Monday, December 06, 2010

December Challenge and Cool Stuff

First, I'm doing the December Challenge again on my EH Training and Coaching Facebook page:!/group.php?gid=279447542288 - I post an exercise or two for you to do each day in December. Check it out.

It's holiday season - most trigeeks have more than they need already but are all about the gear, so I thought I'd share my two cents on what is, again, in my opinion, a good gift to add to your wish list. The following are five very cool items:

* compression socks compression gear is all the rage and believe it or not, it actually works - to a degree. The idea behind compression clothing is to compress (duh) the surrounding musculature and keep your vascular system circulating. The best compression products are the socks since circulation tends to decrease and pool in lower extremities. Compression socks assist at keeping that blood circulating back upwards. I do have some rules though w/ compression socks - they are great for travel, yet only with pants, not shorts. There is no need to sit in an airport, decked out in your Harlem 5K race t-shirt, Desoto running shorts, zoot racing shoes, and compression socks, awaiting your flight. Please... Compression socks are great for after hard training and races. Many wear them to train and race in. Call me old school, but this just screams geek. Save them for recovery. If they cost you fifteen seconds during a race (which is the biggest time advantage they are going to gain you if wearing them in a long race), then run a bit faster.

* Oakley Jawbones and Thump Pro's Let's face it, Oakley's really are the best shades. they are extremely functional, and they have the cool factor. You can try some other glasses which may offer a better deal, but Oakley is the top of the food chain and there is no close second. The Jawbones are extremely versatile and look great - while training! For casual use, please pick up a fitting pair of Oakley's like the Felon or the Oil Drum. The Thump Pro's have the built in mp3. I don't want the blue tooth capability - I don't want to be contacted while out training and I also want things simple. The Thump Pro's are probably my favorite training item. Ever.

* Lululemon Run Response Shorts Lululemon is not just girls clothes and it's not just yoga clothes. These run shorts may be a bit pricey, but they are second to none. For years, all shorts chafed me if I didn't apply lots of bodyglide. No need with these shorts. They are unbelievably comfortable that you will want to wear them all the time, and they look great.

* Zoot Running Shoes I prefer a low profile shoe without much support or extra crap built up in the heels. In my opinion, most shoes are overbuilt and create more problems then they help. Yet, I do feel we need a bit of cushioning since we tend to run mainly on pavement, and on tired legs. Zoot has figured out just the right balance. A tie is Nike Free's.

* TRX Let me preface this by saying I am in no way associated with TRX. I have been using this device for over a year now on myself and with my personal training clientel and I am really making a hard push for all my athletes to purchase one. I have been in the exercise physiology, coaching, and training field for 20 years now and this simple little device is the best individual training tool I've come across for functional strength conditioning. Quite simple, this device is just awesome, and I love coming up with new torturous exercises and routines for it. If you get one thing this holiday season, a TRX should be it.

More to come...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


We (my family) were away last week celebrating Thanksgiving and my wife's 40th birthday on Turks and Caicos. Yes, it was tough leaving the tradition of thanksgiving at my in laws in always grey and cold Pennsylvania, but we managed.

The first couple of days there, I awoke and ran the roads of the island, which are mainly inland and are less than scenic. The majority of the Caribbean is quite poor, and running through these sections make you significantly question your safety. But even more than that, I found myself just overly focused on getting in my run and getting it done rather than enjoying the process. I put a lot of time and effort into my recreation, like most triathletes, and I strive to enjoy the process, because otherwise, what's the sense? I mean seriously, if you aren't making a living at your recreation and you aren't enjoying the process, then you really need to, in my opinion, re-evaluate what you are doing.

We were staying on a long stretch of beach that was pitched a bit, and loose sand, yet it was gorgeous. So on day three, I woke up, put on a pair of running shorts, left my shoes in my room, and hit the beach. There's something so simple and liberating about running in general, and to head out with just a pair of shorts takes it to another level. I ran along the coast line for four miles, then turned, splashing through the rolling tide on my eight miles. It was challenging - in fact, I was sore in my lower legs the next day which hasn't occurred with me in a long time. I developed a nice blister on my right big toe from pushing off. And yet, I enjoyed this run so much that I never even thought about the slower pace, lack of push off, or blisters. It's a lot more enjoyable training with a smile on your face.

I also swam a lot in the open water. Lisa and I have been fortunate enough to visit quite a few islands and Turks and Caicos had the best water and beaches we've ever witnessed. In fact, on one snorkeling excursion aboard a catamaran, we stopped about 100 meters off shore from a small island that's part of the T&C chain and swam into shore. This little island (pictured above) had the best beach that I've ever experienced, with sand that looked and felt like sifted flour, and water that was so green and clear that describing it doesn't do it justice. The captain of the catamaran brought his son (Steven) along - an extremely nice college aged kid who also happened to be blind. I couldn't help but think of the irony of this kid growing up blind in one of the most visually beautiful places. The next few days running along the beach, snorkeling in the beautiful ocean, and looking at my kids faces, I felt so appreciative.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! And switch up your routine a bit now in the "off season" and make things fun and interesting! I've been doing more strength and TRX training, jumping rope, hitting the heavy bag, and riding the mountain bike. All fun, productive, and a nice diversion from the typical S,B,R.



Thursday, November 11, 2010

NYC Marathon

I was at the NYC marathon last Sunday as a spectator this year. My wife, Lisa, was racing this time. I was up at 2am with her - she was nervous about the race, and I was nervous for her. I was more anxious about the three hours leading up to the start for her rather than the race itself. The NYC marathon is logistically a nightmare. Starting in Staten Island at the foot of the Verranzano Bridge, just getting to the start is a pain in the ass. Lisa was catching a bus that my friend Bob Sabre organizes every year. I had to have her at the pick-up in Stratford by 5am, and this was the last time I'd talk to her until after the race besides yelling to her a few times on the course. Lisa was quite emotional race morning and I could see her sitting on the bus wiping tears as I drove off. Don't mistake Lisa for some wuss though - she's tough as nails and I'll get more into that in a bit.

Once you get to the start of the race, you have to sit around waiting for three hours until the gun goes off. It was very cold out that morning, so I sent Lisa off with sweat pants, ski pants, a fleece pullover, a fleece vest, and an old winter jacket, plus hand and feet warmers and a hat and two pairs of gloves. Some homeless person is going to get a decent score since everything she was wearing would be donated as she stripped down to her running shorts and top just prior to the start.

This waiting period sucks! You desperately just want the race to start and you are trapped in a tight area with 48000 runners, most waiting in port-o-potty lines. On top of this, Lisa was in the wave that started on the lower level of the Verrenzano which is where you don't want to be. You see, the runners on the upper level that are couped up and overhydrated begin peeing wherever, which drips down and onto the lower level - disgusting! Lisa was really freaked out about this but thankfully, she didn't experience any showers.

Baker and I drove into Manhattan and parked near the finish area on the west side of central park, then purchased a one day subway pass, and headed over to Brooklyn. First, we watched the elite/pro women come by. They started 33 minutes earlier then the pro men/first wave. We were positioned between miles eight and nine, and a pack of pro women rolled through looking comfortable in 47 minutes. Then there were some smaller groups and solo women, before the pro men came cruising through, again, the leaders in a big pack, looking effortless in 41 minutes. The crowds of spectators in Brooklyn were amazing, yet nothing compared to Manhattan later in the race. Lots of runners began coming through although they were still thinned out until the 7 minute per mile group hit us. For the next 30 minutes, it was a sea of runners that was so dense, it made you dizzy viewing it. I was nervous I'd miss Lisa, but I had a hunch she'd be running on the right side of the road and sure enough, she came cruising through, looking great!

Lisa is not your typical endurance athlete. I'm assuming that if there are a few of you reading this "random gibberish", that you are endurance athletes of some kind. Either that or you are really bored at work. Endurance athletes have a mindset that's different then most. They love to train, and eat and breathe endurance training and racing. It's a huge part of their life whether they admit it or not. I'm an endurance athlete. Lisa is not. She is an unbelievable athlete, who was CT state champion in high school in the 200 meters, and who was a multiple college all American in the 400. Her raw athleticism towers over mine. But a two mile run for a 400 meter runner is distance. Lisa was burnt out on running and so didn't do much after college. Then, after seeing me race in Hawaii a few times, she was inspired to the point that she committed to run the Philadelphia marathon a few years ago. She did well considering her training. Lisa's running form is a thing of beauty and I'm not just saying that because she's my wife. But solid genetics and years of honing her form on the track in her youth have implanted a flowing, light, land on your toes stride that looks effortless. She's fortunate that she is such a gifted runner because she ran on average twice per week training for her first marathon. She did a long run on the weekend and a mid week easy run. That's it. Again, she's not an endurance athlete who panics over a missed or shortened session. This training garnered a 3:46 virgin marathon. Lisa had talked about doing New York one day and so put her name into the lottery the past few years. This year, she was picked! Most endurance athletes would think "Awesome!!! I'm in!". Lisa's response was "Oh, fuck!". However, even though she's not an endurance athlete by mindset, she is amazingly determined, and her work ethic in everything she does, her conscientiousness, and her humbleness are attributes that I am daily impressed with. Lisa is the type of person that is a bosses dream. She sets her mind to something and she does it. Simple as that. I very, very loosely coach Lisa. I know that coaching or working with your spouse is rarely a good thing. So I direct her with an idea of what she should do each week, but her training mainly came down to her weekly long run. Not much changed from her training for Philly to her training for NY. She ran once or twice per week on the treadmill for 30 to 40 minutes, and then got in her long run on the weekends.

Back to the race: Baker and I subwayed up to Queens, and yelled to Lisa although she didn't see us there, then we went back to Manhattan and watched at the 18 and 24 mile mark. Lisa was really struggling at the 24 mile mark, and I gave her some tough love yelling "Lis, be tough! Finish this thing!!!" She did finish in 4:01 and she left it all out there. For the next day and half, she swore "never again!". I can tell though that the 90 sec she needed to get under 4 hours is haunting her. She's not done yet. Maybe for awhile, but not yet. And I'm also willing to bet she runs New york again. Besides Boston, there isn't a cooler, more festive marathon experience.

Anyways, i rarely talk about my family in this blog, but I wanted to record here in my archives how impressed and amazed I am with my wife. Everything she does, she does more than well. What a very cool way also for her to exit her thirties. Alright, enough of the sappy stuff.

I plan on starting up my daily challenge on my website right after Thanksgiving, so stay tuned.



Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Just Do It!

Lisa is attending a two day Franklin Covey workshop down in Greenwich. When I was in corporate, I attended one of these workshops. It's all about time management, goal setting, staff building, ... Is it productive? I guess. I know, this is an indecisive answer, but to be honest, two days is a lot of overkill in my opinion. I'd prefer the cliff notes version which could be summed up in three seconds by the brilliant folks at Nike; "Just do it!". I mean, how simple and smart is this slogan?! Words to live by. Big Rock's (my father) is way into time management, which is a good thing. However I often bust his big rocks in that the time he spends writing goals and things he "needs to do" down in his day-timer, he could be getting a hell of a lot accomplished. I know there is a secondary purpose to Lisa's company attending which is uniting everyone in trust exercises, but power clapping and trust falls are long forgotten once your back at the office. At the end of the two days, when they ask what have you learned, I'd stand up and say "I learned that I just lost two days of being productive and getting things done had I been back at the office!". OK, maybe this is a bit hypocritical seeing as how I'm a firm believer in writing down goals, having a plan, and, well, just doing it. Maybe I just feel that two full days of this training is excessive. But then again, what do I know? I pay an exorbitant sum of money to swim from a starting line and bust my ass for hours on end only to finish up right back at the same spot from where I started.

On another note, I was recently contacted by an athlete inquiring about me coaching him. After talking with him for a bit, I had come to learn that he was currently working with a coach and two other coaches prior to this one. He mentioned that his present coach wasn't doing anything wrong really, but he wanted to be faster than where he presently was racing at. Yet his development seemed quite good considering his prior results and ability. Often times, people look at others instead of looking at themselves. A friend and colleague of mine who coaches was telling me last week about an athlete of his that left. This coach is a very knowledgeable guy and hard worker. I know some athletes that bounce around from coach to coach, mainly because they haven't accomplished what they might dream of. So instead of being patient and developing a working relationship with their coach, they leave and find another hoping that this new one will be the answer. But in their hearts, I'm sure they realize what the answer is. It's happened to me before in the past and I used to take it personally since I'm a big believer in loyalty, yet I get it now after time. Often it's a better situation for everyone involved.

Met with a good friend a few weeks ago and his motivation has been a bit low. He mentioned how he's left his front door to run, and has gone left 1000+ times, and gone right 1000+ times and it's leaving him a bit unexcited. What he needs to do is switch it up a bunch - go right but do 30 sec fast, 30 sec easy, ..., or go left and find a hill and do bounding hill repeats. As I believe, now is the time to switch it up, focus on some strength and yes, speed. Be creative. Think as though you are brand new to this recreation and make each training session way different then it's been in years. It can only help!



Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Goals, Nostalgia, Playlists, ...

Now is the time to begin planning your 2011 season. I am having all my athletes fill out a goal sheet for 2011 - I want to know what their "A" races are, what they feel their limiters are, their strengths are, their dream goals, ... We all know that when you write things down, they become that much more real. I have therefore filled out the same sheet that I send my athletes for myself. My big limiter is the fact that I don't swim. I am a decent swimmer and I rely on this, but I should really be swimming more consistently, and begin this in the winter months. It's too easy to wait again until it's necessary and then begin. I'm no longer taking the easy route. I want to switch it up so that my own routine feels different, new, awkward, and challenges me to reach - outside of what I have typically done over the last 20 years. Listen, if you have been doing the same thing every November, December, January, ... for the past bunch of years, it's time to make some changes because we are all in this to grow and move forward, right? I'm all about the present and future. I could care less what I have done in the past. Oh, and for those of you that feel your off season should go from October until January, again, this is my opinion and my blog, unless you are a pro who significantly could use the r&r, now's the time to focus on strength gains and maybe running base/speed. Yes, speed.

OK, enough of that. This past Sunday, I had to give a nutrition seminar in New Haven at Lululemon, so instead of running in Monroe, Ken and I met at our alma mater - Southern Ct State University. This is where I really began running, 22 years ago. I was Ken's RA at Neff Hall. I haven't been back to Southern in maybe 15 years and I could hardly recognize it. There are so many new buildings and the campus is really impressive - It's a real University now!

Ken and I met in the parking lot for Moore Field House. I suggested we run north towards West Rock and Hamden on Wintergreen Ave. I had vaguely forgotten my run routes around Southern - I knew that there were a few areas where the wrong left or right would leave you in a dangerous neighborhood (a baseball bat to the back and wrench thrown at me back in 90' while riding through one such neighborhood still remains in my memory). But as we headed north on Wintergreen, it all came rushing back. We made the left up towards West Rock, and then picked up the trails that circled lake wintergreen which is beautiful and the trails are covered with pine needles just as I remembered. Funny, 22 years ago when I began running these trails, I never gave thought to the fact that I'd still be running and competing 22 years later. I thought about this as Ken and I circled the lake twice. Back then, my dream was to race the Hawaii Ironman someday. I wanted to do the race just once in my lifetime. All these memories came flooding back. And all that we were doing is running, placing one foot in front of the other - something so simple that doesn't require much, yet has provided me with a ton. I don't know - the nostalgia on this day was quite cool. It didn't make me sad at all about the fact that 22 years have past and time has flown by, but rather made me smile at what the past 22 years have brought. This place was where I found my passion, decided on what I wanted my career to be, and most importantly, met Lisa.

I've been running a bunch lately and with that I've been adding more playlists to my ipod. Some of the stuff I've been listening to:

Foster The People - "Pumped Up Kicks" is a cool track.
The Temper Trap - "Fader" and "Sweet Disposition" are great tunes, in my opinion.
Linkin Park - "The Catalyst" - these guys are always solid.
Band Of Skulls - "Friends" - great song.
I also listen to a lot of Jay-Z, as well as some Keane, Paper Tongues, The XX, Civil Twighlight, to name a few.

Two final notes; I don't edit this "journal" since I want it more organic, so apologies if there happens to be anyone reading this who may find type-o's, bad grammar, boredom, ... More importantly; Congrats to Gus and Jen - Lisa and I are really thrilled for the two of you.



Monday, October 18, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What's doin... (VT, Hawaii, ...)

Man, I apologize to Molson, the one person who may be reading this! I've been neglectful. it's not that I don't have anything to say... For some reason, I'm never short of that. Time is the main issue. Seems every time I post now, it's an apology for not posting in awhile and how I will begin to post more often.

I do have a follow up to my post on mental attitude/outlook that I posted recently. I'll get on that. This is more of an update for my archives on the past few weeks and what's happened.

First, we did the annual. Baker, Ken and I did the annual Vermont ride. This is my 16th time doing this ride since 97'. If anyone truly is reading this and doesn't know about the VT ride, you can look back in the archives over the past few years and get a basic history on this event. The short of it is 146 miles from my door in Monroe to our hotel in Brattleboro on day one, and on day two we reverse it and ride home the 146 miles. It's not easy, the route isn't that great, but it's always entertaining!

We had a perfect weather weekend this year, albeit a bit hot on Saturday and into a headwind. But the sun was out all weekend, except for early Sunday morning which I'll get to. Ken and I rode out from my house, and Baker, at my encouraging, rode from his house this year which makes his route about 99 miles each way, but he was sick and coming off a stressful week so it was the right call. I've been coaching Ken for over 10 years now and yet there are some things he never learns. Not even 10 miles out and he was hitting the hills quite hard, telling me that his legs felt great. I Kept my mouth shut, waiting for the inevitable. And sure enough, his ride from Northhampton to Brattleboro, the last 45 miles, was painful. He arrived spent and all cramped up and proceeded to lie on the hotel floor probably getting eaten by bedbugs as he whined like a biatch in pain. One thing about Ken and Baker though - they are self sufficient, adventerous, and fun. We went out that night for dinner and beer and laughed our asses off. There was even an episode that left Baker and Ken ragging on me for the rest of the evening - and still to this day. Baker and I still cant figure out why Ken shipped a box of clothes up to the hotel yet didn't include clean, fresh cycling clothes for the next day?! Yes, he rode back in the same clothes he rode up in. I'm sure this kept Baker from drafting much on Sunday.

My son had a soccer game at 2pm in Monroe on Sunday and I wanted to try and catch it, so I rolled out of Brattleboro in the pitch black darkness at 5:30am solo. Very stupid on my part, although it was also really cool! I didn't have a light, and besides the occasional light from some shack in backass Vermont, I couldn't see a thing! I did see three skunks, two raccoons, and something larger that I was hoping at the time was a deer although could have rhymed with deer. The worst part was that I couldn't see any potholes, cracks, or beat up roads. The best part was that I rode right down the middle of the road and it was amazingly peaceful. The sun finally popped up, and the weather was significantly cooler than Saturday, but it was clear and beautiful out. I felt solid and was making great time - in fact, I rolled into my driveway in Monroe at 12:30pm. Take away a few refuel stops, and the 146 miles took me 6 hours 45 minutes. Ken and Baker rolled out at 7am and they both paced better and had no issues getting home. Another VT ride in the books.

I was concerned a small bit about how I would hold up on this ride. My long ride all summer, besides camps, have been maybe two hours. Most of my riding has been in the 75 to 90 minute range. But also, most of it has been at a high intensity and with focus on technique, form and cadence. I felt great both days on the VT ride. This just once again re-enforces some of my coaching principals; residual base, form and technique, and that if you are crunched for time, train with more intensity so that your longer pace feels easy.

The Hawaii IM was last weekend and congrats to Megan Seerfoss, Ryan Haug, Chris Thomas, and Mitch West for outstanding races! Man, it was tough sitting at home and following them online. I not only missed the race, but significantly missed the race week activities, and spending time out on the big island with Lisa. It was great for motivation.

Most right now are in off-season mode. However, I feel that the offseason is too long. I'm not saying you have to keep racing, but if you want to make progress, taking October through February low key each year is not productive. the weather is great for training right now! You don't need to hit it hard, or even do anything to structured, but stay consistent and get out there! Take a break from Thanksgiving until New Years, doing more low key training, but now is a great time to work on strength, running, and setting up the groundwork to have a productive winter training season.

Enough for now...



Thursday, September 23, 2010


This weekend, I will be honoring an annual that started in 97' with Farber. I was never a big traditionalist or one that was into annuals. These annual events with my friends growing up always revolved around golf trips and food and drink - maybe a bit of fun, but in reality, not productive or of any value. Why must an annual be productive and of value you ask? It doesn't need to be either honestly. Just personally, my views are that as we age, we need to evaluate where we are at and, ... ok, as I write this, I realize i could come off a bit douchey and preachy - that's not my intentions. I just feel that the annual golf trip or Vegas trip is so cliche and kind of corny. If you are going to do an annual (again, this is my opinion, and my blog) then do something out of the ordinary where you actually grow a bit in some way or form. Honestly though, the real reason for an annual is to get together with great friends, right?

Well, as I stated, I began this annual in 97', and it's been a great one. Every year, you reach a point where you are absolutely miserable during this, but the challenge, the memories and the camaraderie far outweigh these miserable spots in the long run. I have to admire Baker (don't let this go to your head you bastard!) - he knows he is going to suffer like a son of a bitch, yet he understands the value in this annual. He hasn't missed since 98' and as busy as we all are, Baker realizes the value and meaning behind this annual. It's not just my annual anymore but it's one for the core group who have done this with me the past decade, and Baker gets that.

Anyways, this year, we are all a bit off at the moment in regards to being prepared, but that's not the point and I'm positive we will take away some great memories and keep this annual alive for at least one more year.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Race this Sunday in Avon (please)!

My good friend Jeff Molson is putting on another hat this weekend as race director for the Avon High School Booster Club Falcon 5K. The race is dedicated to the memory of Melissa Anne Andrew, and all proceeds benefit the Avon High School Booster Club.

If you are in the CT area, come out and support Jeff. Listen, I know that there are a ton of races to support and to choose from and why drive to do a 5k? I'll tell you why; because it's important to support our friends and fellow athletes who take the time to put on these races and a 5k is one of the best training runs you can do. I hope to see a bunch of you there. Here's the info:

This gets you to the application online to print it out:

This get to the online application to sign up with credit card:



Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Head Games

During my ride yesterday, my ipod died (go ahead and chastise me for riding with music) which left me ample time to just think.

What percentage of our outcome of events in life is determined by ones mental state versus their physical state and proper preparation? I know - this is a quite vague question, but think about this; Tiger Woods is still the same physically and physiologically as he was before his "behavioral outcoming", yet he's no where near the golfer he was pre-outing. I'm positive he could bench press just as much, swing the same way, hold his breath for the same time, ... So why is it that he went from being nearly unbeatable to becoming an average PGA player just trying to stay in the mix? Look at Monica Seles as well. She was on top of the rankings in tennis, then some nut job tries to stab her and since that event, she spiraled downward and into retirement. With both these examples, the only change came mentally, that created their descent.

I have athletes I coach that deal with chronic conditions. When they are alone and out training, they are constantly aware of these chronic nagging "injuries". However, get them in a group scenario with communication taking place putting their mind elsewhere and they train basically pain free. I've experimented with my personal training clients often, creating a mental image that either boosts or hinders their performance. I have some that just by having them focus on the wrong things prevents them from doing one or two reps of an exercise, and then by placing them mentally in a different place, has them banging out sets of 10+ reps of that same exercise that was impossible for them. I have athletes who are trained unbelievably well, talented and extremely fit and prepared, and yet they will do themselves in on race day. Then I have others that toe the line maybe not as physically prepared or not as physically gifted yet they are gamers and get amazing responses from their bodies on race day. I work with two people who are the same age. One of them outperforms the other in training all the time. He trains faster, longer, more consistent, ... Yet the other one will be faster on race day nearly every time.

The point I guess I'm getting at is that we can swim, bike, run, lift, stretch, row, jump, ski consistently and smartly, training our bodies to perform unbelievable tasks yet if we don't also spend some time training and conditioning the mind, it may all be for naught. For some, mental toughness comes naturally. Ego is a big part. I typically despise dealing with egos at my camps (who enjoys it?), yet look at someone like Tiger, or Lance, or Aroid - these guys have HUGE egos and are at the top of their sports. But the majority need to train their mind and condition it - to find the right catalyst that places them in a state which allows and almost premeditates optimum performance. Based on the above examples, don't feel you need to become a major prick to perform near the top!

Often times, when something isn't working well, we give up on it. We decide that maybe we just aren't cut out for a certain situation and accept that. I am a bigger guy from a northern climate who has had two awful races at St. Croix 70.3. The first time there, I dnf'd. The second time, I finished, but it was ugly. At first, I told myself that at least I finished and that this race wasn't for me and there are plenty of other races to choose from. That is me running away from or giving up on a particularly tough challenge. Mark my words; I'll go back there soon and take that course on again. After two tough races, I feared this race. Now I'm angry at it. Anger works well for me. I can control it and use it productively, to stay more consistent with my training, to get more out of each tempo or interval training session, to rebound on race day when something may go wrong, ... Anger makes me more alive and positive actually. It prevents me from feeling sorry for myself in a tough situation and slipping into an abyss of defeat. The key is to control it. If an unfortunate situation happens to you during a race making you angry to the point where you go on an uncontrolled rampage to make up time or ground quickly, well this is reckless and typically ends bad. There are some though who won't let anger creep in and instead remain too mellow and accept certain situations too easily. They need to release their inner Leslie Chow trapped in a trunk with a tire iron.

Give some thought to where you perceive yourself in sport and in life and ask honestly if you are content. Then ask if contention is a good thing? Is it OK to never be content? I think so. As long as you think positively, and are in a good place mentally. The main thing is to treat the mental training as serious, if not more so, than the physical training. And not close yourself off to anything.



Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Camps and Clinics

Hi All,

Hope you are having a great season and 2010! Below is some information – I hope to see you at one of these fun and informative camps and clinics;

2011 Tucson Camp – Your chance to save $100 is closing fast! Get in your deposit soon to reserve your spot. You don’t want to miss out on this one!

Triathlon 101 Camp – October 15th, 16th and 17th; This is a camp designed for those new to triathlon, intimidated by other camps, wanting to accelerate there tri growth and have a great time in a non-ego enviroment; If you want to learn or work on the following: swim stroke analyzed, their bike position dialed in, learn how to ride hills, or descend hills, how to move through transitions efficiently, how to run well off the bike, proper running form and shoe analysis, how to incorporate heart rate monitor and power training, how to incorporate strength training into your swim, bike, run schedule, how to eat right for optimal health and body composition and fueling for races, how to taper, … This camp will be based out of Monroe, CT. The cost for the three days is $375 which is a bargain (hotel and meals not included). Please contact Eric at for more information or to register.

Progressive Functional Strength Training for Endurance Athletes - If any of you have attended one of my strength training clinics in the past, this is the updated, advanced version including more overall strengthening exercises utilizing dumbbells, physioballs, bands, and a TRX. This is a course that will teach you how to incorporate an effective, optimal strength routine into your endurance training schedule. It’s designed to strengthen your system, with emphasis on the core, and to build functional strength, raise your metabolism and alter your body composition favorably. The first two dates which will be outside in Monroe are Saturday, September 18th, and Saturday, October 23rd, from 8am until 11am. $60 for a clinic. Contact Eric at for more information or to register.

Cleveland Winterfest Camp – February 4th, 5th and 6th 2011, contact Angela Forster at or Eric at for more information.

More clinics including swim clinics will be conducted as well so please tune in to for more information.

Sunday group runs will resume once again in mid September out of Monroe at 7am at the Monroe Rail Trail.

Other 2011 Camps:

May = Connecticut Camp

June = Lake Placid Camp

August = CT Dos Camp



Monday, August 09, 2010

Where's the summer going?

The last two weeks have been a blur. First I was in Lake Placid for the Ironman. No, I wasn't racing this year, but I had 15 athletes that were, all crossing the finish line, a few even qualifying for Hawaii. I know it sounds cliche but I'll say it anyways; I was quite proud of everyone. As I remind everyone that completes an Ironman, whether it's their first or their 20th, it's a rare feat and they are in select company. Because we train quite hard for months on end, associate mainly with other triathletes, and see some very fast competitors, it's easy to take for granted the fact that you just swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles and ran 26.2 miles all in one day. Gus was unbelievably fit and the most prepared he's been entering a race. He had a tough day out there on the run and he knows now that it's not nutritional or mispacing but that it's mental. The IM is in his head and giving him the beat down. He'll figure it out though - I'm confident in this. He's a determined, talented and smart guy(Hope this doesn't go to his head). I've often said that the body follows the mind. If you anticipate something going wrong during the long day and focus on it, it'll happen. I mentioned to Gus that when he did his first IM at IMFlorida a bunch of years ago, he was relaxed and seemed at ease for most of the day. He had a stellar race. He needs to revisit this. Jamie finished in 10.5 hrs and looked solid out there all day. Morgan was right behind him and hanging tough on the marathon. She was doing her first IM and her determination and race intensity is something to see. Kramer, racing his 17th IM or something like that, pr'd this course and he did so with a huge hole in his ankle - we did mainly all his run training as water running. His wife Dena was racing her first IM and she embraced the day. Not only did she stay solid all day, but she did so with a smile and with character. It was honestly motivating for me to see this enthusiasm. Again, I don't want to take this great sport for granted. I race very selectively now because I want to get excited about the process and about the race. I want to be able to get myself up for a big day. Often, after being involved in sport for a long while, we mentally get stale, not physically. I remember Michael Jordan upon his retirement saying that he physically still felt as though he could compete, but that mentally he just couldn't envision getting himself "up" for each game in a full NBA season. I don't want to enter a race just to participate personally. I want to be competitive whether it's with others or with myself and my own times and personal records. I have no desire to race if I can't challenge myself in this way. It seems that in my 40's, the system for me is to race one season, then go easy the next, to let my mind recharge and get motivated to compete once again. Seeing and working with someone like Dena - her commitment, her nervousness, her excitement - it's organic, it's refreshing and it's inspiring to me. There were lots of cool performances in Lake Placid and Alan, Molson, Baker, Dan, Clint, Scott, Jen, Robin, Megan, James, Mark, Linda - you should all feel proud of your day. Of course it's easy to use hindsight now and pick apart how you could have gone faster but the bottom line is you took on the challenge, prepared well for it, and crossed that finish line.

I left LP at 3:30am on Monday morning to be in Greenwich early to see my PT clients, worked Tuesday, then on Wednesday, Lisa, the kids and I headed to Marthas Vineyard for a family vacation. the weather was ideal on MV and I actually got in some solid training. The kids participate in a kids camp each morning from 9 to noon, so I'd head out for a bike and run each day. I even ran into Sue Flemming out riding up near Chilmark one day decked out in her Bethel Cycle kit. I ran a pathetic 5k race while there and to punish myself for the slow time, I ran another 90 minutes that evening. The cool thing was the whole family ran the 5k, as well as our friends the Neumeyer's, the family we were vacationing with. The race was actually 3.24 miles according to my garmin (and a few of the other competitors concurred), but nonetheless, I was slow.

I was up in Hartford twice late last week, once for an information meeting for those interested in running the Disney Marathon for the American Liver Foundation. There will be two more information meetings this week, Tuesday in New Haven and Wednesday in Branford, so if you are around and would like to run the Disney Marathon in January with yours truly writing your coaching schedule, show up or send me a note. It's a great cause and the Disney Marathon is currently closed for applications so this is your only way in! Then Lisa and I were back up the next night to see the Black Eyed Peas. Say what you want but they are unbelievably entertaining. And Fergie is easy to look at.

That's all for now.



Saturday, July 24, 2010

I'm back up in LP

Big race tomorrow! I have 15 athletes primed and ready to roll at 7am ET. I arrived here in LP Thursday night around 5pm and I've been meaning to post but honestly, I haven't had a second to get on line.

As soon as I got out of the car Thursday, I went for a run, and by chance, met up with Molson, Gus and six other athletes I work with. Lots of familiar faces up here in LP, and also lots of attitude. It seems like IM's are getting more and more intense race week. Hawaii has, unfortunately, always been like this. But it was never intense like this at the domestic races and especially here in LP. Well, that's changed and I found/find myself shorter in patience. A few notes/tips for those considering doing an IM or for those that are doing them but may not know any better - You don't need to dress during race week like you can break into a race at any minute. Compression socks and Oakley Radars w/ a lycra shirt aren't really restaurant attire. And I definitely realize the sacrifice and effort that goes with preparing for an Ironman. Yet you don't need to stare down every other athlete as though they are your nemesis (unless they actually are). It also seems way more crowded here than last year which must represent the economy on the upswing.

Friday, I woke up early and did a solo ride up Whiteface posting my fastest ascent on this mountain to date which was a cool, small, personal victory. I then rode the course in reverse and met my athletes at the top of the big downhill on the race course on rt 73. We rode the downhill two to three times, having family members drive us back up. There was a light drizzle, yet everyone did well. Baker and Molson went down one more time as I rode back to LP. Next I met one on one with a bunch of athletes and then headed out for a run before finishing the day off at Molson's house who once again (third or fourth year now), kindly hosted a dinner party for my athletes.

This morning, I rode with Mike B. and the Bethel boys on the course (hot and humid ride!), met with more athletes, got in a nice swim including saving a pregnant women who was exhausted and didn't think she'd make it in to shore, then dinner w/ Baker and Ben and Jerry's.

All of my athletes look great - a bit nervous, yet injury free, slightly confident, and rested. Gus won the mossman sprint race in Norwalk CT outright last week so watch out for him tomorrow.



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Site Is Up!

My new web site is up. Actually, it's an early version still as Alan is still going to tweak a few things, but the main thing is the content. Check out a new article from Straz, Big Rocks, a profiled athlete feature on Jeff Kramer, as well as info on the AZ camp and other cool stuff. We are still looking for pictures (big pictures) for the site, as well as some race reports, camp mvp write ups,... And also stay tuned for some more featured columns like "Advice From The SloPro's" - the much anticipated column by Baker and Molson. I'd love some feedback.



Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Tri Changes?

I'm done training, hanging it up, retiring, ... Between viewing the World Cup and the Tour De France, there's no time. I'm actually enjoying training a bit in this heat wave we are having. I don't love training and racing in the extreme heat and humidity so this dose of it will be good for acclimating. If you are training mid day in this, just be sure to back off the effort a bit to acclimate properly and not blow up, and of course hydrate lots.

A few weeks ago, I was out on an early Saturday morning ride and just after nearly missing a coyote who dashed across the street in front of me (I've had two solid coyote encounters recently?), i ran into Marty C. who was working his corner. That is, his corner controlling traffic that he always works at the Griskus OD race. He tells me that he's getting back into it (he had a nasty crash last year) finally. Marty has been around the sport for awhile and I always enjoy seeing familiar faces who were around in the 90's racing, still at it. I even ran into LJ Briggs at Rev 3 this year - LJ began racing in the 80's! Anyway, Marty and I were discussing the sport a bit and how it's changed. I'm not a bitter person, and i don't sit around talking about how things used to be. But I'm gonna here: I think there has been some significant changes for the better in our lifestyle sport. However, one thing that Marty and I both agreed upon is that triathletes feel too entitled now adays. Race atmospheres have changed from athletes happy to be there at a race, feeling fortunate that good people organized events for them, to everyone and their mother walking around in compression socks with their $10K bike thinking they are a pro and bitching about what's wrong with the race they are about to do. It seems as though it's always something now; the swim is not accurate, the bike is dangerous, there's too much drafting, the waves aren't fair, or my favorite - the course is too challenging! Sure, race directing has become a business, but it's a headache of a business and, I don't know, I still feel that we should search out hard courses for the challenge and not find flat easy ones just to say that we did such and such a time for a 70.3, and that we should appreciate the fact that we have an outlet for our passion. It's even interesting how training protocols have gotten softer. I've heard often that people that haven't worked with me or don't know me have heard that I'm a high volume, aggressive coach. I like to think that I personalize each athletes plan according to the time they can realistically commit to their passion and also based on their goals. I also have a lot of respect for triathlon and racing in general and want all my athletes at the starting line confident and ready to race, and also ready to recover well from their hard race effort.

Another thing that's changing in regards to training is that we are becoming much to dependant on tech toys. As a coach, I depend on these tech toys like HR monitors and power meters to take the guess work out of how my athletes are handling the training load I provide. I love the technology in our sport as well, and I enjoy keeping updated on all the latest gadgets and science. Sometimes though you need to just feel. You need to get on your bike, without looking at a computer or watch, and just ride. And if you feel strong, cool, up the ante. If you are not feeling so studly, then keep it in the small ring up front, and take in the surroundings on your ride. Look around a bit instead of staring down at some instrument displaying numbers. Just feel. I have both sets of athletes at my camps; those who shun technology, in which I try to get them to use it just a bit more because typically, these athletes are training too hard on their easy days which doesn't allow them to recover well and make the most of their quality days. Then there are those who are way to dependant. I've taken away the toys at camps and had them just run or ride and at first it's like Aroid without a new girlfriend, but soon they not only adapt, but actually feel way less encumbered. There is a middle ground in everything.

So Alan promises me a new website this week and I've been a nag, holding him to it because I'm anxious to switch it up. We have some really good content so please check out this week and look for the new site. I'll also send out an announcement about it when it is ready to release. And if anyone has any race reports or anything of interest they want to contribute, please do.


Friday, July 02, 2010

Sat and Sun of LP Camp

Forgive the last sterile post. I'll try to be a bit more candid. I like to document what we did but I also feel it's important, yes, very f'n important, to post the extracurricular activities at camp. Not the Kenny and Alan gay experience - they can tell that story (they insist it was just once), but stuff like how much food Gus really eats, and how we found out that Mountain Mist Ice Cream is a drive through.

Saturday: We began at 6am at Mirror Lake for a swim. Today is a full tri day. Besides my group, the lake was empty. Most triathletes brick ride and runs regularly in their training, however, I feel most don't realize the importance of swim bike bricks. There is a significant metabolism and muscular change from swim to bike and it's important to practice this if you want to make this transition that much easier on race day. We all swam about an hour give or take and I don't know about anyone else, but the last thing I wanted to do at 6am on Saturday morning was get in the lake. But you know what, I really enjoyed it after the initial five minutes of being a pussy. It was peaceful and loosened me up a bit. I swam easier and it was almost relaxing (almost). We scarfed down some breakfast and by 8am, we were on the bikes. The plan was to ride two loops of the course, some doing the two loops without the out and back, and many doing the out and back along rt. 9 past 86 to Ausable Forks, which we now know will be the out and back on race day. The weather was comfortable and overcast. I started a few of the athletes fifteen minutes earlier, and took the main group out, instructing them as we began the climb after the bridge by the ski jumps on 73 on how they should ride today. Then Gus moved to the front and began pushing the pace a bit. Next moved up Alan who just told me he was going to ride easier today and now is working it up front, then Kramer shot to the front and was clearly working it, claiming he needed to warm up a bit. I decided I didn't want to be part of the shenanigans since they should mainly be riding steady/aerobic today, so I moved to the front and took off on my own to catch the earlier group. The previous day, I didn't pay much attention to my own hydration, paying mainly attention to all my athletes from camp, and I paid for it in the last 30 minutes. Today, I kept my hydration up and my calories coming and rode really strong. I rode with just about every athlete from my camp today. I never rode with Molson or Baker but I'm sure now that they never even rode Saturday. It started to rain lightly for the last 45 minutes or so of the ride but it actually wasn't a bother. One thing that really impressed me was how well my group rode today. They had done an extremely hard ride the previous day that I guarantee no one else up in LP had done and yet they looked stronger and more relaxed than most on Saturday. Yes, they all settled down after the initial cat and mouse stuff on 73 and rode smart. Yes, my group of athletes are the best and most well trained:) We ran 30 to 45 minutes as a brick on the run course, each on our own today. Finished the day with a discussion on mental/attitude, did some mvp's and watched the US lose to Guana. A 22 ounce UBU Ale from Nicola's was necessary and is also quite strong after a day like this. Two leaves you feeling really nice!

Sunday: The main session on Sunday for all my camps is the long run. Today was 2 to 2.5 hrs. I took a vote the day before for running on trails to Avalanche Lake versus running on the course and it was split which sucked because I sent Baker and Ken w/ some athletes to run the trails while I ran with the other athletes on the course and I would have 100% preferred to run the trails. A few wanted a bit more knowledge of the course which is great for the bike course but running is running. What they really want is confidence that they can run well on this course but that's tough to ask for after doing this run on the last day of a very busy and strenuous camp. I am all about experiences. You get a hell of a lot more of an experience from a trail run up to Avalanche Lake than from pounding the pavement. A few mentioned how they wanted to keep their normal stride and felt that the trails inhibit this, especially the really steep stuff. My answer here is that they will soon enough be right back to running their typical training routes back home and that the one run on trails, even if your stride may be shorter, won't effect their conditioning whatsoever. More over, the trails are much less punishing on extremely tired joints, tendons and ligaments, and the heart rate still is elevated quite high on some of the technical steep trails. Anyway, we ran the course and it was fine. I always offer some optional sessions on Sunday, either an easy swim or ride, but everyone is usually done after the long run both mentally and physically and they are anxious to pack up and get on the road. And you know what, the fact that no one takes up the optional sessions is actually not a bad thing. It would just be junk mileage. Plus they are all more than likely quite sick of me.

On my drive home, I thought a bunch about signing up for the 2011 LP IM...



Wednesday, June 30, 2010

LP Camp come and gone

I've mentioned too many times that "I'm back" after taking a blog hiatus - it's getting old and so I'll save the bullshit. Yes, I've been lazy about blogging. Funny, I still feel as though this is just a personal journal and that no one would be interested in reading it - it still seems so self absorbed. I have been called out quite a bit lately though, from many that I haven't blogged in awhile, and especially while I was in Lake Placid.

I just finished up my Lake Placid Camp and I'm quite tired! This camp was busy from the get go. Here's my documentation/notes on each day:

Tuesday: Camp begins on Wednesday evening, yet I recruited Molson and Gus to meet me up there earlier and do some reconnaissance. Jeff and I got a swim in in Mirror lake, my first swim (besides a quick splash in Tucson) since Kona last year. I actually felt ok?! The Vasa trainer must pay off a bit. It's always great seeing Jeff and Gus who have become two of my better friends.

Wednesday: The three of us ran from the Marriott about a mile and half to a trail that was great! It was hilly and well maintained and we did ran a few loops and a bit over an hour later were back and ready for breakfast. Next, we worked on Jeff's bike a bit then watched the US beat Algeria in extra time before heading out on the bikes. We rode the course in reverse including checking out the new out and back section. The roads were in really shitty condition, but the weather was good. The long climb up rt 73 (the big downhill on the course) is not that bad to ride up. It's just long. But ride Whiteface and this seems like a bump. The group began arriving and we met for another swim. Mirror Lake's water temperature was great - very comfortable. This early day up here really allowed me to escape CT and relax I guess. I really do love it up in Lake Placid. I mean, if you are an outdoor person, how could you not.

Thursday: First official day of camp. We started with a wet trail run near Mount Marcy (the highest peak in NY). This was a 1 hour 45 min trail run through pine forests, bogs, up steep hills, to an amazing lookout, then back. It rained on us, but when your running, rain doesn't matter. In fact, it kept the deer flies away and the conditions cool. The pace was comfortable and I kept the group together for the most part. Shoes were lost temporarily in the bog, Gus was thrown into puddles, and all laughed and played as though they were 10 again. Next was a bike ride on the course where we stopped every 20 minutes or so and I described the course and how to race it. The rain let up and actually, the sun popped out. We then met at Mirror lake for a swim. Afterwards, mvp awards were passed out to Scott B. and Mark M. and then it was already dinner time! Day one done.

Friday: Early start as we were riding up the Whiteface Mountain access road to the top of Whiteface, and you need to be off this road by 8:30am when the open it up to cars. Ive done the climb up Whiteface numerous times and it's always been rainy, foggy, freezing, ... This day, conditions were ideal - cool and not a cloud in the sky. the views were absolutely amazing. There were many training camps taking place this week/weekend and I never saw any of them leave the IM course. To miss out on this climb and these views is a shame! I guess if they have never seen it, they don't realize what they are missing. Still, in my view, it's a shame. We descended Whiteface where I had some amazing speed wobbles on my road bike to the point where I thought for sure I was going down. Need to figure out what's going on there. Then we took a back road we call "the land of the lost" which is once again, off the course, yet connects in Ausable Forks on Rt. 9. We then road the course in reverse. The sun was getting strong, yet riding up rt 73 once again seemed easier after ascending Whiteface earlier in the ride. five hour day in the saddle. We followed this up with a brick run on a nice shaded trail, then we drove down 86 and soaked our sore legs in the gorge while and had a discussion. We followed this up with stretching and Brennan gave an overview of MyAthlete. More MVP's to the chicks (Dena, Morgan, and Gus) and then dinner.

I'll finish Saturday and Sunday and an overview later. I did a lot of thinking at this camp which can be dangerous and I have a lot to express here. Although I'm not promising anything!



Sunday, May 30, 2010

Two Interesting Training Runs

Everyone is or should be in full training mode right now for their up and coming races. I've had many people asking me if and where I'm racing this season which I appreciate. As a coach, I'm providing my athletes a path that hopefully builds their fitness, expands their mental and physical limits, and puts them on the starting line of their goal races confident and ready. Because I've committed myself to an "every other year big goal" plan as of lately, it's easy for me to get distracted with others on my in between years and forget that I also need some carrots out there to pursue. I also feel it's important for me to practice what I preach. I want to race in a 70.3 or two, but need to find some that fit in my calendar. June looks shot as of right now between recitals, soccer tournaments, Camps, ... My main goal this season will most likely be Olympic Distance Nationals in Tuscaloosa in September. I need a qualifying race first though.

I've been running a few days a week with my wife, including a great run that we did last Saturday in Central Park. We stayed in NYC last Friday night to celebrate our 15 year anniversary. Saturday morning was beautiful weather and as we made our way warming up easily to Central Park South, we merged in with a bunch of runners that were being paced by official Nike pacers for the up and coming 1/2 marathon taking place in NY. This worked well since they new the trail system through the park. Honestly, there were maybe 10,000 runners in the park that morning! I'm used to running all alone in the trails near my home so the visual stimulation was fun. Lisa is more competitive then me - if she lived in NY and ran in the park regularly, she'd get injured or burned out quick. She hates getting passed and all her runs would end up as tempo.

Speaking of running in the trails alone and running tempo, I had a cool experience yesterday in the trails near my home that I run in all the time. I had about 90 minutes to work in a run in between soccer games and I planned to work the hills and also work in two by 20 minute tempo efforts. About one hour in, I was working a hill over on a single track trail and as I crested it, about fifteen feet in front of me, I startled a pack of young coyotes. There were maybe 10 or 12 of them scrambling everywhere and I froze in my tracks, turned off my music, and looked everywhere for A) their elders, and B) a big stick. This was the first time I've ever seen coyotes in these trails that I've been running weekly for the last ten years.

There are only four weeks left until my LP Camp! If you haven't signed up yet, what are you waiting for???



Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Here's a picture of some of the group from CT Camp after climbing over Mt. Everett from MA to NY. Notice all the Cannondales!

I am finally all caught up with 24 - Holy shit! They are going out with a bang.

Stay tuned for the new website.



Sunday, May 16, 2010

Last Day of CT Camp:(

I'll be brief here this evening since I'm limited on time and have a bucket load of emails in my inbox to get to.

Jeff molson and I were chatting a bit after the long run today (more on this run in a bit) and he couldn't figure out why this camp wasn't filled up and with a waiting list. I told him it was due to two things: 1) Most have no idea how great the training venue is in upper Northwest CT. I often think back to Gus E.'s first time considering coming up to this camp. He said point blank to me "why should I attend a camp in Connecticut? Convince me to go." I convinced him and he's been back many times since. 2) the camp seems a bit expensive at first, but what most don't realize is how much you get and that it's a one time fee basically, unless you are Q ordering pricey bottles of wine at dinner. Jeff's words were "this is the best camp", and this is coming from a guy who has attended all my Tucson and LP camps and also my Palm springs camp. I happen to agree. the terrain is harder than all the other camps. The roads are in the best condition compared to all other camps. The pool is incredible. The food is incredible. Listen, I love my Tucson Camp and my LP Camp. they are both amazing places and we have managed to find the best of what these places have to offer as well. However, the CT Camp is still the top of the food chain.

Back to today: Today was long run day. We began from the Interlaken Inn and ran 2 miles to a trail that parallels rt. 41. We followed this trail north for a few miles until it popped out on rt. 44. From here, we ran pavement for maybe 1/2 mile until connecting with the Appalachian Trail. We then ran the Appalachian Trail to what Jeff dubbed "Eric's Lookout" which is an amazing lookout on the Appalachian Trail in the Berkshires. There is a ton of uphill to get there and everyone was quite quiet and plugging away. The lookout is well worth the climb. It was perfect weather and a beautiful run, mostly on trails. We then went down to the lake and soaked our tired legs for a bit before heading to breakfast and calling it a camp.

Thanks to all who participated. I had a blast working and training with all of you and hopefully, you had fun as well.

Oh, Morgan set the EH CT Camp TT record for the women. My post from Friday suggested she set the overall record and I don't want the guys laying into me.



Saturday, May 15, 2010

CT Camp - Day 3

Saturday at camp is always a big day. Typically, I like to work in a long hard bike followed by a solid run/brick. Today, I added in a swim first thing to make it a full tri day.

We went over to Hotchkiss pool at 7am to get in a solid session of shorter intervals, but decent yardage. I gave Morgan and Quentin a set of 5 100's and told them I wanted them all done in 1:10. they looked at me as though I had two heads and then proceeded to bang out five all in 1:06 to 1:07.

Breakfast and then onto the bikes. It was a beautiful day in northwest CT; sunny and in the low 70's. Lot's of wind but that just adds to the fun in my book. I took the group on a killer ride in both altitude gained and scenery. For those that know the area, we rolled down 112 to the junction of rt7 where we gave Dangle the nine finger salute, then headed up over Music mountain (first solid climb), then right onto rt 63 where you climb forever, albeit gradually, up to rt 4 in Goshen, back to cornwall, south on 7, then up Carter Hill which is the hardest climb in CT. Q reached the top and declared it was the hardest climb he's ever done including the long epic Spain climbs. Descend to Warmaug then climb Anderson Acres out of warmaug, descend Geer Mtn and stop in Kent for some gelato, ride north on 7 then west on rt 4 which is a 4 mile climb and back mudge pong/indian Mtn rd.

We split basically into two groups and my group was very compatible. Morgan, Q, and Kevin. Morgan will be the top amateur female at Lp, mark my words. I hope she doesn't read this so that she doesn't feel any added pressure but she is solid across the board.

We topped off the five hour ride with a 50 minute run with again, you guessed it, more hills. Hills make you strong. Repeat. Hills make you strong.

OK, boring post but it's late and honestly, it was such perfect weather and such a great training day that I really cant do it justice anyways.



Friday, May 14, 2010

Day Two - Testing Day

I don't know what was in the dessert last night but I had some funky dreams and slept erratically. Molson, Q, and I made an early morning 6:15am coffee run to Millerton, then we met the group in front of the Interlaken to jog the 1/8th of a mile to the Hotchkiss track next door. Hotchkiss just rebuilt their track and inner field and they pulled all the stops - this facility is nicer than most university tracks. The group did a mile and a half warm-up and then we jumped right into the testing. We were establishing threshold heart rates and setting up run training zones. After the cooldown, everyone met for breakfast before suiting up to ride.

This ride is simply amazing. No, I'm not embellishing. If you ride a bike, than you can certainly appreciate the ride we did today. It rolls out for an hour before hitting a solid longer climb, then there is a beautiful rolling country road and then 1 hr 45 min in, we begin the eight mile point to point time trial on another rolling road with no cross traffic. After the TT, we spin around beautiful twin lakes then ride the rollers out to a monster 5+ mile climb from MA into NY, then switchback descents that make you feel as though you are in Europe, then a bike path and country road of rollers for an hour back. A 4.5 hr ride with some serious elevation gain, a time trial, nice rolling roads, a super descent, no traffic, great road conditions, and oh, it was in the 70's and sunny for most of the ride!

I sent out everyone on the TT in one minute intervals. I held many of the bikes while the athletes locked in and prepped for take off. Jeff Molson was up and said "Ready Eric?" Problem was I wasn't near his bike. He thought I was holding it and tried to clip in and went right down on his side. After we found out he was fine, we all had a good laugh. OK, I was actually laughing before finding out he was ok. It was like one of those trust exercises where someone falls backwards trusting someone else to catch them, only I wasn't there. Morgan C. rode further today then she has ever ridden in her life and she also set a new course record for the EH CT Camp eight mile TT - how cool is that!

We had to high tail back the last hour because I had the Hotchkiss pool booked for a late afternoon swim. We had the whole pool to ourselves - actually, both pools. I was anticipating a lot of leg cramping so I gave them a long set that included some of everything to keep it interesting and that put them all around 3000 yds give or take.

Before you know it, the day was done and we were back at the Interlaken Bar enjoying a round before dinner. The group has already bonded quite well making the dinners fun and relaxing and less about triathlon.

Time to get some rest because we have a big day planned tomorrow and I always love the Saturday CT Camp ride. We are missing Gus though - you should be here! And I miss Annmarie yelling at me.



Thursday, May 13, 2010

CT Camp - Day 1!

I'm back! Not just on my blog, but also back up in Lakeville at my CT Camp, and today was a kinda perfect training day I must say.

I don't need to reiterate how much I like it up here or how one day up here puts me in a good place. We met up here at 10am, ready to ride. It was sunny and in the high 60's and no wind. The ride was 4 hours including some controlled hill reps thrown in. Over 5000 feet of climbing on day one. We followed up the ride with a beautiful trail run that winds on single track over creeks, and up and down rolling hills, finishing along a hidden lake. OK, I got us a bit lost, but that just adds to teh adventure. We then did some running technique drills followed by assisted stretching and soaking our legs in the lake. Cap the day off with a great dinner and a few nice dark ales and all is well.

I'll talk more about the group as the camp goes on but one thing I stressed a bunch today was that we need to start training more with our race day efforts in mind. not only physically, but nutritionally. I've had the opportunity to train recently with quite a few triathletes training for ironmans and 70.3's and I'm amazed by the inconsistency in their training efforts and their ignorance towards fuel. To be more specific, a triathlon is about sustaining a steady effort. It doesn't mean that you ride easy until you get to a hill, hammer up the hill as hard as possible, then recover until you get to the next hill. It also doesn't mean riding three hours and drinking only one bottle of fluid and eating hardly anything. If you really want to screw up your race, keep doing this (if this type of training seems similar for some reason). But if you want to truly excel an tap into what you are capable of, lose the ego, and train like you plan on racing.

Big day tomorrow, so time for bed. I'll try to be a bit more animated tomorrow.



Saturday, April 24, 2010

Running on the treadmill in Cabo

I was in Cabos, Mexico with my family this past week while my kids were on spring break. I loved Cabo, however, running on the roads there was less than desirable. I ran the beach one day which was great for my cardiovascualr system, but lousy for my running form and injury prevention considering the beach was steeply pitched and had very loose sand. So I hit the resort gym on Monday morning to put some time in on the treadmill. The treadmills looked out over the beach and at the famous rock formations in the ocean at the southern tip of Cabo where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific - not a bad view while torturously running and running in place. There was no AC in the gym. Just a slight breeze blowing in through the open windows. This run was going to be a hot one considering I wanted to get in some tempo work. I brought the treadmill up to 8.5 and hopped on expecting to settle into a 7 min mile pace and almost ran through the front of the machine as the dope in me soon realized the machine was set up in Kilometers per hour.

During the warm-up I was still feeling the omelet I ate less than an hour earlier because I showed no self restraint at breakfast. This is a family vacation and my training shouldn't interfere with that so if I can sneak in some training during the trip, bonus. If not, I've done this long enough to know that A) a week isnt going to seriously effect my plan, and B) some things are more important. However, my son coincidentally had a buddy staying at the resort (what are the chances of us running into a familiar family - one of Ryan's teammates - 3000 miles away from home staying at the same resort?), and Kate had no trouble meeting friends within minutes of arriving at the resort, meaning I could sneak out at the right opportunities for a little bit of me time.

Out in the Sea of Cortez, a few surfers were patiently waiting for the right set to come rolling in. Surfing is something that requires a tremendous amount of fitness, yet surfers don't consider it training whatsoever as they paddle vigorously, pop up and balance using much of their core and lower body. They are engulfed in the thrill which is quite contrary to endurance sports. Going out for a run is not fun like surfing. Don't kid yourself - the outcome and of the training makes it rewarding. Yes, there are times during runs that can be fun, but as a whole, it's really feeding the endorphins and the reward of the accomplishment. There isn't the thrill of excitement like there is in surfing, or playing a pick-up game of basketball, or skiing. As I watched the surfers, my motivation for running on the treadmill dipped a bit, yet viewing the majority of chubby people poolside in their bathing suits kept me going. But am I really that caught up in vanity? I've been married now for 15 years and I don't think Lisa is going anywhere. Not that I would stop training anyways, but just entertaining the fact that part of the reason I was sweating buckets in place at the moment was to not feel guilty about overindulging a bit on vacation. I feel better plus of course I know that I'll go faster with little bodyfat, but I'll also generalize that every endurance athlete is somewhat vein. Maybe it just bothers me a small bit that we are, but it is a reality.

With the warm-up done, I brought the treadmill up to 15 km per hour and did 6 X (2 min at a 6% grade, 3 min at a 1% grade). A heavy, older guy is now huffing and puffing as he walks on the treadmill next to mine. By interval number two, I was focused on just the training and I felt strong. I was zoned in on only the task at hand and all the previous distractions dissipated. I stayed in this clear headed, single focus mode until the cooldown where it hit me; sessions like this are the catalysts that help me relax. Trying to relax beachside, my mind is all over the place. But when I'm doing a harder training session, I'm focused only on one thing and it naturally kind of blanks out my mind. And for the rest of the day I feel better because of it and I'm much more tolerant of anything thrown at me.

As I stopped the treadmill, exhausted yet feeling great, the fat old guy next to me says "is that all you got you big pussy?".

Sorry for the long blog hiatus. I'm back now.



Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Riding to Warmaug and training w/ power

I've been able to log a few decent outdoor rides since arriving home from Tucson a few weeks ago. I did my first Lake Warmaug ride last week on a beautiful 65 degree sunny day. Riding around Lake Warmaug is extremely popular to any cyclist in Western Connecticut. I have done this route so many times and yet it never loses it's allure. It's not just the eight mile beautiful loop around the lake though - to me, this part of the ride is just an easy section to recover and get in some nutrition along with beautiful scenery. The round trip ride from my house is roughly 85 miles give or take (I have a few different route options that can lengthen or shorten the trip by a couple of miles) and the whole ride is picturesque, riding along New Englend country roads. The ride out through Southbury and into Roxbury, then Washington is relentless with hills. Nothing to big, but there is one right after the other and some very steep. The return trip is not much different. This course takes it's toll on you. But I love it and just like putting the top down on a convertible or opening up all the house windows on that first spring like Saturday of the year, it signifies a change of seasons for me, putting a period on the end of winter. Sure, we may get a few crappy, cold wintery days still, but my mind is now focused on Spring time and, again, I love it! I love the thought of early Saturday bike rides, and running in daylight at 7:30pm. As much as I try to make each year a bit different, there are traditions and events I've become accustomed to that just feel good. The Warmaug ride is one of them.

I took my Cannondale Slice out for the first time of the year on this loop. I rode my road bike in Tucson and do most of my early season training on my road bike, but I felt like taking out the rocket. The combination of my position being dialed in on this bike, the fact that the bike is just plain fast, and also that it looks extremely fast (yes, there is a huge placebo effect here) meant that I was riding probably harder than I should have, but that's ok. Sometimes you need to bend the margins a bit. When you do it regularly, that's when we get ourselves into trouble.

I was thinking a lot about training with power while riding out to Warmaug and keeping an eye on my own wattage. Training with power has become extremely popular and yet I feel most really don't know how to use their expensive power meter correctly. There are some great books on training with power yet, they can be overly complicated and take some of the enjoyment out of training in general. plus, I feel that many of the tests that are set up for testing threshold are inaccurate. Take functional threshold for example; this is measured by the average power you can exert by going as hard as you can for an hour. many athletes and coaches do and give this test and then extrapolate training plans based off of this number. Yet, most don't really get a super accurate depiction of one's functional threshold because it's extremely hard to push as hard as you can for one hour. Many will do the test and come up with a number. Then, they race an Olympic distance triathlon or bike race and see that they maintained a much higher average power output during an hour portion of the race. So how do you figure out what power zones are correct for you? You ride a bunch, and review your power information and/or have your coach review it. I have athletes that are training for an IM, and they give me their average watts for a 5 hour training ride, yet this number may be front or rear loaded. I want to know where there power was early in the ride, late in the ride, and what their heart rate was doing in correlation to their power, and also how they refueled during the ride. I'll also have them ride a set course at a certain heart rate every six to eight weeks and we will analyze their power output for this course. If their weight hasn't increased and the conditions are similar, then it's a pretty accurate depiction on whether you are making decent training gains, not recovering well, training ineffectively, ... The point is, don't get to fixated on a certain number because it may in fact limit you. It's quite similar to all these triathletes and cyclists that spend a good amount of hard earned cash on a bike fit where they are analyzed on a trainer indoors, and even though the fit may take over an hour, they are pedaling easily on the bike for maybe 10 or 15 minutes. Well, then you see them 90 minutes into a hard outdoor ride and they are sitting on their bike in a totally different manner than their "professional" fit suggested mainly because they are uncomfortable, not generating decent power, ... What I'm saying is that real world analyzing and testing trumps a lot of the lab junk.

Enough on this though, the main idea behind this post is that Spring is here, so get out there and enjoy it!



Friday, March 05, 2010

Finally finishing Tucson Camp Report and other crap.

I came back from my Tucson camp into a busy life that included catching up on my PT business, working with some new athletes to the EH coaching group, my kids busy schedules amongst other things and before you know it, over a week has passed. I wanted to get down my final thoughts on the Tucson Camp since this camp not only went off really well, but I also had a hell of a lot of fun.

Five years ago I put on a camp in Palm Springs/Joshua Tree National Park area. Brian Grasky from Tucson was there and asked if I'd be interested in putting on a camp in Tucson - in which I did the following year. The very first time I rode up Mt. Lemmon, I knew that this was the place for my winter camp.

Day 5 of camp began with a swim session. The group was in the pool at 7am and I put them through a short yet challenging session, banging out a bunch of fast, descending 50's. Big Leo did most of them under 30 seconds! Quick breakfast at Jamba of course and then we all prepped to ride up Lemmon. I broke the camp into three groups, leaving at staggered times from the hotel, with the idea to get everyone to the top of Lemmon around the same time. It was in the mid 70's at 2500 feet as we spun the 30 minutes over to the base of the climb.

Once you hit "mile 0", the constant elevation begins. The first seven miles are probably the most challenging on Lemmon. There are some steeper gradients higher up, but the first seven miles is a very constant climb. The temperatures were still warm during this early climbing phase. At my camps, whenever we have a big challenge in front of us like Lemmon, or Whiteface in NY, or the Saturday CT Camp ride, I can tell right away that most of the campers really want to do their own thing for the session. The fact that everyone shows up with their ipod headphones in ear is a subtle hint that says "leave me the f'k alone today!" So as we started to climb, I settled into a rhythm and just rode, instead of worrying about spending time with each camper. I did ride up on most and spend a few minutes with each one, gaining a sense of how they were doing and if they did indeed want some company. But for the most part, everyone was focused on doing their own thing and probably solving life's problems as they climbed and climbed listening to whatever it is that adds that touch of rhythm or motivation.

About half way up, I was alone and so I turned on my Oakley Thumps and the first song that pops on is ironically the Foo Fighters "Times like These". I'm riding in shorts and a sleeveless jersey in March up one of the best climbs one can do, pedaling my bike on this gorgeous sunny day and thinking it doesnt get much better.

I had good legs this day, yet kept the pace controlled and aerobic, reminding myself often that it's only March, and so I just relaxed and enjoyed the scenery. At about mile 20, the climb descends for a bit then rolls. Now you are up over 8000 feet and there is a few feet of snow on the ground and the temperatures were in the low 50's. I'm still in shorts and no sleeves and I felt fine except for my hands which were getting numb from the cold. I hit the right turn for the ski area at the 25 mile mark in two hours flat and climbed the last two miles - the steepest two miles out of the 27. People were skiing at this small ski slope on top of this mountain!

A quick descent and we all gathered at the cookie shack for a snack, before adding a bunch of layers of clothing and descending back down. There were lots of cyclists riding Lemmon today, including a few from the Garmin Transitions squad.

Over two hours to climb, and maybe 45 minutes to descend. The descent is a blast, with big sweeping turns and nice roads. You barely have to touch your brakes. Some of the snow run off up top did make me a bit nervous, but otherwise, it was let er rip.

These days, the ones where you do something that you can only do at certain places in the world, are the ones that mean something. These are the days that make these training camps memorable and that give you confidence to carry into the big training towards the season when you get home. On December 31st, 2010, when one is reflecting back on what they did in 2010, this is a day that will stand out.

We all regrouped at the hotel and did an easy 30 minute brick run, and followed this up with some great food from Zona 78 including some great beer and wine.

The camp wasn't done however. Friday, we awoke to make the short drive over to Sabino Canyon to run the telephone line once again. I gave the campers three options, all which would take somewhere between 90 minutes and two hours. The two hour option was to run the telephone line trail up, over, and down to the road, then turn and head back up, over and down, traversing back the way we came. This is a grueling yet beautiful run. Kerri from last years camp and a friend of hers joined us for this run. The sun pops up over the mountains sometime between 7:30 and 8am and seems to warm you instantly. Sabino Canyon is just incredible - I sat next to a guy on the flight home who's lived in Tucson for 18 years now, maybe 5 miles from Sabino Canyon, and yet he's never been there!? That's just pathetic, and I told him this.

Molson was heading out Friday afternoon which meant he'd miss the last long ride. Jeff, who has had his share of back issues, did amazingly well with the training this week. He seemed to get stronger each day as well. But where he really shined was the energy he added to the camp. Jeff seems to really embrace the experience and enjoy every moment of it. This enviroment - this is where he shines. He had us laughing all week, so thanks for that jeff! He and Gus have become very frequent campers. These two have attended almost every camp I've hosted over the last six or seven years, and as much as I appreciate their loyalty, I appreciate their friendship more. Enough on them though because they may actually read this and I don't want their heads to swell.

The final camp ride left from the hotel and headed west on a bike path through town to Gates pass, climbed over Gates pass and then did the McCain loop through Saguaro Park west. Very solid ride, everyone held up really well and yes, it was sunny and in the 70's. I could elaborate more but this post is already lengthy and I'm getting a bit bored with it, so until next year, adios Tucson!

OK, the other crap is going to have to wait until my next post.



Thursday, March 04, 2010

Tucson - Day 4

Day 4, everyone is typically a bit tired and emotions can run high when you are tired. It's easy to overanalyze and over dramatize. I was suprised at, given the fact that many were quite tired, attitudes were still excellent. So we decided to be adventerous and start the day with one of my favorite places to run which is back at Sabino Canyon and this time we would tackle Bear Canyon/Seven Falls. I knew that with the wet winter Tucson had and the snow melting from the mountain caps, the river would be flowing, so I told everyone to prepare to get wet.

This trails follows against the river, go up the canyon. it's a constant elevation gain on the way out and you have to cross the river six or seven times to stay on the trail. the water crossings were deep and most had fun spplashing through the cold water as though they were kids again.

I'm always interested at these camps to see who responds well to some of the training I throw at them. Running these trails takes an adventerous heart. Many endurance athletes are to focused on numbers. Their pace per mile, their heart rate, their distance, ... But in March, when most arent racing for awhile, the benefits of a run like this far surpass any other type of training run they could be doing. Why? because it builds aerobic fitness, strength, agility and lateral stability, and most importantly, it's a blast and something you will remember. I reminded those with me that soon they will be back at home running there same old routes and that they should cherish this experience. Gus, Brad, and Brian took it all in, and the huge grins on their face was enough to let me know they were loving this trail run. They all commented that it was the best run they have ever done, and you know what? I have to agree.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Tucson - Day 3

I always think that I'll get some solid sleep while at my camps given the fact that we are usually back in our rooms by 8:30pm, I don't have the kids who may wake me up, and we begin each day around 6:30am compared to 4:30am when I am home. It never happens though - the solid sleep that is. I've been up at 3:30am everyday thus far, and I usually adapt quickly to a time change so I don't think it's that.

Tuesday was a great "typical" day at camp keeping in mind that no camp day is typical compared to what we are used to back home. I thought I'd run through what takes place:

6am: Starbucks run (I get a grande quad americano)

6:30am: meet in hotel lot to drive over to Saguaro Park East for a 1 hr run

7-8am: run in the park which was amazing this morning once again. The run starts on a hilly road that has you feeling as though you are on a roller coaster. The sun was just popping up and the air temps were perfect for running in - in the upper 50's. The views in this desert park seem fake, given that everything looks perfect. The trail that cuts through the center of this park is one of my favorites. it's a constant gradual climb, something the campers are getting used to out here, and to me, it's just amazingly peaceful.

8:30am: breakfast at Jamba Juice and Brueggers (i prefer the peanut butter moo'd shake with a whey protein boost and a couple of bagels with nothing on them)

10:30am: meet to drive up to Oro Valley Pool.

11am: ride from the pool north up to Oracle. This again is a constant gradual uphill on the way to Oracle. It was bizarre in the sense that it felt like the crest of the hill was just ahead yet it never came?. The pace started very social and then some of the campers were feeling a bit jumpy and it started to get fun. The descent back was a blast yet there was also a strong headwind which meant that you couldn't just coast. The group was still hitting it hard and i have a feeling that they are going to be a bit beat today (Wednesday). I reiterate constantly that this is base training and stay aerobic the majority of the time since we are piling on some solid volume, but hosting camps for over ten years now has taught me that most athletes want to hammer without thinking to much about the next few days.

3-4pm: swim - We did mostly drill work and stroke and form evaluation.

5-6pm: Bill Daniels reviewed video of the campers swim strokes.

6:15pm: Dinner at El Charro. Gus out did himself this evening, putting on an eating clinic. They had negro modelo on tap which meant that I was happy. Dinner was followed by Frost gelato once again.

Solid day! Great day.



Monday, March 01, 2010

AZ day 2

ok, super short because it was a very busy day and I still have a bunch of schedules to write. But it was a great day! Sunny and 70 - hard to beat. started with a 90 min swim at an amazing outdoor pool with what appeared to be 80 lanes, sitting at the foothills of the mountains. Breakfast, then 4 hour ride out to Colossal Cave and then a few loops in Saguaro Park East, and I wore just bib shorts and a sleeveless jersey - nice! Followed up the ride with a short brick run. We just came back from dinner and Frost gelato, which we will hit every night this week. Tonight I went with 1/2 peanut butter crunch, 1/2 vanilla. The group did really well today. There's been no bitching at all. Everyone is fun - not a single person getting on my nerves!

For a more detailed version of today, check out Molson's blog post that includes description, pictures, elevation charts, ... He got the MVP last night and he still angling for more I think.

Tomorrows a big day, including a 12 mile climb up Kitt Peak.



Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tucson Camp Day 1 and 2

Arrived in Tucson yesterday afternoon. This is my fourth year hosting this camp here and it's great once again to be back. I feel like I really know the place now. Gus and I traveled out together and had smooth travels. Not as exciting as Tom and Huck (Molson nicknames for Jeff and Brian from Missouri) who saw Gwen Stefani on their flight from Vegas to Tucson. Molson had the woman beater Chris Brown on his flight from Dallas to Tucson. I had Gus.

We have a very solid and compatible group this year and once again, what's more important is that they are all fun and like to laugh.

Today started with an early Starbucks run because that's the tradition now. We then made the very short drive to Sabino Canyon to start this camp off with a run over the telephone line trail - one of my favorite run routes ever. For the first time that I've ever experienced here, it was raining steadily. It was cool yet perfect running weather. The water was rushing through some of the usually dried out river beds and overflowing the lower road and trail that starts and finishes this great run and it was cold yet fun sloshing through the knee deep water. There something that takes you back to your youth about running with sneakers and clothes through water. This group didn't blink as we splashed through the first stream which sends a subtle signal my way that we have the right crew here. Molson sent over some elevation charts from the run which you can see on his AZ camp blog here: We climbed over 1000 feet in 2.5 miles!

The day was damp and cold, yet the rest of the week calls for sun and 70's so all is solid here. If anyone is interested in seeing what we are doing out here training wise, check out:

More tomorrow.