A Wanna-Be Hill Slayer

Hills.  I have a love-hate relationship with hills.

Hills are pretty to look at.  They are fun to hike on.  I enjoy riding my bike down them.  I do have, on the other hand, issues with riding my bike up them.

See, I live in a part of our country that is essentially as flat as your bathtub.  The only hills in Northeast Florida are the man-made varieties that traverse interstate highways, rivers and such.  To be painfully obvious, the only hills that I see with any amount of regularity are bridges.

Throughout the tenure of my hobby in triathlon, hills have been a constant thorn in my side.  I’ve had some of my worst race performances on hilly tracts.  I’ve suffered the most on hilly courses.  The really sad reality?  The races that I call hilly don’t even register a blip on the register of hilly courses like Rev3’s Quassy.

Well, I’ve saddled up to take on a hilly race again.  And frankly, I’m SUPER excited about it!

My “A-race” for the year is the Half Rev at Rev3 South Carolina, which will be held on October 12th in beautiful Anderson, SC.

Anderson sits in what South Carolinians call the “Upstate” – a portion of the state that is probably technically considered the Piedmont – or maybe the fringe of the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.  From my flat-landed perspective, however, I’d call Anderson the edge of the Himalayas.  The terrain is rolling, the landscape is beautiful, and in October, the temperatures will be divine.

I’m tremendously excited about returning to Anderson this year.  This race venue is where in 2012 I earned my personal best finish in a 70.3 distance event, and I’m eager to go out and improve upon that time.  I love the idea of pushing myself to my limit and beyond both training for and then racing upon the hills.  I’m super excited to visit an area of the country that I love.

>Rev3 Knoxville Race Report

Me recovering after climbing a hill on the Rev3 Knoxville course in 2012

But first, I must prepare.  I’ll ride countless numbers of bridge repeats this summer to try to approximate what it will be like to climb.  I’ll push harder gears on flats than I might otherwise so I can get a sense of the lingering burn I know I’ll encounter.  I’ll do the almost unthinkable and put my bike on a trainer and jack my front wheel up on a bunch of books some this summer so that I can feel what it’s like to have gravity pull on my backside some.

I will be ready for the hills.  I’ll turn my love-hate relationship into a love-love relationship this summer.  I vow to enjoy climbing as much as I enjoy descending.  The Half Rev at Rev3 South Carolina is calling me.  The hills are whispering my name, urging me to come and ride.

I’ll be there.  Will you?  Come join me and let’s go slay some hills.

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For the Love of Hills

Hills.  I have a love-hate relationship with hills.

Hills are pretty to look at.  They are fun to hike on.  I enjoy riding my bike down them.  I do have, on the other hand, issues with riding my bike up them.

See, I live in a part of our country that is essentially as flat as your bathtub.  The only hills in Northeast Florida are the man-made varieties that traverse interstate highways, rivers and such.  To be painfully obvious, the only hills that I see with any amount of regularity are bridges.

Throughout the tenure of my hobby in triathlon, hills have been a constant thorn in my side.  I’ve had some of my worst race performances on hilly tracts.  I’ve suffered the most on hilly courses.  The sad reality?  The races that I call hilly don’t even register a blip on the register of hilly courses like Rev3’s Quassy.

I’ve saddled up to take on a hilly race again.  And frankly, I’m SUPER excited about it!

My “A-race” for the year is the Half Rev at Rev3 South Carolina, which will be held on October 12th in beautiful Anderson, SC.

Anderson sits in what South Carolinians call the “Upstate” – a portion of the state that is probably technically considered the Piedmont – or may the fringe of the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.  From my flat-landed perspective, however, I’d call Anderson the edge of the Himalayas.  The terrain is rolling, the landscape is beautiful, and in October, the temperatures will be divine.

I’m tremendously excited about returning to Anderson this year.  This race venue is where in 2011 I earned my personal best finish in a 70.3 distance event, and I’m eager to go out and improve upon that time.  I love the idea of pushing myself to my limit and beyond both training for and then racing upon the hills.  I’m super excited to visit an area of the country that I love.

But first, I must prepare.  I’ll ride countless numbers of bridge repeats this summer to try to approximate what it will be like to climb.  I’ll push harder gears on flats than I might otherwise so I can get a sense of the lingering burn I know I’ll encounter.  I’ll do the almost unthinkable and put my bike on a trainer and jack my front wheel up on a bunch of books some this summer so that I can feel what it’s like to have gravity pull on my backside some.

I will be ready for the hills.  I’ll turn my love-hate relationship into a love-love relationship this summer.  I vow to enjoy climbing as much as I enjoy descending.  The Half Rev at Rev3 South Carolina is calling me.  The hills are whispering my name, urging me to come and ride.

I’ll be there.  Will you?  Come join me and let’s go slay some hills.

Umm…Yeah….April Fool’s!

So, earlier this week (on Tuesday April 1st) I posted a nifty little post about how I was turning pro:

AprilFool

And….

Yeah…

It was a big April Fool’s joke.

I think most of you “got it”.  I got some really funny comments and tweets confirming that.  A couple of people agreed that Michele Ferrari (who, by the way, was Lance Armstrong’s DOPING physician) would no doubt help in optimizing my performance.  Others really liked the concept of traveling around the country in a 1968 VW bus…which in reality might be a cool idea, but not with three teen-aged kids and 2 dogs!

What was really crazier, though, were a handful of comments and tweets congratulating me and wishing me well in my new career!

While I really appreciate those sentiments, clearly I am no where near a gifted enough athlete to become professional!  Unless I chose beer-drinking or sports-television-watching as my chosen sports.

So…thanks for the well wishes, but the joke’s up!

🙂

 

A Five-Pack of Awesomeness

photo

This is the fifth year I’ve been on the Rev3 Tri age group team, and I’m totally stoked about it!

My team kit arrived over the weekend – and I’m chomping at the bit to wear it.

Last year, one of my teammates posted a similar picture as the above, and I thought I’d steal the idea.  The picture is the progression of team kits since I’ve been on the team, starting on the left with my a Kermit-the-Frog green Team Trakkers kit.  Team Trakkers was ultimately re-named Team REv3 Tri.  Frankly, I LOVE this color – and I’m not a big “green” fan.

Blue is my favorite color, though, and our kits the last couple of years have included at the very least a little of this color (it helps that blue is the official color of Rev3!).

This year’s kit is my favorite so far.  I love the graphics and the fact that that the kit clearly says Rev3 “Team” on it – I think that is a first.  What makes this even more special is the special logo placed right over the heart – you may see it just as “DN”, but if you make the picture bigger, you’ll see that the logo actually says “In memory of DN”  This is to help us honor David Naelon, a teammate who suddenly passed away earlier this year.  I’m proud and honored to race this year for David.

See you at the races!

A Super-Inspiring Athlete

You know, as an athlete (a term I use loosely in relation to me) and sports fan, there are a wide variety of athletes that I hold in high regard.  Some of these athletes are famous and are in the newspaper, on ESPN, or online literally daily.  Others are athletes that fly under the radar.  It seems like it might be fun for me to write occasionally about athletes that have inspired me for one reason or another.  To showcase their performances.  Or their character.  Or their mettle.

And with that introduction, I’d like to start this on-again, off-again series by introducing you to one of my Team Rev3 Tri teammates, Susan Haag.

susan-haag

Susan may not be the speediest athlete at a triathlon, but she may well be the most experienced one.  She has done a mind boggling array of events:  More than 70 full iron distance races.  Countless marathons and ultramarathons.  She did more than 75 events in 2012 alone!  I don’t know if I could even keep up with the overall number of events Susan has done in her career (and I’m not sure if she could even tell you).  Just a week or so ago, Susan ran in a 55 mile ultra to support the Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville.  In two weeks, she will be racing the Florida Ultraman (which, by the way is an iron race on steroids:  6.2 mile swim, followed by 261.4 miles on her bike, then a double marathon – 52.4 miles).

The sheer distances and volumes this woman races are staggering and mind boggling.  I frankly don’t have any clue how she trains and races, all the while managing a career as a local assistant district attorney.

Susan also volunteers considerably.  She’s on a variety of boards.  She is the Florida Region representative on USAT’s board of directors.

In a nutshell, this woman is B-U-S-Y.

But quite honestly, it’s not the prolific miles and number of races that inspires me about Susan.  Rather, Susan’s approach to triathlon and endurance sports in general is what really makes this athlete stand head and shoulders above others.  Not a race goes by where Susan doesn’t stop to pet dogs, great children or chat with volunteers.  For Susan, a triathlon or marathon is not just about the race; it’s more about the experience.  She epitomizes what endurance sports should be all about.  Togetherness.  Fun.  Loyalty.  Conviction.  Inclusion.

As an example, Susan shared an experience she had when she ran in the recent Ultra on behalf of Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital. This year wasn’t the first year she had participated in this event.  In fact, last year, she met a young man who was frankly pretty sick at the time.  This year, she came across him again – only this time he was competing as part of a relay.  He was struggling to run very far or very fast.  Susan connected with him and his mother – and ended up running and walking with him for an entire lap – lifting his spirits and confidence and mood the entire way.  It didn’t matter that Susan had several additional laps of her own to run; she selflessly gave of herself and made a lasting impact on another athlete.

It’s like Susan that I aspire to be.  To be able to participate in events, have a blast doing it, and making memories with others.  To me, that’s what I’d like to model each time I toe the line at a race.