MICHAEL LOVATO | Professional Triathlete

 

PART BEAR. PART MAN. ALL AMERICAN

 

An Adventure in Eating, Training and Racing

Thursday, December 11, 2008

With much sadness, Amanda and I departed from the Tucson International Airport yesterday, after spending five laughter-filled days at Casa Clam, nestled high in the foothills of Tucson’s West Side.

Our visit began at the end of last week, after we happily escaped the freezing cold of Boulder. Boarding the plane on Friday (after a treacherous and icy drive to DIA), the temperature gauge on our iPhones read a whopping ONE degree. Deplaning in Arizona, we were greeted by sunny and blue skies, and an invitation to change into short pants. There really was a written invitation at baggage claim, imploring us to take off our long pants. We obliged.

We made our way to Cliff’s and Sam’s place, and were immediately greeted by a charming new addition to their household: Maximus Oscar de McEnglish, who had recently undergone an obligatory surgery, and was, therefore, required to wear a piece of compromising headgear. As true dog lovers, Amanda and I found Max to be adorable and, as mentioned above, charming.

The next order of business was to acquaint ourselves with Tucson and its training opportunities. We followed our directions across town to find the Catalina pool, one of Tucson’s numerous outdoor pools. After a short dip in the water, we moved on to our next most important task of the visit: eating. The trip through Whole Foods proved to be a successful one, as we (naturally) purchased enough food to feed a small army. We returned to the West Side, rested ourselves, fed ourselves, and commenced laughter and story telling with our gracious hosts, Sam and Cliff.

The racing portion of our adventure got underway on Sunday. Part one began at approximately 5:30AM when we zoomed out of the driveway, and put pedal to metal en route to the northern-most part of town, which was to be the starting point of the Tucson Half Marathon. As I had long since chickened out of participation in the race, my sole duty became serving as sherpa for the day, and my primary task was to deliver Amanda to the start line on time. I take my speeding seriously, and I must proudly note that I won the race: we arrived promptly (not always a given when this vato is involved).

Amanda’s race got underway at a brisk (but not cold!) 7:00AM. Video documentation of said race will soon make its way to this blog. Amanda raced a strong and smart race, and as her report gives in full detail, she won the mother scratcher.

Next up on our agenda was to continue our path of eating, training, eating, training, laughing, sleeping, drinking wine (and consequently, telling lies), eating, training, and eating. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly, and evidence of this enjoyment presents itself here:

Our climb up Mt. Lemmon.

Mr Lovato finds his way to the front.


Athlete and Coach jockey for position.


Amanda places Cliff in a spot of bother.


This is what you see when you are in a spot of bother.


Another glimpse from the lenses of a bonk.


Amanda pushes past the saguaro to confidently take the lead.


Hallelujah, was this the stolen Bumble Bar at 6000Feet?


Just before Cliff set a punishing pace on the descent.

More food: dinner at El Charro

Doug Friman and Paul Thomas join us for a Feast.


About to have some full bellies.

We are pleased to report that we achieved all of our goals while in Arizona. We thoroughly enjoyed the fabulous training that Tucson had to offer; we ate more than our fair share of treats, Mexican food, and sushi; we loved getting to know Cliff and Sam; we became addicted to their potent and delicious home-brewed espresso; and we managed to warm our bones and gain inspiration during the final month of our down-time and holiday season.

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