Archive for July, 2008

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Bringing out the worst in everyone

July 28, 2008

I do really love the whole idea behind Critical Mass thing: a leaderless group of cyclists who ride once a month, generally supporting cyclists’ rights to the share the road with drivers and without any clear mission or vision for the organization.

In theory, wicked cool. In reality (although I have yet to actually join up with the local ride but hope to soon), not so much. Just like clockwork, the last Friday of every month always creates a whole mess of stories from account the country. Riders vs. Pedestrians. Riders vs. Cops. Dogs vs. Cats.

First, there was the story from Seattle.

Then, the shit show that is NYC.

More info here.

At least in both of these situations, the cyclist’s reputations don’t take too much of a beating, but it does suck to see the same recurring themes come out every month. Bikers already have enough of a reputationĀ  issue, it is unfortunate to see a group with such good intentions doing so much damage (even to the reputations of cops and drivers).

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My Infinit Formula – Bull Juice

July 26, 2008

I was IMing with KT today about race nutrition and I started talking about my Infinit blend. I realized that I don’t talk about nutrition much here and it probably deserved its own post.

Last year my nutrition was a nightmare. I do love drinking nuun for from my Fuel Belt during long runs and for spinning classes where calories don’t really matter so much, but when I get into longer BRicks or bike workouts, the amount of solids that I’d have to take in to make up for the fact that nuun doesn’t have any calories in it just doesn’t sit well in my stomach. I also had a lot of trouble last year just remembering to take in GUs/blocks/gels during my races last year. Hey, I get distracted easily…

Which leads me to Infinit. I had seen their ads in Inside Triathlon and all over the Web a million times, but never really paid much attention. I did a whole bunch of research on them earlier this year, watched an interview with their CEO on Beginner Triathlete.com, and asked a few other bad-ass triathletes about what there experiences with it have been.

I eventually sucked it up, went on their site, took the survey/quiz thing and they picked out a special blend for me, perfectly formulated for HIM training and long bike rides, where I really needed to focus on my nutrition. I appropriately named my formula “Bull Juice.”

This is the formula that I have been training with all year so far and have had nothing but great experiences.

Sure, the canister that it comes in looks like one of those body builder creatine junk, and I’ve had to convince a few people that it is not some lame ginsing infused steroid mix, but other than that it has been my best friend on long rides. Sits well in my stomach, keeps me well fueled and makes my nutrition plan SO simple.

Here is me in my infinit induced roid-rage. Seriously guys. Get new packaging.

I designed my formula to completely get rid of the need for any other source of calories. Which also means that I will get a stomach ache if I try to squeeze in any other solid fuel on top of that, but that’s alright. I dig simplicity.

But to be perfectly honest, I haven’t touched the stuff since the Rhode Island 70.3. I’m too busy taking some time off, boozing up and doing some hardcore relaxation.

That’s right. Straight from the bottle. I’m classy like that.

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Rhode Island Race Recovery

July 24, 2008

After a really nice vacation up in the white mountains of New Hampshire grilling, boozing, canoeing, tubing and generally being lazy, I’m finally back.

The five days after the 70.3 were pretty rough. Lots of limping, leaning on hand rails, VERY slow walking around and staying off of my feet as much as possible. It is pretty embarassing to be 24 and have to use the hand rail just to be able to creep up and down stairs or sit down on the toilet without falling over. (TMI?) Despite all the pain, I just keep smiling every time someone asks me about how the race went. It was fucking amazing finishing even though my run time was a disaster. I wish I could bottle that feeling and tap in to it throughout the whole year. It is like crack. I need more. Now

By last Thursday I was back to walking around normally, still with some tightness in my left knee if I didn’t stretch it out once and a while. All was going well and I was gladly doing absolutely no working out, trying to recover from what had gone to some minor aching to a full blown injury, so I can still be able to squeeze out one or two more shorter races this season. That was until I went to teach Spinning on Tuesday.

Ouch.

That freaking hurt. My knee didn’t even really hurt on the bike during the half ironman. It is just so mentally draining to have it give you issues when otherwise you feel like you are so well prepared to race and in good shape. So much for my goal of staying injury free this season…

Okay. Enough bitching. I have plenty of time to recover and still salvage the rest of the season.

I just felt the need to post up something to let everyone know I’m still around and kickin’.

I also started a new kick-ass job on Monday and am celebrating my 25th birthday tomorrow. Looks like July is a big month for this guy. Now come out with me this weekend and buy me a beer! It is time to celebrate.

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Race Report: Rhode Island 70.3

July 14, 2008

FYI: This blog has moved to a new address. Catch up on new posts at: http://swimbikerunlive.com/

 

I’m wicked sore, and am going on vacation tomorrow, I wanted to get something out there quickly to give you an update on the race today.

Ironman Rhode Island 70.3

Race prep went down pretty easily. Since I dropped off almost everything yesterday, I just had to show up with my wetsuit, goggles, and chip down in Naragansett. We didn’t end up getting a hotel in RI, so my girlfriend (who can be thanked for all the awesome pics) got up extra early and left Boston at 3:30 a.m. to get to the race start, an hour and a half away.

Even though the first pro wave went off at around 6:00, I wasn’t going off until the very last wave, more than an hour later. It was nice to have some extra time to get mentally psyched for the race and run through my plan.

Ironman Rhode Island 70.3

I’m not sure why I’m standing really awkardly like that. I think I might have been peeing and didn’t want to stand in a puddle of my own pee. Haha. You can make out the swim buoys off in the distance behind my right shoulder.

The time finally came, I got rounded up with the rest of the 19-29 men, waited for the cannon to go off, and off we went. It was my first running swim start and it was pretty cool. With all of the waves crashing in to shore we got to dive through the waves, which was pretty cool. The water further out was a little choppy, but it was surprisingly warm.

Other than that, it was pretty uneventful. I held a solid pace, stayed on course and came out with a pretty solid time of 36:47. As soon as I got to shore and stood up, I saw Chris swimming in right next to me. It was good to see a familiar face.

Ironman Rhode Island 70.3

T1: 4:58 (1:56/100m)

A lot slower than my normal transitions, but I had to re-pack everything into a bag to be transported up to Providence for me to pick up after the race, so it took a little longer.

Bike:

I felt really strong, and was passing a lot of people in front of me from my swim wave and from all of the waves ahead of me, keeping my HR pretty low at around 145-155. I totally came up with those numbers out of nowhere, but figured it would be a good idea to stay about 10 bpm lower than what I did at the Mooseman Olympic.

The rolling hills let me pass a lot of people who weren’t from New England and were used to riding on anything else but flats. I also blew past tons of people on fancy carbon bikes and aero helmets. It is definitely an ego boost to casually blow by these guys on a clucky ‘ol road bike. Besides a dropped chain, everything went pretty smoothly.

At about mile 50 I did the math and realized that I was REALLY close to meeting my “A” goal of breaking 3:00 on the bike. It almost wished that I hadn’t figured that out since I probably went way too fast on the last 5 miles on the bike instead of resting and staying loose for the run. Oh Well!

Ironman Rhode Island 70.3

I ended up finishing the bike in 3:01:51. SO CLOSE! (18.48 mph)

T2: 3:07

Run:

Since my knee was definitely feeling a little tight during the bike and I was a little worried about it, I decided to just take it REALLY easy for the first of two loops on the run. I was going almost awkwardly slow, doing something in between a slow jog and a shuffle, but it kept my knee feeling alright as long as I kept it moving so it wouldn’t tighten up on me.

When I stopped at the water stations and started running again, I could tell that my knee was tightening up really fast, so I just tried to find one really slow pace, have a nice open stride, and keep moving forward because starting running again after stopping hurt like a BITCH. The hardest part was running up the MONSTER hill at mile 2 and 8. This thing was practically straight up for what seemed like half a mile.

This was the hill that the X Games used for street luge when they came to town. Yeah. Seriously. This thing was no joke and I had no choice but to keep running up it, even though it was only slightly faster than walking up.

First lap – felt good. Wicked tired, but good. I think my first lap was about 1:05.

Ironman Rhode Island 70.3
Second lap:

Just like the first, but a LOT more painful. I kept moving except for really quick stops to take in as much water as I could and strap some cold sponges in to my race jersey.

Because I was the very last wave, the second lap was a lot more lonely since a lot of the faster/earlier racers had already finished by the time I hit the turn around but the volunteers and spectators were still out there rocking it. It was great to see all the locals out there supporting an inaugural event like this.

Except for a brief 400 meter stint at about mile 12 where I walked, I kept on truckin’ the whole time. Definitely the hardest run of my life. I wanted to just stop and lay down on the pavement after every single step I took.

Ironman Rhode Island 70.3

The finish line was the greatest place in the world. It was by far the most emotional race that I had ever done, and it felt amazing to run through the chute and hit that line.

I finished the run in 2:33:27 (11:42/mile) for a total time of 6:20:10. It wasn’t the time that I was hoping for a few months ago, but I was really psyched given the obstacles.

Ironman Rhode Island 70.3

I couldn’t walk too well, but sucked down a whole lot of Gatorade and water and layed out in the shade. I probably looked light a nightmare, but was too distracted by the amazing feeling of finishing to pay attention to all of the pain that I was in.

Ironman Rhode Island 70.3

Here is a pic of the race finish (sans spectators) right under the state capitol.

Overall:

Amazing race. Really well supported and it was an absolute blast. It was the most pain that I had been in in a long time, but was absolutely worth it.

Oh and I think that I may be classified as a “heavy sweater” now given the salt farm that I grew over my entire body. Check out this sick pic of my tri shorts after the race with the salt crystals all over the place. HI larious.

Ironman Rhode Island 70.3

That is all. Now off to bed and stretch and head off on vacation until next week! Check out some more pictures from the race on my Flickr page on the badge on the right.

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Countdown to Rhode Island 70.3

July 13, 2008

I dropped off my gear down in Rhode Island this afternoon. T2 is in Providence, and T1 is about 30 miles south, down in Naragansett, so it was kind of a pain to organize everything. Check in was pretty much a disaster, waiting in line for almost 2 hours to pick up my t-shirt, chip, sign my life away on the regular waivers and otherwise do stuff that should take only a few minutes. I guess I can’t expect TOO much from a first time event, right?

I saw Chris while I was hanging out in line, and he gave me some shit for dragging a chair with me all the way through the line, but I wasn’t going to stand for 2 hours like a chump and let my already beat up legs work any harder than they have to before the big race!

Here is me in line, taken by Chris with his snazzy new iPhone, with a big doofy smile.

Speaking of beat up legs, my knee/IT band isn’t doing much better. I went for a short run earlier this week and the first mile was fine. I went super slow and my legs felt a little heavy from not using them much lately, but almost thought I was fixed and all of the soaking/stretching/foam rolling had actually helped…. until I hit that dreaded one mile mark and it all went to shit. It immediately started hurting and I ended up limping pretty bad and walking back home. It sucks, but what can ya do?

It is a little late to back out of the race now, but at least I know my swimming/biking will be pretty good. I’m just going to go along with the race as scheduled and hope that 56 miles on the bike will help loosen things up and will let me have a pretty pain free run. The day will completely depend on how mile 2 of the run goes, but either way I’m pretty determined to finish as long as it doesn’t involve completely destroying my body. I’m not above limping/walking 12 miles.

Spirits are high, standards are low. Either way I’m totally psyched for what should be a really awesome race.

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In Transit Duo – Interview

July 10, 2008

A few weeks ago, the stellar triathlon podcasters Cara and Elizabeth interviewed me and Cara and I gave our Mooseman race reports. The final show was just published and while I am not a big fan hearing my own voice, it was pretty cool to be on their show.

Check out the episode and subscribe here.

http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogspot/usDD

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Contemplation of Risk and Reward

July 3, 2008

Despite pumping out a pain-free +120 miles on the bike this weekend, the IT band still isn’t in great shape. It isn’t even in good shape. Biking and swimming are fine, and I can run a mile pretty comfortably, but it goes down hill pretty quickly after that and I turn into a big limping pile of pain. It is too bad that the run for the Rhode Island 70.3 is 13 miles, not ONE.

Now with just 11 days until my first half ironman, I’ve had to sit down, do some deep thinking and settle on the idea that I need to make some serious changes to my training schedule.

My original plan was to finish off my peak phase with a hardcore running focused week. While I’d love to get one more seriously hard run week in, there is no way I’m going to get my IT band back in shape AND do some hardcore long runs, AND be fully tapered in a week and a half. I’ve gotten plenty of 8-10 mile runs in this year so far, but nothing close to 13 yet. On my longest runs, I’ve never felt like I was getting close to the upper limit of my distance range so I’m confident (if my knee doesn’t act up) that I can pull off the half marathon, but I really wish that I could just do 13 miles ONCE for that extra confidence boost.

Possible rewards of hardcore run week:

  • Added confidence in the half marathon
  • Added speed/run strength, 1-2 minutes?

Possible risksĀ  of a hardcore run week:

  • My leg falls off
  • I limp and cry like a bitch for the whole 13.1 miles

I’m not that great at gambling, but I’m going to have to say that few minutes (max) benefit that this late running boost would give me just isn’t worth it, for both my speed and my overall fun level during the race. This next week and a half is going to be full of just biking and swimming and a daily stretch-a-thon session. I’m going to completely forget about running… for now.

I’m sorry. I’m getting a little whiny, but I’m just frustrated that my swimming and especially my biking are so solid but injuries keep holding my running back. I think I’m going to have to focus on that hardcore this fall so that it can catch up to my swimming and biking.

In other news:

My bike, Angela, is in the shop and just got hooked up with a shiny new casette and chain and is all prepped up for Rhode Island! I’m picking her up tomorrow to give the new setup a nice and make sure everything is good to go for my A race. I’m totally psyched!