Saturday, December 24, 2011

December 24th Challenge

December 24th Challenge: One Arm Snatch - 12 reps per side, no rest right into Lateral Jumps (See December 20th Challenge) for 12 jumps each way - jump as high as you can!!, Right into Planks w/ Leg Lift - perform a plank on your elbows and keep the glutes tight as you slowly lift one leg, keeping it straight, don't bend at the knee, about 1 foot off the floor, hold for 2 to 3 sec, lower slowly then lift the other foot, hold for 2 to 3 sec and lower. this equals one rep. Do 20.

Friday, December 23, 2011

December 23rd Challenge

December 23rd Challenge: 80 push-ups and 80 v-ups! Easy

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December 21st Challenge

December 21st Challenge: 2/3rds of the way there, don't fold now! Push-up Rows - get in a push-up position but holding/supporting your weight on two dumbells (10-25 lbs), directly under your shoulders. perform a regular push-up, then at the top of the push-up, balance and perform a row with one arm, pulling the dumbell up towards your side/waist. Lower the weight and go directly back into a push-up, then back into a row with the same arm. perform 10 reps on the one arm, then next time through the circuit, use the other arm for rows. After the first set of Push-up Rows, go into Standing Alternating Shoulder Press - standing, holding two dumbells of medium weight at each shoulder, palms/hands facing inwards towards your head, press one directly up overhead while simultaneously rotating palm/hand from the shoulder so that when arm is fully extended overhead, the palm/hand is facing forward, then lower back to the starting position, then do the other side. this equals one rep. Perform 10-12 reps, then move on to woodchoppers (see Dec 12th Challenge for woodchoppers description). 12 reps per side or 24 total. Do 4 circuits of the above three exercises.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December 20th Challenge

December 20th Challenge: Angled Lunges w/ Anterior Raise - standing, holding either two 5 to 8 lb dumbells or a 5 to 10lb medicine ball, Step with your right foot across your left side and not straight forward but at an angle, moving towards your left. As you step out, drop into a lunge, lowering the left knee towards the floor and simultaneously raising the arms straight forward to about eye level. Then push off the right foot and spring back up to the starting position, lowering the arms as you do. Then do the same lunge w/ anterior raise but this time lunge out with your left foot and towards the right side. Perform 10 reps towards each side. Then go right into 10-12 lateral jumps - place an object on the ground like a dumbell, medicine ball, small stool, ... Stand next to it so that it is just to the right side of your right foot. Squat down and jump forcefully and as high as possible laterally over the object landing in the squatted/loaded position on the right side of the object. Then forcefully jump as high as possible back over the object, landing in the starting position on the left side of it. Move right into a set of 15 per side bicycle crunches (see dec 13th challenge). 3 circuits of these three exercises.

Monday, December 19, 2011

December 19th Challenge

December 19th Challenge: Squat/Shoulder Press Combo (increase the weight you have been using for these and do 10 reps), move right into 15 reps of Bench Dips (if these are easy, put your feet up on a physioball or another bench. Remember, lower your butt slowly towards the floor and get a good range of motion before pushing back up), then go right into 20 supermans. 4 sets/circuits!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dec 17th Challenge

Dec 17th Challenge: Jumping Lunges - stand in a split leg stance, left foot out front, right foot behind, nice and wide. Lunge downward, dropping the rear knee close to the floor, keeping the front lower leg vertical, and the torso straight, then explosively jump upwards as hard and high as you can and simultaneously switch leg positions so that you land with your right foot out front, and your left foot behind, land in the lower lunge position with your left knee close to the floor, then jump up again back to the first position. This equals 1 rep. perform 10 reps, then go to Plank Rows, 10 reps per arm (up the weight from previous times I've had you do this challenge), then go right into Double Crunches for 20 to 25 slow reps. perform 3 sets.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Dec 16th Challenge

Dec 16th Challenge: One Arm Snatch again for either 10 reps per side with a heavier dumbell or 15 reps w/ the same dumbell you used on the 1st and 9th. Right into Punching - holding lighter dumbells (4 to 12 lbs) in each hand, hands at your shoulders, elbows back, standing with knees slightly bent, throw out a quick left punch/jab and twist the waist into it, pull it back and quickly throw out a right punch/jab. left, right, left right for 1 minute quickly. Right into side planks - lie on your side, prop yourself up on one elbow, hips/legs off the floor and body aligned, hold for 30 to 45 seconds, flip over and do the other side. 3 circuits of these 3 exercises.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dec 15th Challenge

Dec 15th Challenge: Front Lunges - stand in a split leg lunge position but place the rear foot up on a bench, chair, step... lower into a lunge position, remember to start with the feet spread far enough, one in front, one behind, so that the front lower leg stays vertical. Focus on lowering the back knee towards the floor, keeping your torso erect and head up. Once the rear knee is an inch from the floor, push back up to starting position, perform 11 more reps, then switch feet position and do 12 reps for the other side. You should feel this a lot in the quad of the front leg. If it's easy, hold dumbells in each hand. Go from the front lunges into 12 reps of Standing Curls/Shoulder Press Combo (you should know what these are by now, but if not, look back at previous challenges). Next go right into a set of Supermans. Lay face down on the floor with arms extended as though flying. Raise one arm/shoulder off the floor using the low back, while simultaneously raising the opposite leg off the floor and squeezing the glutes. Your range of motion is small in this. Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds then lower and repeat w/ other side. 12 reps per side. Do 3 sets/circuits of the above.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December 13thh Challenge

Dec 13th Challenge: Bench Jumps - stand in front of a bench, feet shoulder width apart, do a deep squat, then jump as high as you can, landing ontop of the bench with knees soft/flexed, step down easily and repeat. 13 reps. Go right into Plank Rows (see Dec 4th Challenge) for 13 reps each side, then go right into Bicycle Crunches; 13 reps per side or 26 total, and do these slowly, not fast. Perform 3 sets/circuits of the above three exercises.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dec 12th Challenge

Dec 12th Challenge: Walking Lunges - hold 2 to 20 lb dumbells in each hand, do 10-12 reps per side (step forward w/ right leg into a lunge, come back up and then step forward with left leg into a lunge, come back up; this equals one full rep), Curl/Shoulder press combo for 10-12 reps, then woodchoppers for 10 reps - hold a 10-15 lb dumbell w/ both hands, standing, feet shoulder width apart, slight bend in the knee, bend and touch the weight between your feet to the floor, then come up in a swinging motion and twist towards one side as you reach the weight up over one shoulder/overhead, then swing/bend back down as though chopping wood and touch the weight to the floor again between your feet, come back up but twist to the other side; this equals one rep. Keep your abdominals strong/tense so that you don't experience low back pain. If you do, slow down the movement and control it. Perform three sets/circuits of the three above exercises.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

December 11th Challenge

Dec 11th Challenge: 10-12 reps of Squat/Shoulder Press Combo (See Dec 3rd Challenge below. Remember to press the weights overhead as you push/stand up out of the squat position. Many push the weight up as they go down into the squat which is incorrect.), go right into a set of Plank Rows (see Dec 4th Challenge) for 12 reps per arm, then go right into a set of Bridge Leg Extensions on the physioball or bench - lie back on the physioball and walk forward so that just your head and shoulders are touching (same if on a bench - lie perpendiculiar to the bench), and butt is up, torso parallel to floor, lower leg vertical (see picture of bridge below). While in this position, do a leg extension with the right leg, extending from the knee so that the right leg is straight, even with the torso, parallel to floor. Hold for 2 sec, then lower and do the left leg. 10 reps per side. If having trouble balancing, take your hands/arms off your chest and and extend them laterally like an airplane. 3 sets/circuits of the above.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Dec 9th Challenge

Dec 9th Challenge: One Arm Snatch (see Dec 1st Challenge) for 12 reps per arm, then right into Lateral Bench Hops - straddle a bench or chair, then place your right foot up on the bench, left foot on the ground still on the left side of bench. Step up and hop switching the right foot on the bench with your left foot, and landing back on the ground on the other side of the bench with your right foot. Then go back up and over to to the same starting point (left foot on ground, right on bench). For a bit more of a challenge, hold light dumbells (5 to 10 lbs) in each hand and at your hips/waist. Perform 12 reps (remember, up and over AND BACK is one rep!), then go right into a sets of 20 Ab Twists/rotations holding a medium dumbell - seated on floor, holding dumbell in both hands, knees, slightly bent, torso twisted towards one side w/ the dumbell touching the ground and elbows in close to sides, lift the dumbell up and over your legs using your torso, twist to other side and tap dumbell to floor, lift and twist back - this is one rep. Do 3 circuits of this routine.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Dec 8th Challenge

Dec 8th Challenge: Single Arm Chest Press - use a physioball (big blow up ball) as a bench if you have one. If not, use a bench but dont lie back on it like you normally would. Instead, sit in the middle of it, then slide forward so that your body is perpendiculiar to the bench and just your head and shoulder blades are on it (same if on a physioball, meaning just your heads and shoulder blades should be on it, feet on the ground, knees at 90 degrees, body straight like a board), hold a mid to heavy dumbell (12 to 50 lbs) in one hand and place the free hand on your stomach. Keep those glutes tight and up, as though your body is a bridge.
Then, perform 10-12 reps of a basic chest press with one arm, then switch and do the other arm. Get a good range of motion, and lower the weight slowly, press it up quickly. Go from this right into a set of v-ups - sit right at the edge of a bench and keep your legs straigt out in front of you, heels barely touching the ground, leaning back at a 45 degree angle - your body should be straight. Pull your knees up and in while simultaneously pulling your shoulders in and downwards, as though curling into the fetal position, then return slowly to the straight position.
Perform 15 to 20 slow reps. Do 4 supersets of these two exercises.

Cheers,
EH

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

2012 Plunge and Dec 7th Challenge

We have built a great annual tradition with the Plunge, where 100% of the raised funds have gone to ill children, tsunami survivors, wounded soldiers, … I am more than appreciative of the contributions made throughout the previous seven years. Asking for charitable donations is something I’m extremely uncomfortable with, especially in our current global economic recession. So this year, we are going to switch it up.
First, for those that don’t know what The Plunge is; each year, I recruit a bunch of other dopes (myself being the biggest dope) to jump into Long Island Sound in Southport in January (January 14th this year), representing a great cause, and also beginning the New Year with a fresh, sadistically fun baptism of sorts. My wife came up with the rule that only one family member needs to plunge. In return of our idiotic effort, we get sponsors to represent us towards a greater cause, which leads to 2012.
Over a year ago, my father found out about a nice older woman who was collecting goods and distributing them to the homeless under a bridge in Bridgeport, CT. He took action of this more than worthy cause and got his church involved. Every third Sunday of each month, he and my mother and a group from their church collect goods and bring them to the bridge in Bridgeport and pass them out to the homeless. Each time that I have been there to assist, I was blown away by the experience.
This year, instead of collecting money from your coworkers, relatives, piers in support of this Plunge, the goal will be to collect goods for the homeless. My father has provided a list of what is needed:
Heavy winter coats
gloves
hats
socks
underwear (mens XL)
canned foods (soup, stew, chili, etc.)
canned vegetables
pasta
sauce
toothpaste
tooth brushes
shampoo
deodorant
any personal care items

I will be much more accurate with the tide charts for this coming years Plunge, and send out the exact time that we will plunge soon. We will do this on Saturday, January 14th, at Southport Beach (between exit 18 and 19 off i95). For those interested in assisting at the bridge the next day (Sunday, the 15th), I will provide directions and information. Please let me know if you will be attending (you don’t even need to plunge) by emailing me at ehods@earthlink.net , and have a great holiday!
Cheers,
EH
www.hodska.com


Dec 7th Challenge: Step-ups w/ Rhomboid Squeeze - stand in front of a bench, chair or stairs holding mid to heavy weight dumbells (10 to 30 lbs) and place right foot firmly on the bench, chair, or second stair. Step up and raise/drive the left knee upwards as though trying to knee someone in the chin in front of you. Simultaneously squeeze the rhomboids (pretend there is a chalkboard eraser between your shoulder blades and you are trying to pinch it to hold it there with your shoulder blades) and subtly push the dumbells backwards slightly as though placing them on a table behind you. return down with the left foot and do 9 to 11 more reps, then switch feet. Go right from this into a set of Plank Rows from the ground - hold mid weight dumbells in each hand (10-20 lbs), place them on the ground, but still hold them and assume the upper push-up plank position. Keeping your balance, perform a row with one arm by pulling the dumbell up towards your waist/side, then lower and switch to the other side. Perform 10 to 12 reps for each side, then go right into a set of 20 Ab Toe Touches (See Dec 4th Challenge). Perform 3 sets/circuits.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Dec 6th Challenge

Dec 6th Challenge: Deep Squat Knees High Jumps - standing, feet shoulder width apart, no weights, slowly do a deep squat as though sitting on a low bench, then powerfully jump as high as you can and bring the knees up high as though you are trying to do a cannonball in a pool, land with soft knees back in the deep squat loaded position. This is a great plyometric. Jump as high as you can. If you are dealing with a lower extremity injury, do the squat and then just come back up quickly but dont worry about jumping. After doing 10 of these, grab two medium weight dumbells (10 to 30 lbs) and go right into a set of Curl/Shoulder Press Combos. Standing or seated, keep the stomach tight, do a biceps curl and when the dumbells are near the shoulders in that biceps flexed state, go right into an overhead shoulder press. Do 10 reps then go right into a set of double crunches X 20 reps. Do 3 sets/circuits of these three exercises.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Dec 5th Challenge

Dec 5th Challenge: Reverse Lunge w/ Anterior Shoulder Raise combo - standing and holding 5 to 10 lb dumbells in each hand or a 5 to 10 lb medicine ball, step backwards and lower that knee towards the floor until it's only an inch from the floor. The stationary/front lower leg should remain vertical, and your torso upright, not bent at the waist. As you step back into the lunge, simultaneously raise the weights forward with straight arms until they are at your face level. When you return to standing position, lower the weights, then alternate and do the other side. 10 lunges PER leg, for 3 sets. ALSO, today do 44 push-ups! You can do these in sets of 11, starting with the push-ups and doing teh lunges in between each set of push-ups, or you can break them up into smaller sets or do them throughout the day - just get them done!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Dec 2nd Challenge

Dec 2nd Challenge: 40 push-ups. Correct push-ups! place a tennis ball under your chest and lower yourself slolwy until you touch the tennis ball with your chest, then press back up to the starting position forcefully. No girl push-ups! If you can only do one real push-up, then do 40 sets of 1 push-up throughout the day. You can do these in sets of 5, 10, ... Just get them done. Also, 3 sets X 15 to 20 reps of slow double crunches (lay on back, hands next to ears, knees bent up slightly, feet on ground. Do a slow stomach crunch, contracting the abdominals and bringing the shoulders slightly off the ground, force the lower spine to the floor. Simultaneously lift the knees up and in towards the chest. hold this contracted state for 2 sec, then return to starting position.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

December Challenge

I started up the December strength challenge on my Facebook EH Coaching and Training page and thought I'd also post it here for those who are interested. The idea is to do a strength exercise or three every day throughout the month of December, in addition to any other training you may happen to do each day. Here's Day 1:

Dec 1st Challenge: 3 sets x 10-12 reps of a one arm snatch (Stand w/ feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, one arm behind your back, the other holding a dumbell in front of you. Bend/squat slowly down touching the dumbell to the ground in front of you, then quickly and using primarily the legs, push up to standing position and simultaneously raise the dumbell up directly overhead, arm fully extended. The dumbell should travel close to your torso as it goes overhead, with the elbow bent and high, out to the side, as though doing an upright row. Do 10-12 reps per arm, resting 1 min between sets.)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kona from the armchair

A few comments on Kona (I wasn’t there but I'm going to share my view anyways):

*Craig Alexander is a stud. Chris McCormick had a great race last year but he runs his mouth a bit much for my taste. He went on and on about how Alexander is just an 8:20 IM guy and yes, he’s an incredible runner, but he can’t ride (paraphrasing here). Alexander doesn’t discuss it all. When he was interviewed about this the past year, he just smiled and mentioned that Macca is a friend. Then, he races Vegas 70.3 World Championships and wins the race, not on his run (which was the fastest as usual), but on his second fastest bike split. A month later, he wins Kona in a new record time and has once again, the second fastest bike split! In my opinion, his performance this year makes him arguably the third best triathlete ever behind Mark Allen and Dave Scott.

*Chrissie wellington is a bigger stud. Chrissie moved ahead of Paula Newby Frasier as the greatest female triathlete ever. Please don’t take this too seriously as it’s really my opinion. I do know that Paula has more Kona victories. But Chrissies dominance is truly amazing. If you just look at the splits, it appears that it was a close race with Miranda Cafrae. I like Miranda – I think she’s a brilliant athlete. I don’t mean this in a demeaning way whatsoever, but she and Chrissie aren’t in the same league, and to give her so much attention prior to the race thinking that it could be close between her and Chrissie is an insult to Chrissie. The reason the race was as close as it was is all because Chrissie was in a bad bike accident a week before Kona, and raced with severe road rash and fractured ribs! Dave Scott, her coach, informed her to let all the swimmers go since her swim stroke was compromised. She typically swims 52 minutes in Kona. She swam 1:02. She painfully rode the bike probably 10 minutes slower than she would have had she been healthy. She had close to a three minute lead on Miranda off the bike, and all the so called tri experts felt that Miranda is such a better runner and that she’d run her down. Miranda ran a brilliant 2:52. I think there were only four or five men faster! Chrissie was only 30 seconds slower running a 2:52 as well, and she slowed in the final 800 meters to slap high fives and wave to the crowds. The scary thought is that if she was healthy and hadn’t crashed; she could have been 20 minutes faster, placing her amongst the top 12 men!

*Milos Kostic is the biggest stud. This guy is 70 years old and went 11:45!!! He biked 5:47 and ran 3:52! Again, he’s 70! He won the age group by an hour. Poor Eli Ewens who went 12:45, another amazing time for 70 years old and came in second.

I’ve spoken with a few friends who were there and they said that the lack of winds and a bit of cloud cover made this year’s race the best conditions yet for Kona. That still doesn’t diminish whatsoever the incredible performances.

I can’t wait to get out there to the Big Island in March for my camp. And hopefully again next October.

Cheers,
EH

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Reconnecting

In 2004, I had a good friend, Rick Moisan, who was diagnosed with lung cancer. Rick was one of those anomalies. He never smoked, took great care of himself, didn’t have any family history of lung cancer, … I spent a great deal of time with him while he underwent his chemotherapy treatments and battled this viscous disease. At one point, it looked as if he was going to beat it, only to quickly have the rug ripped out from under him when they found the disease had spread through his spine and into his brain.

I was training for the Hawaii Ironman that summer as Rick’s condition worsened, and I dedicated my race to him and tried to raise some funds towards cancer research. This was the first time I had witnessed someone close go through something so awful and it really touched me. About a month before I headed out to Kona, I came up with the idea of hosting a bike ride in Rick’s honor. The idea at the time was to get a group of friends together, meet in Rick’s town of Woodbury, and do a scenic ride. I planned on riding this with Rick on a tandem. I sent out an email calling it “The Ride for Rick”, and Lisa Moisan, Rick’s wife, loved the idea. In fact, she gathered a group of her friends and took it to another level, by creating a raffle, getting a DJ, having things for the kids to do. We even had Conan Obrien MC it (Rick was an amazing architect who designed a house for Conan). I plotted out four different ride routes from 5 miles up to 50 so that anyone could participate. I still remember that it was a bitter cold September morning and Rick’s oncologist showed up to ride the 25 mile route in tight khaki shorts with the palest legs I think I’ve ever seen. By the end of the ride, his legs were so red and raw from the cold and wind that it hurt me to look at them. But this guy hadn’t ridden his bike in years and yet he pushed himself through the 25 mile hilly route in honor of Rick! That to me was and is what it’s all about.

Rick passed away that winter. Each September, we continued putting on the Ride for Rick. The event was generating a lot of money towards some really great charities and it really brought the community of Woodbury together. It continued to grow, and in addition to the rides, I added on a 5k event for runners. Yet, as it grew, I could see that it was becoming a bit overwhelming for Lisa and her crew. They had made this event huge, and it was becoming a full time job. Sadly but understandably, Lisa decided to put it on hold a few years ago. She was torn about this but also realized that in this economy, she didn’t feel right in asking the local sponsors to step up year after year. She did an amazing job organizing this event and it was time to pass the torch. Lisa decided this year to hand it over to a local scholarship fundraising organization.

I didn’t hear much in the way of advertising for this year’s event. I didn’t even know they were holding it until 10 days prior. When I did, I found they had changed the name of the event – it was no longer the Ride for Rick, which upset me. The event was yesterday, and I awoke to hear the sounds of pouring rain outside. It would have been really easy to stay in bed. As I drove to Woodbury, I thought about the fact that each year, over the last seven years, this event has been the one thing that reconnects me with my friend Rick. The first few years after he died, I thought of him and his family often, but then as time passed, I got lazy. I’d talk with Lisa periodically and catch up every once in a while through email or a Christmas card, but as time passes we get caught up in our own busy little world and tend to forget. At least I did. And I felt like shit thinking about this. But then I realized one of the really important lessons that Rick taught me subconsciously; since the first Ride for Rick, I realized how important loyalty as a friend is and how people put on these charity events all the time and even though they are raising funds towards a very worthy cause, for them it’s more about the support and the remembrance. To write a check yesterday contributing towards the event and cause would have been a way to justify the fact that I was too lazy to go represent and do the ride. It’s an easy out that gives us a sense of justification. Don’t get me wrong, the contributions are important and necessary and all good. But I needed to be there riding and as I stood at the start of the ride, rain drenching me before I even took one pedal stroke, I knew that this ride was going to be fine. In fact, I knew even sooner when the first three people that I saw there as I got out of my car were Lisa Moisan and her two daughters. I know that when I do my polar plunge, I always appreciate any donations made towards the charity we choose, but what really hits me is those who make time out of their busy day to come down in person.

Because of the weather and lack of advertising, the turnout was poor, but Kenny O. met me there and we headed out to ride, and it was a great way to start the day and the weekend. And to remember a good friend who taught me some great life lessons even after he passed away.

Cheers,
EH

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Feel up for a ride (or run) this Sat?

In 2004, I started the Ride For Rick out of Woodbury, CT as a tribute to my friend Rick Moisan who was battling cancer at the time. This "Ride" evolved into four rides and also a 5K run and became quite the fundraiser towards local charities involved in cancer and scholarships. Lisa Moisan and her friends did an excellent job of running this event, however, it started becoming a full time job, and when the economy began to decline, they decided to put it on hold for a couple of years. Lisa then gave the event to Go The Distance ( http://www.wsf-gothedistance.org/ ) who will be putting it on for the first time this Saturday, October 1st. I will be heading out on my bike there at 7:45am to do the 50 mile ride if anyone would like to join me. It's a great course that winds through some beautiful countryside and around Lake Warmaug.

I'm hoping that they get a decent turnout for the event although I know the marketing and advertising was a small fraction of what it was when Lisa and her crew were running it. In all honesty, raising funds for local charities is surely a great thing, but my main motivation for participating is that it's one thing that still connects me in some way to my friend Rick.

There has been a lot of racing lately and I wanted to just give brief congratulations to two of my athletes who have done some quite impressive things:

Travis Funk - he pr'd every distance he raced this year from 5k to Olympic Distance Tri to IM. He did a 10:20 at IMLP, then came back not too long afterwards with a 10:15 at IM Wisconsin. And he managed to squeeze in the VT ride between these two IM’s!! Feeling lazy?

Next, Greg pelican, owner of Bethel Cycle, who at 52 years of age will battle any 20 yr old. He just raced Duathlon Worlds in Spain and finished on the podium in third place, 12 seconds out of first! He’s known for his cycling, but Greg had the fastest second run of the day in his age group!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Summer BS

It seems that every time I post, which clearly isn’t often, I'm starting with "it's been awhile" or "apologies for the blogging hiatus". I’d like to jot some thoughts down about this summer since it’s labor Day already and summer is apparently over, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

Let’s begin with IMLP. In fact, I’m going to break this summer up into a few posts since I have quite a few memories. Baker and I went up to coach and spectate and drink some Ubu. Besides some of the antics that make this annual event fun for us, like heading up without hotel reservations, it’s always fascinating to me observing the race and racers. Being in this sport for quite awhile, Rob Straz and I often joke that we are just bitter old bastards who are annoyed by the compression wearing, everyone-thinks-they-are-way-faster-than-they-are, talkin the talk present athletes. I happened to coach a group of 14 who raced LP and who proved Straz and I wrong for sure. One thing that I love about ironman racing is that IM racing is truth serum, just like over imbibing is. It shows who has done the work, who hasn’t, and it particularly shows this to the athlete themselves. When we finish an Ironman, we should be extremely proud. 99% of the population can’t even fathom what we have just done. An ironman is really hard! Yet, as we train, we begin to build expectations. Some of these expectations can be grandiose. But I’d rather see most swing for the fence than play it safe all the time. We also tend to hang around with other tri-geeks and so we take for granted the fact that what we are competing in is quite a feat. It’s a long day that will run you through the mill. It’ll show you fun parts, but it’ll definitely show you very hard, very low, very shitty parts of yourself. When we finish slower than we expected, 99% of the time we know exactly why. We can try to convince ourselves that it was nutrition, weather, or something… More than often when a race turns out slower than we’d like or when we don’t finish it, we either didn’t prepare properly or paced wrong, simple as that. As I said, the truth can be hard. I won’t turn this into a lecture on proper IM training but let’s just say that if you train at 16 mph on the bike all the time and run at 9 minute mile pace most of the time, how can you expect to ride at 20mph and run at 8 min/mi on race day? What I love about an IM is that it’s shown me exactly who I am, and I can tell exactly who others are by watching them race an IM. People often say this about a round of golf, but an IM shows your true personality that much more.

Two of the most memorable moments of IMLP 11’ however were the following:

The Molson family once again hosting a Friday night pre-race party/dinner for my athletes and friends. They have done this the past few years and it’s always a fun time – this year was exceptional. It wasn’t the food (which was awesome; tenderloin tips and grilled halibut with multiple pasta and rice salads), but more so the group of athletes, with their families, convening at Jeff’s lake house. It was just a very comfortable, genuine, fun group. The kids were paddle boarding and rowing on Mirror Lake and playing lacrosse while the adults relaxed and enjoyed some non-race-stress time. This sure beats any race carbo dinner that I’ve ever been to. Jeff and his wife Antoinette were way overgenerous. I do question their intelligence though as they even had Baker and I back the next night for dinner?. This night made me really appreciate the group of athletes that I worked with for this race this year.

The other was a small thing, but one that I loved. Baker has been out of it this year. He ebbs and flows with his training. I push him hard because I know that it’s not only good for him, but it spills over into his everyday life in a positive way. He was nervous about this trip because he was not in great shape and knew I was going to challenge him a bit. I mainly just advised him to get out there each day and do something on his own. Saturday, July 23rd was Baker’s birthday. I told him he should ride down 86 and up to the toll booth, then take these back roads we ride at camp which are beautiful – he felt this was a solid idea. We both headed out around the same time on our bikes but at different paces and with different goals for the day originally. Baker sends me a text a while later saying “I’m on top of whiteface” with a picture of the summit. On paper, he wasn’t in shape to do this climb, yet he did it, and I have to say I was not surprised yet quite proud of him. He’s mentally one of the toughest bastards I know yet at the same time doubts himself significantly. If you happen to read this Baker, don’t let it go to your head – but very well done! Way to walk the walk.

Lake Placid appears to be in a political turmoil with the future of this race. The bureaucratic WTC combined with bitter yet dependant local Lake placidites makes a sticky situation, one that I feel can be easily worked out and hopefully will be. It would be a real shame to see this race go away. I have been fortunate enough to witness most of the domestic Ironman’s and Lake Placid is the top of the food chain here, leaving Hawaii out.

Bye for now.

EH

Friday, August 19, 2011

Guest Blogger Molson recaps the VT ride 2011

I go on streaks with my blog postings. I've been quite lame lately, as Jeff pointed out on the ride up to Vermont when he mentioned "You havent posted since July 12th!" I always said I wouldnt force anything up here just for the sake of posting, but I have to admit this lapse was a bit ridiculous. So, I delegated. Here's Jeff's recap of the recent Vermont ride:

Vermont Ride 2011
With the 2011 Vermont Ride still fresh on my mind I thought I would share a few comments about this year’s event with fellow Hodska clients and followers.
Let me start by saying that I am not a big fan of Karaoke! So how in the hell did I wind up in a Karaoke Bar in Brattleboro, Vermont this past Wednesday evening listening to some townie butcher an Alanis Morissette song.
The Hodska Annual Vermont ride is how!
Since 1997 Eric has been riding to VT from his home in Monroe, CT . The deal is to ride to Vermont (140 miles from Eric’s House), stay overnight, and then return the next day. 280 miles in 2 days. Eric has used this ride as a Kona build in years he was racing, but the ride has also become an annual tradition. Over the years many Hodska cronies have jumped on this ride, and there have been more than a dozen in some years and others it has been 2 or 3 people. This year we had 6 riders. Eric, Travis Funk, Baker, James Graham, Farber and myself. Farber is Eric’s friend and is one of the original founders of the Vermont ride.
Eric, Travis and James all departed from Monroe at 7:00 Am on Wednesday. The plan is for them to ride to Simsbury, CT and meet Baker and I who live in that area. It is 60 some odd miles from Monroe to Simsbury, and this year Eric, Travis and James hit it hard early and arrived ahead of schedule in Simsbury. I have done the VT ride from Monroe in the past and I can tell you that the most difficult part of this ride takes place in CT. After Simsbury the ride is actually fairly tame. So after a brief pit stop in Simsbury the group of 6 now started heading towards Massachusetts.
There are portions of the ride when you are riding with others, but for the most part you are on your own to set your own pace. After Simsbury there is one road all the way to Vermont. No need for directions you just follow Route 10 until you get to Vermont - where Route 10 becomes Route 5. The plan was to re-group again in Northampton, MA which is about 45 miles from Simsbury. This would be the 100 mile mark for Eric, Travis and James. The group kept a great pace for this leg and we all arrived within 5 minutes of each other at the Starbucks here. Northampton is one of the best people watching towns in New England. Every year it never disappoints. This year was no exception as we had a very nice conversation with the tattoo parlor owner who was outside her shop holding her bowl of fresh sage that she was burning. She saw the EH on Eric’s new uniforms and was intrigued that we would have her initials on our bike shirts.
After Northampton there are no more scheduled stops on the ride. The plan is now meet at the hotel in Brattleboro, VT which is about 45 miles from Northampton, MA. At this point it is every man for themselves. Fatigue was starting to set in for the 100 mile guys and the humid weather was starting to zap everyone a little at this point. The ride however does become very scenic at this point as you travel through Northern Mass. Brattleboro is not the first town that you come to in VT. So after you cross the state line you still have about 10 miles to ride. This part of the ride has some pretty good rolling hills and I think we all pretty much wanted to be off the bike at this point. The final few miles for me were not very quick and when I finally got to Brattleboro I was happy to get off the bike.
Eric was already showered and making our dinner plans when got to the hotel. So after a quick shower we headed over to a local restaurant called Fireworks in Brattleboro. Fireworks is an upbeat little place with a nice menu of Pasta’s and Brick oven Pizza’s. They also have some nice brews on tap as well. After a really good meal we realized that it was 6:15 PM. Too early for bed, although I did contemplate it. So what do you do in Brattleboro to kill time? You drink!!!
We head over to another pub across the street that has huge selection of draft beers. We ordered up a round and Eric began giving the history of the ride to Travis and James. Originally the destination of the VT ride was a local bar called McNeill’s pub. A great “old school” bar that makes their own beer. For some reason we have not frequented this bar the past couple of years. There was not a good reason as to why so it was decided that we were going back this year. More beer!
McNeill’s has not changed it bit and was quite nostalgic going back. We briefly spoke with the owner who remembered our group from prior years and was grateful we came back. We played some darts and finished off our beers and decided to call it a night.
Not quite sure how we wound up in a wine bar sipping alcohol infused fruit drinks but that was our next stop. The bartender was happy to see us and was so proud of his new establishment that it was hard to walk away from the bar. Drinks were again ordered up and the conversation kept flowing. After thanking the bartender for his hospitality it was time to rest up for tomorrow.
Baker and James were not quite ready though – the bartender had mentioned that it was karaoke night at the pub a couple of doors down and before we could walk by the place Baker was inside. To be honest if the townie was not butchering that Alanis song we probably would have stayed. The combination of miles on the bike and yards of beer had taken their toll.
The alarm went off at 6:00 AM on Thursday morning and let’s say that my head felt a little heavy as I attempted to get up. With the stock market in state of flux these past couple of weeks I needed to get back as soon as possible to monitor things, so I was on the road heading back at 6:30 AM. Eric and Baker were on the same schedule – in fact Eric was gone prior to 6:30 AM.
The first few miles out of Brattleboro are uphill on a great country road. Yesterday morning had a touch of Fall in the air as some light fog and dew made for a great New England scene. Legs felt better than expected as I climbed out of town, and as the miles clicked off I sweated out the beers from the night before and I got locked into the ride. I opted to make only one stop on the way home and it turned out to be a good decision as it really started to rain hard as I rode the final mile of my ride. For me it was 175 miles in 24 hours. A nice workout indeed – but for the boys who did 280 miles in 24 hours I tip my hat. That is some serious miles. Eric if you have stats on your ride you should post them – you were hauling ass out there.
I look forward to this ride every year and this year did not disappoint. We had great weather, good food, plenty of libations and great company. Over the past few years Eric, Baker and I have been on some great adventures. The Vermont Ride 2011 ranks right up near the top.
Travis and James it was great getting to know you guys a little better.
Travis I am now convinced that your real name actually is Travis Funk. You cannot blame me for being skeptical as your name is just too damn cool. I figured you made it up to get more chicks. I thought Molson was a cool last name, but Funk puts it to shame. All you single female Hodska clients (or those female clients that are in a bad marriage) get on the Travis Funk train now! This guy is the real deal. His impressive Ironman LP time is going to be shattered in Wisconsin in a couple of weeks – this guys stock is rising fast - get him in your 401k now!
James (aka Russell Brand in 10 years) you did New Zealand proud on the Vermont ride. With very little long rides in the saddle going into this you did great. Man you can drink! I hope your in-laws have a great visit here to the states. I am sure that Baker will show them a good time as promised.
Mike Biehl, Kenny Osborn and Gus Ellison – you should have been there.

Molson

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

RI 70.3

I picked up Big Rocks early Saturday morning - we wanted to get a jump on the anticipated beach traffic. My mind was not in the right place on the 1 hr 45 min drive - not in race mode. Instead, I was thinking about the nusance of racing. I used to love to race! But for some reason, now it seemed as though it was more of a hassle. I was going to be away from my family for the weekend. Many will say "bring the family and make them a part of your race!", but i cannot disagree more here. No spouse wants to spend the day before a race with their anxious, nervous, not-wanting-to-over-exert-at-all significant other, only to spend the night in a cramped hotel room, then on race day, entertain kids while they wait long periods of time for a 15 second glance of you. All that I was thinking about on the drive up was that I could have stayed home, trained early, spent time with my family, saved cash on race fees, hotels, and slept in my own bed. I never used to think like this - maybe I need a break from racing? If anyone has been reading my blog the last few years, it's been obvious that I've been dealing with my motivation to race. Sometimes I cant wait to get out there on the race course, and sometimes golf isnt looking so bad. OK, that's not fair - as I said, I love to train, and golf is hardly training. Golf's a fun hobby - I can't even call it a sport. But I'd much, much rather be on my bike. I have been racing since the early 90's. I did my first IM in 96'. Perhaps I was finally getting a bit burned out on it all? I still love to coach, and I love the camps, and I love the training. Maybe i just didnt have that competitiveness anymore?

We made it to Providence traffic free, and I was checked in and registered by 10am. Our hotel room wasnt ready, so we drove over to the lake to check in my bike. I changed in the car and did a 30 min easy spin in the park where the lake was for the swim venue. The trigeeks were out, compression socks and aero helmets everywhere, getting in their last minute speed sessions. I still wasnt in race mode yet? Bike checked, we stopped back in the little italy section of Providence to get some lunch, then went to check into our hotel, which still wasnt available. Finally at 3pm, we were able to check in, however the possibility of an extended checkout the next day was denied by the front desk. Now I'm even more irritable. My dad and I often discuss how he's very anxious - a worrier, where as I let things roll off easily and typically don't sweat the small things. However, this day before race day, i was not my typical relaxed self.

We joined Mark Rothbaum out for dinner, a client and friend of mine who was racing in the 60-64 age group the following day. Typically, I have pizza the night before a big race. It works and even though I don't condsider myself superstitous, I had this one ritual that I followed for dinner the eve of every big race. However, we went to a steak and seafood restaurant called Merrimans (very good) and I had rare Ahi tuna and a couple of glasses of wine. Mark and my father were into some deep conversation. they are both interesting and it took the already lackluster race day focus completely away.

There were three weddings being held in our hotel that evening, which made things loud and restless. A shame since I was sleeping on such a comfortable pull out (yes, the hotel was booked and the only rooms they had left were suites with a king size bed which I gave to Big Rock's and a pull out sofa).

The next morning, BR drove Mark, Kenny, Gus and myself over to the swim venue. As we prepped our transition, I realized I had forgotten my aero bottle and my swim goggles. I never do this stuff?! What the hell was going on - were these more signs that I should be taking a bit more of a break from racing? That maybe my competitive tri days have run there course? To make things better, I was in the 10th wave, 50 minutes behind the first one! F%$k. At this point, I was appreciating that much more the low-keyness of St. Croix's venue and atmosphere.

Finally, our wave was called to the lake and I instinctively moved to the front row, lined up with a straight shot at the buoys, even though I had only swam a handful of times since St. Croix, all open water. The gun sounded and I took off like a bullet, dolphining a few times then asserting a quick tempo to get out in front. I had a nice five foot lead to the first buoy! I wanted to get out quick and then try to hang in behind some faster swimmers. Maybe I am still a bit competitive? The lake was pretty gross. It was warm and murky and you can tell that it really wasnt hygenic to be swimming in there. I liked the non-wetsuit swim though. Soon, very soon, we began catching athletes from the many waves in front of us. I felt ok - I guess a bit better than I expected given my lack of swim prep. I came out of the water in ninth place and ran into Kenny in T1. Time to ride!

My legs felt pretty good right away - I'd say an 8.5 on a 1-10 scale. I immediately began motoring past droves of the 1500+ athletes that began ahead of our wave. Then, I got another sign. Subconciously, as I caught the guys in my age group who beat me out of the water, I would ask "how many more in front?" I was anxious to get to the lead. OK, I am still competitive mentally! This course was challenging - and I loved it. It's harder than Timberman, and on par with Rev 3. Around 25 miles in, I began hearing this thwacking noise coming from my bike. It was getting louder and louder until I pulled over. I thought I had broken a spoke, which had to be on the front since I was riding a disc. Turns out I didnt, and couldnt find anything wrong. I hopped back on and jumped back into the race, but the noise was getting even louder. My second stop! I inspected the whole bike and couldnt find out what was causing the problem?! Finally, i noticed that the black electrical tape that hold a magnet on my disc was loose. As I rode, it flapped almost all the way off and thumped against my frame, the disc, ... I ripped this off and I was back in business. As I was getting back up to speed, a guy in my age group came by. He was riding quite strong, and I hung about 10 meters behind. I wasnt overly concerned though - he would sit-up on most of the climbs or stand and rock hard on his bike so I knew he wasnt going to run very fast. In a 70.3, there's a fine line between riding hard enough and not cooking yourself. The pace for these races on the bike should feel closer to an Olympic Distance instead of an IM, but you cant go full tilt if you want to run well. We caught another guy from New York who we assumed was the leader, so now we figured it was us.

Out of T2, i'd assumed I was in second behind this strong rider. My legs felt solid right away from a looseness standpoint, but I didnt feel confident in running too aggressive with the first loop for fear of blowing up. It was beginning to get hot, and my wave started almost an hour later than the early waves meaning we were dealing with more heat. I made a pee stop at mile two, then, at mile six, I caught the strong rider. I figured I was now leading since on the out and backs i didnt see anyone in our age group. At mile eight, just before the big uphill, the guy from New York moved passed me! I didnt panic, but instead tried to stay within 15 meters of him. He looked fluid but wasnt gaining. Then, I closed the gap on the downhill at mile ten and sat on his heels. At mile 11, as we approached an aid station, he began frantically yelling for sponges, electrolytes, gels. I knew he was in trouble and so I surged. I didnt look back and tried to sustain a hard, quick tempo, all the way to the finish. I crossed the line thinking I had taken the age group, but actually, there was a 40 year old from Canada who beat me out of the water by four minutes and I never saw him all day! Hats off to him, he was fast. So I ended up second in my age group and 11th overall.

More importantly, I realized that I'm still competitive both mentally and physically. Maybe my day before funk was nerves? Perhaps it's just that I'm entering a different mindset? I'm big on changing things up physically all the time in training, so maybe I just need to switch it up a bit mentally? In any case, fun stuff to work out and I will keep racing until the one day when I'm in a race and subconsciously I don't care about the race going on around me.

Monday, June 27, 2011

LP Camp (Guest Blogger Cupcake - because i'm lazy)

We just finished up my LP Camp. This group was truly amazing. Despite the rain, we accomplpished everything I had planned on the schedule, and not only did the group do it quite well, but they did it in style by adhering to my "no whining" rule. Great group of campers and I'll try to recap the experience this week, but for now, the young gun of the camp, Jon "Cupcake" Campbell recaps his mvp day:

Apparently pontificating on and on about cupcakes will catch up with you. My friend the week before was up in Lake Placid and found this amazing bakery tucked inside the restaurant, Pan Dolce. I checked it out and scored a Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosted Chocolate Cupcake with a Peanut Butter Chocolate Delight on top. I saved this for after Wednesday night's initial 30 minute swim in Mirror Lake and for after a yummy Mexican dinner at Desperado's. I figured I needed the calories! After all, Eric is keeping his cards tight regarding the agenda and I might as well play it safe and stuff as much down me as I can.

I chose right. On tap for Thursday morning was a 2 hour trail run up to Avalanche Lake. I know Eric and I know he loves trail runs. This was going to be epic! And to make it even more epic, Wednesday night it POURED. The sound of the rain was deafening. Was this going to be a trail run, or a trail swim? Fortunately the rain stopped and things started to dry out by the morning. Unfortunately mother nature's drainage system doesn't work that fast. We knew our feet were going to get wet.

Halfway up the ascent to Avalanche Lake, the group splintered. Not gonna say names, but a certain leader *cough* Gus *cough* took our group on one wrong turn and after some deep pockets of mud, we backtracked and found our way back onto the trail. Meanwhile the group behind us already passed by. Upon arrival to Avalanche Lake, the cliffs were so large it was hard to gain perspective on just how large they were. What an amazing place! I like the Lake Placid run course, but this run was WAY better! I am a novice trail runner, so running downhill over rough terrain is a new concept. With a steep learning curve (pun intended) my body quickly learned how to have agile and quick feet. I only bashed my ankle up against one rock. Gotta give up a little blood!
With only about 30 minutes of running left, someone mentioned Ice Cream. I said, "Why Ice Cream? Why not a cupcake?" The deal was done and a camp nicknamed earned: CUPCAKE. Why oh why did I open my mouth again about another cupcake?!?! To my defense, THAT cupcake was worth the nickname. But with a camp nickname comes responsibility, especially staying on your toes at dinner when the jokes and teasing starts flying! Eric sure knows how punish you out in the field with the serious training, but also makes sure you relax and come back down to Earth at dinner.

After a calorie rich breakfast at the Downtown Diner and a quick stretch, it was onto the bike for a loop of the bike course (minus the out and back) with instruction and Indian drills with Eric. How do you knock off the flats of Rt 9 between Keene and Jay in record time? Do intervals! A whipping tail wind along that flat section may or may not have hastened the pace a tad. Ok ok, it probably propelled our confidence and speed and egos a few extra mph!

Before we knew it, we were climbing up to Wilmington. I don't mind the hills up to Wilmington. They are steeper than the hills from Wilmington to Placid, but for some reason mentally they are easier. Again, that tailwind I think pushed us up those hills.

But my demons on the Placid course ARE the hills leading up to Placid, especially through the notch. My first experience of riding the course was a year ago and I encountered the most demoralizing headwinds through this section. I thought I had two flat tires I was going so slow through them! Because of that tailwind on Rt 9 to Jay, that meant one thing for this ride: A headwind through the notch. Round #2 you say? This time I was prepared with a compact crank and lots more miles and power from Eric's coaching. That wind was NOT going to get me this time!

And it didn't! I was able to mentally break down this section of the course and realized that there are a lot more flat sections here than I remembered. Did the course get flatter? Or did Eric's coaching really finally whip my butt into some serious form? I am gonna go with the coaching.

Of course the day wasn't over yet! After another quick stretch and some more food down, we suited up, peed in our wetsuits and did a quick 1.6 mile loop of the swim course while dodging the kayakers and rowers. Kenny wasn't too thrilled when I tried to grab his ankle for a free tow back to shore. Me at a short 5'7" and Kenny at 8 feet tall, he clearly would have pulled me back to shore in record time.

We rounded the night out at Nicola's with some Ubu ale, pizza, lots of laughs, and listened to the next day's agenda. Epic just got more epic! Whiteface was on the menu, or I think we were on the menu about to be eaten by that mountain.

- Jon "CC" Campbell

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Kits Finally!!

I know it’s been awhile, but the wait to look great is no longer! Bicycling magazine just stated in its last issue that the colors I’ve been using for years (navy, light blue, yellow) are the power colors since four pro tour teams are using them this season. Below is a sample of the new kits – there are a few other logos added as well, including Bethel Cycle and Nineteen wetsuits. Pactimo is the company I went with because:
A) there clothing is great! Super quality w/ great chamois, flat stitching, no elastic leg bands,… Many pro teams are using them and they ride all day meaning it’s gotta be comfortable!
B)There delivery time is five weeks max guaranteed versus 8 weeks plus for most.
C) They allow me to set up an online store where you can log in and purchase!! See below for all the details on how to order. Please note that there is a $10 dues fee – this is shipping. If you are ordering something and need it shipped (all the kits come to me), then you need to include this $10 fee and send me your address, but only include it once.

We have mens cycling kits, womens cycling kits, vests, sleevless cycling jerseys, one piece tri suits, mens tri kits, womens tri kits, …

Please contact me with any questions. Place your order within the next week so we can have the clothing by LP Camp!!


Dear EH TRAINING Member,

Pactimo is very pleased that EH TRAINING has chosen us to be their clothing provider. Pactimo has developed an online team ordering store exclusively for our Elite customers of which EH TRAINING is one. The store will accept your individual orders and then will consolidate those orders into one team order, which will be delivered to one address. We hope that utilizing this system will make life easier for each of you and especially for your team’s clothing manager.

Important Pactimo Policies for Online Team Stores
Your use of Pactimo’s Online Team Store is in accordance with the following policies. Your use of Pactimo’s Online Team Store is an agreement to be bound by the below policies.

1. All sales entered and paid for on Pactimo’s Online Team Store are final. Customers should double check their quantities and sizes before proceeding to payment. Sizes and quantities cannot be changed once an order is paid for.
2. Clothing only is paid for in full at the time the order is placed. Shipping, design charges and any other fees paid for by the team may be passed on to its members at the team’s discretion.
3. All orders are consolidated and will be delivered only to your clothing manager.
4. All questions or problems related to the clothing must be communicated through the designated team clothing manager. Pactimo will be every effort to satisfy its customers, but will only be able to communicate to a designated clothing manager.
5. Team Passwords must be obtained through your team’s clothing manager and not directly from Pactimo.
6. All other Pactimo policies available though our online ordering system also apply.


SEE BELOW FOR INSTRUCTIONS TO ACCESS YOUR TEAM STORE

In order to access your team store follow the below directions.

1. Go to the website: www.pactimo.com and click on Custom Team Login and click on Looking for a team store

2. Enter your Team Store Password. Team Store Password for your store is: Hodska
3. If you already have an account set up in this store, Login by entering your user name and password. If you do not have an account click on Register as team member

4. Fill in the required information to create an account. (You are creating your own personal account within the store, so enter a personal password as well) Please note that passwords must be at least 6 characters long and are case sensitive

5. Begin shopping Carefully selecting the items and appropriate sizes. Please note that –

All sales entered and paid for on Pactimo’s Online Team Store are final, and sizes and quantities CANNOT be changed once you have paid for your order.

6. Enter your credit card information to complete your purchase.

Note: If you have difficulties logging into the site using Explorer, please try switching to Mozilla or an alternate browser. Thank you.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

EH Racing and Pounding The Pavement

Lots of EH racing going on; Greg Pelican and Scott Beauregard raced American Zofingen in lousy conditions. Greg had two flats but managed to overcome these and still win his age group. Scott had more technical issues on the bike that derailed his race - what sucks is that he was in a great position until this happened. Mike Kane completed yet another IM at IM Texas. Get this, he dislocated his shoulder during the swim which made riding in the aerobars a no go, and the jostling of running very challenging, but Mike doesnt stop until he crosses that line! Gus Ellison and his new bride Jen Ellison both ran a 5k in rowayton, Gus winning it outright. Dena Kramer and Lisa Lou Joaquim both ran in the Ragner relay, logging over 20 miles each. Lou was asked in the last minutes to fill in on a team! Jeff "Manny" Molson represented well at the Shamrock Du. Mike Biehl rode his bike the 25 miles with a 25 lb pack over bear mountain to the Harriman OD race, raced and won his age group, then rode home. And Travis Funk raced the Harriman 1/2 IM and finished 2nd overall!! Congrats everyone, keep it going!

I was away recently, and did what I always do - took my running gear, checked out a map, and went for a run. I love maps. I love exploring and seeing where I went and where I'm going. While I was out, I was thinking about all the places over the last 20 years that I have ran or ridden in. I thought of back roads, side roads, trails, mountain roads, and dangerous roads that I have traveled by my own power. I thought about how I know roads and directions that most don't. I know just about every road west of i91 in Connecticut. I know the roads of my inlaws town in Pennsylvania better than they do. I thrive on taking the roads less traveled. Yet at the same time, I thought about the amount of hours I have put in, leaving my house, some house, a hotel, moving constantly for long periods of time, only to end up right at the same place where I started. As much as I pride myself on my knowledge of the Atlas, I remind myself of the simpleness of the task, and somewhat emptiness of it all. I joked with my wife that if I had spent this time studying, I'd have a few phd's by now. Think about it - what is it that sends us out the door, in hi-tech clothes, on expensive technology, sweating, making our hearts and muscles strain, for hours, only to end right back up at the same place where we began? One time, I was running by an old guy sitting on a bench, and as I passed, he calmly lectured "Be careful, you only have a certain amount of heart beats in you." Of course my mind raced after that comment thinking "what if he's right? What if our ticker is like an odometer on a car, clicking off heart beats like miles, the more ticked off, the closer to becoming expired?" Then I snapped out of the dopeyness and reminded myself that yes, my heart rate may be at 150 beats for 2 hrs, but the remaining 22 hrs in the day, it will be 20 to 30 beats lower than the norm. But the reality is that I'm a different and better me when I get a chance to get out and explore and elevate my heart rate and fatigue my muscles. Besides the fact that my mind seems to be the clearest when I am out there training. So what one may call wasted time, I call invaluable. I'm sure those who may be reading this get it.

Cheers,

EH

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Big Rocks!

My father turned 69 today! he sent me part II recently of his mind set post which is below:

Eric,

Two incidents got me thinking that the Devil might be playing with me. Yesterday morning at 5:30 AM since it was raining I decided to ride my bike in the basement. As I was inflating the rear tire I heard a hissing noise and bent over to check out the tire. My pump went BAM! and the gauge exploded. The plastic cap, ring and some metal hit the ceiling and grazed my cheek removing some skin. If I was not bending down it might have taken out my eye. Now, my mind started saying "this stinks, but you can buy a pump later today and ride then", but I thought no way, I came down here to ride so I put an old bike on the trainer and did my workout. This morning I went out for an early run. In about 5 minutes the sky opened and it started to pour cold rain. As I stood under a tree I thought that I should go back home where its warm and dry, but I said screw it and had an excellent run. Both these incidents got me thinking that every day we face obstacles in our lives. They could be physical, spiritual, mental or relational but they will always be there. What is important is how we choose to respond to these obstacles because while we cannot control what is thrown at us everyday, we can control our response. I chose to go on with my workouts and it made a significant postive difference in both my days.

Dad

My second rule at camp is "check your ego at the door". I've been thinking about ego quite a bit lately. It's evident daily to see how much trouble an oversized ego can get us in. Just ask California's Governor. One thing I have learned is that true champions may a bit arrogant, but they're ego is in check for the most part. they arent afraid to take chances, expose who they are, and even lose. They kknow that in the long run - the big picture, they need to do this to reach unknown levels.

Cheers,

EH

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Some after thoughts, and Yes, my race report is finished now.

This saga just won’t end! Probably the most important experience of the race for me occurred afterwards though, and since I use this blog as my own journal, I want to make sure I record these thoughts.

After my race, we cheered in Gus, who did amazingly well. This race happened to be Gus’s first ride outside for the season. He likes to ride inside so that he and Jen can hold hands while they ride. In all seriousness, he worked his ass off on the computrainer with some of the crazy sessions I had him doing and it showed. Gus pulled down a solid seventh place in his age group. Next, we cheered in Jeff Molson. Jeff loves a challenging course and is already signing up for next year. I always have fun hanging out with Jeff and this trip was no different, with the exception that Lisa also got to hang out with us and laugh a bunch.
I then rode back to the Buccaneer, showered up and went down to the beach grill for a burger and a beer. What I love about ½ IM’s is that after racing hard at a challenging distance, there is still half the day left to relax, relish in your accomplishment, and have some unhealthy food and drink.

The awards were at night on the other side of the island at a resort. This is where they hand out slots for Hawaii and Las Vegas. Originally, there were supposed to be three slots for the Hawaii Ironman. They allocate the slots based on the number of finishers in each age group. Typically, the biggest age groups in triathlon range from 35 to 49. So they call up the top three in each age group, and when they bring my group up, they announce that there are only two Hawaii slots?! I later realized that 1/3rd of my age group DNF’d and therefore they allocated the third slot to another age group. Lisa looked sad for me. She said “Go race Buffalo Springs and get your slot – you always do great there.” That night I hardly slept. I woke Lisa up early and told her I had sort of an epiphany, which was “Lis, I don’t think I want to do Hawaii this year.” “What?! Are you sure??” she replied.

Here’s the thing; twice before since 96’, I went to qualifying races and didn’t qualify, narrowly missing the slot. When this happened, it really pissed me off, and I couldn’t wait to sign up for the next ½ IM qualifier (I still call them ½ IM’s. For the newer tri generation, this means 70.3.) - I have only qualified at ½’s (besides 2000 where I qualified at IMLP but turned the slot down) because I know that I am only good for one IM a year, and I love the ½ IM distance. But I really wasn’t that pissed at the awards last night and I didn’t have much desire to go chasing the next ½ with Hawaii slots. And then it hit me that this year, I just want to get back to racing, but it doesn’t have to be Hawaii. I love that race and respect it like no other. But I’ve raced there eight times and I’ve done it quite well while keeping balance in my real life. This one race doesn’t need to define me. Maybe I still felt as though I had something to prove there? By saying that I wanted to take my kids there to see this incredible race, was that just an excuse for me to not feel selfish about going back? Am I trying to recapture something by going back often? Do I need to prove anything to anyone else by racing there again? I love Hawaii. I love the race, I love the island and I’ve had some amazing experiences there. And I’ll go back again to participate in that great race. But I realized that it doesn’t need to be this year and that I don’t even want to race a full IM this year. Lisa was smart. She asked “Maybe you need to wait a bit. Maybe the harshness of the heat and humidity from yesterday’s race is still too fresh?” But I almost felt a bit relieved and my mind felt clear. If I wanted to go back that bad this year, I would have been angry at the awards and I would have been on the computer as soon as we got back to the hotel. I was helping Molson pack up his bike just after breakfast and he said to me “You know, I like how I feel now after racing a ½. Maybe I will focus on ½ IM’s for a while.” I agree.

Listen, I realize how fortunate I am to have had the opportunity to race there once, let alone eight times. And I realize that triathlon is just a passion. I’m excited to race a few more ½’s this year, including Las Vegas, the new ½ IM world championships. I also want to do some more Olympic Distance and sprint races.

Lisa and I did a catamaran trip that day out to Buck Island where I snorkeled along the underwater trail in the national park and came face to face with a big old barracuda. On the ride back from Buck Island, the captain hoisted the sails, put on some Bob Marley, and passed out some rum punch. And I thought “You know what? Life is pretty good!”

Cheers,
EH

Friday, May 06, 2011

And we're running...

Mitch was once again quick out of transition, with Mike and I following about 100 meters behind. I dropped my salt tabs and stopped to grab them and Mike took off to catch Mitch. My legs felt solid and by the ½ mile point I had bridged the gap up to them. The sun was on us though – it felt like a direct ray was hitting me. I was an ant being burned through a magnifying glass. And even though my legs felt good, I could feel my internal temperature rising. I hate this feeling. I know it all too well from Hawaii. It sounds as though I’m terrible in the heat, but for a bigger guy, I’m really not that bad once I’m acclimated. I’ve used the word acclimate quite a bit in these race reports which should indicate the importance of this.

The three of us ran together towards the Buccaneer Resort where the run goes off-road and you hit the main hills, before heading back into town, turning around, then doing this out and back lollipop again. We had been racing neck and neck and neck all day, and the three of us knew that we were bringing out the best in one another. Mitch said “Best of luck guys, let’s hope there are three slots” as we headed into the Buccaneer. The pace was slow. I felt my legs were easily capable of a 1:25, however, I also knew too well the effects of the heat. And as expected, even though the pace was slow, I was showing signs of not being able to handle the temperature. I still had a good sweat going, but my skin felt on fire and the pressure in my head was beginning to build, as if my brain was being squeezed by a vice. I was looking at the ocean on this beautiful course and I was so tempted to run down and dive in. I could feel my gate shortening and my foot lift decreasing with each stride as my body went on a mission, diverting blood flow from my working muscles and sending it to my organs/skin for cooling. The stride no longer feels fluid – in fact, it’s anything but fluid. The simple task of placing one foot in front of the other becomes extremely painful. Through the aid stations, I dump water on myself, chew ice, sip coke, pound saltstick capsules, and dump more water on myself.

Then, I see Lisa. When I’m having a great race and feeling strong, I love seeing Lisa on the course. Just the opposite though when I’m in a bad way. I don’t like to see the worried look on her face – I hate seeing her in any angst. In 2009 in Hawaii, I was experiencing a very similar situation during the run and she looked panicked. Well, not this time. She and Jen were cheering away as the three of us ran by around mile three. But the sun kept beating down, and just before mile four, I had to let them go. This crushed me mentally, but I was so overcooked. I stopped to pee quickly behind a palm tree, and then walked up the steep hill on the golf course in the buccaneer. Lisa appeared again and I turned to her and said “Sorry Lis, I laid it all out there. I’m frying.” Instead of her reacting very sympathetic and consoling me during my small moment of self-pity, she said “You can still do this! You get to the top of that hill and you start running again – YOU HEAR ME!!” I responded with “I need some shade!” and just then, and I know this sounds like bs but it’s the honest truth, some clouds moved in. I crested the hill and Lisa yelled again “START RUNNING!” And I did. I kept running back towards the turnaround in town, and I was awaiting the contention of athletes to come pouring by me now, but they weren’t. In fact, I was moving quite slow, but I was still picking off some runners. Now I’m not going to lie and say I felt good. In fact, it was just the opposite. Every step hurt, and I had a splitting headache. I remember thinking to myself “who the fuck do I think I am that I can come down here to this climate off our winter and race? A dumb mother fucker, that’s who.” Sorry for my English, but just relaying the truth here.

As I approached the turnaround, I saw Mitch and Mike together still, coming back out for loop two, and they weren’t that far ahead. But they were still running solidly, and I was at my red line. I now just tried to stay at this pace and hoped that one of them, if not both, would falter. But they didn’t. Listen, I know this sounds dramatic but when you are in this world of hurt, it’s easy to think to yourself “I still have seven miles left to run!” and unless you have been there, you can’t comprehend how bad it does hurt. I remember reading an article about Mark Allen where he mentions he can pin point two distinct times where he went a bit too deep into his well and could almost sense somehow that he did some eternal, molecular or metabolic damage. I try to stay present and I count my foot strikes and think of music. Anything to numb the mind.

Running through the Buccaneer on the second loop, if I had had a room key on me, I would have ran inside and taken a cold shower probably. I have to hand it to the volunteers – they were amazing. Around Mile 10, I was asking for coke and the volunteer missed the hand off and dropped the cup. He yelled “keep going, I got you!” and turned back towards the aid station. About ¼ mile later, he comes sprinting through the fairway on the golf course towards me with a full can of coke and a cup of ice!

Now at this point, I was just trying to hold onto third. I was exiting the Buccaneer on the second lap, and with two miles left to go, no one seemed to be coming. After racing side by side by side through most of the day, I was hoping to just cruise in. I had now accepted my third place. But with around one mile to go, I hear foot steps right on me. I could see peripherally a guy dressed in white clinging to my left shoulder. He wouldn’t come up next to me, and he wouldn’t pass. As we went through the last aid station, I slowed to almost a stop to check out his calf, where our age is written, and sure enough, he’s in my age group. And I’m back to racing! He slows as well and stays tucked right behind me. As you enter town, you come within 100 meters of the finish, before this cruel course that constantly seems as though it’s playing a joke on you takes you away from it on a ½ mile loop through town, finishing on a straightaway lined with spectators. My buddy here just sat content on my back as I set the pace through town. Now I’m talking to myself again in the third person which means you know I’m wasted; “Be patient Eric! Don’t get anxious. Let him make the first move. Hold until that cross walk (maybe 70 meters out from the finish line). Don’t go yet, hold, hold, hold…”. Then, I can feel him start to move quickly around me and I leap forward and start my mad sprint as though I hadn’t been racing at all for 4 hours 45 minutes. He and I are going all out, heads back, chests out, arms pumping, and the spectators are loving it! I manage to gap him and end up crossing the line two seconds in front of him.

The two of us bent over and exhausted at the finish line, I said to him “Man, great finish!” and he responded “Que? Mi Englis nots o goot.” This guy was from South America and a previous amateur world champion, so this was a small consolation after losing the first two spots.

Cheers,

EH

Thursday, May 05, 2011

St. Croix Swim and Bike

The regular triathlon pre-race process (body marking, transition set-up, …) could not have been easier. I can’t stress enough the coolness of this race in regards to the laid back feel/attitude. There was no waiting in line, even for the porta-potties. The only issue I had was that my bike wouldn’t shift into my 25 on the back. On this course, this is a big issue. It’s my own fault since I switched my cassette onto my race wheel just before I left and put my bike together the evening before the race. I joined right in with the laid back island lifestyle, and I have no regrets. In fact, we were lying on the beach Saturday afternoon when Lisa said, “don’t you think you should go get your bike unpacked?”. Well, Sam from Cannondale, and Mandy’s boyfriend, who was also here racing, saved me. He took time out of his race morning prep and adjusted my derailleur so I was set for the challenge ahead. On top of things, I had a slow leak in my front wheel and with no time to change it, was hoping for the best.

As I laid out my transition area, listening to “Dog Days Are Over” by Lungs on my ipod, I ran into Mitch Gold and Mike Montgomery, two very fast guys who I knew were some of my main competition, along with a couple of foreigners for this race. I also ran into Chris Peeters. Chris is a doctor from Colorado, and an incredible triathlete. He and I have raced hard against each other in the past, the last time being in 2004 at the Disney 70.3 were I had a lead on him off the bike and he ran by me like I was a street sign, posting a run split around 1:18 and only 2 min behind pro winner Simon Lessing. It was great seeing Chris – I have been fortunate to make some solid friends through competition in this sport across the country like Mitch, Chris, Bruce Gennari – all guys in my age group who share a common thread which is a passion for this sport and for enjoying the competitiveness between us. Chris, began telling me how he was diagnosed with MS in 2007 and hasn’t raced since then. I was blown away. I could tell he was anxious about racing again, finding out where he stood – similar to I who hadn’t raced since 2009, yet my time off was self-appointed and minor – a bit of perspective. Chris just turned 45, and for his debut race back into the sport, finished 3rd in his age group and qualified for both Hawaii and Vegas. How’s that for a return to the sport, and with MS to boot!

I jumped into the warm, salty water and swam easily over to the small island 200 yards off shore where the race begins. I chatted with a few strangers while we awaited our wave start. It was all very low key. Keep in mind that although I have mentioned often how low key this race is, this represents the feel. But the competition here is second to none regarding 70.3 races. The challenge of this course, the early season qualifier, brings out major competition. Most here are here for a purpose. Gus went off in the wave directly ahead of mine, a two minute head start and a nice carrot. Gus was primed and ready to have a great race and his fiancĂ© Jen seems to decompress some of the pressure and stress that I’ve seen overwhelm Gus in the past. I could tell he was ready for a special day. After his wave left, they called my wave down to the start and it was on. I’m typically nervous up to this point and then sure enough, the nerves dissipate, and I make my way to the front and center of the group and prepare for just the immediate start of this race, or the run and dolphin into the water and first 100 meters around the buoys and assuming position.

I got a nice jump and was actually in the lead for the first 100 meters, but I know my lack of swimming doesn’t allow me to maintain this position and let a few guys move in front, hoping to get on some fast feet. Those feet happened to be Mitch’s. The swim was choppy, and felt long. In fact, I wage the swim was maybe 300 meters long, based on the swim times by many, including the pros, and by the fact that I wanted out 2/3rds of the way through. Maybe that was more due from swimming only seven swim sessions in preparation? Regardless, I exited the swim in fourth place in my age group, right behind Mike, Mitch, and a bit further behind a Spanish guy. I fumbled with my cycling shoes. I often stress to my athletes the importance of practicing transitions so why don’t I? Note to self, Mavic cycling shoes are not quick for a tri transition. While re-threading my Velcro straps through there loops, I watched Mitch and Mike disappear up the road. I remained calm though and finally mounted my Cannondale and headed off onto this bitch of a course. I began passing younger guys from earlier waves immediately, and by mile 5, I had reigned in Mitch and Mike. My bike plan was to ride at 80% effort. I know this seems low, but I knew my bike fitness was there and as I mentioned in my previous blog post, since I couldn’t acclimate, I wanted to be fit enough to ride at 80% effort and still be in the hunt so that I could get off and maybe run in the heat. I stuck to this plan and it seemed to be working given that I kept reeling in younger athletes from earlier waves. I caught the Spanish guy just before the beast and was now leading the age group. I tried to ride up the Beast as easily as possible, but I forgot just how hard this climb is. If someone tells you in the future that it’s not so bad, they are full of shit. Some spectator perched on the side of the beast yelled to me “Relax, there’s a lot of racing left!” I wanted to respond “I’m going as easy as I fucking can!” but I was too busy just trying to breathe. Mitch is a great technical rider and would come around occasionally on the technical sections, but I’d soon move back ahead, setting the pace. It remained like this for the rest of the ride. A few other guys jumped on board along the way, but I pulled 90% of the time up front. The thing is, the pace felt a bit too controlled! Even comfortable. There are many times in a man’s life where you must throw caution to the wind, release the reigns, and go for it. This wasn’t one of them. I was nervous about the heat taking its toll and remained relaxed and patient. The course certainly lives up to the hype. The hills and beat up roads keep coming, and the wind wasn’t being that nice either. During an Ironman, I will let my mind drift in and out of the race, thinking about random things that divert from the monotony of racing an Ironman, only to occasionally bring myself present and self-analyze and address the race. During this race though, I was very present as we were in a tight race. One thing that pissed me off just a bit was that after pulling the majority of the ride, with less than a mile remaining before dismounting, Mike came around. The bottom line though, the three of us had been racing neck and neck since the very start of the race, and we still had a little run ahead of us! Most importantly, in my two previous races here (and I use the word “race” very loosely since a better description would be ‘event”), I was mainly surviving. I was finally racing here. And it felt great, especially considering I hadn’t raced since Hawaii 09’ which, after this amount of time off, makes you wonder if you still have it.

More soon.

Cheers,
EH

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

First race of the year - part 1

After taking 2010 off from racing, I am motivated and anxious to get back to toeing the line, and chose my first race to be a course that I have raced twice, and both times, this course beat me down. My first time racing here was not so much racing but, as dramatic as it sounds, more about surviving. It was in 2001 and after over-heating early on in the race and becoming severely dehydrated; i was pulled off the course by the medical team, still with 6.5 miles to go. The second time racing on this course in 2002, I finished but it was ugly - and i certainly wasn't racing, but instead just trying to finish. Lisa planted the thought in my mind that I could leave this race alone now - I had crossed the finish line regardless of my time. I never bought this though and in my mind, I had always planned on going back at least once more. It’s like a young kid who stands up to a bully and gets his ass kicked, then attempts to take on this bully once more and even though he may land a few weak punches the second time around, he still gets his ass kicked. Well I'm that kid, and St. Croix is the bully. The first time fighting this bully, I didn't respect him. Maybe in my mind, because i had fought the world champion of bullies well, I became a bit arrogant and let my guard down thinking I would breeze through this fight which was "only" half the distance? - Hence came ass whooping number one. Then, the second time around, I clearly remember thinking that I just had a bad day last time. I didn't make many adjustments training wise, and experienced my second beat down. I went back nine years later for round three, and this time, I prepared as well as I could while still being involved with my family and running my business - I mention this because the biggest unknown factor was how would I handle the heat. I have lived in Connecticut my whole life and we were coming off our most severe winter yet. Without being able to escape to a warm and humid environment to train, I knew that acclimating to the severe temperature and humidity would be the biggest challenge. I have greatly studied the science of trying to acclimate in a cold climate for a hot weather race, and I have come to the conclusion over research and years of trial and error, that the best way to be ready for the weather is to be as fit as you can possibly be. Yeah, sounds obvious, but what I mean is that overdressing for training, saunas, bikram yoga, sodium loading - these methods work minimally. The only real way to get acclimated is to spend a couple of weeks in the environment you are trying to acclimate to. Since this wasn't possible for me, my approach was to be fit to the point where I could pace a bit easier so that my heart rate was more controlled, my physiology could function easier, and yet I'd still be competitive and "racing".

I can tell already this is going to be a lengthy write-up, and so I'll keep the details on my training preparation for this race minimal. St. Croix is unlike any other 1/2 Ironman I have competed in. This swim is typically choppy, the bike course has constant hills; rollers along with steep ones like the infamous Beast at mile 20 were the gradient reaches 21%. The last 20 miles are always undulating and typically extremely windy as well. The course is also very technical - if you aren't solid at handling your bike, you can crash easily or lose a lot of time. Oh, and the road conditions are terrible. There are potholes everywhere and the road make up is chip and seal. The run is two loops consisting of road and trails and also constantly rolls. Throw in the heat and humidity and you have a 1/2 Ironman that is typically 30 minutes slower than most, and feels more like racing a 3/4 Ironman. Since my Tucson training camp, I had two key cycling sessions each week; a harder 75 to 90 minute computrainer session done in ergo mode with the majority of this being at a wattage greater than what I planned to race at. The other ride was a three hour session done outdoors where I dragged my training partner Kenny O. up every hill within a 40 mile radius of my house at an effort again that was slightly higher than my goal race effort. To accommodate the bad weather and roads in Connecticut coming off our winter, I did most of these three hour rides on my 29'er mountain bike, converted with a road saddle and road pedals. My other few rides each week were on the ct, done in ergo mode or on a created course with some quality, but mainly just aerobic conditioning. Every session had specific cadence work. I did two brick runs per week, along with a tempo or interval run and a 90 minute to two hour run with some tempo or progression in it as well. I strength trained, and managed to get in seven swim sessions.

Lisa and I booked our trip to arrive in St. Croix on Friday, with the race being Sunday. I have found that if you cannot get out to a hot and humid race venue at least a week beforehand to acclimate, you are better off going out right beforehand. Going out three or four days prior is the worst case. Same goes for racing at altitude. Besides seasonal allergies that I was expecting, my taper was going well and as planned and I felt solid. However, the Thursday before the race, I missed all my training due to a busy work schedule, last minute packing, and spending time with the kids. Then, due to a mechanical issue with the plane, we were stuck in Miami an extra three hours and I missed all my training on Friday as well. No worries though as race week taper is just about staying loose and conserving energy, not expending it. Save it for race day.
While waiting in Miami for the connecting flight to St. Croix, more and more triathletes
became present. It can be quite hard spotting triathletes. Look for the emaciated, hairless people wearing compression socks, a finishers t-shirt from a big race or some sort of sponsor gear to let you know they are sponsored while you are waiting at the airport, and completed w/ a pair of racing sunglasses perched atop their noggins, even though it may be raining out or 10pm.

My bike arrived with our flight, which is a major concern for this race. The next morning, I met Jeff Molson outside of our rooms at the Buccaneer and we ran two easy loops of the run part of the course that takes place on the resort premises. I forgot how beautiful this course actually is. The green golf course contrasts with the white-ish, soft sand of the beach coves and turquoise waters of the Caribbean. Palm trees are interspersed throughout and even though it is hot and humid along the resort route, you get an ocean salty breeze that just makes you want to lay in a hammock with a rum punch. Lisa and I then hung out at the resort beach with the soon to be newlyweds Gus and Jen, and I took a nice swim in the ocean. I was relaxed, which was odd considering it typically takes me a few days to unwind. Perhaps I’m getting a bit more complacent? Not according to Lisa.

I put my bike together in the afternoon, and went through registration which was a piece of cake. This race is so low key, compared to all the other WTC races. It definitely embodies the Caribbean relaxed attitude. I loved it – it had the grass roots feel of races of old. We had a light dinner and I crashed around 9:30pm.
At 1am though, I was up! And pre-race nerves hit me with a one two for the first time. I reminded myself that this was good – that this meant that the race meant something to me. I also reiterated the fact that I couldn’t dwell on my two experiences here, for if I did, I’d race in fear and more than likely blow up. “You can do this; it’s just another ½ IM and you are prepared well for it!” I drifted off again at some point, only shortly before my 4:15am alarm sounded. Lisa slept right through it. In fact, I had to wake her up to tell her I was leaving. Jeff and I rode our bikes the 2.5 miles to the race start. It was pitch black out and hard to see, which made the ride kind of fun.

OK, I’ll get into the race tomorrow.

Cheers,

EH

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Guest blogger Big Rocks; "It's the mind stupid!"

My dad sent me this email today. I asked his permission to post it. He at first said it was too short, but I loved the to the pointness. Most of the time, clarity is in succinct, direct, simple explanations, and not about reiterating an issue to death. I'm all about taking the road less travelled. I found his email motivating. Honestly, how cool is it to receive an email like this from your father?!

Eric,

I did a 90 minute run today. If I were writing this as Big Rocks I would call it "It's the mind stupid!". Today was a perfect day for running, cool and damp. I ran a route that has two hills I always avoid. My mind usually says "you shouldn't do these hills because it will take too much out of you. Do them on a shorter run". Of course, on a shorter run I never take this route. As I neared the first hill I felt good so I decided to go for it and powered up, over and down. I felt great. When I got to the second hill I thought screw it, I'm going for it. After that hill I honestly felt I could have done both of them again.

On my way back I realized that my biggest limiter is my Mind. Now I have always known this but I guess I need runs like this to remind me of my potential and not my limitations. I hope you have a similar experience today.
Cheers.


Dad