Sunday, September 28, 2008


I'm procrastinating right now. I'm the cook in our household here. I love to cook. However, I'm not motivated tonight. So Lisa ad the kids will have to wait a bit as I get out some post RFR thoughts.

My friend Rick Moisan past away in 2005 at the age of 43 from cancer. His cancer started as lung cancer, even though he, or no one around him never smoked. Rick was an all class guy. The kind of man who spoke with his actions. He was short in conversation, but to the point. In 2004, I dedicated my Ironman journey and race in Hawaii to him. I had a tough year there - my toughest IM to date. Rick called me in Hawaii after the race and simply said "Man, you didn't do so good!" I laughed. In fact, I laughed quite a bit with Rick. I would spend time with him while he underwent his chemotherapy. We'd often play chess during this time. Rick was pretty good, and late in his cancer phase, he beat me good in a game. His response followed by a small chuckle was "What's a matter with you? My brain is riddled with cancer and I still kicked your ass!" Don't confuse this candor with coldness. Rick was compassionate, yet had a great sense of humour.

There are two events that I began that are the two most important events that I'm associated with each year. The Ride For Rick and the Plunge. When I began these two charitable events, my main focus was on raising funds directly for those in need - not for big organizations where the funds easily can get lost in who knows what. I'm very pleased with the success of these events. The Ride For Rick has evolved immensely - thanks to Lisa, Rick's wife, and her women crew.

The RFR is important to me not only because I've seen how it's benefited others, but because it keeps Rick's memory alive for his family. Seeing his wife and his daughters still crushes me. They are really doing great, but I can't help but feel for them.

The fact that the weather held out yesterday was incredible, considering the forecast. I've already stated a thank you on my home page so I won't reiterate. I just want those who were there yesterday to know that there participation in this event is huge to me and, for those who were there, if you ever put on something like this that's near and dear, you can count on me to participate.

By the way, we raised $100,000 from this years event, which is going to some amazing causes!



Thursday, September 25, 2008

Technology Hiatus

Obviously our society has become overly dependant on technology. I'm not talking about the necessities, like transportation, but more the devices and gadgets that we arm ourselves with each morning before venturing out into the real world. Look at anyone nowadays anywhere and there is a very high chance you'll catch them using some high tech gizmo. This isn't a rant about obnoxious cell phone users in public places - my biggest pet peeve. Why is it that these people also feel they need to talk louder into their phones?

Back on track...

I'm proposing a tech hiatus. Let's make a stance for simplifying. For getting back to just us and nature. It's time we free ourselves of these technological shackles that bind us to material gadgets. How often have these devices interfered with your family time? Your training?? WHO'S WITH ME??? I begin this movement right now with a nice trail run - just nature and me.

Of course I'll have to update everyone so I'll allow my laptop to survive the movement. If you want to track my run in nature, I'll be wearing my MyAthlete device. No criticism on my pace - I'm still sticking to my heart rate plan. In fact, my heart rate monitor will beep if I go over it. Hmmm, this may be hard to hear though with my ipod on. Shit, I'll get back to this blog in a bit, I have an important cell call coming in.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What the deal

God, this f'n blog is killing me sometimes! I feel such an obligation now to keep it up yet I'm either way busy or feel I have nothing really to write about. For all I know, there is one other person (Baker) reading this shit, yet I feel compelled to jot something down. In all fairness though, I often go back to see what I was doing in months and years past, so in retrospect, it's been a great journal. As I once alluded to, if I were to keep a journal on paper or in a word document, I'd get lazy - or lazier than I've been here.

So here's what's been going on:

I am still trying to get rid of this virus/cold, and my wife is as well. I'm running still with a HR under 140, yet it doesn't feel great. I'm logging some decent mileage. I ran 21 on Sunday and 13 yesterday, yet again, it doesn't feel great. I've been training myself and others for over 18 years, and I'm still much better at training others. I know exactly where I'm at and what I need to do. I also have a way of justifying with myself, ignoring certain things. Justification is a bitch.

We are in some interesting times right now and it can be draining listening to the overwhelming pessimists who think they are realists spew there opinion(s). Hang tight and know that everything is cyclical and that many are over-reacting.

I promised to not voice anything political here and I'm sticking to that, even though it's been quite an interesting race.

I'm neck deep in soccer with my kids at the moment and you know what, I'm enjoying it!

The Ride For Rick is this weekend and it's supposed to rain. We have a rain date set up for Sunday. If it rains all weekend, come out and run the 5K and hang out. Everyone has someone they know afflicted with cancer. It's amazing how many fund raisers there are yet it's still so underfunded. What's so intriguing about Rick's case was that he suffered from lung cancer which most associate with smoking or second hand smoke yet he had neither of those issues. This is a situation that is still extremely underfunded in the research world of cancer. I know I ask a lot from my friends - just know that your support here means much, much more than you may realize.

OK, there is so much more going on with Hawaii coming up (who will win?), marathons approaching (Jeff M. where are you?), and off seasons to start. At least I jotted something down for myself here. And Baker. Also, many props to the Cleveland crew who drop in here from time to time. They are great at responding and are energetic, not like the lame Connecticut bunch!



Friday, September 19, 2008

Up and Running

I took 5 days off from training due to this cold. Lisa has it as well. You know the deal; starts as a screaming sore throat, then you wake up with huge sinus congestion and your nose running like a keg in Ireland. Energy wise, I felt decent after two or three days, but because of all the congestion, I laid low. Today I started back up and broke out the HR monitor. It's very easy to get away from using your HR monitor. We reach a point where we feel we know what HR we are at while training. And while this could be true, it doesn't mean that we stay honest with it.

For the next week, I'll keep my HR below 140 for every run that I do. Sure, there will be small occasions where it will slip above 140, but the goal is to have no more than 1 full minute of each run above 140. I ran this morning in the Trumbull rail trail. It was a stunning morning - one made for running. Starting out with just running shorts and a singlet, I was actually a bit chilly. For the first 10 minutes, my HR stayed below 125, then it went into the 130's. I felt relaxed and this was a good opportunity to blow out some of that cold. Then, I see a carrot up the trail. A guy running at a decent clip maybe 200 meters ahead. Within seconds, my turnover is faster, my stride has increased, and guess what? My HR is above 140. I dial it back down and forget about the runner. I passed him eventually anyways and continued on. I was doing an out and back. I hit the turn around and bam, I'm picking up the pace and the HR above 140. I dial it down again. I can tell where my HR is without the monitor. The problem is that I subconsciously go after someone up the road and pick the pace up when "coming home". The monitor was great at keeping me in check. I finished 8 miles in just over 52 minutes, with only 36 seconds above 140 and my legs felt better after this run then they did during it.

Later this afternoon, I went out for a second run. I ran 1 hour on single track trails and stuck with the 140 deal, even on the hills. All in all, it was a nice solid day followed up with an hour of soccer drills with my son.

The key now is to be patient and commit to this one week of sub 140 HR.



Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I had an athlete I hadn't heard from in a bit so I sent him an email yesterday asking for some feedback. He sent back a note saying things are going well and that he's ready for a new schedule. A bit later, I received another email from him that started out as this:

"I realised while I was doing my 45 minute easy spin that my feedback was feedback free."

He then went on to give me a great description of what he did last week, how he's feeling mentally, physically, the amount of sleep he's been getting, ...

For those of you that work with a coach, realize that for the coach to help you to the best of his and your ability, the more they know and learn about you the better. Give them feedback in either an email or a phone call. You aren't bothering them - if you are, find a new coach.



Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Trail Running and Jury Duty

Blogging has been slow, things have been busy.

For those that don't run trails; Why??? I have heard from old die hards that you need to simulate the pounding of pavement so that you are conditioned for this on race day. In triathlons, your feet can land hard due to fatigued leg muscles, however, your gate is also much lower and slower. In running races, yes, it's important to get a bit of pavement running in, but you don't need nearly as much as you'd think. 10% of your weekly volume is more than sufficient. The benefits of trail running; besides the fact that it blows the pants off of pavement running for sheer fun, enjoyment, scenery, ..., it also is less taxing on the muscular and skeletal system, meaning more quality in your weekly training and better recovery. On single track trails, there is a lot of lateral movement, stepping on uneven surfaces, over roots and rocks which strengthens key joint tendons and ligaments. Plus, did I mention it's way more fun? I have the great advantage of a rail trail system with lots of single track off of it, starting at the end of my street. However, I can't recommend enough the advantages of running most of your long run each week on trails.

I served jury duty last week. After postponing it twice, I finally decided to suck it up and pay my dues. Yes, I realize we are very fortunate to have the legal system in place that we do in this country. I even feel it would be cool to serve as a juror on an interesting case. However, being in my own business, it is more of a nuisance. I arrived at 8:30am to the Bridgeport court house along with 100 other citizens. Lisa laid into me about not bringing my Treo or laptop into the court house - that it would be confiscated for the day, so I left the lap top home and the Treo in the car. Guess, what; they lifted this rule in August, and everyone was typing away on their blackberries and computers! I brought the book "Raising The Bar" to read while waiting. Soon enough, I was selected with 17 others to be interviewed for serving as a juror on a criminal case. The judge brought us all into the court room where the prosecuting attorney, the defense attorney, and the person being prosecuted were sitting. She explained the case, and how the suspect was being brought up on nine counts, most drug related; possession of heroine with the intent to sell, possession of cocaine with the intent to sell, weapon possession, ... They then issued us out into a jurors room where we waited for each one of us to be called in one at a time to be interviewed. If you were to be chosen to serve on the jury, the case would take most likely up to one week. You were allowed to leave after you were interviewed whether you were chosen or not. I waited and read and stewed over this case. I mean, the guy has nine freaking charges brought up against him and this case is going to take a week!!! I know that our system states that all people are innocent until proven guilty, but come on - nine counts! And this is where some of our tax $$$ is going?! I was ready to bitch when I got my turn for the interview. In the jurors room, no one said one word to one another. It was bizarre, yet I didn't mind it. I read and waited some more, and finally, at 4pm, with only four of us left to be interviewed, they excused us all and told us our duties had been served. I have a few pt clients that are extreme conservatives who were upset at my attitude towards the day. I just don't see the logic in trying a guy for one week that has nine separate accounts brought up against him. "Raising The Bar" was a good read though. It's about the inventor and CEO of Clif Bars and his journey from the start. It's based on the business principals he has learned and established through his experiences - he uses experiences from his adventurous lifestyle as business analogies, and although the book has some repetitive themes to it, the guy and his business are solid role models. I definitely recommend checking it out.

School is back in session meaning my daughter comes home with a cough, and my wife and I now have bad head colds which will put the traininig on hold for a few days. Oh well.



Tuesday, September 09, 2008

IMW wrap up, ...

Race Day:

weather was beautiful - perfect for an IM; sunny, high 60's to low 70's, light wind. The water was super calm for the swim. It's amazing spectating an IM swim up close. The age groupers spread out excessively in terms of width. I realize first hand the fears and phobias many have in a mass swim start because I have worked with many athletes who deal with this. It's never comfortable getting swum over, kicked, pushed, slapped, ... However, watch the swim of an IM race and you will see how much quicker and easier the pack moves as compared to the lone swimmer, battling the currents and still water on their own on the outside.

Just before the swimmers began to exit the drink, we positioned ourselves at the bike mounting area as you leave t1. The swimmers under an hour came out dispersed well. And then, the 1 hr to 1:15 swimmers! Man, there are so many IM swimmers in this 15 min range and it is certainly crowded leaving on the bike. I saw a lot of athletes with their shoes attached to their bikes, with no clue how to mount their bike with their shoes attached to their bikes, including some female pros! If you want to blend in at an IM, wear red. Cervelos were definitely the most popular bike by far.

We got out on the bike course and also on the run. To sum it up easily, it's a great venue. The city inhabitants including the college kids seem to really actually enjoy hosting this IM. I think this race has a lot of character. Not as much charisma as IMLP, but it really is a solid venue. Would I race there? Yes, I would, although I probably will never get the chance. Besides Hawaii, the next IM I'd like to race is Canada. Then Roth, then Switzerland.

We had entertaining travels home including a full sprint through just about the whole Detroit airport to make our connection. I had an aisle seat next to some freaky deaky couple - the guy in the middle sleeping and breathing with his laser breath right at me and his bizarre wife who stared at me the whole time - maybe I'm the freak.

I had jury duty yesterday. That deserves it's own blog!



Saturday, September 06, 2008

IMW Bike Course

The plan for the afternoon today was to get some video footage for My Athlete of me riding and wearing the g-unit. I rode a fair part of the ironman course here and here's my take:

It's a very fair course, similar in terrain to southern Connecticut with lots of bumps, or short hills, one after another. This type of course is a strength course and you need to have your cycling fitness behind you coming into this race. If you are fit, you can roll over these bumps early on in the race keeping your heart rate under control and the lactic acid at bay and save the effort for the latter part of the ride and run. If you are lacking cycling base and strength, this course will eat you up.

The course is a lollipop - you ride out to a loop that you do twice then return on the same roads you rode out on. it offers up some nice farmland scenery, with lots of cornfields and meadows. Today was beautiful with sunny skies and fluffy white clouds rolling through. During a race, I could really care less what scenery there is on a course. Personally, it doesn't make a difference - I'm more focused on the race. In Hawaii or Lake Placid, I'll take in the views occasionally but it isn't something I need on race day.

Pro's of this course: as i said, it's an honest course for a strength athlete. It's definitely a challenging course. This course is a nice medium between Florida's and LP's bike courses.

Con's: too many roads on the out and back section to the loop, and the road surface isn't great. There are lots of cracks and splits in the pavement.

I had a few people yell from their cars at me; "save it for tomorrow!" I always get a laugh out of this when I spectate an IM race and I'm out training the day before. People are too concerned with others. Maybe it eases their pre race nerves a bit.

Should be fun watching this race tomorrow. It's supposed to be another nice day.

Time for Sushi.



We're in Madison

The flight was uneventful. Well, it was funny, but uneventful. First, everyone keeps asking Baker and Brennan if their brothers. I tell them that their on a father, son weekend outing. We flew out of Westchester and had to stop in Cincinnati. The small plane from Cincinnati to Madison sat two on one side and two on the other. Brennan and I were next to each other, with Baker directly across the aisle from me. He let out a "Yes!" when he saw that he was alone and in an aisle seat. I told him not to worry, that he'd have some company. Sure enough, the biggest guy on the plane comes down the aisle and wedges himself between Baker and the window. The guy was so big they couldn't put the center arm rest down. He was wearing these tight khaki shorts and his pasty white chubby legs were glued to Bakers. I was waiting for the guy to pull a John Candy and take his socks off. I laughed the whole plane ride.

We got in around 10pm and went out to get a beer. Madison is a very cool little college town. We found this brew pub that had an incredible selection on tap, and after a couple of pints we headed back to the hotel. I flipped the TV on and ironically "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" was on.

I just finished up an easy 1 hr run along the lake here. It's like a nice autumn day, with temps in the 60's this morning and the sun peaking out. It's actually a beautiful morning considering what Connecticut and the rest of the East Coast is getting pounded with today.

We have a busy little day planned, but I'll be sure to post again later.



Thursday, September 04, 2008

my back is back

I took Tuesday off and Wednesday easy and my low back/leg is back to just about normal. Thanks to all who sent me emails of concern. As I mentioned in my previous post, I knew that it was just irritated from the combination of the volume and intensity from the week.

I'm at a very interesting point, physically, in life. I don't feel as though I am slowing down whatsoever in terms of race day performance. In fact, I feel that if I had the time, I could still pr in most events. However, I do need a day more of easy training or recovery following quality sessions. If I don't take it, I wind up feeling sluggish or getting sick. Whether this is because of my age or because of what I put myself through over the past 12 years is something I ponder, but the fact is it's a reality.

Taking a couple of easier days left me with a bit of free time on my hands, so I took advantage by doing somethings that needed to be done, like seeing my optometrist and removing a huge wasps nest in my front yard. Actually, my optometrist skipped town I think and sold the business. I was expecting a nice, quiet guy with bad breath, and instead was examined by a cute blond who looked like she just graduated from college. I wear daily contacts and inquired about Lasik and she said I shouldn't get it done. I have friends who swear by it, but she insists that if I have it done, I'd need glasses for reading instead of my contacts for distance. I know - exciting stuff! The wasps nest was kind of exciting. It's the size of a basketball hanging from a tree in my front yard about waist high. It's filled with these white faced yellowjackets/hornets. My kids were both stung. So I waited last night until dark, took a flashlight and can of hornet spray, doused the nest good including the hole where they enter and leave, then ran like hell. My back felt fine!

Apologies for the very boring post, but what I really wanted to mention is that I'll be heading to IMW tomorrow evening for My Athlete. I'll be posting often from out there and I'll even try to get some pictures up - I know I'm bad about that. So until then, peace.



Monday, September 01, 2008


I ran the New Haven 20K today. First of all, congrats to Keith, Joe, and John for exceptional days yesterday in tough conditions in Louisville. Well done. Back to the sufferfest.

I awoke feeling OK, but still with some residual soreness/pain in my quads. I had put in a big, solid training week including some mile repeats mid week and a long run on Saturday. I always treat the NH 20K as a training race and train right through it. Sure, I'll never run a truly fast time, but that's not the purpose here.

I've done this race just about every year since the mid 90's. It a spectacular venue, with many bands along the course that winds all through New Haven. There are 5000+ runners and it's a national championship with a solid prize purse which means you have a bunch of 5'6" 110 lb guys running sub 5 minute pace.

It was a beautiful day today - sunny and in the upper 70's. I think it was a bit warmer than many anticipated or even thought. I saw a lot of athletes caked with salt. As i registered, I ran into many familiar faces: My sister Laura and her friend Maria were there, Baker, the McDougals, Megan S., Mike B., Mike K. and his son (who beat him good - I have limited time before my son is spanking me in races), Margaret C., The Monroe Crew (Paul M. and gang), Dave B., ... One of the coolest things about this race is all the familiar faces.

My plan was to run steady, just under 6 min/mi pace. I lined up near the front and awaited the gun and then, bang! As soon as I started, I felt a sharp, pulling pain in my left quadriceps. I shifted my focus and concentrated on my breathing, on my my arm motion, on running from the hips. I hit mile 1 in 5:43 which was fine considering you always go out a bit quick in these things and my wind felt fine. My legs felt dead though and the left leg was getting worse. I ignored it through the next three miles and stayed on 5:50 pace. Just after going through mile 4 though, the pain became more severe to the point where I began to think that this might not be a smart deal. Soon afterwards, I stopped! I walked up onto the sidewalk, turned around and started walking back. I was pissed and I was hobbling. I wasn't even concerned about my leg as I walked back but more pissed that this was happening. I watched a bunch of athletes run by, many asking if I was OK. Alan M. came by and yelled out "can I do anything?" How cool is that that someone in the middle of their own race was willing to stop and help me if necessary! I yelled "no worries, I'll be fine." and walked a bit more. Than I thought, just slow down a bit and see how it does. Run to the 10K mark and re-evaluate. So I turned and rejoined the race course. I surged to catch Alan, figuring I'd try to run with him. Alan runs a very consistent pace, so I thought if I could lock in with him and maintain this for a couple of miles, maybe the left quad would loosen up. Alan was great, telling me not to do anything stupid. Thing is, I know myself quite well. I knew that this was not really muscular but more neurological, related to my low back. And I figured that my low back was just a bit tweaked from the volume and intensity of the week and that the pace earlier on aggravated it. I also knew that it was going to hurt, but that it wasn't going to get worse or do long term damage.

I ran along with Alan, and the pace felt to comfortable although the pain in the left quad was anything but. We ran through the 10K and began picking people off one by one. Alan mentioned a few times that I should go on ahead, but he was instrumental in getting me going again and know wants a dnf. In fact, I know I wouldn't have turned and continued on if it weren't for him, so again, thanks a bunch Alan. Just after the 10 mile mark, I saw George Buchanan up ahead. By this point, the left leg was just numb, so I upped the pace a bit to go after George. I caught him at the 11 mile mark and he turned to see me quickly and picked up his pace significantly, that bastard! He's such a competitor and solid runner and put 15 feet into me quickly, but then stayed there. I managed to bridge back up to him just before the 12 mile mark which he didn't like because he immediately surged. I covered the surge and then he went again. The guy attacked me 5 times in the last mile with tough surges, and the 5th, I thought I might be done. I also know I have a pretty good kick, gimp leg or not, and was waiting until the last 50 meters to go. When he went, George went also. The two of us sprinted for the line as though we were going for gold in the Olympic 1500. I managed to get him at the line, and we both stayed there, hunched over, trying to regain some breath and composure.

Lisa's college track coach, Mr. Barber, is always at the finish line of this race and he's got the best hand shake in the business. Every year, I always tell Lisa that I'm going to get the best of him and be prepared for that big hand shake. As I'm hunched over, ready to hurl, I feel a tap on my shoulder. As I turn, almost instantly my hand is grasped by Mr. Barber's vice grips and he's shaking as though my arm is attached to my torso by a string of spaghetti. The bastard got me again!

I hung out after the race for a bit and had a few beers, catching up with many friends. Even though it was a painful, slower race than anticipated, it was still a good day. I'll rest a day or two and bounce back quickly I'm sure.