Friday, December 16, 2011

To Infinity and Beyond!

I think a big part of getting anywhere in life is to have goals.  Without goals, where are you heading?  I am big on lists, so it just seems natural to make a list of goals, right?  Recently I was cleaning out some paperwork and found a list of goals dated 8/5/10, so roughly 16 months ago.  Of those 20 goals, I have not achieved any of them.  I am making progress towards all of them, but I have not actually completed any of them.  Maybe putting all of these out there for the masses to view will help with some motivation to cross some of these off of the list!

1. Weight sub 170 (well, I made this one briefly)
2. Run a sub 1:45 1/2 marathon
3. Run a sub 1:30 1/2 marathon
4. Run a sub 4 marathon
5. Run a sub 3:30 marathon
6.  Run a sub 3 marathon
7. Run a sub 5 70.3
8. Run a sub 4:40 70.3
9. Run a sub 4:30 70.3
10. Average 24+ mph in a 70.3
11. Run a sub 45 10k
12. Run a sub 40 10k
13. Run a sub 20 5k
14. Run a sub 19 5k
15. Run a sub 18 5k
16. Run a sub 6 min mile
17. Run a sub 5:30 min mile
18. Run a sub 5 min mile
19. Sub 32 min 1/2 iron swim (I didn't have any swim goals on the original list.  I just added all of these)
20. Sub 30 min 1/2 iron swim
21. Sub 28 min 1/2 iron swim
22. Sub 1:05 ironman swim
23. Sub 1 hour ironman swim
24. Sub 55 min ironman swim
25. Sub 11 hour ironman
26. Sub 10 hour ironman
27. Sub 9 hour ironman
28. Win a race over all
29. Go pro in triathlon

Well, there you go.  There are some fairly easy goals on there and there are some extremely lofty goals on there.  It's time to make these dreams a reality.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How far are you going to swim??

Earlier this year I began following Hillary Biscay's blog.  It's a good read and she always posts plenty of pictures (but it is BRIGHT pink which makes it very difficult to pretend to be working when you are caught goofing off).  It wasn't long after I started following that I read about Linsey Corbin's 10,000 yard birthday celebration swim.  My first thought was "that’s stupid." My second thought was "I want to do it!"

The past two weeks have been my offseason and they have been glorious. I have done nothing but eat and drink and sit on my butt. Instead of morning swims, I have been sleeping in. Instead of taking lunch runs, I have been taking lunch naps. Instead of afternoon workouts, I have been drinking and then passing out early. Like I said, it has been glorious. But it doesn’t take long for me to get bored of this type of activity, or non-activity. So I decided that the Saturday after Thanksgiving would be a perfect time to do my 100x100 swim and to kick off the 2012 training season all in one fell swoop.
I thought this would be a good opportunity for a group swim and tried to enlist some friends and the local tri-club. Come swim time, not one person showed up. So I was off for a solo swim!
Since the longest I have ever swum was 6,000 yards, I wanted to pace myself. My goal was to try to keep my splits consistent between 1:32 and 1:35. For the most part I stayed right on track. I grouped the 100’s into sets of 10 to help break things up. After each of the first 10 100’s, I took a 5 second break. After each of the second 10, I took a 10 second break, then back to 5, back to 10, and so on. After each 10 100’s I would take a two minute break to catch my breath and stretch out whatever was getting tight.
I thought since I had not swam anything at all in the last two weeks that it would probably take 1500-2000 yards to find my stroke again and really settle in. Well after 4000 yards, I still couldn’t remember how to swim. So I did 1000 with a pull buoy. Nope, still can’t swim. I was hitting my times for the most part, but man was it a struggle fest! So I did another 1000 focusing on my stroke. Nothing. Alright let’s do a 1000 kick. "I’ve swam 7000 yards now, surely I have to be making progress." Nope, still can’t swim. So after another 1000 working on my stroke I went back to the pull buoy. On the last length of this set, at yard 8,975, something clicked! "That’s what I have been doing wrong!" After seeing my times slip to 1:36, 1:37, 1:38 as I got more and more tired, I finally figured it out!
I set to work on my last 10 100’s and busted out a 1:28. "That felt good, but take this one easy. You still have 900 to go." 1:28! "Slow down man." 1:28! "Same time?" 1:28! "Ok, screw it. Let’s go." 1:28, 1:29, 1:28, 1:24, 1:21, 1:17!

All in all my first 100x100 swim was a complete success, even if I was unable to lift my arms for the next 48 hours.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Miami Man Half Iron Race Report Part Deux!!

Ok, I know I'm late again.  If you haven't seen part 1, you can view it here, otherwise, here's part two of the report:

Race morning the alarm went off at 4:20. I ate my PB&J sandwich and drank a little mountain dew (the kind with real sugar!) and took a quick shower. We were checked out and in the car by 4:40! I love races with bike check in the day before, because race morning there is very little to do, just get my nutriton for the day set up, eat PB&J number 2 and stretch. Except even with the very little to do, I still forgot my endurolytes. So after a mad dash sprint back to the car, then back to the transition area, then to throw my wetsuit on and sprint to the start line, I was nice and warmed up and ready to go!

32:58 - 1:34/100yard - 6th in AG
This is the first time I have ever felt like I was racing in the water. I lined up with the front of our wave and when the gun went off I dove in and took off sprinting. I was determined to make it on the feet of someone fast when we made the first turn. Unfortunately, I still haven't figured out how to swim really hard AND swim straight. Instead I swim way to the left. So my little detour kept me from getting right on the feet I wanted to be on, but I still felt like I was in good position.  I managed to stay in a little pack for the first couple hundred yards but after rounding the 2nd turn buoy, there was nothing left of the pack.  So off on my own I went! 

This swim was in a spring fed lake, so it was crystal clear.  I could see the rock formations on the bottom of the lake nearly the entire swim.  This was a very nice change of pace from the nasty lake and bay swims I have grown acustomed to where you can't even see as far as your elbow when you are swimming. 

I finished my first lap and jumped out of the water to round the timing mat.  As I did so, I heard my cheering section scream that I was in 6th place.  As I hopped back in the water, I could see the next guy in my AG about 25 yards ahead of me.  No matter how hard I swam, he always seemed to be that same 25 yards right in front of me and we finished the second lap in the same position.

I didn't quite make my goal of swimming a 31:xx but I have to say that I am still very happy with this swim.  I have a lot to work on, but just 6 months after swimming a 1:20:31 at Ironman I will call this an improvement. Of course all of the extra speed could be attributed to this swim cap:

T1 - 1:57

2:30:50 - 22.3mph - 4th in AG

 The bike was tough.  Much tougher than I thought that it would be.  The course was flat as a pancake, but the wind was howling!  And my bike is not quite an aero bike.  If you missed part one of my race report than you might not be aware of the fact that I am riding an ancient race bike, known as The Mummy.

Well, I did manage to alter The Mummy a little bit from the picture and add race wheels and aero bars to it.  But despite the changes, the components are still 26 years old.  And it didn't take long before that proved to be a problem.  I wasn't even out of the park that this race is staged in before my rear deraileur decided to throw my chain.  Fortunately though, riding this bike has made me quite proficient at working on a drive train.  So I was off the bike, fixed the chain, and was back riding again in just a minute or two. Now, time to get to work!

During Ironman Texas, I don't think I consumed near enough electrolytes or calories on the bike, so I wanted to make sure I did not repeat that mistake here.  I started with two bottles of gatorade diluted with half water and made sure that I drank a minimum of every 15 minutes.  I took a hammer gel every 30 minutes as well as 1 or 2 endurolytes (depending on how I was feeling) every 30 minutes.  I staggered the gels and the endurolytes so that I didn't have to take both at the same time. 

I wasn't on the bike long before a group of 3 guys, including 2 guys in my age group, riding in a peloton came past me.  I let them go and decided to stick to my heart rate, but after the initial pass, they didn't seem to be putting any additional time on me.  Then the more I watched them draft, the more mad it made me.  So I put a charge in and passed them and then put some space between us.  We ended up battling back and forth for most of the day.  Although one of them was not quite staying out of the draft zone and the other one was no more than half a bike length behind the person in front of him at all times, it was fun to actually race against them and to know where I placed in the race at pretty much all times. 

I started out feeling great on the bike, but as time progressed, the wind picked up big time and my heart rate began to drop.  I thought my inability to hold my heart rate was just the headwind, but after the race I started thinking about things and realised that the change in bike position the week of the race probably had a good deal to do with my heart rate.  Moving my position on the bike from more of a touring position, as the bike was designed, to an aero position moved a lot of the load from my hamstrings to my quads.  This just sucked my legs dry.

In the end, one of the guys I was battling with rode off, I dropped the other and then passed another guy to move up to 4th in my AG coming off of the bike. 

T2 - 1:14

2:08:47 - 9:49 min/mile - 10th in AG

Yeah, the run was carnage.  My quads were cramping within the first half mile.  It didn't matter how much fluid or endurolytes I sucked down, there was no saving them.  My heart rate stayed about where I wanted it, but I couldn't get my legs to move any faster.  I would push harder and harder and my heart rate would shoot higher and higher, and then when I got to the next mile marker I would find that I was not actually running any faster at all.  That's not fun.  I walked through the aid stations and "ran" all the rest of the time.  But that "run" kept getting slower as the day went on.

Sucking down some warm Mountain Dew in a desperate attempt to keep moving.

As I stumbled through the run I began to calculate my times and negotiate with myself: "ok, keep pushing here.  If you can hold this pace, you can still break 5:05." "Ok, keep pushing here. If you can hold this pace, you can still break 5:10..."  In the end I had to run a 30 minute 5k to break 5:15.  I pushed as hard as I could, but once again no matter how much I pushed the hurt, my legs weren't moving any faster.  At one point in the last mile it felt like I kicked a towel or blanket or something and looked down to see what my leg was caught in.  There was nothing there.  "Ok, so now my legs are shutting down.  Let's not pull a Chris Legh here at the end of the race..."  So now I'm pushing as hard as I can and praying my body does not shut down in a collapse fit for Hollywood.  Fun stuff.

I dropped 6 places on the run and finished in 5:15:48.  I'm not exactly proud of that finish or that time, but I am proud of how hard I pushed.  That was the most I have ever hurt in a race and the hardest I have ever pushed. 

Now to find a bike...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Miami Man Race Report Part 1

As soon as a race is over (sometimes before it is over), I begin to start writing the race report in my head. Unfortunately, it rarely makes it to paper (or computer screen). So I have decided to turn over a new leaf and write the race report only 3 days later! The race was on Sunday, so I decided we would drive down to Orlando Friday night and meet up with my dad who has been working there and living out of a hotel. We were going to just share a hotel room with him that night and then get up early Saturday to go down to the expo and check in for the race. My little brother, Payton (freshman in high school), decided he wanted to go with us, so I would have a total of 3 fans at a race 600 miles away. Pretty cool!

The brave-traveling-fan-brother

I decided back over the summer that I wanted to do the Miami Man half iron. It looked like a pretty cool race with a 2 lap swim in a crystal clear lake, flat bike course through the Miami countryside (yeah, who knew that existed?) and a two loop run through the zoo!!! But, I was saving for a wedding and honeymoon and wrote this race off. Then out of the blue one day, Anna surprised me by paying my way! Of course, at that point I was training and racing on this:

Well through a mishap involving a derailleur stuck in my rear wheel and a derailleur hanger that did not want to do it’s job and bend/break, I now have a cracked carbon frame and a 1985 Raleigh Olympian known as The Mummy to train and race on:

To make a long story short, I was holding out hope until the very last minute that I would have another bike to race come the Miami Man. It didn’t happen. So the Monday before the race, I swapped out the cockpit on The Mummy and put the base and aero bars from the Slice on it. I have to give a huge thanks to Joseph at Pro Cycle and Tri who helped me get the bike in as close to a raceable condition as possible! But, I was only able to get one short ride in on the bike with the new set up, but thought "oh, well. I am flexible and this shouldn’t bother me too much. Besides, it will be faster." Well, it was faster, and I was able to hold the TT position just fine for the 56 miles. But, after 6 months of training exclusively on a road bike (that is more of a touring position, I have been told), I did not think about the devastating affect this would have on my qauds. More on this later…

I have been battling a virus and a head cold for the last couple of weeks, but I think that may have been a bit of a blessing in disguise. It may have taken a bit out of me on race day, but the week leading up to the race, it made me get plenty of sleep. I was in bed no later than 9:00 every night and even made it to sleep before 7:00 twice in the week leading up to the race. There is nothing like an 11 hour night of sleep!

Now on this race, logistics was my next obstacle. Miami is 12 hours from Mobile, AL and I had already used all of my vacation days on our honeymoon in September. All of the bosses knew I was going to Miami for a race, so I couldn’t try to use a sick day either.Well, my boss then stepped up in a big way and told me to go ahead and take the afternoon off on Friday so I can get a head start on the road. So we pulled Payton out of school early and headed to get the rental car. After a debaucle that only I could cause, Payton, Anna and I were all finally on the road, but still an easy 4 hours earlier than we would have been without my boss letting me off early.

Then, on the way down, my dad called me with some good news and some bad news. The bad news was that he had been completely unable to find a pair of cheap hotel rooms anywhere close to the race for Saturday night. The good news was that when his boss heard this, he went ahead and booked two hotel rooms for us at the Hampton Inn, and on top of that, he booked an extra room so Anna and I could have our own room Friday night! That was a major relief and a HUGE help on this trip!

Saturday, Anna and I got up at 5 and headed down to Miami. We made it there just minutes after the expo opened up and completed check in and bike check in in record time. We met up with Bill and Anne, the president of our tri club, the GCAT’s, and his wife, who were both racing and rode the course together. We ate Itallian for lunch and Cuban food for dinner packed my bag for the morning and made it to bed by 8:30. I was out like a rock only minutes later.

Tomorrow: Part II – The most I have ever hurt in a race.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Help a brother out

My little brother, Nolan, graduated from high school this past year.  Instead of taking the traditional route of heading to college to party, he has decided to take some time for mission work.  Immediately after graduating, Nolan moved in with me to work two jobs to earn money for this trip.  He also spent all free time he had writing letters asking for support.  He earned and raised a ton of money, but he is still short.  He is heading to the middle east, to the country of Oman for 3 months and he needs some more help to get there.  This is the letter he sent out the other day.

In only seven weeks I will be headed to the Middle East, God has called me to go into the nations of Oman and the United Arab Emirates. My journey started this March while on a mission trip to Guatemala. From there I knew I would be doing a Discipleship Training School (DTS), a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) program, instead of attending college this year. It’s a six month school containing three months of training followed by three months of outreach, designed to equip young people then send them to the world.
I am currently halfway through my DTS and God has already done miraculous things I never could have imagined, including three healings earlier this week. Among many things I have learned how to hear God’s voice, Do what he has told me, and live in freedom with Christ. When I leave I will put all of this into practice, ministering firsthand to the Muslim people.
Before I can go I need your help. About $5,000 is still left to be raised for my outreach to the Middle East. Within the next six days $1,500 is needed so that flight tickets can be purchased. I ask that you will please partner with me in prayer, and, if you are led, with my remaining finances as well. If you wish to see God’s light shone to the dark places of this world please pray, and if God leads you to, please financially contribute.
How to Contribute
1.       Visit
2.       Insert My Information

If you can give anything, even $5, please help him out.  His information is as follows:

Last name: Robinson
First name: Michael (he goes by his middle name, Nolan)
Students email address:
Students birth date: Februarty 22, 1993
School seminar name: DTS - Fire and Fragrance Bilingual
Starting month and year: September, 2011

Thanks a lot for helping him out!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Yeah, this is going to be embarrassing

Yesterday I applied for a sponsorship that I would LOVE to get.  But, I realize I am not near as fast as most of the people that have submitted their applications. BUT, speed isn't everything!  At one point, the would be sponsor said to send in pictures, videos, whatever we thought would help our case.  Well, I couldn't figure out how to send videos through his website and I didn't want to just tag him to Facebook posts, so I thought "why not write a blog and then everyone can share in the fun (read humiliation [wait til you see me dance in the video...])!"  <.... that's a lot of punctuation right there!

Well, here are some highlights from my, so far, short triathlon career.

We have a short series of pictures from 2010 Heart of Dixie Triathlon.  Here you see me before the race happy and ready to roll!
 Fast forward about an hour to the swim start. Let's do it!
 Coming out of the water I feel great!  Lake swims are awesome!
Next, I hammered through the bike.  Please not the photo has been greatly distorted by the incredible speed that I was traveling at.
Then, I ran it on in! Note the sheer joy on my face, no cramping at all in this race! That is definitely not a look of pain, nope!

This year before Ironman Texas, I decided to let Eneko Llanos borrow all of my mojo.  He won.

I did not.  But I finished my first Ironman!  Here I am running down the finishers chute!

Let's fast forward to September 9th, 2011.  Maybe my favorite day ever?  Here I am right before the start of the Brett Robinson Coastal Tri Sprint Distance.  I was definitely up to something when this picture was taken...

After the race, third overall (!), I had to put on my best Bo Jackson pose with my bike, The Mummy (that thing is older than me!)

Then it was time to head off for the fun stuff! 

Yep, podium in the morning then marry that pretty little thing in the afternoon!  It was a good day! 

Well, the sound isn't working (I'll try to get that fixed) but here you go!

Well, Mr. Potential Sponsor, I've made my pitch, and have been making it for a couple of months.  I hope I fit what you are looking for!  And everyone else, well, someone teach me how to dance...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

How to swim faster in open water

As triathletes, we are all looking for ways to decrease are race times.  The swim is a section that many triathletes spend far too little time on.  Well, I have devised a system to improve your swim times without putting in any additional practice.  I practiced this method just this past Friday.

1.  Find an open body of water to swim in.
2.  Make sure that the water is murky and has low visibility.
3.  While swimming, accidentally kick a fish.
*This next step is the key!
4.  Let your mind wander.  Begin to think about all of the things that fish might have actually been, such as an alligator, a large sting ray, an even larger sting ray (!), an alligator big enough to eat that sting ray... and you at the same time, a bull shark that wandered into the bay, a Russian spy diver,  a dead pirate that was forced to walk the plank (in 4 feet of water no less), a baracuda, wait... baracudas swim in packs! It was probably 1 of 1000 baracudas! 
 5.  You will automatically begin to swim faster.

Well, that's your tri tip for the day! Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Back at it

It has been a while since I have really kept up with this blog (well, have I ever really kept up with it?).  But now that I am back from the honeymoon and have the wedding done I have just a little bit more freetime on my hands!  So now, I can actually get some stuff out to ya'll in the next few weeks! 

A couple of other notes:

My Hooker Counter had been up for only about 2 weeks when the fine city of Prichard decided to round them all up.  So the counter has been stuck at 7 for while, but there were 2 back out today!  Hopefully there will be more fun to come.

 My weight had been doing good.  Albert was dwindling, but during the honeymoon, I managed to gain 11 pounds in 11 days (don't act like you're not impressed).  So now it is really time to get serious about this whole weight thing.  Only 48 more days until the Miami Man half!

Ok, bedtime!

Friday, July 22, 2011

All that Prichard has to offer

I have heard many people in the Mobile, Alabama area talk bad about the city of Prichard, which is located just north of Mobile.  But many of the negatives I have heard about this city are just simply untrue.  I work in Chickasaw and every time I go to or leave work, I have the pleasure of driving through Prichard.  So why does Prichard get a bad reputation around the Mobile area?  Well, yes, it is true that corruption in the government has sapped the city fund dry and they no longer pay out pensions and sometimes can't pay the police or fire fighters (wait, do they have fire fighters?).  But is that really such a big price to pay when you have the pleasure of driving past more abandoned buildings then operable ones??  I don't think so.  Plus, where else can you say that the favorite restaurant in town had the ceiling fall in and then had the building condemned?  R.I.P. Tice Cream.  One cool thing about working in Chickasaw is that we are a part of the Prichard water system, which means it comes out of the faucet looking like tea.  You just have to add sugar, and instant sweet tea!  Then who can forget the two Country Bears homes on the main drag.  That's right, these old style shacks are lacking running water and electrity and you can watch as the crackhead residents scavenge the streets for wood to burn.  Don't forget that most of the neighborhoods are project housing.  That means that the sidewalks running through them actually make for really good lunch runs.  But be careful of the occasional hypodermic needle that is laying on the sidewalk, excellent agility training!

But, I have to say, my favorite part of Prichard is the hookers.  Yes, now that the police are not always getting paid, they don't seem to mind the hookers running the street.  So you can spot this odd form of wildlife near where the Tice Cream used to stand.  It is usually the same two or three, but sometimes you see a new one.  The new ones are sometimes hard to distinguish from normal crackheads.  Yesterday, I actually saw one wearing a livestrong bracelet.  That's right, a crackhead, possibly even a hooker, standing on the corner with a livestrong bracelet to complete the outfit.  Ahhhh, crazy characters!  So to celebrate these denizens of the dark (well, not just the dark in Prichard), I have now added a Hooker Tracker to my side bar!  Yep, you can now count hookers along with me every day of the week!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One tubby, tubby, tubby!

I have never been a skinny person.  I am the oldest of 5 and the only one that is not a stick.  I'm also the fastest eater out of all of us.  I think I learned early on that if I was not the first one done eating, I didn't get seconds!  When I was little (like 5) my mom told me that I should play soccer because when I run around so much, I'm not as fat.  And then on my first day at a new school she told me I should suck my stomach in when I walked around so I didn't look so chubby and the kids wouldn't make fun of me.  I think I actually managed to hold my breath that entire day at school.

Well, with my frame size, genetics and eating capabilities, gaining weight has never been a problem for me.  I used to spend ALL of my spare time either on the baseball field or lifting weights, so I got pretty big while playing through college.  I was a catcher, and at 6' tall, I topped out at 225 and found my best playing weight to be 212-216.  When I graduated college and was no longer playing at an extremely competitive level, I switched to something else that I could excel at. Drinking.  I was damn good at it but found that my playing weight rose a little bit with this new sport...

It wasn't long before I had grown bored with this new challenge and moved on to triathlon.  I never raced as a clydesdale (200+) although, for my first few races, I definitely could have.  My first real year in triathlon, I took off training like a mad man and my weight plummeted.  I bottomed out at 168 and was lighter than my brother for the first time ever!  Over the offseason however my weight rose again and I have been struggling to get down to the 169-172 range, where I feel most comfortable racing.  But now, my stomach, which I have named Albert, must die.  If I am going to step my racing up, I need to not be carrying around all of this extra weight.  So I'm going to list my weight on the sidebar every day so that Matt and Marcia and anybody else that might happen to read this blog can give me grief.  Maybe this will be the last bit of motivation I need to get to the weight I should have been at in March.

Monday, July 18, 2011

How bad can you be??

Well, when it comes to blogging, the answer is pretty bad.  With the triathlon team that I am on, good ol' Gear and Training, I am supposed to be posting race reports after each race.  Yeah, that hasn't happened.  I think I'm three races behind.  We'll call that a no bueno!

So, I am going to get back on this thing and just pretend that somebody reads what I write here!  Also, I think I need to change up the design and add some stuff, but I'm not quite sure how to do all of that, so if anyone (actually reads this and) has any ideas or suggestions, than message me!

Also, I want to keep a running total of 2 or 3 different numbers on the side bar, any idea how to do that?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How about a contest?

Everybody likes free stuff, right?  Well, how about this:  the person that comes the closest to guessing my finishing time at Ironman Texas on Saturday, wins an Ironman Texas t-shirt!

Just post your guess at my finishing time as a comment along with your t-shirt size.  Closest guess wins!

Contest ends when I hit the water on Saturday.

Hint: read my previous post for goal times and check out other race results here:

But, I will be an Ironman

It has been nearly 10 months since I signed up for the first ever Ironman Texas. I cannot say that I have stayed absolutely focused this entire time, but I can say that I have worked my butt off. For those of you that don’t know (assuming that more than one person reads this thing), an Ironman is a triathlon consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run, all back to back to back. In training for my first Ironman, I have learned a lot of lessons. Here are just a couple:
  1. Lose the weight before you get to the hard training! I have found that it is just about impossible to properly fuel your body for the next workout while trying to lose weight. So I had to make a choice, lose the rest of the weight I wanted to lose, or stay strong and get in all of my training. In the end, I went with the latter. As my old boss used to say "Fat is strong, my friend. Fat is strong."
  2. Have a plan and stick to it! I had found a 20 week Ironman training plan and was determined to rip through it. But once I started the first week, I realized that I was WAY beyond where this plan was starting me in my training. So I started to add workouts, and change workouts, and leave certain workouts completely out. By week 2, the plan was about one third my own creation, and two thirds original plan. By week 3 the plan was about two thirds my own creation, and one third original plan (do you see where this is going?). And by week 4, the plan was completely thrown out. That went well for a few weeks until I started to second guess my planning and changing things up like crazy, then it just became "eh, I’ll do this today." Probably not the best way to train for a race of this distance. In the end, I would probably be stronger if I had stuck with the original plan even though it started so slow.
My original time goal for this race was 10:59:59. We will now call that my best case scenario race. It is still possible, but it will take a perfect race. My B goal is 11:29:59 and my C goal is 11:59:59. Really, if I can finish the swim in 1:10 (this will be my first mass start, which means I will be starting at the same time as the other 2750 competitors… in what looks like a very small lake… This might slow me down), finish the bike with a 20mph average, and finish the marathon in under 5 hours, I will be happy. 

As a comparison, the winning pro at an Ironman will finish anywhere between 8:00 and 8:40 depending on the conditions and difficulty of the course. Some pros could still be finishing as far back as 10:20. A time of 9:30-10:15 could qualify me for the World Championships in Kona, HI. The median finisher at Ironman Florida last year finished in 12:41:21. And people will be finishing all the way up until the 17 hour cut off time. So even my C goal won’t be a horrible time.

No matter what happens with this race, I can say that I would never have been able to make it this far without the help of my family and friends and especially Anna (everything else aside, how many times has she brought me my spare key when I lost my truck key on a long run or ride??). So thank you everybody for your help and support.

Well, as they say, the hay is in the barn. Come Saturday, it is time to burn that sucker down!


If anyone wants to follow my race on Saturday, you can go to then scroll down and click on "Ironman Texas" then click "Tracking" then enter in my bib number 861 to see what I have completed as the day progresses.  Gregg Johnson (my boss) is bib number 2421 and Gus Fontenot (another guy from Mobile) is 2120.

Also, I may not be able to finish my race, because some crazy guy is predicting that the world will end at 5:00 pm central time on Saturday.  That would be a 10 hour finish for me, I don't know if I can run that fast!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

All or Nothing

Last year, a week after I bought my first tri bike, I competed in a local 21 mile bike race called the Tour de LADR.  This event isn't sanctioned by any governing bodies, so you can use a tri bike as long as you are willing to listen to the roadies tell you every 5 seconds to not use your aerobars. 

So last year, having just begun my cycling career, I started in the back so I wouldn't slow anybody down.  The next thing I know, I'm surrounded by moms on mountain bikes with their 6 year olds in training wheels.  The gun went off and I had no chance of catching up to the peloton.  I don't think I even knew what a peloton was at the time or how to draft in it without crashing if I had made it that far.  But I did alright, finishing in 56 or 58 minutes, I can't really remember.

Fast forward to this year, and now I am determined to win the race.  So Saturday I left my house and decided to ride to the race for a little 10 mile warm up ride.  I paid my money, stripped the commuter lights off of my bike and got ready to roll.  THIS year I lined up on the front line.  The course is described as "mostly flat" but the only part of it that is not completely flat is where the road banks just a slight bit going around a shallow turn.  Other than that it is flatter than a pancake, so I knew it would take a good pace to break up the group.  Unfortunately, my training partner, Trifossil, decided the day before that he wasn't going to do the race and I was left without anybody to team up with. 

The course is an out and back and on the way out I ended up pulling way more than I needed to.  I was trying to pull hard enough to break the pack apart and prevent a group sprint at the end, but only a couple of other people had the same idea.  Everyone else apparently wanted the group sprint.  So after I would pull, there would be another hard pull or two then the next person would sit back and let the group catch back up.  About mile 5 I had already had enough of this and tried to grab a couple of guys to break off.  I kicked it up to about 29 and was able to get close enough to the cop car to catch a draft, but the cop realized what i was doing and put a gap on me so I lost my draft, then I turned around and saw only one person had gone with me so I sat up and let the group suck us back in.  I continued taking my pulls like I had before, but I let off a little to save my legs for the back half. 

As we neared the turnaround, another triathlete, Gus, told me to take off from the turnaround and 5 other guys were going to follow me, so at the turn around I took off! But again, only one guy caught my wheel so we sat up and let the group suck us in.

With 6 miles to go, the guy that was pulling at the time pulled off like normal.  There were 3 kids directly in line behind him that had not taken a pull yet and when all of a sudden the lead man pulled off, leaving them at the front, they panicked.  They swerved out of the pace line and almost caused a pile up.  This was all Gus and I needed to make a break.  We took off and before the group realized we had left, we had a 200 yard gap.  Gus and I worked pretty well together but the head wind started to wear on us and about 2.5 miles out they were starting to close in on us.  Then as Gus is pulling he looked back and said "they've caught us" and sat up.  Turns out the group hadn't caught us, it was just one man, A guy from Denmark that was so big, when Gus looked back he thought it was the whole peloton.  So now with Gus dropping off, instead of a now three man break, I am now in a two man break with the Great Dane.  However he only held on for about a mile and I was left solo. 

At this point, I didn't even want to look back to see how close the group was.  I knew I was close to the finish line and I was going for it!  At this point my lungs were burning and my legs were dead but I was going to win the ra- "oh *#%, they caught me!"

I almost made it, I had less than 3/4 of a mile to go before they got to me.  But then they wouldn't pass me, they sat on my wheel and let my legs burn.  Then when they jumped out to the sprint all I could do was spin in for 10th overall in 50:55.

I almost had it!  I held a 25.2 mph average for the race.  Not bad, but next year, I just need to be strong enough to time trial the whole thing for the win!

Friday, March 11, 2011

So you want a race report?

My last blog was somewhat of a half race report, but The Gear and Training Triathlon Team wants a full race report for each race, so that is what I'll give them!  Sorry, this one is a little long.

The Joe Cain 5k

For those of you outside of Mobile, Alabama, Joe Cain Day is a day full of craziness.  He is the man widely credited with bringing Mardi Gras to Mobile after the civil war.  And of course, everyone should know that Mardi Gras actually started in Mobile and not in New Orleans!  So every Sunday before Fat Tuesday, it's thrown down time, in honor of Sir Joe Cain!  Somewhere along the line, a few nuts decided that in their drunken/hungover stupor on Joe Cain Day, they should run an early morning race, and that is what had me out in the cold this past Sunday.

Prerace Thoughts

I used to live in Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and the moutains of North Carolina.  It is not Minnesota cold in those places, but I can say that I have experience with cold weather.  However, I consider Jacksonville, Florida home and I do not do very well with cold weather.  I would rather have it be 95 degrees than 55 degrees.  So when I woke up Sunday morning, and it was cold enough that I had to consider wearing sleeves to race in, it was too cold for me!  But, my company is participating in something called the Corporate Cup.  It is city wide contest between various businesses that pits us against each other in weird divisions and scores us with rules that are only slightly less confusing than the Calvinball rules from the old Calvin and Hobbes comic strip.  Somehow I was nominated the Team Captain, and we are kicking butt, so we keep running.

However, it was cold, it was wet, and it was oh, so windy!

Let's Run... and spill beer and puke

Gregg Johnson is my training partner and my boss.  He is old, almost 50 now and fat... and hopefully doesn't read this... But the guy is fast.  I have not beat him in a running race yet.  I always try to hold on to his wheel as long as I can but it never works.  So on Sunday I decided I was just going to let him go and shoot for my sub 21 on my own terms.

I toed the line next to a guy with a camel back full of liquor and a beer in each hand and the gun went off!  The crowd quickly thinned out and I decided to push my ego away and let everybody pass me so that I wouldn't burn my legs at the beginning.  I knew that to run my 21 I needed to come in to the first mile marker at 7 minutes and when I hit, I was standing good at 6:56.  Ok, time to pick up the pace. 

About 1.2 miles in I saw a familiar stride, it was Gregg.  This might be my day!  I stayed a little bit behind him  as we circled the course, then we turned North and the wind was terrible!  At the turn we began to see everybody in the back of the back and I swear, at least half of them had a beer in hand.  Crazy.  Well, I pulled up next to Gregg and we agreed to work together.  We drafted off of each other like we were hammering out a long Saturday ride.  He would draft me as I ran up somebody's back and passed them then I would draft him as he did the same.  And it worked.   We made it through the two mile mark at 7:07, not good.  That meant to hit 21 minutes I was going to have to haul butt in the last mile and the wind was not getting any easier. 

I turned west on the final stretch with a pack of about 6 people.  We were pushing harder and harder and picking up others along the way.  It was no longer about making my time, but about beating Gregg and the other people in this group.  Since I'm not a sprinter, I knew my only chance would be to break them mentally, so as soon as the starting line was visible, I took off as fast as I could.  I had a long way to go and it hurt.  I didn't want to look back and show I was worried about where they were so I just kept digging.  I didn't think any of them were anywhere close.  I came up on the line just as another guy crept past me!  I never even heard him coming!  And no one was yelling at the finish line! Not cool. But that guy immediately went to the curb to puke out his guts and all of last night's gin (guessing by his smell when we were running side by side) and I beat Gregg (even thought it was 2.5 minutes slower than his worst 5k of the year and he had done his long run the day before).  I came in at 21:54 officially.  Only good enough for 5th place in my age group, but hey, I'm getting faster and this is the first race this year where I did not completely burn out and fade at the end and was able to give a good sprint.

I went back to the finish line to wait for my girlfriend Anna, who was not far behind at 24:13 and 3rd in her age group! We then headed to the post race party which was well under way.  The line on the beer cart was packed out and the dj already had people dancing in the streets.  Yeah.... it's like 8:35 right now... going to be a long day for some people!  We got Anna's award and headed home for a long run!

It was a fun race and a good day.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Learning to Enjoy Running

For those of you that read my blog on a regular basis (I'm 100% confident that no one falls under this category, not even my mom), you know that up until a couple of years ago, my running experience was limited to short trips around the bases.  After switching to triathlon, my cycling took off almost immediately.  I guess my huge legs from 20 years of catching translated nicely to the bike.  My swim is following along nicely, I think that is just from growing up on the beach in Florida.  But running? Man, I hate running. 

Running, to me, has always been a punishment.  Late to practice, go run laps (I wasn't usually late).  Cutting up in practice, go run laps (this usually wasn't me either.  Practice is serious).  Getting in trouble in class and back-talking teachers, go run laps (yeah... probably where most of my laps came from).  Running was never something that we did for fun.  It was always because we had to.  Always torture.  Miserable. 

My brothers loved running, I thought it was the devil.

I know that running is my biggest weakness in triathlon.  In agusta I finished in the top 11% in the swim, the top 9% on the bike and the top 46% on the run! And not because I blew up on the bike... I held back on the bike to have a better run!

So I have been working hard to improve my run.  I set out yesterday to break my 5k PR in the Joe Cain run here in Mobile.  Conditions were ugly.  It was cold, wet and stupid windy.  But still, my goal was a sub 21 minute 5k.  I set out feeling strong and actually felt strong the whole way, but the wind was terrible.  With the head wind that we had on the second half of the race, I just couldn't hold the pace that I needed.  I ended up finishing at 21:54.  44 seconds short of my 21:10 PR and 55 seconds short of my goal, I managed to land in 5th in my age group. 

But, I enjoyed the run!

I actually had fun running.  One of the very few times in my life I have enjoyed running.  So later that day Anna and I went for a long run.  I ran another 10.2 miles, and instead of feeling like I was dying the entire way, I actually enjoyed it again! Who knows, their may be hope for my run after all.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Team Gear and Training

I had said before that I wanted to become the world's slowest sponsored triathlete.  Well, I now have my first sponsor!  I will be a part of Team Gear and Training for the 2011 race season!  Woo Hoo! (I have snopes checking to see whether or not I am actually the world's slowest sponsored triathlete)

I have to say I am very excited about this opportunity.  With my background in baseball, it is weird to me not being part of a team.  I love the individuality that triathlon provides, but it is always nice having a team behind you for support and encouragement.  This year, I am one of a team of 40 and they are already proving to be an encouraging bunch.  I believe this will be a fun year and I am very thankful for the chance that Gear and Training has provided me with.

But, the cool stuff doesn't just apply to me!  Gear and Training has given me a handy dandy discount code to hand out to everyone.  Use the code "HR31" at checkout and you will receive free shipping and 20% off of any order over $150!  That means, you are going to save a minimum of $40 an order (I'm assuming shipping would normally be around $10)!  So check it out, they have everything from running to cycling to triathlon stuff and even camping and outdoor gear!  Personally, I already have my eye on a kayak....

Friday, February 18, 2011

Well, I thought it was cool

I played baseball for 20 years, the last 8 or so were at a pretty good level.  But, I never made the front page of a paper.  I never even made the front page of even the sports page.  Don't think I even ever had a picture make the paper.  I had a few mentions here and there about home runs or high RBI games but that was about it. 

Back in December, I had a picture make the paper for the first time.  It was just by chance, it was a photo of the start of the Jingle Bell Run in Daphne, AL that was shoved in the back of the sports section and I just happened to be in the front at the start of the race.  I didn't stay there long though.  It was only a 5k, but I bonked before the race started and only placed 5th in my age group.  But I still got my picture in the paper!

Then, last Friday, I hit it big... Well, big as far as I'm concerned.  I made the front page of the Baldwin Bulletin.  Front and center with headline the above the fold! Yeah, I know it is only a biweekly publication, but I thought it was cool... The article was about my bid to win a sponsorship from TRX (see the last blog) and Ironman Texas.  You can see part of the article online here:

This triathlon stuff is pretty cool!

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Chance For a Sponsor

If any of y'all follow me on Twitter (el_slice) or Facebook, you are well aware that I am in a competition right now to get a sponsorship for triathlon.  So for everyone else, here's a quick rundown of what is going on.

A company called TRX Suspension Training is holding a competition right now to give out sponsorships.  To win, you have to make a 30 second video explaining your goal for the year and how TRX will help you achieve that goal.  Then post it on youtube and the videos with the 5 most views at the end of February win!  I decided to do something a little different than a boring ol "my goal is blah blah blah and TRX will help me blah blah blah."  So my brothers, Nolan and Payton, my buddy Josh, and I made a video titled The Adventures of Kona Man.

As of Friday I had made it up to number 3 in the contest!  But apparently these other people have less to do on the weekends then me and all of my friends, so as of this morning I am down to number 7.  But! I am still only 89 views back of 4th place.  So I'm not all that far out of the money. 

You can find my video here:

If you like it (or even if you don't), please keep watching it every day and email and facebook it to everyone!

Also, I think it would help tremendously if I could get someone or some company to post it on their website, so let me know if you have any suggestions for me!


Monday, January 17, 2011

I will be an Ironman

This is my first attempt at writing a blog.  I don't usually read other blogs when they are too long, so I'm going to try to keep all of my posts fairly short.  I thought that in my shameless quest for sponsorship, a blog might help out my case.  Especially if somebody other than Robert Lightfoot reads it (and as bored as he gets at work, it will take some convincing to get even him to read this.).

I am currently in the 3rd week of a 20 week training program leading up to Ironman Texas on May 21.  To avoid burn out, I took 10 weeks off at the end of last season, and now I'm paying for it.  The workouts so far have just about all been painful.  But, so far it has been fun. 

I did a lot of races last year and had only average results.  This year, I am going to do fewer races and I have some big goals for them.  My goals are to:

Podium overall in a race

Run a sub 11 hour Ironman in Texas

Run a sub 4:30 half Ironman

These are some lofty goals, I know.  But, if you're not hammering, why race?