Thursday, October 29, 2009


I am sitting at work, eating my lunch, and really delaying the virtual piles of work that I need to get done. I really need to get moving on redesigning our intranet website as well as put together a plan of action for a branch integration project. I am just having a tough time getting it all together and started. I need some motivation!

On the training front, things are going well. The weather made a turn for the better today, which means it was somewhat sunny and around 60F. Yesterday was not so good, a pretty steady rain and about 55F. I have slowly but surely been picking up the pace of my runs over the past few weeks and finally feeling like I am getting my running form back.

Wednesday - 4.32 miles, 34:57 (8:06/mile), 153 BPM - crappy day to be out running, but made the best of it. Didn't go too hard, ran with Bill and another guy (Rob) who consequently took second place overall in the NJ State Sprint Triathlon back in July.

Today - 4.02 miles, 30:48 (7:40/mile), 160 BPM - great day, weater was solid and despite not feeling great (a bit tired from getting up so early the past couple of weeks), I ran negative splits (7:50, 7:46, 7:45, 7:18).

So, looks like it is time to get back to work. Time to hunker down and get it done....and with that I will stop using cliches and actually do some work. Peace out!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away, Come Again Another Day

The word of the day is rain. The drive into work this morning was wet and miserable...granted I was in a car, but still it was just depressing. Even though it hasn't been raining every single day, it does seem like it and it is having a negative effect on my psyche. I am somewhat dreading my afternoon run today and as I look at the weather for the rest of the week it seems that there are going to be quite a few dread-filled afternoons of running.

On a more positive note, the past two days of running have been amazing. Not so much because of the running but more so because of the weather and the scenery. I went for a somewhat easy 7+ mile run on Sunday morning and it was just perfect out, 49F and sunny. The leaves are all changing color now, all red, yellow and orange. It was just a great day to be alive and outside. Yesterday was the same, except it was a bit warmer out. I do love running when the temperatures drop a bit and the leaves change colors, it is so energizing.

How do I plan on managing with the weather? Well, I think on Friday I am going to order my indoor bike trainer, most likely the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine.

The more I've thought about going out and buying a kick-ass model, my thinking is now along the lines of keeping it simple and just getting a good price on a solid trainer. ia m actually realy looking forward to getting it, setting it up in my basement and going to town on it either at night while I watch my DVR'd network shows (The Office, Heroes, etc.) or in the early mornings when I can watch all of the classic Ironman Triathlon's I have recorded over the past month.

Past runs:
Friday - 4.62 miles, 36:00 (7:48/mile), 161 BPM - Nice day, ran with Bill and Chris at work.
Saturday - Off....coached my daughters soccer game. It was a lot of fun, my daughter had a great pass to set up our first goal.
Sunday - 7.2 miles, 59:23 (8:14/mile), 158 BPM - Great day for running, I was tired the middle part of the run, but it was just so nice out.
Monday - 4.61 miles, 37:47 (8:12/mile), 157 BPM - Another great day. I was still a bit tired from the previous day, but it was fun running with Bill & Chris.
Today - 4.66 miles, 37:49 (8:07/mile), 155 BPM - Wet, but not rainy run. I was alone and went at an easy pace as my hamstrings are a bit tight.

That is it for now, things are pretty mellow...actually I have a ton of work to do so I better get to that....need to earn a living!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Greatness & Two Obvious Revelations

Yesterday was a great day for me. It wasn't great because I ran really fast or because I was able to take my bike out for a much needed ride. It wasn't great because I won the lottery or found a wad of $100 bills. Actually, none of the above happened yesterday, although I do wish that a lottery win happened. No, it was a great day because I was able to spend a lot of time with my oldest daughter and we had what I think was a great time together.

I was lucky enough to be able to work from home yesterday. The reason being that I was the "mystery reader" for my daughters 1st Grade class and it made no sense for me to drive into the office and then have to leave after a few hours to get to the school. So I slept in until around 6:45am, made the girls pancakes for breakfast and then got DD1 on the bus and then to drove DD2 off to Pre-K. Usually it is my wife that takes care of the girls in the morning, in fact I never see the girls in the morning because I am out of the house by 6:00 - 6:15am on most mornings. So to be able to spend this extra time with them was really special.

Yada, yada, yada....I worked all morning. Around 11:30am I went out for a 5.15 mile run. I don't have specifics, but it was a good one, around 7:58/mile pace HR ~162 BPM. I was a bit tired since it was my sixth day straight running, but it was such a gorgeous day that even if I ran slower, I would have still called it a good run. Obvious Revelation: The longer that I can maintain a fast running pace the faster I will be able to run longer distances. Yes, I know, DUH, that is obvious. But, how often are you out running and just doing your normal pace. You will never run faster if you don't push yourself to run faster.

2:15pm - I was at my daughters school and her teacher announced me to the class. My little girl was so excited to see me, it made me feel so awesome, I was a bit speechless. The fact that my just showing up in her class made her so happy, I guess sometimes I just don't realize how much she really loves me. What was also pretty cool was that I know two of her friends from play dates at our house and two other girls who are on the soccer team I coach; they were all pretty excited to see me as well. I proceeded to read three books ("Imogene's Antlers", "Purplicious", and "Josephina Javalina") to her class with my little girl sitting by my side. The thirty minutes that I spent in the classroom with her and her friends was simple great (yes, I am overusing the word "great" throughout this post). I was extremely glad that I was able to do that and would do it again in a heartbeat.

After the reading, I went home and did some more work before DD1 arrived home via the bus. We did her homework together and just hung out until it was time to go to soccer practice. We ended up getting to practice really early, so we had fun dribbling and kicking the ball around together. She was trying to show off and act all cool. It was really pretty funny, sometimes she can be so goofy.

Well, practice came to an end and we hopped into my car and headed home. I asked her if she had fun and she said she did. If she had asked me if I had fun, I surely would have said yes as well, only I would have been answering for the whole day, all of the time that I was lucky to spend with her. It isn't often that a working parent gets to spend more than a few hours a day with their children during the work week. Typically in our house, I only really see my girls from 5:00pm until about 8:30pm (when they fall asleep), and for a good portion of that time my wife and I aren't able to spend 100% of our time with them. We are usually preoccupied, focusing on getting dinner ready, homework done, baths completed, teeth brushed, stories read, etc. The extra time that I spend with DD1 was something that I won't overlook, that I didn't take for granted.

My last Obvious Revelation: There comes an age at which your daughter or son will no longer think that you are the greatest thing since sliced bread, or even just simply cool. Take advantage of all the years, months, weeks, days, hours and minutes that they do think you are the best think in the world. Yesterday was one of those days and I definitely think I took advantage of it and I won't forget it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Just Running

It amazes me how quickly the seasons change and I go from training for three separate disciplines to only one. Every year it is the same thing, I swim May to early September, then I pack up the goggles and shorts until the next year; I bike from April to October then clean my bike, and bid it adieu until next season. Then it is only running....running for the next five or six months straight with no real variation. I seem to have entered into this stage already and I am not happy about it. The weather here in the northeast U.S. has been absolute crap the past two weeks which has led to my not being able to get on my bike at all (I did manage a ride last Sunday, but that has been it really for the month).

This is all going to change over the next month or so as I purchase an indoor bike trainer and join a gym (for the pool and swimming). I am actually pretty excited to get the bike trainer because I miss getting on my bike and just spinning away. I have DVR'd about six or seven past Ironman competitions that aired on Universal Sports over the past two months, so I will have tons of inspiration when I am pedalling away this winter. I am very excited to join a gym and get my swimming on track....I also hope to just get fitter by lifing some weights and getting in better overall shape.

I am looking at this off-season not as a way to just work on my running as it has been in years past, but rather to improve my speed on the bike, better my swimming technique, and as a result improve my overall fitness level. I think as a consequence my running will improve as well. Here's to a good "off-season", which will probably be tougher than any in-season I have ever had.

Here's the past couple days:

Friday: 4.69 mile run, 36:49 (7:51/mile), 160 BPM - Felt great!!!
Saturday: 3.33 mile run, 26:31 (7:58/mile), 156 BPM - Would have been faster if my dog didn't tire after 1.5 miles. I had to "drag" him for the last part of the run. He is very much out of shape.
Sunday: 6.06 mile run, 50:24 (8:19/mile), 157 BPM - I was a little tired and decided not to push it. I also really wanted to got for about eight miles but it wasn't in the cards. It was a good day to run and the route I ran was beautiful, all of the leaves changing colors.
Monday: 4.12 mile run, 32:57 (7:59/mile), 158 BPM - Awesome day out there, I could have gone faster, but didn't. Ran with Chris and Bill at work, great weather and lots of laughs.

This should be a good week. I am working from home on Wednesday because I am the "Mystery Reader" for my daughters 1st grade class. I am really looking forward to going in and surprising her....I hope that I don't embarrass her. Happy training!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

No Socks = Day Off

The weather today in a word is CRAP. It is raining out, the temps are barely 50F and the wind is picking up. Despite the bad conditions outside I still planned to head out for a five mile lunch time run. I was looking forward to trying out my new Zoot jacket, to see if is in fact waterproof. Most people here in my office think I am a lunatic for running the weather that I do. I don't thing there has been a day that weather has stopped me from going out and getting in a run. I think this goes back to an article I read in Runner's World where they mentioned how you should run in all conditions. The reason being that you never know what the weather is going to be like on race day and you should be as prepared as possible.

Around 11:45AM, I headed down to the locker room to get changed. It was empty, it appreared that I was the only brave sole (or dumb ass) to head out today. I was just about fully dressed when it dawned on me that I forgot to pack socks. I thought for a minute and then came to the obvious conclusion that this was a sign that I shouldn't run today. Yes, it is a total cop out, but I just wasn't looking forward to cold, wet feet for what would have been a five mile run. So back to my desk I went and that puts me where I am now....catching up my writing here.

A gorgeous day, sunny and cool, but not too cool. Chris and I ran a different route than we have run before, five miles in all. It was a bit hilly and I was dragging a bit, but I managed to keep up (or he slowed down). About 2.5 miles in it started to get a somewhat hilly which used to get to me, but now I try to look at it positively. Hills make me stronger and once I run up a hill, there is always a downhill. Here are the stats: 5 miles, 39:41 (7:56/mile pace), 163 BPM. As usual, my HR is a bit high but that is because I am running with Chris and he is faster than I am and I have to run harder to keep up.

Another great day, a bit cooler but still nice. It was a third day in a row with Chris and today had to be a quick day. He was trying to get me to go farther than the four miles I had planned (my boss is in town from Chicago and I didn't want to be away from my desk for too long). Each time we had a chance to extend the run he would prod me, but I held strong and pressed on with what I had planned. It was around mile two that Chris started to pick up the pace, this was after a mile long climb that slowed our pace considerable (Mile 1: 8:00; Mile 2: 8:35). I brought attention to our quickening pace and he simply said that he was just trying to get me back sooner. Well the next two miles were pretty quick, 7:38 and 7:08, with an extra tenth of a mile at 6:23 pace. I think we both felt pretty good today and it would have been great to go a bit longer. Stats: 4.11 miles, 32:04 (7:48/mile), 158 BPM.

On a non-training note, I had my oldest daughters soccer practice last night and it was a blast. I am pretty sure that everyone had a great time. I know that I did. At the end of practice I had all of the girls line up on one side of the field, then I told that to get on their bellies. Then I had them race over to the side of the field where I was. Then I had them all get on their backs and race to the opposite side on the word "GO" (I did fake them out a couple times before yelling out). They all loved it. Oh to be a kid again and to love doing I hated them when I was in college playing lacrosse.

No running today....NO SOCKS! That is unless I get home from work tonight and try to fit one it, but I doubt it. I will probably head out tomorrow instead.

I'm looking to get out and do a eight or nine mile run sometime this weekend. Hopefully the weather agrees. Adios!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Good Days are Here

What a great few days I have had. Seriously, the past four of five days have been really good for multiple reasons. My training has been far better than anything I have had over the past four or five months, I have spent a bunch of time with my family (lots of laughs and smiles), and I was able to watch the Ironman World Championships on Saturday via for the first time.

To quickly recap, my daughter had a soccer game on Saturday (I am the coach) and she scored the first goal of the game which just thrilled her. I am pretty sure that we won, but what was more important was that all of the players had a great time playing. All of the girls on my team left the game in good spirits and proud of the job that they did.

Watching the Ironman World Championships was awesome. I wasn't planted in front of my computer for the whole eight or nine hours it took for the men's and women's champions to be crowned, but I was there for a good part of it. I saw Craig Alexander run past Chris Lieto and claim his second championship in a row. I then got to see Chrissie Wellington make history by breaking the women's course record. It was amazing to see it all happen live from 4,000 miles away. I wish that I could have stayed up longer and watched more people finish (some of the Age Groupers and the folks who just gut it out for 15, 16, 17 hours), but it was getting late. Being able to see everyone compete really got me psyched to do an Ironman.

As for my training, I have been consistently running under 8:00/mile pace for the past week and I have felt great doing it. My body seems to be agreeable to faster pace and I have been waking up with out any sore muscles or pain anywhere. I am hoping that this is a bit of a break though!

I decided to spurn a lunch invite from my fellow running partners and went for a 6.2 mile run. It was a good choice as the weather was perfect. Throughout the entire run I just felt so good, it seemed so easy for once. The run took me 48:48 for an average pace of 7:52 and my heart rate was 160 BPM (a bit high but I am OK with it). I pushed it a bit at the end to get as far under 8:00/pace as possible, with the last two miles at 7:50 and 7:30 pace.


I decided to take a break from watching Ironman and went for a 7.6 mile run along some roads that I have never run on. Again, it was a gorgeous day and I was just enjoying the run. I was really happy with my pacing, keeping it right around 8 min/mile for the first 6 miles. I then decided that I wanted to try and finish up the run in under an hour so I picked up the pace and did mile 7 in 7:29 and the last .6 of a mile at 7:05/pace. I wasn't able to get in under an hour but I did finish it in 1:00:16, for a 7:53/mile pace, heart rate was 162 BPM, but that was high because of the last two miles that I pushed a bit harder.

It was my first ride in a week and only my second ride in almost a month. I woke up a bit sore but nothing that didn't work itself out within the first hour of walking around. I got the OK from my wife to go out for an afternoon ride (God bless her!) and off I went. I did a lot of hills on the way out thus my average MPH was only around 15 for the first 10 miles. But on the way back I was able to reap the rewards of 40 minutes of climbing and I was able to just fly. the ride was 21 miles with my average speed finishing at 17.5 MPH. My heart rate monitor reading puts me at an average of 186 BPM, but I think that is a bit off (my max was 253 BPM...oh my).

I ran with Chris today and we just wanted to get out and do an easy run today. Both of us put in solid runs over the weekend and we wanted to take it a bit easy. Well, it was only a 3.6 mile run, but we still managed to run it in 8:12 pace with mile 3 at 7:38 pace (HR 156 BPM). He is such a lying bastard when he says he is OK running easy....he always pushes it.

I have already writing to much uninteresting stuff and I still lack the photo's to make this the slightest bit interesting. I hope to pick up a cheap camera soon and start posting some pictures of where I run/ride and of the important people in my life. Adios!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Trakkers & 1up USA

I think that I am finally back to feeling good running again. I know that I have said this before, but I really mean it this time. I have put in three very good days running in a row and my body seems to be OK with it. Any doubts that I might have had about doing an Ironman are slowly subsiding.

Some additional news, I am going to put in an application for a sponsorship with Trakkers, a web based athlete tracking system used at the Rev3 triathlong this past June up in Connecticut. I have no clue what comes with a sponsorship, but heck I figured why the heck not. I am definitely on board with the GPS movement. I am hoping to get the application in by the end of the week. I hope that they pick me...then again, I have no idea what it all includes, so I better watch out what I wish for.

What a beautiful day for a run, temps in the 60s, sunny and just awesome outside. I went for a run with Chris and he decided to do a relatively hilly route that we sometimes do, but haven't recently. Normally it is around 5.2 miles but we had to make it 4.75 miles due to him not wanting to be seen from our office (we had to slip out the back parking garage). Regardless, we ran a very good pace and he pulled me up the hills (figuratively). Too often I give up and lag far behind him as he strides up the hills, but I decided to stay on his heels and suffer just a little bit to the top. It paid off and I felt really good afterwards. We did the 4.75 miles in 37:29 (7:53/mile pace) and my heartrate was 157 BPM. Considering the terrain, I am pretty happy with the run.

Today was another beautiful day, although the wind was gusting at around 40 MPH. I headed out with Bill today and despite the windy conditions we still managed 8:07 pace over the 4.66 mile route (total time was 37:53 and HR 159 BPM). I probably could have pushed it a bit more than I did, but I didn't want to kill myself just to get our pace under 8:00/mile. As I said above, I am really starting to feel better running. I feel so much stronger out there than I have since around May/June.

A few last words for today, I am getting pretty close to buying an indoor bike trainer by 1up USA. I only need to get reimbursed for my business expenses for my last two trips, then I am going to be spinning away in my basement in the early mornings. I have been trying to get up around 5:45am this week and will eventually be dragging my butt out of bed at 5:00am and getting in a spin workout or swim workout before heading in to work. I need to get used to getting up that early since that is when I am going to get the majority of my training done over the next year or so.

Monday, October 5, 2009


The past four or five days has been pretty blah for me. Everything with the fam' has been great, my wife is back to normal life following our trip and the girls are great. Athletically, I have been pretty uninspired. I just haven't been able to get motivated to get out and put the miles in. Granted, all pool workouts are on hold until I join a gym which will probably be in November sometime. The weather has been less than cooperative so that has lessened any chance of me getting out on my bike recently (aside from this past Saturday). As for running, I have been going, but I have been pretty slow. I need to sign up for a race sometime soon and have something to work towards.

I'm not going to really get into the details of the past few days except to say that I ran last Thursday and Friday; I managed to get my times down to 8:00/mile pace over 4 - 5 miles. Saturday I finally got out on the bike for a quick 11 mile ride. It was a little rough, but I had a good time just going fast. I ran today at lunch with Chris and Bill and it was a good day. Only 3.5 miles, but the last mile was in 7:35/mile pace. I am hoping that this week will be a good week.

Tiem to get back to doing some work this evening. I have been super busy at work the last three weeks or so. Ciao!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

VW Down

Today started like any other day, in fact it started a little bit better. I was up earlier than usual, I was out of the house on time and I could even see the sun gently rising up over the horizon. I had a smile on my face and I was ready to sieze the day. That's right around when my VW Jetta decided that today was not "the" day, that today was going to be a bad day. I was a mere nine miles from home when my cars check engine light started blinking and I knew that I needed to get it in for service ASAP. Cylinder #6 needs a new coil and it is going to cost me $266 to have it replaced. Along with that, it has to go in for its 60,000 mile service (~$260). And as the icing on the cake, I recently had my antenna ripped off of the top of my car in a rain storm and that is going to cost me $224 (that one really blew me away). Yeah, I am not happy, not happy at all.

The only plus in this whole thing was that I was able to see girls (daughters and wife) more than usual. I saw my oldest daughter get on the school bus and then got to spend the day working at home....with my wife who also was at home today. Oh, I was also there when she got home from school and I picked my little one up from Pre-K. I should add that I really should stress that I am very fortunate that I have the ability to work from home occassionally and that I love being able to be there for my daughters immediately before and after school. They always seem to be at their utmost happiest at those times.

As for training, I really need to start getting into a groove (a word I think I have been over using lately), and start putting together my plan for next year. Deep down I secretly would love to qualify for Kona. I know that it is a long, long, long shot to say the least. First, the fact that I have never done an full Ironman distance race does not play in my favor. Second, the only half-iron distance I finished in just over six hours (horrible conditions on a very tough course). Third, I don't know what third is, but there has to be something. I know that I am capable of greater things, of going faster that I have in past races. I have always trained relatively well, but I have never dedicated myself to it 100%. That means, doing all of the things that are necessary to be successful, e.g. put the time in at the pool, follow a solid cycling training program, doing speedwork for the run, eating the right things, getting the proper amount of sleep, etc. The time is now, not tomorrow.

With that said I took off yesterday, but there is a very good reason for it. My father was nearby my office and we grabbed lunch together. It isn't often that I see him and I had told him a few weeks ago that if he was ever in the area I would love to sit down and just catch up. We at big ass hamburgers a local sports bar/restaurant, talked laughed and just had a good time. I really enjoy spending time with him and was really grateful that I was able to spend an hour with him.

I worked from home and was seriously considering heading out for a ride, but I decided to go for a run instead. It was a bit too cold out and I was a little pressed for time. It ended up being a good day to run and even though I was a little tired I still ran pretty well. 4.84 miles in 38:43 (8:00/mile) and my heartrate was 161 BPM. My heartrate is still a bit too high, but that seems to be where it ends up when I run at or sub-8:00/mile pace. It will get better once I drop the excess weight from Disney....and also the bacon cheeseburger from lunch yesterday.

I am working from home tomorrow and a ride is definitely in my future since I am going to have to go and pick up my car. I am really looking forward to getting on my bike (which still need a name, is "Blue Lightning" too cliched? Yeah, it is).

It's getting late and I need to start getting to bed earlier. Peace out!