Saturday, January 31, 2009

more random nothingness

I guess the point of a blog is to write your opinions or write boring minutia about our all important self. I'll do my part in this post.

  • Yesterday, I stopped at a convenient store in between clients in Greenwich to grab a bottle of water. The guy working the register looked as though he slept in sewage. He grabbed my bottle of water buy the neck/top and scanned it. As I walked to my car in the parking lot, I realized there was no way I could drink this and tossed it.
  • Lisa thinks I'm a bit obsessive compulsive.
  • We went out to Barcelonas last night for dinner, a Spanish restaurant here in CT. This place is consistent, fun, and a great way to eat in my opinion, meaning ordering a bunch of tapas and enjoying tasting. They have a great wine list as well, so if you are in CT or passing through, check it out. I recommend the lobster risotto, the steak pallard, and the spicy pork pinxto (yeah, I botched up the spelling here but you get the picture so calm down spanish majors).
  • I have two friends, Margaret and Greg, who I coach who are turning/turned 50 recently. These two walk the walk and lead by example making them my kind of people. Happy Birthday!
  • I ran this morning long with Gus and Ken. It was cold but sunny, and I chose my favorite non-trails run course here in Monroe that offers up everything; it has three killer hills, the worst which is rt. 111 from the base at rt. 34. Gus hasn't run with us in some time and he hasn't run this course in two years, but he is definitely running well. This was our first time on it in maybe a year. We ran well the whole time, covering the course which used to take Gus 2+ hrs in 1:55. This course also has a nice two+ mile downhill. I used to run it quite a bit two years ago in my base season, and coincidentally, I ran my races quite well that year!
  • Tonight I'm cooking arroz con pollo. The supermarkets were worse today then during Christmas week.
  • I always route for AFC teams but sorry Straz, I just don't know if I could route for the Steelers. I'll be undecided until the kickoff.
  • The best thing about the Superbowl will be the fun party we're going to to watch. Man, I hope the commercials are good at least.



Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Craving some warmth?

Had enough of this yet?

You could be here:

2 spots still left for the Tucson Camp! Go to my homepage ( ) if you are interested.

Friday, January 23, 2009

sympathy for the obese

Since getting home from Cleveland, I've been ridiculously busy. I like it this way though. Usually my evenings are free for family time, however, this week I've been tied up in the evenings with my sons soccer practice and a couple of talks that I gave.

I spoke Wednesday to the Bethel tri club on pre-season training, and specifically, what we should be doing in January, February and March. Megan S. heads up this club and is really doing great things. It seems they keep getting more and more new members. I enjoy giving these talks - I guess I just like running my mouth.

Today, I witnessed an obese person struggle to get inside their car that was parked at a normal parking distance to the car next to it. I have talked to many of my athletic and thin friends who have zero point zero tolerance for obesity in others. I used to be in the same boat, until I had the chance to work with quite a few - assisting them in getting their health, and life in control. I now feel quite bad for most obese people, and if you look around our country a bit, you realize that the obese outweigh (no pun) the healthy or thin.

Sure, many obese are quite lazy, but until you know their background, don't be so quick to judge. When you have grown up with terrible habits that started with your parents and with bad genetics as many of the obese have, it's harder than you think to get the eating under control. I took my kids to Dairy Queen this past summer and witnessed a mother give her two obese sons large Blizzards (have you seen the size of these?!), and while waiting for the DQ staff to make their blizzards, they woofed down two large sugary frozen slurpee type things. This, in my opinion, is child abuse. Then, they have to also deal with the social insecurities that are compounded as they age.

At the same time, I worked as a cardiac technician and witnessed my fair share of obese related tragedies, so I'm certainly not easy on obesity when it comes to training someone. I remember clearly the first time I was called down to the ER for a code situation. A 48 year old woman was suffering a massive heart attack. She came flying in on a gurney, topless and with velcroed compression pants on, an EMT straddling her and applying CPR. I hooked up electrodes to monitor her electrocardiogram and then stood back and watched. Her left ventricle shut down, and was filling rapidly with blood, so the ER doctor forcefully jabbed a metal straw like device through her chest and into the left ventricle to drain it. Then, they gave her a huge shot directly into the heart to get it going again, as blood poured out of the drain, partly into a container, but mostly all over her and the table. Then, she flat lined, and they got out the crash cart. Before I knew it, the doctor says to an attending nurse "what's the time?" as he removed his gloves and stepped away from the obese mess on the table. The nurse began jotting down notes as they removed some jewelry and placed it in a plastic bag to pass on to her immediate family. I stood there devastated. In fact, I remember an ER doctor telling me to get going in removing the electrodes. Anyways, what a shame, and at 48 years old.

I work with people that could toss out most if not all of the medications they are taking to control diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, ... if they'd just commit to losing weight. I figure that mostly athletes are reading this, so be thankful that you have found a venue that keeps you committed and driven towards a healthy lifestyle. Sure, I realize that you work your ass off for your health as do I. It's still not something to take for granted.

Busy weekend ahead, and again, that's the way I like it!



Monday, January 19, 2009


I'm back.

First, most of my athletes are finished with The Cleanse. If you were one of the one's who stuck it out, very well done. It takes will power. I was talking to one of my athletes today - again, this isn't a weight loss plan, that's just a nice added side effect if you have some weight to lose - she lost 9 lbs and feels great and her husband who she sucked into doing The Cleanse with her lost 15 lbs and feels great. Good stuff. I'll be sending out my Part II of The Cleanse to everyone this evening which describes what to do after The Cleanse to keep the benefits going.

This past weekend was my Cleveland Winterfest Camp that I cohost with my great friend Angela Forster. Angela and her husband Scott are the people that people are proud to call their friends.

Two things you can depend on at the Cleveland Winterfest Camp; Shitty weather and great, genuine people. Not the guarded, "you're out to get me", "who the hell are you", "what are you looking at bitch" CT types (which I am one of), but open, friendly, nice people.

I had a 6am flight out of Hartford on Friday meaning a 3:30am wake up call. Across from the Cleveland airport was a new gym owned by one of the camp attendees, Kyle, who was extremely generous in letting us use the place for Sunday. Ange and Trephina grabbed me at the airport and we headed over to the gym to check it out. I changed into some running gear and by 8:45am, I was out running in the -9 degree temperatures in deep snow, checking out a trail course for the Sunday run. Kyle was nice or stupid enough to join me for this run.

After that, we headed back to Ange's house to set up and prepare for the 12pm campers arriving for bike fit and HR testing on the computrainers. The position changes I made to most campers bike set-ups were quite dramatic. Some of the attendees even traveled far to very popular bike shops for their initial set-up and I wonder if these so called experts even take flexibility, core strength, and the specific events the customer is preparing for into account. HR testing is a bastard, although somewhat easier maybe with a bunch of campers cheering you on.

We banged out bike fits and bike tests all afternoon, one after another in Scott and Anges basement. Don't confuse your thought of their basement as unfinished, cement walls, exposed pipes, cobwebs, dirty floors and musty smells. This is a finished basement with beautiful carpet, an endless pool room, mirrored walls, flat screen TVs (yes, plural), dual computrainers, a True treadmill and a bathroom and shower.

Baker arrived Friday night, in time for Trephina's amazing Thai dinner. Saturday started at 6am, finishing up bike fits and testing, then right into a 2+ hr indoor cycling session. It actually went by really quick - especially for me who didn't ride but instead just barked out orders and controlled the music. One of the camp attendees, Anthony, a "kid" who looked 20 but was 29 had a brand new bike, has never done a triathlon, didn't know anyone in attendance and received this camp as a surprise holiday gift from his wife. This can be an intimidating situation to say the least, but he jumped right in, had a great attitude and really did well. This really impressed me.

After the indoor bike session, I demonstrated running technique and efficiency on the treadmill and showed some of my favorite treadmill secret sessions for those stuck indoors on frigid, icy days. Baker then videotaped each campers running form on the treadmill from all angles, as I made comments about the pros and cons of their form.

Quick lunch brake and then back to Ange and Scott's kitchen for a nutrition and healthy cooking demo including how to prepare your own energy bars and sports drinks using real, healthy ingredients. This was followed up by a standing meditation session from martial arts and eastern medicine guru Todd. He then led everyone through some relaxation exercises - again, great stuff.

After the campers headed out, Todd performed some acupuncture on me which really relaxed me. Well, that plus the many glasses of wine with dinner.

Sunday, we met at the pool at 6am to review and video swim strokes, learn drills, and do a group workout. Then breakfast, then to Kyles gym where we changed and did an outdoor trail run in 18 inches of snow, including hill repeats. Funny, the majority seemed to really enjoy the challenge and extremeness of this run. How could you not though? Sure, the footing was a bit tricky in the small footpath from others and in the fresh deep snow, the strength effort was very challenging, yet the trails were really pretty and light snow was falling and the trees were covered white with fresh snow. It was one of those sessions that most wouldn't do on their own, yet relished in getting out there with the group. We changed into dry clothing and then I went through my strength and core routine for endurance athletes at the gym, followed by a brief talk, nice lunch, and then Baker and I were back at the airport waiting to catch our flight home.

We had a lot of returners at this camp which was cool - it tells me they have really benefited from previous camps, enough so to endure another round of antics from Baker and myself. I am a very loyal guy and respect and appreciate loyalty. Then we also had a nice group of first timers who jumped in open minded and enthusiastic.

Regardless of their beyond shitty weather, as long as they will have me back there, I will be there to cohost these camps. Many said that they were quite motivated coming off this camp and you know what, It charged me up as well.

Thanks to those of you who attended who may read this.



Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Roll with it

Sorry I haven't posted in a couple of days. Most are probably sick of hearing about The Cleanse. Hell, the slight chance that there are a few out there actually reading - they may have no clue what The Cleanse even is.

I'm finishing up The Cleanse in a few days so I'm in "lock and load" mode. It's no longer challenging, and in fact, I like it for the most part. Yes, I'm looking forward to a cold beer and a nice glass of wine, but otherwise, it's been fine. I lost 9 lbs thus far although I developed The Cleanse for many other reasons than weight loss. Losing unwanted lbs is a nice side effect. I like not feeling bloated from excess carbohydrates, and I like sleeping better. I like the fact that I'm not falling asleep at the wheel on my drive home from Greenwich each day.

I'm getting in a very solid week of training and for some reason, my motivation is very high right now. Well, I know the reason(s):
  • I'm running well which is always encouraging.
  • I have my Cleveland Winterfest Camp this weekend and I'm looking forward to catching up with my close friends Ange and Scooter and the great people I've met in Cleveland, even if it's only going to be -1 degree outside.
  • I'm looking forward to the season and thinking once again, as I had often in the past, of the fact that my competition is out there training, and if I want to take them, I need to train smarter and better.
  • I'm thinking about the fact that in six weeks, I'll be heading to Tucson for a week of warm weather training. I can picture turning over the pedals as I climb Mt. Lemmon or running along the narrow traversing trail in Sabino Canyon.
  • I'm reminded often of a quote from Dave Scott, which I read when I first started training for tri's. It went something like; "I believe that I train harder and more than anyone else out there. If someone is going to beat me, it's not going to be because they outworked me."
  • I am fueled by the fact that 90% of the population - the population functioning on "average" mode, still question what those of us involved in endurance sports are doing in the first place.
  • I have been working with some newbies and their enthusiasm is just contagious.

There you have it. Motivation is roaring at the moment and I'm taking advantage of it.

Be sure to check out Rob Straz's recent article in the "Rants From Rob Straz" column on my home page, - great stuff. Check the home page every so often because I plan on adding a lot of content frequently over this season. In regards to Rob's column - he's got an opinion and I wanted to hear it - Hope you enjoy it.



Monday, January 12, 2009

NFL + Cleanse = son of a bitch

"Five. Five dollar. Five dollar footlongs!" I had the stupid jingle stuck in my head all day. When that one wasn't in my noggin, I'd hear "I'm feelin' kinda Sunday..." Too much football viewing yesterday. Eli is no Peyton.

These weekend cold, snowy days are challenging when on The Cleanse. Watching football and having a beer or three go hand in hand, not to mention some nice nachos. Instead, I munched on carrots, drank water, and tried to relax. Relaxing is something that doesn't come easy for me. I really have to work at it. I'm envious of those that can relax easily and anywhere. You get through the weekend on The Cleanse though and your home free.

Today was a great day to run. I wedged some bounding hill repeats into a brisk 70 minute run and finished with more energy than when I started.



Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weekends are for relaxing?

Weekends are supposed to be down time, correct?

I realized this winter break that I need structure. I can understand how people that retire suddenly plunge into the depths of depression, aging 10 life years in the course of 1 calendar year. I guess some times it takes awhile for things to sink in with me. I'm not the type to sleep in and I'm not good at lying around. I need to do something while watching TV - even while watching football. I love the weekends and at the same time, I look forward to the simple structure of my typical Monday as Sunday night rolls around.

Kenny and I ran two hours yesterday morning. I awoke at 6am in my nice warm bed while it was eight degrees outside, yet, my competition certainly isn't hitting the snooze button. I sucked down a shot of espresso, chased by a large glass of water, threw a couple of layers on and jogged down to the parking area by the trails to meet Ken. We ran a VERY hilly course including a nice two mile climb in the middle. When it's eight degrees out, your body is working extra hard trying to keep you warm and at the same time trying to keep blood pumping through your legs. We kept a comfortable pace, yet we never faded. Both Ken and I have been doing The Cleanse and we both hadn't eaten since the night before, yet we were running at a 7 min/mile clip for two hours. I'm not condoning skipping breakfast and the importance of pre-race fuel, however, I also believe that many of us over estimate the calories that we need and underestimate the efficiency of our physiology. I have to be cautious here as nutrition information is really misconstrued, being interpreted as the person reading wants to interpret.

I cooked a pot of chili today - very healthy and definitely inside The Cleanses boundaries. Greg P. sent me a picture of a meal his wife Beth prepped which was seared tuna w/ wasabi on a bed of arugula and he made the sweet potato healthy fries. It looked restaurant quality and I wanted to post the picture although I couldn't upload the picture he sent me, even though it was probably pretty simple to do.

I sit here finishing this post while watching Pittsburgh unfortunately beat up San Diego and at the same time try and stay awake from the exhaustion of a nonstop weekend. Life is good!



Friday, January 09, 2009

I think it's day six...

I'm a bit light headed from the lack of calories! At least that's what I'm blaming it on...

Here's part of an email Lisa received today from her friend (she used to like me) LW:

"I need u as my moral support! I am doing so well....can't stop now.....went to boxing last night and punched the shit out of the guy,he said who are you pissed at....I said Eric Hodska!!!!"

I get this quite a bit.

Tonight I'm preparing pan seared swordfish. sauteed green beans and mushrooms, and my healthy sweat potato fries.



Thursday, January 08, 2009

Another day done

I find that on the fifth day of The Cleanse, things get a bit easier. Mostly in that we physically aren't craving sugar after being off of it for four days. Mentally, we can start to get a bit antsy, but if you think about it a bit more, you should be feeling pretty good physically by day five. The Cleanse should be flushing things through your system so the carbohydrate bloat should be gone and you should just be feeling healthier in general. Focus on this, not on that piece of chocolate you may be craving.

I find that my workouts don't suffer at all. Personally, I think a lot of us are over dependant on calories in short training sessions. It kind of cracks me up to see someone at the pool (on the rare occasion I get there) that's in the water for 45 minutes to an hour and has a full bottle of perpeteum. Right now (meaning January), most of the training is less than 90 minutes at a shot, except for the occasional longer ride. If you go less than 90 minutes, water is sufficient.

A few people have mentioned to me that they like reading about different things that I've been preparing for dinner while on The Cleanse because it gives them some ideas. They also wanted to know if I'd list some lunch ideas. I typically have the same lunch Mon through Fri which is a soy milk protein smoothie with whey protein, ice, frozen strawberries, and flax seed powder. Lisa has the same lunch each day as well - a salad with chicken. However, this weekend, I plan on cooking up some brown rice and beans. It's a great recipe, healthy and easy. Yes, beans contain some protein, but they are easy on the metabolic process compared to meat.

See you on Day 6.



Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Day 4 in the books

One mistake, and this is a big mistake, that many make when doing The Cleanse is that they don't eat enough during the day. They skip out on a few pieces of fruit, or they are scared of having some peanut butter with their mid morning snack, and/or they skimp on their lunch, both of the latter two because they are concerned about the calories. Then the afternoon 4 or 5 hours rolls around and they become ravenous, setting themselves up for falling off the plan that evening. They are also wreaking havoc on their metabolism by not giving it enough calories, thus slowing it down. Plan ahead and trust the plan.

Lisa and I had a beef stir fry tonight. low sodium soy sauce is allowed but use sparingly. Some other questions that people have asked: Ketchup and bbq sauce is a no go (sugar), salsa is fine, sashimi is fine but sushi with white rice is a no.

Over 1/4 of the way through!



Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Day 3 done

I actually felt good today. I had a really great run in the afternoon, so that helps. I already getting some bitching from a few about them being hungry at night. What they are really trying to say is "I'm not hungry. I just want some junk."

One of the cool things about The Cleanse (yeah, there are a few cool things) is the opportunity to work some new recipes into the repertoire. Lisa and I have the five recipe rotation going usually. I'm the cook here, so I usually cook the five dinner items I enjoy and that I cook well. During The Cleanse we always explore a bit with different vegetables, stir-frys and different types of fish. Some of these recipes, well, let's just say they were an experiment. But some are really delicious. Regular potatoes aren't allowed on The Cleanse, however, sweet potatoes, which are very nutritious, are allowed every other night. I like slicing them in chip like size, spraying a baking pan lightly w/ Pam, sprinkling on some seasoning (I use a bit of cayenne pepper, some garlic salt, and regular pepper) and baking them.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Cleanse - Day Two

I have been fielding lots of Cleanse questions and I thought I'd try to post something daily about The Cleanse over the next two weeks.

One of the best questions I get frequently is "Do I need The Cleanse?" The reason I invented The Cleanse was that I saw all the current nutrition plans out there and the main flaws I found in them were the fact that they were open ended - people would start a plan trying to make some changes and they didn't see an end. It's easy to say you need to change your lifestyle for good - much easier said than done. When a plan isn't drastic enough to make you realize your weaknesses and is open ended, it's not too long before you are right back to your old habits. Seeing that this is a two week plan makes it feel like something that you can definitely do and succeed with. If you are following it accurately, by the end of week two, you will realize the weaknesses you craved or had in your old eating patterns and be anxious to make or keep these new changes, thus making this plan successful in the long run. Habits are something we establish throughout our life time and they are things that we enjoy and become very comfortable with, regardless of whether they are good or bad for you. The Cleanse makes you address what you truly crave in your diet and where your flaws are, even if we try to convince ourselves that "this habit isn't a problem. I work my ass off in training to justify this." I thought that what I'd personally crave was sugar. It turns out that there were really only two things that I significantly missed in my nutrition regimen. Everything else iffy was pretty easy to eliminate. But the pizza I enjoy once per week was a challenge, especially my home made pizza. The hardest thing though was that I enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner. Lisa and I will sit down with a glass of red wine and relax and enjoy dinner. Now, I actually think one glass of red wine with dinner is a healthy thing, and I'm not trying to justify here - I could go into great detail of why it is healthy and really bore the hell out of you. But at the same time, I don't want to be dependant on anything. Trust me, there are sugar dependant people out there and millions of them at that. You wouldn't believe the amount of people that tell me how much they miss chocolate! Finally, The Cleanse was never a weight loss plan. That is just a very nice side benefit if you have weight to lose. It does cleanse your system though and gives your metabolism a much needed break.

A few other quick answers to some questions:
  • No, you are not starving! Unless you have gone for more than two days without any calories, you are not starving. It's OK to feel hungry and you are not going to pass out - yes you may have low body fat and you may be a hard core endurance athlete, but don't flatter yourself. You aren't going to pass out. The pockets where you feel light headed and starving are purely psychological. We are a society that doesn't know what it feels like to be a tiny bit hungry.
  • No, a modified Cleanse Plan does not work! Most of the really weak minded (here's where I tease since sarcasm isn't displayed well in writing) people will say to me "I'm doing it but modifying it slightly."
  • if you are exercising for less than 90 minutes, you only need water. If you are exercising for up to 2.5 hrs, you can add in an electrolyte drink, and if you are going longer than 3 hrs, you can add in some calories during your training session.
  • Bananas aren't allowed as a breakfast fruit.

Lisa and I just finished off day two. Dinner was a large chopped salad (the big salad) with romaine lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, mushrooms, chick peas (yes, allowed), black olives (yes, allowed), chicken done on a grill pan with seasoning, and oil, vinegar and black pepper.



Sunday, January 04, 2009

Plunge is done

The Plunge was great yesterday. The weather was sunny and in the upper 30's or even low 40's. the water didn't feel that bad this year! I'll post pictures and some video soon, but we had a great turnout and I am very appreciative of the support that my friends continually show towards these charitable efforts. I know that Christine Grief, the woman who was hit by a drunk driver while riding her bike and who we did The Plunge for, is extremely grateful.

Last night a bunch of us attended Farbers place, Prime 16, which was of course great. Kind of a pre-Cleanse last meal.

Speaking of The Cleanse, day 1 is in the books and it feels good to be back on a structured plan I have to say.



Friday, January 02, 2009

Toughguy Rant

Day two of the new year and I'm feeling great, yet a bit ornery.

We started out the year with some cold weather here in CT and I amazed by the amount of athletes who told me they couldn't get in a run because their gym was closed so they had no treadmill to use!? Unless you live way up in Canada somewhere or you live where Straz does where it dips below -20 degrees, there's no excuse for not getting outside. Snow shouldn't stop you - in fact, snow makes a run more fun. It's bad enough that most wont ride outdoors once the weather dips below 50 degrees, but come on! We even have all this high tech training clothing now that keeps you dry, blocks wind, prevents chafing, adds compression, wipes your ass, ... People can't exercise in cotton any more, god forbid.

And don't get me started on Coffee which should be consumed often and black and not black and sweet. And light beer - no guy should drink this donkey piss. It reminds me of an early scene in Old School where Mitch gets into a cab and says to the cab driver; "excuse me but the seat belt is broken back here. what do you recommend I do?" to which the cab driver responds; "I recommend you stop being such a pussy. You're in the back seat!"

OK, toughguy rant is over.

At the beginning of each New Year, I have my athletes do my top secret Cleanse program for two weeks. We all start Sunday so I should really see some complaining soon!

Tomorrow is The Plunge at 2:30pm at Southport Beach!