Wednesday, November 28, 2007


A few weeks ago, I was heading down to Greenwich around 5:15 in the morning to see my first pt client like I do five days a week. I was cruising down rt. 59 in Easton, thinking about the day ahead, when in the pitch black across the street, headlights quickly went on. The car swung out and made a u-turn and the flashing lights atop the car suddenly appeared. The cop approached my window and asked me if I knew why he pulled me over. My response of "speeding" in an irritated tone probably wasn't the best approach. Then, to further seal the deal, I said "come on, it's 5:15am, I drive this daily, and besides deer and you, there's no one out here!" He took my licence, registration and insurance card back to his cruiser and returned after what seemed to be a long time - I know he was just sitting in his car probably listening to the radio, just to piss me off further by making me wait there. Anyway, he returned with a $185.00 speeding ticket.

This morning, my wife left the house at 5:15am, heading out on a quick business trip. While heading up Cutlers Farm Rd at a quick pace, she was pulled over by a police officer. The officer asked her if she knew why he pulled her over to which Lisa responded "I've never been pulled over before, I don't know what to do." He asked her for her licence, registration and insurance card, and she fumbled nervously through her wallet and handed him a credit card instead of a licence by accident. He joked with her saying "are you trying to bribe me?" Then told her to relax and to drive slower and that he was just going to give her a warning, although had he given her a ticket, it would have been $200.

A warning! You can bet that if that was me or any other guy in the car instead of an attractive woman, he would have written out that $200 ticket! Dangle, can you back me up here?

My gym that I belong to has been jam-packed this week thus far. People must have over-indulged over Thanksgiving. I prefer to exercise at home, but with my kids there, I'm not nearly as productive, so I joined this place and do my strength training there. There's this one annoying guy that follows me around the place. He talks to me constantly - whether I'm in the middle of a set, or even when I'm wearing headphones. Whatever exercise I was just doing, he does next. The other annoying thing there are the old guys who shave and comb their hair, butt naked in the locker rooms. Do woman do this? Lisa insists they don't.

I posted a holiday wish list on my home page - it's products I had the opportunity to test this past year and ones that I like. I've been trying to simplify lately since there is too much technology and things out there to get that can just lead to being less productive in other areas. However, gadgets can also be fun.



Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Following Clearwater, I took a week off. That's right, I did absolutely no training. I think it's important at the end of the season to take some downtime. I know many that are so paranoid of missing a day of training, let alone a week. These athletes usually plug away year round. They also usually race ok, but not quite to what they are capable of. They also typically battle some small injuries constantly. This is very common - as I mentioned, I know quite a few who refuse to take downtime. Some view this as a strength. I view it as the opposite. The body needs periods of time to rest and rejuvenate.

I started back up again with some training on Monday. My training for the next month or so will be very unorthodox. I feel it's important to continue to work on your aerobic base, yet to do some different things. Soon enough, we'll be back in the thick of swimming, cycling, and running. Now is a great time to do some different activities that elevate the heart rate, work some muscles and connective tissue through different ranges than you normally do, and have fun! One of my favorite off season sessions looks like the following:

30 min run in B zone (Z2)
Then, 5 rounds of:
  1. 20 push-ups w/ feet elevated on swiss ball
  2. 20 double crunches
  3. 20 deep squats on bosu ball flipped upside down
  4. 20 supermans
  5. 2 min of hitting the heavy bag
  6. 2 min of jumping rope

I go from 1 exercise to the next with no rest and repeat the circuit 5 X's. It's a killer! Try this out sometime, and listen to some pumping, loud music while doing it. I guarantee that by the fourth circuit, your legs will be shaking big time during the bosu ball deep squats. You will also feel a soreness you haven't felt in awhile the next day.

I do plan on getting out tomorrow am for a long run. I need to create some caloric deficit before I overindulge later in the day!

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!



Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Take The Good With The Bad

OK, I'm done whining about the cheaters in Florida. I'm still a bit bitter about the race - I actually don't even consider it a race. That was in no way, shape, or form an accurate depiction of who was fastest. Some have said to me "you still had a solid time." I don't even consider it valid. My time on that course had I raced from point A (swim start) to point B (run end) would have more than likely been different. Doing the math in my head beforehand, I felt ready to do a 28 swim, 2:08-2:10 bike, and 1:19-1:21 run.

Anyway, back to the point of this post. I still had a positive experience believe it or not. My focus this year was more on my trip to France. Then, I decided to try Timberman and felt really good about that experience. After qualifying for the 70.3 World Championships there, I gave some thought to racing in Florida. I decided to for the following main reasons:

  1. I wanted another late season goal to train towards. Something that would provide motivation to stay fit and in race shape, and so that I would train hard and consistent until November. For me, without that goal, I tend to feel lost in no mans land. I always keep myself in somewhat decent shape, but there is a difference when I'm training towards a key goal. In 2000, my key goal was IMLP and I didn't plan much else for the rest of that year since Lisa was pregnant and due in October. I felt lost and lazy not having a late season big race.
  2. Since 1998, I try to drag my father with me to one destination race each year. It's been a great opportunity for me to reconnect with my father as an adult. We always have a fun time and learn a bit more about each other.
  3. I wanted to test myself against the best in my age group.

All these things were accomplished, plus the weather was beautiful in Florida, I ate at some really good restaurants, I got to hang out with some good guys like Ed and Mark, I turned Big Rocks onto Jamba Juice, I was able to test out the My Athlete units further. It's all good! Well, almost all good.

For the rest of 2007, I plan on staying somewhat active at a much lower key level, with mostly running and strength training and maybe even jumping in a few 5K's.

On another note, I don't know if anyone reads my dribble here. Seems to be a few. I never get any responses and Scooter informed me that it was a pain in the ass to register to leave comments, so I looked into my settings and what do you know, I was able to switch it so that it's quite easy to leave comments and you can even remain anonymous! Maybe I'll get a few.



Saturday, November 10, 2007

Very, very frustrating!

I really tried to set myself up mentally for this race, and the frustration I may encounter on the bike with packs building up. I guess I didn't do well with the mental preparation on this part. It was unbelievably awful!

Let's start with the beginning: Boring stuff - I awoke at 5am which was nice since our hotel was right next to the transition area. I woofed down 3 chocolate frosted organic toaster pastries, which are my new race day breakfast. They are somewhat healthy pop tarts. The benefits for race day is that they pack a lot of calories (200 each) and lots of carbohydrates. So it's easy to get in the caloric requirements necessary for longer races. I then walked down and got body marked, put some air in my tires and bottles on my bike and then headed back up to the room. I had a frappacino and a coffee and stretched for 15 to 20 minutes and relaxed. Then, I put my wet suit on in my room and walked down to the beach. It was great staying this close. I usually hate being in the hub but this hotel was so big that you didn't notice the things that usually annoy me like nervous athletes everywhere, lousy race morning music, and the announcers voice blaring through the audio system.

My wave was second to last!!! The pros went off at 7am, my wave went off at 7:55. I talked for a bit with my friend Bruce Gennari before the gun sounded and we ran down to the beach and dove in. There were 400 40-44 year olds in my wave which is a lot for a shoreline start, but I had a good starting position and was one of the first ones to hit the water. Bruce was right to my left and I thought for a brief second that maybe I'd see if I can sit on his feet for a few hundred meters. That lasted for maybe 2 meters and that's being generous. Bruce was first out of the water in my age group in 23 minutes (he was third out overall I think, even amongst pros, but that's not surprising, he's been first out of the water overall in Hawaii a few times). I came out in 28 min and change. My shoulders felt tight in the swim and I didn't feel fast, but that was expected.

Onto the bike, I thought that this is where I'd make my move. For the first 15 miles, I was motoring by athletes quickly, and felt strong. Then a British athlete rode up next to me and said that each time I passed someone, they were jumping on board. I turned around to see that I was pulling a train. The rest of the ride was a nightmare. Right away, I put in a huge effort, going into the red for a few minutes. I turned to see I had a gap and settled back into my pace, only to get swallowed up shortly by the peloton. I made about nine or ten more huge efforts, way into the hurt zone, trying to lose the group but I knew it was useless. I just couldn't sit there and not try. The long roads had a coned off section for the cyclists to ride in and I rode quite a bit outside the cones, in no mans land by myself. I actually, in disgust, thought about quitting! But I'm not a quitter and I can't preach to my kids that you finish what you start and not follow suit. I had a bunch of the drafters coming up to me and telling me that my efforts to get away were inspiring! Can you freaken believe that!!! These are guys cheating, and complimenting me on riding fair! I know that many will say that there was nothing they could do but that is bullshit. When someone passed me, I'd drop back and allow the rider space, only to have three or four others come around and fill that space. I was averaging 26 mph and there were woman age groupers hanging in the peloton! I don't want to sound as though I'm putting myself on a pedestal and claiming that I was the only one not cheating in this group. Mark Foster was also in the group and was also making efforts to get away. He rode as clean as possible and should be proud of the way he raced. I really don't thing there was anyone else in the group that made an effort. As I rode up over the cause way at the 56 mile mark, I saw my dad and yelled to him "never again!" as I shook my head. I was letting my temper get the best of me and I wasted a huge amount of energy during the ride. At one point Mark said to me "you'll get em all back on the run." The problem was that my legs were toast from trying to break away.

I started the run feeling really shot, like my legs were just dead weight. I stopped at the one mile mark and took a nice long pee and contemplated the day thus far and decided that I was going to run. Not jog or run/walk, but run. The first four miles were very slow, but then I started coming around. I started banging out a few low 6's, pace wise. I ran pretty steady for the rest of the race. My legs were shot, but I managed a 1:26 1/2 marathon. My goal for the run was a 1:20 to 1:21 and I know I had those 5 or 6 minutes in me if the race was a steady, consistent, fair effort. The most frustrating thing was that I finished 7th in 4:10, in back of some competitors that I usually beat.

What did I learn? For one that I'll never race in Florida again. This is not the location for a world championship race. I'll bet there were a lot of p.r.'s today! I also learned that there are a ton of athletes out there with no integrity. A lot of these packs could have been avoided.

Oh well, enough bitching. I'm usually quite optimistic and I know that I complained an awful lot in this report. Sorry about that - I guess I needed to vent. I just really wonder what most of these athletes do after the race, when they look back on their day - do they convince themselves that they raced well and had a fair race? I just don't get it.

It is now the off season and I'm looking forward to some sushi and some beer tonight and to going home tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone who may read this.



Friday, November 09, 2007

Go time!

Tommorrow afternoon starts the beginning of my offseason!

I'm looking forward to getting out there tomorrow morning and hitting it hard. I plan on entering the offseason spent, drained, and yet at the same time, on a high.

Today was a typical day-before day. Breakfast, easy bike ride with a few pick-ups, lunch, check bike in, get other athletes My Athlete devices, stretch out for a bit, dinner. Nothing too special.

The bike feels good although it was skipping around in my easier gears - 18 through 21. I couldn't dial it in, so I waited in line at the race expo mechanics station where, when I finally got there, he turned the barrel adjuster maybe a quarter turn and told me to go try it out. I figure it doesn't matter. If it skips, it will only be in the first 2 miles when going over the cause way and on the return trip in the last 2 miles.

I have some allergies or something stirring about - very similiar to what I felt like last time I was down here in Florida which is strange. I'm relaxed though and ready to roll.

My plan is to get through the swim and then take the first ten miles fairly hard on the bike. I want to reel in the fast swimmers. This course is flat and there will be packs and if I settle into a steady effort too early, the fast swimmers could stay away.

Hung out with Big Mark Foster at dinner which was fun. He's a great guy and always fun to catch up with.

OK, that's it for now. As the backyardiggans say (those who have small kids will get this): It's racing day, it's racing day, today's the day we race. Actually it's tomorrow, but I'm ready!



Thursday, November 08, 2007


I fell asleep last night a bit after 9pm, with a bit of help from some Tylenol pm, and besides awakening a few times briefly, I didn't get up until 7am. I can't remember the last time I lied down for this long!

My father and headed down to the beach to get a swim in. the wind was blowing again and the ocean was very choppy, rolling in diagonally northwest. The swim is a clockwise rectangle and the current was pushing us far out to the left. I'll swim again tomorrow to see if this stays consistent, and if so, plan accordingly for race day. It was cold out this morning here - probably in the low 50's. My back was sore/tender while swimming which was odd. It may be rebelling from lying down for so long.

I'm anxious to see how things go on Saturday. I'm not nervous and I don't know if that's a good or bad thing. Usually, I have some butterflies going into a race. My training for this 1/2 was very unorthodox - mostly out of experimentation. I have been in this sport for a long time and have studied training and exercise physiology and one thing I have learned is that you need to switch things up occasionally, not only for physical benefits but also mentally. To be more specific about what I did different, since Timberman in August, I have only ridden over 2 hrs on four occasions - the Vermont ride and while in Hawaii. Most of my rides have been in the 90 minute range. They have all been intense though, and instead of riding junk mileage for the sake of logging in more weekly mileage, I didn't ride on those days. On average, I rarely rode over 100 miles per week. However, once again, I payed close attention to my wattage, HR and rpm's on all rides and rode with some decent intensity. I did quite a few rides on my computrainer as well. Same with running - I reduced the volume and ran closer to goal race pace more often. We'll see if this works for the 1/2 IM. For an IM, you need the volume. If you have been in this sport for awhile, most likely you have built some accumulative base. At the beginning of the season, it's important to re-establish your aerobic base, but the longer you have been in this sport, the shorter the amount of time you'll need to re-establish this at the beginning of the season. Then, you can focus more on quality.

The day seemed busy but has been mostly lazy. We swam, had some breakfast, relaxed a bit. I received through FedEx the My Athlete devices from John and his tech guy Eric, and I charged them for a bit and then tested them out to see if John could get a lock on each device (which he did). there will be five of us racing with them on Saturday. Then Jimmy and I headed out to Jamba Juice, Borders for a bit, then Starbuck's, then I received a call from Chris Swift and Ian Ray that they had arrived - they were driving Chris's RV down from CT with a bunch of our bikes on board. So I got my bike now. One bummer is that I forgot my cable on my bike that connects my power meter to the sensors, so I'm racing without my powermeter on Saturday. Oh well. I then stopped at a tri shop and tried out the new Zoot running shoes which are really, really nice although not available until 2008, and now I'm relaxing and catching up on some work before heading out for an easy 30 minute run. Then we are meeting Ed Sparkowski out for dinner.

There are triathletes everywhere down here today, and a ton of foreigners.

We need a Jamba Juice in CT!



Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I'm in Clearwater!

Arrived here this morning on an easy, uneventful flight from Laguardia to Tampa. Big Rocks joined me on this little adventure.

I haven't written in a bit, but I'm back. I'll be posting each day from here.

We are staying at the Hilton and from our balcony, we can see the swim course. I usually like staying away from the hub of the race but here in Clearwater, this is going to be a real plus. Hell, I can wake up 10 minutes before my wave goes off and still make the race! Speaking of waves, I don't know which one I'm in yet, but it's one of ten. Looks like the only hill on the course is the causeway that connects Clearwater Beach to Clearwater.

It was cool here today! Probably in the 60's and the wind was really blowing. I hope the wind blows on race day like it did today.

After checking into the hotel, I went over and did race registration and picked up the things I always forget like a race belt and water bottles. It feels great to already get this stuff done and out of the way. We then went out for an easy run to clear the junk out of the head and legs that accumulates during flying. It was perfect running weather.

A quick shower and then we went to a great dinner that BR found online. It was about a 15 minute drive from here. I like to have a steak 3 nights out from a big race. The protein, iron, and b-complex vitamins are well needed. I had some tuna sashimi as an appetizer and a nice filet for dinner. We washed this down with some frozen yogurt for dessert and now I'm going to just relax and try to get some uninterrupted sleep since my 4 year old daughter has made that impossible lately. I'm looking forward to getting in an ocean swim tomorrow morning.

I'll be a bit more interesting tomorrow, hopefully, but for now, it is what it is.