Monday, September 10, 2007

Method To The Madness

I found a great way to work out down here in the Valley of the Sun. I hate to wake up early, but I hate the summer heat even more. After hearing that the temperature was going to rise above 111 degrees I knew I would have to wake up very early to get in my scheduled workout. I have been working riding and running at night, but even at midnight it is not uncommon for temperature to be greater than 100 degrees.

I have discovered that my body does not do well in the heat. We all remember the Rocky Point Triathlon nightmare in Mexico last may. My heart rate is about 12-15 beats lower per minute if I am out of the heat.

With this being said I woke up at 3am and was riding by 3:30am. It felt great and I was able to cycle better in the cooler weather. I was able to keep my RPM’s at 95, go faster than my typical workout, and go further without totally exhausting myself.

I really enjoyed the ride, and afterwards I headed down to Tempe to meet up with a couple guys from the marathon group and ran a few miles with them. I was back home by 8:30am with two great workouts under my belt. All I had to worry about for the entire rest of the day was what games to watch on the TV.

I can see many more very early workouts in the near future.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

It's Official

It is now official that the 95 RPM thing sucks, and I mean realy sucks! It is hard and I don't like it or appreciate it at all. I know that it will make me a better cyclist but it just isn't any fun. I gave it a chance.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Feel The Heat

It is a little warm down here in Phoenix, and when I say a little warm I mean it is scorching, boiling, baking, roasting, sweltering, sizzling, blazing, burning, and blistering hot!

Instead of melting in the unforgivable sun, I decided to run on the treadmill. It felt as through I was cheating with the cool air-conditioning, and I loved it. I was able to complete my planned four mile run with ease. My heart rate was lower than it usually is, and I did not feel as beat up as I usually do from running on the pavement. It felt great!

If I knew the change in the environment would have made such a large difference I would have bought myself a treadmill years ago. Now I am looking forward to another great run this afternoon at the gym on the same treadmill.

Am I giving myself some sort of false hope? Is there any reasons why I should not start running on the treadmills more often?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mid-Term Exam

Half way through my training for the SOMA Half-Iron, I am now starting to get comfortable with what I am doing.

The last two weeks have been spent getting in some great training. As you know it gets quite hot out here in Phoenix, so I have been working out super early in the morning and also a few short workouts at night. I try my best to stay away from the heat; 114 degrees can make for a long training session.

I now feel like I have a routine that I am finally comfortable with. Some days there is only one discipline to concentrate on, and other times there is a mixture of two. So far I have not reached the point where I feel I am being overwhelmed. I see the bigger picture now and things both physically and mentally are starting to fall in place, and it feels great.

Swim: I swim once a week at the lake. Two times a week I wake up at go to 5:45am masters swim practice. I am still swimming at 60%, but I am working at being more efficient with my body position and stroke. This will make my 60% faster any I will still have energy left in the tank for the rest of the race.

Bike: Once my strongest discipline, this is now where I need the most work. I have been working on en entire different pedal stroke. I am also working on keeping my cadence at 95 rpm. I ride four times a week including one spin class and one long (50+) ride a week. I am now a slower cyclist, but a better cyclist. After a few months with the proper pedal stroke and rpm count my speed should catch up and surpass my previous times.

Run: I am starting to gain confidence in the run again. There first miles are the hardest for me both physically and mentally. Once I break through the first couple miles I am able to stay on cruise control. My mind seems to wander during the run more then any other triathlon discipline. I run 4 times a week with varying distances and tempos. I do go long (10+) once a week, I should add that it is very slow.

Rest: My Rest Day rocks! I love the scheduled rest day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Click... Click... Click...

Things are starting to click. I am starting to feel really good about my workouts and feel I am making progress each time out. After two not so inspiring weeks I sat down with my sponsor/coach and we are both now re-committed to getting me to the finish line at the Ironman Arizona.

My coach hooked up a crazy machine to my new bike. The machine was called a compu-trainer and it measures the power output of a pedal stroke. On a screen the results are broadcast in real time. The data projected onto the screen confirmed that I have an awful pedal stroke, it is very inefficient and uses only one set of muscles. All of my power in my stroke is from pressing downward. Basically if you were looking at a clock I am trying to get from the 12 to the 6 without going through 1 to 5. To have a better pedal stroke I need to concentrate and work on a few important details.
1- Pedal in a full circle. Apply pressure all the way around, not just up and down.
2- Increase my cadence. I need to pedal with less resistance and have a higher rpm. I have been comfortable with an rpm in the mid 70’s, but to be a more efficient cyclist I will need to bring that up to 85-95 rpm.
3- Drop my heel. By doing this I will incorporate other leg muscles into my stroke.

My Monday night open water swim sessions at the lake have been fantastic. The water feels great and I am seeing improvement each week. By the way I didn’t get lapped last night by the faster swimmers!

I just feel really good right now.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

News...Big News...Huge News


A few of my friends and I meet up at the lake each Monday of an open water swim. There is a nice sheltered .5 mile loop that we like to swim around. We usually swim 2 loops, but on this day a few of the others decided to swim three loops totaling 1.5 miles. As I was swimming just about to finish my second loop I was passed by two of the swimmers. I had been lapped! Those two had finished their 3rd loop seconds before I finished my second. Oh the horror, the horror.


Since I injured my shoulder swimming last September 9th, almost a year ago, I have only been swimming at 60%. The doctor told me that swimming over 60% will tear apart my shoulder again. During my races and training I have been very conscious of the 60% and have been very careful. Lately I have been feeling great in the water, but I am really restricting the speed. The last year has been spent swimming slow, smooth, and steady. Now I want to kick it up a notch. How am I really supposed to know what 60% is? And if I feel great should I bump it up another 10 – 20 percent?

Big News:

I have joined the Masters Swimming Program at my local YMCA. The pool is awesome and huge. I think the structured swim workouts a couple times a week will greatly improve my endurance and efficiency in the water. I think this will really improve my stroke.


Do any of you use a swimmers snorkel or fins when you are training? Do they really help, or do they just sit in the garage and collect dust? Do they help, or do they create bad habits?

Huge News:

I have a new bike! I picked it up a few days ago and man is it fast. I think the black makes it go at least 2 mph faster. It is a very smooth and comfortable ride. I figure that it will take a couple hundred miles to get used to it, but putting on those miles should be a whole lot of fun.


What is the best way to condition yourself to stay in the aero-position for an extended amount of time.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Desperado Dual - Race Report

Desperado Dual


Both my brother and I are constantly looking for fun ways to meet up with each other. He lives in Salt Lake City, UT, and I live in Phoenix, AZ. The past two years we have been meeting in Tempe, AZ, for the SOMA Quarterman Triathlon. A couple months ago we decided to kick it up a notch and ride in a century bike ride. We both decided to ride in the Desperado Dual, a 106-mile loop through some breathtaking scenery.

One week before the race I received a phone call from my brother and he stated that he would not be able to participate in the ride. I was disappointed that I was not going to be hanging out with him over the weekend.

I had already paid for the event, so there was no way I was going to eat the hard earned $45 I laid down for registration. About 1-minute after hearing the bad news from my brother I called up Josh (my brother-in-law), and asked him if he would like to go on a nice bike ride. I tried to stay clear of letting him know the distance, but eventually he asked and I had to tell him. After I let him know it was over one hundred miles the line went silent. About a minute past before he responded saying that he would if he only had a road bike. “Gotcha,” I said to myself. I told him I would have my brother drop off his road bike and helmet later that night. Josh went on to say that he had only ridden a road bike one other time in his life and that was a 28-mile ride on flat terrain. I went on to tell him that if he can ride 28 miles the he certainly could go 106. With that he reluctantly said yes.

Getting There:

I picked up two of my friends (John and Marcia) and we loaded the bikes, coolers, and camping gear into the truck and headed out on our seven-hour journey that would pass through northern Arizona and into a town called Panguitch in central Utah. The new truck ran great and fit all of our gear easily even with the new shell over the bed. We were all grateful the shell was on the truck because it rained off and on throughout the entire day.

We stopped to fill up the truck in Page, AZ, and ate lunch at the local Denny’s. The three of us took about a fifteen-minute break to admire the beauty of Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam.

Three hours later we arrived at what would be out base camp for the weekend, the Panguich KOA. We met up with my parents, and my sister, and her husband, (my brother-in-law) Josh. Everyone stayed in little clean cabins besides John and Marcia, they decided to blow up an inflatable mattress and sleep in their tent.

The Race:
Or should I say ride? Yes, let’s call it a ride, because we certainly did not feel like racing anyone. The only thing racing on this day would be my heart rate. The race started at 7:00am sharp. We started at 7:12am sharp! That’s right; we started the ride late and never made up that lost time.

The first five miles were flat and I was doing OK. Then a hill came along, and I mean a big hill, and I got dropped. I suck at fighting gravity and going up hills. This is a weakness of mine and I know that I need to improve on the hills if I want to become even an average cyclist. The hill kept going and going, I mean this thing seemed to last forever. Finally 22 miles later I reached the summit at almost 8,000 feet of elevation.

My parents and Jodie were waiting at the summit with water and plenty of encouragement. It was great to see them there; they were a great help and kept me moving forward. The next stop was almost another 40 miles down the road; it was a long 40 miles. I did my best to keep the cadence in the mid 70’s, which is a comfortable pace tempo for me. Any lower then that and it takes a toll on my knees, any higher and I get winded. As I tried my best to keep my heart rate at 148 bpm and my cadence in the mid 70’s, I watched my three companions slowly pull away until they were out of site. The ride was through some amazing country with bright colors in the rock and the trees. I was really enjoying the ride past Bryce Canyon and the miles started to disappear one by one without much effort. The route goes through a steep narrow canyon called Black Canyon and I was able to reach 43 mph! That was awesome.

At mile 60 I stopped at the rest station and grabbed some water and had half of a muffin to get some much needed carbs in me. I could feel that I was starting to fatigue a little. I realized that I was now over half way through the ride and thought I could mentally break up the ride into 2 rides, a 60 miler and a 46 miler. I only had the 46 miler to go! I thought that I could certainly go on a 46-mile ride, I had broken 40 several time before in the past. No problem.

Um… actually it was a big problem. The next twenty miles were into the wind and I really started to tire out. I could feel that my legs were toast, and I had no more energy. Mentally I was also getting exhausted, especially once I realized I was counting down the distance by tenths of a mile. The last two miles before the rest stop at mile eighty seemed to last forever.

When I pulled into the rest area and located my personal support crew, I placed my bike against the nearest tree and dropped to the ground. It felt so good to stop. I laid there on the grass for a couple minutes. I soon got to my feet and stumbled over to meet up with Josh, John, and Marcia. They had been waiting for me and were ready to take off again. I told them to go on ahead. I stayed at the rest stop with my support crew and had a banana and a sport drink. After about 20 minutes, I decided it was time to suffer through the last 26-miles of the challenging ride.

My ride did not last much longer. I rode (suffered) for another 9 miles and saw the “Team Tony” support vehicle about a half mile ahead. Fighting the wind my heart rate was at 177 bpm and my cadence could not break 50, even in the granny gear. There was absolutely nothing left in my legs. As I got closer to the support vehicle I found it harder and harder to even stay in a straight line, I began to zigzag along the shoulder of the highway. I was done.

I really wanted to complete the final 17 miles, but on this day it was not in the cards. I was both physically and mentally exhausted. I placed my bike into the support vehicle and we drove on down the road to cheer on the other three riders in our group. I was really impressed with Josh, this was only the second time he had been on a road bike and here he was completing a century. All three of them did a fantastic job. They ended up finishing the ride and we all met up for a much deserved lunch.


A 106 mile ride is just that, a 106 mile ride. It is not 2 – 53 mile rides, or 4- 26.5 mile rides, or in my case a 60 and a 46 (29) mile ride. Nope, a 106 mile ride is a 106 mile ride. Lesson learned I guess.

Even though I was not able to complete the entire ride, I was still upbeat and positive about the experience as a whole. It was the most beautiful ride I have ever been on, and I was able to beat my previous distance record (54 miles) by over 44 miles! I was able to camp out for a couple days with my family and good friends for the weekend.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Sicko Or Psycho?

As you know I have been MIA for a while now. I was having a great week of training and then it hit me. I still don't know what the hell hit me, but it hit me hard. I was so sick.

In a five day span I lost 18 pounds. I told myself if it lasted another day I was going to go to the hospital, and then it went away. I think I had a bad case of "the 5 day cholera," but that is just a guess. Whatever it was I don't like it, and never want it again.

Now the sickness is gone, but I am still very dehydrated. I have my first 100+ mile bike race this Saturday, my longest ride ever was 54 miles. As you can imagine I am quite nervous.

Question: If I start pounding tons of water now to get back some of the hydration I lost will I be alright for the race, or is it too late to start chugging water?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Electric Ride

We have had some crazy weather down here lately. Last week my 12 foot high tree was ripped right out of the ground by the haboob (what a great word) that passed through the valley of the Sun.

On Sunday my plan called for a 40-mile bike ride. I woke up plenty early to beat the heat and start riding, but noticed the strong wind blowing the flora and fauna in every direction possible. I do not fight well against the wind, it usually wins. With this being said I decided to sleep in and ride during the evening.

Later that night I had a great ride through the Estrella Mountains. The sun had fallen and my bike lights were on full force. It was a great ride. The roads were nice, new, and smooth. There was very little traffic to worry about, and I was feeling great. A lightning storm was getting closer and closer so I called it quits at mile 23. I did not feel any drops of rain, and that was fine with me. With the lightning striking closer and closer I chose to head back to the truck and load up my bike. I still need to make up the 17 mile difference.

It was fun while it lasted.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Too Much Free Time On My Hands

I have been working hard lately on my transitions. I am slow enough as it is, so if I can pick up some free time somewhere I am going to do it. I am really pleased with the progress I have been making bringing down my times. I went up to the lake this weekend with a couple friends and we worked on our transitions for about three hours. Yes, I said three hours. I am so glad I did.

Take a look at some of my past races and how slow my transition times were:
Soma 2005… T1=11:49…T2=9:13
Soma 2006….T1=7:10…..T2=3:40
St. George..…T1=7:19..…T2=2:59

That is all just time wasted, time I gave away. What was I thinking? I still needed to complete the distance, so I might as well have been moving forward on the course instead of resting in the transition area. I am going to start taking pride in my transitions and work hard at having clean, smooth, and fast times coming out of T1 and T2.

I love this sport.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Finish Strong

Getting prepped

After a full day at work on Friday I started my journey from Phoenix, AZ to Salt Lake City, UT. It was getting late so I stopped at the half-way point of my destination at a little casino in Mesquite, NV. The goal was to win enough money to cover the cost of my week long vacation. I lost twelve dollars. On Saturday morning I completed the last 5 hours of the 700 mile trip.

The race was on Sunday, but everybody had to be checked in and have all equipment dropped off by Saturday night. I got to my brothers house and placed his bike on my rack and headed up into the mountains to the race location in Heber City, Utah. When we took the bikes off the rack we discovered that the exhaust from my cars tail pipe had melted and destroyed his front tire and tube. With no extra tubes or tires we made our way over to the expo and bought a tube and a killer bright yellow race tire. As we were changing out the tire they kicked us out of the transition area. During the rush to replace a tire in .5 seconds we did not get to give it much care and attention. We just had to hope that he would not get any kind of pinch flat out there on the road during the race.

This race was different then what I am used to. 1700 swim, 25.7 mile bike, and 5.92 mile run. With a huge prize purse at stake and a $20,000 payout to the winners; 39 professional triathletes decided to come out and play. Another different aspect of this triathlon was the use of two separate transition areas. At first I was a little confused about the two transition areas, but it all worked out well.

The Swim

With snow on the peaks of the mountains I knew the water was not going to be very warm. After I stretched and drank a bottle of water I put on my wetsuit. I was freezing so I figured the wetsuit would keep me warm before for the next 20 minutes. WWI and WWII airplanes flew over the lake and did some cool tricks during the national anthem. It was neat to see and the planes got everyone pumped up for the race. The 39 pros entered the water and took off as soon as the Army shot off the cannon. Man they are fast.

Now it was time for the amateurs to start the death march down the ramp into the freezing water. I did my best to delay getting into the water but I finally had to take the plunge. The water was actually warmer then the air temperature so it felt pretty good. At first my plan was to stay in the back out of everybody’s way since I would only be swimming at 60%.

For those of you who don’t know I tore apart my shoulder last year. The doctors have told me that swimming over 60% will lead me right back to the hospital for surgery. I have been very conscious of this fact and stay to it even though it costs me serious time.

When we were told the race would start in one minute I changed my strategy and moved to the front. I figured I would have a better chance of avoiding being kicked in the head if I was at the front of the pack. It worked. The cannon sounded and I swam slow, steady, and smooth. I was trying to be as efficient as possible over the 1700 meters, but found myself starting to tire over the last 200.


I jogged up the boat ramp and had a solid transition. Not rushed, but no wasted time either. I felt good about it.

The Bike

Immediately after the exit of the transition area I encountered a big steep hill. I just did my best getting up and over it without wasting all of my energy. I knew that I would not see another hill for 24 miles. The only other hill on the course is the 1.5 mile “Hill From Hell” at the very end of the bike that ends at T2.

The bike segment was fantastic. It was one of the most beautiful rides I have ever been on. It was two loops through many pastures full of livestock, in a bright green valley surrounded by stunning mountains.

I made sure to stay well hydrated on the bike. I drank one bottle at T1, and two others on the bike. I made my way up the infamous “Hill From Hell” and realized that my good bike segment could have been a great bike segment if I had more leg strength to get me up the hills faster. Overall the bike segment of the race was fantastic.


After making my way up that monster, I entered T2 feeling great. I was eight minutes ahead of schedule and feeling very hydrated. No time was wasted in transition and I made my way out to the run (or should I say hike) course.


The run was crazy insane. It went straight up a mountain for the first 2 miles. Then it was like a roller coaster full of parabolas for 3 miles then another mile uphill. My strategy for the run was simple. Take it easy on the inclines, and let gravity and weight help me out with speed on the declines for the first 5 miles. Then during the last mile I was going to give it everything I had left in the tank.

This plan was just a ¼ mile from being perfect. With ¼ mile left to go both of my quads cramped up at the same time. It just about dropped me to my knees. I struggled to walk forward for a couple hundred feet, and then the cramps seemed to go away. The crowd was going nuts and they were all screaming my name. I ran in waving to and high-fiving the crowd with pure enjoyment. I finished strong!

Looking back

I loved this race; it is one of my favorites so far. The scenery was great and so were the volunteers and spectators. To improve I need to lose weight and build leg strength. I am definitely doing this race again. Next year I am going to practice running trails and hills so I will be ready

Swim = ½ fatass and ½ badass
Bike = ¼ fatass and ¾ badass
Run = ½ fatass and ½ badass

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Great News

I’m back. My week long vacation was awesome. The race rocked, I bought a new truck, and I got engaged! I will provide full details as soon as I find the time tonight to write them down.

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Traveling Man

None - Travel Day

I leave this afternoon for Heber City, Utah. I will make the twelve hour trip as soon as I finish my shift at work. I am very excited about the race on Sunday. I really hope I do well. I have promised myself to stay positive throughout the entire race and overcome the mental barriers I will face. I will post a detailed race report. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Feel'n Good In The Neighborhood

290 Days until Ironman Arizona

4 miles / 0:59:08 / 14:47 per mile / 153 bpm

The goal was to get in 60 minutes of running. I have been told to keep my heart rate at 148 bpm and I have for the most part. Tonight I started running around the neighborhood at a comfortable higher pace which in turn made my heart rate rise a bit, but it felt great. I really enjoyed running at that faster pace and it felt so much more comfortable then the slow 148 bpm pace I have been stuck on over the past month. All I know is that it felt good, real good. I had to walk the last half mile so my overall average would drop a little bit, but man did it feel good.

I Am What I Eat

Morning Thoughts:
I am learning that the 1500-1800 calorie limit each day is more then achievable. The hard part has not been any sort of physical hunger, it has been mental weakness. There are ups and downs, and some days are better then others, but I am feeling great overall about my new lifestyle change.

Nutrition Report
Daily Calorie Intake - 1,674 cals
Fat - 31.9%
Protein - 20.3%
Carbohydrates - 47.7%

I have lost about ten pounds so far and I am feeling great. I figure the since I can only eat between 1500-1800 calories a day, they might as well be good calories. When I do have a mental slip and eat something I should not have I can definitely feel the difference. When I mix in some greasy fast food into my diet, it makes me feel physically lousy. I guess the lesson learned is awful food makes you feel awful.


What do you eat before your races? I have not been eating any sort of pre race meal. I might grab a banana on the way to the race and chug a glass of water, but that is about it. I am really starting to wonder how much of my poor race performances lately are due to a lack of a pre-race meal. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What Would An Ironman Do?

291 Days until Ironman

Rest Day

Two days ago I participated in what our Tri Club calls an "Underground Triathlon." This is a laid back fun event with no pressure or rules. I arrived just in time for the start. I decided swim just the first of the two 600 meter loops. I figured this would give me a little head start up the huge steep, sheer, vertical, unreasonable, abrupt, precipitous, enormous, gigantic, massive, giant, mammoth, colossal, titanic mountain we had to climb. I made it 1.7 miles up the beast from hell and decided it was time to turn around. The guys who I wanted to get a head start on were already easily passing me as I was struggling to make forward progress up this hill. It was made very clear that at this point in time I do not have the leg strength and confidence to conquer the hills. I turned around and thought I would get in a quality run since I cut both the swim and the bike short. The run was ok, I was able to keep my slow jogging pace.
The question here is what would an Ironman do? Would an Ironman:
---opt for one loop instead of two on the swim?
---turn around because a hill is giving him a serious beating?
---be content with a slow jog after a poor short swim and bike?
I did have a great time hanging out with the crew at the lake. There are worse things then being with your buddies, drinking a few beers and telling some good jokes.
Have you seen the shows where there is an Angel on one shoulder and the Devil on the other, talking in the ear of the host trying to convince them to do something either right or wrong? Sometimes I have two figures on my shoulders but instead of an Angel and Devil, they are a fatass and a badass. I need to learn to stop listening to the fatass and start listening to the badass. The problem is the badass has not been saying much lately.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Times They Are A Change'n

Starting tomorrow, as a motivational tool and to put my post into some sort of context, I am going to start adding the bare bone facts of my training at the beginning of each post followed by the days remaining until Ironman Arizona.

The nutrition plan has been working great, I have been losing weight without feeling that I am starving myself or feeling tired. As far as my training the numbers are starting to show improvement. I have been pretty consistent with my workouts which in the past has always been a problem.

This Sunday the AzTriClub, my Tri club, is conducting what they call an underground Triathlon. Basically it is a triathlon without all of the rules and the pressure of a race, plus it is free. I have a great time with this group, and I learn something new each time. I am really looking forward to getting in an open water swim plus working on my transitions.

Next week I am off to Utah for an Olympic distance race called "The Battle At Midway." It should be a great race, plus it is going to be a blast seeing my family again. There are some very nice bike routes up there, and it is going to be nice getting out of this 115 degree garbage. I plan on getting some serious training time in while I am up there.

Friday, June 15, 2007

So Much Easier

The hardest part of the nutrition aspect of the plan you and I put together has been the distractions and temptations in the house. Last night I convinced my girlfriend that in order for me to succeed and achieve my goals I would need her help in with my new lifestyle change. She agreed and we went through the entire refrigerator and pantry and tossed out almost everything. There are now no trans-fats, hydrogenated oils or soda in the house. Then we made a trip to the store and bought tons of healthy foods including fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and crystal light. Now that I am not the only one in my household on a diet, it is going to be so much easier to stay on it.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Daily Struggle

I am really having a struggle with the nutrition aspect of my weight loss plan. I have noticed that running, biking, and swimming is so much easier for me then staying within 1500 – 1800 calories each day.

When my plan calls for me to ride for 2 hours, no problem. When my plan states to avoid pasta or white breads then whoops, Houston we have a problem. I guess that just like anything else I need to turn eating healthy into a habit, and the only way for me to do that is to practice it over and over.

Catching The Fever

As I was leaving for work this morning my car broke down. The first thing that came to mind was "how am I going to get to my pool this afternoon." It was not concern over the price the mechanic is going charge, or panic that I was going to be late into work. Is this some sort of weird sickness? I can't really get much slower, so can I really justify worrying about missing a workout?
As painful as it is to work out, and as bad as I am at it, I still look forward to it each day. I am having a blast.

Trying To Keep It Positive

Am I in shape? No. Am I in better shape? I think so.

As we all know I went into my last triathlon in very bad shape, and it showed as I finished second to last, not in my age group, but overall. I am still not in shape, but I do feel as though I am a little closer to it.

I have three races on the horizon that are sneaking up on me:
July 1 - Battle at Midway Triathlon - Olympic Distance
July 22 - Mountain Man Triathlon - Sprint Distance
Aug 4 - Desperado Dual - 100 Mile Bike Race

Even if the lungs are not there for me physically, mentally I am confident I can push my way through the hard times and mental barriers that I ran into during the last race.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

A Call For Help

I have slowly worked my way up to the 8 mile distance for my long runs. During my last three running workouts of a low intensity jog / walk combination I have experienced a huge muscle cramp in my right calf muscle. All three times the cramp has occurred just after the six mile distance.

After the first time this happened I thought it might be due to a lack of hydration, so I made sure to drink plenty of water before and during my next time out. Sure enough, at mile six the cramp came back and I had to suffer through it for the next two miles. Knowing that the hydration was not the culprit, I figured it was a lack of sodium in my system. Last night during my third run at this distance, the cramp came back to haunt me again.

If it is not hydration or sodium, then what could it be? These are not small cramps that go away. The calf remains sore for a couple days and remains hard as if I were flexing the muscle. Why is it happening at the same distance each time out?

If you have any ideas please let me know. I want to get this resolved as soon as possible so it does not negatively affect my training schedule.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Locked and Loaded

I woke up early in the morning a couple of days ago and went to the office of my coach, Nick. He hooked me up to a couple machines that measure my target metabolic zones and tell me precisely how many calories my body actually burns, and calculates how many calories I should eat in order to healthily achieve my weight loss goal.

The results showed that my metabolism is very slow (31% slower then where it should be). Basically the calories are not going to burn off by themselves, I am going to have to burn a good portion of them by training and working out. I was given a nutrition plan that lays out a diet that ranges between 1500 and 1800 calories a day. This is going to help my lose weight do to the fact that I burn 2339 calories a day. This caloric deficit is going to help me shed those pounds baby!

I was very encouraged after he Nick educated my on the purpose of these tests and how they apply to what I am trying to accomplish. With my new workout plan, and my new nutritional plan, I am locked and loaded and ready to Rock!

My next Triathlon is in a little less then a month. I will not show huge physical differences between it and my previous race, but there will sure be a huge mental difference!

May Totals

  • Swim = 1.13 miles in 0:53:15
  • Bike = 41.45 miles in 3:05:51
  • Run = 26.24 miles in 6:50:30

  • Starting Weight = 262
  • Current Weight = 257
  • May Weight Loss = 5
  • Total Weight Loss = 5

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Spinning My Wheels

Oh my God this is tough!

I am sweating like crazy, where is that Towel?

How much longer?

My legs are on Fire!

Unmentionable body parts just went numb!

How close is the nearest hospital?

Feel the Burn!

Hold on for the last 20 seconds!

5 more seconds, give it everything you have!

Yes, it's finally over. It was the most intense thing I have done in ten years, but I did it!

What does he mean that is only the first out of four sets?

I went to my first spin class and boy was it tough. The class was supposed to start at 6pm, but when I got there 15 minutes early I saw that others had already set up there bikes and started riding. I got on my bike and started spinning away at a comfortable pace for the next 12 minutes. I was sweating up a storm and my legs were starting to get tired. Then the coach walked in and stated the the class was going to start in 3 minutes. What?

We started what he called a strength spinning session that just about killed me. I was pedaling as fast as I could and changing into different gears as instructed by the coach at during specific time intervals. Once he stated that we were finished I started to get off the bike so I could lay down next to it and get my breath back. I was so thankful I had survived that horrible ordeal. Once my coach saw me getting off the bike he came over to ask if everything was OK. I told him this spin thing was the most intense thing I had done in over ten years, but I was proud of myself for sticking with it and completing my first spin class. That is when he told me to get back on the bike because that was just the first of four sets. What?

When it was all said and done I was very sore, the color of my face was bright red, and I chugged about a gallon of water. Oh the joys of melting away fat and getting back into shape!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Why It's Different

I received an email over the weekend that demonstrates the spirit of triathlon, so I thought I would share it;

“Hey Tony,

Rumor is your doing IM AZ next year. Good for you. What's your training plan? Maybe I can help in your quest from "Fat Ass to Bad Ass." Yes, went to your site and am excited for you to make it through Ironman. I want to help Tony. Can we get together sometime soon and go over what it will take for you to not only finish the Ironman but do well? Let me know buddy.”

I have never participated in a sport other than Triathlon where the overwhelming outreach and support has been so immense. The people I have met, the experiences I have shared with both family and friends, and the comprehension of life’s little lessons after a big challenge, are all priceless parts of Triathlon. Plus it is a lot of fun.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Zone 2 Is My Friend

Earlier this week I was told that I need to slow things down a little bit and realize that zone 2 is my friend. I am so glad I took that advice to heart. I have had a fantastic week keeping things slow and easy in zone two. I have been able to actually make some progress towards increasing my endurance without having my heart explode. I may be training at the speed of a Fat Ass, but I am now completing my workouts strong like a Bad Ass!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

It Takes Heart

As I ran around Tempe Town Lake last night, one of my buddies decided to give me a few words of advice:

"It is painfully obvious that you are out of shape. I can tell you are out of shape not by your high percentage of body fat, and not by your tremendously slow running times. I can tell you are out of shape by the readings on your heart rate monitor. It is all about the heart."

During what was supposed to be a nice easy level 2 run with my heart rate no higher then 153, it was screaming 179. And this was at a 13:25 / mile pace! For only 2.9 miles!!

He went on to tell me to only be concerned about my heart. My weight and my speed will both improve by taking care of, and controlling my heart. Only after conditioning my heart rate, will I start to see the weight fly off and the speed increase.

Up until now my heart been very one sided and has done whatever it wants. And it usually wants to go very fast. I am really looking forward to training in a way that allows me to have a say about the pace of my heart rate.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Right Direction

As I was getting ready to jump in the lake early this morning my friend Ben asked me when I would start wearing my nice Ironman wetsuit again. I told him that I was still 36 pounds heavier then the weight limit the manufacturer recomends. I went on to say that I tried to fit in it last week and I thought I was going to rip the zipper right out of the back of the suit. Even though 36 pounds feels like a long ways to go, I am six pounds closer now then I was a week ago. Last week I hit the scales at 262, and this morning I weighed in at 256. I am sure that it is all water weight, but it sure does feel good to see the scale start to head the other direction.
Ben and I went to Saguaro Lake this morning and had a great time. The water was calm and it seemed as though we had the lake to ourselves. We swam at a relaxed pace a little over a half mile to a rock outcrop then headed back in. In total we put in 1.14 miles in an hour of fulfillment. Cklick here to watch the swim.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Reflection and Inspiration

What a glorious weekend it was. Surrounded by family and good friends I sure had a magnificent time. The weather was spectacular, the ocean was phenomenal, and the beer was flowing smoothly. The race did not quite go as projected, but it was an excellent starting point. I can only get faster! This past weekend reaffirmed my notion that sportsmanship in Triathlon is unparalleled in the world of sports. Everyone including the athletes, spectators, volunteers, and family members were extremely supportive and encouraging.
I am incredibly motivated after this past weekend to lose more weight and improve my skills and time, and become the true Bad Ass I know I can be. I figure one pound lost = at least one minute faster. If I can shed 15 pounds by my next race I should be at least 15 minutes faster.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

My first race was very lonely

From The Top

I woke up race morning feeling fantastic. The fold-out bed with the metal rod running across my back very comfortable. Due to the change in tide the race was delayed by an hour so I was able to sleep in. I had prepped my gear the night before, so all I had to do was throw on my clothes and head on down to the transition area to set up for the race. I filled up my hydration back-pack with water and left my bike water bottles behind figuring the back-pack is lighter and faster (BIG mistake).

My parents and I made our way down to the transition area, racked my bike, and set up my gear. We made our way down to the beach and relaxed for a few minutes. I heard the announcer yell in the megaphone that the first wave, which was my wave, of the race was scheduled to start in three minutes. I made my way to the water and waited for the sound of the gun.

The Swim

Getting out into the water was not very easy. The tide had dropped a substantial amount, which added a little over 400 yards of new beach. I was tripping and falling down as I tried to make my way out into the sea. Many of the racers were getting their feet cut by the mixture of coral and rock, and six athletes had sting-ray barbs go through there feet and it took them out of the race. I never actually heard the gun go off; I just saw people jump in and start swimming so I joined them. I felt very good on the swim. I took in one decent size gulp of salt water, but it did not effect me at all.

I did my best to hold back and be as efficient as I could. All winter long I have been taking it easy during the swim, and race day was no different. Last September I tore my bicep tendon and it killed my season. I was still able to race SOMA in October, but I had to side-stroke the entire swim, and bike with one arm down to my side. This year one of my main goals is to remain injury free. My pace and intensity were about 60% and it felt perfect. I figured the swim would take me 30 minutes and I was dead on balls accurate. I hit the timing pad after a brutal run up the beach at just over 31 minutes. I was happy as could be about my swim. I was right on schedule with 1 event down, and two to go.

Grades for the swim:
Fat Ass = 0
Bad Ass = ¾ (a true Bad Ass would go full throttle on the swim)

The Bike

This is where the race started to go downhill. As I was in the transition area I decided wait until I was on the bike to drink some water. I put on my cycling shoes and helmet and headed out to the bike course. As I left the resort I was feeling pretty good on the bike, I was traveling effortlessly about 22mph. I went into shock when I saw how fast I was going, and then at the turn around it hit me. I turned around and the wind hit me right in the face. The wind had been pushing me, no wonder I was going so fast. Now I was fighting the wind and starting to struggle. I tried to get in the aero position but my Fat Ass belly kept getting in the way and it was very uncomfortable. Being unable to crouch down in the aero position I pretty much resembled a large bright orange sail.

As I was struggling on the first of three loops it hit me that I had forgotten my hydration back-pack. I did not have my regular bicycle water bottles because I had intentionally left them behind in the condo afraid they would cost me additional time and weight. What a huge mistake, one of the biggest I have ever made. Would an extra 44 ounces of water really slow me down? I am already 80 pounds overweight. Would it have cost me any extra time? Nope, it actually would have saved me a ton of time. All athletes were warned the night before that there were no aid stations on the bike route, so I knew I was in trouble.

By the time the second loop came around I was cashed out. Between being dehydrated and out of shape, there was no more energy to be spent. I was just doing my best to move forward and finish the race.

When I began day three, I mean loop three, I was all alone. It was just me out there, lonely. I know this is supposed to be an individual event but that was ridiculous. It was during this loop that the cramps and the MOACH (mother of all Charlie horses) gave me a visit. My left quad tightened up into a ball and it was extremely painful every time my left leg would drop during a pedal stroke. My heart rate skyrocketed over the past two loops, and I was in the dangerous anaerobic stage almost the entire time.

Grades for the bike:
Fat Ass = 1
Bad Ass = 0 (there was nothing Bad Ass about this bike ride)

The Run

When I finally reached the transition area I grabbed one of the water bottles I had left behind and pounded it. I had not guzzled that fast since Beer Olympics back in college. I was so thirsty. My parents were waiting for me out on the course, and they had more water, which I gladly accepted.

I met up with my buddy Ben and we jogged together for a while until I told him to go on without me. When I would walk I would start to cramp up, when I would jog my heart would max out, so I did my best to alternate. I high-fived all of my teammates as they ran past me to finish the race. It was great to see how excited they were, and they all encouraged me to continue.

As I finished the first of two loops my parents were still out on the course waiting for me. My mother had bought some high dose Mexican electrolyte supplement that would require a prescription here in the states. I drank it, and it sure did work. The cramps in my legs went away and I was able to slowly jog most of the second loop. My parents were lifesavers out there, literally.

The second loop of the run was even lonelier then the third loop of the bike. There was only one other racer out on the course and we were separated by over a mile. As I ran down the final stretch past the hotel along beach in the deep sand the crowd went crazy. It was a great feeling. Everybody was cheering me on and encouraging me to keep going. I was just a few hundred feet away from ending one of the most painful days I have ever had. The sand was so deep, and my Fat Ass kept sinking into it. My legs were on fire, and I was now within 80 feet. I started to walk for about 2 seconds then the crowd went crazy and people screamed “finish strong.” It took everything I had to run across that finish line, but I did it.

Just as promised, a cold beer was waiting for me at the finish line.

Grades for the run:
Fat Ass = ½
Bad Ass = ½ (half a Bad Ass for sticking with it and finishing strong)

Lessons learned

1) You can never drink enough water before a race, or pack too much water on your bike
2) There is a difference between tri-shorts and a swimming suit. Don’t run in the swimming suit. Three days later and I am still very raw.
3) Avoid the MOACH, drink as much water as you can.
4) Give up beer and soda; they dehydrate you. Let me rephrase that, give up soda.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Viva La Mexico

I am just about to depart on my journey to Mexico. This is the first race of the season and I am very nervous about it. I know that I have not trained like I should have leading up to this event. That being said I am still looking forward to having a great time. My major concern right now is missing the small gas station in southern Arizona, and not getting Mexican insurance. Oh yea, and staying out of the hands of the banditos.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Wood Chipper

I was explaining to my friend Ben this afternoon that I have a little bit of anxiety over the Las Palomas Triathlon in Mexico this weekend. I told him that usually during the run portion I am really hurting. I think my exact words were "I would rather be fed slowly into a wood chipper." Ben then made a statement that I found to be very intriguing, he said that psychological warfare is the unnamed forth discipline of triathlon. Damn, he was right and I was one of the warfare casualties. The psychological warfare I have been engaging in has been against myself. From now on I am going to approach all three disciplines especially the run with a positive outlook and phase out any thoughts of pain and self pity. I am going to crush the run, the days of it getting one over on me are over, no matter how slow I go.
But whatever should I wear? I own a one-piece spandex triathlon suit that looks ridiculous on me. It is black and yellow and basically makes me look like a round bumble bee (but it makes me feel fast). The second option is the orange AZ Tri-Club jersey and shorts. And last but not least is the emerald green Speedo with sequins that Ben said he has bought me, this must be more of the psychological warfare stuff he was talking about.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


Welcome to my site! This is my first post and I have to say that I am very excited about the journey I am about to embark on. I figure I will need to lose 80 lbs by April 13, 2008, to reduce the amount of suffering in the Ironman Arizona.
As you can see from the photo I am quite overweight. I currently weigh 262 and I WILL compete in the Ironman next spring at or below 182 pounds. How will I lose the weight? The only way I know how - with humor.
Why would I call myself fat? Because I am, it is what it is. I am also slow, especially when compared to other triathletes. I used to be a whole lot slower, but then I learned how to stand on two feet and walk. Since then my speed has pretty much plateaued and leveled off.
Ok, I am ready to rock out! I have 347 days until Ironman Arizona. Lets Git-R-Done.