Monday, October 27, 2008

The Barber Shoppe, The Bats and The Navy


Today I have a few more interesting things to write about, so I threw together a quick blog. The body is really starting to come around and I am going better and better with each session. I have to say that this is the best I have ever felt running 8-9hrs a week. I am excited to keep it rolling.
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#1 The bats. Yesterday on our second ride of the day we heard what we first thought were monkeys, then birds...and then we looked up...what did we see? The giant fruit bats of the Philippines. The bats are some of the largest in the world and are VERY freaky to see in person. They weigh around 2.5lbs and have a wing span of over 3 feet. Wild!!!
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#2 The barber shoppe. I decided to get a haircut the other day, just to compare to what we get in the states. My conclusion...it is a MUCH better deal here...$1US for a cut. In addition to the cut, you also get shaved, coated in baby powder, rubbed with alcohol and then it is all finished off with some karate chops, a massage to head, neck, face and back and you are on your way! For some reason I can't see Great Clips or Cost Cutter implementing these services.
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#3 The Navy. In a matter of hours, the small town of Subic has gone from quiet and tranquil, to packed with thousands of Marines. We had a number of Navy Ships come into port today (3 or 4), including a few aircraft carriers. One was full of choppers and Harrier Fighter Jets. They are very cool to see up close. The Navy is also a career where you get to see a lot of the world.
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I hope everyone else is doing well. I heard Wisconsin had snow, which actually sounds pretty good right now. However, I know any of you would trade places with me in a second, so I won't wish I was there. I will send another update soon!
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Cheers,
BB

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Checking in from Subic Bay, Philippines


After 11 flights in one week, I am finally becoming numb to the hassles of traveling; the lines that never end, the shuttles, trying to get around baggage restrictions, airline food and sleeping in the seated position. I started out not being able to sleep for 15 minutes; I can now practically sleep for 6hrs straight.

Traveling gives a very freeing feeling. I have all of my physical possessions contained in a bag, bike box and backpack. At any moment I can pick up and move to anywhere I like.

It does require not having much holding you down, but part of being able to do this is luck. So many others around the world have no opportunity to pursue their passions and dreams because of where they are born, their jobs, family, or other reasons. So I feel very fortunate to have a passion and the ability to follow it. In addition to having the support of so many people, even if I am 8,000 miles away.

Traveling also brings on a sense of what matters in life; our family, our friends, our health and nothing that has to do with our possessions, appearances, money or finish times. This is magnified any time we are away from the important things and any time that you are around others that have almost nothing and are just as happy as you are.

Knowing (either by reading or experiencing) what is outside of our box that we call the United States, really gives perspective. Yes, we have a struggling economy, $4 gas, the values of our 401k’s are falling and there are a lot of other worries on people’s minds. But compared to the rest of world, we have it pretty good. Many others would love to have to worry about those things.

I am not trying to get on a soap box and I am not saying that we shouldn’t be upset at our issues, because they are important. But I am saying it is important to take a step back from time to time…pay attention to the simple things...we will all be better for it.

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I arrived in Subic Bay, Philippines on Monday this week to work with well known coach Brett Sutton. The first days of training have been pretty solid, but what really makes them tough is the heat and humidity. To give you perspective, the dewpoint, or measure of the amount of water in the earth’s atmosphere, is roughly 70* in Miami…it is 80* here, with an air temp or about 90* F.

I have been sick this first week and have been doing my best to get through it. An Ironman, lots of travel, a bit of partying and no sleep for 5 days finally pushed me over the line. I have since gotten antibiotics at the local drugstore, where you can just go in to buy them….no need for a doctor. I think I may be stocking up while I am here.

I am staying in a hotel here with a few other athletes. It is very nice and everything is convenient….except the pool. We have to ride about 20min up a giant hill to get there. After a tough morning bike session, it is not so nice on the legs. The track is across the street and we can do our rides right from the hotel.

Outside of training, the country really gives a sense of being fortunate. Subic Bay is very nice…and patrolled. Outside of SB, there is a lot of poverty and it is a different place. Over the next 4 weeks I will update my blog regularly with my experiences and pictures from here in the Philippines.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sticking It Out...

Well....I finished. That is about how it went for me. I ran into the same issue that I always seem to have in Ironman. 4.5hrs into the race (about 80-90 miles) i lose a LOT of power on the bike. This is an issue that I am determined to solve.

Here is a brief recap of the day.

Swim was very easy. I started with Nina and Farris on either side of me. The cannon went off and I couldn't match Farris' speed, but staying on Nina's feet seemed comfortable. She usually makes the front group, so I just stayed put. I eventually found Hillary Biscay and stayed there for most of the race.

With about a kilometer to go, she started to move to the front of our group and I followed until i started to get beat up, so I stayed put in the middle of the group.

We got to the last turn buoy and there was a HUGE acceleration, which I found out later, was from when Hillary realized she could be first woman out. I didn't realize it, but our group then split and a gap of about 45seconds opened up in the last 400m. I now know I need to be at the front to make sure I can go with any gap that opens.

All in all, I am pleased with the swim. Many guys who were in contention, including Stadler, Beke and Marino were in there.

The Bike - Rode pretty hard through town, trying to bridge a gap to a group of 8 guys that were 30seconds up the road. I couldn't do it and they actually stayed there for most of the ride. I then dialed it down a notch once out onto the Queen K. The wind and heat started to come into play at about 30mi into the ride and got tough at times throughout the day, but come on, it is kona, what do you expect!?! I rode steady and just focused on my nutrition...which was spot on. Everything rolled well until i got off the descent from Hawi and started to climb back to the Queen K. At that point, my left side was pretty tight and I had no power.

I stayed positive, told myself it would pass. Well, it didn't really pass and then I got some major hot spots on the bottom of my feet in the last 20mi, which further killed my ride back to Kona. I got off the bike and just told myself to get out and run easy and see how I felt.

The Run - I ran my 645-50 for about 14 or 15 miles and then my pace really slowed. Eventually, about 90min later, I had Hillary run up on me....ran with her to the finish.

The Finish - This was my first kona as a professional and it was important(as always) to finish. It was not how I expected/wanted the day to go...but I learned a lot. My swim is almost there, my body is good in the heat and when I can just solve this Ironman bike issue, I will have a good race.

I want to thank everyone for their support. My friend's Erin, Nancy, Sue and Chloe for coming into town for the race. Jen and Chuck for letting me stay with them in their condo and for driving me around. My family and friends in Madison and around the country, your support is great and of course my sponsors; Timex, Infinit and Blue Seventy for the great support, equipment and gear. (Blue Seventy got my a long john Point Zero 3, the day before the race, which was AWESOME!).

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I am now heading back to Wisconsin on a red-eye tonight, before packing up again and flying out on Thursday. More details on that trip and my plans, soon.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tomorrow is About...

Tomorrow is a mental race....The physical work is a given, but how we deal with the adversity that comes throughout the day, will determine the outcome of our race.

The fact that I lessened my load in the last few weeks is a huge advantage to me. I am fresh. What will make a race tomorrow is the mental side to things. The ability and willingness to severely and deeply hurt yourself. Letting negative emotions flow through and pushing through any and all pain that comes.

Our body has an ability to protect us through shutting down mentally, before we do physically. Tomorrow it is about ignoring those mental signals.

Perhaps I have forgotten how to hurt my self in that way, or just focused on the wrong things. I don't know. But I do know that at 645am tomorrow, it is about proving that I can hurt more than anyone else out there. Though it won't mean a win, it will mean a good race and that is what I want.

A stepping stone for my future.

Cheers,
BB

Dropping In Last Minute

For my 14th Ironman start, 2nd in Kona and 1st here as a professional, I decided to drop in last minute. Sometimes this yields your best result.

There is no time to let the anxieties of race week build, there is no time to doubt the work you have done and there is no time to get bored. There is just enough time to land, unpack, make sure everything is working well and then…before you know it, you are in the water waiting for the cannon.

Travels this time around were a little crazy. After a delayed start to my 3 flight adventure, I just made my connection in Denver, with about 20min to spare. I sat on the plane wondering whether or not my bike had made it over with me. I chose not to worry about it, since there was nothing I could do. Turns out this was a smart move…my bike made it over in time.

The race conditions are looking pretty favorable for a fast day on Saturday. There is a big swell on the way, but it is not suppose to arrive until Sunday, so the water is going to be fairly flat. The trade winds have been light and there has been some cloudy cover. The only negative to this has been the VOG (volcano fog)….which makes for a hazy sky and also gives the lungs a little burn.

All in all, i am ready to rip…..645am sat. http://www.ironman.com/

Thank you everyone for all the great emails and texts!

Cheers,
BB

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Just Arrived In Kona

I have just arrived in Kona and after a few minor travel setbacks, it looks like things will go a little more smoothly from here on out. I will post some pics and more updates as I get time.

For all of you wanting to follow the race, it will take place on Saturday, October 11th, at 1145am central standard time. There will be a live broadcast over on http://www.ironman.com/

Saturday, October 04, 2008

1 Week....

One week left before I will be racing for the first time at the Ironman World Championships as a professional. I raced as an age grouper in 2004, but haven't been back since.

The training has been rolling along, despite tweaking my knee when getting out of my van the other day. I think that a tight IT band is to blame. So far, it hasn't caused any issues on the training front.

I have a great mindset going into this race with zero pressure. I am racing against the best in the world and am hoping that it will bring out the best in me.

I will check in again before the race, but right now it is 30*F outside and I am trying to get my head around the fact that it will be 3x that when I toe the line in a week. Awesome!

Cheers,

BB