Monday, December 31, 2007

How was YOUR first???

Do you remember your first???
I do. The day was hot. As the day wore on, I felt the heat but I was excited. I was mostly excited because I did it all by myself!!!!
It was 1985. I knew the day was going to happen, but I never thought I would be in that kind of competition.

I just had to do it. But, who in their right mind would want to do this sort of thing??
The "thing" was a triathlon. I had been running marathons, and 10k's but there was something cool about attempting a "swim, bike, run" competition.

The reason I ask this question to you is that there is some kind of beauty in doing a tough-discipline based competition for the first time.

The butterflies. The nervous-ness. "Did I train enough??".

My first race was so long ago, I don't even have pictures. I do however have pics from when my son raced for the first time this past June. He didn't say much. I knew he was nervous. The water gave him pause. He was not sure how he would fare.

But he did very well and I was very proud. He has since raced two more times and he has the bug. Plus, he can smoke his old man pretty good.

As the new year breaks, I wish many "first times" for all of my blogging buds, and first for many of you who email me and read my little missives each time. Maybe you have your first marathon. Your first ultra, your first 100 mile bike ride. Maybe its the first time you try to get into your wetsuit.

2008 can mean for many of you an incredible journey is just getting better and more exciting.

Triathlon has opened doors and opened eyes for me. The sport has given me sooooo much more than I have given it.
May you get out of all that you expect out of your racing in 2008.

See you at the races.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Crunch Time

Back again. Tried the Gaiam Ab-Ball Workout this morning, after a 40 minute dreadmill run. Gaiam, if you check out this link, is a pretty progressive firm, with a wide array of products.. Yoga, Pilates, green home furnishing and stuff. Nice. The picture on their website is of an attractive woman in "mid workout" pose. What is she thinking???? Hummm.

Okay, that works for me, but of course the makers of these fine products appeal to women as well.. so.... thats where Jonathan Roche comes in.

I have to give those Gaiam people some props. They are pretty sneaky, having attractive young people plug their products. Jonathan does the whole workout in the "my shirt is off and check out my 6 pack" attitude. He's done 9 Ironman distance races, and 10 straight Boston Marathons.....and he has white teeth. Even though I loathe him, I will plug his training site. Aren't I a good man??????

He has a beginners and an advanced workout. Each is about 12-15 minutes. I did the beginners today because my abs are not of six pack caliber. More like a keg. It was a good workout. Could do it twice and get a good result. Having done many of my Brides Pilates classes, I felt prepared and not out of my league. However, the Ab-ball is a great way to change things up.

Speaking of my Bride. She completed training for a Group Power workout through Body Training Systems and will be starting that discipline along with teaching Pilates classes at a new studio in Willoughby. I will keep you posted. Where would I be without this woman???? In a gutter.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Balls, Christmas Balls,

Belated Christmas greetings. The Bride got me a new laptop and I am working out the bugs in getting on line. For the time being, I am on the p.c. in my office. The verrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyy slowwwww. computer. I want hare speed. I got a Turtle, and I don't mean one of the actors in Entourage. Soon, I will get the laptop working just right and...look out.

Coffee update- 9 days without and everything is cool. Took suggestions from you guys and am using a herbal tea. Have three times gone into the belly of the beast. (See previous post) and have lived to tell the tale. Dreams are fine. Life is good. I feel that my brain and nervous system without massive amounts of caffeine, ramping up the neurons firing away, have developed a little monologue. Kind of like a truce.

nervous system
Wow, this is how life should be. I don't worry any more about directing this human to act like a crazed man." (Nervous system, then bats eyes at Brain) "You like me, You really, really like me.".

"yeah, I like you for now, but if he slips back into that Christmas Blend routine again, your toast sister"

You are married 31 years to a fabulous person and you think alike a bit. Bride got me a 6 pound medicine-workout ball. I got her one of those 8 pound balls with handles built in. It was hilarious when we each unwrapped the gifts. I will provide a link for you on my next posting about the Gaiam ABSball. Ironman triathlete Jonathan Roche is the star in the dvd thats provided. She'll put it to good use torturing her clients and her husband.

In the meantime, enjoy the holidays and....ohhh yeah....heres some turkey, in case your hungry.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Into the Belly of the Beast

Hi gang..little update on the growing known as "J.T. gave up coffee on Monday and now its Saturday and he is still alive" The theory behind this wild venture is to get control of my eating habits and also that it would help me in my training for triathlons.

Earlier posts talked about wild dreams that have ensued because of this. I am happy to report that, now...I sleep like a baby.......I get up every hour and cry. No, just a small attempt at humor. My dreams have not exactly reverted back to normal, but most people who know me would say....."What the heck is normal"?. Good point. I have no rebuttal.

No more dreams of Juan Valdez, Mrs. Folgers, and Bob Vila. My wife has not appeared in any dreams recreating the bed scene in "American Beauty", but with coffee beans, not roses. My dreams have been about sunsets, spotted owls and Warren Buffet playing chess on a raft with Tom Hanks. Perfectly normal stuff.... wouldn't you think.?? Oops. Thought so.

I have emerged from the fog that is.."constant consumption of caffeine and the sugars that accompany it". My workouts have not been with as much volume as the past few weeks but the focus is there and I feel better. That last sentence is entirely true.. No Baloney. I have lost about 4 pounds and my snoring is no longer supersonic, just locomotive.

As part of my therapy allegedly proposed by Dr.Phil, but not endorsed by the American Medical Association, I went into the belly of the beast to see how I could handle..."The Abandonment of Caffeine that comes from ground beans grown in Juan Valdez's back yard".

Yep, I went to one of those world famous coffee houses-shops-stores..whatever you call those stores that are on every corner and even in Victoria Secret dressing rooms. I...(blush) was told this by credible sources. Anyway, I did the darndest thing. I went up to the counter and the kind ladies and young gentlemen who have seen me come in for a while now assumed the usual. You know how they anticipate your call?? "I'll get you that double latte-skim-mocha-espresso you always order". But I was quicker. "No thank you." I said. " I am making a change in my life and while I LOVE each and everyone one of you, I suspect you are drugging me. This coffee with mega doses of caffeine has taken over my life and I am putting a stop to it."

Actually, I just stood there and ordered......this is very weird....I ordered "After Coffee Chewing Gum. I am not kidding. I figured it was a start. I know it sounds stupid to buy gum that your supposed to use after you drink coffee, while you have an embargo against coffee, but thats what I did. I don't regret the move. I feel proud. I sat there chatting with a few of the guys whom I always trade lies with. I had gum and water. It was like Jonah going right back into the whale.

I went into the belly of the beast and I stared down that beast. I will go back.
If I order tea there, do you think it will lead me eventually down the same old path???
Or can I resist the decadence that comes from massive amounts of caffeine??

Enquiring minds want to know??

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Hey gang. The trembling has subsided. My memory has returned. I once again know that #23 for the Cavaliers is LeBron James. I should know, since I have been covering that kid since he was in 9th grade. In my caffeine depleted state on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I lost all sense of time. Am I the father of three, married 31 years, or am I father of 31, married 3 years. I was all wacked out. The memory faded. The hallucinations began... on the air, no less. I spoke in tongues. I had wild dreams. Juan Valdez, Mrs. Folgers were taunting me for dropping coffee, and my Bride was in bed with coffee beans...Christmas Blend coffee beans sprinkled upon her neck-id body. I was told I need professional help. All of that is true. Thanks Steve. You are correct. I did get help.

Okay, so said Dr. Phil is......Dr. Phil. Is he the best source to interpret my dreams and get me back to sanity, or is he just a big shot because...........OPRAH said so. I will go with the Oprah angle.

The dreams. Monday night, was the Valdez..Folgers-American Beauty take off.
Tuesday night was the aspect about our roof falling apart and me having to call in guys to build a new one. There were Amish guys and someone who looked like Bob Vila. I took the Vila guy as a hoax because he introduced himself as Bob Vil-ahh, instead of Veee-yah. I wasn't fooled.

Wednesday night, I was racing in a long form triathlon in upstate New York. Gorgeous setting. Now I realize it was the SOS. The Survival of the Shawangunks. Theres some killer uphill portion of it and in my dream, I quit just about 50 meters from the top. I have never quit in a race in my career, and I have nearly 85 triathlons to my credit. So, this was weird.

The famous Doctor agreed to see me. ***

Dr. Phil
"the first dream, to me.. means you have a fear of heights, afterall, why else would you let a donkey carry you up a steep mountain. Mrs. Folgers being stern means you never connected with your mother, and the coffee beans symbolize your fear of intimacy."

"I disagree. I flew with the Blue Angels, my mom is also friend and I am a very affectionate guy"

Dr. Phil
"Whatever..alright...dream number two. The busted roof. Means because you gave up coffee, your life is falling apart. The roof is You. Its broken and can't be fixed, no matter how many Amish guys you know".

"Wrong again. My life is spectacular. Great wife, kids, friends, work. I admit however that Bob Villa might symbolize my fear of huge power tools."

Dr. Phil.
"Whatever. Dream #3, the long triathlon means you never finish anything. You start projects, like curing cancer, or climbing Everest and you always go halfway. "

Wrong, Quack-doc. I always finish what I start except for my pledge to learn to speak Spanish fluently. Thanks for nothing. "

So, there you have it. Day 4, 3 exhaustive dreams. Did not workout today, still stressed out about my session with Dr. Phil. Was tempted to get coffee. Went past a Caribou and my car actually was shimmying all over the road. I fought it like a cowboy fights a steer. It was like the auto had a G.P.S. Grounds Perking Sensor. Folks, I will survive.

***(Means said counselling session never took place. Was purely fictional.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Consumed by Coffee

Cutting caffeine is killing this man. Fearing for my life and sanity, I vowed to drop the coffee habit... The caffeinated kind, at least, and see if I could survive without the ex-tra- leaded-give you- a-- boost -like- Cape Kennedy coffee I have been drinking in recent years.

The coffee comes from the fine, fine people at that Seattle company that has coffee shops everywhere. I mean everywhere. I saw a store yesterday in a shoe repair shop. They had a deal. Free heel repair with each latte purchased. Sorry..not true..but..hey....well....I think I was hallucinating....but come to think of it, I now feel, about 2 inches taller.

Monday Am I got up early....probably still affected by the 3 cups on Sunday, staying warm at the Browns game. I should also tell you I was in the press box, not on the field, so the keeping warm part was likely a cop-out..but I digress. Monday morning I ran outside...good the cold, the got me there. I am a sicko.
Lasted all day Monday with no crack--err--coffee and except for the blinding headache and the one point where I was speaking in tongues, I was just fine. I was losing all sense of memory. "Hey, who's this big guy wearing #23 for the Cavaliers"? "Hey he's good". So, aside from those issues I thought I had a chance to kick the habit.

But last night was hell. My dream....what can I say???? My wife and I were on a vacation at a remote paradise. We took mules up to our love cottage. Mules led by Juan Valdez. Scary stuff. The lady running the cottage was Mrs. Folger. She was a very stern woman, not like in those old commercials. Even scarier. The bride went into the suite and I walked around for awhile.

But when I entered the suite, I looked at the bed and there was "The Bride" sans clothing, but in a scene like that in "American Beauty" was covered in coffee beans, not Roses. I'm not sure, but I think it was Christmas Blend. Decaf Christmas Blend. She beckoned me.

The Bride
"Come here you big beast"
"Who??? me??"
The Bride
My, your a big strong man..whats your size??"
"Grande with the ability to expand to Venti".

With that exchange I woke up in a cold sweat. I mean, they say "Mountain Grown and they must really mean it.!!!!! " Man, this is gonna kill me.
I worked out this am at the gym and did 40 mins on the bike. I did not slide over to the "crackhouse". I am making progress... I'll keep you posted. Pray for me.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Perky Person's Problem

Fans of TriGuyJt react to shocking news that the blogger-triathlete-sportscaster guy is thinking of curbing his coffee intake.

A little history. Often, I would use a product called "Ripped Force", which I believe had things like massive amounts of caffeine, Ma Huang , ginseng , and God knows, antifreeze, plus small particles of plutonium. The stuff had a kick. I would use half a bottle in the am before I went to the gym, or went on a long run, or bike or swim. To say the stuff helped my workouts is to say that the Grand Canyon is a little ditch. Wow. I recall my bride used, perhaps a 5th of a bottle for her workouts, and she actually had to come off it. One doctor visit she was told she had high blood pressure. That was about 6-7 years ago.

Somehow, I quit using the stuff. Hypnotism might have played a part....but .....I.......just can't recall...... I would drink usual Diet Coke and average run of the mill coffee. Nothing earth-shattering.

But the past couple years or so, I have discovered a strong brand. Its the brand that my tri-buddy-philosopher-folk music star Charlie is not a big fan of. I won't name the brand, but you can guess since the brand is beginning to TAKE OVER THE WORLD. Its got a great kick and I do like the tastes of many of the flavors. But I am not sure the coffee is helping me realize success in training and (This is important), keeping the scale in my bathroom from reading a higher and higher number each time I step on it. Its crazy. Get up. Go to the "crackhouse" as my bride jokingly calls it. Have the stuff...go to gym...have great workout..then go about my business and as the day goes on...EAT EVERYTHING THAT IS NOT NAILED DOWN". Its amazing.

My bride likes to go to the gym early..6:45 or so. I work nights...its not a fun turnaround for me, I would rather, not get up early, but go to get coffee about 8:00, then to the gym. Not cool. I would be missing lifting with my bride. She's a personal trainer. I was missing those workouts with her so I could go and get my FIX. And let me tell you, those workouts were killers!!!!
Great functional stuff ...

So, I am making an effort in getting the workout in, with extensive am nutrition and being more consistent with my habits throughout the day.

I am not a Red Bull guy. Once in a while tea, perhaps. So this plan to drop the dependence on caffeine is ambitious. I know I can order decaf, but I remember one of our reporters at FOX8 did a piece about some places decafs having some caffeine in them. ESPECIALLY where I usually go. That place that will DOMINATE THE PLANET. I recall Jodi wrote a month or so past, that she stopped craving coffee. She got up one day and POOF, it was gone. More power to her. She's a better woman--err.. person than me.
What about Green Tea???

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Thirst for Praise

J.T. and son Patrick--Fathers Day 2007. Maumee Bay, Ohio
Pat's first triathlon....

Getting 2 solid upper body workouts and one leg workout per week. Doing over 4 hours of aerobic base the past two weeks. Biking-Treadmill-or Elliptical. Cool, Cool, Cool. No swimming. Have some shoulder issue but thats getting better. Okay no more on the injury. All in all, things are good.


I admit, I am a "Half Full" guy. In fact, I think most people who compete in triathlon are ""Half Full. Some might say "Half Nuts", but I have always said the training and the pursuit of a goal are what keep me going each day. They keep me from.....drum roll..eerie music up and full...THE DARK SIDE.

So, ever since I can remember, I have read inspiration books. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale.."The Power of Positive Thinking" and so forth. I search for quotes that help build me up. I figure, if I can present a positive image to the world, maybe I can impact others. I ran across this quote from Dale Carnegie.

“You have it easily in your power to increase the sum total of this world's happiness now. How? By giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.”

Mother Teresa said..

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

There are tons of quotes from famous people in books that could stack up to the heavens. Go on line and you'll see quotes from Einstein to Yogi Berra. From Mark Twain to JFK.

But sometimes its the ones spoken by the unknown that really hit home.

“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.”—Anonymous

Jerry Vainer might have thought of himself a failure when he got devastating news about 25 years back. He had cancer. Multiple Myeloma. Talk about a wake up call. The cool thing is Jerry plunged ahead and turned a tough thing into a big benefit for others. He is one of those involved in "Team in Training" and what he is doing for others is remarkable. He will run the Music City Marathon next spring in Nashville.

I am sure he had words of encouragement spoken to him when he was at his darkest moment. Now he is turning the darkness to light.

If you get a chance, drop by his donation page, I am sure he would appreciate it very much.

Thanks alot. All the best.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

See Bill Bike!!

Did you know this man has done a triathlon??

Bill Belichick, the Patriots coach, described by experts as a coaching genius, has spent at least one day,perhaps more..swimming,biking, and running.

A little history. Bill became the Cleveland Browns coach in 1991. Before he came to town, I did a litttle research and found out he had competed in a triathlon on Cape Cod. I figured that bit of history on the new coach would be a common subject for us to launch our "media guy visa Football Coach" relationship.

You never want to get too chummy with the people you cover, but it was something the two of us took a liking to, I guess.

I invited Bill to compete in a race in the Cleveland area. He appreciated the invite and said he might be able to squeeze one into his schedule. That never happened as he threw himself into the job of coaching the Browns. Each year become more intense, more pressurized than the previous one. Next thing you know, Art Modell moves the Browns, and Belichick was gone from Cleveland.

Not that he did not appreciate the aerobic workout. Cripes. He would hop on an elliptical..or a stairmaster or a bike or a treadmill and would spend hours watching tapes.. He was consumed by the job. He often rode his bike from his Brecksville home to the Browns facility in Berea.That unfashionable baggy top we have seen him coach games in is what he wore much of the time as he worked out...studied film, barked at his players in meetings and drilled them on the field.

I like to say he was a closet triathlete and he still kids me about my trying to get him into the sport. You might recall he has flourished in New England. They have a few Lombardi trophies, don't they??

Had he thrown himself into triathlons the way he throws himself into coaching..I'd like to think he would least be a pretty good age grouper. He would, likely conduct scientific studies on ways to shave milliseconds off transistion times and I am sure he would drive his triathlon coach up the wall with his drive and determination.

By they way, Coach Bill would be in the same age group as yours truly. Don't even think about it Bill, you'd be in my dust.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Ageless Wonder

Holy AARP Batman!!!!!

It just hit me. Next year, I will be racing in the 55-59 age group. Should I choose to focus on the fact that I'll be a young kid in that group, or should I focus on the fact that I'll be in my mid 50's racing some folks who were in diapers when I began racing in 85'.

Yikes!!! Am I on the slippery slope toward oblivion?? Or at least to Parma?? (local reference only, not intended to slam the fine citizens of this Cleveland suburb.)

I can remember when I started in the sport. There were, maybe 2 races in Northeast Ohio to choose from back in 1985. The Perry outdoor Triathlon was where I lost my triathlon virginity. The swim was in a pool. 400 yards. 12 Mile bike and 3 mile run.

Then, Cleveland had the Emerald Necklace Triathlon, which was the grandaddy to the Cleveland Triathlon. Older racers may remember National City sponoring races downtown as well. I even remember when a certain cocky Texas kid came to Cleveland as a pro and performed well. Wonder what ever happened to that Lance kid??? Heard he got into bike racing!!!

Nowadays, there are several strong organizations that put on races in Ohio and neighboring states. Its really great to see how the sport has "Blown up".

Call this a late Thanksgiving tome. Thanks to all the race directors over the years. Thanks to the strong competitors and most of all, thanks to the spirit of everyone who races.

So....why are You in the sport??? Whats Your story???

I'm all ears.