Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Yes, Virginia there is an Ironman."

Last week I ended an email to a friend doing Ironman Wisconsin with,

"Waiting for the day is like waiting for Christmas, but Santa is really scary and might actually be trying to kill you before he gives you your presents."

She liked it so much I Tweeted it, which was also met with approval by my "friends" on Facebook and the Twitter.

But it totally feels like that.

For the last three months (and the three months before that) I have been "good." I've been listening to my coach (except when I don't and then I fib and then I feel guilty and re-do the workout later.) She's kind of like Santa's elf, except a lot less forgiving and way taller. And Jewish, so she is really nothing like Santa's elf. (I am assuming, probably erroneously, that Santa's elves are all Christian as he is a symbol of a loosely Christian holiday.) She's more like a cyber stalker, but I gladly provide all the information for her to terrorize me.

It sounds like I don't like my coach, but that couldn't be further from the truth. I hired her (after implying she was fat when she was really recovering from a minor head injury) because if I was going to complete an Ironman, I wasn't going to half-ass it. I want to finish. I want to finish healthy. And I want to be competitive. But most of all I wanted a schedule I could share with my wife so I would remain welcome in my own house. (75% success is close enough, right?) She's been great and I get the feeling I might end up doing better than I expect (if I just follow the plan.)

Anyway. Back to the Christmas analogy. So I have a tall, brutally honest, Jewish, Christmas elf watching over me to make sure I'm not "naughty." I have overstated my "goodness" and fibbed about my "naughtiness," felt guilty and made amends. And now the big day is right around the corner. I'm not making up for any lost opportunities (adding unscheduled workouts) which is my attempt to be "good" before "Christmas morning." At this point the vast majority of the "presents" have been purchased (or earned in training.) Now I am spending my extra time looking for where those "presents" are hidden so I can shake them and try to figure out what's in them. The thing is, those "presents" will only reveal themselves on race day and they will only reveal themselves when they want to or need to and I may not like all of them. (Like opening underwear or socks for Christmas, but then opening a Lite Brite. And then opening a new toothbrush, but then getting a Wii.)

So really, I am spending my time imagining my "presents," just like I did as a kid. And when I think about them I get the same feelings - my heart beats faster, I get an adrenalin shot, my hands tingle and my mind races - and I just can't wait. But then I realize that this "Christmas Day" "Santa" is going to make me beat the shit out of myself before I get anything. However, "Santa" has promised that if I am patient and appreciate all my "presents" - good and bad - along the way, that at the end of the day I will get the one present that I have been asking for the past six-plus months. (And my wife will get the present she has been asking for just as long - for my training to be done!)

I will get that new bicycle! (Honey, don't worry, I am not going to get a new bike. My bikes are perfectly fine.)

Of course the "new bicycle" to which I am referring is a cot and an IV in the med tent after I finish a fricking IRONMAN!

Come on "Christmas" get here soon!

Monday, August 23, 2010

My Son's First Tri and the Amazing Douchebags

F completed his first triathlon this past weekend. Some of his friends were doing it and he decided a week before to sign up. As the day grew closer he became more and more apathetic (apathetic isn't really the right word - he just wasn't all "into it" but he still was wanted to do it.) Being the uptight, type-A athlete that I am, I kept ticking off in my mind what he needed to bring with him. He was so laid back about the whole thing, that I had to remind myself to chill and that it was his race and not mine. I made sure he had the basics - keep it simple. (ie: no aero helmet necessary.)

As we drove to the race we discussed what he would do if he had any problems. Water in your mouth or goggles? Stop, clear them and keep going. Steep hill on your bike? Shift to an easier gear and keep going. Getting tired on the run? Walk a little and keep going.

Suddenly he was into it. He started talking about half ironmans and a racing bike. I just told him to concentrate on the race right in front of him and we can discuss the other stuff later (much later.) He was so fun and funny. Our race strategy was to not go out too fast and to persevere over any difficulties.

We got him registered including his one-day USAT membership (which I thought was funny) and we found his age group muster point.

We found his friends and waited around.

Now, this race was an untimed, charity event for kids with cancer. F was racing for Joey who is 6 and has leukemia. It was meant to be fun (competitive yes, because it is a race) but just a fun family event - low key. The dad's of a couple of F's friends are triathletes and I was joking that I had been thinking about wheeling my tri bike around and wearing my race kit complete with aero helmet (I don't have an aero helmet) all over the event just to show how cool I am. We had a great laugh - I would have looked like such a douchebag.

A and I both brought cameras but we were both stupid. Mine didn't have any power and A left her memory card in the computer so we both got like three good pictures and the rest are phone pics. I was at the swim out, but didn't get any pics.

At T1. He's in the blue shirt right by the yellow sign with #11.

Coming to the bike dismount at T2.

Heading out of T2. So happy! (F and me.)

Little bit of trail run. Still smiling.

After this picture I made a bee line to the finish. Apparently he took a shortcut (not really, I just didn't realize how quick the finish came after that last picture) and A and I both missed his finish. We waited and waited and then the mom of one of his friends told us he had already finished and was waiting for us at the prize tent. Too bad we missed him, but when we found him he was still smiling although obviously tired. He rode to brunch with me and all he could talk about was doing his next tri and how he thought he should do a HIM before he does an Ironman and are there any more tris this summer and he should probably start training a little more seriously and how did Sprite get its name and can he have french toast for breakfast and hot chocolate with whipped cream and how we are the only two people in the family who have done a triathlon and we should train together. I'm glad he's excited and had such a fun time.

Oh, turns out I'm prophetic. As we are standing around in the crowd near the awards stage what rolls up but a couple. A couple of the most amazing douchebags. These two stood out like a couple of sore thumbs (that is the lamest cliche ever, but I agonized over something more creative and I just couldn't make it work. Sorry.)

She's riding a Seven with HED wheels. Yes, fancy pants you are obviously loaded as evidenced by your $7,000 bike. I can't tell what he's riding, but obviously he's a BIG deal because he's wearing an IMWI jersey. Whatever. It's all a little pretentious isn't it and it's kind of like wearing a t-shirt of the band whose concert you're attending - you don't want to be that guy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Lack of Blogging

My lack of blogging or commenting on others blogs should be an indication of my current state of exhaustion. I am too tired to put any thoughts together over 140 characters. I am in my last week of hard (and I mean really fucking hard) training before Ironman Wisconsin (IronMoo or IMOO.) After this week it's taper time and I'll have more energy and time to contemplate my fate at IMOO, which means overindulgent, self-centered diatribes regarding my lack of self confidence and way too many words and not nearly enough pictures. I bet you all can't wait.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


After getting eaten by mosquitoes and then hit in "the parts" by the teeter-totter and finally, flying on the swing, F announced:


(Thank god, I don't think I brought enough patch kits to share.)