Saturday, October 31, 2009

4 hours atop the Meat Saw

Four hour mountain bike ride today with my buddy Adam. Before I say anything else, I've gotta say that 40+ miles on a singlespeed mountain bike is much much much differnt than 40+ miles on a sweet carbon road/tri bike.

We had a lot of fun today, and I'm actually kinda getting a hang of this mountain biking stuff. It's hard, but the rush is very addictive. There were a couple really technical downhills that scared the shit out of me on our first of two loops. Steep with roots, rocks, and pretty steep drops and swooping turns. Very gnarly (especailly for a roadie like me on a totally rigid mountain bike!). I was getting the hang of it though by the second loop and really started to ride with some confidence.

All in all we did a little over 40 miles. I didn't wear my Garmin today (although I wished I had) mostly because I wanted only to pay attention to time. I could have used the heart rate monitor to slow me down a bit, but when riding a singlespeed I don't think there's any chance you're not going to go anerobic at some points!

Today was a really tough day and I'm spent. Probably the hardest workout I've had in a while on the bike. Most of all it was fun though, and I can't wait to do it again! Tomorrow is back in the water in the morning, and I'll probably go for a jog in the afternoon. The weather is probably gonna be a little iffy, but if it's not raining I'll take Lucky with me. She hates the rain! Interesting for a breed originally from the U.K. not to like the rain. Just sayin'...

Friday, October 30, 2009

1 hour swim (all drills), afternoon jog

Today was something completely new for me. At the suggestion of Lucho (see comments from yesterday), I did nothing but drills for the entire duration of my swim workout today. Not one length of freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke,.... nothing! All drills, all the time. It was easily one of the hardest swim workouts I've ever done.

I focused mainly on kicking today, something I feel could really use a lot of work. I got a book (see pic) from Barnes and Nobles today with nothing but drills in it. Not too creative of a title, but hey, what else are you gonna call a book with nothing but swim drills in it?

I fought the urge to do a couple 25's using the skills I was working on, but I really wanna try to stick to a full month with nothing but drill work. I also picked up some rubber cords (also Lucho's suggestion) and I plan to work with them as well. I really wanna "attack" my swimming this off season. I saw some good improvement overall, but a huge goal of mine is to really be a complete triathlete, Matty Reed style. I want to be equally good at everything. While there will always be some things that I'm better at, being a triple threat is still important.

In the afternoon I did an easy jog with a client and I plan on taking out Lucky for another night run. I did some videos (they suck, but they're still better than nothing) with my new Petzl head lamp. I'll post the vids tomorrow along with a full review. Just a sneak peak: That thing freakin' rocks!

I'm very excited about the progress I'll make with swimming. It's gonna be hard work but it'll all be worth it in the end.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

3100 yard swim, 1 hour mountain bike

Swam today for 3100 yards. Wasn't feeling it much. I was still sore from the other day, and quickly became frustrated with my lack of form. Although I've made a ton of progress on my swim since the beginning of last season, it's still a glaring weakness. I have a lot of work to do and am excited to work with a swim coach soon! I need it!

After the swim (which was pretty freakin' exhausting!) I stopped by my favorite mountain bike trial on the way home. I went around for about an hour, having to go pretty slow because of all the mud. If I was a big time mountain bike guy I might have taken some more chances on some of the muddy and wet, rocky decents, but there's really no reason to get hurt-especially on a day where I was just crusiing around for the hell of it!

I also went out and bought a headlamp at Dick's Sporting Goods today. I plan on doing some nighttime trail runs this week/weekend, so we'll see how it goes. I'm gonna test it tonight on a short run with the dog to see how it works. I'll have a full review so stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

1 hour trail run

Did a one hour trail run today in the mud. Had a great time. The object of today was to keep the HR around 155 (averaged 156) and just enjoy the run. I managed about 7 and a half miles with around 2000 feet of climbing. I'm super psyched about the run because It shoes my fitness is at a good starting point. I didn't want to loose much during my little break, and I don't think I did. The only thing I'm wary of is having not rested enough. I did take about a month off, and remained somewhat active during that time.

I'm very excited about Ironman Louisville. I said it before, but it really feels like a HUGE boulder has been lifted of my shoulders. I don't know why I had such anxiety over choosing the event. I imagine it has to do with how much I care about this sport. I plan to sacrifice a lot, so I guess in my mind I'm saying "This better be worth it damnit!"

The new Lunars held up spectacular in the mud today. The shoe really continues to amaze me. Parts of the trail are rocky and rooty and they flew over without a problem. Even in some pretty deep mud they managed to perform well. No spills and no slips. Just a good, solid run, wet and cold. Fun! Fun! Fun!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's Official

After deep thought, as well as deep financial discovery, I've decided to do Ironman Louisville next August as my first taste of Ironman. I had gone back and fourth quite a bit on wheather or not to do this race or IM Arizona. In the end it came down to which race I was likely to spend less money on. This includes, airline ticktes, travel, food, hotel, and the other things that come with an endevour this big. I like both the courses, and Arizona is definately a race I have every intention of doing one day.

I feel like a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I'm super excited to compete, and I think this is going to be a very good race for me. it's almost a year away, but I feel like it's tomorrow. There's a lot of work to be done before the "magical date", and I'm looking forward to the challenge of the new distance. I have a good feeling about this.

On the training side of things, today was my first time back in the water in over a month. The time flew, and my swimming endurance sucks, but overall I'm happy with where I am. It's only one day, and I'm sure the swimming muscles will be sore tomorrow, but today really gave me a good idea of just how much my swim improved in this past season. I didn't feel, pardon the pun, like a fish out of water, but rather settled into some good yards. There were good laps and bad laps, but I was satisfied with the end result.

Thanks to all the people who helped me with my Ironman decision. It was very tough for me to make, but in the end I think doing Louisville will show to be a good choice. If any of you past and present Ironman competitors have any further advice, please don't be shy! I could use all the help I could get!!! :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rest Day

Today it's back to formal training. The time I spent away from structured training flew by. What was in reality a few weeks feels more like a few days. I'm still super motivated, but boy did I enjoy my free time. Still, triathlon is what I love and training brings me a lot of joy. It's never a chore to get on the bike, out for a run, or even in the pool. As a matter of fact, I wanted to swim today! The thought actually crossed my mind to get to the pool, screw the "rest day", and start putting in some laps. I managed to get rid of the urge and hit the trails on the mountain bike for 3 hours:). So much for the rest day!

I don't count the mountain biking as training though. It's most like a weight lifting session combined with some fast downhills, and gorgeous fall folliage. It's soothing and it keeps my head on straight. I don't track my milage, speed, or pace, and I couldn't care less. It's one of the things that I do for my head so if I decide to do it on an "off" day, so what. As long as it doesn't interfere with my training progress, I don't see it as a bad thing.

As far as Ironman goes, I'm still having trouble making a decision. IM Louisville is in September next year and there are still spots availible. I'd like to do Arizona, but I don't think it will be possible given my current financial situation. Louisville is closer to me (be it 13 hours by car), and there may be a better opportunity for me to qualify for Kona in doing it-which brings me to my next problem: Is going to Louisville and getting a Kona spot because someone didn't accept their's a good way to go? And is it good to go to a race that a lot of people will not try to qualify at because it's so close to Kona a good way to go? In otherwords, I really want to earn my spot. I don't want to get it in a roll down, and I don't want to get it because other "studs" in my age group didn't show up. If I go to Kona, I want to know it's because I'm a good freakin' triathlete. It may be hard-headed, and other's may not agree with me, but that's what I want.

So this is my problem as of now: Do I go to Louisville because it's closer to me and there's a better chance to go to Kona? or, Do I race Arizona against a tougher field, spend a bit more money, and lessen my chances of qualifying? I have faith in myself enough to stick it up to the other top AG'ers, and race in Arizona, it's just the money thing that really gets me. I think I can swing it, but it's gonna be tough.

It's funny though because I think I'm answering this for myself even as I type. I think the obvious choice is IM Arizona. I have a gut feeling that's drawing me to this race for some reason. Like I've said before, the toughest decisions are the ones that mean the most. This may take some time...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

30 min run/hike

Wanted to chill out today before my real training resumes next week. Did a pretty hard 2+ hour mountain bike on the singlespeed again yesterday, so today was an easy trail run with no watch. My only goal was to go out and enjoy being active. I took the dog with me and headed for the trails.

About 15 mins in, Lucky stopped for her first poop. Five minutes later, another. Then 2 minutes later, a pee. Then another pee. Then she decided she'd had enough movement and refused to run or even walk. I started to get mad and then realized it doesn't make a difference. If the goal was just to enjoy the day, what did I care if we ran, walked, or just sat down on the side of the trail? The fall colors are so wonderful, and the smell of the freshly fallen leaves is one of the best there is. So we jogged, hiked, and sat. Just for a bit, just to enjoy the day.

The rest of the day will probably be dedicated to cleaning out my place. Things are a wreck and I'd really like to get rid of a lot of the stuff I don't use and donate it to people who could. I've got a ridiculous amount of sneakers and too many clothes.

And before I forget, I continue to be baffled by how good and versitile a sneaker the Lunar Glide is. I know I've mentioned the shoes in every blog post I've made for the last week (maybe Nike should sponsor me-wink wink!), but I've FINALLY found my perfect shoe! The trails were a bit muddy today and the Glides held up just fine. Rocks were no problem as well. It's awesome how firm, yet cushioned the shoe is. I'm just waiting to find the fatal flaw (hopefully there isn't one!!!)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Decisions, Decisions...

Talked with the man in charge yesterday (, and we've decided to tackle an Ironman this coming season. I'm excited and anxious at the same time. I'm not intimidated by the distance (I actually think this will be my strongest distance as I've discovered the longer the day the stronger I get), but I'm worried about the financial burden it will cause me. Furthermore, I'm concerned about which event I will choose.

To get to where I want to-long term, I'm going to have to do an M-dot race-there's no question about that. The only problem is that there are none all that are close to me, not to mention none that are any less that half a grand. Couple that with expenses I'll incur around the race (lodging, food, travel, etc.) and I'll be spending quite a pretty penny. This will have a great influence on the rest of my race schedule, and may prohibit me doing some other triathlon-related stuff I want to do (like going to a Spain training camp in Also, and I didn't mention this in my convo with my coach, I feel like I still have more to prove at the half iron distance. This past season saw a lot of improvement in my overall times, but I think that I really only dedicated myself to triathlon fully for about 5 weeks out of the whole year. The rest of the time I was overwhelmed with relationship woes, social life, and other extraneous factors that have since been managed and are out of my life. Needless to say, I've decided to devote myself fully to this sport. Along with work, everything that I do in the next year will be devoted entirely to triathlon and reaching my goals. Relationships, financial decisions, etc., will be made with triathlon in mind. It may sound selfish-and it certainly is-but I WILL NOT regret not doing more to get myself to where I want to be later on down the road. There will be no other time in my life where I have the freedom I do now, and I don't intend on wasting it.

So with that said, this race decision weighs heavy on my mind. I woke up at 3am this morning and stared at the ceiling for 3 hours, consumed with thoughts of what I should do. There are so many pros and cons, not to mention the fact that I'm under pressure to make a decision quickly as these damn M-dot races tend to sell out rather quickly. I expect this to be a very exciting time in my life and I want more than anything to do it in an efficient manner. Whatever the outcome, I just want to be happy knowing that I did everything I possibly could to get there. Win or lose, I just want to leave it all out on the table.

The decisions in life that mean the most are the hardest to make. I guess it's simply because they mean so much. If you've got any suggestions, please feel free to comment. I'm really stuck between several different emotions regarding this, and it may help to see other's points of view. I appreciate it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

2 or so hours on the MEAT SAW!

Did somewhere around 2+ hours on the mountain bike today. That thing rocks! Running a 32-16 is definately the way to go for the riding around here. The bike seemed to coast up the tight hills and the technical climbs were made much easier. I think it's a combo of my skills getting dusted off as well as the gearing, but I killed it today.

I started off slow with the idea to just cruise around for a couple of hours. Soon though, I started to hammer and have some fun. Downhills got better, climbs got better, and I think I'm actually developing some kind of "style" on the bike! Lots of fun today.

With that, I'm cutting myself off for the day. I had planned to take the dog out for a little run later, but I think I'm going to change that run to a walk. There's no need to kill myself anymore in the time I'm suppossed to be off. I think I've struggled with the need to continue training hard because my fitness level is at an all time high. I have to have enough discipline at this point to realize that it's impossible to hold onto the fitness I've gained, and that if I am to attempt to do so, it's going to be catastrophic. There's really no sense in burning myself out and ruining a season that I haven't even begun to train for. I promise myself that the rest of this month will be devoted to rest, recovery, and just staying active. I've said this before, but I intend to hammer it into my head until my brain bleeds :).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Run-No watch

Ran for a bit today. If I had to guess I'd say it was about an hour or so. I felt like absolute crap on the run today. I think this is indicitve of the lack of discipline I've had with my diet and sleep lately. Both have been very sub par.

Throughout the run today I forced myself to slow down and realize that this run doesn't count for anything but exercise. Instead of trying to push the pace as I usually do, I slowed down and even walked several times to reset myself. I haven't had a bad run in months so this was bound to happen sometime. Also, the main objective of any running that I'm doing right now is simply to stay active. There's no sense in pushing through a bad run and making it worse in my off season. I enjoy running and I believe it is at the core of who I am. I may not always do triathlon, cycle, or swim, but I will ALWAYS be a runner. Ok, well I plan on being that 75 yr old at Kona one day, but that's besides the point.

Another interesting thing about today's run was that I ran with too much emotion. I had a difficult spot at work immediately before my run, and ran with too much anger. Running can be very soothing, but today it was all about getting out emotion. Sometimes that's good, sometimes it's bad. What's always certain about it is that it will mostly be unpredictable.

Otherwise it's a beautiful day. The sun is shining, it's a wonderful 70 degrees, and the leaves have turned. Great day to enjoy the outdoors.

Oh, and I almost forgot. The Lunar Glides continue to be the best shoe I've ever run in-hands down. The biggest thing about these shoes is just that they don't get in your way. With just about every other shoe I've run in, I've had to adjust to the shoe. With these shoes I just feel that they adjust to me. Whatever the hell this Lunar Foam stuff is, I love it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

French Fries with Mayo and Low Motivation

Not feeling much like exercise today. I guess that's only normal being that it's the offseason. I rode hard Monday, did an easy run yesterday (30 mins) with a client, and ate french fries with mayo today. I have to get it past my head that it's acutally ok to be lazy right now. In reality, there's no possible way that I could be considered lazy, but it is nice not to have to train if I don't want to. I'm also guessing that my low motivation is due to the fact that I haven't been sleeping well lately. I think that without the amount of volume I had been putting in, my body is not accustomed to not needing rest. In otherwords, it's as if my body isn't tired because it hasn't done anything. I find myself staying up later at night doing things like rebuilding bikes, surfing the web, and reading when I really should be concentrating on getting into a regular sleep pattern. I'm restless and tired at the same time.

I'm going to try and take my dog out for a little jog today, commute back to work in a bit, and go for a short jog with a client. All told that'll probably give me about 2 hours of exercise for the day, but we'll see how that goes. Might do less, but certainly not more.

On another note, I've changed up the gear ratio on my 29er singlespeed. I had been running a 38-16 gearing, but swapped out my 38 for a 32. I figure this should give me some more climbing ability on the trails around here. We don't have too many long climbs on Long Island, but there are plenty of short and evilly steep ones. I had to walk up quite a few little hills Monday and that was frustrating. Also, it should make my commute back and forth to work a little less taxing. There are a couple steep hills in both directions and it sucks to get to work all sweaty!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Somebody Let The Puppy Out...

Just enjoying my morning cup of coffee and thinking about how I'm so green to this sport. It's been a couple weeks since the end of my season, as well as the end of my first year with a great coach (, and therefore the end of my first year with an actual "plan" of training to follow. I can't imagine how I ever trained for one minute without an actual training plan to follow. Granted, I only did a few races without it, but they just make soooooo much sense. In these days without one, I enjoy the freedom to do whatever I want, but at the same time am anxious because I want to do everything! The worst part is, there's nothing to hold me back.

After yesterdays 4 hour mtb ride (which was super fun!), I'm really feeling it. For the first time since my last tough training day, I was ready for bed before I was ready for bed. It was great to feel spent from a day outside, but at the same time I'm thinking I'm overdoing it a bit for right now. Commuting to work is one thing, but spending your whole afternoon on the bike is another. I feel like a puppy that has all this extra energy and no where to put it!

I have put a 10 hour cap on my workouts, but I think I may back off of even that for just this week. Yesterday's effort, while super fun, was still tough. I'm used to pedaling and pedaling for hours, but not up steep trails on a singlespeed rigid mountain bike. It's fun, but it takes a toll.

Today will just be a little jogging with clients-probably 3 miles with one and 3 miles with another. I've got a couple folks that want to do 5k's around Thanksgiving. It's so exciting to see people who thought they could never run more than a mile not only wanting to enter races, but take their age groups as well! Super psyched!

Monday, October 19, 2009

4+ hours on the Moutain Bike (The Meat Saw!!!)

Spent some time catching up with my old buddy the mountainbike today. I rode most of the time with my training buddy, Adam, and included commuting to and from work in my total times. Adam is much much better than me on the mountain bike and really made me suffer for a bit today. Not to mention that I was on a rigid singlespeed 29er and he was on his little flashy suspension and gears rig...Wuss! (Just kidding man, you killed it today. I've very impressed!)

This time of the year is all about fun. I know it's the offseason and I shouldn't be pushing too hard, but it's difficult not to want to go at it a bit with all the fitness I've accumulated over the last 12 months. Still, I'm being carefull not to over due it. Right now I'm going to limit myself to a top end of 10 hours a week. I figure that will be just enough to keep me happy and active, yet not fry myself for the work to be done this upcoming season. Of course, I don't have to do 10 hours, just no more than that.

I'm really looking forward to running tomorrow and have fallen in love with it again. I think the idea of not having to cover a specific distance or time in training has re-energized me. There's nothing like just going out and having fun. I love putting my ipod on, slipping my sneakers on, and just heading out for whatever amount of time and miles. I ran everyday last week, but I honestly couldn't tell you how long or how far I went. I just allowed my mood to dictate the pace and it suited me just fine. Sometimes I'd run fast and sometimes I'd run slow. The important thing was that it felt like I was playing the whole time. It's really refreshing.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday, Rainy Sunday

Woke up this morning to a gray sky, wind and rain. I had thoughts about going for a nice mountain bike ride today, but I may not head out in the interest of staying healthy. I don't really have to do any training today, so why risk slipping on wet leaves and getting injured. At the same time, I live for everyday I get to spend outdoors, so it's a hard call. I'll probably still go out, but I'll take it super easy.

I was just watching a piece on ESPN's OTL (Outside the Lines) on genetic testing in athletes. The focus of the piece was to shed light on the genetic testing done on various athletes in order to discover what injuries they were predisposed to. interesting to say the least. When I was involved with bodybuilding, I used to love all the science involved with making the human body react in a certain manner, or manipulating it in some way to get a specific result. While I never did steriods or other enhancers like so many I knew, I was still fascinated by the changes such chemicals could impose on the body.

In other reports on genetics and athletics, they've mostly focused on changing the make up of an athlete, making them something they're naturally not. In this case, though, I think it can be very beneficial. There's no cheating going on, no doping to control, only finding out more about your own body using science. Afterall, I think that's what we do with sports anyway-endurance sports in specific. We all play, race, and compete to see what we're capapble of. We signed up to see if we "can do it". Finding more about what we're made of is the esssence of sports and through this new type of genetic testing, we can learn even more about what makes us tick. The only advantage we're gaining in doing it is staying healthy and happy, something we all may need a bit more of in our lives, both athletically and otherwise.

Gonna go head out on the mountain bike to see more of what I'm made of.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Run With No Watch and Product Reviews

Did a fantastic run today. I know it was longer, but I didn't wear my watch so I'm not sure how long. Time wise I'm guessing around 2 hours but again I can't be certain. It just felt good. I had my phone/camera with me to take some pics, but my mind was so into the run I forgot to take 'em! best of all, I got to try out two things that I wanted to review here on my wonderful blog. First is my new Nike Lunar Glides, and the second is my new Skull Candy Ink'd ear buds. (See pics above-obviously :) )

Simply put, the Lunar Glides are the best running shoes I've ever had. It's a bold statement (and keep in mind I haven't really been running for more than a couple years) but these shoes are just amazing. I went through a couple pairs of the original Lunar Trainers and loved everything about them. The Lunar Glides have just taken it to another level.

One thing I've noticed about Nike shoes is that they often feel like cardboard straight out of the box. Trying them on, they usually feel stiff as hell and really require a break in period. Usually I'll wear them to work for at least a week before really running in them. With the Glides I ran them straight out of the box. The had a bit of that trademark "cardboard-ness", but soon they felt like an old glove around my foot. They did everything I wanted them to and nothing I didn't want them to.

The one complaint I had with the Lunar Trainers was that they were a bit bulky. I hate feeling the shoe on my foot and I had a little of that with the literally wider Trainers. The Glides are a bit more streamlined and low profile so this "bulkiness" is virtually eliminated.

I don't know about the stability of the shoe as I usually run in a neutral shoe, but I again didn't feel it getting in the way like the stability shoes I have worn. Nike touts the shoe as being both a stability and neutral shoe, but I can't be sure how accurate that is. One thing is for sure though, it's a great everyday training shoe and pretty fast.

Lastly, I've read that the "big thing" about the Lunar Foam is that it's suppossed to be like running on grass, giving you the advantage of feeling less beat up post run. I've definately seen that to be accurate with this particular shoe. I ran mostly on pavement today, with a lot of pounding downhills. My legs felt fresh and still springy for the rest of the day. Excellent shoe!

Next, I got a pair of Skull Candy Ink'd ear buds for my Ipod the other day. I'm not a big tech guy, but since I do plan on doing a lot of long base training days this winter, I wanted to update my ipod equipment. I was a little weary on spending $20-$25 on little ear buds, but after using them I see what all the fuss is about. These things rock! They have some sweet sound and block out ambient noise so that you hear nothing but the full music as you run. No wind, no screaming kids, nothing! However, you have to wonder just how safe it is to run with these things in your ears while you ignore your surroundings. Even for people like Lucho who dodge bobcats, pumas, lions, and rabbid dogs :) when they run, blocking out things like cars and wildlife can be dangerous. In the end you have to make the call. All I can say is that my Ipod has never sounded so good and I look forward to downloading some bass-filled music to boom in my headphones!

One bonus product!

1 Jack Russell Terrier named Lucky!!!

That's right, my best friend and frequent running partner is the best "thing" I've ever "owned". She's fast, will catch most rodents, and lick you to death if you keep hitting the "Snooze" button at 4:30am! Feed twice daily and keep water readily availible. Expect her to suddenly bolt off the trail at whatever squirrell, rabit, and even DEER that she sees. Very protective of her owner and often thinks she's as bigger than she really is. Final words, dog is truly man's best friend!

Thanks for reading.

Check this out:

For the past few days, Simon Whitfield has been posting some very inspirational stuff. This is a video about medals and the way he looks at competition and training for your specific goals-whether it's to win or just to compete. Check it out here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

No Training

I've had to hold myself back today. I woke up with a dull headache that hung around for most of the morning. The plan for today was to kind of chill out anyway, so it's not a total loss if I spent most of the time I've had free today napping and reading.

The weather here sucks. It's cold and rainy and had the smell of snow in the morning. Two years ago I was laying on the beach at this time of year, enjoying some of the last pieces of a hot summer. This year I'm already laying out my winter clothes and looking for warm clothes to wear to work.

With that, I've been looking on Ebay for an old beat up cyclocross bike to use as a commutor. Bikes are one of my loves in life and I tend to get very connected with what I have. A year ago I bought my Speciallized Tarmac road bike to use for training. I took it apart earlier this summer to build up another tri bike (a spare frameset I got online for a great deal) in order to have two working race bikes. I always have this worry that right before a big race my bike is going to break and I'll not be able to race. Buying the extra tri bike was basically an insurance policy.

Anyway, I've rebuilt the road bike and fallen in love with it all over again. I've used it in the rain and snow, but hate the idea of putting "junk miles" on it riding to and from work. Now I'm sure that it won't incur any damage riding in this way, and I'm probably being a bit picky, but I really do want a bike that I can truly not worry about. Something that can take a beating and continue to be reliable. I just don't feel right putting a sweet carbon road bike through the vigors of snow and rain just to get to work. Call me a headcase, but whatever.

Hopefully I'll be able to find something that'll work. I don't want to spend a ton of money on something new, but I do want something decent. I'll really have to get lucky!

Otherwise I've just been thinking a lot about triathlon, catching up on work, and resting up for the season ahead. I'm trying not to let my head get too full of useless triathlon crap as I've learned just to keep it simple after this year. I often get all wrapped up in what sneakers I'm gonna use, what bike is the best, and what goggles I need to buy. I suppose everyone thinks about these things to a certain extent, but I allow myself to become obsessed with it. The fact of the matter is I have a very nice bike (a few actually), more than enough sneakers, and everything I need to swim. The most important thing is that I'm healthy, injury free, and able to train my ass off to get to where I want to go. These last three things are the most important and I don't want to forget that.

You can't buy motivation and I'm glad that I've got a real wealth of it right now. Ok, back to napping and reading. By the way, I just finished the new Dan Brown book and was less than excited about it. I've read all of his books. This one held my interest and told a page turning story, but the intrigue wasn't there for me. It wasn't controversal enough! Right now I've moved onto The Associate by John Grisham. I'm about 100 pages in and so far so good. Nothing profound, but like Brown's book, it's just junkfood for the brain. Books like these are a great way to turn my brain off now that I'm not training much.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More commuting on the bike and a 45 min run

Taking it easy again today. I'm struggling with what I think is a decrease in hormone levels as a result of not training as much right now. In the days after my last race of the season, I was bouncing off the walls with energy. I wasn't sore, wasn't tired, wasn't anything but ready to train and train and train. Now, though, even though I'm doing little rides and runs here and there, I've been a bit down in the dumps-not neccessarily mentally, but just physically. I feel tired more often than not and am drinking more coffee to find my energy.

Some of this decrease in energy may also be attributed to trying to restrict my caloric intake a bit. Nothing crazy, but since I'm only training about 1/3 to 1/2 of the time I usually do, I don't want to gain too much extra weight.

My commute on the road bike today was about 8 miles each way. I took the long way home, so I figure it was around 20 miles total on the bike today. Luckily, there are some very nice climbs between my home and work, so I try to hit them on both trips. Also, carrying a 20lb pack on my back with my clothes and shoes makes for some decent strength training.

The run this afternoon was with a client I'm helping to get ready for a few short duathlons. He's getting faster and his form is improving with every day. I'm happy for him and am looking forward to watching him race this Sunday.

There's a quote from Fight Club that goes something like, "Fight Club became the reason to cut your hair and fingernails short." I don't know the exact words but I've been thinking a lot about that part of the movie recently. I think to myself, "Triathlon became the reason to get my bills paid; the reason to shave my legs :); the reason to do the things that I hate in order to create an atmosphere that will allow me to succeed."

In my triathlon journey this year, a lot has happened. I've learned that I can be pretty good at this sport when I dedicate myself to it. There's a lot that goes with it, and it's an incredibly selfish sport, but when you dedicate yourself fully to it, the rewards are great. I don't want to be a selfish person, and I don't want to cut people out of my life. However, at this point in my life, with no wife, no kids, no girlfriend, and really not a whole lot of responsibility, I plan to dedicate myself with everything I've got to this sport. I doubt there will ever be another opportunity in my life where I can do this, so I'm going to take advantage of it. It may be selfish, but I'm not going to cheat myself out of knowing just how much I can accomplish if I put my true heart into it.

It may be selfish, and people may question my hermit-like existance, but this is what I truly want right now. I want this simplicity and solidarity. Most importantly, I don't want to look back in 15 or 20 years and say "What if?" Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't, but without taking some risks in life, nothing is ever accomplished.

It's gonna be good and I'm ready to tackle every bit of it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This is why I do this...

I came across this on Simon Whitfield's blog. It speaks for itself.

from the Hawaii Ironman press conference;

Crowie, the winner (again).

“There were a lot of bad patches today. Last year to win was exciting but this year is more rewarding because it was a different race. It was a harder race. This year I had to work at it and chip away for every mile on the bike and the run.”

“There are some great bike riders in our group. I felt the pace was slid early. I got dropped two or three times on the way up to Hawi. The thing is, my main focus was just to give a good title defense and put in a performance I could be proud of.”

“I didn’t attack [Lieto] I just found a rhythm. But I didn’t feel that fluid motion I felt last year. Today I felt like I had to work for every second.”

“I think a lot about my family out there. They sacrifice a lot for me; we travel a lot. I certainly feel, not a pressure or obligation, but a duty to the people who make my career possible. I don’t want to let them down. It’s nice to give something back with a good performance.”

No Training

Well probably not anyway. I'm a bit tired and have been taking advantage of not having to train and staying up later than normal. During the peak of my training (after I became a single guy again) I was trying to be in bed no later than 9pm-preferrably 8:30. Now though, not needing to sleep has gotten me into the habit of staying up a bit past this-usually until 11pm or so. It's interesting how your body responds. I had gotten used to the extra sleep and needed less coffee to get started in the morning. Now, though, even if I get a solid 6 hours of sleep, I'm still groggy in the morning and gulp down the coffee like it's going out of style.

The idea of this period of "training" is to rest up for the real stuff in a couple weeks time. At that point I'll get back into a structured mode of things in preparation for the coming season. It's hard to be lazy right now, but I might as well take advantage of it as it's really the only time of the year I'm going to be able to afford it!

Monday, October 12, 2009


Had and awesome day training wise today. I hesitate to even call it training as there is really no focus to it whatsoever. However, being still new to this sport, I guess that any swimming, biking and running I do can be construed as training. I'm definately still at the point where doing any of the three sports is beneficial to me, no matter the focus of the workout.

Today was an easy 90 min spin with a friend, and a super fun 3 mi run with my dog. I know three miles isn't really much, but there was over a thousand feet of climbing in that 3 miles, so I guess that means something. Either way, all I'm looking for right now is fun. I could still easily be in the mode where I just want to "go, go, go!" but there's really no reason for it. I've yet to burnout in this year of training, either physically (with one small exception) or mentally, and I want to proctect myself from that. From what I know about myself and what I've heard from other successful athletes, burnout (mental and physical) and overtraining are worse than being undertrained. While I don't wish to be either, I'll certainly take the latter.

The weather is getting colder here and I'm loving it. The summer was short, but now that it's time for a little rest, the cool weather makes everything better. The smell of the fall is in the air and the leaves have started to turn. Makes me just want to take out the mountain bike and put on the trail shoes! Lots of outdoor fun ahead.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

I can't sit still!!!!!

It's really so hard for me to sit still these days. Getting so much sleep really makes me a giant ball of energy.

Today I took the road bike out for a little spin with a friend, then rode myself for a while. I didn't track my pace, miles, or anything else for that matter. I just explored and rode hard sometimes and easy other times. Nothing too long as I imagine it was around 2-2 1/2 hours of riding. I can't wait to get back to my long 6 hour rides! They're so fun I'm pissed I wasn't doing them all year!

This afternoon I'll probably take my dog for a little trail run. She really deserves to be outside after putting up with all my long training weekends.

Oh and I almost forgot the best part of today! I volunteered for a sprint tri down the street from my house this morning. I had an absolute blast! While I would have rather watched the race as a spectator, there's something to be said for watching everyone go by. Young and old, experienced and newbie, everyone had a great big smile on their face! It might have been the fact that I was doing the "runningman dance" in the middle of the street for everyone as they went by, but I like to think being involved with a beautiful race on a gorgeous morning was the source of their happiness! I'm looking forward to volunteering more often!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Watched Kona Today

Great race today. I watched it from just about the beginning until the end. Being that I have no life these days, I scheduled all my clients for the morning so I could catch the race on Universal Sports. All I can say is that I'm in awe.

I've been doing a ton of self reflection since my last relationship fizzled, and I've come to the glaring reality that I don't know me. Through training and working hard toward my goals this season, I've developed into more of the person I want to be. I've finally been able to look myself in the mirror and not lie to myself; not make excuses about why this or that happened or didn't happen. Triathlon has given me the gift of finding out more about myself and has given me the motivation to become a better person.

In watching the pro men and women race today, I've found a great commonality in them all. There is a humility and a self awareness that you don't find everywhere in life. I think a few people have it, but almost every true endurance athlete has at least touched it at some point.

Suffereing on the course is a great metaphor for life. How we deal with adversity tells us a great deal about our character and who we are. There are no short cuts on the course, and there are no short cuts in life. I feel sorry for the ones that take short cuts. Short cuts stunt our growth. It's hard to be true to yourself all the time, but as I've learned it's a neccessity.

Ok, done with all the philisophical stuff. The race was amazing from start to finish. Crowie had a great performance, and I certainly respect everything about it, but I'm stunned by Chris Lieto. Watching him fall apart on the run last year was heartbreaking. Turning it on this year and sticking to the plan really got him my respect. Not only did he race hard, but it seems he became a runner. He worked his ass off with some of the best runners in the world (Ryan Hall anyone???) and left it out there. He got beaten by a better guy today, but no one can say that he wasn't completely honest with himself. I really can't say enough about that performance, just super impressive.

There were tons of great perfomances: Chrissie Wellington, Any Potts, Macca, Miranda Carfrae, and the list goes on. I can't believe I watched the whole thing and was excited the whole time.

It was a great race and I didn't mind not training at all today to watch it! Tomorrow I'm volunteering at a local sprint tri down the street from my house. Should be a good opportunity to help motivate people in the sport I've come to love so much.

Friday, October 9, 2009

No Training

I'm forcing myself to actually take completely off today. That means no training whatsoever-not commuting to work or otherwise! It's been a long season and I really need the physical break. Although I don't feel like I need it, and my head is in a very good place right now, it's a necessarry evil. Lucho has put up a really cool post today about the endocrine system and how the effects of training influence more than just your muscles. This is important not only to ultra runners, but athletes in all sports. As a personal trainer and sports coach, I've seen way to many people put their health at risk by overdoing it. It's sneaky and catches up on you when you least expect it.

Recently, in talking with a good friend preparing for IM Arizona, I insisted that she seriously consider taking a day off. In response, she said, "Today isn't my day off. My scheduled day for rest is Tuesday." In my thinking rest days should be used when you really need them. You need to be honest with yourself and with your training, allowing your body to tell you when it needs rest.

I've always been an extrodinarily self motivated person, so for me, taking a day off must really mean that I needed it. My only hope for my friend is that she does not push through her exhaustion, blowing herself up before the biggest race of her life. Time will tell, but I'll do my best not to let it happen.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Just Commuting

No training again today. Just commuting via my road bike. I did manage to get in about an hour of riding with a friend as she preps for IM Arizona, but I wouldn't call it training-more like a social hangout ride, which is exactly what I want right now. Just cruising along, enjoying the weather and doing whatever makes me happy. All told, I'll get in about 2 hours of riding today as a result of my trips back and forth from work. I'm really getting the hang of commuting by bike and love the happy feeling I get from riding. I think it's really making me perform better when I'm working!

Otherwise I'm excited to watch Kona this weekend on Universal Sports. From what I can gather they're going to be running a live feed the day of the race. I'm excited to be able to watch the race live. I'll be going to watch/volunteer at a local sprint that morning, so it should be a great day full of triathlon!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Back to Real Life Stuff

Today is all about getting the "real life" stuff out of the way. With all the training I had been putting in up to last weekend's race, I let other parts of my life slip a little bit. Most notably, my finances took a little bit of a dip. The bill collectors have started to call and that's never a good thing.

I think it's going to be important for me to keep ALL of the aspects of my life in focus if I am to reach my triathlon goals. I've set lofty ones for myself, so I need to be equally diligent in life matters as I am in training and racing matters.

I'm reading a couple of books right now on preparation and success in sports and in life. I've never been one to be totally into New Age stuff, but I think a lot of what is being said in these books matter. Although most of us would like it to be, life is not all about the sport or sports in which we participate. There are always other factors, be it family, career, bills, etc. that get in the way of us totally focusing on playing our games or racing our races. While a lot of these things are important to us, we must remember that it's most important to be organized outside of sports. Putting "real life" things off will only have a negative effect on our sports performance because consciously or subconciously we will be thinking about them when we need to put our focus on performing.

I'm not an organized person (except when it comes to sports) so this is going to be a challenge for me. I know, though, that if I am to succeed and meet the goals I have put out there, organization is an absolute must. As much as I hate it, I'm going to have to do those things I hate. I know that they'll only help me in the long run with triathlon, and that is what I ultimately desire.

On a completely different subject, I managed to get in 3 hours of "training" by accident yesterday. I've begun to move away from my gas guzzling car, and have been commuting to work via my road bike for the past few days. Being that I go back and forth from home to work several times a day, I put in some good miles yesterday. Couple that with a half hour run with a client yesterday afternoon, and I got in an "accidental" 3 hour training day. The crazy thing is, it felt like absolutely nothing. I'm not talking about fitness here, but simply the act of fully disconnecting with everything around me while riding my bike. I didn't worry about pace, speed, or how I felt. I just got from point A to point B a few times and then chatted with my client as we jogged. I'm not saying I could run and bike like this all the time, but it was nice to slow down and appreciate the outdoors rather than burning through it on my tribike or in my racing flats! Just food for thought...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

No training

No training today, but I will run with a client and commute to work on my road bike. This time of year is so wonderful on Long Island, it's a sin not to get outside. I've never understood why people around here don't appreciate it more. The change of seasons are beautiful around here, yet all anyone is concerned with is eating crap and driving around in their big SUV's. Weird.

Although I'm already missing a structured training regimin, it is nice to just go out and ride or run with no objective in mind. I'll take the long way to work when commuting on my bike, and I'm sure this afternoons's jog with a client will me more of the same-just a nice easy stroll paying more attention to the leaves and the cool air than the pace and my heart rate.

Still don't feel anything but mild soreness after Sunday's race, and now I'm certain it's an indicator of where I was able to get my body to before the race. It'll be exciting to see where it will go from here. I plan to do a lot of base work this offseason and hopefully carry over some of the fitness I've earned. Of course it's not wise to continue to train hard, so I'll take it as it comes for now. If I don't feel like doing anything, I won't. If I do feel like doing something, I will. It's just that simple. Everything is for fun and pure enjoyment now. Nothing forced.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Time to Relax

In the words of the Offspring Smash album, "Ahh, it's time to relax. You know what that means: Glass of wine, your favorite easy chair, and of course, this compact disc playing in your home stereo." This is going to be the part of the year I have to toughest problem with. Over the course of this year, I've found that training means the world to me. I love it. I love getting stronger, building my fitness, and challenging myself in a new way every day. It's cliche, but you really do learn something new about yourself each day you train. It's a process and that's what I love about it.

I also love to race. Although nerve racking, racing is the true demonstration of what we've earned through our training. You put in the work and most times you'll see the fruits of your labor. I love that it's not just about the physical work you put in, but your preparation in other ways. A client of mine reminded me of that recently. You can work your ass of training day in and day out, only to destroy what you've created in the days and nights before the race. It's mental toughness, preparation, and readiness that make an athelete, and I'm glad to have learned this.

Today was the first day of chill-axing for me and I hate it. I'm very fit right now and all my body wants to do is go. It's amazing but I'm not even sore after my race yesterday. I hoped out of bed this morning ready to go for a run (which I almost did-decided on a bike ride instead). At first I wondered if I had not gone hard enough yesterday but then realized my body has made an important progression. I'm recovering faster because I'm becoming accustomed to working. It's amazing and I'm happy it's happening.

The last month of my season was so important. Having gone through a giant emotional loss, feeling depressed, and training my ass off have hardened me. I feel transformed. The adversity gave me a lesson I never would have learned otherwise. It was and still is tough to deal with, but I'm better for it.

I'm rambling a bit, but just needed to get some stuff out of my head and out on the screen. It's gonna be a while until my next real race so I'll save some rambling for later :). Right now it's time to have a nice cold beer and watch some football!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Another Step Forward

Had a pretty decent showing today. I still can't swim fast. My bike was where it usually is. And my run finally came around.

Finished 12th overall today, which I'll take, but I think more importantly I continue to improve in important ways. Without going into too much detail and boring all of my 3 readers :) with a race report of a race they've probably never heard of, I'll just say that I wish I would have had the focus I went into this race with all year. Looking back it was a bit of a transitional year for me in many ways, but I think I was able to find my "triathlon groove" with about 4 weeks remaining in the season. My training took on a much more serious tone, and I learned what it takes to really improve at this sport.

All I can say now is that I'm ready for the next phase to begin. Today I accomplished the goal I set for this race in putting together a very solid run. Now I'm ready to take it to the next level. I plan to take a little time off, and return ready to put in some serious training, and serious recovery. I tend to get stronger the longer the race, but now I want to be even faster and even better.

Also, in more reflection on this year, I've stopped lying to myself. I used to bitch and make excuses (in all the sports I've ever played) as to why my performance was sub par. I was never willing to admit that I didn't prepare correctly, hadn't put in enough time, or just was beaten by someone better. What I've learned from triathlon (and endurance sports in general) is that if you have the talent, there are no excuses. You have to look yourself square in the face and tell yourself the truth-whatever it may be. Sometimes it hurts, but it will always make you better.

I can't wait until next year. Some big things are gonna happen.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ready to Roll

Sitting in the condo getting ready to get some sleep. Had the opportunity to meet some of my coaches other athletes and have some good laughs. Its been a good season and I'm just gonna go with whatever happens tomorrow. I have a plan and will try my best to stick to it. Most importantly I want to run well tomorrow-something I haven't been able to do yet this year in a half.

Tomorrow will tell if these last weeks of training have made a difference. Either way, its back to work in a week or two's time. I may even take a couple weekends this winter and go up to the mountains to run and bike with no distractions.

Friday, October 2, 2009

30 min swim, 45 min bike

Taking it easy again today. Just got done with a 30 minute swim and now I'm heading out for a 45-60 min spin. The race wheels are on, the race flats are ready, but I'm not...

Ok, well I'm ready, but I'm not yet ready to be where I want to be. I've been thinking a lot during this taper week, and the biggest thing that I've realized-or actualled continued to realize-is that the training hours and racing that I've put in this season really haven't been for this season. Sure I've trained, tapered and raced hard, but I'm laying the foundation for what is to come in the following years. I need to continue to be patient now, so that in a year or two's time, I'll be ready to fly like I want to. It's hard and it's a long journey, but that's part of the fun.

This weekened, unlike other races this year, will have no time expectation-or any expectations for that matter. In my buildup to Timberman, I expected and truly believed that I had a 4:30 in me. After fading BADLY on the run and finishing about 20 mins later than I wanted, I realized it's not yet my time. Even though I have put in hours of training this year, two things stuck out: 1)I've only been at this for a freakin' year! I come from a ice hockey and lacrosse background-of course the endurance isn't going to be there yet. And 2) I wasn't doing EVERYTHING it takes to be good. I wasn't getting the rest I needed and I wasn't getting in the long days that are going to build my aerobic engine.

In discovering these things, I've put every ounce of myself into the sport since my disappointing result at Timberman. The six hour rides are in there, the long runs, the long swims, everything that's gonna continue to make me better. I have work to do and I'm excited about it.

So concerning my race this weekend, I see it only as another opportunity to gage where I am. Will I finish better than I did at Timberman? Probably. Will I learn something new about myself as a triathlete? Most definately. Might I be disappointed further? Sure, but I will do so knowing that I'm going to continue to reach higher and higher to achieve my goals. I WILL NOT and CANNOT give up or give in. I'm dedicated to this and I won't serve myself the injustice of not making the absolute most of my ability. If I'm willing to let myself bow out, what does that say about my character?

I'm happy to be racing this weekend and I'll be happy to take a week or two off and drink some beers afterward. But what makes me the happiest is knowing that right after that break, it'll be back to business. First and foremost I'll be back in the pool, and then out on the bike and running in the trails. I look forward to what the future brings and I plan on doing everything I can to make my dreams a reality.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Somthing like a 2 hour bike ride

Can't say for certain what exactly I did today, but I just rode to have fun. I've noticed that when I'm not training, I'm not happy. With that said, I don't want to overdo it this week, but I don't want to go into this weekend with a "flat" mind either. So today I rode just enough not to get tired. I commuted to work (something I plan on doing a lot more of as it strangely takes me less time to get to work by bike than it does by car), and went for a little stroll afterward. I had a couple of little errands to run, so I decided to do them on two wheels.

I really love riding my bike. I could just pedal for hours and hours having fun. Now that it's just about that time of the year to hang up the tri bike, I'm excited to ride more and more and more on my road and mountain bikes. Gonna be a fun winter!