A vision for my life - Because what we focus on expands

Saturday, May 26, 2007

05/26/07: Off to Austin

I'm off to Austin for the next few days for some MUCH NEEDED r&r. I'm going out with the Team in Training Tri group that I've been coaching for the last several months. For those of you who don't know, Team in Training is an amazing organization that raises money for Luekemia & Lymphoma. Please take a look at their website:


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

05/23/07: Finally Somewhat Recovered

First, thanks to everyone for your support and encouragement. It really means a lot. Now that I'm a bit rested, time to start planning my training. I'm about done scheduling things out, and will post it here in the next week or two.

Also thanks for the comments. Personal comments I'll email you - training comments I'll put here as a resource for me and for others.

So here goes:

Tea: Congrats on training for a 1/2. As you can tell, I got a lot out of it. One thing I realized is that the race is just the prize at the end of the journey - enjoy all of the training along the way. IM WI huh? My hats off to you - that's a REALLY tough race. The weather is usually totally mislerable, just to make life even more fun Here's a link to a newletter from my tri club that has a race report from this past year:


Hey Gilliland's - It's great to hear from you :)

I put a couple of links up on the page. Although I don't necessarily agree with all of what the following suggest, here are some of my favorites.

For general information: Chris Carmicheal's site is pretty good: trainright.com. He has a book out on fitness nutrition, and another new book that I believe is titled the Five Essentials. I'm not sure if there's a website, but I enjoyed Bill Phillips book Body for Life. He pushes meal replacements a bit (since at the time he owned the company)....other than that I like what he has to say. One of my other favorite resources is Tony's Living Health Book, especially the updated one. I think his principles of health are critical: oxygenation by proper diaphramatic breathing, hydration (1/2 your body weight in oz of water a day), living foods, alkalizing (greens), essential fats (Udo's oil), AEROBIC exercise, structural soundness, the elimiation of whites refined processed carbs, saturated fats, and acid addictions (caffeine, nicotine, drugs, alcohol, etc).

As far as exercise specific sites:

www.halhigdon.com for tons of running related articles and training plans from 5k through ultra marathon

www.cruciblefitness.com for some fantastic triathlon related articles, many of which are geared towards ironman events, although there's a lot of great info on the individual components.

If you want, I can give you lots more info depending on what you're looking for. Drop me an email at ahariton@bellsouth.net. I'd love to stay in touch.

Carlos - you couldn't have said it better, and I definitely learned my lesson. I'll give you a call in the next couple of weeks when I start riding again.

That's it for now. Check back in the next few days. I'm gong to post a friends IM Fla race report from two years ago, which is absolutely fantastic.

Live with Purpose....Enjoy the Adventure

Monday, May 21, 2007

05/21/07: Race Report: Florida 70.3

Warning: I tried to include as many details as I could to give me something to look back on getting ready for my next race, so this is a little long.....

First of all, thanks to the hundreds of volunteers for keeping everything organized and well run, and the sheriff’s department and all of their people for keeping us safe on the bike course.

Now, onto the race…..

I had a relaxing drive down to Orlando, parked at Disney and rode my bike the 10 minutes or so over to the event site. Instead of doing my planned 20 minute ride and 10 minute run, the ride to the race site ended up being my pre-race workout.

Registration was extremely well organized and I was in and out. Later that night, Susan Wallis was nice enough to get a few of us Hammerheads together for a carb loading dinner at the Olive Garden, even though she couldn’t make it herself. Thanks Susan.

After dinner I went back to the hotel, and thankfully I was able to get a few hours of sleep before my alarm went off at 3:30. I ate (or should I say drank) breakfast and headed over to the parking and took the shuttle to the race. Getting to the race really early makes for a very easy and stress free morning: plenty of time to setup transition, inflate tires, hit the bathroom, fill up water bottles, and most importantly, relax for a bit before the race. Fortunately I’ve learned from previous experience: rushing to get to a race start SUCKS!!!

Although the race started at 6:20 with the pro men, my wave didn’t go off until a little after 7, so I hung out for a while watching the other waves start. I was actually surprisingly relaxed waiting to go….until our wave was in the starting shoot a few minutes before we went. I felt a surge of adrenaline and my heart rate skyrocketed….. I’m guessing there were 150 of us in our wave…..

There were a few things I did really well, a couple I didn’t, and a huge setback at mile forty on the bike…..

One minute to go….toes on the edge of the lake….the airhorn goes off…..swim time…..The first thing I did well: paced myself well from the start. Everyone has the tendency to swim too fast out of the start….I did start out fast, but under control….after a hundred yards or so I fell into a pretty good rhythm. Second thing I did well…remembered that triathlon swimming is a contact sport. I stayed out of the middle of the pack and kept myself from getting pummeled. I found myself getting tired after a few hundred yards, which I’m fortunately used to and expected. I knew as long as I kept swimming at a comfortable pace, the fatigue would disappear, which it soon did. To keep my mind occupied, I started counting strokes. Every 12 strokes or so, time to look up and make sure I’m still on course – I did a reasonably good job at not zig-zagging too much. Finally, I made the last turn back to shore, looked at my watch, realized I was right on target. I had planned for about an hour swim. VERY slow by comparison, but unfortunately that’s about my swimming ability at the moment. Better to have a slow swim and save energy for what’s next. I was SO grateful to cross the timing mat out of the water and know that the hardest part of my day was over…or so I thought….

Got into and out of T1 with no problems….had a gel, grabbed my bike, ran through transition, clipped in, and off I went for what was supposed to be a relaxing 56 miles. My heart rate was really high getting on the bike after the swim, which I expected (175). My heart rate stayed a bit higher than I would have liked (160’s), so I kept it pretty easy for the first half hour or so. I was at the right intensity, and then two things showed up: wind and hills. As far as the wind, no big deal…I’m used to training in it – just go in an easier gear and spin – no sense in using up my legs this early. The hills were a bit unexpected (note to self – drive the course the day before the race)…although they were mostly pretty short, a couple of them were pretty steep…Same concept as getting through the wind….use an easy gear and just spin –

although a couple were steep enough I had to stand up…I did a few things very well on the bike: used the right gears for spinning up the hills without killing my legs, following my nutrition plan (alternating sipping water and perpetuem – an endurance sports recovery drink - every ten minutes, with a gel every hour), and keeping my heart rate at a reasonable level (although a little higher than I would have liked). Then I got to mile forty…..

The sound every cyclist dreads…that’s right – the sound of a tire going flat. I never saw it until I ran over it…going through one of the intersections, there was a bunch of glass and nails….. such is life in triathlon racing…fix it and move on…unfortunately that proved a little more difficult than expected.

First the good news…the sheriff’s people at the intersection (they were at every intersection keeping us safe – THANK YOU) got on the radio and within just a couple of minutes someone was there with a broom making sure no one else had to ride through the crap on the road….

Now the bad news….put in the spare tube, put on the CO2 adapter, twisted……nothing…..UGGHHHH……now what????? UGHHHH (that's not really what I said, but I'm keeping this G rated)….So the sheriff’s folks called the tech support van for me….and now I get to wait….and wait….and wait…..this is absolutely not a complaint….I’m grateful that there was a support van and that they were able to get me going again…..which they did….THANK YOU….Although I’m not exactly sure how much time I lost, I’m guessing it was somewhere between 20 and 45 minutes…..Yeah – I’m back on my bike and riding again….Now for the big mistake of the day…..

Andy’s body says I just had a nice long break, I feel good, time to hammer on the bike for a while….Andy’s brain says good idea, I’ll make up some of the time I just lost; besides, I’ve run two marathons and a couple of half marathons, so I can suffer through the run…..So Andy hammers on the bike for the last 15 miles or so….BIG MISTAKE…..

Two things happened: 1. Because I was working too hard and my heart rate was too high, I lost my appetite. I forced myself to eat anyway, but nothing was really digesting. Lesson one: high heart rate = no digestion = bad. 2. I used up a LOT of energy on the last 15 miles of the bike. Lesson two: triathlon is a cumulative sport. What you use on the bike you can’t have for the run.

I took it easy on the bike for the last half mile or so, standing up on the pedals, stretching my legs out as best I could, getting ready for the run…..T2 was pretty uneventful…I got out of my shoes while still clipped in, which definitely sped things up at least a little (glad I practiced in advance)….Another gel (even though I had NO desire to eat anything….two more salt tablets (on the bike they were mixed in with the perpetuem). Off to the run…..

Made it out of transition and my legs felt tired starting the run, as expected – the first mile always sucks. Ok – quick check of my heart rate and pace….uh oh – I left my heart rate monitor on my bike…. Such is life in triathlon racing…fix it and move on….sound familiar?

Unfortunately my legs still felt really tired after mile 1. Note to self: DO NOT HAMMER ON THE BIKE IN AN IRONMAN EVENT!….enough said…..The run course was an interesting three loop course. Why interesting? Because most of it was on dirt trails and not on pavement….no big deal…just keep running…..there were aid stations with water, Gatorade, and a bunch of other things I didn’t really want about every mile or so. Had a few sips of water through the first aid station and kept running to my next goal, which was the next aid station. That’s one lesson I learned from marathons – have some smaller goals along the way to keep me going….Made it to the next station – few sips of Gatorade, poor some ice water on my head and back to cool off….keep running……

The first loop felt pretty much like the last few miles of a marathon….SUCKED…..loop one completed…starting loop 2…just keep moving…..just keep moving…just keep moving….The second lap wasn’t too much different than the first – just trying to make it from one aid station to the next….two laps down….

One quick comment before getting to the third lap…triathlon is a mental sport. Having the focus to train consistently; having the discipline to keep easy days easy and hard days hard; and digging deep to keep going when there’s absolutely nothing left. The end of an event like this is no longer about physical endurance…..it’s very quickly becomes about heart…..and remembering why you’re doing a crazy race like this in the first place…..

Anyway, onto lap three. Made it to the first aid station…..just keep moving, just keep moving….This is about the point where my body decided it had enough. Some cramps started showing up in my quads and calves – nothing too unbearable and nothing that lasted very long …..just keep moving…just keep moving…..

As bad as I wanted to keep running, that was no longer an option….so it became run for one minute, rest for 15 seconds….Of course the rest breaks soon became 30, 45 and 60 seconds….. Hmmm…..DO NOT HAMMER ON THE BIKE IN AN IRONMAN EVENT!….Finally I passed mile 12 and I knew the suffering was almost over…At about a ¼ mile out, there were still a lot of people out cheering us on…..Time to leave everything on the course and finish strong…..I ran as hard as I could through the finish, heard them announce my name, and was thrilled I had just finished my first ½ ironman…..Overall it was an amazing event and I’m thrilled I did it. I do indeed love seeing how far I can push myself. My swim, although slow, was right on target. The bike would have been except for the flat. Somehow I managed to do the run in 2 ½. All in all, a good solid effort.

In a way, I’m glad I got the flat. I learned my lesson. There’s a great analogy from golf. Don’t hit two bad shots in a row (think Tin Cup). Fix it and move on. That same mistake in a full ironman would probably keep me from finishing – a mistake I won’t make again.

My thought after finishing? God I don’t ever want to suffer like that again……So when they gave away the 50 spots for the full Ironman…..Of course I was one of the first people there to grab one…..If I didn’t get a spot for IM Fla this year maybe I’d still do one in the future, maybe not….It would be very easy to procrastinate….Now I’m totally committed (it’s amazing how writing a pretty big check will do that).

A few other things learned

I need to find a good swim coach. I’m ok with being a slow swimmer, but do need to do a lot of work on my technique, so that I’m at least a slow swimmer who uses very little effort and energy. If you want to run better, run more; If you want to bike better, bike more; If you want to swim better, get a coach……

I need a new bike. I knew when I got my bike it was only going to be good through an Olympic distance or maybe ½ ironman event. I was right……

Life is about to get expensive…between entry fees, new bike, time off and travel the week of the event…If anyone is feeling generous, please consider contributing to the Andy ironman fund - I'll give you a link to my paypal account. All donations are now being accepted and operators are now standing by…..

One last thank you to all of you who put up with and support my crazy habit. Put Nov 3 on your calendar. That’s the day we’ll all get to hear the announcer at the finish line say, “Andrew Hariton you are an Ironman.”

Last but not least, congratulations to Angie & Dustin – you both had truly spectacular times – good luck in IM Wisconsin!!!; Congrats to David Gerland – finishing your training, much less the race, on a bum ankle shows how much heart you have; Congrats to all of the other Hammerheads and everyone else who finished the race.

Now I'm going to sleep.......


Live with Purpose….Enjoy the Adventure

05/21/07: Recovering from the 1/2

I'll put up a race report in the next couple of days...for now, enjoy this:

Dear Diary, For my sixty-fifth birthday this year, my wife (the dear) purchased a week of personal training at the local health club for me. Although I am still in great shape since playing on my college football team 30 yrs ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try.

Called the club and made my reservation with a personal trainer named Belinda, who identified herself as a 26 yr old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear. My wife seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.

MONDAY: Started my day at 6:00am. Tough to get out of bed, but it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Belinda waiting for me. She was something of a Greek goddess -- with blonde hair, dancing eyes and a dazzling white smile.

Woo Hoo!!!!!

Belinda gave me a tour and showed me the machines. She took my pulse after 5 minutes on the treadmill. She was alarmed that my pulse was so fast, but I attributed it to standing next to her in her Lycra aerobics outfit. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which she conducted her aerobics class after my workout today.

Very inspiring, Belinda was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time she was around. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!!

TUESDAY: I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Belinda made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air, and then she put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. Belinda's rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT!! It's a whole new life for me.

WEDNESDAY: The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot.

Belinda was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members. Her voice is a little too perky for early in the morning and when she scolds, she gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying.

My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Belinda put me on the stair monster. Why the hell would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Belinda told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. She said some other shit too.

THURSDAY: Belinda was waiting for me with her vampire-like teeth exposed as her thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn't help being a half an hour late; it took me that long to tie my shoes.

Belinda took me to work out with dumbbells. When she was not looking, I ran and hid in the men's room.. She sent Lars to find me, then, as punishment, put me on the rowing machine -- which I sank.

FRIDAY: I hate that bitch Belinda more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic little cheerleader. If there were a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat her with it.

Belinda wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps. And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the *&%#(#&**!!@*@ barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich.

The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?

SATURDAY: Belinda left a message on my answering machine in her grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing her made me want to smash the machine with my planner. However, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel.

SUNDAY: I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year, my wife (the bitch), will choose a gift for me that is fun like a root canal or a vasectomy

Saturday, May 19, 2007

05/19/07: Off to Orlando

Hey Guys

Thanks for the comments...since I'm a bit short on time today I'll respond when I get home on Monday. Sorry Barb - I'm apparently two years too young for you :-p, but I'll see who I can find for you at the race.....

Well, I got one of my questions answered this morning...Did I taper long enough. The trick for long endurance events is to finish all of the long hard training 2-3 weeks before the event, so that you're body has time to recover and repair from the months of work and you're totally fresh on race day. It's definitely a matter of trusting the training plan and praying you get the timing right, so that your fitness peaks exactly on race day - part art/part science.

Most of this week a still felt a bit tired and my legs were not quite as springy as I would have liked. Fortunately I woke up this morning and felt absolutely fantastic. Two weeks of tapering seemed to be right on target.

I'm also thrilled that I slept well last night, since I'm not going to get too much tonight, knowing I have to be up by 3:30 tomorrow morning to be able to eat long enough before the race start. That's another interesting thing about doing an event like this. It's really 4 events: swim, bike run, and nutrition/hydration.

Woke up this morning, had my favorite breakfast juice (carrot, apple & ginger), and dropped Kramer off at Camp Bow Wow. Fortunately, he should be as tired as I am on Monday, since he's going to get to play all weekend :) Got the bike, wetsuit (which I probably won't need), and a whole bunch of other stuff (which I'll definitely need) in the car.

Off to Orlando....Check back on Monday


Live with purpose...Enjoy the Adventure

PS - If you want to play along at home, here's a link to athlete tracking: http://www.ironmanlive.com/events/ironman70.3/florida70.3?show=tracker&y=2007

Friday, May 18, 2007

05/18/07: Florida 1/2 Ironman

In September 2005 at a Tony Robbins Seminar in Palm Springs, Life Mastery, I had an interesting experience that I'm sure many of you have had...I opened my mouth and some words came out before my brain had a chance to get in the way. At the time, I didn't quite realize how much those words would change my life going into the future.

Those absurd and seemingly unachievable words that I uttered in front of 80 or so people were "I'm going to do an ironman within 5 years." Well, fast forward a year and a half. Two marathons and a bunch of shorter triathlons later, this weekend I'll be half way to my goal.

On Sunday May 20 at Disney World in Orlando, I'll be joining 2,200 of the fittest and most committed professional and amateur athletes on the planet to do a half ironman: a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run. My competition: the clock, my determination, and my ability to endure pain. What's at stake?

A spot for Ironman Florida in November. With the exception of the world championships in Kona, there's no need to qualify for ironman events, UNLESS they're sold out. Well, as luck would have it, Ironman Florida sold at in 45 minutes last November. The good news: there are 50 spots up for grabs this weekend, and I REALLY want one of them.

As Lance Armstrong once said, "Be brave and fight like hell. Pain is temporary, but quitting is forever." Come to think of it, Lance did triathlons as a kid...hmmm.......

Since I started training for the Rock n Roll Marathon back in Jan 06, a lot of people have come and gone in my life, circumstances have definitely changed, but two things have remained constant: Kramer, the best dog in the world, and my focus on becoming an ironman.

I decided to start writing this blog for a few reasons:

  1. I've lost touch with way too many of you over the last couple of years, and maybe now would be a great time for us to re-connect. Seems like as good a time as any.
  2. For all of my good friends, family and acquaintances, this seems like a great way to stay connected.
  3. There is no foreground without background. As I continue on this crazy adventure, this is a great place for me to track my progress and training. Public commitment got me into this in the first place, so why not keep doing what already works.
It took me about a year to get to a point where I could start the 13 week training for the half. Thirteen weeks is about to come down to one very brief moment in time (if you consider a 6-8 hour race brief). As my training tapered off, my energy definitely started growing, now turning into nervous anticipation.

I know what to expect in a marathon: at about 22 miles, you hit a wall and life sucks. To quote a good friend (you know who you are), "fuck running, I hate this."

There's still a lot of unknowns for the 1/2 ironman. Did I train right for the race? Absolutely. Can I swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles, and run 13.1 miles? Yip. Will I be able to do all three, one after another on race day? Certainly. Am I going to hit a massive wall and suffer through the last countless miles and hours? Probably.... just have to wait and see.....

Check back in the next few days. I plan to to put up one more post prior to the race, partly for me, and partly for you.

For now, it's off to do some more carbo loading and to start packing everything for the race...it's amazing how much crap it takes to go 70.3 miles in a day :)


Live with purpose....Enjoy the Adventure