Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Change of Perspective in my Third Season

When I started triathlons, this is what went through my head...
Swimming?  Psh!  With nine years of competitive swimming, I think I've got that one covered.  Biking?  I used to ride a mountain bike a lot.  I bet I could do that without much trouble.  Running?  Uh-oh.  I don't even LIKE doing that.  How's that going to work?

Therefore, after my first season, I focused on the run.  I trained for (albeit poorly) and ran my first half mary.  Last year I even ran my first full mary (again, poorly trained).  I still focus a good portion of my training on the run because of this initial fear of being weak on that leg. 

With a solid year of run training behind me, I feel I've made my run much stronger.  And as my run gets stronger, my bike begins to look weaker and weaker.

When I run, I have a good idea of what a fast or slow pace is for the distance I'm going.  I know how I should feel and how to gauge my effort.  On the bike, I'm clueless.  I did a 45 minute ride today and despite it being my fastest ride this season (23.85 mph), I feel perfectly fine.  Maybe it's something else, but I'm quite convinced that I don't know how to push myself on the bike!

For example:  My average bike speed for my sprint, olympic, and 70.3 triathlons are all the same!  You'd think that I'd slow down a bit over greater distances.  Nope!  So today I kept wondering "where should my average speed be?"

Do you have any idea?


1.  Do you have any cycling drills that you do in training?
I'd love to hear 'em!  I need something to test me.

2.  Which leg of the triathlon is your strongest?  Which is your weakest?
Based on both feel and stats, the swim is my bread and butter.  The bike is now my weakness. 

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Jim Calhoun CardioRaiser Raffle

Here it is!  The info you've been waiting for... (back in action after requiring some technical attention)

The Jim Calhoun CardioRaiser Raffle

As some of you know, I will be participating in the Jim Calhoun CardioRaiser, a fundraiser for Autism Speaks.  The event will be on Sunday, February 26th from 9am to 3pm and offer cardio activities including spinning, zumba, and any of the cardio machines that we offer at the gym.

As a registered participant and captain of The A Team, I am signed up for six hours of spinning.  That's right, SIX HOURS!  Am I nuts?  Yes.  Do I enjoy torture and making people think I'm a little crazy?  Yes.  But tell me, is there any place that I can have more fun and help more people all at the same time?  Nope!  So me and the wife will be spinning for six hours to raise money for a great cause!! 

As a participant in the event, I also have a fundraising goal...


Simple, right?  That's only 100 people donating $5 each and I'm set (or may boost the goal, who knows!). But instead of simply asking for your caring donations, I figured why not offer some awesome prizes for donations?!  Let's not kid ourselves - who doesn't love athletic apparel and gear?!  So here we go...

Thanks to the amazing people at Road ID and GU Energy Labs, I have 7+ prizes to give away.

First off, GU Energy Labs...
  1. 1 box of Peanut Butter GU
  2. 1 canister of lemon lime GU Brew
  3. 1 box of strawberry Chomps

And Road ID...

  1. 2 $35 giftcards to Road ID
  2. 2 shirts (I have one vintage t-shirt and one "Wanna Go For a Ride?" Vintage t-shirt
  1. 3 Road ID Trucker Hats 
  2. 1 Road ID Visor)

** See all the goods HERE **

How to enter (short & simple):

  • $5 donation to Autism Speaks via the Jim Calhoun CardioRaiser HERE. That means $10 = 2 entries, $20 = 4 entries.  
    • Donations of $10 or more can be made online HERE.  For donations of less than $10 or any desired to be made offline, pull up the "donation form" HERE or contact me at becominganironman @ hotmail (dot) com and we'll get you squared away to win. 
  • Leave a comment here or email me to let me know you donated 
  • Check back on February 27th to see if you won!

  • You are not required to be a follower of my blog (but if you want to, go ahead).
  • Let me know via comment, Facebook, or Twitter what prizes you want to win the most!

Excited about the GU products?, tweet the following...
I support @autismspeaks and am excited to win @GUEnergyLabs pb GU, GU brew, or chomps from @BecomeAnIronman  http://bit.ly/woBxoE
Excited about the Road ID products?, tweet the following...
I support @autismspeaks and am excited to win a @RoadID shirt, hat, or $35 eCard from @BecomeAnIronman  http://bit.ly/woBxoE

And thank you in advance for your support, not only for making my six hours of torture on what I've come to discover is a rather stiff saddle on my Felt S22 worth the time, but for helping the CT chapter of Autism Speaks and all of those people in CT affected by Autism.

You get more used to the saddle over time, right?!  (This could be a very l-o-n-g six hours!)

**  A special thanks to the amazing people at Road ID, GU Energy Labs, and Outside PR!  **

  • The raffle is open to any resident of the United States
  • Raffle drawings will be made on February 27th
  • Entrants cannot win two identical prizes (i.e. You can't walk away with both of the Road ID eCards)

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Training Week Review I

I started this week with a fear of having gotten strep & very little idea of what my training schedule for the next 9 months is going to be like.    At least I no longer have a sore throat!  =D 

Now that 2012 training is underway, I thought I'd share my weekly training every week.  So here goes...

Swim - 0 yards
Bike - 51.56 miles (2:16:11 at 22.7)
Run - 12.13 miles (1:33:29 at 7:40)




11.69 miles in 0:30:25 for 23.06 mph


3.0 miles in 22:31 for 7:30 pace

Overhead squats
Box Jumps

Two rounds of 10 reps, 9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
Took roughly 8 minutes each


17.6 miles in 45:21 for 23.29 mph

Thrusters (45 lb)
Decline sit ups
Box Jumps

Three rounds... 
21 reps, 15, and 9


6.13 miles in 49:03 at 8:00 pace

After two days of crossfit, my body was not happy.  
A big part of me wanted to take Friday off, 
but after the first mile, I was so happy I stuck with the training.  
I even stuck to the full long run instead of cutting it short like I planned.  


22.27 miles in 1:00:25 for 22.11 mph

3 miles in 21:55 for 7:18 pace

I wasn't home from work until almost 6pm.  
It was dark and I was tired, but I convinced myself I needed the run.  
I headed out on yet another "just keep it easy" run 
and for some reason my legs just took off right from the start.  
I ran the first half at 10 seconds per mile faster 
and even went under 7:00 pace on the way back. 


1.  How was your week of training?
Tough getting back in the swing?  Are you already half way through and just coasting through?  Or are you still delaying the start of training season?

2.  Any big plans for this upcoming week?
My plan is to use tomorrow's off day to finish my training schedule up through June's Rev3 Half.  So far it's taken me four days to get the run portion done.  Still no bike plan let alone access to a pool!  Hopefully fate smiles upon me!

3.  How was your weekend?! 
I had Friday and Saturday off and realized (yet again) that I do much better with a schedule.  Time off goes by way too fast!

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Funny: He Said, She Said

Last week I was on the Facebook and saw a video someone linked, Sh*# Guys Don't Say.

Funny, right?.  Cool; fun little 5 minute break from being productive.  Then a couple days later I see a tweet by @frayedlaces linked to Sh*# Triathletes Say.

And then another tweet by @allencolim linked to Sh*# Cyclists Say.

And Steve in a Speedo posted another version of Sh*$ Triathletes Say.

And there are a TON of other ones out there now that I've gone to look.  Where did they all come from?!

This gives a whole new meaning to "He said, she said."

My personal favorite though is Sh*$ Single Girls Say.


Raffle Update:

I now have Road ID and GU on board for the Jim Calhoun CardioRaiser Raffle.  Details of the items up for grabs will be up next week, but why wait until then to get your entry in?  Every donation of $5 HERE to Autism Speaks via the Jim Calhoun CardioRaiser gets an entry. 


1.  Any idea where these videos started?!
They're popping up everywhere!

2.  What are your plans for the weekend?
My weekend starts today since I have Friday and Saturday off.  Today I have a long run and tomorrow I might do a long bike along with plenty of fun reading and eating, eating, eating!

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard.  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sweat it Out! (& a Raffle)

Sweat it out!

It's a great rule!  Plus, it allows you to avoid rest days that you don't really want to take and still get out from under the oppression of an illness!  haha  (...as long as you don't end up making it worse)

I woke up with a sore throat on Sunday & took Monday off as a rest to try and let myself heal.  Well, that didn't work.  So Tuesday I hopped on the bike and rode an easy 30 minutes.  Felt great!  Then yesterday I went for a short run.  The warm air of my apartment was better than the cold air outdoors, but I still felt better.  Then last night I did a Cross Fit workout and felt amazing!  

So to heck with "rest days."  I'll just pump the liquids and keep sweating it out!  As my swim coach would have said...

"Oh, you're not feeling well?  
You know what's good for that?  


Oh!  I almost forgot.  I'm going to have a raffle/giveaway/contest soon.  

Keep checking back this week for details!  
Or follow on Twitter or Facebook to find out before everyone else!


1.   How has your week been going so far?  
Has anyone been logging a lot of miles this week?  

2. What do you do when you get sick?  
Do you rest up and halt training?  Do you back off a bit and chug liquids?  Or do you train right through it knowing 'If I can finish an Ironman, I can train through any illness'?

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

11 Random Things

I was tagged by Summer over at Blue Line Runner (who recently defected from Blogger to join Word Press.  Traitor!) in "Eleven Random Things."  Therefore, since the laws of nature dictate I must respond, similar to how Facebook has taken control of the laws of reality, here goes nothing...

Eleven Random Things

The rules of this post:
  1. Post these rules.
  2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
  3. Answer the questions set for you in the post you were tagged in.
  4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
  5. Go to their blog, FB page, or wherever you can grab their attention (smoke signals anyone?) and inform them of their obligation to the blogosphere.

Eleven Random Things About Myself...

  1. I have never lived paycheck to paycheck.  People who do surprise me.  It would make me so incredibly nervous to do so.
  2. I own a prehistoric flip phone and love it!  Everyone has their Android, blackberry, or now the iPhone and swears they're the best thing ever.  Call me old fashioned, but all I need a phone to do is get in touch with people via calls or text.  I don't need any more connection to Facebook or google.  If I could get rid of my phone, I would.
  3. Aside from when I lived at home, I've never had cable.  I like a lot of shows on tv, but if I sit down and watch tv I feel like I'm wasting time doing absolutely nothing productive.
  4. I spent more on my triathlon bike than I did my car and I'm proud of it!
  5. One of my biggest pet peeves is bad drivers.  The left lane is a passing lane, not a travel lane.  Use your blinkers and do so BEFORE you hit your brakes.  If you can't handle driving in the snow or rain, don't go out!  I'm still very much a NY driver. 
  6. I've read the entire Twilight series.  Yep, that's right.  The movies suck, but the books are great.
  7. I don't go to the movie theater unless it's free (gofobo.com).  Why pay $10 to see a movie?!
  8. I am afraid of bees.  I will deal with just about any animal, insect, or bug, but if it's a bee, I will calmly walk away while my body goes into cold sweats.  I got stung a bunch of times as a kid and have been afraid ever since.
  9. I had a job at the age of eleven.  Talk about child labor!  I delivered papers for 1.5 years.  
  10. Ever since I figured it out in 4th grade, I've been able to put both of my feet behind my head.  It will be a sad day when I find I've lost that flexibility.
  11. Craigslist is my shopping mall.  I browse the "free" section at least once a week.  I've bought and sold a ton of things through that site!

Eleven Random Questions Posed by Summer @ Blue Line Runner...
  1. What is your favorite meal to make?  Takeout.  I make the call, they deliver.  Best meal ever!
  2. Glass 1/2 full or glass 1/2 empty?  Glass?!  Do they make water bottles out of glass?
  3. Last picture on your phone?  My car in the snow storm CT just had this past weekend.
  4. If money was no issue, how many races would you try to do in a year?  Wow, a lot more than I do now!  Probably 2 Irons, 2 half irons, a couple half marys, 3 Olys, a handful of sprints, 5ks all the time, a couple adventure races a year (relays, obstacle, or adventure races)...  I'd go nuts! 
  5. Car, Truck, Van, or SUV?   Bike!
  6. Do you take part in any water sports?  Does the swim leg of a triathlon count?
  7. If you're walking down the street and find a $100 bill, what do you do with it?  I being debating...  Race entry or race travel?
  8. Favorite non-sports related thing to do?  Reading.  I love to relax with a good book. 
  9. Do you have pets?  Nope.  Used to have a beta fish named Pescado though.
  10. What is the last movie you went to a theater to see?  Anonymous, but only because it was free from gofobo.com.

My Random Questions to Those Tagged...

Colleen @ IRONDIVA
Michael @ Slowly Tri-ing

  1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?  What do you want to be now that you have grown up?
  2. If you came into a large fortune all of a sudden and were set for life, what is the first thing you would do?
  3. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
  4. Of all the places you've been - vacation, work, or any other reason - which was your favorite and why?
  5. What is your favorite time of day to exercise?
  6. Everyone has an innate fear.  What are you naturally afraid of?
  7. Which holiday is your favorite?, and why?
  8. It's Friday night and you have the whole weekend ahead of you, what do you do?
  9. What was the very last meal you ate?
  10. What is your big race this year?, and what is your goal for that race?
  11. What is the toughest aspect of training for you?  How do you overcome it?

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Neck and above = good to go. Right?

I woke up Sunday with a wicked sore throat.  Despite my initial inclination, I made some oatmeal, chugged some liquids, took my vitamin, and made some tea before heading out to my LBS to spin for three hours.  After riding, I felt great, but the throat slowly slipped back into torture throughout the rest of the day.

In an attempt to stiffle any illness, I took yesterday off; no run.  After hours of tea, throat drops, and lots of food and liquids, nothing really kept it at bay as long as spinning on Sunday had.  So today, aside from chugging OJ like my life counts on it, I've decided to fall back on one of my statutes...

"If your symptoms are from your neck up, you're good to workout."

At the end of the day, as long as I'm not worsening my condition, I need to get the training time in while I'm still in base training.  I don't want to hit the build phase without having my body used to the movement and pressures of all these repetitive movements. 

Wish me luck! 

Post Edit
I did a 30 minute ride and while my ears are still achy, my throat feels great.  
I might even push my luck and do a workout this afternoon.


P.S.  I'm working on my full racing schedule and I must admit it's quite fun amassing a laundry list of events in the area.  I'll be back soon with my list.  I'm sure I'll ask for advice on my B and C-priority race choices.


1.  Have you ever had illnesses from the neck up that you were able to "sweat out" so to speak?
I've had head colds that exercise actually did a lot to help.  

2.  What have you found works to get rid of a sore throat?

3.  Have you finished your 2012 racing schedule yet?
How many races are you doing this season?  Are you going for any big goals?

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tron Racing

Are you a fan of the movie Tron?; the original or the remake.  Are you also a cyclist, triathlete, or simply so much a fan of Tron that you'll make use of just about anything related to the movie?  Then this is for you!

I saw this first on Facebook.  Then I went and checked them out on the Podium site.  I thought it was just a nicely made photoshopped image... NOPEThese things are real!  The only downside is that they do not come with an Identity, or Light Disc.  People would definitely pay extra for that!

Not so much a fan or Tron?  No worries, they also have Spiderman.  


1.  Does anyone own a fun training or racing suit?  
From my swimming background, I've seen a lot of tux and superman speedos, but nothing for triathlons until now.  If Tron came in a tri suit, I might consider it.

2.  What's your favorite superhero/action film?
My favorite superhero would have to be Batman simply because he has no powers; he's human just like you and me.  

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Funny: Today's Groupon Deals

Everyone knows about the awesome coupon websites, Groupon, Living Social, Bloomspot, and such.  Groupon came out with THIS coupon for the Hartford, CT area that I thought you might get a chuckle out of...

Here's the first line of their description...

Losing weight is at the top of everyone's to-do list, but since climbing a ladder to get there is exhausting, it rarely gets crossed off. Do away with weight-loss obstacles with today's Groupon to WellQuest, LLC.

Crazy, right?  Climbing a ladder is exhausting?  I climbed one at least three times yesterday and it seemed rather easy.  And it gets better!  The description continues with the following...

WellQuest, the official body sculpting company of the Miss Connecticut Organization...
Not that I had much faith in any Miss [insert state or country] organizations, but they just got knocked down a couple rungs on the extremely-difficult-to-climb ladder of my faith.  And for those of you who think it stops there, the next deal comes to us on behalf of every guy who will be glued to the TV for the upcoming Super Bowl!

It's a bottle opener.  It's a universal remote.  It's a bottle-opening universal remote!  They should have double-deal Groupons so that you could get the bottle-opening universal remote for that super bowl party and then get the pizza, nachos, and decades of beer and lazy lifestyle laser treated at WellQuest LLC above at an additional discount.  God knows you'll be feeding into an unending loop!

I'm sorry, but I can't help but keep adding to this post; I found another.  The ultimate Skuuzi.

"Holding a cold beverage is a leading cause of frostbite and a less embarrassing cause of frostbite to tell your doctor about than tickling a snowman. Keep extremities extra warm with today's Groupon to Sküüzi."

In other words, first there was the glove and mitten.  Then there was the thermal bottle holder.  Now, you can have two in one while it both limits your dexterity AND makes you look like 110% more of a fool than your mother already thought you were.  Congrats, you're an idiot!

Keep checking back for more!  haha


1.  Have you ever purchased a Groupon, Living Social, Bloomspot, or similar coupon before?
I've never purchased one, but a close friend of mine works for Living Social and I hear a lot from him about it.  The idea seems great - boosting both consumer purchasing as well as business for local areas - but they never have on I'm interested in. 

2.  Does anyone else have no idea when the Super Bowl is or who's playing?
Please tell me I'm not the only one!  If you do know, enlighten a fellow athlete, tell me who you're rooting for, and let me know who's bringing the bottle-opening universal remote!  (Post Edit:  I've been informed that no one knows who's playing in the Super Bowl yet.  At least we're all on the same page now!)

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Why Endurance Athletes are Better

Shall we count the ways... 

1.  Physical fitness & longevity

Endurance athletes hit a prime and maintain that prime much longer than non-endurance athletes.  How many professional football, baseball, or basketball players do you see past the age of 40?  Yet triathletes, distance runners, and the like are racing at the top of their game well into their 30s, 40s, and beyond.  1984 Gold medalist Joan Benoit-Samuelson attempted making the Olympic Trials this past year at Boston and missed it by less than two minutes; she was 53.  Craig Alexander, at age 38 won both the 2011 Ironman 70.3 and full distance World Champions. 

And with continued activity comes a healthier body.  Just look at the post HERE that Steve @ Steve in a Speedo?!  Gross! put up today concerning a comparison of a sedentary and triathlon lifestyle.  The same comparison goes for mental faculty as well.  One day, endurance athletes will take over the world because we'll be the only ones left!

2.  Personality and Sportsmanship

When was the last time you saw a football or hockey game?  How many fights did the refs break up?  A friend sent me THIS article about the sportsmanship seen at the recent Olympic Trials in Houston.  On top of that, Chrisse Wellington, the undefeated 2011 Ironman World Champion just announced she will be taking a break in 2012 from the competition (read about it HERE).  In response, all of her major competition - Leanda Cave, Julie Dibens, and now also Mirinda Carfrae - has been tweeting "good luck" and "congrats." 

This was one large reason I got hooked on triathlons.  At my first Olympic tri, a complete stranger helped me project what to expect on my run leg and he did it while pedaling next to me on the bike leg.  Who does that?!  Endurance athletes.

3.  Outlook on life

How many non-endurance athletes do you know that train with people who are not on their team?  Take the recent Olympic trials - the top athletes have all trained together.  Take the top triathletes in the world - they've all trained together.  Yes, they have a competitive edge and they'll exploit that come race day if they can.  But in the end, each athlete is out to do their own best.  Endurance athletes know that you can't rise to the top in a matter of a year or two.  It takes multiple years before they fine tune their "game."  They play off of one another, learning from each other, helping each other better their performance. 

In comparison, how many sprint athletes have been caught taking steroids to boost their performance?  Know of any teams that have illegally spied on opponents teams to attempt getting an edge?  (hint: New England football team)  They all want an instantaneous advantage. 


1.  Any other reasons you think endurance athletes are better?  
Leave a comment and let us know!

2.  Have you donated to Autism Speaks yet?
I'll be spinning for 6 hours - that's right SIX HOURS STRAIGHT - to help raise money for Autism.  Help me out and please consider just a $5 donation HERE

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

I Got Picked for Joe Friel's Workshop!!!!

Was anyone aware that Joe Friel - author or the Triathlete's Training Bible - had a workshop coming up in Arizona?  Read his blog post about it HERE.  I opened my email this evening to see that I was chosen for the workshop!!  Awesome, right?!

...but before you get all excited for me...

I only found out because that email said the following:

"This is just a quick note to let you know that I never received a confirmation email from you for the Select Athlete Workshop so I am giving your place to someone on the waiting list. I hope all is well for you and you got my initial invitation to attend. All the best for your training."

Cue the sad face!

Umm...  Joe, think about this.  Would I really ever ignore an email that came from you?!


So on top of that, a long day at work, and two ladies at the grocery store who insisted on arguing for more than 10 minutes over coupons while five people waited in line behind them, it's time for me to go to sleep!  Today needs to be over ASAP!  It's any body's guess as to how tomorrow's supposed "rest day" is going to go.

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"But I don't wanna!"

How many times have you heard that?!

And aside from your kids, how many times have you heard that from yourself?

You wake up at your normal early time.  You know you have to get up and go for a run.  It's the only time of the day you can do it.  But your body just doesn't want to move.  The warm blankets feel so nice and your legs haven't even woken up yet, so you put your head down for just another minute.  Then that little voice inside says "Get up!  You have to go run!"

"But I don't wanna!"

I love this picture!  Mad Duck!
It's an inevitability that we athletes will have these days.  I finally had my first of the season today.  I had my rather cold 5k on Monday with a leg workout at the gym.  Then yesterday I cut my bike short in order to get some emails sent out.  I only did a half hour, but pushed the pace.  I got 12 miles in for 23.8mph (I'm itching for some warm weather to see what I can really do out on the road) and then did abs/back at the gym.  That made today a run day.  It's not a day off of work, so I didn't have to do a long run.  I just had to get up, get dressed, and get out on the road for three miles.  Three miles, that's nothing, right?  But my body fought me!

Three easy miles.  I kept chanting that the entire run.  After the first mile, my body warmed up, my stride opened up and I felt a little more into the run, but I had no desire to push anywhere past the requisite three miles.

In the end, my mind won out.  However, I think tomorrow will be a rest day before I push to my long run/bike this weekend.


1.  Do you have days you have to fight your body to get the day's workout in?  Do you make it through or give in?

2.  What's the one type of workout that you tend to dread more than the rest?
Speed work tends to be the worst for me. 

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What are the Iron-women thinking?!

Yesterday I brought up Chrissie Wellington's decision to take a break from Ironman in 2012; read it here.  My first thought was to start making bets on who would be the top pick for the 2012 Ironman World Championship.  However, after Jill's comment...

I bet all the other elite women triathletes are jumping up and down right now, huh? 

...I began asking myself the same thing.  Are they jumping for joy at the chance to be the new top contender?  Are they relieved to not be racing in Chrissie's shadow?  Or are they somewhat frustrated with having to wait another year before they can go up against the best in the sport?

I'm sure it's a mix of both.  Leanda Cave and Julie Dibens even tweeted the following...

I'm sure Chrissie's opponents will miss her out in the races.  However, I happen to remember a short clip with Mirinda Carfrae in the beginning of this past year's Kona video; if you have it, it starts at 4:30 into the video.  The summary is 'Was Carfrae the 2010 Ironman World Champion only because Chrissie wasn't there?'  You have to acknowledge that Carfrae had a 2nd place in 2009 and repeated 2nd place in 2011. 

Therefore, to some extent, I'm sure Carfrae if not other competitors would prefer to see Chrissie race so that they can truly test themselves against the best without the potential "What if's" being mentioned.

As an athlete myself who happens to have quite the competitive nature, I would certainly wish my competitor the best of luck - I always have and always will no matter whether they're racing or not.  However, I would personally always flag any win where my best competitors are not present.  It's just my nature.  So while I'm sure there are no hard feelings and everyone is wishing each other the best of luck and health, I know there must be some frustration amongst the top female pros going into this season.


1.  If you won a race, but knew your biggest competitor wasn't there, how would you feel?

2.  Anyone have news from the mens field? 
I've been so focused on Chrissie's announcement that I haven't looked up the top men to see if anyone announced whether they're racing or not this year.  Honestly, blogger and FB are my news centers!

3.  How was everyone's Monday?
Did the training week kick off with a bang or a rest day?

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Brisk Winter 5k & Chrissie Wellington Retires?!

Ok, I'll admit it.  It's January.  I'll also admit that I live in the northern hemisphere, far enough north to have plenty of experience with all four individual, very distinct seasons.  But in my defense, Mother Nature has been rather indecisive this winter.  

I got up this morning for my typical round about 3 mile run and saw it was fifteen degrees out.  A couple guys who work for my apartment complex would tell me on my way out that their car reported it was actually 6 degrees out.  Oh-well.  I've been out in colder, right?  This can't be too bad, right?  Tell that to my face while my eyes tear up and they freeze to my face. 

 The first half mile was brutal.  The air was cold to breathe and my face was burning from the cold. I debated turning around at the one mile mark and just making today a quick 2 mile run.  When I got to the mile mark though, I had warmed up enough to make a left turn and head up the hill into my meander through the back roads.  Overall, the rest of the run was great aside from the dog that scared me around 1.5 miles.  I much prefer having a dog bark at me a mile down the road so I know it's coming; NOT having it bark just as I pull in front of the house where it so cleverly had blended itself into the bushes out front.  Not cool!!

Anyways...  I tried out a new headband today too.  It's a very thin Cannondale headband that I figured would be great for cool days (not cold ones), but it work beautifully!  No more running with the bulky, non-athletic winter headband.  Thanks Cannondale!!

On a different note...


Chrissie Wellington is taking a break from Ironman?!  Read it HERE

I heard that from a friend this morning and after laughing at her, I slipped into surprise and denial.  Why would she retire or take a break now?!  Maybe because she's at the top of her game and she wants to be remembered as such; "Quit while you're ahead."  Or maybe she has other aspirations aside from Ironman.  Well, I looked it up and wouldn't you know, it's true.  Hopefully she doesn't turn this break into an early retirement, but I understand her desire to boost the image of women in sports, take some time to enjoy the Olympics, and such.

There is less than a slim chance, but Chrissie if you're reading this, you've been and will always continue to be such an inspiration to so many people.  Your presence in this sport has only helped better it in more ways than can be named.  I wish you the best in whatever you do in 2012.  If there's anything I can do to help, just let me know!  Otherwise, I look forward to seeing you rock out the 2013 season.  (You are coming back in 2013, right?)

This throws a bit question into the mix though...

Who's going to be the 2012 womans Ironman World Champion?

Place your bets!  Will Carfrae be back for a second win?  Will Dibens be healed and be able to repeat her lead from 2011 and this time, hold onto it?  Or will someone else rise to the occasion? 


1.  Do you have special winter running gear that you absolutely love?
Even below zero, I only wear my running tights, running shorts, long-sleeve dry wick, wind breaker, running gloves, and a headband.  The new Cannondale headband is my favorite piece since the old headband was so bulky.  I'd like to replace the windbreaker, but it's cheap and serves it's purpose.

2.  Who's got your bet for the woman's 2012 Ironman World Championship?
I like Carfrae's odds.  Second in 2011, won in 2010, and 2nd in 2009.  However, I'd like to think that Dibens would have won last year if it wasn't for her injured foot.  If I had to guess right now, I'd go with Carfrae, but I'll wait to see what the early season brings.

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How is the Body Supposed to Work?

Yesteday, I got up, ate my breakfast, and headed out for my now "normal" run, an easy three miles.  I start out at an easy pace and since I did a trainer ride yesterday (40 min at 21.78 mph - I'm getting faster already!!) as well as a short strength training session on my break at work, I decided to take it easy; just a breezy three miles at maybe 8:30 pace to keep my body moving.

Do you ever think "Hey, that's not how my body's supposed to work!"?

Well, I'm running, I'm running, I'm running.  With less than a mile to go I start feeling some fatigue.  I'm still VERY early in my training, so it's to be expected, right?  The odd part is that the fatigue is nowhere near my legs or my cardiovascular system.  It's my arms!  My arms are tiring out from RUNNING. 

I start thinking Ok, I know that my sport is pretty lower body dominant and that I don't spend that much time on my upper body, but this is just sad!  It doesn't stop once I'm in shape though either.   Remember the Providence and Vegas 70.3s?  I had cramps in my biceps & shoulders during the run.  CRAZY!!

Oh, and remember how I was going to take it easy today?; "just a breezy three miles..."  Yeah, I finished at 23:00, 7:40 pace.  I knocked off another 14 seconds per mile by just 'taking it easy.'  I wish it was that easy all the time. 


1.  When you run, do you ever feel fatigue in your arms?

2.  Do you ever decide to not push the pace and then find out that your body did it anyways?

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I was recently sent a link to a CNN Health article.  If you have the time, read it HERE.  I'd like to know your thoughts.  Below is my quick response I posted via Facebook.  I got mixed responses, but I know my blogosphere is a bit more biased towards the athletic/health end. 

Do you feel there is a legitimate cause for this psychiatric label?  Given the foods marketed to us on a daily basis that it was inevitable for someone to start perceiving "healthy eating" and disruptive to a 'normal' life?  


Orthorexia: A term used to describe people who develop an obsession with avoiding foods perceived to be unhealthy; believed to be a mental disorder.

WHAT?! Are you Serious?!

Since when did 'eating healthy' become a disorder? I never heard people consider those on Weight Watchers in need of a psychiatric evalution (though if you believe in commercial dieting, a nutrition class might help).

Call me "sick." I eat healthy and I know it impinges on my daily life!


1.  Do your healthy eating habits alter your daily life in any way?

2.  For those who strive for healthy diets, where would you place yourself on a scale of 1-10, 1 being "aware of healthy versus non-healthy foods" and 10 being clinically obsessed.
This is a tough one, but on a normal day I'd consider myself about a 6.  

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard.  

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Lessons

I woke up today at 5:36am.  Holy cow!  My alarm didn't go off.  Good think my body woke itself up!  That's what was going through my head.  Then the alarm went off at 5:40, 5 minutes (the 'snooze' time frame) after the alarm setting.  Aaaahhh...  I must have just been too tired to remember hitting the alarm at 5:35. 

Lesson #1
It never hurts to set two alarms.  
If only one is available, be sure to set a 'snooze' function so it continues going off.

I got up, made a lazy breakfast (oatmeal), got dressed, and opted to skip making an organized lunch.  I grabbed some nuts, a banana, clementines, and spinach and headed to work.  Within an hour of the end of my scheduled shift, I began feeling very hungry.  Not good. 

Lesson #2
Always bring extra food.
It's better to have too much than too little.

I was scheduled for half a shift today.  The plan was to clock out at noon, quickly attach the bike rack, and rush home to grab some grub and the bike in order to head to the LBS for three hours of spinning.  Even though they've only had one Sunday spin, I was SO excited to go.  When noon came around without my relief, excitement wasn't exactly how I felt anymore.  All-in-all, I never made it to spinning.  I was going to do another strength day while on my break, but I knew it'd only cause me more days of pain than it was worth the steam release.  Then I started thinking I could spin on my own once I got home.  Nope!  The downstairs neighbor works at 3am so he's in bed by 6pm. 

Lesson #3
Expect plans to change.
Be prepared with an 'alternative' to everything.

Daily Smile
Today was a rather trying day and therefore the most important thus far this year to focus on happy things.  Today it was reading.  I love getting lost in a book.  Right now I'm in the middle of Eldest by Christopher Paolini.

1.  What'd you learn today?

2.  How many of you have woken up only to realize you had been up already and don't remember it?
I've done this a few times, but very rarely. 

2.  How do you relieve stress?  Any good tactics?

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Strength Training

This is one of my many focuses for this season.  While I have proven I have a good amount of endurance, that I can withstand a good beating, and that my sport is viewed as 99% endurance, there sure is a good amount of power required.  Plus, I work at a gym for crying out loud!  I have zero excuses for not being able to get strength training into my schedule.

Today, I did my first strength training workout.  It was short.  It was also light.  Those of you who know me, should be very proud of me!  (I tend to overdo it when I start out)  I tried a few things for my legs and another few for my upper body.  In the end, it turns out I push myself much more during an upper body workout.  Since that is not my primary focus, this is all going to take some difficult concentration. 

So here's my question...

What do you guys do for strength training?

What muscles do you focus on?  What exercises do you do?  How often do you do your routines?  Do you do more fewer days a week or less more often?

Any advice is more than welcome!


1. What is your strength training regime?

2.  What's one piece of your perfect training plan that you slack on?
Strength training and adequate recovery/rest

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

I Eat Enough For Three People?!

When I lived at home during the summer and breaks in college, it was just my Dad, my sister, and me.  We would go grocery shopping once a week.  Honestly, it turned into my dad going grocery shopping and just asking us what we wanted (my sister and I worked at the grocery store so he'd just find us while he was shopping to get a list).  Anyways...  There might be a trip here and there for milk or some other necessity, but on the majority it was one grocery trip a week.  We (fine, fine! My dad...) would spend roughly $100 for our week's food.  It wasn't lobster tails and sirloins every day, but it also wasn't Ramen. 

Imagine my surprise when I finished this month's budget report and find that I spent $105/week on food in December.  I only spent $60/week in November.  Somewhere this month I spent $40 extra PER WEEK!  In college, I spent less than $40/week.  Holy Mother of Pearls!!  I'm eating more money than the entire household did in college!

In desperation, I am going to blame the holiday party, the return to non-Paleo "celebrations," and one pizza I picked up for a celebration at work.  Surely, that doesn't cover the extra $120, but it's a start.  I should also note that I made a total of 30 trips to the grocery store this month.  As surprising as that statistic is though, that's no change from previous months.  I work right next to a grocery store; it's easy and convenient to grab a couple things after work.


1.  How often do you go to the grocery store?

2.  How much do you spend on groceries in a week? (Feel free to clarify how many people it's for)
I average around $50-60/week

3.  Since training began this month, I'm not going to eat myself out of apartment and home, am I?!?!
I accept care packages and gift cards for groceries.  =D

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Two Days Down... Some 300 To Go.

I sure do love being able to train again.  The rush of energy, the internal competition, the desire to be better, better, better!!  However, I admit that I miss the few minutes of relaxation I had here and there.  haha

I get up, I snack, I run (or bike), I shower, I eat, I make lunch/dinner, and I go to work.  Two days down.  Only some 300 to go!  =P

Today was back to running.  I ran the same three mile route I did on Tuesday.  Around the 1-mile mark, I looked at my watch and I was 15+ seconds over Tuesday's time.  Cue the internal competitor.  Second cue - internal coach telling me to not overdo it on my third day!  I hit the turn around at what I thought was 10 seconds over Tuesday's time (reality: I was 8 seconds UNDER).  My coach and competitor came to an agreement and I only sped up a notch or two, keeping a watch on my breathing.  Apparently, the competitor slipped one past the coach because I finished the last 1.5 mile a full minute faster than Tuesday. 

Yesterday I hit the trainer and I don't know if it's the bike, the fact that I'm plenty rested or what, but I'm faster than last season.  I was on the bike for an hour and averaged just over 21 mph.  I felt good too.  The rest of the day was void of any leg tightness or cramping, which is not the case for run days. 

Lesson #1 
My bike training is not as intense as I believe it to be.  
It needs to be increased.

I came up with some speed work drills for the bike that I'll work into my training.  Hopefully after those are implemented, I'll have a good baseline of where to keep the speed at on my longer rides so that the intensity stays where it should be. 

Daily Smile: Yesterday I smiled for hope.  Work is looking hopeful, the CardioRaiser recruiting is going well, and training is off to a great start. 


1.  Do you find that the beginning to your season is slow or a burst out of the gate?
While my schedule keeps it reigned in, I'm finding my energy higher, speed, and endurance better than expected.  No complaints here!

2.  What made you smile today/yesterday?

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The First Run of 2012!

3.1 miles
(8:16 pace)

My expectations of this first run of 2012 were pleasantly blown out of the water!  When I got up this morning, I expected my lungs to not cooperate well, my legs to fatigue quickly, and my body to only last about 2 miles.  All-in-all, I expected it to be a rough start both today and the first week or two in total.  I was pleasantly surprised! 

It sure was cold out - only 27 degrees F - but my lungs did just fine (I'm sure those double digit runs in single digit temps in a month or so will challenge me well enough).  My legs felt great the entire time.  I did keep the pace slow intentionally though.  And other than the desire to have summer back, my body did quite well even with having chosen the 3 mile over the 2 mile run course.  "Yay!" for not having to start from a complete "Square One." 

Oh, did I mention that I saw snow today?!  But in accordance to the fact that CT does not get what I would ever call "normal winters," it didn't even cross my mind that it was snow at first.  My first thought, honestly, was ash.  It was extremely light.  I started wondering where the ash was coming from - where are they burning that much wood that close by?!  I was almost home when I realized that it was actually snow.  Shows you how much of a "winter" CT gets.

Today was also the start to finally getting used to running in my minimalist shoes, the Pearl iZumi Streak IIs.  Short runs I feel confident with; I was doing my short runs prior to the Hartford Marathon in those shoes.  However, I am a bit weary about how the longer runs will do.  Will I have to slow down my mileage increases in order to let my feet and legs adjust to the shoes?!

And to all students at Central, "When will you be back to school?!"  My runs will be much less entertaining in your absence prior to the new semester.  If any of you want to come back early, I fully support that decision.  Just sayin'. 

Tomorrow I think I will hop on the bike!
(On the trainer though.)


1.  Do you take an off-season?  If so, how does your body react to the start of the new season?

2.  What is the coldest recorded temperature that you've run outside in?
I believe it was a 6 or 7 mile run I did last winter at zero degrees F.  If it gets down that cold consistently this year, I might have to get a warmer pair of running gloves.

3.  What keeps you entertained during your workouts?  Music, people-watching, looking at houses, animals...?
I don't workout to music anymore and I love people-watching.  On my long runs & bikes, I can zone out and take in the houses and scenery better than on shorter, speedier workouts.  Swimming, however, is complete day dreaming.

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Kickin' Off 2012


Here's to new beginnings, the start of a brand new season, and continually reaching for the stars!!  While I admit that I have my own mixed opinion of "resoulutions," I wish you all the best in striving for your own in 2012.  Whether it's personal, social, financial, or professional, no matter what anyone says at any point, it's YOUR resolution and come New Year's Eve 2012, we'll all sit down and discuss how we did or didn't complete our goals.  Kick it!  ...and always feel free to reach out to your friends and family (including myself - I'm here to help) along the way.

I have no "resolution," but along the lines of yesterday's year in review, I have my fair share of goals for 2012 (I admit I can be a bit of an over achiever and an optimist).  So let's get to it.

Personal Athletic Goals for 2012 (in no specific order)
  1. Test Paleo diet while in training (I'm thinking around March)
  2. Finish an Iron-distance triathlon 
  3. Plan out the Sprint, Oly, and Half schedule for reaching the 10 hour Ironman (due mid-January)
  4. Compete in 12 races over the year
  5. Compete in at least one sprint, oly, half, and full triathlon throughout the year
  6. Compete in my 2nd Half Mary (Finish in under 1:30)
  7. Complete a marathon training schedule
  8. Get certified as a personal trainer
  9. Participate in one new type of athletic event (ie. Run for your lives)

Non-athletic, personal, professional, financial goals...

  1. Eat healthy
    • Continue making regular use of Paleo foods
    • Avoid grocery store aisles as much as possible; stay in the produce, meat, and dairy departments
    • Cook at home
  2. Curfew of 10pm except for work in order to preserve my sleep schedule
  3. Listen to my body & make recovery more of a habit
    • No putting off stretching, icing, heating, and healing in general
  4. Maintain a positive budget 8 out of 12 months
  5. Increase savings by 50%
  6. Find something to be happy and smile about every day (Daily Smile)
  7. Continue personal reading

Keep up with these and all of my previous goals under the GOALS tab above.

And to kick it all off, here's my first Daily Smile...
Q: What made me smile today? 
A: Recruiting for The A Team


1.  What did you do for New Years?
I spent the night with friends playing board games and hanging out.  Then today I kicked off my CardioRaiser team and went hiking (it was in the 50s today!).

2.  How do you feel about Resolutions versus Goals?  Do you see a difference?
To me, "Resolutions" are tied to New Years and based on statistics will be dropped and forgotten by March.  "Goals" are not tied to anything but a genuine desire to better yourself. 

3.  What's your biggest resolution or goal for 2012?
I want to finish Beach to Battleship in 10 hours.  The next ten months are going to be tough!

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard.