Making a Difference

What I did today....
Sep 12, 2011 by Dan McNeil

September 11 - The Nations Triathlon to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

I woke up at 4:30 and was pretty much ready to go. Patrick and I head out the door while it was still dark but warm enough not to need a jacket. I was had my time chip, my body marked and was setting up by 6:10. It was a little tricky finding everything in the dark but I managed. At one point I paniced when I thought I forgot my bike shoes but they were just on the ground.

By 7:20, I was in my wave group carrol. The sun was beautiful as it came up orange behind the Washington Monument. The Nations Anthem was beautiful too. By now I had bumped into David, Jhonny, and Dania. The rest of the race flowed like clockwork.

I hopped on my bike around 7:30 and had no problems. I started out around 20 miles an hour and maintained it throughout the race. I waved to my family at the start of the ride and the end. The only disconcerting parts were the points in the course where the road narrowed. Slow bike riders stuck to the right. Fast bike riders zoomed by on the left. Average bike riders were stuckk in the middle with me. A few times I thought I was going to be squeezed by traffic into my fellow middle riders. Fortunately there were no incidents. Approaching Georgetown, I came upon a participant who was being attended to by an ambulance. There were doing CPR when I passed. I pray he is well. I managed to drink some water and squeeze down a Gu. My knees ached some but I just stuck with my 20 mile per hour pace and entered transition an hour and 15 minutes later - a great time for me.

Running is still my favorite. It felt like I was starting slow but David was leaving transition just as I was coming in. My goal was to catch up with him. I passed my family leaving the transition area but they didn't see me. I caught up with David just before the Washington Monument. By then I was maintaining my 7.5 miles/minute pace which is fast for me. David told me to run and so I did. I just ran from one TNTer to the next all the way around Hains Point. I smiled the whole way and kept a 8 miles/minute pace all the way to the end. I even had a little kick left to see me to the finish line. The 10K took me just 48 minutes to complete. I received my finisher medal and was thrilled.

Within a few moments I saw my dad with sign in hand. Shortly thereafter Patrick took my picture with my mom. Patrick reminded me I need to sign out at the TNT tent. I think Tracy was the first to congratulate me. I then got more hugs from my sisters and the rest of my family. They couldn't be more proud of me. I met up with David as we got our official times. He had an amazing race. Brian finished the run in 41 minutes. Nancy was about half a minute faster than me. I also got to congratulate Jesse and Eric. I loved meeting so many good people this year and sharing the race with them.

Be a Part of My Team!
Jul 21, 2011 by Dan McNeil

Loree, Jennifer, Dan, and Natalie

Welcome to my Team In Training home page.

I am excited to be back. Last year, so many of you accompanied me on the amazing journey to train for and complete the Marine Corps Marathon. Family, friends, coworkers, and teammates encouraged me every step of the way from the first training run in May until Jennifer and Natalie literally crossed the finish line with me on the last Sunday in October. In between, your emails, words of encouragement, and financial support made a world of difference. And so I am ready to do it again. On September 11, 2011, I plan to complete my first triathlon, the Nations Triathlon to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I'm counting on you to join me.

All of us on Team In Training are raising funds to help stop leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives. This year I am swimming, cycling, and running in honor of all individuals who are battling blood cancers. These people are the real heroes on our team, and we need your support to cross the ultimate finish line - a cure!

Please make a donation to support my participation in Team In Training and help advance LLS's mission.

I hope you will visit my web site often. Be sure to check back frequently to see my progress. I promise you, this will be another exciting year!

Dan McNeil

Click here to see a short video clip of the 2010 Nation's Triathlon.

Summer Training Log
Sep 11, 2011 by Dan McNeil

September 10 - 1 Day until Nations Tri

Everything is coming together. Around 10 I round my bike from home to the transition area at East Potomac Park and racked my bike. Seeing bikes converge from every direction, TNT chapters in every color filled me with a sense of anticipation.

I walked from there to the Smithsonians where I met up with my parents, sisters, nephews and nieces, Patrick and Taniya for an afternoon of DC sights. We got home just in time to get ready for the Inspiration Dinner. The best part of the weekend has been sharing it with my family. The Inspiration Dinner was awesome from beginning to end. My sister Kim is a big fan of David Scott but it was the talk by the Leukemia survivor, TNT triathlon partcipant that moved me the most. He said to just do our best in each moment,

I left pretty pumped but early enough to get myself organized for the next day. All pressure was off with no swim. I had everything in my tri bucket by 10:30 with a few lists put together for the next day. I slept better than expected,

September 9 - 2 Days until Nations Tri

I was suppose to bike for 40 minutes today but didn't get on a bike until I headed to the Expo. I'm officially registered and excited to be part of Sunday. I saw Leslie, Peter, and a bunch of other teammates.

My parents arrived this afternoon. My sister are driving in. They are very excited as well about race day.

This evening Patrick and I went to the top fundraiser reception. It was a beautiful event on the roof of a building just a stone's throw from the Capital. The sun was out for the first time in 5 days. The food was great, the company was great too. Nancy talked me into signing up for the Lake Anna triathlon in three weeks on October 1. Tracy is talking me into helping CGI bring back the corporate team. All good stuff.

September 8 - Jaden's 17th Birthday

Another day of rain. It has rained heavily every day since Monday. Loree called off the buddy run. My ankles still ache some so I was glad to give them a rest. All this rain has effected the triathlon. There is so much debris in the river, it is unsafe to swim. The triathlon is now a biathlon. I'm disappointed but still plan on having a great race day. It took me a while to get to that place today.

Ironically, the part of my training schedule I stuck with today is the swim, not so much because I need if for Sunday but because swimming is still the best form of crosstraining. My legs felt better after the swim.

So I'm working on plan B. I still want to do a full a triathlon. One option is the Lake Anna triathlon on October 1. It is Olympic distance. The second is to do the Poconos Half Ironman. Eileen thinks I can do it. I'll wait and see what the coaches say.

We went to Tosca for Jaden's special day. He is growing up so fast. The four of us had an enjoyable time together.

September 7 - 4 Days until the Nations Triathlon

It was the last buddy ride at Hains Point. I met up with Sam, Lindsey, and Eileen. The rain held off until the very end although it is still good to get some experience biking in the rain.

My hip is a bit sore as well as my thighs. I went to Gracy's Wednesday evening yoga class to stretch everything. It all feels much better.

I got drenched walking home. I'm concerned the swim portion will be cancelled because of runoff in the river. That's beyond my control but I really hope I get to do the full triathlon.

September 6 - 5 Days until the Nations Triathlon

It looks like it will rain most of the day so I drove to my last 5:30 am team swim practice at the Lab School. It was an easy swim. I shared the lane with Melissa, Leslie, David, and Denise, all people who have become friends over this training season. Eric, Kara Grace, and John talked about the upcoming race at the end of practice. More new friends. I got nostalgic. 25 meters seems like a breeze after working out at Wilson's 50 meter pool. We've all come along way since we struggled the first Tuesday back in May. I was sad as I swam my last 200 meters. I learned a lot about swimming and myself at this pool.

It rained most of the day. After 5 I headed to Hains Point to run the race day course. I figured even if it rained it would be good since it could rain on Sunday. I ran from the new MLK Memorial, to the Washington Monument, along the usual bike buddy ride through Hains Point, and finished along the part of Ohio Drive that I ran for the Marine Corps Marathon as well as my very first 5K for the Maya Angelou Charter School. I enjoy the 6.2 miles and ran it in 54 minutes and 39 seconds which matches pretty much my race day goal. I'll be very happy if I can do 9 minutes miles or better.

It may rain all week but Sunday's forecast at this point is for scattered thunder showers. I may luck out and not bike iin the rain.

September 5 - Memorial Day

Again I didn't train but changed both tires on the road bike Kevin loaned me. This afternoon we played at North Beach and walked to both towers. Pace dodged waves and collected shells. It was the quintessental summer day. I didn't worry about not training too much. The key over the next few days is to stay strong and avaoid injuries.

September 4 - 7 Days until the Nations Triathlon

My ankle hurts slightly as a result of yesterday's 5k so I decided it was smartest not to push my luck by running another 5K today. Instead I changed Liane's flat tire with the supervision of several cyclists. I hope it is a skill I don't need on race day.

I didn't real train but played at the beach. It was the first time I was in the ocean all summer. The waves were huge and would clobber you if you didn't watch out. The water was warm enough. It was a magnificent beach day.

September 3 - 21st Last Blast Prediction 5K

I'm in Rehoboth for the Memorial Day weekend with my family, my sister Kathy's family and my sister Kim's kids, as well as my cousin Dug's family. The weather is awesome. This morning I ran the Prediction 5K, which Sherri told me about when I ran my last 5K in Rehoboth. Here's the race description:

  • Prediction Run Rules: No watches, GPS devices, measuring wheels, headsets, mile markers, splits, and luck involved! A digital clock will be at the finish showing the wrong time and a water stop between the start and the finish. Good Luck!

I guessed I would finish in 24 minutes but I wasn't very close. I finished in 23 minutes 11 seconds, which is a pace of 7 minutes 28 seconds. That is a great pace for me. Maybe I'll run another 5K tomorrow or wait until my triathlon for the next event.

Yo and I had a mini yoga class and took a dip in the pool before we all headed to the bay. In spite of the wind and waves several of us attempted the stand up paddle board. Pace was probably the best. Linda and Liane brought their kayaks so folks took turns on those as well. The kids played in the yellow raft. I tried it out but never figured out how to row it rather than spin it. We finished out out water sports by returning to the pool back at the Woods.

September 2 - 9 Days Until Nations Tri

Fridays have been recovery days all season long and today was no exception. A short article appeared in the Washington Blade today about my involvement with TNT. My inbox was flooded with so much positive feedback. I wish I had a way to package it up and pull it out during the race in just little over a week.

Here are a few of the good wishes I received.

  • You are a true inspiration! wishing you good luck in the next hurdle... you will succeed without a doubt! ~rita (yoga instructor)
  • You look fabulous!!! Way to go! I knew you were a superstar. Now you're allover the news paper for the entire country to see! What an inspiration! Keep it up! ~ Lesley (fellow teammate)
  • Something's wrong with the link. When I clicked it, there was a picture of a really young guy. ~Michael (world traveler)
  • Great article, really wonderful progress. Stay motivated and healthy. ~michael (nephew)
  • Congrats on the news coverage that is fabulous!!! so proud of you and all that you have accomplished this year. In a little over a week you will be completing your first olympic triathon--can't wait to cheer you on!! ~Carrie (swim coach)
  • You're absolutely gorgeous! What a fabulous article; you're now MY hero. ~Suzanne (family friend)
  • Is that really you? You look at least 10 years younger than when we started chatting. And those legs! You are a superstar now. Have a great race. ~Michael (high school friend)
  • That's a really good picture! God, you got muscles. Good article, too. ~Ellen (work colleague)
  • That is one awesome looking guy on one awesome looking road bike!!! Good luck, I am soooo proud of you!! Have a great day! ~Mileah (spinning instructor)
  • Go Dan!!! ~Tom (Jaden's godfather)

September 1 - 10 Days Until Nations Tri

I met up with Natalie and Loree for our much anticipated buddy run. It has been months since the three of ran together. The time flew by as we got caught up on each other's lives. I ran 5 or 6 miles. I hope to get an open water swim this evening at National Harbor. I have yet to swim in the Potomac.

I met up with Patrick after work and we went to National Harbor. I was already on the swim list so I didn't have to pay again. I met Laura who is training for her third triathlon with TNT. She helped zip me into my wet suit and I jumped into the water just after her. The water was warm. I didn't panic. I swam relaxed and did fine. The first 200 meters was a little hard but I kept on swimming. Before I knew it I had finished the first 400 meters and was well into the second loop. I knew I could finish without tiring myself. I swam 4 loops for a total of 1600 meters. It almost felt too easy. Patrick says I finished in 28 minutes. I hope I do this well on race day. I feel much more confident and am so glad I got to swim in the Potomac at least once before race day.

August 31 - 11 Days Until Nations Tri

It is a bike day. Sam and I rode together for the buddy ride at Hains Point. 12 miles is so much more enjoyable when I have someone to talk with. Weatherwise, this week is one of the nicest we've had in DC. I told Sam that between now and race day I want to run the actual course at Hains Point for the10K, kayak the Potomac to revisit the swim course, and drive the Clara Barton Parkway to check out the bike course. I would also like to get in one more open water swim. I'll just have to wait and see if I have time for each of these with a holiday weekend coming up. Overall, I feel strong and ready for a triathlon.

August 30 - 12 Days Until Nations Tri

The day didn't turn out as expected. I got up at 4:20 so I could bike to the Lab School for out team swim. I forgot that Patrick's bike is at the beach. Instead I hopped on a city bike as far as Georgetown and then ran little over a mile to the school. I arrived late but it didn't matter because the lifeguard never showed up. I caught a ride with Jesse and Ben to Wilson. I swam a full 45 minutes for 1600 meters. Then I biked home just in time to get metro cards for the kids. All that before 8 am.

In the middle of the day I did a phone interview with Joey for the Blade. The article should come out Friday. I'm not use to media attention. It is kinda fun.

Later Rocky and I ran 2 miles and I followed up with 4 more miles. It was a tough run for some reason but I'm glad my training is wrapping up. Next week is the taper so ijust have to stay strong and uninjured for the next 10 days.

August 29 - 13 Days Until Nations Tri

Today is the first day of school for Jaden and Taniya so I got up a bit earlier so I could finish my bike ride in time to be back home for the traditional first day of school photo. It was beautiful watching the sun come up while at Hains Point. I rode 18.5 miles in an hour and 20 minutes.

Later in the day I had my photo shoot. I met with Michael Key from the Blade near the Lincoln Memorial. He took pictures of me running, biking, and standing with my bike at the memorial. It was fun. I'm excited to see how the article turns out.

August 28 - 14 Days Until Nations Tri

Hurricane Irene brought lots of rain, a good deal of wind, but not too much damage. While walking Rocky this morning, I saw a tree that fell against a house but didn't seem to have damaged the house and a tree that fell on top of a car. We are fortunate, it could have been a lot worse. By afternoon, the sun came out and made afor an absolutely beautiful day.

I tried to get inn another open water swim at R2R but arrived to learn that the swim was cancelled. Instead I returned home and got Patrick to drive me to Wilson about 50 minutes before it closed, just enough time to get in 1500 or 1600 meters. After supper I did a Rocky run. I ran 2 miles with Rocky in 20 minutes. Then I ran 3.2 miles on my own for a total of 50 minutes. Less than two weeks to race day but I managed to get my full training in.

August 27 - 15 Days Until Nations Tri

Because of Hurricane Irene, the practice TNT Tri was moved from Kent Island to Chevy Chase. We skipped the swim part. I forgot my set suit. During the first transition, I put on my running shoes intead of my biking shoes. I couldn't help co. mparing today's ride with my first team ride a few months ago. I followed Kathy and deliberately rode slowly. Today I was much more about speed. I rode 14 miles in 49 minutes and 30 sec, which is a pace of 17 mph. I'm improving. Once again I headed out of T2 in the wrong direction but I ran well. I tracked Brian most of the run and consistently ran under 8 mile minutes. I ran 2.82 miles in 21 minutes at a pace of 7 min 29 seconds. Now if I can just maintain a relaxed swim on race day, I should finish pretty well.

After the Tri we got our tri suit, TNT shirt, tickets, itinerary, and essential info for race day. I'm getting excited.

August 26 - 16 Days Until Nations Tri

I've been faithful to recovery days although Patrick and I did hang out in the pool before heading back to DC. Hurricane Irene forced us to evacuate. The trip home was a piece of cake.

August 25 - 17 Days Until Nations Tri

Rocky and I joined Patrick and the kids in Rehoboth. Once I finished my work, Jaden and I ran around the two loops of the Woods at Seaside and them met up with Patrick at the pool. They then timed me as I swam non-stop for 30 minutes. I'm hoping I complete my swim in 33 minutes on race day.

My knee still aches from Tuesday's long run so I held off on today's run. Some extra time to recover should do it well.

August 24 - 18 Days Until Nations Tri

Another picture perefct morning in DC. I biked to Hains Point but never found my buddies. I did four loops in under an hour and covered just under 20 miles before arriving home. The kids and Patrick are in Rehoboth so it was just Rocky and me on the walk this morning. I'll catch up with all of them this afternoon.

I'm learning a few details about race day. My bib# is 2667. I'm in the 15th wave group and will wear a navy swim cap. The first 18 groups enter the water between 7:00 and 7:45. That means I'll start somewhere between 7:30 and 7:45.

August 23 - 19 Days Until Nations Tri

It turned out to be a rather beautiful but odd day. I didn't have time to work out before Jaden's back to school conference so I went to an early weight watchers meeting. I have to weigh in once a month to keep my lifetime mebership. I was pretty much at my goal weight. Although I've weighed consistently in the 160's for the past year Iwould like to think that I'm more fit. I hope training for a triathlon has given me some muscle.

In the middle of the day, DC experienced an eartquake. It measured 5.9 on the Richter scale and the epicenter was near Richmond, VA. As a result, the GSA was closed. The Washington Monument was closed, and I would later discover the East Potomac Pool at Hains Point was closed.

I decided to try out the East Potomac Pool. Downtown DC was a gridlock nightmare. It was kind of fun to cruise through streets of cars to Hains Point. Since the pool was closed, I biked to the Washington Sports Club in Columbia Heights. I'm guessing I biked 7 or 8 miles. It took about an hour. I arrived at the pool at 6:10. I did an abbreviated workout. Instead of za 400 meter warm up, I swam 300 meters. I swam two 600 meter sets rather than three and skipped the warm down altogether. Nevertheless I swam at leats 45 minutes and covered 1500 meters (race day distance). Ideally I would like to swim that in 33 minues but I could live with 44 minutes if I stayed relaxed throughout the swim. I biked home and arrived at 7:10. I thought I would run with DC Front Runners but realized too late they started their run at 7:00 and not 7:30. Rocky lucked out. He and I ran a 5K in about a half hour. I dropped him off back home and ran 5 more miles for a total time of 85 minutes, just like the training schedule dictated.

Between biking, swimming, and running, I was active for about 3 and a half hours. That's the amount of time it will take me to complete the Nations Triathlon so I would say I'm in pretty good shape.

August 22 - 20 Days Until Nations Tri

The days are getting shorter. It was still dark when I rode to Hains Point this morning. I found going 14th St is a bit quicker than 15th St. I don't think I passed any other bikes until the second loop. I finished two more before heading home. I think I'm getting faster. I covered 12 miles in 50 minutes whereas I think It typically would take me closer to an hour to cover the same distance. I biked over 20 miles in 90 minutes where 6 miles was through the city. I still think it will take me about 90 minutes to do 25 miles on race day.

Patrick is in CT for a funeral today so I finished out the morning by taking Rocky for a walk. This is the last week of summer vacation for the kids, school starts a week from Monday.

August 21 - 21 Days Until Nations Tri

I ran in the morning with Rocky. The training schedule called for a hill run so we ran up the hill on 13th along Cardozo, over to Meridan Hill, down the hill on 16th St, up through the park, down through the park, over to Georgia Ave, to S St, and back home for a total of 4.5 miles in 50 minutes.

This afternoon I caught up with Eric for open swim practice at Millsbrook Quarry. Christina and Kara-Grace rode along as well. It looked like thunder and lightening were going to interfere with this practice as well but the skies cleared and in turned into a great swim. Kathy, Nancy, Jacquie, and Denise were all there. I met Bill, James, Kay, Kara and a few other folks as well. Mary, who volunteered at Nations Tri last year was also there. I did three 600 meter loops, staying focused and relaxed. The first loop was the toughest. I felt like I sighted better. On the third loop we started in as a bunch to simulate race day. I swam with people the whole loop and didn't rest at each turn. It felt like my strongest loop although some more practice couldn't hurt.

On the way home most of the gang stopped at IHOP. Chocolate milk and pancakes hit the spot. I enjoyed the social aspect of it all although I feel somewhat tired now.

August 20 - 22 Days Until Nations Tri

Melissa joined me at 5:50am and we drove to Poolsville, MD for an excellent bike ride and run. Before we rode we got all sorts of good advice about transitions. I'll stick with my 5 gallon bucket, get a race belt, tape goo to my handle bars, pin goo to my race belt. Skip the Pam, skip the sun tan lotion. Practice changing a tire. I biked with Peter. He did Nations last year, lost a 100 lbs, and ran a couple tris in between. We covered 25 miles in 90 minutes. I suspect that will pretty much be my pace on race day. Today was a brick workout. The 90 minute ride was followed by a 40 minute run. I ran with Jesse. He did MCM last year but this is his first tri. He was a fast and entertaining running companion. We covered 5 miles in 40 minutes or 8 minute miles. That will probably be my pace on race day as well.

Next week we do a practice tri. Maybe I'll organize my own mini-tri at Hains Point before then. Tomorrow I might do an open swim at the quarry. I just need to get my swim down better and I'll be ready for an olympic tri. Race day is just three weeks away. I'm getting close to being as ready as I'll ever be.

Kathi McNeil sand the praises of the Lake Tahoe Century Ride. Maybe. Patrick and I took a bike ride from home, past the White House, past Treasury, to the Mall, past the WWII Memorial and back home again. It is the slow start of our bike training together. DC is such a great city to live in.

August 19 - 23 Days Until Nations Tri

Today is a rest and recovery day. I'm considering my options. Patrick and I went to see Race to the End of the Earth at the National Geographic Explorer's Hall. It was about the first journeys to the South Pole, which is indirectly related to running. Karen, my former Marine Corps Marathon Teammate met her husband in Antarctica. She told us the story of their early romance during the last training run before MCM. And Gregory ran a marathon in Antarctica to complete his marathons on every continent.

August 18 - 24 Days Until Nations Tri

Loree and I enjoyed our usual Thursday morning run. Loree has turned out to by my main running support. I think I've logged more miles with her this season than anyone else (except possibly Rocky.) I followed up the run with a swim workout at the Washington Sports Club in Columbia Heights. McKane was working out one lane over. Today's workout include a 400 meter warm up, a 500 meter set where each 100 meters got progressively faster, a 600 meter set where I focused on kicking to increase my speed, a 500 meter set where I worked on sighting on the odd laps, and finally a 400 meter cool down for a total of 2,400 meters. This is the first time I swam a mile and a half. I'm training hard these days.

I hope the weather cooperates so I can do an open swim clinic at National Harbor this evening. Thunder and lightening prevented us from swimming. Instead Lesley, Eric, Patrick and I had dinner at Rosa Mexicana, not quite triathlon training but most enjoyable.

August 17 - 25 Days Until Nations Tri

The weather was perfect for the bike ride at Hains Point. Dania and Samantha were joined by Eileen and Denise. I went for more of a social ride than a workout. I enjoyed conversing more with my teammates rather than focusing on my speed. An hour and 40 minutes later I was home again having covered 20 miles. That was pretty similar to Monday's bike ride where I did pay attention to speed. If I basically go the same speed then maybe I should concentrate on enjoying the ride.

August 16 - 26 Days Until Nations Tri

I was a bit hesitant about swimming today. I wondered if I would freeze up like I did on Sunday. I didn't. I was relieved it was a typical practice. I learned a few things. I am still capable of swimming a mile. I have the ability to complete the swim portion of the triathlon. It almost doesn't matter how I swim as long as I complete it. At Luray, Hilary, the fastest overall woman finished her swim in 11 minutes. I finished mine in 22 minutes. So even if I swam my best freestyle for the entire time, it won't make more than a 5 or 10 minutes difference. I need to swim at a relaxed pace to maximize my energy. In the worst case, even if I do the breast stroke for a large portion of the swim, it still won't make a huge difference in my time. I think I also get nervous when I don't know where I am in the water. If I improve my sighting skills, I wouldn't be as anxious about this part. I hope I can get to an Open Swim at National Harbor this Thursday. I can also practice in Mary's pond while at the Cape next week.

I followed this mornings swim with 80 minutes of running. I ran the first mile with Melissa and the next three miles to meet Jaden and Taniya just as they were leaving for work at 8am. Then Rocky and I ran together for 3 miles. I ran the last mile on my own for a total of 8 miles.

I'm glad I did the tri on Sunday. I learned I can improve in every area as long as I train my best over the few weeks.

I ended the day with a yoga class. I always like the benefit of stretching in a yoga class on days that I run. Steve always offers a challenging class and today was no exception. I was pretty wiped by the end of class.

August 15 - 27 Days Until Nations Tri

I was still a bit tired after yesterday's tri but I got up at 5:30 and was biking to Hains Point by 6:00 am. I biked 20 minutes to Hains Point. I did 4 laps for 12 miles and then biked home for a total of 22 miles. The most enjoyable part of the ride was the second half when I just happened to meet up with Eric. Conversation helped take my mind off my sore rear end. I was glad I endured an hour and 40 minutes the day after a race. I pushed a bit harder so I'll be faster for next month's event.

August 14 - Luray Sprint Triathlon

I checked my alarm clock at least two or three times during the early morning hours. I almost cried when I couldn't adjust the front tire. Patrick helped me but it showed me I was feeling stressed. We got to the race site about an hour a head of time. I got body marked, strapped on my timing chip, figured out I could use my wet suit, set up my transition area, met up with Carrie and Jhonny, all in time to be in the starting area at 7:45. The predicted thundershowers and rain never materialized. It was a beautiful day for a race.

Green caps (men 40 and under) plunged into the water first. Jhonny was part of that group. I was a red cap (men 40 - 49) and we entered the water next. I was unprepared for what came next. I thought I was relaxed but my whole chest seized up and I struggled to breathe the entire time I was in the water. I tried my freestyle to the first yellow marker but half way there and I was mostly doing breaststroke to keep my head out of the water of I could breathe. I met up with Jhonny half way to the second yellow marker. Again I was doing more breast stroke than freestyle. I knew I wasn't going to drowned but I felt like I was going so slow. I was concerned about finishing in 40 minutes or else being disqualified. By the time I made the second turn and was heading to the finish, I hoped I would finally settle into my stroke. Instead I just realized how tired I was getting. I flipped onto my back a few times but veered off course and felt like I would never get to the finish. Finally my feet touched bottom about 25 feet from shore. I wanted to swim in but mostly just waded, happy to be finished, concerned too much of my strength had been zapped.

It was good to see Patrick, Jaden, and Taniya as I headed up the stairs. Part of me was frustrated but another part of me was glad I had just worked through the hardest part and made it to the finish. I took my time in the transition area, mostly so I could catch my breath. 5 minutes I was on my bike. It didn't feel like I was going very fast but within a few minutes I was settling in and realized the swimming was behind me and I indeed had strength for the bike. My front wheel seemed to be making an odd noise. I was concerned it was going flat. I actually stopped and satisfied myself that it was okay. At that point I just pushed ahead. The terrain was similar to what I had ridden with David the day before. I downshifted on hills and was able to tackle all of them. I got up to 27 or 30 miles per hour going downhill and frequently in the 20s on the flat part. By now I was totally enjoying the bike ride. Fellow riders were friendly. All but the last hill was tolerable - I stayed onmy bike the whole time. I was Lloyd, my TI swim coach in the final stretch. An hour and 8 minutes later I was finished. I saw Patrick, Jaden, and Taniya at the entrance to the transition area.

My second transition was faster although I started going in the wrong direction. Jhonny waited for me and redirected me. I remembered Carrie's words that running is my strength. I ran the first quarter mile with Jhonny and then was off on my own. The first mile or so I averaged 7.5 minute miles, the second mile was probaly 8.5, and the last mile was 9.5 or 10. I yelled lots of "Go Teams." The hill at mile 2.5 was the toughest. I knew if I slowed down to walk it, I wouldn't run again so I pushed through. About that point, I met up with Heather, the woman who encouraged me with Renato at the Splash and Dash in June to sign up for this race. Heather and I ran together a bit but then I ran ahead. I had a big smile on my face at the final turn. Heather passed me a few seconds before the finish line but I came in at 2 hours, 4 minutes, and 55 seconds, very pleased that I had just completed my first triathlon.

Patrick, Jaden, and Taniya were waiting to congratulate me. I later discover my swim took 22 minutes, one of the slower times but way under 40 minutes. Within 5 minutes, I felt great and was beaming from ear to ear. This race took about as long as my half marathon in Philadelphia (2 hours and 2 minutes) the summer before, but the physical toll was much less. This evening I even went to Rod's yoga class to strech everything out. I feel really good and proud of the fact that I finished the race.

August 13 - 28 Days Until Nations Tri

I had a great team bike ride in Greebelt. We went up and down hills through dairy farms. David pushed me to pedal harder than I have in the past, plus he gave me lots of points about reading the road, downshifting on hills and before stop signs, positions for speed, etc. I rode 17 miles in an hour and a minutes. Then we ran for 15 minutes at 8 or 9 minute miles. Coach Stephen gave us lots of info on the rules around triathlons which proved to be very timely info for me.

Once home, I walked to my local bike shop for spare inner tubes and cannister and then to my local running stop for Nuun. How cool is that, both are within walking distance of my house. I packed my paint bucket with googles, tri shorts, swimming cap, flip flops, body glide, wet suit, bike jersey, sun glasses, helmet, spare inner tube, cannisters, bike gloves, bike shoes, socks, baby powder, running shoes, TNT cap, water bottles, nuun, gu, bike, USAT membership card, race registration, and a bunch more stuff. It tale a lot to do a triathlon.

We got Taniya from her cousins' and drove two hours to Luray. I picked up my race packet, we ate at Uncle Buck's, and turned in a bit early. I knew I would toss and turn most of the night.

August 12 - 29 Days Until Nations Tri

Friday is a rest and recovery day and I was tired after three days of cooking and an evening of entertaining. I sent Patrick into work with cupcakes, 7 layer cookies, and golden cake for St. Elizabeth's. I delivered cookies personally to Kate, Danielle, and Buddie, and then shared the rest with my co-workers. I ate cookies all day long. I got lots of positive feedback from the folks who came to our house the evening before. I never made it to the pool for the swim I missed on Thursday.

August 11 - 2nd Annual Dessert Tasting Thank You

I knew I would be consumed with baking all day so I'm glad I took time to run with Loree. I ran a total of 5.5 miles and enjoyed a beautiful morning. I never made the time to swim but I knew it wasn't very likely.

I shopped for more ingredients. By lunch I had pretty much finished the cheesecake, German chocolate cake, the blueberry pie, and the apple pie. Then things atrted going downhill. I scorched the butterscotch chips so the butterscotch chow mein noodles were thrown out. I never found the pizzelle maker and concluded it must be at the beach. Initially I wasn't happy with the splint second raspberry bars but changed me mind once I tasted them. I ran to the stroe for more ingredients and cranked out three more dessets before Patrick arrived home - Ellen's caramel cake, brownies, and yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting. All in all, I was satisfied with my baking.

Then the true fun began. Rita and her friend Allison arrived, followed by Zach and Andrew, Tracy and David, Lisa and Loree, and more and more. Soon the house was filled with teammates, Patrick's coworkers, friends, family, and neighbors. Three hours flew by. Stories were shared. Pies were polished off. It was a great evening. All is good in my world.

August 10 - 31 Days Until Nations Tri

Last night I baked ginger cookies and made the batter for chocolate chip cookies when my oven stopped working. It started again this morning so I baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies before my weekly 20 mile bike ride at Hains Point with Dania and Sam. Now the chocolate chip cookies are done and the 7 layer cookies are in the oven. I'll bake some more after work.

Donations from Buddy, Meg, and Anne helped me reach my $5,000 fundraising goal. That gives me every confidence I will reach my training goal as well.

August 9 - 32 Days Until Nations Tri

This morning we switched from the Lab School to Wilson for swim practice. I started out in the 2-3 level lane but was one of the slower swimmers. I crossed over to the 1-2 level lane and was one of the faster swimmers. Next we I'll challenge myself and go back to the 2-3 level lane. I swam a mile comfortably.

After the swim I put on my running shoes. The first five miles was past the National Cathedral, down Embassy Row, to California Ave, to T St, and stopped home long enough to pick up Rocky. We ran the next 15 minutes together and then I ran 15 minutes on my one for a total of 7 miles in and hour and 7 minutes. That means I swam a mile and ran 7 miles. I completed two thirds of a triathlon in under 2 hours. I still had energy and could have hopped on a bike if I wanted to. I'm not certain I could have rode and hour and a half but I bet I could have done at least 10 miles. I'm a month out from the Nation's Tri and almost strong enough to do the whole thing.

I conducted a cookie survey today to prepare for Thursday's Dessert Tasting. I got a great response. Folks like thinking about cookies.

August 8 - 33 Days Until Nations Tri

Monday mornings mean a solo bike ride at Hains Point. It was a beautiful morning with no technical issues, no flats, etc. I did 4 loops (12 miles plus 7 miles for the roundtrip from home). One side of Hains Point is easy and the side with the wind is hard. I have to work to get past 14 or 15 miles per hour. I rode pretty close to the distance I'll cover in Luray on Sunday. I am ready to swim 750 meters, bike 17 miles, and run a 5K.

My fundraising is going great. I'm just a few hundred dollars from my goal. My Dessert Tasting ij just days away. Today I'll add up the guest list, finalize recipes, put together a shopping list, and maybe start baking cookies tonight.

I didn't start baking but Patrick and I did a Cosco run. I'm now well supplied in sugar, butter, eggs, milk, vanilla, chocolate chips, nuts, strawberries, blueberries, lemons, plates, and napkins. Let the baking begin!

August 7 - 34 Days Until Nations Tri

I started the day with a Rocky run. We headed west on T, winding over to Mass. Ave, following Mass. Ave to Rhode Island Ave to 13th St. and then home. Basically we ran a 5K in 45 minutes. Rocky loved it.

This afternoon I went to Millbrook Quarry near Haymarket, VA for our team open swim. I was apprehensive at first. I buddied up with Melissa and Gina. The water was warm but clear. I needed to improve my sighting skills but had no problem swimming 800 meters to complete a loop. It was enjoyable. My second loop went even better. I now I'm capable of swimming the distance for next week's sprint triathlon as well as the 1500 meters for the Nations Tri. Even after completing 1600 meters, I could have hopped on a bike and kept going. It didn't take everything out of me.

I really am going to be ready to do this on September 11, 2011 and that is a pretty good feeling.

I love when I end the weekend with Rod's yoga class. Working my whole body for an hour and a half means I eventually get to stretch out everything that is tight for a week of tri training. Tonight I sweated like a pig so I was so ready for savasana. Today was a sensory reflection. The rubber of my yoga mat felt like the inside of my wet suit. I had the image of cocooning myself in my yoga mat as I wear my wet suit. I started my fitness journey on a yoga mat. I bring all of it with me into my swim. While swimming today in the cloudy blue of the quarry felt like I was back in utero. Swimming in deep water connects me back to the place from which I came. How can I been afraid when the experience takes me back to health awakening and life giving moments.

August 6 - 35 Days Until Nations Tri

We returned to Beach Drive in Rock Creek for our team training. When I first went a month ago, I was so anxious about the biking portion of the tri. Today I was way more relaxed and eager to ride. I started out riding with Jacquie until I go a flat. Jacquie started me off on changing it but Liz saw me through. I'm glad for the experience. The rest of the ride went well. I rode for about an hour more and went about 20 miles. I've always enjoyed riding a bike. My triathlon experience should just add to that.

August 5 - 36 Days Until Nations Tri

Rest and recovery day. I thought about making up my missed swimming session from Thursday, trying to schedule a massage, or going to yoga but I did none of those things. Instead I went to the Bicycle Film Festival and saw a series of short films. There is a whole biking sub-culture of which I've only scratched the surface. I hope to get a little more into into with community bike rides, bike tours, and maybe even a race or two.

August 4 - 37 Days Until Nations Tri

My dessert tasting is exactly a week away. I'm getting a great response. I bet 20 or 30 people have already indicated they will be coming.

Loree and I repeated last week's 6 mile run but today was so much harder. Last week was a great morning for running. This morning was difficult. The humidity is 80%. It felt like running in soup.

Now I just have to figure out the best time to swim today. It didn't happen so now I have to decide if I swim on my rest day.

August 3 - 38 Days Until Nations Tri

I knew Sam and Dania wouldn't make this morning's buddy ride at Hains Point but I hoped I would run into Lindsey and McKane. I rode solo. I was going to go 4 loops but stopped at 3 because the wind was kicking up and I had already biked for an hour. I can easily maintain 13-14 miles per hour but have to work to keep a pace of 16 or 17 miles per hour. I'll have to work hard to keep a pace of 20 miles per hour as an average.

I went to yoga with Gracy in the evening. The Bloomingdale studio has moved to a new spot. Typically I'm eager for yoga class but this evening, not so much. Gracy is a great teacher so it was definitely worth the effort.

Lisa stopped by and confirmed my wet suit is the correct size for me. I may ended up doing a bike workout with her soon.

August 2 - 39 Days Until Nations Tri

Kendra, Melissa, and I were at the Lab School by 5:30 am but the lifeguard never appeared so practice was cancelled. All was not lost. Melissa and I got our wet suits. I tried it on when I got home. It is tighter than I expected. I'll try it on for Lisa, my neighbor, so she can tell me if it fits properly.

The three of us salvaged the morning by heading to the pool at Marie Reed. It was nicer than I thought it would be based on the Yelp reviews I've read in the past. It is nice to know there is a public pool in my own neighborhood. I'll try to get Patrick to swim with me. I swam 1500 meters so it was a good work out. And then I walked home.

In the afternoon I headed to the National Arboretum for a bike ride. I got there about 4:15 and it close at 5:00 so I rode for little over a half hour instead of the hour my trainig schedule says I'm suppose to do. It was a great place to ride but hills are way harder to climb than I imagined. I go up hill around 8 to 12 miles per hour. On the flats, I can pedal between 16 and 20 miles an hour. Downhill I go about 24 miles an hour. I wonder if the goal is to keep a steady pace throughout. Tomorrow I bike on my own at Hains Point. Hopefully on Wednesday I'll get the full hour bike ride in.

August 1 - 40 Days Until Nations Tri

I was suppose to bike for an hour today but I wasn't certain how to clean my chain from Saturday's dust. Lisa told me not to worry about it and to oil the chain. I'll do that tomorrow and bike for an hour in the evening.

This evening I ran for an hour instead. Rocky joined me for the first half. I ran almost 6 miles in 60 minutes.


Kathy, my neighbor in DE, sent me a link about her friends who biked all around the world in two and a half year. Biking seems like an awesome way to discover the world. I want to plan a winter bike week to someplace warm as a way to begin our preparation for our 2012 Century Ride

Tomorrow I will swim and bike.

July 31 - 41 Days Until Nations Tri

It is a little trickier to follow my training schedule at the beach. Today is a swim and run day. Patrick and I went with Joe to the bay. The water is always warm there and I try to get more comfortable in open water. I waded out maybe 500 meters and swam all the way back to Patrick and Joe. I still have to learn to sight better and I don't like swallowing salt water but I'm way better than just a month ago.

Maybe the best part of the day was meeting Chris and Anne. They were paddle boarding in the bay. Out of curiosity I asked them how long it takes to learn. Right then and there, Chris gave me my first lesson. I was up in about five minutes. I can't wait to do it some more. Patrick tried as well.

I ran with Rocky once we were back in DC. We ran 5 miles in about 50 minutes. I was glad to have my Garmin once again.

July 30 - 42 Days Until Nations Tri

This was the first group training I went to in a month. It almost didn't happen because Jhonny's car got towed. I ended picking up Eric and meeting Jhonny at Cosco. From there we all went together to the Prince William National Forest in Triangle, Virginia. It is a beautiful place. I met Nancy Jones, who is the top fundraiser for our team. She is a strong runner and a mom of 13, 11, and 9 year olds. Her life has been touched by too many moms with cancer. I started out riding my bike with her. The gravel road was really bad but the rest of the route was great. I road most of it with Paul. He told me all about bike tours. He encouraged me to ride fast and hard. I biked the 8 mile loop twice and surprised even myself how much I enjoyed the hills. I'm encouraged I might become a cyclist afterall.

The 70 minute bike ride was followed by a 40 minute run. I ran with David, Nancy, Linsey, and Denise. I still like running the best.

July 29 - 43 Days Until Nations Tri

The days are winding down. I'm getting a bit anxious. I debated all day long if I was going to swim. I was tempted to try out my newly fitted bike. I'm curious about my pace and cadence. I'm counting on the computer to give me the data I need to understand how slow or fast I really am on a bike. In the end, I stuck to Friday as a recovery day. Nothing is injured but ankles, knees, and ass ached more than ever this week from being pushed harder than they've been in awhile. Resting is probably what mu body needed most.

I found my Garmin Forerunner 305 at long last. I've missed it. I'm looking forward to using it while on the bike.

I sent out a new update. The theme this week was community. I'm basically an introvert but training pushes me to be more social. That is a good thing for me.

July 28 - 44 Days Until Nations Tri

Loree and I did a 6 or 7 mile loop for this morning's buddy run. It was one ofthe best mornings we've had in a long time for an early morning run. I probably ran closer to 8 miles by the time I got home.

I still need to swim today. I'm not certain when I'll get that in since I also have a bike fitting today.

I'm thinking I want to meet with a nutrionist to figure out if my vegetarian diet includes everything I need, especially when I'm in the middle of training.

I totally enjoyed my fitting. Before I even got on the bike, they fixed the gears. Milton adjusted the seat to my height. He leveled out the set. He encouraged me to get a new pair of bike shoes. He adjusted the shoes to the pedals to position my knee correctly. He adjusted the seat again. He turned the stem and repositioned the handle bars. My shoulders measure 42 cm. The handle bars measure 44 cm. At some point I may want narrower handle bars. Milton was real pleased by the time we were done. Eric put on a reflector. John retaped the handlebars from white to red, attached a light and a computer. 2.5 hours later I was done and the bike literally fits me like a glove. I can't wait to give it a spin.

July 27 - 45 Days Until Nations Tri

Wednesday morning means 6 am buddy ride at Hains Point. I rode with Dania and Sam. They've done the Nations Tri in the pasrt and assure me it is a good event for spectators. I'm feeling more comfortable with my bike. We did 4 loops (12 miles) this morning so I rode about 18 miles when I add on the trip to and from home.

Tomorrow I get my final bike fitting and hopefully they can fix my gears as well. I want a bike computer so I can start figuring out how fast I need to be riding.

July 26 - 46 Days Until Nations Tri

I'm used to getting up at 5:00 or 5:30 for early monrning runs, bike rides, or spinning class but 4:20 am for swimming is still a tough time to get up. This week our car pool was just Kendra, Catherine, and me.

Today's swim workout - Level 2

  • Warm Up
  • Set 1
  • 50 meter kick, 50 meter drill, 50 meter Tarzan, 50 meter non-free, rest 15 seconds and repeat
  • Set 2
  • 100 meters descending rpe 6, 15 sec rest
  • 100 meters descending rpe 7, 15 sec rest
  • 200 meters rpe 5, 15 sec rest, repeat 4 times although I only had time for 2.5 reps.

Tarzan is swimming with your eyes above water to help with sighting. I'm glad I can fall back on this is sighting feels too complicated.

Kendra and Catherine came back to my home for French toast. Patrick baked it, made bacon and sausage, put out juice, and took care of Rocky all before we arrived at 7:00. Kendra said she wishes she had a Patrick. I've very fortunate to have a Patrick of my own.

The humidity has subsided. I can't wait to run today.

First I went to Steve's Astanga Flow Yoga class. Its been a long time since I worked that hard in a yoga class. He stretched everything. I don't think I've ever done so much in one class.

At 8:45 Rocky and I got are run in. We ran 35 minutes and covered 3 miles. Not a bad way to finish out the day. Earlier when walking upstairs my knee kinda popped. I was concerned I had messed it up but it held up fine through yoga and running. I'll keep an eye on it but it seems like it will be okay.

July 25 - 47 Days Until Nations Tri

I biked at Hains Point. I did three loops. A fellow cyclist pointed out that my cable was rubbing against my chain. I need to return to the bike shop for my final fitting and to get this looked at. I don't the gear shift is working corretly. It feels like I'm always in the same middle gear.

I found the Lost Dog 5K series in Arlington. It is every Friday evening in August for teams of dogs and humans. I think Rocky and I would make quite the team.

We finally got a bit of a break in the weather. I felt like I bottled up energy the past few days because of the heat. Today I tried to make up for it. Maybe I did a bit too much.

This afternoon I ran with Rocky. We ran 2.8 miles in less than a half hour. I pretended we were training for the Lost Dog 5K. Rocky was ready for more. I went to the website and learned it was sold out. I'll still do my speed work with Rocky although it is probably good not at add more races to my training schedule.

In the evening I took a spinning class since I didn't accomplish as much as I wanted on the bike ride this morning. It was a good spinning class. I turned it into a bit of a brick workout by running home the 1.8 miles or so from the WSC to home.

July 24 - 48 Days Until Nations Tri

So much for plans. Rocky woke me up just before 6 so I decided to head to Hains Point for a bike workout. My bike shoe came apart at 15th and Mass Ave so I turned around and went home. I swapped out my bike shoes with running shoes and headed out the door again but with Rocky this time. We went up 13th to Harward, to Columbia, through Adams Morgan, to Conneticut, and back home via S St. That was a 40 minute run but I didn't want to keep Rocky out any longer in the heat. I dropped him off and ran 20 more minutes to finish off the hour. I ran 5 miles.

I intend to super glue my bike show but I think I already missed my window of opportunity to train outside today. I'll bike tomorrow at Hains Point as usual.

I could swim again but since I swam yesterday, I probably did enough.

I'm looking ahead to the Luray Sprint Triathlon in three weeks. I looked at the median times from 2010 for men overall and for men 45-49 to set my own goals. Here's what I came up with:

750 meter swim - 17:30

T1 - 2:40

17 mile bike - 58:30

T2 - 1:28

5K run - 26:00

July 23 - 49 Days Until Nations Tri

The hot weather continues. Because of the extreme heat advisory, our group workout was cancelled. I think I was to bike 90 minutes and then run 40 minutes. Instead I'm doing everything indoors today. I took a super spin class at Washington Sports Club, which means it was a 60 minute class versus a 45 minute class. I generated over 200 Watts according to the bike meter which is double a typical spinning class for me. I then jumped in the club's pool and swam for about 45 minutes for more than a 1000 meters. Not a bad substitute.

I reserved two rooms for the Luray Sprint Triathlon in August. It should be a fun weekend. We'll check out Luray Caverns on Saturday and I'll race on Sunday.

July 22 - 50 Days Until Nations Tri

Knowing I'm 50 days out from the race gives me a slight feeling of panic. All my training is falling into place but I still have work to do between now, especially on the bike.

Today is a rest and recovery day. With another day of soaring temperatures, I don't mind in the least staying inside with the AC.

I'm not typically a happy hour goer but today was a great day to meet up with running buddies Jennifer and Meredith. I truly enjoyed myself the little bit of time I spent with them at Oya.

July 21 - 51 Days Until Nations Tri

These are sweltering days in DC. Although Loree and I started our run at 6:15 it already felt like we were wading through a sauna. In spite of the heat and humidity, we did our usual loop through the zoo and I ran a total of 5 miles or so.

This evening I hope to swim at Francis with Katie.

Swim Workout - Level 2

Warm-up 5 Min

Set 1 5 X 100

25 Catch-Up Drill

25 Free

25 Fist Drill

25 Free

Rest Interval is 15 Sec

Set 2 12 X 100 Freestyle

Descend by 100's 1-4, 5-8 & 9-12

From RPE 4 to RPE 7

Cool-down 5 min

I did the full work out although I didn't like swimming fast. Everything takes so mucg effort in this humidity but I'm always pleased once I've finished.

Rest Interval is 15 Sec

Warm Down

July 20 - 52 Days Until Nations Tri

I joined Dania, Liz, and Sam for a 6 am TNT Buddy Bike Ride at Hains Point. It was good to get some instruction on how to shift my gears. I enjoyed the company on the ride and rode little over 20 miles including the part to and from my house. Dania gave me a good swimming tip. To avoid the swimming fray of a triathlon, wait 10 seconds after the starting signals to avoid the chaos. Sounds good to me.

I went to Stephanie's 12:15 yoga class. She is a great instructor. With all the intense training these days, everything feels a bit tight. I bet I stretched more deeply than I ever have.

July 19 - 53 Days Until Nations Tri

I packed my gym bag and got myself all ready for swimming last night but then set the alarm for 5:20 instead of 4:20. I wanted to show the coaches how I've improved so I was bummed to miss practice this morning. Instead Rocky and I ran to the Mall and back. And then I ran 20 more minutes of my own for a total of 70 minutes and 7 miles. Hopefully I'll swim on my own this afternoon. (See WRR article on running with dogs)

I swam from 5:00 to 5:45 at Wilson. I covered 1500 meters and for the first time, the 50 meter pool didn't do me in. While swimming in the "medium" lane, Cindy introduced herself to me and asked if I was with Team in Training. She did a tri with TNT in Las Angeles. It is always good to connect over TNT. And I'm glad I worked both running and swimming into today's schedule.

July 18 - 54 Days Until Nations Tri

It was hard to get up this morning; nevertheless, Patrick, Rocky, and I drive to Hains Point by 6:30 am. I bike three loops while Rocky and Patrick walked. I wore my new Las Vegas bike shirt, sun glasses, and gloves. At least I look the part.

July 17 - 55 Days Until Nations Tri

Everyone was pretty beat by the time we arrived home around 10 am. After a good nap I was ready to transition back to the normal routines. Rocky and I did our usual almost 4 miles around the reservoir. He was so happy to run again and so was I. I then went to a 6:30 yoga class. Lauren substituted for Rod. It was a good class. Finally Patrick and I resumed our evening walk with Rocky. It is always nice to sleep in one's bed after a week's vacation.

I registered for the Chocolate 15K in December at the National Harbor.

I'm trying to figure out if I can do the Camp Rehoboth 5K when my niece Kassie is visiting the beach. It is the day after the TNT mini tri but I bet I can do a 5K.

July 16 - 56 Days Until Nations Tri

This is our last dya in Las Vegas. In a little bit, I'll go to the fitness club for a final coached swim session with Nathasha. Tasha suggested I swim with fins to help improve my stroke. She also told me to use my legs but keep my core tight and let my ankles come to the surface. I'm glad I was able to have another session with her. I'm a much more confident swimmer these days although I realize I can work harder to get faster. My friend Linda sent me a link on how to complete a flip turn when doing laps. I'll work on that when I'm back in DC. I also ordered my wetsuit. Lisa, my neighbor, recommended a full suit for one's first triathlon for maximum buoyancy. I took her advice.

In the afternoon we hiked at Mount Charleston among al alpine forest. It was beautiful and the mountain breezes felt so great after the heat of the desert.

Before we left I tried my luck at one of the Casinos. It didn't take long to burn through the little bit I was willing to lose, Needless to say, I didn't make anything to share with LLS.

I'm at the airport waiting to return home on the red eye. It was a wonderful family vacaction.

July 15 - 57 Days Until Nations Tri

Yesterday I ate so much trail mix, drank so much water, and generally stuffed myself as if I had to prepare for survival in the desert rather than riding an air conditioned bus to the Grand Canyon and walking mostly on paved sidewalks. I still felt stiffed this morning and really not up for running. I did run the usual 1.5 miles to the gym. I didn't really feel like swimming either. The water was a tad cool. But I totally got into swimming. I'd like to think all the m&m's were now giving me extra enegry. I swam 20 laps for 500 meters and then 30 laps for 750 meters. I thought I would swim 40 laps for my final swim for a 1000 meters but I felt so good I just kept swimming until I completed 60 laps or 1500 meters, the full distance for the triathlon. I didn't think I would get to this point two months before the race. Now I'll just repeat and get stronger and stronger. I'm looking forward to see how I do now at the 50 meter pool at Wilson. I also want to get more comfortable in open water. I got a new bathing suit at Sports Authority to encourage my swimming momentum.

But the best part at the gym today was following up the swim with an hour sports massage. Sandy squeezed the tension out of my lower back, unknotted each legs from miles of running, relaxed each arm, worked magic on my neck and shoulders where I carry most of my stress, and even massaged sinus points near my nose. Everything felt wonderful when the hour was up.

July 14 - 58 Days Until Nations Tri

I didn't get to the gym because we spent the better part of the day on a bus. My recovery day was spent at the west rim of the Grand Canyon. My folks, my family, and my sister's family got on a bus at the Luxor by 6:15 this morning. By 9:00 am we were visiting the Hoover Dam. By 11:00 we were at the west rim. The sky walk was spectacular and hiking at Guano Point was breathtaking. It was an amazing day for all.

July 13 - 59 Days Until Nations Tri

I ran with Rosalie and Michelle from the sports club for the second time. I ran a little over 5 miles. Then Patrick and Kathy met me at the gym to work out a bit and then to go to a yoga class. Eric was a great instructor and both Patrick and Kathy are up for future classes. It was great to stretch but I hope to get a massage while I'm here too.

Patrick and I went back at noon for a spinning class. The instructor wasn't that great but it was good to do something on a bike this week.

July 12 - 60 Days Until Nations Tri

If I was in DC, I would have attended a coached swim workout this morning. Instead I attended a coached swim workout in Las Vegas with Natasha. With her Russian accent it would be easy to pretend she was an olympic coach. I felt like I got a private lesson. I need to raise my head a bit in the water, rotate my shoulders with my head on every stroke, and extend my glide. She also helped me work on my breast stroke. Patrick watched me and said I was very fluid. He and I then worked out. I focused on arm and abs. I'm doing well with swimming and running but not so much with the biking while on vacation.

Later Patrick and I went back to the fitness club for a 12:00 spinning class. I see a century ride in Patrick's future. I won't bike in Las Vegas so I need to spend extra attention on biking when I get back to DC.

We spent a good chunk of the afternoon at a local playground with the kids and then had a water baloon fight in the pool. I also sent out my next training update.

July 11 - 61 Days Until Nations Tri

I ran to the fitness club to meet up with the 6 am running club. Rosalie led it and Maria and Michelle joined in. We ran about 3 miles through local neighborhoods. I'm looking forward to running with them again on Wednesday. The recommended zip lining with the kids in Freemont, as well as eating and shopping in the Distrct or the Town Square.

Patrick and Kathy met up with me at the gym after thr run. It was fun to all work out together. I worked on strength training.

Later Patrick and I went to REI where I used my birthday gift certificate to get a Las Vegas bike shirt, bike gloves, sunglasses, and a few more tri things.

In the evening we went to the Sunset Casino but I didn't put my fundraising slot machines skills to the test. I'll save that for another casino.

July 10 - 62 Days Until Nations Tri

I was the first one up just before 6am. I was the only person on the streets. I ran almost two miles to get to the fitness club. I beat the worst part of the humidity.

The fitness club is beautiful. I had a choice of an indoor (90 degrees) or outdoor pool (80 degrees). I had the outdoor pool to myself. I swam a set of 250 meters, 500 meters, and 750 meters. The 750 meters is to practice for Luray. The total 1500 meters is what I'll swim for Nation's. Next swim I'll try 500 meters, 750 meters, and 1000 meters to build my endurance.

Today we're off to Caesar's Palace to see the statue show, my parents' favorite. It should be a fun day. The best part of the day actually turned out to the evening. After a great dinner that started with grilled pineapple and ended with sundaes, we all took a night time dip in the pool. Mom discovered the joy of floating in a pool over her head with a noodle.

July 9 - 63 Days Until Nations Tri

We have a few hours at home before we take off to Las Vegas for the week. I ran with Rocky this morning since we'll be apart for a week. We did our usual 4 mile loop around the reservoir.

At the other end of the day we'll be in Las Vegas. Let's see if I get to run or swim. Travel went smoothly but it was too hot to run in the evening (in the 90s).

Jennifer, Natalie, Loree, and I are hoping to do a TNT Reunion run. I suggested the Run for Chocolate 5K on December 3 at National Harbor. It looks like the perfect race for us.

July 8 - 64 Days Until Nations Tri

Although Fridays are my usual rest day, when I woke up this morning, I decided Saturday will be my rest day since it is a travel day. That means I hopped on my bike and repeated Wednesday's workout by completing two laps around Hains Point. I think I mostly like Hains Point. It is one of the first places we took Jaden and Taniya for a walk when we were becoming a new family. I ran my first 5K there last May (Maya Angelou See Forever 5K, and it was part of the course for the MCM, which Lisa ran with me. Today I reflected on how I'll be running a 10K there to finish out the Nations Tri. I appreciate the opportunity to bike it many times between now and then so I'll know every twist and turn for my run. I'm feeling good about my training. I've never run faster, I've never swam more relaxed, and I'm bonding with my bike. It all bodes well for race day.

Chuck Tracy, Patrick's 80 year old, life long running, godfather also chronicles about his running experiences. He recently emailed the following:

  • Running is one of the few positive addictions. I am addicted and happy to be so. Anne and I went to Ireland on 50th anniversary. I ran every day we were there. Best running in my life. There ain't no place you can't run!

To which I replied:

  • I hope I have a lifetime of running in store for me. In addition to the running tradition, maybe I'll carry on the chronicle tradition as well. I truly enjoy your stories. Somehow running and reflecting on the daily moment of life go hand in hand.

July 7 - 65 Days Until Nations Tri

Last summer was so hot. Running is way better this summer. Natalie has her running feet back so she joined Loree and I for our weekly buddy run. I ran 5 miles in around 50 minutes. I'll miss them when I'm in Las Vegas next week but I've already located a fitness club less than 2 miles from where we'll be. It has an outdoor lap pool, spinning classes, and a running club so I should do a fairly good job keeping up with my training.

This evening I met up with Katie for a buddy swim at Francis. It turned out to be my best swim ever. Ben joined us. I felt relaxed and my breathing was natural. I swam at least 750 meters and felt like I could keep on going.

Katie told me at the Nation's Tri, you enter the water in waves my age group. It used to be the youngest went first but the oldest participants complained because they were the ones most likely to run out of time. Now the older folks go earlier. I'm glad to be one of the old folks. Actually if 2011 is like 2010, then I would have been one of the last to swim.

The first wave starts at 7:00 but men 45-49 don't start until 9:00 or 9:04, which is the second to last group. Maybe it is good to be at the end so folks will be more spread out for the bike ride and the run.

July 6 - 66 Days Until Nations Tri

I need to figure out the easiest way to get to Haines Point. I biked from home through the city without tipping over. My hope was to connect up with the 6:15 buddy bike group but I never found them. I did two loops of Hains Point before heading home. I enjoyed the bike ride. I was out for an hour and covered about 10 miles from start to finish.

Last night I registered for the Luray Sprint Triathlon on August 14. Lisa will do the Olympic distance the day before.

July 5 - 67 Days Until Nations Tri

Part of me wanted to go back to bed. This was Melissa's week to struggle to hang in there. Fortunately this is a recovery week so the workout was light. I enjoyed this on ethe most. I'm getting stronger. I swam 500 meters in the last 10 minutes continuously. I think I could handle the swimming portion of a spint triathlon.

I finished off my training schedule with 54 minutes of running. Rocky joined me as we headed toward the cathedral, turned back to Thomas circle, and then back home.

July 4 - Independence Day

I left Rehoboth with Rocky so I would be all set for tomorrow's early swim workout. It was an easy ride home. In the evening Rocky and I ran for a half hour before I finally got to catch up on a yoga class.

The best part of the day was watching fireworks on my own deck.

July 3 - 69 Days Until Nations Tri

I biked 15 miles this morning by circling through all of the communities between here and Wolfe Neck Park. Spending time on a bike is the best way to build confidence.

While technically not part of training, the new and more adventurous me went parasailing. It was actually more peaceful than thrillseeking.

July 2 - Firecracker 5K

I never sleep well the night before a race. I biked to the Grove in Rehoboth. Low humidity made for a perfect morning. My new race strategy is to pick out a person that runs my pace and run with that person until I pass them. It worked well this morning and I completed my race in 22:25 which is a PR That puts my pace at 7:14. I'm happy with that.

In the afternoon, Patrick, Linda, Liane, Cathy, and Joe went to the bay with us. I worked a bit on open swimming. The water was warm. I didn't swim as long as last time but I did swim further each time. I need to learn how to sight.

July 1 - 71 Days until Nation's Tri

After my "Kinda Cranky" training update this week, I decided I better make the most of my recovery day. I deliberately didn't set my alarm clock this morning. I woke up at 5:30, in time to get ready and arrive at my usual 6:30 spinning class, but it felt pretty good to just roll over and sleep a bit more. I got up at 6:20 and contemplated going to yoga class but decided to skip that as well and enjoy a beautiful morning, biking to work. I might still get a yoga class in before the end of the day but I'm not going to stress about it if it doesn't happen before we head out to the beach for a long weekend.

June 30 - 72 Days until Nation's Tri

I did my own mini-tri this morning. I did a buddy swim at Wilson and swam 1500 meters, trying to stay relaxed. I followed that with a bike ride to Columbia Heights. It was a beautiful morning to be out. I biked a total of 5 miles. Finally I met up with Loree for our weekly buddy run. We looped through the zoo for a little over 3 miles. These days I'm injury free, the humidity is low, and I'm feeling strong.

I read some good info in Active Triathlete:

5 Little Things That Make a Big Difference on Race Day

  • Check your gear.
  • Rehearse transition and warm up before your swim.
  • Be diligent about nutrition.
  • Know the course.
  • Tame your mind.

June 29 - 73 Days until Nation's Tri

The night before, I sent out my latest training update "Kinda Cranky." Already I've received great advice. Kyra told me to balance things out with yoga. Chris told me to pamper myself. I think a massage is in store. Coach Carrie told me to take extra rest if I need it. Tom told me to stop complaining and just get out there. He's relying on me to complete a tri so he doesn't have to. Several reminded me of the fact I have the ability to do all of these things while others never get the chance. I am blessed in so many ways.

This afternoon I returned to the Metro Branch Trail for the second hour on my new race bike. I realize it is good to put in saddle time just to get used to the new bike. I'm not certain I like MBT. I think I'd like to bike at the National Arboretum, a spot recommended by Apollo. I didn't tip over once today although I sort of bumped into a pedestrian. I was moving very slowly on a path when I couldn't get me feet out of the pedals quick enough as I came up on a young woman walking in the middle of the sidewalk. As I was tipping, she reached out and steadied my bike and prevented me from falling.

June 28 - 74 Days until Nation's Tri

Typically I'm pretty upbeat about training but I complained to Patrick about being worn out aas I went to bed. This more I woke up cranky. I conferred with my car mates on the way to swim practice and determined we are all cranky. The second month of training along with increased intensity and more humidity in general, are catch up with all of us.

Swimming was hard this morning. Coach Carrie encouraged me to work on my breathing. I flipped over on my back several times but I never got out of the pool. As always, the last 10 minutes of swimming felt the best.

This evening Rocky and I are going to run an hour with Bobby from work. Running with two willing partners should improve my attitude.

We had a great run in spite of the humidity and threat of thunder. Rocky and I met up with Bobby downtown, ran to the Mall, circled the Lincoln Memorial and Rocky had had enough by the time we got back to the Washington Monument. He just flopped over in the grass. After some water and a bit of rest he was good to go again. We covered 7.5 miles in about an hour and a half but 20 minutes of it was walking until Rocky was ready to run again.

June 27 - 75 Days until Nation's Tri

I wound my way through DC street to pick up the Metro Branch Trail at 5th St and T St NE. I rode about an hour, tipped twice, and scraped my knee. Actually I am able to release my right foot pretty quickly. In both cases I was at a stop sign, with a free right foot, but tipped to the left. The lesson to be learned - always release both feet. I can't wait to explore the rest of the trail.

June 26 - 76 Days until Nation's Tri

Wilson is always a challenging pool. Metro was bogged down so I got there late. Gem was already in the pool. Sarah was in the next lane and Kendra and Cathryn arrived before the end of the swim. I was more relaxed although I still have to work harder at a better kick. I swam 1500 meters which is the distance of the tri. I didn't swim it continuously but it is good to know I'm improving and will be swimming a mile comfortably in a month or so. I'm proud of how far I've come.

I stayed true to the training schedule and ran 4.5 miles from Wilson to home. I ran 40 minutes. I ran down Wisconsin to the Cathrdal, allang Mass Ave, past the naval observatory, and the embassies to DuPont Circle, cut over S St to home. My right knee is a bit twingy so I hope I can make it to yoga this evening.

In a half hour I meet up with Lisa to buy a bike. That will be fun.

I came home with a new race bike. Lisa helped me through the whole process. I can't wait to try it all out. If you need a bike, talk to Eric at the Bicycle Pro Shop in Alexandria, VA.

June 25 - 77 Days until Nation's Tri

I loaded the bike in the back of the van and headed to Chevy Chase for the team bike ride. I felt so apprehensive about not having the right bike, the right clothes, the right skills. Wonder where that comes from. Tracy pumped up my bike tires. David was generaly encouraging. Coaches filled us in on the basics. I was happy to see other folks as timid as me. Kathy led and I followed Jennifer. It didn't take long for my confidence to grow. By the time we first turned around, I passed both Jennifer and Kathy. Physically, riding for an hour is easier than swimming or running for an hour. I think I will grow to like biking in spite of tipping over at the stop sign and scraping my knee. Eventually I found my way back. I think I biked about 9 miles in an hour. At the end I met up with Liz. She is a new biker too. Todd suggested I get a road bike with a carbon body since I plan to do a century ride. Jhonny checked in with me as well as Kendra and Cathryn. I chatted with Joe, Dania, and Jennifer. I met 5 time TNTer Gina who is doing Poconos. I like the new bike crowd. My confidence level is moving up. Tomorrow I go shopping with Lisa for a new bike. A couple folks are encouraging me to do Luray. It feels like I'm moving in the right direction.

June 24 - 78 Days until Nation's Tri

I started the day with a spinning class. In the past 24 hours I spent 3 of those hours running, swimming, and biking. I'm feeling the benefits of the tri part of training.

Patrick and I attended the graduation for the St Elizabeth residents. We metroed to the Hilton near the White House but walked all the way home.

June 23 - 79 Days until Nation's Tri

Loree and I ran this morning and met up with Natalie at Tynan for a birthday muffin. This concludes my birthday desserts. I ran a half hour before meeting up with Loree and then ran home. According to my training schedule I was to run 65 minutes this week. I ran for that amount of time and covered 7.5 miles.

Katie sponsored a buddy swim at Francis. It is an outdoor pool. It was like getting private lessons for Nadia and myself. I worked on my kick and my glide. I felt more fluid. I just might like swimming afterall.

Then I went to Trader Joes just a few blocks from the pool and bought a bunch of fun new vegetarian foods. Lisa, my neighbor, will help me get a bike this weekend. Biking needs to be my focus over the next few months.

June 22 - 80 Days until Nation's Tri

I had to be at work early so I haven't worked out yet. Instead I ate cake at work. I guess tomorrow's buddy run cake will officially close out my birthday cake allowance. Given how the day unfolded it is best just to consider it a recovery day.

June 21 - 81 Days until Nation's Tri

After a few days of being sick, celebrating birthdays, and being on the road, it was good to get back to the regular routine of training with this morning's 5:30 swim workout. I started out pretty weak, either from recent sickness or lack of training, it took everything just to complete a few laps. I was so winded. This morning I didn't try to swim fast, I simply just wanted to stay in the pool and complete the workout. Kelly coached me a bit - kick from my hips rather than my knees and keep me head a bit closer to the surface. My favorite part was the 10 minute swim. I completed 20 laps (500 meters = 1/3 of the distance for the tri) fairly comfortably in 10 minutes. It is getting easier for me to swim longer.

I felt so good by the time I got home that I took Rocky for a run rather than just a walk. We looped around the reservoir going almost 4 miles in a half hour at my normal pace of 8.38 miles/minute. Not bad for back to back workouts.

Later in the day I got to ride my bike from NOMA to Brookland. I like the fact I swam, ran, and biked in the same day.

June 20 - 82 Days until Nation's Tri

It was a travel day so no room for a workout. Patrick and I packed up, said goodbye to the kids and drove 8 hours from Rochester, NY to Washington, DC, picked up Rocky and headed home. With a kid free week, I'll have some extra time to make up for missed workouts.

I registered for a 5K in Rehoboth over the 4th of July weekend. Sherri is suppose to run it with me.

June 19 - Fathers' Day, Mom's Birthday, Kassie, Jessica, and Jimmy's First Communion

It was a day of celebration. I didn't workout but played for several hours in my sister's pool. I raced Jaden. Had a contest with my dad and sister to see who could hold their breath the longest. Did flips and cannon balls off the diving board. It was way more fun than a workout. # 2 piece of birthday cake was white cake with white frosting from the combined Happy Father's Day, Happy Birthday, Happy First Communion sheet cake. Technically I had piece #3 as well. Before going to bed I had another piece of the German chocolate birthday cake from the day before. I'd rather think of it as a repeat of piece #1 rather than its own piece.

June 18 - My Birthday

I knocked out number 1 from my birthday list. I ran 49 minutes around my parents' block, basically covering a little more than a mile in each direction. The highlight of the day was practicing for the camping skit. My dad made props, my mom was the director, Eric jumped at the chance to be the producer, Kath and Charlie took the leading romatic leads, Jaden was the wild lover boy, Michele ran the cantina. The cast made up for in effort what they lacked in talent. The day ended with the first piece of birthday cake. My mom made my childhood favorite - German chocolate cake. I still love the coconut pecan icing.

June 17 - 85 Days until Nation's Tri

They say you can't go back home but you always take home with you. I rode my mom's bike to Hamlin Beach today for my workout. The last time I rode the route was 30 years ago when I worked at Hamlin Beach over the summer between semesters. So much of the scenery has remained pretty much the same. Every bend in the road conjured up memories: birthday picnics, youth retreats, babysitting jobs, camping trips, etc. Distance wise I covered about 15 miles, but in my mind, I traveled back 3 decades.

Once I got home, I decided to attempt my first brick workout. I jumped off the bike and ran around the block. Jaden followed me on my bike. Watching my son ride the bike along side me as I ran took me full circle. All very fitting for the day before my birthday.

I've received many, many birthday emails. Each warms my heart.

  • Happy belated birthday and happy father's day to you and Patrick!! I encourage you to put together a book from your marathon/triathlon journey and the interaction with old and new friends. You have such gifts in sharing honestly and inspiring the rest of us. Cheers. ~ Margaret
  • What a surprise, Nasos's birthday is also on June 18!! Congratulations for your determination and for the excellent ideas on how to celebrate! Actually, the one with the 4.9 pieces of cake, well, it was brilliant...We had 3.3 pieces...and counting... Also, inspired from you, our goal this week is to bike 33 miles...please forgive us, we WILL drop dead long before we get to the 49th mile...but we'll keep trying! Wishing you all the best, ~Claire
  • I brought you with me in spirit on Saturday for my workout. I also send you all the best! Love and hugs! ~David
  • I got in 2 X 49 minutes running, 49 minutes BSing at Starbucks, and I'm off to find 4.9 pieces of cake. Happy birthday! ~Chuck
  • You are the awesomeness known as Dan! Have the best birthday ever and say hello to the kids and Patrick for me. Enjoy, Enjoy, Enjoy!! ~ Beth xo
  • Happy birthday! I'll be running 49 minutes for you today (early birthday celebration). By the way, are you still working while you do all of your training? Sending my best wishes to you and your family. Tell Jaden I would love an update on how things are going. ~Jill
  • Happy Happy one day early! Your celebration plan sounds like a good one--so enjoy and continued good luck with the training. ~Bob
  • Dan,I plan on spending the day contemplating the 49 times people mistook me for you. :) I was honored. This is a birthday wish for a wonderful person. Have an incredible day. ~ Rob
  • Happy Birthday Dan! I will be 49 soon - and I can not say I have been as active as you are.... I am so impressed by all you are doing. Send my love your children also. ~Deirdre
  • Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday Dear DAAAAAN! You wonderful man! We love you x 49! ~patti & Leslie ps - and love to the rest of the family!
  • Happy bday!!!!!! I had a candy bar!!! I hope that counts for something. And kudos to you for all the fabulous things you are doing. I love these updates. All the best, ~Neica
  • Happy Birthday Dan...God Bless you and I wish you many more!!! ~Bridget
  • Happy Birthday!!! And Happy Father's day to you and Pat. ~Charlotte
  • Happy Birthday, Dan!In celebration I can try to eat 1 piece of cake every day for 49 days. YUM! I hope you have a great day. ~Cathy
  • Happy 49th, Dan. ~Kathy
  • Awesome! I am celebrating your birthday on Saturday by hosting therapy dogs in the geriatric wards at the Hospital, organizing the Chess Club at the Hospital, picking up a clothing donation at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Anacostia, Working the Smithsonian darkroom, and going to the Gin & Tonic in the evening to celebrate the 6th anniversary of Dear Dogs & the Indictment (all-judge band that performs at the Hospital). Save some cake and have a wonderful day. ~Maureen
  • HAPPPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I can't wait to be part of #3 when you get back to DC! You know how I feel about cake :) Do they sell some sort of cake at Tynan?! We have to eat some post run next week! ~Loree
  • You are an inspiration! I am having a crazy time right now, but will store up this inspiration for a few months from now when I can draw on it. In the meantime, happy birthday! ~Richard
  • Really lovely. I'd better not jinx myself but I am tempted to go for #4. I will let you know if cake wins out....Safe travels! Happy birthday ~Jessica
  • Your emails are absolutely THE BEST! Thanks for sharing, and for continuing to provide such incredible inspiration. ~Dania
  • What a great email! I will do #5, not do #3 and promise to exercise more. ~Michelle
  • You are still a kid! ~Michael
  • LOL, I plan to welcome my midlife crisis the american a convertible! BTW, I think if you get inked and some piercings, your kids may elevate your coolness index :-) ~Siraj
  • happy birthday Dan! ~Sheila
  • Happy Birthday, Dan. Glad to hear you will be in Hamlin this weekend - it will make your Mom's birthday extra special, too! ~Anne
  • Love the email! Will drop off this week ~Lisa

June 16 - 86 Days until Nation's Tri

We have parent teacher conferences this morning and I'm still not feeling great. I'm debating whether it should be a recovery day or if I'll manage to get a swim in today before we all head to NY for a long weekend and the start of summer.

I'm still not feeling well so I used the day as a recovery day. I rested at home and I rested during the 8 hour car ride to NY.

June 15 - 87 Days until Nation's Tri

The weather couldn't have been more perfect for a weekly buddy run. Today I was doing a long run for my tri training. Loree and I did her 6 mile loop and I ran a bit more before and after for a total on 90 minutes. I bet I covered 8 miles.

Today is the kids' last day of school. I'm not feeling so great so I'll take it easy the rest of the day.

June 14 - 88 Days until Nation's Tri

These days I frequently wake up before the alarm clock goes off. Not this morning. At 4:30, I was confused and disoriented with a sore throat. When I realized I was getting up early to go swimming, I wasn't my usual enthusiastic self. I was sort of hoping Kendra wouldn't show up at 5:00. Nevertheless, we arrived at the pool by 5:30 and I was in the water just a short time later.

Today we did a catch up drill where you glide with one hand and wait for the other arm to catch up. I'm kicking too much with my legs, cretaing drag in the bag. My rear sinks and it is harder to maintain the glide. Eric wants me to practice a fluid kick. Liz also emphasized the importance with kicking with the entire leg from the hip instead of fluttering excessively from the knee. We then swam 50 meters, followed by 100 meters, followed by 200 meters. We repeated this three times. I got to the point where I was much more comfortable swimming 200 meters. There is hope for me yet. And fellow car mate, Melissa, graduated to level 2 today. There is hope for all of us

The car ride home inevitably leads to a converstaion about pancakes. This is mostly Kendra's doing. One Tuesday I will plan a pancake or waffle breakfast for after the swim. I'm enjoying my tri teammates.

Favorite Pancake Recipe:


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

2 tablespoons light-brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 cup low-fat buttermilk

1/2 cup whole milk

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan, and room-temperature butter for serving (optional)

1 1/2 cups blueberries

Maple syrup, for serving


In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; in another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, milk, eggs, and melted

butter. Whisk milk mixture into flour mixture just until combined.

Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium. Grease hot skillet with a paper towel moistened with a small amount of melted butter. Using 1/4 cup batter for each pancake, spoon into skillet and smooth to make a round. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons blueberries onto surface of each pancake.

Cook until surface of pancakes has formed bubbles and some have burst, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip pancakes

with a spatula and cook until browned on underside, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer pancakes to a warm plate or baking sheet and cover loosely with foil. Repeat with more melted butter and remaining batter (makes about 12). Serve pancakes topped with maple syrup and butter, if desired

June 13 - 89 Days until Nation's Tri

The weather is perfect for any kind of workout. I started the day with a spinning class. I always like spinning but I need to shift to working out on a real bike.

Our training schedule recommended strength training today. I got on the waiting list for a 6pm Total Body Conditioning class. It uses weights. I was ready to try something new or at least I thought I was. It start out like a dance class with simple rhythmic steps. I marched, I shook, I even inhaled and exhaled ballerina style, but I was out of there once we had to start sliding to the left and to the right. Once something resembles dance, all confidence leaves me. I took my two left feet out of the room within the first 5 minutes. Part of me felt bad. I recently conquered my feelings of inadequacy that kept me from truly swimming for years. Another part of me recognized my limits and moved on to the Xpress Line. A year ago the machines in the Xpress line intimidated me. Today I was relieved to do a 20 minute strength workout that was familiar to me. Then I took a good half hour long bike ride to get home.

June 12 - Splash and Dash

No one sleeps as well the night before a new event. I woke up before the alarm went off. Patrick and Taniya had me in Silver Spring in plenty of time. I set up my stuff in the transition area and then went to the "body marking" table where bib number 161 was written on my arms and my left calf. I may have strutted some at the point, feeling like I had just entered the world of serious athletes. Next we huddled around the pool where they lined us up by our swim speed. I was in the middle. The most reassuring part was bumping into Renato from my total immersion swim class. He was number 157 and entered the water just ahead of me. The water was surprisingly warm for an outdoor pool. The course was to swim up and back the middle lane for 100 meters, cross over to the the next lane, swim another 100 meters, and finish with a 100 meters in the final lane. After the first 100 meters, I was stuck in a line of slower swimmers with no way to pass. I treaded water or did the breast stroke while waiting. I was a bit disappointed I couldn't attempt to swim continuously but I proved to myself I could make it through a 100 meters one way of the other. The transition went fairly smooth. I didn't have time to find and put on my socks. The 5K was familiar territory. It didn't take me long to settle into a 8 miniute pace. It was a beautiful run through the woods with a good deal of shade and hills. I ran a consistent 5K. I don't have a good sense of my overall time. Probably around 40 minutes. Renato and his freind Heather have almost convinced me I need to next do the Luray Tri in August. We'll see.

So what did I learn today:

  • I have a ways to go to swim 1500 meters but have enough basic skills to muddle through even if I have to swim on my side to catch my breath from time to time.
  • Test running with speed laces and organize my socks for a smoother transition.
  • Swimming didn't exhaust me so much I couldn't switch to the next event. Nor did I swallow too much air to cause problems.
  • I can make up for a slow swim with a faster run.
  • Just have fun.

Race Results

I finished in 35:32. I know my run took about 25 minutes. I bet my transition took about 3 minutes. That means my swim took 7 or 8 minutes. I finished 16/54, which puts me in the top third. I'll take it!

Generally I'm sore after a race. I was pleasantly surprised not to ache today. Nevertheless, I finished my week with Rod's Sunday evening yoga class. This is turning into a nice routine.

June 11 - 91 days until Nation's Tri

Today was the TNT Honored Teammate Picnic, which turned out to be a special event. To get there I biked from home to Tenleytown, metroed to Bethesda, and ran to the school. It was a good way to warm up. Today I ran with David, Katherine, Andy, Jason, Miranda, and McKane. We covered just about 5 miles in 45 minutes.

The honored teammate picnic was more moving than I expected. The only disappointing part was after the big push to participate in the bone marrow test, I was told gay men are prohibited from donating. It's been awhile since I've experienced homophobic discrimination. Ironically yesterday was also Pride Day in DC. Back to the picnic. Person after person told amazing stories. Here are a few examples:

June 10 - 92 days until Nation's Tri

I've been pretty faithful to putting in my training hours this week in spite of a busy schedule and have enjoyed the fundraising hours too so I will take advanatge of today as a recovery day. I will take it easy and go to Weight Watchers in the morning and hit a yoga classs in the afternoon.

Never got to the yoga class. I read a good article on how to prepare for the 10K part of the triathlon at So far my strategy is to survive the swim, bike without injury, and run in automatic pilot. But this article suggests I should be more mindful in how I plan the run, think of it as two 5Ks, where I save something extra for the last 5K. I need to go through each part of the plan with a coach so I understand how to execute it.

June 9 - 93 days until Nation's Tri

I repeated yesterday's morning schedule but took a spinning class instead of running. I still want to work in swimming workouts both today and Saturday to prepare for Sunday's Splash and Dash. A yoga class in the next few days would be nice as well.

I went toTakoma in the afternoon. I swam three sets of 300 meters. The first set took the longest and I rested the most. The second set was better. I completed it in 8 minutes and swam one length on my back. The third set was my best. I swam all twelve 25 meter laps continuously. I'm feeling more confidennt about the swim portion but I still swallowed a lot of air. I hope that doesn't stop me from running well. Sunday should be a fun way to test my progress. My swimming is improving. I may not swim like a fish yet but I don't paddle like a dog anymore.

A donation from a good friend of my parents pushed me past the $3,000 mark. So many people have been so incredibly support. Jenny Smith promises to dress in her banana costume to cheer me on for race day is I remain one of the top three fundraisers. Go bananas!

June 8 - 94 days until Nation's Tri

I thought my work schedule was going to prevent me from this week's buddy run. Loree and Caitlin were willing to head out a bit earlier so I had just enough time to run 4 miles through the zoo, shower at the gym, and bike to work by 8 am. Running 4 or 5 miles every Tuesday might be good for my heart, but spending time every week with my running buddies is good for my soul. I always feel better after a run. Today was no exception.

June 7 - 95 days until Nation's Tri

Patrick's godfather is a lifelong runner in Texas. He recently wrote to me and said the social aspect of running is one of the things he enjoys most. I'm discovering that my athletic self is quite social. At 5am in the car on the way to practice I chatted away with Kendra, Catherine, Christina, and Melissa. Waiting for the lifeguard to show up, I met Jacquie. She and David discussed century rides with me. Salsbury might be a better beginner's choice than Tahoe. Finally it was time to get in the pool. Jacquie and I graduated to Level 2.

The story is pretty much the same. I start out optimistically thinking I learned so much from the last time I was in the pool. Half way through the first lap the optimism quickly wanes. 10 minutes later and I'm struggling once again. I felt disappointed in myself through most of the swim. The worst part was the best part. We end by swimming for 10 minutes continuously. I never keep going that long but this morning I did it. Once again I left with renewed hope.

June 6 - 96 days until Nation's Tri

My company has a pretty amazing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team that promotes community involvement, relief efforts, volunteerism, healthy living, etc. This past year I was recognized as a CSR Star. The CGI annual report reads:

Meet Dan McNeil

One U.S. CGI member who has made remarkable lifestyle changes and taken full advantage of CGI’s Living Well initiatives is Dan McNeil of our Fairfax, VA office. He is someone who embodies the spirit of the Living Well mission. Dan participated in the

ny2 program at the start of the year, losing 27 pounds through the Weight Watchers program and meeting a major milestone of losing 10% of his original weight.

Dan also began a consistent exercise program setting out to train for a 5K (3.1 miles)—something he had never attempted to do and never imagined he could accomplish. After completing two 5K running events, Dan developed a passion for running. He participated in CGI’s Team In Training group, running both the ING Rock & Roll ½ Marathon (13.1 miles) in Philadelphia, PA, and the Marine Corps Marathon (26.2 miles) in Washington, D.C. Dan raised more than $4,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as part of his training.

The good thing about training for a tri is that if something hurts you can always crosstrain.

I was schedule to run today but I didn't want to push my Achilles tendon. Fortunately there was a 8:15 pm spin class at my gym. It was way more laid back that the usual morning classes but I worked hard nevertheless. Tomorrow I swim and I'm hoping I'm up for running by Wednesday or Thursday.

June 5 - 97 days until Nation's Tri

My Splash and Dash is just a week today so I figured I better work on my swimming. Also I feel a twinge in my Achilles tendon from running to hard and swimming is suppose to help with inflammation. I got out my buddy workout spreadsheet for TNT and saw that Cem had a 10 am swim workout at Wilson. I met up with him. I felt pretty discouraged after the first half hour. 50 meters is beyond my comfort zone. After 25 meters every lap I needed to rest. The more tired I felt, the more my legs dragged me down, and the harder it was to swim. I didn't really want to swim and would have given up if I was on my own. The last half hour was way better. I was able to swim 50 meters at a time without resting for the last 300 meters I swam. That's the distance I need to swim for the Splash and Dash. With a few more days of practice this week, I will be in much better shape for next Sunday.

Here are the key things I learned:

1. Being out of breath and being tired are too different things. Since I was tired out from not breathing properly, it felt like I need to stop swimming when all I really need was to catch my breath.

2. Breathing on every third stroke and rotating a bit more to breathe seems to work best for me. Yesterday Katie suggested to pay attention to see if I'm just turning my head or rotating my entire trunk and to think of resting my head on a pillow when I'm breathing.

3. Cem said the first 200 meters are the hardest. Work through those and the rest of the workout sort of falls into place.

Just knowing by the end of the workout I could swim twice as far is a boost in confidence.

I ended the day with Rod's 6:30 yoga class. This really is one of my favorite ways to finish off the weekend. Class is always a great combination of internal reflection, a strenuous workout, lots of stretching, and a well deserved rest at the end.

June 4 - 98 days until Nation's Tri

I got up early to head to the TNT running clinic at Pacers in Old Town, Virginia. I passed about a zillion Race for the Cure women in pink in the metro. A year ago, training for Race for the Cure was the start of my running career. Look how far I've come.

The clinic was great. Robert Gillanders, from Sport and Spinal, gave us very good running tips. Run tall. Pretend a chopper is flying just in front of you with a rope tethered to your chin. Keep your chest tall and lean forward from the ankles. Take short strides and keep a good cadence. 180 is the goal but I'll start with 160. I should get the app to measure the number of steps I take each minute. Run soft. Good posture leads to good form.

Then I ran almost 5 miles to and from the Wilson Bridge. Cem was our mentor leader. I ran with David again. Roger told me about previous tris. I learned your bike is staged in a numbered spot that matches your race number. John told us about Iraq. LIz told us about her upcoming tri. It is fun to meet new people. Afterwards, I grabbed a recovery bagel with Jhonny, my mentor, and Eric.

While I was out, Neil stopped by to drop off vegetarian cookbooks for me to checkout. I can't wait develop some new culinary skills. In the afternoon, we drove to NJ for Patrick's Great Uncle's 80th Birthday party. Vera and Anne are excited to come to DC for the August Dessert Tasting. Rob and I spoke at length about tris. He has done a dozen or more tris.

Rob's advice:

1. Know I will panic at some point in the swimming portion. It happens to everyone so just swim through it.

2. Keep a bath mat in the staging area next to your bike. Use it to clean your feet after transitioning from the swim to the bike. A mat is sturdier than a towel.

3. Transport tri gear in a 5 gallon plastic bucket. It doubles as a stool after you dump everythoing out of it in the transition area.

4. Skip the socks for the bike portion.

5. There is no such thing as a lucky tri. A good tri means you trained well. The outcome is a true reflection of the effort you put into it. Train hard and enjoy.

June 3 - 99 days until Nation's Tri

I was true to yesterday's update. I got up, headed to the pool and worked on my breathing. I tried breating every 5th stroke and the every 3rd stroke. I focused on the bottom of the pool to see if that kept me head in a better position. I tried really reaching with my arms, keeping my weight falling forward to see if that positioned me better. I tried rolling my head more to the side. I tried breathing more. I tried breathing less. I swam three sets of 300 meters but it still takes a lot of effort. Anyone have advice for me?

June 2 - 100 days until Nation's Tri

I sent out my 100 Day Triathlon Update. It is more than a little daunting to realize how much I have yet to master when it comes to biking and swimming. There's a lot to do between now and September 11, 2011.

Loree noted I should have begun my progress update with, "10 minutes from now, I will be in the middle of a buddy run." At 6:50 am , Loree and I did a fairly good job of beating the DC heat, the humidity was tolerable and the temperature was in the low 70s. I ran about 5 miles and am feeling fine. We both agree that the "Team" in TNT makes all the difference.

June 1 - 101 days until Nation's Tri

Nothing went the way I planned today. I skipped my spinning class to get to work by 7:30 only to discover GSA was closed today due to a power outage. Unexpectedly I worked from home which gave me the chance to go to Weight Watchers midday. I've maintained my current weight for just about a year now. I feel really good about that. Family stiff took over later in the day and I never got a true workout. Maybe the universe was telling me today was a good day to rest.

Spring Training Log
Aug 24, 2011 by Dan McNeil

May 31 - 102 days until Nation's Tri

I sort of did my own mini-tri today. Kendra is having car trouble so I biked 3 miles from home to Georgetown, ran 1.5 miles (okay jogged) from Georgetown to the Lab School, swam at least 800 meters for swim practice, and then walked and biked home, all before 7:30 am. Not a bad way to start the day.

May 30 - Memorial Day

After yesterday's race, my thighs are slightly sore but nothing like the knee pain I've had in the past. Nevertheless I'll use today as my recovery day instead of Friday. Maybe I'll be able to squeeze in a yoga class.

In spite of a long ride home and a fender bender, we got home just in time for me to go to Dani's 8:00 pm yoga class. There were only three of us in the class so we got individualized attention. It felt so good to let go of the stress of the day.

May 29 - 18th Annual Masser 5 Miler

This is the first time that I ran the same race for the second time. Last year I finished the 5 miler in 39:02. This year I finished almost a minute quicker although I don't have the results yet. I'm guessing my pace was around 7:30 so I'm really happy with that. Linda and Liane cheered me on and Linda took pictures. Linda asked me what the difference was between last year and this year. The main difference was I already knew I could finish the race and I also knew if I kept a steady pace from start to finish, I was less likely to hurt myself. My knees stayed strong and I finished well inspite of the heat. Sherri also ran the race. It was good to see her and Dick.

I got the results. My time was 38:07 and my pace was 7:37, which turns out to be my fastest race to date.

I went back to the bay. Linda swam with me. I still have a long ways to go to swim a mile but at least I'm beginning the work to reach that goal. It was a beautiful day.

May 28 - 105 days until Nation's Tri

I'm at the beach this weekend so I was a little disappointed about missing the team workout. Today is suppose to be a swimming and biking day but I wasn't too certain where to swim in Rehoboth. In the morning I went to the bay with Patrick, Taniya, and her friend Avril. This was one of Mike's favorite spots. It was a bit windy so no one wanted to go out in the raft. I wasn't planning on swimming but the water was warmer and shallower than I expected. I remembered I was dedicating my training to Mike and realized I was in the perfect place to jump in. In spite of no goggles, no bathing suit, no towels, this was my opportunity to test the open swim waters. I waded out so the water was almost waist high. I started swimming with my eyes closed and breathed on every five count. I only went about 15 strokes before I has to stop and open my eyes and spit out any salt water I had taken in. I repeated this three or four times. I can't say I swam very far before I just floeated and drifted, but I was totally enjoying it. The water was warm and I felt secure rather than fearful. I remembered the many times playing in the ocean with Mike by jumping the waves and was happy. It was a special moment that I'll take with me on race day. When I feel anxious about swimming in the Potomac, I'll think back to today and in my mind I'll be swimming in the bay with Mike.

In the afternoon we hung out at the ocean with some friends. It turned into a delightful afternoon. Jaden joined us later by riding a bike to the beach. I rode the bike back home but detoured through the trail to Lewis to add some extra miles. I bike 40 minutes in total which came pretty close to me quota for the day. So I mostly got my swimming and my biking in.

May 27 - 106 days until Nation's Tri

Fridays are suppose to be recovery days so I refrained from running, biking, and swimming. The only athletic related thing I did today was go to Dick's to buy running socks.

I read this at Seems like good advice.

  • If I could share just one word of advice for new triathletes, it would be this: Don't allow your concern with race results and rankings to rob you of the joy of swimming, biking and running. Hang on to the initial reasons you were drawn to triathlon. Fear destroys fun. And, after all, isn't triathlon really an adult form of child play? Continue to "play with purpose."

May 26 - 107 days until Nation's Tri

I got up early and ran to the gym for a 6:30 spinning class. I felt more tired than usual so it is probably a good idea to take advantage of the recovery day scheduled for tomorrow.

I received so many encouraging words from my last training update email:

"You are gonna be a full fledged triathlete very soon!" - Lisa, my triathlete neighbor

"So amazed by all you do!" - Kyra, my first yoga instructor

"Bravo! I'm proud of you. You are on a journey of a lifetime." - John, my cousin and TNT cycle coach

"I love your updates! You're an inspiration." - Gaby, running buddy currently in Brazil

May 25 - 108 days until Nation's Tri

It was another perfect morning for our weekly buddy run. Natalie had to drop out when her foot started to act up. I totaly enjoyed my run with Loree and Caitlin. I like tri training. It feels like all of me is getting stronger without overusing my leg muscles. Or rather the swimming and biking help my leg muscles recover more effectively.

In order to secure my spot on the tri team I need to raise a minimum of $2,150. I reached that mark today thanks to many generous donations! My personal goal is to raise more than $5,000. I'm almost half way there.

May 24 - 109 days until Nation's Tri

Kendra drove Melissa and me to our 5:30 am swim workout. Once again I joined up with the level ones but this week was different. We swam for almost the full hour. My TI lessons gave me confidence. Melissa and I traded off being lane leaders. I was the fastest person in one lane. Amazing.

May 23 - 110 days until Nation's Tri

Another fine morning for a run. Rocky and I covered 4 miles this morning. We headed west and ran along Embassy Row. It made for a great run and I'm feeling great as well.

I might be addicted to fitness. I needed a yoga fix in the middle of the day. Actually Stephanie is one of my new favorite instructors and offers a 12:15 class on Mondays. It is kind of nice breaking up the work day with a workout plus I definitely can tell I'm getting stronger.

I good a few miles in on the bike riding back and forth to work today as well as back and forth to the pool.

This evening last the last total immersion class in the series with Lloyd. I've definitely improved a lot. I get to put it all to the test with tomorrow morning's 5:30 am team swim.

May 22 - 111 days until Nation's Tri

According to my TNT training schedule, I'm suppose to swim and bike today. I have a make up total immersion swim class so I'll count that toward swimming. I biked to and from Georgetown so that could count for biking but maybe I'll get out on the race bike a little later. I'm still kind of intimidated by it although Lisa, my triathlete neighbor, enjoys biking the most. While in Georgetown I kayaked for an hour and a half. I was scoping out the part of the river I'll be swimming in for the triathlon. It didn't look all that scary up close. The average water temperature in the Potomac for Nation's Triathlon is 70 degrees. Yesterday I learned that if on the day of the race the water temp is between 78 and 82 then wet suits are optional. If it is warmer than 82 then wet suits are not allowed.

I swam this afternoon. We learned about drafting. Swimming is way easier when you have someone in front of you. We have class tomorrow so I'm hoping back to back days of swimming will help more of it to fall into place.

May 21 - 112 days until Nation's Tri

We had our first Saturday tri team practice. I biked and metroed to Bethesda. It was a beautiful morning. Tri Clinic 101 was first. We were introduced to the various pieces of equipment recommended for each sport. I never knew they make specific boy saddles to protect the family jewels as well as special creams for women to deal with saddle sores. One coach explained there is no shame among triathletes. Triathletes do seem like a different breed. Marathoners came in all shapes and sizes. My first impression of triathletes is they are more intense and competitive. Nevertheless, I'm enjoying this new crew of TNTers. After the clinic, we hit a trail and ran for 40 minutes or 5-6 miles. I first ran with Eric but spent most of my time running with David. David completed a century ride last year, is training for a triathlon and marathon this year, and has lost 80 pounds in the past couple years. We ran pretty much the same pace so maybe I can learn some biking skills from him.

May 20 - 113 days until Nation's Tri

Today is the National Ride Your Bike to Work Day. I first biked to the pool where I focused on my breathing. Sunday is a make up swim lesson and Tuesday is the next swim workout so I'll get some more pool time in over the next few days. I think Takoma will be the pool where I do most of my swimming.

I biked to work and picked up my Bike to Work swag which includes a water bottle, ankle reflectors, a tire repair kit, and all sorts of info on movies and bike related events in the area. Dc is becoming a bike friendly city.

Today is suppose to be a recovery day so I'll refrain from any more activity although a yoga class might feel real good.

Johm from California spent the evening with us. This past is filled with triathlons and marathons so it was fun to talk with him. His advice was to practice in open water - there is a big difference between swimming in a pool and swimming in a river or an ocean where you can't touch the side or the bottom.

May 19 - 114 days until Nation's Tri

I moved my usual Tuesday morning spin class to Thursday to line up with my new tri training schedule. I still hope I can find a good place to ride my bike were I can get in the miles without dealing with city traffic to get there. Until then, spinning classes feel like a great way to train.

May 18 - 115 days until Nation's Tri

At 5am the heavens opened up and the rain started falling. I thought today's buddy run would be washed out. Instead by 7 am it was a picture perfect morning. Natalie waited for us at Tynan with a painful foot while Caitlin, Loree, and I ran through the zoo. I think it is pretty cool that my marathon buddy group is now part of my triathlon training.

Patrick and I hosted a dessert thank you at our home for the kids' school. He talked school stuff but I talked triathlon with anyone who would listen. Sort of got me excited for the summer's dessert thank you for all the people who've heard me go on and on about training these past few months.

May 17 - 116 days until Nation's Tri

I feel like a jock for the first time ever. I got up at 4:30am to meet up with Kendra, Christina, and Melissa at 5:00 to be at the pool at the Lab School in Georgetown by 5:30. I swam from 6:00 to 6:30. It was hard but I did it. I'll become a swimmer yet at at least be able to swim a mile by the time of the triathlon. It felt good to accomplish something so early in the morning.

May 16 - 117 days until Nation's Tri

It was a great morning for a run. Rocky and I ran for 40 minutes and did a 4 mile loop. My swimming class is cancelled tonight so I hope to replace it with a yoga class. My goal is to always try to go to yoga on the days that I run although I'm thrilled that for the first time in months, I just ran and now nothing hurts.

I decide to try a month long experiment. I'm going to eat vegetarian for the next month.

I just signed up at

I went to Aqeel's 6:30 yoga class. I was sweating like a pig. Aqeel tranquilly makes us work hard. He gets yogi on us and then makes us kick ass. I kinda like it I think.

May 15 - 118 days until Nation's Tri

Today was the first day I switched from my personal pre-training program to the official TNT Tri Training program. Today I biked for a half hour through my neighborhood - more or less the same route of my last Rocky run. I covered 5 miles. My goal this morning was mostly just to get used to the bike. I tipped over once while waiting to turn at a stop sign. I was in front of a police van. They asked if I was okay. Only my pride was bruised. John, my cousin and bike coach, says it is worth learning how to ride with bike shoes.

I registered for the Army 10 Miler on October 9, 2011. My legs feel so much better these days. I'll end the day with Rod's yoga class.

I ended the day with a 6:30 yoga class with Rod. He's my favorite Sunday instructor.

May 14 - Team in Training Season Kick Off

I took a city bike to and from Tenleytown so I could get some exercise in. Then I metroed to Bethesda for the kick off. The place was so full of positive energy. I met Kate and Apollo, who are part of my team. Dania and Jennifer, who were part of last year's team, were also at my table. I'm looking forward to meeting a whole new team of people. Our first coach-lead swim with be at 5:30am on Tuesday. It has begun.

May 13 - 120 days until Nation's Tri

It is yoga week in DC so I'm hoping to get to a class today and each day this weekend.

Days without definite plans never turn out the way I think. I couldn't find a yoga class before 5:00. I thought about kayaking but it was overcast. I sort of wanted to swim but took a nap instead. Then I realized my legs are better and I can run whenever I want. Rocky and I did a 4 mile loop through Howard University, past Childrens' Hospital, down First St and back home. It is good to run.

I also got several emails from the Tri Training Team. Jhonny is my mentor. Steve is my coach. Miranda, Eric, Jacquelyn, Jennifer, Sharon, and Dania are all teammates. I'll meet most of them tomorrow at the long awaited TNT kick-off.

May 12 - 121 days until Nation's Tri

Natalie and I met up with Loree for the usual buddy run after Loree's 5 month travel adventure to South America. It was great to hear all the details of her trip. We then celebrated Natalie's 24th birthday with bagels at Tynan. I ran home and then ran a little more with Rocky for a total of 6 or 7 miles. My legs have never felt better.

May 11 - 122 days until Nation's Tri

I like Susie as a spinning class instructor. She's high energy and made us work today. This evening I have a make-up swimming lesson with Lloyd. I will be so happy when swimming falls into place. The Nation's Tri is 4 months from today. Ready or not , here I come.

The pool at Takoma is just a bit longer, I thought I was going to die. I definitely worked on breathing. It will take more work but I'll get it. I swallowed lots of air and my stomach became extended. This was one of the few workouts that I can't say I enjoyed.

May 10 - 123 days until Nation's Tri

My goal is to follow a spinning class with swim practice all before work. We'll see how that goes. So much for plans. Capital Bikes growing popularity means no bikes or no docks at many stations between 7 and 9 in the morning. I couldn't dock the bike near the gym so I was late for the spinnig class. The pool was full so I ended up doing an Xpress Lane workout and then my PT exercises. I biked to work but couldn't dock again. I ended up at 3rd and H ST NE. I may end up using my own bike from now on.

May 9 - 124 days until Nation's Tri

Taniya was sick this morning so I worked from home. I took a break around noon to go to a yoga class. Typically I take morning classes or eveving class. Yoga in the middle of the day uses a different kind of energy. Mornings are probably my favorite but I would try a midday class again. It is always good to stretch.

This evening I have my total immsersion swim class with Llyod. I hope my breathing falls into place soon. It was a good class with Baldemar, Sharon, and Renato. I'm hopeful that one day we'll all be graceful swimmers. We have class agian on Wednesday so more swimming in the same week will be good for me.

May 8 - 125 days until Nation's Tri

It has been awhile since Rocky and I go to take a long run. This morning we did a 5 mile loop from our home in DE, through the Giant parking lot, down Munchy Branch, to Wolfeneck Park, through the trail toward Rehoboth, behind the Outlets, through the Kmart parking lot, and back home again. And the best part is that I wasn't achy the rest of the day. I'm in a good place to train for a triathlon.

Neil told me that next Sunday is the day to register for the Army 10 Miler in October. I'm putting that on my to do list.

May 7 - 126 days until Nation's Tri

I took it each at the beach. In the morning, Patrick and I walked the boardwalk with Rocky. Later in the day I ran both loops in our neighborhood which is just shy of a mile. My legs felt good the rest of the day so I'll take that as a good sign. It was mostly a day to relax. We saw Thor with the kids, which was quite enjoyable in a hunky sort or way,

May 6 - 127 days until Nation's Tri

I did my PT exercises first thing which helped my leg. In the afternoon I biked 45 minutes to get to an appointment. I think my knee and calf are recovering. I watched a great video clip on the importance of building recovery time into each day. In summary, you can overtrain if you never give your body a chance to recover. The body grows stronger while resting and prepares itself for the next workout. Each day, take time to put your feet up, read a book, relax on the deck. Each month, take a week to step back the intensity or volume. Each year, take a week without doing any workouts in a given sport. Every few years, take a sabbatical.

May 5 - 128 days until Nation's Tri

This was my first run since last Thursday. Natalie and I covered our usual path through the zoo. It was a great morning for a run. My calf started to hurt a little more than half way through the 4 miles. It didn't hurt as much as last week but I'm surprised it hurts at all. I'll hold off running for a few days and go to yoga to see if that helps.

Yoga District has so many great instructors. I took my first class with Stephanie. We stretched everything. I think it made a difference with my achy legs.

May 4 - 129 days until Nation's Tri

I haven't worked with a personal trainer since the middle of March. This morning I met Larry at 7am and we worked on the TRX and with kettlebells. I love/hate it all. My BMI is 24, my visceral fat is 8%, My weight is 163.5. I don't remember the rest of my numbers but everything is looking good. I've never been so fit.

May 3 - 130 days until Nation's Tri

Tuesdays are my spinning day. The regular instructor is on his honeymoon but I liked the young woman we had today. She pushed us hard and I got a good workout

On Tuesday mornings, Patrick and I are trying to walk to work together. It was a beautiful morning for our 1.5 mile commute by foot.

May 2 - 131 days until Nation's Tri

Lots of random pieces of news for today.

I swam for almost an hour at WSC in Columbia Heights. I focused on switching. Sometimes I can't tell if I'm getting better. I just hope the practice sinks in when all is said and done.

I weighed in at Weight Watchers for the month. I easily stayed at my goal weight for the month of April and am starting out at a good place for the month of May.

I attended Gracy's yoga class in Bloomingdale. I like the communal spirit there. Supposedly Prince Charles will be visiting a garden in Bloomingdale tomorrow. What a small royal world!

Carrie invited all of Mike's family to support me in my triathlon effort. I am very moved by that.

Loree is due back from her 5 month adventure in South America. Hopefully she will be running with us soon.

May 1 - 132 days until Nation's Tri

I haven't decided if I'll swim at the gym, run with DC Frontrunners, or check out the new bike Kevin loaned to me yesterday. I tried out the bike but only rode for 10 minutes. It will take some time to get used to the speed of the bike, wearing bike shoes that lock your feet to the pedals, and having the breaks located so far up front on the handle bars. I ended the day with a 10 minute workout video but my knee didn't appreciate the jumping jacks at all.

April 30 - 133 days until Nation's Tri

I skipped running with Caitlin because I still feel pain. I hope I can run tomorrow. Patrick and I checked out the azaleas at the National Arboretum and bought a lilac bush for the front yard at their annual plant sale. In the afternoon we visited Kevin and Sheila and the kids. Kevin loaned me his old triathlon bike to try out along with biking shoes. I thought it would mostly turn out to be a recovery day. Instead I ended up kayaking at Black Hill Park. Patrick and Sheila rented a row boat. Jaden and Jack shared a kayak as well as Taniya and Kate while I got a kayak to myself.

April 29 - 134 days until Nation's Tri

I was going to bike to Takoma to swim but wasn't aware of any capital bikeshares in that area so I thought I would bike to Brookland and then Metro to the aquatic center in Takoma. I biked as far as Brookland and decided to check out the Turkey Thicket pool. The facility is kept as nicely but it was still an okay place to swim. From there, I biked to work. My calf feels better after biking and swimming but I'm limping slightly. I have physical therapy this afternoon so I'll find out if I need to do anything more.

I learned my calf hurts because I over exerted it when I ran too fast with Rocky. In a couple of days it should feel fine. I'm finished with PT unless something new comes up. Older runners tend to have issues with knees and calves. Michael gave me a series of exercises for both that I should just work nto my regular stretching routine.

April 28 - 135 days until Nation's Tri

I didn't have time to workout this morning so I did a quick 20 minute run with Rocky. In the middle of the second mile, my calf locked up and I walked home. Now I'm limping but I'm hoping it goes away soon. I biked a few miles to work to try to stretch it out some. I'm getting all sorts of positive feedback from yesterday's triathlon training email. It makes my day each time I hear back from all of you.

April 27 - 136 days until Nation's Tri

The rain held off for our 7am Columbia Heights buddy run. I always enjoy my mornings with Caitlin and Natalie. This morning we ran about 4 miles through the National Zoo. I love the fact that DC has so many great places to run.

I love to run but it still means my left knee aches afterwards. I've found the best thing to do is follow up with a yoga class. Today I visited one of my first and favorite yoga teachers. If you're ever in DC and need a yoga fix, drop in on Rita at Quiet Mind Yoga.

April 26 - 137 days until Nation's Tri

Another pleasant morning in DC. I biked to the gym, worked out a bit on the machines before my spinning class, pedaled hard, biked home and walked to work with Patrick all before 9 am.

April 25 - 138 days until Nation's Tri

DC is in full bloom. I woke up to a beautiful morning and started the day with a 6:30 yoga class. Rocky and I enjoyed a morning walk and I'm looking forward to biking to work. This evening I resume my swimming classes. I enjoyed my class with Lloyd. Balomar, Renaulto, and Sharon are in class with me. I need to spend more time in the pool.

April 24 - 139 days until Nation's Tri

It took 15 hours to drive home from Florida. We even had Easter in the car. The first 12 hours were fine but the last 100 miles took forever. It felt so good to be home that I took a half hour run with Rocky. We finished in the rain. Both of us felt so much better for the run.

April 23 - Melbourne Art Festival 5K

The weather in DC has been in the 40s but it was already in the 70s when Patrick drove me south for the Art Festival 5K. It was a beautiful morning for a race. I ran well and finished in just under 26 minutes. I especially like the tech shirt with flamingos.

4-23-10 5K Flamingo Run time 25:29 pace 8:12

Previous race results

4-10-11 GW Parway Classic10 Miles time 1:31:04 pace 9:06

10-31-10 Marine Corps Marathon time 4:35:20 pace10:30

9-19-10 Philadelphia RNR Half Marathon time 2:02:44 pace 9:22

8-1-10 J.J. Memorial 5k time 25:53 pace 8:19

7-17-10 Buffalo Stampede 10K time 1:02:01 pace 9:58

7-4-10 8th Jimmy's Grill 5k time 23:42 pace 7:39

6-5-10 Komen Global Race for the Cure 5K time 23:51 pace 7:41

5-30-10 17th Annual Masser 5 Miler time 39:02 pace 7:48

5-9-10 Maya Angelou See Forever 5K time 26:22 pace 8:30

April 22 - 141 days until Nation's Tri

It was a lazy morning and everyone slept in. I went to a yoga class. My knee is feeling better than ever. All the stretching is paying off. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's 5K. This evening we went to Brevard's Community College to see an IMAX movie on Egypt, listen to a Beatles laser light show, and observe Saturn through the observatory telescope. It was a fun evevning. We've done some pretty cool things each day which can be pretty challenging when vacation with teenagers.

April 21 - 142 days until Nation's Tri

I went to a spinning class. I worked hard but still not enough to make up for the ice cream and french fries I'm indulging in each day while on vacation. In the afternoon we headed to the Magic Kingdom and stayed until the park closed. The kids had a magical day. I just know we walked a lot and everyone was pretty much worn out by the end of the day. The weather was perfect for Mickey's Electric Parade and evening fireworks. Space Mountain is still one of my favorite rides.

April 20 - 143 days until Nation's Tri

Just after sunrise, I ran 3.1 miles to prep for Saturday's 5K. I finished in about 28 minutes. I would like to be under 27 minutes on race day.

Today we're off to spend a day at the Kennedy Space Center and an evening with my cousin Janna near Daytona Beach. The Space Center was pretty inspiring, from seeing everything it takes to launching a shuttle, the history leading up to putting a man on the moon, and the incredible images from the Hubble telescope. And it is always an extra bonus to visit family while on vacation. Janna is an awesome hostess. It was fun to see her home, hang with her family, and go out for ice cream. It was another great day in Florida.

April 19 - 144 days until Nation's Tri

While in Melbourne I spotted a poster for a local 5K and my spinning teacher mentioned it was a fun race as well. I registered this morning to run a 5K on Saturday. It is called the Melbourne Art Festival 5K Run. I like the idea of combining vacation with my tri training.

Today we are off for a full day at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure, which means a full day of walking. The weather is partly cloudy with a high of 92. What a great day to be in Florida.

April 18 - 145 days until Nation's Tri

It was a day to be on vacation. Patrick and I checked out the thrift shops, candy store, Sun Cafe, and Christmas store in Historic Melbourne. The afternoon was spent with the kids at the Brevard Zoo. What an amazing place! We fed giraffes, four lorikeets landed on Taniya, and Dettrick and Jaden did a fine job steering the paddle boat through the swamp. Walking and paddle boating gave me a bit or a workout. In the evening I went to my second spinning class with Mileah. I pedaled hard. Then I met Patrick in the pool to watch the sunset. We have a whole week of fun in front of us.

April 17 - 146 days until Nation's Tri

Another picture perfect day in Indian Harbour Beach. Patrick joined me for a spinning class. This is the first time we worked out together. He enjoyed it, which means I'm a step closer to executing my plan for Patrick and I to do a century ride to celebrate our combined 100th birthday in 2012. I'm glad to find an activity that Patrick and I can enjoy together. After spinning, we took a dip in the pool.

April 16 - 147 days until Nation's Tri

It is a beautiful day in Florida, mostly sunny with a high of 85. The ocean is literally a block from the condo. I got my toes wet in the ocean. Later Patrick and I joined the fitness club that borders the complex. I'm all hooked with with yoga classes, pilate classes, and spinning classes for the next week. I already finished a yoga class. A bit more stretching and a lot more poses than I'm used to but it feels good to keep up my usual routine.

April 15 - 148 days until Nation's Tri

We travelled 900 miles in 14 hours from DC to FL with three teenagers in the car and minimal stops. The day went very smoothly although everyone was pretty much tired and hungry by the time we arrived at 7:30 pm. My knee was pretty stiff from being trapped in the same position almost the entire day. But the view from the eighth floor made up for all of the discomfort. I'm looking forward to soaking in a week's worth of sun.

April 14 - 149 days until Nation's Tri

It was a sick day for me. My sinuses annoyed me all day long. I had PT at 11:30. My leg wasn't too bad considering Natatlie and I did a 3.5 mile buddy run that morning. I want so bad to run routinely again. I just have to build up my knee strength.

April 13 - 150 days until Nation's Tri

No exercise today. Too busy wrapping things up at work and at home so we can take off for Florida on Friday.

April 12 - 151 days until Nation's Tri

I started the day with a spinning class. Spring is bursting out everywhere. I didn't even wear my coat home. It is so much easier the stay motivated when it is so inviting to be outside.

I learned through my cousin Patti, that her brother is a biking coach for TNT in Vermont. One day we might do a Century Ride together. Next year Patrick and I both turn 50 so I'm calling it our combined100th birthday. What better way to celebrate than with a Century Ride in Lake Tahoe.

I ended the day with Aqeel's yoga class. He always makes me work but I feel so much better after I stretch.

April 11 - 5 months until Nation's Tri

Since I ran yesterday, I'm using today as a recovery day. I had physical therapy in the afternoon. My calves are sore from lots of running but my knees don't hurt which gives me hope that I can resume regular running. I'm looking forward to Thursday's buddy run with Caitlin and Natalie. Running is so much more enjoyable when it is a social event.

I sent out my month 5 Tri Update. I get so many positive emails back.

April 10 - GW Parkway Classic 10 Miles

Patrick dropped me off in Alexandria by 6:30 to catch the shuttle to Mount Vernon. I was anxious just to know if 10 miles was too much. The promised sunny day never materialized but weather in the 50s is ideal for running.

  • I ran the first mile for Mike and prayed for Joe.
  • The second mile was for Leisa who hopefully had just finished the Paris Marathon. I was pleased I ran two strong miles.
  • The third mile was for Patrick. I completed a 5K for him. It felt like I had enough to go a few more miles but I wasn't certain if I had enough to keep running strong until the end.
  • The fourth mile was for Jaden. The middle of the race is always the toughest for me. I didn't give up and I'll continue to hang in there for Jaden.
  • The fifth mile was for Taniya. She always pushes me harder than anyone else. I continued strong and felt good that I had made it to the half way point. I was pretty much right on the minute (45-46 minutes) for a steady 9 minute mile pace.
  • The sixth mile was for Kim. She sent me a generous donation this week. I completed a 10K for her. That is the same distance I'll run for the Tri in September. I ran strong without looking at my watch. Here's sending Kim good racing karma to endure her teenage struggles.
  • The seventh mile was for Kathy. My goal was to run a full hour without slowing down. I was already past 6.5 miles when I hit the one hour mark. Kathy would be proud of me. I was running even better than on my marathon day.
  • The eighth mile was for Dad. In spite of knee issues, few training miles, and self-doubts, the endurance I've been working on all of these months is still there. I knew I was finishing today's race in a style that made me proud.
  • The ninth mile was for Mom. I have a knew appreciation for moms. Parenting is the hardest job around. This was a tough mile. I looked at my watch several times. Each quarter mile was work but I kept on working it.
  • The last mile was mine. My calves complained with each step but I continued to kick ass. Surprisingly my knee was never the issue during today's run. It would have been fun to have a running buddy but today was mostly a test. I passed in 1 hour and 31 minutes. I felt it was indeed a PR.

Official Time 1:31:04 Click here to see video of me crossing the finish line.

Enter 4676 for the Bib number. I'm dressed in a yellow-green shirt at the end of the video clip.

Actually I've never run a 10 mile race before today. The Buffalo Stampede last July was a 10K rather than a 10 miler so the GW Parkway Classic is my 10 mile personal record.

April 9 - 154 Days until Nation's Tri

I picked up my race packet for the GW Parkway Classic. This is my first race since the MCM and the first time I will attempt 10 miles since October as well. Although I haven't put in many miles, I have continued to cross-train and keep up my endurance. Tomorrow will be a test although I've learned to be more patient with myself. I won't push hard if I'm really not up to it.

April 8 - 155 Days until Nation's Tri

It is good to be home. In spite of a rough week, I was at the pool by 6am. I thought a full week of little exercise would have done me in. Instead it was a great morning in the water. My kick was fluid, my body stayed long and balanced, and things started coming together. My coach is confident I'll find my stroke in the end.

I also resumed physical therapy. On one hand, I thought a week of such little activity would have allowed my body to recover more fully. I want my knee to stop hurting. But doing physical therapy was not any more difficult than usual. I think I might give running a shot on Sunday with the GW Parkway Classic.

April 7 - 156 Days until Nation's Tri

My last day in Atlanta. I got a work out dragging my luggage through MARTA to the airport. While at the airport I finally got online and caught up with my personal email. I was wonderfully surprised to see how generously friends and family are supporting my fundraising efforts. I might not have made progress with my training thanks to travel and sickness but I'm well on my way to raising $5,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I also am reading a book on Total Immersion Swimming. Generally I only learn physical things by repeating them 10 times more than most people have to for their bodies to remember. I'm sort of amazing that reading about swimming is giving my concepts I can hold onto when I'm actually swimming. Like keeping my body as long as possible and powering my stroke from my core (hips) rather than my arms.

April 6 - 157 Days until Nation's Tri

The second full day was probably my most enjoyable day in Atlanta. I was feeling a bit better. Classes went well. Bridget and I hopped on MARTA and explored a bit of the city. We made it to the World of Coca Cola and to Centennial Park. It was a beautiful day to walk but I wasn't still quite up to working out. I tried to swim but the pool closed at 10 pm and I barrived 15 minutes too late. I'm not working out but I don't have my full appetite either so it sort of balances out.

April 5 - 158 Days until Nation's Tri

A tornado hit Atlanta. I was on the 62nd floor when the whole building shook. I went back to sleep after I realized it was just a storm. Everyone was told not to drive to work until daylight because so many trees were down. I heard stories of people being stuck in their own neighborhoods. By the end of the day, the sun was shining and the weather had changed for the better. After the last class, I returned to the hotel and crashed. I wasn't up to swimming or working out.

April 4 - 159 Days until Nation's Tri

We drove home, dropped Taniya off to school, I packed, and basically hopped on a plane to Atlanta. My stomach was queasy all day long. Either something I ate the night before didn't agree with me or all the running I've been doing the past few weeks caught up with me. I hoped Atlanta would be a place to work, rest, and work out at the Westin's rooftop pool. The pool was closed the first night I arrived. Instead I got sick.

April 3 - 160 Days until Nation's Tri

I had the pool to myself. I practised my balance position and did my own form of PT to stretch out my knee. It helped. I was able to spend a full day at Busch Gardens. I miss having a real workout but a full day of walking almost makes up for it. Busch Gardens is beautiful. It was a great place for Patrick, Taniya, and I to enjoy a day with my mom and dad.

April 2 - 161 Days until Nation's Tri

I still had to pay the price for a 3-4 mile run. My knee still locked up on me. I hope after all of this time for rest, it would be getting better more quickly.

Mike had a simple funeral. Patrick spoke wonderful words about families of choice. We are blessed to be part of Mike's family.

We drove to Williamsburg to spend the rest of the weekend with my parents. After such an intense week, it was nice to be someplace totally new. My parents have never been so relaxed. Two month in Florida suited them well.

April 1 - 162 Days until Nation's Tri

I resumed my Rocky run. At 6:30 Rocky and I ran for little over a half hour. Basically we did a 5K. It has been weeks since I ran and a month or more since I got out the leash for Rocky. As a cattle dog, he loves to run. These days he is faster than I am. I'm encouraged if I keep the miles, Rocky and I can have more regular runs.

We drove to Rehoboth in the afternoon for Mike's farewell dinner. It seemed so strange to be in Delaware without him. It was good to be together with his family.

March 31 - 163 Days until Nation's Tri

Mike died last night. My world is emptier today.

I went to a yoga class across the street from St Margarets, where we shared so many Sunday evenings with Mike. The instructor chanted Surya Namaskara or sun salutations. It was a prayer.

I then rode my bike from DuPont Circle to L'Enfant Plaza. The day was kind of dreary all day long which suited my mood.

Tomorrow we start a weekend of good byes.

March 30 - 164 Days until Nation's Tri

In spite of picking up the house for cleaning day, grabbing the clothes and food I needed for work, and a bunch of other small details, I made it on time to the 6:30 spinning class. I pushed myself and prayed for Mike. I want him to be free from the body he is trapped in. I want him to laugh again and make fun of us as we try our best to keep on living without him.

I feel so much better when I start my busy by making time to take care of myself. Next week I'll be training in Atlanta. The Westin looks to have an awesome pool and a good fitness room. I'm looking forward to working out each day.

March 29 - 165 Days until Nation's Tri

In spite of work, I'm making time for exercise. I hope to do a 6:30 spinning class but arrived a minute or two too late and all the bikes were in use. Instead I spent a half hour doing the Express Line, a series of 8 machines that give you a good overall workout. Strength training is my least favorite form of exercise but I'm glad I worked it into my schedule today. Then I biked from the gym to work. My intention is to get to the gym early each morning before I am at work by 8:00 to setup for the next training class.

March 28 - 166 Days until Nation's Tri

Work is taking over my life. At least I rode my bike a few miles to L'Enfant Plaza and then rode it back home again. I also did my exercises for physical therapy. It wasn't much but at least it was a little something. On the metro I read the Washington Running Report and that got me excited about training for a tri. I also bumped into my friend Dave. Little did I know that he's training for his first triathlon too. He's doing the DC Tri in June. I can't wait to discover a community of triathletes.

March 27 - 167 Days until Nation's Tri

We were in Delaware to visit my friend Mike. He is in a hospice and probably won't live through the week. Maybe a month ago I got to tell him that I would be dedicating my triathlon training to him. I wish there was something more I could, anything to lessen his suffering. Mike was moved by my gesture and it made me feel so good to tell him while I knew he understood. Today I kissed him good-bye, knowing it would be the last time. I still wish there was something more I could do. I hoped my training could be a gift to Mike but now it seems like a gift from him back to me. It gives me a way to stay connected over the next several months, especially when I'll be missing him.

March 26 - 168 Days until Nation's Tri

I decided not to do the half marathon this morning. I'm disappointed but I know it is the right thing. My knee still hurts but more importantly, I haven't trained as much as I should have. I have not run more than 9 miles since the MCM and I've not run more than a few miles in the past two weeks. If I ran, I would worry the whole way. Better not to run in vain but get myself in a good place for the next race. Hopefully that will be the GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler in two weeks.

March 25 - 169 Days until Nation's Tri

I had a good swim lesson with Lloyd. We worked on keeping my hips more level, fluttering my legs even when I breathe, extending my hands fully in front of me. I'll keep working on it until I get it. I set up two more 6 am practices for Friday mornings.

I went to Weight Watchers and weighed in pretty much at my goal weight. It feels good to be on track. Jennifer Hudson is my hero.

I went to the Fitness Expo for the National Half Marathon. I got my racing shirt, won a t-shirt and got very psyched about the course. I could picture myself running each portion of the course.

I had physical therapy. I ran on the treadmill and tried to match my stride to a metronome Michael set up for me. He told me it was up to me to decide whether I raced on Saturday or not.

March 24 - 170 Days until Nation's Tri

Work has been all consuming these past few days. I finished a presentation and then headed home, changed, and went to the pool. It felt good to exercise after a couple days of minimal activity.

I swam at Takoma for just about an hour. I focused on my kicking and a bit on my breathing. First thing tomorrow I have my lesson with Lloyd.

March 23 - 171 Days until Nation's Tri

Two days in a row with no work out. Work is crazy but I'm managing. I did take some time for myself. Today was my last watercolor class. I had a really good time these past eight weeks of Wednesday night. My final painting is of three koi. When I finish it, I'll post it here. I'm an athlete and an artist.

March 22 - 172 Days until Nation's Tri

I used Tuesday as a work day rather than a work out day. I guess I could think of it as a recovery day. I have to remember that rest is good. The ironic thing is that me knee seems to ache more on the days I use it less. It is amost as is putting it to work lubricates the knee.

I reseached last year's National Tri. 4420 folks finished the race. The median swim time was 33:21. The median bike time was 1:17:15. The median run time was 54:15. It took participants about 6 minutes for the first transition and 5 minutes for the second transition for a total time of 2:55:45. That sounds like a good goal.

March 21 - 173 Days until Nation's Tri

Since I can't run for two hours at a time to prepare for Saturday's Half Marathon, I figured the next best thing is to extend my workouts for an extra hour each day this week. This morning I ran about a mile to the gym (15 minutes), took a 45 minutes spinning class, and ran home. Basically I was more or less active from 6:00 until 7:30, not quite two hours but a good start. My knee is holding up fairly well so I'm more hopeful it will endure a half marathon. I ran the Philly Half Marathon in 2:02 and I ran the first half of the MCM in 2:14 so I would be happy if my time was somewhere between the two.

I had physical therapy today with Michael. I learned that I toe out a bit but other than that there is nothing wrong mechanically with the way I run. My hips and shoulders remain level. He will give me a tape to run to to slightly quicken my cadence. I take 150 steps each minute when I should take 160 steps. He suspects my left knee hurts because it has been compensating for my right knee, which is actually the weaker of the two. Since not much is wrong, I'm surprised my knee still aches so much. I'm to limit my running to 30 minutes at a time.

March 20 - 174 Days until Nation's Tri

It has been an overwhelming week for me. I'm juggling struggling with teenagers, a critical project at work, staying on top of finances, and finding time to stay fit, just waiting to see which ball drops. Patrick suggested it would be a good weekend to spend some time in prayer. We visited our favorite UU church. We sang a song called "I will Run the Race." It gave me encouragement. Not so much to achieve heavenly goals but simply to stop worrying about next Saturday's Half Marathon. It will all be okay no matter my time, no matter if I finish. The rest of the music and the preaching encouraged me as well. All the stuff I'm sweating right now will work out if I just go with the flow. That goes for the teenage drama too.

This evening I'll go to Rod's yoga class. Besides stretching and helping my body, yoga gives me a chance for quiet reflection. It calms my spirit as well.

March 19 - 175 Days until Nation's Tri

I took Taniya and her friend to the Law Day Fair at the DC Superior Court building. From there I ran home for 20 minutes. It felt good to run but I had to work. My knee ached a little the rest of the day but I hasn't really locked up. My plan is to run every other day. I'll run 3 or 4 miles on Monday. I'll run 5 or 6 miles on Wednesday. Friday I'll run 7 or 8 and then rest until the race on Sunday. Unless my physical therapist tells me otherwise.

I was active the rest of the day. Patrick and I took advantage of a beautiful morning to walk around Mount Vernon. I saw all sorts of cyclists there. That got me thinking about bikes, gear, training. I plan to talk to my triathlete neighbor Lisa to begin my cycling education.

In the evening I took another yoga class with Aqeel. I'm convinced that whenever I ache, stretching via yoga is a good thing.

March 18 - 176 Days until Nation's Tri

It was back to the pool. I was never on swim team as a teen but I feel like I'm making up for it now. I met Lloyd early, which means I got up at 4:45, hopped on a bike at 5:20, got to the pool by 5:50, and was in the water by 6:00. Last week I felt so discourage when I swam on my own. I felt like I forgot everything. Today I feel tons better after a private lesson. We worked on my kick, positioning my elbow, staying long, not rocking my hips too much, and maintaining my kick while breathing. With a bit more work, time, and practise, I will end up with a fluid freestyle.

In the afternoon I met with the physical therapist. Michael video taped me while running on the treadmill to analyze my gait and stride. Maybe I'll become a more fluid runner too. I won't get the results until Monday. In the meantime, I'm not to run more than 20 minutes at a times. That limits me to 2 or 3 miles. I wanted to run more this weekend so I could feel confident about next weekend's half marathon. I'm not certain how the race will work out when I haven't run more than 10 miles at any one time since the Marine Corps Marathon.

March 17 - St Patrick's Day

I've been working with Larry for just about a year now. I never set foot in a gym until my 2010 New Year resolution. I found all of the equipment to be intimidating and the idea of lifting weights just seemed dangerous. In twelve months I've come a long way. This morning I was swinging kettle balls, curling with a resistance band, and finished with a 2 minute plank. And my abs felt every bit of it.

My goal is to balance strength training, with cardio (spinning, running, swimming), with stretching (yoga). The strength training is my least favorite part but I'm sticking with it.

March 16 - 178 Days until Nation's Tri

I used today as a rest day although I rode my bike to my watercolor class at the Smithsonian. I'm painting fish these days. Little did you know that I'm striving to be an artist and an athlete.

Rest days are still a struggle for me. I always feel like I need to do something but I'm learning to resist that tendency. My marathon training taught me that iit is just important to give the body time to rest and recover.

March 15 - 179 Days until Nation's Tri

I started my day with a 6:30 am spinning class, which is always a good way to get the day going.

Daffodils are in bloom across the street and the trees are budding. Spring is in the air. I'll stick with the spinning classes but I'm also looking forward to the real thing. Maybe this weekend a bike ride to Mount Vernon or along the C&O Canal would be just the right thing.

March 14 - 180 Days until Nation's Tri

I see the physical therapist for the first time today. My knee hurts for days whenever I run now. It still aches from Saturday's run. I'll see the same therapist Jaden saw two years ago when he hurt his knee playing volleyball or basketball. I really hope Michael can show me how to stretch, strengthen, and support my knee so I can run for the rest of my life. My fear is he will tell me I can't run the Nation's Half Marathon in two weeks.

Physical therapy was mostly good news. Michael suspect I may have a small tear in the meniscus in my left knee. In the worst case I would have surgey. In any case I would start with physical therapy. I'll mee t with him twice a week for the next month to see how that goes. In the meantime he gave me daily exercises for my knee. On Friday he'll video tape me running on a treadmill. He'll analyze what he seees and make recommendations. He doesn't want me to run before Friday but suspects I can continue training for the half marathon.

Stretching is good so I went to a yoga/pilates class this evening in Bloomingdale. It was the first time I took a class with Michelle.The room was packed but I got a great workout.

March 13 - Patrick's Birthday

We went to our beach house yesterday afternoon so we could see Mike today. Mike was diagnosed with a brain tumor in September. He's been through radiation and chemotherapy since then. It has been a rough road. That's why we were so glad to share Patrick's birthday with him. We sang happy birthday and ate ice cream cake after our pancake breakfast.

I told Mike about signing up for the triathlon. I told him that I'm dedicating my training to him this next half a year. I told him I'm lucky because I get to choose to train. He doesn't get a choice about the path he'll be going down the next six months. I am so glad I got to tell him these things and he understood.

I didn't run or bike or swim but Patrick, Taniya, and I walked together the full length of the Rehoboth boardwalk and back while Jaden and his friend Dettrick did their own thing and checked out Candy Kitchen. To me, this was the best part of Patrick's birthday.

March 12 - 182 days until the Nation's Tri

Today was a running day. I ran on the Mall with Caitlin and Alex, the first Saturday run for me in three weeks. 7.3 miles later, my knee still felt okay. It is reassuring to know that the tri is a 10K or 6.2 miles. My plan is to try to run 6.2 miles whenever I run. That takes me about an hour to complete. By the time Septmber 11 arrives, I will have run this distance so many times, I can just slip into automatic pilot to finish the race. Running is my strength.

The countdown begins
Jul 21, 2011 by Dan McNeil

March 11, 2011

Exaclty 6 months from today, I hope to compete in my first triathlon. Since the start of the year, I've been training unofficially. On Saturdays you'll find me running 7 or 8 miles on the Mall with some of the same folks I trained with for last year's Marine Corps Marathon. A small group of us have continued with midweek buddy runs in spite of ice and snow. For the biking portion, I've gotten into the habit of biking to and from work instead of taking the metro. And once a week I take a spinning class at the gym. I truly enjoy it. The hardest part for me is the swimming. To that end, I just completed a six week series of total immersion swim lessons. I haven't quite mastered my swim stroke but I'm confident I will sometime in the next half a year.

Today, I officially registered with Team in Training. Today, is your chance to join my team. Send me an email of encouragement. Tell me about your goals for this year. Be one of the first folks to make a donation. Or just check out my webpage and leave a comment. I can't wait to see what the next six months bring.

For Mike

On March 30, 2011, our good friend Mike Morgan died from a brain tumor. A few weeks earlier I shared with him that I was training for my first triathlon and I wanted to dedicate my effort to him. I was doing something hard by choice while he was enduring the hardest days in his life through no choice of his own. He was moved by my gesture. We both knew he probably wouldn't live to see me race but I didn't know he would be gone so soon. I still hope my training efforts make him proud. And I pray all that is raised for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society will give someone a long and healthy future.

Triathlon Training Updates
Aug 05, 2011

Time to Get Serious

August 4, 2011

Here’s my to do list:

  • Swim – I got my wet suit on Tuesday and will try it out on Sunday at a nearby quarry for open water swim practice
  • Bike – Tuesday I tackled hills at the National Arboretum and winds on Wednesday at Hains Point
  • Run – this morning Loree and I completed a 10K, pushing through the soupy humidity of August in DC
  • Rest and Recover – time to redeem my coupon for a sports massage and squeeze in an extra yoga class to stretch tight muscles
  • Bake – make cakes, pies, cookies, etc for next Thursday’s Dessert Tasting Thank You.
  • Fundraise – I’m at 80% of my goal, in the next few weeks I’m striving to hit $5,000
  • Race – Nation Triathlon to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in 37 days

You can help me out with the last three.

Click on my link or reply to this email if you haven’t already RSVP’d and tell me if you can come to the Dessert Tasting. Click the link for more details or call me (202) 387-5757.

Use the link as well to donate to LLS.

Cheer me on in person or in spirit on September 11, 2011.

My training page:

Training hard,

Dan McNeil

If you can't stand the heat...

July 21, 2011

It has been a tough week to train in DC with sweltering temperatures and strength draining humidity. I'm hanging in there and making plans to escape to the kitchen. It's time for the second annual dessert tasting thank you at my home. Believe me, you don't want to miss it.

Click on my training page for all of the details and to RSVP.

Ready to bake,

Dan McNeil

The Calendar

July 12, 2011

July 11 Las Vegas

This week, I’m playing in the desert with my extended family to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Check out my training log to see how I’ve integrated triathlon training with a family vacation; however, I’m not so optimistic about using slot machines as a fund raising tool. If you haven’t made a donation yet, thinking about helping me out.

August 11 My Home

Mark your calendar; I’ve just set the date for the second annual Thank You Dessert Tasting. If you’re on my email list, if you sent an encouraging email, or if you made a donation, then consider yourself invited. Last year we had ultimate chocolate cupcakes in the dining room, cheesecake in the parlor, and blueberry pie in the family room, just to name a few of the homemade goodies featured throughout the house. The dessert selection will change but promises to be just as tempting. In a couple weeks, I’ll send a separate email invitation with more details.

September 11 Washington, DC

It all leads to this moment. I’ve worked hard. I took lessons, worked with coaches, and spent many hours in the pool just to learn to swim well enough to complete a mile. I bought a race bike, banged up my knees, enjoyed many spinning classes, and continue to work on basic bike skills. I’ve kept up with my weekly buddy runs from my marathon training , I’ve run with Rocky, my dog, Bobby, my co-worker, and Sherri, my friend at the beach. I’m running stronger than ever and hope to keep up the momentum all the way to race day. Come cheer me on in person or track my progess online the day of the triathlon.

Every day Everywhere

The Nations’ Triathlon benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. As a team, we’ve raised over $100,000. I’ve raised about $3,500 of my $5,000 goal. Long after the race is finished and I’ve earned a medal, it is the money that I’ve helped raise to fund research and provide support to families that will continue to change lives. Until the day cancer is cured, LLS is there every step of the way.

Click on my training page link to read more about my time in Las Vegas or to make a donation to LLS.

Just two months to go,

Dan McNeil

A New Lifestyle (or Confessions of a Closeted Athlete)

July 7, 2011

Weight Watchers taught me that you have to practice a new behavior for sixteen weeks before it becomes a habit. I would say I’ve acquired a fitness habit although Patrick might argue that it is more of an addiction. Whether habit or addiction, my day to day routines have certainly changed. Case in point, next week I leave for Las Vegas on a family vacation to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. In the past, I would have prepared for such a trip by googling internet deals on Cirque du Soleil shows and scoping out the best buffets on the Strip. Instead, the first thing I found myself doing was searching for a fitness club with a pool. I hit the jackpot when I discovered a gym less than 2 miles away, complete with a running club, spinning classes, an outdoor lap pool, and yoga classes. I couldn’t be happier. Las Vegas, here I come.

Just to see if I can coax Lady Luck to be on my side, I promise to donate half of any winnings to LLS. Check out my training page all next week to see if I’m more successful in my training efforts while on vacation or if I prove to be a better fundraiser at the slot machines.

I hope the summer finds each of you doing something that makes you happy.

Dan McNeil,

PS To follow my progress or to make a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, click here:

Kinda Cranky

June 28, 2011

You’ve probably noticed I’m typically pretty upbeat when it comes to tri training. This week - not so much. I’m not injured; I’m not too busy to train, no allergies, no traveling, no late nights, no intolerable heat so I don’t really have any good reason to complain. I polled my fellow teammates on the way to our 5:30 am swim practice and discovered I’m not alone in my wish to whine. Coach Carrie was her usual self, helping me improve in the water, but I just wanted to climb out of the pool after the first 50 meters and take a 10 minute break. The only reason I kept swimming was because Melissa, who was half a lap ahead of me at all times, kept swimming. Peer pressure, in the positive sense, was about the only thing that kept me in the water. Thank you, Melissa, Coach Carrie, and all the other folks who showed up this morning. In my final analysis, I’ve concluded that two months of daily workouts, which have only increased in intensity (today I swam nearly an hour and ran for over an hour) are catching up with me. Still not a very good reason to feel sorry for myself.

This past Sunday, fellow TNTer Andrew completed the Philadelphia triathlon. He was amazing and finished well. This is what he wrote:

I truly am in love with this sport now after the race and it is one of the best feelings of accomplishments I have had in my life! Continue to train and trust the coaches. Most people on our team went up to the coaches and said "I wasn't sure if I trusted you until I finished, but I totally understand it all now!"

After reading this update from the beginning, I’m struck by my lack of insight. After all, I’m training for an endurance event. It seems kind of silly to complain that it is hard. Time to get out of my head, and get back in the water, on the bike, and into the race.

Check out my training log to see if my attitude improves. Or contribute to my fundraising effort to help those facing real challenges.

Negative every now and then,

Dan McNeil

In 2 days I turn 49

June 16, 2011

Here’s how I’m celebrating my birthday this Saturday:

1. Run for 49 minutes in Hamlin, NY where I celebrate the day with my mom and dad, my immediate family, and my extended family.

2. Bike 49 miles and swim 49 laps during my birthday week, taking joy in the fact that my 49 year old body is training for a tri.

3. Eat 4.9 pieces of cake. Two pieces are reserved for NY, that leaves 2.9 pieces for DC. If you want to be in on a cake opportunity, let me know and I’ll put you on my training schedule. (Cake is a favorite indulgence.)

4. For the next 49 days, write a thank you note to someone to acknowledge the way they've contributed to my life.

5. Donate $49 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Click here to donate:

How you can celebrate my birthday...

Do any of the above 5 things and let me know with a birthday email.

Birthday thanks to all of you for your ongoing support and encouragement. My life is richer because of all of you.

Grateful to be a year older,

Dan McNeil

Number 161

June 12,2011

8:30 this morning, I completed a Splash and Dash, my first swim/run event. So many folks have wished me luck over the past few days (Thank you Kara-Grace). You'll all be happy to know that it went well. The 300 meter swim didn't turn out to be the test I thought it would be. We snaked our way through three lanes of an outdoor 50 meter pool, but my lanes got so congested at times I had to stop and wait, which also allowed me to rest and catch my breath. I never really got a chance to get into my swimming zone and push myself. I suspect I finished this portion in about 10 minutes. I made up for lost time with the run. I ran my 5K at a pace of 8 minutes miles along Paint Branch Trail. It was a beautiful place and I felt strong the entire time. But I have to confess that my favorite part of the race was neither the swim nor the run. Surprisingly, it was first thing at the “body marking” table. For those of you unfamiliar with the tri world, let me explain. Since you can't swim with a racing bib, your racing number is written in permanent marker on both biceps and in this case, the left calf before the start of the event. This thrilled me to no end. It is probably the closest thing to a tattoo that will ever appear on this unmarked, unpierced body of mine. With “161” inked on my arms and legs, I strutted over to where Patrick and Taniya were sitting before heading to the starting area. Secretly I felt like a “bad ass” in a new tri body. And I loved every moment of it.

Click on the link to my training page to eventually see my final results or to make a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Also known as,

Dan McNeil

Take a Chance

June 7, 2011

Recently someone pointed out that when we are young, we have all sorts of people in our lives like parents, teachers, and coaches encouraging us to attempt and conquer all sorts of huge challenges. Do you remember the first time you rode a bike or the first day of school? Do you also remember the amazing sense of accomplishment? Ironically, as we grow up and outgrow the adults in our lives, many of us forget how to challenge ourselves. We follow the same safe routine. There is no coach telling you to try something you’ve never done before…

unless you join a training team and have swim practice at 5:30 every Tuesday morning. Have you noticed how many of these updates focus on swim practice? I started out so happy that I was bumped up to level two. 50 meters later, I was totally out of breath and my ego was equally deflated. But that didn’t stop Coach Carrie from telling us to swim 50 meters as fast as we could and then swim comfortably for 100 meters, resting 20 seconds in between and repeating three more times. I thought, ”I can’t do this.” And I couldn’t. I only managed to do it twice instead of four times before running out of steam. Now did Coach Carrie stop? No, she said swim for 10 minutes and don’t stop and don’t hang on the sides but just keep moving forward. And count the number of laps you complete. I thought, “I can’t do this.” Somewhere after the third lap I stopped counting. At that point I could count, or I could breath, but doing both was too much. I decide to keep breathing. And I kept swimming. Coach Carrie told us 6 minutes had passed. And I kept swimming and breathing. 10 minutes later I was still swimming. And I was so proud of myself. You know that feeling when you ride a bike for the first time…

So I challenge you today to go out and find your Coach Carrie. Dare to try.

Click on my link to read about everything else I’ve been up to or to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society:

Doing the impossible,

Dan McNeil

100 Days from Now...

June 2, 2011

1 day from now, I’ll be back in the pool, working on my breathing technique.

10 days from now, I compete in my first swimming/running event, the Splash and Dash in Silver Spring. Wish me luck.

16 days from now, I celebrate my 49th birthday.

48 days from now, I have an appointment to tune up my race bike. Oh yeah, I still need to learn how to ride a race bike.

75 days from now, I’ll host my second Thank You Dessert Tasting for all the folks who are supporting me. It was a big hit last year. Hope you can come.

88 days from now, my kids go back to school. Doesn't the summer just fly by?

100 days from now, I’ll finish my first triathlon!!! And you were with me each step, stroke, and mile of the way.

What you can do today…

Be good to someone in your life who inspires you. Take the time to thank them.

Be good to yourself. Take a break from the busyness of the day and take a walk, plan a vacation, schedule date night, etc.

Be good to LLS. Click on my link and make a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Counting the days,

Dan McNeil

All Things Swimming

May 25, 2011

Since my last update, I’ve learned a lot more about swimming. For example, in a triathlon, swimming is always first and running is generally last. That way if you run out of steam at the end, you just fall down in the road. If the order were reversed, you would drown - definitely a worse way to end the race.

On Sunday, I kayaked in the Potomac to check out where I’d be swimming, not far from the Lincoln Memorial. In September the average water temperature is 70 degrees which means wet suits are permitted during a triathlon. Above 82 degrees, no wet suits so you don’t overheat. The wet suit is a good thing because it acts as a flotation device.

On Monday, I “graduated” from my six week total immersion swim class and was amazed at how much I’ve improved over the weeks. Swimming is so much easier when you know how to breathe. On Tuesday at my second 5:30 a.m. team swim, I still swam with the beginners but I was the lane leader. I was faster than the other six teammates in my lane. Unfathomable.

On Wednesday, I signed up for my first competitive swimming event. On June 12, I make my debut at the Splash and Dash in Silver Spring to benefit SOME - So Others Might Eat. I swim 300 meters followed by a 5K run. Sounds like the perfect way to put my new aquatic skills to the test.

As always, use the link in this email to follow my training log or to make a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society:

Keeping current,

Dan McNeil

I was at the pool at 5 am this morning

May 17, 2011

I was not a jock in high school. I never practiced for any sport. Until this morning, I didn't know people got up so early to do such things. Today was my first team swim.

About 40 of us showed up at the Lab School in Georgetown. We self selected into groups. In spite of my recent swim lessons, I knew I belonged in level one. As levels two and three gracefully executed their laps, my goal was simply to get from one end of the pool to the other however I could. Surprisingly, I managed to do it several times. The longer I was in the water the more I remembered from class about good form. I still have lots and lots of laps ahead of me but I'm feeling more optimistic than ever. Coach Steve says we'll grow to love these early morning workouts and that swimming might actually be my favorite part of the triathlon. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Check out my training log if you also want to read about me tipping over on bike or my most recent Rocky run.

Bonus feature - on my training page is a link to a short video clip of last year's National Triathlon, posted especially for all of you who can't imagine people swimming in the Potomac.

A little tired,

Dan McNeil


4 months until


Nation’s Triathlon – 3 events

  • .93 mile swim in the Potomac River
  • 24.8 mile bike ride through Rock Creek Park
  • 6.2 mile run around Haines Point

  • An estimated 957,902 people in the United States are living with, or are in remission from, leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma or myeloma.
  • $8.4 Million has been raised since 2008 through the Nation's Triathlon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
  • Nation’s Tri Team – 83 participants and growing

Help us make a difference. Donate today.

Click on my training page to track my progress or to make a gift

Ready to Tri,

Dan McNeil

You're Invited!

May 5, 2011

For the past couple months, I’ve shared with you my enthusiasm about training for my first triathlon. I’ve receive many words of encouragement and nearly $1,500 in donations. But have you ever thought giving it a try yourself.? This could be the year you complete a marathon, conquer a century ride, or train with me for a triathlon. Think about it. The official kick-off for the next season with Team in Training for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is Saturday, May 14 in Bethesda, MD and you are invited. Over 80 folks have are signing up for the Nation Triathlon. Even more will be signing up for marathons and half marathons. Come check it out. I promise you, it will be an amazing experience. Email me for details or click on the following link to learn more about Team in Training:

I can’t wait to discover which one of you will be on my triathlon team. But if this is not your year to sign up, inspire me with the incredible things you are doing. Through these emails, I learned Uncle Gordie is fundraising for Ronald McDonald House. Meredith is running a 5K later in the month for Bright Beginnings, a family development center dedicated to homeless families with young children. My Cousin John Miller is a TNT biking coach for Vermont. Last month, my mom started walking and biking. I get so excited when I hear stories like these. So tell me the good things you are doing.

And in the meantime, you can always follow my progress or make a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by clicking here:

Hope to see you a week from Saturday,

Dan McNeil

P.S. Feel free to forward this email to anyone you know who might want to register for an endurance event this year to support LLS.

5 Side Effects of Training

April 27, 2011

Just about a year ago I decided to train for my first 5K, thus running entered my life. I followed up with 5 months of training for my first marathon. My training program included swimming for cross training, yoga and Pilates for stretching, working out at the gym for strength training as well as a whole lot of running. Over the winter I took up spinning in anticipation of my first triathlon. Triathlon training will take me through September. Over the next several months I’m trying to become more proficient at swimming, cycling, and running. All of this adds up to an hour of physical activity 5 or 6 days of the week. I love being fit but over the past year I’ve discovered a number of unexpected benefits.

1. A Healthy Heart – at my last doctor’s appointment my blood pressure was 110 over 70. Both numbers are 10 points lower than they’ve been in my entire adult life. Health wise I’ve never been in better shape. Not bad considering I’m a year away from 50.

2. More Friends – my social network has more than doubled as I’ve connected with running buddies, fellow weight watchers, budding triathletes, swimming coaches, yoga instructors, facebook friends, cycling mentors, and an ever growing online community of supporters.

3. Financial gain – walking or biking to work, the gym, and the grocery store saved me hundreds of dollars in transportation costs this past year plus I save time too. Often I can run across the city faster than I can drive through rush hour traffic. And there’s the tax benefit from my charitable contribution to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. And last but not least, I get another deduction for donating all of the clothes that no longer fit me.

4. A better relationship – in the early days Patrick and I enjoyed many walks to the Capitol, Eastern Market, and Congressional Cemetery where we regularly walked Mardi and Boomer. Recently we started walking together again. Most evening you’ll find us strolling through our neighborhood all in the effort to be healthier. While on Spring Break this week, Patrick joined me for his first spinning class. I’m envisioning future weekend bike trips together. It is great to have a life partner who can also be an exercise partner.

5. A saner parent – raising teenagers is even harder than training for a marathon or a triathlon. Slowly I’m learning that taking care of myself is one of the best ways to take care of my kids. These days I bottle up all the lectures my kids refuse to hear, all the nagging that I know won't do any good, and a bunch of the worry about the things I can't control anyways. I save the negative energy and use it to fuel my runs. The act of running gives me the opportunity for quiet reflection. Afterwards I almost always feel less stress and occasionally the change in perspective helps me see through to the next day. I’m hoping it is making me a better parent.

Check out my training log if you want to follow my day to day progress as well as make a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Training to be a better person,

Dan McNeil

My Training Plan

April 11, 2011

The Nation’s Tri is 5 months from today. In the first month since I’ve signed up with Team in Training, I finished swim lessons for beginner triathletes, almost completed a round of physical therapy on my knee, discussed borrowing a race bike from my neighbor, sent out a few messages, contacted my coaches, and raised little over a $1,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Not a bad start.

My goal is to swim twice a week, bike twice a week, run twice a week and raise another $1,000. So here’s my training plan for the next month:

Monday – swim lessons round 2

Tuesday – spinning class

Wednesday – recovery day

Thursday – 4 mile buddy run

Friday – swim practice

Saturday – long run on Mall with former marathon teammates

Sunday – mini bike trips to explore DC

I’ll toss is a couple yoga classes for good measure and possibly some weight training with Larry, my trainer. May 14 is the official kick off. By then, I should be in a really good place. I’ll keep you posted.

Use the link to help me reach my goal by donating online to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as well as to learn more about my progress:

Your words of support make all the difference.

Thank you,

Dan McNeil

Exactly What is a Tri?

March 31, 2011

If last year I was mystified by everything that goes into mastering a marathon, a triathlon is at least three times trickier to tackle. Here’s what I’ve figured out so far. According to Wikipedia, a triathlon is a multi-sport event involving the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance events. The most common trio of sports includes swimming, biking, and running. Triathlons come in a variety of distances. A sprint triathlon is the shortest (total distance 16 miles) whereas an Iron Man is the longest (total distance 140 miles). I have my sights set on the Nation’s Triathlon, an Olympic Triathlon scheduled for September 11, 2011 to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). I will swim 1.5 km (.93 miles), bike 40 km (24.8 miles), and run 10 km (6.2 miles). Last year over 4000 men and women completed the Nation’s Tri. The average time was just under 3 hours which more or less breaks out as a 33 minute swim in the Potomac, a 1 hour 17 minute bike ride through Rock Creek Park, and a 54 minute run along Haines Point. Now that I have a handle on the basic terms, I’m ready to delve into the intricate world of racing gear, special attire, and a training program that includes things like brick workouts. I’ll keep you posted as I come up to speed. Wish me luck.

Please use the link below to follow my training effort or to make a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

On behalf of LLS, thank you very much for your support. I greatly appreciate your generosity, your words of encouragement, and your good thoughts.

Thank you once again,

Dan McNeil

Six Months From Today I Participate in My First Triathlon!

March 11, 2011

I am excited to be back. Last year, so many of you accompanied me on the amazing journey to train for and complete the Marine Corps Marathon. Family, friends, coworkers, and teammates encouraged me every step of the way from the first training run in May until Jennifer and Natalie literally crossed the finish line with me on the last Sunday in October. In between, your emails, words of encouragement, and financial support made a world of difference. And so I am ready to do it again.

Today, I officially registered with Team in Training for the Nation's Triathlon to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Today is your chance to join my team. Send me an email of encouragement. Tell me about your goals for this year. Be one of the first folks to make a donation. Or just check out my webpage and leave a comment. I can't wait to see what the next six months bring.

Get ready to make a difference,

Dan McNeil


Supporter Comments

    "Your creativity, imagination, enthusiam, drive, determination, endurance and commitment are awe-inspiring and make 49 look so good!! Happy Birthday - had to give you $1 more dollar to start the count for next year! "

    Dan Fan

    Fri Jun 17 11:19:40 EDT 2011

    "Good Luck Dan! Molly"

    Molly Ward

    Sun May 15 10:04:51 EDT 2011

    "Keep up the good work Dan!"

    Tony Riddick

    Wed Apr 27 01:13:54 EDT 2011

    "Go Dan go!! xo"

    David Rachleff

    Tue Apr 12 11:45:06 EDT 2011

    "You're amazing! Good luck with all the training. Trust me, the swim will get easier with more practice:) "

    Tai McNeil

    Sun Apr 03 10:34:21 EDT 2011

    "happy bday dan!"

    beth gouse

    Fri Jun 17 05:52:35 EDT 2011

    "Darling, you are growing older..."

    Daniel McNeil

    Thu Jun 16 06:47:12 EDT 2011

    "Hey Dan! Sorry this is coming to you so late. I tried doing it a month ago, but it didn't work for some reason. Glad I can still do it today, though! Congrats again on a great race today!"

    Jennifer Henrichsen

    Sun Sep 11 03:00:45 EDT 2011

    "Morning buddy run followed by lots of dessert for dinner -- what a perfect day your Thank You party was :)"

    Loree Lipstein

    Thu Aug 18 08:32:36 EDT 2011

    "One month left!! Way to go, Dan!"


    Thu Aug 11 02:30:32 EDT 2011

    "Good luck Dan!!! We are all cheering for you!! "

    Cat and Rob Dunham

    Sun Aug 07 09:27:45 EDT 2011

    "Dan, You are such an inspiration, keep up the AWESOME work and effort. what a wonderful tribute to your friend Mike. May his spirit bless you with a safe and wonderful race experience. SO PROUD to call you a friend and team mate! "

    Leisa Campbell

    Thu Aug 04 09:46:36 EDT 2011

    "Go Dan and go team!"

    David Cooper

    Mon Aug 01 08:31:39 EDT 2011

    "Good Luck Dan! Hope your ankle is better soon!"

    Robert & Tara Poe

    Sun Sep 04 12:56:27 EDT 2011

My Fundraising Total

Raised: $5,868.00 | Goal: $5,000.00
117 %

Make a Donation

We are sorry donations are no longer being accepted for this participant for this event.

In Memory of

Mike Morgan

My Thanks To

Barry Conaty $500.00
Kim Salmon $500.00
Anthea Seymour $250.00
Kelly Cieslak $250.00
Gordon McNeil $250.00
Thomas Frayne $150.00
Maureen Jais-Mick $150.00
Robert & Tara Poe $100.00
Allison Smith $100.00
William Lammers $100.00
Anne Middlemiss $100.00
Kathryn Byrd $100.00
Kathy Quinn $100.00
Kevin Hennessy $100.00
Nadia and Farooq Mohyuddi... $100.00
Kate Yalowiz $100.00
Lisa Williams $100.00
beth gouse $100.00
Anne Barton $100.00
Adam Martinelli $100.00
Linda Kaufman and Liane R... $100.00
Mac and Faye McNeil $100.00
Michelle Bechard $100.00
Jeff Ward $100.00
Bob Benedetti $100.00
EP $100.00
Joe Bower $60.00
Jennifer Henrichsen $50.00
Karen Carney $50.00
Cat and Rob Dunham $50.00
Jake Hudson $50.00
Renato Molina $50.00
Richard Gervase $50.00
Wendy Paige $50.00
Sharon Wright $50.00
Sharon Donovan $50.00
Dan Fan $50.00
Richard Byrne $50.00
Carrie Roland $50.00
Jessica Trevelyan $50.00
John Ward $50.00
Molly Ward $50.00
Ellen Griffin-Stolbach $50.00
Sonia Jacobson $50.00
Barry Langley $50.00
Tony Riddick $50.00
Maria Farmer $50.00
Tai McNeil $50.00
Michael Michalski $50.00
Nazzic Turner $49.00
Daniel McNeil $49.00
Kathryn Canavan $40.00
Bank of America $25.00
donald shearer $25.00
Cathy&Chuck Skelley $25.00
Tegan DiNardo $25.00
Dan and Cathy Strodel $25.00
Rita Alvarado $25.00
Edwin Ward $25.00
Meg Doherty $25.00
April Rainey $25.00
Leisa Campbell $25.00
David Cooper $25.00
MJ Breinholt $25.00
Gabriela Baca $25.00
Kathy Canavan $25.00
Bridget Jones $25.00
Julia Ingraham $25.00
danielle becker $25.00
Meredith Mathis $25.00
David Rachleff $25.00
Jennifer Ritchey $25.00
Hooileng Szakal $20.00
Caitlin Hartman $20.00
Samantha Tobias $15.00
Zachary Feuerherd $10.00
Leslie Hotaling $10.00
Loree Lipstein