Wednesday, December 9, 2009


The last two months have been dedicated to recharging my mental batteries and giving my body lots of active rest. This has included a 32 day running streak, but nothing over 13 miles, and quite a bit of weight lifting and core work. Nothing seems to get me going like creating an online challenge at Trifuel. If I don't do my workout I can't post. That would make me feel like a complete slacker.

I also spent 3 weeks training some of my former middle school runners as they tried to qualify for the Foot locker National CC Championship. It was great but it also hurts. Great to be with them, because they are the greatest kids in the world. They have old school attitudes and work ethics. It hurts because they want me to be their head coach so badly and I can't do it. Family has to come first for me. It sounds simple but isn't. I know I am doing the right thing by my children and that has to be enough.

Now I am on to the 31 days of cycling challenge. All of it will probably be on the trainer. I hate the trainer but hope to change that soon. January starts Boston training. I am still up in the air about how I want to approach that. Part of me wants to go for a PR and part of me wants to cruise and have a good time. I am also undecided about my marathon future. Do I keep doing Boston if I continue to qualify? There are not many spring marathons that are on my must do list. Do I try an ultra? I still can't wrap my head around that idea. Maybe 30 miles,, but not 50.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Looking back on the past 36 weeks and what life has brought is a humbling and satisfying experience. It seems like I have always been in training for this IM. It has been constantly on my mind for the better part of a year. Now it is done and I couldn't be more at peace with myself.

After completing the Chessyman 2 years ago I was proud, overjoyed, and content. Having learned my lesson from my first marathon,I put zero goals on the IM except finishing. When I came in under 13 hours I amazed myself. The whole thing seemed surreal, except the pain. Even that went away quickly after finishing. I still don't know how I could run the last mile of an IM marathon in 7 minutes and sprint the track. Anyway, about 8 months later I started to think that another IM was a good idea. I really wanted my son to have a memory of me finishing. Now he is 5 and should be able to enjoy the experience. Working out a "perfect" IM for my standards, had me finishing just under 12 hours. Since I always preach to my students that being a champion means reaching your potential and not winning championships, I set this as my ultimate goal. Training was going well this summer until my dad's heart scare. Using his life philosophy, I turned a negative into a positive and used it to fuel my desire to even greater heights.

Arrived in Cambridge, MD Friday afternoon. The weather was perfect. The forecast was decent. The sign-in takes place at the Hyatt. What a beautiful place. I entered the ballroom and was immediately approached by Vigo, the race director. I was wearing my short from 2 years ago. He grabbed me and gave me a hug, asking how I have been, where I was from, and thanking me for coming back. How many races have a greeting like that? The thing is, it isn't an act with this man or this race. He wants it to seem like a family atmosphere and the staff goes about making it that way. Had dinner with my dad, went to the pre-race meeting, met up with my wife and kids, and got to bed by 9:00.

I woke up amazingly calm. It felt like another training day. Quickly got in my core point (I have issues) ate breakfast, and was ready to go to the start. Easy walk to the start, put what I needed on my bike and changed into my wetsuit. I was still feeling way to calm, but it was better than shaking like last time. The water looked a little choppy but OK. Saw my wife, kids, and in-laws and made my way to the water. It was perfect. 72 degrees. We had about a 200M swim to the start buey. Perfect for a warm up.

As soon as I got to the pack the gun went off. I was near the back, just where I wanted to be. It was going to be a long day and I didn;t need to waste energy fighting for a few minutes. The first 5 minutes were great. Then I was punched in the teeth. That woke me up. One of my mantras for the day was, "It just doesn't matter". I had been punched harder before so it didn't matter. The swim was two loops. Going west was easy. Turning North was a bit of a shock. Now the Choptank started living up to its name. Same with turning back East. But this year it just didn't matter. I can deal with anything. So I changed my swimming style and started to try and predict the rhythm of the waves. It was tiring but it worked. I decided to conserve at the turnaround and cruised back out, letting the waves take me. The swim back in seemed much easier then the 1st loop. I was getting stronger. The only problem was a swimmer decided to get on top of me and continue to stroke. What is wrong with some people. I know we all are going to be hit and give out some hits during the swim. But to keep swimming when you are on top of someone is out of line. After the third blow to my back I elbowed as hard as I could. Got the person in the side and got them off of me. It didn't feel good but I did what I did. then I got stung by a jellyfish on my left hand. Karma? Another jellyfish ended up on my nose and goggles. That was super. It didn't sting me though. And one more on my foot. Another no sting. I got out of the water feeling good with a 1:25 swim. 15 minute PR. I could have pushed harder and maybe taken off another 10 minutes. That didn't fit into my plan for the day so I was very happy with a 1:25. I am not a fast swimmer, but I really feel like I am a swimmer now. I could have gone around again and again. What a huge difference from two years ago.

My transition was 7 minutes. I didn't rush, but I didn't sit down and talk like last time. No strippers at Chessyman, so you have to take off your own wetsuit, bag it, and find a volunteer to give it to. Got on the bike with a smile and a wave goodbye to my family. The first of the three part course is a 20 mile or so out and back. The wind was with us. I was cruising at 23 MPH with minimal effort. My mantra was "Hold Back". This was too easy. I was able to eat my PB&J sandwich this year. I didn't swallow a gallon of salty river water this time. At the turnaround the reality of Cambridge MD set in. This is a very windy place. It was in your face, incessant wind. Loud wind. Gusty wind. It seems to take on a personality of its own. But it just didn't matter. I had trained in pouring rain. I had trained on hills. I was ready. I stayed aero and spun through it. I was able to hold a steady 18-19 mph pace through it. Finally a right turn out of the heart of it. Up a hill cruising at 20. Left turn into the wildlife refuge and onto crappy roads and wind from everywhere. Made it back to the school at the 65 mile point and grabbed my special needs bag. Changed my Infinit bottles and took off. I was pumped for my two blueberry pop-tarts. They were not crushed, they were pulverized. I scooped up some crumbs and got about one entire pop-tart in me. I ate another sandwich. My nutrition and hydration were on. I stopped for my 2nd pee break. Felt good. The last 1.5 hours were tough. Mentally and physically. Even though I was tellingmyself it didn't matter, the wind was slowly beating me down. My right knee ached and I could not get comfortable. Time to adapt. 10 minutes aero, 1 minute seated, and im minute standing. Repeat. Amazing how the little things can make me so happy. Every time I stood up I felt like smiling. Stretching the legs was great. There were times when I could barely go 16 mph in the open stretches. I had a goal of under 6 hours on the bike. Almost got it. 6:01. 18 MPH avg. I could have gone faster but I wanted to be able to give the idea of running the marathon a chance.

Got of the bike and was shocked by how my legs felt. Awful. I decided not to sit down in transition. I was going to stay bent over and stretch my hamstrings. Came out of T2 in 6 minutes. Saw my family and missed the chip mat. Had to run back and go over it. It was worth the kisses though. I started to run. I mean run for real. I felt great. Too good. I had to hold back. 1st two miles I was nailing 8"30's with minimal effort. I knew it wouldn't last but it felt incredible. I talked to a man from Sweden for about 9 minutes. We talked about our ultimate goals of breaking 12 hours. I said I don't know if I could do it, but if I did I was going to freak out at the finish line. He told me to go ahead and I did. Another man overheard our conversation as we passed him. He became a source of positive energy every time I saw him. He would say each time that I was going to break 12 hours. He could feel it. It is an out and back that you repeat 3 times. I love the run course. It is desolate and the aid stations are like parties. I made it to the lovely ladies of aid station 4, the turnaround. They were awesome. What incredible energy. I made it back to the start with zero issues. 1/3 of the marathon down. I saw my family and made a great effort not to get caught up in the emotion. Keep the heart rate down. So I stopped and kissed my kids. As soon as I started I could feel my right hamstring starting to quiver. Time to relax the whole body. I can afford to slow down a bit. 4 miles and change later I am back with the lovely ladies. Now I am hurting. My feet are not bouncing, they are absorbing all 180lbs of me with each step and it hurts. But it just doesn't matter. 4 minutes later I am dizzy and wobbling. My first serious issue. This does matter and it needs to stop now or 11 hours is history. I slowed and then started to walk about 50 yards from the next aid station. I ate 2 sugar cookies, drank a mt. dew, and ate chicken soup. I took a 3 minute walk break to down it. I had no idea of I would be able to handle running after that, but I had no choice. It worked like magic. I took it back to the start slower but I was running. My new plan was to walk each aid station and I did. I made a brief friend a 1/2 mile from the start turnaround. He had a cool IM tattoo on his calf. I asked which one he did. He said this is his first. Now that is pressure. I lost him and didn't see him after that. I hope he made it.

I saw my kids and they were happy as could be. They asked if they could run on the track with me when I got back. I said it depended on if I was alone or not. One of the RD's staff was standing with them and he said they will absolutely finish with you. We will work something out. Then they ran out of the parking lot with me. What a great escort onto the last lap. I continued to walk the aid stations. My body craved soda so I drank it. I made it back to the lovely ladies. They were having a best leg and ass contest now that the course was full of runners. They told me I won. That made me feel good,even though they were probably telling everyone the same thing. Again, about 4 minutes later I got dizzy and wobble again. 3.5 miles to go. On pace to break 12 hours. I started to panic. I ate the chicken soup, drank the mt. dew and ate a bunch of cookies, while taking another 3 minute walk break. It worked again. I was going to break 12 hours if I could keep my head on and my emotions in check. 2 miles to go and I am feeling strong but my legs are twitching. I have an 8 minute cushion if I can keep a 9 minute pace. I have been here before in marathons and have been crushed by cramps and seen dreams of Boston disappear. It wasn't going to happen today. One mile to go. Get my Hawain lay. No yelling, no celebrating. I have taken it to the very edge and I still have a chance to finish in the daylight.

The last mile this year was remarkably different than 2 years ago. Then I felt like I was floating. This time I was grinding. Both times I was emotional. I just couldn't believe everything that I went through that day. The swim seemed like a lifetime ago. It is a much different feeling to do an Ironman with a time goal then when finishing is the only goal. I thought of all my dad had been through this summer. I thought of my wife and how patient she has been. I couldn't wait to get on that track and see my kids. A man was in front of me. I told him the track was his and slowed down. I will never forget running onto the track in either of my IM's. You simply cannot replicate the feeling anywhere else. My heart felt like it was going to burst with love and pride and accomplishment. I had 9 minutes to make around the track to break 12 hours. I did it!!!!! My dad was standing there by himself. I had prayed for this moment so many times as he lay in the hospital in July and he he was. Wow! My kids were waiting at the final turn. They grabbed my hands and we took off. We raised our hands and screamed in triumph as we crossed the finish line. That moment was worth every second of sacrifice and pain I went through. I think it was even better than my first finish. 4:15 marathon.
11hour 53 minute finish. Unbelievable. Reaching my potential and making my dream a reality.

I felt great. I had energy. For about 5 minutes. then the pain set in. But my stomach was fine. I didn't start shaking. I was hungry for pizza. They didn't have any pizza. Oh well. A quick 5 minute ride back to the hotel. The shower felt amazing. I ate a wonderful roast beef sandwich. Then my kids and I started devouring donuts as we watched Penn State play football. My legs hurt more than they ever did in my life. It felt like I was hit with hammers. I could not sleep. Today I feel great again. Sore but great.

One of the most powerful things I learned from this IM is too appreciate the moment. Staying in the moment is a must for IM, but reminding myself how lucky I was to be doing this was key to staying on pace.

I think I want to do at least 1 more. I have my family's blessing. I want to take a month to figure it out. But I think, volunteering at Lake Placid this summer is going to be the next step.

Thank you to all the incredible people at Trifuel for you help, support, inspiration, and friendship. The people in the forum have made a huge difference in my triathlon life.

Monday, September 21, 2009


I dislike the taper. I should be excited to ease back. Instead I become a ball of energy. I feel very excited. I feel confident. I really feel alive. Whatever I do, the IM is there. Floating in my head. Ready to jump to the surface if I don't keep it at bay. That is one of the reasons I love to do this. There are times when I get tired of getting up at 5:00. When I get tired of saying no to certain foods. But that is not really living. Having my senses and nerves on edge is living. Knowing that my body is in as good a shape as I can possibly get it is an amazing feeling. Knowing I could start moving my body forward right now and not have to stop until sometime tonight is very cool. Today and tomorrow are my last 2 days of double workouts. They are also short workouts. My bike is fitted with race tires and inspected. My swim is strong. My core is stronger than ever. My mind is strong. I am ready!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I am in a good place. Mentally I could not have asked for a bigger boost of confidence than I received on Saturday. My best performance in a tri. Ever.

I am anxious. But I am not worried. Things will go my way. Things will go bad. I will overcome and keeping moving forward. That is Ironman.

My body has made it through 35 weeks of training. 1.5 of a taper to go. I have never felt this good, even though my body is telling my I took it close to the edge. That is the only way to reach my potential. Walk the edge, but don't fall off.

There are many things I am looking forward to. The National Anthem. Standing on the beach with that prideful feeling that I always get before starting a marathon, HIM, or IM. It gives me goosebumps to look around and think that I get to be a part of this. That moment in the water when everything starts to click and my mind begins to relax. The water can be a great place.
Seeing my family ans smiling at them when I get out. The feeling of flying on the bike. Mile 65 and the aid station at the bike and run finish. Stretch my legs, talk to my dad, tell the volunteer how lucky I am to have her since she is the best damn volunteer in the race, more chamois butt'r, back on the bike for the home stretch. Having my kids scream their heads off when I start the run. Listening to the people tell you how good you look, even though you don't. The silence of Egypt Rd. and the internal thoughts that must be combatted to keep moving forward. The realization that I am doing an IRONMAN! Making a friend and sharing things that only people running side by side in an IM can understand. The 2nd out and back, Gut check time. The last lap. Wow! Must make it to the turnaround because then it becomes a party. The last mile. The lights of the track shining in the distance. My feet are not even touching the ground. Runners heading out on their last lap high fiving me. People telling you that you are about to be an IRONMAN. Seeing my dad in the corner of the track by himself. Sharing a private moment just with him. Then taking the last half lap like a champion with my kids shouting. Crossing the finish line to the best hugs ever. The glow that lasts for months begins. A shower. Donuts in bed with my kids and wife.

And people think I am crazy for doing this again. If only they knew.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Questions with 5 Weeks to go Until IM

Can I take the last 31 weeks of training and fine tune it in the next 5?
Can I stay calm and keep the intensity where it should be, knowing that I am getting so close?
Can I continue to eat right and stay focused as a new school year starts with a million things on my plate, including coaching 2 soccer teams and helping the high school CC team when I can?
Can I fight through the wind and waves of the Chessapeake Bay on race day, and come out of the water in 1:30?
Can I keep my mouth shut and not swallow a gallon of salt water?
Can I stay within myself on the bike and not red line it?
Can I stay in the present when on the bike?
Can I befriend the wind or at least not let it mess with my head?
Can I go under 6:15 on the bike?
Can I run off the bike?
Can I hold a sub 9:00 MPM pace for 26.2?
Can I handle gels and gatorade this time?
Can I hide any pain or discomfort each time I approach the turnaround and my mom?
Can I turn my mom's tears of worry into my motivation?
Can I encourage each person I see and bounce positive energy off of as many people as possible?
Can I allow the experience to be more powerful then the clock?
Can I dig deeper than I ever have before?
Can I keep my promise to myself and run each of the last 9 miles for a person I love?

If I can do these things, I will be an 11 hour IM finisher.

Can I stay in control of my body after I finish, so I don't upset my daughter again?
Can I use the experience to be a better father, husband, son, brother, friend, teacher, and man?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Big Miles and Some Pain

September 26 is coming fast. August is always a busy month for me, both physically and mentally. Trying to squeeze every last bit of family time out of the summer is the #1 priority. The greatest thing about teaching is the memories my children will have of all the incredible things we have dove together over the years, because we so much time to spend together. My IM plan has also reached it's peak mileage. This year I have been aware of not overdoing it. I do add mileage and time onto the long bike and runs but this year I did it in smaller increments. So my long rides have been 80, 90, 80, recovery week, and last week my first 100. Runs have been 16, 18, 16, recovery, and now 20 miles.

After Thurssday's 100 miler I felt ready to tackle the IM for real. I stayed aero 90% of the time and did it in a horrible downpour for most of the time. Mental toughness is there for sure. Doing it 3 days after racing all out in an OLY tells me I have the legs to go 140.6 The only problem was some odd pain in my left knee. Nothing major, no swelling and I had just changed out my cleats for a new pair. I couldn't do my long run on Friday so Saturday morning my buddy and I set off for a decently paced 20 miler in the humid 80 degree PA morning. Everything was good until mile 16. We were telling stories, as usual, and I was laughing so hard I believe I pulled a groin. The final 4 miles were progressively harder as my left leg's muscles started to take turns shutting down. Got home and decided to do my 40 minute easy spin on the trainer in the basement and take it real easy. As soon as I pedaled my left knee started barking. It felt like it was out of place. No spinning for me. I stretched and it felt decent. Got my family together and headed to the Y for a quick 30 minute easy swim and some fun. Felt good. Got home, got out of the car, and me left knee was aching. For the 1st time in longer than I can remember, I spent an afternoon on the couch. My wife took the kids shopping for back to school clothes and I chilled out with my dog Utley, Tiger Woods, and a couple of bags of ice.

There was no swelling in my knee but the ice felt great. I popped a few Advil before bed and planned on an easy ride and transition run the next morning if it felt good. Upon waking up I had zero stiffness or pain. AS I was getting ready I checked my cleats. Sure enough, the left cleat had moved over a cm to the right form it's previous position. Silver sharpy outline on the bottom of shoes are magic. I moved it back, got on the bike and it was like a Dr. snalled my knee back into proper alignment. That simple. Had a great ride and transition run. Felt almost no effects from the previous day's 20 miler. Time to do it all over again this week.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Toughness and Inspiration

Things were going well. Extremely well. Last week's highlight was a 70 mile ride in which I stayed aero for 95% of the time. Other than some chafing and general buttocks discomfort I felt great. The next day I was running with a friend and I locked my keys in my car. I have never done that before. We returned early so I could call my wife to meet me before she left for work, then we could finish the run. My wife answered and said thank God you called, they ambulance just took your dad to the hospital, he had another heart attack. At the hospital the Dr. told us it may or may not have been a heart attack but we have a serious situation. If it required surgery, well, not an option any longer. Why not? Here is the quick summary:
1. Major heart attack in 1973.
2. Triple bypass surgery in 1982.
3. Quintuple bypass surgery in 1990.
4. Heart attack in November of 2003. Emergency surgery in D.C. after being flown by helicoptor to open an artery that was about to collapse.
5. Heart attack on Christmas Eve of 2003. Told he must have a new heart, can't have one because he is a poor candidate, and he has 6 months to live. Pacemaker and Defribulator put in his chest. New Dr. at U of Penn disputes the 6 months.

I am a mess and my dad is the pillar of strength. As usual. Smiling. We will find a way. My sister convinces him to get to U of Penn where they are not afraid to go experimental. Spent the last week losing my mind thinking he my not come home this time. Yesterday walked around Philly thinking I might have a heart attack waiting for the test results to determine the extent of the damage. The best news possible came back. No surgery, no major damage, but the narrowing is worse, and the heart is only at 25%. Which is not good, but all can be improved with new medications and increases in old. And he has to lose 30 lbs. Wheeeeww! I can breathe again.

Of all my friends I can think of none that are lucky enough to have the relationship I have with my dad. We have always done things together and still do. He goes with me to Boston. He goes to Quakerman with me. He was the 1st one to greet me at my Ironman. Of course he had to be away from everybody so they couldn't see him crying. I couldn't have asked for a greater dad or a man I could truly say is my hero. He is the toughest man alive. Nothing gets him down. Nothing stops him from wanting to live and share his life with others. He regularly makes people cry at church when he gives homilies. At a Catholic church no less! The nurses hugged him when he left this morning. The lady that cleans the rooms told us what a joy he is. How lucky have I been to have 40 years with him.

One thing he has taught me is you can turn a negative into a positive. I will take this situation and use it to fuel me from now to the finish line in September. Things were going great to this point. Now I am on a greater mission. I will go under 12 hours. I ran a marathon for him in 2003. Now I will go 140.6 for him and will use his inspiration to push through barriers that stopped me last time. And most importantly, he will be there again, by himself, in the corner of the track, waiting to be the 1st to congratulate me and tell me he loves me.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


One of the major perks to be a teacher is having 9 weeks of summer to do with as I please. I used to work boring, low-paying jobs but now I get to pretend I am a pro triathlete. It really helped with my 1st IM training 2 years ago and so far week one of summer has been great.

The middle of May through the present has been the opposite of April. I feel smooth, efficient, powerful, and fast. My track times are approaching what they used to be when I trained solely for running races. I PR'd at the Black Bear Sprint last week, and even placed third in my age-group. Yesterday I hammered 30 miles on the bike and ran for an hour with a 30 minute tempo run thrown in. I felt like I could have done it all over again when I got home. My swim times are even coming down a bit. I don't want to jinx myself, but this has been great. Other than the daily core exercises and some full body weight training movements done over the winter, I don't have an explanation for the increase in performance. Now the key is to not overdo it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


It's been a long time between posts. Life has thrown some obstacles in the way of training but hopefully all will go smoothly from here.
Things were going great through the end of March. I turned 40 and felt great. Shortly after I reaggravated a back injury that I thought was gone forever. I was able to train moderately, but nothing like I was supposed to do. For almost 3 weeks I had zero power on the bike or run and was unable to swim more than a few laps. The only positive is that I kept the ab challenge going. 150 straight days is coming this week and I plan on continuing the entire year.
I was back on schedule by the end of April and feeling stiff but strong. May started with my wife finishing a degree. This means class every M,T,W,Th from 4-8. Finding time to train has become difficult. The bike and run are right on schedule but it is almost impossible to find time to swim.
On the bright side, having to scramble to get on the trainer or get out for a run ramped up my motivation to get out and train. I have a sprint tri in 2 weeks and am lucky enough to be heading up to the mountains for a few days this week. High altitude (not really) bike and run training with moster hills. I can't wait.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Challenge Completed

In planning my training this time I wanted to make sure I upped the intensity in some of my workouts, especially with the preseason lifting and core. The way for me to do this is to set up a personal challenge. I only lift twice a week, so I need to waste no time and trash my legs, shoulders, and back in 45 minutes. I have been ending my sessions with non-stop full body movements like deadlifts into squats w/ dumbells, pushups with 50lb. dumbells into a deadlift into a clean and press movement, and burpees w/2 legged jumps, and burpees w/pullups.

I was amazed at how hard these were. I made a challenge of 50 reps of burpees, which is a pushup in which you jump back up to a standing position after each rep, with a wide grip pullup each time as my ultimate strength training goal. I did it a week ago and felt good except for some hand pain. I got the idea in my head that 100 reps would be taking it to my limit of physical and mental stress. So of course, I had to give it a shot. It was tough and my hands have hurt for 3 days, but I did it. Non-stop, except a few seconds to wipe the sweat off my face, it took me 19 minutes. I had an actual puddle of sweat underneath me when I was done. Awesome feeling. I then jumped on the treadmill and ran an 8 minute cool down mile, which felt like I was walking.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Perfect Run

Last Sunday morning was one of those perfect days that make the endurance life style seem so worth it. I was in State College with my dad for the Big 10 Wrestling Championships. We were staying about 3 miles off campus. I woke up early to get in a 9 mile run. The weather was a perfect 55 degrees with really low but sporadic rain clouds. I headed from the hotel towards a wooded area with a golf resort. After running for 20 minutes through some hilly and beautiful roads I saw a sign for the airport. I headed in that direction. The woods thinned out eventually and I came upon a preserved one-room school house. I decided to wait to look through the windows until I turned around. A few minutes later the wood ended and the view above appeared to my right. Mount Nittany, except it had the coolest rainclouds on both sides of it. I had to stop for a few minutes and take it in. The run back was awesome as was the schoolhouse. I ran for 70 minutes and it felt like I wasn't even trying. It energized me for the whole day.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tattoo and Next Tattoo

After finishing the IM in 2007 I knew I wanted to get a tattoo. I have wanted one since the early 90's but never could think of something I liked. I read the article about the T-Dot in Triathlete magazine and thought it was a cool idea. I struggled between this design, something incorporating the Chessyman logo, and the traditional M-Dot. After adding the SBR and the 140.6 I thought it was original enough to put on my arm forever. It is also cool in that nobody knows what it is except other triathletes. When people do ask about it they inevitably say, "The Ironman is how long???" It turned out better than I expected in both the experience and how it looks. The artist could not have been any cooler. We shared a ton of stories over the 2.5 hours. This flash from the camera kind of messes with the dark black ink.
If I finish my next IM in the daylight, which is my goal, I am going to get another one on my right arm. I am leaning toward a small M-Dot in the middle of a sun. Colors need to be decided upon as well as the style of the sun.

Reality Check

6 weeks of IM training down and everything has been going well. I have missed a couple of swim workouts but that is going to happen with my schedule. Actually things have been going almost too well. I PR'd last week in a mile swim timer trial when I finally broke 32 minutes. My running was slightly slower in my first speed session last week but that was also to be expected given the cold weather, wind, and the fact that I haven't gone fast for an extended period of time since November.

Well this morning I got in my AM bike trainer workout and felt great during the 3.1 mile repeats. After a half day of school (parent-conferences tonight) I went for an hour swim. I was cruising and hitting decent 100 yd splits, for me, at 1:50. After 60 laps I stopped to put on the zoomers to do some drills. As I bent my left leg to put on the fin I cramped terribly on the inside of my right leg. I couldn't loosen it up. I got out of the pool and my left leg went as well. Bizarre. I don't kick much when I swim. I also had an easy day yesterday with just a run with my dog. My guess is that I was dehydrated. I didn't eat lunch and haven't been hydrating as well because it is winter. Lesson learned. I need to respect the toll the three different workouts are taking on my body and start watching my diet and liqiud intake.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

4 Weeks Down

Today ends week 4 of my IM training. The biggest difference between this year and 2007 is that I am not training for the Boston Marathon as I start the program. I qualified but am defering until 2010. I only get 2 personal days as a teacher and this year I am going to St. Louis with my dad to watch the NCAA wrestling tourny.
Taking out the long weekend runs and middle of the week 14 milers has made the program seem almost too easy. That was until yesterday. I bonked on the trainer for the 1st time. It was a 1hour and 45 minute ride with variable gearing drills for 15 minutes followed by 2 8 mile time trials. I was feeling good on the 1st TT. I had the 2004 Giro on and clocked a 23 minute 9 second 8 mile ride. After a 2 mile spin I started the 2nd with every intention of beating the 1st time. At the half way point I was almost a minute ahead of schedule and wa holding 23 MPH at 94 RPM's. With 2 miles to go it started to feel like my legs were concrete. I started changing gears like crazy and my MPH came down to 20. It felt good in a masochistic way to be on the edge again. I haven't pushed myself to the limit since the Philly Marathon in Nov. Anyway, I fought through and finished with a 23:33.
After a wonderful day spent with just my wife I took my dog for a 4 mile run and felt zero affects from the bike. My recovery is right on, my nutrition is pretty good, my core is in the best shape of my life, my focus is better than ever, and msyne most importantly I feel patient with the program. No silly workouts that wreck me for the next day, just to prove I am at a certain level of finess. With age comes times.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Quest for 11 Hour IM Has Begun

Just finished Day 1 of Week 2 of my 36 week Ironman program. I feel great. In fact the distances aren't challenging enough at this point. I am experienced enough to know not to push it though. It will get tough enough soon and 34 more weeks is a huge chunk of time to keep up the motivation. Motivation was my biggest concern when making the commitment to do another IM. How do I get the fire burning like it was in 2007? I think the answer is to light a different type of fire. Before becoming an Ironman was huge motivation. This time reaching my potential is what is getting me going. The fear of not doing the best IM and marathon I am capable of is driving me as I reach middle age. Trying to harness that into positive energy is something I am focusing on. It is okto fail on race day. It is not ok to not prepare to my fullest. I want every aspect of my training to be as perfect as possible this time. I want to finish knowing that I couldn't possibly have gone one second faster or more efficiently. It is all about the training. I know I can go 140.6, I already have. Now it is about the sun being up when I do finish.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

50 Days of Core

In December I was thinking of how I could make a difference in the upcoming season. I was happy with the results form last year and the programs I have done were doable but challenging. So I thought about the little things I neglect on a daily basis. Core exercises were #1 on the list. Getting to the weight room regularly was the second. They were related in that I was doing abs at the gym.

Last year I took part in the 31 days of running with trifuel members and it was motivating to be held accountable. I was looking forward each day to posting my minutes and earned points. Doing the same with abs seemed a great way to insure I would do them. My initial goal was to get in around 200 to 300 reps a day. Then derek5 from trifuel took the challenge to the next level and I wanted to see if I could keep up. It is amazing what we can do when we put our minds to it. I have done 11,700 reps in 12 days. Today I did 3000 reps and I feel great. I really want to keep this going until my birthday on March 25. That would be 87 days of core work. After that working them 5 times a week throughout the season should be easy.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


2009 is, hopefully, going to be another big year in terms of racing. It is also a big year because Iwill be turning 40 in March. That is a strange thought. 40. Anyway, this will be the first year in three years that I will be skipping a Spring marathon. I will defer my 5th Boston Marathon until 2010. The reason is the goals I have for the Chessapeakeman 140.6 triathlon.

I finished in 2007 in 12 hours 47 minutes and was ecstatic with my time and performance. It was satisfying beyond any athletic accomplishment I have ever achieved. It was also freeing in a way because I really felt and still feel that I don't "Need" to do another IM distance tri. But I can't seem to stop thinking about it, so I decided to give it another shot. The 1st time I set no goal except to finish. This time I want to finish in the daylight. That means taking 40 minnutes off my time. If I am going to take off 40 minutes I might as well try to take off 48 minutes and finish in 11 hours. The only way I am going to do that is to train like crazy on the bike. Stronger bike takes some time off that part of the race and sets me up to run stronger. Therefore, no spring marathon and lots of miles on the P2SL.

All of my training and races will be geared toward Chessyman in September. Iwill be competing in the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon in April, the BlackBear Sprint of HIM in June, the Steelman OLY in Aug., the PA Endurasport Hybrid Tri in Sep, the Philly Distance Run in Sep, and then the biggy. If I recover well I will also enjoy the Philly Marathon to celebrate my 10 anniversaary of the endurance lifestyle.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Setting up a Blog

I have been thinking about starting a blog for sometime now and took the plunge this morning. I had become a slave to training plans and logs a few years ago so I got rid of everything and haven't regretted it one bit. Since I am attempting another Ironman this year I thought a blog based more on the experience might be something I would be glad a did and would want to look back on.