Pharmakon Revisited

Pharmakon Revisited

(Greek Philosophy as a duel Meaning)

“Whatever the Gods cast upon you, it is your choice to accept their casting as a cure or a poison”

Glenn Swim Picture

In 1994, 23 years ago, I completed my first long course Triathlon. This significant event in my life, consisting of 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and a 13.1 mile run took place in Clermont, Florida. This past weekend, 23 years later, I elected to return to Clermont to complete what I anticipated would be my last long Course triathlon. I could not think of a better way or location to complete my last challenge. Though I was returning to a meaningful memory of my life, a few things would be different. I would be completing a full distance race, (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run) this go around, twice the distance. The increased distance really was not a concern, as the last 23 years I have completed over 150 races of all magnitudes to include 10 or so marathons, 3 Iron Distance races, 10 or so Half Iron distance races and countless open water swims and shorter events. To my surprise, though I should have anticipated, the effect of time on Clermont was transforming. When I toed the line so many years ago, there were few roads, a scattered motel here or there and a town that was primarily orange groves and gravel roads. The course back then was comparatively speaking, tame.  Though there were a few rollers and one climb up Sugarloaf, the one loop bike course was primarily designed for us average athletes, really not very difficult.

It is this memory of a Clermont that motivated me to revisit this venue. After coming up with this ingenious plan, I reached out to my training partner Carl. One day later, we were both signed up for the “The great Floridian Triathlon.” We began our training 5 months ago, so preparation time was in order. Though, I was battling Planter Fasciitis, I spent my training time getting as strong as I could. Most weeks consisted of 4 hours of swimming, 3 hours lifting weights, 8-10 hours on the bike and just enough running to get me to the finish line. I was Bike and Swim Strong.

Pre Race


We arrived at the race venue late Weds night, ( Race is Saturday) as we are both organizational freaks and like to check our race bags and transitions no less than 12 times. Getting up early Thursday morning, we went for a quick swim and took a car tour of the 37 mile bike loop we would need to complete 3 times on Saturday! We also wanted to scout out the run course. It was dead flat.

The water was perfect. The temperature about 78 degrees, borderline wet suit legal, a little choppy but appeared clean and fresh. We did an easy swim for about 15 minutes to loosen. Both Carl and I are pretty comfortable in the water with or without a wetsuit. I would have preferred no wetsuit, but the gain would be about 12 seconds per 100 which is a significant time savings. The race day swim would be 3/ .8 mile loops, requiring a water exit after each loop to cross a safety/Timing mat.

Having a couple hours before Pre-athlete check in, we decided to drive the bike Course. This was not the Clermont I knew in 1994! This 37 mile loop times 3 was no joke.  We estimated the total gain of about 2200 feet per loop. There was no flat. You were either ascending with a 6%-14% grade or descending. Though I kept it to myself as we were driving the course, I was beyond concerned. My plan was to ride this course with an Average Heart rate in the 115-125 range and a speed of about 17.5 mph. I immediately knew this was going to be a matter of survival. “Sorry Carl, this was not the Clermont I knew”. For all I could tell this was the North Georgia Mountains placed in the middle of flat Florida. “Oh Joy. I guess that is the poison part.”

After a quick Bike check, to find out I had a mechanical requiring new cable to be thread internally, we found the “Epic Bike Shop” on the course, who came to my aid and got my bike back in racing shape, while Carl and I enjoyed some Guatemala Espresso. At least one of us would make it through the course. We finished our pre- race rituals grabbed some dinner at the athlete reception, and quietly retreated to our personal corners in our hotel to cry in peace. Our race plans would need to change.

We spent Most of Friday morning organizing our gear and proceeded to check in all our transition bags and support bags. We went for a quick swim to loosen and because the water was just perfect. We dropped our bikes off at transition to spend the night in their allotted corals. We had an early dinner and were out by 8:30 pm

Race Day

They called the swim wet suit legal at 77.8. I sigh of relief echoed through transition. Let’s face it most triathletes at the Iron Distance, survive the swim, crush the bike and shuffle the run!

There were about 150 of us entering the water at 7:30. Not wanting to get caught up in the hype, I positioned myself far to the right. I quickly found open water excluding flailing arms and legs and gradually angled my way to the most direct route the first turn buoy of the rectangle shaped course. I completed all 3 loops with perhaps the most efficient stroke I have felt in a while. My pace was consistent at 1:45 per hundred for the 2.4 miles. My lines were dead straight and completed the swim 21st out of the 150 or so which began. My Swim time was approximately 1:16:00. I had my wetsuit stripped off, picked up T1 Bag and took a casual walk to the transition tent. I asked the volunteer if I could change in the women’s tent but she declined with a chuckle.

I wanted my heart rate to drop as quickly as possible so I took about 8 minutes to change and again walked to my bike. I headed out of T1 with a heart rate of 115. I looked for Carl’s Bike. I did not see it so assumed he had a great swim and was already on the bike course.

Ouch! I was not on the bike but for a few minutes and got smacked in the face with hospital hill. No one talked about this .3 mile climb at 10%. My Heart rate immediately hit 170, just a little beyond my plan of 115-125. After cresting the hill, I soft pedaled until my HR came back down to 115. This process repeated itself for the next 3 climbs. My Heart rate was 170, then 115. At mile 20 after the last climb and just before the monster known as Sugarloaf Mountain, I checked my average speed and determined that at 14mph I would be here on my bike for 8 hours. I dialed in my nutrition plan and stuck with it.

I made it up to the top of Sugarloaf using the lowest gear possible. I had to SSS my way up the road in fear of falling over. Fortunately, there were a whole bunch of drunk people cheering you on at the top. From the top mile 23 to the end of the first loop mile 37, there were a few hills but all in all a bit faster than the first 23. After arriving at the finish line, and also the end of loop 1, heading out for loop 2, I Saw Carl just behind me. I think he had a few choice words for me. I repeated the process for the second loop. Each hill my HR jumped, now to 175 and back down to 125 as I completed the second loop.

                                                                             Sugar loaf

As I began the third loop, I had serious doubts, if I would get up the first climb Hospital Hill. I had a painful hot spot on my left foot from the pressure required to make climb after climb. Hospital hill took me to 182 on the HR meter. Once again I had to SSS up the hill. It was unlikely that I would finish the bike. I kept at it, and like it knew what to do, my Heart continued spike to 180 or so and immediately drop to 125 after each climb. Ok at mile 94, I had Sugarloaf in my sights for the third time. My legs were done, just done. My heart rate had responded really well to the challenge, but just could not make the last climb in its entirety. Half way up I got off the bike and walked the remainder. At the top I took a seat and just let the HR come down. I drank a whole bunch of coke. I knew at that point I would finish the bike and picked up the pace the last 14 miles.


I entered the roundabout after the last loop, as a volunteer took my bike as I walked to T2. While in Transition 2, I spoke to a couple Kona veterans. We were all laughing. They indicated that this bike was as difficult if not more so than Kona. “Sorry Carl.”


I once again took my time and had an internal argument. Was I going to start the run or just call it a day? Thinking back to April, I remembered not starting the run at IM Texas, My first and only DNF. I looked at my watch at it read about 10 hours. I had 7.5 hours to finish within the time limit. I calculated it out and determined if I walked the 26 miles at 15:00-16:00 I would make the cutoff. I headed out.


About a mile or 2 into the run, Carl caught up with me. We chatted for a few minutes about how ridiculously difficult the bike course was. I told him to go ahead and that I would walk for a while and if I recovered enough to run I would walk/run it in. My training buddy, though I think could have went ahead, elected to finish the next 24 miles with me. Each time my pace slowed he would edge ahead of me knowing I would pick up the pace. My planter fasciitis reared its ugly head but was tolerable. I walked on. I owe a lot to Carl for pulling me through the run course. “Thanks Bud” The official cut off time was 12:30 am or 17.5 hours. As we crossed the finish line it was 11:59. We finished in 16:59.

Jokingly, I asked one of the finish line volunteers, if they would grab me the results. I wanted to see just how ugly my race was. This is a joke right? My name clearly in 3rd place in the 60-64 age group. A little later we found out that approx. 50 people in the Ultra race did not finish. This was over 33% of the field. Some quit after the first loop of the bike, some after the second loop and others did not start the run or walked off the course. Now I understand why the race motto is “Are you Tough Enough”


As I finish this brief, I have determined that after USAT Nationals in August, I may have to “Re-Visit Pharmakon” Carl, You get to pick the course this time.

                                                                             Podium GFT

“ Life is like a wave, You Cannot Control How it Breaks, Only How You Ride It.” R.A.Y



Snow Balls and Snowmen

The First Snowball of the Year

(January 6, 1995)


I woke up at 9:01 am and my older sister came running into my room. “ It’s snowing, real big snow and it’s sticking. I got dressed and went outside to play. My sister made a snowball and then made a pile.

“Taylor, why don’t you make a wall like me, I yelled” “Ok replied Taylor. So we both made a wall and snowballs and there went the fight. Kenzie, my dog, came out. She loved snow so ate my snowballs.

“ I quit” I said, “because Kenzie is eating my snowballs!! Taylor said, “ Me too” We stopped. I decided to make a snowman. I got a bog ball of snow and started to build. Taylor went inside. In almost twenty minutes a three foot snowman was created and Kenzie loved the buttons and pepperoni

The Silliest Snowman

(January 1995)

I was walking around the neighborhood when there it was, the silliest snowman I ever saw. It was so cute! He had a hat with polka dots, spaghetti for hair, button eyes and pepperoni buttons. He also had a noodle for a mouth. He was so cute! He had a polka dotted scarf and socks. He even had brown shoes. Beside him was a sign, it read

Hi, my name is Harvey!! Harvey? That’s a nice name. I kept on walking. I stopped, turned around and Harvey magically winked at me. Ever since that day I always believe in snowmen and always believed in Harvey


Ryan Alea Young

Ok, I did correct a couple spelling errors. However, it was only a couple.

Ryan, I am sorry I never saw your potential. This is amazing!


Spread Your Wings

Ryan Spread your wings

Chasing Kona Daily Journal


This rain needs to go away or at least the weather forecaster’s need some more practice. I took Monday off from all training. Yeah! This is very hard for me to do: however, I was successful. Actually, I do need to plan on at least one full day off each week. After a day off, I am usually a little more motivated to insure my next workout is one of quality! My plan for Yesterday was to Swim in the morning, easy, which I did and ride for an easy hour in the evening. The rain prevented me from accomplishing my afternoon goal. I thought about running then decided an easy day would likely do me more good then harm. I have to confess; I am beginning to believe that less may be more so long as the less are quality workouts. During today’s fartlek run at lunch in 85 degree temperature; I had to work very hard on the downside of the pyramid to maintain tempo pace. I just want to go to sleep!
Yes, Kim I am listening to you!

Today’s Work Outs
Good morning. It is 4:00 am, time to get up. I am so grateful for an automatic coffee maker! It is the little thinks that make my days better!


Core Work-TRX 1 HR
10 Minute walk on Dreadmill
Planks 5×30
Atomic Knees 3×30
Side Planks 3×30 each side
Squat Jumps 10
Racer Leg Starts 10
Rows 10
Bridges 3×30
Elbow to Hands push ups in plank position 5

Lunch Time Run 45 Minutes Fartlek
10 minute warm up easy

1:00 min tempo/ 1:00 min easy Jog
2:00 min tempo/ 1:00 min easy Jog
3:00 min tempo/ 1:00 min easy Jog
4:00 min tempo/ 1:00 min easy Jog
5:00 min tempo/ 1:00 min easy Jog
4:00 min tempo/ 1:00 min easy Jog
3:00 min tempo/ 1:00 min easy Jog
2:00 min tempo/ 1:00 min easy Jog
1:00 min tempo/ 1:00 min easy Jog
Cool Down 5 minute Walk/Jog

1.5 Hour Group Ride Easy

Chasing Kona Weekly Summary 6/30/13

Chasing Kona Weekly Summary Journal

(Week Ending 6/30/13)



Weekly Metrics             Hrs       Y-T-D Hrs         Miles           Y-T-D Miles

Swim                                       2.5                    108.5                3.5                    165

Bike                                         5.5                    156.25              95.0                  2600

Run                                          3.5                    119.75              22.0                  800

Other/TRX                                2.0                    12.25   

Total                                        13.5                  397.0                120.5                3565

Races:     Completed 2 races in June

Raleigh Half Ironman 70.3:    1.2 mile swim/56 mile Bike/13.1 Mile run- Raleigh was a tough race.Heat Index 95 degrees Swam and rode well. Suffered on the run: Finish time 6:13- Middle of age group. As previously indicated, I run very well on short races, particularly sprints and internationals. It is the Half Ironmans that I need inprovement. What I find rather frustrating is I can hold a sub 8:00 pace for a key Half Marathon then drop to a 10:00 minute pace for the Half Ironman run. Hm! I need to  teach myself to run like a runner on the HIM. run portion!

                Rocketts Landing Duathlon:               2 mile run/40K Bike/10K run- Good race. Rain through out race. Ran very well, stayed controlled on bike. Placed 3rd in age group


Weekly Thoughts: Need to focus on quality workouts. Core work is beginning to pay off. I fill the difference on runs. Form is a little more vertical on run. Just feel stronger! Ok, I will need to begin regular long runs the day after long bikes and talk to coach about more Bricks! Oh Joy!!

4 races scheduled for July!

 7/13/13 Pohanka Sprint Tri

7/14/13 Pohanka International Tri

7/20/13 Tidewater Sprint Tri

7/27/13 Mascoma Man Half Ironman in White Mountains, Enfield, NH

My Coach says I am racing too much! I do not see the problem! Hee! Hee!

Happy Training!


Chasing Kona Daily Journal 6-29-13

Connection To Faith

Hammer trail run

Today’s Work Out- Long Run Day- 2 hours
Location: Beaverdam Park, Gloucester, VA
Very Hilly trail run-Mostly single track
Running in the rain!

Today’s Thoughts

This ultimate workout provides me peace
This peace transcends all physical discomfort
Instead replaced with a natural connection
This is my bridge between humanity and faith

The long run has always been my cure
Learning to Run from Within
I wait until nature’s drugs take control
Running is no longer a conscious effort

It is at this time I am transformed
I am part of the forest
I open my mind to all the beauty around me
Softly, I speak to her

 My Angel silently nudges my heart

I am Free!

Chasing Kona Daily Journal-6-28-13

Weakness, What Weakness?

Ryan Diving

Today’s Work Out

AM: 10 minute warm up -walk
TRX Core work
Planks-5×30 sec
Atomic Knees-3×30 sec
Side Planks- 2×30 sec each side
Squat Jumps-10
2 Leg Racer start-10
Rows 12 Reps

PM: Lunch Time Run
Run Short Tempo
10 Minutes easy run
20 minutes 5k pace perceived effort
5 cool down

Today’s Thoughts

One of my daughters Ryan’s favorite quotes, as her short life was evidence of what it takes to be a champion: “My ambitions far exceeds my talents” Ryan was never the most talented collegiate swimmer: however, her work ethic and attitude enabled her to be successful. A couple of years ago I stopped by the UNCW pool for a work out. It always makes me feel like Ryan is with me when I swim in lane 6. Anyway, I was glancing around the pool, on a bulletin board where the coaches, make informal notes keep track of splits, key times, etc. I noticed a list of relay split times. I noticed Ryan’s name on a couple of coach’s entries. I was amazed and certainly my eyes now blurred by tears. Ryan’s relay split times were always faster than her individual split times. I always thought this, but now it was in black and white. When ever she swam for the team, she always gave it a little extra. She was always able to dig down a little more when not for selfish reasons. Her ambition, not her talent help propel the UNCW swim team to the 2006 CAA Champions podium. Wow! So her I am 1588 days later and I have taken on what appear to be an unrealistic goal, to Qualify for the big Island. Talented I am not so I guess my ambition and work ethic will need to lead the way. Where do I begin? I think I will begin by a look at my strengths and weaknesses as a triathlete. My weakness is where I must work. I know the answer here. I am very comfortable in the water, though not the fastest: however, in my age group I am usually in the top three out of the water. The same holds true with my Bike. I am very comfortable on the bike; though I need to work on a little speed. My real weakness is running after the swim and Bike. I have speed, but I am caving on the run. I need to learn to run like a runner on the marathon portion. Perhaps it is training or perhaps it is in my head! This must become my strength!

Rtyan Diving #2

Chasing Kona Daily Journal-6-27-13

Chasing Kona Daily Journal

(June 27,2013)

Ryan Newspaper

Ryan, You are always with me in the water!

Today’s Work Out

AM:     Swim 1.25 Hrs

            500 easy Free/Breast

            500 Kick with Fins-Free and Fly mix

            500 Easy Pull

            200 FR RP, 200 BR, 200 PL Strong, Repeat

            300 cool down

            3000 YDS

PM:     Off

Today’s Thoughts

 Go away rain! I just bought these new Mavic wheels and I want to play!