Friday, November 30, 2012

On the Mend....AGAIN!

Two weeks ago I decided to play soccer, innocent enough, right?  The next morning I wake up barely able to lift my leg without tremor inducing pain.  The next night I woke up every hour with shooting pain down my quad to my thigh.  WTF?  It took me four days to go to my family physician (after one visit to my sports doc) only to find out it is all based around the stenosis I have in my L5/S1 joint. 
So after prescription for some pain medication (Vicodin) and another drug (MethylPREDNISolone) and a week later I am actually able to sleep through the night and walk around without looking like a 70 year old man.  Thank God!

Of course there is never a good time for injury to occur, but this was a particularly bad time for the simple fact that I was looking to start my Two Year Plan to IMAZ 2014 the day after Ironman Arizona.  This injury pretty much nixed any of that happening.  The plan now is to get healthy, loss weight (I am up over 200lbs right now...holy crap!!!), and then start a training program.

That's it for now.  Cheers.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

2012 Update & 2013 Plans

I have been MIA for the better part of three months now and there has been a lot going on, but little time to write about it.  So here is what I am going to do, write some bullet points about what has happened followed by some bullet points of what my plans are.  Here I go with "what has happened":
  • Racing - Summer ended and I didn't do any more races.  Coaching my daughters' soccer team coupled with my extensive mid-Atlantic didn't lend itself to racing.  One word...priorities (e.g. family).
  • Death - My Grandmother passed about right around Labor Day.  I wasn't especially close to her, but she was my last remaining grandparent.  It kind of finalized what was a crappy month or so where I lost my dog, my best friends mother and then my grandmother.
  • Soccer - I coached my middle daughters' soccer team and had a great time doing so.  They weren't the most talented group, but they were a lot of fun.  My daughter, the smallest on the team, played awesome and really surprised me (and every other parent).  I am so proud of her.
  • Baby - My littlest one is now a one year old just awesome.  She is always happy, always puts a smile on my face.  She isn't walking yet, but will be soon.
  • Training - My training has been hot and cold.  Some weeks I am putting in six days of biking/running, other weeks I am lucky to get in two.  I don't have a goal and thus I don't have a plan.
  • Swimming - I have had to put my membership at the YMCA on hold for four months due to economical reasons.  It sucks, but I just can pony up the extra $70 a month right now.  Business is not great, so we have to make cuts.
  • Minivan - We are now a minivan family as we have gotten rid of our GMC Acadia.  Again, it came down to cost cutting, but also convenience.  I never thought I would be driving a minivan.
  • Job - I have posted for a new position that I have a decent shot of getting, but there is competition.  It was supposed to get filled quickly, but it seems as though it is going to take longer due to many factors.
  • Sandy - My home was slightly affected by Hurricane Sandy, but not nearly as badly as so many family and friends of mine.  Actually, my parents main residence is in Lavallette, NJ, one of the towns more severely impacted by the storm (it is just three miles north of Seaside Heights and four miles south of Mantoloking).  The good news is that they were in Arizona when the storm hit.  The bad news is that they are not letting anyone onto the island to check on their houses or gather belongings.  It is very frustrating but I have to assume it is for every one's safety.
Here is "what my plans are":
  • Job - I plan on having a new job either by the end of the year or by early 2014, unless things turn around drastically in my current position.
  • Training - I hope to participate in the Bucks County Road Runners Winter Series starting in December.  I took the past two years off, but I think it is time to get back in it.  It is a great way to improve/maintain fitness through the winter months.
  • Races - I haven't picked out my schedule for 2013, but I want to try and do only a couple sprints tris, three or four olympic tris, and one or two half iron distance tris.  I also want to do a few half marathons and some other road races here and there to improve my speed.  This is something that I have gotten away from over the past two years, I need to get fast (relative term) again.
  • Vacation - I hope to be able to take the family on a vacation this year, Disney maybe, or even just somewhere tropical.  We all need it very badly.
  • Everton - I have a friend who is a pilot for American Airlines who has offered to let me tag along to Manchester, England. This is great news because I have an in with Tim Howard of Everton FC (in Liverpool, a mere 35 minute drive from Manchester), where I can get tickets to any home game they have (possibly away games as well).  I hope to make this happen in the next month or so.
  • Garmin 910XT - I did finally receive my new Garmin 910XT and have been using it for all of my runs and rides (indoor).  I like it a lot, but haven't really gotten into all of the data I can extract from it.  Also, since I am not swimming right now, I haven't really gotten to use it in the water yet.
  • IMAZ 2014 - I know I mentioned this before but I am stil committed to participating in Ironman Arizona in 2014!!!  When you have a family of three young children there aren't a lot of spontaneous signing up for races going on, especially when it is an Ironman.  I have given myself two years to get ready and hopefully finish in under 10:13:00.
I think that is about it for now.  Time to get some work done and find a way to make the "plans' list happen.  Cheers to everyone out there.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Plan 2014 and 910XT

I just thought it would be a good idea to post something, especially since my last post was pretty negative.  Things have definitely gotten better since my last post, we are adapting to life without our Willie,  work is slightly better, and my health is much improved. 

I should talk a bit more about my health, and what I think is the result of my getting older.  I mentioned that about two weeks ago my lower back was in bad shape; well, it was and I haven't gone running at all over the past two weeks.  I couldn't believe how much pain I was in, even more than I typically deal with the stenosis I have in my L5/S1.  I went to my sports doc three times over a ten day span to try and make it better.  I am noticing that every little thing that typically hadn't bothered me much is now becoming more than just a nuisance.  I think that it is a combination of age, lack of fitness, diet, and activity (I shouldn't be playing painful the following day).  True, getting older sucks, but I think if I can improve my fitness, lose weight and eat better, I will be able to improve how I feel overall.

With regard to training, I haven't been doing too much lately, only where I think I am not going to damage myself.  I got in a couple rides last week which was great (one in Washington, DC - ~30 miles and the other ~48 miles on Sunday).  I do have to point out that my Sunday ride was absolutely miserable.  Around 30 miles in my legs were getting tight, and then at 40 miles I was in full on cramp mode; every muscle in my upper legs were going nuts.  I guess I was a little dehydrated and hungry.  As for swimming, I did manage to get in the pool every other day over the past two weeks which has helped me actually improve my swim a bit.    I hope to do my first run in two weeks tonight.

Racing....nothing really on the calendar for the rest of the year.  I had been planning on doing the Atlantic City International Triathlon on September 15th, but that just isn't going to happen now.  I am in no shape to even try and do an Olympic distance race with any hope of actually competing.  I need to put something on the calendar to get myself motivated and in training mode.

Lastly, I have had preliminary conversations with my lovely wife and family about my next Ironman.  As of right now the plan is to do Ironman Arizona in 2014.  This will give me a solid two years to:
  • Save money for the trip (there will be FIVE of us going)
  • Train properly, 2013 will be the year of increasing speed and Olympic distance & 70.3 races
  • Position myself for a chance at a Kona slot
That is about it for now.  I hope to be feeling good tonight and get in a productive run.

**Oh, I forgot, I ordered and received a Garmin 910XT about a week ago.  I used it for the first time in the pool last Thursday and within 20 minutes it was not functioning properly and there was water under the glass.  WTF?!?!?!  I called Garmin, they confirmed the unit was defective.  I returned it to Road Runner Sports and am awaiting my replacement.  It seemed really cool when I had it, I'll try to give a full review once I get the new one.  Cheers!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Willie & IM NYC

So much to write down, but so little time (I am at work and have a busy day ahead of me).  I supposed I will start with the good stuff.

The Good Stuff
This past Saturday was Ironman NYC, or Ironman New Jersey as it has been more commonly knows.  I watch it off and on throughout the day via IronmanLive and tracked a few people that I knew were doing it.  I couldn't believe how fast the swim times were; I don't think anyone swam slower than 1:15:00, which is absolutely incredible.  I am thinking that this might be the race for me to do in the future considering swimming is by far my weakest discipline.  Hell, I could probably post a 55 minute swim and cut a minimum of 25 - 30 minutes off of my overall time. 

So there were two people that I was tracking throughout the day.  On is a friend of mines husband (they live in the UK), and he was shooting for a Kona spot.  He had a killer race, finishing in just over 10 hours and ended up 8th in his Age Group, no knowing if he had gotten the golden ticket to the IM World Championships.  The other is a fellow Blogger and now kick ass "Ironman" Yaz (NJ Training), who was doing her first Ironman and ended up 4th in her Age Group (11:37:?? or something like that).  WTF?  How awesome is that?  The big questions for Yaz are: Did you qualify for Kona?  If so, are you going?

So as I was sitting there watching the numbers change on IronmanLive and their finishing times become reality, of course I got the itch back.  I had a talk with my wife last night about my desire to do another Ironman race again soon and we semi-agreed that 2013 is too soon (baby is too young, finances, etc.), but 2014 is a good year to target.  So it looks like 2013 is going to be get my ass in shape year (sprint, olympic and Half Iron distance tri's) and then plan for a return to IM and hopefully a Kona spot in 2014.  Thank you to Scott and Yaz for the inspiration!

The Bad Stuff
Last week just sucked.  That is all I can say.  In brief here is what my week looked like:
  • Tuesday – My birthday….had to take my nine month old little girl to get blood tests; which mean I had to physically restrain her so the tech could take blood. She cried hysterically BOTH TIMES the tech tried; the second attempt (in her other arm) was successful.
  • Wednesday
    • I found out that the job I had been counting on getting, well I got a call from the hiring manager telling me that they have two other candidates that they are going to focus on.  In short, I am out.  F**K!!!!!!!
    • My wife took our dog (Willie) for a routine vet appointment only to find out he has a couple months to live. Then when they got home, it turns out he has internal bleeding from “mass” in his abdomen; I rushed him to the animal hospital and after some x-rays and a draw from his abdomen, then a conversation with the doctor I had to make the horrendous decision to have him put “to sleep”. Sitting there with him on the floor as he passed away in front of me was one of the worst experiences of my life. Then, upon arriving home, I have to explain why Willie isn't with me to my two young daughters. The 30 minutes that followed were filled with all of us crying and trying to comprehend what the hell just happened.

    • The last pic of Willie and I, just before...
      One of my favorite pictures of Willie
  • Thursday – I spend most of the morning trying to console my distraught children (and wife). I took the day off from work because I could barely hold it together myself.  Then throughout the day I had to collect every dog thing from around the house and hide them in our garage until we can figure out what to do with all of it. 
  • Friday – I had a bi-weekly conference call for work, during which I was singled out on for sucking and for not being able to use our internal system properly (I am actually very good using the tool).  Then I am sent an email from our National Sales Manager reiterating that I suck and there is a ":)" at the end of his comment.  Really? 
  • Saturday – IM NYC and also check out the Olympics.
  • Sunday – I woke up with a sore lower back, no big deal. So then I decide to play soccer and my back is much tighter than normal.  I soldier on and it never loosens up.  I spend the rest of the day walking around like a decrepit old man, taking Advil and suffering.  (I had a doctors appointment today to try and fix it).
So that just about sums up last week; maybe I am being overly dramatic, but then again I live in a house with four females (it is bound to rub off on me).

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

RR: Born to Tri (Sprint)

Swim (.3 miles): 9:56 (2011 - 9:55) - 83 out of 354
The sky was a bit overcast, but the sun was peeking through. I was able to wear my wetsuit and I felt good getting into the water and spalshing around.  The swim was in the ocean which was also a good thing. Nothing spectacular here, it was over pretty quickly; however, the toughest part was the long run to transition.  Honestly I thought that I would have been faster than my 2011 time, but I suspect the south to north current may have played a bit in slowing me down.

T1: :57 (2011 - 1:05)
I was in and out realtively quickly.  The delay was in getting my wetsuit off, otherwise it was pretty good.

Bike (14 miles): 34:16 - 21.0 MPH (2011 - 34:14 (21.0MPH)) - 65 out of 354
As was the case in 2011, I never felt all that great on the bike.  I should have been faster, but I just didn't have it in my legs.  I haven't been out riding and running much, so that is the simple reason.  In the past I easily could have maintained 22 or 23 MPH on such a flat course, but not on this day. I did the best that I could and that is all that I could ask.

T2 - :41 (2011 - :46)
I was in and out as quickly as I could.  I think I picked up a couple places...although I lost them on the run.

Run (3 miles): 22:22 (7:27/mile)  (2011 - 3.4 miles - 24:01 (7:37/mile)) - 134 out of 354
Of couse this is my weak link as of late.  I trudged along at an easy pace and of course my Garmin 310 crashed on me somewhere before mile #2.   In the end it was a beautiful morning and there are worse places to be than running on a boardwalk with the ocean a stone throw away.  In typical "me" fashion, I finished the last 1/4 mile strong, passing a couple people and not getting passed.   I am certain that the run distance isn't accurate, but I can't confirm that because my Garmin crapped out on me.  If not, dang! good run for me!!!

Final Time: 1:08:14 - 68 out of 354 (2011 - 1:10:02 - 84 out of 279
I am pretty happy with my race overall.  In 2011 I finished in the top 30% of all athletes; this year I was in the top 20% of all athletes.  On a side note, I am sitting at #2 in the Jersey Shore Multisport Race Series 40-44 Age Group Standings.  As a result I am thinking of doing the last race in the series later on this summer so that I might actually get an award.  Ah, who knows what I'll do.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

RR: NJ State Triathlon - Sprint

I did my second race of the year this past weekend....the NJ State Triathlon - Sprint.  This race is special in that it was the first triathlon I ever did back in 2006.  That first year I had no idea what the heck I was doing, I walked into Transition without a clue as to what I should be doing.  I was on a newly acquired Cannondale road bike that was a size too small for me and had the shifters on the frame.  The swim was a nightmare, I thought I was going to drown.  I swore I would never do another triathlon.
My oldest daughter crossing the finish line...the day before the race.

So, here I was back from my seventh year at the NJ State Triathlon (six at the Sprint Distance, one at the Olympic Distance), I guess I ended up liking this triathlon thing.  As always it was an early morning, up and out of the house by 5:00AM.  The weather was predicted to be absolutely perfect, cool and sunny.  I arrived at the race site just after transitioned opened and of course there were already six guys on my rack....ugh, what time did they get there?  Any how, got everything set up and putzed around until the swim.

Swim (500m) - 11:04 (253/1136)
The gun sounded for my age group (fourth heat to go off) and I felt great.  I got myself into a good spot, very little contact, and swam a straight line.  I was psyched to see some of the swim caps from the group ahead of me, I was actually swimming well.  Not much to really say other than I was very consistent and steady for the entire swim.  I emerged from the water feeling good, ran the 100yds or so to the timing mat and entered T1

T1 - 1:08 (52/1136)I didn't dally here too long, glasses and helmet on and out I went.

Bike (11.5 miles) - 30:52 - 22.4 MPH (77/1136)
I felt very solid on the bike for the most part.  I am still a bit away from good cycling fitness, but overall my legs felt pretty good and I think I was only passed by two people the entire ride and I was able to pass a ton of folks.  My legs tired a little bit around the final mile or so, but nothing to worry about.  The one thing that I forgot to do was drop to an easy gear and spin my legs out prior to dismount line.  This definitely would have helped my run I think.  Once dismounted, I had a good 200yd run to T2.

T2 - 1:16 (92/1136)
Good transition, hesitated for a minute as to how I should rack my bike (idiot!!!).  Regardless, there was only one other bike on the rack which was a good sign.

Run (3.1 miles) - 24:38 - 7:57 (290/1136)
Ugh, at what point in time did running become my weakness?  This is embarrassing!!!  I can't believe that I couldn't get my legs going any faster than they were.  I tried to run fast but it just wasn't happening.  It didn't help that my Garmin lost its signal 1.5 miles in so I had no clue as to the pace I was running.  I trudged along, trying to run hard and smooth, just to finish it up.  Around 1/2 mile from the finish a pack of four guys from my age group passed me and I had no answer for them (pathetic).  I managed to keep my head up and finish with a smile on my face and my head held high.

Final - 1:08:58 (112/1136)
All in all I was happy with the result and my time.  I did the best I could and I really know what I have to work on now (at least it was proven).  I haven't been running a lot and when I have it was been pretty slowly.  I have to start doing some speed work and get faster.  My bike was significantly improved from my last race which made me happy and my swim was solid.  In fact, all of my time were faster (sans run) than when I last did it in 2010 when I placed 3rd in my age group.  Granted the weather was horrible, temps in the upper 90s at 8:00AM, but still I was in the midst of Ironman training back then. 

Not a lot of time until my next race....this Saturday, Born to Tri in Asbury Park, NJ.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The New Wheels

Here is a picture of my bike with the new wheels....I love them!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

RR: LavaLove Triathlon

Saturday morning was my first triathlon of the year, the newly renamed LavaLove Triathlon; actually it was my first race of any kind since August 7, 2011.  I really like this race for multiple reasons, first it is in the town where I spent every summer as a kid (and my 'rents live there now), it has only about 300 participants,  and it is flat as a pancake.  I made the trek down on Friday night and managed to fall asleep around 9:30PM which was awesome!

Excuses:  My training over the past year and a half has been less than stellar and it is especially true for the past two months.  Family, work and miscellaneous things have made free time scarce, thus my running/biking has taken a major hit.  Those will be the last excuses I will throw out there. 

Swim - .4 miles - 11:11 (Overall 80/284, AG 5/22)
It was  a beautiful day, air temp was around 65F, blue skies, and a great atmosphere in transition.  The water was pretty warm for early June, around 71F, but still meant I was wearing a wetsuit.  After treading water for about five minutes or so the gun sounded and we were off.  For some stupid reason I positioned my self right in the gnarliest place you can be for the start of a swim, inside front row.  Ugh, I didn't mean to be there, but that is where I ended up.  Regardless, I got the crap kicked out of me for the first 200m.  After the typical mid-swim thoughts of just quitting, I decided to just finish the swim and get on the bike.  So I tried to streamline a bit and made my way for shore.  All in all, not a bad swim for me, I finished in the top 30% of all finishers which is great for me.

T1 - 1:29
My transition could have been faster, but then again I had to strip off my wetsuit.

Bike - 13 miles - 37:42 (19.9 MPH) (Overall  48/284,  AG 6/22)
Oh boy, I did not have a very good ride, and this despite my brand new wheels!!!  With that said, I could have been riding the most aerodynamic bike, with the lightest components, with an aero helmet and a rear disc wheel and it wouldn't have helped all that much.  When you don't ride a bike more than once every ten days, you just aren't going to be fast.  I did my best with the fitness that I had, I passed a bunch of people, was passed by a couple and managed to not exhaust myself in the process.

T2 - :46
A very good transition for me, could have shaved off maybe 10 seconds if I really had to....I will next time.

Run - 3.8 miles - 30:45 (8:06/mile) (Overall 85/284, AG 4/22)
This is the one time that absolutely killed me....over 8 minute miles on the run portion for a sprint triathon is horrible.  It didn't help that my Garmin died about 100 yards in to the run, thus I was running blind.  I managed to hook up with a guy around mile two who helped pace me for a little bit, but he pulled away from me and I couldn't catch him.  I did the best I could and realized that I need to get out running at least four days a week from now on.  With regard to the race, with about 200 yards to the finish I was about to be passed and I decided that I wasn't going to do down like that, so I picked up the pace and beat the guy by about three seconds, preserving my 58th place finish.

Post-Race - 1:21:56 (Overall 58/284, AG 5/22)

I finished right around where I expected to; my run and bike need vast improvements.  Provided I can make the time to run four days a week and bike three/four days a week, I should see improvements pretty quickly.  Next race is the NJ State Triathlon on July 22nd and then after that I may be doing the Born to Tri on July 29th.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Catching Up

The past three weeks have been going pretty well from a training stand point.  I have managed to up my running mileage up every week, I have been in the pool at least three days a week for 1,500 - 2,000m a session and I have gotten on the bike a few times as well (not nearly enough though).  I was able to put in my best run of the year in when I was on a business trip in Erie, PA...6.6 miles at 8:03/mile pace.  Actually, I was able to get in a lot of training (running) on that trip which was nice.

** Lake Erie behind me **

** Looking at the Pittsburgh skyline **

What else is going on....hmmmm, oh yeah, I finally purchased a new set of race wheels!!!!  Profile Design Altair Full Carbon Clinchers 80 - ....and as a part of a promotion received a Profile Design Altair Full Carbon Clincher 52 Front Wheel as well.  I couldn't pass them up, the deal was too good, in fact if anyone out there is looking for a good deal on wheels or other bike "stuff", go to Bicycle Doctor USA, very reliable and trustworthy guys!

 I am still waiting on my tires to arrive from France (Continental Grand Prix 4000s), the cheapest place I could find them.  As soon as I have the tires I will taking them out for a spin....I am very excited.

Oh, I haven't heard anything on the London job yet.  I have been told to sit tight and not dwell on it too much.  I have a feeling that it just isn't going to happen, but I am still holding out hope that I will get another interview and hopefully a job offer.

Lastly, I have my first race of the season on Saturday, June 9th and I am not in any shape to do especially well.  I am going to use that as motivation to get my sorry ass in shape for the rest of the summer.  I am hoping to drop about 5 - 10 pounds before race day in hopes of making me slightly faster....we'll see.

That's it for now.  Cheers!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Broad Street & Soccer

It was Friday night when my wife and I realized that Sunday was going to be very chaotic.  Why it took us until Friday is beyond me.  I spend about two hours picking up my race BIB for the Broad Street Run (along with a friend of ours), and was eager at the chance to finally take part in a race, my first one since last July. 

When I got home that evening it finally sunk in, there was no way that I was going to be able to do it, the race that is.  There was not way I could expect my wife to run my two oldest daughters all over the place with an infant in tow.  Frankly, I was being uber-selfish to expect her to do so.  here is what our Sunday looked like:
  • 5:00AM - Leave for Broad Street Run
  • 8:30AM - Broad Street Run
  • 9:30AM - DD1 - Church Play
  • 9:40AM - DD2 - Dress Rehearsal for Dance Recital
  • 1:00PM - DD1 - Dress Rehearsal for Dance Recital
  • 2:10PM - Me - Dress Rehearsal for Dance Recital
  • 3:00PM - DD2 - Soccer Game
  • 5:00PM - Me - Soccer Game
 It was pretty evident that something had to give and it was me that had to not be selfish (with some rationalization from my wife).  I decided to give my BIB to our friends husband so that it wouldn't go unused.  All in all I was bummed, nothing more.

So, without the Broad Street Run to do, I was given permission to play soccer, filling in for some missing guys on a friends team.  Wow, they were bad (not that I played especially well).  It was a an Over-40 League game and our guys played like a bunch of 50/60 year olds.  I think the final score was 7 - 2 or thereabouts.   I managed to play a part in both goals, assisting on the first and scoring the second.  I should have had two more, but hit them over the bar by about a foot or two, power over placement rarely wins.  Regardless of the unfavorable outcome, it was great fun getting to kick the ball around.

Big week this week, hopefully I will hear some news on the interview I had last week (fingers crossed), I plan on purchasing my wheelset (got a great deal), and kicking up training a bit as well.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tricky Thursday

Whew, what a topsy-turvy week I have had.  Between family, work, training and miscellaneous, I am emotionally spent.  I probably shouldn't be writing in my blog today because I am so busy, but I have to rid myself of some of my thoughts to simply clear my head.  So here's what's going on:

U10 Girls Travel Soccer Try-Outs - My oldest daughter had travel soccer try-outs last week and we found out just two days ago that she was going to be moved from the "A" team down to the "B" team starting in the Fall season.  Initially I was really angry that someone thought my daughter wasn't good enough for that team, then I thought about it and it made sense.  Without going into all of the drama that surrounded our past year of soccer, this is a good thing and I think my daughter will be better for the move.

Training - I have had a good week thus far, I am seeing a bit of a return to my old form.  Tuesday I got up early to go for a swim only to be stopped about 150m into it with an order to evacuate the pool b/c of lightning.  DAMN!  That ended my early morning work out.  My afternoon was pretty clear so after my meeings I went for an afternoon run in the warm/humid weather and absolute sucked ass.  I think I ran 5 miles in 45 minutes, I was miserable, hot, thirsty and depressed.  Wednesday was another story; I opted to skip the swimming and get a good nights sleep and fit in an evening run.  While waiting for my girls to finish up dance class I went for a pretty hill 4.75 mile run and low and behold managed to maintain a 8:15/mile average pace.  I couldn't have been happier.  Today I was up early and hit the pool for what ended up being a 1,900m swim (300m w/u; 4x100m drills; 5x200m @20sec; 200m c/d).  I wasn't fast or feel especially good, but I did feel like I accomplished something.  I am planning on running again tonight before going to dance rehearsal (Daddy Dance for my girls dance school recital).

Work - Hmmm, work has been challenging lately to say the least .  Frustration has definitely become a word I have become more and more familiar with over the past couple of weeks.  So, as I mentioned in a post back on April 23rd, I applied for a couple internal jobs in hopes that I might get an interview for the local one and dreamed about the possibility of getting a call back on the London one.  Well, about a week ago I received an email from our United Kingdom office requesting an interview and yesterday I had that interview (by phone).  I think it went well and hope to move on to the next round.  This has led to more than a few talks with my wife about living the ex-pat life and the positives and negatives, and ultimately deciding that if I am offered the position, I will take it and the family will be moving to England.

Miscellaneous - Everything else is going well.  My 6 years old is playing soccer and I think likes it (I coach her team).  We are not a strong team, but the girls all seem to really enjoy it which is key.  My six month old daughter is awesome, eats well, sleeps great and smiles all the time.  We are so lucky!  I think she is going to be the biggest of my girls; she is topping out in the 75th - 90th percentile for height and weight.  I love it!

I think that is it for now.  Broad Street is Sunday, I think I am ready; I have to sign up for some races soon; I am on the verge of getting a new pair of race wheels; and my Garmin should be order soon. back to work.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday, the Wrap Up

I am going to work on posting once a week at a minimum in hopes that drives me to be accountable to train more frequently (all three disciplines).  So, how did this past week go?  Not bad, not great, but not bad.  I managed to get out and run three days and swim three days.  Also, I did a tremendous amount of yard work which counts for something.
  • Monday - Nothing, rested
  • Tuesday - Swimming - 1,500m
  • Wednesday - Running - 4 miles....very slowly, except for the 3/4 mile on the track, sub 8 min/miles
  • Thursday - Swimming - 1,800m
  • Friday - Running - 4.5 miles - a bit faster, 1/2 mile on track at 7:50/mile pace
  • Saturday - Visit to my 'rents, they hadn't seen the girls in two months (soccer in the AM, no time to run/bike)
  • Sunday - Running 7 miles - I felt really good and am ready (or at least as ready as I will ever be) for the Broad Street Run (10 miles).  After my run, I had to spread 5 cubic yards of mulch, cut the lawn, and then it was out the door to coach my 6 year old daughters soccer game (and watch my 9 year olds game as well).
It was a long week and I'm still trying to get back into the training groove.  I really need to put my bike back on my trainer and just get on it a few days a week.  I haven't had time to get outside and ride the past few weeks, so that means I better get on the trainer and pound out some minutes in my basement.

I am going to sign up for a few triathlons in the next week or so (LavaLove in early June and NJ State Triathlon in late July....both Sprint Distance) and then have to find a few more races for August and September.  I am thinking half-iron distance in September with the possibility of  doing Ironman 70.3 Pocono Mountains.  It is important that I sign up (AND pay) soon so that I will have to get a training plan in place that I will have to follow.  I miss being 190 lbs and fast, it is no fun being 200lbs and blah.

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, April 23, 2012

April Update

I have been a horrible blog-guy for the better part of the past year.  I just don't have the I write this now, I still don't have the time.  Here is what has been going on for the past month or so:
  • Family - Everything is going well.  My wife just went back to work after six months off to be with our baby.  My two oldest daughters are doing really well with soccer and dance.  My oldest plays travel soccer and is gearing up for tryouts this week.  I am coaching my middle daughter's soccer team and we are having a great time.  My littlest one just turned six months old this past Friday and is a big girl, loves to eat and sleep.  She has been the perfect baby; my wife and I thank God everyday for her.
  • Job - Things are ~OK~ at best.  I am not all that thrilled with work actually.  I have posted for a couple internal positions, hoping that one might turn out (one is in London and would be an absolute dream opportunity, but that is a long shot).
  • Training - Ugh, not going so well, but I have dropped some weight and I have started running more lately.  I have the Broad Street Run in two weeks (10 miler down Broad Street in Philly) and I have no fears that I won't be able to complete the distance, it is the speed at which I will complete the distance that has me worried.  Two years ago I ran it in 1:12:00, last year I was at 1:19:45, this year....I hope to get in under 1:25:00.  I really need to get my training volume up as well as my intensity.  I have been swimming at least three days a week for the past month or so which is a definite plus.  I just need to get on the bike more.
  • Miscellaneous - Overall life is good.  Of course, I wish I was happier at my job, I wish I had more time to train, I wish I had more money, blah, blah, blah.  Overall though, the important things are very good, my family is healthy and happy.
That's it for now.  Oh, I am going to be making some purchases soon:
  • Garmin 910XT - I think all of the kinks are worked out of it.
  • Race Wheels - Not sure what kind, but I have a budget that is respectable.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Rules to being a Triathlete

I found the following "rules" while reading the forums on Slowtwitch today.  Very accurate....and I am violating quite a few of the rules (especially the "flip turn" rule). 
 As I stumble around the internet from time to time I come across a variety of interesting sites. The other day, one in particular caught my eye that posted the rules of their sport. Now, this isn’t your run of the mill rules, like Section 3; Article 2: Contestant shall remain behind the foul line..blah blah blah, but rather rules to live by. Rules that will keep you in good graces with the rest of the tribe. So after a couple of moments of contemplation, I thought that some rules for us tri-geeks were in order. So here we go….

The Rules:

#1. Not everyone thinks what you do is awesome. Most think you’re a bit nuts, and they’re right. Remember that at your next cocktail party.

#2. No race jerseys of races you haven’t raced in, especially if the distance is longer than you’ve been. T-shirts are exempt. If you roll up in an Ironman France jersey, be prepared to explain how you handled the Cole de I’Ecre.

#3. Only refer to courses/segments/people by their nicknames. Highway 19 is unacceptable. It’s called the Queen K, and Crowie owned it. And Macca before him. Don’t let this happen again. Pay ‘N Save Hill. Look it up.

#4. Training in rough conditions makes you tough. A little rain or heat won’t make you melt, buttercup.

#5. A reality check should be performed once per year. MIT is not going to test the effectiveness of brick workouts. The rolling resistance “expert” uses a 100 pound sac in his garage for testing. Not all wind tunnels can even record data at the slow speeds we ride. Not everything that glitters is gold.

#6. Gadgets are strongly encouraged. An old pair of shorts and some Keds are not our gig. You absolutely need every item that is out there. Afterall, we invented aerobars. If we stop with the gadgets, who the hell would cyclists copy?

#7. Feelings are for Oprah, use your data. If you own a heart rate monitor and/or a powermeter, yet train just by RPE, then you either don’t know how to use it or you’re embarrassed by what it’s telling you.

#8. If you’ve raced the distance, it counts. If you’ve trained the distance, it doesn’t. Nailing a training day is one thing, nailing a racing day is quite another. Please don’t confuse the two. Ironman/marathon/etc. only counts if you are in there mixing it up. I’m the heavyweight champion of the world if we don’t have to actually compete.

#9. The number of logos allowed on a race kit are equal to that of NASCAR. In other words, go nuts. Only Wimbledon and the ITU restrict logos to the point of communism.

#10. Ironman tattoos are perfectly acceptable. You just finished one of the toughest days of your life. A bit of ink is just fine. Don’t let douche bags rain on your accomplishment.

#11. No buckets. It’s doesn’t matter how well thought out your transition is, don’t bring a bucket unless you plan to paint parking lines on the concrete or are going fishing after the race.

#12. Shave. You’re representing a group of people generally regarded as some of the fittest in the world. It’s a hot, sweaty, sometimes muddy sport, that keeps clothes to a minimum. Hanging out all day with gorilla legs and a hairy back does not make you a good steward of the sport. Clean it up.

#13. Learn who the pros are. In this sport everyone likes to think they’re the next big deal. Do yourself a favor and learn the names of those who actually make a living at being a badass.

14. Support the sponsors. They pay money so you can have a great time. Don’t spend 45 minutes picking their brain and then head to the ‘net so you can save 3 bucks. That will get you flogged.

#15. Exaggeration of training is perfectly fine. Just keep in mind that Rule #39 is still in effect at all times.

#16. Drinking and triathlon are first cousins. Embrace your first cousin. There’s a reason beer is offered at 9 am at the race. Because we love it. Science has actually shown that a buzz and runner’s high is very similar, and endurance athletes drink more than your average bear.

#7. It’s a transition area, not your hotel room. Spreading out all your stuff for transition beyond 1 small towel is not acceptable. 1 bag limit.

#18. White race kits are only allowed if you know your body well. Really well. If you’ve ever worried about poo leg on a long run, then white is not for you. Ladies, if you are expecting a visit from your “Aunt Flow” then white is not for you. I don’t think I need to say anymore.

#19. Qualifying for Kona and your local “wellness” or “anti aging” clinic do not go together. If by some coincidence you decide your wanker doesn’t work right the exact same time you’re trying to get to Kona, stop everything and look for a new sport. Getting HGH, Testosterone and EPO shots in the name of ‘aging’ or wiener health won’t fly here. There are sports where cheating seem to be acceptable like here and here, so try those sports. This isn’t one of em.

#20. This sport has a history, learn some it. If you don’t know who the Big Four are, unfamiliar with the ’82 Moss Crawl, or think the Ironwar has something to do with the Industrial Age, then you got some reading to do.

#21. No “trunks” in the pool. Look, we get it that you’re a little self conscious wearing a skin tight swimsuit. Get over it. I promise you that you will get 10X more comments trying to swim laps in basketball shorts than you will a jammer.

#22. It’s OK to hate swimming, but you still have to do it. It’s not OK to use your wetsuit as a life preserver. Learn to swim. If you don’t there’s a sport called duathlon just waiting for you.

#23. Learn to circle swim. You really don’t need the whole lane to yourself. Stay to the right.

#24. Complaining about the water makes you look like a sissy. This is a tough sport. The distances are tough, the conditions are tough and the people are tough. Whining that the water isn’t as clear as your last trip to Grand Cayman isn’t winning you any cool points there Nancy.

#25. Learn Flipturns. You can pick the person out racing in high-tops right away. You get the idea.

#26. Obey the law – Nothing gives us a worse reputation than someone blowing through a red light like he’s above it all. The law applies to vehicles. You’re on a vehicle. Don’t be a douche. Obey the law.

#27. Don’t ride with headphones. Save the Rocky Soundtrack for your run. Your ears are needed to help keep you alive on the bike. Plus, depending on your state, it’s illegal. See Rule #26

#28. Support yourself. Others should not be obligated to babysit you on your ride. Flat tires should not take a village to fix.

#29. No aero helmets in training. While you might ride a whopping .2 mph faster, you will look like an absolute dork.

#30. Save the race wheels for the race. Yes, the bike does look cooler with $2,000 wheels, but your wallet will be thinner when a pot hole or rock crack that carbon. Leave some sizzle for the race.

#31. Learn to ride in a group. Wobbling down the road being afraid of anything around you is no way to go through life.

#32. Hold your line. Erratic movements in a group ride will take everyone out. Tighten it up.

#33. Don’t make accordions. Taking a turn up front is expected and appreciated, but not if you floor it the moment you take the reins, The guy 20 people back is going to get dropped by moves like that. Accelerate slowly so everyone can play.

#34. No shorts over your cycling shorts. Sister to Rule #21. Dress like you know what you’re doing.

#35. Learn to pee on yourself. You’ll spend $5,000 dollars to shave 55 seconds but won’t pee down your leg to save 3 minutes?

#36. The engine always trumps the rig. Always.

#37. Be on time, but don’t leave early. If the group ride or run is scheduled for 7 am, courtesy allows for 5 minutes. That means that sometime between 7 and 7:05 the wheels start rolling. If you roll up in your car at 7am and think everyone should wait for you to assemble your bike and pump up your tires, think again. Likewise, convincing the group to leave at 6:54 because you have a t-ball game is just bad form.

#38. No tan-lines allowed. This is not cycling. A farmer’s tan doesn’t make you look cool in anyway. The only exception is cycling short lines. Those are permitted, but need to be laser sharp.

#39. If you decide to talk the talk, be prepared to walk the walk. See also Rule #15. If you claim 3 hours at 300 watts, you’ll be expected to prove it.

#40. Crawling is an acceptable mode of transportation. It’s not pretty, but it gets the job done, and this sport is about getting the job done.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I have been on a blogging sabbatical over the past month or so.  I have been dealing with back pain that has had me cease any running, biking or swimming, while my sports doc tries to get it straightened out.  I have not been a happy camper.  In lieu of not doing anything to stay remotely fit, I have been eating like I am still training and have topped the scales at around 210 lbs (IM Arizona race weight was at or below 185 lbs).  I am looking to drop about 15 lbs over the next month or so by eating less, eliminating soda (have been doing this for the past month or so), and increasing exercise. 

I have started doing yoga to help with my back, and consequently to increase my core strength and flexibility.  I never realized how hard yoga can be, the past two classes I have gone to (appropriately called "Yoga for Athletes") have had me on the edge of regurgitation, only to be pulled back in the nick of time by a well placed "child's pose".  I am doing my best to do yoga three days a week, but with my work schedule that isn't always possible, but I am trying.

I did started swimming again this week, but I have to use a pull buoy because of my back.  I am going to get on the bike tonight and try to just get started again.  Wow, it is like I am following a "Couch to Triathlon" training program these days.

That is it for now, time to get some work done.  Cheers!

Monday, February 20, 2012


Quick post....bad back, not running, biking, swimming, etc. for a few weeks.  Only YOGA!  Just had my second class today, went well.

Will post more soon.  Cheers!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Day 1 in the Pool

Thursday, January 7, 2010, that is the day that I started my first winter swimming training ever.  With that said, it is important to note that today, Friday, January 20, 2012, I was back in the pool. starting my road back to legitimate triathlon shape!

So how did my swim workout go?  Surprising well, considering the last time I swam was September 2011.  I kicked it off with an easy 150m, which would have been 300m had my shoulders, back and arms not been feeling the ill effects of a four month layoff.  I managed to add another 100m to my "warm-up" before I got into the next part of my swim....10 x 50m on 20 sec (probably should be 10 sec, but I was so tired).  I managed to keep my 50m's under a minute but I was getting really sore.  On a positive note, I miscounted and actually did eleven 50s (a bonus 50m in distance, yeah!).  I finished up my swim with a 200m cool down with a pull-buoy (cheating, I know, but I needed it).  All in all a very successful 1,050m swim, not bad for my first time in the water for a while.

One thing that I need to get off my chest that I wasn't too thrilled about this morning at the pool.  Instead of having the pool divided into six lanes, the have it divided into three large lanes.  No problem for me I suppose, that is until I see the guy in the "medium" lane (my lane of choice) swimming down along the left lane line and then up along the right lane line, swimming in a "circle".  I know that this isn't anything out of the ordinary for some pools, but this is my first time with this and I am not a fan.  I prefer to have all of the lane lines out with two people per lane with each person staying to their side of the lane.  I just think it works better, at least for me.  This is the one thing that is going to take some getting used to.

Post-swim I did venture into the gym to try some weight training, but it wasn't happening.  My left shoulder is bothering me and I was just beat.  I really didn't sleep all that well last night, nor many nights this week.  I opted to hit the showers and get on the road to Philly.  I'll have to run when I get home tonight.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

YMCA....and I don't mean the Village People version

It took a lot of internal debate regarding the cost, potential usage, and benefits.  Even when we were at the facility, we were still talking about if this was something we should do.  After all of the talk was done we made it official, as of 6:30PM last night, my wife and I joined Central Bucks Family YMCA!!! 

Now comes the hard part, getting my sorry ass out of bed every morning at 5:00AM and driving the six miles over there and actually utilizing it.  If I don't get up and get there prior to the crack of dawn, then there is little hope of me going.  [Prepare for an internal pep talk] You did it for ten months when you were training for Ironman Arizona, there is not reason that you can't do it now.  Heck, you were getting up at 4:30AM or even 4:15AM back then so that you were there when the gym opened at 5:00AM so you could get your hour and a half swim work out in.  This is actually going to be easier on you and you will be in better shape as a result.  So buck up, suck it up and get up every morning!!!

The first obvious question is...did you get up and go to the gym this morning?  Sadly, I did not.  Will I be going tomorrow?  I hope to, but I do have a soccer game tonight at 9:30PM, which means I won't get home until around 10:45PM.  Getting up Thursday morning might be a bit tough, but I will try.  Friday morning is a definite and I hope to make it there this weekend if everything aligns correctly.

Oh, a little recap on the past few days of exercise:
  • Sunday:  7 mile run - I ran the toe path along the Delaware River from Stockton, NJ, over the bridge to PA, then down to New Hope, over the bridge to Lambertville, NJ and back to Stockton.  It was friggin' cold out, but I had a great run (slow, but happy to be out on a beautiful sunny day).
  • Monday:  Was ready to get on the trainer, but my wife was pretty sick, so I had to take care of the little ones.  By the time I had "me time" it was 10:00PM and I was getting ready for bed.
  • Tuesday:  45 tough minutes on the trainer.  I adjusted the magnet on my rear wheel and all of a sudden I was riding 2 - 3 MPH faster.  Dang, I guess I wasn't going as slow as I thought for the past two years.
  • Tonight:  Soccer game, probably a two mile warm up run before hand to loosen up my seemed to work last week.

That is it for now.  The quest for fitness begins, well, it actually began already....the quest for fitness continues tonight!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Running & Soccer

I suck, simply said, I suck.  I was on a role last week, running and biking, playing soccer, getting exercise every day.  Monday of this week rolls around and I decide to take a rest day, this is totally acceptable and encouraged by most coaches and training books.  We move on to Tuesday and I tell my wife that I would like to go for a run when I get home from work, she agrees to my plan.  Here is where it all starts to unwind....I walk in the door and my wife tells me that she has to run next door to talk to our neighbor about some issues their daughter and my oldest daughter are having.  No problem, right?  Well, she was gone for about 20 minutes at which time I decided I should eat dinner with my middle daughter, lest she will eat alone.  That puts us at around 6:30PM, and I can't go running after having just eaten dinner (a salad with chicken on it); I need at least an hour of digestion to occur (ideally two hours). 

So, I spend some time with the family, play Yahtzee with the girls, get them upstairs and ready for bed, and next thing I know it is 8:30PM.....time to go running.  Well, not so fast, my oldest daughter can't fall asleep and the baby is still awake.  Looks like I been assigned the "get our oldest daughter back in bed duty".  For an hour I have to continually coax her back into her bed and ultimately deal with a hysterical little girl who is feeling like her world is collapsing around her (she is 9 year old, she is a bit of a drama queen).  Eventually she falls asleep at 9:30PM, the baby is just about to fall asleep and I have no desire to drag my butt outside to go running in the 25F weather.  I curse at myself and go to bed early.

I woke on Wednesday morning feeling like a complete cad.  How was I so weak as to of not gone running the night before.  I would make up for it later.  I had soccer that night and thought it would be a good idea to get in a 15 - 20 minute run prior, to ensure that I get a full work out in.  It ended up being a relative quick two mile run (16:20 for 8:10/mile pace), at least quick for me lately.  Then it was off to soccer where we had our final regular season game against the team tied with us in the rankings.  I ran my ass off, sprinting everywhere and playing my heart out.  We emerged victorious (4 - 2, I scored the 4th goal with four minutes left) and I was wiped out, completely spent from the experience.

So here I am on Thursday morning, I slept in a bit and took a nice hot shower to try and loosen up my achy body.  I will be running tonight when I get home for sure, I have to otherwise I will start to slow descent into fatness yet again (I am gradually pulling myself from its clutches).  I need to remember that I need to stick to this loose schedule for at least three weeks.   I am hoping that on Friday night or sometime this weekend I will join the YMCA and get into the pool.

That is about it for now....well, two things to note:

#1 - I will be writing a review of a new racing shoe purchase, the K-Swiss Blade-Light Race, which I managed to get for 50% thanks to "Schwaggle" (see below). 
#2 - I am on the cusp of ordering a new running watch, the Garmin Forerunner 910XT.  My current Garmin Forerunner 305 is on deaths door, thanks to some water getting under the glass (caught in a heavy rain storm).  Once I get it ordered, receive it and use it a few times I will post a review for that as well. 

Happy training everyone.  Ciao!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Holstee Manifesto

I found this image on another bloggers site (TriSaraTops), who I used to follow a bit back in my IM days.  It is the Holstee Manifesto and I like it a lot.  I thought it would be a good thing to post here on my blog and hope that it might inspire you all.

If only I could live by the words written on it.  I will do my best to try.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Good Week

Last week was the first week back to a routine, at least what resembled a routine.  I managed to get out and do something every single day with Thursday being a very easy day into thanks to my daughters choir practice, a late dinner and the girls getting to bed late.  I made it a point to get in exercise no matter what and I am eating healthier.  As a result I feel a heck of a lot better for it; I'm not as sore and achy as I have been the past few months, I have shed a few pounds, and I generally feel good.  Here is a breakdown of last weeks activity:
  • Monday - 4 mile run
  • Tuesday - 1 hour ride on trainer
  • Wednesday - Soccer Game (40 minutes)
  • Thursday - 30 minutes on trainer (sore from Wed night soccer
  • Friday - 5.2 mile run
  • Saturday - 21 mile bike ride (outside very hilly ride)
  • Sunday - 4.75 mile run
In the past I have preached to my father how all he needs to do is stick with an exercise program for a minimum of two weeks (three or four is ideal).  If he could do that then it would become routine and would become easier.  I wish that I had only listened to my own advice a little more carefully.  That has been my main limiter, the fact that I haven't been in a groove, I haven't been consistent with any workouts.  I have one week under my belt and I will continue it tonight when I get home.  Granted it is going to be consistently tricky because of the baby and the other two girls, but I will find a way to make it work.

One item of note is that my wife and I (or possibly just me) are on the cusp of joining our local YMCA which would mean I would finally have a pool to swim at and would also mean that I would have a reason to get up at 5:00AM every morning to swim and/or lift weights, do a spin class, etc.  I am pretty excited and am really looking forward to joining.  The bonus to joining now is that there is no sign up fee, which is around $150.  Let's make it happen!!!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012...Off to a Good Start

It is officially 2012, actually four days into the new year, and I have done pretty well with regard to starting out on the right foot (no pun intended) by heading out for a five mile run on New Year's Day, then putting in a tough hour on the trainer in the basement on the 2nd.  Yesterday was a wash because my day was booked solid from when I left the house until I walked in the door at 9:30PM.

I had really hoped to have a 2012 Plan in place for the year ahead but any plan that I might create would be doomed from the start.  It may sound like a cop out, but I am realistic about the challenges that I have before me with regard to balancing family with work and training.  The birth of my third daughter has definitely made things a bit more crazy and add to that the fact that I still haven't been able to figure out a training schedule that fits around my ever changing work schedule.  I have swung and missed whenever I have attempted to do P90X for the sole reason that the only time I can really do it is 4:30AM and that just isn't happening.  I have tried to get into a routine of running or biking every day but I feel the pull to spend time with my family when I walk in the door from work and I struggle to get at it once the girls are in bed (~9:00PM).  I know these are all excuses and I have written them over and over again throughout the past nine months. 

So, what am I going to do to change things:
  1. Join a gym with a pool.  If I (with my wife) do this, I will get my butt out of bed around 5:00AM and to the gym by 5:30AM for a swim workouts, spin classes and heck maybe even YOGA!!!  I desperately need to get back into the pool and start swimming again and just get healthy.
  2. The days I am not at the gym, get up and run or ride the bike in the basement.  If I can manage to get up for swimming I will do it for the other things.
  3. Eat better, which I started last week.  No more soda, no more fried foods, no more least until I have dropped at least 10 - 15 lbs.  Then I will treat myself to some bad stuff before getting back to dropping another 5 - 10 lbs.
  4. Pick a Spring Half-Marathon to run, then lay out my summer/fall triathlon schedule.  I may just throw in some winter trail races if I feel so inclined.
So, no real semblance here, just babbling about how much I suck and how I don't have any of my crap together.  I really am going to figure it all out this year, I just have to.  I hate feeling the way that I feel right now.  My back is always sore, my legs ache and when I actually do go running my heart rate is far too high (yeah, I am that out of shape).  Enough for now, back to work.  Cheers!!!