IRONMAN Boulder 2014

IRONMAN Boulder 2014
IRONMAN Boulder 2014 - Photo Courtesy of Nils Nilsen @N2PhotoServices
former professional couch potato and dorito eater with no fitness background to 4 x IRONMAN triathlete. blogging so you can be inspired to be active in your life! there's no 'can't' - just think of when you will take that first step!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Supplementing an Expensive Hobby... ** 2014 NEW YEAR GIVEAWAY!!! **


So, about a month ago, I started meeting new people by giving them rides to their destinations. I use apps called LYFT & UBER to meet these folks.

It's been a great way to meet new people, learn about their careers, tell them about mine and to learn my way around Chicago even better! The LYFT and UBER apps allow these folks to reimburse me for the cost of my time, gas, and wear and tear on my car getting them SAFELY to their destinations. So, aside from meeting and making contacts with great, new people, I'm able to support my new and expensive "triathlon hobby" via those reimbursements!

There are many others just like me out there, with their own reasons for driving folks to their destinations. You can meet them by downloading the LYFT and UBER apps on your iPhone or Android device to see what I'm talking about.

Oh, put these codes into the payment and/or promotion sections to get $10 toward your first requests: XJCNSS for LYFT and uber10chicago for UBER. **the codes only work if they're entered before you request your first ride**

Finally, you could be lucky and receive the pair of UBER "touchscreen gloves" pictured here. There are several ways that you can enter this giveaway here: Be sure to enter by 6PM CST on New Year's Day!



2013 was awesome! I have new #TriTeamFor

2013 was awesome! I have new #TriTeamForGood friends! And, thanks to my painfully learned lesson @ #IMWI, I'm actually LEARNING how to swim properly now! CHEERS TO AWESOME #2014 MOMENTS TO COME!

DON'T DRINK & DRIVE! Celebrate safely

DON'T DRINK & DRIVE! Celebrate safely & no cabs! Download @uber & use code uber10chicago for $10 toward your 1st ride! #UBERChiNYE @UBER_CHI

Friday, December 20, 2013

What is #AppSocial?

Check out App Social, available on Windows Mobile devices like the Nokia Lumia 928.

Being a huge Android user, my life revolves around Google.  I'm ALWAYS on my phone. My entire life is synched to my phone and it's all backed up in "the cloud." Nevertheless, variety keeps things interesting and, although App Social isn't an application on my preferred platform, it is offering a centralized way to discover, discuss and share apps. So, my interest was piqued and I WANTED to explore this new (to me!) world of  Windows Mobile.

Here's is a funny video summary of App Social posted by Nokia:

Still don’t get it?

Well, you know how you currently organize your apps on your phone into groups and can give those groups a name? Well, it’s pretty much the same thing. However, you are grouping your apps together into a list that becomes part of your App Social profile.

Here’s a snapshot of my profile:


And, here are the lists I created:


Now, the idea is that you will check out what lists I have and what apps I have in each respective list. And, because I must have it in my list, you would trust that it must be a decent app worth downloading and using yourself, right?

AND, what if IRONMAN World Champs Craig Alexander and Leanda Cave had lists? Wouldn't you want to see what they put in their lists what they said about them? Would you "follow the stars" to stay in the know of what apps their downloading and organizing into their favorite lists? OF COURSE, YOU WOULD! And, you would probably download most of the same apps too! (Yes, this is EXACTLY what I would do!)

App Social is fun because, like Twitter, you can also be “followed” as a user and, like Facebook, have your lists Image“liked”. The more followers you have and/or the more likes you have, the higher you move in the rankings. And, let’s face it, who doesn’t want to be on top? There’s even a ranking of who has the most lists!

So, App Social is a great idea and is promising. It has the “fun factor” of competing to get to the top. And, you can easily download apps directly from folks' lists that pertain to something that may be of interest to you.

Download and give it a try and let me know what you think! Do let me know what triathletes YOU want to see on App Social so you can follow them, like their lists, and download the same you can be just like them! AND, what else would you put in YOUR lists?

Oh, and follow me and I’ll follow you back! I’m daRevoluCHIN (duh!).
This post was written as part of a partnership with Nokia, however all thoughts and opinions are mine. #AppSocial

Saturday, October 12, 2013

i was suppose to be IN the pool an hour

i was suppose to be IN the pool an hour ago. but, i HAD to watch the start of #IMKona. NOW, i have to watch the pros exit! @IRONMANtri

Sunday, September 15, 2013


We are officially over a week out from last week's IRONMAN Wisconsin, which was to be my second, having completed the race in 2012.

Most know, but if you don't, I did not know how to swim when I signed up for last year's race way back in September of 2011. I had just watched the race the day before and was inspired and motivated to do it.

Back then, races didn't sell out within hours, let alone MINUTES like they tend to do nowadays. So, once registration opened to the general public around noon on that Monday, I teetered on whether I should register. Most said I shouldn't because I couldn't swim and recommended I ease into it, doing a half IRONMAN at most.

During all that teetering, I secretly hoped it would sell out so my decision could be made for me. When that didn't happen, I figured it WOULD happen while registering via my phone's browser. It was like filling out an application instead of just registering--where you answer a bunch of questions about, what seems like, your entire life story and what got you into triathlon and/or wanting to do an IRONMAN.  It felt like it took forEVER!

Once I would hit submit, I assumed it would 1. have sold out during my inefficient use of a phone browser or 2. It would reject my cell phone browser and ALL my information would be erased AND I would not want to bother filling everying out again.

NOPE - that mobile browser was certainly compatible and it sucked up my $675 like a rebellious, bratty ATM machine!!!

So, then I was stuck and HAD to do it because all I could get back at that point if I changed my mind was $150.


Swim lesson number one resulted in me not being able to completely float, due to what I called at the time "dead leg syndrome," where my legs were too heavy and just kept falling to the bottom of the pool. We found that if I tried to make progress and not try to just float in the pool, my legs would actually come up… So, we started to do that… Then, when I started to do "freestyle," I started to go BACKWARDS.

Yup, I was off to a WONDERFUL start.

And, I could not tell you how many times I just wanted to QUIT because there was obviously NO way I would be able to cover 2.4 miles if I was having so much trouble in the pool. In fact, the time when this almost actually happened was in May of 2012, when I was going to do my first sprint triathlon. But, it was my first open water swim EVER. So, I actually freaked out, put my hand up, and got pulled out. Yup -- I was done!


I had two weeks until an Olympic distance race I had signed up for. So, I ignored all of my prescribed swim workouts and just went to Lake Michigan as much as possible to try to get comfortable in the open water. And, as seasoned open water swimmers know, it's getting use to not having a lane line or wall to grab in case of panic or to take a break. Oh, you can stand in a pool too (typically in at least half of the lane), so not being able to see the bottom and not having that option is a huge adjustment as well.

Goal for the Olympic distance: get through the swim and then figure out the rest. THAT, I DID! And, I remember my best friend staying true to his word - he promised me ice cream from DQ as a reward - and that kept me moving forward!!!

Four weeks later, I got through a half IRONMAN; a month later, a full 2.4 mile open water swim in the "host lake" of IRONMAN Wisconsin, Lake Monona; and, then the full IRONMAN three weeks after that. My half IRONMAN swim was just under an hour. And, the 2.4 mile swim was just under two hours and, supposedly, that distance was long by 0.3. IRONMAN Wisconsin actual swim time last year, though, was 2:05. The cutoff is 2:20, so I was perfectly fine with that.

Finish the race, get the medal, have the worst aching legs ever that night, wait in line for over an hour to drop over $100 on a finisher jacket, and get the tattoo a few weeks later.


But, I ended up being chosen to be a member of the inaugural IRONMAN Foundation - Newton Running Ambassador Triathlon Team (aka #TriTeamForGood), and one of the requirements was to be scheduled to do a 70.3 (half) and 140.6 (full) in 2013. So, I was back in.

BUT, the reason was to fundraise for the IRONMAN Foundation and bring awareness to how much they give back to the communities that host IRONMAN races. So, it was NOT about me -- my training and participating in races were just vehicles to get the message out. My goals were COMPLETELY secondary and, frankly, I didn't really have any goals except to have a better training season; a better time in any event would just be icing on the cake.

The Hawaiian word KOKUA represents the team and translates as "extending loving, sacrificial help to others for their benefit, not for personal gain..."

Yes, my training was not stellar, but it definitely was NOT horrible. IT WAS BETTER! I had great long distance rides and runs. Just the fact that I got 95% of the "long stuff" in was huge for me! I have my local training group, Chicago Endurance Sports, to thank for that! With the group, I also felt like my swimming got better. BROWNIE POINTS ALL AROUND!!!

So, the start to IRONMAN Wisconsin weekend was not as nerve wracking as I thought it would be, even though I had some anxiety issues about mid-week before. It was because I had done it before and I just had to execute and represent the #TriTeamForGood in our awesome #KOKUA kit!

Race morning started at 3:45am with the typical pre-race routine of breakfast, blessing the toilet, and then heading out to transition for body marking, final bag drop-offs, pumping up my bike tires, and putting my nutrition on my bike - all complete by about 6am. I then meandered down to the lower level of the Monona Terrace with my swim stuff, sat for a tiny bit, and then started to get (wet)suited and lubed (MAJORLY) up - chafing control for those of you that don't understand.

I noticed that the water was not glass and had some "activity" going on. But, I thought to myself that it wouldn't be a problem because I had conquered open water swims at IRONMAN Steelhead 70.3 about six weeks earlier in tough conditions and swam regularly in Lake Michigan where it can get REALLY bad based on the weather, or even just from the boats coming in and out of the area in which we train. Lake Monona could NEVER get as bad as those swims…

That's what I thought at least…

It was a tough swim… very choppy… thrown around… sighting often difficult. I got to the halfway point in 1:05. Ok - that wasn't great, but given the conditions it made sense and matched my 70.3 time at Steelhead. That halfway point was part of the LONGEST stretch of the course, which had a diagonal current coming at us from the right, coupled with the choppiness.  It often felt as if I wasn't moving and that I was working VERY hard. I even had thoughts of throwing my hand up to get pulled out because I had several breaths in a row where I got smacked in the face with water and ended up unwillingly hydrating instead of breathing AND, as I said, I felt I wasn't moving.

So, I told myself, "An IRONMAN isn't suppose to be easy, Ken! This is the truest test of your strength. Don't give up and fight through. You'll make it before the cutoff. You sure as heck are NOT going to quit because this isn't about you! You are doing this to bring awareness to the #TriTeamForGood. You raised over $3,000 and you will make your donors proud because they knew you fought hard!"

I didn't look at my watch again after the halfway point because I knew I was working fairly hard already and thought that if I looked at it and saw something that I didn't like, I would panic and become even MORE inefficient than I already was from the anxiety and tension that I would create.

Maybe, I still should have? This, among many other things, went through my head throughout the week that followed.

The only sense of time I had after that halfway point was a guy on a surfboard or SUP coming up right next to me and yelling, "YOU HAVE FOUR MINUTES! GO! FIGHT! THIS HAS TO BE YOUR HARDEST EFFORT EVER!!!"


I picked up my stroke by what felt like 100 times faster than what I was doing and that finish arch looked SO FAR AWAY! I breathe to the right naturally and did so every second stroke. I thought I was going to hyperventilate and drown. But, I figured I was safe with the guy in my sight the entire time yelling, yelling, and yelling…

O! M! G!

There was a point where he started to yell for me to stand up. And, I did!!!

I started to run and saw the clock showing 2:20 and about 10ish seconds. So, I thought immediately that maybe it's like Boston cutoffs, so it MUST be 2:20:59!

I   RAN!

This girl in a wetsuit helped pull me forward and toward the finish arch and continued to stabilize me.

Then, this guy with an accent and in a black "walkie talkie vest" stopped me. I had no idea what he was saying. I was just repeatedly yelling, "It's 2:20:59, right?!?"

Everything started to move in slow motion at that point.

He slowly looked toward the clock as time continued to pass. I noticed a blur of TONS of spectators watching, in addition to tons of blue volunteer shirts. The blasting music was simply deafening noise causing anxious pressure in my head at that point.

Then, he slowly turned back to say something to me. For a second there, I thought he was messing with me and was going to let me through just before the clock hit a full on 2:21:00.

But, all I can remember is his lips saying something like, "…sorry…cutoff at exactly 2:20:00…"

I turned around and looked at "wetsuit girl" in disbelief. I vaguely recall her saying something about rough conditions and there still being people out there.

Then, I collapsed to the ground, sitting with my head cradled in my hands, and I immediately broke down in tears and cried.

I cried HARD. I was crying as if somebody close to me had died.

I was devastated. My friend Lore was oen of the volunteers there and immediately came over to console me as I cried so hard into her shoulder. I remember saying, "…this wasn't even for me this year…it wasn't about me…"

During this time, I noticed "walkie talkie vest guy" trying to take my chip off my ankle. And, I remember laughing way back in my head because he seemed annoyed that I safety pinned it to keep it secure and from coming off. He was the bad guy in this specific moment and him taking that off felt as if he was taking me off life support.

It sealed the deal. And, it hurt.

I felt like I was in one of the old IRONMAN videos, where they capture that heartbreaking moment when folks just miss the swim or bike cutoff. The camera is focused on their face, the tears, the sadness and disbelief. We as the viewers can't help but cry as well and feel sorry for them because of the effort put forth on that day and the MONTHS spent training to get to that day…

...just to be stopped so abruptly.

I was the first one to be cutoff for the day -- never did I think that would EVER be me.


Realizing that I had an audience of what felt like hundreds, I started to get embarrassed. Lore helped me up and I turned around to face all those people.

And, as I started to walk forward, they all gave me a huge round of applause, I believe at the urging of Mike Reilly, the "voice" of IRONMAN who told me, "KEN CHIN OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!" just a year earlier.

I was embarrassed because I was quite sure my crying face was not pretty, but I appreciated the support. I called this the "rubbernecking" in IRONMAN. They didn't want to watch, but they did anyhow. They just had both hands available to clap for me and didn't have to worry about driving off the road.

Lore continued to walk me forward and I thought I would be making the embarrassing walk alone up the helix. Then, I suddenly saw my CES teammates that I trained with this year, who were up to cheer for the day.

As I got closer, I noticed most of their faces being red… full of tears as well.

Yes, I started to cry again.

And, when Coach Craig gave me a hug, I again broke down hard into his shoulder. And, I remembered mumbling that I tried so hard. Then, I saw Coach Daphne was crying for me.

EVERYONE WAS CRYING FOR ME! And, I felt bad for putting them through that!

There were tons of hugs coming my way. Now, being further removed, I think about how those hugs were so AWESOME! And, the tears were my team further expressing my emotion and, in many ways, a sense of kinship and love for me. It was comforting. And, I am so lucky to call them my family.

They told me to be proud of my solid effort. They reminded me not to be sorry for making them cry. And, they told me to be mad and take all the time I needed to be mad.

I later learned that they had witnessed everything that was happening to me on a jumbotron, but they didn't know it was me; they only knew I hadn't come by yet. They saw a swimmer fighting to come in. They heard Mike Reilly telling the crowd to cheer me on as I fought to make it. Then, they heard him yell at the guy next to me to tell me to stand up and run in, and then they saw the interaction I had with "walkie talkie guy" and my collapse.

I remember being "handed off" to my best friend Matt and he walked me up the helix, supporting my one side. (Maybe, I appeared as if I was going to collapse?) He stayed with me until I settled down after I made a difficult, tearful phone call to my partner, telling him not to bother coming up from Chicago to cheer for me because my day was done. (He still did and it was great to have him there for support! Love you, Anthony!)

When I finally got all my transition bags and changed into dry clothes, I sat alone for a bit reflecting on everything. During that time, several folks - complete strangers - that watched what happened to me, came over to give me a pat on the back or shake my hand, and told me how I should be proud of my fight.

That felt good and helped me do my best to develop the strength to move on and support everyone else that was still conquering the day.

Although difficult, my strength started with this social media post located here ( but also pasted here for your convenience:

I've finally calmed down after being extremely distraught, having missed the swim cutoff by 20 seconds at #IMWI. The water was very choppy. But, I did the best I could. And, I fought hard and didn't want to give up no matter how hard it felt because I wasn't doing this for me this time--it was for the IRONMAN Foundation and the #TriTeamForGood. I reminded myself many times that an IRONMAN wasn't suppose to be easy and this swim was the truest test of my strength and commitment to make it happen. 

Words cannot do justice of how thankful I am to you ALL for your support along my journey this year. Whether you donated, were one of my biggest cheerleaders, or both, YOU ROCK. Many of you were there to witness me at my weakest this morning and I thank you for doing your best to lift me up. A special shout out to my local training group teammates and coaches of Chicago Endurance Sports and my best friend Matt for being among them. THANK! YOU! XOXO

I won't be that Debbie Downer and sulk all day - - because I already had an audience of hundreds when I broke down right when I got out of the water. So, everyone knows already!  

That chapter is finished... 

I am now headed back to the hotel to freshen up, so I can go cheer on the other athletes on their journey to become an IRONMAN! 

I did just that and it was great to keep my mind busy, cheering everyone on. It was even funny to see the reaction on the faces of folks I knew, wondering why I was showered and cheering for them on the course. Maybe, they thought I won? ;)

The remainder of the day was great, particularly because I wasn't alone with my thoughts and was feeding off the energy of everyone conquering an IRONMAN. And, I got to help give them fuel with my loud screams of support! I was happy for all that finished, particularly those that came close to the 17:00:00 cutoff, and those that I didn't even know didn't finish because they were cutoff earlier. Honest effort was being put out there in one way or another and everyone should be proud!


The next morning was a little rough, as I woke up and found myself tearing up as I started to re-live the previous morning moment-by-moment, just as I did above. But, I probably got more emotional when I was reading all the supportive messages I got from everyone via comments, emails, private messages, text messages, tweets etc. They were all reminders of the awesome family I have in person and virtually. You know who you are and I THANK YOU! =)


What awesomely comes out of all this?

I came across a blog post by "wetsuit girl", who I mentioned above, on Runner's World Online. She talked about me and it was fascinating seeing this all from her perspective.

I stumbled upon Elisabeth's write up on Runner's World's blog about volunteering at the Ironman Wisconsin swim this past Sunday. As I was reading, I didn't expect to see that I actually made my way into her recap. Have a read and then scroll through the comments, where you will actually see that I reached out to her and we've since connected. It's pretty great to turn what happened to me on Sunday into something AWESOME!

#TriTeamForGood #KOKUA


Sunday, August 25, 2013

From Clarinet to IRONMAN

I'm a Professionally Trained Classical Clarinet Player

By the age of 17, I already played in Carnegie Hall three times, totaling six by the age of 18 - this included principal clarinet on Stravinsky's Firebird Suite (AWESOME clarinet solos!). Then, I went on to study in a conservatory-like setting at DePaul, with members and regular players of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 

Throughout my studies, the most obvious beyond the books was simply PRACTICING. It's exactly what I DIDN'T want to do! I wanted to be socializing, hanging out, and having fun. Practicing was NOT fun. But, I HAD to practice in order to get graded for lessons, so I didn't sound bad during group performances and because we had yearly recitals to perform. I couldn't just show up and play. There was so much that needed to be done to make sure my sound was as close as possible to being what my mentors wanted it to be and, of course, I had to practice all that fast technique stuff (slow to fast!) because it was certainly NOT my forte!

Simply put, I had to practice but it was easier to do when there was something to be practicing for. So, I would go to the performance office and schedule my recital; I would send in my application to audition for one orchestra; and, I would schedule my next lesson. I had to have something booked before I really got serious. Then, I did the work. 

With that goal in mind, I took out a calendar and mapped out how I should be progressing up until recital, audition or lesson day. I would structure my practicing accordingly and set SMART goals. Then, as the day got closer, I would be to the point where I would be doing a "run-through" - playing everything from start to end - without stopping. I would record myself during these sessions, analyze (OVER-analyze really!), and then I would practice a little bit more to clean up the technique here, fix my counting issue there, etc. 

I would even run up and down stairs or do a bunch of jumping jacks and then immediately go into playing through my music. Why? Because, I had to practice being nervous and getting the heart pumping rather aggressively was a great way to replicate it. And, it was my job to play and NOT SOUND NERVOUS!

All that work would finally pay off. Hours upon hours of practicing, recording myself, getting the heart going etc. It was all for a total of, at most, probably an hour of music being played. And, that was just for recitals. For auditions and lessons, the total amount of music being played MAYBE totaled up to about 30 minutes. For lessons, I might get through 1/10 - 1/4 of what I prepared. And, in auditions, I could easily be cutoff after just ONE minute of playing and all I would hear from behind the screen is, "THANK YOUuuuu…. NEXT!"

Yes, all that practicing for such little time of actual playing in the end. 

But, that regimen and structure are what have easily transferred into all other aspects of my life and have led to my success today. I set goals, structure my schedule accordingly, then I do the work to get there. I just get to do what I want to do, socializing on the way and enjoying myself vs being locked up inside, alone, practicing, all by myself!

How this is relevant to why I am writing you today…

I was a band geek that NEVER thought I would be actively participating in fitness as I am today. With my second IRONMAN being just two weeks away, I am almost half-way through "taper madness". This is when I start over-analyzing my training, thinking about how much I missed, panicking that I may miss the 2:20 swim cutoff, start having nightmares that I forgot my wetsuit, bike, or running shoes, and obsess about SEVERAL packing lists. Yes, this is quite a neurotic time. And, yes, I'm even MORE neurotic than usual during this time (as you can see!)

During my final long run today, I was thinking of all that above AND how I really wanted to get a blog post up. So, I was thinking of how I got to today and how I will get through IRONMAN Wisconsin. And this time, I really actually BELIEVE the saying, "Trust the training…"

Thanks to group training sessions with Chicago Endurance Sports, I can say that I feel better than I did at this time a year ago. I got more of the training in, getting in my weakest sport (SWIMMING!) when super-limited on time, and I got all but a FEW of my long weekend training sessions in. That is HUGE! I can't tell you how much training I missed last year because I was either "tired" or, more likely, didn't have a group to meet up with that was also putting in the same work and, therefore, just couldn't get out the door. Yup, group training is a necessity for me!

CES provided the calendar and the structure. I did the workouts (practicing) with an awesome group of folks that have become newfound friends. I had a few shorter races (dress rehearsals) with even MORE new friends. And, I will continue doing "touch ups" (run-throughs) up until race day (the lesson, audition, or recital) with the same friends.

I've been training for a three event sport and the biggest difference between this and my past life as a musician is that I can't actually do true run-throughs because the events are so LONG. For IRONMAN, the closest I got was last weekend, covering 104 bike miles and 30 run minutes on Friday, a 2.4 mile swim on Saturday, and a 20 mile run on Sunday. It was definitely nice to spread all that out over three days and the thought of doing the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run ALL within 17 hours or less just… well… just… CONTINUES TO SOUND ABSOLUTELY NUTS!

I'm probably more excited this year than I was last year, not only because it's my second go at this distance, but because I had a plan, followed it pretty well overall, and now I just have the performance to get done!

The butterflies will increase as the morning of 9/8/13 gets closer. But, I certainly hope that I can hold it together as I wander down the helix toward the swim start that morning. Last year, I started to cry silently with tons of tears rolling down my face because I was happy to have gotten through the training and was so proud of myself… AND I COULD NOT BELIEVE WHAT I WAS ABOUT TO ATTEMPT!

Now the REAL point (I know, it's like a drawn out movie that could've ended about 30 minutes ago!)…

Aside from having put in solid training, I am really happy to know that the training I did also brought awareness to the IRONMAN Foundation and all it contributes to the communities that host IRONMAN events. Their mission is incredible and I am glad to have been able to fundraise for them as part of the IRONMAN Foundation - Newton Running Ambassador Triathlon Team.

Thanks to those of you that have donated already and to those that support me but are unable to donate. Because of your tax-deductible donation, I have raised $1,370 of my $3,000 goal to date -- THANK YOU! I appreciate your unending support of all my endeavors, despite how CRAZY they may be!

And, for those that have not donated yet but have planned to, now is the time because I have just two weeks to race day and I am counting on you to get me to my $3,000 goal! You can do so here: Don't forget that your donation is tax-deductible! AND, those that have donated at least $70.30 will be entered into a giveaway of a sports massage with my friend and owner of Urban Wellness Chicago, Terri. The lucky recipient will be announced shortly after race day.

Hope you enjoyed the read and I thank you all for your donations to such a wonderful cause!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013




You may have noticed the cover of Chicago's RedEye...

It's my friend Terri Lynn Visovatti, massage therapist and owner of Urban Wellness Chicago!

Terri has generously made a tax deductible donation to my cause AND she has also donated a couple SPORTS MASSAGE sessions that I may GIVEAWAY!

- The next person to make a tax deductible donation of $140.60 or more will receive one of the two sessions.
- The second massage will be chosen from all the donors of at least $70.30. This person will be chosen AFTER Ironman Wisconsin, which takes place on 9/8/13.



cc: Ironman Foundation, Inc. & Ironman Foundation - Newton Running Ambassador Triathlon Team

Friday, July 12, 2013

#CrossTraining is IMPORTANT!

So, you may remember that I got an ‪#‎Equifit‬ a few weeks ago at Equinox - Gold Coast with personal trainer Lori Thomson

During that #Equifit, she took a bunch of readings and tested my strength (or lack of!) in NUMEROUS areas. This was QUITE a thorough process that took about an hour. And, it was a humbling experience because it highlighted my asymmetries (not abnormal) that need to be addressed AND it reminded me that I need to be FOAM ROLLING!

It turned out that all that data gathering wasn't a "front" to get me to join their gym or purchase their personal training services. In fact, I was never asked to join and nor was I coerced into purchasing personal training sessions. I loved that they left the decision up to ME! 

Here I am now as a member of ‪#‎Equinox‬ and have had two personal training sessions with Lori. And, those sessions specifically addressed my weaknesses AND they weren't just random strengthening exercises. They're designed around my goals this season, particularly Ironman 70.3 Steelhead (in which Lori is racing as well!) and Ironman Wisconsin, and making sure that I get there in good shape. So, we've done a ton of glute (lots of lateral!) and core strengthening and some upper body stuff to support my swimming.

Why the long post with all the detail? THE FACT THAT I HAVE TO GRAB ONTO SOMETHING AND SLOWLY LOWER MYSELF, because of how sore I am, is reminding me how awesome my session was TWO DAYS AGO! Gotta love ‪#‎DOMS‬ (delayed onset muscle soreness). And, I want to remind you all that ‪#‎CrossTraining‬ is important during all that crazy endurance training we do -- it's a reality that must be addressed and can stave off injuries!

Carry on...I'm finished. 
Support my journey:

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Training With Purpose #TriTeamForGood

In 2006, I was perfecting being a pro couch potato and Dorito eater. In 2007, I started to run and did my first marathon. About 7 marathons later, I realized I formed an addiction. But, that addiction got boring. So, I decided that I wanted to mix it up a bit in 2011 when I signed up for a 2012 IRONMAN when I couldn't even swim. *GASP* Yeah, I know. But I got it done in September of last year, and boy was that a TOUGH JOURNEY!

I really thought that it was that one time bucket list item that I would not want to do again. But, I thought the same thing about running marathons. So, 2013 has me training again. But, this time I'm not doing it for myself.

I have the 2013 Ironman 70.3 Steelhead on August 4th and Ironman Wisconsin on September 8th on the schedule. And, to make this training and event participation more special, I will be fundraising as part of the inaugural Ironman Foundation - Newton Running Ambassador Triathlon Team.

My efforts will benefit the Ironman Foundation, Inc.’s Community Fund Program, supporting service projects that will be conducted in the race communities to assist local initiatives.

Through the team, I am able to make my journey to become a two-time IRONMAN one with a cause! Please help support my mission of supporting the local communities that host these IRONMAN events and know that any amount goes a LONG way and is tax-deductible! $3,000 seems like a long way, but I know that it will be easily accomplished with your support!

The goal of The IRONMAN Foundation-Newton Running Tri Team is to "create an action that happens once in time but has existing or lasting results or an action that happens continually or progressively." The team will create a moment to impact people, that does it in a way to build a legacy.

Kokua is a Hawaiian word that translates as “extending loving, sacrificial help to others for their benefit, not for personal gain. Through our Kokua, we hope to leave the world a better place.

Through the support of the team, The IRONMAN Foundation will partner with a local charity to leave our KOKUA in the IRONMAN race Communities. Please help us leave a lasting legacy behind in our race community and contribute ANY amount. Your tax-deductible contribution will go a long way and you can do so here:

Thank you for your support in reaching my $3,000 goal and for recognizing the Kokua that our team represents!

Friday, May 10, 2013

My Response to IRONMAN's SwimStart Initiative Announcement

I think this is in response to the deaths that have occurred... I think it's a wise choice to be proactive about educating folks on the anxiety of the swim start so they can be aware and try to plan for the experience. It won't end up a complete surprise, even though you don't really know until you're in the thick of it.

I am actually a professionally trained classical musician... Throughout school, we would PUT ourselves into anxious situations, or run up and down a flight of stairs to get the heart rate going, and we would have to perform. What it did was teach us how to manage the stress and anxiety of the situation and perform so the audience had NO idea we were nervous... Because they were paying to see a performance, not us sh*t our pants!

So, this is why I am able, with my 2:05 ish IRONMAN swim (hopefully faster this year!), to be on the very start line of the swim start - HECK NO AM I SWIMMING AN EXTRA 50-100 YARDS! I just know to expect that I'll have to hold my breath for 4+ strokes and that it's going to be cray cray. And, I remind myself that it'll all calm down... Especially as I begin going off course! ;)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Swim Breakthrough!

Wannabe Swimmer?
Suffer from "dense leg syndrome"?
I fall into the last two. I wannabe a swimmer but I suffer from "dense leg syndrome". Yes, that is an official diagnosis...that I have made up.
After a swim a little over a week ago, I sent an email to the two coaches of the group I'm training with this season. During that swim, I had to throw the pull buoy between my legs for the last two-thirds of the workout.
That's pretty much the ENTIRE workout!
Why did I have to do that? Well, after the warm-up and just starting into the main set, my legs started to fatigue so much where they felt like dead weight. They eventually started falling to the bottom of the pool. Each time my toes would touch the bottom while I was "swimming freestyle," I would quickly bounce my legs back up. But, I could not do that the whole time, particularly for my own sanity!
This reminded me of last year when I could not swim at all and suffered from this curse! Putting that pull buoy between my legs was my only savior. It helped me build confidence and actually had me completing my workouts, but it was a crutch. Or, was it? I mean I would be swimming with a wetsuit during races, so it's pretty much the same thing, right? Ohhhh...I LOVED the couple times I did workouts with my full wetsuit in the pool! Those workouts went quickly--so quick that the sun was still out when I left the gym!
Anyway, back to the pull buoy... yes, it IS a crutch when not part of drills, especially because I relied on it so heavily! To think that I thought I had graduated from needing that stupid thing beyond drills! 
Let's complicate my neurotic thoughts of how bad a swimmer I was because I did not hear back from the coaches. I figured they had already given up, packed up, and left the stadium. But, that was not the case.
I got to the group workout on Tuesday. And, I was EARLY! Yes, I'm never early. I'm either late or just on time. But, I was glad I was early because Coach Craig spotted me while he was yelling rest intervals to folks in the pool and called me over.
He handed me two kickboards. Great, I have to do kicking drills as punishment for sending them that message! No, he actually wanted me to do some floating, with the kickboards holding me up at my waist and my arms and legs extended forming an "X".
He told me to also think of my butt, calves, and back of my head just clearing the surface of the water. For my butt and calves, that really involved some adjustment-serious activation of my core, particularly by needing to flatten out the small of my back. But, to REALLY get my "dense parts" up, I had to really think about just the back of my head clearing the top of the water. What I was doing was almost looking forward, which was driving my bottom half down. So, I had to tuck my chin in a little closer to my chest. That tucking led to me feeling like I was tilting forward. But, I was in fact now level in the pool.
The only way I can describe this new feeling is how I have read or heard before. I was "swimming over" something like a barrel. THAT is what it REALLY feels like. And, it's a weird feeling that takes some getting use to. However, it's worth getting use to when you're able to get from one end of the pool to the other with LESS effort and FASTER!
That was how the rest of the evening felt. And, I could not have been happier!!!
So, if you would like to be cured like I was, do just as I did and spend 5-10 minutes feeling the water just as I did. I guarantee you will thank me after you get the water out of your ears!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Ironman Foundation - Newton Running Ambassador Triathlon Team

I'm honored to have been chosen among HUNDREDS of applicants to be on the Ironman Foundation - Newton Running Ambassador Triathlon Team! I'm excited to have the opportunity to give back to the wonderful communities that host IRONMAN events!

This goes without saying, but I also cannot thank enough the following folks for being in my SAG wagon this year:TrainingPeaksCore PowerCycleOps PowerTimex Factory TeamNuun Hydration & The Running Institute - CHICAGO!


cc: Ironman Foundation, Inc.Newton Running


Friday, February 22, 2013

Tip of the Day: Get Motivated to Work Out!


The following post by me was published by Core Power earlier this week...

Here’s a great tip on getting motivated to work out from our CP friend, Ken Chin!

Are you like me? Do you wake up and try to justify that you should really just stay there in bed, under the covers in darkness, where nobody will know that you didn’t get your workout in?  Do you need a big kick in the @$$ to get out the door to get your fitness on?

If you are, welcome to the club! If not, quit your judgment this very second!

I envy my best friend Matt. No matter how much sleep he does or doesn’t get, he’s up at the same time each morning doing his assigned workout. Here’s some food for thought: Matt missed only FOUR workouts last season during his Ironman training. And do you know what type of workouts he missed? They were the OPTIONAL strength training ones! The ones that weren’t any of the three disciplines of triathlon! I don’t even want to begin tallying inTrainingPeaks how many workouts I missed!

How does he do it?

I’ve picked his brain many times on this subject but I never get a clear answer other than, “I just do.” Now, isn’t that helpful?


So, being that he couldn’t provide me with an acceptable answer (aren’t I nice friend?), I’ve been left to find ways to get MYSELF motivated and get my workouts done.

Let’s start with the very first step: sign up for a race! That will help you establish purpose for your workouts and you’re not just doing a workout to “keep your base.” Yes, keeping your base is important when there is no race on the horizon, but many of us require a goal. So get that out of the way, first, and it’ll give you a more solid why as to the purpose of your workout.

Next, find a group to train with! Groups can give you peace of mind which comes from knowing that you’re suffering through the workout together. And of course, there’s the social aspect of meeting new people and sharing your progress with each other. It’s just nice knowing that you’re not alone on your journey!

Finally, what are you going to do on those days when you don’t have the group workout? Recruit buddies from the group! More than likely, you’ll link up with another athlete with similar strength in each discipline–it may even be the same person! Plan to link up with each of them to get the workout done together! Suddenly, you’re not alone! Cool, eh?

This is how I do it. Just be careful not to recruit buddies that will enable you to bag the workout, resulting in you both having beer and pizza instead! I’ve been there too! ;)



Now it’s your turn!

On those days when you don’t feel like it, how do you motivate yourself to work out?

Let us know in the comments, via Twitter or on Facebook!

You can follow Ken on Twitter and also like him on Facebook. You can also check out his blog,


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Saturday, February 16, 2013

when #paleo becomes a #fail-eo

i have to be honest...

i am a rebellious person.

when i'm told not to do something, i typically want to do the opposite because i want to prove that i'm in control and not you. the same can be said when it comes to food.


since moving toward a paleo "lifestyle" in november 2012, it has definitely had an impact on controlling weight gain through the holidays and winter, coupled with non-ironman training type cardio.

going paleo, to me, has different depths. you can go ALL in (or have to due to medical conditions), where you are looking at specific chemicals in the products, how the animals you're eating were fed, etc. or, you can go a little simpler, as i am. what are the key elements of paleo that i, personally, try to keep an eye on?

avoid sugar.

avoid grains.

avoid dairy.

avoid processed foods.

too many items in the ingredients list = no no.

notice how i said "avoid" above?

it all sounds pretty easy, right?



i WANT that bag of chips. i WANT that cupcake in the office kitchen. i WANT those french fries! i WANT that sushi! AND, I'LL HAVE THEM! those are the times that you DON'T see me posting pictures on Instagram because i'm ASHAMED!!!

but, there you have it... i'm human! i have those cravings and the fact that i'm not SUPPOSE to have them, makes me want to have them even MORE! REBELLION!


but once you read Paleo Diet for Athletes, you learn that those "non-optimal" foods are typically "ok" during stages III & IV of recovery! so, workout and ye shall be rewarded! the longer the workout, the longer stage III is! read the book so you fully understand!


so, ken... what's your point?

my point is that it's perfectly fine that i rebel. yes, i should do less of it. and, that's a work in progress. i'm working on focusing on those foods as "rewards" and "integral for recovery" post-workout. so, i don't really HAVE to rebel as much as i want to, especially because my training has started to ramp up significantly lately with the LA Marathon in March.


how do YOU rebel? what's YOUR weakness?


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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

26.2 on st patrick's day anyone?

my post from 12/30/12, from ironman to fat described how i gained tons-o-pounds-o and made a commitment to 2013 in many ways to kick that fat to the curb!


if you know me well, i'm a little aggressive. remember when i signed up for ironman wisconsin 2012 a year before the race and couldn't swim? now this...


Congratulations, this email serves as official confirmation of registration for the LA Marathon taking place March 17, 2013.

this is practically one of my many mantras: must have race on calendar so i train.  and, training is what i need to be doing now! time to piece together a schedule and get my @$$ in gear cuz i've got 26.2 to cover on st. patrick's day this year!

anyone else doing a winter marathon?

*WARNING* do NOT attempt to train for a marathon under such a tight timeline unless you are in the proper shape to do so and/or if you are under CAREFUL supervision of a PERSONAL coach that will assess your day to day progress. AND, accept that finishing is just fine and PR's can be saved for another day! *END WARNING*

Thursday, January 3, 2013

going deaf during workouts...

do you ever 'go deaf' during workouts? this happens to me during my killer FASTrength workouts with coaches mike & angie.

typically, i'm in some type of morphed plank where i'm dragging my legs behind me while walking my arms the length of the gym. or, i'm doing something that my body is in total shock that i'm even ATTEMPTING.

with this loss of hearing, i often close my eyes and my vision is blurred. this is when coach mike tells me to open my eyes and be present with him. (and, this is when i usually hate him!)

but, i must admit...

i don't go ENTIRELY deaf. i just feel this pressure in my cranium, particularly close to my ears. but, still, it's an odd feeling. and, i wonder if i'm about to pass out as i that blurred vision turns into dizziness.

as i've been working hard during my one-on-one PT and group sessions since the beginning of november, these moments have become shorter. and, i'd attribute that to commitment and progress.

do you have these moments? have you had these moments? do you remotely want to find out what these moments are if you haven't had these moments?