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Preview: Bob Mitera - Tales from a Triathlon Lifestyle

Bob Mitera - Tales from a Triathlon Lifestyle

Living Performance Enhancing Drug FREE since birth!

Updated: 2018-03-05T22:42:55.455-10:00


Shoulder-ing More Training


This week was one of my best weeks yet.

I do have some bad news. My shoulder (while being "ahead of schedule") is still not 100%. I swam 2,050 on Tuesday. I thought it was fine. Wishful thinking. On Wednesday I could feel my shoulder aching and moving a little as I swam 1,000. Nuts. I'll give it another two weeks and go back to kicking in the pool.

The good news is that my cycling and more importantly running will get more time. I am keeping all of the heart rates down in true "Mark Allen zones". The good news is that I am able to ride at my FTP and still be in the right heart rate zone.

Lastly, I am doing an "extreme home makeover" on my diet. I'm going radical. No, I'm not on Atkins or South Beach. I'm working with a USOC nutritionist who I am friends with. I'll keep you posted as to the results. If it works out as planned, we should see the difference in April.

Time to ice up the shoulder after workout.

A Public Appearance & I am Asked to Talk


“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.” - Bob Hope

I have been teaching Spinning and indoor cycling classes for 11 years. I have been coaching athletes since 2001 back when I knew everything there was to know about how to have a great Ironman experience. (tongue firmly in my cheek) The thing that really gets me moving is motivating others. I love it.

One of the people I encouraged to try new things was a woman named Mary Beth (MB) Sammons. She was kind of nervous about going to spinning. Didn't know much about cycling (indoor or outdoor) and like a lot of people is extremely busy in life. In one of my classes she had one of those "break through" moments. Little did I know (but actually could have guessed) that my friend Andrew (also an instructor) was encouraging MB as well. MB got the idea for a book about people helping others and making a difference in the world. One of those people she selected is me.

I'm honored to be in the book. When we started to work on the ALS spin-a-thon (now called "Cycle for ALS") it was because my friends and I felt compelled to do something where so many had done nothing. My coaching philosophy is the same. Many coaches will train you, but they fail to give you critical information to have a good experience and mentally enjoy the fruits of your labor regardless of outcome. This may be the reason I like working with "Biggest Loser" type athletes a great deal. Once you get past all the unique challenges they face you talk about the joy of being in the race. I think that gets lost in the top age group level of racing. What a terrible shame.

Tomorrow at 3:30 pm at the Oak Brook Barnes & Noble store you can meet MB and I and we will talk a little about what we learned and how it can help you in your pursuit of triathlon, business and personal excellence.

I hope you can enjoy it with us.

Home From Kona


Sorry to be away so long. Lots has been happening. Marshaling, a new day job, building a website, starting Kokua Multisports, LLC (legal and accounting stuff), a bike crash. As we joke at home, "other than that, nothing is really happening".

Kona was a great learning experience as always. Nothing like seeing the world's fittest people up close and in person to get a feel for what is happening in triathlon, cycling and running. This year I would add swimming as well.

I won't be giving you the "dish" on what happened behind the scenes as that needs to remain behind the scenes. 2009 brought about the explosion of Facebook, Twitter and rules for those closely involved with events like Ironman and USA Triathlon. I respect that. I hope you understand. We can still talk about rules and happenings in our sport; I just cannot address specifics about races.

The most important thing I saw in Kona was the second confirmation that you CAN race hard and clean at the front of any field if the athletes choose to. I am happy to report I saw a lot of clean racing and sportsmanship.

More later...

Bike Crash & Moving to


Hi folks!

I'm moving the blog since I started my coaching business officially and I'm no longer sponsored by Polar.

I had a bike wreck last night.

I had just arrived at intervals and was holding the right side of the road soft pedaling in order to let the peleton pass me. Then a guy who has only been out there a few times tries to cut me off and his inability to be aware of where his body was overlaps my rear wheel as he is moving left to right. I never had a chance to reach for the brakes. He slammed into me making a strong move right when he would have been clear of me in tenths of a second. I was forced into the curb and then dragged down to the tarmac as he started to go down. He didn't.

I'm airborne. I land on my left shoulder. Nothing broken but I cannot support weight with my arm at all. So my muskie fishing trip with my brother is out, so is most training and Sunday's race but back to the crash. I'm sliding on the ground and the first of the two cyclists to hit me lands on me. Luckily for me (and her) it was Kai. She ways about 115 lbs. soaking wet. She was missing a little skin from after she slid off of me and actually finished the workout. The bikes are now caught up and the chain rings stab me fairly well on my calf. and lower leg. Looks like a 8" tall person with a knife attacked my legs. I have no skin on my knuckles of my right hand.

As I am watching bikes fly over me I think, "Well at least it wasn't too bad and nobody hit me." Just then my friend Tom literally rides up my inner thigh. 1" right and I'm in a different section of the church choir. Tom does his best Superman impersonation and lands flat on his back. (Ow!)

My Lynskey R420... dented (from what I'm told) - it is Ti so looks like my frame will make a trip to Tennessee for a looksee. My fork (Alpha Q) is so shattered that we would need a broom and dust pan to get it all off the road. Chris King headset... blew apart.

I will talk with coach today but my plan is for indoor cycling on the trainer and a lot of walking. I'm thankful that one bad rider didn't hurt Tom, Kai or me worse. Bikes can be replaced. Mine took the worst of all of them. Pictures on Saturday.

I'm Moving! Announcing Kokua Multisports!


Today as the state of Hawaii hits it's 50th year of statehood, I would like to announce the arrival of a new multisport coaching business: Kokua Multisports, LLC! I'll announce our new website here and post a link once it is complete.Hawaii - History, Feelings, RespectThe history of Hawaii is interesting. After King Kamehameha the Great conquered and united the islands in 1810, the kingdom was overthrown when a group of American businessmen forced Queen Liluokalani to abdicate while U.S. Marines came ashore in 1893. Hawaii was considered a republic until it became a U.S. territory in 1898. "This newfangled idea of celebrating statehood shows that people don't understand Hawaii's history, or if they do understand, then they're celebrating a lie, a theft, that essentially stole a people's right to self-determination," said Poka Laenui, a Hawaiian and attorney who has worked for independence for 30 years. **Chicago Tribune, 8/21/09, Mark NiesseI have several native Hawaiian friends who call me 'ohana' (family.) This I consider a deep honor. We became friends because I took the time to show respect to several Hawaiian cultural traditions and halted an ignorant tourist from doing some disrespectful things. Getting stopped by a very large Hawaiian group can be intimidating - until they start high fiving you and shaking your hand or hugging you. I visit these friends every time I am fortunate enough to be "on island". Hawaii just feels like home to me. I have always felt comfortable there. Giving my business a Hawaiian "flavor" is an attempt to say "Mahalo" (thank you) to my friends in Hawaii as well as those in triathlon who helped me with no reason to help me. I have tried to pass that on to my clients in the past, as I have been coaching since 2001. It is about the experience. Your individual journey. This respect for Hawaiian culture and the kokua I have received from my ohana is the reason behind the name of my organization. Kokua means "help" in Hawaiian. Kokua Multisports means "help multisports" or "multisports help" - translated literally. This is the premise of what I do in relation to training athletes; anyone can put together a training plan - but does it PREPARE you for your EXPERIENCE? These are the difference makers in coaching: service, contact, growth (in all aspects of life and not just physical), and insightful knowledge - not necessarily all about power, splits and heart rate. Philosophy & Adult Learning TheoryMy philosophy is to work with each athlete as an individual. I am a student of John Wooden (legendary UCLA Men's Basketball coach) and Anthony Robbins. My expectations of each person are individualized based on their abilities and dreams. If an athlete of mine "loses" but has significant learning and growth experience - that is a win. If they win, but fail to perform at their best - that is a "loss" or more aptly a lost opportunity for growth.What differentiates me is my certification in adult learning theory and experience teaching adults in complex technology projects as well as various technologies. I have taught for several years, and about 1,000 "adults". I'm not saying I know it all, but I have seen a lot and have worked with many personalities.Coaching Experience, Rules and Anti-DopingI have coached the Northwestern University Cycling Team (before they had a triathlon team) and helped several racers (both male and female) achieve CAT 2 status. I have coached several (four) of the national champion U.S. Naval Academy Triathlon Team, including Tommy Brown who raced pro for a year (and will again) after his commitment to the U.S. Navy is complete. 100% of the athletes following my plans have finished their Ironman races. 100% of my athletes who have competed in Kona have PR'd in Hawaii. I admit the sample is small - four athletes - but you have to start somewhere and 4 of 4 is pretty darn good. One of my athletes won the Duathlon National Championship in his a[...]

Past, Present & Future


2009 was set on fire in February when layoffs affected me personally. I'm already anxiously awaiting New Year's Eve. Since "tomorrow is promised to nobody" how do I live the next four and a half months? Here is what is happening.

I am looking for a masters swimming team to settle into. Same for a gym. It may be a YMCA or a private club. The "where" depends on if I get a full time job or create a full time job.

Get busy livin'! I am finishing up some things that I will announce here as soon as I get the go ahead from some folks I am talking with. New site! This blog and an expanded web site will be online soon. Most importantly, many of my athletes are approaching major milestones. For some, it is a 50 pound weight loss or a first triathlon/5 km and for others, a first Ironman. Regardless of which end of the spectrum, I have found some real enjoyment coaching both types of athlete this year.

Go get 'em!

What is a Triathlete?


A triathlete can be anyone. Large or small. "Rich" or poor. Like Ironman's mantra, "Anything is possible"; if you believe you are a triathlete, then you are. First, the ugly. I know a lot of bloggers who have had Internet "stalkers" and wild negative comments. As great as it is to blog and express opinions in our personal blogs - there are mean people in the world. It is a fact of life. I've started a policy on this blog that unless I can see a first and last name with a working email - I will no longer publish comments from those people and I am in the process of rejecting those comments throughout the history of my blog. Same with some of the forums on the Internet. Some forums have good information. According to how they read forums are full of 9 hour Ironman times and pros. Not really... but they are loaded with people who think numbers mean things. To quote Jack Welch, "We often measure everything and understand nothing." Negativity along with mean and crazy people do have Internet access too. Ask anyone with a blog older than two days and they can tell you stories. I was telling one of my athletes (who is going through a hard time personally) that negative people are everywhere. If you have never trained for an Ironman, you have heard comments like these from everyone - including triathletes: a) "I don't even like driving 26 miles let alone run 26 miles"b) "I won't walk 2.4 miles and you're going to swim it"c) "How long do you have? A week?"d) "Do you get a motorcycle for the bike?"e) "How long is the marathon portion of the race?"f) **My favorites** "You are crazy", "You're a f**king lunatic", "You're insane", "You're an idiot" - get ready for all of these once a day minimumOn to the positive...Through triathlon, I have had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people from every walk of life. I have had the opportunity to inspire people to do things in their life. Even more so, I have been inspired to do things in my own life by Bill Bell, Bob McKeague, Bob Scott, Madonna Buder, Rudy Garcia-Toloson, Jon Blais, Gordo Bryn, Dave Scott, Natasha Badmann, Mark Allen, Cherie Gruenfeld, Scott Rigsby, and many others.Everyone of these spectacular people make experiences with the crazies and negative people worth it.Hearing Bill Bell say that at 87 he still does sprint triathlons, "for the chicks and beer". Bob McKeague saying, "Boy you guys are too fast for me" right after he held 30 mph on a bike sprint... at 84 years young. Watching 79 year old Bob Scott do 10 x hill repeats in Warrenville when the high school cross country runners are puking after five. Having your bike blessed by Sister Madonna Buder at USAT Nationals "because that doesn't look like the bike you had last year". I'll take any blessing I can get! Running with Natasha Badmann in 2001 St. Croix on her second loop of the run (my first loop) and having repeated examples of good sportsmanship by her and me and having her turn to me and say in her accent, "Go, fight strong the whole run!" Gordo Bryn answering training questions when we have never met in person and I have not paid him for his advice. (One day Gordo... I hope to repay your kokua. Mahalo nui loa brother.) Cherie Gruenfeld just being Cherie. Scott Rigsby joking about taking BOTH LEGS OFF and putting them in the overhead compartment of a plane. Last, but not least, sitting with Jon Blais and his parents and learning about ALS at the medical tent in Kona at 2:05 AM on Sunday. A year later, spitting in the face of ALS as the end drew near for Jon but laughing together anyway. The difficulty of that personally is high as the moon. Miss talking to you Jon. I still hear your voice brother.If you aren't inspired by that... well, perhaps nobody can help you. If you are a triathlete, just hearing some of that probably got your blood boiling and your own mind thinking of your ow[...]

Education about the Rules of Triathlon: How do we make our sport better?


Hi folks! Long time no talk. My apologies for being missing in action.I'm all ears. I've offered to speak to coaches and clubs for free. A USAT CAT 3 marshal with WTC CAT 1 experience. Only one coach had me talk to his athletes. One club had me talk to their members. Of all of those folks... only ONE male in his 30s got any penalties this year. (He got two and really didn't care. I get the feeling like he will race Ironman Wisconsin the same way.) It isn't just knowing what the rule is. It is also knowing how to act. Do you ask the official? Do you talk to race management? How do you avoid the penalty? How do you enjoy the race more? How do you be more competitive legally? This past weekend I was a marshal at a local, highly competitive, sprint triathlon. The race director made some improvements in the race format over last year. This was a welcome site and significantly improved the race experience for everyone: spectators, athletes, officials and volunteers. The issue was really how little the athletes knew of the rules. In my opinion, coaches must educate their athletes about the rules. Triathlon is a very young sport. Can you imagine bringing your children to soccer (football), American football, Little League or any other sport and the coaches only training the kids physically? This is what I feel most personal trainers, coaches and coaching services need to apply more time to.I coach several women (in particular) who are outstanding cyclists. They "chick" guys all the time. They need to know the rules about passing and being passed in order to stay out of the nasty racing which usually accompanies faster ladies - not from the gals, but the egos of the men who refuse to allow a more fit woman to pass them for very long. These ladies know how to stay out of the mess the guys and peletons can create, but more importantly they aren't wasting energy on the back and forth. They just see legs and race numbers and do their thing. They think on their feet with their heart rate in the 150+ range. Sunday we wrote 22 penalties for iPods, mobile phones and one radio. Not only is this unsafe for the athlete and the other racers, but it is a competitive advantage to blast music and leave the "hurt box" mentally. This has been proven in a scientific study. The other "big" penalty was athletes riding on the left longer than 15 seconds without passing anyone. When I say we were being liberal about position fouls... with two full lanes - I was only calling position if they were on the left and not passing. Very generous, but the road was a closed course with 2,300 people on it. I race too after all. So how do we improve the race experience? 1) We can demand USAT coaches understand the rules and take an exam on some of the "biggies". 1a) We can boycott races that are notorious for drafting, large fields, low marshals and generally crappy race management.2) We can force pre-race talks where all athletes must sit through a 20 minute rules talk at check in for experienced racers and a 1 hour rules talk for first year racers.3) Race Directors can include the "biggies" of rules in race schwag packets.4) Experienced racers need to teach the newer racers. This is how I learned.5) Increase time between waves.6) Shrink race fields. 7) Have two races.Governing Bodies at WarI don't know what caused the rift(s). I don't care. What I do care about is fair, clean racing in all divisions of the race. Meaning, rules get enforced by people who will call what they see. A unified governing body would help, but it isn't necessarily a must have. Look at boxing. Oh... maybe a bad example or perhaps a cautionary tale?Last year in Kona and at several races this year I was impressed at some of the very hard decisions that race management needed to make. They made the right calls in every case [...]

Timing the Attack


The Thursday night ride has grown significantly over the last three years. What was a small group of 20-30 triathletes and a handful of road cyclists is now 65 to 85 athletes in about a 50:50 mix.

Last night was fun! A few of the pro cyclists were out for a few of the "easy" laps. Once they peeled off it was "game on" for the rest of us. I like to sit about 2/3 of the way back and blast past the group as a whole. Sometimes I get caught, other times I'm able to stay away. Not unlike any break in the TdF.

The pace was picking up. Just before critical mass, I went. A full on attack of the group with a 100% effort for about a full 90 seconds. I didn't look back until I was nearly at the end (about 30 seconds later) and I still had a 200 yard gap. Success!

Once "complete" I finished the workout doing my own thing riding at 74% effort. This allows me to stay out of the bunch sprints when guys are failing.

Ride with the Pros - Tour of Elk Grove


Tomorrow the Tour of Elk Grove officially starts, but for amateur cyclists and triathletes it starts tonight at 6pm departing from Village CycleSport in Elk Grove.

Not an event, but an "easy ride" with the pro cyclists. Our intervals... pro cyclists easy ride.

Think you're a good rider? Come out and play tonight.

Two years ago the pro guys (who I was able to ride with on their "easy" ride - my heart rate was in the 150s to their 130s) told me to "lead them out" as they were going to "work" this sprint. Wanting to contribute I went to the front and pegged my heart rate at 195 at 30 something mph for 1.2 miles. At the end of the interval one pro pulled next to me and instead of "winning" the sprint he sat up and started cheering me. "Good effort! Come on! Finish this one hard!" All while riding next to me. His teammate from Belgium pulled next to me and snapped a picture of us.

It was a humbling experience for sure. I did hang with them, but I was working (and on some intervals - drilling) the interval efforts and they were "aerobic" pace. Back at the shop, I got a handshake and a "well done mate" which is good enough for this amateur athlete right now.

Come out and be humbled.

A Little Help in the Community


I follow Lance Armstrong on Twitter. Lance posted a link to a guy struggling with his wife who has cancer. It was touching and sad but what I took out of it was the support of many people.

Take a read and drop him a positive note if you are moved to do so. I hope you are.

Triathlon Marshal Sees Sportsmanship and Legal Riding - Film at 10


Last weekend I was a marshal at a major regional triathlon. This race is highly competitive attracting some of age groups fastest people. What I'm not used to seeing is legal riding and sportsmanship.

I'm happy to report that the event director made some improvements in his race process. The race isn't a "huge brand" but he is headed that way. Now if he can only limit his field a little more or add more time between waves. He listened to the feedback of marshals, spectators and racers. I feel light headed.

We had a huge field and a lot of penalties. I wrote 43 penalties which is double what I would normally write for a field of this size. I think that everyone headed to Ironman Wisconsin or Kona from this region is really fit and determined. Nobody gave an inch and it caused some to get a penalty or two. 4 to 12 minutes depending on if it is one or two fouls.

I saw the usual: riding on the left for more than 15 seconds without passing, drafting (.5 lengths behind another rider to 2.5 lengths), forcing another rider over the center line, forcing a right side pass, outside assistance (pacing on the run and one guy who's family set up a personal aid station... on the bike), and the popular drafting off of official race vehicles. When I returned to transition I told the head marshal that I thought I had DQ'd about 15 guys on the road for repeated offenses. It turned out we only DQ'd four. I wrote two penalties for those four and two other marshals wrote two each as well. Those are the "cheaters" we all detest.

Happy to report that the coach who had me speak to the athletes they coach... only one penalty out of a large number of athletes. This coach had the most penalties at this race a year ago. The athletes known more for their drafting than anything else.

What I saw from several folks was encouraging. About 25 people said, "Thanks for being out there. You guys (marshals) made a difference." If I can help folks have a better race experience; that is why I marshal and coach. I saw a guy on the pointy end of the field stop to help a back of the pack friend fix a flat. "This is just a training day with a crowd." I saw another guy help another racer get up out of the sand after he tripped. A competitor make space for a guy on the bike rack. Chaos and anarchy I tell you!! No snarls.

Just racing.

USA Triathlon Coaching Certification Clinic: Lessons Learned


This past weekend I flew to Minneapolis, MN to attend the USAT Coaching Clinic. Pending my exam and a CPR re-certification, I will be officially a coach (with eight years of triathlon coaching experience). I have been coaching successfully, but my success has been based on objective feedback, consistency with athletes and their drive/ability. I feel that the certification has helped me to more fully understand the coach/athlete relationship and to understand more of the why behind what coaches prescribe. The why is really the difference in coaches; after that I would say communication. Based on what I learned, I have a new perspective on some coaches and their methods.The clinic wasn't ground breaking for me in knowledge except in two areas: nutrition and running form. Thursday started with an extra session with Bob Seebohar. Bob is the USOC nutritionist who was with the triathlon team in Beijing. I have worked with Bob in the past as a client when I was really fit. After talking with him for about five minutes I realized one thing, I was doing everything 180 degrees from correct nutritionally. My Florida 70.3... the things I wrote off to neck and fitness issues? Nope, nutrition and heat acclimatization mostly. One of the things I didn't blog about was the intense swelling in my hands during the race. It was so bad that for four days after the race I couldn't get my wedding ring on and I was pouring salt on everything I ate (uncharacteristic for me). Anyone know? Bueller? Anyone? Hyponatremia. The salt tablets I was using (a popular brand) are actually LOW in sodium. Interesting. I bought the marketing and the peer pressure to use this product. I will be changing salt tablets for hot races effective immediately. I have changed my eating effective last Thursday. Since the change is just a shift of nutrients and not a "diet" of any kind, success is just a matter of time.The second big "mistake" was not doing enough heat workouts early enough. In 2006, I started six weeks before the race. This year two weeks. 14 days is normally about right EXCEPT when you live in a cold climate. Our year has been exceptionally cold and judging from my results, I should have started earlier. Though my fitness wasn't what I would call good, it wasn't poor either; which is what I would call my race result.The clinic ended with Bobby McGee. Arguably, the world's best endurance running coach. Looking at my run pictures from races when I was running well versus today - simply put, oh my. Bobby reminded me of what I was doing when I was more "successful" (using that term rather loosely). Since working with Bobby a little bit, I can FEEL the difference in my running already. Last night, I was working 1:1 with an Ironman athlete of mine on his running form. We started working on efficiency and form immediately. I will be contacting Bobby to set up sessions for my athletes as well as me. Lastly, I figured out that I haven't been very "coachable". That changed yesterday. More about that another day.I used to buy the "I don't need a certification" from some pro athletes turned coaches. I don't anymore. In the end, I feel like I am growing again in the sport. That hasn't happened since 2003. I am renewed.PS: I know it is Tour de France time when I get text messages from my wife saying things like "THOR!" I hope you are enjoying the race. I think this year has been really great thus far.[...]

Improving Triathlon: Talk, Social Networking, Blog, Vote with Your Wallet


Money and word of mouth can make or break businesses.  The average person knows ~250 people according to recent case studies.  You only need to look to Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and email for the spread of information in the blink of an eye.  Heck, I am getting the latest Tour de France stage weather and wind information on my iPhone.  You only need to search United Airlines and guitars on You Tube for a great example of how we can affect a company.

The same should happen with races.

On a recent ride the folks I was with were complaining about a large regional race.  The race is overcrowded, the race director doesn't have enough race marshals which makes drafting, blocking and safety all an issue and lastly expensive.  When I asked why they do the race the response was simply, "Gosh, I don't really know.  That race sucks."  

A little activism goes a long way, but before you start picketing, talk to the race director.  Most RDs don't set out to fail or do a bad job.  They may take your feedback as constructive if you don't attack the RD with your comments.  Some RDs and race boards really value feedback.  There are some races I love to do because the feedback I gave was actually implemented successfully.  Sadly, many triathletes launch into attack mode instead of explaining what they experienced as the end user of the RDs product.

If nothing is done...

Blog about it.  Talk about it at masters swimming, the long ride or the track workout.  Discourage folks from going to that race based on your experience.  Call and write USA Triathlon.  Most importantly - don't sign up for the race until it changes.

Money talks.

Silent Start to Thursday Night Intervals


Wake services are tough.  They are a whole lot tougher when they guy in the wake is a 28 year old friend who died tragically.  Thursday afternoon was a parade of cycling and triathlon folks mixed with family.  The family was thankful for the support of their customers, employees, bike companies, suppliers and competition.  

Thursday night intervals had a different tone.  Those of us who have been with Village for a long time took control of the group last night before the ride.  We chose to honor Jason and his family by observing a cycling tradition of the silent lap.

We rode out to the shop as one group to the interval grounds.  Once there we formed a large group of 85 riders and for two laps nobody said a word.  It was a peaceful ride.  All you could hear was the buzz of various groupos.  Many of the folks went on to say it was very therapeutic.

A fitting salute to a fallen soul.

Tonight's Village CycleSport Thursday Intervals


A lot of guys will be at the wake service from 3:30 until 5 or 5:15 pm today.  

In honor of Jason and Tour de France tradition, we will assemble at 6 pm in front of the store.  Anyone wishing to say a few words will be allowed to do so and then ride the first two laps slowly and together as one group before we start intervals tonight.

Today Will be a Tough Day


Jason M. Eberhardt:

Visitation will be from 3 to 9 p.m. Thursday, at the funeral home, 450 W. Lake St. (¾ mile west of Bloomingdale/Roselle Road), Roselle. . He was the loving son of Joseph and Laurie; dear brother of Bobby and Joe (Melissa) Eberhardt; dear grandson of Shirley Eberhardt; loving boyfriend of Christine Gaza; and loving uncle of Alyson and Abigail Eberhardt. 

For information, 630-889-1700.

Cars Don't Kill Cyclists People Kill Cyclists


A must read if you ride. As a cyclist who obeys traffic laws even though it isn't what the "cool kids" are doing and as a guy hit by a drunk person I want to pass this along. Nothing will make you ride safer than after you've been hit by an SUV. It hurts a lot. Thanks to Molly for sharing. This is really well written and deserves to be shared in my opinion. Since you are reading MY BLOG here you go.

Safe riding everyone.

Job Offers (Finally)


After being unemployed since Friday, February 13th of this year I have my first job offer(s). This after applying to at least 3,500 jobs from Hong Kong to Sydney to Argentina to Western Europe, Mexico, all the provinces of Canada and every one of the 50 United States. I have 932 "don't call us, we'll call you" letters; 95 of which are from WellPoint my former employer who assured me that I would be "considered for all open job needs first" before internal transfers. At least 932 companies thought enough to send a "no thanks" letter, over 2/3rds didn't even bother a courtesy of a "no thanks". So many companies thirst for good people and there are a lot out there, I think that the application process is what is killing the effort.

Competition in the job market remains insanely tough. Companies are very picky. Just last week I was a match for a job on 11 of 12 items. The 12th I had done, but about five years ago which got me bounced from consideration. Just Monday I was at a job fair where I stood in line to talk to Westinghouse for 90 minutes. Former Motorola project managers and engineers still litter the job market of Chicago. It makes me wonder how long Motorola has as a former once great organization. The property they sit on in Schaumburg, IL is worth a fortune alone.

My (in)human resources friends want to know why I scoff at the notion of HR people. I know a few who are alright, but as a whole I'm not impressed. Sorry, its kinda like lawyers. I know some great lawyers, but many ambulance chasers and politicians who ruin their name. Same can be said for my expertise as a project manager. For every good PM, there are 40 who couldn't manage their way out of a bright room with directions, a map and a compass. It all depends on the people.

So... decision time.

Offer one: a NYC and London based consulting company who is very close to Microsoft. I really like everyone I've met at this firm. Work would be out of the Chicago office. Offer is solid.

Offer two: an LA based media/Internet company who is a household word. Offer is cool for sure, but I'd have to move to LA.

Offer three: a Chicago based retail store and drug supplier. Not sure if they will get it together in time to compete but at least they actually liked me. That is very good.

Off to run in the heat and think about the future.

Happy: Coming All the Way Back and Sad the Loss of a Son


OK... sad first.

28 year old, Jason Eberhardt passed away in a horrible accident on Saturday. Jason was the manager of the Village CycleSport Elk Grove store for the last few years and is the son of one of the owners Joe Eberhardt. Jason was working on his car when the jack slipped or failed and the car came down on him. The irony of his death is when Marc Fidrich died the same way a few months ago, we talked about how Jason was afraid that the same death could happen to him. Irony sucks sometimes.

As several of us discussed last night, when God calls you it doesn't matter how young you are or who you are your time is up. We may not understand it here on Earth, but I have faith that we all will understand it one day. The way I see it you have a choice. A) Become a bitter, mean person for your loss; or B) Open your heart and choose to be greater for knowing someone who passed away before you. It might sound corny, but it is my blog and I believe that life should be celebrated. There are too many mean, negative people in this world. Some read this blog. I can only hope some of this gets through their thick skulls one day.

I've known Jason since he was 15 and I first waddled into Village CycleSport. In the Village family, nobody laughed at me, then an obese 5'8" balding guy saying he wanted to "do triathlons and maybe Ironman one day". I was introduced to the greats like Tony Kowalcyzk, Dave Poulin and invited to workout with the guys. They supported me and believed in me all the way. Even through 24 months of injuries and me packing on some extra weight - Village has still supported me. I feel renewed when I visit the shop and try that much harder because I don't want to let them down any longer. I will be back and competing at a high level one day soon and Village will be a primary reason. I'm not the only one the Village family has helped. There are dozens of athletes who owe Village a great deal. That's why I use the phrase "Village family".

A family supports you no matter what. You celebrate the good times and endure the bad times together.

Speaking of enduring the bad times, congratulations to Marit for her outstanding first Ironman in Idaho (known as "spudman" in this house).

Marit, crashed badly about 18 months ago and nearly ended her normal life let alone racing. Yesterday, Marit crushed Ironman CdA in a 10:47 and change in her first Ironman and second marathon where she finished... second (by only 45 seconds)! All her hard work and emotion pouring into this race was just amazing to watch online. I only wish we could have been there live.

Marit is so much more than an athlete. Both she and her husband Nate are smart, fun people and I am so happy for them I could jump over the house. Dean, Russ, Lorrie and I visited Marit in the hospital after her accident twice. What is interesting... Marit and Lorrie may be related on Lorrie's father's side of the family. The Norge connection. Marit reminds me a lot of my sister-in-law Megan in many ways.

One sad moment this weekend - tempered only with the consolation that Jason is with God now.
One happy moment this weekend - so high we can reach the heavens. Well done Marit (and Nate) - every Ironman spouse knows that this journey isn't a solo one.

A Weekend of Workouts: Good Luck to Those Racing


Ahead is a lot of conditioning for me. I enjoy the time in the saddle and in the pool. Due to job concerns, I haven't done as much as I should but everyone handles extreme stress differently. Since starting back on my program and improving my diet (or switching my diet) I'm feeling more like myself. As we used to say after hard workouts in age group swimming, "Let's call it another day." Meaning, I did all I could today. Slept right. Ate right. Worked out. Bring on tomorrow.

As I said to my friend John today in the pool, "It's on." I find that trying to motivate him (and a few others) is motivating me. I actually get a "bump" from it mentally.

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend. Safe, fun and fast racing to you all.

We Have a Heading


"Your work is to discover your work, and then with all your heart, to give yourself to it." - BuddhaI'm a planner, plain and simple. I need a direction. A heading if you will. Without it, I am like a ship without sails nor anchor - adrift at sea going no where. I need that compass from Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean; the one that points to that which you want most.If I've learned anything in this life it is that nobody should count on anyone else for assistance. That may sound jaded but hear me out. What I really mean is that each person must know what they are going after and then pursue it like a big cat on the African plain. When it comes to work most people are miserable at their job because it is not their passion. So I am combining mine, project management and fitness. I'm from a "pull yourself up from your own bootstraps" kind of family, so this move comes from the, "Get busy livin' or get busy dying" view of the world; a la Shawshank Redemption.In a few days I will release a new website. The coaching business is somewhere I'm headed, ultimately, as a full time business/occupation. Being a coach for adult athletes is one thing that I've had some reasonable success with and something I really enjoy. Why not do it full time and work with a health club as well? That is what I am pursuing. My skill as a project and program manager is solid, so let's apply it to fitness and see what heights I can hit with the folks who entrust their fitness to me. You won't see this announcement on, Slowtwitch, or even Ironmanlive. I doubt most of the big coaching groups won't even notice. One day soon, I hope you will. You'll be at a race and see people racing under my program and with my jersey on. The one thing they may notice is my statement which I borrow from Lou Holtz, "Actually, all I ever wanted to be was the best in my field." That is pretty bold statement. There are a ton of great coaches out there. I'm not saying I want to be "the best", but I certainly want to be in the debate and team picture. I know that I prepare my athletes for the experience better than most coaches judging by what I hear from clients who have come from other coaches to me. This comes from my project management background as well as my SCUBA training. (Yes, really.) In the meantime, I'll do some project management work in order to not lose our home. Ultimately, I'll be that full time coach. Who knows, if I continue to be unemployed, I may just be able to finish all of my certifications and just go straight into coaching. USAT is in July. USAC is going on now. ASCA is going on now. Watch for my workout programs on Training tell my athletes to "forget past times" and "predictors of performance" because they are now a different athlete once I take over their training. It is kind of the scientific method applied to training. "Had I known x, I would have done y." So when it comes to future races no one can predict to what heights you can soar, even you will not know until you spread your wings and try. The race day experience is a whole new world under "new management". A European philosopher once said, "Every time you step into a river, you step into a new river." Meaning you have more information, more feedback on the current, tempeture of the water, depth, the river bed material, animal life, etc.. Racing is a bit like that too. You may have been in that same "river" but each experience is a little di[...]

A Weekend of Triathlon: Sportsmanship, Hard Racing, and Fun


This weekend I was a race marshal at two USAT races. One was a US National Championship qualifier and the other was a sprint with some strong competition trying to get to the US Sprint Championship. Triathlon coaches need to do a better job teaching rules and sportsmanship is my premise for much of this blog entry today. Friday night we made into central Wisconsin very quickly. Traffic wasn't that bad for some odd reason. We had three pre-race briefings to give. I know that a lot of people think these are a waste of time, however, if you get a very detailed "view" of the race course in the briefing I think it is a great thing. I know that as a marshal I knew what locations on the course would be tough and which ones would be dangerous. Missing from the race briefings were all of the IL and IN members of Team in Training. Not good.Saturday we awoke to light rain. I put on the "magic rain cape" and by the time the bike started the rain had stopped. By the end of the run it was sunny and warm. 85% of the penalties were people who did not attend the pre-race briefing and the majority of those were Team in Training. We had one guy unbuckle his aero-helmet on the bike (an instant DQ - not called by me). This guy was 2nd in his age group and wanted to protest the DQ. Unfortunately for him, two other refs (Stew and I) got him for drafting and blocking as well. Three penalties is a DQ also. He gave up his protest when he learned that all four officials had penalized him for something. That is actually really hard to do but this guy got it. He'll have to try and qualify for nationals at another race. Most of the penalties called on Saturday that I recorded were just silly fouls. Most racers didn't know the rules. X equals a penalty. Y does not. Most racers didn't know that no CPSC sticker in the helmet may mean that your helmet is not legal in US racing, and that this is a safety concern. This year all USAT officials should know what to look for. Unfortunately, a friend found one official who didn't know what to tell her in time before a race about a year or two ago. That means that YOU as a racer should know OR YOUR COACH should know and inform you. If the average coach is getting paid $240 to $360 a month... you better know the rules and advise your clients in my opinion. Let's take that one step further. Do you know how to use the rules to your advantage? I'm not just talking about "pimping" another racer when the marshal is next to you and you accelerate at the last moment and the other guy or gal gets a penalty. Do you know what do to when there are two lanes of slower traffic and you need to pass? Do you know how many seconds you can stay in the draft zone as an amateur at a USAT race? WTC race? Do you think that might help you? Is your coach reviewing this with you as one of the pre-race details? I do. The most embarrassing thing from Saturday was for Team in Training. TNT is a great cause and I have worked and participated in their events. Saturday was not a day that they will look on fondly. The TNT people were 86% of all the penalties called Saturday and the group that blew off the pre-race talk. Just before the finish, with children and other spectators looking on, they handed out cans of beer for a "photo op" at the finish line. Not until race management had a talk with them did this stop. The head ref, and very tactful and nice Lucy, had a conversation with t[...]

Weekend of Racing


Good luck, safe and legal racing to everyone this weekend. This is a HUGE weekend around the country for races. My thoughts are with you all for PRs and great racing.

If you are training this weekend, keep on keeping on.

See you Monday.