Saturday, December 29, 2007

Even the grandest cathedral was built from one small brick.

Ok my workout today was not that impressive a 15 mile bike with a 7.5 mile (1:09) run. The run was at slower than normal pace I ended up picking up a high school aged jogger and shot the shit to make the middle 2 miles go by faster. Also the fact that I was running in the dark with only my little red flasher made things interesting...the only light I had on my way back to where I parked were the highbeams of oncoming traffic. Nashville is back in Tennessee and the reason my brick was cut shorter than planned was because I was shooting the shit with him before he caught his flight...but 15 miles in under and hour isn't that bad it? Tomorrow I have a long ride on tap...I must do at least 12 loops of Lake Waramaug...I need to know if my abused body can handle a century ride. The fact another Nor'Easter could be making land fall ( although I doubt it) means I will probably shoot for an early morning excursion to the lake...hopefully there will be no ice. so yes its do or die time. If I can get in at least 1 100+ mile ride then I know I can tackle the Iron bike with confidence...instead of Massive Cajones and foolish pride. So that's the plan for tomorrow.

The Road Warrior

Friday, December 28, 2007

From cocky kid to Ironman

After shifting through some old photos , kicking around thoughts, destressing from the holidays and masses of credit card debt. My pops and I got to talking on how I came a long way from being the kid doing these things on a mountain bike. My first race was the Pat Griskus Sprint Tri in July 2002, I thought to myself, I'm a good swimmer and a descent runner this thing should be a cake walk. For the most part those two legs were. The bike however was a different story. As a kid I had grown up living on wheels, I had tore a dirt track into my back yard I rode my bike so much. When we moved out to Wolcott I was in heaven our house was situated on a fairly flat 1 mile loop. Every day I was riding at least 2 or 3 loops which ain't bad for a 12 year old kid. Then the accident occured. About 2 weeks after moving in I was out on one of my rides and had a case of "Tour de France Fever" I was descending down this little speed bump of a hill my head tucked down and helmetless pedaling in the biggest ring my mountain bike had. I forgot that one of my neighbors was having their siding re-done and didn't see the contractor's truck until it was too late to even mutter "oh shit."BAM I remember seeing my baseball cap flying into the tailgate and my knees hitting sheet metal then after a moment I felt steel against my neck and pain in my legs. My inital thought and screams were "Oh my God! Oh My God! I'm gonna die!" The next thoughts as the contractors extricated me and my mangled bike from the truck were oh shit I broke my legs, the fact that I was slightly concussed did not help the fact. After getting checked out by my neighbors and hearing the sympathetic of my mother " Do you know how much damage you inflicted on that guy's truck!" as she threw a bag of frozen turnips on my legs. Indeed all I heard about was how I did nearly $600 dollars worth of damage to the truck and totaled my $200 mountain bike all the way to the ER. After a quick check up I was told my legs were not emphazied by the fact I limped away and I had a minor concussion. 2 things happended that day. I never rode without a helmet ( up until last year) and I didn't touch a bike for almost 2 years. In 2002 after 2 years of High school swimming and long distance running I decided to tackle this triathlon thing. I blew the dust of the $100 red mountain bike my Aunt had bought for me as a replacement 2 years earlier and began to crank out 2 ,3, 6, 8 mile rides to try to prepare for this bike leg. The fact that the first three miles were all down hill didn't help. I showed up at Quassapaug on the second Wed. in July ready for action. The swim was the first time I had done open water a quick off course excursion into one of the support kayaks made me realize this was not going to be as easy as my pool swims, and that against all my training I would have to lift my head to figure out where the hell I was going. After 14 min. I was out of the water and onto the bike. Like I said the first 3 miles were all down hill I kicked it into the highest gear and kept my hands by the brakes as riders on their sleek $3000 fine tuned aero machines soared past me like I was standing still. The climbs were brutal as I inched up hills guys on tri and road bikes were cooking up. Any advantage I had in the swim was completely erased. I crawled into T2 to begin the run. On the run I noticed I wasn't as slow as half the guys I rode in with. I was passing droves on my way to the turn around and even more on my way back. As I finished I thought to myself " Hey I might have a knack for this." the following year I fixed up two ten speeds and did the same race. I finished a little bit higher at the Griskus and was second in my age group granted the little yellow ten speed was still a little small for my frame. About a month later on a whim as a High School graduation present to my self I did the 1st Sandy Beach Tri..I was the only psycho kid under 20 doing the thing solo...and I did it on a better fitting bike. I won my age group and set a course record ( after all it was the first race.) A two year Hiatus, drinking binge, attempt to become a college swimmer followed followed by another year off working at the Gas station/Video game shop/Bank trying to get back into school followed. In 2006 after taking up masters I decided to get back into tris. I spent my income tax refund on a road bike ( Enrico) and entered the Griskus Sprint, Griskus Olympic, Niantic Bay Sprint, and Park City Mossman. I did pretty descent. I finished second in my age group at Niantic...would have medaled in my age group if I hadn't crashed in the Griskus Sprint and survived the two olympic distance races. The following year I resolved to do a half Ironman....and I did in fact I did two, along with some more sprints and Olympics added for flavor. So now on the dawn of 2008 I'm training for an Ironman "the top tier" of endurance multisport... more in debt to equipment purchases then I ever thought possible but with medals and t-shirts that were worth it all. I guess I've come a long way from the kid who showed up on the beach with a speedo and a mountain bike.

Gag Photo of the Year?

That's right my next post is my Year end photo issue. It's time to see what the best moment captured by thoses geniuses at bright room was and the nominees are

A. Claire and Hannibal Lector: a picture of our favortie sans wetsuit triathlete next to someone resembling the good doctor. "Pass the fava beans."

B. The Angry Runner doing what angry runners do Country Music Marathon style

C. Me with the most attractive face ever getting out of the water on the Swim of the Lake Waramaug triathlon.

D. A momento of Evil Freshman year of College Rob.

or lastly

E. A picture from the infamous Emmy Rosum post.

Vote wisely.

8 on the 28th

Ok so it's not as impressive as Claire's stats but for my first real run in almost a week I'll take it. This morning I woke up at 6:30am and decided to crank out an 8 miler on the black ice coated streets of Wolcott, as my way of giving mother nature the finger. It started out pretty well as the first mile of my runs are on my overly sanded street, and the main roads, (Lyman and route 69) at about the two mile mark I noticed a little more heel slippage than usual and decided to run on the hard packed frozen road sand on the shoulder, afterall even frozen sand has more traction than ice. As I rounded Scovil's dam my nostrils filled with the lovely aroma of fresh road kill and the diesel exhaust fumes of the town sanding trucks getting the roads ready for the morning commute. This pungent mixture would stay in my nose until I reached the center of Boundline Road when I was about half way up a nice little 8% grade burner. If there is one really good thing about my normal 8 mile running route it is there are a lot of hills on the back half. I made it up Boundline and ran past the town cemetery and high school ( the one reason I won't do this loop at night...and no it is not because I think some High school punks will cover me in spray paint.). I ground my way up Beach Rd. and then down Longmeadow back home. I finished in 1:13 not bad considering it was 30 degrees out and I was dodging icy spots, and I haven't run in almost 5 days. Tonight Karas will kick my ass with another diabloical set of swimming torture and tommorrow I will punish my legs for holiday goodies with a long Brick at Lake Waramaug I'm thinking a 56 mile bike with a 16 mile run is in order maybe more on the bike if the weather is nice. Sunday looks to be a good day for a nice long ride but once again weather, road conditions, and temperature will be the factors in any decision to ride outdoors. Well that's it for now.
The Titan of the Tundra

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Trying to get out of this negative funk....

that's right for the last month things have been going to hell in a handbag. I have been stressed between school, work, financial , and family issues. The fact that this lovely little 6 month period known as the New England Winter has made it difficult for me to train for my Ironman which is now less than 3 months away has not helpped any, or the "advice" from some people to stick to short course. Needless to say I have been mentally and physically exhausted. For those of you who read my earlier post my grandmother is in the Hospital due to stroke related issues...some chemical is imbalanced in her brain/central nervous system making it hard for her to keep her balance. This all coming as she nearly collasped at Christmas dinner...She was hopitalized for this earlier in the month but as I said our wonderful healthcare system is more focused on emptying beds ASAP so the HMOs, drug companies, and Hospitals make maximum profit for minimal care...and discharged her in her current state of imbalance....I could go on a rant here about how we need either socialized or subsidized medicine but that's for a later time. This morning I snoozed through my planned 8 mile run and first 10 min. of my shift....not tonight I'm hitting the pool to try to unleash some of this mental baggage as well as the nearly 10 pounds of food and candy I have consumed over the last 3 days. I did run 4 miles on Christmas eve but in the grand scheme of things it amounts to Jack Schitt . So that was my rant for the evening...Stef has a diabolical set of torture awaiting me and I must oblige...winning the swim leg isn't going to happen via osmosis..well like I said that's it for now...a year in review is coming up and I promise it will make for some lighter and more ..."normal " material.

Swimming to Save his Soul

I think we're going to start celebrating 3 Kings' Day instead...

Well Christmas for some odd reason, just never really works out in my house. This year it ended with my mother's mother being taken out on a gurney. Now my Grandma had had a stroke earlier this year and about two weeks ago was in the Hospital with balance issues, after 3 days our wonderful HMO system said she was "well" and shipped her the past two weeks we have had here spending the night twice because she has fallen twice. When I saw her this past Thursday she didn't really look that good, and because she lives on her own and all of us are on hectic schedules, we are thinking that a short stay in a convlaence home might be a good thing. She'll have the support structure she needs, they can actually find out what's wrong and how to fix it, and the nursing staff there is better equipped to help her 24/7 than a 4ft.nothing VNA who comes in for 3 hours a day. Anyway as my Grandma was getting ready for Christmas dinner she had fallen at home, my aunt tried to help her up and grandma fell right back down on top of her. My mom drove over to help the two of them and that put me into hurry up offense to try to clean the cluttered bathroom. Well mom came in with my aunt and Grandma in tow. Grandma nearly took a header on the stairs and then when she came in she "got ill" Mom was immediately on the phone with G-ma's doc and the attending at St. Mary's..Granny was going to the ER but we were hoping she'd be able to make it through dinner. My grandfather came over with his new golden retriever puppy, as part of our heartwarming crazy surprise gift sort of thing....We were taking care of a puppy telling my younger siblings that it was for Pepere..ditto with Pepere...When he came in and saw my Mom cradling ours he was like...oh no...I can't do this....I can't keep a dog.....after about five minutes of looking in to his pup's sad eyes he melted and left dinner with the furry little quadruped. Christmas dinner was eventful. First I spilled ham juice all over my mother's chair as I tried to serve meat...thankfully mom was not in it at the time...otherwise I would not be alive at this moment...Grandma started to fall over during dinner, a quick call to her doc and the hospital, and her deteriorating balance forced us to call for an Ambulance. the younger kids left the table, as EMS came in and got granny to the mom and aunt followed as Dad tried to keep the atmosphere light after all this went on...but sadly it is a bit of a mood killer. I took care of putting most of the leftovers away and ran the supper dishes through the dishwasher, then went to collapse I crashed in my room until desert...crashed on the couch and missed my Grandfather and GrandAunt leaving... the after effect of my little brother pounding on my door at 6 am wanting to open presents..the events of dinner and the fact that I get very little sleep anyway...all those mocha lattes and espresso shots finally taking their toll...I woke up at 5am today and kept hitting snooze to the point I was late for work..all in all its been a crappy 24 hours, but the big thing is yes Grandma is doing ok and this time around she will be getting the care she needs. Today I have to purge the trans fats and Stef Karas will be happy to oblige...I might run tonight before masters but we'll see other wise it will be weights and the pool. So yes I think my sister's suggestion of celebrating 3 Kings' day..Epiphany for all those Church going types...sounds like it might be a good idea..afterall bad shit hasn't happended to us then.

The Smote Scrooge

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Alright yes, that day we/I have been dreading is finally upon us. The day when all the shopping, racking up debt, getting ready to choke slam the person in line in front of you/the guy who cut you off for a parking slot/ the clerk/bank teller who declined your credit card....etc, and stress has finally paid off for a day of peace and goodwill (hopefully). So to all of you out there who celebrate Christmas: Merry Christmas and may it be a most blessed affair (despite the fact that we celebrate at this time of year due to Roman Politics rather than historical accuracy.) To all those who celebrate Festivus which was yesterday...Happy festivus. To all Muslim readers....I hope the Hajj and day of Sacrifice were spiritually fulfilling and will help bring humanity closer to God.
To all my Jewish Readers I know Hanukkah ended 2 weeks ago but I hope your eight nights were ...well crazy! to the Wiccans/indegionous religions Hope the Solstace kicked ass!And to anyone who doesn't celebrate anything this time of year Hope you enjoy the day off and have enough booze for new Years!
Well that was it!
Happy Holidays!

50 mile ride....and the Drunken Runner?

Well this weekend was a long one. As I sit at my terminal I am recovering from playing cabbie until 1am. I will start it all with my ride at Waramaug on Saturday.

Sat: Drove out to the Lake with my road bike en tow. It was a balmy 35 degrees, the wind was blowing,the cold was radiating off the snow, as as I pulled out for my first of 6 loops flurries began to fill the air. now the sheltered parts of the lake were enjoyable, houses and trees blocked the wind and the cold, traffic was non existent, the roads were a little wet and that sounds dirty.... and the use of those wonderful $5.99 foot warmer packers were an investment well spent. Despite the fact I had nice warm tootsies, the fact that a nice snow/ice/rain squall decided to hang over the lake for a good 15 to 20 min. made the roads a little greasy at around the fourth loop., I gutted out two more to get an even 3 hours in the saddle. Average speed was about 16 mph..not bad for risking life and limb ridin' in a winter wonderland. After that it was the mad dash to the grocery store for the X-mas run and weekly staples, as well as my last two gifts.

Sunday: A day of sin and debauchery....Kyrie Eleison......
Ok the Greek for "Lord Have Mercy" was definately in store as the CT Rat Pack descended upon the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, The day began for me as most Sundays do hitting the snooze button and running late for morning mass. After mass and a quick Dunkin Donuts run it was off to Angry to pick up the motley crew. A quick lunch stop and we were off to the Casino along the rain /melted snow slickened highways of CT...I was jeered for my "grandmaesque- cautious driving style." And this is while they were sober. We arrived at the Casino and immediately made our way to the craps table. Well at first my luck was running sour....within 20 min. I had changed all $50 I had brought with me into chips. Then the luck changed.....Adam(aka Ron Paul for Pres.) got the dice after I crapped out, he brought us back, then after a couple of crappy pun intended... rollers got the dice it was the old man's turn. Now this old guy showed up quietly took the dice and just a hit the zone...and took us along for the ride...seriously you know its good when after 6 rolls they bump the buy in up. Needless to say this guy brought me back from the brink of elimination. Then it was up to Greg and Nashville to keep the Karma train rolling..and roll it did...when we finally cashed out we had all doubled our money. it was then off to the bar to get the already tipsy runner completely smashed. Adam and Nashville decided to go Long Island Iced Tea for Long Island Iced Tea for 3 rounds...and I the designated driver was busted at every opportunity by the waitress...who I think was flirting with me but....I don't know. Anyway it was at this point that someone suggested that we [support the arts] * the brackets indicate words and phrases that have been changed to protect myself from embarrassment.* The others nodded in agreement and who am I to argue with the guys who are giving me gas money. After the bar it was off to find Nashville's lucky slot machine....sadly Angry and I were not so lucky on the slots as Adam who won $80 in one shot....I lost $20 of my hard fought earnings. Nashville and I hit the craps table one more time I broke even winning back the $20 I'd tossed down...Nashville pocketed $45...Adam and Angry standing behind us saying f this s lets go to [the art gallery] the entire time. Well needless to say we went to the [art gallery] and it was a scene of debauchery most...well debauched nature......I was heckled the entire drive to Hartford as I avoided downed trees and slowed for rain slicked curves.....drunken voices in the back chimed " Don't brake on the high way, we'll all die if you brake on the highway." " did you know 95% of all fatal accidents occur in rainstorms and usually kill the sober person in the car." " Do you know the penalty for driving without a renewed registration sticker is 10 years in federal butt rape prison...." , etc..... Well after more drinks and debauchery it was time to get everyone home, after a quick burger/gas/pee run I got Adam home followed by Angry who was vowing to run today....we'll see if he does he was pretty messed know it's bad when you drunk dial your boy scouts, then hauled Nashville back to his parent's place, before heading home knowing that tonight when I step into church my ass will probalby fall down some sinkhole to Hell....because after Last night I'm pretty sure that's where I heading....may god have mercy on my soul as I attempt to purify it with an insane 8 miler tonight, or tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn. We'll see how that plays out. i wil edit this post later to include pictures or the ride...not the debauchery...I'd like to keep my site rated PG-13

The sinful Swimmer