Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Has a year really gone by?

It's been a great year, capped off by completing my first Ironman. Lots of memories throughout the year and looking forward to another fun filled year. I'd like to run through a laundry list of accomplishments and memories, but seeing as I'm having trouble finding the time to even post, I'll spare you. My long time followers can just go back through the archives.

It wasn't pretty, but our Hokies won another ACC Championship and will be playing in the Orange Bowl tomorrow. Can't wait for that!

Christmas was great this year. Lots of Wii games to occupy my fleeting free time. Logan even got a couple games and is getting good and dueling me in Star Wars: Clone Wars. He'll make a pretty good Jedi! ; ) Ansley can not be any more a girl. She got lots of purses and makeup. She is really into dancing and loves dancing to pretty much anything. That little girl has got her Daddy's rhythm!

No Ironman races planned for '09, as we have a big trip to Disney planned. Get this, with no race during the trip! I owe it to the family! Speaking of, I do have a great support system in my family. Nikki is the most patient woman I know with me and the kids have been great.

I'm kicking off '09 with a New Year's 10K. That should be fun, since I haven't run in a week or so. I was planning on going out today, but it's ridiculously windy and I'm having too much fun playing the Wii. I'll be signing up for another Ironman for '10, just don't know where yet. I hope to focus on getting faster throughout the year, so we'll see how that goes. Look for my New Year resolutions soon. Also look for schedule updates and changes to my blog this weekend.

'09 will also be especially memorable as Nikki and I will celebrate 10 very happy years together!
Stay tuned...

Monday, December 15, 2008


Has it really be over a month since my last post? Where does the time go? I guess that with my season ending after the marathon, I’ve just put off blogging. Rest and family time seem to occupy most of my blogging time now. I’ve been racking my brain on a full marathon race report, but just couldn’t get anything worth writing about. Well without further ado…

So where did we last leave off? Oh yeah, Logan was racing in his longest race, a 1 mile kids run the night before the marathon and Nikki’s 8K. He did really well and made us all proud. I ran with him so that I could ensure he’d pace himself. He wanted to blast out and lead the race, don’t know where he got that from, but he stayed with me and was very consistent. He got a nice side stitch, yes they even hurt a 5 year old, and walked once. I told him it was totally okay to walk, just didn’t want him crying or quitting. He even gutted out a sprint finish. He was ecstatic to finish on the track in front of lots of folks sitting in the stands. We are so very proud of him and how much he enjoyed his own race. Nikki says that Ansley was yelling very loud and was happy for her brother.

Nikki’s 8K went really well. She posted the fastest splits, minutes per mile, than in all her training. She was very pleased. I’m very proud of how hard she’s been pushing herself and what she’s already accomplished. Maybe I’ll get her into a Tri…

My marathon, not so much. Turns out, 50’s and raining really means 75, 100% humidity, and sun. In the end, I took what the day gave me and ended up missing my goal by about 30 minutes. On average, most of the folks I train with and talked to missed their goal by 40 minutes, so a bad day had by all. GI, i.e. stomach, trouble started about mile 16 and lasted most of the last 10 miles. Too much sugary PowerAde, I guess. Found Coach K about mile 21 and stopped to chat. She ran with us from then on. Truly a blessing as I’ve always had issues with the last 6 miles of the marathon and have never truly pushed through. Thanks in large part to Karen, I finally realized that the hurt, doesn’t hurt that bad. The pain subsides. I’ve always believed that I’ve gotten through the “wall”, but until now, I don’t think I ever had. For the last 2.5 miles Karen kept me right with her. She pulled my mind away from everything that was telling me to stop, shielded me from the wind, and we began picking people off and a very fast clip. I finished just over 4 hours, but with a renewed sense of marathon running. I’ll get the GI issues solved and will hit my 3:30 goal in ’09!

Our Hokies have another ACC Championship!! In a year when that didn’t seem possible. Very young team, poor offensive output. But they found ways to win games. It’s been a stressful year, watching some very bad games, but back to back ACC Champs sounds really nice now! My bold prediction is that the Hokies will play for, and win, a National Championship in the next two years.

The kids are super excited about Christmas! We have this little Elf from Hallmark called Elf-On-A-Shelf. The story is that you name them and they watch after you, telling Santa if you’re good or bad. The kids named him Snoopy. So he leaves every night and returns in a different hiding spot for the kids to find. They can’t touch him or he losses his powers and won’t get to speak to Santa. Then Santa will pass over our house since he doesn’t get updates from Snoopy. It’s pretty fun and the kids have 100% bought into it. They love running around the house looking for Snoopy every morning. Nikki and I have just as much fun finding hiding spots in the evenings.

And Ansley is loving all her books!

I’ll be better about regular updates going forward…

Friday, November 14, 2008

1 day...

With that abysmal Hokie performance behind me, I'm ready to run! I was itching so bad yesterday to go faster during my 50 minute run. But Karen had the proverbial reins on me, so I stayed cool. One more easy run today and I'll be all set.

Logan has his race tonight. A 1 mile run. He's so excited about it and his "training". I'll be sure to post pictures.

Oh, and Nikki is well on the mend. She's now feeling really good about her race! I can't wait to see how well she does. I'm so proud of her.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

2 days...

Poor Nikki has strep throat. She got some meds tonight, so hopefully she'll be on the mend before her start.

I'm getting itchy and want to run, but I'm listening to Coach K and following the taper plan. I've got two short runs tomorrow and Friday, so I'll be good and loose come Saturday morning. I just can't get froggy and hit either of these runs hard or fast. For those that have run with me lately, that'll be hard to do.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

3 days...

Perfect. I'm racing and the weather is looking worse. Now we are looking at 40% chance of showers. With winds at 11mph. Temps seem to be good, in the low 60's.

Again, I apologize to anyone else racing. It's my luck this year that the majority of my races have been in the rain.

Oh well. Just like Placid, I'll deal with it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

4 days...

Had my last track workout for a few weeks tonight. Kinda bittersweet. Went really well. Just really good pace work. I also got my last training plan until next year from Coach K. Very easy light week. I know that I'm gonna want to do more, but I must listen to Coach K. I'm actually really excited about the marathon and the weather is looking really good.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, November 6, 2008


This post is coming to you from Lane Stadium as our Hokies have just beaten Maryland, 23-13! Since we got married while the Hokies were playing, it was only fitting that we be in Blacksburg for our 9 year anniversary.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Allie!

Our little pooch is 9 years old today. Happy Birthday!

Monday, October 27, 2008

What a weekend

I ran the Run for Read 8K on Saturday morning. Honestly, with intentions of winning my age group and the whole race. Michael Harlow, you Richmond folks will know him, was there with the intention of winning. I got out with him and a couple others at the start. Before I go any further...Coach K had told me to try and hit a 7 minute first mile, knowing that I'd probably be around 6:45, then descend...Imagine my surprise when I hit the first mile and looked at my watch and saw 6:05!! The problem was that it actually felt pretty good. Follow that up with a 6:38, then a 9! Yes, a 9 minute mile in an 8K. Between miles 2 and 3, I got one of the most painful side stitches I've ever had. It turned out to be a combination of going out WAY to fast and being suffocated by my clothes. I was wearing a sleeveless compression shirt and my Dominion running singlet over top. I was anticipating much colder weather and rainy conditions. No rain and very humid. I was getting a feeling of suffocation and the heat wasn't being released. Once I pulled off the shirts and took a couple deep breaths, I was okay. Finished up with a couple 6:30 minute miles. All in all I had a decent race. PR'd by almost a minute (34:55), placed 2nd in my age group and was 10th overall. In my age group, the first place guy and myself smashed the rest of group, the third place guy was almost 5 minutes back!! Coach K was very pleased that I was able to work through that bad mile and finish as strong as I did. In the longer races, I'll have bad spots and the key to doing well, is being able to deal with them and move on. I could have bagged the whole race at that point, but I decided I was gonna make myself mentally stronger by resolving the situation and getting back on pace. What makes me mad is that I knew better. I've been working so hard on pacing and just got caught up in wanting to be in the front running with the leaders. If I'd stayed more controlled in that first mile, I could have easily dropped 1-2 minutes off my time. I would have won my age group and been close, if not in, the top 5. Race and learn I guess. I did win a pretty sweet messenger bag for placing!

After my race, we had to head straight over to Logan's soccer game. It was rainy and cold at this point. Pretty bad conditions for a soccer game. Then we headed home to watch the Hokie football game. What a terrible loss. Both QB's went down with injuries and we are now starting a WR as QB. He didn't do too bad. I'm glad we have a week off to work through those issues before our big Thursday night game against Maryland. Our first home game in almost a month. I can't wait to go back. Thursday nights in Blacksburg are electric. I'm truly bummed that we'll miss the beautiful foliage through the mountains. Just too long between home games this year.

Sunday morning I did my last 3 hour run before the marathon. Had a really good run. Put the iPod on and it turned out to be a pretty robot like, autopilot, run. Very consistent. Averaged 9:06. Not a single mile was way off that mark. No aches or pains. Right where I wanted to be for that run. A shower, 2 bacon egg and cheese biscuits, and 4 hash browns later, we all headed up to Carter's Mountain for some apple picking! Beautiful weather. We all had a blast. I have lots of pictures that I'll put up once I get them off the camera.

Oh yeah, and Allie no longer has the cone head! She got a nice bath and is all clean!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I must just bring the rain. Beginning with Lake Placid, my last two races have been in the pouring rain. Looks like this weekend's race will be no different. I do apologize to all my friends running the Richmond Marathon with me this year. You have about a 99% chance that it will rain.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Inject a little speed...

Nothing like a great track workout to cure an ailing weekend.

  • My long run on Saturday was a bad one. Nothing really went terribly wrong, just felt really bad. Couldn't really recover, even late into Sunday.
  • The kids had a very bad "non listening" weekend.
  • Our Hokies lost to Boston College, again. I'm beginning to really dislike BC. They are the only team to have beaten VT on ESPN Thursday night games (We are 14-3 on Thursday night) and our only two ACC road losses (we've been in the ACC since 2004) have been to them.

At any rate, I'm back feeling good. Talked to Karen who reassured me about the bad long run. Track tonight was really good. Finished up with 2 200's that I ran in 30 seconds and 29 seconds! I still love me some speed!

Nikki's 5K a few weekends ago went really well. And she's been having some really good long runs. I'm so proud of her and what she's already accomplished.

Allie is still running into everything in the house with her pink cone head. We laugh at her when she tries to scratch behind her ears, "it's just not working, Allie". Poor thing. I spend quite a bit of time scratching her ears for her. The scab looks much better. I think after a bath and nail trimming this weekend, we'll retire the head gear.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I love speed!

Great track workout tonight. Dropped 5 seconds off my quarter mile time! 68 seconds for a quarter mile! I'm liking going fast and pushing myself way over the edge of discomfort.

On another note, our poor Allie scratched herself pretty bad this past weekend and now has a nice collar. It's funny and sad to see her run into everything with this thing on. She'll have to wear it about a week until her face heals. Doc said she either got bit by something or just scratched too much causing a "hot spot" that just irritated her, causing her to scratch more.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Been awhile...

Sorry it's been so long since my last post. Lots going on.

It's budget time for the Richmond Tri Club. As the Marketing Coordinator I have a pretty complex budget. But I'm working on some really cool things for next year! New apparel and various advertising ideas. Our club has grown to become one of the top 5, if not top 3, largest triathlon clubs in the US. I absolutely love doing this stuff! Guess that's why I ended up majoring in Marketing-Management at VT.

Work is going well, lots going on right now. Way too many meetings than I care for, but it's all part of the job. My boss got me a BlackBerry. I now know why everyone calls them CrackBerries. Email is so instant, you just want to check all the time. I've already gotten the evil eye from Nikki, while looking at my email as I'm fixing dinner. The good thing is, with getting well over 200 emails a day, it's helping me stay on top of things.

My marathon training is going awesome! All my workouts are going well and I'm really enjoying my runs. Two weekends ago, I ran my first 20 miler since the Ironman. Actually turned out to be a really good run. Last weekend was a 2 hour run and this weekend is a 2 1/2 hour run. My speed work is so much fun right now. I'm getting faster every week. My quarter mile time is down to 1:13. That's 73 seconds for a quarter mile! I've added the Run for Read 8K to my schedule at the end of October. Last year, I ran 35:52 and placed 2nd in my age group. I can't wait to see how I'll do. And I'm still looking for a 5K to get those 3 seconds back.

Nikki and the kids are doing great. Nikki has a 5K this Saturday. I'm so excited for her and can't wait to see how she'll do. We signed up Logan for the Kids 1 mile race prior to the marathon, so he's pretty excited and wanting to "train".

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hokie, Hokie, Hokie, Hi

YES! The Hokies have WON! 35-30. More points than I had imagined, and closer down the stretch, but I'll take it!

No so fast my friend...

One of my really good friends Brandon Rollogas, who, like myself, is die hard for his team. He's a Nebraska Cornhusker. Well, the two of us have been talking trash this week like we've never talked trash before. He's been bold enough to call this a blowout win, Nebraska by 21! This will be the first time since the '96 Orange Bowl that the Hokies will take on Nebraska. That game didn't go so well, a 41-21 beat down by the Huskers. Redemption time, BABY!

The last time we faced a regular season Big 12 opponent, was in the 2002 season. The Hokies went into #19 Texas A&M as a big underdog. We came out of that hostile environment with a 13-3 win. I fully expect to come out of tonight's hostile environment with a win.

This is going to be a great game. A bunch of us will be meeting at Buffalo Wild Wings for some wings and beer while watching the Hokies take care of those "popcorn huskies"!

VT 17 - Nebraska 10

It's game time!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Great Weekend

Our Hokies beat the Tarheels to remain undefeated in the ACC. What a great game and a solid win! Bring on Nebraska!

I got a very nice 2 hour 20 minute run in on Saturday morning. Ran with all my friends from the Sunday group. It was really good to see everyone again. It's been a while since I've been out with them.

Saturday night, we treated the kids to a camping trip. Well, just in the backyard, but they did well. We only have one small area that is flat, so the tent had to be tucked into the corner behind our garage, but it worked well. I think we'll move up to one of the local parks next time. Logan didn't sleep too well, tossing and turning most of the night. But Ansley, she slept like a rock. Didn't move the entire night. I couldn't believe it, but it was Nikki's very first time sleeping outside. She hit up Target for a new sleeping bag just that afternoon and used my good twin air mattress. I got the pleasure of sleeping on a 20 year old ThermaRest from my old Boy Scout days. I was pretty sore in the morning. I think we'll be getting a larger air mattress for the next trip!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Good morning!

I actually enjoy getting up early to run. I popped up at 5:10 this morning, ate a Cliff Bar, hit the bathroom, grabbed my headlamp, then headed out at 5:45 for an hour run. Very nice outside, cool with high humidity, just the way I like it!

Enjoy your day! After my run, I know I will.

We're headed to Blacksburg this afternoon for the Hokie football game tomorrow against Georgia Tech. I can't wait the get there, I love that place. Got a 2 hour run scheduled for tomorrow morning, so I'm stoked to be able to run through the VT campus and surrounding area.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

3 seconds!

So I ran the Annabelle's Angels 5K this morning. First of all, Annabelle's Angels is a wonderful organization with a heartbreaking story. I encourage you to check out their site and learn about back over accidents and how to prevent them.

Yes, that's Tropical Storm Hanna with Richmond in the center of the map. And yes, I didn't back out of my commitment to run the 5K. After all, I am an IRONMAN and am no stranger to competing in the rain. Even with the storm, I just nearly missed my goal. I really wanted to break 20 minutes. Still, 20:02, is another 5K PR for me. If I'm not careful, I'm going to start enjoying running in the pouring rain!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Logan's First Day!

He had a great first day of school! Mom and Dad are okay as well, mainly because he's such a big boy and did so well. He really enjoyed everything!

Monday, September 1, 2008


I can't even believe that Logan starts Kindergarten tomorrow. I'm completely heartbroken, in a good way. My little guy is growing up way too fast. Tonight, we helped him pack his own lunch in his very own lunch bag. Tomorrow, he'll get on the bus for the very first time. He's lucky in that he gets to start in a brand new school, but I'm sad for him in that all his friends from Bell Creek will be attending other schools. He won't know anyone in his class, but I'm sure he'll make lots of new friends. I don't know how Nikki and I will be tomorrow morning. I can tell she's stressed and I've almost cried twice now tonight. Who knows, it's sadness and happiness all bundled up.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Ahh, Yes!

College football season is finally upon us. The Deal family is heading down to Charlotte to see the Hokies open up against East Carolina. It's supposed to be a home game for ECU, but they decided to play against us in the Carolina Panther's stadium. And, the Virginia Tech ticket office included this game in our season ticket package! Bonus! Even though we'll be playing away from Lane Stadium, it'll be like a home game for us as we'll have close to 50,000 fans there!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

When Care Bears and Power Rangers attack...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Congrats to Karen and Chris

I feel bad for not posting this earlier, Karen had her baby last Saturday! Skylar is very cute and has a really cool future triathlon name! All are doing well.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


So far, these Olympics have been amazing!

First, in swimming, was Michael Phelps winning an unprecedented 8 gold medals. He broke 7 world records and 1 Olympic record. I don't think we'll ever see a performance like that. His races were edge of your seat excitement. His team, anchored by Jason Lezak, catching and passing the French in the 4x100m Freestyle relay. Winning by a fingernail in the 100m Butterfly. Then there's Natalie Coughlin becoming the first ever US female to win 6 medals at a single Olympics. Finally, the amazing Dara Torres, at 41 years old, just barely missing gold.

My favorite, Track & Field, didn't disappoint. Most of you might know that I ran Track in High School and at Virginia Tech. I was a sprinter, hurdler, and pole vaulter in High School. The pole vault was my event at Virginia Tech. In all my years racing and following Track & Field, I've never seen someone win a 100m final by the margin that Usain Bolt did. It's a shame that he started show-boating before he even finished. I really wanted to see how fast he could have gone. It was a pleasure to see him break Michael Johnson's 200m record. Another fantastic world record to watch was Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia clearing 16' 6 3/4" in the women's pole vault.

It's almost midnight and I just got finished watching Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh in the gold medal match of Beach Volleyball. That was more than worth it to stay up for. What an awesome finish! I believe that those two are the best Beach Volleyball team, men or women. They are undefeated in all of 2008 and something like 458-18 since winning gold in 2004! That's crazy!

Now I need some sleep...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Holy Cow, You all got me!

I still can't even believe that Nikki was able to pull that off.

The plan was for Nikki and I to have a night out, dinner and a movie. Kevin, Kelly, and Brandon were going to take me out for a couple drinks that afternoon as a congrats on my Ironman finish. Well, two tall beers, a royal flush, shot of tuaca, and shot of vodka later, I'm wondering how I'm gonna watch "Journey to the Center of the Earth" in digital 3D with the massive buzz I have going on. I open the front door of my house and am totally floored! A surprise Ironman celebratory party!

Now Nikki is the type of person that gets very nervous and highly irritable when we have 4-5 people over. I have no idea how she kept her cool for the entire week, knowing there were gonna be like 40 people at our house. I never suspected a single thing. Come to find out she's been planning this since the night I finished the Ironman. Truly amazing! All my friends played along, some not returning calls to keep themselves from saying too much. Others, like Ginger and Matt, saying they never do anything or have plans, but couldn't double date with Nikki and I that Saturday.

Well, I had an absolute blast. It's been a very long time since I tied one on that good! It was great to see everyone there and I truly appreciate everyone who was able to come. I also thank those that were invited but were unable to attend, your thoughts were there. I'm blessed to have such great friends!

Kevin had a very nice congratulatory speech that he said in front of everyone, he's good at that. It was awesome! Karen followed up with some really nice words about me and even more for Nikki and her support through my training. I really wish I had a video of both of them.

My favorite quote of the night was from Kimmick's girlfriend Becca while we were playing flip cup. I was inside saying goodbye to friends and headed back outside just in time to hear, "What...He can run and bike like 100 some miles, but can't flip a cup". As everyone saw me, all you heard was "Ohhhhhhhh". I did much better after that. ;)

Needless to say, I did not do any swimming, biking, or running on Sunday. Pretty much slept most of the day.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

2008 Ironman Lake Placid Race Report

First of all, I want to give a huge thanks to everyone who was following my first Ironman journey and race. Thanks for supporting me throughout this journey and taking the time on your Sunday to keep track of me live. It really meant a lot to see how many of you were reading, posting, and keeping in touch with Nikki during the race.

Now sit back, grab a cup of water (or coffee), and enjoy my full (it’s long) 2008 Ironman Lake Placid race report.

On a day that will forever be known for the rain, I became an Ironman. It rained and rained, and just when we thought it might stop, it rained even harder. Something in the neighborhood of 3 inches of rain fell in Lake Placid between 7am and 8pm on that day, July 20, 2008. Even without the torrential downpour, I wouldn’t have any trouble remembering my first Ironman experience.

In what felt like the longest two day, 10 hour drive ever, we finally arrive in beautiful Lake Placid. New York has always been the big city to me. However, upstate New York, especially the Adirondack region, is like a whole other world. This place is absolutely breathtaking. It’s Thursday afternoon and Placid is buzzing. Athletes are everywhere, running, biking, and swimming. We drive up the short massive hill to our hotel, the Crown Plaza, and comment on how Nikki and the kids will be in pretty good shape after going up and down several times during our stay.After we check in, get the room situation cleared up, and get settled, I change and head out for a short jog. Felt good to get out, see everything, and loosen up.

2 Days to go

On Friday morning, I get up at 6AM to meet John and Ed for our 1.5 hour bike. We had already decided to take the descent into Keene to get a feel for the speed and road conditions. Just prior to the descent, this a**hole blasts past us way too close. Ed gave them the “international peace sign”. Well, they didn’t like that so they pulled over ahead of us. I had dropped back a bit to kinda stay out of the way. When John and Ed passed, they shouted “what’s your problem”. Ed simply said “use your head”. This a**hole screeched out, I was a bit behind John and Ed which put me right beside this knucklehead, almost taking me out forcing me across the double yellow. He got so close to John and Ed that I thought he was gonna run them both over! Some people! Whew. With that little scare out of the way, we took on the descent. We all felt much more comfortable getting a look and feel for that steep descent. It looked much more intimidating on the drive in. On the way back to Keene from Upper Jay, I got the pleasure of riding in
my very first thunderstorm as I think to myself “I really would hate to have to take the descent in the rain”. Finishing our ride back in Keene, I ate a great breakfast at the Bed & Breakfast that John and Ed were staying at.

Once I got cleaned up, I headed down to get myself checked in. What could have been a very complicated process ended up being really smooth as the volunteers were great, very organized, and very helpful. Nikki and the kids met me down there as I was finishing up the check-in process and we headed over to the expo and merchandise tents. I picked up some sweet Ironman gear! Back in the room, I began to place all my race things into the transition and special needs bags.

Later that evening I donned my wetsuit and we took the kids down to the beach for a swim. Logan thought my wetsuit was really cool and was calling it a “zoom suit”, as he’s been hooked on the movie
Zoom. Honestly, I really didn’t want to swim. It was getting late, all I wanted to do was rest, and that was the one thing I was most concerned about. I swam one lap, 1.2 miles, and thoroughly enjoyed my swim in gorgeous Mirror Lake. Ended up being the best open water swim I’ve had. Got out in 40 minutes and was very pleased. I was now pumped for the swim on Sunday!

1 Day to go

I got a great night’s sleep! Saturday was pretty uneventful. Karen had us doing a short swim/bike/run in the morning, but due to storms, we bagged it. No sense risking a fall the day before the race. Needed the extra sleep in the morning more than a workout anyway. We ate a giant breakfast at the hotel, very good hot breakfast buffet. I finished placing all my gear into the transition and special needs bags by late morning so that I could get them down to transition and turned in with my bike. Didn’t want to be running around looking for things at the last minute. Once the bags were all packed, we took my bike and transition bags to be checked into the transition area to await me on race day. Took a look around the skating oval to see everything. Saw the finish line, but wouldn’t go underneath it. Waiting until tomorrow for that experience!
That left most of the day to just chill. We spent the rest of the day doing some walking around town for me to stay loose and lots of relaxing in the room. Got my nutrition bottles and water bottles filled and ready to go, as well as my bike nutrition. Thought about doing a swim, but decided to conserve energy. Tomorrow is going to be a very long day. I ate a great bowl of Fettuccini Alfredo at Charlie’s on Main Street as my last full meal prior to the race and went to bed early.


“BEEP-BEEP-BEEP” “CELL PHONE RINGING” “PHONE RINGING” 4AM. This is it. Race Day. It’s all come down to this very day. I didn’t sleep well, but that’s expected. Fixed some oatmeal and had two hard boiled eggs. Grabbed my four remaining bags (dry clothes, bottle and nutrition, special needs bike, and special needs run) and then headed to transition just after 5AM.

Headed over to my bike to check it out and get my nutrition and bottles on board. Another racer in my row let me borrow his pump so that I could get my tires inflated a bit more. Decided to run 112-115 PSI instead of my usual 120 PSI, just in case it rained. John had suggested to run a bit softer as they’d handle and stick much better in wet conditions. That would prove to be a brilliant suggestion.

After a bathroom break I put my Richmond Tri Club race jersey on, hung up my dry clothes bag, and headed over to get body marked. I still love the smell of black sharpies the morning of a race. Another pee stop, then I donned my wetsuit up to my waist and headed down to place my special needs bags in their place. The CarboPro bottle I was sipping on since breakfast was great. It was keeping the energy up and keeping me full so I wasn’t getting hungry. Took a trip into the woods for yet another pee break, and then headed over to the swim start.


Miraculously, I found John and Ed within the 2000+ Athletes all in black wetsuits. John assisted me with pulling my wetsuit over my shoulders and zipping the back up. It was about 6:30AM by this time. We followed the heard of Athletes over the timing mats, under the Ironman arch, and into the water. John swam out so fast that Ed and I lost him amid the purple swim caps. Took my final pre-race pee, along with many others, and I was ready. (The joke at the awards banquet was how the rain was coming down to flush the giant toilet that was Mirror Lake!) Ed and I picked a spot a few rows back and about halfway between the buoys and the shore. As we were treading water, we realized that we had drifted very close to the front. We quickly swam back a few rows so as not to get run over.

As we were listening to
Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Going Down”, we heard Mike Riley announce, “Have the best day of your life!” As the cannon went off, the pandemonium began. Amidst my swim stroke and all the commotion, I did manage to hear, and listen a bit, to the chorus of the signature Ironman start song, U2’s “Beautiful Day”.

For the first 5-10 minutes, I felt like I was in a washing machine.
Got kicked in the face, had forearms and elbows to the head, even had someone place their hand on my hips and push me down under water. Through all of this, I never panicked and actually held my own out there. I settled into my grove and had a great swim. Karen would have been so proud. I was pulling through and rotating to my non-breathing side.

About halfway to the turnaround I felt a pitter-patter on my swim cap. Surely that can’t be rain. It would have to be raining pretty darn hard to feel it as I swim. I rotated a bit more on my next breath and sure enough, it was raining. And coming down hard.

Before I knew it, I was getting out of the water, crossing the timing mats, and reentering the water for lap two. I saw lots of folks removing their goggles and trying to fix or adjust them. Mine were good. So good, in fact, that I was taking no chances on removing them. I did have to pee again really bad on that second loop. Mirror Lake tasted really good, by the way. I tried hard to just go as I was swimming, but just couldn’t do it. Would have to wait until I was in transition. The crowd really didn’t thin out on that second loop. Probably since I was swimming so well, I was still among a very large group. I did feel really good the second time around and swimming very close to lots of folks that were at the same pace as me. This helped me to keep up my pace and not slow up. I remained very focused through the entire swim and it showed when I got out of the water.

Swim time – 1:15:52


As I came out of the water, there were wetsuit strippers on the beach. This was so cool! My wetsuit was already half off as I approached. All I had to do was find an available volunteer, lie on my back, and have them yank the rest of the wetsuit off my legs. Once my wetsuit was handed back to me, I headed on a quarter mile jog to the transition area.

Through the bag area, I grabbed my T1 bag and went into the men’s changing tent. I entered and was like a deer in headlights. That tent was VERY crowded and VERY muggy. It was in the infield of the skating oval and there was deep, thick, mud everywhere. I sloshed around and found a seat. I just sat for a minute or two and sorted through all my stuff. Once my bike gear stuff was on, I headed out to get my bike. Also took that pee break I needed from the swim. As I head out a volunteer shouts out my number and another is grabbing my bike off the rack to hand it to me in the middle of the aisle. Don’t have to find my bike amongst all the others. Before I cross the bike mount line, I find a large water puddle to step into and get all the mud off my bike cleats. So that I can actually clip into my pedals.

T1 time – 11:47


As I was leaving transition, my helmet just didn’t feel right. I decided that before I get going, I’m gonna pull over and adjust my helmet so that I’m safe and comfortable. A lot of the spectators gave me kudos for getting that straight before I started downhill out of town. As recommended, I didn’t press too hard on the first loop of the bike. There were a few big climbs getting out of Placid, then the descent to Keene. That was fun in the pouring, blinding, rain. I was pretty conservative on that first loop descent. There were still lots of folks around me. Way too many people to take big risks on a rainy descent.

After we descended into Keene the ride to Upper Jay and Jay was flat and rolling. I was riding at a pretty good clip, roughly 20 mph, but was getting really cold. Riding downhill and then riding fast on flats with very little climbs, doesn’t get the heart rate up that high to heat your body. I started shivering. I couldn’t believe that I was getting cold while working so hard. I glanced at my skin and it was a little bluish with chill bumps. At this point, I was seriously thinking that I may have to drop out due to hypothermia. I shifted into a bigger gear to activate my larger leg muscles and gutted it out until the climbs. I was actually looking forward to the 20+ straight miles of climbing on the backside of the loop. Lots of folks I was chatting with mentioned the same thing.

Those 20+ miles of climbing is why the Lake Placid Ironman has the toughest bike course on the North American Ironman circuit. I was hitting under 10 mph through most of the steep sustained climbing. It was tough. Like nothing I’ve ever done. The last climb before we turned into Placid had a Tour de France feel to it. The streets were lined with people shouting and we had a very narrow path to pass through them. It was really cool and got me all jacked up heading into town.

Just after that climb, we were passing Mirror Lake and our special needs bike bags. I made a stop and grabbed my two Three Musketeers from my bag. Man, that Three Musketeers tasted SO good! I stashed the other in my jersey pocket for later. I ended up never eating it. Didn’t need the extra tire tube or CO2 cartridge, so I just left them in the bag.

Climbing out from Mirror Lake, I saw Nikki and the kids at the bottom of the hill from the Hotel. They were cheering so loud and just filled me with energy. I did have to be careful through the rest of town. It was all jazzed up with spectators screaming so loud. So much excitement, it was awesome! There are some very nasty, twisty, downhills leaving town, so I really had to get my focus back quick from all that excitement. I was out of town and back on the road to Keene.

The climbs, even the smaller ones, were MUCH larger the second time around. This is exactly why people tell you to be conservative on that first loop. I did feel much more confident on the descent. Got into a really nice tuck and hit 44 mph! 44 mph in the pouring rain! I was a small stone away from death. Anything that wasn’t the road itself that I hit going that fast could have sent me flying to the pavement. Again, those Oakley’s were worth every penny. I trusted my bike and trusted my ability to handle her down that mountain.

I was staying hydrated well on the bike as I had to take close to a dozen pee breaks during the entire bike. Now I’m not one of the Athletes that can pee while riding a bike, so I just took my stops. Gave me a chance to get off the bike for a few seconds. The volunteers were great, they’d hold your bike and refill your bottles (if needed), while you were in the port-a-john. You will also pee more when it’s cooler and raining outside as your body doesn’t sweat as much as it normally would during such intense exercise. Excess fluid has to go somewhere. Afterwards, I spoke to John and he was the same way, lots of pee breaks.

The one thing I really missed about the bike was not being able to see the beautiful scenery. The clouds were so low and the rain was coming down so hard, I didn’t get the chance to really look around. I was really looking forward to seeing some breathtaking views.

On the positive side, the rain forced me to really focus on my bike. I was really listening to what she was telling me, what she wanted, and most importantly, what she needed. Flowing with the bike, instead of fighting it. My mind was focused, instead of wandering through the mountains. I could honestly feel everything about that bike on that day. I was 100% dialed into it. That fact alone made the first 100 miles of biking feel like it was an easy 2 hour Saturday ride. I actually laughed out loud when it began to rain harder, what else could I do? The only rough section I had on the bike was the last 12 miles. I lost some concentration and that made those last 12 miles feel like 40. In the end, I finished the second loop of the bike just over 4 minutes from the first loop. Exactly where I wanted to be, keeping both loops very close.

Seeing Nikki and the kids again in town, screaming and shouting, was all it took to get my concentration back. Just in time for the marathon.

Bike time – 7:16:23


As I crossed the bike dismount line, I was pleased to see the bike handlers. I actually wanted off that bike and to start running. They took my bike from me to be placed back on the rack as I headed around the skating oval to the bag racks. Lots of volunteers advising the Athletes to take very short strides so that the legs didn’t give out. They were right, my legs felt like mush on that little jog. I grabbed my T2 bag and headed to the change tent. As I entered, I noticed that there was a section of the tent in the back that was actually on the oval itself. On pavement and not in the middle of the mud pit. As I headed back there, I heard, “Deal!” I looked up and saw Tyler, then headed right for him. Shortly after that, I saw Adam, Greg, and Blake. A whole Richmond Tri Club contingent, volunteering to be able to sign up for next year’s race. They were pretty excited to see me. Tyler was helping me go through my bags, making the joke about my nutrition, “you have a lot of stuff in here that your body probably doesn’t really want right now”, both of us knowing that I needed it. I joked about having first class service in the change tent with so many helpers and Greg made a hilarious comment that I can’t post on this family friendly blog. Enough laughter to get me going as I started the marathon. I didn’t sit down this time and moved pretty quickly through T2, nearly half the time I was in T1! Tyler and the gang took care of getting all my bike stuff back into the bag and I headed out to run.

T2 time – 6:56


I never thought that I’d be looking forward to running a marathon. But, after 112 miles of biking, I was ready to run. This is when it sunk in. In just a few more hours, I was going to be an Ironman. Lots of spectators kept shouting, “You’re gonna be an Ironman today!” It was very uplifting.

I chose not to run with my fuel belt since they had aid stations every mile. There was no need to carry my own bottles when there was a rolling buffet at every aid station. This made the run much more pleasant, since I didn’t have to worry about the belt and the chaffing that comes along with it. Also kept me a little lighter, not carrying the extra fluid weight.

Again, the rain was really coming down. I just continued to laugh and make light of the situation. No sense getting frustrated or angry. Miraculously, I ended up without a single blister! I’ll put my plug in for Target C9 performance socks. They stuck to my feet so well and didn’t allow my feet to slide around in my shoes. With all that rain, I could have ended up with hundreds of blisters all over my feet.

I did really well on the first loop. I was running at a good clip, hitting just over 10 minute miles. I was nailing my nutrition and hydration. Still making several stops for pee breaks, but making good time. This run course isn’t easy either. There are enough climbs to keep your pace in check and humble you every time you felt like pushing a bit faster.

While looking for Nikki and the kids at the turnaround, I was running outside the cones and heard lots of shouting at me. Turns out I missed the timing mats and had to go back a few feet to cross them. Glad everyone else was paying attention to me! Saw Nikki and the kids and ran over to them to hand off my sunglasses. “I’m not gonna need these anymore” I stated with a laugh. The kids looked cute in their new raincoats.
The second loop was much harder. Mainly due to the fact that my stomach and GI tract was in anarchy. I just couldn’t find any food combination that worked. I did have to make 2 “#2” potty breaks and was getting a little worried if that kept up, I could end up getting dehydrated. About mile 18, I started on cola, bananas, and water. One wouldn’t think that odd combination would work during a race, but it was perfect! Settled my stomach down and gave me some good energy to finish strong. Since I had started on the cola I had to keep it going at every aid station from then on, so as not to get a sugar crash.

I walked more on that second loop and chatted with a lot of other Athletes. However, unlike the Shamrock Marathon, I was choosing to walk, so when I got a bit cold, I could pick up the pace. I saw lots of folks running with those mylar blankets and I didn’t want to have any part of that. Once you put those things on and get heated up, you would never be able to take them off, as you’d be way too cold. I still wish that I had gone a bit harder on that second loop. I now felt that on the second loop, I was running “not to get injured” as opposed to keeping the pace I had on the first loop or running at a faster clip. The soreness was setting in and really messing with my head. Flashing back to Shamrock and all the pain I had while walking the last 6-7 miles.

There was this one section called the motivational mile where they placed all the signs that families had made for their Athletes. Logan made me one with Nikki’s help. They never told me what it was so it was tricky to spot amongst the masses of signs. I saw it on the second loop, as I had slowed up to see them all, and got all teary eyed. “Bryan Real Deal” was on it. Logan had drawn a Stitch on it. Nikki had also entered a text message for me to see on the large digital board. There is a timing mat that gets your race number and displays the message on the digital board about 20 yards ahead. I saw that one on both loops of the run. Really great to see and very motivational. “We Love You” was on it.

Back into town for the steepest of the climbs, I heard
one of my favorite workout songs that glided me up the hardest climb with ease. I checked my watch with a couple miles to go and knew I was gonna be really close to my goal of 14 hours. Picked up the pace as I didn’t want to miss that mark. About that time I heard another great song.

As I entered the skating oval for the finish, I couldn’t hear the music at all. I may never know what song I finished to. The emotion and the cheering were overwhelming and I just drowned out the music. I heard all the guys from the Richmond Tri Club, Ryon, Adam, Tyler, Greg, and Blake, at the top of the oval hooting and hollering for me. I headed over to them, high fiving them all on my way around. I had also heard and saw them a couple times along the run course. It was so cool to see so many familiar faces out there. I crossed the finish line, ecstatic! The one thing I really wanted to hear was Mike Riley saying “Bryan Deal, YOU, are an Ironman!” but I totally missed it. Regardless, I was more than excited to have completed such a huge accomplishment.

Marathon time – 5:06:25



After I crossed the finish line, I had another great volunteer helping me out. She grabbed my arm and supported me so that I wouldn’t just fall over. Another volunteer placed a medal over my head and a nice Finisher’s hat on my head. We walked over to get my chip taken off and she asked me what size shirt I wore and grabbed me one. After a few minutes, she asked me if I was okay to stand on my own, and I was okay. In a daze, I began looking for Nikki and the kids, but couldn’t see them anywhere. I headed over to find some food. Ended up only finding the bagels, bananas, and cookies. Grabbed a handful of cookies and sat down for a minute. I later learned that there were Subway subs and Pizza. Darn it! I didn’t see that anywhere. I must have been pretty out of it.

I went ahead and headed into the transition area to grab my bike and then over to get my transition bags. Just wanted to get it all together before I headed out so that I wouldn’t have to come back into the mud and get them all.

As I was leaving the transition area, I caught Nikki and the kids! I was so happy to see them and they were equally excited to see their new Ironman! I gave Nikki a huge, wet, sweaty, hug and just held her for a bit releasing some of the emotion I had from finishing.

I had heard so much about the energy and emotion of watching the last few finishers come through and did not want to miss out since I was here. I got to the room, that hill up to our hotel was VERY difficult, and took a very long warm shower. Put some dry clothes on, ended up with two base layers and a sweatshirt as I was still a little cold. Then headed back down to find some food. Walked into Pasta la Vista, where we had eaten lunch a few days ago, and sat at the bar. They didn’t sell pizza by the slice, but did have slightly larger personal size pizzas. To which I replied, “I’m pretty sure I’ll be okay with that.” Met this really nice English couple, Simon and Lisa Thomas, who are riding motorcycles around the world. They were taking lots of pictures of the Ironman and really liked seeing my medal and hearing my story. They were really fun to chat with and thoroughly enjoyed hearing about the Ironman race. They have a website chronicling their journeys,
2 Ride the World.

I made it down to the finish area about 11:30PM. It was so exciting to be there and so emotional. Watching the finisher come in 8 seconds after the official finish time was heartbreaking. Caught up with Adam and chatted a bit, then headed back to the room and crashed about 1AM. I had been up nearly 24 hours! Oh, and by the way, I AM AN IRONMAN!!


I’m definitely doing that again! I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience and the journey that led me to become an Ironman. A lot of people say that an Ironman finish is all about the journey. I can tell you that is correct. It’s been a long and hard, sometimes painful, journey. But one that I’ll never forget. Karen’s training program was awesome and not only prepared me physically, but mentally as well. If she’s available, she’ll be my coach on the next go ‘round.

I learned a lot about myself out there. I can handle large amounts of pain during exercise and know that I could definitely push harder through the bike and run. I did hold some back due to the challenging course, my first time experience, and the torrential rain. I didn’t want any rookie mistakes that would have taken me out of the race. After all, the number one goal was to finish and enjoy the day. Mission accomplished. I AM AN IRONMAN!

I had no races scheduled for after the Ironman, not knowing how I’d feel. I’ll be signing up for the Richmond Marathon this November and am already excited about it. I’m going to push this one hard and keep that “I might get hurt” feeling out of my head. I’ve gotten Nikki a little excited about training and racing. She’ll be running the Ntelos 8K the same day as the Richmond Marathon.

Next year, I’ll focus on a Half Ironman or two. Have to stay local as the last two years we have planned a family vacation around one of my races. Nikki and the kids deserve a family vacation with no race attached to it.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

We're back

We've been back since very late on Friday and have been very lazy this weekend. I'm still working on the race report, it's lengthy, but will be up soon. Lots of pics from Lake George to come as well.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Having a good time

We've been having fun in Lake George, even though it's been raining pretty much all day since we've been here. Took Logan and Ansley on a go-cart track, they had a blast. Logan and I had a laser tag game with the place all to ourselves. He's a good shot and beat me. Must have sweet talked the attendant, as she was running around helping him out! Went to see WALL-E. Very good movie. The kids really enjoyed it. At least we have had a few bits of non-rain. We did get on a fireworks cruise tonight that took us out on Lake George to see a really cool fireworks show. The kids loved it. There are a ton of things to do indoors when it rains, as there is a "rain activities" list that the hotel gives out. Must rain a lot up here.

I'm still working on my full race report, so stay tuned for that. It hasn't yet fully sunk in what I have accomplished.

Here's a picture of us at the top of Little Whiteface. Whiteface summit is in the background. Looks like an awesome ski resort, with some sweet trails.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bryan Deal, YOU, ARE, AN IRONMAN!!!

Boy, I've waited a long time to hear those words. I did it. I sure did earn it today. Rain came down in buckets, pretty much all day long. There's something about bombing downhill at 44mph in the driving rain that gets the heart pumping.

Just got back from watching the very end of the race at midnight. Amazing to see that in person. The crowd was electric, cheering in the last finishers. Truly heartbreaking to watch someone cross the line in 17:00:08. The official cutoff is 17 hours. They won't get the medal, shirt, or hat; but they are Ironmen in their hearts.

Lots more to come, need sleep...

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Less than an hour ago, Bryan became an official IRONMAN! Finished under 14 hours at 13:57:23 - with the kids and I screaming congratulations to him!

We are already back at the hotel and Bryan is currently in shower trying to get his body temperature back to a normal range! It did stop raining for his finish - perfect!

Check back tomorrow for pictures from today (I did not learn how to do that part:))

I want to say a personal THANK YOU to all that have followed and watched along with us today - it means the world to Bryan and I!

I am sure Bryan will have a post for you all soon - maybe tomorrow - but soon!

Still Smiling!

Bryan finished the half marathon point at about 6:05pm at 10:17/mile pace - I say that is amazing as it was raining even harder than I have seen all day when we saw him at the turnaround - based on how the course is set up we got to see him twice before the 1/2 point so that was fun!

He handed over his sunglasses to us as he didn't think he would need them anymore - I have to agree!

Well the next time I post something hopefully it will be to say that Bryan is an IRONMAN! Looks like if he stays on pace should be done around 8:20pmish!

He is done with bike!

He is still smiling and waving at us - looks good! We saw him right before the final transition so based on the timing he should have started the run right at 3:51pm - wow, now he has to run for 26.2 miles - truly amazing if you ask me!

Timing the run is going to be the trickiest part I think so hopefully we don't miss him!

Oh, and we do seem to have a small break in the rain - a hole over top of us right now but I don't think it will last for long!

Yes, It is STILL raining...

and I think it is just getting harder! About 66 degrees so the temp has dropped in the last couple of hours and the local radar does not show any sign of the rain letting up - UNBELIEVABLE!

Bryan should finish up the bike around 3:45pmish if he keeps the same pace as the first lap but I am sure this rain is not making that easy at all!

We will head out again to see him finish it up - I found some trash bags that I think I might try to rig as rain coats for the kids - very MacGyver of me!

Soaking Wet!

That is all I can say right now! We just saw Bryan right before the 1/2 point on the bike - his first lap split of 56 miles was 3:36:10 which is about 15.54 mph - I think this is slower than he would like but he looked happy and glad to see us! I think he should get bonus points for doing this in the pouring rain - has been since soon after the start!

Kids were so excited to see him - we stood outside for 30 minutes getting soaked and they never complained - such troopers for their Daddy!

The pros have already started their run - hard to think they are done with the bike already!

No sunscreen needed today!

Well the kids and I had to watch from the dryness of the hotel room for Bryan's swim time - got it first via text page on the phone - 1:15:52! Looks like he is off to a great start! If you are watching the live coverage at all then please let me tell you that it does not do the rain justice! It is raining really hard here right now - they are saying that it is not slowing anyone down on the 9km downhill into Keene - but if it were me I would be scared to death - we drove up that road on the way here and it wasn't something to mess with! We did not come prepared for the rain so I hope we aren't held up here all day! We hope to head down and see him pass through after his first bike loop! Thanks to everyone who is keeping track of Bryan - I KNOW he appreciates it so much!

And they are off!

At 7am the race started! Took over 2 minutes to get everyone across the start line - there are 2200 racers participating today! The kids are still sleeping as I type this - we will head down and try to see Bryan when he is running from the water to transition to get changed and get his bike - about a 1/4 mile run. Weather does not look good today - high is going to be about 70 degrees with a 60% chance of rain all day - not fun! I hope Bryan slept better than I did - was awake from about 1am to 3am worried his alarm would not go off at 4am! Well Bryan should be at the half way point of the 1st lap of the swim...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Calm...

Even though the countdown timer is now ticking hours instead of days, I'm still so eerily relaxed. I'm just anxious to get going. Many thanks to everyone who has been and will be thinking about me and keeping track. Your support and kind words are much appreciated.

If you click over to
the official Ironman website you'll be able to see live coverage and track me as I tick off each segment.

Off to sleep...