Saturday, August 2, 2008

The week in review: by the numbers

Yards swum: Pool 6200 open water 1.1 miles so total for the week is about 4 miles.

Miles Biked counting last Sunday: 75 low but working on it.

Miles run :25 (6mi on Monday, 7 mile track workout on Thursday, and 12 miler today.)

Total training for week 104miles.

Ok it looks like a lot when you add it up. This morning I managed to get some core work and quick weights done. I don't think Angry would approve of the arm rows, but the step up with 15lbs. Plate, Lunges with 2x 25 plates, and side lunges with 40 lbs. curl bar might strengthen my weak legs ( sadly they do not have a bar set up conducive to dead lifts.).Threw in a warm up set of 2x 20 push ups 75 crunches, tried to get some pull ups in I'm still a pathetic weakling I'm only able to do 4 at a time, when I was in my prime I could do 10 on a good day and 8 while I was hung over at practice on Saturday morning ( Fordham Swimming Holla!), I think I need to keep doing the push ups to rebuild my lost strength, as well as some benchpress, and kettle bell work. I want toned powerful arms and uber powerful legs so I can try to go head to head with the pros in 09. Likewise, I'm going to start to get some longer training rides and runs in before the weather starts to suck....figure that way if I end up doing a late season race or an early 09 season race I will have the base mileage under me.

All in all that's all that's going on here.
Still no word on Claire Badass Mofo....she should have finished sometime in the last hour depending on what swim wave ( for some odd reason the directors at Vineman don't like the "fun" of 2000 athletes laying waste to one another.) she went in....figure a conservative 1:10 for the swim 5:45 for the bike and conservative 4:45 on the marathon throw in 8 min for transitions so about an 11:48...that's my estimate...anyone wants to toss in their speculations throw up a comment....I really wish all Iron-distance races had athlete tracker, and a finish line live feed....tear..sniff.


For those about to rock.....

Today is D-day or I guess I should say V-day for Claire Badass MoFo as she tackles her first Iron-distance at Vineman. Actually as I write this she's probably in the midst of a 2.4 mile (3.8k) swim and making war on some Nemesis that reared their ugly head in the pre race. In either case she should be flying on the bike so I expect to hear it on how her bike split schooled mine from New if only Vineman had a live tracker.......

In two weeks my HEAT team mate Tony and New England Pro John Hirsch take on Louisville..and there will be a trail of much death and destruction left in their wake. I fully expect Tony to do pull ups on the finish line tower after the leap of faith in RI.

Vin, and a Small HEAT contingent are going to go at it in Niantic tomorrow, sadly it sold out but I need to save my pennies anyway. Park City is off the calendar as Entry is F**king Ridiculous...I knew I should have registered inMarch....uggg.

Angry....I don't know what Sir Angry has on his agenda... but I know it will involve speed, strength and the ever increasing the power of his chain.

Pants and Runner Gal, well I know Runner Gal is running a marathon in my part of the Motherland ( Yes I am of French Canadian desent Vive Quebec!) and Pants hasn't really posted what's next on her agenda, but it should be something exciting out in the tri capital of the world.

Bjoern is going to launch and all out assault on Vienna in September.

Jodi is doing Steelhead today, then Hopefully Clearwater in Novemeber.

Ken who has suddenly gone from zero to 3 races in a week might be creeping around winding trails on Tuesday, keep you eyes peeled for a tall guy in a HEAT or Cookie Monster Jersey.

Bree Wee looks to take the party to the Motherland ( Canada eh....) and after reading about her repeats of the Energy Lab, it looks as if a first pro win and a duel in October with Crissie Wellington might be right around the corner....

I'm not sure if Ironmatron is doing Timberman although I have some friends racing up there.

Cranky seems to have dropped off the face of the Planet, I hope he hasn't been mowed down by some group of Rabid Central Park Cyclists.

Mindy Contiunes to heal and make her way back.

Gretchen continues on the path to her 100 mile adventure.

Well that's all that seems to be happening in the racing world in August.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The top ten Reasons I want to qualify for Kona

I've gotten a bunch of comments asking me why do I want to do the Ford Hawaii Ironman World Championships at a young age while I'm a man of limited means. Afterall wouldn't it be better to do it in my 30's when I could afford all the fancy toys and have money as no object and could really afford to go crazy on the island? Well upon reflection I have decided to post the top 10 reason why I want to do the Hawaii Ironman ASAP.

10. Young, Single and Free

My Dad's mantra to me when I told him to talk me out of doing an IM in 09. Right now I have no girl friend most of my student loans are on in-school deferment, so realistically all I have are credit cards, a private student loan, my Y membership, and car note. Times have been tough the last couple of months and I'm getting out of it. I don't have a family to worry about, major bills to pay. I have a job in a field where I can take time off in October ( if I go into education I won't be able to race or I'll have to weekend it not because of cash but to be at work on Monday or Tuesday, I forgot the race is traditionally on Sunday.) In essence I don't want to be like some poor 30 year old who qualified this year at Eagleman. The guy went up paid for his slot and his jaw dropped as his ever suffering wife put her hands on her hips and muttered "over my dead body!" he then returned his slot and ripped the check, I do not want to be in that position, work my ass off for years finally qualify only to have to give it up, because the board of Ed. needs me at work on Monday, or the wife/ girlfriend won't stand for it, or Bobby the fourth needs braces or Harvard tuition. Figure now while I'm unattached it is probably best.

9. Narcissistic about the race photos.

Ain't going to lie I'd like my first Hawaii finish line pic to be of me as a hot stud 24-29 year old racing the sunset rather than as a wrinkly old man covered in glow sticks ( although I would like that one too at age 60+.)

8. Easier to Qualify.

Let's face it youth is all about speed. Most of the guys I race against in Olympic and Half-Iron races are speedsters. If given the option of Kona or Clearwater alot more will take Clearwater because

a. it's cheaper.

b. they can put the hammer down.

I'm not saying it's everyone. ( as evidenced by the field at Ironman New Zealand. and 6th place at Eagleman.) Most people looked at me when I said I was doing an Ironman and the average was response was " don't most people do that in their 30's and 40's?" next to the standard "are you crazy?"

Also most of the "true athletes " ( note the quotations, how are triathletes not true athletes...that's like saying decathletes aren't true athletes.) are still in one sport focus. So in 10-15 years the former track, swimming, soccer, football studs will be doing this to keep in shape/get back in shape, upping the ante. Needless to say can you guess the age groups where it is the hardest to get in, and funny it seems to be about that time that we all hit our peak incomes/net worth.

7. I want my freaking Tattoo!

I made a silent promise to myself before I did IM NZ that I was not getting a Tat until I qualified for Kona. I qualify I'm getting a tat on my leg and no it will not be an "M-dot."

6. I'd like to be able to go pro at some point.

To go pro in the US there are 3 criteria 1 is to top 3 in 3 major races and/or finish within 98% of the winner's time calculated by some really complex math equation. Second is a spin off of this just win 3 major races, math equation be damned! Third or I like to call it the Bree Wee Rule, win your age group in Kona once again, math equations be damned!

5. If I decide to quit triathlon/ athletics any time in the next 10 years I'd like to say I did it all.

If the long rides become a chore, I'm just not feeling it in the pool, my runs are boring me to tears, my wife/girlfriend want's a family, I want to devote my time to making insane amounts of capital, I get diagnosed with a fatal illness ( hopefully will not happen), I give up the expensive sport to become a humble member of the Roman Catholic Clergy ( not happening anytime soon.), etc.. I would like to have the two finisher medals I have wanted since Childhood:

The Hawaii Ironman Finisher Medal.

Boston Marathon Finisher Medal.( growing up in New England this is a must have!)

4. You don't always need cash to have fun on the island.

Well alright there is a lot of natural beauty , volcanoes, great surfing (which means I need to learn to surf.) and beaches which means bring cooler, bring sun block and collaspe in the sun. Tried the snokeling thing in St. Croix but I just can't breathe doing it. In either case I can enjoy the island without spending too much.

3. A feeling of massive accomplishment.

The old adage states: To get to Kona you have to be extremely lucky ( via the lotto) or extremely good ( via qualification.) If I can qualify that would be a great testament to my fitness level and proficiency. Even if I finish dead last in my age group it would be worth it knowing I competed against some of the best athletes in the world.

2. Would I try to win my AG: Hell yes!

Claire sent me last year's winner's time, yes he is a good 1:45 to 2:00 faster than me, yes he and the other guys that podiumed have mad skill yes I got schooled by guys with mad skill in NZ, but to go into a race without giving myself a shot is suicide, I have to set my goals in prority and trying to win is #3 under just finishing and not needing extended hospitalization. If I go in defeated then I might as well coast through it, or better yet not even start, but if I can make myself believe I have a shot even a microscopic one then I will leave it all out in the lava fields with no regrets if I'm 1st or 50th. Good things come from total effort even if it is only knowing I gave everything...and if I think I even have a 1 in 1 Billion shot of winning I'll give it everything.

1. A combo of chips on the shoulder.

From a young age it was drilled into me that I would never be a champion.

In grade school they said I never be able to hop on one foot or run. Gee I can do both, quite well infact. In swimming I was solid but never really a contender for titles made it to state swimming trials 3 years in a row and all 3 times failed to make to finals, (when the last place seed loafed it in my event ( 500 free.) my senior year I was pissed I would have killed for that spot and missed it by 3 seconds.) My track coach telling me Freshman year that a state title was never in my future, ( granted I sort of knew it because to make States you had to be insanely fast, and at that point I was suffering trying to break 5:40 in the mile.), but to say never got my blood boiling, so yes sometimes I race angry, it gives me focus, makes me driven. If I can earn my way into a championship event it would end my curse of being " the kid good enough to get to the qualifier but not a "championship caliper" athlete." So yes that's what drives me, I live to prove people wrong, and to make a championship event on my own merit would kill years of doubt. In essence I want to prove to myself that I am good enough and deserving of this crazy desire.

So that's why I put this out there, one day it will happen and hopefully when I'm in a position to do my best and turns some heads doing it.


Monday, July 28, 2008

2 for 1 Ride for your life & I hate Mondays

Yesterday, my plans for a 60-80 mile ride got well..rained on quite literally. After watching the tour ( Damn you Carlos Sastre and Team CSC damn you! now everyone will be rushing out to buy Cervelo road bikes claiming they are the "world's best.") and making a quick run to stop and shop, for "nutrition" ( was going to try a candy bar regiment, just to break up the montony of gu, unfotunately my milky way melted.) it was off Middlebury to begin my ride. The begining was a little interesting as some gu2o must have spilled on my brakes and a wonderful squealing sound could be heard at the slightest tap thankfully that sharp down hill with a lovely stop at the bottom helpped burn it off and I was in business. I got out to Lake Waramaug and it was pretty uneventful except for a dead deer on someguy's lawn, attacking a crow buffet. After one loop of the lake I looked at the increasingly darkening sky and decided to high tail it back to Middlebury before I got caught in the approaching storm. As I rode back it began to sprinkle alright I can deal with a little rain, the wind kicked up ok I can deal with wind and rain, thunder rolled, shit, lightning struck Holy shit, I got into my biggest gears and rode a time trial Lance would be proud of. I aero stretched on the descents, as I out raced the increasingly violent storm back to Route 47. In my mind I was picturing my obituary, and being nominated for a darwin award, Cycle in a cyclone, man that would be the article title, and forever more I would be remebered for chlorinating my self out of the gene pool. I got to Woodbury and tree limbs and shit were falling around me, winds were blowing my accross the road and debris was hitting me square in the face, the rain began to belt down and finally I took shelter in some hole in the wall Biker bar on route 47. After a half hour I got back on my bike because the storm had let up and began riding up into Middlebury, I wasn't even half way up White deer rocks when the rain began puring down in buckets, I managed to make it back to my car in one piece but it was ugly. Total Distance 50 miles or 80k at an average of 17.4 miles per hour, not bad considering the hills and the weather.

Monday: Today after doing futher research on "the chain" I decided to add weights to my planned swim run double. Needless to say it did not go as well as I hoped, for starters I have forgotten how to do a Turkish get up, I did get some kettle bell snatch and cleans (or was it clean and jerks all I know is clean is some how involved in it) and I managed to screw that up I couldn't get my explosive little hop at the end, that and I don't think I kept neutral spine. I tried getting some pull-ups in a pathetic 7. 3 in the first go 4 in the second, my squats were equally disappointing but I managed to make up for lack of weight in reps and avoid injury. 3x8 reps at 95lbs. It was after this I said F**k this S**t! and went to the pool for 3000 yards. Main set 3x500 on 7:00. after all this I grabbed a gatorade and got a run in. Hauled out to Middlebury and ran the first 3 miles of the griskus bike loop, then back to my car so it was a little more than a 10k. Time was 55.26 slow barely cracking 9 min/miles but it is Monday and I did a lot previous. Irregardless, I need to work the weight room harder, I need to bring diagrams of the workouts I need to do and do them, I need power, I need speed, I need to break 5 hours in 2 months time.

I need more power!

The Chain Gang or a complete idiot explaining the lower muscle groups.

Alright, I've been getting a ton of screaming from Angry about using the terms "posterior chain" if I had no idea what it is/why it's important. So I will give the evolution of what I thought it was/ what it actually is.

Angry uses it in post.

What I thought it meant: Fancy word for ass.

Scolded, maybe there is more to it than the gluteus maximus (ok spelled wrong, but I haven't read in Latin in over 6 months, bare with me.)

Lift with Angry, see him do dead lifts, squats mentions that I should work the chain.

What I assume it to mean: Lower back, hips, glutes, hamstrings, essential the muscle groupings from the lower lumbar sections to the upper legs, essentially mostly covered by my tri suit.

Why I felt it was important: Well, after a series of long hilly rides constantly left my lower back in pain, my hips occasionally felt thrashed and like always my legs were rubberized, I figured working the lower back, hams, and glutes might help reduce injury risk and increase power out put and therefore speed, also working on it would prevent me from having to stand to throw on my running shoes in transition after mountainous bike routes. Granted I've been in the weight room the grand total of 5 times this season, this month and next I'm having Alex show me strength work outs to work the chain so I can become an unstoppable force...( Howard Dean yell here.)

Use it in post, find out I spelt posterior wrong and in my assumption forgot to include one major leg muscle group, the calves. Was again smacked by angry.

After a frantic email to my friend a personal trainer, searching the web for a strength site that could tell me more of the anatomy, I found that the calves are part of the posterior chain and therefore the importance of strenthening it for sport became clear: The posterior chain is the source of all lower limb locomotion and power, in essence it is speed, it is power, it is hobbling down the Queen K after 9+ hours of abuse, or down the 100m straightaway in 10 sec. or less. Work the chain and you will be able to run/ cycle/ swim/ lift/ longer, harder, faster. Work it and the core ( the muscles of the chest and trunk, pectorials, abdominals, obliques not really positive if the arms count in this one...will research and edit appropriately) and overall fitness greatly improves.

Ok so it wasn't a technical post with diagrams, pie charts and rudimentary Latin,but I proved that I get the concept of the importance of" the chain".

I'm putting on my crash helmet for the major beatdown I'm going to get for posting this one.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dare to Dream and take Risks?

Upon looking at my poll results, it looks like Ironman Arizona is in the cards if I can get a general entry slot in November, I've been crunching the numbers to see if a New Zealand/ Arizona double is in the mix or would be fiscal suicide, upon review I might be able to swing it if Catherine and Jo Ann could tolerate putting my hairy arse up for two weeks, if I make Kona, I will have to sell vital organs, my car and soul or my parents real estate gig will have to take off pronto ( granted it will anyway, the active adult community has given them 2 deals and at least 3 prospects) but my dad's promise rings in my ears " You earn a Kona slot and we'll find a way to get you there." Needless to say my escape from number crunching my bills and earnings, has been number crunching flights and hotels in Taupo, along with Flights, hotel, and rental car arrangements to Tempe and the Big Island, with my earnings. Bjoern said he'd be down for Tempe so splitting a hotel and rental car could make it a very, very, managable trip if we can both get general entry. Park City at this point is looking more and more like it's in the scrap heap, and I'm trying to tuck enough away for Nutmegman. I never thought I'd say I miss the sprints and olympics, but upon looking at my calendar and finding a majority of my races have been halves, I have to say I kind of miss the variety I had last year. For as stressful as 2007 was 2008 has been more so. I hadn't been able to really enjoy the time leading up to my races. Financial worries plauged me from the day after Nutmeg up until my flight to Taupo. Every race the worries would hit, do I have enough for gas, bills, hotel, food. I've only had one podium technically 2 if I went AG, but anytime I can get a shot in the elite I'll take it. I've found that my family and friends definitely have great faith in my ablities, for my realatives to pool resources and lend me cash to compete, it speaks volumes, especially in our situation.

All I can do to get through the montony of work and bills, is train and plan for the next race. To qoute from one of my favorite movies , Rudy, " Dreams are what make life tolerable." Most of my life I've been told I don't dream enough, I try to stay in the concrete, what I can do today, what I've gotten in the past. Recently I've been dreaming a little too much, but unlike a lot of dreamers I realize dreams are only achieved through hard work and follow through. I can't sit on my ass and expect to do a sub-10:30 Ironman and qualify for Kona , I can't sit at a desk pissing and moaning expecting it's going to get me out of debt and put a bachelor's degree in my hand. Positive energy goes only halfway, the other half you have to put out. With all the negative that's been circling in my life lately I've been trying to get upbeat, I plan, and I execute. I take some risks, put myself out there, I've almost thought of going for and FHA loan to buy investment property in popped bubble markets (even though they're cheap my debt to income sucks right now and I know it. So that will wait until I'm making more than $19k and pocketing $15k after taxes, 401k and benefits. It could pay dividends other wise I will have a vacation home in Florida....and California... and Nevada.... to sell/rent at cut throat prices.)

All the fiscal shit aside, one reason I have NZ for 09 is the fact I want to have one last crack at Kona as an 18-24 AG athlete, Tempe is game over for that AG ( granted I expect to be riding like Hell on Wheels because I will have more favorable training conditions.) because it's a qualifier for 2010 in which I'd be entering the slightly more competitive 25-29 bracket, against former collegiate swimmers and runners, also despite it's the 25th Anniversary, IMNZ is slow to sell out, where as IMAZ could be an equally expensive endeavor if I log on to my PC late and miss the General Entry ( then the debate is do I go with a community fund slot? or buy a training package with Entry and training camp from If I don't get to Kona by 30 I'm giving up on the dream to go pro, because by that point I will have to be going pro speed to qualify in my age group. Part of me embraces risk, my parents tried to play it safe and ended up in deeper shit than if they took risks in their careers, in investment, in life in general. They have often told me to live opposite of the way they lived, maybe one of the reasons as I begged my dad to talk me out of IMNZ 09 he encouraged me to get my shit handled and do it. Indeed upon looking at the battering I've taken this year I'm not too bad off, a couple of things got /are getting paid late, had some major scares but by September I'll be all square, life will be back to normal, granted I'll still be crashing with Grandpa. Well I've gone on like Mac Beth, speaking "the tale of an idiot ,a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing."- Bill S. My hope for 09 is that by the time August rolls around I will have my degree in hand, and gainful entry level career, an emerging coaching business, and some 20 year olds pissing themseleves with fear on the big island, because my lycra clad prosterior chain will be making its way to the start line in Kona.

Paying his dues, bearing his scars and getting tougher by the second.