Picture
2012 Ironman Texas
If you are like me, you work towards goals.  You need them.  You want them.  They fuel what you do.  What happens when you accomplish your main goals?  Are you just complacent with what you've done and then move forward or do you set a new goal?  A grander goal to focus on achieving.  Everyone goes through the elation of accomplishing something that you have worked towards for so long and the fall from the top.  Sometimes it's a gradual fall, sometimes it hits like a ton of bricks and you are left with the question, "What's next?" 
I am currently going through something like that myself.  The picture is from Ironman Texas and is a reminder to me that goals are good and accomplishing them is even better!  But, what do I do after working so hard for six years in triathlon, working towards an Ironman, and then finishing the race?  I have set new goals!  The next challenge is to finish a 70.3 Ironman in under 5:30:00.  My personal record is currently 5:42:45.  Another challenge is to finish a 50 mile mountain bike race.  Then finish a 50 mile run race.
Ultimately, whatever you are trying to accomplish, you have to ask yourself after you finish it, "What's next?"  For those of you who have just gotten back into fitness and have worked to drop your pant size something lower, once you get there, maintain it!  Keep working on a healthier you!  The best part of leading a healthier lifestyle, along with living longer, is living better.  It's addictive and you want that feeling of being able to do what you want to do while also feeling great!
So, if you find yourself wondering, "What's next?" look to go beyond what you have already accomplished.  You might find that accomplishing your previous goals are just the beginning! 

- Colin

Before starting any exercise, diet or health routine, first consult your physician to make sure that your body is
healthy enough for physical activity.


 
Ironman Texas finally came and Ironman Texas finally finished.  I crossed the finish line a little after 9 p.m. on Saturday evening in the Woodlands.  Let's just say it was windy and not too hot.  Here's how it all went:

Prep:
- Woke up at 4:00 a.m.  Iron-fiance Brittany also got up super early to join me in getting ready for the insanity.
- Difficulty finding a parking spot, but finally found one and heading into transition.
- Left my SAG bags in the appropriate place.

Swim
- Got into the water with 2,000 other people that others have said are "crazy/stupid/ridiculous."
- Cannon goes off at 7 a.m.   It is all arms, legs, churning water!
- Mile 0-1.2: Swimming.  More swimming.  More swimming.  And more swimming.
- Finally get out of the water at around 8:15ish

T1
- Grabbed bag and headed into the transition tent.  Felt like a Turkish sauna.  Got everything together and hopped on the bike.

Bike:
- The first 5-10 miles are still in the Woodlands.  You can feel the seething eyes of drivers stopped at the stoplights just wishing that they could get through the intersections.
- The "rolling hills" continued all through the course going south to north with the wind at our backs.  It was great.  Averaged around 19-20 mph. 
- Going through the Sam Houston National Forest was decently fun.  Good shade, good cover, bad roads.
- Mile 50: I catch up with Mindy.  I rode with her during Beauty and the Beast.  Really cool woman who is 47, but looks about 30.
- Mile 58.5: it is time to pick up the bike SAG bag.  Get off the bike and get more nutrition and then get back on.
- Mile 59-107: Riding straight into the teeth of the wind in more of the "rolling hills."  They weren't rolling.  They were big hills.  Over and over and over.  Averaged around 15-17.  It was not pretty.  Just ugly.
- Mile 108-112: READY. TO. BE. DONE. WITH. THE. BIKE

T2
- Decently dehydrated.  Grab run gear and get ready to run.  Change outside the tent to avoid the sauna.

Run
- Mile 0.2: Who the heck put this hill here?!?!?!?!  AND WHY!
- Miles 1-5: Running at a 10:30 min/mile pace.  Decently tired, but having fun.
- Miles 5.1-17: BACK. MUSCLES. CRAMPED... WON'T. BUDGE!.
- Mile 6.2: See Brittany, mom and dad for the first time across the Woodlands River.  Screaming and happy.  That puts a huge smile on my face!
- Mile 8: See Brittany, mom and dad up close on the other side of the river.  Brittany later says, "I really was worried.  You looked horrible and I was afraid you might not be able to finish."
- Mile 8.6: Time to run up the tiny hill next to the run start.  WHO'S IDEA WAS IT TO PUT A HILL HERE?!?!?!?!?
- Mile 9.5: Running back over the bridge.  Going up is not awesome.  Going down, you guessed it, awesome!
- Miles 10-16: Continuing to run the second loop and all I can think about is Pei Wei Dan Dan noodles!!!
- Mile 16: Keep looking for Brittany, mom and dad.  Can't find them and start to get sad.
- Mile 16.1: Hear Brittany, mom and dad start screaming for me and running beside.  Sadness now moves to HAPPINESS!!!
- Mile 16.5: MY GPS WATCH RUNS OUT OF BATTERY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Really!
- Mile 17: The back has loosened!!!  Thank you three cups of Ironman Perform at each aid station.
- Mile 17.6: Hill. Again. Stupid. Last time.
- Mile 18: Start running with John Lindsey.  Just met John, but we're instant friends. We're both a bit tired by now and ready for the finish line. We are starting the run-walk routine.  I'm on my third loop.  John is on his second.  
- Mile 18.1: Find out the reason why John is running Ironman Texas: 10 months beforehand, his wife put a newspaper down on the kitchen table during breakfast and said, "You need a new challenge!"  It was a story about the Ironman World Championships in Kona.  So, without knowing how to swim or ever doing a triathlon, John learned how to swim and ran two sprint triathlons.  John is awesome and an inspiration.
- Mile 19-21: John and I speedwalk/run through some very, VERY weathly neighborhoods.
- Mile 22:24: The finish is coming.  The finish is coming!
- Mile 25: Can hear the finish line with the music, the crowd and the words, "______ you are an Ironman!"
- Mile 26: Start high fiving EVERYONE!
- Mile 26.2: "Colin McElroy, you are an Ironman!"  The second greatest words I've ever heard next to Brittany saying yes to my proposal.  CHALLENGE ACCOMPLISHED!

Post-race
- Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington gives me my finisher medal!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Go into the medical tent and get an IV.  Feels really, really good to get more fluids!
- Talk with the medical professionals about why they volunteer.  Really cool doctors and nurses!

Mission accomplished!  Ready for my next challenge!


 
 
Ironman Texas 70.3 now over and done with in Galveston and luckily only came back with a smile and sunburn.
Here's a note to remember, put sunscreen on the day before, especially if you have to be there for a while.  Neck was pink.  Yep, not a good start!

Swim start at 7:20
- Salt water is two things: buoyant and NOT tasty
- Around the 5th buoy start getting a rubbing feeling on my shoulders.  That turned out to rub the entire way.  Rubbed the skin off.  That still hurts.
T1: Volunteers rip my wetsuit off.  That was awesome.
Bike start: Hop on and get going
Mile 0.7: Had to get off the bike to fix my gel flash holder.  That cost me about 1:30 of time.  Oops!
Mile 1.6: Turn right onto the seawall. Vroom vroom not so much with the wind a straight headwind at 10-15.
Miles 2-10: Cyclist named Galvez and I yo-yo back and forth.  Over and over and over.
Mile 11: A woman is holding a sign saying "Lance just passed!"  Yeah...right.  Lance passed a long time ago!
Mile 16.6: In the whispering words of Dr. Evil in the movie Goldmember "LANCE!"  Lance Armstrong flying back on the bike!  Finished averaging 27.8 mph!!!!!!  He finished 7th.
Mile 20: Start eating the first of the FRS chews.  I. Love. Pomegranate.  DELICIOUS!
Mile 23.5: Start going up the San Luis Pass.  The bridge is long and it is going to be awesome to fly back!!!
Mile 27.5: See my buddy Brent Vest heading the other way.  Dangit!  We have a thing going.  He beat me the first triathlon.  I beat him the second.  This is the rubber match.  I will see him on the run!
Mile 28: Turnaround time!!!  Averaged 17.7 mph on the way into the wind.  Time to fly!
Miles 28-32: Flying at 23-25 thinking, "ok, this is fun.  Let's keep on going!"
Mile 33: Bye bye wind.  What the heck?  Still going at 20-21.
Miles 34-50: Coming back on the seawall.  Keep on averaging 20 mph.
Miles 51-54.4: There are a lot of nice bikes passing me.  They are THOUSANDS of dollars nicer.  That and the guys and gals riding them look like they are professionals.  They're not, they are just really awesome age groupers!
Mile 56: The bike "is done man!"
T2: Ok!  Time to run.  Plenty of bikes are already in transition.  Plenty of bikes are not.
Mile 1: 7:54 pace and rocking it!  This...will not last.
Mile 1.75: Catch up to my buddy Brent.  He is having a bit of trouble.  Give encouragement and then take off.
Mile 2: Pace is now at 8:11
Mile 2.5: Give high fives to two small children.  They are very happy to be watching other people run.  Kind of funny.
Miles 3-4.3: First lap is done!  Now only two more to go. 
Mile 5: Start getting a pain in my right abdominal.  I keep telling myself, this couldn't be appendicitis, I eat plenty of bacon.  As a matter of fact, I had bacon on a sandwich the day before.  AND IT WAS DELICIOUS!
Miles 6-8: THE WALL!  This is the time that my run pace has slowed to 10:45.  Start walking through aid stations and then running in between.
Mile 8.2: Time to start the second loop through the airport runway.  Very hot.  Very windy.  I continue to think, "Remember this is a good idea.  The is a good idea.  Why did I choose the sport of triathlon?  Because this is a good idea!"
Mile 8.8: THIRD LOOP. If I stop running, how will I get home?
Mile 9.5: Read a sign "There's beer at the finish line!"  This doesn't make me run faster or slower.  It does for some reason make me very happy.  I have no clue why.
Mile 10: Only a 5K left!  Start calculating how fast I need to pace to make sure that I finish in under 5:45.
Mile 11: The pace has started to kick up a notch.  Hamstrings are starting to hurt more.  Feet are ok.
Mile 12: So close.  So close.  And here comes the runway.  Start looking at my watch and calculating again.
Mile 13: I can hear the finish line.  Can't see it, but here comes the kick!
Finish line: DUNZO!!!  TIRED!!!  Off to the medical tent!
Medical tent: I spend a good 15 minutes lounging with ice packs on my neck and my stomach.

Swim - 36:35
Bike - 2:56:33
Run - 2:03:56
Overall - 5:42:45
Average heart rate: 171
Max heart rate: 193
Calories burned: 6170
The 5:45:00 mark has been eclipsed.
Six weeks until Ironman Texas!!!
 
Heck of a good ride at the Beauty and the Beast Bike Tour just south of Tyler, Texas.  The play-by-play of the 67 mile route.

5:45am: Worst part of races. Waking up. This is Saturday!!!
2 min before start: Forgot. Nutrition. DUMB!
Start: Late to the party. Oops. 
Miles 1-13: Roller coaster ride starts with around 200 cyclists in a huge pack. 
Mile 14: Going downhill at 35mph. Start thinking about Cousin Eddie from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. "I don't know about this Clark. I don't think I should be flying down a hill with nothing between me and the ground but a piece of government plastic.  You see this right here, if this gets dented, then my hair just ain't gonna look
right."
Luckily the plastic separating my head and the ground was made by Specialized.
Miles 15-25: More roller coaster thrills of east Texas. 30 mph down. 13 mph up. 
Miles 26-31: Chatting with Mindy. A 47 year old from Austin who is also training for Ironman Texas. 
Mile 32: Alone and bored. So I call Brittany. A pleasant minute conversation. Hang up and hear the guy next to me  says with a huge smile, "Well, I feel out of shape. I'm huffing and puffing and you're riding up a hill talking on the phone!"
Me- "I'm nothing special. But, I am training for an Ironman."
Him while laughing- "Ok. I don't feel worthless anymore. But, get you butt in gear!"
I was going 25 mph by that time.
Mile 33: Halfway home baby!
Mile 34: Small child around the age of 6 holding out Powerade at a rest stop. Slow down and take the cup and then hear, "I did it! I did it!" Referring to the excellent cup to hand transfer. 
Miles 35-47: "I'm all alone. There's nobody here beside me..."
Mile 48: Almost met the "big pointy teeth" of a large, large dog. Never thought I'd be so thankful that the Chevy Malibu was created. Ran interference.
Mile 49: Almost met the "big pointy teeth" of a medium sized dog. Another Chevy to the rescue, a Silverado. 
Mile 50-54: Many false flats. (Read: why the HECK am I only going 17 mph!!!)
Mile 55: The flowers are blooming in the Rose Capital (Capitol?...eh) of the World.
Mile 56: The length of an Ironman 70.3 bike course in 2:56ish. 
Mile 57-59: Close to bonking because I'm the idiot who forgot nutrition. No PBJ. No GU gel. No energy.
Mile 60: Dropped my pride for the salvation of the rest stop. The 70+ plus woman at the rest stop next to the Baptist church can make a mean PBJ!  Four PBJ's, two bananas and a facility break later...READY TO RIDE!!!
Mile 61-62: Getting ready for the Beast. Mph not exactly stellar. 
Mile 62.5: The false Beast. Up. 
Mile 63-63.5: Tackling the Beast. Slowly. 6-8 mph. They call it the Beast for a reason. It hurts. Always great to see paramedics at the top. 
Miles 64-67: Returning to the finish line. Downhill. Fast.
Post race- Kiss from Britt and time to run. 

Mile 1-2 running: This is dumb. Let's stop. Legs felt
ok. 8:11 pace, but didn't want to hold up the group.

67 miles in
3:41:25
18.2 mph (rest stop took away 0.7 mph)
2 miles ran in 16:22 at an 8:11 pace
Average heart rate: 149  Max: 190
3,548 calories burn
Two SWEET farmers tans
Sleepy

Next race- Ironman Lonestar 70.3
 
Every once in a while you need a good swift kick in the rear to get going, here's one.  According to a report by the CDC, over 35 percent of adults in the United States are obese.  That's a problem.  Another issue, 17 percent of kids are currently obese.  If you are like me, you learned many of the ways that you are by watching, listening and learning from your parents.  In the last 10 years, the obesity rate for men has risen by eight percent while the rates for women has remained the same.  The results are the same for children.  So here is the rub...set an example that your children and youth that are a part of your life or this trend will continue and possibly spiral out of control. 
For a start, take a look at your diet.  Many families in Shreveport-Bossier have a very high amount of fried foods as part of their diet.  Don't get me wrong, sometimes Buffalo Wild Wings boneless wings are tasty, but when you are eating fried foods as the base for a diet, your waist line is going to grow.  A healthy diet filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins like chicken/pork/lean red meat.  Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, instead of soda, energy drinks or alcohol.
Start being active by yourself and with a group.  Take your kids for a walk.  Go play in the park on a weekend.  Take the dog for a run.  If you have children, they will take your example and continue to grow and follow your lead.  Keep it being positive, not negative!

- Colin

Before starting any exercise, diet or health routine, first consult your physician to make sure that your body is
healthy enough for physical activity.
 
So how are your New Year's Resolutions going so far?  Mine are great.  I have cut down on my intake of beets and radishes and still haven't eaten one in 2012.  One of the most humorous times of the year for people who go "to the gym" is the first month of the new year.  That is when you have more people and unknown faces sweating, grunting and trying to take hold of their new found ambition.  It is also one of the most sad times because many of the good natured people that strive to get healthier in the first month of the year often fade back into their former selves.  Don't do that.  Change your lifestyle, change what type of life you want to live.  One of the biggest keys is to be realistic about the goals that you have set.  If you wear size 40 pants and want to get down to size 36, it will take time.  If you wear a size 14 dress and want to get down to a size 10, it will take time.  There are no overnight fixes when it comes to fitness.  You have to work at being healthy!  Don't let your New Year's Resolution fade like many of your ambitions years past.  Find a trainer at your gym.  Start walking after work when you get home.  Play an extra 30 minutes with your children as a reward for getting their homework finished early.  There are subtle changes that you can make that can lead to big changes in your life!  The key as always is: Stick to it! 

"Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness." - Author Napolean Hill

Your great achievement can come with a great sacrifice of sweat, cheeseburgers and the result will be a life worth living.  And living longer.  Don't make a resolution, make a lifestyle change!  Good luck and God bless in 2012!

- Colin

Before starting any exercise, diet or health routine, first consult your physician to make sure that your body is healthy enough for physical activity.
 
It is the holiday season and that means food, festivities, beverages and family. This is the time of year that many people's eating habits and will power go out the window.  I am guilty of it myself.  In 2010, while visiting family with my
fiance I gained five pounds during the middle of marathon training.  The reason?  I went into our holiday vacation without a plan of when I would get my workouts accomplished.  Plus, the fact that cajun food is just too tasty!  This year, I already have a plan in place.  While I will still eat all of the tasty cajun food, moderation is key!  I am not the best at this.  I hate moderation!  I love to eat and enjoy!  Another way to combat the holiday pounds is to know where you can workout, train or just be able to walk.  I am a member of Anytime Fitness.  If you are members of one gym, you have access to the numbers of gyms around the country.  The YMCA has a similar policy as do a number of other establishments.  Always go into your workouts having a plan in place.

Ways to stay away from gaining the dreaded holiday pounds
- Moderation, moderation, moderation
- Make sure to get enough rest
- Have a plan in place to when/where/how you will be able to get in being active
- Choose another option when it comes to food.  If there is turkey, eat white meat.  If there is ham, cut off the fatty parts
- Encourage your family, loved ones, friends to join you in being active

I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season and remain safe and happy surrounded by the people that you love.  

Merry Christmas,

- Colin

Before starting any exercise, diet or health routine, first consult your physician to make sure that your body is healthy enough for physical activity.
 
Sorry for not writing for a while, being sick and not able to workout has drained some motivation, but back and renewed.  That got me thinking, all it takes it get it going.  That and a friend of mine asked me a little while ago, "When do you start training for an Ironman?"  I chuckled and said, "Years ago!"  If you are starting to workout or change your lifestyle, make it a lifestyle change.  All it takes is small steps.  Cut your dietary intake.  Start walking longer through parking lots.  Join a gym and find out if you like it.  The key is to start.  Once you start, it will steamroll and continue.  It is Fall.  The season brings change.  It brings change that you can put in your life!  Do something because as awesome as it sounds, it's never too late to start living a healthier lifestyle!

Five years ago I was a regular person who went to the gym on a regular basis.  A buddy of mine suggested doing a triathlon with him.  After minimal training, I competed and had the "worst time" by the clock, but the "best time" I've ever had in a triathlon.  On May 19th, I will be competing in Ironman Texas in the Woodlands, TX.  It all started because I found a passion and something that I believe in and enjoy.  The moral of the story, find something that you love and pursue it.  Good luck in any change for the better!

-Colin

Before starting any exercise, diet or health routine, first consult your physician to make sure that your body is healthy enough for physical activity.
 
If you are like me, if there are sports on tv, you are going to watch it.  Especially the Rangers and any football whatsoever.  It got me thinking, for me, watching a game is a workout in itself.  Jumping up and down, "awesome air kicks", and naturally yelling at the top of your lungs and dishing out high fives.  Good way to burn calories.  Here are a few other ways:

Do push-ups during commercial breaks
Do sit-ups during commercial breaks
During football games, do 15 jumping jacks every time each team gets a first down
Use the coffee table to do dips
Stretch during commercial breaks
Grab a couple decent sized books and do curls and shoulder raises after a team scores a touchdown/run

Add this to your sports watching routine this weekend or next time you are watching sports and see if you can make it the entire game!

Good luck!

-Colin

Before starting any exercise, diet or health routine, first consult your physician to make sure that your body is healthy enough for physical activity.
 
Since Fall is coming, granted it was 96 DEGREES WEDNESDAY, I have decided to see if you can pass the Fall Fitness Test.  Remember, to consult your doctor before any physical activity to make sure that you are healthy enough to participate.  Here you go:

20 jumping jacks
20 push-ups (knees on the floor is fine, but your nose must touch the ground!)
15 squats (weights optional but knees and rear must be at 90 degrees)
jump rope for 2 minutes (optional if you have one)
25 crunches (hands across your chest)
1 mile run/jog/walk

It is on a 100 point scale.  For everything accomplished you get 1 point.  On the 1 mile run/jog/walk subtract a point for every minute past 10 minutes it takes you to finish. 

CAN YOU PASS THE TEST???

- Colin