Friday, August 22, 2008

Tour d'Organics (97+ miles)

This past weekend Janet and I went to Sebastopol, to do the Tour d’Organics. This is a really great bike ride organized by the Organic athlete chapter of Sebastopol. What a great concept… Each rest stop was well stocked with organic, whole foods, including a substantial lunch. After the ride, there was a vegan meal made from locally grown produce for all the riders.

The course: We did this very same ride last year and I found it very challenging. With 7500 of elevation gain, I was totally unprepared for this ride. However this time, both of us, were in much better “biking” shape.

Check out the profile of the course... the beginning was brutal, but then it got easier...

The beginning of the ride was tougher than last year, but for the most part we climbed the hills without much problem at all. Slow at times, but there was not a single hill that I thought I was not going to conquer. The course took us all over the wine country..

Overall, it was a great ride… It wasn’t my day though… I hit the ground twice in the most hilarious kind of way. Both times I was going like zero miles per hour, that means I was pretty much standing when I lost control of the bike and went down. A little pain on my hip, but considering how fast I was going it was really not that bad.. J

Janet is such a badass, she is an amazing friend, but also an amazing athlete. J

This is one of the most amazing rides I have done so far… specially riding through wine country. Wow, it was beautiful. The beginning of the ride had lots of cows and I kept yelling at them Hey Cow, hoping to get their attention… unsuccessfully of course. It sure smelled like cows, but then the cow farms turn into wine country and it was gorgeous.

The food: Yummy!! I got to say, the lunch was not that great, but the organic fruit was incredible. I feel like I never stop eating. Yummy!! Great food, great company, great ride.

The post-party. After the ride, we had a vegan meal at the Sebastopol community center. They had a vegan meal and some music. Of course this particular ride was about organic farming and conserving the environment, so everything was organic and the ride was supposed to be “green”.

We ate, saw the musical acts and then drove home… I was falling asleep at the wheel, so I asked Janet to drive.

Next year I want to do it again… wohooo!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Ironman Experience

This is a little article that was published in my company's newsletter.. HR wanted me to write with some sort of business orientation, specifically about setting and attaining goals.... enjoy!!


My Ironman Experience
By Luis Velasquez, Ph.D.

Well I did it! A year ago I promised myself I would do another Ironman Triathlon, and this past June I did it. What is an Ironman triathlon? It is one of the toughest sporting competitions in the world. It involves 3.8 Kms (2.4 Miles) of swimming, 180 Kms (112 miles) of biking and a grueling 42.15 Km (26.2 miles) of running. All this in one day! It only took me 12:57:01 to finish. This was my second Ironman event, and from the first experience I learned a lot. This time however, even before I started to train for it, I developed a training plan, I read books on hydration and fuel replacement, I listened to hours of advice from elite and pro- triathletes. I had a mental picture of what I wanted to accomplish. And then I trained hard, really hard. During my training I biked approximately 3200 kms (2,000 Miles), ran almost 2250 km (1,400 miles), and swam approximately 370 km (230 miles). Some would argue this is borderline psychotic, some have asked me why in heaven I would do something like this. If you are like me, you probably have a long list of things you’d like to accomplish, both for your business and life… what is stopping us?

With the right mindset and dedication, it IS in fact possible to squeeze your training, your work, your social life, your laundry etc. – but it all boils down to how badly you want it. It might be scary, and fear often stops us from pursuing a goal: fear of failure; fear of embarrassment; fear of change. Breaking through that fear is important. Additionally, many times, our overall goals -- or highly desired but not pressing desires (like an Ironman, or that promotion, or the book you wanted to write) -- get pushed aside for the necessary, deadline-oriented tasks. As a result, we often feel unsatisfied even if we’ve managed to check off everything from our daily “to do” list.

How did I become an Inronman? Becoming an Ironman was a goal of mine, thus setting that goal was the first step to do it. You cannot reach a goal that you have not set. Being specific about my goal was important, I knew that I needed to be able to swim, run and bike the distances and those numbers made it more real. As I started my training and kept a log of the miles I trained, I could actually see how I was improving and most importantly I saw that I could measure my progress. Doing this helped me know if I was on track. Looking at my progress and reaching my training mini goals kept me motivated. I knew from the beginning that this was an attainable goal. Even though I would have loved to win the race, I had to be realistic about what I could accomplish. Finally, signing up for that race a year in advance gave me a time frame of when I was going to reach that goal, with a palpable deadline. And when I crossed the finish line… wow… what a feeling!

Sometimes I impress myself, I walk on legs that can do an Ironman or run 50 miles non stop. The funny thing is, when we start to walk as small children, every step is applauded. This constant positive reinforcement is used to encourage our desire and persistence to walk. Thus like learning to walk, the more goals you achieve, the more goals you want to achieve… What is next for me? You’ll have to wait for the next newsletter....