Finding Perspective – 8/26/16

D2T High Res

Whatever sport you choose to do, success isn’t just based on strength. You can be the fastest person in the world, but if you don’t have the mental edge (to handle both the successes and challenges), others will pass you by. In this week leading up to Chicago, I’ve been struggling with, and unfortunately losing sleep over, some of the mental aspects.

The short version of mental battle was this — Chicago is not only PT Mid-East Regionals, but also the last race of the season. In other words, my last chance to strengthen my 2016 resume, on which a couple of 2017 items are dependent on. The hang-up was being concerned that if I fell flat on my ass (aka multiple flats like at Pleasant Prairie), and it derails what I’d like to have happen next year.

Earlier this morning as I was relaxing and having a beer, I finally got perspective on everything. Two different, but convergent views on the entire situation —

1) In 2015, an overwhelming majority of the support / help I had was grassroots. Even though there were some struggles (see ITU Chicago swim), there was still talent seen there, enough to get the additional help and support I’ve had in 2016.

2) While I want everything to continue moving forward, if catastrophe struck on Sunday, resulting in a step backwards, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Yes, I want to keep things moving forward, but I believe that even a step backwards could be corrected because of how I was able to progress in 2015.

So the bottom line here is that I plan to succeed overall on Sunday and get redemption in the water (aiming to cut about 24 minutes off ITU swim). But I also know that if something goes wrong, it’s not going to be the end of the world. There’s a lot that I can’t control, so I’m just going to put the effort out there and have fun.

And while this will be my last triathlon of the year, that doesn’t mean I just go into hibernation until March of 2017. There will be a lot in the works to keep moving things forward WELL before the 2017 triathlon season starts.

If you want to track my progress on Sunday, use the Race App and enter bib 4055.

Answering Comments – 8/23/16


II get a lot of questions in the comments. Instead of having to respond to each one individually, I’ve created this blog post. I will continue to add to it as needed.

1) No, I don’t have any intention of changing the layout or structure at this point. The main focus of this project is to get the information out there. When I’ve got extra time to work on custom coding the layout, I will think about it.

2) If you want to share my articles in full or links to them on your blog or web site, you are welcome to AS LONG AS the site they’re being shared on is a legitimate PG rated web site that does not have any trojans, viruses, scams, etc. to try and do malicious things. If you do share a post, please let me know so I can add a link back where and when appropriate.

3) If you want to discuss content swaps, guest-writing or anything else with me, please send an e-mail to . I will reply to any of the legitimate e-mails / requests.

Thanks, and keep visiting!

Odd Man Out – 8/23/16


Last Sunday, a large group of my teammates competed at PT Nationals in Santa Cruz. Of the 23 total team members, 19 competed. Two of the remaining four are on their way to Rio shortly, so they may have opted out of Nationals to keep training for Rio. All of this means that I was literally the odd man out of Nationals from the Dare2Tri teams.

For those of you who have been reading my blog, you know of the struggles I’ve had this year. A short synopsis for those of you who haven’t is 2 races with flats, equipment delays and challenges while training. It hasn’t been the year that I had envisioned or hoped it would be. So knowing that I hadn’t qualified for Nationals, I could look at the situation from the normal glass half empty or glass half full scenario.

Instead I choose to look at it from a glass present scenario. What I mean by that is the opportunity to do triathlons in general, and Nationals (and beyond) might not even be there. If it weren’t for the tremendous support of Dare2Tri and my coaches, none of what I have done, do or will do, would be possible.

So even though I wasn’t at Nationals this year, I know it will happen very soon. My goal is to be there in 2017, and I’ve started to build a pencil schedule around that goal. Once I know where a few Tetris pieces will fall, I’ll work on a final one. And I know that I’ve got the coaches and support system to help me reach that goal for 2017, as well as a VERY strong desire not to be the odd man out again.

While I wasn’t there, my teammates did an AMAZING job. IIRC, 5 National Champions and a lot of total hardware!

And while I’m starting to think about 2017, my focus is on the PT Mid-East Regionals this coming Sunday. The event is the Chicago Triathlon, where Lake Michigan kicked my ass last September. I’m looking for redemption in the water and a strong showing overall! For those of you who want to follow me through the Race App, my bib is 4055.

Naperville Sprint – 8/7/16


(Photo courtesy of Diane Gilliard)

This is truly one of my favorite races Not just because it’s put on by an amazing Race Organizer (RO) and Race Director (RD), but also because it gives me an opportunity to thank those who have and continue to support me. Between the Tri kit, hat, body marking and race belt, all of them got a shout out.

As with last year, I suspected that I would be the only ParatTriathlete (PT). I was surprised to see two of my Dare2Tri teammates that are headed to Rio soon and the Executive Director of Dare2Tri show up! Very nice surprise, and I found out that they all did it last minute.

The swim played out pretty much like last year. We entered the water right after the Elite athletes, had assholes trying to swim over us and through the tether, and having to fight said assholes off. I understand competitive drive, and it’s a race. But FCTFOL, you have decent vision; USE IT and observe the fact that we’re tethered.Even with getting tied up twice in the water because of these ‘lovely’ people, we still made it out in about 12 minutes (4:15 decrease from 2015).

T1 and the bike mount went well, and we were off for 12 miles. While I still don’t have clips, I was trying to consciously pedal the way I would if I was clipped in. It seemed to work a bit better than bike has in the past. While everything went well for us, we did see someone completely total out on the course.

Back to transition and then out on the run. We walked for about 3-4 minutes before starting to run so I could get the legs stretched out. And when we started to run, instead of doing the 5/1 interval, Terri did it with a distance interval. The run still wasn’t perfect, but it seemed to go a lot better. During it, I had a lot of people encouraging me on, and even had a few people recognize me from last year. One of them commented that I was looking better than last year.

We finished about 20 minutes faster than 2015, including a sprint of the last 100 yards. Great to see this improvement, but still much more to do. I would like to shave a few more minutes off of that before Chicago at the end of August.

This was an amazing day and only possible because of the help and support of so many. Thanks to those who came out to cheer us on, and expecially to Terri Hayes of Artistic Creations Salon for guiding me along with everything else she does, and Art Black of Oswego Cyclery for letting us use his tandem.

And while my focus is on Chicago Tri for now, I will also be stalking 2017 Naperville Tri registration. Yeah, it’s that damn good of an event…

Failed Brick – 8/3/16


Knowing the schedule for the rest of the week, this was our final work out together before the race. For it, we had a swim/run brick planned out. The swim went well, with us getting about 800m in. However, the run did not. About 1/2 way though, my ankles started to hurt. We made it back without any real incident; just not the brick that was planned.

I will be taking it easy (RICE) between now and the race on Sunday. I am confident that things will go well on Sunday!

I Need Your Help – 8/2/16


As many of you know, in addition to doing triathlons, one of my other passions is football. In 2007, I started a journey. When that project started, Notre Dame’s camp was a big desire, but nowhere near affordable.

And at this point, it still isn’t. But I would love to be there in 2017 as the next step forward. I need YOUR help to make this happen. There is a GoFundMe page set up to help achieve this goal.

If you can support it and me, I would greatly appreciate the support. If you’re unable to financially support me, you can still help by sharing the link with your friends, family and colleagues. Thank you in advance for your help and support!

One and Done – 8/1/16


Last summer, Terri and I made it out to Oswego many times to practice on the tandem which Art Black of Oswego Cyclery has generously let us use. This summer, the timing just hasn’t worked. We were supposed to get in at least two sessions, but Mother Nature had other plans about that…

So yesterday was our one and only practice session on the bike before the Naperville Sprint Tri. While we were waiting for the previous pair to return the tandem to the bike shop, we went for a walk along the path. During this time, we experienced this very odd situation. We were walking against traffic and a bicyclist was going with traffic (both as we should have been). But instead of doing the normal thing and going around us, the bicyclist kept heading towards us. Terri saw her and had to put her hand out to physically stop the bicyclist. We saw that same bicyclist on the way back, and she apologized for being an ass. 🙂

When we actually made it out on the bike, things went very well. While the Fox Valley path still needs a lot of work, it was nice to see they had patched a few places. We did have a couple of issues with the 2nd restart (having to dismount/remount after crossing at light). But for not having ridden together since last August, it went very well.

While we didn’t get much bike practice in this summer, I know we will starting next spring. I am extremely grateful to Art for letting us borrow his tandem for the last two years. I will hopefully have my own tandem before year’s end (still working with Comotion).

Pushing Forward – 7/31/16


As bad weather had scrapped a couple of workouts, a bike/run brick became just a run on Sunday with Terri. This time, I remembered to do the pre-run warmup that I should be. And while it adds more time out there, it seems to be helping. I’m still failing on the intervals before we get through the entire workout. But it does seem to be getting easier in the later parts.

I know it will all come together in the near future. In the meantime, all I can do is just keep pushing forward…

Amazing, Simply Amazing – 7/26 – 7/27/16

D2T High Res 2

Having seen and met a few of the younger Dare2Tri athletes at the May/June PT camps, I had some idea of what I was in for at the Kids PT Camp. But what I saw and experienced while volunteering was even more amazing.

At the beginning of camp, several of the attendees were nervous — whether from being in an unfamiliar environment, from not knowing how to do one of the disciplines, from being uncertain of the adaptive equipment, or something else. But before long, that nervousness seemed to disappear and they got into it. We had several that had never swam before out in Lake Michigan as part of our first group, and they seemed to be doing well with it. And after lunch, they seemed to be getting into the run/push and bike with adaptive equipment.

During the 2nd day, the kids had a chance to demo the course in the AM before racing it in the afternoon. As a ‘human cone’ on the run/push course, I got to see and encourage on many of them. And during the race, I could tell that a few first timers were really pushing themselves. All of the photos from camp are available here.

Truly an amazing couple of days, and an event I plan to volunteer at in 2017! For more information on Dare2Tri and to see how you can help, visit their web site.

Lake Michigan Brick – 7/26/16


After Day 1 of the Kids PT Camp (more on that later), a group of us gathered at Ohio Street Beach for the weekly Open Water Swim (OWS). As with the last OWS I made it for, we had the Life Time Fitness training groups (about 500 people) with us as well.

Two weeks ago, we had more time for swimming, and we were out in the water for about 45 minutes. But since it seemed a storm was close, we only had time to do a 1/2 mile. Once we got out of the water, I thought my evening workout was done. However, I was told by my Coach that it was time to go for a run.

So an Achilles runner and I set off down the beach path for a run. I almost forgot to do the new routine that my Coach had asked me to do, which helps with endurance. But I remembered before we had gone too far, and it really helped. We got in 1.5mi after a 1/2 mile swim and then headed home.