Thursday, November 5, 2009

Lazy Blogger

I just realized I haven't posted anything in a week. That doesn't mean I haven't been training. On the contrary, I've been working hard.

Sunday I had a good 55-minute run, followed by a good 45-minute run on Monday. My pace on these has been fairly quick.

Last night was the Tri-Delaware meeting. We held it at Elite Physical Therapy, so we had some PT's work with us on some stretching. I really stretched out my IT band and my hamstrings - big time. I was feeling great last night.

Today, my hamstrings weren't the greatest, but they felt ok. So mid-day, when I went to do an 18-mile run, I felt pretty good. My pace was quick and I PR'd my half-marathon with a time of 1:38:53 - about a 7:33/mile pace. Around mile 15 or so my hamstrings started talking to me, and I had slowed miles 16 and 17 down to 7:48 each. I was able to pick it up a bit in mile 18 to finish in 2 hours 16 minutes - a 7:35 average.

After the run, my hamstring were screaming at me. Sitting is ok, but standing is horrible. So lots of Advil, stretching, and Ben Gay for me tonight.

My goal for the marathon is to finish under 3 hours, 30 minutes at a 7:55 average. I hope I'm not jinxing myself, but I'm beginning to think that breaking 3:20 - and qualifying for Boston - is a possibility. I'd really have to push it for the last 8 miles to keep my pace, but if I'm having a great day, it could be there.

We'll see.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I've been a little - no, a lot - sore since the run on Sunday. My calves have been extremely tight, but I really needed to get in a good 45-minute run today. So I took a little extra time at lunch to hit the trail.

And much to my surprise my calves were ok and I nailed a great 10k in 44:50. That's a PR for me! Average pace of 7:21 per mile.

Feeling good with just 23 days left until the RB Marathon!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Two Weeks Later....

I hadn't done any training since the Cape Du because of a crazy work schedule and an illness, but yesterday I was able to get out and do a great long run.

I wasn't quite sure how well it would go after two weeks of nothing. But the sun was shining on what was probably our last nice day of the year and I was ready.

The plan was to do a two-hour run. I figured I'd head out on the trail and go towards the State Park, turn around at the hour mark and head home. My first seven miles were relatively fast, ranging from 7:45 to 7:57, and finishing at 1:57. This was good, since my goal for the marathon is 7:55. I could feel a blister starting to form on my right foot (I realized too late that I'd forgotten to tape it) but I kept going. What was the alternative?

My last eight miles were even better. My pace ranged from 7:30 to 7:47. I ended up doing about 15.25 miles in the two hours, averaging 7:45. Could I have kept that up for another 11 miles? Probably not, but it made the thought of 7:55 much more doable.

Another good thing form the run was that I PR'd my half-marathon time. I did 13.1 miles in 1:41:27.

All is good.

Today is a day off from training, which is good. I need to let this blister heal.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cape Henlopen Duathlon

Today was my first race since Ironman - the Cape Henlopen Duathlon.

The day started out cold, with me catching the alarm 2 minutes before it was to go off: 5:45am. Meyer went with me and we got to the site around 6:45 which meant I had plenty of time to rack my bike and warm up. There wasn't really any transition to set up since all I needed to do was throw off my running shoes and put my helmet on for T1 and just do the reverse for T2.

By the time the race started - 7:45 - the sun was starting to shine and it began to warm up. My pace on the first run was slower than I'd expected. I held back a bit, not wanting to burn up too early, but in retrospect I could have gone a little faster. First run leg: 1.5 miles, 11:16, 7:31 average pace.

T1 went well. I got through in 37 seconds, which was the second fastest individual T1. 2 relay teams were faster by a couple seconds, but since that's just a hand-off of the timing chip, I don't count it.

The bike started out bad. Before I even mounted, I had problems with one of my water bottle cages and dropped a bottle - twice! I finally took off, and settled into a good but challenging pace. At about mile 4 there were 3 speed bumps. Speed bumps?!?!? Well, I took the first one too fast and lost my water bottle, so no more water for the rest of the bike leg. The rest of the bike went well. Thank you to the state trooper who yelled at a car to get it to go (don't know what the driver was thinking) so I could miss hitting it by a couple feet instead of a couple inches. Bike leg: 14 miles, 41:26, 20.3 mph.

T2 went well too. I had a great dismount and only lost a second or two by a guy taking his time getting past my bike rack spot. I got the shoes on quickly and was off in 42 seconds - again, one of the fastest T2 times of the day.

The second run leg was tough at first. I didn't have the jelly legs that so many people get after the bike. I simply had tired legs. I was able to keep a decent pace, however, and actually pick it up for the last mile. I was definitely feeling the effects of not having that water on the bike. Second run leg: 3.1 miles, 22:12, 7:10 average pace.

My overall time was 1:16:11 which was good enough for 5th in my age group and 25th overall.

And as I always do, I came home after the race and took a nap.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Recovery Run

Today was a simple recovery run, after yesterday's brick workout. I was supposed to do 10 minutes in heart rate zone 1 and 20 minutes in zone 2. I didn't wear my heart rate monitor and just settled into an easy to moderate comfortable pace.

I ended up doing 4 miles at a 7:47 average mile. The good thing is that it felt very comfortable, which means my goal of averaging 7:55 per mile for the marathon next month is certainly doable.

Weather: 69 degrees, sunny
4 miles
7:47 average per mile

6 days 'til the Cape Henlopen Duathlon
47 days 'til the Rehoboth Beach Marathon

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Good End to an Easy Week

This week was much easier than I intended it to be. Because of some work obligations, I wasn't able to do all of my training sessions, and I substituted some Spinning classes (teaching them) for a couple workouts.

Today I did a brick workout. I did 26 miles on the bike at a 17.8 mph pace. Around the 3rd mile I passed a couple riding together. When I stopped at the next traffic light, they caught up. One asked, "Are you doing Florida next month?" I said no, that I'd just done Wisconsin. The other came up and simply said, "My hat's off to you, Ironman." (That tattoo must be more visible than I thought.) It lifted me up and my pace quickened for the next few miles, even thought there was a nasty headwind.

I had my shoes set up for the run so I could get a practice transition in. I got off the bike, had my helmet off and my shoes on in no time and was off for a quick 20-minute run. I caught up with a friend and ran with him for a half mile before turning around and heading home. On the way back I saw Meyer, who was out for a 7-miler. I ended up running 2.8 miles at a 7:05 pace. I want to get that down to under 7:00 for next Sunday's duathlon.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Run

Another pretty decent run this morning. Started before the sun came up, which was great because I got to run along the shore just as the sun was coming up. Beautiful!

I need to do more stretching throughout the day to make sure my calves stay loose. They were tight for a while during yesterday's run and again at the beginning of today's. Once they felt ok today, I was able to pick up some speed - enough to negative split.

5.2 miles
7:41 pace
Weather: 64 degrees, slight breeze

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Run

Meyer and I were signed up to do the Dogfish Dash 5k. We even picked up our race packets, t-shirts, etc. yesterday. And when we got up this morning it was pouring rain. We decided to skip the race in favor of a longer run later in the day. (Of course, it stopped raining right before the race began.)

But I just finished a great 75-minute run - exactly what my coach had set in my training plan.

9.64 miles
7:46 average pace
74 degrees, overcast, slight breeze

Total running distance for the week: 22.24 miles

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Morning Run

Wasn't sure I was going to run this morning after running last night, but I woke up earlier than planned and decided to get 'er done. Glad I did.

Weather: mid 70's, humid (86%), very light breeze, dark (pre-dawn)
7 miles
7:43 average pace

Felt good, though I need to watch my feet. I think I'm blistering again.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Now What?

I've done the Ironman, which was the whole reason for keeping this blog. I'd thought about shutting it down after the race, but I think I'm going to keep it up for a while. After getting a couple comments that people found inspiration in it, I'd like to think that perhaps someone who, like me, once question their ability to train for and complete and Ironman will read it and pursue the Ironman as their goal.

I'm going to keep training and racing, so this may simply turn into a training log for me.

And that's where I am tonight. I just went for my first solid run since the Ironman. It was a 5.6-mile run and it felt pretty good - 8:27 pace on the first half and 8:03 on the second half, for a total average pace of 8:15.

My next real race is the Cape Henlopen Duathlon in three and a half weeks. It's a 1.5-mile run, 14-mile bike, and a 5k run. I definitely need to kick in the training again. A week and a half off was way too much.

I'm back at it!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ironman Race Report

The alarm was set for 4:00am. But like most days lately, I got up about 15 minutes before the alarm. Actually, I hadn't slept much anyway. The combination of the Badger football win, drunk college kids, and the close proximity of our hotel room window to the street created a less-than-ideal atmosphere for sleep.

With special needs bags, wetsuit, and tire pump in hand, Meyer and I made our way up State Street to the transition area. How quiet the city seemed. The proverbial calm before the storm?

I got all of my pre-race stuff done (gear bags dropped, bottles/nutrition set on bike, tires pumped, body marked, porta-john visited) and hung out with the other athletes in the convention center for a while. Then it was time for a few encouraging words from Meyer and the walk down the helix to the swim start. The helix is actually the circular ramp that goes up the four stories of the parking structure for the convention center. It's a big focus of the Ironman Wisconsin transition.

I got into the water about 15 minutes before the start and just hung out in the water as the pros took off (10 minutes before we age groupers). And for those "in the know," yes, for a moment I was smiling. I watched the clock tick closer to 7:00 and got myself into position. Since I'm not a strong swimmer - and also very slow - I put myself towards the back of the pack right in the middle. This was perfect positioning because when the gun went off at 7:00 on the dot, I avoided the chaos towards the front as 2,406 of us began the swim.

My swim did not start very well. While I avoided the kicking and hitting that (mostly) is unintentional for a mass start, I had some of my usual problem of maintaining a steady breathing rhythm. Once I got to the first turn buoy, around the 1/3-mile point, I started thinking "just get 10 good strokes in." When I did that I thought "ok, now get 12 good ones." Then it was 15. This continued for the remainder of the first lap. I looked at my watch as I started the second lap and realized that I could finish the swim in the time I'd wanted if I kept the same pace. And now that there weren't that many other swimmers around me, I felt more comfortable. The 15 good strokes at a time turned into 30, then 40, then 50. Then I got sick of counting. And that's when I realized I was passing other swimmers. Wow! I'd never done that before.

The announcer's voice got louder. There was the last turn. I kept my pace and headed for the shore. My body was telling me that I was doing well, feeling good. But once I got to the shore, the sudden change of movement (standing upright) surprised me. Luckily there were volunteers there who were grabbing everyone and helping them out of the water.

Official swim time: 1 hour, 54 minutes, 20 seconds. Placing: 2,351 (only 53 people behind me)

I immediately got my wetsuit down to my hips, ran over to the waiting group of volunteers and threw myself on the ground. Two volunteers grabbed the wetsuit and pulled it off my legs in one fluid motion. Back on my feet, the volunteers handed my wetsuit back to me and yelled, "Now go!" I caught sight of Meyer as I headed up (yes, up!) the helix to the transition area. I can imagine the race directors as they were designing the course thinking, "Let's make these people swim 2.4 miles then run UP a giant ramp, four stories before they get to their bikes."

I got to the top, ran into the convention center towards the room with my T1 gear bag. A volunteer in the hallway asked for my race number. I told her, "1227." Then I heard "1227!" being shouted down the hallway several times. When I got to the bag room, a volunteer was right there with my gear bag in hand. And - my first "unexpected goose bump moment" - about 30 volunteers who weren't holding bags for other racers were applauding and cheering. It was incredible.

The volunteer, David, with my bag led me into the changing room, where he dumped the contents of my bag and helped me get ready for the bike leg. It was a good thing he was there because I started having bad stomach cramps and had difficulty bending to fasten the velcro on my shoes. David got me ready, fetched a cup of water for me and sent me on my way. After a quick stop outside of the convention center to have more volunteers slather my arms and neck with sunscreen I ran to the bikes. The "1227" shouts happened again and by the time I got to my bike rack, a volunteer was waiting with my bike, all set to go.

As I headed to the end of the bike lot, a volunteer behind me called my name and told me to look up. There were Mary Beth and Kathy - part of "Team Meloy" - shouting and cheering.

I was still cramping pretty badly when I got on the bike and rode down the helix on the other side of the parking ramp. Within the first mile I started passing other riders. Getting beyond the swim was my big mental hurdle. I knew I could do well on the bike. The cramps continued for the first five miles or so, and they weren't helped by the poor condition of the roads. My first high point of the bike leg was seeing my parents around mile 6.5. My uncle's house is right on the route, so Mom and Dad were there with him and his wife. I think I saw them first. I waved. They cheered. It was the first time I'd seen Mom and Dad on the course. What a thrill.

I got to Mile 14, which is the end of the "stick" that goes into the "lollipop" part of the bike course - the loop that we do twice before heading back to Madison on the stick. This was also where I started my ride on Friday. With increased confidence, I rode well and passed more riders. I was now passing several per mile, which concerned me that I was going to fast, but a look at my bike computer told me that I was going just fine - fast enough but not too fast to worry about conserving energy.

I was now able to start eating since the cramps had partly subsided. I downed a PowerBar Nut Naturals bar, a staple of my diet for the past few months. I also decided to rely on liquid nutrition for a while too. I had two bottles of Accelerade and would be able to get Gatorade at each aid station.

When I did the Eagleman 70.3 back in June I mentioned to a friend something about the high-priced disc wheels that many of the participants had. His reply was, "Doesn't it feel good to pass people who have them?" I couldn't say "yes" because I hadn't passed any of them. Until today. But I soon saw several pass by me.

At about Mile 25 (Mile 67 on the second loop) I saw a motorcycle fly by. I knew what that meant. And soon after I heard the familiar "whoomp, whoomp, whoomp" of a disc wheel as the first-place professional passed by. A few minutes later came the second, then the third, and fourth. They were flying!

Eventually, I got to Old Sauk Road and the hill. The hill that everyone talks about. This is a tough one. It isn't ridiculously steep but it is long. I'd been told to expect a Tour de France-like atmosphere and those reports didn't disappoint. There were names and numbers all over the road in chalk and a bunch of spectators lining each side of the road. Some ran along with our bikes while others had cowbells and noisemakers. One guy was wearing a woman's cheerleader outfit, but he was outdone by the woman next to him wearing a banana costume. I could hear one man cheering for the woman in front of me, and as I passed him he said, "now go get her!"

I wasn't liking the hills too much, having trained on nothing but flat roads in Delaware, but I found that I did most of my passing of other participants on the hills. The spectators helped tremendously, and what surprised me was which cheers really got me going. Heading up another particularly challenging hill, one spectator yelled, "Great cadence, 1227!" followed by another who yelled, "Nice arms, 1227!" (The latter gave me the bigger charge.)

We headed into Verona, which was the most spectator-heavy portion of the bike leg. There was Mom and Dad with Meyer, taking photos and cheering. It was so good to see them. I wondered where the rest of the Team was. I didn't have to wonder very long. A few blocks later I saw the red shirts and hand-lettered signs. I I'd have to have been deaf to not hear their shouts of the Team motto: "No speed limit!!!"

Just before the turn onto the second loop (Mile 56) the first age grouper passed by heading back to Madison. I was envious because he was at Mile 98, but a sense of pride swelled in me because I had not gotten lapped by any of the pro women. (Sexist, I know, but it was still a small victory for me.)

The second loop was a little tougher than the first. I'd now been on my bike for several hours and keeping the mind focused was just as difficult as keeping the body going. I was going up hills slower - still passing some people - but slower than I'd done on the first loop. My nutrition was getting a bit better but was still not where I wanted it to be. (I was trying to take in at least 275 calories per hour.)

I hit Old Sauk Road and the hill again. There weren't as many spectators this time, but now two guys at the base of the hill were shouting, "Welcome back! We missed you!" I smiled back but secretly thought, "thanks, but seeing you once was enough today." The male/female cheerleader was still there, and so was the banana woman.

Suddenly being hungry for a banana, I stopped at the 83-mile aid station for a quick trip to the port-a-john, a water bottle exchange, and a banana. It felt good to be off the saddle a for a couple minutes.

Heading out of the aid station, I did a body check. I was still doing alright. Stomach cramps? Totally gone. Legs? OK. Arms and shoulders? A little fatigued, but still ok. Mind? Hangin' in there. Only a few miles to Verona. That'll give me a boost.

I heard another spectator yell, "Nice muscles!" I looked around to see who she was directing that comment, thinking "maybe I'll just follow those nice muscles for a few miles." But there wasn't anyone else around me. I smiled and passed three more people on the next hill.

Verona, part 2. Mom and Dad weren't where they were before. They'd joined the others and their shouts were even louder. I was feeling great. Only 16 miles to go before on the bike.

The ride back toward Madison was pretty uneventful. Most everyone had settled in by this time so passing or being passed wasn't happening much at all. It seemed like such a short ride back to John Nolan Drive with the convention center drawing near. I could hear more crowds cheering as I headed up the helix (yes, up!) to the transition. I brought my bike to a stop as a volunteer grabbed it, held it steady while I dismounted, and took it away to be racked and I ran into the convention center to change shoes for the run.

Official bike time: 6 hours, 59 minutes, 36 seconds. Bike Place: 1,709

The run started out great! Actually too great. I couldn't slow down to the pace I wanted to start out with. My legs were going a bit too fast. As I ran around the capital square and turned onto State Street, I got my second big unexpected goose bump moment of the day. I knew there'd be crowds on State Street but I was completely unprepared for the thousands of spectators and the deafening volume of their cheers. It was astounding!

The first couple miles felt good. I was looking forward to Mile 3. My pace quickened a bit as I saw it. Right in front of me was Camp Randall. I turned to the right and headed into the stadium where my beloved Badgers play. But wait! Where is everyone?!? The stadium was empty. Running around the field was kind of cool, but now seemed anti-climatic.

As I headed towards the Lakeshore Path I was still feeling great. I walked through the aid stations, which had water, Gatorade, cola, pretzels, Power Bars, gels, you name it! But right after Mile 5 cam the hill on Observatory Drive. Wow! I decided it would be best to conserve my energy and walk up it. I looked around and most people were walking. I looked at calves, where everyone had their age written. Good! There's a 23-year-old walking. This 40-year-old will keep up with him!

We headed around past the Helen White Library - a good social spot during college days - and onto Park Street. Library Mall and State Street is just up ahead. The crowds on this end of State Street were just as big and perhaps even louder than at the other end. And there was the team. Mom, Meyer and Julie were all leaning out to get photos. The others were going nuts!

I hit the first turn-around (Mile 6.5) on a high.

Heading out Lakeshore Path in the other direction, I came up on a woman in a blue shirt. It had "American Cancer Society" printed on it, and she had pinned several ribbons on it, obviously representing loved ones in whose honor or memory she was competing. The best part was that she had also written on it in big letters, "Suck it, cancer." It was the best shirt of the day.

Throughout the day, I'd been looking for the "Janus signs." Janus, the investment company, had set up the Janus Inspiration Tent for several days before the race. They provided supplies for anyone to make a sign for any competitor and the Janus folks would place it on the route. I was already past Mile 8 on the run and hadn't seen any. Then, just up ahead, I saw one, and another one right next to it, and a third and fourth. For two solid miles, these incredible signs lined the course. It brought tears to my eyes (and as I write this, I find myself feeling the same emotions all over again.)

Right in the middle of all of these signs, we crossed what looked like a timing pad, but instead it was connected to a huge electronic sign. I looked up and saw on the sign, "D. Meloy #1227 Go Schmoopie" (Don't ask. It's an old Seinfeld thing.) Near to the Janus Inspiration Tent was another tent with kiosks for people to enter their good wishes - or lines from old TV shows - to provide an extra jolt of energy. It worked. Thanks, Meyer!

Now I'm headed back the way I came and still feeling pretty good although I've slowed down a bit. I round the corner on Henry Street and hear the crowds again on State. It is still an amazing sight. As I head around the capital square again, the guy running next to me speeds up and heads toward the right side chute. That's the finish line chute. I head to the left - the one where you turn around and do those 13.1 miles all over again.

The second loop is more of the same, only slower. At mile 15 my body starts to rebel. My feet are starting to burn. My calves, knees, quads, hamstrings, glutes, low back, neck and shoulders are all starting to hurt. My stomach is giving me problems. the only real food I've had is a banana. Everything else has been energy bars, energy drinks, and energy gels - all of which aren't helping much with my energy now.

This is when I start to walk. It's the only way to get through the hurt. I tried to keep my speed up by walking to the next cone, then jogging for two cones, walking for one, jogging for two.

The hill again. This time everyone is walking. The sun is starting to set, but there's State Street again. And there's the Team again. This time they hold out their hands for a high five. It really lifts my spirits. As I hit Dad's hand he says, "One more hour 'til you're an Ironman!" For the second time on the run my eyes teared up.

Six miles to go. I'm walking in the dark and my walk one, jog two (lampposts now) has turned into walk 2, jog one. There's the electronic message board again, and even though I know it's coming, I still smile (and blush a little).

Now I just want the race to be done. I make it past Camp Randall for the last time, past the last few aid stations, and around the corner of Henry Street. Nearing State Street I start to get chills - not because of my body shutting down, but rather from the excitement. The crowds are still there just as animated as ever. There's a guy walking next to me. He's done several Ironmans and tells me to enjoy every minute. Even though my entire body hurts, I am enjoying it. Every minute.

I can hear the crowds at the finish line. It's like nothing I've ever heard before.

I turn a corner and hear, "You're almost there!"

I turn another corner and get a burst of energy. The crowds have induced an adrenaline rush like I've never felt. I'm no longer walking, no longer jogging. I'm in a full-out run. The pain is completely gone. And I know I'm grinning ear to ear.

The cheers are thunderous and I can't understand a thing. I turn the final corner and see the finish. I'm savoring every moment. I run to the right side of the chute and high five half a dozen spectators. Then to the left for half a dozen more. Then back to the right. I'm told later that over the speakers was heard, "Daniel Meloy, you are an IRONMAN!" I never heard it, but I didn't need to. I'd crossed the finish line.

Official run time: 5 hours, 22 minutes, 17 seconds. Run place: 1,300.

A volunteer named Rebecca put her arm around me and guided me, making sure I was ok. OK? I'm flying high! I got my finisher medal as a volunteer smiled and said, "congratulations." I got my finisher hat as another volunteer smiled and said, "congratulations." I got my finisher t-shirt. That's right, another smile and another congrats. Finally, Rebecca walked me to get my official finisher photo. Before she left me to go help another finisher she said, "You're awesome. You're an Ironman." They were the sweetest words I heard all day.

I turned around and saw the Team - Mom, Dad, Meyer, Julie and Lisa were able to stick it out until the end. I was so happy to share this moment with them. Wow! What a day they'd had too.

Meyer had picked up my bike and gear bags while I was out on the run so all we had to do was go back to the hotel (thankfully a short walk) where Meyer, Julie, Lisa and I shared some celebratory champagne. A shower and a quick trip across the street to the Brathaus for a much-anticipated beer preceded bedtime.

My official time was 14 hours, 34 minutes and 41 seconds. My place was 1,667 (which means I passed 684 people on the bike and run.)

It is hard to put into words the emotions I felt throughout the day. Perhaps it is because it was a day filled with nearly every emotion known. While someday I may replicate the feat of completing an Ironman race, I won't ever be able to replicate the feeling of crossing that finish line for the first time. It is a moment I will never forget.

My support team - Mom, Dad, Meyer, Julie, Lisa, Mary Beth and Kathy - was simply amazing. I couldn't ask for better family and friends.

What's next? I'm enjoying some much-needed rest, but will continue training for a marathon in November. After that, I'll re-evaluate my plans for next year but I know 2010 will have a few good racing challenges.

I'm looking forward to them!

Monday, September 14, 2009

I am...

I am...

Race report to come soon.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Few Thoughts

It is now 8:15pm the night before the race. In less than 11 hours, I'll be in the water and on my way.

My mind is a jumble of thoughts and emotions. I just had dinner with 4 of the members of Team Meloy - Meyer and some friends from college. Throughout this process of preparing for this race, I've been consistently reminded of the caring support I've got from so many special people in my life. My "team" will have just as long a day tomorrow as I do, yet they will selflessly not receive any of the glory of crossing the finish line. I'm humbled by their love and support.

I can do this. I know I can. I've done the training. I've worked on the nutrition. I've worked on the visualization and the mental toughness I will need to get through the hardest parts of the day.

Right now I cannot think of any goal that has been as important to me as this is. I'm not sure why that is. Perhaps it is because all my life things have come fairly easy to me. I've always worked hard, but I've never had to truly struggle to reach a goal. Training for tomorrow has taught me that there are some things for which I must struggle.

No one knows for sure what tomorrow has in store for me. I know, however, that I now have the strength and peace of mind to handle whatever comes my way.

In advance of tomorrow, I thank many people:
- My team of friends and family who will be out on the course to provide me with the external motivation to keep me going. They've come from as far away as California to be here, and I am so thankful for their presence, not just here at the race, but also in my life.
- My coach, Kevin. He has helped get my body and mind ready for this in a way no one else could.
- My massage therapist, Konrad. The weekly massages during the last part of my hard training not only relaxed my body, they put my mind much more at ease and kept me sane.
- My colleagues and friends who have shown interest in my training and racing for the past year. They've held me accountable which, in turn, made me a faster and better competitor.
- Meyer. He's been my rock for the past 11 years, and has had to take a back seat to my training and racing for the past year, without complaint. I'll never be able to thank him enough for everything he's done for me.

And's bedtime.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday Recap

I seem to be updating in the morning, so I figure I'll just recap the previous day.

Woke up with a horrible stiffness in my neck. The beds and pillows at the hotel leave a lot to be desired. We got ready for the day, grabbed a bite to eat, and headed up State Street towards the capitol. We did a little tour of the capitol building since Meyer is a major political buff.

By the time we were done with the capitol, it was time to head to Monona Terrace (the center of all things Ironman) and check-in. The check-in process was incredible. I'm somewhat of an "event logistics geek" and I marvel at any event where every detail is thought through and well-planned. Ironman takes the cake.

Even though the check-in went smoothly, it still took about an hour, including a shopping trip to the Ironman store. Oh yes, I loaded up.

After a quick bite to eat for lunch, we retrieved my bike from the transport company. I was one of the first in line, so it went very quickly. We took Baby Blue back to the hotel, changed clothes and went for a little run. It was great to have Meyer run with me. We did a little of the run course, including one of the big hills that I'll have to do twice on Sunday. It wasn't as bad a people have made it out to be.

A relaxing rest of the afternoon (shopping for Badger t-shirts for Meyer) and dinner at the Brathaus (right next to our hotel) led to being in bed by 8:30.

A good day.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

We're There

Yesterday was the travel day. We flew out of Salisbury (which, in my opinion, is the greatest airport to fly out of. We arrived 40 minutes before our flight, parked about 75 feet from the terminal entrance, took about 3 minutes to check in, and spent about 10 minutes waiting to go through security. Normally, it would take only a minute to go through security, but a flight before us had been delayed so they had to go through first.)

After a layover in Philadelphia (terrible airport for food), we landed in Milwaukee late in the afternoon. We picked up the rental car and were on our way. A relatively quick stop at Mom and Dad's was made to drop off their Team Meloy t-shirts and to pick up some things I'd ordered and had shipped to them. And finally, we made it to Madison.

Driving into the city and reaching the campus created a certain giddiness in me. It felt like going home.

Our hotel is nothing special and actually leaves a lot to be desired, but the location is perfect. We're about 1/2 mile from the race site, and our second-floor room overlooks State Street, a pedestrian thoroughfare that is the main drag between the capitol building and the center of campus.

We made a quiet night of it, just taking a short stroll around some of the campus, since Meyer has never been to Madison. Of course, we hit Langdon Street (fraternity/sorority row), the Union (and the unusually quiet Union Terrace) and Bascom Hill (the site of many scenes in the Rodney Dangerfield movie "Back to School.")

Lots of good things planned for today!