Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Soccer, Soreness, & Super

I woke up this morning really sore, and not just any ole sore, soccer sore. Yup, that's right I played soccer on Tuesday night and I was paying for it. My quads were sore, my calves were aching, the muscles behind my knees were hurtin', heck even the muscles in my feet were giving me giving me problems. I believe that I am going to be officially giving up soccer until after my triathlon training is over, it just isn't worth the price that I pay.

The worst part about playing soccer is that no one on my team will get me the ball. Most of my team is made up of Spanish speaking guys, which leads me to believe that because I am not fluent in Espanol, I am not going to be getting the ball. So frustrating knowing that I am one of the better players on the team and they choose not to utilize me. That makes my decision all the easier.

As I said already, I woke up in pain, but I wasn't about to let that interior my training for the day. So I made sure that I got in my 45 minute ride (about 14 miles, 19.1 MPH) followed immediately by a 15 minute run (about 1.85 miles, 7:56/mile pace). The best part about my work-out was that my heart rate never really got above 150 BPM. I think that I am definitely improving my fitness.

That is it for now. I am home alone with my little ones and it is dessert time. Tomorrow it is back into the pool in the early AM and then an hour on the bike at lunch. I'm looking forward to a good day. Cheers!

Monday, June 28, 2010

AH.....Rest Day

First off, I am back to 100%.  Whatever it was that I had last week is gone, and I had a no lingering effects this past weekend.  It seems that once every season I get hit with some illness that wrecks me for a couple days and then I am OK.  I'm glad that it was only two days worth of misery and not something that lasted longer.

I guess it is time to recap the past few days, not that it has been all that interesting....well maybe a touch (but not really).

I was up around 5:30AM and out on the road for an hour long run.  Ugh, I was miserable for the entire thing.  I forgot to use my inhaler before heading out which didn't bode well for me.  I was tired and had some breathing issues the entire run.  I couldn't get over hour hot it was already at that hour and also how humid it was.  I should also note here that I have never been a good early morning runner.  My body just doesn't do well in the early morning.  The fact that I put in an hour on the trainer the night before (from 5:00PM - 6:00PM) most definitely didn't help either, nor did my staying up until around 11:00PM help in the slightest.  So just starting the run I already had numerous factors going against me and things just didn't turn around at all.  I am going to say that I averaged a very sloth-like 8:50/mile on my one hour, 6.75 mile morning run.

The only positive I had going for me was that I was going to be out playing golf with my father and some of his friends in an outing later on that morning.  We had a really good time and I played remarkable well, especially considering that I had only played twice over the past year.  I was crushing my drives (around 280 yds most holes) and putting well.  Heck my first shot of the day, a par-3, I put within 5' of the pin.  The day though was great because I got to spend time with my father.

I was up at 5:00AM and on the road by 5:40AM for my two hour and 45 minute ride.  I wanted to get out early so that I wouldn't be home too late.  It was actually a bit cool out and I was wishing that I had some arm warmers (my next purchase I think) to throw on until it warmed up a bit.  As usual, I headed down to the river, across the bridge into New Jersey and headed north from there.  I had an idea that I would ride up to Frenchtown or Milford, cross back into Pennsylvania, and then make my way to Ringing Rocks County Park

Well, the one thing that I never checked when planning out my route was the elevation profile.  I know that heading up and away from the river is always going to be hilly, but I had no clue that Bridgeton Hill Rd. was going to be so tough.  It is about two miles of climbing, with the first mile hitting 16% grade, so not fun on a tri bike (or any bike for that matter).  I was not happy about my choice of route, but once to the top of the climb I was happy I had done it because it will only make me stronger on the bike. 

I proceeded to keep progressing west away from the river and eventually ran into Nockamixon State Park, site of the Steelman Triathlon (I've done it the past two years, but won't be doing it this year).  The rest of the ride was like a roller coaster, fast descents and equally slow climbs as I made my way back home.  All in all a good day of riding, 50.28 miles in 2:46, average speed of 18.1...not bad considering the all of the hills.

The rest of Saturday was spend doing the final sanding of the swing set, then heading over to Fanny Chapman Pool for about three hours.  NOTE:  I tried my first one and a half off the diving board and it ended up being a one and a quarter.....holy face plant....not good.  Still a fun day.

The good - I slept until 7:30AM, meaning I got 9 1/2 hours of sleep!!!  The bad - I was so sore and achy from the previous day's ride, sanding and pool.  I was not going to be running early this morning.  Instead, I got out and washed the cars and sprayed the girls with the hose for a while.  After that I helped my wife with some chores before I decided it was time to get my run over with.  Of course this meant that I would be going for a noon time run in the 90F+ heat.  Yeah, I'm smart like that...NOT!!!  Here it is, short and sweet, I was slow, it was hot, but I got it done.  8.75 miles in 1:45 (~8:30/mile).  I would have liked to have gone a bit faster, but the heat and my rationing of water just wouldn't allow me to do that.  Frankly, I was just happy to have it over and done with.

The rest of Sunday was a pool day.  My oldest ran into a friend of hers so she was pretty much on her own most of the day, and my youngest was all about just jumping into the pool over and over again.  Now, if only she would dunk her head under the water and realize it isn't such a big deal.  I hope she gets it soon.

I am going to be taking it easy today.  I feel pretty good, but am a bit sore, but nothing that I can't handle.  This is a pretty standard week of training, with the weekend getting a bit tougher (three hour bike on Saturday and 1:30 run on Sunday).  Then next week I move into Phase Two of the training with BRICK workouts becoming the norm and speed work being introduced.  Oh, I bump up to 3,000M in the pool also.  Looks like the honeymoon is over!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rest, Sick, & Sucking

The beginning of this week has been all over the map.  Let's start with Monday...I felt awesome following my race on Sunday.  Really, I couldn't have felt any better, that is until around 4:00PM when I hit an imaginary wall.  I became severely exhausted and just wanted to lie down and go to sleep; I couldn't figure out what the heck happened.  Flash forward to 7:00PM and I wanted nothing to do with dinner and simply wanted to lie down.  Then at 8:00PM I headed up to bed with the chills and a pretty good fever going.  I was up all night with a fever, having very crazy dreams and waking up every 15 - 30 was not a fun night.

Tuesday I spent the entire day in bed and on the couch.  I felt miserable.

Wednesday I felt a lot better and ventured into work only to start feeling like crap around 9:00AM.  I was advised my co-workers to head home and work from there since none of them wanted to get whatever it was that I had.  Once home I took some Motrin which really helped me to feel better.  Thank God!!!  Around lunch time I decided I should try and get in the pool for a bit, see if I was in fact feeling better.  It was so good to be swimming in an outdoor pool (and a 25 YD pool at that).  I ended up putting in 2,700 yds and I felt really strong.  It is amazing how much faster I feel in a 25 yard pool, with out even really trying I posted two 1:37 100yds. 

After the swim I was back working until around 5:30PM, when dinner came calling and then it was off to the pool with the girls.  It was a momentous day for my little 5 year old, she finally put her whole face under water (YEAH!!!).  We hope that sometime this weekend she will feel more comfortable and be able to really submerge herself and start some underwater swimming (not pushing, just hoping).

Once the girls were in bed I was down in the basement watching Ironman St. George (which I DVR'd) while I banged out 45 minutes on the trainer.  I followed that up with around a 20 minute run outside, 2.3 was still really hot and muggy out at 10:00PM, crazy.

Today, I was up around 5:00AM and at the pool and it was bad, REAL BAD.  I was tired and my swim showed it.  I actually had to cut it short by 200M because my stroke was just falling apart and I was struggling to make it from one end to the next.  All in all it was a 2,300M swim in around 48 minutes.  Ugh, so slow and so bad.  On tap for tonight is one hour on the bike, probably in the basement before dinner if I can manage it.  We'll see how it goes.  That is it for now.  Hope you all are having a good week.  Peace out!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Lavaman Triathlon - Race Report

Where to start, where to start.  Let me start with a quick recap of Friday and Saturday, then shift into Sunday.

I was up early and into work so that I could get my hour run in (then shower and head up to my desk).  I am so glad that I chose to do the early morning run as opposed to the afternoon run.  It wasn't all that hot but the humidity was high.  7.4 miles in an hour, extremely hilly first half of the run (9% grade for about 1/2 mile).  I felt good though and was happy with my effort.

Again, I was up early so that I could get my two hour ride in.  I was out the door a touch before 6:00AM and headed south through Ortley Beach, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park and into Island Beach State Park.  There was a bit of wind from the south, but nothing that made my ride too difficult; my average speed was right around 18 MPH heading south.  As is typical down the shore, I was able to speed up a bit on the way back getting up to an average of about 22 - 23 MPH.  I didn't push it all too much though because of my race on Sunday morning.  The rest of the day was spent watching the World Cup and hanging on the beach.  It was a good day.

Sunday - LavaMan Triathlon
I was really looking forward to doing the Lavaman Triathon in Lavallette, NJ this year.  Last year I was recovering from a pulled groin muscle and didn't really perform as well as I knew I could.  I downed a Pop-Tart and some Gatorade before heading over to the race site.  I showed up in transition around 5:40AM and had a good rack spot (2nd bike in).  There was talk of jellyfish in the bay which was not a good thing, especially considering my run in with them last year.  I tried not to dwell on it too much and focused on positive thoughts.

Swim - .33 miles
I waded out to the start with the rest of my wave, passing a bout three big-ass jellies, and tried to focus on having a good swim.  BANG! The cannon sounded and we were off.  I had a few slow pokes in front of me (which was weird considering I am usually one of them) and after about 150M got past them and into a decent rhythm.  I was feeling good and swimming a good line.  Then about about 100M later it hit me, starting on my right cheek and stretching all the way across my face to my right ear....a jellyfish sting!  It friggin' killed.  I stopped swimming for a minute, knocked my goggle off and yelped.  I composed myself, took a deep breath, fixed my goggle and kept going.  I just wanted to be out of the water at that point.  I pushed and pushed and finally popped out on solid ground.  Swim time - 9:01 (65 out of 245)

I was out of my wetsuit and onto my bike in not time - 47.1 seconds (one of the fastest transition times)

Bike - 13.75 miles
Simple put, heading south 20 MPH, heading north 24 MPH.  It was a three loop course, which meant six times I had to do a complete 180 degree turn around which dramatically had an impact on my speed.  The bike was really uneventful, I just tried to hammer with the wind at my back and keep a high cadence into the wind (100+ RPMs).  The best part of the ride was that I was able to pass my parents multiple times.  My father was right near transition and my mother was at the north bike/run turn around (near their house).  I definitely picked up the pace after seeing them.  I think I was only passed by one or two guys (full on race wheels and aero helmets) while I passed 15+.  Bike stats - 38:00, 21.7 MPH (32 out of 245)

I could have been a bit faster in T2, initially racked my bike in the wrong spot.  Still out of there in 1:05.

Run - 3.8 miles
My legs were a bit heavy off of the bike but my Garmin was telling me that I was running at 7:20/mile pace.  I was happy with that pace and I plugged along counting down the miles until I would be done.  I was passed by three guys on the run, all three in my age group, all running at sub-7:00/mile pace.  I wasn't going to catch them, they were just too fast.  So my strategy was to keep an even pace and pick off runners as best as I could.  I think I passed around four other runners before I hit the final straight way, a 300M stretch over the sand to the finish.  I considered not trying to catch the two guys in front of me, but then my competitiveness won out and I kicked it into high gear. 

Below are the sequence of photos from the finish line photographer.  They are classic!  The first picture you can't see me because I am hidden behind the guy in white, but in the next you can tell that he knows I am coming.  The third the legs are going crazy and fighting to beat me, and the fourth I am a bit sad that I couldn't catch him, but overall happy with how I did.

You can see my K-Swiss shoes on the right, and my right hand reaching down to congratulate the guy who edged me out by less than a second.  He laid there for a few minutes, probably trying to calm his nerves and regain his composure.  ;)

I caught the first guy about 20 yds from the finish (he tried to keep up but couldn't). The second I wasn't able to catch, but I did give him quite a surprise when he heard me coming...his legs went crazy as he scrambled to cross the finish line first. He ended up wiping out and landing face first about ten feet after crossing the last timing mat. It was classic....turns out neither one of them were in my age group. Word was following the race (confirmed by race director) that the run was actually 4 miles, not the 3.8 that was advertised. Run stats - 29:29, 7:22/mile (31 out of 245)

Finish Stats
AG - 5th out of 29,
Male - 25 out of 172
Overall - 31st out of 245

Final Recap
I was really happy with my race.  I gave it everything I had and I have no regrets.  I took about seven minutes off of my time from last year, thanks to a good swim (2 minutes), quick transitions (2 minutes) and solid biking and running (3 minutes).  Great first triathlon of the year for me.  I will definitely make some improvements in my swim and bike. 

I have a rest day today and then it is back to business tomorrow (swimming and running...maybe soccer).  Yee haw!!!  Peace out!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Alarm Clock Illiterate

I am having some major issues with my alarm clock this week, well at least the past two days.  I use my iPod Touch as my alarm clock.  Why?  Because it isn't as disruptive as your typical alarm clock, which usually wakes a sleeping person with a loud buzzer or blaring music.  Instead I have it play some gentle guitar at a nice modest volume that doesn't wake the rest of my house (wife and two daughters) at 4:30AM.

So what happened yesterday?  Well, I was supposed to get up at 5:00AM and get in my 45 min ride and 15 run in before work (I had daughter duty, basically getting my one daughter on the bus and the other over to Pre-K).  Well, apparently when I was setting the alarm for "Wedneday" morning, I mistakenly set it for "Tuesday", thus there was no gentle guitar to wake me from my slumber.  Instead I didn't wake up until around 6:00AM which was just a bit too late to get in my work out (DAMN!!!).

As for my workout, I had to do it last night after the girls went to bed.  I hoped on my bike (on my trainer in the basement) and started pedaling away while watching the 70.3 World Championships from Clearwater, FL.  I felt really good on the bike, averaging around 100 RPM while pedaling in my 39/13 gears for my 45 minute ride.  Immediately after I finished riding I was out for my 15 minute run, an out and back....and wow did I feel good!  After shaking off my biking-legs I got into a rhythm and was just cruising along.  The first mile, I ran in 7:57 (heart rate around 142 BPM) and the second I was just floating.  I ran the second in 7:08, yes, 7:08 and I wasn't hurting at all, my max heart rate for the entire run was 160 BPM.  I just felt so good and I could have kept going if I needed to. 

Now, as for this morning, ugh, I don't know why but I was awoken by my 5 year old who came shuffling into our room at 5:10AM.  DAMN, DAMN, DAMN!!!  What happened to 4:30AM?  Well, I checked my iPod Touch and it seems that I didn't raise the volume on the darn thing and it wasn't that the alarm didn't go off, it was that I had the volume all the way down, thus no soothing guitar to wake me from my slumber.  Aaaarrrrghhhhh!

I jumped out of bed, got changed and took off to the pool.  Because I arrived there so late, I only managed about 1,600M because I needed to get into the office.  I'm not too concerned about my lack of pool time since I am sure I will be in the water down in Lavallette sometime this weekend, possibly for an open water swim on Saturday afternoon. 

*I did my one hour ride (actually 58:30) at lunch and it was a tough one.  I didn't realize that it was going to be uphill for the entire outbound leg.  Whew, it was slow going but the whole time I was looking forward to the return (downhill, with the wind mostly at my back).  I think I averaged around 14.5 MPH on the way out and ended up around with an average of about 18 MPH total for the I must have been flying on the way back.  It is a beautiful day out there and I thoroughly enjoyed getting outside for a ride.  Have a great day out there people, it is gorgeous and summer is only a few days away!  Adios!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Terrific Tuesday

It has been a few days since I posted here.  It isn't that there hasn't been a lot going on, it is that I haven't had a lot of time.  I will do my best to recap everything for the past five days or so and try to make it as not-boring as possible.

I only had one swim completed leading up to Friday morning, so I knew that I had to get in the I did.  I felt pretty good.  Honestly, it was five days ago and I don't recall the details, but I am pretty sure that I would remember it if it didn't go well.  I hurried to work after my swim because the World Cup kicked off that morning at 7:30AM and I wanted to follow the first game (South Africa 1 - Mexico 1).  I am really psyched that the World Cup has started, I am such a soccer fan and this is the best tournament in the world!!!

Friday afternoon brought an hour and 15 minute run that would have to happen around lunch time.  I was not looking forward to it as the temperatures were rising.  I downed half a bottle of Gatorade G2 and headed out, looking to do one of the harder runs around here, up Deer Run Rd. (tops out with a 9% incline for the last 1/4 mile).  It was slow going and I wasn't going to pressing too hard, trying to keep my heart rate in Zone 2.  I think I ended up running about 8.7 miles, very tough miles that is.  FYI, bedtime came very early later on that night as I was BEAT!!!

I was really excited for Saturday because my oldest daughter and I were going to participate in a World Cup Festival put on by our local Athletic Association.  We headed up around 8:00AM and got ready to play in a 3 v. 3 tournament (yes, BOTH of us!).  She played first, three 15 minute games with a 15 - 30 minute break in between them.  She did awesome and so did her team. They demolished each of their opponents and ended up winning the tournament.  As for me and my team, we did really well, going 4 - 1.  The one game that we lost, we should have won.  I was to blame for the tying goal for the other team and then we lost with 16 seconds remaining because of a bad turnover.  Regardless, both "K" and I had a great time. 

Side note, I tweaked my left groin muscle during the first game and spend the rest of Saturday afternoon icing it while watching the U.S. tie England in one of the most anticipated games of the World Cup.

I was up and out of the house by 6:00AM to get my two and a half hour ride in.  I opted to ride down to the river and into NJ, then just go north along the Delaware River until I hit and hour and 15 minutes and then turn around.  My ride took my all the way up to Holland, PA where I stopped for a brief moment to take in the foggy morning before heading for was starting to get hot out and I wanted to get home ASAP.  The ride back was uneventful which is a good thing...although I did see a good sized turtle hanging out on the side of the road.  Ride stats - 2:30, 46.5 miles (18.6 MPH/avg).

The rest of Sunday was all about DANCE!  My daughter had her dance recital at 1:00PM so around noon we were in high gear, getting ready for the big event.  So, we watched about 13 or so dance routines before my daughter came on stage and we were ready.  How did she do?  She did GREAT!  (what can I say, she is my daughter).  We were so proud of her, she only started hip/hop dance about three months ago and she more than caught up with the girls that have been taking classes for six months or more.  About 30 minutes after "K" went, it was my turn.  I was the slightest bit nervous, but it was a good nervous.  How did I do?  Well, my wife says that I was the best one up there (but then again, that is my wife talking).  I do know that I did the whole dance right, I smiled and laughed the whole time.  I am really glad that I did it, with my one issue being that my dancing daughter didn't get to see it.

Rest day.  Not more more to say than that.  I wanted to run over to the pool and get in a quick swim, but it just didn't happen.  No worries, I did need the rest.

I put in a straight 2,500M swim at the pool in about 52 minutes.  Not really fast but a good swim none-the-less.  I felt like the last 500 meters I really improved my pull with my right hand. I had a bit of a hitch that I hadn't notices.  I tried to be a bit more fluid and I cut about two or three seconds off of each 100M after that.

This afternoon I was only able to get in a 45 minute run (actually 44 minute).  I left my desk around noon, putz'd around waiting for Chris, then we had some watch delays.  We didn't actually start running until 12:30PM and running for an hour wasn't in the cards.  No worries, we ran about 5.5 miles for an average pace right at 8:00/mile, with a lot of hills thrown in.  A good tough run at a solid pace.  Ciao!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Doh So Sore-o Mio

It is Thursday afternoon and I am still hurting a bit from the past few days....actually I blame Tuesday night soccer.  My groin muscles are especially killing me, probably from all of the cutting and "unusual" movements for a runner/triathlete.  Funny that I would now call myself that after spending the first thirty years or so of my life playing soccer and lacrosse and only running as a means to improve my fitness.  Now I am pretty much just a runner/triathlete with the occasional soccer game thrown in as a change of pace.

Nothing too crazy going on lately, just the normal swim, bike, run, but I have just been so beat. 

Wednesday Night
After a long day in the office I was able to get to the pool and get my 2,500M swim in.  I still can't believe that I can say this with all honesty, but I was really happy to be in the water.  If you had asked me after my first triathlon if I would ever do a triathlon again, I would have told you, "No f'ing way, swimming SUCKS!!!"  Here I am four or five years later and I relish the chance to get in the water because I feel like I make improvements with each and every lap.  Last night was no different.  During my 300M warm up, the first 100M I swam was 1:40....what?  Really?  Yup, that is a good five seconds faster than my fastest 100M (translates to 1:31 for 100yds).  Each lap following slowed a bit, but for the most part I felt pretty strong and all of my 100M splits were well below two minutes.

After swimming I had to run home and get changed for my dance rehearsal.  I think I have mentioned it here, if not....I am taking part in my oldest daughters dance recital on Sunday.  I will be a member of the Daddy Dance portion of the show and last night was our last chance to practice.  I feel confident in saying that we are all pretty bad and with the intent being to provide a little humor for the audience, well we shouldn't have any problem doing that.

I woke up around 5:00AM, stared at the ceiling for about five minutes and dragged my sore body from my bed.  I really didn't want to get up and ride my bike in the basement on my trainer, but I wanted to get it out of the way.  Surprisingly the time went by pretty quickly as I watched the Women's ITU Event from Seoul (I had DVR's it).  The goal of the ride was to keep my cadence at or above 100 RPMs which I think I managed to do. 

After that it was shower time and then PANCAKE TIME!!!  Wahoo!  I love starting the morning off with pancakes for me and my girls. 

That is if for now.  Still a couple hours left of work and then I am heading home to do some cleaning out of our downstairs storage closet.  Tomorrow is going to be a visit to the pool in the early AM and a nice long run at lunch if I can fit it in.  Sayonara!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Soccer & Early Mornings

I am a little sore this morning, I am really not in soccer shape at all.  I ran about four miles during lunch and then I played soccer last night with a team I played with last year.  I was called into duty by the team "owner" because they were playing their arch rivals, who happen to be a bunch of guys I played with when I was younger....a lot younger.  Anyway, the game was a lot of fun despite the fact that we got beat 4 - 0.  I started out at center midfield and then moved over to left midfield/wing about midway through the first half.  I had a hard time getting the ball as the boys on my squad had a tendency to just clear the ball with reckless abandon and dribble until they had it taken.  There was not a lot of one or two touch soccer, so not quality.  That part was a little frustrating, but I didn't make too big a deal or a fuss because I was just a visitor to their game, there to help out where ever possible.

I wasn't on the field for the first two goals, neither of which was what I would consider to be of any quality.  I was actually subbed out with about 15 minutes left in the 1st half.  I didn't go back in until around 30 minutes left in the 2nd.  I hustled my ass off but I wasn't able to make anything happen despite my best intentions.  I am looking forward to playing in a 3 v. 3 tournament this coming Saturday.  Last night was a good tune up for that.

As for this morning I was up at 4:35AM and immediately went down into the basement for a 45 minute session on the trainer.  I can't believe how quickly the time went.  First I caught up on the season finale of "How I Met Your Mother" and then I finished up the last 20 minutes of my ride with the 2006 Ironman World Championships.  Watching the beginning of that was just so inspiring.

Time to get the girls on the bus and to school.  Hope to get in the pool tonight for 2,500M or so....haven't gotten in yet this week.  Cheers!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bike, Run, Cupcakes

Another solid weekend is in the books, great weather and great times.  The past few days have been revolving around my littlest daughters 5th birthday, kind of like a long birthday weekend if you will.  It was all a lot of fun and I think she had a great time....but let me digress.

Holy hot and humidity!  I knew that I had to get in an hour run and I considered getting it done first thing in the morning but I was pretty beat for my one hour ride on the trainer the night before (one hour at 100+ RPMs, while watching "Tropic Thunder").  So when the alarm went off at 4:30AM, I turned it off and went back to sleep for another hour.  So what did my extra hour of sleep earn me?  A noon time run with 90F+ temps and horrendous humidity.  The only benefit that I could think of was that I would have a chance to try out my inhaler which I prayed would eliminate my shortness of breathe when running.  Off I went around 11:45AM and all in all everything went remarkably well.  First off, I think the inhaler is my solution to all of my breathing problems.  When every I felt like it might be tough to take a breathe I didn't have any problems at all.  My run was so much more enjoyable.  I didn't go fast at all during it, I was trying to keep my heart rate under 160 BPM and I was pretty successful.  All in all I think I put in around 7.2 miles in a touch over an hour.  A good day!

I was up super early for a weekend (5:30AM) so that I could get out of the house and get my two hour ride in before it got too late (and wouldn't disrupt the ladies in the house too much).  I was out of the house and riding by 6:15AM and it was a perfect time to be our riding.  The weather was ideal and I felt really good.  I made my way down to the river and then over into New Jersey.  I opted to not do any of the hills and instead just rode north all the way to Frenchtown and then north a bit of that (there is a pretty good hill heading out of town.  Once I hit one hour of riding I turned it around and headed back (below are pictures of where I turned around - farm country in NJ and me loving the new Oakley's!)

The ride back I switched over to the Pennsylvania side and cruised along the other side of the river. The NJ side is definitely more geared to cyclists as the road is a lot wide and accommodating, but I do like the shade and views from the PA side a lot better. By the time I got home I had ridden 37 miles in 2:01:17 (18.3 MPH), not stellar average speed, but I'll take it because my HR was in Zone 2 (averaged 140 BPM) and that is what I am more concerned about.

The rest of the day was spend hanging out with my girls (and my niece) at the pool.  This was the second time we've made it there and the weather held out for us.  We had a really good time, pretty much just floating around in the agua from 11:30AM until 4PM.  Of course the highlight for me was when the get all of the kids out of the pool for adult swim and some of the Dad's head to the diving pool for a little splash session.  Basically all of the kids sit on the edge of the diving pool and the Dad's go off the one meter spring board and do cannonballs, can-openers, etc. to try to drench the kids.  It is so much fun.

I did manage to get in a 1,000 yd swim which was awesome.  What a difference there is between a 25M pool and a 25yd pool.  I was able to swim 100yds in around 1:35 compared to 100M where my best is 1:48.  It was such an ego boost for me.

My BIL Rick and I headed out around 7:00AM for a run, it was so nice to be out there with someone, instead of by myself like I usually am on the weekends.  We definitely took it easy, thank goodness, because I was a bit sore from the week of training.  We ran 7.06 miles in 1:00:21 (8:33/mile), which was a prefect pace, especially when you consider we ran Burnt House Hill Rd, which is super steep for about a 3/4 of a mile.  It wasn't really hot but I was definitely sweating my ass off.

The remainder of the day was all about getting ready for the my daughter's birthday party, going to the party, being at the party or coming back from the party.  My father did swing by for a couple hours, since he hadn't seen the girls in a few weeks (he had been in Arizona for three weeks or so).  It was great to see him and he seemed to be in great spirits.  I'm glad that he made the trip up.

My wife did a tremendous job with everything!  We had the party at a little shop in town called, "Let Them Eat Cupcakes".  It was different from the standard five year old birthday party at some bounce-around place, which was a good thing for us, the kids and the parents.  My wife is the best when it comes to putting together parties for the girls, she just knows what to do to make everything perfect.  I would say that E-Rock had a great time and the fact that she was able to share it with all of her friends from school was amazing.  Great job honey!!!

I am getting ready to head down to Lakewood, NJ to take part in a golf outing.  I haven't played in about a year, so this should be interesting.  I hope I do embarrass myself too much.  Nothing on tap for today except for rest, although I would like to get over to the pool to swim a few laps, but I don't see that happening.  That is all for now...Peace out!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Soccer Night

Two mornings later and I am still feeling it in my legs.  I forgot how sore one can get from playing a sport (e.g. soccer, lacrosse, basketball, etc.), so many different muscles used, so many places that can hurt.  Let me explain the reason(s) for my pain.

Tuesday was the first day back from a very long weekend (Memorial Day weekend) and I was ready to take on the week.  I woke up at 4:30AM and made it to the pool for my 2,500 of lap after lap of swimming.  I felt good in the water and emerged feeling confident and happy.  I swam relaxed and as smooth as possible for me.  The day was shaping up well thus far. 

Work was work and I did what I needed to do.  I decided to go out for a run at lunch despite the 90F-plus temperatures outside and 80% humidity.  I was scheduled for an hour run, but since I was supposed to play soccer later on that night, so I opted to just run four miles (33:40 or so)....I was tired and it was hot.  I was also having a bit of a tough time breathing which I will get to later.  I toughed it out and was happy I did so.

Flash forward to Tuesday night at 6PM and I am up at Herbst Field, the local soccer/lacrosse complex.  I coach my daughters soccer team and the head (Neil) of Smart Soccer, Central Bucks Athletics Associations soccer education partner, put together a year-end scrimmage for all of the coaches of the rec leagues.  The weather wasn't exactly cooperating early on as the rain dumped on us numerous times, but we managed to finally find a window to play.  About 15 or 16 guys showed up to play, of varying skill levels, all ready to kick the ball around and get a run in.....and run we did.  Neil decided that we could play full field 7 v 7, which in hindsight was probably a bit off, maybe a smaller field would have worked a bit better considering the different fitness levels of all the players.  Regardless, we played and had a great time. 

About 20 minutes into the session I was reminded of how completely different it is to play a contact sport vs. training for running, biking, or swimming.  I was jogging slowly one minute, then in a dead sprint the next, only to slow to a jog and then sprint again.  I spent my whole life playing soccer and lacrosse, yet having not played those sports much recently, I forgot that there is a different kind of fitness that goes along with them.  It was tough, fun, but tough. 

After about an hour or so of playing we called it quits and I was so glad that I played.  I had a really good time and can't wait to get out and play again (hopefully next Tuesday night).  The one thing that I wasn't so happy about was the aches that I was starting to feel in my legs; my quads, hamstrings, calves, and groin were all screaming at me, "Why did you do this to us?"  I didn't have an answer for them.  All I could do was head home, shower up and get to sleep.

Wednesday I fortunate to be working from home and my body thanked me for it.  I was able to sleep in, if you call waking at 5:30AM and lying there looking at the ceiling for an hour sleeping in.  I do like the mornings when I get the girls ready for school, just the little extra time with them in the morning is special. 

Once they were gone I was banging out changes to my companies intranet site and trying to respond to a plethora of emails.  Around 11:45AM I decided to get my training in for the day, a 45 minute ride followed immediately by a 15 minute run.  Even though it was over 90F, the session was awesome.  I rode really well, felt strong and came off the bike feeling good.  For the run I was conscious of the fact that I needed to keep my heart rate in Zone 2, which was tough.  My legs just wanted to go and I had to pull it back a few times.  Despite my attempts to slow down, I still managed 8:03/mile pace for the run and my average heart rate was right around 150 BPM.  I should also note that my quads and groin muscles were still hurting from the prior nights soccer game.  OUCH!!!

The second half of my day was spent going to a couple doctors.  The first was an ENT (Ears, Nose, & Throat) to have my ears checked.  I was told a few weeks ago that I have bumps in my ears and I should have them checked out.  The ENT doctor diagnosed them as Exostoses, and told me that I don't have to worry about them unless I start to have some issues with my hearing.  I also asked him about my nose and subsequent allergy issues.  He told me to try switching my allergy medicine to Singulair and if that didn't work, Zyrtec.

My next doctor appointment was with my family physician.  I scheduled this one because I have been having trouble breathing when the weather gets hot and humid.  I have continued to take my allergy medicine, but haven't had any luck eliminating the symptoms.  About 5 minutes into my runs I just can't take a good deep breathe, it feels like my chest just won't take the air in.  I have dealt with this for a long time and I finally needed to do something about it.  In short, my doctor told me that I probably have exercise-induced asthma.  Although when it happens to me doesn't really coincide with all of the typical triggers (e.g. cold, dry air), the one that could be causing it would be my allergies.  He prescribed an inhaler for me to use 10 - 15 minutes prior to heading out for a run or ride.  I am praying that this will help me out and eliminate the shortness of breathe and unusual fatigue that I suffer from in the warm Spring/Summer months.

That is about it for now....oh I did get in a swim this morning (2,400M) and it went really well.  I have a big night ahead of me, my little girl turned five years old today so we are going to be having pancakes for dinner (her choice) then cake for dessert.  I can't believe that my youngest is now FIVE YEARS OLD. 


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Spring Lake 5 Race Report

6:00AM on Saturday morning, I could hear the rain pounding against that windows.  I rolled over and fell back asleep.  6:15AM, I woke up again and the rain seemed to have eased up quite a bit...I fell back asleep again.  6:30AM, I got up, let the dog out, and saw that it wasn't raining anymore...but it didn't look like it is was going to hold off for much longer.  I pondered just climbing back into bed with my wife and just bagging the Spring Lake 5, but I knew that I had to do it.  My wife on the other hand had made the choice to stay behind and not run it, telling me later that she needed to hang back to watch the kids because my sister-in-law wasn't feeling well.  No worries, looks like it was just going to be me and Rick (my BIL) heading up. 

7:05AM - Rick and I hit the road.  I grabbed Gatorade and an apple pie for my pre-race meal at WAWA, Rick only needed water.  We arrived in Spring Lake around 7:30AM and found a parking spot a good distance from the start.  It is crazy how many people this race attracts (over 9,000 registered runners) and how the town just gets swamped on this one day.  After taking care of normal pre-race "business" we made our way to the start and hung out, waiting for the gun to go off.

8:30AM - The National Anthem was sung and then BANG! off we went.  I didn't even have a chance wish Rick good luck, I just started running, weaving in and out of slower runners.  I felt pretty good, but I couldn't really settle on a solid pace.  The first mile came quickly (6:56) and I made the turn west away from the ocean.  Mile 2 was similar to the first, although I finally found a rhythm and someone to follow/chase (6:57). 

Mile 3 was a different story, there is just a slight incline (barely negligible, but there) and it really had an affect on my as my time slipped a bit (7:05).  I was pissed when I looked at my watch and saw this, so of course I picked up the pace. 

Weather Note:  Thankfully to this point the rain had held off and the temperatures were still in the low 70Fs, perfect weather for running. 

Mile 4 runs along the lake, Spring Lake, and the crowds were a bit more prominent, which definitely helped a lot.  I tried to find runners to pass and consequently tried not get passed by too many.  I was frustrated when my mile split popped up on my Garmin - 6:59 (I thought I was much faster than that).  I mentally prepared for the last mile.

Mile 5 and it was time to push it to the finish.  I knew that once I made the turn on to Ocean Ave that it was just about a half mile to go and that is where I would have to really pick up the pace.  I made the turn and I slowly increased my speed.  The weather began to change and a mist descended from the sky, just a bit of a drizzle.  I saw a guy drink the last gulps of water from a plastic water bottle and he threw it to the ground, that pissed me off.  Why couldn't he just hold onto it 'til the end?  I then decided that I had to pass him and everyone else possible before the finish line.  I dug down and brought it home strong.  Last mile 6:33.

My final time was 34:28 (6:54/mile):
  • Overall - 254th out of 7,583
  • Men - 227th out of 4,074
  • Age Group - 43rd out of 465
This was by far my best showing at the Spring Lake 5 ever and I was really happy with my race.  Of course I would have liked to have gone a bit faster, specifically on mile three, but that would be nit-picking.  I ran a very solid race and it gives me a lot of confidence as I start my triathlon season.  On a side note, my brother-in-law Rick ran it in 36:56, a tremendous job, this was his first race in a few years and he had just gotten back into running only a few months ago.  Bring on LavaMan!!!  Adios!

The Weekend (Spring Lake 5 Race Report to Follow)

It is a beautiful Monday morning.  The sun is out and the temperature is in the upper 70s.  I can't help but think back to the great weekend that just was and how I now have four days of work ahead of me.  I am not complaining, four days is much better than five days and the fact that I have to work from home tomorrow is a plus as well.  The past four days were a blast, great weather and a lot of fun.  Let me do some summing up of the weekend before I get into the Spring Lake 5.

Me and the family headed to the shore on Thursday after work; the girls didn't have school on Friday so I took the day off.  It was great to beat the inevitable Friday traffic and just be there.  Friday was a good day, I managed to get in a nice 45 minute ride along Bay Blvd in Lavallette (site of the LavaMan Triathlon), keeping my cadence up around 100 RPMs.  I spend the rest of the day with my girls, playing down at the bay, and yes, the did go into the freezing water.  We had a really good time. 

Early Friday night we headed up to Spring Lake for the Spring Lake 5 Kids Race, both of my girls were going to run.  It was a mad house, hundreds of kids, parents, grandparents, etc....basically organized chaos to the extreme.  My wife took the girls up to the starting area while I hung out at the finish to take pictures of them.  All I can say is that I did manage to see both of my girls run the last part of the race, and they were psyched to have finished and gotten a medal.  I was proud of my four year old who ran it for the first time and who I feared might back out at the last second; and of course I was proud of my seven year old who had to run 200 yds (a long way for such a little girl) and ran it hard.  Great job for my girls! 

Saturday was kind of a crappy day to start, so crappy that I considered not running the Spring Lake 5.  My brother-in-law Rick and I did end up making the trek up to run it and it ended up being a great day for a race (more to follow)....

Following the race, I still had to get in a bike ride, a scheduled 1:45 ride, but being I just went all out for 5 miles I ended up cutting it short by about 20 minutes.  I was fortunate that the weather made a turn for the better as I rode father and farther south, the sun emerged from behind the gray clouds and the temperatures started to rise.  The one negative to this change was that the wind started to pick up ever so slightly from the south, thus slowing my progress ever so slightly.  I pressed on and manged to get to my 'rents house in Lavallette in about 50 minutes.  I still had another 30 minutes left to ride, so I continuted farther south all the way to the end of the Seaside Park boardwalk, most of which was slow going as I struggled to keep my speed above 17 MPH.  At the turn I picked up the pace significantly and my speed jumped jumped up to around 24 MPH and I was flying home.  Ah, I love riding my bike when I can ride so fast.

The rest of Saturday was spend hanging out at the beach with the kids and my my wife's sisters family.  We had a good time just chilling out watching the kids play in the sand and jump around in the water.  After the beach we headed down to Seaside Heights to get some dinner and take the girls on some rides.  FYI, dinner for the night, pizza from the Sawmill (third night in a row where we had pizza).

Sunday I was up and out of the house by 7:30AM to get my one hour run in.  I was a bit sore from the prior day but all in all not too bad.  I ran 7.25 miles at 8:16/mile pace, with the last mile being my fastest at 8:03.  The rest of Sunday was spent on the beach just spending it with my family.  It was literally one of the nicest Memorial Day weekend days ever.  The sun was out, 85F, slight west wind, just perfect.  The only thing that could have made it nicer would have been if the water temperature wasn't so damn cold....58F!!!

We headed home on Monday later morning after we cleaned my parents house.  I think we arrived home in Doylestown around 12:30PM or so.  The traffic getting off of the island was a nightmare, but we managed and frankly at that point we were happy to be back at our own home.  My wife had to go to the food store and do some other things, and she suggested I take the girls over to the pool....she didn't have to ask me twice.  Off we went to the crowded beyond belief Fanny Chapman pool.  I had never seen it so packed.  We did find a parking space after about five minutes of driving around.  We made out way in and the girls were happy to be splashing around for a bit...that is until the thunder happened and the had everyone leave the pool complex.  This was actually a good thing, because within minutes we were caught in a downpour.  Bummer!

So ended our wonderfull weekend, lots of things to do and I managed to keep up with my training....YEAH!!!  Ciao!