Thursday, April 4, 2019

New Days at Tableau

Its been a while here, and lots of changes. With two kids, a move to Austin and a new job!

Working at Tableau for just a few days, its been amazing to see what is possible with data for a normal non-data geek who's skill set lies in sales.

For a quick sample, check out what I can put together in about 30 minutes using public data gleaned from AirBnB.  Its amazing to be able to quickly and easily show the explosive growth of AirBnB in San Francisco, breaking apart data to show interesting insights, along with realizing that the regulations SF has put in place have really done nothing to slow its progress.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ironman Kona 2014

It was a great trip back to Kona for 2014.  My year off, getting married, starting a company, closing the company for a great opportunity with movecoach, and starting our family has been a whirlwind and nothing short of a miracle that it has all come together.  My wife deserves a lot of that credit;)  After Couer d'Alene, it was rough getting back into the swing of things.  Getting back into sales, little trip to Ireland and family time, but well worth it.  As with anything, my focus just wasn't there so Kona would be more of a "fun" experience for me to enjoy for a change.

Arriving Sunday it was the usual family fun heading through the week.  Coffee bar swims, rides on the Queen K, zip-line adventure (highly recommended by Kohala) and casual runs along Ali'i.  Nothing really compares to being around all the fit people around and it can get intimidating as well as easy to lose your cool leading to race day.  Luckily the family and Whitney did a great job of keeping me sane through the week.

Race morning arrives and I feel good.  Not expecting a breakthrough performance, but also trying to keep things respectable.  Wake up, normal breakfast and coffee and off to the start.  Head through body marking and do last minute tweaks to the bike.  My buddy One Hour Ironman/IronBob finds me and we find a good place to relax.  He has a great charity he supports and actually raced in 6 Ironman's on 6 continents over the span of 4 months.  Not an easy task, but it was to support Well Aware, a great charity that provides water wells and education to the people of Africa.  He always had great stories from his travels and it was great to pass the time.

Getting close to race start and I always need the last minute pottie break.  Funny run in with Lew Hollander and Sister Madonna in line.  Hopefully I get into the NBC broadcast as they wish each other luck.  Lew was slugging down a Red Bull at the time, I guess he has a good heart!

As we all trudge to the start line I catch up with my buddy Tim Smith who races for Everyman Jack (super stud, sub 9 hours).  He has been on a tear for the last few years and is always looking to push the envelope on a race.

Stepping into the water and everyone's focus sharpens.  Its a few hundred yards out to the start so I take it easy, not wanting to tread water for too long out there.  I think I see my family in their neon green gear which was great!  With the split AG Men and Women's starts, the crowd on the line wasn't too bad.  I line up about two thirds down the line from the pier and wait........

Cannon goes off and its a washing machine!  Surprised nobody was swimming over each other, but it takes a good 100 yards to get space to actually swim.  Settling into a good stroke, people played nice and were forming good groups to draft.  Visibility was perfect, and following feet and bubbles was easy.  Really no sighting required as if you veered right or left, someone was there to keep you going straight.  Cruising out to the turn was just amazing with the pack keeping things together.  Hitting the turn buoys things stayed mellow too!  We all made the turn and made our way back home.  No idea how long it was taking, felt long (time wise), but was hopeful to keep it under 1:10.  Little bit of water in the goggles I had to fix, no biggie, but then a cramp in my foot!  So painful, thankfully nothing to really keep me from going.  Just try to relax, pull the pace back slightly and stretch thing out in my stroke.  Luckily it goes away in a minute or so and it is back at it.  I'm veering a little bit now with the pack thinning out.  Staying on the buoy line, but getting close to the surfboards lining the inside.  Finally coming into the pier and the crowd is always just crazy!  Every breath you can see all the volunteers cheering and the rest of the water line is packed with people.  My hand hits sand, stand up and it is just overwhelming.  Make sure I stand up straight, get my bearings and up the stairs.  1:09!  Wahooo!

Cruise through T1 which is packed, and HOT!  Make sure I'm ready to head out on the road.  Jogging out with my bike and the little parade through town.  People are just hitting it hard already, but its a long day, no reason to win the first 20 miles.  Through "Hot Corner" and I catch my family cheering me on.  Out Kuakini and the road is lined with people cheering the whole way.  Flying back into town a few of us nearly run over some people running across the road.  I see my family again, but they weren't expecting me so soon, of course my personal photog Whitney was;)

Time for some TLC on the Queen K.  With the start staggered with the women, the road isn't as crowded as usual.  Maybe my faster swim helped too!  Rolling out there are still packs forming in the first 20 miles.  I end up fighting to get around packs that drop in front of me, and using up too many watts in the process.  Winds aren't as friendly as usual until after the airport, but then they switch to considerable cross winds at times.  Its really fun to watch the rider in front of you get hit and move a few feet sideways!  Ticking away the miles and rolling hills I'm trying to hold back for a good run.  Its a hard task as the bike is always my go-to.  In retrospect, I didn't do a good job at that.  I was out to have fun though!

Making the turn toward Hawi the winds weren't bad at first.  The road gradually turns East though and it just got worse and worse with just a defeating headwind.  Your mind can be decimated at this point as you watch time slip away while you approach the half way point.  Its a hard thing to keep in your head, but the way back is like a flash and makes it up.  Turn in Hawi is always fun.  The whole town must turn up to come cheer and the Special Needs group is a fun one too.  Load up with my frozen bottles, crest the hill and its a roller coaster down and out of Hawi.  Some nice tailwinds paired with cross blasts makes for tentative riders not letting loose.  I have a few extra pounds to stabilize and I'm good!  Cruising at 40 mph, spinning out my gears and loving it!  Making my way back to the Queen K I hit a dark spot though.

Around 35 miles left and my mind takes a bit of a turn with sore feet and the crazy winds picking up.  I really need to find a new cycling shoe for IM's as I get "hot spots" under the knuckles of my pinky toes.  Such a pain for a small part of the foot.  Watts and speed are down and I just need to get off my bike.  I figure the lower watts will do good for the run, but the damage was already done.  Trying to keep positive thoughts as I start to see the familiar landmarks and things get better.  Winds aren't as bad, and I'm going to hit my time of 5:10!  I should have figured it was a "slower" day out there for everyone.

Slowly through T2, trying to make sure my legs don't seize up like they normally do, I'm just excited to be off my bike and out of my shoes!  Sit down in the changing tent, get my gear together and out on the run.

Out on the first few miles I manage to keep my pace down, but at a good clip.  All smiles running through the crowds along Ali'i.  So much fun seeing the lead women runners heading the other way.  Rinny goes blowing by, looking like she will reel in the pack of women ahead.  I'm always worried about my abs seizing up, its a problem I've had in the past few IM's when I try to dig deep.  The rollers on Ali'i don't give much trouble and the pace is nice and consistent between 7:00 and 7:30 and feels easy.  Hitting the 2 mile mark and my family is just ahead.  They are great about giving me a good show when I go by.  The kids have some great chalk work done too.  Down to the turnaround is great and much better than last time with a bum knee where I was walking a good part of the marathon in 2012.  Coming back towards my family and I'm still full of energy.  Smiling and enjoying the day unfold.  Running back into town is great as usual.  Everyone is on the street cheering you on, it is such a sight.  There was nice overcast most of the time so far and heading up Palani to the Queen K has a monster crowd.  Making the turn and downhill and I was thinking my goal of 3:15 was in reach!

The Queen K has a tendency to bury you.  It's such a long stretch of road with nearly no end in sight.  With the sun coming out, and the heat rising, this was a bad place for me.  The energy just left me at this point.  Pace started to slow and everything turned south.

The biggest part of a race is that you know what you are racing for.  In the past it was completing my journey to lose weight and regain my health.  My last race here was about pushing as hard as I could, but injury didn't let that happen.  This time with so many other great things happening in my life, there really wasn't anything I was out to prove.  It's amazing how having that drive in your head can help you train and push your body to new limits.  That spark in my head just wasn't there for this race.  I knew it going in, but was somewhat ignorant to that fact.  Fitness and drive can take you to great places, my place was just to finish and be happy.

Grinding out the final ten miles was a chore.  Heading into the Energy Lab and I was beat.  Luckily its downhill first, unluckily it uphill out.  Down to the turnaround I see an old competitor from a duel at the end of the Pittsburgh Triathlon a few years ago.  It is one of my favorite tri experiences, chasing down people on the run in that race.  I got within 10 feet of him that day and we pretty much sprinted the final mile in.  He kept up the pace though and held me off.  He has had a great year this year on his run to Kona and it was great to see him.  I let off "don't let me catch you" as I saw him going the other way.  There was no chance of a heated finish this day though.  Heading back was a chore to say the least.  Trudging out of the lab took a big toll.  Walking aid stations, but still smiling at everyone trying to urge me along.  I can't believe how the volunteers are out there all day and still love to be there.  Turning back to the Queen K and I know its about an hour home!

About a mile back I see my Dad.  He rode out to cheer me on and make sure I was doing OK.  He know it was a rough day, but we always have the right things to say to each other.  He loves to see everyone out doing what they love, and if he can help anyone and be a part of it, that has become his purpose.  Putting some work in and my spirits lift for a mile then back to grinding.  My favorite aid station of the day came up and they are playing this goofy song "What does the fox say!" and it makes me run faster for a mile.  It was a fun mile though it nearly had my hamstrings seizing up!

The last miles are always a blur.  Trying to hold things together and make it in.  The final turn down Ali'i and into the shoot the family is back to see me in.  It was a rough day out there and emotions start to get me.  This is the last time for a while I'll be here and I know my family, especially my wife have all done so much for me to chase triathlon dreams.  I just hope there is something I can do to repay all the love they put my way.

Taking my time down the finish shoot and enjoying the crowd.  Crossing the line and the relief was amazing.  Done and done.  The last time doing that for a while!  It has been a great, but long eight years of my life that probably took over much of it for a good period.  Its time to mellow out for a few years and do some normal life things like have a baby, lol.  Not closing a door on Ironman, but a well deserved break.  You'll see me soon enough taking on the stroller division in a few road races next summer, and of course I have the Miller Family Florida Ironman next November, but that will really be for fun and cheering the next future Miller Ironmen, Ashley and Mom!

Aloha from Kona!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Gluten Free Oat and Date Muffins

Fun things going on at my new company +Demanding Life Foods.  One big aspect is finding recipes that are easily adjusted to be gluten and cow-dairy free.  While for some these things may seem like a fad, they really have serious health and performance benefits.  You can look to various attributes such as inflammation from gluten or hormones found in cow's milk for the easy wins for changing a diet, but also the long term goals of having a more varied diet that has shown to bring health benefits as well.  Unfortunately, most of our mass produced foods are made with severely inflammatory substances that harm our cardiovascular systems in the short term, but also may trigger worse disease such as cancer or Alzheimer's in the long term.

On a personal level, changing recipes from cow's milk or flour didn't seem appetizing from the beginning.  Many store bought items just don't taste right without normal ingredients.  Take the gluten free beer I tried to be nice and get my wife last week.  Very bad idea, and tasted like soap almost!  One sip and that was out the door. 

Fortunately baked goods, when done right, can be pretty tasty.  A favorite around +M2 Revolution and our clients has been some delicious Date Oat Muffins I found on Eating Well.  The first obstacle is always the flour used for baking.  My wife had already found an amazing baking mix with Pamela's, but also using sorghum flour from Bob's, gives baking a great taste and texture.  

The dates in the muffins are perfect for adding natural sweetness to the muffins.  Other muffin recipes call for twice the amount of sugar while the dates cover this in a more health way, packed with other nutrients to improve health.  The consistency is great as well with chopped walnuts and toasted rolled oats mixed in before baking.

Changing out the buttermilk in the recipe causes a bit more concern.  That is more of a crafting ingredient and took some research, and chance.  We settled on goats milk opposed to a nut milk as I had done with other recipes like oat meal.  It worked great!  Using a guide to help gain the creamy attributes of buttermilk, the muffins came out like nothing was changed.

If you want, go ahead and try them out for yourself!  They are available in our Personal Chef/Catering menu throughout the week, so give us a try too!

Here is my altered recipe for a dozen:

    • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten free rolled oats
    • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1 3/4 cup Pamela's Baking Mix
    • 1/3 cup flaxseed meal
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 2/3 cup goat's milk
    • 1/4 cup goat's yogurt
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 1/8 cup conola oil
    • 2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup chopped pitted dates, (see Ingredient notes)
    • Prep:
    1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.
    2. Spread 1 cup oats and the walnuts, if using, in 2 separate small baking pans. Bake, stirring once or twice, until light golden and fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes for the nuts and 8 to 10 minutes for the oats. Transfer to a plate to cool.
    3. Meanwhile, whisk Pamela's Baking Mix, flaxseed meal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
    4. Whisk eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in goat's milk, yogurt, orange juice, oil, orange zest and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula just until moistened. Fold in dates, the toasted oats and nuts, if using. Scoop batter into the prepared muffin cups (they'll be quite full). Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons oats.
    5. Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown and spring back when touched lightly, 15 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

    Monday, July 21, 2014

    Ironman CDA 2014

    Its amazing when you are self employed how much time you can spend away from here.  The past year has been great, marriage, starting a business, and getting back into shape to do this "fun" little thing called Ironman!

    Of course I had to drive to Coeur d'Alene, as city living restricts getting out on the open road.  Whitney was a trooper for tagging along and not taking the easy route and flying as I offered.  A little stopover in Bend, OR for the night and we made it in a relaxed two days.  Unfortunately I picked up a little bug from a restaurant in the middle of no-where in Oregon.  Luckily nothing major, but scared me for a day.

    Arrive in CdA, get settled in the great place Whitney's friend hooked us up with and relaxed for the week.  My parents and a lot of friends from Scottsdale were up so there was no lack of good distractions around town to keep spirits up.
    To be honest, after Wildflower I had some doubts as to whether I had it in me to get back to Kona.  Oceanside was a great race, and there was some complacency that set in for a period, thinking I didn't need as much to perform.  Wildflower showed different.  Wildflower wasn't a bad race, just not a good one.  I rededicated myself after that and had hoped it was what I needed.

    Race morning comes along and I'm ready to go.  The long months of training are in, the body feels good, nervous excitement for the first time in a while, this is going to be a fun day!  Adding to this, the winds are up, and a chill in the air.  Perfect day for the big diesel engine.

    Good luck kiss from the wife, parents have a good send off too and into the starting groups for the rolling start.  No mass start at CdA, you self seed yourself sort of like a running race.

    I get in with the 1:00-1:15 after a short warm-up in the water.  Relaxing and talking with people around, we are all anxious for the canon.  Mike Reilly gets on the PA and counts it down.  The cannon goes off and the super A types in the fast swimmers sprint into the water.  It takes about 3 minutes to get to the "start" line, and I take a casual jog into the water, and a good dolphin dive to get away from people.  While it should be a lot mellower of a swim than a normal wave start, the wind is kicking up some good chop in the water, and people are ending up everywhere, with some poor navigation.  I decided to keep it calm and smooth for the first 10 minutes as my body and lungs get warmed up.  Still get a few mouthfuls of water, but uneventful until the first turn.  Pretty crowded, and washing machine.

    Second turn is about the same until I get away outside the buoy line again.  Now with the waves you can feel it being faster.  Things were thinning out, so more sighting involved, which was harder with the wake as you couldn't see the buoys.  Cruising into the finish of the first lap and the crowd on the beach was nuts!  Trying to keep calm and take a concerted jog down the beach to get clear of everyone swimming straight for the course.  I breath to the left and can see people battling on the inside, so I'm happy where I am even with a slightly longer course.  Second lap, the chop was increasing, but with a good warm-up from the first lap, it was much easier to cut through the waves while losing a breath here or there.  Far side of the second lap and we hit lap traffic.  Tried my best to not run anyone over, but some people were just dead in the water.  Make the last turn and its a quick down wind race all the way in.  Feeling good the whole time even with the crazy waves, I know it should be near my goal time.  Strong push to the shore, up the beach, and its 1:04 for the swim!  Best "real" swim for an IM!  Two years ago I pulled some obnoxious swim time (46:00) in IM NJ/NY, but that was downstream in the Hudson.
    Overall Rank: 152
    AG Rank: 26

    On to the bike! 

    The bike course isn't technical in terms of handling, but with its constantly changing altitude, it is technical in terms of gearing.  Added to this, the winds were going to cause havoc on the long loop portion of the ride. 

    Taking my time in transition, grab my bike and get rolling through the massive crowds in downtown.  Seeing the family was great at bike exit and my personal photog got some great shots:)  Rolling through town and out along the lake was the tricky part.  Lots of 90 degree turns, but not many people on the road.  One of the perks of swimming faster!  Winds  weren't too bad on this part of the course, but definitely a factor.  The climb on the short loop of the route is short, but has some teeth.  I came in with the mentality of hitting hills hard, up 20-30% watts from the whole ride.  Targeting 260 watts, the rolling terrain was perfect to keep effort even.  Back through town the place was going nuts.  Had to keep calm rolling through.  I love to see my family out cheering, and they were in the perfect spots all day for me to catch them.

    Turning onto 95 for the big loop of the course, the wind was straight in our faces.  M2's teaching states to push up watts up hills and into the wind by 20%.  This was going to be 20 miles out into this wind.  This meant holding 300 watts for over an hour!  This really threw me a bit in my head, but I trusted it.  Pushing even more up the gentle, short hills (compared to SF), it still scared me a bit that I was going to burn up my run legs.  Two climbs on our way out 95 and into rollers to the turn I get passed by a rider, I look left, and there is a stream of people wheel to wheel.  Its the first time I've shouted at another participant, but it was pretty much a few choice words that came out.  They pass, and I take the opportunity to cruise back as I'm supposed to.  We hit a short roller and they slow and I put a push in to get by again.  Cresting the top, and down the short hill and they catch me again.  We were approaching the turnaround and I didn't want anyone latching on for the rollercoaster freeway back with the wind.  I hit it hard and make the turnaround with good distance passed them.  This was 20 miles in 1:04.  Could be demoralizing, but I knew he ride back would more than make up for it.

    The ride back was all I thought it was going to be.  Strong tailwind and cruising over 30 MPH pretty much the whole way!  Some of the descents I even spun with 53 up front and 11 ring in the back.  Open roads now, and as I always do, I'm doing math in my head on when I should get back into town.  I've always done this trick, it keeps me calm and passes the time.  Descending the last hill was just unreal at this point.  Keeping aero all the way, the winds were a bit fun to deal with and I was a little wild.  Luckily nobody was around.  Finding my way back into town I link up with a few guys who decide to do a little leapfrog every few minutes which lifts my spirits as we get to exchange a few words each time. 

    Into town and the crowd is even bigger with everyone out on the road.  Of course the family is in a perfect spot again and yelling their heads off.  Weather is still cool, and it looks like the cloud cover will let up and have some sun.  Rolling through town and out along the lake, I can sense my legs taking a little fatigue at this point.  Nutrition hasn't been a problem and I was taking in all my calories from the Perpetuum and Osmo I started with, then anything I could get my hands on at aid stations.  Up the short hill of the short loop and to the turnaround, they have Bike Special Needs set up.  I grab my second batch of Perpetuum and Osmo, and get back on the road.  Flying back into town, the road is pretty open and I know I'm out front somewhere.  Game on for the second loop!

    Back by the family and onto 95 for some wind tunnel testing again.  Definitely on the right track going for 300 watts all the way out.  I know it will be slightly lower with some fatigue, and I also need to work on keeping something for the run.  The energy definitely isn't as good pushing the hills, but still feels good.  Staying in a tuck for so long is starting to take its toll on the shoulders and neck.  While my swim was faster than I've done, the lack of overall swim fitness took its toll on my shoulders.  No draft packs around this time, but I do have traffic from lap 1 people out.  Had to give a few yells of "on your left", but for the most part they kept right.  I knew heading into the turn I was a few minutes slower, but the joy of the return run with the wind brought my head back to its task of getting home.

    Ripping away again at super cruise, I had a smile pasted on my face and counting down the minutes to get my ass off this bike!  My first major prerace mishap happened on a test ride Wednesday where I had to replace my saddle.  It felt good, and was the same model, but not broken in, so not as comfy as it could.  Happily, my feet weren't hurting like they normally do at this point, so I guess its an even trade.  Almost into town, we have the "no passing lane" heading up the bridge.  Another guy finishing up, and I very nicely talk a group of people to let us squeeze by and we get through without issue.  Into town and into transition, the legs are feeling like jello as usual and my dismount is nearly a fall.  Volunteers are there and steady me and I'm into the tent for a quick change.

    Bike Time: 5:13:00
    Overall Rank: 19th
    AG Rank: 4th

    A healthy run was something I was looking forward to for the past year.  The heal and knee were feeling good, and my training solid for the past two months.  Hitting the transition tent, and its pretty much empty, always an awesome sight.  Get the volunteers to rip my kit off over my head because I can't raise my arms, put on my run shirt, change shoes, and head out.  No cramping in the legs this time as they usually do so I know I road the bike perfectly.

    Flying out the first mile and I have to slow it down.  My body wants to GO GO GO!  Luckily I realize it each time and slow it down each time.  Trying to hold around 7:15 pace.  All the houses in the neighborhoods along the course made the day awesome.  One even had a Fireball Whiskey table, I thought could be good the second lap, some stiff competition in the field took that though out of my head. 

    Getting along the bike path along the lake I was picking off people, but all the sudden someone goes by me like I was standing still.  Some crazy fast dudes showed up and performed that day.  Two guys in my AG went under 3:00 for the marathon.  That was beyond my capabilities so the thought of latching on wasn't there.  Still see-sawing in the rankings, but no idea where I was.  Taking the hill for the first time on the run, my legs are still good, but very happy for the downhill recovery.  The turnaround comes and its back up for a short climb, then the long descent.  This is the perfect time to see where everyone is.  The people I passed are still falling back, and some competition looking good though.  Back along the lake feels great.  You get some tailwind and the pace is fast.  Into town and I catch my family again and get an update from my Dad, 5th place in my Age Group.  That's good and bad.  Awesome for a podium, but no wiggle room.

    Making the turn, the city is erupting, a smile still on my face.  All is good and I actually have some thoughts of a 3:10 race.  As I get back onto the lake, those thoughts begin to erase.  The fast running Age Groupers are catching, but much slower passes now.  Get to talk to a few and then a dude even taller than me cruises by!  Must get my ass in gear!  I take it easy up the hill for the second time and back up after the turnaround.  Hitting the bottom its 6 miles to the finish and thinking about what's left in the tank.  Keeping track of people I know I'm in 6th now.  I'm not catching 5th, but hoping for a meltdown.  On top of that, with the staggered start, there's no way of knowing exactly where everyone is. 

    Keeping things together, my stomach starts to seize up.  Just at the same time I'm passed by my AG.  Keeping things together, but slowing, I know I may still have 3 minutes on him.  A few minutes later, my stomach finally gets right and the AG'er who massed me pulls up with a hamstring problem!  I get back passed him and he knows what going on too and gets moving again.  We end up trading passes for the next few miles in the neighborhoods.  At the last aid station we are next to each other screaming for coke and its game on to the finish.  I take the opportunity to ask when he started and he reveals he started in the front group at the gun.  I gleefully respond I have 3 minutes on him.  I don't think he was happy.  That's the one thing I probably regret, lol.  The last section of the course is ridiculously long at this point.  Long street with the finish visible and nobody else on the road.  Mind racing to stay the course and push the pace as much possible without falling apart.  The final stretch just blew me away with the crowd cheering and I'm actually able to enjoy it to myself.  I cross the line and nearly fall over.  Volunteers grab me and make sure I'm good.  I thought so, legs didn't and I fell on her.  Luckily she was ready and I didn't eat pavement.  Escorted to a seat, I slump down, try to eat and get some fluids and enjoy the pain. 

    Run: 3:18:59
    Overall Rank: 34
    AG Rank: 8
    Overall Time: 9:43:04
    Overall Rank: 24
    AG Rank: 6

    This was nearly a perfect day coming back to Ironman after a year off.  Realizing that I can take some time off and come back to racing at a high level was one of the biggest goals of the day.  Another was getting back to Kona.  Crazily, we only had 5 spots in my Age Group.  Waking up the next day, I ravenously scoped out everyone ahead and discovered the 3rd place guy grabbed a spot in Arizona last year.  Still a bit freaked out so nervous leading into roll down.  My Age Group comes up and the winner turns it down because he is having a kid in October, 3rd turns it down, 4th and 5th take it and I joyously accept the first roll down!  My AG was the aberration of the day.  Not sure what went down after that, but it went all the way to 10th.

    This race hurt the most of any (except for one legged running in Kona).  The support and love everyone shows me is amazing and I can't express how much I appreciate it.  All my friends, the crew at  M2, Michael McCormack my coach/mentor, Tom McGlynn with runcoach for a run PR, my family who are always so supportive, and my biggest support my wife.  Whitney deals with so much of my shenanigans, I don't think I will ever be able to repay her.  At least a trip to Kona is a small prize, but I still owe her a lifetime.

    Wednesday, July 17, 2013

    Demanding Life Foods

    A new adventure in my life is starting out very soon.  Back from an amazing wedding to the love of my life, the next exciting chapter begins!

    Over the past few years this idea has been developing in my head.  Training for triathlons while working a full time job was rough.  Obsessively working on getting a hold of my life, weighing 250 pounds, the stark realities of how hard it was set in.  Learning how to balance the training, work and developing a healthy diet/lifestyle was a huge part in my weight loss and improved health.  I had always loved cooking, but didn't really have an outlet aside from the small meals I was preparing for myself and my future wife.

    The project started by a chance conversation with a friend at +M2 Revolution.  In August of last year a friend gave me the opportunity to develop a meal plan for him, as he was a vegetarian and didn't eat a balanced diet.  His job as an attorney, and training schedule took up a great deal of his free time which limited his food options when in a hurry.  Enter me!  Putting together a balance daily set of meals, that both supported his diet requirements, and training regimen, was complicated at first, but brought out some great meal options I had really never explored with my own personal cooking.  In the end, Demanding Life Foods was born!

    People in San Francisco, and everywhere, have incredible ambition and drive for their professional and personal development.  Our mission is to fuel their lives with balanced, healthy, and tasty meals to help remove a stumbling block to maintaining a healthy lifestyle to match their fruitful careers.

    To that end, Demanding Life Foods will open for business this August in San Francisco, especially for Ironman Lake Tahoe athletes in their final phases of training!

    The end menu is not vegetarian, but incorporated some of the dishes.  Hopefully in the near future I can offer a fully vegetarian menu, but for now it will be a mixture of healthy meats, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and nuts.

    Some of the best aspects of our cooking is the concentration on Organic and Non-GMO ingredients.  Its not feasible to source 100% Organic, but nearly all ingredients are certified organic.  Another great benefit to our menu is the Gluten Free and Non-Cow's Milk aspects.  Gluten sensitivities affect more people than realized, and most can benefit from a reduced amount from wheats and flours.  Gluten causes inflammation in general among all people, so the benefits to any athlete is strong.  The removal of Cow's Milk products has multiple benefits, and really no drawbacks.  Using Sheep and Goat based products, as well as Almond and Coconut Milk, our clients can satisfy their taste and nutritional needs, with less risk of hormones and irritation from Cow's milk.  Demanding Life Foods goal is the fuel our clients lives, to help them meet their goals.

    You can view a sample menu and pricing for a week here.

    Calorie needs for each client is based on their specific needs.  After filling our a survey, each client will have an email consultation with our Registered Dietitian to make sure the menu plan is a good fit for them. We know you will love the tastes of the foods we deliver, but sometimes, people have conditions where they should seek other dietary avenues for their health needs.  Once the survey and consult is complete, our recommended calorie levels are set for the client's daily needs, be it 1,500 to 3,500 calories a day.  Serving sizes are based off this amount, and your meal plan is set for deliveries.

    Food Delivery

    The big benefit to our program is delivery.  For anyone with a busy life there are obstacles to overcome that mostly include time.  There is no ordering to take care of, no pickup, no box of food on your door-step in the middle of the night to worry about, or even a time to coordinate for a hand-off.  Demanding Life Foods acts as a personal concierge and delivers your food to your refrigerator while you are out, taking care of all these worries.  We are a fully bonded and insured company, and each delivery will be made by a trusted employee (me for the beginning), who has gone through extensive screening and background checks.

    In the end, I'm leaving the corporate world and exploring a brand new adventure that I will happily share with everyone.  Target date for first food deliveries is August 18th.

    To contact me about options and start our consultation process please email me at  Website still being developed.

    Like us on Facebook too!   Still working on logos and filling out the page.

    Wednesday, July 3, 2013

    Wired Article and Photo Shoot

    Photo credits: Talia Herman/Wired

    Recently I had the great pleasure to participate in Wired Magazine's "Living the Wired Life" series.  +Christina Bonnington had contacted SF Tri Club about possible athletes to help in the process, and of course I jumped at the opportunity.  While I'm not an expert in the sense of DC Rainmaker, I've tried enough technology (and wasted enough money on bad things) to give a good understanding of what helps an athlete, and what is just throwing money away.

    As the interview and subsequent email exchanges continued, I got a sense they were looking for something a bit more involved, and triathlete like, obsession.  Yes, the evil triathlete trait was being delved into.  I didn't have a problem with it, as many triathletes can tell you, we are obsessed to a fault most times.  As long as you can accept it, you can work with it to make sure it does not ruin your life.  As some of the commentators on the article have pointed out, the obsession is a means to ignoring larger things in life, and I definitely agree.  My journey started as a way to get back to a younger, healthier self, but also as an escape from breakup.  Luckily my journey transformed into a new avenue for both work and personal growth, but that is not always the case.

    There is definitely more to this story coming very soon.  Triathlon gave me my health, some incredible friends, and professional growth I was searching for.  The great people I've shared my life with in the past, luckily stuck with me through this growth period and I couldn't be more appreciative as I probably wasn't emotionally, or physically "available" until I figured it out in my own head.  A big turning point came in meeting my wife Whitney.  While I'm still learning a lot about sharing my life, there is no other person I would rather take that journey with than her.

    +WIRED did a great job with my story and I can't say enough about my appreciation for that.  +talia herman  was wonderful to work with as well on the photography.  Luckily my friend +annie gherini was around to help coach me, and try to get me to stop smiling so much in the demo workouts.

    Here are more of the photo's that didn't make it into the shoot.  Running through all the equipment at +M2 Revolution was exhausting, but it was such a fun experience that I'm happy to be a part of.

    Tuesday, May 7, 2013

    Oceanside III - Return of the Healthy Triathlete!

    I've always loved racing Oceanside, and for multiple reasons.  #1 Its a mini family trip where my parents come to the coast from the desert, #2 Top competition come to play, #3 its a fair course with some climbing, but not overly aggressive, keeping the field honest and no drafting.  My first attempt, I was still learning the distance, and developing leg strength.  Second try, I was coming off an injury with little running.  This year saw my winter losing ground with some bruised ribs after launching from mike bike!  My training group rallied over the past few months and motivated me back to fame form.  Still a few pounds off race weight, but body felt ready to push hard for the day.

    With a great lead up for the month ahead of the race including our .5 Fe Training Day at M2, I felt confident in my bike, but less so for the swim and run.  Last year the winds brought a crazy wake into the harbor, and I posted a pitiful 34 minute swim.  My heel problems have persisted, and there is still a mental block to pushing hard in training.  Oh well, guess its time to see how the winter had treated me through trial by fire!

    Picked up by my limo er parents at the airport:)  Get settled at the hotel and go through the normal rigamorole of race prep day with the expo, packet pickup, dinner, etc.  Highlight of the day was walking through the Expo and Whitney stops dead in her tracks when she spots the Corbins.  Whitney's favorite triathlete is Linsey, and she also follows Chris Corbin on Instagram as they have a golden retriever, Madison, that is very photogenic.  Whitney sheepishly approaches Linsey and just wanted to say how much she appreciated the shoe advice on Instagram and they started talking and asked where we were from.  Suddenly they ask "your dog is Sailor?" and Linsey gives Whitney a huge hug!  Sailor is the next big thing on Instagram i guess, never thought I would be that happy to call myself a dog owner;)

    Race morning and I'm feeling good!  Two good nights of sleep, good breakfast and my Dad and I our out the door down to the swim.  Take care of all my business easily and down to the boat ramp.  No winds, much warmer this year, and little stress, but excited.  Its going to be a good day!


    After last year's debacle, I'm looking for redemption, especially in navigation.  I line up on the right, second from the front, but nobody is really pushing to get set up.  Countdown going, and its a pretty mellow start.  I see people battling it out along the buoys  but I'm content to push hard on my own to start and keep a straight line for the first turn.  The water is smooth and its easy to sight and we make the slight turn out to the end of the course.  I slowly make my way to the buoy line and we are hitting the earlier waves already.  Dodging traffic, this was a perfect swim so far.  No panic, good stroke, and feeling fast for a change.  Round the furthest part of the course and back, navigating well this year!  Serious traffic from previous waves and I'm back on the ramp, heading to my bike.  I don't wear a watch so I had no idea what the time was, but it felt good.  Turns out it was probably a little short, but I'll take it!  Turns out to be 5 minutes faster than 2012, and 10 spot improvement in the Age Group, so while it was short, it was still an improvement.

    Swim time: 29:10 - 45th AG 

    On the bike, and the day felt good to go kill it.  I'd done a great effort review of last year among all the athlete's results on Strava, and I had a very good plan of what to do.  One race day change was the wind though.  It was coming in differently than the previous years and hit us much harder on the climbs surprisingly.  Oh well, still worked out, but no PR's on the uphills.  

    Flying out the first 28 miles is always fun, absolutely blasting by people, but the rest of the athletes were riding correctly, and to the right, so not much yelling or drama.  One guy in my AG cruises by me, and there is no way I can match the effort, so I let it go.  A few minutes later, another passes and I look down at my watts and I'm slacking.  Time to wake back up and go!  Sitting on top of my gears I get back up over 300 watts and make sure I take advantage of the tailwind until the hills.  The first hill is just a punch to the gut that you have to just go for or you end up grinding at too low a cadence.  I have a 26 big cog on the back and maybe should have had my 28.  60 cadence for the second half of the climb and pushing 350 watts with some heavier peaks.  I lost too much time being conservative last year, so I was pushing limits on hills this year.  Up and over, a fun decent, but then the long climb up Basilone.

    This is a lot long a climb than people realize, with a false flat starting at mile 31, and continuing to the steep rise at the end at mile 36.  Its another punch to the gut, but you have to hit the final rise hard enough to keep momentum and a good run over the top.  We were exposed to the wind which definitely took its tool.  I pushed 50 watts harder this year, and still lost 5 seconds to my time, but the effort paid off in the end.

    Steep descent with the no passing zone.  Sat up and watched speed as this is where someone died a few years ago.  Pass the turn and back in aero to carry speed into the flats.  Final climb approaching and not sure what happened.  Low heart rate on this climb, but high watts.  Could have gone better, but maybe my "dark" time on the bike.  Again pushing big watts to get over, but slightly slower than last year.  Fly downhill and hit my 30 minute left mark on the course.  I was a little worried because I was slightly behind schedule.  The winds were lighter and not straight on this year, so I had a chance for my 2:30 bike split goal.  Loving the speed on this section compared to other years.  It can be the most demoralizing section once you are below 10 miles left, but grinding into a headwind.  Legs were still responding and it was go time to get my split without killing my run.

    Once I get back through the gates of the base its almost time to shut it down and cruise into T2. Rode the race I wanted and finished up just under goal!  Side note of my finish is I must have been delirious and thought is was a good time to try taking my feet out of my shoes before stopping.  Nearly killed myself.  NEVER TRY NEW THINGS ON RACE DAY.

    Bike Time: 2:28:55 - 14th AG 

    Perfect day for a great run along the Strand!  Last year's rain was not to be seen and it was ripe for a PR.  I still hadn't gotten good run form out of myself this year, but it was coming along, and much better than last year so it was time to put a hurting in.  I get to see Vince and Mike who look to be in the zone looking for podiums and crazy run rankings.

    Out and back North, then the ramp, which I almost face planted into.  I saw my family just before and got all excited.  With a little extra speed, and flat light, I really didn't see the start of the ramp and almost crumpled to the ground with my first step up, lol.  Heading South I start seeing the race leaders and the changes going on which was exciting.  My heel is holding up, as well as my pacing.  The temperature is coming up as well and you can see people starting to melt a little.  Head down, concentrating on my run and I'm reeling in some of my AG'ers whom passed me out on the road.  

    Back through for lap 2 and the legs are still responding.  The course is getting busy with more and more people coming in off the bike.  The narrow section North of the pier is the worst and I was forced up on the sidewalk twice to keep from losing my momentum.  Most of the lap traffic was aware of the fast runners coming through and graciously moved when they heard people coming.  No kitty gear this year, but the M2 kit was getting plenty of cheers coming back to the pier and out on the final loop.

    I finally see Virgilio and he is cruising out front of his Age Group.  Sandrine comes along for a few minutes on her first lap to give me some encouragement.  If parts of the run weren't so tight, and so much concrete, this would be an almost perfect setup as I love looped courses where you can see where you are both on the course, and where your competition is.  Coming up to the last turnaround I see BC Mike and yell at him to not let me catch him.  It works for a bit, but I reel him in a mile later.  Good race for him though.  Just another 2 miles and I'm home.  I pass my last AG competitor and charge ahead to leave no option to follow.  Taking the turn downhill back to the water and the beach is going nuts with the sun and surf being up.  Ironman's new "Tent Village" setup makes the final stretch even better with people lining the street for all of us. 

    Taking in the scene the last quarter mile was great.  Nobody around and I can enjoy the chute for a change and know I had my best effort for the day.

    Run Time: 1:26:02 - 7th AG

    Total: 4:29:13 - 10th AG, 29th Overall nearly 10 minute PR!

    While I cut 10 minutes off my time from last year, it actually put me a few spots higher in the final rankings.  It was just amazing to see the talent turn up for my Age Group, but I'm beyond excited for my result.  Now, time to relax with the boys, have fun with the family and look forward to Wildlfower.