Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What a Year

What a year it has been?!?!?

I became a proud father of the cutest little girl on the face of the planet (hence, she looks like her mom).

I completed my first competitive trail run. I completed my first century. I completed my first Ironman.

I changed jobs - definitely for the better!!!!!!!

I found out what my knee cap looks like!

My best friend moved to Nashville.

I ate a Chicago dog in Wrigley field watching the CUBS play!

I was the best man in a wedding with my best buddy from the Marine Corps. Afterwards, my wife and I took our daughter hiking above 10,000 ft! We also took her hiking when she was 8 weeks old. I hope she brags about this someday!

My wife launched a photography business!
I encourage everyone to send her an email for 2009 booking - the calendar is already looking full!!!

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting. ” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fair warning - this might get cheesy! The best part about the year, is all of the great people I met along the way. I definitely hit some deep, dark valleys this year, but the peaks made it worth it. I made a commitment last year this time last year to live my life more passionately - to find out more about my friends and thier passions and how I can help them achieve their goals. I'm not sure if I helped that many people but I know that I know my friends on a deeper level this year and am much better for it. I love my family, my friends, meeting new people, and the adventure in everything we call life. Whether its waking up at 5:00 on Saturday's to go swim, bike, run or staying up all night reading a good book I hope everyone out there is seeking an adventure, challenging themselves and loving everyone around them no-matter the differences. I recently read Bart Yasso's new book: My Life on the Run. He put it this way:

But I'm urging you to take it a step further and test the boundaries of life, not just your physical prowess. You already know the rewards of putting one foot in front of the other. Sure, it's hard at first, but who hasn't looked back and wished they had done it sooner or been baffled that they were ever afraid or hesitant in the first place? moving outward is an act of courage, and in my life, running has also been a vehicle of introduction-to people, places, cultures, and animals. I have run on all seven continents, but it's not the details of the races I recall or the images I project in my slide show at a past dinner. And it's not what's made my life book-worthy. The interesting stuff, the humorous stuff-memorable, life-affirming, and worth-reading stuff-is the meeting of a stranger, the stamp on a passport, the glimpse of a never-before-seen sight, the outlandish adventure.

As I know all of my good friends are contemplating 2009 goals I leave you with this: If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to your mountain, "MOVE!" and it WILL move... and NOTHING will be impossible for YOU! - Matthew 17:20

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Christmas Wish




I'll have a year-end review post coming soon. In the meantime I'll be braving the cold trying to keep the holiday weight off.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Goals and Life

The best motivational comedian in the country personally recommended this clip to me. Regardless of your thoughts on Rocky and or Tony Robbins, PLEASE watch this clip.



With definite goals you release your own power, and things start happening - Zig Ziglar

What is your ironman for 2009?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Addicted to Inspiration

There is no single word to describe my current being other than the word, addict. When someone tells me about some "impossible race" out there I reflexivly go look to see if I qualify and see if I have the time (and the money) to do the race. So for the past year I have heard about the jellyfish at Ironman Florida, the wind at Ironman Florida, the seemingly infinitely flat run at Ironman Florida, and so on Sunday, I signed up for Ironman Florida.

I don't care if you never do a triathlon and never want to. I want everyone to watch this video below. I have seen and heard most of the top motivational speakers in this country and nothing matches the video below.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Shaving the Legs




No, I haven't shaved the legs, and no this isn't me in the picture, but I did find an amazing article about men who shave from my new favorite web-site.

Please don't tell Pavlov!

Another great reason to shave the legs is if you have a newborn and they are learning to walk and are pulling up on your leg hairs constantly. If you are wondering if this is me - you would be correct.

Congrats to the Ironman 2008 World Championchip Finishers

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Keeping it Real!

Last Sunday I ran a 5K for the first time in several years. I didn't have a clue how I would do for several reasons including, but not limited to: still recovering from the Ironman, bad knee, had not run seriously since the Ironman, etc...

I originally told my friend that I wouldn't due to it, but since it was for a great cause and I knew I would regret not doing it, I decided to get out there and suffer with everyone else.

5K's are tough on everyone. If your a distance guy like myself they are WAY too short, and don't give you near enough time to get into a good rhythm. If you hate to run, but are doing one just to get in-shape, they are way too long.

The best thing about a 5K though is the diversity. There were guy's there running in nothing but cycling shorts and running shoes to a guy I saw running in blue jeans and a long-sleeve shirt (note, it was around 85 degrees).

I had a great time. The start was WAY TOO FAST as all 5ks are. The second mile was my favorite as it was along the river and was shaded. Third mile had a nice hill, and was through the university. After I finished I waited on my friend and we ran back to get our wives, who much to their chagrin got stuck at the end with their strollers. The funniest thing is that they had this new timing system and it clocked my second time. So the record has me finishing in an hour and 2 minutes. Man am I glad I paid an extra $5 for that! For the record: I ran a 6, 7, and 10 minute mile respectively. Needless to say I was disappointed in the last mile. O well, at least I have a baseline going into winter marathon training season.

Pictures will be up soon.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Race

It's hard to say when it started. I got "out of bed" at 3:30 but really did not sleep the whole night. Two days ago at a mandatory race briefing the race director joked "there are usually some guys who sleep at the start who are there when I get there at 4:30" I took this seriously. You see the start is "first come, first serve" and the 17 hour time cut-off begins from the time the last person starts the swim. So however many extra minutes you have from that time, is essentially how many extra minutes you have to finish.

So I got there at 4:10 thanks to my awesome wife who drove me there and our awesome friend Becca who babysat our daughter while my wife was gone. So I can officially say that I was leading the entire race in the amateur division (the pro's started 10 minutes earlier than everybody) as I was the first person in the entire race of 2400 to start.

Right when I jumped in and started swimming, I had so much adrenaline it took about 20 meters to figure out that I had some serious water in my goggles and I really could not see that well. (Back story: every triathlon I have ever competed in I have had problems with my goggles) I stopped, readjusted my goggles and was good to go. We swam upstream for 0.85 miles. The first part wasn't really bad, as we were beside an island that was taking the majority of the current away from us. However, at the end the current coupled with the fact that there were 2400 swimmers making a 180 degree turn together, made life interesting. I thankfully didn't get kicked in the head but did get dunked a couple of times and had a couple of swipes at my bad leg, but nothing serious. After I made the turn, everyone was really spread out and I was in the middle of a group. I look up every 8 strokes. And in 8 strokes I went from being in the middle of a group to being in the middle of the Ohio River by myself. No worries though, I eventually got to where I needed to be.

At the end of the swim I really wasn't that tired, I could tell I hadn't swam in a month though. I didn't think the river water was that bad until my wife and friends told me they saw a swimmer hit a dead (floating) fish!

Transition was fine. It took me awhile to load all of my stuff in my bike jersey. Note, I couldn't have done this the day before, because when you put on a bike jersey when you are soaking wet it curls up in the back and everything falls out. Anyway, I hopped on the bike and felt great. The scenery was gorgeous by the river and I was munching on an avocado sandwich that had been sitting out for over 12 hours (Dave Scott special). {sidenote: You have to leave your bike and all drop bags in the transition area by 5pm the day prior to the race} I was feeling so good I decided to take a shot of some gel and then eat a peanut butter banana and honey sandwich. Which, turned out to be a VERY bad idea.

I immediately got unbearable stomach aches. I couldn't bend down in my aero bars and could barely even cycle. The whole time though all I could think about was how much time I had spent training for this. I just kept pushing through it. After about 40 miles they essentially went away. I had to cut out everything but water. This course would be really fun if I was out riding it with my friends, but for an Ironman triathlon, everyone was saying in there head "what the hell, Kentucky has hills like this?" I actually saw a couple of cyclist fall off because they couldn't make it up a certain pitch of a hill. Thankfully, I had trained on Lookout Mountain for the majority of my training rides and was prepared for this.

We passed through LaGrange at mile 35 and there was a huge crowd. I think it was the whole town, it was really awesome they made you feel like you were a celebrity in the Tour de France. I didn't see my friends and wife at that point though. When you are doing the LaGrange Loop that everyone was talking about all you are thinking is: "I can't believe I have to do this twice" But honestly it wasn't that bad on the second lap. I think it was because you knew what you were facing. The second time I passed LaGrange I saw my family and friends and it was a HUGE motivating factor seeing them cheer me on. You can see on my split times that my bike time improved after I saw them.

At mile 90 the bodies started to pile up on the side of the road. I felt so sorry for this one girl who was laying in a ditch and looked like she had gotten hit by a car. I'm sure I looked the same way, I just wasn't passed out.

I was worried about the cut-off time around mile 85 so I pushed as hard as I could and passed a couple of people and made some serious time up. The last 15 miles were very flat to which helped. I tried taking some salt pills but couldn't stomach it, so I was just in my aero bars cruising away.

Second transition was pretty fast for me. Inside the changing tent it looked like something off of MASH. Nobody was talking and everybody looked horrible. I ditched my bike jersey for my favorite running tee (that doesn't match anything according to my wife).

I actually felt great the first mile of the run. It was through a little part of downtown and then across a bridge. I kept pushing through and the second mile was fine too. This was perhaps my favorite mile because I got to see my daughter for the first time of the race. I also noticed my wife had special shirts for herself, our best friends and my daughter. They had posters and a cowbell, it was awesome. I saw them briefly during the bike, but so brief that I did not notice any of their encouraging paraphernalia. Miles 4&5 were fine too, but I started walking around the 4.5 mile mark. A guy at the swim told me that he gives all newbie Ironmen the same advice: RFP - relentless forward progress. All I repeated to myself during the run was this and a verse my wife told me when she dropped me off at the swim start: I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Phillipians 4:13.

By this point I felt great. I knew to finish on time I had to have a plan better than just "gut it out" So I started running "Galloways". Sorry but for humility reasons I need to give a back story. I first heard about Galloways a couple of years ago and I thought to myself "oh that's nice, but no serious runner would ever do such a thing. Well, let me somber in ultimate humility, Thank you Mr. Galloway, you are the reason I finished this race. At first I walked 30 minutes and then ran 30 minutes but then quickly changed it to a 15 minute schedule. I think normal Galloways are run a mile then walk a mile. But it was getting dark and I was scared I would walk too much so I just stuck with the time issue. Also, I knew that if I could average 4 miles an hour (I know it sounds pathetic, but it is what it is) I could be an Ironman by the end of the night, or possibly by the beginning of the morning, however you look at things.

At mile 17 I was feeling rough but thankfully I was downtown around a lot of people and hallucinating slightly at this point envisioning my drill instructor from Marine Corps boot camp as I was running. I then saw my wife and she started running with me with our daughter strapped to her front side. This was definitely my favorite mile because she was talking away keeping me entertained and informed. Also note, she was running in flip-flops. I told her of my plan on running Galloways so she then walked another 15 minutes. My wife is a complete freak show when it comes to power walking. Our pace was only 2 minutes behind my run pace for mile 18. She definitely kept me going.

At mile 20 I got a second wind and started running pretty hard. I was queezy and ready for this to be over. By this point the glowsticks had come out (Note, my secret goal was to not finish with a glowstick). At mile 22 I saw a race clock I had never seen before from a distance of about 100 yards. When I ran up to it, it wasn't there. But it was another 150 yards away. When I ran up to it this time "they" moved it again. When I ran up to it another time "they" moved it again. By the third time I had fortunately/unfortunately figured it out. I was hallucinating. My first thought probably should have been something like: oh no, I'm hallucinating that is really bad medically. But remember, I'm an endurance athlete with a public education from Memphis so instead my thought was "COOL, I've always read about distance runners hallucinating while they were running, I'm glad I get to experience it now"

Miles 23 & 24 were tough, I was getting really light headed, I kept dry heaving every couple of steps and it was so dark I wasn't even able to see anything. I just kept pushing forward. I was scared to try and eat or drink anything new, but yet couldn't' stomach anymore gels.

Around mile 25 I saw my wife. We have been married for over 6 years. I say this to say that we know each other pretty well. She immediately inundated me with phrases like "you are doing awesome" "you are almost there" when her eyes were saying things like "man you look horrible" "good thing I have life insurance on this guy"

We got into the city at mile 26 and I started seeing more people. So I started running again. I wanted to finish with my wife and daughter but the race officials snagged them right before the finish. Nevertheless, I finished.

Right after they gave me a finisher medal a guy grabbed me and told me where medical was before I even asked. I got my finisher bag and then met up with my best friend Brent, his wife Becca and my wife and daughter. They were extremely nice and offered all congrats but were also worried about me, so I went to medical where the Doctor said I had two options: 1) sip water and after a couple of days I'll get back to normal, or 2) get an IV and I'll feel better tonight. I opted for the latter. When I was getting an IV they made me keep talking so I didn't pass out. I talked with an amazing woman named Sharon who was told by doctors that she would never walk again. Long story short, she went to a massage therapist and now she walks just fine. While I was getting an IV I was in a bed next to a guy who was having uncontrollable spasms in his legs due to his potassium/sodium levels being out of whack. Unfortunately, they told him he could die if he didn't go to the hospital. I only say this because it was just another reminder on how serious this event was - not to be taken lightly.

I also got a blister popped by a podiatrist who said that in a couple of days I would have a piece of skin fall off my foot the size of a silver dollar.

I then got a massage and walked back to the hotel with family and friends. By this point it's around 2:00 A.M. Around 2:30 my wife drew me a nice ice bath. It was my first one, and it worked wonders. I really wasn't even sore the next day. It was 3:45 A.M. and although I was wired awake, I knew I needed sleep. So that was it.

I'm an Ironman. What I like most about triathlons is that they are the great equalizer. Meaning, if you lack confidence they give you confidence, and if you are arrogant they give you humility. For me, I lacked patience and the Ironman has given it to me. No one, and I mean no one just gets up and does an Ironman Triathlon. You have to train for months, and really years to do it. Which of course makes it that much more special when you finish.

Be sure to click here to see the slideshow.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I am an Ironman

I'll have a detailed post later, with pictures, video clips, and details of everything that happened. But in-short, it was the experience of a lifetime.

I give all the glory to God, because I could not have done it without Him. Speaking of which, a guy behind me at the start of the swim said: I hope you are a Christian, because if not, you will find Jesus on this course. I wanted to quit the entire time: My swim time was horrible, I could not stomach any solids on the bike and could not get in my aero bars because my stomach was in knots, and I hallucinated during the run from dehydration and exhaustion. But I finished and that was my goal.

It was an amazing day that I got to share with my wife (who ran with me for more than 2 miles with our 6 month old strapped to her) and our travel buddies Brent and Becca who served as an awesome support crew.

I would be remiss if I did not mention Kevin, my Irish training partner who got me into this bloody sport. I first got into triathlons to just keep in-shape after I got out of the military, I never knew it would evolve into a lifestyle of buying energy gels by the case, my wife cooking me homemade energy bars and getting up before 6:00 most Saturdays to train.

Thank you all for your prayers and support.

Friday, August 29, 2008

We are here

Right now we have limited internet, but I wanted to fire off a quick post to let you all know that according to the race director there will be real time updates on the web, so you can track where I am and even watch me finish.  Thank you all for your support!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Prayer

It's definitely time for prayer. My knee is in excruciating pain.

I'm trying to get caught up on some reading and writing. There is an amazing article here on bike commuting and there is another amazing op-ed piece here on bike commuting and alternative energy.

I think every day I will be forced into entrepreneurship more out of necessity than wanting to, however I have always wanted to own my own business so I'll keep praying!

Friday, August 08, 2008

8/8/8 not such a lucky day after all



If pride comes before the fall, then greatness comes after the fall, right???????

I was cross-training today, climbing a 5.12 route up the face of Lookout with my buddy Corey. I was reaching for our next pitch, and then he slipped, I shoved my hand into a crack and was holding both of us in thin air, then the friction slipped, and my knee found a friend name a very hard rock, and this is what happened.

Actually, none of that happened. But it would be a better story than the real one. Here is the real story:

I was pumped about today's workout. Number one reason: I was going with my buddy Corey, who is a serious mountain biker, but just getting into the triathlon scene. However, he can hold his own in any conditions on any course.

I rode out of my house at 5:45, and we cycled to the dam. No big deal. The wind had the waves kicked-up a notch, which made it a lot funner. After that we tackled some hills and was then back on the river walk for some cycling.

We then ditched the bikes and headed out for a nice run. We were both talking away, keeping the conversation going when I ate the pavement. It seems it is perfectly acceptable in Chattanooga for a sewer circle to stick out of the ground by half a foot in the middle of a sidewalk.

Here is the result:


So tapering it is...

Monday, August 04, 2008

Long Training Day

It was a bit boring having a long training day to myself, but I got it done. 1 mile swim at the dam. This time I actually swam out to the damn, rather than just staying in the swimming area. Really, what fun is that? The only mishap was that I was swimming a long and all of a sudden I was so in-rhythm I forgot to look-up and I was touching bottom. No worries though. I had to get back to the house to get my iPod.

The original plan was to spend the day in solitude. But it was more like spending the day with 1 million vehicles. I cannot stand the sound of a car when I'm cycling. I've been spoiled by early mornings in North Georgia.

So when I got home, I ditched the bike, and donned the running shoes. I had been dreading this day for a long time but it was now or never - it was time for a long run. At this point it was 9:30 so it was not too hot. I got into a rhythm and it was great, first 2 miles I was in a rhythm, then I hit a nasty climb, still great, then I started running by the river and the heat sunk in. I threw back some Jelly Beans, drank some water, but my body was feeling it. I was running without socks, testing it out. I think the extra couple of seconds it takes me to put them on in the transition area will be worth it. I stopped by a local coffee shop threw some ice in my hat and kept going. This is awesome, and for those of you that haven't found this trick I HIGHLY recommend it. I definitely would have overheated if I had not done this. From this point on it was extremely short goals that ended up, turning into 20 miles. I did it. Home at last.

Tomorrow I may get out on the bike and due some time-trial stuff.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

New Adventures

Friday was my first day without a job. It really hasn't hit me yet. I did have my long training day on Friday instead of Saturday which provided me with a whole lot more safety on the road, since there was a lot less traffic out there. I did a short swim, climbed Mowbray Mountain, and then ran up a nasty hill near my neighborhood.

So while my career in finance has just ended my wife's career in photography has just started. On Friday, she launched Moncrief Photography. She has already had several sessions with her friends with great reviews.

She truly does great work, and if you are interested, send her an email.

Cheers!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bike, Run, Swim

The past week I had some "motto workouts" this is what we called them in the Marine Corps, when a workout was tough, but also motivated you at the same time. On Friday, I biked up Signal Mountain and rode in a downpour with a friend for about 3 hours. On Saturday, I ran in the rain for an hour and half and on Monday I swam 2.8 miles (200 links)! I was pumped on Monday because not only did I finish it, but I finished strong.

Thursday is my last day at work so Friday I plan on doing a really long workout.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Commuting Stories

I think most all of my friends like my crazy commuting stories. This morning it wasn't much fun, with road construction left half-completed as I walked in the office this morning I was completely covered in asphalt smut.

On to a funnier story, please read this post on the woman who commutes to Wal-Mart. Wallie World management didn't let her take her bike into the store, because she didn't buy it there, so she naturally just took off her clothes since she didn't buy them there either!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Training with my Ears

Don't worry, keep reading and the title will make sense.

Training has been going good. It's weird, triathletes are such a rare breed of people, and then amongst us we are seriously different people. I just heard of one guy who was training for a 16:59:59 finish (17 hour time limit for an Ironman) please compare this to my friend Chad who has to bring an extra water bottle on his Tuesday and Thursday rides to wash his mouth out, because he rides until he pukes.

Ironically, both of these people inspire me, obviously for different reasons. Friends came in-town for the weekend so I did my long workout on Friday. I found this ultra-steep pitch, where I almost fell over going up, it was awesome! I later find out people rock climb up this section of Lookout Mountain.

Yesterday was nasty in all aspects. Around 3:30, when I usually start getting ready to escape the office Chattanooga received 2 inches of rain in about 15 minutes, with 25 mph winds to boot. Strangely enough, as I looked out of my office window, I actually wanted to be out there in it. I know this is perhaps really strange to some of you, and yet to another crows maybe you can relate. I just stared out the window and couldn't help myself in finding the similarities of the weather and my life. So after a couple of minutes of this, I actually shot some emails out to my two hard-core cycling buddies, wanting to get out in the hail storm and mix it up, I promised PBR afterwards to entice them. No response from one, and the other response was "hell yea." When it was actually time to go my "hell yea" buddy was just kidding and wanted to skip the cycling and go straight to the PBR.

So by the time I got out there the storm was pretty much gone, but raining nevertheless. My friend Chad told me about "the big ring workout" where you just stay in your hardest gear for about an hour and half and try to just slam your heart-rate into over-drive. The only rule to this workout is you can't get out of the saddle.

So I'm cruising along, my heart rate isn't even close to where it should be but it's accelerating into the 40 minute mark, when this long straight incline hit. I immediately threw my head down into my aero-bars and started to grind it out. Literally, my face was where my forearms go in my aero-bars. Then the "oh crap" moment happened. My mind was telling my legs to push down, but evidently their was a short in this circuit as my legs weren't moving. I had seen how this movie ends, and it usually ends with somebody getting a concussion from falling over. I had about a solid 1 second to thing about it, so I jerked my head up pushing my arms up, thinking this will be enough to get to the top. As soon as I jerked my head up it felt like God himself reached into my inner-ear ripping my eardrums out. Seriously, I looked down at the street to see if my eardrums were laying out there.

The wire to my headphones had got stuck in my aero-bars and when I raised my head up, my headphones were stationary. I hurt...really, really bad. So after a couple of questionable steep turns on slick roads I headed back and went for a walk with my dog, daughter and wife.

This morning I went for another training ride with my ears and all.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Big News


Sorry for not blogging much lately, I have been doing a lot of training and have a lot of side projects going on. It is because of these reasons I have not been blogging. Not because I don't have enough material to blog about. In fact, I have some pretty big things to talk about.

I'll leave out all of the gory details that shouldn't be blogged about, but I decided to take a new route in my life, and just sold my company and my last day will be July 31.

Since I sold my portion of the company my tv in my office has switched channels from cnbc to versus to watch the Tour de France. To which, I'm stoked about.

My wife, daughter and I have some very INTERESTING vacations in the pipeline. Hopefully, they will come to fruition.

I have really been forced to take a step back in my life and figure out what is important to me. What do I want people to remember me by? What is my purpose in life?

You'll never know until you try! You'll never get to WOW unless you are at least willing to aspire to it.

--Tom Peters

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Random thoughts and Readings

Sorry for the random post, or lack there of, but I have been extremely busy with other projects. Nevertheless, training is huming along. I took a new route yesterday, from downtown out to my in-laws that live in Lakesite. For you non-Chattanoogan's it's about 20+ miles one way. Nothing major, but it was a fun ride and I absolutely love going on new routes.

I'm also excited about this weekend. On Saturday, I will be doing a VERY long training routine, and then on Sunday, I will further hone my photography skills at the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon.

This morning a friend of mine told me about this blog. Jennifer Pharr is attempting to break the women's Appalachian Trail record. The best part about it - she is doing it in honor of Meredith Emerson- who was killed while hiking in the North Georgia mountains. Her first post is absolutely awesome!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Amazon Swimmer Interview by Tim Ferriss

Swimming the Amazon: 3,274 Miles on the World’s Deadliest River

Topics: Interviews, Physical Performance, Travel

martin strel amazon

February 8–Inahuaya, Peru

The more dangerous the trip gets, the more momentary we all become. Songs sound better, foods taste better, and seventy-cent-a-bottle cane whiskey is fun to drink.

Last year on April 8th, Slovenian marathon swimmer Martin Strel became the first man to swim the entire length of the Amazon River from headwaters in Peru to the Brazilian port city of Belém: 3,274 miles. It took him 66 days with a support crew of near twenty people following him in a boat for protection.

He’d already conquered the Danube, the Mississippi, and the Yangtze. In 1997, he became the first to swim non-stop from Africa to Europe, and he did it in 29 hours, 36 minutes, and 57 seconds… without a wetsuit. WTF? Seven swimmers had attempted it before and all had failed.

The Amazon was different. As the “Fish Man,” as the locals called him, reached the finish line at Belém, he had to be helped to his feet and ushered into a wheelchair amidst a cheering crowd. His blood pressure was at heart-attack levels and his entire body was full of subcutaneous larvae. But he lived to tell the tale.

I recently caught up with Martin about how he trained for and accomplished this feat… Don’t miss the excerpt at the end, which I included specifically for those of you — like me — who don’t quite fit in with the masses.

1) What were the biggest challenges you faced on the Amazon swim?

The biggest challenges were:

–Dealing with pirates; trying to not come into their hands.
We tried to go through their territories unnoticed, and use local people and their knowledge to help us.

–Piranhas, snakes, spiders, candirú, bull shark or other animals which make unpredictable attack; you have to be ready all the time if any piranha attack you. We had some buckets of blood ready in case of emergency, to distract the piranha and get them away from me if necessary. We saw a deadly bushmaster snake, but luckily I didn’t step on it. If I had stepped on it I would have been dead in less than an hour.

–Malaria, dengue and other unknown infections I could easily get in such a water/jungle environment. It looks like I have an “iron” body and very good immune system.

–Floating debris; I tried not to touch any of the debris floating downstream as it might carry a snake, spider, red ants or any other poisonous animals

–Peeing; I didn’t pee into the water straight as this attracts a very dangerous fish called the candirú, which lodges up human orifices with a razor-like spike and then sucks your blood. I was peeing all the time through the wetsuit.

2) How do you train for preparation?

Yearly I do 400 training sessions in the pool, ocean and rivers, 100 cross country ski sessions, 75 hiking and 75 gymnastic sessions. I train from 3 to 5 hours a day. Beside physical training I also do mental training in the forest around the fire or along the river banks. I try to get the energy from river flow and then turn it into my desire. It works pretty well if you are able to make it happen.

3) What’s more important: physical or mental power?

On my swims I’d say mental power. It is true it does not work with great physical training but I do strongly believe that there are many other good swimmers who could swim as I do, but they do not have their mind ready. And this is mental strength where I am really good. I could not do such great swim 20 years ago when I was much younger, now I can do it. And the reason is I am now mentally matured.

4) What do you eat and drink while swimming and recovering?

I eat regular food from soups, pastas, carbohydrates, fruit, vegetables to meat. I do not eat much meat because it is too heavy for me to swim afterward. Besides this I also consume a lot of liquid. Mainly I drink energy drink from Gatorade, Enervit and Spring Of Life. I do not drink “energetic bombs” like Red Bull. And I do drink wine and/or beer every day, even while swimming. This gives me a special power and relaxation I could not live without.

5) Did you ever come close to giving up on the Amazon swim?

Yes, there were moments I was thinking of going home. First one was right at the beginning when our main escort boat got stuck into the mud and I was far away on the river alone with the small navigating boat. A logistical problem.

There were also hundreds of daily organizational/logistical problems from the beginning and lots dangerous places on the river that I could drown. And i was afraid to continue. I was asking myself if I chose too big challenge this time, and if I might never make it and lose my life.

But at the same time, I got the positive, bright answer: NO. I want to conquer all these obstacles and stay alive. I wanted to show the world how important is to keep this place of the world clean and undestroyed, and at the same time achive the my mission that has never been done.

6) What goes through your mind when you are on a long swim?

While I am swimming long distances I am rolling very interesting different films and stories in my head in order to forget about swimming and pains that I have in my body. Basically I am like a robot and if someone suddenly “wakes me up,” I usually get angry, because I fall out of my concentration. This “robot stage” is an ability of high-level concentration, which works like hypnosis. So I could say that if you want to forget your pains and action you have to know how to put yourself into hypnotism.
This hypnotized stage could last up to one hour on my swims and I can repeat several times a day. I needed many years to train/teach myself how to do it. I could not do this when I was younger.

Otherwise, I think about everything. It’s difficult to just swim. I talk with myself and animals around me for many hours, play guitar in my mind, talk to God, talk with my wife. I believe when I was talking to my wife in the middle of the Amazon, she knew, thousands of miles away in Slovenia.

7) What is life like after completing a big swim? How do you get motivated to do it again?

My feelings are dreamlike. I worked hard, trained hard, and dreamed that someday, I would swim in the great Amazon river. Now my dream has come true. I feel that my mission in life is fulfilled, and should I pass away tomorrow, I am satisfied.
If there is another project I am going to take on, it will have to be an absolute new challenge for me. I have done the greatest rivers on earth. The only way you can devote yourself completely is to challenge yourself to do something unbeaten.

Excerpt from The Man Who Swam the Amazon, written by Matthew Mohlke, who was a river guide on the Amazon trip:

So, why do we follow Martin down the Mississippi, the Danube, the Amazon, or the Yangtze? The answer is simple:

An expedition is 95 percent misery and 5 percent ecstasy. After three weeks of constant motion in a land far way from home, something strange occurs in the sould of a man. He gets broken. The first symptom is a tired or sick feeling, maybe even some fear and a little helplessness. Loneliness. Then something slowly changes within. The old attachments start to fade and he becomes completely present. He forgets about all the crap that keeps him up at night back home. None of it matters anymore.

The same man who may be the shy, passive, no-balls type back home in the office or factory can evolve into a [person] who can share a table with the toughest of hombres and throw back beers with unswerving eyes, enjoying every minute of it.

After going home and dealing with all the meaningless details of electricity bills, lawn mowing, mortgage payments, and an unfulfilling job, a period of depression inevitably occurs. Those people back home can’t understand why he’d leave his cozy existence behind again for three more months to jump at the next opportunity to subject himself to such misery and danger.

But they just don’t get it.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Guess?

Guess which leg was stung by a nest of yellow-jackets while mowing the lawn?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Weekend Training


Everybody always say's if you want to get better you have to train with people a lot better than you. I have definitely accomplished this over the past two weekends. As you might recall, last weekend I trained with two sub-12 hour Ironmen, which 1 was a Kona-alumni. This weekend, I trained with the most impressive line up of cyclist I could even think about. I should note, that although it was grueling beyond belief - I had a ton of fun.

One guy has climbed on Mt. Ranier, one guy just finished the Cohutta 100, in which Floyd Landis was there and the other guy has done the bike and run on the Leadville 100 UltraMarathon and the Leadville 100 MTB. Interestingly enough, Memphis, TN (voted as the WORST city to ride a bike by Bicycling Magazine) was our common denominator - as we have all lived there at one point in our lives.

I started earlier than the others knocking out a painful 25 minute swim. Painful, not because of the distance, but because of the absolute boredom of swimming by yourself at 7:00 on a Saturday Morning.

I then met up with my fellow cyclist as we started our assault on the prevailing Mountains. I knew everyone was going to be climbing faster than me because they were 1)better cyclist, 2) I think everyone had a smaller lower ring and 3) they were better cyclist. So I started to coast a little bit in the straights in my aero-bars. I received the appropriate amount of harassment for being "aero" so I succumbed to the peer pressure and just gave up. We talked throughout the whole ride, which was great, because they all had awesome stories from canoing down a river in Memphis in December and falling out and almost drowning to being slammed face first into a tree while barreling down a hill mountain biking.

After playing around in the flat's it was time to climb, we soon approached Raccoon Mountain. I had never climbed the eastern side before. It was easier to get to compared to the western side, but the climb was just as grueling as there were no switchbacks. I popped in some caffeinated gel and some gatorade, but I was still bringing up the rear and was left in my fellow riders dust. Fortunately for me, they waited for me on the other side after a fun downhill ride.

I actually did pretty well, for me at least, in the flat sections, from Raccoon Mountain to Lookout Mountain. At one point, I almost felt like I was in a movie, as this area was absolutely gorgeous with the morning dew still on the grass, and the sun peeking over the mountain shedding just enough light onto the respective farms. We took a little break to see some hang-gliders take-off and to catch our breath from sprinting away from some incest, redneck dogs. Then it was Lookout Mountain. Not just Lookout, but the Burkhalter Gap climb of Lookout Mountain. I was again, left in the dust, but they waited at the top. At the top of Lookout were some rollers on a nice loop. Usually, these would be fun to ride on, but to be honest, they were zapping energy from me that I didn't even know I had. It was gorgeous on top of the mountain though.

Usually I'm the fastest guy down the mountain, but not in this group. They AGAIN, left me in the dust (are we noticing a pattern here?), but I had fun. We had a fun ride in to downtown where everybody went home. I threw out an invitation to go running, but I think everyone else was pretty hungry. I think I ate a lot more than everyone else.

When I got home I was excited thinking I was going to get to run with my little girl for the first time, but much to my chagrin she was sleeping and Mom was busy around the house. So I just parked the bike and took off running. My wife looked at me like I was about to die, as she repeated several times: "are you sure you want to go running?" I only ran around 3 miles at a very slow pace, but my heart-rate was still elevated, so I was feeling good about it.

The rest of the weekend was spent hanging out with my in-laws eating some great food and having a good time with family.

Friday, June 20, 2008

my new training partner


My HRM kicks complete butt. I flew up the mountain yesterday, faster than I ever had before. Instead of worrying about how fast I'm going, and what gear I'm in, I'm only worried about 1 thing, the number on my wrist.

My buddy Chad told me to try to keep it above 180 for short-distances. I didn't get there, but I was keeping it above 170 for the whole climb. I was so focused I forgot to drink water until I got home.

I can't wait to see how it all goes this weekend.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Training with a Heart


Training continues to go well. Yesterday, I did some hard time-trial sprints and was really stoked to see that my wife and daughter bought me a hear-rate monitor for me for Fathers Day. So I immediately strapped it on and went for a run. I think it will definitely help.

Today, I'm using the HRM when I climb Lookout Mountain, so I'm excited about what I can crank it up to!

I hope everyone is enjoying the great weather down south.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Running Throught Wet Cement


Per Request, I guess I will spill the beans on running through wet cement.

Most of you know I'm a dreamer. In 4th grade my teacher made my mom pay for a special test to see if I had a learning disorder "because all Jimmy does in class, all day long, is dream." (FYI, I did grow up in Memphis, so it's not like I was really excited about my current environment)
Now I could write a book filled with successfull people that are dreamers, and the problems with current academia, in not allowing dreaming, but I will digress.

I say all of this just to preface this embarrasing story. I met a friend for lunch downtown. After lunch, I'm just walking along the sidewalk, dreaming of-course, and all of a sudden, I find myself sinking. Ugh? I look down and I am right in the middle of a freshly poured wet sidewalk. That's right - no signs, no barriers, nobody around, just me - ankle deep - in the middle of a freshly poured sidewalk. I immediately kicked up my legs and started to run through it. I'm not talking about a touch-up job. I'm talking about a whole, freaking sidewalk, about 20 ft of wet cement sidewalk. Why did I not just hop to the side of the street? Because I'm a MAN, and that would have been the logical thing to do. Now I get to tell this really embarrassing story on my blog! That's why!

A couple of years ago, I had a temper problem and would probably have tried to bury a construction worker in the cement. Now, I just busted out laughing and immediately called my wife to tell her. Unfortunately, I was a solid 1 mile away from my office - and yes, to state the obvious - wet cement - turns to hard concrete fairly quickly, and as such, turns fairly heavy. Needless to say, my knees were wondering what was going on.

My wife came to my rescue and brought me new shoes at work. She of course had to capture a shot.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Weekend Training


I had some great training this past weekend. My alarm didn't go off (AGAIN!) so I missed out on swimming, but did get in a 90-mile bike ride that was gorgeous. I finished it off with a couple of miles of running.

I started the bike with some true hard-core triathlete's. You know you are riding outside of your comfort zone when 1 guy was describing a little hill on the left (which turns out was Lookout Mountain) and the other guy qualified and participated in the Ironman World Championships in Kona! These pics are from Cloudland Canyon State Park in Georgia.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Random Thoughts

Well a lot has happened in the 10 days that I have not posted.

I ran through wet cement.

I discovered one of the most beautiful routes in Chattanooga (yes, part of the reason it is so gorgeous is it is "flat" with "rolling hills"

We had a record turn-out for Bike 2 Work in Chattanooga.

I finally feel confident in the water.

I have learned that a community pool is a community pool (meaning: swimming around people, instead of having a lane)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Problem Fixed

The biggest problem with Ironman Training is time away from family. When I'm on my long bike rides and dwelling in the monotony of swimming, all I'm thinking about is what I'm not doing - which is being with my daughter and my wife.

The other major problem I have is finding time to swim. It's not that I hate swimming, it's just so freaking inconvenient to everything!

Yesterday, my awesome wife fixed both problems. We got a membership to a local pool where my girls can hang out and I can watch them in-between strokes. We tested it out last night after my ride and it was awesome - everyone had a great time. The ride also went well. Although not many people were there I think I finally figured out that I just need to eat more.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Random Readings and Views





Don't be braggin' about being in the big ring!


“What’s the good of making a living if you can’t live?” - say's the person who commutes by horse!

“An Act Relative to Bicycles”

Chattanoogan's are starting to pedal to work!

Good Training Weekend

The past weekend could be viewed as a failure by some, or as a great accomplishment. I'm taking the later view. On Friday, we met up with some friends for some carbo-loading and I missed the trail running seminar (where I later found out my buddy won a free pair of trail running shoes - good for him!). I then checked in with a local triathlon buddy Chad that is also competing in Ironman Louisville and he is racking up some major miles on me, with 3 50+mile rides a week, and average6-7,000 meters in the pool! Interestingly enough - he wasn't really running any???

I was going to wake up around 5:00 and tackle Lookout Mountain, then Raccoon Mountain, and then knock-out a half-marathon. However, the alarm didn't go off and I soon found myself struggling to make it in-time to the half-marathon. I knew I was in-trouble, when no one was passing me up the mountain. Either 1) I'm late (high probability), or 2) I'm climbing the wrong mountain (low probability).

Raccoon Mountain turned into one heck of a climb and I ended up being 20 minutes late to the start. The hardest part of the climb (aside from there being no switchbacks) was the fact that I was carrying 7 lbs of food, running shoes, and my lock) much to the chagrin of my back. I locked up my bike when I got there, pinned my number on, threw down some fig newtons and off I was. Interestingly enough, there was another unlucky chap who was just starting. I passed him about a mile into the run, after a couple of miles in I started thinking about what my friend Chad (sub-12 hour Ironman - first time) had told me about not running too much and building your cycling legs.

So I ran back a couple of miles, hoped on my bike, and off I was to tackle the mountains on my bike. The run actually felt great. The trail was very nice, not too technical, and had some good scenery. It was good training. The second leg of the bike was another story. My legs were screaming like a little girl watching a scary movie, my knees were aching, my back felt like it was going to break in half any second. My small little 7 lb pack, felt like a solid 20 lbs at this point. I repeatedly called my wife, to tell her I wasn't going to complete the 1/2 marathon, but I was secretly hoping she was on her way. Fortunately for my training, she was still at the house. So I powered on and the finish was great. According to mapmytri.com, I had about 3,000 ft of climbing and about 50+miles. On Monday, I did some great cross-training (read: wake boarding) with my friend Bill, who is one of the best guy's I know.

On a separate note, the times for 3 State, 3 Mountain were finally posted. I'm really happy I did this race, considering most people didn't even start or quit due to the conditions. I'm being serious as there were only about 1,300 finishers out of 2,500 who registered - and that is counting the people who cut the century short and rode the bus back, or just did the metric!!!

I love this disclosure: "Note: These results are not exact. They are the best we could figure out. This is not a race so exact accuracy is not a high priority."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mountain Biker attacked by a Mountain Lion

After the last boring post, I have an inspirational post.

This lady get's attacked by a mountain lion - she prays and the she fights back.

You have to watch the audio/slideshow - but fair warning - it is not for the faint of heart.

Workout Update

After the century my knees have been suffering from some tendinitis so I took off on a road trip for the weekend to see family and friends, without worry about damaging my workout schedule. Yesterday, it paid off as I had a great run in, a great swim, and a great bike ride. Today I'll hopefully get in a long bike ride.

Boring post, but an update nevertheless. It's also time to break out into some serious distance, as I have less than 100 days until the IRONMAN!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Day Weekend



Well this was my wife's first Mother's Day so I definitely wanted to make it a hit. I know any bloke could think of a nice dinner out, flowers and chocolate, but Ada (my daughter) and I wanted to do something different...something from the heart.

Ada proposed that if it was a hit, she would get the credit, and if it was a failure I would take the responsibility. I was too impressed with her keen insight of the risk/reward relationship to argue. And for those of you know wondering if my daughter already has me twisted around her finger - the answer is yes.

But this really was all Ada's idea. She told me that all mom does during the day is hold up a black thing to her face and it makes a funny clicking sound and sometimes it flashes (read: camera). So I picked out some camera accessories, revealed it to my wife on Friday, and told her to get ready to use it the next day.
We then met up with some friends and did some light hiking around Foster Falls and watched some rock climbers. It was a great experience. My daughter found nature so relaxing that she actually went to sleep, while hiking, a skill I know she got from me!
This week, I'm going to take it fairly slow as my knees are still recovering a bit. Yesterday I ran and today I think I'm going to do some swimming and maybe some cycling.
I hope everyone is enjoying this great weather!

Monday, May 12, 2008

3 State 3 Mountain Redux

Last weekend I participated in my first century - 3 state 3 mountain. As the name implies, it covers 3 states (Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama) and 3 mountains (Suck Creek, Lookout Mountain, and Sand Mountain) and as such riders have close to 10,000 ft of elevation change.

Last year, I uncharacteristically didn't start due to the inclement weather. I had planned to stick it out but was scarred off by my bike-t0-work friends. This year, the weather was actually worse, but I told my wife I was going to at least start. The race was delayed due to thunderstorms and lightening.

The start was very weird, no gun, no horn, no anything. I'm a perennial optimist, but I have to be honest, the first 25 miles were miserable. Several ambulances passed me, and I was fortunate to be riding on my bike and not in their. I would later hear of some horrific stories from hypothermia to a seat-post being surgically removed from a guy's leg. I could barely see in the rain, we were all going at a snail pace, and none of my riding buddies were doing it, so I was riding by myself. My wife wanted constant updates, so I called her after the first mountain and just admitted that I was miserable and was seriously thinking about just turning back and hanging out with her and my newborn. She encouraged me to find a group and persevere.After figuring out that by the time I would get home, she would need to leave for a baby shower she was going to, I made up in my mind I was going to finish, no matter what. I then met-up with my brother-in-law's friend and rode with him and his friends. The next 30 miles were gorgeous passing several rivers and climbing Sand Mountain. The road was rough and met several flat tires. I later heard that one co-rider would have 8 flat tires by the end of the race!

Lookout Mountain was gorgeous as well. By this time the sun was blazing hot. Towards the top I was in the minority by actually riding my bike and not walking up. Again, I was a horrific wreck where a woman could not go any further up, she didn't have the leg strength to push down a pedal, and as such fell on her left side, head first. It was reported later that she got a concussion.

Once I topped Lookout, I was ready to see my girls, so I took off, and blazed to the finish line, while the group I was with was making full use of the SAG. The finish was great, with fellow riders hanging out drinking Cola and beer. The pizza was a little late, but I was just happy to have completed my first century.

Before I started I got a ton of advice from bring the strongest pain medication you can find, to forget the stops ride fast, to make full use of the sags and enjoy it. The only advice I ended up taking was the latter, which was from a friend who is always in-better shape than me. I think this ended up helping me finish so strong. At the end, I really felt like I could have ran a marathon, but my wife and I had dinner plans with friends.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Ghetto Marketing for a Good Cause

So most of you know that I haven't owned a car in almost 3 years now, and am now a bona fide cycling activist. A couple of months ago, my friend Tim challenged me to create a business that was related to this passion but also made a difference in a tangible way.

After much thought and a lot of research I had some t-shirts made up with a fat polar bear riding a bike that say's Burn Fat not Ice Caps. I then decided to give 10% of all sales to an organization called Bikes to Rwanda, which as the name implies, gives Rwandans bikes.My first approach was to wholesale them off to local bike shops. However, the recession has hit them particularly hard and it couldn't be worked out. They were however very enthusiastic about the idea, and wanted me to succeed, so they told me to try to get into the 3 State 3 Mountain Expo.

Through my friend Phil, the Outdoor Chattanooga Aficionado, I got hooked up, and actually got a booth there. My wife was a tremendous help throughout the whole process and even designed a poster for me.

The expo was quite the adventure. I still had to work Friday, so my dad maned the booth and when I got there around 5:00, much to my dismay he didn't have any sales. However, over the next couple of hours I was entertained to the fullest, with the vast majority of people very excited about the idea of advocating cycling as transportation and helping out a good cause. Let me back up a bit. I described the people as entertaining because when people heard about the project I got responses from: That t-shirt is "FU*#@&G AWESOME! I have to have one" to "What is an ice cap?"

Anyway, I sold some t-shirts for a great cause and hopefully in a couple of weeks I'll be blogging about the fat check I just sent to help out Rwandans. The biggest drawback I had was that people just don't carry cash around anymore. To which, yours truly is definitely guilty of. Therefore, I created a paypal link for anyone wanting a t-shirt.

My current inventory is 3 large blue and 2 large green american apparel shirts:2 medium and 1 small light blue women's rugged hype shirt and 3 medium and 3 large mens rugged hype shirts with worn in look on edges.So that is why this post is labeled ghetto marketing. Because to me you can't get anymore ghetto than posting a paypal button on your blog. But, it's for a good cause and I'll swallow a humility pill and hit "publish post"







Bike 2 Work

Don’t Forget…

This Friday BIKE2WORK 2008

Bike2Work is the First Friday of each month.


Ride Your Bike & Join Us for Free Breakfast at our location on the

Walnut Street Square - South End of the Walnut Street Bridge.

7:00-8:30 am!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Another Tuesday

I had a good workout yesterday, swimming a mile and then hoping on the bike. My friend Bill wasn't in the parking lot when I got there so I took off with the fast group (or so I thought). After a couple of miles I figured out that wasn't "the fast group" that I had heard so much about and saw a rider several miles away. I broke away to chase him. And in classic Jimmy fashion - got lost. I turned around and was then wondering around for at least a mile trying to find the right road. The great thing about being lost here, is the fact that the area is absolutely gorgeous. So I was sipping on my custom cocktail of over-concentrated Gatorade, when all of a sudden I heard some screaming coming from behind me. The type of screaming that wasn't some high school girls yelling for fun, but from a bunch of guy's that were about to seemingly run over me. It seems the notorious "fast group" skipped the first loop and passed me going around 30 mph - up a hill! I didn't stand a chance, and it was too late for me to move to the side, so I just tucked in and prayed that I didn't get run over. Within a couple of miles I tried to chase them, to no avail. However, another group passed me, and I stayed with them for awhile. Then a guy bumped into me going into a curve. I'm not going to lie - I was TICKED - I chased after him, and then the guy quits! Are you serious? You have the gut's to try to knock me off my bike while we are racing and then you quit when we get into a dead-on sprint? I looked over at him, and he looked like he was about to call an ambulance to come pick him up. He had clearly just sprinted out of the gate with no endurance backbone (or manners). Anyway, from then on it was back and forth, from then on. Much to my chagrin, I still did not get the chance to climb Mowbry Mountain as I wasn't riding with a group and I was worried about sunlight. O well, I got some good riding in and was able to make it back in-time to go to Wallie World with my little girl and wife. It should be noted that I probably looked a little out of place, even in Wal-Mart, since my lips were turning blue and I was shivering due to the fact that I was still wet from swimming/cycling and I was drinking blue Gatorade.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Some Good News and Some Bad News

This weekend was packed with events. As usual, my training was seriously interrupted by a seriously erroneous weather report that called for a 90% chance of rain on Saturday and bright and sunny on Sunday. This is what I read on Friday night. Of course the opposite happened, as it was fairly nice weather on Saturday and thunderstorms on Sunday.

Nevertheless, the weather didn't stop my friends from kicking some tail out there as my friends Bill, Brian and Michael ran the Country Music 1/2 Marathon and Kevin completed the Scenic City Triathlon. Although I was in Nashville on Saturday, I didn't brave the 50,000+ fans and runners to enjoy the race. On a personal note, I'm glad all of my friends did the 1/2 marathon as the full marathon was not every enjoyable for me and lacks the support that the 1/2 marathon does.

I did wake up early and watch my friend Kevin compete in the Scenic City Triathlon. It was cold and wet, but it seemed everybody had a good time as there was a short swim, a slippery bike course and a rolling, but fast run set-up. Congrats again.

On a more morbid note, my prayers and thoughts go out to the friends and family of Dave Martin, the triathlete in San Diego that was recently killed by a shark.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Is it time to consider vegetarianism?

This is a great post from the Clif Blog site that I thought I would copy here. I was actually a vegetarian in high school for 2 years. It's actually a long story as to why I made the switch, but I will tell you that I ran my fastest times and felt the best nutrition wise, while I was a vegetarian. Unfortunately, living in the South, it is very inconvenient, however like most things, I think it's worth it.

It's actually interesting that I read this now. Two days ago at an Earth Day Festival I met a great guy that is highly involved in the Slow Food Movement. And starting June 1, there will be a challenge in Chattanooga to only eat local foods. The challenge is a part of Rock Point's book club and partly based on Barbara Kingsolver's newest book: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. Most of you will probably know her as the author of the Poisonwood Bible.

It should be noted however that all vegetables and foods derived from vegetables are great. If you don't believe me, watch this movie!

===================================================================

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote on the FDA's assessment of cloning and the beef recall. Well, it got some folks talking (just read the comments). So, to follow up, I thought there might be some interest in checking out what the USDA and the FDA are up to since...

Just to clarify, the FDA regulates food labeling of prepared foods i.e. breads, cereals, canned and frozen foods, snacks, desserts, drinks. Frankly, their position on cloning, doesn’t interest me as much as the position the USDA might take on cloning. Ranching and meat regulation is, after all, the area of the USDA.

You can comment on the FDA's actions regarding food labeling on their website. The best time to get involved is during their open public comment period. They make sure to address every comment—an added bonus!

The USDA oversees agriculture and food policy, and food safety as related to farming and ranching. To me, the USDA is the more appropriate agency to evaluate and provide regulatory guidelines for something like cloning. The fact that they don't agree with the FDA's position says a lot.

Keep tabs on the USDA, and all that they're up to on their website.

Both of these websites are behemoths and if you dig you will find lots of intriguing and informative facts. You may learn more than you ever wanted to know, but you will be an informed consumer, which is what we need more of to advocate for our food supply!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Killer Training Ride

Like most people, my schedule has just exploded. I feel like spring just got here, yet summer is about to be over. Anyway, I wanted to do 3-state, 3-mountain, but other than doing a fairly long ride last weekend, I didn't think I had prepared enough. Additionally, my schedule is already full until 3-state. But yesterday, after-work I fixed the problem, with by climbing Lookout Mountain - TWICE!

The second time was definitely the heart-pumper I needed. I even made it back in-time for bible study.

So today, I signed-up, and god-willing, I WILL FINISH one of the hardest centuries out there.

I hope everyone out there is enjoying the nice weather we are having in Chattanooga.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Follow Up to Saturday's Ride


Thank you to Rich Smith Photography for the great pictures! Go to his site to see other photos from the day.

Running with the Kid


Endurance Planet has a great podcast of Michael Wardian.

Although I'm not as competitive as him, I resonated with him talking about how when you get married everybody tells you you will stop running and enjoying your hobbies, then when you have kids everyone says the same thing. I think I have gotten in better shape since I got married and had a kid.

I'm looking forward to buying a chariot once our tax-refund comes in!



Monday, April 14, 2008

Innovate or Die Winner



The Aquaduct won this year’s Specialized/Google Innovate or Die contest’s grand prize. A five-person design team from Menlo Park, California designed this pedal-powered water filtration device to improve (and save) lives in developing countries. Watch the video or read more at www.treehugger.com.

Those of you that know me, know that I am particularly happy with the fact that this innovation is related to water and will help end the needless deaths that occur ever year because of polluted drinking water.

101year-old smoking marathon runner



This is awesome 101 year old marathon runner that doesn't drink water, opting for beer and cigarettes instead!

Sequatchie County Run/Ride


I had some pretty fun training on Saturday, albeit, cold and windy training it was. I started out at 8:00 an ran 6 miles into downtown to pick-up my bike. I then proceeded up Signal Mountain and then down through the Sequatchie Valley. I was pretty happy with my run time and climbing up the mountain, but I was disappointed once I got on top of the mountain due to the significant (30-40 mph) headwind. In any sense, it was a gorgeous ride. I plan on doing a hard day tomorrow.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Focus of a Tiger

I'm not a big Tiger Woods fan as I only play golf a couple of times a year. However, I think this is a great interview with Scott Van Pelt for the ESPN Sports Center.

SVP: “So there’s no point when you can sort of put the feet up on a Tuesday afternoon and say ‘Today I’m not going to the gym’.?

Tiger: “No. Because the next…that’s…I look at life as: the greatest thing about tomorrow is that I will be better than I am today. And that’s the way I’ve always lived my life. So I have no understanding why people do hit the snooze button because you have a chance to become a better person, become - for me - a better athlete…all the different things you can do to become better for tomorrow. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of that?”

You can check out the full interview on the video below:






Thanks for the link Adam