Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chelsea, MI... I am thankful for you! LOL

I am writing this from a flight back from Michigan. I am on a spirit air flight that feels more like a stuffy cattle car. I am, once again, crossing my long legs to give my lengthy femurs space in the hell-pod they call a seat. It is thoroughly rotten but only you know my plight, bloggers. I suffer in silence…but not electronically. To you, I wail like a banshee. The good news is my flight is like the exact opposite of how the previous several days went.

Spending thanksgiving at home was exceptional. I got home on Tuesday and hung around with my parents, sister, and a ton of good friends. The one bad decision was more or less mainlining gravy and beer for several days. I have never been a huge gravy person, but things change…people change. Profound, I know.

Highlights of the thanksgiving break include but are not limited to seeing Cullen (roommate from MSU and all around sarcastic, hilarious, hobbit lookalike), Travis and Alex (friends from Chelsea who are affectionately known as trailmix due to their recent engagement), Rory and Aaron (cute, music-loving lifemates and friends from Chelsea), Leroy (roommate and ballerina teacher from MSU, in addition good buddy), Inch (MSU tri buddy going to Kona with me) and Monica (ring maker and certainly in the top ten of most likable people in the world). Lauren, Kelly, Adam, Kathleen, and I am sure I am forgetting others, made lamentably small but enjoyable appearances.

The best was seeing my mom, dad, and sister. As far as families go, they are absolute legends and hanging out was about the most excellent thing I could have imagined.

My mom is the most loving, fun woman bar none. She is also a ridiculously good cook. She is better than you mother. Flat out. I am not biased. Come see. My dad is probably the most hilarious person on the planet. He is also incredibly competent and a man of serious integrity. My sister is my best friend. She is the greatest and our connection runs stupidly deep. She and I see eye to eye on nearly everything and are more or less clones. She is the greatest. I love them more than I can possibly communicate on a dumb @$$ blog.

I am thankful for everyone in my life. I am more blessed than I could have ever dreamed. My life may have a confusing script and the lead role may be played by a mildly irritating bumbler, but I have a phenomenal supporting cast. I love you all and thanks for making the week great.

Here are some photos so you can see the people who I constantly yammer about...

Me and Leroy enjoying a moment together
Rory and I baywatchin' it up

Cullen and I molesting the Green Lantern at six flags... during this picture taking session he yelled, in a raspy voice, "why are they doing this?" hahaha. No good answer for that.
Alex me and Travy! FUNNNNNNNN!
Family of legends!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Attention Deficit

Look-bloggers. You are going to have to forgive my antsy/hostile/over-enthusiastic/spastic/ bipolar behavior/writing. Apparently, I come bleeping unglued when I don't exercise. It's not that I am physically twitchy or anything... well actually I do have epilepsy (true) but that's beside the point. It is just that my moods are like stuck in overdrive. I am like a roller coaster. I am just as likely to kick a kitten off an overpass in a blind fury as I am to get teary-eyed over an episode of glee.

Shit man. I need to get untired soon so I can go nuts with exercise again. Time is wasting and Lance Armstrong is getting fitter as we speak.

Adios for now... I'll leave you with an awesome quotes

"OMG! LOL! I am going to tweet about your ignorance!"- My Sister, Rachel (talking shit about Monks' lack of touch with technology)

"All this fuss over a pork sandwich?"- Caitlin Dark (after listening to me and my roommate rave for fifteen minutes about pulled pork)

"You are delightful...but certainly not now"- Caitlin Dark (after hearing me declare how delightful I thought I was being)

"You're not having one of your private dance parties again, are you?"- Caitlin in reference to my epilepsy... she thinks it is funny to poke fun at my illness... sick.

One of those is fake... can you guess which one?

Here are a few more pics of IM... This post is all over the place

Did you get motion sick from reading this yet? Whatever, I'm going to watch legally blonde!!!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ironman Epilogue

What have I been up to post-Ironman?

Well, it all starts with absolute gluttony. Here are some highlights... race night was capped off by a saline IV to keep me from passing out, followed closely by 3 slices of pizza, 2 greasy pretzels, 1/2 box of hot tamales, and 1/2 bag of sour patch kids. The IV was critical in allowing me to be conscious while ingesting the rest of the stuff.
Following my return to California, I reintroduced myself to cereal... with style. 2 boxes of eggo cereal, 1 box of pb crunch and now I am starting on cinnabon cereal. The major highlight was eating 5 frozen snickers bars in 4 hours. I have put on my allotted amount of belly fat for the off a week! I look like a marshmallow puff. Excellent.

I have done no exercise except thursday when I went out on a bike ride. My legs feel sweet. I have amazing range of motion but my lungs and heart are so deeply fatigued it is insane.

Yesterday Cait and I went to Solvang (a fake danish town) and poked around.

We went to an apple orchard where we launched apples at each other like guerillas, dodging in and out of trees, and took senior pictures by an obscenely large pumpkin.
Yes I wear sweat pants in public, does it look like I care?! WHAT!? THUG LIFE
First two shots captured me in my element.
Then things got serious....
HAHAHAHA! This was just her natural pose when I said, "ok now you take a picture with that pumpkin"... I burst out laughing and told her it wasn't a senior picture. But actually I guess it was... Not sure what goes on in that pretty little head sometimes.
After seeing her elegance with the pumpkin, I had to try....

These pictures are actually better than my real senior pictures. I won't show those because I think it will bring back annoying memories for my mom. She is a very patient woman and already had to live through my high school years once.

I did a 10k today and wow... what a mistake that was. I did it because Nokia comped my entry so I figured eh why not... Why not? Because you are 1 week removed from an Ironman. But it's free! Not running would be like looking a gift horse in the mouth and then shooting it in the face. No sir. Not me. I may be a lot of things, but stupid is not one of them.
Look at that stupid idiot who thinks this 10k is going to be anything other than slow, humbling, and uncomfortable

Anyway the race went absolutely horribly after mile 2. My legs are shockingly pretty smoked (albeit less so than I thought) and my heart and lungs are being obstinate little bastards right now. I did manage to hold off the 3rd place woman to take 20th overall in a legendary time of 41 minutes and change. That was certainly the hardest 41 minute 10k I have ever done. As I type this, I have sort of an achy feverish feeling and am inexplicably cold. That is from dipping into a well that has already run dry. Lesson learned.
That is the face of a piss poor time, uncomfortable effort, and nearly getting chicked at the finish! Racing is great though. Free racing is the best. Fully catered run.

Macca and Terenzo Bozzone were there too, which was awesome. I had interviewed Macca with Simply Stu earlier in the week but At&T failed me again and I was spat off the call mid way through... I apologized for the snafu. He was incredibly mad and spat in my face. He then turned over the table he was sitting at and stormed off, screeching curses like an irritated howler monkey..... Weird I know.

Actually, he was very good natured and told me about his blistering 23 minute 5k. He and Terenzo set the world on fire in the 5k fun run, finishing mid pack... guess that shows you the level of talent at the Calabasas Classic. Even the people with baby strollers can outpace a couple of world champs.

Adios for now...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Michigan State Abuses Ironman Florida

Other highlights from the MSU team-

Matt Inch finished in 9:28 and snagged the 18-24 slot so we are going to the big island together! We had talked about it all year as sort of a “wouldn’t it be ridiculous if” situation and it actually happened. Unreal. But let the record show that I have my shirt back...

Inch- You really thought you'd never lose to me again?

Anthony Klingler finished in 9:46. He committed to the race and went out hard. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take and he took his shot. He showed major courage out there. Not many people get after it in Ironman and if you do, sometimes it doesn’t work out. He finished in a stellar time and has major upside for his next race. He is now going after Ironman Louisville to get in for Kona 2011. He should get in with a well executed race.

Despite how stupid Kling looks, he is actually in Vet school and doing quite well... I still can't really believe it.

Greg Boyd finished in a brilliant 10:20. He executed his race to a T and got the marathon he didn’t think was possible. He was shooting for 4:30. I told him 4 easy... he hit 3:56...Absolutely spot on. He has had some frustrating Ironman runs and finally drilled it. Love your work, Greggles.

Greg doing things to himself that should be done behind closed doors...kidding... he is putting on his shirt

Eric Tingwall had a huge issue on his bike when he snapped a spoke and his wheel was thrashing his frame. The extent of the damage would have ended 99% of the participants’ days, but Tingwall is a legend. He thought about waiting for wheel support then decided he would just fix it. He trued his wheel on the side of the road, wrapped his spoke around another spoke like a zip tie and finished up. Tingwall also fixed a garbage disposal before the race. He is the epitome of what it means to be a MAN. He is my inspiration.

Tingwall- after showing the disposal what was up.

Mike, Cindy, and Chris Matulis all represented the Matuli well. Kate Salvadore and Josh McCallum also had strong races. Josh's dad also did his first IM! I didn’t get to talk to these guys as much about their races as we all kinda bolted the day after but the Spartan presence was insane.

Cindy had the same smile at mile 16 of the run

We had huge fan support from Michelle Dawes, Iris Lessard, Nancy Boyd, Joe Matulis, the Inch clan, the Klingler clan, Caitlin, Rachel, my dad, and my Aunt, Uncle, and cousin. Sean and Sarah, our friends from the Dominican, came out with their new baby, Sullly. It was incredible to see them.

Sean and Sarah. Sully too! That baby is a legend. He'll probably hate Hemingway to spite Big Daddy

I was feeling the support from people watching from home too and it was awesome to have so much positivity sent my way after the race. My sister and Caitlin really helped me drill it for the last 10k. My sister especially knows how to push the right buttons and I always race better when she is cracking the whip.

Doesn't she look like a master motivator?

My dad also gets major props for bringing an IV and forcing it on me after the race. I recovered and didn't go into the Ironman Wisconsin coma that I was headed for...

MSU KILLED IT. Greg summed it up best when he said something to the extent of, “Well a 10:20 really sounds good but it only was good for 4th in our condo of 5 racers.” We went stupid fast. 2 Kona spots and a ton of epic racing. Overall it was better than I could have hoped.

Dream Team/ Team SeverInch (obviously me and inch) vs. Cream Team (rachel and boyd) playing euchre... Dream team is going to Kona!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ironman Part III

Part 3

I went through the 1st 6 miles moving pretty well, but to my annoyance Klingler caught me at mile 6…. He went out in 6:44’s! I was impressed and tried to go with him. We ran together for a mile when a guy in his age group passed. I said, “There goes your kona slot, you need to go.” Secretly I was thinking, “this move needs to be made but it may over extend him and then I can pull him back once he blows.” Evil… I know. But I don’t like losing, even to my friends and teammates. Well… especially to them. We talk a lot about beating each other and losses are not forgotten quickly.

I watched as he went up the road. It looked like it was just Klingler’s day. Ugh. My body was starting to not cooperate. Just as I entered a dark spot, it got worse as I got news that Inch was 30 seconds back. Son of a ^%#$... I mean… bunions that itch. He picked me up and touched my butt cheek soothingly as he went by… dammit. My race was unraveling. I was thinking that it was going to be my first walk fest disaster in a race. Mile 11 came and I hit rock bottom. I was thinking aid station to aid station. I stopped. I looted that aid station like I was packing for a week-long trip in the back country and set off again. The next three miles were rough and I watched, after a turn around, as Inch and Klingler battled about 3 minute up the road. I was out of it. I stumbled through just trying to put one foot in front of the other.

Picture doesn't do it justice but I am dead on my feet at Mile 12

It was the weirdest thing though...Mile 14 came and suddenly, I came good! I kept thinking, "if you feel good, go with it and hit the gas". I pushed the pace and shockingly, 7:20 pace was doable again. I blasted and suddenly I was was reeling in Klingler. He was paying for his ridiculous 1st 10k and I moved passed easily. I was pulling people back all over the place and soon I could see Inch on the horizon. He was 1 minute up. 1 mile later, he was 20 seconds up. I started getting goosebumps as I hunted. Mile 19 came and I was 5 seconds back thinking how stupid this comeback was. I got on his shoulder and said, "Hey buddy, I'm back from the dead." I was ready for a rest. I could tell he wasn't expecting me as we talked a bit. We ran the next half mile together in silence. We had dialed the pace up to a point that was pretty uncomfortable so late in the race. We went from 7:30's down to 7:17's. Not pleasant. I needed to get away. NOW.

I can't believe someone got this photo (props to Joe Matulis)... Mile 19.5 running shoulder to shoulder with Inch. MSU Ironwar.

I needed to get some breathing room and settle back to an easier pace after breaking the rubber band. Literally it was the exact same scenario as the ironwar this year at Kona. Macca pounced when Raleart went for coke at an aid station. Our MSU ironwar went down the same way. We went through the aid station at mile 21 and I dropped back to grab some water and to watch how he was feeling. He went up and grabbed some coke. To my surprise, he slowed to walk for about 5 steps to get it down. As soon as I saw him walk, I jumped and took off like I stole something. The next mile was 6:50. I didn’t look back. I was running scared. I panicked, thinking that I made the move way too early and didn’t have enough juice to get home. The next mile was 7:10 and I eased up and looked back. He was gone. Still nervous, I settled into 7:40-8:00 pace and ticked a mile off. I saw my sister and told her to go get me a split to inch. She guessed at about 2 minutes. Whoa! It was the most ridiculous comeback I could have imagined. Once you are passed in an Ironman, coming back is pretty much out of the question…. I rode the adrenaline and pulled back probably 10-15 places over the final 10k. I hit mile 24 running 7:30’s and picked up a German guy who was shuffling. I had drilled the bike for about 5 miles coming into town with this guy and he took off on me at mile 2 on the marathon! I went by but he was a mongrel and didn't want to let a place slip away. He stuck on my back as I went by but I was having none of it. I ratcheted the pace up and we were flying at 6:50's. He was right there. I was feeling stupidly good and I turned the screws and closed the final mile in a 6:40 and spat him out the back with 600 to go. With 400 to go I looked at my garmin and saw 6:11 pace.... COME ON! I hit the finish and absolutely lost it. I shot my hands to the sky thanking God. I turned, almost in tears, to see the german come down the finish. I was so impressed with his fight. Not many people are racing at mile 25 in the marathon but he was an animal. He had a massive smile on and we hugged it out, laughing like idiots.

I couldn’t have written it better. It was epic.


Final time was 9:24 and 3rd in the 25-29 age group. It ended up being good enough for a Kona spot! No roll down either. Inch snagged a spot too in the 18-24 division with a 9:28. But the key is that I got my shirt back.

It is a dream. We are headed to the big island for MSU Ironwar round II.


Ironman Part II

Part 2

Coming out of T1, I set out hard and the wind was in my face but the legs were feeling magic. I started moving through the field and pushing a big gear. The last Ironman I did (wisconsin) I slid back through the field on the bike which really pissed me off as I usually am a pretty good biker. I was stoked to be moving up. The order of the jungle had been restored as I had trained myself to ride a proper 112 miles.

MSU tri supporters- Iris, Nancy and Klingler’s family gave me a split that I was three minutes down to Inch at mile 35… I was thinking, “what the hell? No way am I three down.” I shifted down, screamed a curse that I won’t repeat (it sounds like bunions that itch) and set off. They drove away leaving me quite annoyed. The anger was short lived as I saw them a quarter mile later yelling that he was the next biker up the road! Apparently, the 3-minute split was after the swim… Beauty! I caught him and we worked together for 16 miles and peed a ton, which was weird for the aid stations workers as they heard us grunting together trying to get the stream going. This isn’t really a pretty sport.

I felt strong so I pushed to break away after seeing about 3 major groups of drafters on an out and back. Klingler, another MSU racer to whom I despise losing, was in one of the groups. Shit. I needed breathing room but just as I picked up the pace, the constant stream of gu’s I had been shoveling down my gullet started to make me sick… I let up trying to keep from ralphing and a group of four guys picked me up. I was miffed as they were weaker riders but I was content to let them work as I tried to get my stomach to come around. Once it did, I went to the front and blasted off as we turned and got the wind at our back. I rocked home and, on another out and back, saw my two teammates (inch and klingler) in a group of about 20-30. Dammit. I needed time on both of them to be able to relax on the marathon so I doubled the effort despite having to go alone. They were less than 3 minutes back.

NOW: rant time. I did not enjoy the Ironman Florida biking as it really rewards middle of the pack swimmers who come out onto the bike in huge groups. They then shamelessly draft in the STRONG wind on the course. Drafting isn’t an issue when you are up front, but about 5 minutes back it is ridiculous and I felt I was robbed of one of the faster bike splits as weak riders ended up out splitting me because they are sitting in huge packs. Fair enough- it isn't just a bike race but I think I will be doing a more honest Ironman next time.

Either way, I got into transition feeling ok. I knew I had to hustle through to bank some free time on Inch and Kling. They are both capable of running in the 3:15 range and I didn't want to be forced into an unreasonable pace too early. I got out of T2 and heard, "and here comes John Severin... leading his age group!" Excellent start to a marathon.

Split- 4:52 (23 mph average)

Ironman part I

Wow… Ironman Florida actually happened. This weekend was about as meaty as Chef Boyardee ravioli so it is going to take multiple posts to convey how it unfolded… I know you all have short attention spans so it makes sense to cut it up. First up are 6 reasons to continue reading

  1. You like triathlon and are indifferent to the actual specifics so long as it relates to triathlon
  2. You are interested in how a most epic day panned out for yours truly
  3. You gleefully hope something bad happened to me and I blew apart
  4. You are bored at work and have a weird man pony-tail (probably will only make sense to one of you)
  5. You want to hear about an IronWar between three MSU Spartans that was nearly as exciting as watching Macca and Raleart duel at the end of Kona
  6. You are my mom
  7. You are stalking me. You should be ashamed of yourself, pervert. I forgive you though. In this modern age, it is pretty easy to casually stalk someone and if forbes made a list of 500 most stalkable people, I would be probably in the mid 200's.

I digress.

Here is part 1

Race week started out by getting to the apartment where I was rooming with a ton of my good friends from MSU. Matt, Greg, Eric, and Anthony were all racing. It was a reunion of Ironman Wisconsin. Also, it was basically a foul-mouthed, euchre and South Park fest with very little thought of the race for the first couple days.

The weather was horrible. It was rainy and getting progressively colder but the forecast was good for race day, especially for the exceptionally thick individuals of the MSU tri team. We like the cold mainly because it freezes the other manorexic triathletes.

Race night came and I could barely sleep. There was so much build up that was finally going to be realized. I rarely struggle sleeping but this was one night that beat me up. I woke up at 3:30 thinking it was 4:30… I went back to bed and an hour later rolled out of bed and groggily made coffee and got my crap together. We all headed out and got into transition to set things up. It was in the high 40’s and I have to imagine that was in peoples’ heads. I love the fact that most triathletes are giant head cases… they just over think everything and freak themselves out of races. It’s almost like the only time people want to race is 70 degrees, no wind, and a course with no hills. I used to think like this but finally realized it never happens. Today was pretty windy and cold which is absolutely ideal for me.

I made my way over to the swim start and I was shocked to see my dad! He hadn’t told me he was coming and had jumped a plane 2 days prior. I was blown away and completely stoked. He put me on the phone with my mom and she had a few words for me. It was incredible. I had such awesome support from my sister, Caitlin, the MSU crew and now my dad. They got me through some majorly rough spots and the support on the course was huge.

Anyway, I lined up to the far left to give myself a super clean line and the cannon went off. I blasted the first 500 to get clear water and settled in. The current was strong but I hit the first turn buoy and started riding the waves. I came out of the water on the first loop feeling good. It was a tale of two loops and I struggled to find a rhythm on the second go around. I fought the waves rather than using them and just had a garbage back half of the swim. 1st loop was 26:35

2nd was 30:00. Rough. I was happy to be out of the water and got into T1 with a major purpose of blasting the first hour of the bike to catch my buddy, Matt Inch. He and I go at each other in every race we do together and I wanted to set the tone by catching him early to get in his head. Each race we do together, we have a prize for the winner. It is a half zip MSU tri shirt that we both covet. Whoever wins gets the shirt til the next race. He has had it for a while and I wanted my damn shirt back.

Split- 56:35

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


SICK!!!! at the airport again… I got up super early and bombed to airport only to realize that I had just bombed on an expired license…Apparently airport security doesn’t take too kindly to this. However, I have a fresh cut Mohawk and a gentle lamb’s attitude so they let me through after taking a look at every other thing in my wallet. Health insurance card, library card, and gum wrappers were dumped onto the kiosk and apparently were sufficient. In all this distraction, I wasn’t charged the 175 buck bike fee! Awesome start.

Flights were uneventful and I got to Panama city and called my buddies. They were still in Alabama so I set up my bike and got it nice and primed for racing…beauty. Then I called again (probably irritating the boys) and they still hadn’t arrived. I was getting itchy legs just sitting around, so I asked the information desk to watch my plethora of crap and I trotted out for a run. I pilfered a dept. of transportation construction site for stuff that I could use on my bike and found some plastic end caps and nick nacks that I might try to fashion into a container for a flat kit. My legs felt magic and the weather is pretty good. Most likely people will be bitching about the humidity but really it is about as perfect as any race weather can get. Hopefully it holds out.

The area around the panama city airport is, strangely enough, unbelievable running terrain. Lots of flat grass, perfect pavement, and smooth lonely dirt roads. It was a perfect shake out. I am super relaxed now. Few boxes to tick before Saturday but I should be ready to go….

Hoping for a midnight ocean swim!