Friday, December 24, 2010

The Beatdown: Triathlon Down Unda'

Dec 19th: Western Australia Sprint Triathlon Championships

  This past weekend after pressure was applied to sign up for the Sprint Championships in December I finally buckled and signed up the week of the race. Chatting with the locals, seemingly ever person was doing this triathlon even people who normally wouldn't do tri's, which meant bad news for me. With each person that I found out registered that was potentially another place in front of me. Since it was a shorter race, I ASSUMED that I could get away with the shorter distance despite my lack of triathlon fitness with the swim and bike, WRONG.

  Luckily Ray Lampard was kind enough to let me borrow a set of his race wheels to hopefully make up for my lack of cycling lately as well as a "sperm" helmet also known as an aero helmet from Cody. I was decked out and ready to go, I set a new 5k pr the week before, so I knew my run fitness is coming around. We woke up pretty early, ghetto rigged our bikes to the bike rack we borrowed from Nathan doig and then piled 4 of us into the 2 door Hyundai hatchback and made our way to Rockingham. 

  We arrived in what I thought would be ample amounts of time to warm-up but I was wrong yet again. I didn't get to take my bike for that 3-4 mile spin I was hoping for, I actually managed to push my bike into transition and rack it up, before heading out for a quick 3/4-1 mile run. I saw all of the ballers gathering around the "Running Centre" tent and we made some small talk before they were calling waves to the water. Oh well I thought, no wet suit, then I saw Jason Nuttman and he offered his old wetsuit to me, so I quickly pulled it on and made my way to the water. As a side note, for all of you triathletes, do not randomly grab someones wetsuit that you have never used prior, that's a big no no. My goggles were missing, so I grabbed Cody's, went for a quick swim and realized they would not work, so I ran back to my bag with 3 minutes remaining to use Glenn's goggles. 
Watching the open elite men and women start out in the open water was amazing, as it was just like the triathlons I had seen on TV. People were sprinting through knee deep water and diving in with their best butterfly technique and quickly jumping up for a few more meters to run. My wave was next, did I mention the one and only time I have ever done an open water swim in the ocean was the day they spotted a shark near us and we all had to get out after 10 minutes? Bang the gun goes off, we are running through the water, its utter chaos, people are everywhere and I honestly am not sure when to start swimming. I take a dive and swim a bit but notice most of the guys are still running, so I jump back up. 

  The swim was pretty uneventful, I remember just deciding to grab on to the feet of another swimmer assuming he would guide me to the front, well that wasn't the case. In retrospect, i should have gone out much harder in an effort to make my way towards the front pack to keep myself motivated. After exiting the water, i saw Glenn snapping some pictures before I jumped on my bike. My transition was not the smoothest but it could have been worse for sure. Immediately I began passing people and noticed a guy just in front of me with a disk wheel, "just stay with him chris" is all I told myself and we went through the 1st lap just 10 meters apart, check. After the turnaround, I was zapped, not sure what happened if it was my motivation or what but it was certainly slower. I was overtaken by 4 other riders on this section and wasn't taking chances on the turns as I had on the 1st loop. As a surprise to me, my running transition off the bike worked really well and I racked the bike up.

After attempting several times to slide my mizuno ronins on, I realized they were too tight so I literally sat on the ground and had to pull each shoe on, this made for a lightning fast T2. Looking back I remember I had a T2 transition of 19 seconds in Savannah and on this day I would safely say I was near the 50+ second range. Time to do what I know I can do now... run. As I flew past some of the women on the course, I tried to push harder and harder. Some people were on the left side and some on the right of this turnaround course and around 5 minutes in I remembered a guy putting his hands in the air and giving me this go to hell look because I was in his path. "Ok Chris, after this turnaround you are going to DEMOLISH this guy into the ground and give him a "good job" pat on the way past". I remember when I took off with about 2 miles remaining and I passed a group of Juniors running in a pack and they were all caught off guard by my speed, but I didn't have time for games, I HAD to catch this guy and show him my dominance! 

   So yes, I caught this guy and kept pushing on but after I passed him my motivation seemed to loose focus. Then I noticed what I had many times before, my shoes were digging into my foot. I was getting warmer and warmer, so I said screw it, the top is coming down. After pulling down my tri top, everyone began looking at me weird and people were yelling stuff to me. I finished the last 1/4m pretty strong to pass a couple people in the stretch and then I heard it. "Good stuff man, but I think you got DQ'ed for pulling down your top" - Cody. WTF, really, wow, I forgot this was actually a big championships of sort but I remember racing with no top at duathlon nationals. Luckily I didn't get DQ'ed but from what everyone else told me, they had NEVER seen anyone take their top down during a triathlon, so now I am the shirtless American bandit. Matt Illingworth caught on to my system as taking your top down in the tri will save minutes on the run ! haha.

Check out the video from the race: I am in around the 30second mark on my bike

   All in all it was fun, but disappointing at the same time, I finished 31st overall and 6th in my division, it was a butt whooping. Jason Rhine, Jason Nuttman, and Ryan Baugh all got the best of me, not to mention the other athletes who were miles ahead of me as elite racers. Surprisingly I had the fastest 5k split of the triathlon in 16:26 with a slew of sub 17's just behind me. My bike portion wasn't horrible but on my garmin I had just shy of 23 mph, my downfall was T1 and T2 which made my combined bike split. The swim sucked but I know going forward I will do MUCH better and be more aggressive come January 30th at the Western Australia Olympic Distance Championships here in Perth. Thank you mates out there for truly giving me the beat down and christening into the world of triathlon in Australia. Come January I will begin riding and swimming more consistently in preparation for the next race and hope for improvement. Taking off 4 months completely from any triathlon training and one month into training I will take confidence from this performance.

  Christmas morning there will be a 100k ride through the hills that I am optimistic that I can make, what a way to start the holiday with a gut wrenching, lung burning, leg bashing ride up into the hills. 

Shout out to Sean, Macca and Jimmy for finishing 1-2-3 overall and a special thanks to Janna Angell for having an outstanding race finishing the run with a new 5k PR. Good on Ya!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

10 years in the making: {part deuce} Pimping cars, trucks, hogs & a failed business

  After my most recent post entering into the last 10 years of my life and delving into how I got where I am at this point, I hit a mini wall. Have you ever been inspired to do something and then after about half way into completion, just loose that focus? Well that's where I am right now, but I am sure as I tap away at this $300 refurbished Acer laptop (big $$$) it will dawn upon me while I started this in the first place(as a note excuse the random side bars that I go through, it actually helps paint part of my life). So here I am, its 2005 and I just purchased a little condo unit in South Charlotte, I fixed it up, it was my nest baby for 2-3 years I thought anyways. Managed to make it through some neighborhood mischief (break-in) and I never seemed to settle quite into place. I remember to this day, after someone smashed into my home and stole my belongings, I was carrying a hand gun with me frequently with an angry trigger to say the least. One time my girlfriend woke me up because she heard a noise and I was grabbing my pistol just as my roommate yelled out it was just him! Wow what an experience, he thought he was near death and I was thinking, am I am about to shoot someone?

  Sorry for the side track, as I am moving along through the chain of command at the local running shop, I hear about a financial job where I could possibly have an "in"from a former rival cross country runner in college. Now, I am officially going to be a legit adult, I am getting into finance, dressing up for work, getting a 401k, and drinking coffee as a regular habit during break time. It was pretty exciting initially, I had always seen the people scurrying in uptown as I would occasionally pick up my grandmother(retired wachovia employee) during her lunch break to grab a bite at El Cancun. I was on my way there, business suits and slicked back hair, maybe some flashy shoes to go along with my proper suit and tie. Well not exactly, I was wearing button downs and polo's to work mostly, because it was REAL laid back, almost to the point where you didn't care as much, people even wore shorts and sandals sometimes!

   During the last semester of school I purchased a newer vehicle (VW Jetta) and promptly decked it out with custom wheels and an insanely loud sound system, then I ran across a deal on a friends truck for $1200, so I went for it. Most people would have labeled it as a "POS" (piece of shh) with the paint half missing and dents throughout but I saw the beauty in it as I scrapped off the "Redneck" sticker. This was not the typical vehicle most business class people would drive around but after all I already had a car that was dependable, this was my "project". Managing to do most of the body work by myself, my good friend took the truck into his paint booth and sprayed it out for me, midnight blue with flake, it was SWEET!. Next on tap, the "Twinkies" also known as 20's, yep, I was rolling on dubs and I decked out the interior with a new MP3 player, custom console subwoofer, all new carpet and seat covers, tinted windows and flow masters! I was riding dirty in every way, most people would stare at my custom "whip" and wonder who was inside, not imaging a skinny white guy with glasses, bumping that new Nas CD. This was another side track, but it also gives you a sense of were I was coming from and my sense of style from the environment of which I was raised, on the west side of Charlotte, not a particular hot spot for the upper class.

   New job, 2 pretty sweet vehicles, things are going pretty awesome for me, I have been piecing together my condo, something is missing. It's time to get my HOG! Well not quite a hog but close, a Honda Shadow chromed out with Vance and Hines pipes, man it was a beauty and bust your ear drums loud! One of my close friend encouraged me to get one with him so I pulled the trigger and well....he didn't! thanks Rob Dietz! This leads into my next juncture of life, "Running Happy" and "RunningOne", a new business venture with one of my closest friends. After running the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon in fun "joe boxer" bright yellow boxers with friends Beth, Kara and Rob, we noticed something spectacular. People LOVED the smiley face on our boxers and thus began the concept of "Running Happy". {For the next few paragraphs I will bold the font, so that I may paint you a much clearer picture of the ensuing chaos.}

  My business partner and I had experience in the running specialty industry, we spoke about the common frustrations of the particular business and eventually THOUGHT that we could own and operate something that could really take off and be even better than anything locally. We started small with operating a coaching service to a group of about 30 people, which was exciting seeing some of the athletes improve rapidly with tons enthusiasm through the cold winter months. Phase one complete, phase two, let's begin selling products to our clients, how can we do this? Hmmm well why not just jump into the world of online sales, yea that sounds AWESOME! Wow things have progressed quickly, being a business owner was a dream of mine always, what could go wrong? We have an official business account at this point, 25k to use for products and whatever else we saw fit in the business. While working my full time job, in between breaks and lunch I was contacting vendors about product that we were seeking. Reebok and Fila came easy as we stock piled shoes into a spare room, along with hammer nutrition and fuel belts. Looking at the credit card statement and then walking into the spare room, I expected it to be filled floor to ceiling but not even close, wow owning a retail business is EXPENSIVE!

  Often times I was the "NO" man, in the mix, every time that money was requested to be spent I essentially freaked out.  "Running Happy" even established their own trademarked shirts, shorts and singlets for sale. Some sales begin to come in as the excitement and debt was building into a combustible bonfire. At some point with the chaos of a start up business, we decided it would be the best thing to just go ahead and look into opening our own brick and mortar location. After all, we were dedicated and wanted this to be a full time gig, with freedom to do what we see fit. As whispers around the running community built, more and more people found out about our plans to open a "new" competing store in the area. The local shops, did not take a liking to this very much and began to pressure our vendors to stray away from us. The pressure was truly on now, we scoped out a location(lease signed) for our new AMAZING STORE, looked at retro fitting fee's and thus finally signing for a small business loan. Luckily my business partner covered our A$$ and made sure there were loop holes in each contract if we needed to back out. My stress level was unbelievably high, do I really want to do this? it could burn bridges with some people as well as put me into tremendous debt. As stated there was a lot of "hear say" going on with old co-workers and random people in general, so I made a huge leap of faith and contacted one of our soon to be competitors and did I mention former boss, Tim Rhodes.

Makes the World Go Round!

   I still remember the day I walked into the store and my former co-workers were in shock that I even set foot inside. After breaking the shock with a big smile, while being very nervous, we discussed how I actually set up a meeting in an effort to clear the air about our intentions out of pure respect for a touted business man whom gave me a chance to start within his company. After discussing several of our conflicts, some which were very touchy, an hour or so flew past. There I was, sitting across from a well respected business owner, of whom I used to work for and he was being sincere with me about the hardships of owning a small business.  To this day, I truly commend Tim for being professional during our one on one meeting, as well, I truly will never forget what he said to me as I left his office. "Chris, I want to see you succeed, I do, I just don't think you realize how difficult it is to run something like this. If you ever need something, let me know, but I am here to protect my business on the same note". Honestly, I could feel the sincerity in his voice and just the way he made eye contact. After this meeting I knew it was time to have a final sit down to discuss our future as small business owners.

   Eventually, the decision was made to scrap our new "Running Happy" store, but what to do with all of the product and etc, the debt had piled up. Wow, about year had passed since I purchased my home, I had a truck, car and a nice motorcycle sitting out front and the possibility of a new business in tow. Luckily we crossed paths with some other business men looking to expand their triathlon store from Charleston, SC called "TrySports". They wanted to open a new location, they had the money, I came to the table with experience and drive, a natural fit. After unloading some debt with traveling to some marathon expo's and selling our items, things began to level down a bit. Still nicely in the hole, I decided that something just had to go. I sold my car, FIRST, then I sold my beautiful hog, I had to pay for the debt somehow, right? After all of this, I still thought the best way to cap off the rest of the debt would be to open a new line of equity on my home, it wasn't for much and it was at a low rate. OK, things aren't what I thought they were going to be, BUT at least there was another option in the cards. Eventually after interviewing several times, I decided that my stable career in finance would have to do, the specialty industry just zapped any enthusiasm I had for it once before, I needed a break, just one job and to be normal. After all I think I was only 23 maybe 24 at this time?

   Crazy huh? things were really looking up as I was leading a pretty standard life, I even had a few toys to play with and living nearly stress free. Putting my stress level into words concerning this segment of my life would be difficult, but just to say it bluntly, I was having a pretty hard time with it all. Luckily I took a much needed step back and just led a seemingly normal life for a few more years until I found it time to really venture into something that was my passion. In this between time, I got back into my running regimen, somewhat, you could say. I was doing about as much as I needed to in order to keep most of the weight off while not limiting my weekend excursions into uptown Charlotte. After all when I was at school, I wasn't partying quite like a rock star as most did, I still needed to get it out of my system, plus I had a passion to just hit the dance floor.

  This leads into my last segment about my trial and error training sessions with my "running career" or lack there of. I was racing VERY frequently from 2005-2007, I would roughly say I raced 3 times a month sometimes 4 or 5, but my mileage was limited. Quite frankly it was almost NON- existent, I was running on Wednesday and racing on Saturday, but what else did I do on the other days? ZUMBA, yes I said it, I jumped into the world of cardio dance at the Harris YMCA heavily! Looking back I realized that I often ran the 2.75 miles to class and back so, let's chalk it up to 15-18 miles a week including races. Tuesday and Thursday nights upstairs at the Harris YMCA, yea I was one of 2 or 3 guys in their but I was mostly fine with that. For some reason, I felt more comfortable wearing my "Fueled by god" shirt to class, but I was rocking it out. Lots of women would come up after class and comment that I was pretty good, CONFIDENCE LEVEL bounces up one more notch! Fairly confident in my natural abilities, I managed to stay in the sub 17:30 range for the 5k's and then the unthinkable happens, 2 races in a row. Rob Dietz Smashes me at Tour De kale (17:58 for me) and then Cody Angell, the newly dedicated runner smashed me at the Summer Breeze 5k (17:26 for me). Time to train, sorry Zumba, I need to start running again, I miss you just writing this....seriously!

  This was a very extensive dive into my world, I would say the majority of the people that I know and began to know closely, would have no idea that I have been through a few of these life experiences. yes this entry was jumping all around like a Mexican jumping bean, pimping trucks to zumba class but it ties my life together through those difficult and educational years. King of the world, I had everything and more than I needed, was I ready to tackle the world of Proprietorship? HELL NO! I must say, looking back, I am so grateful that the attempt was faltered to open my own business. At 23 you think you know the world, I did, Now I am 28 and understanding the true structure of wisdom.

"Life's failures lead to life's monumental successes"

  On Sunday morning I will be competing in the Western Australia Triathlon State Sprint Championships, who's who of triathlon will be competing, so I have no stated expectations, but to just give it my best. 

   Following my recap I plan to wrap up my "10 years in the making" installment where I will jump ahead to the past 15 months of my life and how everything drastically changed for the better. 

"Taking the time to understand how you tick as an individual is a key to every one's life, we can cram our self into societies cookie cutter pattern and let life pass us by, OR we can reach deep inside and discover what tools we all have to offer in this huge world of the masses." - CL

Monday, December 13, 2010

10 years in the making: The highs and lows of Mr. Lamperski {part 1}

  After explaining to several people why I have traveled to Western Australia (even I, am still figuring this out), I had a thought about how my life has had so many layers and then I was thinking about this point in my life I was just starting my journey through college 10 years ago!!! You know how you can hear that certain song and think "summer 2002, Miami with the boys"?  or you smell a scent and you think about that woman that used to come into your grandmothers house when you were like 12? Well I have had a few sights, sounds and smells like that, which have reminded me of these last 10 years of my whirlwind life. I want to reflect on a few keys points that have changed my life drastically for the better even though they may have not appeared to do so at the time( note: this is not based solely upon athletics but meaningful situations in my lifetime which have involved athletics often)

  August, the Summer of 2000, fresh out of high school and making my exciting journey into the world of college academia. I remember when I was on the Harding University high swim team my senior year and we had our conference championships at Pfeiffer University in the fall of 1999. What a crap hole, I ragged on that place the whole ride home, who would think about going to school at such a small, run down place? Fast forward a couple months, I receive a call from the head cross country coach in the winter about running cross country for the university. Wow, I always thought I would play soccer and perhaps tennis in college if anything, but running? I applied to UNCG, UNCW, NC State, and Pfeiffer of course. After receiving acceptance letters from all of the schools and paying a visit to each I decided that Pfeiffer's small religious community was the best bet for myself as I didn't want to get drawn into the alcoholic haze of those larger universities, PLUS I could participate in college athletics with the Cross Country and Tennis Teams! AMAZING!!!

Check out the hair!
  As the years rolled by, I made some of the best friends I ever could ask for, I will refer to them as brothers actually, I know that when it comes down to it they will always be there for me if I ever need anything. After college I found out that on the first day of XC practice my new friends were talking amongst themselves and all said "who is the new fat kid, look at his gut! There is no way the fat kid will make it today". After the captain let the reigns off, I took off and rolled everyone on that 1st day of practice, the fat kid was in the house and ready to rumble!!! Back then I had NO CONCEPT of training or racing, I would just go harder whenever someone else did in practice. As an example of our prime coaching in the early years, we did suicides in he gym or 50m sprints on the soccer fields. That showed the lack of running knowledge from our 23 year old coach who played college basketball and failed to realize we actually ran 8k and 10k in distance. Each year, I began to learn more and more about the aspects of real training and the pros and cons of each technique while researching online and in books. Since we were in a smaller conference setting I was fortunate enough to be named conference runner of the week twice, was named 4-time all conference XC runner, broke several school records in track, won a steeple chase conference title and even managed to win a collegiate cross country race at Erskine College.  I had 2 brief stints with the Pfeiffer University Tennis squad, the sport I truly loved but ended up going back to running. My Senior year, I made one last attempt to capture my well rounded collegiate athletic experience with playing for the soccer team. After 13 years of soccer, my true passion from an early age, why not give it a go while running cross country? I learned quickly that both were very difficult with trying to maintain my goals and most importantly remaining injury free, so soccer was also out of the window and I dedicated everything to cross country out of respect for my team and our amazing coach Bob marchinko.

   While in college I remember just floating by, making some C's, maybe some B's even, just enough to get through with no worries. Approaching my Jr. year it hit me, "I am paying thousands of dollars to get a mediocre education that I just don't frankly care about ". From then on I essentially made straight A's with a B or two mixed in, finally focused to get my money's worth before departing into the "Real world". I was ready to make my impact on society while making the big bucks with a bank in uptown Charlotte, after all that's the measure of success, especially in Charlotte. Seemingly everyone works for a bank or works with the banks in some fashion it seems. Upon graduation I finally found a full time teaching position at a Union County High School through the lateral entry program. My reason for getting into the teaching profession was simply because it seemed that the benefits were great with summers off as well my long time girlfriend at the time was teaching and it would fit into our schedules perfectly.

   After about a month of teaching geometry, algebra and computer applications to 14-18 year old kids, I realized that since they were in the 504 or IEP program, that the teachers basically let them sail through school prior just passing them worksheets and asking them to be quiet. I wanted to truly make an impact on these kids life somehow, I tried my best to be an authoritative figure while also finding a common ground to bond with each kid. Everyday after school Ii was amazingly exhausted in every sense of the word, I would go home and fall on my bed and pass out for 90 minutes EVERYDAY, then wake up to study lesson plans late into the night. At this point I was not working out very much thus gaining weight and losing my fitness, along with gaining stress daily. One day I went into school and decided that it would most likely be my last day and expressed my conflicts with the principal in charge and he completely agreed that if I didn't feel the right fit, then I should venture elsewhere to find my place in the world, so I did!!! Seemingly taking a BIG STEP backwards.

  Luckily, the local running shop "Run For Your Life" was grateful enough to provide me with enough hours to cover my bills in the meantime, while I searched for another position. After a couple months within the organization, I really began to love running as I would see several dedicated runners day in and day out. It was an inspiration, plus I was working with some of the best runners in town/country, Josh Baker and Vince Sherry, two UNC-Charlotte Alumni whom had achieved so much that I could only aspire to reach at my max potential someday. After doing very well at the shop, I eventually transferred out to the satellite location in south Charlotte and became the assistant manager. In my attempt to get ahead of the game and to be a responsible adult I put in a bid to buy a condo in south Charlotte then before I knew it, I was a home owner!!! Wow, what happened, No one else I knew from college had purchased a home yet, I was on the right path, or so I thought. After a 3 year live-in renovation process, my condo was finally looking pretty damn good, new floors, paint, kitchen cabinets, tile, lighting, sink, plumbing, you name it, I did it, mostly with the assistance from my amazing grandparents mary jane and stan,  and also with help from wayne and robby saxon, my grandfather and uncle. This investment property was going to earn me some good $ for the down payment of my next house and everything would fall into place as it was, then BOOM....BOOM BOOM....recession time!!!!
Piecing together my home

  • My next entry will continue with the stepping stones to where I am and between this time, I would experiment with different ways to train for running, one of which was very interesting built around the cardio dancing concept zumba. Over the next 4 years, I broke away from the running shop in an attempt to open my own version of what I thought could be much more while operating an online running store and coaching a group. All of this happening while I ventured into the world of financial information within a credible institution. 
  • My ups and downs would continue to bless me with life's true experience, lots of downs in order to understand how to take advantage of the "ups". Over this span, I am thankful that I can truly take a back seat and understand my journey in much greater detail and patience. Depression, fitness, god, drinking, ownership, coaching, unemployment, and taking a deep deep breath will follow in my next continued blog entry for

"10 years in the making"(part two).

Note of interest:* "The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that men and women hold an average of about 14 jobs by the time they turn 40. The majority of these jobs are at the beginning of their working lives - when they are teenagers and in their early twenties. Job longevity tends to lengthen as the employee ages. However, longevity does not always mean that the employee is happy with their job.Kelly Services, a major temporary staffing agency, reports that almost half of adults are not completely satisfied with the requirements, lack of flexibility, risks and compensation of their current jobs"

Stay in tuned!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Journey 2 Ironman Western Australia recap

In Route to Busselton!
    As the weekend approached, I wrapped up a great week of training without any hesitation about the extremely lengthy ride to come on Saturday. On Friday night I ended up staying at Nate Dogg's house because we were leaving his residence at 5am on Saturday to meet up with other riders (only 2 showed). Before I called it a night, I spotted a book at Nathan's written by former multiple world record holder Ron Clarke, whom I discovered managed to set all of these amazing records while working a normal job and having a family to tend to after the age of 26. Pretty inspiring read before the ride!

Ready to ROCK at 5am!
  Here I am at 5am leaving Nate Dogg's house, equipped with Hammer Gels, Shotz, 3 bottles, my camera, phone and mp3 player of course. It was freezing when we departed, unusual for Perth was the temperature, I think it was about 15 degrees, so it was about 50 or so for your people back home. I rocked out my TrySports gear and 2010 World Championship arm sleeves (thanks Kylee!). To keep me warm-up I also wore a 2XU vest with "the running centre" logo, it saved me big time!
The ride was EPIC to say the least, here is Nathan just in front of me leading the way just after Cody and Janna stopped on the freeway to greet us. Nathan was totally geared up looking like a pro rider out there, kudos for him for making the distance. he certainly had some rough patches but he survived enough to even throw a hard surge on me at 210k into the ride! We were so very fortunate for not having any flat tires or even close calls while riding 220k on the paths and freeway. After this ride I took a dip in the Indian Ocean and felt amazing!

View from our house stay in Yallingup, see the ocean?

Ironman swim finish
Ironman Western Australia swim finish, pretty intense! This is where I managed to lose my friends for the next 11 hrs, so I ended up getting in a long run and burning my face while spending $40 for brekky, but I had a front row seat to the Pro's racing as they ran past my patio spot while eating.
Break Your Limits

"Razor" Ray Lampard, had a cult in attendance as you would think they were a sponsor of the race because so many had "break your limits" shirts on. Great job to all of the "BYL" athletes who raced!

While watching the race unfold, I was able to see Luke Bell numerous times around the course because it was a 4 lap spectator friendly layout. Here Luke was still maintaining his 2 minute lead until Courtney Ogden eventually overtook him for the strong win.

  Amazing to watch some of these athletes come off of the bike and run sub 3 for the marathon!
Millions of dollars in bikes

  Kate Bevilaqua entering the finish chute for her breakout Ironman win over Bec Keat. She truly pushed herself to the limits as she was in complete PIECES by this stretch. She looked as if she was hammering from 5k into the run and she just kept chugging along.

  It was a great day for Western Australia, because the male and female winners were both locals whom had a lot of support. This was both very inspirational and eye opening watching my my 1st ironman event. I truly know that I am not ready for this distance and hope to keep my goal of attempting my 1st one after I turn 30, which is around the corner!

Ironman Western Australia Winners

  Here I am just before we depart from the event, my face is burnt and red. Many people asked if I had not thought about using sun screen and I said well if I had my wallet or phone or my bag ( sunscreen in it)which was left in the car, then I would have gladly used some. Thankfully I took a step back instead of getting upset over losing my friends among the crowd, I soaked up the experience in every way. I had a great run with a group from Perth and even added an extra hour on with Simon, a local cannondale and sugoi rep.

  I want to give a big shout out to all of you who have completed the half or full ironman distance. It really takes so much dedication to training properly for these events, I don't think the rest of the population understands. I even stood in amazement, thinking about how crazy my life sounds with my minimal training regimen and to think these people were doing much more than I, with normal lives.

  It was a treat to see people such as Matt Illingworth (whom pieced my bike together after arriving from the US) rock out a 9:30 Ironman, but the kicker is he biked 4:30! Last year he split 4:17:25 for the bike record! OUCH. Sweet T, the training beast managed to break the big barrier of 9 hours with a time of 8:59:57, AMAZING! Scott Thomson, a "break your limits" athlete, also ripped up the course with a 9:36 Ironman in his debut! He rolled to a 3:05 run split, great job guys.

  Life is truly a gift for all of us (forgive me for getting philosophical), I hope that I can push my limits or "break" them as well as these people have. We all have our own individual gifts, it may be just your charisma, or the way you bake food, but I believe that I have some talent as an athlete and want to continue pursuing some lofty goals ahead of me. After cycling for 220k, while pulling for about 70% of the ride, it really gave me heaps of confidence on the bike. I managed to sleep a fair amount and then run nearly 2hrs the following morning and then come back on Monday with a double run. My fitness is truly coming around and I am very thankful that I have been injury free as I have eased into my workout load the best that I can.

   This Friday night I am very optimistic that I am capable of setting a new personal record for the 5k, as I will be racing against my good friends Cody Angell and Nathan Doig at Challenge Stadium. Cody always bring out the best in me, so hopefully I can focus and not falter with pushing the both of us along to new heights. The goal is to run sub 15:20 if not a bit faster, with the ultimate goal by the end of summer to break 15:00 for the 5k. My workout last week went very well, so we will see how my legs recover from the long weekend with my 5k under the lights. Thank you to all of the people whom I have been able to train with while here in Perth. Wish us luck this Friday night! I will post the results ASAP.

One last shout out to Jason Nuttman, whom faced a heat wave as well as a brutal course at the 2010 Asian Oceanic 70.3 world championships, placing 5th in his age group! Way to go

"Inspiration is among us everywhere, all you need to do is take a deep breath to take it all in and face the realization of it"

Monday, December 6, 2010

Perth to Busselton = Complete

Just a quick update before I get into detail, but yes I made the 220k ride down the paths and freeways to watch "Ironman Western Australia" on Sunday. Thankfully we had no flats on the ride and had a couple stops to just stretch and grab a drink. Shout out to Nathan Doig for completing the journey!!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

"THE" Epic Ride: pre-ride hype to Busselton with 223k in front of me

  This weekend a small town called Busselton will be host to the Ironman Western Australia 140.6 event and I am very fortunate as I will be in attendance of my very first Ironman. The kicker is that I am actually riding my bicycle from West Perth, ALL THE WAY down to Busselton with a small group of riders. One of which is my friend Nathan Doig, whom took on the challenge of cycling this distance simply because it appears that most people believe it could be an impossible feat for a man who rides his road bike as much as he walks on water, which is very rare in this case.

  To date, I believe that my longest ride is about 70 miles in total earlier in the year on my new Kuota K-factor whom I call "Wayne". "Wayne" continues to be the stout steed that I will ride on this epic journey through the 30+mph wind gust on the way to the Ironman. In all the ride will be at a minimum of 223k to Busselton but the funny thing is that we are staying in another town further south which is about 45k past Busselton, in all this journey COULD potentially be 270k of riding in one day! That's about 164 MILES to all of the Americans back home!  Wish me luck as I hope to have the wind at my back the entire time, may I never run out of fuel or water, and I hope to make the epic ride on the same tubes I begin with.

Directions from Perth to busselton

The Ride of my life to be determined.

I hope to update my blog/facebook status once I reach my destination, so that I may enlighten those who hope that I die, get injured or simply make it in one piece will be able to know what happened. Planning to take my camera with me for some snap shots of the event.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Culture: Coffee Breaks, Cricket, "Set Top Boxes" & a new PR

Life is Great Down Under!

   One profound experience that I have had while living in Perth is the frequent coffee breaks. Yes, COFFEE breaks! Not your standard, dark roast with some hazelnut but some of the tastiest lattes and mocha’s that you have ever had in your life! It’s a rare occasion that you would finish a morning jog without someone saying, “let’s grab a latte or flat white" before preparing for your day. This is my style, my friends back home know what I am talking about as well, when I was unemployed and taking a different path a year ago I often visited the local coffee shops in Dilworth to just relax, soak up the atmosphere and research my new life that I was thinking of beginning.

   I remember about 5 years ago when I on occasion made a Saturday morning run with the likes of Cathy Grable, Lori Hagemen, Sheila Wakeman, Aprille Schaffer, Julie Hardin and Kathy Abernathy, they really only met in the morning to have an excuse to have a 1hr coffee break on a weekend morning. I tried to soak it up, but I just didn’t have much girl talk for them, and most of the time they wanted to hook me up with someone, so I eventually faded away from the gossip scene(sorry ladies, you know I LOVE all of you!).  So coffee here is not percolated or drip, it is all blended with some form of milk in a latte form, it’s so good that I never even add sugar or splenda to my warm milky, caffeinated heaven. Back to the casual environment of the coffee world here, the local cafĂ©/coffee shops are EVERYWHERE. Literally next to each other in the competing market which is seemingly unheard of in the US. They do have some chains of coffee shops but there are tons of independent chains which I absolutely love and support! The people are like family there, they greet you and ask you how your day is and remember you the next time you come in and recommend certain picks of their own.

   The shops are pretty much half full of people throughout the entire day around here through the weekday until everything closes and then moves to other outskirts of the town. Here is a dialogue of the culture here from many angles interpreted by Christopher Lamperski: “ ohhh mate I had a tough night last night, lets grab a coffee” “sure”;   “Work is pretty slow, let’s grab a latte down the corner shop” “sounds good let’s go”;  “ It’s 1:30pm on Tuesday and 100 degrees outside, let’s grab a mocha?” “Perfect, freakin oath!”  I have yet to hear anyone deny a coffee break at any point in their day, people really love to take breaks and to just discuss anything or nothing, and it’s AWESOME! There is a small coffee shop that used to be a horse stable tucked down an ally way in west perth that I have visited twice now and I love it. There is always one man serving coffee up in this small place, but its done up very well, but thats not the kicker! 
  The man most likely in his 50's is always playing JAY-Z, so I know this is one of MY spots for sure, makes me want to open up a replica back home!I wished back home people would take some time to literally sit and enjoy a coffee with a good friend as opposed to working to get ahead of the Joneses new LCD TV , it puts life into perspective. This may be the reason that I haven’t met one person yet who seems slightly depressed or upset about work, their family or their financial woes, because well, they appear to have their priorities most lined up.

   So there has been this huge build up about the “Ashes” match that has now begun down under for weeks. I was waiting for it to finally come to see what all this talk is about and here it is. Australia vs. England, in get this, five-----pause----wait--- 5 day matches, is this not the longest game in history? Well the before they even set foot on the turf, I figured I had better watch some cricket on TV! We did pick up an inflatable kangaroo that says “Go Aussie” in support but really, I am ready for the Basketball season to come through because its more my speed. One of my goals however is to catch a “20/20” match live, which is a faster paced cricket game that is complete in merely a few hours. Also on the agenda is to watch an AFL game in which my friend Nathan Doig is actually an official BIG TIME official.

   Next on the plate, set top boxes! I come from a culture of pop frenzy where nearly everyone has high speed internet, cable, DVR, flat screens and surround sound, which of course all of them I had in North Carolina. I had an EXTRA subwoofer connected to my surround sound to make the movie experience extra intense even. As I sit on the couch to watch TV in Perth, I am looking at a tube TV that has a broken set of rabbit ears on top with a fuzzy signal on nearly every station. We fortunately get one clear station so far called “ten” which is similar to our fox network back home and it has a few shows we watch on it. It’s actually refreshing not having the world of 1000 channels at my finger tips as well as DVR to record anything I can dream of. Most of the people locally appear to have something called a set top box, which boost up to around 15-20 stations at most from what I gather, many of which are cultural channels that may not even use the English language, so let’s say for the sake of argument, 10 channels.  Today Janna and I are setting out on an adventure to possibly purchase a set top box to provide us with a few extra stations with clear picture and sound. The kicker is that once you pay the $70 for the box, all of the stations are free, so it’s really a deal. Back home I was paying about $135 a month for basic stuff mostly but it included DVR and HD stations. While hunting for a cheap set top box, I am going to purchase some blank CD’s to burn some music on for our car rides and for the chance to play at home. My life is a soundtrack, I am always pumping music in some fashion depending on my mood it could be gangsta rap, country, easy listening, jazz or classical, so I need to have access to pumping my music up!

    All in all, I love the culture here and I can see how my good friend Cody loved it so much as well. People are very happy with their possessions and most don’t appear to be in this rat race that America feeds off of. Instead of having a brand new Lexus, people will drive a Ford and save money for the coffee shop or their vacation to the coast of some other country. I hope that I can take this attitude back home, to really soak up life and make the most of everything without putting material possessions as #1 in my life. Before I head back to settle into the “real world” once again, I have several plans to travel as much as I can. Here is a list of places that I would love to hit on my journey back home, so if you have any tips, recommendations, connections for housing, or of course want to meet me and pay for my way I would appreciate it, so that I may truly soak up my journey and place in life.

New Zealand

Where are we going  next? Who is taking a step and meeting me?

If only money grew on trees!!!!


Just before posting this blog, I was convinced to put my hand in the fire at a 3000m track race locally at Challenge Stadium. I ended up in 6th place even though I was seeded 13th on an estimated time of 9:05. After testing my speed, I know that I have a bit more in the tank for sure and in a few weeks I will be able to drop my time down substantially. 1k splits: 3:04, 3:06, 2:59

5k in 2 weeks! Goal to run sub 15:27

Friday, November 19, 2010

Shaving: Time and my face(update at the bottom)

   Leaving America for Australia, I had 2 main goals, one primary and one secondary, both of which were hard to describe at my age. My primary goal in leaving the country was to experience life outside of my little box and to soak up as much culture as possible. The secondary goal in my adventure was to train more effective than I did before with out any distractions that I may have had back home, just to reach my abilities. Over the last 2 weeks of my prep for leaving, many people asked me particular reasons for traveling, "are you going for work?", NO, " are you going to become a professional athlete?", YES! well no not really, that is in the back of all of our dreams whom are competitive by nature, but the simple fact is NO.

To shave or not to?
  Moving away to experience life by job hoping or sleeping on couches, is something that a normal teenager or college kid would do, but here I am nearly 30 years old chasing some kind of a dream. I left some amazing people back home and some good connections with employment to pursue whatever this is. Like anyone who attempts to be rebellious or adventurous, I chose to not shave or cut my hair for the remainder of my stay. As of right now, my semi beard is growing by the day and nagging me even more. I have always had dreams of a full thick beard, to be a manly man, but plain and simple, its really hard to grow a legitimate blond beard! Plus it becomes itchy and tough to sleep with especially now that it has topped 100 degrees (or 38 degrees for the aussies). So at this point in time, its a big decision, whether to trim my facial hair because its nagging me or the realization that I may not be able to get a fairly decent part time job because I look like a bum. What to do what to do?

  As far as shaving time, well that always is the goal isn't it? I mean  do we every feel like we have tapped completely for all of our ability? I know I haven't, I would consider myself lazy in a bit, i have opted for the social scene over the grueling training sessions that have separated the men from the boys so to speak. Maybe its time I buckled down and became one of these men who make that BIG jump? Yesterday and today i was fortunate enough to converse with Ryan Gregson whom is only 20 years old and is already the Australian National Record holder in the 1500m run with a 3:31:06. He was very carefree and easy going, he even knew Nelly was a part owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, most people in Charlotte don't even know that! But at his invitational breakfast he spoke about his training and surrounding himself with people to give him confidence and build him up throughout his young career. Now I have found a place where I can train with some very solid runners/triathletes who push each other to the next level. Recently while cycling around town with a couple mates, on different occasions I saw a couple of riders who rode in the Tour De France, back in town just doing some training rides. The talent here is deep and I think can be tapped even more than it already has been.

Random Shot of a training session at sunset
   Surrounding myself with these people will make me better for sure, but to what extent, i have no clue. I have always heard I had a great natural ability but what does that mean, and how far can that take me? So far I have done a couple running, cycling and swimming workouts, and so far I have been virtually blown out almost every time. So when do I start shaving this time? Will it come when i shave my face and my head? When I was a collegiate runner at lil Pfeiffer University, I remember having long locks that i had braided up into corn rows and then shocking everyone by having it all shaved off before the end of the season. Well it seemed to really help as I won my one my 1st college race and then I even pushed deeper at the conference meet the following week with a 7th place performance by 15 seconds from a 3rd! Hmm maybe I should shave my legs as well, it seems to work for the triathletes right?

  So all in all, shaving time and shaving my face, true questions in life that we all must face. Will I shave my face? How much time can i shave off of my 5k, 3k, 10k, marathon, half ironman time? Pun intended, Time will tell. As far as my journey here it has been very interesting, now facing the fact that I NEED to be employed in order to rent out my own place or move in somewhere that has a bedroom so I can give my friends some additional privacy. Life will take me where I need to be, it has thus far and the path hasn't been too bumpy. An exciting update is that next week I will be working three 8 hour days at a local cafe washing tables, dishes and pans! Crazy how back home I would have NEVER considered something like this and now I am happy to just be apart of something to earn some $. Apparently some of the certifications I hold in the states do not directly convert over here and in order to be a personal trainer I may have to pay nearly $3k for some courses, if this is ultimately the case, I will have to find a new temporary profession.
Check out my bottle cage, the only way to recover!

  Calling everyone who may read this post, I urge you to yell as loud as you can at me to motivate me to pushing myself and shaving time, to tap my potential. If you hear about me sleeping in or passing on a run, I give you permission to call me a lil girl or whatever term you would like to choose to light the fire under me.

  In other news, Saturday night I am heading to the Perth Velodrome, to watch some serious racing, this will be my first time watching an indoor cycling race so it will be interesting.

In short, isn't everything about shaving? Shaving just a few more pounds off, shaving just a few years off of my retirement off by saving money, shaving certain people out of your life to move on to the next step, shaving a bit from that entertainment fund to buy that house, and finally shaving your face to look "professional".

Stay Tuned for more updates! PS: I decided to skip my 1st race down under, a triathlon in Bunburry simply because I know I am not in shape to compete at the level I would like to race at. No need in forking out a bunch of $ since I haven't been working and barely any fitness to back me!

So I buckled after looking at the hideous growth of fur on my face, I trimmed my beard! I now resemble Craig David but with slightly lighter skin even with a bit of tan. 
Yes, that just happened! 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Western Australia: A place to grow as an athlete

    Recently some of you may have seen where I have been posting about "Club Helena Valley" on facebook or perhaps on my athleticore account. Basically, through The Running Centre in Perth, I have been able to connect with some of the best local and national athletes around. Thankfully my old friend Cody Angell is a sales and marketing manager at the shop and he has introduced me to several amazing people who have been more than supportive in my journey Down Under. So many thank you's to Cody and Janna Angell for hosting me and to several of my new mates at the Running Center for being so kind and forgiving to me for my general ignorance.

  One cool thing that will get my networked into the active members of the city is being attached to the running center's blog center ( ) check out the last name on the page, the tourist! Hopefully some people will be able to see my view points from my experiences here and how they relate to my experiences back home. Onward to the insane athletes that I have been able to jam with a bit on some training sessions of late.

   G$, a common term I used back home has been used once again with the introduction of Gerry Hill. I have been fortunate enough to run with Gerry several times and 1st hand watch his toughness while racing a 10k on the track after hitting the 1st mile in 4:53! Gerry has been training for a year solid and he managed to knock out a 2:37 at the Perth Marathon for 2nd place overall, I pretty legit time. I believe that Gerry and I are at similar levels of fitness for the 15k distance and below, so it will mean that we will be pushing each other to the limit. My goal is to see where I can take my level of triathlon while also pursuing some major PR's on the track this summer. As of right now, Nathan Doig, Cody, G$ and myself appear to be on similar playing fields with fitness so the goal is to work together perhaps for an upcoming 5k to see if we can chip away at our personal records.

Neil Berry, our Prefontaine impersonator
   Right now, my 5k PR is 15:27, G$'s is 15:28, Cody's is 15:31 and Nathan recently ran 8:42 for the 3k, so if all goes according to plan we should be able to push each other. I need to trim down a bit of weight to blend in with the gents here and become more efficient to reach my goals. Just a couple of days ago I was running with a young buck named Neil Berry aka berrylicious on a 15k tempo run from the shop and I was digging a bit deeper than normal to stay on his heels and I felt confident with my effort. 2 days later Neil belts a 14:47 5000m for a massive PR!

If I continue training with these guys, I have 2 options:

  1. Continue improving and take my racing to another level
  2. run myself into the ground and get injured
   Let's hope that with the assistance of these amazing athletes I will reach the 1st option. Aside from my track goals, I have also been fortunate to train with Ryan Baugh as he has been dragging me out to the local pool for some sessions. I realized I am very rusty in the water and that Ryan seems to be an underrated triathlete because he is fairly new to the sport and is very modest. It's INSANE to think that Ryan just began triathlon last year and knocked out a 4:20 half ironman! With some additional training this year he is aiming to trim nearly 10 minutes off of his time, so I plan to continue training with him so that I can Knock out a huge PR for myself at Busselton.

   I will continue updating my progress as a continue to pursue some pipeline dreams while down under. The next goal is to friend a paycheck as I have been trying to make contacts so that I can eventually move out into a new flat and off the pull out sofa! The goal continues to remain vehicle free the entire journey, I will either run, walk or cycle to my destination!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Busselton 2011: 1st step in a Conquest

Update:  Just received an email about getting an official international entry into the Busselton 70.3 Ironman in May 2011!!! 

Now that I have an official goal to look forward to, the training will begin commencing!

   My conclusion for this new training cycle will be that it will be much easier to produce a fast time over a 5 month training cycle as opposed to the 5 week cycle I used in my 1st attempt at the 70.3 distance. 

Initial Goals to focus on:

  1. Ride more 
  2. Find the perfect aggressive position that will allow me to run off of the bike
  3. Ride more
  4. Train for a half marathon race (as opposed to simply relying on some running base as I did before)
  5. Ride more
  6. Swim long course and build my endurance
Hopefully by focusing on these goals I will be able to drop my 70.3 time substantially unless something unfortunate happens along the way.

Since some local Western Australian Triathletes set the bar high, I have some goals to shoot for next year. Nuttman I am coming for your time Mate!

   After a couple more weeks of settling "Down Under" I plan to jump into some sort of a race, most likely a 3k on the track, my 1st since 2004 at Davidson College. I have not been working on my speed but I have high hopes that I can tuck behind a couple guys and grit my teeth to break my old & weak PR of 9:17. 

Special shout out to Cody and Janna Angell for being amazingly hospitable since my arrival down under. So far everyone I have met in Perth has been amazing, more updates to come!