I CAN Turn Left!

When I learned to swim six years I turned my head to the right to breathe. I have always turned to the right. Like Zoolander, I can’t turn left.

Breathing right has worked well for me so far. Occasionally I think it would be nice not to have to stare into the sun if only I could turn my head to the left, but it hasn’t been awful enough for me to worry about it.

Things have changed. I entered the lottery to compete in the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, and I got picked! Everyone I’ve talked to has said that it’s an amazing race experience and that the swim is really difficult. So I turned to the interwebz for advice. There’s plenty out there, and the one that made the biggest impression on me noted that the wind pushes the water in San Francisco Bay to break over swimmers from the right.

I breathe to the right. The waves come from the right. I don’t like to inhale water. I now have a really good reason to get comfortable breathing bilaterally.

When I’ve tried this in the past, I’ve never liked it. Everything felt wrong. But I’m motivated now.

So two weeks ago, I just started. On November 2nd, I hopped in the pool without much of a plan except to swim. Okay, actually I knew that I would start with drills, just like six years ago when I learned to swim.

It was humbling. It didn’t feel quite as bad as when I first started swimming, but it was incredibly difficult. I felt breathless and stopped at the wall a lot. Going beyond 100 yards at a time was difficult. When I was swimming, I noticed all sorts of inefficiencies in my stroke. I had a poor catch, leading to a weak pull and little power. I weaved down the lane “like kids bowling with bumpers,” Sir Alex said. My legs dropped on every breath. I raised my head higher than normal, yet I still seemed to be inhaling a lot of water.

But I kept at it, progressively swimming longer and faster unstructured sets . . . which still felt difficult and included a lot of stopping. (Fortunately, I’m not building fitness for any specific event just yet.) At the end of the first week, Sir Alex said she admired how I was just going at it, only breathing to my left.

At first it was a conscious effort not to turn my head to the right, but by the start of the next week I knew it was time to restart the “Swim Cards Against Humanity.” I was a little intimidated, since the workouts are intense enough on their own, and my first two workouts were uninspired. I cut one short, but I kept going.

This morning after the first few strokes of my warmup, I had a revelation. My stroke felt really good on both the right and the left when I didn’t breathe, but when I started turning my head I wasn’t ready to inhale. Instead of “biting” for the air, I was exhaling and then trying to get a quick gulp. So I would end up either taking in water if I kept my regular rhythm, or I would raise my head too much and break my rhythm to get some air.

Basically, I was holding my breath.

So I gave myself permission to breathe on my right/happy side going down pool to see when I was exhaling. Turns out, it’s much earlier than when I breathe to the left. On the return trip back down the pool I started to exhale much earlier. I got a better mouthful of air, and I didn’t have to raise my head as much, which elevated my hips and gave me better extension. That in turn improved my hold on the water during the catch and pull. Once again, I felt like I was swimming downhill.

The main set of 3×400—each one descending in time and negative split, of course—would be the real test, since it would be the longest I’d swam continuously breathing to the left. How would it go?

Success! I’m still not as fast when breathing to my left as to the right, but I think it’s just a matter of time. Maybe I will even learn to breathe bilaterally, alternating sides as I swim. Wouldn’t that be crazy?

Posted in Reluctant Triathlete, Swimming | 5 Comments

On Alchemy, Suffering, and Half Marathon PRs

On Halloween, I ran a half marathon PR at the hilly Ashland Half Marathon.

Before I talk about the race, please indulge me for a brief digression about alchemy, the attempt to turn common elements into gold. Medieval alchemists mixed lead with other materials, pulverized it, heated it, and chilled it. The hope was that there was a secret recipe discernible to the select few, who would then become wealthy and powerful. It never worked out for the natural philosophers of yore. Atoms don’t like to change from one kind to another. It’s just not the way nature works. (Except for radioactivity, but let’s ignore that for now.) It did heavily influence a bunch of modern chemistry, though. Yay for that.

Racing seems a bit like alchemy to me. The idea that you can take a bunch of raw materials—weeks and months of training—and then, with the application of the right amount of suffering, turn it into a shiny result on race day.

So lately, like any good alchemist, I’ve been tinkering with my recipe, looking for the right amount of suffering to add to the mixture. With too little effort, I meet feel good during and after the race, but it won’t have that golden glow in my memory when I think about how I probably could have pushed harder and obtained a faster time. On the other hand, if I push too hard, the first half of the race might seem perfect, but I’ll end up spoiling it by the end. I confess that it’s difficult for me to find that magic point between too hard and too easy, but I’ve been working on it for a while now, and I’m closing in.

Now we return to the race. Most of the half marathons I’ve run have started after more than three hours of swimming and cycling. In fact, I haven’t run a standalone 13.1-miler since New Bedford in 2013, when I finished in 1:42:42. I’ve raced those triathlon-based half marathons by heart rate, doling out my effort evenly so that I could make it to the finish. This has worked well. It feels difficult but doable. It also feels like I could have worked harder. It’s possible that’s true, of course, but probably not as much as I might think. After all, those 13.1 miles at the end of a half-ironman hurt.

Going into the race, I knew I didn’t want to rely on heart rate alone. I’ve been running my recent trail races by feel. My results at each have been very good, even though my heart rate has been much higher than my triathlon efforts: just below my threshold heart rate, which I can sustain for about an hour. I wasn’t going to ignore how hard my heart was working altogether, but I decided that I wanted to try for a PR, meaning my pace would be paramount.

Sir Alex as Wonder Woman, and Kristin as Sir Alex

I heard Sir Alex call out to me during registration. Dressed as Wonder Woman, she was helping people who had decided that today seemed like a good day to run a half or 5K. It was, in fact, a perfect day to race: 40°F (4°C) and sunny with almost no wind. We chitchatted a little bit as she handed out race numbers before I headed out to warm up.

Despite having raced a few times already in October, I was feeling fresh. I had discussed my strategy the day before with Robyn, my running/triathlon/skiing friend. While warming up I talked myself through that strategy. “Relax at the start, expect some hills, hold steady through the first 10K, expect a big hill in the second half, and try for a 7:30-8:00/mile (4:40-5:00/km) pace throughout. This is going to be difficult. Expect it to hurt.”

The race started fast, and I was okay watching about 40 people run away from me. I knew this would happen, and there was no way I would be able to hang with people running almost 2:00/mile faster than me. We headed through downtown Ashland and turned onto the Boston Marathon route, which is mostly flat, until we headed right and entered some hills. There were a core group of runners around me, and after a while I started to figure out their strengths and weaknesses as we passed and re-passed each other. As for me, I’m good on the flats and downhills but not as good on the ups.

The Start

(That’s me wearing bib #1131 in the gray near the middle/right.)

My first few miles were 7:22, 7:51, and 7:29, and I was feeling pretty good. Don’t get me wrong; it was tough. Nevertheless, it felt like an effort I could sustain. I went through 10K in 47 minutes, which might be the fastest I’ve ever done in a race. With almost half of the race done, I would soon find out whether I had put too much effort in already, since I had close to an hour left.

I realized at that point that—unlike previous long races—I didn’t feel mentally burned out. Gone were the thoughts like “How much longer is this going to go on?” and “Running a half-marathon takes forever!” In fact, I wasn’t thinking much of anything. I was concentrating on my form and staying with the people in my group and just turning my legs over. I half-attempted to read the words written on the back of someone’s shirt but only because they were there. I had feelings more than thoughts, and I was feeling capable.

Seven miles in, we looped around onto the Boston Marathon route again, which started a 3-mile downhill/flat section, which was perfect for me. I could hear Maureen laboring to keep up with me. (I learned Maureen’s name from all of the people she knew along the course.) I passed a guy whose headband held his earbuds tight.

The Green Street Monster

We rounded a corner, and the guy next to me quietly blurted out, “Oh . . . fuck.” I’d heard rumors about “The Green Street Monster” before, but I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so steep. I dug deep and found my “granny gear.” Earbud/headband guy pulled away from me. I concentrated on trying to stay with him, until I switched to trying just to see him. Thankfully, it was a short hill. Steep to be sure, but mercifully short. We went gradually uphill for another mile, until we were less than two miles out.

The payoff for Green Street was sweet but not easy. I pushed myself hard, deciding to give everything I had left. I couldn’t quite catch earbud/headband guy, and Maureen passed me with about a mile left to go, but I didn’t really care; I was racing the clock. My Garmin wasn’t matching the distance markers on the road well, so I couldn’t tell how far was left. Upon arriving at an intersection I recognized, I knew there was only about 800 meters left, and I put the hammer down. I rounded a corner and saw the finish. The clock read “1:39″ and some seconds. Would I be able to go under 1:40?

Yes! I crossed the line in 1:39:50, finishing 46th out of 296 and 10th in my age group. I was elated, having turned my suffering into gold. I walked for a couple of minutes to lower my heart rate gradually, when I ran into Sir Alex. We celebrated my almost-three-minute PR with a hug and some conversation.

Hurrah for suffering!


p.s. — The race time predictor from Runner’s World, estimates that I could run a 3:28:09 marathon. (It’s very precise.) That sounds crazy! It would be a PR by almost 32 minutes. Crazy. It seems worth a try though, no?

Posted in Life Lessons, Reluctant Triathlete, Running | Leave a comment

Spreadsheeting

A few weeks ago, Victoria asked me about “spreadsheeting.” I mentioned that I keep track of my triathlon details in Excel, and she wanted me to tell her about that workbook. Here goes.

Triathlon results spreadsheet

First the basics. Every triathlon I’ve done is in one spreadsheet. As of Ironman Wisconsin it has 16 events. Each event gets its own row. It currently has about 35 columns:

  • Race, year, age group, and distances
  • Times: overall, swim, bike, run, T1, and T2
  • My rank in each leg overall and in my age group
  • The fastest swim, bike, run, and transition times for the day (both overall and in my age group)
  • My swim, bike, and run paces
  • My percentiles for the each discipline and finish time (overall and age group)
  • My time as a percentage of the best time for each leg
  • The number of people in the race
  • Some random notes

I didn’t always keep track of all of these. For example, the percentiles and the ratio of my times to the best splits are recent additions.

Raw triathlon data

Gathering the data isn’t always easy, and it usually involves scraping data from webpages for each event. From there, it’s a bunch of sorting and resorting and copying and pasting . . . and analysis.

What you analyze is up to you. I like to see how my swim, bike, and run are progressing at the same race or distance from one year to the next. I also use it to see where my strengths and weaknesses are compared to my peers.


p.s. — Don’t hate on me because I haven’t yet updated my Mac to El Capitan. I had some driver + Java compatibility concerns early on. I’ll get there soon.

Posted in Fodder for Techno-weenies, Reluctant Triathlete | Leave a comment

Powisset Farm Trail Race

Autumn is here

I’ve been on a bit of a tear this month when it comes to racing. I did a 5K trail race on my birthday (the 4th) and a 4-mile trail race the next weekend (on my Mom’s birthday) where I talked to the director of the previous week’s 5K afterward. We had paced each other for the whole race, me leading out the first couple of miles until we crossed over a long dam where she pulled away, pulling me along for the second half. It’s been fun and very laid back. It reminds me why I love running and trail-running in particular.

On the 18th, I ran the Powisset Farm Trail Race. The 8.3 mile race had been on my calendar since I learned about it at TriMania in March, but somehow it snuck up on me.

This was really three different races, but before I get into details, let me start by noting that the night before the race was our first killing frost of the season. It was 27° (-3°C) when I got to Dover. All of the volunteers looked really cold, and most of us athletes stayed in our cars until about 7:30 when it was time to get ready to race.

I was all bundled up when I left the house, but by the time I did my first 1/4 mile of warmup I was (indeed) warm. I stopped back at the car, took off my jacket and long-sleeve shirt, put on a short-sleeve shirt, donned the jacket, and headed out for another lap. Still too warm, I went back to the car again, took off my jacket and shirt, put on the long-sleeve shirt, and left the jacket in the car. This presented logistical challenges, as I now had to find a place to put my insulin pump, but I got that sorted out and ran another 1/4 mile or so.

The first part of the race was your typical XC-style course: mostly flat, mowed grass, and fast. The 5.6-mile and 8.3-mile races started together, and even though it felt easy (at first) everyone was flying. The super-hot, German woman who started just ahead of me was off like a shot, and I wouldn’t see her again until after the finish. I tried to take it easy and watched as about 20-30 people gradually pulled away from me.

Following that first 1.5 mile loop, we crossed the road into the woods, which is when Gillian Welch’s song “Caleb Mayer” came into my head, where it would stay as my constant companion for the next 6.8 miles. I’m not sure why an almost 20-year old folk ballad about an Appalachian moonshiner attacking a woman who ends up killing him popped into my head, but at least I knew all of the lyrics.

Once we entered the forest, the pace was still pretty aggressive, and I could hear feet behind me and see people ahead of me most of the race until we got to the very steep climb up Mount Noanet at mile 4. Coming down was an act of controlled falling. Then there were more gradual downhills where I was flying. I love trail running!

The 5.3-mile folks split off to finish while the rest of us made a second loop, fortunately this time without the wicked climb. The second loop was in some ways easier—because I knew what to expect—and harder—because there was no one on my heels or near me to try to catch. With 1.5 miles to go, I started working my way through the back of the 5.3-mile field, which gave me a bit of a boost. About a mile from the finish, my continuous glucose monitor told me my blood sugar was heading toward hypoglycemia, but I was almost done and I didn’t 100% trust it. Around that time I got a stitch in my left side, which I did my best to relax myself through.

And then I was done. 1:10:24 for 8.3 8.4 miles, an 8:24/mile average pace good enough for 19th of 88. Trail races are never consistent though. My fastest mile was 7:23. The slowest, 9:12.

I found the woman who took off with the fast guys at the start of the race. She was easy to find; I just needed to look for the Norse goddess hanging out with the handsomest looking guy on the planet and the most adorable child. I asked her if she won. “Ja,” she said. “How about you?” Well, I didn’t win, but I’m happy with my time. She was surprised by the bigass hill in the middle. We both agreed the 1.5-mile starting loop didn’t fit with the rest of the race, but that the forested course is fantastic. It turns out she won the 5.6-mile race outright, beating the fastest man by over 2:00.

Next Saturday, I’m running a local half-marathon. Fun fun fun!

Here are some pictures from the race.

First killing frost

Autumn in New England

Après race hair

Posted in Running | Leave a comment

Swim Cards Against Humanity

A few days back, Caroline asked about the Swim Speed Workouts card deck by Sheila Taormina that I’ve been using for the last 2-3 winters. So I thought I’d give a little review.

Swim Speed Workout #2-2


Swim Speed Workouts is a combination of 50 waterproof workout cards, a very small book, and some more laminated cards which describe the in-water and resistance tube drills the workout cards use. The 50 cards are organized into 16 weeks of three workouts: two workouts of 2,000-2,300 yards and one “She-Ra” workout of about 4,000 yards. I’ve never been badass enough to do any of the She-Ra workouts, which are transcriptions of Taormina’s training sessions during her Olympic training. There are also recovery and taper week workouts. (I’ve never actually used those either.)

Taormina is a major proponent in the high-elbow catch and pull, and she makes a really compelling case for it in her book Swim Speed Secrets. (The mini-book part of Swim Speed Workouts is a heavily abridged version of this longer book.) The fastest swimmers in the world use shoulder extension to grab water, a high-elbow catch leading to a vertical forearm early in the pull, a strong core in coordination with some body torsion to execute the pull, and a propulsive finish. The purpose of each session—which is clearly stated on the card—is to improve an aspect of these phases and coordinate them into a powerful, efficient stroke. Most workouts are broken down into a warm-up of about 300-500 yards, a drill set, a main set that usually includes shorter distances at higher intensities, and (frequently) a kick set, plus a brief warm-down. The earlier weeks involve more drills than the later ones, which see more strength building.

Winter has been a perfect time for me to use this workout card deck. By doing the two regular workout cards focused on form and strength-building—plus a third, continuous “long swim” of 2500-3500 yards—each week, I get four months of focused off-season training without too much volume. Due to pool closures and travel, I usually finish these 16 weeks in March, right around the time my 26-week plan for a 70.3 or Ironman is set to start. And each spring I’ve ended the off-season stronger and swimming faster than the end of the previous year. All of those drills pay off! Repeating the card deck has unexpected benefits, too: I don’t have to relearn the drill or its purpose. So I do them better each winter, which lets me focus on where I’m still inefficient. (This winter I’m hoping to better coordinate my core, kick, and arms.)

Come spring, I’ll return to my workout binder, which is more about building strength and speed through hard workouts than becoming a more efficient swimmer. Those workouts are longer (3000+ yards) and involve bigger blocks of continuous swimming. Basically, they’re more like what I do when racing. Until then, I’ll be working on the little things.

See you at the pool!

Posted in Swimming | Leave a comment

I’m Feeling Lucky

Things I Googled this evening:

Dexcom G5 Animas Vibe — As in, “Does the Dexcom G5 work with the Animas Vibe?” — It doesn’t look like it . . . yet. Of course, to communicate with the G5 the Animas has to talk Bluetooth, and I don’t know if it’s likely to do that anytime soon.

Men swimming with Animas Vibe — Where would I put an insulin pump when swimming? I’m not saying the lady folk have it easy, but there’s not very much room to stash stuff in my swimmers. Sadly, this did not turn up anything more helpful than “clip it to your swimwear.” When I’m wearing a wetsuit and/or tri kit, this should be straightforward: just stuff it in a pocket. But I’m not sure about the pool. Hmm, maybe it will stay put if clipped onto the back waistband of my swimmers. Hmm.

It should be pretty obvious that I’m ready to try something new, starting with the Dexcom CGM, since I’m pretty unhappy with the Medtronic Enlite. Time to make some phone calls.


BTW, I learned that Dexcom can integrate with TrainingPeaks via the Share app. Sweet!

Posted in Data-betes, Diabetes, Swimming | 1 Comment

Autumn

Riding the trail

Many thanks to Lisa for the excellent picture from our post-work ride yesterday.

Posted in Cycling | 1 Comment

Go, Jeff! It’s Your Birthday!

Sunday I ran a 5K on the trails. I was missing competition and feeling like a slacker in the three weeks since my IM, so I decided to lace up my new trail-running shoes and have at it. Plus, they were forecasting rainy, hurricane-like conditions for my birthday, and this seemed like just the right amount of suffering as a prezzie for myself.

It was so short that I’m going to give you an almost real-time recap of the event, starting the morning of.

7:30 — Wakey wakey! It’s time to go race!! Woo! What’s up with all of this sun? If this were a triathlon, I would probably be swimming by now. And seriously, sun? I thought there was supposed to be rain.

8:50 — Guess I’d better leave the house. I need a chance to warmup before the race, otherwise I’ll spend half my race getting in the groove. Man, it’s warmer than I expected! Better grab a short-sleeve shirt.

9:10 — This guy directing me toward registration seems very friendly. Hmm . . . There are more fast-looking dudes here than the last time I ran this race.

9:15 — The gray-haired woman at the registration table only has dollar bills for change, and I get 15 of them. I wonder if I joked that I can now go to the gentleman’s club and make it rain on my birthday whether that would go over well. Better not risk it.

9:30 — I’m warm. Time to change the shirt. And grab a banana from my bag. And test my blood sugar. 210 mg/dL (11.7 mmol/L). Meh. Let’s take a wee bit of insulin, too.

9:45 — A couple of miles for a warm up seems good. These new shoes . . . I dunno if they’re going to have enough arch and ankle support. They definitely have copious, grippy tread, though. I remember the beginning, on-road part of this race feeling long. It’s true. Try to hold back at the start, Jeff. Pffft, whatevs, Jeff’s brain. Let’s go for another 10 minutes or so.

9:50 — Shit! Everybody’s lined up. I’m going to miss the start.

9:55 — Oh hai, everybody. We’re going to sing the national anthem? I don’t like singing the national anthem. Mostly because I don’t like to sing. And it engages the liberal arts, social constructivism part of my brain, which really I don’t have time for right now. “. . . can you see, by the dawns early light? . . .”

9:57 — I forgot that the race director is a crier. She’s keeping it together really well. Oh god, she’s thanking the volunteers; this could push her over the edge. Whew! She held on.

9:58 — I’m just going to move to the right a bit so that I’m not behind these two 10 year-old girls. They could be badass awesome, for sure. Or I could need to move over in about 100 yards. These guys’ shoes look fast. I’m not going to be in front, but they seem like good people to follow.

10:00 — And we’re off! TOO FAST! T-O-O F-A-A-A-A-S-T!! Oh, fuck it. YOLO.

10:04 — STILL TOO FAST! At least we’re off the road now.

10:06 — Hello, person to my left. Let me introduce you to my elbow. I’m not going to run through that tree you’re edging me into. It’s my line, yo.

10:08 — Hey, first mile. This is where my face almost became one with the forest floor last time. These shoes are awesome! This is starting to feel pretty tough.

10:10 — There’s that uphill I remember. Gah, this sucks. Why do I run 5K races? Because—like heroin—they’re plentiful and cheap. Now shut-up brain and run.

10:15 — “Heartbreak Hill” . . .Hahaha! That’s funny.

10:16 — Must. Not. Vomit.

10:18 — Oh goodie! Downhills!! I love Love LOVE downhills! Sweeeeet!

10:18:15 — Ugh. Uphill. Again.

10:19 — Sweeeeeeet!

10:22 — Oh crap! I’m not sure I’m going to make this turn coming off this fast downhill after going over a rock wall and crossing a street. Whew. Made it. I see the finish!

10:23 — Nobody’s going to pass me now.

10:24:26 — Wooo! Done!!

10:24:29 — Oh, don’t throw up. Let’s just keep walking.

10:25:29 — “Hey good job, kid!” How old is this little speedster? 8? 9? [He was 8.]

10:27 — BG is 200 (11.1). Just what I expected. Hey, there are still donuts left! Go, Jeff; it’s your birthday. Eat a donut like it’s your birthday.

10:27 — That guy who directed me to registration thinks my name is “Dan” and that I had a good race. I hope Dan isn’t too confused the next time they meet.

10:28 — Well, I guess it’s time to go home and get ready to celebrate the rest of my birthday with Lisa.

Posted in Running | 3 Comments

Québec

Hey, y’all. Sorry to be absent recently. I’ve been pretty busy with work. Part of that led me to La ville de Québec, where I attended IEEE’s International Conference on Image Processing. That was fun!

I had a few goals:

  • Learn what people are currently doing with image processing and which algorithms are coming.
  • Talk to lots of customers about how they use MATLAB in this space.
  • Do reconnaissance for when Lisa and I visit Québec someday.
  • Buy some francophone CDs.
  • Try to find the best pastries in town.

It’s a beautiful city and quite a bit different than Montréal, more touristy and francophone. 95% of the inhabitants speak French as their primary language. It’s also kind of sleepy. It took me several days to make it to a record shop that was open, since many stores close by 6PM. And Oh mon dieu! is it hilly. Everywhere from my hotel was either straight uphill or brutally downhill. It’s so hilly that they’ve built stairs every half-kilometer or so along the cliffs; there’s an elevator, too.

I found some fabulous pastries and ate some other delicious food. I enjoyed the pain au chocolat and frangipane croissants at Panetier Baluchon on Saint-Jean. The almond and raspberry croissant was a masterpiece. The brioche aux framboises at Boulangerie Pâtissière le Croquembouche on Saint-Joseph was really, really good. I had a delicious crêpe at L’Accent on Rue Honoré-Mercier, and I enjoyed my burger at Les 3 Garçons on Saint-Jean.

It rained buckets one evening, so I spent an extra 15-20 minutes in Le Knock-Out! record shop waiting out the downpour and talking about Québecois musicians with the record shop proprietor in a funky mix of French and English. We’d start out in one language until we hit our limits and then switch to keep the conversation going. It was clear that she was impressed with my knowledge of Canadian francophone music and gave me some excellent recommendations, even though she occasionally thought my taste was a bit provincial. «Pfft. Louis-Jean Cormier est devenu trop populaire.» I gave my best gallic shrug of indifference. (I kept my love of catchy francophone pop music and Acadian country-folk chanteuses to myself.)

In short, I had a good time. And yes I did plenty of work while I was there. Here are some pictures from the trip. (Click on any picture for a larger view.)

Posted in Photography, Travel | 3 Comments

The Data Says, Don’t Overthink It

Monday night I sat down to plan out my off-season recovery season. Part of this is thinking about what I want to do between now and spring—a trail race or two, trekking in Patagonia, and another Knighthood quest, perhaps?—and what my key triathlons and events for next year might be. It’s too early to say for sure what I’m going to sign up for beyond the NE Season Opener tri that I’ve done every May for the last five seasons, but I can tell you that I entered the lottery for next year’s Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon in San Francisco. Challenge Maine in late August is always fun, and if the timing is right, Ironman 70.3 Muskoka could show up on the calendar, too. We shall see.

There will also be plenty of cross-country skiing. Oh yes, there will be!

Another part of planning is figuring out what to focus on during base training, that lightly structured time of the calendar aimed at building aerobic capacity without adding lots of fatigue. There’s no real plan except not to overdo it. Still it needs to have a little bit of direction, and for this I need to know what my strengths and “limiters” are. Where do I need to invest time?

So I did what any self-respecting triathlete would do, I went to the data. I keep a spreadsheet of my results, which includes my times and placing by discipline. It also includes the best swim, bike, and run results overall and for my age-group.

I noticed some interesting things in that spreadsheet.

First, the basics: I’m getting faster, both in absolute terms and in comparison to my fellow competitors. Yay! Also, my age group is tough. I consistently do better overall than against my fellow 40-44 year-olds.

Now here’s the interesting bit. Looking at where I place relative to other people in the race, my bike is the weakest of the three disciplines, and yet I am closer to the fastest time on the bike than I am during the swim and the run. I find this fascinating, especially since the bike is always the longest of the three legs; you might think I would lose the most time here.

Also, I excel on the run, which is both strange to me, since I’m not particularly fast compared to the fastest runners—I’m consistently 25-30% slower—and also not really a surprise. I passed 263 people during the marathon a couple weekends ago. Seriously! I went from 898th at the end of the bike to 635th at the finish line. I was a bit shocked to see that. It put me in the top 80% of marathon times.

What then do the next six months have in store for me athletically (beyond not taking anything too seriously and having fun)?

More strength work for sure. I’ve found that this helps my results and resilience. My races are faster and (*touch wood*) my body is more capable of enduring all of the workouts and racing with less injury. The muscles from my hips to the middle of my legs get the most tired and are the most likely to hurt during and after the bike, so I’m going to give them some extra attention.

At the pool, I plan to go through the Swim Speed Workouts program again, since it has really helped over the last couple of winters. And there are a few body position tweaks I want to make to get a little bit more efficient. I’ll wait until spring to focus on any actual long swimming.

Running will be what it will be. I’ll keep doing a couple of small outings along with a long run each week, but I won’t really stress it. I’ll hit the trails and have fun and work on honing my mental sharpness. I would like to get faster, but I really wonder how much more my body can give me here.

The bike though . . . Oh the bike! I’m going to keep getting outside whenever the weather is good, but the bike and I are going to have so much fun with Sufferfest videos in the “love dungeon” this winter. If I’m going to get faster on the bike, I’m going to have to work hard at it. This is the winter to see if I can push myself on the bike.

How about you? What do you have coming up? How are you spending the recovery season?

Posted in Fodder for Techno-weenies, Reluctant Triathlete | 2 Comments

When It All Started

It was fun to go back and reread the original post from almost 5 years ago in which I said I was going to do a triathlon. Oh, silly Jeff, if only you knew where that issue of Triathlete magazine would take you . . .

Posted in Reluctant Triathlete | Leave a comment

Jeff Mather, You’re an Ironman

This is a long post. I wish I knew how to make it shorter, but I don’t. It was a long event anyway. :-)


“You’re having a great race! Your paces are exactly what you had estimated. I’m so proud of you!” I was about half a mile from the beginning of the second lap of the run when I saw Lisa in the middle of the cheering crowd on State Street in Madison. She was so excited when she said, “You’re going to be an Ironman.”

That was about 10 hours into the race. Let’s back up a little, shall we?


The days leading up to the Ironman were a strange mixture of family and friends, work and working out, and travel. I arrived in Milwaukee on Tuesday and stayed with my cousin and her family for a couple of nights. We watched baseball and walked around Cedarburg, buying pastries and freshly baked breads. She kidnapped me after a full day’s work—her working on medical charts in her living room and me at her dining room table—for a hike along Lake Michigan. It was a nice transition to the Midwest.

I did my last swim workout in the Cedarburg High School pool, feeling very slow and then being surprised at the numbers I saw on my watch. (“100 yards in 1:37? Huh.”) I hadn’t swam inside in weeks, and the still water of the pool felt strangely foreign to my wetsuit-less body. It didn’t help that the guy one lane over, Tim Miazga, is a national champion swimmer and Paralympian. It was really inspiring when I looked him up online after my swim.

On Thursday I checked in for my Ironman. They looked at my ID and passed me a bunch of papers to read and sign. They gave me my swimcap and timing chip and all of the numbers I had to attach to my bike and myself. They weighed me in: 157.3 lbs (71.5 kg). The volunteer talking to an athlete next to me said what all of us were thinking. “No one has been happy with the number they see. Most people weigh themselves first thing in the morning . . . without their shoes on . . . naked in their bathrooms. And it’s a taper week. So don’t worry about it.”

That evening I met my Riding on Insulin teammates for dinner. It was really inspiring to see so many people with type-1 diabetes getting ready to do an Ironman. We ate and chatted and talked about our training. We talked about the $120,000 we contributed and/or raised for the ROI charity to help type-1 kids go to ski and snowboarding camps, helping them feel empowered to take on the same athletic challenges as kids without diabetes.

The next morning, I picked Lisa up at the airport, and we drove the bike course before meeting some friends from college who let us stay at their house in Madison. Saturday, we checked in my bike and the bags with my run and bike gear, and afterward they showed us around their town, taking us to the massive farmers market and leading us to some of the best ice cream I’ve had. We had dinner, and then Lisa and I headed off for an early bedtime.

I had been nervous in the days leading up to the race, but I decided right before bed that the die was cast; there was nothing that I could do now, and that there were 3,000 volunteers there to help ensure everything would go as well as possible. Diabetes might be a challenge, but that’s a given. The swim might be crazy, but that’s a given, too. The bike course looked hilly but not too bad with some fast corners. Nothing to worry about there. The marathon will be hard, so why worry about it. And I slept well for the first time in a week.


It’s wrong to say that I almost missed the swim start, but I had only been in the water less than a minute before the cannon went off. As a result, I barely had a chance to get settled, and I definitely didn’t get a chance to swim out to where I had hoped to be. When the race started there were almost 2,000 men and women together in Lake Monona, and we all began what I can only describe as “swimming meets mixed martial arts.” I wasn’t freaked out by having no space to swim as much as disappointed that I had to give as much suffering back as I was receiving. People were grabbing my feet, legs, and arms. I felt the hollow thud of my elbow connecting with someone’s head. The space between two swimmers would mysteriously disappear just as I was trying to swim through it and move myself closer to the front of the pack. When people tried to move across my line, I had to nudge them out of the way. It was pandemonium.

And then it was over. 2.4 miles in 1:16:22.


Back on land, I was greeted by a wall of sound. Mike Reilly announced my name for hopefully the first of two times of the day, and thousands of spectators lined the entry to the Monona Terrace and all the way up the Helix, the spiral ramp leading up to the convention center and transition. It was amazing! I had taken the volunteer’s advice from check-in and given myself a moment on the swim to look over and see all of the people on the shore and in Monona Terrace cheering us on. It was a beautiful, moving sight. It was the first of many such moments of the day.

The day’s conditions were perfect for racing. At 7AM, when we got in the water, the air was a cool 50ºF (10ºC) but I didn’t feel cool heading onto the bike course. When I returned 6:23:58 and 112 miles later, the temperature had gone up to 70º (21º). The course was mostly flat with some gently rolling hills and a few very steep climbs . . . and a whole lot of turning. Each of the big uphill sections was crowded with fans who had parked (sometimes) miles away and walked to line the road. In many places, only one lane was passable by riders. It was amazing to watch people move back like a wave as I rode as close to the center-line as possible. The hills are my forte, and they were cheering me as I passed people. They were cheering us all really, but I got some great compliments. At one point I waved an arm, and the crowd cheered even louder. It was such an incredible moment. By the second loop, some of the crowd had returned to town to cheer us during the run, but there were still people everywhere.

The bike felt pretty good, and I didn’t really have any dark moments on it. About three hours in, I stopped at an aid station to check my blood sugar and mix some Nuun with my water. When I started riding again the muscles in my upper legs felt really stiff and painful, just as they had at the very hilly Quassy half-ironman. This concerned me a little bit for the run, but having experience early this year helped me know that it would work itself out. So I backed off the pace for about five minutes to clear away the pain. Coming back into town after the second loop in the countryside was surprisingly good. We had a nice tailwind, but I could see that a lot of people were hurting. I got passed by many people out on the course, but I was really happy with how well I was executing my plan.


Back into transition and out again onto the roads for the final leg: a marathon. I’ve only run one of these before. It took me exactly four hours, and I didn’t much enjoy it. I was hoping that having a different strategy would make it better. My plan was not to look at my pace per mile but focus instead on my effort. On the bike I tried to keep my heart rate around 135-140 beats/minute, and I wanted to stick to 145 BPM on the run. Actually, I wanted to keep it around 135-140 on the run, too, but I knew from past experience that I can’t really do that. So, 145 was my goal effort.

The first mile my effort was good but my pace was too fast: 8:10 for the first mile. “You can just knock that shit off,” I told myself. The second mile was down to 8:30, and the third 9:05. “That’s more like it!”

Despite getting my pace under control, I wasn’t really liking the marathon. My body was tired, and I didn’t really feel like eating. I’d been drinking well—I thought—all throughout the bike, taking in five water bottles (100 oz of fluid) over those six-and-a-half hours, but I could tell I was starting to get a little dehydrated, since I had lost interest in food. I remember going through a rotary in the fourth or fifth mile and thinking “I really don’t want to run a marathon right now” and “Wouldn’t it be nice just to be done already?” But I also felt like my plan was going well and I was going to be an Ironman finisher soon and let’s just keep going. So I completed my first half of the marathon in almost exactly two hours, and I was feeling really good.

And then suddenly I hit a wall. Whether it was more emotional or physical I’ll never know, but it was the most stressful, difficult part of the whole day.

Before coming to the turnaround point to start the second lap, a volunteer asked me if I would need anything from the “special needs” bag I had packed. It only had two gels, a tube of glucose tablets, and a really cheap headlamp. I was getting ready to pass it by when I remembered that I’d eaten a few glucose tablets midway through the bike, so I was running a little low and wanted to be topped up.

Less than half a mile later I was back in the same spot picking up my bag after passing the “Finishers to the right, second lap to the left” sign. Almost seeing the finish and having to run the other way and then having to get things from my special needs bag that I didn’t think I would need—I left the headlamp—made me think about how far I had left to go. So when I finished testing my blood sugar after the special needs stop, I just couldn’t bring myself to start running again.

I had seven more hours to do a half-marathon, and if I had to use all of it, fine. But knowing this and that I was giving into those thoughts and that I couldn’t will myself to run was heart-breaking to me. In the first minute of walking I saw one of my ROI supporters, who walked along the sidewalk with me for a moment, asking about my blood sugars and encouraging me on; not to run, just to keep going.

Less than a mile later I saw Lisa and walked with her for a few dozen yards. I was holding back tears and said, “I’m tired, and I just want to be done.” She reminded me about those words she’d said about a mile earlier: “You’re having a great race! Your paces are exactly what you had estimated. I’m so proud of you!” It helped, but as I walked on I was really fighting the urge to just have a epic, bawling cry.

Eventually a few tears did fall, but when I saw a few of my ROI teammates at mile 14.7, I decided to start running again and try to catch up with them. And then I caught up with them and we chatted for a minute before I started to run for a few more minutes, stopping and starting a few times over the next two miles. At mile 17 I walked for another mile and a half. At this point I just wasn’t feeling my 100% best physically, but emotionally I was doing better.

And then I got to the big hill on Observatory Drive. It’s short but steep, and everyone was walking, and that’s why I knew that I needed to pick that point almost exactly eight miles from the end to start running. If I could run up that hill, I could probably keep going for another couple of miles. If I felt like walking a couple of miles after those two, then so be it. We would see what happens.

And I just kept going after the second and third and fourth miles. I started reframing the rest of the run in terms of the running I do around my neighborhood, and it became very manageable. My pace was back to around 9:00/mile, and I was keeping my heart rate just where I wanted it until the last mile when I decided to leave it all out on the course. I finished the marathon in 4:19:21.

The crowds in the last couple of miles were fantastic. They were loud and possible buzzed, and we were buoying each other. With a mile left to go, I came upon a competitor pushing another person down the course in a wheelchair. He had pulled him on the swim and the bike, too, and they were just over a half-marathon away from becoming Ironmen, too. I let the energy of the crowd for them carry me along until I passed them and then once I was ahead of them a bit I motioned for the spectators to give all of us some cheers.

The finish line was simply amazing. I had been smiling for most of the last two miles, and I was beaming when I finished. I crossed the line at 12:20:29, stopped, and took a bow. It was the best feeling—not just to be done, but to have done this particular thing. Six months I’d been training for it. Or five years depending on your perspective. Or 16 years. In that moment it felt like what it was: the pinnacle of my athletic achievement so far in my life.

Within moments I had handlers on both sides of me to make sure that I was doing okay. And I was . . . at that moment. I heard a shout of joy and saw Lisa in the crowd and went over to get a hug from her and to hear her say how proud she was of me. It made me want to cry a little bit again but for all the happy feels this time.

I had my picture taken in front of an “Ironman Wisconsin” backdrop. Twice actually, since I felt the need to flex my muscles after the first one. And then I sat for a couple of minutes, drinking some water and talking to Christian, my volunteer/“chaperone.” Eventually I stood up and then sat back down for a few minutes. And then we decided to go to the medical tent just to have them look me over.

The first thing they did was weigh me. 148.7 pounds (67.6 kg). I’d lost almost 10 pounds in fluid over those 12+ hours. They gave me a liter of saline and some chicken broth as we chit-chatted.

My fluids all topped-off (well, not exactly) they released me back to Lisa, and we spent the rest of our evening/night talking about my race and her experience spectating. I ate a burrito . . . slowly. We got back to Gwen and Dan’s house and discussed the race for a couple more hours. I was sore.

A day later I’m still a bit rough around the edges, and I probably will be for another couple of days, but I’m riding an emotional high right now that’s incredible. I’m so happy for all of the encouragement and congratulations that I got during and after the race. And I’ve been just as excited seeing my teammates’ enthusiasm and hearing about their races, both the good and the bad.

Who knows what my next challenge will be?

Posted in 101 in 1001, Cycling, Diabetes, Life Lessons, Reluctant Triathlete, Running, Swimming, This is who we are | 9 Comments

Where are we? How did we get here?

Tomorrow’s the Ironman. How did we get here?

There was that time in late 2009 when Lisa suggested that we go to the pool before our 2010 trip to Australia so that we would look good and not drown when we snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef. That’s pretty much when I learned to swim. On the way home I watched an hour-long recap of Ironman Australia. I thought, “I swim. I bike. I run. That could be interesting.” I also thought, “Wow, that seems like a really long race. It’s kinda crazy.”

Barrier Reef

Barrier Reef

Later in 2010 Caroline suggested that we do the NYC Triathlon, and we both entered the lottery and lost for 2011 but then got guaranteed entry in 2012 because we volunteered at the event in July. That got me started doing triathlon in 2011, and it’s been part of who I am ever since.

Caroline is ready to cheer in the rain (if necessary)

Two-fisting cowbells

One evening before the JDRF Nashville ride in 2013 Lisa Ruth suggested that I talk to Michelle, who was trying to get a bunch of people with diabetes to do an Ironman. And I did. Lisa and I had a long negotiation about it, and eventually we decided it was not the worst idea ever.

JDRF ride

JDRF Ride

In July 2014 after RAGBRAI, I sat in Scully and Ryan’s living room after a week without internet access and signed up for the race.

Gooseberry pie

Dippin' in the 'ssippi

Ryan and Scully

Then I started training officially for it in March of this year. I did some training rides with a friend-of-a-friend who was getting ready for Ironman Lake Placid. I did a lot of other training rides and running and swimming. I ran 16+ miles to work. I rode my bike around Mount Washington.

There was that time in July of this year when I added two extra loops to the JDRF Burlington ride so that I could get to 118 miles and remind myself what it was like to ride the Ironman’s 112 miles. Miles 110 and 111 were the longest miles ever, and—for the first time ever—I rode the vast majority of a JDRF event by myself. It was good training for an Ironman, but I’m not going to do something like that next year.

JDRF Ride - Covered bridge

JDRF and Lobsters

Then there was that time a week later when I rode my bike in the mountains near Boulder. That was the hardest thing I’ve done on a bike in a long time. The ride started at over 5,000, which was 5,000 feet higher than I was at 24 hours prior. After an easy 10 mile roll out of town, I was climbing Left Hand Canyon, topping out (I thought) at Ward (9,450 feet) after an hour and a half of continuous climbing. (Seriously, it was all uphill without any descent.) A rider I met there while having a snack suggested that I should ride a little bit farther to Brainard Lake (10,500 feet), which seemed like a good idea at the time. And yes, the view was definitely worth it, but boy was all of the climbing over 8,000 feet really difficult. From there I rode along the Peak to Peak Highway before an hour long, very enjoyable descent along the St. Vrain River to Lyons. Turning south for the last 15 miles to Boulder was perhaps the most miserable riding I’ve done in a really long time. It was hot, windy, and rolling. I was tired and slightly dehydrated. I wanted to cry, but I remember what Victoria had told me and said this to myself: “Victoria said not to worry about the elevation and to smile. So smile, motherfucker!” And that did the trick.

Brainard Lake

Peak to Peak Highway

Saint Vrain Valley

Ice Cream

A couple weeks later my training was peaking and I did a brick that started with an hour and a half ride followed by a 20 mile run in three hours. That was tough, but I felt good about my run strength when I got done. I did not feel so great about my long ride the next day, which I cut short. I had to remind myself a bunch that one or two bad workouts didn’t mean I was in a bad place.

I simulated some triathlons and worked on my diabetes mojo, and I’m still not 100% comfortable with my blood sugar management during racing. I had a good race in Quassy in June, but a bad one at Mass State in July.

On the 30th of August, I put my bike on a truck to get shipped to Wisconsin.

Tuesday, I arrived in Milwaukee with all of my tri stuff in my carry on bag, because I wasn’t going to risk losing any of it. I stayed with my cousin for a couple of days. I enjoyed my time there with her family, even though I mostly just worked remotely. (There’s a really good bakery in town.)

Packed

Thursday I checked in and met my teammates. There are 70 of us doing the event, and 40 of us have type-1 diabetes. Seeing and talking with them helped take the edge off my nerves a bit. I’ve been really nervous about the race. I shouldn’t be, but this thing is ridiculously huge. I’m feeling better now, especially after I picked Lisa up yesterday and dropped my bike off today.

Tomorrow, I race. I’ll probably be awake a lot tonight, but I’m trying hard to remember that I’ve been working toward this for a really long time, that I’m ready to race, that I’ve done everything I can reasonably do, and that staying awake all night isn’t going to change any of that. I have 17 hours—although I’m hoping for less—and I’ll be an Ironman if it takes 11 or 17. I’ve been repeating to myself Victoria’s advice recently: Smile. When I’ve been thinking about the Ironman, I make myself smile, and that’s taken the edge off.

My plan tomorrow is to have fun. There will be dark moments, like on the JDRF ride and my outing in the mountains. There will be great moments, too. What I’m really looking forward to is the finish. How am I going to react as I run down the finishing chute? I don’t know, but I have 140.6 miles to figure it out.

Posted in Cycling, Diabetes, Reluctant Triathlete, Running, Swimming, This is who we are | 5 Comments

Back in the Black

Here’s a snapshot of the previous 25 weeks of Ironman training:

Last 25 weeks of training

All of this data comes from my Garmin, which has tracked (almost) all of my swims, bikes, runs, hikes, kayak paddling, strength workouts, and cross-country ski outings (which I brought a couple of top spotting scopes for bird watching along the way) for the last six months. What you see is all of that data analyzed by TrainingPeaks and transformed into a bunch of red and blue dots, a growing blue mountain range, and some very wiggly red and yellow lines.

Each red dot is a day’s worth of activity. The higher the dot, the bigger the workout. The biggest workout of the last half-year was almost exactly three months ago when I raced Challenge Quassy. TrainingPeaks calls this the “Total Suffer Score,” or TSS.

The blue dots are the intensity of the workout, based on heart rate and pace. 1.0 is theoretically working at threshold pace for an hour. Since most of the highest dots are swims, I’m a little skeptical of this part of the view.

The blue and red lines are measures of fitness and freshness. Fitness is, basically, the positive result of all of that training. As you would expect, the more that I’ve worked out, the more fit I’ve become. TrainingPeaks measures this on the blue line with what they call “Chronic Training Load.” All of that training comes at a cost, though: I’m tired. Some weeks I’m more tired than others, and this is mostly a function of how much hard training (“suffering” if you will) that I’ve done in the previous 2-3 weeks. The red line measures this “Acute Training Load.” You’ll notice that it varies a lot more quickly than the chronic load (blue line). The higher this red line, the more I’ve suffered recently and the less I likely can give to future workouts or races.

All of this brings us to the yellow, “Training Stress Balance,” line. This is the ultimate measure of “freshness.” When this line goes negative, I have less than I can give to future workouts. When it’s positive, it’s more likely that I’ll be feeling ready to go, with muscles and joints that are up to the challenge.

Of course, fitness and freshness aren’t any good without the other. If I’m not tired because I haven’t worked out, I’m probably not going to do my best. Same as if I’m very fit but overtrained. The key is to maximize both the blue line (chronic training load) and the yellow one (training stress balance).

Yesterday I went back into the black with my training stress balance! Of course, I’ll dip down again after today’s third “do-it-yourself tri,” but I’m glad to see the taper is working. I should peak just in time for Ironman Wisconsin.

One more week!

Posted in Cycling, Data-betes, Fodder for Techno-weenies, Reluctant Triathlete, Running, Swimming | 1 Comment

August is done. I’m ready to taper.

Well, well, well. We just finished another month, which this time around coincides nicely with the end of the biggest block of training in my Ironman plan.

It was some pretty intense training. In fact, it was so intense that I wasn’t able to finish it exactly according to THE PLAN. I had some pretty good workouts, and I also flirted with over-training. Fortunately, I felt confident enough to dial it back a bit on a couple of days. A week ago, I did my longest training run ever—20 miles over three hours—and I did it after riding my bike for 90 minutes. The next day I was supposed to ride six hours. It was raining, I was tired and a bit grumpy, and I just couldn’t hit my target heart rates, despite having a high resting pulse when I awoke. I was 20-ish miles in when I got to a “T” intersection. If I went right I would start a 3-hour loop. If I went left, I could be home in 15 minutes. I chose the shorter route and have no regrets.

I can’t say the same thing for one of the other workouts I cut short. Last Sunday, I was actually feeling really ready to do my second “do-it-yourself tri,” which would be my last big workout before my 2-week taper. Following it I would lower my volume significantly to be ready for the Ironman on September 13. Unfortunately my infusion became dislodged during my swim, and during the bike I saw the highest numbers ever on my BG meter. I was halfway through my three hour ride, when I saw a 490 mg/dL (27.2 mmol/L). I retested. Only 430 (23.9) the second time. I finished my ride feeling a bit miserable and retested: 550 (30.6). This is dangerous territory, especially since the insulin and cycling weren’t lowering me at all. Dehydration, disorientation, and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) could follow along with a ride to the hospital in the back of an ambulance. No running for me. Call it an “aquabike” if you’re feeling charitable; a “DNF” if you’re not. I took some insulin by syringe before leaving the lake, went home, changed my infusion set, took a shower, and had a bit of a meltdown.

Fortunately, Lisa was there to remind me of something I had realized earlier in the week: At my current level of fitness, I have somewhere around 3-5 hours of buffer for diabetes shenanigans. (Also for “OMG-it-hurts run/walk shenanigans” and “difficult conditions on the bike or swim shenanigans.”) That’s a lot of time to fix a bike or high blood sugar, wait out low blood sugar, or walk the marathon. Finishing the Ironman isn’t a gimme, but it looks more likely than not at this point. (*touch wood*) I’ve gone through a lot of good swim-bike-run training and difficult mental bouts over the last five-and-a-half months, and I’m starting to feel ready. I’m not quite excited; right now I’m still anxious. But the excitement will come, and I’m looking forward to finishing.

Here’s what this last, challenging month looked like:

  • Swim: 13 times, 11:50, approximately 36,000 yards (20.3 miles, or 32.7 km) — The pool has been closed for the last two weeks, so I’ve been doing a lot of open-water swimming.
  • Bike: 15 times, 26:34, 445 miles (716 km) — The longest this month was 94.6 miles. The most fun was climbing Mount Wachusett after coming back from Wyoming.
  • Run: 15 times, 18:47, 123 miles (198 km) — I had my biggest week of running ever, logging 41 miles.
  • Hike: My mom and I took a 3-mile hike (at 9,000 feet) to the Big Horn Medicine Wheel, which was quite special.


Oh! License plates. My travels took me far and wide last month, and I saw a bunch of license plates. In fact, I saw all of the states and DC . . . except for Delaware. Congratulations, Delaware, you’re the big loser of the month. I also saw BC, Québec, Nouveau Brunswick, and Ontario.

Posted in Cycling, Diabetes, Reluctant Triathlete, Running, Swimming, Travel | 1 Comment