Hy-Vee Triathlon: 77 Days And Counting…

April 5th, 2008

resizedIt was just a week ago this morning that I sent off my application to be a selected to be a member of The Des Moines
Register's Triathlon Team.

A week later, the word is in, and the word is good.

Congratulations! You have been selected to be a member of The Des Moines Register's Triathlon Team. We appreciate your willingness to share your training and race experiences with our readers.

As a Des Moines Register Team member, you will be asked to blog each Friday leading up to the triathlon (tell us what you're doing to train, how ...

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Will Commute For Food Fun

March 29th, 2008

resizedMy friend, Tricia Martin, sent an email on Friday with this blurb from The Des Moines Register:

"Are you planning to compete in the June 22 Hy-Vee Triathlon in Des Moines? Are you willing to blog about your training experiences?"

"The Register has 10 entries to give away, and we are looking for a cross-section of Iowans to share their experiences with our readers."

I just hit send on the following.

Dear My Des Moines Register Friends:

I'd LOVE to come home to Iowa to compete, and blog all about it! Here are my ...

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July 24th, 2007

There's a smile on my face in almost every photo of me competing in Sunday's New York City Triathlon. Which is kind of miraculous, as the race was neither painless, nor easy.

In the moments just after my finish, there beneath a canopy of leaves just above Central Park's Sheep's Meadow, I said to Chris, "Man, imagine what we could do if we trained!"

Years ago, the founder of the uber-grass roots Stone Harbor Triathlon casually and innocently characterized me as "a weekend warrior." He meant no harm, but the phrase kinda' hurt. Upon ...

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Do, Or Do Not

July 22nd, 2007

"Hello this is an automated message from the Accenture Triathlon Alerting System. Your athlete Benjamin Wagner has finished the race at 2 hours 43 minutes 27 seconds."

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July 20th, 2007

In exactly forty-eight hours, I'm diving into the Hudson River, and paddling like hell.

Sunday morning is my sixth Nautica New York City Triathlon. My wave -- the most sizeable demographic, 35-40 males, and hence the last -- begins the 1500 meter (about one mile) swim at 98th Street at 8:15.

From the transition on 79th, we ride a 40k (twentyfour mile) out-and-back bike course along the (very hilly) Henry Hudson Parkway.

The 10k (six mile) run takes us from transition at 79th, across 72d Street (my favorite part because it's closed


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The Ol’ Philly Tri

July 31st, 2006

"If you think you're in the top ten percent of swimmers," the race director said, "Start in the first wave." I didn't. But I did.

The swim start was brutal: bodies on bodies, limbs flyin', knees to the back of the head. The pack thinned slowly, as the fluorescent buoys inched closer, leaving me in the bottom ten percent of the top ten percent. I struggled to find my pace, and my breath. I struggled to calm myself, to stem the flow of precious adrenaline. A few yards from the first buoy (the swim was a triangular-shaped half-mile ...

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Concrete Sky

July 24th, 2006

Halfway through swim portion of the New York Island Foundation's Freedom Tower Aquathon, I thought to myself, 'I could win this thing!'

I did my first triathlon in Philadelphia in 1996. I've done roughly twenty since then, including New York City, Montauk, Stone Harbor, Malibu, and Nantucket. I'm into sprint (400m/20k/5k) and olympic distances (1.5k/30k/10k). Don't even try and talk me into an Iron Man. I'm into suffering and all, but not for an entire day (and then some).

I'm really not much of a triathlete, I'm just a runner who


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This Is Your Life

October 20th, 2005

I did an interview yesterday afternoon with a woman writing a book called "Extreme Sports / Extreme Jobs."

As I told her, I don't consider myself extreme. Occasionally stupid and sometimes stubborn, maybe. But extreme? No. Still, I'm happy to talk about myself. So I did. For forty-five minutes.

The tricky thing about trying to draw parallels between running marathons and triathlons and my career is that it's tough to separate out the lessons and values each provides. Growth and development is like spaghetti. My interior life, my ...

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Bittersweet Symphony

July 10th, 2005

I am strong enough, but I am not strong.

I've long advocated that mental fortitude can carry one any distance: a marathon, triathlon, whatever. And for the last six or seven years, that's proven true. Yes, I run and ride perodically, every few days even. But do I train? Not a ton. Not really.

I do these races -- the New York City Marathon, the Bellaplain Duathlon, the Montauk Trathlon, the New York City Triathlon -- for a number of reasons. Sure, I like the bragging rights. Between rock shows and races, I have some pretty good


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The Memory Of Running, Part II

March 13th, 2005

I'm back from my first half-marathon of the season. I finished well, and am happy to report that I'm still walking.

I'm not a pro, or even much of a weekend warrior. But I've been running road races, half-marathons, marathons and triathlons for about eight years. I've learned a thing or two. So here are some hard-earned insights on long-distance competition:

Lubrication. Chaffing is a major risk for any distance over six miles or so. Especially in the winter. So we lube up. I use Vaseline, and smear it just about everywhere that


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