Saturday, October 18, 2014

28 Days and Counting - Not a Good Time to be Sick!

With the scare of Ebola, the weather changing and the kids back in school.  This is the time of the season to get sick.  While Ironman Training and eating healthier has improved my immune system by 1000%.  Having 3 kids coughing and breathing in the household has taken me off my game and put me into rest and recovery in the middle of my peak training period.  The plan was to do 115 mile bike on Saturday and 3 hour run followed by a 1.5 hour swim.  This has pushed some training off which I really want to finish before I begin my recover in Taperville. 

As I fumble and drag my butt around the house, I began to think of how much I invested this year in time and distance.  In 351 hours, I have swam over 73 miles, biked over 1900 miles, ran over 500 miles, and a bunch of core!  The other day, Zachary asked me if we could do something and I did not want to say that I had to ride 6-7 hours.  So I am looking forward for the training to be over and cross that finish line.  More importantly, spending more time with Irene and the kids.  While I involve my kids in my training, the investment of doing this race, is that Anything is Possible has been a tremendous Return on Investment.  If I think about it, I rarely hear them say the words, "I can't."    In addition, while spending more time with them is important.  It's quality time that is really important!

Over this past year, I have gotten to know some incredible people who I did not know last year.  I know I will be doing many shout outs over the coming weeks, however I think about the one person who probably has had a biggest impact on my family this year is John Graziano.  Out of thin air, he created a team that is so supportive.  In fact, every race that I did this year had a team member from the Wildwood Warriors providing some kind of supportive cheer or high five.  My boys, especially Zachary loves to find out what John is up to and throwing up the WW hand signals when ever he can!  Irene enjoys the comradery and has helped her cross the finish line.  John is the most considerate person because I see him being very thoughtful with this words with doing the right thing for all.  He is much better at that stuff than I could ever be!

Before I go back to bed, I am thinking about my efforts to support Island Harvest to End Hunger.  So, I asked on my Ironman Arizona 2014 Facebook Group a question, "What charity are you racing for and how much have you raised?"  Can you believe all together we have raised over $60,000 and counting for Various Charities.  I am so proud to be part of a community that is so Generous!

We will be close to $100,000 by the time we put on our wetsuits at Tempe Town Lake in 28 days!  If you know someone raising money as part of their Ironman Journey, please take the time to visit your donation page and support them.   If you want to help me End Hunger, please visit

A lot will be happening over the next 4 weeks! I will be screaming my head off on the sidewalks of New York City.  Cheering for Irene and a bunch of friends will be running the New York City Marathon on November 2, 2014.  I am so proud of her!  She's running better than ever and is really excited to run with her friends!  Every year it seems that we know more and more people swimming, biking and running!

Again, I am looking forward to finishing my training :) Enough said!

Here is something I have watched and listened to hundreds of times.  Enjoy!


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Chilly, Windy, and Lucky to Be Able to Do This!

I've gone riding with Christa D. three times, and each time it has been an adventure!  The first time, Christa got a flat tire.  We went through 2 tubes and 2 CO2 cartridges.  The second time, all I remember was wanting to get a massage after being hunched over for hours for the first time at that time and distance, and a road rash on the Greenbelt Trail as the furry animals watch me scrape my but along the pavement.

Third time seems to take the cake!  I arrived at the University Parking Lot at 5:30am, where the temperature was a brisk 50 degrees.  I am thinking my compression stockings might not be long enough as I saw Christa with tights and gloves.  As she was prepared for our 100 mile bike and 30 minute run afterwards.

I was focused on was on my nutrition which falls short towards the end of the workout and I planned out the night before when I would drink, eat my pre-cut Cliffbars and suck on the baby food.  The plan was to sip every 5 minutes, have a salt tablet every hour, suck down a baby food every half an hour, and in between pop in a morsel of Cliffbar.

It was still pre-dawn, so we circled around the university and one the lit major streets of Stony Brook and we even had some time riding through the middle of the campus, where Christa noticed that one of my water bottles jettisoned out of my Gorilla Bottle Cage and turned around and grab it.  I picked my Timberman 70.3 Water Bottle up and popped it back into it's cage and noticed that my Ironman Arizona Water Bottle was missing.  This is not good, and means that we had to make another pit stop along the way for more hydration.  Well thank God, that Christa was paying attention.  The funny thing is that Christa asked if we should turn back, and I was like, "No, it's too far away."
She chuckled because we had to ride 100 miles today.  I figured it was too dark to see anything to back track, so we trudged forward.

Off we went to Greenport, on the north fork of Long Island.  About 15 minutes later, another crazy mishap occurred.  My front water bottle that I sip from. suddenly drops and crashes on Route 25A.  I was like, there goes 24 ounces of Coconut Water, Ice and Nuun all over the road.  A little annoyed, I turn around and pick it up and place it back into it's holder and I realize this is not holding.  Upon inspection, the cradle cracked in half, like a wishbone.  Well, I can't hold this 24 ounce container, so I put it next to a bush in the hopes that it will still be there later on the day.  My hydration plan is really going to be off kilter today!

As we moved east, the sun rose and warmed me up just a little.  I looked that a few flags waving in the wind pointing south-southeast give us an ever so slight tailwind.  It was not enough to over come the forces of the wind pushing on our left side. 

We eventually made it to Greenport and made a bathroom break by the Carrousel.  I was thinking we did 58 miles in little over 3 hours, it should be less time going back.  Well that was the plan. By the way, the plan also included a rabbit roadkill courtesy of one Christa, as Bugs Bunny decided to hop in front of her,

The wind going back was worse.  Pushing us head on and from the right.  It was unrelenting the entire time riding back.  I did my best to minimize the wind by being in aero position for most of the time, but my pace was slowed drastically.  Even speedy Christa was feeling the effects of Mother Nature.  I felt bad because she probably would have gone faster if wasn't being the slowpoke today (I would say most days).  She remained about 100 yards ahead for most of the time back. 

The effects of not having the front water bottle to sip from every 5 minutes and replacing it with the motion of sitting up and grabbing the bottle from behind slowed me down and got me out of my groove.

Towards the end, my chain dropped twice and even Christa's chain jammed up for a little.  Adding a few minutes each time.  As we pulled into the parking lot, the wind kept blowing and laughing at us.
So glad that I rode with Christa, because I know that I might not have gone running for the 30 minutes afterwards for our brick.  I swapped out my bike shoes, laced up my running shoes, and took off my bike jacket.  We ran over to the University track to take advantage of the even soft ground to help our sore legs and injuries that have occurred during this Ironman Training Season.

It was good that this happened during the training period and I will be more prepared going into Ironman Arizona.  Funny, I am surprised that I even made it this far!

After, I took a shower and took a short rest, I retraced our bike path to see if I can find my beloved water bottle for the past year. Well, if anyone if traveling in Stony Brook, keep your eyes peeled for a Bike Water Bottle with the Ironman Arizona Logo on it.

I drove back to where I left my front water bottle and found a few ants crawling over it.  Well at least I have this one!

Well it took 7 Hours 31 minutes and 54 seconds to ride 104.78 miles.  Which should have take less than 6 hours.  It was crazy to see my speed under 10 mph when I normally ride at 20+ mph.  They say, the headwinds and crosswinds are tough in Arizona.  Well I say Bring It On!  Again, what an experience!

40 more days until Ironman Arizona!  I am Really Lucky to be Able to Do This!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ironman Training - The Power of Being Part of a Team and having Teammates

Growing up I played Little League Baseball.  In high school, I participated in football.  I was probably a below average player.  Anyway, with both of these sports, there are positions that each member of the team will play.  It might be left fielder for baseball, right defensive tackle for football, and even Irene was a goalie when she played soccer.  All of these are considered team sports, where you would win as a team or lose as a team.

So as I moved into adulthood those team sports fell to the wayside and replaced with a sedentary lifestyle of using the computer.  Eventually, I started to add running to the repertoire, but running for me was a solitary individual activity and I did not have any intention of playing nicely with teammates.  I wanted alone time and I exactly got that.  Sort of sad if you think about it.  Eventually running miles upon miles alone, really got lonely.  So when I finished the NYC Marathon in 2008, I was prepared to say goodbye to my running shoes.   Until Irene said to me that she wanted to run the marathon as soon as I cross that finish line in Central Park.  That changed my world.

She’s my #1 teammate for our family and now she became my running teammate.  However, as we started to train together, it was very apparent that I was a terrible teammate.  I would fall into a zone and actually forget that I was running with her.  When I finally remembered to turn around, either she disappeared or really far back, which made her unhappy like I purposely dropped her like a basket of unwashed clothes and took off for the hills.  By the way, our neighborhood is full of hills J   

For the next couple of years we ran together and supported each other like best friends do, and again, I was still a bad teammate!  However, last year a lot of things happened and changes occurred, with one of them being involved with triathlon. 

While we made friends with running.  Our circle of friends with triathlon seemed to quadruple.  The support and inspiration provided by them is amazingly amazing.  Not to say runners are not fun, but the insanity of triathletes is really fun.  However, if you posted that you wanted to swim at the last, a teammate would show up.  Post that you are biking 100 miles, a teammate would be available.

Early this year, we both did a Sprint Triathlon and our Wildwood Warriors came out in force wearing our Red, Black and White Colors crossing the finish line showing our newly formed “gang” hand signal created by our Fearless Leader, John G. (By the way, no one knew how to do), and it was nice to be cheered on from others who recognized us as we passed by.  That support was helpful get us through the race.  That same Team support also came out about a month later at Riverhead Rocks.  And more impressive was the roar that erupted in a small bar and grill as our teammates crossed the finish line hundreds of miles away up at Ironman Lake Placid.  I remember turning to Irene and saying,  “This is so cool to be part of something.”

While I felt the love of our team, It was not until I was up in New Hampshire doing the Ironman Timberman 70.3 where I felt that I was really part of a Team.  During the race, especially the bike, I had a chance to cheer on my teammates and for them to cheer me on.  Even our non-participating teammates cheered for us from the sidelines and taking great pictures.  There were about 2 dozen of us in that small town of Gilford that even traveling hundreds of miles away, we still had local support, who would think of driving north and still do a race with people you know.  After the race we broke bread, they even photoshopped me into this pic as I was still upstairs settling the bill.

The bond even became stronger during the run, when we had a chance to see each other pass by, cheer each other with words of encouragement and provide the all important high five really help as we all worked the 3 loops of the course.  Here you can see smiles during the bike turn into grimaces.  I especially was hurting as I pushed through the course with an injured Achilles.  While I gritted my teeth determined to finish, what really helped were those encouraging words as my teammates crossed paths.  It’s always great to hear good things from strangers.  It’s really more powerful when those same words come from people who actually know you.  A few teammates caught up to me and even paused their run to talk to me, like Karl H.  He was also struggling a little because I passed him on the bike.  But he is a better running, but he still slowed down to talk about how lucky we are to get to do what we are doing at that time. 

At the Mighty Hamptons Olympic Distance Triathlon, my IronFit Endurance Team, my coaches team rallied together to support each other on the different legs of the swim, bike and run.   It was so cool to know people standing up on the podiums.  With Triathlon, everyone is looking to improve and do their best.  I think that translates and leaves am impression for our children.

You might want to call my Triathlon Teammates, my Triathlon Family.  Whatever this thing we have, it’s a great positive thing to be part of!  I invite you to be part of the Family.