Archive for the Team ReserveAid Category

W is for “Withrow”

Posted in Happy Thoughts Library, Team ReserveAid on July 6, 2011 by eeodim

I’ve told this story before, but it’s worth mentioning again.  I don’t remember the exact date, but I believe it was in the fall of 2009 and I get this phone call from my boy, JW (aka Withrow).

JW:  I want to ask you a question, but I don’t want you to reply without hearing me out first.  Can you do that?

Me:  Ummmm … ok.

JW:  What do you think about doing the NYC Triathlon?  A 0.9 swim down the Hudson, a 26+ mile bike, and a 6.2 mile run

Me:  (silence) Ummmm … (followed by more silence)

Ever the salesman, JW eventually convinced me to join him on his quest to race NYC 2010.  After the race I figured I’d retire the Speedo’s and move on to my regular rotation of playing basketball on a weekly basis.  Little did I know that the guy who could sell ice to an Eskimo also sold me on the idea of racing IMLOU after I told him repeatedly he was a lunatic for trying it himself.

The reason I bring Withrow up in my Happy Thoughts Library, and I should include his wife Jess, is they are two incredible people.  Allowing myself to be a bit cliché here, they will literally give the shirts off their backs to help their friends and racing buddies reach their goals.  They do this time and time again asking for nothing in return.  I joke that when I need something for my bike I either go to my local bike shop, High Gear, or I go to the Withrow’s.  Very few people in life are as driven, competitive, and thoughtful of others well being all at the same time.  It’s an interesting mix and one that pushes me to new levels.  I’m reasonably sure I would have never signed up for something like this without JW’s prodding.  In fact, there is a huge crew of fellow Team ReserveAid members who would probably say the same thing.  The Withrow’s have recruited 20 people to race IMLOU and an astounding 27 to race IMNYC a year from now – simply amazing.  A true testament to their commitment to ReserveAid.

In 53 days I hope to call myself and Ironman and for this I will owe a huge debt of gratitude to JW for pushing me further than I ever thought I could go.


Happy Fourth … a little late

Posted in Pics / Video, Team ReserveAid on July 5, 2011 by eeodim

I promised myself I’d take a few days off from posting over the long holiday weekend and spend some quality uninterrupted time with my family.  I needed a mental break and I’m sure they did too.  With that said, last night I was able to sneak in a little Tri related “stuff” as I worked on putting on my new ReserveAid stickers on my disc cover.  Wifey says I’m way too sentimental at times, but I thought it was fitting that as I was applying the stickers the famous NYC Fourth of July fireworks celebration was on the tube.  I have to say that I stopped for a minute and just thought to myself how lucky I was to be an American.  This, in turn, led me to realize how extremely proud I was to be racing for such a great organization inTeam ReserveAid.

Captain America

Posted in Team ReserveAid on June 30, 2011 by eeodim

Here’s Captain America himself, JW, grinding through the 56 mile bike at the recent 2011 Patriot Half Ironman.  The photographer couldn’t have captured a better shot of the Team ReserveAid founder.  I almost think JW had some pointers from a black guy – he’s way too coordinated to have done this all by himself.  His helmet, uniform, shoes, wheels … all red, white, and blue!  I’m tipping my hat sir …





ReserveAid at Tinman 2011

Posted in Team ReserveAid on June 29, 2011 by eeodim

Zman and Giggles at Tinman Tri 2011

A big congrats to two Team ReserveAid members, Gab (aka zman) and James (aka Giggles), for representing at the Tupper Lake Tinman Triathlon 2011.  Both finished the Half Ironman distance in great times.

Zman placed 12th out of 39 in his age group, 30-34 years old.

Swim (1.2 miles) – 37:36

Bike (56 miles) – 2:38:59 (21.1 mph)

Run (13.1 miles) – 1:38:01 (7:29 pace)

T1 2:43, T2 2:58

Total Time – 5:00:25

Giggles placed 16th out of 29 in his age group, 25-29 years old.

Swim (1.2 miles) – 39:35

Bike (56 miles) – 2:42:31 (20.7 mph)

Run (13.1 miles) – 1:47:33 (8:13 pace)

T1 5:04, T2 2:47

Total Time – 5:17:27


Why are you doing an Ironman?

Posted in Random, Team ReserveAid on June 23, 2011 by eeodim

Most parents can agree that over a time they’ve probably become quite good at answering the question “Why?” from their kiddo’s.  Initially, responses are thoughtful as we parents legitimately try to explain why the grass is green or why they shouldn’t jump on the bed, but as time passes the answers become more generic ranging from “because I said so” to “that’s just the way it is” and my personal favorite “go ask your mother.”  Most triathletes, particularly Ironman wannabe’s, also get used to answering the why question on a pretty frequent basis.  To be more specific … why in god’s name would you pay to sign up for a race like this?  It’s a common question that’s usually followed by “you’re crazy”.  When I first signed up for this I genuinely tried to answer this question as best I could, but after many iterations I’m finding my explanations to be more and more stale.  The most recent authentic response I gave was to my oldest daughter a few days ago.  I was preparing to head out the door for another workout and she asked simply “why are you doing this?”  Having never really showed a particular interest in my Tri’s before I was thrilled that she asked and keen to lay out exactly why I was participating.  I’m happy she asked and even more satisfied that I was able to revisit why I really was putting myself (and family) through this.  The training days get long, sessions start blending together and it’s easy to forget why we push ourselves to do what we do.  It was a good exercise for me to go through and it led me to believe others might value the same experience.  At the very least I was curious to see how I differed from all of my friends who are also doing an IM.  So with that in mind I reached out to a dozen or so fellow IM wannabe’s and asked “Why are you doing an Ironman?”.  The replies were varied and interesting …


-Racing IM NY/NJ 2012

I’m a guy who likes to motivate myself, but I need challenging milestones. I believe it’s the most effective way to grow. Win or lose, pass or fail, it’s about the journey and what I can learn from it. This is a big step-up for me physically, but I’m going to learn a lot about myself on the journey.  Additionally, it’s for a great cause and I get to meet a great new group of people – a couple of other things I value doing.


-Racing IM NY/NJ 2012

Dude, I could write a book about it, but here’s my brief reply:

1. Finding out how much you can push yourself and when you get there….finding out to see if you got anymore left in you.  i guess testing my limits.

2. Lifestyle, health change. my old man had a heart attack in his 40s, figure this would be a good way to avoid it

3. It looks damn hard and whenever you tell someone you are doing it, they think you’re crazy and can’t do it. might as well try to see if you can prove them wrong

4. it’s a huge event and it’s my hometown. events in nyc are not huge if paco is not involved

At the end of the day, i’ve been flirting with doing a tri for a few months now (as you know) but i always had a reason not to. then suddenly, the IM comes to NYC for the first time ever, i think the cosmos are trying to tell me something.  My cousin is a navy vet, normal middle class guy, served in the gulf so RA is nice. he’s working class, used the navy as a stepping stone, always happy to support guys like that


-Racing IM NY/NJ 2012

As a carrot to lose weight that has been slowing accumulating for years….to prove to myself myself i can do it after never having run more than 6 miles before, and having gone thru 2 knee surgeries…because a good number of friends are doing it and the training will be fun with them….becasue it i like to test myself and want to say that I have done that.


-Racing IMLOU 2011 and IM NY/NJ 2012

There is no one single answer for this question so I will give you all my reasons. Some might seem simple others a little more thoughtful (in no particular order).

1.  Last year when I participated in my first “No you can’t do that”, “You are crazy” event – Racing the Planet – Australia, not only did I do it but I loved it. I loved the training and the event itself. It rekindled an athletic passion that I thought I abandoned when I retired from wrestling.

2.  In Australia I was able to raise +$130k by doing what I love – do I need to say more.

3.  Reserveaid – helping people that provide me with the life and opportunities that most people take for granted.

4.  I would like to set an example for my family and kids – I don’t ever want them to think that something is impossible. I want them to have BIG dreams and no matter how far fetched they are and how much people will tell them its unattainable – to keep at it and see it through. I guess lead by example

5.  Because I can


-Racing IMLOU 2011

I think the main reason is it’s a great way to raise money for Reserve Aid.   Additionally, I have always wanted to do one since seeing KONA on TV.   Having the support of the entire Reserve Aid team made me think I could do it.


-Racing IM NY/NJ 2012

Couple of reasons: Hopefully this will force me to really learn swimming, do something interesting/challenging  and now that I am single, I have the time. You can also put the fourth reason: Withrow forced me into it, mainly emotional blackmail with some videos of “if he can do it, so can you”.


-Racing IMLOU 2011

So there are a number of reasons for me doing the Ironman;

1.  As a personal challenge, I am (and was when I signed up for IMLou) comfortable that swimming 2.4mi and riding 112mi were doable given my background of swimming as a kid, and bike racing. However pre signing up the longest I had run was 8.75mi so this was my real challenge. I could have done a marathon, but I didn’t want to sacrifice my cycling ( I have continued bike racing, and my regular weekend rides through the training) so the IM provides a way to incorporate this.  Also the challenge of putting all the events together and managing nutrition etc appeals as a problem solving exercise too.

2.  I am 28 turning 29, and getting married in Jan 2012 and I would expect a family will follow some time after so completing the IM at this stage of my life is convenient compared to doing it when I have kids etc

3.  More shallow reasons include;

* killing two birds with 1 stone, I can say that I have done an IM and a marathon via the one event

* It meant JW stopped hassling me to do it

* I get an excuse to buy new toys


-Racing IMLOU 2011 and IM NY/NJ 2012

Testing my limits to see how fast I can get and how far I can go.  Its turning out i’m also testing how many injuries I can sustain before breaking down completely.


-Racing IMMOO (Wisconsin) 2011

My first Ironman (Ironman Wisconsin) is a celebration.  Five years of celebrating a new path and a second chance in life.  I am celebrating the god given gifts that enable me to push my physical limits (which nurtures me).  I am celebrating family, friends and strangers, some who are no longer with us, that have helped me grow as a person.  It’s really about love and perseverance.  I will have the opportunity to replay anything in my life that I am grateful for as I push through the Ironman.  There are endless images captured in my mind that fill me with joy and gratitude and many that are sad; I have learned from them all.  It will be an achievement that captures something special in my life, something that I can understand and be proud of.  I hope to finish humbled by the experience.


-Racing IMLOU 2011

Funny that you ask that question.  I keep asking myself the same thing.  Why am I finally doing this after all the years that I have done tri’s.  It was always in the back of my mind to do one but it just never seemed like it was the right time.  My kids were young and I knew it was going to be difficult on them and my husband if I did one. Which I have to say it has been so far! but at least they are older and understand why I have to be gone so much.

The night of the CJTC kickoff, John was making his way around the room asking people to join up and do Ironman.  When he started working on me to join in, he made one statement that still sticks out in my mind.  He said “Thea, you keep saying next year, when is it going to be the right year?”.  It hit a chord and I always love to challenge myself when a good cause is involved.  When I learned more about ReserveAid, I was hooked.  I have family who spent time in Iraq and it was tough on them.  This is my way of paying it forward.


-Racing IMLOU 2011 and IM NY/NJ 2012

My long winded answer would be something like the following:

I started triathlon because it was so far outside my comfort zone and I needed a challenge.  I spend my life doing strength and power things and was generally bad at running or anything endurance related.  I liked the challenge to convert my body form and try to improve at something I generally stunk at.  Gab’s 155 mile ultramarathon in the desert turned out to be a great fundraiser for ReserveAid because most people thought it was absolutely crazy and couldn’t imagine themselves doing it.  I felt the same way about an Ironman.  I bounced the idea of doing an Ironman as a fundraiser off of at least a dozen people and every one of them (except Gab) told me I was crazy and there is no way they would do it.  That’s when I knew I had to do it.


-Racing IMLOU 2011 and IM NY/NJ 2012

Why am I doing an Ironman?

I have NO idea.

When I first started training for a sprint triathlon, I became infatuated with the sport pretty quickly.  It didn’t help matters that JW was already buying every triathlon related book and magazine he could get his hands on and setting the DVR to record every Ironman that was ever videotaped.  We would sit down together and watch race after race and were baffled at how and WHY these athletes would put themselves through such misery at Kona.  When I first learned the distances, I remember thinking, “they do all of that and THEN they run a marathon?  They’re crazy.”  I said I had absolutely no desire to put myself through something like that….  but secretly I did.

Deep down, I wanted to be an Ironman.

Maybe it was because I was the girl who was never an athlete, and for once, I wanted to be the one with the glory.  Maybe it was because I wanted my boys to be proud of their mom when they grew up and realized I had done something special.  Maybe it was because I really, REALLY wanted to get that t-shirt that read, “Oh, you ran a marathon?  How cute.”

I’m still not sure why I took the leap in the first place.  At the time, I knew I couldn’t just sit back and watch JW do this and not do it myself.  I also wanted the opportunity to be a part of ReserveAid in a bigger way, and helping JW start the team has provided that opportunity.  Ultimately, I’ve come to love every aspect of training and racing and learning more about the sport as time goes on.

It’s been the perfect blend of passions – passion for competition, and passion for supporting a cause about which I care deeply.  I’m looking forward to the day I can call myself an Ironman and say that I did it to benefit the men and women who are my heroes.

Mission Possible — Patriot Half Ironman 2011

Posted in Races, Team ReserveAid on June 20, 2011 by eeodim

This past Saturday my boy, JW, participated in the Patriot Half-Ironman.  1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and a 13.3 mile run … 70.3 total miles of pure bliss.  The following is his rather entertaining account of  what transpired.  Note – I only say “entertaining” because he ended up being ok!  

I was relaxed coming into the day and only had one goal for my race…  Break 2 hours on the run!  I told everyone that was my goal and that’s what I was going to do…  At registration for the race, I had to get them to change my category from Clydesdale to AG because I am now a svelte 190lbs vs 215lbs when I registered.   For what it’s worth, I would have taken 4th place had I stayed in the Clydes.

Swim:  I thought I would be ~35 mins on the swim.  I chose to wear my Xterra speedsuit instead of my wet-suit because I wanted to get 1 race under my belt without a wetsuit before IMLou…  I was literally the only person without a wet-suit.  I lined up far outside to the right which was probably a bit of a mistake.  I don’t mind getting mixed up in the blender, but I was way outside and didn’t even get touched once. The problem was that I stayed outside and maybe drifted further out.  No drafts and I was never was able to get into the main lane.  At the first left turn buoy I think i was at least 50-100yds wide and had to swim at least a minute just to get back to the buoy.  I made the same mistake at the next turn still staying wide to the right.  I stayed wide again the whole way back to the finish.  I was thinking the extra distance probably slowed me down to 38 min or so, but when I saw 41:30 on my watch as I approached the timing mat, I couldn’t believe I was that slow…

T1: I got my shoes and helmet on quickly when I looked down and saw an extra bottle of water on the ground.  Crap, I forgot to fill my aerobar drink bottle with the water that is in the cooler in my car.  Doh!  I quickly cracked the warm bottle open from the ground and dumped it into my bottle, spilling most of it on the ground.  I powered on my computer, grabbed my bike and was off.

Bike:  Doh #2! I started my bike computer as I crossed the timing mat, mounted and headed out onto the road.  I got down on my aerobars and looked at my computer.  No Power, No Cadence…  I panicked a bit, but tried to keep my cadence up and my power down.  I started clicking into my Garmin Edge 500 settings and had it rescan for my Powertap.   It found it, phew, crisis avoided and I only lost a couple of minutes of data.  I couldn’t seem to keep my power constant for a while.  Too high, too low, it was frustrating, but in hindsight, it only took a couple of minutes.  I was riding at what seemed to be an easy pace and even though I planned to start at ~200W and dial it up to ~210W after a half hour.  I was riding at 225W instead and heard Coach P over and over in my head saying to push it a bit more on the bike so what the heck, 225 was my new number.  I wanted to keep my cadence between 85-95 for the whole ride

Fellow Team ReserveAid members, BLee and LT

and largely succeeded with that. I grabbed a water at the first exchange and got my bottle filled up.  I went through my 2hr bottle of Infinit in a little over 2 hrs (560 calories).  I drank water the whole time, but wished I had done a few more calories (2.5 hr bottle might have been better).  The only weird squiggles in my power file were the 5 times when I peed on the bike (yes, 5 times!).  I dialed it way back the last 1.5 miles and stretched my legs, etc.  I don’t need RnP to do a crucible on this ride because I know I nailed it.  VI 1.01, NP of 226W (83.6%), Peak 60 min was 230W (85.2%) from 1:44-2:44 (of 2:52), avg cadence was 93 with 70% between 85-100.

T2:  Nothing unusual here.  I knowingly took an extra 30 seconds or so to reapply sunscreen on my shoulders ( I had sever sunburn from my last race 6 weeks ago that still hurts because I damaged my dermis).  I also grabbed my fuel belt which had 20oz water bottle and a gu flask with 5 Powerbar Gels.

Run:  As  I was approaching the road out of T2 I saw somebody in an EN kit finishing his bike.  I was in my Team ReserveAid Charity kit, but I yelled out “E-N” super loud and hoped I didn’t make him almost wreck…  I had my EN plan…  First 3 miles ~9:00 min per mile, 7 miles at ~8:15-8:20, then hold on for the last 3 miles.  I skipped the first aid station.  At the 2nd one I grabbed a cup of ice to dump in my shirt and splashed a water on my face.  I took my first squirt of gu at mile 2.25 and rinsed it down with water.


A much faster friend of mine (LT) caught me at 2.75 miles.  We chatted briefly and I was feeling great.  I told him I was doing 3 miles easy then 7 miles hard, then I was going to see what I had for the last 3.  I assumed he would go ahead, but when I sped up he said goodbye and dropped back.  What was happening?  I started hunting people down and passing them!  I have never done this on a run before!  Dare I say it was “fun”…   I slowed at every aid station.  Ice down the shirt, cup of water and was off.  This probably took me 15 seconds early on, but this turned into 20-30 seconds as I got hotter.  I was running ~8:30 pace, but my laps on my Garmin kept flashing right around 9 minutes from my slowing at the aid stations… At 6.55 miles I was at 57:00, right on track.  I also thought this would be a flat run, but it seemed like the whole thing was uphill with a few of them slowing me a lot.  I took gu’s again at mile ~6.5 and 9.5 and had 3 salt stick capsules throughout, normally when my legs hurt after a big hill.  I kept looking at my watch waiting for mile 10 when it started to hurt and unbelievably, I was still passing people.  I knew I had made it past my “7” and now had to survive the “3”…  I kept looking at my watch and doing advanced math and just knew I would break 3 hours…  I had no doubts whatsoever, but it was starting to hurt.   It sure seemed hotter than the 80-82 degrees that it was.  I kept hearing the HIM podcast running through my head… “In a HIM, when it starts to hurt during the run, just push harder and go faster…”  So that’s what I did, I pushed harder… Then a few weird things that only made sense in hindsight started to happen…  At mile ~11.5 a girl ran past me and said “are you okay?” Of course I was okay…  “I’m fine, why do you ask?”  She said “well, I thought you were swerving…” and she ran on.  Then I turned off the road

Don't fall in!

and into the camp for the finish.  Things were starting to blur a bit…  As I was running, I took my fuel belt off and dropped it near a picnic table to get later.  I had to run harder…  I went over a foot bridge before making the final turn into the finishing chute…  I thought it was weird that so many people tried to keep me from cutting the corner to short and falling into the lake.  They were all asking if I was okay… I don’t remember the finishing chute and wasn’t sure I’d make it through the 2nd set of timing mats…  A close friend (BLee) later said when I finished he screamed out my name and I didn’t even look at him.

Finishing up

I remembered to stop my watch before the volunteers grabbed me and helped me to the ground.  It said 1:58:30!  Mission accomplished!

Post Race:  I guess they took my timing chip off for me.  I told them I was fine and my friend said that I wasn’t…  The paramedics apparently also thought I was lying to them when I said I was fine as they ushered me to the ambulance.  When they sat me down, I just couldn’t lift my head…  My friend brought me the best blueberry muffin I have ever eaten in my entire life.  He brought me a banana and a nutrigrain bar and a bottle of Heed.  10 seconds later I had downed all of that but still couldn’t lift my head.  They kept putting ice water towels on me and squirting me with water.  They hooked me up to an EKG and brought me a bottle of water.  I kept telling them I was fine, and they still didn’t believe me…  I tried to stand up and fell back down…  They decided to take my blood pressure.  “110/70” I asked? The guy looked at me and said “um, it’s 70/40” I think we need to get you onto the stretcher but I declined.  A woman showed up that looked a whole lot worse than I felt, so I decided to give her my seat…  Refusing to get fully into the ambulance, instead I slumped onto the ground in the shade of the Ambulance and laid there for at least 10 minutes or so.  I kept being doused with ice water and drinking what I could.  My friends and the medic team were awesome!  After about 10 minutes I was able to get up…  I thanked the paramedics and headed to the buffet to get some real food…

only some of the damage

Issues with my wife: I sat there and ate near the finish line waiting for my wife to finish.  One of the girls on Team ReserveAid said she saw Jess with what looked like a flat tire but there were several volunteers with her helping so she didn’t stop.  I knew Jess would have a hard time changing a tubular, so I wasn’t all that worried when she hadn’t finished a half hour after her expected time.  I wandered over to the transition area to get a head start on organizing our stuff when I realized that her bike was not in the transition area and her run stuff was still there.  Uh oh…  I ran to the car and got my phone…  There was a text message on it from one of the nurses that said ”Hello, my name is Carmen I work at Morton hospital in Taunton. your wife is here and okay, but she needs you to call her ###-###-###”.  I was still worried, but relieved to know where she was.  I talked to Jess and got the brief story.  I quickly gathered the stuff from our transition spots and found a race volunteer who quickly located Jess’ banged up bike and was off to the hospital to pick her up.  She was flying on the bike course and was on track for about a 2:45 or so split.  At the bottle exchange on the 2nd lap, as she took the water handoff, some guy cut in front of her and clipped her front wheel.  She went down, but she wasn’t going all that fast so it wasn’t bad.  The volunteers helped her up and put her chain back on for her.  She cut her knee but it wasn’t bad so she mounted her bike and was off.  About a hundred yds later she made a right turn and remembers thinking something didn’t feel right with her bike and wham, she went down hard.  She cracked her helmet and blacked out for a minute or so.  2 other racers stopped to help and one waited with her as the other rode back to the aid station to get help.  They called the ambulance which decided to take her to the hospital when they saw her helmet.  She has a concussion and road rash on her knee, shoulder, hip, hand, and elbow.  She stayed in bed all day Sunday, but appears as though she will be just fine.  She was actually just mad that she had to DNF because she really wanted that half-IM benchmark heading into IMLou.  She’s nearly as stubborn as her husband!

 Conclusion:  All in all, we had some hiccups on the day, but it was a really nice race venue.  The volunteers were awesome and I really liked the race.  The race director even called our house yesterday to ask how Jess was doing.  I probably could have avoided the med tent by running about 5 minutes slower and stopping longer at the Aid stations, but I’m quite happy I chose the pain path instead.  As painful as it was at the end, I actually enjoyed the run… This was the first race of my entire life that my relative place on the run leg was better than both the run and the bike!   You runners out there really have know idea how big of an accomplishment this was for me since I have always considered myself relatively strong on the bike and swim but an absolutely weak runner.   With that said, I’ve decided to throw all of my time goals out the window for IMLou…  My new goal is to finish with a smile and not need to go to the med tent afterwards!




Well that was quick

Posted in Random, Team ReserveAid on June 15, 2011 by eeodim

Starting at noon today folks were able to begin registering for next years inaugural NYC Ironman.  The response was overwhelming as the regular slots (costing $895) were filled in only eleven minutes!  It led me to think – people in this sport really are crazy.  Where else do you find tons of people asking to pay almost $1k for the pleasure of swimming 2.4 miles (in the Hudson River no less!), bike 112 miles in what will be nasty, muggy, humid NY heat, and run a 26.2 mile marathon for good measure.  Crazy.

Click for link to story 

Team ReserveAid will be represented incredibly well.  The early count is 17 registered members with a few more possible participants later on with the promise to raise a certain amount of money for ReserveAid.  Even though I won’t be racing, I’ll be there to support my crew.