Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It’s that time again…

...another year ends and a new one begins.

This is also the time of the year for lists…

Christmas lists…New Years Resolutions…The “10 Worst dressed Celeb’s of ‘08”…“Top 10 reasons not to trust your teenagers”…“Why you should let me keep my change and stop stink eyeing’ me Starbuck’s dude…” Ok…maybe that is just on my list :)

I started to do a list of all of the Best and the Worst VMS Moments and it really was hard. Every time I started, all I could come up with was Tony’s green Speedo :) I tried over and over to clear my mind but the Speedo just kept flashing back to me…No Freddy that does not make me gay…not that there is anything wrong with that…the gay part that is…the Speedo – that thing is JUST WRONG :)

So – this year’s Worst of list has only one entry

For the Retro Tri suit gone bad...the Big Greek God and Triathlete Extraordinaire in the Meanie Green Speedo...Tony “another spring salad please” Maniatis.


The Best of list – wow - there are so many.

How about some background first…

Training – in terms of sheer volume…we traveled a LONG WAY using only human power.

The shaved leg tough guys account for the majority of the cycling miles, logging between 8000 miles-10,000 miles….EACH!!!! REALLY – for the full year these 4 guys and only 4 of them totaled close to 35,000 miles in 2000 hours of riding. For the Ironbutz – we are all over the place in bike miles from 1,000 miles up to 7,500 and up to 750 training hours for the year – OUCH!!! That’s a LOT – no wonder my butt is sore – leave that alone Freddy :)

For running miles – again – all over the place but most of the long distance people were between 500 and 650 miles for the year per person.

In the pool – around 300,000 yards total per person...that's some black line time.

With all of this training – we had to accomplish something…

Let’s start with the shaved leg tough guys.

Curtis Long, Jeff Kopp, Karel Sumbal, Jim Wadsworth, James Sweeny (part time) and new additions – Clint Bridier, Will Larson.

They raced over 50 races and amassed some fantastic results. From Crits to Road Races to Time Trials – the guys were ON this season. There were so many high points to the season but just to name a few:

The double wins for Curtis in his home town race in one day…


Jeff TT’s domination in SC…


Karel with solid finishes in top notch races including US 100K Classic

FL_State_RR (57)

Jim qualifying to Nationals for next year…you guys make it fun to crunch the numbers!!! Judging by the way the blue lines are streaking upward the last month - next year will be even better – I can hardly wait!!!

How about the Patchouli Party?

Sean Crichton hit every one of his goals in 08 and even managed to get married too :)


He had an awesome season and made it to Nationals in XTerra in October and will be focused on Worlds in 2009.

A new mountain biker has found his way onto the VMS roster and he is the 2nd truly sponsored athlete we have.


If this season (2 races) is any indication of where he will be in 2009 – I am geeked up to see what Josh will be able to do. He crushed his old man by 5 minutes on a two lap course where the total time is 1:10 – simply put – that is a significant a$$ kicking which I will not be able to match ever…He has focus and drive – look out for a breakthrough in 2009.

Speaking of parties – what about the Pool?

In the Under 6 rankings of the Snorkel club – C-bone scared Saswata away and he was a no show at the International Atlantic Beach Pan Pacific Invitation swim meet – by default – the Bone wins and did a Phelps like celebration.

His older brother and master tormentor made it to a few more practices this year and what do you know – he got better :)


In all seriousness - he actually got good – 5:24 in the 500 free for his 1st year at distance is good – I think he will be under 5:00 next year – imagine what he could do if he tried :)

I think that’s it…Oh yeah – I almost forgot...

The Tri Geeks and the Iron Buttz…

Out of all the groups, this one had more than their share of PR’s and Podiums than anyone. We collectively raced Sprints, Olympics, Half’s, Full’s and some are even toying with the idea of an Ultra for 09 and 10.

The season began in Miami…

Miami_International_Tri_08_Mar 16

and ending in Clearwater – we had a GREAT YEAR!!!

There are too many highlights too list them all but here are my favorites for no particular reason:

Tony finishes in AZ – his first!!!

Ironman Arizona 2008 1304

Midget makes the Podium!!!


Saswata races to his ability!!!

hooray I am no longer the sinker

PC leaves it all on the course at Clearwater!!!


JC makes the Podium!!!


I could go on and on – Vann in Wisconsin, Brian’s broken nose Ironman swim and went on to finish, Joy running blind, Mayo et al’s progression to fantastic athletes, David Mariotti’s non-stop smile, Coach Paul dusts off the shoes and is back in the race (it was awesome to work with my high school mentor and hopefully give back some of guidance he gave us – mind grinders and vision – I will never unlearn those lessons), Lyndon’s rambling stumbling post finish conversation in Louisville after emptying the tank, Kevin Ellis finishes his 1st IM at IM Florida, Juan in Amelia Island, Aaron Novak 1st IM finish at IM Florida, Sween’s toughness for just finishing IMAZ when he literally could not walk at mile 3 - yes - there was 23 more to go – he is NAILS!!!

Speaking of nails – Francis finishing a 100+ mile training ride with a locked up back at mile 50. The dude just went to his happy place and made it home. I train more with Hercules than anyone else and he never shows real pain…this day he was inside out and I tried to call him a ride a bunch of times…he just kept saying no…he was right – I was wrong – he made it home and I am infinitely impressed – you are driven!!!

Herc Bike

Collective – the VMS team – all of you guys (and cheeka’s :)) are AWESOME!!!

Susan, Aaron, Rich and I are very happy to have the privilege to work with you!!!

What will next year bring for you?

Will you make a new start? A comeback ala Lance? Achieve better balance in your life?

I know what I want to do different and my board in constructed with visions for 09 and my goals are locked in the vault.

While I have been writing this entry in my head for a few weeks and I have been really looking forward to posting it – I have had family events, Germany trips, Christmas Parties, Work Parties, Dinner’s and training that have all conspired to prevent me from “starting” and subsequently finishing what I really wanted to do…the pause that this created was purposeful as is everything that we encounter.

At the time I didn’t understand why I couldn’t get to this but now I do…This pause allowed me to really “think” and to reflect on all that we have done…

WOW – we really did something!!!

We set goals, we believed they were possible, we trained to achieve them and we did it…we created our future.

Tonight, I finally have the time and I am "in a place" where I can write this…

The heavy scents of pine tree are balanced by an olive oil and oregano chicken that I cooked for dinner. The lights are easy on my eyes and the musical soundtrack to my thoughts is a new pick from my iTunes concierge – P. Loftis – the Avett Brothers and they are FANTASTIC!!!

I am relaxed...

I am rested...

I am conscious of this state...

I am content...


I am at peace with myself and all that is around me...

I am happy with what we have accomplished and...

I am happy with the future I am creating…

I hope the New Year brings you this Joy :)


Monday, December 22, 2008

Thank ya...Thank ya very MUCH!!!

Being that it is the off season and time to “play” around…I wondered…

What does it feel like to train like a Cyclist?

Just ride and lift…that’s what I wanted to do and it was really fun.

The experiment came to an end yesterday and I promise to NEVER do this again.

Hercules wanted to “run” the Jacksonville ½ Marathon and asked me if I wanted to “run” it with him.


It’s only 13.1 miles and he said we would try and go around 1:45 and I thought, sure, it's Christmas time and I would enjoy a nice easy run with my friend.

Then the smack talk started...I ran my mouth a little and then next thing you know…


Elvis is in the house.
(Actually people were calling us Elvi...we think that is plural for Elvis’s.)

We ran REALLY slowly – apparently we did not calculate just how hot the suits were or how hard it was to run in them (DNF as Elvis - no way)...

We finished in just under 2 hours.

In the process – we shook a lot of hands – posed for a BUNCH of pictures (even while we ran)


and made every little kid smile – it was awesome!!!

OH yeah and I will never do this again!!!

Elvis? No that part was great…can't wait for next time :)

Trying to run 13.1 miles after not doing as much as a ¼ mile in the last 5 weeks was REALLY stupid.

My lesson is learned, my next off season has to include a few little runs to stay in form or I better stay on the coach cuz I am SORE today!!!

Congrats to Peter, Saswata, Tony, Michael, JC, Joey, Sween, Tyler, Joy, Vann, Wilson and the rest of the crew who ran – Great Job!!!

That’s all for now…Elvis is back on the coach :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Guten Morgen - Greetings from Deutschland.

This is my annual trip to the “inverted spa”…

I eat horribly…(this is really the menu)


don’t sleep enough…


and work for way too many hours…



and engage in absolutely 0% fitness – really nothing.

On past trips, I have been able to fit in 1 swim or a quick run but this trip – nothing.

It’s dark when we go to work and dark when we leave, but it’s only once a year and our hosts are fantastic so it’s (as they say) “Not Zuper Bad” :)

It’s been a while so I need to catch up on a few results:


Congrats to all those who did the Outback ½ Marathon on Thanksgiving. I would name everyone but the list is really too long. A special congrats to the Sinker (aka Dr. Saswata) for putting together a fantastic race from beginning to end…1:25 and change is a recent PR for him and he finished 5th in his AG – way to go. JC crushed it as usual with another top finish – way to go!!!

JC and Joy also raced in Savannah last weekend and had fantastic times and finishes – way to ladies!!!

The shaved legged tough guys are racing in the woods this time of year and Curtis (2nd), Clint, Karel (2nd) and Josh (4th) all had great results recently.




Look for more patchouli and podiums this weekend in Ocala.

What’s new?

This last year I have really begun to embrace the Chris Lieto philosophy of “putting it out there.” Maybe it’s the way he said it, but the idea of being accountable really appeals to me.


I have read and heard a lot lately about the mind being the single biggest limiter of performance and to me it really makes sense (Matt Fitzgerald – Brain Training for Runners).

When you combine these two concepts, I think you really have something. You put it out there, you believe it’s possible and you achieve those results.

Thirty years ago I was exposed to visualization techniques for the 1st time. Our swim team would lay on the pool deck prior to practice and our Coach (Paul Rudzitis) would have us picture our races. Our start, our stroke and our finish – all of these we imagined to be perfect. He would even visualize our times. We believed in it and it worked – back then and it still does now.

I used this recently and practiced this during all of my longer runs for Florida and I actually could see my finish time and I began to believe it was possible. I would actually imagine my watch reading the splits with different distances to finish. I believed so much that I could literally see the clock. I repeated this image over and over and the result and in the end – I was 2 minutes off…REALLY – 2 minutes.

You probably don’t need to put it out there (ala Lieto) in order to accomplish this but I really do think it helps. You say you can do it – you believe you can do it – you tell someone (or everyone) and then you are accountable.

Where is all this going?

Introducing the VMS Vault - here is your forum.


Starting today and for the rest of this year and next, we will have a Vault available for you. Send us your goal and we can lock it in the Vault so it’s out there and you will be locked in. If you prefer - we can put it in the safe deposit box and that box is only opened when you say.

Say you want a goal of Top 5 in your Age group at BFAST #1. Email us that and we will post it in the Vault for everyone to see – if you want it to be posted on a certain day (example 2 days before race) we will only post when you ask.

This is not a contest - you don’t pay taxes on it and there is no interest.

There are no withdrawals - this bank only takes deposits.

These goals are yours but by putting it out there – they can also be ours.

VMS Vault 1st Deposit: I want to end up in the Top 5 in Age Group in an Ironman Branded event in 2009 – SMB – 12_10_08

It’s out there...time for one more schnitzel and pommes – then it’s time to train.

Kia kaha

auf wiedersehen