Saturday, September 23, 2017

Less Than a Month Until Race Day!

Less than a month….

Well, I have less than a month to the race in Louisville.  The training has ramped significantly and this weekend is the last HUGE weekend of training.  For those that have an interest in competing in an Ironman someday, be ready for the last 6 weeks of training towards the end.  It absolutely buries you.  The awesome part is, you get through workouts and sessions you didn’t think were possible.  It makes you a better athlete, and more importantly, a mentally tougher person. 

As a quick update to the training, my confidence in having a great day is growing week by week.  I’m hitting some great marks in all 3 phases.  While not every workout has been perfect or great, the body of work has been my best ever.  Physically and mentally I’m ready to TAPER!  Most athletes feel this the last few weeks of any big endurance training block.  It seems as though I’ve also ramped to 5 cups of coffee a day just to get through J  Excitement for race day is building…as I’ve stated before, my goal is to be in the mix to compete for top 3 in my Age Group.  I believe I’m on track still and just need to get there healthy to see what happens!  I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m over the 100+ mile rides and multiple 20 mile runs J

A quick and very special thank you to my wife, Ana.   She has been through this 6X before with me and still does it with a smile.  These past few weeks have been a heavier burden on her because of training and travel with work.  She is absolutely the rock behind my success in training and life.  I owe more to her than I can express.  She truly makes this journey, and our life journey together amazing.  Thank you Ana!

If you are thinking of tackling Ironman someday, my biggest advise is that make sure you make it a “family” decision.  Training and racing can NOT be done alone.  With the genuine support of your family, it can be one the most rewarding journey’s you could take your family on. 

To date, we have raised $3050 towards our goal of $3550 for the 12 Oaks Foundation!  We are almost there and if you have the means, we would love your help in making our goal before race day!  When Julie talked about training for Ironman being similar to the experience Matt went through fighting cancer, I thought it was a nice sentiment.  Having trained for 6 in the past, I could certainly see where she was coming from.  However, this time around it has been a little different.  Because of my partnership with 12 Oaks, I have been more mindful of what I’m going through (physically and mentally).  It makes me wonder if this struggle to get to the start line could ever really compare with what Matt was going through. 

You see, at the “finish line” for me will be something inspiring, exciting, and a feeling full of gratitude.  Matt’s “finish line” was something entirely different.  I can’t imagine the strength he had and showed when he knew that the outcome wasn’t going to be a “vacation to Hawaii.”  The cool part, the “inspiring and feeling of gratitude” has made a long lasting impact through his memory. 

Like most things, this race will come and go, and become a fond memory.  It’s my ultimate goal though to use this platform to help continue to grow the impact that Matt and 12 Oaks are making in the future.  So far, so good!

So, I’ll post another blog the weekend of the race….race day is October 15th.  Until then, I’m going to keep working hard and trying to inspire others to do things they never thought they were capable of.  I came across a quote recently that has really impacted me so I’ll share it below.  Think about it…I’m 100% sure Matt was the kind of kid that did things the RIGHT way.

“What is each day but a series of decisions between doing things the RIGHT way, or the EASY way.”


Sunday, August 27, 2017

12 Oaks Update, Racing, Believe….

Hey everyone!  Hope you are enjoying the last few weeks of a GREAT summer!  First off, a HUGE thank you to all that have donated towards the 12 Oaks “Iron Journey” goal!  In only a month, we have raised $2,775!  What a GREAT start and many thanks from all of us at the 12 Oaks Foundation!  We have about $740 to go to our goal and we have about 6 weeks to get there. 

I stated in my first post that I am humbled to be racing for such a great cause, and that has been amplified 10X with the amount of support we have gotten.  Not just financially, but all the great and kind words everyone has left.  The sentiment has been unanimous, 12 Oaks is a wonderful cause worth supporting! 

Matt would be very proud.  Since my last post the race season has taken off!  First up for me was the Lake Zurich Triathlon and I wanted to put together a solid race and finish (this is where I crashed last year)!  Mission accomplished on this one.  I improved on the bike and run significantly over the first few races of the year.  I really felt like coming off the Madison 70.3 there was a surge in the fitness which was wonderful to see. 

Next up on the schedule was Steelhead 70.3.  I came into the day knowing that I had the “potential” to do something special.  The training had been going really well and the weather was going to be near perfect conditions.  I’ve raced here 2 other times, and both times the swim was cancelled.  Not this time!  We jumped in Lake Michigan and it had a very challenging chop.  I knew I just needed to swim smooth and strong throughout and I would be in a good spot starting the bike.  I was very happy with the swim and it seems as though I’m on track for Louisville there!

On the bike I had my best day ever.  I was strong from the gun and even holding back a bit.  I’ve been racing for 12 years and it is the little things that can help a breakthrough.  After Lake Zurich, my coach and I took a look at how I was riding.  I’ve always pedaled at a very high cadence (100+ rpm).  What we noticed by doing this is that my effort and heart rate would rise “artificially” and I was leaving some speed out on the course.  We made an adjustment to start riding at 90rpm.  It felt really weird at first and I needed to get my legs used to it.  But after a few weeks…the riding went to another level.  I was able to push harder while keeping the heart rate down.  It was a wonderful feeling after having about 5 years of bike “plateau.”  It just goes to show…all the little things add up.  And this added up to my highest wattage output ever for a 70.3 and an average speed of 23.5mph!  That was nearly one full mph faster than Lake Zurich…at double the distance!  Needless to say, I was pretty pumped to start the run!

On the run, everything fell into place.  Again, keeping with the theme of working on the little things….I went to see Coach Leach (highly recommend!) in Chicago for a run gait analysis.  I was pleasantly surprised that my form was mostly very good.  But to no surprise, we made a few very minor tweaks and that set my run form, speed, and power onto another level.  So cool to see improvements at 38 years old J  I ran strong and with great form throughout the 13.1 miles and finished up averaging 6:59 per mile pace.  That was my best run average I’ve had after a Swim/Bike at this distance!

All that paid off in a podium finish and 3rd in my Age Group.  I was also lucky enough to Qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in South Africa next September!  So I guess you could say a little luck and a LOT of hard training made this a wonderful day.  In fact, it was a 9 minute personal best!

Now I’m into the last BIG training block before Ironman Louisville.  We have roughly 6 weeks to go, and 4 of that will be long and intense training.  I’m really looking forward to this last push.  Like I said above, things seem to be clicking right now.  For the first time since I signed up a year ago, I’m starting to BELIEVE. 

I believe I have a chance for a GREAT day in Louisville.  I believe I have a chance to smash through my best time at this distance.  I believe I have earned the right to compete at the very top…and perhaps qualify again for the Ironman World Championships in Kona. 
That’s what it takes.  If you don’t truly believe you can…you’ve already lost.  It wasn’t until I crossed the line at Steelhead that I truly felt like this was all coming together. 

But, I still have a long way to go!  A couple more weeks of BIG training (I did 100 miles on the bike yesterday, followed by a 4mi run….followed today by 19 miles of running on the HILLY Cary course).  There is more of that to come, and you know what?  I’m having a blast and embracing it! 

So here is to the last push of training….the belief is there, now I have to get the work done and stay healthy.  Racing for a cause bigger than myself has really inspired me this summer.  I can’t wait to make Matt, the 12 Oaks Foundation, my family, my friends, and all of you reading this proud on Sunday, October 15th

I’ll update again before the race.  So thank you for the support!  Thank you for the well wishes!  And if you see me out training, chances are you will see me smiling J


Dedication, Passion, Results

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Life, Racing, and a Greater Purpose….

Hey everyone!  It has been some time since I sat down and put some thoughts to paper.  We are already into July and the race season is in full swing, BBQ’s are plentiful, and watching the kids play in the water is one of the greatest joys I have as a parent.  Today is going to be an update on a few different topics that you might find interesting….enjoy the read and talk soon!


I don’t have to tell any of you that being an Athlete after High School/College is a tough gig.  It isn’t an activity, it is a lifestyle.  At least 5 out of 7 days (and yes sometimes on the weekend too) I’m up before 4:30am.  For me, the only “predictable” part of my day is between 4-6am.  After that, all bets are off!  So if you want to compete, train for multisport, or just live this lifestyle…it is hard work! 

My little ones, Lyla and Mason, are 4 and 2 now.  They are so much fun and it has been the absolute joy of my life having these two around.  They keep Ana and I on our toes and they NEVER seem to stop going!  I think some of that might have come from me J  I am really passionate about showing them about hard work, setting goals, and living healthy.  Most mornings Mason comes up and asks “Daddy, you go running today?”  It is so sweet and it makes me happy that he notices that this is happening.

Ana has been doing really well with her Group X career and has been passionately involved in spreading the word on Essential Oils.  That is a topic for another blog, but suffice it to say, I have been surprised at how well they incorporate into the healthy, athletic lifestyle that I have built.  We even had time for a little getaway to Italy in May!  WHAT A TRIP!  I can’t express enough how awesome it was to experience the country with my wife.  Whatever expectations I had, they were blown away.  It was great to get some 1:1 time with Ana for an extended vacation.  Very much needed!

At work, things are NUTS.  I am responsible for a sales team that spans Illinois, Missouri, and Indiana.  I have 10 direct reports and the organization I lead spans to over 75 people.  We will run a business this year close to $80 Million in revenue.  This is no small feat!  I have an absolute blast at my “day job” and we have built a team and culture that I look forward to being a part of every day.  It isn’t without its challenges, we are in the middle of the biggest technology merger in History!  So yeah, work is NUTS. 

I write all this out for one simple reason…life is full of choices.  I choose to be fit.  I choose to get up at 4am to train.  I choose to give 100% every day.  I choose to “get after it!” So if you are reading this and you have aspirations of living a healthier, more active lifestyle…you can.  You just have to choose and commit.  And hopefully, you have a wonderful support crew like I do to share in the journey!


So 2016 was pretty much an epic failure for me by lots of accounts.  I crashed (see previous blog) on the bike in a Triathlon about a year ago and it set off a series of disappointments for the rest of the race season.  I had a choice to make…I could feel sorry for myself and let one tough year derail my goals and ambitions.  Or, I could use it as fuel to get back out there and see what I’m capable of.  I chose the latter. 

On the books for this year is an aggressive schedule.  My 2017 races are as follows:
        Cary Half Marathon
-         Leon’s Olympic Triathlon
-         Madison 70.3 Triathlon
-         Lake Zurich Olympic Triathlon
-         Steelhead 70.3 Triathlon
-         Tri Rock Olympic Triathlon
-         Ironman Louisville

As you can see, there are a lot of chances to redeem myself from 2016!  The first 3 races of the year I had one goal in mind, race and finish strong.  Time, place, competition, speed…none of that mattered.  What I needed was mental victories in these races.  Everything was off last year and I needed to get my mojo back. 

At Cary, it went as well as I could have asked.  I had a good build to the half marathon and executed a very strong race in the hills.  It wasn’t my fastest race I’ve done there (I think I’ve done it 7X), but I passed over 50 people in the last 6 miles…finish strong, that was the goal.  Goal accomplished.

In the Leon’s Tri, the goal was simple…steady effort the whole way.  All of my times were a little slower than previous years, but that was OK!  I was able to work really hard, stay strong the whole time, and finish feeling like I left nothing out there.  If you want a good laugh, you can see me interviewed on the coverage on CSN (you can find air times on the Leon’s website).  Goal accomplished.

At the Madison 70.3, I was racing the very next week after Leon’s.  Conditions were calling for high temps and winds, and it didn’t disappoint.  The swim was solid.  My bike was a major improvement over just a week before…it was a TOUGH course out there too.  My run, it was redemption time.  It was 90 degrees (same as last year) and I had one goal…run every friggin step of the 13.1 miles.  Last year the run ate me up…this year, I smashed it.  Ran every step…and stayed strong the whole way.  It was a HUGE victory as I was just trying to race myself into “shape.”  Goal accomplished.

My mantra for the first 3 races and the rest of the year…”The stronger you are, the faster you will finish.” 
Strength, both physical and mental will win the day in Triathlon, not pure speed.  So that is what I’m concentrating on this year.  I’ve been working for almost a year with Ben at BeWell Fitness in Libertyville and it has been amazing.  I’m “built” so much stronger now.  Posture is night and day.  Power in the hips is explosive.  Form on both the bike and run have improved dramatically.  I knew going into this year that I didn’t have more time to give to the sport, but I could be smarter about the time I did have.  My biggest improvements wouldn’t come from another bike or run.  It would come from a serious dedication to strength and recovery.  So far…SO GOOD. 

Lastly, I’m back being coached by Jen Harrison!  It has been wonderful to put my plan in someone else’s hands again.  One less thing I need to worry about!  And there is no one else I would trust with my plan! I have big goals for the rest of the year and I know Jen will help me achieve them!  Next up is the Lake Zurich Tri (this weekend) and Steelhead…I’d love to see some improvement from Leon’s and Madison….I have no doubts I will. 


Last year before the bike crash, I really started to enjoy riding and running longer distances again.  It has been a few years since I’ve done Ironman and for some reason, which I question often haha, I got the itch to do it again.  While it would be awesome to get back to Kona, the reality is that it will take a perfect day to get there.  Even though it has only been a couple years, the game is faster and stronger.  So we will see. I have a time goal and we can talk about that in a later blog.  But I would be lying if I haven’t struggled with consistent motivation for this race.  Ironman is a monumental effort in all facets of life and you really need to be 100% in to reach your potential. 

While searching inward for the motivation to smash the training, I was very lucky to be introduced to Julie and Elizabeth from the 12 Oaks Foundation. 

For those that have known me for a while, I’ve only run once in the 100+ events I’ve done for a cause.  Running for my sister in the 2014 Chicago Marathon was a humbling experience that I enjoyed immensely. 

When Julie and Elizabeth reached out and asked if I would be interested in being an ambassador for 12 Oaks, I was hesitant at first to be honest.  As you can see, I’m REALLY busy.  Family, work, coaching, and my own training take a tremendous amount of time and effort.  How could I possibly fit one more “obligation” in? 

Then I read Matt’s story.  I was instantly touched.  Being a father of two, giving back to children is something I’ve grown very passionate about and try to help whenever I can.  Matt was a young, energetic athlete full of life at 12 years old.  Involved in team sports, winter sports, and running…Matt was a boy that I hope my Mason and Lyla grow to be as well. 

Unfortunately, Matt lost his battle with cancer at the very young age of 13.  I can’t even imagine the thought.  While there are many phenomenal options to help and donate to the war on cancer, I found 12 Oaks particularly touching in how they help the families that are fighting these circumstances.

The reality is that life stops for the entire family.  As Julie states on the website, they wanted to do more for their other kids, but were financially and emotionally tapped. 

12 Oaks is an organization that helps to defray the costs of sports and community programs for the children of families suffering financial hardship.  A very noble cause and one that I’m proud to be a part of.   Here is a quick note on why I was asked to be a part of this cause:

“Last year our founder, Julie Hupp did an Ironman in honor of what would have been her son Matt’s 21st birthday. Her “Iron Journey” of both training and race day inspired so many people on so many levels, in addition to the $20,000 she raised for the foundation. Our goal is to recruit Ironman triathletes annually to choose 12 Oaks Foundation as their “Charity of Choice” in honor of Matt, and for the children who need our help to stay in their activities while a family member is being treated for cancer. You see, Matt was a budding young triathlete and gifted athletically, and we all knew he would be an Ironman someday.

Julie and Elizabeth asked if I would be their 1st Ironman Ambassador to carry on the “Iron Journey” memory of Matt.  I could not be more proud to do so.

So on October 15th, I will be competing in Ironman Louisville for my family, for myself, for my support crew, and for Matt.  I will be blogging monthly from here on out and expanding on this journey.  In the next week, I’ll have more info out on how you can donate on behalf of myself and Athlete Factory.

I could not be more excited to be racing for something bigger than myself and to help children in need achieve a little bit of happiness and health in trying times. 

As with everything I do, I will be setting a goal (for fundraising) and I hope you choose to help along the way.  More can be found about the 12 Oaks Foundation at the link below. 

Thank you to Julie and Elizabeth for including me on this “Iron Journey.”  I’m proud and humbled to be a part of it. 

Dedication, Passion, Results

Monday, October 10, 2016

I feel like it has been years....because it has. 3 years to be exact...

I feel like it has been years……

That’s because it has since I’ve wrote a blog.  I honestly got away from this because life is just too busy sometimes.  And truthfully, I’m not sure I have tons of new stuff to say all the time.  But after a few years, some life changes, and still trying to compete at a high level…I feel like there some things I’ve learned that everyone can benefit from.  So here we go….

This is not a plug for me to Coach you.  This is a plug for you to figure out if a Coach is right for you.  In my case, I’ve been coaching myself for the past 2 years.  I’ve had wonderful experiences with my previous coaches (Matt and Jen), but I felt with the birth of my son, our 2nd child, I needed to take a break from the responsibility I felt to my Coach (Jen) to get the work done.  Things were changing; life was difficult learning how to parent 2 kids!  Sleep? What the hell is that?  I knew I still wanted to compete, but I needed to take it down a notch.  And man was that refreshing after 8 years of pushing the limits.  The freedom I felt to write whatever workouts I wanted, to experiment with different types of intensities to see what worked, and guiltless pleasure of missing a workout and only having to answer to myself was AWESOME. 

Fast forward 2 years and I’ve learned a few things as well.  My life is a little more stable now and this year was a BIG year of training and race goals.  I saw my mileage ramp up and with it, expectations went the same direction.  The difference (from having a Coach before) was I was in too deep in my own head.  Was I doing enough?  Was I doing too much?  Am I writing workouts that are truly challenging?  It wasn’t on purpose, but it is REALLY hard to write a workout that you know is going to crush you.  So I found myself doing a lot of 90-95% stuff…when maybe I needed to be doing just a little more.  Or as you will see, quite possibly a little less!

That is the benefit of having someone outside your own world to do the Coaching for you.  As a Coach, I can assess my athletes’ body of work, expectations, and life balance to determine what is possible.  Countless times I’ve had an athlete say that they thought there was zero chance they would make it through a workout…but then they smashed it.  That’s what a good Coach does….they see the potential and dial it up at just the right time.   Based on my experience over the past few years, that is almost impossible to do on your own.

So in summary, not everyone wants a Coach.  Some don’t need them.  But for those of us with busy lives, dedication to our sport and high expectations of excellence….this is the only way you will achieve your potential in my opinion.


There is no single magic workout that will help you achieve your goals.  I have athletes all the time get panicked if a workout goes sideways or doesn’t happen at all.  My favorite is when I get a phone call in February from an athlete doing an Ironman in September.  

It goes something like this:

“Oh my God Dave, I’ve missed the last 3 workouts because I was sick.  I couldn’t even get out of bed.  I had to hire a nanny for the week just to make me soup.  I threw up 18 times in 18 minutes.  But, I’m going to try and run 10 miles this afternoon because I know that my Ironman in September is totally ruined.”

My response:

“Go to bed.  It’s only February.”

Yeah, it is about that short :)  For ANYONE getting into Endurance sport…it really is about the body of work, not the individual workouts.  Are there “key” workouts?  Absolutely.  But is it much more important that you put a consistent 10 MONTHS together, not 10 days leading into your taper. 

Personally, I had a really rough year with consistency.  First off, unless I was injured or sick, I never took a day off.  That is HORRIBLE.  I pride myself on the recovery aspect of this sport.  Going back to my coaching topic, I failed myself in this area.  Looking back on the year, I was consistently fatigued.  And that led to a lot more small niggles and injuries than I have ever had in this sport.

Just when I was starting to fire on all cylinders, I hit that motorcycle in the Lake Zurich Triathlon head on.  This was middle of July, Racine was my big triathlon of the year being raced the following weekend, and I smashed into a motorcycle in my lane at 25-30mph.  So I took a month off and healed right?  NOPE.  I took 1 day off and got back at it and tried to race Racine.  While I don’t regret giving it a try, looking back several months later it wasn’t the best thing to do.  I took 1 week off after Racine and started training for the Chicago Marathon. 

During the Chicago Marathon training I was sick for 3 weeks in the middle of it.  That is a massive disruption when you think about what amounted to an 8 week training plan.  More to come on this, but it is no surprise that the Marathon went sideways on me.

So as you can see, the only thing that was consistent this year was fatigue, setbacks, and honestly, some bad choices. 

So as you line up what 2017 is going to look like for you, remember, it’s about the body of work not small snippets of time along the way.  If you can take a big picture look…you might have some better results than I did.  Food for thought.

Big Expectations

“If you do enough of these events, you are bound to lay a turd sometimes.”  That is my new favorite quote that I made up all by myself yesterday after struggling to the finish line of the Chicago Marathon.  There is a lot of truth in it…but under it all, I learned HUGE lessons training and racing for Chicago…I think you can learn a little from them:
    What you did in the past means nothing in the present.  My last two marathons were 3:03 and 3:01.  So it seems very reasonable to set a goal for 2:59 based on past experience.  Here is the problem though; if you base your future goals on what you did…not what is happening now…you are in for epic failure.  I went through my Marathon training STRUGGLING to hold my marathon pace (6:53 per mile).  I had every excuse in the book:  it’s too hot, it’s too humid, I’m sick, I’m tired, I’m stressed, I’m sore…..the list goes on and on.  The hard lesson, if you can’t hit your pace in training you WON’T hit it on race day.  

     If I look around at my athlete’s, and others, that crushed it yesterday, they hit their marks in training.  So don’t let your ego guide your goals…be honest with yourself and let the past be the past.  That is how you get the most out of today.  Hindsight is 20/20…but I should have started on a 3:10 pace and built from there.  I probably would have finished 3:04-3:06 and would have been very proud.  Instead, I ended up blowing at mile 16 and had a 10 mile death march to the finish…which I eventually did in 3:25.  Learn from this….it is an important lesson.
     You CAN’T RACE a marathon with 8 weeks of training.  You can finish a marathon respectably on 2 months of training…but you can’t “race” it.  I spent the last 2 months putting in BIG miles for this race….but the body of work I keep talking about was pretty limited.  It had been 2 years since I raced anything longer than a half marathon.  Most marathon training programs are 4-5 months long.  I guess I didn’t respect the race as much as I should have…and I put too much stock in my “Triathlon base” to really go get my marathon goal.  I’m convinced that marathon training and racing is the HARDEST training you can do in this sport.  The simplicity is awesome.  The toll it takes on your body is awful.  It is really hard to get through it.  So in the end, my body said ENOUGH at mile 16….and you know what?  I don’t blame it.  After the year I had and the limited build….it makes sense.  My body was never in 2:59 shape…but my ego was. 
     Gratitude.  This is the lesson I was reminded of yesterday.  I am so thankful I have the opportunity to do this.  To push myself.  To compete with others and to share my passions with a truly awesome network of friends and family around me.  And ultimately, to set a wonderful example of what hard work and reaching for goals means to my kids.   

     I had an athlete remind me yesterday that my last 10 mile “death march” would have been a 10 mile PR for them!  WOW….I needed to hear that.  Perspective is a great thing.  So while I am very disappointed in the result, the journey was great.  I’m grateful in a weird way that I can barely walk today.  I choose to do this, many cannot make that choice.  And for that, gratitude will always be one of my core values in life and sport.

Well, if you hung with me this long, good for you!  You have way too much free time and I’m totally jealous :)  It was nice to get this out of me and on paper.  Recapping a race or a season is a very healthy thing to do.  I have some big ideas for 2017 and I’m looking forward to getting my “mojo” back.  

I am also going to try and blog a little more often this year.  I learn so much through my racing, my coaching, and the feedback of those around me…it would be a shame not to share it.  If even one person is inspired by this…it was well worth the time to put it together. 

So enjoy some time off this fall…I know I will.  While the weather in Chicago is about to turn ugly, it is the perfect time to assess and build the body and mind back up for 2017! 

See you at the races!


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Inner Strength....

Happy Ironman World Championship Day!!!

Sitting here on the couch, resting up for the Chicago Marathon tomorrow!  What a great day so far.  Little run and breakfast with my two favorite girls in the whole world, Ana and Lyla :)

Some real mixed emotions for me today watching Kona.  Excitement, jealousy, pride....I can't wait to EARN my way back!  It's starts tomorrow at the Chicago Marathon.  I have a lofty goal of breaking 3 hours and no matter how good the day goes, it is going to HURT!  Its how we deal with this hurt that makes great competitors and PR's!

As I was watching several friends compete in Ironman Wisconsin last month, I got to talking about mental strength with my buddy, Brian.  He had recently read an article that said Endurance Athletes are the WORST quitters of all!  I was shocked.  But upon explanation, it made sense.  Endurance athletes have the most "time" to quit because of the duration in competition.  That aside, it is hard to keep mental focus for 3, 4, 8, 12+ HOURS. 

When things get tough...we naturally want to find the reason why.  And in my opinion, when the body and mind are tired...we gravitate towards the "negative why."  I didn't get enough sleep, stressed from work, I dropped my salt, it's too hot, I'm not at race weight, and the list goes on and on and on....

To test this theory, Brian and I situated ourselves on a large hill at mile 18 of the run in Madison.  At this point in the race, I'd say 90% of the athletes were walking up the hill.  No doubt, their thoughts were "I can't run another step."  So Brian and I cheered...and cheered LOUD.  Guess what, 90% of the walkers ran up the hill.  Why?  I thought they were exhausted?  I thought they dropped their salt?  I thought they needed one more hour of sleep?  I thought they biked too hard?

No, the answer is that their MIND gave up.  They told themselves they couldn't do it anymore.  We witnessed this for the better part of an HOUR.  Athlete after athlete giving up long before their body would give in. 

So what does it mean?  It means find your "switch."  On race day, there are NO excuses.  Unless you can't physically move your legs...keep going.  Turn the brain off...stop thinking negative thoughts...and most importantly....NEVER COUNT THE MILES DOWN!  Stay in your mile...stay in your "comfort" zone and blow past the rough parts. 

After a lot of self reflection...I realized that I had not unleashed my inner strength this year.  Madison changed that....from that day on, my marathon training took off.  No more ipod on the run, no more excuses (too hot, too humid, blah blah blah)...just hit the paces and shut the "F" up :)

Well, I've done that and I'm ready to show my inner strength tomorrow....I don't know when I will need it.  Mile 16? 18? 22? all of the above?  Probably...but I'll tell you this...if my legs are moving, I'm running HARD.  No excuses. 

I saw some tremendous inner strength this past wife giving birth to my daughter, Dan and Scott RUNNING up that hill in Madison without giving in, the end to my marathon training....

So don't give in if you are racing this weekend....I'm not.  Inner strength...tap into HAVE IT.

Dedication, Passion, Results

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I have a Blog?

Oh my...the last post here, Super Bowl Sunday!  My how my life has changed since then!  I've had a lot of random thoughts running through my head for the past few months but finding the time to write them down has been difficult. we go:

Post Kona Hangover

With Kona just a few weeks away, the excitement is starting to bubble again.  I would be lying if I said that I didn't miss Ironman, in some way, this year.  I had several buddies competing...I even trained my first Ironman athlete for IM Wisconsin this year too!  It was a blast and he did unbelievable.  11 hours in his FIRST IM! 

What I didn't miss at all was the loooooong bikes!  Sometimes, it's hard to see just how time consuming it is when you are in the middle of it...but taking a step back this year was GREAT.  I did a lot more intensity and most of my workouts were done in 3 hours or under.  That was amazing. 

What I missed was my "Triathlete Identity."  I'm an Ironman.  I do it pretty well.  So to get out of my comfort zone and try to get after the short course, it felt like something was missing.  I think in the long run, this year away will do me a lot of good though.

So as the World Championships draw closer and the inspiration of Ironman Wisconsin lingers...I'm super excited to be back at it next year!  I am officially signed up for Ironman Chattanooga.  Another assault on Kona?  I guess we will see.....

Baby Lyla

One of the biggest changes this year was the birth of my daughter, Lyla.  What a blessing she has been.  Life has a whole other level of meaning now.  Being a father is the most rewarding thing I've ever experienced in my life.  She is wonderful and I couldn't ask for a better daughter or wife (Love you Ana!)

From an athletic standpoint, Lyla is going to CRUSH it.  She won her first "race."  In the delivery room, our doctor said there was a lady in the next room delivering baby #4.  No way we were going to "beat" her.  Well...not only did we beat her...Lyla came out 15 minutes before the baby next door!  TAKE THAT WORLD!  She came to RACE....and to WIN!

People can tell you how hard it will be to train when you have kids, but until you experience it for yourself you just can't understand.  It was TOUGH.  Long nights....recovery time is a third of what it used to be.  My "couch" time was quickly replaced with diapers, feedings, cleaning an endless supply of BOTTLES, and trying to pitch in wherever possible to help Ana.  Oh...and I still had to go to work too.

But I got it in.  My race season (to date) was a little bit of a disappointment if I were to be honest.  I didn't have many bad races, I just never found the "race gear" that I have come accustomed to in the past.  It was rough.  I felt like I was at 85% all year.  What I'm most proud of...I didn't hang it up.  I made the effort and sacrifice and made ZERO excuses when I had the opportunity to train.  I will be forever proud of the effort I put in...the results will come again.  And truthfully, Lyla doesn't care how fast I go.  She will only care that I have a smile on my face and I'm safe.  At the end of the day, that is what matters...not a podium.  Don't mistake that as me giving in....I will get back to the podium too :)

Short Course Experiment

So with Lyla being born, this was going to be the year of the "short course."  If I just dialed it back and concentrated on speed, I would be fast right?  WRONG.  Looking back, if you want to do short course takes YEARS of commitment.  To "redline" for 2+ HOURS is a whole other animal.  In the past, I've described myself as able to deal with moderate pain for a LONG time...well, MASSIVE pain for a short time SUCKS.  In the end, it was a fun experiment and I look forward to building on this in years to come.  Some regular sleep will help for sure. 

I dealt with all kinds of issues in the races this year.  Leon's I was totally flat.  It was a good race, but not great.  Pleasant Prairie was AWESOME...because I left the watch and power meter at home and just raced on feel.  It was so cool to get back to the "basics" in that race.  It was a good race, but not great.  Racine was a total trainwreck on the run.  The swim and bike were spot on....I started cramping in the legs on mile #1 of the run.  Running 13.1 miles with legs cramps is perhaps the worst feeling in the world.  Looking back, I messed up my nutrition on the bike.  Didn't drink enough.  Idiot.  Racine was humbling.  Nationals was fun!  The leg cramps came back on the run...not sure why this time.  It was a blast of a was a good race, but not great. 

So as the Tri season wrapped up, I was ready to move on from 2013.  I didn't want to bike anymore...I needed a break from swimming...and I needed to put all the leg cramps behind me.  It was a tough full on at 85% is hard.  But like I said before, I'm proud of my year.  I gave it 100% and still did pretty good.  I can't ask for much more as a new "Triathlete Dad."

Chicago Marathon

So what's going on now?  I'm running the marathon in a few weeks!  This has been such a refreshing change from the Triathlon training.  Lots of miles...lots of HARD miles as well.  I was very worried that I wasn't going to hit my goal pacing because it felt like DEATH in training for quite some time.  Were my legs fried out?  Did this year take too much out of me?  NO.  The heat and humidity we had lately SUCKED.  It made it hard to hit the intervals...but I stayed the course. 

The last two weekends I've done 20mi runs and crushed them.  A little break in the weather and low and fitness has been here the entire time!  I still carry the inspiration from Madison IM and the mental toughness I saw on the course by my friends.  These two factors have unlocked my run.  I feel light and snappy.  I ran the fastest 20mi training run in my life today and couldn't be more excited about the race.  As with most marathons, if you have done the work, the rest is up to Mother Nature...let's see what she gives on race day. 

Another inspiration for my Marathon has been the fundraiser that I helped to set up for my Sister and Brother-in-Law.  The outpouring of support has been unreal.  I am humbled by what I have witnessed.  I am sincerely honored to be running "For a Miracle Baby."  It makes it so much more special to run for something bigger than a mile split or place in the age group.

If you have time...check out the fundraiser page...a true inspiration!

What's Next?

Well, the marathon obviously.  An Ironman next September (I'm super excited because Ana's family is finally going to see me race.  I really look forward to making them proud!). 

Most importantly, to continue to set an example for my daughter on how to live an active lifestyle.  How to push for your dreams.  How to follow through on commitments.  How to never give up and never make excuses.  How to be humble with your accomplishments.  How to genuinely care for others accomplishments.  And how to give your best 100% of the matter what circumstances you came to the race with.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful year.  I plan on following up on this blog with more.  Mental toughness....that will be the next one.  I learned a TON watching IM Wisconsin a few weeks ago.  I look forward to sharing that with everyone.

Thank you as always for taking the time to read.  This is a very cool medium for me to express some feelings.  I have had a lot of positive feedback from previous posts, so I hope my next blog isn't 7 months from now :) 

Dedication, Passion, Results

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Random Thoughts....

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!  I'm surprised I remembered my password to log in here :)  Time to catch up with a bunch of random thoughts and topics.  I hope your winter is going well and you are getting excited about the upcoming race season!

2013 Schedule:  This year, I'm planning to run more short course.  I'm going to focus on speed and backing down the total hours spent an attempt to raise my speed for the next go around for Ironman (Possibly 2014).  I feel good about getting after it this year and look forward to a slightly different focus and challenge.  Below is what I'm thinking about doing for the year:

Cary Half Marathon
Leon's Olympic Tri
Pleasant Prairie Olympic Tri
Racine Half Ironman
Wauconda Olympic Tri
USA Olympic Nationals
Chicago Marathon

Looking forward to hammering it!

Lance:  It's no secret that Lance Armstrong was a huge hero of mine.  This topic has been talked about so much, it is nauseating.  So here is my take; Lance watched too much Batman growing up.  He is the biggest Two Face that ever lived.  No athlete or celebrity has done more, in my opinion, good with their status than Lance.  For that, I'm hopeful that he continues that part of his legacy and turns this into a positive.  I don't condone PED's, but I can see why he took them.  I don't condone lying, but I can see why he needed to cover it up.  What I can't understand, is why he would ruthlessly attack people for trying to tell the truth.  Lie as much as you want, but there was no need to bring innocent people down.  For that, Lance, you are a true asshole.  I'm hopeful he will fight for something positive, but once an asshole...quite possibly....always an asshole.  But damn can that guy ride a bike.

Super Bowl: My beloved Bears are not it.  Therefore, go Niners.  At least a former Bear quarterback is leading the troops.  And...I really like this new style offense that the Niners are running.  Not sure it is sustainable, the pounding that the QB's will take is no joke.  But for now, it is fun to watch.

Parenthood:  I can't believe I'm going to be a father in less than 2 months.  My blog will probably turn into incoherent ramblings of poop and diapers.  And I can't wait for that!  I am super excited and a little nervous as well.  There are so many unknowns coming...but the journey will be awesome!

Thanks for reading....I'm happy to be back writing and I look forward to chatting soon!

Dedication, Passion, Results