Transplant Athlete
Monday, June 27, 2011
  Way Behind

All of my training so far has been geared towards triathlons, but I am running out of time to train for my Ridge Of The Rockies trip.

Thursday I was able to get a 34 mile ride in with the Reston Bike Club. Saturday I was able to knock out 57 miles without any problems. Sunday I managed 74 miles, somewhere around 50 miles in my back and hands started hurting. I was running late and pushed the last 23 miles really hard, by the time I was 8 miles from home, I could feel myself slowing down and there wasn't much I could do about. I was eating and drinking fine. I popped some ENDUROLYTES for salt and some ANTI-FATIGUE CAPLETS to buffer the lactic acid in my legs. It is literally amazing how well the ANTI-FATIGUE CAPLETS work.

With just 4 miles to go, I felt like I was crawling along and my mind was screaming at me to call the wife for a SAG. I played that game where I tell myself to just go another 1/2 mile and then I'll get off and rest, but I keep riding along.

About a mile from home, the W&OD drops down ever so slightly to Crestview and all I could do was coast down hill. Crestview has an ever so slight uphill grade to get to Builders, but has traffic that seriously exceeds the speed limit, so I had to give it all I had (which wasn't much at that point) to get to the light. I made the turn onto Builders and then coasted down to the stop sign. A brief turn of the pedal got me over the hump in front of the school, then it was downhill to the house.

What was the first thing I reached for to recover from such a brutal ride? A devil dog. I downed the Devil Dog, filled my water bottle, and then took a quick shower. I pulled out the mountain bike and soft pedaled up to the Hiddenbrook pool for a friend's going away party.


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Saturday, June 25, 2011
  Webster Lake Triathlon

So, I was feeling energized by my surroundings on that bright sunny Sunday. My dad picked me up from Vinny's that morning and we drove over to Memorial Beach. The transition and finish line was in the large grassy area (inside a walking track), we got registered and then set up our bikes in the transition area. The guy next to me had brought a cooler and not one of those small 6 pack coolers, this was about two feet wide and it was smack dab between me and Matt.

We wandered down to the beach, which was about 1/4 mile from the transition area, which prompted jokes like, "Swim, run, bike, run." The swim course was a giant triangle with the base parallel to shore. Dad and Matt waded into the water for the start, I lined up on shore near the point of the triangle. The gun went off and it was a mad scramble into the water. On the first leg, I felt like I was running into a wall of feet, so I backed off the pace. A familiar face popped up out of the water just before the first turn, it was Matt! We were pretty much at the same pace as we swam parallel to the beach. I was really suffering, taking a breath every stroke, people in the later waves were passing me, and it felt like I was out there for hours (in actuality it was 15 minutes). I lost track of Matt on the final leg into the beach. I stumbled out of the water and once I got past the beach, I was able to pick up the pace and actually run.

I had a fast transition and pushed the pace on my bike. The big climbs threw me for a loop. I just couldn't keep my speed up on the climbs and had to spin in an easy gear. I used the downhill to get some food and drink in me. The rest of the course was small rollers and I was able to pick up the pace. The run felt like a disaster. I was getting passed by everybody and I wasn't passing anyone. I kept telling myself that's the last person that's going to pass me and seconds later, I'd hear footsteps and heavy breathing.

With about a 1/2 mile to go, I passed Matt on his way out. I focused on a woman about a hundred feet in front of me and just kept lifting the pace to catch her. I passed her right at the finish line. Yes I know, she started later, which means even though I passed her at the line, she was still something like 10 minutes ahead of me. I ended up 16th (out of 26) in my age group and 116th out of 215 overall. Pretty much mid-pack.

My dad had done a similar swim a week before and it took him 32 minutes to complete it, but he shaved 10 minutes off that time up in Mass. That's pretty amazing. He could shave some more time if he wore a streamlined bathing suit instead of the cargo shorts he wears. I gotta send props to my cousin Matt too, with a couple more triathlons under his belt he'll be able to shave some serious time. He is much faster in his second triathlon than I was in mine.


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Tuesday, June 21, 2011
  Hayden Pond

I have a special connection in my heart for Hayden Pond in Massachusetts and the surrounding area. My dad's side of the family is from that area. When he was a boy, he helped his Uncle Roland build a shack on Hayden Pond. Uncle Roland bought a small lot on the pond with his savings. He excavated for the foundation by hand. He bought used cinder blocks. He built when he had funds, he talked to experts when wasn't sure what to do, and did most of the work himself. When he had the funds, he bought the lot next door.

Uncle Roland lived in the house in the summer months with his sister, my grandmother. In the winter months, they would travel to Miami, where my grandmother owned a trailer. During the summer months, I would spend weeks at a time up there with Grandma and Uncle Roland. My Aunt Sue and Uncle Steve lived in Webster about 3 miles away, so I spent a lot of time with my cousins Matt, Beth, and Steven. Their older brother Vinny spent most of my childhood in the Marines and then living out in San Diego.

So, as you can imagine with all those wonderful childhood memories with family up there, it holds a special place in my heart.

When I found out there was a triathlon in Webster lake, I knew I had to compete. My dad, Matt, and Vinny signed up as well. In fact I believe we were the first 4 entries. I drove up to my parent's house on Friday and we drove up to MA together. It was really nice seeing that side of the family again. I spent the night as Vinny's first house guest. He's got a beautiful cottage in Webster.


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Wednesday, June 01, 2011
  Jersey Shore Multisport Cheap, Fast, And Not So Easy

I arrived in New Jersey Saturday night. My cousin Matt, his wife Michelle, and my Aunt Sue and Uncle Steve were at my parent's house, along with my sister Clair, and her boyfriend Matt. My cousin Matt and my dad were planning on doing the Cheap, Fast, and Easy triathlon on Memorial day and I was planning on doing the slightly longer version.

I had stopped at Bonzai to pick up a wetsuit and realized I had forgotten a cycling jersey, so I picked up a tri-top as well. This time, I ordered the next size wetsuit up, a large.

Sunday we had a great BBQ and went to bed early. Monday morning the three of us woke up ready to go and we got out quickly. It was a beautiful morning, although just before the start, we started to see storm clouds in the distance. The wetsuit felt like a great fit and I felt great and fast for the first leg of the swim. I felt like I was keeping up with the pack up to the first turn. By the second turn, I was still with the pack and soon after I heard the gun indicating the women had started. So, I was facing the last long stretch before the turn into the beach. I got about halfway to the last green buoy when it started to rain. On top of the that, I started to feel like the wetsuit had tightened up around my chest and I was veering off course and further into the bay. My head was telling me that I was making the swim longer than it had to be and I felt a bit of panic.

To calm down, I started breathing every time on my right side. I started to feel like I was fighting the suit and I was desperate to finish. I finally turned the corner and headed for the shore. I passed a guy who was standing in chest deep water and walking in and I knew I could stand up at anytime and "dolphin" in to shore.

The wetsuit came off quickly. I got to my bike and everything was soaked from the rain. I threw on my cycling shoes and helmet and took off. It was tough to see in the rain, my glasses were fogged and covered in drops. Standing water was obscuring the road conditions like potholes or cracks. I was riding on my Zipps at regular pressure, so I couldn't corner very well. Since I was pretty much last out of the water again, I had a lot of people to pass on the bike. There was one short steep climb in the course. I made it through the first lap and on the second lap, I started getting passed by women. I was under the impression at the time that I was so slow out of the water that these women were on the same lap as me, but I think they were starting their first laps. My swim time was only a minute slower than the first place woman and she had started ten minutes behind me. At the top of the only hill, a woman rode straight across the turn and caused a couple guys to veer around her. My guess is her brakes were wet and she couldn't slow down. I booked past that group and passed a couple more people on a long gentle downhill. We had to drag back up that hill and with two turns left, another woman misjudged the turn and caused more cyclists to veer around her.

I raced into the transition area, passing my dad on his way out and grabbed my hat, race belt with my number, and I got my Vibram 5 Fingers on. I started to hobble out and realized that two of my toes were jammed in the same slot, so I leaned against an ambulance and adjusted my toes. I didn't feel fast at all during the first mile. I got passed by a couple guys and girls. There was an aid station at the first mile and I hoped I was near the turn around. I picked up the pace on a downhill and finally started feeling strong on my way out to the turnaround. There were kids cheering us near the turnaround and that felt really good. I suffered back up the hill and start giving it some gas. I wasn't reeling anyone in, but I wasn't losing ground either. I saw my cousin Matt on his way out on the run. With about a third of a mile to go, I gave it all I had and passed a few people. I was so focused on stopping the clock, it didn't even register that they were handing out flags right before the finish line. Looking back, I was pushing so hard, I couldn't tell you when it had stopped raining. I placed 7th in my age group, two more seconds would have put me in 6th place. I'm still chasing that mid-pack though.

My cousin finished in an awesome time of 47 minutes putting him squarely mid-pack. My dad also posted a great time a hair under 55 minutes.

On a side note, a guy got DQed for wearing headphones on the bike and the run. What an idiot.


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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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Warning Signs for Kidney Disease:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Burning or Difficulty when Urinating
  • Frequent Urination at Night
  • Blood in your urine
  • Cola or tea colored urine
  • Swellig of the eyes, ankles, or feet
  • Lower back pain unrelated to physical activity

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