Another spring training camp is in the books!
Camp "Dean and Bob...and Russ and Derek" went well. As I've chronicled my weighty issues since being injured and unable to run I was happy to have lost 21 lbs. going into camp since January 1st. Great progress. I am back "on the program" and working toward getting back to the 180s by May for the Florida 70.3 to avenge my injury and out of shape plagued half ironman last year. The "you can do it" my friends all said is true. You can do the race and finish. Just don't look at the clock after you get off the bike. This year will be different. Clearwater is not a goal but it would be nice to have the option to pass on the slot.
Power...in January I went from "untrained" in watts per kilogram to "moderate" in a short time. My body was responding. No matter how much power you have, being close to 50 lbs. heavier than Dean, Russ and Derek didn't bode well for me on the big climbs. I was putting out mammoth power numbers but when you weigh 199 lbs and the other guys weigh between 135 and 160 you are fighting a losing battle over 3.5 to 5.5 hours.
Running was alright. It felt good to trail run and run a real hill like Torrey Pines. We ran up the front and down to the ocean and back up and down again. I still have work to do on my running but being off for so long it will take time.
In the pool I was taking the guys to the woodshed. Even with tired legs I was putting significant time into everyone - even Dean (unless he was drafting and working harder than the workout called for). I was happy with being respectable in the water but understanding that there is much work to be done before May but since starting swimming in February - I'm on track. May is just a grudge match with the clock and nothing else.
I tried to provide as much comic relief as possible as well as positive mental attitude. I think it worked. Even if I was exhausted and Dean suggested a long swim, I would say, "Sounds good. What time we going?" Additionally, I put hooker business cards (from our trip to Las Vegas the previous weekend) in Dean and Russ' bathroom and bedroom and through the week Russ or I would leave a hooker card in different places. The best was when we ran into the Swami ride on the road at the base of the Lake Wolhford climb and Dean had a hooker on his saddle. He had no idea it was there, but it got the attention of a few guys from the Swami ride. Dean figured it was his huge pecs or biceps. After seeing Dean's back end for 25+ hours of riding for the last two years, I figured that the hooker cards gave us more reason to chase after Dean. We had Leloni in the van and other "girls" in different places. Makes me wonder if the guys found the hooker cards I put in different places of their luggage?
Thoughts on the California 70.3
A few thoughts on the race, the people, the sights.
Sights: The weight room is certainly in vogue. The majority of the people we saw racing in the front of the race looked like they had spent significant time in the weight room. Big power is in. The emaciated racing we saw in Kona last year seems to be replaced by strength in the front of the pack. 2XU is the big winner in clothing in Cali. Everyone seemed to be dressed in XU or Zoot.
People: When I go to a race I will make sure to not talk about my training, other racing or qualifying of any sort. Everyone in California we overheard (maybe that was it) was talking about qualify this or Kona that. What ever happened to just racing all out and seeing what happens? If you qualify great.
I stress with my athletes that I want their best. If they win their age group, qualify for Kona (or whatever) but fail to achieve a well thought out and executed race I chalk that race up as a failure on both our parts. I thought it was interesting to watch how many folks were just mailing it in. If you are going to race then race damn it. Some folks (like Jen for example) were in agony and still racing aggressively. To that I say "well done".
I did not marshal in California. Jimmy and I talked in January but I was left off the list. I think this is due to race management not wanting to pay for my hotel. It was the "said but unsaid" part. I'm not mad as I was going to be there anyway. I'm more disappointed in race management and Jimmy not returning phone calls, email and Facebook messages. Just tell me, "Hey Bob, we are watching money and don't want to pay for you to marshal." Who knows...I may have done it anyway. Shit, I was already there! This is the lack of respect for individuals that I do not like about Ironman events and hurts their brand. Ironman used to be about guts, effort and honesty. It is moving more toward ratings, reality TV, and did you qualify versus how you got there. I hesitate to say more about that but until we get some age group drug testing paired with smaller race fields or significantly more marshals...this is what we get if we choose to pay for it.
The Race: A fun race to watch for sure. Rachel, Tim, Chad, Beth, Courtney, Dean, Jerome, Jen and Marit all raced amazingly well. From Jerome's, "I'm just a participant. Not racing." (I wish I could just participate like that Jerome!) To Rachel and Tim running like the Timex sponsor they have - like a watch. To Beth not taking any shit from anyone (pun intended - she lost her phone in the port-o-let...eew). Jen racing on a sour stomach but racing like she stole something. To the highlight of the race...Marit qualifying for Kona.
I attempted to be a "spectathlete". I even Facebooked ELF asking for guidance. Lorrie told me that I had "failed to achieve spectathlete status" as she was finding my friends faster than I was. Damn. In spite of her pain, Jen was flying. Marit and the others looked effortless! (But they weren't talking much, so I just gave them encouragement where I could.) Dean was in serious hunting mode on the run. Starting the old guys at the back of the race certainly helped him run people down and stay motivated.
Interviews: My interviews went very well. I am following up this week and hope to land somewhere in the next two to four weeks. I interviewed for contract gigs in Los Angeles, Northridge, San Diego, Madison and Chicago. I also talked permanent employee situations with companies in Chicago, Orlando, Los Angeles and San Jose. Three of these are dream jobs.
Notre Dame and President Obama: I think it is an honor for Notre Dame to have President Obama at graduation. I'm a moderate politically so I'm not a huge supporter of some of Mr. Obama's ideas but I like some of them. I mainly like his leadership. Cardinal George of Chicago has openly attacked Notre Dame (as have others) for having a pro-choice president on campus. I find this hypocritical coming from a cardinal who has openly moved priests accused of child molestation and criminal behavior versus allowing these crimes to be investigated. Perhaps Cardinal George should worry about the crime going on in his church versus something like having a sitting president come to Notre Dame to speak at graduation. (A Notre Dame tradition by the way.) The Cardinal has confirmed why I believe that organized religion is hypocrisy and not God's will. Wow, that's deep for a triathlon blog!
As for the pro-life/pro-choice argument, I prefer pro-life ideals, but it isn't my body having to go through a child birth. As soon as I am ready to let someone other than myself (or worse yet a government) tell me what to do with my body I'll support pro-life. In the meantime, please do what you think is right for your own body and enjoy your right to choose what is right for your own body. Do what you think is right for you. I cannot tell you and your government should stay out of it.
I support Notre Dame.