DORON’S BLOG

In this blog, you will find Doron’s thought’s about his training and the races he has completed. Feel free to click the RSS Subscription button below to subscribe and be notified in your web browser about updates to the blog.

Rose Bowl Half Marathon
As I have traditionally done after a race, I write a summary of the race for those people that have supported my racing efforts through Team Tisser Foundation (TTF), the non-profit charity co-founded by my wife Laurie and me. The following is a summary of my latest race.
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Surf City Marathon
My 2007-2008 marathon and triathlon season was supposed to start at the end of 2007 with a half marathon race (13.1. miles). Unfortunately, due to injuries and not feeling well, I didn’t do that race.
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The Perfect Season (and more) Accomplished
Let me give you the bottom line first. I achieved a lifetime personal best in the Ironman triathlon (a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run) at Ironman Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on June 24, 2007. I finished the race in 13 hours 54 minutes, almost 2 hours faster than last year’s time of 15 hours, 45 minutes.
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Ford 70.3: The Dream Continues for the Perfect Season
As you may recall, my goal for the 2006-2007 season is to have my Perfect Season, which will consist of breaking my lifetime personal best time in 4 different races, a half marathon, a full marathon, a half Ironman triathlon and a full Ironman triathlon.
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IRONMAN COEUR D’ALENE: A RACE TO REMEMBER
As you know, I competed at Ironman Coeur d’Alene, in Idaho, on June 25, 2006.
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Woodland Hills, California to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho: 4,410 Miles
Have you ever had a dream you were working towards? Do you remember how nervous and excited you were as the day approached for making your dream come true?
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168 Mile Thanksgiving Bike Ride
On Friday November 25, 2005, I set out to do something I had never done before; I was going to ride my bicycle from the San Fernando Valley to Santa Maria, California over the course of three days as part of my fund-raising efforts on behalf of Team Tisser Foundation, raising monies to fight cancer and other diseases.
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Doron Tisser Completes Big Kahuna Triathlon
September 11, 2005 is a day I will remember as the day I set a new personal record for completing a half Ironman distance triathlon at the Big Kahuna Triathlon on a beautiful day in Santa Cruz, California.
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Doron M. Tisser Completes California Half Ironman
April 3, 2004 is a day I will not forget. In addition to it being my uncle Zev’s birthday, my aunt Sara (his wife), was very ill with cancer, and I dedicated this race to her.
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5430 Triathlon: My First Half Ironman Distance Race
Today is the big day I have been training for. I have had so much support from friends and family that I can’t even explain what it means to me.
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Triathlon - The Early History of the Sport
Four years before the Ironman, the first triathlon was held on Mission Bay in San Diego. It was directed and conceived by Jack Johnstone and Don Shanahan and sponsored by the San Diego Track Club. What follows is the story of the beginnings of this new sport as remembered by one of its founders.
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July 2007

The Perfect Season (and more) Accomplished

Let me give you the bottom line first. I achieved a lifetime personal best in the Ironman triathlon (a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run) at Ironman Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on June 24, 2007. I finished the race in 13 hours 54 minutes, almost 2 hours faster than last year’s time of 15 hours, 45 minutes.

This accomplishes my goal of breaking my lifetime bests in a half marathon (13.1 mile race), full marathon (26.2 mile race), half Ironman triathlon (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run), and a full Ironman triathlon all in one season, thus completing my Perfect Season.

Besides completing the race, a proud moment occurred at the awards banquet after the race. I was honored by the Janus Charity Challenge (which rewards fundraisers at each Ironman event) by being called up to the awards stage. By raising over $41,000 for Team Tisser Foundation, I received the award for being the 3rd highest fundraiser at Ironman Coeur d’Alene, which you can see in our conference room. As a result, Team Tisser foundation will receive a donation from Janus in the amount of $6,000. This made my Perfect Season even more perfect!

Let me describe the race for you.

Race day started for me at 3:30 a.m. when I got up to have breakfast, so it would digest before the 7 a.m. start time. I had packed all my items the day before, so I was able to relax and read a book. I went down to the starting area at 5:45 a.m. to make final preparations for my race equipment and get myself read for the swim.

When I went outside, it was about 45 degrees and windy, and the waves in the lake were choppy.

I went to the area where my bike was parked with 2,200 other bikes. When I put some air in the front tire to make sure it was properly inflated, the tube blew out and I had to replace the tube. After spending time doing this, I went over to add some things to the bag I would use after the swim to change into my biking gear.

I then went to open the bag I had with my swim gear so I could put on my wetsuit and other items I would need for the swim. Unfortunately, I could not find the bag where I had put it down. I have to admit I was panicked; the race was starting in 30 minutes.

After searching for about 10 minutes, I found the bag; someone had moved it. I put on my wetsuit and went to the swim starting line, where I took pictures with my family.

One of the most beautiful sites in athletics is watching the swim start of an Ironman triathlon. There is nothing like the view of 2,200 athletes all swimming together at the same time. It is especially beautiful when seen from a helicopter.

Because the water in the lake was so choppy, the race organizers gave the athletes the option to not do the swim and, instead, only do the bike and the run (a duathlon). My family asked me if I would take that option and I said no, I worked too hard to do an Ironman and that was what I wanted to do. The water was so choppy that they had over 60 boats and kayaks in the water to help the athletes if needed.

The swim started off okay with the physical issues that go into a swim. You see, everyone is trying to move forward at the same time on the same course and it is inevitable that people will kick you, hit you, try to swim over you and do whatever else they can to keep moving forward as fast as they can. They are not doing this intentionally; they are just trying to go through anyone who is in their way.

I received my fair share of the hitting and kicking, but the worst incident happened as we were entering the lake for the second swim lap when I got elbowed in the head. It took me by surprise and I had a headache the rest of the race.

On the way out from shore, the water was so choppy that I had to be careful with my breathing so I wouldn’t swallow too much water, which I ultimately did throughout the swim. Usually, I breathe on every third stroke so that I am alternating breathing on my right and left sides. This time, however, I had to deal with the choppiness of the water and how it lifted me and dropped me during the swim. If I tried to breath when the water dropped me, I would get a mouth full of water, which happened quite a few times. So, I had to try to breathe while I was lifted by the water. This was also tricky because when the water dropped me, it often felt like I was doing a belly-flop, especially when my face hit the water.

Remember, this was happening while people were trying to swim through and over me. So, it was like playing a three dimensional game, except that it was real and I had to pay attention to everything that was happening around me and adjust what I was doing at all times.

The hardest part of the swim for me is when we have to swim around the first buoy. Before and after the buoy, the swimmers are somewhat spread out. But when we get to the buoy and everyone is swimming around it, we tend to congregate in a very small area and there is much more physical contact. This time was even harder with the choppy waves.

When we turned and swam parallel to shore, the choppiness was so bad that we were all blown off course and back to shore (while we trying to swim parallel to the shore). As a result, we had to swim farther just to get back on course.

The best part, however, was when we turned and swam back to shore. The waves helped carry us back and made that part of the swim easier.

I completed the swim in 1 hour, 41 minutes, which was 17 minutes slower than last year, but a time I was happy with given the conditions.

When I got out of the water, I was very cold, because the air temperature was colder than the water temperature; the water temperature was about 58 degrees, but the air temperature was only about 48 degrees. I picked up my bag with my bike clothes and went into the changing tent. It took about five minutes for me to be able to move my fingers so that I could change clothes. When I finally got on my bike, I was cold enough that I wore arm warmers, but my teeth wouldn’t stop chattering for the first six miles.

As the temperature warmed up, I rolled down my arm warmers. While the temperature ultimately reached 72 degrees, there were many places on the bike we rode through that were shaded and much cooler so that I would have to push the arm warmers back up my arms. In addition, as you might expect, we experienced headwinds on the course, but that is just a part of cycling that you have to accept.

The first 14 miles of the two loop bike course were the same as last year; it was the other 42 miles that were changed this year. Last year, the bike course was relatively flat with a couple of good hills. This year, however, they changed the bike course by making it very hilly, and changing it to include about 3,500 feet of climbing on each 56 mile bike loop. Almost all of the climbing was during one 20 mile part of each loop, so that made the course even tougher.

As tough as the bike course was, I enjoyed it. I trained on steeper hills and so the climbing didn’t bother me as much as it bothered other racers. Besides, the scenery was incredible, especially going through the town of Hayden and its beautiful lake.

I tried something new on the bike this year. Last year, I stopped at most of the aid stations to get food and drinks to carry with me on the bike. This year, I didn’t stop. Instead, I took drinks while I was riding through the aid stations so I wouldn’t have to stop and I carried enough food on me to last me the entire bike ride. This helped tremendously in having a quicker bike time than last year.

I had prepared a Special Needs Bag which the race organizers would have ready for me at mile 63 so that I could replenish anything I needed for the rest of the bike race, but I didn’t stop for it, so I was able to save time.

Per my coach’s instructions, I rode the first 56 mile loop conservatively so that I could go faster on the second loop. If I went too fast on the first loop, I might burn out and not be able to have a strong run. It was really difficult to hold back on the first loop because I was trying to do the best I could, but I knew my coach was right. So even as people passed me, I stuck to my game plan and followed what another triathlete once told me: “Plan your race and race your plan.” As a result, I passed people on the second lap that had passed me on the first lap. Going faster on the second half is called a “negative split” and I was able to pull it off, which I know helped me with the rest of the day.

My final time on the new bike course was 7 hours, 3 minutes, which was about 1 hour faster than last year’s time on an easier bike course, so I really had a great bike split this time. I really enjoyed the bike course, as did most of the athletes.

The whole day I was really looking forward to the last leg of the race, when I would have to run a full marathon (26.2 miles). My training and running this year has been the best ever and I new that the marathon would be a good part of the day.

I started the run feeling good and was able to maintain a 9 ½ per mile pace for the first 5 miles, but then I started to slow down a bit. My head was still hurting from the morning swim when I got elbowed in the head and the pounding of the running wasn’t helping. There were quite a few times I was feeling so bad that I wanted to walk, but I knew that once I started walking, it would be too easy throughout the race to take walking breaks and that would prevent me from accomplishing my goal. So I kept running, and even ran through the uphills, while most people walked.

It was important to keep up my nutrition during the run. The plan was to have one gel each hour and to drink some Gatorade and water at each aid station (about every mile). This worked for the first two hours. Then, I tried to eat a gel and couldn’t stomach the taste and texture of it. After having gels during the bike ride and in the first two hours of the run, my stomach couldn’t take it any more. So I tried other things.

I tried pretzels, but found I couldn’t digest the solid food. I tried a cookie, but had the same results. I then tried coke to ease my stomach and to give me some sugar for energy. The coke should be flat so as not to upset my stomach, but for some reason the aid stations were keeping the coke cold. So when I tried it, the carbonation made me sick and upset my stomach.



I had warm chicken broth, which is easy on the stomach and contains salt. It was good, but I could only stomach a little bit at a time. So for most the race, I just had some chicken broth, Gatorade and water. During the last 5 miles, I had some orange slices, which were tasty. The toughest part of the race course was the first lap because I knew I needed to get through the first 13.1 miles before I could start thinking about finishing the race. So it took a lot of patience to just keep running at the same pace through the first 13.1 mile loop. While I didn’t feel like was running fast, I was passing a lot of people, most of whom were walking. After completing a 2.4 mile swim and a 112 mile bike ride, it really is hard to run (and not walk) a full 26.2 mile marathon, but I was determined to do it.

As the race went on, I felt like I was slowing down, but I was determined not to walk and I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. There were signs on the road that spectators had made for their family and friends who were racing, so I kept looking for the signs my family made. In addition, people wrote encouraging things on the sidewalk, which I enjoyed reading.

One writing on the ground was especially funny to me. You see, I have had more falls during my training runs this year than ever before, and I have gotten pretty banged up, even hitting my chin and head on the ground at one point. So the writing on the ground that read “Don’t trip while you’re reading this” seemed like it was meant for me, but my family assures me that they didn’t write it.

As I finished the first loop of the run, I finally allowed myself a smile and to be able to think about finishing. I still had a lot of work ahead of me to complete the next 13.1 mile loop, but I knew the end was in sight. I looked at my watch and figured out what I would need to do to finish the race in the goal that I had set for myself.

Last year, I finished at 10:45 p.m. and this year I had set myself a goal of finishing under 15 hours. This year was not just about finishing (as was last year), but this year I had a more concrete goal. As I kept running and as I got closer to the finish line, I could see my goal was going to be achieved. In fact, I saw that if I kept up the same pace, I would break 14 hours, which was something that I didn’t think I could do when I was planning my race.

In the last mile of the run, I could hear the crowds and the music from the finish line. What a thrill! Between the noise that was waiting for me and the realization that I was going to finish in under 14 hours, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. As I turned the corner on Sherman Ave, I could see the finish line 5 blocks ahead of me. People all around were yelling and cheering and the noise got louder as I got closer to the finish line. Before I entered the finish chute, my two sons, Benjamin and Jeremy, ran out on the race course and hugged me, which made the crowd yell even louder. We started running together towards the finish and a few steps later, my wife (and biggest fan), Laurie, joined the three of us. We then held hands and ran together through the finish line in a moment I will never forget.

I completed what I believe is the perfect race, that is, getting to the finish line by using all of my strength and not having anything left 2 steps after I crossed the finish line. This is what happened to me. I ran the perfect race and had a perfect day, completing it with my family running with me across the finish line.

To give you an idea of how I did throughout the day, there were 131 men in my age group, ages 50 – 54. At the end of the swim, I was 97th out of the 131 men. In the bike, I was 85th out of the 131, and in the run I was 46th in my age group. I finished 63rd out of 131 men in my age group at the end of the day.

Out of about 2,200 competitors, I was 1,849th in the swim, 1,561st in the bike and 964th in the run. I passed 146 in the bike, and I passed 346 people in the run. Overall, in the race, I was 1,849th after the swim, 1,703rd after the bike and 1,357 overall in the race.

I am happier than I can tell you with my performance and I have achieved every goal I aspired to this season in completing my Perfect Season. This could not have happened without the help of a lot of people, so I would like to thank them at this point.

First, my darling wife Laurie, who was more supportive than I could ever describe to you. She not only went along with my crazy workout schedule, she helped me every step of the way. My sons, Jeremy and Benjamin, as always, were always supporting me and kept me company at meals when I wasn’t with Laurie, so I wouldn’t eat alone.

Next, I want to thank you, all the supporters of Team Tisser Foundation. I was racing not just for myself, but to raise money for various charitable causes. This was borne out by the award Team Tisser Foundation received at Ironman Coeur d’Alene, which we share with each and every one of you. You have come through for me and the charities Team Tisser Foundation supports and I thought of all of you and the people Team Tisser supports as the race went on, especially in the run when there were times I wanted to stop. I thank you so much for your support and I hope you will continue to support Team Tisser throughout the year.

I want to thank my coach, Joanne Zeiger. Those of you who participate in triathlons will know her name. For those of you who don’t know her, I can tell you she is by far the best coach I have had in my athletic life. She has fantastic knowledge, the ability to communicate with her athletes and she understands how workouts, life, family and work have to be balanced. She has helped me break every personal record I have strived for. She herself is a professional triathlete, having won national titles, competed in the Olympics, and was named triathlete of the year in 2000. While these credentials are impressive, the best accolade I can give her is that she is a true mensche.