Tuesday, April 30, 2013

This is what happens when I'm not training

That would be Creamy Tomato Soup with a Kick on the bottom.  The second row is a new Portobello Soup.  On the top left is what's left of Brownie Round #2 and the Chocolate Avocado Pudding.  In the middle and right top is premade Turkey Burgers (recipe out this Friday).

And these incredibly delectable little critters are Cinnamon Banana-Almond pancakes.  To.  Die.  For!!

You know the ideology...

Eat to Train

What we eat fuels our body.  I truly believe that and over the past few years I've come to appreciate and embrace that fact much more than I would have ever imagined.  But I would be lying if I didn't admit the fact that the above idea still works in the reverse for me.

Train to Eat

Call me what you will.  I love food. 

** Don't worry!  Recipes will come soon.  New recipe every Friday!


1.  Do you eat to train, train to eat, or both?

2.  Any favorite recipes?  Healthy or not, I can adapt or modify them.
I'm still taking ideas and thoughts!

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Race Recon

It's always nice to have a race in your backyard.  And by backyard, I mean within a single day's driving distance.  Unless of course you have a backyard that takes 30 minutes to drive across.  Then, by all means, call it your backyard. 

Rev3 Quassy is in 5 weeks and this past weekend, while still off of running, I went on a recon mission for the Half Rev bike course.  After what felt like a horrible ride in 2012 on this course, I feel I have very little excuse not to be better prepared for this year's ride. 

Looking back over my 2012 Quassy race report, I had assumed three things.
  1. The first 10-15 miles are net downhill and wicked fast.
  2. The middle 24 miles have the killer hills
  3. The final 6 miles are uphill, which killed my legs last year

What I decided to do was break up the course into sections and tackle them one at a time in order to get an idea of how to ride them, where to push/pull back, and a better understanding of the course.  Luckily, the course winds in on itself a bit, so on Saturday, I took on the first 17 miles of the course and the last 14, which are connected by a short 1 mile road.

First 17 - Round #1
The first few miles are definitely downhill.  I was averaging over 25mph for a good portion of it.  However, my race report would have you believe that the whole first 15 miles are downhill.  Not true!  I'd say there are a number of good rollers in there!  Maybe the adrenaline of race day had me on a speed high; who knows!

16.99 miles at 17.89 mph

Last 14 - Round #1
I knew this section started out with some wicked downhills, but was impressed to find that I was able to maintain some pretty high speeds even on the flat/incline sections just prior.  Bonus!  Then just before half way back, the course merged back onto the outbound roads meaning I was back tracking to the start line.  That meant I was going up the previous downhills and down the previous uphills.  Given my previous experience on this course, I settled in for a very tough ride back.  Turns out it wasn't so bad. 

14.82 miles at 19.5 mph

Woah!!  That's quite a significant difference.  Not to mention, my perception completely reversed; the first section was actually the uphill in comparison while the finish was much more net downhill.  Interesting.  But then I thought, maybe this is just because my legs are more fresh.  Maybe on a second round the speeds will even out.  So off I wet for Round #2.

First 17 - Round #2
As I made my way back to the mile 17 mark, I started to feel as though I had a much better idea of where the uphill climbs are and where the downhills are; I broke it up by road or land marker for future reference.  It felt like race day was going to be much more laid out for me; score!

17.06 miles in 17.45 mph

Last 14 - Round #2
I considered round #2 to be a better tell of where this final section fell in comparison.  My muscles were starting to feel a bit fatigued and I was getting tired.  So I tried to keep it steady in order to mimic the fact that I'll have a half mary to do after come race day.

14.81 miles in 19.84 mph

My race strategy was officially wiped off the board and jumped into the re-evaluate stage.  Luckily, this might mean that I can ease off on the bike in the final 14 miles and recoup some energy for the run instead of worrying about a falling average speed.  However, it also means that I will have to push a bit harder out of the gate to maintain my position than I had thought.

Either way, I found the recon to be very helpful!!  I'll hit up the other 24 mile section which includes the 7 mile hill climb next weekend and from there get an idea of what to expect for time.


1.  Do you prefer races in your "backyard" or those that require travel?
Traveling is nice, but the backyard race offers much more on-course training which is a bonus for training, though it does make race day that much more trivial and less exciting.

2.  Do you train on your race courses?

3.  Have you ever looked back and found your perception of a race course to seem wrong?
Based on 2012, I had this course totally backwards.  

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Another Doctor's Visit


That's what the doc said.  I've got signs of tendonitis.  But wait!  It's not in one spot, but three tendons / junctions in my right calf; the Achilles, the attachment of the Soleus, and the attachment of the Gastrocnemius. When I get injured, I don't do it lightly!

Yay.  (Can you sense the excitement?)

After a week post-visit the last time, I started running and felt great but then had a very small tweak a week later that made me back off just out of being cautious.  Since then I've had tension showing up in my Achilles and finally decided to have it checked.  The doc was glad to see that I'm coming in very quickly and not letting things get worse.

This is what I told him.  "I have a major race in 5 weeks.  If it's possible to heal in time, I will do whatever it takes.  Just tell me what to do." 

His response: "Stretch!!  And don't do anything that hurts." 

So swimming and most cycling is still on the table.  I'm still backed off of running, but I've recently started using the Arc Trainer at work to get in some running-like work.  I did an hour the other day which turned out to burn nearly 1100 calories.  I'll be on there until I can get the pain to subside completely.  

I'm just trying to stay positive.


1.  Have you ever had tendonitis?  What was your experience?
I'm happy to take pointers from anyone with experience in this area.  I know I can rely heavily on my winter training for the endurance and mental aspect, but I'm itching to keep up the speed, so it helps to know how long others took to heal / rehabilitate.

2.  Do you go to the doctor regularly?  What would be required for you to make a sick visit?
I'm stubborn when it comes to going to the doctor.  If I get a cold, it doesn't even cross my mind to see a doc.  "All they're going to do is charge me for telling me what I already know" is my mentality.  But for injuries that affect my training, I'm much more willing!

3.  What are you up to this weekend?!  
Let me live vicariously through your adventures!

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

RECIPE BOOK: Chocolate Avocado Pudding

I know, it doesn't sound right.  Avocados in pudding?!  Really?  Then again, I always thought Pistachio pudding was the worst butchering of a perfect dessert.  So if I love guacamole and pudding, what's the worst that could happen.  Turns out, it's extremely simple pretty darn good!

Chocolate Avocado Pudding


2 Ripe avocados
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp raw honey
1/3 cup milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Salt, to taste
Coconut (garnish)
Nuts, chopped (garnish)


Cut open the avocados and discard pit and peel.  Cut up avocado and place in blender with all other ingredients.  Blend until it’s reached your ideal consistency.  Taste test and adjust as needed.  Garnish as desired.

Seriously!  That's it.  I added the coconut after having made the pudding simply because I saw it while putting things away and thought "Hey, I wonder."  It was delicious!  And if I had any walnuts or peanuts around, I'm sure they would be great as well.  Feel free to garnish away - whipped cream, sprinkles, a dusting of cocoa powder, etc. 


1.  Do you have a favorite healthy dessert?  Or do you have a favorite dessert you'd like to see converted to be healthier but taste just as good?
Let me know!  I love to experiment!

2.  What is one thing you thought would NEVER be part of a dessert?
I've used avocados for lots of things, but never as a dessert item.  Beans also have surprised me.

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Did my muscles die?!

You know that feeling when your muscles simply cannot withstand the pressure you're putting on them?  They're screaming at you "Hey, slow down!  Take it easy!  Back off!"  You're pushing on, but they simply are not responding with the gusto you think they should have.  Much like kids when given vegetables. 

I'm used to that at the end of a grueling workout, in a race, or at any point in the day prior to a much needed rest day; not ive minutes into a workout.

It's been roughly 6 months.  

That's how long I've gone without swimming.  As of yesterday, I broke that streak and hopped in the pool for what I hoped would be an easy 1500.  Ha!  The first two laps might have been.  After that, it was a struggle and a steep downhill on Form Ave.  Let's not even talk about attempts to open water sight! 

I swear I used to be a swimmer; four miles a day, 6 days a week, 10 months a year.  But apparently 6 months out of the pool erases that progress.  Ugh!!  I was hoping for something better, but it is what it is.  I foresee a lot of pool hours in my near future if I want to keep my swim as my best leg of the race.

On the bright side, I'll sleep much better now with swimming back on the schedule!!


1.  What is the longest you've gone without a workout in one of your main disciplines?
I ran all winter, but I took 3 months off of cycling and 6 off of swimming.  Next year I might alter that a bit.

2. If you're a triathlete, which is your weakest discipline? 
Swimming has always been my best while running has vastly improved.  However, with today's swim outlook and my calf injury, the bike may close the gap this year.

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cooking Extravaganza!!

As you know, on Saturday I got in a 70 mile ride.  Click HERE to read all about the experience I had with truckers!!

Yesterday (Sunday), I met up with a friend who wanted a push for her 35 mile ride.  We made it 36 and change at a rough18.5 mph average.  My legs were quite resistant in the first ten miles, but they loosened up and I rocked a good 20 miles of that ride while breaking the speed limit twice!

Is it bad that I kind of want to get pulled over for speeding on my bike?  I don't want to pay the fine, but I'd like to have the speeding ticket or warning framed on my wall.

But the bigger portion of my Sunday was spent doing this...

I woke up to the dining room table, love seat, and a plant blocking the hallway out of my room.  Thanks roommie!!  Haha.  Recently we've re-initiated some low-key pranks and each is a bit more than the previous. 

Once the furniture was put back, I made a quick trip to the grocery store for avocados, and I made it to the kitchen, I got the above ingredients out.  A friend of mine had surprised me last night with an incredible batch of cupcakes the night before where she replaced the eggs and oil in a cake mix with dry pudding mix.  They were delicious!!  In thinking ahead to that, I decided to step back and try something a couple of my clients had once made, Avocado Chocolate pudding.

I was quite impressed!  It turned out great and was very simple though our blender is not the best for making pudding.  A lot of it got stuck beneath the blades.  I might have to look into a processor or different blender for future use.

While looking up recipes for the pudding, I was struck by another recipe I happened upon.  I will not be giving out the recipe until I've perfected it (aka, it didn't turn out the way I wanted), but suffice it to say, they're a healthy brownie recipe inspired by the Avocado Chocolate Pudding.

This time I used a food blender (not a processor) and it worked much better for getting all the gunk out of the crevices, but it certainly is not the most adequate tool for the job.  In the end, I had made too many adjustments to the recipe I used and it turned out too moist, so it'll require a retry next weekend with more starch.  It tasted great though!!

And finally, after having a suboptimal try with the brownies, I opted to give this Portobello soup a try.  WOW!!!  It was amazing!  I am personally a big fan of mushrooms and just the smell of the roasting portobellos was enough to make me fall in love.  I have a few things I'd like to try with the recipe, but overall I am pleased to say it will be on the recipe book soon!



1.  Have you ever had a prank war?  Any good ones you could suggest?

2.  Any healthy recipe suggestions?  

3.  What did you do this weekend?

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Trucker's Experience: My first outdoor ride of the year

This morning was supposed to be my first long ride outdoors for this year.  I was going to meet the local bike shop crew for 60 miles.  Unfortunately, when I woke up at 6am, it was still raining.  I knew I wasn't willing to ride in the rain and shortly after that, the ride was cancelled.  But if I've learned one thing from Ironman training, it's this:

Always have a back up plan.

Plan B was a group ride that afternoon.  The rain stopped just before 8am and I had been invited to join a group for a 35 mile ride a bit north of me.  I made some pretty good use of my time as well.  I packed some stuff that I had been neglecting for awhile, reorganized my bookcase, quick cleaned my bike (I found out they haven't turned on the outside water let alone not putting out the building hoses, so I was limited in my cleaning abilities), and sent a bunch of emails.  Then at 11am, I hopped on the bike and rode 22 miles up to meet the group. 

Why not?!

If they're only doing 35, the meet up is 22 miles away, and I was planning on 60 for the day, what's a possible 70-80  miles?!

I met up with the group and low and behold we had to wait for one other cyclist who was just getting back from a 50 mile ride up to Mass with his group.  So at least I'm not the only crazy!

We ended up riding only 25 miles, but it was fun.  And I had two very interesting experiences.

Experience #1: Semi Truck Driving School

We've all seen the driver's ed cars with the "student driver" label plastered all over it warning you this car may make sporadic changes in direction and speed with no notice. 

Haha.  Have you ever seen that label on a semi truck trailer?! 

SCARY!!  Let me tell you, I slowed down and just let them do their thing.  If I can barely trust a student driver behind the wheel of a mid-sized car, I can't imagine what horror stories a semi truck driving school has to offer.

Experience #2: The Amazed Truck Driver

No, not a semi-truck.  Just a regular crew cab pick up.  I was 2.5 miles from home and I pulled up behind a car at a stop light.  A guy in a truck pulls up beside me in the other lane and rolls his window down.  He turns to me and says "Dude, you're crazy!!"

Automatically, I'm thinking this guy thinks it's too cold to ride (it was low 50's), but before I can respond he continues "I gave up riding a bike when I was a kid."

Oh, so you think I'm crazy for just being on a bike, not the fact that I'm riding in this weather in nearly complete hot pink attire through the shady back streets of Hartford.  Interesting perspective.

I went right ahead and struck up a short conversation with the guy.  I told him I was just short of 70 miles for the day which just about floored his jaw line and that the longest i had done was 120 miles.  Then he asked "Do you do those bike marathons?"  Haha.  Oh, the view of an outsider.  I wasn't about to go into details, so I just told him that I did.  He had a good laugh at that.  The light turned green and he wished me a safe trip home.

I had seen plenty of other riders out on the road during my ride and every one of them I'm sure would have the same sentiment if not more specific and borne of a personal experience, but it was the well wishings of the person who was obviously from outside of the cycling and athletic community that made my day.  I'm glad to know that not only cyclists and athletes are watching out for the safety of others on the road.


1.  Are you getting out to enjoy the weekend weather?  What are you doing?

2.  Have you ever seen a semi truck student driver?

3.  Have you had any interesting conversations with pedestrians or vehicular motorists lately?

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

RECIPE BOOK: Creamy Tomato Soup with a Kick

Today's recipe is another soup (I'm kind of on a soup kick right now) from Barefoot Contessa's book Foolproof.  This is her Easy Tomato Soup and I agree, it's quite easy.  However, I took the liberty to make some changes and give it a kick.

As a kid, I absolutely LOVED Campbell's tomato soup.  Give me a can of that and grilled cheese or peanut butter sandwiches and I was set!  Mmmmmmmm...  But as I've grown, I've come to like soups with a bit more to them.  This simple recipe takes those childhood memories and adds a little grown up spice to it.  I hope you enjoy!

Creamy Tomato Soup with a Kick


2 large sweet yellow onions
3 – 4 large cloves of garlic; minced
4 cups vegetable stock
1 large can (28 oz.) tomato puree
1 large pinch of saffron threads
1 – 2 Tbsp basil (chopped if fresh)
½ Tbsp crushed red pepper (to taste)
2 cups small pasta
1 cup heavy cream


In a large pot, add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.  Stir in the chicken stock, tomato puree, saffron, basil, and crushed red pepper.  Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente or even less.  It should not be finished cooking yet; it will finish cooking in the soup.

Drain the pasta and add it to the soup. Stir in the cream, and taste test.  Continue cooking the soup at a simmer for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently and adding seasonings as needed.
  • For chunkier soup, used a 28oz. can of diced tomatoes, a 6oz. can of tomato paste, and 12oz. of water.
  • For a stronger tomato flavor, add tomato paste.  Use water to maintain desired consistency.


1.  What meals do you remember as part of your favorite childhood memories?

2.  Has your taste and choice of food changed as the years go by?
I've certainly opened myself up to a wider range of foods and because of that have a greater appreciation for foods that I shunned as a kid.

3.  Do you have any favorite go-to recipes hiding in your kitchen?
If so, I want to know!

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I am a Runner. I will Endure.

Over the past 28 hours, I've heard a lot of reactions to what happened at the 117th Boston Marathon.  The following sums up my favorite perspective.

We are runners.
We are endurance athletes.

As a graduate from Boston, coach, and runner, it is impossible to say that my whole body doesn't ache with sadness for what runners and spectators alike had to endure this past weekend.  Words will never be able to adequately convey the feeling of having the marathon's ever-present joy so quickly replaced by the horror of a bomb explosion.  However, amidst the rubble, blood, tears, and racing bibs, I take comfort in knowing that as quickly as the mood was changed in Boston this past Monday, the healing process began just as fast. 

Thanks Coy for the image.

As you watch the videos on the news, take note of how quickly the Boston Police, National Guard, medical staff, and volunteers as well as other runners rush TOWARDS the bomb site to help others.  Look at how many yellow jackets and first responders are wheeling victims past the finish line towards the medical tent. 

In the hours since, it has simply been an exponential process.  The news has given us stories of countless runners and spectators as well as the stats for how many people have flocked to the hospital to give blood.  From friends in the area, I've heard stories of locals ushering people into their own homes; total strangers were offering their phones, bathrooms, food, and homes to those in need.  There is even an official list of Boston locals offering places to stay and meals for those in need.  

Then come the runners themselves.  As a community, we are not runners just for the heck of it.  You don't run a marathon for giggles.  Ok, it might seem like some of us do, but there's always a deeper meaning. 

We run for health, both mental and physical. 
We run to stay sane. 
We run to keep things in perspective. 
We run in order to challenge ourselves. 
We run because someone once told us it was impossible, or we thought it was impossible ourselves. 
We run because we can and other don't have that privilege. 
We run to empower ourselves and others. 
We are not a community that shies away from adverse situations; we endure.

If we see a hill, we don't stop; we change cadence and push on.  If we get a cramp, we alter our gait and change our breathing.  If we hit the wall, we take note and push through it.  We revel in the bad days because we know that because of them we can have great days.  And we NEVER back down from a challenge.  Simply put...


As an example of how we have already begun to bounce back, here is a list of the actions of our community I've uncovered so far

  1. BC students have organized a 5 mile walk to finish the marathon. 
  2. Chicago Bloggers are organizing a 5k run to raise money for Boston relief. 
  3. The new Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola has offered a donation for every pass to him this season; $100 for a completed pass and $200 for an incomplete.
  4. We Will Finish the Marathon has planned a re-run of the Boston Marathon route for Monday May 6th.  
  5. RunJunkees put together a virtual run to honor those affected as well as show unity amongst runners.
  6. Multiple fundraisers have been set up to help the victims (I will refrain from posting links in order to avoid promoting any scams.  Please look into a donation group before sending money).  
  7. And BuzzFeed has plenty more for you!
And it's less than 2 days after the event.  

Therefore, while my heart still aches for those affected by what happened, I know that we are already back and in force. 

Boston, you are forever in my heart and prayers.  Be safe and keep on running!!  I now have even more of an incentive to push for my BQ this fall in order to be a part of the crowd that shows how strong this community is at the 2014 Boston Marathon. 


1.  Is everyone you know alright?

2.  Have you ever considered the possibilities of what could happen to you in a race (injury, accident, etc.)?
As I posted in Facebook, I always take a moment before a race to accept the potential risk I'm taking in order to do what I love.  

3.  Are you shooting to run the 2014 Boston Marathon?

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

RECIPE BOOK: Hearty Minestrone Soup

One of this year's resolutions was to compile a list of recipes to keep on hand.  I made that resolution because I am very much a creature of habit.  If I have three meals that are easy to make and taste good, I'll make those for the next two months and nothing else.  Eventually I'll get sick of one of them and branch out to something new.  After I find a replacement, I'm good for another two months.  As you see the pattern, I don't branch out that often and also don't introduce a wide variety in my diet.  The worst part though, is that I would completely forget about what I USED TO make when it came time to switch something up.  So it was time to see about slowly changing that.

In February I tried a number of new plant-based protein options which helped kick start this part of my resolution.  I tried Tofu, Tempeh, Falafel, and black beans.  But thanks to a member at the gym, I finally got a real start on the recipes.

A member at my gym had made a batch of Minestrone soup and brought me some once her kids wouldn't eat it anymore.  I admit I was skeptical because I don't really like Minestrone soup, but I thanked her and took it home.  Somewhere about a week later I was short on food having not made it to the grocery store, so I opted to give the soup a try.  OMG!!!  It was great!  The next thing I knew, she gave me the recipe and I tried it myself.

Right from the start, the original recipe, which comes from Barefoot Contessa's book Foolproof, was a success.  I have since made a couple changes in order to make it a bit more healthy and more to my own taste.  

Here is my version:

Hearty Minestrone Soup


1 large yellow onion
2 carrots, diced (~ 1-1.5 cup)
3 celery stalks (~ 1-1.5 cup)
2.5 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 tsp fresh basil, chopped
28 oz. can of whole, peeled roma tomatoes
4 cups vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
Black pepper
15 oz. can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
4-8 oz. fresh baby spinach


Heat a large pot over low to medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, thyme and basil and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.  Add the wine and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, stock, the bay leaf, and salt & pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender.
In the meantime, drain and rinse the beans. 

Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and heat through. The soup should be quite thick but if it’s too thick, add more stock. Add the spinach and cook just until the leaves are wilted; approximately 1-2 minutes.  Taste test and add seasonings accordingly.  

Let soup sit for 15-20 minutes to let seasonings and flavors to even out.  Reheat if necessary before serving.

  • Adding the carrots to the pot first for 5-10 minutes can help soften them more equally.
  • Use of tomato puree or tomato sauce increases the tomato flavor of the soup.  


1.  Do you have any good recipes up your sleeve?
I'm all ears for new recipes!

2.  Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by a food you thought you disliked?  If so, do share!

3.  How is your hump day going so far?
It's recovery day for me, so it has been a very "relaxing" day (aka, self-massage, yoga, stretching, repeat!).

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

TTT: Ultra cooking toughness (It's not what you think)

JFK 50 Registration

Call me crazy.  No really, it's ok.  Everyone else does already.  As of yesterday, my registration paperwork and fee were in the mail for the 50th anniversary of this race.

Am I nervous?  You bet!  I still am not back to running 100%, I have two Ironmans to get through, a stab at BQ'ing one month prior to this race, and this will be my very first ultramarathon.  *big sigh*  But hey, this one is just for fun (aka, I haven't solidified my time goal yet). 

There's no use in getting nervous yet though.  The registration is all by mail, so I have to keep an eye on the website to see if I make it onto the registered list.  Once I'm on there, then I have cause to worry.  Haha.  But if anyone lives in the Boonsboro, MD area and would like the opportunity to house this very kind gentlemen, I'll be accepting invitations shortly.  =D

Recipes Needed!

Part of this years resolution was to start keeping lists of meals that I make.  The fact is that I am very much a creature of habit and could stick with three meals for as long as 3-4 months, but I'll never remember one that I used to make before.  Therefore, I needed to actually write them down and keep track of them so that I had a reference. 

I have been testing out a few recipes already and I have two that I'm already excited to share; the first will be out tomorrow.  What I've done is add a new tab to the top of the page; "Recipe Book."  When I find a new recipe that I love, I'll blog it and list it under that tab for quick referencing. 

So PLEASE feel free to send me your favorite recipes; breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, dessert, and anything in between.  I'm open to trying anything.  Ok, almost anything. 

Mental Toughness

...the fourth discipline of triathlon.  Or the fifth, maybe sixth depending on how you're counting. 

Given my calf injury, I've been hesitant to riding outdoors just yet; if it acts up I'd prefer not to be X number of miles away from home.  So last weekend I hopped the trainer for a 40 mile ride.  While you can guess that it sucked, it turned out to be a great workout.

It took me 2:20 to finish, but I was mentally ready to bail just before I hit the 1:30 mark.  I really was in the zone all the way until at least 1:15 or 1:20 and then it just went downhill (most likely the wall getting tapped on).  This left me with 50 minutes of a real mental workout.  Wow was I glad when I saw that 40.0 number!!  But more than that, I was really proud of making it through the workout. 

The leg is getting better and I'm ready to start testing it outdoors, but I was so struck by the long trainer ride that I may very well hop the trainer again this weekend for my 50 mile ride.

Am I crazy?!

...moreso than normal?


1.  Have you ever had races that you register by mail instead of online?
It seemed so archaic to have to mail it in.  However, the price for a money order was better than Active's processing fee!!  =D

2.  What's your favorite food?  You don't have to be a wanna-be chef to suggest food ideas!!

3.  How far have you gotten on the trainer and/or treadmill?
40 miles is my distance PR on the trainer, 4 miles for the treadmill.

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


This month's challenge was spurred by my recent calf strain.  This past winter was a full running season.  I trained for the Goofy Challenge, a marathon PR, and 5k PR, and added in a couple other road races along the way.  Throughout that time, I was well aware that my calves were tight most of the time.  And by calves, I mean the soleus, the inner calf muscle.  My gastroc, the muscle you see as two heads on the calf, is rarely tight on me.  I had spent time trying to stretch it out, but in the end defaulted to accepting that this was simply how my body was going to be.

Then I pulled the muscle.

Lesson learned.  If you know you're consistently tight, address it before it becomes an injury.  Therefore, this is my challenge for the month of March...


Am I taking the month of March off?  Haha.  Heck no!  I've got races to prepare for.  But I'm going to prepare for them in a smarter way.  I'm going to streamline my training and make sure to maintain a few recovery measures in order to keep my body from being so consistently tight.  So here it goes; what are the details of this month's challenge?

The goal is to be relaxed and not tight prior to every workout. 
  • Any muscle tightness must be addressed and alleviated prior to working out.  If I'm unable to do so, then a recovery session is my workout for the day.  
  • Any muscle tightness post-workout must be addressed by stretching and noted prior to the next workout.
  • Every post-workout shower has to be a contrast shower
  • Every major workout (typically on weekends) must be followed by yoga. 
  • Yoga (50-75m session) must be included three times in the weekly regime.  
  • A hot bath must be included once a week (most likely on recovery days).   
  • Foam rolling must happen twice a week.
  • The magic stick has to get used at least twice a week.  
  • The computer is now off limits after 9pm in order to allow for more sleep. 

Beyond those, I've debated adding in regular massages though that starts hacking into my finances.  While it may help immensely, I may stick more to my 2-3 visits a year for now.

Since I saw the doctor for my calf, I've been very diligent about my workouts and recovery.  Prior to the injury, I had done 3 yoga sessions for the year.  I did 5 last week alone.  I haven't felt this relaxed and...  "even" in awhile and I rather enjoy it.  The focus on recovery has also helped me step back from my 24/7 approach to training.  I slowly added cycling back into the workout, but attached yoga to any long rides to make sure I was staying relaxed.  So far, so good.  I rode 40 miles this past weekend without an issue (and on the trainer to boot!). 

Here goes nothing!


1.  How do you recover?

2.  Do you have any muscles that are consistently tight?
My calves are always tight. 

3.  What's the farthest distance you've made it on the trainer and/or treadmill?
For me, either is an exercise in mental toughness!!  I've made it 40 miles on the trainer and 4 on the treadmill.

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Drum Roll Please...

Remember this?

That was me last Friday; lying up in bed with a wicked pain in my calf.  Yes, apparently my Boston education is rubbing off on me with the use of "wicked" not to mention the Red Sox pillow.  Thanks mom! 

Anyways, I knew the pain was in my soleus based on stretching and ice seemed to really help the pain.  So I had that ice pack attached to me quite a bit!

SATURDAY - Day 1 with No Training
"It's ok.  It's just like a rest day."

As I told you before, I luckily had a trip planned to my mother's for Easter which allowed me to easily avoid the trainer, my running shoes, and anything else exercise related.  We hung out, laughed as one of my mother's dogs barked at me like an intruder, and went to look at one of the local historical site; the Saratoga Monument.

My mother has a growing interest in history and insisted that I see this.  There were three statues of American Generals in the monument, each facing their own cardinal direction.  However, the fourth direction, South, is empty, left that way because the fourth person, General Benedict Arnold turned traitor during the Revolutionary War. 

Take THAT General Arnold!

SUNDAY - Day 2 with No Training
"Starting to get itchy from the extra energy."

On Easter morning, we went to church and then spent brunch with this guy.

We went to an Easter brunch where I hobbled around and managed to eat WAY too much food.  Typical family gathering!  Other than a greek yogurt, I didn't eat anything else until breakfast Monday morning.  I drove back to CT Sunday afternoon and stayed off my foot as much as possible.

MONDAY - Day 3 with No Training
"Officially starting to bug out.  I need my fix!!"

I hobbled around coaching and then hobbled around some more at work.  I started looking up calf strains after a tip from Peter at Yadda Yadda Yadda: My Boring Triathlon Blog who has torn his calf before.  It started looking like I'd be out of running for 4-6 weeks.  With Rev3 closing in on 8 weeks away, I was getting nervous. 

I decided that despite the improvement, it'd be best to get it checked.  Luckily I'm good friends with a doctor at the gym.  I asked him if he had a sports medicine doctor he could reference me to.  After explaining my symptoms he turned to me and said the following.

"Haha!  You're looking at the guy who can get rid of that in a week!"

That's all I needed to hear!  I took his office number down and was in high hopes.

Dr. Salomone is a Chiropractor and Acupuncturist and he walked into the room already knowing what it was I had and how to get at it.

Official Diagnosis 
Pulled Soleus
Official Treatment 
Soft tissue mobilization using Graston Tools and acupuncture
Official Advice 
"Stretch and if it doesn't hurt, bike every day." 

That certainly isn't too hard to follow!  The Graston Tools, however, are quite painful and that's what they're meant for.  They're used to get soft tissue to move around, breaking up scar tissue and allowing blood to get back into the affected area so that repair can be sped up and movement can be restored. 

And then some Nazi Shock Therapy.

The best part of the whole thing is that we tested a few movements both before and after the treatment and there was improvement already.  Yay!!

While I'm still not back to running, I am walking perfectly fine and back on the bike!  I've also done yoga four times this week already.  I have this month's monthly challenge already lined up!  With some hope, I'm looking at another week of recovery and potentially light running workouts and then by the 15th I'm hoping to start getting back to running. 

It's a good thing I trained all winter and already have multiple big mileage runs under my belt for the year!  I'll be relying on that big base for the next couple of months.


1.  Have you ever had an injury surprise you out of the blue?

2.  What do you do to recover from your workouts and races?
I'm a fan of contrast showers/baths, foam rolling, the magic stick, self massage, regular stretching, and yoga.

3.  Have you ever been to a Chiropractor or Acupuncturist?
I hadn't before and as the stereotype goes, my parents were very skeptical of the whole thing.  I've always wanted to try it, but I never had a reason (nor the expendable income), but now I'm VERY glad I've done it.  If I had any skeptical thoughts beforehand, they're gone now!

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A LOOK BACK: March 2013

Total Swum:  0 yards!
Total Biked: 223.3 miles
Total Run: 101 miles
Total Strength: 7 workouts
Total Yoga: 2 sessions

Greatest weekly swim mileage:  nada!
Greatest weekly bike mileage:  63.55 miles
Greatest weekly run mileage:  32.8 miles
Greatest weekly no. of strength training sessions: 2

Average bed time: 10:35 pm
Average time to get up:  6:18 am
Average amount of sleep:  7:30 (getting a roughly 30 minutes less sleep this month)
Average RHR:  45.7 (1.5 beats lower than February!)

Monthly Goal - Track & Analyze Nutrition (calories & macronutrients).
As you saw yesterday, after lots of looking at nutrition labels and data entry, I have a good baseline on my nutrition now!  Onto experimenting with altering my macronutrient distribution.

2013 Racing Resolutions

  1. Race 12 races throughout the year - 6 races completed!
  2. Break my 5k PR (currently 19:30 from 2010) - Completed! 17:37 at the Sandy Hook 5k!
  3. Run my 3rd Half Marathon - Completed Colchester Half Marathon
  4. Run my 2nd Marathon (for time) - Completed Hyannis Marathon in 3:18:17
  5. Run back-to-back marathons - Hartford & Newport in October
  6. Race an ultramarathon
    1. Run a 50k - WMAC Fatass 50k
    2. Run a 50 miler - JFK 50 in November
  7. Break my Lake T Sprint PR (58:06) - Starts in June
  8. Race an Olympic Tri - Litchfield Hills Oly in July & Lake T Oly in August
  9. Race Two Half Irons - Registered for Rev3 Quassy & HITS North County (both in June)
  10. Race an Ironman - IM Lake Placid in July
  11. Race a new event (i.e. Spartan Race)
2013 Training Resolutions
  1. Ride a double century (200 miles) - No way I'm doing this indoors!
  2. Once started, maintain at least one swim, one bike, and one run each week - Success for March!
  3. Maintain strength training sessions throughout the year - Success!
  4. Make use of group training sessions - One group run so far
  5. Do not ignore recovery - My current injury would indicate I've failed.
  6. Maintain data log - Success!
2013 Personal Resolutions
  1. Do 12 things that scare me throughout the year - One down!
    1. #1 - went on my first date in three years (don't expect a blog entry about this one)
    • I am taking any suggestions!!
  2. Obtain a 2nd coaching position - Currently coaching two private clients and planning two training programs 
  3. Make time to visit my sister in PA 
  4. Compile and keep a list of recipes / meal ideas - 4 Recipes attempted & 1 stuck.  More to come!
  5. Continue eating healthy - Success! (Ok, except for Easter)
  6. Continue cooking from home - Sucess!
  7. Continue personal reading - Finished 'A Game of Thrones' and now on 'Clash of Kings'
  8. Put 10% of my income into savings! - FAIL!  I spent 2% over my income this month.  I had to pay the GEICO renewal.  Better luck next month!

1.  How was your March?

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Nutrition Analyzed

This month's Monthly Goal was shortened to a week due to having not chosen the goal early enough (go ahead and call me lazy!) and the amount of work involved.

Analyze My Nutrition

How many calories do you eat every day?  
How much protein, fat, and carbs do you eat?  
How does your current diet compare to the suggested diet for your gender, activity level, and sport?  
Are all of your meals and calories consistent throughout the day?  

If you have no idea, join the club!  I could have taken a guess as to how much I ate in a day, but I would never have been able to guess how that divided up by macronutrients (protein, fats, and carbs).  So with no clue how I was doing nutrition wise, a keen interest in knowing where the heck to start, and some scientific geek-ness in my back pocket, I did some research.

As I stated HERE earlier, I found that an endurance athlete's macronutrients should be distributed to 15-20% protein, 20-25% fat, and 60% carbs.  In order to verify that this wasn't totally off, I spoke with a registered dietician.  She admitted that each athlete can be very different and requires more details and testing to better approximate, but said that the above values are a good starting point. 

With that lined up, I took out a piece of paper and pen, stashed them on the counter in the kitchen and started writing down EVERYTHING I ate for one whole week; Saturday through Friday.  I kept track of how much I ate, the serving size, and the calories & macronutrients per serving. 

WARNING: The inner science geek is about to be unleashed.  
For the sake of brevity,
feel free to look at the pretty graphs
and browse the conclusions & thoughts. 

Caloric Intake

Weekly Average: 3710 calories
Lowest Daily Intake: 3329 calories on Wednesday (my rest day)
Highest Daily Intake: 4406 calories on Sunday (16 mile run). 

Next, I analyzed my daily caloric intake broken down by meals.

Average Breakfast: 802 calories (range: 760 - 963)
Average Lunch: 1209 calories (range: 504 - 1607)
Average Dinner: 1699 calories (range: 891 - 2623)

Macronutrient Distribution

Average Protein %age: 20 (162 g)
Average Fats %age: 36 (93 g)
Average Carbohydrates %age: 52 (557 g)

  • I currently consume an average of 3700 calories per day
  • The caloric size and range of my meals increases throughout the day (Breakfast < Lunch < Dinner)
  • Protein consumption is at the top of the recommended range; 20% in a 15-20% range.
  • Fats consumption is above the recommended range; 36% in a 20-25% range
  • Carbohydrate consumption is below the recommended value; 52% with a 60% recommendation
  • I was not surprised at the absolute value of calories.  I expected right about 3500.
  • I had expected breakfast to be the most consistent meal by calorie count.
  • I had not expected breakfast to be the smallest meal by as much of a margin as it was.
  • While I would prefer to increase the proportion of breakfast, I can't do that without pushing back my workouts. 
  • I was surprised that the protein content of my diet is not higher.  I had previously been worried it would be closer to 30% and I'd have to try and lower it.  I'm happy to find I'm fitting right in.
  • I was surprised at how high a percentage of fat is in my diet.  Due to this, I will be exploring more low fat and fat free food options in the future to see how they affect me
  • I was not surprised to find that my carbohydrate intake was low.  After having tried Paleo and cutting out a high carb meals that I had previously eaten regularly (pasta, sandwiches, etc.), I've considered my carb intake lower than normal.  However, I will try to add more carbohydrates to my meals to see how it affects me.  
  • I've already added 2 pieces of toast to breakfast and found a boost in mid-morning energy!


1.  How many calories do you eat on average?  If you haven't checked, how many do you THINK you eat?
I had guessed around 3500 and was pretty close.  I presume that value will increase to 4500 come mid-May (I may repeat the exercise at that time to check).  

2.  Do you keep track of or are you in any way concerned/weary of your macronutrient intake?
I had never been before, but this will give me a basis from which I can experiment from and have actual numbers to come back to.

3.  Who was excited to see graphs?!  Don't be shy!!
Science geek right here!

4.  How was your Easter?!
I spent the weekend with my mother and step father eating way too much food. 

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve.