Hanging out in trash bags before the 2009 Chicago Marathon to help keep warm from the 33 degree near freezing starting line temp.
I would not be writing this blog if it weren't for my friend Kurt (pictured on the right). Five or so years ago he prevented any polite way for me to say I didn't think I could do a half Ironman by deftly removing any excuse I could come up with for saying no:
Rich, "I don't have a bike."
Kurt, "No problem you can ride my old Fuji."
Rich, "It's too far isn't it?"
Kurt, "I did it! What...are you a wimp?"
Rich, "I don't know about the swim."
Kurt, "It's fun, you'll like it. Didn't you used to have your WSI?"
So Kurt's Sam I am tenacity finally won me over, although I really did want to do it. I was just intimidated by the task if I remember correctly. Everyone should have a Kurt to show them what to do for a first time triathlon (or a second or a third). I remember seeing him wearing one of those long pointy helmets for the bike. To me it looked like moon-man fashion through my runner's eyes. I still had my number pinned to my chest, road race style, because I didn't know what a race belt was. That first 70.3 I also did the bike leg in toe clips and running shoes too. I counted only two other people with toe clips that year @ Steelhead. My feet were burning up! I soon learned that there was a reason behind every seemingly strange triathlon innovation. The next year of course I had my race belt and Speedplay pedals and cleats. Kurt and I ran cross country and track together in college and he is still faster than me. In fact, after doing Steelhead in 2009, he went on to qualify for Boston two months later that year in the Chicago Marathon! I have yet to qualify for Boston. Besides being a great athlete, anyone who knows Kurt knows how sarcastic and combative he can be. I thought maybe that was changing a bit as we both approach 50. A few days before Christmas this year I found a package in the mail from Kurt. He had sent me his old aero helmet. Later, on the phone, he told me not to get too excited, "I'm only giving it to you so I don't have to stand around so long waiting for you after I'm done." There we go, that's the Kurt I know. Now I can be a moon-man too.
Friday, December 30, 2011
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
|So Exciting! But will I like them more than my Asics?|
Friday, December 23, 2011
|On the bus with the team going to some XC meet or other.|
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
from what I've read, the medical folks are now paying attention to sarcopenia the way they have been looking at osteoporosis for years. Osteoporosis I've heard of, sarcopenia is a new one on me. They appear to be related. So the big cure for this type of muscle degeneration is to do some simple resistance training or working out with weights. Something I've been planning on doing for...oh, about three years now. I just have to go in the basement and actually do it.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Well I'm quite happy to be listed on one of the hippest triathlon sites out there. Real people with real jobs talking about what it is to live with Ironman dreams. I had run across the site before I started my own blog and noticed that it was populated with not only coaching and elite advice but also the reflections of people I've run into while doing triathlons. You know. That person you run with for 3 or four miles because you're feeling about the same way and you help each other along...and then either you or the other person breaks away towards the finish line. Or that person you talk to in the transition area next to you while you're both waiting for the event to begin, but your friend you came to the race with is two rows away from you where their bike is racked . I call them "mini-friendships".
TriCrowd has interesting featured bloggers and good deals on tri-gear through their associated web site called Trinero.com: (think Triathlon + Dinero). I haven't found another triathlon specific site out there that really fills the niche that TriCrowd does. Check 'em out! (And don't forget to scroll down on the right hand side of the page and look for the "More Triathlon Blogs," that's where I am.)
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Blogspot blogger says. I gave up Diet Coke this Fall because I told my cross country team that I didn't want them drinking any soda during the season (we call it "pop" in Michigan, but I guess we're actually the odd ones in that regard) and that I would give up drinking Diet Coke so that I was giving up something too. It turned out to be easier than I thought and I do feel much better but I don't know if it contributed in any way to my weight loss or not. I just figured that all those chemicals on a daily basis couldn't be a good thing. I've replaced the daily Diet Coke with Naked brand "Green Machine" or Odwalla "Superfood" smoothies (in spite of seeing Soylent Green in the '70's) or those little V8 V-Fusion juice blends. I feel quite virtuous about this too. I feel like I'm doing my body a favor. So that IS one thing I neglected to mention last time. I doubt I could measure speed gain in my next race from quitting Diet Coke but it sure can't hurt. Plus it made my daughter happy.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
I’ll let someone not known for his prowess in endurance sports finish this morning’s post:
“All endeavor calls for the ability to tramp the last mile, shape the last plan, endure the last hours toil. The fight to the finish spirit is the one... characteristic we must posses if we are to face the future as finishers.” Henry David Thoreau
I wonder if Thoreau ever had steel cut oats for breakfast when he was hanging out on Emerson's property on the north shore of Walden pond?
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
I was sitting in Mr. Hauser's algebra class where I usually read either Sports Illustrated (SI) or Hot Rod Magazine when I was done with my assignment...or maybe instead of it occasionally. On one particular day I was reading an unusually long article (10 pages) in SI about this new-fangled endurance event in Hawaii. It seemed really cool. I had just started running marathons and I wondered what else was out there to test myself against. There was the 100 mile Western States Run I had read about in The Runner (NOT Runner's World) and then there was this "other" thing called Ironman. I liked the fact that the trophy was just a little handmade nuts and bolts guy. Such a humble token for such a gargantuan effort. Anyway that "Ironman Dream" went into my head and heart and it has been residing there until the time when I could actively pursue it. It seems so strange how long you have to wait to do some of those things you've always wanted to do. I recently heard someone quip, "Make sure you chase your dreams while you're still young enough to catch them." Fair enough. Well Barry McDermott's article is history now but I never forgot it. Now of course, that race I read about in SI has become the Ironman World Championship: "Kona" and the Word Triathlon Corporation (WTC) has formed to push a "brand" etc. And I think all that is fine because I do appreciate my LAVA subscription and I've had nothing but good experiences from doing WTC sanctioned events but my dream came from 1979. Just a small group of people pushing themselves well beyond current norms and for some reason I've been waiting, ever since I sat reading magazines in algebra class, to do the same thing. I guess the '69 Camaro "Backyard Buildup" will just have to stay on hold a little longer.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
The main triathlon I've been going to every year for my annual gut-check is a wonderful event in Benton Harbor, Michigan called Steelhead. The first time I went in 2008 they canceled the swim which was good because I didn't have a wet suit. I was the ONLY one who didn't and I remember thinking "Wow, look at those white caps. Man, this water is cold." I seem to remember some people drowning at some other triathlon event the previous weekend elsewhere in the US too. I don't think I even did one open water swim to prepare myself, just pool work. So...God looks out for fools and middle aged men who regularly overestimate their own abilities to endure physical challenges. I remember also thinking that the whole "clip-on cycling shoe thing" was a little over the top for me as well. Of course I was wrong on both accounts. I post these times not as a badge of honor because really they're not terribly good, but just to show how much skin I have in the game leading up to Ironman Wisconsin. And of how far I have to go so I don't get yanked off the course. There are of course a few stories to tell about these races as well. In the end however I treasure these experiences for the valuable lessons they've taught me. Should anyone want a fantastic, well run, scenic 70.3 event to do, you can't do any better than Ironman Steelhead in Michigan.