Monday, August 31, 2009

New things on the horizon

The past weeks have been tough for me. At the same time, though, I've learned a lot about myself. I've spent more time with myself in the last two weeks than I have in years. I have no one to blame for this but myself, but I think that it's probably one of the best things that could've happened to me.

The last couple of days I've beeing doing a lot of thinking. I guess that happens when you ride your bike and run a lot :). It's nice to be able to have this time to get myself into deep thought. I've figured out quite a bit about myself and suprisingly, I've liked a lot of what I've found out.

In the coming weeks I plan on using my time in a few ways. First and foremost, I plan to train my ass off for my last couple races of the season. Combined with the extra time I have for sleep and recovery, I feel that I can really make a good dent and improve on some fitness in the last 5 or so weeks I have left this year.

Next, I plan on committing myself to work. In the coming year, I'd like to get my debt to zero. Often times over the past years, I've spent a lot of needless money and made a lot of bad financial decisions. I have the opportunity in my life right now to work on straightening out my economic woes and start with a fresh sheet. Not many people my age are awarded this opportunity, and I realize I need to make the most of it.

Lastly, I'd like to open up my social horizons. Again, this is the fault of no one but me, but I've been kinda slack in the "friends dept." lately. I've always been the girlfriend guy, which is perfectly fine, but at the same time I started hanging out with the girls more and the guys less. I've been on a few "Man-dates" and "Man-outings" and really enjoyed myself. It's nice to be one of the guys again.

One more thing: I've really found a passion with triathlon. I've sort of played at doing it before, never really committing as much as I could. I would train as hard as I could, but then spend the night out late, drinking too much, and race way under my potential. Several times I even went out and had a few beers the night before a race. It takes a long time to get good, but more importantly, it takes a long time of doing the right thing to get good. Unlike other sports I've played, you can't just show up and be good with triathlon. Talent it certainly part of the game in triathlon, but as far as I've discovered more times than not the guy/girl that put in the hard work over and over again, will come out on top. I know I have some talent with this, and now I plan on putting in the "right work" behind it.

Positive, Positve, Positive.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rolling Along

Just having a strange couple of weeks. On a personal level, things have been sort of wacky. I'm in a transitional phase, and I honestly think it's the right thing in the long run. There has been a lot of hurt and sadness associated with it, but I think in the end it will be the right thing.

Triathlon-wise, I can't remember a time when I've ever been so focused. It's funny because I haven't been in this sport for all that long, but I feel like it's where I'm suppossed to be. Everything about this sport gives me butterflies. I get pumped up when watching competition videos and cry when I think about what I want out of this sport. From here on out, I'm promising myself to give it everything I have. I will not have regrets. I want to dive headfirst into it, and enjoy every failure and success. There's nothing that I want to leave behind. At this point in my life, I can afford to go all in. There's nothing holding me back and I would be cheating myself if I didn't take advantage of this. This is the time for dedication, and I plan on leaving it all in the pool/on the bike/on the road.

With that, I'm excited and scared at the same time. Time and time again I've let myself get caught up in my head. For all of my college athletic career, I allowed outside sh*t to dictate my performance. This is also something I promise myself NOT to allow to happen.

I'm so encouraged by certain aspects in my last race that it has me bouncing off the wall in anticipation of more. I'm gonna keep doing this until I get it right or I die trying. It's time to get off my knees and live life on my feet! This is it. One minute at a time.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Timberman Race Report...Well sort of...

Race reports take too damned long to report on. If I'm happy and stoked about my race, it's a little easier, but at this distance, I still have a bunch to learn, so this is a little bit of a task to write.

Hands down, Timberman was the best race I've ever been involved in. It's considered a "triathlon festival" and by all means lives up to this definition. It's like a weird cross between Woodstock and triathlon. There are plenty of hippies walking around, only instead of flowers in their hair, they're wearing compression socks with cargo shorts. Very interesting group and I'm proud to be a member.

So the race went well. It was a little hectic at times and I was proud to have stuck to my plan. In short, my swim was mediocre at best (I never thought I'd say a swim around 30 mins in a half iron race was mediocre, but for where I'm at as a swimmer now, I honestly feel that way). I did get kicked in the face 20 meters from the start, but that's just part of the game and it didn't rattle me in the least. The only reason I believe my swim was slow was the fact that I didn't swim in a wetsuit for 2 monts prior to the event. My last race was in June and at that point I was very fast in the wetsuit. Sunday I feel like it actually slowed me down as my shoulders tired prematurely.

The bike was by far the best part of my race. It wasn't the fastest time I was capable of, but I was happy with my pacing overall. I believe my bike split was around the 2:30 mark. I'm impressed because I honestly never got out of breath once on the bike, and at most times was holding waaaay back. My plan was to run like hell and I wanted every ounce of energy left to lay the smackdown on the half marathon.

On to the run. This is where things began to die slowly for me. When I'm fit I can run fast. I'm a teriffic 5 and 10 k runner, but the nature of a half ironman doesn't allow me to run like I'm capable of. My first 5k off the bike was strong. Not fast, as I was holding back, but strong. The next 5 k was also strong, but I still held back. My plan going into the race was to hold back on the first 10k, and crush the second 10k. However, by the time that final 10k came, I had no high gear. In fact, I found myself slowly fading, and fading, and fading.

From what I've read and listened to from coaches and athletes, the third 5k is usually where people fade, but often they come back strong in the final 5k. This is what I anticipated, but I never came back. It was a tough way to end what was otherwise a decent day, but just like all my races this season, it's taught me volumes about what it is going to take to get me to the level I want to be at in this sport.

In talking with my coach the night after the race, it because apparent that I didn't train to race the distance. Many of my longest days consisted of only 4 hours at the most. Simply put, my engine just wasn't tuned for what I tried to make it do. I've always had speed, and coming from explosive sports like football, lacrosse, hockey, and mma, I'm well equiped to sprint, but the long stuff has thus far eluded me. The good news, though, is that I've got time to learn and time to develop as a more complete triathlete.

I have one more half ironman distance race left this season, and I plan on putting in some long days in the five weeks before it. I don't expect this to make a gigantic difference, but I do expect it to change some things. I'm going into this final race with no specific intentions, only to see what the fruits of my labor will be. Six hour days will become a reality for me these final weeks. It'll be a good start.

Finally, self reflection is obviously a very important part of the game for any athlete. I've always been hard on myself because I've always had a lot of talent. I now see, though, that I've been too hard on myself many times. It takes a long time to get good at any sport, and with this one I need relax and work hard. It's not gonna happen overnight, but it is going to happen.

Monday, August 17, 2009

"This is your life...And it's ending one minute at a time."

So I've had some personal mishaps lately. It was a rough weekend and the days are only getting worse. Without going into detail, relationships are one of the hardest things in life. Love isn't quantifiable. It's not like a workout we can track, mileage we can clock, or a pace we can set. There are ups and downs that come at the times when you least expect them. I think if you're truly in love (like I am), there is no limit to the suprises (good and bad) that come out of that love. In the end, I just hope everything turns out for the best, no matter how good it feels or how much it hurts.

As far as training is concerned, I've reached the taper. Unbeknownst to my coach (sorry John), I started my taper a bit earlier than planned. Toward the end of my buildup to Timberman, I started to feel like crap on a regular basis. I don't sleep much, so I'm sure that had something to do with it. Also, a few weeks back, I was having INSANE workouts. I felt like I was invincible, and, in hindsight, this was the beginning of what certainly could have been the end for me. I was going out each and every day thinking that there would be no end to my fitness. I was healthy, fast, and felt great, so why stop?

Well, that soon came crashing down as in the next weeks I was totally burned out. It's true what they say about how peak fitness is like being at the edge of a cliff: Control it and you won't fall-push to much and you'll go tumbling down. Luckily, I caught a branch on the side of the cliff on the way down and was able to pull myself back up. It took some good friends to convince me that actually taking a step back was what I needed. So I took their advice, (Plus the wisdom of Lucho and Matty Reed-both of whom were kind enough to comment and leave me some great training advice) took some time to bring the volume down a notch, and now I feel like myself again.
I have no doubt that Timberman will be my best race to date. I've decided to have no specific expectations about this race, only to let it happen. Another major mistake I have made is expecting too much too quickly. I have a lot of talent in this sport, and there is a lot that I will do with it, but it will take some time. As Matt Reed said in his comment, "There are no shortcuts." I've got to do the work and put in the time-I'm still new to this for goodness sake! The strides I've made this season (namely becoming an actual swimmer!) are definately things I'm proud of. I plan on taking the advice I've gotten from others, lay back, and let the race unfold in front of me. ENDURANCE is the name of the game.

So this weekend we'll see where this strategy leaves me. I'm sure that New Hampshire will be a fun time and I'll learn quite a bit. I'm looking forward to the education.

Push 'till ya puke...Always.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A lot going on

So there's been a ton going on for me the last couple of weeks-hence the slowness with the updates.

First and foremost I want to thank Matty Reed for stopping by to check out the blog. He left a comment on the "What Would Matty Reed Do?" post I put up a couple of months ago. Scroll down and check it out!

Training has been going ok lately. I only say ok because I'm teetering on the brink of overtraining. I'm in a tricky place where I haven't raced in over a month and my fitness is definately reaching a peak. I'm still two weeks out from my big "A" race (Timberman) and I'm honestly sick of training. Actually it's not that I'm sick of training, it's that my body is sick of it. Recently I haven't been feeling strong when I train. Almost constantly I'm in a fatigued state. I know that red flags are going up and it's time to slow it down. To put it in the words of my buddy Grant, the bucket is full right now and it's not gonna get more full. The biggest thing I have to do know in the remaining weeks is be smart and not overflow the bucket. Therefore, I'm gonna go off my plan a bit, cut the volume down, and concentrate on quality work.

My swim ain't gonna get better in two weeks and I'm not gonna get much fitter in those weeks either. If anything, I'd rather be slightly undertrained going into Timberman than overtrained like I fear I may be if I keep pushing the envelope with volume.

All this is hard because I really do LOVE training. Given the aspects of triathlon I don't see how any triathlete could not. I mean, we get to perform so few times in comparison to other sports. Baseball players, basketball players, hockey players, and so on, get so many opportunities to demonstrate their hard work. We're only on stage a fraction of the time they are so we really have to make it count each and every time. In some ways it stinks, but in other ways its a huge draw to the sport.

Otherwise life is good. Busy, but good. I'm happy with the way things are and I can feel there are some big things about to happen for myself and the people around me. Fun time to be alive!

Push 'till ya puke...Always.

Friday, July 31, 2009


Been a while since my last post. The sad thing is that I haven't really been doing all that much training lately, so I really have no excuse. I guess I just haven't needed to say much lately.

Life outside of triathlon has been pretty busy. Work, as always, is busy, but on top of that, Kristen and I have gone out to Montauk for some relaxing, and Canada for a wedding within the last month. I'm an anxious traveler, so this was a bit stressful for me, but everything went smoothly so that helped.

The Canada trip was probably the most interesting. It's nice to go to a wedding with someone you love. Looking at Kristen during the ceremony gave me the chills-in a good way! It was easy to picture us up there getting married. I've never felt that way before, so I guess it's a GOOD thing! On top of that, her family (which I had never really met before) were the nicest people EVER! I can't remember ever being treated so nicely by strangers! Maybe it's just the fact that they're not New Yorker's, but wow they were nice. Basically, the trip was just one big smile!

Back to triathlon, I can't believe it's this point of the year. Tomorrow is the first of August, and Timberman is only about 3 weeks away! Getting down to crunch time. I'm excited to race again and make up for blowing up in CT at Rev3. It'll be a good chance to compete with some great athletes and see how all my training pays off. After that it's on to the Mighty Hamptons Olympic race, and then the Mighty Montauk Half Iron to tie things up at the end of October. I'm going to throw some running races in (10k and they NYC Marathon) just to sweeten things up! :)

So that's about it for now. I get back to training hard on Sunday, so I'm going to use this time to get in all the odds and ends that I never seem to get to when training a lot.

Push 'till ya puke...Always.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Builing my first bike!!!!

Ok, so I've never actually built a bike from scratch before. I've been one of those fakers that knew how to do most stuff, but never actually HAD to build from the ground up.

This past friday, I recieved two giant boxes from the good people at Fed Ex. One contained a sweet black, naked carbon frame, and the other all the components for said frame. Long story short, I had some work ahead of me.

I've started slow and have been patient with the assmbley, finding out that it's really not all that hard. It's all about not forcing things and taking your time. It's gonna be fun to actually ride something that I'm totally responsible for putting together.

The pic above shows what I've done so far. I'm done with the building part, now I just have to cut the fork, route the cables, and throw on the chain (not in that particular order).
Generally, I've chosen this little project as a de-stresser. Training realeases much of my stress, but I've haven't used my hands to build anything in a while. I think that's an important thing for a man. Call me old fashioned, but there's nothing better than getting your hands a little dirty and spending some quality time with your tools. I think it centers me in a way that not many other things can. Also, I stress a lot about my bikes. I guess it's because I couldn't, in the past, control everything about them. My hope with this bike is to learn EVERYTHING I can about bike maintenance and upkeep. A goal in the back of my mind is to never have to take my bike to the shop again to get fixed. We'll see.
I'm happy to take on this challenge and am excited to see how it turns out. Wish me luck!
Push 'till ya puke...Always!