Monday, March 31, 2014

Triple Threat Profile: Sean McLean - Pennsylvania

Sean McLean is an awesome success story of a guy who has changed his life through running and triathlon. He toed the line for the NYC triathlon last summer 80 lbs lighter than when he began his journey, and he continues to be a man on a mission. Among other things he talks about the progress he's made, future goals, and channeling his inner Rocky Balboa in training.

What's your background and how did you get into triathlon?

Athletically, you could say I have no background; that would suggest I might have wanted to voluntarily swim, bike or run. I played baseball as a kid, and wrestled for a brief period, but nothing that would suggest ‘future endurance athlete’, and I use that term loosely!

You wrote in your application that you “started off not able to run to the mailbox just 2 years ago.” How did you spend most of your time before you started training, and what motivated you to start?

I graduated college in 2007, where I put on the freshman fifteen more than once, and after graduating I spent quite a bit of time getting acquainted with local breweries, restaurants, and craft beers. I work in clinical trial management, which involves a significant amount of travel (and the poor eating that comes along with it), and sitting at a desk for 8-9 hours a day. One day I woke up and found myself pushing 300 lbs; a wake up call to say the least. Following that dose of reality, I picked a goal and set to training. First challenge was a Tough Mudder.

It took me a few weeks just to get up to running (if you want to call it that) a mile non-stop. I started adding on the distance from there and found myself getting marginally faster and actually enjoying getting out for a run. From then on, I started signing up for running events and the occasional cycling charity ride. Early in 2012, I stumbled upon the NYC Triathlon, and like my first Tough Mudder, it looked to be a great challenge to focus my training and keep on track. Between my first time lacing up a pair of running shoes for their intended purpose and jumping into the water for the NYC Tri, I lost close to 80 pounds, and couldn’t compete in the Clydesdale class that I had originally signed up for!

Can you give us a summary of how your first triathlon went last summer, and how has the journey been since?

It was a learning experience, to say the least. Prior to the race, I shirked a lot of the training plans and advice that I had found online, and just did my own thing? Brick workout? Nah! The swim and the bike went great, but when I got through T2 and started to run, it was miserable. I hadn’t prepared appropriately, and I was paying for it and spending way more time on the run course then I wanted to, given the 90°/90% humidity day we were having. Still, I had a phenomenal time, and cannot wait to go back again – I’m actually volunteering this year to secure a redemption spot in 2015! Since then I’ve started to focus on more specific training, gotten a bike that actually fits me, and I’m looking forward to a few more races this year (Philadelphia and Atlantic City, so far).

What was your initial impression of your local running & triathlon communities? Have they been welcoming to you as a beginner?

I’ve run quite a few road races in the area, and so far they’ve all been great. From fairly competitive events like the Broad Street Run 10-miler and Cooper Norcross Bridge 10K to local races through the vineyards, the events are all very well run and cater to the elites and beginners equally.

What's your focus in terms of racing and/or goals for the 2014 season?

My racing goals aren’t too precise – I’ve still got a long way to go before I’m in danger of being on a podium, so my goals are more training oriented. Specifically, I want to get my 5K PR down 2-3 minutes, and be more consistent with maintaining my weekly long runs. With regard to racing goals, I have my eyes set on 2015. I’m looking forward to going back to NYC and knocking significant time off my 2013 result, and capping the year off with my first HIM (likely Princeton 70.3).

Can you tell us a bit about your day job, and what hobbies do you have outside of work and triathlon?

I work in development for new oncology drugs; I’m responsible for managing clinical trials across the US and abroad. It’s certainly time-consuming, but it's work that I’m passionate about, and hopefully I’m making a smidge of a difference in the ongoing war on cancer. I’m also finishing up my Master’s degree at night, so between work, school, and training – there isn’t a whole lot of extra time! I try to spend a lot time with my wife and our thirteen nieces and nephews, and we try to sneak in a few quick getaways each year.

It sounds like you travel a lot for work. Where have been your favorite places to train away from home?

Yep, it comes in spurts, but I’ve been traveling a lot recently (on a flight right now, second of three cross country trips in the span of a few weeks). It definitely puts a kink in proper training and nutrition, but it provides a great opportunity to get out and run somewhere you’ve never been. One of my favorite places has been the Centennial Trail in Spokane, WA – great scenery, good running surface, and plenty of other athletes out – if you wanted, you could run it all the way out to Coeur d’Alene – beautiful area that makes me want to do the IM there someday.

Your wife is a runner as well, correct? Do you run together, and has she considered dipping her toe in the triathlon waters?

Yep, and one of the perks of finally getting into shape was being able to join her for training runs, and race together. We run most of our longer races together, but we get a bit competitive for the 5Ks. She beat me on the first race of the year, but I still hold the McLean Household PR! I’ve been trying to get her to give triathlon a try, but so far I’ve been unsuccessful. I suppose watching me jump into the Hudson turned her off a bit, I might be more successful somewhere tropical with crystal-clear water. Key West Tri is on my radar.

Rank your favorite Philly sports teams from top to bottom. Also, what’s your favorite aspect of training in the Philly area?

1. Eagles
2. Phillies
3. Flyers
487. 76ers (not a fan of basketball, but this twitter account keeps me in the loop)

(editor's note: at press time the 76ers had finally broken their 26-game losing streak!)

One of the great things about living near Philadelphia is the variety of places we can train. There are wonderful trails and parks in Philadelphia, and they are creating more every day. Many of the old train tracks are being converted into paved pathways that are great for car-free cycling workouts. Outside of the city, it's quick access to great parks in the suburbs and in Central NJ where I work. There’s tons of races to choose from in the immediate area, and if I want to drive a bit – I have NY, DC, and Boston within a few hours’ reach.

On that note, my sources tell me you regularly reenact this famous Philly scene, from the attire all the way down to recruiting local elementary school kids to join. Care to comment??

No comment! 

On a serious note, I did reenact the run once with a bunch of my friends. Not the exact route, mind you – it would be over 30 miles! We had some shirts made, met down at the famous Geno’s cheesesteaks, and ran to the art museum, up the steps, and all the way back. About 7 miles all told – we were better dressed though! (Then we ate cheesesteaks and undid anything healthy we had accomplished).

Triple Threat team interview archives:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

March Madness: 2nd Annual Ironman Challenge!

As you are probably aware, mega-rich investor Warren Buffett was part of an NCAA tournament challenge in which a perfect bracket would win a cool $1 billion. You'd think out of 15 million entries someone would at least get really close, right?? Instead, after a mere two rounds of games, every last one is out!

What better time, then, to unveil the 2nd annual Triple Threat Triathlon Ironman Challenge?

You can check out last year's post to get all the details, but the instructions are pretty simple:

Given the option of two races, which would you choose? Assume you just won the aforementioned Buffett challenge and money is no object. Also assume zero travel time... a snap of the fingers and you're checking in at the race site. There are no seeds, nor right or wrong answers. Just pick the race you'd rather do, for whatever reason.

Last year the races were sorted by host city, but this year is just a random order. 


Monday, March 24, 2014

Nixon's Nuggets - Spring Bike Maintenance 101

Stewart Nixon represents the great state of Colorado on the Triple Threat team. As I mentioned in his interview, he has a wealth of triathlon experience and wisdom... so much so, that I asked if he'd be willing to write a recurring guest column for the blog. He obliged, and we are all the better for it.

My main takeaway from the info below is that "never" is probably not a good strategy for any of the items... some I'll do on my own and others I won't, but the more educated and aware we are when it comes to bike maintenance, the better.

So sit back, relax, and learn as Nixon drops some serious nuggets of knowledge!

It’s getting to be spring time and along with the thaw of winter comes thoughts of venturing outdoors for our training rides. If your bike has endured a winter long season of trainer use, or even if it just sat all winter, unused since your last race, there are some steps you should take to ensure that your first day on the road, and the many days following, are not riddled with annoyances. 

This will be a two part post. Part one will cover some minimum maintenance items that I feel just about anyone can handle themselves at home. Part two will cover some advanced steps as well as a few tips to keep your bike cleaner while using it on your trainer. Of course, if you aren’t comfortable tackling your own bike maintenance, find a good local bike shop you can trust and develop a relationship. At the very least, you should be able to handle the first “minimum.” 

If you do wish to attempt any of this at home, I would highly recommend purchasing a bike repair manual to assist you. Sutherland’s Handbook for Bicycle Mechanics and the Barnett Bicycle Institute’s Manual are considered the Holy Grail of maintenance books but there are many adequate, less expensive options.


Wash your bike top to bottom. A thorough cleaning will get you up close and personal with many easy to check items, killing two birds with one stone. There’s no real need to get fancy with the wash product; a grease cutting dishwashing liquid is more than adequate. Use a soft bristle brush and rinse, wash, rinse, but skip a high power hose. The pressure can push gunk where you don’t want it and force out grease where you do want it. Dry it with a soft, absorbent cloth. 

Clean the chain. You can do this with the chain on the bike or you can remove the chain from the bike to clean it. My favorite solvent to use is a citrus de-greaser. The tools shown are convenient to use, allowing the chain to remain on your bike. 

Chain washer and cog/chainring cleaner

Lubricate the chain. Is your drivetrain loud as you pedal? It is not uncommon for people training indoors to think that the chain does not need lubrication since it is exposed to few of the harsh elements we encounter outside. Though the lubrication interval may be extended while using your bike inside, it should not be neglected, and is definitely something you want to do before your first outdoor ride. I won’t go into the best lubricants for chains, as there are a myriad of lubricants available, but I will say do NOT use 3-in-1 oil, WD40, or automotive motor oil. 

Check chain stretch. You can use a metal ruler, tape measure or use a “chain checker” to measure the chain wear of your current chain. To get the most accurate measurement, this should be done with the chain on the bike so there is some tension on the chain. Line up an inch mark of the ruler with a link pin and measure out 12 complete links. A brand new chain will have the other link pin line up exactly on an inch mark. If your chain’s link pin is less than 1/16” beyond the inch mark, you’re fine. At 1/16” or greater you should replace the chain. If the link pin is 1/8” or more past the inch mark, you will probably have to replace some rear cogs and/or chainrings. If you do need to replace the chain and you are going to do the work yourself, you will need a chain breaker even though most modern chains are connected with some type of master link. The reason is that all chains come longer than what you will most often use necessitating the removal of some links to fit the chain properly. The easiest way to do this is to use your old chain as a length guide, popping off the links of the new chain that extend beyond your old one. 

Chain breaker, link pin tool, and chain checker

Check chainrings and cogs for wear. If you have used your chain well beyond the “replace” measurement, your cogs and chainrings can wear to best fit the wear on the chain. A new chain will not fix the wear on the other drivetrain parts and you will speed up the useful life of the new chain as it adapts to the old wear patterns. If you see daylight between the cogs/chainrings and a new chain (when under some tension), it’s time to replace some of those other parts.

new chain on a worn cog

Replace brake and derailleur inner wire. Brake and derailleur wires stretch with use due to their mechanical nature of operating. Over time, your shifting and braking become compromised in the form of chain skip (getting stuck between gears) and spongy brakes. If your inner wires are fairly new, you can just use the adjusting barrels to “tighten” things up. But if your inner wires haven’t been changed since last season (or longer), now is the time to replace them. It is also a good idea to coat the new inner wire with a light weight grease or oil to reduce friction within the housing. My favorite is Phil Wood Tenacious Oil. 

Check brake and derailleur housing. Modern cable housing doesn’t compress like the cable housing of old and generally if you are replacing the inner wire, you might as well replace the housing as well. At a minimum, check that the housing doesn’t have any kinks, frayed ends, or worn areas. If it does, replace it. If not, it’s up to you if you want to replace it. If replacing, now might also be a good time to consider using a “compression-less” housing like Nokon or I-link. It’s more expensive than traditional housing but some advantages include almost no compression of the housing giving you crisp shifts and positive brake feel, tighter bends without kinking, and in many cases it’s lighter weight than conventional housing. 

Check bar tape. No one likes a bike with beat up bar tape, it just looks ugly. If yours has seen better days, install some fresh tape. 

Check torque of all bolts. I would consider this optional since it is unlikely that any bolts have loosened, especially if your bike has sat unused all winter and if they were torqued correctly to begin with. But it doesn’t hurt to check them. Many parts have recommended torque settings printed on them. In the old days of steel everything, we just cranked it down until it was tight. With the advent of different materials, especially carbon fiber, it’s way more critical to tighten to the correct torque so you don’t overstress parts and endure a catastrophic failure. 

torque wrench

Clean brake track on rims and brake pads. I like to use a toothbrush and rubbing alcohol to do this. The toothbrush allows you to scrub any gunk buildup and the alcohol evaporates so there is no residue left on the brake surface. If they are really grimey, use a solvent like 409 or Simple Green and a rag then finish with the toothbrush and rubbing alcohol. For brake pads, first wipe them off with a clean, dry rag to remove any brake dust. Then inspect the surface for any silver bits (if you have aluminum rims.) You will want to remove those bits using some sort of tool with a sharp point. My favorite is an old shop trick of using an old spoke with the end ground down to a point. Finally, once all the bits are removed, you want to run over the pad surface with an Emory cloth or fine file to remove any glazing. If your brake pads don’t have the vertical grooves in them anymore, it’s time to replace the pads. 

Check tires for wear and that tubes hold air. Before your first ride, you’ll want to check your tires for any foreign objects imbedded in them, check the tread for overall wear and check that they hold air. If your tread is really worn, has cuts or slices, or has foreign objects imbedded, replace them now. If you ride clinchers, this would be a good time to check the rim strip between the rim and inner tube. You will need to deflate the tire and remove it to do this. Tire levers will facilitate tire removal. If you have box style rims and a rubber rim strip, consider replacing it with a more robust rim tape, like Velox. 

tire levers

In addition to the above items before your first ride outdoors, there are things you should check before every ride: 

Spin the wheels to make sure they are true. You can use the brake pads as a guide to any lateral hops in your wheels. 

Inflate and check the tires. You can lose up to 10% of your air pressure overnight with butyl tubes, even more with latex tubes. You also want a quick visual check of the tires for any foreign objects. Make sure the quick release mechanism is engaged and tight. When you close the lever, it should leave an imprint on your hand for a moment. Squeeze the brakes. If you have excessive travel of the brake lever, check that the brake quick release is not open. 

Run the gears through their range. If any of the gears don’t engage properly, twist the adjusting barrel until the problem is fixed. If the chain will not pop up to the next larger cog when shifting, turn the barrel counter-clockwise to increase tension. If the chain will not drop to the next smaller cog when shifting, turn the barrel clockwise to decrease tension.

These checks should take about 2-3 minutes to complete and will help ensure that at least the start of your ride is trouble free. 

Happy riding!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Triple Threat Profile: Tori Potts - Florida

Tori Potts did her first triathlon in 2012 on a 30-year old road bike found in her parents' garage. She has improved dramatically since then, rocking a 5:48 at Rev3 Florida this past November. Among other things, she talks about training with two young daughters, winning a "worst wetsuit" competition, and mustering the courage to swim in gator-infested waters!  

What's your background and how did you get into triathlon?

I was always actively involved in sports. I grew up on a lake in Central Florida, so we did lots of water sports--water skiing, kneeboarding, etc. I also played basketball, volleyball, and swam on a team, at different points in middle school and high school. After becoming a mom for the first time, I trained for a half marathon to get back in shape. After that, I ran and lifted weights off and on, until I got a mailer for a local sprint triathlon in late 2012. I signed up two days before, borrowed an old bike, and fell in love with the sport. 

You have degrees from rival schools, the University of Florida and Florida State University… how would you compare the two, and what % of you is Gator vs. Seminole?

They are both excellent schools with beautiful campuses. At UF, the university is Gainesville's claim to fame. It has a small town feel. Tallahassee is a whole different monster. Besides FSU and FAMU, it is the capital of Florida, so it is a big city in its own right. I grew up a Gator fan and will die a Gator fan. When choosing a school for my undergraduate degree, I had no interest in any school but UF. I was at UF for the back to back championships in basketball ('06, '07) and the championship in football ('06). It was a good time to be a Gator. FSU was one of the few Florida schools that offered my graduate program, and I was given a fellowship, so it was an easy decision to attend. Now, I enjoy seeing FSU succeed, but when they go head to head, I still cheer for my Gators.

On that note, I’ve always wondered something about Florida… are races ever held in gator-infested waters? Or are they mainly ocean swims?

All lakes in Florida have gators. Many triathlons have lake swims. Gators are more afraid of you than you are of them (at least that's what I tell myself to get in the water). 

How would you sum up your 2013 season? What was the highlight and lowlight?

It was a learning experience. I raced two 70.3s, one in March and one in November. I cut 58 minutes off of my time in that span. I finished the first one by sheer determination, as I epicly failed with hydration and nutrition--I was 13 lbs down from my normal weight 8 hours after the race. I trained through the summer and honed in my nutrition, then I finished strong with a smile 58 minutes faster in November.

You mentioned that for your first race you rode a "30 year old road bike from the back of your parents’ garage.” Most people can relate to that (personally I rode a borrowed mountain bike for my first). Since then, how have you been able to improve so quickly?

I am married to a wonderful man who wholeheartedly believes "happy wife, happy life." He has encouraged me to make proper gear purchases. I spent several months waiting for the right deal on Craigslist and I am now the proud owner and happy rider of a Felt B2. I won a worst wetsuit competition at Rev3 Florida and won a blueseventy Helix. Besides the gear--I have just picked out training plans online and followed them. Time spent training is the #1 way to improve in my experience.

How would you rank the three disciplines from your personal strength to weakness, and what are some gear/products you use for each? (eg. wetsuit, bike, shoes, nutrition, etc)

My primary background is swimming. It comes most naturally to me, but I don't swim nearly enough due to family constraints and pure laziness/complacency. I have a blueseventy Helix sleeved suit, and an xterra sleeveless. I have improved my bike leg dramatically in the last year, so I would probably rank it second. I have a Felt B2, Bontrager shoes, and Profile Design aerobottle.

Running is my least favorite leg, but that has changed some in the last few months. I switched to Altra shoes (zero-drop) from a typical running shoe. They have eliminated a nagging pain in my hip that I have had since high school and improved my form. I am hoping to put more time in over the next year and improve my speed. I primarily use salt pills and shot blocks for nutrition, while drinking water. That was my proven formula after my 70.3 PR. Plus, shot blocks taste like really good gummy bears. 

You wrote in your application “I am someone who commits fully when I see something good. It is why I jumped straight into the half-iron distance.” What was it that attracted you to long-course racing vs. short-course? Do you see yourself doing an Ironman in the next few years?

I like a good challenge--a 70.3 seemed insurmountable when I thought I was going to throw up after a sprint. It was also the farthest distance that I felt I could adequately train for as the primary caregiver for my young daughters. I have since completed a local sprint series as well, and while I enjoy it, I do not enjoy the hard and fast training sessions that are necessary to improve my sprint times. I plan to go to the Iron distance when both girls are in school, about 2-3 years from now

What's your focus in terms of racing and/or goals for the 2014 season?

At this point, my race schedule includes all of the exact same races from last year. So in short, my goal is to PR each race. However, my reality as a stay at home mom with a child in preschool for the first time has included the most unhealthy winter of my entire life--the flu 2x, bronchitis, strep, multiple sinus infections, as well as a bike accident in the last 3 months. So, due to this mess, I feel like getting across the finish line of this first race will be an accomplishment in itself. 

Tell us about your family, and what’s your personal strategy for fitting training in? How does triathlon help you as a mom?

I have been married to my husband for almost 6 years. We have two daughters, ages 3 and 4. I am a wife and mother first, and triathlon has to fit around my first 3 loves. However, I am a much happier, healthier person when I am exercising regularly. I love setting a good example for my girls who think it is very normal to swim bike and run everyday. I try to run on the days my oldest is in preschool, pushing my 3 year old in the jogging stroller. I ride on the trainer a lot in the evening, and try to work in at least one swim a week. My husband decided to try a triathlon after my last season, so he is training for the early season 70.3 as well. Our "date night" has consisted of long rides on the local trails for the last few months. 

How do you like to spend your few moments of “free time” outside of family responsibilities and training?

I like to read, crochet, and spend a lot of time volunteering at our local church. Besides that, I like to nap.

Tori was 20 min faster... 5:48!

related posts:

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Ironman Itch: Part II

As I discussed a couple posts ago, I've recently been experiencing early-onset symptoms of a condition known as the "Ironman Itch." If it develops into a full-blown case, I will have no choice but to aggressively treat. Ridding oneself of this condition is especially expensive when airfare for my elite "support crew" is involved (mine includes a moral support expert, a highly-trained kindergartener strategy guru, and a preschool-aged mind coach). They bring a lot to the table, but also have their demands. Therefore, I'm strongly leaning towards treatment facilities that are within driving distance.

That said, here are the treatment options currently highest on my list, along with the pros and cons of each as I currently see them:

Treatment Facility: Ironman Coeur d'Alene, aka CDA

Travel required: ~10 hour drive due north, almost to the Canadian border

commence pummeling!

Some stats:

Race day: late June
2-loop swim
Start elevation: 2155 ft
Max elevation: 2750 ft
Total bike course climbing: 4600 ft
Total run course climbing: 330 ft

Random Trivia:

Coeur means "heart" in French. Not sure about d'Alene.  Of Alene... whoever she is.

  • By all accounts this is an amazing venue in a beautiful part of the country
  • Race has been around several years, so assuming it's very well-run
  • Everyone I've talked to raves about it
  • Opportunity to benefit from training at altitude (I live at ~4500 ft above sea level)
  • A challenging, but not terrifying course

  • Flat run course doesn't suit my strengths (however would surely be welcomed on race day)
  • Later season Ironman would be more ideal
  • Many Ironman swim starts are shifting from mass starts to "rolling" starts similar to a large running race... that said, here's what the Iron Cowboy (he of World Record fame with 30 IM distance races in one calendar year!) had to say about the swim at CDA:

"The swim start was INSANE. I have done a lot of mass starts to this point and this one by far was the most violent. There just wasn’t any open space or free water. Usually things thin out and get less hectic. And at the very least things get spread out enough by the second lap to be less crazy. Well, not in CDA! It was a fight from the word “go” ’till I finally made it to transition. It was by far the most aggressive swim I have ever swam….by far!!!" 

Treatment Facility: Ironman Lake Tahoe

Travel required: ~8 hour drive west, crossing the Nevada border into California

Some stats:

Race day: mid September
2-loop swim
Start elevation: 6248 ft
Max elevation: 7228 ft
Total bike course climbing: 6550 ft
Total run course climbing: 653 ft

Random Trivia: Lake Tahoe is the 2nd deepest lake in the US (500 meters)

  • A destination race, Tahoe is amazing from what I've heard
  • Shortest drive of the four treatment options
  • Epic course. It's Ironman, it's supposed to be hard! Part of me thinks the reward would be greater
  • The elevation wouldn't impact me as much as others
  • Run course on spectator-friendly trail, looks pretty sweet
  • Living in a colder climate, gives me the summer to train

  • HARD! Highest elevation + most climbing by far 
  • Weather can be suspect - last year was 43 degrees at the start
  • Inaugural race last year sold out well over a year ahead of time once announced. This year's has not sold out, only 6 mos away... folks are definitely scared off (maybe that's a pro??)

Treatment Facility: Ironman Arizona

Travel required: ~10 hour drive south by way of Vegas


Some stats:

Race day: mid November
1-loop swim
Start elevation: 1176 ft
Max elevation: 1600 ft
Total bike course climbing: 1674 ft
Total run course climbing: 358 ft

Random Trivia: race used to be held in April

  • Drive passes through my in-laws home of St. George, so can break it up (great for my support crew)
  • Any Ironman distance race is hard, but this is the "least hard" of the courses... would be motivated to greatly improve my time from IMSG 2012 
  • Low elevation race after training at altitude
  • Run course on spectator-friendly course, looks pretty sweet
  • Living in a colder climate, gives me the summer and early fall to train

  • Probably the least scenic of the four venues
  • 3-loop bike course = congested, drafting?? 
  • It's Arizona... I'm guessing November will still be HOT

Treatment Facility: Vineman Full (not affiliated with the Ironman brand)

Travel required: ~11 hour drive west, a little north of San Francisco

Some stats:

Race day: late July
1-loop, river swim
Total bike course climbing: ~4000 ft.

Random Trivia: Vineman gets its name due to taking place in California's wine region

  • From what Triple Threat team member Russell Memory has told me, it's a great venue and a great course
  • Some rolling hills, but nothing to cry yourself to sleep about
  • Non-IM brand = cheaper entrance fee
  • Oldest full-distance Ironman distance race in continental US (1990)
  • Capped at ~1000 participants, so less congested, more "grassroots" vibe

  • Longest drive of the four treatment options
  • This is a controversial topic among triathletes, but does a race lose something (prestige? buzz?) vs. an official Ironman-branded race? I don't have the answer to that... it very well may be a better experience

In summary I'll continue to monitor my symptoms, but it's comforting to know there are four excellent treatment options on the table should the need arise!