This will (somewhat) chronicle the next, and so far best, chapter in my life! I've moved to Hockessin, DE with an amazing woman that I am happy to call my fiance, and soon my wife. I also have a great house, dog, and couldn't be happier!
29 June 2008
23 June 2008
Thank you for the laughs, George. I'll miss you.
12 May 1937 - 22 June 2008
22 June 2008
The Philadelphia Triathlon was a great race. Three years ago I did the sprint distance and really enjoyed it. I missed registration in ’06, and then came the wreck and rehab, so this was the first chance I had to do this race again. This time I raced the Olympic distance and had a pretty good race. I haven’t done this distance in over two years.
Speaking of the wreck, I had a bad stretch of luck leading up to that, which is pertinent to this race. Two years ago, I had a race on a Saturday – and during the bike leg I had the first flat during a race that I’d ever had. The next day I was in a 65 mile bike race for a charity event. I had two flats during that race. The following Wednesday, I was hit while out riding – training for another race.
So, fast forward almost two years exactly. I am normally extremely (if not anal-retentively) organized in my race prep. I have checklists, I lay everything out – yes, it’s very Sleeping With the Enemy. Anyway, I noticed that somewhere between the Expo and last night I somehow lost my swim cap. The race rules are very strict about that – no cap, no race. I figured I’d get there early and hopefully get a new one. I also decided to change my tires the night before. Usually, it’s a bad idea to try any kind of new equipment right before a race, but in this case my old tires had some cuts and splits. This morning as I was going through my final pre-race routine (for all you military types – think: PCI’s/PCC’s) I noticed that my front tire was flat. Dammit! I must have pinched the tube last night and caused a small tear which leaked out overnight. After changing that, I was running late, and as I stepped out into the street to ride to the race (I only live about 2 mi from the start/finish) my chain bound up because it came out of the derailleurs when I was putting my wheels back on. At this point, I was thinking that something really bad was coming. I figured since I already stressed my chain, with my luck going the way it was I would break the chain while I was pushing it up one of the many hills on the course. Oh – and I’m not a superstitious person but my race number was 337…..add that up…..
On to the race:
Overall Place 356 / 1892
Age Group (M30-34) 54 / 180
Race Time 2:32:58
1600m Swim 28:35 539th
Trans #1 2:53
40k Bike 1:10:35 274th 21.0 mph
Trans #2 1:42
10k Run 49:12 500th 7:56/mi
This was my first wetsuit swim in a while…and the first in this new wetsuit. Again – not something you usually want to try out on race day. But, I figured it couldn’t be that bad. Once I started, I had a typical “panic attacks” set in: I came close to hyperventilating, as I started way too fast and then I had thoughts running through my head that I should have trained in the wetsuit more because it was to constrictive on my lungs, etc. Not the way you want to spend your first 300m on a 1600m swim! I tried to just think of the pool, and swim the same way I usually do during training. This worked like a charm. I quickly got my breathing under control and ended up with a better swim time than I planned. The only bad part was that I really started to feel the shoulder injury towards the end. I think a lot of it had to do with the wetsuit, as they are a bit constrictive in the shoulders. No matter, it wasn’t slowing me down – just noticeable.
As I mentioned in the pictures yesterday, the transition area is HUGE. With almost 2000 riders, it has to be. Anyway, it took a while to run from the swim-out to my bike and that ate up a lot of time. The worst part was pulling off the wetsuit (as usual) and getting the damn thing over my timing chip. Otherwise, a smooth transition
For those that usually train on hills, this course wouldn’t be that bad. On each loop there are 4 hills – short but pretty steep. As I’m someone who does not usually train on hills…these were pretty tough. I just threw it into a really low gear and took the Lance Armstrong approach of high cadence – I wanted to save my legs a little bit for the run. It is a two-loop course and goes around the Schuylkill River and passes in front of the Art Museum. Very nice course. There were of course some good downhills and a lot of flat-riding, so I was able to make up a lot of the time I lost on the hills. For my first 40k race-pace and including the hills (which also had some decent technical turns), I was pretty happy with my time. The legs felt great, even after the hills. I was afraid that I would be really smoked on the second lap, but I think I was actually a little faster. After looking at the Pros’ times, I feel pretty slow (27 mph vs. my 21 mph!), but maybe I’ll get close to that one of these days. I don’t think I could have done much better on the bike but I do need to work on my hill training!
Good transition. I even put on socks this time for the run and I still think I made pretty good time. Plus the long transition area gave the legs a little more time to adjust from the bike.
Wow, definitely need to work longer brick workouts! Legs felt tired and tight for about the first 2 miles. Around mile 2-3, things started to loosen up and I felt a lot better. Towards the end, the hamstrings started to really tighten up and I was a little worried about cramping. Then, a little past mile 5, the knee (the one that kept me partially out of last season) started to hurt quite a bit and I had some real concerns about the last mile! Fortunately, neither of these slowed me down or became too painful. My Garmin/HRM time is all screwed up because after I finished, I forgot to turn the thing off, but when I saw my pace and time for the official results I was actually pretty happy. Normally I would expect my 10k race pace to be a little faster, but at the end of a triathlon, I was definitely satisfied with that pace. I was able to finish strong, and noticed the crowds. It’s nice to have a bunch of people cheering you on, even if it’s not specifically for you. Makes you want to run even harder! The best thing I can say about the run is that I definitely left it all on the course – I was smoked at the end of this race!
I met up with the Philly Tri Club that I recently joined. Burgers, beers, hanging out talking about the race, training, upcoming races, etc. Good people – I think I’m going to make a lot of friends with this club. Finally I’ll find some training partners! I also ran into a guy I went to IOBC with! I couldn’t believe it – of all the places! Small world.
I think this is going to be a great tri season. Can’t wait for more races!
Once photos are published, I’ll post those as well.
21 June 2008
Anyway, here are some pics I took while out getting some fresh air.
This is the entrance to Memorial Park - it's a Civil War Memorial, and this is a picture of the plaque on one side. Pretty cool words.
This is a picture of what will soon become the Philadelphia, "Please Touch Museum." While that name at first may conjure images of a kids museum sponsored by Michael Jackson - it's actually a place for all ages where you get a "hands-on" science experience. The Franklin Institute is a very science oriented place, and this is one of its off-shoots. Neat place. I just thought the front of the building looked cool.
These are some more pictures of Boathouse Row. The last couple I took a while back were hazy, but these are much more clear and from across the river.
This was just a cool statue near the transition area. "St. George and the Dragon." Apparently, there's some kind of society for him here...anyway this is also a picture of the transition area for the race. It's HUGE! Something like 3000 racers this year.
Finally, here's Rocky! He used to be at the top of the Art Museum stairs (remember in the first movie - the steps he kept running up?) but some uppity moron decided the statue wasn't "artsy-fartsy" enough. They briefly moved him to the Wachovia (then - the Philadelphia) Spectrum where he fought in the movie. They finally decided to bring him back to the Art Museum, and he's now on the ground to the left of the staircase he ran up. It's nearly impossible to get a picture of the statue without some tourist standing there in the same pose as the statue. Since I did - this picture is probably worth something!
18 June 2008
14 June 2008
Great race overall. The race director kept referring to how great a field we had today. I’m not sure if he was being serious, or just trying to make everyone feel better if they didn’t finish where they’d hoped. Either way, I was surprised at how well I did!
I was 34th overall (out of about 160, I’m waiting for the “official” results), and placed 3rd in my age group (Male, 30-34)!! For the first race in 707 days, I was very happy. I find this pretty significant because the toughest age groups for men are 30-34 and 35-39 (the latter being the toughest). Just fyi - for women it's late 30's to early 40's that have the best endurance athletes. You might think it's the young kids in their 20's, but it takes a long time to build the endurance necessary to maintain speed in a triathlon. Now I feel even better!
Not a bad swim. Wetsuits were not allowed (too warm, but I haven’t tried mine out yet anyway, so I didn’t mind), but I felt pretty good on the swim. As usual, my breathing during the race and my breathing during training were totally different. I breathe hypoxic during training (regulated, one breath every third stroke so it’s alternating sides), but every stroke during a race. It’s faster, but it does elevate the HR slightly. No worries on this one, as it was a short swim. The start was okay; I didn’t get kicked too badly and quickly made it out of the pack. The worst part was the sea-grass or lake grass in this case. There were times when you felt as if you were swimming through a bunch of hair. Yes – naaaassstyyyy. It felt disgusting. Especially at the end when the bottom was all churned up. I sure as hell didn’t finish first in the swim (I’m used to that – it’s my slowest event), but I was right about in the middle. I beat a lot of folks.
My strongest event. I usually don’t get passed too much on this, but today there were some very fast riders out there. The good thing is that most of the people who passed me, I ended up overtaking again at some point. Good route though, not very hilly – just a couple of rollers. The wind wasn’t bad even when it was in our face. I was happy with this ride. My legs felt a little tired at first for some reason and I was concerned about my speed. Once I rode for about two miles though, I started to get my power back and that’s when I started smokin’ some ass!
Great course! It basically went all the way around the lake in which we swam and was shaded the whole way on a packed dirt trail. I passed and was passed, but I’m used to that on the runs. This is my middle ground event, so as long as I hold my own I’m pretty happy. And I thought my pace was pretty good.
Overall, great way to get back on the racing “horse.” The transitions went well; I don’t feel like I lost hardly any time. Granted, I didn’t have a wetsuit to contend with, but we’ll tackle that at the next race! I’m very happy with this performance and hope that the rest of the season only gets better!
UNOFFICIAL TIMES (official distances/times are based on however they measure the course):
Swim: 643.75 meters (.4 miles), 11:47, 1:50/100m
Bike: 14.69 mi, 38:47, 22.7 mph, AHR-150
Run: 2.94 mi, 22:42, 7:43/mi, AHR-164
Once the official results and pictures are posted, I’ll update the race report!
13 June 2008
These past few years that I regularly watched Meet the Press gave me a better understanding of the world; and a much greater appreciation for paying attention to current events.
Mr. Russert: you will be missed.
11 June 2008
They are very difficult to categorize, so in that respect I guess a good comparison to them would be Dave Matthews Band, Rusted Root, or O.A.R. - something like that. Sort of a reggae, funk, folk, rock, type band.
They also had a lot of young kids from Zimbabwe singing some of the songs with them and it was very, very cool.
Anyway, check them out on iTunes, or here: http://www.dispatchmusic.com/
I just ordered the MSG DVD!
10 June 2008
But first, I swam and lifted, then decided to run in the record breaking heat again. There is a method to my madness though. While it's record breaking now, it will be normal in a few weeks and that is when a lot of the races start. So, this is a good acclimation for that heat that is coming up.
Swim / Lift chest and tris
750 yds (250 warm up, 4 x 100, 150 cool down), 14:16, Overall avg 1:54/100 yd
Slow, but at least I'm not getting slower. I'm consistently slow.
Plan - 5 mi
Actual, 5.02, 44:21, 8:50/mi, AHR-163
Another ridiculously hot run. Felt a little bad towards the end, so I had to slow waaaay down. But, I finished no problem and the legs felt good so I think I'm plenty ready for Saturday. The real test is going to be the Olympic distance in a week and a half!
- Regardless of what the wind is doing when you step out of your house, 95% of the time, it will be in your face when you begin any run or ride.
- 90% of the time, it will also be in your face on the way back....
- If you are on the phone at the same time you're exercising...you aren't exercising.
- If you are a Weight Watcher (one who stands around acting as if they're searching for an open machine or bench...all the while not lifting anything heavier than a water bottle), you deserve to have your gym membership revoked. Get out of the way.
- Gyms (especially at 0500) are not the place to hit on others. If someone is at the gym that early, leave them alone - they're serious. Come back in the afternoon with the Weight Watchers.
- If you have your iPod, headphones, etc. on so loud that you can't hear me courteously shout, "on your left!" as I am preparing to pass you on my bike; then you deserve to have the sh*t scared out of you as I go whipping by you at 24 mph, coming within centimeters of removing your left arm, or severing your yippy little dog in half. Listen up - it's dangerous out there.
- Just because you are an older gym member, it does not give you the right to rescind all modesty in the locker room. Seriously. I'd love to hear your stories over a beer sometime. But not while I'm sitting down trying to tie my shoes....and you're standing there naked, trying to relate a story. For God's Sake, cover yourself! And use a towel when you sit on the bench!!!!
- If you consider floating back and forth in the lap pool, coasting on others' drag - swimming, it's not. Get out. Now. Go float around in the hot tub or just lay in the grass a while. We need those lanes!
- Stop shouting. Stop grunting. I understand we all make a little noise with exertion when we lift, but screaming and yelling, "..yeah, get it, get it..." at the top of your lungs? Really? Save it buddy. Unless you're buff enough to do this and make money, shut the F up.
- Mirrors exist in the gym so that you can check your form while you lift. Period. Hey Mr. and Mrs. Vanity - if you like the way you look so g-damn much, go home, oil each other up, flex in the mirror and take pictures so you can have them with you all the time. Now get the hell out of my way so I can get a workout!
Okay, enough venting. Just a few observations I've bottled up! I go to a fairly pretentious gym (L.A. Fitness) and on any given day, I notice most of these gym traits.... What are these people like in real life, I wonder?
08 June 2008
Plan: 12 mi
Actual: 9.02 mi, 1:22:08, 9:06/mi, AHR-164
- brief walk
1.11 mi, 10:24, 9:22/mi, AHR-161
Everyone has their limits. Today saw record breaking heat in Philly. The temp hovered in the mid to upper 90s and was very humid. I think the heat index was around 110 for most of the day. Nonetheless, I decided to go ahead and run (being the stubborn person I am). A couple miles in, I doubted I'd make the whole 12, but I wanted to give it a shot.
This was the farthest I've run since the accident, so I don't feel too bad about not finishing or the slow pace. Too f-ing hot out there!
I was never a heat casualty in the Army and I wasn't about to start now. For you runners who might read this far - I noticed a problem when my heart rate began climbing, but my pace was getting significantly slower. Your body is about to tell you that you've overheated... I was close! That's when I decided to walk a bit to get my HR under control and cool off a bit in the shade. The second run was just to get me home, although I walked again as I didn't run the whole way.
In any case, it was a cool run because I was running along the same road the bike race was on, so I was able to see the racers several times. Great "seats" that not a lot of other people had!
*A quick note on ice baths. There are hundreds of articles about submerging yourself (or, rather your legs) in very cold water after a tough workout. I never wanted to try it....as there are certain things about doing this that deter males...but I decided to give it a shot after yesterday's long ride, and today's long run. It works wonders! Helps a great deal in the recovery process. I'd recommend it to any runners/cyclists.
07 June 2008
This was from the day of the Osso Buco. Hol had to work, but while she was at the office, I was trying to get things rolling. I needed a lot of fresh thyme, and Mom is always happy to help with that!! Here she is...just as happy as she can be!
This is just a random shot of a statue that I never noticed before. I decided to walk to the park (Fairmount Park) where I usually run/ride from, and I noticed this cool statue of a bulldog. I want one of these dogs! We used to have one at the 101st. He was our Brigade mascot - Bastogne! The best part was watching the privates on CQ walk this big, 200 lb dog around with a leash about two feet long! Here are these poor privates, being led by a huge bulldog while he went about his business. Hysterical. Anyway, here's the statue:
The only problem is: what do you do with the gel packet after you consume it? On a race, you just throw it on the ground. There are volunteers that clean up the course afterwards so you can do this guilt free. However, doing so while on a training ride would make you, as Hol says it, an "Eco-Terrorist!" So in trying to be the good citizen, I simply tuck the used packet under the edge of my cycling shorts usually towards the back (think: the middle of my hamstring).
The only problem with this is that as you continue to ride, sometimes there is a bit of gel left that leaks out and can get on your leg. Usually the only problem with this is that it's sticky.
Today, however, there was another problem. Most of these gels are clear - so if they leak, you can't really see them. Unfortunately, today - one of the gels I took was a chocolate flavored one. As I was finishing my ride, I noticed a few other people looking at me strangely as I passed, or waited for a light to change. I was in "cool-down" mode, so I wasn't in a hurry. I was wondering what was going on though, when even more people were looking at me. At one light, I happened to look down at the back of my right leg and was horrified to see that the chocolate power gel had leaked all down the back of my leg to my ankle. It looked like liquefied chocolate.....which under these circumstances, looks like liquefied.....well, you get the idea.
Now, we've all see those terrible pictures of marathon runners who just couldn't....um....wait a few more miles to take care of some very important business. Apparently, that's what these people thought about me.
Note to self - NEVER take a chocolate power gel on a ride again!
This was a good week of training, but I'll just start with today's activities.
Plan - 40 mi
Actual: 40.08 mi, 2:02:09, 19.69 mph (avg), AHR-150
Route: out at back on the Schuylkill River Trail (SRT)
Weather: humid, hot (~75 - 85 deg F), little wind
Good ride, felt good for a longer distance and not riding much the past two weeks due to work.