Friday, December 26, 2008

Random Questions

While finishing up my ride today with Kurt (thanks dude) and to distract my mind from the numbness setting in on mi bones I began to ponder a few random questions I have been asked recently. In no particular order:

1. Brad, why don't you have a girlfriend? Do you play for the other team? No, I do not play for the "other team" and do not judge those who do. I have been in several wonderful relationships and know what is to love and to be loved. Am I open to a relationship? Absolutely, but not for the sake of simply being in a relationship. Do I have commitment issues? No. Do I find women attractive? Yes.

2. Brad, are you a devout Catholic? Hmmm...I am Catholic and continue to grow in my faith. Since moving to Colorado I have been challenged on many levels...physically/mentally thru sport, emotionally in taking some risk in leaving friends, job, etc. to pursue triathlon and spiritually in not compromising who I am for the sake of gaining approval. I am not a choir boy nor was I ever an altar boy. I went to Catholic grade school for 1st through 3rd grade before moving to the public school ranks. We are all imperfect and I find myself stubbling quite often in this race of life. I know a few Bible verses and live by a simple motto which I learned from Gilbert Tuhabonye: love God, love people.

3. Brad, what are you using for a powermeter this year? Still sorting that one out and will roll with either SRM or PowerTap. My Ergomo is simply a glorified bike computer at the moment as it only gives me speed, hr and distance.

4. Brad, do you still live with Pete? This is a funny one because another athlete asked me this at 70.3 World Championship who I have not spoken to in probably two or three years and she is the one who connected me with Pete. Long story short, Pete was looking for a roommate and I was looking for cheap housing when I first moved to Boulder. Initially, I was thinking alright cool dude, quiet, clean, comfortable place. It will work for a while until I get to know Boulder. Four years later my parents frequently ask me if I am going to ever remove my belongings from their home. Pete's place is as close to FAC as one can be and our balcony is within spitting distance of the pool. I'm actually thinking it would be fun to launch water balloons from it some time. One word sums up why my bum has not moved out of here...convenience baby...oh I guess that's two words. I have been looking for my own place on and off and will continue to keep my ears to the ground.

So there you have it - a small glimpse into my psyche. My nickname in high school was Psycho, so maybe you don't really want that glimpse.

Keep it smooth...

Brad

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas & All That Jazz!

Wishing all my family, friends and you the best this Christmas season! A wonderful Christmas eve spent at the Reeds' with many of my Boulder friends (loved the ginger bread cookies) and hitting midnight Mass in a couple of hours (yes, it really starts at midnight :) The excitement of the kids was so cool and reminded me how crazy me, my brothers and sister used to get at Christmas. It would be like a 24 hour storm whipping through my grandparents' house in either Maine or Indiana. Good times for sure! My family is scattered throughout the country this Christmas and we actually had our big family Christmas celebration over the Thanksgiving weekend back in Michigan.
Enjoyed a great swim this morning followed by a ride outside this afternoon with some big gear work. Tomorrow will be pretty chill with an easy run or snow shoe outing and easy spin. Hooking up with friends later in the day for a very casual Christmas dinner.
Thanks for reading and sending you Christmas blessings!
Keep it smooth...
Brad

Monday, December 22, 2008

Armstrong or Phelps?

A few nights ago I was out with the guys for some ginger ales (as famed Red Wing broadcaster Micky Redmond would say) and the topic of conversation at one point focused on the question - Who's a better athlete, Lance Armstrong or Michael Phelps? This sparked some heated debate and I think in the end we really did not come to a consensus. However, when phrased as "Who has more mental toughness?" it seemed Phelps was the winner. No doubt Lance is incredibly focused and mentally tough as nails. However, it was argued that Phelps' ability to overcome the hype/pressure during the Olympics in addition to the fact the guy has stared at a black line on the bottom of a pool for thousands and thousands of meters gives him the edge mentally.

As far as the greatest athlete, I would throw out a decathalete as he/she has to excell in ten different athletic events. Just my HOP.

Keep it smooth...

Brad

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Gettin' Back Up

With plenty of early morning sunshine, blue skies and the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains I ventured outdoors for my morning run. It was a tad windy but I found myself really enjoying the run and crisp December air. Through my warm-up I began to reflect on the many blessings in my life (family, friends, good health, beautiful place to live & train, etc.) and how often I take these things for granted. Earlier in the week my cousin sent me this clip from YouTube which certainly grabbed my attention. After watching it I realized how often I complain when the weather does not seem ideal for training or the times I get frustrated when the computer is having a "moment". It is so easy to get distracted and waste energy on the little things in life, especially when they do not seem to be so rosy.

Nick's passion for life is infectous and has inspired me to persevere, keep working and get back up when I stumble (and I will stumble!)

Keep it smooth,

Brad

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Winter Training

Things have been rolling along pretty well since my return to training. I really enjoy the base work done this time of year with the inclusion of yoga, strength training, snowshoeing and skate skiing. Between the two snow storms we've had the weather has been quite "balmy" with temps in the upper 40s and lower 50s. The blue sky, loads of sunshine and backdrop of snow-capped mountains makes for scenic training. I know there are some boo-nasty cold days on the horizon, but for now I am eager to get my bum out the door.

As the holidays get closer it seems like time goes faster. My roommate and I are hosting our 3rd annual "Yeah, I Look Good In a Speedo" party this weekend. The last couple of years have been quite entertaining and I surmise this year will bring more good cheer. The highlight of the evening will be a visit from Santa for the white elephant gift exchange. I wonder if Santa is going to do any Jell-o shots this year???

Thanks for reading!

Keep it smooth,

Brad

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

To Turkey Trot or Not To Turkey Trot

With my break from training I will not be partaking any of this year's turkey day ramblings. The past couple of weeks have been great with a few hikes, soaks in the hot tub, foosball matches and numerous speaking engagements in Colorado, Michigan & Ohio. I did make a return to swimming with a very easy swim yesterday at the local Y here in Michigan. Hitting the Piston's game tonight with some family & friends and the Red Wing's game on Friday before heading back to Boulder on Monday.

I am sorting out my race schedule for 2009 and look forward to meeting my new Team Sport Beans/NTTC teammates Jessica Jacobs & Daniel Bretscher at our upcoming team camp.

Hope you and your's enjoy a healthy, safe & blessed Thanksgiving holiday!

Keep it smooth...

Brad

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

IM 70.3 World Championship Race Report

After a snappy recovery from the Ford Ironman World Championship I found myself heading south to the white sand beaches of Clearwater, Florida for the Foster Grant Ironman 70.3 World Championship. I was looking forward to a fun race weekend with several of my friends also competing.

Swim - 26:04
As the sun began to rise with very little wind and calm Gulf waters I knew it was going to be a cracker of a day for racing. I found the beach start quite civilized compared to the pre-race jostling, inching forward and chatter that was going on in Kona this year. The cannon blew and we were off. Having a lunch bet on the line with my Team Sport Beans/NTTC teammate Kirk Nelson for first out of the water there was a little bit of extra incentive for a fast start. I had a clean start with a good line and found myself swimming well with a small group. About 800 meters into things the group splintered and I was giving a ride to a couple of guys. I simply kept up the effort and felt good in the water. Upon exiting the water I really did not know if I beat Kirk out, but while sorting things out in the change tent I spotted him coming into the tent after me. Turns out Kirk beat by 30 seconds and got hung up trying to locate his gear bag, thus I was in the tent just ahead of him. I honored our bet with lunch at the Denver International Airport while we waited for the bus to take us back to Boulder on our return.

Bike - 2:13
I was forewarned to be speedy in transition in order to get a jump on the bike. I was also told to not be surprised about groups forming. Early into the bike I found myself in a group of 10 athletes. I am almost embarrassed to reference the fact I was in a "group" as I do not believe this is how a non-drafting, world championship event is to be raced. We had a marshal with us for the majority of the ride and I did not witness anyone full-on drafting, but it certainly made for an interesting 56 mile ride. At times I was frustrated as there was no room to safely get around and pass another athlete and I was forced to actually sit up and coast or soft pedal to avoid a serious draft. The course is virtually flat aside from the short climb up and over the causeway leading away from Clearwater Beach.

Run - 1:16
Throughout the first four miles of the run my dogs were barking. It seemed like it took a long time to get my form rolling. The crowds along the course were very supportive and I actually recognized two spectators who had stayed at the same condo complex as I did in Kona. As I approached the finish line I was pretty stoked to wrap up the 2008 season with a solid effort finishing 36th overall in 3:59.

A huge congrats to my friends JZ (Women's Champion) and Brooke (amateur Women's Champion) for their World Championship titles.

I would like to thank all of my sponsors for their support throughout the race season. I am very grateful to be part of the Team Sport Beans/NTTC family and really appreciate the efforts of Team Director Mark and Stephanie with Jelly Belly. A big thanks to blueseventy, Spira footwear and Mix1 for their support in keeping me swift in the water and on land. I am now enjoying three weeks away from swim-bike-run before getting back to work in preparation for 2009.

Keep it smooth...

Brad

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Pics from Clearwater...



Turtles adorn the beach showers

Team Hoyt - a true inspiration

Rick & Dick Hoyt making their way onto the run

Looking to find my run form

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Little Bit of This & A Little Bit of That...

Since returning to Boulder life has been busy with numerous speaking engagements, catching up on emails, etc. and training. The weather has been super nice which has made for some fun sessions. You got to like fall weather filled with blue skies, schads of sunshine and temps in the 60s & 70s! My recovery from Kona has been spot on allowing me to enjoy my current fitness in preparation for one final go for 2008. I am really looking forward to racing at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Clearwater. Several of my friends, including Team Sport Beans/NTTC teammate Kirk Nelson, will be racing as well. With the smooth recovery from Kona I have been able to hit things with a bit of spice in all three disciplines. Coach Z has kept the sessions fairly simple with some tempo & threshold work without the typical volume.

Big props to one of my athletes, Shane Niemeyer, for his PR of 9:37 and overall 3rd place finish at last weekend's Great Floridian IM.

I am sending good thoughts to my friends racing IMFL this weekend!

Keep it smooth...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ford IM World Championship Report

After relaxing for a few days on the beach and taking in some of the local sights I figured it would be a good time to post a race report.

Swim (59:17 - Kona swim PR) I placed myself towards the middle right closer to the pier and had what felt like my best start at this race. I quickly found some feet and was in the middle of a decent sized group which allowed me to limit my sighting. We were swimming right along the buoy line out to the turn around and it was feeling quite comfortable. At times I thought the pace was too comfortable, but did not want to push things and end up swimming solo as I have in the past. My swim fitness has definitely improved, but with a more aggressive start and working things early on I think I can place myself with a faster group. It was good to exit the water with fifteen or so other athelets than one or two as I had in previous years.

Bike (5:17) Immediately out of transition the effort felt really hard and looking down at my front wheel I saw my brake was off center and rubbing. Fortunately it was an easy fix as I was able to reach down and open the brake lever. Riding along the Queen K I was comfortable and focused on my race plan. About an hour into the ride my container of Endurolytes flew out of my side pocket and spilled all over the highway, leaving me with no salt until I reached my special needs bag after the turn around in Hawi. Riding up to Hawi the winds were gaining strength, but I felt stronger than I have in other years. I really began to struggle once back on the Queen K heading back to town with some cramping in my hamstrings. While my body was not responding as I had hoped, I was able to stay strong mentally and complete the ride with my focus shifting to the run. Note to self...do not use aero helmet on the big island as any gains are minimal with the added wind, heat and humidity.

Run (2:49 - IM run PR) With the cramping I felt during the bike I was very uncertain how my legs would feel once on the run. Exiting T2 and finding my way through the cheers of the crowd gathered at the hot corner my legs felt good. Running along Ali'i Drive to the first turn around I felt relaxed, smooth and fluid. My focus was on fueling, hydrating and keeping cool through each aid station while running down as many athletes as I could. It was like a giant game of Pac-Man. The temps really seemed to soar once out on the Queen K and into the Natural Energy Lab. Unlike last year though where I began to break down at this point, I found myself feeling stronger as the run progressed. Over the final four miles I was able to run down several more guys and was very happy to make the final turn on Ali'i Drive and run towards the boisterous finish chute and familiar voice of Mike Reilly.

Total time 9:12 & 48th overall

Congrats to everyone who was racing in Kona and the Colorado contingency - Uli, Glen, Jeff, Tim, Brandon, Justin, Wil & Michael...great work!

Despite a slow bike this was my best performance in Kona and I am pleased with the result. Recovery is going well and I am excited about my final race on November 8th at the Foster Grant 70.3 World Championship in Clearwater, FL.

A huge MAHALO to my support team of sponsors (Team Sport Beans/NTTC Racing, TYR, Champion Systems, Rudy Project, blueseventy, Blackwell Research and Mix 1), family & friends. A special thanks to my coach Zane Castro for getting me to the line in good form. I am very grateful for the opportunity to share this experience with all of you. The support and encouragement has been huge in allowing me to be my best.

Keep it smooth...

*****************************************************
Random Race Notes:

Swim - need to continue to work on speed development and mechanics; train body to swim stronger towards the end of key sessions

Bike - power and strength development through more big gear work and climbing; increased awareness of cadence & gearing relationship relative to conditions

Run - focus on maintaining better form over final portion of longer runs

Monday, October 06, 2008

Kona Update

Are we "in training" or "training"?!?
View from scenic overlook along the Queen K
I have been a bit lacking with any updates in a while...things were a bit hectic prior to my Kona departure with training, speaking engagements and the pre-travel hub-ub of things to do. The trip over to the big island went as planned with my arrival last Monday. Training has been going as planned and the legs are coming around. The scene has definitely picked up since last week with more and more atheltes arriving each day. I have enjoyed a wonderful homestay and move into the condo tomorrow. Joanne has opened her home to me the last two visits here and it has been very relaxing. She lives on the mountainside out by the airport so it is nice and chill. I have endulged in her homemade banana & macadamia nut bread and over the weekend she served up a tasty meal of lamb, garlic potatoes and spinach salad :)
My body and mind are in a good place and I am very eager to race on Saturday. Workouts have felt good and the downtime between sessions has been consumed with putting up the legs, relaxing on the lanai, watching tv (I had many laughs taking in the Bad News Bears yesterday :), eating and sleeping.
I will be sure to drop an update post race.
Thanks for reading & keep it smooth...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Harvest Moon Half IM

I am not too certain of the origins of the name of this race which takes place east of the Rocky Mountains in Aurora, CO. Perhaps it has something to do with the rolling hills of the rural country & farm roads on which the bike course traverses. Having never raced this event I was not too sure of what to expect from the course and it was a bit more challenging than what I anticipated.

Props to Ben Hoffman (Durango, CO - 1st overall), Tim Hola (Highlands Ranch, CO - 2nd overall) and my buddy Billy Edwards (Boulder, CO - 3rd overall) for their efforts. I was 4th overall, although not within spitting range of these guys. With the temps hovering around 50 degrees, some wind and lots of cloud cover it was a chilly day of racing! I exited the water a couple minutes down from the leader, Tim Hola, and about one minute behind two other athletes. With a decent swim I was hoping to get things rolling on the bike and bridge the gap to these guys. Apparently my legs did not get the memo that it was a race as these guys opened up their lead on me. About eight or ten miles into the ride Billy came by me and politely informed me I had dropped a bottle or two. I was well aware two of my Sport Bean bottles had launched early in the race altering my fueling plan a bit. Billy rode away from me like I was standing still. Is my brake rubbing? Do I have a flat? Damn you legs! I completed the remainder of the bike with some postive self-talk and hoping the sun would come out to warm my frozen body. Onto the run I felt fairly smooth, but lacked any serious "oomph" to be a threat to the guys ahead of me. I did catch one guy early in the run who ended up with a DNF. The run course was a tricky affair as it sent us weaving, twisting and turning along a combination of trail and mostly concrete walking/bike path around the Aurora Reservoir. I found it difficult to really get into a fluid run rhythm and was glad to finally lose the "concrete" blocks attached to my legs about four miles into it. I completed my day with a 1:23 run.

A big thanks to Billy's fiance, Lara, who was our driver, cheerleader and sherpa for the race. Darrin and the crew at Racing Underground put on some very fun events with a relaxed atmosphere. They served up one of the better post-race spreads I have seen in quite some time with a hearty offerring of bar-b-q and all the fixins!

Thanks for reading and keep it smooth...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sputter, Sputter

That was the sound echoing from the engine of my trusty 1996 Jeep as I proceeded down the mountain late Sunday afternoon. Coach Z wanted me to complete my long run over hilly terrain and at altitude so I ventured up the canyon to scenic Magnolia Road (well-known among endurance athletes for its challenging terrain & high altitude). Shortly after parking my car and taking a quick leak, my Jeep's radiator took a leak of its own. Hmmm, what are my options...bag run and call for tow service (fortunatley I was in a pocket of good cell phone coverage) or complete run as if nothing happened. I chose the latter. I figured the engine needed to cool down a bit so I might as well get in the work I was there to do. Upon finishing the run I was hoping I could at least get down the canyon and possibly to the shop before blowing the engine. I used all the tricks I knew to keep the engine as cool as possible including blasting the heater to draw heat from the engine & coasting with the car in neutral. As I rolled closer to the outskirts of Boulder the temperature gauge kept moving to the right until it could move no further...it was buried & finally the engine sputtered to a stall. Fastforward to today and I am awaiting the diagnosis, prognosis or some kind of "nosis" from the shop. This has been a great vehicle with 216,000 miles and very few problems outside of the general maintenance.

The work for Kona continues to go well as I enter the final push. As the weather swings towards fall-like temps in Boulder I am hopeful it will hold out for a couple more weeks. The focus will be on quality, rest, recovery, nutrition & staying healthy over the next several weeks. I will have one more hard race effort this Sunday at the Harvest Moon Half IM in Aurora, CO.

Keep it smooth...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Back In Boulder

Views from hotel balcony...pretty sweet!
That's a lot of bikes!
They're off...
Unfortunately my photography skills are a bit lacking as I was unable to capture my friends in action...damn! I really enjoyed the time in Penticton and watching the race unfold. It was a fantastic race weekend and my friends put on a good show with their gutsy efforts. I was able to get in some decent training around our schedule including a five hour ride and two hour run. We met up with some super cool peeps from the Seattle area for a swim Friday morning. As one of them initially tried putting her wetsuit on backwards I thought, "What a hack!" Well, not really but it was pretty funny. We shared schads of good cheer and laughs with Sean, Amy, Erin & Stephanie throughout the weekend over meals and a few drinks.
It was refreshing to get out of my normal training environment and meet new people. Boulder is a beautiful place and I always appreciate this giant playground upon my return. I am stoked about the final build leading up to Kona and hopeful the weather will be kind :)
Keep it smooth...
~If you feel so inclined please consider supporting my fundraising efforts in Kona by clicking here...thanks!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ironman Canada

I am heading to Penticton, British Columbia this weekend to support a buddy racing Ironman Canada. There are quite a few of my friends racing and I have actually never spectated an Ironman event in person. It will be fun to take in the action and watch the race unfold, all while enjoying the perks of the VIP tent...thanks Michael!

I have heard this part of Canada is stunning & I am looking foward to doing some training in the Canadian Rockies.

Best wishes to everyone racing this weekend!

Keep it smooth...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Modesty: Timeless Style

This morning I completed my long run in the 50 degree rain and I am starting to feel a bit waterlogged from the past few days of training in this inclement weather! Ah well, the moisture is good for the land, or so I keep telling myself. (I also reiterate what I've noted in previous posts - global warming is a total farse and Al Gore is definitely smoking some wacky-tobacky!)

One of the topics I address in speaking to teens, young adults and parent groups is that of modesty. I am in the brainstorming process of organizing a modesty fashion show for teens in Boulder this coming school year. I will admit straight up that as a guy I am not held to the same standards as young ladies & women when comes to having a certain look or style. I believe modesty is not about dressing from the medieval times or looking all drab, boring or frumpy. It is actually quite the opposite. Modest dress reveals the true beauty of a lady in a fun, hip, graceful style that is very intriguing to men. A common question I get from teens and parents revolves around the difficulty in finding a modest swimsuit that is still stylish. I can completely understand their frustrations, especially after seeing some of the hideous styles of "modest" swimwear on the internet. There is hope though thanks to the efforts of a humble and talented actress/model/designer by the name of Jessica Rey who recently launched Rey Swimwear. I applaud Jessica's work in offerring a line of swimwear that is stylish, fun & hip while complimenting the true beauty of a woman. She and her friend also have a blog dedicated to capturing every day styles of modesty called 100 Percent Fad Free.

By no means am I the fashion police...and yes modesty applies to guys as well.

Keep it smooth...

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Go USA!

With the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games underway I want to send a shout of support to friends Matt Reed (triathlon) & Sheila Taormina (modern pentathlon) as they look to bring home some hardware! I look forward to following all the Olympic action, even if I have to watch things unfold on my computer.

My beloved Ergomo is dead...I apparently fried the display unit after soldering some wires together on the data transfer cable then plugging the unit into said cable for downloading. No sparks were flying but dang did that little computer get hot! So much for the electrical skills I learned in my 7th grade shop class. So, the question at hand...what do I do about a power meter? Hmmm...as Ergomo has seemingly dropped it's US distributor and securing service is a giant pain in the arse, I will most likely roll with an SRM from the good fellas at Jack & Adam's.

The race scene heats up locally this weekend with the 5430 Kids' Triathlon today and the 5430 Long Course (half IM) on Sunday. This will be the first time I have not raced the 5430 half since moving to Boulder, but I am looking forward to taking in a bit of the action early Sunday morning. Best wishes to all my friends for a great race!

Looking ahead to the Ford Ironman World Championship I have kicked off my Tri for Life fundraising campaign to support a non-profit organization called Mother & Unborn Baby Care. This wonderful organiztion provides support and services to families facing an unplanned pregnancy in the metro Detroit area. If you would like to join me in my efforts please visit my fundraising website.

Keep it smooth...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

K2

A college buddy of mine is an uber-climber (this is perhaps an understatement upon reading his summit resume) and is currently in base camp on K2 following the tragic avalanche...and I thought Ironman racing was tough! Check out his blog with updates from the mountain at http://www.k2klinke.blogspot.com/ Chris' motto is "Climb hard. Climb high. Come home."

Keep it smooth...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rolling with Recovery

It's been a very pleasant recovery since IMUSA with several swims, bikes & runs all aerobic. The body & mind are rested and charged for the upcoming Kona prep. Yesterday I was in the lab for a fuel test which identified some very insightful items with respect to my fat oxidation. It was an interesting protocol measuring blood lactate levels in addition to carbohydrate and fat utilization.

If you are looking for a bit of inspiration for your next race, check out this brief video featuring Rick & Dick Hoyt. http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=8cf08faca5dd9ea45513.

Boulder is heating up with temps soaring to the upper 90s...gotta love summer!

Keep it smooth...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

IMUSA - Post Race

If you were following the race on-line then you know it was a rather wet day in Lake Placid with lots of rain. At times if felt more like a swim-swim-swim than a swim-bike-run. The spectators, volunteers and race organizers were fantastic though in making this one of my favorite IM events. I absolutely dig the course and race atmosphere created in Lake Placid and surrounding villages. How can you not like a venue that once played host to the Winter Olympics and the famed Miracle on Ice?!?

By the numbers: swim - 53:50, bike - 5:15, run - 3:12 (12th overall in 9:25)

Swim: IMUSA is known for its favorable swim with smooth water and a buoy line which runs the entire course limiting one's need for sighting. My goal was to swim sub 54:00. I lined myself up and was focused on an aggressive start to secure a good draft. Putting my head down as the cannon blasted there was the typical bumping and contact with other athletes. I soon found myself in a small group enjoying a very comfortable draft from a couple of bigger guys. I did not know with whom I was swimming until we hit the beach for our quick run around the dock before diving back in for the second loop. I noted I was in good company with Peter Vabrousek (Chech Republic), Dave Harju (Canada), Alison Fitch (Australia) and a couple of others. For the second loop I continued to enjoy the draft from these guys and kept things very comfortable & aerobic.

Negotiating a turn near the end of the first bike loop

Bike: I exited T1 alongside Peter Vabrousek & Sergio Marques. Shortly into the bike Dave Harju came flying by and took Peter with him. Sergio and I seemed both content in staying within our range as these two continued up the road. The hard rain made the 9k descent into Keene a bit sketchy at times with visibility and cornering. Sergio and I rode at a legal distance playing a little game of cat & mouse with me leading the descent into Keene. Sergio passed me as we made our left hand turn onto one of the flatter sections of the course. He looked at me and said, "f-ing cold". I smiled and was on some level enjoying the extreme conditions (kind of like when I was a kid reveling in a muddy soccer match). Through the first loop Sergio and I would continue to ride together and my focus was on fueling. My body was working hard to stay warm and ride steady. Towards the end of the out & back section on the course Mac Brown (USA) and another athlete came by and were riding strong. My buddy Pat Evoe (USA) was next to come by and he was riding strong. I made the decision to stay with Sergio as this trio rode hard up the long climbs back to Lake Placid. I went through a rough spot about halfway through the second loop as my legs began to fatigue. I stayed postive and continued to focus on my fueling even though I knew I was losing time to guys up the road.

Run: Exiting T2 I was not exactly sure what position I held as I was getting different feedback from people on the course. One thing I knew for sure though - I would have to uncork a strong run to get myself into the top 10! Within the first couple of miles my lower back and right IT band were super tight. My form felt very rough and I was unable to get into a fluid running form. I felt tight and more achy than usual for an IM marathon. Needless to say I defintely had a hitch in my giddyup. I was able to pass several guys who were in some trouble and after the first run loop found myself in 11th place. My pace really slowed during the second loop. I could tell Tim Snow (USA) was running well and would soon catch me. When he passed me shortly after the turnaround at mile 21 I used some positive self-talk and just tried to keep moving forward. With about three miles to go I passed an athlete from Belgium. He gave me some good words to continue working as you never know who might be hurting up the road and walking. Nearing the end of the marathon my body was shutting down and getting cold. I was so glad to get to that finish line and into the warmth of the medical tent!

My parents are rock stars for supporting me throughout the day in the pouring rain! I want to thank everyone who was cheering for me along the course and apologize for not giving back any love. I was simply trying to get my bum to the line! I am grateful for the gift of good health and really appreciated the emails, texts, good thoughts and prayers people were sending my way :) The support I have received from my sponsors has been top notch and I am stoked to have an opportunity make another trip to the big island for the Ford Ironman World Championship! At the moment I am enjoying my recovery in Michigan catching up with family & friends. I will get in one more race beofre Kona and hope to have that sorted within the next couple of weeks.

Keep it smooth...

Friday, July 18, 2008

IMUSA - Pre Race

Nestled in the Adriondack mountains IMUSA offers one of the most scenic venues for a race. The swim course takes place in Mirror Lake and the water is very clean! Both the bike and run course provide challening terrain to make for an honest day of racing. The weather has not been as cold as I expected with temps in the low 80s and lots of humidity. Several narly t-storms with wind and lightning rolled through today with isolated storms expected on race day. The pro race meeting was the typical scene with no big issues or drawn out discussions. Great to see some familiar faces and chat a bit. Things have been pretty low key for me as I hone my chi for Sunday!
Keep it smooth...

Mi casa while in Lake Placid - the staff rocks!

Dad giving his "You are an Ironman" pose


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lake Placid through Motown

The bags are packed and I'm ready to roll! Tomorrow I bounce out to the Motor City for a couple of days before heading over to Lake Placid for IMUSA on Sunday. I've heard this is a fantastic race and sweet venue with some honest hills. Looking forward to race week and catching up with some friends.

Keep it smooth...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Baseball, Hotdogs, Apple Pie & Boulder Beer Mile

Several of the athletes eagerly awaiting the official start
This past holiday weekend was filled with barbeques, friends, good times and the 3rd running of the Boulder Beer Mile. A field of nearly 20 athletes gathered at an undisclosed track in north Boulder for the event. For those not familiar with a Beer Mile, it requires both speed and the ability to drink. Each athlete drinks a beer followed by a quarter mile run around the track which is then repeated three times, thus four beers consumed during the swift one mile run. Despite an early charge by Josh, Pete maintained his dominace as reigning champion with a time of 6:42. On the women's side, Laura earned top spot on the podium, although there was some confusion on whether she should have been dq'd for not taking pentaly lap for puking. Full results and story can be found with Barry Siff's coverage of the event at Indside Triathlon.

One of the younger fans showing his support!

Top three men in the drink zone - Terry, Josh & Pete
Beer Mile...80's style
Men's podium - superfly Josh, Pete, Terry
Women's podium - Amber, Laura & Emily


Kurt sporting his famed 80's tri apparel - yes those are Oakley sunglasses!
Men's champion, Pete, enjoys the sweet taste of victory - Bud in a can!
The final big week of training has been great and I'm pumped to roll into my taper for IMUSA. From here forward the focus will be on doses of quality, recovery (resting, refueling, eating, etc.) and prepping the mind for a go at it in Lake Placid! Topped things off today soaking my legs in the creek and a massage on my balcony in the refreshing Rocky Mountain air.
Keep it smooth...

Monday, June 30, 2008

Lots of Laughs In Lubbock

Thursday morning I met up with the guys (Greg, Michael & Kurt) for our road trip down to Lubbock for the BSLT 70.3. As usual we were somewhat delayed with our departure, but soon enough had things stowed in Greg's massive F350 Super Duty diesel truck. He has a sweet system mounted in his truck to store five bikes and loads of gear...perfect for this journey south! The drive itself was quite entertaining with good chatter and plenty of chuckles. To avoid any incrimination I'll skip over the details of our road trip and fast forward to race day...

Race morning brought some unusually cool weather with lots of cloud cover and rain threatening. Instead of parking in the designated grass lots we opted to go with JZ's suggestion of parking our cars just outside the park and riding via the back route. This worked great with an easy spin down to transition. I taped a small flashlight to my helmet since I did not have my headlamp. After the standard routine of bodymarking & getting things sorted in transition I saw coach Z. We chatted briefly before I went about my business and completed a warm-up run. I was set to go and headed down to the beach...

The air was cool and a wetsuit would have felt kind of toasty, but it was a non-wetsuit swim for the pros. I decided to get in and use the time to warm-up in the water. After gathering us on the beach there was an invocation given by a local Native American. Moments later we were instructed to cross the timing mat and then, without any type of countdown, the horn blew. I still had my stinking goggles on my head! This is one of my favorite races, but I must admit this year's "swim start" was a freaking circus...instead of running straight ahead into the water the field ran along the shore line. I found myself running, dolphin diving, running, dolphin diving, running and finally swimming. At one point I heard a spectator shout, "C'mon it's a triathlon!". I concur and this start was comical. I like to run, but trying to run in shallow water with rocks, sticks, debris and who knows what did not make much sense to me. My friends in the following waves said everyone was laughing at us. Apparently all the other waves proceeded with this same backwards-ass start. I honestly had no idea of my positioning once we started swimming, but found my rhythm and seemed to be in the third chase pack. The swim layout was a bit different this year with a diagonal portion before hitting the back stretch and I was feeling pretty good in the water. Upon exiting the water I was not surprised to find myself in T1 alonside my friend AJ Johnson and a few others. It seems like AJ and I always come out of the water together and this race was no different despite the unorthodox start. Swim split - 27:27

With our bikes racked very close to the mount line I opted to put my cycling shoes on in transition. This was a good decision as I was able to make an aggressive move passing a few athletes who were working to get their feet in their shoes before we hit our first steep hill right out of T1. My focus was on fueling and making some contact with the guys up the road. Along the first out and back section my buddy Pat Evoe passed me and I knew I would have to work hard to stay with him. I made a go with it, but he was able to get a good gap on me. With the wind and rain it made for some cautious riding on the technical downhills and I found myself not hydrating as much as I planned. Through a few out & back sections I noted I was closing on a couple of guys, but losing time to many. Bike split - 2:26

AJ caught me just outside T2 and once on my legs after a swift transition I was able to get out just ahead of him in 11th place. My legs felt pretty good early in the run, but around mile 2-2.5 I began to cramp a bit. I've experienced this before and was confident I could manage things and still maintain a decent pace. I knew there were guys up the road who might be within range. I was getting good feedback on the course of my position and simply focused on maintaining a good turnover and fueling through the aid stations. Nearing the run turnaround out in the "Energy Lab II" I found myself in 10th position with Brent Poulson (Canada) and Pat in 9th & 8th respectively. My legs seemed to be feeling better as the run progressed and I noted I was closing the gap on these two. I passed Brent just inside the park and continued to work. With no sun looming over us the conditions were pretty decent for the half marathon. At about the 11 mile mark I caught Pat and we exchanged some words of encouragement. I finished the day with a 1:17 run and overall time of 4:14. Not blistering, but a solid day as I look towards IMUSA in three weeks!

One of my favorite things about BSLT 70.3 is the fact they pretty much give away IVs. It was quite apparent I was dehydrated as it took them four sticks to finally find a good vein that wasn't "collapsed". After getting a good drip I enjoyed watching many of my friends come across the line. Boulder was well-represented at this event and a huge congrats to all on their races! I really appreciated the words of encouragement from Coach Z and others along the race course.

Have a safe, healthy & happy holiday weekend!

Keep it smooth...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Solstice

In many parts of the world, June 21st is a grand day of celebration with the summer solstice. I frequently remind my younger brother, "Dude, you'll never forget your wedding anniversary because it's always going to be your longest day of the year!" As a kid my summer days were filled with swim team, soccer camp, wicked sweet games of kick-the-can with friends, watermellon, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, bomb pops, Tiger baseball games on the radio & cruising the neighborhood on my candy apply red Schwinn bike...flashforward twenty years and I'm still cruising on my bike, swimming a bunch, running a lot (just not after a soccer ball or throngs of neighborhood kids), eating schads of seasonal fruit & hanging with friends whenever possible.

This weekend presents a slew of races across the globe...Ironman Japan, Ironman France, Ironman Coeur d'Alene, Philadelphia Triathlon, Bear Lake Xterra, Des Moines/Hy-Vee World Cup and many more. Best of luck to all my friends who will be toeing the line this weekend!

May you enjoy a spendid summer solstice filled with laughter & good cheer!

Keep it smooth...

Brad

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday Tango

An absolutely stellar day for training in the Rocky Mountains with loads of sunshine and endless blue skies! I jump started my day with a solid track session...the last few weeks I've met up with some friends for track, but today went solo and opted to run on an old school crushed gravel track near my house. Comfy two mile warm-up, drills then right into the main set of 10x1K. The allergies have kicked in the last couple of days and after draining mi nose I set about running these efforts smooth, fluid, controlled and consistent with a bit of snap. Easy jog home for cool down and breakfast #2. Next up on the training plan are some hill repeats. Should be fun to play in the mountains today. Fortunately, I have the opportunity for a little downtime between the track and bike session. I'm a huge advocate of spacing one's training whenever possible, although I know it can be quite the balancing act when working a nine-to-fiver! This evening I have a speaking engagement for a group of middle school students so the time between workouts will be put to good use!

Congrats to my friends who turned in some impressive results over the weekend...JZ taking 1st at Eagleman 70.3, Matt Reed's 5th place at the ITU World Championships secured three spots for the US men at the upcoming Olympics, teammates Alexis Smith & Erin Ford were top 10 at Alcatraz and Erin Kummer, Ryan Ignatz & Will Kelsay rocked it in the Alabama Xterra.

Enjoy your day!

Keep it smooth...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Safe Routes to School Rally



Last week I was invited to participate in the Safe Routes to School Rally which is a program encouraging kids to ride their bikes or walk to school. Fun times hamming it up with my sidekicks Bat Man & Rocky (school mascot) in front of over 500 K-5 kids on their last day of school!
Keep it smooth...



Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Summer Luvin'

Mother Nature has decided to turn up the heat a bit and we've been enjoying some stellar weather with temps in the low to mid 80s :) On a few recent rides and runs I've noted the arrival of Sprummer: purple, yellow, orange & white wildflowers dotting the landscape, green everywhere, rising creek waters and a couple of active bulls looking for a bit of summer love in the fields. This is perhpas my favorite time of year in Boulder with the warm days and cool nights...perfect training/sleeping weather. It's also a great time to take advantage of the snow melt from the mountains and soak tired legs in the creek post a long ride/run. It's darn cold but feels sooo good on the muscles...not so good on other parts.

Last night I had a presentation for a parent group and will be speaking to their middle and high school students over the next couple of weeks. It was engaging to share dialogue with the parents and answer their questions about guiding their teens to a healthy lifestyle. Every two years the federal government and many local counties, including Boulder, perform what is called the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). The recent YRBS for Boulder indicated 1/5 teens are clinically depressed and admitted to intentionally harming themselves via cutting or burning. Quite disturbing and another indication of the need to provide today's youth with a healthy message for life.

My current training block has been great and I'm stoked for the upcoming BSLT 70.3 event in lovely Lubbock, TX. It promises to be an entertaining road trip with friends and exciting racing. This week is kind of chill as I'm getting some LT testing done at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. I always like the testing process and getting some firm data.

I'm hoping the Wings can earn another Stanley Cup with a win over the pesky Penguins tonight!

Thanks for checking in and keep it smooth...

BS

Monday, May 19, 2008

FL 70.3

Yeah, I know my hat is crooked. It was a great race weekend in Mickey Mouse land with a few extra family members and friends to take in the action.

Race morning brought typical Florida humidity with surprising cloud cover. Leaving the dry climate of Boulder it was actually kind of refreshing to be in the humidity...not my thoughts so much during the run...I had some solid training leading up to this race and my goals were simple: be aggressive, competitive and secure a Foster Grant Ironman 70.3 World Championship slot. Somewhere between the swim start and second loop of the run I think I forgot about my first two goals, but did manage to claim a slot for the November event in Clearwater.

Swim (30:14) - There were a couple of guys with whom I wanted to swim, but it seems I forgot to tell them. As we dove into the warm waters of lake Disney I found myself on someone's feet, but said feet seemed a bit too slow for my liking. Swimming around the athlete I sighted and saw nada. At this point I figured it was going to be another solo swim...and it was...until with about 400 meters to go the trio of Leanda Cave, Nina Kraft and Dede Griesbauer swiftly slipped past me. I simply swam with no intensity and felt flat in the water. Not the start I wanted and I was intent on working the bike in an effort to get myself in the mix.

Bike (2:23) - hurl...that's the sound of me puking...kidding aside I was looking to ride 2:15-2:20 range. Exiting Fort Wilderness and riding down World Drive (highway leading into the park) I had my eyes and mind set on making contact with whomever was riding ahead of me. Approaching the turnaround of this long out & back highway section I could tell I had a lot of work to do to bridge some major gaps. My fueling was on and I actually felt quite comfortable with the pace...in hindsight too comfy. Aside from a few out & back sections I found myself riding alone. I did successfully catch and pass a few of the guys who were out of the water ahead of me.

Run (1:20) - The FL 70.3 run course is flat and spectator-friendly with three loops. My legs did not feel all that great through the first loop, but I was gaining ground on the competition. The humidity was sinking it's teeth into athletes and on the backside of the second loop I saw an age grouper down and out at an aid station, most likely victim to heat stroke/exhaustion. Through the final two loops I actually started to feel stronger and the spectators were great with their encouragement. Crossing the line and seeing 4:17 on the race clock I was surprised to learn I had managed a top 10 placing. I was very grateful to get to the line though!

North America Sports did a fantastic job of running a well-organized and safe event in the heart of Disney Land. Congrats to Paul Amey and Leanda Cave on their wins. A big thanks to my family for enduring the humidity, rain and arse-crack race start (6:20am). I also want to thank Clark Archibald, member of Team Sport Beans/NTTC's club team, for saying hello before the race. I hope to meet more club team members at upcoming races.

Keep it smooth...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Racing, Speaking, The Cure Show & More

Looking at my calendar for the next two weeks things are going to be busy, busy & fun, fun! Next weekend I will be playing with Micky & Goofy at the Florida 70.3 in Orlando. It's been a few years since I've raced this event and I'm looking forward to it as several of my friends will also be toeing the line. A big congrats to my teammates Alexis Smith, Erin Ford and Kirk Nelson for their top 10 finishes at Wildflower and to Kim Dunker who took the win at the Turtle Crawl Triathlon.

On the speaking front, I have several talks at the local middle schools just in time as the school year comes to a close here in the Rocky Mountains. The Boulder Tri Babes have invited me to speak on race day nutrition which will be a lot of fun. I always enjoy sharing some of what I've learned over the years...things like how I used to eat PopTarts, packaged salmon and cottage cheese race morning before realizing it was not a such a good way to fuel my engine. I am super excited about partnering again with The Safe Routes to School Program (encourages kids to ride their bikes to school) which kicks off with a rally on 5/28.

Since moving to Boulder I have told myself I would get to a show at the outdoor music theater called Red Rocks. The past three summers have come and gone without said experience. Well, I am happy to say I will be taking in the Cure upon my return from Orlando. Should be loads of fun with good friends and good cheer :)

I must not forget a shout out to all the Pistons & Wings fans as both teams continue their play-off action this weekend.

If you are looking for a new read, check out This Voice In My Heart by Gilbert Tuhabonye. It is the INCREDIBLE true story of Gilbert's survival of genocide in Burundi. Gilbert is the head running coach of Gilbert's Gazelles in Austin. His perseverance, faith and courage is unbelievable!

Keep it smooth...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Wacky Weather & Weekend Races

Suffice it to say (whatever in the heck that cliche really means) this has been the coldest spring of my brief existence in Boulder. Saturday we experienced all four season within a six hour period - sun & warmth, wind, rain, snow and back to sun & warmth. Ah well, just have to roll with it :)

Boulder was well represented at both St. Anthony's Triathlon and USAT Duathlon Nationals. Matt Reed and Brooke Davidson took top honors in their respective divisions. Matt is firing on all cylinders at the moment and Brooke turned in a stellar performance with an impressive win in the women's elite amateur category. A bit further north in Richmond, VA, Matt Russell and Ryan Ignatz secured the bookends of the podium at the Elite Duathlon Nationals. Jimmy Archer and Billy Edwards both placed in the top 10. Nice work folks!

This coming weekend is another full day of racing with both the St. Croix Half IM and the Wildflower Long Course events taking place. Also on the ticket locally is the Tri 4 Your Cause event in Boulder. Best of luck to my teammates and friends for a fun-filled & strong day of racing!

A shout out for birthday cheer to my Mom, Dad, younger brother Brian and nephew Jack (the big #5) who all celebrate birthdays within the next week!!

Keep it smooth...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Shark Attack

Friday morning a triathlete was attacked by a great white shark 150 yards off the coast in San Diego while doing an open water swim with other athletes. I read about it on the internet and shortly after received an email from my friend Caroline who was swimming in the area when the attack occurred...yikes! From what I know shark attacks are quite rare and I'm thinking the shark mistook the athlete in his wetsuit for a sea lion or seal. Very sad indeed and another reminder of just how fortunate we are to have the gift of good health!

Meeting up with a few of the fellas for a trail run this morning and then watching the Wings take on the evil Avs...GO WINGS!

Good luck to my friends racing St. Anthony's this weekend ;)

Keep it smooth...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Recovery Week

I've been enjoying perhaps my best recovery week post the nine IM races I have completed with a few easy swims, one easy bike and a couple of hikes. Yesterday morning I ventured up the Chataqua Trail to the base of the 1st Flat Iron and watched the rock climbers do their thing. It was super cool and they make it look so easy! The pitch is quite steep and I heard reference to it being a 5.5 or 5.6, whatever that means. One guy went up solo sans any gear or rope...crazy...but he looked like Spiderman as he swiftly scaled up the face of the mountain and out of view. I plan on chatting with coach Z today about several things, including my upcoming race schedule. Coming into the season we talked about opening up the doors a bit and racing more, specifically with three IM events and ideally Kona being the third. I like both the courses at IMCDA and IMUSA and will toe the line at one of them. Sandwiched between the next two IM events will be a few 70.3's.

Stitches come out today :)

Keep it smooth...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

April Snow Showers Bring...

a lot of chuckles. Upon returning from the mid to upper 90 degree heat of Tempe I find myself in the midst of a snow storm. All I could do was laugh. My recovery is going very well and the legs are feeling dandy. I was back on the speaking tour with three engagements at the University of Colorado yesterday. My typical audience in recent weeks has been classrooms full of hormone-crazed middle and high schoolers, so it was refreshing to address the CU students.

I am enjoying the downtime with a couple of easy swims which are therapuetic more than anything else. Best wishes to JZ & Matt on securing their Olympic spots this weekend in Alabama...go get 'em!

Keep it smooth...

Monday, April 14, 2008

IMAZ Race Report

Race week highlights - Monday swimming in a snowstorm in Boulder, Thursday getting stitches in my finger, Saturday sorting minor mechanical issue and Sunday racing IMAZ in some dawg gone warm and windy weather.

While I did not completely tank my race it was not the performance I wanted.

I came into this race with a goal of maintaining contact with guys throughout the swim and bike to put me in position for a strong marathon. For the swim I positioned myself towards the inside and found myself swimming with the second main chase pack. The pace was comfortable and I tucked myself in to take advantage of the draft. Exiting in 56 and change I was ready to get to work on the bike.

After leaving town and heading out on the long out & bike stretch of Beeline Highway it was obviously going to be a windy day with both strong head and tail winds. I found myself just behind Sergio Marques and figured he would be a good guy to maintain contact through the bike as I know he is a strong runner. Sergio, AJ Johnson, Bernhard Keller and I rode as group exchanging positions through the first 40 miles or so. Partway through the second loop my hamstrings began to cramp. This was not a good thing as the winds kicked up dust storms and the mercury kept rising. Every time I made an effort to press the pace the cramping would return. The winds seemed to calm a bit for the third lap and approaching T2 I began to focus on a swift transition to the marathon.

Like the bike course, IMAZ serves up a three loop course for the marathon. I would not describe it as a fast run course with a lot of twists, turns and corners. My legs felt pretty good through the first four miles, but then things got a bit ugly. I really began to feel the effects of the heat and just could not find my fluid running form. Through each aid station I took in what I could to keep me moving forward. Despite how crummy I was feeling, I found myself improving my position throughout the run.

A huge kudos to the volunteers at this event. I found the aid stations on both bike and run to be on the ball and getting me what I needed. Congrats to the guys up front for setting up an exciting day of racing with the top four men all being within 1:30 of one another! Thanks to Coach Z and all my sponsors who allow me to be my best. I look forward to a quick recovery and racing Florida 70.3 in May.

Keep it smooth...

Friday, April 11, 2008

What's Up Doc?

Bugs Bunny was one of my favorite cartoons as a kid with his signature carrot, humor and line of, "Uh, what's up doc?" Yesterday I had the opportunity to ask the same thing with an unplanned visit to the emergency walk-in clinic. I accidentally got my finger smashed & gashed. After the doc examined, x-rayed and sewed up my finger tip I was good to go. The doc explained to me it was going to hurt like a bugger when he inserted the needles to numb my finger. All I could say was, "Heck doc, it sure beats having numbing shots inserted to the tip of something else."

Keep it smooth...

Monday, April 07, 2008

Global Warming

is a FARSE and Al Gore is on CRACK! These were my thoughts as I awoke to 35 degrees and snow this morning.

Keep it smooth...

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Close Call

The other day I realized the tax deadline is the 15th, the same day I travel back from Arizona. For some reason I was thinking I had until the 19th and planned on dealing with the paperwork post IMAZ. So, last night I hammered out the numbers on various forms...a great way to spend a Friday evening...well not so much. I figured I could drop the love letter to Uncle Sam in my outgoing mailbox as I rolled out for my ride this morning. Placing the envelope in the back pocket of my Team Sport Beans/NTTC wind jacket I made my way, except I forgot to stop at the mailbox. When I was about eight miles outside of Boulder I suddenly realized my brain fart. I quickly reached behind me and yep, the pocket was open. I immediately thought my tax return was somewhere flying around Boulder as the wind gusts screamed with an attitude from the mountains. Thank God! The enevelope was halfway sticking out my pocket. I stopped, zipped er' up and made a successful mail drop at the Hygiene Post Office about 40 miles into my ride.

Keep it smooth...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Are You Kidding Me?!?

For those of you who read my blog on a somewhat regular basis, you might recall a couple of posts I did on lockerroom etiquette, or lack thereof. I suppose if you parked yourself in a comfy lawn chair with some good eats and beverage of choice you could probably have one heck of an entertaining time people watching. It might not be quite on par with the peeps and things you would see at an amusement park, but still full of surprises. It appears many people choose to completely shutdown any common sense when entering the walls of the men's lockerroom at FAC...strutting around in the buff, hoisting legs up on the sinks while shaving in the birthday suit and other interesting forms of behavior. Well today I witnessed, not by choice mind you, a guy lying next to the hottub on his side who thought it would be a good idea to do some leg lifts in the nude. Dude, what in the hell are you thinking? Have some freaking courtesy. I admit, the particular exercise he was doing is part of my regular PT routine, but I do it with MY CLOTHES ON. Just one more reason why I do not frequent the hottub inside the confines of the men's lockerroom. Perhaps my friends who on ocassion make a visit will reconsider.

Keep it smooth...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Resurrection, Easter & IMAZ Taper

While celebrating the Easter holiday over the weekend I noted the intertwined paths of my faith and sport. Now, I am no theologian nor am I a choir boy. My faith however, is a huge part of my pursuits in triathlon. Being Catholic, Easter is one of the holiest feasts within the Church celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. Listening to the words of a priest describing this holiday as a time to celebrate the joy, peace and a rebirth from the pain and sufferring Jesus endured during the crucifixion it dawned on me I am in the midst of something similar within triathlon. No, I am not comparing myself or my efforts to Jesus. He walked on water...I simply try to swim on/in water :) Over the past several weeks I have endured physical and mental challenges and at times I was sufferring. Lactic acid flooding my legs during bike intervals...wind, snow and rain posing a challenge to training...persevering despite the presence of fatigue. As I approach my taper I realize my body and mind will be renewed and strengthed from the demands of my preparation. I often remind myself I will never be given more than I can handle in sport or life.

Keep it smooth...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Climbing A Mountain

I am one lucky son-of-a-bisquit to live in a giant playground. The beauty of the Rocky Mountains never ceases to amaze me. While I am in the midst of my preparation for IMAZ, my buddy Dave is training to climb his ninth 14'er. For those unfamiliar with that term it references a mountain climb of at least 14,000 feet. It has been fun to exchange training sessions and how we are preparing for our respective events. I am very impressed with Dave's training. Similar to my approach in triathlon, he applies a methodical, progressive training methodology with his climbing. Over the last couple of months he has completed training climbs of various distances and adding extra weight to his 6'7'', 250 lb. frame each outing. He carries bags of biodegradable peatmoss which he discards at the top of the trails after each of his training "runs". Yes, he does not simply hike at a leisurely pace for his climbing, but runs up the fricking mountains. Between these intense climbs he incorporates a balanced dose of triathlon training to maintain his fitness.

We all have mountains to climb...some large, some small. They are not just limited to the physical demands of our sport/hobbies, but encompass the mental & emotional "mountains" of life. Each one presents an opportunity for personal growth. As an athlete many of my "mountains" are physical challenges in which I make the best effort to extend myself. Some days I am successful at reaching the top, other days not so much. I make a conscious effort to avoid defining myself as an athlete (and more importantly as a person) by my most recent training session or race. For me it is simply about putting myself out there, doing the work and trying to be my best. Today I was faced with the mountain of a 100 mile ride with a variety of hefty intervals followed by a 7.5 mile run with the first four miles at my open marathon pace. The hearty wind made it even more challening at times, but I was able to go to the well and push myself out of the comfort zone.

Me thinks it's time to climb into bed!

Keep it smooth...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Team Sport Beans/NTTC

2008 Team Sport Beans/NTTC
Pictured from left to right: Lauren Jensen, Moi, Kathryn Bertine, Jeff Piland, Erin Ford, Mark Wendley (Team Director and former professional), Kim Dunker, Kirk Nelson and Alexis Smith (formerly Waddel). To learn more about the 2008 team and sponsors check out the press release at Triathlete Magazine: http://www.triathletemag.com/Departments/News/2008/NTTC_News.htm

Keep it smooth...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Welcome Mix1

I am super stoked about my new partner Mix1! It is a young company with grass roots development here in Boulder who make a whey protein antioxidant smoothie. The Mix1 team has put a huge amount of work in offering a very healthy, nutritious and tasty drink which comes in five great flavors. I'm still not decided on my favorite flav, but leaning towards Blueberry or Tangerine :) Mix1 is sold nationwide at Wholefoods and Kroger as well as many of your local gyms and bakeries/cafes. Check their website for a store locator to find a retailer near you. As my training ramps up in preparation for IMAZ you can be sure Mix1 will be a staple part of my nutrition and recovery plan in addition to the portable power of Sport Beans.
Keep it smooth...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Fueling for Performance, Fueling for Life

I love to eat. Heck, one of my favorite things about training is enjoying the mass amounts of food I get to pack away. Many people have asked me about my nutrition and if I have a "special" diet. My simple response of "No" seems to catch some by surprise. Now before you think, "Yeah, right dude. Get real." it is true I don't down packages of Twinkies and Ding-Dongs. My whole approach is to eat a balanced dose of lean meats, veggies, fruits and healthy carbs & fats while limiting my consumption of processed foods. I definitely enjoy my treats and as my grandmother always said, "Everything in moderation."

Having coached girls high school soccer and swimming I have seen the presence of disordered eating and training in athletes. For endurance athletes, there seems to be a very fine line between maintaining optimal race weight and being unhealthy. I don't count calories and for most athletes I think that is excessive. Obviously it is important to dial in the necessary caloric intake while training and racing, but if someone were to ask me how many calories I consume on a daily basis I would respond with, "Enough to keep me fueled and recovered." This is not to sound arrogant, but I have seen too many athletes risk injury through overtraining and depletion of muscle mass, calcium, iron and other vital nutrients in an effort to attain what they perceive to be "a lean, mean, racing machine."

Too many athletes equate being super lean & fit with being fast. While there is definitely a correlation between them, it should be kept in relation to each individual athlete. I am a firm believer in being proud of one's body type and the importance of loving oneself. This would include maintaining a balanced, healthy nutrition and exercise program. I recall a few instances where I have been out having dinner with other athletes and ordered cheese with my burger. From the look on some of their faces you'd thik I was a heathen for wanting cheese. It has often been said triathlon is a lifestyle. I agree, it promotes very healthy habbits and over time these habbits become a lifestyle. Just be certain these habbits are truly giving you a boost in body, mind and spirit!

Keep it smooth...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Chocolate Covered Anything, Please

Things have been a bit hectic this week upon returning from our team camp Sunday night, but that's a good thing, right?!? The camp was fantastic and props to Mark, Stephanie, Mike, Rob, Jim and the great peeps at Jelly Belly for making it happen. They really know how to spoil us and I almost feel guilty about it. This weekend I travel to Pagosa Springs, CO for a speaking engagement Sunday afternoon. They have been hammered with snow the past few weeks and I'm hoping for a drive over there that is clean & green. I'm looking forward to it as I have never been to this part of Colorado.

Training is rolling along with some doses of threshold and tempo work in the bike and run. This morning I enjoyed some hill repeats up NCAR in the snow. My focus over the next couple of weeks as I begin my prep for IMAZ is to get re-acclimated to altitude within the training. The lungs have felt the burn with some of the upper-end work.

My current read is Following the Flame by Greg Lautenslager which tells the story of a kid chasing an Olympic dream in running. It is freaking hillarious :)

Well, I wish I had more intersting news to share...I mean it is Valentine's Day...hope you were the recipient of some V-Day love.

Keep it smooth...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Team Camp


I depart early Thursday morning for our team camp at the Jelly Belly World Headquarters in Fairfield, CA. It promises to be a busy and entertaining weekend packed with team orientation, photo shoots, team meals, tour of Jelly Belly plant - yes I get to make either Sport Beans or Jelly Belly candies! and of course a bit of training. It will be great to see our team director, Mark, the peeps at Jelly Belly and meet the new team members Erin Ford and Kim Dunker. This year's Team Sport Beans/NTTC is comprised of 5 female athletes and 3 male athletes - Alexis Waddel, Erin Ford, Kathryn Bertine, Kim Dunker, Lauren Jensen, Jeff Piland, Kirk Nelson and moi.
Keep it smooth...

Friday, February 01, 2008

Our Greatest Natural Resource

Yeah, so the subject line sounds a bit corny, but I really believe today's youth are invaluable to the growth and preservation of our society. Last night I was invited to speak at a Boys & Girls Club in Denver. The kids were great and very enthusiastic. No surprise though as what high school kid isn't thinking about sex?!? My approach is to encourage kids to choose abstinence as the healthiest option and recognize while not all of their actions will have immediate outcomes, they will have outcomes. I will be speaking at five more branches throughout Denver and several schools in Boulder this month. Sandwiched between these talks is my team camp at the Jelly Belly World Headquarters next week in Fairfield, California.

For a glimpse into the daily life of a professional cyclist, check out my buddy Matt Seagrave's blog. Matt is a super talented rider and currently training in California where he recently signed with a new team. I keep telling him if he would start using supplements he could own the Tour d'France.

Keep it smooth...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Runnin' with the Kenyans

On this beautiful Sunday morning close to 5,000 runners gathered in north Austin for the point-to-point start of the 3M Half Marathon. Having done my first threshold interval session of the season just this past Wednesday with my buddy Pat, I was not quite sure how the legs would respond to a hard 13 mile effort. Awaking at 5:00 am I was excited to get a snap shot of my run fitness as it would provide good insight as to what areas I need to foucs for my upcoming IMAZ prep. Several of my friends would be running and the weather was mild enough to make a go at it with no extra layers. After a decent warm-up I made sure to position myself at the front as this has been a mistake I have made in the past with a slow start. My mind was ready for the suffering and I was ready to roll in my Spira Stingers, Team Sport Beans/NTTC lime green Coolmax tee and Jelly Belly visor. Looking around pre the gun I noticed several Kenyans who were part of Spira's elite running team. It was cool to see each of us sporting our black and yellow kicks. My goal time for the race was sub 1:10, but more importantly I wanted to run hard enough at the start to put myself in a good position. The horn sounded and we were off. A fast group quickly formed at the front as I found myself in a small chase pack. I knew it was going to hurt, but I had to drop back as I could not sustain the pace of these guys. Through the first 5K I ran 15:47...can I hold this pace?? As the race progressed I found some rhythm and settled in a bit. The first part of the course was mostly flat as it twisted through the north Austin neighborhoods. One of my goals was to make tactical decisions as needed. Shortly after the halfway mark, one of the professional men came up on my shoulder and we stayed together for about a mile. He was able to gap me on a downhill going into a turn and I thought, "Okay, time to be tactcial and respond." I shifted my focus to a quicker cadence and over the next couple of miles I noticed I was bridging the gap. By about the 9.5 mile marker I had successfully caught and dropped him. I knew there was a group working hard behind me and continued to press the pace. Approaching a set of small rollers my legs really began to feel the effects as my pace slowed. By the 10 mile mark I was beginning to hear what I already suspected: the lead professional women. I soon found myself running shoulder to shoulder between two Kenyans, both of whom are Spira sponsored athletes. We worked hard as a group of three with one or two just behind us as our Stingers danced along the road. Even though I was running stride for stride with some strong runners my ego flared up a bit as I thought, "Oh no, I don't want to get chicked." I made a little surge and brought one of the ladies with me, Jacquline Nyetipe. We stayed together over the final two miles and she was kind enough to apologize for bumping me on a turn. As we approached the finish line I backed down a bit so she could enjoy a "clean" finish. All said and done I was pleased with my effort of 1:09:40.

The crowd support was great and the race featured quite a bit of entertainment to keep us moving. It has given both me and Zane a good idea of my strengths and weaknesses with respect to my run at the moment.

Keep it smooth...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bomb Run

For years I have heard about the famed "Bomb Run" in Austin headed up by running icon Gilbert Tuhabonye. It is a weekly run featuring some of Austin's top runners and triathletes. The distance and terrain vary from week to week and today's run was a 10 miler over paved roads and portions of Town Lake Trail. With the rain and cold temps only six of us gathered for the 6:00 am start. I can understand the need to get this run rolling as the summer months bring heat & humidity, but why such an early start in the darkness of a January morning!?! My goal was to be patient, wise and leave my ego in bed. Upon meeting Gilbert and the group at RunTex in downtown Austin I knew I was in good company. My buddy and fellow triathlete Pat Evoe was in attendance along with four other capable runners. Gilbert has a humorous nature about him as he proceeded to tell me he would be toeing the line at IM Arizona with a goal time of 8:45 or 9:00 as it was an early season race. He has an incredible story, so be sure to check out his website.

We made our way into the quiet early morning darkness with good chatter at a comfortable 7:30ish pace. This was a great way to warm the body in anticpation of the "bomb" to come later. Our pace gradually increased to 6:45-6:15 through mile 5. Gilbert advised us to "drop the bomb" over the final 4-5 miles. Not knowing exactly where we were I was content to sit on the heels of Pat and two other guys. At the 6 mile mark, one guy proceeded to go off the front while our pace made a significant change. Said "bomb" was being dropped. The lead runner was 100-150 meters in front as I decided to up my effort and keep him within that distance. I figured I would really have to find another gear to bridge up to him and I suspect at the time we were clipping off 5:40-5:45 miles. The final two miles continued with me in that position and it was a good indication my run fitness is coming around. All said and done, it was a great run and excellent way to get in a solid 10 miler when most folks were just diving into a cup of coffee. I think I will now dive into bed for a nap!

Keep it smooth...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Swimming Under the Lights

Thought I'd drop a brief note from Austin. Weather was beautiful on my Monday arrival and decent yesterday. It's great to be able to train sans all the extra layers with the mild temps. I had a sweet set of hill repeats yesterday up Mt. Bonnell and a swim at Old Stacey outdoor pool in the early evening. It was cool swimming under their lights in the 33 and change yard pool. This morning was 6:30 am masters at UT which is always a treat to swim in their facility. A bit of downtime before getting in a nice run and ride. Terra and Zane are such great friends and a pleasure to hang with.

Thanks for checking in & keep it smooth...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Winter Riding Part II

Awaking to a vast blue sky with plenty of sunshine and what seemed to be calm winds I decided it would be a splendid day to ride OUTSIDE! After a leisurely breakfast I walked over to the gym to get in my preventive PT exercises. This would allow the mercury to creep into the upper 30s. I opted for the full booties and it was a good choice with the winds a tad stronger than what my protected balcony view revealed. Riding out of town along the rolling hills of 36 I was surprised to not see more cyclists out on the road. Did they all get out before me or were they warming themselves at Amante? Despite the steady headwind I enjoyed the solitude of this brisk winter morning. I kept thinking "Oh man it will be sweet to get a tailwind once I make my turn away from the mountains." Upon making said turn I found yet another headwind. Niiiice.

As I pack for my training camp in Austin I reluctantly include the cold weather crap as history tells me I might just need the extra warmth. I'm hoping to keep it all buried in my Rudy Project roller bag for the duration of my visit. Coach Zane tells me the fellas are already talking smack. Can't wait to get in the mix.

Keep it smooth...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Winter Riding

Sitting in a meeting this morning I was thinking how great it would be to ride OUTSIDE later in the day. After lunch I dusted off my trusty road bike and donned the appropriate gear for the comfortable 40 degree weather. Pshh...not too long into my ride a few flakes began to fall as the snow clouds rolled down from the mountains. I soon found myself riding in the midst of a snow squall. Sweet! I can't decide what hurts more on the face: rain, hail or driving snow. It felt like tiny needles against my cheeks. Needless to say it took a mug of hot chocolate and soak in the hot tub to get back the warmth. Well at least I should not have to contend with this next week down in Austin!

DITCH FITCH! That's my thought as I read an article detailing A&F's newest t-shirt slogans for kids, "Make love, not babies" and "Awkward mornings beat boring nights". I'm no fuddy-duddy but I do believe this sends an unhealthy message to young people. Not surprising though as A&F is known for its controversial ad campaigns.

Keep it smooth...

Monday, January 07, 2008

Research v Reality

Most of my friends know outside of triathlon I visit various schools and church youth groups promoting the message of abstinence. I am currently the only approved abstinence presenter for the Boulder Valley School District. This afternoon I was in the gym and my friend Joanna asked my thoughts about a front-page article in Boulder's Sunday paper revealing the State of Colorado has declined federal funding for any abstinence-only education. She was curious as to my take on this. The article in our Daily Camera referenced a study indicating the ineffectiveness of abstinence-only education. While I find research and statistics to be of value, they can easily be manipulated for a specific agenda. While some stand firm abstinence-only education does not work based upon a particular study, there are others who will argue it does waving the results of a different study in their hands. As a former director of a crisis pregnancy center, a middle school & high school coach and teacher and someone who has interacted with teens across the country from my speaking this much I know: Today's young people deserve a better kind of love than Jerry Springer has to offer.

Our teens and young adults are the ones most impacted by those making public policy and if you were to ask a middle or high school student what message they prefer you might just be surprised. I believe abstinence is the healthiest option as it offers protection for the complete person: physically, emotionally and socially. If comprehensive health education is going to be taught, as it is within the Boulder Valley School District, all components should be addressed equally. Abstinence eduation should be presented along with contracepion. Unfortunately, many "comprehensive" health education models are left to the discretion of the individual teacher and it is quite likely abstinence is not given due discussion.

Interestingly, over the past several years the Center for Disease Control has changed its language on their website and what was once called "safe sex" is now referred to as "safer sex". This comes on the heels of an abundance of research on the effectiveness of condoms. I am not going to throw out a bunch of stats or reference any studies. I simply know there is no condom, jam, jelly, pill, plug or drug to protect a young person's heart. We live in a sex-saturated society that is constantly hitting our teens over their heads with a sexual sledge hammer. While some argue kids are simply going to "do it" (as evidenced by the Portland Maine school board's recent decision to provide contraception to middle school kids as young as 11 without parental consent/notification) I believe our young people have the ability and skills to practice abstinence. They do have more self-control than the family pet, don't they? I do not tell kids to repress their sexuality and bury it into the ground. It is a gift which should be guarded, treasured and protected. Ultimately, parents are the primary educators and I often encourage them to keep up on current trends, especially with STIs (also known as STDs; seems as it is more politically correct to reference STIs) as we are in the midst of an epidemic. It's a different game being played today than perhaps when you were in school with over 25 different sexually transmitted diseases. Many of these, like HPV, have multiple strains. If I had a young daughter or son I'd be damn open with my discussion on sex. Too much damange can be done if simply left to MTV or an over-burdened teacher to be the main source of information.

Abstinence education is not about squashing a person's sexuality, but rather preserving it for the future.