Nov 8, 2009

Marathon Des Sables

"The World's Toughest Footrace."
At least that is how it is billed. And that is how it got my attention.
Seven days in the Sahara Desert of Northern Africa. Running with all of our personal effects on our backs, everything except for water and a tent.
151 Miles. The tallest Sand Dunes in Northern Africa. Up to 55 miles in a single day. Water is rationed to about 9 liters per day. If you run out, tough luck. There are no aid stations in the Sahara. All in all, it sounds like quite an adventure. And certainly one that got me motivated to start training in earnest again following my broken foot in the ULTRAMAN.
I have been promised a spot, but have not yet received written confirmation; I remain hopeful. The race starts around April 3 and goes through April 10th, 2o1o.
For many people the race sounds insane. Just crazy. And maybe it is. But I have found that Ironman is like a gateway only leaves you wanting for more. For a more profound and more challenging experience.
I know that I am not built for speed at my age, but what I lack in fast-twitch muscles, I seem to have in drive and the desire to accomplish the seemingly improbable. Of course this is a tough and crazy event. No doubt about it and I will not try to justify it, because I simply cannot.
I know that I desperately want to (safely) test my limits, and I do believe that by participating in this event with the goal simply to finish, not to race, that it can be a safe event.
The only thing that caused me to reflect a bit was the race insurance which claims to cover, "corpse repatriation to the home country." YIIKES!! That is the first time I have ever seen that in a race waiver! But since I have no intention whatsoever to red line it, to push to the absolute limit, I do not believe that I will be placing myself at extreme risk.
Yes it is the Sahara Desert. Yes, the average temperatures can reach 120 degrees. Yes it is a long way from home and we are required to carry emergency flares and anti-venom and suction kits for both scorpion and snake attacks/bites. But these are very rare occurrences.
The key risks appear to be dehydration, heat exhaustion/heat stroke and severe blistering of the feet. I believe that I am quite experienced and knowledgeable in the area of race nutrition, hydration and electrolyte replacement. But I will readily acknowledge that I have had some real blistering problems and other feet problems. This will be my greatest challenge: keeping my feet in the best possible condition, under these extreme conditions.
More to follow soon.

Aug 9, 2009


Darwin Holt, me and Barbi Brochu at the start of the 52.4-mile double marathon, the third day of ULTRAMAN Canada. Barbi set a new world record for the 6.2 mile swim and shattered the prior women's record for the overall event. And Darwin is one of only a handful of athletes in the world who has completed the ULTRAMAN event in both Canada and the World Championship ULTRAMAN in Hawaii!

In March 2009, the reality of the daunting task of training for the ULTRAMAN hit me hard. Reviewing the credentials of those athletes who had been invited to compete at ULTRAMAN was incredibly intimidating because they had achieved so much and many were literally world-class athletes. I seriously doubted my ability to complete this event.

Both Darwin and Barbi contacted me completely out of the blue and were very encouraging from the start. These two heroes are responsible for me toeing the line at ULTRAMAN more than anyone else, and for that, I am deeply grateful.

In April, I nearly gave up this crazy ULTRAMAN dream altogether, but Darwin pulled me back. I had just completed the CA Ironman 70.3 and had a truly miserable day. The worst ever. I could barely complete the event, and in less four months, I would have to go 4.5 times that distance for ULTRAMAN. I sent Darwin an email and said, "Forget it. NO way I can do ULTRAMAN, I cannot even do this 70.3 event without nearly dying."

Three minutes later, the phone rings with a gentle soothing Canadian telling me that I CAN and that I WILL complete ULTRAMAN.

Darwin believed in me when I did not believe in myself. He helped me improve my confidence and then set out to custom-design a training regime like none other. In fact there are no training plans available anywhere on what or how to train for ULTRAMAN, so Darwin built mine from his own experience and his extensive ultra endurance background. We exchanged perhaps hundreds of emails and he got me ready both physically and mentally for the challenge.

But I saw another side of Darwin in the last 1.5 miles of ULTRAMAN.

I had severely hurt my foot at mile number 7 of the run and had 45 more miles to go. I believed that the foot was broken. The pain was excruciating. Every step it got worse and worse. But strangely, it was less painful to jog slowly than it was to walk. So I kept at it, but over time it became unbearable and reached a crescendo just before the finish line.

I lost the will to fight any more. I cannot explain it, but I did give up. I just could not take it anymore. By favoring the other foot, my bio-mechanics were all screwed up for 45 miles. This caused severe hip pain in the other leg. I was a mess and in extreme pain.

Out of nowhere, Darwin shows up.

He was calm at first, but that didn't last long. He would not hear of my complaints, he would not tolerate my yelps, my whincing, my grunts or my crying. None of that mattered now.

All that mattered was that he get me across that line under my own power.

He yelled at me. He was extremely serious. The nice, soothing, reassuring, calming influence and voice was gone. He shook me to the core by raising his voice and somehow shook me out of my stupor of pain to regain my focus. Miraculously, we crossed the line together, with literally just minutes to spare...I BARELY made the 12-hour cutoff and I owe that final push and final finish to Darwin.

My sincere thanks to Darwin and Barbi for pushing me and encouraging me. While I owe my ULTRAMAN start to them both, I owe my ULTRAMAN finish to Darwin. He got me over the line when I had lost my will and my fight to continue.

Aug 8, 2009


My incredible crew and I as we cross the finish line at the third day and conclusion of ULTRAMAN Canada. (click on photo)

Crossing the line are: My great friend and Crew Chief Kelvin Shields, my terrific son Connor, me, Darwin Holt - the patient and selfless hero that guided and coached me from the dream to an ULTRAMAN finish, and finally, my indefatigable nephew Ryan Weber. Not shown, but hugely instrumental in my finish, was my kayaker and outstanding swim pacer Marcel Allaire. Without this group of men, there would have been no possibility that I would have ever finished this 3-Day test of endurance. This should really be billed as a team-sport because it really takes a team to get the athletes through so much during the three days.

Day 1: 6.2 mile swim followed by a 90 mile bike
Day 2: 170 miles on the bike
Day 3: 52.4 mile double marathon run

It is claimed that over 50,000 people complete an Ironman Triathlon each year, and it was my dream to be one of those finishers; I'm still proud of that milestone. However, fewer than 60 people in the world will finish an ULTRAMAN under the cutoff times in any given year. That makes this event very special.

More than a "race" ULTRAMAN is an event that highlights the Hawaiian values of Aloha, Ohana and Kokua. Aloha means hello and goodbye. But it is so much more than that. Anyone who has stayed in the Islands understands instantly the friendly spirit, the easy way and the "feeling" of Aloha. Ohana means family, extended family or any group with a common bond, something that is very clearly evident at ULTRAMAN; it is a brotherhood for life. Kokua relates to generosity and to selfless giving, something that is critical from the crews in order for the athletes to complete the event. It also means that athletes are supportive of one another and generous in their encouragement, even to last place finishers like me!

There will be much more to say about ULTRAMAN, as I am still trying to process what I have just done. But one thing is clear: There is no possible way I could have completed this event without the Ohana, Kokua and Aloha of my ULTRAMAN family and especially from my incredible crew and Darwin Holt's patient, calming influence over these past six months while I was very worried about ever finishing.

On paper, there was no possible way for me to finish the 170 mile bike event under the 12-hour cutoff. I had never ridden that far or that fast for that long; never. In fact, it wasn't even close. But somehow, with the help of my crew and Darwin's belief and encouragement, we pulled off a miracle on Day 2 which kept this event, and my ultimate finish, alive.

Thanks to all of my new ULTRAMAN Ohana and to my incredible crew. Thanks a million times over!


Jun 10, 2009

Blue Canyon 38-Mile Ultra Run

This is the typical view we faced when looking down into the canyons and the distant mountain peaks we'd be climbing in the inaugural Blue Canyon Ultra Endurance Run in the Santa Ynez mountains in the Santa Barbara back country.

This was by far, the toughest event of my short ultra endurance career. Many times I felt like just turning around and quitting. What was supposed to be a 50K/31 mile event was actually a 34 mile event, and in my case, was much closer to 40 miles due to inadequately-marked trails (or more likely, my ignorance at following trail markers). The event was made even a bit more challenging in that I had ridden my bike the 110 miles from Long Beach to Carpinteria just the day before.

The race was difficult due to the extreme elevation gains as well as the overgrown single-track trails that were heavily-laden with Poison Oak. It was extremely difficult to see the trail that we were actually running on, so foot placement was extremely technical in about 5 - 8 miles of the race.

But there was no denying that this was a tremendous venue and incredibly beautiful back country that few people have ever witnessed first hand.

So I was ready to go at the start line, not really knowing what to expect, but as usual, I was ready for anything and everything that could come my way (it's the Eagle Scout in me...Always be Prepared!). Immediately off the starting line we started going uphill and I noticed that my calves were really burning within the first 10 minutes or so. I looked down at my Garmin 305 and noticed that we were running at a very fast clip, and uphill to boot. At that point I pulled over and let the faster runners go right on by. I still had at least 32 miles to go.

Within the first five miles or so, a group of us missed a hard-left turn off the fire road onto a single track trail. Instead, we blindly followed one another up a very steep section of fire road for at least 1.25 - 1.75 miles. We were turned around toward the top of the hill and given the bad news. It would not have been so tough to take, but for the fact that it was ALL uphill.

We found our way to the single track trail and I was shocked at how overgrown it was. If not for the markers placed by the Race Director and his crew, we may not have been able to find our way. There were spots where we absolutely could not see the "trail" we were supposed to be running on because the brush was so overgrown.

To my great fortune, a very experienced and accomplished trail runner of national renown gave me plenty of tips and advice along the trail. She was pacing out her day to do the 50 mile event and I was only doing the 50K so we were somewhat evenly paced. Sheri Okamoto and I ultimately ended up running together for close to 10 hours that day. There were MANY times when I told her to just run ahead and not hold back for me, and there were other times when she talked me out of dropping out and of declining the two invitations to hop a ride back with the other runners who had called it a day at the half-way point.

I'm grateful that Sheri encouraged me to stick with this event, even though it was really a very tough, long day. It took me 11 hours and 10 minutes of running, walking, jogging and bush-whacking to finish that event. Four days later, I can still hardly walk!

But overall, it was a beautiful location and a great confidence booster, one that I really needed.

I have two big events coming up and I needed a test to monitor my progress. Blue Canyon was that test.

Darwin Holt has so graciously offered me the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be his pacer for the last 38 miles of the Western States 100 mile ultra endurance run. This is likely the world's most prestigious and famous, and certainly the original 100-mile trail race. I am profoundly honored to pace my good friend Darwin, and I take this responsibility VERY seriously. He is counting on me and I don't want to let him down. So this was a good test. And actually, I think that Blue Canyon was a bit tougher than what I will face at Western States in just a few weeks.

The other big event, my A-Race is the Ultraman in August. That event will require a 53-mile ultrarun on the 3rd day of the race, and doing the Blue Canyon at about 36 - 38 miles was a good warm up, not necessarily in terms of trail running, but in terms of spending over 11 hours on my feet making constant forward progress toward a long distance objective. My Heart Rate stayed remarkably stable through the race which demonstrates to me that I am learning to be disciplined and to manage my resources for the long haul ahead.

Jun 8, 2009

Ultraman Crew Finalized

My luck and good fortune continues with the addition of my Ultraman Crew!

This photo was taken in November 2008 at about 5:30 am, just before I entered the chilly water of Tempe Town Center Lake for the Ironman Arizona race. That's my son Connor and my great friend, Kelvin Shields.

I am so glad to have my 16-year old son Connor to be on my crew. Connor will be assisting our Crew Captain, Kelvin Shields. Those of you who read my book, Iron Ambition, know all about Kelvin and how he has been a big part of my professional life and an ardent supporter of my ultra endurance ambitions. Kelvin has completed the Ironman 70.3 and multiple marathons. So Kelvin can relate to what I will be going through and that's really important.

Kelvin is not just a dear friend, but he is also an exceptionally well organized person, a great athlete, he loves to plan and most of all, he is trained in emergency medicine, which is reassuring. Kelvin is scrambling to get everything in order for our trip to Penticton, British Columbia, Canada and is talking with Darwin Holt about what it takes to be a great crew chief.

We have secured all the plane tickets, the hotel rooms, the Crew Vehicle. We need passports to enter Canada and are getting those updated as well. At this point, with only seven weeks remaining we are focused on learning as much as possible about how the crew can assist me through each leg of the three-day event. We will arrive in Penticton on Wednesday July 29th and return on August 5th.

My biggest concern is to just finish each day within the 12-hour cutoffs. Connor will make sure I am well hydrated and eating and Kelvin will navigate from our Crew Car / Support vehicle and make cetain that I am staying within a safe band of time that will insure I finish prior to the cutoffs, but not so quickly as to risk burning out later that afternoon or the next day.

Having Kelvin worry about the cutoffs is likely the most important thing of all for me because my mind will not be constantly racing making calculations about what it will take to finish under the wire every day.

My biggest concern used to be the bike, and still is. But my confidence is gaining rapidly that I can complete the 170 miles under the 12-hour cutoff.

May 11, 2009

Race Schedule

My schedule of events this summer includes:

- June 6, 2009: Blue Canyon 50K trail race (Santa Barbara)

- June 13, 2009: Lake Merritt 12-Hour Ultra run (Oakland, CA)

- June 27, 2009: Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run (Pacing Darwin Holt for 38 miles)

- August 1 - 3, 2009: Ultraman Canada (6 mile swim, 260 mile bike, 53 mile run)

Big emphasis on running in June, but these are nice, easy, comfortable run-walks (more like jog-walks) where I will average 11 - 13 minutes per mile over rough terrain.

Cycling is another big focus lately. I have to get comfortable with 170 miles in a single day, and to finish so relaxed and fresh that I am strong enough to finish a 53 mile run the next morning.

Apr 8, 2009

The Ultraman Team of Advisors

I'm a lucky guy. Period.

I'm blessed with a terrific wife, a remarkable son, the world's best business partner and a team of people who have recently come out of the woodwork to help me with Ultraman.

My only regret about finishing Iron Ambition (now up live on is that I cannot talk about these great people who are helping me with this new adventure.

First and foremost is Darwin Holt. Who is this guy and why would he help me with Ultraman?

After accomplishing my goal and dream of completing the full Ironman, I was a bit down for a couple of months. I had some terrible injuries that were really holding me back. I doubted my ability and my head wasn't straight.

Darwin picked me up from the ashes and got me thinking clearly again. I was so focused on the incredible distance of the Ultraman event (swim 6.2 miles, bike 260 miles and run 52 miles) that I just doubted my ability to finish. Darwin patiently explained how to train for this event and assured me that I have ample time to prepare for the event (August 2009).

Darwin should know. He's completed both Ultraman Canada (2007) and the Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii (2008). Further, Darwin has completed 6 Ironmans (IMC '99,'04)(IMFLA '02)(IMLP '03)(IMCDA '06) and the Ironman World Championships (lottery '04). Darwin and his wife have also run 10 marathons together including New York, San Diego and Chicago. He really knows his stuff and has been very generous with his time to help me and my coach develop a sane training approach to this unique distance.

Darwin is a math teacher from Canada and about the nicest guy I've ever met. I've taken detailed notes of his advice and turned them into a plan which I plan to follow to the tee.

I also am grateful to Scott Gower, who again, has helped me be more confident about my ability to complete Ultraman. In fact, it was Scott who got me into Triathlon in the first place, Scott that introduced me to Ironman and it was Scott who first told me about Ultraman when I ran into him at the vendor Expo at the Santa Barbara Tri.

I recently spoke to Scott on the phone and told him that I thought I could accomplish the swim and perhaps the run-walk, but that the 260 miles on the bike really had me worried. He just came straight out and told me to get my head screwed on right. He said my confidence was shot and that I needed to get out there and get that bike distance accomplished so that I would just know that I could do it.

He's right.

Once I went out and did a 106 mile bike ride in a single day, I had the ultimate confidence that I could complete the 112 miles in the full Ironman. So I'm certain that once I get out there and complete 10 - 12 hours on the bike, I will have the confidence to complete the bike leg of Ultraman.

Next Posts will talk about the training for Ultraman, which is much different than anything I've done to prepare for Ironman.

Mar 30, 2009

Significant Progress and Updates

I have made significant progress over the last sixty days. My book, Iron Ambition is now complete and will be live on in just about two weeks or so. Also, my fitness has improved dramatically since January.

My recent long workouts have been a 5 mile non-stop swim in my Endless Pool (stopping only for refueling/hydration). This took 3 hours and was a nice pace. At no time did I ever feel like I could not make the 5 mile distance. The Ultra man event will require a 6.2 mile swim and I feel confident that I can do that now, expecially with a wetsuit on.

My long run is now about 2.5 hours and at a slower pace than normal. What's very interesting is that I am now focused on staying just in Zone 2 for my HR. To stop the temptation of running fast, I no longer use distance or pace on my Garmin Satellite watch: I only use Zone and Total Time.

Just using those two datapoints has enabled me to be free from the constant worry of average pace per mile or meeting some arbitrary distance goal. All I do now is focus on the total time on the road and I try to keep my HR in Zone 2 for 50 - 75% of the time, usually longer. This has helped improve my pacing dramatically, but my pace per mile is slower.

The good news about this new method is that is helps me learn to be much more consistent and to avoid the peaks and valleys in my HR data throughout the run. This consistency means that I can run longer distances yet feel less fatigued. At my age of approaching 50, my focus has shifted from speed and ego,to endurnace and enjoyment of the running experience and environment.

Biking continues to be my trouble spot. I am still quite concerned about my ability to ride 170 miles and then get up the next morning to run a double marathon in the Ultra man. But I trust my coach and advisors, so I just keep plugging away at the workouts.

Last weekend, I did the CA 70.3 Ironman course on my Computrainer and really had a very tough time with it. The hills in the race really killed me. The next day, I was just beat and really sore. So I went out to the Computrainer to try and figure out why I was so sore.

It turns out that I was running a 42-23 gear for the lowest gear on my Time Trial bike. This is a really high gear for me. On my road bike I run a 39-27 and had I used that bike for the workout, I would have been in much better shape today. That road bike gearing would have made it significantly easier to make those tough climbs. In fact, my hill climbing bike is geared with a 34 - 28 which is almost like a mountain bike and makes things much easier still. So the Time Trial bike gearing is why I am so sore. The good news is that I realized this in advance of the race this Saturday, so I can make the adjustments and have a much better day.

My race this Saturday is just a hlaf-Ironman, but last year this time, I would have been totally worried about it. Not this year. I am treating the race as just a fun day out on the road, an easy workout and I am just going out there to have fun. To experience the race without the pressure of doing my best. I just want to do one for fun and to really be a participating spectator. I will be in the event, but just crusing along having fun, not worrying about a thing. Just there to make friends and take in the venue and the course.

The vendor expo is always a lot of fun too.

Mar 11, 2009

Need Help!

I am behind on my training for Ultraman, but am not too worried. I remember how terrified I was of my first Ironman 70.3 and at the end I learned that I had been worried for nothing. Same thing for the full Ironman. So having completed both of those, I have a bit of confidence about my ability to takle these tough events. But right now, I am still suffering daily with the continuing plantar wart saga!

The toe is a huge problem and if any of you have some tips, cures, or ideas, I would really love to hear about them. Send me anything you have at Here is the problem: The plantar wart has been a big issue for nearly two years now. I have tried every single home remedy and over the counter freezing and acid program. These have all resulted in a huge gaping hole, but the wart still grows back.

Next, I went to a Podiatrist who used an acid injection right into the toe. It stung like crazy, caused huge blistering, a big chunk of skin fell off and the wart still returned. So after Ironman Arizona in Nov 2008, I went and had it surgically removed. They cut out a huge chunk of my toe and the wound did not heal for over two months; that is why I got so far behind in my training. The wound finally healed-over and the wart was still there.

Finally, I went to another Podiatrist who claimed to have just the cure. He said that surgery was not the way to go and instead, he used a very strong mixture that he has a pharmacy make just for this purpose. This is a very intense blend that includes:Salicylic acid, Podophyllum and Cantharidin. I have gone for three treatments, and each time it looks like it might be getting better, but it isn't. The darn thing is still there and I am constantly walking with a limp due to the extreme pain. It is as if the raw nerves are literally exposed like live wires, and every step, no matter how light, is a very painful experience that causes me to wince and limp.

So if you have any ideas at all, please let me know!

Feb 5, 2009

Progress Update

Many of you have asked about how training is going for Ultraman.

Since finishing my dream of Ironman Arizona in November 2008, I have been plagued with IT band problems and have not run more than a total of 10 miles in the past 60 days. Further, I continue to be dealing with a horrendous malady on one of my toes that required an operation to remove a significant part of the underside of the toe.

The toe has never healed despite 5 different treatments from three different specialists. It remains a raw, weeping, oozing, open sore that's now about the size of a cherry pit and just as deep.

All this as background to say that the training is way behind and I am beginning to become concerned, but not panicked or overly alarmed. Once we fix this toe and the IT Bands, I know that I can intelligently get back into shape, but time is ticking and I am eager to get these issues behind me.

Just today, I had a highly-toxic acid treatment of some sort that is designed to eat away at this toe problem, but the pain of the acid in this open sore in literally unbearable.

I am eager to get back into the rythym of a daily routine and am looking forward to putting these problems behind me as soon as possible.

Jan 18, 2009

Goals Update: 2009 and Beyond

Well the time has come to update my goals. This is an annual process I've been doing since the sixth grade, every year, without fail, during the period between Christmas and New Year.

Regrettably, this year I was so pre-occupied with the final edits on my book, From Seat 2A to Ironman, that I let this process slip.

Part of the power in goal setting is to share your goals with others so that you've got a built in network of reinforcement and accountability. Getting a bit of ribbing from family and friends is a healthy way to reinforce those items which matter most to you.

I know, I've been doing it for literally 35 years (that's a fact!) and it's remarkable to review prior year's goals and see how many have been acheived.

As it relates to IronAmbition then, here are my fitness goals, aspirations and crazy dreams for 2009 and beyond. I will never achieve all of these in 2009, not even close, but you'd be amazed at the power of just listing your goals and letting your subconscious go to work for you 24x7 to try and figure out ways to make these happen.

Fitness and Event Objectives:

15 Correct Pull Ups
75 Push Ups
Bike: Double Century (200 miles)
Eliminate IT Band Problems
Eliminate Trigger Point Issue
Full Ironman Triathlon (DONE!)
Keep weight under 159 pounds
Less than 33" waist at BB
Run: 50 mile Ultramarathon
Run: Badwater 135
Run: Carp to Solvang (50 m.)
Run: LB to Carp. (112 mi.)
Run: SB 9-Trails (35 Miles)
Swim an open water 10K
Swim: Alcatraz to San Francisco
Swim: Catalina to L.B. (23 miles)
Swim: Entire Golden Gate Bridge
Swim: SB to Carp (10 Miles?)
Ultraman Canada (318 miles)

Objectives: Other

Publish From Seat 2A to Ironman
Buy 3 - 15 acre avocado ranch in Carpinteria
Write and publish a business book
Launch new division: Sales Acuity

Jan 17, 2009

A Family Affair

If you think that a support group isn't important when setting out to train and compete in ultra endurance events, well I've got a news flash for you.

A support network is extremely important.

I could not have completed my goal without an incredible business partner in Kevin Kelsey and the enormous understanding and support of my wife. I like this light-hearted photo of us right before the bike check-in in Tempe. It was one of the few moments when we were both laughing and relaxing. Most of the time, it was a tough struggle.

I was late for dinner. A lot.

I was complaining about injuries. Far too often.

I was constantly limping around the house.

I was in a bad mood knowing that I had really long workouts and that my time was running out (because I had procrastinated)

I went to bed really early (8:30pm) and was asleep most nights by the time she finally got to bed at our pre-Ironman training time of 10:00pm.

I often was very restless when sleeping due to pain and kept my wife up, woke her up and generally prevented her from getting the best rest possible.

I often was not home when Connor went off to school because I had to do early morning workouts; there just was no other way to get them done.

I was cranky, crabby, irritable when in pain (most of the time).

As you can see, I was generally not a lot of fun to be with. Nobody willingly signs up for that kind of a husband, so I'm grateful she stuck through all of this and continued to be supportive and encouraging.

What came out of all of this was that my self-confidence increased dramatically and I am a better person for the journey. I no longer have daily migraine headaches from stress, I have lost about 45 pounds and despite all the injuries I continue to nurse along, I think I've added at least a few years to my life.

The support of family, friends and associates is really very important in this endeavor. You can still do it without the support, but let me assure you, there's enough to worry about with all of your training, nutrition and recovery requirements.

Take my advise and make certain that you have a firm support network in place before you start on this journey.

Again, thanks to all who helped me along the way, especially my wife, my son Connor, my coach David Warden, my incredible business partner Kevin Kelsey, my terrific cousin-in-law Chris Barsh, my great friend and crew chief Kelvin Shields (you are awesome man!) and all those in the Ironman community who offered their time and counsel.

Now I ask for your support and understanding yet again. The 2009 Ultraman Canada event beckons and I am answering the call.

I need a crew and am hoping that Kelvin Shields can come to my rescue again. The great thing about Kelvin, not only is he a once-in-a-lifetime true friend, not only is he a sportman who has completed Ironman events and ultra endurance events, not only is he a world expert at prioritization and focusing on what matters most, but in this case, not only does he literally love to take roadtrips (Canada anyone?!), he's all those great things, but the most important attribute is that he is a trained emergency medical first responder. Kelvin Shield may literally save my life in Ultraman Canada. Now that's a crew member I really need!

I am also hoping to land Connor again. He'll likely be a counsellor at Camp Cherry Valley on Catalina Island, but I'm hoping to pull him away to manage the hydration bottles and the music for the roadtrip. He's got great style and great musical instincts, plus an iPod with a massive hard drive!

Of course I hope my wife will come for support, but that's a lot to ask. She's already going to have to put up with the complaining and injuries and missed meals and events for the next 8 months. A road trip to Canada may be asking a bit too much in addition to all that she'll be putting up with, but we'll see how that goes!

Jan 13, 2009

Accepted to Ultraman Championships 2009!!

Incredible news!!

I was invited to participate in the Ultraman Canada Championship race!

Ultraman Canada is a 3-day, 318.6 mile individual ultra-endurance event.

Entry is limited to 30 solo participants and 5 relay teams and is by invitation only. The event is more than 2.25 times longer than a full Ironman Triathlon.

Day 1 starts with a 6.2 mile open water swim immediately followed by a 90 mile bike ride that traverses the Richter Pass and concludes in Okanagan Falls. Cutoff times are 6 hours for the swim and 12 hours for the entire day.

Day 2 is a 170 bike that begins in Penticton and concludes in Princeton. Cutoff time for the bike leg is 12 hours.

Day 3 is the final stage and consists of a 52.4 mile double-marathon run from Princeton to Summerland. Cutoff time for the run is 12 hours.

This is an international event and athletes are expected from around the world. Each athlete must be accompanied by an individual support team of at least two persons over the entire course, and I am hoping beyond all hope that my great friend Kelvin Shields can crew for me as he did in Tempe. I’m also very hopeful that Connor will be able to leave summer camp and join me in this incredible pursuit.

I intend to train smart and remain disciplined. This is not necessarily about training super hard, it’s more about putting in the long hours to build up an aerobic base. David Warden, my world class triathlon coach who got me from corporate sloth and coach potato to Ironman, has agreed to stay on for this event and to plan all aspects of my Ultraman training. I am also seeking input from any and all past Ultraman finishers that they might provide fitness benchmarks that I should try to achieve prior to the event. (There is very little information available about how to train for such a long event.)

No doubt, I am in over my head. And that’s exactly how I like it. Race Director Steve Brown courageously and generously invited me to participate and I don’t intend to betray his trust or confidence.

Only 40% Done

As I crossed the finish line and achieved my dream of becomming an Ironman the emotions where overwhelming. All that hard work, struggle, pain and suffering. The ups the downs, the incredible low points. It was now over and I couldn't hold back the rushing onslaught of emotion and pure joy and extreme pride.

But once we accomplish great things and the stories have been told and retold, then what? Are we done? Do we stay at the same event and just do it again and again? Or do we look for even greater quests, greater challenges? Do we look for inspiration in other areas, other fields of endeavor? Really....what do we do after we accomplish such grand objectives, goals and dreams?

I need constant change and new challenges. I'm not wired for the status quo and so I set out seeking even greater challenges. To see how far the human spirit can be moved. What's our real limit?

As David Goggins, one of the most inspiring and successful ultra endurance athletes in the world says, "When you hit that wall and everything inside of you tells you that you should that moment you are only about 40% done!"

There's still another 60% left to give and that's exactly how I feel after completing the Ironman.

I've scoured the journals and the web for exciting new challenges and adventures. Soon I will report on the next journey.

Stay tuned!

Jan 11, 2009

Crossing the Finish Line with Connor

This is a TREASURED video clip of Connor running alongside of me as I crossed the finish line and achieved my dream of becomming an Ironman Triathlete.

Words cannot describe the emotions and sense of accomplishment to have worked so hard and have overcome so many obstacles in the pursuit of this goal. And to have Connor cross the line with me was priceless.

Absolutely a day that will live with me forever.