There Are Two Kinds of Cyclists...

If you're an avid triathlete or cyclist, I'm sure you've heard this phrase at least once on a group ride: "There are two kinds of cyclists; those who have crashed...and those who haven't crashed yet."

I remember the first time I heard that phrase. It was a group ride with the San Fernando Valley Bike Club, a crusty group of veteran cyclists who didn't have much interest in teaching a new kid like myself how to ride properly. I was mostly ignored...and dropped.

Read More

Feelin' You?

In LA sports broadcasting, there's a laughable legend named Vic "The Brick" Jacobs.  Thick Noo Yawk accent.  Dresses in bizarre fashion.  Jewish Buddhist.  Laker fan for Life.

I love the guy.  I'll admit it.

His catch phrase is "Feelin' You!"  It's what he practically yells into the radio mic when fans call in to his shows.  It's his way of acknowledging his fans' presence, energy, and support.

Read More

The Best Tribute I Can Offer

My grandmother is sick. In fact, she's dying after a frustrating, heartbreaking battle with Alzheimer's Disease.  She's suffered from it for a few years now, going from someone who didn't need a calculator to maintain the books at my family's business for 50-plus years to not knowing who any of us are. Of course, I remember many things about her, which I shared with her recently in a note I have no idea whether she understood let alone internalized. Yet we do these things not as much for the ill as for the living. Fortunately, my grandmother instilled in me her tough work ethic, never quit, never settle for anything less than the "A" mentality.  That's what leads me to this past Saturday's inaugural HITS series Olympic triathlon in La Quinta.

Read More

Reflections of IMAZ 2010

One year ago today, I arrived in Tempe, Arizona, scared and excited to reach a yearlong quest to become an Ironman. My feelings then are still so vivid now.  The unabashed pride entering the Athlete Registration tent and Body Marking tent.  I never wanted that paint to wear off my arms and legs.  I remember how I knew I belonged in that tent and there was no place else on the planet I'd rather be in that moment.

Read More

What Gives?

You know you haven't blogged in a while when you forget the password to your own site!  (But I did write a piece recently for my buddy Jim Gourley's blog.  You can check it out here!) First off, I expect nobody to read this.  I don't blame anyone for that but myself.  I took people on a journey -- one that I'm very proud of after re-reading my entries from more than a year ago -- and then I abandoned whatever audience I had accumulated. I needed a break, plain and simple.  I needed more free time.  Time with my now-wife.  Time with friends and family I had also abandoned at times in pursuit of my own Ironman quest.

Read More

Losing My Fitness

So this is what it's like to be a "retired" athlete. Now that the Official Wedding Countdown Clock is ticking loudly, I've noticed that my workouts are becoming fewer and farther between.  What used to be a 1.5 hour trail run has become a 30-minute jog around the block.  A 1.5 hour bike ride at Griffith Park has become a one hour (albeit quite intense) session on my new CompuTrainer.  About the only thing I've kept up with is my swimming, on strict orders from Coach Gerardo that I get in the pool four times a week to work on improving technique.  I've even failed at that, hitting three swim sessions a week appears to be my ceiling at the moment.

Read More

Defining a Legacy

I was listening to sports radio (Colin Cowherd) this morning on the way to the final day of E3, the video games industry mega-trade show. He was talking about an Orlando Sentinel newspaper column that indicated LeBron James' entire career legacy would be defined by his performance in tonight's Dallas-Miami NBA Finals game. It got me thinking. Are we as triathletes defined by our event performance? Or one event in particular? If I fail at Ironman Coeur d'Alene does that mean my triathlon career is a failure? What about all the hard work that is poured into getting to that moment? Does it not mean a thing?

I think not!

Only the person creating the legacy ought to define the legacy. With his or her own imprint. And that imprint is made with the hundreds upon hundreds of hours of training -- whether for school, or work or sports.

Then, I got to imagining what it would be like to wake up the next day after a poor Ironman performance and read all about it in the blogs and news sites. That my legacy is defined by that moment. That would be tough to overcome. I guess it all comes down to expectations, and internalizing others' expectations instead of focusing on one's own goals. This is an important point for all us triathletes (and my fellow IM CDA competitors) to remember in the coming weeks. No matter what happens on race day, we all put in the hard work to get to that moment. Sure, it's disappointing not to hit the time goal you trained for -- I know, I've been there. But it doesn't mean your "legacy" has to be tarnished. Your legacy is reaching high for a goal, sticking with it, FINISHING the race and still being known forever as an Ironman.

THAT is our legacy. Nobody can take that from us.

17 days and counting.

PS: This is my run data from this past Sunday with Jason. Jason, this should help give you an idea of why the Garmin 310x rocks!

450th Blog Post

I wrote my 450th blog post last night. Surprisingly, I have little to say about it.  Today was an ordinary day of training. An hour of hilly interval running on a treadmill, followed later by an hour strength session with Shannan.  Followed by a massage tonight with David from LA Body Mechanics.

What started off as a bizarre, frustrating, confounding, taxing ritual has become routine for me.  An everyday habit.  A lifestyle.  I rarely think about it anymore, how what seems like an insane amount of training to most people has become "just another training day" for me.  And I don't mean that to sound boastful in any way.  It's just an observation.

I never thought the day would come when 2-3 hours a day of training during the week would just be normal.  But it is.  And yet in a month's time, it may come to an end.

I'm not sure I'm ready for that.  I've become wed to this lifestyle, some might say addicted.  I wake up every day with a sense of purpose and passion to take care of myself and push just a little harder to go faster, or be stronger than the day before.  Each day fuels the next.

Tomorrow morning, I'm getting up at 5 a.m. to do a three-hour brick before work.  I'm not looking forward to waking up early, but what really bums me out in a weird way is that on June 27, the day after Ironman Coeur d'Alene, I won't have any reason for the rest of the summer or fall to wake up early to train.  No races on the calendar.  Just me, my conditioning, and lots of time.

I'm worried my life is going to go from 90 miles an hour to what feels like 20. Of course, I'm definitely looking forward to spending a lot more time with Stephanie, my family and my friends.  I love that aspect of "Family and Friends First" that will become my mantra again at least through the fall. I just wonder if I'll hold out that long from resuming training.  I've adopted a lifestyle I truly love, yet it's not necessarily a balanced one.

Finding the point of harmony between two worlds may be my focus for the next 450 blog posts.  I'm sure that balance exists.  But this iron mad man hasn't found it yet.

After 450 blog posts, I'm definitely a work in progress.  But the person I was at Post 1 is far different than the person typing before you at this moment.

What would I tell my "Post 1" self if I could send him a note?

I think I would look at him, smile, and laugh just a little while shaking my head.

"Dude, you have no idea."

27 days and counting.

Where the Heck I've Been...

Where have I been? Where haven't I been since the last time I wrote?

This video blog attempts to explain!

Also, here's my Garmin data from the Palos Verdes Half Marathon, in context now with how I chose to run the race.

It's good to be back!

37 days and counting!

Sizing it Up

I'm  in Paso Robles at the La Quinta Inn with my friends Chris, Tia and Mike, winding down our preparations for tomorrow's Wildflower Long Course triathlon.  It's 8:30 p.m. and we're going to bed for a 5:15 a.m. wakeup call.

It's been an exhausting two days.  Yesterday, I took the day off from work to focus on race prep and getting my head straight.  Instead, I worked from home and completed two upcoming articles for Lava Magazine Online -- one of them ironically dedicated to stress management.  I went to bed last night cranky, tired and felt bad because I took it out on Stephanie.  It's the taper, I told myself.  But still, there's really no excuse to be a brat.

My mood continued through this morning, when I rushed out the door in a blur after submitting both articles and arriving late for our scheduled 9 a.m. caravan time.  I was frazzled and couldn't have been further from my desired mental place a day before racing.  I needed quiet time. Badly.

However, when you travel with a group anywhere, that's not what you're going to get.  So, taking a lesson from one of the professional triathletes I interviewed for the stress column, I controlled the situation as best I could and got quiet within my own mind.  I thought about what I could do to have a great race, the important steps to enjoying a great race.  For once, I tried not to think about hitting a specific timeframe, which is difficult for someone as competitive as I am.

While I'm not sure how this approach will play out tomorrow, I do know it helped me today once my group and I entered the Wildflower expo area. G-d and G-dess bodies abound at the lake.  Everyone is ripped, dressed in their pre-race compression gear and looking ready to absolutely crush the course.  My friends noticed several competitors and called them out to each other, questioning whether they could beat them.  I remained silent.  I can't control their performance.  Or anyone else's but mind.  It doesn't matter who's faster than me.  What matters is did I run the best race I could, and how can I ensure I achieve my potential.

I am nervous for tomorrow morning.  Who isn't before a big race?  But I feel prepared.  I know I belong here, along with the athletes who might look the part better than I do and even talk the talk better.  I am aware, but I am not afraid.

So for once, instead of sizing up the competition, I'm simply sizing up myself.  And, despite a hectic two days preceding the race, I like what I see.

58 days and counting.