Greg liked Wildflower

Wildflower Time Again!

The Ironteam season is coming along nicely and this weekend is going to be a big one:  A half-Ironman practice race down at Lake San Antonio, which is the site of the Wildflower triathlons every year.   Many of us on the team will be doing the half-Ironman race at Wildflower this year as a practice race for Ironman Tahoe, so this weekend is like a practice-for-the-practice-for-the-real-race.   Very meta...

Wildflower holds a special place in my heart and it's the only race I do every year, without fail.  My interest in triathlons has wavered over the years but I always do Wildflower.   I started volunteering for the race in 1996 and after two years of that I was hooked and I had to try competing.   I've competed every year for the last 15 years, doing the sprint course once, the Olympic course 11 times, and the half Ironman 3 times.   I still volunteer every year.

The last time I did the half Ironman distance was in 2003, and my times were usually around 7:30.  (seven and a half hours, which was 45 minutes swimming, 3:50 biking, and about 3:00 running)  My shoulder is not is full race form for swimming this weekend but I'm hoping that by the time the real event comes around in May I'll be able to match or even beat my times from 10 years ago.   I'm 10 years older but I'm WAY better trained than I ever was!

They say "Plan the race and then race the plan".  The key points of my plan for this weekend are:

  • Swim easy.   Don't aggravate the shoulder.  Does my new-to-me (heavily used) wetsuit fit well enough?   Will it last until Tahoe?
  • Bike smart.  Aim for 80% - 85% of Functional Threshold Power, just like the book says.  Test out the new bike/gears on Nasty Grade.
  • Run/Walk strong.  I've never felt comfortable with my run at Wildflower and I'm in better run shape than ever before.  Test the 6 minute/ 1 minute run/walk strategy.
  • Eat and hydrate.  A lot.   Nice thing about Wildflower is you can pee wherever you want.  :-)
  • Collect Data.   Collect power/heartrate/pacing data for the bike and run.   Real Wildflower is only 7 weeks away.
  • Take In The View.  Visit the lawn at the Visitor's Center and catch at least one sunrise and sunset each.   Because I do it every year.

Greg liked Wildflower

Wildflower is extra-special to me this year because there's a strong Team In Training tie-in for me, because of my honoree, Greg Junell.

Back in 2002 I was living the dream in San Luis Obispo - beautiful town, beautiful people, perfect training conditions, at the top of my form in my late 20's.   I got to see Greg on a regular basis and he was pretty heavily into massage therapy.  His partner Dorene is a massage therapist too, and they were part of the volunteer massage team that went to Wildflower to rub down athletes before and after their races.

After my half-Ironman I paid my $20 and waited specifically for Greg to be available and lay down for a great 20 minute recovery massage.  Half way through Dorene saw me there and so she joined in for a few minutes and I got the elusive four-handed massage for a while.

Those of you who knew Greg know that a massage from Greg isn't just about flushing toxins out of muscles and soothing sore legs - When Greg gets into a massage it's about connecting your energy with his and really experiencing recovery at a a deeper level.  On this beautiful afternoon on the grass in the festival area, in the middle of everything that makes Wildflower such an interesting little temporary community, I got one of the best recovery massages of my life.

I talked to Greg later about what he thought about his Wildflower experience and he was really thrilled about it.  He was affected by the same things I was 15 years ago - the huge gathering of healthy, fit, like-minded people focusing all their energy on something positive for the weekend.   This was before smartphones and 3G and wireless Internet, so Wildflower was really a way to get away from your normal life for a few days, go camping, and immerse yourself in the lifestyle.   You could go the whole weekend without seeing anyone smoking, or being negative, or talking about politics, or over-commercialized sports, etc.  It was a weekend of pure existential triathlon bliss.

Greg was stoked by that, and I was stoked by it too.  We all had a great time and no matter how many times I do Wildflower I'll always have that memory of that afternoon and that conversation afterward.  Greg liked Wildflower and I like Wildflower too.

Major fundraising milestone reached!

Below is an email I just sent out to all of the people who have donated to me, in order to celebrate passing the half-way point on my fundraising journey.  If you're sad that you didn't get a copy of this email delivered straight to your inbox, take a look at this link: Hello Supporters!

Thanks to each of you for supporting me in my effort to to run Ironman Tahoe and raise money to fight blood cancers. Thanks to your support I've raised over $4,200 which puts me over half way to my fundraising goal of $8,000.   Our Ironteam group has raised over $110,000 so far, which is wonderful.

Remember that a small portion of that money goes to pay for my training and for the overhead of running the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society but most of it (more than 75%) goes directly to cancer research and patient services.

Our group has been training for 3 months and things are looking great so far.   We're building up our distances and working on adjusting to working out 4 - 6 times a week.   I'm swimming about a mile and a half at a time, biking about 30 - 40 miles, and running up to 9 miles.  Soon we'll be training harder than I've ever trained before.

There are about 6 months of training left and we're going to be raising the mileage numbers significantly and doing a series of practice races to get ready for the big event.  The workouts will progress until September when all of this hard work will pay off in Tahoe, but LLS is already making good use of your donations now.

Thanks again to each of you - this is shaping up to be a really monumental year!

-- brian

Checked out the Ironman Tahoe course this weekend

I just got back from a scouting trip to Tahoe to check on the various parts of the course.  In reality, I went on a ski trip.  But I took the opportunity to scope out as much of the course as possible. I was able to drive most of the course, besides the closed off Martis Camp roads and the various surface streets in Truckee.  I collected GPS tracks for the legs from Northstar over Brockway Pass down to King's Beach, as well as from King's Beach through Tahoe City, past Squaw Valley, to Truckee.

I even took a minute to stand calf-deep in the water at King's Beach in an attempt to familiarize myself with the swim course.  At close to 40 degrees, I didn't stay for long.

And you could even say that by skiing for two solid days I was experimenting with my body's reaction to exercise at altitude.   But really it was just a ski trip.   But it was nice to see so much of the course and mentally get psyched about seeing it again 7 months from now.   This is going to be a big 7 months!

In terms of fundraising, things are going well.  I'm around half way to my goal.  The sushi fundraiser was incredibly successful and a few people have asked me to do another one in a couple months.   It wasn't very hard to put together so I may do that this Summer.  You can check my progress on my fundraising website.

We're now entering the "build" phase of training, so we'll be raising the mileage and the pace of our workouts.  So far we've been concentrating on the swim and the run and I'm up to 3,400 yards in the pool (race-day is 4,400 yards) and 9 miles on a training run.  (race day is 26 miles.)   The cycling mileage is still pretty light but I think/hope that's going to start building soon.  I'm loving the power meter and all the biking data that gives me.

Thanks for checking in!

Sushi Fundraiser!

I'm doing my first organized fundraiser and it's going to be FUN: All-you-can-eat sushi along with a guided sake tasting!

We'll be meeting at Truya Sushi in Santa Clara at 7:00 pm on Sunday, February 27th for a guided sake tasting, accompanied by all-you-can-eat sushi and other food. This includes Nigiri sushi, fancy rolls, etc. The cost is $100, payable to me directly. Erin and I have been eating at Truya for years and the owner is a great guy, so I'm happy to be able to put this together.

Monday is a rest day in our training calendar so I'll have a day to recover from all the sushi before spinning and core strength sessions on Tuesday night. :-)

As you can see from my fundraising webpage, fundraising is going well. I'm at $2,740, which puts me over a third of the way to my goal of $8,000. Thanks to all of my supporters for their generous donations, large and small. Every little bit helps. The entire Ironteam has raised over $60,000 so far this season, which has a big impact on the fight against cancer. (That's $60,000 in only two months!)

There's some prep involved at the restaurant so I need RSVPs by Wednesday the latest. Please let me know if you have any questions or are interested in attending.

My 2013 Calendar is filling up fast!

2013 is certainly going to be the most active year I've ever had, in terms of registering for events.  Here we are in January and already my calendar is getting full and I'm having to look out for conflicts and events that are too close to each other.  Here's what I've already signed up for: Feb. 2:  Louie Bonpua tri at Pacific Grove - Not sure if this is open to the public or a private Team In Training thing.

April 7th: SLO half marathon (possible)

April 13th: Wildflower practice weekend with TNT

May 4th: Wildflower Long course (half Ironman)

June 2nd: America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride (around Lake Tahoe, out to Truckee)

June 21st: Tahoe training weekend with TNT

August 4th: SF Giants Race (half marathon)

September 22nd: Ironman Lake Tahoe

So that's where I stand so far, in terms of events worthy of putting on the calendar.  This is going to be a great year, but a lot of travel...

New Year update

Happy 2013 everyone!   I hope the new year finds you well - it certainly has found me well.  2012 was a pretty good year overall, but was mostly a year to catch my breath and get my bearings.  (The new house, the toddler, etc.)  After a year like that I'm ready to hit the ground running and make 2013 a great year. 2013 brings the next phase of the house remodel, an Ironman, and who knows what else.  I started the year off right with a great bike ride this morning up Mt. Hamilton, and the day was perfectly beautiful, if a bit cold.  The last quarter mile of the ride had pretty solid snow covering both sides of the road.

Speaking of training, December was a great pretty good for exercise.  My Team in Training effort started off with a swim workout cancelled due to a storm, and I skipped a workout due to cold and rain, and missed some "On Your Own" workouts, but overall it was a strong month.  Here's a picture of my training calendar from last month:

December 2012 Training calendar

As you can see, it was a busy month.

Fundraising also goes well, with over $2,700 raised against my goal of $8,000.  That includes five people (or couples) that have donated $200 or more!  Thanks to everyone who has donated any amount towards my effort to help find a cure for blood cancers.