Saturday, February 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Brother Alexis

Willie and I attended the 83rd birthday party of Brother Alexis. A key figure in both of our lives, Brother has taught us so many lessons. But, you can really boil them down to two things, as Deacon Bob so eloquently stated today... Love God and Love Your Neighbor.

Alexis always gave me the great advice to Keep it Simple... strip away all the material things and focus on Love and Service... doesn't get much simpler than that, does it. He told me that if there is someone you love, don't wait until their funeral to tell them... tell them now... tell them today. Also, a way to "get out of yourself" is to be of service to others... so, have you been of service today? 

It was a great day with great friends and really great people.

By the way, I did NOT eat any cake. :-)

Here are some more pictures.

- TJ

Friday, February 27, 2009

Transition: Offseason Diet to Triathlete Diet

This past Tuesday was Fat Tuesday. Typically, it is a time when people will transition on a habit... give up smoking, give up frozen yogurt (like Ron used to do) or drop some other vice. Some, like my sister, give up something they really love for Lent... she is giving up Lime Tortilla Chips. I am a little more ambitious... I'm giving up a *list* of things as I transition my diet to more triathlon-centric eating habits. 

This year, I resolve to eat to train... not train to eat. I have to give up the trigger foods that result in overeating and eating the wrong things. So, from February 25 until April 12 (Easter Sunday), I have resolved NOT to eat or drink the following items:

General Cho's Chicken
Pies of any kind
Ice Cream of any kind
Cake of any kind
Vanilla Latte
Chips of any kind
French Fries
Any kind of fried food
Hot Dogs
Diet Coke
Soda of any kind other than club soda

I will weigh myself today so we can have accountability... to see if this results in any weight loss between now and then. My waistline has definitely grown this offseason and I have some pants that no longer fit me around the waist. And, as I've gotten older, it'll be harder to readjust as my metabolism has definitely slowed down. Stay tuned...

- TJ

Sunday, February 22, 2009


It is suggested that in the offseason, triathletes do a different fitness routine than that performed during the season. This offseason, I've had a serious weightlifting regimen. And, I've stuck to it. The routine has consisted of the following:

- Light weights (50% of max)
- High reps (12 - 15 reps)
- 3 days on, one day rest

- Higher weight (80% max)
- Lower reps (10 reps down to 6 reps last set)
- 3 days on, one day rest

The workouts breakdown as such:
- Day 1: Chest/Arms
- Day 2: Legs
- Day 3: Back/Shoulders
Core workout every other workout.

I've managed to pack on some muscle. But, I've also gained weight. I have gotten as high as 222 lbs. and weighed in at 218 on Friday. My strength has increased dramatically. After Ironman Florida, I couldn't do more than 3 dips. I can now bang out 3 sets of 10... and that is after a full chest/arm workout. I can do a set of (6) 100 lb. dumbbell presses. My squat (on a Smith Machine) is back up over 250 lbs. whereas back in November it was a struggle to do anything over 150.

But, I also feel slower and quite frankly, heavy. But, this is part of the plan. Starting in March, I'll cut back on the weights, start increasing my running frequency, get on the bike and work in some swims. The base muscle that I've developed should help prevent injury and result in increased power which should help my speed and endurance. Time will tell.

A blessing of this has been that my wife Linda has joined me in the gym. We met at the gym back in 1992 and after a hiatus, she is back in and packing on some muscle herself. I've enjoyed our time in the gym together and look forward to more workouts in the months and years ahead. I love you, my sweet baboo.

- TJ

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cervelo P3C

I rode a Cervelo P2C last year. My favorite bike store, Conte's, discovered a crack in the frame right before Ironman and Cervelo offered me a new frame. Conte's upped the ante and offered me an opportunity to upgrade my frame to the P3C. After a lot of deliberation, I took the offer. I purchased it on Sunday and rode the bike seven miles home from their new Bethesda store and can't wait to get back out there again. Unfortunately, it's still February, so it is a little too cold for me. We'll see what the weekend brings...

- TJ

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Reason

As promised to TJ - I will post from time to time - I'm not much or a writer as T is, but I am committed to this Ironman thing - here's why:

The reason is - it all has to do with Ron R, my sponsor, my mentor, my friend my soul brother - and I'm sorry to say that I still miss him every day. I need him now more than ever - but the good news is that the training keeps me in constant touch with him - it's very spiritual to me - discipline through excerxice is the first life skill Ron inspired me to do in my recovery. Long before the God thing and the Steps - he talked to me daily how much exercise helped him overcome his demons and instill discipline in his life to accomplish anything worthwhile. It was the first leg in establishing the 'balance' in life - physical, spiritual, emotional and of course if you knew Ron - financial. Over the next 19 years - he shared his experience, strength and hope to me in all these areas, and I accepted.

I owe a majority of all my success in life to Ron - I was introduced to him while we were both working at New York Life - the story is he was going up and I was going down - I left there a failure, at least I thought so. What was strange to me at the time, he stayed in touch with me over the next 5 years - I had nothing and I certainly didn't have any money. He would simply tell me his story eveytime we met - it was a true 'rags-to-riches' story and for all this time, deep inside I wanted this for me too - but I was simply not ready, nor was I capable of asking for help.

After much more pain and sorrow and at my bottom - I called Ron and the life-changing journey began. 19 years together in awesome, twelve-step recovery and more fun than I could possibly have imagined. I've been blessed with so much success in all areas in my life - that it would take too much of my writing to explain - all I can say is that as a result of this success - I am committed to a life of Love and Service to twelve-step recovery and service to my family, friends and business associates. I am living my dream and purpose in life - and that is to help others with the gifts that have been given so freely to me.

Fast-forward - In 2002 - I was working with Rick Powell (a cancer survivor) and John Kennedy (his daughter a cancer survivor) at PMG - I remember how inspired I was to hear Rick talk about his experience and of course big John Kennedy kept talking and asking me to join him and Rick in triathlon - I must have said no a thousand times - I just had too many injuries to overcome. I introduced Chris Stokes to Rick and John, who lost his dear son Matthew to leukemia, in the hope that it would help Chris. That year Chris was the first of our gang to finish a tri and it was very inspiring.

In 2003, Ron R passed - After 3 months of depression - the thought came to me join these guys and the Team - and sign up for the Columbia Tri - an olympic distance that at the time looked liked climbing Mt Everest - just something completly out of reach.

As usual, all the demons possibly imagined in my head to go along with the physical issues - which led to more doubt - so of course all I could muster on my own was that I was a failure and a loser and I couldn't do it. Overcoming my biggest hurdle - the natural disease of self-doubt would be my greatest challenge.

Then I remebered what Ron had taught me and showed me - 'I've climbed the highest mountain that I'm ever going to climb' - that Anything is Possible - and the Sky's the Limit'.

I believed him before and if I was going to move forward after his passing and continue the jouney - I better believe it again. Decison was made - I signed up that year in 2004 and what a great new beginning this has been!

In his last days before Ron passed he told me some things that were very special between him and I. I of course made some promises to him.

You see, I really have no choice!

I love you Ron - and may God Bless us all!

Thanks TJ - I'm now crying like a baby...

Next time - "You're going to do what?"

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I discovered a web site that I think is pretty cool... You can put together word art like the image found above. 

- TJ

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ironman Arizona - 2009

A journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step.

- TJ