Mikkel Pitzner Coming Up At The Finish Line Ironman New York

Ironman U.S. Championship 2012 – A New Milestone Met

I finally did my first Ironman. A new milestone was met.

For those who are unaware what an Ironman is, let me give you a brief description. The Ironman is a Triathlon in which you start off by swimming 2.4 miles, followed by a bike ride of 112 miles and finish everything off with a full marathon distance run, i.e. a 26.2 miles long run.

 

Mikkel Pitzner Running At The Ironman New York 2012 US Championship

Mikkel Pitzner Running At The Ironman New York 2012 US Championship

 

I have done two Marathons before. Both back in 2006 and quite frankly a Marathon on its own is a challenge enough. I’m not that light and carrying your own weight over such distances is definitely a challenge, so I had much anticipation about doing an Ironman. But it was just one of those things that I really wanted to accomplish (you know, for myself). I have done a number of Olympic distance triathlons (I believe I have completed 9 Olympic distance triathlons), which is a 1.5 km swim, a 40 km bike ride and 10 km run and the Olympic distance is definitely more manageable.

But I finally manned up the courage to go for it and actually participate in a full Ironman.

The venue ended up being the Ironman New York, which also happened to be the inaugural event there as well as the U.S. Championship. Don’t get fooled, just because it’s the Championship doesn’t mean that I’m fast, but nevertheless it’s kinda cool to be in a race that is a real championship.I was lucky too that I was able to even get a spot, because apparently the event sold out in 9 minutes!!

 

Ironman New York US Championship

Ironman New York US Championship

US CHAMPIONSHIPS IRONMAN Wristband

US Championship Wristband

 


The Swim

The swim portion required you to take a ferry at 4 am to transition area on the New Jersey shore just north of George Washington Bridge and then another ferry onwards from there to the swim start barge up the Hudson – so yeah, the swim was in the Hudson river. In fact near the same location into which several million gallons of raw sewage was let out only a few days before due to a mishap, yuck!

The swim for the New York City triathlon, the Olympic distance event that I normally participate in (I have done 7 of these including the one that took place a month ago) also takes place in the Hudson river, but over on the New York shoreline and this swim usually aids you greatly by a very favorable current carrying you towards your swim finish point. But the swim on the New Jersey side actually gives you a current slightly against you in the beginning of the swim, followed by more or less stagnant waters into your swim and subsequently (and if you are in the water long enough) a current slightly in your favor. I was a little bummed when I learned of this current being that way, cause normally I am appreciative of the current helping me for the New York City Triathlon, seeing that I actually never do any swim training. But what can you do? There is only one thing and that is: Suck it up!

I actually had a great swim and much faster than I would have hoped for. And this also constituted my 4th swim this year altogether. The three prior swims being each a 1.5 km swim as part of a triathlon Olympic distance event.

 

The Bike

The bike ride was also going to be in New Jersey. For the event they had unprecedentedly closed off part of the Palisades Parkway highway, so that was kind of neat biking on a spot that probably never has been biked before. The road was also quite smooth and certainly produced some challenging hills. The bike leg consisted of two loops of almost half the length of the bike leg each. By the time I reached about 90 km or just about half way through the bike ride, I was actually getting rather tired and spent, so it was quite early on the bike that I had to dig a little deeper to find the necessary energy to get the bike leg done and behind me.

In my book 112 miles of biking is longish. I usually get tired if I go out and do a 60-70 miles long bike ride – on flat roads and without having done a swim prior. So I knew this bike ride was not going to be an easy walk in the park for me.

But it all went quite well nevertheless. Even though I hadn’t biked since my race in Austria/Italy/Switzerland, I thought I did OK on the bike. It took me a bit longer than I had hoped for, and I think the hills didn’t help my speed or energy, but I liked the challenge.

 

New York

New York

 

The Run

The Run. Hmmmm. Well, this one was a killer. At least the first half of it was. The run started with two loops of 7 miles consisting of hills upon hills. Most people ended up walking here, including me. Mostly I was nervous that right at the onset of the run portion, you have a full marathon distance to complete, so if you expend too much of your energy and strength here, you might get into serious trouble later in the run and then the 42.2 km gets to be very long indeed. So I wasn’t much up for expending too much energy fighting my way up the hills that I chose to walk a lot of this.

Finishing the hills, you then face even more hills and not least one serious hill going up to Fort Lee where you then need to climb some stairs up and down for you to enter the George Washington bridge which you run across on the upper path walkway (I had a glance over the railing from up there, and I can tell you, it’s a loooong way down to the river).

All the walking got me a little complacent and lazy and I actually ended up walking much more than I really needed to. I actually felt pretty good throughout the race ( I felt the most tired on the bike about half way through that leg) and I actually could run with great speed (comparatively) when I pulled myself together, but like I said, I turned a little too complacent for that. Another factor which is probably the biggest let down of the event was that the run leg in New York pretty much all took place down by the shoreline and in parks, and although some of these stretches were pretty they lacked the excitement that running through blocked off streets with a New York crowd spectating and cheering you on, also lacked.

The difference was noticeable. At around mile 18, we did run down a small stretch of a street and although there were probably only about 100-150 people there, the cheering was loud and exciting that you almost grew wings and your running took off. I had hoped to see more of the same feeling towards the last few miles of the race, but that was not to happen.

Well, at any rate, my much walking gave me much strength so when I saw the finish line, I had plenty in me to sprint the final stretch that I overtook several people and surprised, it seemed, most spectators, some of whom were shouting “wow, that’s a strong finish man!”. Well, they didn’t know of course that I had saved so much energy up during all the walking. So bottom line, yes, I’m proud of my Ironman and I think I did way better than I had feared, but I could honestly have put in much more effort towards the end. Next time I guess.

 

Mikkel Pitzner Coming Up At The Finish Line Ironman New York

Mikkel Pitzner Coming Up At The Finish Line Ironman New York

 

Mikkel Pitzner Finishers Medal New York Ironman 2012

Mikkel Pitzner Finishers Medal New York Ironman 2012

 

 

 

To get some insights to an Ironman event, take a look at this video from this Ironman. Very nicely compiled and showing a lot of the many emotions that events such as these bring out in people.

 

 

 

PS. By the way. Although I drank a lot of water leading up to the race and not least drank as much a s possible at every depot, I only peed once (at transition right after the swim) during the entire race. This tells you something about just how much you end up sweating during the strenuous exercise it is to complete the Ironman. In fact, I truly believe that I was running a fever the entire race (I think I probably have at every triathlon that I have been in), so you are definitely pushing your body. I also always struggled with the powerbars and GUs etc. I find them very distasteful and yucky and have a hard time getting them down. But the problem is you really need it. During an average Ironman, you expend upwards 7,000 calories while I have read the average intake may be upwards 3,300 during the race. Without the fuel you “bonk”, i.e. go dead.

I cannot seem to get too much of the artificial energy foods down though, and nor the energy drinks. So most of my races are done on pure water and for this Ironman, I made good use of the oranges and bananas they made available along with a little bit of pretzels during the run course (you need the salt too).

 

Mikkel Pitzner To Race In The 2013 ING New York Marathon

I’m In!!

Yeah, I have secured my spot for the 2012 ING New York Marathon.

 

Now I have done so by volunteering to fund-raise for a charity and I have mentioned this previously (but not to be confused with the other charity fund-raising I just did for the Team Hole In The Wall at the New York City Triathlon that took place in July), but I had actually overlooked that one important email that gave you a sign up link for the marathon, which otherwise is – as always – completely sold out. Well, to my luck, the kind people from the Team For Kids charity organization sent me a reminder yesterday and luckily enough it caught my eye (I get too many emails that I have lost my need to look at them as intensely as I used to). So I followed the procedure and now I have a guaranteed spot and I have an email response to prove it. The message starts like this:

 

Mikkel Pitzner

You have received guaranteed entry to the ING New York City Marathon 2012.

Your entry number is 846944

 

Well, that is exciting. I have once before run the New York Marathon, back in 2006, and it is a great event with superlative support from about 2,000,000 people cheering you on as spectators throughout the entire run stretch. I’m by no means a very fast runner. Probably too heavy and don’t dig deep enough and don’t train enough nor train quiet right for it. But I nevertheless appreciate the challenge that it is (I actually find it extremely far to run this distance). A lot of thoughts can and will enter your mind throughout a run like this, including not least every possible reason why you should just throw in the towel and quit the run. I’m thankful, though, that I usually have a great deal of will-power, cause sometimes that’s what you really need for you to keep on going.

 

Mikkel Pitzner To Race In The 2012 ING New York Marathon

Mikkel Pitzner To Race In The 2012 ING New York Marathon

 

So what now?

Well, I better keep up with some training. 42 plus kilometers is a stretch and if I’m to be able to get through it decently (for my marathon standards) then I had better put in some training time and get some miles in my legs. It might just also benefit me to get into better shape and lose some of that excess that I seem to have accrued somehow. I look forward to this event a lot though, and who knows, perhaps I will see you there?

 

Meanwhile, please do consider joining in on my fund-raising by adding a small donation to Team For Kids (large donations welcomed too), which you can find here: Support Team For Kids Please.

Please Help Me Achieve My Goal!

“Please help me achieve my goal!” – I’ve set a huge and possibly crazy goal for 2012 – I’m going to run the 2012 ING New York City Marathon. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, carbohydrates, and ice baths, but I am determined to finish strong! I’ve also decided to include fundraising for a charity, NYRR Team for Kids, in my 2012 goal – because I thought I wouldn’t be busy enough! Team for Kids supports youth running programs in underserved communities with a goal of getting kids everywhere to lead active and healthy lives. Will you help me reach my goal of crossing the finish line, and help thousands of kids along the way, too?

“I can’t do this without you!” – I’ve taken the plunge – I’ve signed up to run the 2012 ING New York City Marathon this fall and also to raise money for a charity called Team for Kids! Over the next several months, I will run more than 600 training miles and I will raise funds to support youth running programs in underserved communities. I’m really excited to have made this huge commitment but I can’t do it without your help. Will you put me forever in your debt and donate to my marathon fundraiser? Look at it this way – at least you won’t have to run 600 miles with me!

 

Please consider donating. Visit Team For Kids to donate.

 

Mikkel Pitzner at the 2006 ING NY MARATHON

 

See also http://mikkelpitzner.com/team-for-kids-fund-raising/

Money Does Not Buy You Purpose

“Money Does Not Buy Purpose”

Robert Carmichael

 

Just the other day a good friend of mine, Mr. Robert Carmichael, and I were on the road for just about 10 hours driving up north to High Springs from Fort Lauderdale for a business meeting exploring some opportunities there. The long trip there and the long trip back provided amble time and made way for long great discussions talking about the business, the opportunities at hand and many other things – including life.

Scanning through the radio stations our conversation happened to fall on music also. It was just two days prior that the famous and talented singer Witney Houston (age 48) died and our conversation soon touched upon this and how wasteful her early departure from this world seemed. I recalled also the fate of Amy Winehouse (age 27) who passed away last year and whose life seemed to bear some resemblance. Many more similar examples can be found of people who have reached high level of success in their metier and yet again seems unable to find happiness and balance.  Just look at many movie stars and other celebrities, who are subjects of many tabloid magazines gobbled up by millions of readers worldwide. We pondered this for a little and then my friend spoke the profound words:

“Money Does Not Buy Purpose”

Wow! Isn’t that the truth? We all need purpose in our lives or at least a sense of purpose. Purpose gives us directions and something to live for. Something usually much greater than ourselves. Purpose helps us stay the course even when things get tough and when we face obstacles and challenges. Purpose also often helps us align ourselves with good choices. Good choices on continuous basis lead us to good habits and our habits form our future. Whether for self or for grander scale of others, our purpose helps us be happy and helps us achieve a fulfilled life.

Now, we have all heard the phrase “Money Does Not Buy Happiness”. Well, neither does poverty. So while I do believe that money is not everything, I do believe that most people would be in a position where it would be easier for them to find happiness if their financial state was fairly comfortable or even better, great. Studies have found that most relationships often falter as a result of financial worries and certainly that many, many disagreements stem from unsatisfactory financial situations. But perhaps this discussion is getting off point and is the subject for a future post. The point of this post here is that we have all witnessed so many, many highly successful people having reached almost unfathomable successes in an area and yet completely seem to lack control over their personal lives.

Well, that’s not “Winning”.

I would venture to say, that my friend hit the nail on its head, by his words. So while I’m not presuming to know anything about the lives of the mentioned successful and famed celebrities nor what goes on in their heads, it would appear that these unfortunate people must lack purpose or a sense of purpose. They have all this success, money and fame that so many other swould love to have and yet their lives seem very – for lack of better words – messed up.

 

They say a life without purpose is a life without destination. Jim White who writes on Life Purpose says: “Like a boat adrift on the ocean, there is no telling where you might end up. With no direction to your life, you will be moved by random feelings and emotions into any harbor. Two thousand years ago the Roman philosopher Seneca wrote, “Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.” Adrift at the mercy of random feelings or unidentified urges, you will be capable of any evil because you lack control of your own life.

Purpose provides a vision that leads you to a vocation rather than to a mere job. It provides for passion and meaning to replace tedium and aimlessness. The question “Why Am I Here?” goes much deeper than finding what career is best for you. Finding a purpose is ultimately a spiritual endeavor because it involves a process of connecting with something greater than yourself.

Paradoxically, however, the process also requires you to look within yourself for your answers because that is the only place you will ever find them. You cannot use my answer to the question of your purpose, nor your father’s. You must come to your purpose by your own road.”

As for me I must admit, that I believe I’m still in the process of refining and defining what my life’s purpose is. I do believe more and more the answer entails something about helping a lot of other people attain success and happiness as I have found tremendous pleasure in seeing how appreciative and cheerful people have become when I have helped them even in small areas. Alongside I’m truly appreciative of having become a father of a most fantastic son and a beautiful girl yet unborn, an experience that gives and gives and gives and is a constant source of joy.

 

So what is your purpose? Still haven’t really thought about it? Probably time for you to do so. They also say that when you work in areas of your life purpose, work will no longer seem like work. You’ll be inspired and probably be a source of inspiration for others along the way. Remember as Jim White says: “The destination is not the ultimate aim. The joy comes from the journey. Purpose is bound up in the process.”

 

 

 

Gabriel and Mikkel Feb 2012

Gabriel and Mikkel Feb 2012

 

New Year’s Resolutions

Well, it is January 31st – the end of the first month into the year. If you are like me and most other people, chances are that you set some New Year’s resolution on New Year’s Eve. The question now then beckons, “How well are you doing with those New Year’s resolutions?”

I recently heard one of my mentors, Brian Tracy, say that 78% of New Year’s resolution already fail within a month. Wow, how about that? That is a scary statistics. While I am unsure about what the statistics really say and how you would get a real measure of that it certainly seems true that most New Year’s resolutions either get ditched almost as rapidly as the so-called decision for them was made on the New Year’s evening or quite rapidly fades away in awareness and execution of the individual.

 

So as for me, I set out a few resolutions for myself and in particular for getting back into shape and to lose some of those excess kilos. My plan for getting the results in this area entailed recommencing doing my runs, whether on the treadmill or outside and getting the mileage up, while really trying to cut away some of the unhealthy calories that I had a nasty habit of consuming every day. That’s right, my daily visits to Starbucks would usually result in my standard order of a double tall cappuccino and a pumpkin loaf. And when you go there every day and sometimes several times a day, then you do actually take on something extra that you don’t really want; excess pounds.

I joking mentioned last year, when I set out similar resolutions (oh, yeah, I’m just like most other people. I set resolutions and then I wane off them again after some time), that now would be the time for you to sell any Starbucks shares you might own, since their sales were bound to drop as a direct result of my visits to them were about to end.

So now a month into my little program let’s review just how well it has gone so far. Well, I kinda set out a plan to run 300 km during the month of January. I figured that I would do 10 km a day and if  I skipped a day I would just have to make up for it another day. Yeah, right! You have to realize that I went from pretty much a sedentary state of activities, doing zero physical work outs for at least 6 months, to jumping right into it from day one. Well, it only took me 4 days and then my knees and calves were complaining and hurting. Obviously this is no way of doing any training. Your joints and ligaments need to get built up over time using relatively slow progression. I believe a common factor would be to increase your mileage by maximum 10% per week. So obviously I had to stop a bit and get some recovery in. I am actually not very good with this. A rest day for me often turns into two and then three and so on. I’m usually better at being really stringent or not doing anything at all. It’s a case of having a STOP and a GO button, but nothing in between. No gears, just full blast or complete stand still. I often go from doing absolutely zilch to go all out and then ending up hurting myself again, so that even if I wanted to, I would not be able to do my training. Hmmm, no so good.

Well, I have come to the realization that perhaps my results and my chances of success with this may be heightened by changing the formula a little. I may need to run one day and then intermix the routine by jumping on the bike the next day and possibly put in some strength exercises the third day and then start over or at least some interchanging of what I train and how I do it. As I have signed up for a few triathlons this year too, then I kinda should get on that bike again and perhaps really also should look at doing some swims, so it may make good sense after all.

Looking at the first month, this is what I accomplished: 165.99 km on the treadmill. Well, that is a far cry from the 300 km that I had in mind.It’s in fact just over half of the outset. While this is not terribly satisfactorily, then I am not too displeased. My original goal for the very first month was probably not too realistic. Will it be realistic to do in a monthly period? Of course, but I would have to be in a condition in which I am already pre-disposed to be able to do so. Meaning my legs, joints and muscles are better prepared through more consistent training over a little time to get me there. In terms of kilos, I lost 3.1 kgs and dropped my BMI number by 1 and my fat percentage by 1.8%. This is quite a bit less than what I had in mind as I pretty much had in mind to accomplish more or less what I did last year in January, which was losing 10 kgs in less than a month. But, and there is a but here. I believe that my course now is on the right track opting also for something more sustainable for the long haul rather than the stop and go that I have had a bad habit of doing.

 

Well, let’s see now. Do you sometimes feel you are seeing the same picture developing for your results too? Whether it being your health or perhaps your wealth? Do you find yourself getting into better shape lessen the excess pounds and then suddenly realize you are back again or even at a worse off state than the point your started from. Do you sometimes see your results whether in business or earning do quite a bit the same? And do you perhaps realize that perhaps you waned off too on your actions, resolutions, decisiveness and commitment?

My guess is that most of us do.

Makes you think then also what’s wrong with your pattern? Makes you realize that perhaps there are things you need to change in your formula. Makes me remember words of Jim Rohn: “We can have more than we’ve got because we can become more than we are” and likewise “The most important question to ask on the job is not “What am I getting?” The most important question to ask is “What am I becoming?”

Or in the words of Les Brown: “You must be willing to do the things today others won’t do, in order to have the things others won’t have”.

So how well are you doing with your resolutions? Are you moving forward with your goals? Are you moving forward in positive direction towards where you want to be? And if you are not, what are you going to do in order to fix that? What are you willing to do? And who are you wanting to become?

 

New York City Triathlon 2011

 

PS. I am raising funds for worth while cause called Team For Kids. I would love if you would consider making a donation towards the cause.

 

Team For Kids Fund Raising

I just got signed up for Team For Kids Fundraising today.

Funny how getting a child changes you. It really does. Thankfully for the better. Becoming a parent and experiencing the awe of such a miracle life is, seeing it develop and transform in your offspring right in front of your eyes certainly has made some really huge shifts in me. And when we had the scare of our little son’s kidney problems being revealed to us last summer, the preciousness and potential fragility of life also became more apparent and you suddenly realize that you really have to appreciate every moment you have and also just how privileged and fortunate you are. It also spurred in me a spark of wanting to contribute in some way back to the universe, back to great causes and back to those who are less fortunate less privileged. Suddenly it is no longer just me, me, me and me. Suddenly, you find that life is so much grander outside the me.

 

Gabriel being strapped in on the gurney before transportation from emergency room to another hospital

 

Arrival at the second hospital. We ended up being transferred yet to a third hospital.

 

Gabriel hooked up to all sorts of monitoring devices and drops

 

I cannot help but being in awe of how well Gabriel took all the commotion and unpleasantries at the hospital

Yep, there was a machine that said "PIIING" and there were all sorts of alarms all the time

 

My Most Favorite People In The Universe

Still Happy - Always a great kid

Finally out of the hospital and instead in a nice 5 star hotel, getting a real bath - in the sink

Gabriel these days - about 7 months later

 

So I started ever so slightly last year, contributing with minor means to certain causes of my personal choice. While I may have supported certain causes most of my life, there really was no real direction for it and certainly no real commitment from my personal side and it never contained much of a personal involvement. I still feel that there are limits to what I can give, but I realize that we all posses possibilities of aiding to some extend, some times with small or large donations, sometimes by spreading the word, sometimes by actually being involved in voluntary work for cause or by a multitude of other smaller of bigger ways of helping one or several causes.

I have always had my favorite causes that usually all involved animal welfare and I still would preserve a real emotional tie towards these, but once I received my beautiful son into this world, my affinity for children and humans dramatically changed for the better and became vastly more positive. Last year I was introduced to a couple of really great organizations and projects that I certainly will revisit again and have ideas for and personal commitment set up in my plans for roll out this year, but today the choice went to Team For Kids.

From Team For Kids website, www.tfkworldwide.org you can learn the following:

Team for Kids is a committed group of adult runners from around the world who add meaning to their miles by raising funds on behalf of New York Road Runners youth services…Funds raised by Team for Kids members allow NYRR to provide free or low-cost school- and community-center based health and fitness programs to children who would otherwise have little to no access to regular physical activity. Currently, our programs serve nearly 100,000 children each year in more than 400 schools and community centers in New York City, nationally, and in Africa.

So in other words, I have just started my personal involvement in the fund raising for Team For Kids. So if you are reading this and wish to be part of this and show your support, it will be greatly appreciated not just by me, but most certainly by some children whose lives will be improved by the efforts of the work done by Team For Kids . Donating is super easy, just visit my fundraising page and donate there. Oh, and as you will see from the fundraising page, I’m running the 2012 ING New York City Marathon. I am adding meaning to my miles.

 

And in terms of Gabriel. Well, I am glad you asked and to be able to report that I really see all his former problems with the kidneys are past us and that he will suffer no more complications from this or anything else.

 

 

See also http://mikkelpitzner.com/please-help-me-achieve-my-goal/

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