Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I am a Two Time Ironman


I SURVIVED.  It wasn't a pretty race.  Some parts were great, some manageable, and others were just horrid.  And of course in hindsight, I'm looking ahead to which race I'll do next year (Boulder has unfortunately sold out), but throughout the race I kept asking myself one question which I never got a full answer to...

"Why do I do this?"

Sometimes you never really know. just do.

So while I'm in the midst of unpacking (yes, I'm still unpacking my gear), cleaning, getting life back in order, and recovery, I will work on the race report.  Don't you worry, it'll be up!


1.  Why do you race? (and what do you race?)
I race to see how much I can do and what I can accomplish.

2.  Let's take bets!  How long until you think I'm back to training?
I give myself two weeks before being back to real training; a week until I'm back to recovery workouts.

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

REVIEW: Kickstart Endurance

Over the past 8 weeks, I've been trying out a wide array of nutrition products thanks to the help of Kickstart Endurance, the one stop shop for endurance nutrition.

As you can certainly guess, some products were great, some were okay, and others just didn't make my cut.  But to be honest, how many different products did you have to ask about, look up, search out, and test before you found what worked for you?  It's part of the game.  Thankfully, Kickstart Endurance is the place to go!  There's no Google searching for stores that carry one product of five you want or driving around to all the various stores that might carry it in your area.  Kickstart Endurance has it all and whether you're looking for a specific type of product or just looking to try something new, they've got you covered.

But enough of that!!  Onto the products!  Let's see what made the list. 

Picky Bar - Need for Seed
As the brain child of pro triathlete, and staunch aviator sunglasses supporter, Jesse Thomas, Picky Bar is a very natural, non-processed nutrition bar made with nuts as the main ingredient.  If you're looking for a granola type bar that doesn't use chemicals, artificial sweeteners, or ingredients you can't pronounce, Picky Bar is what you want.

Personally, I've loved the whole idea behind Picky Bar.  However, I'd have to say I was not as impressed with the product.  I tried the Need for Seed bar and while it tasted great and sat very easily in my stomach, it was a little dry and needed water moisten it up.  I am definitely going to try the other flavors to be sure it wasn't just the one flavor, but overall a decent product.

Final Say: The 'Need for Seed' flavor didn't hit the spot, but I'd bet there is a flavor out there that might.

Quest Protein Bar - Peanut Butter & Jelly
Quest has a full line of gluten-free, low-carb protein bars with quite a variety of flavors!  I dare you to tell me you can't find one in a flavor you like.

As someone who has tried a number of post-workout or meal/snack-replacement protein bars, I will tell you that most of them carry the horrible protein after taste.  Not Quest!  They've definitely nailed it with the protein and flavor.  The only thing you have to get used to is the bar's density; though it'd be great if you have a kid with a loose tooth.  Take a big bite of it and yank on the bar.  Tooth fairy, here we come!

Final Say: Not for me.  It has good flavor, but is too dense.

OSMO Nutrition Active Hydration Drink - Blackberry
OSMO is a hydration system based on the science of fluid absorption in the body.  Using this concept, Dr. Stacy Sims, the chief research officer developed what she believes to be the best engineered drink for maintaining optimal performance during exercise by optimizing the absorption of nutrients.

Aside from the technical details, I took the OSMO out with me on a mid-distance ride and found a few things right off the bat; the flavor is light, it is sweet, and it's very smooth.  The flavor was most likely "light" due to having 22oz. of water instead of the recommended 18oz.  The sweetness level reminded me of Gatorade & Powerade.  And the flavor itself was exactly what Smuckers Blackberry Jam would taste like in liquid form.

Final Say:  Great smooth drink, but not my choice of flavor.  I'll try other flavors!

Acli-Mate Mountain Sport Drink - Elevation Orange
Elevation is an issue for anyone who doesn't live in it regularly.  From what I've heard, it takes three weeks to start getting acclimated to large changes in elevation such as a racecation to Boulder, CO.  Acli-Mate makes a drink to specifically help with the adjustment.  It's quite an interesting product.

To be honest, when I opened it, I expected the powder to smell like a mix of ground up Flinstone vitamins and Airborne.  Neither were the case; it smelled just like oranges.  Mixing now with the suggested 10oz. of water, the drink packed a lot of flavor, but was very smooth.

Final Say:  Good to go!  I'll have to get this for my Ironman Boulder trip next year.

Pocket Fuel - Coconut Cherry
Pocket Fuel is a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, corn-free, vegan, and 100% natural nut butter product meant for anyone with an active lifestyle. 

Astronaut food.  That's what my original thought was when I picked up the small, silver wrapped thing filled supposedly with some sort of gooey substance.  My second thought was "Cherry?  Really?"  It's not my go-to flavor, but what the heck, let's try it.  HOLY!!!  If you like almond butter, you are going to LOVE this!!  Mine was a little tough to get out of the squeeze packet, but that may have just been me fumbling around at mile 60 of my ride.  haha  Trust me though, I kept it in my pocket and cut it open with scissors when I got home.  I wasn't going to let this deliciousness go to waste.  The flavor is great as well unless you really are looking for a strong cherry presence (sorry cherry lovers!).

Final Say:  Yes please, may I have another?!

VEGA Sport Pre-Workout Energizer - Acai Berry

VEGA is the birth child of professional triathlete Brendan Brazier.  It's a dairy, gluten, and soy-free supplement based on the idea that a clean, plant based nutrition plan should be just as convenient on the go. 

I will first say that I have never before taken a pre-workout, supplement or drink.  VEGA mixed well with the recommended 8oz of water and smelled great.  However, the flavor was very overwhelming.  I diluted the mixture to 16oz. and while it was more manageable, it was still too strong for my taste.  Just as with those little 5 Hour Energy drinks, I think the flavor woke me up enough, so I can't say if the contents had much of an affect.

Final Say:  Thanks, but no thanks.

Mazama Bar - Wild Berry
The Mazama Bar is a high calorie energy bar for the active, outdoor lifestyle; climbing, hiking, biking, running, ski, explore, and more.  Owners Brittany & Derek Manwill decided to create a bar for their adventures in order to have "a tasty, compact, healthy, meal replacement that would last on the trail."  

With nearly 400 calories, this bar is a beast!  I took it along on a long ride (along with plenty of other nutrition options) and was quite pleasantly surprised.  The bar looks like a very all-natural energy bar and smells amazing.  The flavor comes a close second, but is very satisfying.  I actually had to keep myself from eating the entire thing all at once by reminding myself that there were 390 calories.  Other than that slip, it was great!

Final Say:  I'll take another!  It's a great long-ride nutrition bar or just a snack.

Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration - Orange
Skratch Labs is a low calorie, all natural sports drink that has a lot of fun pointing out the fact that most sports drinks out there are ridiculously artificial.  You're going to want to see their commercial at the bottom of THIS link.  It's hilarious!

With a not so stellar line of up of drinks so far, I was not super optimistic when I mixed up the Skratch Labs drink.  Once mixed, I even had to pull the container back out to make sure I had gotten it all; it mixes up to be quite clear.  I expected a watered down flavor without much to it.  It sure tasted like water in terms of texture!  The flavor was good and light as well.  All-in-all, I was quite pleasantly surprised.  This was a drink I could definitely see myself making use of.  However, the low calorie bit would force me to eat more during training.  That might be okay on the bike, but not on the run.

Final Say:  Add this to the list of drinks for further rigorous testing!

Saquito - Vanilla Goji
Saquito is "vegan, gluten free, low in sugar, high in omega 3 fatty acids, offers complete protein and is made with 95% organic ingredients" including the main ingredient Chia Seeds. 

I really had no idea what to expect from this...  is it a bar?, a mix?, what is it?!  It's called a "mix," which means it has no binders.  This allows Saquito to have a low glycemic index, but an odd first impression for this user.  "Just go for it."  I ripped open the RESEALABLE pouch and found a finely mixed....  well, mixture.  It's what I would expect to find mixed in with oatmeal in the morning.  And best of all, it tastes great though I am suspicious that I might be a bigger fan of something without the Goji.  Either way, I would eat this again.  The only major downside?, chia seeds always end up stuck in my teeth!!

Final Say:  Odd to think of eating while in a race, but quite good. 

Shower Pill - The Athletic Body Wipe
The Shower Pill is a body wipe for those who don't have time or a facility to get a full shower in before returning to your normal life, whether that be getting to work, picking up the kids, or just getting in the car after a gym session (who wants their car to smell like gym sweat?!).

Finally, the non-nutritional product.  The first thing I liked about the Shower Pill is that it's non-alcoholic meaning it won't dry your skin out.  It also smells clean.  Not bleach clean, but a nice, non-perfumy type of clean.  Soap-like clean.  However, the one downfall I have is that after my long workouts or particularly my intense ones or even a race, I feel i would need multiple Shower Pills in order to wipe off the profuse amount of sweat I have.  But for short workouts or a gym session, I think they'll work perfectly.

Final Say:  This would be a great product to have on hand 'just in case,' but I'm not running out to grab a pack.

So there it is.  A whole slew of products, testing a wide array of new nutritional (and one non-nutritional) options for the athletic lifestyle.  As I said, some were great, some were okay, and a few just weren't my cup of tea (which my favorite is gingerbread by the way).  However, the common link is that all of those products came from the same place.  I didn't have to go to 10, 5, or even 2 places to get the lot.  They're all one click away at Kickstart Endurance.

Free yourself from the multiple trips or clicks it takes to get your nutrition.  Check out Kickstart Endurance.  You won't regret it.


1.  Where do you get your nutrition?
I've done the local bike/running shops, REI, grocery stores, chain sports stores, and online.  It's a hectic process keeping track of where everything comes from so I remember where to go when I run out.

2.  Do you use any of these products?


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

RACE REPORT: HITS North Country 70.3

June 29th, 2013

Here is the bulleted version...

  • Drove up Friday night and stayed one exit down from the race site.  There aren't many hotels in the area, so a lot of people had to drive a ways.  
  • Spent the night with a fellow triathlon club member and his gf who thought we were both nuts.
  • Woke up at 3:45am & out the door by 4:15am.
  • Breakfast - 4 cold scrambled eggs (no microwave!), banana with pb, and 2 pieces of bread.
  • Arrived at race site at 5:00am, just as transition opened.
  • This was the first race I waited until race morning to get my race packet.
  • Everything is a sticker for HITS; bike sticker, helmet sticker, your wristband is a sticker, you have swim cap stickers, transition bag stickers...  A little overkill on the sticker frenzy HITS.
  • I sipped some Powerade and had half a Clif bar while I waited for the swim.
  • Did a 100m or so warm up, filled the wetsuit to avoid any cold shock, and then we exited for the start.
  • Mark Wilson, the race director, gave us some final instructions and we went out waist deep (which was quite far).
  • We started 7am on the dot!

  • I started just behind a few athletes I knew were great swimmers.  I had hoped to draft them.
  • As we started, the lead pack took right off!  To be fair, they had debated about who was going to be first out of the water, so maybe they were being competitive right out of the gate.  Yes, that's what I'm telling myself.
  • As I realized they were going to be out of reach, I found swimmers to my right and veered in their direction to draft.  We were neck and neck for awhile and then they dropped back.  I was comfortable at my pace, so I kept going and looked around.  No one!
  • 3-400m into the race I found no one to my left or right.  The lead pack was 100m ahead and the pack behind me was 25-50m back.  With a goal of drafting, I found myself in no man's land.  Great!
  • About half way to the first turn buoy, we finally lost sight of the lake floor.  No joke, you could have stopped and stood up at any point until then.  It was odd.
  • With 50m to the first turn buoy, a female made her way up to me and I began drafting.  After the buoy, she took off.  I would end up exiting the water in front of her, but she was swimming too fast at that point, so I let her go.
  • The turn buoys were a dark red and tough to see in the morning light on Lake George.  We could site the penninsula for the fist buoy and the splash of the lead back for the second and third, but the final buoy on the beach at swim exit might as well have been deflated.  I sighted the white expo tents instead; much easier to see.
  • About 200m after the first buoy, a couple of guys came up on me and I began drafting.  About 100m later, I gave up when I realized that between them and me, we get zig-zagging each other.  If felt I was swimming more side-to-side than forward.
  • After the final turn buoy, the two guys had drifted far right, the female drifted far left, and I kept second guessing where I was headed.
  • We started feeling waves closer to shore which made me not queasy, but gave me a little vertigo.  
  • The female to my left turned back in and we were neck-and-neck until we got shallow enough to stand.  I did a number of dolphin dives, pulled well ahead, decided I was tiring my legs out, and went back to swimming.  Once my arms couldn't swim without touching the bottom, I came back up and made my way to shore.
6th out of the water

  • I ran the 100 yards up to transition (a parking lot), tore off my suit, put on my sunglasses and helmet, grabbed my bike and was gone.
  • The announcer was yelling out people's race numbers and names as they came through.  He messed my name up of course, but I thought that this was a cool touch though it'll get tougher as the race gets bigger.
Darn you Ken!
(1st place swimmer & my genius friend beat me)
  • Holy c*#&!!!
  • You have just enough time to get your shoes on, strap yourself in, and get a drink / gel.  Then you climb.
  • ...and you climb.
  • ...and climb.
  • ...all the way to mile 5.  Then you get a downhill.
  • If I had taken a towel with me, I would have thrown it in.  No warning will get you ready for that bike start!
  • Mile 9 to the turn around at 28 are nice rollers; a somewhat scenic, but altogether nice ride.
  • There is one or two good hills aside from the first and last monster hill.
  • The last hill on the way back (your nice downhill on the way out) is 4 miles of continuous (no joke!) incline.  There is no break for 4 miles.  But you get a killer downhill 5 miles into T2.
  • Aid stations (mile 15, 28, and 41) had HEED and water.  I believe the turn around (mile 28) had gels as well.   
  • I thought an out-and-back would be boring.  It was actually fun.  On the way out, I got passed a lot, so I saw a lot of people.  As they started coming back, I yelled out there places which kept me occupied; I found I was #33 at the turn around and came into T2 #30 or 31.  You also got to see all your friends (if you have any racing) while on the course.  
  • My computer registered 59.6 miles instead of their 56.
  • My goal was to take it easy - something around a 17mph average.
    • The first 5 miles were killer and my quads were tight/cramping.
    • At mile 15, my pace was great and the legs felt relaxed.  
    • Finished a little later than I expected.
    • Coke went down fine as my last bottle.
  • My nutrition goal was a gel every 20 minutes.  I was able to stick to it up to roughly mile 35.  
    • I was sick of gels and my stomach felt bloated / full
    • I skipped one gel and then went back to it out of testing need.

50th place 

  • Announcer guy got my name right (as I corrected him) and I was in and out in that time.
  • Fastest T2!


If only that was the whole race!

  • The course is a GREAT set of good sized rolling hills.
    • It's challenging without being impossible.
  • My testing went succesful!  
  • I had pulled back on the bike and had coke as my last bottle in order to see if I would run better.  If so, I'll give up 10 minutes on the bike to save 20 on the run!  It worked.
  • I ran an average 6:43 / mile pace for the first 4 miles and felt strong and consistent.
  • Then my body/mind started shutting down.  I would run the same pace, but take walking breaks.  
  • I pulled out a gel and my stomach didn't want it; it still felt bloated from the bike.  
  • I took in a coke and then threw it up.  I didn't feel sick, just my stomach didn't want it.
  • At one aid station, they had no idea what "salt pills" were, so I trudged on.  
  • Finally at the turn around (staffed with adults, not children), I realized I should ask for Endurolytes, not salt pills.  Obviously these people are not well versed triathletes.
  • Salt pills got me going again.  Walk / Run with more running this time.
  • I made it out at 7:45 pace and back in 7:24 pace.
    • Therefore, running 4 miles at killer pace only hurt my pace by forcing me to walk more in the subsequent miles.
    • Once I was refueled, I ran better albeit more of a walk / run. 
7:35 pace

25th overall
3rd in M25-29 Age Group

  • Got some snacks (cookies, chips, water).
  • Got in the short, but long-lasting line for a massage
    • So worth it, but it took at least an hour.
  • I found I snagged 3rd place in my age group!

  • Afterwards, I drove from Hague down to my mother's north of Albany.  Sunday was her birthday, so the trip worked out perfectly!!
  • Recovery started with the casino buffet where I ate WAAAAY too much.
  • Then on Sunday we went kayaking where I got a worse sunburn in 2 hours than I did all day Saturday.
  • And then before heading home, we sampled the local pizza.  Yes, I ate the entire pizza!  Delicious!


  • Volunteers and Mark, the race director, were all on hand for questions and help.  They were AWESOME!!  You truly felt like family at this race.
  • Clean water.  Lake George is awesome!
  • Small field (easily maneuverable); We had 161 in the half. 
  • There was an announcer at the Transition/Finish yelling out our names. 
  • Each athlete has a stool in transition for their own use.  I used the ground, but it was a nice touch anyways. 
  • The out-and-back format actually worked well.  Competitive athletes could see how far ahead/back they were and non-competitive athletes had something to break up the monotony of the ride.
  • The run course was incredibly fair; good rolling hills with a steep hill at the turn around.  Very challenging, but not impossible course.
  • The aid stations were well set up; everything was prepped and ready!!  
  • Transition is pretty close to the water, which allowed for post-race recovery swims.

  • Not many hotels in the area.  You do have a bit of a drive on race day unless you stay at one of two hotels on site.
  • Packet pick up is on Friday at a restricted time.  You're better off waiting until race day.
  • Everything is a sticker.  Your bike stickers, helmet sticker, stickers for your swim cap, your wristband is a sticker...  It's a little much.
  • Once on the bike, you've got just enough time to strap your shoes on and then you climb for 5 miles!  I would venture to bet that quitting crossed everybody's mind.  I can't imagine doing two loops for the full.  In all fairness though, it was 5 miles of up, flat, up, flat, up... 
  • On the way back, however, that same hill was 4 miles at a steady incline without a break.  THAT was tough!
  • The run course does wind through a driveway for the local YMCA, which got hectic with YMCA members walking by, traffic, racing athletes, and such.  It felt like you were racing through the center of a city block. 
  • No one at the aid station knew what "salt pills" were.  It wasn't until I asked for "Endurolytes" that they said they had them.  I can't knock the volunteers, they were awesome, but they weren't seasoned triathletes either.

The last thing I will drive home is that while I'm unsure whether I'll return to Hague next year (only because that hill on the bike scares me), I will certainly be sticking to HITS races.  The feeling of being so inclusive and like family was well worth the money, trip, and experience.

Thank you HITS!!  Keep doing what you're doing!


1.  Have you ever raced a HITS race?
North Country was my first, but I have Hunter Mountain in September!

2.  Do you prefer the big name races or the smaller race companies?  
Some smaller races/companies are phenomenal, but the big companies have more to work with.  It's a toss up for me depending on the distance and specific races being compared.

3.  Do you ever sign up for races just as a way to test something?, nutrition, pacing, clothes, etc.?
This was not the first time I've tested something new, but it is the first race I've done specifically for that purpose.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Let the Taper Begin!

As of Monday, July 15th, I am in my third taper of the year, this time for Ironman Lake Placid.  Two weeks to rest and hone my swim, bike, and run. 

It's exciting and nerve racking all at the same time.  I enjoy the 6 hour bike rides, the 2 hour runs, the crazy brick workouts, and two-a-days.  I feel good being exhausted from my workouts.  I'm comfortable with the physical and mental drain they provide.  And my members/clients enjoy knowing that I've worked out before they do; otherwise they tend to get a harder workout themselves.

However, I am also looking forward to having a little more free time to catch up on the things that have been neglected over the past few months; laundry, cleaning my room, this blog, reading, sleep, napping, and such.  Even having an hour or two more each day will let me slow things down so I don't feel rushed 24/7.  

I can't say I have my taper skills down to a science yet, but it is always a great experience to see all the hard work I've put in transition into natural speed.  There's always one workout during my taper - usually an short, easy run - where I calculate my pace afterwards and get a little shock at being some 30 seconds per mile faster than I would have guessed. 

Lake Placid will be Ironman #2 for me.  At this point I doubt I'll do it again next year, but I have been looking at Rev3 Cedar Point for 2014.  We'll see what happens.  I may need some time post-race just to remember why I like doing these things.  haha


1.  How long do you taper before a big race?  
Ironman is 2 weeks for me, marathon is 1.5 weeks, half marathon/ironman is 1 week.

2.  Is there at least one thing that gets neglected during your training that gets attention again once you're in a taper?
Cleaning is probably #1 for me.  I spend weeks pulling clean clothes out of my hamper because I don't have time to fold them.  My room is an organized mess most days and the kitchen/bathroom gets spot cleaned whenever something starts looking horribly bad, but never cleaned fully top-to-bottom.

3. When is your next big race and what is it?
Ironman Lake Placid, two weeks.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

IMLP Training Camp Report

I know this is quite delayed, but hey!  Better late than never.

Every year, my triathlon club (HEAT) takes a trip to Lake Placid for a training camp.  Many of the athletes are training specifically for Lake Placid, but some are just there for a good training weekend or to enjoy the comradeship of the group and the tons of other athletes out on the course.

I headed up Friday, June 21st, right after work.  A friend, Paul, and I packed my car with our two bikes and all our gear and made the 4 hour drive up to Lake Placid. 

I am amazed at how much my Fit can... well, fit in it.
We arrived around 8:30p, missing the Friday meeting, but there really wasn't any information that we didn't already know.  We went straight to the hotel and laid out our stuff for the weekend.  It was going to be a long weekend of beating up our bodies.

Optional 4-5 mile run

1.2 mile swim
56 or 112 mile bike
2-3 mile run (or more if desired)

Swim clinic
1.2 mile swim
13.1 mile run

We went to bed early.  I was up by 5:45a or so thanks to my internal clock.  I got some food and once Paul was up, we headed down for our 7am swim in Mirror Lake.

Mirror Lake

We had a group of maybe ten of us heading out.  The water felt a little chilly at first (67 degrees), but was nearly perfect!!  There were buoys in the water for the skulling races on Mirror Lake.  Thankfully I wasn't the fastest swimmer in the group, so when the lead swimmer stopped and started treading water to tell everyone to turn, I took note of the location and headed back to shore. 

1.2 miles
15:13 out
15:12 back

Thankfully, the water was so incredibly calm and I ended up swimming faster back than I did on my way out.  Bonus!!  Then it was back to the hotel to change for the bike.  Once ready, we met in the parking lot and headed out.  Thankfully, we had Sonic Endurance on hand for training help and increasingly important as the day continued, our roaming aid station.  Shaun from Sonic Endurance took our extra bags and we headed out.

We had the option of making a single or double loop of the Placid bike course.  As you head out of town, there are some decent rollers.  Then you hit the major downhill going all the way to the turn in Keene.  The downhill goes for approximately 7 miles at 25-50 mph.  You can get some crazy speed down the hill!!  Once you make the left in Keene, you have the closest to a flat section you'll get.  There are some small rollers, but all the way from Keene (mile 15) to the end of the first out-and-back section (mile 36) is flat.  Then you take a right and start climbing.  The final 20ish miles are a net gain in elevation, but opposed to what some other athletes had me believing, there are plenty of flat or downhill breaks.  I had expected 10-15 miles of continuous uphill.  Part way back to town, there is another short out-and-back of roughly 2 miles each way.  After that, you go through what is called Baby Bear, Mama Bear, and Papa Bear; the final hills going back into town.  I only recognized Papa Bear from the descriptions they gave me, so apparently they're not as bad as I had believed beforehand.

I made it back to town in roughly three hours.  I tried my best to keep the first loop comfortable so that I didn't put myself in a position of hitting the wall on the second loop.  So far, so good.  I stopped with everyone else and got more fuel from Shaun before heading out again.  

On the first loop, I had been taking a gel every 25 minutes and sporadically taking in my Perpetum and water.  On the second loop, I took along my Coke and switched to my clear glasses as some storm clouds started darkening the sky. 

Early on the second loop, the guys I was with took off, leaving me to try and pick up my pace.  I tried compromising with my own desire to control the pace and ended up doing my best to go my own pace as it started to sprinkle and the number of athletes out on the course dropped.  At this point, I started taking swigs of my Coke as my mind started wanting to give up on the ride.  Happily, it worked and it pulled me back into it.  This time down the crazy hill, I tried to go without my brakes; didn't work.  I had to use them on the last couple of S-turns. 

I caught back up with my buddies on the flat section, but due to the rain, they skipped the out-and-back and I was out on my own for the last ~32 miles.  At the end of the first out-and-back, I was SOOOOOO glad to see Shaun drive by.  I had about 1/4 of a bottle of water left and 20 miles of hills ahead of me.

Savior Moment #1

The final hills went well and I kept taking swigs of my Coke.  I picked up that trick from Mirinda Carfrae hoping it would help my run.  At this point, all I could tell was that it helped keep my mental game in check and tasted so good after over 5 hours of gels, water, and Perpetum.

112.24 miles
18.34 mph

I switched into my running shoes and headed out for an undetermined distance run.  I headed out and went out the short out-and-back portion of the run course.  I made it out, took a quick break while watching a photography session for a wedding (crazy things you'll see on course), and then headed back.  On the way back, I passed a friend who looked like he was having some trouble.  He helped me out on the bike, so I stopped and walked with him all the way back to his hotel.  Once he left, I headed back out for more of a run.  Overall, I clocked time for 2.64 miles and then did a little extra jogging/walking to warm down.

2.64 miles
6:36 / mile

Official opinion on Coke - AWESOME!!  That, or I paced my bike well enough to give me plenty of energy early in the run.  Who knows how long I'd be able to hold that pace, but I felt great!  Once showered and dressed, we headed to dinner.

With a much better habit of getting in my fuel on training and racing trips, I hadn't felt very hungry as we went to dinner.  However, once the food was in front of us, I couldn't believe how much I ate!  Three full plates of ribs, chicken, potatoes, and corn and I only started to feel full.  Then it was time for much needed sleep!

Sunday I woke up at the same time and we headed down for a swim clinic prior to our regular swim.  We worked on swimming around buoys, tips on drafting, exiting the water, and then stroke analysis.  The cool part was that it was coached by Jeff Stuart, a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic swim team (the year we boycotted the Olympics), and the record holder for the 10-mile swim.  This guy was a little crazy, but damn is he a good swimmer.  Not only that, but he refuses to wear a wetsuit even down to 40 degree water.  Wow!!

Here's a video that Paul took with his GoPro.  It's a great look at what a swim start or even just the triathlon swim looks like.  And that is me in the red/orange cap ahead of Paul.

Then out for another 1.2 mile swim.  This time, I was the fastest swimmer, so when I got to the turn around point, I stopped and waited for the other swimmers.  Funny, around 3/4 the way out, I looked back and they were a buoy or two behind me.  When I got to the turn around, there was no one.  After a minute or two, our swim clinic coach came out and swam back with me. 

1.2 miles
13:53 out
14:31 back

When I got back, everyone else had turned around where they assumed the turn around was.  That at least explained why I was left alone out there.  I thought I was the only one with enough energy to make it and I had started by wondering if I should cut out early.  Haha

Finally, we went back and changed for the run.  One loop of the 13.1 mile course. 

You head out from the oval down the hill and past the horse barns to Riverside Rd.  That whole stretch is flat to downhill.  Riverside Rd. is a roughly 3.5 mile out-and-back with rolling hills.  Then you turn back towards town, climb two major hills, take a right at the oval (yes, you go past the finish line... 3 times!!), do a short 1 mile, flat out-and-back, and then repeat. 

And we're off!!
I was able to make it nearly to the first turn around on Riverside Rd. without stopping; roughly 6 miles.  The problem with that road is that it twists and bends constantly, I didn't know where the end was, and I was told two separate times that there was "only about half a mile more."  Well, that works once, but not twice to keep me going.  After that turn around, I slowed to a walk/run and started taking my Coke.  This time around, I discovered that while the boost helps to keep me going, my stomach doesn't like it much.  I don't feel sick in any way, but I throw up the Coke within the next half mile.  I may have to look into caffeine salt pills or another drink. 

Either way, I made it back to town and just as I'm half way up the final hill, Shaun comes by.

Savior Moment #2

He yells out the window "You good?"  In  my head, I'm thinking "How in the world do I look good?!  The last fill up I had was at least 3-4 miles ago.  I'm horrible!"  All I got out was "WATER!"  I refilled my handheld, took a swig of gatorade and was off.  I had previously decided that the extra turn around was out of the question, but now replenished, I couldn't say no.  Unfortunately, I was racing the clock on this one.  We had a late check out at the hotel for 12:00pm.  After finishing and checking back in with Shaun, I got to the hotel at 11:45am.  15 minutes to shower, pack, and get out!

14.87 miles
8:38 / mile

"How did you go nearly 15 miles on a 13.1 mile course?"  My thoughts exactly!  We had an extra 0.5 mile at the start I knew, but I found out that the marked turn around on Riverside Rd. was well past where it should be.  Thanks!!  So I could have cut out the last 2 mile out and back and been perfect. 

Overall, the weekend was well worth the trip.  I got first hand experience with the course, made my own conclusions on how to attack it, got some tests in with the Coke, got a lot of miles in, and had fun with some triathlete friends. 

I'll be back next year!!


1.  Have you ever been to a training camp?
This was my first experience and a great one!

2.  Do you take trips to check out the race course you're racing on?
Either way, what's the furthest you'd go to check out a course?  1 hour away, 3 hours?...

3.  I know many of us have used the Coke on the run course, but has anyone had experience with Coke on the bike?

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Lot of Time Alone to Think

That's what we have as triathletes, especially long distance triathletes.

We pound the pavement and spin our wheels in the sun, snow, rain, moonlight, and whatever else Mother Nature throws at us.  We head out no matter what the season or time of day.  And then there's the swim.  Only those with those swimming ear buds know what it's like to swim with something other than the sound of your own internal voice in your head. 

We have a lot of time to think.  

The thoughts go in some interesting directions at times, but every once in awhile, they turn in and even become helpful in more than just the "distract me from the monotony of what I'm doing" way.

This past week, I went with friends to our usual Friday evening open water swim.  We had about ten people and went a total of 1.7 miles.  The only respite from the monotony of "stroke, stroke, breathe, stroke, sight, stroke, stroke, breathe..." was the turn around stop at the island we swim to which only lasted two minutes.

On the swim back, I started getting a tightness/ache in my left hip; it might have been the hip flexor but without land to stand on and test it, I wasn't sure.  I started thinking about how odd it was to have an asymmetrical tightness (really, that's not odd at all) and then started listing all the asymmetrical oddities with my stroke.

  • My left hip starts to feel tight late in a long swim.
  • My right arm enters the water much smoother.
  • My left arm occasionally skims the water when I get tired/lazy.
  • While I do breathe bilaterally, I prefer the right side.
  • I always sight off of a right-side breathe; sighting with a left-sided breathe is very awkward.
  • My right arm falls short of completing a full stroke (exits the water slightly earlier than my left).
  • My left arm tends to pull deeper through the water.

As I made note of the last two, I had an epiphany and went straight to work.

First, I stretched my left arm out and held it, taking note of the position of my hips and legs.  Then, I kept swimming while consciously deepening my right arm's stroke, making my left arm's stroke more shallow, and paying attention to the positioning of my hips. I was actually surprised.

What I had discovered (I think) is that my left arm travels deeper into the water which tilts my right side higher than what occurs on the other side.  This would explain why my right side breathe is less hampered by waves (my head is able to tilt higher) and why my left hip bothers me later on in a swim (it gets stretched more by the extended left side stroke). 

In the end, whether I fixed or even identified anything, I was able to distract myself enough to make it through the swim without going crazy.

Mission accomplished!


1.  What happens when you have time to think to yourself?

2.  How was your weekend?

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A LOOK BACK: June 2013

Total Swum: 11,036 yards ( Miles)
Total Biked: 405 Miles
Total Run: 64.3 Miles
Total Strength: 9 Workouts
Total Yoga: 4 Sessions

Greatest weekly swim mileage: 4224 yards, 6.9 Miles
Greatest weekly bike mileage: 218.1 miles
Greatest weekly run mileage:  23.1 miles
Greatest weekly no. of strength training sessions: 2 Workouts

Average bed time:  10:37 pm (10 minutes later than May)
Average time to get up:  5:01 am (1 minute earlier than May)
Average amount of sleep: 7:04
Average RHR: 50.1 bpm (An increase of over 5 bpm!!  Either I'm not recovering or I'm over working)

Monthly Goal - None
No monthly goal this time.  I need to change this pattern.  This is two months in a row without a goal. 

2013 Racing Resolutions

  1. Race 12 races throughout the year - 10 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 in December
    2. Run a 50 miler - JFK 50 in November
  7. Break my Lake T Sprint PR (58:06) - 57:56 on June 20th
  8. Race an Olympic Tri - Litchfield Hills Oly in July & Lake T Oly in August
  9. Race Two Half Irons - Raced Rev3 Quassy & HITS North County this month.  FIRMman & HITS Hunter Mountain are in September.
  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) - This may turn out to be a post-Ironman ride.  
  2. Once started, maintain at least one swim, one bike, and one run each week - I've done well this month!!
  3. Maintain strength training sessions throughout the year - I've slipped on this one!  Getting back to it this week.
  4. Make use of group training sessions - I went to a full training camp! 
  5. Do not ignore recovery - My calf has improved immensely, so SUCCESS!
  6. Maintain data log - Success!
2013 Personal Resolutions
  1. Do 12 things that scare me throughout the year - Still only 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 - I am currently coaching/training 4 clients, running a studio class 1x/week, am in planning stages of a second class, and have a fall/winter training program started with 4 people signed up so far!
  3. Make time to visit my sister in PA.  This one's looking harder every month.
  4. Compile and keep a list of recipes / meal ideas - The Recipe Book tab is underway!  New recipe on Fridays.
  5. Continue eating healthy - Success!
  6. Continue cooking from home - Sudcess!
  7. Continue personal reading - Finished 'Clash of Kings' and onto Joe Friel's 'The Triathlete's Bible'
  8. Put 10% 25% of my income into savings! - First off, I am changing my goal from 10 to 25%; I feel 10% is too well within reach.  Anyways, thanks to the timing of my paychecks, I got three this month, so I went WAY over my goal.  I saved 54.1% this month and have totaled 31.4% so far this year.  That will be helpful going into the month of Lake Placid!!  Next month I expect to be negative.

1.  How was your June?

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Post-Vacation Vacation

Have you ever gone away on vacation or a trip and then when you got back felt like you needed a day or two at home just to get reorganized and ready for going back to your normal schedule?


Maybe I should blame my pre-race planning, but it always takes me up to a week to get back in the swing of things once I get home from a big race.  It's not that I need the time to mentally switch gears or even unpack.  I just need time to prep everything for my normal day. 

I raced the HITS North Country Half on Saturday and spent Sunday with my mother and step father; it was my mother's birthday.  But after getting home last night at 7:00pm, I unpacked, got a quick snack, got caught up on emails, made a to do list for the next day, prepped a workout session for the following morning, and then finally gave in and went to sleep instead of staying up.  When I got up super early, I went straight to coaching, then went grocery shopping.  I came home, cooked, did half the dishes, did a quick clean of the car (that still smells from this weekend), and then got caught BACK up on emails.  I then wrote this post instead of jumping into my race report because I still need to clean my bike (it's making a weird noise I think is from the grime on the chain), fold two sets of laundry, shave, shower, make lunch and dinner for work later, finish the dishes, deep clean the bathroom, and then write up my HITS race report along with the long overdue report from IMLP training camp the previous weekend.  As you can guess, it's not all going to get done today!

No matter how well I plan, I always seem overwhelmed with daily chores when I return from a big race.  I guess it's back to the drawing board for the pre-race planning!


`1.  Have you ever taken a day or two off from work after you return from a trip/race?

2. How do you plan for a vacation, trip, or the like? 

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve.