Friday, November 18, 2016

Staying Cool Under Pressure

Staying Cool Under Pressure

In the last post, I was explaining by remaining calm and focused when under pressure or when things do not go at planned  you can still deliver the desired result.  In this edition, I will relate a couple of stories from my 2015 racing season where things didn't go quite as planned.  Yet through staying focused the desired outcome was achieved.

First up is the Iron Pig Duathlon or Crashes Happen

This past April, I raced the Iron Pig Duathlon in Fayetteville, AR.  This race is a 5k, 18 mile, 5k format.  2015 marked the fifth year I have raced it.

2015 was the first year I have raced this event as an age grouper vs a clydesdale as I had lost enough weight I no longer was eligible for clydesdale status. The conditions at gun time were a little on the chilly side at 32 deg. However, I knew I would quickly warm up as soon as the gun went off and we got underway.

Both run 1 and run 2 are on the same out and back course.

The first run went off without a hitch except seeing someone in my AG wearing a day glow green jersey passed me shortly after the turn around.  He entered T1 about 100 yards ahead of me.  I figured I would make up time in T1 and more than likely pass them on the bike. 

Flying low on the bike before the crash
I never saw the gentleman on while on the bike.  As I approached the dismount line, I prepared to hop off the bike and run sock footed into transition.  Everything was going as planned right up to the point right after I crossed the timing mats and tripped over my big size 14 feet sending me headfirst over the aero bars crashing down onto the asphalt.

I quickly got up, ran to my transition area, racked my bike and threw my shoes on and was off on the run.  I began to access the damages to my leg, arm and hand while heading out on the run course.  Nothing too bad, a nice case of gravel rash on my knee with blood running down my leg, a little gravel rash on my hand and elbow, and a pain near the big toe on the leg which wasn't bleeding.  Not fun but tolerable.

At this point, I still had not seen the gentleman in the day glow green jersey.  Then, about 300 yards after the turn around I saw a lime green jersey still headed towards turn around.  This gave me some extra incentive to keep pushing.  I maintained the same distance between him and myself up until the last half mile where he began to gain ground on me.  I kept on pushing.  I crossed the finish line about 100 yards ahead of the gentleman.  So, I waited until he crossed the finish to congratulate him on a hard fought race.  As luck would have it, the guy who was chasing me town was 4 age groups younger than me.  We never did figure what happened to the gentleman who passed me on the first run.

While waiting on the awards, I took a closer look at my injuries and discovered the pain in my big toe was due to me scraping a hole in my sock and taking half the hide off of said toe which proceeded to bleed thru to the outside of my shoe.

1st place Male 55-59
At the end of the day, I set a new course PR by 12 minutes and took first place in my age group with a 15 minute gap between me and seconds place.   Keeping my wits about me and not freaking out over the crash saved the day.

The next three multi-sport races went off without a hitch with me scoring a 2nd, 4th, and 1st place finishes.

Bartlesville Triathlon 2nd place Male 55 - 59

Chris Brown Duathlon 4th place Male 55 - 59

Jay Duathlon 1st place Male 55- 59
Leaving T1 at the Jay Duathlon

The last race multi-sport race of the season was the Tri OKC Fall Classic Duathlon

This is a fast and fun race held mid October at the Route 66 Park in Oklahoma City.
It is a 2 mile, 10 mile, 2 mile format.

The first run went off perfectly. I was in the lead for my age group by roughly 2 - 2.5 minutes, when all of a sudden, I heard a metallic clink, then a loud pop! I hit something in the road while cruising at 26 mph at mile 2 and got a blowout on my rear tire.

A less than desirable way to end the season

I pulled over put my spare tube on and inflated it about half way as I figured if I were to fully inflate the tire, it would most likely poke thru and pop before I got a mile down the road.  I crossed my fingers, hopped back on the bike  with an immediate goal of the makeshift repair holding until I got back to the transition area which you pass once besides entering and exiting it.

By the time I was nearing the turn to go into the transition area, I was averaging a little over 20 mph on the semi flat tire, so I decided to roll the dice in hopes it would hold for the remainder of the race which was about 7 miles.  Riding a half inflated tire made for some interesting cornering (Very soft and squishy).

The Reward
By remaining calm, I managed to keep my head in the game, and was able to salvage the race with a 3rd place in my age group.

When the results, came out, I discovered the margin between 1st place and 3rd place was 4 min 8 seconds. When I analyzed at the data from my Garmin, I found the blowout / flat repair took 6 min and 10 seconds. I wonder how things would have turned out if the blowout had not occurred.

Two of my co-workers did the event as a relay team and placed 2nd in their respective category. One of the ladies I have been coaching / passing pointers along to this fall also place first in her AG also. I think I have may created a trio of multi-sport junkies this fall. lol.

Oh well, at the end of the day, everyone had fun and the multi-sport gods were looking after me allowing me to salvage a podium in my last race of the season representing Cobb Mobb.

2015 was a good year 5 races (4 Duathlon and 1 Triathlon) and managed 4 podium appearances and one 4th place.  That's an 80% podium rate.  Not bad for a former Couch Potato.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Adventures in Public speaking.

Adventures in Public speaking.

During the latter half of the 2000's, I was the President of the International Nortel Networks Users Association "INNUA", which was one of the largest independent telecommunications associations in the world with close to 80 local chapters in 35 different countries globally.

The first conference I presided over was in the Summer of 2006 in San Diego, CA which had with 3000 plus members in attendance.

In addition to press conferences, meetings with executives from our industry partners, one of my key responsibilities as President, was to deliver a state of the association speech kicking off our annual conference.

Many people have said public speaking is more frightening to them than death.  Let me tell you, as someone who struggled with Speech class in college, speaking in front of several thousand people could be considered to be just a little nerve wracking to say the least, especially when you have never used a teleprompter before.

So the evening of the big event is here.  I am to enter from the rear of the stage.
I had forgotten the stage was two tiered and proceeded to stumble to the podium
very much like Dick Van Dyke, just not completely falling down.

So, I make my way to the podium after a less than graceful entrance out on to the stage, and proceed to deliver my speech. Which, went off without a hitch.  At the end of my presentation, I introduce the Bill Owens, the CEO of Nortel who was going to speak for about 30 minutes.

I exit the stage, go around back and sit in the audience to listen to Bill's presentation.  At the conclusion, Bill begins to take a few questions from the audience, which is my cue to go back stage and prepare to come back on stage for a few closing remarks then adjourn the meeting for a reception.

So, I am standing backstage wearing a brand new suit 90 seconds before I am to go back out infront of 3000 plus people and I feel something hit my shoe.  I glance down and discover the zipper pull to my new slacks laying on the floor with my zipper splayed wide open and a white shirt tail exposed for the world to see.

I quickly asked one of the folks backstage if they had a safety pin.  To which, they replied no and asked what happened.  I explained my zipper had broken.  Quickly thinking, I asked one of the stage hands from our A/V production company if they had any gaffers tape which for those of you who don't know, gaffers tape is flat black duct tape.  They gave me a 6 inch strip, which I used to tape my fly shut and button my sports coat then make my way out to the podium with out stumbling this time mind you.

No one knew about my wardrobe malfunction.

I bellied up to the podium and delivered my closing comments with out incident.
Our Executive Director came up to me as I was standing backstage after the presentation and exclaimed "You did not let the stumble rattle you.  Most people would have forgotten where they were at and what they were doing after that".  To which I replied "Thanks, you just know the half of it. My zipper broke 90 seconds before I came back out on stage and I repaired it with gaffers tape".  I proceeded to pull my coat tail back and show him the tape.  He said no one even knew or noticed.  We all got a good laugh at that the situation.

The following year, while on stage I was to pause and introduce a video from our platinum sponsor.
Guess what happened when I introduced the video and turned to the screen.   Nothing, Nada, Black Screen, Crickets.  Quickly thinking on my feet, I went back to my script on the teleprompter and continued with my speech.

With one paragraph to go in the speech, there was a pause for emphasis.  So, I said "Let's see if they have the video queued up and ready to go".  I turned to the screen and voila the video played.

After the presentation, out Executive Director came backstage and asked me if they wrote that recovery into the script? Or, did I ad-lib it?". I replied I flew by the seat of my pants and did what they do on the evening news when they have technical difficulties and kept on with the script.

So, how does this all relate to multi-sports and racing?  Stay tuned for my next post where I relive some moments from my 2015 racing season where things didn't go as planned.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

So you want to be a Sponsored Athlete?

 I have been fortunate enough to serve as a Brand Ambassador / Sponsored Athlete for several highly visible and respected companies / products in recent years.  The experience has been nothing short of amazing in terms of opening doors to other opportunities and networking with my peers.  To me the most rewarding and valuable part of being a Brand Ambassador is the support, advice, camaraderie from my fellow teammates

The terms Brand Ambassador and Sponsored Athlete are used interchangeably in this post.

So, what is a Brand Ambassador or Sponsored Athlete & what characteristics should a Brand Ambassador posess?
A Brand Ambassador is typically an amateur athlete who acts as a marketing representative for a product or service in exchange for goods or services that company provides.  

When someone becomes a Brand Ambassador, they are making a commitment to be the public face of a company or product by representing them to the best of their ability. 

A Brand Ambassador should always speak positively about the product(s) they are representing.

So, you are considering becoming a Brand Ambassador?  

Take a few minutes and determine if you possess several of the following characteristics. 

First and foremost, you should be a regular user of the product you are representing.  Nothing speaks more highly of a product or service than a satisfied customer.

      DO NOT apply for an ambassadorship for a product you do not use or are not familiar with just because of what’s in it for you.
      In the case of athletic Brand Ambassadors, they should be enthusiastic and be a positive role model for others in the sport.   
     While appearances on the podium at races are nice, they are not typically considered a requirement for becoming an ambassador.

·        Be outgoing and comfortable speaking about their sponsor to groups and the public

·        Be a savvy in the use of a variety of social media platforms. (Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.)

·        Be regularly engaged both online and in real life.about their sponsors with friends, followers and sponsors.  

As with your training, you need to plan on dedicating a significant amount of time to promoting your sponsors. Both in person as well as online.
                   Let me know if you would like a discount code 
                   for 20% off at the X-1 store!
Being a Brand Ambassador or Sponsored Athlete can be an exciting and very rewarding experience.

Just remember the old saying "Your rewards are proportional to the effort you put forth".

Friday, June 22, 2012

D.I.Y. Aerobar Pads for under $4.00

I have been a tinkerer all of my life. I love trying to make things from scratch or improve upon an existing design.

So when the arm pads on my aerobars were starting to show the tell tail signs of many miles of an XL triathlete resting on them. I took the challenge and decided to make my own.

A replacement pair from Profile is relatively inexpensive, less than $25.00,  But, I thought I could build a pair for less than $5.00 for the set.

So first stop was the local hobby store to purchase a few sheets of 2mm craft foam and some adhesive back hook and loop strips.  Total investment for a sheet of foam and the hook and loop strips. $3.96.

 You can make pads to match your bike or your racing kit. 
Let your imagination run wild.

   First step is to cut a sheet of foam into 4 strips as shown above.

Then coat one side of each piece with contact cement.and sandwich them together.

  Clamp the stack of foam sheets between a couple of boards or place
a board on top of the sheets with some sort of weight and let the 
cement dry per the manufacturers instructions.  
(I usually let mine dry for several hours before unclamping.)

Once the cement is dry, unclamp and you should have something
which looks similar to the lamination above.

I take one of the arm rests off of the aerobar 
and trace it's outline with a permenant marker.
Make sure to press the foam firmly into the concave
surface of the arm rest while tracing to make sure it fits.

Take a utility knife or scissors and cut out the pads just outside 
the line you traced.

Sand the edges of the pad to the lines.
You may omit this step if you are very neat cutting
out the pads.  I'm not, so I sand them to clean and smooth
the edges.

If your arm rests do not have hook and loop fasteners, place the
hook side on the arm rest as shown above.

And place the loop part of the fastener to the pad as shown.

Finished product.

One of the features of these pads is, you can make these pads as thick or as thin as you desire. 
I personally like my pads to be about 3/8" thick.

Until next time, 
Train hard, race even harder!

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Great Moo Debate

The Great Moo Debate
Low Fat Chocolate Milk, Legitimate Recovery Drink, or Brilliant Marketing Ploy? 
One would almost have to be blind not to see the recent flurry of advertisements and pro athlete endorsements touting the virtues of low fat chocolate milk as a viable recovery drink. 
Recently the manufacturers of some of the more popular recovery powders and drinks are trying to discredit the milk industry's research by stating chocolate milk is not nearly beneficial after a workout as some of the specialized sports recovery products.
While that may or may not be true, can you stop in your local convenience store or market on the way to or from a race or training and pick up a container of "engineered recovery powder"?   The answer in most cases would be no.
Scientific research aside, in my opinion chocolate milk wins in the readily available, ease of use and convenience categories hands down.  Not to mention, it tastes great too!
It is my experience that the benefits of chocolate milk are genuine and not a marketing ploy in any shape form or fashion.  As a life long milk drinker and member of Team Refuel, I am proud to say chocolate milk is "my AFTER".

What are your thoughts on low fat chocolate milk?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spring Fever Spring Triathlon

 The Spring Fever Triathlon was held on April 23, 2011 in Claremore Oklahoma.  The event was sold out with over 400 people competing.  

The event consisted of a 400 yard pool swim, 12 mile out and back bike, and a 2 mile run.    I finished in 1:17:28 placing 12th in my age group. 

I am not a fast swimmer by any stretch of the imagination placing 14th in the swim.  I was happy to place 3rd in T1. The bike was my strongest discipline. I averaged 25 mph out and hit 40 mph occasionally and heard one of the other competitors exclaim "wow" as I flew by them. I was thinking I got this in the bag until the turn around and realized there was a tail wind on the way out.  The return trip was quite a bit slower due to the headwind averaging 16.8 for the course.  Slower than I had hoped for as I usually average 19 - 20.

I have mastered the flying dismount coming into T2.  However, T2 could have been better, when I bent over to put my running shoes on I had a terrible muscle cramp in my diaphragm and had to sit down to put the shoes on. 

If I had prepared a little more and done a few more bricks, my run time would have been better possible placing me in the top 10.  

I am fine with the results as this was my first Tri of the season and it only served to emphasize the area's I need to work on.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Muskogee Run

A couple of weeks ago, I ran the inaugural Muskogee Run. 
The event was one of the many events that day held in conjunction with the 43rd annual 
Azalea Festival in  Muskogee Oklahoma.  The race was organized by the Muskogee 
Running Club and featured a 15k, 5k and 1 mile fun run. 
I ran the 15k event starting near downtown Muskogee.  After a short run through 
downtown, the course transitioned to the Centennial Trail for 5 miles.
The Centennial Trail is a paved railroad grade that was very flat.
There was only one hill of any consequence,  a 50 footer, close the end.
Then it's all downhill from there to the finish line.
This event has the potential to be fairly large as there aren't many 15k runs
in the springtime in our area. 
I  placed 2nd in age group.  However, awards were only given out to 1st
place in each age group.  

All in all this was a fun event and I would recommend it to anyone who wants
to get in a 15k early in the season.

Go to for more information.

Next event - Spring Fever Triathlon on 4/17/11