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 quit....at 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.