Thursday, March 31, 2011

Random Picture Day ...

My head is completely fried right now after a fast-and-furious close to the month of March.  Such is the life of a commissioned Territory Manager.  Instead of attempting to put together a series of words like other bloggers do I am going to completely take the slacker way out and put up a bunch of pretty little random pictures:

2011 Felt B14 in need of good home.  If you are interested in this 54cm crotch rocket shoot me an  email

Annie and her trusty steed

Wonder what else I can use this TriSlide for?
Soooo we're not supposed to drink the river water??
My future "100 miles to Nowhere" route - .25mile loop + 400times = 100miles = Glory Lasts Forever
Other Crazies doing this: Mandy, Kevin,  KC, and BDD
New Chair receives Ernie approval!
If a Great White Shark shows up I am prepared to take him down like in Jaws 2 !
That is me in the background

PRE-MS150 Ride with 4,000 of our closet friends
Mile 46 of 54 .... Get me the heck out of here!
How You Doin'?

Thanks for Viewing,


Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Randomness

Once again the weekend is upon us ...

Luckily, a scheduled step-back week with my training plan is upon me.  The last two weeks I have put in over 20hrs of training per week and last Sunday night my body was feeling that workload so this step-back week was perfectly timed.  The weekend is still going to include a long run, long ride, Open Water Swim, and a recovery run but they all will be a little shorter than the past few weeks and the overall volume for the week will fall right at  only 12hrs.

  • Next week's training schedule calls for 22.5 hours (-:
  • Thanks to everyone for your comments on my post about the 400lb Guy at the LA Marathon.  I figured my position would stir-up some emotions and after reading everyone's comments I stand by my position that the guy took a huge risk doing this race and that his reason for doing it - to get in the Guinness Book of Wold Records - was completely selfish and sends the wrong message to other overweight folks.  A few people commented that I should try and imagine what it would be like to cover 26.2 miles at that weight.  My point is that he shouldn't even have attempted it - there is a reason he set a World Record for being the heaviest person to ever complete a marathon and that reason is that is a 400lb person should not be doing a marathon - plain and simple.  Lose weight, train properly, do shorter races, and work your way up to this level when you are healthy enough to complete it by the cut-off time.  IMO, this was a publicity stunt and based on his numerous interviews he has no intention of dropping weight.
  • Galveston 70.3 is in 15 days.  With the focus being on Ironman Texas (56 days) this race kind of snuck up on me.  My base fitness is right where it needs to be and I plan on doing Galveston as a long training day to practice pacing and nutrition for IMTX.  The hope is I am able to contain my meat-headedness and not get caught up in the actual RACE.  The plan is to not taper at all and hit the starting line with tired legs - this should temper the urge to hammer it!  And in even cooler news, Jon from is also doing Galveston.  We are planning on a few frosty beverages after the race! I will post up our bib numbers when we receive them so y'all can appropriately stalk us!
  • In the very good news department: My talented wife, Annie, received a job offer the other day and has accepted.  She is going through all the HR paperwork stuff now but if all goes as planned she will be ending her short stint amongst the unemployed very soon.  Congrats Babe!
  • In Jeff Bike News:  I absolutely LOVE my new Kestrel 4000 Pro.  This bike is a carbon rocket.  I have never ridden anything like this bike - it gives you a very aggressive position yet it does not compromise on comfort.  I could not be happier with my Kestrel.
  • Check out this pic of my position.  Only one spacer remains (yes, the aero helmet makes me so much faster indoors):
  • As usual lots of fun happening on the Team Trakkers front.  Rev3 is gearing up for the Knoxville Olympic and Half Rev on May 15th.  I have a work event so will not be able to race this one but a bunch of my teammates and other bloggers are going to be there.  There is still time to sign-up if you want to be included in the party!  Also, our Trakkers race kits and TYR Hurricane Wetsuits should be arriving very soon.  Excited to get some training in with the new gear.
  • Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!

Thanks for Reading,


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fat Man Runs a Marathon

9h 48m 52s - LA Marathon Finishing Time
Kelly Gneiting, pictured above, completed the LA Marathon this past weekend and set what is being called a Guinness Book of World Record for being the Largest Person to ever complete a marathon at 400 pounds.

CLICK HERE to read the entire story. 

His finishing time was Nine hours, 48 minutes, and 52 seconds.  That breaks down to a pace of 22min 28secs per mile.

Not sure how I feel about this story?  My first thought is that I am happy that this man is running, but then I think why the hell is someone this large even attempting to do a marathon?  I mean the chance of hurting himself had to be very high? Why take that risk and put the race organizers and volunteers in harms way? 

Then after seeing what his average pace per mile was (22:28) I think this is not really much of an accomplishment at all? The guys is stubborn, that is for sure, because that is a long time to walk.  But he was out taking a 26.2 mile stroll through the park?  

Then I think how the hell does the Los Angeles Marathon even keep the course open for this long?  The Houston Marathon has a 6hr cut-off time, which to me, is very reasonable.  The RD causes this type of stunt by allowing the course to be open for this long.  Just stupid.

After typing this out my final thoughts are that I am not impressed.  Not impressed at all.  If it takes you almost 10 hours to complete a marathon you should not be out there.  There are shorter distance races that he could have done. Lose some (a lot) weight and then do the marathon.  A marathon is the pinnacle of achievement in the runner's world and in my opinion this guy disrespected that achievement by wobbling along for a little less than an average workday.  Ridiculous.

What do the rest of you think?  Should this man be celebrated for his "accomplishment"?

**EDIT - The course closed 8hrs ofter the start.  That is a 13min/mi pace.  Take back what I said about the RD.   This guy "finished" after the race was shutdown. **

Thanks for Reading,


Monday, March 21, 2011

When Bad Workouts Stopped ...

A little over 4 weeks ago I began using a supplement called Optygen HP.  This is a product by First Endurance and as many of you know I have had success with other First Endurance products (EFS Liquid Shots and Ultragen) and decided to give Optygen HP a try.  You will understand why this product peaked my interest after you read what it claims to do:
- Boost Explosive Muscular Strength & Power Output,- Improves Oxygen Utilization,
- Increases Aerobic Threshold & Reduce Lactic Acid.

As an Endurance athlete who would not want to reap the benefits of the above three bullet points?

Seeing as how my legs were trashed from the crazy volume that comes with Ironman training I decided to jump on board the First Endurance train for one more go around.  They have not lead me astray so far.
I figured that I would give it a try for the recommended 30-day cycle and write-up a blog post on what (if any) the results came to bear.  Once again I would be a human guinea pig for the pleasure of my readers!

However, one of my concerns was that I have developed quite a positive bias in regards to First Endurance products over the years and was afraid that I may experience a Placebo Effect when trying out Optygen HP.

BUT, as luck would have it, fellow Endurance Blogger Kovas @ Midwest Multisport Life had started a cycle of Optygen HP on the exact same day as me.  Kovas and I exchanged emails each Monday over the 4-week period and we had very similar things to report. Since our results were close (eliminating the Placebo Effect) I figured I could now share my experience.

The claims by First Endurance that Optygen HP would reduce Lactic Acid and Increase Aerobic Threshold are spot on.   After long runs the legs felt surprisingly good and lacked that normal burn from the lactic acid build up.  This alone was worth the cost of the product because I recovered so much quicker.  As for Aerobic Threshold, I run using Heart Rate zones.  My long runs are done in Zone 2 which prior to use was in the 8:35-8:50ish per mile pace.   This weekend Zone 2 for my long run was between 8:05-8:30 per mile pace.  Now this could all be a result of hard training and gains in fitness and I am positive some of it is because I worked my butt off!  However, I have never had gains in run fitness like this over similar blocks of training. The only difference in what I have been doing is using Optygen HP.

And then there is the bike ...

My Functional Threshold Power (FTP) increased by 8% over the last month.  For those who do not train with power - that is an enormous gain.  Once again I have been working very hard and do not want to give all the credit to Optygen HP but it does claim to increase Muscular Strength and Power Output and this is exactly what happened!

Now do I believe Optygen HP will make us all super-triathletes?   Not really. What I believe is that it does what it claims (even though the claims are a little wishy-washy) and by doing that it has helped me eliminate crappy workouts.  Over the four weeks I felt like I recovered better and since my recovery was better my workouts improved.  Since my workouts improved my fitness improved.  Pretty simple.  Basically, Optygen HP gives you a little extra to help nail your workouts. You still have to take ice baths and use your foam roller but Optygen HP gives you that little extra boost.

My plan is to use Optygen HP through the meat of the Peak Phase of my training program all the way up until race day.  After that I will stop and not use it again until 30 days out from my next "A" race.

How do you try Optygen HP?  Kovas did his review today and is holding a giveaway for his followers.  Go ahead and Click Here to head on over and put your name in the hat for a chance to win!

With Ironman Texas being less than 8 weeks away I have come up with an on-course nutrition plan using only First Endurance.  Which I will detail in the next few weeks.  All the details that come with doing an Ironman can be very overwhelming but the one area where I have supreme confidence now is in the nutrition plan.

Thanks for Reading,


Friday, March 18, 2011

Who Do YOU Want ...

I know this is a Triathlon Blog but my mind and body is pretty wore down with training so I want to talk about something else.  So ...

Regina over @Chiu On This had a funny cartoon from the NYT about about "running" but it was actually talking about running for President in 2012.   This cartoon got me thinking about 2012 and who I'd like to see as the GOP candidate. Right now I am not real excited about the current pool of has-been's and never-will-be's that seem to be in the forefront.  

Here are a list of "prospective" candidates:

-  Mitt Romney, Former Massachusetts Gov, the front-runner, largely because he was the runner-up to Sen. John McCain in 2008.
-  Sarah PalinFormer Alaska Gov, who has recently made a name for herself by endorsing winning Tea Party candidates.
-  Haley Barbour, Current Mississippi Gov, a social conservative in his second term.
-  Mitch Daniels, Current Indiana Gov, a fiscal conservative in his second term.
- Mike Huckabee, a Fox host and former 2008 presidential candidate.
- Newt GingrichFormer House Speaker.
-  John ThuneSouth Dakota Sen, a conservative and darling of the party for defeating former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle in 2004.
-  Chris Christie, Current New Jersey Gov, whose budget cutting in his first year has impressed many in GOP ranks who want him to apply his touch to Washington.
-  Tim PawlentyMinnesota Gov, already running and showing his conservative side.
-  Bobby Jindal, LA Gov, probably running and gained some points in his handling of the BP Oil Spill.
-  Rounding out the list are Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, and Ron Paul.

We will see a few more candidates pop up in the upcoming months but for now for the purpose of this post, this is the assumed list.
Personally, the only candidate on this list who I am remotely excited about would be New Jersey Gov Chris Christie. He would absolutely destroy Obama in a debate and he would hold his ground in cutting reckless spending from the Federal Government.  However, he claims he is not running?
I like Jindal,  Pawlenty, Daniels, and Thune in their current positions but, IMO, none of them have the ability or charisma to articulate the Conservative message to the country.  This is probably the most important attribute a candidate needs to have because the GOP is pretty split right now.  The current establishment of Republicans want to see the party capture more Independent voters by leaning more towards the center of the political spectrum.  The Tea Party segment wants to see the country get back to the principles of the founding fathers and limit Government intrusion and taxation which is perceived as leaning to the right. 
My feelings are that we need a candidate that can pull together both factions of the party and also explain to the undecided voter why the country needs the fundamental changes away from the policies of the Obama administration. Hopefully a candidate exists that can achieve this lofty goal.
So my questions are who do you want to see run for President in 2012?  Am I missing some one?  Or is someone on the list a better candidate than I think?  What says you ...

Thanks for Reading,

Monday, March 14, 2011

Like a Light Switch: Confidence

As endurance athletes training for our A race we often question where we are with our fitness.  This is a natural occurrence for all of us and we usually use certain workouts to gauge our fitness level.  I for one, usually break it down with hitting interval times on the swim, holding a certain pace on the weekend long run, and on the bike fitness is determined based on how I feel/perform on the weekend long rides.

With the Galveston 70.3 in 26 Days and Ironman Texas in a mere 67 Days I have been critiquing the fitness in all three sports quite a bit lately.  The swim and run are both in a really good place and I would say it is fair to declare them ready to tackle the upcoming long distance courses.  The bike, however, has been a different story.  In early January I felt like the bike fitness was ahead of schedule.  Then I got hit with bronchitis, the flu, a sinus infection, and then a bike crash.  With these aliments came a noticeable decrease in cycling performance.  The swim and run came back quickly, the bike did not.

After a bunch of long rides over the last two months (and 1100mi in the saddle)  my confidence in my ability to lay down a decent bike split had been waning.  That is until yesterday ...

Annie and I drove down to Manvel, TX to do the pre-MS150 ride - The Great Escape.  Over 2500 cyclist were doing this ride and Annie and I ended up starting towards the middle of the pack.  The bad news was the first 5 miles was done at a 15mph pace as it was tight, the good news was that I had a lot of rabbits to chase in front of me.  Annie and I separated around mile 5 as I found an opening and hammered past literally hundreds of cyclists.  The legs were responding well, extremely well actually as I was holding 23mph in a head wind?

After about mile 20 we started to head due South into an awful head wind blowing off the Gulf along open farmlands.  I was hammering just to hold a 17mph average in this wind and the next 15+ miles were in this direction until the turnaround!  I saw a pace line of seven cyclist ahead of me.  They were working very efficiently and each taking a turn pulling about every mile or so.  After a few miles and a lot of work I caught up to them and grabbed hold of the last tire and some much needed recovery!  They all seemed happy to have another in the group as they all gave me a head nod and exhausted smile one-by-one as they rotated.

It had now been about 7 or 8 miles and it was my turn to pull the pack.  The guy on the Cervelo in front of me tapped out and I jumped up, dropped down on the bars, and just hammered.  Right at this point we begin a gradual but long climb. Great.  At the top of the climb there is an arrow sign letting us know the road turned to the right.  My goal was to get us to the arrow sign and hopefully into a crosswind.  I just pounded up that hill and got to the arrow sign and just kept going to yet another arrow sign which turned us left and back into the headwind!  It had now been a few miles and I had that feeling of puking in my stomach that was telling me to back-off some.  I tapped my back leg, moved left, and waited for the next rider to take the lead.  No one jumped up?  I looked over my right shoulder and the reason no one stepped up was that no one was there?  I dropped the peloton.

Just like turning on a light switch my confidence had returned and the bike fitness is right where it needs to be!

Thanks for Reading,


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Am I in the Minority?

So I watched American Idol last night and thought it was boring as hell.   J-Lo is not that annoying and I want to have beers with Steven Tyler but overall they are pretty bland as judges, IMO.  And Randy is, well, Randy (dawg).  All the contestant are extremely talented and I'm pulling for either Casey or James but something about these contestants just bore me?  I boldly informed Annie that I am done with Idol this season.  I miss Simon and his creative way of insulting people.

After deciding to ditch the show I talked to a few friends today and they all disagreed with me.  Even my father thinks this is the best season yet and doesn't miss Simon at all.  Facebook and Twitter were even in a good mood about Idol?

Then I heard that the ratings are up 29% over last season?

Am I missing something here?  Is all this training frying my musical sensibilities?  Mark, can you help me out?

How does everyone else feel about Idol so far?  Should we all ditch it?


Monday, March 7, 2011

Ultragen = Winning!

Early last year a triathlete buddy introduced me to Liquid Shots by First Endurance.  I began to use Liquid Shots (read about it here) for all of my training during the humid South East Texas summer.  With training in the oppressive heat I was experiencing cramping during my longer training sessions and a flask of Liquid Shots contains 1500mg of Electrolytes - problem solved!  I absolutely fell in love with the product and First Endurance won major points with me!

Since the Liquid Shots worked so well I started to research what other products First Endurance offered and came across Ultragen.  Now at this time I was about six weeks into a 24-week Half-Ironman training program and my body was feeling the pain. I was sore and tired.  Over the last couple of years I have tried about every recovery drink on the market and the results were well below average from the manufacturer   claims. I was not very optimistic that Ultragen would work based on past experience but since the Liquid Shots worked as advertised I had some trust in First Endurance so I pulled out the credit card and ordered the Cappuccino flavor.  Best. Decision. Ever.

Shortly after beginning to use Ultragen after my workouts my entire body began to feel better, especially the next morning when I would wake up. It was like I had tiger blood running through my veins!  No longer would I wake up and make that groaning sound as I lifted my legs out of the bed.  No longer would I walk like a penguin to the medicine cabinet to take some Advil.  No longer would I just go through the motions of a workout because my muscles were sore and tired.  No longer would I waste time and money looking for a recovery drink because I found the perfect recovery formula in Ultragen.

Flash forward to this season and the Cappuccino Ultragen is a must have for me after each workout.  It won me over during last years HIM training and has continued to perform for me as I am 14-weeks into full Ironman training.  Last week I logged over 20-hours of training and my legs and body are still feeling fresh.  And unlike many other Recovery Drinks Ultragen tastes fantastic!  I actually crave the Cappuccino Ultragen.

There are a ton of recovery drinks in the market but this is the first one I have tried that actually does what it claims!

 Here is the description from the First Endurance website:
Ultragen is the most advanced recovery formulation ever developed. Ultragen’s breakthrough technology is designed to work synergistically to provide the right nutrients to the right place at the right time during the 30-minute ‘Window of Opportunity’ following exercise so you can recover faster than ever before. Each serving of Ultragen delivers the levels of nutrients that have been shown in clinical research to maximize recovery and give you an extra edge over the competition. 
  • Rapid and Complete Endurance Recovery Formula 
  • Refuels Exhausted Muscles and Restores Energy Levels Quickly 
  • Delivers Endurance-Specific Nutrients for Superior Recovery and Maximum Performance

Since I have had so much success with First Endurance I have begun to use the EFS Drink for my long rides and runs and have also started to use Optygen HP to help increase my aerobic threshold and reduce lactic acid.  The results have been so positive that my plan is to use only First Endurance for my nutritional needs for Ironman Texas in May.  I am going to do a review of both Optygen HP and the EFS Drink and also lay out my Ironman nutrition plan in the coming weeks.

Click HERE to order Ultragen.

Thanks for Reading,


(Disclaimer:  All products reviewed in this post were bought and paid for by me.  The opinions and experiences with Ultragen were mine alone and I received no compensation from the manufacturer).

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Smackdown: Wisconsin

**If you are here to read about Swim/Bike/Run then I suggest you view posts other than this one.**

It has been awhile since I have gone off on one of my political tangents.  Quite frankly, I really am just too tired from all the training and I have been trying to not get myself all worked up over politics.  Well, this morning I was in the car on my way to an appointment and heard this little diddy from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.  It was in response to Obama's recent pro-labor union statements (source):

Today President Obama again weighed in against Governor Walker’s proposal to balance the state’s budget deficit by having state government workers contribute a modest amount toward their own pensions and pay 12.6 percent toward their healthcare premiums. 
In response to the President’s comments, the Governor’s Press Secretary Cullen Werwie issued the following statement: 
I’m sure the President knows that most federal employees do not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits while our plan allows it for base pay. And I’m sure the President knows that the average federal worker pays twice as much for health insurance as what we are asking for in Wisconsin. At least I would hope he knows these facts. 
Furthermore, I’m sure the President knows that we have repeatedly praised the more than 300,000 government workers who come to work every day in Wisconsin.  
I’m sure that President Obama simply misunderstands the issues in Wisconsin, and isn’t acting like the union bosses in saying one thing and doing another.

Did I read this wrong or did Scott Walker just backhand slap Obama across the face? Awesome!  Scott Walker needs to paint his face blue and have his staff start calling him William Wallace!

I have been following what has been going on in Wisconsin very closely.  I am upset by the Dem. Senators who have fled the state and are refusing to do their jobs.  I am upset by the teachers who are getting fake sick notes to skip work to protest and then claiming it is all about the children.  I am upset by all the special interest groups (Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and all the usual suspects) showing up to support an issue that does not concern them.  I am upset that most of the media is referring to the Collective Bargaining as a "right" - it is not a "right" it is an "agreement" - when one side no longer agrees than it no longer needs to exist.  I am upset that those who work in the private sector have been making cuts and financial sacrifices for the last few years of this recession but these Wisconsin public sector employees feel they do not have to make any sacrifices at all.  I am upset that of the 50 states in this country public sector employees earn more in yearly salary than private sector employees in all but 9 states.

This is unsustainable.  Budgets need to be balanced.  Excessive, reckless spending needs to stop.  The bill is due and difficult decisions need to be made.  If it continues to be ignored then Wisconsin may be our version of Greece (not Egypt NYT) and once the dominoes begin to fall many other states will get knocked over too.

I for one, whole-heartedly support Gov. Scott Walker and pray that he continues to hold the line because I am afraid of what the outcome for Wisconsin and our nation will be if he fails.

Now let's move from Careless State spending to Reckless Federal Spending!

The non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report today on the wasteful spending at the federal level.  Here are a couple of the low highlights (Source):

The study found 33 areas with "overlap and fragmentation" in the federal government. Among them, it found: 
-- Fifty-six programs across 20 agencies dealing with financial literacy. 
-- More than 2,100 data centers -- up from 432 a little more than a decade ago -- across 24 federal agencies. GAO estimated the government could save up to $200 billion over the next decade by consolidating them. 
-- Twenty programs across seven agencies dealing with homelessness. The report found $2.9 billion spent on the programs in 2009. "Congress is often to blame" for fragmentation, GAO wrote in this section, explaining that the duplicative programs in multiple agencies cause access problems for potential participants.

-- Eighty-two "distinct" teacher-quality programs across 10 agencies. Many of them have "duplicate sub-goals," GAO said. Nine of them address teacher quality in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. 
-- Fifteen agencies administering 30 food-related laws. "Some of the oversight doesn't make any sense," the report stated bluntly. 
-- Eighty economic development programs. 
In some cases, the programs in question struggled to account for what they did. Take, for instance, domestic food assistance initiatives. According to GAO, 18 such programs are administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services -- with GAO estimating $62.5 billion spent on them.
Duplicity, Lack of oversight, and rudderless programs - sadly this pretty much sums up the Federal Government!

This falls abuse falls squarely on the shoulders of our elected officials.  They keep saying we are broke, we are broke.  Of course we are with this lack of oversight on our spending.  We are borrowing trillions of dollars from the Chinese and they got to be sitting back laughing at the stupidity of our elected officials.  Notice the majority of the numbers in the article above are Billions and Trillions?  Just ridiculous.  We need to hold our elected officials accountable through our votes.  This is unacceptable and in my mind criminal.

Hope you enjoyed my gloom and doom post of the day!  As always please comment if you disagree or add to the post if you agree.  Or email me if you do not want to have a debate in a public forum.   But if you do be prepared to be slapped across the face like Walker did to Obama!

Thanks for Reading,