Wednesday, August 31, 2011

MS Bike Tour de Kurt

As most of you already know, last weekend's MS Bike Tour got postponed due to mother nature's irritable toddler we know as Irene.  You also know that it was postponed to the weekend I'll be in Vegas for my second Ironman 70.3.  On top of that, you know that I was not all too happy about the hurricane date and have been planning the MS Bike Tour de Kurt.  As of 9:00PM last night, the tour is complete!

"In the end, I was fatigued, hungry, sun burned, and beyond happy with myself.  
I had ridden to all six gym locations in one day
and doubled my cycling distance PR."

Let me first say that while I would have loved to have the company of other riders on the road, free massages at the finish, and an open buffet, I think yesterday's ride gave me a set of experiences that the MS Bike Tour would not have provided.  I certainly look forward to riding an MS Bike Tour in the future, but for this year, yesterday's ride more than sufficed in my mind as my own personal culmination of this year's efforts to help those affected by MS.

And despite the fact that this was in no way a race, here's a race report anyways...

I headed out the door at 9:30AM.  I had six gyms to stop at, six managers to take a picture with, and 105 miles to cover (see the original map HERE).  The first stop was in Manchester, only a 14.9 mile trip. 

Me and Arthur
I quickly learned that the joy of telling every employee I met why I was riding around and how far I was planning on going was well worth the ride on it's own.  Arthur was completely pumped by my ride and vows to finish the MS Bike Tour before my manager does.  Hear that Neil?, you've got some competition!

The next leg of my journey was the shortest, only 6 miles.  Prior to heading to each stop, I made it a habit to call my home gym, which would be my last stop of the day.  They took down my estimated arrival time for the next stop and if for any reason I didn't call by then, they knew who to call.  I figured even though I may be crazy, I might as well be a crazy person with a back up plan, right?.  So after 6 miles, I stopped into Vernon to see Emily.

Me and Emily

This is where it started getting "FUN."

After Vernon, I headed to Tolland.  It was only 9 miles, but this was where the hills began.  The next twos stops were also areas that had been out of power since Irene came through, so most of the traffic lights were replaced with stop signs making it very 'stop & go.'  But about an hour later, I made it to Tolland where I found Jason and Lara enjoying the sun in the parking lot of their gym.

Me and Jason in his signature pose
I took a tour of Jason's gym, jammed out to some Ke$ha, and discussed the potential benefits of a hot dog stand & car wash before I headed out, leaving them to their business.

When I mapped out the course between Tolland and my next stop, Mansfield, for some reason I had it in my head that it was going to be downhill.  It was just as I was leaving that Jason said "Enjoy the hills to Mansfield."  It turns out we were both right.  The first hill came not half a mile from Tolland and there were plenty more along the way.  However, I also hit my max speed of 44.6mph during this leg; THAT was a great downhill!  I even got to ride through the UConn campus.  It was nostalgic to see a campus full of students walking around again.

Thirteen miles later I arrived at my next stop, Mansfield.  Since the mall was out of power, I wasn't able to get a picture at the gym, but I did get one of the mall entrance.  Don't worry, I caught up with Lacey, Mansfield's manager, later on.

Oh, so serious!
At this point, I was getting low on liquids, so I stopped into JCPenney's (apparently they were on a different, unaffected power grid) and asked if I could refill.  Apparently JCP doesn't like cyclists; oh-well.

The next trip was to Wethersfield.  The map said it was 33.6 miles.  It would turn out to be more like 41 miles.  But for that reason alone, I kept my eye open for a place to refill my water bottles and low-and-behold, I ended up riding past this place...

I stopped into Scott's Cyclery, met Scott himself, and he quickly showed me where I could fill up.  We chatted about riding, some riding groups in the area, and my trip before I headed back out.  If you ever get a chance, stop in and say "hi" to Scott.  He is an incredible person and I cannot thank him enough for being my oasis of the day!

Now it's time to get lost!  

I ended up getting lost three times between Mansfield and Wethersfield.  The first time was because I wrote down the wrong highway on my directions; I wrote 66W instead of 6W.  So when I found myself on 6W, I turned around and went back.  Then when I couldn't find the road I wanted on 66W, I ended up calling for some help.  After 20 minutes, we figured out where I was and I got directions on how to shortcut my way back on track.  Phew!  The second time I got lost was because the road I was looking for wasn't a road at all.  I was able to stop a landscaping truck and the driver told me that the road I was looking for was actually a dirt path.  He gave me incredibly clear directions and another twenty minutes later, I was back on track!  The third and final time I got lost, I was while attempting to cross the Connecticut River.  For the life of me, I couldn't find the pedestrian bridge until a very polite pedestrian pointed out that I had passed it twice already.  Duh!!  It ended up being a different bridge than my directions, so I had to meander through Hartford until I found my way back on track.  All-in-all, I learned that google maps for a bike isn't the most trustworthy.

I also learned that attempting to stick to non-major roads isn't always the best idea.  There was one spot where I turned off of 6W in order to try and stay safe on the back roads, a road called Shoddy Mill Road.  I regretted that decision immediately.  It should have been called "Shoddy Never-ending-uphill Road."  And thankfully this was the road I got lost on the second time.  So when I rode down the other side of the road and realized I was lost, I had to ride right back up it. 

Finally, after 4 hours, I made it to Wethersfield. 

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), the manager at Wethersfield was so busy that I couldn't get a picture with her.  Instead, I got a picture of their sign.

It was pointed out to me at my next stop that 
because of this fact, I will have repeat the entire ride.  
"Haha.  Funny!"  
I may very well do that, but it won't be soon. 

The next stop was my home gym.  The trip was 16.9 miles, but only half of it was new to me.  Once I was back in New Britain, I knew all the roads, so I went on auto pilot.  And let me tell you, I have never been more happy to pull up to my gym than I was last night!

As I walked in, I was greeted with many variations of "OMG, you are nuts!" and "Congratulations!"  To put it lightly, they were happy to see that I was still alive, didn't seem visibly hurt, and was talking straight.  I had made it to all six locations!  But I couldn't forget the last two pictures amongst the celebration.

Me and Nei
And then you remember how I said I would catch up with Lacey later on?  Well, since she is without a gym, we've been hosting her at our gym.

Me and Lacey
So now with roughly 100 miles on my legs, I headed home, again on auto pilot. 

Let's do some totals...

Time I left home: 9:30AM
Time I got home: 8:50PM

Total time: 11:20
Total time riding: 7:00
Time spent at stops: 4:20

Total Miles: 112.78

Now, for triathletes out there, I have to point out that I did not plan the total mileage.  I do, however, think it's incredibly hilarious where it ended up.  Bring it on Ironman!

So despite not being able to ride the official MS Bike Tour and take part in such an amazing event with such amazing people working towards a common goal, yesterday I got to participate in my own way and I got to do it even more of my own way.  Why do 25 miles when you can do 50?  Why do 75 when you can do over 100?  And being able to help so many people while having so much fun almost feels like I'm cheating.

Finally, thank you to everyone who has donated/ridden or will donate/ride with the National MS Society.  Thank you for helping me use my own talents to help others.

And remember, it's never to late to donate.  
Help create a world FREE of MS.
Just click HERE.  

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Motivation


First off, congrats to everyone who survived Irene.  Let me be the first to say "That was a hurricane?!"  Ok, ok...  I don't live on the coast and it was only a category 1 when it hit CT, but I agree with a best friend who lives in NC in saying 'I've seen worse thunderstorms.'  I was not impressed.  I wasn't able to do my bike tour because my planned pit stops were closed, but I went out for a 6 mile run and loved it.  How often do you get to run in the middle of the street at 11AM on a weekend?

On a more serious note, I do know that a lot of damage occurred because of Irene and my prayers go out to anyone affected.  I just somewhat wish I was closer to those areas in order to have witnessed it myself.


Anyways...  On Saturday, after coaching my awesome 5K group, I headed over to volunteer at the Kids Who Tri Succeed Triathlon.  And let me tell you, it was AMAZING!

This triathlon has been going on for six years and is a sanctioned USAT event hosting age groups of 4-6, 7-8, 9-11, and 12-14 year olds.  If you've ever wanted to watch a race in order to be inspired and entertained all in one, kids triathlons are were it's at.

I got to monitor the "deadly turn" of the bike course.  Apparently there were a couple of wipe outs last year at the bottom of the "hill" and for obvious reasons, they preferred to avoid that.

In the 4-6 year old "OMG, we're so cute" age group, we had plenty of kids with training wheels trudging up the incline and wavering the entire downhill.  Thankfully I never had to catch anyone or steer them back in the right direction.  However, I felt so bad that I had left my phone (aka, my camera) in the car.  There was one tiny little kid on a bike half the size of my bike's wheel who just looked at me blankly as he passed.  Most of the kids just followed their parents directions.  I also noticed that most of the transition setups had bags from a local bike shop that I know had been handed out at the last sprint tri of the season; we all know where these kids got the idea to do a triathlon!

The 7-8 year olds were quite the same with fewer training wheels.  Then came the 9-11 year old "Pushed by their parents" age group.  I should have started counting how many times I heard a parent yelling like a coach.  "Push it, push it!"  "Hammer up that hill!"  "Keep going.  They're catching up!"  The first child in this age group came out of transition with the smallest road bike I've ever seen.  In hindsight, it shouldn't have surprised me, but I laughed very hard.  Close behind him was another little boy who surprised me.  Did you know they make triathlon suits for children?  He ran out of transition, did a flying mount onto his bike, and took off in a full HAMMER triathlon suit; triathlon shorts and a matching jersey.  This was ridiculous!!

The oldest age group had kids of all different sizes; the years of surprise growth spurts.  At this point, it had started to rain and the kids were now doing six laps of the bike course.  Our job was to count their laps.  Let's just say, that wasn't as easy as we thought it'd be.  The check marks on our sheet got switched out for punching holes in the paper.  Thankfully, most of the kids knew what lap they were on or their parents were counting for them.  Then I cracked up when one girl got off her bike at the cones of transition and instead of returning her bike to her spot, she just left it at the entrance to transition and took off.  Apparently she's more used to the Ironman type of transition.  haha

It was a very hectic and rainy event, but the kids had a blast and it was very fun to watch all the kids race and enjoy themselves.  The only thing I wish I could have known was how many kids volunteered for the race and how many were signed up by their triathlete parents.  Either way, there were smiles all around!


100 at 100

Just to let you know, there is one more follower left before we hit that magic number and we're still short of the goal of 100 questions.

So shoot over HERE and drop off any questions you might have.  Any question will do, no matter how trivial, thought out, or probing!  I know you guys can come up with some good ones!!


1.  What did you do this weekend?
I coached a 5K group, volunteered at a kid's triathlon, ran in a hurricane, and watched disaster movies with friends.

2.  Any big plans for this week?
I have my personal bike tour on Tuesday and then it's the start to my taper for Vegas!

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Thank You & Irene

First off, I want to say thank you to you guys for helping me out of my funk the other day when the my bike tour got postponed and all messed up by the now raging tempertantrum that Mother Nature is currently having along the U.S. east coast. 

Erika - yes, I did laugh though it did take me a minute to get it. 

Coy - I would sign up for a hurricane triathlon!

Amanda - Your LB stories make me look forward so much to having kids of my own 
(though I'm in no hurry!!).  
Oh, and I surfed in Hurricane Earl last summer, so I'll stay out of your argument with the hubs.  
haha  =P

It took me a few hours, but I accepted that it was what it was and calmed down.  I also came up with something that I think will suffice for me as a replacement for the tour.  I am going to go on my OWN solo bike tour.

MS Bike Tour de Kurt

My employer is the lead sponsor for this bike tour.  My employer also has six different gym locations in the central CT area.  I got to thinking and started mapping out the route to different locations.  In the end, my goal is to visit all six different locations in one day by bike.  The total distance as a single loop is 105 miles.

This would not only give me the opportunity to still ride a new distance PR, but I'd still get to do a bike tour and consider it my own personal MS tour replacement; a solo MS bike tour.  I would also get to see the three locations I haven't seen yet. 

The only issue I am leaving up in the air thus far is the date.  Irene hits CT late tonight and the weather continues into tomorrow.  I'd like to head out tomorrow and ride on the same date as the original tour, but it will depend on the wind factor.  If I don't make it out tomorrow, Tuesday is my wind-date.

But those who know me know that I will wake up tomorrow with a pure goal of heading out despite any the conditions.  Here's to health, happiness, and testing your limits!


P.S.  I went grocery shopping today and this is what the entire bottled water aisle looked like...

It's a mad house.  Reminds me of Y2K.

I guess it's better to be prepared than stuck without water.  Our electric company has already put out warnings that power may be out for up to a week.  All electronics are currently plugged in and charging up!  Maybe we'll have a week of candles, raw food diets, and board games...


1.  (For those dealing with Irene,) What are your plans for the weekend?

2.  (For those NOT dealing with Irene,) What are your plans for the weekend?
Didn't see that coming, did you?

3.  Do you remember any good stories from natural disaster or Y2K preparations that you've been through?
My mother bought a ton of powdered milk for Y2K and I HATED it.  I still remember the distinct aftertaste of taco seasoning.  I kid you not, I tasted taco seasoning.  

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe.  

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Irene ruined my weekend

Thanks to this little storm ominously threatening to hit CT some time Sunday, I just got an email from the National MS Society announcing that the MS Bike Tour scheduled for that same day has been postponed.  

I can't say I'm too surprised.  While CT does do it's fair share of freaking out at minor weather changes, if Irene actually does hit CT, hosting a bike ride isn't exactly within safety boundaries.  The part that bums me out is the date that they postponed the tour to...

Sunday, September 11th

While I will be awake that day in plenty of time to make the ride, I will unfortunately be two time zones away in Vegas prepping for the 70.3.  I quickly emailed the bike tour coordinator and it seems that this was the only day that worked between the venue, caterers, tent rentals, etc.  So while it looks like I'll be able to transfer my registration to next year's ride, I will miss out this year.

I'm not gonna' lie...
I'm going to be in a bad mood today.  

With complete understanding that there is nothing I could have done to prevent this and that my true hope is Irene never gets close enough to cause any damage, a part of me hopes that we really get something worth cancelling this bike ride for and not just a bunch of rain.

I might have to schedule my own bike tour Sunday just in spite of this change of events. 


1.  Has Irene affected any of your weekend plans?
I know a number of you are East Coast habitants.

2.  Have any news, jokes, funny anecdotes, or the like that might brighten my mood?

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What a Great Start to a Wednesday!!

I'm going to make a pre-emptive call and say that today is going to be an amazing day!

Who's with me?!

I've still got a full day of work ahead of me, but I'm already pumped about the day.  I woke up at 6:00AM which is tough when I can't get to bed until midnight and met Chelsea for an early swim across the lake.  Now, the following is not an actual picture of the lake we swam in (I forgot my phone at home), but it might as well have been because it looked exactly the same. 

Tell me that isn't an awesome way to start the day?!  After 20 minutes of delaying, delaying, delaying, we finally jumped in and swam across and back.  It was a bit chilly, but an awesome wake up.

After that, pessimism attempted to rear it's ugly head in the form of a check engine light.  *Pause* Let's just say that I'm not exactly a fan of my car.  It tends to like the check engine light; we quite strongly disagree with that form of enjoyment.  *Play*  I figured this might have to do with my temperature gauge going crazy lately.  I was wrong.  It's something different.  Yay multiple problems.  I didn't let that get me down though.  It's yet another reason to avoid the taper for this weekend's bike tour and continue to ride my bike to work!!  Take THAT faulty car!  (In hind sight, I'm curious as to whether the car is simply jealous and craving attention since I haven't ridden her much lately.)

While I was up in West Hartford getting the light checked, I figured I might as well swing by the grocery store.  That was a total SCORE!

We've all heard the saying "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach."  Well, not to let the cat out of the bag, but this "man" sure loves his food!  My coworkers even make fun of how giddy I get when I know my break is coming up soon.  I scored some vanilla yogurt on sale, a couple cantaloupes, two ears of corn to go with hamburgers for lunch, and some extra special items!!

If you look closely at the top of the picture you'll notice two items that really don't belong on the athlete's diet list. 

I always thought I kicked my sweet tooth after having gone vegetarian/no dessert back in college.  Apparently it's back.  And with Funfetti cookie mixes (I didn't even know they made those!), you can't go wrong.  These were not only on sale, but they were on the rack full of random items that might as well have a sign saying "Take me home!" like the pet adoption centers.  $1 each.  Could you say "no" to that?  One might be gone by the time work comes around; no promises.

Then...  As I was walking out the door, I saw a table of books.  "What could this be?" I asked.  There was a book sale benefiting a food shelter.  I had actually been thinking lately how horrible it's been since the super discount book store closed near me (they had books at 75% off).  The next closest one is The Book Barn in New Haven (~45 min away).  Then all of a sudden there's a table of books for $1 at the local grocery store.  I perused and found a couple.

I'll admit that Dan Brown's Robert Langdon series wasn't my favorite though I did read all three just to make sure they all were the same, but Deception Point was awesome.  This one was worth $1 to test it out. 

So all-in-all, I might have a car that overheats quickly and has a faulty gas cap or evap emissions system, but I had a great swim today, have great food, cookie mix to last me at least two days, and a couple books. 

I'd call that a great start to the day!


1.  How has your Wednesday been going thus far?
If you haven't done much yet, do you have any plans for later?

2.  Have you ever read Digital Fortress?
Don't give away the storyline - just wondering what you thought.  Good?, bad?, eh?

3. How do you do with morning workouts?  
I know I've read your blogs about the struggles of getting up before the sun and how much it's worth it after the fact.

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Confidence Booster!

This will be short.

I am in need of a solid 1+ hour nap 
and I still need to eat lunch, prep dinner, and get dressed 
before commuting to work in two hours. 

But anyways, with 18 days to go now until the Vegas 70.3, I am quite confident that I will be able to hold my own on the course!  First, I believe what you guys said - my previous fitness level should still hold out enough to get me through.  However, to add to that, I woke up this morning with the feeling that I should go for a long run.  That's smart, right?  Third run into your training schedule and you pack on the mileage? 

I went for an 8.5 mile run.  It was glorious!!

My foot bothered me for the first mile or so, but then went away leaving me to enjoy the next five or so miles in heavenly bliss!  The last couple of miles were tough because I started a blister on my pinky toe, my hip flexors were getting tight, and my knees had a slight pain.  Overall though, I made it 8.5 miles three runs into my training and now I'm mentally set for taking on the Vegas 70.3!

Hope you guys are having a WONDERFUL Tuesday!  It's nap time for me!

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Stretching - good?, bad?, what do you do?

We've all heard about the controversy of whether it's good or bad to stretch before a workout.  We've all heard people who swear by pre-workout stretches and those who think you might as well cut yourself with a kitchen knife.  I'm sure at one point in time you've also heard about the differences between different types of stretching - ballistic versus static. 

Here's what I'm interested to know...

What do you do?

 Do you stretch before a workout?  
Do you stretch before a race? 
If so, what kind of stretches do you do?  
If not, why not?  
Do you stretch after a race/workout?  
What's your take on the controversy?
Is stretching a religious habit for you, an occasional occurrence, or as rare as a scientist going to church?

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

21 Days And Counting

Twenty-one days...

Three weeks...

Five-hundred and four hours...

What do you think you could accomplish in twenty-one days?  Could you train and be ready for a half marathon?  Well, whether I can or can't, that's exactly what I'm going to attempt (shut it peanut gallery!)

I have twenty-one days until the Las Vegas 70.3.  While normally this wouldn't have seemed like a short amount of time, my hyperextended foot required three and a half weeks of no running to feel mostly-normal (I'll admit it's not 100%).  However, I went running today for the first time and believe I am ready to get back to whatever type of training you call "throwing the run of a half ironman together in three weeks."  =P

Think it's doable?

I'm assuming my previous fitness and the recent biking have kept up my cardiovascular fitness.  I just hope my legs haven't been lost.  Worst case scenario, I end up walking more than I'd like. 

In other news, my 5K group started this morning.  We've got some repeat 5K'ers as well as some newbie runners, so it'll be a great mix of people.  I'm really hoping to make use of everyone's different experience levels to help one another out.  I've also got some highly anticipated finishers come October!; the first day and I'm already getting choked up thinking about them crossing the finish line having completely smashed their goals and hopes/dreams.  It's going to be a GREAT 8 weeks of training!!  (Which also means I only have 8 weeks to be ready for my very first marathon - *GASP*)


1.  What's the shortest training schedule you've ever put yourself through to get ready for a race?
Has anyone done a half mary on three weeks of training?

2.  How did your weekend kick off?  Anything exciting, fun, or just plain crazy?!
After coaching (which was awesome), I had to work.  I also work all day tomorrow, but tonight I plan on relaxing and finishing "Airframe" by Michael Crichton - I have a hard time putting it down.  

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Point of View

 Which one best represents YOUR point of view?

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1.  Yesterday was my first visit to the beach this year. 

Thanks to the monster that lives in my stomach (that's what I seem to refer to my continual hunger these days), I woke up early yesterday and was able to jump in on a trip to Misquamicut, Rhode Island.  It was a great day for the beach despite the obnoxious people who sat right in front of us and chain-smoked two packs of cigarettes.  Oddly enough, they were all waiters from a place they called "Joe's" is in the Providence Place Mall which runs parallel to the finish line of the Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island triathlon.  I figured that out 'cause they recognized the Ironman logo on my hat.  Other than that, great day for a beach trip!

2.  After yesterday's day at the beach I came home and watched a movie while stuffing my face with 1.5 Red Baron pizza's (it always turns out to be a mistake afterwards, but it tastes so good while I'm eating it), yogurt, a banana, and half a gallon of milk.  A friend at work suggested I look up this documentary with Woody Harrelson.  Well, while looking that up (it's "Go Further" by the way), I happened upon another documentary called "Simply Raw."

The documentary follows six people with Type I or II Diabetes who are challenged to eat nothing but a raw, vegan diet for 30 days.  I won't give away all the details, but I will admit that it's yet another boost for me towards attempting the diet.  The information behind the documentary is lacking (I am a scientist at heart though, so I'm picky), but the overall idea makes you very curious.  I'd suggest it to anyone interested in the benefits of a raw, vegan diet as well as anyone in nutrition or who has either type of Diabetes.

3.  It's rare that I get both of my days off in a row, but this week I did and today was spent focused on my bike.  I ran some errands this morning, spent the early afternoon detailing my entire bike, and then joined my very first group ride at my LBS.  The LBS has rides Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.  I unfortunately work most Tuesdays and Saturdays and have been working or at a race each Thursday this month.  Thursday's ride is labeled a 10-15 mile "casual" ride and I underestimated "casual."  I was the youngest rider there by approximately two decades, but it was still fun and I found out that there are a lot of nice residential roads I can make use of for my training apart from the beat up and traffic-heavy main roads. 


1.  Have you been to the beach yet this summer? 
I've got quite a few tan lines this year.

2.  Have you ever been interested in a raw diet?  Do you or someone you know have diabetes?

3.  Do you make use of group rides or runs in your area?
I really want to join the Tuesday rides and make it to the Thursday night track workouts, but my schedule doesn't work well with evenings.

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I feel like I'm playing a virtual game of Peek-A-Boo with blogging recently.  I'll post one day and then disappear for multiple days.  Until I checked it myself, I hadn't realized that my last post was Friday.  I went three days without posting!

And the sad part is, it's not because I chose to do something else or didn't have anything to blog about.  I didn't decide to do any extra workouts (my foot's still in recovery) either.  I simply cannot find the time lately.

I spent some time in my head this morning figuring out how much "free time" I have each day.  This is what I came up with...

Out of 24 hours of the day, I spend...
  • 8 hours at work (on my feet for 7.5 of those hours)
  • 2 hours commuting to and from work (via bike)
  • 1 hour prepping lunch/bike before commuting to work
  • 1 hour unpacking, cleaning, showering, etc. after getting home from work
  • 8-9 hours sleeping

That leaves me 3-4 hours every day to do other things like make and eat breakfast, clean up, grocery shopping, going to the store, laundry and obviously blogging.  As you can tell, blogging gets pushed back from time to time.  However, since I did my grocery shopping the other day (minus getting milk because it didn't fit in my backpack), and visited the bike shop yesterday to figure out Vegas rental issues, today I find myself with a bit more unreserved time.

Whatever will I do once my foot is healed
and I start throwing runs back into the mix?!  Hahaha

I will admit, however, that the commuting to work is working out really well.  Today will be the 7th straight day of commuting by bike to work and I have a total of 10 miles on the car for the last 9 days.

I have Wednesday and Thursday off this week - very much looking forward to two days to unwind and catch back up on things - and then I'm not off again until the 27th; 8 days straight of workMy apologies go out to my roommate.  The dishes will most likely pile up over the next week or two.  I will do my best to keep up with general cleanliness, but I make no promises.

 On a totally unrelated note, Road ID just posted a Tweet about a new video from Danny Macaskill.  I had no idea who he is, but the video is awesome!  Makes me want to trade my road bike in for a BMX bike. 

Check it out HERE

1.  How much "free time" do you find you have on a normal day?
To those with kids, bless your heart!  I don't know how you stay sane.

2.  What is the first thing that you do when you find yourself with free time? 
Do you catch up with dishes, cleaning, organizing, or do you go straight for relaxation time?

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

You Might Be A Runner If...

I was purusing the site and came across an interesting list...

You Might Be A Runner If...

  1. A 5:30 AM run is a great way to start your day
  2. You find greater joy in spending yoru money on running pparel, shoes, and gear than on a pair of designer jeans, monogrammed purses, or a new polo.
  3. Your daily run is like therapy, or an anti-depressant
  4. Your 'To Do' list reads "1) Run, 2) Everything Else"
  5. Injuries upset you because they keep you from running, not because you have damaged your body
  6. You don't like the idea of a "rest day"
  7. You feel an instant kinship to any runner you pass on the street
  8. You have a list of the races you plan to run for the next 12 months
  9. You ask yourself 'Why did I do this?' the last 5 miles of a marathon and 'When can I do that again?' five minutes after you finish.
  10. Your ipod or mp3 player has a "running" playlist
  11. You rno-runnign friends consider every race you run a "marathon"
  12. While driving, you constantly evaluate the road for it's 'running route potential'
  13. You enjoy the thought that your sport is pure punishment for other "athletes"
  14. You feel better on the second half of your workout
  15. Throughout a race you are constantly calculating your expected finish time
  16. Diets seem preposterous to you ...who wants to give up carbs?!
  17. Five miles is now a 'nice & easy' distance for you
  18. When planning a vacation, you search for local races in the area
  19. 75% of your wardrobe is race t-shirts
  20. It takes you longer to pick a new pair of running shoes than it does a new car
  21. Everyone knows when you haven't been running because you get cranky
  22. You are frequently called "crazy"
  23. Your idea of "winning the lottery" is a race entry instead of $$
  24. It doesn't scare you to drink from a cup some stranger hands you in the middle of the road
  25. A "chip" is an accessory, not a food.
  26. You know how to pronounce "Asics" and "Saucony"
  27. Cotton scares you
  28. You can shower and be dressed in under 10 minutes
  29. You separate laundry into lights, darks, and running gear.
  30. You find yourself stretching while waiting in line at the grocery store
  31. You know which side of the street has shade in the morning versus afternoon
  32. Your legs are tan from mid-thigh to ankle March
Your additions
  1. A one inch inseam is perfectly acceptable (Chelsea)
  2. You not only know every flavor of gel that GU manufactures but have tried every flavor (Karen)
  3. On more than once occasion you have almost accidentally mistaken your tube of body glide for deodorant (Karen) 
  4. When you hear 'you need to put on some weight' every week from your coworkers.  (Jason)

To read more, submit your own, and vote on those submitted by others, check out the full list HERE.  


1.  So... Are you a runner?

2.  Any other good runner qualities they've missed on this list?

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

And then the doctor says...

"It looks like we fixed one injury and then you go and get another."

Yeah Doc.   Sorry about that.  What can I say?, I'm glutten for punishment.  At least I don't walk into your office with a cast or severe bleeding!!

I went back to the Orthopedic doctor today to get my foot looked at.  While it has been feeling better this week, I figured with big races coming up, I better just be sure I'm not broken. 

Remember the original pic?

You can tell the right foot is swelling.  It stayed that way for over a week despite icing, NSAIDs, and elevating it as much as I could with a job that has me on my feet for 40 hours a week.

Then the swelling went down and bruising started showing up down at my toes.

I was happy to not have a BIG FOOT, but the bruising concerned me. 

Anyways, the doctor says there's nothing broken, so no worries about long-term injuries.  The bruising is probably due to something being torn or cut further up my foot or ankle and the blood simply collected at my toes because of gravity (Thanks Newton!!). 

Long story short...

Stay off the foot as dictated by the pain.  
As it feels better, you can use it more and I'll be fine.  

What does that mean?  It means no sprint triathlon tonight.  No olympic triathlon next weekend.  I'll still do the MS Bike Tour on the 28th.  Then we'll hope that it's healed up enough to run on by September.

On another note, today's my day off, so I'll get lots of rest for the foot today!  Can we say food, movies, naps, and reading?!?!


1.  What do you like to do on your days off from work?  Do you train or relax?
I do a mix when I can.  I'll train hard and then relax the rest of the day.

2.  Any good book ideas? 
I'm about half way through "Prey" by Michael Crichton and I need something to move onto next.

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Just Call Me "Coach"

I've been waiting until everything was finalized to be able to say it, but now that I got picked by and met the training director and got the "ok" from work to have the next 8 Saturday's off, I think it's finalized enough to say it...

I'm a coach!

The ING Hartford Marathon is on October 15th and they run a marathon, half marathon, and 5k all at the same time.  The local group that runs the race - the Hartford Marathon Foundation - offers training groups for people looking for some help in training and after a friend pointed out a notice in one of their email newsletters, I applied to coach a 5k group.  What do you know?, I got it!

I can't even express how excited I am.  I get to do something I've always wanted to, I get to add more experience to my resume, and it is one more step towards what I want to do with my life which is helpful given that every so often we all feel like we're floating in the middle of nowhere unable to make any progress.

Training begins the 20th of August and goes for 8 weeks.  This is going to be a BLAST!!


1.  Have you ever done a training group?  If so, what did you like/dislike about it?
The group is a beginner 5k, so we will be doing a lot of walk/run training; nothing intense.

2.  Have you ever coached either a group or individual towards a race?

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Dreams Part III

I need someone to analyze me.  Does anyone do dream analysis?


I'm sure it doesn't seem all that crazy that I'm dreaming about races given that I'm an athlete and keep day dreaming about longer and longer races.  However, I'm starting to feel like Marshall Ulrich.  For anyone who has read Running on Empty, Marshall's wife Heather keeps waking him up with...

"Honey, you're running in your sleep again."

About a week ago, I had a dream about a marathon in a department store I ran with a friend from high school.  Read about it HERE.

Here's the latest episode of my athletic dreams...

I ran a half marathon and then switched over and ran the same race as a marathon.  As usual, the courses were slightly different, but had similar areas.  The race, however, wasn't just any normal foot race, it was something like an adventure challenge.  There weren't trails.  There weren't obstacles, freezing water, obstacles, or a spartan at the finish line.  It was mostly roads and paths, but I was running through some buildings, up some incredibly steep streets where I had to use hand rails to pull me up, and there were puzzles to complete.  One "challenge" was similar between the two races.  In the half marathon - which I ran first - I entered this house and ran towards a mirror, that just like the horror movies had some creature in it instead of my reflection.  It began talking and a sort of puzzle fell from the ceiling that I had to complete in order to get my map of where to go next; it involved something about the land of horses. 

When I realized the same house was in the full marathon I opted to just break the mirror instead (yes, the same creature was there at first).  Little did I know, breaking the mirror meant I had to play (and win) some sort of numbers game with the people who were in the living room off to the right down the hall.  And since it's a dream, it shouldn't surprise me that I was playing against my roommates' mother...for cash.  Luckily, I had been carrying my backpack with me which had my wallet in it or else I would have been screwed.  I woke up before I got the rules to the game, but when I came to, I couldn't help but laugh!

Oh, and we all are aware of aid stations.  Typically we'll grab a water, maybe some sports drink, a gel, fruit, ice, or a sponge, right?  Well, this aid station handed out water, sandwiches, and chap stick, TONS of chap stick.  On top of that, remember how I had my backpack with me during this race?  Well, inside of the backpack, I had two loaves of  bread and a package of sliced Muenster cheese.  Don't ask me what that was for! 

I wonder if I was actually running while I dreamed.  If only I had a camera to record myself with!


Remember, my Q & A is open until I get that magical 100th follower!

Ask me anything!  Post it HERE.

Extra points for being creative and/or digging deep!


1.  Have you ever dreamed about a race?  What's the weirdest type of race you've dreamt of?

2.  Any thoughts on what my dreams mean?  Should I be doing crazy adventure challenge races?  Do I have a puzzle complex?  Am I just insane?
I must admit these dreams are getting more and more entertaining!

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Let's Talk Geek For A Second...

I found something you HAVE to read!

I was reading through some blogs, trying to catch up with you amazingly interesting people (we all know the # of blog posts on the weekend drops, so it's the best time to catch up), when I came across a rather interesting blog entry.

At first it mentions something about something Captain America can teach us...  I thought "Oh-gees, here's another movie lesson."  But then it goes on to say "genetic engineering" and my ears perked up.

For those of you who aren't aware, I may or may not be a bit of a science geek.  Just an FYI.

I don't want to burst the bubble, so take the time now to go read THIS blog entry by Just a Runner @ Beyond Fatigue, Pain, and ACTN3 and come back when you're done.


Isn't that AWESOME?!

Now, for anyone science minded, there are plenty of missing links like 'what happens long term with these mice (do they live just as long and healthy)?', testing an IL-15a blocker, creating non-functional IL-15a gene to test where the effect lies along the gene to product line, finding a relation between mouse and human IL-15a, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  But either way, this provides some really cool questions to ask...


1.  Do you think endurance is genetic or learned?  Do you think everyone is able to endurance distance or are some of us just made better for it?

2.  Do you think things like endurance, abilities, or characteristics can be attributed to a single gene change?  (FYI: the current gene estimate for humans is somewhere around 20k)

3.  Do you think athletes will attempt to use the IL-15a effect to their advantage and add it to the laundry list of illegal drugs doping?

4.  If they found out that IL-15 is indeed linked to endurance ability, would you have yourself tested to see if you had a variant versus the "normal" copy?


Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

That Magic Number

I've been less and less watchful of the number of followers I have over the past few months, but I must admit that being so close to 100 is somewhat of a virtual tease.

On top of that, I've noticed a contagious set of "Q & A" posts have been going around recently and while I usually don't like to do those types of things (mainly because they remind me of the emails you'd get that have been forwarded at least a dozen times and tells you you have to forward it to ten friends or you're cursed for the next 10 years of your life), I thought I'd make a little special exception. 

So here we go..


I will take questions - about myself, my past, my supposed future, my friends, my dreams, my security blanket, and whatever else you can dish out - up until I get my 100th follower.  Every question will be logged, answered, and stored.  Once I hit the magic number, I will post everything.  So go ahead and ask away.  Or take your time and conceive of some really cryptic and deep, probing quandaries and get back to me (it's possible this could all take some time). 

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Damsel in Distress & Dreams

Yesterday I had work, so as many of you can guess, I packed up the backpack and rode my bike.  After work, I did the usual, put on all my flashing lights, turned on my headlight and headed out.  However, last night I didn't end up getting as far as I had hoped. 

This was taken around 11 PM last night just short of half way home.  As you may notice, the back tire is detached from the bike.  That's because about 100 yards up the road, I hit a nasty pot hole and got a flat.  I stopped at the next intersection (where there was a light) and attempted to fix it.  I reinflated the tube, but it deflated again, so the tube was junk.  I whipped out the tire levers to take the tire off and *SNAP*, one of them broke.  *sigh*

I pulled out the phone and made a call I'm sure my roommate has just been WAITING for.  This is how he answered - "Are you ok?"  No "hello" or "Hey, what's up?"  He went straight for 'You're calling me at a time when you're normally already in bed; did you get hit by a car?'  My knight in shining car showed up 10 minutes later and I replaced the tube when I got home (I had an extra set of levers at home).  This was my third flat thus far.  It's funny that I was actually a bit excited when I noticed I did have a flat.  I was kind of looking forward to being able to say I fixed a flat at 11PM on a back road in the middle of nowhere; kind of a badge of honor.  I'll have to wait 'till the next time.


On another note, I've been having some weird ass dreams.  If anyone knows Mitch Hedberg's routines, you'll understand the fact that I wish I could dream about watching myself sleep.  Instead, I dream about doing workout routines or running errands.  Last night I had a dream that I was racing a friend from high school in a marathon.  It was literally only him and me.  But it was a bit of an odd marathon.  We were running around what I'm going to guess was a 1/8th mile loop within a department store.  Talk about a boring race!  Over 209 laps in total.  I woke up before I could finish the race, but it was still sufficiently weird.


1.  Have you ever failed at fixing your flats and had to call for a ride?  

2.  How late have you ever gone out for a ride or run?
I make it home from work around 11:00/11:15 PM normally.

3.  Do you have crazy dreams?  If so, do share!

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's Official & Update

It's official...

I'm registered for the Las Vegas 70.3.  My info wasn't in the system until the end of July, so I had to wait to fill out the registration.  And I'm surprised every time at the kind of info they want - personal achievements, academic and professional achievements, personal goals, etc.  I don't know what to say - and yes, they're required fields.  For "What makes you unique?" I put "I'm me."  I think I hit it right on the nose!  I mean, who else can say they're me?  No one, that's right!

Now and update on the foot.

It's feeling better and I found I can ride my bike without an issue as long as I stay in the saddle.  However, I've noticed that the joints at the bottom of my toes are turning purple at times (they look bruised).  The foot also seems to feel more affected when I don't have shoes on.  At home, I have to elevate/ice it every hour or so or it will turn red/purple and begin to ache.  While I'm on my feet for 8 hours at work, I don't have any effect unless I walk on it wrong or stub it.  Today's goal is to keep the compression sock on all day to see if that helps.

I'd really prefer to have the foot back in operation by next week because it's the last sprint triathlon of the season, but since I had hoped to see more improvement by now, I shouldn't hold my breathe just yet.

Anyone have any other thoughts on how to speed up the healing process?  I know hyperextensions really only require rest, but I'm up for any other thoughts.


1.  How many more races do you have planned for this season?
If I'm "better" in time, I have one sprint, one oly, one bike tour, one 70.3, and one marathon.

2.  Does anyone else have zero grip on what day it is?
The fact that I don't have a set schedule at work makes me feel like Sundays are Mondays and Wednesdays are Fridays.  I always have to look at my watch to know what day it is.

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Project Las Vegas

As most of you know, I have the Ironman 70.3 World Championships coming up in September.  On a related note, which I'm sure very few of you know, the entire (E-N-T-I-R-E) trip is coming out of my evaporating savings.  =/ I knew when I walked down to the awards table to claim the slot that my paycheck wouldn't even come close to making a dent in the cost for this trip.  You figure it's one of those experience you have to jump at the chance to have.  Am I right?

Well, either way, now after having come off the high adrenaline rush of "OMG, I have a slot for 70.3 Las Vegas," having reserved my hotel, flight, and car rental, and starting to list out all the incidentals of the trip (memorabilia, food, etc.), the price tag seems to be like one of those tiny little dry sponges you'd get in a cereal box as a kid.   They're so incredibly small and then you dunk 'em in water and BOOM, they're huge!  I've had small realizations like "this is eating up about 5-6 months of my savings."  And that's when I started drafting...

Project Las Vegas

Project Las Vegas is my plan by which I will save, skimp, scrape, and by all means necessary attempt to make a dent in the cost for traveling to and from as well as compete in the Las Vegas 70.3.  

Here are the rules as they stand today
  • I will not drive my car unless it is raining or I am injured and I NEED to be somewhere (work is the only necessity at this point).  This means riding my bike to work or stores, walking to the grocery store, getting rides, etc.
  • I will not purchase anything I can't offset by selling something I already own.  I've already started putting some items on Craigslist.
  • I will return any redeemable bottle I can get my hands on (I've already made ~$10).  
  • Going out to eat is off limits.  I can get a meal out for $15 or eat three meals at home for an average of $7.50 (that's my running average for July thus far).  
  • No food is to be purchased unless on sale.  I'm at roughly $50/week for my food bill and admittedly I already buy 75+% of my food only when on sale, so this might be difficult to improve on.  
  • I will endure the heat as long as possible, avoiding the A/C.  

    If you have any useful thoughts or suggestions on how to either make money or save it (a penny saved is still a penny earned, right?), let me know.  I'd really appreciate any advice.  If I'm going to continue pursuing this fitness gig, I'm going to need to harden down some useful habits.

    I've considered the possibility of running a fundraiser - say I 'join forces' with breast cancer (a cause I can certainly relate to personally) and commit to raising a certain amount of money and if I do, I get a certain amount back to offset my trip costs.  It wouldn't be much, but it's something.  Thoughts?


    1.  How do you save money?

    Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe.