Friday, September 30, 2011

"Put Some Clothes On!"

Today was the second time I heard that while out on a run.  Apparently long distance running apparel doesn't catch the eye of the non-running masses.  Who knew?!

On a more important note, it's a great feeling when you can transform a biking route into a running route.  I wanted to go on a 10+ mile run today, but all of my current routes are 8 or less miles.  I played around with some detours, but nothing worked besides doing multiple laps.  I switched over to my biking routes and "Hey, that route's 13 miles!"  I packed up, grabbed my debit card (because there's a bike shop along the way that sells the Clif gels and I only had two left), and was out the door!

13.03 miles in 1:52:15 (8:36 pace)

1.00 in 08:15 (8:15)
2.49 in 24:29 (9:22)
6.82 in 55:58 (8:12)
2.72 in 23:31 (8:38)

I still can't believe I dipped to above nine minute miles.  That's not cool.  Oh-well.

Time for a gloooooorious nap!!  


I also want to say "thank you" for everyone who chimed in HERE with their advice about which Ironman to do next year.  Given your advice and my ponderings, I've decided on the following...
  • Wisconsin is out; expensive registration AND travel is just too much
  • Utah is out because it's too early in the year
  • Florida is out because it'll be way too warm for my taste
  • Louisville is on the fence due to climate, but is still a possibility
  • I'm left with Arizona, Louisville, and Lake Placid.

Anyone else with Ironman experience have a piece of advice? 
Click HERE
I'd be happy to hear it. 


1.  What did you do with your Friday?
I had today off, so I of course went for my long run to avoid tomorrow's rain.  This will give me tomorrow to coach in the early AM and then r-e-l-a-x!!

2.  Any cool plans this weekend?
I was debating going hiking tomorrow, but I may just rest at home instead; we'll see how I feel tomorrow.

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Help Me Decide

I need your help.  

2012 will be my first full Ironman and I can't make up my mind.

Racecation or home field advantage?

Cheap entry and expensive travel or cheap travel and expensive registration?

Can I recover and prep in 1 month?!

Ironman Lake Placid was my original goal, but as many of you know, that's quite a popular event and it sold out almost immediately.  I wanted to do that race because of a few reasons.
  1. Cheap travel costs.  I live in CT and my mother lives about 1 hour north of Albany, NY.  I can easily drive to the race saving on flight costs and save a night or two on hotel costs as well.
  2. In my triathlon group, there are a good number of people that train for that race and it would be nice to have some companionship for training.
  3. Climate.  If I'm going to race for upwards of 12 hours, I'd like to do it at a temperature I'm used to.  Going to AZ or UT might be tricky.

However, there are some negatives to this race as well...
  1. Registration is only Ironman Foundation slots; $1250 instead of the normal $625.
  2. Lake Placid is in July and I will be racing Ironman 70.3 Syracuse in June.  Can I recover and prep in one month?
  3. Training is going to have to start EARLY in the year, which means winter training and most likely a membership to a gym with a pool.  More $$.

So as you can tell, I have no idea what to do.  My other options are Utah in May (that'd mean starting training even earlier), Louisville in August, and Florida or Arizona in November.  Wisconsin is out because it also is now restricted to Ironman Foundation slots. 

I have no idea what to do, but I'm strongly leaning towards the Lake Placid race given the convenience of location. 



1.  What Ironman races have you done and what were your thoughts on them?  Good races?, need some changes?, never do them again?
I know Lake Placid is considered a brutal course b/c of the hills and the weather doesn't always cooperate (it usually rains).

2.  Have you set up races for next year yet?
I'll sign up for Ironman 70.3 Syracuse this week and then the full Ironman (whichever one I choose) soon.

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Damn It Feels Good To Be A Geek!!

...I mean Gangsta!  ...of Science!

That's right... Geek Bling!

That's right, a cheesy science joke.  ha-ha-ha

After my morning run today, which was a second episode of falling in love with my new shoes, I came home and got to help edit a paper that my roommate is presenting to his Ph.D. committee at school. And let me tell you...

Damn it feels good to be a geek!

Science terminology, data implications, rethinking the various transcription processes, forming hypothesis and experiments based on data...  It just felt good to sit down and think/chat specific science again.  If this has any implications on where I'm headed, I will definitely be back to research when the time is right.


On another note, if you don't have anything to do today or just don't feel like being productive at work on hump day, you should head over and read the awesome race reports from the Ironman 70.3 Augusta!  I'll link you to some of them below...

Kevin @ Half TRI-ing

Karen @ Working it Out

Summer @ The Blue Line Runner

A big CONGRATS to each and every one of you (plus all of those I'll never find or hear about).


1.  What are you proud to be that a highschooler might think is embarassing?
I'm a science geek to the core!  

2.  What are you doing on this hump day?
I have a short shift today (4-10), so I got my morning run, I'll watch a documentary (Forks over Knives - more to com on that later), do some cooking, and try to relax.

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Endurance Induced Insomnia

Have you ever finished a tough race or a training day, 
come to the that "bed time" time of day 
and find yourself completely unable to get to sleep?

Well, after my 20 mile run on Saturday, that's exactly where I found myself.  I came home around 5PM, took my post-race snacks, showered, ate, and then laid down hoping that doing a bit of reading would put me to sleep for a couple hours.  I usually read 3-4 chapters of a book before going to bed every night and it winds me down very easily.  About 10 chapters later I realized that this wasn't going to work. 

I put on a movie thinking that might work.  Nope.

I went back to reading.  Nothing.  I even finished the book (Digital Fortress - great read!)

Around 1AM in the morning I went and made some more food thinking my body was still craving nutrients. I don't know if that was it or what, but the next thing I remember I was turning off my alarm at 5:40AM and getting up for work.

It's weird that despite being up late and waking up early, I didn't feel an ounce of sleep deprivation.  Did my body simply fall into a deeper sleep and get all the rest it needed?  I've heard that Dean Karnazes sleeps something like 4 hours a night and attributes it to deeper sleeping because of his fitness level.  

I did a Google search and most of what I found fell into advice for normal insomnia, iron deficiency issues, late night/off schedule running, and such.  I never have an issue sleeping, I'm pretty sure my iron is ok since I take my vitamin religiously and also took one before AND after my run, and I was done running well before bed time.  So what gives?

Finally I stumbled upon a thread that touched on the idea of hormones.  As a science geek, my ears perked!  I think we can all agree that during extended exercise, it makes sense that our bodies are pumping some extra hormones around.  One hormone they mentioned was Cortisol, a hormone which has many roles in the body including stress responses as well as influencing our circadian rhythms (sleep/wake cycles).  As a science geek, I find this very interesting. it my body reacting to the stress of the run and releasing a bunch of extra hormones that are keeping me awake?  If it doesn't affect my sense of being rested after sleep, is this a free ticket to more training, less sleep?  Or is this something completely different?  Whatever it is, it has a definite pattern.

After my rest day yesterday, I had a completely normal night of sleep.  My scientific mind says that points directly to the run.  Additionally, the same episode of insomnia happened at both Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island and Vegas.  However, after my Sprints and Oly's last year, I would fall asleep easily.  There's definitely a threshold somewhere in either the distance, time, or the expended energy.

Has this ever happened to you?

Any ideas on what this could be?


1.  Have you ever experienced insomnia after a race or tough training day?

2.  Any thoughts (or votes) on what might be causing the insomnia?

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bring It On Marathon!

Let's start this by reminding my readers of my always applicable motto...

Do what I say, not what I do.

Now that I've sufficiently provided warning, let's get to the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I ran 20 miles!!

The Good
I'm ready to burst like a balloon full of confetti!  I am sitting on my bed wrapped in winter blankets basking in the glory that is the completed 20 mile run.  I am more than mentally ready for the marathon and it couldn't have worked out better.  I took a bit of a risk signing up for this race (and it still is a big risk), but now I KNOW I can make it.  I'm so pumped!!!!

The furthest training run I've done before this was 10.5 miles.  The furthest race I've ever done was 13.1 miles.  I collapsed at the end of the half marathon and ended up walking in both the half ironman runs.  Today I ran the entire 20 miles and I couldn't be happier!

I finished in 2:54; roughly an 8:50 pace.  I did the first 10 miles at a 8:28 pace and came back at a 9:12 pace.

The Bad
About 3 miles in I could feel a dull pain in my left knee.  I swore that if it started to hurt any more, I'd stop, but it never did.  I was very careful not to twist that leg.  It's something I will have to keep watch on.    Around mile 12, I started feeling a tension in my right foot very similar to what I had felt before going to the Orthopedic earlier this year.  Again, I swore if it got worse I'd stop, but thankfully it went away after a couple of miles. 

The Ugly
About 8 miles in I started to feel dehydration setting in.  Around mile 12 or 13, I got a full bottle of water and that did the trick.  Given that experience and the fact that they hand out cups of water (not bottles) at the marathon, I'm going to need a couple of cups about every 1.5 miles or less.  I remember from last year that the half marathon was sparse on aid stations and that they were insufficiently coordinated, but I JUST looked up the info for the marathon and there are 22 aid stations from mile 2.5 to 25.  I'm sure it'll be a battle for cups early on, but at least down the road I can count on frequent drinks! 

I also ended up with a nasty chaffing in the shorts region.  I had used the non-chaffing cream, but I guess I'm going to have to be less stingy come race day.

Ok, time to take a nap!!!


1.  What did or will you do this weekend?

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Four Facts Friday

So I missed Three Things Thursday...

Now I get to pick up the alliteration trend and start the hottest new frenzie - Four Facts Friday.

Don't deny it!  It's ok.  You're jealous. You wish you came up with this first, huh?  It's understandable.  But don't worry.  For a nominal fee, I'll let you post a F.F.F. entry as well.  I take all major credit cards, cash, and four course meals.

Anyways...  Onto the info.

First and foremost...
After asking for advice for my upcoming marathon - which by the way is in October of yes, THIS year - I've been promptly frightened into testing my endurance and doing a super long run.  I've done 7, 8, and 10 mile runs, but I've never gone past 13.1 miles.  By the irony of it all, my friend and fellow coach has a 20 mile run planned this Saturday (tomorrow), so I'm going to join her and see how far I make it.  Thankfully, she also has her aunt who's quite the experienced runner tailing us as a mobile aid station.  At this point I doubt I'll hit the entire 20 miles, but I figure it's the best time and opportunity to test myself at it.  Wish me luck!

Second and saucy...
I was listening to the radio the other day on my way home from work when they played an interview they had with Tony Horton about the new P90X II coming out.  I don't know how many of you have done, attempting, or thought of trying the P90X videos, but I've always been curious about it.  Well, part way into the interview, after talking about some of the differences between this and the original video series, the radio host asked about the fact that P90X II has no cardio to speak of.  In response, Tony said (paraphrased)...

"If you think about it, how many sports or activities are cardio based?  A football field is only 100 yards.  A basketball court is even shorter.  Most sports are based on short bursts of activity.  Unless you're looking to swim, bike, or run which are the real cardio-based activities, you don't need to have a cardio focus in your routine."

So wait...  You're telling us Tony that triathletes should just ignore your entire series?  I know that's not what he meant and I'm sure he'd have a response about how P90X still has several benefits for us, but I couldn't help but have a good laugh at that for all triathletes out there.

Third and thirsty...
It seems that the change of weather has been a cause for illness.  One of my coworkers was sick over the weekend and ended up calling out on Monday; turned out to be an allergy issue.  I went in early to help cover the hours.  Then another coworker ended up falling ill a couple days later and I switched my schedule to cover those hours as well.

I'm the type of person that rarely gets sick.   I get it from my dad.  But the downside is that when I get sick, it's MAJOR!  You get a cold, I get Mono.  You get sniffles, I get strep throat, bronchitis, and frostbite all at once.  My immune system is lock tight 99% of the time, but when it breaks down, it falls hard.  I'm hoping there isn't a bug going around, but just in case I'm upping my veggie, orange juice, and airborne intake.

Fourth and funny...

First, guys!  If you look at the picture long enough, you'll notice there's an alligator.  Trust me, it's there!

Second, I have held onto this photo for awhile wanting to use it in a Friday Funny, but until today it's only been a weird, funny picture.  I will keep the details private to protect identities, but I found out that in one of the southern states (maybe more than just the one), they offer a hunting season for alligators.  During the season, you're only allowed to hunt by crossbow or harpoon.  While we learned to drive in our sophomore year of high school, this young lady bagged an 18-foot alligator!

For those in the southern states, maybe this isn't such an odd photo, but to me it was hilarious!  Not to mention that I found out she was married later that same year (yes, her sophomore year of high school).  Any chance they had alligator meat at the reception?


1.  What's the longest run you've ever done?
In races?s, 13.1 miles.   In training?, 10.5 miles.

2.  Have you ever done P90X?  Are you going to get P90X II?
I've done the yoga a few times.  

3.  Anyone else seeing illnesses going around at work this time of year?

4.  Have you ever had alligator meat?  If so, how is it?
I've heard it's very gamey.

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"What's Next?" & Calling All Marathoners

After reading my Ironman 70.3 WC Race Report, AJH  over at Age Groups Rocks asked me a very welcomed question...

If you know me, you know it's never too soon to ask "what's next?"  Despite plenty of friends continually yelling "Kurt, slow down and take a rest!," I've always got a part of my mind focused on the future.

The next race I'm focused on is my first marathon, the ING Hartford Marathon.  The ING Hartford Half was my first half and I loved it (even given my collapse at the finish).  This year I'm going to take on the bigger race. 

To be honest, I'm not sure what to expect.  I've only ever done 13.1 miles at a time.  Granted I've done it three times and two of those were at the end of Ironman 70.3 races.  Maybe my body is better prepared for further distance running than I think.  My intuition says that the full 26.2 miles is going to be a trial.  I have just over three weeks to get as prepared as possible.  I will focus on slow distance since I don't feel I have the luxury of time to do speed work or much of a taper.  As much as I would have loved to be in a position to be within range of a BQ, I know that trying for it now is asking for major race day trouble. 

If you have any suggestions, 
or the like 
for someone doing their first marathon, 
I would greatly appreciate it!

Beyond the marathon, I have no racing plans for the remainder of the 2011 year.  I might always do a 5k if I feel like it, but nothing I'm going to train for.  I've resigned the remainder of the year to two things: making my way through the NASM personal training book and building up my running base.  While it's still early to have any real set plans, I'd like to start next year's triathlon training with a larger base, not to mention I'd like to attempt an ultra if my body allows it.  hehe


On another note, I went for my first run with the Pearl Izumi Streak II shoes and they felt wonderful!  I only went 3.5 miles and I can tell that it will take time before I can run any real distance with them (a bit of adaptation to go through), but I was happy with today's run.


1.  Are you finished with your 2011 season or do you have more races to go?  
My final race is the ING Hartford Marathon.

2.  Have you started making plans for next year's training yet or is that too far into the future?
I know my plans will always change, but I have some general changes I'll make before starting next year's training schedule.

3.  Any advice for a first time marathoner?
I'm shooting for a 7:30-8:00 pace (under 3:30 finish).  I have 3.5 weeks for specific training and my half mary last year was 1:35 (I've done 1:54 and 2:09 in 70.3 races).

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hi, my name is Kurt and I'm a member of the Minimalist Movement

If you don't recall, I recently got a new pair of shoes; New Balance M880s. 

After wearing them at work one day and around the apartment for a bit, I came to the conclusion that they were just not going to cut it.  They felt a bit restrictive, slightly too structured for what I've become accustomed to.  So after much debating, I headed back to the store today and made an exchange.

My thought was I would try out some other running shoes and if I couldn't find anything, I'll just get a pair of Vibrams to have fun with over the winter. I had already been to Famous Footwear and I think the New Balance M690s would work well enough.  This morning, I think I tried on a good 7 or 8 different shoes. 

I'd try one on and it'd be too narrow.  The next was wide enough, but too tight in the mid-foot.  The next was good in the mid-foot, but the heel to toe drop felt funny.  I felt like I was judging a contest...  "NEXT!"  Towards the end I started thinking the Vibrams were going to happen.  Liz, the incredible person who was helping me, went looking for a different size for the New Balance Minimus Road and came back with a different box.  When she returned, she hesitantly said "I couldn't find the right size, but I think I found one last shoe that you might want to try." 

Pearl Izumi Streak II

At this point, I had surrendered myself to not getting a pair of running shoes today, but what the heck - let's try these on.  I slipped on the Pearl Izumi Streak IIs and WOW!  They felt so comfortable.  The toe box was a good width, the mid-foot wasn't restrictive, and the sole felt comfortable (it's a minimal shoe so it's not going to have funky contours).  The only odd thing I found was that the toe of the shoe curves up a bit.  Liz said that it's something Pearl and Brooks do with some of their shoes.  It's supposed to give you more propulsion by being contoured to the running form already.  It felt funny walking around, but when I jumped on the treadmill I didn't even notice it.

So that's it.  I am now another member of the Minimalist Movement, though I admit I'm transitioning slowly compared to those who went straight for tossing out their shoes and running truly barefoot.


1.  Do you own or have you ever tried minimalist shoes?
My first experience was trying on Vibrams last fall.  The Pearl Izumi Streak II are the first pair I've owned.

2.  No matter what type of shoe you use, do you have one specific make or model that you swear by?  If so, what is it?
99% of the time they replace the shoe I love by the time I need a new pair.  I should start investing in multiple pairs once I know I like them.  As a person with slightly wider feet, I've been pretty loyal to Adidas and New Balance in general.  They both seem to make shoes that fit/feel better than any other company.

3.  How many pair of running shoes do you own? (We're only counting shoes you still run in currently.)
This pair makes three.  Pearl Izumi Streak II, Adidas Swyft Cushion, and and old beaten up pair of New Balance 440s I pull out when it rains.  My Asics 2150s have been slated as work shoes; I'm too afraid to run in them and get Plantars again.

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

RACE REPORT: Ironman 70.3 World Championship

Here it is... (finally).  
My race report for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada.

You already know how Thursday, Friday, and the self-conscious bike check-in on Saturday went, so let's jump right into race day Sunday.

The alarm was set for 3AM.  As usual, I banked on giving my body about an hour to wake up before heading out at 4AM.  In typical fashion, however, I woke up at 2:30AM and sat there resting for a half hour before getting up.  I had my breakfast - oatmeal with honey, strawberries, grapes, multivitamin, and airborne.  I packed all my gear up, got my sister up, and headed out into the cool 70 degree pre-dawn morning of Nevada.  I had left myself 20 to 30 minutes to drive down to T1, but given that I'm OCD about getting there when it opens (and not many other people do), it only took 10-15 minutes.  We stood around for a bit while they finished constructing the Bike Out ramp and then headed into transition.

Given my youthful age, my bike was racked all the way at the back of transition.  I got the tires inflated, took the plastic bags off of my seat/handlebars, filled up my water bottles, reorganized my bike bag, and started stretching.  In hindsight, I really didn't need to get there as early as I did (I had way too much time to sit around), but everything went smoothly so I was happy.

At 5:55AM, they started corralling us out of transition.  I dropped off my morning bag, but hung onto my fruit for snacking and my sweatshirt.  I WAS in Nevada, but at 6AM, it was still only about 75 degrees and I had two hours to wait around.

They lined us up on the shore of Lake Las Vegas and at 6:30AM, the male pros started their race.  We got to watch Andy Potts exit the water first as well as plenty of other competitors.  It was interesting watching the front end of transition empty out and the listen to the announcer give us bike course updates on the men's race when we haven't even started the swim yet.  One good thing about getting older is less time to wait until you start your race.  However, I found out from another competitor that they swap the order in Europe - youngest goes first.

Anyways...  7:50AM came around, I threw my sweatshirt and fruit to my sister who was hanging out at the swim entrance and dove into the water.  Let me tell you...  they may have told us that the water temp was 80, but it felt a lot cooler than that; a welcomed surprise.

I swam around a bit to warm up and acclimate to the water before standing near the rocks under the bridge.  After the group ahead of us had gone off, they called us to the line.  While we waited, I kept noticing that the front line was creeping forward - beyond the start line.  I didn't hear about this until after, but apparently the kayaker int he picture below hit a competitor on the head because he kept creeping forward.  Another reason to start mid-pack!

At 8:00AM PST, we were off!

My goal for the swim was to not start out too fast, which is what happened in Rhode Island.  I also wanted to stay closer to the buoys, so I sighted more often.  I had started my 15 minute timer on my watch one minute before we started; my hope was to make the turn around before it went off.  The swim out went well; I stayed to the right, hugged the buoys, and made it around one of two red turn-around buoys before my watch went off; PERFECT!  I was in a rhythm and felt great.  On the way back, I didn't sight as often and ended up drifting to the left (repeat from Rhode Island).  I did my best to realign myself with the bridge and kicked it up a notch figuring I might have added a bit of time by going off course.  My watch went off again prior to making it back to the bridge.  I had really hoped to make it under the bridge before that happened. With the thought of a slower swim time, I kicked up my pace.  The buoys were every 100m and with three left to go, I figured I could burn the rest of my arms and still be fine.

I exited the water, took off towards transition and hit my watch as I crossed the timing mat.

Watch time: 35:25
Actual time: 35:28
Div: 62/89 

It wasn't my goal (34:59), but I was still happy to have essentially kept pace with Rhode Island and feel better going into the bike.

From the swim exit to T1, we had a nice 0.2-0.3 mile run.  The day before it took me 1:00 to jog it.  I began thinking T1, despite having a changing tent with volunteers helping you change, was going to take longer than I wanted.

I ran out of the water, around the lake's edge making sure to not slip on the muddy tracks, grabbed my bag, and headed into the changing tent.  The great part about the WC, is that they do everything so well.  I dropped my swim gear, emptied my bag and a volunteer came right over and started organizing my gear - helmet and sunglasses together, shoes and socks together, and wet goggles/cap set aside.  I dried my feet, rolled my socks on (whoever it was that gave me the idea for rolling the socks up like a condom - that was AWESOME!), slipped my shoes on, had help putting my shirt on, and grabbed everything else as I took off.  The volunteers put everything back in the bag for me.

THANK YOU to all of the volunteers.

I grabbed my bike, ran out the Bike Exit and up the horrible hill.  I spotted my sister on the way up, but she didn't even recognize me at first.  I ran up to the mount line which was blocked by two other riders standing on the line mounting their bikes.  One noticed me behind him and scooted over just enough for me to run through.  I ran over the line, jumped on the bike, and was off.  Behind me I heard "Nice flying mount!"  Hey, if I can't win the race, I might as well take style points where I can get 'em.  =P

Those are the two guys I ran right in between.  I'm right in front of the guy in blue in this picture.
Watch Time: 3:49
Actual Time: 3:47

I'll start the bike by saying that this was the most mentally challenging portion of a race I've ever faced.

The first mile out of Lake Las Vegas was a steady incline.  Once out on Lake Mead Parkway, it was much better.  During the race briefing, they had mentioned "there is no flat spot on this course."  When I drove the last third of the course on Saturday, I called BS.  Well, when I entered Lake Mead Park, which was the 40 mile section of the course I hadn't checked, I found what they were talking about.  For 40 miles, it was either 30+ or 10 mph.  The downhills were SCREAMING!, but the uphills were pure torture.  They very much succeeded in making this a tough course.

Anyways...  It hadn't hit me until I was standing next to Lake Las Vegas waiting to start the swim that this was the World Championship.  What I mean is, 99% of the people here qualified by making 1st or 2nd in their age group; aka. I'm going to be very slow compared to these people.  I had naively presumed that I'd have plenty of other older age group racers to pass on the bike.  That wasn't gonna' happen.  Once out on the bike course, I even started keeping track of how many people passed me.  I got up to 20 something and then lost count.

I was also the only one with a cycling jersey.  One person went with no shirt, one had a full sleeve, but everyone else had the triathlon jersey.

The first 40 miles was an out-and-back.  On the way out, I saw plenty of riders on the other side of the road.  Once I hit the turn around I thought "Ok, now let's see how many are behind me."  From my recollection, there were 8.  I was truly at the back of the pack.  Start the mental games!  What seemed like a very busy bike course now seemed quite desolate.  And to add to the toughness, around mile 32, I got a flat tire.

I pulled out a CO2 and reinflated.  It went flat again.  I took off the tire, pulled the tube out, replaced it, put the tire back on, and a tech guy reinflated it.  It went flat again.  He took the entire thing apart and found that the tape inside the rim had a rip in it allowing the tube to rub against a sharp edge.  He ripped the tape off, replaced it, put a new tube on, put it all back together, reinflated it.  It held; I was good to go.  We packed back up, put the tire back on the bike and I was off.  During this endeavor, I had noticed that my watch had stopped; I must have hit it at some point.  My guess is that this stop took about 15 minutes.  It had also let at least 6 of the bikers behind me to zip by.  I only knew of one definite biker who was still behind me and she was being followed by a police bike, so I assumed she was the last one.

As I rode off, I realized that the last biker to go by was probably 5 minutes ahead and that there was no one in sight.  I was completely on my own in the Nevada desert.  THAT makes a race real tough!

I trudged along doing the best I could to watch my speed instead of the long road.  I knew what paces I had kept on the way out and I figured attempting to keep those paces on the way back was the best way for me to fight the empty road.  I did that for about 15 minutes while I battled the idea of just giving up.  Did I actually ever consider doing it?, NO.  But it crossed my mind.  Then as I crested the next hill I saw something up ahead; another biker.  "It couldn't be!" I thought to myself.  I kicked up the gear and took off.  Having someone to pass, a small goal to work towards, brought me out of my mental despair.  Not long after that I passed a couple more riders.  I felt like Chrissie Wellington when she got a flat tire in Kona; she still came back and won.  Now, I knew I wasn't going to win, but it felt like a comeback either way.

We exited Lake Mead Park and I hit aid station #3.  I still stand by my previous THANK YOU to all the volunteers, but will take this moment to point out that towards the end of the race, they did start slacking.  I hit the aid station and grabbed a water.  I could tell it was chilled, so I opened it, sprayed my head and back, and dropped it.  I only needed one bottle and that one was half empty now.  I came to the end, yelled "Water!" again and heard one kid (yes, a teenager) say "Fuck."  They only had Perform at that end though they were supposed to have water as well.  Oh-well.  I pulled out my other water bottle and filled the aerobottle with what warm water I had left.  I pushed on knowing that the hills would end in the next few miles and I'd be back in my own element, flat ground, soon enough.

In the last 10-15 miles, I picked off a few more riders and realized that my previous position on multiple loop courses may have been biased.  Previously, I had concluded that I prefer single loop courses because it keeps things fresh and avoids the mental game of knowing what lies ahead.  As I approached the end of the bike course, I realized that one benefit I had overlooked was that the racers in the back of the pack still get to run with everyone else on multiple loop courses; they're not doomed to be alone for the rest of the race.

I hit T2, handed off my bike, ran into the changing tent, and thankfully said good riddance to the bike course!

Watch time: 3:06:30
(plus stopped time)
Actual time: 3:22:59
(I didn't hit my watch until part way out on the run, 
so we know then that my watch was stopped for over. 16:30)
DIV: 88/89

In the changing tent, the volunteers again were amazing.  They emptied my bag, asked me what I needed, and sat silently helpful while I didn't say anything.  I was thankfully back in "I can still hit goals in this race" mode and just did what I needed to do.  I pulled off my cycling jersey and helmet, grabbed all my run gear, and ran out of transition half dressed.  The rule is that you have to wear a shirt at all times, but they'll let you run without it for awhile out of transition.  I took the first 400m or so to put my nutrition in my pockets and get my headband on.  Then I finally put my shirt on.  I figure it saves me time either way; I did the same thing in Rhode Island.

Actual time: 1:19

My goal was under a minute and if I had been ready for it, it would have been no problem, but I had forgot to put bodyglide on my arpits in the morning.  I ran out of T2 with it, opened it, and fond it was in pieces, so I said "F this" and went back to put it in my bag.  That probably took the extra 19 seconds.  Oh-well.

Overall, I learned / re-learned a few good lessons on the run.  First, leaving my shirt rolled up around my chest makes for a great place to put ice!  Ladies, this is one aspect in which I envy your bra.  Second, racing me thinks he's smarter than non-racing me, but in reality racing me just has his mind going in a million directions; I need to follow my preset plans better, especially with nutrition.  Third, starting out with a slower pace definitely helped maintain consistency right to the finish line!  Lastly, multiple loop courses can be beneficial. 

The rolled up shirt REALLY does work!  It may not look great, but other than the spectator in the orange sports bra I didn't give a hoot.

Temperature check - it was just over 90 degrees when I started the run.

I take off out of transition, get dressed, and run past aid station #1.  It came so quickly after transition that I opted to not take anything.  I drank just before entering transition, so I didn't need to waste time for a mile or two.  I rounded the corner and headed down Paseo Verde Parkway, a slight decline.  I purposefully started at a slower pace in hopes that I wouldn't bonk this time around.  I found out later that I was at a 7:25 pace for the first ~1.2 miles; it's funny how paces feel slower than they are at that point in a race.  About half a mile later I hit aid station #2.  Knowing how much water I drank at the end of Rhode Island and how it made me feel better, I stopped, grabbed two or three waters, chugged 'em, and ran on.  Despite not wanting to stop, I would make a stop at every aid station to drink 2-3 cups of water and toss a cup of ice in my shirt.  I'd find out later on that water wasn't what I needed.

After the aid station, it was an incline back to Library road before heading out to the second turn around which was up the bigger hill.  I knew this was probably going to kill my mental game, but I played it anyways.  Instead of thinking of making it all the way up the hill (a mile long hill seems like forever after 4 hours of racing), I chose the firehydrant, the street sign, the spectators, a bush, anything that was within 100 yards to focus on.  I'd make it to that and pick another thing.  I still don't know how my mind is able to fool itself with this game, but to be honest, as long as it works I don't care how it does.  I made it up the Paseo Verde hill and into aid station #3.  Three more waters, ice, and I'm off again.

As I exited Library road onto Green Valley Parkway, I could see all the way up the perfectly straight hill.  Walking it would take FOREVER and kill my time.  I again started playing my mental games and maintained my slower pace.  Half way up, they had an aid station - two waters, ice, and off again.  I made it to the top of the hill, hit the turn around, and then enjoyed the glorious downhill.

Now, apart from the race, during the entire first lap I had been searching the spectators for my sister.  I had left her at T1 without a sure way over to the finish line, so after not seeing her on the first lap, I started worrying that she was stuck at T1.  As I headed back out on Paseo Verde Parkway again, I resigned myself to dealing with that later; there was nothing I could do about it now.   It wasn't until half way through loop #2 that I spotted her.  Phew!  That was a relief.

As you know, I was very worried about A) the multiple loop course killing me mentally and B) hitting the wall.  I can't say exactly why this multiple loop course had little effect on me, but I was happy for it.  I ran each lap knowing what was coming and not dreading it.  Yay!  Unfortunately, I did end up hitting a wall.

On my second trip up Green Valley Parkway, I was happy to feel that I was maintaining my pace and actually passing some people despite the fact that they were probably on their last lap.  It wasn't until I headed out on loop #3 that I felt like I was really at the back of the pack.  I watched a lot of people ahead of me make a left into the finisher's chute as I kept right for my last loop.  This loop was much more bare; fewer racers, much less spectators, the radio group who had been blasting music was packing up, the groups of screaming spectators were gone.  When I got to the 2nd aid station at the bottom of the 1st hill, the wall hit me!

I walked through the aid station, took my water and my ice, and continued to walk another 0.25 miles up the hill.  My body just wanted to rest.  I started running again and made it half a mile before I walked.  After a few minutes, I started thinking. I had hit another wall, why?!

Well...  Despite having taken in lots of water, I had ignored my original plan of taking a Clif gel on every loop.  For some reason, racing me decided that it wasn't worth the risk.  I've experimented with lots of gels and most of them have odd textures, require lots of water to get down, or just taste weird.  I didn't want that to ruin my day.  While I was walking up the hill, I pulled out a gel and thought "Why not?  It couldn't ruin anything at this point."  I took the gel and found it rather delicious and easy to go down  No duh Kurt!  You drive to a specific bike shop in CT to get that ONE type of gel because it's the only one you like - IDIOT!  I looked ahead and knew I wasn't far from the next aid station.  I took off.  At the aid station, I took my water and ice, but then someone offered me pretzels and potato chips.  I took a bunch of chips.  Let me tell you now that I have never tasted anything as delicious as those chips did at that very moment.

Ding Ding! 
You idiot, you wiped out your electrolytes.  
That's why you hit the wall!

I rounded back onto my last out-and-back, made my way up the hill, stopped at the aid station to get my usual and then was disappointed to find they didn't have more chips.  I took half a Power Bar instead and kept on running.  At the top of the hill I saw a Marine's Hummer.  I pretended to try hitch-hiking and we had a good laugh.  That was the icing on the cake!  I turned to head back downhill and I was golden.  I ran right through the aid station only taking a cup of ice - directly into my shirt - and kept running right into the finisher's chute.  I even heard a guy at the bottom of the hill yell out "Way to use the hill to pick up the speed!"  I had been an idiot for two laps, but at least now I have an experience to pull from for how to eat on the run.

As I entered the finisher's chute, I pulled my shirt down, took off my headband, and crossed the line in full stride.

Run Time: 2:09:12
DIV: 87/89

Overall Time: 6:12:45
DIV: 87/89

I would leave you with an image of me in high spirits and great physical condition, but that just wouldn't be the bloggers way, especially since my sister has photographic proof for the contrary.

Yes, I had help over to the finisher's area.  haha  I didn't collapse though.  I got the finisher's picture...

...some food, a massage, talked to some guys in my age group I had met that morning, and then headed out to find mi hermana.

All-in-all, this race tested my mental game more than any other and I learned a lot.

Things I Learned:
  1. Don't forget bodyglide on the armpits - you'll end up with bad chaffing
  2. Power Bar Energy Bars are too dry and won't work during a race.  Gotta' find something new.
  3. Ironman Perform does not go over well in my stomach.  Gatorade Endurance does.  I'll have to carry extra powder with me on the bike.
  4. I need to take my pre-race Aleve right before swimming.  Taking it 2 hours before allows it to wear off.
  5. I need to carry disposable water bottles on the bike.  Refilling my bottles is bothersome.
  6. Stick to nutrition plans!  Take nutrients EARLY on the run.
  7. Clif lemon-lime gels are delicious and go down easily.  
  8. Rolling up your shirt offers a great ice container.
  9. Mental games work.  I don't know how, but who cares!

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dear Summer...

Dear Summer,

I know you and I have not been the best of friends in the past.  For years you watched me hanging out and laughing with fall and winter.  I admit I somewhat dreaded your arrival at that time of my life.  I'm sorry for what hurt I caused you then.  But these past three months have been nothing short of amazing.  Your warming rays upon my skin as I swam, biked, and ran...  Without your presence, I would have been utterly lost.  I really felt you and I finally connected. 

I was heart broken to have seen you go so quickly and without warning.  One day I'm basking in your soothing warmth and the next, I'm layered up battling the chilling touch of fall.  I am lost by your sudden disappearance and can only hope that you've lost your way and do plan on returning very shortly.

If you can find it in yourself, please come back at least for a month or so.  I don't want to pull our my winter gear yet.

Yours truly,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fuel is fuel

First - yes, I am alive.  I'm just recuperating from the race, travel, and getting back to work.  I'm struggling to stay awake right now. 

Second - I'm working on the race report.  It was an amazing experience in so many ways and I want to do it justice.

Third - I input all my receipts from the last month in my budget spreedsheet and I find it funny every time.  Each month I seem to decrease my gas, I increase my food.  In August, I spent less than $50 on gas, but $60/week on food.  I guess FUEL is fuel either way.

Speaking of which, I need to go eat before work.  Come to daddy Cajun seasoned Swai!  Mmmmmm....


1.  How do you guys deal with getting back to work after a vacation?

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ironman 70.3 World Championship Time Predictions

Let's start this off by saying that the Las Vegas course was coordinated to be a difficult course.  I also have very little for comparison.  So with only my time from Rhode Island to go on, here are my predictions.

Athlete #1675

Swim - 0:34:59

Water temp last night was 82 F.  It's going to be a large bath tub.  The start is deep water.  Swimming has been my strong point, so I want to capitalize on it and make better compared to Rhode Island.

T1 - 0:03:59

The distance from swim exit to T1 took me one minute to jog today.  Then we are handed our bags, we change in tents, run through, grab our bike, run about another minute to the mount line.  The goal is going to be tight.

Bike - 3:15:00

They told us at athlete briefing "There is no flat section on this course."  I'll tell you now that that's a lie.  Most of the course IS rolling hills though, so it'll be tough.  I know Rhode Island's performance would add some time here, but I know I also have plenty of improvements to make on the bike.  So instead of a 3:30 prediction, I'm going with optimism.  We'll see how that pans out in tomorrow's 80 degree temps.

T2 - 0:00:59

This is going to ROCK!  I get to hand my bike off to a volunteer, grab my run bag, change my shirt, and RUN.  That will cut down my transition time significantly. 

Run - 1:50

I was very unhappy by walking in Rhode Island, so my main goal is to never walk.  The first goal is to never walk.  The first out-and-back is shady; I want to focus on taking a gel and finding my rhythm early.  The second out-and-back is a long uphill and back down.  The uphill will be my mental test every lap.  The down will be energy-saving mode.  I know I can better my Rhode Island time, but the temperature will be the wild card. 

TOTAL - 5:44:57

Let's see how that holds up!

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Saturday, September 10, 2011


I like to think that generally I'm good about not feeling too self-conscious.  I used to know that feeling VERY well and I never liked it.  I've enjoyed becoming myself and feeling good in my own skin.  Despite that, however, I had a nice revisit from that feeling today.

The Ironman 70.3 World Championships not only brings the best of the best athletes together, but the best of the best bikes as well.  Disc wheels, Zipp wheels, Aero helmets, shiny new tri-bikes, bike shoes, etc.  As I drove up to T2 to drop off my equipment, I thought "I am going to have the oldest bike by far!" 

As I walked into T2, there were company reps marking off how many products they saw go through.  As I walked through, one of them loudly said...

"Oh-yeah.  Old school."

Then the guy who racked his bike next to me said...

"It must feel good when you pass people on that bike!"  

He meant well for sure and we both had a laugh, but the whole time I was next to my bike I kept thinking 'Please don't look at me.


I'll do my best to post some time predictions tomorrow AM.  Feel free to follow on

Stay fit. Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Quick Check-In

Hey guys!

Just popped in for a quick blog post before I take a nap...  
which will precede our banquet dinner tonight.  

One thing I've been looking forward to was the time change.  Usually people complain about having to adjust.  In my case, I'm actually doing my best to NOT adjust; it gives me a leg up on race day.  I was awake around 4AM PST today (7AM EST) and was up by 4:30AM.  I headed out and did a quick four miles on a very dark road (thankfully there weren't many cars).  And you'd think "Oh, 4:30am, it must have been chilly."  You'd be wrong.  It was already 75F.  But the worst part is that I can FEEL the low humidity. 

Unfortunately, my hotel's breakfast didn't start until 6:30, but I had some food I got from the grocery store last night.  I took a quick hour nap and then hit up breakfast.  It feels AWESOME to have gotten up, exercised, showered, snacked, and napped all before breakfast!

I got to athlete check in around 9AM and got all my goodies....

Tech shirt, Ironman/Powerbar backpack, Marines Nalgene water bottle, a race poster (not pictured), and the typical product samples and brochures.

I know that this is only my second Ironman event, but the athlete check-in area had TONS of product representatives.  You name it, it was there.  I stopped by a bunch of them - profile design, CEP, 110%, Powerbar, Ford, one of those negative ion wristband things, etc.  And let me tell you, I've been quite skeptical of those negative ion wristbands, but found the guy's demonstration quite impressive; might have to do a bit of research.  Then with three copies of the map (I printed one, the race packet had one, and the program had one), I headed out to check the run course.  I'm both excited and weary of the course.

It took some driving around and multiple stops at the info desk to figure things out, but once I did so, the course is quite simple.  It's three loops consisting of two out-and-back's each.

I personally prefer frequent turns to straightaways, but I'll live.  The first out-and-back, though, is on a paved - and tree SHADED - path.  That is going to REALLY help on the first lap to let your body acclimate more slowly and on the 2nd and 3rd laps to cool us off a bit.  The second out-and-back, however, is a rather long low incline.  It's only about 500ft, but it's a constant incline.  The big plus to this hill is that you get to run right back DOWN it once you hit the top.  The biggest thing I'm fearing is how I'm going to handle three loops mentally.  I crashed just into my second loop in Providence and I'm not sure if it was more physical or mental, but I know I prefer single loops.  We'll see how it works on race day.

After all that jazz, I headed to a local bike shop - literally called The Bike Shop - to get some CO2 cartridges and the more necessary skewers.  Once I did that, I went right to work putting my bike back together on the sidewalk in front of the shop.  They even started poking fun at me every time I came back in - I got my skewers, then I had my tires pumped, and finally I had to have a spoke on my back tire replaced.  I'm assuming one of the spokes got too much pressure in the transport over and busted.  Easy fix, but a bit frustrating.  Either way, it's back together and race worthy.

Lastly, I stopped over to Target to try and jimmy-rig my Profile Design Aerobottle.  While I was talking to the guys at the Profile Design tent, I realized that the new bottle holders came with velcro straps to hold the bottle in place as opposed to the rubber bands I have; those looked brilliant.  I was going to buy a whole new holder, but figured I could just get some velcro at Target for a bit cheaper.  We'll see how it works.  If I tell you I bought a new holder tomorrow, then you know how that turned out.  =P

Oh!  One more thing...  I jjust checked and found that compared to the previous race day forecast, it looks like it's going to be quite a nice day (though I wouldn't mind a sprinkle here or there *cough*cough* Mother Nature!)

Ok.  I need to munch on something, get this velcro in place, and rest a bit before the banquet and athlete meeting tonight.  Best of luck to anyone racing this weekend (sorry I've been a bit out-of-the-loop on everyone's on-goings).


1.  Are you a morning person?  Do you do morning workouts and love it?
I wish my work schedule allowed for me to be an early riser.  Unfortunately, I'd have to skimp on sleep in order to do so and my body doesn't take kindly to that.

2.  Have you ever tried one of those negative ion watches or bracelets?  If so, did you notice an effect?

3.  What's your preference - single or multiple loop course? (for any event)
While multiple loop allows you to better yourself on subsequent rounds, I mentally prefer a single loop course. 

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe.  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Reporting from Las Vegas...

Today I come to you from good ol' Las Vegas, Nevada!

I made it safe with only a few snags.  I had to go through security twice because I forgot to empty my water bottle (oops!), I ate about 20 packs of peanuts and crackers on the plane, I took a shuttle from the airport to the car rental locale only to find out that MY car rental company required a second shuttle to an even further off site location, I showed up at my hotel only to find out I wasn't booked until tomorrow (thank you front desk lady for squeezing me in at my cheaper rate!), and I am currently eating peanut butter out of a jar I bought at the local grocery store using the shopping card of the same lady at the front desk of my hotel with my fingers since I lack a knife.

Oh, and I decided to quickly put my bike back together.  That lasted until I realized I have no idea where my skewers are.  Yay!!  I have to stop at a local bike shop to pick up CO2 cartridges anyways, so that's one more thing to get.

In the end, the important thing is that I made it to Vegas, I met a bunch of Ironman competitors, and I'm ready for tomorrow. 

P.S.  I always heard about the slot machines in the airport, but did you know they have them in the grocery store too?!  This place is crazy!

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Excitement, News Fame, and Packing Lists

First off, I am super excited about flying out tomorrow. 

This was the first image that came up after googling "super excited."  Totally worth adding.
I'm not sure if it's because of the race, because I get to spend some time with my sister, or just because I really need a vacation, but some combination of that has me extremely pumped!!

Yay for Racecations!

Second of all, I'm on the news!  The CT Chapter of the National MS Society did an interview with me late last week and put out a media story in preparation for the MS Bike Tour coming up this weekend.  If you'd like to read the write up, it's HERE

Third of all, I wrote out a packing list while at work today and came to realize that I have about ten times as many items that I have to bring just for one 6 hour period of my trip than the remaining 86 hours!  Races are craziness.

Ok, that's all.  I need to get to bed so I can get up and spend all morning packing!!

I hope you are enjoying your Wednesday night/Thursday morning/whatever day it is now... 


1.  Have you ever had a racecation?  If so, where to?  If not, would you ever want to?
This is my first and I'm loving it already.  

2.  What's the last vacation you went on?
My last vacation (aside from time at home for holidays) was Summer of 2010.  I spend almost a week down in NC with some friends.  Before that, I hadn't been on a vacation since middle school. 

3.  If you had to suggest ONE thing for me to do in Vegas, what would it be?

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Four Days and Counting!

Only four days left.  I can't believe I fly out in two days.  I'll be in Las Vegas by Thursday afternoon!  Obviously given the amount of time left, I've cut down my workouts this week.  I actually drove to work on Sunday and will do so again today (*gasp*).  I haven't done much running lately because I started getting a shin splint.  I figured I'd rather rest it. 

I also went ahead and took a look at the possible weather for the race.  Let me just say that I'm not exactly thrilled with the prediction.

It's only 30% chance, but what used to only be a chance of rain on Friday and Saturday has stretched out into next week!  If anything, I hope it will hold off until the run.  On the bright side though, I might not have to deal with temperatures in the 90's and 100's!  Yay!

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Healthy Never Tastes So Good!

Cajun seasoned Swai pan-fried in EVOO 
Green squash and yellow pepper sauteed in garlic and parsley
Fresh corn
Tomato with fresh mozzarella.  

I've said it before and I'll say it again...



1.  Do you have a favorite food / meal?
Swai has become one of my favorite quick dishes

2.  Do you like to cook?
I love to cook when I have the time.

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe.