Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dec 31st Challenge

For those that stuck with the challenge this month, pat yourself on the back! Seriously, you should feel great about how you ended 2009. The good news is that because of lots of great feedback, I'm going to keep the challenge going through January. If I finally figure out how to post from my blackberry, I'll get the January Challenges up much earlier. I am actually tempted to go against my own boycott and sign up for twitter since this would be the best way to get these out according to the tech geeks I know. If you didnt do the December Challenge, now's your chance. Anyone can and should do this!

OK, for today, since it's already getting late, here's the deal, I want 50 squat/shoulder press combo's. You can do 50 sets of 1, 10 sets of 5, 5 sets of 10, ... Just get it done!

I'll be posting tomorrow a more detailed note on making 2010 your year. No time right now. Have a fun evening everyone but be safe!

Happy New Year and thanks for reading!



Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dec 30th Challenge

Back to basics:

5 supersets today X 20 reps of:

Push-ups (the even sets are normal push-ups, sets # 2 and 4 are done with your feet elevated on a bench)

Twisting Sit-ups



Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dec 29th Challenge

You are on the home stretch! For those doing this challenge, I'd love some feedback on how you managed, and how you feel presently. OK, today:

4 giantsets of:

Seated Curl/Shoulder Press Combo (15 reps)

V-ups (20 reps)

Woodchoppers (20 reps)



Monday, December 28, 2009

Dec 28th Challenge and NBC IM review

Today, here's the plan:

4 giant sets of:

Jumping Lunges - stand with one leg/foot out in front of you and the other behind as though in a stride. Kneel the posterior knee down, going into a lower lunge position, then explode up, jumping as high as you can towards the sky, simultaneously switching leg positions in a scissor action while in the air and landing in the lower lunge position but with the feet opposite of when you started. Immediately jump right back up and switch leg positions again. Throw your arms into it by swinging them upwards as you jump upward. Do 16 reps of these bitches.

Balance Rows - 15 reps

Supermans - 20 reps

I had a chance to watch the NBC coverage of Hawaii once again. Here's my take: I'm typically a bit more forgiving with the coverage because a) watching this race on Wide World Of Sports in the late 80's is what got me involved in triathlon, and b) i"m just excited that triathlon is getting a bit of air time. Having said that, I found this years coverage a bit lame. First, the race itself - I felt like it was barely covered. I wanted to see more footage of the bike and in particular, some of the battling on the queen K amongst the pros. I also wanted to see more coverage of the pro race and the race in general on the run course. It was a brutal day - show the energy lab and people suffering out there. I felt they didn't cover this at all. Plus, I enjoy seeing people cross the finish line and their emotion, which they hardly covered. In regards to the special interest stories, I have a softness for them but there were too many this year and unfortunately none of them seemed to finish. Also, I love the Navy. They are also a big sponsor of the IM and seeing them get publicity and use of their sponsorship was great although I found it a bit too much as well. Finally, the commercials seemed often and long (Don't hammer me, I do realize that this is what pays to air this in the first place!). Reviewing previous years coverage often when riding my trainer, I know that NBC can do way better.



Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dec 27th Challenge

My apologies - took off early with the family today and forgot to pot. so today, just bang out 3 supersets of 20 reps of push-ups and double crunches and all is well.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dec 26th Challenge

Back at it today - time to work off some of that sticky pudding:

4 giant sets X 12-15 reps of:

Lunge w/ Twist: Hold one dumbell or a medicine ball with both hands and 90 degree bend in elbow w/ the weight at your torso or chest, Step down into a lunge, lowering the rear knee to an inch from the ground, while at this low position, twist at the torso/waist towards the side away from the forward leg, then twist back and return to starting/standing position. Lunge down again with opposite leg going forward this time and twist the opposite direction as well. Return to starting position. This equals two reps.

Straight leg bent over dumbell rows

V-ups (20 reps)



Friday, December 25, 2009

Dec 25th Challenge

Merry Christmas everyone! Today is a day to rest and spend time with family and friends. In an effort to have no zero's in December, todays session is quite simple:

3 sets X 20 reps of Double Crunches.

That's it, plain and simple!

Have a great day!



Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dec 24th Challenge

Happy Festivus! For today's feats of strength:

5 supersets X 20 reps of:

Standard Push-ups (you should be getting good at these by now! remember that if you cannot knock out 20 yet, then do what you can. If you cannot do 5 sets all at once, then spread it out. just get it done.)

Ab Crunch (reaching up with arms/hands) Toe Touch (one straight leg comes up on each rep, alternating)



Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dec 23rd Challenge

4 giantsets of:

Squat/shoulder press combo (20 reps)
Bench Jumps (15 reps)
Full Sit-ups w/ Twist (20 reps)

Great session!



Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dec 22nd Challenge

4 supersets X 20 reps of:

Push-ups w/ Goodmornings - do a standard push-up, and while at the top of the push-up, take your right arm and bring it around and pointed up towards the ceiling by using your waist so that your body is in a T position being held up by your left arm, torso turned to the side. Return to the upward push-up position, do another push-up and this time raise the left arm up. This equals two reps.



Monday, December 21, 2009

Wish List

I just posted the following article on my home page, :

As if a blog isn’t narcissistic enough, I thought I’d also give my personal opinions on some great products out there. The following material items are things that I like. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to like them. I mean, come on, I may be posting a very self absorbed write up but I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on what are the best gifts to give or get this holiday season. I do realize that there are quite a few people out there with bad taste. Hopefully they’ll read this post and learn. Keep in mind that these items are by no means necessities. I love tech stuff but I also love seeing the guy with the 15 year old bike fly by those with the latest and greatest. OK, having said that, here are some cool things I like:

Body Glide and/or Assos Chamois Cream; I am still amazed at the amount of triathletes that still don’t use any creams that are designed to lessen friction while they train. If you take a shower after a long run or ride and need something to bite down on as the water hits your nether regions, you are way over due. Every person I know that uses chamois cream for the first time cant believe it took them this long to try it.

Deda or Fizik Bar Tape; Treat your ride with some love. Not only does new bar tape make your bike look that much better, it feels better. I prefer either Deda or Fizik because it feels nice, looks great, and lasts long.

Oakley Thump Pro’s: I cant say enough great things about these glasses w/ a built in mp3 player. It’s great having no wires, the battery life is excellent, they are light and don’t bounce around when running with them, the sound is great, and they look cool. You don’t want the O Roark which is the mp3 with the built in blue tooth also. Well, maybe you do, but I like to escape from those trying to reach me when I’m out running and riding in these. And I know that you shouldn’t be riding with headphones so save the lecture. What’s great about these is that you can leave the headphones off of your ears so that you can hear what’s going on around you.

Custom Nike Free 5.0:,running.7081.0,_667265653530303830392e2e31,INSPI_34095_v9_0_20080825 These are for just kicking around in. You won’t have them in time for Christmas or Chanukah but the wait is worth it. These look great with anything. Remember that jeans + your regular running shoes = dork.

Garmin Forerunner 310 XT:
You get heart rate, pace and it’s water proof! You want to know if you are gaining fitness; map out a course and run it at a specific heart rate and see what pace you average. Then retest six weeks later at the same heart rate and see if you are faster. You want to run a specific pace in your next race? You need to know that pace while doing tempo runs in training. For brick sessions, this watch is key.

A session with a personal trainer: I am constantly amazed and appalled by the form I see in most doing strength training. Learning proper technique and form are crucial to not only make sure you are benefiting from what you are trying to do but for avoiding injury and maximizing your time. A session or two with a good trainer is worth more than the $$$ you may spend on another toy and can actually save you a bunch of cash you may end up spending in orthopedic and chiropractic bills.

Big Ticket items:

I have had my same ct since 97’. Every time I ride a regular trainer be it wind, mag, fluid resistance, it reminds me just how great the ct is. And no, a regular trainer with a power tap on the bike is not even close to being the same.

Cannondale Supersix: I have been riding competitively since the late 80’s and I’ve had the chance to ride a ton of different bikes and also build up a valuable opinion (at least to me) on how a bike should ride. Forget the fact that most should be on a Slice (which rides way better than a Felt or Cervelo P3 – I’ve ridden both these and the wind tunnel may say different, but these two bikes don’r come close in ride quality to a Slice), more should be training on a road bike. And once you ride the Supersix, you won’t want to ride any other bike.

SRM Power Meter: Training and racing with power is where it is at. It’s time to accept the fact that there are modern day tech items that really can benefit you and help you go faster and get stronger and this is one of them. I’m not saying that you can’t do it without one, it’s just a lot more estimating and less pin pointing.

A Coach!: Sure, this may be the gratuitous self-promotion plug, but a knowledgeable and experienced coach will direct you towards achieving your big goals without you getting in your own way. Do your research because there are plenty of coaches out there. I’m not plugging my business but more just coaching in general. I do feel that the abundance of coaches out there now has made a bit of a mockery out of endurance coaching, however there are still quite a few really good coaches underneath the heaps of “I read a manual and passed a bureaucratic certification” coaches.

A Training Camp: A valuable camp should do more than just take you away from work and family to train for a week. It should allow you to learn about yourself and take away memories and friends for years to come.

Have a great Holiday Season!



Dec 21st Challenge

Sorry for the late post today for all those morning people doing the challenge. To make up for it, I'll go a bit easier today:

3 supersets X 15 reps of:

Reverse Lunge w/ Arm Curl Combo
Bent Over One Leg Balance Rows



Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dec 20th Challenge

4 giant sets of:

Shovel Snow
Push-ups (20 reps)
Double Crunches (25 reps)



Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dec 19th Challenge

We're supposed to get the "snow storm of the decade" according to the local meteorologists, which means we'll probably only end up getting a few inches. Nonetheless, wanted to get in a solid long run this weekend so Ken and I went this morning. We've been hitting a lot of hills around Monroe, which there is no shortage of. I have some really cool loops that Ken, Gus and I have been using for our 90 minute to 2 hr long weekend runs. Anyone who wants to join us, just let me know. If the pacing is different, I'll mark the course(s) well. We then go out for some coffee afterwards or end up at my house for coffee. It sucks to have to drive to run but ask Ken and Gus the benefits of these runs. After taking some downtime post Hawaii, then starting back up my running, I haven't been running well - until this past week. I've just felt sluggish and not smooth whatsoever, as though I had taken off way more time than I did. This week though, it kicked in. I have some athletes experiencing this sluggishness as well right now - it's very common after taking downtime. As I prescribed to them, be patient, shut out the emotions and just get the training done. It'll click sooner or later. I did a tempo effort this week on the treadmill that went great and felt smooth and then today on the long run, it felt solid. Patience and persistence.

Speaking of Hawaii, it's on today at 4:30pm on NBC!

Get your challenge done first though:

5 supersets of:

Squat/shoulder press combo (12-15 reps)
Bench Dips (15 reps)



Friday, December 18, 2009

Dec 18th Challenge

Core Friday:

4 giant sets X 20 reps of:

Double Crunches

Have at it.



Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dec 17th Challenge

I've been getting some personal emails asking for more description/information on some of the exercises over the past few days. If I didn't leave a description, that's because I described it in one of the earlier December Challenge posts.

Here's today's session:

Front Lunges/Side Shoulder Raise combo - place one foot on a step or physioball and take a long stride out with the other leg so that your feet are spaced a good distance apart, the rear foot up on the step or physioball. Keep your torso/posture straight, and concentrate on lowering the knee of the rear leg down towards the ground. Just before hitting the ground, pause, then do a side shoulder raise w/ 5 to 10 lb dumbells, then come back up. Do 12 reps and then switch feet position and do 12 reps again. This equals one set. You should feel this a great deal in the quadriceps of the front leg.

Punching - holding 2 to 5 lb dumbells and standing with feet shoulder width apart, punch with one arm out and throw the punch from the hip on that arms side, pulling back with the opposite arm/hip, then punch/do the opposite with the other arm/hip. Punch back and forth for 1 min continuous.

Side/Ski Jumps - place a small box like a shoe box on the floor and stand next to it so that it is parallel with your right foot. Squat down and jump laterally over the box landing with bent knees and the box now parallel and next to the left foot. Immediately spring back over the box, jumping back and forth laterally over the box. Do this for 1 min continuous.

Perform 5 giant sets of the above exercises today!



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dec 16 Challenge

If you have been doing this challenge daily, you should be feeling a bit tired, however, it'll kick in soon and you will definitely feel stronger shortly, so hang in there.

Today, 4 giant sets of:

Ball Push-ups - take a medicine ball, basketball, soccerball, go into a push-up starting position however place one of your hands on the ball instead of the ground. Do six push-ups, then quickly switch the ball to the other hand and do six more. When you get good at these, you can do them by moving laterally and switching the ball on every other push-up.

Bench Jumps - 15 reps

Full sit-ups w/ a twist - yes, good old fashioned full sit-ups. lay on your back w/ feet/heals on the ground and knees slightly bent up off the ground. If your stomach muscles are very strong, fold your arms across your chest or place your hands by each ear with elbows out wide. If you try one and your feet lift off the ground, then keep your arms straight and perpendicular to the floor when starting, pointed towards the ceiling. YOUR FEET ARE NOT ANCHORED UNDER ANYTHING!!! slowly curl up and keep going into a full sit-up and as you come up, twist slightly as though reaching towards the outside ankle of one foot, then return to the starting position and do another twisting to the other side. 10 reps to each side or 20 total.



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dec 15th Challenge

Midway through the month - keep it rolling:

Squat/Shoulder Press Combo (15 reps)

Double Crunches (20 reps)

5 supersets!



Monday, December 14, 2009

Dec 14th Challenge

How'd the weekend go? Let's start the new week out right:

5 supersets X 20 reps of:

Incline Push-ups (elevate the feet up on a step or bench)

Supermans - lie face down on the floor with your arms stretched out in front of you as though you are flying. Using your low back muscles, raise your arms and chest up off the floor and simultaneously your legs. Squeeze your glutes tight as you do this action, then return back to starting position.

Once again, if you aren't ready for 100 push-ups, let alone 100 incline push-ups, in one session, then do what you can but just try. Break it up throughout the day as well.



Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dec 13th Challenge

Sundays are long run days for myself. Ken and Gus joined me this morning for a very cold yet great long run. I planned out a very, very hilly course because in December, it's about building base and strength. In addition to the long run, here is the days challenge:

Ball Roll Outs - kneel down in front of a physioball. place your hands in a prayer position and low on the ball that is front of you. Then, slowly roll the ball out by extending from your hips and torso until your body is straight and your arms are straight and out in front of you with your upper arms resting on the ball. Remember those old wheels that jack lalane used and would roll out then return back? Mimic this but with the physioball. Keep your knees on the floor. If you are doing this right, you will really feel it in your abdominals and your low back even. Just try it - even if you are doing it all wrong, you will still be doing something that I'm sure you'll benefit from.

One Leg Roman Dead Lift - standing straight and holding dumbells in each hand, bend at the waist while simultaneously lifting one leg, keeping it straight at the knee, and lower the dumbells in front of you as though you are lowering them with straight arms to the floor. Stop when your leg behind and your torso are parallel to the floor. You are balancing on one leg. Then return slowly to the starting position, then do the same exact movement again but lift the other leg this time. This equals one rep.

Perform 4 sets X 15 reps of each exercise.

Yes, I know I need to get some pictures of these exercises posted.



Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dec 12th Challenge

Here's the deal:

Four giant sets (all three exercises back to back to back) of:

Walking Lunges w/ Snatch (12 reps per leg, use 5 to 15 lb dumbells)
Bench Jumps (15 reps)
Curl/shoulder Press Combo (12 reps)

I love this session!



Friday, December 11, 2009

Dec 11th Challenge

Here's the plan today:

Four supersets X 10 reps of version two of plank rows and 20 reps of ab toe touches:

version two of plank rows: place two dumbells (10 to 25 lbs each) just slightly wider than shoulder width apart on the ground. Grab them and put yourself in the upper push-up position, so that your elbows are locked out, your body is straight, and your toes are touching the ground, but that's it besides your hands holding the dumbells and supporting your weight. Then, slowly pull the right dumbell upwards towards your torso in a rowing action. keep your balance! then return the right hand/dumbell back to the ground and do the other arm. This is 10 reps per arm. This one is tough but give it your best shot.

ab toe touches: see an earlier post for the description.



Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dec 10th Challenge

We had some snow dumped on us early yesterday here in Monroe, CT. The roads were slick making the morning commute that much more interesting. As i drove down rt 59 into Easton, I could see up ahead a small Honda sideways in the road, the front wheels half buried in a snow bank and spinning away. There were twelve cars in front of me and I watched all twelve just swerve right around and carry on with their own day. As I swerved around and drove by, I couldn't help but think about how selfish and self absorbed our society has become. Ok, I actually did stop to help out. As I approached the car, a young woman was sitting in the drivers seat talking on her blue tooth with big eyes welled up with tears. I don't know if the tears were from being stuck and feeling helpless or from being scared of this lunatic still wearing shorts approaching her. It didn't take long to unstick her car and we were both on our ways continuing with our days. I don't bring up this situation to point out the fact that I stopped to help. I was really just surprised that none of the twelve cars even slowed down to ask if this woman could use any assistance. My first client said "are you really that surprised?". Have we become such a society that we not only don't stop to help out someone in need but we also don't expect anyone to help us out if we so happen to be in need?

Today, here's the plan:

three supersets X 20 reps per exercise of Woodchoppers and Bench Jumps.

For the bench jumps, use a bench or a step that is about 1.5 to 2 ft off the ground. If you are very fit and have been doing quite a bit of strength training, use a higher bench. Stand in front of the bench with feet shoulder width apart and squat down low as though you are a spring loading. Then, jump up as high as you can and land on the bench. STEP down from the bench, don't jump, and repeat this 19 more times.



Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Dec 9th Challenge

Besides shoveling snow:

Five supersets X 20 reps of double crunches and 10 reps of push-ups. Basic today but get it done.



Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Dec 8th challenge

Today, do 5 sets X 15 reps per leg of Step-ups w/ Front Shoulder Raise Combo (on a bench or two foot high step, place one foot on the bench or step and leave it there and go up and down stepping up with that same foot, simultaneously raising light dumbells straight forward until about eye level and lowering as you lower yourself off the bench. After 15 reps, switch leg positions and repeat w/ other leg. Do these either all at once w/ a 1 min rest in between sets or break them up throughout the day, just get em done.



Monday, December 07, 2009

Dec 7th - Monday Blues Buster

First, check out NBC's Hawaii IM coverage trailer on my home page ( ).

Yesterdays run first thing in the morning was beautiful. There wasn't any wind, the sun was out, and the trees were covered in white. Kenny and I did a hilly 1 hr 45 min. As if the hills on the course weren't enough, I stopped us at a steep one at the 75 minute mark of the run to do 10 bounding hill repeats.

Today's exercises:

5 supersets X 10 to 15 reps of:

Side Lunges - standing, go into a lunge, however, lunge towards one side as though lunging to catch a pass or hit a tennis ball that's coming a few feet to the side of you. Bend the back knee and keep the torso straight. Return to the starting, standing position, then lunge out to the other side. This exercise works your lower extremities and places emphasis on the abductors and core. If it's easy for you, hold dumbells in each hand or a round barbell plate with both hands against your stomach/chest.


There you have it. Do a set of the side lunges (lunge to the right, return to center, lunge to the left, return to center, that's one rep), then go right into a set of the push-ups. This equals one superset. You can rest a bit in between each superset, or you can even break this up and do sets throughout the day. just get it done!



Sunday, December 06, 2009

Dec 6th - Sunday's Challenge

Here in CT, we received our first dusting of snow overnight. Thursday, it was in the 60's and I ran in shorts and a t-shirt. I'm about to head out for my Sunday morning run now and it's 30 degrees. I'm still wearing shorts however, damn it!

Is anyone sore from any of the exercises? OK, here's today's plan:

4 supersets X 12-15 reps per exercise of:

Plank Rows - place one hand on the edge of a bench, keep that arm straight, and keep your body very straight in a plank position with your feet close together, so that the one arm with the hand on the bench is supporting your weight. With the free arm/hand, grab a dumbbell and do the rows, pulling the weight towards your belt line and and focusing on getting the elbow back. picture trying to start a chainsaw. Finish 12-15 reps, then switch arms and do the other side.

Curl/Shoulder Press Combo - seated either on a bench or, even better, on a physioball, holding a dumbell in each hand, perform a curl by using the biceps to flex the elbow and bring the weights from the lower position up towards your shoulders. When the weight is near the shoulders, go right into an overhead shoulder press, rotating your arms simultaneously so that your palms/fingers are facing out, away from you at the top. Lower the weight slowly back to the starting position, reversing exactly what you just did.

Try to get outside today. If you don't run, then go for a walk.



Saturday, December 05, 2009

Dec 5th Challenge

Hopefully some of you are sticking with these exercises each day. If you are currently doing a strength routine, add them in, it can only help. If you are training for swimming, cycling, running, ... and concerned that these exercises may interfere with the training you already have scheduled that day, quit being lazy and just do it. It's December, there shouldn't be any key races coming up soon so work on that strength and train your limiters. If you haven't been doing any training, well these exercises are the perfect way to get your ass in gear.

Today, you have three sets of Walking Lunges/Snatch Combo:

Walking lunges/snatch combo - step down into a lunge while simultaneously lifting dumbbells w/ straight arms, forward and overhead, so that when in lower lunge position and rear knee almost touching the ground, your arms are raised directly overhead. Then return to the starting position and step forward w/ the opposite leg, while again performing the overhead snatch. Return to starting position and this equals one rep.

Use 2 lb to 15 lb dumbells depending on your strength and present conditioning. If you don't have any dumbells, then use anything that weighs a little, like water bottles, bricks, ...

Perform 3 sets of these today by 12-15 reps.

On another note, Lisa and I and some other friends just finished up my three day juice cleanse. I designed this to have the same purpose as my two week cleanse, which is to cleanse out your system, kick start your metabolism and make you much more aware of your present nutrition habits, be they good or bad. This is the second time that we have done this cleanse and I can honestly say that this three day juice cleanse is just as (if not more) effective as my two week cleanse diet! In January, those that work with me, you know that it will be cleanse time. If you have a juicer, you may want to give this new cleanse a go. A blender doesn't work, you need a juicer. If you don't have one, it may make a nice holiday gift. Anyone reading this can contact me if you want more information on this three day juice cleanse and want to give it a go.



Thursday, December 03, 2009

Dec 4th - Core Friday

Before kick starting the weekend by pumping in a few beers, get the following done first:

5 supersets of Planks X 1 min and Double Crunches X 20 reps.

Planks = lieing face down on the floor, prop yourself up onto your elbows/forearms as though riding in the aerobars. Keep your feet close together and your body/torso as straight as possible. Most either have their ass too high or sag towards the floor so look in the mirror and perfect the plank. Hold steady for 1 minute. If this is easy, keep one leg straight and one inch off the ground while doing these.

Double Crunches = do a basic crunch with hands behind your head, however simultaneously use your psoas/hip flexors to raise your knees/legs up and in towards your elbows, contracting your stomach muscles firmly, then slowly lower back to the starting position.

Superset = one exercise done for the desired reps, then with no rest go right into a second exercise for desired reps, then rest. In this case, it will be planks for 1 min, followed immediately by 20 reps of slow double crunches, then rest 1 minute before doing superset number 2.

Again, you can do these all at once or break it up throughout the day. Get it done!



Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Dec 3rd Challenge

Did you do your push-ups???

OK, today, the plan is to do 5 sets of 20 squat/shoulder press combos. Again, you can do all 5 sets at one time, resting one minute between sets, or you can break it up and do a set here and there throughout the day. Just get it done.

Here's how to do a squat/shoulder press combo: grab some dumbbells and stand w/ your feet about shoulder width apart. Hold the dumbbells up by your shoulders with palms facing in towards you. Squat down slowly as though you are sitting back onto a small, low bench. Get as low as you can but don't let your knees come out over your toes. Then, in that low squat position, come up quickly as though you are about to jump up in the air, while simultaneously pressing the dumbbells up over your head and rotating your arms/wrists so that at the top stretched out position, your palms will be facing out away from you.

This is one of my favorite all around exercises.

Have fun!



Dec 2nd Challenge

Today, the plan is to do 100 push-ups. I don't care whether you do them all at once, or do 20 sets of 5 throughout the day. Just get in 100 push-ups today. If you can't do a regular push-up, then you can do Gus push-ups with your knees on the ground or use a physioball and put it under your thighs. Is this ambitious for some? Sure, but don't let that stop you. Have at it!



Tuesday, December 01, 2009

December Challenge

I hope that everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. Today, being December 1st, I want to throw out a challenge to all who may be reading this, even if it's just you two, Baker and Molson. My challenge is to try and exercise every day in December, leaving no zeros in the training log. I will be partaking in this challenge and will also post up a different strength, core, and/or cardio session daily that I will be doing and that again, I challenge you to do along with me. In fact, chances are that if you are reading this, you have been sitting at your computer for awhile. I know this because most will view the shit I spew here when they are truly bored and have already surfed for awhile at the higher priority sights, which for Baker and Molson is probably porn. So step away from the computer right now and do 20 push-ups. If you cant do 20 push-ups in a row, then your goal for December is going to be to work on your upper body strength.

Today, I will be running easy for 1 hr, but in addition I will do the following and urge you to do this strength/core session as well:

Perform 3 sets X 20 repetitions of:

walking lunges w/ snatch combo (holding dumbbells in each hand, step down into a lunge while simultaneously raising the dumbbells forward and all the way up over your head. When you step up and forward from the lower lunge position, lower the weights back to your sides, then step forward with the other leg, raising the dumbbells up over your head at the same time. Return to standing/starting position and this equals one rep.

Double Crunches - lay flat on back with feet on the ground and knees up and hands behind your head, perform a slow crunch while at the same time raising your knees up and towards your elbows.

Hope a few of you take on this challenge. Lisa, Jen and I are also back on the three day juice cleanse.



Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Big Rocks and I had a great trip to Arizona. Well, I cant speak for him, but he seemed to enjoy the time. Each day, weather wise, was a carbon copy; sunny and in the low 70’s. Weather doesn’t get much better. They just need some water in Arizona. And not water like the Tempe Town Lake where they swam for the IM. First, this lake looks more like a river. Next, it looks more murky than a mud puddle which has to correlate with pollution, right? There is a beautiful running path around the lake though and I took advantage of this and ran each day for an hour to 90 minutes. Right next to Arizona State University's Stadium is a huge piece of dirt called “A” mountain or “A” hill – it looks more like, well as I initially mentioned, a big piece of dirt. Theres a trail that goes up this and I ran it each day. It’s short but a son of a bitch. I’m guessing the gradient is maybe 20%. There is a great 360 degree view of the city and surrounding area from the top. On Saturday, the day before the IM, I was running bounding hill repeats up a short section of this hill when a guy walking up stops me to ask if I’m racing the next day, to which I said “yup. Gotta cram in one more last minute session”. Saturday afternoon, Big Rocks and I went out to Scottsdale and hiked up Camelback Mountain which is a short (1.5 miles) hike to the peak, yet very steep and technical. Amazing views at the top of this as well.

Race day is always busy, whether you are racing or spectating. We walked down to catch the swim start and I ran into some familiar faces who were also there spectating. This venue is ideal for a spectator as you can walk along the river, I mean lake, watching the swim and can actually see people you know swimming. You also get a great birdseye view from above the overpasses as the athletes swim under you. I was pointing out to my father the diversity in swim strokes amongst the front four guys. The lead swimmer was super-efficient, with a nice long, powerful stroke, while the swimmer on his toes was just an engine, like a wind-up toy, taking three strokes for every two of the front guy. Both were getting the job done quickly. We met some guy who I guess is a pro and has been first swimmer out of the water at a bunch of IM’s and made sure to tell us this plenty of times. He seemed to know all the pro athletes racing and also not racing and according to him he also taught them all.

I then headed out for a run and ran 30 minutes out onto the bike course and turned around to run the 30 minutes back. As I ran back, cyclists zooming at me heading out on the first of the three loop bike course, I witnessed the pros come by first in a nice tight little group. Jordan Rapp and TJ Tollakson shortly pulled away, however the rest of this group I'd guess liked staying as a group. Jordan and TJ were on their own for the majority of the bike – they really earned their one two finish. Next came the pro women who were together but spaced out very legit riding legally. Then the front age groupers. I’d guess these were the swimmers who were in under one hour. They were spread out quite a bit and getting into their rhythm. Then, the masses came. I’d say the swimmers who did between 1 hr and 1 hr and 20 minutes – yes, that long a time gap. This is where the majority came out and it seemed like one long two or three abreast train on the way out. I think this Arizona course is actually more flat than IM Florida. There wasn't much wind making for fast bike times. I guess there was a bit of a headwind one way, however, it didn't seem bad. This is a course where it pays to pay extremely close attention to the aerodynamics of your bike set-up and position. Sure, it does for all courses, but many courses are more of a balance between power output and aerodynamics and you cannot go extremely deep with wheel selection because of wind gusts and cross winds. Not so here.

Big Rocks and I got some frozen yogurt - the frozen yogurt places out here are all self serve! Brilliant! Then we went out onto the run course ad hung out on the backside of the loop and cheered on the athletes. All my athletes were running and looked great actually. It was very cool to see - I'm extremely proud of them. Many did prs and all finished and finished well. I think that because of the mid 70's temps, many may have underestimated the amount of salt that they needed to take in in general out there. Winner Jordan Rapp took in close to 2000 mgs per hour! Jordan also had a pigeon toed running style and didn't look like he was running fast, yet knocked off a 2:55 marathon. Very well done on his behalf.

Spectating an IM event never fails to provide motvation. As I watched everyone out there driving themselves towards the finishline, I thought with excitement about some new coaching ideas and about the 2010 season, and about the fact that without a goal out there, we are just status quo. Try to convince yourself otherwise, but justifying not setting goals is playing it safe and staying comfortable which gets us no where, thus defining status quo. Congratulations to everyone who competed in IM Arizona and any race this year and especially my athletes and friends who raced. Keep up the great work! By the way, I picked up "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy at the airport on the way out - man what an intense read, and great book! The movie is coming out this weekend for those who don't want to read it, but I highly recommend the book.



Friday, November 20, 2009

In Tempe

I am presently in Tempe as the title of this here blog already states. Arizona has some great Mexican food, so the first thing I like to do when I arrize in AZ is go to my favorite Mexican food joint, Chilis. Truly authentic!

The weather here is ideal; in the 50's early in the morning warming up to low 70's during the day. It's very sunny and very dry. It's also very flat here - probably flatter than IMF!

I did a great run this morning around Town lake which looks more like a river. For those who get nervous in open water, this is the race for you. The swim is cold, but it's also very calm water and if you get nervous, you swim 10 meters to the side and you are on shore. Big Rocks is here with me and also got in a run. We also got in a nice strength session this afternoon, so decent training day here.

I wasn't really looking forward to coming out here. It's been a busy year, and although back in September when we planned this it seemed like a fun idea, the last thing I wanted to do yesterday was get on a plane. I realize today though that you don't get too many opportunities to spend quality time like this with your parents as an adult. To get this time is a gift.

Tomorrow, I am meeting with all my athletes racing here in the morning for a last minute race pep talk and to review race strategies. I'm looking forward to watching the race Sunday. Yes, I'm actually looking forward to spectating. I did my big race recently and so I'm content on the race front. At the same time, spectating will inject some motivation to kick up my own training over the next month.



Wednesday, November 18, 2009

2010 EH Camps

Hi All,

I know many of you are busy planning your 2010 already. Here is some information on the camps I have planned that you won’t want to miss:

February 5-7th; The Cleveland Winterfest Camp

I’m teaming up once again with Angela Forster for this fun filled, jam packed weekend. Yes, it’s Cleveland, and it’s cold and you’ll be amazed what we get done!
Go to for more info.

February 27th – March 5th; Tucson Winter Base Camp

There are only a few spots left! If we haven’t received your deposit, your spots still open. This camp will inject the base and motivation you need to get you through the rest of the winter and on the starting line of your first race primed.

May 13-16th; Connecticut Camp

This will be the 11th year of this amazing, all inclusive camp. Of all the camps offered, this one is still one of the favorites for most and tough to beat in regards to not only the amazing training and atmosphere, but also the fun surroundings and great food.

June (exact dates tba); Lake Placid Camp

Of course, if you are training for the Lake Placid IM, this camp is a must. However, this camp will also set you up for any summertime or early fall event. Even if you don’t have a specific event planned, this is such a great place to train that you don’t want to miss it!

July 11-18th; France Alps Camp!!!

Two years ago, I went to France and trained while the Tour De France was taking place. It was one of the most memorable experiences I have had to date and I’m extremely excited to have the opportunity to not only do this again, but share it with a small group. I am teaming up with Greg Pelican and Bethel Bike shop to offer this amazing experience – one that we are opening up to athletes and their spouses/significant others as well. We will have sight seeing trips arranged while the athletes are out training. Plus, we will get to see a few stages of the Tour! We will be staying at the all inclusive Chalet Merlot which sits nestled in the French Alps.

I will also be conducting two Strength Clinics, one next month on a Saturday in December, and one on a Saturday in January. These will be, like last year, at my house. I have a new strength routine out designed for endurance athletes and it is a real ass kicker. We will follow up the clinic with an easy trail run.

Anyone interested in any of these camps and/or clinics, please contact me at or check out in the next few weeks for fully updated information on all of these experiences.



Monday, November 16, 2009

Fair race?!

Clearwater this year. Looks like the time trial start broke up the drafting. I know that there are some very strong guys in their 60's but a 61 year old rode 2:08 there (please!).

Does anyone still really want to do this race? And it's supposed to be a world championship. Move the venue.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Back In The Saddle

It's been four weeks since Hawaii. Four weeks that flew by incredibly fast! In regards to training, I've done very little. OK, I can actually lay it out quite simply exactly what I have done; two easy runs, three fun mountain bike sessions and seven strength training sessions. That's it though. My plan has been to wake up and see if i felt like doing anything. If I did feel like moving a bit, I would limit it to only one session and keep it low key. Muscularly, I recovered fairly quickly from Hawaii. However, i definitely felt "off" for a good three and a half weeks since that race. Waking up in the am has been a bit more challenging than it typically is, and systematically i just felt a bit f'd up as though I'm slightly hungover yet didn't get to enjoy the fun of the previous evening that may lead to a slight hangover.

Today it was sunny and in the 60's and just beautiful out, and the official kick off of some more regimented training. Nothing too intense, but back on a routine. I got out and ran the trails today for an hour, and felt a bit sluggish but better than I anticipated. It felt great to be out there and great to be back in a routine and that's exactly what I wanted coming off of this off season - I wanted to be out there enjoying it and feeling ready to go.



Saturday, November 07, 2009

Perfect Fall Day

Today was a perfect Autumn day in CT. Sunny and in the 50's and just great to be outdoors. I started the day with some strength training - I developed a new strength routine that's just kicking my ass. My son was at a sleep over and Lisa and Kate went to go pick him up, so I jumped at the opportunity and headed out on my mountain bike. I rode a mix of rail trail and single track and had to remind myself often on the single track that I have a family and my own business that I need to report to and that my technical skills aren't nearly as good as I think they are. Nonetheless, it was a blast. I lost track of the time - 90 minutes went by so quickly that I had to time trial home in order to make my daughters soccer game. We then hightailed it down to New Caanan for my sons game. Man, I'm amazed at how much the parents vocally get into these games! I walked over towards Ryan's bench to meet him after the game and found him choked up. He's an emotional kid and I asked "what's wrong bud, is everything ok?" He answered with "yeah, I'm just happy." as he tried his best to hold back the tears. He had a great game and also scored both goals, the latter tieing it up late in the game. It was a memorable moment. Now I'm relaxing, watching Braveheart. My daughter is at a sleepover but my son has two of his friends here so it won't be that relaxing. A great day though!



Wednesday, November 04, 2009


I was contacted recently by an acquaintance who wanted to tap my brain about becoming a tri coach. I asked him the first question I always ask someone wanting to become a tri coach; "Why?" I think that the thought of being a tri coach sounds much more romantic than actually being a tri coach. For one thing, it's hard to make a good living being just a tri coach. I always considered my endurance coaching business as a hobby rather than a career. Don't take this as meaning I'm not serious about it. On the contrary. I love coaching. However, my primary income comes from my other business situations.

The next question I ask is "What background do you have that would make you a good coach?" I ask this one because it seems like everyone that gets themselves in somewhat decent shape and has a few decent results takes on coaching. As I mentioned above, I take coaching very seriously. It's not rocket science but guess who gets the finger pointed at them when a race goes wrong? I feel that being a solid athlete has little to do with being a great coach, or even a good one. The first thing I look at in others that coach is how well they read people. This is most important. Next, I look at their education. Did they go to school for exercise science, human performance, or exercise physiology? Finally, how up to date are they on current training platforms and methods, how well do they know old training platforms and methods, and how flexible are they? In regards to certifications, I feel that the triathlon coaching certifications are more bureaucratic bullshit than anything. I apologize if I sound a bit bitter about the abundance of coaches out there at the moment. I have just spent a lot of time becoming educated to coach and those that just jump on board with no education or experience besides being an athlete themselves diminishes the position. It's hard to watch athletes trusting a coach and then getting injured or hurt because the coach doesn't really know what the hell they are doing or just uses a generic plan that they themselves follow(ed). On the opposite end though, there are also some really great endurance coaches out there at the moment and a lot of great ones to choose from.

One of the things that I discussed with this person though is that if they do pursue coaching, make sure that they work with athletes they enjoy and want to work with. Interview your athletes as much as they interview you. Look for signs of loyalty, and personalities and morals that you appreciate in others. I have been coaching since the early 90's and have worked with all different types of athletes, both ability wise and personality wise. The group that I am currently working with are all terrific people. Well, all except Gus. Gus and Brennan. And maybe Molson. But the rest; the rest are amazing people and good friends. Well maybe not Kenny. Or Annmarie. Or Scooter. Or Jeff...



Friday, October 30, 2009


* A wise older friend recently asked me what the opposite of pleasure was. I quickly responded with "pain", which seemed obvious. He said the answer is actually "comfort".

* I still don't know who I'm cheering for in this World Series. My natural reaction to each game has been different. I hate the lame approach of "I just want to see a good series".

* Why are so many triathletes afraid to take an offseason or some downtime? Are they scared of losing all their fitness gains or is it more a vanity thing in that they feel they will get fat and out of shape in just a few weeks?

* I made it through last night (Halloween) without having a single piece of candy. The juice cleanse that I put Lisa and I through accounted for this. The best thing about this cleanse is coming out of it feeling great and being much more aware of your food choices.

* This is a fun time of year to get a bit more involved in strength training. For those of you that I work with, I have a very progressive, effective new functional strength training plan I developed that you will soon enough become acquainted with.

* There's no football on today which is a shame. Except I'm anxious to see Favre return to GB.

* Tuesday night MTB/cross bike rail trail rides begin in two weeks! For those interested, email me. They are easy, aerobic effort on non-technical trail for the most part. Lights required.

* We are preparing for the Plunge in January. If anyone has a really worthwhile cause, please contact me asap.

* Big Rocks sent me the following quote just before Hawaii: "The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that our aim is too low and we reach it."-Michelangelo



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Confession; I'm on the juice.

Just purchased this sucker:

This thing is awesome! It'll juice anything I think. I haven't tried a rock yet, or my cell phone, but I have no doubt it would turn them both into a drinkable liquid.

Since Hawaii, I've let my nutrition slip. There's nothing wrong with doing this for awhile and I always know when it's time to pull in the reigns. Besides the overconsumption of sugar making me crave more sugar (damn that candycorn), what really pushed both Lisa and I over was a bit of overhydration at our Halloween party Saturday night. So I've put us both on a three day juice cleanse and I've been mixing up some great potions. We are both in day two and both notice an unbelievable difference already, in regards to how we feel. In fact, I think this cleanse may be even more effective than my two week cleanse diet. The great thing is the effectiveness of it in three days however, if you've been really bad for awhile and need some drastic changes, I'd probably recommend this for 5 to 7 days. It takes a bit of time to prepare the cocktails, but I don't really mind it. I've been making them in two day batches for the three of us (Lisa recruited her friend Jenny as well) and keeping the juices in containers in the fridge. We haven't really been that hungry, however, Monday and Tuesday are really busy days for us which means no time to obsess about food.

My energy is coming back although I still have a general feeling of lethargy and haven't done much at all in terms of training since Hawaii. I ran once and began some strength training, but that's it. I am mentally ready to go again, however, I want to make sure I'm ready physically to do some easy training and don't want to force anything. I'm realizing a bit more each day now just how much this damn race took out of me. I'm building up my mountain bike though and hopefully we'll have some nice weather this weekend so I can hit the trails.

Otherwise, I've been busy prepping the camps schedule for 2010. I have an exciting new one that I'm planning for early July - I'll announce more information on this one soon but let's just say that it will be an amazing, maybe once in a lifetime opportunity for many. The late February early March Tucson camp already has seven athletes signed up!



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Some post race thoughts - then done with this!

The day after the race, Lisa and I went on a great snorkeling trip to Captain Cook's cove, where I almost became a nice snack for a huge moray eel. The woman who took our cash was asking about the IM. She was on the run course as a volunteer and said to me "That can't be a good thing for you?". I replied with "That depends. No, it's not healthy, but many of us do things, have habits, that aren't necessarily healthy yet make us feel good."

Racing an IM is not a healthy thing. The training is not healthy. It's out of balance. Don't confuse being healthy with being fit. You can continue to become more and more fit, yet go past the point where your healthy. I can tell that what we put ourselves through out there when digging really deep for that long, it can't be good. I often think of the repercussions I will pay later on in my life for the damage I am doing now. I wonder if the body can be drained that low and bounce back to it's normal healthy level? Perhaps there is something on a cellular level that doesn't return back to normal. So then why do it? Come on, we all do this not to be healthy but out of mental fulfillment. Our "habit" is an addictive one that makes us feel good (at least that should be the case). The abuse is different and the mental outcome and fulfillment is different than other addicts but we are addicts none the less.

I've been thinking a lot about my eight races on the big island, and maybe it's because this recent one is so fresh, yet I believe this was my best race ever there. It was the hardest one, conditions wise. In 2004, the winds were worse but it wasn't nearly as hot. I was slower in 2004 but not necessarily because of the conditions. 1997 was the most similar to this year in terms of conditions - challenging winds on the bike BUT more importantly, extreme heat and humidity. Heat and humidity effect me much more severely than wind, hills, cold, ... Bigger endurance athletes don't do as well in the heat having more surface area and muscle tissue to cool, making the metabolic demands that much more challenging.

My training for this event consisted of two swims per week, three to four rides per week, three to four runs per week, and one strength training session per week. Not a lot of volume compared to what I have done in the past and compared to what most IM triathletes do. In the range of 14 to 18 hours per week. I'm a firm believer in cumulative base. I have been racing IM's since 96' and have established a really solid base over these years, so my training this time around was more pace specific and getting in key sessions each week. I cut out a lot of the "junk training" or filler that I used to do more so out of not having the necessary time because of other priorities. In doing so, I felt more fresh for my key sessions and had a great build. I caught a head cold with less than two weeks to go from the race and actually carried it into the race. I had a lot of congestion on race day and the days proceeding the race. This head cold, although timing wise not great, was the only real set back in my build.

My legs felt great on race day and thank god for the power meter which kept me in control. I gave up 15 to 20 minutes on the bike compared to how I would have ridden had there been normal conditions. I was hoping that this would allow me to run in the low 3's, in which I didn't, however, I know that had I ridden that 15 to 20minutes harder, I would have been at least 30 minutes slower than the marathon I did run.

In this race, I realized that after competing for a long time, the pursuit of time becomes more irrelevant. Trust me in that I am still just as competitive and still want to go as fast as possible. However, I wonder twenty years from now how much more important a 9:15 would be to me over a 9:45? I just wonder if it will even matter. But I do know that testing my will, exposing my vulnerabilities and facing them head on - these are the things that enrich us. It's in these experiences that we create long lasting memories. I know that by testing my will, I will learn just how fast I can go anyways. This Hawaii, I did the best I could on that day, and I relish in that fact alone.

Hawaii is an amazing trip. It's not just about the race for me. This is an opportunity for Lisa and I to get away and we love this island. We had an amazing time, but Lisa knows that her and I can have an amazing time anywhere. The fact that we are in Hawaii is just a bonus. The race is unreal though, and the amount of energy surrounding it cant be described. The days following the race were spent mostly relaxing, and I thought about when I'd be back here toeing the line once again. I'm not on the every year plan anymore and believe me, I am extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to race here so often. I don't take for granted by any means the fact that it's truly and honour to race in Hawaii. I am content however, and life gets more and more busy.

I know that I am on the road to recovery though because I'm beginning to plan some goals for next season. And I also heard that Lance is planning to race Hawaii in 2011. I do want to take my kids out there to see me race at least one time...

Thanks to my sponsors - I appreciate loyalty and i will continue to try and represent these companies to the best of my abilities.

Thank you everyone, for reading this "random jibberish", and for your support, and really nice comments.



Saturday, October 17, 2009

Kona Report - The Run

Here's where it get's interesting!

T2 was just as hectic as T1. There were athletes everywhere in the tent, yet the volunteers kept the chaos somewhat organized. The volunteers at this race are amazing. First, there are a ton of them, and next, they are really into it. I sat down on a chair to get my race flats on (I wore a pair of Adidas racing flats designed for the marathon which I loved - typically I advise athletes to wear a light weight trainer in an IM for the extra cushioning for a beat up muscular and skeletal system, however these shoes worked great) and a volunteer slapped a cold towel over my back and neck which just felt great. They had another guy asking if I wanted sunblock while another one helped me bag up my bike gear.

I left the transition with my legs feeling good and settling right into a comfortable pace, yet my core temperature was quite high and I was feeling it. The first mile went by quick though and I soon hit the first aid station where I grabbed water, took a sip and poured the rest over my head, grabbed a sip of coke and some cold sponges and headed on towards the next aid station another mile up the road.

The first 10 miles of the run is an out and back along Alii Drive. There are a lot of spectators here cheering you on and as cool as that is, I really dislike this section of the course. The buildings along Alii block any wind from coming through and the air temperatures were now in the high 90's to low 100's. Because it's also so humid, the smells along Alii are really pungent. If you weren't nauseous enough already, this section will put you over the top. I actually prefer being back out on the desolation of the Queen K, but had to wait until mile 11 to get there.

I was only in mile two of the run and with each step, I could feel my body temperature rising more and more. My head felt like it was baking inside my hat. I knew I was in trouble and was doing everything possible to not think about the 24.5 miles I still had left to run. I laughed to myself at the thought that some athletes believe an open marathon is harder than an IM. I began counting, which again, works for me usually. I counted 100 strikes with my left foot, then 100 with my right, then 95 with my left, ... I rolled through aid station two and grabbed the same stuff as the first aid station and this time I also grabbed cups of ice, put some in my mouth and the rest down the front and back of my shorts and top. I was still running at a decent clip, but could already sense that this was going to be short lived as my temperature was now at a point where I felt like I was being boiled for soup in a huge cauldron.

Spectators were standing out on the street in front of thier homes with garden hoses and I was running through everyone offered, weaving back and forth across the road to hit them. I was now seeing the leaders coming back in the other direction and Chris Lieto still had his lead - good for him, although Macca, looking dazed, was closing in fast, and behind him, Alexander and Raelert were running together and looking comfortable.

I hit every aid station, still running, but grabbing everything in site liquid wise. I was losing my appetite which wasn't good and took in more saltstick tabs. I was mostly dumping stuff on me now - water, ice, sponges, more water. The relief from this was very short lived as I'd find myself somewhere in the next mile searching hard for a glimpse of the next aid station, all the while counting to distract my mind.

On the return trip on Alii drive, I was now stopping at the spectators with the hoses and having them fully douse me head to toe, front and back. I saw some of the other CT troops heading out towards the turn around on Alii and gave them some encouragement. First came Mitch West who I had met at the airport on the way out to Kona for the first time. Really nice guy and doing Kona for his first time and doing it well. Next came John Wilson who didn't even hear me, at least I don't think. He looked as bad as I felt but he was still running and moving forward. He's one tough hombre. Next I saw Oakes Ames who never looks as though he is running well but always is. Looks can be deceiving.

At mile eight I no longer knew that trouble was still ahead, it was now here. I was really having difficulty processing the heat and was beginning to get a headache which is a definite sign of dehydration. I hit the rise up Palani Hill at mile ten and began walking. My plan wasn't to walk Palani but I felt I had no other choice. The most spectators on the course are on Palani during the race and they were all yelling at me, positively cheering me on to run. It felt like payback for me doing this at LP as I spectate each year out on harassment hill.

I honestly had thoughts of quitting. I couldn't see myself running another step let alone running 16 more miles. I hate to dramatize things but when you reach this point in an IM, it is dramatic, at least to me. Sure I easily realize there are way more important things in life, yet when you are at such a low spot physically and mentally in an IM, your emotions are amped. I was in one of the lowest, darkest places I've been in before and everything I had, just about, was telling me to throw in the towel.

Then I saw Lisa near the top of Palani as I made the turn onto the Queen K. I looked at her and could see her serious concern and I said "Lis, I'm in bad shape." Yet I was still walking forward. She was really positive and encouraging as she relayed all the "maybes" at me. "Maybe you'll come around in a mile or so." "Maybe the clouds over the mountain will come down." "Maybe once you walk for a bit you'll feel better." Then she said "You can come around, there's still a lot left" to which I remember responding "that's the problem, there's still a lot left. I cant cool down Lis!" I began thinking about all the support I received going into this race. A small cloud covered the sun for maybe 30 seconds and during those seconds, I told Lisa I'm going to try to run, told her to be prepared to be waiting a long time, but I'd be ok. I then started to run again, and as much as I thought about all the support from friends, family, even strangers that I received emails from, the one thing that kept me in it and moving forward was my kids. I thought about what it would be like to tell them I didn't finish the race, and suddenly, quitting wasn't an option. Not finishing wasn't an option anymore. I didn't care how long it was going to take, I was going to finish.

It still seems so vivid, as though I remember almost every step during the rest of the race. Although sitting here relaxed now while writing this, it's easy to forget just how much I was suffering over the last two hrs of this race. My headache throbbed more with each step and the only thing I wanted was to stop and lay down in a tub of ice water. I ran until mile 13.5 and thought "I'm over 1/2 way done with the run! and at the same time I thought "I still have 1/2 the run left!". I began walking again. shortly thereafter, I felt a friendly tap on my back and turned to see Scott Jones, a good friend from Boulder, run past. He said "Come on Eric, you walk the aid stations, not in between. You know better than that." He was right, I did know better and I needed this friendly kick. I began to run again and bridged the gap up to Scott. We ran from aid station to aid station and walked the stations getting in and on as much coolness as possible. It's much better off to try and cool from the inside out, yet my appetite wasn't there and I didn't want to take much in at all. Scott talked a little bit during these miles, I said nothing. It took every bit of energy I had to just run. We ran down into the energy lab where the temperature was near 113 degrees F! We weren't running fast by any means, but we were still passing quite a few people. I was now out of saltstick tabs since I used more than I thought I would and was now relying on gatorade for electrolytes, a situation I don't really prefer. Scott was clearly feeling better than me and saw a marine coming back the other way at the bottom of the energy lab - this guy was leading the military division. I told Scott (a navy guy) to go after him in which he did. I want to thank Scott if he happens to read this. He saved my race for the most part. Until he came along at mile 13.5, I could have easily been content with walking the remainder of the marathon.

Coming out of the energy lab, I passed pro Mike Lovato who was having a tough day. I said "way to stick it out Mike" and he was very gracious in responding. Here's a guy whose aspirations were to win the race overall. Things went south and instead of bailing like Norman Stadler did (I saw him walking on Alii drive), he respects this race to much and walked on to the finish.

The 10k back to town after coming out of the energy lab was unbelievably painful for me. It took everything I had to run aid station to aid station. You have almost every part of you yelling at you, sweet talking you, saying "just stop running and start walking". I did everything I could to just focus on that one small voice that said "keep running you wuss". It was awfully quite out there. There were a lot of athletes, but everyone was silent. The only thing I heard besides these voices from within was the squishing from my soaked running shoes hitting the pavement. I dug as deep as I have ever dug through this 10K section.

Then, as I hit the 24 mile mark, the pain began to switch to elation. I, at that exact moment, was never so proud of a race effort, and I was overcome at the thought that I managed to get through this race and still do so under 10 hours. I began running faster. Corny as it may sound, but I felt goosebumps - which could have also been the dehydration, but no, I know it was from my sense of achievement. I saw Lisa walking up on the Queen K just at the top of Palani and she looked shocked. She said "oh my god, you are back here already?" My MyAthlete device shorted out in the energy lab for some strange reason and she and Brennan thought I was walking the remaining 8 miles. I just pointed at her and said "get to the finish line, it's time to finish this bitch!". I was flying down Palani as though i was sandbagging the first 24 miles but believe me, it was just from the endorphins off of getting through this amazing event. I saw a guy up the road running with an orange bracelet meaning he was in my age group and took off after him. I sprinted past two more young guys on Alii in the last .5 mile and as much as I savor this part of the race, on this day, I just wanted to finish. I crossed the line in 9:51 and all the endorphins tapped out as I all of sudden felt awful. Lisa and the holders walked me through the finish area chaos where I ran into Trephina Galloway, an Aussie doctor who was working the Med tent earlier in the day and also a friend who has attended a bunch of my camps. She was so kind in that a few days before, I told her I was going to try and find her at the finish to have her give me an IV. She waited at the finish line, maybe not for me, but she was there and brought me into the med tent for an IV and I'm extremely appreciative. Thanks Trephina, and thank god they didn't need my temperature. (the mouth thermometer wasn't working and another doctor wanted my temp and was insistent at first on doing it anally, no joke! I told her I was all of a sudden feeling fine, she caved and just gave me the IV.)

Based on my training, I was aiming for a low 9 hr race. I felt fit enough to knock of a 3:10 marathon. Based on the conditions, I was over 30 minutes slower than what I wanted and did one of my slower IM times, running the marathon in 3:35. Based on the race experience I had, it was my best IM to date. I really realized that an IM is about testing your will, about peeling back the layers so there is nothing for you to hide behind and you are left faced with the raw honesty of finding out who you are and what you are made of. Doing a fast time or a pr is just a bonus. You don't get this experience in shorter races.

I know I've been very lengthy and again, if anyone is still hanging in there reading this, thank you. I intend on writing a post race wrap up mainly because this blog has become my own personal journal. But again, thanks for reading and I hope it wasn't to boring thus far.



Friday, October 16, 2009

Kona Report - the bike

So after speaking to quite a few people about the race, I’m even more content with my swim time. A few of the guys I spoke to were expecting to swim in the mid 50’s based on doing this time at IMLP and IMCDA and they came out in 1:01. I guess that return current did slow things down quite a bit.

I was really excited to be on my bike. I love my bike and I love riding, simple as that. I love the speed, the fact that you can explore and cover lots of ground, I love the tech aspect – the bike is easily my favorite part of the race. When asked what my strength is in triathlon, I usually respond that I’m kind of equal in all three of the disciplines. However, I think if I began at a young age with this sport or any of the disciplines individually, I’d have the most potential physiologically in cycling. This could just be my love for cycling speaking though.

The first eight miles of the bike course, in my opinion, are silly. The course zig-zags through Kailua doing a bizarre figure eight before climbing up Palani Hill and heading north on the Queen K. I much preferred the old course even with the two transition areas. This initial eight miles is actually quite hilly though and doesn’t allow you to get in any rhythm to soon. Funny, most that see the bike course for the first time are amazed by how hilly it actually is. Typically we just hear about the challenge of the weather conditions, forgetting, not discussing, or underestimating that there is over 4000 feet of climbing. I love the course though – the climbs suit my riding style extremely well in that they are the long, gradual constant rollers that I can power through.

Speaking of power, I had a specific plan for this race, and as I mentioned, the goal was to keep the ride effort on the comfortable side so that hopefully I’d be able to run well in these conditions. I set ceilings for my power output on the flats and hills and stuck to them. I certainly don’t think that a power meter is a necessity for IM racing, but man, it sure helps keep me where I need to be. If any of the number geeks are interested in what my specific power plan was or what numbers I averaged, I’ll put it out there.

Back to the race; I left T1 with a bunch of other athletes and some of these guys were taking off as though they were doing a sprint. A friend of mine came by me on the long climb up the kuakini highway at mile four and said “let’s go!” I told him to be patient, we were just getting started. I stuck to my plan and watched a bunch of athletes ride away – this is hard for me to let happen, so I was constantly reminding myself of my plan. I told myself that I’d see most of these guys later on and sure enough, I did.

The heat and humidity began really early on during the bike in comparison with other years. Yet, there was a pesky slight headwind as well once you got past the airport. I was alternating between EFS and water, sipping often and downing about 30 ounces per hour. In addition, I was taking a saltstick capsule every 20 to 30 minutes. I planned on using natural pop tarts on the bike for calories along with the EFS and cliffbars. This worked well in training. However, I couldn't find the natural poptarts in Kona, so I was using regular pop tarts (your physiology needs simple sugars and lots of calories during an IM). Lisa, who I call my coach, told me the day before that they were going to be to dry to eat during the race and she was right. Eating these, it felt like I had a mouthful of dirt. I tossed my pop tarts aside at the next aid station and quickly adjusted to a new plan – get in some coke at each aid station. I typically don’t start with coke so early in the race but why the hell not? It works well for me.

Probably 95% of the field was wearing aero helmets - even the athletes who were going to be out there on race day for 14 or more hours. I still believe this is stupid in Hawaii. You need the vents. A friend of mine who was racing said he wears it not so much for the aerodynamics but more so to keep the sun off his bald dome and neck. I wore my road helmet and was glad I did as I poured lots of water through it throughout the ride. Craig Alexander and Chrissie Wellington (the male and female overall winners) seem to agree with me as they were wearing standard road helmets.

As I climbed towards Hawi, I got a first hand seat of the pro race as the lead riders were coming the other way. Chris Lieto was off the front by maybe 45 seconds on a group of three that included Eneko Llnaos, Faris Al Sultan, and someone else. Then, a further minute back was the main group. These guys were all hammering! The pros start 15 minutes ahead of the age groupers and their plan is to really work the first half of the bike to get out ahead of the winds which typically pick up shortly after 9am. What was amazing was how close Chrissie Wellington was to the lead group of pro men, and how big a gap she had already had on the next women. Speaking of the pro’s beginning at 6:45am, I think this is wrong. This race has grown yet they are still trying to keep the main principals in place. The IM was always about everyone starting together, amateurs and pros and everyone racing the same course and the same conditions. Those 15 minutes makes a huge difference. Not that I am racing against the pros, just more so that it would make there race even more interesting. They began this 15 minute head start because a few of the female pros bitched about the contact during the swim from the amateur men. There were plenty of amateur women swimming near me during the race and didn’t seem to have a problem with the contact – as I mentioned in my swim recap.

I kept a very steady, controlled pace and went through 56 miles in around 2 hrs 23 minutes and I was thinking that I was going to have a sub 5 hr ride easily since the return trip is more downhill than up. Madame Pele had other plans as she shifted the winds soon after I reached the turn around and gave all us amateurs a nice, stiff headwind all the way back to the airport.

I went through Kawaihai on the return trip and was looking for Lisa – seeing her for the few brief seconds I get to during an IM race is really important to me. I don’t really know why other than the fact that she brings out the best in me. The picture above is me yelling to her that I felt great, which I did – the ride felt easy thus far. It really did, yet I could feel the heat and humidity and knew that I needed to stay very controlled. In fact, at about the 70 miles mark, Doug Clark, the guy who won my age group, came by and I had to make a decision; up my pace and go with him or stick to my plan. I stuck to my plan since the wind was also working us quite hard on the return trip and didn’t want to risk blowing up. Kudos to Doug who rode really well and ran even better.The ride from Kawaihai back to the airport had the strongest winds we'd encountered during this race, slowing things significantly. Kona is so strange in that once you got past the airport, this heavy wind all but disappeared.

The last 20 miles of Hawaii are so different, race wise, than the first 92. If you have ridden smart, you begin reeling in a lot of suffering athletes. It’s amazing because some of these guys looked so bad, I remember thinking what the hell were they doing? How could they be this far up in the race and pedaling so poorly now? It’s not like its one or two athletes, it’s a lot! There is a lot of drafting in Hawaii, yet the last 1/3rd of the race is usually quite honest. Everyone around me had salt caked up all over their uniforms. Most think that this means they are getting dehydrated, yet it could just mean that you are taking in a lot of sodium and your body is expelling what it doesn’t need. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you are in a hyponatremic state.

Around mile 100, I wanted off the bike. My legs still felt solid as well as my energy, and even mentally I was fine. My contact points though were beginning to ask for forgiveness. Contact points are the parts on you that touch the parts on your bike. It was mainly my feet and my arms. My ass was fine on the saddle – I wasn’t moving around too much looking for that comfy spot. But the bottom of my feet felt tender, mostly from being soggy with salt water and sweat and from pushing against the pedals. My forearms were tired of being in the aero position – on this course; I don’t leave this position much at all. My aero pads are really comfortable yet again, from sweating so much and pouring water over myself, this contact point gets irritated. Hawaii is a race where you race wet all day. You come out of the water and you never dry off because of the humidity. Then you sweat an excessive amount. On top of that, every five miles on the bike and every mile on the run there is an aid station and I would grab a water bottle each time and pour it through my helmet, squirt my face, empty it down my back and front in an effort to stay cool.

Rolling into T2, I mentally was in a good place. I enjoyed the ride, managed my reserves well and was actually enjoying the day thus far. An IM is more a test of will rather than a race (more on this in a future report). I felt that the test thus far was in displaying patience and racing smart. I hadn't reached any point yet where I felt like I was in a low spot and needed to search for the "whys" and convince my self to move onward. I wasnt even close to this point - yet anyways, I haven't finished my run report yet. In 2004, I got off the bike in T2 and knew in my first few steps running in transition that it was going to be a tough marathon. This go around, was the opposite. I swung my right leg back over my saddle as I rolled the last 20 meters into transition, leaving both my bare feet standing on top of just my left shoe now which was still attached to the pedal. A volunteer awaited my hand off as I hopped off and ran, letting my bike keep rolling right at them. My legs felt solid! Yet I still had a bit of a run left…

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Kona Race Day Report - part I

God, what an experience Hawaii puts you through! Of the many times I've raced here, it feels as though I'm doing it for the first time once again - sort of. There are some memories that become ingrained like the fact that at some point, you are going to be in a really low place and this is when you will learn a ton about what you are made of. I have yet to do a Hawaii IM where I didn't struggle physically and mentally at some point. If someone says that they have raced here and everything went flawless and they felt super the whole time, I'm calling bullshit.

I slept well on the eve of the race. Lisa and I ordered room service, she was out by 7pm, I was out by around 8pm. I slept until 3:45am, waking up without my alarm, anxious to get the day started. Two bagels with peanut butter, a chocolate chip cliff bar, a banana, a glass of oj, and a cup of coffee, and breakfast was in me and I was on my way to the pier.

Check in, body marking and all the pre race protocol went smoothly, they really do an amazing job with the organization of this event. I met Lisa outside of the transition area, and applied about five layers of sunscreen. Seriously. You could feel and see the nervous energy around you. All the competitors had that look in their eyes that was half courageous and half timid. I'm sure I was one of them. It was humid already even though the sun was barely up. Humid to the point where sitting there doing nothing, you are still in a sweat. I thought it may have just been the pre-race nerves, but looking around at the perspiration on those not racing, it was evident that it was going to be a very sticky day.

I had re-evaluated my race day strategy and my new plan was to swim and bike easy, as though I were doing an easy training session. I had been in Kona for five days now trying to acclimate and it just wasn't enough time. i was mentally trying to convince myself all week that the heat wouldn't matter because I was more fit than ever, yet if your gut doesn't buy it... I was more fit than ever but I knew that I wasn't acclimating to the weather like I had in the past. i could just tell - it was similar to how I felt in St. Croix leading up to that race. Besides the exceptionally hot and humid weather and lack of winds that Kona was experiencing, the mild summer in CT certainly played a big part. All the pros and most of the top age groupers had been on the island for two weeks or more to adapt, and all the studies show that it takes a minimal of eight days to really begin to acclimatize to high heat and humidity. I couldn't get out here any earlier and so took a chance that I'd be fine. I wanted to start the run as fresh as possible, considering I had to swim and ride a bit beforehand. So the plan was to enjoy the swim and keep it easy, and set specific wattage ceilings for the bike course.

I downed a flask of ESF liquid shot for another instant 400 calories (I really like this stuff!), then gave Lisa a big hug and she began to well up as I made my way to the swim start. Funny, I hate to overdramatize things yet there is something about race morning of an IM that makes those around you very emotional.

I seeded myself in the front row, very far to the left, or outside line. The swim is a 1.15 mile straight out, swim .1 around some buoys, then 1.15 mile straight return trip. Ok, before describing the swim, first a brief synapses of my swim training for this event. I have often mentioned how I neglect my swimming and don't swim nearly enough. In the past, I'd cram for an IM swim and would try interjecting a lot of intervals into my sparse training. this would leave me flat because I never really established the seasonal base swim fitness to support this, and I'd work harder than I'd prefer to over the 2.4 miles on race day. So this time, I focused on longer, but easier distance. I did quite a few open water swims in LI Sound, and when in the pool, I focused mostly on form, efficiency, and feel for the water while aiming for 4000 yds. I swam twice per week for eight weeks leading into the race. I missed two weeks out because of this cold I contracted, but did swim four days during race week - four nice and easy swims. So now I'm treading water for 15 minutes waiting for the gun to fire as the competitors around me squeeze in closer and closer and inch further and further forward, kicking our legs as we try to stay afloat. I actually grabbed one European guy who was really crowding me and threw him as I scolded him. That bought me a bit more space from the others around me who witnessed this. We were all very anxious and our nerves were on edge making it easy to over react to small things.

Finally, the gun sounded and the mad frenzy of 1800 swimmers crammed into a small space and thrashing forward began. I swam straight forward and even though the plan was to swim easy, I thought I'd take the first 100 strokes fairly hard to see if I could get on some fast feet and maybe get some open water. I then settled in and focused on relaxing. I did swim easy effort wise, although I got the shit beat out of me through just about the whole swim. Everyone is so good at Hawaii and it never thins out. For 2.4 miles, you are constantly getting kicked, punched, swam over and pulled under. It's not that the competitors are doing this intentionally, everyone is kind of fighting for their own space. Yet everyone is also trying to follow someone elses feet and there is a constant fight for this. I do have to say though that the women are worse than the men in terms of fighting for space! They kick harder, scratch and seem to want to swim right on top of you. As much as I discussed my love of swimming at the pier during race week, it's as though you are swimming in a different place on race day and it's really not that enjoyable at all. You no longer are swimming smoothly looking at all the sea life underneath you but instead are thrashing and fighting, trying to keep some form. I do have to say though that effort wise, the swim felt smooth and easy and right on track with my race day plan. I'm a counter to pass the time and stay present, so I count 100 strokes on my right arm, 100 strokes on my left, ... Figuring the math in my head, i guessed it would take around 900 strokes to reach the turnaround and I was dead on track. Coming back was a bit more due to the reverse current. I never felt throughout the swim that I was tired and never thought much about what I still had left for the day - things I have done before in previous IM's and things that aren't productive. I exited the pacific in 1 hr and made my way through T1. There were a ton of athletes who came out between 59 minutes and 1 hr 1 minute making T1 frantic with energy. But, I had one leg down, and only two more to go and thus far, I was relaxed and actually enjoying the day! However, the swim is the easiest and shortest leg there was a lot of day left...

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Well, it's not what I was hoping for time wise, but I'll take it all things considered. I did a 9:51 (was aiming for a 9:20). The heat and humidity just killed me. I swam and biked conservatively since I knew the run was going to be really hot (more so than usual here) and my legs felt good on the run at first but my body temp just kept rising and rising. The air temp reached 113 degrees in the energy lab during the race! At mile 11, I didn't know if I was going to be able to run (I walked up Palani) again. I just never felt like I was acclimating this week and it showed yesterday. The marathon was by far my hardest marathon to date, will and effort wise.

I'll write a full report when I get a chance but I need to try and get some sleep now. Thanks everyone truly, for all your support.



Saturday, October 10, 2009

Kona Report - Day 5

It's the eve of my big race and I just finished having my traditional pre-race dinner of pizza and a glass of red wine through room service with Lisa. That's right, Lisa got in last night and man was it great to see her.

I started the day with an early morning easy run here. I took my camera along and snapped some pictures.

It's quite easy to see why I love Hawaii so much.
This day before run is more important than most may think, at least for me anyway. It's a time where I sort my thoughts, relax, put things in perspective and convince myself that over thinking is wasteless at this point. No sense in over analyzing anymore. The coughs or small aches don't matter. The weather doesn't matter. What I did two minutes ago doesn't matter. Because it's now go time and I came here to participate in this race and that's exactly what I will be doing tomorrow.
I received countless emails and phone calls today - it was really quite special. I almost feel as though this is my first IM ever based on the support I've received. Thank you so much everyone. Everyone who sent me good vibes and nice messages, please no that i received them all and they were extremely appreciated. Jeff M. - great message you left for me. Thanks. Dad, your email was awesome - thank you. I have a lot of great friends behind me.
It's a privilege to be able to participate in this sport, and especially at this event. A privilege I don't take for granted. I plan on making the most of my day tomorrow. One of the overwhelming messages in many of the supportive emails I received today stressed the importance of taking in the experience tomorrow - not just the race. This is something that I needed to hear , because it's funny, I stress this message to my athletes yet personally I get caught up easily in the race. I'll be there to race tomorrow, and I will also be cognisant of taking in the experience.
I had to check my bike in today and grabbed it form the guys at Cannondale (below) before handing it over to T1.

Here's Murry, the ace mechanic, with my bike in the background.
I was thinking about the Tour De France today and how difficult this event is and also how they get three weeks worth of experience. An IM is only one day. It seems like such a daunting event yet think about it, it's just one day. How easy is it to waste a day away? And at the same time, think about what you could possibly accomplish in one day.

OK, Lisa and I will probably watch a mindless movie now and hopefully I'll drift off early. I have a 4am wake up call that begins my one day tomorrow.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Kona Report - Day 4

I signed out of one hotel and checked into the other one today, where i will be spending the rest of my stay. Lisa comes in tonight and we like being out where we are, which is 30 miles from Kailua. It's a beautiful spot though, and I'm finally getting a chance to relax in my room here this afternoon after another busy morning. At the moment, I'm looking out the window at a palm tree that is still as can be. I've never seen this here before - typically, it's being blown towards the ocean from the trade winds coming off of Mauna Kea. It's just bizarre.

Below, you can see Baker floating around at Hapuna Beach. The shot below him is a view from the Queen K from my ride on Tuesday.

Not a bad view, eh? I love palm trees.

Below here, you can see that Molson made the trip out as well. Thanks for the support my man.

I took my camera out with me on my early morning swim today.

After my swim, I did an easy 40 minute ride to test out the Cannondale. Murry from Cannondale was once again the ace mechanic here. This guy is the man. As I brought him my bike yesterday, he had another bike on his stand that he was working on. He said "perfect timing" as he took that bike off the stand and put mine on and began working on it. the bike he took off was Chrissie Wellington. Faris Al Sultan brought his bike by later on for Murry to work on - Faris isn't even sponsored by Cannondale anymore yet he wants no one else but Murry working on his. Kind of cool and lucky to have this guy treating my bike and a peon like me just as important as these top pros. I'm not worthy.
I met up with Desiree Ficker at the MyAthlete booth at 11am where she hung for awhile and signed autographs. She was great and she's a magnet for getting people (funny, both men and women) into the booth. Speaking of MyAthlete, if you get bored on Saturday and want to see where I am on the course, you can track me here:

I'm starting to get excited to race. At this point, I just want it here. I want to race, I want to be out there on Saturday which is good. At the same time, I'd be lying if I said I didn't want this to be over with. I look forward to lying on the beach on Sunday with Lisa.
First though, I have some exercise to do.