Hey Everyone -- just another post to let you know that I have migrated my blog to my new website, so please visit me from now on at as I will no longer be updating the blog here.


Down Dog -- FUNNY OR DIE!

Down Dog - watch more funny videos

Yeah, I know I said I wouldn't post here any more. But as my parting farewell gift, thought I would upload and share the short film I wrote and directed. Yes, I swim, run and bike. But I occasionally do other things, like write & direct when I'm not practicing law or raising small children:)

Just posted it to, so if you have absolutely nothing better to do, PLEASE give a watch, vote and share with me your thoughts!

New Website!!

Hey there.....

Wanted to let everyone know that I will no longer be posting my blog here, as I just launched my new website at

Very excited!

Please visit the site, where I have not only relocated the blog but have included copious photos, press, and sections I am continuing to build on all things endurance sports, nutrition and coaching. In addition, I have also uploaded DOWN DOG, the short film I wrote and directed.

I hope you enjoy it and look forward to meeting you on the journey.....And many many thanks to the brillant Arno Kroner for his fantastic work building my site while simultaneously working full time at Disney, raising a family with his wonderful wife Justine Halliday (who also cut my short!) AND training for Ironman Coeur D'Alene!!


Spring Fever

Spring is here and I'm feeling the great optimism that always greets me when the sun warms my Santa Monica Mountains, I can remove my arm warmers and let loose.

So much going on....My training has resumed after an admittedly lackluster few months as I currently prep for the Wildflower long course triathlon in a few weeks. For me, this race is way too short. I can't say I'm "fast", as so much of my prep is ultra-focused. I'm the guy who has one speed -- the "go all day" speed. The guy who doesn't feel like he's warmed up until I've been riding over 4 hours. But I've been doing some interval work for the first time ever and am going to give it a try. My expectations are low -- again I'm no jackrabbit. But it will be fun. Going to bring my boys, camp out, hang with friends and treat it like a fun training / camping weekend. Like I said, I'm just getting back into it -- its a long road to Ultraman Hawaii in November and I'm just pacing myself. Heavy weeks on the horizon. I'm super excited to see what I can do this year, but I don't want to burn out.

On other fronts, so much is happening.

I signed a sponsorhip deal with TriathlonLab recently, which is fantastic. Check out my bio on their website HERE. Owners Lloyd & Teresa are great people and I truly appreciate their support on every level. I feel like I have a pro support team behind me for the first time and it feels great. Not to mention the great company they keep sponsoring cream of the crop pro triathletes like Chis McCormack, Andrew Lockton and Chris Foster. Were even talking about doing some local training camps this summer, using my house in the Santa Monica Mountains as home base. Should be awesome.

Also, I was just invited to speak to the Disney Triathlon Team on May 7 along with pro-triathlete phenom Chris Lieto -- one of the guys I truly look up to in the sport. Not only is Chris an unparalleled athlete (and one of the best cyclists in the sport), he is an environmentalist, active through his Green Athlete program and blog, which supports green / carbon neutral living and nutrition initiatives -- not only totally cool but consistent in some ways with my plant-based nutrition advocacy. You can always spot Chris' presence at the big races with his monster biodeisel SUV. In any event, I am honored; just not sure I'm worthy! It will be a thrill just to meet him.

Next week I'm heading down to San Diego to do some promotional work for Zoot Sports -- more great people, great products and a great company.

And coming in June, it looks like I will be profiled in a major men's magazine. I'm sworn to secrecy at the moment, so just stay tuned -- its very cool (unless they change their mind!).

Finally, I am putting the finishing touches on a new website -- In the next month I will be migrating this blog to the new site. I'll let you know when I make the switch.

So much good stuff God is putting in my path -- all evidence that I am doing what I'm supposed to be doing. When I think back to just one year ago, I'm amazed at how much my life has positively changed. Economically times are still very tough, but I feel a shift. The sun is out and things are turning around. Looking forward to a fulfilling and prosperous Summer 2009!

Jai Seed

I am so proud of my wife. An artist extraordinaire, she defies labels. Painter, photographer, sculptor, musician, yogi, healer, mother, wife, and on and on.

So I wanted to take a moment of departure from my typical posts to share with you her new website JAI SEED, which we launched this week.

In particular, please visit the PHOTOGRAPHS. This is her new collection of gigantic tree photographs, entitled SEED TREES. They are all high-resolution digital format, colorized in photoshop, printed on metalicized paper and mounted to glossy plexi-glass atop a 2” aluminum box framing. The high gloss accentuates the vibrant colors of the print and adds an additional dimension of room reflection from the people, furniture and media in the space.

All SEED TREES are large format -- up to six feet in height -- and great for large walls. But even the images don't do them justice. We have a couple in our home and one in my office, and they are truly striking and beautiful.

We are in the process of putting together a gallery show in the LA area, so I will keep you posted on details.

I hope you enjoy them! If you want more information on the images, including prices, etc., you can contact me, or e-mail Julie at

Thanks to Joe & Vicky Curtis for doing such an amazing job on the site -- in and of itself a work of art. If you like the site design, check out Joe & Vicky's work at CURTIS & COMPANY. They are amazing.

Being Here NOW

Once again, I've been off radar, but not because nothing's going on. In fact, alot is happening, which has left me with so little time to even reflect, let alone blog. But with Spring in the air, I am ready to share.

In truth, things have been pretty tough lately. The economic landslide has taken its toll on me, my professional life and my family and I have been forced to focus in a way I never have. Pure survival. With 4 kids, 2 dogs, 2 cars and my dreamhouse, my overhead is huge, and its all I can do to just try to keep the machine moving forward without my head exploding in fear. Its been a struggle just to get the mortgage paid, and the unpaid bills keep stacking up. Business is OK, but its growth has been stifled. And the location shoots we generally hosted at least 1-2x month on average over the last 5 years have virtually evaporated with the steep decline in the advertising and production industries.

Its an understatement to say that the pressure is on. My anxiety level is high. Very high.

And yet my wife and I have never been more in love. I am so grateful that the crucible has brought our family closer, as I know it so easily could tear us apart. Were in it together. Not just my wife and I, but the kids too. Everyone pitching in to help, getting creative. Coming together to solve our common problems.

I came across the above photo today and it really reminded me how much I love my family. The picture was taken before my 2 little girls were born, when we were in the middle of building our house. For 7 months we lived in a 22' Airstream trailer and a Tepee. Yes, a true to life Souix Tepee. It had its romances, but it was also challenging. It was winter (LA winter, but still cold); a very rainy winter. Our "campsite" was down a hill from the construction site and I remember nights when we would run out of propane in the middle of the night. Or mornings when it was so muddy we couldn't get the VW Bug up the hill. We kept our laundry in the car. We lived like vagabonds. But it was wonderful. We were in love and we were building a house. It was a great time. And just looking at the picture says it all. Takes me right to what is really important when that fear creeps in. And it definitely creeps in.

As the patriarch of my brood, I battle feelings of emasculation. I NEED to solve this problem for them. Its up to me t make it right. Believe me, it keeps me up at night. I have what we call in AA, "self-will run riot". The idea that if I just apply my will to the situation and barrelforward, I can solve all these problems and everything will be OK. I can work harder. Work later. Pull all nighters. That sort of thing.

But what I have learned in sobriety (but mostly from my wife) is that this is not the solution. In fact, it is counter-productive. I am not in control. There are things I can do, sure. But it is incumbent upon me to identify what I can control and what I can't. And for those things I can't, I need to let go. Surrender. Because God is my employer.

The same thing applies to training. And its why so many endurance athletes overtrain. The idea being to just work harder than everyone else. Push the limit, day in day out. And any experienced endurance athlete will tell you this is a recipe for disaster. For injury. For burnout.

It would be elementary to conclude that I need to table my training for now and focus on "real life". But I also know that the experience of training -- for me -- is crucial to maintaining my presence of mind. And without this, I lack the tools to properly function.

Balance. Temperance. This is the key. Not just in training, but in life. And for me, it is really the event horizon -- something I am not good at. Something that takes alot of work on my part every day.

I worked till midnight last night, the woke up with what my mom always called "racing mind" -- its that thing that keeps you up at night. Worries about what might happen. Or what if I did this instead. But I know all too well the woes in living in the past or obsessing about a future that hasn't happened yet. My job is to stay present. Do what is in front of me. And most importantly, to be balanced.

So despite every inclination that I needed to race into work and grind out a solution founded in my self-will, I did the opposite. I went on a ride. It was a beautiful morning in the Santa Monica Mountains and as I climbed Topanga, I realized that this is what grounds me. What keeps me in the "moment". Present. And its this presence of mind, body and soul that is the greatest weapon in my arsenal of taking on the rigors of daily life.

And yet at the moment of this realization, I quickly forget. I'm dumb that way. I need to be constantly reminded, vigilant when it comes to the idea of what my favorite yogi Bhagavan Das (he married Julie and I) coined "Be Here Now" or what my main man Eckhart Tolle calls "The Now". That odd spiritual equation that contravenes every obsessive fiber of my body to live anywhere but here.

I don't know where I'm going with this other than to say that the more present I can be, the more productive I am. When I look at my children, I see that rare ability to just be in the moment. And its in that place -- and only that place -- where true joy and happiness can reside. When I see that twinkle in their eyes, it is the most potent reminder of what is truly important in life.

For me, the only way to embody some semblance of Now is to be on my bike, tackling a tough climb. Out on a remote trail, running in solace, at one with nature. In the ocean, swimming along with the tides. Or maybe just a moment of meditative silence during the work day.

It doesn't come easy, but when it does, I experience a happiness that that is otherwise rare for me. And this -- this is why I love endurance sports. Its not the racing. Don't get me wrong, I love that. But its the daily experience of presence that the training brings. Its truly a spiritual practice, and for this I am forever grateful.

Gold Medal Mel Interview on

Check out Gold Medal Mel's interview with me on, competitive swimming's "go-to" web source for all things swimming. The site recently began airing Mel's great work, which is great for Mel, but even better for swimming. He is a great example of service to others and to something he loves, which in my opinion the only real reason we're here on Earth. To help others. In any event, Mel is a huge inspiration to me personally and someone I look up to and aspire to emulate in some small personal way.

Since this piece went live on yesterday, I have been inundated with so many very cool e-mails and Facebook messages from people from all walks of life who watched the interview and visited the blog. I am so grateful for all the kind words, and especially to Mel, who has been a good friend and huge support.

What is most gratifying is this slowly growing notion that somehow, in some way I am inspiring people. Believe me, this is a huge surprise. I chose to change my life and pursue something that made me happy. Along the way I changed my life and decided to write a little bit about it. To share some insights from the journey, mostly for my friends and family. In truth, I thought I was being selfish. Training for something like Ultraman commands an unreal level of dedication that took more time away from my friends and family than I care to admit.

But what I did not originally realize, and what is only now becoming more clear, is that I have a small but slowly growing platform that is creating the opportunity for me to help others. Over the last 6 months I have been blessed with so many new and great people coming into my life as a result of my Ultraman adventure. People who have read the blog, the interviews, etc. People that are inspired and looking to grow in new ways outside their comfort zone.

In these difficult economic times, I have taken pause to consider my path. To ponder what is truly important. And what has become clear is that I love being of service to others. This notion has taken firm hold and I have become energized to divine an organized way to expand my love of not only endurance sports, but of a healthy holistic lifestyle. In short, I know I'm here on Earth to help others. But now I have a clear idea of just how I can help. Whether its just to share a bit of nutrition insight, help someone lose weight, change their diet & get back in shape a bit or even to tackle something like Ultraman, consider me an open door resource.

I'm nobody special. Just an average family guy. I'm not a doctor, a nutritionist or a professional athlete. But I have learned a lot in the last two years and am committed to helping others discover their own innate potential. To discover the value of overcoming our own internally set limitations. To expand -- not just athletically, but mentally and spiritually.

I hope you join me along the way.

Gordo Byrne -- Change Your World

Gordo Byrne is a stud. He inspires me in so many ways. To be a better athlete, yes of course. But even more, his blog provides a wealth of fantastic insights into not only multisport training, but on issues ranging from nutrition, family, balance and business.

Gordo went from "average joe" (see the "before" Gordo pic, below if you don't believe me) to Ultraman Champion in 2002. He is an incredible athlete, with a slew of amazing ironman and endurance accomplishments, but what I find unique about him is his holistic approach to life as a very well rounded, mature and insightful person. A realistic approach to balancing family lives and economic concerns against a passion for athletic prowess and the outdoor active lifestyle.

If you haven't already, check out his website Endurance Corner, as well as his blog. In addition, you can subscribe to his Endurance Corner podcast on iTunes, where he shares tremendous wisdom and insight, as well as compelling interviews with some of multipsort's elite.

Totally Inspired -- Shepard & Lance

He started with those ubiquitous Andre The Giant Posters, which morphed into the omnipresent "Obey" movement. I recall living in NYC in the early 90's, and you couldn't walk a block without seeing the graphic pop art of Shepard Fairey -- from small painted reliefs adorning the sidewalks and kiosks to massive paintings covering entire buildings in SoHo -- and wondering, "What is this all about? Who is responsible for this art?" Yet he seemed to fly anonymous. A mysterious dark knight of high graphic art, with all of NYC as his canvas.

His images became a brand. An industry into themselves. But it wasn't until recently that this amazing artist was thrust into the mainstream with arguably one of the most iconic images of our generation, our time, our country -- the Obama "HOPE" image.

And now he's done it again -- these huge murals of Lance adorn the intersection of Hollywood and Vine and take the movement of Obama hope one step further in inspiration.

There is just something about Sheaprd Fairey's art that strikes a deep, resonant populist chord. Maybe its the thinly veiled inversion of its propaganda art ancestry. The converse of the communist era Lenin posters, or cold-war era of Soviet propaganda, his images subvert traditional notions of propaganda, infusing them with a post-modern message to lift a democratic people in these difficult times -- images of hope, change, courage, defiance and action. Messages which transcend politics or partisan idealogy. A transfixing call to action aimed at a country desperately in need of a main line infusion of positivity and change.

They are evocative, provactive and lingering. Once you seem them, you simply cannot remove the image from your mind.

And personally, I am thrilled with the Lance murals now gracing my city. We need this. We need to heed the words of our new Commander in Chief who is demanding not that we go out and "spend" (as his predecessor urged), nor that we "trust government" to take care of things. Rather, he is demanding that everyone must sacrifice. That our problems will be solved only with a collective movement. A movement not only of "hope", but one that requires, as Lance so fully embodies and as so artfully articulated by our President, of "defiance" -- defiance not only of the norm, traditional modes of status quo, or of partisan divides -- but defiance of the limits other people put on ourselves. And the limits we perceive within ourselves. Defiance, coupled with the unifying message of "courage" that is empty without "action". Powerful stuff.

Thank you Shepard. Thank you President Obama. And thank you Lance.

And so, I am inspired. Inspired to better embody these themes, this "ethos" into my personal life. Through my approach to work, my own financial crucible, my relationships with others. Through my quest to promote plant-based nutrition for athletes and the general public. Through my approach to training and racing. But most importantly, through the limits other people place on me, and more importantly I put on myself.

Yesterday I was out on a ride with my coach Chris Hauth and the crew. A beautiful morning, we headed up PCH, then turned to tackle Malibu's Latigo Canyon, a long challenging ascent very popular with the local cycling crowd. My time off showed. I was not up to form. I was getting dropped. It was awesome, because it really gave me the wake up call I needed to re-focus and begin applying myself. I can't wait to start anew.

And to boot? I found out after we crested that Lance himself was several minutes behind us, tackling the same climb. On the same morning. Unfortunately I never saw him. But my disappointment was eclipsed by the simple and deeply felt knowledge that I was where I was supposed to be. Or at least in the general vicinity.

Engine 2 Diet and Gold Medal Mel

Hey Everyone -- apologies for being off radar for so long.  I have been incredibly busy at work, treading water in these difficult economic times.  So just haven't had time to stay on top of the blog.

And that said, I only have a few minutes right now, but I wanted to share a couple quick thoughts.

First, I wanted to share this clip from the Today Show last week in which Rip Esselstyn shares some recipies from his new book The Engine 2 Diet.  In short, Rip was a stud swimmer back in the day, tearing up the backstroke for the University of Texas Longhorns.  Although I didn't know him, I knew his prowess well and followed his fantastic career.  After his swimming career, he was a stud pro triathlete for years.  These days he's a fireman in Austin and still tearing up the pool in masters swimming competitions.  I had the honor of having a few interactions with him via Facebook and he gave me some props on Ultraman, which was very cool.

In any event, Rip became a vegan, then inspired his fellow firemen to follow in his footsteps.  He helped some of his peers get healthy, particularly a few who were staring at looming heart attacks.  Its a great story he captures in his book and speaks about in this clip.  His person, his story and his book have inspired me and I hope it does the same for you.

Secondly, I shared the Today Show clip with Mel Stewart the other day.  If you follow my blog or Mel, you know that he is a former Olympic Gold Medalist in the 200m butterfly, World Record holder and 14 time national champion that now covers all things swimming via his Gold Medal Mel blog and video interviews.  Mel interviewed me a while back about Ultraman and I send him articles or things of interest from time to time.  Glad to see he enjoyed the clip I sent him and he just blogged about it, so check it out!  Great guy that Mel -- he is doing a huge service to swimming and I encourage all of you to follow his blog, as well as his Facebook and Twitters.  He is a social networking machine.

I promise to be more active on the blog, so look forward to more posts in the upcoming days and weeks.  I'm looking for a great 2009 season in endurance sports!

Click HERE to order The Engine 2 Diet

Click HERE to visit Rip on Facebook

Click HERE to visit the Gold Medal Mel blog

Click HERE to visit Mel on Facebook

Click HERE to visit Mel on Twitter

Social Networking / LA ULTRA!

I'm becoming a bit obsessive about social networking.  Let's just say its starting to get a bit obsessive.  But like I've said, that's just how I am.

I have loved being active on Facebook and have re-connected with so many people from my past and made countless new friends, especially in the endurance community.  But Facebook aside, my new obsession is Twitter.  I am a total convert.  

In addition to posting news about my training, I love throwing up interesting articles and insights throughout the day.  But what has been really cool is following some of my favorite inspirational people.  And as far as athletes, its the cyclists that have really taken to the medium in a huge way (due I'm sure in large part to Lance's fascination with the tool).  Many of the top names in the sport have really jumped on the Twitter bandwagon in a big way.  Lance is on fire, twittering and posting photos several times a day, on everything from his training, drug tests, travels and race reports to iChats with his kids.

And it seems like he has recruited his peers -- everyone from George Hincapie, Christian Van de Velde, Dave Zabriske (by far the funniest tweets) to Michael Rogers and even Ivan Basso are all over it.  Its pretty cool.  As for triathletes, they are fewer.  You can find McCormack, but Chris Lieto seems to be the guy who is most active.

Twitter can be so intimate -- it almost makes you feel like you are buddies with these guys, which is a little weird.  In fact, Hincapie tweeted that he was in LA training.  The next morning, I was pulling out of my driveway and saw him fly right by my house on his bike -- I assume this is some sort of good omen?  Who knows.

Anyway, this leads me to thinking about how I can use these media to help promote endurance sports, as well as plant based nutrition.  So I have become more active on Twitter myself.  

And along these lines, I just created a new group on Facebook called LA ULTRA!  A place for all LA based ultra-endurance athletes to build community -- through sharing insight and info on training, racing, nutrition, etc.

I hope you join me on the journey.  

You can find me on Twitter by clicking HERE.

You can find me on Facebook by clicking HERE.

And you can find the new Facebook Group LA ULTRA! by clicking HERE.


The latest?  My buddy Josef Ajram of Spain and my Ultraman compadre is trying to talk me into doing RAAM with him as part of a 2 man relay this June.  Say Whaaaat?

At first, I was all like, no way, no how.  Too hard.  Too expensive, too cray, too this, too that.  Every reason to pass it off as ludicrous.  Irresponsible.  Insane.  For those of you who may not know, "RAAM" stands for "Race Across America".  And what, pray-tell does that mean?  Exactly what it says.  A race across the entire United States.  Its "Cannonball Run".  Only on a bicycle.

Then I started to think about it.  That's how my addictive brain works, you see.  A crazy idea just gets lodged in there.  It festers.  And before long, it becomes an obsession.  That's how my Ultraman journey began.  And I feel it happening again.

Because when you think about it, you realize, wow, that could be pretty darn cool.  2 guys and a crew guttin' it out in June for 3000 miles across the entire U.S. of A.  From Oceanside, CA all the way to Annapolis, MD.  And unlike Ultraman, this ain't no stage race.  Its straight through -- stop at your peril.  From what I understand, the top soloists essentially ride non-stop coast to coast in about 12 days, on a diet of Ensure and 40 minutes of sleep per night in the bushes along the road.  Can there be anything more insane?  Of course.  But this is right up there at the top of the lunacy chart.

Then again, what an epic experience.  I can hardly say I'm ready for something like that solo, but I think I can begin to wrap my brain around doing it as a 2 man team in shifts.  Hardcore  Absolutely.  But plausible?  Definitely.

My boy Jason Lester from Ultraman is doing it solo.  And he only has one arm.  Ultraman Alums David Goggins & Tony O'Keefe (3rd at UM this year) are doing it solo.  And Shanna Armstrong from Ultraman is the reigning queen of this event.  If they can gut it out alone, I'm confident I can do a relay.

I'm not saying I'm committed.  Yet.  Let's just say its swirling around in the brain at the moment.  But it is exciting to think about.  Its 6 months away -- so just enough time to get ready if I shift focus.  But I would have to decide soon.  Very soon.

The only true limiter is finances.  But I know from experience, that when I have faith and just begin to move forward, if its in alignment with God's plan for me to do this, then somehow it will work out.

I'm told it would take a minimum of about $25 - $30K to fund the adventure -- crew vans, support, etc.  And I certainly can't afford to foot that bill.  Josef said he can raise 1/2 the budget from Spanish sponsors, which leaves me with needing to raise about $12 - $15K in sponsor funding.  So I have a few sources I plan to approach, but if anyone out there has any ideas for me or any companies / persons who would be willing to jump on the funding bandwagon, I'm all ears.  I guess what I'm saying is that if I can raise the money to do it, then I'm in.  And if I'm in, then I plan to raise alot of charity money.

Did I just commit to this?  I think I just did.  No, not really.  Well, maybe.  God help me:)

For more information on RAAM, click HERE.

TriathlonLab, Sponsorship & Update

I've been offline for a while, but plenty of things afoot!

First, I've been slowly inching back into my training, which has been great.  Put in a big 120 mile ride down in Carlsbad last Saturday with my boy Dave Meyer.  We rode the infamous "German Ride" -- the training loop Norman Stadler and Faris Al-Sultan trained on prior to their Kona wins.  I felt it working for me and my fitness was great for such an early season ride.  When I compare my current fitness to that of a year ago, its a joke.  I'm off to a great start headed into 2009 and super excited for quantum improvement, especially in my cycling, which was my major limiter at Ultraman last year.

In addition, I've been in the gym doing alot of CORE work for the first time ever and coming into an understanding of just how important this type of strength work is, especially at my age.  After only a couple weeks of working a rigorous core routine, I can feel my entire body working better, stronger and more efficiently.

On the sponsorship front, I've made some great inroads.  A couple weeks ago, I met with Lloyd and Teresa Taylor, the owners of TriathlonLab in Redondo Beach.  They are excited to sponsor me for 2009 and I am thrilled to have their support.  If you don't know these guys or the shop, this is the premiere triathlon specific retailer in the Los Angeles vicinity -- they know what they're doing and more importantly, they are great people.  And what is even cooler is that they just signed a deal with Chris McCormack to be his official retailer for all things triathlon.  So needless to say, I am in very good company and look forward to working with them.  I'll keep you posted as this relationship continues to develop.

Check out this video of Lloyd talking about their partnership with Rocket Science Sports, the manufacturer behind a great line of wetsuits.  If you follow swimming, you know that Rocket Science just came out with a competition swim suit that by all scientific accounts is FASTER than the Speedo LZR.  Skin suit issues and debate aside, this is incredible!

I wore the Rocket Science sleeveless wetsuit at Ultraman and it was just great.  The best wetsuit I have worn to date.  I look forward to experimenting with some of their new TriathlonLab branded suits this year.

On other fronts, I was contacted by Sziols Eyewear about sponsorship.  They have a very cool line of performance sunglasses, so I look forward to seeing what develops there.

In addition, I look forward to continuing my relationship with Vega and Juvenon, who supported me in 2008.

Training will remain a bit light for a period to avoid burnout when things really start to ramp up in the Spring.  But I am itching to start really hitting it!

If you are in FACEBOOK (who isn't?), Check out TriathlonLab HERE.

Ultraman Documentary

Check out this short (16 minute) documentary on my fellow Ultraman competitor Josef Ajram produced by Canal+ that aired on Spanish network television this week.

Its a fantastic behind-the-scenes look at Josef's Ultraman journey with epic cinematography and music that really conveys the emotional drama behind what this experience was all about.

Watching it, I relived every painful beautiful moment.

Its in Spanish, but even if you can't follow the language, its well worth a viewing.  You don't need words to get into it.

I was not able to embed the video, so click HERE to screen the film.

Interview With "Gold Medal Mel"

Thought you would enjoy this video and print interview I did with Mel Stewart for his “Gold Medal Mel” blog/website.

For those who may not know, Mel is a giant.  A true champion among champions and one of my all-time swimming heroes.

When I was a swimmer back in the 80's, Mel was a god — the greatest 200 butterfly swimmer of his era.  Not only did he hold the world record in the 200 fly (my event) for eons, I believe he still holds the record for the most national titles in one event -- an unbelievable 14!  More than any other male swimmer in USA Swimming history, Michael Phelps included.  Mel highlighted his amazing swimming career with 2 gold medals and a bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Of course Mel doesn't remember, but I will still never forget the drubbing he gave me at Junior Nationals in Ft Lauderdale back in the summer of 1984 when he was only 14 years old. It was clear back then that he was truly special -- that he would become a major swimming star. And he did not disappoint.  He remains one of the greatest swimming talents of all time.

In any event, today Mel is a model renaissance man himself.  A husband, father, screenwriter, filmmaker,  television broadcaster, journalist and overall phenomenal ambassador for the sport of swimming.  And if that's not enough, Mel is selflessly giving back to the sport he loves as an active spokesperson on behalf of the US Swimming Foundation, a fundraising organization that (among many other things) brings swimming education to underprivileged youth nation-wide.  In short, he is a guy who is not only passionate about all things swimming, but committed to giving back to the sport he loves -- an inspiration for us all.

To point, Mel is relentless blogger and advocate of all things swimming through his voracious social networking on Facebook, his articles on and his very entertaining blog posts, articles and videos on his Gold Medal Mel website, where he chronicles with a unique "bon vivance" all aspects of the sport from world champions to human interest stories.

It has been very fun following his journey and getting to know him a bit through Facebook and I am honored that he found my Ultraman journey worthy of his blog.  Hope you enjoy it!

Click HERE to visit the GOLD MEDAL MEL site.

Click HERE to visit the US SWIMMING FOUNDATION site.


Click HERE to visit Mel on Facebook.

The Vegan Athlete, con't...

I continue to get a lot of interest and intrigue on the advisability of a plant based diet for high performance athletes.  So I thought I would drop some more info on not only what I have experienced, but also what's out there on the subject.

Granted, this is somewhat new terrain.  There are not yet a lot of professional athletes dedicated to this program, but there are a notable few -- Track & Field's legendary Olympian Carl Lewis, NFL's Tony Gonzales, UFC Fighter Mac Danzig, Ultramarathoner Scott Jurek, NBA's Salin Stoudamire and pro triathlete Brendan Brazier among them -- courageously challenging and overcoming traditional notions of what an athlete "needs" or "should" be eating.  I love this stuff.  I'm telling you, this is not a hippy birkenstock thing.  If anything, its pure punk rock.

But rather than writing a voluminous primer on the subjects of protein intake, absorption rates, the benefits of an alkaline diet, recovery rates, and the connection between an animal based diet and heart disease and liver cancer, I will briefly outline some links that go into these various subjects in great detail.

THE CHINA STUDY: A fascinating study performed by Cornell University researcher and professor Dr. T. Colin Campbell, who initially sought to determine why Asian nations suffered lower rates of heart disease than Westernized nations.  What he determined was that communities with the highest incidence of animal product intake suffered the highest rates of chronic illness.  He challenges the "low carb" craze and takes on government interest groups while establishing a plant based diet as the healthiest form of good overall nutrition

GETTING BIG AND STRONG ON A VEGAN DIET: Article by vegan body builder and strength coach Mike Mahler on strength training, and plant based protein / amino acid intake.  I love the fact that this guy is a bodybuilder and vegan.  People, this is no longer a hippy-dippy deal.  Its about high performance nutrition, optimal nutrition intake and absorption, enhanced recovery rates, injury prevention and overall long-term wellness.

VEGAN ATHLETES AND PROTEIN: Article by Robert Cheeke, elite bodybuilder (and VEGA Sponsored athlete).  Great primer on the misinformation out there concerning the amount of protein necessary for optimal recovery and muscle building strength.  Even elite athletes only need about 10% of their diet to be protein based.  The trick as a vegan is to ensure that the foods consumed contain all of the 10 amino acids (building blocks of protein) necessary for muscle building, recovery and regeneration.

THRIVE DIET FUELING: Article by Brendan Brazier, pro triathlete, vegan and author of THRIVE, a primer on plant based nutrition for athletes and normies alike.  Here Brendan shares a few performance recipies designed to maximize workout performance and recovery.

THE 247 LB. VEGAN: Article in the Wall Street Journal about Kansas City Chiefs star tight-end Tony Gonzales, maverick vegan and highest paid tail-end in the NFL.

MAC DANZIG: Mac is a top ranked mixed martial arts and UFC fighter as well as dedicated vegan.  This is a link to his official site.  Click HERE for an article in Men's Fitness on his vegan regime, where he is listed as one of Men's Fitness "Fittest Guys in America".  Mac, Robert Cheeke and I are both sponsored by the VEGA product line of plant-based nutrition products.

SALIM STOUDAMIRE: A brief interview with Atlanta Hawks guard Salim Stoudamire on going vegan.  I believe he is sole NBA player on a plant based diet.

MONKEY BAR GYM: Official site of Jon Hinds, the former trainer for the LA Clippers, who is vegan.  This site contains voluminous information and articles on plant-based nutrition for athletes, including some of the above-listed articles.

THRIVE: Finally, I had lunch with Brendan Brazier the other day, the guy behind VEGA.  He was a wealth of knowledge on the subject of athletics and plant-based nutrition, most of which can be found in his book THRIVE.  If this subject at all intrigues you, I suggest you read this book!

I will leave you with one compelling thought as it relates to the vegan athlete and strength / power training.  Based upon the response from athletes Brendan has worked with, empirical studies, anecdotal evidence from other vegan athletes and my own personal experience, there is a strong correlation between vegan nutrition and a significant reduction in inflammation since a whole food plant-based diet is more alkaline forming. Therefore, such athletes have been able to avoid injury and recover from their workouts more quickly and schedule the next one sooner.

It cannot be controverted that this is the touchstone for all athletes in all sports where strength, power and endurance are a factor -- whether you are a baseball, football or hockey player or a swimmer, runner or triathlete.  You are always trying to get stronger and faster.  And advances in training science have heavily highlighted the importance or proper recovery between workouts as a key (if not the key) in achieving these goals.  If you can train hard and recover more quickly, the better and harder you can train the following day or week without overtraining.  This obviously leads to greater gains in shorter time periods, maximizing training results in a given season.

Brendan has written an article on the subject, which I will add to a future post.

EverymanTri Podcast Interview

Check out this print and audio podcast interview with Roman Mica of about my Ultraman experience.

As I am an avid listener of Roman's show, it was an honor to be interviewed by him.  And if you've never visited the site or listened to the podcast, check it out -- its loaded!  Great interviews with endurance and triathlon legends and tons of news and information on all things endurance and triathlon.

Click HERE for the article on

Click HERE to subscribe to the podcast.

Click HERE to listen to the podcast online.

Vega Ambassador

Thought I'd share that Sequel Naturals / VEGA just featured me in their recent subscriber e-mail.  Pretty cool.  They also added me to their site as one of their "Ambassadors". 

Click HERE for the link.

Here's the blurb that appeared on the site:

About Richard Roll
Title: Ultraman Triathlete

Richard Roll is a man of many hats. A husband, a father of four beautiful, healthy children, an entertainment attorney, filmmaker, writer as well as a passionate endurance athlete who placed 11th overall (third-fastest American, second-fastest swimmer) in the 2008 Ultraman World Championships-a multi-day uber-endurance event held on the Big Island of Hawaii at the end of November.

Considered one of most daunting and grueling endurance races on the planet, this 3-day / 320-mile, double-ironman distance triathlon circumnavigates the entire Big Island. Limited to only 35 carefully selected invitation-only participants from all over the world, Day 1 involves a 6.2 mile ocean swim, immediately followed by a 90-mile cross-country cycling race. Day 2 is a 170 mile cycling race, with the event culminating on Day 3 with a 52-mile, double-marathon run.

Having competed at the global level as a world-ranked swimmer at Stanford University in the late 80s, Richard has a robust and accomplished athletic background. He literally hung up his swimsuit in 1989, never to look back-or so he thought. By age 40, Richard was 35 pounds overweight and completely out of shape; it was time for a major life change.

To celebrate his 40th birthday in 2006, Richard overhauled his diet, became a dedicated vegan, put on his running shoes and jumped back into the pool.

Adopting the principals of Brendan Brazier's Thrive Diet, it wasn't long before ambition took hold and Richard's quest to participate in Ultraman began. Two years later, Richard has slimmed to a 165-pound machine, prepared to tackle the most challenging mental and athletic endeavor of his life—as a vegan.

Richard is probably the only vegan athlete to ever attempt Ultraman.

The Vega product line has been essential in not only ensuring my proper nutrition and wellness but also in aiding recovery between grueling dawn to dusk workouts that often exceed 140-mile rides and 40+mile runs. I could not have achieved my level of fitness without the help of Vega.

Out of Shape!

Man, how quickly it fades....

Yeah, I know I have this giant base built inside me, constructed over the last year as I trained for Ultraman.  But right now I feel like it has completely evaporated.  Like a magic trick -- POOF! and its gone.  

I took 3 weeks off after the race and did NOTHING except eat, spend time with my family, eat, work, eat, watch late night TV, eat, play with the kids, and eat.

In this brief period of time, I gained over 10 pounds, lost a good part of my muscle tone, became lazy and quickly reverted back to some old "former me" habits (let's not go there).  Oh how quickly it fades....

I realize (and embrace) that this is all part of a heathy long-term approach to training and racing.  I need to let my body heal, reset, rest and hibernate a bit.  Its healthy and necessary.  You just can't go all year round and remain fresh and excited about training and racing.  I pounded so hard, so relentlessly without a break for 7 months straight, that I needed to do this.  To avoid burnout and injury, to let my body and mind repair itself.  I'm not a head case.  I'm not the guy who can't resist overtraining.  I learned my lesson on this during my swimming career, during which time I obsessively and compulsively overtrained myself right out of the sport.  I know too much to make this mistake again.

But I'm over the break.  I built such a huge fitness / endurance base that I don't want to let it slip through my fingers.  I have a shot at quantum improvement by building on what I've done for a great 2009, so I started easing back into it this weekend.  With an emphasis on ease......

A leisurely long trail run on Friday, a social ride up PCH on Saturday with the Chris Hauth disciple crew on Saturday, and a swim / run on Sunday.  The verdict?  Officially out of shape -- in just 3 weeks!  This was most noticeable on my Saturday ride and my Sunday swim.  My running feels OK, but man, I felt like a total novice on the bike and was sucking major air in the pool.  It is astounding how quickly this happened.

That said, I know it will come back quickly with a little consistent effort.  This winter will be about core work in the weight room and a focus on cycling.  Looking back on my UM results and split times, it is clear that cycling is my limiter -- and also the easiest to improve with a concerted consistent effort.  I believe I can make major improvement here and return to UM next year with a huge leap in performance.

But that's a long way off.  Right now just dipping my toe back into it.  My ankles are sore and stiff, still ailing a bit from UM so I nee to be vigilant to avoid injury.  I really don't want to be sidelined.....So just slow and steady for now.

Brendan Brazier

In my last post (and in several previous posts), I mentioned Brendan Brazier, pro triathlete, vegan, inspirational speaker, writer of The Thrive Diet and the person behind the VEGA nutrition products that I use and have promoted on this site.

However, I have never met or spoken to Brendan.  Until now.  I just got an e-mail from him giving me a thumbs up on my Ultraman performance and thanking me for putting the word out on all things Vega.  My pleasure, Brendan.

And if that's not cool enough, turns out he recently moved to LA from Vancouver, so trying to hook up with him for lunch at my local favorite vegan joint, Real Food Daily.

So cool.

Check out this little video he put together....Nice.

Vegan Nutrition

In the wake of Ultraman, I have been asked several times -- how did you train for and race Ultraman on a vegan diet!?!  No meat?  No dairy?!?  That is impossible!

No, it is not impossible.  Not only is it possible, I suggest that in some cases, and for some people, it just might be advisable.

I realize that conventional wisdom suggests that one MUST eat meat and dairy if you want to train and race at your peak, build muscle, and recovery properly.  I respectfully disagree, at least when it comes to me.  Maybe its the punk rocker that lives deep down inside me, but part of this past year has been taking this notion head on and putting it to the test.  Turning it on its head.  And I think my Ultraman result speaks for itself.

Again, I'm not a doctor.  I'm not a nutritionist.  I only relate my personal experience.  This is an effort to show what has worked for me this past year as I endured 20 - 30 hour training weeks through a top finish at Ultraman, all while simultaneously working full time and being a husband and a father.

First off, if this subject interests you at all, I suggest checking out pro triathlete Brendan Brazier's book The Thrive Diet.  This is a cornucopia of information on not only overall wellness but also on performance nutrition on a plant based diet.  It is pretty fascinating.

Also, I am lucky in that I live near a fantastic vegan restaurant Real Food Daily, among others.  Plus my wife is a great vegan cook.  But if you are not in LA and don't have a wife like mine, no worries -- you can get the RFD cookbook, which has great recipes for everything from nachos to burgers, all vegan.  Click HERE for the link to the cookbook.

Second, get a juicer.  This has been the centerpiece of my program.  You can get a relatively inexpensive Jack LaLane model at your local Costco or Target for around $100.

Overall what I have discovered by virtue of this diet is that I tend to have good lasting energy all day, without the peaks and valleys.  I eat smaller meals and sometimes more than 3 meals per day.  I recover well from workouts and am able to bounce back fresh day in and day out.  Believe me, if I felt like I really needed to eat meat or dairy, I would have.  I just never felt like I really needed to.

There is this notion that you need a lot of animal protein in your diet to perform.  This is simply not true.  In a future post I will address this subject in detail.  But for now, suffice it to say that there is alot of misleading information out there about protein and just how much (and what kind you need).  In essence, you can and will get all the protein you need from a plant based diet.

However, one caveat.  I am human.  I am fallible.  And I do have urges.  Over the last 7 months I was not absolutely perfect in this.  I had a few (but only a very few) weak moments when I had some pizza or a piece of cheese.  And going totally gluten free is a very tall order.  There were times when this just wasn't possible and I had some bread or pasta.  I'm not a monk.  Like you I live in the real world -- business lunches, etc..  But overall, these moments were very few and far between.  

Ultra marathon legend and vegan Scott Jurek claims that his body has become so adept at absorbing his nutrient rich foods that he needs to eat less and operates at a higher efficiency.  I can honestly say that I know what he is talking about.  And I think he (and Carl Lewis) know what they are talking about?

Here's a rundown of some of my standbys and favorites, meal by meal.  If you have a Whole Foods nearby, you can get everything there.  Otherwise, you may need to check your local health food store for some of these foods, such as gluten free pastas and breads, etc.  If you strike out there, everything is available online.

Carrot, beet, kale (or spinach) and orange juice with flax seed oil (or VEGA EFA Oil)
Gluten free toast with peanut or almond butter
Gluten free cereal (corn flakes or corn or rice based cereals)
Almond milk
VEGA meal replacement powder
Hemp or soy protein powder

Organic energy bars
Gluten free crackers

Rice & beans
Veggie Burritos (preferably with a gluten free tortilla, but this can be a tall order)
various veggie broth based soups
Veggie Sushi
Salads of all kinds (just no dairy based dressing)
Juice (carrot / beet / kale / wheatgrass / orange / berry) - preferably organic

Vegan nachos (see Real Food Daily Cookbook -- cashew cheese)
Veggie Burgers (make sure gluten free -- most of them are not -- its the gluten that makes them stick together)
Gluten free pasta (with tomato or vegan pesto sauce)
Veggie chili
Greens of all kinds -- broccoli, spinach, green beans, brussel sprouts, etc.  The more the better.
More juicing!
Potatos -- salad, baked, broiled, even fried
Water -- lots of water!

Bragg's Aminos
Vegan Ceaser dressing
Olive oil
Flax seed oil
Peanut / almond butter

BCAA's (Branch Chain Amino Acids)
various gels (EFS is my current fave)
Soy Protein
Hemp Protein (Living Harvest) 
Peanut butter
Bonk Breakers
Potatos / hash browns
Endurolytes / Thermolytes
Creatine powder

I plan on going into some additional detail on some favorites as well as race / training nutrition in future posts.

Carl Lewis - Olympic Legend and.....Vegan!

As many of you who have followed this blog may know, I am a vegan.  Part of my Ultraman quest was to prove to myself and to other athletes out there that not only can one participate in athletics as a vegan, but rather that this is a recipe to excel athletically.

I think Ultraman proved my point -- 11th overall.  3rd fastest American.  2nd fastest swimmer.  Plant based diet.  Pretty certain I was the only vegan.

I will be posting more about my thoughts on nutrition in the coming weeks.  And I will be speaking only from my own experience.  I am not a nutritionist or a doctor.  I only share what has worked and not worked for me.

But here's a thought.  Olympic track and field legend Carl Lewis had his best performances on a vegan diet.  Don't believe me?  Check out this video.  And Carl is not alone.  It is my belief that this is the advent of a new movement in athletic nutrition.  And as always, its the triathletes and ultra athletes who are at the vanguard.  I hope to play a small part.