Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Closed For Repair

I could provide you with the nitty-gritty details that include the exact color of my deformed knee, but you know what - a general overview of this week should suffice.

-Took 6 days completely off cycling and running and knee bending. Gained *just* a bit of weight.

-Woke on 7th day, still couldn't climb a flight of stairs or kick while swimming. You gotta be kidding me.

-Went to see world famous sports medicine, who basically said: "Quit if you still want knees next season." Shoot, no more cortisone for me?

-Underwent a 90 minute biomechanical PT evaluation, where I discovered that my left foot joints ain't mobilizing and my right hip is completely locked in place. E-mail me if you want the explanation, but basically these combined problems are making me a very slow runner who overuses my left knee.

-And I will not be racing Clearwater 70.3 World Championships. Unless they give me a motorcycle.

-Beginning next Monday, I will set about fixing these issues and building a better body for the next season. Complete with waxed legs, an enhanced bust, and hopefully a moustache.

-Based on what I have learned about fitness and biomechanics in the past 8 weeks, I will be returning in 2009 as must faster and more "put together" athlete. I needed this injury to learn alot about my body, and how to enhance performance drastically with some simple biomechanical changes. Such as not wearing pumps, high heels, or snowshoes to my office.

Well folks, the 2008 race season has been a wild ride. Thanks for following. For those of you who are curious, here is next season, focused purely on the 70.3 circuit, with a few unnamed Sprints and Olympics sprinkled in...

Jan 20 Pucon Chile (low priority)
Apr 5 New Orleans
May: Florida or Wildflower
June 13 Boise
July 12 Rhode Island
August 2 Calgary
August 16 Lake Stevens
Nov 10 Clearwater

A huge thanks to all my sponsors, who have given the best support, shoes, bikes, nutrition, supplements and products on the planet...be sure to visit their websites on the right side of this page. And thank YOU for your comments, support and encouraging words!

Avia - (my shoe)
Specialized (my bike)
WheelSport East (my bike shop)
Blue Seventy (my wetsuit)
Bumblebar (my energy bar)
Champions Sports Medicine (my doc)
GU (my gels and sports drink)
Impax (my Enerprime multi-vitamin and Delta-E energy drink)
Markham Homes (my house and my way cool sponsor Brian)
Hammer Nutrition (my whey protein, endurolytes, and CoEnzymeQ10)
Millennium Sports (my secret power supplements)
nuun (my daily hydration drink)
Pacific Elite Fitness (my coach)
TN (my sunglasses)
Wicked Fast (my recovery pills)

See you in 2009. I'm off to eat fudge, have a martini...

...spend time with my cute boy...

...and his butt-ugly brother...


Remember to follow my Twitter updates at http://www.twitter.com/bengreenfield

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Kona Pics

See that green turtle under the water? They're illegal to touch. Little did I know this, as I tried to get my baby to ride on it's back. It was only later that I found out my 6 month old son might have stayed a night in the Kona jail for turtle molesting...

My bee-yoo-tiff-full wife with the little studs...

Look, I can handle the two of them, no problem...

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Oops, must've lost one...

There was this great massage therapist at the Kailua Farmer's Market - he walked all over Jessa's back. You should've heard her back pop...sounded like breakfast cereal...

Here we are, walking in the Parade of Nations and handing out candy to fat kids...

The annual Underwear Run. I opted out of the thong this year, and instead wore sponsored GU Nutrition underwear...

I think the knee strap really ties my outfit together. The boys, meanwhile, were quite amused by what I'm sure they interpreted as some kind of magical breastfeeding convention...

Ah yes, the famous walk. Still light outside in this picture...

Feeding my knee some ice...

Well, I ended up on the Ironman Hawaii podium anyways. Thanks to the efforts of my cousin Jim Alsager, I was able to raise over $38,000 for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and was the 3rd highest Janus fundraiser. What can I say about the Kona podium? The lights are very bright.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Kona Race Report: Part II

So within my first 50 feet of walking, I encountered my family. That was hard. My wife is an athlete, and I can see the disappointment in her eyes when I don't come bolting out of transition as usual. Not disappointment in me, just disappointment that the race had to end like this.

As soon as I started up Palani Drive, the steep hill coming out of transition, I knew I was in trouble. The knee almost buckled. I struggled the 1/2 mile to my hotel, which took almost 15 minutes, and then, without "forward progress", which would have DQ'd me, I got a knee brace from my hotel room.

With the brace on, the pain was manageable, so I walked to the first mile marker.

Hey, here's a cool perk! I can eat 300-400 calories at an aid station and not have to worry about Gi distress, since I'm not running! I grabbed a couple bananas, a peanut butter Powerbar, a cookies n' creme Powerbar, and a handful of pretzels, and strolled on down the road to the next aid station. For good measure, I dumped a cup of ice down into my knee brace for a bit of walking cryotherapy.

Hey this wasn't too bad!


After what must have been about 5 miles of walking, I was glad to arrive at the next aid station, as stale boredom was beginning to set in, and the race day adrenaline was wearing off.

Reality Check: The aid stations are just 1 mile apart.

Crap, this could be a long day.


The first bit of the marathon is 5 miles out and 5 miles back. By the time I got "back" into town, I was physically and mentally smoked. My heart rate was averaging 100 beats per minute. 10 miles is longer than I've ever walked in my life at one time. My quads hurt. My hip flexors hurt. My feet hurt. I was using muscles I'd never used before.

Doing the math in my head, I knew I could walk 15 minutes per mile and perhaps come in around 13 hours, since I biked somewhere around a 5:35. How bad could that be?

The long 8 mile trek out to the energy lab awaited. I was 2.5 hours into the longest hike of my life.


Each step out to the energy lab was pure torture. My knee was throbbing at this point, but I found that if I locked it out and walked with my right leg only, I could go almost pain-free. This was easiest if I stayed in the drainage ditch by the side of the road, so all the way out to the lab, I walked in a cement culvert type of thing, with my right leg higher than my left, so that I could lock out my left leg in full extension.

After already bicycling the last 50 miles solo, my right leg was already dead, and now it was going on pure mental drive - an order from my brain not to stop.


At mile 12, I decided I hate carbs.

I hate soup with crackers.

I hate pretzels.

I will throw-up if I see another Powerbar.

NO, I don't want that gel you're offering me, Mr. Volunteer, do I look like I want sugar? Give me meat and cheese.

Gatorade. No.



Top comments and my desired response that I did not give:

COMMENT FROM SURFER DUDE: "Just walk it off, man, walk it off. Cramps suck."

RESPONSE: "Thanks for the assumption that I'm cramping, but I've actually digested 12 styrofoam cups of sodium-laden chicken broth over the past 6 miles, along with 15 half-banana pieces. I have sodium and potassium coming out my ass. This is not a cramp. But thanks."


RESPONSE: "WTF? I just passed Mile 7! Are you playing mind games with me? Do you think you just string me along another 19 miles by telling me I'm almost there? You're going to be in bed in your pajamas by the time I get even halfway there."

COMMENT FROM VOLUNTEER: "C'mon, a slow jog is faster than a walk!"

RESPONSE: "Buddy, I was just passed by a 75 year old age grouper like I was standing still. I realize the physics of movement dictate that I am going to get spanked by the shufflers. Thanks for reminding me."


And indeed. During my humbling trek, I was quickly passed by grandmotherly, spandex-clad retirees, men with beer guts, and guys with no legs on handcycles.

There was the girl who said, "Just remember you paid 500 bucks for this." As she power walked by me. Oh geez, thanks, that was uplifting.

The guy who said, "I hafta keep my heart rate under 125 or I get heat stroke." As he disappeared into the sunset up the highway, leaving me in his dustl.

Oh yes, and the army guy in combat boots and full army fatigues, doing some kind of military fundraiser. Marched on past. Go army.


It was dark as I made it to the halfway point in the energy lab. All I had to do now was walk 8 miles home. My entire body felt like crumbling to the ground. I was tired. Wet. Soggy knee brace. Sunburnt. Sleepy. Disappointed.

I walked under the Ford Inspiration Station at mile 18, where people can leave you encouraging messages. Jessa had left one, but it didn't show up. Maybe the readerboard broke down. I almost did. The anticipation of a message had strung me along the past 3 miles.


I GOT A GLOWSTICK. They handed it to me as I stumbled out of the energy lab. I don't even know what to do with it. I tucked it in my shorts and kept walking.


The long walk down the highway from the energy lab was the worst. I started talking to myself and hallucinating.

"OK, let's see, mile 19 to 20 is going to be like walking from my house to Albertsons, here we go!" Then I'd picture the big Albertsons grocery store on Argonne, and walk to it.

"Done grocery shopping, now let's take our groceries over to the Rocket Bakery and get some coffee, over at mile marker 20.5". And off I'd go, jabbering mindlessly.

Out loud. People probably thought I was nuts.


The stories I've heard of the Ironman walk involved somehow hooking up with some kindred spirit to stroll with and learn your fellow athlete's life story and motivation. There were none of these friendly companions during my death march. Just long silent dark highway.

I was glum by the time I got back to Palani Drive to walk the last mile to the finish line. Volunteers and crowd participants cheered me on, but I had nothing left to give but a half-hearted smile. I just wanted to go home and be done with this thing. I was limping at this point.


The final 400 yards and the finish line were anti-climactic, and had a very different feeling from last year. Mike Reilly announced, as I crossed the finish line, "You've just fulfilled a lifelong dream! Ben Greenfield, YOU ARE IRONMAN!"

I didn't feel like Ironman. Or a fulfilling dream. Over the next 2 hours, I eventually gathered all my belongings and made it back to my hotel room where I crumbled into the bathtub, barely unable to stand, sit, or bend either leg.


OK, yes, I know that wasn't the happiest blog posting!

But here is what I learned:

1) DON'T QUIT. I learned more about perseverance and mental toughness during this Ironman than any other physical endeavor of my life.

2) RESPECT. Anyone spending more than 12 hours on an Ironman course now has my deep respect. Something about the point where it get dark is incredibly mentally challenging.

3) UNDERSTANDING. I learned much about what happens on the race course AFTER it begins to empty out. The loneliness. The quiet. The boredom. I understand much more about the experience of Ironman.

Ultimately, I am glad I fnished. I wish it could have been a better race, but that's the way the chips fall. I haven't yet decided if I'll race Clearwater. I'm signed up, have plane tickets, lodging, and everything squared away. I'll spend the next week rehabbing, then make that decision. I had two very fast 4 mile runs and a 2 hour brick completely pain-free during taper week, but I exceeded the volume that my legs were ready for in this race.


That was the last Ironman for the next 2 years! Time to take some time off from the volume and work on speed. I'll bounce back from this race stronger than ever. I promise. Look at Rutger Beke. He was 800-ish in this race last year after walk-jogging a 5 hour marathon. And third this year. He said that last year's marathon was the reason why. He learned alot. So did I.

Over and out.


Kona Race Report: Part I

Here I like awake at 2am with the post-Ironman insomnia you veterans are probably familiar with. So I figured, what the heck? Might as well type.

Precursor: I am more sore than I have ever been in my life from anything. Any Ironman. Any trampling from a herd of cattle. Any severe beating with a bamboo stick. Anything.

Precursor #2: Today was the hardest physical endeavor of my life.


I awoke exhausted. Not good start to Ironman. Once again, between crying children and my nerves, I slept the usual amount that i slept the entire week: about 3 hours. Lying in bed with the alarm blaring at 4:45, I did not feel like doing anything except rolling over and passing out. Not a good sign. My throat hurt, my head was foggy, and I just felt...tired!

But once i got out of bed, I was able to find a little spring in my step and gather my belongings, then head down to the race start. Once again, those of you familiar with Ironman know that race morning logistics are one big circus. Already exhausted, I stumbled my way through body marking, bike set-up, swim preparation, and pre-race nutrition and hydration.


From the moment the gun sounded, I knew something was off. I just wasn't in a good mood. I wasn't motivated to push. I half-heartedly sat on the feet of a group of swimmers ahead of me up to the sailboat turnaround, where I looked at my watch and saw 0:28. Way off goal, especially with more current swimming back. It took 0:32 to return and my swim time ended up 5-6 minutes longer than anticipated.


Despite a physically sound taper, my brain was "tired" on the bike. I just couldn't get the turnover. By the time we rode the first 9 miles and headed out of town, I was ready to be done. During the ride, I spent more time in my second chain ring than ever. But at least my knee wasn't hurting!


Jinxed it. About the time we started ascending into the headwinds of Hawi, somewhere around mile 45, I felt a twinge in my knee and slight amount of pain. It seemed lower than usual, more patellar tendon, so I pulled over, stretched, then kept pedaling. Halfway to Hawi, I stretched again. Then again at special needs bag. The knee felt OK at that point, but when I stopped to stretch. I just wanted to curl up and fall asleep by the side of the road. My eyelids were heavy and my head hurt.


Coming down off Hawi, there were ferocious crosswinds. Forced to lean to the left, into the wind, I began to use my left knee (the bad one) quite significantly. I think that did the final trick, because when I came back onto the highway from Hawi and headed into the final 35 mile stretch, the IT band began to hurt. I was determined to make it back into town, so I switched to "Right Leg Only" pedaling, staying as light on the left leg as possible. My right leg was exhausted just 10 miles later.At every aid station, I stopped to stretch. I did not pass a single cyclist in those last 35 miles and I was passed what must have been hundreds of times. The highest my heart rate rose coming back was 137, 4 beats below my minimum goal heart rate for the race.


AFter what seemed like an eternity, I arrived back in Kona and dismounted. I could barely walk. I took nearly 5 minutes to limp to my bike.rack. When I sat down in the transition tent, I nearly fell asleep. I wanted to crawl into a dark corner and just sleep for hours and forget everything.


But he last thing I wanted was a repeat of Canada, where I sat for 10 hours after dropping out of the race and watched hundreds of athletes finish during the time that I could have been out at least walking the marathon. So I grabbed two rolls of flexible medical tape, sat down, and wrapped my patellar tendon and IT band. I slathered on insane amounts of sunscreen. I grabbed a banana. I slammed two Delta E's, because I needed a serious pick-me-up. Then, I started slowly walking.

My long day was just getting started.

...to be continued....

Friday, October 10, 2008

Quick Kona Friday Update

Still on 3-4 hours of sleep per night.

I woke up this morning with a cold, after attempting to sleep on the patio to block out the crying babies. Since I *never* get sick, I'm thinking it has something to do with the sleep. Keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't morph into anything full blown before tomorrow. I have a headache and I'm congested....I'll race either way, but it'd be nice to feel a bit better. I'll go to bed very early tonight.

The rest of the body feels good (from the neck down).

Race starts in 17 hours and counting.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

2008 Official Kona Race Strategy

This post is designed for those who want to A) follow the race online at ironmanlive.com (race #1688) and see if I'm on pace; B) learn how to properly fuel the body and pace for Ironman according to nutrition and physiology science.

There will be some distinct nutrition and pacing strategy changes from the 2007 Ironman Hawaii strategy. I try not to post this *too* close to the race because I don't want everybody stealing my ideas and then spanking me on the race course. ;)


Official Ironman race start is at 7am. Body marking begins at 4:45.

Breakfast 2 hours prior to race start (5am): 2 sweet potatoes (~400 calories) + 6 Enerprime + 2 Hammer Gel Race Caps + 3 CREO2. The Race Caps and CREO2 would be a bit more effective it taken closer to 45 minutes prior to race start, but I don't want to worry about taking them while in transition. Just one more thing to remember, and I'll be scatter-brained as it is.

Extensive IT band stretching and 20 minutes of full body Yoga in my hotel room prior to the race. I've found that this drastically reduces my knee pain, and while increased muscle elasticity can inhibit force production, I'd rather be pain-free than get that tiny extra bit of wattage.

Be at race by 5:20-5:30am for body marking. Sip 18-20oz of water per hour leading up to race, with 1 dissolved Nuun electrolyte tab in each bottle. Very short 5 minute run for warm-up. Consume 2 Enerprime powder packets at 6:15. Be in water at 6:45. Bring one GU Plain Gel out to water to be consumed 5 minutes prior to race start.



Swim heads south in a clockwise direction with buoys on right. I'll start in front of the giant floating Ford sign, which will shield me from a bit of the madness. Rather than sighting off a strip of land jutting out into the water from the Kona Royal Resort for the out portion, like I did last year, I'm really not planning on doing much sighting at all. Just draft, draft, draft. I worked on drafting in IM Canada and I really feel I can put together a solid swim by staying on the faster swimmer's feet. In the past few days, the current tend to be much harder swimming back in, so I'd like to be around 25 mintues or so at the turnaround.

I'd like to come out of the water sometime around 7:55pm. I realize this is 5-6 minutes faster than last year, but my swimming has been very solid leading up to this race. I'll be wearing a velcro strap around my left IT band, just above the knee, to keep me from kicking at the knee. The last thing I want is an inflammed knee before I even get on the bike.



In swim to bike bag: 2 Hammer Gel Endurolyte caps and 1 GU Plain Gel, 12oz clear water.

On my bike in transition: 5 plain GU's and 4 GU Roctane on my down tube (hacked off Profile Design water bottle, click here for details).1 28oz aero bottle full of clear water. 1 tube with 20 endurolyte caps (for 4/hour). 3 Clif Blok packets in my swim to bike bag, in flavors Black Cherry, Pina Colada, and Margarita. These are my tasty "treats" that I get at the end of each hour, and I literally just stuff them up the legs of my bike shorts. Also, I'll be wearing a special IT band strap above my left leg.

Also in swim to bike bag is my heart rate monitor, which I'm not going to wear during the swim. I'll have it pre-programmed for my bike aerobic threshold. This is 141, so the monitor will be set to beep when I drop below 141, or go above 151.

Coming out onto the bike, I'll be using the old Peter Reid trick and holding back until I've eating a Powerbar, which will be taped to my top tube. Not that this is the "ideal" food, but it will be chewy and keep me from going too hard, too soon.

Every 30 minutes: 2 Endurolytes.
Every 20 minutes: 1 Plain GU or 1 Roctane (alternate between the 2).
Every hour: 100 cal of Clif Bloks.
Every aid station: 3/4 water bottle for about 1.5 water bottles per hour (around 30oz).



Split bike section into 7 sections:

1) Out of pier and T1, through town, to Highway 19 (~9 miles). Resist urge to push and show off to crowd. Enjoy and smile.

2) Highway 19 to airport (heavy crosswinds, ~6 miles). Stay out of draft packs.

3) Airport to Kawaihae (some headwind, primarily crosswind, ride conservatively, ~28 miles). Hold back, this will be when the legs start to warm-up and I'll want to push a bit, but shouldn't. Watch HR monitor.

4) Kawaihae turnoff to Highway 270, up to Hawi turnaround (ride a bit harder, tailwind will be coming up soon and my legs will get a rest, ~17 miles)

5) Turnaround, tailwind back to Kawaihae (spin out tailwind, continue solid pace, 17 miles). Pick up special needs bag with 2 more Clif Blok packs and another bottle of Endurolytes just in case I need more.

6) Kawaihae to airport (crosswinds, let legs dictate pace, ~28 miles). Pay attention to nutrition, don't make any mistakes.

7) Airport to T2 (~6 miles, spin out legs, start to go easy, don't try for any impressive splits, prepare for run).

I'd like to be off the bike sometime around 1:15. My bike split last year was a 5:15, and I'd be fine with this, as I think it'd be best for my knee. I could be faster, and wouldn't be surprised with a 5:05-ish, but we'll see.



Bike to run bag will have another HR monitor pre-programmed with 151 for low HR and 161 for high HR. Also, another bottle of clear water, and more Delta-E if I need a B12 megabooster pick-me-up. 1 more canister with 20 e-caps, to be consumed at 2 every 30 minutes. I'll hold these in my free hand.

No bottle of GU or Roctane on the run. I'll be using aid station Powerbar gels and bananas. As much as I'd like to take a flask of GU with me, I find that I can focus on my run cadence and protecting me knee when I have as little distraction as possible. I will be focusing on 300 calories/hr for the run, with about 1 gel at every 2 aid stations. You never are able to squeeze all the gel out, so this will come out close to 300 calories.

Lots of ice down the shorts and the back at every aid station! 3-4oz sips of water at each aid station based on *thirst* for the run. Research has shown that thirst is a decent indicator of hydration, and I will pay attention to get at least 20oz of water/hr on the run, but if I'm thirsty, I'll drink more than that.

At run special needs, I will have more Endurolytes if I need them, as well as an Ace bandage if I need to wrap my knee at that point.

Last year, I split the run into the following portions.

1) T2 to Alii Drive - let legs settle from bike, 8m pace (~4 miles)

2) Reverse course back to Palani Road - speed up slightly, 7:00-7:30 pace (~4 miles)

3) Queen K Highway to Energy lab - maintain pace, stay mentally tough (~10K)

4) Energy lab - possibly slow down just a bit, run conservatively (~4 miles)

5) Energy lab to Palani turn - kick it up a notch if legs feel good 6:45-7:15 pace (10K)

6) Final mile - ENJOY LIFE!!!

This year, I am instead going to run through TWO aid stations at about an 7:45-8:00 minute mile pace, then stop at the THIRD aid station to stretch for 60 seconds. Basically, I'll just be doing this EIGHT times. Very simple, but that's how I'm going to have to string the knee along. If successful, this will result right around a 3:40 marathon.


You do the math. If I pace this correctly, I'll be finishing right around 5pm. If I have a fantastic race, I could be done at 4:30. I'm going to approximate that I'll finish right at the 10 hour mark if the knee holds. If not, and I have to walk, it could be later, but that's OK! I'll still cross the finish line. I'm not going to destroy my body in the process.

OK. That's it. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers. A huge shout out to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, who will be praying every hour for my health and strength.

Sorry in a hurry, gotta go, more to come on Friday!


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Kona: Days 3 & 4

The photo above is "Dig Me Beach" in Kona, where hundreds of triathletes swim every morning leading up to the race, in an attempt to A) keep the muscles firing for race day and B) show off their tans, shaved legs, and technological swimwear. People line the sidewalk to watch and throw day-old bread to the swimmers. The bread floats on top of the water, and we come to the surface to munch the soggy morsels in our technological swimwear. Mmmmm....


Day 3: Monday
I spent Monday morning at the Ironman Medical Conference, where I assisted Ray Browning in teaching a bike fitting workshop to a group of sports medicine physicians and health care providers. What was really fantastic was that the girl who we fit had pre-existing knee pain that disappeared after we finished.

What we did was take a hacksaw and some pain numbing cream and basically amputated her right leg at the thigh.

No, it involved some cleat rotation and shimming. It's always satisfying to fix a problem. If you want to check out more of this type of thing, visit my website for Champions Sports Medicine.


Didn't really train much on this day, other than to attempt a 30 minute run to see how the leg feels. Knee still hurts just a bit, but I'm pretty sure I can stiff-upper-lip it through the marathon. Or get that hacksaw again...

In the evening, Jessa and I went to a little hoeur d' ovres dinner for the medical conference, then went to bed. At 8. That felt weird. Incidentally, we went to bed that early on Sunday night, and every night since we've been here. When you're in the same room as the babies, you just kinda go to bed when they do. I feel like a retiree. Maybe I should switch to the 70-74 age group.


Day 4: Tuesday

In the morning, I swam out to the floating coffeeshop, sponsored by Coffees of Hawaii. It floats about 750 yards off-shore, and on the way out, I noticed a banner anchored to the ocean floor that read "Espresso Bar" with an arrow pointing towards the boat. Talk about creative marketing. Of course, coffee tastes like C-R-A-P when you a mouthful of saltwater. But, hey, it still beat Starbucks.


After the swim, I registered for the race. Interestingly, the required weigh-in went as thus:

"Sir, can you please weigh yourself on this scale?"


"Thanks, I'll be right back." The weigh guy wanders off. I shrug and step onto the scale. It reads 175. Let's see, since I'm wearing my backpack and bike shoes, I'll just guesstimate 170. Uh-oh, here he comes...

"Alrightee, so what did ya weigh?"


"Fantastic, go snag your goodie bag."

Ah...the detalied rigours of ensuring an injury and illness proof Ironman...

Later in the day, I rode my bike to GU house. GU is one of my sponsors, and they not only provided me with gel and Roctane fo race day, but also let me take my entire backpack of sweet potatoes and shove them into their house oven, since my hotel room lacks any cooking devices.

When I returned from my ride to snag my sweet potatoes, there was some official interview happening inside, so I couldn't retrieve my potatoes. I rode back to my hotel. Hopefully someone turned that oven off, or all that will be left of my pre-race breakfast will be little burnt starchy turds.


I *really* wish I had brought my camera's USB cable, because at 5pm on Tuesday, I marched with Terran and River under the US flag in the Ironman Parade of Nations. Jessa got some good pictures, and I threw out tons of candy to the crowd, making my tiny contribution to the childhood obesity crisis in America. I tried to throw the tiny Tootsie rolls to the fat kids, and giant Lollipops to the skinnier, more Ethiopian-looking ones, but I'm not sure how good my aim was...


OK, I want to finish this blog with a shout-out to my sponsors who have helped me out so far during my trip to Kona:

AVIA - the best shoes in the world gave me a rocking pair of kicks to race in, snagged some extra elastic shoelaces and race belt for me, paid a ton of my race registration fees, are going to be throwing a rockin' dinner and race viewing party later this week, and are basically some of the coolest people on the face of the planet. Who needs ZOOT clown shoes?

Specialized - not only for the bike I'll be riding, but also for snagging me a pointy helmet to wear so I didn't have to pack my aero lid...

-Bumblebar - tons of bars for the plane ride down and a contribution to my new favorite post-swim meal, a Chocolate bumblebar wrapped around a banana.

-Millennium Sports - CREO2 endurance creatine product for race day!

-Champions Sports Medicine - Nothing like having a doctor walk up to you while you're having breakfast, "Ben, do you need any cortisone shots in your knee today?". Now that's service. I opted for the Arnica rub instead.

Check out the many more sponsors on the right side of the page...there will me more shout-outs to come!



Coming tomorrow: The Official 2008 Kona Race/Nutrition Strategy!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Kona Day 1 & 2: Sleepless

Kona Day 1:

We departed the Spokane airport at 9:30am, and for our first two flights, the twins were well behaved. On each flight, we had a little bag with chocolates and disposable earplugs that we handed to our airplane neighbors. Included inside the bag was a cute and tiny note that read:

“Hi, we’re River and Terran! This is our very first plane ride, and we’re very excited, but we might get a little nervous, so please be patient.”

People dug it. How can you give a dirty look after getting a note like that?

The note was not my idea. I stole it from someone. I also do not crochet doilies, arrange fruit baskets, or do sponge painting. I am not that guy.

Nonetheless, despite the good karma of our goody bags, on our final flight (LA to Kona), the kids totally sucked for about the entire first 3 hours of the ride. And when I say sucked, I’m not talking about mommy booby. I thought I was going to lose it several times as they squirmed, screamed, and hollered bloody murder for nearly 180 consecutive minutes.

About the time I was ready to just take them into the bathroom, shut the door, and spend the rest of the trip sitting on the can with my babies, they finally fell asleep and we made it through the landing without incident.

It’s a freaking chore to take car seats, stroller, diaper bag, baby food AND all my Ironman triathlon gear across the country. But we learned quite a bit about baby travel on the way down. Important lessons in life, like that the Sonic milkshake trick really *doesn't* work.

Day 2:

At 3:30am, the kids were up and screaming.

After comforting, playing, and hanging with them until 6:30, we figured we might as well go do something fun since we were awake. So Jessa signed up for the local 5K, stopped at Lava Java and grabbed a coffee, then she ran while I pushed the kids around. We got a picture that I'll post later, but mommy was the #1 female.

We went grocery shopping, then I assembled my bike, rode an hour, swam 20 minutes, then did a 20 minute infrared session with my Kenkowave. Tried to nap after with the boys. Kids still screaming every time they hit the crib. I'm a walking zombie rightnow. 4 hours of sleep so far in the past two days.

Kona was not hot today. I was windy, overcast and a bit humid. If race day is like this, it'll be a breeze. There I go, jinxing it! Just thank me when it's 104 with 70mph gusts and 94% humidity. Remember that you can track the big race on Saturday at the Ironman Live website.

Later this week, I’ll be recording a really cool podcast with some fantastic endurance research from BenGreenfieldFitness.com.