Saturday, July 23, 2011

A little about our team...

This is off Scott Jones' blog. Scott is our Team Captain here for the games and has truly inspired me these past few weeks. Take a look.

Last day of rest

It's 8am and raining here in Rio, and 26.5 hours away from race time. Tomorrows weather is looking skeptical with chances of rain throughout the day. Today will remind me of days when I was a kid where I was forced to stay inside because of bad weather, but left me rejuvenated for the next day. I've always been a sunshine guy but have adapted to all kinds of race conditions. This morning I opted to stay in doors instead of go get on my bike or take a jog. I'm usually not used to this race style. I'm either working all day on my feet the day before or having to walk around a race site standing in line for packet pickup. It's very nice to have the opportunity to just lay around all day. And lay around I shall. With the exception of walking about 100 ft to the chow hall and grabbing a meal or two. Maybe even throw in some yoga sometime today. It's going to be sad to leave Rio. It's been a nice home these past couple weeks. I do feel a bit of home sickness come every so often but it's been an amazing trip. I've made some great friends that I'll never forget.

Last Thursday we took another trip to Copacabana Beach for our athlete briefing and to get a first hand look at the course. The swim was perfect water temp hovering around 71 degrees which as of right now is not wetsuit legal. It has to be below 68 for it to be. (ITU rules). But with the recent rain an cooler weather, I think it's going to come down to race morning to make the final determination. Either way I'm comfortable racing in both conditions. The bike course is 8 loops of 4.8k which when it ends will be a little short but because of the turns and intersections around the beach, this was the safest route. The run course is right back on the side road running adjacent to the bike course and will be 4 loops. Its all very flat and very fast. The only challenges i see with the bike course are the many u turns we will be taking and depending on the size of the pack at those times I just have to make sure I stay right side up and not eat some concrete! The great part about this course is the multiple loop format so I will get to see where all my competitors are the whole time.

So far there are a lot of big name pros racing. I've seen a lot of ITU world cup racers as well as the new Ironman world record holder are here. No biggie;) I feel totally calm and relaxed about tomorrow and am just going to race my race and see what happens. I have tactics in my head but come time, anything goes. Just going to go really hard on the swim, really hard on the bike, and really hard on the run and leave everything out there!

Well that's it for now! Thanks again for all the support!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Update from Brasil!

So a week has gone by now in the wonderful city of Rio de Janeiro and so far this has been one amazing trip. I have been having the best time with my teammates and even getting to meet some great athletes from all the other countries. Training has been going better than ever but I guess thats a given when you have all the time during the day for your workouts and rest. I feel ready to go for this next weekend and I´m super excited. Here is a recap of the week so far:

The Christ Memorial- One of the most spectacular views I have ever seen. If you don´t know, the memorial sits on one of Rio´s tallest mountain top and looks over the city. It was built with the purpose to spiritually protect the city from above. To get up there is only about 24 american dollars which buys you a ticket for a train that runs up the mountain. Just the views from the train were breathtaking. Once you get up to the top, you take an elevator and then another couple escalaters till you are at the memorial. I took some great photos which I will share when I get back. Most amazing was there is a small chapel in the back of the memorial where you can go sit down. Im not a very religious person but it was amazing just being in there.

Copacabana Beach- On the 17th we took a trip over to the beach to check out what would be the site of our race. Copacabana is probably the most touristy beach in Rio. It was also the site of where the Beach Volleyball games were being played. We hung out on the beach and ended up going for a nice open water swim followed by a beach run. Might I add that I wore a speedo for most of the time on the beach! haha. Its just what you do around there. Everyone does it. So why not? When in Rome... I ended up heading over to the volleyball venue where I caught a bit of the USA vs. Brazil match. It was a good game but Brazil ended up with the win. The roads where we are going to be riding look perfect. Our course is right up and down the beach 8 laps. Im pretty sure there are going to be a lot of people watching! It was packed down there! We ended the beach trip at this amazing little restuarant. Although it was difficult at first to read the menu, we ended up finally getting the waitor to bring us the English Version! But what the waitor didn´t tell us was that the dinner entries were actually servings for two. So we were pretty surprised when we got our food. I ordered the chicken parmesian and it pretty much was the size of a whole dinner plate! Then there was another plate full of mashed potatos. So much food!!! But we were so hungry at the time that it all went down pretty easy with the exception of some mashed potatos. Anyway, to recap the beach. It was amazing. We get to go down there again to swim and run some of the course on Thursday. So excited!

So other than those two attractions there hasn´t been much else going on. We might go tomorrow to a place called Sugar Loaf. Its a mountain top that you take a cable car up to that is supposed to have some more amazing views. It all depends on the weather though. Today got a little cloudy and I think tomorrow might be the same. So we´ll see.

So far my Portuguese is coming along pretty well. Ok, Im lying. I wish they spoke spanish here. I´d get by a lot better. I only know how to say- Good day, thank you, excuse me, and good night. Thank you is a very common word around here. The Brazilian volunteers have been amazing. Whatever we need, we get. From food, bus travel, laundry, and entertainment. Each bus ride we take is police escorted through the streets of Rio so you really feel pretty special. All the people walking in the streets wave at the bus as you drive by. Its awesome. There are signs and banners everywhere for the Military World Games. Its pretty huge for this city. And Im still so excited to be apart of it. The Brazilians have really put on a great venue. Everyday something else shocks us. The opening ceremonies were nothing I have ever seen. They put so much time and effort into making it one of the best moments of my life. Walking into a giant stadium filled with over 4500 people cheering is pretty spectacular and emotional. Watching the torch being lit, I felt like an Olympian! And guess who they had light the torch??! PELE!! I couldn´t believe it! So awesome!

I really could keep going on about all that is happening here. It really is an experience of a lifetime and I feel very proud to be walking around in the Red, White, and Blue. As of right now, Im super excited to race. I will probably get a little nervous once it gets closer but thats the nature of the game. I´ll race strong knowing I will have my country colors behind me the whole way.

Once again, thank you to everybody for all the support since I´ve been out here. Its really motivating me! Its great having so many friends and family members behind me. I wouldn´t be here if it wasn´t for you guys. Thank you!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Annapolis Training Camp

So far this training camp has been pretty amazing. I've had more quality workouts in the past two days then I think I've had in the past month. I have a feeling I'm going to come back in pretty good shape! So yesterday was our first full day of training and Derek and I started it off with an 8 mile run around the Navy support center. Which happens to be where the cross country course is located. We ran part of the course and it was brutal! There was this one climb that you're pretty much on your toes the entire way up and your heartrate is flying. Made it through the run with a total of just over 8 miles. Good run! We also ended up swimming that day around noon at the Naval Academy pool. It's my far the nicest pool I have ever swam in. Then we ended the day with a ride to downtown and grabbing a scrumptious sandwich at The Big Cheese:)

Today has been pretty similar. Swim in the morning, then ended up riding for just over 2 hrs followed by a 3 mile transition run. Oh and we also got one of the best massage therepists to work on sone of the team. Hes worked the past 3 olympics and is pretty legit! I'm feeling pretty darn good actually. I can't wait to see what the next couple weeks brings. It's been an amazing time in Annapolis so far. This place has it all for me. As of right now we leave tuesday afternoon and start our journey to Brazil. So another hard day of training tomorrow then it's travel time:) so stoked!!
So my trip began this morning bright and early after an amazing night with friends at one of my favorite restaurants in Kemah called Bakkhus. I have some amazing supportive friends and it was great getting to spend my last night in town with them.

So a little about my trip so far... My first connecting flight I flew next to a young girl who it was her first time ever on a plane. If I had to guess, she was probably around 15 or 16. I first met her at the gate when she asked if she was in the right place. Then proceeded to ask me when security would give her back her laptop that she had to take out of her bag... I became wide eyed. "they Uhhh, don't hold on to your laptop. They just ask you to take it out for security purposes." I've never seen anyone run so fast back to security. Haha. Poor girl. Well, I also had the pleasure of sitting next to her on the plane. Lucky me:) the girl was freaking out. Thought she was going to grab my arm on more than one occasion. I literally had to walk her through the steps of landing and tell her that everything was normal. Good times.

So now I write this on my way to Baltimore where I will meet the rest of the team at the USO. Then from there we're all hopping in a rental van and making our way to Annapolis! Hopefully first making a stop at what Derek Oskutis says is the best pizza place ever! Going to be epic!! Tomorrow's details are uncertain for now. I imagine we will probably swim sometime in the morning then probably get a run or ride in with the team. I can't wait to train with such amazing athletes these next few weeks before the race. The motivation is high!! Thanks again for everybody's support and I will keep updating as my trip goes on!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Military World Games!!

So this friday I leave for one heck of a triathlon trip... Rio De Janiero, Brazil for the Military World Games. I can't believe its already here. Ever since I qualified back in April I have been looking forward to this moment. It was a goal of mine all last year to qualify and if you guys remember I placed 6th at Nationals to round out the last position for Team USA. I can't tell you how honored I am to represent the best country in the World and to wear the Red, White, and Blue. When I first started Triathlon 6 years ago, I never thought I would be where I am today. I thought I was just going out to get a workout in. And it soon turned into a lifestyle where I lived and breathed the swim, bike, and run. With all lifestyles though, we have our ups and downs. I've put together some amazing races as well as been so dissapointed in some performances. But thats life right? I believe it. All I can do is remind myself why I love this sport and why I have stayed with it for this long. And now I embark on such an adventure as the Military World Games, which if anyone didn't know, is like the Olympics for the Military. And I couldn't have done it without the support of everyone out there. So thank you!! I know I am not good at all with updated this blog, but if you want to follow my journey, I am going to try to update every couple days of my 3 weeks away. I leave this friday the 8th and will fly to Annapolis for a training camp with the US Team. Then we fly out on the 12th and head to Rio De Janiero. Our race is on the 24th and then we will be back on the 26th (my birthday!) Well once again, thank you for all the support! I look forward to keeping you guys in the loop on this amazing trip!