Go Cubs Go! (Race to Wrigley) – 4/27/19

“Now you tell me, if I have a day off during the baseball season, where do you think I’ll spend it? The ballpark. I still love it. Always have; always will.” – Harry Carey

While Harry never got a chance to see the Cubs win it all, he had the right idea. Wrigley is magical. Always has been; always will be. So when Race to Wrigley fit into my schedule, it was an immediate YES.

As we were hanging out at the tent pre-race, I was glad to hear my ‘stalker’ appear. I had thought we had all lost him in the Florida triangle until Mother Nature stopped throwing ‘spring temper tantrums’. While waiting, we were able to get a pre-race photo in front of the marquee and do all the other pre-race stuff.

We were supposed to start 5 minutes ahead of the Elite group. However, that didn’t happen. So we ended up being at the very front of the pack (see above photo). This meant not just trying to run normal, but also trying NOT to get run over by people that can do 6-7 minute miles as their ‘easy’ pace.

After the first main pack cleared us, it calmed down and we were able to settle in. And then the main 2nd corral showed up. As a result of all this, the first mile was at about 11 min (1 min faster than intended). Things went as normal until we made the turn into Wrigley.

While running in the dark is always a challenge, this part of the 5K was moreso than usual. Normally, I’ll be going under a bridge or parking structure. In either case, it’ll be a straight line and I won’t be worried about obstacles. However, in this run, we had poles and other obstacles to contend with. So I had to slow down a bit and have my hand on Matt’s shoulder during this part.

Once we made it back into daylight, it was a short (400yd?) stretch to the finish. As soon as we turned the last corner, I went all out and sprinted to the finish. While I haven’t gone through all my past results, I do believe that it was a 5K PR.

Thanks to Achilles Chicago for their support and for Eva and Matt for guiding for me! #GoAchilles

As Seen on TV (BibBoards) – 4/28/19

Full Disclosure: BibBobards has not provided any sponsorship and has not asked me to write this. They have no advance knowledge of this, and will see it at the same point that all of you do. And they’re free to use it for any marketing, promotional or other purposes without any compensation or sponsorship.

Over the past 20 years, I’ve seen a LOT of infomercials and bumps. Whether it’s been on YouTube feeds or because I’m up at 3AM, 99%+ of them are just not worth the money. IMHO, if you’re having to resort to ‘skip marketing’ to sell your product, it’s probably not worth it.

So when I caught the BibBoards bump in a YouTube video in late 2018, I went into it with that mentality. I had $20 to burn, and I was willing to take a chance on the pinless technology. I figured if it worked once, I’d come out ahead by having one less set of holes in my athletic clothing.

While there were issues with one of the BibBoards during/after the first race, they rectified it. And to this point, I’ve used them for 5 races. They’ve worked so well that I will continue to use them in ALL of my running races and any Tri where I need to toss a shirt over my Tri Top.

The bottom line here is that BibBoards ARE well worth the money. You won’t put holes into your expensive/nice athletic gear and you most likely will show up in more photos (as their ad states). While it may not be typical, since using them, I’ve gone from 4-5 photos in a 5K (prior) to 15-25 (when using them).

BibBoards #SaveYourShirt #NoMorePins

The Grain Lesson – 3/28/19

“But if we are wise, we know that there’s always tomorrow.” – Bill Withers

Growing up, I attended Camp Saugatuck several times. It was a Presbyterian Church camp on Lake Michigan, and it was located near Saugatuck, MI. It’s been gone for several years — the Presbytery of Chicago sold the land and a developer has put / is putting mega houses where it once was.

During the summer camp about 30 years ago, none of us were allowed into the dining hall as normal. Instead, they divided us up into 3 groups and let us in for the ‘grain lesson’. One group was given 7 grains, one group was given 3 and the last was given none. You had to trade your grain for food items, and IIRC the lesson was about showing compassion and help for those that were in need (from the group that had more than enough (7) to the other two).

I ended up in the group that got zero grain. I remember being temporarily worried about how I was going to eat, as I had nothing to trade for my food. But within short order, others gave and helped me, and I was able to get dinner.

If you’ve read through all of that, you may be wondering — what’s the point? What does this have to do with Triathlon? Keep reading — I’ll explain.

During the first two full years, I relied extremely heavily on others since I simply didn’t have the resources. I had lost hours and benefits shortly before the 2016 season started, and would have been in a bad spot without that help. As I start my 2019 season, I’m now faced with having to find a new job.

If I hadn’t had that lesson 30 years ago, and the support throughout the challenges of the first 3 full seasons, I would have been MUCH more upset about all these changes and their potential effects. But since I have, I’m able to find ways to make sure I’m ‘salvaging’ workouts during the chaos and trying to stay on the path. I have a tremendously long list of goals, races and camps for 2019. So taking more than a day or two to be upset/feel sorry for myself isn’t going to do anyone any good…

The bottom line, and moral of the story is that you’re NEVER alone. No matter how hard the journey may look or may be, there are always others to help you along it. And there’s always tomorrow…

6 Months Later (7/16/18)

6 months ago, I was introduced to Chris Holley of Evolution Multisport at a Triathlon camp when I needed a pilot/guide for the week. I’ve been struggling with weight for more than 25 years, so I was interested to hear more about his success. As we talked both during and after camp, he provided helpful information.

I’ll be honest, in the beginning, it was hard. There were several times in the first couple weeks that I just said ‘screw it’ and went back to how I had been eating prior to camp. What stopped me from doing so was his encouragement and slowly starting to see a few early signs. So I didn’t give in to falling back into what was ‘comfortable’, even though it meant giveng up some foods I really liked.

Since that point, I’ve seen his help and advice pay off. I’ve seen all of my race times go down, the runs are getting easier, and yesterday I was able to do 12 x 400 repeats with only 90 second rests. That is after struggling to do single 400s in January as part of bike/run bricks. And the weight has come off and stayed off.

I am grateful that I was introduced to Chris. I would strongly suggest working with him if you want to get better, faster and fit!

2017 Dare2Tri PT Camp (6/9-6/11/17)

When I showed up at camp two years ago, it was my first Triathlon experience. That weekend got me hooked and provided a wealth of experiences / knowledge – including that I needed so much additional gear to succeed.

Earlier this month, I showed up for my 3rd Paratriathlon (PT) camp. Much better armed and geared than I was in 2015, I was excited for the weekend. It was great to see new faces as well as many familiar ones.

As in the past, the weekend included strength training, yoga, transition work and two sessions (drills and workouts) for bike, swim & run. An added benefit for 2017 was getting to practice on parts of what will be the PT Nationals Course this coming weekend.

Throughout the weekend, the coaches helped to increase skills, regardless of what the level of the participant was. For me, a couple of the big improvements were on the bike. This is the first season that I’ve been using clips, and it’s been a hard learning process at times. But during the weekend, I was able to get in/out and do starts/stops with a lot more confidence than I had prior. It wasn’t always perfect, but it worked well. While the bike (and swim) were big pluses, the run is still a struggle. I know that I need to get more runs in, and I will continue working on that throughout the rest of the year.

After two days of being beat up… um, I mean, training ;), it was time for the Tri It Triathlon. As you can probably predict from the above paragraph, Swim/T1/Bike/T2 went well; Run was a disaster. Even still, great to see a lot of people cross their first finish line as I did in 2015!

Even with the issues with the run, it was still a great weekend. IMO it’s all about continuing to move forward. It won’t always be perfect, but you can’t let the frustrations break you or make you give up.

If you are disabled and want to get involved in or improve your Triathlon skills, look at attending the 2018 PT Camp! www.dare2tri.org