Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Need vs. Want

Recently I've been struggling with the idea of buying a new bike. Keep in mind, there is nothing wrong with the THREE that I already have, I'm just interested in upgrading my current tribike to a sexy carbon model. I have probably the best aluminum bike availible, I just want to 'look' faster than I am.

I've tried to justify all the different reasons for upgrading-more comfortable on long rides; stiffer; more aero; etc. The simple truth is that I've never riden ANYTHING stiffer than my aluminum tri bike (including my carbon Specialized Tarmac), and the bike is extremely comfortable, even over rough terrain.

I've talked to my coach about this and he has confirmed to me that I don't need the bike. With the distance I will be covering in my races this year (nothing longer than Half Ironman), along with the fact that I'm young, the advantage gained in buying a more exotic bike will be minimal.

Along with all this, the thing that sticks out most in my mind is something that was written in my coach's blog. He mentioned something to the effect of 'earning' your equipment. That really struck a cord with me. I haven't EARNED anything yet. I'm good, but not good enough yet to really 'deserve' exotic stuff. Once I begin to consistantly place high and win the local races overall rather than just win and place in my age group, I'll make the upgrade. It's all about the engine and not the machine.

Finally, the simple fact is that I should be happy with what I have. Many people can't afford one bike, let alone the three that I have. I'm lucky and extremely blessed. Now I just have to put in the work to make the most of what I DO have!

Push 'till ya puke...Always.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Race Report-Suffolk County Half Marathon

So I've got some work left to do.

That's the main lesson from today's race. Well, that and the fact that I know shit about pacing. I went out like a bat out of hell which left me no room to spare come the end of the race. I've never been a runner, and the sports that I've played through college required brute force and bursts of energy...in other words, I ain't exactly a patient athlete. I'm still learning.

So I went out and ran a PR for the first 5k, and then another for the 10k mark. At the midway turnaround I started to hurt. Not bad, but just that kind of hurt that you know you went too hard and the energy you will need won't be there. So I manned up, soldiored on, and finished up in about 20th overall. I made my goal of breaking 1:30, but only by about 5 minutes.

I'm happy for the lessons I've learned today, and I know I can do much much better. Again, this WAS my first stand alone marathon in which I've RACED, so it's a good starting point. I just gotta keep logging my miles and staying positive. It was a good day and an exceptable finish.

Push 'till ya puke...Always.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Suffolk County Half Marathon Tomorrow!

First race of the season for me tomorrow and I'm totally nervous as hell! As I've now mentioned countless times, I'm coached now, so with that comes new expectations. With the past races I've done, triathlons, marathons, 5k's, 10k's, etc., I've always run out of sheer determination. I've done well, but never really had a specific plan going into any of them. It's always been more like, 'Well, I guess I'll run today' as a training philosophy.

Now that I've been coached for the last 5 or 6 months, dramatic increases in both fitness and confidence have occured. Most importantly, every day that I get out to train, there is a specific plan. There's a goal to reach for the day, and I feel more and more confident every time I reach it. Gladly, I now feel that I'm no longer just spinning my wheels. Coaching has been worth every penny that I've put into it, and thankfully I have a great coach that doesn't break my bank!

So with that, today I find myself not quite itching to get out the door to do a simple 15 minute workout. Ironic right? I can get up for a 2 and a half hour run, but a simple 15 minute jog with some pickups....it's like pulling teeth. I just want to race damnit! Ok, sorry, just had to get that out.

Ok, so that's where I'm at. As for the race tomorrow, I'm trying very hard not to put any expectations in place. Of course I expect it to go well, but I'm not going to hold myself to a specific time goal. I've run only one other stand alone half in my life, and paced a friend and finished around 1;30 super comfortably. Not to mention the fact that I weighed about 200 lbs at the time and had put in zero quality weeks of training. I'm now at about 175 and fitter than I've ever been. So I guess that is putting a time expectation in place isn't it? Ok, so anything under 1:30 and I'll be happy.

So that's it. I'm going to post my full report on the race tomorrow (as if anyone really cares because no one actually reads this blog!). I'll hopefully be happy and bloated with Thai Food!

Push 'till ya puke...Always!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I never thought I could do so much

The last few weeks for me have been nothing short of unbelievable to say the least...and I don't mean that in a good way. It all started three weekends ago when my Father had to be hospitalized for a 50% collapsed lung along with some fluid between his lung and the chest cavity. Then, the very next weekend, after waking up to a flooded apartment-and I mean seriously freakin' flooded!-I find out that my Mother is now in the hospital after having suffered somewhat of a mini-stroke. Then, as if by some act of who knows, my car breaks down. I'm pretty sure bad things happened in three's right? What the hell? This is FOUR! Don't I get a freebee somewhere in there?

So to compound things, I'm currently in some of the biggest training weeks I've ever seen. As I've stated before, having a coach has been the best thing I've ever done, and the results just seem to come out every single day. Now, most people would probably have shut down with training and focused on the events happening. Nope, not this type-A psycho. I decided to push through, continue training, and take on the obstacles that had been presented me. As it turns out, I have been more productive with my time, trained hard, and still managed to gain quite a bit from this whole experience.

I've learned that I can do just about anything I put my mind to and that fatigue, in a large way, is all a state of mind. Sure there were times in between hospital visits, insurance calls, cleaning out my apartment, and of course WORK, that I was dog tired. But I pushed through, Manned Up (or Hardened the Fu*k up-my new favorite) and did what had to be done. I'm a lot stronger than I though and I proved it to myself this past month.

Adversity is my new friend. It's been, and will continue to be the cornerstone of my work, both as a professional and as an athlete. It's tough as hell, but it's a sweet reward to get through. Sweat doesn't lie and neither do the lessons learned in facing adversity.

Push 'till ya puke...Always.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Just a quick one as I'm headed to bed...

So this has been the toughest week of my life without question. It included not only tough, but trivial things like training for my silly races, but visits for both of my parents to the hospital, little sleep, and insane amounts of work with my business. I now know that if I've made it through this week alive I can make it through just about anything.

On the training front, things couldn't be going much better. I'm consistant, motivated, and getting in the best shape of my life. Fitness before now has been something I've contemplated, but never actually realized. I can't believe the sense of overall well-being that I have from having an incredible base. It's like I'm high all the time. It's a powerful feeling to know that you're capable of doing so much. I look back at my training journal at the end of every week amazed at what I was able to accomplish. Not to mention the fact that I was able to do it with everything that's been hanging over my head this week.

Adversity is what makes good people great and takes great people to another level entirely. Being tested by fire is a real thing that I suggest everyone go through. Not only do we find what we are capable of doing under pressure, but more importantly, we find what we are made of. And what that is, no one can ever take away from us.

Push 'till ya puke...Always.

Monday, March 2, 2009

I love to K.I.S.S.

...as in Keep It Simple Stupid.

I've realized over the past year or so, that keeping things simple is one of the key concepts needed for success. When things get too complicated disaster strikes. It's not like everything can be simple in life, but when we make the effort to keep it simple, usually things go better than planned, and less crap gets in the way of our ultimate goal.

I'll make a sports analogy because that's basically all I know. From the time I've been competative (since birth really), I've played just about every sport possible in America. Football, baseball, soccer(for like a day, but it counts!), ice hockey, lacrosse, mixed martial arts, boxing, etc. I usually excelled in the sports that I didn't care as much about, with the exception of hockey. For some reason, mentally, when I didn't wrap myself around every little aspect of the sport, I found myself able to 'leave it on the field'. In otherwords, a single poor performance did no carry over into the next time I played that given sport.

In recent years, since my college athletic career has ended, I've tried to make a habit of being mentally stronger. Not only in sports, but in life as well. I don't let things get to me. People, performances, etc. are not allowed to bring me down. I guess you could just call it positive thinking, but it's really more than that. I've changed my outlook on things, and besides success, it's brought me an inner peace that I previously never felt. Sure there are times when you'll be dissappointed, but you have to find the good in those things and focus on that. Negative energy is a very real thing. It brings with it only inner turmoil and ultimate failure.

Sure there are some that thrive off of negative energy, but I ask, do you really truly succeed, or is it rather a temporary victory? I see it as immediate recognition that will undoubtedly leave you with a void once the fake 'high' has worn off. It's kinda like popping a zit-you'll be immediately satisfied, but you'll be pissed off later about that scar on your face.

That's just the way I see it and that's what has worked for me. Obviously we never stop learning about ourselves and how we tick. If we do, then what good is life anymore? I believe we should be constantly challenging ourselves in order to discover what we can do. I never want to allow myself the complacency of settling for who I am. I hope to learn more and more about myself until the day I shut my eyes for good. Keep learning!

Push 'till ya puke...Always.