First things first. Yes, I fixed a flat last night. Mostly.

I struggled and klutzed around for around 24 minutes.  My technique was poor and clumsy, but ultimately I did take out one tube and insert another while putting on the tire without using tire irons.  I am proud of myself for that.  Unfortunately, I couldn't inflate the tire though.  My air pump is in the car that currently sits at my dad's auto repair shop.  I used a CO2 cartridge but that didn't take b/c I think the valve stem isn't protruding through the wheel enough.  I may have to insert another tube with a deeper stem.  Either way, I'm eager to see on Sunday morning if I correctly fixed the flat.  Even if I'm slow, I know I can continue to improve over the next several weeks with practice.

I know I can't get much worse!  Or can I?

Now, onto this morning's workout.  Sort of.

Yeah, sure, I ran almost 15 miles this morning on the smelly, hilly trails of Griffith Park.  But really, who cares about that.

My iPhone 4 is here, ready and operational!

I've spent the greater part of the summer and now fall with a pay-as-you-go T-mobile phone.  Is there such a thing as a functional piece of junk?  I've now officially joined the 21st century!  I can be like the cool kids once and for all!  I look forward to walking around as nothing but a silhouette with neon colors all around me as I bop and rock to my favorite hipster tunes.  Star Wars lightsaber app, here I come!  Fart noise app?  Yep, sign me up!  Training Peaks and any other number of triathlon-related apps, OMG I can't wait!

I haven't been this excited about racing as I have been about getting my iPhone.  I'm practically jumping for joy.  Except my legs wont' allow it after all that climbing this morning.

Back to this morning for a moment.  Running with my buddy Joe truly turned what could have been another mental slog into a joyful, fun experience.  We chatted for the first 1.5 hours of my 2.25-hour run.  We covered off on nutrition, race strategy, training schedules, lessons learned and all the other things that can occupy a triathletes mind.  Joe is going through some of the same things I did earlier in the year, so I hope I can be a good resource for him as he continues to grow as a triathlete.  After puttering along with me, Joe then took off for an hour of tempo work .  I still had another 45 minutes of solo hills work.  I didn't mind at all though, as just having someone to keep me company for a little while completely transformed my mental outlook.  Plus, I changed my normal route to include some trails I hadn't run since this past spring.  Felt good to shake things up a bit.  And that's coming from a creature of habit.

This Sunday, I'll have even more great company on my bike ride.  Frank will be joining me, as usual.  He's been a huge help this entire year whether he knows it or not.  Not sure where I'd be without him.  But Caleb is also going to join me.  Just to lend his support as well.  Caleb's Ironman is done this year, so he's literally coming out to help push me along.  He's been consistently reading the blog and commenting for the better part of the last six months.  If there's been any one new friend I've made through this sport that's helped me the most with perspective and inspiration, it's been Caleb.  Yes, athletes such as Coach Gerardo have helped me immeasurably to become a better triathlete.  And my Fortius friends have pushed me to be my best while enjoying the journey.  But Caleb, as a pro triathlete and all-around great guy, has helped me comprehend and accept that what I'm going through is totally normal -- even the best of the pros go through the cycle of fatigue, burnout, exhaustion, etc.  Without that knowledge and support -- knowing that I'm not some wussy whiner who can't hack it all the time -- maybe I would have succumbed to the fatigue instead of powering through it.  That's simply priceless.

I thought getting to my first Ironman would mostly be a solo journey. It would be me against the elements and my own body.

How wrong I was.

Without the support of others -- coaches, athletes, friends and family -- I wouldn't come close to Ironman Arizona.

And now, one very special little phone device with a million little apps that are waiting to be downloaded.

56 days and counting.