September 30, 2011

Rochester Ironman Hawaii veterans

Several years ago when I first entered the world of multisport, I had this wild idea that I wanted to collect each name of anyone that has ever been to the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.  I thought to myself that this would be quite the project and with a little help from a few friends over at the RATS website here in Rochester and a few other veterans (thanks Rauni!) I've come up with this "comprehensive" list.  (Editors note: If I forgot anyone or missed times/years/etc.  PLEASE email me as I would like to keep this as an all inclusive and on-going list)

I feel honored to be joining this incredibly elite crew from Rochester, NY and I'm so thankful for everyone who has helped me be a part of this.  I still don't think I should be included in the same sentence as some of these folks, but I'll hopefully be able to add my name to the mix in a little over a week.  If you look at some of the names, it's crazy that it's a variable "who's who" of triathletes in the Upstate NY area.  Some have moved away (K. Bergkessel - also the youngest female to go) some have gone multiple times to compete (check out Heidi Grimm, Buzz Schild - local legend, and Denise Everett-lottery and qualifier several times over) and it's cool to see the history. 

There have been only 2 folks that have ever podiumed at the Big Dance and they have received those covetted wooden bowls.  (I KNOW I will not be anywhere near that, so don't get any ideas) But some other folks in my AG are shooting for that I'm sure. 

I've included some out of town friends that have headed there in the past and a few are from Buffalo and all over.  There are only 4 of us that are heading there this year (some are already there!) and my list of people I know who are competing is VERY small.  The list is myself, Pat Wheeler, Chad Holderbaum and Ryan Barnett.  I hope to see them all out there on the Queen K and around town before and maybe after the race, but it will be nice to see some familiar faces in the lava fields.  They have been an excellent resource for me as I feel as if I'm a small fish heading into the freaking ocean (pun intended!)

The arrival at the island is on Wednesday of next week and the race is in a week and a day.  I have a deep tissue massage treatment today with Bruce Merla for my calves, glutes and quads and I'm hoping that gets some pop back into my legs.  I'm not feeling spunky yet, but I just know I have to trust in my taper and rest and by the time I get to the island, I know I'll be starting to feel good.  The beer intake has been halted and I've told myself the next brew I have will taste amazing because it will be DIRECTLY from the Kona Brewing Company on Ali'i Drive.  I have a lot to pack and take care of and 2.5 more days of work to get thru before I leave, so until then friends, rest well.  See you on the lava fields! Cheers.

September 23, 2011

The extra 1%....

A lot of folks talk about the extra 1% that separates the good athletes from the really good athletes.  I consider myself a good athlete, not a great one.  I've always told folks that I liked triathlon because you could be mediocre in all three disciplines and still be a really good overall triathlete.  I'm not a standout runner or swimmer (but I can hold my own...) and I'm CERTAINLY not a standout cyclist, but I really don't have a weak leg when it comes to tri's and I feel like that's a benefit.

So we all generally try to follow the same type of outline/plan and (shocker) since there is no secret workout that will ultimately make you faster, we're all doing the same thing.  We're slowly building hours up and making our bodies more durable to the training and acclimating them to be able to handle the crazy workload that we put them thru.  After 7 years of long course racing (first season for me was 2005) I've had the consistency piece down, but wanted every single legal advantage that I could over my friends and competition. 

Just like life choices, it's not the macro level stuff (that stuff obviously matters) but I'd like to focus on the micro level choices that add up and give you an advantage in the long run.  Maybe it's all psychological, but if it helps you when times get rough, then it's A-okay in my books.  These are some of the things I've done in the past few years that I'd like to share:

1.  I take the stairs every day at work. I work on the third floor of an office in Downtown Rochester and there are some days when I wish I worked on the ground floor.  But I made a new years resolution to take the stairs every day at work of 2011 and I'm still going strong.  Whether it's to get a soda from the vending machines in the basement at 3pm, whether I have to go out for lunch, do a run, head to a meeting, whatever...I take the stairs.

2.  I watch my diet.  I'm not a food nazi and I don't count calories (I've been known to house an entire pizza by myself), but if it's a choice between white rice and brown rice, I'm going with brown.  I love cookies too and sweets, but I try to keep things in moderation.  Those who know me know that coffee and Mountain Dew are staples in my diet, but come race time, I just try to limit my intake of those two vices in an effort to clean up my food intake.  Remember garbage in = garbage out.  Same thing goes for beer, I'm limiting my intake on that right now and I actually can't remember the last time I had one...which makes me sad, but I know the next one I have will taste sweet as it will likely be directly at the Kona Brew Pub! :o)

3.  Core exercises - I try to do about 3 sessions of 10 minutes each per week. It's nothing special, just a bunch of situps, pushups, back extensions, leg raises and planks.  I've done this since my high school cross country days and I feel its benefitted me greatly.

4.  Sports massage - never done this until recently, can say that I was expecting a LOT more, but nothing comes and can undo a decade worth of damage from not stretching.  I went to a guy by the name of Bruce Merla who owns Merla Massage and he's a great guys with a WEALTH of knowledge.  It's definitely super pricey to do this and I can see why pro-athletes get this done regularly, but I wouldn't be able to afford food on the table if I went as much as I needed to.  It's a trigger point massage and is very deep tissue (which hurts like hell) But I have insanely tight calf muscles and it's recently been causing some plantar fascitis issues in my feet and after going to him one session about a week or two pre IMLP this year, it loosened everything up.  I'm trying to get into him again by next Friday and hopefully he can squeeze me in again.

5.  Foam rolling/ice/stretching/advil - This was something that I have a really hard time with, but when your partner in crime is injured as well, it helps! :o) We started this routine religiously a month out from IMLP and boy did it keep me loose and I thought it helped a ton.  You often forget the benefits of this and I'm the first person to neglect a stretching routine, but MAN can it help you out.  Keep at it.

6. Train on the course you are trying to tackle - It might not be feasable for every big race you do, but it helps drastically to know thy course.  I can't count how many times I have ridden the bike course for IMLP, or how many miles I've done on the out and back section of River Road for the run course up there.  When it came to race day, I knew that course like the back of my hand and I feel like that gave me a little bit of an edge over everyone else.  It's my "home course" Ironman and I've been up there pretty much every year since 2005 for numerous training weekends and reconnisance missions.  I also have a route that's a 56 miler around Canandaigua Lake that mimicks the elevation of the hills in LP as well that I did all my long rides on prior to race day.  It sucks, but it got me where I wanted to go...

Overall it's the culmination of the little things and adapting them to fit your lifestyle.  I know that I will never make this crazy triathlon business a career, but I wanted to see how far I could go in this chapter of life and every little advantage helps as everyone is super competitive.   That and coming back from a crazy accident with something to prove every time I toed the line was a big help too!

So the point of this is; there are no magic workouts, we're all doing crazy hours, big intervals and training our hardest every single time we get out there.  Every little edge can help in such a long day, so look at where you can tweak your life and make those small changes.  I guarantee it will help in the long run.  Take care friends. Train hard and don't forget to relax too, cheers.

September 21, 2011

2 weeks until lift off....

This will be my view 2 weeks from today after 12 long hours of travelling......and it will be TOTALLY worth it.  Cheers.

September 20, 2011

Suburban News article

So my parents decided it would be a good idea to write up an article for a local newspaper in my hometown (the Suburban News) about my ironman experiences (apparently it was a slow news day!) Here is the article written by my mom, Judy Earley:

"Our son, Travis, is an athlete. At Churchville-Chili High School, he participated in three sports for all four years, earning 12 varsity letters. At Geneseo College, he continued by being on the cross-country team. While watching Lance Armstrong compete in the Tour de France, an interest in bicycle racing was born. He also began swimming again, and found out that he could combine all three sports, swimming, biking and running, by training for triathlons.

Thus began a six-year self-imposed program to gain strength and speed. While working a full time job, he continued a routine of biking, running and swimming approximately 25 hours a week. He read everything he could get his hands on for how to train and what to do.

Three times a week, Travis swam at 5 a.m. before working an eight-hour day. He participated in every race, 5 and 10 Ks, musselman competitions and half-marathons he could. In a few years, he felt ready to enter an Ironman triathlon.

He finished three ironmans; Florida, Lake Placid and Wisconsin with above average times. His dream, he informed us, was to compete in Kona, Hawaii someday. In 2009, he again competed at Lake Placid. This time, the scoreboard read, “dnf” – did not finish. While descending a hill at 55 miles per hour, he caught a crosswind, and was unable to control the shaking of the bike. Before he knew it, he had been thrown over the handlebars and went tumbling down the embankment.

The accident was severe. His collarbone was badly broken, and he sustained road rash over 60 per cent of his body. The jersey, like his skin, was in shreds from scraping the pavement. His bicycle was broken. The sunglasses he was wearing cut into his face right above the eye requiring several stitches. He even popped a contact lens. But thank God for helmets – his saved his life. Despite being broken into three pieces, that helmet performed at it should.

It took surgery and several months before he could return to work and his training. He started slowly to regain his strength and speed, and spent a year working up to his previous athletic condition.

In July of this year, he again entered the Ironman held in Lake Placid. When I asked him if he thought he was ready, he informed me that he had some “unfinished business with a hill”.

This time, the results were much different. His training, determination, and strong will paid off. Not only did he finish the race, he also placed 4th in his age group, qualifying for the World Champion Ironman Competition this October in Kona, Hawaii.

I don’t know if he realizes how extraordinary he is. To come back from an injury, face and conquer his fear, and do it all by himself – no personal trainer, or professional help in any way – is an incredible accomplishment. It is with great pride and love that we watch our son fulfill a dream. Our hearts will be with you every step of the way. You are the definition of the word athlete – “one trained to great physical skill and strength”. 

Travis, you are truly an “Ironman!”

They are making the trip to Hawaii with me and I can't wait to celebrate on the Big Island with them, their support means much more than they know.  Cheers.

September 9, 2011

Swimsuit contest time!

So with the crazy training that I've been putting in lately, I can barely know my own name, let alone come up with some funny and great ideas.  But a gem popped into my head the other day and it kind of killed two birds with one stone...

I want to get a new fancy speedo for looking good on Dig Me Beach in Hawaii and I got the great idea to come up with a contest to see who could come up with the best design!  If you check out: or just use this LINK it will take you to their design page to help design me a new suit.  Probably a choice between the "mens briefs" or "mens drag suit" (not a big fan of the jammers)

I'm thinking that the funniest slogan or theme will win and friends of mine always thought it would be funny to design a Summers Eve douche or Tampax suit for me in bright pink.  Now is your chance (I'm looking at you Tim for something hysterical) There's a spot where you can upload your design and email the link to me - travisjearley at yahoo dot com or just leave the link in the comments section so everyone can enjoy!

Get those creative juices flowing and let's see some good designs!! I'll make a decision by Friday of next week! :o) Cheers.

September 2, 2011

It's official....

Welp, it's on the website so it must be official :o) Wahoo!!!

This is absolutely insane, I can't believe MY name is on this list.  Tomorrow is 5 weeks until the Big Dance.  Gotta get those last little bits of training in.  Cheers friends!