We Interupt Your Regularly Scheduled IMLP Race Report for This Important 12-Hour Fund Raising Drive

If you’ve been living under a rock, there is this technology called Twitter, you can read more about it on Texafornia’s blog at www.zentriathlon.com. Now Twitterers are mostly self absorbed, self promoting, insecure, procrastinating, self indulgent or just plain self unaware. Hey I know this because I’m a Twitterer and I probably fall into many of these descriptions. We’re all Modern Jackasses, more on what that is in a future post.

So with my 43rd birthday coming up, I decided to see if Twitter had any real value aside from letting people know where I was on an Ironman Bike course so they could have adequate time to leave Charlie’s or Pizza on Main Street to come out for the 30 seconds to cheer me on as I pass by before making that massage appointment at the Mirror Lake Inn – yes Sherpaing can be done with style.

But I digress. On Saturday, I’ll turn 43 years old and against all good judgment decided to do this whole B-Fit, B-Day that Everyman Triathlete Roman Mica has dreamed up. Let’s face it, an ADD endurance coach like me isn’t going to want to stare at lane lines for 3 hours and I founded a program called Race with Purpose, so here I could kill off a few avian flu birds with one stone by participating in Swim Across America’s Long Island Swim. And given that I’ve only ever swam 2.4-miles before and had so much fun doing that, I figured I could complete Roman’s B-Fit, B-Crap B-Day Challenge and qualify myself to get a cool Rudy Project aero helmet so I can wear it backwards and look like a cone head while riding my Trek 1400 at 14mph.

In the process I can also raise a bunch of money for cancer research to honor my mom who got me into this whole endurance sports thing in the first place. Lastly, I could prove once and for all if Twitter has any use beyond making me feel like I have friends that could ultimately replace my stuffed Barney figure that I talk to all too regularly.

So for the past week, I’ve been acting like the program manager for the local public radio station tweeting all sorts of crap to basically encourage (annoy) people into donating $10. With 80 Twitterers following me (get a life), and most of them spending their non-Twittering time polishing their carbon bike frames, I figured $10 from each person would easily raise more than the $500 I’ve pledged. To make it even  more enticing, I’ve committed to matching the donations up to the $500 just to calm the critics out there who think I’m doing this as a way to get out of paying for the honor to swim with jellyfish in the Long Island Sound. Oh, I fell off of my white horse years ago, and don’t think the thought didn’t cross my mind, but in this case, I’m actually sincere and have the funds to back up my commitment.

So what do you need to do to participate? Go to Twitter and specifically go to my twitter page where you’ll find the link to donate. Trust me, it won’t be difficult to find. I can’t post it here or that would defeat the entire purpose of seeing if we can use Twitter for good as opposed for evil as Brett has proclaimed previously. I want Twitter to be Twitterlicious.

What do you get for this? Nothing, well not nothing, you get to add yourselves to the multitude of people who have already donated like @KonaShelley, @JenWillTri, @TriJD, @HolisticGuru, @hak42 (thanks Tanya), @jg_65, @billrisch and @bmatheny and @Rambonie who have all donated more than their requested $10.

You also get to see if I can get dropped off a boat in the LI Sound and can make it back alive under horrible conditions. Read what the Swim Across America has posted recently:

2008 LIS Swim Update
Jellyfish -
Due to the jellyfish in the sound this season we are recomending all swimmers wear a tight fitting full wet suit. If your wet suit is sleeveless we recomend a tight fitting rash guard underneath.
For those who do not want to swim in the sound because of jellyfish, we will for this year only have use of the pool for you to participate. If you know you want to swim in the pool, please e-mail biffy at biffy@swimacrossamerica.org. If you are undecided let us know at sign in if you want to change. Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday.

And since we already know I ain’t doing this in a pool, I’m wearing a full wetsuit and will put duct tape anywhere there is still exposed skin. Hey, the only other tape I had laying around is packing tape and I thought that might not be hypoallergenic. So go to Twitter and donate your $10.

Now switching gears, I have a few thoughts on Roman’s whole B-Sh1t B-Day thing.  Roman, who thought of this stupid thing of swimming 4 miles for 40, 5 miles for 50, 6 miles for 60, 7 miles for 70, 8 miles for 80, 9 miles for 90? Someone’s going to die and YOU’re going to be responsible because all they will gurgle as they’re being pulled out of the water is “I just wanted that Rudy Project aero helmet.” DEAD!

Everyman triathlon my ass! What everyman triathlon at age 88 is going to swim 8 miles, run 8 miles and then cycle 88-miles. Jack LaLane? Maybe you should have included that we need to hold a rope to a tugboat in our teeth to make it more reasonable.

Here are the details and the rules for the B-Dead, B-Myass, B-Day Challenge:


Take your age and in any order:

1) Swim the number of miles in the first number,
2) Run the number of miles in the second number,
3) Bike the number of miles in the combined number.

So a 45-year-old athlete would:
1) Swim 4 miles
2) Run 5 miles
3) Bike 45 miles

If you choose to accept the B-Fit B-Day Challenge you must….
Bronze: Do all three (swim/bike/run) during the week of your Birthday.
Silver: Do all three (swim/bike/run) in the three days before, after, or on your B-Day.
Gold: Do all three (swim/bike/run) in 24-hours to celebrate your B-Day!

Important Note: Since “0” Birthdays like 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and so on are important milestones the “0″ in your birthday represents a 10. This means that on those “0” Birthdays you get to celebrate this big milestone by running ten miles. Whoohooo!

Whatever, I’m a lemming so as I stated above, I’ll be doing the Long Island Sound Swim version.

According to the Swim Across America folks:

“The Long Island Sound Swim started in Larchmont, New York in 1992 at the Larchmont Yacht Club with a 4-mile swim. It was, and still is, dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Kathy Webers, who along with family and friends courageously battled cancer for over a year. Our first year we had 35 swimmers and raised $15,000. In 1994, the swim’s course ended at the Larchmont Shore CLub, where a brunch was held. Without a swim in 1996, the Long Island Swim Committee reformed and in addition to the 4-mile swim added the 1 mile swim. Now, we offer a 6 mile swim as well. We also added the Cancer Support Team and Children’s Hospital of New York- Presbyterian at Cornell Medical Center as additional beneficiaries.

Swimming requirement for 4 milers - 4-mile swimmers must be able to swim 1 mile in 30 minutes or less, as attested to by a Pool Director, Swim Coach or Life Guard.”


I freak’n hate to swim and now I have to get a note from my local swimming pool that says I won’t drown on their watch doing this stupid thing, which is, oh by the way, the week after Ironman Lake Placid. Oh give me a break, I did the swim and a loop of the bike there. I just bet that there will be some lame-ass rule that says I can’t listen to music as well similar to the USAT or RRCA rules now. F-that. I’m going out to buy a SwiMP3 or something similar so I can listen to 4 hours of podcasts while I practice drowning myself in the Long Island Sound. What is the level of exposure to bacteria necessarily to contract Hepatitis? Will 3 hours be sufficient or do I need four? Where is lunch served in a four-hour open water swim? Let’s be honest, I’m supposed to swim 4 miles and then I have to run 3? Who thought up of this brilliant parody that is so heavily weighted towards the swimmers? I have an idea, let’s make the swimmers run 40 miles and then they can swim 3.

Roman, I am officially declaring theB-Fit Birthday, the B-F’d Up My Ass Birthday Challenge for the criminally insane. It is incredibly discriminatory. Let me get this straight, a 14 year old has to swim 1 mile, run 4 miles and then bike 14 miles, and a 88 year old man, presumably a bit more frail, has to swim 8 miles, run 8 miles and bike 88 miles? This has got to be some Arian way to kill off the lessor species or an I hate old people statement. And as an older Jew, I take this as a personal assault. Also as an older Jew, as I’m ranting, I know I’m going to do everything in my power to do this stupid thing. Go ahead; brand a number on my arm as soon as possible, I hate it when body markings come off.

Forget Rudy Project and Hornet Juice, you need to be sponsored by Aetna, or Blue Cross or what the hell am I thinking, you need to be sponsored by Mutual Life Insurance Company.

I expect you, Mr. Everyday Triathlete, to financially take care of my girlfriend, my detached selfish and anti-social dog, and my blind/deaf cat after they dredge my lifeless body from the sound. Please make sure someone escorts Cindy to Tyler’s and Kelley’s wedding next week.

But I digress…

Ironman USA 2008 – (Part 3) The Prequel: Registration, Apprehension and Revised Expectations

For many, Ironman USA in Lake Placid begins 12 months earlier when racers, volunteers and spectators wait in lines of varying lengths in what used to be the Olympic Village to obtain a voucher, a golden ticket, entitling them to register for the following year’s race. In Lake Placid on Ironman weekend, silver wristbands and vouchers separate the entitled from the envious.

On that same morning in 2007, sitting in my office in Midtown Manhattan, I was one of the very few who were able to register without the assistance of a golden ticket, helped by an online Active.com registration system that was plagued with glitches, just enough to delay the opening of online registration and making the exact start time somewhat suspect and elusive. During the confusion, I found a more direct hyperlink to the registration site, had all of my data ready to go, and sat at my desk on conference calls while consistently clicking refresh, refresh, refresh on my keyboard. I speculated correctly that the registration would open up a few minutes before the revised stated time, which it did by about seven minutes. And so I was in, a registered and committed member of a selective group of those who began their experience by sticking an entry into their Outlook calendar like a commitment signed in electronic blood from our pricked and still twitching fingers. I was registered for Ironman USA in Lake Placid on July 20th, 2008.

At the time, I was feeling pretty darn good about myself. I had just run a sub 1:25 half marathon, My Half Ironman bike time on a hilly course was under 3 hours, my weight was slightly under 180lbs and I had successfully trained for and did quite well at the Tupper Lake Tinman Half Ironman just a few weeks before.

What happened between then and now can be clearly seen via the race actuals on the right hand sidebar of my blog, but suffice it to say that things went awry. For those who aren’t regular readers of my blog, the short recap is as follows:

  • August – November 2007: Training on track, cautiously optimistic
  • November-December 2007: Loss of family member
  • February 2008 – April 2008: Viral illness
  • April 2008: Training resumes
  • May 2008: Illness returns
  • June 1st 2008: Black Bear Triathlon – Could not generate enough power to get around the bike course without getting off and walking and DNF’d before the run.

Which brings us to late June 2008 and what for many is the beginning of Ironman Lake Placid month. It begins with the Tupper Lake Tinman Half Ironman distance race. In short, after crashing heavily at Black Bear four weeks earlier, I didn’t know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised that at Tupper Lake I accomplished all of my goals. I completed the swim, completed the bike and completed the run. I finished the race, not in style and not in any great time, but given where I was, I felt very pleased and encouraged by this result. That said, the lingering illness was still apparently wreaking havoc on my physiological systems as evidenced by the fact that I found myself during the run shuffling along at a 12:00 min/mile pace with a heart rate at 172 beats per minute. To put this into perspective, 170 beats per minute is reflective of my lactate threshold effort and the same heart rate at which one year earlier I was running 7 min/miles in the NYC Half Marathon. At Tupper, my primary goals was to finish the race and I knew that there was no way that I was going to do that by running at effort levels exceeding my LT. Dutifully, I reduced my pace to about 12:30 min/mile to keep my effort level below that 170 marker and continued to shuffle along taking walk breaks whenever my heart rate exceeded that marker.

Now let’s be honest, it’s hard to shuffle along at that pace. People that regularly run at a twelve to fourteen minutes per mile pace have my utmost respect if only because they take so many extra steps and are out there on hot courses for so much longer. At Tupper Lake, I was one of them. Race with Purpose Wonder Twins, Joshquatch and Holistic Guru made my day and the day for others by coming back out after the Sprint triathlon to run with the rest of us that were still out there on the Half Ironman course. In the end, I finished with a bike split of 3:25 (16.3mph) keeping my average heart rate at 142 bpm, and a run time of 2:49 (12:54), with an average heart rate of 160 bpm. This was the data that I looked at as I considered revising my objectives for Ironman Lake Placid scheduled for just three weeks later.

For the best trained athletes, Ironman is not to be taken lightly. A 2.4-mile swim, a significantly more challenging 112-mile bike course and a marathon for the run make IMLP a race that is to be treated with serious respect. Given that I was still having trouble running 5 miles around my house without having to stop to catch my breath, I new I’d have to revise both my expectations and objectives for this event. The one thing I really wanted to do on Tupper Lake weekend was to ride at least one loop of the IMLP bike course the day after the race, but I was simply too beat up to do it. So at this point, I still didn’t know if I could push my carcass around the bike course on race day. All I had to go on was a 3:35 Half Iron bike time.

After some contemplation, I decided to participate in IMLP but to limit my participation to completing the 2.4-mile swim and one 56-mile loop of the bike course. My key goal was to complete both before the 1:30pm cutoff. I took my 3:25 bike split and the completion of the Tupper Lake Half along with the fact that my ’91 Ford Explorer had made it to/from both Tupper Lake and Princeton, NJ as positive signs that my objectives for IMLP would be achievable.

To be continued…

Ironman USA 2008 – Part 2 – Desiree Ficker Dissed or Dismissed?

The second gunman on the grassy knoll? Maybe? Maybe not. Explore with me the facts of one professional’s humbling experience and come to your own conclusion about whether this group here had anything to do with it.

Tapering means slowing down on the alcohol consumption

From left to right are super triathletes and TriScoopers Moonpie (I’m ripped), HolisticGuru (Is there quinoa in this drink?), Strouter (I’m not drunk, I used to be), Rambonie (I’m finding about my nature) and CindyJo (Yes, I have multiples of this grateful dead t-shirt, so back off).

To begin this story, let’s work our way back to July 19th when Desiree herself posted this on her blog:

Good morning everyone! I have been a little tardy with my journaling and I still have all the nasty details in my head from Ironman CDA so I will have to come back to that one….

I am about to go jump in the lake out here in Lake Placid, NY. It is the day before the race and I am optimistic that I will come back from the mistakes I made a few weeks ago and have a solid race. There is some great competition up here this weekend and the hilly course is a feat to conquer in itself. We have thunderstorms for the last two days so hopefully those will hold off for us until the run portion. A rain shower on the run always feels nice.

At that point Desiree was looking like this:

Desiree Ficker

At some point between lunch and dinner our mild mannered TriScoopers were innocently day drinking at Charlie’s, a popular hangout on Main Street in Lake Placid, when in walked Desiree Ficker. According to witnesses, Desiree walked up to the host and asked to obtain food, fuel, sustenance and necessary nutrition for her upcoming race. Before Moonpie could jump up to invite her over to the table, the host had apparently ignored this professional triathlete’s pleas for food (Think Oliver holding his bowl out) and sent her on her way. Where she went, no one seems to know but as you can read from her blog entry above, she was still in a very fragile state of mind and the denial of food only contributed to her performance on race day. How poor was her performance you ask? Here is a quote from Ironman Live:

Desiree Ficker gets across the line
“She hasn’t had much luck at this race, has she. Desiree Ficker isn’t one to quit, though — she walked her way across the line here today, as she did three years ago.

Our spotters just told me that when they saw her she was shaking and her lips were blue at the turnaround.

It obviously wasn’t her day, but she certainly toughed this one out!”

In my mind, this couldn’t be any simpler. Charlie’s is directly responsible for Desiree’s poor performance. At the same time, the host was summarily dismissing her, our TriScoopers were being offered another round of drinks ON THE HOUSE. Why, you ask? Obviously to distract them from helping out this poor athlete.

By favoring the intoxicated TriScoopers over this professional athlete, they virtually guaranteed that Desiree would bonk during the marathon the following day. Did Moonpie bonk? NO! Did CindyJo bonk? NO! In fact, Nathan Miller (not pictured here) beat Desiree by fifteen minutes on the run and he clearly has the means to compensate the owners of Charlie’s to act like they didn’t know who she was. Didn’t know who she was? RIGHT! Please take a look at the picture above and tell me that you wouldn’t remember her face. So the question remains, did Charlie’s act on their own, or was there an outside influence that contributed to this unconscionable act?

I’m not saying that there was a conspiracy here but I think that the truth needs to come out. Desiree needs to be vindicated and at the least Charlie’s owes Desiree a pitcher of margueritas on the house.

Ironman USA in Lake Placid – Prelude

You won’t be able to open any of your favorite blogs without seeing something about this weekend’s triathlon happenings. From death and jellyfish at the NYC Tri to the torrential downpours at IMLP, this was definitely a tri-weekend to remember in all of it’s glory, regret, elation and challenges. Here are a few things that I’ll throw up there that I thought about on my drive back to Westchester today, in no particular order:

  • There really are tri-stalkers out there; keep this in mind before dating another triathlete that you may not spend the rest of your life with.
  • You can drive from Albany all the way into Lake Placid with only 2nd and 4th gears.
  • On race morning, I will wake up at 3:30am without an alarm.
  • Quinoa porridge is best made in the dark while wearing headlamps.
  • While wearing headlamps, etiquette suggests not looking directly at the person to whom you are talking, unless you want to blind them.
  • Farrah or any of Farrah’s friends are not to be messed with unless you want to be publicly embarrassed in front of a national audience.
  • It’s Bill, it’s wrapped in plastic; I’m not doing it.
  • I’m not drunk, I used to be.
  • Desiree Ficker got kicked out of a restaurant while Moonpie, CindyJo, Strouter, Rambonie and Guru were offered a round of drinks on the house.
  • If you are going to flat with tubulars, do it in Jay in front of a house rented by eight triathlon coaches.
  • Fix-a-flat for bike tires will get you about 4 more miles.
  • Sherpas need sherpa stylists, given that while the athletes had two transitions and two special needs, the sherpas came back to the love shack four to five separate times.
  • Laptops do not like to drink white wine.
  • Mile 40 is a great place to begin puking on the bike.
  • Jenwilltri must have been going crazy not being up in LP this weekend.
  • Texting in the rain is a recipe for electronic failure.
  • Apparently a floor in the men’s changing tent would have not been realistic enough, so mud wrestling was introduced as the fourth discipline in the sport.
  • Rambo took over North America Sports and fired people during his volunteer post.
  • You really can feel pouring rain while you are swimming, but only until you are kicked in the face.
  • By the time you reach Ironman, you need to be able to a) swim in a straight line, and b) not have to breast stroke and c) not have to stand vertical to sight causing the swimmer behind your to swim up into your now raising heels.
  • Phil never made it to the love shack, but we did leave the light on for him.
  • Wearing a USC Trojan rain slicker attracts HACs.
  • Many elite athletes leave their bikes in the transition area until the following morning.
  • The Ironman cutoffs assume that you can swim the loop in two hours and do both loops of the bike in less than four hours each. Therefore, if you suck on the bike, you’d better get out of the water in under an hour.
  • Bring two pairs of boxer shorts to an Ironman weekend.
  • If there are tri-panties in the sleeves of my clean shirts, they are not mine.
  • Javier, Rambonie, TriBoomer, Nathan, Kristine and the Goose all have vouchers for IM2009.
  • Strouter, Jenwilltri, Michelle, ???, ???, ??? will all be looking at 2010 to make their Ironman debut.
  • and lastly, peelers is just a glorified term for strippers and North America Sports could reduce the athlete fee by simply auctioning off the right to do this job. Why? Because Ironman weekend is like summer camp for adults. Maybe Race with Purpose should put together the first ever wetsuit peeler training class.

Well that’s about it for now. I’ll come back with more fun stuff. In the meanwhile check out the blogs from other members of our party in the right-hand navigator, except for Strouter’s because she’s still waiting for her laptop to dry out.