Dec 11, 2007

Running challenge

I'm trying to find a way to get my running kickstarted again and make things more interesting. There was a time last year when I really got into the flow of running and started to enjoy it a lot. I'd like to get back there! One of the really fun events I did last year was the Colchester 1/2 marathon in February despite the brutal cold. I'm thinking there's a way to wrap these two items together.

There are 75 days between now and the 1/2 marathon on February 23... perhaps another challenge to set say 60 as a target number of days to run. That's quite a bit, but it would force me into consistency which would ultimately be my goal. I should probably set a number of miles too in order to add a bit of spice. I need to find a way to get it back into my daily schedule, probably by starting to run during the day at work again.

The best case scenario is that someone else, either a friend or relative, would join me in this challenge. Perhaps someone could pick a different activity, or even a few different folks? Anyone interested? It would be nice to have a bit of competition to keep me going... we could even put a small wager on it. Or not.

Drop me a note in email or a comment below if you're interested...


Volleyball Week 6

Very good games last night, the results could have been better but we played the top team in the league and played them well. The first game was a tight affair, and we played very well together with a very good rotation of 8 players. It was a very enjoyable game and I played pretty well, making some nice plays both on the front line and the back line. We won the game and were feeling very good about our play.

The second game was a bit tougher, we fell behind but still played okay. The other team definitely had a bit more talent than us. We had a very nice run to come back and tie it up and stayed neck and neck but ultimately lost by one point, 24 to 25. The final game was also a well played game but we could not put them away as they pulled away and won the final to take the tiebreaker.

I stayed to play pickup and did okay as I again tried to focus on aggressive play and better passing from the back line. My net play is improving, I got a couple blocks during pickup and even a few during the games. I still net to improve my bumping, I'm very inconsistent and a bit of a liability when I'm in the middle in the back.


Dec 5, 2007

Link Happy

I'm clearly link-happy today, but I couldn't resist this one. It makes me feel a bit better, and allows me to claim I'm better off than some of my skinny relatives.

There's a study out that suggests that being Fat and Fit is better than being skinny but sedentary!

"Men and women who were fit, as judged by a treadmill test, but were overweight
or obese had a lower mortality risk than those of normal weight but low fitness
levels, the study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed."

Clearly I'm better off than most of you silly, skinny people! Long live the Clydesdale!


Another very cool link

It's amazing what is possible on a bike...

This video starts a bit slow with some commentary on a new movie coming out called "Crux", but once the bike shots start it's incredible. The stunts are amazing and the control these guys have over their bikes is pretty wild.



It's nearing that time of year...

Here's a very cool link to a Happy Holidays message from Specialized Bikes.

And some people say I'm obsessed with my bike!


Dec 4, 2007

Volleyball Week 5

Ugly... very ugly! We got swept all three games and did not play well at all. We had some stretches where we played okay, but would have a bad couple points and then tighten up and things would get away from us. We have one player who tends to overreact negatively and I think it makes us all press a bit and stop playing. We then try to force things instead of just playing our game.

I played okay, a few good hits and some nice digs. I also got to play 2 hours of pickup since the games before ours were forfeited when a bunch of players from 1 team didn't show up. Ultimately I was able to work on my passing which is improving and more aggressive net play. My blocking is improving a bit as well, but still needs a lot of work. I think I'm going to invest in some kneepads, since I tend to dive around a bit and my knees are getting pretty banged up.

On the plus side, I got in the pool again this morning and had a really good workout. We did a backstroke set which went much better than last week as I have a better feel for the stroke. Looking forward to swimming again on Thursday, I may even get to do some more new strokes.


Dec 3, 2007

New trails

While I haven't gotten bored riding on the same old trails, I've been looking forward to trying a new mountain biking area lately. This weekend, during our "holiday party weekend" with my family I managed to get out for a ride in Niantic on what turned out to be a great set of trails.

For the past couple of years, instead of having a Christmas party, my immediate family spends a weekend together at a hotel. We spend time swimming in the pool, hanging out and having dinner together. It's been a wonderful tradition in that it allows us to have fun with each other, eliminates some of the materialistic parts of Christmas, and we spend more time together as a family. This year we headed down to New London, planning a train ride, ice skating and some time at Old Mistick Village. I was unable to get out of work until later than I wanted and so we headed down Friday evening and just met my family at the hotel. Matt and I had planned a mountain biking trip Saturday morning early to let us get a few hours in without being away from the family too much.

We headed out at 6 A.M to a trail I located on in Niantic which sounded like a lot of fun. It turned out to be a great spot, even though it was difficult because of all the leaves on the ground. Leaves tend to cover holes and other obstacles, and they make traction a bit more dicey. We had a few extra falls, but the trails were great fun. The only negative during the day was an issue I experience with my hub in the back wheel. I whacked a rock pretty good, and must have damaged it a bit because it wouldn't allow the bike to coast. It would catch on every revolution and stick until enough pressure forced the wheel around. Ultimately this meant that I needed to keep pedaling constantly other wise the chain would snap around and put a lot of stress on the derailleur. It made for an interesting trip back out, but ironically gave me some interesting training as I was forced to keep pedaling and had to be more aggressive through obstacles. I can see the attraction of a "fixie" or fixed gear bicycle and would probably be more receptive to the idea now.

The trail was enough fun that I'm considering getting a group to go back down for the day. It's over an hour drive, so it would have to be planned ahead, but I think the trail would be worth the trip. The only question is now, or in the spring when it's a bit warmer!


Nov 29, 2007

Near-drowning experience

My brother Matt joined me at Master's swimming this morning in the Suffield pool. This was his first experience with structured swim training and I'm guessing an eye-opener for him. After a couple attempts at flip-turns he decided to just use an open turn at the wall. I definitely could feel his pain, they are not easy if you've never done them before. Then after a nice long freestyle set which was doable but tiring, he experienced the joys of kick sets!

Kicking the length of the pool using a kickboard to hold up your head doesn't sound too bad when you describe it, but the agonizing burn in your quads, calves and ankles is a different experience. He also got the full "uphill last 3 yards" thrill as your momentum stalls and every kick seems to bring you no closer to the end. He gutted it out though, took a couple short breaks but kept going. I'm sure he will appreciate it more when he's climbing up and down ladders today at work!

Finally, we wrapped up the fun with a 50 backstroke / 50 freestyle set. This would be my third time doing backstroke in a workout and his first. The coach felt pretty bad for us I could tell, but offered some very good advice on positioning and form. I could immediately feel a tremendous difference, the only problem was that my legs were so shot that I had trouble implementing it. After completing the 50 meters of backstroke we would immediately go to 50 meters of freestyle, and I felt like I was going to go under and not be able to come back up. I was completed toasted after the backstroke laps and probably appeared drunk as I struggled down the lane. We were schedule to do 10 reps by the coach, which was changed to 8 in the interest of time and ultimately ended at 5. The last one she had us use a pull-bouy which helped a lot because I could take some focus off of my legs and concentrate on the upper body but I was so exhausted it was difficult to make progress.

Still in all, a fun swim, it was nice to feel a challenge again, it had been getting a bit stale with just freestyle sets. We'll see if my brother ever shows up again though :)


Nov 28, 2007

Training totals update...

I haven't posted a lot of summary information in a while since it's been essentially a month or two off since my racing season but it's occasionally nice to do some comparisons to get a feel for how much things have changed in my life the past few years.

Some exciting number differences:

2006 total2007 - 11 months% Difference
Swimming43,000 yards90,000 yards110%
Biking2,000 miles2,800 miles40%
Overall hours278 hours338 hours22%

You'll notice that running is not in my table... it's actually down from last year, essentially on the strength (or weakness I suppose) of the last few months where I haven't done much running. Ultimately, if I want to get a lot faster in Triathlon, this has to change. I really need to get back in the habit, hopefully some of my new found motivation will go into this area.

Overall some very exciting and motivating numbers... it will be interesting to see if they continue to ramp up in 2008.


Nov 27, 2007

Volleyball Week 4

Very fun night last night, we went 2-1 and I felt that I played my best games of the season. We started a bit slow, and give up a big run in the first game and couldn't come all the way back and lost a tight game but even then felt we played okay. The second game we played much better, stayed aggressive and took our shots when we had them. I focused on staying aggressive and got a couple kills in. I've worked on taken an aggressive approach when I get a good set and was able to make a difference in this game. The last game was also a win, and again I felt good about my game. There was a bit of a hiccup where I got handcuffed by a particular server who managed to hook his serves enough to make them difficult to handle. Ultimate I hit the final shot at the net that let us take the win.

My focus needs to continue to be on staying aggressive at the net and taking advantage of my opportunities when I get them. My blocking also needs some work, I can go straight up but I have some difficulty adjusting to the ball as it's being struck. My play on the back line also needs some work, mostly in getting more accurate passes to the setter. I'm pretty inconsistent on where my bumps go. I've been pretty successful at getting to all the balls that come my way, but have difficulty making the crucial first pass to my setter to start the play.

Overall, things have gotten to be a lot more fun and I'm really looking forward to every week.


Nov 26, 2007

Solid Holiday Weekend

It was a refreshing weekend, with a solid 4 days off from work. From an activity perspective, I spent 3 of the 4 days getting some fun in either riding or running. More importantly, it was a great weekend for spending time with my family and relaxing. My cousin was married as well, and so the family grew again. Bruce is a fellow mountain biker, and although he's been a bit distracted (and probably will be for a while now) I wish him the best in his marriage. We also visited my wife's grandmother and great-aunt in R.I. on Friday, and spent a nice Thanksgiving day with my in-laws.

Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, I did the Manchester Road Race with a bunch of family and really enjoyed as usual. It was a much nicer day, sunny and in the 60's, than last year when it was very cold and pouring rain. It's hard to call it a race since with 15k plus runners you spend most of the time dodging people instead of running. Once again, we started at the back after waiting in vain to meet up with some family and had to wait over 7 minutes from the gun to even cross the starting line. It's a 4.7 mile run, with two distinct sections the first 3 miles are spent dodging people and working your way up a long hill. With about 2 miles to go, you head downhill and the crowd has usually thinned a bit. This is the point where you can really run and see what you have. This year with the beautiful weather it was still really crowded at this point, but I managed to set a pretty good pace and hold it for the rest of the race. I passed my brother, but never saw my uncle and didn't end up catching him. I'm pretty happy with my effort, having gone over a month without any running to speak of. It's gotten me in the mood to start running again, I think I'm finally past the burn-out phase of this summer. Congratulations to every one that was out there for the race.

On Saturday I went to Case Mountain for a mountain bike ride with a friend from work who I managed to talk into giving it a try. It was a bit of a mellow ride, we headed up the fire road before running out the blue trail and back for a bit. A very cold day, the temps were in the teens, I just tried to stay warm and feel the new frame on my bike. It feels differently then the old frame, but I need to do some adjustments before I can definitely say what the differences are. It did seem to climb differently, I think perhaps both the lower weight and the softer ride helped. It also could be entirely mental :)

On Sunday I also managed to get out for a ride in the morning. We were a bit rushed for time, but managed to get a nice loop in, including a new trail with some pretty good downhills. I didn't manage to adjust the bike much before we went out, so I was still feeling a bit cramped on it but it was still a lot of fun. I'm thinking of heading up to Tolland Bike to grab some new, warmer shoes and have Dave check out my fork.


Nov 21, 2007

Volleyball week 3

Not a great result, we were 1-2 but it was a good effort and well played game. We played against the top team in the standings, and they were definitely a little bit better than us. More strikers and a better mix of setters on their team than ours. They also played with 6 while we played with 8, which is sometimes more difficult because you have to rotate people in and out and this makes it difficult to get into a rythmn.

I thought we played fairly well, staying consistent and working together. Our size hurt us a bit on the front line as they could rotate 4 big hitters, and consistently have a big man on the front. Our team on the other hand has 3 big guys and 2 (including myself) that are a bit smaller. Thus, with the rotation there would occasionally be a mismatch and it would be difficult for us to win the points.

Overall, I need to continue to work on being more aggressive with my kills. I'm still a bit hesitant to go for a hard spike since I'm worried about hitting into the net. I think this is a result of being a bit out of shape for volleyball, and not having the confidence to go for it. I'll have to continue to work on this aspect of my game in the pickup sessions as well as mentally focusing on it.


Nov 20, 2007

New bike

It feels like a new bike and looks like a new bike! That's always a good day, and I managed to achieve it without having to spend a lot of money. Even better, it's a new carbon bike day, which is clearly icing...

Here's a few pics of my new ride.


Nov 16, 2007

Bike update

Phone call from the bike shop yesterday...

"Hi, we got the frame back from Trek today, and apparently they didn't have any aluminum ones available. They sent a full-carbon fiber one instead" Gee that's too bad!

It's been a lot longer than I would like to have waited, but it will be very nice to get an upgraded bike in the process. If you check out Trek's web site, you'll see the difference between a aluminum and carbon bike is about $2,000. I'm not sure exactly which frame they sent me, but it's clearly an upgrade over what I have! They also tried to sell me on replacing some parts, but I wasn't interested. Most of the components I can replace myself for cheaper, and I rather give more business to Dave at Tolland Bike anyway.

I'm in Boston at a convention with my wife, so I'll have to wait until early next week to pick up the bike. Looking forward to the first ride on the new bike, maybe I can actually keep up with those young whippersnappers now!


Nov 14, 2007

New feature on "Views from Left Field"

As I've gotten more and more into blogging and RSS feeds, reading blogs and staying up to date has become more a part of my day. I use Google reader to subscribe to blogs that are interesting and thus I stay informed about industry trends, the sports teams that I follow and triathlon related happenings.

I just noticed a real easy way to allow me to share the blogs that I'm interested in with others. Blogrolls, as they are called, are fairly common and people use them to share links to other bloggers. The new and easy part is that I use reader to categorize and parse the feeds, and I can now add Blogrolls to this site based on the reader categories. So I no longer have to update links or change my settings, it's all maintained for me in the tool I already use. Check out the new lists on the right for the Sports and Triathlon related blogs I read as well as the Business and Insurance ones that I find worth my time. I do add and remove blogs to these lists as they become interesting, so check back often :)

If you have started reading news this way online, I urge you to give it a try. It actually saves a lot of time because you don't need to go check sites for updates, the updates come to you. As I mentioned, I like Google Reader, but there are many other options.


Nov 13, 2007

No V-Ball

If you're waiting breathlessly for a volleyball update... I'm sorry, volleyball was cancelled last night as they were using the gym for some other random, fitness class thing. I know, I was crushed too....

I did get the pool this morning, and there's a couple more swimmers there... both quite a bit faster than me even though one hadn't swum laps in 20+ years. Not helping the ego much, but she was a competitive swimmer before so I don't feel totally worthless :)


Nov 8, 2007


It's a totally foreign sport... but I'm learning. Here's a blantant pander to a couple of friends.


Back in the pool

Masters swimming has restarted, and I finally managed to get up and head to the pool this morning. It's tough to get out the door at 4:30 am, but I usually feel pretty good about it after I'm done swimming and headed to work. There were a couple new faces at the pool, but it's still mostly about swimming the laps for me.

I didn't feel a significant drop off from the spring when I last swam there, but I did start to get tired at the end of the practice. I also reaffirmed that kick-sets are really miserable, once I lose momentum in the last five yards it's like I'm kicking in pace. My coach is always cracking up at me since he thinks its funny how slow I get at the end. I can definitely feel the leg burn though, so I'm pretty sure it's working.

Lastly, it's going to be interesting to see how swimming affects my shoulder. Since I hurt it playing volleyball this summer it has never quite been the same. As I posted earlier, there isn't a permanent damage based on the MRI, but I do have some strained tendon issues. Rest has been a significant improvement, so I'm hoping that getting some regular exercise in the pool will strengthen it and it will get better.


Nov 7, 2007

Long Trail Trip Report - Day 2 - Oct 28

Day 2 – Saturday

Unfortunately, Saturday morning started much too early probably just after midnight, as I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep. I really needed a pillow, and just couldn’t get too comfortable. Finally, things started to get a bit lighter and although it was drizzling and chilly, it was nice to get the day started. I’d been looking forward to making coffee for a while, so I jumped at the chance to get started. Unfortunately, it didn’t work so well and became a comedy of errors. First, I added the coffee to the water before boiling which caused it to go from quietly bubbling to exploding all over the place, including the hiker next to me. For my second attempt, I left the coffee out but then the fuel emptied mid process and I had to switch out canisters with my uncle. I finally got a cup done which my uncle started but then pulled the top off midway through and mixed the grounds in the cup, so that was a partial washout as well. The last cup I made turned out great and I got to enjoy a nice cup of coffee!! I’m thinking my trail name is ultimately going to be related to coffee in some way.

After packing, we set out for a day in the rain. It really wasn’t too bad for the most part as it was a light rain, and my raincoat kept me mostly dry. There were a couple really interesting and beautiful spots on the days agenda, the first being a “beaver-challenged puncheon” Even after discussing this with Steve, I could come up with no theories about what this was, but as soon as I saw it, I knew it. A puncheon is actually a boardwalk road (I discovered this via wikipedia after the fact), in this case, one which was partially below water just below a beaver dam. It was a very interesting sight standing three feet below a beaver dam that looked like it could collapse any minute and send us cascading away in a deluge of water.

Later in the day we came to a beautiful stream that was the biggest we had seen so far and just gorgeous. It was close to the shelter that I was really looking forward to seeing. At this point we were pretty wet, and my feet weren’t feeling too great. It felt like I had partially torn a toenail on my foot and I was looking forward to changing my socks. We took a short break in the shelter to eat lunch and dry out a bit. I changed my socks and although I couldn’t see any obvious issues with my toenail, it still hurt pretty good. (It’s since turned black and I’m apparently going to lose it soon… not sure exactly what happened)

We started out for the last stretch, hoping to meet my wife at 4pm where she was supposed to pick us up. The last part of the trail includes a pretty steep section that has “extensive stone staircases”, and my uncle was a bit nervous about this section coming. Of course, it was here that the rain all of a sudden came down the hardest, and it just poured. It was actually quite treacherous as we picked our way down the steep trail from rock to rock. They were covered with leaves and the rain was coming down like crazy, we had to stop and laugh out loud at one point about how crazy it was. My uncle took a short fall, but otherwise we made it okay. I was getting a bit worried, it was definitely a broken leg waiting to happen. Once we got to the bottom we started wondering how late my wife would be, she isn’t known for her promptness. It was quite cold, and we were soaked, not a good combination. Cell phone service was unfortunately nonexistent, so we had no idea what her eta would be. It turns out she was early, missed the trailhead and I managed to flag her down on her way back east.

Ultimately, it was a great start, we both learned quite a bit about our pace, conditioning and what sort of supplies we needed. We had considered this a “get our feet wet” kind of trip, and it certainly fit that bill. I’ve managed to compile a list of items to bring the next time, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be much more prepared…

Until next time on the trail…


Volleyball Week 2

The results weren't as good as last week, but it was still fun! We finished with a 1-2 record, as the other team was both more talented and more consistent. They had a bunch of big hitters, and also seemed to get every bounce as balls that seemed out stayed just in. We didn't play especially well either, and were shorthanded for a bit when when of our players left briefly with a thumb injury in the first game. She was able to ultimately return midway through the second game but was somewhat less effective than usual. We thus lost one of our good setters, and also a spiker as one of the guys had to rotate to the setting position instead. It felt good to come back in the last game and get a win, but we all felt that we could have and should have played better.

I once again played pickup after our games, and had a pretty good time. It's a really good chance to work on specific parts of your game without too many consequences. I focused on my overhand serve, and I'm comfortable enough with it now to start using it in games for real. It's not a great weapon yet, but puts a bit more pressure on the other team than just getting it over the net. I also tried to be more aggressive at the net. Applying more power is worth the effort now, since even though it will occasionally go long, often the other player will attempt to block and touch the ball. Instead of worrying about hitting it long I've focused on just hitting it hard. Timing is pretty critical to a good spike, you need to hit it with full extension at the peak of your jump. It's a good feeling when you catch one right though...


Nov 1, 2007

Long Trail Trip Report - Day 1 - Oct 27

Well.. the journey has started. My quest to finish the entire Long Trail in Vermont, stretching from the Massachusetts border to Canada, began this past weekend as we hiked in from MA.

Friday Morning

Steve and I were dropped off in Williamstown, MA for the start of the trip. There's no direct road to the southern terminus of the Long Trail, it starts in the middle of the woods. Thus, we had to hike in to the beginning, a 3.6 mile trip over the Pine Cobble trail. The guide promised views of Mt Greylock in MA, and an up and down walk. The cobble was there as promised (lots of rocks) but we didn't see many pines at all. Friday was a beautiful day and we had a really nice hike. The pack didn't feel that uncomfortable, and I got into a nice steady pace pretty much right away. I experienced a little leg burn on the first uphill, but that was it, and I felt great for the rest of the walk.

There were a couple spots where you could see out, and the scenery was very nice as we progressed uphill. There were a couple folks, dayhikers, out for a walk on a beautiful fall afternoon, and I was a bit surprised since I figured most would have packed it in this late in the season.

We soon joined up with the Appalachian Trail which ultimately runs along with the Long Trail for over 90 miles before splitting off and heading to NH and ME. The next landmark was the Vermont border, 3.6 miles from the start of our day. There’s a signin log there, and we took a short break for lunch/snack at about 3 pm. It was starting to cool off a bit, so I added a long sleeve shirt on top of my t-shirt and we headed back out North, excited about the start of the trail.

It’s fairly rugged country, there’s not a lot of civilization that you can see or hear, although you are probably not that far from roads and houses at this point. It’s a pretty peaceful feeling walking through the woods and I really enjoyed just looking around and noticing the trees and little brooks. I’ve always loved playing in the woods since I was a little kid, and really felt relaxed all afternoon. Steve and I chatted here and there, but most of the time was spent lost in thought and focused on picking my footsteps and breathing. I could really get into a zone, even on the uphills where I would shorten my steps but try to keep them regular and even. It’s interesting to me how the overlap of my training has come into even this activity. I could modulate my breathing and stay in an aerobic zone by keeping my cadence steady and smooth with shorter steps to counter the steepness of the trail. I could almost predict my heart rate the whole time even though I didn’t have my monitor with me.

We had planned to stay at the Seth Warner shelter Friday evening, and arrived there shortly after 5 pm. Anticipating that we would be the only inhabitants, (there was a note in the log saying no hikers had been seen for 48 hours by the last one through) we spread out our stuff and started to make dinner. After a somewhat filling Chicken Alfredo in a bag, we cleaned up and headed down to the nearby stream to get water. My uncle has a water filter which we used to purify the water and fill a few containers, a pretty cool toy.

On the way back to the shelter we met another hiker who was planning to stay at the shelter with us as well. This was my first experience with “Trail Names”. Apparently it’s a tradition that allows you to be anonymous on the trail and use something interesting as a name. My uncle goes by “Great White”, something I didn’t know of before, and we ended up with Pale Rider and Bigfoot in the shelter with us that night. It was an interesting evening, both of those guys were veterans of the AT and the LT, and had a lot of insight on backpacking. It started to rain shortly lightly as I was climbing into my sleeping bag, but otherwise a very enjoyable day to start.

A great start to the adventure...


Oct 31, 2007

The definitive Tennis Blog!

Check out a friends blog.... if you're into tennis and not afraid to admit it!



Oct 30, 2007

Bump, Set, Spike

My trip summary from the Long Trail this past weekend is coming... for a brief preview "... wet ..."

Anyway... my volleyball league started last night. We rotate the teams we play, ultimately playing all five of the other teams twice I believe. A match is 3 games, and your total wins are tracked for the playoffs. I've played a bit there before in the pickup games that happen after the league games are over, but this is the first time I've been official.

It should be a fun couple of months, my brother, uncle, 2 cousins, and a good family friend are all playing. We are mostly split up, I happen to be on a team without any family. For the first week we were playing my brother and Greg, the family friend. There was a bit of pre-match trash talking and I certainly wasn't shy ;). After a quick meeting with my teammates, we set our rotation up and got warmed up for the games. Things are actually very well organized as there's a pretty good scheme for positioning and rotation to ensure everyone knows where they are supposed to be, and to set up the big hitters for the spikes. We have a pretty solid team, with a good mix of setters and hitters.

I played okay, without making a lot of mistakes although I did muff one serve. I didn't have any real good kills in the game as I played a bit conservative to start, but did a good job of digging out a couple spikes. We ended up winning all three games, mostly because the other team didn't seem as organized as we were. It was a combination of some good talent along with a good sense of team play and consistency.

I also hung around afterward and played pickup with a bunch of folks, including all of my family. This was a lot of fun, and I worked on being more aggressive with both my serve and net play. Overall, a very fun evening, although it was pretty tough to get up early the next morning!


Oct 26, 2007

Second take

This time we're going...

I have a short appointment, and then I'm headed up on the Long Trail with my uncle, for a nice walk in the woods. I'm hoping it will be fairly nice and that it doesn't rain too much. There's a bit of rain predicted for tonight and tomorrow, but such is life in the outdoors.

I'm not sure it's a coincedence or not, but for the first time this year I had to scrape frost off my windshield when I got in my truck this morning!


Oct 24, 2007

Rained out

Or at least postponed...

We cancelled our trip on the Long Trail last weekend since the weather was crazy and my uncle had a conflict come up at work. We going to retry this Friday and Saturday instead, hopefully it will go well.

I have no news on the bike frame at this point, I dropped it off at the bike shop and they are working with Trek to see what they can do for a replacement. Unfortunately it sounds like it may take a few weeks.


Oct 17, 2007

Frame fallout

I'm headed to the bike shop to check on a replacement for the frame I cracked this weekend... check out the damage!


Oct 16, 2007

MTB failure

A good sunday that ended badly...

A large group of us went to Soapstone Sunday morning for a nice long mountain bike ride which was a lot of fun. Some pretty good fast descents that were a lot of fun, but something went wrong on one of the bumps I'm guessing. Later in the ride when I got off the bike to swing it around after getting off the trail I grabbed the seat and it came off in my hands. My frame had broken just above the top tube and the seat tube was totally broken. I tried riding a bit without the seat which wasn't much fun, then figured that it would sit in the hole on the seat post. I had to take it easy since I didn't want it to fall off in the middle of a bump.

I'll post some pictures soon... in the meantime, I'm trying to figure out my options. I've sent an email to Trek to see if I can get a replacement of some sort, and I've asked my brother to see what he thinks about welding it... we'll see.


Oct 12, 2007


I've gotten complaints that I'm letting down my vast legion of fans by not posting often enough, so with that prompting here you go!

It's really been a month of the blahs, but things are starting to heat up. I'm eager for the start of the Volleyball league that I've joined, and I'm going to be playing tennis again for the 3rd time in the last few weeks with some guys from work. They sucked me in after blathering on about how much fun it is all summer, so I've agreed to play a few times. In return, I'm expecting a mountain bike trip!

I've also starting gearing up for the start of my Long Trail adventure next week. I've gotten most of the stuff I need so far, with the exception of food. I'm trying to decide whether I should go with the fancy trail stuff or if I can just find something easy to make that is portable in the regular grocery store. It's going to be a relatively short trip, my uncle and I are mostly interested in working out the logistics for longer trips later on, and to see how we do pace wise and such. We are doing the first division, starting just inside the MA border, and walking into Vermont ending up at Route 9 after a hike of around 14 miles.

So that's the latest from here, not much to speak of but I've started getting restless.


Sep 25, 2007

Off season

Well, I've been feeling the off-season blahs already, even though it's hard to say it's really over. I had considered the Nutmeg 1/2 Iron, but when I hurt my shoulder I had a pretty good excuse to not do it. It turned out to be a pretty tough race, so maybe I'm not that sorry I missed it :)

I did get to go out and watch over the weekend as my brother and uncle were racing, and I got a little bit re-energized. I'm about ready to start working on my off-season plan and figuring out what I want to do next year. I have some more broad goals that correspond to events but it won't be a strictly triathlon year I think.

Things on the list TODO:
Mountain bike race, maybe 24 hours or just a regular
More overnight backpacking trips
Volleyball league
Road bike event - Century or two maybe
Running road races, maybe a marathon

Triathlons to do:
Winding Trails - Duh, I have a free pass for the whole year!!
Mooseman 1/2 Iron, always a good weekend!
1 or 2 others, Olympic or 1/2 Iron distance.

Things I won't do next year:
Full Ironman distance - I promised my wife :)

Other goals:
Get under 200 lbs

The big one is the last one, breaking the 200 pound barrier. I'm not going to race any more in the Clydesdale division, and I want to "earn" that right next year. I need to lose 25 pounds to make sure I consistently stay under 200 with a little bit of fluctuation. I'm going to be doing a little bit of posting and planning to figure out how to meet this goal, since it's clearly going to be hard for me to do. I've had generic lose weight goals in the past and have had mixed results so I'm going to need to focus and build a plan. I'm targeting May 1, which requires roughly 4 pounds a month, or 1 pound a week. My initial thoughts include exercise, better diet and I'm going to try a more consistent weight lifting plan this year to build my metabolism. I'm also thinking of commuting to work a couple times a week for as long as I can go until the snow arrives.... all preliminary thoughts so far though, more details to come.


Sep 12, 2007

The Long Trail

I'm working on the planning for my next adventure, and have started to gather supplies and dates for my trip on The Long Trail in Vermont with my uncle. The general idea is to spend the next few years hiking the 270 miles in sections 2-4 days at a time. Of course, who knows if we'll actually finish the entire thing, but it's a nice goal to have, and probably doable with a bit of work. If you figure 20 miles per trip (3 days worth of hiking for 20 miles should be reasonable), then I would need to take 14 trips to complete the whole trail. At 3 times a year, we're looking at 5 years... so again, it's doable.

I've done some backpacking in the past, spending 3 days on the Long Trail in fact after I graduated from college. I really enjoyed it, and always wanted to do more. With my family growing up a bit, and a little more stability I now have a bit more time to pursue things like this. Fortunately, my uncle Steve is also interested, and I have someone to do the hike with. It's much easier to justify the time if I can spend quality time with a family member :)

In other news, still no word on the shoulder, the doc was off yesterday with the Jewish holiday.


Sep 11, 2007


I just discovered this new feature... enjoy!



I got an MRI on my left shoulder this morning... it still hasn't gotten better after I hurt it playing volleyball. It was an interesting experience, I've never had one before. Basically you spend a 1/2 hour in a small tube where you are blasted by weird noises. Not a whole lot of fun, but not too bad either.

I also heard from my swim coach who is going to be starting up the Master's swim program again in the fall... but I'm not sure how much swimming I'm going to be doing until my shoulder gets better.

I also have started to plan the backpacking trip on the Long Trail with my uncle. We're planning to start on the southern most part of the trail and do a few days every once in a while with the hope of eventually doing the whole thing. Its 270 miles, so it'll take a few years, but it's doable. I did order a new sleeping bag, since using my daughter's is not going to cut it anymore :)


Sep 7, 2007

Summer doldrums

Still a bit of a blah feeling going on... I've been slacking a lot on the training since I hurt my shoulder and I haven't really felt motivated. I need to start a regular running schedule again to stay in shape, but I haven't been able to get out the door.

Interesting news was that my swim coach sent an email and they're planning to start the T/Th morning swims in Suffield next month again. Hopefully I'll be able to participate, I have an MRI scheduled for my shoulder next week... it's still not getting better.


Sep 4, 2007

Mt Washington

What a great weekend, I went up to NH with my daughter and a few other family members and hiked Mt Washington. It was a bit chilly on the way up, but while we were on the top the weather turned gorgeous and it was beautiful the rest of the day... Lots of pictures to come, but I like this one a lot to start.

*Edit* Note that if you click on the photo it will take you to the album where all the rest of the pictures that we took are located.


Aug 31, 2007

"You are an Ironman!"

I just got the video that I ordered from the race site which has some footage of the Ironman USA race and then a view of me finishing...

Still gives me goosebumps!



Yeah... I'm a clyde. I've been competing in the "fat guys" division for a while now... but I'm hoping to not qualify next year.

The debate about whether it's fair to have a weight class rages on...


Aug 28, 2007

1 Wing


Interesting that after my post discussing how much fun playing volleyball and football with my family as a kid was that I get a chance to play again on Sunday and end up getting hurt.

I fell hard on my left shoulder while trying to do the limbo to avoid getting clotheslined by the rope holding the net up. It hurt pretty bad when I landed, and it's still pretty sore two days later. The good news is that it's starting to feel a bit better. The X-Rays were negative and the only concern now is that it could be a rotator cuff injury. The Doc says to wait and see if it gets better in a few days otherwise I'll get an MRI to look for damage.

Not sure I'm going to get to go hiking up Mt. Washington now...


Aug 22, 2007

"Mr Average"

We all have goals in life and dreams that we wish to fulfill... well, I finally reached my last night ;)

As I had mentioned before, the end of the series at Winding Trails is accompanied by a post-race party and awards ceremony. This is always fun, and last year I won a door prize from the raffle and received a $50 gift certificate from Monarch Jewelers. (Stupidly, I forgot about it and it expired, but that's not germane to this post.) In any case, I was looking forward the evening since it was fun, not that I was in line to win anything.

You see, they give out prizes for the top 3 in each age group, along with overall winners and record setters etc. My age group is the 30-39 year olds, and I don't have a lot of chance at winning. The overall race winner seems to come from this group every year as well as a bunch of other fast guys. Essentially, you earn points for every race you do, after 5 races you're eligible for the series win. They keep your best 8 scores, so even if you miss 2 races you have a chance at accumulating points. Thus, you need to have shown up at least 8 times, and raced pretty fast in all those races to get enough points to win or place. I had no chance, but my brother and uncle who were in different age groups were close enough to at least be in contention.

Neither of them ended up getting into the top three, so we were all out of the running. Then Sharon, the race director announced that they wanted to recognize someone other than the fast guys all the time and they decided to award a "Mr Average" and "Mrs Average". I'm not sure if they picked the exact center of the male and female racers or what, but she called my name! Thus, my dreams were fulfilled, I've been appointed complete average and have nothing more to shoot for!!!

All in all a good time, and the best part is that the award came with a prize, a free series pass for next year... a $100 plus value!!!


Aug 20, 2007

I'm not the only nut!

I've been meaning to write about why I do some of the stuff I do... related to triathlon anyway. I happened to see this article today Thank God, This Will Only Get Worse , linked by someone on the TRI-DRS newsgroup. My family occasionally asks how I can do such long swims or bike rides or runs or even why I would choose to.

The truth is that you don't really think about how long it is until afterwards when you are contemplating what you've accomplished, and even then it doesn't feel so impressive as they make it sound. During the Ironman, I never really felt like I was doing something incredible, as it's been described by some. I just kept going... Just keep going, although it doesn't sound very interesting or impressive, it's how you finish and in fact how you enjoy yourself. Riding around on my bike is fun, the scenery is beautiful, and when you're in a race you see a lot of people around you that feel the same way. It's a great way to enjoy the weather and the world around you when you can just spend time in the country under your own power.

Triathlons have also bought me a lot of family time. I grew up in a busy, athletic extended family. There wasn't a lot of organized sports or time in leagues or formal competitions, we were just really active. An enduring memory for me is a Sunday afternoon at my grandparents house playing softball or football or volleyball. These were the cherished times of my childhood where I could build a bond with my uncles, cousins and brothers.

As I grew older, got married and moved away a bit those times started to disappear. It was never really a conscious decision, and we still played whenever we got together, it's just the occasions didn't seem to happen. They've come back now, a result of an effort to spend more time and to involve more of my family in training and racing events that I enjoy. I've gotten my uncle and brother and cousin involved in triathlons, and it's a weekly occurrence to go for a swim or a bike ride with them. Other cousins have started mountain biking with me, and although there isn't a strict competition involved it's re-energized both my life and the relationships with my family.

We had a sort of family reunion this weekend, the first large group gathering of my extended-extended family since my grandmother died. It felt a lot like some of the great memories of my childhood, and emphasized for me the importance of family in my life. I've been lucky over the last few months to get a little bit of that feeling every time I swim, bike or run with the people I care about.


Aug 17, 2007

Season.. where have you gone?

I've just been reflecting a bit on the racing season gone by... or at least mostly gone by. I have one more Winding Trails race on the schedule, then a couple of potential options although nothing is definite. There's a 1/2 Ironman triathlon in about 6 weeks that my brother is doing, and I suspect I'll sign up as well, then the Hartford Marathon that I'm reconsidering.

I don't want to become burned out, and my body has started to feel the strain a bit; my knees are bothering me mostly. Mentally though, I still feel pretty good and certainly the push to break an hour helped me focus on this past Tuesday night. I'll have to wait and see how I feel going forward, hopefully the drive will still be there. If it's not, I'll have to take a few weeks off to relax and re-energize. In a way I'm looking forward to the off-season and starting a more disciplined workout program. I've been toying with the idea of working with a coach to make sure I do a better job of staying focused... but they seem to be just a bit too expensive, perhaps in a couple years if I decide to do an Ironman again. I may actually try to race it instead of just finish.


Aug 15, 2007

2007 Goal #2 - Done!

As I wrote about yesterday, my remaining goal for 2007 after finishing the Ironman, was to break 1 hour at the Winding Trails sprint race. Well... I did it, I broke an hour, in fact I crushed my old P.R. (Personal Record) by over 2 minutes, coming in at 58:41.

The splits are not yet posted, so I don't know the exact times but I'll post what I recall and then update it when I get the exact numbers.

The swim went pretty well, we did two waves as this was a very large group again; in fact Sharon the race director mentioned this was the biggest ever. I had forgotten my goggles, so I needed to borrow my uncle's extra seal mask. I don't like it as well as conventional goggles, but it worked well enough although it got foggy and I wasn't able to sight all that well. The swim finished in 7:3x and I ran up the beach reminding myself to push!

I had decided I was going to spend the whole race going as fast as I could. I tried that on the run last week and did pretty well, but couldn't make up enough time from the bike. Over and over I asked myself if I could be going harder and didn't worry about whether I would blow up or not.

Transition was quick and I started riding well. Right away I could tell that my legs were strong and I was going to have a good ride. The only hiccup was the spot where the tree was down across the trail and I had to slow a bit for the rider ahead of me. I just hopped over it, once again glad for the extra riding I do on harder trails. I find in this race a lot that riders around me will catch me on hills or flats and then I go back up on the downhills and corners. I take this to mean my riding is generally good or better since they have the fitness or speed to out pedal me, but not the technical riding skills to take advantage of the course. This makes me smile generally :)

Coming into transition off the bike, I had a great change. Out of the shoes almost before my feet hit the ground and I was off, having caught a glimpse of the clock showing 32:50 something. I knew I had a chance if I could run strong. I stopped for a real quick slug of Gatorade at the end of transition and then started running. I walked 5 steps up the real steep hill at the start, took a big breath and took off. The whole time I just kept pushing with no regard for later. Every time a racer would come by I would try to follow and just go as hard as I could. I really started to hurt about halfway through, but I could tell that I was making the time and really racing. It was pretty cool. Coming into the final long downhill I could see people ahead of me and decided I was catching at least two. Running all out I caught one but couldn't reel in the other. Then I heard footsteps behind me and started running scared. I was going so fast that I caught a tree root about 15 feet from the finish and did a flying roll! Mad now that the guy behind was going to catch me I scramble to my knees and then my feet trying desperately to keep my momentum. Back up and across the line before I got passed and I saw 58 something on the clock. I was thrilled!

I watched the rest come in... my brother, uncle, cousin and two friends, it's become quite a party. Then off to Whole Foods to gorge on their buffet!

Final Splits were:
Swim - 7:39, Bike - 25:18, Run - 25:44, Total 58:41

Bike, Run, and Total were all records!


Aug 14, 2007

Semi-final Winding Trails race

Second to last race tonight at Winding Trails, and I'm hoping I'm recovered from the Litchfield Tri on Sunday. I haven't yet him my goal of breaking an hour yet, although I've come close at just 53 seconds over a few weeks ago.

The problem is that I'm just a bit worn down from both Ironman USA and of course the Oly Tri this weekend. There's a fine line between being in peak form and under-recovered. I actually feel okay today, but it's hard to say what my reserves are going to be like when I put the pedal down tonight. I did a good job last week of running on the edge the whole time, something I've struggled with in the past. I kept asking myself... forget 5 minutes from now, can I run harder right now? This worked, but ultimately I didn't have enough speed left in my legs to go fast enough.

An interesting approach may be to skip this week and try to put everything into next week, but I have too much fun racing to take this approach. Hopefully I can put it together either tonight or next week...


Aug 13, 2007

Litchfield Hills Triathlon Race Report

Getting There

The weekend didn't start so good, I was feeling pretty sick starting Friday night and spent a lot of time... eh... well... on the toilet Sorry... not a pretty subject, but it ended up having a lot of impact on the race. I was up all night Friday and stayed on the couch most of Saturday and into the night that evening. I wasn't able to hold anything in until Saturday evening, and I ate a bit on Sunday morning. I still decided to go to the race with my uncle Eric, without any expectations and just see how it went.

The Litchfield Hills race is an olympic distance race, .9 mile swim, 23.7 mile bike and 6.2 mile run. I've done a few of this distance so far, and just looking at the distances I should be able to finish in 2:45-3 hours. This day I wasn't really thinking about that though, I knew my reserves were way down and I wasn't going to have a lot of energy.

We got a bit lost on the way there, there was a bridge out and the road was closed. I ended up following another racer who was on her way there as well, but she didn't have much better luck. We finally just followed a sign for a road that I knew was on the course, and managed to find our way there. At this point time was a bit tight, but we didn't really panic at all although I ended up skipping two steps that I wished I had taken. I taped 2 gels to my bike and laid out the transition area, having secured a great rack position right by the aisle.

We starting heading for the swim start, after deciding against taking sneakers as suggested for the long run back to transition from the lake. I rationalized that it couldn't be too bad... a decision Eric and I both regretted later. On the way there... I quickly realized that I needed the porta-potty, another auspicious sign and we made a detour there. After getting out of the toilet, I realized that
A) I forgot to take my pre-race gel, so I was starting with not enough gas in the tank
B) The stones on the path up from the swim finish were going to hurt a lot running to transition and I probably should have brought the shoes
C) There was no time now to go back for either
D) My stomach was already not happy with me... and I could feel the lethargy already

Swim (.9 Miles)
Not a good start, but we headed to the beach and put on our wetsuits. Very quickly we were lined up and headed off, so I didn't get a warmup swim, but with almost a mile to go I didn't think it would matter. Just take it a bit easy at first, then settle into a steady pace. The swim was very rough, especially on the way out I seemed to swallow a lot of water. I think it was just a bit choppy. The water didn't sit real well in my stomach, and I could feel the empty feeling as my body started to call for nutrition but it wasn't available.

Out of the water I yanked off my wetsuit and started the run painful walk to transition. I had bumped into Eric a few times in the swim, and we came out of the water together and ended up walking up the hill next to each other. My transition was a lot quicker than his, which is standard but it would be the only leg that was faster this day!

Bike or at least the Attempt (23.7 miles)
We ran down through a field to the road with our bikes and I jumped on. My next problem... I couldn't clip in. Running through the grass had jammed my pedals with enough crap that they wouldn't engage. I had to stick my foot through the bike frame so that I could reach it with my hand and try to clean it out. It would clip in, then pop out again with any pressure. This slowed me down a lot for the first few miles, but eventually the stuff worked it's way out and I was able to stop worrying about it.

I could tell this was going to be a bad ride... my body was demanding energy and my stomach couldn't provide it. I took the first gel right away, and the second one shortly after to try and get some food in, but my stomach just churned. I couldn't deliver any power on the uphills and just tried to keep a steady cadence on the flats. It was only about 8 miles in when my uncle rolled past, a bit of a surprise although it shouldn't have been. I'm generally a stronger rider, but definitly not on this day. Still, for the first 15 or so miles I managed to do okay since it was downhill. We had been warned about the painful uphill at the end of the bike, and I wasn't looking forward to it. I started to regret not having another gel, thinking it would help a little although I wasn't sure I would be able to digest it. The hill came... and it was painful. I was now in a full-scale bonk and I didn't could hardly find the energy to turn the cranks over. I was mentally debating dropping out of the race as my speed got slower and slower. Finally the hills were over and I got of the bike. I walked slowly back to the rack just trying to compose myself.

Run (6.2 Miles)
Once I got into transition I never really considered stopping, I just grabbed my extra gel and headed off. The run starts pretty convoluted, winding through the park in a clear attempt to add a bit of mileage just so they could get in the 6.2 needed. I grabbed a cup of gatorade immediately and just started jogging. I actually felt okay, my legs were in decent shape I just had no reserves. Out of the park and the hills started. I guess the use of Hills in the name of the race should have been a giveaway, but the course just seemed really brutal.

I walked many of the hills and tried to jog the flats and downhills. I ended up having to stop just a mile or so into the run to go to the bathroom. Unfortunately there were no porta-potties available, an experience I will leave un-elaborated. I managed to catch a young woman who was doing her first olympic distance triathlon and we ran together for much of the last few miles trying to encourage each other. That helped and I managed to finish okay with a total time of 3:19:12, about 4 minutes behind my uncle.

The gruesome aftermath :)
In retrospect it probably wasn't a great idea to do the race, I suspect that it hurt more than helped. But, ultimately it was nice to spend the day with my uncle and it will make him happy to say he beat me in a race :) Plus, the post race food was good... although I still couldn't entirely appreciate it, and the post-race massage felt great.

Final splits
Swim - 35:21, T1 - 4:54, Bike - 1:26:29 (ouch), T2 - 1:18, Run -1:11:12 (Ouch again) - Total 3:19:12


Aug 6, 2007

Back from Vacation

I'm back from camping with the family... Hope to post the rest of my race report this week. I did get the event pictures from IMLP back, I even look like I'm running in one of them!


Jul 27, 2007

LP Race Videos...

Part 2 of my Report, the actual race is about halfway done... stay tuned.

I did get a couple videos from my brother who was at the race, they make take a minute to come up, but you can check them out here.


Jul 26, 2007

LP Race Report Part 2 - Ironman

Sunday morning didn't start very well... I heard a weird buzzing noise in the fog of sleep and couldn't figure out what it was. The bathroom was directly behind my room, and apparently something was wrong with the toilet. All of a sudden I realized that it was the alarm buzzing and not some random noise. I had set the alarm to radio and the knob was turned so just a low buzzing static was coming out. I whacked the radio and started to get out of bed then realized the time was 4:45, not 3:45. Transition opened in 15 minutes, and I had a 45 minute ride plus no one was awake. I freaked out completely, running into the kitchen to double check the time and saw 3:45! Now I was half asleep and totally confused. I started frantically turning on cell phones to see what time they had and started to wake my 2 brother's in law when my uncle Eric came down the stairs wondering what the heck was wrong with me. Apparently I had changed the time forward an hour when shutting off the alarm and everything was okay, I still had plenty of time. In any case, I had my standard race breakfast of yogurt with granola and a Clif Bar and we headed out the door for Lake Placid and my 140.6 mile journey. Ironman is definitely a journey... a couple years of training and then a very, very long day. I would cover 2.4 miles swimming, 112 miles biking and 26.2 miles of running in a single day, and I had to be finished by midnight for it to count. 17 hours is a very long day... but would it be long enough? That's the question all first time IM'ers have to ask them self. I would find out very soon.

Eric joked with me on the way that we had two vehicles just in case something happened and we could switch to the chase vehicle and still get there on time. Sean and Kevin drove separate as they planned to head straight home from LP after watching most of the race. We pulled all the way into town and Eric dropped me off right next to transition, traffic was not that bad yet.

I dropped off my remaining bags, checked the bike to make sure everything was all set and headed to get body marked. I talked with a very nice guy who wished me luck and told me to take it easy all day as he wrote the number #534 on my arms and legs. Heading to the porta-potty I ran into Eric, Sean, Kevin, Matt and Danielle. It was a bit of a wait, but we chatted for a bit. I was considering calling John Whalen, a coworker who was also doing the race but I was feeling a bit nervous and rushed and decided not too. Then, as I was getting out of the porta-potty, I noticed John trying to get in the one I was vacating!

I was a bit surprised as you can imagine, but waited for him and we wished each other well as we headed to the swim start. I pulled on my wetsuit, and said goodbye to the family at the entrance to the chute, smiled for a quick picture and headed down to the water.

My brother Matt and his wife Danielle at the swim start waiting for the race to get going.

I walked across the timing maps and heard the comforting chirp from my chip as it was registered and headed into the water. There is a bit of a beach where we would run in from our second lap to the left of the start, and a beach all the way in the back. The water area was already crowded, and I just stood there out of the way a bit and tried to take it all in. It was a pretty incredible feeling as I realized I was on the brink of really doing it. I scanned the crowd looking for family, but there was no chance, the banks were jammed with spectators.

If you look at the picture here, you can see a bit of a beach just to the right off the dock in the middle of the water. I was standing there, nervously swinging my arms and trying to breathe deeply and relax. The women pros had started already, they would have a 25 minute head start as IMNA was trying to showcase them in this race, and I watched the first leaders come running through the arch and head back out on the second lap. Hearing the announcer and listening to the crowd cheer was an incredible feeling as the clock slowly counted closer to 7 AM. I planned to stand on the beach and head out towards the start line when it was close to start. The faster swimmers were treading water right at the line and jockeying for position. I had not intentions of trying to get to the front, my goal was a relaxed swim.

BOOM! The cannon went off without warning totally surprising me.

The Swim 2.4 Miles

I jumped in and headed towards the start line, already feeling relaxed. The start was incredible, with bodies everywhere and everyone jockeying for position. I never really got hit hard though, when you are swimming in a crowd of people, 2100 or so in this case, you tend to get bumped, a lot!

I managed to just stay focused on

swimming easy and not worry about my surroundings. I'm used to the bumping in the swim at this point, so it never really bothered me. Even though you are swimming with soo many people, it's just the four or five right around you that matter anyway.

Here's a shot just before the cannon went off, you can see a couple women pro's that have just started there second lap in front of the announcer stand following the kayaks.

The pictures tell a little bit of the story about the chaotic nature of the swim start, but it seemed to me like the easiest and most relaxed part of my day in retrospect although I do remember feeling that way during the race as well.

I took it easy, found the inside loop about halfway through the first outbound stretch and just swam. In the water just below the buoys that mark the course you can see a cable that anchors the buoys in the correct position. This cable represents the shortest distance around the course, and enables you to swim straight without every having to look up to sight. Naturally, everyone wants to swim right on top of it, and while I knew about it I didn't really focus on getting there, assuming that it would be too crowded. However, halfway down the opening stretch, I spied the cable to my left and was able to angle over and swim right above it. I held my position in the bumping, with swimmers all around me. I got to the turn and ended up getting pushed out a bit as I went around. I kept trying to work back to the cable, but couldn't not get through the traffic until the first lap was almost complete. I could hear the distant roar of the crowd still cheering as I got closer to the end, and then loudly as I stood up to run under the arch and back out into the water for the second lap.

Starting the second loop, I stayed to the left to ensure I would keep the cable in sight and again focused on relaxing and breathing easily . I knew it would be a long day, and I didn't want to lose my rhythm early.
I had decided not to wear a watch and just go by feel the entire day so that I wouldn't obsess over times, my goal was just to finish. I had no idea how fast I swam the first loop, but knew I was feeling good, so I was happy.

The second loop was uneventful, we were much more spread out as you can see in the picture, and there was quite a bit more room. Being on the cable line, I could swim straight and directly behind another racer, saving some energy by drafting off of him. Around the end buoys again and I headed home. I still felt good, but was ready to get out of the wetsuit and onto my bike. Once again, I could hear the roar of the crowd as I got closer to the swim finish, it was truly incredible to hear and see so many people there watching.

I stood up, ran through the arch catching a glimpse of a 1:20 something time and feeling totally rested and not strained at all. My goals for the swim were met! I jumped on my back in front of the wetsuit strippers, they yanked off my suit and I headed to transition. It's a pretty long run through a chute lined with screaming people, again just an amazing experience.

I heard my name partway down the road, saw my family cheering and turned back for a quick picture. Not the most flattering of photos, but as you can see I'm smiling, still feeling great. Looking back, the swim was the most relaxing and enjoyable part of the day, not a prediction I would have made ahead of time.

Swim Results

1:23:08, good for 1626 out of 2208 and a 2:12 per 100 pace

Transition 1

I grabbed my bag off the rack and ran into the tent to get changed. Ironman transitions are different than any other race I've done in that there is a tent for you to get entirely changed if you wish and you get ready before going to your bike. Usually you leave all your stuff by your bike and get ready right next to it. I threw on my bike jersey, made sure to pick up the Mojo bars I was planning to eat after they fell on the ground and put my shoes on. I buckled my helmet and then asked a volunteer to put some sunscreen on my arms and neck for me. There were a bunch of volunteers running around collecting bags, and helping with whatever you needed. They took all of your swim gear, stuffed it into the bag that I had my bike stuff in, and I would find it waiting on the rack for me to pick up later. Heading out of the tent, I stopped to go the bathroom quick at the urinal in the tent! Yes, there were 4 urinals in the tent, not something I expected to see!

I ran out of the tent, and around the circle to get to my bike, again seeing the family on the way around.

Transition 1 Results


Bike - 112 Miles

It was good to be on the bike. The course starts with a downhill through town, the streets lined with folks cheering, and just exhilarating. Heading out of town I passed the Cyclonauts HQ and a second group of 'Nauts cheering, including some of the guys I've been swimming with at Crystal Lake. After you get out of town, you climb a medium hill towards the olympic ski jumps before the major downhill towards Keene. I took it easy up the hill, ate Mojo bar and a gel and tried to stay comfortable. My goal on the bike was to take it easy the first loop, pick up the effort on the second loop and get off the bike within 9 hours of the race start. That would give me a little over 7 hours to finish the 112 miles.

Approaching the descent into Keene, a huge, long hill, I let it fly. Going downhill is the one spot where being a heavyweight helps a bit, and my speedometer hit 50 mph at least once and stayed in the 30's and 40's for the 6 miles of descent. Needless to say, this was my favorite part of the course.

Following the descent, you turn left towards Jay and a flat, quick section. Pre-race scouting had showed me that it was a good spot to get into the aero bars and try to cruise. I got in the habit of grabbing a bottle of water, taking a long swig and dumping it into my front aero bottle and then grabbing a bottle of Gatorade for on the bike frame. This, combined with the gels and mojo bars I had with me would serve all of my nutritional needs for the bike leg.

After reaching Jay and Upper Jay, we turned left again to start heading back towards Lake Placid. This was where the hills started, beginning with a long ascent up to the out-and-back section. I remember thinking on the pre-ride that I would not like this section since it would be mentally taxing seeing the entire hill stretching out before me. I tried to relax and spin up the hill as much as possible, and it felt okay after I finished the climb. The out and back section was nuts, with tons of bikes going both ways. It was crazy to see that many riders out on the course.

After the out and back section, the main hills climbing into Lake Placid began. Even though there was a lot of elevation to gain, it was never that tough since there were breaks in all the hills. The last section was the five hills you climbed after crossing over the river, getting progressively harder until you reached "papa bear" the final hill. Turning the corner and seeing that hill was a bit intimidating but immediately I could see and hear the crowd! One of the best parts of the race, climbing the hill through screaming crowds was unbelievable. The people were lined up on both sides of the road crowding in until there was only 5-10 feet of road left just like at the Tour de France. Some guy was beating out a rhythm on a drum and the adrenaline rush that went through me was amazing. I remarked to a competitor next to me when we got at the top that if that didn't get to you, you must be dead. Just an unbelievable rush!

The next section of the bike was riding through town, with still more people crowding around the barriers. A very cool feeling as we flew through town, most of it flat with a few up and downs. I spotted my two brothers in law, but didn't see the others on the first loop. It turned out that they missed me, and spent a very worried 45 minutes wondering when I would show up before hearing from Kevin and Sean that I had already gone through. The pictures on the left here are from my second trip through town, when they managed to catch me.

After going through town, again spotting the Cyclonaut cheering section and climbing the hill I was ready for the downhill again. I passed a guy on the way up the first hill with a can of Pringles in his rear bottle holder and had to joke with him about it. I definitely felt a craving at that point, as I was starting to get sick of gels a bit. I had to content myself with eating another salty Mojo bar instead. My legs didn't feel quite as chipper as they did when I started, but I still managed to crank down the hill.

The turn towards Jay came and with it the nice flat section, but something was not quite right. I quickly felt the headwind and slowed down quite a bit from my first trip through. It definitely hurt a bit more to push, and I couldn't make as much time as I had before but tried to relax and focus on just turning the cranks. I got a bit down mentally and started feeling poorly so I told myself that I would get off the bike on the out and bike to pee and stretch for a minute. Mentally, this seemed to help me as I could focus on the next section ahead and not worry about where I was at that moment.

Going up the hill from Upper Jay the second time didn't feel so good, and I started to feel a bit of fatigue in the legs. I did manage to spin up again and headed out on the out-and-back section. It wasn't nearly as crowded, although we were derailed a bit by an ambulance trying to get out to the end of the road. I stopped on the way out, jumped of my bike and peed and stretched. It felt pretty good to take a short break! Back on the bike, around the turnaround and I felt headed for home.

The final stretch was coming, and I was ready to be done. The hills were still there, and beginning to take a toll on my legs. Overall, I felt pretty good, I was now pretty confident that I would finish the bike in pretty good shape and I just wanted to get it done. I caught a glimpse of a Cyclonaut jersey ahead of me, and was a bit surprised as I had figured all the 'nauts were much faster than me. The fresh road rash on his arm told a bit of the story as I caught up to Sean Smith, a teammate. He had been cut off going into an aid station and taken a spill. Fortunately he was okay, although a bit sore. We chatted for a bit before he eventually pulled back away from me. At this point I was looking forward to "papa bear" again, the last big hill and the crowds that lined it. The crowds weren't quite as big the second time, but it felt pretty good to get up it and head back into town. I passed my cheering section again and cruised into transistion feeling pretty happy with my bike nowing I had paced it pretty well and ending with a time just over 7 hours.

Bike Results

Transistion 2

Heading into the tent for the second time, I was pretty happy to be back on my feet. I yanked my stuff out of my bag and got changed. I was doing a complete change, again something I haven't done at a triathlon before, but it felt pretty good to put on dry clean clothes. A little more sunscreen, and lathering up the feet with vasoline to help prevent blisters and I headed out on the run course

Run - 26.2 Miles

Ahh... the run, my favorite part... or not really. As I left transition, I saw my cheering section immediately, and gave them a quick wave. The course takes you mostly downhill or flat for the first couple of miles, then a steep descent to the out and back section along river rd. The out and back is the longest section, about 8 miles total, then you return back the way you came, coming up that steep hill, passing through town, and another really steep, but short hill to the second out and back section. This section heads along mirror lake where I swam many hours ago and then returns to town where you start your loop over again, or when you're really lucky you turn into the Olympic oval to finish.

My plan all along for the run had been to run as much as possible, and walk the aid stations and hills to conserve energy. Entering the run course, I had 8 hours before the race cut-off so I could almost immediately eliminate worries about finishing the race for the most part. Of course, I still had a marathon to run but I knew that if I had to walk the whole thing I could probably still finish.

I actually felt pretty good for the first few miles. I passed the Cyclonauts camp and got a few high fives right before the steep downhill to the River Rd turn, and began heading out along the river. It was at this point where the race changed pretty drastically for me. My stomach was rebelling, I suspected at the time, and looking back it's pretty obvious that I had put too much into the last portion of the bike and the first couple aid stations. I have trouble digesting a lot while I'm running, and I was getting really close to losing everything I had put in there. Any attempt to run for more than a few minutes, and I could feel the bile rising in my throat. I didn't have any choice, I had to walk for a while and hope that I could get in front of the problem. I took water or nothing at all at the aid stations to drink, and grabbed cold water sponges to squeeze over my head. Did I mention it was really hot?

The main out and back section along the river is a pretty spot to run, you have the olympic ski jumps in the background as you can see and it's somewhat rolling but mostly flat. You do have shade for a lot of it, but it was still really hot. I made sure to run a bit when I saw the race photographer, and was ultimately rewarded with the first ever photo where I actually look like I'm running. Both of my feet are even off the ground, an amazing feat for me. I think I may just buy this photo :)

Mentally however, this was a low point for me as it seemed like forever to get to the turnaround. I wasn't quite sure how far out it was on my first lap, but keep thinking it had to be soon. 6 miles passed, then 7 and still no turnaround. Finally it came and I felt a bit better but was still struggling with my stomach. At this point in the race, there were a lot of folks running past me, many fast people on their second lap, and some just catching me after a slower swim and bike.

Still feeling pretty low, I approached the huge Ford trailer truck and billboard on the way back from the turnaround. The day before at the expo I had noticed that family and friends could enter a message to a racer and it would be shown on race day. At the time I wasn't sure what they meant, but I could now see that we were running over mats which read our chips, and then the message would scroll on the giant electronic billboard attached to the truck. Suddenly I was disappointed that Eric and I hadn't stopped and entered something, knowing I could really use some help at this point because I was feeling very low. I ran over the mat and watched all the messages, trying to take inspiration from others. Then, at the last second before I ran past the board I saw my name! And then the message "Go Daddy, we love you! From the girls!" I was totally taken aback, I didn't expect it at all and I could feel the emotions well up inside me. I came very close to sobbing out loud! With the way I was feeling, and the suddenness of the message when I wasn't expecting it, the emotions threatened to overwhelm me. I guess when you are racing on the edge of your limits, you can be more affected by small events. Well, this was huge, it totally changed my attitude. Immediately I decided I could run again and I would. My stomach had mostly calmed down, and now I just had to battle my exhausted legs. I spent the next few miles wondering who and how that message got there??

I did take a walk break to get up the steep hill after the turn back towards town, but I felt good again, and was able to run the flats and just walk the hills and aid stations as I planned. I went back past the Cyclonauts and got a big cheer, thanks again to those guys, it really helps when you're racing and into town. The crowds were still amazing as I hit the turn out to the run along the lake. I saw my family waiting at this point, and wanted to tell them about the message I saw but I actually got too choked up to even talk. It was pretty weird, but I would be back by in 3 miles and so I kept going and tried to compose myself. I decided I would have to wait for after the race to explain it.

I hit the second turn-around and came back sadly having to take a left towards my second loop instead of heading into the finish line :) Right before the turn I spotted John Whalen my co-worker, and exchanged quick good luck greetings. I thought about how lucky he was to be almost done since I assumed he had to be ahead of me and therefore on his second lap. I was still feeling pretty good at this point as I headed out of town and past the Cyclonauts again. Once again loud cheers helped me keep up the solid pace.

Making the turn onto the River Rd the second time, it all began to catch up with me. My legs were pretty tired at this point, and I was starting to count of the miles slowly. This was around mile 16, and although if felt pretty good to get into the single digits of miles left, I didn't have too much life left in my legs. More walking and less running as I tried to keep moving. I was taking hot chicken broth at the aid stations now, and it tasted great. I stayed away from gels or anything too solid since I didn't want to re-upset my stomach. Energy wise and nutrition wise, I was in pretty decent shape, but my legs were definitely very tired.

Suddenly, I felt a tap on the shoulder and there was John! It turned out he was behind me, and only now on his second lap. We walked together for a bit and chatted, both fairly happy with our races so far but feeling the pain. It was great to see him, and I wanted to try to stay with him, but his run pace was just a little too quick for me. I could feel my legs cramp up if I tried to push them too much and I said a quick good luck... I'll see you at the turnarounds.

I hit the first turnaround... counting down the miles, around 8 to go. Passing by the scrolling billboard and seeing my message again really made me smile, but I couldn't pick up the pace too much. I walked up the steep hill and cheered on those coming the other way wondering to myself which ones would make it and which ones wouldn't. It was getting dark and the lights were starting to come on. I saw the Cyclonauts for the last time and stopped to thank them for coming up and cheering me on (Thanks again Kevin and Mike... and the rest). Heading into town the second time was a relief, but I just wanted to get it done. I saw the family again, and spotted my wife and youngest daughter who had just arrived on the course. I gave Rachel (my daughter) a quick kiss and told her I would see her soon. Hearing my wife yell for me was pretty nice, thanks Heath!

I'm actually reaching up for the kiss in that picture, Rachel was on my wife's shoulders.

I had 3 or so miles to go at this point, and they headed to the finish area as I ran along the lake for the last time. I figured I was getting close to 15 hours and tried to push a bit to try and get under the 15 hour time, but wanted to make sure I could definitely run the last little bit into the finish. Coming down the slight incline where I had to turn left for the second lap was when it started to feel real. Instead of going left, I turned right and towards the entrance to the oval. What a great feeling... except my legs suddenly started to cramp!

I slowed a bit but just pushed through it and came around the corner all alone. The cheers were great, and I was really happy but it's hard to remember much of it. Breaking the tape and finishing was fantastic, and I heard the announcer talking but I wasn't listening too much. It was quite a journey but I was done!


Run: 6:06:22, pretty even split on the 2 1/2 marathons.

Overall 15:00:23, you can see the clock 2 seconds later when they took my picture. It would have been nice to be under 15 hours, and I probably would have done it if I had a watch to let me know how close I was... but oh well, it only matters that I finished!

Volunteers grabbed me to keep me upright and walked me towards the back of the chute giving me my medal, finishers hat and a t-shirt as we went. Let me tell you, I earned them! I felt a bit shaky, but really not too bad. I spotted the family and got some hugs. Grabbing my daughter and wife I had the photographer take our picture.

I grabbed a few slices of pizza, sat down and tried to relax a bit for a few minutes. Then a quick massage to try to calm the legs a bit and we were ready to head back to Long Lake for the night.

Thanks for reading!


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