Athlete Profile: Jordi Goodman

Hey Team RWB! Today we bring you a FIRED UP Team RWB triathlete--meet Jordi Goodman!! While fairly new to the sport, Jordi has jumped in with both feet.  Not only has he embraced long course racing, Jordi, along with some other fired up RWB athletes in Louisiana (Jon and Jason--the 3J's of LA) are working to establish a solid Team RWB presence throughout the state of LA.  To quote Jon, "We're going to paint Louisiana Red, White, and Blue!"  With Jordi spearheading the efforts in LA, and helping to establish a solid model for implementation across the US, we couldn't be more thankful and grateful for his support, leadership, and enthusiasm! Proud to have you on as a teammate, Jordi!

Name: Jordi Goodman
Nickname: WOUT         
2011 USAT Racing Age Group: 20-24
Occupation: Research Associate in Real Estate Development
Washington, DC; but currently in Louisiana
Jordi (L) and Jason (R) at a race in Louisiana

Why Triathlon? I love the way it makes me feel, and love being in the best shape of my life every day.  The speed is becoming a serious addiction, too.

Do you have a favorite race? Just starting out, so not yet!

What is your best race memory? Beating my time by five minutes in my first race, Mardi Gras Half Marathon

When you reach the point of the race where you have to dig down deep, what do use as personal motivation? My dad.  Amazing guy and endurance athlete, tough as nails.

What is your favorite leg of a triathlon and why? Running--I love the way your legs feel after getting off a long bike ride.  Spent, but still rolling.  It feels amazing.

What is your favorite race distance, and why? Half Iron, I love the challenge and am building up to full iron by 2012.

Besides triathlon, what do you do for fun? Spend time with my dog and play all kinds of sports.  I love to read, write, and travel!

Why Team RWB and supporting our military? I would love to do anything I can to help these amazing people, whether it'd be fundraising, volunteering my time, or promoting the team.  Our military affords us with amazing the opportunities we have every day, and since I love endurance sports and triathlon, this seemed like a great way to get back.  I think endurance sports are an amazing thing and are a great channel for veterans.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for our soldiers and veterans and will be forever indebted to them for the amazing contributions they make to our country.  Since endurance sports are a passion of mine, I thought Team RWB would be a good place to harness something I really love for myself into something productive for people who do so much for me.

Any other fun tidbits you’d like the team to know?  I'm new to tri but am a long time runner and am really getting addicted.  Going to be here for the long haul, it's an amazing thing and though I'm just a young aspiring Ironman triathlete, I am very committed to my training and really love it.

2011 Race Schedule: Mardi Gras Half Marathon (Done), Run on the Bayou 10k (done), Pelicanman Duathlon (Done), IM 70.3 New Orleans (Done), Berlin Marathon, IM 70.3 Miami, MS 150 Bike Ride


Athlete Profile: Arnie Lachner

Over the spring you got to meet several of our pro-ambassadors here on their blog, as well as a couple of our awesome age group athletes. These next few weeks you're going to get to meet a lot of our Team RWB Age Group athletes. Today, we introduce you to Arnie Lachner.  Arnie has already been a HUGE force and supporter behind Team RWB.  His efforts resulted in some great raffle prizes and silent auction items at the Team RWB Ironman Texas dinner.  He volunteered at IMTX, hosted one of our pro's (Jess Jacobs) and her family during the race, and more.  He has great ideas and even greater energy, and is an Army veteran as well! We're very proud to count Arnie among our ranks and are grateful for his service to the nation!

Name: Arnie Lachner
Age: 51
Occupation: Computer Programmer
Hometown: Houston, TX
Team RWB Athletes Steve Burns (L) and Arnie Lachner (R) at the CapTex Tri on Memorial Day

     2011 Race Schedule:  
  • USA Fit half marathon (5th in age group)
  • Bill Crew Remission Run 5K (2nd in Age Group)
  • Austin half marathon (24/306 in Age Group)
  • Champions Triathlon (1st place!)
  • Lonestar Sprint (2nd in Age Group)
  • New Orleans 5150 (5th in Age Group)
  • Capital of Texas (20/64)
  • Lake Pflugerville Tri
  • BridgeLand Tri
  • AG National Championships
  • Austin Tri
  • Houston Tri
  • Kerrvile Sprint
  • Maybe some others, Austin 70.3 maybe....                                             
      Do you have Twitter or a website so fellow athletes can follow you? @alachner and of course you can follow me though I don’t know why you would want to! Also, check out my blog to follow my journey:  http://racewitharnie.blogspot.com/

Why Team RWB and supporting our military? I was in the US Army for 10 years during the cold war (1979 – 1989), most of that time as a paratrooper in the 82d Airborne Division. I was in the Army when it wasn’t cool.  We were second class citizens in town, fathers wouldn’t let us date their daughters, and nobody cared what sacrifices we made.  I don’t want that to happen to the young men and women serving today. I’ve spent a lot of time these past years thinking of my brothers in arms.  Perhaps there is something now I can do to give back.

Why Triathlon?  Ten years ago my doctor told me that if I didn’t get active I would regret it.  Two years ago my doctor said I was obese.  I started spinning at the gym, and then added a few short runs for diversity.  With my 50th birthday just months away I thought a triathlon would be a great birthday present to me.  I recently bought a pair of shorts the same size as my 18 year old gymnast son!
Do you have a favorite race?  Not in the sense you are thinking.  My favorite race is a tie between the last one I did and the next one coming up!  That could all change this year if I meet my goal.

What is your best race memory?  Stopping for hugs with my family at 6 miles into the run last year at the Austin Longhorn HIM.

When you reach the point of the race where you have to dig down deep, what do use as personal motivation?  My father-in-law recently underwent surgery for bladder and prostate cancer.  Seeing what he went through makes my current struggles seem trivial.

What is your favorite leg of a triathlon and why?  It must be the run.  I can’t see what’s happening around me during the swim, and I know I get passed on the bike leg.  The run is where I make up my ground.

What is your favorite race distance, and why?  Easy – the Olympic distance!  A sprint is too short, you barely get warmed up and it is over.  While I raced in 3 HIM last year, I found them to be a bit of a suffer fest.  With the Olympic distance I can go out hard and it is over in about 2.5 hours.

Besides triathlon, what do you do for fun?  My wife and I love going to concerts.  I had to stop buying t-shirts because my closet is full of them!  We’re still waiting for Van Halen, and Led Zeppelin!

Any other fun tidbits you’d like the team to know? Anything?  The 10 years I spent in the Army were the best of times.  Racing in triathlons is a close second and could break away with some success this year.  

A fun Team RWB Fact--Arnie BEAT pro-ambassador Tim O'Donnell....IN A BIDDING WAR! Arnie took home the amazing Team RWB Tri painting at the Ironman Texas Dinner:
Tim congratulates Arnie on his win!

This beauty resides with Arnie in Houston, TX!


7.5 miles of swimming--yes, SWIMMING! Race Report

Team RWB is full of athletes who take on races of every distance and type! Today we bring you a phenomenal race report courtesy of new Team RWB member Mike Piet. On 4 June he  participated in the Potomac River 7.5 Mile Swim for the Environment, a charity swim that raises money for several organizations who focus on saving the bay and cleaning the Potomac River.  Mike finished the event, his first marathon swim, in 3rd place overall and 1st in the non-wetsuit division in a time of 3:52 (actual swim time 3:36 but the swim was paused at the 5 mile mark to allow a tanker to clear the channel).  Mike will be racing the DC Tri next weekend (19 June) along with several other RWB athletes.

Race Report – Potomac 7.5 Mile Swim for the Environment

Chris (Swim Guide) and amazing RWB Athlete Mike Piet
About two hours into last Saturday’s 7.5 Potomac River Swim for the Environment, I was thinking about how boring a race report would be.  After all, I was about 4 miles in and all I had seen was the brownish water of the Potomac, the left side of Chris’ boat, and every so often the heavenly red cup (more on that later).  Sensory stimulation was not high, and so I thought my race report would read something like this: left stroke, right stroke, breathe/look at the left side of the boat, repeat as necessary for 7.5 miles.  But then when it was over, and the eating display had finally ceased (2 burgers, 2 plates of mac and cheese, 8 brownie bites, 6 Oreos, handfuls of grapes and carrots), I kept coming back to what an amazing learning experience the swim was, and how fortunate I was to have had the experience. 

I had initially signed up for the swim when I had not been able to get into the Bay Swim, a 4.5 mile swim held in middle June.  A fellow swimmer at my Masters program suggested this swim as an alternative, so I signed up for it.  The longest swim I had done to date was at my iron-distances races, 2.4 miles.  Obviously, this was going to be an exponential jump, but one I was more comfortable with than an equal jump in say, running distance.  Besides, every season I like to do something that really pushes me outside of my comfort zone and away from go-fast tris.  On the flip side, given work and tris still being the main focus (DC Tri, my A race for the early season falls two weeks after the swim), I couldn’t completely overhaul my training and just focus on swimming.  I went about my usual routine – 1200-1600 meters a week spread out over three to four masters practices. 

While all swimmers who don’t have one are randomly assigned a boat escort – someone to kayak beside each swimmer – I got extremely lucky two days before the race when a friend of a friend volunteered to kayak for me.  I say extremely lucky as Chris is an open water superstar, having swum the English Channel, Tampa Bay’s marathon swim, the swim around Manhattan, and numerous other distance swims.  Chris is a true pro and coach and had the strategy for a good race down to a science – in a 20 minute phone conversation when he confirmed he would kayak for me he completely changed my race plan for the better.  He even taught me a technique for feeding (in this case drinking – with two exceptions, all my nutrition came from Gatorade or Nuun mixed with a pure carb formula) that allowed me to keep moving forward – always toward the finish line, as Chris put it.  Better yet, I completely trusted Chris’ judgment and advice based on his expertise, and we went over our plan (okay, his plan) at least 4 times before the swim, allowing me to concentrate on just swimming.  I trusted Chris would set the course, keep me fed, provide the feedback I needed, and get me to the finish line. 

The night before the race I drove down to Patuxent River to meet Chris and attend the pre-race dinner and meeting.  Looking around the dinner, it was hard to pick out race favorites – unlike most elite triathletes, swimmers tend to come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and ages.  Marathon swimming, much like ultra-running apparently, seems to favor the slightly older and more wily.  The dinner was great and the meeting informative, and with that, we headed out for the night to get the last prep done and try to get some sleep – and to go over the plan for race day one more time.  Of all the advice Chris provided, the suggestion to make anything adverse “the other guy’s problem” kept me in the best stead – on race day I felt sorry for the other guys cutting through the chop or being stalked by bull sharks.  It never crossed my mind that the same conditions impacted me. 

Race morning dawned extremely early – before dawn in fact – with a 0430 wake-up and a 0600 loading of the kayaks for the transport across the channel to Hull Neck, VA.  The swimmers followed shortly thereafter, several commenting that my boat looked like a floating buffet.  Again, Chris being a veteran of many swims and support efforts had it down to a science – milk crates front and back of the boat’s cockpit loaded with drinks, food, salt tabs, and anything else I might need.  He had his watch attached to a milk crate on a 15 minute timer – our agreed interval for feeding – and his GPS out to plot the best possible course.  Chris had plotted the actual finish area the night before so we would take as direct a route as possible. 

The swimmer boat left around 0645 to make the 7.5 mile crossing from Point Lookout to Hull Neck, and the boat was full of the same nervous energy that is present at any starting corral.  No one wanted to look back and see just how far away from land we were getting, yet everyone was friendly to a fault, more interested in looking out for each other and all making it.  About a mile from the start, the chop was considerably higher and the boat was only able to get us to within 200 meters of the shore, where we all gingerly made our way from the main boat to smaller boats that could get us closer.  50 meters out, we jumped into the water and waded ashore.  The water felt cold, but it was in the mid-70s, and Chris had strongly suggested I go without a wetsuit – at that moment, I was questioning him for what turned out to be the only time that morning.  As a quick caveat, apparently in true open water swimming, the only gear allowed is a swimsuit (Speedo or jammers), goggles, and cap – no wetsuit, not even the speedsuits that have become popular at tris where wetsuits are not allowed. 

Once on the beach, we ended up having to wait quite a while past the initial start time as the kayaks got organized, righted, and bailed out water – apparently one just went ahead and sunk due to the chop.  It was an inauspicious start to say the least, but the delay did allow me to realize how effective our pre-race hydration plan had been.  It was also my chance to take down the last of my fuel – a Chocolate #9 gel, a Vespa, and three Sport Legs tabs, to try to keep the lactic acid from becoming overwhelming too early in the race.  The race started about 45 minutes late with a group picture and then a somewhat chaotic and anti-climactic wade in – no starting gun, no flare, just 1-2-3-go. 

There isn’t much to say about the swim itself – the scenery didn’t exactly change from water, boat, water, boat, water, boat.  As promised, every 15 minutes Chris handed me my red cup of drink, alternating between Gatorade and Nuun.  He was right, I would see him start to get the cup ready and I would angle in toward the boat, like a trained dolphin at Sea World waiting for a fish.  At least he didn’t make me jump out of the water to get it.  The first 1.5 miles seemed very choppy and with a little bit of a headwind, but, as Chris suggested, I felt bad for the other guys dealing with it and just tried to stay as loose as possible and drink as little of the river as possible.  Chris made sure to remind me that the water always wins, so the best thing to do is just get comfortable and roll with it.  

Basing my distance on my previous Ironman swims, I assumed I would be through about 2.5 miles of the swim in an hour, so I tried to break the race roughly into thirds, adding ten minutes to each hour to allow for the length of the race and the feedings.  At the first hour, the reality of being just 1/3 into the race sank in, but it was not a downer at all, just a realization that there was still a long way to go.  At each feeding, Chris provided me some feedback, but we didn’t communicate much and he had told me he would not tell me how far in we were – and told me not to ask, so I didn’t.  As he predicted, I broke the race into 15 minute increments, anticipating the next feeding and the tiny bit of feedback.  Open water swimming is strange in that there is virtually no sensory feedback – no way to hear in the water, no way to see where the other swimmers are, and therefore no way of really knowing how the race is playing out.  Those quick feeding sessions, and my trust in Chris’ judgment and plan were utterly crucial.  I also employed Power 10s, a term I learned from Alexis that comes from crew – after every four feedings, or once an hour, I would go hard for ten right arm pulls, just to keep the speed in my arms and to not let things get too monotonous.  In terms of what I thought about, it seemed like anything was fair game – I thought a lot about stroke technique, making sure I was maximizing each pull, but also thought about Alexis and our wedding, how an hour in seemed like a long time but it was just 1/3, how I was going to capture the event in a race report, and toward the end I thought about how much it hurt.  In the absence of much sensory stimulation, there’s a lot of time to think. 

1:45 in to the race, Chris told me I was “about halfway.”  While I hopped this meant more than halfway, by the way he phrased it, I figured it meant not quite.  Regardless, it gave me something to think about for the next 15 minutes, by which time I knew we were more than halfway.  At the two hour mark I still felt really good – like I had not really started to work yet and the race was coming to me easily.  I ditched my swim cap – because while the water had initially felt chilly, two hours in I was warm and very glad we were rehydrating on a 15 minute cycle.  Not long after that – maybe at the 2:15 or 2:30 feeding, Chris warned me that we might be stopped soon as there was a tanker crossing the channel.  He recommended I push it a little bit to see if we could get across before the shut the channel, and even though I did, I was soon swimming up on a safety boater clearly blocking the way.  Only one swimmer had made it through before the tanker – I was the first swimmer stopped. 

We ended up being held in the water for what felt like about 20 minutes, and we used it to our advantage – I consumed another Chocolate #9, an all natural energy gel with a very low glycemic index that provides consistent energy without the sugar rush and crash of other gels – and drank half a bottle of Endurox.  We also talked strategy for the last 2.5-3 miles of the race since the field had again bunched up and it would be a whole new race once we re-started.  This was where I made a critical mistake and instead of asking Chris, I dictated what I wanted to do – push hard from the re-start, get a signal at the halfway point, and not do a feeding in the last 30 minutes.  I reasoned that it was now an Ironman distance swim, and therefore in my comfort zone.  I should have known better. 

After the tanker passed, we got the re-start and took off.  I started much faster than I had been swimming up to that point and it continued to feel okay, but definitely like I was working.  With 1.5 miles to go, at a feeding, Chris alerted me that places 2-5 were all still bunched together and it was a real race.  Right before my head went back underwater he asked, “How bad do you want it?”  I really wanted it – problem was, with the strategy I had employed after the re-start, to paraphrase Top Gun, my ego was writing checks my body couldn’t cash.  I was digging, but I wasn’t sure how much was left to dig into – Chris must have noticed it too, because his hand signals got both more encouraging and more frequent.  I tried employing Power Tens every 50 strokes, going 50 at pace and then upping the pace for ten pulls.  I saw Chris show me the number two and I assumed I had worked my way back into second, but upon later reflection, he was probably telling me I had 20 minutes to go. 

With 10 minutes to go (I again mistakenly thought that ten fingers being held up might mean 100 meters), I kicked in what I had.  I started to sight more frequently, except it seemed like the beach was receding.  My mind was playing tricks on me – I saw a flash off a lens cap and assumed I could only see that if I was really close.  I started to guess what subtle changes in the water temperature meant, hoping that any chance meant shallow water and the beach.  I ached everywhere, I couldn’t focus my eyes, and no matter how much Chris exhorted, I wasn’t sure I had faster left in me.  Finally it was there – I touched sand.  I swam as close in as I could because I didn’t trust myself to stand up without falling back over.  Once on the beach I was encouraged to get a picture – all I wanted to know was how we had done.  Chris broke it to me that I had finished third by about 45 seconds, but had been the first across without a wetsuit.  As we were taking our picture, the fourth place swimmer hit the beach – after 7.5 miles of swimming, places 2-5 were separated by 2 minutes.  

My folks were on the beach, and it was great to see them – my Mom called Alexis and let her know I was done – I know I talked to her, but I have no idea what I said.  I have never been as depleted after a race as I felt after that one.  I truly felt like I had pushed myself to my current abilities and then past and I was smoked.  I was also starving and was more than happy to put on the previously discussed eating display. 

Obviously, I can’t thank Chris enough – his expertise, experience, and plan made my job easy – all I had to do was swim and listen.  I really appreciate him taking the time to answer all my questions, even, or maybe especially, the one about sharks.  As he said, it was a team effort.  I was just incredibly lucky to be on his team, so Chris, thank you very much – I may actually try another one of these things.  To my Mom and Dad, who were just happy that this lasted a little longer than my swim events they have come to my whole life, thanks for being there on the beach – it is always great to share these things with you.  To Alexis, as I have told you before, I am pretty sure your life would have been easier if you hadn’t married me, but I am so glad you did.  Thank you for always supporting these crazy races, tolerating the hours that go into training, and loving me anyway.  Congratulations also to all the other swimmers – all 44 swimmers who started the race made it across.