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.