Friday, February 27, 2009

What Happened to February?!?

Whew, February was a bit of a blur with quite a bit of travel, training & speaking engagements. Earlier in the week I made a quick trip to Toledo, OH to celebrate the life of my uncle. It was great to see my extended family and share great memories of my uncle. He died from complications with lung cancer and was yet another reminder for me to be grateful for the gift of good health! My uncle was a loving husband & father. If you saw the movie Gran Torino my unlce was very close in nature to the character played by Eastwood.

On the training front I am in the midst of a big two week block and absorbing the demands - sometimes like a sponge, other times like a brick. The weather has been decent and I am hoping it continues to improve as we March forward (yes, a bad joke :) I am stoked to be getting on my new ride in a couple of weeks and back to power with my new PowerTap. We have our Team Sport Beans/NTTC camp in mid March then off to San Diego in early April for Ford California 70.3.

Thanks for reading!

Keept it smooth...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Florida Great Escape

Getting back to my roots I raced my first sprint triathlon in over five years this morning at the Florida Great Escape (1m swim/18m bike/5m run) in Clermont, FL. I was 6th overall in 1:30 something and splits unavialble at time of this post. My goal was to simply go hard and see if I could find a few extra gears. It was a super fun affair with several of my friends from Boulder and two of my teammates from Team Sport Beans/NTTC toeing the line. Great to see my friend Carole Sharpless getting back in the mix after a two year hiatus...way to go Sharpie!Congrats to Kevin Collington & JZ for their overall wins!

My accommodations for the quick trip south included a homestay with Dave McFarland. He has been running a triathlete hostel of sorts for numerous years and it was a great time. We had a good number of athletes in the house including: Dave - owner, Filip - Slovakia (been here training for 4 months and finished 4th overall today), Rob - D.C. area (here for a training camp hosted by the National Training Center & 4th in his age group), Josh - Ontario, Canada (escaping the frozen north for a solid 10 day training block), Leah (Sport Beans/NTTC teammate & 4th overall woman) & her buddy Kevin (completed his first triathlon today in fine fashion). It was a hoot preparing & sharing a few meals with the other athletes. The location & casual atmosphere of the house is sweet and very conducive to focused training. If you are looking for a winter training camp Clermont is a great place with plenty of good riding, running & the National Training Center. Dave runs a pleasant homestay operation ($25 bucks/night for short visits) and can be reached at

It was a hard 1:3x effort and I really enjoyed the late start time (9:00am v 6:45am) and being done with my race by 10:30am. A few of the more simple pleasures from this race included: not having to pack a boatload of race day nutrition, no separate gear & special needs bags and being able to run with no socks! Each of my big toes is sporting a blister on the tip from the no-sock deal, but c'mon it's a sprint right!?!

Heading back to Boulder tonight.

Keep it smooth...

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Going Short

Next Sunday I will be racing my first sprint triathlon since...well...ummm...oh gosh....uhhh...a long freakin' time! To test the fast-twitch waters I included a local 5k as part of my long run this morning, affectionally called the Frozen Foot 5k. It is a benefit for the local CU Triathlon Team and typically has several fast cats. With a start time of 9:00am I was able to enjoy a solid night's rest and awake with no alarm. After downing a tasty PB&J, coffee and water I put on my cold weather running gear and did a solid round of movement prep before heading out the door. It was a leisurely 2.5 mile run to the campus and race registration. The low-key atmosphere was refreshing and I enjoyed chatting with several friends before completing my warm-up and a few strides just for giggles & kicks. The last 5k I ran was two years ago and I recall the burning of lactic acid as I went out way too fast. Today would be different and I simply settled in with the lead group of guys. Just past the one mile mark our lead group of seven dwindled to four (Jake Timm, Tim O'Donnel, Robert Thayer and me). The course was a mini-adventure twisting & turning throughout the CU campus and included enough short hills to keep things honest. With about a half mile to go Tim & Jake put in a little surge that I could not cover and shortly thereafter Robert cruised by me. He is an excellent runner having just completed his career at CU specializing as a miler. As he went by all I could do was say, "Way to go dude." He eventually ran down Jake & Tim in the final stretch taking the overall win in 16:57. I was fourth in 17:18. As you can see not a blazing fast course, but a super fun morning. Congrats to Robert and Uli for their overall respective wins and all my friends who were in the mix! It was great seeing so many of my friends toeing the line.

Keep it smooth...

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Sedona's Goodwill Ambassador

If you have ever traveled to Sedona, AZ you might have crossed paths with Gator, Sedona's self-proclaimed goodwill ambassador. More on this character in a moment.

Along with my teammate Leah Daugherty, I traveled to Sedona for a Sport Beans photo shoot on Monday. Sedona is an incredibly beautiful place and it is on top of my list for a camping, hiking and backpacking trip. The red rock canyons are absolutely stunning. The photo shoot team was comprised of Rob (Jelly Belly's director of marketing), Kelly (co-owner of Nice Advertising), John Segesta (rock star photographer - if you read Triathlete Magazine or Inside Tri, then you've seen his work) and John #2 (John's partner/assistant). At 7:30am we gathered in the lobby of our comfy accommodations at the Sedona Hilton Spa & Resort and then ventured out for the morning shoot. Below are some pics of the location with Leah & I having fun between set-ups. This area was incredible with plenty of scenic trails to run and hike.

The afternoon shots were done up one of the other canyons outside Sedona. We had to drive about six miles up one of the most rough roads I have ever traversed, but it was well worth it. Similar to the morning shots we did more "rock runs" and I got to play around on a mountain bike. The effect of the natural lighting as the sun set in and around the canyon was pretty sweet and I was ready for a hot shower and some hearty eats as we wrapped things up around 5:45pm. I was really blown away by God's incredible creation in such stunning scenery.
It was a quick trip with an early morning flight Tuesday departing Flagstaff at 7:30am. Back to my buddy Gator. He was the driver arranged to shuttle me and Leah to the airport. He greeted us at 6:00am in his pimped out Lincoln fully equipped with a set of steer horns on the front. I was pretty certain this would be an entertaining ride for the 40 minute drive back up to Flagstaff and Gator did not disappoint. He shared with us his 17 year carrer in the rodeo riding buck horses and finishing up his career as a rodeo clown. There are two types of rodeo clowns - the ones who pop up and down in the barrels to entertain the crowd and the ones who look after the riders. Gator was the latter clown. He was an original cowboy alright and proceeded to tell us the guys wearing helmets and kevlar vests are, well to put it politely, just a bunch of pansies!
This cowpoke is in need of some sleep.
Keep it smooth....