Thursday, September 29, 2011


That was the number staring up at me from the scale this morning. I was over the moon, as I wanted to really focus on nutrition and eating well ALL the time aka being a 24 hour athlete. My big reason for wanting to lose all the weight ( I walk around normally at 170lbs, and raced Texas at 163) going into Ironman Hawaii? Besides being able to wear those Z. Cavaricci’s I saved from middle school, I wanted to be as small as possible for the heat. So the truth is that triathlon is a power/weight sport. But, how far is too far when it comes to dropping the lbs.?
Well, first I finally took a good, long look in the mirror. Sure I was skinny, but there was definitely some “fluff” that could be dropped off without too much argument. In short, I thought I ate well but couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t lean like some of the other guys I race against. So step #2 was to start a food journal. Me? I’m inherently techhy and geeky, so I went with the LoseIt! App on the iPhone. Not only does it chronicle my food choices, but also tells me how many calories I’ve eaten and what my calorie budget per day is to hit my goal weight. So when I put in the goal weight, I went for a number that was “perfect world” scenario. 156. Man, I am 168 post-Ironman Texas and 12 lbs is a lot of weight. So how’d it happen? I wish I could tell you that it was all trash bag sweat suits and running at noon. But the truth is that I had to act like an adult.
I don’t get “a treat” because I went to the grocery store all by myself. And I don’t “deserve” a box of Newman’s own mint Oreo cookies cause I ran 2 hours. Just keep my net calories at or below what the devil box tells me. And voila! No magic pills, no “Body by Vi” bullshiite. Just being smart about my calories. That, and not eating like a newly freed inmate at Golden Corral. I figured out the Greek buffet WILL in fact let me get seconds, I just need to grab a clean plate. Apparently eating 5 plates of healthy food will still make you gain weight. So I pulled my mouth away from the trough and started to eat a little less like a horse and more like a human with (alleged) manners. I remember telling Elyse during the Tour that Bradley Wiggins cuts 20 lbs from offseason to the tour de France. And the article went step by step on how he did it (cyclingnews if you’re interested). Anyway, other than Elyse saying that was very girlish to be talking about how to lose weight, I looked at how simple the plan was on paper. And that’s when it hit me. Losing the weight for me will be simple. Losing the weight will not be easy.
Things I learned from this weight cut? Well, I really wasn’t eating enough calories during “normal” training. Sometimes my net calories would be like 900. And anything under 1,100 net calories sends your body into “oh boy we’re back to caveman days and starving” mode. In essence it shuts down. Friday, Saturday and Sunday when I was doing “Epic” training, well it really wasn’t so epic calorie wise. So I would over eat by at least 1,000 calories per day. That meant I was starving during the week which caused me to struggle with energy in workouts and save fuel, then gorge myself on the weekends because I “rode X hours today”. Once I evened this out, the weight started to come off just like the app said. Almost 1.5lbs per week like clockwork. Why am I telling you this other than to brag that I will be wearing one of the only usable pairs of Z. Cavaricci’s in existence (tight rolled of course)? I am telling you this because I’ve struggled with weight all my life, and there is a simple way to lose weight that is right in front of you. It just takes patience, commitment and focus to get it done. Doesn’t really matter if your reason to lose is for beach season or to wow your ex-girlfriend at your 20 year reunion. As for me? I hope the focus on nutrition and weight loss is gonna be more for this:

And not just for this:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cross post blog from RKF

Rocketkidz foundation is an AWESOME non-profit/charity that I am excited to partner with. Their mission is to bring the sport I love (Triathlon, not NASCAR although I do love NASCAR) to the youth of Baton Rouge and surrounding areas (including Lafayette). I do plan on posting some of my writings there as well. Rocketkidz takes financial contributions (of course), but where they really need help? Your time and enthusiasm for sport by volunteering your time at a Rocketkidz event. Peruse the website and see if there is an event that you can be a part of. After a morning helping those kids acheive "the impossible" of finishing a triathlon, you will be leaving with more energy, enthusiasm and excitement than you arrived with. You'll show up to help them, and they'll end up making a lasting impact on your life. Guaranteed.
Anyway, here is my post from the RKF blog:

Cajun, Man!

Well, it’s really no secret that I’ve always wanted to win the Cajunman triathlon. When I got into the sport in 2003, it was THE triathlon in south Louisiana. Every year it was the state championship, and all the guys that I looked up to like John Deshotel, Neill Rowland, Ken St. Pe’, John Thompson, and even the incomparable Bobo Anderson showed up fit and ready to rock. Couple that with the fact that it is still one of the only races that I can do without spending the night in a hotel, and you have a race that is and will always be close to my heart.
I’ll save you the dramatic suspense of the race; i.e. what I ate pre-race, swim strategy, watts on the bike, run splits and all the shenanigans that I sometimes pay a little too much attention to. All I’ll say is that all race long, I just felt like I was on a good day. I believe George Hincapie once referred to those days on a bike as “no chain”. That explained my race perfectly Sunday. It felt like I was pedaling the bike with no chain. It was effortless. I will say in cliché fashion that winning the race felt a whole lot like it did when I was 2nd on the results sheet, or 28th, or just a couple pages down the results list. After the race, however, was a different story. My family was there, and it was nice to finally check off that bucket list item of “Winning Cajunman” with them in attendance. However, Elyse conveniently missed the Cajunman start, race, and finish. A couple people asked if I was mad or grumpy that she missed it. This is where I’ll have to reality check all you type-A triathletes. Newsflash: We run around in Lycra with helmets that look like they came off of the movie “Spaceballs”. A non-triathletes view of every race is the same;
The start looks like a flock of ducks trying to land. Then you frantically put on said Spaceballs helmet, mount your bike and disappear for a pre-determined length of time (you always give her an estimated time that would put you in the start house of the Tour de France Prologue TT, because if you were honest with her she may think she has time to go get breakfast). You fly into the transition area while trying to undo feet from shoes like a kindergarten shoe tying lesson, then off on the run. Finally, you run in the shoot with your hands raised like you tackled a gorilla, climbed Everest, or want everyone to admire your freshly shorn armpits. And if all this “excitement” for said spectator isn’t enough, they get to stand next to you like a puppy waiting for a treat while you and your buddies relive every inch of the course like it was an Epic battle slated for a made for TV movie.
So yeah, I have no clue why she wouldn’t want to be a part of that. Seriously, I told her it was cool to miss it, as she sacrifices and helps me out enough to accept and encourage me to get out the door daily for training. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the selfish view “Look what sacrifices I MAKE getting up early to train”, we forget that training = tired post training. Tired post training = minimal movement and general avoidance of all chores. And to come back to that encouragement part, Elyse’s favorite motivational speech goes something like: “Don’t be a little bi@tch. Go run. Don’t run for you. Run so I don’t have to hear you whine later about not running.” That’s a motivational nugget of gold, right there.
Back to the race, I would like to thank Rusty Bex and his big entourage of volunteers that make Cajunman possible. It is one of the longest standing races in Louisiana, if not the south, and such an icon in the Louisiana multisport world. Just now I thought about how many people have used Cajunman as a catalyst for fitness, or as a challenge to get them off the couch and motivated, or simply as an excuse to go outside and train with their buddies. That’s a lot of lives, and paying it forward. I’d also like to give a thanks to the evil Dr. Jones for helping me accomplish that bucket list item of Cajunman. Thanks for that, and scheduling a ride after Cajunman. Nothing like starting the bike at noon! Also a big shout out to Lisa at Capitol Cyclery for that beautiful speed concept, and the Run bird at Mizuno for making some super sweet run slippers.
Now all that’s left for 2011 is that little Iron distance race October 8th. As my favorite contestant from “Rock of Love” says, “Don’t threaten me with a good time.”
Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The X and Road to Kona

Well, to be totally honest I am a procrastinator. I have been meaning to write my race report from IM Texas for about three months. Well, as it turns out I never did get around to it. You know those last 2 miles of that run in The Woodlands I started to think about all of the people that I was gonna thank. I was thinking of all my peeps that were coming with me to Kona. In truth, there’s no way that I could thank everyone that has helped get me here nor is there any way that everyone that has played a role in my success could make it out to the big island to see me race. So after pondering it a bit, and some prodding from my mom (who is a future New York Times bestselling author) and wife, I’ve decided to just write about my experiences on my journey to Kona. This will serve as a few things. From a selfish standpoint, it’ll help me remember this most excellent but also most crazy journey. And from a different standpoint, it’ll allow me to take you along for the ride. All the good, the bad, and the comical. Since I know putting in public will put some solid pressure on me to perform, I’m planning to blog 2-3 posts a week up until race week. Then race week, it will probably be every day. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the show.

Elyse and I have a very good understanding of the racing season. And by understanding, I really mean that she has the tolerance of a Tibetan monk. See, her dad is a triathlete, trail runner, and general crazy endurance person. So just like daughters of hunters who think guys being gone from November to January is totally acceptable, Elyse thinks that training hard 10-11 months out of the year is, well, normal. So when we talk about races coming up, there is always concern for where on the calendar the X falls. See, the X dictates when play time is over and it’s now time to make training, recovery, and big training priority. Before the X, it’s all fun and sun, mixed with coffee rides and crazy good food. After the X is 9pm bedtime, endless 2-a-days, and an obsessive familiarity with the Loseit! App on the iPhone. So the X for Kona fell on August 13t. That date sticks in my mind like the day I found out that my mini mullet wasn’t as cool as I thought it was. The past 3 ½ weeks have been pretty much summed up by the words: train/rest/train/eat/sleep/repeat. Not that the routine is a bad thing, it just gets a bit mind numbing at times. There is a part of me, however, that craves the routine. That X dictates my life. It’s that X that has me sitting in a car en route to the training Mecca of Minden, LA. Yeah, you heard me right. That X reminded me that the race is approaching, so I evacuated ahead of Tropical Storm Lee to higher ground. As womanish as it sounds, I evacuated so I could make sure the 5 hours of bike training got done. And I made sure it got done outside in the sun, as opposed to inside on the trainer or in 65mph winds. The trade-off to the training retreat is that there may be a “few” more hills than what the swamp has. Regardless of the hills, it’s funny how an approaching race helps us justify ridiculous decisions. 3 hours each way in a car and a hotel stay just to get in that long ride? Well, of course. The race is coming. Fly out to Tucson so we can rack up big hours in the sun instead of indoors? Certainly, the race is coming. And it seems that the closer race day slides toward us, the larger amount of stupidity, I mean leeway, we give ourselves. Uh, the race is only two weeks away, I DEFINITELY need new shifter and brake cables. No wait, while I’m changing the cables we should just go ahead and replace the shifters and derailleurs. I mean, the race IS coming up you know. Ah the lunacy. In the end, I’m still convinced that Ironman makes you a bit crazy. And with that, let the craziness begin.