Friday, December 7, 2007
$500 is not just the pricetag for 1 day of racing. I will start training for IMAZ in June or July. I will spend hundreds of hours with my friends riding up the coast (or in circles on Fiesta Island). I will cry with them when in pain, and celebrate with them when we've completed a tough workout. For 6 months, the group of us will eat, sleep and breath swimming, biking and running. We will experience things in those 6 months, both personally, and as a group, that will teach us more about ourselves than we ever thought we could learn. All of this will lead to, what in my mind, will be one of the happiest moments in my life...Mike Reilly saying that I am an Ironman on November 23. The fact that I am 11.5 months away from raceday, and that thought gives me shivers....I think that's worth $500.
Here's another good point on Ironman costs from Bob Babbitt....great read.
Dear Tri Clubbers………..
If it’s okay, I would like to add my voice to the Ironman conversation. I have heard the Ironman bashing over the years for everything from high entry fees to the lack of elite and age group race coverage on the TV show to the fact that each year a celebrity is placed into the event and did not have to qualify like the rest of us.
As someone who has been rather intimately involved in the multisport world since 1980, I feel that what Ironman brings to the table is constantly overlooked:
How many of the people out there first heard about the sport of triathlon when they saw the Ironman coverage on television? Get those hands up high. The coverage from Kona was exciting and incredibly well produced, the scenery was amazing and who doesn’t get excited hearing Phil Liggett or Al Trautwig wax poetic about the desolation of the lava fields? Hell, Liggett can order lunch and I’d get excited. I get chills thinking about some of the classic coverage right now. The fact that we all met amputee Jim MacLaren, father of the century Dick Hoyt, everyone’s hero Jon “Blazeman” Blais and amputee Sarah Reinertsen through those shows told us that anyone and everyone could accomplish this amazing feat. All it took was guts and will and a never say die attitude.
We then pushed away from our large everything pizza with extra cheese, somehow got ourselves out of the recliner and vowed to try one of those tri-ath-alon things one of these days.
We did and it changed our lives forever. We made new friends, changed the way we looked and felt about ourselves and became better parents, employers, employees and people.
We learned from that show that all anyone with a disability wants is a chance and an equal playing field. Ironman-and the triathlon lifestyle-makes that available to each and every one of us not matter what our limitations 365 days a year.
The Ironman has been producing GREAT television since the mid 1980’s. And you know what? They PAY a ridiculous amount for that television. And in my mind, the Ironman has been paying for all of the public relations for the sport of triathlon right from the beginning. They win Emmy awards for that television coverage and the athletes who are showcased on that show become stars.
Even though you are now a seasoned triathlete and have placed in your division a time or two, you know that that show was the reason you became a triathlete to begin with. So where do you place value when it comes to an event that believes enough in us to fund the PR to grow not just the Ironman, but the entire sport?
When people are chosen as Kona lottery winners, the Ironman creates and funds a PR campaign around at least 30 of those athletes and surprises the winners at home or at work with a local TV media member. Most of these folks break down when they find out they have been selected to be in the Super Bowl of Triathlon and for many it is a highlight of their life. I’m not quite sure if they break down because they are so happy they have been selected, or because they are scared crapless and know the how tough that day is going to be. The PR machine is there at the race in Kona as well. They identify athletes from different markets, get on- camera interviews before and after the race with each of these folks, film the local hero swimming, cycling, running and finishing and put all of that up on the satellite so that their local station can look like they actually took the time and effort to film their guy or gal and put them on TV. Nope, Ironman funds all of that, which again drives new people to our sport.
Without the Ironman TV coverage, I don’t think triathlon makes it into the Olympics in 2000. Ironman licensed events in Japan and Germany and New Zealand and Australia provided the impetus for the creation of short course events around the world. It was only then that triathlon was able to become part of the Olympic family. Triathlon was actually the first event of the Sydney Games and the producer of that coverage, Lisa Lax, had been the producer of the Ironman for many years for NBC. Lisa and NBC loved the Ironman, loved triathlon and pushed for that event to kickoff their coverage, which was exceptional. If the name Lisa Lax is familiar, it’s because a few years later Lisa and her twin sister Nancy created the amazing documentary Emmanuel’s Gift and told the story about a young man from Ghana who was motivated to ask CAF for a bike because he was inspired by a former Ironman by the name of Jim MacLaren.
Ironman probably doesn’t do a good enough job blowing their own horn about everything they do for the sport of triathlon. I know that completing the Ironman for the first time in 1980 changed me forever and whatever the cost is for entry into this incredibly exclusive club is minor compared to what we all get for being a member in good standing of this amazing fraternity and sorority.
It’s easy to look at someone else’s business and feel they make too much money and critique how they do their job. Do you really know what Ironman pays for insurance in this incredibly litigious world? Public relations? Their NBC television show? How much work do they do in Tempe or Panama City or Madison to become part of the community, to get kids into fitness, to promote the sport of triathlon to people who never heard of it before?
When people call our office and tell me they want to put on an event of any sort as a fundraiser for their charity, I always recommend that they look towards doing a car wash or a bake sale instead.
I say to them, “Do you really want to wake up on race day and know that you are personally responsible for the safety of 2,000 or more people?”
At that point selling pound cake sounds pretty good to them.
That is the burden all of our race directors must bare and it is a heavy one.
When you think about the Ironman, think beyond the events. Think about the joy that Ironman and triathlon has brought to your life and what the Ironman has done to provide a level playing field for wheelchair bound athletes, blind athletes and amputee athletes. At one time wheelchair athletes were told they could never complete the Ironman within the existing time cutoffs, especially the bike cutoff. John MacLean missed the bike cutoff two years in a row and made it on his third attempt. Then, Carlos Moleda went 10:55, not only making the cutoff times without a problem, but going faster than the able bodied athletes who won the Ironman had gone back in 1978 and 1979. That is called changing perceptions of what someone with a disability can accomplish.
The sport of mountain biking was hot in the 1990’s as was adventure racing. Both sports are nowhere near as big as they were back then. The fact that the sport of triathlon is still thriving after all these years has a ton to do with the constant investment made by the Ironman.
Ironman also has supported CAF to the nth degree right from our beginning with entries into a number of the events. The Kona spots have helped to raise over $1,000,000 for CAF.
I, for one, am eternally grateful for everything that Ironman brings to our world.
Sorry to go on for so long!
Co-founder Competitor Magazine
Co-founder Challenged Athletes Foundation
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Saturday, October 6, 2007
- Drove to MCRD in the am (AWESOME that it's only 1 mile from Pat's house)
- Explored the expo (good expo, 2 beer companies)
- Met up w/ my team (Run DMC) Court and Farah, and met my other 2 team members Kelly and Karla. Put on our cute tank tops that Farah and Court made
- Got our pic taken by a tank w/ a hot 18 year-old Marine
- Stretched/enjoyed the sunny day
- Listened to a Marine Corps jazz band play at the start line to pump us up
- Started the 3 mile obstacle course (jumped over hay bales, climed over log posts and made 8 ft. jumps, dropped and gave 10...twice. squatted through tunnels, etc.)
- Finished race, felt pretty good (as an endurance athlete, 3 miles actually feels a little short now) Time = 30:50
- Started driving home, then got a call from Courtney saying that our team had won 3rd place. Out of 16 teams! WHOA! Didn't expect that! Go Us! Check out the trophy we won (coming soon)!
All in all, fun day, fun race. Will hopefully do it again.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Mmmmm.....some of Don's famous meat. This stuff rocks!!!
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Pic below is of some great race recovery....This stuff was great!!
Thursday, August 30, 2007
As always, there was some great food afterwards....including Strawberry Shortcakes a la Elizabeth D. Yummy!
Sunday, August 19, 2007
The morning started out at Pat's house. He only lives a couple miles away from Balboa Park (race finish/parking) so staying with him earned me an extra 20 minutes of sleep-in time. Pat and I parked at the zoo and then boarded the bus to Cabrillo National Monument for the start of the point to point course. We both stretched, went to the bathroom, stretched again....you know the drill.
Before the start, we ran into Jen Yake and Tim Neuschwander (as well as a couple other friends). Jen and I ran the entire race together last year, so we decided to start out the same this year. We started out at a nice pace (8:15 or so) for the first couple miles. My body was feeling ok, especially with the downhill portions. I stayed with Jen for the first 6 miles, and then I knew there was no way I could hold her pace for the rest of the race. Oh well. Miles 6-10 take you onto Harbor Island, and then along the Embarcadero. The crappy thing about this is that you're heading directly into the sun for most of this. It was HOT! At most aid stations, I sipped some water, and then poured 1 or 2 cups over my head. It was good to keep the head and body cool.
Around mile 9, my friend Eric caught up with me. We ran about 2 miles together and then reached the final hill of the course....where he dropped me pretty solidly. I had forgotten how painful the end of this race is....mile 11 -12.5, when you are completely depleted, are basically all uphill. Yuck. See the race profile below....
I finished the race in 1:55:57 which is a 8:51 pace. I was about a minute slower than last year, but was ok with that. With the heat, and a half ironman coming up, I had no need to push it too hard.
After a great big breakfast, I spent the rest of the afternoon drinking beers on the beach w/Pat and my brother, Ben, who was in town visiting. Now that's some nice recovery!
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Friday, July 6, 2007
Sunday, July 1, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
- He took the time to get to know everyone he met on a personal level. He knew that since I was a Michigan alum, there would be nobody better to sell me my new bike than Mike Drury (a frickin' Buckeye)...yes he had a good sense of humor like that.
- Other than running TCSD and his wetsuit rental business, he really could've capitalized on his "matchmaking" services if he wanted to. He was always looking out for new or single members in the club and trying to set them up with other new or single members. It wasn't random though, he really went to great thought about who he set people up with. At every event, he was always introducing people to eachother whether for dates or for friendship.
- Jim was great at getting people to "volunteer" for things. I don't know how he did it so easily, but one day you're talking to Jim, the next day you're coordinating a big TCSD event, or running his wetsuit booth. I was actually telling him last week that I needed to take lessons from him! His influencing skills could get me far in the Corporate world.
- Speaking of the corporate world, Jim was all about starting your own business. I can't even count how many silly conversations we had that included him telling me to leave the Corporate lifestyle (i.e. stop traveling to Bakersfield!!!) and come up with a marketable idea so I could work for myself.
- Jim was an extremely giving person. Whether it was giving advice on triathlon stuff, giving you contacts to help you get to the next step on your endeavors, or giving you a discount on a wetsuit, giving to others made Jim happy.
This past Saturday night, Jim and his wife Dee Dee invited the entire Tri Club to their house for a bbq (yes, all 1700 people). Yes, crazy!!! Luckily for their neighbors, not all 1700 showed up, but I was one of the lucky ones that did. I'm not a very philosophical person (I'm not even sure if I spelled that right), and unless it includes numbers (you know, the engineer thing), I don't really try to overanalyze things either, but in retrospect, you almost have to think that that gathering happened for a reason. He had one last opportunity to spend time with so many people that he cared about and that cared about him.
That night, Jim gave me a tour of their house and we ended up on their rooftop balcony overlooking the coast, their pool, and the party below. I joked that if I lived there, I would be naked the entire time because of the secluded nature of their yard (No hideous bike short tan lines!). We also chatted about how awesome it was to get a group of people together like this for food and fun. That was Jim. You could talk to him about everything and anything, but mostly it was about enjoying life and living life to its fullest....which he did.
So, back to the title of this blog. I want to thank Jim.
Thanks for making a midwesterner feel at home out here in California. Thank you for inspiring so many of us to do things we never thought we could, and encouraging us to embrace this "triathlon" lifestyle. And thank you for building and being part of this family we call TCSD.
We'll miss you...
A couple of articles on Jim's life:
Friday, June 15, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
2. A DNF is not the end of the world. Yes, I was sad not to finish, but I knew I gave it my all. An experience like this just makes me more determined to kick that race's ass next year.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Saturday, June 9, 2007
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Got to Oceanside somewhere around 5am. Parking wasn't bad, but it was about a mile from transition. Luckily we all had our bikes to ride. It was really bizarre to see so many people riding their bikes in pitch black. It was also pretty crazy to hear how quiet it was.....everyone thinking about the long day ahead.
(1.2 Miles - 42:14)
The swim is by far my weakest link in triathlon. One of these days I'll join a Master's program and get faster. The water was cold to begin with (as expected). I think someone said it was 59 degrees. Better than the 55 degree water I heard about last year. For such a long swim, it turned out to be pretty brutal. With waves going off every 3-4 minutes, I was swimming over, getting kicked by , and running into people for almost the entire time. It seemed like I was always in the pack. After the turn-around, things opened up a bit. This was primarily due to the fact that we were swimming directly into the sun and nobody could see the buoys or the person in front of them. Good times. I made it out of the water, and heard the announcer say my name. Pretty cool feature for these big races....sophisticated timing chips! Off to T1!
T1 started with a long (1/8 mile at least) run to the back of transition, and then back to my rack. My feet were pretty frozen, so it really hurt to run. I saw my friend's Brian and Mary while I was running. It's great to have such a large race in your home-area. Lots of people to cheer for you! I made it back to my bike and started taking off my wetsuit. One of the volunteers offered to help. I'll know better next time. instead of pulling from the top, she bunched most of my wetsuit onto my calf. Ahhhhh! Painful calf cramp! That sucked! I massaged it for a couple seconds, and then got my bike and took off .
(56 miles - 3:02:54)
Other than my calf cramp, I went into my bike feeling pretty good. I opted to leave my armwarmers behind, and am glad I did. The sun warmed me up pretty quickly. I knew the first 25 miles of this course like the back of my hand, fairly flat and fast. I had to concentrate on pacing myself. At about mile 4, I passed my friend Helena. My predictions were right. Her wave started 8 minutes after mine, but I knew she would beat me out of the water. Super fast swimmer! I think she beat my swim time by about 9 minutes. I have a little bit of an edge on her on the bike, so I was able to catch up to her. I knew that would all end on the run though. It is so great to have competitive friends that make you better!!! One day I will beat you Helena, one day!! :)
I did get to see some other friends on the bike as well. I saw Julia on the out and back portion on Las Pulgas (she was a few minutes behind me), and then again at mile 30 when she passed me. I saw Raja, and then Stacy around mile 20 when they passed me. They started 8 minutes behind me as well. They are both super strong on the bike, so I expected them to pass me as well.
At mile 30, phase 2 of the bike started...Hills! The back side of Pendleton was something I hadn't seen before (closed off to Civilians), so I didn't really know what to expect for the hills. Jim Vance had mentioned that the first hill was a short version of the inside of Torrey. B.S.!!!! Sure, it was short, but steep as hell! I saw a few people walking their bikes at this point. I'm happy I did do all of those Torrey repeats. My legs were strong enough to get through. The other 2 hills were really no big deal (especially compared to Baja last year).
The final 10 miles were flat with a little bit of a headwind. At this point, I knew that if I could maintain a 20 mph pace, I could beat 3 hours. It would be close. With about 6 miles left, I knew I'd just miss my target. I had been dropping to 18-19, and didn't want to kill my legs to stay at 20 before the run. I was still happy with my time though. I was hoping to beat 3:15 and I beat that by almost 13 minutes.
Nutrition on the bike went well....accelerade (yuck), gatorade am, gatorade endurance, clif mojo bar, power bar, clif shot bloks, jelly belly sports beans. In all, I think I got about 700-750 calories in me. Next time I'll know to get a few more (see run section).
Quick and easy, nothing to tell here
(13.1 miles - 2:01:43)
Ahhh, the run. The final leg. The good thing about the run is that you can walk it if you really need to. Of course I was hell bent not to walk. The run started off good...I felt really strong. I saw my friend Jen on the sidlines, and my friend Paul taking pictures. So nice having friends there to cheer you on. After about 3/4 of a mile, I caught up to Julia, ran with her for a couple minutes, and then took off. By the time my run started (around 11:30 am) the sun was really starting to beat down. It was probably only 70 degrees at the most, but when you're running, it feels like a whole lot more. At every aid station, they had sponges soaked in ice cold water. This was great! I'd grab 2 and put them under my shoulder straps of my tri-suit. Whenever I was feeling too warm, I'd just squeeze! :)
The run was 2 loops along the coast in Oceanside. Once again, familiar territory. When I lived in Oceanside, I ran here a couple times a week. With a 2 loop run, you get to pass your friends a couple of times. I couldn't let any of them see me walk! So I kept running. I felt pretty good on the first loop. The second loop was a different story. I really didn't want to eat anything on the run, so I mixed it up with liquids at each aid station (water, gatorade, coke). By mile 9, I was hurting. My hip flexors hurt, and I was starting to bonk. I was so out of it at that point that I didn't even think of eating. Plus, my stomach was a mess, so eating may not have been a good idea anyway. I'd have to say, the last 4 miles of that race were the most painful miles I have ever run. I just kept at it though, one foot after the other. I know I can break 6 hours. Just make it to the finish line! With about 1/4 of a mile left, I could see the finish line and hear the announcer. I was almost there and I started sprinting (or at least what felt like a sprint). I did it! :) 5:53:03!!!!! (The time shown to the right was the time from the first wave start - 49 minutes before my wave)
Upon crossing the finish-line, I picked up my finishers t-shirt, medal, and hat, and then saw my friend Darrell. Darrell is a guy I ride with on Saturday mornings, and he was volunteering at the race. He came right over to me in the finisher's shoot, made sure I could walk and gave me a great big hug. I started bawling. I sooo wanted to break 6 hours, and I did it pretty soundly. It was so great to have a friend there to celebrate with me.
After chatting with Darrell for a bit, I headed straight for the food tent and scarfed down 2 slices of pizza and a coke, and headed back to transition to share war stories with my friends.