Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ironman Louisville Race Report

Ironman Louisville turned out to be my hardest earned triathlon finish. The day started with high hopes and expectations and ended with gratitude for the volunteers and the ability to finish a race when I could have quit many times.

The swim went pretty well other than the news that one competitor had had a massive heart attack only 300 yards into the 2.4 mile swim. I managed to hold a pretty consistent pace and managed to swim a 59:47 not too slow but not as fast as I have done in other races.

The bike wasn’t too bad. I took the one “screaming down hill” at a pretty conservative pace although I kick myself now because I definitely could have taken a little more risk on it as the turns were gentle sweepers and the pavement quality was “bad for Kentucky” but pretty damn smooth by New England standards. The rest of the ride went pretty well. I would kick into the low ring on the climbs to try to save my legs for the run. I was hydrating well and had to stop to pee and adjust my aero bars at the 65 mile mark. I had decided to bring all my own hydration with me this go round as I had a bad experience with Powerbar ® Perform at Providence 70.3. So I used Gatorade to get me through the bike course and water and Clif shot bloks when I ran low. I did pop 3 salt tabs but since I had never used them in training I didn’t know how many to take and how often. I kept leap frogging with this chick Christine, know for her signature grey/ black cervelo and tri suit but electric pink heart rate strap. Things were going well at this point my legs felt good except for a slight cramp in my big toe on my left foot, but I figure it might have just been rubbing against my bike shoes. I hit T-2 in about 6:22. In T-2 I look down at my foot it wasn’t rubbing and I didn’t have any med tape. A volunteer offered to get me some but I figured I would be fine if I ran in socks. I peed and got sunscreen and took off on the run.

The run went according to plan for the first 10 miles. I was holding between 8-9 minute miles and was on pace to run yet another sub 4 hour marathon and finish in daylight like a rock star. Every aid station I was doing my usual ritual of taking coke, water, sponges, and ice. I was passing a lot of people and was feeling amazing. I passed Christine at the 6 mile mark and made a comment along the lines of “ Hi I’m Rob from CT you may remember from such horror films as “You again” and You again the sequel.” “ She laughed and made a comment that I was flying and at this point I was feeling pretty damn good. In the words of Macca “ The nice music was kicking in and I was dancing through the lava fields.” feeling a Kona slot might be within reach.

The big toe on my left foot started acting up around mile 9 with a pressurized ripping, pinching kind of pain. Like my toe nail was rubbing against the toe of my shoe. At mile 12 the pain became too much to run. I figured I would walk to the next aid station to patch my foot up and then I could continue my run and still keep my daylight finish streak alive. Well the next aid station didn’t have a first aid station so I figured walk to the turn around, get patched up and leave this two mile speed bump behind me. I had tried to run walk but I could only go maybe 100-200 feet before the pressure on the balls of my feet became too much. I grabbed my salt tabs from my special needs bag and wolfed down 3 of the five in my pack. On the turnaround I hit a pot hole and my feet still hurt the pressure on the big toe had spread to the big toe to my other foot. I took my shoes off and walked half a mile to the next aid station. It helped as it relieved the pressure. I stopped at the aid station after the turn around and asked for a band aid and some tape as my left toe hurt a lot worse than my right ( which was a manageable annoying throbbing instead of the “I think my toenail is going to explode out of the mesh at any second” kind of pain on my left toe. ) The volunteers at this aid station were wonderful. I munched down some pretzels as I patched my surprisingly not bloody toe. One of the volunteers noticed my socks were soaked from my sponge, ice, water, routine when I was going mach 1, so she gave me the socks off her feet and got me back on the road. I started feeling a little better and figured maybe I could run again. I picked it up and started to hit my stride again taking pretzels and coke at the aid stations. I was beginning to think that I might be able to salvage a 12:30 Ironman. After three miles I started feeling woozy and light headed like I was going to faint. Stopped at a port o let and peed: it was clear, no sodium I thought to myself. My foot felt a little better and I tried to run again, I got even more light headed and the road seemed to spin for a second. I slowed down and decided to walk to the aid station. I got to the aid station at about mile 19 and asked if they were giving out chicken broth. One of the volunteers nodded. I asked if I could sit for a bit. A couple of the Volunteers sat me down on the pavement and brought some of the broth over. I downed 6-7 cups of the stuff, as well as two cups of pretzels while I tried to get my bearings back. I must have been there for half an hour. The aid station captain came over and asked if I was on my first or second loop. I told him my second and he was like “you still have plenty of time to finish take what you need.” A passing athlete gave me a salt tab as I sucked it down with another cup of chicken broth. After a couple more minutes I stood up and started walking with another athlete. He gave me a salt tab and told me he was on his first loop. We walked for about half a mile before he started to run and began to haul ass so he could make the cut off. I continued to walk my marathon feeling like Rutger Beke in the 2007 Ironman, my feet hurt too much to run and at every aid station I was still peeing crystal clear. So I was taking Coke, Sports Drink and two cups of broth and pretzels. I continued to walk trying to run every so often for a few feet here and there, and occasionally stopping to stretch. Occasionally an athlete would come along side and we would chat for a while then they would start to jog or their walking pace would get faster than my waddle and they would disappear into the night. As the sun set I began to take it in stride. Joking with one guy, “The good thing about walking the marathon is I can actually enjoy the cookies.” I said at one aid station. One guy wearing a glow stick walked by “ Man I’m jealous I want one.” I said as he ran past with a chuckle. I tried to kick up my pace for a few hundred feet while I ran past the motivational mile. My legs still felt good but my feet felt like they were balloons full of fluid. It became clear that it was going to be a miracle to even run up the finish chute. But onward I went each mile ticking down as downtown came into sight. Athletes still came by one woman encouraged me to run with her. “my feet are too swollen” I told her. I came toward downtown and the crowds started to grow. Words of encouragement started to come from every direction. I made if to the last couple of corners. I started to jog and caught a couple of runners “I’ll back off and let you get some distance as I’m planning to log roll.” I told one lady “Thanks hun but I’m still on my first lap I was the last off the bike and they’re going to pull me off at the turnaround, but thanks for the heads up.” I jogged up the finish chute high fiving spectators on both sides of the barriers. 14:25- 14:30 it didn’t make a difference at this point I was going to finish. I dropped down and did a picture perfect log roll. I could now appreciate the sentiment of finishing the Ironman, of having the attitude of the finish is all that matters and that DNF was not an option. I could now appreciate what Jon Blais went through in his Ironman, going through tremendous pain most of it exponentially worse than mine to make it to the finish.

My official marathon time was 6:50:30, 20 minutes slower than my bike split. My slowest ever for the distance. My official finish time was 14:28:04 my time in medical was roughly 1hour 45 minutes, and for once I didn’t make it back to the finish line to see the last people cross, but I did get to see and feel just how hard it is to make it to that finish line.

As for my future in Ironman I’m hoping in the next couple of weeks to get the cash together to make another assault on Louisville, I’ve got some unfinished business with that run course as I see it the course owes me a 3:45 marathon and a Kona slot, and this time I’m bringing my A-game…and a couple of bottles of salt tablets.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Pat Griskus Olympic Race Report.

"I'm not dead yet."- Monty Python

Well ok I haven't posted in nearly three months and any following me is probably like "wait he still blogs?" when they see their status updates. But I am still kinda blogging and now I'm racing this season. Last Saturday I ran the Pat Griskus Olympic Tri at Lake Quassapaug in Middlebury, CT. The race is run out of Quassy Amusement Park at the same venue they run the Rev3 triathlons out of, granted on a slight easier course.

I guess the theme for this race could be new out look, new equipment, new teammates, same old course, bike split and dominating run. I arrived at Quassy at about 6:30 and caught some crap from one of my friends Scruffy from HEAT in that this year I was racing in Waterbury YMCA tri club gear. I'd been coaching their swimmers, training at their facility, and have been put on the board of the club so I had to represent.
This year in addition to new tri clothes I was racing in Pearl Izumi Streak II racing flats and had borrowed Alexei's Aero helmet to see if it was worth the investment, so today was also a test run of the gear I hoped to use in Louisville.
Last year I came into this race after a roller coaster May and June and this year I was a little more settled but still felt kind of unprepared as my training has been nowhere near what it had been in the "Glory Days" of 2008 and 2009. I set up my transition next to Sandra from the Y tri club and a few other of the White Orange and Teal Crew, and made my way down to the swim.

I met up with Neil, my protege from the Y tri club as we waited for Fog to clear off the lake. The race directors mentioned the litany of sponsors and Had Sister Maddona Budder ( yes she was racing here this year, weird I know but I guess Rev's not the only race in the state that can pull big names.) give the invocation and plug her newest book, as well as give us her memories of Pat Griskus, a Connecticut Native and the first amputee to complete the Hawaii Ironman, and was training for his third attempt when he was hit by a truck and killed in Kona in 1987. The Sprint race run every July since 1987 was renamed 1988 in his honor. Finally after about a half an hour and after a couple of chants from the uber bikers for a TT dualathon, the race crew announced a shortened swim. The first wave of men over 35 took off in the mist following a line of kayaks to the first buoy. I went off in the second wave and all the way out to the first buoy it was carnage as people get swimming of the tops of each other and the stragglers from the first wave and tried desperately to sight in the fog. The entire swim I was never really in a clear patch of water as I blowing by guys from the previous wave. I got out of the water in about 9 minutes and hit the mat for T-1 in 11:09 .

T-1 went kind of slow as I had no body glide and struggled to get my right foot free from my wetsuit. I got on the bike pretty quickly and began pedaling like a madman. As expected I did lose a few spots on the opening run out of the park, and on the steep descent at mile 3. I was a little shocked to see Neil's Cervelo P-1 going flying by me so effortlessly. For the first time in my racing career I felt that on of my athletes might actually beat me. I started to make up ground in the hills, pushing higher cadence than power this year, and it seemed like my months of spin classes were paying off until about mile 10 and three steady climbs back to back to back. By the summit of the second climb my heart was beating faster than a jack rabbit's on cocaine, I backed off on the pace and put it into an even easier gear, trying to get my heart rate back to normal. Luckily there was a descent after the third climb so I just coasted for it feathering the brakes a bit so I could make the Sharp right hander at the bottom. Weekeepeemee Rd, had actually been repaved this year but I still took it cautious and got passed. They did the reroute up Crane Hollow Rd, and it's steep ass hill and other than nearly getting taken out by a few serpenting cyclists on this hill the rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. I did pass Ken, "The CT Cookie Monster" Schultz on the last climb of the course something which never happens, but apparently it was because his body was still recovering from the Rev3 Revolution Challenge in which he race both the Rev Oly and Rev Half two weeks ago on brutally hilly courses. I finished the bike in 1:16:29 30 seconds faster than last year so I guess the Aero Helmet may have had something to do with it, or the spin classes or both.

T-2 was also a little slower than normal as I tried to squeeze my feet into my new racing flats. I took off in just trying to get back the plethora of spots I lost on the bike, which was a lot more than usual as the short swim put the uber bikers in closer proximity. I passed Ken again on the hill and just tried to turn over as fast as I could, last year I had felt flat on the first loop of the run this year I was flying as I tried to see how far back I was to Neil. By the turn around I had a gauge, less than a minute and although he was looking strong, I knew that I was about a minute faster on the 10k, it might be Ken Glah vs. Pauli Kiru at the finish line but I knew I had it in my legs to catch him. Scruffy made a comment that he was coming to catch me as I spotted him less than a minute behind on the turnaround. I knew I needed to increase the tempo so I hit the Nos on the flat, and grinding up the hill for the first time. The pain of my efforts became clear when I had to slowdown and rub out a side stich at the top of the hill. I jogged lightly for about 200 feet and then kicked up the pace again. "Must catch Neil." I thought to myself. I spotted him at the turn around about 30-45 seconds in front "He's mine." The catch was almost like Crowie's passing Chris Lieto in the 2009 Ironman I came along side stood neck and neck for a bit then was gone. As I came up from behind I noticed he was wearing a new set of Peral Izumi's "Damn Obi Wan has taught you well." I said as I went by. We laughed, and then I continued my onslaught on this run course. I had felt my bike had been too slow and I was taking it out on this 10k, because if you bike like a bitch you better run like a rockstar. I noticed by the turnaround I opened 30 sec. on Neil and Scruffy was a further 2 min. back. As I ran past I gave Scruffs a razing for his comments on the Previous loop. "What happended to catching me dude?" " How dare you negative split." or something like that he shouted back. I made my way up the hill a lot stronger on this loop than the previous with no cramps, and managed to cross the tape in 2:11:43 my 10k Split was a 41:50 only 4 seconds slower than last years.

Overall I was in 110th place part of which I chalk up to the short swim, the other to the stacked field at this race. I was 8th in my Age Group, Neil was 9th less than 2 minutes behind. Overall except for some blistering on my heels from the new flats the equipment worked out well, and I was glad to see my fitness level seemed up to snuff. My next race is in two weeks at Ironman Providence 70.3 and that will be a better test of my preparedness for Ironman, as well as my re-entrance into long haul Tri.

Happy Training

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Learning how to ride like a roadie?

Well, for years I've struggled with the bike. Part of it's been mental, part of it's been my riding style and part of it has been my training. This year I seemed to have gotten a hold on 2 of the 3. The mental part always takes me a bit. If I'm unsure of a route or where a decent is going to take me I tend to ride ultra conservative, but once I figure out what I'm doing things fall into place. So on my second outdoor ride a loop of the Waterbury Ymca's suffer/hammer route with Alexei I wasn't surprised he was kicking the shit out of me on decents and crossing intersections. But there was one area where I was shocked, the climbs and the flats. Normally I tend to be a power rider. I usually push insanely tough gears, and crank out massive watts generating a world of hurt for my lower back, hams, glutes and calves. This year with all the indoor rides and actually showing up to spin classes on a regular basis I noticed a change in my riding style. I suddenly began to be able to push high cadence and noticed I was actually carrying a fair amount of speed. Now one reason I used to be a power rider was I figured that if I was going 100RPM in an easy gear I was going to be spinning a long at 15MPH quite literally spinning my wheels and going nowhere. Sunday's ride changed that. As Alexei and I cruised along Route 6 in Southbury ( after a few wrong turns.) I noticed that I was not in the biggest gear I could push but I was crusing along a 20mph with moderate effort. Likewise I noticed that I was actually able to launch sustainable efforts on the climbs and that I was able to give Alexei ( who is normally a much better cyclist than I am.) a good challenge to the top of some of the moderate climbs. What do I credit for this success? The sufferfest spin videos and classes run by the Y tri club. Every Tuesday we would ride one of these tough little workouts that would show snippets of pro-tours and would set a workout based on the race we were following. We simulated the climb up Alpe Du Huez, going into a break at the Tour de Sussie, TT riding the World Championship course, to the carefully crafted Sufferfest Videos. But one thing I noticed about the sufferfest videos was they preped us to ride like roadies, rather than tri geeks. John Hirsch had commented on his blog about how triathletes are not groomed to constantly push themseleves to the red line and recover and then make continual red line and recovery efforts like cyclists. Indeed in tri, the main goal is to hold a steady quick pace that won't thrash your legs too badly for the run. Sufferfest didn't work us like that. We were constantly put through over/unders, attacks, tempo riding, responding to attacks. essentially we were in roadie school. Part of me wonders: could my bike leg improve if I do a couple of surges strategically placed in the ride? In my ride with Alexei I held back a little on the decents and some of the straights focusing on good effort and strong cadence, taking a couple of tempo pulls at the front. I attacked on the climbs and noticed that for most of them I was either neck and neck or passing Alexei. Whether this was because he was worn from pulling or I had sandbagged a little./ planned my ride to have a stronger second half, or just picked the right times to kick it up, it felt good. So I'm wondering if this season maybe the year I'm actually able to put all three legs together and have a breakout. I'm definitely planning on keeping spin classes as part of my training regiment. While outdoor riding is great and makes the long ride more enjoyable. I think a good quality seesion indoors once a week might help me keep focus on good form and strength. So I'm going to see where this takes me because the results have been looking promising so far.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

First outdoor ride and What gives BAA?

Well Thursday I had an odd day off as part of my quarterly schedule. This week I was off Thursday, working Friday and Saturday and then off Sunday to go back in on Monday. But my quirky hours aside Thursday proved to be a good day to be out of the office. There were clear skies, temperatures hovering around 70 and a bike with a brand new chain and cassette chilling in the garage, my plan for the day was clear. I was riding and it was not going to be a trainer session. I spent about 20 minutes in the morning digging the end of one of my draw strings out of the waist band of my tri shorts, then packed The Bitch Stomper into my Subaru and made the now much shorter ride from Waterbury out to Middlebury to do some loops of the Pat Griskus Tri course. While part of me wanted to be adventurous and go and do my 50 mile Quassy to Waramaug route, I hadn't ridden outdoors in nearly six months and after this years brutal winter the roads were going to be pitted and most likely sand covered, so I stuck to the easy 10 mile loop through some "gentle rolling hills" and farm land. The first mile I was greeted by something that seemed missing on the trainer: a crosswind while going down hill at 30 mph no less. For a second I had to relearn how to handle a bike, as I felt the rear wheel going a little sideways and my bike being pushed to the right, just tried to go with it pushing left just enough to keep the Stomper from going off the road. The roads weren't too bad, there were only two rough spots, the bottom of the "s" curve and the right hander on to Tomilson road still had some grit which required me to coast at a lower speed than normal, but for the most part things went pretty smooth. The sufferfest spin Dvd's really helped this winter in that I focused more on climbing with a strong cadence rather than mashing heavy gears and I noticed that I was able to hold a larger gear than last season on the final climb at mile nine and I didn't need to get out of the saddle. Overall my speed wasn't too far off from normal either I averaged 16.2 mph for 20 miles. Not bad for sitting on an exercise bike all winter. I decided that since it was a georgous day to tack on a nice 8 mile run as a brick. My legs felt a little heavy as I tackled the opening 8 miles of the Rev3 Half run course. By the time I hit the dirt road portion of White Deer Rocks my legs had found their stride granted they still felt a little tight. I know if I want to do Rev3 and if I want to do well I'm going to need to work on running after hard climbing rides. All in all the run didn't go to badly as I popped my usual day dream of one day winning Kona and amuzed myself with the idea of one day being able to race pro. Ok yes I know that reallistically that neither may never happen but if it gives me the strength to push a little harder on a long training run then damn it I'm not going to knock it. And my time for the run was 1:12, not Crowie killing fast but good for the first brick of the season. And speaking of running, the Boston Marathon is coming up on Monday. So good luck to Mary the Iron Matron in the Patriots' Day classsic, and while I'm on the note of the Boston Marathon, what gives with the new qualifying standard? I had been surfing the HEAT forum and heard that the Boston Athletic Association ( BAA) had just lowered the time standards for the 2013 running of the Boston Marathon and put in bonuses for faster runners in 2012 ( ie the faster you run the earlier you get to register.) I'm not really opposed to the fast kids getting to sign up first, that's fair because hey if you run a 2:12 marathon you should be running in Boston, but did they have to make the time standard for guys under 35 3:05, I mean 3:10 was just starting to seem within grasp. Hell my girlfriend's mom even works in Hopkinton and she lives like 2 seconds away so I will even have a place to crash when I eventually qualify. If my Kona dream fell through this year I would try making a good attempt at a Beantown slot at the Hartford Marathon, but now it seems like that I might have to start training with Ryan Hall to even have a prayer at running Boston before I turn 35, granted even 3:05 doesn't sound that bad, but that's still 16 minutes I have to drop from my current PR but now it has to be 3:05:00 or under you don't even get the 59 seconds you used to. I mean I know it's Boston and it's a big deal but come on BAA , I think us New Englanders should get a break, I mean it's not like we're in Kenya or Cali where we have beautiful 50+ degree weather and mountains to train in all winter to prep for our qualifier and then the race, I think a New England winter is worth an extra 5 minutes because otherwise all your going to have is a bunch of college track kids, Kenyans, Ethiopians, and dudes from Cali towing the line in Boston, and I mean come on the Californians have the Frisco, Big Sur and LA marathons let us have NYC and Boston...please, pretty please? Well that's my two cents, happy training all R.D.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

9 mile run of death and other training tales.

Well this week I've been able to get three back to back days of training so I'm starting to re-establish a pattern. Monday I went for a 9.45 mile run Tuesday some lifting and the sufferfest bike intervals and yesterday my first swim since Saturday, while it's not the ideal plan, I am coming back from a crash and burn week and some harder early season trianing than I've done in the past two years.

On Monday my 9 miler could be know as a run of death for two reasons, hills and traffic. Adjusting to life back in Waterbury has been a little bit of a change because for the past 5 years I've had established running routes out in Wolcott, 2 days a week do the 8 mile loop, on the long days I had a 12, 15, and 20+ mile loop set up. At my new place one of my dabblings has been to try to set up new routes that aren't going to get me killed by traffic or lead me into "da hood". While Bunker Hill is not "Da Hood" it does have traffic, dogs, uneven sidewalks, pot holes and some areas of questionable character. Likewise it has Hills and I don't mean the gentle rolling type. While Bunker Hill Ave. is a long gradual climb some of the surrounding side streets can have some nasty little or in some cases big climbs.

On Monday my goal was to run from my house to Holy Cross High School and run part of one of my old High School training loops before looping back home. Only problem with this was I would have to cross West Main Street/ Chase Parkway in Waterbury, which is a busy drag as it connects the West Side with Downtown and there are three highway exits within 2 miles of each other on this stretch. I started my run down Bunker Hill Ave which was pretty tame, there are plenty of sidewalks and crosswalks, as long as you paid attention to traffic you were fine. I cut up a Deleware Ave and another side road which took me up a pretty nasty hill, and left debating if leaving the fuel belt at home was a wise idea. i cut down a few more side streets and got a nice down hill run to West Main Street and as I saw the packs of cars lining up at one of the exits. Running at rush hour wasn't my most brilliant idea.

But being the type of adapter I am I decided I would run down Chase Parkway past the last I-84 exit, then shoot down Straits Turnpike into Watertown and go up the backside of Bunker Hill into Waterbury. The only problem Straits Turnpike is a major State Road, and after I had risked life and limb in a narrow shoulder on Chase Parkway, the one on Straits Turnpike wasn't much bigger. For a good two mile stretch I had cars whizzing by at 60mph ( afterall we all know that the speed limit of 45mph is the minimum right? yes I'm guilty of this too.) less than a foot away from me. I traversed the boondock section of Straits turnpike I kept trying to tell myself good things about this section is it was realatively flat and it was a residential as the minivans sored past, followed by a BMW, followed by some kid in a rice burner trying to set a state speed record. There were some moments my thoughts flashed back to one of my training partners, I'll just call him B. B had been a pretty decent runners in the 70's and 80's One night after a swim session I noticed and odd scar on his leg and the fact that he sort of limped. when I asked him about it he was like "yeah about ten- fifteen years ago a car hit me from behind when I was out on a training run, completely shattered my leg they had to put a steel rod in and when they went to remove it they would have had to rebrake the bone that grew around it so they just left it in." It was a sobering thought that wasn't helping as I was running with traffic, knowing at any moment I could be subject to "death by Honda" I mean come on if you have to die on a run it should be something bad ass like "I finished the Boston Marathon at 90 then had the BIG ONE" or "I ran out of fluids at Badwater" not "yeah some teeny bopper was looking for her Ke$hia CD and plowed her civic into me."

After about a couple of miles it turned into a commercial drag with Car Delaerships on either side, a few shopping plazas and sidewalks. Except for dodging the stop and shop rush, things went smoother from here, until I turned the corner to go up the Hill. The backside of Bunker Hill is a nice little climb and from Straits Turnpike to the Waterbury City line it's covered by sidewalk then back to dodging traffic for half a mile, then the nice little right hand turn at Our Lady of Loretto Church, and up the hill back home. seeing the outline of the hill was kinda intimidating but once you strat grinding it out it's not so bad. From here the run uneventful except for the fact I was thirsty as hell. Next time I do anything close to 10 miles I'm brinign the fuel belt. I managed to churn up the climbs at a pretty good rate, and finished my run in about 1:22. I don't think I'll be doing this loop again but it wasn't too bad of a workout.

The last two days I was indoors for bike training and the swim so I'm hoping to get out for my first outdoor ride today, at the very least I'll be running. Well that's it from me I'm burning daylight.

Happy Training


Thursday, April 7, 2011

So much for training...

Well this week was supposed to be the start of hardcore training week and it started out well with a 13 mile run on Monday. My run went pretty well as I cruised down the REV3 half course in Middlebury. Granted I did take a wrong turn on Christian road and ran past the front of the Timex factory instead of behind it. I felt strong on the run and better than on some of my shorter runs as I brought my fuel belt with me so I was able to hydrate a little. But I have had no workouts since. Tuesday I came home and slept and just couldn't drag myself to the Y to swim. Yesterday I drove my mom out to Newport so my planned workouts for the afternoon were scrapped. I didn't get in until 1am, so an early morning workout was out of the question. I came home and passed out until 7:30 . While part of me believes my body may need rest and I should just write off tonight another part of me is thinking about setting up the trainer and hopping on for an hour to get my legs in shape for the Ironman. The down side is I don't have a DVD player in the basement so if the trainer does come out it's going to be a mental toughness ride for sure with no movies to dull the monotony. But most likely I'm just going to toss up today as another rest day and get in the pool tomorrow and Saturday and possibly break out the bike for a quick 20 miler on Saturday morning after the swim. I know I need to start training harder I'm not sure if I should get up earlier and try to get at least a quick run or swim in before work so that way I guaranteed at least one workout if I'm beat after work. All I know is I need to get workouts if i'm to have any chance to finish let alone qualify for Kona. RD I still haven't forked over much in the way of equipment as I'm adjusting to budgeting rent into the equation.

Monday, April 4, 2011

And so the training in earnest begins....

Well it's April, which means I now have less than 5 months to get Ironman ready. While I have been trying to keep my training levels consistent doing each sport 2 times a week, work and regular life have been kicking my butt hardcore. I'm notcing that I've been taking at least two rest days a week, which isn't a bad thing but is hard to comprehend for a type-a athlete type like myself. So this month I'm trying to cut my off days down to one or when I feel totally run down. On the plus side it's springtime which means I'm home in daylight, the snow has melted and I can begin my outdoor runs and rides again. No more treadmill halves for me. I've been trying to train on the Rev3 Half Iron course out in Middlebury to get my legs in shape for a possible attack at it in June and my onslaught of Ironman Louisville in August. It's been so warm the past few days that I've actually been able to run in *gasp* shortsleeves. Today there's some rain forecasted but a wet 13 miler isn't anyhing to worry about. Another sign of spring is I'm notcing my equipment is starting to reach it's max life. My jammer is getting see through, and my running shoes are approaching the 500 mile mark, likewise I need new racing flats, quick laces, fuel belt bottles ( as my current ones have little traces of mold in the creases. yet somehow I still continue to drink out of them, yes it's gross I know but when you hit mile 10 of a long run and you still have 5 miles to go you will drink anything.) I've also needed bike shorts for the past two years, but I just keep putting off some of the purchases until I have more money, or my naked butt cheeks are hanging out, or the writing wears off the soles of my shoes...etc but the time to bust out the wallet is coming and soon. And on the running shoes I'm stuck in a debate: Do I stick with Saucony or head back to New Balance? I mean for years I was a New Balance fan boy but last year I tried on a pretty sick pair of Pro Ride2's and except for some rubbing in a couple of long tread mill sessions ( in one case I ended up with a bleeding toe and turned my left shoe a lovely shade of pink because I didn't cut my nails.) have been pretty decent. I haven't had a lot of sorenesss except for the usual I just ran 10 miles at 8min/mile pace tightness and I just found a light weight trainer that would make a perfect racing flat. the problem is right next to it is an equally sexy New Balance lightweight trainer the would make an equally perfect racing flat. Granted the New Balance shoe is about $20 more. Unfortunately neither one is my signature Orange racing flat ( Saucony or New Balance please Sponsor me and make a limited edition Orange Racing Flat.) So it looks like I'll be a little harder to pick out in crowd of runners this season. So my week ahead looks like this Today a 13 mile run and a possible lifting or swim session Tomorrow: A sufferfest spin class and swim Wednesday a short run before I go into the office as I'm driving my mom out to Rhode Island Thursday a swim and trainer ride Friday: I'm supposed to see the girlfriend but I might be heading up on Saturday: so either a run or a swim Saturday: I really want to get 3 runs in this week so regardless or where I am I'm getting between 8 and 10 miles on the pavement. Next week I'm hoping public works will get out and clear the sand from this years epic winter off the roads so I can begin my loops of death out to Lake Waramaug and back. I'm hoping to do a 200k in July so stay tuned for details. Happy training every one. R.D.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Wow, it's been nearly, two months since I last posted

Well it's been a while since my last post, but a lot's been going on since. I've been left homeless, found a place and went off on my own, winter ended, I've begun sort of volunteer coaching, celebrated the longest relationship of my adult life, and oh yes winter came back just so we wouldn't miss it. That's the cliff notes version.

Below is sort of the bloody gory yarn:

First on the being left homeless. Shortly after my last post when I tossed the DMV a pretty hefty wad of cash to re-register my Subaru, I headed up to visit my girlfriend. On my way out the door my mom got a call from the friend's who's house we were renting/ house sitting, while they were selling their other one. Apparently they sold faster than expected so instead of waiting until May 1 we had to be out March 1. Well through out the coming week that date got pushed back and we had to be out the second week of March. Well this left us in a bind. My parents hadn't started looking for places and my security deposit money for my own place was now being spent by the governor of Connecticut, so essentially the shit hit the fan. To add insult to injury my dad got pulled over for driving unregistered, uninsured and on an expired license. My parents solution was to borrow my car and put me in a pretty sweet rental. I'm not going to bitch about driving a rental and that little red ford focus drove well and had decent mileage, but part of me feels that some of that money would have been better spent re-registering their cars but anyhoo enough about that.
After a hasty regroup in a motel that looked like something out of a 1970's horror or porno flick.
Seriously this place had Formica and red vinyl couches. Before we moved in I told them about that this was my last move with the family. I starting browsing Craigslist hard core and found a few decent places in Waterbury and the surrounding area. There was one up in the Bunker Hill section that was going for about $500 a month. It was on the high end of my budget but the owner got back to me really quick. I went up and took a look at the place, really nice house in a really good section. The one downfall utilities weren't included but they would come to about an extra $100 a month. $600 was the max I could afford and Looking at the other adds anything that came remotely close was charging weekly and was in "da hood". i took a few days to think it over another plus was he wasn't charging security and the dude was pretty freaking cool so after three days I called him back.I pretty much told my parents I was moving out on my own. While the reaction was expected. One parent was like it's about damn time and if you need anything let us know, the other was like how could you be so selfish we need you right now, and if you comeback we're going to charge you rent. I could understand their feelings of I was abandoning them in their time of need but the other part of me was screaming that I could not support a family of 7 on my meager salary. I had gone broke nearly 3 years ago bailing them out ( granted I was also doing a heavy race schedule as well so there was column A and Column B contributing to the breaking of the bank.) Another fear was that if my parents put me on a lease with them and if they couldn't pay I'd be saddled with a rent anyway, and if I was going to rent then I was going to rent something I could afford. Plus I'm 25 it was about time I left home. Essentially I needed to be in an environment that I was in control of, granted I certainly would have liked to do it under better circumstances but sometimes Life has to give a good swift kick in the ass, so this was my swift kick in the ass. I moved in that Sunday and life has been pretty good granted I do have to adjust to living on a more limited budget, but overall I feel I'm going to make it.

Likewise the weather in New England has been a roller coaster. We've thawed out a bit and those mounds of snow from "snowmagedon" and the "storm of the century" and "snowpocoyspe now." finally melted off. I've actually started running outdoors again granted we did get a dusting on Wednesday night and it's been a little chilly but I'm running outdoors again damn it and yes Claire the shorts are back. I'm beginning to create new running loops in my new neighborhood. I've also started running swim sessions for the Waterbury YMCA tri club. ( still haven't joined yet but they are throwing out some nice goodies like Timex Watches.) I have a hard core group of 5-10 swimmers every Wednesday and Friday and they vary in ability from just did total immersion to I was a high school swim champ. It's been good to pass some of my knowledge along and some people have actually started asking me to analyze other parts of their training as well, so a USAT cert maybe in my future.

Sorry about the lack of positing but it's been a crazy time. Hopefully there will be more promising post in the future. Until then it looks like it is going to be a very very good Spring.

Thawed and Recharged

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chills and DMV

Well it's been a rough two days on the training front. Yesterday the treadmills at the Y were packed so I ran 4 miles on the microscopic 1/24th of a mile track. I had hoped to get a swim in early in the afternoon but went to visit Josie and got some quality time in with an old friend and met her four month old, Amelia. o I was going to swim that nigh but for some strange reason I had a strange case of the chills. Not the normal its cold on the pool deck chills, but the I'm coming down with a cold shivering like a malaria patient through 3 layers of blankets kind of chills. I coached a couple of the Waterbury Y tri club swimmers and then went home and bundled up under the covers to sweat out the bug. To put how bad this shivering fit was I was sweating buckets and was curled up under two heavy blankets but I was still freezing. This went on for most of the night until I got up for work this morning.

Today I packed my gym bag just in case I was feeling better but I sort of knew my chances of hitting the gym were slim. They became even slimmer, when I saw the Connecticut State Police Crusier in my rear view. My registration had expired and I was going to head down to the DMV on Saturday to renew it. Well long story short the Trooper was pretty cool and just gave me a ticket, but I decided to head down to the DMV to at least get a temp registration until I could re-up my emmissions.
I will say this the CT DMV is a pit of despair!!! And my quest to gain new registration for my little Subaru could parallel Dante's Inferno. The long story short I'm going to need to call out to work to get documents proving I paid my taxes from town hall and then get a temp plate go through emmissions, then go back get my "real plates" and head up to see Steph on Saturday.

So hopefully tomorrow will be more productive, I'll reup my registration and hopefully I'll kick this cold or at least be able to train through it.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Trying to plan a season

The Old Bobby is coming this a good thing or a bad thing?

Ok for the first in nearly two years I'm trying to plan out a season. Last year was crazy as I was trying to figure out if the Navy was going to take me, plus some crazy life issues. Now I've signed up for another Ironman. Now this time my Ironman will be different. In 2008 and 2009 Ironman New Zealand was my season opener. I essentially spent four months training with no races on my schedule. This year Ironman Kentucky is toward the end of my season, which now means I have to give thought into what races I should enter as qualifying for Kona is my ultimate goal. Now in a normal year I usually do 2 halfs, 2 olympics and 2 or 3 sprints. I know my body is capable of doing 3-4 halves but with the Ironman I have to watch my finances as well as my body as doing 140.6 miles in the peak of my season is a whole new ball game.

So 2011 has my inner coach fighting the inner accountant.
Initally I was planning on doing the Rev3 half at Quassy and the Patriot half. The positives to these two races is Patriot is $50 cheaper than most of M-Dot 70.3 races and Rev3 is in my own backyard so that cuts out a hotel. . Essentially I would spend the first half of my season building base and then work on going fast for the mid portion of it and then maybe race Montauk or Long Course Nationals to close it out. I wasn't planning on being able to get into an Ironman but when I saw that Ironman Louisville still had spots after Christmas I figured I would go for it.
So now I need to try to break my season down to be at optimal performance for August, which now has me wondering if I should break my season down further. Enter my inner coach.
My inner coach is saying well Rev3 or Patriot would be a good option and I should do Providence 70.3 as it falls in mid-July and would give me a good last warm up before Louisville. The problem Providence is more expensive than Patriot, and would require at least a one night hotel stay, and from experience a hotel for 2 nights in Providence would cost me the same as 4 nights with a rental car in Louisville.
I consulted another area athlete who has her degree in this stuff, essentially her call was play it by ear, and if I decided to race Providence to use it as a training race. $500 between race entry and hotel for a weekend in RI sounds like an expensive tab for a training day, so it looks like I maybe creating my own LD training race in mid July. Likewise I do have some shorter distance races that I usually do on the schedule. The Griskus Sprint like always, is on the list and my goal for that race is to try to top 15 as I was in the top 25 last year. I may go back up to Holliston and race my girlfriend's hometown Sprint, granted they shortened the distance, and I was thinking about going back to Park City to avenge a disappointing finish from last year. Ideally I want to do 5 races the thing I need to decide are which ones.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Here we go again...

Well I finally committed to my third Ironman and this time it's a little closer to home.

Yep that's right I signed up for Ironman Kentucky. I've heard some good things from my teammates from HEAT who have done it in year's past. There will be somethings I'll have to get used to, first of all this will be the first Iron distance race I've done measured in miles, likewise it will be the first Ironman where I'll be biking on the right side of the road, and oh yes it falls in the middle of a good ol' hot and humid southern summer. The heat isn't serving as a deterrent as I've raced well in the heat. I nearly got a Kona slot a Eagleman a while back and I managed to podium in my age group last year at the Griskus. If I make sure I'm slathered in a good layer of sunscreen I should be fine. The other major change is this time my Ironman will be toward the end of my season instead of the beginning. Ironman New Zealand served as my season opener in 2008 and 2009, I put in training but had no races for nearly 4 months before, it will be interesting to see how I'll perform after a few races and nearly 6 months of training instead of the "Clyde Crashcup School of Ironman Training." I'm hoping that I'll be able to get that coveted Kona slot granted my fear is I don't want to burn my legs out early in the season. Likewise last season I didn't do anything longer than an olympic distance try or any runs over 20 miles. So there will be some more time spent in the weight room this winter trying to build my legs and core likewise I'm been putting in some marathon treadmill sessions, so mentally and physically I'll think I'll be tough enough to get this thing done.

So breakout the Bourbon Boys Bobby's going to Louisville


Monday, January 31, 2011

Snowpocalypse Now!

"You smell that salty smell, that smell smells like wet salt, that's brine, I love that smell, it smells like , like victory."

Ok before I start writing a 2 hour epic based on plow drivers stuck in the Northeast, loosely based on Conrad's The Heart of Darkness, I'll explain the title. The weather guys in the Northeast have been calling our continual storms Snowmagedon and Snowpocalypse. This week blizzard/ winter storm number 7 or 8 in a row is scheduled to hit Tuesday, Wenesday and Thursday, really throwing a crimp in my workout plans. ( Looks like no run or swim for Bobby, breakout the bike trainer.) Seriously this weather is starting to get fact it's more than old I'm getting tired or cleaning my car every week and hearing how much over our annual average snowfall we are. I'm tired of my drive way being covered in a thick layer of ice. I'm tired of not being able to run on the streets because the snow drifts have clogged the far right lanes and shoulders I normally run in. I'm tired of snowmounds that are nearly double my size. I'm done with weathermen smiling with glee at their doppler radars and doomsday forecasts. I'm tired of this cold icy mess sucking my soul into a cold icy pit of despair. (Ok I went a little overboard on the last part.) Ok meltdown over. Last week was productive on the run front as I was able to gut out a couple of 4 mile speed session and a 10 miler on the treadmill. I did two pool sessions and hit the trainer. It looks like this week is going to be spent on the trainer, with my dvd collection. Likewise my income tax refund comes rolling in so I'll be able to throw down for my Ironman if there are still spots. Things are looking ok but there has been some personal/ family drama and like the snow it's more than old. I don't know why but my natural defense mechanism is to withdrawl and isolate myself, maybe I feel shitty if I go over in the corner and feel shitty by myself, it'll pass faster or make less people feel shitty but regardless that's besides the point, right now I just want to get my ass entered in some races and possible have a mid winter thaw show up so I can run outdoors again.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Learning to love the Dread...I mean Treadmill.

Well this winter has been probably one of the coldest and snowiest in New England in recent memory. We've already received our average yearly snowfall in the course of 20 days and even more is expected this week. We've gone in to our annual cold snap of like 4 days where the temperature will not get above 20F, in fact tomorrow's high will be a balmy 8F. ( note to self I really need to move to someplace warmer.)

Reading Claire's, Charisa's and Bree's Blogs really makes me jelaous of those people who live in climates where 40F with a slight breeze is considered an Artic Blast. I haven't run out side since the end of December so to cope with the ice the snow and temperatures that would have an eskimo shivering I've had to start using to the indoor training tools. Now I'm not one to give kudos for the treadmill. In fact I rather layer up and suck it up in the cold but with nearly 4 feet of snow clogging up the road sides the treadmill seems to be the safest running option. As a result my Thursday run session saw me running a 10 miler on the treadmill. Now for a short distance and speed work the treadmill is a valuable tool as it can test your fitness and hold you to your goal pace. On Monday I did a 5k at 7:30 pace on varying grades. Thursday's run wasn't anything special. I kept the grade at 0% and ran at 8:00/mile pace. As I gutted out the miles I kept thinking of one of Hillary Biscay's workouts where she talked about doing a treadmill marathon. Apparently getting over the tedium of running to nowhere is supposed to build mental toughness. After an an hour and twenty minutes on the minutes on the treadmill I could understand why. Most people will gut it out for 10-20 minutes, occassionaly some will go for 30 even fewer for 45 and only a hardcore few will go for an hour or more, and almost all of them will have ipods. So I did feel a little badass after my run. With more snow and icy cold temperatures predicted in the forecast it looks like I'll be trying to up my mileage on the machine. But despite the mental toughness factor and the fact that I sweat out more calories than a weightlifter in a sauna I can't wait to run outdoors again.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Blizzard Training

Well, we are dealing with our second major storm within a week in New England. We just got two feet of the white stuff. My siblings and co-workers have heard my why the hell am I still in New England and not in California, Hawaii or someplace warm rant for the 50th + time. The roads are closed and with 2 feet of snow on the road and counting so I can't really run but the bike trainer is set up I have plenty of Dvd's and waterbottles so it looks like I'll be getting some bike base in.
With my cassette and chain wear I am able to keep the bike in the big ring on the front so I'll be keeping it on the 15 cog on the back, and focus on building aerobic strength. I'm hoping to send out my entry fee for Ironman Kentucky next week ( hopefully there will still be general entry slots.) My training has been hodge podge for the last couple of weeks with the storms, the holidays and a head cold that will just not seem to kick loose. Tomorrow after switching with a co-worker I'll have a day off so if the roads are passable I'll try to get a swim and a lifting session in ( with maybe an outdoor run or treadmill session.) I feel like I'm always planning but only follow through on a portion of what I want to get done. Upon stepping on the scale and seeing my weight was 179lbs ( from an underabundance of training and an over abundance of Candy, cookies and other Christmas treats.) I need to get my rear back in gear so I can be in ironman shape for August , granted I have gotten myself race ready in shorter time than this. But my goal is I want to qualify for Kona, and while 11 hours is a good time, I want to see if I can break into the 10 hour bracket. So today I have an hour on the trainer scheduled and then some corework.

Happy Training

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Rut.

Well every winter we all hit it. That week or so where the training goes to hell in a hand bag, as the weather is bad or other obligations get in the way. This year I've hit the rut early with Christmas and a massive blizzard shutting down my Workouts and then New Years then this week a head cold and car troubles tonight kept me from the pool. So I haven't worked out in a week which has me feeling a little worried and a little down. I need to get my bike to the shop and replace rear cassette and chain so I can ride my trainer when all else fails. Essentially I have racing goals that I need to take care of this season and I want to be in better shape than I was last season. This week I was hoping to come out of the gate like a raging bull but I came down with a head cold which kept me laid up yesterday. Then today as I was making my way to the Y my car suddenly lost power on the highway and began making a loud clanking sound. In my head I ran through the check list of what could have let go. It wasn't a tire or anything in the suspension because it wouldn't effect the engine A belt? No The car sounded like it was misfiring but I just replaced the plugs and wires in the summer. I crept into a rest stop and called for my dad to come take a look at the car with me. I figured worst case I could use the roadside assistance plan I have through my wireless plan to get a tow. Upon opening the hood I noticed nothing was wrong with the belt. I turned the car on again and heard a misfire. My dad came down and noticed the spark inlet in the side of the block and the plug hanging by a wire. Apparently it had blown clean out of the block. After a trip to Auto Zone and then a trip back home for tools. We replaced the plug and wire, but not in enough time to get to the gym. But the most important thing my car is operational, and thankfully my dad was able to help me get it back up and running. Tomorrow I will have to set time in the morning to try to do doubles.

My run sessions haven't been as long as I've wanted but I have been getting some quality speed work on the treadmill and I have been using the spin bikes at the Y to try to get my cycling strength and cadence up. They are talking more snow this weekend, but I'm hoping that it won't be as heavy as the foot that received two weeks ago, so hopefully the shoulders of the road will be clear enough to run on.

On the professional side I'm seriously looking at coaching. I was talking to one of my friend Alex who is a trainer at the Waterbury Y and one of the head honchos of the Y tri club. I ran the idea of tri coaching past him and he told my to get in touch with the head of the tri club to see if they would give me a shot. Part of me is scarred in that I'm a low tech, hodge podge rag tag triathlete that won't be taken seriously. I have decent results but let's face it I'm not Mark Allen or Dave Scott. I never won a race overall, and haven't won my age group in a race in nearly four years. I don't use a heart rate monitor myself, I eat what ever nutrition I can find on the sale rack essentially I'm not sure if my Clyde Crashcup school of training will work for everybody. I know the basics, I know how to coach swimmers and runners, I'm learning more on training in cycling. I've done two ironmans, three stand alone marathons, seven half ironmans 4 of those in under 5:05. According to some people I have something to offer, I'm just hoping my results have been by doing something right on the training front and not from being a freak. So I'll run it by the Y honchos either this or next week, figure the worst that anyone can say to me is no.

Well that's all from me
Happy Training.