Sarasota Storm’s FIT Triathlon at Benderson Park – 2014 Results
CLICK HERE <—-====== CLICK HERE <——=======
Sarasota Storm’s FIT Triathlon at Benderson Park – 2014 Results
CLICK HERE <—-====== CLICK HERE <——=======
ADAMO ISM Gel Racing Saddle ** For Sale
ISM Adamo Race Saddle
THE ORIGINAL and still top-of-the-line performance saddle for triathletes and time trialers.
Designed for aggressive riding in the 0 to 30 degree hip angle position (aero bars). This seat offers superb comfort in a normally uncomfortable position. The Adamo Racing is completely UCI compliant for time trialing. It even sports a nifty transition rack hook on the back for racking your bike. Uses light weight foam and gel pads with titanium alloy rails. 245mm long and 130mm wide.
Patented, new design that eliminates the “nose” part of the traditional saddle
Eliminates pressure on the perineum area resulting in improved blood flow
Eliminates numbness which can accompany traditional saddles
Integrated tri-hook under the rear of the saddle allows for quick placement and removal of bike in transition area
Lightweight foam padding with Gel inserts
ST. Anthony’s Q and A @Tempo Cyclery with Matt Reed, Sarah Haskins, Sara McLarty and Cameron Dye
YES, the rumor is true. Tempo Cyclery will be hosting a Q and A session and signing with Pro Triathletes from Fuji and Kestrel that are completing ST Anthony’s. We are very excited!!! Please come and join us for the question and answer session and signing, Friday April 27th at 6:30pm.
You don’t want to miss out on this evening!!!
Here is the link to the Facebook Event Page <——
My Ironman Story – 2011 Ford Ironman Race Recap
Ford Florida Ironman 2011 Recap *Please note the majority of this recap was written months ago, and then writers block set in. So in a determined bulldog like grip, I have finally completed it and not changed much other then editing grammar, punctuation somewhat and adding pictures. These were my thoughts in November, December and thereafter and I stand by them all. This is the true story of Ironman Florida 2011 as told by a certified BAMF! Especially the Butt Butter portion.* ENJOY!It’s 1:30am on November 5, 2011 and I am awake…again. This time, I decide to have a Muscle Milk and a multivitamin and head back to bed for another hour of rest…hopefully. My eyes strain against the darkness of early morning and the exhaustion of willing myself to sleep. The red numbers bellow 3:45am and this time, I’m up for good. It is Race day and this day is a culmination of a journey that started 3 years ago or 10 months ago, or 3 days ago, depending on which perspective, story line or angle you view it from. This view is Race day only and so we return to me having a whole wheat bagel smothered in creamy natural peanut butter and a banana in the dim halogen lighting of our rental condo’s kitchen. The aura of the day has not yet sunk in quite yet and soon the beautiful Sherpa/Do It All With Grace, lady, Jonell joins me in my morning rituals as we prepare the bags, and I start to obsess that I have everything I need for this morning. Once I have stuffed all my bags with more “necessary” stuff then a family of triathletes could possibly use or a subject on an episode of Hoarders! We hoof it down to the vehicle and meet up with the rest of the crew. “Roughrider’s Mount Up!” Or something like that. Without much fanfare, we pile into the vehicles and head down to Club LaVela’s parking lot to unload and begin the 3/4 mile trek to transition and the area that will soon become a bustle of activity and eventually the finish line! I have literally been dreaming about my arm warmers being in the wrong bag, so with a snipers precision, I pull apart the running bag to make 100% sure that the arm warmers are not in there. Upon not finding any sign of them, I proceed to the bike transition bag to visually confirm receipt of those friggin arm warmers! SUCCESS! A trip to the bike racks to visit my other lovely lady, Kestrel Nikita and see how her fractured signs of experience are doing. She looks ready to roll and reveals nothing new, so I unload my bottles upon my trusty steed! I cannot help but notice some of the other bikes that have between 10-15 gels taped to the top bar. Interesting. The copious amount of gel festering in ones stomach seems like an unpleasant way to spend 5-7 hours on a bike. Just saying. Jonell & I find various members of our pack and merge back into the flow of people as we all make our way into the Panama City Boardwalk Resort lobby and cafeteria area. This area is packed solid with lines for the bathrooms (ironically the men’s bathroom line is 10 times as long as the women’s) and standing room only. So with about 15-20 minutes before 7am, some folks slither into their wetsuits while others, like myself, force themselves into them. We make our way down the boardwalk and onto the beach, where the air temperature of 50 degrees becomes a reality. Even more so, when you leave your flip flops behind and go bare feet on the icy beach sand. Soon the adrenaline has taken my mind off the cold weather and its time for one last “Good luck” kiss from my Sherpa! Time to join the neoprene clad masses! I mosey through the red inflatable arch which records your ankle chip and head to the far left portion of the swim start (inside the yellow directional buoys). This, I have been told, allows for a more peaceful and encumbered swim! Thanks Godfather! As I stand there in my sleeveless Xterra wetsuit flapping my arms like Michael Phelps and throwing in a couple of stretches to stay loose as the cold bite of the morning air works to tighten everything up, I notice Coach Jackie Miller who is so focused on imagining her swim that you could literally dance around her and make crazy faces and she wouldn’t even budge. She is dialed in and it helps to calm my heart rate and refocus on taking in the surroundings and shrinking the scene. What once felt like sheer chaos, now feels like just another swim. Just another triathlon. Just another day at the office. Its controllable and as comfortable as its going to get. My breathing is normal, my pulse is low-ish and my nerves are somewhat calm… its fantastic, its the training, the practice, the visualizing… all of it… makes for a confidence that the hard work is done and its time to go perform now. I imagine this is a similar connection for almost any achievement that takes hard work and practice to accomplish, whether its being an actor on stage, or an NFL quarterback in that you need repetition learning plays, executing those plays in practice and finally in games… It all comes back to the work you put in earlier. And so, I breathe out the anxiety and breathe in the confidence. Standing with my toes in cool wet sand, the waves struggle to reach me, but they eventually surge past and caress my sinking feet and retreat back to the beautiful and calm waters of the emerald gulf. The sunrise is to my left and brings phosphorescent shades of orange, yellow and reds as it helps to add another level of enjoyment to this gorgeous morning! Coach Eric Kahl is around us as Tony Welch and I complete our final stretches, inner monologues and positive affirmations to others nearby going through the same motions. There is an Ironman film crew right behind us as we gather as a group for one quick reminder, pep talk, motivating word and the moment is caught on camera. (3:49 sec mark) I take a walk into the water to try and relieve myself yet again and maybe add a little warmth to the wetsuit, but a race director yells for everyone to “GET OUT OF THE WATER!” as there are people still swimming and warming up. So no peeing for me as I walk back onto the beachhead. Then, like a grizzled veteran my calmness returns and I warm up my wetsuit just standing there on the beach! I love wetsuits. I do hear the announcer say “30 seconds until the start” and I just zone out and focus in on my breathing… Its so peaceful and I cannot wait to hear that cannon. “BOOM” the canon fires and before anyone has a moment to think, we all make our way into the emerald waters of the gulf… I start out with a few people right in my space and after a couple kicks and shoulder slaps, I decide to take my swim out a little more central on the course inside the directional buoys where its just me and a few other immensely intelligent souls! The swim is beautiful as the luminescent waters allow a clear picture of the gulf floor and give you a sense of assurance that you don’t find in murky lakes or cloudier ocean venues. This is extremely cool! And then I see them… Jellyfish… Big ass, round jellyfish with tentacles and pink innards. I like to imagine the jellyfish was more frightened by us then we were of it, because in reality, there wasn’t much I could do anyhow. When I swam over a jellyfish that was inches from me, I just let my arms glide over until I was passed and then continued to swim per the norm. In hindsight, maybe that full wetsuit would have been a good idea instead of the sleeveless! No worries at this point! From the moment I hit the first buoy, I was able to get my nerves and adrenaline under control and really zero in on gliding, pulling and trying to let my legs just drag behind me only coming to life now and again to pass a swimmer or avoid the usual criss-cross swimmer… You know. The poor bastards that are making this a 3 mile swim, by zig-zagging the entire course. Did they not practice swimming? I pity the fool. Before I know it, I can see the bottom again and before long I can feel the roar of the people and announcer on shore. 1.2 miles done! A quick jog on the shore to get some equilibrium back as the cold water can play tricks on your head! After running the horseshoe and turning back towards the gulf, the course has opened up quite a bit and I get to dolphin dive until my feet cannot touch the bottom anymore. Back to work. Bend that elbow. And Gliiiiiide. So smooth. Hey look, a school of stingrays about 20 feet below me! They look like a large light brown checkerboard pattern with the dark green background behind them, it is another beautiful moment from the Ironman. 1:11:36 – This is the time from my 2.4 mile swim. Not too shabby. From there it was up the boardwalk, through the hotel tunnel and into the Bike bag corral. We were handed our bag and made our way down a banner covered path to the building housing Transition 1. I head into a wonderfully warm room and once I turn right and come into the actual transition room… It is packed. Not a seat to be had. I place my stuff on top of bottled water boxes near the exit and get to changing into dry, warm bike clothes. I could have easily saved 10 minutes here, if I had cared, but I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything. at. all. About 20 minutes later, I dropped my bag into a large pile of white ironman bags and walked out into the cool morning air of Panama City once again. Once outside, running down a different banner coated path, I hear my number “1228” called out and soon enough my other special lady, Nikita the Kestrel is escorted to my side. I grab my trusty steed and proceed down another widened banner smothered path, lined with people 5 rows deep, to 112 miles of flat, windy asphalt goodness. The bike is usually one of my strongest disciplines, but lingering in the back of my mind was… “Marathon, Marathon, Marathon… You have to run a Marathon”, so I had to continually keep pulling back and trying to find a happy pace! The bike ride was mostly uneventful and as much as I tried to soak in the landscape and vista’s, it was just too damn cold for my South Florida butt! I had purchased a skull cap that I had to keep pulling down to cover my ears and my Zensah Arm Warmers which were money in the warmth bank. By far the best $16 I ever spent was on the Desoto toe caps which kept my little piggies much toastier then on the practice ride the day before where I lost feeling in my extremities in about 15 minutes. I knew that our support crew would be out on the course somewhere, giving us that little boost of adrenaline that comes with a prideful cheer, a witty sign just for you or seeing the smiling faces of friends, family and loved ones as you continue to grind away. No sign of the SRQ CRU through 56 miles, was starting to deplete the anticipation reserves a little bit. The third best pick me up of the day was a half size snickers bar waiting for me at the Special Needs Bag Station at mile 57. The slogan, “Snickers really satisfies” had never been truer then the special time we shared that afternoon. So after the delicious escape from reality, it was back to cycling down the bumpiest, slight downhill road in all of Panama City... and OH MY GAWD!, the wind is not in our face??? It’s actually at our back!! The key here was to enjoy it, because that would last for 20 miles or so, until the wind was once again in our face for the remainder of the bike course, but… the scenery improved and I really began to enjoy the ride. Now I must add, that the real reason the ride became a joy instead of just another 50+ miles of pedaling was I saw the SRQ CRU at around mile 62 and I could see them and they were yelling and jumping around… It was one of my favorite moments of the entire day!
I love that moment so much, I want to take it behind the middle school…Alright, a slight detour from all the good feelings and Kumbaya stuff… My crotch is killing me!!! I cannot rub, massage, smear, place, mash, caress, cram or Mr. Miyagi enough vasoline or chamois butter down my pants. I never thought I would look forward to the marathon portion of the Ironman, but by mile 100 of the bike ride, I am cursing all things spandex and trying to invent ways to better pad my giblets. Back to the ride! I actually talk to someone on mile 97 of the bike ride… we converse about the swim while riding and wish each other the best of luck! It was a nice distraction from the aforementioned annoyance and helps me to refocus on the open road views and the final 15 miles. Or so I thought! Wow, the final stretch of approximately 8 miles down the beachfront of Panama City and while most people would read that sentence and think… Oh, how beautiful that must have been… WRONG! The wind was ridiculous, so just slogging through those last miles while trying to keep a high cadence to ease up on the legs doing too much work before the run was most of my focus. On a side note, the water views were indeed, spectacular! I have switched to the little wheel on the bike for this stretch of road as I am just trying to keep my cadence around 90-100 while not exerting too much energy and in turn I am passing a slew of other potential Ironletes. I can see the large shipping vessels out in the Gulf as we pass numerous large condominium buildings on our right, which temporarily put us in the windy shade and make my ears colder then they already are… which in itself seems like a difficult thing to quantify, but take my word for it. My ears got tingly and numb! Finally, the home stretch of the bike course and its like riding down the Tour De France streets as the raucous crowd is right on top of you on both sides. It’s seriously cool and gets my pumped up for the upcoming dismount! Down the chute we go as volunteers warn us to dismount and as we do, another volunteer quickly takes our steeds from us and escorts them to the pasture to graze for the next 3 to 8 hours depending on where you fall in your marathon pace! Us riders turned runners, we have to escort ourselves down a channel of lurching metal partitioned chutes and railings to the infamous Transition warehouse. As I enter, expecting to come face to face with the same chaotic environment as before, I am instead, pleasantly surprised at a half full room. I am able to grab a seat (which feels like, DAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMNNNNNN) and unpack my Run Bag and start to disassemble my Bike facade and regroup a bit for the run. The volunteers in here are amazing and if you need anything they don’t wait for you to ask, they are offering help and supplies before your frozen and weary mind can even think of it. I do not need anything beyond another glob of vasoline. TMI? As I prepare to conquer the final 26.2 miles of this Ironman course, I return to my feet and take a last inventory before leaving the sanctuary of Transition. I am carrying a knee brace in case my IT band flares up and a headlamp as the sun sets at approx 5:30pm and I don’t think i will be all the way to the Special Needs section of the Run just yet. And so out the warehouse door I go stopping only to get slathered in suntan lotion and set my IPOD (Kidding! No Ipods allowed… all my songs are in my head). Following some competitors in front of me, we make our way to an armada of Port-O-Lets and I gracefully excuse myself. (Time goes By) And I return to the course now, beginning my run. Before I even have a chance to settle in, I come to a huge section of fans, family, friends, people of all kinds and seeing the Sarasota Storm tent up ahead I begin to look for Jonell and others… My eyes lock on her and I also see my Sister Danielle and her boyfriend Pat, who drove all the way up from Sarasota earlier this morning (8 hour trip) and returned back to Sarasota the next day! Just seeing them there and high-fiving them and hugging them meant the world to me and made the entire day and night seem like an easy blur. I didn’t quite realize early on, how helpful it was, to have loved ones support. I really just tried to keep my head down and slog away through all the training and monogamy of the miles by being a lone wolf, either by choice or the demands of life. But I could see, feel and taste the depth and sincerity of that appreciation now. The run course starts out with people lining the streets and we meander down the Gulf side of the main road getting cheered on by the fantastic people of Panama City, who come out of their homes, condos, apartments and line the streets with tents, signs, light shows, homemade water stops. It is a party within a goal! Awesomeness! There is a point, at approximately mile 3 where you find yourself in residential neighborhoods and you realize at that point that there is a lot of work to be done. The crowds are gone and its just you and your thoughts among a sea of other people who are all inside their own heads and can barely see you while they fight to overcome their inner voices and conquer their goals! A right turn, a left turn, a blur of homes and mailboxes, asphalt turns to poly-pebble to asphalt and another turn… Before you know it, you are at the entrance of the park and its a 2 mile loop of barren landscape and uneven roads (not too bad, but a definite pitch) with the occasional water station thrown in for the coyotes! The sun is hanging low in the Florida sky and the horizon looks to bring in cooler weather and darkness as soon as the sun will submit. I had set an original goal to make it through the park the first time before the sunset and alas, I reach the exit about 20 minutes before the sun is gone, so I am thrilled! Another Potty break! This cold weather is a blessing and a curse! I cannot fathom how cold I am, and I am thrilled I kept my arm sleeves on, but I also look forward to the 13.1 mile marker so I can grab all my warm clothes that I have waiting for me and layer up! Until then, I still have another 4 miles or so left to conquer. The sun is gone now, and the dusky night is filled with the sounds of people cheering, traffic, feet shuffling and the voices in my head working hard to stay focused on the words to “satellite” by the Dave Matthews Band and Till I Collapse by Eminem. The elation and adrenaline rush of seeing things for the first time (neighborhoods, the park, water stations, cheering signs and sections) is beginning to wear off and making it even worse is the creeping thought of how I am going to see these things again… not once but twice!! I have these moments of feeling impenetrable and my gait quickens, but my steel trap of mental lock down puts its foot on the throat of over exertion and gently reminds all moving parts to find their respective happy places again and maintain the Ironman Shuffle. So as the minutes drone on, and I am living on a diet of 2 cups of water and 1 cup of Power Ade at each mile marker and from time to time delving into my baggies of pills. There are all kinds of selection of goodies, in my fuel belt. From salt pills, to ibuprofen, to multivitamins, it all looks similar and tastes like nothing at this point, so bottoms up! I find myself nearing the halfway point of the run and trying to focus on the wonderful things, while the inevitable ‘other thoughts’ struggle to stay present in your tired mind … The training, the camaraderie, the journey, the friendships, the moments of the day, afternoon and evening of this race. The injuries, the missed training, the pain and agony, the mental stress, the frustration of working full-time, the costs involved, the second guessing, the idea of not completing the race. No matter how strong willed, or how battle tested you may be, the thought of being unsure is there, just waiting to spring out when you least want to hear it. Not too sound to cliché, but that’s when the tough, get up off the canvas and get back in the fight. Here it comes! As I come running…jogging…shuffling, into the halfway point of the Ironman’s marathon… 127.5 miles completed! My time is terrible, even for my usually slow pace, but with all the aches and pains and the IT band flare ups, it has been a struggle to just keep moving. Around mile 10 is when all my fears about the IT band’s, were realized and at the halfway point I grab the knee brace I had packed away, just in case they flared up. So that helps a bit. The biggest pick me up, by far was seeing the amazing Jonell and my wonderful Sister and her boyfriend Pat (who’s bad ass as well!) Just getting a loving hug from Mi Amor and high fives from Sis & Pat are food for my soul. 13.1 Miles remaining until goal accomplished! But first the goodie bag! Warm clothes, for the love of god! Panama City has been cold, even by northerner’s standards. With the fall of the sun around mile 6 of my run, the weather has taken a turn for the cooler. It has too be low 50’s heading to the high 40’s. Oh, how I want to finish this last portion reasonably quick, for the sake of my fingers, toes and nose. A word of the wise I had received from my coaches about Goodie Bag’s, was for the final stretch… Have your kids, wife or husband, relatives, boyfriend or girlfriend, whoever would have a great impact upon you, write a personal letter and pull it out and use it when you most need it. So I grabbed my nutrition, ear warmers and letter from Jonell and began my trek to personal glory. Seeing the same sights for the 3rd time and knowing a 4th time around lingers sometime in the future can be daunting, to say the least, but I just tried to sing in my head, soak in the amazing spectators and make it to the next nutrition stop. I also visualized the 4th time around as another short term goal. If all goes well and I get to see the same people and sights for the 4th time, then it’s a good thing!! Shuffle, Shuffle, Shuffle… Walk… Shuffle, Shuffle, Shuffle… Eventually I encounter the poly pebble neighborhood and this is around mile 16-17 and my IT bands hurt so bad, it’s almost to the point that its white noise or my body is just blocking out the aching pain… Just keep Moving Forward! 130.8 miles completed. And so it continues, the sound of heavy steps crashing down upon the sun battered asphalt. I set another short term goal of making it through the park, which will put me around 20 miles and leave me with just 6. So, to quote Jackie Gleason, “Away we go!” The park looks so different at night. It has this ominous feeling of desolation, while still providing flood lights and an occasional water stop, which are all much appreciated! I thought swimming, biking and running with 2,000+ plus people while not really talking to anyone was lonely, doing it in a park with minimal lighting and a thinned out group of warriors is the definition of solitary. At approximately Mile 19 of the marathon, I am having some real difficulties just plodding ahead, so its time for me to read the letter from Jonell. I pull it out of my back pocket and of course, I have perspired on it and the ink has run a bit!!! I can make out about 90% of it without too much difficulty and I comprehend all she tells me and the wonderful words she penned. I am in love with this woman. She just fills my heart. The words most definitely give my legs the energy they were missing and to clarify… I am not walking I am shuffling with small bouts of walking. I am aware of my time and I am well ahead of my pre-race approximations, so I fortunately have the luxury to walk the remainder of Ironman if I choose… But, we both know, that isn’t happening. I can rest, heal and walk tomorrow. Today, I shuffle… Like a IMFL BAMF! Accounting for the multiple port-a-potty stops, I am making halfway decent time with the shuffle/walk/jog/shuffle/walk program that I started at Mile 19. It isn’t pretty, but neither am I… Ok, ok. I am quite pretty. Thank you for noticing! I find myself exploding with joy and a bounce to my step that is practically climatic as I stumble across mile markers 22, 23 and 24. Soon I am mentally visualizing the finish line and my dance I have been contemplating doing for about three weeks. The Ray Lewis, pre-game dance. Here is a link. Before I get to Mile Marker 25, I can see the Sarasota Storm Tent that three times earlier when I passed by was crammed full of people. The temperature has dropped, most of our 17 Ironman BAMF’s have already finished and either departed to thaw out, get food or sleep and as I come up to the tent, I see one person peek their fleece covered body out and look in my direction. I raise my arms and scream out, YEAAAAAHHH!! It’s Nicole Chapman and upon us recognizing each other she yells and starts jumping all around causing enough celebration to bring some other fantastic people out of the tent. Eric Kahl, Jackie Miller who are our coaches and other supporters as well. We are all standing in the road jumping around in a big hug. What a special moment. Thank you all. Finally, they snap me out of my endorphin haze and tell me to go finish up the last leg. I can see the purple Ford Ironman Arch in the distance and the completion of an amazing goal that started over 10 months ago is just minutes away. I really want to finish strong and cross that finish line looking like I did at the starting line this morning, almost 15 hours ago. Upon turning the corner and heading into the final C – shaped turn to the finishing chute and Ironman finish line, I take a quick surmise my surroundings and realize that there is someone 100 yards in front of me and only 1 person 100 yards (and gaining) behind me. I decide after a few seconds of reflection to allow the person behind me to go ahead and safely get his moment and I would hang back and soak my moment in as well. I was afraid of us both finishing close enough that the announcer hurries through the infamous “______________, you, are an Ironman” pronouncement. So I pat this gentleman on the shoulder and tell him to go get his moment. There is no one behind me and its time to cross that line! I am still wrestling with the idea of doing a finish line dance… Will I do the Ray Lewis Dance??? RL Dance No. I realized that I might know the dance, but no one else probably would get it, and realistically, my quads and calves are shot. So I floated through the finishing chute with a smile on my face that stretched from Panama City back home to Sarasota. A few steps before the finish line, I stopped, leaned back and to the side and double pointed to the time clock, which read Timex Ironman and 14 hours, 57 minutes and change. Then, just like that, I stepped across the finish line and went from Mr. Sean Dreznin to Ironman Sean Dreznin. Here is my finishing video... You may notice the stop and double point to the arch! Just paying homage to the journey and completion of IM FL 140.6! The journey is one I will never forget and the race is also something I will always remember. Asked shortly thereafter if I would do another 140.6 Ironman, my resounding answer was, “No.” Simply because after doing two 70.3 Ironman races and one 140.6 and quite a few Olympic distance races and of course, Sprints, I have found a comfortable race distance in Olympics and the occasional 70.3. Maybe a nice local trip to Venice or Miami or Colorado to vacation…err, I mean race! Check That… Ask me again in 6 months! As for Ironman events, I have mixed emotions, which can be read here. I must give a shout out to my friends and the local triathlete’s who motivated me with surreal training regimens, awesome results, sound advice and the most important aspect, positive attitudes! Chris Juall, Eddie Wyatt, John Letourneau, Todd Stoltzfus, Tony Welch, David Begala, David Romine, Nicole Chapman, Tanya Marvin, Nicole Carson, Linda Steward, Thane Richmond, Jonathan Moore, Denise Branton, Jane Page, Pam Schueman, my triathlon doppelganger Mark Kowalski, Carl Knutsson, Marco Hintz, John Ambrozic III, Melissa Cram, Eric Kahl, Jackie Miller (and Scott Miller for his 1min for 1mile training program), Garry Battaglia and John Norris. A special note of gratitude goes to Jonell Romanus for constantly supporting me before, during and after the race, for at least 72 hours…Tee Hee! It will be my great pleasure to your Sherpa in 2013. “Here she is, locked and loaded!” A special Mahalo to John Norris for giving me this Tri-Fever and inspiring me to conquer and achieve by not taking any of my excuses and over-nighting me the Kona Championship DVD, asking me to watch it, and call him back that next day to give him an answer as to his offer of him paying Triathlons forward and paying for me to just show up and complete the 2008 Greater Cleveland Triathlon. Again, thank you John. You changed my life for the better in so many ways. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to repay you, but I do look forward to racing together someday soon. On that same note, it has been my extreme pleasure to be part of the Sarasota Storm Triathlon Group, which is one of the strongest and largest in the nation, notwithstanding is impressive as hell. Through this group, I have volunteered at some amazing races and had the pleasure to pay the gift of Triathlon’s forward to my fraternity brother and great friend, Derek Parlee, my sister Danielle who rocks and my dad, who I wish could’ve been there at the finish line. He is an amazing human being and I am beyond proud to be his son, except maybe when he tells his jokes… I kid… Mostly! When I originally started the journey which I didn’t at the time realize, would lead me to IM FL, I weighed 272 pounds. As of today I weigh 205 pounds and am so much healthier for it! So, to complete this recap, I am humble, proud and thankful for the journey, the friends, the success, the achievement of a goal that is special in its uniqueness and the ability to continue to pay the gift of triathlon forward. Mahalo, Ironman Sean ‘Kelevra’ Dreznin P.S. – I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did, (finally) writing it! Below find some additional pictures I just couldn’t find a good fit to place in the above story. Please feel free to add your own pics and comments below!!
Whew. I just Swam/Biked/Ran in and boy are my _______’s tired!
Yesterday (Wednesday the 17th) was the day, for me… I hit Rock Bottom in my fatigue. It finally made my body feel like mush today. I am so tired, I am struggling to stay awake to type this… As of Friday afternoon (Time of completion of this story) and counting from Saturday until now, I have about 140 miles on the bike, 14 miles run & 4 miles swam with work and a couple of nights out on the town & of course my Jaco’s Boxing/Cardio 75 minute class on thursday night. Can’t get by without hitting the bags once a week! Back to the story…
I swam 1 mile at lunch (approx 1pm) in the Gulf of Mexico which was quite choppy and warm. All in all, a rough little swim, but I got it done and other then a little bit of sketchy balance due to rolling waves, I was feeling good. So good in fact, that I couldn’t wait to meet the group later that evening (5:30pm) for our scheduled 2 hour bike ride with (4) 10-minute Big Gear stand up intervals mixed in! Get Some!
We warmed up with a nice group ride for about 10 minutes and then I just went for it. Stood up, cranking past everyone, although I could see my boy, “Taxi Sono Qui” AKA – T-Welch staying in hindsight and keeping me readily available to reel me in.
Well, my adrenaline kicked in and for the first 4 minutes I was cruising, standing tall and grinding out a steady pace… then reality set in and big gear standing makes 10 minutes seem more like 15-20 when you don’t pace yourself correctly. Anyhow, I pulled back a little bit to get my quads to quit whining and my right arm/hand to stop cramping from squeezing the life out of the handlebar and finally found my happy place and cranked it!!
One 10 minute interval done, it was now, our 1st recovery period. I took 4 minutes and 30 seconds before standing for another 10 minutes and going all out. I figured the black clouds hovering nearby, adding wind gusts and basically blocking out the sun (and heat) would drench us eventually and I wanted to get in as much riding as possible! I was feeling really good and keeping an aggressive pace.
I made it through the second 10 minute interval and I was feeling a little tired, but still strong. Another 7 to 8 minute recovery and it was time to stand again. This time, I broke off at the end and went back to my truck as I wanted to refill my water bottle and put my music on, since at this point I was riding solo. 5 minutes later, I hopped back on to the main road (Honore) and using my maniacal ego skills I was gifted with, I rode at a less aggressive but measured pace, thinking I was still ahead of everyone. Silly boy.
I was feeling so good in fact, that at one point in the deserted flats of the Honore extension, I at first yelled, “Feeling Good” and then let out a more primal, “GET SOME! YEAH!” I have no idea where it came from, but it was awesome and I’m sure the copious amounts of steroids had nothing to do with it. Anyways, talk about a good segue to reality…
As I neared the turnaround on Honore, I see the Lance Armstrong of our group on the bike heading in the other direction. Mr. Tony Welch!! Curses! I figure if Tony is flying solo, then the peloton (pack) of the group must be behind him, but close. I immediately picked it up a notch, reaching 32 mph and holding 27 mph until the turnaround, which then unleashed those headwinds upon me. (The good news is, everyone was dealing with the wind, so if I just held a nice cadence, then I could eventually catch the group)
I decided then and there to add 2 more total 10 minute standing intervals so as to catch the group. This was all happening around the 1 hour mark of the scheduled 2 hour ride. This is how I felt about adding two more intervals… (Similar to the :38 second portion and beyond)
Steady as she goes was my mantra and Lil Wayne on the headphones was the motivation. WEEZY! Eventually, at about 1:40 minutes, I caught the group and made the pass. I was able to jump to the front again, except of course for Mr. Tony Welch who had bested me, yet again! Great Day of work from everyone. David Begala stayed out for another 20 miles to accommodate his busy schedule and the rest of us rested up for the running miles that awaited us Thursday morning.
Until next time, “Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only, of standing still.” -Chinese Proverbs
It’s Saturday morning around 8:45 am. I stagger around making sure I’ve loaded all the necessary items into my duffel bag. Goggles, Swim cap, sunscreen… Check! It’s time to drive from beautiful Island Estates in Clearwater Beach area to St. Petersburg Pier and meet up with the Sarasota Storm Triathlon group and get our swim and St. Anthony’s Expo Groove on!
Winding and snaking my way through construction laden US-19 is not very good for reducing morning anxiety, although I am sure 9:30am on Saturday versus 4:30am on Sunday will offer a stark traffic difference. Soon thereafter, I arrive on 4th Ave N and find day parking a block away from the race. I end up buying a 2-day pass and all my concerns regarding parking are eased. I highly recommend this! Leaving my bike bolted to my truck bed and hoisting my trusty backpack (with the duct taped shoulder strap and salt air corroded zipper) over my shoulders, I was off to meet the SRQ CRU!
A quick jaunt leads me 1 block West, where I find the group outside the small city of triathlon tents and we exchange hearty hugs, warm smiles & friendly salutations. We set out on some Expo exploration, looking for amazing carbon fiber cutouts resembling cycles and all the latest advances in spandex, water bottles, nip guards (You know who could have used these!) and running technology. Eventually we stumble upon some friends, Steve and Agnese and their tent, “Triathlon Rocks” which it does, and so do they! They are repping their cool swag and I place a request for a nice blue tri-skull shirt.
By now, its pushing 11 am and the sun is getting close to South Florida expectations, with the slight smell of burning flesh in the air, there never seemed a more perfect time to lather on some SPF 30 and cooking oil.
We mosey on down to the St. Petersburg Pier enjoying conversation and previous St. Anthony’s experiences and I can confidently say this is one of the enjoyable things about being part of a group like the Sarasota Storm. People who have deep character and understand why you would “choose to voluntarily” swim 9/10 miles, bike 26 miles and run 6.2 miles back to back to back on a day off from work. In essence, DO WORK on a day off of work… They just get it and understand each other and that my friends is worth the price of admission.
Fast forward to the tiny beach on the edge of the pier and this is where we find ourselves at 11:15am. Everyone stripping down into more comfortable clothes for the swim party that is about to commence. Damn, the waves are choppy! And, I’m pretty sure, by the fact that I can no longer feel my fingers that this water is not 81 degrees. Alright, I made a promise to myself to ease up on the drama, so after having vowed that. The water is chilled but after a few strokes, it feels refreshing!
We swim out to the end of the pier through rolling sheets of forest green waves some filled with seaweed and others just mounds of delicious salinated water. The surge and yaw of the waves makes for a hint of nausea here and there, but mostly just struggling with sighting and maintaining a straight line. Its good practice as historically the swim at St. Anthony’s is prickly to say the least.
As a group we make it to the end of the pier, double back and return to shore no worse for the wear, and in fact, the day is young and its time for the Expo! I have a pocketful of cash and I have wanted to add a Camelbak Podium Chill and a new visor to the arsenal.
There are so many cool tents here, (interesting social network sidebar) and I meander over to ‘Tri Jungle’ tent and meet Magui (pronounced – Maggie) who tweeted with me just the previous week about this race and implored me to come say Hello, so I did! I find my podium chill water bottle and a sweet nike visor and I make it out without doing too much damage to the wad of sweaty cash in my pocket. I guess i’m saving up for my unconcieved childs college fund or the deep dish ZIPP’s.
I make my way back to the truck, retrieve my Ol’ girl Nikita ( My Black & Yellow Kestrel) and we make our way to Transition to get Nikita tucked in and ready for tomorrows adventure. I find my rack, which is located at the far southwestern corner of transition which I think is pretty cool, I can run around the madness the entire time, versus being jammed into the middle of it. Plus it allows me to tell people ** I am V.I.P. and they have a special section for riders like me. (I feel as if I am the only person laughing right now.)
** It’s the equivalent of stating, “I like being Mentally, Challenged.” versus “I like being Mentally Challenged!” It’s all about punctuation and emphasis! **
I wearliy glance up to the scorching orange sun and squinting through my polarized oakley’s realize that its pushing 3pm and I am parched and famished. I speak with a few of the ladies from the SRQ CRU and plan to meet up with them later, maybe sit by a pool or grab some dinner, but I can’t stand in the sun, on my feet anymore. Gotta rest up for the big day tomorrow.
After some fun sightseeing around Martin Luther King Dr. in downtown St. Pete thanks to a wrong turn and a missed entrance ramp, I finally find myself at the Marriot on Roosevelt. I reconnect with my Diva’s and literally get to sit in a hotel room while they all shower and get ready for dinner. It was either completely awesome or excruciating. Or both. Or Neither. Anyway, it was fun and after taking a sandalwood shower and finding my inner Ke$ha, I was dressed like a Shmuck to go out with 6 ladies all dressed up. I guess no one was really noticing me anyway, so its all good. In hindsight, it would have been prudent to actually pack some going out clothes instead of 3 pairs of goggles. Lesson Learned.
We headed back to the St. Pete Baywalk area and after perusing the strip for a little bit, we decided on a cool Italian trattoria style diner called Cassis Americano Brasserie, which roughly translates to, “Wow, look at those amazing American Breasts”, or something else entirely. As you can imagine, the food was delicious, the conversation light and fun and the atmosphere just plain awesome! We all paid our bills and headed back out into the perfect spring night for a little more strolling and good times.
I have only made this last part so generic and superfluous to get to the next part! Jackie and Jane, of our evenings group happened upon a Clydesdale just waiting to cart his next patron around the bustling streets and so the ladies were petting him and letting him nibble from their palms and all went well… We meander to the next block and another horse is standing around just chilling in the cool evening breeze. As we walk up, all 7 of us notice the hooves are painted with pink glitter and so the ladies are saying things like, “ooooh, look at HIS pretty hooves” and “Awwww, what cute hooves HE has” I offer that the horse is most likely a girl, having no equestrian knowledge whatsoever and the horses caretaker immediately surrenders a, “Duke’s a Boy… A gelding in fact”.
So to add injury to insult not only have they removed his manhood, they have painted his Hoofs pink and make him cart people around... So Jane and Jackie hustle over and take to Duke, stroking his long face and letting him nibble lightly from their palms and while Jackie is doing this, Duke nibbles a little harder and actually lightly clamps down on her hand. Duke has bitten down on the fleshy area between the thumb and pointer finger and at first Jackie tries to ‘play it cool’ and easily pull her hand away, but as she does that, Duke bites down harder! Jackie squeals that “Duke is biting me” and the caretaker comes over and swats duke on the nose and he releases Jackie from his powerful jaws. Meanwhile all 6 of us are tearing up on the sidewalk laughing so hard! Mackie Jiller strikes again!
After exhausting ourselves walking the boulevard and satisfying our palates on delicious food, we decided to retire for the evening, the ladies back to the Marriott and I venture back to Clearwater Beach.
Sunday, May 1, Day of the St. Anthony’s Triathlon.
Its 1:15am and I am getting up again to pee. I’m either the reincarnation of Abe Vigoda’s bladder or I should find something else besides water to enjoy before bed.
Its 3am and you guessed it.
Its 4am and… oh hell, I just decide to stay up this time… Whole wheat bagel, peanut butter, multi-vitamin & banana await me as I stutter around my parents house in a manner similar to “The Living Dead”, walking in large slow circles accomplishing very little. About 4:30am, my mind finally comes out of its shell, a little, and helps me to gather my water bottles from the freezer which have been cooling all night and all my packed items, ready to go! After another trip or two to the loo, I hop in the trusty F-150 and make the drive back to St. Petersburg!
I Arrive at the VIP Parking and gather all the items i need for the race, going over each discipline in my mind again and making sure I have each item, for instance, Running, shoes, socks, visor and race bib. Once I feel confident its all packed, I hoist the backup upon my broad shoulders and begin the trek to transition. The overwhelming flow of people migrating towards transition is really cool and since St. Anthony’s is such a historically large participant race, the sea of people seems magnified compared to normal races. I find a seam and merge into the sea.
A song is actually playing in my mind as I walk down, and here’s a verse;
“Look at this big eyed fish swimming in the sea…
Oh how it dreams he wants to be a bird, swoopin’, divin’ through the breeze…
One day, caught a big old wave up on to the beach, now he’s dead you see…,
Beneath the sea is where a fish should be…”
~ Big Eyed Fish ~ DMB
Eventually I find my bike, #1184 which is an insignificant number, but its mine, and for today, it means the world to me. I spread the weapons in my arsenal out on my gatorade towel and begin the reverse checklist. Thank goodness, its all here…again. I impose a quick request from a neighbor and utilize his bike pump. (I flattened my tires the day before.) I really enjoy how nice everyone is around and in triathlons. In most cases, whatever you might need will be accommodated by neighboring racers or race guides and today is no exception. I gladly answer a couple questions for a confused soul about the new swim parameters and send them on their way.
Feeling as if all is right with the world, I wish my new friends a great race and depart the transition area and head to where the Sarasota Storm & Etricoach tent should be located. I don’t even make it down the path before running into Tanya Marvin and Tony Welch! A little TnT! Tony and Tanya are both much faster then me, but they work hard for their respective gains and deserve the accolades. Competing with them on race day is the equivalent of playing golf with a much better golfer and the perception that your game improves in part to their superior level. It really invigorates me to see them so soon and their confidence fills my cup to the brim as well! We head down the rest of the path and find the rest of our team and I love how they are so excited at 6:15am! They are excited to be there, excited for us and excited to cheer and drink, which sounds fun!
Tony, Tanya & myself head over to the new swim starting area. (Side Note – St. Anthony’s historically has issues with the swim and by issues, I mean the water is either really choppy and a tough swim or there are a large amount of first timers (which is a good thing and an ominous thing as well) and mild conditions become medium to dangerous conditions due to inexperience). Alas, the water looks rough, but it really appears to be all surface wind chop and after John LeTourneau takes a dip, he reports back that the water is awesome! We find a large group of Sarasota Storm members congregating and join up with them. Although the water looks decent, the wind is blowing hard and there is a chill in the air which makes my sleeveless t-shirt seem like a definite wardrobe malfunction.
Mark Kowalksi meshes in with us and he & I split off to watch the pro athletes get set at the start. It is always, for me, an exhilarating moment to watch the pros get ready, the gun go off and the grace and fury these pros exhibit in attacking the sea, bay, gulf, lake, etc. Today is no different and defending champion Cameron Dye is a favorite, but so is Matty Reed and other stout competitors. On the ladies side, Sarah Haskins is a champ along with Liz Blatchford and Alicia Kaye. The pros cut through the water like a Donzi speedboat and they are out of the water in less time then it takes me to draw a bath. It’s imposing and motivating all at once.
Slowly, one by one, members of our group peel off and join there waves. Tanya is the first to go, then John L. and Thane is next. Finally, its my time as I see my navy blue cap color beginning to pop up near the back of the chute. All the training you have put in kicks in now. These are the moments you have to be strong of mind and control your breathing and heart rate as rushes of adrenaline and panic are only going to get you out of your zone. I love these moments as the many races have acclimated my rituals into habits and I perform my stretches, breathing and focusing drills and soon thereafter, the MC calls the Clydesdales ages 39 and under to the shoreline. “You have about 3 minutes”… “1 minute, Guys!”… “10, 9, 8… 3,2,1…GO”
Sloshing through the cool wet sands into the murky aqua green waters of the bay, my feet sucking into the terrain with each step, I keep a nice even pace and when I feel the water level reach my chest, Dolphin dive and begin the battle of triathlon swimming.
Click here for an array of pictures from Lara Cerri of Tampybay.com (I love 11,12 & 13).
Seventy Clydesdales swimming in a group is similar to killer whales fighting for position. One whack of a fin or arm can leave a substantial mark, whereas I imagine the pro ladies are akin to a group of tuna, slashing, dancing and sharply cutting up the bays waters!
All the tranquil pool and rough open water training has prepared me for this swim and in reality, its not that bad other then feeling like the main character in Frogger, dodging sideways swimmers and water logged folks falling behind from the waves ahead. The swim consists of mostly gliding and concentrated slicing with the occasional body invading my personal space or the need for a burst to blow by a straggler or even the faster folks from the wave behind us just powering through. In those cases, I have to remind myself that I’m racing my own time and not the random person I’m passing or passing me.
Finally, I make my last right turn at a yellow bouy and turn 60 degrees back towards the shore. This is where the control portion of the swim training takes over, because for me, I always feel the presence of the crowd and want to speed up or exhaust the calm pace I have maintained so far. But before I know it, my peripheral view shows people standing up and I realize that we are nearing the swim exit. (Now you may have heard about St. Anthony’s history with its swims. In 2009, the swim was cancelled due to rough water, in 2010, the swim course was cut in half for the final 2/3 of swimmers as the conditions worsened throughout the mornings waves & this year was no different, although I can’t stress enough that the swim was not bad. At All. Not even a little bit. They should have kept it the original course. Time for me to move on.)
I exit the swim and begin my adjustment to jogging. (Quick reference to above note – Since the swim was changed, the new transition area is 1/2 mile away instead of a stones throw, and jogging a 1/2 mile is no big deal, but barefoot on a concrete sidewalk lined with patrons is not ideal.) T1 time for me 7 minutes + . I jog the full extent of the transition area and find my sweet Nikita raring to go on the rack. I make all the quick changes, shoes, helmet, glasses and lose the goggles and swim cap and grab my girl and we make our way to transition exit. A gallop like sound eminates from this area as numerous people put their shoes on, me included, before exiting transition and still others go barefoot and have there shoes clipped onto the bike already, simply putting there feet into the shoes once they are moving on the bike. Normally this probably works well, but with the infamous cobblestone/brick street outside of transition, it just seems safer to run and mount the bike with shoes on. Maybe next time. Or maybe next time I’ll be cheering and drinking PK’s.
I thoroughly enjoy the first mile of the bike course at St. Anthony's. It has you exit transition with a sizable crowd around and you get your gait over the brick road. They funnel the riders into a left turn where the bike race basically starts and you pass the Expo area and park and people are relaxing, enjoying the morning sunshine, a band plays in the distance, fans cheer & the smells of the bay and morning dew still fill the air. Its a great moment and I always make sure to soak that in, because the next 25 miles are just a bit less beautiful. Some are even kind of nasty. The course is 1/3 parks and nature, 1/3 hood and 1/3 intersections, sharp turns and orange cones, but most importantly the course is manned by police and they handle traffic flow very well.
At this years race, I partially witnessed a harrowing moment and subsequently felt helpless in ability to do anything. As I was returning, approximately mile 16-17, I heard a thumping sound on my left and quickly glanced over my shoulder to see a rider strike an orange cone and with feet clipped in, vault over the handlebars and meet the road with their face and literally slide on the asphalt. The shear shock of seeing this was surreal and the 2 second moment seemed to take place like a movie scene, in my eyes over 2 minutes, but myself and the 3 riders “not drafting” right behind me all started shouting, ‘MEDICAL!’ to the officer at the corner immediately in front of us. The worst part of that moment is relaying it to my friends after the race and them informing me that Hannah, a friend of ours and Storm team member was involved in an eerily similar crash, and in fact it turned out that it had been her. My heart sank in my chest. The best part of this of story, is that Hannah is a strong chick and she is recovering nicely and will be back kicking ass and taking names very soon. I know I will think of her the next time I think I feel some minor pain and want to whine about it.
We had a couple of riders take various levels of spills and just wanted to take a moment to wish them speedy recoveries. Hannah and Jonathan.
Well, back to the curvy bike course. Cutting a swath through slower riders and getting overtaken by the occasional hoofer is a natural part of this course and its important to abide by the rules of the road, such as not drafting, allowing a pass, after passing returning to the right side of the road, etc, etc… Just in case you forget, the kind folks at St. Anthony’s send out roving motorcycle patrols with referees on them to make sure you are complying, and if you are not, they will not hesitate to smack you upside your head with a time penalty or DQ. By DQ, I mean disqualification and not a Blizzard from Dairy Queen. I find myself really focusing on trying to maintain a flatfooted bottom of the cadence rotation and keeping a smooth rhythm…. you know, the rhythm method!
Before I know it, I’m headed into mile 22 and its time to crank it up a notch and get some blood rushing to the legs and feet and make sure I’m ready to go running! Before I can sing another verse of ‘Gravedigger’ from Dave Matthews, I am back at the Pier stretch of the bike course, funneled into making a right turn and back on the brick road to transition. I dismount, and begin my awkward gallop on bricks, through sand and into grass to find my cubby hole on the bike rack. It is chaos in here, as riders are stumbling over each other and one elder statesman bites it and faceplants into the soft sand while the other guy prodding him along just pushes past him… You stay classy Anchorman! I offer a brief hand to the guy and he defers saying he just needs a minute, but that he’s ok. I press on.
I locate my special girl Nikita and immediately go into Zen like focus. Leave the helmet, grab the visor, take a moment to enjoy the cooling sensation of handfuls of Chammy Butter all up in my crotch. Mmmmm… Thats the stuff. Seriously though, like a pit crew adding 4 new tires and gassing up the ride, its running shoes in place of specialized cycling shoes and a Gu and some water down the gullet and into the tank. Damn, I am feeling really good!
A nice pace out of transition leads us out and to the right, while bikers are still breaking off to the left and just beginning there 26 mile trek. I don’t envy them and I’m sure they feel the same way about me. We wind our way down the same concrete path we already traversed earlier that day, this time we get to wear shoes! Yay for us! Just like the bike course, the early part of the run course is my favorite as a nice straight away starts with lots of people… (OMG!! Nicole Carson is screaming at me with a huge smile on her face, GO SEAN GO! PUSH IT!) (Now my straight laced face is ear to ear grin… Thanks Carson!)… and thins out, then breaks left into a second straight away with more people cheering positive stuff and motivational words of encouragement.
A ridiculously fun group is out here motivating everyone through laughter and shenanigans… The Shake n’ Bake crew. Just enjoy the picture and let your imagination do the rest, as no words can logically explain the sheer awesomeness these characters bring to the table.
After this stretch, you head over a small bridge and then its slogging time as the course snakes throughout a residential area and the sun is doing everything in its power to reach out and beat you down. No matter how fast you run, how well you stay in the shade or how much SPF you invested in, mother nature’s powerful UV’s seek you out and you can see the steam rising off some people heads, like a vehicle stalled out with an overheated radiator. Others partake in walking or hitting the water stations like there Tiki Bars, but my mantra for this Run, is ‘RUN THE RUN’. Last year, I was all over the place, going out reasonably quick only to realize about 1.5 miles in that I wasn’t going to make it very far and started adding in some walking, which quickly became the majority and by the end of the 6 miles, it was tough to even get started running let alone anything more then walking. This year would be different. No options. I made it to Mile 4 before I gave myself a 15 second breather and then back to running. Each additional mile I gave myself an additional 15-20 second breather, just mainly to grab a water, get doused by a friendly neighbor hosing people down and to gather my breathing to a smooth easy pace.
Relating back to the good people of triathlons, one of my favorite parts of this years race, happened just as I was 3 seconds into my 20 second breather on Mile 6. An Under 39, Clydesdale I had played leapfrog with on the Bike for the last 8 miles of the bike course, came up behind me on the run, shouting, “NO, NO, NOPE! Not gonna let you walk, let’s go, Run with me!” I thanked him and said, “You timing is perfect!”, and we continued our run down the final stretch of road before the turn down the finishing chute.
Up ahead, I see Carson and she sees me, and starts yelling Inspiring Words at me, “LET’S GO SEAN”, “FINISH STRONG” and then the entire group of Sarasota Storm are there yelling and screaming and I swear that is easily the best part of the race for me. Last year the sprint for the final Chute run/finish was the best part, but to have a triathlon family cheering right near the finish line takes the cake and gives me all the adrenaline I could ever need. I inform my clydesdale friend, that I plan on kicking in with the turbo boosters at the bend and as I hit that turn for the last 1/4 mile I go 80-90-100 and burn every last ounce of Oxygen in my lungs, literally seeing those little spots as I cross the finish line, reach out for cool towels to throw on my neck and head, a medal, and a bottle of ice cold water!
Ahhhh, its over just like that.
2:39:04 which destroys last years time of 3:10:22. I am thrilled with this years results and deep down, I know I could have pushed a bit harder on the bike and run, but hindsight is always 20/20.
Anyhow, moments later I spot my little sister Danielle just past the finishing area and I am overwhelmed that she has traveled here to cheer me on and visit with the Sarasota Storm members she met when she did her inaugural race at the Y-Tri put on by the SRQ Storm.
I grab a couple bottles of water and gatorade and begin the short walk to join my cohorts at the tent and cheer for the other people still out on the course battling the stifling heat that just keeps beating down. It’s funny how good the sun and heat feel now that I’ve completed the race and only friends and libations await, no more miles.
Spending some time with everyone else in and around the tent helps me to remove my perspective outside and focus on the faces and emotions of the athletes finishing the race. Even if they look weary, exhausted, overwhelmed or focused, effervescent and joyous, the level of enthusiasm coming from our tent and the members who are now lining the race course gives each runner, jogger and walker (note – we aren’t letting the walkers, walk) the boost they need or the momentum to continue to the nearing finish line!
I have borrowed some pictures that are utilized throughout this recap, and I wanted to thank the Storm members for these photos by mentioning them in the photo captions. Also, if you are named in this recap and don’t want to be, please let me know and I will begrudgingly alter the names to protect the innocent.
Finally, to recap, the St. Anthony’s Triathlon is one of my favorites for the reasons of; Mass, Overload, Seas of people and a great venue with great supporters and police and race protection. The counter arguments I have heard and can sympathize with include, lots of people, cancelled or altered swims and kind of pricey. I’ll leave the judgements up to you.
You are the wind beneath my (Kestrel) wings.
I purchased the CycleOps Fluid 2 Cycling Trainer and have been using it for just under a month.
In a nice, easy-to-read summary, my review goes like this.
Functionality – Quite awesome. Support legs fold into itself and allow for convenient movement and storage. A little weight, but nothing too overwhelming and portable nature creates a nice transition from a living space to a workout location and back again.
I would give 5 out of 5 stars here.
Use – I am not the most technical guy, (so, yeah I am referring to the website here) but with attributes such as larger flywheel and self cooling mechanisms, the bottom line is the ride is smooth and you can create more tension, less tension based on your own gears. The ease of setting up your bike, locking it in and making sure the resistance and spinning wheel are set properly is ridiculously easy, so all in all i give this 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Price – The website quotes $329.99 retail and quick google search finds pricing ranges from $265 to $320. Don’t forget shipping costs as well! Overall, I think the value of this trainer is based on where you live. If you reside in Minnesota, then yes, a solid value at $330 as you will be logging some serious inside miles while avoiding sub-freezing temps and snow. If you live in Florida then check out some online sites to see if you can save a few bucks as you may only get a small window to ride the trainer, as sun and warmer temperatures are right around the corner.
I give the pricing 3.5 out of 5 stars
Overall, I give this 4.25 out of 5 stars, which equates to a “Damn skippy, I would buy this trainer!” And in reality I already did, and I love it, as evidenced by the aforementioned summary.
Let me know if you have this trainer and your feedback!
Miami Man Triathlon Results & Photos
Click here, —–>
My 70.3 Ironman Triathlon Story – by Sean Dreznin
It is 9pm, October 16th, 2010. I am walking around our rented condo as if I have Severe OCD. I have my “Race bags” and the contents that will fill them, all laid out on the living room floor like a scene from CSI. I continually walk back and forth making sure I recite each item I will need and visually, verbally and literally touching it, speaking in Triathlon Rainman mode… “definitely Carbo-Pro, definitely!”
Our condo has wooden floors and sits above a commercial office space which around midnight, is of course, vacant. So my footsteps resonate with the thunder of a million steps tomorrow will require. I cannot for the love of all things good, fall asleep. I continually try to think about peaceful thoughts and let the silence soak in like a beautiful womans silhouette. But of course, my internal clock is on “Beast Mode” so hourly trips to the 2nd office and paranoid glances at the clock hinder my REM cycle, to say the least.
I finally just call off the search for sleep and get up at 4:01 as the fear of actually falling asleep and missing the race far outweigh my fear of not getting another 15 minutes of shut-eye.
I have a cab scheduled to arrive at 5:15am, and at 4:56, I can’t help myself and call the driver to make sure they are on schedule. Sure enough, sweet Shola is soon to arrive. I have all my stuff, locked and loaded and when I see the headlights, I head downstairs. Piling in the cab mini-van alerts my senses to conversation and excitement, but that soon fades to simply letting the driver take its fare to its destination. When I arrive, I point Shola to the drop-off area, tip her well for helping me to stay on my journey, and make sure not to leave anything behind. (Don’t want to have a panic attack, when you realize your helmet is rolling around in the back of a cab…)
So now, its pushing 5:55 and the culmination of 14 weeks of training, bricks, bridge repeats, open water swims, adding mileage on the bike and run, start to overtake my medula oblongata and a little bit of anxiousness and adrenaline start to take hold. Upon arrival and seeing the sea of people in the transition 2 area was surreal to say the least. Now I have done St. Anthony’s and 3,000+ is a lot of people, but this just feels more significant. Maybe its being in a new state for the first time (Shot out to Austin, Texas!), maybe its the distance (70.3) or maybe its trying not to think about where I’ll be for the next 6 – 6.5 hours. Either way, my heart rate has jumped a bit. I saunter down to T2 following the masses, and release one of my 3 bags (I’ll explain bags shortly) as instructed. They insure me, I’ll see this later. It’s a little too late to ask questions or head home now, I mean, my cab is long gone!
Next, I am herded to a assembly line of school busses. The same school bus you rode while in middle school. Man, I hope I get a cool seat in the back! FAIL. I’m literally the last one squeezed onto a bus, so its Forrest Gump time… “Cain’t sit heer” “Seet Takin”… alright, maybe a little too dramatic. I sit next to a young guy, and after a quick introduction, I seem to recall his name was Nigel or Henry… I was so caught up in everything else, that I can’t quite remember, but nonetheless, he was from overseas, (Ireland) and while visiting Texas for a short trip, decided why not sign up and get a 70.3 done! Hell Yeah! I liked this kid already! After a short trip, we all piled off the bus at the Transition 1 area. Now this was imposing! All 2,283 bikes smashed together in a chaotic scene of mangled metal and carbon fiber skeletons posing in the darkness. The only lights were the enormous halogens that lit up T1 like it was under construction, which it kind of was. Just Saying! As I lugged my 2 remaining bags down to the T1 searching for 998, the best number EVER! Too dramatic?
I finally found it, just sitting there, patiently and obedient as ever, similar to a golden retriever waiting for you when you get home from a long day of work. My special friend, “Nikita” (Nikita is the name I have given my Kestrel Airfoil) was all dewy and glistening in the man-made lights. She just smiled knowingly.
I took a nice quiet walk with Nikita to the Jack and Adams bike tent to have her fun bags (tires) inflated. While standing in line to have the bike attended to, I glanced over and happened upon bike #1. Two time defending champion, Mr. Richie Cunningham was front and center working on his bike, more like fine tuning his Kestrel! I wished him luck and may the winds be at our backs! So upon getting the tires at optimum pressure, I returned to my rack and began my organization strategy. After unpacking some items, and repacking some others, I hoisted 1 bag over my shoulder and left the other bag hanging from Nikita’s BadonkaDonk. They had numbered boxes for us to drop our 3rd bag into and once I found my special box, I delivered the goods. It was similar to seeking out your “Cubby Hole” in kindergarten!
The bag system, as promised, is rather simple, but in brief, it means pack everything you will need for the “Run” into the “Run Bag”, (I.e. – visor, fuel belt, sneaks, etc) things you need for the “bike” go into the “Bike bag”, but here is the catch. Things you are discarding from the previous discipline, such as the wetsuit and goggles, and swim cap from the 1.2 mile swim go into the “Bike Bag”, so the downside with the bag system, although I swear I am not complaining, is you basically have to dump or pull everything out of the bag to put all the other stuff into the bag. A bit of a conundrum, and a little awkward, but all in all, not so bad! I digress.
Well, at approx. 6:45, with only 15 minutes until transition closed, I decided to head down to the swim start area. My water start was scheduled for 8am, so I had some time to burn. As I stalked the lake and the watched others stretching and talking, I simply took it all in, focused on my breathing and keeping my heart rate steady. Ironically, a woman I had met in the Austin airport that had an Ironman 70.3 backpack, and chatted with briefly about the race appeared in front of me on the hill among all the seal impersonators! I yelped out an “AIRPORT” sound and we said our quick hello’s and good luck’s! It was a reassuring feeling to see a familiar face, if only for 60 seconds or so.
Soon after, the “God Bless America” began and the actual Texas Rangers parachuted in with the American Flag flying valiantly, the excitement and anticipation set in.
THE RACE BEGINS!
7:30am – The pros hit the water and gun goes off! Watching the pros swim away makes the course seem so long, but I quickly change my thoughts onto other things, like stretching, as this 30 minutes will go quickly.
7:44am – I decide I should make one last attempt at fluid release, so I double time it down around a bend to the foliage between the lake and land and with a little privacy, take one step into the woods, where upon raising my gaze, find myself staring directly at a fist sized spider! Damn good thing I didn’t take two steps! I can only imagine what his 8 eyes had him seeing as this wetsuit clad creature approached. So as I began to find my happy place and settle in, my brain let me know that something wasn’t quite right with my feet. Immediately my adrenaline was through the roof as I realized that ants were nibbling on my feet! Dammit! Ants all over my feet… dancing around the grassy park, swatting at my feet, dragging my toes through the grass to quell the burning itchy screaming from my little piggies. Well, so much for getting my heart rate under control… Let’s Go Race!
I return to the swim entrance with a few minutes to spare, but they are calling all neon green caps (Men Ages 35-39) into the water. So we began our descent into the murky cool lake water. Hey, good news, the basin of the pond is filled with slime covered rocks and pond scum! LMAO. This will be good for all the open wounds on my feet the ants left behind. I may have failed to mention that my feet looked a little like Curt Shilling’s ankle from the ALCS game. (Warning: Much Drama occurring)
The announcer says the magic words and my race has officially begun. I position myself near the back of the group as I am looking for a comfortable & smooth, elbow & foot in the face free swim. Alas, I seem to have settled in and the swim is going rather nicely. No mouthfuls of pond water. No elbows in the goggles, and only a few gibronis swimming 2.4 miles as they criss-cross the entire swim course. Did these people even get in a pool before this race? I feel like I want to attach one of those plastic leashes that parents attach to children in a mall to these other swimmers and lead them back to land in a straight line. Oy Vey.
The only issue I had on the swim was my wetsuit was rather new and I had only gotten in about 3 open water swims in a wetsuit…ever. I had surfed in one, but its just not the same. So surprisingly, the neck of the suit was hindering my breathing which made for a bit of a problem as the swim got into the later stages. I just had to add in some breaststrokes to account for this. No biggie!
Approx. 40 minutes later, my feet felt the pleasant sensation of slimy rocks again and it was time for the ascent up the grassy knoll and my first ever wetsuit stripping. It all happened so fast, it was rather anticlimactic. I was considering looking for a pole to show my skills, but I think this may be a 2:00 minute penalty. Anyhow, after passing someone yelling, “Undo your suit”, I began to undo my suit, and when I came upon 4 adults writhing on the ground, I figured, “I gotta get in on this”, so down I went and at the last minute, remembering to grab both sides of my bicycle shorts… just saying!
So I stood up, was gently handed my wetsuit back and was back to conquering the climb to T1.
Then it was baggie #1 awaiting my hurried dumping and arranging of helmet, sunglasses, gloves, jersey, cycling shoes, socks, chamois butter to spread on and about my crotch and pits. I imagined I looked like I really, really, really liked myself a lot. Hey, I’m just saying, if you wanna cheer others on in T1, that’s cool, but you may see some unintentional porn. So it was, what it was. Moving on. After jamming, my wetsuit, goggles and swim cap into the “Bike bag”, I did a practiced double check to make sure all items were present and accounted for and finally added my Scarlett Zensah’s and fashioned my shoes. It was GO TIME! As I clopped my way down the side of T1 to the exit, I couldn’t help but glance at all the other warriors enjoying the moment and was delighted at only having 69.1 miles left! Yikes!
I read, re-read and then read again the coaches instructions that I received from Eric and Jackie and some additional guidelines from my friend (and one of the main reasons I am even here right now, ) Mr. John Norris. I owe you one! Both recommended taking it easy for 10-15 minutes of the bike ride, drinking only water and just getting your legs (Pistons) firing on acceptable levels! So after about 8 minutes of boring riding, I decided to start picking it up a little bit.
Now, I am not going bore you with 56 miles of tiny details, like beautiful horizons of Austin countryside and cows. Wow, there are not surprisingly, a lot of cows out here. One tidbit of advice that I used, that made a world of difference for me and my spirits, was I memorized 3 songs and kept singing them over and over. Not only do I enjoy the songs, but it really helped my focus as it cleared my brain of any thoughts of negativity or tiring. I recited Ice Cubes’ “It was a Good Day”… Here is a sample,
“Today was like one of those fly dreams
Didn’t even see a berry flashing those high beams
No helicopter looking for a murder
Two in the morning got the Fatburger
Even saw the lights of the Goodyear Blimp
And it read Ice Cube’s a pimp
Drunk as hell but no throwing up
Half way home and my pager still blowing up
Today I didn’t even have to use my A.K.
I got to say it was a good day.”
I also recited Jack Johnson’s “Taylor” and Dave Matthews/Jimi Hendrix “All Along the Watchtower”, which made for a nice ride!
Anyhow, enjoying my water and finally deciding about 15-20 minutes into bike, that it was time to start replacing and stockpiling some calories. So a gel here, a sip or two of the calorie concoction I prepared in my lab. (2 powder packets of Gatorade and 1.5 scoops of Carbo Pro for each bottle.) Well fast forward to about 1 hour and 20 minutes into my ride and my stomach starts aching brutally, half like a cramp and half like I have a knife stuck inside me. So I try to ride more upright as the cramped nature of the aero position makes it worse. I realize in hindsight, that had I tweaked the nutrition a touch, I could have shaved 9-12 minutes off the bike easily as I was riding in a reserved manner for a bit trying to work out the side pain. After about 30-40 minutes, the pain subsided and things were back to normal, so it was, as we in the BAMF club say, “Time to DO WORK”… And Work I did. Using the training that was impaled into our Tri-brains I crushed the hills like a pro, banking turns like my Kestrel was a Ducati and making it Rain like I was Pacman Jones. Alright, maybe not making it rain, but I had to fit that saying in here somewhere.
So 2 Hours and 47 Minutes later I was at T2 getting my “Run bag” set up and making sure I had everything I needed for the next 13.1 miles! Got my visor, ipod (just kidding), number belt, running shoes & changed to a sleeveless running jersey. I start my gallop to the Run Start and I almost go right pass the two ladies with their palms greased! I stop and ask, “Sunscreen?” Indeed, they say, and so with a shoulder twist, I say “Yes, please!” and soon I look like a Canadian tourist on vacation at your local beach! My red Zensah’s White sunscreen lathered all over my face and shoulders and my hair puffing out from my visor! Let’s Get it On! Well, my run legs are not quite with me yet, so the first 3 miles are less then fun, as we hit two hills, one steady grade and another steep and unforgiving. But just when I think that the best is yet to come, we enter the park and hit the trails. Holy Poly Guacamole!
Dirt trails covered in small pebbles and large rocks and tree bark and branches! High grass in some parts with holes and divits. Treacherous to say the least! I am a slow runner anyhow, so my pace while about 2 min/ slower then I would have liked, was understandable as I wasn’t going to risk twisting an ankle or worse, to go faster, but I can only imagine what it was like for the faster runners. It must have been tension filled, as I think just one misstep and your entire race could be over! Anyhow, the overall run wasn’t too bad, even with the hill they called “Quadzilla”. There was a DJ at the top of Quadzilla shouting inspirational words at runners and walkers as they ascended the mountain of pain. The run course was a 2 loop 6.55 track, so the first loop was reserved and almost run with my shoulders and torso back, as if you were running tentatively down a hill… Actually, it was literally that way, not as if. So by the time I had run/jogged/walked slower on the first lap and knew what to expect on the loop, I decided to save some juice in the tank for the final 3 miles. I figured I would just slog through the park and the rocky terrain and then when back on semi flat asphalt, keep a nice pace and really hit the pedal at the finish!
So the only real decision I had to make was when facing “Quadzilla” for the second time. Our first meeting was a cold reality, as I walked most of it, except for small bursts of graduated jogging, side stepping and rock hopping! So upon our second encounter, I vowed to the Triathlon Gods, that I would not let them down. I jogged ¾ of the hill at a slooooow pace and then was able to pick it up at the top, which I paid for not long after, but I didn’t care, I still had 5 miles to recoup. I spent the next 2 miles hydrating and just focusing on moving my feet forward. I do want to give another shout out here. The volunteers were great and the hydration stations and support were clutch in helping us achieve our goals!
Ok, I’ll set the scene. It’s 67.3 miles in approx. and 3 miles separate me from the finish line. We have 2 hills remaining and then the corral, horseshoe shaped final mile and the best part, the arena finish! I know my fraternity brother and good friend, Derek Parlee is waiting for me in the last mile to kick my butt into gear and get my feet moving for the strong finish, so I have to represent, not only for the folks who have helped to get me here, but to the SRQ family and the BAMF’s. You know who you are! I find myself speed walking coming into this last 3 mile stretch and begin to positively berate myself for doing so. “Hello me, its me again!“ “Why are you walking?, you flew your ass to Texas to take a walk? Pick it up and get it done!” I am a little surprised at how the run course for the final 3 miles has kind of turned into a Zombie march. If only I could get everyone to start moaning, “BRaaaaaaaaaaaaaaains”, then it would be legit! But I digress, I have juice in the tank, so my feet are moving and although my pace is slow, to quote Forrest Gump, “If I was going somewhere, I WAS RUNNING!” Talk about feeling like a rock star, there were about 3 or 4 others who were in line with similar paces, so we shadowed each other until we reached the final mile, then I picked up the pace a little. I hit the last hydration station and grabbed my usual cup of Gatorade, cup of water and cup of ice, pouring the water in the ice, and speed walking until I finished the ‘ade and H2O. I walked an extra 50 yards eating the ice and pep talking myself to finish exactly as planned. As we like to say, “It was time to DO WORK!”
Final ½ Mile. Running down the stretch, there were so many amazing people out there supporting everyone with signs and shouts of support, I couldn’t help clapping my hands and yelling back at them, joyously and approvingly! Texans Rock! Well, before I knew it, it was time for the ol’ secret weapon, the 60-70-80-90-100 plan! So I start to extend my gait and quicken my pace, I can feel my excitement growing as I make sure to sharpen my focus on not going 60% to 100% and keeping my wits about me… the finish line is only 4 tenths of a mile away. As we make a U-shaped turn into an S section of the Horseshoe, I see my friend Derek and give him the double point. What up BIG D!!! So I’m into the 80% portion of my finish and as I pass a live band playing (I am so in the moment, I can’t even hear the music!) in the final U-turn of the straightaway for the Arena entry and finish line await 2 tenths of a mile away. I have already sold my soul to the devil, so I figure, I am going full boar and if I puke, faint, or leave this world, I am going out in style! I put the hammer to the floor and redline this body o’ mine and although I got a little bit of tunnel vision as my O2 level was depleted to say the least, the Guy Ritchie directed, slowed down, moment for me, was entering the Arena and seeing people stacked 3 rows deep on each side of the finish straightaway cheering and the roar of support that echoed in my ears! I could have sworn that I heard people exclaiming, “Now, that’s how you finish a race!” or “Finish Strong!”, but it may have been my own mind yelling at me!
The race ends abruptly, and I hear voices yelling, “Slow down” & “Be careful”, but all I can do, is smile and grab the SWAG being offered, including two bottles of water, a medal placed around my neck, someone takes my time chip off my ankle and I am given a hat! Score, free hat! I mosey over to a section where they are taking survivors pictures in front of an Ironman backdrop. Yes, Please!
So after getting the bounty, and stalking around with a swagger of a battle weary warrior, I make my way towards the food area and succumb to a little bit of an adrenaline drop off and the weight of being on the course for 6 hours, 20 minutes and 23 seconds starts to set in. I find my friend Derek and set about turning my bike into the bike shop to get it back home, and grabbing my odds n’ ends left in bags throughout the day. Nothing like walking another 4 miles in the sun after racing. The worst part of the day was waiting 70 minutes for a cab to pick us up and thankfully finding an empty one leaving and being able to hop in and get home. Next time, I will make sure to rent a car. Lesson Learned.
The ride home was amazing, just for the sake of relaxing for a little bit.
I was back in the condo for 40 minutes, just taking it all in, and by taking it in, I mean beer and pizza! I settled in and opened up the laptop to surf the internet for a little while, as being without cable TV in our condo made downtime a little more creative. Surfing became a struggle to keep my eyes open and then darkness. When I woke up 2 hours later, realizing how much I needed some sleep. Before long though, Derek and I were back on the town hanging with some nice young Austin ladies we had met previously. And that completes my inaugral 70.3 journey in a nutshell. “Now how the hell do I get out of this nutshell.” ~ A. Powers.
In hindsight, I enjoyed my inaugural 70.3 immensely and the City of Austin is such a cool city, I may even live there one day. Many thanks to the Longhorn Ironman staff, the volunteers and the people who came out to support loved ones, friends and random people like myself, we truly appreciate it! Would I do Austin, Longhorn Ironman 70.3 again? Yes, I would!