Please excuse the lack of editing here. I wanted to post this tonight.

It is about to get real and I am going to try and go dark. Quick funny comment…I told my crew earlier this week, it is too cold, I want to go skiing or some place warm. Well, I am doing neither. It is cold here in Florida, but this Marine is gonna get it done. Please follow my crews tweets/FB messages tomorrow.  (Mark Shenk)- thanks for fixing this blog post up. I can’t do any this stuff without support, thanks…now read what I really wanted to say about my crew:

My team for Ultraman has unselfishly dedicated itself to me for this week, but each individually is an amazing talent in athletics and beyond. As a triathlete who never really took his swim to the next level, it is ironic that each of my crew members seem to have been born with gills and flippers. I chose each of them for a specific purpose, but also because it is my hope that they will work together well and we will all come out of this better friends than when we started. My number one goal for Ultraman Florida- -Finish without injury, crew is safe, and I still have three good friends.
Let me tell you about the three individuals who will hopefully share a bit of my adventure next weekend through twitter and FB, but know they are as much a part of the race.

Joanna Zeiger (aka JZ) – The Crew Chief – JZ is generally better at things when she is in charge, plus she likes to be in charge, and finally she has been my sounding board about racing and training for many years. I have likely logged more miles with JZ running and biking and shared more early AM swim times than any other athlete. She is a world champ, Olympian, a PHD, a solid coach, and currently has been spending quite a bit of time running on my shoulder as she goes for yet another spot in the Olympic trials. She also shared marriage officiating duties for Lara and I with another crew member. I had the privilege of pacing her at last year’s Shamrock Marathon and thus with a slower pace and more miles to do, figured she might want to share some pacing miles with me on Day 3 with the double marathon. Her true jobs for Ultraman are to be my voice to the UM race folks while racing, keep the dudes in line, find great off-course grub, keep my overall nutrition plan in place, and run 25 to 30 miles with me keeping my pace in check and me happy.

Mark Van Akkeren (aka Marky V) – Navigator and Gear Geek – MarkyV is another awesome sounding board for coaching, training, and all things really nerdy in triathlon like aerodynamics and power. After spending several years smashing everyone in the water and the bike as a pro triathlete he has turned his love for the sport and numbers into a pretty savvy coaching business. MarkyV and I spent several years racing each other trading places in races in the latter parts of the run (that is, if I did catch him). We have since spent many hours discussing the politics, ethics, and science around endurance sports. There are truly fewer people out there more passionate about sport, especially after peeling back all the nerdy number science stuff. His job, since he likes maps, is to make sure I get from start to finish without doing extra miles and put the team in place to hand me my proper nutrition. He is also part wrench and will be sure I have the proper gear on or at the ready given any changes or incidents that occur. I also expect, more than one “DUDE!!!!!” per hour in his harassment of my racing.

Derek Russell (Dr D or Big D) – Swim escort and Body Maintenance – Dr D is coming to me from my hometown of Virginia Beach where he was once a buddy on rides and trips to the bars. Now he and I share diaper discussion about as much as we talk about bikes. He is a guy who knows his way around bikes, as well as inside my stubborn head- having raced against me and seen me out there getting it done. Most importantly, he is one helluva strong and decisive chiropractor. When doing an event like Ultraman, the idea of having an athletic savy chiropractor in your corner is something you don’t want to need, but is crucial when you do need it. Being stuck in the car for several hours for my other athletic friends ain’t fun, so Dr D will likely both keep the conversation rolling with his uncanny ability to banter and keep my crew physically balanced with his magic chiro hands (I am not the only one happy to have him on the team or plan.) Dr D is also expected to share some of the pacing duties as he is preparing for some of my later slower miles. Being away from the family is tough and I am appreciative to a good friend, his wife, Tiffany, and shout-out to little D who will be sharing his dad with me for the weekend.

That is the official team in Florida, but I should also recognize that my crew will extend to Boulder. My mother-in-law, Sharon, who has oddly become one of my more loyal athletic followers is coming to Boulder to take care of the little monkey and monster. She has taken up this additional support role before during RAAM, teaching Paige about maps- tracking me across the country. JZ’s Mark, has been hard at work on my website and computer making sure I do a better job of sharing my stories and adventure, as well as sharing his wife with me for training and now racing. Finally, my biggest supporter and harshest helpful critic, Lara, will be back in Boulder being both supportive yet wondering why I need a village to accomplish my goals. Given the time, she would and could go out there and do the entire distance in one day with a single water bottle and a Gu. I do a pretty good job of doing things that are tough- Lara is the definition of tough.

There is a good chance that I might be podcasting pre-race and between stages, so stand by for word on that.

I close this blog post with yet another THANK YOU in a string of thank-you to my crew and direct supporters.

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