I Am Ironman

Season wrap-up
Jul 06, 2016 by Andrew Rich

TL;DR: I did not complete the event; I didn't even complete the swim. But I raised $3,500 for blood cancer research and I'm looking ahead to my next challenge.



This is a difficult update to write, especially since it's the last of the season.


After nearly six months training for IRONMAN 70.3 Coeur D'Alene, I was unable to finish the 1.2-mile swim--had to be pulled from the water around three-quarters of the way through--and therefore was not permitted to continue and received a DNF for the race. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I was sad, angry, shocked, a little sick, all at once. All that training time, hard work, sacrifice, wasted.


Except it wasn't wasted.


The training made me a stronger athlete. The hard work was worthwhile on its own. And, of course, the money I raised--thanks to your generous donations--will help with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's goals of finding treatments and cures for blood cancers and supporting patients.


So, I go on. I took a week or so of lower activity (I didn't really have anything to recover from, but I took an easier week to gather myself) and now I'm back on the horse. I have several big running races coming up including my first 50K run, and I've registered for the 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside race in April. I won't be fundraising for this one; it'll be all about redemption for me. I'll continue my training on my own and with the Ironteam (especially concentrating on the open-water swims). And come next April, I'll cross that finish line.


Thank you to everyone who supported me in this past Team in Training season.



Training Week 22: Check-in
Jun 08, 2016 by Andrew Rich



A very busy weekend. Saturday, I ran the third of the four 2016 Giant Race races: San Jose, a 5K. I'd set a goal to beat my PR of 26:26, which (coincidentally) I'd achieved in March at the second of the four races, in Sacramento. I beat that, setting a new PR in the 5K distance, and finished in 26:05. That result is 8th in my age group (M45-49), 66th male, and 90th overall; out of 53, 558, and 1,469 respectively. To say I'm thrilled with this would be an understatement.

No photos available because I was so fast it would have blurred...


Then, with just enough time to shower and change, I headed up to South Lake Tahoe for America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride -- my Team in Training IRONTEAM would use the 72-mile circuit around the lake as a training ride for our various 70.3 and 140.6 events. The team had a swim and run in the early afternoon, but I didn't get there in time; so I grabbed my wetsuit and walked down to the beach for a late-afternoon swim in the lake.


However, when I dipped my toes in the lake... it wasn't really that cold. It wasn't as cold as Wickiup Reservoir (where I swam for my first triathlon, in 2014). It wasn't even as cold as either Gull or Leo Ryan Park (the Foster City lagoons where we do open-water swim training). And the lake water was very calm and completely clear. So I decided to leave the wetsuit off, and swam in my tri shorts. It wasn't a long swim, but it was my first wetsuit-less open-water swim (and the water wasn't exactly warm, either).

Stylized by Google Photos


Sunday morning, bright and early, the team met up for the ride. Turned out some would be tackling the full century -- which I did last year -- but I had planned and trained for the 72-mile ride this year and that's what I stuck with. The weather was gorgeous; much better than last year, where Emerald Bay was so socked in that I couldn't see a thing. This year, by contrast, the temperature was mild (though it did start to get a little bit warm after the descent from Spooner Summit) and the sky was clear.

72 miles around the lake


I finished the 72-mile loop in 4:41:49, comfortably ahead of my (private) 4:48:00 goal. And when I got back to the hotel, because triathlete, I headed out for a three-mile "recovery" run. 


Coming up this weekend: another 70+ mile ride, local this time, and an extended swim/run workout. I've taken a few days of easy recovery since the long ride on Sunday but will get back to training on Thursday with a swim and run.


At this point in my training season, I have absolutely no doubt of my ability to finish the IRONMAN 70.3 race, and I'm guessing a finish time of perhaps 7:30:00. I'm still not terribly comfortable in open-water swims, but I'll get it done and hop on the bike and then power through the run. 




With just a few days remaining until my fundraising deadline (June 14), I'm at 81% of my goal ($2,823.07 of 3,500.00). A few donations have come in recently to boost that total, and I have a small amount from Amazon sales to transfer over, but there's still a gap of several hundred dollars to be made up in the next week. 


I'd be extremely grateful for your support as the deadline nears. Please click the "DONATE NOW" button in the right column and give what you can; as a reminder, this is all for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's support for blood cancer research and cures. Many employers will match charitable donations by their employees, so please check with your HR or benefits department.


As always, thank you for your support.



Training Week 21: Check-in
May 31, 2016 by Andrew Rich

Training update:


Last Saturday's team workout was a Double Big Brick: Bike/Run/Bike/Run. The first ride started with a hefty climb up King's Mountain Road, with over 1,800 feet of elevation. Six miles run out and back on Cañada, then the second ride which was on familiar roads for me. By the time I got back from the second ride, though, the weather had gone from "pleasant" to "warm" to "HOT" and my second run was less than completely successful. I finished, but wasn't happy about it.


Tale of the tape


Coming up this week, I'll be running the Giant Race 5K in San Jose and then immediately hitting the road for South Lake Tahoe, where the team will be tackling the 72-mille course of America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride around the lake -- you may recall I did the century (100 mile) course as my fundraising event last year. We're treating the shorter version (once around the lake, without the detour to Truckee) as a long training ride.


Over the next few weeks we'll do more open-water swims and long rides and runs as we dial in the last training for the IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon, which will take place on June 26. Yep, less than a month to go!


Fundraising update:


With some recent donations I'm now up near the 75% mark of my $3,500 fundraising goal for this season. I'm looking to finish strong and I'd obviously love to close out my fundraising before the event date. Please consider chipping in to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's vital research funding into blood cancer cures. And if you've already donated this season -- thank you! -- perhaps forward this to a friend, or check to see whether your employer offers charitable matching. 


Thanks as always and...




Training Week 18: Quick update
May 03, 2016 by Andrew Rich


The famous 57-mile Calaveras ride (Saturday), eleven-mile on-my-own run (Sunday). 


The famous Calaveras ride. Better than last year, no less annoying.

Training continues apace; three nights plus both weekend days, every week. Eight or so weeks until the big event.





I've broken the crucial 50% line of my fundraising goal! Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far; to everyone else, you still have time: just hit up the Donate link in the sidebar.


Gift Pack:


It's time to award the fabulous gift pack to someone who donated at least $20 between March 13 and April 30! Every $20 counted as another chance to receive the gift pack, and here are the wonderful people who donated during that period: 


Briana (x5)




Jennifer (x2)


Matthew (x5)


Florence (x2)



I used this random number picker to give me a random number between one and 15, and just counted up starting with the first donation. And the number is:



And that means Matthew will get the gift pack. Thank you, Matthew, and everyone else who donated. There's still a ways to go, both in training and fundraising, and I continue to appreciate all the support I can get.



Training Week 17: Check-in
Apr 25, 2016 by Andrew Rich

Training update


This past weekend was a big one: a double "boot camp" with the San Francisco IronTeam. That meant two long back-to-back days of swim/bike/run/repeat, starting early Saturday morning at Aquatic Park in San Francisco. 


Getting ready for open-water swim.


We suited up for an open-water swim in the sheltered marina here, and honestly it was not a good swim for me. I'd been suffering major allergy symptoms for the previous three or four days, and even getting a full breath was sometimes difficult; so jumping into cold Bay water in a wetsuit was, basically, pretty awful. I completed one full lap and a bit of back-and-forth shore crawl before calling it.


Do you think the Bay water was cold? It was cold.


Happily for me, the open-water swim was the first activity of the day and, once done, I had no respiratory issues for the rest of the workout (or the next day). After the swim, we regrouped at the nearby Presidio Sports Basement for the rest of boot camp; setting up bike trainers in the loading dock, and doing repeated sets of spin-run.


Spinning on bike trainer in loading dock! Glamorous, that's us.


The run segments were pretty special. I've run along the Presidio / Crissy Field area and on and around the Golden Gate Bridge several times as part of various races, but never on training runs where I felt a bit more free to stop and enjoy the view. 


Living here is the worst. I can hardly stand it.


After the spin and run (and spin and run) we moved across the street to Crissy Field for some core work on the lawn. Part of this was a plank challenge, and I'm pleased to report that my time in the gym has been doing me some good: I managed to hold that plank for nine minutes, and came in second to a member of the SF team, who probably does crunches in his sleep.




After all this work, you might guess I wanted a cold chocolate milk to recover. You'd be right. 


Built with Chocolate Milk


Sunday morning, we were back at it; this time we (the South Bay team) hosted the San Francisco team at one of our usual training spots in San Jose. We set up transition and spin areas on the pool deck and started repeated shorts sets of swim/bike/run -- fifteen minutes each, with five minute transitions -- for three hours. 


Swim-to-bike transition number two... or was it three?


After a short nutrition break, we headed out for a team ride with some hill repeats, followed by a brick run along the Guadalupe River trail. 


The day and weekend finally closed with a lunch picnic with a guest speaker from LLS, who told us his story of being diagnosed with a form of blood cancer, how he dealt with it, and how the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society helped -- he's now in full remission, by the way.


Which brings us to:


Fundraising update


I'm just shy of 40% of my fundraising goal, with just eight weeks to go until my event. The gift pack I mentioned in my recent update will be awarded at the end of this week, to some wonderful and lucky person who donates at least $20. Your donations go directly to funding critical research into blood cancer treatments and cures, as well as supporting patients with these devastating conditions. Many employers will even match your donations; please check with your HR department. And LLS is a 501(c)(3) organization, so your donations are fully tax-deductible. 

Thank you for your kind and generous continued support.



Older posts

Supporter Comments

    "For Andrew- my most amazing son. Keep doing all that you're doing. You make a Mother very proud!"

    Bobbie Rich

    Tue Dec 15 04:52:20 EST 2015

    "Go Andrew, Go!! I'll be cheering you on from the virtual sideline 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻"

    Ginny Marans

    Sat Dec 26 04:57:10 EST 2015

    "Team in Training Adrenaline Challenge!"

    Andrew Rich

    Thu Mar 10 12:38:02 EST 2016

    "Go Andrew! #Team205"

    Briana Sharp

    Thu Mar 31 02:27:49 EDT 2016

    "Ironman? How awesome. This donation is also thanks to Cindy Stephens who generously offered me her extra Kessel Run Challenge pin in exchange for donating to your race. "

    Jennifer Hill

    Fri Apr 22 12:49:19 EDT 2016

    "good luck on your race!"

    florence Juge-boulogne

    Thu Apr 28 11:08:48 EDT 2016

    "Andrew, you're a true rock star. I'm so glad we met. Go forth and kick major butt, my friend."

    Elaine's Kid

    Thu Jun 09 12:17:55 EDT 2016

My Fundraising Total

Raised: $3,500.00 | Goal: $3,500.00
100 %

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

My Thanks To

Silver Spring Network $500.00
Elaine's Kid $100.00
Matthew McNulty $100.00
Bobbie Rich $100.00
Melissa Mayorgas $50.00
Ginny Marans $50.00
Jennifer Hill $40.00
The Counter $33.07
Melissa Mayorgas $25.00
Intuit $25.00
florence Juge-boulogne $25.00
Eileen Wright $25.00
Alice Carback $25.00
Dad & Marty  
Herman van Hazendonk  
Arthur Thornton  
Tony Phoenix  
Sue-Anna Miller  
Alan M Stice  
Briana Sharp  
Andrew Rich