Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Catching up...

So I try to only "blog" when I have something to say that I think people will want to hear. I have not posted anything in two months. This has not been for lack of something to say but more for lack of time to say it. I have finally gotten to the point where I feel I can take a breath and actually put the last couple of months on paper so to speak. I like to write about my races and several of you have been asking for the updates. I've missed a few and will list them below but I don't think they'll have quite the same sizzle as they do when I do them right after the race. We'll see.
Those that know me well know that I was working full time for Bancroft Contracting in South Paris. I left in mid July. I spent 4 1/2 months driving almost two hours per day and I just hated the drive. I felt so unproductive and detached from my family. I was torn because I liked the job and the company but struggled with the commute and the time away from home. It was a tough choice but I decided to go back to my contracting business and make it work. I don't look at my time there as wasted. It showed me a lot of things that I think I was taking for granted - my time with my family, my ability to train and race in a sport that I have come to love and has become a big part of who I am, and my desire to be my own boss and run my own business. I came away with some close friends in the entire Bancroft and Small families and I am a better person for knowing all of them. I'm proud to call them my friends.
I have never been more excited and energized about having my own business. Since I started back up I have been busy, busy, busy looking at new work, writing proposals and contracts and getting jobs started. I couldn't have asked for a better start given that the day I drove home from South Paris I had no work lined up at all. I have given my wife a few reasons to be nervous over the years but this move was tough on her and I am thankful she had the faith in me to do what I said I could do. I've never worked harder in my life, and I've never been happier. So that's the scoop on "work". I should take a minute here to sincerely thank all of my Facebook friends and the entire "Triathlon" community for helping me get started again. I posted a short note on FB when I was getting started and the result has been tremendous. So THANK YOU everyone, it has been great!
As a result of the above you can imagine how far down the list "triathlon" has slid in the past two months. I have managed to cling to some early season fitness and throw up (no pun intended)some decent efforts on race day despite what I'd call intermitent(sp?) training. It's funny, when you reduce your priorities down to "OK, what do I need to do to make sure my family survives", things get pretty streamlined in a hurry. Triathlon and training goes out the window and you find yourself wondering whose stupid idea it was to only put 24 hours in a day. Anyway, I think the next race I did was the Black Fly Tri in Waterville Valley (7/9-7/11). This a three day event that did last year. Last year I lost overall on the weekend to Rick Durgin by something like 28 seconds. This year I did much better. I lost to Mike MacDonald by a mere ten seconds - ON THE WEEKEND! I can't remember too many of the details but I can tell you that I put it all out there on all three days and I got beat. Mike has really turned it up this year and it was nice to see him have a great weekend. Oh yeah, Durgin beat me again too. Seeing a pattern yet? No? Well stay tuned. I did do very well overall. I came home with some hardware but my friends kicked my ass. This was a tough pill to swallow as I knew I should be stronger but the fact is that I wasn't strong enough. I decided to bear down on the training and focus on the diet. This turned out to be pretty tough given I had just quit my job and needed to get some work going!
In July I was able to take a trip to Lake Placid to watch my friends compete in Ironman USA. We had a ball and did some great training while we were there. Rick and I rode up Whiteface Mountain on Friday and he beat me handily and I never felt good the entire way. It's an 8 mile climb that just never backs off and gets steeper as you go. It's like 4800' or something. Anyway, we rode the 56 mile Lake Placid loop after climbing that and I still didn't feel great. When we got back to the camping area and had a beer I got thinking about Lance Armstrong and his book that I had read. Lance was training in the mountains and did this four hour climb and was not happy with the results. He got to the top and told his coach "I'm going back down, and I'm doing it again". So while I was sitting at the picnic table, legs trashed, I looked at Rick and said "I'm doing it again tomorrow". He just looked at me and said "OK". And that's just what we did, and he kicked my butt again. But I felt better, much better and it showed me that I am stronger than I think. I'd be fine. Mike MacDonald and Mark Bancroft joined us for the second day up the mountain. Mike beat me by a couple of minutes but Mark struggled. We found out a couple of weeks later that he had done the climb with an 11/23 cassette on his tri bike. Whoops. That means he is one tough dude and a pretty darn good athlete. Most people would have thrown in the towel ut Mark didn't give up, he climbed that sucker and met us at the top. He did mention that he needed to find some new friends though!
Forgot to mention I jumped into the Pirate Tri at Point Sebago in June. I did well finishing 10th I believe. Tough little course. Angela beat me. She is having a tremendous year.
Before I knew it the Beach to Beacon was in my face and I was going "holy crap, I'm not ready for this...!" So I decided to make a training day out of it and bike to the race, run the race, run the race backward, and bike home. I saw Mark and Ange at the start as well as Josh "Off the Couch" Freeman and his wife Annie (she smoked me). I saw a bunch of other friends too. It was great. I thought I might be able to run 6:50's but I knew I'd have to dig deep to do it. I dug a bit deeper and ran 6:49's, I think it was a PR. Josh Freeman and several others were breathing right down my neck at the finish. (I give Josh a hard time because he literally got up off the couch last year and ran B2B with little or no training posting a 7:20 pace I think!) Most of my friends kicked my butt but I managed to beat 5200 or so of the 5700finishers. Not bad for a guy that has been having a hard time getting his training in. Rob Martin beat me by a few seconds too. He was pretty pleased and it occurred to me that I now have people that chase me and measure their effort and results against mine. That's a pretty cool thing and in a way it motivates me even more. So, Rob, welcome to the list of people I plan to beat - yes I am keeping track :). I ran the race course backward then bagged the ride home opting for a day at Pine Point with Jodi and Bailey, the (Pat) Kelley Family and the Bracketts.
Last Friday I jumped into the St Peter's Four Miler in Portland. This is a great little race with awesome door prizes. Brackett showed up thinking he was going to beat me. We ran the first mile in 6:15 - whoops. Mile two was slower but Dave slipped off the pace and I lost him. I finished in 27:01 (6:46 pace)- good for 3rd in my age group. Dave came in about 40 seconds later. He plans to beat me in the Pumpkinman Sprint next fall but he knows I'll be ready. We both had a great run and I think 27:01 was a PR for me. Strange, I'm ten pounds heavier than last year and running well with screwed up training. Not going to hang my hat on it, just an observation.
So now I have The Timberman 70.3 (Half-Ironman)staring me in the face for this weekend. Am I ready? Who knows? Last year I did 4:51 and luckily had a Clearwater slot roll down to me. My goal this year is 4:45 broken out like this: 31:00 swim, 2:29 bike, 1:38 run. With transitions that should get me where I'd like to be. I am going to have to lay down a well executed race in order to do this AND the heat needs to NOT become a major factor. Why do I think I can go faster than last year given the training issues I've had and the additional weight? Because it's all about the run and I plan to gear my race to the second half of the run, AND I plan to turn myself inside out in the process. I have a bunch of friends coming to watch and cheer me on and I plan to leave it all out there. The winter is long in the Speed Lab and I am the leader (well, only because it's my house) and Leaders lead by example. I plan to give a good example for everyone to think about while we all train for Ironman Lake Placid 2011 - oh yeah, did I mention I signed up for that? More on that later.
So I think that catches me up a bit - sorry for the delay in getting something out...I'll try to be more active now that I have secured some work!. I'll close with some things I have observed and done this summer...

I watched my best friend lay down a 11:10 Ironman split. Pretty damn impressive.
I have watched a new friend kick the crap out of a bad (multiple) Pulmonary Embolism(s) and live to tell about it.
I helped Tommy Bancroft get up on water skis for the first time.
My parents have retired and are enjoying themselves after a lifetime of hard work.
I went to the Tri For Cure and realized that there are a lot more important things in life than who wins the race.
I learned that I can do anything I set my mind to.
I joined a Business networking group that meets every week.
My wife is a Zumba fanatic - she's into it. Good for her. She also gets mad when I mow the lawn. Imagine that.
I am now 41 years old - still don't have all the answers but I'm working on it!
My daughter is becoming a young lady and a pretty darned good dancer.

There are still only 24 hours in a day....



  1. awesome post Bob. Glad you're back. You're missed here in SP but I am Happy for you!!! And, the best part about all of it, is great frinedships are forever.
    Your summer is impressive!! I can't wait to see what you do in LP next July!!

  2. Nice post. It's great to see others notice and appreciate the important things in life- and still race well. I'm still kicking......