Thursday, September 13, 2007

Some Cajunman pics

The man, the myth, the legend. Mentor to me and JJ, accomplished everything in triathlon, and can still dress like a frat boy. If we did a rendition of Star Wars, KSP would be Yoda.

Since we started the 2 dragons photo in Wisconsin, KSP figured we should keep it going since we all raced. Isn't it amazing that JJ's hair is still all spikey and club-perfect even after swimming, biking and running? And no, the kid in the background IS NOT my illegitimate son...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Patience is a card game?

"Even if training goes perfectly, triathlon is 90% failure, and 10% success. You have to accept that." – Hamish Carter, 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist in Triathlon

I put the quote above because it was in an interview of Hamish that I read last week leading up to Cajunman, and it was the one thing that I pondered every workout leading up to the race. I’ve always wondered how a pro cyclist, swimmer, etc. could train their whole lives for one day, one gold medal, one Tour stage victory. All those years, for one day. I wish I could tell you I thought about my bike set up, or when that crazy Lacey girl would get booted from the “Rock of Love” show with Bret Michaels. But unfortunately, this week was deep thoughts courtesy of Hamish Carter.

The short version of my Cajunman report goes like this. I’m no poker player, but my race did come up “All Aces” just like I hoped for. Problem is, Mr. Rowlland had a Royal Flush :)

The long version is that I knew I was “All in” for this race. The first part of the week, I was a bit nervous. Did my mouth write a check my body couldn’t cash? I said I was going to race for the overall. Could I do it? Would things fall in place? Well, I go back to that Hamish Carter quote. After a few training sessions of this quote on my mind, I realized that I could prepare perfectly, and something could still go awry. As is the nature of Triathlon. You’re trying to peak your best effort on race day, for three separate and totally unrelated sports. In short, the stars don’t line up very often. After I accepted that there was a good chance I could go in prepared, and not achieve the “desired result,” I felt a lot less pressure.

Anyway, we were the 4th wave to go off. Some dude grabbed my shoulder at the gun and pulled me under, and then another guy grabbed my ankle and pulled me backwards. Not cool. So after that, I basically swam as hard as I could to get away. I finally got clean water after the 1st bouy, and just started the 1-2-3-breathe stroke rhythmn. Almost got kicked a few times when we swam through swimmers from previous waves. My goggles fogged up after the last bouy. Good thing they have those gigantic escape capsules hanging over the water.
I forgot about the long first transition to the bikes. So I got out, and basically sprinted to my bike. Passed a ton of people doing that, and it apparently paid off for the overall race.
Right as I got to my bike, my dad yelled that my buddy Will was a minute up the road on me. Dude, I was pissed. I thought how did he outswim me so bad? He must be stealth training like mad. Anyway, I tore out of T1, and dropped the hammer on the bike immediately. It wasn't till about halfway down Garber Rd. that I realized Will started in the wave ahead of me. So he had a 4 min head start. The bike was good, and I really focused on all of the mental keys and visualization that I had been practicing. I think it really helped with keeping me on task. Once I took a right onto the road that takes you to the St. Martinsville highway, I saw JQ walking his bike back. He yelled at me to go for it, so I pushed the envelope a bit further. Another thing that was awesome about the bike ride was the millions of times I've ridden that course. I was able to bury my head in my hands (a la Landis/Levi) a few times because I knew the road so well. I was out front the whole ride, and had no idea where JJ or Brandon Guillory were. I knew that they could legally work together, and would pry reel me back in. So I just kept the mental side sharp, and told myself, "If you're gonna do it, you better do it on the bike." Another thing I think helped was the big gear work I've been doing for IMFL, as well as the longer tempo intervals. For the first time in a while, I was bummed that the bike ride was over. I felt better as it went longer, plus the dismount with people who haven’t practiced “the flying barefooted two-hander” ever and try it on race day makes me nervous. As fate would have it, one dude did endo right in front of me on the dismount.
Onto the run. Cotton States was fresh in my mind, coupled with the fact that Brandon Guillory was a track stud at LSU. Can you say "National Champs?" Plus, JJ has historically kicked me in the teeth on the run. But I didn't want to go out too hard on the run like I did at Cotton States. So I just let my mind go blank, and counted steps. I thought I was having a decent race, until I caught Norman Nolan. He had a 4min jump on me, and I knew that if I caught him, I must be going very well. This guy is top 10 in just about every sprint race he enters. I saw the studs going the other way (Johnny D, Neil Rowlland, KSP, etc.) right as I started to struggle/think I'm losing pace. Gave me a little motivation to crank it up as they didn't seem too far out from where I was. I got to the turnaround, and Brandon and JJ were MAYBE 15-20 sec down on me. As soon as I saw that, I knew it was now or never. I had to go right then. I just told myself to hammer till the top of the hill. As soon as I got to the hill, I saw a buddy of mine, and he told me I'd better go right now. So I went as hard as I could again. It was about then that the lack of oxygen to the brain forced a halucination/zen moment. I had a lead on JJ and Brandon. I was close to the overall. This was one of only 2 things I've ever wanted in triathlon. I needed to bury myself. Go to the pain cave, and stay down there. Have a sandwich, stay a while. I would listen to people who passed me. If they were wearing BR Tri stuff, I waited to hear how long after I passed them that they said, "Go Brandon." or from Lafayette people "Get em Jeremy." But I never heard anything. I was too scared to turn around, because I was afraid that they would be right on my hip, just waiting to nip me at the line. I finally got a glance back when I turned the corner to the finish. No one. Not even in sight. I quickly forgot about that and hammered it home. I went so hard on that run, I couldn't even wait for the girl to take off my timing chip. I had to lay down and get air. The last time I was content to lay on a dirty carpet square was kindergarten.

After the race, Jeremy said he and Brandon were going all out to reel me in. So when I went at the turnaround, I was able to gap them and hold it. Good info to know now, but racing up front is never fun. But it did help my mental game, and to stay focused. So much of this short course stuff is a gamble. If you'll have it on race day. If you're body does what you ask.

It's funny, but all I've been thinking about since the race is how long its taken to have this race. Its the biggest result I've ever had in triathlon. And it took many years of "waiting" for the perfect race to come together. Or as I told my dad, “I put in over 400 hours so far this year for a wooden plaque. I’d be filthy rich if I put in those hours at work!” I think I can still go faster, but that was a race where everything did just fall right into place. Overall, the coolest part of the race was all of the people telling me congratulations and genuinely happy for my good result, and my family and ENM able to be there for it. Hell, even my mentor KSP stayed around for my award (Really, I think he just wanted more free beer!) On our run today, I told him that the feeling of “team, community, and all of our training crew sharing the success” was what I wanted when I started road racing. That feeling of “my win is your win”, and “We train together, so when one of us does well, it is a victory for all of us” is something that I have really found in triathlon. All this positive energy has me excited about Florida. The race was a good injection of motivation that my training is moving me in the right direction. 2nd place is still one step off of my 1st ever triathlon goal. But if its all the same, I’ll enjoy my 4 aces, even if Mr. Rowlland’s Royal Flush won him the pot.

Thanks for reading....

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Just a fun fact. The little prince makes his return to the ranch tomorrow. Mainly to terrorize swimmers, and tear up all the plants in my flower beds. I’m looking forward to it. I attached a picture. I think he looks very distinguished and well behaved. I have a feeling looks will be deceiving when he returns home from puppy college.

Anyway, this weekend a friend of mine got married, and I had to wear a tux. I felt much like a dog in a sweater. Ever seen a dog in a sweater? He’s not happy about wearing it, and I wasn’t too keen on wearing my tux either. Anyway, I ran into a kid I went to high school with. We visited, and his girlfriend walked up. He introduced me as “a guy I went to High School with. I took his sister to homecoming. He took me to pick out my first tie. I still have that tie.” Honestly, I had completely forgotten about that. But it was cool to be reminded that he kept that tie, and it was how I would be remembered in his mind. This little exchange got me thinking about inspiration. You would think being at a wedding would get me thinking about marriage. No dice. I can commit to Ironman training, but have little interest in life commitment. What does that mean? (Paging Dr. Freud…) Back to my thoughts on inspiration.
What is it like to inspire? Is it more inspirational to motivate people through speech, or to lead people through your actions? Is it inspirational if people live vicariously through you? How do you inspire people? Do you inspire people? I pondered this while cutting the grass. Thank goodness cutting the grass only takes an hour. I’d hate to see what I would think up if I had more time.
I came up with just living is to inspire. Live a life where you can wake up every morning, and look yourself in the eye with dignity, and tackle the day as it comes at you. Little snippets of goodness and inspiration will happen without you even knowing. The funny thing is, you probably don’t see yourself as inspirational. I don’t. But its true. If you’re reading this, chances are that you are some way tied to endurance sports (or you’re a stalker. And if you’re a hot lady stalker, I’ll warn you that my girl ENM can fight. But maybe we can make a Pay-Per-View out of it?) Anyway, my point is that the way you live life is inspiring. No need to be cheesy and get in peoples’ faces about motivation and “getting out there”. Just live. Exist. Pass a kind word every now and again. The smallest compiments you give could be the most inspiration someone has in a week. I know I was a bit down and doubtful this week about my condition for Cajunman, but I got a little boost when an elder statesman of triathlon around here (who looks eerily like Antonio Banderas), told me I was rockin’ my pool workout. He pry doesn’t remember saying anything, but it got me through my puke style swim set.
Before you run off to inspire the world, or blow this blog off as crap, just take a minute to reflect on the people you may have inspired. The people that have started exercise since meeting you, or asking about your races, training, or what is new on the horizon. Think about those people that you may have helped do their first 5k, triathlon, or even marathon. Think about the people you may have inspired to go back to school, pursue a dream, take on the world. There’s a lot of people in this world, and a lot of opportunity. Live, laugh, love. But most importantly, Carpe Diem.
As for Carpe Diem, congrats to my boy BTrumps. He mentored his friend through the Pocatello marathon in Idaho. Something about Idaho and picturesque doesn’t go together in my head, but I think the residents of Idaho do that on purpose so not everyone moves there. But every picture I’ve seen is awesome. Also on the theme of Carpe Diem, Cajunman is this weekend. 1st, 10th, or 40th overall. The result isn’t the victory, but me finally having the huevos to put out to the public that I’m going “All in” for this race. Win or Lose, go as fast as possible for the 800m/20mi/5k triathlon. Hopefully I turn up all Aces….

Thanks for reading.