Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Happy 1/2 Year

2008 is 1/2 over! I can't believe how fast it went by. Did you do some memorable things that will make this year stand out? This is the question I often ask myself. I was out riding a few days ago and I had a short amount of time so I rode a standard route that takes me 90 minutes. As I was riding, I went past a right hand turn that I have never taken before and fought the hard urge to deviate from my planned ride. I was being pulled that way though, the curiosity of an adventure teasing me. This week, on a ride where I have a bit more time, I will take that right turn and see what happens.

We can easily become creatures of habits. Remember that your athletic side is just a more open view of your true personality. I work with many who ride and run the same exact routes on a weekly basis. I understand doing this for a good portion of the training sessions - you have more control of your situation this way and in our busy lives, we all need structure and control to a certain degree. But to do the same routes all the time is just boring and playing it very safe. It's no fun and doesn't leave any lasting impact to live status quo. Most of our vivid and entertaining memories are from when we "ventured off course" and tried something new and different.

Last year on my France trip, the plan for the next day was either the A ride which was to ride 20K out to the Port D' Bales climb, ascend, descend, then do the Plateau D' Beille climb, then descend into the finishing town, or the B ride which was just to ascend the Plateau D' Beille then descend into town. There was a sign-up sheet in the hotel lobby where you were to select which ride you'd be doing. I was the last to sign-up, and out of the twelve of us, 10 had chosen the easier B ride. Now granted, the B ride wasn't easy by any means and it was a smart move probably for most to take that option since there was still a lot of trip left. The only one on the A ride list was Erika, an Australian woman. Gil, the guide, came out to where we were eating that evening and announced that Michelle, one of the guides, would ride with Eric (me) and Erika, and the other guides would assist the B ride. Erika became very nervous and was going to switch to the B ride. I went over to her and told her she'd be fine. She was still very tentative, not believing me at first until I said that tomorrow night at dinner, after we had ridden that day, while we were sitting around semidazed from a combination of a great ride earlier that day and great wine, it will be very cool to personally reflect back on what you did and those emotions will be far superior if you take the chance and go for it. The Port D'Bales climb was the toughest climb I have ever been on. It was also one of the coolest. I was alone on the climb but I remember as I crested the summit being concerned for Erika. Later in the day when we were at the finish line, Erika was beaming. She did the ride, said it was a bitch, and was so fired up about doing it.

There is still a 1/2 a year left in 2008. The goal is to get out there and do some things that may make you a bit nervous but that also may bring some great satisfaction and cool memories. That's what it's all about.

On another note, I ran on the treadmill yesterday. I prefer running outdoors 10 out of 10 times, but I try to do one quality session per week on the treadmill because I can gage the effort and pace well. The session I did yesterday is a great on: Treadmill was at a .5% grade for the session. 10 min warm-up at 8.6 mph, then 5 X (2 min at 11.3 mph, 2 min at 10.3 mph, 2 min at 9.3 mph), then 10 min cooldown at 8.6 mph. This session is hard but goes by quick. The main set of 30 minutes is all tempo. The 11.3 is challenging and near my LT, the 9.3 is at my aerobic ceiling, so it's a great mix. I recommend this one for those looking to bump up their run speed. Adjust the speeds forward or backward according to your ability.



Sunday, June 22, 2008

Warmaug Sprint

I had a Ferris Bueller weekend beginning Friday evening with the Warmaug Triathlon put on by by Mandy Braverman and Endureit Multisports. I had been battling a head cold all week and had a very busy weekend ahead so I wasnt to motivated about racing on Friday morning. But I committed to the race and I also had a fun little rivalry going on with John Hirsch ( ), so I packed up my car and headed up to the venue. I had never done the old Warmaug course, and hadn't raced a sprint since Griskus in 2005 or 2006 - it's been awhile. The new course began about 2 miles uphill from Lake Warmaug at a pond/lake that sits on top of the small mountain range just north. I arrived early to preride the course and try and blow some congestion out of my head.

The two mile descent from T1 to Lake Warmaug was exhilarating. The road was steep and fast and I had to remind myself the whole time to stay focused since it's so easy to become distracted by the spectacular views of Warmaug sitting below in between the hills. I cruised along part of the course around Warmaug and did a few pick-ups to test the legs. I felt sluggish from the lack of activity that week but didn't put too much weight into it. I came off of Warmaug and climbed the 2 miles beginning up Strawberry Hill and back to T2 and knew that I was going to love this course.

I went through all the prerace junk but mostly caught up with a lot of familiar faces. It was great seeing a bunch of the same guys I had been racing with for a long time now, as well as some athletes I coach.

We lined up at the foot of the pond for the countdown. It was a competitive field, yet the countdown was so mellow! I'm used to edging in during the countdown from ten and usually, by five, someone leans forward slightly and I'm off. But here everyone was civil and counted down right to one. I glanced to my right then my left quickly and jumped. I had an awesome start, getting out really quick. My plan was to take the first 200 meters out really hard. I have swam four times since last November, so needless to say, my swim fitness was lacking. I knew that I couldn't give up too much time in the swim in a sprint if I wanted to win, so my plan was go out fast and then try to get on some fast feet and just suffer for the remaining eight minutes or so in the water. This plan worked well. There were only maybe eight or so out of the water ahead of me. I had a relatively quick T1 and began the two mile descent. I passed a few guys during these early miles by staying aero and not touching the brakes. Once we got on the rolling course around Warmaug, I figured I'd just lock in on the next athlete up the road and hunt them down. The problem is that when racing this road, you realize it's a bit twisty and you can't see anyone up the road. I also had to be a bit cautious on the corners since I knew I had a slow leak in my rear tubular. I found this out the day before but wanted to race on the new sub 9 Zipp disc and didn't feel like changing the tubular, so I came up with the foolish plan of just pumping it up to a very high psi and hoping for the best. Yes, Greg P. chastised me with good reason for this!

I caught John at about the five mile mark and asked him who was up the road. He mentioned one guy who was riding well. I hammered on, yet I didn't feel any snap or form. Funny thing is, by around the nine mile mark near the camp ground, my legs started to come around. We've all heard the expression of "blowing out the cobwebs" and this was certainly the case here. I made the left onto Strawberry Hill and saw the leader just up ahead. He was out of the saddle and appeared to be really working it. I knew that this was the early part of a 2 mile climb, so instead of feeding my ego and driving by him on the ride, I just sat about 20 feet off the back and rode a steady tempo. I thought that I could save my legs a bit and nail him on the run.

I had a pretty quick T2, but not compared to this guy who was in and out like lightning. The first mile of the 5K run began along the pond on grass and then you ran up a steep hill onto a field which we were to circumnavigate. For some reason, I came up the hill and ran to the left, only to look across after five seconds and see the lead runner following the "leader" cyclist the opposite way around the field. Hindsight, I could have continued and done the loop the opposite way since we exited this field where we came in, but I turned and drove up the pace a bit to make up the lost 10 seconds. This first mile continued on grass and went up some really steep short hills that were quad killers. On one of the out and back sections, I could see John really working a downhill chasing in third - he had me running scared. After mile one, we popped out onto the main road where we ran downhill for one mile to a turn around and then back uphill to the finish. I took the lead early in the second mile and opened up a gap by the two mile mark. As I made the turn and was ascending towards the finish, I could see that John was going to overpass this guy for second, but also knew I had the race, so I eased a bit, saving some energy for the rest of the hectic weekend.

I have raced a bunch of sprints in my time and I can easily say that this was the best one I've ever raced. the venue is second to none, and the course is scenic and challenging. Mandy did an exceptional job with the directing and organizing.

I razzed John a bit at the finish which was necessary. He is definitely fit though and is going to have a great day next week at the 1/2 IM in West Virginia.

Matt C. had a great race as did Bill K. from Cannondale (by the way, I rode the slice for the first time in a race - I am doing a review of this bike for the site, it's definitely a fast ride!). Greg Pelican from Bethel Cycle showed that he is very versatile. He has an incredible running, cycling, and duathlon resume and is learning to swim now and is already competitive in triathlon, winning his age group here. Kenn Vohls had a great day, finishing as he said "early enough to see most of the racers finish".

Greg had a Bethel Bike/Cannondale tent set up and since one of his title sponsors is Heineken, I thought I should stick around a bit and enjoy a few.

It was great to be racing again, and to renew myself with the hurt, go balls to the wall from the gun of sprints.

I made it home sometime after 10pm, unpacked, showered and was in bed around midnight, only to be up at 3:30am to meet John Brennan to head to NYC early. I was representing MyAthlete for quick piece on the CBS morning show. It was quick, but still cool. John mentioned to me on the ride home that he hoped I enjoyed my 15 minutes of fame. I said that I think I still have 14 minutes, 50 seconds left.

I got home in time to shower and head off to catch my sons last soccer game of the season. The rest of the day was jam packed, but I won't bore you anymore.



Friday, June 20, 2008

Schools Out

Was out on the bike yesterday, getting a good ride in during a mid-day break from work. A white OJ like SUV pulls up along side me with five boys in the car and they proceed to blast me with water guns. Pissed, I sit up and start yelling at them. Being a tough guy I bark at them to pull over, but they just drive off. I hammer a bit thinking they may get caught up at a light and see that they don't. Not even 10 minutes later, while still brewing over the drive by, I'm back in my rhythm, clipping along when I could feel the pressure of a vehicle very close to me. In the next second, I feel a full hand bitch slap smack on my ass, then a cabriolet full of girls speeds off. Now I'm outraged and startled, and I sputter obscenities to myself as I pedal on. Later that day, I'm rehashing the two incidents with rage to my wife as she laughs hysterically at me. She forces me to catch myself and I begin to laugh as well. Granted, the ass smack could have made me crash, but for the most part, the two situations were innocent enough and just kids being kids. Man, I must be getting old.



Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tim Russert and Tiger Woods

I always liked Tim Russert. Some people who we think we know from viewing them on television - we can easily tell that their on air persona is nothing more than the person they truly are. That there is actually no on air persona and that what you see is what you get. He was extremely likable regardless of your political party choice. He was a great interviewer and always had a smile on and always was positive. These obviously extremely admirable traits are something we should all try to emulate. He was also a jolly person, cherubic in stature and carrying some unhealthy extra weight. It's a shame to see great people go so early in life, especially when you can't help but think that maybe their lives could have been prolonged had they paid more attention to their health. Regardless of this, Mr. Russert died at an early unexpected age showing us once again that life is very short and that we should NEVER put things off and wait until the future for "bigger and better" goals. It shows that we should spend as much time as possible with family and close friends and to not sweat the small stuff including stupid squabbles and issues with others that could cause future regret. Rest in peace Tim.

Regarding Tiger - what an unbelievable display of skill this past weekend. I couldn't help but think about his mental toughness and drive. I feel that most golfers, tennis players, and professional athletes in general don't retire because they physically can't keep up, but because they mentally lose the edge. I think that tennis players in their 30's can be just as physical as tennis players in their early 20's but they have been at it for so long that they lose the edge mentally. Golfers - please! Why wouldn't a 50 year old be able to compete with a 30 year old in golf? I mean come on, it's not a physical game. Yes, it requires a tremendous amount of skill - a tremendous amount! But physicalness - don't kid yourself. They lose their mental edge. I realize Tiger is still very young but he has also achieved so much already. I bet that he mentally holds up longer than most as well. He obviously has it. That mental drive and tenacity that tells him that he can't lose. I've never witnessed someone so clutch. Now, regarding his leg injuries; I completely understand the ACL issues. Watch him swing and you can see the torque he places on that left knee. However, the stress fractures??? This is golf! Stress fractures?! That I don't get.



Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cycle Training DVD

I coach this guy Sean. Sean and I actually went to college together. We lost touch after college until probably 2004 or so. I was at IMLP viewing the race and Sean was in it. We kept in touch after that and I began coaching him. He was working for the Discovery Channel at the time as a producer and eventually became the senior VP there. Sean was the brains behind many of the Discovery Channels popular shows including Orange County Choppers. Sean has a gift for reading people and spotting potential. With lots of my persuasion (I can be convincing), he left Discovery and started his own production company called Half Yard Productions a bit over a year ago and he's currently thriving, which is so cool.

Sean and I have long discussed making a cycle training dvd, and this past Monday, we finally did it! Sean and another producer who works for him, Greg Smith, first came up to my LP camp a few weeks ago to shoot some outdoor footage which I wrote about during the LP camp blogs. They then came out Sunday night to shoot the indoor footage on Monday. These guys are the real deal and they had two camera men that also had some amazing credentials. All in all, the day was really cool. We did some very innovative things - I don't want to give too much away. We plan on shooting a bunch more, however it was great to finally get this ball officially rolling after talking about it for so long.

The LP camp was hectic leading into an even more busy week upon my return home. I did a ton of preparation in the days leading up to the shoot and the combination of all this and the lack of sleep left me with a head cold that I'm currently battling. I was able to ignore it during the shoot and was also hyped up on adrenalin. I definitely have some great friends that donated their valuable time to help me with this first shoot. Everyone appeared to have a lot of fun as well.

The workout is a killer! stay tuned for the release!!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

John Hirsch interviewed yours truly for You can read it at

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

LP Camp Wrap up

The last day of camp is always bittersweet. You are physically at a point where you need a break from the overload of training. It's hard to imagine dragging yourself through a long run and even worse to think about the long drive or flight home. Usually, you are at a point where exhaustion plays with your emotions and you become homesick, anxious and guilt ridden to see the family that you selfishly left to go play for a few days. The funny thing is, most return home with a deeper family connection, appreciative for their time away and rejuvenated with motivation towards life in general. Taking a brief hiatus to find out more about yourself and to relight the kindles is actually a pretty cool thing. But enough of the camp sales pitch and back to the bittersweetness. At the same time, you don't want camp to end because you were able to do what you love to do, and you develop a bond with a new group of friends that you know will remain in contact somehow to some degree.

We met at 6:15am in the hotel parking lot on Sunday to make the short drive over to the trails that we started this adventure in. The previous night, I gave everyone the option of trails or roads (the IM course) and everyone, well except for one, chose trails. The idea was to run out 1 hr, starting on the dirt road and then the horse trail to the damn, and then to turn. As we all started out, Ed pointed out the trail head going left that read Mt Von Hogenburg (sp?). He had never done it, but I said what the hell, let's be adventurous. The trail began as a single track trail with quite a few roots but also some great pine needle sections. You could easily run your natural gate here so long as you lifted your feet and avoided tripping on the roots. I love this type of running - it's fun and it's great for developing and strengthening lateral stability as well.

We came upon a swamp or bog. It was actually a river I think and had a bunch of stones and logs to get across, yet we all got a bit muddy. Then we started climbing. It was so steep at many points that we were walking hand and foot basically. There are a few that don't like this type of adventure - they are so regimented in their training that they feel this isn't running or productive. If you look where your heart rate is during these sections, you can easily see that you are getting a great cardiovascular workout. Plus this build a lot of strength and most triathlon runs become all about strength. Ed and I were up front and after all this climbing, we came upon a rocky ledge near the peak. It was simply amazing. We had views of an amazing valley way down below and of the mountain range that includes Mt Marcy (the highest peak in NY for those that don't know this). To the left far in the distance, you could see the two ski jumps popping out of the woods like cranes in a swamp, and just beyond that, the town of Lake Placid. The cliff we were standing on was certainly not a great place to be for those scared of heights, but the views were outstanding. This trail, and look out, was a gem of a find, especially on the last day and last session of this camp. Ed and I waited for everyone else to arrive and we all hung out and took it in for a moment. I think many were taking in what they accomplished at this camp. I pointed out that trails like this may take us out of our natural stride and gate, but soon enough, we'd be back beating ourselves up on our same old familiar home courses.

We ran in the trail a bit more then headed back to the dirt road, arriving there with about 20 minutes still left to run. I lined a group I was with up in a pace line and had them run Indian sprints, before cooling down. We finished this camp the same way we started, with a memorable amazing run.

As I left LP that morning for the long drive home (not as long as you poor Cleveland saps!), I stopped at a recommended quiet breakfast/lunch spot and had the best ham, egg, and cheese on sourdough sandwich I've ever had. the food was amazing and therefore, I'll selfishly keep this place top secret.

It's been a few days now and I have some very fond memories:

  • The calm before the storm or training hard and laughing hard with Molson the two days before the campers arrived. Jeff has attended 8 camps now and to be honest, he adds so much that the camps wouldn't be the same without him there. He's become a very good friend (even if he feels otherwise and even though we are both stubborn about certain points in training).
  • Avalanche Lake.
  • chilly swimming in mirror lake.
  • pacelining along rt. 9 on day 1.
  • pulling the group back on 86 on day 1.
  • climbing to the tollbooth.
  • Brad and Jay - the dynamic duo and their mechanicals.
  • eaves dropping on Pam and Margit.
  • a great dinner at Ed's - probably the best in all my camps!
  • Greg P. setting up a computer lab outdoors for analyzing bike fits.
  • sun, heat and wind on Saturday.
  • The Half Yard guys with cameras everywhere.
  • pulling Jeff back up 86 on his second loop after he bonked badly.
  • headless beavers.
  • Lots of Ben and Jerry's.
  • assless chaps.
  • Mt. Von Hogenburg trail run and lookout.

Great stuff. Thanks to my cohost and dear friend Angela, and to my crack crew Big Rocks and Kenny! You guys were more help than you may realize.



Saturday, June 07, 2008

Windy, hot and humid

That was today's forecast. A beautiful sunny day although very strong wind and very humid. If IMLP were today, there would have been a lot of carnage. The issue with the strong wind, especially blowing down 86 in your face on the return trip to LP, is that you are working hard and don't realize the humidity.

We all rolled out on our bikes between 6 and 7am. Those racing LP (Pam, Margit, Jay) were doing the 112 mile course. Most of the others were doing the course minus the out and back loops (84 miles) and the remaining athletes were covering a full loop of the course plus a bit more.

I rolled out with Brad and Mike Mariano (3 Mikes here) and the camera crew. We are filming for my dvd/download series and it's a bit bizarre. Mike was feeling tired and on the third hard, big day of camp, it's important to stay within yourself early on and loosen up, so he dropped back. Brad and I rode down 73 together and when we turned left on 9, the film crew wanted to get some head on shots so I rode behind the minivan with a camera man in the back - what great motorpacing! I rode the rt 9 section at 35 mph.

I hooked up with Ange, Trephina and Mary on the out and back and rode a bit with them before finding Margit, Kenny and Pam. We rode up 86 to LP and I did some more footage riding on the run course along the river, then headed back down 86, where I ran into Jay and rode with him for a bit, then headed back down 86 and rode Juergens back into LP. I put in a solid 5 hrs 30 min on the bike and surprisingly felt really solid! I say surprisingly because I've worked really hard this week on little sleep and was feeling spent when I awoke this morning.

We did a transition run, grabbed a few slices of pizza, and then headed down 86 via car to soak our tired legs in the gorge. We then sat in the shade and I reminded everyone of what they accomplished thus far at this camp. I mentioned how in our minds, we are only as good as our present training session, yet you need to take into account everything that we did over the past three days.

Today was a great day. We all hung out there in the shade in that glazed over hazy dumbness that proceeds a big training day. Later, we had a great dinner next door to our hotel at Nicoli's and Ange and I passed out some more mvp awards (Cat, Jay, Jason, Jeff), then hit Ben and Jerrys.

Sorry I haven't been that interesting with the blogs this week - I'm spent and trying to keep everyone updated on what we are doing here. We've done so much more than I've mentioned thus far in terms of personal accomplishments and I'll write a summary in a few days when I've had some time to decompress and get some sleep but for right now, this is what I've got.



Friday, June 06, 2008

Rain, rain, go away...

3am this morning I awoke to the sound of hard rain pounding the pavement outside my hotel room. The plan for the morning was to leave at 6am and ride down 86 and climb to the summit of Whiteface Mountain. I tossed and turned over whether to send this group up, and finally decided around 5:30am to play it safe. So instead, we went running on the course along the river. It was a cool, yet humid morning and everyone started the run very gingerly, feeling the effects of yesterdays hard effort still in their legs. The plan after running was to be ready to ride by 10am. From 8am until 9:45am, it didn't rain much, but, guess what, it then started pouring. So I altered once again and we went swimming in Mirror Lake. I'm not against riding in the rain by any means. We have all day to train here and with people tired why take a chance? The lake is frigid upon first entering, but 5 minutes later, all is good. We swam the entire length of the lake which was cool, then regrouped and I jumped on Kenny's toes and let him pull me back. I actually felt decent in the water, considering that the only times that I have swum this year were at camps. I then set the ride time for noon. It was raining, but it was time to go. We rode down 86 and climbed to the toll booth on Whiteface. Ed S. climbed very well. Actually, everyone did considering they all looked wasted and a bit grumpy when we headed out. We descended and regrouped and the rain was gone and it was getting more hot. I sent some of the group on the out and back and then back up 86 to LP, and took the rest on a reverse loop of the course. If you have never ridden this course in reverse before, you need to try it - it's a blast. Brad and Jay both flatted when we rolled off of 86 onto rt 9, and after fixing this, we realized that Brads rear brake was frozen, so I hammered Ed back to his house to grab some tools, and then continued on my way up the big hill that is the descent during the race on 73. I caught Pam and Margit and pulled them back to LP - they did great. Everyone was really hungry and lots of food was flying around while Greg P. did computerized bike fits. We made quite a few adjustments. By the way, I sent Greg out at 6am to do the Whiteface climb. He's a very experienced rider and I wanted him to experience this ride. He loved it.

We just had a great dinner at the Adirondack Steak house and then some Ben and Jerry's. I'm fortunate to be able to put on these camps - I always end up with great people. I know this sounds cliche but this group has been terrific. No attitudes, no egos, and lots of support for each other.

Tomorrow is a huge day and it's supposed to be sunny and HOT! Most will be riding the 112 miles and they will be using My Athlete devices ( password Ironman, Ironman 123) so you can track them out there. Besides that, Sean G. and his film crew are here shooting footage for our training dvd. And there are a ton of triathletes in town, so the course should be crowded tomorrow which is always fun.



Thursday, June 05, 2008

LP Day 1

Man, after a day like today, there's not much to say. Actually, there's a lot to say but I'm really spent right now and I also have a couple of beers and a glass of wine in me and the bed is looking mighty good. But I feel this obligation to post something and I owe it to the campers who put it out there today.

We started with an early 6:30am trail run up to Avalanche Lake. Most come here to train and just stay on the IM course. The course is great and it's important to learn it and experience it, but there is also so much more to see up here. I staggered all the campers to get us all to Avalanche Lake around the same time. The run starts on a horse trail for a few miles where you reach a beautiful lake and a damn. Then we continue on single track trail for a few miles until the last mile which is up hill and on log crossings, boulder leaping, and rock scaling. It's adventurous and the reward of Avalanche Lake and the views here are well worth it. I ran back and forth trying to run with each camper during this 2+ hour run.

After munching on some graham cracker bagels and peanut butter, we suited up to ride. The ride started very civil with the goal of riding one loop of the course, stopping at key places and discussing how to best approach this course. After the big downhill, I had everyone form a pace line on rt 9 from 73 until 86. I had them taking 30 second pulls at the front. This is always interesting since most triathletes train alone and don't have very good technical skills. Many were timid riding close to the wheel in front of them, but by the end of rt. 9, we were working well together and cruising along at a good clip. Trephina was a champ - she had never ridden a pace line and fell off early but was determined to get back on. Ed and I were able to get her there and she took a good pull at the front even.

When we turned onto 86 for the beginning of some climbing, I stopped to converse with big rocks in the sag wagon and a group of 7 hammered off the front. This reminded me of an old Farber tactic. Etiquette would say that when someone stops, the rest ride easy until the stopper regroups. Farber would always hammer away whenever I stopped for something. It always made me laugh, and then I'd bust my ass to catch him. This is what happened with these guys. I finally caught them on the out and back section of the course and then set a good clip on the final 11 miles back to LP up 86. When we arrived back, everyone looked wasted. That's the sign of a solid day!

Greg Pelican then did computerized bike fitting on the group as we hung around and ate. Eating is a popular thing at these camps when not training. Then, a few of the guys and Margit went for an easy swim. Not a bad day 1.

To top it off, Ed S. who has a house up here had us all over for a delicious dinner with grilled salmon, chicken, asparagus and potatoes. It was perfect - great food, relaxing, and fun conversation. I told a bunch of stories - many including Baker. Who knows, they were probably bored but all seemed entertained.

Ed S. got the mvp today. He helped out many on the run and he worked hard on the ride helping Trephina bridge up and taking long pulls when the group of 8 were trying to lose me.

The campers should either sleep really well tonight or sleep restless because their metabolisms are ramped up from all the training.

Stay tuned...

Lots of pictures will be coming.



Wednesday, June 04, 2008

LP Camp

The campers arrive this afternoon. Camp officially begins this evening with an easy run at 5pm. Jeff and I however had a very busy day planned.

What is it about swimming, biking or running that is fulfilling? Sure, going fast on race day is fulfilling but what about the day to day grind of training is fulfilling? I'm sure there are many different answers here but I know that Jeff and I both had that deep sense of satisfaction after a day like today. It was cool to have a calmer day before the hecticness begins. Don't get me wrong - I love the camps but there is a lot of behind the scenes to pull these things off and the days are busy and long.

Jeff and I headed out at 6:30am to run some trails Jeff was familiar with that were close to town. They were very, very cool, taking us around parts of Lake Placid - not the village but the actual Lake. We then had some breakfast, caught up on some emails, and headed out for a ride. We rode down 86 and began the Whiteface climb. It was after 8:30am so we could only go as far as the toll booth which is a steady 3 mile grind. It was big time foggy - so much that you couldn't see that far ahead. It was dry though. I wanted to work this ride today. I hit the hill hard and felt good, averaging 385 watts for the 3.5 miles. What took 20 minutes to climb, took less than 5 minutes to descend. I then told Jeff I wanted him to work it the 11 miles back on 86 to LP. He's riding very well - all that 90+ rpm work he did this winter is paying off. For this section along 86 back to LP, I rode 2 minutes on, 1 min off. It's a great hard session and I felt it as I rolled back along Mirror Lake back to our hotel. It was one of those good, tired, hazy feelings that you get after hitting a solid strong effort.

We ran a few more errands and searched for a decent smoothie. That's the one thing this place is missing is a good smoothie shop. Kenny arrived and he, Jeff and I went for a swim in Mirror Lake. That's right, I began my swim training. This was my first swim since AZ camp. the water was COLD!!! But after 10 minutes, we were fine and moving along. Open water swimming leaves you feeling great afterwards.

A quick change and it was time to meet the campers for a run around mirror lake and off mirror lake drive onto some secret trails. A great introduction to camp run although the real fun begins tomorrow.

I usually don't hand out the agenda up front for camp. It's easy to limit yourself when you see a schedule in front of you that can look daunting. If it's Thursday morning and we're running, I want everyone focused on running, not that we still have a bike and swim to do that day and that we are riding 112 miles in a couple of days. I want them focused on the task at hand. The whole idea of camp is to free your limitations. However, I did pass out agendas because we have so much jammed into the next four days and I want people to plan with nutrition accordingly.

OK, that's enough for today. I'll make these more entertaining (hopefully) in the next couple of days but it's late and I need a few hours of sleep.



Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Feels great to be back

Even though there were occasional showers and cool air today, getting off route 87 and heading west on 73 still puts a cheesy grin on my face. One like a young kid going to an amusement park. Sun, clouds, whatever, the drive in is still spectacular.

I'm up in Lake Placid a day early to scout out a few courses that I want to take the campers on. Jeff Molson came up early to join me and rack up even more points on his Hodska Frequent Camper Card. First things first, we needed lunch and had a great one at a new restaurant here (can't remember the name), then hit the grocery store for some necessities. Then a quick change and a nice ride, followed up by a great new run (top secret), then dinner at the cottage. They sat us at a small table overlooking Mirror Lake that made Jeff want to order the cheese platter for two and a bottle of chardonnay. We settled for a couple of beers and burritos.

If this place doesn't do something to you, then you need to check your pulse. The outdoors are where its at and the air feels good to breathe, unlike Fairfield County air.

We have a great group for this camp. I'll be filling you in on the players as the week goes on so stay tuned.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sprint For Dare 5K

Today could have been quite possibly one of my best race experiences. I ran the Sprint For Dare 5K in my hometown Monroe.

It was a perfect race morning. Pure runners will say it was too hot and too sunny, but it was gorgeous out. The gun went off setting forward the burst of energy from the 400+ runners. Approaching the first mile marker, I was concerned the pace was a bit aggressive. Isn't that always the case in a 5K? A glance at my watch showed 8:01. Yup, definitely a bit overzealous, especially with the gradual uphills in the second mile. The pace slowed a bit, and settled into a steadier rhythm. Some friendly familiar faces and not so familiar faces came by tossing out words of encouragement. The final mile starts uphill, then you turn right onto Cutlers and it's a gradual downhill 1/2 mile to the finish. The pace increased here and I spoke out; "stay relaxed, but bring it home. You can see the finish line, kick it in with all you've got!!!" The clock read 28 minutes flat. My 7 year old son just ran his first road race and I proudly ran every step right next to him.

Paul M., the race director came by and told me the winning time was 17:09, saying I could have taken it. Perhaps. I had actually planned on racing a duathlon in Fairfield this morning. These two things were quite irrelevant considering the experience I had.

Ryan dumped some water on his head while eating a chocolate donut, feeling proud for a moment of his recent accomplishment. Then, it was time to focus on his upcoming soccer practice at 1pm. Ahh, to be young... Thanks for your patience in reading this boastful post.