Friday, April 11, 2014


I haven't said this in a very, very long time: today was a good run.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Nantucket Hero Tri report

So clearly I did not drown during the swim. In fact, it turns out that the water was so shallow that I could have stood up at any point. I'm not making this up, we had gotten word from the Sprint racers the day before that it was really shallow and they had basically walked it the whole way. This picture is a good indicator:

Baywatch Nantucket?
 Ok, now stop checking out her butt and look way off into the distance. Notice how no one is swimming? Yeah, it's that shallow.

But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Wednesday before the race I picked up my bike from Fast Splits where they gave it a great tune-up, fixed my loose head gear and put on my brand new racing tires. Now I was ready to race! By the time I got home from Newton though, my truck was less than enthusiastic about the upcoming trip to the Cape. Actually, my truck was smoking from the rear wheel. Not a good sign. It looked like it was some axle grease coming from a leak so I brought it to the shop where they told me it would be done on Friday. Yeah! And then they called me on Friday and said it was much worse and wouldn't be done until next week. Which left me with no ride to Hyannis the next day. Long story short, thanks for the extra stress! But I found a ride.

Naturally the night before the race I was all sorts of manic. Unlike other races though, this time I had a house full of people as an audience to watch as I obsessively went over every detail of my race prep and needlessly stressed out over the fact that my bike was in a tennis court 3 miles away and I couldn't do any last minute checks on it. Aargh. Somehow I accepted this fact and went to bed around 10PM. And fell asleep around, oh, never, pretty much. I hate that.

6:30AM and it was time to race. Everything was laid out in transition and I began to put on my wetsuit, which I managed to rip twice while doing so. We walked down to the water and started wading out when my wave was up. I had no idea what to expect at this time but I felt like I was ready for it.

That's me third from the left, ready to dodge the sharks
As I said earlier it was shallow. At first we walked for a bit until it was finally deep enough to swim, then we all just dove in and swam. Not much to say about the swim except that I found it hard to get in a rhythm so I kept breathing every second stroke and that I was way too far outside. Otherwise the buoy came up surprisingly quickly and I eventually made it back to shallow water. Once my hand hit the bottom I got up and ran/waddled and started pulling off my wetsuit, which was sort of a mistake because it was like 100 yards from shore and it got deeper in the middle there. But I bounded out of the water in 23:24 and passed Mel and Michelle on the long way back to transition.

Now about that transition; I'll just leave you with my T1 time, 4:23. You could say I was being cautious about making sure I had everything.

Off to the bike and I was determined to do well. And did I ever! I got out there and started passing people like it was my job. The roads were quite good and there were only rolling hills at worst. After the first out portion I got into a pace with another guy and we kept trading positions. It was great because it helped me keep up my pace and spurred me on to stay focused and quick. The bike portion was by far the best part of my race and I think I did a good job of making it fast enough to move me up in the rankings without killing my legs for the run. Total time for 25 miles was 1:37 which was the 16th best bike of the race!

Here I come into the turn around, looking good
The one part on the bike I did not plan well was hydration. I drank way too much in preparation for the run. T2 went much faster and I ran out of it preparing to kill the run. All that fluid in my stomach though was sloshing around and man was it uncomfortable. But I soldiered on and set a nice pace that I thought would give me a good time. Actually, I found that besides the stomach issues I was feeling pretty good going into the run. At this point I knew I was doing well and being that running was my strong point I was confident in a good performance. Of course it then promptly started to rain which turned into a deluge which left some great rivers and lakes all over the road. I'd already been wet once that morning though so why not twice?

Other than the forming cramps in my legs, which thankfully held off, tho only part of the run that worried me was the second half of the first loop. It was different from the bike route and I found myself all alone running down an unfamiliar road. The volunteers had told me to go this way so I just kept running, getting more and more worried that I had made a mistake. Finally I came up to a water stop so i knew I was on the right path. I grabbed some water and kept running when I heard her call out to me "Go left! Sorry!". I quickly veered left and was back on track. An uneventful second lap ensued and after 48:10 I was crossing the finish line and had completed my first triathlon! My run time was a bit disappointing but I felt that I had done well overall.

Turns out that I did better than I had expected.The official times came in and I had placed 18th overall and 2nd in my age group. Shocking to be sure, but pretty awesome too.

 With the work done it was time to enjoy a week on Nantucket. Nothing but beaches and the Cisco brewery.

Friday, July 19, 2013


Two days until my first tri. So how do I feel about this? Let's see. I'm ten pounds overweight (damn you birthday kegorator) and I really don't think I trained hard enough. I only had one week of 11+ hours of training and the rest barely came close to that. So honestly I think I could be in better shape for this.

But it is what it is and I started to accept that fact, and then things took a turn. For the worse, in case that last sentence was too vague. I had dropped my bike of at Fast Splits for a complete tuneup and to have them fix the wobbling in my head gear. Wobbling is bad, it leads to nothing good at 30 mph. They also installed my sweet new tires: goodbye flat old ones hello slicks! I picked it up in Newton and that's where it began.

No, the bike isn't the problem, that is even more awesome now. After the long drive back I pulled in to get some gas when the kids working the pump says, "hey, your tire is smoking pretty bad". Say what now. Sure enough, smoke was streaming up from the rear tire. I checked it out and determined that it was either the brakes or the fluid leaking from my axle (I swear I was going to get that fixed). 

After getting it home and hosing it down I faced facts, it had to be fixed. I needed the truck to get to Nantucket. So I brought it to the shop where I was told what I expected, axle seal needed to be replaced and it wasn't going to be cheap. But it should be done Friday afternoon. Ok then.

Then they call back. Yeah, the bearing kit that was installed awhile back chewed up the axle, it all needs to be replaced. And it won't be done until next week. Fuuuu... You get the point. So exactly how am I supposed to get to Hyannis tomorrow morning? Luckily my brother stepped up and offered to drive me. I owe him huge.

This experience certainly hasn't helped my mental state going into this race. I'm already worked up, I don't need cap like this. But Sunday is go time and go I will. And after that I am going to enjoy the hell out of Nantucket for 5 more days. Adult beverages have already been sent ahead on the forward caravan for my enjoyment.  It is also comforting to find out that it is actually quite possible to walk the entire swim portion of the tri because it is so shallow at the jetties. So that's pretty comforting.

Then again, there is still the issue of all the sharks that have been spotted in the area... Goddammit.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Left turn at Albuquerque

Last Monday we headed up to the Catskills for a little R and R for the Fourth. As usual the weekend before was totally hectic and I just didn't get to do as much training as I had hoped so when we finally arrive at the campground around 5PM I decided that it was the perfect time to go for a run. I planned on doing somewhere between 7-10 miles which would give me plenty of time to get back for dinner. Unfortunately I had failed to map out any routes prior to arrival and the cell service up there sucked so I checked out Google Maps and estimated a route. Looked simple enough, go down the road, across Rt 52, up the street and take my first left. Then take the next left and I was back to Rt 52. If needed I could add in another loop that would bring me in the opposite way. It was tough to tell how long this was going to be but it didn't look too bad. Here is what it would have looked like:

Note that I said "would have looked like".

The run began and was right on track, I passed the synagogue on Synagogue St (shocking, I know) and then came to the first left hand turn. Why did that sign on the road I was just on say Towne Rd? That's odd. I turned left and kept running.  The road went for some time, longer than I had anticipated, so at the 6.5 mile mark I stopped. Luckily I had put in the coordinates for the campground into my GPS watch so I pulled it up and set it to navigate to that site. The watch was telling me that it was nearly 4 miles directly behind me. Impossible, I thought, I should only be one turn away from heading towards it. I hesitated, started running back the way I came and then turned around again after realizing that even if I followed my path back it would be 11 miles. Might as well keep running forward.

Finally I came to what looked like a major road (for that area). Time to turn left again and then I should be back on Rt 52. Except this said it was Rt 42. It was now painfully clear that I had no idea where the hell I was. Furthermore it was getting dark, still raining, and there was absolutely nobody out that I could ask directions from. My watch was indicating that I was doing a loop around the campground and it would fluctuate between 3 and 4 miles away so I wasn't even getting any closer. I kept an eye out for any cross streets but there were absolutely none. All I could do was keep running and ration what water I had left.

Around mile 10 I was passed by a volunteer fireman going to a call. A mile later I happened upon them finishing up a call and starting to get into their cars. I sprinted towards them hoping to ask for directions. At first I was afraid they would get in the car and drive off but luckily he had to put something in the trunk so I started yelling at him to get his attention. I told them that I had no idea where I was but was trying to get back to Rt 52. Just up ahead is the intersection he said. Finally some relief.

I made it to Rt 52 and turned for home but it was still 4 miles away and darkness was descending. This was the opposite way we had come so I had no landmarks to guide me, I just kept running up and down the endless hills. With a mile left I was confused if I should turn up a road or keep going. I went up it but then quickly turned back, it didn't seem right. A few minutes later I ran into a couple in a car and I asked them where the campground was; he pointed over my shoulder and said that it's right there. Sure enough, there was the sign for it right behind me. With darkness falling I made it back in just under 2:30 hours and a bit over 17 miles done. A bit farther than I had planned.

Distance does not include the times I retraced my route