Welcome back!

Christmas is over, Hanukkah is… well I have no idea if it’s over because it’s based on the Gregorian calendar so it changes every year. Ok, actually I just looked it up and tonight is the last day. Anyways, I don’t celebrate it so I just brought it up because I like to be inclusive of those who indulge because of other religious holidays.

In all honest, this was the worst Christmas of my life. Rach and I are fine, and are happily looking forward to 2012 with little Stanley, but stuff happening around us on the holiday weekend made it out to be the worst holiday I’ve ever experienced. I know it’s nothing in comparison to being homeless, destitute or hungry on any given day, but in my life being in that kind of situation is something I was certainly not prepared for. Worse, I find myself still angry about not only the situation, but specifically how my wife and I were treated on what was a family occasion. I don’t usually get angry, and when I do, I never stay that way. I’ve done my best to let it go, but I haven’t been able to, and don’t see it subsiding anytime soon.

What I can do though, is move on. That’s what is truly great about life. Every day, every minute, every second is a new opportunity to make a choice. So, while I have found that maybe for the first time in my life I can’t forgive and forget so easily, I can choose to not dwell on it, and move forward. And boy, do I have some great things to look forward to!

- I get my first 2 weeks of planned training from my coach on Monday! So excited to start the new year right! We’re going to miss doing the Lowell 1st Run now, but now I’ll have training that day. We couldn’t find a local race to start the year off, and I think that’s been the biggest reason December has been such a challenge for me this year. I’m almost always training for a January race, and this year I didn’t.

- I got $115 dollars in Performance Bike gift certificates for Christmas, and I have already put them to good use: I signed up for their Service Plan; for $80 I get 2 full bike tune ups, 2 drivetrain cleanings, and 4 flat repairs. I probably won’t use the flat repairs, but full service without the cleaning is a minimum of $75 at most shops, and that never includes retension and truing of wheels, both of which are included at this price. I also got some flashy new red grip tape installed while they did the rest of the service.

I can’t wait to take this sucker for a ride today!

- Stanley. This dog is a hoot. Every day he’s doing new things, and as soon as he stops pooping behind the TV he’s going to be a real winner. He seems to be madly in love with the space heater.

He will sit there and stare at it…

…until he gets tired and falls asleep, often belly up!

- Getting fit. I’ve never been more mentally prepared and well rested coming into a season. After pushing myself harder than I ever have and dealing with the issues of not reaching my goals, having some fun end of season races and a long break were EXACTLY what I needed. Im recharged and focused, and excited to start working hard again. It would have been nice to get to this point without gaining a few pounds, but I’ll keep that in mind going forward.

- The new team. I’m still waiting to hear, but I’m really excited for the opportunity. I’m pretty confident this time that I’m a good fit and I’ll get chosen. The app deadline was 12/24, so I’m guessing we’ll know something in the next couple weeks. Whatever happens, I hope to support a great cause I’ll talk more about once I know one way or the other about the team.

- Race schedule. I’ll be talking with coach on Monday and one of the topics will be race schedule. I want to race schedule that keeps me busy but also is affordable. I’m racing Rev3 Cedar Point for sure. I’m still waiting to hear on if the XTERRA Tri that’s been run in NC the past few years is happening again or not. There will be a few others thrown in, most likely including Rev3 Wisconsin.

- Page redesign – As in years past, I’ll be doing the annual page redesign early in the year. Normally it’s been December, but a mixture of transition and laziness have gotten in the way of that.

- Goals for 2012 – I have some ideas here that extend beyond race season, but I’ll work with my coach on these as well.

- USAT Rankings – My final ranking for my 3rd season is a disappointing 44.3342. As I’m only racing me, it’s disappointing only because it was a step back from last years 46.52845. It’s still significantly better than 09 (~41.19) so it still shows the work I put in, and I think reflects a lot of the challenges I put on myself this season. Next season, this number will go up, and I’m shooting for a big improvement!

Why am I blogging on Christmas?

It’s 7 am Christmas morning, and I’m the only one up. Florida isn’t my ideal Christmas vacation spot, but we’ve had a good bit of fun. And while I’ve eaten to excess at a couple of family meals so far, I’ve also been pretty active, including a 20 mile ride yesterday. It wasn’t very fast but it sure felt good to be out there, and I can’t wait to get back out later today.

I know not everyone reading this celebrates Christmas, or maybe even any holiday this time of year; but it’s still a good reminder that on this day we should reflect on the better parts of human nature; the want to give unto others (whether that means emotionally, or physically, as in a lightsaber and a tauntaun as my parents were so kind to ship to me yesterday) and celebrate our family and friendships with unabashed joy and affection (and with a little mistletoe, some kissing!)

Im determined to make this coming new year a special one, and I hope you all find ways to do the same. Not every day will be perfect, and there will be tests, bumps, roadblocks, struggles (ok, we get the picture!) along the way, but the more we can make each day like Christmas day (about receiving presents and excessive eating! Oh wait, I meant, about giving to others and excessive eating… ah you get the idea) the better we’ll each be mentally and emotionally, which means we’ll have all the fuel for the fire we need to push our bodies to new places (the breakfast buffet… Ok, yes, I’m HUNGRY… when is everyone else going to wake up??).

In closing (before I start raiding the fridge and pounding on bedroom doors to start waking everyone up); I hope you all get everything you asked for this holiday, most especially the warmth of family and friends (and maybe that of a winter riding jacket as well)

Happy Holidays everyone!

I’ve got a coach

The lack of reading material from this particular source is about to end. You see, I can officially say I now have a triathlon coach. I took a couple weeks and did a LOT of looking. At least 30 different websites, all the local coaches (there’s even one only about 15 minutes from our house in Rural NC), 2 different coach finders list (trifind, which is woefully out of date, and Slowtwitch), and in the end I found a coach who has the skill set & experience I want, and fits our budget. During our first phone call, we seemed to be on pretty much the same page in terms of how we view training and what our expectations will be of each other. 

My coaches name is Colleen Kelly PhD (I continue the trend of surrounding myself with intelligent, educated women). She’s an associate coach with CoachTroy.com. If you’ve done a WTC race, ever walked into a Lifetime Fitness gym, or ever picked up a copy of Spinervals, you may recognize the name of Coach Troy. Regardless, Colleen has been coaching triathletes for over 10 years, and also coaches with a Master swim team. I’m mega excited to start working with her on 1/1/2012. I look forward to her kicking my butt. We’re going to be working together to expound on my race season as well as helping to dial in the performance goals and finding out exactly what I can. I’ve never really pushed myself to go that much faster or that much harder, and now I have someone who can help me truly understand how to get where I’m going. I’ll get updated training plans every two weeks with some good feedback and dialog along the way.
My next big news is still in the hopper for a bit longer. I won’t know if I made the team I applied for until the week after Christmas at the earliest. I really hope I make it. Unlike Team Rev3, I don’t think I’ll know anyone on the team but there’s more going on than just Triathlon with this team, so I’m pretty hopeful.
Rach and I are going to be spending Christmas in Florida, so while I’ll be busy the next couple days with work, expect pictures from a very non-White Christmas. Oh, and while I’m sure working hard during the day, and fitting in some workouts as training is slowly heating back up, I’ve also been enjoying one of my more sedentary passions; video games. In case it wasn’t clear from the “Luke Skywalker, Triathlete” post from a few weeks ago, I’m a giant Star Wars nerd. And this week, the Star Wars game I’ve essentially been waiting my whole life to play finally came out. So I’ve been devoting some serious time getting my Jedi Knight skills on in a Galaxy Far, Far away. As I write this the official launch is just about to happen, so I better go play…

Fingers crossed

You haven’t heard a lot from me lately. I’ve been waiting for news on a few different fronts. And I’m still waiting, so I don’t have a lot to report other than I added a new one to wait on; I picked a coaching group and have inquired about a coach within the group. I found an affordable plan with one on one support and training plan updates every 3 weeks. Once we know which coaches are taking on new people, I can make a decision and get started. I hope to make progress on this while I still wait to hear about the team I applied for and a couple other things I’ve got cooking as well.

Speaking of cooking, I’ve been doing a lot more of that here at home, preparing more meals at home whenever we’re not out at a holiday party or event. Plus, Rach will be leaving for a week with her basketball team on Saturday, and I want to be able to say I didn’t eat out once the entire time she was gone. I’ll be joining her in Florida for Christmas with her parents the following weekend, and I’m sure I’ll have to eat out at least once on the trip down.

My training has been pretty light lately, but I’m ok with that. I’ll get a plan from my coach once it’s settled and follow it to the letter. 9 months from yesterday until my next 140.6 attempt, and I’m starting to get fired up for it. I’ve been getting more sleep as the dog can sleep through the night more, and that’s helping a lot. Work has been busy enough to make the days seem to fly by, which is great when you’re eager for Christmas, but not so great when there’s precious little daylight for exercise.  The weather here has been cooler than I thought it might be but it is winter after all. It’s still warmer than winters back in Michigan, Ohio or Boston.

gratuitous puppy pictures!

But first todays update

I went 96 hours straight without a bad food choice before caving into pizza cravings tonight. Back on the wagon in the morning it seems. 4 days isn’t too bad, and I’m going for at least 5 next time. We’re going out for dinner with Rach’s co-workers Thursday night so there will be a little challenge, but I’ll find a way to stay within points. I still don’t have a training plan in place yet, as I continue to search for a coach and wait to hear back on the team application. I’m going to find an off season plan to follow, and take the first steps while I’m waiting for everything else to form up around me.

What I really wanted to share with you though are these great pictures of Stanley from his first ever trip to the dog boarder for vacation over Thanksgiving.

Here’s the star of our show, getting used to his surroundings

I’m ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille

I’m plenty tall, see?

Rollin with my homies

Kings of the schoolyard

Stanley’s first chance to be the Big Dog.

 He’s going back at Christmas, can’t wait to see what fun he has then

I’ve been busy

Work has been really busy the past couple weeks, with a lot of learning and lot of full days. I’ve gotten behind on my writing, and pretty much everything doesn’t involve work or being with Rach and the puppy.

I think it’s fair to say I was burnt out after a long season. I rarely swam training for the last two races and my running; I really didn’t train much for either of the Thanksgiving 5ks. Saturday, Rach talked me into a ride and by the time we were done with 10 miles, I was feeling quite a bit better. Sunday, I took the mountain bike over to the closest trail and gave it a go. The trail was intermediate and I’m a beginner. It’s fairly  I spent 12 minutes riding, 5 minutes walking hills I couldn’t ride up, and 3 minutes yelling “oh shit” when I was riding along some sections that were more than a little nerve wracking. I am definitely going back. If it wasn’t 30 minutes away, I’d go more often.

I was a bit disappointed to learn I didn’t make Team Rev3, but I had a great discussion with their team leader and I understand a lot more about the choices they make. They’ve made great picks with everyone they’ve selected and I’m mega happy to several of my friends are now on the team. They aren’t just great brand representatives, they’re a lot of really good athletes on that team.

Fear not, though I have found a backup plan that is maybe even better than if I’d made Rev3. I’ve been told unofficially that it’s safe to talk about, but I’m waiting for official word to announce it so as not to jinx it. If it works out, it’s going to be the cherry on top of what we’re planning as a great season. Now I just hope this 60 degree weather sticks around for as much of the winter as it wants.