Saturday, August 30, 2008

Summer's Over?

What a week for training here in Connecticut. The weather was perfect - low 70's and sunny. I did quite a bit of running the last six days and most in the trails which are beginning to look as though it's late September, not late August. The trails changing, the kids back to school, the highways more congested again - I can't believe the summer is over. This being an off year for racing for me, in a way I'm glad it's passing quickly. At the same time, who doesn't wish time would slow down a bit?

When you take some down time or a year off from racing, you hope that during this time, you get recharged. Either that or you hope that you come to a conclusion that your done with all this training and racing silly shit. However, I don't think the latter ever happens. There are those who will say they have moved on but deep down they aren't fooling anyone including themselves. Let's face it, this sport, this lifestyle becomes a part of us. And as silly and inconsequential as it may be in the big picture, it's still a part of us, and a healthy part of us for the most part.

I know that I'm recharging because I'm already starting to plan my 2009. I usually wait until the last minute to plan my schedule - I guess it's a good sign that I'm already thinking about it. When I first started training and racing triathlons, it was all about the race. I loved to race and raced often. As the years have passed, there's been a shift. Now, I really enjoy the training and although the satisfaction derived from a 1 hour trail run on a crisp early Wednesday morning may not equal that satisfaction from doing a race well, it's still satisfying none the less. I guess what I'm saying is that I've mellowed over time. However, I realize that I need to race also. I still want to "test the waters" and the only place to truly do this is in a race atmosphere, and I also need a carrot out there to keep me honest. Otherwise it's too easy to get complacent and become average. You don't learn anything by being average. I'm sure there will be times during the season next year where I question why I am still at this. Without a doubt, I will go through these mental games in the week leading up to my big goal races. But as I cross the finish line - as soon as I cross that line, I'll realize why it's important for me to go through the process and continue testing myself.

Anyway, my legs are shelled today! I picked up my running a bunch since coming back from vacation last week and I'm paying the price today. I have that "sledge hammer to the thighs" feeling. It's a wake up call that I needed to change my running plan up a bit.

Good luck to Keith and Joe and John racing in Louisville today!

Download this:

The Verve - Love Is Noise (you may initially be irritated by the riff but it grows on you quickly. Good to see the Verve back.)
Cold War Kids - Something Is Not Right With Me
Beck - Think I'm In Love
and for the James Bond fans; Propellerheads - On Her Majesty's Secret Service



Wednesday, August 27, 2008

EH News

Can you believe it’s almost September already!!! It’s been a fun, busy year thus far with lots of great things happening.

For those in the CT area:

This Monday, September 1st is The New haven 20K Labor Day Road Race. This is a really fun training race – if you can make it, it’s worthwhile. I’ll be setting up a meeting area on the green for pre and post race.

Sunday, September 21st is The Nutmegman ½ IM in Southbury, CT ( ). If you can race, it’s a great course! If you can volunteer, your help would be appreciated.

Saturday, September 27th is The 5th Annual Ride For Rick ( ). This is a charity ride and/or 5k run that I started 5 years ago for my good friend Rick Moisan who was suffering from cancer. It’s evolved into an amazing morning, with 4 different rides to choose from and a 5K race as well. I need some volunteers to assist in the rides (making sure the participants know where they are going, are ok, …). Obviously this event/cause is near and dear to my heart and the proceeds from it go directly back into the fight against cancer, not lost in a huge charitable organization. I hope to see a bunch of you there. There are many of you out there that have been terrific about supporting this event the past four years, and it means more to me than you realize .

EH 2009 Camps

Tucson, AZ Camp is scheduled for February 28th through March 6th. This coming year, we will finish this camp up with the 2009 Trifest, a triathlon festival featuring all the latest and greatest tri-consumers. This camp is filling fast. We have three spots left.

Lake Placid, NY Camp is scheduled for June 17th through the 21st. Please see my site for further details.

CT Fall Foliage Camp 2009 will take place in Lakeville, CT September 17th through the 20th. See my site for further details.

There will also be day clinics and winterfest camps offered as well. The three camps above are the ones currently set up with specific dates.

Other News:

There has been lots of great racing going on – we want some race reports! There have been some really impressive performances out there from many of you. Congratulations for taking on a challenge and putting yourselves out there. We could also use some pictures for the site – if you or a friend or spouse were at a race and snapped some good shots, please send them our way (either myself or Alan at )

We finally shot my first training dvd/download which we hope to release in the fall early winter. We plan on shooting two or three more by this time as well. The footage from the first shoot looks really cool. Stay tuned!

We are putting together a MY Athlete team for 2009 consisting of 10 to 12 men and 10 to 12 women. Again, stay tuned.

I will be planning the 2009 Polar Plunge quite soon. If anyone would like to assist me in the organization of this cool event, please step up!

I will be planning two outings soon – one in New Haven at Farber’s new Microbrew Pub! and another holiday gathering. Yes, again, stay tuned!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More from the Olympics

Here are the top nine comments made by NBC sports commentators during the Summer Olympics: no one needs to make jokes when you have commentators like these.

1. Weightlifting commentator: "This is Gregoriava from Bulgaria.
I saw her snatch this morning during her warm up and it was amazing."

2. Dressage commentator: "This is really a lovely horse and I speak from personal experience since I once mounted her mother."

3. Paul Hamm, Gymnast: "I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father."

4. Boxing Analyst: "Sure there have been injuries and even some deaths in boxing, but none of them really that serious."

5. Softball announcer: "If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing again."

6. Basketball analyst: "He dribbles a lot and the opposition doesn't like it. In fact you can see it all over their faces."'

7. At the rowing medal ceremony: "Ah, isn't that nice, the wife of the IOC president is hugging the cox of the British crew."'

8. Soccer commentator: "Julian Dicks is every where. It's like they've got eleven Dicks on the field."

9. Tennis commentator: "One of the reasons Andy is playing so well is that, before the final round, his wife takes out his balls and kisses them... Oh my God, what have I just said?"

Monday, August 25, 2008

Post Olympic Blues

Regardless of what you thought about NBC's coverage, the summer Olympics are done for another four years, and I, sure as hell, am going to miss them. I am such a fan of the games and I certainly get caught up in the emotion and passion they represent.

Of course there was the Phelps and Bolt phenomenon. Usain Bolt's 100 meter run was one of the most amazing athletic, physiologic, ultrasonic performances that I have ever seen. Sure he's a cocky SOB. Most 100 meter runners are - look back in history. Don't let that cloud how superior he was in a 10 second event against the best in the world. I was amazed by many performances though and at the same time, felt many went down without nearly enough praise and recognition.

Kenenisa Bekele was simply outstanding. His double in the 5000 and 10,000 didn't get a fraction of the attention it should have. The way he won was first class, taking the lead early on, setting the pace, and then running such a fast last 400 that no one stood a chance. It still gives me the goosebumps to think about it. Try this during this one week: run a 5K twice as hard as you could, going for pr's, on two different days. Oh, and then also try running two 10K's as hard as possible, again, going for pr's.

Watching these events made all my training the past two weeks just that much more focused and better.

In case you missed it, which was easy, since again, there was hardly any coverage, the USA's Brian Clay won the decathlon. That's that event that is actually a compiling of 10 hard ass events in case you didn't know which is easy to do since it didn't get covered much.

It's not just the victories that are interesting and inspiring though. I really felt for LoLo Jones, who all but had the victory secured before stumbling over one of the hurdles in the 110 hurdle event. She was poised and controlled during her post race interview, only to be filmed a bit later crying in the hallway. Man, I still think about all the blood, sweat and tears she poured into the last four years for this one event, only to have this misfortune - something that'll haunt her for the rest of her life I'm sure.

Anyway, I soaked it all in from the stunning opening ceremonies to the equally stunning closing ceremonies, from the swimming and track and field that I favor, to the gymnastics, rowing, volleyball, and even badminton. Synchronized diving I can do without. Yes, they are incredible athletes, but come on!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Summer Vacation

I just returned from a very nice, somewhat relaxing, low tech for the most part, family vacation. I say low tech because we went to a place where my cell phone didn't work, I couldn't receive emails, and i didn't take my computer, and you know what? It was great for a week! Think about how often you stop at your computer throughout the day or check your pda while driving, at dinner, or trying to relax. Believe me, I'm not anti-tech. In fact, I rely on technology for my coaching business. However, everyone deserves a week off from the gadgets, and should take it, whether they feel they need to or not!

I maintained my fitness by running on the treadmill daily early in the morning, doing some strength work, and actually swimming 1000 meters a day in the two lane 25 meter outdoor pool which was amazing. I also body surfed, tossed my kids into the water a bunch, and played catch in the water with Ryan for like six hours each day which has to count for something. I also ate quite a bit for breakfast and lunch. I'm not a big lunch person - it get's in the way of too many fun things to do during the day. However I ate a nice sized omlette and three pieces of coconut french toast every day this past week for breakfast! Good thing I stayed somewhat active.

Back to reality.

Lot's of thoughts to post on this week including some Olympic thoughts.



Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Vermont Ride 2008

I'm a bit spent at the moment. Actually, I'm really spent. I have that dehydrated, nauseous post IM feeling. Nice! I wrote about the history of the Vermont ride last year and at the moment, I'm too lazy to dig through the archives and bookmark it, but if you are interested, it's there somewhere. For a cliff notes version, Farber and I started the ride in 97' while I was training for Hawaii and I wanted to do a destination ride and Farber right away suggested McNiels Pub in Brattleboro, VT, so we packed some backpacks and rode up on a Saturday, then rode home the next day, making it a 280 mile round trip from my old house. From my house in Monroe on the current route, it's now a 298 mile round trip. I've done the ride every year since 97'. It's a tradition now, an annual. Baker has been with me on every ride since 98'. We've had big groups do the ride but the past two years, we have kept it really small and made it a spontaneous thing for when we both had two open back-to-back days.

We decided to do Wednesday to Thursday this year, because Baker has the summer off, and I had a lot of clients away this week. Jeff Molson, who has done this ride twice before was joining us. He did a write up that will be posted on my home page - definitely check it out for his view.

The weather was perfect, and I felt really solid Wednesday riding up to Brattleboro. Even with a headwind the whole way, I held one of my highest average speeds ever for this ride, just over 22 mph. Granted we did take two long breaks, one at the Starbucks in Simsbury 62 miles into the ride and another in North Hampton at the 102 mile mark. I rolled through the 112 mile mark in 5 hours 8 minutes. Jeff and I did a 30 minute transition run then the three of us headed out for some great food - yes, I know that's an oxymoron with Brattleboro, but we found a brand new restaurant that was super. We chased down dinner with some beer at the Flat Street Brew House before catching a cab back to the hotel.

We were all a bit dazed and confused rolling out this morning at 7am, but that's par for the course on day two of the VT ride. I found myself alone 5 minutes into the ride and put on my ipod with a bunch of new music downloaded. The wind stayed the same as the previous day meaning we had a nice little tailwind and I got in a great groove again. Day two, I stop quickly just to refill bottles and then it's right back to riding. I'm always anxious for some reason on day two just to get home. With the tailwind, I was holding 25 mph through most of Mass. I went through 112 miles today in 4:49 - definitely my fastest return trip to date on the VT ride. It was a bizarre ride though. My legs felt great but I felt nauseous the whole trip. I had a decent size breakfast before leaving of a Cliff Bar, a bagel with peanut butter, a bowl of cheerios and some OJ. I drank gatorade and water all day and had two snickers with almonds and two cokes along the ride - nothing that should make me feel queasy like I did.

I wasn't paying attention in Thomaston and took a little three mile detour making the ride 152 miles today. I covered it in 6 hrs 44 minutes. I was 30 years old when I started this ride and I rode my fastest/best this year, eleven years later which is very cool.

Funny, as nauseous as I felt, it didn't stop me from getting a big cheeseburger, french fries and shake for dinner!

The funny thing about this ride is that the course isn't anything great. In fact, there are some really shitty sections that we have to ride through. And we may ride alone most of the time. But we always have fun, and traditions are important. So I can check the VT ride off my list for 2008 which feels good. But man, the years certainly fly by and before you know it, we'll be back on rt. 10 in 2009.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Track My Ride

I took the day off and Baker, Molson and I are doing a long ride. If you are really bored in your cubicle, you can track us at: or

username: Vermont
password: Vermont123

The Olympics have been great fun thus far, although they show the good stuff too late in prime time. Michael Phelps is amazing. His 200 free was absolutely incredible - he'd put another 1/2 a body length into everyone on the turns alone. I wanted to see Art Vandelay take the silver for a one two American punch there. Obviously the moment of the Olympics thus far was the mens 4 X 100 relay. What's there to say? That's pure emotion - what the olympics are all about. Viewing Equestrian is like watching paint dry.



Monday, August 11, 2008

turning self pity into productive anger

I took the family out for a bike ride last weekend. Ryan is learning to ride with clipless pedals meaning that a few spills are a definite. Kate was on the trail-a-bike attached to my mountain bike. We were 6 miles into our 16 mile excursion when Ryan went down. We were on the Trumbull bike path and he was flying around a corner coming up on Kate and I way to fast. He couldn't pass because there were riders coming the opposite way, and because of the speed he was carrying, he couldn't slow up enough, so he slammed into Kate's rear wheel and went down.

He was crying as I jumped off the bike, but he was standing now and just had some scrapes on his knees and elbows. I did my best to calm him down as he cried and told me he wanted to go home. "Ryan, you are OK. That's very scary, what happened to you. But you are OK. We will head home, but you need to ride.", were my words to him. Lisa said to me "Maybe you should ride home and get the car and we'll wait here.", to which I replied "no, he's OK, he's just scared which is OK, but he can ride."

He got back on his bike feeling sorry for himself. As a father of a young boy, I wanted him to be tough and was angry at his self pity, yet I was also concerned for him and wanted to comfort him. Looking for pity and taking his frustration out on us, and mainly me, he rode pathetically slow, dropping way back as we made the six mile trek home. He stopped at one point saying "I don't think I can ride." I replied "Ryan, I know what it feels like to crash like you did. It's scary that's for sure. But you are fine." He said "no, my elbow is bleeding!" to which I responded "your legs are fine. You can ride." Lisa came up to me and said "Eric, he's only seven. Maybe you should go get the car." I knew he could ride and I felt it was important for him to. I have done everything I could to not put outside pressure on Ryan. He feels it anyways from me because he's very observant, and sees what I do. But I go out of my way to not pressure him. Yet, in this situation, I felt it was important for him to ride. Freudian or not, I believe that many of the habits we do have as adults are derived from experiences we encountered as children. This forms our character, and kids nowadays are getting soft because we are so over-protective. It's easy to do - any parent realizes there ultimate job in life is making sure their kids are safe and taken care of.

With 3 miles to go, the sulking was over, and now, it was turning to anger. For the last two miles, I let Ryan sit 50 feet or so off the back, riding his pathetically slow "I'll make you pay" pace, while Kate lectured me non-stop; "Daddy, he fell on the concrete you know. It wasn't grass, it was cement. You should go get the car. He's bleeding blood you know. That's not very nice. How would you like it if you fell and were bleeding and mommy didn't go get the car?"... Then, a blur came by on the left side, and I accelerated to follow. Ryan was now riding like a boy possessed and honestly it was hard staying with him. In fact, cyclists on the other side of the road were stopping to get a glance. He kept this up the whole way back to our house. I yelled out "Ryan, that was awesome! I can't believe how good you rode - I'm proud of you buddy!" I went on to try and explain to him one of life's lessons - that you can't give up when dealing with adversity, that there are going to be many times in life when he falls, blah, blah, blah. He was smiling now, proud of himself, although trying to hide it from Lisa, Kate and I.

It made me think about how anger can bring on some really interesting experiences when channeled correctly. Funny, I went through the same emotions as Ryan did when I raced Ironman Lake Placid in 2000. My shifter snapped off my bike with 70 miles left to ride, leaving me stuck in a very hard gear. At first I sulked asking "why me?", and then came the anger to which I used to my favor. Anger can be a good thing when used constructively - meaning in a positive, beneficial, and non-harmful way. That's the point of this post. Kids don't know any better and there emotions are so honest. If we, as adults can be this honest with ourselves, it can open up the door to some great things, and at the very least, allow us to toss out the rationalizing and justifying that exists so prevalently in our society.

I apologize for talking about my kids again in a post, and it won't become a habit. I just continue to learn from them which is humorous to me.



Sunday, August 10, 2008

Phelps's 400 IM World Record

The situation that Michael Phelps has created for himself is a tough one. Everytime he swims, the millions spectating expect a world record. He's diminished the awe factor of a world record. Think about the significance of a world record. Stating the obvious here but come on, that's the fastest anyone has ever, in the history of the world, covered that distance that fast in that event. Lisa and I were watching him in the 400 IM last night and man is he unbelievable, making things look easy. I don't care what else he does this Olympics, he took 1.5 seconds off his own world record and that's huge. From now on with world records in swimming and track and field, they should immediately have horns, bells and whistles sound. Maybe a bunch of confetti should drop as well and some fireworks. Yeah, definitely fireworks. By the way, the 400 IM is the most difficult and challenging swim event. Don't believe me? Go try and swim one today. Make sure there's a lifeguard at your pool. And I'm already sick of Rowdy Gaines.

OK, I'm inspired. Time to go run. I have a 2 hour one scheduled for this morning. Maybe I'll get back in the pool this week?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Opening Ceremonies

I thought the opening ceremonies were really amazing. Really colorful and artistic. The stadium looked special, as well as the shots of the city. They did a nice job of covering up the smog, pollution and heat that the media has been discussing incessantly. I thought it was cool that they cheered when Iran came in. But the coolest thing was that Lopez Lomong carried the flag for America into the stadium. If you don't know who he is, Google him. His story is really incredible and trust me, you will be cheering your ass off for him this Olympics after learning about him.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Todays Brick and Sarcastic thoughts

I had 30 minutes left to ride today, and the clouds came rolling in quickly. It was very cool to see - the sky went from bright blue to black in minutes as the clouds rolled over the sun. I had my ipod on and I could still hear the loud thunder roaring. As I finished my ride, the drops just began to fall. I was parked at the gym I belong to and because I wanted a quick transition, I did the towel trick and changed out of my cycling shorts and into my running shorts. I’m sure the gym ownership appreciates me doing this in their parking lot. My legs surprisingly felt good as I headed out on my brick. The last two days were a very hard bike session and mile repeats at the track, so I wasn’t expecting much and in fact, was just riding and running an easy brick since I had no time today to break up the sessions. Ten minutes into my run, it was downpouring. The lightning was coming down all over the place and the thunder grew even louder. It was incredible out! I ran for 50 minutes and enjoyed every second of it. Running in the rain in the summer time is a treat. Today with the storm was bonus. Upon finishing, I learned at the gym that we were target central for a tornado hitting the area!!! This is Connecticut! Turned out to be a great training session and one that I’ll remember this year. As I was out there, I was running through some sarcasm in my mind:

*If you miss a day of training, then your whole season is shot. Three missed days in a row means you are starting from square one. Your lifetime fitness and training is gone.

*If you eat a pizza one night, or even better, some ice cream, you’ll gain 5 pounds.

*All courses are accurately measured.

*All eyes are on you on race day!

*If you were on a specific training plan and it trained you right into the ground, once you finally recovered, try the same thing again!

Please feel free to add to these (Straz, Baker).



Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Coaches, Coaching, Everywhere

Between magazines and the Internet, there is a ton of information on endurance training to digest out there. Some of it is very beneficial. Most of it causes confusion, mistrust in your present "way", and controversy where controversy may not be ideal.

I have seen many different trends in the sport come and go. Right now we are in the "coaching phase". Everyone is either a coach or has a coach or is their own coach. I know, it's confusing.

USAT came out with a certification process that is supposed to add credibility to the sport, but in my opinion actually diminishes the credibility. It's become more of a bureaucratic bs certification system similar to personal training certifications, putting out lot's of "certified" people who aren't really qualified. This drags the whole field down. I've dealt with it for a long time with personal training - tell most doctors that you are working with a personal trainer and they cringe. Now, I'm witnessing this same effect in endurance sport coaching.

The best is the triathlete that's in their local club (i.e. they have a network to reach to) and trained themselves to some halfway decent results and the next thing you know, they have a website and some clients. Then there are the athletes who have one coach they have worked with for a month, and they read about some great results that some other athletes working with another coach are getting and they jump ship, thinking that besides hard work, there must be some secret training scheme that will get them to take 4 hours off their IM pr in the next two months. I was contacted recently by a guy who was interested in my coaching services. He mentioned that he's been working with a coach for a few months. I asked how his progress was going, to which he said "great". I then responded "so you have been working with a coach for just a few months and you are making progress and you want to switch?!"

I also love seeing certain coaches that prescribe to one way of training. No matter who you are, you must train this way if you want results.

There are lots of great coaches out there - those that have studied hard and built up knowledge through years of experience and working with athletes, not being an athlete. It does seem though that for every great coach right now, there are four posers. I know some incredible coaches who aren't great athletes themselves, and I know some great athletes who attempt to coach and aren't so great, to be nice, at coaching.

Many age groupers look at what pros are doing and what the pros coaches are prescribing and want to emulate this. Keep in mind that A. most of the pros were very fast before working with a coach and B. these same pros have much more time to train - it's their job, so what works for them isn't necessarily the approach an age grouper should take.

The bottom line is that great results come from hard, consistent work. From trusting a plan and staying the course. From being patient. from paying your dues.

If you are in the market for a coach (I'm not promoting my business, and I currently am full anyways) do your research, make sure they have some solid experience, and trust who you choose. Give them at least a year. Remember, it's important to establish a relationship.

Above all, make sure that they are aware of your goals and that the two of you set up a realistic plan that fits into your lifestyle and challenges you.