Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I returned to work today. It felt good and kept my mind off all the eye surgery stuff (and politics!). I did get tired towards the end of the day and have just chilled out since I returned home. While laying on the couch at home, I gave some thought to the events of the past week and I kept coming back to one word... gratitude. I have so much to be grateful for... even if I never get to participate again in the sport that I love so much, triathlon, I have gotten the opportunity to participate in over 20 races in 5 full seasons of training. That's a lot of miles logged... I've had more than my share already. I am and always will be an Ironman, even if I never swim, bike or run competitively again.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Top 10 Things About Losing Your Sight

From TJ's perspective... Top 10 Things about Losing Your Sight....

10. Great parking spots at the mall.
9. You no longer have to take a turn as the designated driver.
8. Tourists no longer stop you and ask for directions.
7. No more bike rides over Big Savage Mountain.
6. People don't make fun of you because of how poorly you dress.
5. You always wanted to be like your grandfather.
4. Think of all the time you save now that you can't watch TV!
3. Senses of touch, taste, smell and hearing are greatly enhanced.
2. Something stuck in your teeth... and you don't care.
1. Cruising chicks in sporty designer eyewear.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Follow Up Doctor Visit

The surgery performed on the right eye looked good. Dr. Vu was pleased by the response. Retina is reattached and the tears have been stabilized such that fluid can't get in behind them to detach the retina again. It is likely I'll still see the "spiders" as he didn't clean out the junk. That would require surgery in a hospital. As the blood dries up, it'll clear my vision and should take another week. He said I was lucky... if I had let this go a little longer, I might have completely lost sight in my right eye.

So, we agreed to do the left eye today. The procedure he did was called cryopexy. It freezes the tear so that fluid can't get behind it and cause a detached retina in the left eye. Here is description from Wikipedia.

He says that it'll take a week for the left eye to feel better as it is swollen, has blood in it and has restricted vision now. I go back on Friday for a follow-up. Hopefully, all will continue as it has so far and I'll continue to respond positively. In the meantime, I have very restricted vision, have to take Advil to relieve discomfort and I have to sleep in an upright position.

Bottom line... I'm out another week... at least. But, I fully intend on starting and finishing Ironman Florida. This is just a speed bump.

Down... But NOT Out

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Houston, We Have a Problem

OK, the diagnosis is in. I have a detached retina in my right eye, two retina tears in my right eye and a retina tear in my left eye. IMMEDIATE surgery on my right eye was required yesterday because the doctor feared that delay would result in losing sight in my right eye. More about retina detachments and tears can be found here and here. The surgery I had yesterday is called Pneumatic Retinopexy.

Therefore, I have to sit (and sleep) propped up with my head in an upright position, looking forward. I cannot go into work and I certainly can't workout. Of course, this is happening at a bad time. We are in a crucial time at work. We are reloading and in essence, operating in startup mode on a couple of major projects. I am also at peak training time for Ironman Florida, as readers of this blog already know. My family like having 100% of me around, too. So, the timing really sucks.

But, at least we know now what was wrong.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I was just pulling away from home, took a right turn on Worth and was coasting down the hill when I hit a speed bump and heard a crash. I had already had to go home before because I forgot my heart rate monitor. I was thinking... what the f**k is it now? I looked back and saw portion of the hydrotail that holds the drink laying on the ground. I stop, circle back and pick it up. Dang if the thing didn't just break off. I don't know if it was cracked already or what. But, I'm going to complain to All3Sports, where I bought it. You would think that it is supposed to hold up to jostling.

UPDATE (8/18/2008 12:53 pm): Both All3Sports and Beaker Concepts have gotten back to me today already via email. I believe Beaker is going to replace the device as it is still under warranty. I have changed the name of this post as I think that I may have been a little harsh with my HydroFAIL title.

Weekly totals are creeping up. Next week will be a big one, too. Really long run. Century ride. Annapolis 10 Miler all on the schedule next week.

The Brick

The training staple... two disciplines in a row in one workout. Today, it was the long bike and then short run. I like to do this workout early... but when today's alarm went off at 5:15 am, I was like, NO WAY. I was up late as JR had a sleep over last nigth and they were up until around midnight.

So, I finally clipped in at 9:30 am. I pulled away from home and remembered I didn't have my HR strap on. So, I went back and got it. Then I pulled away again. Then, my Hydrotail fell off. Seriously... the part that holds the drinks just broke right off. More on that in another post. So, I went back home and regrouped and I took some photos of the damage. I finally clipped in again and it was 10 am. The time delay kind of goofed up my nutrition build and also my mental preparation.

The ride turned out to be 46 miles. I went out north and west again. To Kemp Mill, Colesville, Cloverly, Ashton, Sandy Spring, Olney and then Brookeville. Honestly, i did not feel very good on the bike. I think I need to take a couple of days off. It didn't help that it was sunny and about 88 degrees. Fortunately, it is not too humid. But, my mind started playing tricks on me like, "cut the ride short... don't do the run... pull into Starbucks and have an iced latte."

I would have liked to have gone longer than 46 today but the late start kind of killed that. I get to take JR and her friend to Port Discovery up in Baltimore today, and I can't make them wait forever. Two hours, twenty five minutes for a 19 MPH average. Average heart rate was 138.

When I returned home, I transitioned into running gear, grabbed a cold bottle of water out of the fridge and started running. I took my top off so I ran in just shorts, socks, shoes and a hat. This workout today was definitely uncomfortable which is probably a good thing. It'll make me stronger. I ripped off 3.5 miles in just over a half hour and the run HR was 149, so I was definitely working it.

I am going to post later today about the Hydtrotail and also my weekly total. I think I'm going to chill tomorrow and Tuesday was I have the LONG run on Wednesday, a Century ride on Saturday and then the Annapolis 10 miler on Sunday. Wacky, fun stuff.

Lastly, I have told a couple of training buddies about this... I've had something weird in my left eye for over a month now. It is like a"floater" but it is always there. Well, this past week, it showed up in my right eye and it is much bigger. It is definitely obstructing my field of vision. And, then yesterday, this "field of dots" has showed up too. It is in both eyes. It is like seeing thousands of tiny black spots in my whole field of vision. This is in addition to the "floaters" which are really pronounced in the right eye. So, bottom line... I think I have to see a doctor. I don't want to alarm anyone... I'm sure it's nothing... but better play it safe.

Also... increased swimming my have tweaked out my right shoulder. I feel a twinge in there.

You know what... I'll go ahead and say it before anyone else... it sucks getting older.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Tempo Run

Progress is good. This morning, I got a tempo run in before JR woke up. 8.5 miles in 70 minutes... essentially an 8 minute mile pace. Not bad for a 43 year old Clydesdale. Average heart rate was above 150 so I was anaerobic for most of the run. I drank about 20 ounces of water and had no nutrition at all. I had eaten oatmeal for breakfast and had a cup of coffee. Run started at 6:30 am and the weather was perfect.

I am running in a new pair of Air Max Moto's. This pair is red, so they match my DC Tri singlet and Ironman hat. As you know, it's not how fast you run... but how good you look.

I'll run again tomorrow but it will be on a brick workout so only about a half hour run following a 60 mile bike ride.

Volume has picked way up and my body is cooperating, so far. My mind... well that is a different story. I am thinking about working out a lot. You could say I'm obsessed. In fact, I have not been feeling good when *not* working out but having feelings of bliss while I am working out.

Take this morning as an example... I was totally pushing the pace... average heart rate of 153, which should feel uncomfortable. And, at the end of the run there is a 1/2 mile uphill on Worth Avenue. At the top, I did feel a dry heave coming on. But you know what, it felt really good. I'm already thinking about the tempo swim I'm going to do later today and then tomorrow's bike/run brick.

Mentally, I am so focused on this that it is kind of scary. I have to be careful of a letdown or disappointment.

Something else to note is that the food fight continues. I ate General Cho's Chicken at lunch on Thursday. Yes, that's right... I had the General over and it felt good when I ordered and when I was eating it... like soaking the rice in that sauce and gobbling it with a spoon... but afterwards... not so good. My stomach hurt. And then the remorse set in.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Long Run

I think this morning's long run was the fastest ever. I did a 15 mile run in 132 minutes. Average HR was 138. It was a solo run that started at 5:20 am. I ran without the iPod for 65 minutes. Then I rocked out for the rest of the run. I went through 28 ounces of water and half a flask of Hammer Gel. I was uncomfortable for the first 20 minutes of the run but then locked in and never felt fatigued or uncomfortable. I was wary of this run after the four two-a-days from Friday through Monday. I totally rested yesterday... no weight lifting, stretching or anything. Got an ok night's sleep and then knocked out the run this morning. I have never run that distance that fast and in fact, my 13.1 mile run at Timberman last year was in about the same time zone.

The long run is so peaceful. It leaves me very serene. It is hard to describe in words the feeling after completing a long run early in the morning. Believe it or not, I can't wait to do it again. Next week... going for 18 miles and will probably take 150 - 170 minutes.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Oh, What a State I'm In

Maryland is a very beautiful state. Over the past 8 days, I have biked over 250 miles of it. Sugarloaf Mountain... Savage Mountain and now eastern Prince George's County and Anne Arundel County. What a beautiful day, too. Warm but not humid. Sunny but some puffy white clouds. The one thing that complicated my 57 mile solo ride today was a wind coming from the N-NW. On the way out on the ride, it was behind me... on the way back... oh joy. Still managed to knock it out in 182 minutes. Not bad considering what has been going on with workouts the past few days.

I think I'll stay off the bike until Thursday and do an EZ ride down at HP. Going to try and knock out a swim tonight and then call it a day. Nice training block, the past four days.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I saw more deer on my 8.75 mile run today than I did in the 48 hours I was out in Western Maryland. I saw three deer on the run and only two on those crazy bike rides and the run. Chad observed that they have more room to spread out there compared to the little sliver of Sligo Creek Park.

I willingly got in the pool today, too. About two hours after my run, I did 3 x 500 at Franklin Knolls. The pool manager observed that she hadn't seen me in a while. It's nice to be missed but... quite frankly, I am shooting for, "geez... you again?"

My legs felt real strong on today's run. I am thinking that the two rides on SavageMan were breakthrough workouts. A detail I left out was the my average heart rate was 136 and 127 respectively on the two rides. I was doing low eight minute miles (8 and change) and my average HR was still only about 144.

I cleaned my bike this morning, too. Looks nice and is ready for another ride... which will come tomorrow. As I planned at being at Deep Creek through tomorrow night, I am off work tomorrow. So, I intend to get in a 60 - 80 miles, if possible. Still trying to figure out a route and who can come with me, if anyone.

A few more random thoughts from the SavageMan workouts...

1. When we were coming down this descent on Friday, I could see this road off to our left that seemed to go up and up and up and had a few nasty switchbacks. Somehow, I knew when we came to the bottom of the hill that we would be taking a left on that road. Chad called out, "LEFT" and I exclaimed, "I was afraid you were going to say that" anyway. That road... Miller Road.

2. We have a buddy in the DC Tri Club named Guillermo Cabrera. I was musing that he has the best cyclist name in the club.

3. The brick run on Friday was more like a chase. KDOG spotted a path in the woods and, well, she never misses a good opportunity for a trail run. I proceeded to chase her for about three miles and I think one time we actually ran in a circle.

4. I would have liked to swum (is that a word) more in the lake on Saturday. But, the swim was a little disorganized in getting away from the dock and then we didn't really have a set course. Plus, a few of the swimmers were new club members and may have been in only their first or second OWS. I was the only Ironman in the group. That is a neat feeling, by the way.


Savage Training weekend was cut a little short. But not before getting in two days of riding the SavageMan Bike Course. I managed to get in a bike/run brick on Friday and then a couple of hours after biking the course Saturday, I got in a half hour swim along the shores of the lake. I had to leave earlier than planned because Ironman training is definitely putting a strain on relationships within my family.

A few random thoughts related to my time up in the mountains of Western Maryland:

1. Deep Creek Lake is very beautiful this time of year. it is cooler than here in the DC area, the terrain is very hilly and the lake lends itself to some attractive open water swimming opportunities.

2. The SavageMan bike course is the hardest bike course I've ever ridden. The first 20 miles are essentially downhill and then the next 30 miles is just murder. On some of the hills I was only going 4 or 5 miles per hour, I had to get out of my bike seat on a number of occasions and often had to weave left and right in order to navigate up the mountains.

3. Two places in particular standout... Westernport Wall and Miller Road. The climbing is the toughest I have ever done. All other hilly rides I have done pale in comparison.

4. A sight I will never forget is on the Westernport Wall climb on Saturday, we encountered DC Tri Club members scattered across the hill. KDOG, Chad and I passed them and I felt pretty good that this was the second day in a row I had done it and managed to scale it both times without stopping.

5. We stayed in a little cabin called the Whitetail. It was very cute. I stayed up in the loft and the hot tub definitely came in handy after the bike rides.

6. My eating habits have regressed. I have been eating chips, drinking soda and even had ice cream on Friday night. I have got to get back on the beam as this is a critical time here and I can't let the diet keep me from reaching my goal.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Silent in Sligo

The Wednesday morning long run. An Ironman training staple for this endurance athlete. The idea is NOT to put a long run and long bike on a Saturday/Sunday and toast you. Do the long run on a Wednesday and then a long bike on a Sunday. This gives you time to recover and also to get other workouts in between the marathon sessions.

Yesterday, I was heading out for a 12 miler. I was to meet my running buddy at around mile 5 of the run and she would stay with me until mile 11. It was still dark when I got out and it was quiet. Definitely humid, however. I was drenched with sweat 1 mile into the run and was glad I had lugged two 8 ounce Fuel Belt water bottles with me. I would be passing water fountains at Dennis Avenue and Wheaton Regional Park, too.

The meeting point was at Dennis but no sign of the buddy. I slipped into Chad's Chambers real quick to pee and got back out on the path in a jiffy. Still no sign. So, I ran off towards Wheaton as the HR had slipped down under 100. Looked like I was flying solo.

Long, solo runs are actually pretty peaceful. And, there are a lot of deer in Sligo and Wheaton Regional. I saw at least 10 deer, some of them little fawns. I wished I had brought a camera as they didn't run off and I could have gotten some nice pix. It was very quiet save for the distant sound of traffic. Quite serene, actually.

The humidity wasn't much of an issue for me other than the sweat. My shoes got squishy and my arms rubbing against the sides of my chest would make funny sounds sometimes. When finished, I had knocked out 12 miles in 107 minutes. Average heart rate was 136.

I'm heading up to Deep Creek Lake this evening to join in some training exercises. I plan on lifting some weights today and I have GOT TO GET IN A POOL. My swimming is already off from 2006 as evidenced by my swim times at the training tri and the NJ Tri. I just don't know if I'll have time today and I'm unclear on the swimming commitment this weekend at DCL. Everyone seems teed up for biking and running... I don't know if there is the same willingness to get time in the water.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Off Day? There are no Off Days in Ironman Training!

Well, there was today. And, a good thing too as according to the calendar, I have not had a truly off day since Thursday, July 17. And, I was definitely shelled after the last couple of weeks... even with the NJ Tri taper. Today, I didn't do anything. No swimming, biking or running. No weight lifting. I slept for 10 hours last night.

This weekend is a go for the Savage Training Weekend. I'm heading up Thursday night and then we'll have at least three hard days of training. So, I need to re-charge the batteries.

But, these workouts don't let up... I am doing a twelve mile run tomorrow morning. And, I have got to start finding time to get in the pool on a regular basis. My swimming has been way to inconsistent.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Withering Workouts

Ouch. I forgot how intense Ironman training can be. I am in a build phase and this week was tough. You can see from the attached that there was very high volume this past week. And, I missed a swim workout. I didn't get in a long swim. That's right... 1500 meters doesn't qualify as a long swim.

Today found me on another epic ride. I rode from my house, met the DC Tri Club gang down at the Washington Monument and rode out to Seneca. Then, Kip and I soldiered on to Sugarloaf Mountain. I felt good for about 60 miles. Then, the suffering began. It was a nice morning but after 11 am it got real warm and the sun was blaring down.

Funny side note... when we were on top of Sugarloaf and resting for a bit. I recognized a family who was walking around... it was the Hunter's from Worth Avenue. They're my neighbors. In fact, their daughter Molly, who is in kindergarten, I idolizes Jessica Rose. Funny to see people out of context.

River Road on the way back was definitely a challenge. Then, Kip and I split at Persimmon Tree and I foolishly chose to ride Bradley Blvd. back into Bethesda. I didn't realize it was just one long three mile hill from River Road into Bethesda. Just what I needed at mile 95. Yuck.

Two bricks this week... bike/run brick yesterday down in Annapolis and a swim/run brick Friday morning. When I was in Annapolis, I bumped into some DC Tri ladies... Julie, AJ and Kimberly. I rode with them for about 45 minutes as they were going back to New Carrollton.

Next weekend is supposed to be Savage Training Weekend up in Deep Creek Lake. I thought I had everything dialed in for this trip but some family issues may prevent me from going... stay tuned.