Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Tattoo

When you do an Ironman....it's a rite of passage to get the tattoo.  It's a mark that other triathletes know.  When you're out.....people that have done it know what you've been though.  People that haven't done it, know that you've been through it....and people that don't know what it is will ask.

Yes....it's a little egotistical to get.  Yes....it's a little conceited.  But you know....I put in the work.  I finished one of the hardest endurance events that amateurs can sign up for.  I did what 1% of the world has done.......

The funny part to the story was that Annie knew I wanted the tattoo...and she was on board with it.  We had gone down to Austin for the Memorial Day weekend and I was with my B-I-L running errands.  We passed a tattoo shop (where my B-I-L had gotten some work done) and I asked him to pull in to talk to the artists and see how much, etc.  I took a picture of the sign and sent a text to Annie.
Me:  Be Back in a little bit
Annie:  Seriously???
Me:  Just kidding, stopped in to get pricing.  Not getting now.
Annie:  Why not?
Me:  I actually don't know why not.  Going to drop off the ice and get you to come look with me for placement and size.

So....We went back....got the sizing and the placement down and off the artist went.

The worst part was the circle of the M-Dot.  He couldn't stop so he said "be still or you're going to be here a lot longer"
All in all, it took about 45 minutes to do and I'm very pleased with the work.  My badge of honor is complete

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ironman Texas - Race Report

As I couldn't wait for Thursday morning, plus wanting to save some time, I loaded up the vehicle with most everything on Wednesday night.  Double checked everything before loading it.

We left McKinney around 8:15am and had a nice drive down.  It's a little over 3 and a half hours, which in Texas, is a "decent" drive.  There's not much between Dallas and Houston but farmland and small towns.  We've made the drive a few times so we knew what to expect.

After arrival at the Garden Inn - The Woodlands (which was a top notch hotel because of the staff and the facilities) and unloading everything, I went down to the Expo area to get my packet and meet up with my cousin Michael and his buddy from Chicago, Mike.  The packet pick-up is a whirlwind but ran like a well oiled machine.  Sign here, pick up here, gear there, get chip, and you're out.  With 2700 registered, they have to have it this way or it would be a nightmare.  Also...and I'll mention this again, the volunteers were excellent.

What are you doing today.....just an Ironman

We got some pretty cool merchandise just for signing up....including this backpack....

As Annie calls it....the most expensive backpack ever....

After messing around in the merchandise tent and walking around the expo, we parted ways and set a time to meet up for the Athlete Dinner.  The dinner was great, hosted and MC'd by Mike Reilly (the voice of Ironman).  Lots of good food, inspirational videos and words of encouragement.  After the dinner, and walking to the car, I met Chris McDonald, a pro triathlete.  That's what I love about the sport....the pros are accessible and down to earth.  They'll chat with you and treat you like an equal....

I don't know why I look drunk and fat....I'm neither in this pic

Friday was a "do nothing day" except for checking the bike and the T1/T2 bags.  I woke up pretty early, around 6:45, and couldn't get back to sleep.  As the family was still snoozing, I went down to the lobby and chatted with the other athletes down there.  Had some coffee, talked about how flipping hot it was supposed to be, and whatnot.  Around 10:30, I was going to check everything in, so I triple checked the bags that had already been double checked and that was AFTER they were packed using a list that I made.  Jilian helped me out and then wanted to go down to check in with me.  So, we walked down there (it was already in the low 80's) and I dropped my bags and checked my bike. 

I was one of the first 200 or so that checked the bike in....she looks lonely

When I was walking out, there was a guy that "fell out"....meaning, he was dehydrated, and was being attended to by medical staff and was eventually taken away in an ambulance.  He was an athlete....but I don't know what number he was to see if he even started on Saturday.  I thought....that's going to be you if you don't get into the A/C and get liquids in you.  Poor guy though....imagine doing all that training and prepping to fall out the day before the race.  There was a grocery store on the way back, so J and I stopped and got some water and Gatorade for the walk back.  That night, we ate at Cafe Express with the Michaels and called it a night around 8:00am.  Before that, we walked thru the "Market Street" area which was a nice place of restaurants and shops.  One store had done their entire front window with all of the racers names.  How cool is that???

I'm official....or so says the window of the shop

 I had 3 alarms set on my phone (with motivation) and had the Michaels come by the hotel to walk down to transition in the morning....and to call if I was not in the lobby....I was NOT going to oversleep.

RACE DAY!!!!!!   I woke up before any of the alarms went off (and made sure I turned them off).  I had to get dressed in the dark but since it was jammers, t-shirt and flip-flops....it wasn't all that hard.  Met the Michaels in the lobby and off we walked to transition to pump up the tires, fill the bottles, put nutrition on the bike, final checks, etc....then the 1/2 mile walk over to the swim start.

Once at the swim start, we got body marked, dropped morning clothes bags, waited in line for the Port-O-Pottys, then were ushered into the water at the end of the National Anthem.  The water was a bit chilly on the skin (it was over 76.1 degrees, so it wasn't cold....) but after the first 15 seconds of quick breathing and the realization of what was about to take place set in.....everything went numb.  I placed myself in about the middle and 3rd person back.  I treaded water for a few minutes, then *BOOM* the cannon goes off.  The link below is the Ironman video of our swim start.  I'm somewhere out there between the two big yellow buoys...

The swim was rough in the beginning.  With 2700 other people doing it, there was a lot of contact, swimming over, under, around....there was one guy that was swimming perpendicular to everyone (don't know how that happens)...but finally found some open water after 7-8 minutes.  I was frustrated because I felt I was swimming slow and wasn't in a rhythm.  Eventually I did find a rhythm and was good.  I calmed down about my time, my pace, and just focused on stroke after stroke.  I was having some goggle issues and the left eye kept filling up.  I made a quick stop to look for a kayak and one was about 100m away.  Swam over and, of course, they were like "Are you okay....Are you okay....just hang on....you're safe....you...." and I stopped them and said "other than this water in my eye, I'm perfect" and swam off.  I just kept plugging forward....and on...and on...and on...and hey there....the turn buoy!  Wow...that got here quick.  So I made the turn, swam about 50 feet then made the other turn back to the canal.  1.5 miles to go.  The second half of the swim seemed to go a lot quicker.  I made it a point not to check my watch at all....to avoid any frustrations if I wasn't where I wanted to be.  Once I reached the canal, I knew I was home free.  There were lots of people lined on the shore cheering and you could hear music and you knew it was sooooooo close.  I needed to fix my goggles again so I stopped and while treading water, my foot touched the bottom of the canal.  So I go over about 5 feet and could stand as the water was chest high.  I fixed my goggles and looked around...and took it all in.  Amazing.  The sun was out, people were cheering, people were swimming.....it was glorious.  I was doing an Ironman....holy crap.  So I got back into the deeper part and kept going.  The last little bit seemed long, but it really wasn't.  Swam toward the ladder, see an arm reached out and made it onto land.  Total swim time.....1:24!  I wanted in the 1:15, but was going to be happy with anything faster than 1:30.....especially in an non-wetsuit OWS.  I could have easily shaved off those minutes with a wetsuit.  I was done....1/3 of the way through an Ironman. 
As I go into transition, I could my cousin wrapping up.  He must have had a slower swim than expected because he should have already been on the bike.  Said Hey and he was out.  The volunteer took my bag from me and helped me open it.  I sat in a chair and first grabbed my hand towel to start drying off.  He laid everything out in a nice, neat fashion so it was easy to grab.  After drying off, dropped my jammers and put on the bike shorts...then jersey....then socks and shoes....helmet....glasses....a little butt cream on....and I started to pack my bag and the volunteer said "that's my job" and told me to go have a good race.  Awesome.  My bike was near the end of the rack on the aisle so it was a quick grab and I l headed out on the 112 miles journey..... T1 time - 8:12
I have no idea what's about to happen.....
The bike started out great.  I was feeling great.  I had a good pace that I was holding, but didn't feel that I was exerting at all.  I even "reigned it in" a little because I was up to 20mph on the flats and I knew I couldn't (and shouldn't) be there.  Nice and steady....nice. and. steady.  The bike was really uneventful for the first 30-40 miles.  I was settled in and letting everyone pass me.  The sun was already starting to beat down and I knew it was going to be a hot one.  I was taking in water and gatorade and had started my nutrition plan.  Eat 200 - 250 calories on the hour and drink consistently.  This was going well.  I remember passing my first person around mile 35 but she and I would eventually play leapfrog for a while.  Since I weighed about 50lbs more than her, my downhill speeds would get up to 28-30mph with minimal effort....but pulling and extra 50 up a hill isn't easy.  By mile 60, which was almost noon.....I was starting to not feel good and my head is starting to pound.  The sun was beating down, there was no shade anymore, the wind was hot, and the cold water that you'd get at the aid stations, would be warm after 10-15 minutes.  Nothing like drinking warm water on a hot day.  I'd also started to feel nauseous and even dry heaved at one point.  I couldn't stomach anything without wanting to puke and water was the only thing that I could keep down....with the occasional drinks of powerade.  Every aid station was the same....toss bottles, grab water and squirt myself down to try to get my core temp down, grab another water and put in cage, powerade in cage, and go.....however...starting around mile 70, the aid stations were starting to look like triage units instead of aid stations.  People laid out, bikes off in the corner, people under tents, medical aid being given.....it was crazy....and we still had 40 miles to go!  Being so close, I knew that I needed to just "get home".  The wind was up into the 15mph range and was a total headwind.  It was horrible at some points.  I felt like someone was blowing a hair dryer in my face....and holding my bike back at the same time.  I was peddling....but my bike computer said I was going 9mph at one point....really....that was demoralizing.  Mile 80 hits and I'm struggling....but I press on.  The next aid station is 10 miles up....I just need to "get home".  We turn onto a pretty busy road and there is absolutely ZERO shade or anything to block the wind again.  This time it's more of a cross wind....but still.  I finally hit mile 90 and....what???  No aid station.  So I keep going.....91.....92.....93....94......AHHHHHH.....mile 95.  I stop and finally unclip for the first time.  Wow.  I tell the volunteer that I just want to stand for a sec.  She gets me ice and water.  I fill up all my bottles with fresh, cold liquid.  I really want to continue but laying down would feel so good.  So I get off my bike and just sit under a tent.  I took my helmet off...and relief....that was causing my headache.  About 3 minutes later there is a van that pulls up and says "if anyone is calling it, lets load up and I'll take you back".  There were about 10 guys that got in.  No.....Effing....Way....  This close and you're hang it up?  HTFU people.  I told myself before that the only way I was getting off the course was it someone from WTC told me I couldn't go on.  Other than that....I was going to go.  Right after that, I stood up and asked a volunteer how far we were from the turn in back into the neighborhoods (where I knew we would be wind protected and also sun protected).  She told me it was less than a mile.  I believed her.....and sure enough it was.  I was glad that I got back on and went.  I was at the aid station for about 20 minutes.  Made the turn and was so close.  There were people out cheering, lots of slower bikers that I was passing now (which put a little "pep" in your cadence), and knew I was so close.  The last little bit was pretty technical with a lot of turns....hard to pick up speed only to slow down again.  Once I made the last turn it was a straight shot into the transition area......it was amazing.  It was like watching the bike races at the finishing line how people are lined up on both sides behind barricades cheering.....it's so cool.  Once I got off the bike, the volunteer joked "so...you want to sell me your bike?".  I told me "Ha....dude...you can HAVE it".   As I was "running" toward transition I hear my name.....FINALLY....there is my beautiful family and our old neighbors.  In a normal race, I would have waved and blew them kisses. In this race, I walked over, said hi, chatted, shook hands, kissed my wife and babies, and then headed to get my bag.    Total Bike time 7:14 (which had I not stopped for 20 minutes would have been sub-7 which was my goal)
Wanna know why I look so happy....I'm about 100yds from the finish!
T2 was in the same tent....I sat down and didn't want to move.  Everyone in there was really slow moving, chatting about how much the bike sucked and how bad the runs going to be.  Both guys next to me were from The Woodlands....and they were even complaining about the weather.  They said that they had ridden the entire course 3 weeks prior and did it in 45 minutes quicker and that was with stop lights and stopping to refuel.  They were so shocked at the weather as it had been so mild up until 3 days ago.  Well...it's Texas!  So Finally got changed and right when I exited, alls I wanted as a big cup of ice.  The volunteer said she had to get me one so I went to the bathroom.  That was my first time to pee since 6:45am.  Not good...and it was a struggle to get out.  Uggh....not good.  As I got out and got my ice....the fam was there again.  Chatted about nothing for a minute or two.  Told them I was doing great (I wasn't...but I wasn't THAT bad either) and that I was going to finish.  Kisses, high fives, fist bumps...and I was off.  T2 Time.....18:11 (lol)

The marathon....26.2 miles....there aren't many people that do marathons....much less an Ironman marathon.  I knew after about 400 yards that I was going to be walking the entire marathon.  I was around 9 hours on the race clock, so I knew I had 8 hours to do it.  I knew that I could make it by walking.....but if I had to stop, or had an issue, or needed to stop that I'd be cutting it close.  My goal was just to go.  And keep going.  The aid stations were great.  All sorts of food, drinks, ice, sponges, candy....whatever...you name it.  Great stuff.  However...nothing would stay in me without feeling like I was going to puke.  Every aid station got to be the same thing.....water, ice, water, ice, sponges.  That's all that I could keep down.  The first loop was hot as the sun was still up.  It was uneventful as I was was just going along.  Would chat with a few people.....standard questions....where ya from, what loop ya on, how ya doing..... Finally made it back to the waterway and had my head on a swivel.  I knew that Annie and the girls should be around.  Kept looking and looking and looking.  I was way behind schedule from when I said I would see them.....I finally stopped and asked a volunteer if she could text my wife.  I texted "I'm going really slow, I'm doing fine, I love u" and I told the volunteer if she texted back to tell her I looked okay and that I was in good spirits.  I completed the first loop and never saw my wife.  While I was concerned, I knew that she was probably okay as she had a 7 year old and a 7 month old to take care of.  At the start of the second loop, I found a friend....she was starting her second loop and we just chatted.  It was her first IM and her husband was tracking her too.  She had just seen him and so I described my wife and we were on the look out.  We walked almost the entire 2nd loop together and it really passed the time.  She was wanting to "step it up" a bit but I knew my body....if I pushed anymore than I was, I was going to have more issues.  She parted ways but saw each other several more times on the out and backs.  As I entered the waterway ending the second loop, from across the water I hear "DAAAADDDDYYYY" and there they were.....my wonderful family.  I shouted that I'd see them in about 30 minutes and that put some pep in my step.  Got back around to them and it was great.  People were cheering, I was close to tears, and I just wanted to stay with my family.  Annie told me to finish strong and I gave her and the girls my love and kisses and started out on loop 3.  I told her it would be around 11:30pm when I finished.....but that I was going to do it.  Loop 3....the last loop.  I knew the loop like the back of my hand.  I knew where people would be cheering.  I knew where it was just going to be me and my thoughts.  I kept positive thoughts and kept thinking about how proud my family was.  What sacrifices they had made and how I was going to be an Ironman......as I entered the waterway again...for the last time...I knew I was home free....I made my jokes to the volunteers about how this was the last time they'd ever have to see me again.  At the split for the "start loop 2 and 3" and "finish" it was amazing....people still lined up 2 and 3 deep shouting your name....clapping, screaming.  As I made the 2nd to last corner, the Mikes jumped out and squirted me with beer......I got hugs and there were tears that started.  I had about 100 yards to go.  To finish you actually ran past the finish line then u-turned back toward it.  My head was on a swivel again....Where's Annie...where's my babies....I just want to see them.  It's hard to find them when EVERYONE is yelling your name.  I'm starting to run (my adrenaline took over) but as I made the U-turn there they were.  I lost it......like a baby!   I told them how much I loved them and that I was going to need to go get an IV at the medical tent (so they wouldn't worry about why I was there) and told them to find a volunteer and head down to that area.  As I left them, it was me and Mike Reilly.....no one behind me.  As I ran up he says "Brad Donovan" and he paused and then said "Way to go Brad" and then said the magical words "You Are" (and I stopped and put my hand up to my ear....and the crowd screamed the final two words with him "AN IRONMAN!!!!"  and I was ecstatic....as you can see from the video below....and the finisher pics.  I was also a feature photo on the Ironman website of the "Midnight Hour" finishers......

It's grainy and hard to see.....but this was AMAZING.....

Let me hear it!!!!!!

I'm there...I did it!

Yes...I'm crying....So....

From the Ironman Website.....Damn cool pic!

Total "run" time: 7:31

I had done it....I was an Ironman.  As I crossed the line, I was asked if I was okay.  I said No and needed medical.  The guy said "your medal is given to you by the womans champ" and I looked at her and said "who the hell are you"....I then apologized.  I really need to send her an e-mail.  Seriously.

There it is.....

In medical...I guess it was pretty standard.  IV, anti-nausea, and released.  Annie and the Mikes were waiting outside and hugs all around.  Jilian got to wear my medal and she LOVED it.  Unfortunately, we had to go get our bikes and gear bags which was a half mile walk then another half mile back to the hotel.  Once that was done, I took a quick shower (as everything that was chaffed - basically my ass crack - hurt) and I just wanted to lay down.  I remember sipping Gatorade and falling asleep around 2am.  I was up every hour because anytime I moved, it woke me up...and I pee'd every hour also.  I woke up around 7am and couldn't get back to sleep so I went to the lobby and checked my 98 texts, Voicemals, FB posts, and IG comments.....WOW!

I went back to the room around 8:30 and we started to pack.....load up....and drive home.  All I wanted to do was unpack, eat pizza, and sleep....which I did....in that order.  I weighed myself (after eating the pizza) and was 8lbs less than what I was the morning we left for the race.  Holy Schnikies! 

Thank you to my followers and encouragers during this journey.......I will continue the blog, but just not as often, but will still follow y'all.......Again....thanks!

Monday, May 20, 2013



I don't mean to tease y'all, but right now is not a good time for me. 

I will post my race report soon....

Thank you all for following in my journey. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

3 Days....Last Post

Well Boys and Girls....this is it.

This is my last post before heading out.  I'm "working" today (meaning...I'm at work, but consumed with thoughts of this and that....) and we are rolling out tomorrow morning about this time.

Bikes lubed and clean, nutrition bag is full, swim/bike/run bags are packed and ready.  I've packed extra stuff just to be safe.  I've pack my regular street clothes.  I have stuff laid out near the door.  I've already planned on how I'm going to pack the back of the Expedition.

I've gone over my nutrition plan.  Eat every hour.  Continual drinking.  Electrolyte caps every hour after the second hour.  Gu's, Clif Bars, Payday bars......Gatorade....water....  On the run it's survival mode.  Plan on Gu's every 3rd aid station, electrolyte caps at mile 1, 9, 17, 22.....water, Gatorade...coke....chicken broth.....whatever else looks good.

The last few months have been a whirlwind.  Lots of training.  Some bitching.  Lots of saddle time in a stuffy and humid room (where I would be completely soaked down to my socks.....which I guess, in hindesite, was okay since it's supposed to be HOT and humid.....and the sweat loss will be the same).  Lots of calories consumed and burned.

3 days......until the cannon goes off. 


And we're off.......................

Some time later.....in the darkness....with people I don't know saying my name and cheering, I'll make the final push down the chute.  I will hear my name, followed by words that will hold a special meaning in my heart.....right next to the word "Yes", "I Do", and "It's a Girl".....

Brad Donovan.....You ARE An IRONMANNNNNNN..........

See y'all on the flipside to this journey. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

4 Days....list checking begins

Since I'm allowing (and by allowing, I mean forcing) my body to rest and recover and hydrate so I can go into IMTX as close to 100% as possible, I've started double checking the list that I initally made.  Tonight I will lay out the clothes, gear, nutrition, extras, etc that I will need for my race.  I will put them all in different bags so I can eaisly check, double check, and transfer into the IM bags that we get at registration.  Then I'll double check all that before I go to gear drop on Friday.

Last night, I found myself in a weird calm.....then I realized I was in a calm state and my mind shifted to "lets read stuff on the internet about tips for First Time Ironman".  So I did.....I read what to do, what not to do, how to do things, how to screw up royally.

Basically it was "run your race, control what you can, don't blow out the bike".  I also read a story of a girl (who didn't make the bike cut off.....but there were reasons why) who said that the Monday before her race she got flu like symptoms, slept most of the day, had an upset stomach, and a headache.  She wrote "I told a friend about this and they said it's your mind telling your body to be sick.  Your mind is giving you reasons to not do the race, your heart is bigger than that".

In an funny, sorta related, note, I received an e-mail from our town Mayor (who's an Ironman) who said "Don't blow out the bike, you will DNF if you do.  Hydrate and pull back on the bike.  DO NOT DNF"  Well said Mayor....well said.

I'm still really nervous about the race....but about the unknown.  I think getting sick for those few days was a blessing.  It forced me not to try to build 3 months of fitness in 5 days with no recovery.

Below is a cut/copy/paste of a word document that I made up about 2 months ago.  I read it every day and change something on it.  This will give you a little insite as to how neurotic I've been about this race.

Thursday 5/16
                Leave McKinney  8:15am
                Stop at Bucees – 11am
                Eat in Woodlands - 12:30
                Check into Hotel – 1:15
                IM check in and packet pick-up  1:45  (9a – 4p)
                Welcome Dinner  5:30 – 7:30p
                Athlete Briefing  7:30p – 8:30p
Friday 5/17
                Lay out bag stuff and double check your double check
                Bike and Bag Check in  9a – 3p
Bike Bag

Run Bag
Race Belt with #

Saturday 5/18
                Wake up 4:40a
                Eat and Drink (energy shot, banana, powerade/Pedialyte, clif bar) 5:05a
                At Transition area 5:45  (shorts, flops, shirt)
                Chomps and rest of powerade  6:15
Race Start 7:00
                Transition to Bike 8:30-ish
                Transition to Run 3p to 3:30p-ish
                Mile 1 – 3:45-ish
                Mile 9 – 5:45-ish
                Mile 18 – 7:55-ish
                Finish – 9:50-ish – 10:30-ish
                Bike/bag pick-up and hotel  - 10:30-ish
                Rehydrate, shower, and BEER – 11p
                      (Maybe close to Finish Line to cheer)

Shopping List
Gel (if needed) x8
Chomps x3
Clif bar x4
Energy Shot
Powerade x5
Water Jug
Pedialyte x 3

Electrical Tape
NB Water Bottle
Garmin Charger

In bag for morning
5 gels
2 Clif Bar
2 Payday
Filled water bottle

Monday, May 13, 2013

5 whole days.....or 2 more blog posts

5, 5 effing days......FIVE.....F-I-V-E....  I will blog today, tomorrow, and on Wednesday, as we roll on Thursday.  I don't know what I'll blog about, but it will be rambling for sure (as if all my other posts weren't). 

So...this past weekend.  How was it you ask.......

I had probably the worst ride on Saturday morning. Legs felt heavy, Bike flet like it weighed 50lbs, couldn't get comfortable, couldn't find a speed.....ugghh....  It was bad enough that I wanted to toss my bike and say screw it.  I can't get about 15mph and I wanted to quit after the first 10 miles, how am I going to get 10x this?????  I've talked it out with myself and a few others about the ride.  Everyone says it's okay, except for me.  I should listen to everyone else.

Saturday was a normal day.  Soccer game, pool party for the kiddo after the soccer game, then we went to our town square where they did an old time election result party.  The judge would get a call from a disctrict and then announce it/write it on a chalk board.  It was a good time.  Right before we were about to leave I got hit with the worst pains in the world. Head, body, legs.....sore throat, drainage, chills, muscle aches.....it came on all of a sudden....out of no where.  When we got home, I got into a hot shower for 20 minutes and drank 32oz of Pedialite and 20oz of water.  I didn't pee during the night nor until about 7:30 the next morning.  I guess I was a little dehydrated.

I've been pumping my body full of all sorts of pills. Sunday was no better.

I did man up and go to the doctor this morning. No fever (Yeah!!). Got an allegry shot, B-12, amoxicillian 'script (just in case), musinex, and Zyrtec......

The doc said okay to race as of now, since there is no fever.  Suggested that I have no physical activity for a few days, hydrate lots, and limit outside exposure due to high pollen counts.

Why did this have to happen with less than a week to go???? 

Please pray (seriously) for my quick recovery.  If you're not the praying type.....just keep me in your thoughts or do an interpreative dance for my wellness. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

8 Days....and counting

It's 8:25am....and in 8 days I should be out of the water and hopefully in or just out of transition ready for the journey of 112 on the bike.....if all goes as planned (and by planned, I mean, as I hope)

Last night was another rest night.  I have lost all motivation to work out.  My body is tired, my legs are heavy, I had the "mud butt" yesterday, I have the sniffles (allergy type symptoms), and mentally drained, yet consumed with thoughts, about the race.

The realization and the gravity of what I'm about to do has hit.  It's now channeling that into posivite thoughts about how I'm ready as I'm going to be and making negatives into positives.

This is my one and only shot at becoming an Ironman.  I will not do another one.  I don't have the time or the patience to do this again.  Training for this was a task its self.....so this is it.

In the song "Lose Yourself", the beginning goes:

Look....if you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip

That is a mantra to go by....in Ironman, in Life, at work....anywhere.

And I know that my first few steps on the run course are going to suck.  I know this.  There is no denying or there isn't any amount of self talk that will replace that.  However....Eminem rings true again with his words at the beginning of "Til I Collapse".....

Sometimes you feel tired, you feel weak.  And when you feel weak you feel like you want to give up.  But you got to search within you, to try to find that inner strenght and just pull that shit out of you.  And get that motivation to not give up and not be a quitter, no matter how bad you want to fall flat on your face and collapse.

Tonight is another off night a date night for us.  My mom is coming to watch the kiddo's and then go to J's soccer game on Saturday.  This weekend, I'm running 6 - 8 miles and also doing 35 miles on the road and possibly a short 20-30 minute run after that.  On Monday and Tuesday of next week, I'm going to get in some short rides and runs.....and probably 2 swims....then nothing until 5/18.  My last blog post will be next Wednesday (5/15) as we leave on Thursday morning.

This journey is almost over........wow.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Single Digits.....9 Days

It's all downhill from here....

I'm now just maintaining my fitness and getting extra sleep/hydration.

I've started cutting back on the bad foods that I could eat when I was doing 2 hours of work a night...both because I don't need all that fuel and because I don't want to pack any pounds on.  My calories are still on the "high" end, but they are better.....fruits, lean protein, very limited dairy, lower fiber, not as many processed carbs/sugar (trying for good/natural carbs).....

Last night I flipped a coin.  Heads was run, tails was swim.  Tails won.  Went to the pool, got in a good mile and came home, watched the end of the Ranger game (they won!!!  Woo-Hoo!!!), showered, and was in bed by 10:15 and cut the TV off after the weather report and don't remember anything until 4:30a when the baby started fussing but went back to sleep (and so did I).

Kind of a funny side note with the news.  Annie mentioned something that was on the local news the other day and I had no idea what she was talking about.  Apparently it was "all over" the news here but I had no clue.  Then it hit me....I haven't watched much news/weather since January when I started hitting my night training hard.  I get national news on my iphone feed and I check the weather on one of my local newsstation apps....but actually sitting down and watching a local and national news broadcast.....been forever. 

That's one thing that I'm going to look forward to after the race.  Enjoying some down time.....

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

10 Days Late

Just a little 'Third Eye Blind' reference for y'all.......'member them?

Anywho....10 days.  A few more days of just going through the motions of working out.  Not trying to build speed or endurance....just volume so the legs, lungs, head, and body don't forget.

I've gotten great words of encouragment over the last few days.  Thank you all.

Tonight is a 6 mile run (or some distance near 6) and a 35 minute swim.  I'm timid on swimming because of my shoulder.  Since I swam on Monday and it was fine, I was okay with the distance and time.  However, yesterday, it was in pain. 

I'm so nervous right now too.  Too much emotions and feelings to really explain.

On a funny side note, coming back from lunch yesterday I flipped over to a classic rock station.  The opening riff to Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" was playing.  My hands got sweaty and I did feel a little light headed.  Really?  Holy Crap....a song....a song did that to me.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

11 Days....and a mini-made up triathlon

11 Days.  11-flippin-days.  One-One.  Eleven........Wow.

So last night, on the schedule, was a swim.  With my shoulder pain, I wanted to test it out.  I was prepared for a 100m swim or to go the 45 minutes.  I was really hoping that it was going to be a long-ish swim.  I hadn't been in the water in a week and need to get the feel again.  The first 25m was okay, te second 25 there was some pain, the 3rd there was a little more....the 4th, there was none.  Either adrenaline kicked in or whatever is causing the pain worked itself out.  I had small twinges of pain during the swim but nothing that lasted longer than a stroke or two.

In looking at my schedule, I'm behind....I know this.  So....how do you make up fitness in 11 days??  Here's a hint.....You Can't.  But what does my simplistic mind say?  Cram....Cram like you've never crammed before.  LOL

So....I got home and decided on a quick spin.  Did an hour on the trainer and felt pretty good.  But, why stop there, I'd already completed 2/3rds of a tri.....why not go full on tri mode.  I strapped on the shoes and jogged 1.65 miles.

The 1st Annual Brad's Made Up Triathlon is:

2300m Swim

17.25 Mile Bike Ride

1.65 Mile Run.

T-1 is a drive from the pool to the house
T-2 is a tiptoe walk into the master bedroom closet to get running shoes

Finishers Swag features a warm bottle of gatorade left over from my daughters soccer match on Saturday and a 100 cal bag of popcorn.

Entry for next years race will be $40 and will not inculde a shirt, any support on the course, and/or finisher prizes.....or pictures.  Basically, I'll just take your $40.

Aiight boys and girls.......off to some meetings then hopefully the vendor that we're doing the meetings with will spring for lunch.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Weekend Review (and 12 Days Left)

12 flippin' days.....Holy Mary Mother of God......I'm at a loss for words here. It seems too close.

On the 16th, we will head down to The Woodlands to get checked in and do the IM festivities.....I can't wait.....I want it to be here NOW, but I also want it to come in about one more month.

This weekend started off great. On Saturday morning, I awoke at 5:45. Ready to go. Tossed on the running gear and off I went. No music, no Garmin, just me and the road. I know where my mile markers are so I knew when to turn around and how far I had gone. I did an out and back of 6 miles, twice, with an extra loop near the house of a mile. I got in 13.25 miles. All unsupported. No water, no gels, no nutrition. Just a small drink at mile 6 when I was back at the house. I felt really good.

Saturday was normal activities for the Donovans.

On Sunday, I woke up at 3:55a for a 75 mile trainer ride. My legs were heavy and jello-y (not sore). I decided to get up later and do the ride. 4:30a....nope, 5a.....nope, 6:30a (baby woke up - got her fed and went back to bed). 3 hours later it's 9:30a....still no.

I ended up sleeping until 10:30, ate eggs and turkey sausage, and laid on the couch with ice bag on my thigh and one on my shoulder. I have a sharp pain in my left shoulder that will not go away. I haven't swam in a week, I have been taking advil like it's pez, ice, heat, etc....still pain.  It hurt for the first few minutes of my ride when in aero, but went away.

I ended up getting in 40 miles on the trainer at 9p. A far cry from my 75 on the schedule, but some is better than none.

I'm going to try to swim tonight. An hour is on the schedule....but will play it by ear as not not hurt more.  Hope this is just a small strain.  I'm also going to spin for a little over an hour too.  Nothing fast, just a spin on the trainer.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Wow....we're close

Yesterday, I had an all day meeting so I was unable to blog.  So....my loyal followers are getting a 2 for one deal.  Free of charge.  A BOGO without a coupon, if you will.

Wednesday night, I did a solid 6 mile run.  It wasn't fast but it was complete.  I went out about an hour earlier than I normally do and it was still in the upper 70's with higher than normal humidity.  It was close to what IMTX would be about that time.  Had I been nutritioned up properly, I would/could have done more.

**side note**  I'm still freaking out about my fitness, but it is what it is.  I'm to the point of 'I should get a few more long runs in" or "I'm going to run 10 instead of 6 because that will help me out".  I know that it won't and I'm fighting the urge to do more.  Trust the plan.....just do what it says!

Last night, I was exhausted.  I had eaten like crap all day (no self control mixed with constant hunger...add in junk food.....recipie for distaster).  I felt sluggish but had a 3 hour trainer ride.  When I picked up my 7yo, she reminded me that it was "Cherry Berry Night" (a local fozen yogurt place gives 10% of sales to her school once a month).  So we went there after dinner.  When we got home, it was time to start the ride.  I said "eff this" and went to bed.  Yup....in bed by 8:30.  Asleep by 9......and didn't wake up until 6:30.

I don't feel too bad.  I probably won't make it up as there is 15 days left and the last 3 are all rest days.  I don't feel bad.....I don't.....not bad.  I'm glad I got rest.  I feel energized and ready to tackle this weekends workouts (a 75/5 brick and a 13 mile run).  Last real weekend......

Oh God....we're really close.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

T-minus 17 days

Last night was supposed to be a 2 hour ride.  As the weather is supposed to turn complete crap on Thursday, I moved that workout (which was 2 hour ride/5 mile run) to last night, and will do 3 hours tomorrow night.  About 1:30 into the ride, I got the cold sweats again, heart racing, and feeling sick.  I think this happened last Tuesday too.  My nutrition and hydration seemed to be on point yesterday so I'm clueless.  Lets hope this doesn't happen on race day.  Instead of trudinging through another 30 minutes and then running, I got off and ran.  Did a 2.5 miles out and back.  I still felt ill, but got through it.  After showering and getting on the couch to catch up on TV, I felt great again and felt like I could have gone out and ran more.  Crazy.

Today at lunch is a massage and a visit to a chiropractor.......get the kinks out and get alligned.

Tonight is a 3 mile run (may do extra to make up for last night) and an hour swim.  I think I'm just going to go an swim laps though.....no watch, no counting.  Just make a note of the approx. time on the clock at the start and end.  See how that works out too.

Also....go to my boy James' blog for a chance to win a pair of Zogg Goggles..... Daily Trainings Blog

But whatever you do, do not visit Coy's blog.  She will bribe other athlete/triathlete bloggers to win give-aways....and bribes them with food.  You know we can't resist food!!!  Low blow Coy....Low. Blow.  :)

(Coy is a follower of mine...on here and on Instagram.....so I not bagging on her.....well, kinda)..   :)


Totals for April.....

Swim - 15,600m (4:36)

Bike - 610.3 miles (36:25)

Run - 55.4 miles (10:04)