Archive by Author | Tanner Russ

Balance

Balance is a tricky thing.  I have always had poor physical balance, but just like anything in life, with practice your balance will improve.  But balance in an ever evolving life becomes more difficult to manage.

It wasn’t really that long ago when Alicia and I were newlyweds without a care in the world.  Two young kids in the prime of their lives pushing physical limits and living life to the fullest.  We competed in triathlons, ran for the fun of it, lifted like animals, ate super clean, had plenty of fun, blogged about our excursions and got plenty of rest.  With limited responsibilities, we were basically free to pursue whatever life had in store for us.  Balance was easy.

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But as life so often does, things change.  Priorities, desires, wants, needs, it all changes.  And for better or worse, you change with it.  And that’s when balance gets more complicated.  Responsibilities pile up, time seems shorter, the world seems bigger and the realization that you aren’t the center of the universe quickly comes into focus.  And then the kids come, and you take all of those responsibilities and multiply them by at least 10.

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Initially, mostly out of necessity, you place your needs and wants on hold.  You feel like you have to sacrifice everything you ever wanted.  That dream you had of competing an Ironman…on hold.  That new car you were thinking of buying…on hold.  That trip you were going to take with your friends…on hold.  You barely have time to think about yourself as you do your best to try not to screw up your first kids too bad.

Over time however, your thinking evolves.  Your first thoughts are no longer about yourself, but they are about your kids and your family.  It no longer feels like I am sacrificing.  It starts to feel like I am growing, supporting, and empowering  my family.

I’m not sacrificing, I am enhancing.  For as their lives improve so too does my own.  Not just physically but emotionally.  The things of this world you used to care about, the superficial stuff,  just doesn’t seem as important anymore.  And that’s when the balance becomes easy again.  And you begin to find out that your family and your personal balance is easier to manage and navigate largely because your personal dreams now coincide with your family.

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Now don’t get me wrong, you still need to take time for yourself every now and again and be a little selfish (start blogging again, go for a run, read a book etc), but by in large, I recharge my batteries by spending time with my family.  Plus, there will come a point and time in my life when my kids are grown and I will miss these moments.  I will miss the juggling of responsibilities, the lack of sleep, the fort building, the book reading, the Curious George watching.  It wont last forever.

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A time will come where i can once again be selfish if I want.  But thinking to that time, will my focus really want to return to the selfishness of my younger self?  Or will I continue to support my family and our cohesive goals and desires?  Time will tell, but until then i know one thing for sure; I wouldn’t change this crazy journey for anything in the world.

Just like anything in life, with practice, your balance will improve.  Keep working on your balance, and focus on what really matters in life.  Baby Number 3 due soon!  Here we go again…balance in an ever evolving life.

-Tanner

Oh Hey There 2015!

So let me set the stage for you.  I have just finished waking up and feeding Maya (aka “Little”) and putting her back to sleep, it is now 1:30am on Wednesday 12/31/2014.  As I lay back down and try to get some sleep, I find myself thinking about 2014 and all that has changed.  I also find myself thinking about 2015 and what lies before my family and I.  Great, now I can’t sleep.  I guess I will have to add getting rid of insomnia to my list of New Year’s resolutions.  Speaking of, it’s probably time to put those suckers in writing and posting them on some type of public forum so that I actually feel some sort of need/accountability to complete them.  Its times like this that I am glad I have a blog, albeit a blog that hasn’t gotten a lot of use lately.

But hey, who can blame me?  I mean seriously, I have crammed a ton of life experiences into the span of just one year.  So let’s back up to the start of 2014 for a nice little recap shall we?  Or better yet, the end of 2013.  Here let me set the scene:

So it’s just after Christmas and Alicia and I were visiting her family in Virginia like we have done for the past few years.  Living so far away in Northwest Iowa, it was usually few and far between the times we were able to see her family, and I know that we both cherished being able to spend the holidays with them.  At this point and time in our lives, Alicia and I were fully devoted to our health and fitness.  We both lifted, swam, biked, and ran frequently.  We were in the greatest shape of our lives and working out was a priority for us.  We were also both living near our hometowns and both working full time as HR professionals.  We like to think that we had a pretty good grasp on the world as it was and it was around this point and time that Alicia and I decided that we were going to try and have our first child.  And that’s how 2014 started, Bow-Chick-A-Wow-Wow and cue cheesy music.

Needless to say we are both pretty good at this procreation stuff, because a few short months later we were at the doctor getting the news that Alicia was indeed pregnant.  Sweet!  We had already planned bringing this bundle of joy into our lives and knew that we were up to the task.  It wouldn’t be until at least a month after that when we found out that not only were we pretty good at having babies, but that we are basically 2 times greater at having babies than the parents of singletons….drumroll please as we welcome the future craziness that is the introduction of twins.

So while Alicia was being an all-star with the pregnancy, I continued to train for a short time longer before I got sidelined with some sorry old knees that decided it was time to get tendonitis (Runners Knee).  It was recommended to me that I take some time off to let the recover (6-8 months) so that I could continue my workouts/triathlon training in 2015 with no issues.  So, reluctantly that’s what I did and even went as far as to try out blood platelet injections in my knees to help the process.  So I went from 5-6 times a week working out to zero times a week. That basically lasted until right about the time that I am writing this post.  Oops!  In hindsight it was an absolute blessing as it meant that I could be more helpful to Alicia during her pregnancy and also that I could focus on the changes that were coming.  But ultimately it would lead to weight gain and fitness loss and to many of the resolutions that I will be listing here shortly.

Inquisitive Girls

So because I was no longer working out as much I now I had a lot of free time on my hands, and with the knowledge of two small babies soon to be entering out lives, I began to brainstorm options for us. With that brainstorming came the realization and the plan that would inevitably shake up our world.  Alicia and I have always wanted to live in Virginia.  Me because its stunning and full of outdoor adventure,  and Alicia because her family lives nearby.  So, since I wasn’t really enjoying working for Vogel’s, who ran their company like an old dying dinosaur, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to seek out other employment.  Needless to say I ended up making contact with a couple of businesses in the VA area and started the joys of applications, phone interviews, and Skype conference calls.  Meanwhile Alicia was put on bed rest and the babies were going to be coming to us very soon!  And as luck would have it, while driving to the hospital in Sioux Falls for what would be our last checkup on September 5th, and ultimately knowing that the babies would be here within 1-2 weeks, I got a phone call from my now current employer (Centra), about flying out for an interview.  Perfect timing….not!  Well after our appointment the doctor scheduled us for an induction on September 8th, but low and behold Kate and Maya couldn’t wait that long, and on Sunday September 7th they burst into this world kicking and screaming.  Thanks to Centra’s flexibility and understanding, I was able to reschedule to come out to see them 2 short weeks later, leaving my newborn girls and their mother and mother in law back in Iowa to fend for themselves as I went out in search of new employment.  Good luck Ladies, I am off to lock down our next life adventure!

Well to make this long story short…I got the job and just a month after the offer rolled in, we were packing up, leaving the Midwest, and uprooting our lives and month old newborn babies to gorgeous VA.  Let’s just say, God has a fantastic plan in place for my family and I am so grateful for the things he has done for us this past year and the doors he has opened.

So now its 12/31/14 and as I sit in the dark typing this up with the family sleeping, I can honestly say that this has been the greatest and most stressful year of my life.  To anyone who helped us out along the way, Thank You!  We never could have made this move and change without help from our family and friends.   We certainly have no regrets and are loving our new roles.  My wife gets to stay at home with the girls and honestly has the hardest job out of the both of us but absolutely loves it. Me on the other hand, I get to help shape Centra’s Mental Health programs with the power of HR…wow that makes me sound like an HR geek doesn’t it?  Regardless, we both enjoy our new roles and wouldn’t change them for anything.

Whew!  So that was 2014 in a very short summary.  Kind of puts a lot of pressure on 2015 to step it up now doesn’t it?  Shouldn’t be too difficult as I already know the best part of the New Year is going to be watching our girls grow.  How exciting is that going to be?  Pretty damn exciting I can tell you that.

Nice?

Ok now I am finally at the resolution part.  And since I am a fitness junky at heart, I certainly done want to leave out any of my fitness goals, because even though one of my knees still doesn’t feel like it has healed to 100%, I want to get moving again.  So her were go:

Fitness Goals

  • Drop down to race weight of180lbs.
    • I was at this weight when I competed in the 2013 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships in Milwaukee, WI and I have to say I never felt better. Ultimately dropping that excess weight (I was 210lbs) made me feel so much better and made each discipline so much easier.  I have gained back 20lbs over my offseason of 2014 and so I will be dropping that in 2015.  This will be no small task as I now no longer have unlimited workout time because of the girlies, but nonetheless I think it is something that I can manage.  I don’t have plans for any triathlons in 2015, but rather I just want to reach peak fitness and hit on some key weak areas.  Ultimately, I see a lot of cardio in my future!
  • Rope climb
    • This one may seem stupid but my upper body is weak and always has been. I would like to see some improvement with body weight exercises like push-ups and pull-ups and ultimately be able to climb a rope.  This is something that I have never been able to do either because of lack of muscle or lack of technique but probably both.  I always see these obstacles in Spartan Races, and they always intimidate me.  That being said, I am going to climb a damn rope in 2015 so that I can finally be a proper HS Gym Class Athlete!!!  Then maybe I can work up the courage to do a Spartan Race sometime without looking like a buffoon.
  • Improve Squat
    • My squats are weak. Back in the glory days at Buena Vista University, I was a Decathlete who specialized in 100-400m sprints and High/Low Hurdle races.  I used to fancy myself a pretty powerful guy in the Hamstring, Quad, Hips, Gluteus, and Core muscles, and somehow along the way to becoming an Olympic distance triathlete, I lost a lot of the power that comes with sprinting.  With that gone, my squats now suffer and it’s time to turn that around.  I don’t have an exact weight I want to be able to hit but rather I just want to see significant improvement.
  • Improve Grip Strength
    • Honestly this is another silly one but one that came about while I was moving all my belongings up multiple flight of stairs. My hands are weak!  I was literally carrying a couch of mine with my father and it really isn’t that heavy but my grip just gave out.  And ever since then, I have noticed the weakness with other tasks that I do as well.  One of which is of the upmost importance…not to drop the Car Seats.  I mean I obviously haven’t done this yet and don’t ever plan too, but seriously I can’t hold a 25-35lb car seat for a minute without feeling weak and having to engage “hold by the crook of the elbow mode”.  And don’t even get me started on jars…nothing can make you feel less masculine than being beat by a jar.  So there, after 2015 when you shake my hand, I hope my grip is uncomfortably firm.

Honestly that’s it for fitness.  Really just want to get back to living healthy and eating right and feeling like an athlete again.  And by accomplishing the items above, I will reach that goal.  So as cliché as it may be, I will officially be getting a gym membership in the month of January.

As far as non-fitness related resolutions I have a few, and the fact that they come after fitness goals in this post does not make them the lowest priority.  The items below are actually at the top of my list.

Life Goals

  • Continue on my path with God
    • Alicia and I have finally found a church that we like in Lynchburg. It’s nice to have a community/family of believers again that can create an electric atmosphere of worship every Sunday.  I want to build upon my faith so that I can show my girls what a positive impact it can have in your life, and to instill upon them the importance of not just being a believer but in turn being a good person through your actions and not just your words.  Because it’s not who you say you are that defines you, but it’s what you do.
  • Continue to put family first
    • Family means everything to Alicia and me. Not just our new additions, but our whole extended family and especially my family who I left back in the Midwest.  It was a hard decision to make to move out here to be closer to Alicia’s family but to leave mine behind, and I never want to take for granted the time that get to spend with either side of our families.  It is all precious and I want to continue to put a priority on that.  And I want to make sure that I am around for all twin related activities and to support my life with her new fulltime job.  If this means other things in my life need to receive less importance so be it.  Family Comes First!
  • Let’s get a house
    • We are currently in a 2 bedroom apartment because the thought of house shopping on top of everything else that was going on in our lives in 2014 was daunting. So 2015 will be the year of the house!  We need the extra space I can tell you that, and I think my sister in law would agree, as many of our belonging are currently taking up prime real estate in her basement.

Well I am sure I will think about this list some more and maybe even add a few more things, but it’s now 4:00am and I am hoping to get some shuteye otherwise my coworkers will be none too happy with my attitude tomorrow.  And so to 2014, all I have to say is thank you for one heck of a good year!  It’s been a blast and I have memories and experiences that will stick with me for a lifetime.  And now Kate is officially up for her late night feeding…Ahhhh this is the life!

-Tanner

And Then There Were Two

On 9/7/14 my life was forever changed. This was the day that our two little girls were brought into this world kicking and screaming.

On 9/5/14 we had our weekly checkup with our Doctor. After the checkup he told us that we should schedule a day to induce and he set it up for Monday the 8th. So, he told us to go home and come back on Monday. We live 90 minutes away from the hospital and something told me that it would probably be best if we just got a hotel by the hospital until Monday. We also had called Alicia’s parents from Virginia and told them that they should come in a day early and be here on Saturday. It’s funny how God speaks to us but it’s amazing when he does.

On Sunday morning Alicia’s father and I were going to head to church as Alicia and her mom stayed at the hotel to rest. As we were walking up to the church I got “the call”. Alicia’s water had broke and she started going into labor. I was so happy that we were only 5 minutes away from the hospital. A 90 minute drive from home wouldn’t have been fun for anyone. Also, the in-laws, family and friends had all made it safely to town and right on time for the birth of their granddaughters/nieces.

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Kate Elizabeth and Maya Grace were both 6lbs 2ozs and were happy and healthy. Because they were born at 36 weeks, they ended up spending 4 days in the NICU. It is certainly tough to see your children hooked up to so many machines, but the nurses and doctors there had such a tender touch and caring heart, that we knew they were in good hands.

Alicia did an amazing job. Through it all she was a solid rock! I literally could not stop calling her an All Star. Scared as she was, she never showed it and just did what she needed to do to ensure that we were going to have two happy and healthy babies. I found a new level of love for my wife that has strengthened our family even more, and I just want to once again publicly say that You Are Awesome!

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Before we could leave the NICU our little ones had to pass their car seat tests and hearing tests. While the hearing tests were not all that stressful, the car seat tests took a toll on Alicia and me. Basically they had to be able to sit in their seats for 90 minutes without setting off any of the alarms on the machines they were hooked up to. Unfortunately both girls failed their first tests. One of the girl’s oxygen levels and heart rate dropped so quickly that she started to turn blue before we could unbuckle her and get her out of the seat. We were told that we would need to get different car seats and then complete the test again. So we ran out, bought two other seats, and then started the tests again. These seats certainly seemed like better fits and the tests went by without any issues, but it was stressful nonetheless. But it was all worth it because after they passed the test, we were able to bring them home.

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The ride home felt like a dream come true. We were so happy to put the NICU behind us and couldn’t wait to bring those bundles of joy into our home. The girls are now both 2 weeks old and giving us a run for our money. With feedings every 3 hours and diapers galore, we are busy little beavers. Not to mention that I had to go back to work and I had to go to Virginia for a 3 day job interview a week after the girls were born. Luckily my mother-in-law has been staying with us to help us out and was able to give Alicia a hand while I was away. So many changes have taken place over the last two weeks and it has been truly humbling for both of us. We are so grateful and excited for the years ahead and can’t wait to see what God has in store for us as a family of 4!

-Tanner

We Are Still Growing!

We are at 35 weeks now and already our apartment has a room that looks like a pink explosion! Alicia has been doing a great job and our girls are estimated at 5.5 lbs. each! Way to go ladies! We are very excited to welcome them but we are still hoping that we can reach the 37 week mark.

I can honestly say that any triathlon related posts are going to be few and far between for the foreseeable future. My training has dropped down to literally nothing because of a nagging knee injury, and with all the life changes going on, I just don’t have the time. Not to mention all of the sympathy eating that I have been doing…there is a lot of good food in the house!

I am planning one event this year where I will just be completing the bike leg. It will be a team triathlon and all I need to do is pretend like I still have what it takes for a 15 mile ride. I think I can suffer through that without it taking too much of a toll on my out of shape body. And besides, it’s no fun training without your partner. I can honestly say that I miss the training, but I have been enjoying the time that Alicia and I have been able to spend together. Lord knows we won’t have any more alone time in just a few short weeks.

So with the girl’s arrival just a few weeks away we are making our final arrangements to ensure everything is in order. Prayers are appreciated and also I want to give a special thanks to our family and friends for all of the support! Things will soon be changing in more ways than one!

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Outnumbered

So there I was, deep behind enemy lines and heavily outnumbered. The opposition was everywhere and I was feeling very overwhelmed. They wore pink bows and carried dolls and other pretty things…what have I gotten myself into?

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That’s right, identical twin baby girls! What a truly amazing gift from above! At our 19 week ultrasound, they are happy and healthy! I laughed as the ultrasound technician got frustrated with them because they were moving around too much. Glad the girls were giving someone else a hard time because I am almost certain that I will be the one with frustrations in the very near future.   I think one of them was even practicing her hurdles skills with Alicia’s bladder, very Lolo Jones like. Above all else, I am just happy that all the ladies in my life are doing great.

And now that we know what they are, let the shopping commence…

It’s interesting to me how much I have already embraced the pink. I mean let’s be honest; it’s going to be everywhere. There’s no getting around the tutus and princess crowns. So with a due date later in the fall, it’s time to prep our lives for the changes ahead. I might have to get a male dog to help even out the field. Much more to come!

-Tanner

Not Just Another Triathlon Post

So we have some real big news. No. Alicia is not competing in another tri, not any time in the near future at least…sorry to get your hopes up.

She is however, working on her own triathlon team because…. Alicia is pregnant! But wait there’s more! Isn’t that the line that infomercials always use? Well now it’s the line for our lives, because there certainly is more…were having twins! Yup, I said twins. Just let that sink in for a moment or two. Alicia and I are having twins. Who saw that coming? Not us, that’s for sure. If I wasn’t leaning against the wall when the ultrasound technician told me, I would have most certainly hit the floor. Well, there goes the neighborhood! Can you imagine two little ME’s running around?   I don’t know if Sioux County can handle all that Russ ridiculousness, they could barely handle it when it was just me. Let’s just hope that they pick up a lot more of Alicia’s demeanor and very few of my own.

Tiny Feet

Tiny Feet

But we are super thrilled to say the least! What a true blessing. Ever since we moved from Storm Lake we have basically just left a lot of the decision making up to God. I mean who would have ever thought that we would move back to Sioux county? I know it certainly wasn’t my first choice but, as Alicia often says, “Never, say never!” She certainly didn’t want to move back to Sioux county either! When opportunities/challenges are presented to you, the reasons why aren’t always clear to you, but they are clear to God. He put the tools in our hands to get a fresh start in a familiar location: good jobs, a place to live, fellowship with new friends, and closeness to family. All of this was laid out before us. All of these events have already enriched our lives so much, but now it would seem that it’s about to get kicked up another notch…or two. Remember, we are having twins.

Proud Future Parents

Proud Future Parents

I mean why go for one when the hospital is almost certain to be having a buy 1 get 1 special going on right? Oh, they don’t do that? Shoot! I thought I found a loophole. So now its crunch time, we are 14 weeks into a life-changing event that will forever shape our futures. We have lots to do. Number one on the list is that we need to find a house ASAP. Considering the ridiculousness of the markets in Sioux Center and Orange City, we will be buying a house that will need some significant work done to make it baby ready…or should I say babies ready? Not to mention all the other little intricate things new parents need to do prior to arrival to get all your ducks in a row, except once again times 2. It’s a good thing Alicia seems to be on top of all of this stuff.

It’s funny how quickly your priorities change. Things that used to be so important just don’t seem to matter as much anymore, one of those being my plans for triathlons this year. That’s definitely being put on the back burner for the time being. I mean I occasionally get out for a run or a ride, but it’s certainly not the 5-6 times a week regiment that I am used to. And Alicia is not really up for continuing on any training plan right now, so there goes my run/bike/swim/lift partner. Maybe when the weather warms up I will do an event or two, but I don’t see any Nationals trips or Half Ironman’s in my near future. And that’s just fine with me; my body was telling me it was time for a break anyways, lots of aches and pains for this soon to be dad. And, I’m already really growing into my role of supporting Alicia- she’s enjoying a little extra TLC. I mean she is carrying twins and I’m just carrying body weight, doesn’t quite compare.

And then there are the things that we weren’t so concerned about, like our finances, which are now a priority as we prepare for new and future influences to our budget. What was once savings for exciting trips or for some unnecessary purchase are now being slated for strollers and cribs. Not a road bike, sad I know. Not to mention the future and ongoing costs of daycare, mortgage, healthcare, food, college, etc.

Balloons From Work

Balloons From Work

So the 9-month scramble has begun. What a great journey it has been so far! We are truly grateful and appreciate all of the support that we have been given up to this point and continue to thank God for our little blessings. We will certainly have to keep everyone updated. That shouldn’t be a problem prior to arrival, but after, I am pretty sure that I won’t be using my free time for blogging quite as much. Instead, I am willing to bet that Alicia and I will be focused more on the sleeping aspect of our lives.

– Alicia and Tanner, the soon to be parents of twins

Official Party – NAIA Indoor Nationals

This place is enormous!

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So I have been in Geneva, OH for the last couple days attending the NAIA Indoor National Championship. I have got to say, coming here as a coach is amazingly gratifying. I am absolutely amazed by what this team has done throughout this year and seeing all that hard work pay off on the ultimate stage is awesome. With 1 day left to go, we already have 8 All Americans and a 2nd place women’s 4×800. Not only that but we have broken multiple school records and established amazing PR’s.

And the weeks not even over. But it’s not just the athletic a ability of these athletes that stands out. It’s the way they carry themselves. They are warriors. Always humble, always encouraging, and never saying can’t. They put in the time and effort in everything they do and they give all the glory to God. It truly is a blessing to me to be able to play a small part in their lives.

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I can’t wait to see how tomorrow plays out, and I can’t wait to be with the rest of the team and coaches as we approach outdoor season and prepare for an amazing finish to the 2014 season.

– Tanner

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Coming Out Of Hibernation

I forgot I had a blog!

Ok, not really but I couldn’t even remember the last thing that I wrote about, I had to go back and look it up.  It was about stuffing my face over the holidays, which I did merrily.  Luckily, my fitness level and weight didn’t fluctuate too much.  Sure I have a few extra pounds to lose, but in hindsight, having a little extra body weight over this frigid winter sounds like a good thing to me.  Speaking of, really looking forward to being outdoors again.  One can only endure so much trainer/treadmill action before you just want to give it up all together.  And yet I chose to live in Iowa, so suffer I shall until this snow disappears.

So what’s new?  Well not a whole lot actually.  I have been putting in long hours at work and doing quite a bit of traveling.  On top of that Indoor Track and Field season is drawing to an end.  NAIA Nationals is this weekend in Ohio and I am excited to have a hurdler ranked in the top ten nationally.  I actually fly out tonight so that I can meet up with the rest of the team that already left via bus earlier this week.  Indoor season has flown by.  So far the best memory has got to be our home meet where 3 of my vaulters simultaneously broke the school record at identical heights, and my hurdler re-broke the school record which was previously held by him.  As a coach of only 4 vaulters and 1 hurdler, I would have to say that I won coach of the week for that…if we had such a thing.  I am looking forward to outdoor and introducing a whole new group of athletes to the love of 400 hurdles!  Best race ever, certainly one of the hardest events in all of track and field.  But the weather needs to change soon; otherwise we are looking at another poor outdoor season just like last year.  I think they only had 2 meets that were above freezing and without snow.

As far as triathlon training is going, it really isn’t.  With all that’s been going on, it’s sort of been pushed to the side.  Especially since about two months ago I had some pretty severe knee pain which was described to me as tendonitis, which basically means I have to take it easy for a few months.  Hey that’s just fine with me; it’s been awhile since I have been able to dabble in other things besides the old swim bike run.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not giving up on it, but being able to take it a little bit easier for a year is going to do wonders for my body and its ability to heal up 100%.  I am still planning on doing a few events this year and one big one in Des Moines at the Hy-Vee 2120 Triathlon.  That’s not till later in the year, so rest now and get after it in a few months to be ready.

So that’s a quick update from me, it’s good to come out of hibernation for a bit.  Hopefully the next time you hear from me it will be substantially warmer and I will be enjoying the sunshine out on the track.  Until then….

– Tanner

Battle Of The Bulge

With the holidays fast approaching and the goodies surrounding me, it is time for the great battle.  The fight with my waistline has always been a tough and brutal conflict but it certainly becomes more cutthroat during the winter.  Two things work against me at this time of year.  First of all there is the freezing cold of Iowa.  It’s hard just to head outside to get to the gym/pool because I enjoy staying warm just like any other sane person would.  Scraping off my car and driving the 10 minutes into town all while freezing on my ice cold leather seats is less than ideal (still waiting on that automatic start).  The ice/snow and gusting winds force me inside on the treadmill/trainer and it greatly affects my motivation and desire to complete my workouts. Is there anything more boring than 1-2 hours on either apparatus?  Monotony quickly kicks in.  Luckily I have my winter station all setup, complete with TV watching and PS4 playing capabilities.  At least this is a good time to get caught up on Sons of Anarchy and many other shows that were neglected during the summer months…FYI, Netflix is a must have investment for any indoor training triathlete.

And then there is the food.  Both sides of the family bombard us with goodies that we have deprived ourselves from all year.  Being cooped up inside surrounded by cookies/pies/fudge etc. can really take a toll on the body quickly.  Add in a little traveling; is there anything harder than trying to eat healthy on the road?  Sprinkle on some annual offseason lack of motivation that leads to shortened and skipped workouts and you’ve created the perfect recipe for a weight gain disaster.  It’s not even Thanksgiving yet and I have already ballooned up to 200lbs which is a far cry away from my goal weight of 170lbs and my previous competition weight of 180lbs that I was at only a few months ago.

And so, the battle of the bulge has begun…oh the joys of the Holidays!  Here’s to willpower and determination, hopefully it will get me through another offseason in one piece…preferably a lighter and fitter piece.

-Tanner

Third Times The Charm

For the third year in a row I competed in the Lemars Sprint Triathlon.  This is my last planned event of the season and it is always a fun way to end the year.  It’s a smaller event that has some good talent on a very tough and hilly bike and run course.  The weather for the day looked a little gloomy as Alicia and I drove to Lemars.  There were scattered thunderstorms and plenty of lightning that struck the ground.  Luckily, the weather started to clear up just before race time, and we started off under partly cloudy skies.

This event takes place in the Lemars outdoor pool and consists of a 300yd swim, 15mi bike ride, and a 3.1mi run.  The swim sees a new athlete starting every 20 seconds so as to keep congestion down in the pool.  When signing up for the event, athletes are asked to submit their 300yd swim estimates so that the fastest swimmers go first, and the slower swimmers go last.  In theory this would mean that everyone would be able to swim without any traffic but in reality, people lie about their times and inevitably there is going to be traffic.  Athletes who get touched on the feet/ankles are supposed to pull over and allow the faster swimmers behind to pass before they continue on, yeah like that is ever going to happen.

I was about the 5th person to start this particular event.  After 50yds I had already caught up to the gentlemen in front of me, he was a liar!  I was able to easily pass by him without too much contact and I continued on.  Then at about 100yds I caught the next athlete in front of me and a small underwater battle ensued as I swam over his shoulder to make the pass, another liar!  After clearing the second athlete I was able to finish the swim with no traffic and climbed up the ladder (4:29) and out to the parking lot to enter T1.

All this year I have been using Injini toe socks (those things are awesome, who cares if people stare) to help minimize blisters during my run.  I typically put them on before the bike and it really only slowed me down about 30 seconds.  Seeing as how this was going to be my last event of the year, I opted to just lube up my shoes real good and go barefoot.  Because of this, my T1 was significantly faster and helped me to make a pass while in transition (1:04).

With my bike beside me I hopped on and started the immediate climb of the bike route.  Needless to say, the entire bike course is a steep rolling route that put my weak climbing muscles to the test.  I focused on powering up the inclines and keeping my cadence up.  I really put the pedal down because I knew I could make a bigger dent in the bike than I was going to be able to do in the run.  All along the route I passed members of teams who had started before the individuals started.  I never caught the one athlete that was in the pool first but always had him in my sights.  Considering that he started over a minute and a half before me, the fact that I was slowly catching up to him meant that I was making good time.  At the turnaround point I was passed by an exceptionally fast biker and I focused on hanging tough with him the entire way back into town (40:53 a 22mph average).

Coming into T2 I dismounted cleanly and threw my bike on the rack.  With a few quick motions I had my shoes, belt and visor on, and was out of transition and up the hill for the run (00:35).  This particular run course is primarily uphill for the first half of the course, and then downhill most of the way back.  It certainly was a motivator for me knowing that if I pushed it the first 1.5mi then I could utilize gravity to help bring my big butt home.  I wasn’t focused on any particular pacing but rather, I just attacked the hills and maintained good running form on the flats and downhill’s.  I was feeling particular strong with a mile to go and I picked up the pact to try and ensure myself a top 10 finish (23:57).  Coming to the finish line I found myself thinking about the journey that triathlon has taken me on this year, and what an exciting trip it has been.  My family and friends have been there with me the whole year and it was great to get to experience it all with them.  It just isn’t the same racing by yourself and not having your support team with you (reflections back to Fairmont, MN).

I ended up finishing in a time of 1:10:57 which was an improvement of over 6 minutes on my time from last year.  It was good enough for 2nd place in my age group, and got me 8th overall.  It was a well-run event and all of the volunteers did an amazing job.  I especially like the part where they let us shower in the YMCA so that I don’t have to stink up the car the entire way back home.  There’s nothing quite like a shower after a triathlon.

So as I sit here and type this I am already thinking about the offseason workouts and what I am going to do different or the same for that matter.  But before any of that, a nice 2-3 day break is in order, and maybe a burger (not turkey, all beef) or a deliciously greasy pizza!  Plus its football season, so it’s the perfect time to do a little couch sitting and hope the Cowboys can make a run at it this year.  It certainly won’t be long before I am back at it with workouts and life and getting the ball rolling for next year.  It’s been one heck of a year and I can’t wait to do it all over again!

– Tanner

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