun for her. I'll be doing some writing on the race for Triathlete Mag, on their website. Look for that later this week.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Feeling Lucky

In Tucson, for the final morning of our big training camp, and I am finally headed back to San Diego. I miss it. It's been a great trip out here though, and I've enjoyed it a lot.

Here's a cool video I thought I would share, about being lucky and close calls. It's a good one...


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Interview at Finish-Line Multisport

I recently did an interview at

Written by Kevin Koresky

Jim Vance Q&A In 2004 this gentlemen was the XTERRA Amateur World Champion and in 2005 he became the ITU Men 25-29 World Champion. He left a career in teaching to chase down a career in triathlon. Did he really leave his teaching roots behind? I have known this pro for three years; his teaching desire has never faded as he joined a group of us for dinner three nights before Ironman Arizona. He fielded every question the group had thrown at him, offering priceless advice and tips to our group. Please take this moment to get to know the husband, coach and teacher: Jim Vance.

KK: Jim please tell our readers a little bit about yourself, where did you grow up and what were your sports background growing up?

JV: I grew up mostly in Michigan and went to high school in Indianapolis, Indiana. I was mostly a basketball and football player growing up, never good at endurance sports, nor was I exceptionally athletic. In high school I joined the cross country and track teams my junior year. 2 years later I was a 3-time All-State runner, sub 4:20 miler, and was headed to the University of Nebraska to run cross country and track as a walk-on. I was a steeple-chaser and cross country guy there, helping the team to its best ever finish at the NCAA's of 7th place. By my senior season, I was granted a full-scholarship.

Read the rest at:

Heading to Tucson tomorrow, for Tri-Fest and a TrainingBible camp. Should be a fun 10 days!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cool Video

Someone from the Tri Club of San Diego put this together. It's an impressive compilation of everything which happened with the club in the sport for the past year or so. Enjoy!

TCSD A Movie Directors cut


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Happiness, marriage, and the weigh-in

I'm overweight. Since I've left racing, I haven't been training much, and I'm definitely fat now. I don't even know how much I weigh. It's hilarious that I use to weigh myself daily, and now I can't remember the last time I weighed myself. Today I did an open-water swim clinic, and I was worried the wetsuit, rash guard and tri-shorts wouldn't fit! Hahaha! Seriously!

My medium shirts and shorts no longer fit. I have to wear larges.

I'm going to write this post as I go, and when it's done, I'm going to weigh myself and see what I weigh. I think I weigh about 190. Will I be close? Wow...I weighed at my lowest in prep for Ironman AZ at 161.

Friends and former training partners are encouraging me to return to racing and training, but it's amazing to me how much satisfaction I feel in my life right now, and lack any desire to return to training. I wouldn't mind going into the weight room and working with a personal trainer, but that can't happen until a few other things happen. Namely, Orlanda and I want to buy a home here in San Diego. The trainer would be nice, only because I enjoy weight lifting.

The funny thing is, I don't think the number I'll see on the scale will affect me. The last time I felt this happy...this satisfied....this positive, was after Ironman Florida 2006. When I finished that race, it was amazing how many opportunities were before me, and the general reception I got. You'd have thought I was just elected to public office. But that's how my life is now, with so many positive opportunities before me, and I find it so full-filling. I am beginning to accept that perhaps I am better as a coach than as an athlete. That's not a bad thing at all. At first I feared that, but now I am starting to find a real sense of pride and satisfaction in that.

I have a renewed love and affection for my wife, Orlanda. Our finances have improved rather dramatically since leaving racing, and this has relieved a lot of stress in our life. The fact that buying a home seems possible has brought a new vigor to our life. As much as I am happy about this, it's a clear lesson of the affect of attitude on a marriage. We've been married a little over two years, and despite my clear love for her, and confidence in saying it's been a great two years, they haven't been easy as a professional triathlete. I don't want to be an "easy" love for my wife, that's not why I married her. I married her for the tough times. And trust me, we've had that. I've not been a perfect husband, that's for sure.

But I can really feel and tell... that my attitude determines my happiness. My attitude affects my marriage. My attitude affects my well-being. It's not my race weight. It's not my last race result. It's not the medals around my neck, or the trophies on the bookcase. It's not the number of sponsors and potential sponsors that call or email. It's just being happy with today. Being happy with what I'm doing, and how I'm doing it. For the past few years, that was training. Now, it's not. And I'm ok with that. When I look at her, I smile, and know that no finish line can give me what I feel.

In the past, it could. But I'm not the same person I was back then. I won't be the same person next week, or even tomorrow. I do feel good though when I see athletes find the satisfaction I found in the past, from training and racing. It's my connection to those times, and those finer moments.

I can only imagine how I'll feel when Orlanda and I have children. I've grown an appreciation of that as I've grown older. I used to just give an obligatory nod or congrats to friends who had children. But the more I think about it, going thru something like that with Orlanda almost makes me cry tears of happiness when I think about it. I now understand, and wow...what an amazing moment for a person...

I remember my friend Benji telling me that he and his wife cried when they saw me cross the finish line at Florida in 2006......During the interview with Welchie, they were both crying, as was I nearly! I had reached a pinnacle, and felt like all my efforts were finally worth something. And it's amazing how that feeling has returned, depsite my weight and lack of training. I feel it in my marriage, and maybe again soon when we decide to have children.

What's my point? I'm not sure, I just sit here and type away. I guess it's that I'm exposing the transition from professional triathlete to the real world. That attitude is important. The old saying that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it, is true.

I asked myself this week, "What did you not get to do that you wish you had?" I named five things...

1. Win an Ironman.
2. Race Lance Armstrong. (If he does an Ironman, maybe I'll comeback).
3. Do Roth Quelle Challenge. (If you see the race photos, you'll understand).
4. Get a good Kona result. (Good being in the top 20).
5. Race more ITU to qualify for the Olympic Trials.

I won't be upset if these never happen, and that's what I've come to realize. I'm no longer focused on what I haven't accomplished, but on the amazing possibilities of what I can still accomplish.

I'm not looking at all the things I've missed out on due to training, like family get-togethers, Nebraska football games, trips with friends, etc. Instead, I'm looking forward to all the possibilities of things I've missed out on.

Wow....this has probably been the most honest and open post I've ever written...time to weigh-in...

The official weight....190.6. I guess I really know myself. I guess my honesty with myself was real. And now that I think about it, that's exactly why I'm happy.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Threshold at the OTC

I was in Colorado Springs, with Justin Trolle, who is USA Triathlon's Elite Athlete Development Manager, learning a lot and discussing a lot of different training theories, etc.

I went to some practice sessions at the pool, and met Mike Doane, who coaches Andy Potts. He and I hit it off really well, and I learned a lot from him on swimming. We even discussed Andy's approach to training this year, with short course and Kona coming. Interesting stuff.

I can tell though, I am creeping back to the threshold of wanting to get back to training. It's funny how I can creep back up to it, and then the next day I could care less about wanting to train and getting back at it. We will see what happens.

Interestingly, Andy Potts sat on his butt for 5 years doing nothing after college, when he graduated from Michigan in 1997. By 2002 he was starting back into triathlon, was quickly back at it. By 2004, he was at the Athens games.

Maybe a year off isn't so bad? I don't think 5 is right for me though.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Borat, the media movement!

I have a few friends who dressed up in some Borat swim suits, (yes, that swim suit), for charity and ran alongside the Tour of California. At first, it was just hilarious. Now, it's becoming a media movement!

This was even in the first paragraph of the Associated Press' article on the race...

updated 7:42 a.m. PT, Mon., Feb. 23, 2009

ESCONDIDO, Calif. - The climb up a snowcapped mountain during the final stage certainly gave the Tour of California a European feel, as well as the spectators dressed in an array of costumes from a devil to an overweight guy wearing only a lime-green thong.

Come to find out, some other friends of mine were the Sumo dudes in the video. I know some really weird folks I guess.

I love San Diego!


Friday, February 20, 2009

Twitter updates on side

Much like I have done with my coaching blog, I've added the Twitter updates here on the right. Had a lot of trouble uploading photos, but finally figured out I had the settings wrong. Now I'll be able to add the photos a lot more frequently. Again, my username is jimvance on Twitter.

Check it out and if you haven't been following my coaching blog, you're missing out. I've even added an email subscription option, so you don't have to check it as often.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I'm on twitter now...

Follow if you'd like. Got a lot of cool stuff going on in the coming weeks. You can see what I'm talking about at the coaching blog. Stuff like the wind tunnel, Olympic Training Center, Tour of California, and much more...

New Blackberry Storm arriving soon as well, so I can do some on the fly updates with photo and video.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Continuation of doping....

I recently have heard some references to Marion Jones with professional cyclists...

Let me just say on here...If you heard Marion Jones on Oprah a while back, that girl, (and I'm putting that nicely), was lying out of her teeth to Oprah. She knew exactly what was going on and what she was taking. There was an entire drug regimen calendar which was seized by the authorities and turned over and admitted to by Victor Conte.

She claimed she wasn't aware of what she was taking and that is as truthful as Nixon on Watergate. After lying to a federal grand jury and spending time in prison for it, she is trying to win back the public favor, and it's all propaganda.

I was so disgusted when my wife and I watched the interview, that after yelling at the television, trying to call out her lies, my wife couldn't watch the rest of the interview. Neither could I. We deleted it from the DVR.

A friend recently emailed me about my post about drug use in triathlon, and asked me if I really believed many guys were doping, and what about all the drafting accusations. He made my point for me...I stated to him, "Plenty of guys are willing to cheat right in front of my face, on the course, so why is it crazy to think they'll cheat when I'm not looking?"

Sad state of affairs, but please, don't believe that lying b***h, Marion Jones.


If I were to comeback...

The race I would most want to do would be Roth. If you're looking for a race which will bring the most amazing experience, check it out. Google Roth Challenge.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Revisiting the drug issue in sports

I can't stand drug cheats. I've been a vocal proponent of drug testing, and at times mentioned the names of people who have been busted, as evidence of my distrust to believe any of their performances as clean. This was not always a popular position to take.

In the past week or so, we've seen some drug issues come to light, and here's one which sickens me. He's innocent until proven guilty, but the circumstances of trying to close a case by intimidation of investigating officials, rather than by transparency is hard to swallow...

Then we have our famous A-Rod. Sadly, he cheated. He admitted it, and I am thankful he admitted it, even though it was not due to a guilty conscious. But much like I said in a post about a year ago on Floyd Landis, when the system must cheat to catch the cheaters, only injustice prevails. I think this says it clearly...

It's always tough. Performing well just makes you not care about drug use that much when you're clean. But once you start to stumble a little, you start looking at your competition with a stricter eye. We have to be careful though...Be too vocal and you sign your career death warrant, as sponsors will be distant, as will your fellow competitors, sometimes even ganging up against you. Be too quiet, and people start thinking you're possibly cheating.

I don't have many answers to provide. I just want to see a system that catches the cheaters, and does it fairly, without violating the rights of all of us. Then again, I've always been accused of being a bit of a dreamer.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

One truck household

I sold Orlanda's car today. She almost cried as it happened. We have my truck for her still.

We are downsizing, and hoping to buy a house soon. This was a big step in the right direction. Also helps that I work out of the house, and that I have a scooter. Yes, I have a scooter....IT ROCKS!

I'll post some photos soon...


Friday, February 6, 2009


For those of you racing at the Tritonman Triathlon here in San Diego on February 21st, I will see you there! I'll be announcing for the race, for the third year in a row. This year should be a lot of fun!

Hope to see you out there....


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Promised photos from plane ride

I promised some photos from the emergency landing on my flight out to Chicago. I was sitting right off the left wing, with the engine which lost all oil pressure and died. The above is a shot I took of our plane sitting out on the tarmac after they bused us to the terminal. My plane is the further of the two. The other plane is the one which landed before ours, another emergency landing. They had smoke in the cabin of the plane!!! Makes me feel like we had it easy.

When we landed in Amarillo, Texas there were rescue vehicles and trucks waiting for us.

Interesting to say the least...


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New Max Sports and Fitness Issue Article

In the latest issue of Max Sports and Fitness, there is an article and photo of me, as a contributor to training and racing for Ironmans. The cover has Michellie Jones on it, and in the article is the photo of me.

You can read the article at their website here:


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Word to the wise....Don't...

do this....(warning, the following video may not be suitable for all audiences)...